Oregon….. ducks.

Back in Oregon!!! Very first wildlife DUCKS… (Oregon folks will “get it”)


We made the long trip up through northern California, and stopped at Gold Beach,  actually Turtle Rock which is just a little bit south of Gold Beach.  Small brewery with a restaurant next door that looks out on Hunter Creek. Lots of Ducks here, it was a windy day, and it was fun to watch them take off and land on the “creek” (more like a river on that day) Great little restaurant.

Then up to our favourite beach, at Cape Blanco state park campground.  You come down to this area and then walk to the where the Elk river joins the ocean. It is always interesting to see how much it changes each year, what we have found is that the mouth of the river is moving north each year


if you can imagine with this map if the river mouth is moving north, the agates MIGHT JUST BE on the other side of the river, now…..

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So we did not find many agates on the north side of the river. lots of people out and everyone walking back and forth as the tide went out further, and more gravel exposed… lots of dogs too.


SO the next day we HAD to get to the south side of the river, which is a considerable walk. Getting to the north side is a mile and  a half walk on the beach, but the south side is hard to know how far. I did show in the map where we started and where we ended up.  The beach is much more steep and the sand is much harder to walk on … …. SOFT.







So needless to say it was worth the walk, but we were exhausted getting back, because it turned out to be 5 miles to the river and x2 = 10 miles, in soft sand, and with the wind howling against us for the way back.

One treat along the way, was meeting someone who had a walker hound, which is what Tuckers father was (mother was a lab).  Every one talks about the hound bark etc, and Tucker DOES have a low pitched  bark… however this dog was extremely unusual bark.


As you can see, he was pretty bouncy, just like Tucker.


So then on to Bandon and the Winchester road trails that Ken and I spent so much of our time when we lived in Bandon. For the first many years, we cycled/ran the trails and then in the later years we spent hours looking for mushrooms. Love the area.


Although it is late in the season, we DID find some chanterelles, they are a little wet, but essentially firm centrally, so What a find.


Of course all good things come to an end, and this is what is left of one of the trails we enjoyed for many years.  It is so hard to get your bearings in a place what you once knew like the back of your hand…….. without the trees there.


Ken was definitely better at it than me and we did find a small remnant of the area and found several Hedgehog mushrooms.img_6110

We are having lots of fun visiting friends here in Bandon, catching up on all the news……

and back  home…… Here is our son, Dylan and his son Talon


and we are pretty excited to see our little baby Talon in just a few weeks, he is getting good at lots of new things like……. STANDING.


Our trip is winding up and we wind our way home.

Much love from Janet, Ken and the Walker hound Tucker


The Pacific ocean…

What a difference a few days makes.  We were in California city on Monday….


EEEEEK what happened?  This is Laytonville, I think……. The day  was all blurry, we left Clear Lake in a snow storm, something we have not actually ever had to deal with in our motorhome.  So at this point we pulled over to let the temp warm up a bit.


Interesting, we pulled over and had lunch and this truck pulled up in front of us and came to see if we were OK…. What a nice guy, his name was Dylan.

The Redwood forest in a snow storm, lots of trees down. However I think we made a good decision to wait a little while and then head out. Fortunately all of the downed trees were cleared by the time we got there.


And then Happy dog time, 3 days of driving, he just could not believe his luck.





We are finally back to the pacific ocean, and it feels like home.  Something very cool about a winter morning after a big rain. It somehow seems brighter, the waves are always bigger, and the air smells…. well… like the ocean.  We are in Ferndale, the Victorian town just south of Eureka, Ca.  It is where many movies have been filmed, most noteworthy is the Majestic, a John Carrey movie that is about the actual town, a guy shows up in town who closely resembles a soldier from that town. (seems to me the soldier died…??  ) Perhaps need to watch it again. The town is actually about 5 miles from the ocean. This is the lagoon alongside the ocean, I gather the area all floods after these big storms.


Quite a Victorian little town.


