Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunset Sentry

Tualatin River National Wildlife Preserve has been a frequent visit for walks and watching the bird life. Heron, ducks, geese along with many others have been spotted. In addition to my watching, the bald eagle frequently is watching from this fir tree.

Perhaps the bald eagle and I were just enjoying the same thing -- a sunset.

Friday, July 30, 2010


It's only a number. Don't feel any different. Just another day. 

So true.

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes on the Wandrin blog; at Facebook; the emails; and the phone calls.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Symbolic Candles

Driving up the driveway at Rich and Cyndi's house, I could hear my voice say say, "Oh no". It was a surprise birthday party. Friends and co-workers were gathered in front of the garage holding a large sign wishing me a Happy Birthday (for my 60th - ten years ago). They had pulled it off. They were surprised that I didn't pick up on all the slips that had happened during the previous week. I had missed them all. That should make my employer wonder about my marketing skills -- if I couldn't pick up subtle signals.

Putting 60 candles on a cake sounded like a good idea. However, getting all those candles lit was an effort that took several people lighting simultaneously. Just in case, the fire extinguisher was handy. The result was a mini forest fire that creating its own firestorm. Note that large flame in the center. The photo was taken and with a effort and lots of wind -- not just my own -- the fire was out and we dined on chocolate cake.

In retrospect, there was agreement that each candle symbolizing 10 years would have been sufficient. But survival of risk provides a rush and that alone is reward to consider doing it again next time.

All the invitees were generous with cards and gifts. The gifts were bottles of Crown Royal. The supply was enough to last a long time.

Once again, thanks to all who attended to make it a memorable day that I will never forget.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fast Forward

Following that 1944 photo featured in yesterday's blog entry, this farm kid spent time in grade school, high school, University of Wisconsin (Madison), and off to San Francisco in the mid sixties. When the San Francisco area was too crowded for this farm kid (and farm kid former wife Eileen), we headed to Denver. That is where TJ and Vanita are sitting on my lap for my 33rd birthday.

The candles on the cake were symbolic of 33: three on the left and three on the right. (Hmm. Does that say something about my politics.) Those were the days when I still had hair and color in the hair. And of course the beard was de rigueur at that time.

In yesterday's post I had commented about not doing 70 miles on a bicycle to celebrate the upcoming historic event. Boonie wondered if 70 kilometers might be an alternative. Maureen suggested 70 minutes. Now we're getting closer to reality.

At one time there was a bicycle hanging on the trailer. Fortunately, the bicycle found a good home in Durango Colorado last summer. Walking is my style. So with that in mind, I will go for a walk -- someplace. How long. It doesn't matter. Just getting out and walking is the reward.

A story to share when the beard was cut off five years later.... After the beard was cut and with a clean shaven face, the startled expressions and the stares I received from TJ and Vanita will never be forgotten. Returning to work that next Monday morning was most informative about what people see or don't. The comments that I recall: "I recognize the voice, but not the face." "Looks like you traded in the glasses for contacts." "You look ten years younger."

That last comment was also the one I most frequently heard from Wisconsin relatives.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Big Day Anticipation

The big day is getting closer.

A few days ago in the post about covered bridges, I noted meeting Brad who was celebrating his birthday by riding an equivalent in miles to his age -- 40. A comment from an anonymous reader (Dee) wondered if I was going to do a similar ride for my birthday. 70 is a lot of miles. The short answer: NO.

Searching for photos from the past (thanks to Mom) to accompany some of the photos this week, there were many to choose from. Some were just interesting. Others were memories. There were studio posed shots. There were group photos from grade school. Lots to choose from, but nothing really embarrassing. This may be the closest. The photo dates to 1944. That kid with the scrunched up face on the right is Wandrin Lloyd.

The short pants are still part of daily attire. Plain colored shirts have been replaced with Hawaiian themes. Gave up on the high top shoes -- except for hiking.

