Snowy Morn

It snowed Saturday night for the first time this year. We had about three inches of beauty in the morning.
It snowed Saturday night for the first time this year. We had about three inches of beauty in the morning.

Saturday was a beautiful day here in Northern Nevada. The morning was gorgeous and the Girl and I were out and about early to walk and play. About noon the wind came up and our afternoon hike was blustery, to put it mildly. I knew weather was coming in — I could see the advance guard creeping over the Carson Range.

Sure enough, when I woke Sunday morning (the first time), I peeked out the window and saw the coating of white. The Girl had to go out, but we delayed our morning outing until the sun was up and shining brightly. After breakfast, we dressed for the cool and headed out.

The Girl, like many dogs, is frisky when it’s cold. She loves to play in the snow as well. She will dash about, kicking up snow and laughing. This makes me laugh (which is good) and it’s fun to chase her playing a little grab-ass and rough-housing with her. She loves play but I have to manage her energy or she can be a little over-excited. I have torn jeans and sweatshirts that will attest to that.

Over on the old State Orphanage property, there is a line of pines along our regular path. This Sunday morning they were adorned with a sheath of snow and ice. The morning sun illuminated that combination of color and texture with a beautiful light. So, while the Girl checked all the squirrel holes (uneventfully), I paused to make a few images before we headed back to the room for warmth and coffee.

There will be more snow, I’m sure. Perhaps we’ll wander up into the mountains this winter for some play and photography. That could be fun. But one thing I know is that winter is coming. It’s not here yet, but this little snowfall reminded me that winter is on its way.

Gratitude

On the Carson River
On the Carson River

Thanksgiving morning we rose and started our day. The day began like so many others — with the routine. I then sat at the computer for a few minutes, ruminating on what I might write and what image I might share. I considered the day, its meaning, and reflected for a few minutes on all that I am thankful for. I paused for a few minutes to pray, to give thanks for God’s provision for me and my family.

I received a text message from a friend (a travel nurse) that her apartment-mate was taken to the hospital, potentially with a serious illness. I paused for a few more minutes to sit before God in prayer for my friends.

My muse passed and I began me day. Traffic was light and morning walkies were alone. Our usual suspects were not at the park when we arrived and not there when we left. Yet, the Girl and I had a good time walking, hunting squirrels, talking, and playing. The air was cool and the Girl was frisky, so the play was rough and rowdy. But, eventually the ball won and she was ready to return to the room for breakfast.

I received a text later that day with relief that the nurse’s illness was not life-threatening, but still possible serious. I paused, again, to pray for a few minutes.

When I took the Girl out later, the day was gorgeous. So, I elected to go for a longer walk out by Carson River. I took one of our favorite routes. Although the air was cool, the sun provided much-loved warmth. The Girl had great fun sniffing, leaving pee-mail, and critter-hunting.

She sometimes is distracted and falls far behind. When she realizes that I’m ahead a hundred yards or more, she tears after me, beating feet with that happy-dog face that is so enjoyable. That face, that engagement, this relationship I have with an alien species is another item I am deeply grateful for. That thought often comes to mind while we are out walking and playing. I laugh when she zooms past me, kicking up sand to patter face and body as she passes.

These sun-bleached kayaks were parked along the river all summer. I passed them many times on our walks. But they are particularly striking now, with the drape of winter colors surrounding them. They really caught my attention in the afternoon sun. And so I paused to make an image.

We headed back to the rig to go home and clean up for supper. Young Son, my friend Jimmy, and I shared a Thanksgiving supper in a man’s fashion. We had New York strip steaks, French bread, salad, and pumpkin pie. Jimmy brought a nice wine and we toasted Thanksgiving and Wife. My kids and I always toast Wife when we are together. The meal and conversation were fun and to be thankful for.

My friend texted that her apartment-mate was home with no clear diagnosis. There was another thing to be thankful for.

The celebration broke and Jimmy and I headed home. With the darkness, the air turned cool and I was ready to settle in for the evening. It was a good day.

Life is good…

The Road to Denver

That is one happy dog! After just an hour in the rig, she's ready to get out and explore.
That is one happy dog! After just an hour in the rig, she’s ready to get out and explore.

