Thoughts and things ... It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know. Henry David Thoreau

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My Experience at the Canadian Border March 2020

I had originally planned to pick up Jazzy in mid April. I was sure the weather would be right by then and it would give me adequate time to plan a trip of that magnitude. The Covid-19 thing caused everyone to modify their lifestyle and plans and this trip was no exception. I had word that the Canadian Border would be closing down to non-essential travel. I didn’t have the exact date just that it would be happening. Initially I thought I would need to postpone picking up Jazzy for a few months but my co-worker urged me to drop everything and go NOW!! I am so glad he did this. Monday the 16th of March 2020 he gave me the advice. I had to work Tuesday the 17th but I left by Weds the 18th starting late in the afternoon. I was prepared. I had renewed Zulu’s shots just to be safe for the border crossing questions. I had all my documents ready; proof of insurance, road side insurance, proof of payment for Jazzy (I had to pay for her shots before pick up). … I had read of others experiences at t eh border and felt very prepared for any questions or concerns regarding my entry. Coincidentally, I had just accomplished the needed oil change, upgraded my headlights to led, insulated the RV walls and under my bed with bubble-wrap to help keep me warm in the more drastic elements. I was preparing for the trip in April but really, I was already prepared so there was really no reason to not leave at once! The next posting will be my video of the trip it is about 20 minutes long but very fast paced and enjoyable to watch if you have interest in experiencing travelling cross country...

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Road trip to Canada to pick up new family member.

Saying goodbye to Sky was no fun of course but I knew the time would come at some point. Having two dogs is a great thing and I have not wanted Zulu to be on his own for too long. Last year during one of our road trips we had encountered a breed I had never heard of, the English Shepherd. Zulu seems to bond with the herding breeds quickly and had made a quick and fun playmate with an English Shepherd during that trip. I decided then, that after Sky and I said our good-byes I would see if I could find an English Shepherd. I found one close by in a rescue group but there were a number of applicants and the process and questions lead me to believe I would not be a worthy candidate. (No yard, living on a boat and RV etc) It was suggested to me that I join a facebook English Shepherd Re-homing group and that’s where I found the new addition to our family. Jazzie was located in Outram, Saskatchewan Canada which is barely over the border from North Dakota. On Facebook there were a number of people interested in adopting Jazzie but most of the comments were based on her distance or not having a passport etc. I private messaged the owner and told her I have a passport and will drive up and pick her up. I sent her money for the Rabies and health certificate which finalised the deal. Based on my work schedule and weather prospects we planned on me coming to pick her up in mid-April. Things all changed with the Coronavirus issues sweeping the world. Border shutdowns were immanent and I thought I would have to delay the trip severely by a couple of months. One...

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‘New Views’ for my gal Sky.

I put together a video celebration of our lives together over the last number of years. I was so blessed to have Sky in my life and the situations we dealt with in the last 2 years were never a burden but always opportunities for watching blessings unfold. She has moved to a new address with ‘New Views’ – – doesn’t mean that she is any less a part of my life or memories she has just moved ­čÖé Here is the Vimeo video in celebration of so many memories we shared together. It is a long video and it is for my memories so I won’t apologise. It covers Sky and Boeing’s time together, Sky and Zulu as a puppy, beach play, toy obsession, some agility, and then the goodbyes. For the most part it is a joyous video. There is a sad area but the end brings it back to the beauty and the joy of sharing a life with loved one. At the very end, about the last minute there is a special celebration with some drone shots of sunsets as I just had to fit all the right music in!! Enjoy if it’s up your alley. I am grateful to have these photos and now this combination of the photos and videos into a video. If you do watch – use the full screen mode and turn up the volume!! The music does go with the photos and the thoughts. (Available on YouTube as well https://youtu.be/dJhPE4Z80UA) My Vet asked me to share some thought about the process we used to say good-bye. I have to say it was the most peaceful natural situation that I could have asked for and didn’t even feel like it was anything different than Sky going to sleep as usual. I...

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I don’ t believe in goodbyes … but sometimes … it kinda feels like …

She came into my life afraid of her shadow. She was a rescue dog that came to Milo by way of Martinez. She was fortunate enough to keep her tail. Her name when I adopted her was Giza. She was accepted instantly by my older dog Boeing. Sky was there for Boeing and I during Boeing’s last 6 months. After Boeing left us Sky became the puppy I didn’t know she was! She was a natural in her weekly sheep-herding class. The instructor considered Sky to be too much of a natural to be good at competition but rather she would do better in a working environment. Sky was full of life and energy but scared of everything (except the sheep)! She especially could not handle being left alone. Separation anxiety. I wasted little time in seeking out a companion for her. I found her little brother, Zulu on located in an animal shelter in Madras Oregon and the two of them have been lifetime buddies. Sky and Zulu had years of fun play and our lives have revolved around activities that bring us all joy. Zulu helped Sky mature into a confident assured graceful but always with a wild-side dog. Sky embraced Zulu as part of our family. About 2 years ago Sky started having difficulty just standing up and walking straight. She was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. It is not a painful condition. The disease seems about the equivalent of what humans call ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to Healthy Paws Insurance. They have been there for everything for Sky. Harness, booties, wheel-chairs… and also a real person on the other end of the phone. We adapted, I built larger stairs, and then we adjusted to different harnesses...

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Pass your Part 107 Drone Certification Test

I’ve been procrastinating about getting my certification for over a year now. I would start studying and then other things came up and it really just didn’t seem that important to me. My flying abilities have improved over the last couple of years and I have had more and more requests that could have potentially resulted in paying gigs. I finally decided to be earnest about my quest for my part 107 certification and so I dedicated 2 weeks to the process and I’m going to walk you through my strategy which ultimate resulted in me passing my test with 90% on January 29th, 2020. I wasted about 2 days trying to decide which drone school to attend. The two I found myself most interested in were Drone Pilot Ground School and Remote Pilot 101. Ultimately as I researched I found all sorts of free resources out there on YouTube and such and I realised that all I would really be buying in purchasing a school was an attempt at more discipline to study. I decided to quit researching where to study and start studying!! I did spend some money on resources which I consider to have been invaluable. I bought the remote pilot test prep book off of Amazon and the ASA Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement. The testing supplement is identical to the link I have included below as a PDF – (Faa Testing Supplement). I used both the print version and the pdf version in my studies. The nice thing about the pdf version is that you can zoom in electronically whereas in the print version you’ll need a magnifying glass for some of the smaller stuff! You’ll get the paper version in the test so best to practice with paper!! FAA LinksFAA Chart Users GuideFAA Testing Supplement...

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Love that knows no bounds

caring for a dog with degenerative Myelopathy Sky is my 10yo Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a degenerative condition referred to as Degenerative Myelopathy – this is essentially. I have learned to adapt to her situation. Initially it involved me building larger steps so she could manage getting up stairs on her own, harnesses, wheelchairs etc … I’ll try and document some of the stuff I have done to adapt in this website so as to help others who might be going through similar situations. Sky has taught me that we are all adaptable. I have learned so much from Sky and her amazing attitude. She is patient, loving and just a joy to be around and I am so grateful to have her as a part of my life. In spite of the way the disease has tried to take away her abilities she remains able to control her bladder just fine. I have also learned to listen to her and really be in tune with her. I generally am able to anticipate what she needs based on time and attitude. This is hard to explain but we have become very in tune with one another over the years and even more especially now.

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Why a BLM over a regular camp ground

If you don’t feel like reading, this post is summarised by the 20 sec video at the end. A picture speaks a thousand words a 20 sec video says even more in this case! I spent the last three nights staying in Joshua Tree park at the Indian Cove campground for $20/night. I was fortunate enough to be able to chose my campsite in person versus reserving the unseen online. I don’t know if all the National Parks are arranged like this but basically the plan is to pack you all in as close to your neighbour as possible. I don’t know about you but after paying $30 entrance fee to the park and then $20/night for a camping spot that sports the amenities of a fire ring and a picnic table – no electricity or showers and imaginary privacy well I have to wonder if this actually makes sense. I only had neighbours one night and they seemed like nice enough people but I couldn’t relax outside and enjoy the stars and silence because their party included music and loud talking till late into the night. It was a beautiful park don’t get me wrong, but I guess when I’m paying for a campsite I’d like a better sense of privacy so I can enjoy nature and the experience. The main benefit to a campground over the BLM land is the ability to leave a table and chair out and have a decent sense that it will be there when you return. It is the ability to have a space to call your own for as long as you have the campground reserved. That’s the only real benefit though unless the campground offers showers and electricity too. The BLM style of camping is open space camping. The freedom to...

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Thinking about the dogs!

Yesterday was about Zulu! Sky is at peace whenever we are driving but Zulu needed some play and running time. Prior to this trip I had worked a bunch of double shifts with no time for Zulu to get a good run in and before that he was recovering from a sprained ankle so today was a day long overdue for some Zulu time. We started out at the 29 Palms dog park – he met a couple of playmates but no real running buddies. I was really wishing I could find a place to fly my drone so I came up with the idea to combine the two activities -Zulu exercise and drone flying. There aren’t many places in the area where I can legally fly. Joshua Tree park is strictly off limits and then there is the restricted airspace of the 29 Palms marine base. It just so happens that the BLM land just north of Joshua tree is also a non-restricted drone area per my airmap app. The BLM land north of the campground is huge!! And it proved to be a great spot for both the drone and Zulu Zulu had a good run and I got some cool flight time in -the videos are just too large to share at this time though.

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Joshua Tree – National Park

I spent a great weekend with family in the Orange County area- Sky and Zulu relaxed and so did I. I wasn’t sure of my destination after my weekend with family until the night before I left. I had been torn between the idea of driving the coast along the Pacific Coast Highway or, since I was already south, heading to Joshua Tree. The news of a landslide in the Big Sur area made me decide to steer clear of the coast for now and make my way to Joshua Tree. I had found a BLM campground via my trusty app, FreeRoam. When I pulled into the BLM campground I found around 15-20 others were already there and that it was overall a busy spot but on the road towards the campground I had found a couple of nice pullout spots so I found my campsite at a more private location not too far from the official BLM campground. Today was spent driving through Joshua Tree Park – stopping along the way at some cool spots. Joshua Tree is the sort of place that you really can’t experience it in a single day. Most of the attractions seem to be at the north side of the park but the drive itself is fun and relaxing. The pass is good for seven days so I intend to make the most of my time here. I drove through a couple of parks to possible consider as a place to spend the night but overall the parks were too popular for me until I drove into Indian Cove. Indian Cove is not accessible from the main road through the park. I had to exit the park and then drive back in through another route just a couple of miles eastward of my exit...

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Headed South..

I’m not good at schedules besides that of holding my job and keeping appointments that might be scheduled. In my off time, I don’t want time schedules. I’m headed to Southern California this trip. No definite plans but trying to get in a couple of family visits. Driving in traffic is monotonous and there is nothing particularly intriguing in the scenery. The time is going slow at the moment. Gas Buddy, the app, is my resource for gas prices and it brought me to Tulare for a decent gas price. Nearby is a sports complex so it’s made a good rest stop for the pooches and myself. I spent last night in Merced, dropping off some tools and books for a good friend and it made a good starting point for the rest of my trip. As usual, I have no specific plans after family just the one day at a time mantra and living in the now!!

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