So what will I do to celebrate that special day. Don't know. How about doing something Zen-like and live in the moment. With that as a pretext, I will celebrate every day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian Home

Coming into Silverton from the south, there was The Oregon Garden. That sounded like a good place to take photos. Those spur of the moment decisions and quick reflexes barely gave me chance to warn those drivers in the rear view mirror of Silver Slug. "Hey guy. That license plate on this truck says I am a tourist." 

At any rate, once off the busy road and following the road back to the gardens was when I noted the sign pointing to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. Over the years, I have toured several of his designs. This was the first of his Usonian home design that I had an opportunity to tour. Built in the 1960s, the Gordon Home was moved to the grounds of The Oregon Garden less than ten years ago.

Designed for Gordon, a gentleman farmer, there are two entry doors -- one for the guests and the other for the dirt dragged in from the farm. 

The interior is the usual Wright maniacal attention to detail and the horizontal lines within the home. The entry area has a low ceiling like all of his homes -- opening into the great room of the home. I would have taken a photo, but the room was full of materials for a fund raiser. I opted for the corner sitting area to give a feel for the fret work theme of the windows that is throughout the home.

In the home's original location, this guest room allowed a view of Mt. Hood on the horizon. Wright designed all his homes so there was privacy without drapes. This was in complete contrast to the Victorian homes of his youth. His approach was to let the outdoors in.

Note the floor to ceiling doors. These doors are on all sides of the great room between all the supporting columns. This could certainly be described as an "open floor" plan.

After that wonderful tour of the Gordon home, I opted to pass on The Oregon Garden -- and headed back into the traffic that moves too fast on these back roads.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Covered Bridges

For getting off the beaten path, my source for each state is the Road & Recreation Atlas from Benchmark Maps -- this time the Oregon Edition. That was where I found the "Covered Bridges of Marion County." As I drove the back roads, I found five.

The oldest of the bridges was built in 1916. Incorrectly, I assumed that covered were old and built before I was born. The bridge built in 1966 disproved that assumption. Sorry, but the brushy undergrowth along the river kept me from getting one of those scenic shots of the bridges.

When I was snapping photos at one of the bridges, a bike rider came through and stopped to rest and snack. A day off from his pipe fitter job, he was celebrating his 40th birthday with a bike ride to at least equal that in miles.

To find all those bridges,  Bike rider Brad told me I could get a map in the nearby village of Scio. Too late for that. At that point I was satisfied with the ones I had found. Besides a map would have taken all the fun out of the wrong turns I made.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Drive In The Country

Looking for my roots -- or at least a memory -- I headed out of Salem and into nearby agricultural country. With no Jeffersonian square mile checkerboard patterns placed on the physical geography, it is driving curving back roads passing through small villages where the many one time main streets are being recycled by Mother Nature.

I hadn't expected to see irrigation as I drove through the countryside, but later I found that the area gets almost no rain from about mid July to mid September. The agriculture was diverse with milking operations, wheat fields, vineyards, berry orchards, tree farms and other products that will eventually find its way to your dinner table or to decorate your home.

As I drove around another high point on one of the winding roads, there were acres of color. The only conclusion that I could make was that it was flower seed growers.

Considering the size of the flower seeds (the size of poppy seeds and smaller), I wonder how the seeds were actually harvested. No doubt there is machinery to harvest the seeds. To harvest the seeds by hand would take a lot of people.

After that great drive around the country, this wasn't the only marvel to satisfy my curiosity. It will take a few more posts to get current with this latest nomadic and aimless exploring.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What To Do

Sometimes I am happy with the results of my "playing" with Photoshop.

This was one of those days.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oregon State Capitol Building

After fires destroyed the first two capitol buildings, the current building with art deco influences was dedicated in 1938. Oregon's history is depicted in numerous sculptures and murals throughout the building. The statue atop the dome is the Oregon Pioneer -- a woodsman with an ax in his hand.

A tour would have been great. However, the number of young children on the tour deterred me from following the group. The self tour is the alternative. Not as ornate as most capitol buildings and not looking like the nation's capitol in Washington, DC, it is refreshing originality.

