Archive for August, 2015

True beauty

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Provo, Utah is nestled against the most beautiful mountains.  Our site at the Elks Lodge is just a parking lot near major commercialism but when you look out the window all you see are these spectacular mountains.  I went to the mall nearby and from the food court that was less than spectacular the view from the dining area was of the same mountains.   I could sit there all day looking at the landscape.

Provo is home to BYU and the downtown area is full of fun spots to hang out along with lots of parks and spots to sit and enjoy what is going on.  I think I have found paradise within a big city.  I love the energy of this downtown.  The scenery is amazing and the recreation in those mountains is limitless.  I am starting to think I have found a spot that I might like better than home without the beach, then I find out they don’t even have a Starbucks!  Being dominated by the Mormon Church they don’t do Coffee and so the nearest Starbucks is 4 miles away in nearby Orem.  Hmmm.

Timpanogos Valley view

But the beauty is unforgettable.  We took a short  drive to Timpanogos National Monument to see the caves.  The drive out of Provo is very short and very quickly you are driving on a single lane road right through these steep mountains.  There is a small river and so much beauty.  Our first stop was the caves where you take a 1.5 mile hike straight up the mountain to the entrance of the 3 caves.  The hike is free, if you want to go into the caves it is $8 and I think well worth the money.

Looking down the canyon to Provo

     Looking down the canyon to Provo


One of our many rests going up the trail

One of our many rests going up the trail

It is a short hike on a paved trail but uphill, gaining 1000 feet in elevation.  I made it to the top in less than 1 hour which was slow but the beauty was worth all the stops.  At the top you are met by a ranger that takes you into the cave.  Paul didn’t go into the cave as we did not have reservations and the earliest time we could get was 3 hours after we arrived.  Paul found a guy that had an extra ticket so I got to tour the caves while Paul rested outside.

I love caves and am most amazed by those who found them in the first place.  One of the three caves was discovered in the early 1900’s by two 14 year old boys who kept it secret for many years.  Climbing the paved trail was strenous, I can not even imagine climbing these steep mountains, finding a hole and climbing in.


Heart shaped

                             Heart shaped

The caves are very much alive and the tour took us through areas that were very tight to navigate and exciting.  We toured 3 fairly small caves in comparsion to other caves I have been in but the beauty is very close up and lovely.


This little guy was scurrying around near one of the many benches along the trail and was not happy that I wouldn’t move away.  He was frozen on the rock while I snapped many shots.  As soon as I stopped he proceeded with his day.



We made it down the mountain much more quickly than our assent but my muscles are aching from trying to hold myself back from tumbling down the steep grade.  Then it was off to find somewhere to enjoy our lunch.  Picnics are one of my favorite things about being in these great places and today we found a perfect spot right along the small stream.  The road through the park was quite close by, but the sound of the stream drowned out the constant traffic and we couldn’t see the cars so it felt like we were truly in nature all alone.

Birch or Aspen?

                                           Birch or Aspen?

Traveling through the park we reached the summit and saw so many groves of these beautiful trees.  Paul says they are Birch and I’m thinking we are close to Colorado so maybe they are Aspen.  We are definitely not experts neither do I aspire to be.  It didn’t matter which they were, but we are starting to see some color changes!  Fall is coming fast.

Bridal  Veil Falls

                        Bridal Veil Falls

Right along the highway returning to Provo is this very tall waterfall,  Bridal Veil Falls.  At one time there was a restaurant on the side of the cliffs that you reached on a tram that ran straight up the walls!  It caught fire and the local agency’s let it burn because they thought it was too dangerous and the business at the top was failing anyway.  It was a nice stop and fun to watch the kids climbing the rocks up to the lower falls.

A beautiful day for touring, amazing caves, waterfalls, nature but no Starbucks!  I will continue my search for the perfect place.


Goal, One week down

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Made it through the first week, post diet.  It really isn’t a diet although when I am passing up seconds or an extra scoop of ice cream I feel like I am leaving something out.  I think I will always feel like that.  I am learning that passing on something only feels bad for the moment.  Later I don’t even remember that I didn’t eat the whole pan of brownies.

Walking is becoming a bit of a passion although I can still talk myself out of it.  When I am finally dressed and out the door I don’t want to stop.  I am realizing that if I want to eat more, I just need to move more.  I can do that.

So,  I am one week into my new smaller life and everything is good.  I didn’t gain, I am full and I even splurged and had lunch out by myself one afternoon.


You won’t find this in the tour books

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Yesterday morning while I was playing fetch with Duke in front of the Elks, a very nice man stopped his truck and asked if we were coffee drinkers.  Yep,  I was just thinking about brewing myself a fresh cup from our Keurig machine.  Anyway, I told him yes and he pointed down the road, telling me past the golf course was a great coffee spot.  He said the guy ships his coffee all over the USA and has the best coffee around.  That got my attention because there were no businesses out here in the country that I could see.

