Goodbye Granny

About three weeks ago, we got a call from Aunt Ruthie telling us that Granny had suffered a severe stroke and was in the hospital. I snagged Greg and we flew back east to PA to see her. I always find it sad to see folks in a hospital bed when all your memories of them are of them running around, full of life. Granny was always on fire, running from one place to another, fiercely independent. She helped us a lot to get thru the death of Mom and we always thought Granny would last forever. Time finally caught up with her this year… she passed away last nite peacefully in her sleep. It was good to see her before she passed, and even tho she has suffered of advanced Alzheimer’s in recent years, I kinda like to hope at the end she knew we were there.

RIP Granny.

Granny and Gramps sometime in the early 70s

Granny loved going to Atlantic City – always hoping to hit it big, but never pushing her luck 🙂

Granny with me, Dave and Greg (I figure this is around 1969/70.

Rubicon trail

I got the chance this summer to run the Rubicon Trail – for those who don’t know, this is known to be one of the toughest/most challenging and very scenic off road trails in the US. Its officially a county ‘road’ tho once your on it, any sense of ‘road’ quickly disappears amongst the boulders and granite hills.

Loon Lake

We started off at Loon Lake near Georgetown the night before. Its a really nice lake – supposedly good fishing, so I’ll have to come back here with Lisa sometime with a canoe and try it. Didn’t see any loons tho 🙁

Jeff welding Zack's steering arm

Zack and the rest of gang with Jeff arrived into camp having run the trail in reverse the day before. Lots of folks had damage that needed some repairs before we started the trail again the next day. Its a long trip (3 days) and breaking down is common, so folks carry lots of spare parts and tools (like welders).

Cresting the top of the Granite Bowl

The first big formation is this large glacier carved granite ‘bowl’ – its pretty spectacular in its enormity.

A nice view of Buck Lake

Climbing up away from Buck Lake after lunch

We stopped here at Buck Lake on the first day for lunch. Another nice lake in the High Sierra. Lots of trout, but we brought boxes lunches.

A little tippy here

Coming down an area known as Big Sluicebox, it got a little tippy in some places. These folks didn’t listen to the spotter and put their Jeep on its side. No biggy – they weren’t hurt nor were they in any danger.

Crossing the bridge of the Rubicon River

Coming into Rubicon Springs (at the turn of the century, this place was the location of a big resort around the native hot springs). Now its mostly a destination along the Rubicon Trail for offroaders and folks coming back to fish/hike.

Our campsite in Rubicon Springs

Jeff scored a premo camping spot right along the river. We had a great swimming hole and spent all of Saturday floating around, relaxing, fixing stuff and having a cold beer.

Mechanics area - these guys worked hard to keep everyone rolling

The nice thing with doing the Rubicon as part of the Jeep Jamboree is that there is a group of mechanics that come along and get folks fixed up for a nominal donation and cost of parts. I didn’t break anything (knock on wood this time)

Climbing Cadillac Hill out of Rubicon Springs

Cadillac Hill is a nice steep climb out the north end of Rubicon Springs. Much easier going up than coming down (particularly when its wet – I imagine coming down when its wet is kind of like an amusement park ride …)

Top of Cadillac Hill - nice view of the Sierra

The view at the top was worth the whole trip – you could see forever from the top here.

A few lilly pad covered lakes on the way to the end of the trail up near Lake Tahoe

Lisa and I fished a bunch of these lakes several years ago near Tahoe – they are full of crawdads – we gave up trying to bass/trout and just took home a pile of crawdads to make some gumbo.

Edited for Modesty

Not that any boy-dog has any of that modesty stuff. This is Darby Crash’s version of a sleep mask. Too much light and he can’t sleep like the dead.

Absolutely no shame. Balls to the wind, or the draft created by the ceiling fan.

Yes, greyhounds sport technicolor butterflies over their junk. Be glad they do, the glare off of those things can be blinding.

I love it when things are spelled out for people

You know this guy has better things to do than pick Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys out of his axels.

Remember folks, there’s a correct side for everything, AND….
if you can’t see his mirrors? HE CAN’T SEE YOU. Notice I cannot see his mirrors? If we were moving, this would be a problem. However, all it means in this photo is that he can’t see me taking pictures of his rearend.

This has been a message from the I’m a Better Driver Than You Service. Now stop texting and pay attention to the road. Stupid.

The road to Santa Fe

Is lined with Mexican sunflowers

I pulled off the road and waded into them. Then I got the lenscap keeper that Paula sent me for the new camera caught on one of the bushes. I felt it pull, and then heard it go “ziiiinnnggggg……fluff” into the underbrush. I must have spent 20 minutes shuffling thru the sunflowers peering into the underbrush looking for it and hoping no rattlesnakes were in the immediate vicinity. It’s a miracle I found it, not 2 feet from where it zinged.


When I got back up to the side of the road I looked down and noticed I was drenched in bright yellow pollen. The kind that doesn’t brush off (think Easter Lily pollen). My hayfever thought that was absolutely brilliant. I am a genius some days.

Flagstaff has 3 things that stick out in my mind on this trip:

Late for the Train coffee.
I’ll be bringing home a can of Rez Dog and a can of the Black and Tan. Art the Husband isn’t so much into coffee as I am, but he likes the good stuff. From what I tasted, this is the good stuff.

Bun Huggers. I failed to stop there on the way out to Santa Fe, I will not fail on the return trip. Oh no, I will not fail.

Extremely large cows that watch you at stop lights.

I mean, that is a REALLY LARGE COW.

Furniture Barn, indeed. I got what I needed from that place just watching that cow watching me. And the cupcake stand. And the fuzzy pink patio umbrella. Who needs to go inside???

I think I’ll check it out and see if they really sell cupcakes outside of a Furniture Barn on the way home. Just for kicks and giggles, you know.

Oh just stop it people, NOBODY CARES.

Peeve #147, Short List:

This crap:

NOBODY. FLIPPING. CARES. about your oversized hobby oriented clan. Okay, well, in a morbid way I do. So here’s the rundown on a statement posed to me re: this photo when I posted it to MyFaceSpaceBook page.
“I always go by the standard question: what would they do in the wild?”

Good question. Here’s my vaguely but brutally thought out answer;

Well, the first to go would be the small dog at the end. Daisy is gator-bait. Then Jesus and Diego would perish mindlessly chasing their soccer ball into a deadly ravine lurking with tigers, badgers and one very angry mongoose. Dad would be… beaten to death by the natives for wearing his hat sideways like a retard, which signifies mental weakness and necessitates culling to avoid spreading those genes. Mom would be caught unawares by some wild animal whilst rummaging thru her oversized purse for a tic tac and a Valium. Mayra will survive, but only after being found malnourished, curled up shivering in the fetal position in the back of some smelly bone littered bear cave after a mere 3 hour separation from the rest of her ultimately doomed and quickly defeated clan.

Call me horrible, but everytime I see one of these stupid ‘family ID stickers’ (always ALWAYS on a stupid SUV, by the way) it makes me want to whip out one of those super-sharp putty blades and just scrape all that narcissistic crap into a gooey little poo-pile of vinyl sticker waste.

My current fav is the family of 6 all sporting hula skirts, toting surfboards and wearing big hibiscus flowers on their heads. Guess who went to Hawaii everybody, bet you can’t guess?!? Makes me want to paste on a tall Honolulu trany street walker next to Dad and a big fangy hammerhead shark behind little Billy. And a weasel humping their sad ratty little excuse for a dog.

Okay, back to your regular programing.

Sick puppy

Dretti came down with some sudden abdominal pain tonite that got us concerned enough to rush him down to the emergency vet. He had a fever and seemed pretty distressed – barfed up his dinner and was looking pretty out of it. After some xrays and ultrasound, it doesn’t look at first glance that he was having bloat which is what Lisa was most worried about. But he’s going to spend the nite at the clinic being watched and on fluids, etc. Keeping our fingers crossed that he’s all better by morning.

Fraley said I’m his beta-tester for all things cool….

