Wednesday, December 31, 2008


A small group of riders from the park took a ride to San Manuel, south on hiway 77, for lunch. It was a beautiful, sunny, seventy-four degree day. The burger at Mel's was good. You would never find this place. No outdoor advertising, no neon "OPEN" sign, no crowds. Our small group almost overwhelmed them. The owner seemed genuinely pleased to have us stop at his little cafe and hoped that we would return.

I plan to celebrate the new year, a year of promised change and hope, by jumping in the pool at midnight. I've tried to enlist followers, but it is doubtful anyone will join me. I hope the heater is on.

The water was warm and I was the only one that jumped in the pool.

To all my family and friends, my sincerest wish that this is the best year ever for each and every one of us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Retirement!!

Another group of friends at the shipyard have chosen to retire at the end of this year: Fellow blogger Dan W. finally put down his drafting pencil (okay, computer mouse) and will hit the high seas. Good friend and one time softball team mate Mike W. can now attend all of the spring training games his heart desires. Old Fat Barb (inside joke) can take some time for herself and find a sunny beach.

I'm sure others chose to go out at the end of this year. Maybe someone can add names to this list.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spokane snow

My nephew sent a picture of the snow accumulation in Spokane. He wrote nothing, just sent the picture.
Okay Chris, I understand.
Patti says Ross is over that way overseeing a water loss job at Washington State University. I'm sure he'll be fine. I'm sorry that he isn't home with Patti where he belongs.
Mary has flow ice on her beach, but they are snug and warm in their cabin. She was up late watching the snow, Big Tom was stretched out in the Lazy Boy - as it should be.
The family gathering at Mom's went well, thirty-two family members celebrated the holidays together. Thanks for the pictures Mary.
A group of friends had the annual day-after-Thanksgiving dinner at Boone and Wendy's home. Boone did finally post a few pictures on his blog with varying levels of success.
My emissary to both was my son Thom. I appreciate that you took the time to represent our little family at both events Buddy. Erica missed the trip to Grandma's due to the arrival of a friend she made in Croatia. Alenka was her tour guide on the trip. They flew to L.A. for the heck of it, hoping for warmer weather. I don't think that happened.
It is my sincerest hope that all of my family and friends stay safe and warm through this storm and that the weather improves soon.
Except for Tammi. She says she likes the snow and has lots of chocolate to see her through the holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking RV

I don't expect any sympathy, nor am I looking for any.
Gray skies and drizzle - sounds like a typical western Washington day - only I'm in "the valley of the sun".
The ground is baked so hard by the sun that the bit of water that falls cannot penetrate the earth's crust. Gathering rivulets turn in to rivers running down the streets of the park and collect in a dry basin that becomes a lake.
During my travels I scoff at those dry washes that are labeled as "rivers". In periods of heavy rain they become rivers, if only for a short time.
I just checked to ensure that my roof repair is holding, all of the wet weather seems to be staying outside.
When it rains, I lose the largest "room" I have and the five steps from one end of the Minnie Winnie to the other seem to get smaller.

I talked to Mom and learned that 32 members of the family gathered at her home on Sunday. I'm glad so many braved the weather and joined in. I miss you all.

Speaking of family, sister Chris is now on-line, it's nice to be able to exchange notes with her. Now if we could just get Pam to join in...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Life in this RV park is much different than the months spent on the road, travelling from state to state, and that's okay.

Hiking on Tuesdays, golfing on Thursdays, sitting in the hot tub with Dave in the evenings - it's all good.

Most of the "guys" in the park have projects to work on - just like any homeowner. A good carpenter with a set of tools can stay as busy as he wants. One such person has been kept busy building steps. Steps and sheds are big items in this type of RV park.

So is landscaping. There is no grass in the park. Different shades on crushed granite or lava rock, some white marble, stepping stone and pavers of varying design, size and color creating pathways, welcoming neighbors to the front doors of park models (semi permanent installations), fifth wheels, trailers and coaches.

It's amazing how many Christmas lights can fit in the RVs in the park. The day after Thanksgiving they started going up. It doesn't seem to matter how far I run, I can't get away from Christmas.

Dave and I spent the day installing my "new to me" Springer dual exhaust. I need a couple brackets, I'll post a picture when the installation is complete in a week or so.

As this is Wednesday, it was $2 margarita night at the restaurant next door. Nuff said.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Something to do on a Tuesday

A group of folks from the park (and the sister park up the road) went for a short hike this morning in the Tonto National Park. Nothing too strenuous to start with. This group hikes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As my Thursdays are busy with golf, I'll probably only get out on the Tuesday hikes. I even got Dave out of bed early to tag along.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Water bed

I used to like waterbeds. Not so much now. It seems that between all of the jostling on the road and the temperature and weather changes, the seal on the window in the cab over portion of the coach failed. I found out last night during one of the rain showers. This morning was spent tossing out the mattress, washing the sheets and blankets, drying out the interior and resealing the window.

