Other thoughts

Unexpected encounters with nature on the trail…

The other day we went for a short hike in Connetquot state park, and had the amazing good fortune to see 31 deer! It was like a deer convention. There was a whole herd of them. We couldn’t believe it. (And I had told Cactus Killer that we probably wouldn’t see any because of the time of day!) As we started our walk we saw one or two in a clearing through the trees, then as we turned we saw the whole meadow was full with grazing deer… maybe eleven of them. That was so exciting in and of itself we were quite content with our walk. But then we saw another meadow area with a bunch more, we kept counting and couldn’t believe there were over twenty. At a certain point we walked right near a few of them, young ones, and only when we crunched some dry leaves underfoot did they look up.

We continued our walk, looping around behind the hatchery, and then back along the stream, and saw a few more deer, for a total of 31.

When we crossed the little footbridge and reached the intersection of trails we headed south, back in the direction of the main entrance of the park, and while we were walking suddenly there was a massive noise as an enormous flock of ducks rose up and flew overhead in formation shrilly quacking as they went. There were so many they seemed almost to darken the sky above. It was amazing.

Mother Nature was putting on a spectacular show for the adventurous souls who dared go walking so late in December.

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

The Storm is starting…

2010_1225_Marsh_02

Well, today there is supposed to be a Blizzard here on the East coast. Out on Long Island where we are based they are expecting about a foot and a half of snow! And it is the day AFTER Christmas (would have been great to have this on Christmas eve, but now it will just be a bother as folks are trying to get home and many are supposed to get to work tomorrow!!!)…

Early this morning the yard was full of squirrels and birds foraging for food. The animals could sense that there was a major weather event on the way and were scurrying about trying to eat as much as they could before they would have to take shelter. Skies were already grey and a few stray snowflakes drifted lazily down…

As more snow fell, the squirrels began looking for better shelter than the tree they usually live in. We saw one go up to the roof of the neighbor’s house looking for the way into the attic (which the neighbor had sealed up after the squirrels’ last stay a few years ago). It was the mother squirrel–she must have remembered it from when she was little, as her own mother, our “famed” Snacker Queen, had sheltered in there a few winters ago. Frustrated that the entrance was blocked, she looked to the chimney, which also was screened off, and then she ran on, to try elsewhere (we hope not on our own roof!!!!)…

The snow is falling steadily now, and only one lone squirrel is still stretched out on the squirrola feeder, nibbling away…

Meanwhile, nice and warm inside, we hunker down and wait and watch…

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Alcatraz Island

Hier nous avons pris le ferry pour aller sur cette Ile Infernale d’Alcatraz. Qu’elle est proche de la ville de San Francisco ! A moins de 3 kilomètres ! Les prisonniers, paraît-il, pouvaient, les jours de grandes fêtes, entendre les voix des citadins de l’autre coté ! On ne peut pas imaginer une torture plus douloureuse !

“When you break the rules, you go to prison. When you break the prison rules, you go to Alcatraz” … Ce n’etait donc pas une prison comme une autre …

Maintenant c’est un Parc d’Etat. Tout le monde peut y aller et faire une visite touristique. Mais la visite est incroyablement intéressante ! Ce n’est pas une accumulation de dates ou d’informations générales sur la prison.

Chacun de nous portait des écouteurs et nous étions dirigés très précisément. Nous écoutions les commentaires personnels d’un ancien détenu, ses impressions et aussi ceux d’anciens gardiens de prison. Nous déambulions tous dans cet espace et à un moment donné j’ai eu envie d’enlever mes écouteurs et c’était très étange d’entendre juste le chuchotement des pas des gens sur le sol. Tout le monde était tellement concentré ! Grâce à cet enregistrement et aux bruitages de clés refermant des portes métalliques, les gens s’y croyaient vraiment !

Excellente expérience !

posted by Cactus Killer in Other thoughts and have No Comments

A humorous look at what we NEED when camping…

We are winding down our preparations for the trip and starting to actually begin packing up gear to go! In the process there are still a few items we need to procure… and while searching for some of them online, I came across a really funny blog post “13 Unnecessary Camping Supplies“… (give it a read and you will surely get a laugh or two!)

…and of course, we have 2 of the things on this list (though considering we will be in Death Valley, I think the oral rehydration salts ARE an important item for our medical emergency kit)!

