Sunday, August 26, 2012

An angel has left the earth…

I just learned a dear friend of mine has passed away.  Ron McDowell was my emergency contact person for my SPOT services.  He also helped me install my roof platform and my solar and t.v. antenna when I first set up my van.  Here are photos I took while visiting him in TX and doing all the initial work.  Ron… we will all miss you.

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Building my roof rack platform in Ron’s yard.

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In the horrid Texas June heat, Ron hung in there with me – he was the very best supervisor ever.

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More photos…

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Ron’s camper van.



Katie’s rig at Ron’s place in Texas.

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Mutt (Katie’s dog) loved that Monkey, a gift from Ron.

RIP Ron… you are loved and will be greatly missed.


Ronald C. McDowell, born July 12, 1955 in Frankfurt, Germany, died August 26, 2012 in Live Oak, Texas, at the age of 57. Ron was preceded in death by his father, Army Sergeant Cleveland McDowell. He is survived by his mother, Herta McDowell; sisters, Brenda McDowell of Chattanooga, TN and Carla Kelly of Placitas, NM; cousins, Marie McDowell, Doris Mathiesen, and Lynn Humphrey of South Carolina and nephew, Tom Maynard of Chattanooga, TN. Memorial Services will be held Sunday, September 2, 2012, 10:00 AM at Sunset Funeral Home, 1701 Austin Highway, San Antonio, TX 78218, Rev. Pat O'Brien officiating. Memorial contributions can be made in lieu of flowers to The American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75231 or www.heart.orgObit.

Too much wildness???? Is it possible?

A couple nights ago I cooked that rainbow trout I was given, thinking I could not eat it all… but I ate the whole thing.   Yummy.
Yesterday, as I wrapped up my work day, I heard a helicopter.  I went up the ridge above my campground to spot the landing site.  One guy was on the ground, doing something, I figured out later he was hooking up the water bucket.  There were drawing water from the Lake below my campground, and flying it out S.E. about 3.5 min. and then 3.5 min. back again.  They made about seven bucket loads… and then loaded up the bucket and left.  I was on my way to ask the guy on the ground if I needed to be concerned, but they were done before I could get around to that side of the lake.  I could not see any smoke, but we have had a lot of thunder and lightening the past few days.
I have escaped the wilderness to escape some crazy wild people out there. One camper refused to keep his three vehicles in the camping space he rented and paid for and then when he left, he stole a whole pile of firewood from another camp site.
Last night, July 9th, 6pm.
This morning, July 10th, 10:30am.
You are suppose to have a Permit from the Forest Service to remove any wood from the National Forest.  Signs are posted and clear.
And another day-use group got upset about having to pay five dollars for the day use area... they caught 9 fish and had a tailgate party, used the bathroom facilities and dumped their trash... but tried to get out of paying $5 saying "we are just passing through!"   How do you catch 9 fish as you pass through an area????

What is wrong with these people? It's like they are immoral, or psychotic? Or what????

Well, as for me, today and tomorrow I am not going to worry about it. And today, on my way out, there was a large sheep herd at the same area... complete with shepherd on horseback and two border collies.
I tried to talk to the man (either Hispanic or Columbian?) and all he could say... is "sheep herder." Well, duh... that much I knew.
Coming down the mountain I took a number of other photos of switchbacks, the mountains, cattle and flowers… for your viewing pleasure.  It’s a nice drive.
OK, tonight, just going to enjoy the internet, Diary Queen, and Laundromat and a hot shower. Yahhhh!!!
I like being in the wilderness… but would like it better if I was ALONE.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I lost what??? 80 pounds???? Are you kidding.

The past couple of days I have been walking around with such ease that I have felt puzzled.  Where I huffed and puffed going up and down to the lake in May, I hardly take a deep breath.  Today I attended a job-related "appreciation" dinner in Glenwood Springs.  Pants that were tight on me a month ago felt baggy and I kept catching the cuff on my heels.  What?  What is going on?  So after I had stuffed my face with the best food I've had in awhile, I went off to buy a set of scales.  Low and behold, I have lost 45 pounds since I began this job in May 2012.  What???  I am still surprised.  I am now within 20 pounds of my ideal weigh and feel better than I have felt in 28 years.  I am highly motivated now.  I will reach my goal weight before the end of this fall.  I will I will I will.

Who is this lighter, healthier person?  I will have to get to know myself all over again.  I am so psyched.  What a thrilling adventure this is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Swankie Camps, continued (Colorado)

What I had wanted to share with you is more photos of the beautiful area where I am living/working this summer, but got a little distracted by a troll who has nothing better to blog about than me (imagine that!)… so here are the photos now.  My apologies to my readers for getting side-tracked.


Very interesting.


An outhouse on skids… in a popular snowmobiling area.


The lake was restocked last week with over 2,000 more trout.  What fun that was to watch.


I’ve enjoyed watching these ducks the last few months. While the hens were nesting and hatching out their clutches, the males were gone somewhere… I was told they were off molting and could not fly at that time.  But they have returned and rejoined their families.




These dogs I met on the lake this week are Zoey and Will.  How funny!  Those are the names of my two youngest grandchildren.  Here are my Zoey and Will.


Funny birds below, on my last paddle.


Really, not much to say, just wanted to share these images with you.  If you know what kind of ducks these are, I’d like to know.  I’m looking for a flora and fauna book on Colorado today before I return to the mountain.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.