The shops are mostly artisan shops, with interesting Driftwood “instruments”


The next part of this blog is about a new years revolution I have joined……… WARNING, may be disturbing for meat eaters……

Over the past many years we have been eating less and less meat. A few years ago we were down in Bandon, and a friend of ours had had a heart attack in the 6 months preceding our visit. He was only 52, and so him and his wife got researching all of this stuff to do whatever they could to make certain this would not be a life shortening event.  They discovered Dr Esselstyn’s program for prevention and reversal of heart disease.


“In 2007, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn published Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Based on his twenty-year groundbreaking nutritional study, the book offered a revolutionary program to stop, treat, and even reverse heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn convincingly argues that the key to abolishing heart disease is eliminating meat, dairy, oil and nuts (with minimal salt and sweeteners). With plant-based, oil-free nutrition even the sickest patients experience a drop in their cholesterol, a boost in their energy, and see their heart disease and related symptoms reverse. In Dr. Esselstyn’s original study, compliant patients continue to thrive — some are now well into their 80s.”

When our friend (who had had the heart attack) described the diet, we really did not think we could live without cheese. We took  NO FURTHER ACTION at that timeimage

However in the past year and a half we have discovered that both of us are lactose intolerant (relatively), and have moved away from milk to the cashew milk that I have described in this blog (about our new machine and that we make our own milk).  We have continued to eat cheese and take lactaid, or just ”live with” the cramping we get from eating cheese.

This New years I have joined a revolution…… to go to a whole food plant based diet. Also no oil, or sugar.  They also suggest no salt….. but there ARE limits.  I am quite taken by the site https://www.forksoverknives.com. I also learn a lot from their facebook page. I buy their magazine in the stores and try out lots of their recipes.

So this diet is essentially vegan (but that has  always seemed  like a negative word) I like “plant based” better.

So all fruits and vegetables are OK, seeds and nuts in moderation, and only bread and pasta that are whole grain.  Esselstyn’s cardiac diet (which goes beyond plant based) does not allow for nuts.

I guess there are many reasons one might pursue this sort of diet.  Our friend chose this diet for his health concerns, and he has told me that subsequent testing they did on him DID show evidence of  a reduction of plaque (which is what tends to lead to heart attacks). If you would like to read a great medical article about this it is here. esselstyn article

My main reasons come largely from my concerns for the animals, and the dreadful lives many of them live, so that I can eat meat.  The full and unadulterated story of dairy, is not really a pretty image either.  Other reasons  ….. the environment. I know that many disagree with this, but I believe if people ate less meat, and dairy, it would help with our climate crisis.  In the news you hear about all of the Wisconsin dairy farms going bankrupt and they blame it on the trade wars, but you only have to look at the milk section in stores to see the OTHER big issue. A large portion of milk in stores nowadays is non dairy milk.

It has been fun to embark on such a big change in life, and learn more about how to survive without cheese. The real biggie here is nutritional yeast. You can make a great cheese tasting sauce for mac and cheese with nut milks and nutritional yeast and dijon mustard. We have continued on with our chips and gravy at least once a week.  I have been making light hummus with a can of chick peas, a can of artichokes, small amount of tahini and the nut pulp from my nut milk making, and lots of garlic.  We normally have cheese in our sandwiches at lunch every day and we are using the Hummus instead.

I am sure that there are some copyright issues here, but this is a great alfredo sauce using cannelinni beans. (from the forks over knives magasine) It was delicious.


Perhaps on some future blog I will try to start writing some recipes out.


So we are just a few weeks short of being home, it is VERY cold there and we hope that the weather up there smartens up a bit before we get there.82060130_494579537861261_6431095638879895552_n

We are especially excited to see this little guy….. he apparently is already helping with the dishes….🤔🤔🤔     Funny thing, I do NOT think he got that from his dad…..image


Much love to all, Janet, Ken and a happy happy Hound dog Tucker.

Afton Canyon and other high places



We have been getting out to some incredible places, following the directions in the rock books. We often feel like we are on top of the world.