I wanted a new mattress anyway.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TV News and the Weather

I don't get it (among so many things that I just don't get). Why do local newscasters go overboard on changes to the weather? In Washington they would go stand on the beach at Ocean Shores when the 50 mph winds were on the way, or head to the passes to watch the snow fall and take pictures of the cars that are always going in the ditch.
As I mentioned before, there is an "extreme weather" forecast for the valley and greater Phoenix area. It may rain on Thanksgiving. They are expecting between 1/4 and 3/4 inch of rain to fall. Less than an inch and it's the lead story. There may be a much as 2" in the hills and snow showers above 9,000 feet.
When they started warning about rain this week, I assumed it would be enough for flash floods and such, so I put away all of my stuff that I want to keep dry. Like the 8 inches that fell in Bremerton the winter before I sold the house and turned my basement in to a swimming pool.
One quarter to three quarters of an inch.
Today was overcast and 76 degrees - you'd think it was winter. They own heavy coats down here just for these days. What do they do if it gets really cold?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Casa Grande

Dave and I rode south to Coolidge,AZ, and visited the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument where the remains of an ancient Hohokam (meaning "all gone" or "all used up") farming village and great house are preserved. The Hohokam flourished from the 1100s to the early 1400s. When the Spanish missionaries arrived and "discovered" the ruins (and named them), all that was left was the empty shell of the village. The site was declared the nation's first archaeological reserve. It was first covered in 1903 and the current metal roof was built in 1932. Signs of vandalism (early taggers) are still visible. Dave tried to take a picture of a 1st Cavalry Sargent's name. I think it was dated 1872.

An open apology to sports fans in the northwest...

Since I've left the area the Sonics moved, the Mariners lost 100 games, the Seahawks have been plagued with injuries, and the Apple Cup will involve two teams that are going nowhere - fast!

I didn't realize that my search for warmer climes would cause these catastrophes.

These events are not reason enough to not enjoy the long, cold, wet winter that awaits you.

We have a "Severe Weather Alert" down here - it appears there is a 30% chance of rain on Thanksgiving. Don't fret too much about me, I brought my rain gear with me, I know it's here somewhere, it's been so long since I've used it...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good Guys Southwest Nationals

Dave and I set out this morning to look at a Husky dirt bike for Forrest (he can't find one in Washington) then continued to the Good Guys Southwest Nationals hot rod show being held at Westworld in Scottsdale. The ride to look at the bike and to Westworld were unremarkable - all freeway - but we got there quickly.

We wandered through the 18,000 or so hot rods, classic cars, trucks, rat rods and mild to wild customs for three or four hours, under a beautiful sunny sky with the temperature near 85. As with so many car shows, with so many beautiful cars, they all become a blur of shiny paint and chrome. Here are a few that stood out in my mind.

Our ride home was much more pleasant, following Hiway 87 through the Tonto Recreation Area.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What a nice day

There aren't many activities here in the park for which I am going to sign up. Water exercise, card games, jam sessions (yeah, right), and most of you know how I feel about bible study - I'm just not going to spend much time hanging out with the group in the clubhouse.

I am going to spend Thursdays playing golf with the group. What a perfect day for nine holes of golf yesterday. Sunny, about 80 degrees, green fairways and pleasant banter. I enjoyed hearing all of the same old golf jokes and I missed all of those four letter golf words that I heard. I have to say that I didn't hear nearly as many of those four letter golf words yesterday as I used to hear in the shipyard league. It may have had something to do with the fact that one of the guys in my foursome is a preacher...

Yes, I'm rubbing the perfect weather in the collective faces of friends and family in the great northwest that are recovering from 5 inches of rain in one day. I hear the weather was nice yesterday, hope your basements are dry.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day

November 11, 1919: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.
On June 1, 1954: President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day to include those who served during World War II and the Korean Conflict.
Just as Memorial Day offers us the opportunity to celebrate the lives of those that made the ultimate sacrifice in support of their country, Veterans Day allows us to thank all who have served in the armed services during times of war and the all too rare times of peace.
To all of my brothers and sisters in arms, thank you. My appreciation grows with time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cold Front

A cold front moved through Phoenix yesterday, the high temperature for the day was 78 degrees. The low for tonight is predicted at 55 degrees. Sweatshirts and long pants are the uniform of the day - for most. It's another beautiful day!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Long day

Have I ever mentioned that I dislike riding on Interstates? I really dislike riding on Interstates, but that's what we did today.

