Tag Archives: Fun

In search of Bigfoot? He’s everywhere in the Pacific Northwest

big foot forest

Can you see a yeti through that forest?

One has to jog only a few lonely roads in the Pacific Northwest to believe it’s a good area of the country for serial killers.

The roads are so remote and forested, the bodies may never be found. (This is not a joke; California, Washington and Oregon are Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in the per capita serial murder rate. Single joggers beware.)

This may also explain why it the land of Bigfoot. He can dodge the prying eyes of the paparazzi pretty effectively in the fairly unpopulated forests of California, Oregon and western Montana.

But evidence of his presence exists everywhere.

big foot plaster cast

That’s a big foot.

The California Redwoods state park in Humboldt has on display a cast of his foot print. It’s on display like scientific evidence, not simply evidence of a legend. Want to buy a facsimile? You can at the Trees of Mystery attraction in Klamath, Calif.

Bigfoot, a very rare or possibly fictional North American primate, goes by many names. He’s also known as Sasquatch. Or he may be a yeti. In deep winter, he may be an Abominable Snowman (though the snowy version is rumored to live in Nepal or possibly Tibet; could be a relative). Whatever you call him, he is a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid who has been dissected by every mystery television show known to man. I remember being introduced to him in the early ’80s by the voice of Leonard Nimoy on repeats of “In Search Of … .”

“This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The producer’s purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones, to the mysteries we will examine. Today we are In Search Of … Bigfoot.”

Maybe the producers could have used a map.

big foot map

Pick up a detailed diagram at the Burl n’ Drift Novelty Shop at the Ancient Redwoods RV Park near Redcrest, California.

And he’s apparently been sighted at the Klamath Camper Corral, as evidenced by this sign:


Try sleeping peacefully 20 yards from that!

Artists across the Pacific Northwest have been inspired by his visage. Notice his hair is the same color as a redwood tree.

Is Bigfoot real? Of course, he is. He’s as real as Coca-Cola and low, low prices at Walmart. Bigfoot is big business. So he must exist.


World-record holder (yay! fist bump!)

Did I mention I’m a world record holder? No? I guess it doesn’t come up naturally in conversation when you’re a native Minnesotan. Don’t want to call attention to yourself, you know.

“What’s new?”

“Oh, nothing much. I’m just happy it didn’t snow again.”

“You betcha.”

OK, I kid. It’s not that bad. In June anyway.

Let’s get back to the point of this post. The record.

No, I did not climb a mountain or hold my breath or give birth to more children than I can count on my fingers and toes. A few months back, I got to participate in an official Guinness World Record attempt as orchestrated by one of the insurance carriers my Beloved represents as part of the company’s incentive trip.

I bumped fists.

I know, right? Not something one might brag about. But still.

Guinness. World. Record.

I looked it up recently, and our attempt was made official. I participated in the longest fist bump relay in the world.

fist bump

Duty performed with smiles on our faces.

Here’s how it reads online (not sure if Guinness is still printing their famous book of world records): “The longest fist bump relay consists of 556 participants, achieved by the Motorists Insurance Group 2017 Leaders Conference (USA) at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, USA, on 25 March 2017.”

It might not make my epitaph, but what the heck. One of 556 who performed a world record feat. Ha!

fist bump group

Nice photo bomb after we played our role in the fist bump relay.

Camping vs. glamping: Incident at Site 82

Interested in the differences between camping and glamping? Take this quiz, followed by a cautionary tale.

1. Your food is stored:

  • A. In a cooler on ice.
    B. In a refrigerator with an ice maker.


2. You sleep on a:

  • A. Sleeping bag on the ground.
  • B. Bed. With sheets.

3. Your entertainment includes:

  • A. A 50-inch fire pit and marshmallow sticks.
  • B. A 50-inch flat-screen TV connected to a satellite dish.

4. Your primary tool for tidying up is:

  • A. The plastic bag from Wal-Mart that originally carried your groceries.
  • B. The central vac.

5. Your plumbing system is best described thusly:

  • A. You wash your dishes in a bucket, you take a sponge bath in a bucket and you pee in a bucket.
  • B. You wash your dishes in a sink with a pull-out spray spout, you bathe in a hot-water shower and you pee in a toilet that flushes.

If you answered mostly As, you’re camping. Fun, because who doesn’t like s’mores cooked over a flaming campfire, right? If you answered mostly Bs, you’re glamping. Lucky you.

Of all these elements of a great adventure, the primary determinant that separates the campers from the glampers is the plumbing.

