Monday, October 25, 2010

Arizona in October?

If you are wondering what we are doing in Arizona in October, it is because our next stop on Bill's work schedule is a string of sporting good store fixture work starting in San Diego, California, heading north through Los Angeles and finally up to San Luis Obispo. Then it is over to Las Vegas for two stores. The project will be over on November 12 and then we are not sure if there will be more work for Prime until after the New Year. This is where being on salary will definitely be nice!

We have applied and are waiting to hear back from two different Christmas tree companies -- one that has lot work open in three cities north of LA and the other which has potential openings in the Phoenix area. The work would run from the week of Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve and would pay out approximately $5000 for the two of us. Not bad for a month's work. The rig would be parked on the tree lot and have at least electric and water which would be far nicer than boondocking with the generator. It is possible too that the companies would provide a Porta Potty which would save us from buying and having to find a place to dump a Blue Boy septic tote.

We have decided that because Bill has work on the West Coast until the middle of November it does not pay for us to try to get to Amazon in Kansas much less Kentucky. Plans for where we will be spending the rest of the time off during the winter are still up in the air.

Bryce National Park Utah

We left the Salt Lake City area and headed south towards Bryce Canyon National Park. There are so many national parks, national forests, national monuments, state parks and so forth in Southern Utah that it would take a whole summer just to visit them all and do justice to the visit. So we picked the one that was the most on our route and decided to explore just Bryce Canyon during out first visit to that area.

We took Hwy 89 south for the majority of the route and it was very scenic....
small ranches and farms, lots of twisting, turning creeks and, of course, beautiful mountains.

The day we picked to visit the Canyon had to be the first rainy day we had seen in over a month. Unfortunately the colors were not as bright or intense as the would have been on a sunny day but they were still breathtaking.  The park itself is rather small with only 56.2 square miles and one road going the length of the park and back. The spires in the canyon are know as "hoodoos" and are formed when snow and ice wear down the soft limestone. The park experiences over 200 days a year below freezing which contributes to wearing down of the rock.

The park transcends 2000 feet in elevation and as such contains three different climate zones.  Due to that fact there is a high amount of biodiversity and over 100 species of birds including the Stellar's Jay and mule deer.

Bill was quite happy to follow this buck mule deer quite a ways along the side of the road and the buck did not seem to mind one bit.

And who would have thought that the National Park Service has a quirky sense of humor!
We have decided that the South Eastern part of Utah would definitely be one area we would like to explore more of, possibly basing ourselves near Lake Powell and exploring outward in all directions.

Here is a bit of a visual travelogue driving the Bryce Canyon road south ascending to 9105 feet above sea level and then driving north back down to about 7000 feet. We decided to leave the area sooner than planned as it is starting to get a bit chilly at such high altitudes and snow was predicted within the next week or so. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Antelope Island Utah

One day when we were still down in Salt Lake we took a trip over to Antelope Island. Antelope Island is a state park and is the largest island of the nine islands in the Great Salt Lake. The island is accessed by a 7 mile causeway from Syracuse, north of Salt Lake City and is 42 square miles in size. The island is home to the oldest Anglo built house in Utah called the Fielding Garr Ranch. The island is home to a herd of over 600 American bison as well as many other types of wildlife. The annual roundup of the herd is in late October but during our visit we were able to see some of them in the corrals as they had been rounded up for viewing by handicapped kids. We were allowed to walk around the corrals but were asked to do so quietly and carefully as the bison had just been put into the pens and many were very skittish. One park worker told us that when frightened they would charge the fencing so hard they would break their noses!

In the video you can see many areas where the Great Salt Lake is very low and dried up quite a distance from shore. We were told that it was because it was at the end of a long summer and Utah is notoriously dry. We think quite a bit has to do with the fact that everyone, and I mean everyone, waters their lawn constantly! Hello xeriscaping? Across the lake you are looking at the city of Salt Lake as well as the neighboring northern suburbs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Sight in Kanab

After stopping at Best Friends and then heading into Kanab for some lunch, we came upon an awesome sight. I had heard about carts or wheels or whatever you may call them for paralyzed pets but I had never seen one live in action. We had the absolute pleasure of meeting Cha Cha who was walking her human while in her Eddie's Wheels. You would have been amazed at the life in her! She was happy, bright eyed and raring to go. I am so grateful and happy that there is an organization like Healing Heart Sanctuary in Kanab that spends the time and reality tells us, the money, to make sure pets like Cha Cha who have so much more to give are able to do so!

This is a condition near and dear to our hearts as our Pumpkin, the Bionic Cat, could have ended up in the same situation except for the expertise of Dr. Bruce at the Animal Referral Center in Appleton. Take a look at Cha Cha and know that she does not consider herself disabled one bit!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Logan Back to Salt Lake City

When Bill finished the Logan store we decided to head over to Jackpot Nevada for a few days and then south to the Bonneville Salt Flats before going back to the Salt Lake City area. Jackpot was a small little town with a total of 5 casinos. We were able to stay at the RV park next to Cactus Pete's casino. The only good deal in all 5 casinos was getting a Buy 1 Get 1 Free buffet from Cactus Pete's.

One day in Jackpot we took a day trip up into Idaho with a stop at Miracle Hot Springs in Buhl.
They have either a communal pool or you can rent private spa rooms. Because we were there before 6pm we got a private space room for only $8 per hour per person. I sure miss my hot tub back home!
After leaving the Jackpot area we stopped for the night in West Wendover Nevada which basically connects right to Wendover Utah....gambling in one city, no gambling and probably other fun things in the other. Wendover is the closest city to the Bonneville Salt Flats which were to have a huge race weekend the following weekend.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are part of ancient Lake Bonneville that was once the size of Lake Michigan. The salt flats were first encountered by white people when Jim Bridger, Kit Carson and other mountain men explored it starting in 1824. The infamous Donner party was warned not to try and cross the salt flats but decided to do so anyway. The result was one of the most horrific tragedies of migration to the Western United States when surviving members of the doomed wagon train resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.

As you can see although it may look like a frozen lake - that is the closest to a frozen lake I ever want to come to again - it is all salt. Dozey had a good time running around but we committed an unpardonable sin and forgot his Chuck it and tennis ball!

Behind on the Blog

I have been a bit lax on keeping up with the blog in the last month. The reason being is that I have gotten rather heavily involved in shelter rescue online. It is amazing but you really, really can make a difference just by networking with other like minded people and rescues! It is so sad and a real negative statement about our society that we would rather euthanized over 5 million cats and dogs annually rather than put our hearts and heads together and come up with better solutions!

One big solution obviously is to get your cats and dogs spayed and neutered. If you can't afford it all you need to do is search online for reduced or free programs or even just reach out online and help will be found for you. Another solution is to not buy your dogs from puppy mill breeders or chic, little pet stores in the mall who buy from puppy mills themselves. Vancouver just outlawed pet stores so maybe we need to follow our Canadian neighbors more. It is said that there will be 73 million people who will adopt a pet this year alone. When you factor in that 5 to 6 million animals are needlessly euthanized that means that there are people fighting over shelter pets! Please, please consider a shelter or rescue pet! You would give me back my mornings as well as save me a boatload of tears each and every day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

World Vegetarian Day

Today is World Vegetarian Day. Now I admit that up until the last couple of years ago I was a real meat person.....give me the choice between candy and a nice, juicy burger and I would pick the nice, juicy burger hands down. Then unfortunately I started becoming educated on what really happens on factory farms and as I consider myself an animal activist I began to feel guilty eating regular meat as in my mind it is hypocritical. I have decided I need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Last year I started eating what I call "seafoodtarian". Unfortunately, especially in Northern Wisconsin restaurants, "seafood" means fried in as much oil as possible so there is absolutely no taste left whatsoever while adding as many fat calories as possible. But I did go quite a while eating fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and seafood. Then I had reached a point where not only my chiropractor in Pickerel but one in Mexico told me that it was possible I had a wheat intolerance or "leaky gut" and that could be contributing to my fibromyalgia. So I became angry and frustrated....if I couldn't eat anything with wheat, didn't WANT to eat meat, didn't LIKE beans, what in the HELL was I going to eat? So I allowed myself to eat meat again although I had to forcibly remove guilt from my mind when I did so.

Then last week I saw an interview that Wolf Blitzer did with Former President Clinton. Now I remember when Clinton was in office and he was constantly jogging and still was pudgy and fighting with his weight. Today he is absolutely thin. Granted he is 10 or so years older and that can happen to older adults but he credits his weight loss to eating a plant based diet and from reading several books including The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. The China Study examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products and illnesses such as cancers of the breast, prostate, and large bowel, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, degenerative brain disease, and macular degeneration. And who's to say it doesn't contribut to fibromyalgia?

So I am going to try again but this time it seems easier as I have been there before. There are many good reasons to try eating a more plant based diet besides health reasons and they include the fact that we can use less resources and water to raise plants instead of animals and an animal-friendly diet allows you to stop contributing to the cruelty of factory farms and the unnecessary death of innocent animals. I will probably still eat meat that is certified as being humanely raised -- not just where the chicken sees the light of day through cracks in the roof.  I have seen many herds of cattle on miles and miles of pasture land here in Utah. That, I believe, is humane. What isn't humane is when they then send the same cattle to the feed lots for months to finish them off on garbage, antibiotics and who knows what else. Why can't the same cattle stay out on the range being grass fed until an acceptable age? Maybe the price of a T Bone would go up but look at the difference in the product that you are receiving. Unfortunately it is difficult enough finding humanely raised meat in grocery stores much less in restaurants most places in the country.

I also have never been a fan of dried beans in any form but am making a huge effort as they are full of protein, fiber and other nutrients and are better for you than meat. I have found a white bean that I can tolerate with salsa and hot sauce added to take away the "bean" taste. The only remaining problem is the fact that most canned beans are very high in sodium and bags of beans take time to soak, boil and then refrigerator room to store them, something we don't have much of in the rig. Last week I did find a canned white bean that is 50% less sodium than the regular style. So I am really making an effort to like beans. I told Bill that if I could try to like beans he could do the same with deal.

October - National Adopt A Dog Month

The more I work with the rescue groups, the more I am seeing the need to adopt from a shelter. Over 12,000 dogs and cats are euthanized A DAY in the US.  Please, please consider a shelter dog for your next pet! Although we love Dozer to pieces, we have made the committment that our next addition will definitely be from a shelter.

Adopt-A-Dog Month®

October is American Humane Association's Adopt-A-Dog Month

What Can an Adopted Dog Bring to Your Life?

There are as many responses to that question as there are dogs in this world! That’s why -- during American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Dog Month celebration in October -- we’re encouraging people to adopt a shelter dog and experience the joy of finding their own answers.
Are you looking for:

•an exercise buddy?
•a best friend and confidant for your child?
•a dog you can train with to learn animal-assisted therapy?
•a partner in agility competitions?
•a constant companion for your favorite senior citizen?
•a fuzzy face to greet you after a hard day at work?

An adopted dog can be all these things -- and so much more!

Your local shelter is the perfect place to find dogs of every type, size, age and personality -- all waiting for a loving home. Or, if you prefer a particular breed that isn’t currently available at a shelter, go online to find a breed-specific rescue group in need of adopters like you.

Find out what a shelter or rescue dog can bring to your life this October during Adopt-A-Dog Month.