Thursday, June 22, 2017

Entertaining in the RV

Was the 2703 mile drive worth it? Yes. 
Josiah has been in training and today was our first chance to see him. JaRissa had to work late, but Jamin and Cy drove out (45 minutes), visited and had dinner with us.  This is the promise of things to come. I can barely wait for the end of July/August to have a dinner at our new home with us and 13 of our kids/grands....and then at Christmas KRISTA will be home too!!!! I could live in Thule, Greenland if these kids were there! 😱😡😱

It took the instant pot, the convection oven and all three burners, but we got er done.

Stacia and I worked out a new brownie recipe which she baked for dessert. It was a hit. We'll tweak it and do it again to make sure it wasn't a fluke and then; if we still like it best, post it to the blog and remove all other brownie recipes. I think we can make these blondies too....hmm.....probably could have made these much earlier if we'd just thought to take our favorite blondie recipe and add chocolate. 🐽(Can the pig snout be my emoji for ::snort::???)

Because some will wonder - we had Beef Stroganoff (Mushroom for me), corn, kale salad, garlic bread and brownies.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dandelion Musings

For thirty years, I've looked forward to dandelion bouquets in the spring.  Since Bre gifted me with the first bouquet, there has always been another young one to bring them home.

I'm not sure I totally appreciated those first bouquets. Along the way, I realized how quickly those little gift givers grow up....and I began to LOVE and look forward to them each spring/summer.

I bought a special vase to showcase them. 😊Stacia is our baby and I cherished each bouquet.

Stacia is quite old enough to KNOW  dandelions are not  only the wildflower I love to receive, but are, in fact, weeds. She's known this for 5 or 6 years, BUT, she continued to love to give them, and I loved to received them.

I knew last summer may be the very last summer for her to gift me with a bouquet. She is 11 and 3/4 now...and for the first time last year, when she gave a little bouquet to a loved one she was told they were "Not really flowers, but just weeds." I know the words weren't meant to be hurtful, but they did cause a hurt in her heart. I knew she would have to decide to be brave enough to offer them again....and so I watched the season come and go - and was a bit sad at the fact that this year I had no dandelion bouquets.....after 30 years I had run out of kids young enough to pick them and bring them to me.

I was most grieved Stacia's giving heart had been bruised and I purposed to talk with her about it when the moment was right.

As we walked yesterday, she picked this, I barely breathed as I watched to see what she would do. She said, "Mom, I'd like you to have this wishing weed."  I loved it. She trusted me with her gift. She pointed out they are so big up here you get more than one wish with them. I blew and blew....and then she joined me. I was happy to get my dandelion; a special moment I had always enjoyed with Stacia. I was excited to see she overcame the fear her gift would be rejected. I was worried she'd let that comment be the last bouquet she gave.

I confessed to her I'd been a bit sad not to get any dandelion bouquets this year. She told me she had decided to give them to me this year and will teach Bella to get them next year, and then with all the grands,  I should always have dandelion bouquets...if I don't tell the grands they are weeds. (I never have).

I won't.

I promised never to tell a grandchild their dandelion gifts are really, "just weeds."

Afternoon Walk

While down days have their place - Stacia and I wanted to get OUT. We went for a walk.  It turned out to be a much longer walk than we expected - but we loved it.  Yuuki is TERRIBLE the first time she walks a new route - must smell EVERYTHING. She did enjoy the walk too....

We discovered it is 1.3 miles from our RV Park to the home we are hoping to buy......Already loving that mountain.

We walked to the END of the road.....discovered it is .67 miles to the mailbox ...ONE WAY.  I may need to buy a snow machine to get the mail in the winter. 😏⛄πŸ˜‰

We noted several gardens. Greenhouses seem to be useful AND the fences were NOT 10 feet tall...but all ARE fenced.  A few houses from us we saw THIS - proof that chickens will be acceptable in the we walked further we heard roosters crowing so maybe we can buy a rooster after all. πŸ“πŸ”πŸ£

We had a great talk as we walked. Stacia is interested in farming and is thinking of an agricultural school/degree post high school.  She thinks she may need to find a school in Alaska so she knows how to farm HERE because it is probably different than in TX. Smart girl.  She is planning for us to have a big enough garden to take produce to farmer's markets to sell.  I'm thinking we'll spend the winter planning and plotting and not actually put a garden in this late in the year.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wildlife & Mishap Count on our Alcan Road Trip

Here it is - finally - the last post about our Alaska Highway Adventure. We kept a running list of daily wildlife sightings and road mishaps. All in all, we fared MUCH better than many we saw along the way. We did NOT have a tire blow - on 3 vehicles, we did not have to have our windshield replaced, we did not run out of gas, but it is QUITE a road and one would be wise to have full insurance on their vehicles before leaving if driving beat up cars bothers them. LOL

Day 1  - Through Oregon 

Day 2 - Through Washington 

* I know but they were animals which charmed us - they stay on the list. 

