We’re Still in Pocatello….

Carpet Cleaning
Carpet Cleaning

The motorcycle is now at a different service center. The Kawasaki mechanics couldn’t figure out what was wrong and said the bike had never failed for them. It fails for me every time, so I don’t understand that. It’s now at the Honda place and we’ll see what those mechanics come up with. The potential buyer definitely still wants the bike. The Honda folks say they won’t be able to look at the bike until Tuesday. So, we’re here for at least one more week. With any luck at all, they’ll figure it out on Tuesday, have it fixed by Wednesday, and we can deliver it on Thursday.

Well, that just gives us time to do some of the little things. Things like cleaning the carpet in the motor home! It doesn’t take very long, but lots and lots and lots of very dark water came up. We’ve also been consolidating down to the stuff we’ll be taking with us on the trip out east, south, and west. On Monday we’ll take a bunch of stuff to the storage unit and do some reorganization. When we come back through in February, we’ll need to pack up what we’ll take to the Mission Training Center and then box up what we’d like to ship over to Hawaii to be there when we get there … thinks like a TV and some of my ham radio equipment…. Getting it ready now means we will have less to do in the February winter weather.

Walking Along the Portneuf River
Walking Along the Portneuf River

It also gives us some time to enjoy the fabulous fall weather we’re having here in southeastern Idaho. With high temperatures in the mid 70’s, little or no wind, and clear, blue skies, the weather couldn’t be more perfect. We’ll probably think this is cold weather when we get back from Hawaii! So, we’ll enjoy it while we can. Hopefully it can continue for another week.

Tomorrow is Sunday. After Church we’ll go over to Soda Springs to visit with my mother. We try to get over every Sunday, if possible. She’s doing as well as can be expected. She’d like to be doing a whole lot better, however! She’s fairly feisty at times.

Life continues to be very good!

The Difference of a Day (And a Significant Rain Storm)

One Day More
One Day More

Yesterday’s post included a picture of our motor home and the tree behind the motor home in full fall colors. Well, overnight the wind and the rain came and the tree is pretty much denuded! It did reveal two large nests, however, that weren’t visible before. These nests must have been a dream home for some birds earlier this year and perhaps even in years past. Do birds reuse old nests in trees from year to year?

It turns out, that question has been asked and a nature conservatory in England answered the question. Based on their answer, my guess is that these nests will not be used again and will become relics of the past. Out here in the west there are many, many old, abandoned farm houses that were once someone’s dream home but now are slowly crumbling into dust.

Today is Fast Sunday. Once a month we go without food and drink for twenty-four hours and contribute what we would have spent to the care and feeding of the poor. The Sacrament Meeting on that Sunday is devoted to testimony bearing by members of the congregation. Nina bore a beautiful testimony (made me tear up … as usual). Our Sunday School class discussion was in Isaiah 1-6 and was perhaps one of the nicest and spiritual discussion in a very long time. When the discussion goes beyond the textbook answers (say your prayers, keep the commandments, be good people, etc.) and makes me think specifically about how I’m living and what I might do better, that’s a great lesson and discussion. That happened today.

We’re shooting for being able to leave on Friday. Only the motorcycle stands in the way! I won’t know more about that until Tuesday.

Life is very good!

A Great Phone Call Along With an Important Decision

Autumn in the RV Park
Autumn in the RV Park

Fall is in full swing here in southeastern Idaho. In our RV park, the tree beside our spot is very busy dropping bushel baskets of leaves. There are still plenty of trees still to turn, however. That just means it’s high time to hit the road and get out of here!

