Camping & Taking Photos in E. California and the SouthWest

Archive for June, 2013

Down South

After having a wonderful time with Mary (it was over way too soon), I flew to Jacksonville, FL and then drove to McIntosh, GA. My sister, Holly, and her family have a vacation home on an island there. We spent 2 nights on the island, went out on the boat to a beach on another island, drove into “town” and cruised the few shops and stopped at the wine bar. It was wonderful and so relaxing! The marsh is so amazing – it’s always changing. The tides were extra high and extra low – it was incredible seeing the differences. One night the full moon was amazingly big…rising over and shining on the water.

McIntosh house

McIntosh house

A glimpse of the marsh

A glimpse of the marsh

Beautiful oaks with Spanish moss

Beautiful oaks with Spanish moss

Marsh grass

Marsh grass

They built this dock to the water!

They built this dock to the water!

Huge horseshoe crab

Huge horseshoe crab

Seabird party!

Seabird party!

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A Wonderful Reunion

Doug and I left New Hampshire on Tuesday, after the graduation. Doug flew back and I planned to take the train to Connecticut. The day before we left, a train was derailed and the route I was going to take was shut down! Fortunately, I got a ticket to fly to NYC about the same time Doug was scheduled to leave. When I got to the gate at the airport, I found out that my flight was delayed. After the second delay, I got on to another flight to a different airport in NYC, getting there about the same time as the first one was scheduled! I took a shuttle to Norwalk, CT where my friend, Mary, picked me up.

We met and worked together on the NOAA Ship Rainier in 1981-82. We became great friends the minute we met and had a blast on the ship and in port (Homer and Anchorage, AK; Seattle; Hilo and Kona, HI and Lahaina, Maui). We rode in small planes and helicopters; kayaks, canoes, small and large boats. We went dancing, biking, hiking, boating. We created a newsletter for the ship…I wrote and edited the paper; Mary did the artwork. It was a wonderful year. I still can’t believe that we hadn’t seen each other since I left the ship in 1982!!! We’ve kept in touch, but never gotten together. Well, that’s the end of that craziness! As soon as we saw each other, it felt like we’d been together all these years. We had tons to catch up on, but our friendship and closeness hadn’t changed a bit!

Mary is in the middle of remodeling her home in Rowayton, a beautiful community on the coast of Connecticut…I’m so lucky I got to see the near-completion of the first phase and hear about her plans for the next phase. Mary’s such a talented artist and decorator (she does graphic design and staging). And she looks the same…still petite, in great shape, beautiful and always so much fun!!!

We walked, talked, went to great spots to eat, toured around and even bowled, played tennis and danced using her Wii. What a blast! Can’t wait to have her come visit us in Kanab!

Some photos:

Mary

Mary

Rowayton beach

Rowayton beach

Pram on a float

Pram on a float

Mary's dog Lilly with her friends

 

Private beach

Private beach

Not a bad place to be a lifeguard!

Not a bad place to be a lifeguard!

Nice rocks

Nice rocks

Relaxing!

Relaxing!


Graduation

May 18, 2013

Doug’s youngest daughter, Sydney, graduated from Plymouth University in New Hampshire – we flew to NH for the graduation and spent a few days there with her adopted family, “the Bucks”. We had such a great time. The Bucks are the best hosts… they love having guests and made us feel like family.

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Sarah (Doug’s oldest on the left) Sydney, (the graduate) on the right

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Very proud Papa!

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Sydney with Denise and Steve

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Sydney with Eli and Mica

Sydney with Denise

Sydney with Denise

Steve & Mica
Steve & Mica

Sarah (reading) and Sydney

Sarah (reading) and Sydney

Doug playing with Eli and Mica

Doug playing with Eli and Mica

Sydney and her mom, Bev

Sydney and her mom, Bev

Denise is amazing. She even makes her own pasta!

Denise is amazing. She even makes her own pasta!

Salmon & steak for the celebration! Wow, did we eat well. Denise, Bev & Sydney are all great cooks!

Salmon & steak for the celebration! Wow, did we eat well. Denise, Bev & Sydney are all great cooks!

My guy

My guy


Home Buying Experience

I work in real estate…I handle contract management and marketing for real estate agents. I know that no matter how qualified a buyer is, how great a house is, how professional an agent is and how thorough a loan broker is, things can go wrong. There are so many people involved and so many details, it’s amazing how many transactions close – on time.

Doug and I just went through our own closing…and it was tough. We bought a home in Kanab, Utah, a small town in SW Utah. We spent time here over the last 3 years and rented a home here for 3 months this winter. While we were renting, we decided that Kanab is a great place for our base. The vacation rental market here is robust and we plan to rent the home so we can still spend time in Seattle visiting friends, family and clients, and continue to explore and camp. Kanab is located in a premier spot – only 40 miles to Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP; 80 miles to the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell. Loads of trails, buttes, slot canyons close to town.

Our first glitch came with the appraisal report. We expected it come in low, and it did. Almost nothing had sold in the area, particularly at our size and price. As we were about to attempt to re-negotiate our agreement, we found out that an all-cash Buyer had submitted a back-up offer. Yikes! We waited until that offer was in place, and then sent an addendum to the seller to lower the price. Our response was NO and NO (no change in price and no extensions.) Then, a week before closing we were informed that the lender was requiring a review appraisal (we thought the one we got was too low and missed an important comp)! Our broker ordered one on rush and it was done over the weekend. Our financing contingency deadline was Tuesday at 5pm. The lender got the appraisal report on Monday and ┬ádidn’t give us an answer until 4:58 pm on Tuesday. Talk about stress! But that’s not all…when we got to signing, I noticed that the social security number on my documents was wrong!!! ┬áThankfully, it was just on the loan docs and they hadn’t used the wrong one to qualify us. Two days later we were supposed to close. We got a call from the mortgage broker letting us know that the lender would not fund our loan until they had my IRS transcript, which they had been trying to get. OMG, I couldn’t believe they waited until the last minute to mention that…and immediately realized that they were probably using the wrong SSN, again. Next morning I got on the phone to the IRS and got them to fax the transcript to the title company. Title faxed it to the lender and it closed. I believe that the moral of this story is that 1) buyers need to immediately respond and send everything requested and then some, 2) buyers need to be proactive, 3) shit happens, 4) expect a glitch or two, and 5) it’s worth it.

We are thrilled to be in our new home. It’s small (1100 sq ft) and perfect for us. It has an incredible backyard. Since we moved in, the trees have gotten their leaves and the flowers have started to come out. Every day we have more and more…Mexican primrose, day lily, columbine, vinca, honeysuckle, Japanese bamboo, mallow, butterfly bushes and more that haven’t made their appearance yet. We love it. We have views of the mesas from the front and back. It was definitely worth it!

Here are some photos:

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This is the view from our front deck

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We love our backyard! We now have lots of birds eating from our feeders and bathing in the birdbath. I love waking to the sound of them chirping (and occasionally the crowing of the rooster down the street).