We have been in Barstow for 10 days now with an issue with the pan that holds the antifreeze in the engine. So for the most part, we have just been leaving the motorhome in one place and making trips our to the various sites in the jeep.ZuHKMhbGRGSP1uty6shFIg

So far this trip we have replaced the oil pan, the pan that holds the antifreeze and the generator….. it has been expensive. I guess on the positive, we have not paid to camp anywhere for at least a month. We work hard to get everything charged during the day time when the sun is shining. We are getting better all the time at optimizing the solar power.  Ken has installed a devise that gives us more accurate knowledge about the batteries.  We have learned that it is best to never get down to half charge.  In the past we have gone through a lot of batteries and have learned that we need to be careful that the charge never gets down below one half.


Some nights the temperatures are dropped down close to freezing, and the  inverter gauge is showing we are down to one half… so we are using the generator for 15-20 mins some mornings. In previous years we just did not use the generator, because we did not have these concerns about the guage dropping so low….. This year our old generator just would not charge the batteries…..so we had to buy a new one, I guess to save the batteries.  We also put in a block heater  into the engine before we left Canada, so that we could heat the engine on cold mornings, before starting it,  to make the engine last longer.

THIS is Afton Canyon, a truly amazing spot that we have spent a few days exploring. I think that is me…


It is essentially one large canyon with many other canyons leading into it, and then other canyons leading into them



So we climbed up through the side canyons and looking back at this..



I was thinking that it is like a baby Grand Canyon and perhaps a million years from now if the water keeps pouring down through the ridges and cracks… it might become like the Grand Canyon.

I did want to briefly mention Quartszite and some of the things we bought there.  We did not buy this piece…. from Morocco, but pictured it showing the fossils in the underlying stone.img_5889

This is a sink we bought for our master bathroom. It is from Morocco from the Sahara desert.


Apparently the Sahara desert was once a sea and the environment these creatures settled in preserved their structure.  I guess these mass beds of fossils were discovered when they began mining the Sahara desert.  The people we spoke to there said that with the travel bans it would be unlikely they would be coming next year. Trump is adding travel bans from other countries all the time.img_5885

This is Kathy and Pete, the couple from Kamloops we are intermittantly traveling with… and this is Tucker’s Tail…. he does not like to have his picture taken



This is the very toothful Talon, showing off his newest editions.  WE DO miss him.82954036_2715913665142944_1693944297067380736_n

We are currently just outside California City in the Mojave desert which apparently is a mecca for ATV riders, and there seem to be roads everywhere for them do to their thing. It is quite a well established place, they even have a first aid station ?????

This winter has been colder for us than other years on the road, but trying not to complain  TOO loudly, as we hear it is -20 celsius back home.

Much love to all from Ken, Janet and Tucker the rabbit hunter.


Crystals for Christmas..

We have been in Quartzsite for a week now, and today is Christmas. We are having a wonderful time with friends from Kamloops, Kathy and Pete. Of course we have introduced them to rockhounding and taken them to many of our favourite spots, and of course we did not warn them that Rockhounding was addictive, and that there was no cure 😊img_5852

Not everyone is susceptible to the malady, but we are always thrilled when someone else GETS IT! 👍🏻

This week has been all about crystals.  Never had much interest, but on one days long walk in the desert, Ken found two very lovely little crystals, and so now we are on the quest for crystals


There is a hill 10 miles south of where we are camping called Crystal hill, so we studied on a map where the “washes” flow from that area. (washes are essentially like river beds that have no water in them, ….. like intermittent rivers).  So then we planned Day hikes up the washes with the hopes that some of the crystals might have, over many years, worked their way out of crystal hill and into the wash.    ….. and we DID find some.img_5863



To learn more about Crystals, we went into the rock show at quartzsite and saw some beautiful specimens.img_5834img_5835and then we saw some really cool rocks called mushroom agates and we were all for that, figuring that these pieces cut would look wonderful in the floor of our house.  So we bought some large ones…. so you will likely find stones that look like this in our kitchen floor.


Speaking of floors…..  These are ammonite fossils. “Ammonites were prehistoric, coiled cephalopods whose fossils are found worldwide.”  We have purchased several of these pairs, cut and polished and figure we will create a design alternating these with tiles as a back splash in our kitchen.  They are 5×7 cm.


