Thank you for visiting!

You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fellatio and Foot Care-

Here is where I reveal the rather twisted nature of my mind. Not twisted as in evil, twisted as in other-thinking.

Once in a while I think about things like ergonomic design. I especially think on this when working at the work stations where I work. Ergonomics were not considered when the designs were finalized. Though the county has (purportedly) an ergonomics specialist on staff for consultation in things like, say, the design of work stations for county workers, that individual seems to be perpetually somewhere else during design finalization.

So, I think on ergonomics. Then I wonder as to what the proper design for a service chair might be for someone specializing in fellatio. Lets face it, if you have ever seen such an exercise performed it has to be a strain on quite a few physical structures. A well designed piece of equipment would probably be most welcomed.

This led to imagining an establishment next to, oh, perhaps a podiatrist. What would the sign say for our specialist? Fellatiotamy? Pudiatrist? It would have to be more clinical than the usual titles. Those titles would imply the back seat of a 1982 Crown Victoria. We want to bring the service up-scale and into the 21st century.

Then I got to thinking about the nature of the work and the clientele. When you are young and sharing your life with an enthusiastic partner a professional fellatelist might not be high on the priority list. However, give yourself a number of years, loss of flexibility and a partner who might not be quite up to the required gymnastics. The need for a professional might at least suggest itself.

As you grow older some things are more difficult. Like pruning toenails.

That was where I experienced the flash.

A pedicurist is working in the proper neighborhood. With a little additional training and the right motivation one service could be added to the other. I would have to figure that the motivation might well be money. A pedicure can be had for less than twenty bucks. The addition of another relaxing service should bring in quite a few more dollars and a very steady clientele.

Oh, there are a few questions of legality. However, Bill Clinton presented an argument that fellatio is NOT having sex. That being the case, providing the service professionally (in a clean and comfortable environment) ought not to be a crime. The International Association of Fellatelists and Pedicurists should begin lobbying right away.

So if you one day find yourself living in a world of happy older men with well cared for feet, you will know it began here.

Now I need some paper and a pencil. I have a chair to design.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Return from Medford, Oregon 2008-

I left not too early in the morning on October 16th, with plans to travel most probably as far as Oroville, California. It was a fabulous day as I headed south from Medford, Oregon, on the old Highway 99, intending to pass through Ashland.

I spent the latter half of my growing up years in Ashland. I love to stop there, even for a few minutes, on my way south. I found a suitable parking space near the plaza and found the Lithia Water fountain running once again. It was down for repair last year. I always drink from the fountain when it is running.

The morning I stopped I observed someone who was obviously unfamiliar with Lithia Water drink from the fountain. He spat the water onto the ground in obvious distaste. It is an acquired taste. I had a few sips, relishing the nostalgia if not the effervescent mineral tang.

Then, back on the road. Soon I was over the pass and into California. Very soon I was again visiting the Randolph C. Collier rest area. This is a beautiful place to stop. I stop even if I don't need to stop. I had a bite to eat, and again was headed south.

Interstate 5 is rather interesting through the mountains in this area. Mount Shasta is magnificent, and was particularly so as I passed beneath it. Then came Castle Crags State Park. Though I had been on the road but a few hours I would love to have called it a day as far as travel and set up camp in this beautiful place.

I continued on. Another stop at Shasta Lake, a nice rest area there. I ate the rest of the food I had with me, walked around a bit, and got back on the road. Soon I was in the northern reaches of the Central Valley. Another hour and a half brought me to the Rolling Hills Casino. I got a free cup of coffee, lost two bucks on half penny slots, won three, and lost it again on penny slots.

So, I paid three bucks for a free cup of coffee, used the restroom, and hit the road.

I headed east to catch old Highway 99, caught it and headed south. It was fun passing through orchards, farms and fields. There were several promising camps along the way, but it was still too early.

Around Oroville I was tired of traveling, and wanted to set up camp. I checked my directory, and gave some thought to two camps near the Feather River. However, my funds were low and they were costly. So, I wandered up toward Lake Oroville and found a very nice camp. It was $19, and provided clean restrooms and showers. I even had access to electricity, if I chose to use it. I will probably add some electrical components to my kit for such times, but this trip I had no need.

There were two casinos in this area. Feather Falls Casino and Gold Country Casino. I had no time for either, and continued south early in the morning. By sunrise I was packed and on the road. Soon I was passing through fields and orchards and farms once again.