I finished the last bit of packing and then loaded the rig Monday morning. It’s an old routine done many times before, but I was a little anxious to get it all done and get moving. For this trip I had a deadline in front of me, so there was no leisurely “leave when I’m ready” approach; I was in “get it done” mode. That done, we stopped at the doggie park to visit the Girl’s friends and let them know we were headed out. Social groups wonder if a member suddenly disappears.

The morning of All Hallows Eve was bright and sunny, a wonderful fall Nevada morning. There wasn’t much traffic, although the state troopers were working traffic along US 50 on the east side of Carson. We drove east, the Girl interested at first, but soon curling into her travel tuck in the seatpan of the passenger’s seat. I love to reach over and stroke her side, play with a paw or ears, or just touch her. She’s the best traveling dog I’ve ever been around.

When the weather is nice, we often drive with the windows down. She likes the air and so do I. When the weather is not so nice, we both enjoy having some music playing and the heated seats of the 4Runner. Creature comforts are really nice.

I stopped in Fallon to get a coffee and some travel cookies. Wife got me started on McD’s oatmeal cookies. I don’t get them often, but they are a treat with coffee and are something the Girl can share. I really don’t care that much for chocolate chip cookies anymore, unless I make them.

We blasted across Nevada in the beautiful sunshine. After several days of rain and gray skies, the sun was a welcome old friend. We stopped a few times along the way to get out of the rig, stretch legs, and empty bladders. I really enjoy those stops. Unfortunately I didn’t take time to load geocaches into the GPSr for this trip. Those always make for good stops, although one can waste a lot of time on them.

As we dropped into the playa lake west from Hinkley/Delta, Utah, I stopped to watch the sun set and give the Girl a chance to do doggie business. I need to retrieve the images from my compact camera. I think I’ll do that this week. The sunset was pretty cool, but the alpenglow on the mountains was better.

The stop reminded me of the time Wife, Young Son, and I stopped one cold winter day to help a stranded traveler along this stretch of road. The old cowboy appeared to have Parkinson’s and had fallen asleep and run off the road. One of the tires on his rig was flat and he was struggling to get the tools from the rig to change it. Young Son and I helped him while Wife worked overwatch. That was a long time ago, probably almost ten years. Time passes rapidly, it does.

I pulled up in Delta, Utah to spend the night. The Deltan was clean enough and the price was good enough. I’d stay there again. It’s a basic room (meaning few amenities), but it’s clean and quiet and that’s all we really need.

Tuesday morning I woke really early and decided to head out before dawn. I made some coffee to help wake up while I gathered up our few things. The Girl looked at me like I’d lost my mind. But when I opened the door and carried things out, she was ready to go.

Again, she curled up in the seatpan, enjoying the warm seat (bun warmers on!). We stopped at the Denny’s in Salina, Utah. They had moved since the last time we were there. The server who worked our table laughed when she told me, “See that girl over there? She’s new. She just said to me ‘There’s a dog over there!’ I told her ‘That’s a service dog.'” and she smiled.

The Girl looked up from under the table, checked in with me that all is OK, and then resumed her repose, waiting for the bacon she knew would be coming as a treat later. I always save back a little of my breakfast meat, whatever it is, and treat her for being so well-behaved. I use every opportunity I can think of to provide positive reinforcement for her. She has to work for it, but the rewards are good. The bonding is even better.

We watched the sun rise from the east in the badlands of Utah. That area west from Green River is one of my favorite areas. I had a blast there last summer exploring that San Rafael rise and think I want to go back and spend some more time there. The next time I go, however, I want to have a mobile house so I can stay in my own space. I think I’m tired of hotels.

The weather was pretty cool for this time of year. When we topped out of the long climb east from Salina, it was 28F. But, with the sun in the sky and little wind, it didn’t feel all that cold. The stops to get out of the rig were pleasant and I enjoyed playing with the Girl.

Passing through Grand Junction, Colorado, I thought “I could live here.” There is plenty of what I love most about the west — vistas, mountains, dry air, and blue skies. I think there would be plenty of places to explore.

So, we’ll see what happens. Perhaps we will move to Grand Junction for a while. I’ll trust God to provide that direction.

