Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alaska & Hell's Hole.... Not the same place!

Hello! This is a picture of Hell's Hole Reservoir, the location of the 2008 River Management Society board meeting. Hell's Hole is only 13 miles from Lake Tahoe & skiers often get lost from Squaw Valley by skiing toward this location. Before Hell's Hole, I spent the weekend with my close friend Patrice. Needless to say, Alaska looked much like I left it in April. Now I'm in WA at my mother's house in Winlock. At the end of next week, I'll head for Yosemite for the reunion. I'll try uploading the turkey video again. Wish me luck!

Jimmy's Caribbean Resort & Other Pleasures

It's been a while since I last posted a blog... mainly because I've been traveling. I am currently in WA visiting my mother. Here is the blog about my travels to Jimmy's Caribbean Resort, a 9 hour drive from my condo in Las Olas:

I was thinking the drive between Las Olas and Nombre de Dias (oldest settlement in Panama) would be uneventful. Think again… I left at 6:30 a.m. with Pauline’s directions to her house near Jimmy’s Caribbean Dive Resort in my head & my truck. I packed the previous night with everything from snorkel gear (for the Caribbean) to a down jacket (for Alaska). I was somewhat concerned about taking the Nissan Frontier Truck because the transmission had been acting up. On two occasions, the truck was stuck in 3rd, refusing to shift, with RPM’s approaching 5,000. I couldn’t take the more-trusted Kia because it needed to be registered in the month of October (every year, Panama gives you a new plate). Keith (who is selling the Kia for me) will register it while I am gone. Sure enough, for the first 3 hours, the Nissan pulled various stunts like downshifting when I had my foot on the gas & was cruising at 120 KPH. For some weird reason, after 3 hours all problems with the Nissan vanished & it became the perfect truck. Were we forming a relationship & growing closer? The next 2 hours were bliss… until I stopped at the Reys grocery store near Santa Clara. The truck went back to the previous poor behavior and I found myself constantly downshifting to 3rd against my will. As I neared Colon & the turnoff to Portabello (of Columbus fame), I was seriously stuck in 3rd gear. Only shifting to neutral would set me free (not a good idea when going uphill). The last few miles were shear torture. Luckily I was going very slowly over a dirt road & didn’t need a higher gear.
In contrast to the drive, Pauline, her house and this location on the Caribbean was a delight. We went for a long beach walk the first morning & she showed me her secret stash of sea glass (which I love to collect). We also saw green sea turtle tracks (pictured here), a turtle’s bottom shell (which Pauline collected), and some turtle scales (which I collected). After breakfast, I went for a bird walk where I saw some outstanding birds—chestnut mandibled & keel billed toucans in the same tree (& I thought they didn’t like each other), a gorgeous green-headed/purple bodied hummingbird, Panama flycatcher, and various birds I’ll look up when I return home. We went swimming after my sweaty walk (which was wonderful until we got out of the water & were attacked by no-see-ums.
Pauline’s SUV started squealing (disc brakes going bad), so we took both vehicles into Colon the day after I arrived. I followed her to Jimmy’s favorite (excellent) mechanic. He fixed Pauline’s SUV easily, but told me to take the Nissan to the dealership near 4-Altos shopping center. Nissan took one look at me & couldn’t fail to see economic possibilities (dollar signs) stretched over my body. Of course they wanted me to leave the truck overnight so they could give me a very large bill the next day. I refused & called Keith (who purchased the Nissan in Panama City a few months ago). Lucky for me, Keith knows the lead mechanic at the David Nissan dealership, so I will meet him there when I return in November. Needless to say, the Nissan drove perfectly on the drive from Pauline’s to La Estancia B & B (where the truck is parked for 5 weeks).

I couldn’t believe the snorkeling right off the beach that I experienced my last day at Jimmy’s. Incredible coral, bright blue fish and warm Caribbean water will bring me back before too long. Dare I dream of owning two houses in Panama – one on the Caribbean side (great snorkeling, diving & sailing) and one on the Pacific (great boogie boarding, beach walking & ocean sounds). If I was successful in uploading this video, you'll see the hopping turkey show.