The capitol building concept is retained in this art deco building with a large open space, long stairways and the dome over the entry area.

No 100 year old fixtures and desks in the legislative chambers in Oregon. Relatively modern looking -- although art deco in style.

Why do capitol buildings resemble cathedrals.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book: Surviving Paradise by Peter Rudiak-Gould

As a recent college grad, the author volunteers to teach English on a Marshall islands atoll of about 500 people in less than a square mile of land covered in palm, pandmus and bread fruit trees and surrounded by water. Coming in as the outsider with his American ideals, expectations and culture, the author doesn't find paradise, but finds a culture very different from his own as the community struggles for daily food. Eventually, accepting the Marshallese Island culture, he is funny, emotional and often critical of himself and the Americans who seem to know what's right -- for another culture and their history.

What is an island. According to the author: "What was it about islands that I found so alluring? It was this: islands are isolation, isolation is differentness, differentness is possibility, and possibility is hope."

Monday, July 19, 2010


Just down the road from the RV park is the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Great place for a walk and watch birds doing their thing. That is my approach to bird watching.

There were several little brown birds that I was unable to identify. Identification is pretty easy for the Canada Goose. The Great Blue Heron was catching and dining on what appeared to be a small fish.

No photos of those. However, the hawk (finally) flew directly overhead for one of the few shots of birds.

There wasn't much sitting around for these birds; they were searching for something to eat. That was the process as I watched this robin for several minutes before it left the telephoto capabilities of my camera.

Wildlife photography is tough. My admiration to those who have the patience and the good luck to be in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nature's Color

Beaverton Farmers Market is where there was color.

It would have been very easy to load a couple of bags with fresh fruits and vegetables.

However, since I already have a refrigerator full of edibles, my approach was to taste test. It was easy enough to get a mid morning snack by tasting berries, cheeses, butter, cookie crumbs, salsas and more. All those tastings filled any cravings for more to eat. That was when I spotted a $3 cinnamon roll. As a recovering cinnamon roll-aholic, it took lots of strength to move on. But I did.

Nature's bounty also includes bouquets of color to enjoy. And enjoy I did. Took photos.

Although I buy very little at the farmers markets, they are always an enjoyable way to get a little exercise walking up and down aisles. Of course, the tastings make it all worth while.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


With my parking in Portland, the intent was to do some exploring far beyond the shopping centers and finding some ethnic dining. Intent and plans are one thing. Execution was another. I did find a great curry at a Thai restaurant. (Aside to Boonie: with pork.) Why did I find myself in the shopping centers at Best Buy and the Apple store. It was about impatience. Now, dear reader don't get ahead of me. I didn't buy another gadget.

With lots of scanned photos going back a couple of generations and ten years of nomadic exploring photos, there wasn't room on the computer's main drive. I addressed the issue with an outboard disk drive. However, that slows down the processes when I am working with Photoshop loading from the outboard disk. Logic would ask what is a second or two for a retired guy. Good point. However, let's not confuse want with need.

The solution that would have made me happy (that is what I told myself) was an inboard disk on a new computer with sufficient capacity for everything including the photos. The solutions ranged in price from $1200 to $2300. Since there is no sales tax in Oregon, the justification was getting easier. But it didn't happen. Lack of an anti-glare screen was the deal killer. (Current iMac has anti glare screen.) Immediate suggestion is to get anti-glare film for that screen. Sorry. It just isn't the same as a manufactured anti-glare screen.

After all that, no new gadget. Instead I am working on a new skill. Patience.

Note: Photo was taken at the Chinese cultural gardens in Vancouver.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Wal-Mart Effect

Book: The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman

"Always low prices. Always"

It is that mission statement that forces Wal-Mart employees and suppliers to continue to reduce product cost in order to maintain shelf space in the Wal-Mart stores. Pare costs out of product and the retailing of that product. Not only has that Wal-Mart focus impacted their operations, it has also affected the entire retail industry -- from groceries to consumer products.

Isn't that American capitalism. Satisfy the customer's shopping goal of the lowest price. What is so bad about that. In order to achieve that, the manufacture of the consumer product is sent to another country because labor is cheaper and those countries don't have all those annoying rules about "... things like work hours, safety, overtime, breaks and days off, proper equipment, health regulations, fire exits; it’s about what a factory cannot emit into the water and air as it manufactures things, and how emissions must be treated in advance and handled."

There was a lot I knew about Wal-Mart. However, what surprised me was their size, their growth, and their sales income portion of consumer spending. Can this continue. What happens when they are the only choice. At that point they will be the "company store."

Although the book was written in 2005, the theme and the concerns of the book are still valid five years later. Pick up the book or an eBook version (my choice) for the details and statistics that will either support you in applauding the company or have you searching for alternatives -- or at least be more aware when shopping at Wal-Mart.

In the interests of disclosure: I've never been a fan of Wal-Mart. If another choice exists, I do not shop at Wal-Mart.

For more about the book: The Wal-Mart Effect Book 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thousand Trails Membership

When I acquired my membership with Thousand Trails, it provided another option to park Wandrin Wagon. It was acquired for a $1000 transfer fee less than five years ago. It was a bargain and over these past years, the initial investment plus the annual assessments has made for some inexpensive camping. My experience has been with just a few of the Thousand Trails preserves and all of those have been on the west coast and in the southwest.

Recently the parent company, ELS, has blurred the lines between the Thousand Trails membership campgrounds and their Encore RV parks. Based on observations, the expensive TT membership is becoming less of a requirement as the TT parks are open to the camping public. This is done through changes in the various programs offered allowing variations in the usage and camping at the preserves. The most noticeable change is the Encore logo on the entry signs of the Thousand Trails preserves.

The Thousand Trails parks (along with all the other campground/RV parks across the country) are aging along with the population. At the time most of these parks were built, they were built for tents and pop-ups and smaller trailers and Class C RVs. Many of those older parks weren't designed for rigs over 30 feet and longer requiring 50AMP service. In the old days, there was the occasional air conditioner and small TVs. Not anymore. Additionally, they weren't designed for the full time RV crowd. They were designed for summers, holidays and weekends.

My experience is that maintenance varies from park to park within the TT preserves. Some of that is probably due to the manager and the staff at an individual park. Some people care more about their duties than others. It also may be due to the visits that a particular park gets -- and the profitability of that park. After all, it isn't a public subsidized campground.

In the end, ELS is treating Thousand Trails as a business. Return on investment is required. Costs continue to increase -- electricity, water, maintenance, infrastructure, the employed staff. That in turn requires management to come up with methods to bring in more income to cover the increased costs -- because all those TT memberships don't cover the costs any longer.

Those with long time TT memberships complain about those "transients" (non TT memberships), the increases in assessments, the maintenance issues, the lack of 50AMP support, etc. The loudest complainers are those who have been coming to the same parks every year for a long time. They like cheap -- the Wal-Mart and casino buffet mind set. Don't change anything.

Some seem to understand the costs of running a business. Others don't get it and expect things to stay the same. I don't tell them they could vote with their dollars and go to another park -- if they could find something as reasonably priced. They really don't want anything to change -- especially when it comes to cheap. Not an unusual reaction as many people get older. Hoping I don't get to that place.

Each year of my TT membership, it has been good for me. This may be the last year for that. Next summer I will be traveling in the Rockies where there are no TT parks. In addition, I am seriously considering going to a Tucson park for several winter months -- rather than my usual visits to Palm Springs and San Diego.

When I decide that I no longer want to pay the TT annual assessment fees, I will give the membership to another person (the way I received it). When that time comes, my intention is to give the membership to an interested party. Sorry. You will have to keep reading my blog entries so you can be the first to respond when that happens. :-) 

For me it is about camping options where I want to explore. Those options are public campgrounds (national, state, county, national forest, BLM, COE), fairgrounds, Elks Lodges, SKP membership discounts, my lot at the Benson SKP park, and the occasional private RV park without a discount. The Thousand Trails is just one of those options.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happier When -- Maybe

Leaving the calm and remote RV camping at Shelton Elks:

Arrived at Roamers Rest south of Portland and parked cheek to jowl.

