enamored with fall
colors galore with crisp air
cold winter is near
~ a Haiku for autumn
I admit it. I am in love with fall. So much so that, every year, as soon as the calendar tells me I can say it's autumn, I start pushing the season. I'm just so anxious for sparkling cool nights, brilliant colors, crunchy leaves, and naked trees, that I can't wait.
Today we went on a motorcycle trip to hunt for fall. I enlist my husband to go on this ride at almost the same time every year. Too early. But we still go.
We started out with breakfast. Food is one of the most important necessities when riding motorcycles. If you are planning a trip, be sure to schedule plenty of coffee and treat breaks, potty breaks, meal breaks, picture breaks, and exploration breaks. Or your buttsie will go numb. It will anyway, but the breaks make the lack of feeling tolerable.
For instance, today I became aware that I could not feel my backside. Which really impacts how well I can hold on to the skinny little passenger cushion with my glutes and thighs. Numbness=zero grip. So I slowly braced my hands on the back rest and lifted myself up a few inches.
Oh, the relief and disappearance of pain. I held that pose for a few seconds, then eased back down. Just that much of a backside break let me endure until we arrived at the next break (see above). But then, a warm flooding sensation spread across my cheeks. Did I just pee? Or was that the blood rearranging itself back to where it belonged?
After breakfast, our first stop was the gas machine. Our second stop was the cash machine. Both are very important when hitting the road. Prepare for plenty of both.
The first scenic portion of our ride was traveling north through the Yakima Canyon. Yes, it was a bit chilly early on a September morning. Layers are the way to go. We saw plenty of hunters scouting the hills with binoculars, fishermen in boats and waders plying the water with casts of silver line, and families snuggled around campfires while enjoying a last camping trip.
Our goal was to spend the road north on backroads. No freeways allowed. It's a good goal. Especially early in the morning (see below for information about our change of mind later as butt numbness became hard to correct).
Bathroom stop: McD's in Ellensburg. The new one is very nice.
We drove through Ellensburg and took the back way to Cle Elum. Highway 10 is a beautiful drive. Fall colors? Barely. There were a few hints of yellow. Most of the non-green colors were brown or black. Forest fires have taken their toll on the northwest.
Our morning coffee break with coffee and a morning muffin was delightful at the Pioneer Coffee Shop in Cle Elum. It was cool enough to sit outside in the sun and chat while we watched fellow patrons stroll in and out with drinks and treats. A bathroom stop was included with our break.
The Quantrell-Mobile continued through Cle Elum along backroads to Roslyn. We headed north through Roslyn and Ronald.
Fall colors were barely beginning to show. A few vine maple leaves here and there were tinted red; some yellow was gently making its presence known on the deciduous trees. That was it. My annual too early again hunt for fall color was a success for its lack of color.
But our ride was not a wasted trip. No siree Bob. (If your name is not Bob, please substitute your own name.)
We continued north to Salmon la Sac, where the rubber meets the road! "Honey, if there is a 'Welcome to Salmon la Sac' sign, slow down so I can take a picture," I shouted into his helmet.
Salmon la Sac is not a town.
Or a city. Or even . . . well, anything. Oh, I mean, there is a lovely picnic area, one-lane bridge, a beautiful river, a closed-for-the-season campground, and many dirt roads to trail heads and lakes. But for a motorcycle, the end of the pavement was the end for us.
There was no sign.
On the return trip, we feasted on blue cheese and grilled onion burgers at The Brick in Roslyn, of the Northern Exposure fame.
A tip for future stops is to avoid the Saturday lunch crowd. We landed smack dab in the middle of a packed house, snagged the last table, and had a 35 minute wait for our meal. But big screens were blasting the University of Washington against Stanford game. Wait time was well spent.
After refueling in Cle Elum, our sore bums helped us decide to speed things up and use I-90. The only side trip we took was to get off I-90 at Thorp, take the looping back road to Ellensburg, and then hop right back on I-90.
