Sunday, February 19, 2017

Valentine's Day and 200K

The day after our Golden Anniversary was Valentine's Day... and the only day without rain when we would both be in the state (rather than traveling north or south for grandkid events) to do our North Santiam raptor route. So that's what we did. The weather was lovely. Mt. Jefferson appeared ahead of us, snow-covered and beautiful.

Raptors were sparse but halfway through the route we found a new place to pick up lunches since our usual Chinese restaurant was closed. The food was very good! Eating out is Johnny's favorite part of our birding adventures. The little cafe is right at the corner where we turn to go to our lunch spot... Lyons City Park and John Neal Park. As we sat in the car eating our take-out meals at the edge of the park ponds, the raptors came to us... A Red-tailed Hawk chased a Red-shouldered Hawk out from a tree where we had not seen it until it flew.

In the afternoon, we stopped to scope out a big nest in a grove of deciduous trees off the road. I was hoping for what would look like a cat's head appearing out of it... and there it was! A well-camouflaged Great Horned Owl was in the nest, peering out. I took a photo with my long lensed Nikon camera... First of the distant grove with big nest...

Then zoomed in on the nest...  the "cat's" head and ears are just left of the big trunk, on top of the tangled twigs of the nest...

...Up closer, you can see the owl's face and ears...

As exciting as the owl find was, even more exciting was what happened after our route was over and we were on our way home. We had noticed that the speedometer on my Hondo Civic Hybrid was nearing the 200,000 mark. In our family, actually watching as the speedometer turns over to an even number is a good luck omen... so watching it turn to 200K is a spectacular happening! About six miles from home, we watched (hopefully Johnny, the driver, was just glancing now and then) as it turned over from 199,998 to 199,999, and then... to the big 200,000! Naturally, I took photos. (It's what I do.)

Back home, Johnny researched when we acquired this car (it was a joint surprise for me from my dad, son Steve, and Johnny) and how many miles it had on it then. Johnny says it is a 2003 model, bought in 2006, with 30,307 miles on it.

A few months after it arrived, the huge battery that makes it a hybrid gave out. Happily it was still under warranty and we got a new one for nothing. That one is still testing perfectly fine after ten years... and nearly 170,000 miles. And I'm still averaging over 45 miles to the gallon.

I've hauled feed in this car, driven it up and down mountains... and scratched it up more than it deserves. I even hauled a buck goat in it all the way to California. (Yes, my big animal carrier fits in the back seat. The door opens wide and I can put most anything in there.) It also has a spacious trunk.

...So many trips north to the Washington kids and south to the California kids, loaded with stuff to give them. So many trips to the coast for bird surveys and fun...

I love this car.

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