Off to the west I saw a mass of mountains in the center of the Central Valley. I don't recall seeing them from this side before. I had often looked east upon them and wondered what they would be like to visit. Seeing them from the east was a delight, but I still longed to go visit them. Once again I was constrained by time and other obligations.

As I drew away from these fascinating mountains and headed on south, I received a call from my wife. There was a plumbing leak, and she had called my son to look at it. He had turned off some water, and she wanted me to call the plumber and then get home as soon as possible.

Once I reached Marysville I needed breakfast and a potty break. I found both at Carl's Jr. While I was there I called the plumber and arranged for the repairs to be made. I was not entirely sure why I had to do this from half-way across the state, but I made the call and made the arrangements.

After breakfast I reviewed my Google directions for my next stop, and realized I did not have enough information to get there from Marysville. I crossed the street from Carl's Jr., and went to a store to find a map.

The map cost me $4.95, plus tax. Over five dollars for what I used to get for free from gas stations. Oh, how the world had changed! I used to collect maps in my youth, and often looked at them and imagined traveling. I could actually fold a map even in my tender years.

Map folding. That is a challenge that will soon fall into obscurity with the explosion of digital navigation tools. The world is obviously going to Hell in a hand basket. Fortunately, the navigation will be turn-by-turn.

I referred to my newly purchased map and my Google instructions. Soon I was on the road again with my map correctly folded.

As I passed through the area north of Lincoln I spotted a train running nearly parallel to the road. I relished seeing it running along side the highway, recalling in my childhood watching similar trains from the back seat of other cars. Eventually the road and track converged, and I had to wait for the train to pass.

Once the train passed I was able to slowly overtake it as the road ran along side the tracks. I headed into Lincoln and once again needed to respond to my bladder. I turned down a side road to enter a MacDonald's parking lot but traffic prevented me. I had to go across the tracks, turn around and come back.

I arrived at the tracks just in time to wait once again for the train to pass. It did so, I made my stop, and was again on the road out of Lincoln.

My next stop was a planned one. Roseville, California. I was to stop at my wife's cousin's place and pick up a box of collectible owls. Apparently my wife's cousin's mother once had an extensive (and famous) collection of owls. These were now being given away. My Google instructions took me right there, and I pulled up in front of their mobile home well before noon.

Since I was rushing back home to assist in watching the plumber repair our leak, I was unable to stay for long. We exchanged a few pleasantries, loaded two boxes of owls into the truck, and I was again on my way.

West, on Highway 80. This is a heavily used highway, and quite worn. That being said, traffic flowed quite efficiently along this major artery in the California Highway System. Soon I passed through the edges of Sacramento, and was on my way toward Vacaville.

Since Vacaville would coincide with my need to stop for food and fuel, I planned on visiting the New Nut Tree for a look around. I have fond memories of the old Nut Tree has been a way stop for many years for my family and Linda's family. My father and I particularly enjoyed the strong aviation theme to the old gift shop, as well as the many aviation books and photos offered there.

My camera was without power, and so the only photos I got were phone photos. I still find it amazing that I am taking pictures with my cell phone. Had I realized how much I would use this feature I would have opted for better quality in the camera. As it is my images have proved serviceable, but not particularly good.

You can move back and forth through that album with the arrow buttons, and so you may see a few (poor) images of the New Nut Tree as it is developing. This development includes a lot more retail, and an amusement park that includes the old little train that was a significant part of the old Nut Tree experience.

The retail space is not fully populated, but there is much to see and do at the New Nut Tree. Unfortunately, my stop was a quick one. I soon found an International House of Pancakes and indulged in cheese blintzes. I love those things. I got some fuel for the truck, and headed out.

I decided to use the access road that led toward downtown Vacaville. I passed through part of the town, found my way back to Highway 80, and again headed west.

This part of the journey is pleasant as it passes near the San Francisco Bay, overlooking the Navy mothball fleet and passing over the Benicia Bridge. After that it is many lanes of endless traffic passing vaguely through the towns and countryside on the way to San Jose. It suffers from Freeway Isolation, that separation from everything real that freeways bring about. It is getting there, not traveling.

In an interminably short time I was passing through the Santa Clara valley and finally climbing into the Santa Cruz Mountains on Highway 17. Then I passed through Scotts Valley on my way to Felton. Soon I turned in at my own drive, parking my truck in the usual place.