Dave and I went to buy some Harley stuff that we found on craigslist. The seller lives on a private airport in Carefree, AZ - the other side of the world from Apache Junction - or at least on the other side of Phoenix which seems like the same thing. Fred is a real nice guy that used to own the Tucson Harley dealership. In his hanger he has a Beechcraft, three 'vettes, a couple Vipers, a Cobra and a Porsche along with other cool stuff. I bought some brand new HD rain gear, some T bags, a seat and some of Fred's other cool stuff. Dave escaped with only some saddlebag liners.

From there we rode the Interstate to University of Phoenix Stadium (where the Superbowl was played) to check out the International Motorcycle Show. We were hoping that Pete and Jill would be there selling Gerbing heated clothing. Pete and Jill retired from the shipyard, too, so it would have been good to see them, but they chose to skip this show and go to the one in Dallas.

Another craigslist score was a set of cyclevision brackets that allowed me to mount hard bags on my bike instead of the sloppy leather bags. Dave is a bit put out with me as I was able to get all of this ready made when he took a year to fabricate the brackets to accomplish the same thing on his first bike, a Fat Boy now owned by Forrest.

Speaking of Forrest, I may have some painting for him to do next summer...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sad note

My favorite author and the person most responsible for my desire to visit the southwest, Tony Hillerman, died this week at the age of 83 from pulmonary failure.
His 18 murder mysteries set in and around Shiprock and the Four Corners area of New Mexico are special. He could never write the next novel fast enough for me. Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are good friends of mine.

The Tonto Basin Loop (Hiway 188)

Dave and I set sail at nine this morning for a 170 mile loop ride to Roosevelt Lake in the Tonto Basin and the Tonto National Monument. Another gorgeous day, blue skies, 94 degrees, wind in our hair (if we unbutton our shirts) and not much traffic.

We left the RV park and turned north on Hiway 87 through the Tonto National Forest. It is a forest of Saguaro cactus. We turned east on 188 to the Theodore Roosevelt dam and the resulting Roosevelt Lake. The original dam was the largest masonry dam in the world at the time of construction. It was later modified and rebuilt using concrete.

A short distance east of the dam, we hiked up to the lower cliff dwellings in Tonto Basin. We weren't able to go inside due to an infestation of Africanized (read killer) bees. The half mile hike up to the dwellings was worth the sweat and hard breathing (we weren't dressed for hiking) if only for the views from the path.

After a decent pulled pork sandwich at The Boston Bar & Grill, we finished our loop by continuing to Hiway 60 and west to Apache Junction.

As always, click on the picture to enlarge it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Best laid plans

The planned ride didn't quite go as planned. The advantage of riding on a weekday is that their is far less tourist traffic. The disadvantage of riding on a weekday is that there may be construction - and there was. We stopped at Winkleman to tinkle man and were told that the road to Globe was closed while ADOT blasted rock to widen a stretch of road. We retraced our ride to Superior and went east toward Globe on 60 only to be stopped for some extremely wide loads passing over narrow bridges just before Miami. As we had seen the best part of that road, we turned around only to get stopped for another extremely wide piece of mining gear being moved over another narrow bridge.

The ASARCO Copper Mine was an interesting stop. You know those huge earth movers that you see on the Discovery channel or National Geographic? If you look close you'll see some tiny trucks in the distance. That's them. The observation point has a tire and a bucket off some piece of machinery. Does the picture make my butt look skinny?

It was a nice ride, good company, good weather and a good meal at the West Side Cafe in Kearny.

p.s. The Honda is sold. The first person that rode it, bought it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What a pig!

As Charlotte said in her web and I've just said in my web blog. The difference being that Charlotte didn't eat the pig. Paige and Dave took me to dinner at "Waldo's World Famous BBQ". You can read the official information on their website: The ribs were tasty, good sweet, tangy sauce and endless sides (I had slaw and okra). We all had take home boxes at the end of our visit. My one disappointment was that I didn't get any bread pudding, but it was refreshing to have the wait staff and cook tell me that the bread pudding wasn't very good that day. I guess I'll have to get it on another visit.

Today Dave is leading me on a loop ride through Superior, Miami, Globe, Winkleman and Kearny via hiways 60, 77 and 177. I'll try to remember to stop and take pictures this time. I'm usually having so much fun riding that I don't want to stop. The other problem is that a picture just doesn't convey the moment. You can't feel the wind or sun on your face, or get lost in the vastness of the horizon.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nice bike!

The bike got here about 4 this afternoon. The driver was more tired than me, at least he had an escuse - I just couldn't sleep. It's a sharp looking bike and rides real solid. Dave and I rode a few miles on Hiway 88 just to check it out. I'll wash it and polish it tomorrow. I'm tired.

