Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mom: I saw you smile today

i rode my bike 20 miles up Angel Lake road, with about 10 miles uphill total. I even went over 'the monster' which is a hill that increases dramatically in elevation after you have gone 3 or 4 miles of steady uphill. I do not like that hill. I was going to take 'the monster' my first day back, but it had snow covering it, so I was saved.

I made it up to the top and did it ok, my body was working with me today. As I got to the top, the cold wind started kicking up like it did not want me to make it over the hill. I made it and I looked at the mountains and I swear i saw my mom's shit eating grin smiling at me. (She passed away a few years ago.)

Her last few months on this earth: I drove 100 miles every 3 weeks or so to see her in a nursing home. I would take time to bike ride, kayak or scuba dive before I saw her. (I would scuba dive with my nephew Mike, now deceased.)

She would have this shit eating grin on when I came in and she only wanted to know about what adventure I had done. She wanted to hear about the kids too, but she was very intent on listening to what dumb thing I had tried. She liked me to do things even though she could never undsrstand why I would enjoy such things.

Making it over the top of this pass on a bike was a birthday present to myself. My mom liked to share in my stupid little stunts and I kind of felt she was there today.

FUTURE: I was thinking about cross country skiing around Crater Lake in Oregon. I have done about 5 miles before but it would be great to do the whole 20 miles. Kicking out this bike ride tells me I have the stamina.

So, If I do not get a teaching job in Nevada. I might hang out in Southern OR for a few days.

That wind can be cold around here. brrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I guess I am and always was a momma's boy. Thanks mom.

A slob cleans up

I have been alone in the Wells house since Monday. I tore up plywood and linoleum in the living room. I am a natural slob anyway so the perfect storm of natural slob and destroy a floor makes for a major mess.

I am now in cleaning mode, with interuptions. (I will call them excuses)
1. I was cleaning and the sun was blazing away outside and then I saw the clouds over the Humbolt Mountains. I had to get in the truck and take some pictures. Two are on here.
2. I started to clean again and then I could swear that I heard voices. The floor was talking and laughing at me. "You aren't done stupid." So, I started doing more flooring.
3. I was cleaning and I saw a pile of wood outside. I went outside and chopped wood. (There is already enough chopped wood to last all winter but I had to find a good excuse for stopping the cleaning.
4. The temperature is rising and the sun is coming back out - a bike ride beckons. I am holding out though.
Then I thought: Cleaning: My kids and ex would come in and be mad because I did not clean, that was after I had spent great effort in cleaning. I swear it was cleaned up so well and perfect. They would reclean and tell me this is how it is done. I would swear that it looks the same as when I cleaned. (My eyes see differently maybe.)
5. I have to watch the Man vs Nature series so I can survive in the cold when I am thrown out of the house for not cleaning. I payed particular attention to the cold weather shows. I sure hope I do not have to resort to drinking my pee like the fellow says to do. I guess it warms you up if you are super cold - like tea.
6. The thermometer says 54 degrees - that says bike riding to me.
7. The bike ride (20 miles) wore me out.
8. Drinking wine and blogging and facebook time is taking away from from cleaning time.
9. Reading: Lincoln President Elect and drinking wine.

Update: I did clean up the kitchen and the bathroon a bit. I got all of the old linoleum out. I will put the rugs down tomorrow morning. I want Tricia and Gar to see what I did to their house. I hope the kids are sleeping. They are supposed to come in between 9 PM and 11 PM.

Escape Plan: If they are upset because it is not clean enough and throw me out on my ear. (It is actually my house.) I have my twenty below sleeping bag, a tent and debit and credit cards. I also know of a couple of places that allow a poor unemployed, homeless fellow named Brisco to get out of the cold.

Got to say, I will work a bit then maybe a bike ride.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I am in Wells, NV, Last Thanksgiving I was in Juneau, AK. The second year of not having Thanksgiving with family. I cooked a chicken and have the bike loaded up and heading out to bike ride in a canyon I have been meaning to check out.

The weather is wonderful. Sunny, no wind, 45 degrees today.