I was home. The plumber had come and gone, making the repairs quickly in my absence and without my supervision. I left my family to visit my family, and returned again to family.

On this journey I was at home wherever I happened to be.

Medford, Oregon-

Having made my journey along Highways 101, 299, 96 and Interstate 5 to Medford, I enjoyed a week with my family. I see my family but once each year, and it is a special time. We don't always do much, but then with family you haven't seen for a year you don't really have to do much. Just being together again is enough.

A public blog is not a great venue to report such a visit. It might not even prove interesting to those who were there. It was time together, and it was good.

I enjoyed a visit to my sister Donni's pre-school. We watched her interact with and instruct her students in her custom built classroom. This is The Kinder-Garden, a dream project my father and my sister shared in bringing into being. Her long education and extensive experience in pre-school education, advised and assisted by my father's lifetime in the field of education, makes this a valuable asset for parents seeking quality pre-school education for their children in the Medford area.

One special part of the visit that is worth a report is our evening at Porters Restaurant in Medford. My niece Shayla manages this fine establishment, and invited us down to enjoy her hospitality in their very nice bar. She provided some very delightful selections from the bar menu for us to enjoy.

I would love to have taken notes. I did not. My Dad and I had bacon burgers that were excellent. There was a very interesting pizza made with goat cheese, and some sweet potato fries that were accompanied by two heavenly dips. I am a late-blooming foodie, and I simply failed at registering the many delights that graced our table.

The restaurant and bar occupy the former train station in Medford. The decor is rich and tasteful, with the railroad theme carried throughout without being overwhelming. The bar was very comfortable, with elements of whimsy here and there to provide a sense of fun. My own photos are valuable to me, but I think the images provided in the web site convey enough of the spirit of the place without introducing my own images.

The evening at Porters capped a very pleasant visit in Medford with my family.


This last weekend was one of considerable self-indulgence. Keep in mind I work on a schedule of twelve hour days. That means I work three days one week, four days the next, for a two-week pay period. That also means my short weekend is three days long. This was a four day weekend.

I rarely get all of that time off. I work quite a bit of overtime. Recently there has not been much overtime, so I got my whole weekend off. Four days.

While I was on vacation I did not have access to World of Warcraft. I got home and had one day to play a little, and then I was back at work for the week. A three day week. I camp at my place of work, since driving home just to sleep and turn around and drive back makes little sense and is dangerous. I work all night, and driving home sleepy is not safe. So, I camp.

I had been away from World of Warcraft too long. Also, within the game world they were having the in-game equivalent of a Halloween party. Lots of special events and interesting things to do. I got sucked in and played way more hours than usual.

Oh, I got some things done. We did a barbecue, and I spent some time with my granddaughter. I made a trip to San Jose to pick up a new computer chair for my wife Linda. Actually, a new to us chair, but much better than her old one. We carved pumpkins.

On the whole, however, I played a lot of World of Warcraft. I was willing to work some overtime, but the call just did not come. So, I continued to play a lot of World of Warcraft.

Blizzard, the company that produces World of Warcraft, had added a lot of new content to the game. This is in anticipation of the release of the next expansion pack for the game. A bigger world to explore. More World of Warcraft.

So, I indulged myself. I played until I was exhausted. I rested, and then jumped right back in. I know that many players do this all of the time. For me it is a rare indulgence.

It was fun. Perhaps I shall retire early, and split my time between travel in the real world and playing World of Warcraft.

I am sure my wife won't mind.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Travel Adventure 2008 (day two)

Travel Adventure 2008
Second Day

I awoke to a gray morning, but no rain. However, my tent was covered in dew and would require attention at the end of the day. I got up and made my way to the showers.

The KOA maintained clean restrooms and adequate shower facilities. I was soon ready to begin packing. Breaking down my camp takes a little time, and I did not hurry. Folding bedding, packing away various items. Folding up the foam pad that makes up the top part of the bed. Emptying the air bed that is the base of my truck bed bed. Breaking down and packing the Sportz II truck tent.

Soon I was ready to hit the road. I stopped by the KOA store on the way out to get a post card of one of the drive-through trees. My wife had requested it to send to a little girl in England. The little girl could not believe the tales of giant trees in the mythical land of California, so proof was in order.

I headed north and caught the northernmost end of Highway 255, which begins just south of Arcata. Indeed, it passes through the southern end of that quaint little town. I had passed through the town center the day before, and thought the little square was interesting.

Always so much to see, and never enough time.

Beyond Arcata the land became quite rural. Farms, many with cattle. Evidence of wood processing in the distance. Simple farm structures in various degrees of decay. One house and barn stood gray against the gray skyline.

Lots of marsh land. The horizon was low. If you Google Map or Google Earth the area you will see a peninsula. It was onto this I was driving.

I passed through Manila, headed for Samoa. Though I saw evidence of the influence of the Philippines in these names I saw no real evidence in the land or structures. I turned from due west to the south, and went on.

Soon I arrived at my morning destination. A friend had recommended the Samoa Cookhouse. I was going there for breakfast. It is a long-lived establishment based on nourishing a great many people in a very short time. Loggers in the past, but tourists and locals in the present.

It is a big building, sitting on the highest ground around. To the west I could see a large plant that looked like a wood or paper plant. Rising steam and the scent of wood were issuing from the distant facility.

I entered the restaurant and was greeted cordially by a nice gentleman and invited to sit at any of six tables near the kitchen. One waitress was in evidence. Four other people were dining. As I took my place the man who had greeted me gave me a brief introduction to the place.

The menu is set, and choices are limited. This day was biscuits and gravy, french toast, scrambled eggs and sausage. All with plenty of coffee and orange juice. The waitress had my plates before me in a jiffy.

It was all delicious. The gravy was particularly flavorful. Everything else was just great. I was offered more, but the first helping was more than enough. I ate it all.

I thought I saw a tip jar at the counter, and intended to drop my gratuity there. After a potty break (always a wise thing at my age) I paid my bill. I observed that what I thought was a tip jar was actually intended for some other purpose. It only registered to me much later that I failed to leave a tip of any kind.

The Samoa Cookhouse is in itself a little museum to the development of northwest California and the timber industry. Lumberjacks of any ilk will enjoy examining the many displays. I bought a shot glass as a souvenir.

With regard to shot glasses, I consider them the ideal souvenir for the retarded tourist. After collecting hats and t-shirts, I have concluded that the shot glass is the best bet for me. Small, easy to transport, and they are everywhere. You can even get nice display cabinets for them, though I prefer random placement on any flat surface.

So, breakfast concluded and the necessity to tip generously if I ever return well established, I once again hit the road. On the way out I completed my circuit of Highway 255. Another complete highway for my “collection,” and the first of two I would collect this day.

Highway 255 crosses Humbolt Bay via the Samoa Bridge. It is actually three bridges hopping from peninsula to island to island to main land. I went into Eureka to find fuel, and then turned north.

My planned route required me to take Highway 299 inland. I was not going the full length of this highway this trip. I hope to do that in the future.

The forests were lush and green as I climbed away from the coast into the mountains. This road was not freeway, but very well maintained highway. Passing lanes are provided often enough that getting stuck behind a commercial truck (or a slow moving tourist like me) is not a problem.

The road climbs quickly, and soon I was in thick fog. Passing through the top of that marine layer I broke out into sunshine and vibrantly green hills. Once again I longed for a way to safely record these images while traveling solo. This really is a problem that needs a solution.

Highway 299 went up and down over mountain passes and through valleys. Many very pleasant vistas opened up as I progressed toward my next highway.

Coming around a wooded bend the village of Willow Creek came into view. Perhaps the whole of the town was visible in that one scene. The road passed straight through town, but my route called for me to turn to the left about mid-way through the village.

Highway 96 exited the town of Willow Creek in about the equivalent of a block and a half. It passed through a rather inviting little valley that was dotted with small farms and rural homesteads. The road began immediately to meander. I was delighted, since meandering was what I had come to experience.

This highway passes through a couple of Indian Reservations. The first Indian village I came to was Hoopa. It was evident from signs and signs that fishing tourism was a big industry in this area. That and light farming. Oh, and the Lucky Bear Casino.

I found the casino rather cute. A small hotel, a small main casino building and a parking lot not much bigger than those in front of a Seven Eleven. Another place I longed to stop, but was compelled to pass up so that I could get where I was going.

Did I mention meandering? Lots of that as I continued on. One turn was long and slow and shaded by huge trees. A small farm was nestled in the turn. I actually went “oooh” in response to this delight.

Soon the road climbed above the river, providing vistas. I began a routine of stopping every few miles to grab quick pictures. The Klamath River ran below and was beautiful to see. Rocks lined the road so close as to threaten the paint of my vehicle. This was real traveling as I remembered from my childhood.

