Saturday, December 31, 2022

Kingman, Arizona

Tonight finds us in bucolic Kingman, Arizona where the wind is howling.  That is Kingman's claim to fame, the wind always is blowing.  It's also cold, and it appears that it will rain tonight and in to tomorrow.  Oh joy. Jim has picked up some sort of a virus, coughing and nose blowing thus far.  I've told him he can't die on me until we get the car unloaded.   This is Jim last night, we were so happy to be out of the car.

   We departed Beaver this morning with high clouds and some blue sky.  It was just lovely.

Then it became like this.  Those are clouds pretty much sitting on the ground.

Notice defined the notch in the cloud is.

Now we are driving in to it.

Eventually the clouds cleared out, but it remained overcast.  That was really unfortunate because we went through the Virgin River Gorge, which is one of the most spectacular places there is - when the sun is out.  I took all of these pictures through the windshield, so there is some glare, try not to notice it.

When you cross from Nevada into AZ, you see this painted on the side of a mini-mart and gas station.  Big letters, really scary.  It's the Last Stop, we better stock up!  They were charging $9 for the exact same sandwich we bought in Nevada for $6, which we thought was a rip off then.

Additionally, they were charging $5.49 for gas, and $4.59 for diesel.  These prices are just stupid.  Up the road about a mile or two, gas was $3.89, which is bad enough.  They're preying on people driving through and freaking out before heading out into the great wide open. 

So that was today.  Tomorrow we will arrive Tucson.  I think maybe we can quit wearing polar fleece shirts and pants as we drop to a lower altitude.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Beaver, Utah

Tonight we're in lovely Beaver, Utah.  It's another one of those places that makes you wonder why it exists.  Beaver was settled in 1856 by Mormons following the Mormon Road.   I think now it's here supporting local agriculture.  We're at a Best Western that is not terrible, with one exception.  When I book rooms, I always look for internet, a microwave and a refrigerator.  What I don't think I need to check for is an elevator.  Tonight we have stairs; it's an old motel, the kind that has a big window that looks outside, and people can look in your room if the curtains are open.  Since we're incapable of packing light, getting up the stairs was an effort, also because we're at 6,000 feet of elevation.  It's noticeable.  

This is a cool boat, I've never seen one like this.  Our theory is that it's used for (literally) hiding in the weeds on the water and shooting birds.  In this weather, you really have to want to do it.  That's fake grass attached to the sides with zip ties.

When we left Pocatello, it was snowing sideways.  With the exception of a short section, the roads were clear.

The phone camera was focusing on the windshield, but you can see how visual conditions were not great.  Fortunately, it did not last long.

Here we are near Salt Lake City.  Those are the Wasatch Mountains in the background.  They're a nice looking range.

Downtown Salt Lake.

The road construction we've encountered over the years is complete.  There is an Easy Pass/2+ transit lane now.  People in the transit lane were going slower than the other lanes, but I'll bet at rush hour that is not the case.  It was a pleasant drive through Salt Lake today.

Now we are here, and I'm really happy to be out of the car.  There are two more days of driving.

By now, everybody is aware of the epic meltdown experienced by Southwest Airlines due to winter storm Elliot.  Juan Browne, who is a pilot, did an excellent youtube detailing how the meltdown came about.  CLICK HERE for the link.  The link may not work, if not, type in to go there, and put the word blancolirio in the search box.  This is the title you're looking for: The Largest Airline Meltdown in Aviation History.  It's really interesting how it was a system of cascading failures.  The comments are also interesting, talking about what it's like to work for Southwest.  

So, that's it, I'm tired now.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Pocatello, Idaho

 We have arrived in beautiful Pocatello, Idaho.  Today it did not rain.  We had blindingly bright sunlight, ice fog, regular fog and then more sun.  Yesterday I was grumbling internally about how cloudy and dismal it was.  Today I was grumbling out loud about how bright the sun was and how I couldn't see anything.  Never happy.....  Being up north, as we are now, although not as far north as Canada, the sun doesn't get very high, so it was underneath the sun visor a lot of the day.  We're thinking we'd like to quit wearing our heavy waterproof boots tomorrow, perhaps we'll get the sneakers out of the car.  