Yesterday we wandered around the beautiful KOFA wilderness area, and Tucker …… found WALDO….. 😊               AKA Pete…. apprentice rockhound…  HI TUCKER….. GOOD FIND.!


Well we have now been living in this motorhome for 4 months, AND we are still married… 👍🏻 Each day another adventure that we would never find, unless we went looking for it….. well for the most part.


SO we have black bean enchiladas in the oven, and are awaiting our dinner guests. We can talk about all of our wonderful rock  finds from today, over wine.



Much Love and Merry Christmas to all, from Janet Ken and the Rockhound finding dog Tucker.





We do not have many new rock finds to report, we have had several things impeding our rockhounding, some I have pictures of and some I do not.  (for what will seem obvious reasons)

Several of these….. img_5779

My rock book is several years old and apparently .. THINGS CHANGE…..

THEN a few of these,…… dammed Tucker went after a cow, and then the calvary showed up. THANKS TUCKER!!!!


We DID come across a rattlesnake in an unexpected place (sorry no photo), it was a rather muddy field and we were trying to walk on the grasses, and Ken stepped on a grass and suddenly a rattler raised up in a grass next to him.  He backed away and did NOT take a picture.  We are NOT into risking our lives to get a good picture.

Later a coyote started howling and then barking, not far from us. (fortunately Tucker is not into chasing coyotes)

We even stayed at Rockhound state park and did not find ONE interesting rock, but quite a beautiful campground, sitting out on a lower ledge of a mountain over looking miles of flats.img_5729


I DID make the mistake of backing into a cactus plant and ended up picking barbs out of my butt for awhile.  I have to think that this  campground which has been set aside for rockhounds over 20 years ago, perhaps might have been over picked….but the plants were very healthy…. and pretty.img_5719

Of course the ROCKHOUND always likes to be the first one to see everything, while he drools all over us.



We found a great BLM site southern arizona, almost on the border of Mexico.


Beautiful hike along a creek, Mill Canyon trail.


We decided to camp here, looked like lot of people in and out of here. The book DID warn about it being a common drug drop off place……

but there was also the border control blimp in plain view…. we thought we MUST be safe ???

Image result for sierra Vista blimp

SOOOOOOooo as it began to get dark it did not feel quite as comfortable as it did in the day time, everyone had gone and we were alone……. alone except for one more car. Turns out that the guy with the other car, had lost one of his dogs, he came back calling for his dog, and Ken went out to help him look for dog.  I thought about taking Tucker, but he would only complicate the issue. So the guy with the help of Ken (and Kens Flashlight) were able to find the dog, she had chased after something and gotten lost.

The guy was extremely appreciative to Ken, and he left. and we sat there, suddenly feeling QUITE uncomfortable. SOOOOO…… we left. It was 7 at night, totally dark but we decided to move on.

So we headed for Sierra Vista, and none of the campgrounds had openings. We thought we would see what was going on at Walmart, and getting onto wrong road, we ended up in a unturnaroundable place in walmart.😬  WHOOPS

But suddenly a lady in the parking lot saw us and moved a barricade and let us through, Ken called her an angel.  We then headed north to find a spot.  My camping APP, directed us to another place that was very hard to find in the dark, but we arrived and there was no instructions on how  to get a camp spot (the way there usually is) We went into the place and there was a bit of a party going on, no one who worked there was present…… but a guy (not a worker there) directed us to a spot and told us when management would be there in the morning (another angel)


SO the third angel (karma, or however you see it) …. We went up to a site to look for rocks, 3.5 miles off main road. We left motorhome behind and went in a rocky road. Had a great walk, watching VERY carefully for rattesnakes. Did not find a thing, so took the jeep back to where we had left the motorhome.img_5784

We got back and Ken realized he had left his cell phone on the back bumper of the jeep where we had parked to rock hound.

