Friday, February 2, 2018

The Two Old Buzzard Have Mostly Flown to FaceBook

Howdy Doody, If you have come upon this blog looking for the Two Old Buzzards you can see some of their activities up through part of 2012 here. After that, the buzzards started  a page on FaceBook called Buzzards on Route 66 to chronicle their epic journey from the start to finish of Route 66. After that other trips have been posted on a FaceBook page called Roadtrippin' with Two Old Buzzards.  You can also email us at We hope to see you somewhere down the road, perhaps at the Roadkill Cafe . . . John also has posted lots of videos on YouTube under the name John Tarvin. Lots of them are drone flights.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 23 - The Adventure Ends

Ever wonder what Lumberjacks eat for breakfast? Lumberjack John had the senior lumberjack eggs, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit. Lumberjack Linda had oatmeal with blueberries and raisins.
There are seven, (soon to be eight) Lumberjack Restaurants in California and the buzzards were pleased with their first visit to one. After their hearty breakfasts, it was off to the Redding, California police station in a last ditch attempt to get that final photo item for the Mercury News Photo Scavenger Hunt. The clerk was very nice but explained that only one light duty police person was there and that he had no uniform or badge. She gave Buzzard #1 the address of a sheriff's office a couple of blocks away but that did not work out either. Oh, well, maybe the Buzzard Team will win a prize in one of the individual photo categories. And, just looking for the items added a lot of fun to the No Reservations Glacier Road Trip. The buzzards and their Fannie also conversed with many folks they wouldn't have otherwise met.

Departure from Redding was at 8:42am and it was a good time to get out of town before the temperature got into double digits again. It reached 107 degrees yesterday. Before too long, Wilma reached Interstate 5 and it was all systems go for having lunch in Morgan Hill where there was allegedly lunch and lodging available at a reasonable rate.

Linda unzipped her ukelele case,  pulled out her Accolade and turned to songs beginning with the letter “C” in her Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition Songbook. There were 20 songs beginning with “C” so they were good for several miles on boring I-5. Quite a few started with the word “Can't”. How POSITIVE is that in a book described as 366 More Great Songs for Better Living?

By 9:49, John was getting droozy from either the monotonous interstate or the music so he pulled over and Linda drove. After a nap, John was ready to take the wheel back at 11:00.

Linda started sight reading her way through the 15 songs beginning with “D”. Just as she started on the seventh one, John began to see exit signs off Interstate 505 for Interstate 680 and  San Jose, California. Can you guess the seventh “C” song? Clue - it asks a question. That's right! “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” “That's got to be the SONG O' THE DAY” proclaimed John. “DYKTWTSJ” is by Hal David and Burt Bacharach (1967) and is found on page 88. Linda notes that she never knew where San Jose was until many years after the song became popular. The young buzzards were living in Texas and Georgia. The song story line is about going to Los Angeles in hopes of stardom, then failing and needing to get back to San Jose. Linda just assumed San Jose was part of the Southern California megalopolis. Little did she dream that the young buzzards and their two fledglings would end up living 30 miles south of San Jose within 12 years.

And so to home where Linda heated up the oven while John started unloading. Then they both relaxed and had leftover pizza for lunch and caught up on some of America's Got Talent.

During the last few days, Linda has been making a list of Road Trip Packing Reminders for the  next venture into the world of Buzzard Retirement Vacation Land. Here's some of the items that it would have been nice to have on this trip: binoculars, wildflower ID book, heating coil, dry skin lotion, low watt nightlight and a thermometer for the cooler.

There is no photo gallery for this day.