So that was day two of the trek.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Missoula, Montana

We are in Missoula, Montana.  It mostly rained and snowed all day.  We're here, and I am typing on my phone because my laptop can not connect to the wretched hotel internet.   Here are pictures.

That's it! This is all I have to say.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Boxing Day

Christmas was very low key.  It rained all day.  Sometimes it was water rain, sometimes it was freezing rain.  Look at the background of the photo, far away, those are clouds in the trees.  I expect that in Seattle, but am a little surprised that it's like that here.  But it is, please make a note of this.

The agave got the only Christmas present given, in the form of a timer for the grow lights.  I took the succulent to the neighbor's because I don't think he can go 2.5 months without water.  The agave is very happy that there will be light while we're gone.

For Christmas dinner, Jim spatchcocked a 5 pound chicken, grilled it at 375F for about 50 minutes, and it was just wonderful.  It did not come in the house looking like a victim of a house fire.  This is the bottom side of the bird.  It's interesting to me that when you buy a package of chicken breasts they're not that good, thighs are better but still not great.  An entire chicken is another thing entirely.  The whole thing was good.  We're down the curve on the process, so I think we'll be doing chicken like this in the future.  Next time, I'll try to photograph the other side, which is his good side.

Loading the car has commenced.  Still no photos because it's so steenking cold in the garage.  This is the packing room.  Everything behind the row with the tote bags is in the car.  Thus far, measurements have been accurate and I think it's all going to fit. 

So, returning to the saga of the house shoes.  Nothing worked.  I really had hope for this pair.  My left foot has rejected them out of hand.  I think I slide forward enough that the thing that goes over the top of the foot is exerting enough pressure to make the metatarsal heads rub on each other. 

So, now we have come to this.  Flip flops with single toe socks.  The socks are ok, except for they're not tall enough and they're not at all warm.  I think I may contact some Etsy sellers who knit and ask if they'll make me a pair of wool socks.  Apparently I am destined to wear Oofos flip flops until I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Other than this paltry offering, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas Day

 Merry Christmas!

Here's hoping for happy days in the coming new year.  And if you're in Florida, watch out for the falling iguanas.  They'll be fine when it warms up.



Saturday, December 24, 2022

Bikes Are in the Car and Freezing Rain

Yesterday it snowed pretty much all day.  We woke up to snow, did snow removal, then it snowed some more.  Yay snow.

It was a dry snow, first time this winter.  You can tell it's dry by the plume from the snow blower across the street.

Here is my bike, with the pedals off.

Now the wheels are off.

We learned some things yesterday.  The chain on A's bike was on the third from the top chain ring when the wheel came off.  J's was on the smallest chain ring.  That will be news we can use when putting the wheels back on.  The newest trend in bikes is the through axle.  We used to have quick release skewers, and I think they were better.  You opened the skewer, the fork widened and the wheel dropped out.  Now you have to undo the entire skewer, pull it out, stuff brake blocks in the brake calipers so the calipers don't close and then after removing the wheel, replace the through axle.  This is not an improvement over the ancient technology.  The wheels will not fit in the wheel bags.  They're 700 cc wheels, but the tires are so big, they do not fit.  We did get the bike frames, the wheels and etc. in the back of the car.  I have zero pictures because it was 14F outside and not any warmer in the garage, so no pictures.  It was pretty much unbearably cold.  If we do this again, we're going a month earlier so the weather is not so terrible and we can safely rent a cargo trailer.  I have a career goal to never mess with those wheels again, unless I have a flat.  Probability is high that we'll be renting a trailer for the return so the wheels can stay on the bike.

The other new technology that I don't understand is the lack of a front derailleur (the thing that changes gears).  They've gone to one rear derailleur and a giant cassette (thing with the gear cogs).  If you look at my back wheel, you can see the rear cassette is bigger than the disk for the brake.  It's unbelievably heavy.  After we got the wheels off, we were stunned by how light the carbon frame is.  It's a mystery to me why this is perceived to be a good thing.  Our other bikes have three chain rings in the front, 10 cogs in the back, and a greater range of gears available.  More gears is better.  However, we really wanted to quit riding the mountain bikes on the road this summer, and due to the supply chain issues this is what there was.  Maybe when there are more bikes in the pipeline we'll look at something with different gearing.  Having said that, I do like the bikes, they're comfortable, they handle well, they don't scare you to death going down steep hills, so maybe I'll just learn to deal with new technology.