Why you ask. It is the nature of human condition to anticipate happier times "if something". For me it was warmer weather. My preference for day time temperatures at 80 degrees plus or minus five degrees was not going to be met by my original destination RV camping along the Pacific Ocean. My conclusion is that I am a sunny southwest person. (Note to self: southwest's Four Corners in summer 2011.)

Abandoning plans along the Pacific coast, I have arrived at Portland about three weeks earlier than my original intent. This early arrival will give me plenty of opportunity for exploring -- Portland, its suburbs, the nearby Columbia River, the Willamette Valley, long day trips, etc. And find a dental hygienist and dentist for an annual checkup. After this extended stay, I will be ready to resume nomadic travel.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book: Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." - Maya Angelou

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is an account as Theroux in his late sixties reprises his train travels of his book Great Railway Bazaar -- thirty years earlier. This current book begins:
"...So many travelers are hurrying to the airport, to be interrogated and frisked and their luggage searched for bombs. They would be better off on a national railway, probably the best way of getting a glimpse of how people actually live -- the backyards, the barns, the hovels the side roads and slums, the telling facts of village life, the misery that airplanes fly over. Yes, the train takes more time..."
Since Theroux's original 1975 train journey, the USSR and its puppet states are no more, Iran has closed its borders and the southeast Asian countries are a "new" world. His earlier journey was in the early months of 1975 as the Vietnam War came to end in April. In his current travels, he converses with those who lived through the past 30 years comparing their lives -- then and now. Experiencing a world on trains allows lots of time to chat with his fellow passengers.

Every travel writer will have biases as his story is brought forth. That is why I read travel books from many different authors. Each will have a different approach to the travel and how they travel. Younger travel writers versus the older travel writer each will address the issues and present them in different ways. With this diverse reading from several authors, it is a vicarious experience to address my curiosity and broadening of my understanding the world. I am thankful that these writers do make that travel and report back with their experiences.

The last paragraph of the book summarizes the author's thoughts of this train journey across Europe and Asia:
"... Most people on earth are poor. Most places are blighted and nothing will stop the blight getting worse. Travel gives you glimpses of the past and the future, your own and other people’s. ... [T]here are too many people and an enormous number of them spend their hungry days thinking about America as the Mother Ship. I could be a happy Thai, but there is no life on earth that I am less suited to living than that of an Indian, rich or poor. Most of the world is worsening, shrinking to a ball of bungled desolation. Only the old can really see how gracelessly the world is aging and all that we have lost. Politicians are always inferior to their citizens. No one on earth is well governed. Is there hope? Yes. Most people I’d met, in chance encounters, were strangers who helped me on my way. ..."
Many times as I read through the book, it could get seriously depressing as Theroux related the oppression of some peoples, the sex slavery, the starving masses, etc. As a good reporter, he related what he saw.

Theroux's view is not what Americans see on TV. When world leaders meet in that foreign country, they meet in some luxurious surroundings at the end of the red carpet after arriving in the black limos. The cameras may pan over the slums and the poor that survive in those cities. However, more TV time is spent showing the world leaders in photo ops. The impression left is that all is good in that remote country.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tiffany Studios Museum

Washington's Capitol building was completed in 1928. The building is of classical design with extensive use of local sandstone, marble from Alaska and Europe.

Tiffany Studios Museum? Not really. However, the Washington State Capitol has fixtures and chandeliers throughout the building that were designed and made by Tiffany Studios of New York. The largest creation is the five ton chandelier suspended from the dome.

In this earthquake prone region, I hope the building is strong and stable enough to keep that chandelier up there. Regardless, I wouldn't like being in this building during a tremor.

After the tour, I wandered around the building taking more photos and admiring the building design and stone work. That was when I came upon the state's name sake -- George Washington. This sculpture was not on the tour. Regardless. It must be getting lots of visits considering George's shiny nose.

The tour guide provided all those tidbits of information that are typically shared with a tour group. When speaking of the height of the capitol building, I believe she said is was the fourth tallest in the country. So which state had the tallest. The trivia: Louisiana at Baton Rouge has the tallest capitol building.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Elks and Moose

Not those animals. But the fraternal organizations by the name.

A privilege of Elks membership is to park at the RV spaces that are provided at some of the Elks Lodges across the country. I've used them many times in my travels and frequently when in Denver or San Diego.

When I arrived at the Shelton WA Elks Lodge, the signs at the entrance indicated that this was the location for both the Elks and Moose Lodges. A first and -- indeed -- a surprise.

Checking the rules and regulations board, the campground is for the use of Elks members. Two of the spaces appear to be occupied "permanently". One other transient besides myself in the 20 spaces.

The two level building has a walk-out downstairs. The main level upstairs is the Elks. The downstairs is the Moose and the entry is at the rear of the building.

The situation is symptomatic of Elks and Moose Lodges across the country. Memberships are declining. How to keep the Lodges going. The average member age of most Lodges is over 65. This site appears to have been the Elks first. At some point it appears the local Moose needed new space and the Elks leased the lower level to the Moose.

No activity at either bar for my first two nights here. Perhaps there will be some activity at the bar of one of these lodges this weekend for me to get the full story. Without a Moose membership, I may never get the story.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book: Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov

Living in Russia before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the author compares the super power that failed and the super power that survived -- so far. The author describes the scenario of possible collapse of the US. It is not a pleasant view. His personal view of Russia after the collapse are the details of what life was like behind the headlines. Orlov looks at the United States and sees a population that would be ill prepared economically, emotionally and physically for a similar economic collapse.

Assuming there is a peak oil point, it is the downward side of that slope that is described in the book. The reader may not agree with the author on his scenario or possible adaptations in that event, but the worth of the book is drawing attention to how we live and who we are.

As the author described the world after economic and political collapse, I find that I am prepared for that future as a nomad living in a small home on wheels. Bring it on!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Verizon Air Card

Some days are better than others. That also goes for the throughput on the Verizon air card. When I arrived at the Elks Lodge in Port Townsend, there was good signal with three bars showing. Sometimes it was four bars. My internet searches were speedy and downloads were what was expected of broad band.

On Saturday morning of the Fourth of July weekend, throughput was gone with one bar and sometimes none. Occasionally, the air card accessed the internet via National Access. It was the dark ages. Considering the slower than usual broadband throughput, I concluded that Verizon must have gone to their backup power source -- wind.

Now that the holiday weekend is past, the throughput is back to what it was last Friday. It does make one wonder. 

Considering this was a three day weekend, my suspicions were that Verizon sold lots of band width for the weekend to some large corporation to move billions of bytes of data from one data center to another. That along with a couple of Lear jets would have been used to move data from one data center to another. Considering the spate of recent bank failures, could that be a possibility.

Or is it a conspiracy theory.

Postscript on Tuesday morning: As stated above, throughput was great. This morning not so good. Bad in fact. Back to wind power.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Whale Watch

Whales have their life. If they don't feel like playing, they don't. They do whatever they want. How about some spirals and splashes. Nope. They aren't getting paid to perform. They were searching for their lunch of salmon. That according to the on board naturalist.

This wasn't the first time for a whale watch. Humpbacks were the previous whale watches -- off Hawaii's Maui coast. This time it was the orcas in the waters off Anacortes, WA. There were times we were closer to Canada than the US. (No shots were fired to protect their borders.)

I didn't have high expectations to see whales doing flips, flops and rolls. And I wasn't disappointed. My conclusion. No more whale watches. On a Maui whale viewing years ago I saw a great show by the whales. There is no reason the experience could ever be repeated.