He drove all the way back to find it, even went into a house in the area and told them about the missing phone, then came back to Motorhome. We decided to all go back and look for phone, and we even walked for part of the way searching for phone. Did NOT find it, so drove back to the motorhome and while Ken was hooking up the jeep to motorhome, a guy came by, with his phone. He had found it in middle of road face down. SO we had likely driven over it 3-4 timesimage  The phone’s screen was ruined, but we are able to get the SIM card so we can just put the SIM card into another phone and BOBS your uncle.

SO moral of the story,  DO help people find dogs……. not just so nice things will happen to you, but losing dogs is very sad.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker, the back seat driving hound dog



Interesting day in a canyon


We have continued our search for fossils in canyons. Did not find much though, however we DID find that canyons can be quite interesting.


This whole area around Benson Arizona was once a sea bed, which in my take on it…. eventually dried up, then became covered up with other rock. Then the erosion of the rocks from the flow of water created canyons, the bottom of which the fossils from the sea bed become exposed. c8dabb64-8b09-4575-827a-8528a6a03ff0-2574-0000039ab9b76e2a_file “Limestone is formed in two ways. It can be formed with the help of living organisms and by evaporation. Ocean-dwelling organisms such as oysters, clams, mussels and coral use calcium carbonate (CaCO3) found in seawater to create their shells and bones. … The water pressure compacts the sediment, creating limestone.”

So the walls of the canyons are largely made of limestone, with all of the rocks held within the strong limestone. (theoretically this is where you would find the fossils, but we were not into hammering into limestone)(too much work)


Climbing down this canyon called Dry Canyon was a bit of a climbing feat (which Ken and I get into from time to time…..)  I wish I took better pictures to better illustrate the depth of the canyon.  So we had to traverse the sidewalls …. to keep our feet dry, and Tucker, well he just swam. You can see the limestone walls here.



Tucker did not WANT to swim, but he did not have hiking boots on so his feet did not do very well at gripping onto the rock.


But he dried off MUCH faster than our boots would have.

The canyon was very narrow in places, I am sure one would have gotten OUT of canyon very quickly should there be a sudden downpour.


Another interesting thing we found in the canyon were back packs…… we found 5 of them, badly damaged from the water. …. and  what was left of a tent… Bearing in mind that this canyon is about 20 miles from the Mexican border, we could not help but wonder about the back packs (really ..just day packs) ???

Well all good things come to an end and we figured we needed to climb up the walls of the canyon (or go back UP the canyon, which has been rather difficult), so we opted to climb up the wall of the canyon. you can see here…. about 100 feet and somewhat steep, but the biggest problem is that Tucker who was ahead of us, kept loosening the rocks sending showers of rocks down on top of us.img_5695

We eventually got to the top, and then were met with a whole NEW problem.  Someone was shooting a very large gun and we were hearing bullets whistling near us.

So this is the picture I took at that time, somewhere between where I took this picture and that mountain is 1) a massive canyon, 2) Our Jeep  3) a road going down into the canyon and over to the other side where the jeep is and 4) a guy with a gun.

We cannot see him and he OBVIOUSLY cannot see us, nor hear us (he was wearing hearing protection)  I have a VERY loud whistle, so I was whistling, Ken had a plastic whistle and eventually Ken remembered he had a air horn (we carry to scare away bears)  So he started honking with this.  We were  yelling at him to stop shooting.


Finally he heard us and yelled back that he was shooting west and we could come down road.  (which ever way west was???)

Tucker is just freaking out, ….. and we walked past these guys. They did not even seem fazed at all that they were scaring us to death……. SHEESH  what a day.

We do not go out LOOKING for adventure, we just go out looking for rocks, but we do find adventure….. often……

Back at the motorhome………. cutting rocks.


So just to say that rockhounding has many unusual ……sources of danger.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the  hesitant…. swimming dog



Where the heck are we now?

