Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Freedom Fries for four

Too bad I have to watch my carbs. Jerry has a whole pile of taters just like this one. It's nice to be close to the source :)

First day of fall and I just pulled the a/c units out of the windows and stored them in the shop. I am tired of the hot weather, but don't really look forward to the cold. Why can't autumn last about 8 months?

Sorry, I don't do Windows

While we were in Redmond Sunday, I couldn't resist a photo opportunity with my Linux netbook.
Charlotte, who uses Linux Mint, wanted her picture too. I will say, Microsoft has a beautiful and large campus. They are living well off their monopoly practices.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Honey, I'm home!

I guess I am like an old work horse. I get my nose pointed toward the barn and nothing better get in my way. We were 11 hrs on the road coming home. We hit road construction on I-90 that accounts for an hour of that and made more coffee stops than I normally would have. I didn't feel great and the time in the coffee shops helped keep me going. I loved the trip, but there is truely "no place like home".
I need to dig thru the video I shot and see if there are any clips that might be interesting enough to post on the blog. Check back in the coming days and see if I found anything.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Headed Home

We are stopped at a Denny's in Pendleton. We decided it's time to go home. A person can only stand so much fun. I got spoiled by ship's food, only the prawns I had at the Coho Cafe last night was comparable. The Burger King where we had lunch and the fare here at Denny's is just not up to my new standards :)
I am not feeling great and I don't think I'll make all the way home tonight. Maybe a stop in La Grande?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More pictures

Hubbard Glacier

Back to Seattle

I liked Ketchikan and Sitka both better than Juneau. I wish we would have had more time for Ketchikan, we really cut it close getting back onboard. We were having fish and chips at Salmon Landing and ate them entirely too fast to really savor the quality, dang good even on a tight schedule. The "duck" ride was different, an hour and a half of sightseeing with a comedy duo. We did get to see a lot of the city and harbor as well as local history.
Lots of rough seas getting to Victoria and we got there late. They had canceled our excursion there and we could see the town was quite a ways from the pier, so we just stayed aboard and enjoyed the ship not moving.
We found rain and heavy overcast when we reached Seattle. When we reached our car it got worse, it had been broken into. nothing to steal was in it, but a $188 passenger window was smashed to for them to find that out. Bummer! We have spent the morning getting a side window installed. We are at a nice motel in Redmond waiting to go out to dinner with friends. We have lots of internet here, Ya!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just sailin' along

This morning we are docked in Ketchikan. It's a pretty little village hanging off the side of an island. Yesterday was Sitka and rain, but no worse than I expected for the whole trip and hadn't gotten so far. We wondered around the town, used the free internet at the library, sampled street vender seafood, sightseeing and a very little bit of shopping. Last night was lobster night in the main dinning room, it's not too bad for a big bug :)
We won't be port in Ketchikan but for about 5 hours, so it I want to get this sent, I need to go find the library and get back in time for our "Duck" tour. Don't look at me like that, I didn't book the excursions...rofl

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Tue 15 Sep 2009 01:14:32 PM MDT

Monday was spent in port at Juneau, I was sick and didn't have much fun. I am feeling much better today. That was a short cold and I hope I've seen the last of it. We are sailing of the coast with beautiful mtns to starboard. Every mtn we come to is more impressive than the last. Hubbard Glacier is next, you may have to wait for pictures. The internet options have not been great for getting pictures out, even the free internet was so slow that I gave up and just settled for text.

Wed 16 Sep 2009 10:19:27 AM MDT

Hubbard Glacier was amazing and we are told that this was the only day that any cruise has had clear skys to look at it. I have taken lots of pictures, pictures of about everything. There are so many pictures that anybody waiting to see them is going to have to wait until we get home to good internet.
We are now sitting in Sitka Harbor. The harbor is small and it was like someone trying to put on a wet swimsuit getting the ship where they wanted to drop anchor. Twist and turn, backing up and twist and turn somemore. Trying to retrace just how we got anchored, I know we have turned around completely 1 and a half times and are now pointed out of the harbor, I hope they remember how they cork screwed us in here and can undo it when it comes time to leave.
Juno and Hubbard Glacier

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not going to do that again

The last post to this blog was a bust. It went fairly well on the ships sat internet, but I checked the charges when I finished and it cost me $17. I don't think I'll be doing that again. Juneau has a public library with a free hot spot. I will post this from there :)
We are already seeing dolphins, should be into whale waters in the morning. That always gets some excitement going.
We have been going to the formal dinning room for dinner, it's not as much fun this time. They have us seated at a small table all by our lonesome. The formal dinning was a major social event on the last cruise. It was the place we met folks and got to know people. Charlotte and I already know each other and spend nearly every night at home talking to each other. I am not going to bother dressing for dinner, we can eat just as well in the less formal Lido Buffet. Without the social aspect of a table with new friends, I'll settle for meeting and chatting with folks in the smoking areas, they are regulars and about the only people we see more than once.
Charlotte seems to have recovered from her motion sickness, but is sleeping a lot. That is a terrible waste of cruise time. And me? I have got the cold Charlotte had last week, this is not how I had hoped the cruise would go!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The ups and downs of cruising