I have been ripping plywood off the floor of the living room. I made a mess! There is linoleum under the plywood and old pine under the linoleum. I am now taking the linoleum off. What a job. I should be in Bullhead City, AZ but it looks like Saturday.
I have to finish this up. I finally figured out how to get the linoleum up but it is a lot of work.

Wishing all the best on this Thanksgiving day! Off for a bike ride.

Update: The first ride was work! Uphill and in the shade where ice was forming. I went 3 or 4 miles up and turned around then went back to Wells to my familiar bike ride. That felt so much better. I got in about 12 miles.

I must admit that I miss family at Thanksgiving, it is kind of weird not to hang around those goofballs. However, Last year was in Juneau with teachers and this year basically just me. I wonder - what about next year?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We have had some spectacular sunsets about 4;30 IN the afternoon.

I am ripping out plywood from the living room while everyone is gone. It is turning out to be more work than I had thought it would be. I am supposed to be in Laughlin, NV tomorrow or Friday for Thanksgiving. Because of the floor project, I might not get their until Saturday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The pictures were taken as I was bike riding at about 35 degrees or so.

Story 1: Alasks by Fairbanks. It has been 55 below zero already in this area. (That cold usually is seen in Jan) A MAN, WIFE AND 2 KIDS moved into the wilderness with a canvas hunting tent with a wood stove to live for the winter. They just got rescued.
the mom had severe frostbite. It is crazy living in that place with a house. I lived in a village at 20 and 30 below zero. It would be crazy to attempt living in a canvas tent in such extreme conditions. 12 dogs also had to be rescued.

Story 2: Anchorage: A man was babysitting with his buddy. The called an 9 year old boy to come see them. The boy did. The man had a can of flammable spray and held a lighter to it. This made a torch and the boys face got burned up. That was Saturday.
The boy went to school on Monday and the school called the authorities. The 2 adult males were arrested. They said they just wanted to toughen the boy up. The boy was taken to the hospital. The men or the mom when she got home did not take the boy to the hospital - crazy stuff. Sadly, this was a real story.

Since living in AK: I still follow what is happening. Speaking of what is happening in AK: SARAH PALIN IN NUTS! I have been following the Palin Book and following the reaction of folks in AK. She is not making many friends in Alaska.

Wells, NV - bike ride

Here are some pictures of my bike riding right about 32 degrees. It was 5 degrees this morning but it has warmed up to 32 or so. No wind though and sun which make it a bike riding day.

Wells is at 5300 feet elevation which makes it harder to ride. The air is thinner here than sea level, which my body is used to. Slow an steady is how I ride here with potential ice.

I look funny: I have long johns on, ski pants, a shirt, a sweater, a vest and a wind breaker. I also carry 2 or 3 pair of gloves. I only needed one pair on this ride. I went for a short this this morning at 25 degrees. I am waiting until it gets above freezing so I can do a long ride. I will probably hit angel lake hill - not many cars there and it gets me huffing and puffing real good.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Picture: The road up to Angel Lake.

Swine Flu: I am in Wells, NV. Across the street is a house where a lady, Marilyn, lived and she ultimately died of swine flu. She had a sprained ankle that caused blood clots that went to her heart and lungs. The blood clots almost killed her.

She had recurring clots for 5 weeks. She was sent home to Wisconsin, started to recover and then caught swine flu and died. (No health insurance so she did not want to go to the hosp.)

TODAY: My first day back, it was weird to see where Marilyn lived knowing she passed away. I had to ask if she really did die or was it a dream. It was true. Her pickup truck is still in Wells. It is sitting on a fellow employees farm, waiting for her family to come pick it up.

I had kind of a weird, sad feeling. Saturday, discussions of getting health care to uninsured people is finally being discussed. I feel it is stupid really that we will fund a war started with lies, but we cannot get health coverage to people like Marilyn.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Here are some Nov pictures of the Angel Lake area. I went there hoping to see enough snow for cross country skiing. Not enough. The lake is freezing up.

