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Archive for August, 2008

Campbell River

We’ve had a busy couple of days with mixed results. The rafting/salmon snorkeling adventure was lots of fun. After a rainy morning the sun came out. The rain chased everyone else away and Mr. Munro and I were the only customers. I didn’t snorkel since I have trouble seeing stuff without my glasses. There were so many salmon it was easy to spot them from above. I sat back and enjoyed going over the baby rapids in the raft. (Levels 1 & 2 for the rafting experts out there)

Here’s a shot of the salmon and one of me enjoying the day.

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The bear-watching portion of our trip, that we’d looked forward to for months, was really disappointing. It’s the start of the season and, of course, there are wild animals involved who don’t perform on cue. We both knew this. We saw three grizzly bears grazing on grass at an inlet when we arrived. When we arrived at the viewing area everyone made so much noise the bears moved on. Understandable from the bears’ point of view. Right at the end we saw a bear on the road. Once again the rest of the group pushed and shoved and I ended up with a quick glimpse and no photo. As I said – really disappointing. Maybe another time.

On the plus side the scenery was gorgeous and the sunset spectacular. The rainforest reminds me of our bush at home. Oh, and the sun shone for the entire afternoon and the seas were smooth. It wasn’t all bad. We’re going to put bear-watching back on the bucket list for another day.

The One With Themes

During the last few days we seem to have hit upon themes in Washington. Our first theme was a Bavarian one. Leavenworth is not far from Seattle (a few hours) and is a ski resort during the winter. It’s a very touristy place but still a lot of fun. All the buildings are painted with murals and we drank German-type beer while eating pretzels and bratwurst sausages. Yum! Here’s a photo of me standing at the bar.

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And a photo of some of the murals and buildings. Even McDonald’s was in theme.

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The next day it was a Western theme when we stayed at Winthrop. The town has wooden boardwalks and cowboy and western-type murals. This was also a fun place to stay.
Here’s a shot of the town.

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The following day we drove through the Northern part of the Cascades and we had a tree theme going on. The scenery was really pretty and I kept thinking of Lauren Dane’s werewolves running around. They’re probably not situated in that part of the Cascades, but I imagined them peeking at me as I drove past. Here’s a scenery shot to finish my post.

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I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about our trip down the river/salmon and also our bear watching trip. I’m really looking forward to this trip, and luckily the weather is improving.

Happy Labor weekend to everyone in the US.

Collaborative Writing Partnerships

Mexican HeatToday my special guests are collaborative writers, Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon. They’re are also among my favorite authors, and I asked them to talk about writing partnerships since the idea of working on a joint project fascinates me. Read on to hear about their writing adventures. Their book Mexican Heat is due out in September from MLR Press.
Read the rest of this entry ?

Oregon

We;ve spent the last couple of days in Oregon and tonight are just over the border in Walla Walla, Washington. I’m posting a few photos today. The first is of Devil’s Tower, which is in South Dakota. We had our first snake sighting here. It slithered across the path in front of us.

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Mr. Munro and I missed checking out the Million Dollar Cowboy bar last time we visited Jackson Hole. This time we made sure we visited. Here’s a photo of me sitting at the bar.

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We both really enjoyed our visit to the Oregon Trail Center near Baker City. The displays were excellent and very interesting. Despite the passing of the years it is still possible to see the ruts made by the wagon trains. I don’t envy the people their long trip from Independence, Missouri to Oregon. It wasn’t an easy one.

They also had a man talking about birds of prey while we were there and he had two different owls plus a hawk with him. His talk was fascinating and it was great seeing these birds at close range. Unfortunately we couldn’t take photos. For some reason they had masses of mosquitoes at the Oregon Trail center. They were the size of small birds and very active. I hate mosquitoes! Here’s a photo of one of the wagons in the outside display.

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Grand Tetons

We had a really early start this morning and were seranaded by wolves. I really wanted to see wolves but hearing them was as close as I came. Mr. Munro wanted to see a bull moose. We were actually disappointed by the number of animals we saw in Yellowstone National Park, although the park is very large and any sensible animal would stay well away from the roads and all tourists. The scenery is beautiful. I really like the mountain meadows with the meandering streams and beautiful wild flowers.

The Grand Tetons are very pretty. Once again, we didn’t see many animals but by this stage it was midday. Here’s a shot of the Grand Tetons.

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We were very excited to come across heaps of cars and people since we knew it meant an animal sighting. I thought it would be a bison again. Mr. Munro said he wanted to see a @#%&* moose and we were going to see what they were looking at! Mr. Munro turned out to be right and we were able to get really close to a bull moose. He stood in the middle of a stream grazing, ignoring all the people. And I have to add here that some people really need to act a little more sensibly. These are wild animals. Here’s the photo of the @#%& moose. :grin:

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The One About Yellowstone National Park

Today’s blog entry comes courtesy of Mr. Munro:

Last night, Tuesday, we went to the rodeo. Great fun. Very professional. It only lasted 2 hours but there was bareback, saddle, bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, roping and there were kids chasing calves that had ribbons on their tails. There were also clowns. The cowboys and girls travel anywhere up to 48 hours to compete at the Cody Nite Rodeo.