One big question has been what to do about transportation while we’re traveling for the next six weeks or so. The car we usually pull behind the motor home is no more (it now has a home in Seattle). Neither of the other two cars can be towed four wheels down. One option we have been considering is buying a car hauler trailer to bring a car along behind. New ones are more than $3,200, which is out of the question. I found a few used trailers on ksl.com that might fill the bill. So, today we unhooked everything and drove the motor home down to the Ogden, Utah area to look at a trailer. It would have cost about $1,900 to buy. We looked it over and clearly, it was not the right trailer for us. That pretty much sealed the decision. We’ll drive the motor home and if we need something else, we’ll rent it. We can rent a lot of cars for $1,900! The motor home itself is small enough that we can usually park it in a normal parking spot. It’s just a hassle to unhook everything, drive around, return to the campground, and hook everything back up. However, we’ll get much better gas mileage when we’re not towing anything.

The drive had another purpose as well. It’s been quite a while since we’ve gone any distance in the motor home. Since the last time we drove more than 600 miles in the motor home both Nina and I have new knees and Nina has had Achilles tendon surgery. This was a shake-down drive to be certain we had everything in order for the long distance driving. There are a couple of things we need to adjust, but over all, we’re ready to be on the road.

While we were driving back from Utah, my phone rang:

“Hello, this is Roland”

“Hi there. Is this the soon to be Elder Smith?”

“That would be me!”

“This is sister (garbled, I never did get her name) … from the visitors’ center in Hawaii. You might have a few questions?”

Wow! Did we ever!!

Since I was driving, I handed the phone to Nina who had a delightful conversation. We learned a lot. There are only a few couples at the visitors center along with a whole bunch of young Sister Missionaries. Our assignment will be to supervise one of the shifts at the center. Shifts are five hours long and when we’re not on duty, the rest of the time is ours to do as we wish (keeping with missionary standards, of course). We can work at the temple, volunteer at the cultural center (which comes with a free meal), go sightseeing, or whatever! That was very interesting information.

We also learned that we can rent a car from the mission for $150 a month, so shipping a car over isn’t needed at all. Nina will be wearing a mumu fitted to her size. I’ll be in a short-sleeved white shirt and slacks.  She can wear sandals (a real boon for her!). Our apartment is nicely furnished and looks out at the Temple.

Marvelous information! Life is very good.

Rivers and Sheepherder Camps

Portneuf River
Portneuf River

We walked a different route Thursday morning. Both of us were tired, so we decided we wanted a “flat route” to walk. The Greenway path along the Portneuf River was the ideal place to walk. Forty minutes and 1.4 miles later, we had met our goal for the day. The weather was (and remained so the entire day) just fabulous. The trees are showing very nice (for Idaho) color and the walk was very pleasant. I’m certain it’ll be on our agenda again … if there’s enough time!

We’re working on the to-do list so we can leave next Friday. There are still several unknowns (for instance, the motorcycle still isn’t running right), but we’re closing in. One of the big questions is whether or not we should buy a car hauler trailer and haul a car behind the motor home across the country or should we rent cars when we’re staying at places. A used car hauler trailer will cost about $2,000 and would probably sell for that much when we were finished with it. However, it’ll really affect the gas mileage. So, I’m still fussing with the numbers.

Locks of Love
Locks of Love

We walked as far as a bridge across the river before we turned around. I noticed several padlocks on the chain link fence on the bridge. The lover’s practice of “locking their love” and throwing away the keys is here in Pocatello as well.

This one had a date on it, but no names. That was part of my criteria for showing the lock. Don’t want to publicize something that might already have gone down in flames! We’ve got a spare padlock here somewhere. Maybe we should join the club??

The first time I had seen padlocks on a fence was in Florence, Italy. I ran across them again in Germany (called to my attention by an article in the newspaper). Since then I’ve read about similar activities across the world, as documented by Wikipedia.

Sheepherder Camp
Sheepherder Camp

Mother’s cordless telephone has been giving her a lot of problems. She has trouble hearing when someone calls. The phone she has is very old. The markings are worn off and it’s difficult to tell which button does what. It’s also very easy for her to accidentally turn the volume down. So, we ordered her a new phone which arrived on Thursday. After the walk we drove over to Soda Springs and installed the new phone. Hopefully this will work much better for her. The phone is definitely quite loud!

