Caly and I stopped off at the beach for a (partly)business meeting at sunset. Gotta love doing business with a rum and coke, beautiful sunset, on the beach. It gets worse than this.

The sunset was lovely, but not particularly notable for Tamarindo. What was notable was the crowd. Late February isn't usually a top tourist season, but the beach was on the verge of too-crowded last night. I was pleasantly surprised. Sorta. I've got a love-hate relationship with tourists. On the one hand, they are the life-blood of Tamarindo's economy and therefore a good thing to have around. On the other hand, tourists everywhere tend to be annoying. Loud, confused, they drive like morons, and frequently overlook the fact that everyone else is not necessarily on vacation. I lump myself into this description when I'm in some new and fascinating location- it isn't that the people are bad, it is just that tourism seems to incapacitate some vital part of our brains, rendering normal folks into completely different people.

All things considered, the economic benefits outweigh the inconveniences.

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Pics for Soop

More car-repair stuff- photos of the idle-up lever assembly and the AC bracketry, as requested. Yes, I know my engine could use some cleanup. No, I don't expect to clean it any time soon. Yes, I know it would look better and maybe even operate better.

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Lazy Mutt

Since Jocelyn is out of town, Caly gets to sleep on the bed at night. Spoiled rotten, I know. But with all of that king sized bed being unused (I'm not a large person) it seems a shame to make the dog sleep on the floor. The offshoot is that Caly doesn't get up in the morning with me but rather stays on the bed as long as she possibly can. It is pretty funny because on a normal morning, she is up and going the second one of us is awake, but she'll stay on the bed napping while I enter and leave the house, doing chores and whatnot. Dogs. Sheesh.

Here is a good trick, taught to me by my father:
For keeping tubes of glue/silicone/caulk and such things fresh- duct tape. Easy to put on, easy to pull off, and you can poke a hole in the excess tape section to hang it from a hook if wanted. Thanks Dad.



This is an ACSD blocking plate for my injection pump. Most of you won't care. Some diesel cruiserheads will be happy to learn that the bolts that hold the idle up lever are slightly longer than those that hold the ACSD... so if you put the blocking plate on, just use the idle-up lever bolts to hold the plate, then the ACSD bolts to hold the idle up lever bracketry (which is thinner than the plate and seems to fit fine w/ the shorter bolts).

The ACSD bolt is on the left, the idle up lever bolt on right. Much longer.

Here is that plate, on the IP. Sorry that the picture is lousy.

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So a friend came by at about 2:30 in the afternoon and said, "Hey, let's go camping."

I said, "Sure. When?"

"Right now!"

"Oh. Okay! Why not?"

We actually got ready and left closer to 4:00. It is cooler out by then. We grabbed miminal gear, the dogs, and drove 10 minutes out of town, stopping for basic provisions, then pitched tents, built a small fire, and kicked back enjoying a spectacular view, fresh breeze (strong breeze, hence very small fire) and very little human-made noise. It was wonderful and relaxing.

The wind was strong enough, and/or the tents were pitched in a not-sheltered-enough location that I woke up several times from the tent smacking me in the head. But other than that, it was tranquil and fabulous.

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Crazy Aquatic Iguana

I was chatting on the phone about the lack of surf this morning :( and as I walked around the corner to the pool, I must have startled the heck out of an iguana, because it charged across the deck and PLOP! landed in the pool.

I was surprised that it swam perfectly well, and cruised down to the bottom to get away from me, where it then just sort of hung out, without moving.

Wow! I guess that I shouldn't be too surprised that iguanas can swim- the dang things are up there with rats and roaches for their adaptability- but I certainly didn't expect one to be doing laps in my pool.

Now I'm having some trouble deciding if I should net him out or just leave him alone- it has been 5 or so minutes since he came up for air and I really don't want to deal with a dead lizard today.

(sorry the picture isn't great- sun, wind and water make it tough to get a decent angle)

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On the Road Again...

Jocelyn is off at an entirely unreasonable 4:30am to spend the day dealing with air travel on another USA business trip, leaving me alone to suffer through beautiful weather, a great dog, and all of our friends. Yet somehow I still feel like I'm getting the short end of the stick. It must be because she is the one going somewhere and I'm the one staying somewhere.

She's been gone about 30 minutes and I'm already bored :(



Back Yard Camping

We had a really pleasant, light dinner with Chad and Devon last night- grilled chicken and grilled eggplant, tomato, bell peppers and squash. Sure is easy to clean up the kitchen after everything gets cooked outside.

It seems that the Gale Force winds have backed off to a pleasantly cool gentle breeze, which is a nice change. We have heard stories about trees down on the highways, rooftops peeled back, and more than 50 power poles knocked down (countrywide) yet here at Casa Broyles the damage seems limited to my banana trees and some worn-out looking palm trees.

As the winds had died back enough, we opted to have another backyard campout. Going to sleep under the stars within an easy walk to all the comforts of home is great. I'm trying to come up with an upstairs outdoor sleeping solution, but it may turn out that the tent is easier, cheaper, and we've already got it. All of those are pretty convincing factors right now.

Caly seems to like it too- as we put the tent up she was right there at the door wagging her tail waiting to go to bed and as soon as she got up in the morning she spent a few minutes rolling around on the lawn, looking about as happy as happy can be.

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Moonrise and a Pretty View

Last night's moonrise was extra pretty for the clouds in the sky, on the way into the office I snapped a photo of Tamarindo Bay, it doesn't even look that windy, but it is!

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The Wind Killed My Bananas

While it doesn't look like a big storm if you just look outside, we are getting battered pretty hard right now.

85kph+ winds are whipping through Costa Rica. That's enough to be breaking off fairly large limbs, and in our case has already flattned two of our three banana trees (dangit!). 85 works out to pretty close to 50mph, and is a "Strong Gale" on the Beaufort Scale. There are gusts that are probably higher, it would only take another 20mph before we hit "Hurricane Force". Yikes.

Rooftops are flyin, roofing tiles are flyin, and our house literally has dunes of dusty dirt forming in some areas. Impressive.

The odd thing is that without rain, the sun is shining, the temperatures are pleasant, it is hard to really see this as a "storm" in the traditional sense. Unfortunately, I get the impression that some really serious damage is happening to agriculture and some buildings. Doubtlessly the sportfisherman, sailing tours, surfing lessons and other tourist-related industry is getting a whuppin'.

We are holding tight, putting some water on the stuff that looks most stressed, and hoping for the best. Rumor has it that we might even seen rain tonight! Which would be awesome for our garden, but a real surprise based on the eight years we've lived here in which we don't remember seeing much in the way of clouds in February, let alone precipitation.

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Steve's Moab Trip (day 5)

This is so late it is almost embarrassing to post it up! But I had a free minute, so here is a quick n dirty addition to the Moab Trip from last April. Moab Day 4 left us at an unmarked crossroads, from which we headed north to find the mousy little town of Blanding, UT.

We pulled into Blanding, UT pretty late, very hungry, a little cold, thirsty, and just plain happy to eat and go to bed. The young and friendly hotel clerk with tracks on her arms informed us that Blanding is a dry town, which dampened our spirits very briefly, but we were happy that the dogs were welcome at Gateway Inn.
We walked across the street to the Steakhouse, but they couldn't serve us, they said, despite the "special" being "Open!" and the dozen other patrons actually eating. Sidenote: notice that the steakhouse advertises steak no less than three times on the signs. Is it because they aren't too bright, or that they think that their clientele needs clarification?
Blanding was a small, clean, town. Other than the not eating the Navajo tacos at the Steakhouse, it wasn't a particularly memorable stop for us. They did have some impressive cherry blossoms working along the wide, well-made streets. That was pretty.
From Blanding, we headed down to Natural Bridges Park. It was blustery and cold, and we only had a little time to make it to the ferry we had to catch, but we did a really quick tour anyway.
Indian ruins that were several hundred years old along a river in the park. Pretty amazing how well-preserved they are, considering their age and proximity to a river that, presumably, swells once in a while.
Did I mention it was getting cold?
Kachina Bridge. Next time, I look forward to doing some of the hikes, instead of just blowing through. But at least we got to just blow through!
This is one of the biggest natural bridges around, Kachina. Much more impressive in real life than it is in this bad-lighting, quickly-snapped-from-the-tournout photo.
We were a little concerned about the incoming weather, which turned out to be a valid concern as it started to snow on us as we were driving out of the park.
Fortunately, we were headed towards bluer skies. One thing that puzzled us a little: Now and then the road would make thes relatively tight turns for no apparent reason. I'm guessing it was related to property ownership at some point, but welcome any insight.
Driving along the highway, we saw these ruins off the side of the road. Just right there, no sign, no fence, just... ruins. Pretty cool.
This shows how close they really are, and how easy to approach.
We pulled into Glen Canyon Rec area with only moments to spare to catch our ferry. We were actually getting pretty worried.
Yet another fantastic example of beautiful erosion- note also that the weather had turned nicely sunny again (partly due to dropping several thousand feet)
The Glen Canyon reservoir. This is one man's worst atrocities, according to Edward Abbey. It does make for an odd oasis in the middle of lots of dry surroundings. Very low at this point, frighteningly low for people who rely on it for water.
We need not have feared missing the boat, they hadn't even started loading when we got there
As fate would have it- we ran into some friends from California. This is Gary Kardum's very nicely built 45 pickup. They had just completed Hole in the Wall, a challenging and scenic trail.
The Charles Hall ferried us efficiently to the other side of the reservoir. Had we missed it, we would have been spending the night somewhere nearby as it is a long drive around. Onboar was an ice cream truck who handed out some free ice cream sandwiches. That was fun!
More scenic erosion
If you don't like stratified rocks against blue skies, southeastern Utah might not be such a good place to visit.
Great quality on the dirt roads

