Sunday, July 31, 2016


The requirement to meet Hera, one of the Esrohs on HI2, is to answer all the riddle post questions on the game. When we first started playing HI2, we were all over answering the three questions at any riddle post we came across. This was great - our total of answered riddle post questions climbed quickly. The problem: we failed to keep track of which riddle posts we had already hit. Even without keeping track, we eventually answered 192/195 riddle post questions. That left just one riddle post out there that we had somehow missed. But which one?

This question haunted us for years. Any time we happened upon a riddle post in our travels, we'd click it just to be sure it wasn't the one we'd missed. Recently, we finally got serious about the matter and started systematically visiting all the islands in each island complex with riddle posts to cross them off the list one by one. First we went through all the Plains isles. No luck. Second we went through the snowy isles. Again, no luck. Next up, the desert isles. The last desert isle we investigated, or rather Lily and Odette investigated, was Dry Isle itself.

Aha! Found it at long last!

When I heard Lily's victory cry from across the room, my first thoughts were that she'd just won the lottery or caught a high-stat sooty palomino Hanoverian or something. XD I'm so glad Lily decided to try the desert isles early on in the search, but don't ask me how we overlooked Dry Isle all this time!

All 195 riddles answered, we eagerly headed out to Flurry Isle to meet Hera. Julie and Sardonyx had
the honor of starting off the quest.

When Pepsi asked to learn from her wisdom, she replied:

So, Pepsi and Sardonyx turned around and headed straight back to the desert to complete the first labor. Having met Dionysus a long time ago, Pepsi had no trouble getting down the sinkhole on Golden Isle to deliver him his letter from Hera.

They then returned to Hera to tackle her second labor.

 The question:

We took one look at this and immediately opened up a new tab to Esroh Legends for some assistance. The help site came through as usual. The answer, if you care, is A=9 B=8.

We all took turns at the reins to collect the necessary ingredients for the cornucopias from the foreign isles. That adventure kayak sure comes in handy!

Thanks to Esroh Legends, we also knew we'd need to craft 2 Esroh materials for labor #4. As long as we were collecting ingredients, we figured we'd prepare for that too. So, we travelled to the Marshy Isles to collect one rare ingredient, some unfortunate unusual bugs from pitcher plants. (Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire!) After that came a journey to the Leaf Isles to collect another rare ingredient, colorful dust.

Once we finally had the cornucopias and Esroh materials crafted, we returned yet again to Hera.

From there we made the journey out to Shipwreck Isle and found LordDoubloon, who will row players out to Center Isle for a hefty fee of 20 doubloons.

For the first time, Pepsi visited Center Isle!  I was controlling Pepsi at the time and chose to go to the north east entrance first.

Center Isle is not as impressive as you might expect. Just three complicated but not very large tunnel systems and a leafy terrain center. To get to the center, we had to find and pull the lever in each of the three tunnel systems.

For whatever reason, Usko and I had a horrible time finding the lever in the first tunnel system. Then later when we tried looking again, we found it easily. Go figure.

Lever 1
After that we had to spend 20 more doubloons each for LordDoubloon to take us to the other two tunnel systems. Julie and Yellowstone found the levers in these without much difficulty. Show offs. XD

Lever 2
Lever 3
Finally, we arrived in the leafy terrain center!

Pepsi couldn't yet meet Zeus, obviously, as he requires all the other Esroh quests to be finished first, but she did get to meet his guardian and see his sinkhole.

Pepsi told the squirrel that we had been sent by Hera to pick up her gift. We passed her the Esroh material so that Zeus could make the finishing touches on it, and then...

So it was a crown! Too bad we didn't get a look at it. Pepsi made the trip back to Hera, who was thrilled with her gift.

The reward for all this was a competition boost in endurance. Since we don't compete much, this isn't a very big deal for us. Still, it doesn't hurt, and we're one Esroh closer to meeting Zeus!

Flurry helped us celebrate afterwards by providing Pepsi with a meteorite. We also fluted a pretty gray Norwegian Coldblooded Trotter there. :) 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mares and More Mares

HI2 has been a pretty quiet for us lately. Mostly because for a while there were unsubscribed and therefore couldn't do much but walk around on foot - so embarrassing for Pepsi, lol. Happily, we are subscribed again for another year. Thanks, Mom!

Let me introduce you to two noteworthy wild mares we captured shortly before Mom went on her trip.

The first is this beauty:

I especially love that avatar! She will be going to live with our buddy Gem... if Gem and Pepsi ever overlap online, that is. It's proving to be a challenge, lol.

The second mare worthy of mention is this sabino Freddy:
What a cutie! Her personality and stats are very good too! She's also 5/6 and +56, which makes us smile. We didn't think we'd ever find one of those again, hence we kept the first 5/6 +56 horse we caught, Sardonyx.

You're such a good boy, Sard. <3
*Sighs* I guess one 5/6 +56 horse is enough. She's really tempting, though, especially since we don't have any Frederiksborgs yet. 

To end on something happier, our 3 new mares have names at last! Meet...
Quassia (aka bitter-root or bitter-wood) bark is used in medicine
We thought the red flowers on this shrub made it an excellent name for a reddish mare like this Suffolk!

Ravenna is, among other things, the name of a town in Michigan that we liked the sound of. It might suit a solid black horse slightly better, but we figured that this Newfie has plenty of raven black on her to make it appropriate.

Nyssa sylvatica is the scientific name for the Black Gum or Tupelo tree. The tree occurs in a large range in the U.S., including wetland areas of Florida. 