We drove into Yellowstone from Cody where we passed a large meadow full of fire trucks, tents, porta loos, and firemen to fight the forest fire on the border of the park. We later found out that they are going to let it burn out naturally, unless it posses a risk to the Park or buildings. It was exactly 20 years ago to the day that a huge forest fire decimated Yellowstone, over one million acres of forest destroyed. The re growth is very slow. Luckily the wind was kind and it hasn’t affected our stay in Yellowstone.

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We’ve seen bison, lots of bison [no threat of extinction there] to the extent that they roam across the road holding up traffic. They are not tame, each year a number of stupid tourists get the ultimate close up and are gored in the process. We saw a fox, coyote, badger, bald eagles/osprey, trout, bambies and tourists. We did see a grizzly bear that was sleeping off its meal of bison. That carcass was about 20 metres from the bear which was hidden by long grass. Every now and then it would stick its head up and did get up and wander around for a few seconds before laying down again. There must have been about 40 cars parked along the verge of the road trying to take photos. Waste of time as the bear was more than 100 metres from the road. The Park rangers were trying to keep the traffic moving but sightings are rare so everyone wanted to see. They have their own policing within the National Park service and watch out if you exceed the speed limit. Besides, if you travel too fast you’ll miss the scenery and wildlife.

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The One About South Dakota

This is Beauty, the mammoth. The mammoth place was fascinating. This particular one is called Beauty because it is almost perfect. There’s a tiny tip missing off one tusk but the skull is otherwise intact with few cracks.

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This is a photo of a Bighorn Sheep. We came across three perched on a rock on the side of the road. They were males and argued over the choice bits of tree leaves with loud clashes of horns.

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This unknown critter caused great consternation when it tried to stick its head inside the car to investigate me at closer quarters. I moved very quickly to close the window! Hubby couldn’t stop laughing and took this photo.

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The One About Animals

No photos today since I’m tired and can’t summon the energy to download my camera to my laptop. Last night we stayed at Grand Lake – actually outside Grand Lake – at a campground called Elk Creek in some darling little cabins. Mr. Munro has been very clever with our accommodation and we’ve stayed in a real mix. I was sitting our our terrace having a beer and watched a mouse run across the steps. Mice don’t scare me (unless they choose to run over my feet) so I continued sipping my beer and casually mentioned it to hubby. When he investigated, he found more mice. A family of the wee things. Later that night I kept hearing noises and at one stage shot upright in bed and woke Mr. Munro. It was raining and the patter on the roof had woken me. The mice hadn’t decided to come inisde out of the cold, so I went back to sleep.

Today we drove through the Rocky Mountain National Park. I purchased a book on mountain lions and questioned the ranger for some time. Ranger Michelle was lovely and my story idea is fermenting nicely after all the info she gave me. We saw some moose and stopped to take photos. We also stopped to take photos of some elk. Their antlers were HUGE. I don’t know how they manage to hold their heads up. When we traveled farther into the park, it started sleeting – freezing when you’re wearing shorts! I yanked more clothes out of the suitcase and layered. It worked all right and a hot cider at the information center at the top of the mountain completed the thaw. We enjoyed all our wildlife sightings. Next on the list is bison and beers. We have a list and we’re ticking it off. :grin:

Tomorrow we’re driving into South Dekota. Deadwood – here I come!

Oh, I forgot to say that we had a fun time in Cripple Creek and for the first time in history Mr. Munro and I won some money at one of the casinos. Me – the last of the big spenders who puts $1 at a time in the machines, played poker and won. I’m still in shock.

Still in Colorado

I really like Colorado. It’s green and pretty, although I bet I wouldn’t enjoy it quite as much during the middle of winter. We stayed at Snowmass last night, which is quite close to Aspen. We spent an hour or so in Aspen window shopping at the expensive designer stores. Aspen reminds me a lot of Queenstown in New Zealand with the same Alpine flavor.

We drove through Independence Pass. The scenery is beautiful. We stopped at the top of the pass and here’s one of the photos.

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We also visited Florissant National Park and wandered around looking at petriefied tree stumps, old cottages and root cellars and also a few fossils. The root cellar was nice and cool but a bit stinky. Tonight we’re staying in an old goldmining town called Cripple Creek. These days the saloons and brothels are casinos and shops, but the town has kept its old look. I can hear the toot of the old train from our room and it sounds like the old TV show Petticoat Junction.

We’re off to dinner now. I can hear a margarita calling my name. :grin:

The One in Colorado

We’re in Colorado at the moment, and it’s nice and green after the deserts of Nevada and Arizona. We spent most of the day exploring in Mesa Verde National Park. I’ve climbed ladders, squeezed through tunnels and huffed and puffed my way up hills because I’m not used to the high elevation. We visited the Balcony house, the Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House, learning about the Anasazi and Puebloans. Fascinating stuff. The photo below is of the Cliff Palace.

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It’s only a quick post tonight. We’re lazing in our Koa cabin in Ouray after a delicious dinner and a cold beer. Hopefully the little stream beside our cabin will sing me to sleep. I need it after a few sleepless nights. I swear I almost fell out of bed last night, which doesn’t make for a restful sleep!



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