On the last day of a road trip the Two Old Buzzards usually spend some time talking about where to go on their next road trip. Because of extreme advanced planning the buzzards already have a destination pretty firmly in mind for 2014. Plans are to go to Big Bend National Park in the springtime. The Two Old Buzzards made a week long visit to Big Bend National Park in April of 1973 shortly after our son was born (in January). We are excited to return after a 41 year hiatus. Below is an image that John took in 1973. It was shot with a Minolta SRT101 on Kodak Ektachrome slide film, ASA 400 (that's right, ASA not ISO). He had to keep his film in a cooler because of the ambient heat. John had over 1,000 slides/negatives scanned at Scan CafĂ© and put on DVD. This image is one of those scans. Consequently, it's a bit noisy. The image is of Sierra Ponce which is near Santa Elena Canyon and is right on the Rio Grande River. It was taken in the early morning. Themesa is in Mexico.

We hope you will all join us next spring when we return to the Big Bend area of Texas and to the Big Bend National Park.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 22

The eternal question: How come you can't find a police officer or a locksmith when you really need one? The Two Old Buzzards are working their way back to the roost and have just one item left on the Mercury News Road Trip Photo Scavenger Hunt: Number 10 – a police officer eating. The buzzards even went to a police station in Redmond, Oregon yesterday but it was just after 5pm and it was closed.  No problem. They open at 8am so the buzzards cruzed by there this morning on their way out of town, just after 8am. Still closed. Ever notice how you sort of lose track of what day it is when you are vacating? Today is Sunday and they weren't going to be open at all. The two police officers the buzzards did see later in the day were pulled off the interstate with their lights flashing and it did not seem prudent to interrupt their doings.

Breakfast was at Shari's ( John had eggs, biscuits, gravy, hashbrowns and bacon. Linda had a blackberry yogurt parfait and grapefruit juice.

There was a serendipitous find of a volcano as Wilma (our Odyssey van) headed south on State Highway 97.  John noticed a turnoff for Newberry National Volcanic Monument just south of Bend, Oregon. The old buzzards learned the area and hiked on the rim of a relatively young volcano (7,000 years). The area is called Lava Lands. Lava Butte is a cinder cone volcano that was created during a two-phase eruption. The first phase sent gas-charged molten rock into the air. The material solidified in the air, trapping gas bubbles and fell back to the earth as cinders in a pile. Lava spilled out of a side vent during the second phase and flowed for several miles to the Deschutes River. That lava cooled into a field of basaltic rock. There is a paved road to the top of Lava Butte. Visitors are issued a 30-minute pass since only 10 cars can be let in at a time. Once there, Wilma and Fannie parked their fannies while John and Linda hiked the Lave Butte Rim Trail, an unpaved 1/4 mile loop that lets you look about 150 feet down into the caldera. The Rim Trail also provides you with a panoramic view of Newberry National Volcanic Monument and the surrounding area. It looked completely different than any of the other volcanic areas the buzzards have been to.  The closest in appearance would be Craters of the Moon in Idaho. The rocks were mostly black lightweight pumice (one of which found its way into Linda's pocket!) and there was not a lot a lot of plant growth on the crater (even less than in much of the area near the Mount Saint Helens crater). There is a lava tube cave, two lakes, a forest area, an obsidian field and a waterfall in other nearby areas of Lava Lands. John chuckled at the name and said it reminded him of "Wally World" in the National Lampoon Vacation movie. He expected the Griswolds to arrive at any moment with poor old dead auntie strapped in her chair atop the family station wagon.

View from the crater rim onto the lava fields below

After their volcano adventure, the buzzards found a nice-looking park near Klamath Falls with shade and picnic benches near a standing water feature (key word here is "standing") and pulled off hwy 97 for lunch. John made it to the picnic table first and soon found out that HE was lunch for some kind of prolific insects that looked like Mayflies. He signaled that there was a problem and made it back without bringing many insects inside the vehicle with him. So, lunch was again “on the fly” (so to speak) which was easy since it was fruit that needed to get eaten before getting to the California Agricultural Inspection Station. The border was soon crossed and when the inspector inquired about fruit, John told her that we had one nectarine, one apricot and 5 cherries. She must have already had lunch because she said “Go ahead”.

At Weed, California there were lots of signs for "I (heart sign) Weed" t-shirts. There was also a sign to the sheriff. The buzzards found the office but the sheriff must have still been at Sunday School.

