Category Archives: Places

Lakes, Lakes, and More Lakes

Bend,  Oregon

We took a great drive in the mountains around Bend yesterday morning.

And we were rewarded with a plethora of lakes nestled in among the pine trees.


And the heavenly cloud cover made them even more magical.


There were boaters galore.


And paths through the reeds were the boaters passed through.


Near the top of Mount Bachelor,  we  saw a dog sled team preparing to mush.


We saw many unique vehicles ready for the first snow fall.


Our Jeep was so hap,  hap,  happy to be back in the mountains.


And we were hap,  hap,  happy to be in cooler temps! Hard to read,  but that’s 59.4!




Meridian, Idaho

hbhitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot with hopes to travel around the world, had her journey prematurely aborted in Philadelphia recently.

First a bit of background…

Here’s hitchBOT’s bio from her Web site:

I am hitchBOT — a robot from Port Credit, Ontario. My guardians are Dr. David Smith (McMaster University), and Dr. Frauke Zeller (Ryerson University). Growing up, I was surrounded by bright, intelligent, and supportive people who I am proud to call my family. I have one sibling, kulturBOT, who travels from one art gallery to the next, tweeting photos of the artwork and of the venues. kulturBOT is definitely not as good-looking or well-rounded as I am.

As a robot, I enjoy listening to electronic music. I currently have Mr. Roboto on repeat but the Blueman Group and Kraftwerk are also amazing. I also enjoy reading a lot of books, especially about philosophy and astrophysics – I guess that is what happens when a robot is influenced by both the sciences and humanities.

Simply put, I am a free-spirited robot who wants to explore the world and meet new friends along the way. I am an avid instagrammer and tweeter. On my downtime, I can appreciate a good game of trivia and would never pass up any opportunities to bake desserts.

hitchBOT was created as a social experiment to travel parts of the world by hitchhiking. She traveled through Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands before starting her journey through the USA recently.


While in the USA, she started crossing items off of her USA Bucket List by visiting Fenway Park in Boston. Side trips included a stop at Hasbro World to visit with Mr. Potato Head.


Alas while she was in Philly, she was vandalized. Her Canadian creators found out about her injuries when they received an image of her vandalized body.

hitchBOT‘s story is worth taking a look at, not because of the thugs who vandalized her, but because of the many good people who helped her see the world…

She was built with household items including a beer bucket and pool noodles. But her insides included a PC tablet, GPS tracker, and a camera. She could tweet thoughts and pictures throughout her journey. Interesting she could also recite facts about local areas thanks to Wikipedia downloads.

Because Rich and I aren’t traveling now, I think I’ll travel vicariously by reviewing all of hitchBOT‘s travels on her Web site.

kbOh, and hitchBOT has a ‘cousin’ called kulturBOT 3.0 who travels to museums, musical performances, and other cultural events taking pictures and capturing audio files.

What fun!

hitchBOT links:

Web site

Morning at the Market

Meridian, Idaho

Rich and I went to the Boise City Market yesterday morning with Melissa.

It was grand…

We got to see the University of Idaho famous mascot–The Vandal.


And some full-sized Rainer beer cans that were strolling along…


We’re still not quite sure why they were out for a stroll,  let alone of they could see it off their costumes.  They had  a guide with them at all times.


Some beautiful plants including a cornucopia of succulents.


A man making balloon sculptures. He was hoping for a very busy day; he had at least three hundred balloons tucked into his supplies belt.


Jack Thompson makes some amazing pieces out of wood. I took some pictures so maybe Rich can make me some once he gets his shop built. 
0718150957a 0718150957

This photography looked almost too real to be real. 🙂


I bought one of these wire, bead and glass objects and talked with the artist for a bit. She’s from Idaho City.

She’s lived there almost 40 years and is not quite considered a “local” yet. (You have to visit Idaho City to understand how true this statement is… 🙂 )0718150956a

It was a fine market,  and we had a great time.


Glory Hole

Meridian, Idaho

I’m going through some old pictures, deciding what to discard and what to scan electronically and then discard.

I came across some photos of when Rich and I visited the Owyhyee (oh-Y-hee) Dam just after we moved to Idaho nine years ago.

It was a wet year–probably the last one since we moved here. And there was flooding below the dam.

A friend in Nevada had told us to take a look at the dam because it’s so impressive. And it was.


