Tag Archives: camping

Yesterday’s Office.

This is mostly going to be the photos I couldn’t upload yesterday. I’ll throw in a couple more. I intended to post a different update today, but without much of a connection, you kind of get the words yesterday and the pictures today.

We’re home now. I had my usual comedy of errors getting out of there. I couldn’t remove the sewer cap to flush out our holding tank. I left the dump station rather than back up traffic waiting to use the septic system.

I forgot my block for the trailer jack, so we had to loop back through the campground. It was still where we left it. While there, I decided to take a rock to the sewer cap and it worked like a charm. One more lap through the dump station and we got to head home.

This was what I wanted to call my office in the post yesterday.

This is the little doe that hangs around the campground. She browsed about ten feet from Otto this morning while he had his breakfast. Nothing interrupts that boy’s breakfast.

A glimpse at part of last night’s supper.

Lobsters

These boys were hanging around the dump station this morning and posing for photos. These are all mule deer, for those who only have white tails around.

There are three of them, but one of the bigger ones is behind the little guy

I always hate to come home, but it’s good to be back.

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Today’s Office

It was supposed to be a lovely post. A photo of my campsite in the ponderosa pines with an undergrowth of blueberry bushes. Then there was the mule deer doe that hangs around the edges of the campground. However, I’m down to a cellular hotspot with only two bars of service. I spent two hours trying to get the photos included, but no bueno. In fact, I have my doubts whether this text only post will upload, so here goes nothing.

It was hot yesterday. Somewhere in the nineties. This is tough on bulldogs, but we have power here, so the AC helped a bunch. They were restless most of the night. Otto decided to get up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 this morning. It’s either listen to him pace and whine with no hope of going back to sleep, or get up. My MO is to get up. When it’s time for breakfast, it’s time for breakfast.

Frankie rarely eats when we go out like this. Otto was content to clean his bowl, then hers. I picked it up before he got a double breakfast. Old What’s Her Face got to sleep in a little, then she gave them some hamburger and an egg, so Frankie isn’t starving.

I plopped down under the awning while it was still dark. The first order of business was to deal with the final critiques for Lanternfish. I don’t need wifi for that, and it’s all resident on my iPad. It can save to the cloud when I get home. Good suggestions, and it’s in the fermenter for a couple of weeks. Then I have to read it from start to finish, because there are always things that get missed.

Next order of business was to send out a chapter for Mrs. Molony. For some reason, while slow, that went off without a problem.

I’m still going to add a couple of paragraphs to this story. They aren’t needed, but there is a minor theme that could be addressed. I’ll let my critique group decide when they see the final chapter.

That left me the short story with Jason Fogg. It’s time for it to come out of the fermenter and get the last reading. Only I found two boneheaded errors. I fixed those, then put it back in the fermenter. I’m on vacation all week, so during the staycation part, I’ll make sure it gets submitted.

We took a drive today and saw quite a few deer. I only took the one picture and it didn’t upload anyway. I hoped for an eagle here on the lakeshore, but he never showed up.

There are still quite a few mushrooms in the darker parts of the forest. I hoped to do a snoop for a good one to add to my breakfast, but the mosquitos were pretty bad. I’d sprayed myself with repellent, but my wife was having none of it.

I did see one I’ve never seen before called Dead Man’s Fingers. It was a pitiful example, and looked more like a bunch of thin black spikes. I have a hunch it wasn’t mature yet. This thing looks like zombie fingers poking from the earth if you find a good one. I fully intended to look for one, because I wanted a photo. But Old What’s Her Face insisted we leave.

Tonight we dined on grilled lobster tails and some kabob vegetables. I’m washing it down with a bottle of stout right now. We’re having a good time, but the post would look better with pictures.

