Sunday, July 15, 2012

Civil War Model cannon 1:8 scale

I built this over the Winter in my cold garage. It took a couple months, but it was a fun project. I might make another one this Winter. It is .50 caliber, shoots black powder.
The link covers the whole build process. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mexico Dec. 2009

Well, a weeks cruise to the Mexican Riveria seemed like a good idea to escape the recent snowstorm, and get away from the Christmas shopping rush. We flew to LA and back, and I take Airborn before and after I fly, but I still came down with a cold after I got back home. Hopefully, this is not swine flu, which was widespread in Mexico recently.

We went with our best friends, Nancy and Corrie. The weather was fairly good, rainy when we left Long Beach, overcast and cool the next day, and 75 to 85 degrees and fairly clear after that, with a couple spectacular sunsets. Here's a picture:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Myrtle Point, Or. motorcycle rally

United Motorcycle Club International, UMCI, is a motorcycle club for the "Older than Hells Angles". You have to be 40 years old to join, so I qualified 30 years ago, which makes me feel a little weird.
The rally in Myrtle Point, Or., has been going on for more years than I've been eligible to be a member, and so I feel right at home with the 97 other folks that showed up this year at the Coos County fairgrounds. They came on Honda Gold Wings, Harleys, in motor homes, and in cars, for the three days of reunion, good grub, and much philosophical discussion on the art of getting older while maximizing fun.

That's me in the doo rag, Bruce, in shorts, Rapid Robert in the black jacket, our good friend Corrie in the vest, and 87 year old John in the helmet. We all left together from Grass Valley, Ca. the morning of Aug. 19, rode to Red Bluff, and over Hwy 36 to Arcata, on the Calif coast, where we spent the night. Hwy 36 is a fine, twisty, ideal motorcycle road over the coast range from the central valley, and winds its way thru Grizzly Creek Redwoods state park, where the giant redwood trees are even older than some of the club members. It was 98 degrees when we left Red Bluff, and 52 degrees in the cold, misty fog by the time we got to Arcata. Such is Calif in the Summertime. To quote Mark Twain, "The coldest Winter I ever spent, was a Summer in San Fransisco".

The next morning, we had breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse, out on the ocean peninsula just South of Arcata. It is also a lumbering museum, and well worth the stop to see all the historic photos and artifacts. There is one picture of a downed redwood tree, with about 30 loggers sitting on it. They are holding the 28 foot hand saw used to fell the 26 foot diameter tree.

The run up the coast to Bandon was cold, foggy, and somewhat wet at times, and interupted by frequent road construction stops, the bane of traveling weekdays.

Paul Bunyan, and Babe, the blue ox, at the Trees of Mystery, near Klamath, Ca.

See the following link for more pictures from the rally:

The Coos County fairgrounds had been substancially improved since I was there two years ago. Several of the "dangerous" trees had been removed, and a nice pond with a waterfall, and flowers had been added. I had previously camped in a tent under one of the dangerous trees. We bikers live on the edge. I stayed in the Myrtle Trees Inn this year, with the luxury of being able to stand up to get dressed, and a bed I didn't have to blow up again in the middle of the night. This also enabled me to pack the bike a lot lighter - no tent, sleeping bag, etc. Last time, I loaded all this stuff on my '03 Road King. It looked like I was going for a month. So....

A few comments about the new '09 Street Glide. ABS brakes. Six speed. 96ci motor. Wider frame. Cooler, rerouted exhaust. Removable tour pack. Radio. Fairing. Six years worth of improvements made it well worth trading in the Road King, which I loved.

Breakfast Fri & Sat mornings was a Mary McMuffin, just like a McDonalds McMuffin, but nice and hot, and without the eggshell. Fri night, we had all kicked in a can of chilie to the main pot. It was great, with the hot dogs. Sat night, we had a catered seafood feast, with fresh local oysters, albacore, halibut, and cod, probably the best $15 I ever spent.

We roared (at least the Harley did) into town Thursday afternoon, happy to be in sunny, 78 degree weather with a nice breeze. Doris Walter, my riding buddy for Fri & Sat, was already checked into the motel with her granddaughter, Janice. Doris is a great poet; I got to read her book while I was there. They came all the way from Texas, by plane and car.

Janice took this picture Sat. morning, just before we left on the poker run.

Even with a GPS, and printed directions for the run, I had to ride with a group to find all the right stops. We had perfect weather; even the cold ocean wind held off till afternoon.

I had high hand for the Hi/Lo poker wheel, and got to split the $80 pot, a first for me. Won a couple cans of smoked albacore in the raffle, too.

