Rome is the center of the universe, I will argue vehemently, forever. With the Intercontinental Hotel at the Spanish Steps in Rome as our base of operations, my bride and I wandered mostly on foot throughout the city. The sheer amount of legendary sightseeing overwhelms. The Vatican museum in itself is worth the effort to get to Rome. I took 1,100 pictures with my new digital Sony CD500 Mavica camera in May of 2002 as we flew to Venice, and then went by train went to Pisa for a day, Florence, and Rome, with a day trip to Pompeii. We spent a week each in Venice, Florence and Rome. The fastest three weeks of our lives. Here’s some of the pix in installment 1 of Italy Revisited.
Our trip just prior to Yosemite was to one of our network of parks near Mt. Rainier. It’s called Maplegrove for a good reason; our site was very isolated, and about 40′ from the bank of the Cowlitz River. We made a couple of long day trips to the National Park in perfect weather.
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While at Yosemite, I looked for opportunities to take advantage of unique lighting rather than simply add to the huge catalog of great photos of Half Dome, et al. Of course, memorializing the trip was important for us. What no photo reveals are the sheer scope and humbling scale of this park. Ya gotta be there. Ten days well spent for us, with many day trips including the Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, upper Toulumne Valley & Hetch Hetchy. The road to Hetch Hetchy gets so narrow in places that I had to fold the mirrors on my F-350 to squeeze through; yikes! Our campsite was literally on the bank of the South Fork of the Toulumne River at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort, located about 5 miles from the western park gate on CA 120. Big fun.
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Was out tending to the Koi pond yesterday, so was nearby when our local Mallard duck mom came by with her brood to visit the friendly (Trinity) waters. The kids used to look like little brown ping-pong balls. Not anymore; they are about 80% the size of mom! Not old enough yet to show sex differentiation in their plumage. Glad to see them since these visits are less frequent now that several of our fish are becoming quite large and thus imposing and dangerous in the Mallard brain. Our water lilies are crazy-robust and plentiful this year, but their leaves were tested for durability by the babies. Mom is the top-center quacker in the upper photo and is standing on the barely submerged rock in the lower photo. Life is good.
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This is for those who kayak and might be looking for a convenient way to transport one or two. This is the Thule Hullavator, a device that uses gas shocks to lift the kayak up to the top of your vehicle with one finger’s force. The lashings are first quality, like everything Thule. Here’s a before and after the lift pair of pix.
We have been nurturing this Oshio Bene Japanese maple tree since we adopted it as a teeny sapling 18 years ago. Genetic perfection, careful pruning, along with sealer on the cuts, has yielded a beauty. We planted him at the edge of the pond; you may have seen this tree in other photos of our pond, but I decided to take a look at just him. BTW, tomorrow we’re eating Traegered ribs and remembering those who shed their blood to save the USA, and wishing more realized what it takes to maintain our hopefully enduring experiment in freedom.
We spent the last week camping in the woods near the Willamette River, just in time to witness the year’s buds emerging. Oregon Grape and I don’t know what, but pretty.
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It’s that time of year for my colored fishy friends. We’ve had several days of mid-twenties nights and frisky north winds. That scours the heat out of the Koi’s home. Although the ground under the pond is about 50 to 55F, the wind wins the thermodynamic battle. Now have the first skin of ice on the pond. The water is about 39F, so the fish are somnolent and unresponsive. The waterfall, now run by my new variable speed pump, is turned down to just cycle the water and keep the plumbing from freezing, so as to not cool the water unnecessarily by a large flow down the exposed cataract.
The outdoor Christmas lights are up, the fish are down, and the liquor cabinet is nominal, so it’s time for Johnny Mathis, and then Chip from Mannheim Steamroller. 41 is finally underground and I’m done reading any news until January, if then. I do have an RV to get ready for our Spring launch!... [Read More]
Votes are filled in properly and mailed. Power washed and stained the deck during the last sunny spell. Got a new fire table put up by our deck lounges. The 5th wheel is ready for a Monday departure on our final seasonal trip, to the Astoria area, specifically our favorite site at Ft. Stevens state park. It’s after two pm, so it’s fruits of labor time with the adoring fish. Well….they do adore their meals! Raining now and I don’t need to care.