Printz Family News - Archives

December 30 , 2012

Where does the time go. Hard to believe that it's been two months since I've updated this page. I think my world kind of ended on November 6 and I've had a hard time shaking off the malaise in comtemplating the future. Nonetheless, we've had a busy couple of months.

Linda and I spent a quiet Christmas together. We drove to the coast north of San Francisco, then traveled south along the coast to Monterey. We stayed the night in Monterey at the Best Western Motel which is right on the beach in Seaside. We simply relaxed in the evening - having dinner, walking along the seashore and enjoying the sound of the surf from our motel room. On Christmas Day, we returned home . . . driving the country roads through the farm country of the most productive valley in the world. CLICK HERE to see some of the photos we shot along the way.

The past couple of weeks have been a little trial for me. I began having a toothache in early December and finally called the dentist about a week later. It turns out that I had an abcess under the tooth. Since this wasn't the first time I'd had problems with this tooth, the dentist recommended a root canal, which he proceeded to do right then and there. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish it since the infection was draining into empty root canal of the tooth so he prescribed antibiotics and made an appointment to come back in three days. Well . . . it was still draining, so me next appointment is January 4 to finish it off. In the meantime, however, my toothache is cured and I'm a happy camper.

The first week in December, Linda drove down to Santa Cruz to take in a retreat at the Land of Medicine Buddah. Here's what she had to say about it:

"I went to a retreat at the Land of Medicine Buddha near Santa Cruz for a week in early December. At the retreat we learned some meditation, simple watercolor, and self-massage techniques. We also learned how to build energy through qi qong and how to use feng shui in our homes. And we even found time to go on a nature hike through the redwoods even though it rained most of the week. We enjoyed delicious vegetarian meals and I think everyone was worried about gaining weight. There were 12 women in the group and we all bonded very well. I liked it so much, I decided to go again this summer."

CLICK HERE to see some of the photos she took.

On November 7, I rode down to southern California to meet up with some buddies from Phoenix and to take in Adventure Days at Rawhyde. CLICK HERE to read my trip report.

Linda is looking at life a little differently since she had cataract surgery in mid November. Everything healed up in great shape and she is pleased to have her 20-20 vision restored.

I've been doing some local riding in between storms - we're having a good, wet winter here in northern California. Bill and I headed out for a ride on a morning when the forecast was for 20% chance of showers and found ourselves riding in foggy mist nearly the entire day. It was far from unpleasant, however, since we both have good gear and the gloomy weather kept everyone else off the roads. The countryside was quiet and green under the gray mantle of fog - very quiet and peaceful.

Bill, David and I are planning a ride to Death Valley the week of January 14. We'll have to see how the weather holds up.

I have committed to the trip of my life from February 27 to March 13, 2013. Ron Ayres has teamed up with Rawhyde Adventures and they are going to try an off-road adventure in Africa. We'll land in Capetown, South Africa and ride the backroads up into Namibia. CLICK HERE to read a description of the trip taken from the Rawhyde web site.

November 01 , 2012

I'm a little late with this, but Linda finished up her journal on her "Ireland's Country Roads" tour. It is a very interesting read with lots of Irish history and lore ..... and there are lots of photos. CLICK HERE to read it.

October 26, 2012

I finished the Moab Ride Report - CLICK HERE to read it.

Linda is working on a trip report on "Ireland's Country Roads" and should be finished any day.

On November 7, I'll be riding to Riverside to join up with a some riding buddies from Phoenix. We'll ride the back roads to the Rawhyde Ranch in Castaic to take part in Rawhyde Adventure Days. I'm looking forward to a great week.

October 02, 2012

Linda and I are both home from our most recent travels. I arrived home on Wednesday, September 26 from a 12-day ride to Moab and Rawhyde's Adventure Rider Challenge 2012. I had a great trip and am currently working on my photos and a ride report. Linda had a great tour of Ireland's Country roads and arrived home on Friday, September 28 - she is also spending a lot of time organizing her photos.

We're both so glad to be home that we've decided to stay here for a while . . . . we've postponed our motorcycle ride to Texas - it's still on our list, but not on our schedule. For the time being we're enjoying hanging out with each other and enjoying our life in El Dorado Hills.

September 01, 2012

David and I had a great ride to the coast. CLICK HERE to read my trip report - there are lots of photos.

Linda and I are both making preparations for some travel in September. Linda and Kathy will be leaving on September 16 and will spend two weeks exploring the country roads of Ireland. While she's gone, I'll be riding my motorcycle to Moab, Utah to take in Rawhyde's Adventure Riders Challenge.

Linda and I are also planning a motorcycle ride together - we will be riding two-up on our Honda ST1300. On October 7, about 10 days after Linda returns from Ireland, we're heading for Texas. Our plans are a little loose right at the moment but we plan to see the North Rim of Grand Canyon on the way down, explore the Texas Hill Country west of Austin, see the Alamo, and if time allows, check out Big Bend National Park. We plan to be gone about 3 weeks.

August 17, 2012

Monday, Linda and I returned home from our motorcycle ride to Portland for Jessica's wedding. Read all about it and see the photos we shot by CLICKING HERE. To see photos of the wedding shot by Brandon, CLICK HERE.

I'm finishing up my preparations for another motorcycle ride on Sunday. Bill, David, and I will be gone for three days exploring the coastal mountains and California's Lost Coast. We have plenty of dirt roads on our route and I'm looking forward to an interesting ride.

Life is good in El Dorado Hills.

August 15, 2012

Thinking of Kevin today - his 49th birthday. Linda and I went out to the cemetery and added some fresh flowers.

August 03, 2012

On July 27 I returned safe and sound from my ride to Sedalia, Missouri. To see a very brief description of the trip and some photos, CLICK HERE.

The next few days are going to busy ones around the Printz house.

July 07, 2012

Things have been busy. Linda's and Kathy's trip to Cape Cod with Sports Leisure Vacations, a local travel compay, was a tremendous success.

My rides to Arizona and Oregon were also great. I wrote up a ride report on each trip - if you'd like to read them, click on the appropriate link following: Arizona Report - Oregon Report.

I'm barely having time between rides to catch a breath. On July 14, I'm heading for Sedalia, Missouri, with my riding buddy, Bill, to take in the National BMW Owners of America Rally. We plan to be gone for over two weeks and do a lot of sight seeing on our way over and back.

In August, Linda and are planning to ride the Honda up to Jessica's wedding in Portland - that should take about 10 days, including a few days for sight seeing. In September, I'm planning to ride to Moab, Utah again for the Rawhyde Adventure Riding Challenge. In October Linda and I are planning an epic ride to Texas - we'll probably spend about 3 weeks on this one, assuming the weather cooperates.

Things continue to go well in El Dorado Hills and Linda and I are still living happily ever after.

June 07, 2012

David and I cut our trip to Arizona a little short and we arrived back home on Friday, May 24. We had a great ride - the weather held throughout our ride, the roads were great and the scenery even better. I had a good time with my riding buddies at the Rawhyde Rally and David had a good visit with his buddy in Kingman. I'm currently working on a trip journal and hope to have it ready for view before I take off on my next ride on June 13.

At 3:00 AM tomorrow, Linda and Kathy are off to Cape Cod for a week and they are looking forward to a great time exploring the area. On June 13, one day before she gets home, I'm joining my riding buddies Bill and Tom on a ride to a BMW Rally in John Day, Oregon. I expect to be gone about a week and enjoy some great riding. We plan to do some exploring on the way up and back.

May 11, 2012

This morning, David and I are are heading out for a 3-week ride to Arizona. We plan to spend about a week exploring Nevada and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, another 4 days at the Rawhyde Rally exploring the mountains south of Flagstaff, and the rest of the time playing it by ear. I'll be posting on FACEBOOK from time to time, so drop in when you have time. I'll be carrying my SPOT and you can see where I am by CLICKING HERE.

May 10, 2012

In June, Phil Challinor, one of my riding buddies, is going to ride his motorcycle 2500 miles in less than 50 hours across the country from the Pacific Ocean outside San Diego, California to the Atlantic Ocean outside Jacksonville, Florida. Why? To raise awareness and money for Friends of NICU, an organization that supported Phil and his family during their 119 day stay for their prematurely born daughter, Amelia Grace, at Sutter Roseville Hospital NICU in Roseville, California. CLICK HERE to read about his ride, his story, Friends of NICU, and how you can help.

Apr 20 , 2012

Yesterday, Bill, David and I returned from a four-day motorcycle ride to the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Another great ride. To read a little more about it and see some photos, CLICK HERE. On May 10, we're heading for Arizona to take in a Rawhyde Rally near Flagstaff. We're planning to do much more exploring on this trip - we're planning to be gone for nearly three weeks.

Linda and Kathy are in Tennessee taking in all the tourist attractions there. I'm not sure everywhere they've been, but she's reported back on Dollywood and the Biltmore Mansion. She will be returning home on the 23rd and I'm sure she'll have plenty of photos.

Mar 12, 2012

My Dad, Royal Printz, died just eleven days shy of his 93rd birthday in the early morning hours of February 25. At his request, we sent him on his way with graveside services on February 29. Paul gave a touching eulogy to a nice crowd of friends and relatives who braved the cold, windy, snowy day. This was the first time all six of his kids had been in one spot since 1994. Dad's Obituary

Feb 4, 2012

I just returned home from some of the toughest motorcycle riding I've ever done. I traveled to Castaic to participate in Rawhyde's "Next Step" training, then followed that up with a five-day ride into Death Valley on the Rawhyde "Expedition CV". I'll be following up with a trip journal with photos and video.

I've been getting very lax in keeping updating this web site ................ mostly because I've been keeping in touch with a lot of folks on Facebook. NO MORE. Keep checking in here for more news and trip journals.

Linda and I have both been busy traveling and motorcycling. I'm going to make a big effort to update this site and keep it current. Maybe I'll do some reorganization to make it a little easier to follow.

Aug 15 , 2011

Thinking of Kevin today - it would have been his 48th birthday.

July 17, 2011

Kyle and I had a nice little exchange on Facebook Chat the other night. He was a little under the weather and taking the day off to get some rest. He was upbeat and seems to have the right outlook to get through his deployment in good shape. He's getting some care packages and enjoys the goodies. The day I talked to him, he had received a package from his uncle Jon (actually second cousin, I think) and he was particularly moved by an old hat of his Dad's that Jon had been saving. Thanks Jon.

Bill, David, and I went on a two-day motorcycle ride to the coast earlier in the week and had a great time. CLICK HERE to read more about it and see some photos.

Linda and Kathy drove to the Bay Area and visited Filoli Gardens about 10 days ago. Last Tuesday they visited the California Military Museum and the Governor's Mansion. This Tuesday, they're headed to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

Bob and Donna were over Thursday for a nice visit. Linda cooked up some spaghetti for lunch and we spent the day visiting and playing poker. For dinner we headed for the Folsom In-N-Out for a healthy, all American meal of hamburger, fries and coke.

I traded in my 2005 BMW R1200GS for a brand new 2011 BMW R1200GS - I made the swap on July 8. I can't really explain why I did it - the old GS has been a faithful ride and still has plenty of adventures left in her. I just caught "new bike fever" while talking with folks about all the improvements BMW has been making to this bike in recent years and had to see for myself. The new model is definitely a superior motorcycle .............. is it worth the money? Maybe ........ I'll soon find out. My next big planned adventure is a trip to Torrey, UT in late September. I'm sure there will be some local warm up rides sooner than that.

July 05, 2011

PhotoOn June 27, 2011, Bill Pryor and I returned from an 8-day motorcycle ride to the Leavenworth, WA area to attend the Rawhyde Pacific Northwest Rally. We had a few adventures on the way up, exploring some of the less traveled roads. Once there, we had a great 3 days exploring the mountains of western Washington with a bunch of great guys.

One of the highlights for me was being able to ride with Jonah Street, many time winner of the Baja 1000 and top 10 finisher of the Dakar rallies. He led a group of about 10 riders on a 100 mile ride on the dirt roads and trails around Leavenworth. He is a great, down-to-earth fellow and it was an honor to share some time with him. In the photo on the left, that's Jim Hyde on the left, Jonah Street in the middle, and me on the right.

I am currently working on a trip journal and trying to put together some videos. I also took a lot of photos which I've put out on Flickr. You can see them by CLICKING HERE

June 14 , 2011

Kyle has been in Afghanistan for about a month. I've exchanged a few Facebook messages with him and talked to him on Skype one night. He seems in good spirits and is working very hard over there. He works 12 hours a day, seven days a week - midnight to noon. He gets only three or four days off each month. He can't really talk to much about conditions over there - security and all that stuff that seems kind of corny except that it's real. If you're reading this, it couldn't hurt to say a prayer for his safe return. If you'd like his mailing address or his email address, let me know and I'll get it right to you.

Linda had a great vacation cruising the Greek islands and came home with hundreds of photos. She's still working on organizing them.

I continue to do lots of motorcycle riding. On May 25, David, a riding buddy, and I went on a four-day ride to the Carrizo National Monument and took the opportunity to see a lot of central California. To see some of the photos I shot, CLICK HERE. I also used my GPS data to show our route on GOOGLE EARTH.

On June 9, David and I went on a two-day ride to explore northern Nevada. CLICK HERE to see my trip journal.

Tomorrow, Linda and I are going to ride our Honda ST1300 to Bodega Bay then travel up the coast to Fort Bragg. We'll spend the night and return home Friday by a different route.

Monday, June 20, I am riding up to Washington with Bill, another riding buddy, to attend the Rawhyde Pacific Northwest Rally. We'll be gone 8 or 9 days. We'll spend four days exploring the mountains and deserts of Oregon on the way up - those parts not covered up by snow. In Washington we'll spend three days camping out and exploring the mountains east of Seattle.

May 07, 2011

Today will be a day of waiting. Linda is returning home from Greece today and is schduled to arrive around midnight. I can't seem to get interested in doing anything and it looks like I'll just be sitting here waiting for her to walk through the door. She's been out of contact the entire time and it will be good to get a phone call when she gets back into cell phone range. Yesterday I got a post card she sent when she arrived in Greece.

While she was gone, I've been doing a lot of motorcycle riding. Last Saturday I joined the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders (GCDSR) on their April 150 ride. We explored about 150 miles of back roads in the Folsom, Coloma, Georgetown, and Foresthill areas - all within 50 miles of our house. This was a great ride with a few tip overs and a couple of mechanical breakdowns. CLICK HERE to see a video I made from shots taken from my helmet camera.

Kyle will be shipping out to Afghanistan any day and he's on my mind a lot. If you think of saying a prayer for him, that would be good.

April 30 , 2011

Thinking of Kevin today. It's hard to believe it's been over 13 years since I talked to you. Every time I think about Kyle, I feel the pride you must feel as you see him becoming a fine, young man. I see a lot of you in him - he's a chip off the old block. You were in one of my dreams a couple of weeks back, but I didn't get to talk to you - drop in again one of these nights and we'll visit a little.

April 25 , 2011

PhotoThis afternoon, Linda and I had lunch with Kyle and Natalie, a nice looking young lady who he's been spending a lot of time with lately. This will be the last time we see him this time, tomorrow he's headed back to Yuma.

PhotoOn Easter Sunday, Debbie planned to host an event including Easter egg hunts, games, prizes and a lot of other fun activities. Unfortunately, mother nature had other ideas and the day, in the Georgetown area, began with wind and rain. Not a quitter, Debbie moved the event to the bar at the Georgetown Hotel. Everyone enjoyed the day even without the Easter Egg hunt.

Tomorrow, Linda is also leaving for her 12-day cruise of the Greek Islands. She and Kathy have been planning this little trip all winter and are looking forward to it. They will be on a much smaller ship than usual and it proves to be interesting.

I have a couple of motorcycle trips in the works to keep me occupied. It looks like the weather my be taking a turn for the better and I'm looking forward to some warm, sunny weather. We'll see how it goes.

April 22 , 2011

Thinking of Ina today. It would have been her 81st birthday.

April 20 , 2011

We spent the evening at the Roy and Buffi Ratkovich home. They hosted a little multi-purpose get-together to celebrate their 42nd anniversary, Buffi's birthday, and Kyle's being home on leave. Other guests were Doug & Debbie, Doug's siblings, Corey (sp?) & Danica, and Kyle's new girlfriend, Natalie. Roy cooked up some delicious tacos and tamale pie - if I ate that way every day, I would soon weigh 300 pounds.

We're hoping to meet up with Kyle and Natalie for breakfast tomorrow and see him one more time at a Schrader family Easter get-together Sunday.

Kyle is headed back to Yuma on Tuesday, April 26 and will be shipping out to Afghanistan soon after.

April 11 , 2011

I passed another milestone a couple of weeks ago - the B-I-G 70. It's getting harder and harder to deny that I'm getting old even though I feel like a 25 year old masquerading as and old man.

Linda and I have both been able to do some traveling in spite of the crummy weather around here.

In late March, Linda and Kathy drove to New Mexico to spend a week with Road Scholar learning about the history and culture of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos areas. They both enjoyed the trip. CLICK HERE to see a slideshow Linda put together from the photos she took. Saturday morning, she heading out to Ventura to join another Road Scholar group to explore the Channel Islands. She's driving down there alone and right now I'm following her progress on SPOT. In late April and early May, she's booked on a cruise to the Greek Islands and Istanbul.

I've been doing a lot of day trips with my local riding buddies. I recently purchased a HD movie camera that can be mounted on my helmet or various places on my motorcycle. In January I mounted it on the motorcycle for a ride with the GCDSR around Lake Berryessa and the Knoxville Recreation area. CLICK HERE to see the movie I made of our ride. Things were a little shaky on the rougher sections of road and I decided the helmet mount is probably better. In early March, Bill, David, and I rode up to the Spenceville Wildlife Area and hiked 2.5 miles each way to Fairy Falls. CLICK HERE to see that movie. About 10 days later, I again joined the GCDSR on a ride down the Sacramento River to Rio Vista. CLICK HERE to see our ride which included a couple of river crossings by ferry - kind of fun.

Bill, David and I have some longer trips in the works in the next month or so. The only problem with the longer trips is that the weather isn't cooperating. It continues to be wintry in the higher elevations and more white stuff has shown up there in the last few days. Originally, we'd planned to do some exploring in the Black Rock Desert area of northern Nevada next week , but it snowed up there just yesterday and temperatures are dropping below freezing at night. Another potential ride along the north coast of California doesn't look good for next week either - rain is forecast for several days and there's been a major slide on Hwy 101 north of Garberville. I guess we'll just have to be content with some day trips and put off the longer stuff for a couple more weeks.

Linda and I are planning a big motorcycle ride in July and August. The ST1300 is all ready to go ........... we finally have an intercom setup that works flawlessly - gotta love technology. Another sticking point is that Linda has always been uncomfortable on this motorcycle because he legs are too short to reach the footpegs. This made her feel unstable and also didn't allow for good posture and back position - this results in pain and fatigue after a couple of hours. Through word of mouth, I found a small machine shop in the Diamond Springs area that fabricated a mount that raised the footpegs by four inches - he did a great job and it looks like original equipment. The best part is that Linda now feels comfortable and can ride all day without getting sore and tired. A few weeks ago, we rode to Rio Vista for lunch and wound up spending the entire day enjoying the sun, scenery and backroads of the Sacramento River Delta. CLICK HERE to see some scenes from this ride.

March 07 , 2011

Happy 92nd Birthday, Dad.

February 26 , 2011

Happy Birthday, Linda.

January 28, 2011

Cranked up my new Dell tonight - my first new computer since April, 2004. It looks like I have a long way to go to get all my software (old & new) installed, all my data transferred, and everything set up the way I want it. I'm hoping Garmin and some other paranoid software vendors aren't going to cause me problems in trying to install their software on a second computer ....

January 25, 2011

Linda and Kathy went to a Sacramento Historical Society meeting tonight and saw a 10 pound gold nugget discovered in Nevada County last year. Linda and Kathy were both quoted in this article in the Sacramento Bee describing the event.

January 24 , 2010

Lester's house is up for sale and Linda continues the work of winding up his affairs. The bureaucratic nonsense is unbelievable. Lester was a meticulous record keeper. You'd think this would be a help but instead, I think it confuses things. Is that old bank account from 1988 still active? The balance is sizable - could it still be in there? That long list of savings bonds .... were they cashed in? All this stuff needs to be checked out. Every drawer, every box, every folder has to be examined - document by document. She's found current information buried in the strangest places.

The hardest part is going through his stuff and trying to decide what to keep and what to let go. As we go through all the equipment and tools he accumulated over his lifetime to support his hobbies, I'm reminded again how little anyone else cares about things we consider important. All his valuable - to him - hardware is just so much junk to us. It gives me some perspective about my own junk - maybe I won't worry about it so much.

I've been doing a lot of motorcycle riding lately. About a month ago I responded to a fellow who was looking for retired riding buddies that could ride during the week and were also looking for multi-day adventures. To top it off, he was looking for "Adventure Riders" who were interested in leaving the pavement for extended periods. Five of us met for breakfast at a restaurant in Auburn and four of us seem to have hit it off. I've been on four rides with these guys in the past couple of weeks and we have more planned. When the weather turns, we're going on a three-day ride to see if we can live together. It looks like we might have a group going. We haven't been much for photos so far but I did manage to bring my camera along on this visit to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Refuge.

Saturday I joined the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders (GCDSR) for a great ride. We met up in Davis, rode around the west side of Lake Berryessa, through the Knoxville Recreation Area to Hwy 16, then continued on more backroads to Arbuckle. From there we split up to make our separate ways home.

I shot the video right with a new HD camera. It's mounted on the motorcycle, about knee high, and things look a little faster than they were. I think I'll mount it on my helmet next time which should slow the action down and make things smoother. I also shot a few photographs along the way - CLICK HERE to see them.

Earlier in the week, Linda and I decided to take a few days to get away from home and enjoy the solitude and majesty of California's north coast. Linda has been spending a lot of time and energy winding up her Dad's affairs and it seemed like a good idea to give her a little break. We drove to Fort Bragg on Tuesday then spent Wednesday motoring south to Bodega Bay before heading back inland. The weather was perfect, the traffic was light, and the roads were great. We'll be making it a longer visit next time.  As usual, plenty of photo opportunities were available. CLICK HERE to see them.

December 29 , 2010

We're thinking of Forrest today - it would have been his 15th birthday.

December 28 , 2010

Linda's Dad, Lester Knight, passed away peacefully in his sleep at approximately 10:00 PM tonight. He will be missed.

December 18 , 2010

I had a nice, long chat with Kyle last night. He is doing well. Yesterday he accompanied his Sergeant Major and Master Sergeant to San Diego to watch his Gunnery Sergeant graduate. After attending the ceremonies, they visited wounded Marines at Balboa Hospital. It sounds like quite an honor to me. He's looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his Mom, Doug, and Doug's Mom and Step dad in Bullhead City, AZ.

I spent the past couple of sunny days before the yesterday's storm hit riding my ST1300 to Fort Bragg and then down the coast to Point Reyes. On the way over I traveled to Lake Berryessa then took the back roads to Clear Lake, then to Boonville, over to the coast and spent the night in Fort Bragg. Berryessa-Knoxville Rd had me wondering if I was on the right bike. I rode down the coast to Point Reyes then over to Petaluma, then to Napa where I picked up Hwy 12 and rode it to Rio Vista. From there I rode up the river and home. A GREAT COUPLE OF DAYS. To see some photos I took on this ride, CLICK HERE. This link to GOOGLE EARTH will show my route and the locations where I took some of the photos.

A couple of hours ago Linda returned home from a four-day trip to San Luis Obispo where she toured Hearst Castle and took in some of the local attractions. I'm sure she took lots of photos which we should be putting out there in the next couple of weeks.

December 11 , 2010

Wow. Three months without a comment. I've kind of let my website stagnate over the past few months. I've been playing around with the idea of turning it into a BLOG. Before I do, I have to do some research, learn how to do it, then convert my website. It sounds like a good project for some rainy days this winter. We've been very busy with a lot of stuff happening in our lives that has proved distracting. In this post, I'll cover our life highlights since early September.

It looks like this could be a wet year for Northern California - one can only hope. So far we're ahead in rainfall totals and the mountains have received plenty of snow. I was out on a motorcycle ride a couple of weeks ago and we ran into a few inches of snow and icy roads around 3,000 feet. Part of our group went a little higher in elevation and found themselves in feet of snow.

Linda has fully recovered from her August 23 carpal tunnel surgery. I'm happy to report that her early indications of success have been borne out and the tingling and numbness is history.

Thanksgiving this year was a very low-key affair for us. We went out for dinner with Bob and Donna and their grandson at a Mimi's restaurant. It was actually an excellent meal and we all ate waaaay too much. After dinner we enjoyed their company at their home while playing a little friendly poker. I made $0.35 and went home a happy camper.

The holiday spirit has been dampened some because Linda's Dad is declining rapidly and Linda has had to take some drastic action. In the past month or so there have been two life changing developments in Lester's life. His doctors have recommended he be placed in the care of hospice, which means the end is near. Second, he requires 24/7 care and his caregiver of the past 6 years can no longer manage by herself. The only option was to place him in an assisted living facility that also provides round the clock nursing care. He moved into his new home the day before Thanksgiving and he seems to have settled into his new situation without too much difficulty. We hope his final days are peaceful.

Kyle continues to do well in the USMC. He is currently stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, AZ. We don't hear too much from him, but he always sounds upbeat and positive. He was able to come home for a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and we were fortunate to spend a little time with him - not enough time, but it was really good visiting with him. The scuttlebutt is that his unit will be deployed to Afghanistan sometime in mid 2011.

In September, we took the long way to Montana for Brandon and Mehgan's wedding and saw a lot of the west. I've finally finished organizing our GPS tracks and making a map of our journey and organizing the many photos we took. Following are some links with more information about our trip:

Daily Blog that I published with my new Android

Our Route (GPS Tracks) on Google Earth with some geo-located photos

Slideshow of Selected Photos

All Photos

Last, and maybe least .......... In early November I decided to get back into my martial arts training. I injured my shoulder (torn rotator cuff) almost exactly 2 years ago and used it as an excuse to get fat and lazy. The first couple of weeks were quite a shock, but I'm now back in the groove - it feels good to start getting back in shape.

September 06 , 2010

On August 23, Linda underwent carpal tunnel surgery. She passed her post-operative checkup with flying colors and is now waiting for everything to heal up. She can already tell that the surgery was a success - the numbness and tingling she has experienced for many years is finally gone.

On August 17, I headed east on my motorcycle to explore the Colorado mountains with Rawhyde Adventures. I had a great week of riding. CLICK HERE to read my write up of the trip - photos and Google Mapping included. 

In less than a week, Linda and I are heading out on a road trip in our Toyota that will take us over 10,000 miles before election day.  We are going to travel east to Colorado, then meander up to Montana in time to make Brandon's wedding.  From there we will travel east to Maine and enjoy the fall colors.  Then on to the Florida Keys - between hurricanes - and back home via the southern tier of states.

August 31 , 2010

Thinking of Forrest today.

August 15 , 2010

Remembering Kevin on his 47th birthday. It does no good to wonder what might have been, but I play that game a lot, especially today.

July 26 , 2010

On July 18, Linda and Kathy left for a fabulous week of Mozart, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi at the San Luis Obispo Mozaic Festival. If you like classical music, this is THE place to be. The festival is held every year in July. Not only do you get away from the heat, but the performances are absolutely first-rate. CLICK HERE to see a slideshow that Linda created from some of the photos she took. To see more photos she shot on this trip, CLICK HERE

While Linda was gone, I did a lot of motorcycle riding on the local roads close to home. I took my camera with me on July 20 when I spent the day riding over three Sierra Passes in one day. I took a few photos that you can see by CLICKING HERE. I also have a view of my route on GOOGLE EARTH.

All is still well in El Dorado Hills. We don't hear much from Kyle, but what we do hear is all good news.

I have tentatively sold the KZ1000. I have a deposit and the fellow is supposed to pick it up later this week ......... this sale generates a lot of mixed feelings. The motorcycle has been in the family for 33 years but it is becoming an increasingly expensive hobby to keep it in good repair ..... especially at $100/hour.

July 3 , 2010

Linda and I just watched a nice little fireworks display from our back yard. I still think it would be nicer to celebrate our holidays on the actual days rather than a convenient Saturday night .............. but nobody seems to care what I think.

I had a great time at the Rawhyde Northwest Adventure Rally near Leavenworth, WA and made a few new friends. CLICK HERE to read a little more and check out my photos and watch a couple of short videos.

It's starting to look a little more like summer. We still haven't seen anything over 100° but we are seeing temps in the 90s. I have to admit that I don't enjoy the hot weather anymore and I'm already looking back fondly on the cooler days we had a few months back.

June 19, 2010

Linda and I have completed our June travel - well most of it, anyway.

On the Memorial Day weekend, we rode our ST1300 to the Redding area to make some minor adjustments to our "Day Long Saddle". Unfortunately, our long weekend of riding was sidetracked by the weather. Rain, rain, go away .......... It rained so hard one day that we decided to hide out in a motel shortly after lunchtime. When the storm was over the next day, we decided to just head for home - we were both out of the mood for a long motorcycle ride.

On June 9, I rode the ST1300 north for a short visit with the folks in Hamilton. I had a good visit with Dad, Paul, Jay, and Ken and a great motorcycle ride - the ST1300 performed admirably and makes a great long-distance tourer. You can read a little more about my visit and see the photos I took by CLICKING HERE.

On June 10, Linda and Kathy drove north to Portland to check out their annual Rose Parade. While they were up there they visited with some of Linda's family. You can check out Linda's photos and read more about their trip by CLICKING HERE.

My June travel isn't complete - on Tuesday, I'm riding my BMW north to Leavenworth, WA to take part in a Rawhyde Rally. To see what this rally is all about, CLICK HERE. I should be gone about a week.

May 20, 2010

A lot has happened in the past month. Kyle is getting settled into his new assignment at the Marine Corps Air Base in Yuma. So far he seems to be doing well. He likes the Yuma area and now that he's out of training, he's getting treated as a human being by his superiors - he likes that.

Linda's trip with Kathy to Washington, D.C. was a success and she has about 300 photos to share. CLICK HERE to see them.

My motorcycle trip to Death Valley was also a success. CLICK HERE to see my trip journal including lots of photos.

It won't be long before we're gone again. On the Memorial Day weekend, we will be taking the Honda ST1300 on our first trip out of the Sacramento area. We leave on May 28 for Redding and will spend a few days exploring northeastern California after getting some adjustments made on our "Day Long Saddle" we had built in early April.

On June 10, Linda will leave for Portland for their annual Rose Parade. She and Donna made the trip last year and Linda enjoyed it so much she wanted to return this year. While she's there, she'll also attend the high school graduation ceremonies of a cousin. This time she'll be driving up there by herself.

While Linda is in Portland, I'm thinking of riding the Honda to Montana for a short visit. I haven't been up there for several years. I also have an "adventure" motorcycle ride planned for June 24-27 with Rawhyde Adventures in northern Washington. If I ride to Montana, I'll have less than a week between trips which could get a little hectic. Right now, it seems that it would be easily doable with some planning.

April 25, 2010

Linda will be taking off for Washington D.C. in a few days. She and Kathy will spend a couple of weeks there taking in all the historic sights, museums, and monuments. While she's gone I'll be making a motorcycle trip to Death Valley to explore some of the backroads, ghost towns, and old mines. I'm not sure exactly how much time I'll be spending down there but so far it looks like about 5 days. With all the weird weather this winter I'm not sure exactly where I'll be able to travel - as of April 16, some of the backroads are still closed due to snow and another storm will be arriving Tuesday. Can you believe that you have to worry about snow in Death Valley?

We got to see Kyle for breakfast one morning, but he is a busy fellow and we haven't seen him since. Wednesday, he and Linda and I have a date for lunch. Thursday, his mother has organized a pizza feed in Coloma so everyone can come and wish him off on his new assignment in Yuma. Kyle is really looking good. He has gained about 30 pounds of solid muscle - he now stands 6' 3" tall and weights 195 pounds. He's doing really well in the USMC, finishing 2nd in his last training and he's looking forward to getting to work. He'll be assigned to a Harrier Jet squadron in Yuma working in ordnance.

Yesterday, I went out on a dual-sport motorcycle ride with the GCDSR. Some tricky mud, an interesting water crossing, nice weather, spectacular scenery and some great company made for a really fine day. CLICK HERE for some photos.

April 11, 2010

Yesterday Linda and I went out on a motorcycle ride with hundreds of Harleys to raise some money for a just cause. We've never participated in such an event, but one of my friends was one of the organizers of the event. We ran into some of my friends from the GCDSR and had a great day. It's good to be riding with Linda again. CLICK HERE to see some photos and read a little more of the event.

Kyle is due home April 14. It will be good to see him before he reports to his duty station in Yuma.

I have finished our taxes, but since we owe money again, I won't be sending them in until the last minute. I'm always mad and depressed from early April to mid-June every year. I really resent having to send my money to people who don't have a clue how to spend it in a reasonable manner.

April 4, 2010

Riley JamesOn April 2 another Printz entered the world. Welcome Riley James Hicks, son of Nicole Printz Hicks and Dan Hicks of Farmington, Utah. Mom and baby are doing fine.

Kyle, Donna, Julie, and I are all another year older and Pete and Sandi have another year of marriage behind them. On April 1, Jay and Janie celebrated another wedding anniversary and later this month, Shelby, Debbie and Dan (Printz) will also be a little older and wiser. Our friends Karen and Tony Silva also have an anniversary on April 17.

Kyle will be winding up his USMC training on April 14 and will be spending about 10 days at home before reporting to the VMA-513, a Harrier Jet squadron in Yuma, Arizona. We're all looking forward to seeing him. We have a motorcycle trip to the coast planned - he'll be riding my BMW R1200GS and Linda and I will be on our new Honda ST1300. I'm really looking forward to riding with him.

As winter winds down, the travel season begins. Early next month, Linda and Kathy are heading to Washington D.C. for a couple of weeks to see the cherry blossoms and historical sites in the area. While she's gone, I am heading for Death Valley on my BMW R1200GS for a solo exploration of some of the back country. It will be good to be on the road again. Other than a few local rides, all of my motorcycle trips in the past couple of years have been as part of a group of riders. Although I enjoy these rides a lot, nothing is like riding alone - I can't wait.

Linda and Kathy are already planning 2011. They've booked a cruise on a small ship (60 cabins) that will depart from Istanbul and make stops in the Greek Islands, Croatia, and Italy before arriving in Venice two weeks later. I'm still working on 2010.