Thanksgiving was spent in Sun City,  a suburb of Phoenix, with friends I have known since I was a small child. We hiked the day before Thanksgiving, had wonderful dinner the DAY of thanksgiving and then hunkered down for a Huge storm the night of thanksgiving. Trees down, roads flooded…. Great time to be staying at someone else’s home…… or driveway


Since then, we have been travelling east with friends from Kamloops BC, a town near where we live.img_2101

It is kind of fun to “gather the wagons around”…. in remote areas, and not so remote areas….img_5645

This is where we are right now.  Somewhere south and east of Tucson, the mountains in the distance are Mexico, and we can see it from our kitchen window image

We have never really searched for fossils, and were not really sure what to look for, and as usual, the book was rather vague about how to get to “the collecting spot”

Well we walked and walked and walked and walked looking for a canyon.  It had never occurred to me that a canyon was different from a valley. 💡

THIS is a valley, and I guess I thought it was where  we were trying to get to.


Then I walked OFF the trail 50 yards and found ****** a canyon which by this picture does not look like much, and likely why we did not notice it..img_5650

But it was at least 100 feet wide, and at least 70 feet deep, and we had totally missed it…. AND had ended up miles away from the motorhomes.

So we took a shortcut back through the tall grass.img_5655and the beautiful Yucca’s…..



By the time we discovered the “canyon” we were tired and it was getting late, so we went back the next day and I believe after MUCH searching, I found a fossil, I believe it is a palm root, but will need to learn more to ID it



It is raining here now, and we think we are going to check out Tombstone….. and the OK corral

Much love to all, Janet Ken and Tucker.


I dreamed I saw Joe Hill………

Utah, a lot of ghosts here…..(more on that later)

Turns out that the road to get to the north rim of the Grand Canyon is closed in the winter.  We checked out 2 rockhounding places, but found very little…… other than spectacular vistas. WOW.




The cool thing about rockhounding is that the books tell you these extremely remote places to go and you get to see things that almost no one else does.


It turns out that you do not seem to have go far for spectacular views in Utah ( at least in the south west)



These pictures are OF and FROM the Hurricane Mesa.  We actually drove up the face of this, it is pretty hard to imagine a paved road up here.  

The REASON for this road is that on top of the Mesa, there is a test strip, which was used to develop that “high speed ejection seat”.  “ By the time of the Korean war, military jet fighters were flying at supersonic speeds at high altitudes. The pilot ejection seats of the day had not kept pace with the other aircraft developments, and about 80 percent of high speed bailouts ended with injuries or death.

🤔Kind of makes me wonder if all of the property of deserted old projects of the us Military were sold to developers….. I’ll bet they could pay for medicare for all.  A fancy hotel or something like that up where the test strip is would be amazing, yet it just  sits there with warning signs around it.

We are staying at Snow Canyon State park, itself an amazing site.  This picture is before the sun came up


Yesterday we left the motorhome and drove over to Zion. There is a very cute town that leads up to the opening of the park, many hotels and stores. Even Campgrounds. 



Zion has a scenic route that essentially a road that goes up the centre of the park….. about 2/3s of the way. You can only take this route in a shuttle bus, and they did not allow dogs, and we did not want to leave Tucker in the Jeep, so did not take this.  We did find though that just driving through the park heading east was extremely spectacular and there were numerous pullouts to take photos and walk around.

This would be a bit treacherous in the motorhome, there are limits to the size of vehicles allowed in park. Perhaps another time we might camp at one of the campgrounds and leave Tucker in the motorhome and take the shuttle.img_5606

Zion has an amazing tunnel that goes over a mile through the rock and you eventually end up in yet another amazing landscape.  The tunnel might also be a bit treacherous for a larger vehicle, you could hire someone to help you through the tunnel?  Not sure what that meant?



Zion only has the one road through it, and to get around it you have to loop down in to Arizona to get back. We could have just gone back the way we came, but thought it would be interesting to see the terrain heading east.

Not far to the east you get to Bryce Canyon National park, and then as the loop goes, you go towards the Grand Canyon, then looping west you get the Colorado city, and then back to Hurricane where the loop started.

Colorado city.


I believe it would take a photographer much better than my self to really photograph the beauty of Zion, much better to see it in person though.

Ghosts of Utah…..

One of the rock sites we went to suggested we visit the Mountain Meadows Massacre site,  so thought we would check it out.  Dreadful story of how the “mormon militiamen” and a group of Pauiute Indians killed 120 “emigrants from Arkansas. They were a wagon train headed to California.