BOBCAT: I was asked to help with a little project and I said yes. We ssw a Bobcat and start it up. I am then taken to a backhoe gear for the Bobcat. The backhoe attachment is huge. It had also fallen down so it was not usable. One oompany said they would fix it for $800.00. This big thing had to be set upright. The ranger was in the Bobcat and gave me two chains then said my job was to hook the back hoe attachment up so it can be lifted. it looked impossible but I started,

I did some chain work and we lifted it. (The first time, the hook was lightly set and the whole thing could have come crashing down.) We got it lifted on the second set and then got hay bails to set it on to keep it up in the air.

We had it very close to being able to hook it up, inches. It was dark and we were working under lights so we called it quit. We went back this morning and an hour later, we had it sitting properly. (saved $800.00)

i then got lessons on driving the bobcat ans spent the next two hours doing bobcat work. It is kind of fun, I had driving a bulldozer years ago and it was kind of like that with hydraulics. I also got to hang around the horses.

It is snowing in Wells.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Downtown Wells, NV - winter

Here is the downtown area of Wells, NV. It is about 2 blocks long. EARTHQUAKE: Four years ago, there was an earthquake centered in Wells. The downtown blocks were not used much even then. The earthquake destroyed what was left of the buildings.
On the day that I took the pictures, it was 30 degrees with blue skies. There is some talk of rebuilding but really, business has moved to other streets.

Today it is snowing. I hope to get some cross country skiing in while I am here. Yesterday, I went to an area where I thought there would be enough snow for skiing but there really wasn't. I am hoping this snow will make enough for cross country skiing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wednesday - to Wells

I will be on the road Wednesday instead of Tuesday. I got a little 'sick' kind of which set me back a day. I don't think it is really sick, I think it is more playing wrestling and tackle football with a 3 year old. I ended up getting that feeling like riding a roller coaste. I ride crazy rides rarely but i do and then my stomach lets me know I should not have don that. This ended with an upset stomach and light headedness. Anyway, did not get loaded etc.

All food is staying down so it is not sickness.

We had a big storm all night. Today, it is sunny. They say that tomorrow, Wed is the good day for weather. So I will travel then. This truck by the way has an annoying habit of beeping while driving. I take out the chip to make it stop but then the windshield wipers do not work.

Ashley got asked to interview for medical school in Orlando, Florida. She has to be there Jan. I bought her plane tickets last night. She got round trip for $330.00. After paying to fly to and from Alaska, that is a good price. Any person who applies for Medical School has done so much top get to that point. She is a very dedicated person and I am very proud of her.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Snow - Wells, NV tomorrow

Here are a few more pictures of the snow on Mt. Hood. I am still sore - 2 days later, but, it is better than yesterday.

Loading up and going to Wells, NV tomorrow. They had 3 degrees yesterday, so it is cold. It is supposed to get up to 45 degrees today. The low was 18 last night in Wells. I am hoping there is not a lot of ice on the road as I travel.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snow boarding on Mt Hood

I turned 60 yesterday! For my 60th, I wanted to do something physical. My plan was to bike ride 30 miles. I then heard about 2 feet or more of powder snow on the mountains so there was a sudden change of plans. My daughter Ashley and I went up to Mt. Hood for snowboarding.

The snow was better than I would have anticipated. There was real powder. There were NO LINES either which makes it great in itself.Just a great day.
Then when I got home, I was invited to hear some friends band play in a bar. I went. It was fun, but I got to say: Going to a bar with a band that knows you on your birthday - be ready to be reminded that it is your birthday a lot.

The cake is from JA CIVA'S in Portland, OR. It is called a 7th heaven. It has 7 different types of chocolate. It is very good and very rich. Tasty!!!!!
It was a great birthday but I am sore today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sandy River

This is the Sandy River. I take the grandkids here to throw rocks into the river. We watch birds and also watch small airplanes land at the airport near here.

A week ago, a man and his 16 year old son tried to walk across the Sandy River. They had hip waders on and they filled with water. The young man barely made it out but the father did not.

The Sandy is fun to raft on during summers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My old school caught fire!

I take a grandchild to throw rocks in the river and then come home. On the news is a school I taught at for 6 years. It is on fire. It was one of the oldest schools in Portland and it was made of wood.

All of the kids were taken out of the building and they went 4 blocks to a public library where the parents were asked to pick them up. I saw some old friends on TV talking about the fire.

We took that school from one of low performing to one recognized by the state for great improvement. We had a great principal who allowed us to try some pretty interesting stuff.

The school is 1/3 burnt but it is so old that I am guessing that it will be taken down.

So then: On the news, a fellow in Portland went into a business and kills his girlfriend. 2 others are shot as well. Crazy stuff!

UPDATE: LATER ON THE NEWS: I see a guy who just got 8 years in prison for being a peeping tom. Last week, I was at a birthday dinner for a son in law and his mom was talking about a peeping Tom being caught in her neighborhood. They had a neighborhood meeting at a home and the guy turned out to be the guy who lived in that home.

national news is nuts these days too.

Last year, in Juneau, I had no TV. I did not have much TV in Wells and Pole Creek. Is the world crazy or have I just been out of touch?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life is fragile

I just got a call about a lady from the east coast who died. I knew her a little from being in Wells, NV. She worked for the Forest Service in Wells during the spring and summer for 10 years or so.

She was one of the Rangers that kept things in reasonable shape for all who visit our national treasure.

One Friday, she was hiking and walked over a stream. She twisted her ankle, which I have done dozens of times. She went home and put her foot up and iced it. It got worse over the weekend and she had chest pains. She went to the emergency room and was admitted. They said she was close to death. Blood clots developed and went to her lungs and heart. She was in the hospital for a week and was sent home. It did not get better - got worse. After 3 weeks of getting worse, they put her in the hospital again and kept her there for 2 weeks and then a rehab facility. She then was sent back home on a plane. That was 3 weeks ago. She was improving at home with family around her. her nurse sister was the main caregiver/overseer. She got H1N1 this past weekend and when it got in her lungs, she did not have a chance and passed away. Her lungs were already weakened by the clots.

Life is fragile. She had a pretty great job and she enjoyed it immensely, The job also became the reason she passed away. I must also say that I have had as many sprined ankles from walking in the back yard as I have had hiking or being on a trail. Little things can become big. I was in Wells when it happened and every day I expected to hear that she had improved and was back at work. Every day, the report was not good and often getting worse. She was only allowed to go to one small hospital even though many felt she needed another hospital.

Enjoy your life and those around you. If you see something wonderful, appreciate it. It is so easy to take things for granted.

HEALTH INSURANCE: She had health insurance because it was an on the job injury. Because she was seasonal, she did not have insurance when off the job or those non-working months. Had her injury occurred on Saturday, she would not have been covered with insurance. We need insurance for all - a public option is important.
(Taking back the tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% would more than fund the cost. We could even quit the wars which are costing an enormous amount of money.)

NO HEALTH INSURANCE BACK HOME: She did not have any insurance once she got back home. Workers Comp was only good in Nevada. She could not afford to go to the DR or Hospital when she got the Swine Flu. She passed away at home with family.

Between the rain storms

I have not been taking the camera on bike rides when it rains but I did get a few shots.

The Canadian Geese fly by every morning. They are making lots of noise as they go south for the winter. It is so great to hear them as they fly by. The fellows in this picture were there in the afternoon and probably going to camp out and fly out in the morning.

The fall colors are out but the weather is knocking the leaves down fast. It really is quite great to see. I have to add that it is so much warmer than Alaska. I am having to wear some full hand gloves to ride half the time but it is still a heck of a lot warmer than AK. It snowed in Anchorage yesterday. It also snowed in the mountains in OR this past weekend and some ski lifts even opened. (I am tempted to get up to the slopes but I am holding back.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lightning, thunder and bike riding

I woke up to sun - that got me thinking of bike riding. When I finally got out the door, the wind was blowing and there were some clouds. I rode towards the sun. The sun disappeared as I rode.

12 miles later, I was riding some hills at Mt. Tabor Park when it started raining. (By the way, Mt. Tabor Park is the only park in the US with a dormant volcano core which is now a basketball court.) I went for a cup of coffee to wait out the rain. The rain increased. I decided to ride home and go the route with our light rail.

