Thursday, June 28, 2007

Camping Tale

I promised a camping story the other day, and since nothing significant happened on our trip to Deception Pass, here is something from the past:

JB and I went backpacking up in the Olympics.

Hike four miles up the road past Staircase at Lake Cushman to the trailhead. Another six or so miles to the Flapjack Lakes, which are right at the tree line.

Although it was July, there was still a lot of snow around the lakes. There was a shelter at the lake, active word being WAS. A sizeable tree had fallen on it the previous winter, and it was pretty much destroyed.

However, a good piece of the roof was still intact, and it had a hole in it just big enough for us to crawl through. It made for a tight but serviceable place to sleep. Saved us the trouble of setting up a tent.

One of the reasons for coming was to do a little fly fishing. Therre is nothing quite like floating a dry fly on a crystal clear high country lake and watching the trout come up from about 20 feet deep in a silver flash to take the fly on the surface.

The first couple of times I am always so hyped up that I jerk the fly right out of his mouth. It isn't until I settle down a little that I can wait long enough to let the fish get it all the way in his mouth.

Right next to the crushed shelter was a snowbank, which we used as a freezer. When we had cleaned the fish, we would use a stick to make a hole in the snowbank and shove a fish in head first, cover the hole over, and then mark it with a pine cone so we wouldn't lose the spot.

When it came time to eat, we would just go get a couple of fish out of the "refrigerator", roll them in corn meal with a little salt and pepper and saute' them in butter. When backpacking I always instisted on bringing along butter. Almost everything tastes better when saute'd in butter with a little salt.

After dinner and a while sitting around the fire, we turned in for the night. Even in July it was pretty damn cold when you were up that high.

Just as I was laying on my back about to fall asleep, something ran across my face. Something small and furry with VERY cold feet. It startled the hell out of me, so I sat up very abruptly and hit my forehead VERY squarely on a pine log holding up the roof of out impromptu shelter. I saw stars, rebounded while watching the stars inside my head pulse on and off, and crashed back down on my back, semi-conscious.

Something small and furry with VERY cold feet ran back over my face in the other direction.

Startled, I sat up very abruptly and once again hit my head.

Since it was so cold, I had climbed in my sleeping bag fully dressed. The only things I had removed were my boots and belt knife.

I grabbed at my belt knife, and started stabbing the ground to my left, but of course there was nothing there.

When I lay back down, I kept my knife in my hand. A while later the perp ran across my face again. I started stabbing off to my right. Unfortunately JB was over there. I didn't stab him or anything, but he woke up with me stabbing the ground close to me.

"Albert! WHat the HELL are you doing?"

Panting and slathering, I explained to him about being attacked in the dark by vicous furry ANIMALS. I don't think he believed me until I lit a match and showed him the big knot on my forehead.

Our packs were in between us in the shelter, so we went through them to see what the ravening beast was after. We found a pack of Pilot Crackers had been gnawed open.

We took the Pilot Crackers out of the shelter and set them on a nearby stump, and went back to sleep, although I had a hard time falling back to sleep, with my head throbbing from hitting the log twice, and being all keyed up waiting for another vicous attach by rabid animals.

I got up the next morning, and there, sitting on the stump, grinning his hideous grin and mocking me, was a chipmunk.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The break-in trip for the Airstream was a total success. A good part of it was to force me to figure out how to run all the stuff. I love to tinker.

So I got the heat, water, electrical, water heater, stove, microwave and fan working. Figured out how to dump the tanks.

I haven't managed to get the fridge or air conditioning working yet. The fridge won't stay running, but I think it's just that it hasn't been used for so long that the lines are filled with air. But it didn't really matter, because I had the beer in a cooler on ice.

Spending four days in a confined space with someone is a good way to test your relationship. We had a great time. just this morning Mrs A said "I want to go out to the Airstream and crawl up to the loft and go back to sleep. Maybe when I wake up I'll be back at the park."

