Mr. R changed his coffee order at breakfast from cappuccino ($3.75) to macchiato ($2.50) when he realized the menu descriptions were identical. Both said " two shots with foamed milk" but when Mrs. R's cappuccino arrived a few minutes later we found out why they weren't the same price!
After driving across the entire state if New Mexico yesterday (270+ miles) I was very glad I had found a motel with pillowtop mattresses for the night! We all slept like rocks! Heading to the North Rim this morning, then up into Kanab, UT.
The granddaughter in Park City is getting impatient: why aren't they HERE yet , Daddy? They are taking So LONG! Sweetie, you have no idea!
What thirteen hours in the car will get you: ten inches on the back of a garter stitch jacket. Just going through Indianapolis with hopes of getting past St. Louis before stopping for the night. Another long day tomorrow.
I make this mix to take when we travel, whether by train, car or plane. It has saved us from starvation on many a journey! Super easy and quite yummy.
Start with a can of your favorite mixed nuts...I like the Planter's Heart Healthy mix. Most grocery stores have prepared mixes that can be added, and my IGA has some good ones. This one contains more nuts, cranberries, and dried pineapple and papaya. I love dried pineapple! If you can't find a mix, you can always chop up some dried fruit that you like and add either raisins or dried cranberries. Finally, some yogurt raisins! Oh, wait. I forgot the M&M's. A whole package (yeah, right, like a whole package ever makes it into my mix!) is about right! Enjoy!
Yes, I have a bunch of Willie CD's for the truck....no better road music than the Red Headed Stranger, in my book. Besides, we're headin' west.....what should we listen to? Lady Gaga? No, I've got Willie and Reba and Linda Rondstat....and maybe just a few opera CD's as well!
The clothes are all but packed...just have to make a trip to the cleaner's for some cotton slacks. (Why, yes, I get my cotton slacks dry cleaned....I admit to being seriously crease challenged! They just look, and stay, so much crisper when I don't wash them myself. So, I don't get my nails done, and this is my little luxury.) I have always known the truth of the old saying that stuff expands to fit the space allowed, and my bags are proof. But, understand, we are going to be experiencing temperature ranges from 100º in southern Utah to 45º in Montana, so we have to be prepared for just about anything. I've got some polar fleece, and a couple of sweaters, even a Gore Tex rain jacket. Still, I'm hoping that summer does make an appearance in the more northern reaches of our itinerary: I remember how unpleasantly cold it was in Yellowstone last time we were there! Besides, we have the entire back end of a huge Toyota Tundra pickup. Why not?
Shelley liked my packing system, so I'll share it here. I'm using my big rolling duffle (Costco, about $40) with all my shoes (four pairs: hiking shoes, Merrill sandals, Tevas and some dressy sandals) and outerwear packed on the lower level for easy access. The main compartment has most of the clothes I'm bringing, but what I do is to pack things by "outfit". I lay out slacks or jeans, for example, folded along the crease line, and lay a neatly folded tee shirt or shirt on top. I then fold in half and roll up. Things stay amazingly wrinkle-free this way and I can reach in and just grab the roll of clothes for the next day. See, the big duffle is staying in the back of the truck. I have another smaller (only slightly) duffle that will get dragged into the motel at night. In that I have packed all my craft items (more about that in a minute), my cosmetics, body wash, shampoo, underoos, jammies, etc, etc. There is room on top, so the next day's clothes will just get transferred, when we stop for the night, from the bag that stays to the bag that goes in. That's the theory, anyway. We'll see how it works in practice.