Traffic from the tunnel downhill into the Denver Basin was crazy, as always. The term “bomb the hill” came to mind several times. There are effectively two lanes in each direction; the third lane is for slow-moving heavies. There were lots of slow-moving heavies!

I was reminded, again, of why I don’t like living near large cities. I don’t care for the traffic and I don’t care for the rushed pace. I prefer my life to be lived a bit slower than that, with purpose and reflection. There’s nothing wrong with the hustle-bustle of city life; it’s just not for me. I’d much rather spend my days wandering in the sagelands than in the noise and confusion of city life. I’ve done that because I needed to (that’s where the work was), but I’d rather not do it anymore.

So, here I am in Denver. I wonder what the day will bring?

Silliness

This should be a video! We were playing in the park a few days ago and the Girl decided to put on a show. I laughed too much to make a video.
This should be a video! We were playing in the park a few days ago and the Girl decided to put on a show. I laughed too much to make a video.

Pibbies have a reputation for putting on displays of incredible silliness. My favorite silliness of the Girl is what I call a zoomie. If one has been around dogs much, they know exactly what a zoomie is. If not, well then that is your loss, not mine. Suffice it to say that one must stay out of the way of the zooming canine or risk life and limb.

We enjoy our walks (walkies) and go several times each day. Some days our walkies are much longer than others. On this particular afternoon, we walked across Stewart Street (taking our lives in my hands) and had a play over in the old Nevada State Children’s Home property. It’s mostly abandoned now, the structures used for storage I think. The grounds are home to a number of California ground squirrels (targets) and are visited often by neighborhood canines and their handlers.

We know several good folks there. Good folks are fairly easily identified by their companions, who are also good folks.

This particular afternoon I forgot to bring the Girl’s Chucker and ball — one of her favorite toys/games. So, we improvised with a branch blown from a nearby poplar by the recent winds. Pibbies will destroy branches. So, we had fun with this one, tugging and chasing for a half-hour or so.

Then playtime was over and it was time for more serious pursuits. But the games are fun!

Might Have Beens

The Girl and I have really enjoyed our Carson Trail hikes. With the recent rains and cessation of irrigation, there is more water in the Carson River.
The Girl and I have really enjoyed our Carson Trail hikes. With the recent rains and cessation of irrigation, there is more water in the Carson River.

The Girl and I have been walking the Carson River Trail quite a lot the last few weeks. There’s less traffic than at Riverview Park and I like the walk along the river a bit better.

Friday we walked the trail again. The colors are staggering for the moment. Soon enough, it will all be gone and the cottonwoods will be in their winter dress. But for now, I’m really enjoying the color.

We paused at Mexican Dam for a few minutes. The flow is up quite a lot with the recent rains and the ending of irrigation season. But, there is not a lot of flow.

I stood there, looking over the water and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. I heard a splash nearby and turned to see the Girl in the water. How she fell off the headgate wall I’ll never know. She’s not the brightest bulb in the box, sometimes.

She reinforced my observation by trying to climb up the concrete headwall. Unsuccessful, she looked at and I called her toward me. She could walk out on the weir.

She dogpaddled toward me and tried to climb the wall again. She slipped back into the water and went under. That didn’t look good. She didn’t look panicked, but was clearly distressed.

I called her to me again. She swam my way and tried to climb out again.

For a moment, I thought I was going to have to jump into the river and rescue my dog. That would have meant wetting my iPhone and my watch, which would have been expensive (but I didn’t think of that at the time).

But, she swam a little closer and I reached down to her. I snagged her collar and hoisted while she scrambled up the rough concrete.

Wet but happy, she shook and gave me a shower. I laughed, retrieved my pack, and we headed back to the rig, where I had a towel.

On the way back, she had two or three mini-zoomies and we played. She was a happy dog and I was a happy man.

At the rig, I retrieved the towel and wiped her mostly-dry fur down. She likes the towel. I like the Girl.

All’s well that ends well…

Hope Valley

On the way home from South Lake Tahoe yesterday, the Girl and I stopped for a walk along the West Carson River.
On the way home from South Lake Tahoe yesterday, the Girl and I stopped for a walk along the West Carson River.