Sunday morning

I was up with the birdies this morning, anxiously awaiting the delivery of the Harley. I'm trying to keep myself busy - fixing little things (there are always things that need fixing), walking, playing on the computer, and pestering Dave. He says he understands. While I was on the roof fixing the television antenna I took this picture of the sun rising on the Superstition Mountains. Watching the colors and shadows change on the mountains is a favorite pastime around here. At one point of the year, the shadows actually form together to create the silhouette of a mountain lion chasing a bird across the face of the mountain. I have seen a photo of this and look forward to seeing it for myself.

Well, this took about ten minutes. I wonder when the shipper will arrive with the bike. Maybe I should wait for him at the driveway. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Historic Apache Trail (Hiway 88)

Went for a short but very enjoyable ride up Hiway 88 to Tortilla Flat. It's only 16 miles from the RV park to the end of the pavement on Apache Trail, but what a beautiful, fun ride. The posted speed limit for most of the ride is 25 due to the sharp twists and turns around the buttes and mesas and boulders and lakes. There are no guard rails and at times the drop offs are impressive. Dave and I rode to the end of the pavement. The road continues, but our bikes don't. Lunch of chilli cheese fries at The Superstition Saloon in Tortilla Flat, where the bar stools are saddles and the wall paper is dollar bills, was a pleasant diversion. The return ride was just as much fun - maybe more now that I knew what to expect. On weekends the road is packed with crotch rockets and Buicks, so going on a Thursday was a good thing. It is Thursday isn't it?

Click on the picture to see it full size.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My snail mail address

1371 E. 4th Ave
Space #94
Apache Junction, AZ 85219

Monday, October 13, 2008


I am firmly ensconced in my winter home. The Superstition Mountains look over my shouder. The moon rising over them was amazing. More tomorrow - I'm tired.
Here is a pic of the new bike:
I am excited to get it shipped down here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Long drive on roads that seemed to go forever, but here I am just outside of Las Vegas. Tomorrow will be the final leg to Apache Junction, just east of Phoenix.

The big news is that I have engineered a trade of my Chevy pickup for a 2005 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail. That will be one less thing to store, but after I get the new bike shipped to Arizona, I will have to sell my Honda.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


A short drive to the Whiskey Flats RV Park in Hawthorne, NV. Lots of snow in the hills, very cold wind blowing. I have lots of propane now and the heater is running full blast. They are expecting 80 degrees next week - 49 degrees at 1:30 in the afternoon today.
Tomorrow is a long drive, 340 miles to Boulder City, NV just south of Vegas. I hope there is less wind.
Here is my view. Beautiful, just beautiful.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Travelers Beware

Along with the threat of snow, CalTrans has advised all campers, travel trailers and motorhomes stay off the roads near the California/Nevada border.
Another night here is prudent.
The fresh water hose froze last night, a few flakes are in the air, the coach is covered in icicles (the landscape sprinklers worked over night), the gray water valve is frozen open.....
another night is prudent.

SNOW!! windy and cold...brrrrrrrr.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bikers Beware

Dave and I rode out of the RV park this morning headed for that portion of Hiway 49 which runs through Tahoe National Park and over Yuba Pass (6,708 ft). There were 35 miles of flat, mostly straight two and four lane hiway to get to that point just beyond Loyalton where we saw the sign that read "BIKERS BEWARE, 42 MILES OF DEAD MAN CURVES AHEAD". The next 75 miles of twists and turns, uphill and down along the North Fork of the Yuba River were a blast. We were treated to some gorgeous scenery along the way. We stopped in North San Juan for gas and lunch at 49'ers Pizza - very tasty. The road beyond North San Juan was under repair, so we reversed our course and reveled in the ride all over again. Snow is forcast for Saturday and the day never really warmed up, but Dave in his heated clothing and I in my long johns stayed snug and warm.

Tomorrow we're off to Lone Pine, CA.
Snow is coming a day early - tomorrow - maybe. Hope it doesn't affect our plans. We are discussing options.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Thanks to a missed turn, I made a loop around Mt. Shasta on my way to The Bordertown Casino and RV Park. What a beautiful mistake. Hiway 89 is a wonderful drive thru the Lassen National Forrest. The RV park is very nice and we got coupons for free drinks! None of us are gamblers, but we'll hit the buffet at least once. We're staying two nights as Dave and I plan to go for a ride tomorrow on Hiway 49. Looking forward to getting the Tourer out of the trailer.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A one and a two...

Day one was an uneventful drive to Moro, OR and a night at the Sherman County RV Park - $16 with full hook-ups, even cable. The Biggs Bridge was actually closed this time, so I had to detour to The Dalles, then back east to 97.
Day two was a windy drive to Klamath Falls, OR. Driving in the wind can be exhausting. Staying at the Oregon 8 Motel and RV Park just north of town - $27 for electric/water/cable.
I think it's happy hour.