We stopped for lunch on a scenic overlook, and this guy in a sportscar wizzed by- wearing headphones, and waving happily. Looks like fun.

more flowers
Group photo. Steve, Brian (Soop), Seth, Annette (sorry if I mis-spelled)- great view, nice weather
Back onto great quality dirt roads... we decided to follow the Burr Trail, which is generally considered to be one of the most scenic roads in the West. It did not disappoint.
Burr Trail Scenery
same same, but different. Lots of pretty formations

There is a cruiser in this picture. Massive rocks jumbled together with seemingly random orientations.

Self-environmental portrait
This is looking down at the switchbacks we had just completed. It must have been back-breaking labor to create this road.
This gives some perspective on the steepness of the slope. This motorcylce passed us 3 or 4 times going different directions that day.
Another group photo, more pretty rocks
The road towards Escalante
Totally different types of rocks. All beautiful.
There is a campground down there somewhere, in retrospect we might should have spent the night.
Stopped at this junction (Burr Trail and Hwy 12, near Boulder, UT) to figure out where to point ourselves next. Ignorant of the fact that the grill in the background is purported to be out-of-this-world-delicious... we read all about it tomorrow in a magazine we found. Bummer. We headed south, towards Escalante

Whoa. 14 degrees for 4 miles? Good place to NOT be towing something.
Yet another radically different terrain and flora.
Not only is the hwy steep, but if you are inattentive, you'll run over the edge (no guard rail) and you are only a car-length away from dropping into this canyon. Pretty. But not a good place to lose control.
More pretty canyon. The sticks in the foreground are the roof of a coffee shop's porch. The shop was closed. We could have really gone for a hot cuppa right about then as the temp was falling with the falling sunshine.

We rolled through Escalante (which is not pronounced Ess-ka-lan-teh, but rather Es-kal-ant, in case you were wondering) and looked for a campsite. Noting that the temp was dropping rapidly, we went back to Escalante to get a room. Apparently, due to the fact it has dropped to below freezing the night before, everyone else camping was also looking for a room. Nothing. :(

Our decision to push onward towards the next town seemed like a fine one, until Seth's tranny decided that it only wanted to go in 1st gear. We covered about 75 miles at 12mph, watching the mercury drop and the sunlight fade, hoping to find somewhere to sleep.
Saw a lot of those hazards blinking. In addition to the cold, our decision to not camp was also influenced by the unsavory nature of some of the... um... meth labs that were scattered throughout the hills.
We ended up at the entrance to Bryce Canyon at the Best Western Ruby's Inn. BW, by the way, is generally reliable for pet-friendly accomodations. It was nice to be in a room again. A few rums and a room-cooked meal later, we called it a day.

It was another long day, but we covered an amazing variety of terrain and enjoyed spending most of the day off-pavement and relatively alone.

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