Thursday, December 14, 2017


Well, it's past time to service the windmill.  Since I won't go up there, I've been using the kids to risk their lives to climb to the top, but when it's time for service, they don't come around much.  But not to worry as I found a service in nearby Ramona, who for a price, will do the necessary oil change and greasing of parts.  Enjoy the short video.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Drone

Ok, this drone thing is getting addicting, so here's the latest.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


If you recall the previous post, we reported that Cathie broke her leg.  It really doesn't matter how it happened, either her dad fell on her or she was sky diving, it did in fact happen.  After 4 weeks in a cast and that much additional time in a leg brace, we were going stir crazy.  Cathie, because she was sitting most of the time and me because I had to wait on her.  All this time she had been complaining to the medical folks that her ankle hurt, but they assured us all was well and any foot and ankle pain was normal.

When they let her bend her knee, still in the brace and putting limited weight on her foot, both her knee and foot swelled up.  Normal they said.  Finally we went to urgent care and it was discovered that she had a blood clot behind the knee.  So I had to give her injections of a blood thinner.  I hate needles, but it was ok since it wasn't me getting poked.  But she was still having pain in her foot, so she finally got someone to x-ray her foot.  Lo and behold she has a broken ankle.  Who would have guessed.

So now she's in a rigid boot for who know how long.  Her leg has healed nicely and she has some mobility with the use of a cane so we figured it was time to get out of town.  Because of her injury, we had to cancel a planned 2 month RV trip and now we had the chance to hook up and go.  Only a week mind you, but it was better than nothing.

With the temperatures at home forecast in the low 100's what better time to head to the Eastern Sierras.  Because Cathie was going to be pretty much confined to the RV, with the exception of drives in the countryside, we opted for the Golden Pine RV Park in June Lake.  Anyway almost all the forest service campgrounds had closed for the season.  So with full hookups, cable TV and Internet, it was just like home, except it wasn't.  Only a couple of other RV's in the park due to the lateness of the season.  We manage to arrange for perfect weather for the entire week, with cold crisp nights and warm days with cloudless skies. 

We managed to get in several drives to places we had never been, which is pretty amazing as we have been in the vicinity many times.  It's is possible that we had been there before but due to our advanced age we may have forgotten previous visits.

We took a drive out to Benton Hot Springs, which is out in the middle of nowhere, but still in California.  There are hot springs there, but it appeared that they were closed for the season with no one around.  On the way there we came across several groups of wild horsed which populate this part of California.

The fall season in the Eastern Sierra can be very beautiful and although most of the color was gone when we were there, but we did manage to find some.

Cathie was not able to do any hiking or much walking for that matter, but both my legs were working so I managed to get in a couple of short hikes.  First I took a short hike up to Parker Lake, where I have been before.  An easy 3 mile hike to a beautiful lake.

My second hike took my up a steep trail to Gem Lake.  At 7 miles and an elevation gain just shy of 2000 feet, I got a pretty good workout.  Before reaching Gem Lake, you past Agnew Lake.  Both lakes are man made with dams constructed in 1916 and 1917 with the water from both eventually ending up in Los Angeles.  Most of  us Californians know that water from the Eastern Sierras flows through a series of streams, river, lakes, canals and aqueducts to supply Los Angeles with it's water.  Many of the locals don't like this, but there's not much they can do about as Los Angeles bought up all the water rights in the early 1900's.  A group did manage to sue the City of Los Angeles, forcing them to gradually return water to Mono Lake.


Looking back at Agnew Lake

This rail system was used to haul material up to the dam sites on both lakes during their construction.  As luck would have it they are no longer in operation, so I had to walk.

Because the train was no longer in operation, I had to take the trail along this cliff.  Not fun, but by looking at the trail and not over the edge, I managed not to wet myself.


We were only able to spend one week in the Sierras, but we relaxed, which was greatly needed.  It was great therapy for both of us, something that was long over due.  But Cathie has physical therapy once a week and she couldn't afford to miss too many sessions, so we were forced to head to the barn.  Of course as it is with Gassaway's Adventures, we will be back. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017


I must apologize to my readers.  The last story was fake news.  Yes, Cathie broke her leg, that part is true, but how she really broke it is a different story.  First I must explain the reason for the first story.  When Cathie broke her leg, she was really embarrassed and she didn't want her fellow sport aficionados to think she was stupid.  So she asked me to make up a story about how her 91 year old father had fallen on her.  It was a believable story, he wasn't a reader of the blog nor does he have a computer, so what would be the harm, right?  I wrote it up and published it thinking he would never know that he got blamed for something he didn't do.  I felt a little guilty and was also concerned about my blog being lumped in with the Washington Post and the New York Times.  But as it turned out he did find out and boy was he was pissed.  He threatened to disinherit me if I didn't publish a retraction.  As an avid reader of Gassaway's Adventures I wanted to express how sorry I am if you were misled or harmed in anyway by the story.  It was not my intent to besmirch Cathie's father, but to protect Cathie from any humiliation.  I now realize that I made a grave error in judgement.  Now it's time to come clean.

