Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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
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
Monday, December 15, 2008
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
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.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I wanted a new mattress anyway.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
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
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
Friday, November 14, 2008
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
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
Saturday, November 1, 2008
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
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.
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
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
Sunday, October 19, 2008
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
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
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
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
Tomorrow is a long drive, 340 miles to Boulder City, NV just south of Vegas. I hope there is less wind.
Friday, October 10, 2008
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
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
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
Sunday, September 28, 2008
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
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
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
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 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
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Minneapolis, MN
- Houston, TX
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Indianapolis, IN
- Denver, CO
- St. Louis, MO
- Atlanta, GA
- 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
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 hulu.com). 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
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
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
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: http://www.thrillarena.com/index.html 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
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.
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
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
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.