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Archive for June, 2008

The Dimension Next Door

by on Jun.25, 2008, under Donald Bingle, Donald Bingle Family

The next story that I have coming out is “,” in a DAW anthology called The Dimension Next Door.  It will be released on July 1.  Here’s what the cover looks like:

My story is about a website, so I also grabbed the domain name and put up a bare bones website based on the one in the story, but that directs people to my writing website, just in case any of the readers actually try out the website for themselves.


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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Pictures

by on Jun.14, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

I’ve added pictures to most of the postings about our recent trip. To see the entire gallery, click on the picture below.


To get to Day 1 of the trip, click here

— Rich

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 16

by on Jun.13, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

We slept in until 8 (one of our latest wake-up calls of the trip besides the days we were on the houseboat) and then loaded up the van for the last time of the trip.

We drove back (up and) down into Death Valley and first stopped at Salt Creek to see the pupfish. There is a nice boardwalk along the creek which can be used to try to get a glimpse of the tiny pupfish. Unfortunately, there is also some sort of large insect that kept dive bombing us and some other smaller insect biting us, so Amber and I quickly decided we had seen enough and retreated to the van.


After that, we visited Artist’s Palette for some pictures before stopping at the Natural Bridge trailhead for a .5 mile hike to the bridge (an additional .5 miles to the end of the canyon). Hiking in Death Valley was just as tiring, much hotter (there was little shade and the bottles of cold water we took with us on our hike were luke warm in minutes), and not as scenic as hiking in Yosemite, but we enjoyed it none the less.


Finally, we visited Badwater Flats, at 282 feet below sea level it is the lowest point in the United States. We walked a little ways out onto the flats but it was pretty hot out and there really isn’t much change in the scenery as you hike (since it is flat), so after a little bit, we headed back to the van and started towards Las Vegas.

We took the south entrance out of the park (a narrow twisting road out in the middle of nowhere for dozens of miles) and eventually to Las Vegas. As we had a few hours before we needed to get to the airport, we had our final In-N-Out Burger meal at the same In-N-Out we had visited on day one and then stopped at the Belagio for 3 more fountain shows (each different) before returning the van and taking the shuttle to the airport to catch the red-eye back to Orlando.


The overnight flight was as uncomfortable as overnight flights always are and we had the added bonus of an occasionally crying baby in the row in front of us (although it could have been worse). By the time we arrived back at the house, I was ready to crash and quickly fell into our waterbed for a four hour nap.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable trip that I hope the girls will all have fond memories up for the rest of their lives. We did a lot of (I think) fun things that we had never done before and got to spend some quality time together. I wonder where we’ll go next year?

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 15

by on Jun.13, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

Bear!! Baby Bear!!!!!


We had decided to take a quick trip around the valley loop on our way through Yosemite on our way to the Tioga Pass just to see if any deer were hanging around waiting to get their picture taken. We were almost done with the loop when we noticed that a couple of cars were pulled over to the side of the road and people were piling out of their cars with cameras. It was at that point that Alyssa shouted out “Bear!! Baby Bear!!!!!”. Our rental van quickly joined the others abandoned on the side of the road as we grabbed our cameras and piled out. A mother bear and her cub were walking about 150 feet off the road through the trees with a stream of people mirroring their progress walking alongside of the road snapping pictures.


The pair quickly scampered up a tree hoping we’d all just go away. We took several pictures, but unfortunately, the bears were just too far away for our digital cameras although we did get some pretty good shots with the video camera. The bears eventually gave up on waiting for all of us to leave and climbed down and wandered farther back down the road and deeper into the trees. We made our way back to the van very happy that we’d decided to take that one last look.

We soon found ourselves on the Tioga Pass Road, and after some brief stops for pictures of various unnamed little waterfalls and a bathroom and souvenir stop, climbing steadily upwards. By the time we reached Olmsted Point (which would normally be a great view of Half-Dome) we were in the clouds and it began to snow. We had planned to hike the .5 mile trail at Olmsted Point, but after walking less than .25 miles gave up as the visibility had dropped to about 50 feet and the trail had disappeared into snow drifts.