 

Update: The guy camped across the street from us is a piece of work. He is there with a girl of about thirteen and a son at about four, if I had to guess. Then grandma is with them. He’s one of those guys who is on his phone all the time. He tries to sound like a big deal, and has that wheeler-dealer mentality. He called his boss and is going to miss work on Monday. I couldn’t help but overhear. Something about the ex-wife and how he had to hire a babysitter one night because he had some function to attend. Then he was contacted by Central District Health. There is a trail of Covid-19 exposure going through the alleged babysitter. He said he has to take Monday off to get his entire family tested, but none of them are showing any symptoms.

I’m not totally freaked out, and they are about fifty feet from us. He’s been down at the dock fishing with the post-toddler. The dock is swarming with people. He’s also been in the neighboring camp telling them about his fishing prowess. Not one mask in sight.

If I’m not mistaken, the rules are to stay home until you get the all-clear. Not to go camping and mingle with other people, because you might not have Covid. The teen had the little one and was pointing into our camp. “Look at the puppies.”

No. Don’t look at the fucking puppies and keep on your side of the god damned street.

He’s a tent camper, too, so that means they’ll all be using the restroom facilities.

Between you and me, I think the guy was lying to his boss. He’s that kind of bullshitter. I’m not willing to take that chance, and if Otto misses out on making one friend he’ll get over it. We have social distancing on our side, and we’re outdoors to boot. I’m not letting any of them near my stuff, or allowing them to pet the dogs.

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A small update

I put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues this morning before dogs and family started stirring.

From my perspective, it was good enough to share with critique partners, but I have a lot to fix. They were all fast today, and I had responses before we even finished our goofing around for the day.

We decided to drive back to Donnelly, absent the trailer. My USFS maps indicate a lot of campgrounds on the back side of Cascade Reservoir. In all these years, I’ve never taken the drive around the lake, and today was the day.

The best campgrounds were near Donnelly, and after the pavement ended there wasn’t a lot to offer on that front. Beautiful, no doubt, but not quite what we were looking for in a campground. (There is a custom hat maker in Donnelly, but I resisted. This is like catnip to me, but when you’re broke all the time you have to behave.)

I was a bit disappointed in the road maintenance. The Forest Circus usually keeps the roads bladed pretty well, and while this road is big, it’s a pothole and washboard disaster.

We stopped one place to let the dogs potty. Otto was impressed that squirrels here live in the ground. He sniffed and dug at several holes. Frankie just freaks out, because she loves her own yard.

I snapped a few photos, but they all came out about the same. Here is one if you’d like to get a look at the scenery.

A more responsible photographer would have stepped off the road

There are ospreys everywhere you look, but not an eagle in sight. We also saw tons of pretty songbirds, and a few white pelicans on the water.

We’re getting ready for supper right now. I worked through one of the critiques, but am saving the others for later. I’m off Monday too, and that might be a good time for those.

If I get far enough, I might start the word searches on Serang.

Here is a still life from inside the camper.

I’ll probably fiddle around with Pinterest or something after supper. We thought about bringing a DVD of Captain Marvel, but blew it off.

We’ll go home at a leisurely pace tomorrow. That will give us time to wash the camper off, put our stuff away, and still have a day to accomplish things on monday.

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Worst campout ever???

We didn’t get out of town until about 10:00. We needed food, so that’s what caused the delay.

By the time we got up here, we went straight to our favorite campground. We followed a guy in. He got the last spot, and we were out.

Old What’s Her Face wanted to search for new places to camp, which sounds good on the surface. The problem is the McCall area is the most popular area in the state, and while it is pretty much the next place, it isn’t right next door.

There is one other thing she doesn’t seem to grasp. Forest Service roads are not built with the idea of turning around with a trailer in tow.

We wound up on a mountain road that climbed and climbed, and got increasingly narrow. There is a place up there, because I have USFS maps. However, we found a slide area and spotted some photographers ahead of us.

I made my wife walk ahead to see what the situation was. A truck was coming back our way. He said we could navigate the slide, but not the snowdrift beyond. This was looking like several miles of backing the camper down a narrow road an hoping nobody was behind us. (Side mirrors are great, but the rear window is full of camper as is the backup camera.)

