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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fishing amongst wildlife

Last week i had the good fortune to be invited on a fishing trip along the Snake River from Lewiston aboard a 23`Aluminium jet boat.  From Lewiston known as the gateway to Hell`s Canyon we would be heading  as far as Grand Ronde about 30 miles up river.
The Snake River is 13th in the list of Americas longest rivers at 1038 miles. It meets the Clearwater River in Lewiston and then joins the Columbia River that flows 465 miles  all the way to the Pacific Ocean.



So the boat goes in but today that lady on the jetty is from the Sheriffs dept. and is doing a spot check on all boats being launched. The check covers boat registration documents that must be carried, fire extinguishers, life jackets, mufflers (exhaust), flame arresters( stops flame spreading), sound devices(horn), ventilation system(removes fumes from engine space) Anything not to her liking the boat comes out.


Basalt gives some great pictures.



Roger, captain and boat owner.

Petroglyphs at Buffalo Eddy on the Snake River.


The US Mail run up the snake is a tourist attraction.


Wild Turkeys along the shoreline.


Wild Big horn mountain sheep watch the boats go by.


Small mouth Bass, yes it`s small and yes i only caught one. But the environment it was caught in beats fishing by the canal anytime but i would swop it  all  for NB Valerie.

Osprey nest along the Snake River and this one came down several times to fish but sadly to far for my camera to capture. Just drifting and watching this amazing bird was a wonderful experience.Click the link,the pictures are superb.

A little bit of video of the boat trip. Watch you don`t get sick as the boat enters the rapids and the camera shakes violently, i was filming standing up looking over the roof.
video

Friday, July 22, 2011

JAQ HAS A VISA

Well you can imagine who has a big smile on her face today. An excellent service even though it cost an extra $300 fast track fee on top of the $1149 basic cost.
Sent FedEx Tuesday, arrived New York Wednesday 2pm, approved Thursday noon, Passport and visa arrived back UPS Friday 11am

Just think in 2 years time we can go through all this again to get Jaq permanent leave to remain in the UK.

Out to dinner tonight, i think we deserve it at least Jaq does after all the hard work she put in to those binders.

Had a great day out Wednesday last involving amongst other things Osprey, but that`s another blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In the hands of the Embassy

With the biometrics completed in 10mins after a 170 mile round trip the visa application for Jaq could be submitted. Just a final check that everything has been included and that each section is clearly labelled to make it as easy as possible for the UKBA at the Embassy to process the application.

An indexed ring binder application was the recommended way to apply according to an Internet forum of others facing this traumatic ordeal. One binder contains original documents and totals 250 sheets of paper. The other binder contains a photo copy of every document submitted.
As you answer the 11 pages of questions each answer has to have supporting documents to validate your answer. Now this is fine when they ask for example for your bank account details and finances to support your partner, get bank statements etc. Paperwork starts to build when they ask where your going to live and the many sub questions regarding your answer. do you pay rent? do you own it? how long owned? the questions go on just on this one subject, how many rooms? do you have use of all rooms?  The more you can convince them your answers are true the more likely the visa will be issued. So in this case original bill of sale, boat insurance certificate for last 5yrs, boat licence renewal last 5yrs, pictures of inside/outside boat. 16 pieces of paper already, get the picture.

Anyway the 2 binders above are on their way at a cost as i mentioned of  about 725 GB pounds plus we decided rather than risk the estimated up to 2 months process time we paid 187 GB pounds to get it processed in about 15 days. At least with the visa (fingers crossed) in our hands sooner rather than later we can then concentrate on other matters to complete our return to the UK.


At least while we wait Jaq and I can get out and it was while driving down towards Snake River that we came across a Wind Farm or at least the first phase of 149 with the eventual total to be 749 Turbines.
There must have been at least 80 already erected and if i had photographed left and right of the picture i did take you would have an idea of  how little impact these have on the landscape. All the land here is for crop growing and the turbines are hardly noticed among the thousands of acres with no towns nearby and just a farm here and there. The 4 areas siting the 745 Turbines amounts to 123,000acres. The farmers have leased the land for the siting of the turbines so have an income year round.
The Turbines stand 390' high and weigh 340tons. The concrete base is 8' 6" thick. The column is made up of
3 sections, one is pictured above on a road trailer. Below a rotor blade is also brought to the site by road.
If you click HERE you will find a short time lapse film of the Turbines being erected.




 
A Chipmunk and a Red Tailed Hawk. The bird was at the top of a tree  and i was lucky that the road climbed up a hillside zig zagging and the car came level with his perch. 




Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Update from America

The Passport is back so the Biometrics appointment for the 13th July that Jaq booked is the one we will be using. In the meantime the supporting documents for the visa application are almost complete. The online visa application (11 pages) has been completed and the fee ($1149-766sterling) paid. The biometrics receipt has to be sent in with the hard copy application and all the supporting paperwork.

Although i have the car to use and the weather is good, up to 93F, the ability to get out and walk around the open country is restricted by the fact that no right of way exists over the land. The fields around here are all growing crops of Wheat and peas mostly and that`s about all you can see for miles with no hedgerows dividing the fields and very little in the way of wooded areas. Even if you drive out a few miles and find something resembling UK landscape the land is private and you have no right to walk on it.

Cougar
There are places such as Kamiake where we got married that are State owned but these offer nothing like the freedom our UK footpaths give us Brits so i`m telling you all be thankful. Jaq and I drove over the border into Idaho to have brunch with friends who have a ranch consisting of several hundred acres.


We all piled into a 4 wheel drive and had a tour and Larry and  Lael have said i can walk the ranch anytime. Parts of the ranch are heavily wooded slopes and are home to Cougar(Mountain lion) and Bears so a little care has to be taken.


A bit different to the UK where you might meet a Rabbit or a ferocious Fox.  The bear pic was taken at the Washington State University where the Bears can be viewed close up either in their holding pens or in the large open areas they can roam.


One of my new skills is bread making with no bread making machine. A nice tasty loaf i`ve covered in Poppy and Sesame seeds. All that`s needed is flour, water, yeast and time. Leave it 12 hrs to rise and cook for 30mins in a cast iron pot.
Jaq made it work on the boat so i decided to have a go on my own.




A couple of pics taken in and around Pullman, might be of interest to Mike.
2 Harleys on the left and a very nice side car combination on the right. Sorry i`ve lost the paper i wrote the bike name on.




Photo by kind permission of Mrs. Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs