Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gourmet Dinner, birthday and Halloween

Mr. Big is never far from Doris. He is more like a dog.

We attended another gourmet dinner with Doris’s University Women Group. The hosts live in an old, large Victorian house. It was built in 1888 and is now a Bed and Breakfast establishment.
They have a music room.

A railroad room.

A sitting room and other rooms.

Food was served in the kitchen.

We were twenty people and had to sit in two rooms.

One group had to sit in the new addition of the house.

The food is always outstanding . The women show their talent of preparing delicious meals. The theme was: “Show your Heritage”. Since ours is German, Doris made Sauerbraten. She also tried to make Spaetzle, but we ran out of time. We brought enough for one meal of the meat back and used it the next day with Spaetzle and a salad.


Early afternoon I went to Sequoia Park where Nicolette and her friends celebrated her 14th birthday.

In the evening we went to the Elks Lodge with Clay and Katherine for a Halloween Dance.

Doris and I went back to the fifties. Of course I never dressed like that. The coloring of my goatee came off and made a mess. We had fun though.

A lot of people came in costumes and some were very good.

The four piece band was excellent and we danced almost every dance.

Doris enjoyed her poodle skirt.



Today we went to another Halloween Dance. This time it was at the Moose Lodge with our Monday dance group.
Nobody recognized me. With the wig and the black beard I fooled everybody.
A lot of people had to look several times before they recognized Doris. She wore a blond wig and a pink jacked this time.
We had a lot of fun. A new band was playing today. They were very good.


Two houses down the street the people are putting up a lot of Halloween decorations.

Other homeowners put up some. On my morning walk I enjoyed a few.

Mr. Big is wondering what the pumpkin is doing on the counter.

I saw a lot of headstones.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Utah - October 2015

This morning I had  a bloody start.
When we are at home we open the garage door a bit to let the two foster cats out. They are laying in front of the garage door and when they have to go the litter box or want to eat, they come inside.
When we go on a trip we leave them in the garage. They cannot come in the house because Mr. Big has HIV. We do not want him to infect Rusty and Dusty.
When we open the garage door those two cats are out in two seconds. To avoid this we usually catch them and put them in a cage, move the car out and close the garage door, and I will set the alarm and leave through the front door. Doris comes to the front of the house and picks me up.
Doris’s daughter in law takes care of the cats while we are gone.
This morning we had a bit of miscommunication. Instead the two of us picking up the cats at the same time. Doris picked up Dusty and put her in the cage. Rusty got wild when she saw Dusty in the cage. When I tried to pick her up she fought for her life and shredded my left hand. I was stupid and did not handle the situation correctly.
I ended up with large Band Aids.
After Doris played nurse she moved the car while I was cornering Rusty. After the garage door was closed I freed Dusty and got ready to leave.
Because of road work on highway 299 we decided to go south in highway 101 to Ukiah and then head east on highway 20. This was a mistake. When we came to the higher regions it started to rain and I had to slow down. When we got to Interstate 80 I thought I could make up time. After a few miles on I-80 we were going about three miles an hour and after an hour of this had to leave the road and continue on east on a regular highway. We lost a lot of time. The traffic going west was fine. We never found out what had happened and why the whole eastern traffic was rerouted.
Doris has a tradition to stop at the Basque Restaurant in Elko for dinner. This is a lot of driving in one day, but it is tradition. I would like to stop earlier.
I went 80 miles an hour and we arrived in Elko at 8:30 PM. The good part for being so late was that we did not have to wait an hour or more to get a table.
The restaurant serves the food family style. It is a lot soup, salad, pasta, potatoes, beans, green beans, and meat. We took home three big containers.
Doris was happy after a glass of wine and ice cream.

Elko is a Nevada mining town. There are large mining operations in the area. Basque people came here to take care of the herd the sheep.


This morning was not much better than yesterday morning. 
While backing out the car from the parking space I hit a telephone pole which suddenly appeared. Doris came back from the Motel office and saw what happened. All I could hear: “My beautiful car”.
I hit the back, left side. I believe I can polish out most of the damage. On two spots, the size of tea bags, the paint is gone.
We had to drive only 235 miles today and arrived at noon in Salt Lake City.
Lana, Jay and Lucca arrived later.
We had dinner at the Himalayan Kitchen.

