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Road Trip to the Painted Hills

Monday, September 11th, 2017 No comments

Last week for vacation week for me. I think it’s been a while since the last time I had an entire week off, not counting last year’s unemployment.

I didn’t really have any plans for my vacation except that I knew I would go to Rose City Comic Con. I was content on playing video games or watching TV the rest of the time. On Thursday of the week before, I reminded Xander that I was going to be off for a week (not surprisingly, he had forgotten) and he suggested that we take a road trip to Crater Lake. The next day I remembered hearing about fires in that part of the state and I went online to discover that the lake wasn’t visible most of the time because of the smoke. So, on Saturday Xander suggested that we should go to the Painted Hills instead. The plan for whatever idea was to leave Monday and return Wednesday since we had to host game night Wednesday. Xander found a cabin near the Painted Hills which was very inexpensive, but didn’t have running water and used a generator for electricity.

We left Monday around 2pm with Reese. I usually leave Reese behind because he can be a handful and having a dog can limit what you can do. We almost took him with us on a trip to the coast a few weeks earlier, but left him behind in the end. My biggest concern on this trip was keeping him cool. He has a lot of fur and doesn’t handle heat well. The owners of the cabin promised us it would be hot. The Airbnb listing for the cabin did promise air conditioning, however.

Early in the trip we we through the Gorge. There was a big forest fire started there a couple of days before by some kid throwing fireworks. It got smokier and smokier the closer we got to the the place where the fire started – the Eagle Creek Trail. Xander, our friend David, and I hiked this trail a little over a year ago. We made a stop in this area because I wanted to get gas. I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that the gas station was closed. The scene at the gas station was somewhat apocalyptic. We couldn’t see any fire, but we could see enough smoke coming from the trees to know that the fire was close. A flock of birds flew overhead along with helicopters. There were cars pulled over on the side of the road. The sun was red. We let Reese out of car and he seemed very confused. The interstate we took was closed later in the day and it is still closed a week later.
Eagle Creek Fire

The rest of the drive down wasn’t quite as interesting. We listened to podcasts and the radio. At times it seemed like we were the only ones on the road. I guess it’s a benefit of travel on Labor Day. We saw lots of windmills up close. We drove through some really small towns. We were on a lot of winding roads, which I hate. Why couldn’t they just build a straight road there? As we were getting close to the end, we encountered some livestock in the street and some people, along with their dog, trying to herd them. They got all of the cows in the other lane, but I was afraid that if I moved at the wrong time, the cows could charge my car and do some serious damage. Eventually they got all the cows into the grass and we could safely pass.

We drove the last part of the trip in the dark. I don’t like driving in the dark in unfamiliar areas, but oh well. A city with lots of light would have been fine, but it was hard to see at times. We arrived at our destination in Dayville, OR around 9pm. The cabin owners had told us to look for a steep driveway. We didn’t know just how steep. My car could not go up this steep, unpaved driveway. We got out and decided to walk even thought we didn’t know how far it was to the cabin. It was hot outside and going up the steep driveway was hard on me and Reese. When we got up to the top of the first hill, I was winded and we couldn’t see how much farther we had to go. Xander decided to scout on ahead. I was looking for other places we could spend the night on my phone. Even if we made it to the cabin, I figured it would be hard getting all our stuff from the car to the cabin. And walking back and forth for two days would be annoying. Thankfully, a few minutes later a truck came back with Xander and the owner of the cabin. He took us to get our stuff and drove us to the cabin. It would have been a pretty long walk from where we stopped to the cabin. He told us that we were the first ones since they started renting the cabin in December that didn’t make it up the driveway. He left the keys to the truck with us and told us we could use the truck to get back and forth. We never saw either of our hosts again after this because they were working and we were out a lot. The cabin was roomier than I expected and it really cooled down at night. Since we left most of our entertainment in the car, we just hung out for a while and went to bed.