Rough water, weak stomach. Charlotte got sea sick, not a fun time. I didn't have that problem, instead I had 2 breakfasts and a light lunch of 4 slices of pizza :) The food is excellent, as expected. Late night we went to the formal dinning room and had prime rib, fantastic! They actually know what rare is.
Boarding yesterday was a breeze, fast very little waiting and not crowded. The new terminal seems to have their act together, after what has been reported earlier in the cruise season as chaotic. This is a smaller ship than our last cruise and has only 1300 passengers. No place seams crowded, lots of areas you can have enough space and quiet to nap in a deck chair.
I am going to try to send pictures with this, the IT people assure me that their sat internet is working well. We will see!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Leave the driving to somebody else.

It is always nice to be a passenger in a strange city. I-90 going into Seattle is just plain crazy. 70 mph bumper to bumper is not much fun, when you are not exactly sure where you are going. A Gps helps, but it is more of a backup to get yourself unlost after you get close to where you are going. I look forward to a week of letting the captain drive and I can play and sleep and not worry about getting lost and always awaking in a new place, ready for more play and sleep :)

Sight seeing

Jacki and Mark picked us up for sightseeing and a nice fish dinner.

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Greetings from Seattle

Made good time on the drive, 9 hrs including rest stops, gas stop and breakfast and lunch. All settled into our Hotel and waiting for friends to pick us up for dinner.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ready to go, and how!

It got hot here again today, I look forward to cool rainy weather that Juneau Alaska is having. It's a lot easier to dress to stay warm, than to suffer in shorts and t-shirt when it is too hot.
I have been packed and ready to go for the last 10 hrs. I even got a nice nap this afternoon before I got hot and woke up. As soon as I finish this last cup of coffee, I'm headed for bed. I plan to be on the road by 5:30. We won't even talk about God's sense of humor with people who make plans :) I'll check in from Seattle tomorrow night.

Down to hours now

There are probably a hundred things I should be doing today and I can't get in gear. I guess anything that needs doing will still be here when I get back. I have already packed in my mind, now I'll go see if it will all fit in my bags. I may get a chance to blog a bit tonight, if not, I'll start adding pictures as we travel.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where is the sea sick pills?

We got our cabin assignment today, right in the bow of the ship. I have been watching the weather in the Alaska waters and it looks like storms and high winds(30-50 kts). A bow or stern cabin is not going to be a fun place when the seas are rough. A deck chair amidship is going to see a lot of me lol

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two more mornings on the patio

It was cold here this morning, 41F. My quiet time was interrupted by my teeth chattering. Made it to mid 70's this afternoon, but I am thinking the cruise was booked 2 weeks late. It would have been nice to miss some of the 90 deg weather we have had in the resent weeks.
I miss my furry opponent, I was just starting to enjoy the game when he committed suicide. I have to be content with lawn work to pass the time waiting for Friday. I mowed everything this morning, I am watering this afternoon. No ditch water, so I am having to use well water, but with third cutting hay down, there won't be any irrigation water until next week. I won't be here next week to use it and the lawn sure is dry right now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Persistance pays off

It's almost a let down that it's over. I was starting to enjoy the challenge. Round 5 five and game goes to me.

Round 4

Round 4 and the gopher is still winning. I can play as long as he wants, I only have to win one and a lose for him is permanent. I may not be smarter than this particular gogher, but I am persistant. He will make a mistake soon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Just when you think you have all your duck in order, a new problem shows up out of the blue. Water does not belong on the shop floor. There is no sink or faucets in that corner, but there is the computerized well pump controler and the main manifold to distribute the well water. All of the plumbing is in an insulated cabinet to keep it from freezing in the normally unheated shop.
It could have been worse, it could have been some of the specialized componants for the system that would require a long wait to ship in the parts. A simple 1" short nipple had developed a pin hole. A part that, on inspection, was defective when it was installed. A part that costs less than a dollar and I suspect the pump installer saved a bundle on a whole case of parts just like it. Now I have lost confidence in my plumbing and will worry about there being other cheap fittings in the system.
I think I would rather worry about gophers.

And the third round goes to Mr. Gopher

Trap smart gopher! I have them occasionaly, thankfully not that often. If this keeps up, I am going to have to do a "Caddy Shack" on him. Now, where did I leave that hose for my propane tank?
We should be aboard the MS Amsterdam at this time next Saturday. It will be nice not having a  gopher mound in sight.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back from the big city

Nice trip to the big city today (Nampa population 71700). They have the flu running wild through the school system there, so first purchase was waterless hand sanitiser. Some of those shopping carts are just plain nasty.
I found my source for Vegemite, the World Market. It's right near Cosco, so not out of the way at all. I sure hope they don't have to pay the same prices in Australia, I doubt it could become as popular there if they did :)

Now I am getting nervous

About this time next week we should be someplace on the interstate headed to Seattle. I can't wait to get going, but dread the long drive and the Seattle traffic when we get there. I don't think we can get left early enough to miss Friday afternoon rush hour. How the times do change, 35 years ago I would have just bailed into Metro traffic with 40tons of tractor-trailer, headed for the docks and not given it a second thought. I guess part of it is that it is hard to bluff your way thru traffic in a compact car ROFL

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I am chasing a wily gopher today. He is working both sides of my driveway. I only had one trap with me yesterday and I ended up digging into a double tunnel. If you have two choices, the first one will always be wrong ROFL We'll see if he is in the remaining choice today.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

9 Days and counting

The closer it gets to the cruise, the easier it is to count the days. I don't even have to take my shoes off to count the days now :)

This morning is nice and cool on the patio. Just had a Vegemite on buttered toast and awoke my taste buds. My mate, Peter, from Australia sent me a jar of Vegemite. It is like the national snack food there or something. If you have never tried it, you would be surprised by the taste. It is almost odorless, but has a bite to it that is impossible to describe. The bad part of it is, I like it and it is not available here except online. The jar's contents are going fast and I am going to have to order more soon. Thanks Peter, just what I needed, another food addiction... ROFL

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lazy morning

Just sitting on the patio eating my Cheerios, drinking my coffee, watching the goldfish, listening to a podcast and surfing the net this morning. Life is good! Ooops...quiet time is over, 2 yr old grand-daughter is here...lol

Monday, August 31, 2009


Here is the slide show of the woodcutting adventure.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's nice to go places and nicer to come home

The load of wood measured out at 3.75 cord. At 1 and a quarter ton per cord, that's a decent load. The boys had the woodcutting out of the way early Saturday afternoon and off on 4 wheelers they went. That part of Oregon is different than most of the state, A drive through that forest and all you see is trees, the vistas are few and far between. Can't see the forest for the trees? lol
A hot shower and a nap sound real good right now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Off to the woods we go

I have to find something better than bread crumbs to mark the trail, we have all heard of Hanzel and Grettle's misadventure, a GPS should do the trick...lol
Going camping with my sons is an adventure in packing, they tend to take enough for a month's stay, just for a weekend. I travel a bit lighter, We moved to Denver in a Carman Gia in 1967, so I am good at packing. My camp kit fits in a standard storage box, stove and camp tools included. A bed roll, tent and a cooler completes all I need to go camping. The boys take a field kitchen that would service a company, maybe a division. Actually the pioneers left Independance Mo with less than the modern camper needs for a weekend.
The excuse for the trip is woodcutting and there will be 3 cords wood come back from the hills, but I think the trip would happen just for the camping if nobody had a wood stove at home.
I will check back in when we return, if i survive.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Darwin Awards

I got to thinking about the Darwin Awards while I was pruning the walnut tree that had grown into the powerlines. Being 12 ft up an aluminum ladder with a metal framed bow saw clamped to a 10 ft steel tubing, trimming limbs away from a powerline had a lot to do with where my thoughts traveled. The list of things that could have gone terribly wrong would fill a book.
Since I am here to tell the story, it is obvious that I failed in my bid for the questionable honor of a Darwin Award. Maybe I can try again next year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

anniversary day #42

Here I sit, low and down hearted, I came to blog and can't even get started.

Thinking back to where I was 42 years ago, I have come to a few conclusions about life and marriage. Marry young, before you are set in your ways. Move your new spouse a thousand miles from family and friends. Start your new life with a minimum of outside influences. You will quickly learn to support and comfort each other. The "me and I" will quickly become "we and us". The rocky spots become challenges rather than obstacles and meeting those challenges together, cements a bond that is unbreakable. This may not work for everyone, but it has served us well for 42 years.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looking forward, backward, anywhere but here

I just got to thinking, 2 years ago we were off the coast of Canada on the Vision of the Seas. That reminds me that tomorrow is our 42nd anniversary. I am so ready to be cruising again. I hope when we do get to it, that it is as good as I remember. 18 days and counting!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I hate suspense

19 Days, but who's counting. My paranoia is expecting a major plan changing catastrophe any day now. I do get a bit of comfort knowing that the things, one worries about the most, almost never happen...lol