The ride home Sunday was much more direct, from Myrtle Point east to I-5, south to Red Bluff, Hwy.99 to Hwy 70, and on home to Grass Valley on SR-20, about 440 miles for the day, and some 1284 miles for the four day trip. Redding, Calif. was downright cool at 92 degrees. This will be my only long trip for this year. I'm really looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Well, I guess I have to keep up with the grandkids. I signed up for Twitter today. I even made a correct guess on how to add in my cell phone number. So - how does this work? If you post, blog, whatever, on Twitter, does it automatically become a text message sent to my cell phone? Come on kids, help me out here. Just don't do it while you are driving.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Have I been saved?

Have you been saved?
It is a question I get asked occasionally, usually by someone interested in the status of my immortal soul. Or the contents of my wallet. I was first asked in 1958, walking down the streets of San Fransisco's mission district with Bobby O'Rourke, or perhaps staggering down the street would be the better term. The askee was a Salvation Army bell ringer, a true, blessed, and dedicated servant of the Lord.
I remember my answer - "Why, no, Sister. I don't believe we have. " And she replied, "Then I will pray for you. " To which my dear drinking buddy replied, "Don't bother, Sister. We can sin a lot faster than you can pray."
Hysterically funny at the time, as I've gotten older, I've come to consider the question in a more sober light. I have decided the short, and final answer is: Only God will be the judge of that. No mortal human has that right to stand in final judgement.
It has been my belief for many years that we are all spiritual beings, born into a human experience, that we are born with both good and evil as part of our humaness. We are free to choose how to live our lives, to let the good or evil predominate. Our choices will ultimately determine the answer to the above question.
I no longer embrace the angry, punishing God of my Catholic upbringing. Most days I pray to the God of my understanding for the guidance to live a proper and meaningful life, and for the help to learn from my mistakes.
In my opinion, organized religion has always been about power, and money. Same for politics. However, any time you would like to say a little prayer for my soul, please do. I may need all the help I can get.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Million mile Monday.

Million Mile Monday was started last year by H.O.G. (Harley owners group). It was the first Monday in June, and is a world wide day to ride for all HOG members. At the end of the ride, you go to the HOG website, log in with your card number, and post the miles you rode for that day. You can print out a mileage certificate, and, for $5, order a run pin for your vest. Most Harley riders have a leather vest covered in patches and pins, reminders of the rides we have taken, and the places we've been. Here is a picture of mine:

Last year, HOG members logged in over 3 million miles. This year, we rode almost 4.4 million miles. Corrie and I started out with six other club members, and rode South on highway 49 to Angels Camp. There, the rest of the group turned off to go up over Sonora Pass, and back to Truckee, Ca. and home.

Corrie and I continued South of Hwy 49 to Coulterville, Ca. then West on 132 to Modesto, North on 99 to Sacramento, East on 80 to Hwy 49, which we took North to get back home to Grass Valley. We each logged some 348 miles on what, so far, was the hottest day of the year. We started out at 68 degrees, but by the time we got to Coulterville, it was well over 100, and in the central valley, riding back on the hot pavement, I got readings up to 117 degrees. By then, we were stopping about every 30 miles to wet down, and suck up Gatorade and water.

At some point, the ride stopped being fun, and became more about survival. I had long since sweated off the sunscreen, and would have ridden naked if it had been legal. Now, there's a sunburn you wouldn't soon forget. I took all the stuff out of my pockets, stashed it in the saddlebags, and poured water down my chest, back, and into my pockets. I wet my hair, even tho I had to wear a helmet. In 30 miles, we were bone dry. Hot. Thirsty. Tired. Sunburned. Homesick.

I can't wait to do it all over again next year. Next year, we will ride a cooler route, up thru the mountains.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Royal Caribbean cruise May 2009

We went on a cruise to Scandinavia and Russia on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas, May 16-28, 2009. It was a great adventure, but like most long trips, there was good and bad. The ship was beautiful, the food was great, the crew was happy, and our room on the starboard corner at the stern had a large balcony; perfect for taking pictures. I took 756 pictures. I would have taken more, except I cracked the display on my little Sony Cybershot. It still functioned, and thanks to the optical view finder, we could still take pictures, but we could'nt view settings, or see what we shot.
We flew from Sacramento, to Dallas, to London, and left on the ship from Harwich. We went to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn(Estonia), Oslo, and back to Harwich.
Heathrow to Dallas to Sacramento and home.
Working on a cruise ship is hard work, with long hours. But if you want to see the world, what a great way to do it. When you get older, travel becomes more difficult. Jeanne was just six weeks out of knee surgery, in some pain, but determined to get around, with or without the help of a cane. On some of the tours, we lagged behind a bit, but she never complained. What a trooper. All the walking seemed to help, actually. Gettin' old ain't fer sissies.
You can see all the pictures on my Picasa web album here: