Nationally Parked

by Bob Sparrow

Is that finger pointing at me?

Based on its popularity with our readers, Suzanne’s blog last week obviously got a lot of you thinking about antiques you have stuffed away somewhere that you inherited from your parents and haven’t yet tossed. Or you may be thinking about all the stuff you have that will become ‘antiques’ that your kids will stuff away somewhere until they get tossed. That old spinning wheel lamp of Mom’s got me to thinking about an old antique that I’m not quite sure what to do with . . . me!

You may have noticed that I’ve changed my photos on Facebook because I looked at them over the weekend and thought to myself, “Who is this guy?” He looks like a real adventurer, a regular Indiana Bob”. I think I vaguely remember someone like that, but lately he congers up California Fats. That person in the old pictures used to go on hikes to exotic places and travel to the far corners of the globe. Not so much anymore. As I sat and perused my previous blogs this year, I noted that I’ve written about bank robbers, sitting in the desert, watching the Oscars, walking (not running) on the beach, pontificating on heroes, eulogizing Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and proffering a ponderous philosophical tome on New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t gone anywhere!  I’m surprised I didn’t write about going to Nashville again, an adventure I wrote about last year, but didn’t actually go on. So I regrettably changed my photos.

Il Volo

Two weeks ago I did venture into Los Angeles, which in fact can be an adventure in itself, to see the singing group Il Volo. They are a trio of nice-looking, mid-20s Italian tenors, who made their U.S. debut on American Idol in 2011, not as contestants, but as guests, where they sang O Sole Mio. Their concert was awesome, possibly the best that Linda and I have ever seen, but the adventure to Los Angeles was without any muggings, murders or even traffic delays, thus my adventure consisted of simply sitting in a venue in another city.

My adventurous instincts were buoyed last week when I read that April 15-23 is National Park Week.  During those two weekends one can get into all National Parks for FREE. The 16th is Easter so there will be lots of tourists that day hunting for bear eggs and the 22nd is Earth Day, where we acknowledge . . . the earth . . . or something. The old me, or perhaps I should say the former me, which is the younger, thinner me, would have booked a hike in Yosemite or Yellowstone, but the new me is looking to Nationally Park my butt in an chaise lounge and watch the grandkids get frustrated trying to find the Easter eggs that I was too lazy to hide this year. I haven’t yet quite decided how I’m celebrating ‘Earth Day’, perhaps I’ll purchase a globe; on Amazon of course, so I don’t have to leave the house.

My newfound pastime of sitting also takes place when I’m plying my trade of selling Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (the old reverse mortgage, which I’ve heard had a bad reputation and my mother always said to stay away from things with bad reputations – I thus missed out on a lot of good times!) I really do enjoy working with my fellow seniors to help them with retirement financing when I can, although it seems to be making me heavier, but I’ve rationalized that it’s for a good cause. I have found that rationalization goes hand and glove with idleness.

The latest insult occurred recently when I stepped on one of those scales that print out your ‘fortune’, mine said, “One at a time please!”

But alas, summer is coming and my hip is fully healed (it’s actually been fully healed for about 5 months, but I’ve relied on it to limit my physical activity), so there are some adventures planned of which you’ll once again be coming along vicariously.   Once I’m feeling better about my increased activity level, I’ll post some more adventurous photos on Facebook as I’m not quite ready to go the way of that old spinning wheel lamp yet!


If you like our blog please ‘share’ on social medial; if you don’t like our blog please keep it to yourself.

2015 Reviews, Previews & Predictions

by Bob Sparrow


The Eagles backstage – me, NOT!

–  For me 2014 started here with the discovery, or rather the re-discovery, of The Tape’ – a mysterious offering from dearly departed, best friend, Don of Saudi Arabia, which has turned into an allegorical journey in search of . . . ? More discoveries are coming in 2015.

  •     –  Last year’s backstage cocktail party with the Eagles turned out to be more of a nose-bleed seat and a hot dog in the balcony, but their music was still magical.

–  I watched a car salesman, beaten and bloody, slink into his manager’s office with his tail between his legs as Linda drove away in her new 2015 Chevy Yukon

–  In 2014 I learned that Samoans, by any other name (even one as misleading as Caramel deLites) are still my favorite Girl Scout cookie, although I understand I’ll be paying more for them in 2015 – what a surprise!

carly scott

Missing woman turns into a homicide

–  The case of missing Carley Scott, to which I was introduced by a hitch-hiker I picked up on the ‘Road to Hana’, turned into a homicide when Carley’s jawbone and burned clothes were found by police. Ex-boyfriend, Steven Capobianco has gone from a ‘person of interest’ to being charged with murder.  Trial is set for sometime in 2015.

–  An economic forecast: I predict that 2015 will find Reverse Mortgages moving Forward.

–  Independence Day (not the 4th of July!) revealed our founding fathers to be just as quirky as some of today’s politicians, which is no easy task!


Trekking the Himalayas

–  If my adventure to South Africa in 2013 was the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’, then my adventure in Nepal and the Himalayas last year was the ‘Trek of a Lifetime’ – it was a spectacular journey! I’m glad many of you could join me vicariously through my daily posts. I am now frequently asked, “Hey, where are ‘we’ going next?” Stay tuned.

–  It wasn’t as foreign, but just as beautiful – that’s the trekking through Glacier Nat’l Park, Yellowstone, and Alberta, Canada and our visit to neighbors the Nelsons at their second home on Flathead Lake, Montana this past summer. You’re all probably wondering if after our encounter in Jackson Hole, WY, if Sandra Bullock will ever leave me alone . . . more on that later.

2014-07-24 20.08.47

Is she still stalking me?

–  Earlier this year, while making a fool of myself at some of our ‘local’ tourist spots like Venice Beach, the Western White House and the Queen Mary, I missed my induction into the University of Utah Athletic Hall of Fame – it’s just as well, it turned out that they had plenty of ‘red shirts’ to clear the dishes and sweep up after.

–  Twenty fourteen concluded with a tribute to, and a debate with, my favorite sister, my favorite writing companion and simply one of my favorite people on this planet.  If you’re a regular you know she writes so well from the heart, while I tend to write from somewhere around the elbow, but whatever your preference, I predict much more of the same coming from us in 2015.

–  A big thank you to our regular readers in 2014 for enjoying our writing enough to encourage us to keep on doing it. Truth is, we’d probably do it anyway, but you need to know that your comments, your ‘sharing’ and your subscriptions make it a labor of love for us. Thank you so much!


Bob & Suzanne wishing you an adventurous 2015!

If you’re not already a subscriber, we encourage you to become a ‘bird watcher’ in 2015 and follow and ‘share’ our adventures and observations.  That’s at least a resolution you can keep!

Hope you make 2015 matter.

Yellowstone Nat’l Park: Go for the Flora & Fauna not Old Faithful

by Bob Sparrow

Upper Falls

Upper Falls on the Yellowstone River

My first experience of Yellowstone was yesterday’s geezer of a geyser and as you have no doubt surmised, I was less than thrilled. Today was a totally different story as we headed to Canyon Village in the heart of the park, which affords some of the most spectacular views of the deep canyons that the Yellowstone River has carved out over the years. Pat, Pam and I took a 6 miles loop hike on the South Rim that gave us spectacular views of Upper Falls, Lower Falls, Artist Point, Lilly Pad Lake, Clear Lake as well as some close up inspections of geysers, mud holes and hot springs. We could have run into any type of animal on this hike so I made sure I had my bear spray with me. Which reminds me that I forgot to tell you about our encounter with a bear at Jenny Lake yesterday. We were hiking around the south end of the lake, minding our own business, when hikers coming from the other direction said that they just encountered a bear a few hundred yards up the trail. They said the bear had ‘faked charged’ them and one of the men who had bear spray stood in front and sprayed the bear, who then retreated. I thought I was being smart and prepared when I brought along some bear spray, but since I was the only one who did, I ended up being the stupid one as I was pushed to the front of the pack as we headed down the trail towards the bear. The rest of the group stayed close behind me, very close, in fact I was concerned about stopping quickly and getting ‘rear ended’, so to speak. We did indeed run into Mr. Bear as he crossed the trail about 50 feet in front of me; I stopped (and wasn’t rear ended, thank you!) and pulled out my bear spray and had my finger on the trigger not knowing exactly what would come out or how far it would go if I squeezed it. The bear must have sensed that I was ill prepared for this situation and moved on without incident. It wasn’t, however, without accident, as my shorts were in need of some laundering.

Back to Yellowstone – we wanted to see some buffalo – from a distance, and our server at Saturday night’s dinner recommended we go to Hayden Valley just north of Yellowstone Lake. So after our hike and another lunch of cheese and wine (I was feeling so ‘French’ that I think I started to smell bad) by the river, we headed out to see some buffalo – which we did. If I can get a video on this blog (NOT!) I will show you a buffalo walking right down the middle of the road right past our car – he was a huge, magnificent animal. We also saw elk and moose along the way, just minding their own business, making this place even more beautiful. The wildest of animals in the park are the multitude school-aged children, and I applaud the parents for introducing their children to this environment at an early age, but a quick travel tip, if you plan to visit Yellowstone, go in September when the kids are back in school.

Buffalo Bar

Start of the West Yellowstone ‘Pub Crawl’

We drove back to West Yellowstone, cleaned up and as I write this we started our pub-crawl. We decided that we’d have one drink at each of the five bars that our server on Saturday night said were the best bars in town. We decided we would all go to the first bar in one car, which we’d pick up in the morning and walk to the others, which were all within a couple of blocks. First stop, the Buffalo Bar, which had a bunch of buffalo, elk, moose and deer heads hanging on the wall. After two drinks (We wasted little time in breaking the one-drink rule), we wondered how hard those animals had to be running to get their heads through the wall like that. Also on the wall there was a sign that said, ‘If you have to drink somewhere, drink in the Buff’.

Next stop was the Slippery Otter, which we drove to (Oops, broke another rule). It had a scuffle board table in it, which some people played while others drank. I started wandering if it was a good precision to bring my laptop and record this as things were starting to get a little fuzzy navel. Bob Pacelli complained that he tasted the soap used to wash his wine glass, but the waiter said that was implausible as they never wash the wine gasses. We then waddled to the next block to Bull-wrinkle’s, where we ordered some more imbibing. We ordered some sliders, but they brought us these little hamburgers instead. We didn’t want to raise a rumpus, so we just ate them and currampulated over to the next salon, which was Wild West Pizzarena. We ordered another rounder and listened to the guy praying his guitar and singing like a bird-watcher. By now we were slurping our word and acting incognito, so the servant recommended that we have coffee. We told her we were not driven, but we ordered a Long Island Iced Coffee just to make her snappy.

end of crawl

End of the ‘Pub Crawl’

The last place we went, we didn’t go to, as it was getting latte and we were no longer Thursday. So now I’m thinking I’m back in my hotel womb, as I see a bed that needs buttering and I believe I was over-swerved, but want to varnish this before I crush.   But tomorrow I’ll be somber as we get back on the Rhode Island and head for wherever we’re headed.  Chow.


Grand Teton National Park

by Bob Sparrow


Jackson Hole tram

Sorry this is late (you weren’t awake anyway!); no I wasn’t off somewhere with Sandra Bullock, she never called, if you can believe that! It’s been a very busy couple of days. Friday we took the tram to the top of the Grand Teton Ski Resort – visibility was 70 miles! It was spectacular! That evening we went to a dinner show of ‘Paint Your Wagon’, which was surprisingly quite good.

The next morning Linda’s sister called from Rochester to let us know that their father, Warren, had had a heart attack the night before. He’s 90 and has had a quadruple by-pass, but has otherwise been in very good health. The prognosis was not good and the doctor’s suggested that the family come as soon as possible. So Saturday morning Linda flew out of Jackson Hole into Rochester, MN. The news is good – they put in a stent and he is doing miraculously well, in fact went home on Sunday! Linda will be flying back to Missoula, MT on Monday to rejoin us; we’ll pick her up as we’re passing through on our way to Flathead Lake, MT.  Thanks to those who were aware of this – your prayers worked.

Gang at Jenny Lake

‘Hoodwink Hikers’ at Jenny Lake

Meanwhile, the seven of us drove to Jenny Lake, which is named after a Shoshone Indian woman who married an Englishman named Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh. I’m not making this stuff up! The lake is at the base of the Grand Teton Mountains and spectacularly beautiful and serene. Some took a boat and some of us hiked around the lake to ‘Hidden Falls’ and half way up to ‘Inspiration Point’ where we got half inspired to have a wine, bread and cheese lunch on the shores of Cottonwood Creek that flows out of Jenny Lake (apparently the picture is not available at this time).




Just as exciting to watch

After lunch we continued up the road another 50 miles to Yellowstone Nat’l Park where we drove directly to ‘Old Faithful’ and waited, and waited. As we sat waiting along with a thousand other ‘tourists’, it took an hour-and-a-half to see this ‘every 26 minute eruption’ erupt. For me it was like sitting at the roadside waiting for your radiator to explode – it’s hot water and steam coming out of the ground for crying out loud.  The big deal was that it did it so consistently, it was so regular, predictable . . . faithful!  Not so much anymore.  I put a check mark by ‘see Old Faithful’ and we drove another 30 miles to West Yellowstone where we had dinner around 10:00 p.m. and crashed.

We’ll be playing around Yellowstone today and then doing a pub-crawl in West Yellowstone – so if I’m late again . . . sorry.