It was necessary to get on Interstate 5 to get to our lodging in Redding, California but John was happy to get to the four-lane highway since there were  extraordinary numbers of slow vehicles (mostly travel trailers) on two-lane highway 97 today.

There was an excellent view of Mount Shasta from Hwy 97. In one place it was so striking that John could not resist grabbing his camera for a shot while driving. (OK, I actually pulled over onto the shoulder and stopped the vehicle before taking the photo). Yikes! He tries to keep Road Trips exciting.  It was sad to see that Lake Shasta is even lower than the last time the old buzzards were in the area about four years ago. When they were much younger buzzards they took a 10-day family houseboat vacation on Lake Shasta and a really good time was had by all.

What a welcome back to California! The temperature in Redding was 107 degrees with no wind chill factor. After some delay in room readiness, and confirming that the Costco in Redding in fact does NOT have gasoline, the buzzards checked into Motel 6 and got cooled off. That was at 4:07. By 5:30 when the buzzards left to find the police station (still looking to feed an officer), the temp had warmed up to 110 degrees.  As Wilma approached the police station, we observed a couple of things: a nearby doughnut shop and a cruiser headed our way with an officer obviously munching on something. “He's eating, he's eating.” exclaimed Linda. But, short of flagging him down, there was no way to photo him with a member of Team Buzzard included in the photo. Tomorrow is the last chance to capture the remaining photo since it has to be taken while on the Road Trip and must be outside Santa Clara County. We're headed back to the police station after we check out of Motel 6.

Dinner was at Round Table Pizza which looked as if it was a Long John Silver Fish 'N Chips in its previous life. John had a small three-meat pizza and Linda had a personal size gourmet veggie pizza. Both pizzas hit the right spots in the gizzards of the old buzzards. Yum! And we both have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

You can view the 33 images in today's photo gallery by clicking here.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Circle of Life” by Elton John (1994) on page 74,75 in the Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition Songbook. The Old Buzzards don't have internet access at our present lodging but you might try finding the song on youtube if you'd like to hear the tune. Here's a taste of the lyrics: “From the day we arrive on the planet and blinking step into the sun, there's more to be seen than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done. Some say, 'Eat or be eaten.' Some say 'Live and let live.' But all are agreed as they join the stampede, you should never take more than you give in the circle of life. It's the wheel of fortune. It's the leap of faith. It's the band of hope 'til we find our place on the path unwinding in the circle of life.”

Happy trails and may your wheel of fortune land on all the big numbers and have lots of bonus prizes.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 21

“Cod said, 'Let there be fish and chips', and it was good.” This sign was one the old buzzards saw on their way out of The Dalles, Oregon as they hit the road at 8:23. John is tiring of Cheerios (actually, he ran out!) so we had breakfast at Denny's. He had the patriotic red white and blue breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and hash browns. Linda had red white and blue pancake fritters (John called them hush puppies).  There was some delay in the orders because the two servers were busy complaining about one of their co-workers and about the inadequate amount of the tips they had been getting. Hmmm! Maybe if your customer service was a little better?

Soon the buzzards swooped by a Starbucks and got their skinny mocha caffeine and chocolate fix. By 8:51 they were off the interstate onto state highway 35 and managed to stay on scenic roads for most of the rest of the day. Hopes for finding some nice produce on the Fruit Loop were mostly unfulfilled. Linda learned about a group of local fruit stands in a brochure she found in yesterday's Motel 6 lobby. The buzzards first stop had prices of three to five dollars a pound for peaches and cherries. She bought a few at the next stop for from $1.50 to four dollars a pound. There were 22 farm stands listed on the brochure which also included honeys, jams, pies, lavender, chestnuts, wineries, antiques and berries. Some were strictly pick it yourself but most included you pick or we pick options.

