Camping & Taking Photos in E. California and the SouthWest



Doug’s high school English teacher, Jerry, and his wife, Cathie came to visit. We had such a blast! Doug took them to Paria townsite, Buckskin Gulch and White Pocket. Then we all drove to Boulder, stopped for coffee at the Kiva Koffeehouse, dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill and spent the night. The next day we drove to Capitol Reef. We hiked in Cohab Canyon and had a picnic lunch in Fruita. The leaves were beautiful and we had great weather. Crisp and cold, but sunny. After spending the night in Capitol Reef, they drove on to Scottsdale to visit their granddaughter and we drove back to Kanab. We sure hated to see them leave.













Whidbey Wanderings

One of the highlights of my time in Seattle was visiting Whidbey Island with my friends Barb and Ann. Barbara and her husband, Don, have a lovely place on the Island with glorious views of Camano Island, Mt. Baker and the water. The tides were pretty extreme, so we had a great long beach walk when the tide was out. The stairway down to the beach provided some good cardio! Barb fixed a fantastic fish dinner for us. Unfortunately, she had to leave the next morning, but Ann and I stayed another night. We spent the next afternoon in Coupeville – the site of many of our past PEPS retreats. The town has changed, but fortunately not too much!

Here’s the view from Barb & Don’s…doesn’t get much better than this!

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Low tide in Coupeville:

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At the edge of town, we came upon a store with lots of nautical decor…including this amazing bodice, made by the owner’s daughter:

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While looking around Coupeville, we found a new (to us) lavender shop with all things lavender, even lavender cookies and ice cream! They directed us to their lavender farm on the other side of the highway. We stopped by the farm the next day, on our way back to Seattle. They had a lavender fair going on with a few vendors and lots of lavender. The farm is lovely; apparently it all started with 5 lavender bushes! Whidbey’s frequent sunshine helps!

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A quick stop at Deception Pass to check out the rapids and look longingly at the San Juans. One of my favorite places in the Pacific NW:

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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.



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


Very proud Papa!


Sydney with Denise and Steve


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:



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).

Wave Again

Doug applied for another permit to visit the Wave and was the first one picked! We could not have asked for a better day…it was perfect. The 2-hour hike is so beautiful…and The Wave is beyond description.

This first photo was taken along the way…

This large camera was formerly owned by Edward Weston, a famous photographer in the early 20th century. The current owner lovingly restored the camera, which was painted in battleship grey during the war years. I would love to see the photos.

Pahreah Townsite

Pahreah Canyon
E. of Kanab, UT

After a few days of dry weather, we returned to the canyon and made it all the way to the end of the road! We crossed the wash and passed the old cemetery. Unfortunately there are no other reminders of the old townsite or movie set. The scenery is still breath-taking:


Johnson Canyon
E. of Kanab, UT

In 1951, Hollywood director William E. Wellman made a film for MGM called “Westward the Women,” about 140 mail-order brides making their way to ranchers in California.

Wellman had an entire Main Street built in Johnson Canyon outside of Kanab. The set had a saloon, a blacksmith shop, a doctor’s office, a general store and, of course, a hanging gallows.

The set was used in several more movies and then it was used for “Gunsmoke”.

Not all of the Gunsmoke episodes were filmed in Johnson Canyon, but a lot of them were.

Here are some photos of what’s left of “Dodge City”:
while I was taking photographs, I was visited by a half dozen horses who roam around Dodge City these days. They were very curious and friendly – let me pat them and looked hopefully at me…for an apple or treat?!


Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

More Snow!

We had another snow storm last night (Friday, 2/8) with more expected today and tomorrow. …Just when things were drying out! But it’s so beautiful and certainly nothing like what they are having in the NE.


The lights flickered; the winds vibrated across the roof…we looked outside – it was snowing! Then it became very quiet with just the light sound of falling snow. We woke up to more winter…after a few days of temperatures in the 60s!