First off who were Mormon Militiament?     click here. Mormon Militiamen


They recruited the Paiute Indians.

The memorial site includes a memorial to where the men and boys died, and memorial to where the women and girls died and the gravesite where the battle took place.img_2075

Where the first part of massacre took place…..


As to WHY the massacre took place I could only find this “Today, historians attribute the massacre to a combination of factors, including war hysteria about a possible invasion of Mormon territory and Mormon teachings against outsiders, which were part of the Mormon Reformation period. Scholars debate whether senior Mormon leadership, including Brigham Young, directly instigated the massacre or if responsibility lay only with the local leaders in southern Utah.

I guess the other thing about this attack is that the very young children were spared and dropped at a local ranchers home hours after the massacre.  The children eventually except one, were returned to other Arkansas family members with in a few years.

Here are the children names.


The very elaborate memorial was build in the 1990s by the offspring of both the victims and the perpetrators.   Very sad story, I had nightmares the night after seeing this.

Interesting that the massacre took place September 11 1857.

Yet another ghost of Utah.  Ken and I have always had a special interest in visiting Utah because of our interest in Joe Hill.  We recorded the song  called Joe Hill, made famous by Joan Baez at Wood stock. In researching the song, we found out more about Joe Hill and after reading his last will and testament, chose to include it in the song, with Ken reading it.


Our take on Joe Hill from stories we have read:

Joe Hill was a union organizer who was often imprisoned for his activities, he did find out that those who wrote union songs and performing them at events, were not arrested. So he became a song writing union organizer.

He was eventually arrested and executed for what have long been felt to have been drummed up murder charges.  One of his final wishes were that he body be taken immediately after death to the state line, because he would never have wanted to be “caught dead in Utah”.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the rock climbing dog.


WHEN in Rome……

Rome, Oregon is a small town in Malheur county Oregon.  If Malheur county sounds familiar, it was in the news 2 years ago when the Malheur wildlife refuge centre was OCCUPIED by Idaho ranchers….. you can read more here. OCCUPATION OF MALHEUR REFUGE SITE

To call Rome a small town is an exaggeration.  Rome has a cafe, RV park and gas station, and they are all one place. The cafe likely seats 12 people, 13 with a highchair. RV park has 8 sites and…. well gas station is Expensive.  The only OTHER place I could see what a farm in the distance.

rome station

I did not take this picture and it really does make the place look bigger than it is.  I was surprised, since we WERE in the middle of nowhere when I asked about camping for the night and she asked me if we had a reservation.  This time of year we NEVER get asked about reservations, and never make them.  What the draw was, I later found, was it IS hunting season, and none of the OTHER hunters appeared to be Rock hunting, and their dogs were NOT rock hounds.  We felt rather safe at this rather disheveled campground, because we knew that absolutely EVERYONE else had a gun EEEEK..

This next picture I also did not take image because we were in Rome for one reason and one reason only  ROCKS.  But on reading about the town later on, I found out how the town got such a unique name……… The Pillars of Rome


We learned a powerful lesson in Rome.

The place were WE went hunting was about 8 miles south of the Rome Station, and another 5 miles off the highway.img_5514

We were looking for Snake skin agates and green opal. BOTH of which were very beautiful, and while we did not find a lot of snake skin agates, we found lots of Green opal of a variety of shades….. ALL OF WHICH would look good on the floor of our new house.

So I offered to go back to get the jeep and bring it closer to where we were.  Only, turns out, I went totally in the wrong direction.img_5513

As you can see, not much difference either way.  No land marks.  No cell coverage. I walked for a LONG ways, eventually coming to the conclusion that I had somehow MISSED the Jeep.  So then I thought, I will walk in the direction of the road (OR at least where I thought the road was). Not much luck there either.  Finally, I decided to use my noggin(as my mother referred to it as) and go to the highest point I could see.  I should add at this point that I also had a GPS, but being a poor one, it only showed red dots and it was hard to know if I was getting closer or further way from them.