Soon the farmland gave way to forests and Mount Hood came in and out of view as Wilma carried us closer. It is a beautiful inactive volcanic mountain with 12 named glaciers and snowfields. And, at over 11,000 feet, Mount Hood is the highest point in Oregon. It was good that the buzzards stopped and took photos at several viewpoints because as they got closer, mist and fog appeared and Mount Hood disappeared. It seems appropriate to have a photo of Mt. Hood in the blog, so here it is.

Mt. Hood taken from Hwy 35 looking Northwest about six miles
before intersection with Hwy 26 

The buzzards passed through some picturesque little towns. Zigzag was the funniest-named one. In Sandy, there was an interesting (and popular) red and white donut shop that John took a photo of. What's a happier place than a donut shop?  A red and white donut shop. (John's answer: A donut shop next door to a police station.) At Estacada, Oregon there was a craft fair going on and there were very pretty murals on some of the buildings around town. The one titled “All the World's a Stage” was a favorite of the old buzzards. At Memaloose Road there was a picturesque green bridge that the buzzards turned off onto for a short photo side trip. Along the back roads there were thousands of pretty wildflowers, some seen before and others that were new additions. Note to self: Bring wildflower ID books on next road trip.
We took a side road off the National Forest road we were on at about 12:30 for a quick lunch. John put peanut butter on his leftover blueberry pancake from this morning and Linda had her Raw Bits Twang Twang and a cheese stick. It was over in a hurry and then we were back on the road.
John stopped just before entering the town of Sandy to
try to get motel reservations. Linda saw this unusual
and photogenic thistle and took this image
Just after being welcomed in and out of Detroit, Oregon there was a sign saying “Next Gas 52 miles”. Since Wilma indicated that she could take us for about another 47 miles, it seemed prudent to return to a gas station in Detroit. Their gas was $3.99 a gallon, but it beats running out of go juice in the forest.

We had NO reservations for lodging. So as soon as John could get cell phone reception in the forest he used his Motel 6 app and found a place in Redmond, Oregon. In about an hour the buzzard party was kicking back in the same Motel 6 where they stayed on the front end of this road trip. Fannie was especially thrilled. She already knew all the best spots to sniff and pee.

Dinner was at Seventh Street Brew House. Linda had a grilled veggie wrap and coleslaw. John had a Cajun chicken burger (blackened chicken breast with grilled jalapenos and pepper jack cheese) and fries. Both were extra delicious. John also gave in and tried an Oregon medium dark beer named '20" Brown' (as in 20" brown trout).

John's Hot Shot burger with chicken breast
substituted for burger

Linda's veggie wrap with coleslaw

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Bring Me Sunshine” by Sylvia Dee and Arthur Kent (1966) from page 47 in Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition. It's quite an upbeat song. Here's a taste: “Bring me sunshine in your smile, bring me laughter all the while. In this world where we live, there should be more happiness. So much joy you should give to each brand new bright tomorrow! … Bring me fun, bring me sunshine . . . “  If you want to hear how the tune goes by Yoga Jen you can hear it on YouTube by clicking here.  Willie Nelson also sings it on YouTube but without a ukelele.

Day 21's photo gallery is up and you can view these 41 images by clicking here.

Happy trails!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 20

Who knows what Day 20 of a No Reservations Road Trip means? The answer is that it's time to start a new memo pad. Linda keeps a log where starts and stops and oddities of the day are recorded in the hopes that they will be enough to jog her memory in the evenings when heavenly shades of night are falling and it's blogging time. Out of the mists John's voice is calling, “Have you sent it to me yet?”  Meanwhile, John is also processing photos and captioning them.

The buzzards had a record getaway time this morning and were on the road into Randle by 7:31. The  friendly motel host was on his way to help at the local food bank. What a nice guy! Stops were made for gas and air (tires) and breakfast. Gas cost the most, then breakfast and not even air is free at gas stations anymore ($1.00).  At Mt Adams Cafe Linda had whole wheat French toast with local blueberries and marianberry jam. John had a bacon, ham and sausage omelet with hash browns and a biscuit. Coffee for both goes without saying – oops! There was a sort of buzzard-like sign on the wall of the cafe that said “I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I wound up where I intended to be.” That fits some of the roads taken on this trip, and in a positive way, at least almost 99%.

