Archive Page 2

29
Apr
16

Pups Go West 2016 – Anticipation

Anticipation is always high right before heading out on another roadtrip. My plan was to come home from work, finish loading up the Jeep, then snooze with the pups for a few hours prior to beginning our annual pilgrimage to the desert. I’m sure I managed a couple of minutes of sleep, but Red Rock fever had even reached the dogs, they were convinced that 9PM was long enough to sleep and it was time to leave!

Mira ready to roll after spending all day sleeping – glad someone was well rested!

On I-196 by 1030PM, we were set to glide through Chicago traffic with ease, the middle of the night being a much better time to tackle the madness south of the Windy City. Both dogs were pretty impressed with our stop at the toll booth on I-80 when the lady in the booth handed them each a dog cookie!

Cookies!!!!

As the night made way for dawn, it became very clear that this trip would be fueled by copious amounts of Mt. Dew, SweetTarts Mini Chewy candies, 5-hr Energy Drinks and girl rock sung at the top of my lungs, much to the chagrin of my dogs (I challenge you to sing “What’s Up?” By 4 Non Blondes quietly).

Rain turned into snow in central Nebraska making my eyelids droop uncontrollably. I gave in to exhaustion and pulled into a rest stop, crawled into the back of the Jeep with the dogs and took a quick nap.  The heavy snow would continue to cause problems for quite some time, slowing progress all the way through to western Colorado.

Western Nebraska

West of Denver


Silverthorne, CO looking west toward Frisco

My original goal for the first day was to stop for the night in Green River, UT so we’d be close to our destination the next morning.  Unfortunately, the Motel 6 was booked solid for the night.  I checked Grand Junction and not only did the Motel 6 have rooms available, but it was $20/night cheaper than Green River.  Over the years of traveling with my beasts, I’ve decided that Motel 6 best fits our needs.  Not only are they exceptionally dog friendly, but also very reasonably priced (dogs stay free at most which saves a lot) – they may be a bit spartan for some but fit our travel needs very well.

After 24 hours on the road, 2-one hour naps included, the dogs and I were happy to arrive at our home for the night.  Yukon quickly claimed one of the beds and Mira immediately fell asleep on my pillow.  I was amazed that I was able to make the push from Michigan to western Colorado in one day but it was time to rest up for our first day in Utah!

Making themselves at home for the night

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21
Jan
14

The Birth of an Obsession

I’m an expert at procrastination and less than spectacular with keeping up with this blog (which is likely obvious to anyone that has visited). Just as a reinforcement, I intended to write this post on New Year’s Day. Yeah, I’m a little late. Her On Wheels originally started as a way to share my first long solo motorcycle trip (one month cross country in 2010) with friends and family and while I still ride, interests shift and life changes.

As a whole, 2013 was decent, with perhaps a bump or two along the road, but when is life without those? A new interest, OK obsession, began after receiving a fly rod and reel from a friend on my spring trip to Utah. On a 2011 motorcycle trip through Yellowstone, September 13th to be exact, I saw a fly fisherman standing in Firehole River. As I watched the beauty and serenity of the activity, I told myself that someday that’d be me – I’d stand in one of Yellowstone’s iconic rivers, fly fishing surrounded by the park’s beauty. That newly obtained rod and reel started a downward spiral – spending every available moment on the river, pouring over guides about the area’s hatching bugs, visiting fly shop after fly shop asking endless newb questions and ultimately learning how to tie my own flies.

As it turns out, I fulfilled that 2011 prophecy – September 11, 12 and 13th of 2013 were spent fishing in Yellowstone: the Firehole, the Madison, the Gallatin and my favorite, Soda Butte Creek. It was as magical as I hoped. The preceding week and a half were spent fishing Rock Creek, southeast of Missoula while sleeping in my Jeep (and avoiding showers). I learned a great deal on that trip and look forward to returning in October of this year.

Once again, the pups and I (along with some company) will be heading out at the end of April for our annual Pups Go West trip to southern Utah, northern Arizona and Colorado. Fishing some mountain lakes and small streams in addition to the traditional sight seeing and hiking will be a welcome addition. It’ll be great to have someone along to share it with (not that the dogs aren’t great company). I’ll do my best to overcome my extreme case of procrastination and post along the way (as internet access allows of course).