I got the OR rain, which is constant but not a downpour like AK. I got to about 5 miles from home and the train pulled up. I could have gotten on but figured I only have 5 miles to go and I wanted to complete the ride. The train left and the lightning and thunder started - with a downpour, AK like. I picked up the pace of riding and caught the train at the next stop but I was already soaking wet and decided to keep riding.

The rain did not ease up. I did get a call when I was within 2 miles asking if I wanted a ride. I was only 2 miles away and I was so soaked that I said I would ride.

I got home and was totally soaked. It did not help that I wore cotton shorts and sweats. I never do that when it rains - until today. Reminder: Wear rain stuff when riding in rain country in Nov!

It was actually kind of great riding in the thunder and lightning though.
Portland had a record amount of rain today 1.16 inches of rain.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A bad day

True Story: FRIDAY: A fellow gets of work at 1 AM. The freeway was jammed so he took the highway home. As he drove his pickup home, he heard a thump and stopped his truck to see what he hit. He heard and saw nothing so he drove the 15 miles home. He called 911 and told them he hit something and he asked them to send police to see if anything could be found.

Saturday - He hears nothing.

Sunday: He calls the state police to ask if they knew anything about the noise he heard. They said they will call him if they have anything to report. He is watching the local Sunday News and they show a man in the hospital who said he got hit on a highway Saturday 2 AM. He said he was drunk and standing in the middle in the middle of the road.

The fellow calls the state police and he tells them what he saw on the news. They ask him to go to the police station, which he does. They get the information for 2 hours and then suddenly up the ante and act like he deliberately hit the fellow and tried to cover it up.

He hands the police the card for his lawyer and then said it sounds like they need to talk to him. He talked to his bosses on Monday and they said they back him. He has had the same job for 15 years.

He is pretty upset at this time. Weird things happen.

*The drunk who was standing in the middle of the road got a broken leg.

I was watching the local news Thursday and this case was on the news - weird. There was also a fellow run down on the other side of town.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pictures - the past month

I decided to put up pictures of the past month or so.

I hope to go for a bike ride later but the stupid wind is blasting again. We are supposed to get rain tomorrow, so I want to get a decent ride in today. Wind, wind go away!!!!!!!!!!!

THE TOWER PICTURE: That is a railroad trestle at the Ballard Bridge in Seattle. There is an Eagle Nest on top! The tower looks out at Elliot Bay but on the other side is lots of Seattle housing. Eagles had been going extinct back in the 60s because of DDT. Times have changed for the better in some cases.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When things work out.

My daughter Ash, is applying for medical schools. She is now following doctors around and one is at a medical school.

This weekend, a son in laws mom found out she has a cancerous condition. The doctors say the main consideration is dealing with the condition fast. She could not get an appointment with an oncologist until late January.

Ash was working with the doctor Monday AM and asked him what could be done. He said have her doctor call his office to get her in. About the same time, a medical student friend heard about it and asked doctors if they would consider the case. Two sets of doctors said they would take it on. She has an appointment for this Thursday.

Sometimes, things work out like they should.

Halloween/ Bike Ride

To Infinity and Beyond! My grandson and I passed out candy as well as going to a few houses. Little kids sure make Halloween more fun.

I got in a bike ride today, Tuesday. I went about 15 miles or so. I started to go into the Columbia Gorge but the wind was quite strong. After a couple of miles of fighting wind, I turned around and put the wind at my back. Biking sure is easier if you have the wind blowing you. It actually looked like yesteday but the wind made the looks deceiving, it was a workout.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a rainless day. I hope there is no wind either.

Monday, November 2, 2009

28 Mile Bike Ride

I went on a 28 mile bike ride into the Columbia Gorge on this sunny 55 degree day! I went along the Sandy River and the colors were great! I felt so good on this ride. I actually felt like a real bike rider. There was about 9 miles of gradual uphill riding and I finally did start to cramp up. Now, I wish I would have taken a 5 minute break and gone on but I turned around. It was a great ride.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On the water

The bridge is on the way to and from the Ballard Locks in Seattle.