I grew up in four-wheel-drive, so that doesn’t spook me, but campers aren’t built for this. I took my time and picked through the rocks, twice actually.

Turns out we were nearly at a scenic area and the Forest Circus made a turnout. This was on the edge of an 800 foot vertical drop off with white water at the bottom.

After some butt clenching to the seats, we got aimed back the other way. Our only choice was to go home. It was too late to chance any of the other campgrounds, because it’s friday night now. (Most popular part of the state, etc.)

Old What’s Her Face called a few places, but they were all full. We get service in McCall, so while I fueled up she phoned.

Home was looking like the only option, but I veered into a private campground in Cascade and they had an opening. It’s kind of a ghetto campground, but I promise you that opening didn’t last long. I ought to have a picture, and maybe I’ll grab one tomorrow.

One thing about private campgrounds, they have WiFi. Since we’re paying to stay here, I don’t feel like passing it up.

I have no idea what we’re going to do with ourselves. We didn’t plan on being in town, and the dogs don’t deal well with sidewalk heat. We’re running the AC full speed, but it really is only keeping pace with the temperature.

Editing will probably be on my agenda tomorrow morning before my wife gets up. I have plenty of that to do.

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It’s a brain purge

I woke up this morning with a new character in my head. I have to get rid of her, because I have too much going on right now.

The bulk of this summer is going to be gearing up to release two books before the end of the year, and I already have multiple characters waiting their turns.

The next project has to be The HMS Lanternfish, so after I get everything beat into shape I can work on it. There are several more stories in my mind for Lizzie and the the hat, too.

So here we have this girl who is ten years or less. In my dream, she was on a bicycle that looked like it came right out of the seventies. Banana seat, tall handlebars, maybe some bolt on extras. She was a daredevil of some kind. In my dream she jumped her bike over a UPS truck. I’m not so sure we had UPS in the 70s, so maybe she has a second-hand bike. That could build a bit of family relationship and background for her.

She made kind of a signature move that I can’t quite describe. Maybe one of you will know how. She pursed her lips, then moved her lips to the side. (Is there better language for that?) Then she squinted her eyes before launching herself down the ramp.

I don’t exactly know what kind of trouble she gets into, but I suspect space invaders were involved in a small town setting. Those darned alarm clocks spoil everything.

I’ve written children, girls, and period pieces before, so I’m up to the task. I just don’t have time for her antics right now. I’m hacking this out in hopes that she goes away. If she refuses, I might have to deal with her one day.

Old What’s Her Face and I are going to try to go camping over a long weekend. If I seem a little unresponsive, it’s because I don’t have wifi or cell service. I’ll catch up with everyone when I get home.

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When you want to scream, but shouldn’t

Ahh, writing vacation-time. It sounds lovely. It has such promise to it. Time to sling words at my iPad and build something wonderful.

It didn’t work out like that, and I regret using my vacation time for this. Here’s how it came out. A writing day, for me, is never a day. It’s a matter of hours, usually in the morning. When my wife is at work, I get quality time to chip away at my projects. She’s doesn’t work dawn to dusk, however. Her shift at the hospital usually puts her home around noon. You can see how a day get’s trimmed down to six hours or so, at best.

Wednesday was my flex day. I would have gotten it off regardless of vacation time. My wife got off at 8:00 that morning. I managed 1700 new words before my house got noisy, and bulldogs went berserk over playtime, etc.

Last weekend, we got the camper winterized. The man’s first move was to look at our roof and tell us we needed to have the entire roof recaulked, and quoted us a price of $900. (Dennis Dillon RV, in case you’re keeping score.) I’ve been around a scam or two in my day, and did not bite.

When a service costs more than my house payment, I tend to dig a bit deeper. It turns out my brother had his done in Elko, Nevada, for $175. He did this, because he didn’t have time, but said it was fairly easy to do.

My first idea was to tow the sucker several hundred miles and get it done there. Elko is a ridiculously expensive place to have anything done, but at least it’s cheaper than this clown wanted.

It turns out, my brother had all the time in the world right now, so he wanted to come up and look at my camper. We made arrangements for him to come up Thursday.