But when the plumbing goes bad, as illustrated by Hollywood to great comic effect by Cousin Eddie in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and Robin Williams in “RV,” a glamping trip becomes Chinese water torture in a flash. Or a flood. Depending.

Our worst problems on the road have been plumbing problems. My Beloved has replaced the toilet in our RV twice, for example, but nothing compares to the incident at Site 82.

It all began one recent sunny afternoon with a loud and terrible noise that could be described as a cross between a clunk and a crunch.

I was inside, my Beloved was outside. I ran to the door and leaned out, “What was that?!”

“I don’t know,” my Beloved replied, his eyes wide. “But where is that gushing sound coming from?!”

Lo and behold, a pipe beneath the camper was spurting. And the underbelly of the camper was seriously deformed.

Our first instincts were to sniff the air.

“Doesn’t smell like black water,” I said, a tiny bit relieved.

If you’re not sure what black water is, it’s the stuff in National Lampoon’s “shitter.” No further definition is necessary.

RV plumbing also includes something called “gray water.” This is the tank that contains the rinse water from the shower and sinks. In our RV, our gray water is further separated into “galley water” which comes specifically from the kitchen drain.

A lake of cold soapy water infused with food particles and coffee grounds was quickly forming beneath our camper in Site 82.

After a bit of hand-wringing (me) and crawling through the damp gravel under the camper to scope out the damage (my Beloved), we determined the galley tank had become unmoored and the exit pipe busted.

Plan A: Call a repairman.

We located a RV repairman with “trusty” in his brand name and, wonder of wonders, he answered his cell phone.

But, being the week before Memorial Day weekend, he was not only trusty but also busy. He could pencil us into his schedule in two weeks.

Two weeks?! We were scheduled to leave this campground in three days. And we have non-refundable reservations at a highly-prized campground easy of here.

Not only that, the trusty repairman was well-connected, and he said knowingly that RV service centers would probably make us wait eight weeks.

Ohhhhkay, then.

Plan B: Repair it ourselves.

First, my Beloved had to take things apart, which began by eviscerating the underbelly of the camper to expose the plumbing system. After much grunting and groaning and rolling around on the damp gravel while I fetched various tools from various cubby holes (“what’s the difference between a wrench and a socket wrench again?”), he determined the parts required to fix the problem.

And then we went to bed. Exhausted.

The next day, we made not one but two visits to Home Depot. The repairs required the following tools, most we already owned (because my Beloved hoards tools the way I collect shoes) and a few we purchased:

  • Flashlight.
  • Floor jack.
  • Utility knife.
  • Screwdriver. And screws, of course.
  • Sockets and ratchet (“there is no such thing as a socket wrench”).
  • Sawzall (borrowed).
  • Hammer. But not nails.
  • PVC pipe.
  • Zip ties.
  • Ratchet straps.
  • Silicon.
  • Compression union.
  • Washers.
  • Plastic fender washers.
  • Scissors.
  • And, since no job is complete without it, duct tape of the gorilla variety. Because it’s “super strong.”

Also, cardboard. It’s amazing how much easier it is to crawl around beneath a camper when there’s a bed of unfolded cardboard boxes over the gravel.

At the end of Day 2, my Beloved left the underbelly exposed in order to let the silicon in the piping dry and so he could check for leaks.

On the morn of Day 3, no leaks could be found. Yay! So my Beloved commenced in stitching together the camper underbelly like an experienced cosmetic surgeon (and I continued my role as nurse who handed him the correct tools). He even spray-painted the white plastic fender washers black to match the belly skin. To impress the zerk greaser, I guess.

As most disaster stories are told, it’s said “it could have been worse.” This is true of this story, too.

Our gray water tank could have broken three days earlier when we were camping in a place where the ground is optimistically described as “loamy.” Negative Nellies might describe it as spongey. But in any case, when combined with rain, it was the perfect ingredient for making mud. And Mother Nature delivered rain three of the four days we were there.

But even worse, it could have been our black water tank. In telling our story to a fellow camper while cooling off in the pool at the end of Day 2, she related a story of a black water tank explosion that could only be fixed after the work of waste cleaners in haz-mat suits to the tune of $2,400.

Our repairs cost only $67.38.

And we’ll be on our merry glamping way as scheduled tomorrow.

Soliciting ideas for spending my five-spot

Have you heard of Fiverr?

It’s a cool and clever website where you can hire service pros of all kinds for five bucks. (Yes, it has two Rs. I don’t know why. Perhaps someone else who gets it can explain it.)