From the highest point I could see Ken (he has a way of wearing obnoxiously visible clothing and it was bright orange that day)  He was a long ways away, and did not see me, because I am MUCH more stylish than him image  I was wearing a lovely shade of red that was much closer to camouflage…..   Fortunately Tucker (remember him…) saw Ken and went racing towards him.  Tucker always likes us all the be together. Turns out I was at least a mile and a half from the Jeep, and when Ken went back to the Jeep, it was not much help because I had the keys….

Needless to say we had a joyful reunion and went back to looking for rocks.

Now these are not great pictures, it is 5 in the morning so not much light….. but they are common opal. “COMMON” opal is usually white.


The more valuable “Precious Opal” is a rainbow of colours and personally I think seem a little TOO bright, almost fake like.  However I found this…. “Because opal has the colors of other gems, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all. The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. When Australia’s mines began to produce opals commercially in the 1890s, it quickly became the world’s primary source for this October birthstone.”

I do not have any “precious opal”,  but our property has lots of white opal and this is the first time we have found green opal.img_5543

These will all need to be cut to show their real beauty.

Much love to all, from Janet, Ken and our utterly useless (when you are lost) hound Dog Tucker.img_5548

Snake skin agates…..

Once again we are making a run for it through Nevada. Usually it is to avoid the low night temperatures, this year it is to avoid the low night temperatures AND the snow.

Joshua trees in the snow.


We have had a few days of doing jigsaw puzzles and listening to the impeachment hearings…..  We did venture out yesterday in Fallon Nevada to hunt for rocks in strong winds and rain, but it was NOT FUN.  

Green mountain on a very cold day


We are also being hounded by the CRA (Canada revenue agency) the equivalent to the IRS.  Not really sure why if we file our taxes in March, they wait until November when we head south to start hassling us.  They do this to us every year, and every year we show them that we did everything right, but yet they keep doing this every year. The GOOD thing is that I no longer take it very seriously, and don’t get all stressed out about it.  The hard thing is that each time we have called this week it has been an hour on hold on the phone. The classical music playing during the hold, then gets totally STUCK in my head for the next few days.  REALLY?  I think they need a few more phone answerers.



Just before leaving Canada I received my new Almond Cow, a machine for making nut milks.  It is saving us many trips to the grocery stores, AND trips to dump garbage. (very little recycling in campgrounds) We are using mostly cashews.  Pictures here of walnuts. One cup into the container…. plus one date.img_5338

The metal jug gets filled with water, you push a button on top and it goes through 3 stages, which takes less than a minute. VOILA..  You take the top off which contains the pulp (more on that later)


You get a big jug of milk


Then I pour the pulp into storage containers, there are a huge series of recipes you can make from the pulp.


My first attempt was to make granola, which you mix the pulp with other granola stuff and then bake in oven.



Next time I think I will try to make Hummus with the pulp. (just google nut pulp recipes)

I should note that you do not need a machine to make the nut milks, you just need a  food processor and a nut bag to squeeze out the nut pulp.  This machine is a bit tidier for me.

So yesterday we drove from Fallon (4300 ft elevation), where it was stormy, but not snowy.  We drove south on HWY 95, through Tonopah (6200 ft elevation) where it was snowing and extremely foggy.  NO stops for pictures, no stops for anything.  We have never had to negotiate this vehicle in snow, and do not want to.  We were a bit sad because Tonopah is one of our favourite places to rock hunt.


We drove on to Beatty, where we are now, 3200 ft elevation and the lowest it got last night was 6 degrees celcius ( 42 F.) Very black sky, only light rain last night.



Some of the coolest rocks we have found recently are called Snake skin agates.  They are extremely unique, and when cutimg_5542

Or broken in this case….. quite pretty on the inside


This is called wonder stone, it is quite pretty, but we have decided we prefer Jasper which is more dense. So these are more “catch and release” or catch, take picture and release.


This one, I believe is a limb cast agate, formed inside a tube in rock. Note the snake skin appearance of the underlying rock.


WE are thinking that this is variscite but will need to cut it to make certain.


We are thinking of heading over to eastern Nevada/Utah today, but you never know.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker.