Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Give-Away Update

This is the email I received from the editor at the site:

"Thanks for your email. I appreciate you taking the time to write. Also for your mention of DearReader at your blog. It really means a lot to me when people spread the word about the book club.
We had a lot of readers enter the drawing for your books and a lot of interesting entries of why they needed a vacation. The winners should be receiving their books this week and I'm sure they'll enjoy them.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends."

I'm pleased that "a lot" of people wrote wanting free copies of my books -- wonder what they said.
Again, I recommend the Dear Reader site -- great intro. to new and classic reads. Read a daily excerpt or just click "delete." I've found a few gems via the emails.

Kindle Want-to-Be-Owners

Most of you know how much I love my Kindle. It has been a great traveling companion. My article, with such a positive slant that my big brother nicknamed me, "the kindle salesman," was published in the small wonderful periodical Bookwomen. (Bookwomen is not available online; if you would like a copy of the article, email with "kindle article" in subject line.)


With Credit Card offer, only $259!

Then I'll get credits towards more books..Ummm.

When it first came on the market, the Kindle cost was $399. Over the last couple of months the price has dropped to $359.

But if you order now and sign-up for a Chase amazon Visa account, you will get an additional $100 off.

(This is what it says on the website __Thanks to Chase, you get $100 off Kindle when you get the new Rewards Visa Card. Limited time only. Here's how this works: APPLY ONLINE Get a response in as little as 30 seconds. If you’re approved, we will instantly add the card to your account and you’ll get $30 back on your credit card statement after your purchase. 2) Add a Kindle to your cart. 3) Place your order using the Rewards Visa Card and enter this promo code: VISACARD to get the additional $70 savings )

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Same Hike, Different Views

Alan and I took an incredible hike in Mt Rainier Natl Park, the Skyline Trail.
We never got to see that mountain because of the intermittent rain, the fog, and clouds.

Only six miles, the trail is graded "strenuous" for a few reasons. It steeply rises and continues to gain 1700 feet in elevation. The surfaces vary from dirt paths to steps to slate, some very uneven parts, and snow in areas.
The views were wonderful -- long views of snow covered mountains, waterfalls, wildflowers and beasts (like that charging marmot -- mentioned in another entry).

Going up the snow covered areas, although a bit slippery, were a bit slushy and maneuverable. Coming down the other side of the mountain, the snow was very slippery, people said it was like skiing without skis so I sledded down on my raincoat!

Here the trail is looking like a stroll in the park. (And in the bottom left hand corner you can see the finger of the amateur photographer who offered to take our picture.)
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Leave Me Alone!

The paparazzi couldn't let the foragers alone, they photographed them as they were leisurely eating in private. Well, I got these photos before the marmot charged me! It looked like an angry (mini) bear. Yes, I did run away screaming.

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More than One Road to Paradise

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Just Another Bridge

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Sated in Seattle

As a family, we travel well together, enjoying many of the same activities from hiking to frequenting bookstores. One activity that we all love is EATING.

When Rebecca arrived in Seattle, it gave Alan and me a good excuse to go back to The Crab Pot – that waterfront place where the food is spilled into a pile on your table and you/we pound away at the shells and devour the goodies. Last time I wrote about it, I mentioned that other patrons had taken photos of the offerings. This time I thought I’d illustrate the meal for all you readers.

Not too much for us!

Still room for dessert.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Woodstock Memories - Were You There?

Although they say if you remember the sixties, you probably weren't there, it is purported that half a million of us attended the 1969 Woodstock festival. I was there. Were you? Or was someone you know?

Publisher, Adams Media, is seeking entries for a 40th anniversary anthology. I am writing an essay for possible inclusion and know that Adams Media is looking for more submissions.

The guidelines can be found at:


Friday, August 22, 2008

A City Day is A Foodie Day

First nice weather day in awhile. I got a bunch of paperwork, van organizing, reading, and essay writing accomplished over the last few rainy days. Arrived in Tacoma area (outside Seattle) yesterday and today we left our Trek at the campground and took public transport into downtown Seattle. We walked around the waterfront and the great market of seafood, flowers, and crafts. Most pleasing was finding and eating at a place we had been to on our first trip here, about ten years ago, The Crab Pot. Of course, we ordered crab -- Alaskan, King, and Dungeness. Tables are covered with waxed paper, the servers tie large bibs around your neck, and each diner is given a wooden board and mallet. When the server brings the food to the table, they ceremoniously dump it on the table -- ours mixed with small pieces of corn on the cob and steamed potatoes. Also little cups filled with melted butter for the fish and a half loaf of sourdough bread. You have to really enjoy playing with your food, which we do and DID! I wish I took a photo of the spread like many other patrons did -- so I could share it with you. A picture IS worth a thousand words -- but it won't fill your stomach.

And before we came back to our campground we shared a cupcake-sized chocolate-peanut butter cheesecake followed by a magnificent hazelnut gelato.

We better get out our bikes and exercise more tomorrow. Seattle is too seductive!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I just noticed that the Dear Reader website is giving away copies of my books (donated by my publisher.) Know anyone who wants one? If so, see below.

Dear Reader is a great site to learn about new and different books. Once you sign up for a particular category (eg. fiction; nonfiction; business; pre-publication), you are emailed a few pages a day, for five days, of the week's chosen book. Enough to give you a sense of the book. If you are hooked...then you can go get yourself a copy.

Dear Reader Column 08-20-08
Join my email book club. Over 350,000 people read 5-minutes a day. To see what books I'm featuring this week, go to:

Dear Reader,
If you need a vacation, but can't get out of town I have a gift for you. Two books that will help you relax and wake up feeling so refreshed that you'll think you've been on vacation. Register to win a copy of How to Sleep Soundly Tonight and 365 Ways to Relax, Mind, Body & Soul -- both books by author Barbara L. Heller. I have 6 books to give away. Send me an email and tell me why you need a vacation and I will enter your name in the drawing. Please be sure to include your address. Due to Tropical Storm Fay, I'm not going to be able to send you a response to your email, but I will let you know if you are the winner.

To enter the drawing for the books send an email to me at:
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
Suzanne Beecher


Coming "home" from Canada where we have been enjoying ourselves mostly in the Canadian Rockies for the past 3 weeks, we were attempting to reenter "our country" at a minor border crossing (open only to 5 PM) from British Columbia to Washington State. We were prepared. Our Passports were out, our drivers licences, the vehicle registration, and reminders to each other to behave. These people take their jobs seriously and they carry guns.

The usual questions - Where are you coming from? Duh, Canada.

Where are you going? Ah.. The United States of America.

Do you have any food with you? Not illegal immigrants, weapons of mass destruction, or illegal drugs, food? Well yes, this is an RV; we have a refrigerator full of food and canned and dry food as well - is that a problem?
Just pull over there next to that Soviet Union style cement block building where that guard with the gun is standing.

We comply rather nervously not exactly sure where he wants us but the guard with the gun waves us in and commands us to get out of the vehicle, leave your keys on the seat and go into that building - we have a yellow sticker attached to our passports. In the building, not exactly sure of what we are supposed to do or where to go, another guard calls us over and goes thru the drill. This time more extensively. Food? Yes. Any fruit, meats? Yes. What kind, this and that, how about this and this and that? No. -- I'm going to look!

He proceeds to leave us standing there and we watch thru the window as he boards our vehicle to inspect. VERY CREEPY! This is not the same feeling as when in your car and they ask you to open the trunk - they (he) is going into our home, (we have been living in it for over 2 months) to look around. Sort of like the cops showed up at your door one day and said get out and then just started rummaging thru your house.

About 5 minutes later he comes out - not smiling - or giving any indication of what is up - not a word - we sit silently and nervously on the "group W" bench (oh, that's another song/movie) and await his proclamation.

Apparently he didn't find any forbidden fruit, and must have missed the 4 illegals in the bathroom and with an attempt at a smile sends us on our way - "Have a nice day. " !!??

We're -- Back in the U.S., Back in the U.S., Back in the U.S. of A

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Wanted to catch you all up on the people scene. In June, toward the beginning of our trip, I wrote on this blog:

"We and many of our friends have said -- we are not the RVing type. As boaters, we have always enjoyed entering a town via its waterway and chatting with the other boaters. Although we have had some short but sweet contact with our fellow travelers, we have not yet found anyone we wanted to share a meal with or just sit around and chat with for awhile."

Thankfully, that turned around a long time ago -- we have met many, many interesting and fun folks -- at restaurants or seating outside ice cream stands, talking with the performers in hotel lounges or tour group leaders, we've chatted with other hikers on the trails (including the sisters from Edmonton), families stopped at viewpoints (including the couple from PA who took our photo for us), groups on shuttle buses (like the Seattle-based family who used to live in Ithaca), an author and his musician companion I met in the Jackson Lake Lodge, the campground hosts we invited for a van tour because their friend said they were in the market for a Roadtrek, Pastor Bob and his wife Joan -- who live in WY -- we met in a KOA, I've answered a campground clerk's questions about blogging, and spent a day with a fantastic group of women at a Nature Journaling class at the Glacier Institute. Some fleeting and some lengthier, some suface and some more revealing.