Yesterday I made reservations for Twin Harbors State Park just outside of Westport for a four day weekend in August. Bad location of the hookups (no privacy) but full facilities. Besides the purpose is to go to the Ocean and take nice long walks on the beach as the sun goes down.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Trip Pics

Here are a few picctures from our trip.

A blue herron feeding in the shallows of Bowman Bay

Bowman Bay

Mrs. A and I

Molly the Road Dog

A goldfinch that visiited our camp

The Airstream

OK, so I screwed up. On our first hike, I forgot the camera, and on the second I forgot the spare batteries, so the camera went dead before we got to the really good stuff.
Pouring rain, thunder and lightning, drizzle, a little sunshine, and a lot of time just by ourselves in the Airstream. It was a wonderful weekend.
The only negative was the speeding ticket I got on the way home.
Yeah, I know. Speeding in an RV. It's not like I was going to escape notice or anything. Big lumbering whale doing 15 over. I couldn't talk my way out of it, and the area is a known speed trap. What can I say. My head was still camping.
Kinda like welcome back to the real world.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Friday

For me today is Friday, and I have a four day weekend coming up.

I should get the RV back with a whole new brake system today. Tonight we will load it up, and tomorrow we head off to Deception Pass State Park.

I'll take pictures.

I'm going to bring my laptop, but I doubt if there will be a wireless signal. At least we can play games and watch DVD's on it if it rains.

I'm starting to get excited.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Airstream repairs

As II mentioned in a previous post, the brakes on the Airstream don't work properly. They work OK when you start oout, but as you go along, the pedal fades until there is just aboult nothing there.

Brakes come in useful when trying to stop a big heavy motor home.

Since I don't have time to work on it myself, I called a repair service. I told them what the problem was, including my diagnosis. The front calipers are toast. From sitting in place for so many years, the calipers rusted, and would not release.

New calipers, new pads, new master cylinder, flush the entire system. Do all of the other pre-trip stuff.



If I had the time, I could do it myself for half of that.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I have finally transferred the title, so I officially own the Vehicle. and it is licensed, so we can go anytime we want. Tomorrow I am having somebody come and take it for servicing. You know, put potable water where it goes, Flush out the lines. Do all the stuff to get it up to speed.

I have spent a couple of hours looking things over and having to admit I know nothing at all. It is humiliating to be confronted with a situation where I can't just go twist some valves and flip some switches and I can get it to go.

Tomorrow it goes in for servicing. I can see hundreds of dollars evaporating from my checking account.

But at the price I got it for, I can spend a couple of grand and still be WAY ahead.

I don't need to go into the whole title transfer bullshit. Sufice it to say that the Fat Cow clerk found a way to inject her way into my conversation with one of her co-workers during said conversation, but told me to "Shut up, I am talking to her."

I did not pull out my Leatherman and perform certain anatomical examinations of her brain, thinking it would be sadly atrophied.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Airstream Pictures


The Airstream is parked in the driveway. Yesterday was a vey hectic day, Going to work, then meeting Heinz at the crdit union, working out the details of the loan and payment. Go down to the Licensing place for an hour of frustration, get a trip permit, go pick up the RV and drive it home. I was exhausted.

I left the license in a rage. The stupid cow behind the counter could not grasp basic logic. I wanted to change the title and get a trip permit. She told me they wouldn't change the title unless I got the emissions tested. I cried Bullshit. What if the hehicle didn't run? What if it had to be towed home? Would I not be able to EVER get the title unless I got it running?

Need less to say, I didn't win. People with limited intelligence and a complete lack of common sense should never be allowed in positions of petty authority. They are the inflexible beaurocrats that make our lives miserable.

Off with their heads I say!

The Airstream started right up and drove just fine. Unfortunately, it didn't stop so good. There is a probllem with the brakes. They were fine when I started except the brake light did not go out. Then as I drove the pedal faded until by the time I got home, it was almost to the floor.

I need to get out there this morning and check them out. Brakes are rather handy.

Pictures to come soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ghost Rider

So Mrs A and I just watched Ghost Rider.

What could be better for a guy. Flaming skulls and motorcycles, impossible jumps, and my two favorite actors in the whole world.

Nicholas Cage does so many things well, but the schtik as the guy who has shit happen to him and he grinds his way though it and triumphs in the end, he is the best.

Sam Elliot has for a long time been my favorite western actor. As a long time fan of Louis L'Amour, he is the perfect portrayal of Tell Sacket, or any of the traditional western heroes. Plus he was a perfect portrayal of Cher's paramour in Mask.

Throw in a little romance and a good western legend, what more could you ask for.

Mind you it will never make the top 10 films of all time, but given low expectations and a couple of beers, it was real entertaining.

A thumb and a half up.


Today is Payday.

I miss the ritual of payday. I have direct deposit, so I never get a check or anything. I used to love the ritual that surrounded payday.

You get a piece of paper, and it contains all kinds of information. How many hours you worked, what your deductions were, how much Uncle Sugar decided he needed, you ballance of sick leave and vacation.

And the best part, what you got to keep. I didn't really mean much, because generally it was all committed somewhere of the other.

It maintained the illusion that you were actually payed for doing a job, not being milked of your resources by the Military/industrial complex.

After work, it was off to the bank, where you gave them the piece of paper, and they gave you back REAL MONEY. My ritual was to then stop at the store and buy some good beer. Microbrew. Then we would go grocery shopping, and buy a few treats along the way.

Now it is mostly done electronically. My paycheck is direct reposit, I get an electronic statement, and I don't carry much cash, since most everything is done by debit or credit card.

Sure it is convenient, it is quicker, and I can pay the bills while sitting in my lounger and watching a baseball game.

But I still miss the old ritual.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hump Day

Happy Hump Day. Once again we have trecked to the middle of nowhere. Lets hope we can find our way back home.

I am really draggin' ass this morning. Diet Coke with Lime....goood. Must have caffiene....

I stayed up to watch the Mariners game last night. Don't look at me like that. Yes I admit it, I am a Mariners fan. Even in the bad years, although it sometimes felt like I was going around wearing a "Kick Me" sign. Last night's game went 13 innings, but we WON. JJ Putz had the bases loaded with one out in the 13th, and managed to get his 19th save out of 19 opportunities. He has been amazing. In fact the whole bull pen has been amazing this year. It has been fun watching them this year, but like always, up and down.

They are Playing Chicago. I believe this is the first time the M's have played at Wrigley Field. What an icon of Baseball. The last Old School Major League stadium left.

Still no RV. Patience, Al, patience.

I have a space reserved at Deception Pass State Park for the 22nd, 23rd, 24th & 25th, and I will need to check everything out and get it pre-tripped before then. We can always just go tent camping, but we would have to go out and buy a bunch of stuff, because most of our camping gear has disappeared.

Hang in there, the roller coaster is on the down side, but it still may get a little rocky.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Here we go again

Hope everyone out there in Bloggerland had a good weekend.

After sitting in the torture chair at the dentist for an hour+ on Friday, I went home and gargled with Jose' Quervo (for medicinal purposes only, of course).

V. went and spent the weekend with his dad. I think that was the first time this year he has spent the weekend with his dad.

I was pretty much feeling like crap with my sinuses. I went to Group Health and picked up a prescription for Flonase. It doesn't completely relieve my symptoms, but it does a pretty good job, just leaves me a little bit stuffy.

It rained most of the day on Saturday, so I pretty much vegged out.

Then all the sudden the alarm was ringing and I had to come back to work. There is no ruder sound that an alarm clock on Monday morning.

Friday, June 08, 2007

If Anybody Cares

There is a new chapter to STAR, if anybody cares to read it. Chapter XII. Some day I may actually tie it all together

Friday at last.

As you might figure from the dearth of postings lately, not a whole bunch has been going on.