On the way back home as we exited the freeway next to Prime Time Auctions, I noticed several old sheep camps along the back fence to be auctioned off at their next auction on Saturday, October 11th. Nina has been fascinated with these canvas-covered units, so we stopped and took a look at the most authentic of the sheep camps.

Gotta See Inside
Gotta See Inside

Looking meant climbing up and poking her head inside! When I was very small I remember that Grandfather Smith had a few sheep they he combined with some other farmers in the area into a fairly large herd of sheep. During the summer the sheep went up into the high forest to graze. They hired an old Basque sheepherder and outfitted him with a sheep camp that looked (as I remember) very much like this one. It had a wood-burning stove, a place in the back for his bedding, and had a big basin attached to one side along with a fold-down table. The other side had a couple of big water barrels. The camp was pulled by a couple of horses which the sheep herder kept with him all summer as his conveyance.

This is a short iPhone video showing a bit of the interior.

Les Misérables … Worth the Time and Money!

Monday evening Nina and I went to the Mystique Theater in Chubbuck (neighboring town to Pocatello) to their production of Les Misérables. The production runs through November 8th with performances on Friday, Saturday, and Monday evenings. The Friday and Saturday evening performance can include dinner.

We thoroughly enjoyed the production. All of the cast and supporting folks are amateurs and local residents. My goodness, what marvelous talent lives here in southeastern Idaho! Many years ago when we were living in Pleasant View, Utah, we went to a production of Les Misérables put on by a Broadway touring company, a professional company. The performance was moving, incredibly well done, exactly what one would expect from a professional touring company. Well, our local amateurs did an incredibly moving performance as well. I was particularly impressed with the acting and singing of the young woman who played Eponine. Nina was also very impressed with the actor who portrayed Javert, the merciless inspector, who’s suicide scene was, well just delicious, it was so well done.

If you live in the Pocatello / Chubbuck area, take the time, spend the money, and go see the production. It’s well worth it.


Why do days always go so differently than originally planned?? That’s the curiosity for me today. Other than breakfast and the start of a walk, nothing else happened as planned.

The walk is probably the main culprit. We’ve been trying to take walk every day for the past couple of weeks. Usually they’re between a half-hour and an hour and something around or less than two miles. Today we started and Nina said I was in charge of figuring out the route. So, we started along a new route. I was ready to turn around at the one mile mark, but Nina thought we were doing well and we were in a pretty area. At 45 minutes I suggested turning around, but since we hadn’t ever been in this area before, it was possible to make the walk a big loop, and neither of us knew how long the big loop would be, we continued.

 The 4.54 Mile, 2 Hour Walk
The 4.54 Mile, 2 Hour Walk

Clicking on the image will show a full-sized map of the route … it turned out to be a long, long, long walk that included a fairly serious uphill at the end.

The “grey” marks on the map are where we stopped, sat down on a bench, and recuperated. The Runkeeper app allows me to “pause” the walk when we were not actually walking, so the two-hour time doesn’t count the half an hour we spent on a bench somewhere along the route.

We got back to the motor home about 11:30am; the day was close to half over and we were both somewhat beyond exhausted, sore, sweating, and even a bit grumpy. Showers helped, but as I write this, I have both feet up as I don’t want any weight on them at all. The day wasn’t completely downhill from there, but at times felt like it!

Life remains good!

It’s Monday … Time for Cleaning, Shopping, and Laundry

Sunday Dinner Time
Sunday Dinner Time

Mondays now have turned into the day when we take care of a whole bunch of little things. Take, for instance, cleaning the motor home. Four small rugs to shake outside, the kitchen and bathroom floors to mop, and the living area to sweep. If it takes more than twenty minutes, then we’ve been slacking.