Our hosts lived off the grid. They use a generator and solar panels to provide electrify to their home and the cabin. They had a solar shower outside the cabin and an outhouse as a bathroom. There were also horses in a pen outside the cabin.
cabin

We headed out to the painted hills on Tuesday, which was about an hour away. More long, winding roads. Once we got close to the trailheads, you could see the hills and they were amazing. We didn’t actually spend that long on the trail. Just long enough to walk around a bit and take some photos. All of us were getting really hot. I think it was in the 90s and the time and it was supposed to get up to 106 later in the day.
Painted Hills

Once we left we went back to Dayville, we went in search of a watering hole. Xander had it in his mind that he wanted to teach Reese to swim, but we couldn’t convince Reese to get in the water. Xander got in a little and I put my feet in the water.

After this we decided to drive to the nearby town of John Day. It’s still a mystery who John Day is.  I promised I would prepare a powerpoint presentation on him one day after we got back. We drove around the city a little, got some pizza, and headed back to a picnic area we found along the way. After eating, we took a walk around and came to stream with some deer in it. Reese went down to the water and took a drink, but still wouldn’t get in.  We stopped to take some photographs on the way back.
cows

The cabin was still hot when we got back so we hung out outside for a while before we went outside. We couldn’t get the air conditioner to work. We had a Magic the Gathering tournament. Late in the night we watched a movie called “The Road to Galveston” on a VHS cassette that was in the cabin.

We got up pretty early to drive back home the next day. Much of the drive was smokey and we couldn’t see too far in the distance. We drove through areas that looked like it had been affected by fires in previous years. It’s sad to think that so much of the state is burning.  The drive seemed to go on forever. We made it back around 2pm on Wednesday. There was some ash in the air, which I had seen people posting about while we were out of town.

A couple of hours later, Xander and I hosted game night at the Q Center. I was so out of it. I played a couple of games and spent the rest of the night on the bench outside talking to people who were taking breaks. Lately, we’ve had this tradition of going for drinks after game night, but I was too tired. We went home.

On Thursday, I did a lot of cleaning. The rest of my vacation was devoted Rose City Comic Con, which I will talk about later

I’m glad that I got to go on a road trip with such a great friend and my dog. They were great company and we had very few problems. I wonder what the next adventure will be.

Taking it Easy

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 No comments

I haven’t really done much since I got back from Hawaii.  It’s been nice to be live a lazy and boring life.

A couple of weeks after I got back from Hawaii, I came home to find that Reese wasn’t his normal energetic self.  After a couple of trips to the emergency vet and a visit to the doctor that performed his surgery back in March (she works at a different place now), we figured that it was a return of his back problems, which will be a lifelong problem.  Although I was prepared to take him in for surgery again, it looks like bed rest has help greatly.  I started taking him on increasingly longer walks each week as the doctor instructed, but this week he started limping a little bit.  I started shortening his walks and he’s doing better.  He seems like his normal self most of the time.

I entered a weight loss competition at my gym and it started right before I left for Hawaii.  I used my 4 complimentary personal training sessions to learn a new workout routine.  Even though I had been working out, I was still very much out of shape.  My old workout wasn’t cutting it. My new workout was a “basic” workout, but it was very tough.  My trainer is honest and told me beforehand it wouldn’t be easy.  Over the next 4-5 weeks, I saw made some good progress, but it was getting too easy and I wasn’t loosing weight anymore.  I paid for 8 more sessions and I’m learning a more long-term workout routine.  It’s much much harder than what I was doing before.  Also, I’ve been eating better.  I’ve done pretty well with sticking to my food plan over the past couple of weeks.  So far, I’ve lost about 17 lbs.  I’m in 8th place in the weight loss competition.  At this point, I don’t really care about the competition anymore.  I just want to be healthier.

I’ve been trying to play video games as much as possible.  There are way too many games and not enough time to play them.  I’ve also been catching up on a lot of movies that missed.  Everyone should go see Birdman.

I went to “An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss” here in Portland about a month ago.  The Doubleclicks opened for him.  Most of it was a repeat of what I saw at P.A.X., but it was still fun.  I got an autographed copy of his new book.  I was too tired to stand in a long line to get a personalized autograph.  Maybe next time.

Work is the main thing that’s bothering me these days.  I’m just very bored and frustrated.  I’ve talked to the people that I need to talk to, but no one seems to want to change anything except me.  Hopefully, things will turn around soon.