My wife was off Thursday, and it wasn’t a writing day anyway. Good deal, right?

He never got here until late afternoon. We looked at the roof, and he said the skylights and vents needed to be caulked, but the rest of it was fine. However, moving into Mountain Standard Time, we were out of daylight. We dragged the camper home, and waited until morning.

Frost killed some of the momentum, because this requires a dry environment to work properly. We went to the store and bought four tubes of caulk, just in case. Turns out these weren’t cheap, and I was into it about sixty bucks.

By mid-day, we were able to remove the old sealant, and do the caulking. We weren’t cheap about laying down the beads either; however, we only used one tube of caulk.

My wife had to work Friday, but my writing day was lost. Don’t get me wrong, visiting with my brother, and just hanging out with him was wonderful. I never regret spending time with family.

After we finished, we returned the unused caulk for a refund. In other words, I spent fifteen dollars to do what Dennis Dillon RV wanted to charge me $900 for. Oh, there was pizza, beer, and other expense involved, but you get my point.

Today, he didn’t hit the road until about 10:30. We did some more visiting over coffee this time. I really enjoyed our time together… but the writing time today is a total bust too. My wife will be here soon, and that’s all she wrote.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the day I call my parents. This destroys Sunday mornings as writing time. My wife has to work again, but it is what it is.

We’re both off Monday, for Veteran’s Day. This means no quality time for writing purposes. Six glorious days turned into a few hours Wednesday morning.

My writer’s soul wants to tear shit up and burn it to the ground. I wish I’d never wasted my vacation time on this crap. We could have visited and fiddled with the camper on the normal days I get off and it would have worked out the same.

There is always something to do at the office, and I wish I’d have just went to work. When I return on Tuesday, I’ll be behind again, but didn’t get to do what I wanted with my vacation time.

This kind of thing frequently happens to me. Life tends to throw these curveballs my way more often than not. I’ve actually gotten about four hours of writing time in the last month, and they were all last Wednesday.

This is an author’s blog, and I try to give it to you warts and all. Sometimes I’ve been know to write 10,000 new words in one day. Sometimes I get 1700 in a month. We have real lives too, and life tends to get in the way.

I’ve learned to be grateful for other things over time. I got to visit with my brother, which rarely happens. I saved $885 that I don’t have too. This week, I got what I needed. This song has become the theme of my life. Maybe you can relate to it.

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A little update

We cancelled our weekend camping trip, so we’re going to be sticking around the house this weekend. When I left my office, it was 100 degrees outside. The low country was pretty much that temperature. When I climbed up to the bench, it hit 106.

Bulldogs tip over and die at those temperatures. Our weekend would have been spent with wet towels, possibly dunking dogs in the lake, etc. That doesn’t sound like much of a camp out to me.

My plan is to write as much as possible. We might get a shot at date night since payday is in about five hours.

In other news, I created a BookBub account. People who are smarter than me said it’s the place to be, so now I am. I’m still figuring it all out, and it seems like a kinder gentler version of Goodreads.

I’m telling you this so you can all rush over there and check it out. I’ll need BookBub friends, and the extremely generous ones can post your reviews there too. Okay enough pimping my new location. Here is my BookBub Link. I’m open to any tips you guys have about finding my way around there.

New topic. Rosie’s Book Review Team has been extremely kind to me over the years. These wonderful ladies take a chance on my books and post honest reviews. I’m thrilled that those reviews have all been favorable.

If you’re an author, you need to know about this group. What better way to check out their site than to check out the five-star review Robbie Cheadle gave to The Yak Guy Project. I’ll be monitoring the comments and hope to see you there. Feel free to share the post on your various social media accounts.

Here is the link” Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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Glamping with bulldogs

I complained about our camping trip this week. I like to know where we’re going, and what we might be going for. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, but with no idea, it bothers me.

To make matters worse, it’s +/- the Fourth of July. My wife’s big plan was to go somewhere and camp out. Campsites are reserved months ahead of time around here, but they all offer a few that are first come first served. That was my only solace.