 The water fountain across from our hotel room is beautiful. 


There was no driving today. Since the hotel is in down town Salt Lake City we can walk to restaurants and attractions.
Lana dropped off Lucca at 8:30 AM. We have him all day. Lana and Jay will spend the day at Lola’s school.
Lucca, Doris and I walked to Les Madeleines restaurant for breakfast. All of us had crepes and Doris and I also had something like a breakfast burrito.
From the restaurant we walked across the street to “The Leonardo” Utah’s Center for Exploration. It is a hands on museum.
We were ten minutes early which gave us a chance to walk the steps which lead to the top of the library.

The City/County building is nearby.

From the top of the steps was has a very good view of the mountains and down town.

The top of the three elevators is enclosed with glass.

When we came down again we entered the museum.

Lucca and Doris started working with clay. A camera takes videos of the progress. People can actually make movies by moving hands or feet in increments and take individually pictures.
I was afraid Doris would get kicked out of the building when she produced a likeness of me. She told me it was for the sake of art.

Lucca made a cat.

Lucca was interested in the electrical section of the museum.

The plumbing wall was used very often. Children seemed to be interested in putting pipes together. Lucca and Doris spent some time at the wall.

At the workshop children created all kind of little machines with wheels. There were part in boxes and tools available.

One section of the building was about mathematics.

School children built a column with large legos. When they were done and it did not tip over they jumped up and down for joy.

We spent some time in the Perception section. One picture showed two faces looking at each other. After a while I also saw a vase between the faces.
Doris and Lucca had a great time building a structure from a plastic erection set. It is a new design by a local company.

Our hotel has a lot of flowers on the grounds.

When we came back to the hotel Lucca and I went swimming in the indoor/outdoor pool.
In the evening we went to a Mexican restaurant and had a great dinner.


Today we walked a lot. Lucca came again to our room at 8:30 AM. He wanted to eat eggs, bacon, toast and hash brown potatoes for breakfast. He suggested to eat breakfast at the hotel. I suggested we go to a corner restaurant and have breakfast there since it is a lot cheaper.
Doreen suggested we walk to the Glark Planetarium in the Gateway Shopping Center and eat there before we go to the planetarium.
When we arrived at the shopping center, there were no regular restaurants, only the food court with fast food eateries. Lucca did not feel like eating there.
We started walking and looking for a restaurant which served breakfast. Luccas started to cry because he was hungry. After an hour we were almost back at our hotel. We ate at the corner restaurant. Then we went to the hotel and rested for an hour.
After resting we started walking again to the Gateway Shopping Center. On the way Luca wanted lunch.
We stopped at a the Vosen’s German Bakery. I wish we would have found it when we were looking for breakfast, they serve it. Lucca ordered a sandwich and I had a piece of apple strudel.
The bakery has all kinds of European bread. Unfortunately I cannot buy a loaf because of our travel schedule.
The Planetarium is small but they have some good displays.
Lucca walked on the Moon

and on Mars.

We learned about the different  planets.

Since I worked for General Dynamics-Convair I very often see or hear about products the company built in San Diego. John Glenn was the first American in orbit. He was sent up in 1962 in a Mercury- Atlas missile, built in San Diego.
In 1981 was the first flight of the space shuttle. The cargo bay was built by Convair in San Diego.

Lucca weighs 84 pound on earth. On Pluto he would weigh just five pounds.

After the Planetarium visit we walked around the shopping mall. On the way home we stopped again at the German bakery and I bought a plum cake.

In the evening the five of us met Doris’s sister Helen and her husband, and Doris’s cousin at the Chuck-A-Rama Buffet for dinner. We had some good conversations and the food was good too.


We had a fancy breakfast at our hotel. Those are real flowers located in the lobby.

Then we drove to Park City and did the Alpine Slide. Doris was waiting for this adventure.

We went up the mountain with the chairlift.
Upon arrival at the top we picked up our sled on wheels.

Lola was going first.

It was over a mile going down.
Doris arrives at the bottom of the slide.

We are all done and had a good time.

A little girl was performing on a bungee cord. She had a great time turning over.

We drove to Main Street in Park City, where all the stores and restaurants are, and did some walking. Lola and Lucca enjoyed sitting on this bear.

Loosy the Moose is all dressed up.

We had good weather. It looked like it would rain but the rain went someplace else. Park City is an old mining town at an altitude of over 10,000 feet.
They still have an old theater.

And bronze statues.


This was our last day at the hotel. Lana and family left early for Brooklyn. Doris had some business at the Federal Building. So we did some walking. Going by car in this city is impossible. Riding the street cars down town is free, but it takes awhile to figure out the system. We rather walk.
When we came back we checked out and met Doris’s sister Helen at a restaurant for breakfast.
Then we drove down Interstate 15 to Lindon and visited a high school friend of Doris.

From there we headed for Delta. The Garmin GPS fooled us at one area and we had to drive a few miles on a dirt road. We made it though and stayed at a motel in Delta.
Tomorrow morning we are going to Doris’s property near Callao. There will be no Internet service and no cellphone reception. It will be a quiet week in the high desert.

This week Salt Lake City had a lot of visitors. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had their 185th Semiannual LDS General Conference. I have never seen so many men in black trousers and white shirts. Over twenty thousand Mormons were in the conference hall.
The tire monitoring system in Doris’s car indicated low tire pressure in one tire. We knew it was the spare tire since Doris bought new tires a few weeks ago. Since the spare tire is mounted under the car and the valve stem points upwards I could not check the pressure with Doris’s pressure gage.
We went to a tire dealer in Delta and he told us the pressure had gone down to 10 PSI. He had no time though to fix the tire. He pumped up the pressure to 35 PSI.
Doris did not feel good to go to the high desert with a bad spare tire. On those county dirt roads you see very seldom another car and the cell phones do not work.
We went to the other tire dealer in town and he told us he would fix the tire in thirty minutes. While I stayed with the car Doris went to the store across the street and bought groceries for the week we will be staying at the mill. We also brought some groceries from home.
The monitor valve was bad and since in such a small town no new one is available the mechanic tried to fix it. It still leaked and he had to install a regular valve.
We drove the 100 miles to Callao without any problems.
The last 49 miles were well maintained dirt roads. When we come the regular way, from Wendover, the roads are not that good.

A few days ago they had a heavy rain here. Today the weather was perfect. We did not make much dust on the road. The giant valley is part of the Dugway Proofing Ground.

The people at the mill have their week off. They work a lot of hours in three weeks and then take the fourth week off. Some of them live a long distance from here.
We could not open the gate since somebody had made a mistake when using one of the two padlocks. Doris’s padlock was hanging there idle. I had to remove the top hinge pin of the gate to open it.
We had no problem with turning on the electricity, but when we went to the pump building and turned on the water valve nothing happened.
I finally figured out that the pump did not run. The company which runs the mill had built a new pump building and installed new tanks. The whole system was changed.
We drove to Amy’s house which is about six miles from the mill. She is one of the employees. She got in her pick- up truck and went with us to the mill. She showed me how to turn on the pump and lights in the building.
She also gave me a grinder with a rubber wheel which I have to use in case we will not find the key for the lock on the outside cabinet for the water heater. We will have to drain the tank when we leave and winterize the whole water system.
We also have problems with the telephone land line. Doris had called the local telephone company and told them to turn on the telephone for a week. Something went wrong and tomorrow we have to drive eleven miles where we found a spot where out cell phones work.
We did this today and made some calls. The telephone Company was not open after 5:00 PM.
This time we had very little sand in the house. The seals I put on the bottom of the doors in June helped.


We drove the eleven miles and Doris made a call to the telephone company and found out that she forgot to call them to turn on the telephone. Now we have service.

When we came back I took a large pitch fork and removed a lot of large weeds. It is a losing battle. When we come back in June new ones will be there.
We tried to burn them but they are too green. We burned a lot of wood from trees and hedges.