Day 4 -Lynden, WA to Kokanee Bay, Lac la Hache
Eagles - 2 one with fish in talon 

Day 5 - Lac La Hache to Prince George

Day 6 - Prince George to Dawson Creek 
Mosquitoes - they are ubiquitous and they count

Day 8 Dawson Creek - Fort Nelson 
Falcons (2)
Black Bear - Michael and Alex

* Michael begins to think of a solution to our wildlife photo blahs. They SEE them first in the motorhome, but can't stop quickly. We are following with the cell phone, but don't always see what Michael sees. When we DO see them we have a cell phone camera.  He comes up with a solution. From here on out, Alex will continue to take photos with my Nikon in Uchi. I will have Michael's camera (by far our best camera) in the Jeep. They will act as spotters, flash their lights to show us which side of the road they see animals and alert us on the radio....we will stop and take photos. We're ready to give the plan a shot! 

Day 9 - Fort Nelson to Liard River Hot Springs
3 Black Bears - this was the last blah shot before we implemented Michael's photo strategy.

Numerous hawks

2 Falcons

32 Mountain Sheep (or more) near Stone Mountain Provincial Park

Numerous Beaver Dams

Day 10 Liard Hot Springs - Watson Lake, Yukon Territory
We wanted to see more moose and bear now that we were implementing Michael's photography plan. We also hoped for the Bison the highway signs kept promising.

4 Bears

Little too friendly - I got back in the Jeep 

Big Bison - worth the wait!

Day 11 - Watson Lake - Whitehorse, YT
Dead Bob Cat

Day 12 - Whitehorse, YT  - Beaver Creek 
*Be sure to get gas leaving Whitehorse!

Day 13 Beaver Creek, YT - Glenallen, AK
Bull Moose

Cow Moose


Day 14  Glenallen - Valley Area

Mishaps/Repairs/Breakdowns on the trip
Day 1 
"Go to Portland Fairview RV Park " is interpreted as "Go to Joe's Coffee, Portland" by GPS

Day 2
My (De'Etta) laptop - crunched and battered and pieces hanging from it - but working
Brake controller in Uchi isn't working properly - began fix

Day 3 
Nose of RV crunched in a VERY slow moving, RV park mishap

Day 4
Tightened Bicycle carrier on Nimo

Day 6
Rocks dings Nimo's windshield
We saw many having their windshields replaced on the road (both cars and RVs). We feel lucky. 

Day 7 
Continue fix on brakes - something about trailer and uchi and playing nice together

Day 8
Windshield wipers blew off twice! Whut?

Day 9
Rock dings on Nimo
Trailer Brakes

Day 10 
Instruments on Uchi (Motorhome)

Day 11
Spray of rocks dinged and chunked the front of Uchi
*Note WE are driving slowly, you can't help others who zip past and spray rocks

Day 12 
Steps on Uchi won't retract

Day 13 
Bikes pop up and hit the Jeep window
Misc gravel dings on all vehicles

Arriving In Valley/Anchorage - Day 14 of AlCan Road Trip

::snort:: ::gasp:: We KNEW it would be raining when we drove into Alaska. Beautiful weather until we arrived!  I'm sure it will clear up in a few days. August is the rainy month.  In any event, we were relieved to see the beauty continued beyond the border. 


These are snow poles. I know this as the milepost says they are. 

We left the Alaskan Highway at Tok. However, I decided to add this day's travel to the trip otherwise we would just be hanging out on the highway forever. LOL

We did a U-turn, not an easy feat with this caravan, to go back to stop at the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation area.  Stacia's first time to see a glacier. The video is at the end of the post. Stacia's reactions are priceless.
Nolan, Stacia, Alex

Mat-Su Glacier

As I took shot after shot, in the rain, trying to get them all in and STILL see the glacier, Michael finally gave me "the look" below. ::snort:: "Give me the camera, I'm taller. I can get the shot."

And he could. 

Michael set the GPS for an RV park in Palmer. It turns out it is 1.3 miles from the home we are negotiating to buy. We knew the kids would like to see - so we drove by. This was not our 1st or 2nd choice of a home, and we'd not given it or the neighborhood the close scrutiny we gave the other two homes we knew interested us. We were relieved to see the neighborhood is really nicer than either of the other two.
Lazy Mountain from the RV park 

I can live with this view for a few days
 We met up with Jamin and enjoyed hearing what he's been up to since graduating from A & M. We checked out another campsite closer to where the kids live in Eagle River. Um....seems there is an injured sow with cubs on the loose. She'd injured some hikers days ago. We opted not to stay at this park.

We bought some pizza and met JaRissa at their home for dinner. I didn't take many photos, but did think to grab one. 

We've decided to stay at our current RV park for at least a week. We'll look into Fort Rich Fam Camp (which also has bear incidents - it IS Alaska) or others after that....or maybe we'll go see another part of the state for a couple of weeks. For NOW - Michael wants down days - and we are all on board with that plan.