My meeting in South Lake Tahoe went well yesterday. On the way home, I elected to drive over Luther Pass (California SH 89) and into Hope Valley. My hope (pun intended) was that I might see the aspens before the winds take their leaves. My hope (again pun intended) was that the light would be good enough to make a few captures of the fall color.

Alas, the sky was too hazy for the light to be good. But the leaves are still there (perhaps until the winds this weekend) and the view was breathtaking. That was good.

We stopped at the little roadside park just west from the SH88/89 intersection. The lot was crowded with passersby (as always), but there was a place to park the rig. So, I retrieved my X-T1 from the back, got the Girl off her perch, and locked the rig. We walked the few dozen yards to West Fork Carson River. We encountered only a couple other walkers.

The river burbled along the channel, pushing against the rocks in its path. The Girl hunted squirrels and lizards (but found none). I enjoyed the cool air, the sound of the breeze in the pines, the sound of the river moving along, and the sounds the Girl makes as she snuffles about.

Some yards away I heard an older couple playing with their retriever in the water. The calls of the man and the splashing of the dog added a pleasant counterpoint to the susurrations of wind and water.

The Girl, of course, noticed none of these things… or at least did not acknowledge them as important to her world. Her world comprises the world of sight and scent, which is a completely alien worldview to my own. Yet, these seem complementary as we enjoy many of the same things and enjoy them together. The worlds of man and dog intersect along our boundary of life and energy and we share much.

What would my life be without this Girl in it? I am not completely sure, but I am sure that it would be poorer without her. As I said long ago (and will likely repeat), I think we rescued each other — we are both rescue animals, each from a different place, a different species, a different tribe, but rescues nonetheless.

We wrapped up our respective reveries as we headed back to the rig to travel down the hill and to our (temporary) home. She curled up in the seatpan (bun warmer on) and I drove us down the valley back into Nevada.

I am thankful for these things. Life is good…

Mexican Dam

The Girl and I enjoy the Carson River Trail. That walk takes us from either Silver Saddle Ranch or the Carson River Park to the Mexican Dam (and farther if we'd like). This is a beautiful walk regardless of the time of day.
The Girl and I enjoy the Carson River Trail. That walk takes us from either Silver Saddle Ranch or the Carson River Park to the Mexican Dam (and farther if we’d like). This is a beautiful walk regardless of the time of day.

Over the last week or two, the Girl and I sometimes choose a different walk than our normal routes. The Carson River Corridor is pretty this time of year, as the cottonwoods and other woody vegetation take on fall colors. Plus, with the reduction of irrigation at the first of October, there is more (not a lot, but more) water in the river. The sound of the water passing through the riffles is pleasant and I love it.

So, several times the last week or two the Girl and I chose to walk along the Carson River Trail. The trail is not as challenging as those that take us up in the Prison Hill area, but the walk offers a different kind of outdoor beauty. We both like that.

Mexican Dam is an interesting structure. It was clearly not engineered. However, given the intent of providing enough energy to operate the Mexican Ditch, mass is sufficient in this case and I doubt the dam is going anywhere.

I have to laugh, though, because it is porous and water flows through the concrete at several locations. In addition, the operators placed a few sandbags in the upstream area to boost the head just a bit so that water will enter the headgate at the upstream terminus of the Mexican Ditch.

All that said, the Girl doesn’t really care. She can chase birds and critters. The water is good to drink and feels good on her dusty feet. The dam is too tall to jump from or climb, though, so she has to go around the abutment (or whatever that thing is that Dad says). It is good to be out of the house and in the sun and air. It’s fun when Dad plays, too.

We love being outdoors together. It’s good for both of us.

Fall Comes

The trees are beginning to turn…
The trees are beginning to turn…

There are so many images I want to share. My Resistance is making time to upload a few images at a time, write something that relates to the images, and then scheduling the post. I’m uncertain just why I find this so intimidating.

One afternoon a few days ago, the Girl and I left the hotel room to walk a bit. I needed time away from the computer and the project (paying, yay!) I’m working on. She just wants to be outside and have the opportunity to chase squirrels. So we headed off to the old orphanage at Stewart and Fifth Streets. It’s a couple of blocks from the hotel, although I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands every time I cross Stewart Street at the unregulated crossing near the fire station.