From Wikipedia:

Owyhee Dam (National ID # OR00582) is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon near Adrian, Oregon, United States. Completed in 1932 during the Great Depression, the dam generates electricity and provides irrigation water for several irrigation districts in Oregon and neighboring Idaho. At the time of completion, it was the tallest dam of its type in the world (it was surpassed about two years later). The dam is part of the Owyhee Dam Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The dam impounds the river to create the Owyhee Reservoir, with storage capacity of nearly 1,200,000 acre feet (1.5 km3) of water. The more than 400-foot (120 m) tall concrete-arch gravity dam is owned by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and operated by the Owyhee Irrigation District. Haystack Rock Road is carried over the 833-foot (254 m) long crest of the dam.

We knew it was a tall dam, but we had no idea what we were going to see once we drove up the road to the top of the dam!

Here’s a sequence of three shots of what amazed us:

A wisp of water misting up from the reservoir just a little bit away from the dam.


A hole underneath the wisp of water that went somewhere…


A HUGE HOLE that tons of water were sucked down into! GH-3

Turns out that’s called a Glory Hole. The hole is the spillway for the dam. It’s nearly 300′ deep and almost 70′ wide.

Here’s a video of water going over the spillway that someone posted on YouTube. Listen to the sound. Amazing.

Engineers can raise and lower the ring-gate control of the glory hole to help monitor water levels and run off.

Driving up the road to view the dam and then seeing (and hearing) the glory hole is a memory I will never forget.

Neither is watching one unlucky fish being sucked into the glory hole…

Eagle Greenbelt Stroll

Meridian, Idaho

We live about two blocks west of the Boise city limits and a couple of blocks south of the Eagle city limits. So we are literally minutes from what all three cities (Boise, Eagle, and Meridian) offer.

One of the best things about the Treasure Valley is the Greenbelt. It runs for miles along the Boise River.

This morning Sophie and I took a stroll along the Greenbelt in Eagle. It was a beautiful morning and the walk was so very nice. We started out in a park…

0620151036And ended up on the Boise River…

0620151047bThere were lots of people out. Some on bikes, some with their children, some with their dogs.

Part of the walk was along wetlands that are lush with greenery…

0620151101We saw some fish sunning themselves…

0620151047aI was all excited thinking they were trout, but then a man walked by me staring at them and said one word to set me straight, “Carp.” 🙂

One of the houses along the river has the most beautiful cascading petunias I have ever seen…




I’m a sucker for bridges and can’t pass them up without taking a picture or two…

0620151052 0620151045Much of the walk is shaded, perfect for a hot sunny day…

0620151101a 0620151041aI think I had a better time than Sophie. She was a bit miffed that I didn’t let her swim in the river…


Idaho City Fire

Meridian, Idaho

We used to live in a remote area of Boise County. Oddly we had a Boise address because that’s where our mail came fro, but we were actually half way in between Boise City and Idaho City.

Idaho City is the county seat for Boise County, so we did much of our legal transactions there including paying property taxes, registering and licensing cars, etc… The Department of Motor Vehicles is housed in an old bar with beautiful wood work.


Idaho City is a quaint little town that’s kept much of it’s old time history. Gold was discovered there in August of 1862.


At its peak during the mid-1860s, there were more than 200 businesses in town, including three dozen saloons and two dozen law offices. Its 1864 population of 7,000 made it the largest city in the Northwest, bigger than Portland. (Wikipedia)

The ride up to Idaho City is along a pine tree-lined beautiful creek, and the road is a favorite for motorcyclists.


A couple of days ago, Idaho City was struck again by a terrible fire. (Idaho City suffered disastrous fires four times: 1865, 1867, 1868, and 1871.)

This most recent fire burned five business on Main Street.


Here is a link to the local news coverage:  KTVB Idaho City Fire

Because the tiny community (about 500 people) relies so heavily on summer tourism, the fire couldn’t have come at a worse time.

I plan to visit there several times this summer to help the local businesses.

It’s a fun place to visit, full of eclectic buildings, eccentric people, and beautiful scenery.

ID-1 ID-Church


40! FORTY! XL! 40!

Barcelona, Spain by way of Meridian, Idaho

Our son, Rich, is in Barcelona, Spain, watching a football game. Not American football, but European football–soccer!

He was scheduled to be in Germany for work meetings, so why not schedule in a visit to some friends in Finland before and a soccer match in Spain after and somehow only take one day of vacation leave…

You can follow along on his travels if you want by taking a look at his blog:

Here is one of my favorite pictures of him traveling while hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal:


Yesterday’s post listed highlights of each visit to 39 different countries in a little over 14 years. When he landed in Spain yesterday, it became his 40th country!

I’m biased because I’m his mother, but I love yesterday’s post and copied it here…

40! FORTY! XL! 40!