We let the kids play a little in the snow before deciding we’d better head back up to the van as it was still snowing and were a bit concerned that the rocks on the trail would soon get too slippery. I don’t think we had gone more than a mile down the road when we passed out of the snow shower. We stopped a couple more times whenever there was a convenient turnout near a snow drift so the kids could play in the snow for a bit. We stopped one last time at a parking area near a snow covered wet meadow and the girls played for about 20 minutes in a drift, including making a snowman. It turned out that this had been a good place to stop as less than .5 mile down the road we passed the “Tioga Pass – Elevation 9954 Feet” sign and the snow banks on the sides of the road vanished as we passed to the other side of the range.


After leaving the park boundaries, we headed south towards Death Valley. We had originally planned to visit some of the sights in Death Valley before exiting on the other side and spending the night in Beatty, but by the time we made it to Stovepipe Wells in the middle of Death Valley (and around 96 or so degrees) we decided instead to just press on to Beatty and re-enter the valley the next day on our way back to Las Vegas (although we did stop to take some pictures of some interesting sand dunes that Ashley pointed out to us).

Next stop, Death Valley, Las Vegas, and home!

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 14

by on Jun.13, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

The park wasn’t nearly as crowded on Memorial Day as it had been the day before (I figure most folks were on their way home) and we had no problems driving or parking within the valley on our second day in the park. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t drizzling like it had been the day before, the mountains were still pretty well socked in with clouds. The sign as we entered the park indicated that Tioga Pass (our planned route to Death Valley the next day) and Glacier Point Road were still closed.


We started the day by hiking a ways up Four-Mile Trail towards Glacier Point. It turns out that Glacier Point is around five miles up Four-Mile Trail, and it is quite a climb at an altitude change of 3200 feet. We never intended to hike to the top, an instead ended up hiking uphill for about 30 minutes which was about .5 mile up the trail with a resulting gain in altitude of about 600-700 feet (over 4 miles and 2500 feet short of the top). Not having a trail map, getting tired, figuring there wouldn’t be much of a view at the top due to the weather, and the thought of encountering snow on the trail once we got to higher elevations, we decided that was far enough and headed back down. Going down was much easier than going up!

Hiking had caused us to work up an appetite, so we parked in the day use lot again and took the shuttle to the Visitor’s Center and had lunch at the deli (as had been recommended by Karen’s friend). We probably could have ordered 3 or 4 sandwiches for the 5 of us instead of one apiece as we were pretty stuffed when we were done.

After lunch we took the shuttle to Happy Isle (yesterday’s shuttle black hole) and hiked the .8 miles to the footbridge near the bottom of Vernal Falls. While the path was smoother and wider than Four-Mile, it seemed much steeper (or maybe I was just getting worn out). We eventually made it to the bridge, took some pictures, and got a drink at the water fountain by the bridge.


We briefly considered hiking the Mist Trail up to the top of the falls, but once we saw the condition of the trail past the bridge (rocks and broken asphalt) we quickly decided we’d seen enough of Vernal Falls after-all. Unfortunately, this time the walk down was almost as bad (if not worse) than the walk up had been. With the path being as steep and smooth as it was, it was fairly hard on the knees and we were all glad when we had reached the bottom.


We finished our day with a visit to the Happy Isle Nature Center and then headed back to the van and back to our hotel in Oakhurst. As we were leaving we noticed that both Glacier Point Road and Tioga Pass were now both open! We decided it was too late in the day to drive the almost 2 hours up to Glacier Point (besides, the clouds were still prevalent), but did give us hope that we could drive over Tioga Pass the next day on our way to Death Valley.

Next stop, Tioga Pass!

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 13

by on Jun.13, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

When we were first planning our trip, we made our reservations in the same order as when we would be visiting that particular location, so it wasn’t until much too late that we realized we would be visiting Yosemite National Park on one of its busiest days, the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Oh, well…

We had stayed in Selma the night before, so we had a bit of a drive ahead of us before we would get to Yosemite Valley. Karen had called while we were driving from Lake Mead to Selma to book the Valley Floor Tour (2 hour round trip) and the Glacier Point Tour (4 hour round trip). On her first attempt, we were disappointed to hear that they were all (understandably) booked up as it was a holiday weekend. A couple of hours later I had Karen call again just to check, and were pleasantly surprised to book the 10:00 a.m. Valley Floor Tour and the 1:30 p.m. Glacier Point Tour. We decided on only booking the trip up to Glacier Point and walking down Four-Mile Trail on the advice of a friend.