Three humps on I-80 and we were home.
My favorite take-away from this ride? The scents of pine trees and fall. If I could only bottle it or take a picture of the forest fragrance. The lunch onions odor in my helmet on the way home? How about no.
I give this ride 4 out of 5 stars, due to lack of fall color.
I guess we will have to try again in two weeks.
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Saturday, September 27, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
In case you didn't know, a visit to the wonderful world of Disney in sunny southern California requires intense preparation.
In order to get the most from your visit, pre-shopping and planning is in order.
We love going to Disneyland. So much so, that we spent our honeymoon there 29 years ago. Our family has since enjoyed (and endured) many additional trips to the Magic Kingdom.
Here are some tips that helped us during our recent trip to Disneyland at the beginning of this month. We have only been home a few weeks and already want to go back!
1. Go after Labor Day. If you can swing it, this is a great time to go. I would suggest the latter part of September. We just missed the seasonal decorations at the Haunted Mansion by 2 days. TWO days. Crowds are smaller. Lines are shorter. But beware - the hours are shorter as well. Heat is still a factor to be considered.
2. Take your own digital camera. I hauled around my big Nikon, wishing often for a pocket version with good quality shots. When a character photo opp is imminent, allow Disney cast members to take your photo - with both their camera and yours. They don't mind. Really! The Disney photographer will take your photo and give you a little card that has a link to your photo. What they didn't tell me right away was to then hand the photo card to each subsequent photographer so all of the photos are linked together. For a while there, I was collecting photo cards left and right. You can purchase all of the photos on a CD, some of them, or just use the ones that are on your camera. Mine turned out great.
3. Wear clothes with pockets. Please, no short shorts or skirts! No one wants to see your underpants while you climb in and out of rides. Well, maybe someone does. But really? Those rides are dirty. People always step on the seats to get in and out of a ride. Ick. Cover it up. Use your pockets to haul things like fast passes, lip gloss, and so on. Love my pockets.
4. Use a pocket lanyard. Disney pin trading is big right now. Our package deal (tip number 5) had a free lanyard for each member of my party. The lanyard came with a free pin to trade (we kept ours - they are expensive) and a pocket for your Disney tickets and entry cards. This is a very easy way to keep track of everyone. And absolutely necessary for fast passes.
5. Buy a package deal. Save big on entry costs, hotel, airfare, and rental cars. Even when we purchased just the entry passes and hotel, we saved money. Plus you get a few freebies - one 5x7 photo, lanyards, Magic Morning entry, and so on.
6. Do fast passes! This is a great way to hit some fun rides or attractions while waiting for a turn on the big rides.
7. Single rider lines are great and save loads of time. One morning I was able to ride the Cars race cars 4x in a row in less than 30 minutes. It only works well if you don't have small children to supervise. Your party WILL be split up.
8. Hit Costco before you go. We purchased a huge box of individual nut packs. We took several with us each day. They saved us money on meals and gave us enough energy and salt (due to sweat factor) to stretch out our meal times.
9. Wear a small backpack. Fill it with necessaries - nut packs, granola bars, phone, camera, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, and so on. Saved our life. Easy to take on and off for rides. A small backpack fits in the little net pockets in Indiana Jones. Though it will still get wet on Splash Mountain. I did have a plastic shopping bag I shoved it in for that ride. PS You WILL want hand sanitizer after some of the rides. Like Autopia and the sticky steering wheels.
10. Sunblock. September temps hit nearly 100. Add lack of shade and time in line and you could end up with a burn. I saw several very red people.
11. Hats. Wear one. Buy or bring a hat. Make your own shade.
12. Water is a must. We forgot to drink when we were rushing from ride to ride. Bring water or purchase a bottle on site and refill it as often as possible. Disney allows you to bring in food and drinks. Though one must allow for special treats and meals that can only be enjoyed at Disneyland.