I've been suffering from allergies, but you can only garner so much symapthy from snot.

Everything in Alville is proceeding along at a liesurely pace. The only disturbance to the force being that the Airstream is still waiting for us to come and get it as soon as the other guy comes up with the title.

After An Extraordinary Woman posted about the Ping Pong Balls of Retribution I was tempted to post a similar incident from my childhood, but I couldn't muster up the energy.

I have an appointment to get my teeth cleaned this afternoon. Hopefully I will get the Dental Hygienist that didn't graduate from the Marquis de Sade school of dentistry.

The damn gas gives me a headache, or I would be happily floating down the road to oblivion.

Everyone have a great weekend, see you Monday, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


This is the poppy growing in my front yard. The blossoms are about 6" in diameter.

Which brings up the subject of poppies, of course.

My Grandma Wilson was a true lady of the South. She never swore. She allowed no alcohol in her house. She was a former teacher, and demanded proper English.

She loved flowers, and always had several varieties, including a beautiful yellow rose of Texas.

She had picked up various plants in her travels, including a nice red poppy.

Imagine her embarrasment when a representative of the DEA showed up at her doorstep to ask her why she was growing Opium Poppies in her flower garden. She had come across the poppy somewhere in her travels, and had brought it with her and planted it wherever she had lived.

Unfortunately it turned out to be the opium poppy. So they have Johnny Appleseed, but my family had Lola Poppy Seed. (Sorry Mom, I couldn't resist.)

OBTW, that is not an Opium Poppy.

But I do have seeds.

All My Fault

It has been raining , or showering here in Latteland the last couple of days.

I admit it, it is my fault.

I did two things guaranteed to make it rain. First I washed Mrs A's car. By hand. Within a couple of hours, the thunderheads formed and it rained. Then it dried out enough to make lots of nice spots.

The second thing was that I took the tarp off of the outdoor furniture.

Either one by itself is bad enough, but the two together was like giving the finger to the weather gods.

At least my sinuses are much better since the showers gave the air a good scrubbing.

Maybe I ought to hire myself out as a Rainmaker.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Getting Impatient

As I have said before, patience is not one of my stronger character traits. My attitude is , just get it done or get the hell out of my way.

I know, I know, it's not the best attitude to have. The Lord is always presenting me with opportunities to improve this. Right now I am waiting for the new title to show up for the Airstream so I can get it changed over and registered.

They say it takes seven to ten days to get a replacement title. Well, it has been seven days, and I want it NOW. Damn reality anyway.

I did a brake job on the front of the Z on Friday. At work I told them it was a two-beer job, but it was only a beer-and-a-half job. When I was coming home from my Apollo Root Cause Analysis class Thursday, all of the sudden the front drivers side brake all the sudden started making terrible noises. I recognized the sound, so I stopped and ordered new pads on the way home.

I needed to get it done, because the car has been invited to a car show on Father's Day, and I need to make sure it is in good shape, plus the Airstream needs to be serviced, so I am going to be busy.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Gone in 60 minutes

About a year ago I bought a toyota for the kids. After I was done with the car, the people asked me, "Hey, do you want a truck? That one over there is free."

So I dragged it home, thinking it would make a good means of taking things to the dump.

I put a battery in it and dumperd some gas in the tank, checked the plugs, distributor cap, points and plugs. Tried it, and it ALMOST ran. I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out why it wouldn't run. Since then it has been sitting in the driveway.

Well, Mrs A and I have an agreement that if I bring a new vehicle home, I need to get rid of one. Since I am buying an RV, I need to make room for it, so I put the truck on Craigslist as a "FREE TRUCK". I had the first call within 15 minutes, and then the phone never stopped for the next several hours.

It was gone from my place within an hour of me getting home from work.

I regretted letting it go, because I am convinced I could have gotten it running, but on the other Mrs A. was glad to see it get towed down the street, and now I have a place to park the Airstream.

When I get it home, pictures will be taken and posted.