Friday, August 21, 2009

Internet plans

The last time we went cruising, I bought some expensive shipboard internet package that turned out to be a real dog. The satellite link just doesn't work very well and was barely adequate for simple email w/o pictures. I don't plan to even mess with it this time. A little research shows many of the ports have public library wifi hotspots and those ports that don't feature this, have cyber cafes with paid access that is cost effective. The cyber cafes are a chain that you can buy a card with time and use it in any of their locations and the locations are adjacent to the cruise piers. It has to be better internet than last time, when I had to fall back to email only and didn't update the blog until we got to my son's place in Eastern Washington. Nobody got any pictures until after the cruise was all over. I hope to be able to blog at the least every other day and upload my pictures to Picasa for those who want to see them.

When you're hot you're hot

The temperature has been bouncing off the century mark this week. I have been checking Juneau and the 60F temps makes me in a hurry to get this show on the road. The snow will probably be flying up there in 3 weeks and right now I could use the 60 degrees.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Charlotte in the cloud

Charlotte was wanting to write in my blog again this time. After the confusion of of both of us posting in the same blog last time, I told her to go make her own blog and she did! She has been using Facebook and email and is figuring this cloud computing thing out. This morning, she informed me that she created her own blog, but she had lost it and didn't know how to get back to it roflol. A quick search of her history and it is found and now bookmarked. I am following her and now she says I look like a stalker in my profile. There is just no pleasing some people.

Counting down the days

Count down to the road trip for the cruise is 3 weeks and a day. It has got me thinking about packing. I should do a bit of planning here.
We took everything but the kitchen sink last time and needed very little of it. We are not going to do that again. It is a fine line of not taking too much and finding you wished you had brought something that would really make the trip more pleasant. I can't talk Charlotte into camping along the way this time, so leaving the camp gear home makes more room in the car. I don't think I can force myself to leave it all, I like to make my own coffee in some of the nicer rest stops. A half hour of making and drinking coffee is a good driving break. I always make better coffee than you can buy when traveling and we are pretty spoiled when it comes to coffee.
Electronic gizmos will be limited to netbook, USB GPS and audio player. They can easily share space in the backpack I am going to use for my carry on. I am not even going to be carrying a book, maybe a couple of ebooks on the computer, but there is too much going on on the ship to need much reading material. I can always use the ship's library in a pinch. I find myself "listening" to a lot of audio books lately, I can read with my eyes closed that way :)
I sure didn't need the amount of clothing I took last time. It didn't help that they lost my luggage for long enough that I duplicated much of it in Juneau before they found my bag. About half of what I started with last time should do it. I can makeup any additional needs along the way with souvenir t-shirts. I know how to pack a carry-on now that I can survive the whole trip if the main bag gets lost again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's a computerized world

When we cruised last time, I took a Windows laptop with us. I was using Linux on my desktop computer, but had kept the laptop on Windows to use Delorme Street Atlas and GPS. My GPS died on that trip and with it my only use for Windows. Street Atlas ran fine on the Linux in Wine, but I was never able to resolve the USB to RS232 adaptor that the old Tripmate GPS needed. I put Linux on the laptop when we got home and have been quite happy with it ever since.
This time around I have a nice small Meso netbook running Ubuntu Netbook Remix, a new LT-40 Earthmate GPS and an open source navigation program called RoadNav. I do love using a computer that has never seen Windows and I have not had to pay the "Windows Tax" that is included in the price of new computers that come with Windows installed. Mr Bill Gates is rich enough, he does not need any of my money. The money is not the only reason to switch to Linux, it is just a nice side benefit.
In the last several years I have become an advocate for all forms of free and open source software. The FLOSS (Free Libra Open Source Software) development model advances the computer development in ways that that closed source model can never match. Ok...no more soapbox, at least for now :) I'll tell you later about the Microsoft work shops, that I see on the on the ship's activity itinerary. Those poor instructors are going to wince every time they see me...ROFLOL

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cruising 2009

Here it is 2 years later and I haven't touched this blog in that time. Charlotte has another cruise booked, so I better catch up.
Lots has happened in the two years. Charlotte has retired (if you can call day care of two and sometimes three grandchildren retired). We remodeled the master bedroom and bath last year, no money for a cruise also. This year we did the floor in the small bedroom/computer room. It was a wonderful idea to pull out the 30 year old carpet and make use of the nice pine flooring underneath it. I hate carpet, area rugs are so much easier to keep clean, just roll them up and haul them off to clean and you get to mop the floor under them to spic and span.
Here's the plan so far. Drive to Seattle on Sept 11 and take the Amsterdam cruising to Alaska on the 12th.