We went to our neighbors'  house for brunch today.  It was fun.  This is the second time since March 2020 that we've been in someone else's home unmasked.  It feels weird.  I know that many people have moved on from Covid, but I am not one of them.  The latest research shows that repeated cases of Covid result in damage to your immune system.  This is not good, and there is no fix for it.  So, I'd like to avoid that if I could.

Today we are experiencing freezing rain.  Yay freezing rain!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Cookies, Snow, Sun and Cold

Greetings Humans.  To all of you experiencing Winter Storm Elliot, I hope you are well and warm and not out in the storm.  Early reports of road conditions, and numbers of people stranded were alarming.  We were brushed by it last night, our low was -9F (-22.7C) which is really cold for these parts.  

We made Spritz cookies Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tuesday the cookie gods smiled at us, and the getting of the dough out of the cookie press on to the chilled cookie sheet went really quickly.  Wednesday was not so good.  A failure to read and understand the cookie press manual had us on the wrong volume setting and there was some angst involved.  After the fact we read the manual and all will be well next year.  

This is the press thingy we should use, and this is how it should be oriented.  It needs to look like this.  Please make a note of this.

I love the new stand mixer.  It's not a Kitchenaid, it's a Cuisinart.  Personally I do not understand the cult like status of the Kitchenaid mixer.  You can't stick a rubber spatula in the bowl to push stuff down without stopping the machine and lowering the bowl.  With the Cuisinart you still have to stop the machine, but the top lifts up and back so you can scrape.  In my humble opinion, the best mixer was the Sunbeam, made in the 50's and 60's.  The beaters were offset, the inner beater rotated the bowl, and you had massive clearance to put the spatula in there and push stuff off of the sides.  I had a very old one, until the oil solidified while in storage for ten years, and the cord fell off.  I miss it to this day.  They're still made, but reviews are not good.  Here we have butter and sugar, the stuff of life.

Jim mushes cookie dough into the press.

Are they not lovely?  We bought the mutant looking dyed cherries people use for fruitcake.  They're terrible eaten out of the container.  However, when you stick them on cookies and bake them, they are much better tasting.

The 20th we woke up to more snow and the thick clouds that had been with us since December 3.  No sun, at all, from the 3rd through the 20th.  So there was snow removal and shaking of trees which suffer under the weight of the snow.  This is a terrible picture, I was trying to get a picture of the guy cross country skiing in the neighborhood.  He is absolutely poetry in motion on the skis.  He is the green blob in front of the gate.  Jim is the blue blob shoveling snow by the entry gate on the left. 

On the 21st the sun came out.  It was tremendous.  It also let the cold air in. 

At 4:30 or so, the sun gets low enough to light up the trees to the south of us.

At the top of the photo are the houses up on the bluff behind us.  They have a good view of the city lights.  I also think they're hotter than heck in the summer because they face west.  They're pretty with the snow and all.

It's hard to see, but this boy has lost an antler. 

So, cookies, snow and frigid temperatures.  Not as frigid as other places, but enough for me.

I'm trying not to post too many video links to twitter, because who knows how long it will still be standing.  However, this is Hakeem Jeffries, recently appointed to leadership for the Democratic House members, not pulling any punches.  CLICK HERE to play it.  I love this guy.

China has a Covid problem.  After massive demonstrations about continuing lock downs, the government said fine, get Covid.  And they did.  WAPO did a good piece on what this means to the west.  It's not good.  CLICK HERE to read.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Monday, December 19, 2022

The Jan6 Committee Speaks

 Three years ago today, the 45th president was impeached for the first time.  

Today the January 6th Committee concluded their deliberations with these results.  The referrals are to the Department of Justice, and hopefully there will be some justice meted out.

That's it!  I spent the bulk of the day backing up photo files, deleting them off my lap top, uninstalling picasa twice, reloading picasa twice and it was very tedious, nerve wracking stuff.  I think picasa was corrupted (because it's really old and no longer supported) so my only path was remove and reinstall.  So, we'll see how it goes.