Tuesday I'll be heading for Shasta Lake, CA near Redding, to have a Russell "Day Long" Saddle built for our ST1300. This is the motorcycle seat invented by my Uncle Bill Mayer and made famous by him before he sold out to Russell in the late 1980s. We had one of these seats on our 1986 Gold Wing and it looked as good as new when we sold it in 2004. Uncle Bill was known as the 'Buttmeister' and if you ride on one of his seats, you don't know what a sore butt is.

March 7, 2010

Today is Dad's 91st birthday - he continues to do well. Paul, Jean, Brandon, Mehgan, Sandi, Pete, Ken and Sharon took him out for a little party at the Coffee Cup Restaurant. I called him after the party and had a nice little chat with him. He was in good spirits and pleased that so many people remembered his birthday. He said that life is good for him.

Linda celebrated her birthday on February 26, Kyle's is coming up on March 13 and mine will be on March 14.

I talked to Kyle yesterday - he's currently finishing up his ordnance training at Cherry Point, NC. On April 16, he'll be assigned to a unit in Yuma, AZ where he'll be working with Harrier Jets. He is in good spirits and seems to enjoy life in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Note to Barrack Obama: That's Corps not corpse.

In February, Linda and I escaped the wet weather for 8 days of sun and 75° temperatures. CLICK HERE to read a little more and to view some of the photos we shot while we were there.

Our Honda ST1300 arrived from Texas and it is great - better than advertised. So far the weather and our busy schedule have prevented us from really giving it a test but we have about 500 miles on it and couldn't be happier. It looks like we're going to have a break in the weather and I have some riding planned for the next week or so.

Linda and I continue to live happily ever after in El Dorado Hills. We have a busy 2010 of traveling planned.

January 3, 2010

Here we are in the new year already.

The holidays were very low key for us this year. Without kids around, we find the traditional Christmas celebrations don't seem to work for us. Instead, we quietly reflect on the past year's events and look forward to the next year. On Christmas Day we shared a meal with Linda's Dad and Marti. Linda's Dad remains in generally good health and is getting along fine with Marti's help.

I called my Dad on Christmas Day and he's also doing well. He had no complaints, seems in good health, and is enjoying life in Discovery Care. If I read between the lines a little, I get the idea he would enjoy a few more visits but he understands that everyone is busy living their lives. I hope to be doing as well 22 years from now.

All that being said about low key Christmas celebrations, we decided to give each other one HUGE GIFT. Unfortunately these photos weren't taken by me. Our new motorcycle is sitting in Texas waiting to be shipped next week. We purchased it from an eBay vendor sight unseen. We can't wait to see what shows up at our front door. We have several trips on this bike planned for 2010 - the biggee will be a trip this fall around the circumference of the United States. We want to hit New England in late September to see the fall colors. More to come ..........

We're contemplating a lot of travel in 2010 in addition to motorcycle rides. The only one cast in stone is a trip to Molokai - we'll leave here on February 5 and spend 8 days laying around on the beach.

On New Year's Eve, Bob & Donna and their grandson, Anthony came over and we awaited the new year by playing poker and discussing previous New Year celebrations we have shared. With very few exceptions we have ushered in the new year in the same way for the past 30 years or so.

Kyle was able to get home again. He's been waiting for a school to open up in Pensacola and the USMC was receptive to his request that he work with the local recruiter for a while. He had to pay his own transportation costs, but his time off didn't count against his leave time. Kyle's engagement is off. He and Brenda parted ways while he was home. It's a very tough time for him, but he seems to be coping very well.

December 8, 2009

We're in the midst of a cold snap here in El Dorado Hills - 27° at 8:00 PM. The low tonight is forecast to be 24°, but I'll bet it gets colder. We woke up yesterday to a couple of inches of snow and, up the hill not too far, people found a foot or more of the white stuff. We took a little drive yesterday afternoon and found plenty of snow less than 10 miles from home. We shot a few pictures - CLICK HERE to see them.

Kyle was home for a very short visit over Thanksgiving weekend. He was a very busy boy - he was here only four days and he traveled to Elko, NV to celebrate Thanksgiving with Brenda's family. Linda and I were able to have about an hour of conversation with him at a restaurant before he had to get back to Florida. He seems to be healthy and happy - he's put on about 20 pounds and he's filling out nicely. There is a backlog at his school and he's waiting for an opening so he can complete his training. In the meantime, he's completed some on-line training and doing some of the dirty work on base by standing guard duty and base cleanup. Not fun, but someone has to do it. I'm still not clear on his job, but my understanding is that he will be working on ordinance and helicopters.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Bob & Donna and their family. Jessica traveled to Portland to celebrate with Tyler and Dan joined Jeanne and her family. I called Dad and talked for almost an hour. He seemed in good spirits and had a lot of news of Bitterroot Valley goin's on. I decreased the frequency of my calls from every couple of weeks to every couple of months and it seems to have improved our conversations. We now have some news to share - it seemed before that nothing ever changed between calls.

Same old stuff with Linda and me - living the good life. We're traveling to Hawaii in early February and this cold snap makes us both ready to enjoy some time in the sun and on the beach. This trip promises to be very interesting - we're spending a week on Molokai, where lepers were banished and kept isolated until 1969. It's going to be a very restful week of laying around on the beach away from all the tacky, touristy junk found on the other islands.

November 15 , 2009

On November 11, my Mom's sister, Josephine Wirtz, passed away in her sleep. She was 86 years old. Her Obituary.
R.I.P. Aunt Jo.

Veterans' Day , 2009

Time is whizzing by ........ I can't believe I haven't updated this page for over a month.

First things first ........... Linda and I both want to thank our veterans for the life we are enjoying. We know it is they who are responsible for keeping us safe. THANK YOU.

Kyle has already completed his next phase of training with the Marine Combat Training Battalion - he graduated yesterday. Brenda surprised him by traveling to San Diego to be there and they spent a nice weekend together in Laguna Beach. I got a nice surprise this morning when Kyle called soon after his arrival in Florida where he will receive his MOS training at the Marine Aviation Training center in Pensacola. Apparently training is a little backed up and he's not sure when his training will begin. He's not 100% sure what his job will be, only that it will be in the general area of Marine Corps aviation. After 30 days of training he will be permanently assigned.

Linda and I traveled to Salt Lake City to help Linda's Uncle Lurlen and Aunt Janet celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary on November 7. We enjoyed a nice dinner with a bunch of nice people and Linda was able to visit with people she hadn't seen for a long time. We also enjoyed the drive - especially the "loneliest road in America".

Linda's trip to Italy was a huge success and she is still going through the hundreds of photos she took. I'll be posting them for general viewing when she finishes.

We continue to live happily ever after here in El Dorado Hills. I'm getting in plenty of motorcycle riding and exploring parts of California I didn't even know existed. Joining up with the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders was one of the best moves I've ever made.

If it wasn't for Obama and his crew trying to destroy our entire way of life, things would be perfect for us. He's already done permanent damage to the country. 2012 can't come soon enough. Hopefully, we can slow him up a little in 2010.

October 5 , 2009

On October 1-2, 2009, I was honored and privileged to witness 620 of America's finest young men bestowed with the title of United States Marine. They had just completed 13 weeks of the most intense military training available on the planet. Among these fine young men was our grandson, Kyle Printz - I think his Dad and Brother are very proud, as are we. CLICK HERE to see some photos and movie clips commemorating this event. He had a lot of family support - Debbie and Doug Ratkovich, Doug's mother and step-father, his girl friend Brenda and her Dad, friends of Debbie (Dawn and Greg) and yours truly traveled from all over to be there. I finally got to meet Brenda for more than a minute and she made a fan out of me. She and Kyle make a great couple.

Kyle is now on a 10-day leave before he has to report for his next training assignment. I'm hoping to isolate him for a day of shooting. He's going to be a busy fellow trying to meet with all his fans while he's home.

Unfortunately, Linda was unable to attend Kyle's graduation because she left for Italy the day before. Originally, Kyle would have completed boot camp in early September and Linda made her trip plans accordingly. The USMC, however, had other priorities and after her trip was paid for and cast in concrete, they delayed Kyle's entry a month and created the conflict.

Linda has a great trip planned and I'm looking forward to hearing about it when she returns home on October 14. Until then, I'm just hanging out waiting for Kyle and riding my motorcycle a lot. The weather has cooled off and it is perfect for riding - clear, sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s.

September 2, 2009

Today is a sad day in the Printz household. Our beloved cat, Pepper, has been in rapidly declining health and today we had to put her down. I can say without reservation that there aren't many people in the world whose passing would make me feel worse. Judging from Linda's mood, the same is true for her.

Pepper came to us in the summer of 1993. She was being given away by a bunch of kids in front of the local Safeway store. Debbie and Kyle, knowing of our recent loss of Sixpack, another great cat, accepted one of these kittens and gave her to us. In case anyone else has a similar idea this time, forget it - both of us have suffered enough loss in recent years and the loss of Pepper has hit both of us very hard. I'm not sure I have many of these losses left in me.

Pepper was a great cat. In the early days she was full of so much piss and vinegar she could hardly contain herself. I could go on and on .................... I'll just leave it at that. I've never been a cat person, however, Pepper became a real part of our family and we both loved her like the little daughter she was. Rest in Peace, Pepper.

August 20, 2009


To celebrate our 26th anniversary Linda and I traveled to Coos Bay, Oregon to attend a week-long Elderhostel program. We stayed at the dormitory of Southwestern Oregon Community College and we learned of the local geology from the college's geology professor by attending lectures and going on field trips to local geological sites. We also learned something about the early people that inhabited the region from the Director of Cultural Services of the Coquille Indian Tribe.

The highlight of the week was a jet boat ride on the Rogue River. We jetted 32 miles upstream to Lucas Lodge where we ate an old fashioned fried chicken dinner. We saw all kinds of wildlife and lots of interesting sights along the way - and that doesn't even count the fancy driving of our pilot.

Another highlight of the week, not too far behind the jet boat ride, was a dune buggy ride in the Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon.

CLICK HERE to see some of the photos we shot during the week.

FROM LINDA: Next week I am going to San Diego with a local travel group to do fun tourist things.  We will be visiting the Scripps Institute and Aquarium near La Jolla, and touring Coronado Island, La Jolla and Escondido.  We will be seeing "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at The Welk Resort and the San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido.  In addition, we will be eating at glamorous places like the Highway 101 Cafe, where the menu offerings include great burgers and real milk shakes; the top floor of the Hotel La Jolla where we'll enjoy a panoramic view of the ocean; and Peohe's right on the bay in Coronado.  Sounds good to me!"

Kathy and I will be traveling to Italy in October for 12 days.  In addition to Rome and Pisa, we will be visiting places we have never seen before like the Amalfi coast, southern Italy and Sicily.  The itinerary is quite comprehensive and we are anticipating seeing lots of great things.

Back to Me: Kyle graduates from USMC boot camp on October 2. Unfortunately, Linda made her plans to go to Italy and put up her money before Kyle's boot camp was set and she won't be able to go. I'm planning to ride my motorcycle down to San Diego to attend. I'm really looking forward to seeing him. Coincidentally, a group of riders I know is planning to leave from Ventura on October 3 to ride down to Cabo San Lucas. I'm going to meet up with them somewhere in the San Diego area and go on another adventure.

We've received only one letter from Kyle. He sounded upbeat and says everything is going well. He is much too busy to be writing his grandparents and I understand completely. He has his hands full doing his job.

July 27, 2009

I arrived home from the Great Divide Ride about 11:00 PM on July 18. After 17 days camping out on the trail, I was sure glad to get a decent shower and sleep in my own bed. The next day I didn't move out of the house except to get some breakfast. Linda was still in Montana and the house seemed very empty, but it was still good to be home. I spent the next few days unpacking and cleaning up my motorcycle and got started downloading photos and GPS tracks. It was a GREAT adventure and it will take me some time to get my photos organized and something written up. You can see our route on Google Earth by CLICKING HERE. Each day's route is indicated by a different colored line. Double-click on the day in the left panel to see that day's ride.

While I was gone, Linda kept amused. On July 2, she and Kathy traveled to San Francisco and went on a boat tour of San Francisco Bay. She took lots of photos, but is still working on them. On July 6, she and Kathy again drove to San Francisco, this time to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge - no reason; just that neither of them had done it before. It was a great day and Linda shot some great photos.

On July 11, she departed for Great Falls, Montana to attend an Elderhostel program. She learned about the Lewis & Clark expedition, Charlie Russell's art, and the Plains Indians culture and religion. Met some interesting people from across the U.S. and spent a couple of days with some old friends who live there. She arrived back home a couple of days after my return from the Great Divide Ride. We hadn't seen each other for 20 days which seemed like a very long time indeed.

On August 8, we are going on an Elderhostel program together. We'll drive up to Coos Bay Oregon and spend about a week learning about life on the beach. It promises to be an interesting, peaceful, cool week and we're both looking forward to it.

Kyle's Marine Corps boot camp is well underway - he reported for duty on July 6. I dashed off a letter as soon as I got home, but haven't received anything from him yet. I'm sure he'd welcome any mail - if you'd like his address, send me an email.

June 30, 2009

I just got home from having dinner with Kyle at Three Brothers' Restaurant. The next time I see him he will have graduated from Marine Corps boot camp. He reports to the local processing center Saturday and ships out to San Diego Sunday. I'm heading out of town on the Great Divide Ride tomorrow morning and our paths won't cross again until October. It was hard saying "Good Bye". It would be a gross understatement to say that I'm proud of that young man.

I'll be trying to keep up a blog on The Great Divide Ride. CLICK HERE for more info on the trip.

Linda will be leaving July 11th for her trip to Montana. She will be gone for 10 days and will spend most of the time on an Elderhostel program learning about the early, wild days of Montana. She'll be attending lectures, visiting museums, and taking a lot of interesting field trips. Some of the highlights include: the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, C. M. Russell Museum, Ulm Pishkun Buffalo Jump, Gates of the Mountains Boat Tour, evening Concert in the Park, and a visit to a Hutterite Colony. While she's in the area, she'll spend a couple of days visiting one of her oldest friends in Great Falls.

I've been laying kind of low the past couple of weeks finalizing my preparations for my big ride. Getting everything all packed, getting the bike in shape by getting it serviced, new brakes, new tires, and so on. I've also been playing a lot with the GPS getting all our routes ready to navigate.

Linda has been busy - She's been to San Franciso a couple of times in the past two weeks. She went to to see the opera of Porgy and Bess then returned to the city a week later to see Spamalot, a Monty Python production that sounds a lot like "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Sunday she went to the David Girard vineyards and heard selections from various operas. Today she went to the California Museum to see an exhibit called Lincoln's Legacy.

June 13, 2009

On June 6, 2009 Kyle graduated high school with the Golden Sierra High School "Class of 2009". The ceremony was held in Garden Valley, CA. Kyle's Aunt Kelly, Joe, August, Naomi, Aunt Hannah, and Gramma Linda traveled down from the Spokane area to watch Kyle receive his diploma. Also there were Kyle's Grampa Dwaine, Great Grampa & Gramma Stew and Evelyn, Aunt Julie, Garry, Chelsey, Ryker. Of course Debbie and Doug were also there. There were also several friends of the family from the Georgetown area that I don't know. Congratulations Kyle! PHOTOS

Linda returned home Wednesday night after spending 5 days touring the Pacific Northwest with Donna. She reports: "I had a great time on my trip to Portland, Victoria and Seattle. Saw the Portland Rose Parade and International Rose Test Garden, rode on a train and several ferries, toured Vancouver by double-decker bus, toured the Butchart Gardens and several of the San Juan Islands. Very nice, but I'm glad to be back home."

I have to admit that I'm also glad she's back home - this old house gets mighty lonely without her in it.

Only a little more than two weeks before I head south for the Great Divide Ride. For those who don't remember, this is 2400 miles of dirt roads and trails that roughly follow the continental divide from the Mexican border near Douglas, AZ to the Canadian border at Roosville, MT. I'll be gone for 19 days if everything goes as planned. My motorcycle is serviced up, I have new tires and brakes, I'm all packed up and ready to go. I can't seem to get going on any other projects - I'm just waiting, and waiting and waiting .................

While I'm on my little adventure, Linda is making a double purpose trip to Montana. She will be gone for 10 days and will spend most of the time on an Elderhostel program learning about the early, wild days of Montana. She'll be attending lectures, visiting museums, and taking a lot of interesting field trips. Some of the highlights include: the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, C. M. Russell Museum, Ulm Pishkun Buffalo Jump, Gates of the Mountains Boat Tour, evening Concert in the Park, and a visit to a Hutterite Colony. While she's in the area, she'll spend a couple of days visiting one of her oldest friends in Great Falls.

Kyle is spending his last days at home before reporting for Marine Corps boot camp on July 6. We're trying to sneak in a motorcycle ride together before we both head out, but the KZ1000 is currently in the shop with some valve problems. Our mechanic is tearing it down Monday and we have our fingers crossed that it will be something easy to fix.

June 8 , 2009

Linda and I wish to extend our condolences to our dear friend Bob Brown and his family on the passing of Bob's mother, Lorena Brown, 94, of Anderson who died Sunday, June 7, 2009 at her residence. May she rest in peace.

May 30 , 2009

Another busy month is coming to an end. We've spent the last three days going to graduation doin's.

Thursday night we went to Anthony Brown's high school graduation at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. Anthony was valedictorian of the 350 student "Class of 2009" of Center High School and as such, gave a speech in front of a huge audience. It was actually quite a speech and was well received.

Friday evening Debbie and Doug threw a barbeque style party for Kyle to celebrate his upcoming graduation and departure for Marine Corps boot camp in July. There was a great turnout and lots of good food. I forgot my camera but was able to use Debbie's camera to shoot a few photos of the folks that were there.

Today we went over to Bob & Donna's to Anthony's graduation party. Again, lots of folks showed up and there was too much food. Six of Anthony's classmates were also there - nice young men all. I forgot my camera again, but Linda remembered hers and took a few pictures.

I rode down to Castaic for the Rawhyde Adventure Rider Challenge on May 14 and spent 4 days camping out, riding, and watching the big boys put their Adventure Motorcycles through their paces. A lot of fun .... Photos.

Linda went on a magical mystery tour with Sports Leisure Vacations on May 7.  She traveled to Galt to tour a factory where Styrofoam columns and other building facades are made.  It was a very interesting tour.  Finding out that most of the gingerbread one sees on houses and buildings is actually Styrofoam was quite an enlightening experience.  Following that tour, the bus took them to Ione to tour the Prescott Castle which is a former reform school for boys.  It has been plundered and there is major damage to the structure inside and out, but a group of local folks are endeavoring to rehabilitate the building so it can be used for social events like catered dinners and weddings.  Afterwards they had lunch at the Twisted Fork restaurant on Main Street in Ione, which was more than satisfactory.  Then they headed out for a country ride to Clements where they stopped at a local fruit stand/shop.  Linda brought home cherries and nuts. Yum!  She said these were places she never would have gone to on her own, but having gone there on a mystery tour, it turned out to be a very interesting way to spend a day.
On May 15, Linda, Kathy and Cecelia went to the spring performance of the River City Chorale.  It was another fabulous show.  Linda can't get over how a group can come up with so many different ideas for shows year after year and have each new show be the best one yet. 
Linda went to a local playhouse production of Evita at the 24th Street Theater in downtown Sacramento on May 17.  She really enjoyed this production.  She has seen Evita several times and, again, it is fascinating to see how each time it is the same story and music, yet there are always unique touches to make it special.  At this performance, pictures of the real people, Eva and Juan Peron and others, were splashed on screens set up at the back of the stage set.  It was the perfect touch to make this performance unique.
On June 5, Linda and Donna are heading to Portland and Victoria for a Sports Leisure Vacations trip called "Everything's Coming Up Roses".  They will stay two nights in Portland and see the Grand Floral Parade, attend a concert in the park, and visit the International Rose Test Gardens.  They will then head north to Victoria, British Columbia, where they will be doing some touring by double-decker bus, visiting the Butchart Gardens, and enjoying High Tea at the Empress Hotel.  Heading south to the Olympic Peninsula, they will visit Sequim and Poulsbo, and then return home on June 10 from Portland.  Both of them are really looking forward to this little adventure.

April 30 , 2009

We're thinking of Kevin today, the 11th anniversary of his death. Linda and I went out to the cemetery around noon to pay our respects and leave a few flowers. As we walked out to the grave we saw Debbie there paying her respects and had a nice little visit with her. Kyle rode his Dad's KZ1000 out for a visit wearing his Dad's motorcycle helmet and leather jacket. I'll bet Kevin really liked that. CLICK HERE to read a little more of Kevin and his life.

April 16 , 2009

Dad celebrated his 90th birthday on March 7 with a little family get together at Discovery Care. On March 14, Kyle's Aunt Julie held a joint party to acknowledge several birthdays - Linda's, Kyle's, His Grandma Jane's, and mine. CLICK HERE to see some photos taken at the party. Check out the YouTube video at right to see Kyle enjoying the gift given to him by Garry and Julie - WOW!

On April 5, Linda traveled to Santa Cruz for a week-long retreat at the Land of Medicine Buddha where she took classes on healing the mind and body and developing a good heart. She practiced yoga and meditated every day, walked in the forest when it wasn’t raining, ate vegetarian meals, and attended classes on herbology, cooking with herbs, the healing properties of herbs, and aromatherapy. It was just what she needed - the relaxing atmosphere of the redwood forest away from the frantic demands of our society and the daily barrage of "the sky is falling" news. She came home relaxed and anxious to try out some of the new things she learned. I have to admit that I am enjoying the new smells around the house as she puts her new knowledge of essential oils and aromatherapy in practice.

In late March, I rode my motorcycle to southern California to join up with Rawhyde Adventures for a dual-purpose motorcycle trip they call the ride to Base Camp Alpha. I really enjoy these little adventures and this was no exception.

A week earlier I joined a pre-ride of the propose route for the Gold Country Dual Sport Rider's (GCDSR) March ride which was scheduled for March 21. Much to our surprise, we ran into quite a bit of snow at elevations under 4,000 feet. CLICK HERE to see some photos of a challenging couple of miles east of Georgetown just south of Wentworth Springs Road.

Saturday, the GCDSR is going out on their April ride and it promises to be a great one - I'm ready to go.

I'm still sorting through the 1600 photos we took on our cruise around South America. Sooner or later I'll have our route plotted on our Travelogues map and all the best photos available for viewing.

All is good in our world.

One little thing ............ Microsoft has released the latest and greatest version of their browser, IE 8. Unfortunately, in their infinite wisdom, they've decided to quit supporting certain behaviors of their previous versions. This causes me some minor problems. If you notice any of my web pages acting strangely, please email me and I'll try to fix them. I have over 2,000 pages on my site and can't possibly check every one. Thanks Microsoft.

March 1 , 2009

About a week ago, Linda and I returned from our greatest adventure together. The only other trip that even comes close was our Sea-to-Shining-Sea motorcycle trip in 2003. We flew to Florida, spent a few days exploring the area, then we boarded The Mariner of the Seas for a 46-day cruise around South America to Los Angeles. We traveled 19,775 miles, stopped in 15 of the world's most interesting places in 10 countries, crossing the equator twice along the way. I wrote a day-by-day journal of our adventure that you can see by CLICKING HERE.

Kyle's road trip to Washington was a success. He ran into a lot of snow, cold, and bad roads, but he was prepared and everything went OK. Kyle reports that he's getting all "A"s in this semester. He continues to prepare for Marine boot camp by driving to Placerville once a week for physical training with his fellow recruits.

Linda and I are making our travel plans for the year and it looks like its going to be a busy year. In late March I'm heading for southern California to participate in an off-road motorcycle trip, called the ride to Base Camp Alpha, sponsored by Rawhyde Adventures. In May, I'm tentatively planning to go to another Rawhyde Adventures event called Adventure Rider Challenge 2008. In July, I'm joining 11 other riders for the Great Divide Ride, 2400 miles of dirt roads and trails that roughly follows the continental divide from the Mexican border near Antelope Wells, NM to the Canadian border near Roosville, MT. My high school class of 1959 is holding a 50th anniversary celebration in Hamilton in September - I can't imagine not making that. I'm also thinking about a ride in South America from Santiago, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina the southernmost city in the world, in December, but I'm going to see how I survive the Great Divide Ride first. Ushuaia was one of the ports of call on the cruise we just finished.

Linda will be going to a week-long retreat in the Santa Cruz area in April and she and Kathy are planning a trip to southern Italy and Sicily in October. She's also thinking about driving up to Montana to visit friends in Great Falls while I'm on the Great Divide ride - this will be a surprise to the folks in Great Falls.

Linda celebrated a birthday on February 26, and in the next two weeks or so Kyle, Dad, and I will be another year older. Time continues its relentless march ......... it's getting harder to stay ahead of it.


December 29, 2008

We're thinking of Forrest today, his 13th birthday.

December 25, 2008

Linda and I planned to celebrate Christmas today by going to a movie and enjoying each other's company. When we arrived at the movie theater, it was swamped with people so we decided to go for a drive in the country instead. The countryside was really beautiful - a storm had dumped quite a bit of rain on the area overnight and everything was clean and bright.

Linda had her trusty camera in her purse and shot the photos in the window to the right. These photos can be viewed in full screen by clicking on the tool in the lower right hand corner of the window - first click on the arrow in the middle. To return to this page, click on the tool again.

Without any young children in either of our families, Christmas just isn't as fun as it used to be. After years of trying to find the perfect present for each other, we've kind of given up. Instead we spend the money on little shared adventures - a few days on the coast, or maybe a cruise around South America.

Our extended family got together on December 23 to share some food and company. Bob and Donna graciously hosted this event. We were lucky enough to see most of Paul's kids; Dan, Jessica and Brandon. Brandon was in the area visiting his Mom and grandparents in Grass Valley. Paul has a lot to be proud of; all of his kids have turned out to be fine young men and women. CLICK HERE to see a few photos of this gathering.

I called Dad this afternoon to wish him a Merry Christmas and we had a nice little chat. He seemed to be in good spirits and he's doing OK healthwise.

My motorcycle ride with Dave from Visalia was a success. From my end, we seem to be compatible travelers and I'm looking forward to going on many more rides with him and his friend, Jay. Unfortunately, I still haven't met Jay - one of his close friends died and he was unable to come with us. CLICK HERE to read all about our trip - and see a few photos.

Tomorrow, Kyle and a friend are leaving for a road trip to the Spokane area to visit his Grandma Linda Bridgeman and his Aunt Kelly. I have to admit that I tried to talk him out of it - the weather forecast isn't the greatest. I gave him plenty of advice about safe travel in the winter time and I also loaned him my GPS and my SPOT satellite messenger. I'll be having my fingers crossed - if you're reading this before January 5, 2009 you might also cross your fingers on his behalf. If you'd rather say a prayer, that might work, too.

Linda and I are making our travel plans for 2009 - it looks like a busy year for both of us.

December 7, 2008

Today is the 67th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Our local rag, the Sacramento Bee has a single story of an observance in Hawaii - it's buried on page 12. Even the remembrance ceremony in Hawaii seems a little lame - its title is "Pacific War Memories: The Heroic Response to Pearl Harbor" and it focuses on the months following the attack; not the attack itself.

Friday, the Mountain Democrat published a story about the three remaining survivors of the Placerville chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Even before all the players are gone, the arbiters of political correctness have relegated their great experience to history's trash heap. Somehow it seems disrespectful to me. It's also a little disconcerting that an event that happened in my lifetime already seems to be ancient history.

Linda, Kathy, and Marty are keeping busy trying to take in every Christmas event in the area. Friday they attended a concert put on by the River City Chorale. As I write this, she, Kathy and some other friends are enjoying a youth symphony Christmas program at the Sacramento City Library.

We celebrated a very low key Thanksgiving this year. Lester, Bob, Donna, Anthony, Dan and Jeanne joined us for dinner and conversation. Click on the arrow symbol to see the photos we shot. You can view them one at a time or you can click on the arrow symbol in the lower, left corner to start a slideshow. If you click on the control in the lower, right corner, you can view them in full screen mode.

Tomorrow I'm off for a week-long motorcycle ride with a fellow named Dave that I met this summer at the Rawhyde Adventure Challenge and one of his buddies, Jay. We're all spending tomorrow night at Dave's house in Visalia and heading out Tuesday morning on our little adventure. CLICK HERE to see our proposed route - I'm guessing we'll also be doing some ad hoc riding along the way. We'll return to Visalia Friday afternoon. I'll spend the night at Dave's house and head for home Saturday, December 13.

When I get home, I'm going to have to get cracking. Time is getting short for our big 46 day cruise around South America. We board a plane for Florida on December 31 - I can't say I'm looking forward to the flight, but I am looking forward to the cruise. Linda has set up 10 shore excursions including snorkeling in the Bahamas, visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, hiking to geoglyphs in Chile, and many other interesting tours of cities and sites from the early 1500s ........... and she's not finished.

November 17, 2008

Linda returned Saturday night from her "Christmas on the Biltmore Estate" trip to North Carolina and Tennessee.  She and Kathy flew to Knoxville, drove to Asheville, NC and spent 3 days at the Biltmore Estate and drove back to Knoxville.  On the drive to and from Asheville, they stopped at Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Cades Cove, Chattanooga, Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain and some of the local museums and other tourist attractions along the way.  CLICK HERE to see some of the photos she took. 
The weather around here has really been great and while Linda was gone on her trip to North Carolina I took my motorcycle and camera out for a little day trip. It was another great ride - lots of small, single lane roads that are often referred to as "goat trails" that were built in days gone by.  Most of them were paved once upon a time, but not much maintenance has been done in the past 50 years or more.  Some of the roads were gravel and I even encountered a couple of small stream crossings - no bridges - just drive through the water and mud.  A couple of these roads crossed areas with cattle grazing and there were a couple of gates that had to be opened and closed on the way through.  About the only living things I saw, other than a few people in the little towns, were many deer, many cattle and a few dogs.  CLICK HERE to see my photos and some GOOGLE mapping stuff.

October 28, 2008

Things continue to go well here in sunny California - the horrible economy and the frightening prospects likely in the upcoming election notwithstanding.

Linda and Kathy are driving to Petaluma tomorrow, picking up Barbara and heading for San Francisco to spend another day enjoying the city. While she's in the city, she's going to the Brazilian Embassy to get our passports for our upcoming cruise. Apparently there's no way to get a passport without visiting their embassy in person. I'm heading out on my motorcycle again. I haven't decided where I'm going but I really don't care - as long as I'm heading down the road.

Linda and Kathy will be heading for North Carolina to spend the week of November 10 taking in "Christmas at the Biltmore". I originally had planned a motorcycle ride with a couple of fellows I met at the Rawhyde Adventure Challenge, but it keeps getting pushed down the calendar for a variety of reasons, so I'll be scoping out something for me to do that week.

Last week I went out on two rides. Wednesday, I went out by myself and explored the area around Union Mine Reservoir, Ice House Reservoir and Wright's Lake. I found myself looking out over thousands of square miles from the Big Hill lookout - very cool. CLICK HERE to see some photos I shot that day.

Saturday I joined the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders exploring some of the country between Hwy 20 and Hwy 49 including Bowman Lake. We covered many miles of dirt roads - some of it a little challenging. I'm always amazed at the mountains around here - despite all the newspaper articles about the rape of the Sierra, things seem to look remarkable healthy out there. I see thousands of trees out there that wouldn't look out of place in a redwood grove. CLICK HERE to see photos from this ride.

Kyle seems to be doing real well. He has two jobs; he's a dishwasher part-time in a local restaurant and he's working some construction after school and weekends. We met for a hamburger the other day and he showed me his new car. It looks really nice - a 1990 BMW 325i convertable. I wouldn't mind having it myself.

October 18, 2008

On Thursday, we took Lester out to dinner at Black Angus to help him celebrate his 82nd birthday. He has a few health issues, but all in all he seems to be pretty well. Marti is doing a fine job keeping him on the straight and narrow.

As I make this entry, Linda is out with her friend, Kathy enjoying an Organ Spectacular. The American Guild of Organists has designated 2008-2009 as the International Year of the Organ and they are encouraging all of their chapters, plus all of their partner organizations from throughout the world, to plan a concert or recital today to honor the King of Instruments. I'll be curious to see if she was impressed.

Linda and Kathy are keeping plenty busy taking part in local activities and events. A couple of days ago they spent the day in Apple Hill with Marty. On Wednesday they are traveling to San Francisco to tour Mare Island with a local outfit called Sports Leisure Travel and a week from Wednesday they are again traveling to San Francisco with another friend, Barbara. Linda is also taking some local tours on her own with Sports Leisure Travel - last week she found out about a local area called Gold Hill.

My main interest continues to be dual sport motorcycling - I'm getting my money's worth out of my BMW. Last weekend I joined six other fellows from the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders in riding to Topaz, CA to take part in an event to explore the back country in the area.  It turned out to be a little more than any of us bargained for - the first snow storm of the year decided to follow us all the way over and left some of it's product to challenge us on our weekend ride.  Although we all got plenty cold and the conditions were less than ideal, we all had a great time.  I'm sure some of the local motorcycle dealers are going to be happy to replace all the broken mirrors, turn signals, and plastic parts that fell victim to some of the crashes.  In case you're wondering, I was able to stay upright during the entire weekend. CLICK HERE to see my photos.  Also, if you click on some of the "map" links on the thumbnails you can see where the photos were taken - if you click on the Google Earth link you can see our route.

Next weekend the GCDSR heads for the Nevada City area to explore some of the area's fire roads and I'll be coming along. This ride is advertised as including some areas 'not for beginners'. Those kinds of statements always make me a little nervous. We'll see how it goes.

We ran into Doug Ratkovich the other day at Three Brothers' Restaurant and had a nice little chat. He, Debbie, and Kyle are keeping busy and everything is going OK. We don't hear much from Kyle lately - he's a busy fellow. Doug reports that he has a new job - in construction, I think. He also sold his Cherokee and bought a 1991 BMW car which he likes a lot.

October 5, 2008

R.I.P. Dell Fields

September 22 , 2008

We just returned from a short visit with the people in Montana. I'm happy to report that all seems to be well up there and everyone looked healthy and happy. Dad continues to amaze us. He is doing very well at Discovery Care - other than having to rely on a walker to get around, he is in excellent health. He is in good spirits and seems to know everyone in the place. As we walked down the hall on our way to lunch, he exchanged greetings and jokes with almost everyone.