Ooh, the leaves get bright red-orange in autumn!
We decided just Nyssa would do. We think it sounds pretty yet a little dark, perfect for a horse found on the marshy isles!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Some California Highlights

This post was a team effort. Get comfortable, because it's a doozy. You have Felicity to thank for procuring Mom's journal so that we knew what she did when, Lily to thank for finding and selecting the photos, Bethany to thank for thinking up captions for the photos, and Julie to thank for typing most of the text.

We dolls recently got left behind while the humans went on vacation. We're used to this - they do it nearly every summer. This summer was different, though. Instead of just spending a week somewhere an hour or so away, they flew to the other side of the country!

We know there was no room for us in the luggage. Mom had trouble squeezing in the basics into her rather small suitcase as it was. Still, it kind of stunk that while they were all gone having the time of their lives, we were stuck here. We made the best of it, camping out in the backyard a couple of nights, watching movies on the big screen TV upstairs, and riding the horses both inside and in the backyard. After a couple of months having to always be on the lookout for Nala, it was great to have the place to ourselves. (Nala got a little vacation of her own - she was boarded in a kennel.)

July 3: Travel Day 
Our aunt apparently took photos from the air, but Mom didn't. 3 flights and 4 airports later, they arrived in Arcata, California!

July 4: Ma-le'l Dunes Hike
alien planet?
dune plant life
hello, Pacific Ocean
July 5: Trinidad Head Hike
looking down at Trinidad Beach
the town of Trinidad
this seagull really wanted the otter's fish
July 6: Moonstone Beach and Agate Beach
Moonstone Beach
Some of the group went surfing here. Mom, who is (overly) cautious about big waves, just watched, admired the many loose dogs roaming around, and explored the beach.

Agate Beach
Tons of smooth, round rocks wash up on Agate Beach. Mom spent most of her time here collecting cool rocks. She even found some agates!

a flock of seagulls on Agate Beach
July 7: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Stop 1: Hiking Big Tree Trail
looking up at some giants
so much green!
a redwood growing on a fallen redwood
  • Stop 2: Fern Canyon
it's aptly named
a closer look
scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed in Fern Canyon
July 8: Tide Pools in Patrick's Point State Park
at high tide, this is the ocean floor
sea anemones close when out of the water
some of the anemones in the pools were open
Blobby the starfish
tiny starfish (and our aunt's finger for comparison)
crabs love to hang out in the cracks of big rocks
seals lounging on rocks on the other side of the point
July 9: Mom's Cousin's Wedding <3

 July 10: Hike to Windy Rock in Trinidad
Spiky, somewhat spooky pine trees.
Most of the hike was in forest.
Windy Rock
looking over the edge
surf crashing on the rocks
talk about dramatic views!
July 11: Heading South
  • Stop 1: Humboldt Redwoods State Park
No straying from the trail! Poison oak was thriving here.
Some family members ahead of Mom on the trail
give you an idea of just how huge these trees are!
When stressed, redwoods grow big burls on their trunks.
Coast Redwoods are the tallest trees on earth!
A crystal clear stream we crossed. The water strider bugs cast cool shadows.
Anyone care for a dip?
  •  Stop 2: Supper at the Samoa Cookhouse in Samoa, CA!
Whoa! What are the odds?
The cookhouse was part restaurant part lumber industry museum. Mom and family were treated to a huge fit-for-a-lumberjack family-style eating experience. 
Mom's favorite old photo: U.S. cavalry members posing by a huge felled tree.
The tree is actually a Sierra Redwood, found farther south in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Sierra Redwoods, or giant sequoias, are the largest trees in the world, while Coast Redwoods are the tallest.
 July 12: Wedding Rock Hike
on the way up
the view from the top
it's a long way down!
Farewell, west coast!
Evening July 12 - Morning July 13: Traveling Home
We know, we know. Losing cabin pressure is a serious matter.
But this diagram... It had both Mom and Grandma cracking up
during the safety demo.
Hey, it's the Golden Gate Bridge!
The plane that took them from San Francisco to Chicago was enormous - 9 seats across! Because it was a long nighttime flight, they got pillows and blankets. <3 Between the uncomfortable seats, the overly-air-conditioned cabin, the wails of a special-needs person whose ears were popping, and making sure her own ears didn't make any big pops, Mom didn't ever sleep, though.

By the final flight, it was well into morning! Though the seats were more comfortable on this plane, Mom still didn't rest - she lucked out with a window seat and couldn't tear her eyes away from the view.
almost home!
To finish, we'll show you Mom's souvenirs!

  • The shirt came from a local-product gift shop in - you guessed it - Trinidad. It's really soft. <3
  • The starfish was already in dried out form in a gift shop. Don't worry - Mom took nothing but pictures while visiting the tide pools.
  • The TSA people at the Arcata airport searched Mom's carryon on the way home because of the "crystalline object." XD It's glass with a fake but very pretty jellyfish suspended inside that glows in the dark.
  • The little rocks are the agates Mom found on Agate Beach. They vary in shade but can be distinguished from the other rocks on the beach because they are really smooth and transparent. (The one at the top left has cloudy sections, but we think it's still an agate from its extreme smoothness.) Mom took home other cool non-agate rocks home too that aren't in the picture.
  • The smiling otter with the fuchsia sea urchin is a cute magnet that Mom couldn't resist.
  • Finally, the wooden object in the middle has a dual horse head design carved on it. We aren't sure if it is made of redwood or some other reddish wood - there was no information on it but a price sticker. The top slides off to reveal a little mirror, making it practical as well as pretty.

You made it to the end! Congratulations! =D