14 years, 2 months, and just about 2 weeks ago I set foot in a foreign country for the first time when I went to Jamaica for spring break. Today, I’m visiting my 40th country.

It is mind boggling to me that I’ve now been to 40 different countries. It’s almost unbelievable to me that I have been to 40 different countries in just over 14 years.

Over the last ~5192 days, I have been to a new country every ~130 days. That’s…huh. Wow.

I’ve been thinking back to some memories from my travels…

Jamaica – a foam party on the beach is just gross

Canada – watching Rob get pulled out of the bathroom at the border for using the facilities without permission

Australia – didn’t get punched by the guard at the American embassy for acting out a scene from the Simpsons

New Zealand – still not sure how I convinced myself to go bungee jumping

Germany – the feeling of “what do I do with this information?” when the guy making my döner kebab told me that Mohammed Atta was a regular in his shop

Czech Republic – the shockingly violent religious art everywhere…so many beheading statues

Switzerland – Zurich is the closest I’ve felt to home outside of Seattle

Austria – renting an apartment for Xmas and cooking Xmas dinner with some fellow grad school students

The Netherlands – “and we shall enter the night”

Poland – Lela probably coming closer to murdering Rob, Ben, and I for speaking in whisper voices the entire weekend than we knew

Italy – deep fried calzones

Vatican City – did you know there’s such a thing as purple marble?

Greece – “and then you just drive to the Meteora”

The UK – torturing my mom with 5 goodbyes as we dealt with constantly re-scheduled flights due to an air traffic control system failure

Ireland – the picture I have of my mom smiling at me while biking up a hill (and I’m pretty sure cursing me for taking her picture at that time)

France – I walked across the border from Germany and they didn’t hand the country over to me, did I do something wrong?

Iceland – Megan finding a natural hot spring on the northern coast where it was possible to be both in the hot spring and the Arctic Sea/northern Atlantic at the same time

Belize – exploring the ATM cave and in the process destroying a pair of socks

Guatemala – being inside a 19 seat minibus with 25 other people (though traveling with 26 others because 1 guy was on the roof) and riding that minibus on a ferry across a very large river that was powered by 4 outboard motors attached to 55 gallon barrels welded to the side of the barge with “pilots” inside  of them

Ethiopia – I saw the building the Ark of the Covenant is in (according to the guy who runs the church who is the only guy allowed to see the Ark)

Kenya – hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara that finished with a champagne breakfast

Egypt – the air inside the pyramids is very ammonia-y

Norway – trying to hike through a snowstorm and eventually being smrt enough to give up and go back when the snow got to be over a foot deep (in August!)

Slovenia – getting lost while hiking to Bobotov Kuk and as a result having a much longer and much more rewarding hike with even better views…and still ending up at the top of Bobotov Kuk

Croatia – the guy walking the city walls who had an Adele song as his ringtone on the loudest setting ever…and also had zero fucks to give about it

Bosnia-Hercegovina – everyone in the stores was buying cigarettes. Everyone. Didn’t see a single person ever NOT buy cigarettes

Montenegro –  in the Prokletije mountains, one of the most remote mountain ranges in Europe…on the last day of my trip I run into a person with an Amgen backpack

Argentina – on a trip where I’d be spending 1/3 of the trip in my tent, and on the first day of summer in Patagonia, my first night in the tent…there’s a blizzard

Chile – returning from a brutal hike over slippery rocks in the pouring rain to find that a fox had ripped into all of our tents

(Antarctica) – penguins smell like shit

Uruguay – the sad horse that stared at the horse racing track 10 ft beyond his fence

Finland – eating sausages that were cooked in the sauna right next to a couple of naked bodies

Estonia – I ate bear. Do not eat bear.

Nepal – the best $160 I will ever spend in my life. Everest brought me to tears.

Malaysia – seeing a peacock mantis shrimp while diving in Borneo

Indonesia – nearly stepping on a spitting cobra while walking around looking at Komodo dragons

Singapore – black pepper crab

Panama – having a cop stop me on the street, point in the direction I was walking, say “no,” and put me in a cab because the neighborhood was too dangerous at 10:30 AM for a white person

Costa Rica – after the horribly long day of crossing the border from Panama and getting caught in some amazing  rain…getting to town and finding out the hostel we were trying to book didn’t actually exist

Luxembourg – the care that went into making sure the American memorial cemetery was the cleanest place I’ve ever seen


I’m Going Home Today!

Fallon, Nevada

For the first time in over 350 days, I can honestly say, “I’m Going Home!”