This was an easy day. Barbara, Doris’s sister, came by and Doris colored her sisters hair. Barbara took a shower here. She has a problem with her water system. One of Barbara’s nephews took the pump out of the well and is checking it out.
We did some more eliminating of weeds. Doris tells me that the rattle snakes are hibernating now, but I still check every step I take. I do not want to meet again the snakes we saw in June, or step on one.
This little bird was turning the leaves over and looking for insects.


Doris saw a Diamond Back Rattle Snake peaking from under the wooden back door steps. I was too late and the snake disappeared under the house.
This snake has not gotten the message yet to hibernate.
We got more wood and got another fire going. It burned all the tumble weed we had collected.
The house is all cleaned, but I have a feeling we will be alone this weekend. Doris has invited all her sisters and her brother to come to the mill. It is not easy to get here with a regular car from Salt Lake City. Besides they are all older now. When they were younger, and the parents were still alive, they had big family gatherings here.


We are not alone this weekend. No family members came but John, his son and one of his top employees came today and they are running some equipment at the mill.
Tomorrow all the employees will be here.
We did not do any work today. We had planned to go to Delta and attend an afternoon Halloween party at Barbara’s daughter’s house. When we got to Barbara’s house in Callao she was not awake yet.

Doris’s parents and other relatives are buried in a little cemetery near Barbara’s house. We walked there and took some pictures.

Then we drove to Doris’s uncle’s ranch which is located ten miles from the town. He was asleep too. He is 102 years old and sleeps mostly during the day.
We talked to his daughter who is an animal lover. She rescues animals. There were about eight dogs, two goats, one horse, and turkeys, and chickens and ducks in the back yard.
They also have their regular ranch animals like cattle, horses and pigs.

When we were in Callao we saw a white truck in the distance going toward the mill. Doreen guessed right. It was John. When we got home John came to the house and brought us up to date on the operation at the mill. He also gave us the key for the water heater cabinet. Now we do not have to cut the pad lock.
Doris found a dead Kangaroo Rat in the refrigerator back vent at the little travel trailer. The tail is sticking out. We cannot remove it because it requires a key.


The weather this week was perfect. We used the swamp cooler only a few hours.
The sunrises and sunsets in the desert are unbelievable beautiful. In the morning I eat my breakfast and watch the sun come over the mountains. Doris is still snoring at that time.

We are getting ready to head for home. We brought the garbage to the town dump and covered the swamp cooler.
The lady who owns the Six Mile Ranch, and her daughter came by for a visit. They both live now in Medford, Oregon.
They were here only for two days.
I walked a little bit this morning and watched John and his crew repair a five inch diameter water pipe for the cooling system of the large generator. John had hit it with a Caterpillar earth moving machine.

They actually wanted to run production today so Doris could see it. Now we have to wait until June when we come back.
They brought down more ore from the mine. The first crusher can not handle the large boulders. A screen separates them from the rest.

The first crusher reduces the ore to about 1 ½ inch diameter.

From there the material goes via conveyer belts inside the building where it is reduced more.

On my walk I came by Doris’s fathers dynamite storage place. It is empty now. John has his own storage.


We turned off the water, flushed the toilets in the house and log cabin, and added antifreeze to the tanks and bowls.
The hot water heater and the swamp cooler were drained.
The washing machine got also some antifreeze in the tub in case there is some water in the system.
The sheets and pillows for the bed were washed and put away.
We covered the furniture with sheets and locked the doors, and said goodbye to John and his crew.
At 10:30 AM we were on the road and arrived in Susanville, California at 7:00 PM.
After a dinner at a Chinese restaurant we were ready for a shower and to go to bed.


In the morning we drove to Shingletown where I picked up the Saturn Aura I had bought before we went to Utah.
This will be my last Saturn. I could not pass this one up. It is the top of the line with heated seats and everything is powered. The main reason for buying this car was that it is tow ready. I can use my tow bar with a small adaptor. On my other Saturn the base plate looked like the ramming gear on a police car. On this car it is barely visible.
The drive home was terrible. The construction sites on highway 299 slowed us down. Whenever we had to wait I had time to learn about the instruments in the car.