It was a very scenic drive to Mount St Helens from Randle. The Forest Roads were well maintained despite the inclement winter weather they have. The traffic was minimal and there was NO road construction. Mount St Helens is a part of the Cascade Range and was not declared a National Volcanic Monument until after the 1980 eruption. There has been great recovery from the devastation of 33 years ago but it is easy to see how vast an area it encompassed because of all the very tall dead trees that are still upright and the others that are laying down with their roots exposed. As we got nearer to the crater, the wildflowers grew in ever greater profusion. The foxgloves were the most impressive with their tall waving purple fairy cup blooms. There were also occasional white foxgloves. Linda avows that it was the most foxgloves than she has ever seen before. And she had never seen them growing in the wild, so that was a special thrill. The roads were lined with so many wildflowers that it looked almost commercially landscaped, only better. There was so little traffic that we sometimes stopped right on the road to take photos and no vehicles made an appearance during our pauses. Around one bend, there was a helicopter and several forest trucks by the side of the road on a pullout. That was a BIG surprise. While interested to know what the situation was, the old buzzards were hesitant to be pesky and stop and ask. Besides, there was no sign of humans around. Good thing we don't know how to fly one of those!
There were plenty of vista points and many had interesting information about the Mount St Helens area. There had been increased rumblings and activity starting in March of 1980 and the big explosion was in May. Many had evacuated to what was supposed to be a safe zone. Of the 57 people who died 50 were in the safe zone and the other 7 were in the danger zone. They were not expecting such a huge explosion. One of the startling exhibits on the road to the Mount St Helens crater is the actual car of Donald and Natalie Parker who died in their car with their nephew on that day. John thinks he read that it was a 1974 Chrysler Belvedere. It was squashed and rusty and full of debris from the explosion. To fresh or refresh your memory about Mount St Helens, you can go to Wikipedia where there are several before and after photos and lots of information. The old buzzards had been in California for one year by 1980 and can remember seeing the ash residue in the atmosphere above Morgan Hill.

Meta Lake was covered with 8 feet of snow when the large eruption came. The snow protected the lake and a lot of the creatures there enough that the area was able to recover faster than it would have been otherwise. At Spirit Lake, so much debris was thrown into the lake that it rose 200 feet and many cabins and lodges around the former shoreline were destroyed.

The Wind Road took the old buzzards higher and closer to the crater than they had expected to be which was a great treat. There was a viewpoint where you could see Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helen  and Mount Adams all at the same time. It was just hard to photo them all at the same time. One of those times where you almost “just had to be here”.

As thoughts of food came around, the old buzzards were looking for a shady spot to pull off on their way out of the Mount St Helens area. Soon one appeared which had the bonus of having a moss-covered stump that seemed to have moss covering the moss on top of more moss. John was in moss heaven. After his peanut butter sandwich and a cheese stick, he took some possibly award-winning  moss-terpieces. Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang and a cheese stick for lunch.

An old decaying stump with lots of moss, lots of plants
and tons of character!

The destination for the evening took us out of Washington and to The Dalles, Oregon. To accomplish that, the buzzards followed alongside the Columbia River for a while and crossed over into Oregon on the toll bridge ($1) at Hood River. There were lots of wind surfers enjoying a very gusty day. Some fell down but were able to pop right up.

Arrival the our sumptuous Motel 6 suite was at 4:47. Whee! It has a bathtub, a microwave and a fridge, not to mention wi-fi!

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Are You Havin' Any Fun?” by Jack Yellen and Sammy Fain (1939) which is on page 26 in The Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition by Jim Beloff. Here's a little bit of how it goes: “Are you havin' any fun? What y' getting' out of livin'? What good is what you've got, if you're not havin' any fun? Are you havin' any laughs? . . .If other people do, so can you; have a little fun. . .Better have a little fun. You ain't gonna live forever; before you're old and gray, still okay. Have your little fun, son! Have your little fun!”