Cathie, was skydiving.  Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but she has become quite daring in retirement and felt the need to eliminate things on her bucket list.  I asked her not to do it, but she's very independent and I was talking on deaf ears.  It was the same way when she bought her dune buggy.

Anyway, she's been jumping for sometime now and up until three weeks ago, all was fine.  Now as for me, I won't even go and watch.  Who in their right mind would jump out of a perfectly good airplane?  But she has chosen to do it and who am I to say no.  First she did some tandem jumps but within a short time she was doing free falls on her own. I must say I was somewhat impressed as she is really uncoordinated.  Heck, she can't even use the crutches the doctor gave her for fear of falling and breaking something else.

I tried to get the video, but the skydiving place has copyrighted it so they can use it in training new jumpers.  You could go and see it if you sign up for lessons at Skydive San Diego.  I did manage to get some still photos from some of her fellow jumpers.

Hard to tell, but that's her on the right, 5th one back.  This was called a summer jump in bathing suits.

There she is top center.  This was the jump where she broke her leg.

So you ask, "what actually happened?"  The jump was going fine, perfect weather, no problems with the plane or the exit.  She said she jumped at 12, 000 feet and was in free fall to 2,500 feet. She opened her chute and everything was fine, maneuvering for the landing zone, it was looking like she was right on target.  And she was lined up perfectly. I was told by others that she nailed the landing, remaining on her feet as she landed. She picked up her chute and started walking to the clubhouse.  That's when it happened. She tripped over the curb.  I told you she was uncoordinated.  And now you see why she was so embarrassed.

I feel so relieved to get this off my chest.  Here at Gassaway's Adventures we have high standards and I can assure you that something like this will never happen again.  Until next time.... I mean next post, I mean, well, you know what I mean.


Saturday, July 29, 2017


As you can probably surmise from the photo we have to take a "break" from Gassaway's Adventures for a while.  Cathie was helping her step-mother move about and her father decided to join in.  At 91 he probably should have stayed sitting down.  Anyway, he either lost his balance, fainted or got dizzy and fell on Cathie's leg, breaking the tibia just below the knee.  Thankfully the knee was spared and the break is a clean break and the bones stayed in alignment.  She will be in the full cast for 6 to 8 weeks and we are told 12 weeks before she can put her full weight on it.

We had intended to take off in a couple of weeks in the RV, for Wyoming and points east, but that will have to wait for another time.  So now I have become her caregiver, and I'm entertaining myself pushing her around in a wheel chair.  She's a little nervous when I push her on scenic cliffside trails, but I figure with the drugs they are giving her, she won't feel a thing if I misjudge the next hairpin turn.

Monday, June 12, 2017


It's hot in Portugal today, real hot.  With the temperature hovering around 100 degrees, castles are the last thing we would be interested in climbing around.  So looking for something cooler do do, we climbed in the car and drove to higher ground.  Our B&B is in the small village of Mesquitela, which just happens to be a the bottom of the highest mountain in Portugal.  At just over 6600 feet we figured Mt. Torre would be somewhat cooler.  Well it was, but not by much at 90 degrees.  We did manage to get out and walk around some and we did see some beautiful mountain scenery and we mostly managed to stay cool.  Driving on Portugal's steep, narrow, twisty roads is plenty entertaining in itself, but to make it even more exciting, add some Portuguese drivers.



I have written before, on trips to Europe, about driving in foreign countries.  Of course there is somewhat of a learning curve when navigating in new places with different rules as can be expected.  Signage, after a little study, is pretty easy with just a few exceptions.  Of course there is the added bonus of many of the signs being in the native language.  I particularly like the one sign in both Portuguese and English that I saw today after beginning the steep decent down the mountain.  "Try your breaks now".  "Why now?  Shouldn't I have tried them before I started down the hill?"  For many Americans, the traffic circle or roundabout as it is locally known takes some getting used to.  Get in the inside lane in a busy city, you might not ever get out, but for the most part once you get the knack of it, it's pretty easy.


Here in Portugal as you enter any city, town or village the speed limit becomes 50 kpm or about 35 miles per hour.  There are a few surprises sometimes, like a raised crosswalk, that if you're going too fast will get you and the rental car alignment specialists attention.  Also Portuguese towns come with a signal light at various locations.  No intersection or crosswalk, just a signal that manages to turn red just as you approach it.  At some of these you may sit there a while wondering "why the hell have I stopped here?"  They are there to slow you down.  "Ok, I'm going slow now, can you please turn green?"