We got to spend some time with Dad, Paul & Jean, Sandi & Pete, and Ken & Sharon. Sandi & Pete are new grandparents. On September 8, 2008, Kyla Hazyll Clarkson was born to Jim and Holly in Nebraska.

Jay, unfortunately was out of town and we missed him this time. We were unsuccessful in getting hold of Janie also and I guess we'll just have to catch up with them another time.

The trip went really well. I tracked our mileage on the way north and our Toyota averaged 38.2 mpg for 918 miles. Not bad considering that I never missed an opportunity to drive 70 mph. Strangely, we paid the lowest price, $3.65 per gallon, for gasoline for our first tank of gas in California. Prices rose about 10 cents in Nevada and much of Idaho had prices over $4.00. Things got more reasonable, around $3.73, in Montana, but we didn't match the $3.65 price until we returned home. Very strange indeed - gasoline is usually about 30 cents a gallon more expensive down here.

The weather was perfect ......... I was struck by how wet the west seemed this time, especially this late in the summer. All the streams and rivers seemed to have plenty of water in them and everything seemed lush and green. Even most of the Fire Danger signs were pointing to the green side.

I'm still getting lots of enjoyment out of my motorcycle. On the weekend of August 21 I joined Rawhyde Adventures in an event they called "The Dog Days of Summer."  We met up in Bridgeport, which is not too far north of Mono Lake, and spent a couple of days camping out and exploring the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. I went beserk locating all my photos with Google Mapping products - you can see my photos by CLICKING HERE. I'll be heading back over to that area with another group on October 10 to continue my explorations.

Linda and I will be taking a "Trip of a Lifetime" in early 2009. On December 31, 2008 we're flying to Orlando and a few days later we're boarding a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The next 46 days will be spent cruising down the east side of South America, through the Straits of Magellan, and back up the west side of South America to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles we're renting a car and driving back home. To say that we're both looking forward to this adventure would be a gross understatement. Along the way the ship will be putting in at many exotic ports and we'll see places I would have never dreamed of.

In January and February of 2010 I'll see the Straits of Magellan from another angle. I've signed up for an adventure motorcycle trip that will begin in Santiago, Chile and continue 5,000 miles south to Tierra del Fuego. I must say that I'm a little apprehensive, but I'm getting a little old to be putting these things off. CLICK HERE to see what the trip is all about.

August 31, 2008

Ten years ago today, Forrest passed away. I try to imagine what he might be like at 12 years of age.

August 15, 2008

Today is Kevin's 45th birthday - he is in our thoughts today.

Linda and I celebrated our 25th anniversary on August 6 and had quite an evening. We usually keep our celebrations small and when Linda's Dad invited us out to dinner we were expecting a quiet dinner with Les, Marti, and Bob & Donna. Unbeknownst to us several other people were also invited and when they all showed up, Linda and I were both floored. Dan was there with his friend Jeannie - they look like an item to me. Jessica was there, and Kyle, and Debbie, and Doug. The food was excellent and it was nice talking to all these folks we don't see every day. Click Here to see a few photos we managed to shoot.

Somehow on our anniversary, we always seem to find our way to the coast. I don't think we plan it, but we always seem to wind up there. On August 10 we got up fairly bright and early and headed for the coast. Tomales Bay was the first ocean water we say as we arrived at Point Reyes. We spent the rest of the day wandering up Highway 1 and stopped in Fort Bragg where we got a room at the Surf Motel. The next day we searched the coast looking for a place to hang out and enjoy the ocean. We finally found the perfect spot at Mackerricher State Park where we spent the rest of the day sitting on the sand reading and watching and listening to the waves crash on the beach. It was a very, very good day. We stayed one more night at the Surf Motel and the next day we wandered home via Hwy 20 through Marysville and took the back roads home. We had some fun with Linda's GPS as we left Marysville - she told it to take us home and avoid highways. We zigged and zagged all over the place and saw lots of farm country and many small towns we had never heard of. We eventually skirted the north side of the greater Sacramento area through Elverta, Antelope, Roseville, Citrus Heights, and Folsom before finally getting home. GPSs are really quite marvelous and fun things. Click Here to see the photos we took along the way.

The Printz KZ1000 was handed over to Kyle about a month ago. If you're unfamiliar with the story, Click Here. You might want to click anyway .......... there are photos of Kyle with his new motorcycle along with photos of the KZ1000 during its days with Ken, Jay, Kevin, and me. Unfortunately, Kyle is having a few problems with the motorcycle at the moment. There is some kind of intermittant wiring problem - we thought we had it fixed but it died on him again a couple of days ago. He's taking it in to John Proto for a look - hopefully it's in the shop as I type.

July 8 , 2008

Today is Wayne's birthday and it is also the 6th anniversary of his death. He is in our thoughts today and we're headed out to the cemetery later this afternoon.

It is very miserable around here. The smoke situation cleared up for a couple of days but then it returned in spades. On top of that, temperatures around 110° are forecast for the next three days. We're not planning to get out of the house much.

The June ride of the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders turned out to be a little more adventure than anyone bargained for. CLICK_HERE to see a brief write up.

I had cataract surgery yesterday and things looked good this morning at the post-operation checkup. I'll be laying low for the next few weeks. It's just as well - the smoke and heat don't inspire us to do much anyway. Thank God for air conditioning, computers and TV.

Yesterday was Bob and Donna's 35th Anniversary - Happy Anniversary, guys.

June 26, 2008

Smoke gets in your eyes.Smoke gets in your eyes.

Last weekend a lightning storm whipped through northern California and ignited over 800 fires ... 5 days later over 700 still burn. As luck would have it, there is a delta breeze blowing all the smoke into the Sacramento area and points east. It is so miserable that Linda and I are just hiding out in the house with the windows closed and the air on. We thought about getting out of town but we'd have to drive for many hours to escape - we saw photos from Lake Tahoe that weren't much better than what you see here. We thought about going to the coast, but it's a day's drive over there. And then there's the cat ..

Linda and I shared a hamburger with Kyle the other day. He seems happy and prosperous. His school work has improved this year and he reports that he just missed having a 3.0 average last semester.

Linda has been hanging out at the Sacramento Monarchs' home games - the next one is Tuesday, July 1.

I'm scheduled to have cataract surgery on July 7. I'm looking forward to some clear vision in my right eye. I've been on a few solo motorcycle rides (before the smoke) and I'm planning to go out Sunday with the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders. We're going to take dirt roads from Foresthill to the Tahoe area and explore some abandoned railroad tunnels along the way. Sounds fun.

June 13 (Friday), 2008

Linda and I have each exhausted our respective travel budgets for the year and are now enjoying life hanging around the house.  We plan to spend a lot more time around the pool than we have in years past.

Linda's May 10 - 27 trip to Wales was a real success.  She and Kathy arranged a tour with a local company that included only four guests.  They also had a guide and a driver with lots of flexibility in both schedule and itinerary.  Click Here to see some photos and a map of their travels. 

While Linda was in Wales, I took about 10 days and rode my motorcycle to Castaic, CA to watch a competition among Adventure Motorcyclists.  I spent a leisurely three days wandering down the coast to southern California, then camped out four days near Castaic and took in the event.  On the way home, I spent another three days riding through Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.  Click Here to see a brief write-up with photos.

On June 6 - 9, I returned to the Castaic area to attend a class in operating  "Adventure Motorcycles".  This was a real 'adventure' and I think I gained a few new skills in addition to having a great time.  Click Here to see a few photos from the class.

Memorial Day , 2008

On this Memorial Day, maybe you can take some time to think about the people who have made our way of life possible. Click Here to view a list of the soldiers from our family ..... A special thanks to Paul, Jay, Ken and Pete who fought for us in Viet Nam, Steve Clarkson who fought in Operation Desert Storm, and Daniel Owens who was wounded in an I.E.D. attack in Iraq on 8/10/2007.

I'm about ready to fire up Kevin's old KZ1000 and take a ride out to the cemetery for a visit. I guess I'm still in denial. He's in my thoughts every day and I still look forward to visiting with him. I haven't a doubt that someday we'll meet up again. Funny thoughts for a guy that has always been an unbeliever - and still am for that matter.

Linda is due home tomorrow. I don't mind telling you that I'll be happy to see her. This house is very empty without her around and I'm about ready to go stir crazy. Bob and Donna invited me over for dinner last night and that was a welcome change to sitting around trying to amuse myself. I wonder if Bob and Donna know how much a part of our lives they are - I consider them as close as my siblings.

April 30 , 2008

Today is the 10th anniversary of Kevin's death - We'll be thinking of him today. Rest in peace, buddy.

April 27 , 2008

It's been another long time between updates - our retirement duties continue to keep us busy.

Jay and Janie dropped in Thursday - they were in town to spend some time with Janie's daughter and grandson. We went out to breakfast and had a good visit with them. Somehow nobody remembered to snap a photo to document their visit. I'm really slacking in my duties.

Linda is leaving for Wales May 10 and she's getting ready to travel. In the meantime, Linda and Kathy are keeping very busy around the area.

On March 19 she Went to San Francisco with Kathy and Barbara.  They had lunch at the St. Francis Hotel, rode cable cars around all afternoon, wandered around Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.  Had a great day acting like tourists ... Click for photos.

On April 5, she and Kathy visited the Ironstone Winery near Murphys and spent a leisurely day exploring the grounds ... Click for photos.

On April 20, she and Kathy enjoyed a Day of Jazz, first at the Sacramento Central Library and then at the Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church.

On April 22, Linda's razoo, new GPS arrived and the next day it guided her and Kathy to Barbara's house in Petaluma and the three of them spent the day at the COPIA Museum in Napa.

In her spare time, Linda is learning the game of golf with Kathy. She's been practicing at the driving range and has now actually played a round of golf. In the next couple of days, they are going to play another 9 holes.

While Linda's in Wales, I'll be riding to Castaic, north of Los Angeles, to attend the Adventure Riders' Challenge. I'm going to be camping out for 5 days which should be interesting since I haven't camped in about 10 years. In preparation, I've spent the last couple of weeks reconfiguring my motorcycle to pack more gear - I wasn't too happy with my setup for the Alaska trip.

Paul is planning to drive down to see Jessica compete in a track meet on the weekend of May 10. It's going to be touch and go whether we'll have a chance to meet up. Linda will be flying out on May 10 and I'm heading south on May 12. I'm hoping our schedules mesh up for a couple of hours at least.

Yesterday I went out on another ride with the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders. This time we explored lots of backroads north of Coloma to Georgetown then to Foresthill and north to the Interstate. This was a very cool ride - we crossed the various forks (South, Middle, and North) of the American River 5 times. Three of those time we dropped down into the canyon on a steep, narrow, poorly maintained, dirt road, crossed the river on a rickety, one-lane bridge and climbed back out of the canyon on another steep, narrow, poorly maintained, dirt road. Unfortunately I have no photos - this group keeps moving and I didn't want to stop for a photo and fall behind. (Note 4/29/08 - I found a couple of photos from the ride posted on the GCDSR web site). There are even a few shots of me - that's me in the red jacked crossing Weber Creek. If you'd care to view our route in Google Earth, CLICK HERE.

There's an intersting story here ......... BMW Steve, the fellow that led yesterday's ride, was checking out his route last week and stopped in Georgetown for lunch at Worton's Market, where Kyle works. Kyle noticed Steve's motorcycle and commented that his grampa had one just like it. Steve asked what his grampa's name was and when Kyle told him, it sounded familiar so he checked the GCDSR web site and found me out. He then sent an email telling me the story and asked me to introduce myself at the ride. I did and we had a nice little talk - great guy!

Some other events of significance this month were:

On March 23 we had a little celebration of Easter .. Click for photos.

On April 10 we had Bob and Donna over to celebrate Donna's 60th .. Click for photos. I also put together a Power Point Presentation in honor of her birthday. This is over 5 MB, so make sure you have a good connection before you check it out.

On April 17 I went to a retirement luncheon for Leland Ho, a coworker of years past. It was good seeing all the people - some of whom I hadn't seen for 9 years. Everyone seems to be holding up OK, although we have lost a couple.

March 16 , 2008

It's been a pretty busy month. We've had four birthdays; Linda's on February 26 (Photos), Dad's on March 7, Kyle's on March 13 (Photos), and mine on March 14 (Photos). We had a little get-together to celebrate each of the local events.

A couple of weeks ago, Dad had a fall that resulted in a broken hip. He was taken to Missoula and surgery was performed to pin the break - my understanding is that it was all routine and he was soon back home. He's scheduled for a follow-up with the surgeon in the next few days.

Linda and I are keeping very busy with our pursuits. Linda and Kathy went to a play called "Greater Tuna" - it was just plain silly, but lots of fun. They also went to a performance of the River City Chorale, a group of local singers - some of Linda's friends, including Marty and Paul, perform with this group. Linda and Kathy also traveled to San Francisco and saw lots of steeples and stained glass on a tour of San Francisco churches and temples. (Photos)

I went out with the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders, again. This time the ride included lots of local dirt/gravel roads and was much more interesting. A forecast storm kept the group down to nine starters and a little water crossing pruned us down to seven finishers. CLICK HERE if you have Google Earth. By the way ..... I"m the guy in the red coat, taking a bath at the water crossing. It there's any doubt, though, I WAS one of the seven finishers.

This little mishap convinced me that maybe I could know more about how to handle my motorcycle under less than ideal conditions so I signed up for a couple of classes/clinics in dual-sport motorcycle riding. Yesterday I completed my first class, the "Big Bike Clinic" put on by Rob Rickert at Prairie City OHV Park. (Photos). In June, I'm going to travel to Castaic, CA for more advanced training in a three-day Adventure Camp given by RawHyde Adventures. In May, while Linda is off to Wales, I'm going to get a little taste of what RawHyde Adventures is all about by going to their second annual Adventure Rider's Challenge - this is a competition of dual-sport motorcyclists. I'm just going to go watch and participate in a little ride for the more challenged riders. If you're interested, take a look at RawHyde Adventures website.

February 13, 2008

We've been laying pretty low due to a very wet January. February, however, is a very different matter. The past week or so has seen fantastic weather, a little cool but clear skies and lots of sun. The past couple of days are even better with temps near 70°.

A month or so ago, I stumbled onto the web site of a group called the Gold Country Dual Sport Riders. It is a group of people in my immediate area that enjoy the same kind of motorcycling I do - it is called Dual Sport Riding by some, Adventure Riding by others. We like to ride all kinds of roads; however, most of us have motorcycles that are capable of riding some pretty rough terrain and we search out an adventure from time to time. Sunday, I went on their regular monthly ride - this time all pavement down the Sacramento River Delta. The meeting place is 5 minutes from my front door. I had no idea there were so many folks doing what I do - the group is 400 members strong and 65 riders showed up for the February ride. All seemed like nice folks and the four or five I spent time with could easily be good friends. I wore a cheapo helmet camera on the ride and put together this video - it's 10 minutes long. I also used my GPS to show our route on Google Earth - CLICK HERE if you have Google Earth on your computer.

Linda has taken up golf. Her friend Kathy is an avid golfer - she recently retired and is going to show the game to Linda. I'm not sure if I should be afraid or not. Linda and Kathy have finalized a trip to Wales in May - they've already put their money down so it looks like a go for sure.

Linda, Kathy, and a new traveling companion, Melva are traveling to North Carolina in November to see the Biltmore Mansion in all its Christmas glory.

Linda also recently completed a great writeup of her trip to Scandinavia last summer. If you'd like an interesting read, CLICK HERE - lots of photos are included.

I am now in rehab for my torn rotator cuff. I saw a surgeon a couple of weeks ago and he thought it was healing nicely - no need to cut in there. It seems really slow to me - going on four months now and I'm still only about 50%. No karate, very little exercise and riding the motorcycle gets painful after an hour or so - getting old ain't for sissies. .

Oh ........ Kyle had quite a week last week - he got his full driver's license, got a job, and got a car - a 1989 Jeep Cherokee. Three of life's major rites of passage in as many days. It looks like his life is going to take a big turn.

January 1, 2008

We celebrated Christmas by spending Christmas Eve with Bob & Donna and some of their family. Christmas Day, Linda's Dad and Dan came over to our house for dinner and a visit. All very low key. ........... but nice.

Bob and Donna and Anthony were over yesterday afternoon and stayed with us to welcome in the new year. We had a good visit and Donna and I financed our traditional poker game.

Today, Linda and I went out to the cemetery to put out Forrest's birthday flowers. Someone had been there before us and left a candy cane.

Linda and I are both hiding out from the cool weather and spending a lot of time on the computer. I've been playing around with Google Mapping and finding lots of interesting features. I'm also checking out potential motorcycle trips for this summer. Linda is planning a trip to Wales in May 2008 and is doing a lot of research in preparation for her trip.

I go on a motorcycle ride here and there, but the weather is very cool and the days are short. The doctor tells me that my rotator cuff is mending without surgery, but the healing is slow and I'm still a loooooong way from being 100%.

The weather people are predicting a series of storms that will hit here Thursday and drop 5 or 6 inches of rain in the valley and up to 10 feet of snow in the mountains before it departs on Sunday. They say it will be the biggest storm in a decade .......... we'll see how that works out

December 29, 2007

Today would have been Forrest's 12th birthday - he is in our thoughts today. We planned a trip to the cemetery to put out some flowers, but didn't go because of the weather.

December 9, 2007

Not much going on here in Northern California. We had a small get together for Thanksgiving. This year Linda and Donna decided to take the day off with the rest of us and we traveled to Thunder Valley Casino for Thanksgiving dinner. A nice change of pace.

I've been laid up some with a torn rotator cuff. The doctor wants to give it 6 weeks to see if it'll heal on its own - if not, I guess the other option is surgery. December 19 is checkup day and it doesn't seem to be healing that well - getting old ain't for sissies. I'm still able to take a motorcycle ride here and there, but it took a couple of weeks before I could even get the bike off its center stand.

Linda's been making a lot of day trips to various events: Apple Hill, River City Chorale, Sneak preview of the movie "Love in the Time of Cholera" are a few that come to mind. Monday she's headed for Pier 39 in San Francisco. She decided that a career at Target wasn't for her and she's now thinking of starting a small pet sitting business that will enable her to control her workload and hours.

Dad seems to be doing well in Discovery Care - I call every couple of weeks and he always seems in good spirits and has plenty to say.

We finally had some wintry weather blow through, dropping some much needed rain in the valley and some good snow in the mountains. Linda and I took a drive up the hill to play in the snow. Check it out.

November 18, 2007

Our neighbor and dear friend, Sally Lauridsen, passed away early this morning. Sally was a delight to be around we'll all miss her - including Pepper. Rest in Peace, Sally.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to her family.

November 11 , 2007

Jay sent me a link a couple of days ago that made me stop and think a little longer about the people responsible for the great life I am able to enjoy. Check out "A Pittance of Time".

Our society seems to forget that it owes its very existence to The Soldier.

There are many members of our family who are among this elite group. You might want to look one up and say "Thank You". Our Family's Veterans.

October 25 , 2007

We made the trip to Montana for Nicole's wedding. It was a nice ceremony and very well attended. Dan, her new husband, seems like a very nice fellow and they make a handsome couple. Photos

Dad had just moved from the facility in Stevensville to Discovery Care in Hamilton the day we arrived in Hamilton so he wasn't exactly settled in. I hope this works out for everyone involved. I can see and understand all the arguments for and against such a move - in the end, the decision was Dad's and I can support it.

As usual, we took a lot of photos on our drive. CLICK HERE to see them.

Not much excitement around here. We've had a couple of storms already this year and have seen some rain in the valley and snow in the mountains. Right now and for the past week or so, the weather has been perfect - clear skies with temps in the 70s. I'm planning a motorcycle ride in the Sierra this weekend.

Fall is really a pleasant time in our part Northern California. Linda and a friend made a trip to Apple Hill and returned with many apples, apple pie, and garden sculptures. This Sunday she'll be traveling to San Francisco to see an opera.

Usually, this time of year, we take a drive to the mountains to enjoy the fall colors. This year we decided instead to record the autumn sights in our own neighborood. Fall Colors in EDH. We observed several elaborate Halloween displays in peoples' front yards. I took a whole series of shots of the best one and created this composite view - zoom in and out with the mouse wheel, grab and drag to pan around. It might ask you to download a plugin.

Linda's dad continues to amaze. He just passed 81 years of age this month and so far he's been too busy to celebrate it. Next week he's off to Clear Lake. We're taking him out to dinner on November 7, almost a month late.

September 25 , 2007

Linda and I continue to live happily ever after in El Dorado Hills. Linda is enjoying her job at Target and her volunteer work with the local Senior Nutrition Center. I'm enjoying all my usual activities. The weather has been perfect lately and I've been giving both motorcycles plenty of exercise.

We don't see much of Kyle since they moved up to Georgetown, but he reports that he's happy with his new school environment and things are going well for him. He's made some new friends and he likes his teachers. He's looking forward to being able to drive. He received his learner's permit over the summer and will be getting his license in October. He can then start working on getting his motorcycle endorsement and going on a few rides with me on his Dad's KZ1000.

Linda and I are headed for Montana this week to attend Nicole's wedding. It will be good to see everyone.

Dad moved into a rest home environment a couple of weeks ago. This will be a big adjustment for everyone .... most of all for Dad.

September 11 , 2007 - Six years Later

It seems that some of us have forgotten already. The Sacramento Bee had a couple of lame stories buried on page A7 - other than that, not a single word.


In case you have, here are a couple of links you might want to check out. It heartens me a little to see that most of these links are very slow to open - could it be that too many people are watching? One can only hope.

Lest we forget

August 31 , 2007

Today is the ninth anniversary of Forrest's death, another day that's hard for us to forget. Linda and I went out to the cemetery to visit with him and leave a few fresh flowers.

Linda has completed a week of training for her new job with Target. Next week they begin stocking their new store.

Not much else going on. I'm back in my regular routine and enjoying life in California. We're planning to motor up to Montana for Nicole's wedding on September 29. Linda is planning another trip to Europe for next summer - this time it looks like Wales. I haven't started to think about my next adventure - I just finished writing up my Alaska trip a couple of days ago.

August 14 , 2007

Linda went out this morning and came back home with a job!

A couple of days ago, we noticed that the new Target store in our area is getting set to open in October and they were hiring up. She mentioned that she might check into getting a part-time job to help finance her travels. She talked about it from time to time since, but I didn't REALLY thing she'd do it. WELL SHE HAS DONE IT and right now she's out taking her mandatory drug test. She plans to work about 20 hours a week starting the middle of October. She'll be a sales person in women's clothing. She's really excited and upbeat about it.

Linda has really bounced back from her surgery. She says she feels better than she has in years and she looks it.

Kyle will be starting school in the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow we're getting together to spend some time - I'm looking forward to it.

Linda and I are both keeping busy with our retirement duties. I guess Linda will have to let some of her retirement duties slip so she can begin her work duties. I, however, will continue to devote all my time to my retirement tasks.

I've received word that my cousin Kelly's son, Daniel has been injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He is being treated for a shattered lower leg and concussion, but the prognosis is good. Some of his buddies in the vehicle weren't so lucky and suffered more serious injuries. Nobody, however, was killed. A fellow named Ben, however, was badly injured and is in ICU. He lost an eye and my also lose a leg. Your prayers and good thoughts for these people would be appreciated. They are giving their all so we can enjoy our way of life.

Tomorrow is Kevin's 44th birthday. Thoughts of him always rise to the front of my mind this time of the year.

July 26, 2007

I must say .......... IT'S REALLY GOOD TO BE HOME! In our travels this year, Linda and I have both come to realize how much we like it here in El Dorado Hills. A few months ago, we were talking about cashing out and moving somewhere else - now that seems out of the question. We both wonder what we could have been thinking about back then. Maybe it was just the winter blahs. Right now, this looks like our home for many years to come.

Linda noticed a lump in her throat while I was returning from Georgia and wound up having half her thyroid removed a couple of days ago. She's recovering well and should be nearly 100% in a week or so.

Kyle is spending a couple of weeks visiting with the folks in Hamilton - he's staying with Dad, Paul, and Brandon. I talked to him the other day and he seems to be enjoying his visit.

Not much else to report. Linda and I are both still working on our photos and trip reports. I'm caught up on all my chores that have been sliding while I've been riding and it looks like Linda is caught up as well.

July 16, 2007

I arrived home from my motorcycle ride to Alaska about 12:30 pm Thursday, July 12. I have to admit it is good to be home. Since then, I have been unable to accomplish anything except to wait for Linda to return. This morning she finally arrived home from Scandinavia.

We shared a few of our trip highlights with each other, and went out to lunch where we chatted some more. When we got back home about 3:00 pm, Linda laid down for a nap and she is still sawing logs at 11:00 pm. I guess jet lag has finally caught up with her.

We will both soon be sorting out photos and writing up accounts of our trips. I would expect it will be several weeks before we have anything other than a few photos.

Linda reports that her trip was everything she hoped for and more.

Truthfully, my trip was a little disappointing. I was expecting some high adventure and all I found was a very enjoyable, very long (8966 miles), very expensive motorcycle ride. I have read and heard so many war stories about the Dalton Highway and the road from Tok to Dawson City that I was even a little worried about making it. I needn't have worried - I didn't even encounter anything to get my adrenaline up. I was prepared for some extremely cold weather - other than a few rainy days in Canada and a couple of days around Prudhoe Bay, the weather wasn't much different than you'd find in Montana. I was prepared for some very tough roads - all I saw was lots of good gravel with a few rough spots and a little mud. The only thing I can figure is that all the horror stories are written/told by people who haven't ridden off the pavement much, are riding the wrong kind of motorcycle, and/or have the wrong kind of tires. Also, I may have been a little lucky in the weather department.

I will never again complain about the cost of living in California. Canada and Alaska are in a whole different league - especially Canada. Motel rooms costing from $106 to $141 for a single, gasoline prices ranging from $4.60 to $5.79 a gallon for Super, $10.95 for a hamburger and fries, coffee at $2.50 a cup ..................... In Alaska I paid a total of $440 for a set of tires and I had to take the wheels off myself. In Montana, two weeks earlier, I paid $289 for a set and all the work was done for me.

All the above comments notwithstanding, it was a very good trip. I can now say that I've ridden 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I've waded in the Arctic Ocean and and walked on its ice. I also brought home some of the Arctic Ocean in a couple of small shampoo bottles. I'm also proud to say that I actually peed in the Arctic Ocean - sounds silly, but I've always wanted to do that.

The scenery I saw isn't to be believed. I could have stopped anywhere along the way, pointed my camera in almost any direction, and taken a photo worthy of a postcard - actually I did. I shot a total of 821 photos on this trip. I also had many encounters with fellow travelers and I now have many more stories to tell. My BMW performed flawlessly.

June 9 , 2007

First thing tomorrow morning I'm off on my Alaska adventure - on June 30, Linda heads out for Scandinavia.

Check back in Mid-July to see how it all went.

June 2 , 2007

The Barrier Island tour is under our belts. Linda returned home May 14 and I finally made it back on May 18. It has taken me almost as long to sort out photos and write up an account of our trip as it took to take the trip. All went well - you can read either a summary account of our trip or the whole, detailed daily journal by clicking here. There are plenty of photos.

I now have exactly one week to get ready for my little adventure up to Prudhoe Bay - I have plenty to do. I plan to arrive in Hamilton on June 12 and meet Charley there June 15. We'll put new tires on our motorcycles and head out June 16. I plan to arrive home around July 13.

In the meantime, Linda will leave for Scandinavia on June 30. She and her friend Kathy have great plans .......... linda fill in here ................ Okay, I'm filling in...We're taking another Trafalgar tour, this time to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. We will be taking a scenic look at Scandinavia and the fjords. The highlights I am looking forward to include touring Copenhagen, Sognefjord, Lillehammer, Oslo, and Stockholm. There is way too much to mention here, but it is an incredibly action-packed itinerary, and I am sure Kathy and I will be having a great time on this tour.

Doug, Debbie, and Kyle are settled into their new house in Georgetown. We were out to their house for a birthday party the other night and it is really a great place. They have over 4 acres high up on a hill with lots of timber and great views. Kyle might be a little lonely and bored up there until he is able to get his own car. By the way, he now has a driver's license and his parents have good reports about his driving.

Linda, Kyle and I are also planning a car trip to Montana in August so Kyle can visit with Brandon before he heads out for Austria.

April 24 , 2007

Bright and early tomorrow morning I'm taking off for Georgia. Linda will follow by plane and we'll meet up at St. Simons Island and take part in a five-day tour of three Barrier Islands. After our tour is complete, we'll travel back to Atlanta and have a brief visit with Merrill and Raven. Linda will then fly back home and I'll make it back about a week later. I'm also planning a stop in Huntsville to visit my riding partner and finalize plans for our June/July trip to Prudhoe Bay.

A small coincidence - Bob is going to be in Broken Bow, Oklahoma attending his high school reunion (must be about 52 or 53) and I plan to pass through and give him a call so we can enjoy a cup of coffee in the town where he grew up.

I talked with Paul and Dad the other day - they both seemed to be in good spirits. The restaurant where Dad has eaten his breakfast every day for the past many years is now closed. It looks like the Coffee Cup will now be graced with their business.

Kyle is busy finishing up his second year of high school and has successfully completed the California High School Exit Examination. He has also completed his drivers education training and needs only pass the written exam to get his learner's permit. As you might expect, he's excited at the prospect of being able to drive. His dad's KZ1000 is tuned up and ready to go on a ride as soon as all the paperwork is in order.

April 2 , 2007

I tried to get this new setup out yesterday - the date seemed appropriate. I decided I didn't like the "flipping book" setup for our web site - it was too cutesy, and didn't work very well. A lot of you must agree with me since our viewer ship has gone down considerably. This version should be easier to navigate and I hope people again start dropping in to see what we're up to.

We're getting ready for our tour of Georgia's Outer Bank Islands in early May. I'll be leaving on April 25. In addition to looking forward to our trip and tour, I'm looking forward to meeting up with my Alaska riding buddy in Huntsville and Linda and I are both looking forward to finally meeting Raven.

Thanks to generous birthday well wishers, Linda, Kyle, and I each have a new Zune, Microsoft's answer to the iPod. After a little effort, they are all loaded up with our favorite songs, videos, and photos with plenty of room for more. Great fun.

The weather feels like Spring is here to stay ........... no more snow, at least. Temperatures are warm, plants are budding and blooming, things are green, and the world seems right.

Debbie and Doug have bought a new house in Georgetown and are planning to move in the middle of May. Kyle is going to have to finish up his last couple of weeks of school living with one of his buddies. I sure hope this doesn't screw up his finals exams - it seems like a pretty big job to stay focused with all the distractions.

Linda and I have decided that we're going to cash out and move in the next three years of so. It seems to both of us that it's too easy to settle in and start waiting to die - we see lots of people doing that. Instead, we're going to start over - a whole new life with new places, new people, and new challenges. We're not going to be people who sit around and wait for something to happen. I'm always telling Kyle that nothing good ever "just happens" - if you want something good to happen, you have to make it happen.

We're are planning a trip to Baja this fall to check out some of the towns along the shore of the Sea of Cortez. It looks like a likely spot to start a new life. We're both taking a Spanish course in preparation. We're already having a lot of enjoyment just checking things out, planning, and anticipating.

March 4, 2007

I've finally finished the trip journal, including the best of the photos we took, for our Hawaiian Cruise - Click Here if you'd like to read it.

I was saddened to hear that Hank Jobe, one of my high school buddies was killed in an automobile accident on February 23. I worked with Hank for many years at the Cozy Conoco gas station in Hamilton and I have many fond memories of him. He was a "bigger than life" kind of guy and it's hard to believe that he could be gone. Hank Jobe

Linda and I continue to get ready for our upcoming summer travel. Kyle and I were greeted with a surprise when we left the dojo the other night. Three inches of snow covered our car and we drove about 10 miles on snow covered roads. Snow this low happens about once every 5 or 6 years. Other than that, life is routine ----- good, but routine.

February 26, 2007

Today is Linda's Birthday. Over the past few days, many birthday cards and ecards have arrived wishing her a happy birthday. Yesterday, her Dad hosted a small dinner party at Mimi's, one of our favorite local restaurants. Guests included Lester, Marti, Bob, Donna, Anthony and yours truly. It was a pleasant evening. Click Here to see them.

I'm still working on a write up of our Hawaiian cruise - complete with photos. Stay tuned. We took our laptop along and I kept a daily journal. Click Here if you'd like to read it.

January 23, 2007

Tomorrow, Linda and I are off for our Hawaiian Cruise. We sail from Los Angeles on January 26 and dock again February 10. We'll sail to Hawaii and make stops at Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. On the way home we'll stop in Ensenada for a few hours, then back to Los Angeles. It'll be nice to see what 85 degrees feels like.

Our travel plans for the summer are pretty well laid out. On May 6 through May 13 we're going on a tour of the Barrier Islands off the coast of Georgia. I will head out on April 25 on my BMW; Linda will fly out on May 4. In mid-June, I'm heading for Montana, again on my BMW, where I'll meet up with a riding buddy who's riding in from Huntsville on his BMW. We'll head "North to Alaska" where we'll ride the Dalton Highway, a 400 mile dirt road, from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean. I'm really looking forward to this adventure. In the meantime, Linda will be boarding a plane on June 30 and flying to Copenhagen to tour the land of the midnight sun. She'll see Denmark, Sweden, and Norway - the lands of her ancestors.

Not much else going on ........... We've been seeing a lot of Kyle lately. He comes over after school Monday through Thursday and does his homework - I provide consulting services; Linda provides nutritional support. On Monday and Wednesday evenings, after the homework is complete and he's been fed, we go to the dojo and have ourselves a good workout. He's getting to be quite the physical specimen - 6' 3" and 170 pounds of lean muscle.

This past Sunday, Kyle spent the day with us and I put him to work - putting in a new clutch cable on his Dad's (soon to be his) KZ1000. It snapped on me a week ago and forced me to use my wits getting home with no clutch. I took a few photos - Click Here to see them.

January 1, 2007

If you're reading this, you'll probably notice that I've redesigned our web site. I've been playing around with Flash and some other tools, and decided to have a little fun with all the stuff I've picked up. I'll be continually playing around with things - I get a lot of enjoyment out of trying to keep up with the advances in the Internet.

A little bad news to start off this entry - My Uncle Frank (Mom's brother) passed away on November 25, 2006. Unfortunately I didn't keep in touch with Uncle Frank - the last time I saw him was at my Mom and Dad's 50th Anniversary Party in July of 1989. His Obituary. Also, my Aunt Audrey (married to my dad's brother John) died on December 24. Again, I didn't keep in touch with her, either. The last time I remember seeing her was in the 1950s. My brothers, Ken and Paul traveled to Livingston for her funeral Saturday.

Good news from Brandon. He's been accepted at a college in Austria and will complete a year of study over there. He's looking forward to the new curriculum, exploring Europe, and most of all - snow boarding in the Austrian Alps. Great job, Brandon.

New Year's Eve was celebrated in our usual manner. Bob and Donna came over, we had dinner, and then played some cards. They stayed over night and today we'll hang out a little. A little apple cider and warm friends to welcome in 2007 - mighty fine start to a new year.

Christmas was quiet too - just lunch with Linda's Dad and Marti. Just before Christmas, Linda and I spent a few days at one of our favorite spots, Monterey. We had an interesting backroads drive to get there - we stumbled onto Lick Observatory and took their tour. Very interesting. At Monterey, we hung out, visited the Aquarium and checked out the Mission at Carmel.

Kyle, Debbie and Doug traveled to Washington the week before Christmas but came back home to celebrate the holiday.

Thanksgiving Day 2006

Here I sit with a full stomach and satisfied mind. All the food was out of this world - turkey with all the trimmings, ham, pies of all kinds. I won't even talk about all the chips, cookies and other goodies. All of the women contributed to the bounty - unfortunately (or fortunately) all of us guys are male chauvinists and the ladies let us get away with it.

I ate more than my share and right now I'm regretting it a little bit ............. just a little bit, mind you.

Some of these people we see only on Thanksgiving and Christmas and we enjoyed catching up on everyone's lives. It appears we all weathered 2006 in pretty good shape and are looking forward to 2007. I thought I took a lot of photos, but it turned out that I took only 12 of them - here they are.

November 16 , 2006

The holiday season is upon us. Linda and Donna are busy planning activities for Thanksgiving. We'll be gathering at Bob and Donna's with the regular group, Bob and Donna's local family, Linda's Dad, Us, Dan, and it looks like Jessica will be joining us. We'll have a traditional dinner and get updated on current events.

We're planning to sit out Christmas and take a little motor trip the week before Christmas - this way we'll keep out of the way of everyone else on Christmas vacation.

I put out a write up of my September motorcycle trip to Montana. If you're interested, check it out. It takes me longer to write up my accounts than it does to actually make the trips. It's actually kind of fun to write this stuff up - it makes my memories of the trip more vivid and provides a nice way to to relive these trips in the future since I can't rely on my age-impaired memory any more.

Things continue to go well. Linda has even expressed an interest in joining me on a motorcycle trip. We'll start off with some shorter trips to see how she likes it. We've even talked about taking another long trip - this time north to Canada, east across Canada, and down into New England. We have a very busy 2007 already planned, so we're looking at Spring, 2008 for this trip.

In late January 2006 we're going on a two-week cruise to Hawaii with a short stop in Mexico.

Linda has found a web site called Elder Hostel that specializes in travel for seniors . They have some interesting tours and the prices are reasonable. She told me that she would like to take their tour, Island Hopping Adventure on Three Barrier Islands off Georgia. Coincidently, I was reading a magazine article that described a motorcycle trip from Atlanta to California by two-lane highways. The short version is that in May 2007, we'll meet up in Georgia - Linda will fly and I will ride my motorcycle - we'll take the tour together, and get home the way we came.

Linda and her friend Kathy have a trip to Scandinavia planned for September of 2007. There are several tours and they are in the process of finding the right one. I guess I'll just have to plan out another motorcycle ride when the time comes.

October 29, 2006

Not much to report since last time, even though we are both very busy pursuing our normal vices. Things are going well, and we continue to live happily ever after.

Les's 80th birthday party was a big success. Les's brother, Lurlen and his wife traveled here from Salt Lake City, two nephews and a niece made the trip from Portland, and many friends from the area showed up - 18 people in all. We ate dinner at Mimi's Restaurant in Folsom - the food and service were excellent. After dinner, we all traveled over to our house and we spent about 3 hours sharing memories and stories. It was a very interesting group of people - lots of experiences to share and many points of view. CLICK HERE for some photos.

Bob & Donna treated us to a taco dinner and a game of poker Friday night at their house. Good friends, those two.

Last Tuesday, Linda and I went on a motorcycle ride down historic Highway 49 to Angels Camp and had lunch - beautiful day; nice ride. On the way back we took the back roads. At one spot we found ourselves driving through somebody's yard - house on one side of the road, barn on the other, various machinery on either of the road and two corrals, one on each side of the road. The road had been getting narrower and in worse condition for some time. We had crossed a cattle guard and there was no fencing alongside the road - we were just in a field with a few cows. Then we came around a corner and found ourselves in this yard. I slowly followed what now looked like a drive way and figured we'd have to turn around. To my surprise, the driveway continued on past the house to an open gate - on the other side of the gate was a nice, pave road. We passed through the gate, onto the road, and continued our little journey.

We've been seeing more of Kyle lately. On Mondays and Wednesdays, we've been going to the dojo to work out. We're enjoying his company.

I'm still working on a journal for my motorcycle ride to Montana in late September. I never seem to have time to work on it. I always wonder how I ever found time for a job - there are so many things to do and so little time to do them.

October 9, 2006

This has been a pretty busy month for both Linda and me.

Linda has added a few more activities to her already full calendar - she joined a yoga class, started a 24-week bible study class, joined a gym. She ramped up her scrap booking - she took a couple of classes and gained many new ideas.

October 16 will be Les's 80th birthday. Linda is busy planning a dinner party Saturday evening at a local restaurant to celebrate it with his friends and family. RSVP responses indicate there will be a good turnout.

We celebrated Bob's 70th birthday with a little dinner and poker at our house. Les and Marti helped us celebrate and they added a new dimension to our game. We didn't take many photos - but here they are.

I planned and completed my "before the snow flies" trip to Montana - it was a good one! The weather was perfect, if a little chilly sometimes, I was able to cross of a couple of more "must see" roads off my list, and I got in a good visit with everyone in Montana. I was able to spend only a couple of hours with Ken & Sharon but we had time for plenty of good stories. I'm working on a trip journal which I plan to finish this week. Check out this view from the top of the Steens Mountains, elevation 9700 feet. Here's another view of the Steens Mountain area from a couple of miles down the road. I also saw some fantastic views from the Lolo Motorway in Idaho, a dirt road carved out in the 1930s along the original route of the legendary Lewis & Clark journey of exploration. I took many more photos which I'll include in my journal - for now, here's a sample.

Julie and Garry have recently purchased a pair of motorcycles and have been exploring the highways and byways of our area. We'd been planning to get together for a ride and Sunday we finally did it. We spent the afternoon cruising the back roads around Ione, Camanche Reservoir, Pardee Reservoir and Rancho Murieta. We spent most of the time riding, but we did manage to get in a few photos.

A reminder for those of you who live in Ravalli County: The election is coming up fast and I'm sure that Jay would welcome your support. MAKE SURE TO VOTE! Check out

September 5, 2006

The Sacramento Monarchs are one game away from their second WNBA championship - they have two wins to one in the best-of-five championship series. Linda has become quite a fan the past couple of years - she and a couple of friends attend about 10 home games a year. She attended the blowout at Arco Arena on Sunday, and has tickets for game 4 Wednesday. She's quite excited about the possibility of seeing the championship game.

I found time to go on another motorcycle trip. This time I took three days to check a couple more "must see" roads off my list.  I started off to explore CA Hwy 96 which follows the Klamath River from Hoopa to Yreka. I've been wondering about that road for over 40 years - ever since my first job assignment with Caltrans in Hoopa. In planning my route, I remembered Forest Rd #1, a road that I stumbled onto during my "Lost Coast" ride last fall. Forest Rd #1 runs north from Mad River, a little town on CA Hwy 36, to Berry Summit on CA Hwy 299 - right on my way to Hoopa. My first job assignment for Caltrans was flood damage repair from Berry Summit to Hoopa. Also, while remembering those days, I remembered a 40 mile dirt-road detour from Hoopa to Lord Ellis Summit about 10 miles west of Berry Summit and decided to include it in my route. To minimize my freeway driving, I also mapped out a route north of Williams using local roads to check out all the small towns west of the freeway. I couldn't find any way to avoid taking the freeway from home to Williams - about 80 miles. I had a great ride and took many photos - and even a little video. Click Here to read my little trip write up.

This BMW has sure fired up my happy feet (wheels?). I'm planning a trip to Montana in late September and on the way I plan to check out a few more "must see" rides. I have to get some new tires first - that's my first task tomorrow.

The Ratkovich family has quickly settled into El Dorado Hills. Kyle has finished a couple of weeks of school and seems to be doing well. He's already made a few friends and seems to be fitting in fine. He's also connected back up with his best friend from his early childhood. He seems happy to be back in California - all the ridiculous gun laws and Democrats notwithstanding.

August 14, 2006

Linda and I have celebrated another anniversary - this was number 23. We celebrated in our usual low-key fashion. We exchanged cards, some roses arrived at our doorstep, and we drove over to the coast to spend a few days sitting by the ocean. Some photos.  We spotted an interesting display on someone's property near Cleone, north of Fort Bragg. It is a tribute to the local troops currently defending our way of life in the Middle East. View. We also stopped under a cool bridge at Russian Gulch State Park that presented an opportunity to try another panoramic shot. Want to see it?

Linda has finally completed her trip journal for the Mediterranean Cruise she and Donna were on last October and November. She's included some photos and it makes for interesting reading. Read her Journal

Linda and I continue to keep busy with our normal pursuits. Linda and Donna have been attending weekly performances of local productions of Broadway plays at the Music Circus in Sacramento. So far they've seen Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, Aida, and The Music Man. Linda was sick for A Little Night Music, but Donna said it was very entertaining. These summer performances are an annual event in Sacramento and there are two remaining performances.

Linda also has been rooting on the local WNBA team, the Sacramento Monarchs. She has attended 10 games this summer and is looking forward to the first playoff game this Saturday.

I continue to explore the area on my BMW and Sunday I'm heading off for a 3-day tour of some country I haven't seen in North Central California. The two primary roads of interest to me are (1) Forest Road #1, a 60 mile Forest Service Road between Hwy 36 and Hwy 299. (2) Highway 96 which follows the Trinity and Klamath Rivers from Willow Creek to Yreka. My GPS software tells me that I'll be traveling just under 1000 miles on this trip.

My brother Ken was in Reno attending a reunion of Veterans of the 3rd  Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry (Currahees). Ken wasn't in this unit, but he worked closely with it during his tours in Viet Nam. I drove over one morning, had some lunch with him, and visited a little with some of his fellow warriors. We documented our get-together with a photo - unfortunately some of the banner seems to be missing.

Kyle, Debbie and Doug are pretty much settled into their new house just down the road a ways. We were invited over to a barbeque at their house Saturday evening and shared some good food and conversation with them, Debbie's mom, and some of Doug's family. Kyle started school today - he was a little apprehensive the other night - I hope he had a good day today.

July 16, 2006

Debbie and Doug have been successful in their house hunting. They've found a really nice house and will be moving in shortly. When Kyle comes back from Montana, he'll have a home again. Click Here for some photos from his visit in Montana.

I've finally finished my write up on my BMW ride to Colorado a couple of weeks ago. Lots of talking with a few photos - Check it out.

July 08, 2006

Today is the fourth anniversary of Wayne's death and also, coincidently, his 58th birthday. Linda and I went out the the cemetery to pay our respects.

Kyle spent the 4th of July holiday with his Grampa & Gramma Stew and Evelyn, Aunt Julie and Garry, and Austin - they went camping at Yosemite and spent the evening of the 4th at Lake Tahoe. A good time was had by all.

Paul shot down here for a brief visit. He dropped Brandon off in Grass Valley to visit with his people then he came down to the Sacramento area to visit with Dan and then us. Thursday, Dan treated Paul, Kyle, and me to a bicycle ride on some of the trails around Folsom Lake. Dan and Kyle shot out in front and waited for us old men to catch up from time to time. I can't speak for the rest of them, but I sure had a good time - I must say that I'm stiffening up a little as I type this - I better do a little more exercising. CLICK HERE for photos.

Paul left early yesterday afternoon - he planned to stop in the Eureka area to visit one of his old friends. He took Kyle with him so he can visit with family up there before school starts in August. Debbie is heading up to Mead to pack up the house and will bring Kyle back down here on the move back.

July 01, 2006

Linda and I both returned from our June trips - she to London and me to Colorado - about a week ago. I planned to have some kind of trip report ready to put out here, but I've been having computer problems again, and we're still sorting through photos. I seem to have some kind of computer curse - I've had more hard drive failures in the past couple of years than I saw at work in 10 years and we supported thousands of computers statewide. Anyway .............. it happened again the day after I returned home from Colorado. To top things off, a couple of days after I was back up and running, Windows had some kind of problem and I had to reformat the new hard drive again and start all over. Right now it's been running for 5 days and I'm holding my breath.

It's really been quite a pain, especially with Windows XP SP2. You have to install Windows XP, then all the device drivers, then download about 50 Windows upgrades, then download SP2, then download more patches, then setup the network, then recover my data from backup, then install my application software. To make matters worse, some of my software has to be activated over the Internet and two packages couldn't be activated because I had exceeded the number of installations allowed - Easily fixed with a couple of phone calls, but a pain in the butt anyway. Next time (I hope never) it will be a little easier since I was able to put together a Windows XP SP2 CD that will enable me to install Windows XP once which will include all upgrades and patches thru SP2 anyway.

Kyle, Debbie and Doug have relocated. Doug has landed a job driving truck with ACE Hardware. They are currently trying to get a renter for their place in Mead so they can begin looking for a place here. In the meantime they are basing their operation out of their trailer parked at a friends' house in Georgetown. Kyle has been staying with Julie and for the past 3 or 4 days with us.

June 02, 2006

We visited Hamilton May 5,6 & 7 and found everyone to be in good health and spirits. Not much news to report - we just had some pleasant conversations and shared a few meals. We took the long way home, twice as may miles and twice as many days as usual. We had the GPS plot a route that avoided major highways and were treated to some new views of the country. As usual, we took a few photos. This time I'm showing them with a web page I put together using some new tools I've recently acquired. CLICK HERE to see how it turned out.

Linda and I are both busy planning for our trips in June - she to London and me to eastern Utah and western Colorado. We're both getting a little anxious. Linda worries about the arrangements she's made and wonders how everything is going to come together. I always get worried before heading out alone on my motorcycle - I seem to dwell on all the things that could go wrong and there sure seems to be plenty to think about. I know, however, that as soon as I hit the road, all these doubts will leave my mind and I'll wonder what I could have been thinking. I'm sure Linda experiences something similar.

In the meantime, Linda is enjoying her volunteer work with the county senior nutrition program. She's also making some new friends and has joined a bunco group and plays canasta every Thursday evening. She's also active in the local church. As I'm sitting here typing this in, she's at a Sacramento Monarch's basketball game with another group of her friends. She's a very busy lady.

My interests are narrower - martial arts, motorcycle riding and playing on the computer occupies all my time. I must say that I'm enjoying every minute.

It looks like Kyle, Debbie, & Doug are moving back to California. Doug has a good job lined up and they're making preparations to move in mid-June. It'll be good to have them in the area. I've missed being able to share life with Kyle - no matter how hard you try to stay in touch, it's hard to stay close when you don't share life's day-to-day, mundane, boring events.

April 30, 2006

Today marks the 8th anniversary of Kevin's death. It seems like yesterday. Linda and I bought a little bouquet of flowers and placed them on his (and Forrest's) grave today. It is a beautiful day with blue skies and temperatures around 80 - Kevin would have approved.

Debbie and Julie both sent me beautiful eCards to acknowledge this special day in all our lives and let me know that they also are thinking of Kevin today. These two gals are both very special to us.

CLICK HERE to see a video tribute to his life - BROADBAND ONLY - remember to see it "Full Screen", right click on the video.

April 20, 2006

What a difference a few weeks can make - we went from cold and rain every day to clear, sunny weather with temperatures in the 70s - at least for the past couple of days. They're predicting some minor activity Friday, but it looks like Spring may have sprung. On April 5, after 10 days of rain, we had one good day between storms. I spent the entire day exploring the country to our south on my BMW. To see my GREEN slideshow, CLICK HERE.

Julie responded well to her chemotherapy at UC Davis Medical Center and is now at home. The fundraiser spaghetti feed at Georgetown was a great success with hundreds and hundreds of people showing up. We enjoyed having Kyle around while he and his family were here lending their moral support.

Dad is home and apparently doing well. I've talked to him on the phone several times and he sounds like his old self. Linda and I are planning a short visit to Hamilton in early May. It will be good to see everyone.

Linda's Dad came over for Easter dinner and we had a good visit. He's looking better all the time to me. Linda's computer gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago and Les was impressed with the new Dell that took its place. I was explaining to him how easy it is to order a computer by showing him the Dell web site and going through the process. When I was finished with all the options, I explained to Les that all I had to do to buy the computer at this point was to click the "ORDER" button. He said: "CLICK IT". I thought he was joking, but he wasn't so I clicked the button and his new computer was shipped yesterday.

Linda and I continue to live happily ever after. We're both feeling great, happily pursuing our interests, and looking forward to enjoying the good weather. Linda has been doing a little work with the El Dorado County Senior Nutrition Program - she's a substitute driver for the Meals on Wheels program and enjoys delivering meals to and visiting with our local people that can't get out of their houses. She's also helping in the kitchen, preparing and serving lunch at the local senior center. She says this is exactly what she had in mind earlier when she wanted to do volunteer work with the Red Cross. The Red Cross, however, was just like work - long hours, no backup, no flexibility, picky bosses, people who felt entitled to the help and offered little gratitude, ridiculous bureaucratic rules and red tape - basically a lot of bother with little feeling of accomplishment. With the Senior Nutrition Program, she works only a few hours a week, has a lot of flexibility, and all the people are happy for the help.

Linda's trip to London with Kathy, Barbara and Edie is taking shape. Everything is booked and cash has been deposited. She will be gone from June 12 to June 24. They will be on their own for a few days in London seeing the sights -- Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, The London Eye, Harrods, at least one theater play, etc., etc. -- then they will be off to Chester, England. They hope to attend the Gala Concert of the International Church Music Festival, however, it's looking like there may be some scheduling problems with the concert. They will then return to London to hook up with a Trafalgar tour which will take them to Stonehenge, Bath, Runnymeade, and Stratford. This will be Barbara's first trip abroad and she is really looking forward to it. With Linda and Kathy in charge as tour guides for a few days, it should be an interesting trip, to say the least.

I'm working on a motorcycle trip while she's gone. I'm not sure where I'll go, but I'm thinking about eastern Utah and western Colorado. I'm always reading about the spectacular scenery in both places and I'm looking forward to some first hand looks. I've had a little taste of each area, but I've never really taken a good look.

March 25 , 2006

About two weeks ago, Julie Thomas, a close friend of both Linda and me, was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia or APL.  Julie is also Kyle's aunt and Debbie's sister.  As serious as this is, APL is the most treatable form of leukemia and the prognosis is good.  She is currently receiving treatment at UC Davis Medical Center.  When Julie was at Marshall Hospital in Placerville, where she was initially taken for emergency treatment, she required many pints of blood and she continues to need the support of family and friends.  If you can make it to the Placerville area and you would like to donate blood in her name, please call Stephanie Carlson at 530-409-5520 - state that you would like to donate blood for Julie Schrader-Thomas.  Please support Julie and her family any way you can - prayers are welcome.

Also, there will be a fund raiser dinner in Georgetown on April 8 to help Julie and Garry defray some of the costs of medical bills. I don't have the information at this time - if you're interested in attending, email me and I'll see you get the info.

Last Saturday morning, my Dad didn't arise at his normal time and when Paul checked in on him he was non responsive. He was rushed to the hospital where it was eventually determined that he had suffered an overdose of pain medication. How this happened is unknown.  The family suffered several days of anxiety while the cause was unknown. He is now at home and slowly recovering. He and Paul could also use all the support they can get - a phone call would be good - prayers are also welcome.

The weather around here has been amazing - not too nice, but spectacular.  The mountains have received tremendous amounts of snow in March - for example, Kirkwood ski resort is currently reporting 5" of new snow on up to 256" of base - that's over 20 feet! We've had rain, thunderstorms, hail, funnel clouds, and snow down to 1000 feet. Our house is at 800 feet elevation and we didn't see snow right at our doorstep, however, we could see a hill less than a mile away that was covered with 6" of snow.  We went out to breakfast that morning to a restaurant less than 7 miles from home - CLICK HERE to see a few photos we snapped along the way.

We're expecting to have Kyle with us from about April 1 to April 8.  Debbie, Doug and Kyle are coming down to give Julie and Garry a little moral support.

February 28 , 2006

I've been busy the last week or so making a web site for my brother, Jay, who is running for Justice of the Peace this year - Check it out.

Linda had another birthday on Sunday.  She spends a lot of time and effort recognizing peoples' birthdays throughout the year and I'm always disappointed in how few people make the effort to remember hers. She never says anything, but I can't imagine that it doesn't bother her just a little. She'd be mortified if she knew I'm putting this out, but I think you guys need a hint.

If you're reading this, I'll bet you've received many personalized cards she's created to honor your birthdays, anniversaries, and other benchmark days. In addition to the cards, she creates a web page each month to share your special days with others who might stumble across our web site. Check out what she's done for this month. You can also reach her page by clicking on the "Special Days This Month" link from our main page.

My sister, Sandi retired this month.  The folks in Hamilton gathered to honor her life's achievements. Linda and I planned to travel up to join them, but mother nature had other plans with her cold and snow.

I've also spent some time making sure that my medical coverage isn't going to get screwed up as next month I become eligible for Medicare.  It's getting really hard to deny that I'm a senior citizen.

Linda's Dad just returned from Costa Rica several days ago.  He picked up some kind of bug while he was away and has spent the last few days recovering from it.  He's taking us out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate Linda's birthday and we're expecting his trip report.

I've been so busy and the weather so unpredictable that I haven't taken any motorcycle trips lately. I do get out for some interesting local rides and I'm always amazed at the roads I've never been on. The other day, I decided to see how far I had to go before I ran into snow. It didn't take long - just above Pollock Pines at a little over 4,000 ft elevation I chickened out. See Photo.

February 6 , 2006

Last weekend I made a trip to Anderson to have Rick Mayer build a custom saddle for my BMW.  For those who don't know, Rick is a cousin of mine - his Dad, Bill Mayer, is my Mother's brother.  Bill Mayer is famous in the motorcycle world for his custom built motorcycle seats and Rick learned from the master.  Rick is gaining quite a reputation in his own right and is known in the industry as one of the premier seat builders in the country. See the Rick Mayer Cycle web site for more information.

I took a couple of photos - my new custom seat - Rick and me with new seat.

I rode up Friday afternoon, stayed overnight in Anderson, and headed for Rick's place first thing in the morning. Rick has a real nice place on 5 acres about 10 or 12 miles west of Anderson.  Over the years I've been really lax about keeping in touch with my relatives and I'd met Rick only once before at his Dad's funeral in 2000.  Rick is an interesting fellow - he was a critical care nurse before going full time into seat building 3 or 4 years ago.  I met his son, Derrick, who seems like a really nice young man.  He had his hands full while I was there - he was overseeing the birth of 10 purebred Newfoundland puppies. Rick's wife had been up all night helping mom with the puppy deliveries and she was sacked out all morning, so I didn't get to see her.  Their daughter was scheduled to take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) that day and I didn't get to see her either. Rick is making a lot of improvements on his place, one of them being the construction of a new shop. 

He does a lot of motorcycle riding, as you might expect.  In 2005 he completed the Iron Butt Rally.  This is a real accomplishment - only 362 people have ever finished this event. Rick rode 11,000 miles in 11 days. Click here to read his account.

His 2003 BMW R1150RT was about 50 miles shy of 100,000 and he decided that he was going to escort me out of town and bring his camera along to document passing this milestone.  We went the long way back to Interstate 5, making about a 20 mile detour on some of the local country roads - I must say I enjoyed the ride.  We came back to civilization in Redding where we picked up Interstate 5 and headed south. About 30 miles later, Rick pulled over and we took pictures of his odometer. Check it out.  Here we parted ways - I continued on South and Rick headed back home.  We both talked about not letting another 25 years pass before we got together again.  He's going to have a party when he opens his new shop in March and he says he'll send us an invitation - I'm looking forward to it.

Oh! The seat works GREAT.  On the way home I rode 200 miles without taking my butt off the seat and I wasn't the least bit uncomfortable. The stock seat had me squirming after about 60 miles, standing up at every opportunity after about 80 miles and stopping about every 100 miles. My enjoyment of this BMW will only increase with this new seat.

January 22 , 2006

Another year already. I'll spare you the philosophical meanderings about life passing too quickly - whoops! too late.

Kyle spent most of the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve with us. We didn't do too much exciting, but we had a good visit with him. Man .......... he's sure getting tall. Like all good grandparents we've kept track of his growth for some time now. We had a measuring wall at our place at Falcon Haven. When we moved, I transferred all the measurements to a stick. We used the stick until June of 2005 when his height of 6' -1/2" exceeded the length of the stick - I then transferred his measurements from the stick back onto a wall in the garage. This time when we measured his height it was just a tad short of 6' 2" - he's now a full inch taller than me. We did take a couple of pictures while he was here. We went to have a look at Nimbus Dam which was dumping a lot of water into the American River because of the heavy rains in the area - click here to see the photos.

We spent a real quiet New Year's Eve together, Linda, Kyle and myself. There were a lot of plans that went awry. For 25 years or so, we've celebrated New Year's Eve with our friends Bob & Donna - we alternatively meet at each other's homes, eat dinner, play some cards, and toast the new year with sparkling cider. This year, Donna was sick and they couldn't make it. Kyle's Aunt Julie called to invite Kyle to go with them to a New Year's Eve party, but we were out and about and by the time Kyle received the message and called back, Julie and Garry were already gone. So, the three of us hung out until midnight and toasted the new year with sparkling cider.

Linda has finally shaken whatever evil illness she had. From the onset of the first symptoms this thing hung on for nearly two full months. Actually, I'm quite relieved - I was beginning to think there was something serious going on, even though she and the doctor assured me there wasn't.

Linda has made plans with her friends Kathy and Barbara to visit London in June. They've been planning this trip since last summer and they've located a package that suits their wishes. They will be on their own for a few days in London seeing the sights -- Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, The London Eye, Harrods, at least one theater play, etc., etc. -- then they will be off to Chester, England, to attend the Gala Concert of the International Church Music Festival. They are very much looking forward to that. After the concert, they will return to London to hook up with a Trafalgar tour which will take them to Stonehenge, Bath, Runnymeade, and Stratford. This will be Barbara's first trip abroad and she is really looking forward to it. With Linda and Kathy in charge as tour guides for a few days, it should be an interesting trip, to say the least.

I'm continuing my exploration of the area by BMW. I've scheduled a trip to Anderson on February 4 to have Rick Mayer build me a custom seat. He's continuing in his Dad's footsteps. Linda and I spent nearly 20 years riding on a Bill Mayer "Day-Long-Saddle" on our Gold Wing and I can't tell you how much difference it made in our motorcycle riding enjoyment. The BMW has extended my range quite a bit and the stock seat gets pretty uncomfortable after a couple of hours.

I always take my camera with me even though I don't always remember to actually take some pictures. Here are a few photos from some of of my latest rides.

Mosquito Ridge Road - This road runs from Foresthill to French Meadow Reservoir and Hell Hole Reservoir.
Rancho Seco - Rancho Seco is a decommissioned nuclear power plant sitting in the rolling countryside southeast of Sacramento.
Sacramento River - I took the country roads to Galt, then continued on to Walnut Grove and down the Sacramento River levee road to Rio Vista. I wanted to take a look after our heavy rains in weeks past - actually things looked pretty good.
New Melones Reservoir - I let the GPS select back roads to New Melones Reservoir, about 75 miles down Highway 49 and about 100 miles by back road.

December 26, 2005

Another Christmas is past. This was a quiet one - on Christmas Eve, a short visit to Bob & Donna's to watch the kids open presents and on Christmas day, Linda's Dad treated us to dinner. I also called Hamilton to find everyone in good health and spirits.

Believe it or not, Linda is still not back to 100%. Although her condition is much improved, a nagging cough persists. She is sure tired of dealing with it.

We're anticipating a visit from Kyle this week. He and his parents left home on Christmas Day to squeeze in a short visit between now and the New Year. We're looking forward to spending some time with him.

After a slow start, the rains have arrived and it's turning into a wet year. We've already had some local flooding and they're dumping a lot of water into the rivers to lower the reservoirs in anticipation of more runoff. The temperatures have been very warm and instead of snow in the mountains, we have water. The local weather forecast is for rain every other day for the next week or so.

Not much else to report. All this rain is cutting into my motorcycle riding and I'm getting itchy wheels.

December 1, 2005

Linda and Donna have been home for a couple of weeks now (since November 12) but things are still not back to normal. Linda picked up some kind of bug on her trip and the second day she was home she started showing cold symptoms. She also suffered from jet lag and it took until Thanksgiving before she started to feel near normal. The day after Thanksgiving, she reported having a sore throat and this quickly moved into a fever and the whole nine yards. She wound up with bronchitis - today is her second day on antibiotics and she is still coughing and hacking. She's still not sure she's feeling better, although I can see in her eyes that SHE IS GETTING BETTER.

I know she must really feel tough. We were scheduled to leave Saturday for 10 days in Mazatlan and she canceled the trip.

Their Mediterranean trip was a spectacular success. Linda and Donna both said that it was the trip of a lifetime - both of them have wanted to see this part of the world for a long time. They took literally a couple of thousand photos and Linda kept a journal. When she feels up to it, she and Donna are going to go through the photos and we're going to work up some slide shows to share with everyone. Linda is also planning to put together her trip journal and I'll post it out there somewhere.

Linda, Donna, Lorraine, and Marti put together a Thanksgiving feed which was hosted by Bob & Donna. We had lots of great food and conversation. As usual, some of us ate waaaaaay too much.

Paul made a blitzkrieg visit - in one day and off the next - to pick up Rodney and head back to Hamilton.

I'm continuing to play with my new motorcycle - trying it out under different conditions, adding a few accessories, and having a ball. Unfortunately, it looks like the winter storm door is open and we're expecting rain and stormy weather for the rest of the week.

November 9, 2005

Linda and Donna have been gone for two weeks now - it seems more like two years. I don't mind admitting that things are getting kind of lonesome around here. I'm even beginning to appreciate having a cat around the house. I'm surprised that Pepper is actually pretty good company.

Email on the ship must not be quite up to expectations. Linda took the laptop and we had the idea that each room had some kind of network connection that would allow her to get in the Internet any time she wanted. I was even expecting to get a photo or two. Although she hasn't explained how it actually works, I get the idea that there is a community PC somewhere on the ship and that they have to pay for using it. She has sent four or five emails - all of them pretty short - no photos. She sounds like she and Donna are really enjoying their cruise. Linda is calling it a "once in a lifetime" adventure. I can't wait to see her photos and hear her stories. They should be arriving back home Sunday evening.

I had planned to go on a long motorcycle trip, but things didn't work out that way. The weather wasn't cooperating the first week and I wasn't looking forward to suffering in the rain. I did go out on a few day trips in between the days it was supposed to rain. When I'd come home in the evening, Pepper was so starved for company that I felt guilty about being gone all day. The idea of leaving her alone with the neighbor lady checking in every couple of days didn't sit too well. So .... instead of going on a long trip, I just went on a bunch of day trips.

Without Linda here to offer some common sense, I decided to upgrade motorcycles. As much as I loved the KLR 650, there were some shortcomings that I was finding hard to live with. In 2004, BMW came out with a new Adventure Motorcycle that got rave reviews and seemed to fit my needs to a "T". The only problem is that it costs as much as three KLRs. Well ........... One day I decided to go check 'em out and they made me take a test ride. That was it - I was in love. Of course, without Linda to hold me back, I came back a couple of days later and drove home with a new motorcycle. It is a 2005 BMW R1200GS. To see a couple of photos I shot on my first ride, CLICK HERE. For those who might be interested in reading about this motorcycle CLICK HERE.

I'm expecting Paul to arrive sometime late Friday or early Saturday. Rodney has decided he's going to move up to Montana and Paul's coming down to pick him up. It'll be good to see him - we get very few visitors from up there.

October 22, 2005

Linda and Donna will be leaving Thursday for an 18 day Mediterranean cruise. They will take a bus from Sacramento to San Francisco, fly to Paris then on to Barcelona, rest there for a day, then board a cruise ship which will stop at Monte Carlo, France - Livorno, Italy - Rome, Italy - Mykonos, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Athens, Greece - Santorini, Greece - Naples, Italy - and back to Barcelona, Paris and home. One of Linda's good friends, Marty is a travel agent and had put together this tour. One of the families was involved in a serious car accident and had to cancel out at the last minute. Linda and Donna have been talking about such a trip for years and Marty made them a deal they couldn't refuse.

Coincidentally, I'm planning an 18-day motorcycle trip around Northern and Central California at about the same time.

Linda and I have been out and about some recently - we took a drive into the Sierra to view some of the autumn colors and a few days later we drove over to the coast through Red Bluff, via Highway 36 to the Eureka area where we spent the night. We then drove South through the Redwoods to Fort Bragg where we spent another night, then back home past Clear Lake on Highway 20 - a very pleasant 3 days. Of course we took some photos which those of you with a good broadband connection can view by clicking on the following links:  
                  Sierra Color            Drive to Fortuna

Linda's Dad is really holding up well.  He's decided that he's going to get out and see some more of the world while he has a chance.  Last Sunday, he went on a bus tour to/of San Francisco and he recently signed up for an 8-day tour of Costa Rico in February.  He and Ina were there briefly some years ago on a cruise that took them through the Panama Canal and he's always wanted to see more of the country. He came over for dinner last week to celebrate his 79th birthday and he really looks and sounds good.

I just noticed in my last post that I said "Les and Linda are doing their best to move on ............." - but I didn't expect them to be moving on right out of the country.

October 6, 2005

Ina's ashes were laid to rest alongside Wayne, Kevin and Forrest on September 16.  She had a nice funeral and many of her old friends showed up and told nice stories about her.  Les and Linda are doing their best to move on with their lives and seem to be holding up pretty well - Life goes on ...............

