Archive for July, 2011


The Allegheny River is a draw for the wildlife in the area, I wish I was a quicker photographer, I missed the bald eagle, bear and albino buck.  I am stalking all three and feel like an animal paparazzi.


Equipment Update

I thought I would take a few paragraphs and let you know how some camping and travel equipment fared.

Water storage – don’t bother.  I bought two different 5 gallon collapsables from Texsport and Coleman – they both were unweildy, leaky messes that turned green with algae after just a few uses.  Better to buy those handy 2.5 gallon jugs with spouts from the grocery store, refill them a couple times and then recycle them and buy new ones.

Sleeping mattress – this surprised the heck out of me.  I bought a really nice air mattress that was extra thick and also my Exped synmat which I use for backpacking.  The backpacking mattress won by a long shot.  Easier to blow up, took much, much less room and was way more comfortable to boot.  My back ached after a few days on the thick air mattress and cleared up after a few days on the smaller synmat. 

Fishing gear – each state charges a license fee and they can be pricey.   I left my rod and tackle box with my sister in San Francisco along with the air mattress.  This was disappointing, there should be a national license for travelers.  

Texsport stove – this was an A+ buy – look for a stove with a flexible hose for the gas canister.

Yeti Cooler – the best cooler ever.   I left two beers, yogurt and jam in the cooler for two weeks in the heat in Pittsburgh, when I opened it I expected it to be super stinky – to my surprise,  the water was still cool and I salvaged the beer and jam.    I love this cooler!

Towels – I have no idea where they go, but they must decide they like it where they are and stay without even saying goodbye. 



Church Picnic – Old School

Mom and I went to the Rankin Church Annual Picnic, it was wild!!  Accordion playing tunes from the 40’s and homemade food from the church members.  Enough jello salads to fill a small pool, I tried each one and they were all delicious. 

Door prizes ranging from a tee shirt to hoagies from the local pizza joint.

I was introduced to people from 7 to 93 years in age, everyone knows each other and family was the topic of conversation. 

Mom’s friend, Betty, loves the church and helps organize the event every year.

Thanks Betty, you did good.



Pennsylvania – Home Sweet Home

On the road again.  David and I drove the RV from Redondo Beach Marina to Portland, OR in 2 days.  I dropped both off in Hillsboro, OR and off to see my Mom in PA.

The drive across the country took me 3.5 days in my Corolla and the new engine worked beautifully.  I am actually getting better gas mileage!  Thanks Sabino.

I chose to leave the RV in Oregon because gas would cost me around $2,000 in the RV and $200 in the car.   I have plenty of places to sleep in PA and my favorite is our place on the Allegheny River about 100 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Bass, Walleye, Carp, Hummingbirds, Bear, Deer, Fox, Porcupine, Grouse, Bald Eagles, Hawks AND Edgar all enjoying the river.  Edgar loves to swim and comes to the river with me.  He has appointed himself official guardian and made it his duty to bark at everyone who approaches the cabin.

I grew up on this river learning to swim and fish.  Now my Oregonian friends understand the deep love of nature and why Oregon is my second home.  The mountains here are a bit shorter, but just as beautiful.



The Great Houdini

Edgar “Houdini” Winter is an escape artist.  He was closed up in the RV in Redondo Beach Marina and the next thing I know my phone is ringing and this nice young couple had captured Edgar in the parking lot.

This was the second time he escaped from the RV.  He followed me 5 blocks in Houston and squeezed under the fence of the restaurant, “look at that cute dog” I just knew it was Edgar.  Edgar can open screens – he jumped out the window – fearless considering the drop is over 6 feet.


Redondo and Hermosa Beaches, CA

Learning to surf was so much fun!  I actually got up and surfed two waves.  You can understand why surfers are in such good shape, it takes endurance to work your way out to, and stay in, the wave zone, quick reflexes to go from a laying on your hands and toes position to standing on a moving board, and then falling correctly into the waves and coming up while protecting your head with a hand from surfboards above.

Go to Pier Surf in Redondo Beach, CA if you would like to take a lesson and tell them I sent you.  Actually, tell them Josh sent you, he knows everyone in Redondo and Hermosa Beaches and at the Marina.

You can walk the boardwalk all along the beach for miles in front of some really expensive real estate.  Jay Leno has a place along the walk and I am sure quite a few other celebrities.  Dogs can walk the boardwalk, but are not welcomed on the beach.   Edgar loves the beach.


America’s Vastness

In the months I have been traveling across the United States what strikes me most is the vastness of America.  I-10, I-40, I-80 and so many other highways that cross our country span great open plains, deserts and vast areas of farmland.

The desert southwest is beautiful and isolated, miles and miles of open country with striking views.  Traveling the I-5 corridor through California reveals long stretches of almonds, artichokes, peppers and all types of salad vegetables along with cattle and withering farmland caused by Congress and their water policies.

Crossing over the Rockies is remote and striking in beauty.  Middle America is awash in corn and soybean, green and lush.

Texas has by far the best roads and cheapest gas, I guess it helps having two Presidents residing there.  The worst roads are California with by far the most expensive gas, they have every other rest stop closed.

There is a lot of construction across the country, glad to see it and the jobs created.  Slow down for those construction workers.


San Antonio, TX

Finally on the road again.   The RV is working beautifully and the car is repaired.

One of the nicest things about having an RV is that it only costs an extra $5.00 at  campgrounds over the price of a tent and ……… Edgar has been a true issue.  Most campground do not allow dogs in tents.  Edgar has made a home in the RV.  He steals two of the four air conditioner vents by sleeping in the middle of the two front seats.

Wal Mart allows RV’s to stay free in their parking lots.  You have to run the generator for air conditioner, but it is nice being self contained.

San Antonio is the nicest city in Texas.  The Riverwalk area was beautiful.  Built one story below the hot city streets it follows a meandering river past restaurants and shops of all kinds.  Parking can be expensive, $50 to $60 per day.  We found a city parking lot behind the LaQuinta for only $5.00 per spot, had to pay for 3 spots, a little walk, but well worth the saved dollars.