Monday, May 31, 2010


In less than two weeks, we'll be back in Europe (volcanos and other things willing...), and our minds are turning now to the places we will visit for the next six months...basically north and east from Marseille, across the whole of the Alps, side trips to Munich, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, etc., and then down through Romania into Turkey.
Great climbing film

Just to get into the mood, we saw a screening of the 2008 German film Nordwand (North Face) at the Panida theater in Sandpoint. I thought it was going to be about the triumphant 1938 first ascent of the Eiger north face, which celebrated Germany's "annexation" of Austria (a German team and an Austrian team joined forces). However, it was about the 1936 Hinterstroisser/Kurz attempt. Various liberties were taken with what is known of the story--an imagined romantic angle actually ties it all together, effectively, I thought--but the depiction of 1936 Germany, of climbing in the 1930s, of the characters, all had the ring of truth. These were the days when it was thought unsporting to attack the mountain anywhere but at its strength (hence "north face" climbing), when climbers forged their own pitons and wove their own manila ropes. No camming devices nor perlon nor goretex nor polartec. It was also the time when the Reich was determined to demonstrate the superiority of its athletes--never mind Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics--and everything else. The film's climbing and mountain photography were stunning, the story utterly gripping, the last hour a cardio thump-fest. The theater emptied in a hush, no one humming "Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles." A great movie if you are interested in such things; or just a good work-out for your adrenal and circulatory systems.
Eiger north face

Anyhow, we'll be visiting Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg, maybe even riding the Jungfraubahn past the Eigernordwand balcony to the Jungfraujoch, as we did in 1989. Some day hikes. But no roped climbing for me, not anymore.
On the north face

Sagle Scenes

A flotilla of ducks paddles down the river early every
morning; "flotilla" is not the right word; for ducks, unlike
a geese gaggle, you have to choose among a badling or a
waddling or a paddling or a team, a flush, a raft or a flock,
none of which works for me; I propose a quackilla of ducks

Outside the Ace in Albeni, ID; unfortunately (like the iPad)
you can't actually make a call from the cell phone stun gun

The give-away bin at the Dufort Road trash dump in Sagle
--the best-organized trash and recycling center I have yet
seen, anywhere; seriously; plus, they have a sense of humor

Just down the road from Bob and Beth's place; I'm sure
these neighbors are really very nice people, once you get
to know them, perhaps while they're re-loading; perhaps
they have a sense of humor, too

The Library at Sandpoint, where I hung out a bit; nice
collection, very ample technology, friendly, helpful staff,
free wifi everywhere, always crowded

Among my less successful projects in Sagle
was home-brewing some ginger beer from a
kit Vicki had bought in the UK of GB; the
plastic beer bottles I used didn't explode,
but they did expand considerably; when
opened, about half the mixture fizzed away;
the rest was undrinkable sediment-laden
ginger-flavored glop; I'll stick to store-
bought in the future

But the hummingbirds liked it (it's heavily sugared);
strangely, they all went away after I started using Splenda
(that's a joke, son)

Me modeling wedding suits at our storage unit back in
Missoula (thanks again Tammi, Bruce, and Luke); it's a
long story, and no, we were not having fun yet

Sagle is just a few miles up the road from the very popular
Silverwood amusement park, in Athol ("that's a myth";

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Inactivity Report

View across the lake on a nicer day
Me at Vicki's Gargantuan new laptop

Lest anyone think we had become lost, I wanted to report that we are still in Sagle, 48” 12' 50.82 N, 116” 42' 18.02 W, taking it very easy. We go into Sandpoint once or twice a week for Vicki's PT session, groceries, the wonderful East Bonner County Library, and such. Mostly, we are reading, surfing the net, marveling at the national news, and international, watching HGTV, editing blogs and pix, and taking numerous walks along the country lanes. (I'm trying to maintain 8-10 miles a day). The weather has been typical spring-time-in-the-Rockies, lows in the 30s and 40s, highs in the 40s and 50s, with precipitation in some form, usually rain, just about every day. Some days it is a discouraging all-day rain. But everything is greening up and budding or leafing out. If it ever stops raining, I'm going to have to mow Bob and Beth's sizeable downhill lawn. We have made a few shopping trips to Spokane and Coeur D'Alene, both familiar ground from our years in Missoula. And the view from Bob and Beth's house, across the lake, is endlessly interesting. The next-door neighbors, Gary and Laurie, are putting in a new sea (river?)-wall and pier, and watching the crew take out the old structures and drive in the pilings, etc., has been my main entertainment for the last couple of weeks. OK, I have been reading Malcolm Lowry and Laurence Sterne too. An odd combination, you say. Something old (my days in Cuernavaca, under the volcano) and something new (some mirth literature that is new to me; the English Rabelais).

Among other things, we have been pondering our next travels, in Europe, and, particularly, the winter of 2010-2011. Unless we are snowmobiling, we have resolved not to do winter in the northern hemisphere again, at least in the near future. We considered a variety of more tropical destinations, some downright equatorial, but we don't want to get bugged or mugged or worse. Somehow, the areas between the topics of Cancer and Capricorn just don't appeal. And remember, this is for three months, not a holiday nor cruise. So we are leaning heavily toward a re-visit to New Zealand, or, possibly, Australia. Both would entail longer-term van rentals and other expenses. Both, however, promise plenty to see and do, amiable circumstances, good food and drink, warmth, sun, and in English, too, as the fella says. To be continued.