Thursday, January 27, 2011

Traveling with Mrs. Magoo - SEA to PHX

Sorry for the long absence, but we've been very busy driving through the wild west and getting settled here in Phoenix. Lady is darn glad to be out of the car and in familiar surroundings. The first day out of Seattle was a little treacherous, as we just missed a pretty good storm. I90-Snoqualmie Pass and the Blue Mountains of Oregon were freshly blessed with plenty of snow. Our route took us to Caldwell, ID for the first night. We didn't  get any pictures the first day out. We were just too worn out.

We stayed at dog friendly hotels during our trip; LaQuinta in Caldwell and The historic Hotel Nevada in Ely. Lady does her Magoo dance in every hotel room before she settles in. It's almost indescribable, but I will do my best. Many dogs circle a spot to lay down, but Lady brings a unique performance art to this ritual. Starts with pawing the floor then arching her back with her nose extended towards the floor, pawing and turning in a clockwise direction all the while bouncing up and down (but never leaving the floor). This continues for several revolutions until:
A. She plops down with a groan, staying in that spot for an hour or 30 seconds, we never know.
B. She sees someone watching her, then she stops (this is why I have no video)!
C. For some reason that spot isn't acceptable, so she wanders over for loves or off to her water bowl.
That's why one of her many nicknames is Mrs. Magoo. Andi calls it her VooDoo dance, which is pretty descriptive in itself.

Caldwell to Ely....Day two dawned clear and very cold. We traveled to Twin Falls then south on US93 through some of the most desolate country in the U.S. It's been 8 years since the first time I've travel this highway. The road itself has been (surprisingly) repaved. It was great! We pick up our photo tale at the Idaho-Nevada border:


My paws are freezing!!
The first quick stop was on a farm road in southern Idaho to stretch our legs. There is not much between Twin Falls and Vegas. Wells, NV is a  small crossroads town on US93 and I80. This was our second stop. Boy, this place has seen better days (pictures below).

Old downtown Wells, NV - only the building to the right is occupied.

I'll bet this was one very cool sign in it's day.

This handsome brick building is completely abandoned.
On to Ely. It is the only town of any substance in the Great Basin of northeast Nevada. Mining founded the town and is still part of their economy. Nevada built a maximum security prison there and that has given a renewed life to this town. It is a very fun and interesting town. Influence today more by Salt Lake City than Las Vegas! SLC TV stations and many Utah plates.

Oh boy, a hike

Just a few of the gravel piles

View from the foothills, west across the valley
Needing a stop between Wells and Ely, I passed a dirt road that ran up to the foothills where there were large piles of gravel scattered like a giant child had been playing with his pail and shovel. A U turn on US93 in Nevada was easy, because as far as the eye could vehicles!! The pictures above are from that stop. It was chilly, but the sun was welcome and bright. Lady had a great time exploring.

Built in 1929, it was the tallest building in Nevada

Rooms were nice, a little noisy compared with
modern standards, but no big deal

Very cool mural - click to enlarge
The wonderful, quirky, friendly Hotel Nevada in Ely. We had a blast. Lady is allowed everywhere in the hotel and casino except the eating areas. She hung out with me while I sat at the bar playing video poker, having a beer and chatting with the locals. She single handedly sucked every ounce of affection out of every human she encountered, then went back for more. This time of year the bar and casino are very local oriented. A more friendly group I have never encountered. There is a plaque in the lobby that says (my version, can't take pictures in a casino): "Dogs are welcome here because we've never had a dog get drunk and trash a room or insult the help". The public areas are a little smokey, but other than that, HIGHLY recommended.

As the sun came up and the moon set on the beginning of the third day, Lady was still recovering from her big night in the casino! Never thought I would ever write those words. Mr. Fuzzy Bone is always a comforting pillow. Ely to Phoenix......

Rest stop, junction of US93 and NV318
There was some critter squawking in the bushes 
In Vegas we stopped for a stretch and to get something to eat. Had a lousy, expensive breakfast at Marie Calendars, gassed up and headed for Phoenix. Stayed on US93, the bridge over the Colorado river is done. Divided highway now from Boulder City all the way to Kingman. Wow, what a difference.

Lake Mead just before Hoover Dam and the new bridge.
Our next stretch stop was in a tiny town in Arizona call Wikieup. Finally the sun was warm enough to know you were in the southwest. The little roadside business was certainly colorful, but like so many gaudy things these days, disappointing. They sold bumper stickers proudly proclaiming that Wikieup has more assholes per capita than anywhere else in the world. Really, I'm not making this up. I declined to purchase one.

Uhhh, well, OK

Geez Dad, are we almost there?
One final stop in one of the nicest formal rest areas you have ever seen. It is located just south of Wickenburg, AZ along the Hassayampa River. It is a perfect Sonoran Desert setting, welcoming all to the beauty of this special place.

Three days, 1500 miles - thank god for XM radio. More pictures soon of Lady in the desert.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ducking out for awhile

Lady and I will be quite busy traveling the next few days. Wanted to leave you all with a link to Lady's recent picture gallery and an expression of gratitude for all of our followers, friends and occasional visitors. As this blog approaches 200 posts, I never would have imagined blogging could be so much fun, challenging and rewarding.
Thanks for tuning in.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why some emails go unanswered

It's not often I ponder a situation in life and the next thing I know....POP....A well thought out, perfectly legitimate explanation appears before my eyes in the form of a round little cartoon character, acting out my life.

Spooky huh?!    The Explanation

We have some regular visitors to this blog from Otis, OR that may know right where this is! Taken in June of 2003, I applied some kind of enhancement to this photo, now it looks like a painting! I'll be darn if I can remember what software or technique, but I love the result. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Tierra Del Mar, OR
About 4 miles north of Pacific City

Couldn't be a Friday post without a picture of Lady. Below: from the December session. Michael spent some time in Adobe Lightroom fine tuning about 2 dozen shots. Here is one of them.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Elton John Schnoodle

In case you missed this on The Clampets blog
This little guy could give most of the American Idol hopefuls a run for their money. He'll be headlining a show with Yoko Ono soon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our friend Luke....

The minute I saw The Luke on his blog, I was drawn to his handsome, senior Golden Lukeness. He reminded me so much of my heart dog Devo. I followed his adventures and marveled even more at the similarities. News of his death from cancer fills my heart with indescribable sadness. Our collective sympathies go out to his family and all who loved him. We will miss you very much Luke. We are so happy you found the best furever home and lived the Golden life until the end. See you at the bridge my friend.

We will forever be part of Team Luke

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Vintage, Borzois, Picasso and Brooklyn

Snuggled into a slice of a downtown Portland city block bordered to the west by Broadway and to the south by SW Washington St. is the Hotel Vintage Plaza. Extremely dog friendly with affordable rooms and suites, it is now a favorite business and pleasure destination for KT and Lady. We spent two very rainy days there thinking we were going to explore downtown Portland and all it had to offer. There were many dogs and their bipeds staying at the Vintage. Lady made a special friend named Valenteen, a happy go lucky male Borzoi. We ran into Valenteen and his owner on the same hotel floor we were staying at. Come to find out, they were staying next door! It was very cute how they did their dance of romance, but he was a little too big and young for Lady. We went to their room for a short visit when Valenteen's sister and peeps were visiting. With 10 bipeds and three dogs in a hotel suite, chaos ensued (all fun and games). They wouldn't hold still long enough for pictures (damn).

Hotel Vintage Plaza, pet friendly, nice rooms, great restaurant
Weather aside, the Portland trip was very nice. Saw some old friends, made some new ones. Look forward to returning soon. New Years Eve, back to Seattle in time to take in the Picasso private collection exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. I am no art critic and I understand the importance of his work, but Picasso's simple pieces, whether that are paintings, sculptures or media are my very favorites. Well worth the effort and price of admission. Highly recommended. Here are a few pictures from that day; pictures strictly prohibited in the Picasso exhibit, so I snapped a few at the other SAM exhibits.

Breakfast at Lowells in the market - nice view!

A wonderful place and (finally) a beautiful day - the 10AM group to see Picasso

Made entirely of military dog tags - beautifully done

Amazing bead work - the patience it must take to create this.
Late lunch at the always great Brooklyn, 2nd and University in Seattle

Best oyster selection in town. Seafood reigns supreme.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

It's been a wonderfully busy 11 days - travel/unravel, celebrate/recreate, plus enjoy a few adult beverages along the way (always a designated driver). Christmas day we traveled from Seattle to Salem, OR to have a traditional Taco dinner with my brother Chip. We were basically invisible because Lady was there (wink-wink)! Chip loves it when Lady comes along. He misses his Toby so much and spoils Lady rotten whenever they are together. Here she is reveling in the attention and loving her new "dead squirrel" toy that the Salem Santa brought her..

On Boxing Day, we paid a visit to Eola Hills winery, just west of Salem in the town of Rickreall. At noon it started raining in northwestern Oregon and didn't stop for 3 days. Having lived in the NW for so long, its hard to dampen our spirits, but this came close. Anyway, picked up some well priced and tasty Pinot Gris and spent the rest of the day visiting friends in Newberg. Of course, Uncle Chip was dog sitting! This is how we found her on our return to Salem......

Tough day Lady!!   Next post: Two days in downtown Portland.
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