As we entered the park, we discovered that Glacier Point Road was closed (due to snow), so we figured we probably wouldn’t be taking the Glacier Point Tour after-all. We pulled into the valley with plenty of time to make our 10:00 Valley Tour, but I had some difficulty locating where the tour would be departing from. We were supposed to leave from Yosemite Lodge, but when we eventually found a sign for Yosemite Lodge, the parking lot it put us into had signs all over reading “Lodge Guest Parking Only” and there was no sign of the registration desk. We pulled back out of the lot and I apparently missed the sign at the next drive that indicated the tours were that direction. Seconds later the street we were on turned into a one-way and before I knew it we were past the lodge and were heading around the valley floor loop with no chance to turn around. By the time we made it back around, traffic was starting to pick up and we were getting close to 10:00. We decided to park in the day use parking lot and figured we could get directions to the lodge from one of the people directing traffic in the lot. The first girl we asked suggested taking the shuttle as it should get us to the lodge in about 5 minutes. The second girl we asked suggested walking as it was “not far” and would be “much faster than the shuttle”. Turned out she was dead wrong about the “not far” (it was more than a mile) and kinda right about the “faster than the shuttle” (the shuttle we were directed to was an express shuttle that only would have gotten us half-way after which we would have needed to wait for a different shuttle), but we didn’t know any of that at the time. So, we head off on a trot down the bike path in the direction we’d been given. After a .4 mile trot, we found ourselves at the shuttle stop for the other end of the express shuttle (having been passed by at least one bus) and with a sign indicating it was another .6 miles to Yosemite Lodge.

At this point Karen decided to run ahead and left me and the girls following at a walk. Karen managed to actually get to the tour desk at about 10:01 with the shuttle out front and quickly told the clerk that we were supposed to be on the 10:00 bus and that the rest of us were just a few minutes behind. She told Karen to tell the girl out by the bus to have the bus wait. Unfortunately, it was the girl outside’s second day on the job. As Karen told her we were supposed to be on the bus she waved goodbye to the driver (who pulled away) and then seemed to grasp what Karen was saying. She assured Karen that it wasn’t a problem as there was still room on the 11:00 bus. We walked up a few minutes later and got the news from Karen. So, while Karen and the girls hit the restroom I went to the counter to deal with changing our reservation. At this point, I was informed that the 11:00 had filled in the last 10 minutes, but that they still had some seats on the 12:00. When Karen and the girls found that out, Karen was not real happy that we were getting bumped back an additional hour especially since she had asked them to hold the bus and Ashley was really unhappy and instantly declared (a bit loudly) that she hated Yosemite, that the folks behind the counter were stupid and mean, and that she wanted to leave.


We eventually booked the 12:00 Valley Floor Tour and got the Glacier Point Tour refunded and now had about 1.5 hours to kill. We decided to try to have some fun and walked the .6 miles (retracing some of our steps from earlier) to the bottom of Lower Yosemite Falls and played tourist. As we left the falls and headed back to the tour desk for our 12:00 tour, we noticed that the park was getting more and more crowded. Little did we realize how crowded it would eventually become – after all, it was a holiday weekend.


Our tour of the valley floor was enjoyable and we got to stop for pictures at several spots, including a stop at “Tunnel View” which is right at the mouth of a tunnel which provides access into the valley. It had a nice (but cloudy) view of El Capitan, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Yosemite Valley. By the time we got back to the lodge around 2:00 p.m. the traffic had gotten very heavy and folks were parking on pretty much every reasonably flat shoulder they could find.

We decided not to try to use our van for traveling about the park the rest of the day and took a walk instead. We ended up going for a stroll through some trees and into one of the meadows on the valley floor (Sentinel Meadow maybe?). We found a path through the grass (whether it was human or deer, I’m not entirely sure), and eventually found our way to a foot bridge across the Merced River and the bike/pedestrian trail running around the valley floor. We walked for a while more along the trail (probably a total of about 2 miles) before deciding to catch a shuttle as it was starting to drizzle. We also wanted to go visit the 81 year old Ahwahnee Lodge near the Visitor’s Center. We got on the shuttle at stop 12 with intentions of taking it to stop 3 (the lodge). The ride to stop 13 took much longer than usual due to the traffic, so when we got to stop 13 I asked the driver if it would be faster if we got off and walked across the street to stop 21 (of 21) and waited for the next bus to come out of the Happy Isle loop. He figured it would save us at least an hour as traffic was very backed up ahead, so we got off and walked across the street. We ended up waiting for almost an hour in the drizzle and saw several buses go into the loop but none come back out. Finally one of the shuttle drivers going the other way took pity on us and convinced her passengers to all get out at the next stop and she turned around and came back and picked us up. We were saved! Or so we thought. Traffic was so bad it took almost 20 minutes for the bus to pull back out into the bumper-to-bumper traffic and make it through the next intersection where all the traffic problems were (about 150 feet from where we had been picked up). Once we made it through the intersection though, the next 2 miles took about 3 minutes as the bus then had a dedicated bus lane to use.

After visiting the lodge and gift shop, we decided to hit the Visitor’s Center and then call it a day. Unfortunately, the lodge is about a mile from anything, so we were forced to wait about 45 minutes for the next shuttle (at least this time we had a bench to sit on and a roof over our heads while we waited). We arrived at the doors to the Visitor’s Center promptly at 6:05 p.m. to see them lock the doors (it closes at 6:00), so we figured that was our clue to leave the park. We managed to time the next shuttle just right and were soon back in our van and headed for the park exit. Apparently everyone else had decided to leave around 5:30 as the park was definitely less crowded (and the traffic much lighter) than it head been earlier. We soon arrived at our new “base camp” in the town of Oakhurst, about 15 miles south of the park entrance.

Next stop, Yosemite on Memorial Day!

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 12

by on Jun.13, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

Today was the day that Alyssa had been looking forward to the whole trip, horseback riding!

I was too heavy to take the mule ride down into the Grand Canyon or to go horseback riding in Yosemite, but we had found a place within Sequoia National Park that would accommodate me (as long as their wasn’t too much snow still or that it wasn’t raining heavily).

We got up early and started our drive from Selma to the parks and it became obvious almost immediately that we were not going to have a nice sunny day. The mountains were socked in with clouds.


We stopped at Grant’s Grove to see the giant sequoias there (pretty eery seeing these huge trunked trees in the fog) and then started up the forest service “road” toward the stables. The road was paved (thankfully) but was only about a lane and a half wide. I was relieved that we encountered very little traffic coming the other way as it was winding its way up the side of the mountain and the clouds made it difficult to see very far ahead. Then it started to snow!

When we arrived at the Horse Corral Pack Station, we were greeted by the owner, Charlie, who noticed that we really weren’t prepared for how cold it was up on the mountain. We all had sweatshirts and jackets over our t-shirts, but didn’t have any gloves. Charlie offered the girls sweatshirts to wear over their jackets and cotton work gloves to keep their hands warm (he gave me his gloves and he wore a pair of leather work gloves instead.

They already had our mounts saddled and ready to go when we got there. Alyssa was to ride Carmen, Amber was given Francis (actually a large mule but Amber didn’t mind), Ashley got Mack, Karen was assigned Beauty, and I was to ride Lady (a Clydesdale!).


We soon set off up the trail with our guides, Jack (leading) and Charlie (following). We climbed a trail through the trees up the mountain and before long we were seeing snow drifts along the trail and soon afterwards fresh snow in the pine trees. We climbed for about an hour until we reached a fresh snow drift mostly blocking the trail. We stopped here and Jack and Charlie walked a bit ahead and when they came back were discussing our options.


The trail ahead was snowy and the recent rain/sleet/snow had made our other choices too boggy and wet, so it was back down (roughly) the same way we had come. Alyssa had controlled Carmen herself on the way up (and only had a problem once), but opted to have Jack lead Carmen on the way back down (I think her hands were cold).


We arrived back at the stables to a roaring (and welcome) bonfire and hot beverages (and lemonade). After warming up for a bit we started the slow drive back down the forest service road to the main road running through the park. The weather was still not the best, but we decided we might as well drive a bit further to see the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman Tree, before we left the park. They apparently had recently put in a new parking area for the grove that required a half mile walk (with an almost 300 foot elevation change) to get to the base off the tree. Once we made it back to up the hill to the van we were pretty warn out, so we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel in Selma.

Next stop, Yosemite!

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 11

by on Jun.13, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

Today was scheduled to be our white water rafting trip on the Kings River. We had been unsure for weeks whether we would actually be able to go as they wouldn’t allow Alyssa to go if the river was running too high and rough from the spring runoff, but the last communication we had with them they made it sound like she would be able to go after all. Karen didn’t want to be late and due to the remote location of their base camp we weren’t sure how long it would take us to drive there in the morning. Turned out that we arrived over an hour and a half early and needed to sit around and wait for the other two people that were rafting that day.

There was a bit of a scare when our guide, Ruben, asked if it would be a problem if Alyssa and Amber went in the supply raft with the other guide so that the other two folks (experienced rafters) could go with Karen, Ashley, and me so that those folks could get the “full experience”. We were finally able to convince him that the girls would freak out at that prospect and it would not turn out well for anyone. Since the girl who usually took pictures from shore had managed to lock herself out of the shack with her equipment in it and they had an extra guide in for the crowd they were to have the next day (140 people!), they filled the second raft with those two (plus a guide) instead.

Our second scare came when it was time to put on the wetsuits we would need while on the river. The river runs very cold, and going without a wetsuit just isn’t an option. The problem was that they didn’t have a wetsuit that was anywhere near the right size for Alyssa. Despite having asked us a month before for everyone’s height and weight, the smallest wetsuit that they had was at least 3 sizes too big for Alyssa. An uncomfortable wetsuit isn’t much fun (or much use), so this got Alyssa pretty upset and it took us a while to get her calmed down enough to get her to pay attention to Ruben’s safety talk (and convince Ruben that she wouldn’t freak out on the raft).

The third scare was the ride up from the base camp to where we would be launching. I had thought the ride up from Selma had been bad, but it was nothing compared to this. The road turned from a winding on the edge of the mountain no guardrail almost two lane road (complete with a single dashed yellow line down the center – probably because the road was too narrow for double yellow lines and not that they expected anyone to attempt a pass on it) to a winding on the edge of the mountain no guardrail one lane dirt path. To add to the excitement the windshield wipers on the truck Ruben was driving wouldn’t turn off and the windshield had dried bugs, pollen, etc. on it. He ended up driving the 10 miles fiddling with the wiper knob and complaining about the “fingernails on a chalkboard” sound that the wipers were making, eating his breakfast as he drove. It got even more exciting when a school bus one of the other rafting companies used came down the mountain the other way and Ruben pulled the truck over to the very edge.


Then it was finally time to get onto the water. Karen and I took the front (with Alyssa sitting between us) with Ashley and Amber in the middle row. Ruben used a set of oars rigged in the stern instead of a paddle. After a few more minutes of instructions we were off and were almost instantly soaked by the first set of rapids. With the oars rigged in the stern, we didn’t have to do too much paddling (which was nice) and we quickly rafted through about 15 rapids before stopping for lunch on a very rocky beach.


Alyssa got cold during lunch (mostly because her wetstuit was just way too big) but tried to be a trooper for us. Probably the most interesting thing about lunch was that they had forgotten the paper cups for the lemonade they had brought in one of those big cylindrical cooler things, so they ended up hanging the thing from a tree and we had to drink by sticking our head under the spigot. Karen quickly dubbed it “Gravity Juice”. After lunch Alyssa road in between Ashley and Amber (I think because she thought she would get less wet there – I had seemed to be taking the brunt of most of the water coming into the raft). Not 5 minutes later we hit a rapids that practically launched her and knocked Ashley and Amber to the floor of the raft and soaked her (missing me for once). While initially a shock to her that almost started the tears flowing again, she got back up on the air filled cross tube that was functioning as their seat and smiled. We continued our trip down the river with Ruben telling the same made up story for how each rapids with an animal name had gotten its name (the bored animal watching the rafters from the edge jumped in, got its feet caught, and drowned). I think Amber counted 32 rapids in all.

Our final scare came when we passed by the base camp and went through the final set of (short) rapids. We hit one pocket in such a way that I almost launched myself out of the raft. I’m sure that if I hadn’t had my feet wedged in under the tubes of the raft I would have gone head first into the water. It turned out that Ruben didn’t even notice because he had slipped the same time I had and thought he was going to get his leg broken by the rigging for the oars . But in the end, we were all safe and soon had our rafts ashore.

We ended up “recovering” at the base camp for about an hour (eating some snacks, looking at the many butterflies that seemed to like a 20 foot section of a path in the camp, and in general warming back up) before heading back to our our hotel in Selma. We took a quick dip in the pool (it was cold, but not quite as cold as the river had been) before calling it a night.

Next stop, King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks!

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 10

by on Jun.06, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

We had a long drive ahead of us from Temple Bar Marina, AZ to Selma, CA and had to get the houseboat back to the marina by 11:30 a.m., so we got up around 7ish and tried to leave by 8:00. It was still cool outside, so we decided to forgo a last dip in the cold waters of Lake Mead and attempted to get our houseboat off the beach and backed out of the cove we were in. Karen untied us, Ashley and Amber wound up the ropes, Alyssa and her stuffed souvenir coyote from the Grand Canyon “Luna” watched, and I manned the helm. It soon became apparent, however, that we weren’t going anywhere. The wind and waves from the day before had deposited us quite firmly on the beach and the sand had built up under the front third of the pontoons. No matter what, I couldn’t seem to get us backed off of the sand. Karen and Ashley got out and pushed on the bow while I put the outboards into reverse, and we eventually started moving. They jumped on board so that they wouldn’t have to wade too far into the cold water, but it was apparently premature as we stopped moving as soon as they did. It turned out that all we had managed to do was pivot the stern of the boat about 15 degrees to port (towards the rock outcropping on that side) and were just as stuck as we had be previously. We struggled with different strategies for getting unstuck (including moving the 250 pounds of suitcases and Amber and Alyssa to the rear cabin, retying the starboard ropes and tightening them while trying to pivot back to perpendicular to the shore, digging out some sand from under the front of the pontoons, pushing and shoving on the bow, praying, prying with branches, and wiggling the boat with the engines. After over an hour, we finally got off the beach (and this time Karen and Ashley waited a bit longer before climbing aboard)!


We cruised back to the marina where we were refueled and the props and the boat “inspected”. We were fortunate in that in all our struggling to get off the beach we hadn’t managed to damage the props and hadn’t used up too much fuel. In fact, the guys refueling us were amazed at how full our tanks were for having been out for several days. We figure it was because we had been given the hint that running on one engine was almost as fast as running on both and we hadn’t had to use the generator at all on the third day. Somehow even though they seemed to make a big deal about how full the tanks were, we still ended up needing about $100 worth of fuel (coincidentally about the same amount we had used in our day of tubing at Lake Havasu).

After loading up the van again, we were soon on our way back across Hoover Dam and past Las Vegas on our way to Selma, CA. We would use the hotel in Selma as our “base camp” for the next couple of days. Along the road we were treated to a view of a large wind farm right along the highway in the Tehachapi Pass.

We reached the hotel in Selma around 8:30 p.m. and had a late dinner before heading to bed.

Next stop, the Kings River!

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Orlando Bingles’ Western Adventure: Day 9

by on Jun.06, 2008, under Richard Bingle Family

Wait a minute, I thought it was supposed to be hot?

It was definitely cooler outside than it had been the day before (about 25 degrees cooler) and the wind had picked up, but that wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying ourselves. As the wind was blowing directly out of the west into our little cove, we first needed to retie the boat as the waves had pushed us a bit and the starboard rope was very slack. Karen was very pleased with how well we ended up being retied. It looked like we knew what we were doing. Little did we know…

We spent some time playing in the houseboat, including “Beauty Parlor” (Karen re-did Amber and Alyssa’s braids and Alyssa did Karen and Ashley’s ponytails) and “Crab Boat” (based loosely on the television series “Deadliest Catch”. We also tried flying some kites off of the bow of the houseboat (a suggestion given to us a few days earlier when we were returning our speedboat at Lake Havasu). Fortunately the wind was blowing onto shore which made it much easier to rescue the kites when they would crash.


The best way to get used to the water was to take the plunge down the slide off the stern, but boy was the water cold! Ashley was definitely the most enthusiastic out of all of us about going off the slide. Alyssa spent most of her time in the inflatable boat we had brought along.

We played some more cards (Pig again) after dinner and then called it a night.

Next stop, California!

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