Monday, October 6, 2008

On my way

It's that day. I've been waiting for this day for a couple weeks. Time to run to the sun. On the other hand, my family and friends are here. I didn't spend enough time with all of you, I didn't even see some of you. I hope you understand. I'll miss you all and think of you often and wish you were all there with me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Dave, Paige and I (mostly Dave) have begun planning the trip south. We will start from different locations as I have decided to revisit Ross and Patti in Thorp next week. Our planned date of departure is the sixth of October. Most of the trip will be made on Hiway 395 though California. Currently planned stops on the way to Apache Junction are: Moro, OR; Klamath Falls, OR; Reno, NV; Lone Pine, CA; Needles, CA; Quartzsite, AZ. The hiway and the rv parks have to meet the size requirements of the 65' circus train that Dave and Paige call home.
My drive to the Phoenix area last March was a speed run to escape the rain, with very little time taken to smell the roses along the way. This trip should be much more leisurely with time taken for exploring and riding, happy hours and pupus. The temperatures in Apache Junction are still hovering above 100 degrees, so there is no hurry to get there, but the nights are getting chilly here, so it is time to go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside.

I'm normally an early riser. It was easy to lay in my rack past 6 this morning, it was so warm and snug. There is a freeze warning for eastern Washington. Areas of western Washington dipped in to the thirties last night. My outdoor thermometer reads 47.
You know where this is leading.
I'll be making visits to say "See you next summer!" to family and friends over the next few days. I visited Erica on Sunday, Thom dropped by yesterday. They are the hardest ones to leave. One last visit with Mom later this week and maybe start my trip by driving to Thorp to thank Patti once more for her hospitality.
Speaking of saying "Thanks" - Forrest and his Mom (Phyllis) have been great hosts here in Bremerton.
Thom's birthday is Monday. Hard to believe he'll turn 25. Happy birthday Buddy!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


No sun, no warmth - it's time to go south - or at least east.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not much to report

I rode up to Marysville yesterday to visit Big Tom. He came thru his AAA surgery with flying colors. Still some pain, but improving. Mary fusses and worries and takes good care of him.

The rv got new front shocks and Les Shwab is mounting two new tires as I type. Hopefully the trip to Arizona will be uneventful.

The poker run around Hood Canal on Saturday was very enjoyable. I rode with Dave, Forrest, JD, Ken, Jim and Triva. Our pace didn't match the prescribed schedule and one stop was closed, but when we returned to the Harley shop, they let us draw cards for that stop, too. I got a queen high piece of junk, but didn't even win worst hand.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I'm in Bremerton, staying at Forrest's shop (for those of you that know Forrest). I have to find a coffee shop or visit the library to access my blog/e-mail, so bear with me.

I bought an "N Wireless USB Adapter" which is a fancy way to say powered antenna and am able to access Forrest's wi-fi network - sometimes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top 10 places to retire

Forbes put out a list of the ten most affordable cities for retirees.
  1. Columbus, OH
  2. Dallas, TX
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Houston, TX
  5. Salt Lake City, UT
  6. Indianapolis, IN
  7. Denver, CO
  8. St. Louis, MO
  9. Atlanta, GA
  10. Nashville, TN

They are all larger cities, so they don't really appeal to me, but I suppose the attraction of larger cities is conveniences, entertainment, transportation, hospitals, etc.

Been to any of these towns? A good friend told me that she didn't like Houston at all.

A good weekend

I got to see Erica on Saturday and Thom on Sunday night/Monday. Throw in a quick visit from Dave and Paige at the Thorp fruit stand as they drove by on their way to Bremerton and it becomes extra nice.
Erica recently moved in to a new apartment near the north end of Greenlake and needed a few things from my storage unit to make it cozy. She's healthy and happy and adjusting to living by herself again. The day after she signed the lease for the apartment she was offered the lead HR position at Honolulu airport. While many of us would have jumped at the opportunity, it held no attraction for her. I should mention that she has also been offered similar positions at the Anchorage and Edmonton airports. She likes Seattle, her friends and family are here.
Thom was in Ellensburg to look at apartments/houses for rent in preparation for his return to Central for the winter quarter in pursuit of his Masters in cognitive psychology. He has requested a shift change from his employer to fit his class schedule.
Paige and Dave are squatting at Forrest's shop. It was good to see them again. I've been following their adventures on their blog (see the link on the right side of my blog). I think I'll join them later this week. It will be nice to see the old stomping grounds and say "Hi" to friends before I head south again.
Summer is over, even on the east side of the mountains. The sun is still bright, but lower in the sky. Mid seventies during the day, low fifties at night. I guess I'll buy that bum warmer in Bremerton.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Coming soon to an RV park near me!