I’m redesigning my Beloved’s business website, and he needed a new logo. I had no real idea of what I wanted — just the words — so I hired a woman in the United Kingdom to throw out five ideas for five bucks. Five bucks!

She came back in 24 hours with five amazingly clever concepts. For a few bucks more, she provided our favorite in color, black-and-white, on a white background, on a transparent background,in high resolution and in low resolution.

It was so easy!

Now I’m working with a man from Pakistan to program my website design ideas (that’s costing more than five bucks, but that’s OK — I’m willing to spring for the whole kit and kaboodle for a multi-page website).

Fiverr is great no matter what kind of service you might need (except a haircut — that might be tough — although you can get full professional beauty consultation for five bucks).

Because I hired the logo designer, I earned five bonus bucks in some Fiverr promotion or another, so now I have five bucks to spend. On anything! And I’ve got to do it before March 1. I want to do something fun, but I can’t decide. Maybe my loyal readers can help me figure it out.

Should I have someone rewrite my “about the author” blurb? How about a one-week personal workout program? I could have someone cast “an extremely powerful Kabbalah spell.” I could invest in “a rhyming poem, snarky letter, or back-handed hallmark card type comment” worthy of shouting from the rooftops. I could have someone write a message on their lips or in cappuccino froth and take a photo for posterity. Or maybe something even more bizarre and creative.

Heck, I could even have someone write a Minnesota Transplant blog post for me!

What do you think? How should I spend my fiver?

Little Graceland is the encore without end

Elvis Presley has the immortality for which the rest of us can only wish.

In the way only America can worship its celebrities, Elvis is a little like Jesus Christ. Almost everyone knows him by his first name alone. His art continues to mesmerize. People dress like him, wear T-shirts with his likeness, hang pictures of him on their walls. Some people believe Elvis lives. Elvis could be bigger than Jesus in that he has his own catchphrase (“Elvis has left the building”) and his own sandwich (peanut butter and banana, grilled; bacon optional).

Graceland is the second most visited private home in the United States (the White House is No. 1), and today I visited what is touted by owner Simon Vega as the sixth most visited private home: Little Graceland (I couldn’t verify this fact on Google, but trust me on this: Anything having to do with Elvis requires a certain amount of flamboyancy).


displayLittle Graceland is an Elvis tribute museum in Los Fresnos, Texas, featuring a vast assortment of Elvis memorabilia including a replica of Elvis’s tombstone and murals of his favorite modes of transportation. Owner Simon Vega served with Elvis in the Army.

Rob Carter as Elvis (he was pretty good!).

Rob Carter as Elvis (he was pretty good, but he didn’t sing my mother’s favorite song, “Don’t Be Cruel.”).

A visit to Little Graceland wouldn’t be complete without seeing an Elvis impersonator, and we were in luck. Little Graceland hosted an Elvis Festival today in honor of Elvis’s birthday Jan. 8; he would have been 78.

Our proximity to the border was evident in the origin of the last names of several impersonators: Carvajal, Salazar, Lucio, Corona, Gonzalez and Vasquez. The population of Winter Texans was evident in the composition of the audience.

Here’s what’s crazy (right, I haven’t gotten to the crazy part yet): I knew the words to the music so well, I could sing along. Yes, that’s right, Elvis died when I was 10, and yet his music is so popular, I didn’t even realize I knew the words well enough to recite them along with the impersonators.


That’s a legend for you.

With the visage of Elvis in the flag, you know he's eclipsed baseball, hot dogs, apple pie or Chevrolet on the Patriotic scale.

With the visage of Elvis in the flag, you know he’s eclipsed baseball, hot dogs, apple pie or Chevrolet on the Patriotic scale. Salute.

Saturday baking puzzle

I’ve got a math problem for you. Or maybe it’s a test of your spacial relations.

Looking good!

I made a batch of Cherry & Almond Brownies the other day from a recipe in the latest Everyday Food magazine (they were delicious, by the way).

The recipe called for them to be made in an 8-by-8-inch pan and to cut them into 10 rectangles.

Huh? How does one cut a square pan of brownies into 10 equal pieces? Nine brownies? Yup, I can figure that out. Sixteen? Sure. Even 12. But 10?

I finally settled on this configuration:

Yes, it's eight pieces.

This was a clever way (or I thought so anyway) to cut it into eight rectangles, each exactly 2 inches by 4 inches. But it’s not 10 pieces.

Unless you cut your brownies into 1.6-by-4-inch strips, I can’t figure out the 10-brownie cut.

Can you?