Birthday Float on the Pere Marquette River20130823-103923.jpg

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Beautiful morning at the Dalles on Rock Creek – Montana20140121-113225.jpg

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout from Soda Butte Creek20140121-113700.jpg

A bit blurry , but I was a excited when I caught this fella20140121-113709.jpg

Winter Steelheading this past weekend

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First fly caught steelhead, from Saturday on the Pere Marquette

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11
Apr
13

Pups Go West 2013 – Begin Again

After weeks of anticipation, the morning was finally here, time to leave for vacation with the dogs to Utah. Since I worked a late shift yesterday evening, I packed the remainder of my gear and clothing this morning…that, extreme weather in the area and two overexcited dogs underfoot delayed departure a bit. It was cold, wet and gloomy, which would continue throughout the day and across five states (with a little snow an sleet thrown in).

I made my traditional stop in Davenport, Iowa to grab the amazing sub that is Capriotti’s Bobbie (shredded turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo). During the time I was in the sub shop, Mira, the crafty little Aussie that she is, figured out how to open the cooler and had dragged a 2-pack of vacuum sealed New York Strips out. Thankfully she didn’t have time to get the package open. I think my future dogs will need to be stupid, that speckled little nut is always a step ahead of me 🙂

The Bobbie
Rain and cold were a constant throughout the day
Wet weather = muddy paws 🙂
Mira was enjoying the windy day (so much that she forgot she was out to potty)

My original destination for the evening was North Platte, Nebraska but between battling the Jeep in the heavy crosswind and dealing with the rain and snow I was very sleepy and stopped short. One thing that always appeals to me about driving rather than flying, are the amazing things you see while on the road. In the last hour before stopping for the night, I saw hundreds of Sandhill Cranes – I must have lucked out and hit Nebraska during the crane migration. What an absolutely amazing thing to see!

Tomorrow…Utah or bust!

03
Apr
13

Pups Go West 2013 – Pre-Trip Prep

 

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Mira testing out her new ABO Travel Dog Bed (my Big Agnes Lulu bag behind her).

The time is upon us, time for the second annual ‘Pups Go West’ hiking and camping trip. Aside from some mishaps, dehydration and doggie seizures, the dogs and I had a great time rambling around Utah for a couple of weeks last spring so I decided I needed to make time for it again.

I’ve made a few changes to our sleeping accommodations: a curtain between the front and back seats instead of Reflectix, thinner more travel friendly dog beds (that can also be used outside at the campsite), an ENO Hammock and my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 tent. We’ll be sleeping mostly in the Jeep but I wanted some additional options in case we wanted to sleep under the stars (without the risk of rattlesnakes and scorpions). The dogs still don’t quite grasp the concept of the mesh tent but we all fit it fine and have spent several nights in it.

We’ll be heading out bright and early on April 11th, hoping to hit Western Nebraska our first evening and Utah the next afternoon. For the better part of the vacation, we’ll be spending time exploring the San Rafael Swell/Reef area, Escalante and if road conditions permit Cottonwood Canyon Rd. This year my goal is to be a better blogger and not wait and entire year to start my trip report. Any followers have suggestions on good hikes (with dogs) or must see features in the areas above?

13
Mar
13

Hitting the Wall AKA Learning to Climb

Climbing has always been a sport (art form) that has intrigued me. There are various reasons that until recently I hadn’t tried it – intimidation, bad shoulders, location and so on. Thankfully, a couple of weeks ago, a friend informed me that Grand Rapids Hiking Meetup group was heading to the local climbing gym, Inside Moves, all experience levels welcome. I instantly signed up for the Meetup group and RSVP’d – YES!!!

After a night of learning the basics of belaying, bouldering, climbing and knot tying we spent the evening navigating routes and socializing. Not only did I meet some really nice people, I realized that I would be able to climb and the intimidation was all in my head. The next day, I picked out some basic gear and anxiously awaited its arrival. Weather and work (Ok, I’ll admit – very sore muscles) kept me from trying again until this past Thursday night.

Since I had already been to one of the local gyms, I thought it would be interesting to see what another had to offer. Unfortunately, their bouldering wall had all the holds removed for an upcoming competition. All day, the one thing I could think about was how anxious I was to get back in the climbing gym so I headed back to Inside Moves. One of my big concerns was getting in an experienced climber’s way but while paying for a day pass I was assured that being an absolute beginner was not a problem.