With Stewart crossed, safely, we walked a few more steps and then I released her from the leash. Although Carson City has a leash law, there are places where it is unenforced (so long as the dogs aren’t aggressive). We often meet other four-legged friends at this park and the Girl has an opportunity for a romp. It is good for both of us.

This particular afternoon, though, we were alone. We walked a circuit around the area, me enjoying the early fall weather and the Girl checking every… known… squirrel… hole… I suppose hope springs eternal and she sees (and chases) one of the California ground squirrels often enough to keep her drive up. I really don’t care if she chases them, so long as she returns on command.

I love how she returns, trotting, head and tail up, with that open-mouth doggie grin, satisfied that she chased yet another bushytail to the den. She makes me laugh.

As we walked back west toward yet another opportunity to be hit by an inattentive motorist, I noticed the light shining through this tree. The colors are just beginning to show. I need to get up to Hope Valley to see if the aspens are shining. Perhaps I’ll take an afternoon off next week and drive up that way.

I have a meeting in South Lake Tahoe Wednesday. I think I’ll drive through Meyers and then through Hope Valley. There’s a little park there where the Girl can get out for a run. I could even pack a bite of supper and enjoy the evening air before we return to Carson. I just might do that before the snow flies…

One-Cup Melitta

I bought this little one-cup Melitta to wean myself off coffee singles (expensive) and open the variety of coffees I can sample.
I bought this little one-cup Melitta to wean myself off coffee singles (expensive) and open the variety of coffees I can sample.

Many years ago Battlestar Galactica aired for one season. I was excited about another science fiction series after the demise of Star Trek. A couple who were a few years older than Wife and I were also interested in the series. Herbie was a Ph.D. student and his wife, Marsha, was an environmental engineer. They were close friends through our ties to Christian organizations working on campus.

They were also interested in the new series and so the date was made. We would watch the pilot together at their place that first Sunday evening airing.

On the appointed evening, we arrived. Herbie and I made fresh coffee with a maker similar to the little Melitta pictured above (which is what brought the memory). We then popped corn the old-fashioned way — in a heavy pot with oil and heat.

The preparations made, we gathered in their living room to watch the show together. Their cat adored me and approached me sitting on the floor (yep, I sat on the floor then) and I enjoyed his company too.

The program was just alright. The general audience will never have a taste for hard science fiction. But the company was enjoyable, the coffee and popcorn was good, and BG was good enough to provide entertainment.

The little Melitta coffee maker reminded me of those times. I adored Herbie and Marsha and lost contact somewhere along the way. They were gracious and loving people. I remember them fondly.

Key and Lanyard

I made this lanyard quickly because my key needed one. It's not the final step, I think.
I made this lanyard quickly because my key needed one. It’s not the final step, I think.

The key to my rig has been bouncing around in my pocket for a couple-three months now. I’m in the process of adjusting my EDC to better fit my lifestyle. It appears there are about three stages for my EDC. The first is the always carry and those things are on my person just about all the time. The key to my rig is one of those items.

So, I decided a month ago that my key needs a lanyard. Unfortunately, the lanyard hole was too small for standard 550 paracord. So I didn’t make any progress.

This morning, after walkies and getting my bite adjusted on the new appliance in my mouth, I had a few minutes and remembered putting a small triangular file in my portable toolkit. So, I retrieved some paracord from my kit, got the file out, did test fit to ensure my recollection was correct (measure twice, cut once) — it was — so I started to work with the file.

After about 15-minutes of cut-and-check, I was pretty sure I could pull a length of line through the lanyard hole in the key. so, I cut a piece of paracord, singed the new end, and pulled it through.

Then came the knot-experimentation phase. I tried a couple of times, then decided the project was good enough for the moment and quit. I needed to get the rig to the Toyota House for service and didn’t want to be late.

So this is my first shot at a short lanyard for my 4Runner key. I’m going to work up a finishing knot for the lanyard. Then I expect to use an S-biner or carabiner to clip the key into my new EDC kit.

I’ll get around to describing it and my other levels of EDC at some point. I’m still sorting all that out.