Dinner was going to be at Spooky's, a place John noticed on our way into The Dalles. It had good reviews online which is often a positive sign. However, when we went inside it was clear that it would be a long wait, in two different lines. So the old buzzards mosied down the road to Cousins' Restaurant. It was real countrified with a cow and sheep statues out front. Inside they had buttermilk. Can't get more country than that. John had a turkey Cobb salad. Linda had a green salad and buttermilk. Both had navy bean with ham soup and homemade bread. Everything was larripin' good.

The photo gallery today contains 81 images which you can view by clicking here.

Happy trails and don't forget to have some fun today and tomorrow too. . .

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 19

Breakfast was “on the fly”. John had a ham sandwich and Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang. They said “So long” to The Willows in Wilbur at 7:10am and headed for Mt. Rainier National Park the southwest of Wilbur. It was mostly scenic country back roads except for a little jaunt on I-90 and I-82. The Buzzards crossed the Columbia River on I-90 West between Vantage and I-82. There was a scenic viewpoint of Puget Sound Energy's Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility on the Columbia River. Their motto is “Producing clean energy for a brighter future”. It was completed in 2009 and can produce enough energy for around 70,000 households. They have 149 wind turbines and 2,723 solar panels. There were very high winds at the viewpoint. Linda was in danger of losing her hat until she deployed its tie string under her chin.

Stevens Canyon entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park

The buzzards entered Mount Rainier National park at the Stevens Canyon Entrance on the south side, took a winding road and saw lots of glaciers, water, forests and scenic views of Mount Rainier. They also saw way too much of the color orange because of all the road delays caused by construction. In fact, after about the sixth time of being in a long line of paused vehicles, they decided that Mount ROADWORK National Park would be a more fitting appellation. Mount Rainier is the highest point in Washington state at 14,411 feet. The area was declared a  National Park in 1899. There are 25 glaciers that cap Mount Rainier and they each have their own name. Mount Rainier is still an active volcano and is a reminder of the beauty and power of nature. It formed about 500,000 years ago and has the potential to erupt again. Volcanologists expect the mountain to give ample warnings before entering an eruptive period but the threat of unexpected mudflows exists today. The buzzards exited at the Nisqually Entrance in the south west corner and headed towards where they hoped to find lodging in Randle, Washington. John called as soon as he had phone service and scored a room outside of Randle at the Woodland Motel. He told the owner he needed a room for two seniors and a small dog. What a charmer. When the buzzards walked in, the owner accused them of lying about being seniors but let them have the room anyway. Linda asked him if he was the sheriff of Randle (see, still looking for a law enforcement officer eating) because of the EMS Rescue truck parked outside. He said that he has that because it has rope equipment in it for when he helps with search and rescues by rappelling over mountains. Soon he stepped out from behind the counter to show us our room and he had a artificial limb below his left knee and a brace on his right foot. It was so tempting to ask how he can manage to rappel over a mountain with those limits. He then told us all about where he was when Mount St. Helens exploded and how thick the ash was (“thicker than any snowstorm I have ever been in”) as he was going towards it to help.

Dinner was at the Mt. Adams in Randle. Linda had chef's salad with salsa. John had a salad, a hamburger burger steak with grilled onions and fries.

Today's photo gallery has 32 photos in it and you can view them by clicking here.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Ac-Cent-Tschu-Ate the Positive” by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen (1944) on page 14 in Linda's new book (an anniversary present from John). It is “The Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition – 366 More Good Songs for Better Living” compiled by Liz and Jim Beloff. The song goes something like this: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don't mess with Mr. In-between. Spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum; have faith or pandemonium's li'ble to walk upon the scene. To illustrate my last remark, Jonah and the whale, Noah in the ark. What did they do, just when everything looked so dark? Man, they said, we better accentuate the positive (etc).”

Tomorrow we're off to visit Mt. St. Helens of 1980 fame. Then over to The Dalles Oregon for the night.

Happy trails!