I donned my shiny new (very tight) climbing shoes and made my way over to the bouldering walls. Apparently I not only didn’t know I was doing, but I looked like I didn’t know I was doing because after a few minutes of struggling, an older gentleman came over and started chatting with me and giving me tips (beta as I would come to find out). Joe told me he started climbing 12 years ago at 75 years old looked like he was going strong and would be for quite some time! It just goes to show, you’re never too old to try something new!

Over and over, with the help of Joe and another kind woman who had been climbing for 2 years, I attempted to less-than-skillfully muscle my way up the various routes/problems.  At last, I was able to complete one of the easiest problems…I was elated! After working on that same problem until I ripped the skin off of four of my fingers, I tried a few other problems before packing up my shoes, thanking everybody and heading home with a big grin on my face. The following day, I had a hard time tying my own shoes, but that didn’t matter I was hooked!

Easing the pain of my skinned fingers with a Big Sky Trout Slayer

03
Mar
13

Daily Prompt: No, thanks! (No more!)

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Prior to 2011, the Indian subcontinent held little appeal in my mind. The heat, the crowding, the trash, the pollution – I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to spend 30 hours flying to be miserable. This all changed when my younger sister made the announcement that she would be moving to southern India, Chennai to be exact, for a couple of years. Having my little sister 10,000 miles away for that length of time was a bit difficult to process so I immediately decided I should plan a trip to the land of spices. Tickets purchased, passport and visa approved, I would be arriving in Chennai on October 25th of 2012.

After 3 weeks in the country, my mind was changed. Though there were some frustrations, I left knowing that I would be back again. The people, architecture, culture and religions were all beautiful – despite my short stay, I left a different person than when I arrived. Never again will I say I’m uninterested in visiting someplace – every destination presents an opportunity to learn and grow.

The Daily Prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/daily-prompt-no-thanks/

01
Nov
12

Wrath of Nilam

Well, I haven’t been in India a week and I’ve already experienced my first tropical cyclone. Melissa and I were out and about yesterday and decided it was time to hightail it back to her house. The winds were picking up and the sky angry. On the auto trip from Alwarpet to Besant Negar, we saw many trees down and streets starting to fill with water. The winds increased in intensity shortly after reaching the house and the power cut. We could hear glass breaking, people yelling and trees cracking as the storm made landfall south of here (near Mahabalipuram). The extent to which the wind bent the coconut trees around the house amazed me, how were they all not snapped in two? This morning, aside from a bit of wind it’s hard to tell a storm went through, we’ll be leaving soon to see the damage to the neighborhood, and check to see if they rescued the large diesel tanker that ran aground at nearby Elliot Beach.

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I’ve come to terms with spiders in my environment and while I don’t want to cuddle them, I do find them fascinating and I tolerate them in the house (provided they don’t invade my space). I think this one may have been slightly squashed by the dogs but it was still alive.  I’ve never seen one like it and can’t figure it out.  Anyone have any ideas?  The pictures aren’t great because while it didn’t look like it was in any shape to attack me, it was a risk I wasn’t willing to take 😂 #spider #michigan #spidersofmichigan #spideridentification Anyone ever push themselves to the brink of madness taking part in an activity?  I’m on my third season of trying to have some success while out rabbit hunting and still nada!  Ive dug briars out of knuckles and today out of my face (lip and chin). I’ve walked miles and miles through swamps, briars, cattails and brush with an air rifle, a .22 and most recently my grandpa’s shotgun.  I drive by stands of autumn olives, low pines and grassy fencerows and think about how many rabbits I’d be able kick up if given an opportunity.  I know someday I’ll make things happen and bring my first cottontail home for dinner but until then, I’ll relish in the blood, sore legs and constant frustration.
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#hunting #rabbithunting #cottontail #michigan #publiclandowner #publiclandhunting So, I’m as bad at rabbit hunting as I am at duck hunting!  It was scary windy out today but I had the day off and I needed to get out in the woods and clear my head!  One rabbit bolted from the same spot as the other day, I almost stepped on the other one. Does anyone else hate hearing themselves on video 😂😂😂 #rabbithunting #publiclandowner #publiclandhunting #michigan Still getting some flyers and still tend to hit right of where I’m aiming but getting better.  I went to the archery store today and asked a million questions, I was handed a free range pass and told to come back on Monday to have their traditional guy help me get things more squared away. #recurvearchery #recurve #archery #tradbow #traditionalarchery
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