So this morning Paul and I got in the car, drove up the road and sure enough right in front of a farm house was a sign ESPRESSO and an American Flag waving.  We make the turn and see a little shack and an old truck pulled up to the window. We pulled into the wrong driveway and the man in the booth steps out and says “if you want help you got to get out of my yard and come around to the window the right way!”  Great, we’ve ticked off the owner, we probably aren’t getting any coffee.

Paul,  not being intimidated backs up, pulls around and drives right up to the window where once we started chatting with the guy he was very nice, just a bit gruff, like my husband!  Great pair.  We had a nice chat, told him we heard he had great coffee and ordered a cup of coffee and a latte for me.  Wow,  right out in the middle of nowhere I’m getting my Starbucks fix and it was 1/2 the price.  We paid $4.00 for both including the cup and tax.  Then before we left the guy says to Paul “you got a dog in there?”  Oh yeah,  usually we roll down the window for Duke to say hi but this time we were so thrown off by our start that we hadn’t.  Paul rolls the window down,  the guy offers Duke a milkbone and then he says, “can he have a Pupachino?”  What?  Well of course he can have a treat.  The guy proceeds to take a small cup, fill it with whipped cream from a can, sticks 3 large milkbones around the edge and holds it out for Duke.  You should have seen our dog,  all manners were out the window!  He ate as much of the whipped cream as his tongue would reach and then grabbed the milkbones and ate those too.

I wonder if I can order a Pupachino next time Duke and I go to Starbucks?

Golfing in a spectacular landscape

Monday, August 24th, 2015
It's hard to concentrate

It’s hard to concentrate

Monday Becky picked me and we played 18 holes at Canyon Springs Golf Course where the course is challenging and the landscape is beyond beautiful.  The course is right along the Snake River in the gorge that winds its way thru Twin Falls.

The first hole,  looking towards the bridge that spans the gorge

The first hole, looking towards the bridge that spans the gorge

Becky takes a swing while I admire the waterfall spilling into the gorge

Becky takes a swing while I admire the waterfall spilling into the gorge

I really enjoyed the afternoon playing and golfed well, one of my better scores for 18 holes.  We met with Becky and Lonnie for dinner in town after where I had my first rainbow trout.  I don’t remember ever having trout but I will definitely be ordering it again.  It was really good.


Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Sunday afternoon we packed everything away, raised the jacks and headed southeast to Twin Falls, Idaho.  We are heading towards the Rocky Mountains with a few detours along the way.

We arrived at the Snake River Elks lodge and when checking in Paul found our friend Becky who we met at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.  I was planning on meeting Becky on Monday for a round of golf, so finding her here was a bonus.  I quickly grabbed my clubs and headed to the course to play 9 holes with her and a friend of hers, Pam.  It was a beautiful afternoon and I played ok.  The course is attached to the Elks Lodge but privately owned and very nice wide fareways and lots of very green grass, they must not have a water shortage here.  The smoke in the air is also much better as we get further from Washington.

All set up at the Snake River Elks Lodge

All set up at the Snake River Elks Lodge

Paul got us set up in our site while I golfed.  We are the only ones here Sunday evening and it is a very nice setting; there are corn fields all around and of course the golf course.

Lots of green lawn here

Lots of green lawn here

This is my backyard

This is my backyard


Overhead irrigation everywhere you look

Overhead irrigation everywhere you look

A cool barn down the road

A cool barn down the road

This is a great spot for a couple of days.

Another Town, Another Fair

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Passing through Boise Idaho for a few days the Western Idaho Fair is going on, and it is just down the road.  I feel another eating binge coming on.

Idaho where they love their potatoes

Idaho where they love their potatoes

We started our afternoon with dessert and after cruising through the vendors building where I am happy to say I resisted the many choices of pots and pans, cheese graters, slice-it, dice-it and jewelry purchases.  We made it out of the building with my wallet still intack.  However,  food alley I was not so lucky.  We enjoyed lemonade, frozen lemonade (it was hot!), corn dog, lamb steak sandwich, a brick of curly fries and a gyro.  The Idaho Spud dessert, ice cream shaped like a potatoe, rolled in cocoa powder, split down the middle to fill it full of whipped cream, topped with crwas the best item they had!  I wanted to go back for a second one.

I did it, I really did it!

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

When we first started this learning to eat rather than eating everything, and anything anytime I thought we will lose a few pounds, learn a couple new things about our bodies and probably keep doing what we love, EATING!  Somehow that didn’t happen and I find myself today celebrating that I finally after 30 years weigh what I should weigh.  I met my goal today!  Yippee, congratulations!  Lets celebrate!

And I did,  we had our friends Kathy and Rob, who live near Boise over for dinner and I made a really healthy dinner, Kathy brought wine which I thoroughly enjoyed and I made dessert!  I made brownies (from a box, cause I think they are just as good as the scratch ones)  and we had a scoop of Cafe Latte frozen Yogurt on top!

It was so yummy.  I promised that I would give the rest of the pan of brownies away and Paul delivered 2 large brownies to some neighbors in the RV park but the other 1/2 of the pan is sitting on my kitchen counter and I haven’t touched them!  That deserves a big pat on the back for me!

I can’t eat them.  Today we are going to the fair where I will eat lots of fun stuff so the brownies may test me again tomorrow and if I can hold off I may have another before they dry out!  Do you know how amazing that statement is?  I use to make a pan of brownies, Paul would eat 1 and I could consume the rest in 2 days max!!!

So, another milestone has been met.  I feel confident that I can do this and I also feel very proud of myself.  It’s hard but not impossible so I will keep working at it and enjoying life to the fullest.

Have a great day.  Do something you love, I am!!!

We changed a few things

Monday, August 17th, 2015

We were definitely foodies.  We travel to really cool places and try really interesting spots to eat, but we were also eating way too much at home.  So when Paul started with his Loseit App many things changed in our cabinets and mostly in our Refrigerator.

1.  Limit our carbs.  We use to have pasta at least 3-4 times per week, now we enjoy a protein and a big salad for dinner.  Some our favorites are:

  • Chicken Casear Salad
  • Steak Salad

2.  Measure our portions.  We even bought a scale which I still don’t love to use but when the scale says I need to, I do.  We also use a tablespoon to measure things like dressing or those really fun add ons to salads!

3.  Move more!  I walk about 5-6 miles everyday.  I tried 3 times a week and it is just easier to check my fitbit (oh yeah,  that was another of those new items I wasn’t sure about in the beginning but I love it now!)  If I check it in the afternoon and I have only walked 5k,  I get my shoes on and go for a walk.

4.  Read labels.  It is amazing how tricky they are.  You read a label and the calorie count isn’t too bad, you eat it and then for some reason you are so excited that you got to eat so much without guilt, you reread the label and it was 2 portions!  I did that with popcorn.  The package said individual servings, I popped it, ate it and the next time for some reason I reread and it is 2 servings!

5. Write everything down!  Even the extra bite while cooking!

6.  When you order in a restaurant, it is going to be too much food!  It’s ok to leave some or take it home for later (or like me, end up tossing it out the next day!)

There are lots more which I will talk about later, and none of these things are new.  The biggest thing I have learned this time around (cause I already knew this)




Not yet, I’m not ready

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

It went from 95 to 77 between Thursday and Saturday!  Sunday morning we woke up to needing a light jacket.  The weather slowed us down a bit but we still managed a short hike near Priest Lake and lunch on the lake.

Paul checking his email on the beach

Paul checking his email on the beach

I love to people watch!

I love to people watch!

This family of four showed up right after us and set all their stuff up, which was several loads of beach chairs, towels, toys, umbrellas and coolers.  Then the mom and oldest boy sat in the chairs and opened their books! Dad organized all their items. See how each chair has a towel?   The little guy was running from toy, to blow up toy, rolling in the sand, tromping into the water and no one seemed even a bit interested!  I guess that was why they had so many toys!!!

The lake is beautiful and when the sun finally came out about 3 pm, lots of boats were on the water.

The river flowing into the lake

The river flowing into the lake

Today we had to say goodbye to northern Idaho and head back south.  We are in Spokane for the evening and will be heading towards Boise tomorrow.

The Spokane River

The Spokane River

We had a nice walk along the Spokane River this afternoon which is only about 1 mile from the Elks where we are parked.

Old habits die hard!

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Good habits, like not over eating & saying no are no easy task.  We buy all the right foods and are not health nuts but we know what we should be eating and every once in awhile all that hard work just gets forgotten.

Tuesday we were in Walmart, had filled our cart with all the foods from the perimeter of the store (produce, meats, dairy) and we headed to the checkout line.  Everything is going good and while we are loading our groceries onto the belt the nice lady in the blue Walmart jacket opens the warmer with fresh pizza and says to me “Pizza, $1.00!  Paul didn’t hear her and I had to repeat it to him!  Paul cannot pass up a deal.  14” Pepperoni Pizza for only a $1, of course he had to take one!  I’m thinking that is going to cost us cause I know I don’t have enough calories left in my day for pizza.

We make it to the parking lot and I say “are we going to have one slice and throw it away?”  Paul is already consuming his slice.  Dinner was already planned,  and my app said I had about 500 calories!  Paul made the decision to have pizza for dinner and I chose to make the dinner we planned!  I love pizza but pepperoni isn’t my favorite and by the time we were going to be home it wasn’t going to be that good!  I made a good decision for me, Paul is still pondering his although he had put the extra pieces in the refrigerator for the following days and in the am decided to toss it!

And that is one way we are continuing on this journey!  You can have your splurges, just be pickier!