The most exciting aspect of driving in Portugal are the Portuguese.  Usually am tootling along doing the speed limit.  The Portuguese don't do the speed limit, unless they are driving a tractor. I can see them in the rear view mirror approaching at warp speed.  If there is room, I get over as I wouldn't want to slow them down.  But in most cases they arrive at my rear bumper and begin to draft.  I try to identify the make of the car, but they are so close that the brand emblem on their grill is not visible in my mirror.  Under normal circumstances they pass.  Normal circumstances have a different meaning to the Portuguese.  Blind curves, cresting a hill, and vehicles smaller than a semi are all normal and passing is acceptable.  If for some reason they can't past, they just stay there, about two feet behind me, saving fuel while my slipstream pulls them along.  If I slow down to get over, I risk them joining me in the back seat.  So I just maintain my speed until such time as they see an opening and they zip past me.  Then I pull over and get my heart rate under control.  If I'm lucky enough, I have pulled over in front of a bar.  Did I mention that the Portuguese make really good wine.


Saturday, June 10, 2017


I've been having trouble coming up with a post as I guess I'm suffering from writer's block.  So this will be a short update with some photos.  We are a little over a week before our return home and in all probably this will be my last post while on the road.

We left Sesimbra and our view of the ocean and drove the short distance to Sintra, near Lisbon.  Within and near Sintra are 3 palaces and a castle.  We had a B&B reservation in the heart of the city and as we arrived driving became difficult because of the narrow streets and the hoards of tourists.  After dodging the masses and arriving at the B&B, we right away became thankful that we were only spending one night.  The crowds took away all desire to visit any of the palaces.

We left the next morning and continued north to another oceanfront apartment/B&B that we found through Airbnb.  Just south of the coastal city of Peniche it is situated on a narrow peninsula with miles of sandy beach on one side and rocky cliffs on the other.  Our small apartment is one of three, each with a balcony overlooking the rocky shoreline.  We sit outside much of the time watching the surfers and listening to the waves crashing on the rocks below.  It is near here in Nazare that the largest waves in the world occur.  We went and took a look, but we picked the wrong day.  Normally these humongous waves happen during winter storms and some brave soles actually surf them.

After 4 nights listening to the surf, we tore ourselves away and made a right turn and heading inland.  We are in a funky B&B in a nature preserve, just a few miles from the Spanish border.  And it's hot, in the low 90's.  Our pick of lodging is just ok, a little run down and lots of daddy long leg spiders.  The pulse side is that our room is below the house and the 2+ feet thick stone walls keeps us cool.  On the top of the mountain above us is Marvao, a beautiful fortified walled town.  Within it's high stone walls, the town is full of whitewashed homes and business.  At the highest point is the castle, which is in excellent condition.

We got an early start for our visit to Marvao while it was still cool.  We were mostly by ourselves as we explored the town and the castle.  After about 3 hours, we found a small cafe with outside seating under a huge tree and a view of the landscape spread out before us.  With cold drinks and a cool breeze we lingered for over an hour before heading back down the mountain.

Tomorrow we continue north on the eastern side of Portugal.  We will spend 4 nights at our next stop and then return to Santiago and begin our journey home.

Well I guess, the writer's block has left me for the time being, but that's enough for now.  Enjoy the photos.





Friday, June 02, 2017


As of tonight we will have been at the beach for 5 nights and Cathie's loving it.  We used Airbnb for the first time and we rented an apartment in a high rise, pretty much right on the beach.  We are on the 4th floor with a commanding view overlooking the beach at Sesimbra, a fishing village that also is a popular spot for tourist and locals alike.  We are told that due to it's proximity to Lisbon, about 30 miles south, most visitors are from the city.  Just south of us is, ArrĂ¡bida National Park, with about 20 miles of pretty much unspoiled coastline.  I say mostly unspoiled because most parks in Europe sport a cafe or some eating establishment.

Also a few miles away is Cabo Espichel, a windy headland, with towering cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.  At the western tip of the cape sits the lighthouse, Farol do Cabo Espichel, which we heard was open to the public on Wednesdays for free.  Not to miss out on the free part, we headed out in the afternoon.  We were met by Pino, an officer in the Portuguese Navy, who is stationed, along with two others, at the lighthouse.  He led us to the top, where in his broken English, he explained to us the workings of the light, which included turning it on.  It was a nice personal tour.

Also on the cape within sight of the lighthouse is the Santuario de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel, (Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cape).  There is a chapel and was once a pilgrims hostel.  The chapel built between 1701 and 1707 became a destination for pilgrims and the hostel was built.  The hostel consists of two long two story buildings, with rooms for the pilgrims on the upper floor and shops and stores on the lower.  Even though pilgrims still come to the cape, the hostel is no longer in use, its' windows and doors filled in with cement.  You can still see sections of the aqueduct that brought water to the hostel.

We keep thinking about trying some of the seafood here, but it is difficult to decipher most of the menus to see how it's prepared.  As mentioned before, cod is a Portuguese staple and under most circumstances, I like cod.  But when my translator app translates a menu offering as "Cod boiled in sea water", I tend to shy away.

After listening to the waves for the past 5 nights, it's time to move on.  We will now turn around and begin our return to Santiago.  Not too fast though, still about two weeks to go.