Well, duh!

Situation: Stereo in the Jeep is kapoot after 6 years of being exposed to, well, everything an off road vehicle with the top off 6-7 months out of the year would be exposed to.

the Lisa Nit-Pick Factor: Do not want a cd player (dust n dirt and bounce factor). Do not need a bunch of fancy crap (no touch screens or dvd player, etc). Buttons must be minimal (dust n dirt factor). Ease of use is essential. (simple mind in use factor) Must play the ipod or whatever (tech factor).

Must have: Ipod capability.

Negligable: Radio capability. Installability by consumer.

Solution: Sony DSX-S100

*Relatively inexpensive (as car stereos go) at $119.99.

*ONLY PLAYS DIGITAL MEDIA. No flippin’ CD player. Who plays CDs anymore, seriously? Even if you have a multi-cd changer, an Ipod or mp3 player holds so much more and gives you endless variety that cds just don’t. I think we’re a few years off from this type of stereo becoming mainstream (people in the midwest, no offense to anyone in the midwest, are still watching movies on VHS), but this is exactly what I’ve been clamoring for years about being the obvious direction to go in. Especially in the Jeep. Off road it’s just too damn bouncy for CDs to play without skipping all over the place, and packing those suckers around and changing them out is just annoying. I have a lot of music, a WHOLE LOT, and it’s all on ipods.

*Ease of use: high. Very simple to pull up playlists and just rock on. Remote control feature is good for when you’re moving. (-) remote does not have backlight for nighttime (-) remote does not allow playlist browse by name (you have to manually futz with the stereo)

*Few buttons. Not as few as the Pioneer we looked at, but not in the same class, as the pioneer had a cd player that I didn’t want (same price though)

*Home instalability. I had an aftermarket Pioneer in it, so that made it mucho simpler to just pull the old unit and wire this one in (much easier than taking out a factory install)

My Jeep comes with 2, count em, TWO engineers to install stuff!

That’s Art the Husband with his hand all up in my Jeep’s junk. Fraley is on the left, saying what Fraley is most often overheard telling Art “yer killin’ me, dude…wouldya just….you’re going to break it…..arrrgggg!”. I’m still a little unsure why Fraley didn’t snatch Art up and marry him before I did. He makes a much better wife than I ever will. 😉

This is the dude I beta-test all things cool for! He drives a clown car (a Scion) and may just be more type A than I am. I think I love him. But not for those qualities. Nor when he puts his socks….not his socked feet mind you… just his socks, on my coffee table. Andretti adores him. And he helps Art the Husband focus, mostly by yelling at him. He makes me look like a kitten in comparison. 🙂 Paul Fraley, you’re my hero.

Overall product review: Awesome. If you have a Jeep you mash around with, leave open, etc. this may very well be the perfect solution to your stereo wants/needs. If you have a regular car, it will still be perfect. Now…gotta go trail test it. Sierra off road this weekend….woo hoo.

Hi honey, look what I did with the yard….

I turned it into my own little homespun obedience ring.

It’s actually been this way for a little while, I just take the tape down at night and move the jumps off the lawn (don’t need them getting watered by the sprinklers). Dretti is competing in Open Obedience and having a ring that mimics what we go into at dog shows helps immensely. Practicing the jumps and especially heeling with the ring tape really helps him focus. Notice the baling twine stays on the step in fence posts. The wind up here is ferocious, and without it the poles and the tape flutter and bend all over the place. It’s a small, flimsy ring, but it’s better than no ring or dragging everything down the hill to the nearest park. Those jumps are solid wood, and moderately heavy. I like them to stay pretty much in one place as much as possible. 🙂 Laaazzzzyyyyy.

This is Dretti, focusing on anything but practicing his obedience:

When they’re outside, they want in. When they’re inside, they want out. Never the two shall meet.

Q, thinking maybe he heard Art come home. Ha ha little dog, I was lying.

Now, if I can get Art to mow the lawn again we can practice without breaking an ankle, or hunting for the dumbell through the trees. I mean long grass.

Art?