So if I want to see whales perform, the next time I will head to Sea World in San Diego. However, that won't happen.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Book: Jack London -- A Biography by Daniel Dyer

The biography describes a very charismatic, focused, and adventure seeking London. In a short life of 41 years, London accomplished what borders on a story plot for a novel. From a disadvantaged dysfunctional childhood and an eighth grade education, London worked as a boat deckhand, explored for gold in the Klondike, toured the Pacific on a sail boat, went on speaking tours, developed a working cattle ranch and in his spare time wrote extensively including fiction that has not been out of print for 100 years.

Don't want to read a whole book.... Wikipedia provides a good abbreviated bio of Jack London.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Walking Port Townsend

Several buildings along the water front main drag of Port Townsend date to the Victorian era. Some are in need of work. Others have been upgraded to condos like this one.

Many of the building exterior walls advertised the building commercial interests or in this case the ad was for Bull Durham tobacco. Nothing small about this ad. It covers the entire side of the building from the sidewalk to the alley.

Continuing my walk, this 1957 Chevy was spotted. I always liked the lines of that car. My grandfather bought a new 1957 Chevy sedan after driving Dodge products for many years.

After a great lunch at a Thai restaurant downtown, I headed over to this retro fifties soda fountain for an ice cream treat. That was the last food for the day. The pants were getting a bit tight.

More walking to work off lunch and ice cream was when I met Lydia and Ray in front of Waterfront Pizza (the best in town). Lydia and Ray are traveling on the tandem bicycle from Calgary to San Francisco. No. They are not pedaling back to Calgary. They are getting on a plane for the return trip. Their travel companions, Marty and Barb, stopped by momentarily as they headed back to the laundry. 

Ray and Lydia had tried to do the same journey last year, but were hit by a drunk driver 20 days into their travels. Although both were scratched up pretty badly, nothing was broken -- beyond the bicycle. After a day or two in the hospital they returned to Calgary to heal and plan for a future ride. 

Considering last year's trauma, the couple was quite up beat about life and this journey. With the rush at Waterfront Pizza, Ray and Lydia had to wait for the next cycle of pizzas from the oven. That gave us plenty of time to chat about travel. Regarding tandem bicycle riding, Ray joked that it helps when somebody needs to read the map and act as navigator. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Running away???

Grounded  a book written by Seth Stevenson. Subtitled "A Down to Earth Journey Around the World".

The intent of Stevenson and his wife was to travel around the world without using air travel. Several forms of transportation are used in this circling of the earth and each leg is planned as the previous leg is completed. The descriptions of the traveling accommodations and his fellow travelers makes the book. However, the travel is mostly moving with almost no local exploring before boarding the next leg of travel around the world. I may have missed the author's self imposed deadline for the trip's completion. It seems he may have been rushing the journey.

Perhaps that is the reason for the author making this observation when the journey isn't half over: "The wonderful thing about extended travel—the whole lifestyle, with the come-and-go friendships and the rootless freedom—is that it breaks you out of ruts you’ve carved in your everyday life. But when you never stop traveling, travel itself becomes a rut. At some point, you’re no longer gaining a richer perspective on your life. It’s more like you’re running away." (Italics my emphasis.)

Perhaps my nine year nomadic travel is running away. However, for me it is running from all the "prescribed shoulds and needs" that were drummed into my brain in my youth and beyond as a victim of the American corporate culture and an unending dose of advertising messages. Deprogramming takes a long time.

For me, my nomadic travel is "running to" satisfy my curiosity: to see the natural beauty of the land; chat with the peoples that inhabit much of the North America; taste the variety of ethnic foods; explore the farmers markets; my Wisconsin farm roots causes me to note farming practices and crops across the country; finding and admiring building architecture in older downtown sections; ... and more. Curiosity results in learning regardless of the source. I also learn from my fellow travelers as well as those who live a settled existence.

At that inevitable time when I give up the nomadic travel, my hope is that I am physically and mentally able to explore the smaller physical world where I have settled. The hope is that I can take up where I left off before I started the travel.... Go to art cinema. An occasional live theater performance. Memberships at the museums, the zoo, the botanic garden for frequent visits. Going for a walk or a hike.  ....and more.

No. My life is not running from something. I am running forward to live each day -- where ever I may be camped or settled.

Time to run...