We finally got around to celebrating Bob's birthday September 30 - we had a good visit, ate a great home-cooked meal, and wiped 'em out in poker.

I continue to play with my GPS, motorcycles, computers and karate. Linda is keeping busy trying out new recipes and trying to keep up with her email correspondents.  She also continues to work on her "Navy" rug that has been in the works for a number of years.  She reports that it takes one hour to complete one row of the rug -- at that rate, she expects it to be finished by 2010 or so.

We've been catching quite a few of the recent crop of movies.  We try to be a little picky by reading reviews to weed out the losers - even at that we see far more bad movies than good. We've given up on going in the evening - people are so rude with their talking and cell phones, it's hard to enjoy the movie.  Yesterday, we went to the 12:10 PM showing of Serenity (ho-hum) and there was only one other person other than Linda and me.  We were wondering if they would show the feature to an empty house.

Last week I went on a five-day motorcycle ride to California's Lost Coast area North of Fort Bragg.  I'd been planning this trip for over a month - all went well.  I wrote up a trip journal and put together a couple of slide shows. Click Here to see the journal, Click Here to see the ProShow Gold slide show, or if you don't have a broadband connection, Click Here to see a regular slideshow.

I didn't get a chance to see all I wanted of the North Coast on my motorcycle trip.  I talked it over with Linda and we're going to take a little automobile trip up there next week.  

September 8, 2005

Linda's Mom, Ina Elvira Knight, passed away Tuesday morning, September 6, finally succumbing to the stroke she suffered 11 years ago. Her funeral will be held on Monday, September 12, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. at the Green Valley Mortuary in Cameron Park. Ina's Obituary

September 2, 2005

Another summer has passed. Kyle headed home Monday to begin his high school days. I hope he shows more sense than I did during my high school days. On Kyle's last weekend here we took a 9-mile bicycle ride around Jenkinson Reservoir near Pollock Pines. The south side of the lake was a little more technical than I was prepared for, but all went well. During the rougher parts, I was more concerned with riding than taking photos - too bad. Oh well .... Click Here to see those I took.

We are looking forward to a visit from Paul and Brandon next week - they plan to leave Hamilton on Labor day in their motorhome.

About the only news from here is bad - Linda's Mom has been in declining health the past couple of years and it looks like she's nearing the end of her journey. Hospice was called in today and they will be managing her care from now on. This will simplify things greatly for Linda, Les and Marti - they will no longer have to work through the maze of 911 calls, doctors, hospitals, etc. to try to get the proper help when an emergency arises. Also all the questions about nursing homes and such are now answered - she'll remain at home and hospice will provide the necessary equipment and advice.

August 15, 2005

Kevin would have been 42 years old today. As I sat here at the computer, looking at old photos and thinking of him, I decided to put together a few photos from his life and make a slideshow. If you'd like to share some memories with me, CLICK HERE. After it gets started, right-click and select FULL SCREEN.

August 2, 2005

It looks like Montana was the place to be for us the past couple of weeks. On July 19, Linda flew up to Great Falls to spend a few days visiting with her friends Nada and Dave. She reports having a great visit. CLICK HERE to see a few photos from her trip. On July 27, Kyle and I headed, by car, to Hamilton to spend a few days with the folks up there - Linda sent us off on our own since she was traveled out and booked up for the week with prior commitments. Everyone in Hamilton seems to be doing pretty good - Ken and Sharon continue to make great progress on their new house. I didn't take very many photos this time - CLICK HERE to see the only one of general interest.

One thing I learned was that I like it much better when Linda is with me. While she was in Great Falls, Kyle was staying with his Aunt Julie and this old house sure seemed empty. Even though I had plenty of company on my trip, it seemed very strange not to have her by my side.

Kyle is heading out for San Diego on August 6 to spend 10 days visiting with his cousin Austin. After that, he's got about 2 more weeks before he has to start his high school career.

Other than travels, things have been fairly quiet around here. It continues to be HOT! I took another exploration trip in the Sierras - Forest Road #71 and Silver Springs Road. For those with a good broadband connection: CLICK HERE.

July 4, 2005

We've just returned from a car trip to Salt Lake City to attend a family reunion of Linda's people. Linda was able to see aunts, uncles, and cousins she hadn't seen since she left the area when she was 10 years old. We used our GPS to locate her old neighborhood and we drove by her childhood home. As we drove down the street she pointed out her grandparent's house and a few houses further she pointed out a house and said: "That house is where my Mom's Aunt Gert" lived - she may still be living there." There was a women standing in an enclosed porch and she watched us as we slowly drove by. Linda exclaimed: "That looks like her - we should stop." Dropping in on people is completely out of character for both of us, but this time we flipped a u-turn and went back. We had a great visit with her great aunt - she seemed to be in great health and her mind was 100%. Aunt Gert said her daughter lived just down the street and we should drop in on them, too. We did and had another good visit. Aunt Gert also told us where Linda's maternal grand parents were buried and we drove up to the cemetery and put some flowers on their graves.

We're expecting Kyle to arrive tomorrow sometime. They arrived in the area while we were in Salt Lake City and went camping over the Fourth of July weekend so we haven't seen them yet. We're looking forward to seeing them.

We're planning a very relaxed 4th - we slept in this morning and ate a leisurely breakfast as we read the paper. We then spent some time checking our email. In a few minutes we'll wander over to the pool and catch some rays - and maybe a little nap. This evening we have a couple of rented movies and plan to spend a quiet evening together - all the hoopla with fireworks and noisy celebrations seems like too much work.

I've been using my GPS mapping software and some Forest Service maps to line up some motorcycle rides. I'm having as much fun planning these rides as I have on the rides themselves. The other day I rode my first of these planned rides - Sand Ridge Road and Slug Gulch Road which run through the countryside North and East of Plymouth. Great Ride - Click here to see some photos.

For those of you with a broadband connection, I've also created a little more fancy view with some software called ProShow. If you don't have the plug-in, you'll have to first download some software - it goes pretty fast. For the best view, right-click on the image for a full screen view. When you're ready - Click here.

June 2, 2005

Our Mexican Adventure Motorcycle Tour went off without a hitch and it was GREAT. We went with a great group of people, the tour guide was excellent, the accommodations were first rate, the food was consistently interesting and delicious, the weather was fantastic, and Mexico exceeded all our expectations - the people were friendly, the scenery and landscapes were spectacular, and the roads .............. they must have been designed by a motorcyclist. Check out my "quick and dirty" trip journal - a more detailed version is in production.

On May 27, I received my 2nd Degree Black Belt at a very nice ceremony at our dojo. It was attended by about 75 friends and family of people who were receiving belts. Our friends Bob, Donna, and their grandson Anthony were able to attend. It means a lot to me that they care enough to show up.

We're planning a trip to Salt Lake City towards the end of June to attend a Knight family reunion. Linda is looking forward to seeing relatives she hasn't seen in nearly 40 years ... and some she's never seen.

We're looking forward to seeing Kyle - he, Debbie, and Doug should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Doug will be working locally with his old employer and they will be staying in Orangevale with Doug's parents until late August. We expect to spend a lot of time with Kyle. We have bought a new bed and are fixing up a new guest bedroom so he'll be more comfortable than in our current arrangement.

April 20, 2005

Springtime? Maybe it is here after all. We've had a week or so of ideal weather and more is in the forecast - but winter does seem longer every year.

Our Mexican Adventure Motorcycle Tour is coming up fast and we're ready to go. We'll leave May 3 and expect to return around May 20. An old friend from my days in Los Angeles retired to the good life in Boulder City, NV, and we plan to drop in on them on the way home. I haven't seen him for over 15 years.

Kyle, Debbie, and Doug were down visiting April 3 - 11. They had some time off school/work so they came down to celebrate Debbie's birthday with friends and family in the area. Everyone seems to be doing very well. Kyle continues to grow and mature, both physically and mentally. We took a few photos - not enough, but a few anyway.

Linda and I spent a few days hanging around in Monterey and the coast south of there. Not much to say about it other than the weather was great, the ocean was spectacular as usual, and we both really enjoyed ourselves. We took a lot of photos.

I finished up my 2nd degree black belt testing on March 31 and will be receiving my belt at a ceremony on May 27. When I started martial arts training about 10 years ago, it never occurred to me that I would one day be a black belt, let alone a 2nd degree black belt.

March 23, 2005

Rain, Rain, Go Away ..................... it looks like tomorrow may offer a break - at least until Sunday.  Our stretch of good weather several weeks ago was way too short.

Not much new around here ......... Linda, Dad, Kyle and I are all a year older.

I talked to Kyle the other day - he called to share his report card with us.  He is really doing well - by my calculations, he has a better than 3.0 grade point average.  Also, his citizenship, effort, and cooperation type grades are consistently excellent.  It's obvious that he takes after me.

Today, I received my last after-market parts for my KLR 650 and tomorrow I'll put them on.  My motorcycle will then be ready for our May Mexican Adventure Tour.  I'll continue my off-road practice at Prairie City Off-Road Vehicle park to make sure I'm as ready as my motorcycle. GREAT FUN!!!  I'm planning several "dirt-road" trips on California's North Coast and a couple more "dirt-road" trips in Oregon.  I've also been reading of some great Springtime "Death Valley" rides - I'll save those for 2006.

The past couple of months I've intensified my martial arts training to get ready for the Bunkai (Application) portion of the second-degree black belt (Nidan) examination.  This is the third and final portion of the Nidan testing process - I've been studying and testing for this belt for nearly a year.  The final testing day is March 31 - Linda and I will be spending the next 3 or 4 days after that in Monterey to wind down a little.

Kyle, Debbie and Doug are planning a visit in early April - it'll be good to see them.

March 10, 2005


February 26, 2005

JAY IS ON HIS WAY HOME! As I type this he should be in Baghdad checking his equipment and beginning the checkout process. He is due to arrive home March 10 - Have a safe trip home and God speed!

It's Linda's birthday today - you'll have to ask her how old she is. Next month it's my turn.

We're finally having a few dry days after about 10 days of wet weather. No bicycle, no motorcycle, no walks, just hiding from the rain - now that the weather has broken, I'm sitting around with a sore throat and cough and I'm still inside. More rain is expected Sunday - Man, I can't wait for summer - I'll never complain about the heat again.

Sacramento had a couple of tornadoes the other day that caused a fair amount of property damage, but thankfully, no serious injuries.

All is well in El Dorado Hills, Montana, and Washington as far as I can tell. Nothing to report.

February 3, 2005

The new year has started with a pretty routine month - not much happening here in California and my sources report that things are also going well in Montana and Washington.

Linda's Mom's condition seems to have stabilized; however, she seems much less able to deal with life's challenges. She remains at home but requires more and more help to get by.

Bob has made remarkable progress in his stroke recovery. The last time we saw him about 10 days ago, he was walking normally and was able to legibly write his name. Last week he and Donna traveled to Yuma for some kind of reunion.

Brandon reports that his condition continues to improve.

Linda and I continue to live happily ever after. In May we're planning a trip to Mexico. I'm going on a dual-purpose motorcycle tour of the Copper Canyon. Linda is planning to ride with me on the highway portions and will ride in the support vehicle when things get a little rougher. In the meantime I'm getting my KLR 650 outfitted and honing my off road skills at the local off-road motorcycle park and some local roads. If you're interested, check out the Rosen's Rides web page to see what we're planning. I'm actually kind of excited about it.

Linda is planning a trip to Europe in 2006 with one of her friends. They're checking out river cruises and so far the Danube looks most interesting.

The weather seems to be turning - lots of blue skies and sunshine the past few days with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s. I've broken out my bicycle and walking shoes and have been spending some time each day enjoying the good weather.

I took my camera along on one of my motorcycle rides and one of my morning walks and put together a couple of slideshows with some new software I've been playing with. They can be viewed by clicking on the following link:   These are huge files so I'm not sure how they'll work if you don't have some kind of broadband connection - either DSL or Cable. You'll also be asked to download some "Presenter" software. When you are viewing a slideshow, you can view full screen by right-clicking on the picture and choosing "Full Screen".

New Year's Day, 2005

Here's to a new year that will bring healing to several of our friends and family members who had some health problems in the last weeks of 2004.

Linda's Mom has been in and out of the hospital the past couple of weeks with internal bleeding that the doctors can't seem to find. She's been tested from one end to the other but the bleeding seems to stop once she's been hospitalized. They've given her blood transfusions both times, stabilized her, and sent her home. Right now she's at home.

Brandon contracted pneumonia and suffered heat exhaustion during a run in his 5th week of Marine Corps boot camp - just before Thanksgiving. He was a very sick young man - he was hospitalized for about 4 days then put into a recuperation unit. He was there for 4 weeks, but he wasn't able to recover fully enough to complete his training - the word is that it could take up to 8 months for him to fully recover. In the meantime, he was given a medical discharge and arrived home in Montana a few days before Christmas.

Bob Brown suffered a mild stroke a couple of days before Christmas. He was rushed to the ER by the fire department and hospitalized 4 or 5 days. He suffered paralysis on his right side. He was able to regain use of his right leg good enough to walk, however, his right arm is going to require therapy. He is now home.

We had a small gathering at Linda's parent's house for Christmas dinner. Ina was between hospital stays.

Kyle, Debbie, and Doug were down to celebrate the New Year. Kyle stayed with us for a few days and celebrated New Year's Eve with his Mom and Doug with friends in Georgetown. Linda and I celebrated at home with some sparkling cider.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the survivors in South Asia. Also a few prayers for our recovering family and friends couldn't hurt.

November 28, 2004

We celebrated Thanksgiving with dinner at our house - gracing our table were Linda's parents & Marti, Bob, Donna & Anthony, Dan, and Roderick. We don't see our friends and families as often as we should and it is sure good to share the holidays with them. Dinner was excellent as usual. We didn't take a lot of photos, but here's one of the group - click here

Bob, Donna, Anthony, Linda and myself had one of our regular poker games Thanksgiving evening. What makes this worth mentioning is a fantastic run of cards experienced by Linda. In one four hand sequence, she had 4 Aces twice and a Queen high straight flush. You wouldn't expect to see any one of these hands more than a couple of times in your life - she had three of them in less than 30 minutes. The fourth hand of the sequence was 3 Aces - not too bad either. Later in the evening she did it again - 4 Aces. This time there were 2 Full Houses against her and she really cleaned up. WHAT A RUN OF CARDS!

Kyle, Debbie, and Doug traveled to California to celebrate Thanksgiving. They arrived last Friday and left for home this morning. Kyle stayed with us most of the time and we enjoyed his company. He continues to dazzle us with his guitar playing.

I picked up my new KLR 650 (Check it Out) yesterday afternoon and I have nearly 100 miles on it already. I'm sure liking it - there's a lot of country that needs exploring.

October 22, 2004

Debbie married a fellow named Doug Ratkovich on October 9. Linda and I drove up to help them celebrate their wedding which was held at the Bear Creek Lodge near Mount Spokane Park in Mead, Washington.  They rented the entire lodge Friday and Saturday and Debbie's and Doug's family and friends enjoyed the amenities. Doug's family is made up of a lot of great people and they blended very well with Debbie's family.  It looks like the beginning of a great union. CLICK HERE to see a few of the many photos we shot.

We had a very short visit in Hamilton and found everyone to be in good health and spirits. It's always good to see Dad looking so good. It doesn't seem quite like the same place, however, without Mom.

When we left, the price of gasoline was on the rise - it was $2.17/gal when we left.  In the Spokane area it was around $2.00/gal and a few cents cheaper in Hamilton.  In Wells, NV it was $1.85/gal but when we got home we found prices of $2.37/gal - not bad, only 10% in one week.

It was 95° when we arrived home and the same was forecast for the next couple of days.  The next day, however, we had over 30,000 acres of our country on fire and the smoke was so thick the sun couldn't penetrate. The temperature reached only about 75° - the smoke was all fairly high in the atmosphere and it looked like a totally overcast day.   Everything had a yellow look to it, though, and it looked like Mars.  The next morning the smoke was at ground level with visibilities in the range of 1/2 mile.  It burned your eyes and made breathing difficult - the authorities recommended staying indoors.  The fires had grown to 40,000 acres and they didn't expect to have them under control for weeks.  Two major highways to the mountains were closed.  A couple of days later it rained, then a couple of days later it really rained.  Now the problem was mudslides in the fire areas. Highway 50 remained closed, but this time it was due to mud slides.  In the mountains it snowed so much that at least one of the ski areas will be open this weekend.  If you don't like the weather around here, just wait a minute.

We sold the Goldwing just before we left for Mead.  It occurred to us that we hadn't been on a motorcycle ride of more that 20 miles since we made our "Sea to Shining Sea" trip last summer.  We decided that our motorcycle touring days are probably over.  I still enjoy exploring the back roads around here, but the Goldwing isn't the ideal vehicle for what I want to do.  When the next 2005 Kawasaki KLR 650 arrives at our local dealer, I plan to be down there ready to deal. This is a dual-purpose motorcycle that can be driven on the highway and also on 4-wheel drive type roads. In the meantime, I feel something is really missing from my life - I've had some kind of motorcycle for the past 40 years.  I guess I still have Kevin's KZ1000, but I'm trying to limit wear and tear so I ride it only a couple of times a month.

Brandon reported for Marine boot camp this week.  We'll be thinking about him. As all you guys who've been through boot camp know, he's in for a life changing experience.

After watching hours and hours of scrapbooking how-tos on DIY, Linda has finally started creating her own pages. There is scrapbooking stuff everywhere and more on the way. She just ordered another Xyron machine from Janie and is heading over to Michael's for even more stuff! The scrapbook now contains pages dedicated to our 21st wedding anniversary, karate, and Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary. She is currently working on a huge project of our trip across the United States. She also has a written list of several more pages she wants to do, and that list keeps growing. A monster has been born!

Les and Ina have hired a full-time live-in caregiver. This has made all of us extremely happy. Not only will they have someone there to watch over them with a medical background (Marty is an RN), but they will be getting regular nutritious meals and their home will be taken care of. Marty has been there for a week and it looks like she is going to work out just fine. She is a hard worker and she has an extremely kind heart. Les and Ina are fortunate to have her.

September 8 , 2004

My Aunt Frances Stanley passed away last week - her funeral was yesterday. Our thoughts are with her family.

We're all set up with our new laptop with GPS and mapping software. We mapped out a route with it and took a test drive September 2 and 3. It far exceeded our expectations - the GPS keeps you on track and if you get off route very far, it figures out a new way to get to your destination. We gave preference to the local roads and it guided us through some pretty country that's very far from the beaten track - we even traveled about 10 miles over dirt roads. Linda wrote a journal of our trip on the laptop as we went along - click here.

We were so intrigued with the idea of exploring backroads that we let the mapping software route us over local roads to a nearby town and Sunday morning we took off. We were fairly confident because of our good experience before - WRONG!! We followed directions and wound up at a dead end of a dirt road (not gravel) at the bottom of a river canyon - a couple of the steeper grades we had traversed on the way down were very, very bad with 20% plus grades and many wide, deep ruts from years of erosion. We weren't sure we could get back up. This road was worse than any we had encountered, even in our 4-wheel adventures in Death Valley and Idaho. We eventually made it out after a few hairy moments. NEVER AGAIN! We decided whenever we encounter a local road that turns to dirt, we're turning around.

Bob, Donna and Anthony were over September 6 and we celebrated Bob's birthday. Anthony joined us in our card game and did very well - we told him we allowed him to win so he'd come back. Actually, he's already a pretty good poker player.

Linda has started projects in needle point, latch hooking, and quilting. I'm continuing my usual pursuits. Life is good.

August 8 , 2004

Linda and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary the other day - we both think it could work out.

Jay left Hamilton about 10 days ago and he should be back in Iraq by now, although we haven't heard from him yet. He has about 7 months remaining on his tour - may it pass quickly and safely. While he was in Hamilton, he was interviewed by the local paper - to see what they had to say, click here.

Life goes well in El Dorado Hills - we're in the beginning of a little hot spell - about 100° today with hotter weather forecast the next 5 days. The summer so far has been so cool it's hard to complain.

Early last week Linda and I took a little drive to San Francisco, down the coast to Monterey, across the valley to Sonora and back up Highway 49 through the foothills back home. We stayed at a hotel right on the beach in Seaside - we spent a very relaxing afternoon and morning walking the beach and enjoying the ocean environment. We took a few photos while we were there.

I've been busy the past couple of days setting up our new laptop. Linda would like to document all our little and big trips by keeping a journal, including photographs. While we were on our recent drive, we discussed how much easier it would be with a laptop - she could make entries while the memories were fresh. Also, we wound up having some difficulty navigating some of the country roads on the way back, and figured a GPS would aid us in our travels - DeLorme makes a nice unit that will plug right into our laptop and provide more than enough GPS capability. The 2005 mapping will be available in a couple of weeks so we're holding off our GPS order until then. Other than that, our laptop is ready to go.

Linda has started to get involved in lots of craft type activities. Janie got her interested in Scrap Booking - she's signed up for classes and has a few ideas for her first scrap books. She also ordered a sewing machine - designs can be downloaded from a computer and she's looking forward to seeing what kinds of things she can create (I'm looking forward to being able to hem up some trousers). She also has acquired some paint-by-the-numbers kits and has some nice looking paintings in the works.

I'm still working on my martial arts training and trying (as always) to get/stay in some kind of shape. I'm also continuing to organize our collection of over 8,000 digital photos. I've been playing around making DVDs from some existing videos - fun, but a lot of work.

July 17, 2004

Kyle has been safely delivered back home to Washington. We spent a few days in Hamilton where Kyle got to spend more time with Brandon and Paul and we all got to visit with the rest of the family there. Jay arrived in Hamilton the day before we got there - it was good seeing him. He'll be home for three weeks before returning to Iraq.

We took a few pictures - check it out.

July 5, 2004

Paul and his family just left for home. Paul and Brandon were able to make their trip to California. Brandon's last chance to visit friends before reporting for Marine Corps duty in October. Paul was able to visit friends in the Eureka and Sacramento areas. Paul and all his kids - Dan, Roderick, Jessica, and Brandon - spent the past couple of days visiting us. It's the first time I've ever seen all of Paul's kids in one spot. We had a good visit and some interesting conversations. Kyle is really close to Paul, Brandon, and Jessica and really enjoyed seeing them all. Click here for some pictures.

Kyle is going to spend tomorrow and Wednesday with his Aunt Julie - Austin is up for a visit and he and Kyle enjoy each other's company. On Friday, Linda, Kyle and I head up for Montana for a couple of days and then continue on to drop Kyle off at his home in the Spokane area. Jay is expected to be home for a visit - it'll be good to see him and the rest of the family.

June 22 , 2004

Pretty much back to normal with my new computer. What a hassle. They always say to back up your data - don't worry about your software, you can always reinstall it. My experience is just the opposite. My data is always easy to restore - the software, however, takes weeks and weeks to get back. Much of my software was downloaded and requires "unlock codes" to activate - unfortunately I haven't always made it easy on myself to locate these codes. Also, software configurations usually evolve and are difficult to reproduce later.

Not much to report. Kyle arrived a couple of weeks ago and plans to spend about a month here. Jay is planning to come home from Iraq on July 11 and stay a couple of weeks. We're planning to drive up to Montana while he's there and on our way back home we'll drop Kyle off in Mead. Kyle has been able to spend some time with his friends Jacob and Devon and has enjoyed that a lot. I'm afraid he might be getting a little bored around Grampa and Grandma's house. There's not quite as much to do as there used to be when we lived on our 20 acres. We've been swimming a lot and played some tennis. He's also getting to be quite a guitar player and has been practicing a lot.

Linda has volunteered to work at the Music Circus for a couple of weeks this summer. The Music Circus is our local theater-in-the-round and the shows run from July to Labor Day. It has been in business for as long as Sacramento has been in business I think. Linda will be working the "Jesus Christ Superstar" performance and is thinking of adding the "Pirates of Penzance" performance. She will be working in the costuming department. She will be assigned an actor and will be helping that actor with all her costume changes throughout the performance. Sounds like a lot of work to me, but Linda seems to love those punishing volunteer assignments.

Paul's trip fell through - maybe later.

May 23 , 2004

I'm just getting back online after another hard disk failure on my 18 month old Dell 8250. I don't think there's another computer in the world that's had 3 hard drive failures - I'm convinced that something in the mother board, controller, or some other component caused these failures. Try telling Dell that - especially now that it's out of warranty. Dell technical support listened sympathetically to my story, but told me they couldn't do anything - I really didn't expect they would.

I decided I didn't want to put another hard drive in there and have it fail again in 6 months - it's much too hard to recover even when all my data is backed up - religiously, I might add. I discussed my situation with a Dell salesman and he said he could help some - I wound up buying another Dell. They were having a 20% off sale with free shipping - the salesman gave me a free 4-year in-home parts and labor warranty, and he also gave me a $60 rebate form to fill out. I can't say I'm completely happy, but at least it was some consideration. I stripped all the useful parts out of the old computer - I'm saving some for spares and gave the rest to a friend to see what he can salvage.

Kyle stayed with us for a few days last week - he and Debbie were down to help Linda Bridgeman celebrate her retirement after more than 25 years working for the local school district. In June she's planning to move up to the Spokane area to join Debbie, Kelly, and some of their other relatives up there. We enjoyed seeing Kyle and Debbie and enjoyed the retirement celebration.

Debbie is engaged and planning to marry in September. Her fiancé seems to be a really nice fellow and has met with quick approval from Debbie's family and friends. We wish them well.

Kyle is planning to spend June with us. He's flying down on June 7 and we'll drive him home in early July. We plan to stop over in Hamilton over the holiday so we can all visit the folks there.

Paul called the other day and says he's planning a visit in early June. He's bringing Brandon down to see his California friends before he reports for duty and also plans to visit with Jessica, Dan, and Roderick. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to see them - we haven't seen Dan or Roderick for about 18 months and it's probably been longer than that for Jessica.

May 4 , 2004

Congratulations to my nephew, Brandon, on his recent enlistment with the US Marine Corps. He is scheduled to report for duty on October 4.

Things continue to go well in El Dorado Hills. The weather is warming up and we're beginning to spend a lot more time outside. The pool opened up on May 1 and we plan to spend many warm afternoons enjoying ourselves over there.

I've completed scanning all of Mom's photos. I've been able to date most of them and identify most of the people. I'm using Adobe Photoshop Album software to organize these photos - this software enables me to add written and audio comments to each photo so I've added any captions Mom had on them and my own comments to other photos.

I've added some photos from Mom's life to our web site - they can be seen from the "In Memoriam" page or by clicking here.

In the next couple of weeks, I'm going to make a CD with all the photos of Mom that I have. I'll include all the photos, some canned slide shows, and all my audio and written comments on each photo. I plan to give a CD to each of Mom's children and anyone else that requests one. Let me know if you'd like one.

April 12 , 2004

Linda and I just returned from a ten day drive up to Washington to see Debbie and Kyle's new house. We then swung through Hamilton on the way home to check on the people there. Debbie and Kyle seem to be settled nicely in their new home. Things in Hamilton seem to be going as well as can be expected without Mom - everyone is slowly getting back to their lives. Click here for a little more on the trip.

I picked up a large box of photos that Mom had been keeping. Paul had already separated the photos which contained pictures of Mom - Linda and I have started to categorize the rest. We plan to scan in all the photos of our immediate family, including ancestors. The rest will be returned to the families to dispose of as they see fit.

Still working on Mom's journals - slow going.

For those who might not know ---- my brother Jay was deployed to Iraq for a year with a company contracted to train the Iraqi police. It seems a little too exciting for me, but he seems to be enjoying his adventure. He's sending some photos from time to time - click here to check it out.

March 16, 2004

My Dad, Kyle, and I are now another year older. Kyle and Debbie came down to celebrate Kyle's birthday with family. Julie and Garry put on a really fun birthday party at their house on Saturday - we sure had a good time. Jane and I were both surprised when our birthdays were also celebrated - we each got a "Happy Birthday" song, a small cake, and cards and gifts. It was a pleasant surprise.

On Sunday, Bob and Donna came over and we had another small celebration. Linda made an excellent Italian dinner and we had gelatto and cake afterward. We then played a little poker and they let the Birthday Boy win a few pennies.

Jay has arrived in Iraq and we are getting some email from him. Life around here sure seems boring after hearing about his adventures.

We've had a great run of weather lately - 10 days in a row with clear blue skies, temperatures in the 80s and more ahead, according to the weather man.

February 28, 2004

Linda's another year older.  We had a small celebration with Bob & Donna - cake and a little poker. I'm having a bad run of poker lately - I lost again. Bob and Linda were the big winners.

Jay is off for Iraq to help train up an Iraqi police force - he'll be gone for a year.  Stay safe, little brother.

I talked to Dad today - he seems to be doing pretty well. Brandon is back in Hamilton to finish his senior year of high school.  

Not much else going on............. I'm continuing to enter Mom's journals, but the going is slow.

Linda and I have nailed down our travel plans for the year 2004. In April we plan to drive up to visit Kyle and Debbie, then swing through Hamilton on the way home. In May, we're going to fly down to Puerto Vallarta and spend about 10 days checking out Mexico from there to Guadalajara. In September and probably October, we're planning a 10,000 mile car trip from here to Calgary, east to Maine, down the coast to Florida, and back home through the deep South and Texas. That ought to about do it!

January 31, 2004

We're slowly getting back into our routine. Linda and I are both back into the groove with our fitness programs - it's funny how easy it is and how good it makes you feel. I just don't understand why I always wind up slacking off on exercising and start eating lousy food - maybe this time we'll be able to keep it up for a while ..............

Mom kept a daily journal most of her adult life and most of her notebooks from 1983 to late 2002 were easy to find in the house. I'm going to make a project of transcribing them - I've purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking which converts the spoken word into typed word. This will enable me (I hope) to transcribe her journals in some reasonable time. Mom always talked about some day writing a book of her experiences, but time ran out on her. I'm sure her thoughts and insights will be valuable to a lot of people and I think she'd like to share them.

Paul discovered a lot of photos of Mom in her early days. He's scanned some of them and is sending more for me to scan. It looks like I have a lot of work ahead.

January 19, 2004

My Mom was laid to rest at the Riverview Cemetery in Hamilton on Wednesday, January 14, 2004. There was a great turnout at her funeral and many words were spoken in her tribute. She will be missed by many, many people. Her obituary can be seen by clicking on Eve K. Printz. I am working on a more complete tribute to her life which will be included on our web page in the near future.

January 10, 2004

My Mom passed away early Friday morning.  May she rest in peace.

December 16, 2003

We drove our new Toyota up to Montana as planned and arrived back home Saturday evening. Mom is indeed nearing the end of her journey.  She is soooo tired.  We were able to share some time with her and let her know we're thinking of her.  The evening before we left, Merrill arrived to spend some time with Mom and Dad - they were glad to see him.  We hadn't seen Merrill for many years and it was good to spend some time with him.

We saw plenty of snow and ice during this trip - makes me remember why I moved to California. Click here to see a couple of photos taken on our way home.

Kyle called tonight - he and Debbie are going to arrive Saturday for the Christmas holidays. We've missed him and it's going to be good to have him around for a while.

December 7, 2003

Linda's dad and mom are back home - Les's leg is healing well and he got rid of his cast on December 1. They hired a 24/7 helper until Les is back to normal.  Les had been a little under the weather while they were here and he wound up in the hospital for a couple of days to treat extreme dehydration and the beginnings of kidney failure. When he got out of the hospital, he looked better than he has in a year or so - let's hope he can maintain his current condition. We've been trying to convince them they need to be in an assisted living environment but I think all our advice has fallen on deaf ears.

My mom is slowly slipping away according to reports we get from Montana - every day she gets a little weaker, sleeps a little longer and tires a little more easily. We've decided to take a drive up there and give her a hug - we're leaving first thing in the morning.

Debbie and Kyle were able to drive to Hamilton this weekend and see her - Sandi reports that she was really glad to see them. I'm glad they could make it.

Neither of us is in the mood for the holidays this year.  Thanksgiving was a bust - I won't go into the gory details.  Rather than join the Christmas festivities, we've decided to shine the whole thing - no gifts, no dinners, no nothing. We're going to drive over to the coast and spend a few days relaxing by the ocean.  We'll celebrate the New Year with Bob and Donna and start over in 2004.

November 8, 2003

A lot of changes in the Printz household in the last couple of weeks.  Linda's Dad broke his ankle bad enough to require orthopedic surgery to repair.  He will be out of commission for 6 to 8 weeks. Until he gets back on his feet, he and Ina are staying with us - so far everything is going well, but life is a lot different around here.

Linda and I bought a 2004 Toyota Corolla last week.  The Dodge Dakota has made little sense since we moved off our 20 acres.  We sold all our dirt bikes, Kyle moved, Linda doesn't like 4x4 roads and I haven't hauled anything since we moved ..... also I'm getting real tired of getting 15 mpg. Photos.

We went out to lunch with Bob and Donna the other day, and although we couldn't stay long because of our parent sitting duties, we had a good visit. We also had a pretty good lunch.

October 25, 2003

We just returned from spending 3 days with Bob and Donna in the mountains near Downieville.  Clean air, spectacular scenery, good company ....... it's the kind of thing that refreshes one's soul. Photos.

I talked to Kyle Sunday evening and received an email from Debbie Tuesday.  It sounds like they're already settled in and enjoying their new house.  Kyle has already met some of the neighbor kids his age - I hope one of them turns out to be a good buddy.

I forgot to mention last time that Linda and I took our annual Columbus Day motorcycle ride into the High Sierras to see the foliage of autumn.  We sure do love the mountains around here. Photos.

October 17, 2003

Kyle and Debbie left today for Spokane. For over 5 years, Kyle has spent nearly every weekend with us and we're going to miss him.  We wish them both much luck making new friends and getting settled into their new home.

Kyle's classmates held a bon voyage picnic luncheon for him and Debbie yesterday at Lyon's Park in Placerville.  They have a lot of good friends in this area that are sad to see them go. Photos

We visited Les & Ina this evening and shared a steak dinner with them - we also had some cake, pie, and ice cream to celebrate Les's 77th birthday.

October 9, 2003

It looks like fall has arrived in the Sacramento area. We've had a couple of weeks with clear skies and temperatures in the 80's. I used to love the hot days of summer, but in recent years, I can't say I'm sad to see the cooler weather.

Kyle and Debbie are making preparations to move - they plan to leave for the Spokane area October 17. We're going to miss them.