Dave and Paige are on their way back to Washington. They plan to spend next weekend at an RV park in Moses Lake. It will be nice to see them again. I may join them, even travel with them to Bremerton. I guess it depends on my mood and the weather.
Speaking of the weather, I think fall has fallen. The days are cool (low 70s), the nights are cold (high 40s) and the wind is rocking the house. All of my blankets are in use. That being said, I've not yet turned on my furnace, so it can't be all that cold.
Think warm thoughts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ironman Canada

This word comes to mind in many applications.
The professionals that participate in this series are amazing athletes.
That 2210 people registered to participate in this event is amazing.
That 2065 people completed the 3.8 km (2.4 miles) swim, 180 km (112 miles) bike ride and 42.2 km (26.2 miles) run is amazing.
That all of these people were excited about registering for the 2009 Ironman Canada immediately after finishing the race is amazing.

That most of the non-professionals train all year, hire coaches, spend hours upon hours training, adhering to a strict diet, buying the latest gear and staying focused on the target date for a year is amazing.

Wendy is amazing. She finished in the upper half of the field. She completed the race 25 minutes faster than she did two years ago. She was smiling as she finished the run.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rain, rain go away!

I chose to stay in eastern Washington so I could enjoy a warm, dry summer. Hah! It's cold and wet. Luckily I have my new computer, cable tv and my books to keep me entertained.
I hope the weather improves for my trip to Penticton, B.C. this weekend to watch Wendy participate in the Ironman Triathalon. She and Boone have rented a house for the weekend, so I'll spend a couple nights with them.
My new (to me) Corbin seat arrived and I put it on the bike yesterday. I love how it places me lower and farther back in the bike. The backrest almost reaches my shoulder blades. I really like the fact that the backrest can be used for the driver or passenger seats and the faux Ostrich look is kind of cool.
It's 105 degrees with a threat of thunder storms in Phoenix - I guess I'll wait a little longer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Dell

Was mad enough that I didn't want to buy another Dell, but the price for an Inspiron 1525 was so good ($450) at Best Buy that I couldn't pass it up.
I will never deal with the Dell help desk again.
In an attempt to salvage all of my pictures on the old hard drive, I purchased a hard drive enclosure (at Dave's suggestion). I sure hope it works. I'll let you know.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dead Dell

I bought memory upgrade cards from Dell for my Dell computer. After installing them in accordance with the directions provided, my computer failed to start up. I reinstalled the original RAM cards and tried - no good. I called the Dell technical support group in India. The guy had me disconnect everything, pull my hard drive and battery and CD-rom, then try to start it - no luck. Then he says, "I'm very sorry, your mother board needs to be replaced." My reaction was somewhat along the line of "What the *^&%$ are you talking about? My computer worked this morning before I installed the Dell RAM in my Dell computer, what are you going to do about it?". I got another "I'm very sorry" and transferred to customer service so I could return the RAM upgrade I bought. This person asked for my e-mail address - they aren't listening, my computer isn't working, having my e-mail address is useless. I asked again if they were going to do something about my ruined motherboard, he offered to connect me to the technical support folks. I explained I had just been talking with them for 45 minutes, I don't need technical support, I need a new computer and Dell should do something about it. You got it, "I'm very sorry".

So dear readers, I'm very sorry, I won't be in contact via e-mail or blog until I replace my computer. Expletive deleted.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Snowbird plans

Well, I've done it. I signed up to rent a space here: for the year starting in October. Renting by the year is much cheaper than renting by the month for anything more than five months. I'll be in space 94. Dave & Paige are in space 150.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good-bye Don

I just learned that Don, my brother-in-law from Tularosa, NM, died this morning after spending the past few weeks in the hospital. I'm going to break a promise and tell you that he had undergone bypass surgery recently. He didn't want anyone to know. He probably thought that it was none of their damn business. Maybe it wasn't, but I think people cared for him more than he knew.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back to Day-to-Day Life

The only thing left on my calendar is to go watch Wendy participate in the Penticton Ironman on the 24th. After that, I have to make a few decisions.

Do I move over the mountains? That's where most of my friends and family live and I want to see them, but that is also home to the gray skies and traffic.

Should I buy a dish? I've learned to live without television, but sometimes...

Do I go back to Arizona for the winter? I know I want to go south and Dave & Paige will be in Apache Junction..... I've never parked the Minnie Winnie more than 4 weeks in one spot (except in front of my old house while I was waiting for the house to sell, so that doesn't count).

A real big decision will be how long do I want to continue living in the Winnie and if I want to live in a house, where?

Stayed tuned readers, watch me wrestle with myself.

For now, I'll go back outside and finish digging up that Oregon grape that Patti wants out of her yard, then get my new RAM cards for the laptop (1 gb) so I can watch videos (maybe even FAILURE - The special ordered RAM cards didn't work. They suggest I order directly from Dell. Crap.