I asked for two weeks where we were going, and she never was able to spit out a location. She narrowed it down to about ten general areas, which is no answer at all.

On the Fourth, I said we were going somewhere around McCall. I chose this, because there is a sewer dump available in the area. (Two actually) It wasn’t a great reason, but at least it was no longer random driving.

There was a ton of traffic heading back to Boise, and most of them were towing campers. I decided we should at least look at Ponderosa State Park. Our chances were slim of getting a site, but it wasn’t far out of our way to check.

There were zero sites at Ponderosa, so I decided to head down Warren Wagon Road. There are lesser Forest Service sites all over the area, and if nothing else we could bushwhack another site.

Ultimately we wound up in a nice Forest Service campground alongside Upper Payette Lake. This was my office for two days.

When we got there it was over a hundred degrees. Bulldogs and heat do not get along. I left them in the truck with the AC running while I set up the generators and got the camper AC running.

It took hours to drop the inside from ninety degrees to eighty degrees. The pups had to wear their wet bandanas and drink lots of water.

Friday was much better. We got a head start on the heat, and it only got up to the mid eighties. The dogs got to play outside, and even took a walk. Otto loves meeting people and there were plenty to visit with around the campground.

Frankie is a bit more reserved, and even barks at people who walk by. She appreciated the cool green grass on her tummy though.

We got out of town with no movies, and there was no cellular service either. About all there was to do was read, and I did plenty of that. My wife brought her satellite radio and I listened to about half of a baseball game on Friday night. My team lost. I didn’t listen last night and they won. My curse is intact.

Some of you may not know how I was raised. We camped all the time. As teenagers, we would throw sleeping bags on the ground and sleep beside the fire with nothing but coyotes and stars to keep us company.

When we were a young couple, we had an army tent with cots for all the kids and a wood stove inside.

As one gets older, a camper has a lot more appeal. I never wanted all the flashy stuff that comes with a modern camper, but there really is no choice. As we’ve gotten used to it, I kind of look forward to movie nights out camping. I missed that this time.

Friday we took a drive to check out other camping areas. We drove all the way to Bergdorf Hot Springs, but didn’t stop to swim. It was packed and people were everywhere.

On the way home, our drive devolved into watching for a place that had a decent cell signal. This was so we could do our daily chores on some stupid video games we play.

How did it come to this? Camping has become movie time, satellite radio, and withdrawals from the internet.

Oh, and we ate well. The first night was just brats and some leftovers from home. Last night was steak and marinated shrimp on the barbie. I also downed two really nice bottles of stout.

I read about half of a great book, and will probably finish it while I’m still on vacation. I also added several thousand words to my new story. Old What’s Her Face and the bulldogs like to sleep in, and several hours each morning were dedicated to writing time. There are worse places to kick back and write.

My pirates got involved in a bit of larceny, pulled off a huge con, and had to fight their way out of port. They’re on the open seas now and headed for a neutral country. I expect with four more vacation days to make some serious progress.

Here is the obligatory scenery picture. Idaho is a beautiful state, and everywhere you turn is something worth seeing.

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The dialog I wish I could include

This will post on Friday, but it was written on Thursday. We intend to go looking for a camp sight and hopefully find something.

Word count has been in the hundreds. This is mostly because of other things going on, and familial distractions. If I get to wake up early in the National Forest, the sky’s the limit.

Thursday is also Lisa Burton Radio, and I don’t want to step on my guest’s toes.

This is a bit I’d like to include in Voyage of the Lanternfish. I can’t, because of Copyright and such. However, it’s free to read this blog, and I’ll call it a parody which is also allowed.

To understand it, you need to know James is the Captain of the ship. Dan is his first officer. Trouble is one of the root monsters.

***

Dan and the monsters came down the dock. With full darkness, there was little chance of anyone seeing the tiny creatures in his wake. Trouble jumped and flipped as he walked.

“What’s with him?” James asked.