As for those crafts. I have car knitting, of course. I've changed my mind several times, but have finallysettled on a cute garter stitch jacket/cardigan by Black Pearl. I had already wound up all the skeins of charcoal Cascade 220 and decided it would be perfect car knitting: garter stitch, no patterns, pretty straight up to the armholes, five pieces...perfect. When we get back it will get the contrast trim around the edges. The grown-up version has a pocket, but I will eliminate that for now, as I've always wanted to try an EZ afterthought pocket, anyway. Good opportunity! But, I know that won't be enough to keep me interested for the whole trip, so I've also packed my little Weavette 4" loom and a few skeins of Noro. I have a bag of squares that were the start of an afghan and hope to add a few on the trip, although I'm not sure that big old weaving needle is the safest thing to be using in the truck at 80 mph! Good for the hotels, and especially once we get to Park City where we plan to, well, park it for a few days! I also have my beautiful
Golding silver ring spindle with the inlay turquoise and some of Anne's Wooly Wonka roving to play with. Do you think I need more? I am bringing the iPhone with games and books and Facebook and Typepad, and will have the MacBook, too.
Now, the question I'm facing today is, to "carry" or not to "carry". And by that I mean gun, of course. We both have our Utah CC permits, and with the exception of New York, Kansas, and New Mexico, all the states we are traveling through westbound, honor either our CT permit or the UT permit. For those exceptions, we will have to stop and revert to federal transport laws which involve locking the unloaded weapon with a trigger lock and putting in a locked case in the trunk (in this case the back of the truck). Already I'm wondering if it's worth it. I have an additional problem, and that is the concealing part of "concealed carry". Guys have it easier than women, what with jackets and open shirts, etc. I still haven't figured this out yet. I almost bought a fanny pack specifically designed for concealed carry at Hoffman's last weekend, but then I decided against it because I never wear a fanny pack! So, I probably won't, but I'm still thinking about it. I might just lock up my cute little Browning "plinker"...the Ruger New Bearcat revolver, just in case a shooting opportunity, such as a range somewhere, presents itself.
Here's the strange thing, though. It is now legal, in theory, to "carry" in National Parks. Obama said so. However. You cannot carry into visitor centers or ranger posts. See above for securing the guns in the car/truck. In addition, I learned that you may not discharge the weapon (not that we had plans to go hooting through the parks shooting at the sky, don't you know) except during hunting season. And, my personal favorite, at least in Grand Teton NP, you may not use your weapon as defense against the wildlife. So, what? You're supposed to THROW it at the oncoming angry bear? Not that I could hit a bear, either way, but sheesh. What is the point? I guess to defend yourself against the human kind of predator, who probably doesn't frequent the parks anymore now that he knows he might not have defenseless victims since Obama signed the bill that lets people carry in National Parks to defend themselves. Some of this crap really has me scratching my head, I tell you. So, gun friends, what would you do? Take something just in case? Let the Old Man defend us from the dangers that lurk ahead? (It all sort of begs the question, though, why did I go through that four hour safety course and spend all that money for a permit that would allow me to take my gun out to Utah only to leave it home?)
Better get moving....still lots to do before we point it west. Updates from the road when possible!
I've been through a lot of different knitting needles in my long knitting career, starting with those ghastly aluminum things back in the 60's, up to Addi Turbo circs and, most recently, Knit Picks interchangeables. I've done the Brittany Birch (and walnut), I like the bamboo needles for some things (love 'em for socks!), but these are my new favorites. The KP zephyr acrylic tips that happen to go right on all my accumulated cables! Now, I loathe Denise needles with a passion, so I wasn't sure if I could stand the feel of these, but I LOVE them! They are just slick enough for speed with heavenly pointed tips. And fairly cheap, so even getting a bunch of different sizes didn't break the bank by any stretch. They are light, warm to the touch, and don't hurt my hands! In this picture, they are in the middle of knitting a Wonderful Wallaby that was given as a christening gift over the Memorial Day weekend, but a bunch of different sizes are going with me on the Great Western Adventure.
On that subject, we leave before 6 am Friday morning, or as soon as our travel companions arrive and we get the truck packed. With three of us taking shifts, we hope to make it to St. Louis by day's end and we know from previous trips that is not impossible. The goal for Day Two is to get to Oklahoma City, then on to Flagstaff, through the Grand Canyon (maybe North Rim this time) and on into Utah. Our friends want to stop in Kanab, home of a famous animal rescue sanctuary (think Dog Town on NatGeo) called Best Friends. No problem stopping there for a visit, and we may even spend the night. Of course, when I googled the place I did not need to see the spitting image of both my former cats on their Video of the Day! Tears, of course, for both my old boys. Go check out the video for Kit Kat...cross between both of mine.
From there, we're not sure. The road between Kanab and the entrance to Zion NP is closed, and I didn't want to go to Zion, anyway. Over to the west, between St. George and Cedar City is something the Old Man has some interest in: the site of the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre, although I could show him a video if we don't get there. He also wants to visit Escalante NM, and then over to Moab and Arches NP, maybe Canyonlands.
There is way more, but I'll leave it at that for now. I hope to be able to do some posts on the fly from the road, ATT willing. I'll spare you my problems dealing with all the travel agent stuff that seems to get dumped on me....they all say, "oh, whatever you arrange is fine" till the rooms are booked. Then they have second thoughts. After cancelling one set of rooms today because the boys had a different idea, I had a tough time finding an alternative. They are not gonna like the price of what was available, to which I say BITE ME!
Hopefully, it will be a blast and we'll all still be speaking at the other end!
Friday evening, after my little gray buddy was gone, a far more peaceful experience for me than I had expected, the vet told me that I had indeed done the right thing, and that Claude was the equivalent of 88 in human years.
He had a rough start, according to the woman from whom I adopted him in 1997 (he appeared, obviously abandoned and abused in her back yard) but he came to us at just the right time. I was still pretty devastated by the loss of our previous cat to a sudden virus at age 5, and was convinced when I saw Claude (then named Smokey Joe) that he was the ghost of our other cat! It took no time at all to decide to bring him home (he wasn't getting along with the other cats in the lady's home and was confined to a bedroom all day, something he was not happy with!) and while he looked eerily like his predecessor, the personalities were so different that there was never any doubt he was indeed a different cat! Always a "vocal" cat (no whimpy little meows from this guy!) he became more so when we realized he had gone deaf a couple of years ago. He'd stand in the middle of the hall and just howl at top volume....a little hard to get used to, for sure! He was also very smart....or I just had too much time on my hands, because I did teach him to "shake paws" (either paw) and do "high five".
Unfortunately, while the previous gray cat was a real camera hound and would literally POSE when he saw me with the camera, Claude was not interested in sitting still for that nonsense but would turn his head or move towards the camera. As a result, albums full of one, very few of the other. I really thought I was prepared for this because he was so old and had been failing so visibly, but I'm still in pretty bad shape today. It will pass, I know, and having a trip to look forward to will help. At least I won't have to worry about my kitty while I'm away...he's safe now.
I did come across several pictures today, and thought this one gave a good idea of what my buddy was like in better days.
We're saying goodbye tonight to our 18 year old cat, D. Claude Monet, aka Claude. It's a very tough call for me for a variety of reasons I won't go into, but he's failing fast and is now blind as well as deaf, so the decision had to be made, especially in light of the upcoming trip. I just couldn't leave that responsibility in the hands of a sitter.
I made several calls in search of moral support today and feel only marginally better about this. In fact, I'm probably the only one not sure I'm doing the right thing. We've been buddies for a long time, though, (I taught this cat to shake paws and do "high five"!) and it hurts something terrible. I wish I could put it off for another week...or month, but that's not being kind to him. I had worked it out in my mind that I'd make the call today and have the Big Guy go with me to the vet tomorrow, but that plan didn't work out. They could only take him today....too booked tomorrow. Too soon for me.
So, tonight at 5:30 we're making one last trip down to the vet. I don't think I could ever go through this again, so it's unlikely there will ever be another pet in our lives. Thanks, Claude, for all the years you gave us. We couldn't have asked for a nicer boy.