The other day Linda, Kyle and I went for a drive in the mountains. We visited several lakes in the Sierra and saw a lot of high country. Much of the area we visited was devastated by a huge forest fire some years back and the hillsides are now covered with 8-10 foot pine trees which were apparently planted. I planned to take some photos, but ........ someone forget the camera.

Bob and Donna visited last week - we had a nice visit and I didn't even lose too much in our usual poker game. We decided to spend a few days together later this month in Downieville, an old gold mining town at the north end of Highway 49. Linda and Donna are going out on the town tonight to see a play, 42nd Street in Sacramento.

September 11, 2003

Today is a day of remembrance and reflection. We all have our own thoughts about what happened and what our response should be.  Let's pray the world's leaders can figure out how to deal with terrorism.

Kyle and I drove the Dakota up to Montana - we left August 7 and returned on August 15.  Kyle was disappointed that we didn't do any gopher hunting - apparently gophers are smarter than people and during the heat of August, they're cooling off in their underground homes.  Jay took us fishing one day and it was an experience Kyle won't soon forget. Check out our photos. Kyle enjoyed spending time with Paul - he really misses the times he and Paul spent hiking around our place in Latrobe. They were able to spend an entire day shooting, and, that helped make Kyle's trip a success.

In all our travels this summer, I managed to gain 20 pounds - it's back to dieting and working out too much. About 8 pounds has grudgingly gone somewhere else so the situation isn't hopeless. Linda and I are enjoying being back home and are enjoying the amenities here in our new neighborhood. I'm making good use of the workout room and we've done a lot of swimming and hot tubbing.

Debbie has sold their house and has purchased another house in Washington.  Escrow closes on both deals in the middle of October.  Life is sure going to be a lot different without Kyle and Debbie in our daily lives. I can't say I'm looking forward to their leaving.

Linda's parents have moved out of their apartment into a two-bedroom mobile home in a very, very nice park.  

August 5, 2003

We arrived back home in the afternoon of July 14 after traveling 8,420 miles in 7 weeks on the road. The trip was a resounding success. Our country is indeed an amazing place. We were both astounded at the vastness. Neither of us had been anywhere other than the West and we thought things were much more crowded in the East and South - NOT SO! There's plenty of space. The lushness of the south was particularly surprising to both of us. Click here to see a map of our route.

We took plenty of pictures and Linda is in the process of putting together a day-by-day web journal of our trip. Until she completes her journal, click here to see a brief description of our trip.

Day after tomorrow, Kyle and I are headed to Montana again. I've been promising Kyle all year that I'd take him gopher hunting in the Big Hole and summer is quickly coming to an end - he starts school on August 18.

Debbie and Kyle are planning to move to Spokane. She's put her house on the market and made a contingency offer on a place up there. Now we're all waiting to see how things play out.

Tomorrow, Linda and I will have been married 20 years. Where does the time go?

May 27, 2003

We're outa here - back in mid-July.

May 16, 2003

Things are looking up. Winter seems to be over - we've had nothing but clear skies and warm weather for over a week. We got the Goldwing out of the shop Tuesday and our motorcycle trip to the Atlantic Ocean can't be far off.  Linda and I took a 140 mile ride for a bran muffin Wednesday afternoon and everything checks out. Linda has a doctor's appointment in the morning of May 27 and we plan to depart when she's finished.  We have no return date planned other than mid July sometime. Our plan consists of 3 stops:

1) Asheville, NC - Linda and Donna have talked about the Biltmore Estate near Asheville for some time. One rainy day last winter, Linda told me she'd like to visit there one day, and I jokingly said the only way I would go there is by motorcycle. Linda said: "You're on, let's go this spring". Well, my bluff had been called, so what could I do.

2) Great Falls, MT - One of Linda's friends moved to Great Falls from here a couple of years ago and Linda would like to see the Victorian house they are restoring.

3) Hamilton, MT - My folks' 63rd anniversary will be July 8 and we plan to be there.

Other than that, we plan to have no plan.  We'll get up each day and head east on what looks to be the most interesting route.  We'll avoid the Interstate Highways and major cities and try to hit all the little towns.  After we visit the Biltmore Estate, we'll continue on to the Atlantic Ocean, then turn around and head back west towards Montana.

Linda continues to stay busy with the Red Cross and I'm still content to hang out and keep myself amused with whatever seems interesting at the moment.

April 30, 2003

Today is kind of a sad day - the 5th anniversary of Kevin's death. Debbie and Kyle seem to be doing well, as do we - one day at a time. Still, he's dearly missed..................

April 13, 2003

Income taxes are done and ready to mail in. This time of year always makes me sick. No matter how we attempt to manage the withholding, we wind up having to come up with a couple thousand dollars every year. In a month or so I'll probably settle back down.

Our short motorcycle trip last week didn't happen - the weather and the Goldwing both decided to give us problems.

The weatherman just said it snowed three feet in the mountains this weekend. Last Friday it snowed a couple of feet in the mountains, and on the way to karate, I actually had to drive through a small snowstorm that dumped a couple of inches on the freeway.

We fixed one major problem on the Goldwing, but now, the charging system doesn't seem to work. Tomorrow, it's back in the shop. We're still planning to head for the east coast in May sometime - of course this assumes we have a running motorcycle and some money left after paying for all the motorcycle repairs. I guess I shouldn't complain ...... I'd rather deal with the problems here than on the road.

Other than motorcycle problems, life continues to go well. Linda and I continue to enjoy good health - Kyle and Debbie seem happy and busy, and summer is around the corner.

I've been playing around with making movies on the computer. The biggest effort is transferring videos from tape to the computer. It's a long tedious process.

March 20, 2003

My Dad, Kyle and I are another year older. This year I applied for Social Security benefits so it's getting harder to deny that I might be getting to be old. Oh well ................

Tonight we seem to be at war. Jon is over there in harm's way and would probably appreciate any support you can offer. Our thoughts are with him and his shipmates.

March 6, 2003

Wow! I can't believe how late I am in updating this page. Maybe it's because there hasn't been much excitement around here. Everything goes very well in Northern California - Linda and I are living happily ever after in our new home and enjoying the new freedom and conveniences it provides.

We celebrated Linda's birthday this year by traveling with our friends Bob and Donna to the Central Coast to see Hearst Castle. Click Here to see more including photos.

Linda has been attending services at the small church across from the entrance to Versante. In addition to the regular Sunday services, she is attending a Bible study class about the life and ministry of John the disciple. It seems to have become her all-consuming passion. She is always reading and taking notes.

In addition to her Red Cross work, Linda has started volunteering at the Snowline Hospice Thrift Shop. She is working one day a week. She likes what she does there -- it's right up a woman's alley apparently -- pricing clothes and putting them out on the racks for sale. She has even brought home a couple of good finds.

We've had some nice weather this year. Everyone is starting to get a little concerned as we continue to fall behind in our rainfall, but you can't be too unhappy about clear, blue skies with temperatures in the 60s. We've broken out our motorcycles and bicycles and done a few rides. We're enjoying the motorcycle riding so much we're planning a cross-country trip on the Gold Wing to North Carolina in May - we plan to take about a month or so. We've always wanted to take such a trip and Linda came up with a good reason - to see the Biltmore Estates. We plan a shorter, warm-up trip in April to explore some parts of Northeastern California we haven't seen yet.

Kyle is doing well in school this year, turning in some very, very good report cards. We continue to spend a lot of time with him. This week he's staying with us while his Mom takes a Mexican Cruise.

December 31, 2002

We're living in our new home! There's still lots of unpacking and plenty of things to get done, but we're pretty much settled in. The house and area are everything we'd hoped they might be.

Again, Bob & Donna - Thank you!

We had a very nice Christmas this year.  Debbie and Kyle came over early in the afternoon of Christmas Eve and we exchanged gifts and had a little visit.  Later in the day, we went over to Bob & Donna's and shared a wonderful dinner, gift exchange, and visit with their family.  Christmas day we shared with Linda's parents at their place -- we had a great dinner and received a beautiful Christmas and housewarming gift, a clock that plays music on the hour. Thanks everyone, it has been one eventful year!

This year has been a disaster for my normal activities - I haven't been keeping up with my martial arts training, my bicycle is getting rusty, I'm out of shape and 15 pounds overweight, my motorcycles are feeling unwanted.  Somehow, the turmoil of selling our house and moving drained all my motivation.  Tomorrow seems like a good day to get started!

December 3, 2002

Tomorrow is the walk-thru for our new house. This day seems to have taken forever to get here. Another week to fix any problems we might identify and escrow will finally close.

Things are going well at Bob and Donna's house - at least from our point of view. So far we all seem to be compatible. Thanksgiving went well. Between the two families, 19 people were over. Donna and Linda really outdid themselves as dinner was excellent.

November 4, 2002

Moving day is upon us. Escrow is scheduled to close November 8. Today the movers were here and hauled virtually everything away - all we're left with is a bed, a dresser, some delicate items such as house plants, and some cleaning supplies. Our plan is to spend tomorrow cleaning up and Wednesday moving our remaining stuff over to Bob & Donna's house. We originally planned our move for Thursday, but as luck would have it, the first rain in many moons is scheduled on that day.

We have a tentative move-in date on our new house: November 27. They're going to have to hurry to make that date.

If we're lucky, the next entry to this page will be made at our new home.

October 17, 2002

It looks like we may have actually sold our house. Our original buyer never did come up with any money and on October 7 the deal fell through. However, another buyer came along - this one with some real money. Our deal is now in escrow and should close on November 6. The only problem we have is that our new house won't be ready until early December. Bob and Donna have solved that problem by offering us a room in their house. We really appreciate the help.

Linda and I drove up to Montana for a few days and found everyone in good health and spirits. It looks like Paul and Brandon and their dogs have injected a lot of life into the Royal and Eve Printz household. Dad hasn't looked better in years and Mom continues to make small but steady gains.

Linda did her usual volunteer work at the annual Skandi-Fest in Turlock the last weekend in September. She had a great time and came back with another T-shirt for me.

We saw a very good movie the other day called "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". We highly recommend it for the uplifting feeling you have when you leave the theater.

September 22, 2002

Whoops! Another change in plans. Since September 8, we've had another offer on the house higher than the first offer. The only problem was the original buyer wasn't interested in pulling out - turns out to be a good thing since the backup offer was withdrawn a week later anyway.

Also, Linda and I decided we really didn't want to move for the sake of moving. Our original plan was to change our way of life and moving to a house in Cameron Park wasn't really going to change much other than we'd be in a neighborhood - so we withdrew our offer on that house. We found a small "active adult" community in El Dorado Hills that offered everything we were looking for - everything is included in the homeowners' association dues - gated security, all exterior building maintenance, landscaping, landscape maintenance, clubhouse with workout area and swimming pool, insurance, water, sewer, and a host of other amenities. We put our money down on a place that should be ready around November 15. Again, everything hinges on our buyer coming up with some real money which doesn't seem real promising at this time.

We've decided we'll keep our house on the market until the "active adult" community can no longer hold onto the place we want. If that deal falls through, we've decided we'll stay on our 20 acres and make some changes so we can change our lifestyle somewhat. The main thing we would like to do is travel for a couple of weeks whenever the notion strikes without worrying about all the plants, trees, and hedges dying. Automate watering should take care of that problem and we intend to install such a system if we stay.

We attended the wedding of Julie and Garry Thomas yesterday at Stinson Beach. They rented a couple of really nice houses right on the beach and put up all their guests in style. The ceremony was unconventional, entertaining, and touching. We had a nice day with lots of good company, good scenery, and the cool coast. We've been having a run of 4 continuous day with temperatures over 100 degrees with no real relief in sight.

September 8, 2002

We found a house we like in the Cameron Park area. We've negotiated a price with the owners and the deal is currently in escrow. Only one small problem ---- the people that are buying our house are having problems with their buyer, something about the financing. This puts both of our deals in a little trouble. At this point nobody seems to know what's going on - all we know is that escrow on the sale of our house was scheduled to close September 10 and is now scheduled for October 4. We have packed up virtually everything and are now eating off paper plates. Everyone is holding their breath and hoping everything will work out. We'll see.

Paul and Brandon have made the move to Montana. They arrived there this week and are in the process of getting settled in. I talked to Paul yesterday and he seems happy to be there.

August 19, 2002

Linda and I have just returned home from a scouting trip to Arizona and have decided to continue making our home in this area. In another month we will be homeless and are now scurrying around trying to find a new place to live.

How did we get in this predicament? This spring, the housing market was looking up in this area, so we put our place up for sale. For years, Linda and I had dreamed of cashing in, moving to a less expensive place, and doing a lot of traveling. Arizona seemed like the logical place, although neither of us had ever been there. We planned a trip in August to check out Arizona, although in the back of our minds, the move to Arizona seemed a foregone conclusion. The day before we left for Arizona, we received an offer on the house. We countered, the buyers countered back, and an agreement was reached the second day we were in Arizona - we had sold our house. Although Arizona had some good points, Linda and I finally came to the conclusion that this move wasn't right. It was hard to leave family and friends behind. We also came to appreciate our foothills and mountains as we spent day after day in the desert. Anyway ............ here we are looking for a new home.

This time, we are looking for something a little closer to civilization with a little less property to keep going. We still plan to travel a lot and need a place that can be left alone for more than a day or two. Linda and I spent the whole day (our first since returning from Arizona) driving by properties that looked promising on the Internet. We have identified 5 or 6 places that look really good and will check them out as soon as possible. We also saw another 10 or so places that look OK and will also check them out if necessary.

Paul and Brandon are also making a change. They are moving up to Montana to be closer to the folks. Paul, Dan, Roderick, and Brandon are coming over August 24th for our last get-together before they leave August 30. We'll miss having them in the area.

July 17, 2002

Linda's brother, Wayne, was found dead in his apartment on July 8, his 54th birthday. He could have died as early as June 24 according to the coroner. The cause of death is pending, however, it was apparently of natural causes. We are all devastated, especially, Linda, Lester, and Ina.

A memorial service was held on Saturday, July 13 in Martinez where Wayne worked and lived these past 25 years or so. It was a moving service that was well attended by Wayne's friends and family. We'll all miss Wayne.

July 1, 2002

We're back from Hawaii. Linda wound up $389 short of her $3500 goal but she made up the difference out of her own pocket and competed in the Kona Marathon. She decided to do the half marathon finishing in 540th place, completing the more than 13 miles in 4 hours and 4 minutes. Quite an accomplishment!

Kyle and I made our motorcycle trip to Montana in early June. From now on, we'll wait until July - we ran into snow at Cascade, Idaho. Kyle and I both became sick while we were holed up there. Some kind of virus that had us both upchucking. Kyle was up all night the first night and I was up all night the third night. Jay took Kyle and me gopher hunting up in the Big Hole and there are now at least 10 fewer gophers in the area.

The news from Montana is good. Mom continues to improve and Dad hasn't looked better in years.

May 6, 2002

Mom is back home and slowly recovering. Sandi has done a lot of work to make life easier for Mom and Dad. She has had ramps installed on the side and back porches to make getting in and out a little easier. She has also purchased a couple of special tilt-up chairs that provide a help in getting up. Also, the bathtub is coming out (may be gone already) to be replaced with a walk-in shower. For the short-term, there is 24/7 live-in assistance being provided until Mom is able to get in and out of bed by herself.

This is a big life style change for everyone concerned. I hope the adjustment period is smooth and quick.

Linda and I are embarking on a life style change of our own. The real estate market is booming in this area and we've put our home up for sale. We don't know exactly what we'll do if it actually sells, but we have a few ideas. We've been looking into retirement communities and have a couple spotted in Arizona. This summer, we plan to pay a short visit to the area and see if we can stand the heat. If our house sells before we find another location, we just plan to rent something here until the end of summer. We'll see how it all plays out - the ball is now rolling and has taken on a life of its own.

Kyle and I are planning a motorcycle trip to Montana June 4 -16. Last summer, Jay promised to take Kyle gopher hunting this year and Kyle has been looking forward to this trip and planning it for nearly a year.

Linda and I drove over to Reno on April 28 and spent some time with Jay and Janie at the NRA Convention. We had a few meals, lost some money, and had a lot of good conversation. Jay introduced us to some of his fellow NRA Board Directors - they were all extremely nice people. Also, every one of them had done something to distinguish themselves in life and some of them are quite famous. I was especially honored to meet General Joe Foss, a WWII U.S. Marine fighter pilot, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Linda's training for the marathon progresses. I've been doing a little road work with her and I can tell you that distances over 10 miles are far, far, far. It looks like Linda needs a few more wealthy friends - the contributions have quit coming in and she's still $750 short. She'll have to make up the difference if she wants to compete - something tells me that she'll do it.

Linda has taken on more responsibilities with the American Red Cross. She is now a Chapter Duty Officer or CDO, in addition to being a Disaster Action Team member. This means she is on call after hours and on the weekends one week a month (or more) to activate disaster teams should the need arise. She has so far responded to three events. These events did not call for team activation, but she did have to calm down some clients over the phone. When we move, I guess Linda will volunteer for the Red Cross in Arizona. She said there is a chapter in Phoenix that she will probably pay a visit to.

April 5, 2002

More bad news. Last Friday, Mom took a tumble and broke her hip. She was immediately taken to Missoula and on Sunday, March 31, she underwent surgery to have it pinned. She survived the surgery OK and is now on the mend. As you might imagine, she now has to undergo many hours of very painful rehabilitation.

In the meantime, Sandi is running herself ragged traveling back and forth to Missoula to visit Mom and spending as much time as she can with Dad to ease his fears and loneliness. Jay is out of town and Sandi has no one with which to share the burden. Understandably, Dad is lonesome and somewhat depressed about the situation. It might not hurt to pick up the phone and give one or both of them a call. I'm sure they would both appreciate the support.

March 6, 2002

Mom is home from the hospital and on the road to recovery from her recent gall bladder surgery.  She had a few rough days that had everyone worried.  Debbie, Kyle, Paul, Linda, and I drove up to Montana to lend our support to both her and Dad.  We didn't spend much time there, only a couple of days, but I believe our presence and the presence of Jon and Ashley buoyed up Mom's spirits.  For a description of our adventure, including a couple of photos, click here.

Just for the record, I believe that Sandi probably saved Mom's life - she is making an heroic effort in her support of Mom and Dad.  I feel a lot better knowing that she and Jay are close by. Thanks Sandi!

I'll never again complain about California weather.  The first morning we were there, I looked outside at the thermometer on Jay's deck and it read -4 degrees.  The high that day was in the 20s.  Our windshield washer froze up somewhere in Nevada and stayed frozen until we got home.  Today it's raining with temperatures in the 50s - it seems downright tropical.

Linda's training for the marathon is going well. While we were in Montana, she was able to work in an 8-mile run/walk. The money keeps trickling in and she is optimistic she'll meet her goal.

February 5, 2002

Our rainy season seems to be over - we're at least having a welcome break. The past couple of weeks have been wonderful - a little cool maybe. We did have a couple of weeks when it dipped into the 20s at night and didn't get out of the 40's in the daytime, but it has been warming up to near 60 lately. Another 30 degrees or so and I'll be happy.

Linda has committed herself to quite a challenge. She's going to run the Kona Marathon as part of a fund raising event for the American Stroke Association. The deal is - she raises $3500 for them by May 23 and they will provide the necessary training, travel, and support for her to compete on June 23.

Linda also has been doing some work with the Red Cross.  She is on a Disaster Action Team, which responds to local events.  She has been called out on two house fires where the occupants had to be put up in a hotel because the houses were destroyed.  This evening she went to the Chapter office for a meeting to get ready for a big statewide drill that will be happening in May.  Hopefully, it will just be a drill and not the real thing.

Kevin's KZ1000 lives again. Last week, we got it back on the road. It took a lot of time and money, but now that it's back on the road, I'm glad we did it. I had a lot of help from some of Kevin's friends who are now my friends.  Click here for some photos and the story of Kevin's KZ1000.

January 1, 2002

Happy New Year folks. It's been another great year in Latrobe - we hope you can say the same.

Forrest's birth day was December 29 - he would have been six this year. It sure doesn't seem like so much time has passed since his death. We wonder what he would be like if he were still here. Happy Birthday Forrest.

Bob and Donna came over late yesterday and helped us usher in the New Year. Linda and Donna fleeced Bob and me out of our hard earned money with some skillful card tricks.

Christmas was kind of a fractured affair this year. Linda and I participated in three Christmas celebrations. On Sunday, December 23, Linda, Kyle and I spent the day eating and exchanging gifts at the Brown's house with Bob, Donna, Candace, and Anthony. On Monday morning, December 24, we went out to breakfast with Debbie and Rick, then spent an hour or so at Debbie and Kyle's house. That afternoon, we went to Les and Ina's house - Ina was recuperating from foot surgery and didn't feel up to making the trip to our place. On Christmas day, Paul, Dan, Roderick, and Brandon were able to come over and share the day with us.

Linda cooked up another feast on Thanksgiving and nearly everyone showed up for a nice visit. Wayne was unable to break away from his job because they were working seven days a week to finish a job on time. Paul, Dan, Roderick, Brandon, Les, Ina, Bob, Donna, Candace, Anthony and Bob's mom, Lorena were all here. Bob's mom was quite a hit with the group. We all hope she's able to make it again sometime. Unfortunately, we were all so busy visiting that nobody thought to take any pictures.

Linda and I continue to keep busy and happy in our retirement. It's hard to believe how we ever found the time to go to work every day. On December 19, Linda spent the morning sorting and packing food baskets at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds to be distributed to the needy. She reported that it was interesting but hard work! She also ran into a couple of her old Caltrans buddies there who were also volunteering their morning.

The rainy season seems to have arrived. According to my records, we've received nearly 13 inches of rain in the past couple of months - way above average. There's plenty of snow in the mountains also. Some of the ski resorts are reporting over 10 feet of base. So far, so good. It seems that California is always in some kind of water crisis - drought or floods. Maybe this year we can just have a nice, normal year.

October 29, 2001

September 11, 2001
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, the rescuers, and our people in the armed forces.

I must be really busy. I see it's been over 2 months since I've updated this page. Hopefully, someone still reads it now and again - I apologize to those who do.

I've discovered how to program a Palm Pilot. Linda and I have both traded up - we each have a Sony Clie. These devices have very high resolution color displays and memory expansion capability - much more fun than the vanilla Palm Pilots. Linda's even plays music. If anyone has need for a simple Palm Pilot program, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Linda has joined the Red Cross volunteers and is spending quite a bit of time getting trained up. She is on a Disaster Action Team which will render assistance to disaster victims. She's also on the ballot for a position on the Board of the Latrobe Fire Protection District - I guess I'll vote for her next week.

Linda helped put on this year's Skandi Fest in Turlock. Kyle and I drove down and spent the afternoon. Lots of neat things to see and do.

I'm still content to selfishly pursue my own desires. I was awarded a Black Belt in Koden Kan Karate at a ceremony on October 5. Funny, I expected to be able to fly or something, but I'm still the same old guy. Still a struggle to stay in shape - lots of bicycle riding. It's supposed to rain tonight so I suppose summer is over and I'm going to have to start hitting the gym again. I'd rather be outside.

Linda's folks seem to be doing O.K. They spent last week in Monterey.

Kyle and Debbie are also doing well. We still see Kyle every weekend.

Paul is keeping busy up in Grass Valley. We don't see too much of him and Brandon lately. Hopefully we'll have a chance to visit over the holidays.

We really need the rain. Our pond is almost dried up for the first time in the 12 years we've been up here.. We've stopped watering the lawn and are talking about some landscaping that won't take so much irrigation.

We hear that Jon is scheduled to join the action in the Middle East in early December. Debbie says he's planning to spend Thanksgiving in Hamilton and she and Kyle are planning to drive up there also. We're planning to stay home and share our Thanksgiving with Linda's parents, and Paul and his family.

Linda and I drove to Montana in early September to help Mom celebrate her 81st birthday. We had a nice visit with them. Sandi and Jay were both out of town - I suspect they both decided to leave when they heard we were on the way again. We've made three trips up there this year. We had a little adventure by taking the McGruder Corridor from Elk City, Idaho to Conner, Montana - 120 miles of mostly dirt road between two wilderness areas. It's supposed to be the most isolated road in the country. To add to the adventure, it snowed 6-8 inches the night before - we had a few moments but thankfully, we had 4-wheel drive which made life easier. We traversed three mountain passes all of which had considerable snow.

August 15, 2001

Today would have been Kevin's 38th birthday - he's in our thoughts.

Our trip to Hawaii with Kyle, Bob, Donna, Candace, and Anthony was a success. We enjoyed lots of hanging out at the beach and generally taking it easy.

As much as I like laying around the beach, snorkeling, and playing in the surf, it's sure nice to get back home - there's something especially nice about sleeping in your own bed and eating your own food. I also enjoy getting back into my normal routines. I've been doing my normal things, a little karate, a little bicycle riding, a little motorcycle riding, a few chores ...... I sure do enjoy being retired. Linda's planning a run for public office - she has put her name on the ballot for a spot on the board of the Latrobe Fire Protection District. Who knows what's next - replacing Dianne Feinstein?

Just before we left for Hawaii, our dirt road was chip sealed. While we were gone, our driveway was also chip sealed by the same outfit. It sure is a lot nicer around here without all the dust. We're even thinking of washing our vehicles.

Linda's mom is still in the hospital. They have determined her problems are the result of a staph infection she picked up during her first back surgery on June 11. Right now it looks like she has another couple of weeks before they get it cleared up. She's getting pretty homesick by now.

July 20, 2001

It looks like I've neglected to keep this page current again.

We're getting ready for our Hawaii trip - we leave July 29 for a week in Oahu. We're all looking forward to a little beach time.

I've finally finished all my black belt requirements - there will be a belt ceremony in early October and I will be one of the candidates receiving a black belt.

I spent most of June whacking weeds which didn't leave much time to do anything exciting. We (Linda, Kyle, and I) traveled to Montana the first week in July and had a great visit with everyone. We spent several days with Sandi and Pete and another couple with Jay and Janie and another couple of days with Ken, Sharon, and Shelby. We got to spend some time with Mom and Dad and helped them celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary on July 8.

Jay took Kyle on his first gopher hunting trip - fortunately for the gophers, it was a cloudy day and they got skunked.

On June 11, Linda's mom had back surgery to correct a nerve conflict with some bone spurs. She's had quite a time. After the surgery, the pain didn't seem to go away and she never really got back on her feet. After several attempts at rehab with no relief, she was admitted back into the hospital and it was found that she had a system-wide infection leading from an abscess on her spine. She was operated on again to remove the abscess - she's still in the hospital as of today. When she gets out, it looks like she'll have to endure another round of rehab before she's ready to go home.

June 3, 2001

Well, it didn't take long to decide on another trip to Hawaii - We went to the Sacramento Jazz Festival with Bob & Donna Memorial Day weekend and watched Candace perform in the parade.  After the parade we played some cards and during our conversations someone suggested we take the grandkids to Hawaii. Sounded like a great idea - Bob, Donna, Candace, Anthony, Linda, Kyle and I are going to spend the week of July 30 - August 6 at the same beach house on Oahu

Linda has been busy with her volunteer work at Marshall Park coordinating weddings. She has done four or five of them in the last couple of months. She really likes the people she works with and she is having a good time. She reports that each wedding is unique and each one leaves her uplifted and in great spirits afterward.

I'm getting ready for my annual battle with the weeds - I'll spend 40-50 hours with my weed-eater over the next month or so. I hope to finish before July 1 so we can make our annual pilgrimage to Montana. We had a dry winter and May was the hottest on record - It promises to be a bear of a fire season. We've already had one close call and summer is still a ways off.

The next time I enter something on this page, I should be a Black Belt. I've been testing since late January and Thursday I should be finished.

Kyle is out of school for the summer - he says he's retired for a while. He and I went on a 12 mile bicycle ride today - we both really enjoy these rides in the country. We talked about taking some longer rides when he gets to be 15 or so. Maybe we'll try a trip to Montana or something.

I have received news that one of my old beer drinking buddies, Melvin "Dano" Corwin died on April 30, 2001 at Cottonwood, Arizona due to complications from diabetes and recent surgery. I hadn't seen Dano for about 10 years, although I could have looked him up several times. When will I ever learn that tomorrow or next time doesn't always get here.

May 8, 2001

We've been back from Hawaii (Oahu) for a week now. We stayed at the same beachside house as last August. Linda and I joke about going on vacation when you're retired - how do you do that when life is just one long vacation? It is sure nice to lay around on the beach and enjoy each other's company. We had three days of sunny skies and four days of rain and wind. Even the rain over there is nice. The first day we were there we drove around the island - it was raining on us and in the mountains left of the highway. The sun was shining from the ocean and this created the most spectacular rainbow I've ever seen - it was a full 180 degrees with colors so vibrant they looked fake. The leading end of the rainbow was about 100 feet away and followed us as we drove down the highway - we looked in vain for the pot of gold. I'll remember that rainbow for the rest of my life. We spent all the rainy days driving around and the sunny days snorkeling and laying around on the beach. If you're reading this you know you'll also have to look at a couple of photos - Linda - Doug.

We had a little excitement a couple of days after we got home. On Wednesday evening, about 4:30 or so, we heard a helicopter flying very, very low and close to our house. We rushed outside to see what was going on and were surprised to see a column of smoke approaching our house from the east - it was huge. The helicopter had picked up a load of water from the river and he dumped it as we watched - it didn't look too far away and we were sure the fire would be on us in a few minutes. The wind was blowing about 30 mph. I turned on the pump to the pond and we dragged a couple of garden hoses out in preparation for putting out any embers that might fall on the roof of the house or garage. The smoke was billowing a couple of hundred feet in the air, and it was also getting real smoky where we were standing. I was thinking about how puny the garden hoses seemed when we heard some noise on the road below our place. It turned out to be a couple of fire engines and a water tanker. When they turned up our driveway I was overwhelmed with relief - I had already started thinking of what we would do if our home burned down. A firefighter asked me to show him all the buildings then he asked us to leave for our own safety. We didn't argue - we left. To make a long story short - they stopped the fire short of our property and we didn't lose anything. I've scanned in the newspaper article describing the events.

One last piece of news - Linda has sold both her motorcycles. She says she'd rather ride behind me than fight the traffic.

We're planning a week-long trip to Montana with Kyle in July. We'll try to time it so we're there for the Fourth and also for Mom and Dad's 63rd wedding anniversary on July 8.

April 2, 2001

We just returned from an afternoon with Bob and Donna. Today is Donna's birthday and we went over to take her out to lunch. Somehow Bob picked up the check so we wound up inviting ourselves over for a free lunch.

Jay and Rod had a coin show in Sacramento and were able to spend a couple of days with us on the way in and out. They headed back for Hamilton this morning. It's always nice to see them. Jay reports that all is well in Montana.

Linda continues her training at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. She is currently spending a few hours working at each of several jobs to get the feel of the park and help decide what particular things she'll work on. She is really learning a lot about the early history of the area.

Kyle had his first baseball game (photo) on March 31. His team played well but didn't have the good fortune to win. All the coaches and parents are very supportive and everyone enjoyed the day.

Linda, Kyle and I have each gained another year but we seem to be none the worse for wear. Linda surprised me with a little party on March 17 by inviting a group of people up here without my knowledge. Paul took me on a hike to the river with Brandon and Kyle while everyone was arriving. When we returned from the river - SURPRISE!!!    I must be the most gullible person on the planet - I never suspect a thing and even when I walk in on everyone it takes me a couple of seconds to get it.

We enjoyed our week in Palm Springs. As we planned we spent a lot of time driving around the desert (photo1 photo2) and also spent some time soaking the the hot tub and swimming pool. The Chamber of Commerce brags about 350 days of sunshine every year - we saw three of the remaining 15 days. On one of the days there was over 1/2 inches of rainfall, some kind of record for the area. For that reason we didn't spend as much time pool side as we originally planned.

We've decided to put off our trip to Alaska after checking out the distance on a map. Instead we're planning to check out New Mexico this fall.

February 21, 2001

Life continues to go well in Latrobe. We recently joined the local sports club and there is plenty there to keep us busy. They have a fully equipped weight room, an aerobics room with every kind of treadmill, stairwalker, stationary bicycle, ski machine, and rowing machine known to man along with swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, tennis courts, basketball courts .... you get the idea. We try to make it there every day - we spend most of our time on the treadmill trying to burn a few calories. I recently started a little weight training - we'll see if any of this stuff works.

Linda has started doing a little volunteer work. On February 1st she started a ten-week (1 full day/week) training program at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. When she is finished with this course she will go to work at the park a day or so a week. There are many jobs to be done and she won't know what she'd like to do until her training is complete. She also has begun delivering food with the local "Meals on Wheels" program.

Kyle will be playing baseball this spring. Last weekend he did real well in the local Little League tryouts and he will be drafted by a team next week, start practice on March 1 and opening day will be March 31. He's never played baseball before and he is really excited about getting a chance to play.

We've arranged for a little travel in the coming months. The first week of March we'll be in Palm Springs laying around the swimming pool and driving around the desert. The last week in April we're going back to the same place on Oahu we were last year. We've also been talking about taking a drive up to Alaska in late summer or early fall. I imaging we'll also get up to Montana one of these days.

The holidays also went well in Latrobe. On Christmas day the regular group came over for dinner and we exchanged gifts. We also had a gift exchange with Debbie and Kyle and a separate gift exchange with Bob and Donna.

December 4, 2000

I think this approaches a record for procrastination - nearly three months without updating our page? We had some change in plans - we changed our trip to Palm Springs to the middle of February. Neither of us was ready to leave home again so soon after returning from Hawaii.

On Thanksgiving Day Linda hosted a traditional feast for myself, Les and Ina, Wayne, Paul, Brandon, and Dan. Not much excitement, but a pleasant visit was had by all. Kyle spent the weekend on the coast, near Bodega Bay with Debbie and her family.

We bought a new pickup in early November, a 2001 Dodge Dakota 4x4. We took it to Las Vegas for the free, three-day, two-night stay Linda found on the Internet. We drove on dirt roads from South of Bishop, California to Scotty's Castle, a distance of about 80 miles. It was an interesting ride - but really pretty tame.

Las Vegas was really something! This was Linda's first visit and I haven't seen it since about 1968. We stayed in a real nice condo called Desert Paradise Resort, just a mile or so off the strip. We spent most of our time around Caesar's Palace and Bellagio. I could spend hours describing everything but you have to see it to appreciate it. The fountain show at Bellagio was especially interesting. According to Linda, the atmosphere in Caesar's Palace and Bellagio reminded her a lot of Italy.

In October, Dad took a fall and banged his head and hurt his leg and shoulder. There was some hemorrhaging in his brain that wasn't discovered for several days. The symptoms were serious and we were worried he had suffered a stroke, so LInda and I drove to Montana. By the time we got there, the crisis had passed and he was well on his way to recovery. He spent a couple of weeks in physical therapy and then returned home where he seems to be doing OK.

When we got to Montana, LInda called her folks to let them know we arrived OK only to find out that her Dad had been rushed to the hospital and was in the Intensive Care Unit. He had had some minor surgery a week earlier and was experiencing some unusual bleeding. It all cleared up in a couple of days but the doctors never really found out what was causing it. He went home after a couple of days and seems to be doing OK.

The last weekend in September, Linda attended the Skandi-Fest in Turlock. Every year she attends this festival to celebrate her Scandinavian heritage. Her folks usually go, but this year they weren't able to attend.

September 8, 2000

We returned from our trip to Hawaii on August 19.  Somehow it has taken me three weeks to get all the photos on line and to write up a description of our trip.  Hawaii is sure a great place.  To read about our trip click Hawaii2000; to view some pictures, click HawaiiPictures2000.

We spent the first week on Oahu and the second week on the Big Island.  Strangely, Linda and I both like Oahu better.  We stayed North of the Honolulu/Waikiki area near Hauula.  It has a rural flavor, the people are nice, and the beaches are not crowded.  As we drove further north, the flavor remained.  On the Big Island, however, we found that nearly all the good places were swarming with people.  The coast is largely inaccessible and there are very few beaches because the island isn't old enough.  Also, Kilauea emits a lot of sulfur dioxide (2500 tons/day they say) and the prevailing winds blow it to the Kailua-Kona area, resulting in a smog like condition called VOG by the locals.  Very unpleasant stuff.  There was a lot to like, however, and we enjoyed our stay there as well.

Every time we go to Hawaii, Linda and I spend some time considering how it would be like to live over there.  We always check out the real estate market.  One of these days, we might just do it.

On October 1, we’re off to Palm Springs for a week.  Linda keeps stumbling on these deals that are just too good to pass up.  In November we're off again for a week in Las Vegas – this one is for free, except for enduring a timeshare pitch.

In between trips, not much is getting done around here.  I'm finding it hard to get into any kind of routine and my karate, bicycling, and working out is all suffering.  I don’t think we’ll be doing so much traveling next year.

August 2, 2000

We’re baaaaaack – but not for long. 

Linda and Donna had a great time in Europe!  To read about their adventures, click Europe2000 – to view some pictures of their trip, click EuropePictures2000.

Kyle and I also had a great time on our motorcycle trip.  To read about our adventures, click Montana2000 – to view some pictures from our trip, click MontanaPictures2000.

Tomorrow Linda, Kyle and I are taking off for Hawaii – we’ll drive to San Francisco, stay overnight in a motel, and catch a plane first thing in the morning.

We spent most of the time between trips resting from one and getting ready for the other.  Frankly, although I’m looking forward to spending some time in Hawaii, I’ll be glad to get back and settle into my normal, dull routine.  If I have much more vacationing, I’ll weigh 300 pounds.

June 16, 2000

We’re both getting ready for our upcoming trips from June 25 to July 14.  Linda will be heading for Europe with our friend Donna Brown - Kyle and I will be off on our motorcycle trip to Montana.

Linda and Donna went to a “Bon Voyage Party” last Sunday where they wound up some of the last minute details.  Click Here to see a brief itinerary and map of their trip.

I’m waiting for the last minute to get ready for the motorcycle trip.  I've got my hands full trying to get enough weeds cut down so I won’t have to worry about the place burning up while we’re gone.  Today is the end of a 4-day heat wave that saw temperatures as high as 107 Wednesday.

Linda got a little taste of piloting a motorcycle on our May trip to Montana and decided she’d like to have a street motorcycle that was large enough to go on some serious trips.  She purchased a 2000 Yamaha Virago 535 a couple of weeks ago and she is really enjoying it.  Take a look.

On June 9, Brandon graduated from the 8th grade.  We drove up to Grass Valley for the ceremony that was held at Empire Mine State Park.  There were 79 graduates and more than 700 people were in the audience – pretty good turnout.  It’s good to see that we've got a good crop of young people coming up.

May 22, 2000

Uncle Bill's funeral was held in Redding on Saturday, May 20, 2000. My Mom and Ken flew to Sacramento and we all (Mom, Ken, Linda, Paul, Brandon, and myself attended. There were a lot of folks up there I hadn't seen in many a year. It was a nice tribute to Uncle Bill and we will all miss him. Paul took some pictures and they are available from my home page - see the link to Uncle Bill's Page.

May 14, 2000

Uncle Bill passed away Saturday from complications due to his heart surgery. He was much admired by me and the people I know - his great knowledge and sense of adventure will be sorely missed. Our condolences to Jan and the kids.

May 12, 2000

Uncle Bill Mayer had to have bypass surgery about a week ago and as far as I know he's still in the hospital. There were some complications but he seems to be doing somewhat better at last word. It wouldn't hurt to put him in your prayers.

It looks like another couple of months have passed so I better add something. Jay and I talked while we were in Montana and it looks like each of us is using the other for justification in not updating our web page. I told him that whenever I feel guilty for not having updated my web page, I look at his to see when his was last updated. If he hasn't updated his for a while, then I feel justified in letting mine go a little longer. He laughed and said his does the same thing.

We returned from our Montana trip May 7. We stayed with Sandi and Pete while we were there and we sure enjoyed their hospitality. They were very busy getting started on their spring planting and yard work. They've also done some work on their house and are planning some more. They both seem to be doing well.

We got to spend a day visiting with Jay and Janie - they took us to dinner at a place in Charlos Heights which was a pleasant change from our usual haunts, the Koffee Kup and 4 B's. They both look well and prosperous.

We also spent a day at Ken and Sharon's place. Sharon prepared a delicious roast beef dinner. It was so good that I couldn't help myself from eating too much, but hey, I was on vacation. Their family is also doing well. They put in a lot of work in their place and every time we're there they've added something new.

If you click on the links in the following paragraphs you can see a couple of photos we took.

We also got to spend some time with Mom and Dad. I'm always surprised by how good they look. Mom looks more like her old self - it looks like the pacemaker is doing a lot of good. They both say they feel well and I believe it. I hope to be doing half as well when I'm their age - actually, I will be happy just to actually be their age some day.

LInda and I took our dual-purpose motorcycles as planned. We took two trips in Montana. On the first trip we took the Old Darby Road from Hamilton to Darby. On the way we stopped at Como Lake and took the trip over the hill into Lost Horse. I'd never been in this area and was surprised at the rugged beauty of the area - we came around one turn and it looked like glacier park. The next day, we decided to head for Burnt Fork Lake, east of Corvallis. I'd never been on the east side of the Valley, other than a few trips on the bench, and I was really surprised at how rugged the mountains were. It never occurred to me that there were such views of the valley from up there. We never made it to the Lake - when we got near the snow level, it got real cold and started looking like rain, so we turned around and headed for the warmth of a coffee shop.

On the way home, we stopped at Arco and took the motorcycles out to the Great Rift, east of the Craters of the Moon. It was very cool and very, very windy when we took off. When we got about 25 miles out, we started to run into a lot of patches of 6-8 inch thick dust - it would splash up on our legs like water. The further we went, the worse it got. After a few miles of that and a couple of near spills, we decided we'd had enough and headed back for shelter. I can't say too much about the scenery out there - the most exciting thing that happened was that we scared up a couple of antelope.

Linda and I both enjoy this type of adventure and plan to do much more of it in the future. We have so many dirt roads scoped out that it will take the next 20 years to hit them all.

We went on our trip to Lake Tahoe. For $39 it was a real bargain. We also got a $50 meal and $50 worth of gift certificates at a local tourist shop. It was a real pleasant three days. The condo sales pitch was a little unpleasant - but we survived.

March 8, 2000

The year is going great so far.  I'm a little slow in keeping my web site up to date but I have great plans.  I have some new development software and I plan to completely redesign my site over the summer.

Yesterday was Dad's birthday - Happy Birthday, Dad.

Friday is Sandi and Pete's anniversary - Happy Anniversary Sandi & Pete!

March is a busy month for birthdays - Happy Birthday greetings also to Kyle, me, Cheryl, and Jim.

On February 27, everyone came over to help Linda celebrate her birthday - the big five-oh.  Les, Ina, Wayne, Bob, Donna, Anthony, Candace, Paul, Brandon, Dan, Roderick, and Kyle were all here.  We spent the afternoon visiting, went out for dinner, and had ice cream and cake in the evening.

Linda is now retired - her last day of work was February 17.  We're both enjoying not having to go to work.  We're currently spending a lot of time trying to get in shape and catching up on chores around the place.  Also, we're finding plenty of time to relax and take it easy.  Last weekend, for example, we took a drive to the Ukiah area to check out Cow Mountain, an off-road motorcycling area.  While we were in the area, we decided to drive over to the coast.  Travel like this is a lot different when you really don't have to be back until you're good and ready.  We both felt the lack of a deadline and it made the trip extra enjoyable.

We have a very busy summer planned.

  • In early April, we have a four-day stay arranged at Lake Tahoe - Linda stumbled onto a deal on the Internet that was too good to pass up - $39 for the entire package, if we listen to a 90 minute sales pitch for a condo.
  • In late April we plan a short trip to visit folks in Montana.
  • In late June, Linda is leaving for a three-week trip to Europe.  Kyle and I are planning a three-week motorcycle trip of the Western United States.
  • In August, Linda, Kyle, and I will be going to Hawaii for two weeks.  We plan to spend a week on Oahu so Kyle can see where Kevin used to work and play while he was at Pearl Harbor.  We plan to spend the other week on the Big Island.
  • In early October we're going on a five-day trip to Palm Springs - another "deal too good to pass up" that Linda came across on the Internet.  We plan to take our dual-purpose bikes (see below) to explore some of California's high desert area.

Linda and I have become interested in seeing some of the country from roads and trails that are accessible only by off-road vehicles and vehicles like jeeps.  We've located literally thousands of miles of dirt roads and trails in California, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Utah that we'd like to see.

To accomplish this, I bought a new motorcycle, a Kawasaki KLR650.  This is what they call a dual-purpose motorcycle and is designed to be able to drive off the highway as well as on the highway.  As I explained to Linda's Mom when she asked me why I needed two motorcycles - the Goldwing is like a Cadillac, the KLR650 is like a Jeep.  Actually I now have three motorcycles.  The other one is a Honda XR200 which is strictly for off-road riding.

We looked high and low for a dual-purpose motorcycle for Linda but couldn't find one that fit her.  They were all way too tall for her.  We decided to modify her Honda XR100 dirt bike so that it could also be licensed for the highway, thus making it a dual-purpose motorcycle.  It is currently in the shop and we expect it will be finished in another couple of weeks.

We plan to take both dual-purpose motorcycles, by trailer, to Montana with us and explore whatever roads we happen to run across.  In previous trips, we have run across many, many dirt roads heading off into the mountains that have signs that say such things as "Hidden Lake - 43 miles" or "Scotty's Castle - 55 miles".  We've always been fascinated by these roads, but have never had the time or vehicle required to take such a trip - this time we plan to see what's there.

January 5,  2000

It looks like Y2K was a fizzle - thank you very much.

The holidays were quiet here in Latrobe.

On Christmas Eve we went over to Bob and Donna's for dinner and to exchange gifts.  Some of their family was also there and we all had a pleasant visit.

Our plans for Christmas Day largely evaporated for a variety of reasons.  Debbie and Kyle spent the holidays in Idaho.  Mom's adventure early in the Christmas week had us all worried for a while - thank God it all worked out OK.  Paul decided it was time for a visit to Montana, so he and Brandon went to Montana for the holidays.  Dan had originally planned to spend Christmas with us and celebrate the New Year in Mexico.  His travel plans fell through and he had to leave early - before Christmas - for Mexico.  On Christmas Eve, Roderick called to say he was sick and wouldn't make it to dinner on Christmas Day.  On Christmas Day, Wayne was so sick he couldn't make the trip from the Bay Area.  That left Linda's folks and us.  Strangely, Les had originally planned to host the group at their apartment but we all decided there wasn't enough room and we moved it to our house.  Les would do the cooking and bring it up here.  As it turned out, there were only the four of us and there would have been plenty of room, but they came up here anyway.  Les made a ham - it was delicious.

On December 21, the people in my office threw me a retirement luncheon.  More people showed up than I expected - it must have been the Bud's Sandwiches.  I was presented with a GPS Receiver - this is a device that determines your position on the earth by receiving signals from orbiting satellites.  With this information it is possible to do many interesting things.  I've already spent many hours playing with it and will put it to practical use this summer on some cross-country bicycle and motorcycle trips.

Don't be afraid to drop us an email message once in a while.

December 9, 1999

Another month has gone by already - time is sure flying - I must be having fun.  We had a nice Thanksgiving.  Linda did the honors again, cooking a delicious Turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Linda's parents, Wayne, Paul, Brandon, Kyle, Bob & Donna Brown, Candace and Anthony were over and we all had a nice visit.  Debbie hosted a Thanksgiving meal for her family at her house where they had a good turnout with friends and relatives coming from all over, including Nevada, Washington, and Idaho.

Before Thanksgiving, Linda and I went to the coast and spend a few days.  It's always relaxing to be at the ocean.  We stayed in a nice motel and also splurged for dinner.  Somehow I always feel like we get ripped off when we spend $50 - $75 for a meal - the food never lives up to expectation.  This time we both ordered a chicken breast dinner - what we got was more like sparrow breast.  Even with that, we had both enjoyed our little trip.  One of the highlights of our weekend was a drive to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  It's hung out there about half way down a 600'  or 800'  cliff and the only way down is to take the stairs - there are 300 steps.  Included are a couple of  photos taken along the beach near Bodega Bay.

In the last month or so, I've upgraded my computer - adding an 18 GB Hard Drive, 64 MB more memory, and a CD-RW.  I now have all the tools I need to organize all my photos and to start doing some more razoo stuff with my web page.  We've also changed to a new ISP and our email addresses have changed.  We can have 20 email addresses so we've included a separate address for everyone - they are:

I guess you can figure out which addresses go with which people.  The address of  our web site has also changed.   The new address is  There will be some overlap - I don't plan to be entirely switched over until February 1, 2000 and both the old and the new addresses will work until then.  Our old email addresses, however, will not be valid after December 31, 1999.

Linda and I continue to keep busy.  We are both looking forward to March 1, 2000 which is when Linda will retire.  We plan to celebrate by spending a week in Las Vegas with Bob and Donna.  We plan to do more sight-seeing and relaxing than gambling - yeah, right.

We still see a lot of Kyle - which is good!  He stayed with us for 4 days last week while Debbie was out of town at a wedding.  Kyle and I went motorcycle riding and he had a crash that put his bike out of commission for a while.  I'll be getting the welding done tomorrow and parts are on order.  He went off a jump a little fast and  the front wheel came up and over - he landed with the motorcycle on top of him.  As luck would have it, a couple of guys parked near us turned out to be paramedics and checked him over - he was shaken up some, but not injured.

Debbie seems to be doing well and keeping busy.  She continues to improve her new house and is making a nice home there.

November 5, 1999

In September I mentioned that Dad had completed the display case for the flag Debbie received at Kevin's funeral.  He also made a display board for Kevin's ceremonial fireman's ax.  Debbie and Kyle currently have both items displayed on their living room wall.  Here's the picture I promised.

Halloween, 1999

I've been retired over a month now - it sure is great.  About a year after he retired, my old boss, Bob Francis came back to the office for some reason and when we asked him how he was passing the time, he said "You know, I can't figure out how the hell I ever found time to come to work."  We all thought he was kidding, but that's exactly how I'm feeling.  It seems like I don't have enough time for everything I want to do.

Yesterday we spent the day with Bob and Donna Brown.  Bob and I went to the Computer Show at Cal Expo.  It's amazing how much hardware and software there is - and how inexpensive it seems.  I wound up buying a bunch of language learning CDs for Linda in preparation for her and Donna's trip to Europe next June.  She was looking for things on Spanish, German, Italian, and French.  I was able to find something for each of them.  At this very moment she is going through the Italian CD and is excited by all the information available.  She just came into the room making advances in some strange language - I think it was Italian.

While Bob and I were at the Computer Show, Linda, Donna, Kyle, Candace, and Anthony went to the local library where there were some Halloween doings.  The kids participated in some Halloween oriented crafts and for their efforts each walked off with a bag of candy.  They also enjoyed some Spanish dancers and a cowboy doing rope tricks.  In the evening, the kids played video games and watched movies while Linda stole all our money after conning us into a game of poker.

Linda spent last week attending the Traffic Safety Academy, training usually reserved for Traffic Engineers.  She will use the training in her new job.  I don't think I've mentioned much about it, but several months ago, Linda transferred into a line division to work directly with the engineers rather than the administrative unit she was previously in.  Previously, she helped the engineers with their personnel matters, contracts, training and the like.  Now she works directly with the engineers, helping them perform their studies and develop their reports.  Quite a change of pace.

The previous weekend we were again out with Bob, Donna and the kids to Silver Bend, a farm on the Sacramento River that annually dresses up for Halloween.  They had a pumpkin patch, hay maze, a train ride on a real turn-of-the-century railroad that still operates on the ranch, hay rides in an old (circa 1920) Mack Truck, and a host of other old farm equipment that was still in running condition.  Very interesting.  The kids played for more than an hour on an old stack of straw bales.  There were always about 15 kids playing their hearts out - they thought it was the best place on the farm.

Paul is getting on his feet.  He has wheels now and is in the process of getting settled in Grass Valley.

I signed up for the Apprentice Black Belt exam in November - now all I have to do is get serious about studying and practicing my material.  Committing to the exam forces me to get to work - I don't want to embarrass myself and the instructors by looking like a bozo on test night.  The theory sounds good!

Debbie and I have begun a weekly bicycle ride on Friday mornings.  The first couple of weeks we rode on the American River Bike Trail and the last couple of weeks we've ridden along the north side of Jenkinson Reservoir, near Sly Park.  Julie has come along on all but one ride.  Last week it was a little chilly - summer is over, at least above 3000 feet.

I'm in the middle of upgrading my computer - adding a new photo printer, an 18GB hard drive, 128MB memory, and a CD-RW .  Tomorrow I install the CD-RW and will then be able to make my own CDs.  I'm really looking forward to that.  I just installed the new printer and 18GB hard drive last week  and the memory is scheduled to arrive this week.  I should have all the tools I need to get all out photos computerized, catagorized, and CDs made to enjoy them.  Our photo library is rapidly increasing now that we have a digital camera and if I don't get things somewhat organized it won't be very useful.

October 1, 1999

September 22 was my last day of work - I'm now retired.  My official retirement date will be July 1, 2000 and until then I'll be running out my leave time.

Paul's last day of work was September 27 - he's also retired.  He plans to settle in the Grass Valley area to be closer to Jessica and Brandon.  Good Luck Paul!

Linda's dad had surgery on Monday to restore his eardrum in his left ear.  Good Luck Les!

Linda spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bay Area attending a Traffic Engineers' Conference she organized.  She took the job on extremely short notice and pulled it off - everything went well.

Last weekend Linda spent a couple of days working at the Skandi-Fest in Turlock,  an annual celebration of the Scandinavian way of life.  Her folks also went down and helped the attendees with RV's get situated for the event.  Kyle and I went on a motorcycle ride on Saturday and found ourselves headed for Turlock also.  We spent the afternoon eating Hamburgers and checking everything out.  We ran into Linda when we arrived, but she was working.  We eventually reconnected and spent a little time with her.  Kyle and I  both enjoyed ourselves and will probably go back next year.

I lost a couple of friends last month.  Jeff Hawes, a long time friend and co-worker died in his sleep at the age of 42.  The exact cause of death hasn't been determined.  He leaves a wife and two small children.  Dennis Pacheco died of pancreatic cancer after a long struggle.  I didn't know Dennis real well, but I worked with his wife, Margie for over 10 years and consider her to be one of my dear friends.  They retired several years ago and moved to Hawaii.

September 7, 1999

Dad finished up the display case for the flag that was presented to Debbie at Kevin's funeral.  He did a really fine job!

Sunday, Bob, Donna, Candace and Anthony came up and we had a little party to celebrate Bob's birthday.  Kyle was also here and everyone enjoyed the day.  We had our traditional card game and a couple of hands are worth mentioning.  I had 4 Aces in a hand of 5-card draw - we use 2 jokers but is was still a pretty good hand.  Bob had 4 Jacks in a game of 7-card with nothing wild.

A couple of weeks ago, Linda, Kyle and I went for a hike in the mountains.  We hiked to a small lake in the Carson Pass area on Highway 88.  The weather was perfect and the scenery was spectacular.  I don't know why we don't do more of this sort of thing.  It's a great way to escape the heat.

On August 21, Paul, Dan, Roderick, Brandon, and Kyle came up to spend the day remembering Kevin.  Paul, Dan, and Roderick barbequed some hamburgers and we all ate till we were ready to burst ( I know I did!).

August 18, 1999

Kyle and I (Doug) and Jessica took a trip to Montana to help celebrate Barbara and Aaron's 50th wedding anniversary.  We had a good trip and everyone enjoyed themselves a lot.  I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen in many, many years.  I haven't kept in touch very well over the years and at times I really regret it.  I always promise myself I'll try to do better, but the years go by so fast .......  A couple of old Daly Avenue neighborhood kids showed up - I hadn't seen them for over 40 years - probably closer to 50 years.  We took a few photos along the way - click here to see a sample.

Jon, Luly, and Ashley also came up to attend the reunion and visit everyone.  I want to thank Sandi and Pete for their hospitality in putting us all up.  A little crowded but everyone was comfortable.  They always make everyone feel at home.

Kyle got a new 24 speed mountain bike just before we left so he and I took our bikes along.  We rode into Hamilton (10 mile round trip) a couple of times and also took a 15 mile tour of the West Side with Pete.  Kyle and I also took a bicycle tour of Craters of the Moon National Monument on the way home (Jessica flew back) and hiked every trail in the place.  The weather was perfect and we really enjoyed it.  I wish I'd done more of that type of thing when I was younger.  Oh well, I plan to do plenty of it from now on.

Dad finished up a mounting board for the Kevin's Bronze Fireman's Ax.  He's also making a display case for the Flag presented to Debbie at the funeral.  These items deserve to be displayed in a prominent place.

On August 15, Paul, Linda and I got together and put together several on-line photo albums to represent a small portion of Kevin's life in recognition of what would have been his 36th birthday.  If you are reading this before September 1, you will have already seen it.  If it is after September 1, click here.

Paul, Dan, Rodney, Brandon and Jessica are planning to come up for a barbecue Saturday.  We plan to make this a day of remembering Kevin and sharing memories.  We were unable to get together on August 15 so this is second best.

Linda and I are continuing our countdown to retirement - Linda has 199 days left.  I think I'll quit the same day Linda does - I have some vacation time to run out.  We continue in our normal pursuits - everyone is happy and healthy.

Debbie is in the process of moving into her new home.  She wound up buying her sister's  house in Placerville.  We still see a lot of Kyle and he also seems to be doing quite well.  His school year won't start until September 7 as his school is in the middle of some construction that didn't get finished in time...

July 12, 1999

Linda and I have just returned from a week in Montana. The primary reason for the trip wasto help Mom & Dad celebrate their 60th Wedding Anneversary. Sandi, Pete, Jay, Janie, Linda, and I took Mom and Dad out to dinner at the Outpost, a nice restaurant south of Darby. We all enjoyed an evening of good food and conversation. See photos.

We also spent a day with Ken, Sharon, Nicole, and Shelby.  We found them all to be in good health and spirits.

Paul's daughter, Jessica graduated from the 8th grade with honors in June.  She was the top student and the top athelete in her class.  Paul is rightfully very proud of Jessica.  Good job Jessica.

Tomorrow it's back to work.

June 16, 1999

Kyle and I have been doing a lot of dirt bike riding.  I entered Kyle into a motocross race June 11, and although he did well, it is obvious he needs more experience on that track.  I took some pictures:  Checking the Track, At the Starting Line, Racing, Kyle's Fans.

The Friday night races are a regular event (every other Friday) and the other racers have been on the track dozens of times - this was Kyle's first time since 1997.  Sunday, we were riding at our home track at Prairie City and Kyle was running away from everyone - even a couple of kids that beat him Friday.  It seems obvious that he needs to learn the new track.   I talked it over with his mom, and I am going to enter him into every race that we're both in the area.  As luck would have it, he's going to miss the next month - he just left yesterday for Elko, Nevada to spend a couple of weeks with Nick and then he's on to Idaho for a week or so.  When he gets back, Linda and I will be in Montana - it looks like the next race will be July 23.

Linda has really prettied up things around here.  She has flowers planted all over the place and they really look nice.  Now, if the deer and the rabbits will just leave them alone .....

The song birds seem to have returned.  When we first moved up here in 1989, it seemed there always thousands of birds in the area.  Their singing provided a comforting background sound that was far superior to silence.  Then one year they seemed to be gone.  In the spring a few birds would show up to eat our fruit but there seemed to be no song birds.  We speculated that our cat, Pepper must be keeping them away.  Then I read an article somewhere that said that 90 percent of the songbirds in the US had disappeared - and nobody seemed to know where they had gone.  This year they seem to be back and the air is again filled with their songs - it's really much nicer now that they're back.

By the way I got an email from Tamara Printz in Puyallup Washington asking if we have any family in Coeur d" Alene.  Does anyone know if we do?  Maybe we're related to her.                                        .

May 26, 1999

We've been keeping fairly busy around here.  I've included a few pictures from the last couple of months.  Click Here. It looks like most of you are keeping busy, as well - I haven't got an email from anyone in a long time and I think everyone owes me one.  Springtime has finally arrived.  The typical daytime temperature for the last three weeks has been in the 80's with sunny skies - PERFECT!

A couple of weekends ago, Linda, Kyle and I took the tour at a local gold mine, the Kennedy mine near Jackson.  It has been abandoned since WW II but in the last couple of years a group has got together to make an historic attraction out of it.  We learned a lot  about hard-rock gold mining in this area and a lot more about the local history.  Unfortunately, Kyle wasn't really interested - he wanted to go underground.  Unfortunately, the mine is now entirely flooded.  The guide said that when the mine was operating, they had to bring up 80,000 gallons of water a day in buckets from a depth of 5900 feet.

On May 15, I participated in a karate tournament in Jackson (that's when I noticed they were having tours at Kennedy mine) and took first place in my old-timer division.

Last Friday we spent the evening with Bob and Donna Brown and I won enough a poker to buy a cup of coffee.  This weekend, they're coming up here and I suppose they expect to get even.

Last Saturday, Kyle and I went dirt bike riding at Prairie City.  As usual we had a great time.  For some reason, we had the park pretty much to ourselves - we saw only four other motorcycles all afternoon.  The lack of people made it especially enjoyable - we ran across a hen turkey with her chicks and some rabbits.  Kyle always gets a kick out of close encounters with wild animals.  Actually so do I.  Kyle expressed some regrets that he never gets to race any more without his dad to take him so after our ride we went to a local motorcycle shop to see how to go about getting him in one.  It looks like I'll be entering him into a race on June 11 and another one on August 27.

Last Sunday, Kyle and I went for a bicycle ride on the American River Bike Trail.  Saturday, Kyle tried riding Linda's  18-speed mountain bike and really liked it.  Until then, his riding had been limited to 20" bikes with a maximum of 5 speeds.  He wanted to try it out on a real ride, so off we went.  He kept going and going until after 10 miles I insisted we turn around.  He was really excited that now he can keep up.  Actually, he was really smoking along.  He was in the lead the entire time and on the flat areas we were often cruising along 16 - 18 mph.  We stopped at Goethe Park in Rancho Cordova and were lucky enough to catch a group of live-steamer railroaders running their miniature trains.  They have an extensive facility at Goethe Park, including a Roundhouse where they work on their trains, and what seems to be miles of track with bridges, towers, and sidings.  There were dozens of trains and most of them were taking people for rides - we, of course, had to go for a ride and had a pretty good time.

It looks like Kyle may have inherited some of Dad's interest in working with wood.  After we returned from our bicycle ride Sunday, Kyle got it in his head that he wanted to make a gun rack for his BB gun because he was tired of seeing it laying around the garage.  He found some boards and starting sawing.  I asked him what he had in mind since I thought I could provide some helpful advice.  He tried to explain it to me but I still couldn't see what he had in mind.  Finally I asked him to draw up what he was thinking about - he actually put together a pretty good set of plans for what he was thinking.  It looked like it would work so I helped a little with the measuring and cutting out a circular pattern . Check it out.

Debbie got to Switzerland OK and is having a good time.  She called last Saturday morning to talk to Kyle.  She should be getting home Friday.  Kyle will sure be glad to see her - he's been staying with the Bridgemans, us, and his Aunt Kelly.

May 3, 1999

The spaghetti dinner at Debbie's place was nice.  More than a dozen of Kevn's friends and family gathered to remember him by swapping memories.  Jon and Mom also called and I had a nice chat with both of them.  Jon also spoke at length to Debbie and Paul.

I placed an "In Memorium" notice for Kevin in the local Sacramento and Placerville newspapers.  One of our old next-door neighbors and Kevin's best friend, Gil, from our Orangevale days circa 1973 saw the notice and tracked me down.  He and Kevin kept in touch for several years after we moved to Rosemont but eventually they lost contact.  Gil wasn't aware of what had happened to Kevin and wanted to know how it had happened.  We talked on the phone and shared some memories.  Strangely, he had recently gone through some of his old photos and saw some of Kevin and had been wondering what ever happened to him.  Gil promised to visit us and share his photos with us.

Paul, Brandon and Kyle spent the weekend with us.

It's raining outside at the moment.  I don't know if Spring will ever get here.  Last week, although the temperatures were in the low 70's, the constant wind ruined any illusions of summer.  Saturday morning we woke up to cloudy skies with temperatures in the 40's.  It soon started to drizzle and the cold, wet weather continues today.

April 27, 1999

Friday will be the first anniversary of Kevin's death.  Sometimes it seems like such a short time and other times it seems like it occurred long ago.  Debbie is going to have a spaghetti dinner at her house Friday evening and has invited Kevin's friends, coworkers, and family to share memories of Kevin.  We haven't seen Paul for a couple of months and we're hoping he'll be able to make it.

Debbie has sold her house - she will have to be out by the first of June.  She has her eye on a house in Coloma with some acreage and has made a bid on it - she should know if it was accepted in a couple of days.

Debbie is getting ready for a trip to Switzerland in mid May.

Kyle has just recovered from a bout of pneumonia.  Debbie took him to the doctor with cold symptoms and was prescribed antibiotics.  About a week later, he was staying at our house and he seemed very quiet for Kyle.  He was content to watch TV and stay in the house - not like him at all.  That evening he began coughing and it got so severe that he vomited.  His temperature was 102.7.  Debbie took him to ER the following night when he started coughing again and they found fluid in his lungs.  He's OK now, back in school and feeling well.

Sunday we spent the day with Linda's folks.  Ina celebrated another birthday April 22.

The previous weekend Kyle, Linda, and I went bowling.  My thumb is recovering from a little injury so I didn't bowl but Linda and Kyle has a good time - actually I had a good time too just watching.  In fact, we all enjoyed it so much that I'm going to be trying it again when my thumb heals up.  I haven't bowled for over 10 years.

We celebrated everyone's (Linda, Me, Donna Brown) birthday with Bob & Donna in early April by spending the evening going out to dinner and playing cards.

Other than that, Linda and I are keeping busy around the place - Spring has finally arrived and there always seems to be something to do around here.  We are planning a trip to Montana in early July and will be there for the folks' 60th anniversary.  I'll be making another trip to Montana in August to help celebrate Barbara and Aaron's 50th anniversary.  Linda will be unable to make it and I'm planning to bring Kyle with me.  If Paul can make it, maybe he'll be there, too.  Linda is planning a trip to Europe in June of 2000 and we are planning another trip to Hawaii in August 2000.  We've invited Kyle to come with us and we plan to spend a couple of days on Oahu to show him where his Dad spent some time.

Hopefully, my next entry won't be so far off .

March 14, 1999

Well, another year has come and gone and Linda and I are each another year older.  Today was especially poignant for me, it's my first birthday without Kevin.  I missed his card which always brightened my day.    Also, I could always look forward to a gift that he had carefully crafted with his own hands.  I don't know how he managed, but he always seemed to make me something I didn't know I needed but after I had it, I could never know how I got along without it.  And I missed his phone call which had become an annual ritual for an exchange of affections.  Kyle called to wish me a happy birthday this morning and for a second I had the thought that maybe Kevin had put the notion in his head.

Kyle celebrated his birthday yesterday with family and friends at Wild Things, a place where kids can play in a cage-like enclosure that includes things like swings, rooms full of  rubber balls, trampolines, monkey bars, tunnels, stairs, and a host of other fun things.  There was plenty of pizza, drinks, ice cream, and cake.  He also made quite a haul in the gift department.

We had a brief visit with Jay last Monday - he is providing security for a coin show being held at the Sacramento Convention Center and stopped by on his way in.  The show ends today and he expects to stop here again tomorrow and head back for Montana on Tuesday.

Linda will soon be transferring to another job and is looking  forward to the change.

Linda and I have both been doing a lot of soul searching lately and have decided that we're both tired of working and we think we are going to retire in March of 2000.

February 19, 1999

We're back from our trip - we both had a great time  Jay, if the following sounds familiar, it's because I copied it from my email to you last night.

We spent the first 7 days in a studio apartment that was part of a private individual's house.  It was located on the extreme north end of the island, only a couple of miles from the end of the road.  It was a short walk across the street to one of the best snorkeling beaches on Kauai and we spent several days doing nothing but laying on the beach and snorkeling the reef.  We pretty much had the whole ocean to ourselves.

We took a cliff side hike early in our stay.  The views were fantastic.  A camera, no matter how good, just can't do justice to the scenery.

The last 5 days we spent at the Kauai Marriott, the island's most luxurious resorts.  Linda got the most fantastic deal - nobody could believe it.  For $600 we stayed there 5 days/4 nights, were provided a rental car, and were given $150 in coupons that could be spent like cash.  The Marriott has its own private beach among other things and we had full access to all the facilities.  It turned out  we had to sit through a 1 hour timeshare pitch, but it wasn't hard to resist.  We lived like royalty for those 5 days.  As an example of prices in that place, the Valentine's day breakfast buffet was on special at $28 a person.  What a deal.  Good thing we had the coupons.

We didn't do anything real exciting like a helicopter ride or boat trip.  Instead we laid around on the beach, swam, hiked, and drove around to all the interesting sites we could locate.  It was great.

I bought a throw-away waterproof camera and made some underwater shots while I was snorkeling.  They all pretty much look alike and you have to look real hard to see the fish.

February 3, 1999

Life goes on in Latrobe.  Everything is going pretty well but nothing exciting has happened.  We've had Kyle over a couple of times and we always enjoy his company.  We're working on a model battleship that Kyle and Debbie found in a ministorage place Kevin rented.  Kevin apparently started it and didn't get around to finishing it - Kyle and I decided to finish it up as a keepsake.  Progress is slow but sure - we've completed the wood work on the hull and will soon begin on the deck and superstructure.  It's huge, about 4 feet long.

Linda and I are heading for Hawaii tomorrow evening.  We drive to San Francisco and fly out early Friday morning - we'll be back on the 17th.  We will be going to Kauai.  We're both looking forward to some sun and ocean.  I'll fill everyone in when we get back.

I've finally made some progress on the Web pages in memory of Kevin and Forrest.  Check it out.  It's only a beginning, I have much, much more I intend to put out there.  If anyone has any memories or stories of Kevin or Forrest you'd like to share, please let me know and I'll include them.  Please write them up the way you want to see them and include some kind of date - your best guess is good enough.

January 4, 1999

The new year is off to a good start.  Bob & Donna, Paul, and Kyle were here with us New Year's Eve to welcome in the new year.  We played some with the computer, watched a little TV, and played some poker.  At 12:00 Midnight we drank a toast to the new year with apple cider, went outside, and made as much noise as possible by banging on pots and pans.  Pretty tame by most standards but we all enjoyed it.

Kyle stayed with from New Year's Eve until yesterday.  Yesterday Kyle, Paul, and went on a bicycle ride from Cameron Park to the cemetery and had a brief visit at Kevin and Forrest's grave site.  On January 2, Kyle, Paul and I went motorcycle riding at Prairie City off-road vehicle park.  Paul and Kyle went on a commando mission to the river Saturday night.  Kyle had quite an adventure.

On Forrest's birthday, Debbie and Kyle, along with Julie and her family paid a visit to Forrest's grave to remember his birthday.  They left some toys at the gravesite and some balloons which they released to the sky.  Yesterday at the cemetery,, Kyle was exploring while I was visiting with Kevin and Forrest.  He found one of the balloons in a field a hundred yards or so away and we tied it to the tree by the headstone.Paul, Kevin, Debbie, Kyle, Forrest, Lee, Julie, Ryan, Chelsey and Austin were over today to celebrate Kevin's 34th birthday.

December 29, 1998

Last night we actually made contact with Nicole over the Internet with the "PeopleLink" software I emailed everyone about.  I started the software on the off-chance that someone else would too.  After about 15 minutes, the "chime" sounded and Ken & Sharon's name turned blue.  I asked how the weather was and we were off and running.  Linda was on our other computer and we were able to get a three-way conversation going.  I assume we could add as many people as where available.  Neat Stuff! 

On Christmas Day Les & Ina, Wayne, Paul, Dan, and Roderick spent the afternoon at our place.  Les whipped up a real nice ham dinner that received compliments from everyone.  We phoned Mom & Dad early in the evening and everyone had a chance to exchange Christmas greetings.  In the afternoon, we had a visitor that entertained us for a little while - see picture.

Debbie rented a house at the beach near Jenner and she and Kyle along with Debbie's parents, and sisters and their families spent Christmas week there.  Debbie wanted to do something completely different thisv year for Christmas.  The weather was nice the whole time and they apparently had a great week.

On Christmas Eve we stopped in at Bob and Donna Brown's house after work to exchange a few gifts.  Donna's sister, Lorraine was there with Ed, Kelly, and Brianna.  Candace and Anthony were there with Marnie and Bob, and Angela dropped by with Andrea, Christopher and Ray.  We had a buffet lunch, visited and exchanged gifts.  Everyone seems to be doing well and enjoyed the afternoon.

We actually had some snow and cold about a week before Christmas.  It snowed a couple of inches in Cameron Park and it stuck around for a few days.  We even had a skiff at our house.  For several days after we had black ice on the local roads that cause a lot of havoc.

On December 19, Linda, Kyle and I went to a Christmas party hosted by one of Linda's coworkers.  There were about 50 people present.  Santa dropped by and children and adults alike enjoyed his presence.  Nice party!!

Kyle's school put on a Christmas contata December 17 and 18.  Linda and I went to watch and ran into Debbie's folks who had come to watch with Chelsey, Ryan, and Austin.    We had a nice visit  with Linda and Mike before and after the show.  The show went well.  We enjoyed watching the enthusiastic kids acting and singing their hearts out.  Of course there's always a few kids who's minds are somewhere else - it's fun watching them too.  Kyle seemed to enjoy his time in the spotlight.  He sang  in the choir and was also a shepherd in a couple of the sketches.

December 14, 1998

Linda's church, the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church put on a super Christmas show last Saturday and Sunday evenings.  It was an excellent show with outstanding  music and acting.  I usually don't attend such events, but Linda was a shepherd and had been going to rehearsals all week so I wanted to see what she was up to.

We're busy trying to get ready for Christmas.  One evening we came home from work to find a Christmas tree on our front porch.  We thought it had been delivered by mistake, however, there was nothing to indicate where it might belong so we thought we'd wait a few days and see if someone claimed it.  Turns out that Linda's folks left it for us.  It is a nice tree and looks pretty good in our living room.

Brandon & Jessica are on line.  I'm sure they would be glad to hear from everyone.

Not much else to report - Happy Holidays Everyone.

December 2, 1998

Kevin and Forrest's headstone has finally arrived and is now installed.  To see how it looks, click here.

We've been keeping busy around here.  I've been spending a lot of time working on my karate.  I'm currently testing for my Red Belt.  Friday I took to first half of the test which consists of demonstrating various blocks, strikes, and  forms - it took about 2 hours to complete but it seemed to go fairly well.  The second half of the test will be held on December 18 and will consist of showing the techniques in application.  I'm not sure I'll be ready for the December test and may wait until January.  Linda is keeping busy working on a special project for Christmas.

On Thanksgiving weekend we had a housefull - Bob, Donna and their grandchildren Candace and Anthony - Linda's folks and brother Wayne - Paul, Dan, and Roderick.  Linda cooked another fantastic meal and we all had a good visit.  We spent a lot of time playing with my new digital camera, the results of which you can see by clicking on the links in this paragraph.  Brandon and Jessica were unable to make it for Thanksgiving, but Brandon was able to come over Saturday and we had a short visit with Jessica on Sunday evening at her place.

Kyle was traveling.  He flew to San Diego to visit his uncle Jon, Luly, and Ashley for a few days and also dropped in on his Grandma Jackie.  Jon, Kyle, and the rest of his family then drove up to Montana to spend Thanksgiving with the family in Montana.

On November 14, our friends Dwight and Donna Brown came over for the evening and we had an enjoyable evening.  Donna, if I haven't mentioned it before is one of my karate buddies.  Their son, Kyle is one of the Black Belts at Orr Brothers' dojo.

November 11, 1998

Linda and I spent a three-day weekend before Veterans' Day on the coast.  Linda had purchased a luxury package at the Albion Inn as a Christmas present for us last year and we decided it was time we used it.  It was perfect!  We had a wonderful cabin with a full ocean view from its private deck.  It also came with a fireplace and it had a bathroom bigger than most motel rooms.  Contrary to the weather forecasts, the skies were blue and sunny and the temperatures were pleasant.  There was a postcard view everywhere one looked.

Today, Veterans' Day, we spent hanging out at home.  Linda's folks dropped in for a visit and we had a nice chat.

November 2, 1998

Halloween came and went uneventfully - Linda and I stayed home and didn't have a single trick-or-treater.  That makes 9 Halloweens in a row without a single kid showing up.  One more advantage of living in the country.

Yesterday, Kyle participated in the annual Hare Scrambles cross-country motorcycle race at Prairie City Off Road Vehicle Park.  This type of race is a fairly long course of a mile of so with a 45 minute time limit.  The person that goes the furthest in the 45 minutes wins.  Kyle took 4th place in his division, 10 years old and under.  Nick Collins, expert motorcycle rider, and long time friend of Debbie's family and  Kevin, helped Kyle out a lot for this race.  He did a fine job.  His mom, me, Nick, Julie, Lee, Ryan, and Austin were there to watch along with other friends of Debbie and Nick.

I finally broke down and ordered a digital camera (Kodak DC260) so there will be a lot of pictures posted here from now on.  I expect it to be delivered in the next week or so - I can hardly wait.

The pictures of Kyle in the link above and the jack-o-lantern carving were captured from our camcorder with a Snappy.  I'm not real happy with the quality of those pictures - although they are fine for small snapshots, they fall apart when enlarged or zoomed.  The Kodak digital camera is supposed to be top of the line and I'm expecting a lot from it.

October 30, 1998

The trip to the pumpkin patch last weekend got called of on account of rain.  Wouldn't you know it - beautiful weather for weeks, plan a day, and it rains.  Oh well.  We spent the day with Kyle watching rented movies.  On Sunday the weather cleared up and we took a run up to Apple Hill with the idea of visiting one of their pumpkin patches.  There were so many people there that we didn't even try to stop - people lined up for miles on the local roads.  We wound up buying a few pumpkins at Safeway and carving jack-o-lanterns on our front porch.

October 22, 1998

Things have been pretty quiet around here the past month.  This coming weekend we're planning a trip to a couple of local pumpkin patches with Bob & Donna, Candace, Anthony, and Kyle.  We always enjoy getting out with Bob and Donna and the kids.

Last weekend, Linda and I went to Lake Tahoe for the annual karate "tournament of champions" put on by the Golden State Karate Association (GSKA).   Our people did real well - our demo team won their competition, our Sensei Shawn won the heavyweight black belt sparring championship, and about another dozen or so of our students won the championship belts in their divisions including yours truly.  Linda made a few bucks gambling, more than enough to offset my losses.

Weekend before that we went to Anthony's birthday party with Kyle at Scandia, a family amusement center.  We played miniature golf, arcade games, racing cars, and bumper boats.  Also ate some pizza, ice cream, and cake.  An enjoyable day.

A friend of Kevin and Debbie  is helping Kyle pursue his motorcycle interests.  He was a professional motorcycle rider and Kevin thought a lot of him and his ability.  He has taken Kyle out riding a couple of times in the past month and says Kyle has some natural talent.  He entered Kyle in a "hare scramble" race next weekend.  The only problem is that he lives in Elko, Nevada which is over 300 miles away from here.  I understand he is thinking of relocating to the Placerville area which would really be good for Kyle.

Everyone continues to move forward, dealing with their pain in their own way.  Linda, Debbie, Kyle, and I are all attending grief counseling - surprisingly to me, it seems to help.

September 28, 1998

This weekend Linda is in Turlock attending the annual Skandi Fest, an annual celebration of the Scandinavian way of life.  They have such events as continuous folk dancing and music on outdoor stages, crafts, exhibits, workshops, foods of all kinds and many other interesting events.   Linda got conned into going down there a couple of years ago to help run one of the booths and she's been going back ever since.  This year her folks went down there with her.  It sounds too much like work to me. 

Kyle and I are hanging out this weekend.  We originally planned to go motorcycle riding, but this morning dawned with cloudy skies and rain so we chickened out.  Instead we are playing on the computer, watching TV, practicing reading and math, and running a few errands.  On our trip to town this afternoon, we saw a lot of wildlife.  Right out of the driveway we came across a flock of about 10 turkeys.  A few miles down the road we came across the body of a fox or coyote that had been hit by a car.  A few more miles and we spotted a three-foot rattlesnake on the shoulder of the road which we stopped and examined for a while before it crawled off into the grass.  On the way home we spotted a tarantula walking down the road as if he owned it.  As we turned into the driveway, a couple of large turkey vultures rose up and flew right over the pickup - we disturbed them as they were cleaning up a dead rabbit.

On September 12, Paul, Bob & Donna Brown with Candace and Anthony, and Kyle were over.  We took them all down to the river for an afternoon of swimming and a picnic lunch.

On September 5, Paul, Bob & Donna Brown and Candace and Anthony were over to spend the day and we talked a lot about Forrest and his Dad.  It's nice to have good friends in these difficult times.

We buried Forrest on September 3rd in the same plot as his Dad.

August 25, 1998

I stopped at the cemetery the other day and the tree has been planted at the head of Kevin's grave.  It's a healthy looking Liquid Amber tree about 10 feet tall. The headstone is still a month or so away from being delivered.

Debbie and Kyle spent the weekend on the Rubicon trail with their jeep.  This is a world -famous off-road adventure and I can't wait to hear their stories.  Kyle started back to school August 17 and seems to be doing well.   He'd never admit it but I think he enjoys school.

Not much excitement in the foothills.  Linda continues to improve the place by planting flowers, shrubs, etc. around the area.   I'm nearing the end of my annual weed-eating ordeal.  The late spring rains and cool weather have made for some mighty thick, tall weeds this year - the good news is that with the cool weather, fire danger has been generally low giving me plenty of time to complete my cleanup.

August 16, 1998

Yesterday, August 15 would have been Kevin's 35th birthday.   Jon came up from San Diego.  Jon, Debbie, Kyle, Paul, Linda and I all went out to breakfast, and after breakfast we all went out to the cemetery to visit Kevin's grave.  Debbie played Titanic songs as we all stood around the grave thinking about Kevin.  We then all went to our place where we spent the day looking at old pictures and telling stories of Kevin.  Paul whipped up a batch of Kraut Nip, an old German dish of sauerkraut and noodles that was one of Kevin's favorites.  Unfortunately, his taste is shared only by Paul and me - the rest of the folks turned up their noses to this fine meal.  Jon whipped up a batch of his own recipe, "The world's best salsa" - I have to admit that it is the best I've ever had.


August 12, 1998

Kyle stayed  with us from Friday evening till yesterday evening .   Paul also spent the weekend here and we all had a good time.  On Saturday, we went to a karate tournament in Jackson.  On Sunday, we spent the day swimming in the Consumnes River below our place.  That is such a great place I'm not sure why we don't go down there every day in the summer.  Kyle had an eventful day - with Uncle Paul's encouragement he swam all the way across the river in water that was over 10 feet deep.  It was so easy for him that he spent the rest of the day swimming back and forth.  He also picked up a few pointers on diving and staying under water.   Monday, Kyle and I went back down to the river again.  This time it was obvious that Kyle's lessons on diving and staying under water had taken root.  He made a couple of really good dives from shore and was able to toss a rock into about 4 feet of water then dive down and retrieve it.

Saturday, Paul is coming back up and we are planning to spend the day remembering Kevin - August 15 would have been his 35th birthday.  We'll look at all the pictures we have of  Kevin and try to remember the occasions and anything else they remind us of.  We then plan to drive out to the cemetery and visit his grave.

I don't think I've mentioned it before - One day while we were driving on our vacation, I got to thinking about Kevin being buried here in Cameron Park with no other family members in the cemetery.  I decided that I'd like to buried with him when my time comes so Linda & I purchased a couple of plots next to him.   Somehow, it comforts me to know he won't be alone for eternity - as corny as that sounds.

July 19, 1998

The toxicology report from Kevin's autopsy is in.  He died of   pulmonary edema resulting from "a fairly fulminant bacterial pneumonia".   I had to look up "fulminant" - it means rapidly occurring with great intensity.

Kyle spent most of  the last week with us - he's a delight to have around.  We spent a couple of days down at the river where we fished a little and swam a lot.  Kyle surprised me with his ability to swim.  We also spent a couple of afternoons riding dirt bikes.

July 7, 1998

Linda and I just returned from vacation.  We drove to Vancouver, B.C., where we met Linda's parents, boarded the Regal Princess, and went on a 7-day cruise of Alaska's Inland Passage. We saw dolphins, whales, killer whales, glaciers, and lots of historical sites and magnificent scenery.  I can't speak for Linda, but I also seem to have put on about 10 pounds.

On the way home, we drove across Canada through Kamloops, Golden, Lake Louise, Banff, and Calgary.  We then traveled throughout Glacier Park then on to Hamilton, Montana where we spent the 4th of July weekend with my family.  Everyone up there seems to be in good health and spirits.

Tomorrow it's back to work - it's going to be tough.

Paul's daughter, Jessica, is turning out to be quite a runner in the middle distances such as the 200 meter and 400 meter.  She has been whipping all the competition in local track meets even beating 8th grade boys even though she's only in the 7th grade.  She was invited to participate in a national event in Spokane, Washington on July 2 and although she didn't win, she made a decent showing.

June 15, 1998

I can't believe a month has gone by.  On one hand it seems like years since the May 15 entry and yet it also seems like only yesterday.   Time is a funny thing.

Mike and Carol Honnold and Sandy Hall from work came up Sunday and planted a dogwood tree in our yard in Kevin's memory.  That tree is going to mean a lot to us.   I'll get some photographs of it and post them somewhere on my web site.  I'm still working on a web page for Kevin.  It's still too early, though.  Every time I sit down to work on it I break down and can't do a thing for hours.

We're all getting on with life - changed though it is without Kevin.   It almost seems like I'm starting  my life over.  I don't even think about some of the things I used to think were most important in life.  And now, there are things that seem very important that I never even thought about before.  I think everyone close to Kevin is experiencing something similar - at least that's the reading I'm getting.

Debbie is still busy with winding up Kevin's life, dealing with Forrest's condition and keeping up a home for Kyle.  She's a strong woman and seems to have a handle on things.

Kyle is also coping.  He misses his dad, of course, but all his thoughts and actions are positive.  His teacher, Mrs. Usi reports that he is doing well at school.  Kyle has a new motorcycle - a Kawasaki KX60.  He and his dad   picked it out last winter and were in the process of selling his old KTM to finance the purchase of the new one.  The KTM finally sold and Kyle is now the proud owner of his dream machine.  The KX60 has a six-speed transmission where the KTM had an automatic clutch so Kyle is learning how to shift gears.  We've only been out twice but  he seems to be getting the hang of it quite quickly.  The next thing we have to work on is stopping - Sunday he ran into a chain link fence at about 20 mph because he couldn't remember how to stop.  He had the wind knocked out of him but other than that, he is OK - the KX60 is OK also.  Shawn Orr and I were talking the other night and he told me that he'd like to share his knowledge with Kyle.  He mentioned that he and Mel lost their Dad when he was 2 and Mel was 7.  His karate instructor, Sensei Omega was a big influence in their lives and he'd like to be an influence in Kyle's life.  I mentioned our discussion to Kyle and he was really honored that Sensei Shawn was thinking about him.  Kyle started taking the Orr Brothers'  gymnastics class last Tuesday and seems to like it.

Linda and I are leaving Thursday for a 7-day cruise through Alaska's Inland passage.  We're going to take a couple of days to drive up to Vancouver where we'll catch the boat.  On the way back home, we plan to take an extra week to spend the 4th of July in Montana with Family.

Bob and Donna Brown, Anthony, Candace, Linda, Kyle, and I went to the El Dorado County Fair Saturday and had an enjoyable outing.  The kids got to go on plenty of rides and the adults spent a lot of time walking around in the warm sun.   It looks like summer may finally be here.

May 15, 1998

The numbness seems to be wearing off a little each day and life goes on.  We still have Kyle until Debbie settles into a routine at home with Forrest.  Kyle returned to school this week.  As luck would have it, he got sick the first day with what turned out to be strep throat.   He returned to school yesterday and his teacher reports that he is doing extremely well.  He's interacting well with the other kids, he's attentive in class, he's participating in classroom discussion and even leading the discussion from time to time.   He also volunteered to discuss finding his Dad.  I sometimes think he may be handling things better than any of us.  He and I have had many discussions about his Dad's death in the past couple of weeks and I am in awe of his intelligence, good sense, and his positive attitude even in the face of the terrible events of the last several months.

May 10, 1998

There is no easy way to say this.  Kevin was found dead the morning of April 30, 1998 by Kyle, his oldest son.   He was buried at Green Valley Cemetery in the Cameron Park area on Thursday, May 7 with the full Fire Department ceremony.  Over 800 people attended services including 400 uniformed firefighters.  He was taken from the church to the cemetery in a funeral procession that included 60 fire engines and other fire vehicles from departments all over the Sacramento area.  The ceremony at the gravesite included a three-helicopter fly-over.  I am so proud to be his father .......

I will post more information when I can get myself moving again, but, for now, the preliminary cause of death is pulmonary edema.  He had been complaining of headaches and vomiting for the past week or so that everyone attributed to the stress of Forrest being in the hospital and trying to keep a semblance of a normal life for Kyle.  That evening, he fell asleep in his favorite easy chair and didn't wake up.   It was an apparent peaceful way to go.  He was found with his hands folded in his lap and his face looked just like he was asleep.  A subsequent autopsy determined the cause of death was pulmonary edema resulting from "a fairly fulminant bacterial pneumonia".

April 28, 1998

Life in the foothills goes on.  It looks like winter may finally be over, AT LAST!!  Six months of winter is NOT why I live in California.  The last few days have seen temperatures in the 80's and the five-day forecast is for more of the same.  Now maybe I'll get a chance to break in my new bicycle.

Forrest's condition continues to decline and we are all struggling in our own ways to deal with the situation.  The tremendous support from friends and community continues to be a source of comfort.

Kyle had a month vacation  for his Easter break from his year-round school.  He spend about 10 days with his Grandma Jackie in Southern California and also spent a few days in Mexico at the beach.  He also spent 3 days at our house last week and it's always a pleasure to have him around.  His good nature, intelligence, and zest for life, always makes me feel better.  By the way, Kyle's tests are in and HE DOESN'T HAVE MLD!!!

My partial retirement goes well.  I still don't have time to get everything done.  I wonder how I ever had time to go to work every day.  My physical fitness routine is starting to pay off - I've last 25 pounds in the last three months and I've never felt better in my life.

Linda has embarked on a landscaping project to improve the looks of our place.  She is taking advantage of the abundance of rocks in our area to delineate paths to various areas she is creating to relax in the shade and enjoy the scenery.   She is going to spend $10 a week on plants to enhance these areas and paths.  So far, I really like what she's done.

March 23, 1998

Some bad news - Jim Clarkson's fiancé, Laura, was killed in an auto wreck on March 14, the victim of a drunk driver being pursued by the police.

Kevin and his friends Jeff Thompson and Shawn Trever painted Kevin and Debbie's house in a single day on March 15.  It really looks good.  Debbie is working on spiffing up the inside of the house and her changes are also looking good.  They're also doing some landscaping work in the back yard.

Linda, Kyle, and I have each celebrated another birthday.

Kevin, Debbie, Kyle and Forrest went to Disneyland in early March courtesy of Make-a-Wish.  Everyone had a good time.

February 6, 1998

Kevin and Debbie took off this morning to spend a few days in Las Vegas with several other couples.  They plan to return home Monday (Feb 9) evening.   We all hope this will give them a much needed break from the stress and strain of dealing with Forrest's problems 24 hours a day.  Kevin's mother came up from Southern California and will watch over Forrest.  Kyle will be spending a few days with us.

January 30, 1998

The party to celebrate Les and Ina's 50th Wedding Anniversary went off without a hitch on January 10.  Sixty people attended, ate a great meal of turkey and mashed potatoes, and had a good time socializing with one another.  All of Les's immediate family came from out of town to be at the party including Lurlen and Janet Knight, Karen Cespedez, and Joyce Dowdle from Bountiful, Utah, and Florence Jentzsch from Portland, Oregon.  Also attending was Les's cousin from Santa Maria, California, Dixie Turner, and her husband, Tom, and grandson, Mason.   Harley Sittner, Ruth Kell, Florence Jentzsch and Linda made speeches to toast/roast Les and Ina.  Florence not only profiled Les's 70 years, but she brought some old pictures and an old war ribbon that her brother sent her from overseas when he was serving in the Navy during WWII.  She treasured that ribbon then and still does now.   Bridget Richner from the old Joyce's Restaurant in Shingle Springs made a beautiful cake that resembled their original wedding cake.  The only difference was that Bridget used fresh roses to adorn the layers.  Eleanor Gereghty presented a money tree to Les and Ina that had been very ornately decorated with a whole lotta green .   Wayne provided the champagne and sparkling cider for the toasts; there's plenty left over, so it looks like Wayne will be having several parties in the coming months...hope his friends like champagne....  Last, but not least, Bonnie Otto, of the Wooden Nickel Jazz Band, entertained us very well on the keyboard.  There were disposable cameras on the tables and I think the guests enjoyed themselves taking pictures to record the evening.  We wanted to make this a surprise party, but when you have two retired snowbirds on the loose, you have to make sure they're going to be in town, so Les knew something was going on, but he was surprised at how many people came from out-of-town to be there.  Ina was taken completely by surprise -- she thought Wayne was just taking them out to dinner.

The following week, Les and Ina took Linda and me out to dinner at Macaroni's in Roseville, compliments of Wendell and Norma Hull.  None of us had been there before.  It was an interesting dinner house with an equally interesting menu.  It was difficult to choose from the numerous selections until we heard the special of the day.  Les and I had salmon, the special of the day, Linda had pork chops, and Ina had an Italian meal that I can never seem to remember the name of.   All the dishes were very good and we all enjoyed the conversational evening.   Afterwards, Linda and I wandered around the strip mall and browsed the computer and book stores -- our favorite types of stores.  We made it through without spending any money, which is a minor miracle.

I've started a page for Forrest to keep people up-to-date on his condition and I'll include news about him and events related to him on that page rather than on this page.

January 5, 1998

The holidays have come and gone and time rolls on. I can't seem to update this page fast enough.

On January 3 a party was held to celebrate Forrest's second birthday - his birthday was actually on December 29. There was a good turnout and Forrest seemed to understand what was going on as everyone sang "Happy Birthday to Forrest". Debbie arranged to have the party in a room in one of Placerville's historic buildings that is now home for a coffee shop. It was a very interesting building, with stone floors on the second story, a cellar that went 200 feet underground (used to be a gold mine), and many other interesting features. Good job Debbie.

Bob and Donna were over to help us bring in the New Year. We continued our tradition of playing poker and toasting the new year with sparkling apple cider. Quite a change from my old days.

On Christmas Day we had a crowd at our house. Kevin & Debbie & Kyle & Forrest, Paul & Dan & Roderick, Les & Ina & Wayne were all able to come. We had lots of good food, compliments of Linda, good conversation, and a lot of presents. I went to the dump the following day with a pickup load comprised entirely of debris from the presents. In the week following Christmas, Kyle and I tried out his new bicycle by taking a 10 mile ride on the American River Bike Trail. Kyle made the 10 miles with no trouble at all - This summer he wants to attempt a ride all the way into Sacramento which is about 30 miles. We'll make arrangements to have someone (probably Linda) pick us up at the other end - 60 miles might be a little too far.

On Thanksgiving, Kevin & Debbie & Kyle & Forrest, Paul & Jessica & Brandon & Dan & Roderick, Wayne, and Bob & Donna were all over for dinner. The holidays always give me an excuse to eat too much and I always seem to give in. It's terrible being weak.

November 20, 1997

The family is in shock over some recent devastating news. Kevin and Debbie's youngest son Forrest has been diagnosed with "Metachromatic Leukodystropy", a rare, hereditary, disorder for which there is no treatment. Some basic information about the disease can be found at the following link: MLD Foundation

To find out more about "metachromatic leukodystrophy" use your favorite search engine. I warn you, however, that there is no good news. If you do run into something that sounds encouraging please pass it on to  me.

Paul, Brandon, Jessica, Kevin, Debbie, Kyle and Forrest spent the day at our place last weekend and we attempted to make some sense out of the situation and determine how to proceed. Debbie and Linda are asking for everyone's prayers and several prayer chains have been started. It looks like prayer may be the best tool available at this time.

On a lighter note …….. In October, Linda and I spent a couple of days at Fort Bragg with Bob and Donna. We played tourist, walking on the beach, exploring shops in Mendocino, eating at the Cliff House Restaurant and riding the Skunk Train. All in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend. Bob and Linda may disagree - Bob suffered some motion sickness from my driving on Highway 1 and Linda experienced some motion sickness on the Skunk Train ride. WIMPS!

Kevin recently participated in a "hare scrambles" motorcycle race at Prairie City and brought home a nice trophy for 3rd place. A "hare scramble" is an endurance race over extremely rough terrain - it requires an all-out effort for over 1-1/2 hours. Kevin had me follow him around last year's course and I wasn't able to navigate portions of the course at all let alone at top speed. A very difficult event and Kevin should be proud of his accomplishment.

On October 1, I partially retired. I am now 60% retired and I work 40% of the time. My current schedule has me working 4 days on alternative weeks. I still can't seem to find the time to everything I'd like. Actually, I find myself doing some work at home to keep up with things - that has to stop!

In August, I forgot to mention that I participated in the Golden State Karate Association "Foothill Challenge" Open Karate Tournament in Jackson and won 2nd place in sparring. I was the only guy in my division (men, brown belt and below, 45 and over) so I had to compete with the young guys (34-44). It was a pretty good day. Our Dojo, Orr Brother's Karate, also won a trophy for being the school with the most participants. My Sensei, Shawn Orr was the tournament's Grand Champion.

September 20, 1997

Linda and I took a short trip to Montana September 11-17.  Since we drove, most of the time was spent traveling, but we did manage to get in about three days visiting.  We stayed with the folks.  On Saturday, we went with Mom & Dad to Arlee where we visited Ken & Sharon.  They seem to be doing pretty good - they've done a lot of work on their place and it really is coming along.  It looks like there's not much left to do.  Nicole and Shelby are doing quite well and have each won awards with their animals.  Nicole spends some time at the computer and seems to handle all the email chores. That evening we went out to dinner at a new place called "The Edge" with Mom & Dad, Sandi & Pete, and Jay & Janie.  On Sunday Jay took Linda & me to Lake Como for an afternoon of driving around in his boat.  Very enjoyable - Janie even caught a fish.  Sunday evening Mom made Kraut Nip - it's been a long time since I've tasted that.

We ran into Bernie and Andy at the Koffee Kup but didn't get a chance to talk much as we were just crossing paths.  Andy dropped over to the folk's house and we talked for about half an hour.  He's really looking good - been working out and it shows.  Bernie came over to the folks for Kraut Nip Sunday evening and we chit chatted a little bit.

August 17, 1997

Paul, Kevin, Debbie, Kyle, Forrest, Lee, Julie, Ryan, Chelsey and Austin were over today to celebrate Kevin's 34th birthday.

July 15, 1997

We had a large group over for the 4th (5th actually).  Kevin, Debbie, Kyle, Forrest, Paul, Dan, Rod, Ina, Les, Wayne, Bob, Donna, Candace, and Anthony spent the day visiting and eating.  I'm always amazed that Linda can put on such a spread and still have time to visit.

June 29, 1997

Linda got back yesterday from a two-week trip to Europe where she attended the International Church Music Festival in Bern, Switzerland with the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. After the Festival, the group toured Switzerland, Holland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

While Linda was gone, Kyle and I took a weeklong car trip to Montana.  We spent some time at the ocean and the redwoods on the way home. Enjoyable but uneventful.

Last Friday I completed testing for my First-degree Brown Belt.  It seemed to go well and I'm expecting to be presented with my Brown Belt in the next week or so.

Kyle was in a couple of moto-cross races at the El Dorado County Fair and took a third place and a second place - not too bad.

I've submitted my application to go on a partial retirement.  Beginning October 1, 1997 I will be 60% retired working only two days a week.  Maybe now I'll have the time to pursue my real-life interests.  I only hope we have enough money to continue eating.

April 20, 1997

Kevin and Debbie recently got a computer and will soon be on-line.  I'll put their email address as soon as they get signed up. Jay and Rod were in San Francisco for a coin show at the end of March and stopped in for a couple of days. Jon happened to be in Fallon, Nevada for maneuvers at the same time and he was able to stop by for a visit at the same time. Paul, Rod, Dan, and Kevin and his family also stopped by that weekend and we all had a visit. We got an email from Jon.  He's stationed on the USS NIMITZ currently cruising off the West Coast of Mexico. 

March 16, 1997

Life goes on in the Sierra foothills without too much excitement.

Linda and I are keeping busy trying to get in shape at Orr Brothers'. They have an aerobics class called "Cardio Karate" which utilizes karate punches, kicks, and moves at a fast enough pace to give quite a workout.  About 1/3 of the class involves punching and kicking a bag, which makes it kind of fun. We do that class on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. I'm also taking traditional karate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Friday there is sparring. As you can see that doesn't leave time for much else.

Linda had her 47th birthday on February 26, Kyle had his 6th birthday on March 13 and I had my 56th birthday on March 14.  Sure wish Debbie could have held on another day. Bob and Donna took Linda and me out to dinner for our birthdays, then Bob took our money in a poker game. Kyle had a nice birthday party at Sam's - pizza, roller-skating, and games. Kyle got a pair of roller blades, a hockey stick and a hockey puck among other things.

Linda's mom fell and broke her shoulder so they decided to hang up their trailer and spend the winter in Sacramento. The shoulder is well on the mend and no problems are expected.

Spring has arrived (we hope) with temperatures in the 70's.  I dug our bicycles out of the garage last weekend and I have resumed my bicycle rides to Cameron Park (13 miles) for breakfast on the weekends.

December 30, 1996

Linda's folks were in town and spent some time with us over Christmas.

On Christmas Eve Kevin, Debbie, Kyle, Forrest, Linda's folks, and Wayne came over - we ate dinner and exchanged presents.

On Christmas Day Linda's folks and Wayne were over again.   Paul, Dan and Roderick spent the day here also.

Linda and I are planning to spend New Year's Eve with our friends Bob & Donna Brown at their house.

November, 1996

We took a couple of weeks off before Thanksgiving and took a trip to Hurricane, Utah to see Linda's folks who are spending the winter there. We spent a few days there taking in the sites of Zion National Park, and other local attractions. We took the long way home, stopping in Monument Valley, Glen Canyon Dam, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Yuma, and the Salton Sea.

We spent a quiet day at home Thanksgiving with Dan and Roderick. Paul also dropped in for a couple of hours.