Errands take quite a bit longer, however. Since we’re very limited in storage, refrigerator, and freezer space, Nina has to go shopping once a week and then usually pick up one or two small things during the week. We’ve enough clothes for a week, so laundry is quite imperative on Mondays. The campground has four washers and four dryers. We usually have a load of whites and a load of dark colors, both of which can go into one dryer. Four bucks later, we’ve got clean clothes.

My errands today included checking on the status of my motorcycle, checking on the status of the window replacements, and checking on the status of my glasses. I essentially struck out on all three.

I took the motorcycle into the dealership on Friday afternoon because I didn’t think it was idling right and the exhaust smelled like it was running very rich (this after having had the gas tank drained and the carburetors flushed). I hadn’t heard back from them, so I went over this morning to find the place all closed up. Noon and no one there at all.  That was very strange. Me phone call went unanswered and eventually the system said the mailbox was full. Very discomforting.

The glass shop said that the side window glass would probably take 3-5 weeks, but he’d check on the status. If it was going to take more than another week I told him we needed to cancel the order. The glass across the front, however, might be able to be cut here in town, and he was going to check on that and call me back. Haven’t heard back.

The glasses are the worst story. Flandro Optical here in Pocatello is a well-respected and highly rated company and Dr. Flandro is an excellent optician. However, in my current case, their customer service has absolutely sucked. We’ve used his services since we arrived in Pocatello ten years ago. My mother and dad have both been his patients. Since I was retiring and my optical insurance would expire at the end of September, I decided to get my prescription updated and get new glasses.

So, on August 8th, my Friday off, I went in to get the eyes checked and new optics ordered (just the optics, I didn’t need new frames). Ten days they said. Three weeks later when I called, they said the lab was having problems and I needed to come in again to have the current frames “traced”. I reminded her that she had done that already. She checked, sure enough they had been traced, she just hadn’t sent the tracing to the lab. Finally, after several more reminders, the eyepieces for one of the glasses had arrived.

I have two sets of glasses. One for normal, everyday wear, and a second set specifically for using at the computer and at the organ. This second set hadn’t arrived yet, but supposedly the first set had. I went in, and the glasses had been made incorrectly. The lenses were sized for the computer frames, but with trifocal lenses. That didn’t work. It’s now four weeks later. I went in this morning. The person who would know is out to lunch, but she’ll call me “for sure” immediately after lunch. It’s now four hours later. She must be taking a very long lunch. Nine weeks … almost ten … just for lenses. And, of course, no insurance any more. I’m also on hold. Again.


Getting Settled In … To The “Shoebox on Wheels”

Nina and Grandkids in Park City
Nina and Grandkids in Park City

I correspond with a good friend who has also stayed in a motor home at the Cowboy RV Park in Pocatello, Idaho. In his last letter he referred to our accommodations as a “shoebox on wheels”. What an accurate description! While we’re getting pretty settled in, we’ve had to make quite a few trips to the storage unit to swap things out. We’ve pretty much decided on our schedule, however. We’ll be driving away from here on Friday, October 17th and make our way to Green River, Wyoming to spend the weekend with my favorite brother and his family. That weekend is their Stake Conference, which will be great for all of us. We enjoy Stake Conferences and this one is also a broadcast from Salt Lake, rumored to be presided over by Elder Bednar. That will be especially delightful.

I’ve got to get some inoculations … including Hepatitis A and B as well as a flu shot. Nina also needs her flu shot. She’s going to have her last craft class at the Pocatello Women/s Correctional Center on the 16th. We’re trying to get a couple of windows replaced in the motor home. We’ve got the motor cycle to finish getting sold (it’s sold pending a final checkup by the Kawasaki dealer’s service department). Nina and I need to make a visit to Nina’s cousin-in-law in Boise. There are a few other minor things. That’s what’s dictating the departure date. By then we should have everything where it belongs to make the break for the east coast.

Tomorrow and Sunday are General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life is great!