Let me finish my coffee and ponder these earth changing subjects.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Oregon in 2,000 miles or more

My friends Rob and Steve organized a ride around Washington last year. Steve is the Road Captain, finding all of the best roads to ride on a motorcycle. Rob is our Number 2, Steve's Wingman. He makes all of the hotel reservations well in advance so we have a place to sleep. All Dave and I had to do was ride - and we had a blast.

Before the trip was finished last year, we decided to ride around Oregon this year. Sadly Dave couldn't be with us this year, so two replacements were found - Pat and Gerry. I think I can safely say a good time was had by all.

Steve, Rob, Pat and Gerry started out from Kitsap County and headed to The Dalles via Hiway 7 stopping to visit Mount St. Helens as we did last year and exploring Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I left Thorp and headed directly south via Hiway 97 and 142 thru Klickitat Canyon - another of our favorites from last year. I arrived at the Best Western in The Dalles much earlier than the rest because I didn't take any wrong turns. I did get a bad recommendation for dinner though and Rob didn't let me forget that it was my choice. At least I found the liquor store - too bad it was closed.

Day Two we headed in a roundabout fashion for La Grande via Shaniko, Antelope, Fossil, Long Creek and Ukiah. We found all of our missing shoes and a real shoe tree! Pat's bike has a name - The Leaf Blower. His Honda VTX1800 has a sewer pipe for an exhaust and he turned the tip straight down thinking the noise would be less offensive after bouncing off of the pavement. We all soon learned to not follow too close as his exhaust acted like a leaf blower, cleaning the path behind him and blowing anything in it's path in every direction.

Day Three was 370 miles of slicing and dicing thru Hell's Canyon. Steve on his Road King, Rob aboard his Aprillia and Pat were really carving the corners. I held back a bit and Gerry rode in his own comfort zone. His Honda ST1300 didn't have many miles on it when he started this ride. We joked about being "halfway" as we rode thru Halfway, but in reality we had two-thirds of the day's ride ahead of us. It was a long day and we were tired when we finally arrived in John Day for the night.

Day Four was a dash across the state to Oakridge thru Paulina and Post, where for $465,000 you can buy the town - gas station, general store, bar, post office, restaurant and residence all in one building on two acres of land. We stopped in Sisters for lunch and rode on thru Mckenzie Pass down Hiway 19 to the Best Western in Oakridge.

It rained. My sheepskin seat cover got soaked. I got no sympathy from my compadres - they had no sheepskin. Our destination is Crater Lake. One of those places you "must see" in your lifetime. We stopped in Prospect for gas and lunch. I love small town America. You can keep your Denny's and Shari's. I won't even mention those places where you talk to a clown to order your food. The road to Tiller was under repair so some tricky riding on fresh oil and gravel was required to get to Canyonville. Steve found a recommended ride from there to Powers on a Forest Service road. It's not so much of a road as it is a bike path. We needed Gerry's GPS unit just to find it. It was a slow ride and Steve kept his eyes open for oncoming traffic as he rounded the corners. Nobody offered to take the point from him. We were anxious to get to Coos Bay and breathe easy.

The ride up Hiway 101 towards Tillamook looks better than it is. Unlike Hiway 1 on the California coast, traffic is not restricted, so we fall in with trucks and motorhomes, but Steve planned ahead for this and cut away from the coast at Waldport on 34 that runs along the Alsea River. On the maps it is a twisting blue line, in reality it is a twisting yellow line. At the gas stop in Philomath, I made Pat drop his bike, but I stopped him from turning the wrong way on a one way street. He wasn't very happy with me for a while, but damage to the bike was minimal and he didn't have to dodge oncoming traffic. I think he forgave me. He led us thru Corvallis and the Oregon State campus to a nice lunch stop as he knew the area since his daughter attends school there. Steve took over after lunch and led us to Tillamook - our last night together. The Best Western is next to a Fred Meyers and we made the beer run afoot.

More rain. I was only half joking in Oakridge when I said we should go back to Eastern Oregon. I decide to sit a while in Tillamook and hope the rain stops, the others stick to the plan albeit with a later than normal start. I later learned that they missed the turn off to Neciacum junction and when they got to Hwy 26 they stopped and consulted as a group. They decided to take a more direct route home so they continued up 101 to Astoria and took 401/101/107 to Montesano then on to McLeary, Shelton and home. It was sad to see them leave without me, but damn it, I'm retired - I don't have to be anywhere bad enough to ride in the rain. A couple hours later the rain lets up and I head north on 6. It starts to rain again. It continues until I cross the coast range. I turn north thru Timber and Vernonia (Axmen country I guess - I haven't watched the tv show). My feet are soaking wet in my hot weather riding boots. I decide to stop in Seattle and visit Carolyn rather than continue to Thorp today. I even made it to Everett to visit Mom for an hour or so, then took Hiway 2 over the Cascades to Ellensburg. My bike is filthy!

Now I'm sitting warm and cozy in my little house on wheels, smiling about events of the past week and looking forward to "Spud Run '09". Will you be here Dave? I missed your dry humor (and the dry weather).

Friday, July 25, 2008

On the road

I take off tomorrow (Saturday) for the "Ride 'round Oregon". My laptop will stay home. I will post pics and stories upon my return to Thorp next weekend.
I'm all set at Ross and Patti's. He got a wireless router and made sure I had internet access. Patti fed me and made me feel welcome. They may not get rid of me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Polar opposites?

There are two gatherings in the area. Soap Lake has the Lava Love Run to the Sun motorcycle rally. Ephrata has the Basin Summer Sounds music festival. At one sight I can be surrounded by leather and watch the daredevils face the "Wall of Death". The other offers "Wines of Washington" and some cool jazz. I did both and was welcomed at both and felt comfortable at both.

The people watching at the Run to the Sun was probably more interesting if for no other reason than the amount of inked skin that was on display. I was there on Friday morning as the motordrome was assembled - the "big top" as it were. The riders had no roadies to do the heavy lifting. They all pitched in as the huge barrel slowly took shape and the canvas raised. Hours were spent inspecting the interior of the drome, and the sound of hammer on nail echoed in the lake. I imagine that a protruding nail head is the last thing they want to ride over. This is the same bunch that normally puts on the show in Sturgis. The local promoters paid for everything, so the shows were free to the public. I think the local farmers got a kick out of it. You can read more about the "Thrillarena" here: The feeling that I am at a small carnival prevails.

The main stage at the Grant County Courthouse is cool and quiet. There is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the street down the block. The Ephrata farmer's market surrounds the second stage on Basin Street. There a young man and his guitar try to garner more attention than the Rainier cherries. A funk jazz trio (trumpet, keyboard and drums) plays to a dozen fans (some dressed in leather eating cherries) on the big stage. It's early, just before noon. Unlike at the Sun Run, the beer garden is empty. It is pleasant, relaxed. Looking at the program, I realize I've seen many of the acts at Jazzbones in Tacoma. Again, here the shows are free. The money being made on $6 beers and Lion's Club onion burgers.

I spent the day riding the six miles between the towns making sure I returned to Ephrata in time for Vicci Martinez and to Soap Lake for the poker run.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

excellent adventure continued

Days four thru seven:

John Day to Oakridge, 265 miles.
This will take us through Ochoco National Forest, Sisters and on beautiful Hiway 19 along the Middle Fork of the Willamette to Oakridge.

Oakridge to Coos Bay, 308 miles.
Our ride on this day will include Crater Lake, Rogue River National Forest and the run to the ocean.

Coos Bay to Tillamook, 246 miles.
Highway 101 on the Oregon coast. One of those places you have to see before you die. Steve has thown in some twisty roads inland from the coast to make it even more interesting.

Tillamook to Ollala, WA, 258 miles (for them, I'll peel off and return to Thorp).
It looks like Steve threw in some of the logging roads we tried to follow last year! Maybe he just enjoyed having that logging truck chase him through the curves last year. I'll turn east on Highway 12 to Yakima. It's going to be great!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day trip to Leavenworth

My sister Mary offered to drive Mom to Leavenworth thereby splitting the distance between Everett and Soap Lake. To make it even better, she brought her husband "Big Tom" and my sister Pam along for the ride.

It was good to see them all. You'd have thought I'd been gone for years instead of months.

Leavenworth is one of those towns that created a theme to draw tourists. Mom remembers riding the train to Leavenworth to watch the ski jumping events while she was in high school. The town was not much more than a gathering of ski cabins and maybe a couple of restaurants. Now it is a Bavarian resort town. Very cute.

We had a nice lunch, then spent a couple hours wandering through the shops. Nobody bought anything other than lunch and ice cream. It was a pleasant, if hot, day with family.

This picture of Pam, Mom, me and Mary was taken by Tom. I swear he only had one beer with lunch.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

gr8scott51's next excellent adventure

On the 25th, I'll move the rv to Ellensburg so Ross can keep an eye on it while I ride around Oregon with friends. The Shadow is ready to go, I think my butt and back will hold up for the almost 2,000 mile ride. Steve has mapped out the route, Rob has made reservations for lodging, Pat, Gerald and I are fat, dumb and happy - just along for the ride.

Here is the plan for the first 3 days:

The first day, the main group will ride from Ollala, WA to The Dalles, OR. A distance of 216 miles. I will ride from Thorp, WA to The Dalles, OR and join them there.

The second day is a ride of 342 miles from The Dalles to La Grande via Tygh Valley, the John Day Fossil Beds, the Ukia - Dale Forest State Scenic Corridor and the Wallowa - Whitman National Forrest.

Day 3 will cover 298 miles through the Wallowa Mountains and Hells Canyon from La Grande to John Day.