That’s it for now.  I have to get a few things ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

My Poor Dog

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 2 comments

As many of you know, it’s been a tough week for my little dog Reese. Today is Tuesday and it started last Tuesday when I noticed that his tail was hanging limp during our morning walk. He also hesitated to climb up on his steps to get on the couch. I left work early and took him to see the vet. The vet figured it might be a back problem that dachshunds tend to have and recommended rest and medicine.

Wednesday morning he seemed to be feeling better, but when I got home that night he was doing worse.

Thursday morning he was having trouble getting up, so I took him back to the vet’s office. His normal vet was doing procedures all morning so we saw a different vet. When we got to the vet, he was almost normal again. The doctor thinks it was adrenaline making him feel better. She prescribed more medicine. When I got home from work that night he was once again not wanting to get up. I think at this point I had to bring food to him and squirt water in his mouse. I took him to the emergency vet. They took x-rays, but didn’t see anything that warranted surgery. The doctor upped the dosage on his pain meds. That night he was up all night whining. Neither of us got much sleep. I carried him outside to do his business, but he couldn’t because he couldn’t stand up.

Friday morning I gave him his medicine and went to work even though he was whining. I called my vet and left him message. When he called back, he recommended I take Reese to see a surgeon. I left work immediately and took him to see one. She did a more thorough examination and did a CAT scan. The CAT scan showed that he had a herniated disc and that it was pretty bad. She performed surgery on him that day. He could come home the next day or the day after that.

On Saturday, I spent some time getting the place ready for him to come back. He needs to have his movement restricted for the next 8 weeks. He doesn’t need to do a lot of waling and he doesn’t need to be on the furniture.

On Sunday, I brought him home. It’s so hard to look at the incision on his back. He whined all day, but finally got a little sleep at night. The doctor thinks the whininess might be a side effect the pouch he’s wearing to help with the pain. Since I took half the patch off, he hasn’t been whining nearly as much. I’ve been so nervous about him doing something to hurt himself, but he’s been fine so far.

He seems to be doing much better now physically. He doesn’t have trouble getting up and laying down like he did when I brought him home. He starts to run after me sometimes like he normally does and I always make him stay where he is. He walks slightly differently and arches his back when he’s peeing. He has a follow-up appointment with the surgeon on Friday. Here’s hoping the rest of his recovery is as easy. I’m finally starting to relax a little today.

If you’re a pet owner, I highly recommend getting pet insurance if you can. I pay $30 a month for mine. I got it a couple of years ago. I’ve heard many stories about people going broke when something happens to their pets. I should have to pay hardly any of the cost of his surgery.

Poor Reese

Saturday, May 29th, 2010 No comments

I found out last week that Reese had bilateral patellar luxation, grade II.  It means that his knees pop out of place.

After I got back from Austin, he was acting a little weird, sleeping a lot, not following like he normally does, and going off on his own to lay down.  I figured things would go back to normal after he had rested.  After a couple of days, things hadn’t changed much.  One day at lunch I tried to get him to jump up on my like he normally does.  He hesitated, but eventually he tried.  As soon as he did, he started hollering and moving around in a weird way.  He was obviously in a lot of pain.  I took him to the vet and they examined him and determined what was wrong.

From what the doctor said and what I’ve read, patellar luxation is a common defect in his breed.  It’s not unusual for symptoms to show at his age.  A girl that works in the vet’s office said that her 1-year-old had been recently diagnosed with the same thing.  He has grade II out of IV, so it’s not as bad as it could be.   The doctor prescribed medicine that should help with the pain and with the cartilage in his knees.  Eventually, he’s going to need surgery, which is $600 per knee.  After a couple of days on his medicine, he’s back to his normal hyper self.  I don’t let him jump on me, even though I can tell that he wants to.

This is him still groggy after they sedated him for his x-ray.
Reese sedated

Reese

Friday, August 29th, 2008 2 comments

A week ago today I adopted a puppy that I found through Petfinder.com from the animal shelter in Aberdeen. He’s a mini-dachshund/feist mix. He’s gonna be inside so I didn’t want a huge dog. I was having a lot of trouble coming up with a name, so I called him Puppy for days. A few times I accidentally called him Bailey. I came up with Reese when I was watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Yeah, I know that’s crazy but I like the name.

He gets along well with everybody. He learns quickly and hasn’t been that mischievous yet *knocks on wood*. I wish I could work at home so I could hang out with him all day, but I can’t do that.

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