“Up town. Everybody was doing that Kung fu fightin.”

“Ya ya,” Trouble said. He jumped around in a circle. ” Psh-psh-psh. Kicks fast. Like lightning.”

“I thought the whole thing was a little bit frightening, if you ask me,” Dan said.

***

For those of you who are too young to get the reference, here is a video.

I’m looking forward to some fresh air, some peaceful writing time, and great camping food. There is even a brewery about thirty miles from where I intend to go.

Hope all of you are having a good Friday, and if I find a signal of some kind, I’ll try to update. If not, assume I’m having a great time.

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Not exactly truffle dogs.

We just got back from camping. We spent two glorious days in the wilderness without wifi or cellular service. All of the campsites were full, including a couple bushwhacker style ones we enjoy. This time we wound up far back in the woods. We only saw one other vehicle pass by in two days.

The dogs actually got to play off leash. They do this every day in the back yard, but around other campers I always control them. They really enjoyed the forest, and never tried to roam out of sight.

We hoped to find morels. This is the weekend we usually go, but I told my wife we were going to be too late this year. The seasons seem like they’re three weeks ahead of other years.

We had a huge western thunderstorm friday night. I have to admit I love these. Sitting in the camper during a deluge, or under the awning just clicks with me. It knocked down the pollens too, and I appreciate that.

Storms usually bring on fungus blooms, and this one did. Just not the morels. I found this one though. It’s very picturesque, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the deadlier Amanita species.

We went to my wife’s favorite spot to search for morels. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. We’ve never been skunked here before. Frankie was more interested in finding the right stick to chew up. She doesn’t like them on the ground, but if they protrude from a log or a tree it makes her day.

Otto was just happy to follow dad around and look at whatever dad found.

This was the view about a mile from camp.

It looks like there should be buffalo out there, but not in Idaho. Unless it’s the border of Yellowstone.

We grilled up three lobsters Saturday night and ate like kings. They weren’t big ones, and we split the odd one between us.

Mosquitos were out in force, and we’re going to have to replenish our Deet supply before we go out again.

I managed a little writing time. Words flew from my fingers like never before.

The crew managed to escape the giant jellyfish, which the root monsters named Big Boogah. (Yes, Boogah means just what you might think it means.) They escaped in dramatic and adventurous fashion too. There were many who played a role, including some quick and dangerous thinking, and one feat of strength that impressed a few crew mates.

My pirates managed a big party to celebrate escaping the jellyfish, and the tropical storm. They’re headed for calm seas now, but they aren’t going to find them all that calm.

They uncovered a thief aboard the ship, held a mini Courts Marshal, and dealt with the perpetrator. Chamberpots were redistributed, and I must remember to use the term thundermug. This sounds like an appropriate word for the root monsters to use.

There is something going on with this story that I can’t quite put my finger on. Some stories use world building to gain a long popularity. I’m talking Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter stuff. I feel like I’m getting close to that ground here.

My crew has many broken characters. I’m only giving glimpses into their pasts, but it feels like enough to entice readers to want more. Readers will get a peek at a vast world that can let their imaginations roam after they’ve read the story.

I’ve been accused of white room, or white page syndrome before. My personal goal behind the scenes is to flesh out more of the setting, and I think it’s working.

On the other hand, I’m having a hard time finding a midpoint for this one. This is usually where the bottom falls out, the big plan is a failure, and they have to regroup somehow. Don’t get me wrong, some of this is planned out, but it won’t happen until closer to the end of the story. (I’m going with it for now.)

My next event will involve another sea battle, but some unusual evidence will turn up. I’m going to have to do a bit of research into brass cannons, and how big they got using brass. Obviously, steel is stronger, but brass was pretty popular.

Then I’m going to take them to Serang’s country to pull off a bit of a con game against their enemies. This will let me build more of her sad story into the tale, but only bits and pieces enough to carry the story. Of course a bit of color and pageantry should also be in the mix.

I’m off tomorrow. No idea whether it will be a writing day or not. I kind of hope it is.

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