The same writer has a few more posts on camping supplies that are worth a read:

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

The flash flood thing….

Well, we just heard about some flash flooding in Oklahoma on Route 66! That is not where we were expecting to see that kind of issue… So it is a bit of a heads up that we’d better pay attention to our “weather on the road” info. Here is some of the video of a rescue:

and here is a clip that shows how high the water got in an urban area:

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Remembering our Renard Rouge…

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Just a short, slightly “off-topic” post today in honor of our Renard Rouge on his Birthday.

This is the second year he is not with us for the 6th of June, and we still miss him every day!

And I know he would be so involved with our planning for this trip if he were here. He would be looking at the maps, and talking to me about which roads to take and how best to organize the drive. He would be making sure we were taking the right tools and supplies to keep the Jeep running in top condition. He would be sharing our enthusiasm and smiling…

He made the Route 66 trip back in the day with his buddies. They weren’t trying to explore the road the way we will. They were just going from New York to California… and back then, Route 66 was the only way to go! (and in fact, today I am sure he would take the Interstate because it is faster… but he would understand why I wanted to drive the original “Mother Road”…)

I guess you can’t “dedicate” a road trip to someone… but then again, why not… Renard Rouge, this one’s for you, Dad!

(link to the original tribute on his passing in December 2008)

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posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have Comments (3)

A Coyote in New York City (for real)…

Check out this story of a real live coyote who found his way into manhattan, and has been outwitting the authorities who are trying to trap him… RUN, COYOTE, RUN!

(fyi, when you click on the video above, there is a 15-second commercial you have to watch first — sorry, it is from a local tv-news site and i can’t keep make it skip the commercial)

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Spring is here…

crocusesThe first crocuses have pushed their way up and the baby squirrels have started to venture out of the nest — that means spring is here. And spring is almost summer, so brings us that much closer to departure day.

Here in NY the weather has finally turned milder and blue skies are back! Yesterday the Big Weasel even ventured out into the garden for the first time since before Halloween! She surveyed the state of the yard, and noted all the new green shoots stretching thru the dark earth toward the sunlight.

In the evening I sat out on the terrace watching the squirrels frolicking around. And today I will go flying for the first time in a long time. Am looking forward to getting back into the cockpit and feeling the freedom of the open skies. It’s been a long hard winter… Welcome Spring!

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A few comments on Paris interlude…

This has nothing to do with Route 66 or the upcoming trip in any way, but can’t help feeling a bit inspired by my morning today. Am in Paris, and have been staying with Cactus Killer and Silly Squirrel in the suburb of Sevres. But this morning i had to run some errands in the city itself, and it just felt so good to be back in a city. Amazing as it sounds (considering I am planning this massive trip through the backcountry of the USA where our focus is on nature and remote locations), I find the city full of energy and inspiration.

Even riding on the metro, which we all find annoying most days, today seemed like a breath of fresh air (and you KNOW it doesn’t smell “fresh” down there)… the visual stimulus… the pace… the activity… it brings new ideas… thoughts that flash through my mind with the same rapidity that the train speeds from station to station.

Exiting back up to street level in the 10eme, I felt strangely at home again, though the facades of the street continue to change. New cafes replace old ones, or just open up where before there were none. More of the old favorites have closed up, but the energy of the new places seems inviting and I just enjoyed having those familiar streets under my feet once again…

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Sunny day brings warm thoughts…

Am actually in Paris, and the trip is far off (139 days to go), but today is the first day since winter snows and freezing cold weather began that i can even feel like we are getting closer to spring and then summer and departure day!

The sun has come out here and the Paris skies are blue, and it is just a little less cold. No need to wear my silly snow hat or a warm liner inside my jacket! The air is fresh (well as fresh as it can ever be here in a polluted city) and i am feeling a bit of energy…

It is like a great relief to be able to imagine spring! (This has been a very harsh winter, as the Big Weasel says over and over…)

Now i’d better get busy with next phases of logistical preparation for the trip. We have our route plan completed, and briefing books are done. Time to turn thoughts to the more quotidian aspects of determining what equipment or supplies we need to purchase before departure. And also need to devote some time to figuring out what will fit in the jeep, packing lists, checklists, and so on…

And a maintenance schedule/plan for the Jeep itself covering the run up to the trip, as well as during the trip itself.

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

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