((Hello -- if any of you are reading -- and we would love to hear from you too. Directly on the blog or via emal

And I/we love the connection we have with all of you at home via this blog, emails, and calls.

Mellowest of Many Mellow Mornings

The forecast was for another steamy day, so we started out with an early morning hike up Old Fort Point Trail in Jasper. Initially a steep climb including over 150 wood and stone steps to another extraodinary view. The loop took us out on a more gradual descent and we enjoyed chatting with the two Canadian sisters we met on the trail.

We then drove over to a lake -- which turned out to face the Fairmont in Jasper. Spent most of the day at this idyllic spot -- beautiful and uncrowded. Kayaking, picnicking, reading on the shore. Alan went for a swim. And at the end of the day we took a short bike ride around the lake.

What about the bottom photo? Can you see the bugs in the web attached to the tree?

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At the Glacier & the Falls

So, here we are on the Athabasca glacier...and then just miles later, and much warmer, we are at Athabasca Falls.

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Columbia Icefields -- The Approach

The Icefields Parkway is often called the most scenic the world. Between Banff and Jaspr Natl Parks in Canada, the 143 mile highway spirals up and down mountains, and the main attraction is the eight glaciers that comprise the Icefields.

The ice mass is one of the largest south of the Arctic Circle -- and one of the most accessible.

To tour a glacial area, one drives to the "toe" of the Athabascar Glacier. From there we took an escorted tour via the Ice Explorer Snocoach -- pictured here.

(Notice the tiny-looking Snocoach in the botom photo)

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Travels in Canada -- and with family

Alan and I started our Canada travels in the northern part of Glacier-Waterton Peace Park (co-owned and managed by USA and Canada -- but with separate fees, facilities, and services) and then met my brother and sister-in-law in Banff. Their hotel was only a half-mile on a nice trail from our campground. After a few enjoyable days, we all then moved on to magical Lake Louise.

The four of us shared many good times -- strolling, hiking, shopping, kayaking, going on a bus tour and seeing a young grizzly bear, touring on (another) gondola including taking an open chairlift down, etc.

We are happy they went home (only kidding) -- because we eat way too good (read: too much) when we are with them! The four of us enjoy chatting and eating, and have an attraction to chocolate desserts...It's been a week of cookies, ice cream, fondue, mousse cake, shakes, and other things sweet and gooey. Now Alan and I have much more hiking to do to counteract some of those calories.

Up another Mountain

This is the second part of the hike...past Lake Agnes, above Lake Louise (which is seen in the second photo). The views were panoramic -- but neither my camera or photographic skills are so this is just a taste.

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Hiking in Lake Louise, Canada

"From the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (hotel) it's a 3.5 km. (2.2 mile) walk to a lovely hanging valley high above Lake Louise. The trail climbs steadily through a subalpine forest to tiny Mirror Lake. Then it's a short, relatively steep climb beside a waterfall to Lake Agnes. Some continue higher where Beehive Mountain lookouts provide breathtaking views of Lake Louise far below, but most simply linger over lunch at Lake Agnes Teahouse."

One of the wonderful activities we shared with my brother and sister-in-law when they met us in Canada. The guide (from which I quoted the above description) never mentioned that once you reached the teahouse summit -- it would be quite windy, the wait for a hot drink interminable (well, actually over twenty minutes) and that the hot chocolate -- made with water -- wouldn't even be fully stirred. But as you can see, the views were worth it, as was the sense of accomplishment and comraderie. Alan was there but was taking the photos. He and I did continue higher...more steep climb, elevation jump quicker, but even more incredible views (I'll post next).

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Our Home

Ninth week on the road and we are loving the Roadtrek aka The Trek aka Fat Van.
Cozy and comfortable -- for two relatively small, short people.

And when the temperature dropped recently...and we woke to the low 50s in the van (and low 40s outside) -- after running the furnace for ten minutes, it was toasty.
(Oh yeah, I got a haircut in Banff)
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Top of the World

This is where the gondola took us.
The summit of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Canada.

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Afraid of Heights?!

More than creeping around in a cave, I fear heights...I have no attraction to tall ladders (although as long-time readers know, I climbed one way back) nor to ski lifts. Certainly not to gondolas. But sometimes one wants to get where the gondola only flies...and to confront another region of discomfort and to face the challenge. So this is what I did today...notice how much I ended up enjoying it!

Lower terminal is at 5194 feet above sea level and upper terminal at 7486 feet. It takes approx. 8 minutes between terminals -- moving at a maximum of 13.33 feet per second.

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