I’m driving 385 miles from Fallon to Boise/Meridian where our new home is.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be driving HOME to a HOME!


While living in Homer has been wonderful and I’m so very glad that Rich and I have had the opportunity to travel, see things, and meet people, there’s no place like HOME.


I won’t think about all the unpacking, cleaning, and hauling stuff we’ve still got to do until tomorrow because . . .

I’m going HOME today and I’m HAPPY!

Moving On

Boise, Idaho

As you read this post, Gentle Blog Reader, we will be moving furniture into our new home.

Actually movers will be moving furniture into our new home. We’ll still be moving little items and boxes, bazillions of them…


As we are moving in, I’m FINALLY reconciling to the fact that this is really happening.

We’re moving in to a house that Rich didn’t build–the first time that has happened in three moves over nearly 40 years.

I loved all three houses that he built for different reasons.

Rich was pouring the footings for the first house as I was being admitted into the hospital to have our son, one day after our first wedding anniversary, 37 years ago this month.

The second house was perfect for raising our kids in. They were nearly eight and five when we moved in and done with college when we moved out. It wasn’t until after we moved out that I heard all the stories of them sneaking out in the middle of the night… 🙂

Both of those houses were wonderful, but the last one will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved living in the mountains, especially when it snowed. One year we got over 9′ of snow!

I loved that Rich worked so hard on it, and that he did such amazing and beautiful work.

As you look at the pictures below realize that he did everything except the concrete work, framing, and sheet rocking. I helped a little on the weekends, but he did the rest ALL BY HIMSELF! It took him nine months to finish the house–a true labor of love.

Since we sold it in May of last year, I kept hoping that the buyers wouldn’t like it and put it back on the market so we could buy it back. No such luck–they love it, too!

To honor it and all of Rich’s (and a bit of my) hard work on it, the rest of today’s post will contain pictures of that house.

View from the Road

003_Front ViewFront Entrance

002_Front View

Back Yard and Patio

004_Back View

Main Living Area

022_Living Room

Kitchen and Dining Area


Master Bedroom

011_Master Bedroom

Master Bath

014_Master Bathroom

Rich’s Shop


Kathy’s “Shop”
024_OfficeView from the Front Door

042_Front ViewWildlife


I’m still going to miss that house and living in the mountains, but I know that moving our stuff into our new house will help us feel more at home soon.

Laundromats — Past, Present, and Future

Boise, Idaho

I spent much of yesterday evening sitting in a laundromat washing bedclothes that have been in storage for a year.

download (1)

We’re still living in Homer until Tuesday. That’s when the movers will move all the heavy furniture and appliances including our washer and dryer.

Homer has a small washer and dryer. It’s my favorite feature in the motor home. (Well, maybe second favorite after the fridge that keeps my Diet Pepsi cool. 🙂 )But it’s too small to handle the blankets and comforter for our king sized bed.

So that’s why I was sitting in a laundromat last night thinking about the history and future trends of laundromats…

The Birth of a Laundromat

It turns out that I was thinking of laundromatic history two days before the 81st anniversary of the first laundromat in the US.

On April 18, 1934, the first laundromat (called a “Washateria”) was opened by John F. Cantrell in Fort Worth, Texas; four electric washing machines were rented to members of the public on an hourly basis.

Washing machines had been around for a while. The first washing machine was invented in 1858 by Hamilton Smith, and the first unit invented specifically for the household use was introduced in 1874 by William Blackstone from Indiana, which he built as a present for his wife on her birthday. (Bet she would have preferred a box of chocolates!)

download (2)

The Great Depression made owning a washing machine a huge luxury, so entrepreneurs bought machines and set them up for public use.

Recent and Current Trends

According to the US Census Bureau in 2007, there are over 10,000 coin-operated laundromats which do a combined $3.4 billion in business each year.

Recently laundromats have begin adding other ways to their shops to make money.


Laundrobars which include beer breweries and wine bars serving gourmet grilled cheese are popping up in college towns and places where rental population is high. I just love their names: Bar of Soap, Wash House, Harvey Washbangers, and Brain Wash.

The Future is Clean and Quick

In metropolitan areas, people are opting for non-self-service laundry. They drop off their clothes which are washed, dried, and folded by employees for a set price per pound.

One company, DashLocker, has streamlined the process.


Load and Lock

Visit a DashLocker location, load your stuff, and lock.

Place an Order

Submit your order via text, Web, or app.

Pick Up

Your stuff is picked up, cleaned, and delivered. You get a text with your new locker number and PIN.

What a great business idea!

And now you know what I learned surfing the ‘net while sitting in a laundromat. 🙂