13. Start a walking program well before you leave for the land of Mickey. Miles spent walking = a zillion. Miles spent walking and standing will put your feet through the ringer.
14. Wear tennis shoes. See 13.
15. Leave the fancy jewels at home. Many of the attractions are quite bumpy and turbulent. You may be saying good-bye to your favorite pearls.
Disneyland is a blast! With a little planning and organization, your time in that wonderful make-believe world can be truly filled with pleasure.
Welcome to Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. All Aboard!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Yesterday was one beautiful and aromatic day at the Quantrell household.
Princess Khloe and I attacked pounds of apples with gusto. Delicious flavors that rolled off the tongue were the results. The swirling autumn scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and apples all but swirled before our eyes and tickled our noses.
Autumn is here. Embrace the season.
Oodles of apples, cored, peeled, sliced
Usually, I just peel, core, slice and add my apples to the running dehydrator. This year, they browned too fast.
To combat early browning, I experimented with dropping the slices into water that had been liberally doused with lemon juice. Worked like a little apple charm. I prepped apples until I thought I had enough for one tray, letting the apples soak until I placed them in the dehydrator.
Dry until slightly soft and flexible. Store in jars or sealed bags. Yummy! We devour dried apples all winter.
I love filling the crockpot with peeled, cored, chunked apples and cinnamon. Add a bit of water to cover the bottom of the crockpot, turn it on, cover it, and let it cook. Test it every now and them for soft apples. Add water if needed. I use a potato masher at the end to squash the apples into sauce. Eat it now and freeze some for later.
Oh, this autumn treat fills the house with such great smells! Better than any fall scented candle. Plus, you can eat the applesauce when is done cooking - warm, tasty, and fragrant.
whole wheat flower
Use any apple crisp recipe. But really pump up the apples! So far, in each recipe I've tried, there has been way too much topping and not enough apples. Susan Branch has a great recipe for apple crisp in her cookbook (and art book, as she does her own beautiful illustrations) Heart of the Home, Notes From a Vineyard Kitchen (Little, Brown and Company, 1986).
This time, I added apples to almost the top of the baking dish. Then I switched out white flour for whole wheat flour. The apples seemed really dry, so good for us, the apples in the crockpot were saucing away. I added several dippers of apple juice from the sauce pot. This really made the apple crisp juicy.
Delicious. No ice cream is necessary, but wouldn't that be a great addition?
How many ways can one prepare apples?
Apples, apples, oh how I do love you!
Let me count the ways . . .
Just the beginning of apple delight.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
We have this outfit. It used to be adorable.
Bill (dad, grandpa, great-grandpa) was a rural mail carrier. After daddy Bill and mommy Carole adopted baby Kevin, a mail carrier overall outfit was found so Kevin could be just like daddy.
Leap forward many years. Kevin became a daddy. Out came the mail carrier outfit, though Kevin was not in the postal service. Baby Taylor enjoyed wearing the overalls as he toddled, tasted tires, and sat on grandpa's lap.
This summer, 2014, baby Donavyn donned the now thread-bare mail carrier overalls.
Sentimental, tattered, and worn.
Angie Quantrell is writing about life experiences in Chara, 365 Days of Joy.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
We returned home from vacation to find a bag of fresh nectarines in the refrigerator, compliments of our next door neighbor.
Shortly thereafter, our son announced that he was going to pick apples at a friends' house. And would we like some?
Previous to those separate events, I had cut out a recipe from the Yakima Herald-Republic for a fruit cobbler. The recipe is generic and calls for any combination of tree fruit and berries.
So, thanks to the generosity of neighbors, family, and the newspaper, we will be dining on freshly baked apple nectarine cobbler tonight.
Sharing the abundance. Love being in a great neighborhood.
The dehydrator is also full of drying apples, while many more apples are awaiting their turn for the sauna.
In the spirit of neighborhood, I am willing to share.
Sage, yellow squash, or basil anyone? Please call.