As I progressed along the road I found myself playing photo leap frog with a man on a BMW motorcycle. Sometimes one of us had to skip a turn-out because the other had grabbed it for photo opportunities. There was not always enough room for two.

The land began to change. It was gradual. The trees became thinner. More scrub and brown grasses appeared. This was part of the experience I had been seeking. Traveling, seeing the land change before my eyes. You can see this change by flicking through my images using the arrow buttons. Try it.

I noticed many more campground signs as I traveled in these lands. They had started appearing yesterday after Willits, and had been delightfully frequent as I moved along. A desire to return to this area in the future grew inside me. A very slow travel through these valleys. Fishing, camping, taking pictures.

Living like that sounds delicious.

I reached the mid-point of my journey at around one in the afternoon. Happy Camp. Again time constrained me. Most of the village lay to the left of the highway. I wanted to explore, but I hadn’t the time. I stopped for two quick photos. One of the road passing through town, and another of the Bigfoot statue that stands near the edge of the highway.

More delightful valleys ahead. Many were quite peaceful and inviting. I could see why people would find a way to move to places like this. Anyone who loves privacy, rivers and serenity would love these valleys.

The grasses and scrub became more common than trees on the south facing hills. The grass was dry and brown. Some of the groves of trees appeared blighted. Some hills were populated with the silvery carcasses of hundreds of dead trees. Other places were still green and lush.

As the dry landscape dotted by huge red rocks passed before me I knew that I was approaching the end of Highway 96. The land appeared like the land around Interstate 5 as it passed near the Klamath River. I spotted a red rock crag on the far side of the river and stopped for photos.

Soon I came to a stop sign. To my right a bridge swept away in an arcing turn to pass between two hills. I experienced a sense of invitation, a longing to explore yet another road. I turned left, instead, and continued to the end of Highway 96.

It terminated at the Randolph C. Collier Rest Area. I love this rest area. I first saw it when I was in my teens. My parents decided to drive down into norther California (we lived in Ashland, Oregon, at the time) and have a look at the massive excavation creating Interstate 5 in that area. The rest area is like a green jewel in the steep sided valley.

Every visit is equally delightful. I made a quick stop, got a picture, and was on my way.

The valley that comes before the Oregon border is guarded by a dragon. I did not stop, coming or going, to get a picture, but found a nice one on the Internet. I passed the great beast and continued north toward the border.

I could see Pilot Rock and Mount Ashland as I climbed to the pass into the State of Oregon. The sky was clear and I made the pass in fourth gear, moving slowly. Almost everything moves slowly on that climb.

On the other side I saw Callahan’s restaurant. It was burned to the ground last I saw it, and now it is fully rebuilt. Indeed, today (Saturday, October 18, 2008) is the grand opening. I passed the new place and began my descent.

This is one steep grade. Truck traps line the road to capture run-away trucks. Overheated brakes are common on this stretch of Interstate, and I saw more than one smoking wheel as I made my way down.

I regularly take the first exit and pass through Ashland. I spent the latter part of my growing-up years in this town, and my memories are fond. I like to pass through the town slowly, taking in what has changed and what has not.

Beyond Ashland I continue on the old highway. Through Talent and Phoenix, and eventually to the edge of Medford. A left turn, a few more blocks, and I finally pull in to my parent’s driveway.

I am expected, and welcome. In many ways, I have come home again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Travel Adventure 2008 (the first day)

Travel Adventure 2008
First Day

My journey began with plans for my annual visit with my family in Oregon. Medford, Oregon. I generally go in the fall, and this year was no exception. I was a bit later in the year due to other people at work having vacation scheduled for the same time. However, it proved not to be too late to have good weather.

I have grown weary of Interstate 5 through the Central Valley of California. Freeways generally have rendered traveling to just getting someplace. Interstate 5 manages to reduce even the experience of getting someplace to a massive tedium.

Freeways are too fast. They bypass everything interesting. They are contained by sound walls and concrete barriers. Freeways are not for traveling.

So, how to get to Medford without using I5?

I left on the morning of October 7th. It was pleasant weather in Felton, California. That was my point of departure. My home. Plans were for crossing the Santa Cruz Mountains on Highway 17, and taking Highway 280 north to San Francisco.

I altered those plans, realizing I was starting my journey at the peak of commute traffic. Highway 17 would be thick with commuters going “over the hill” to get to work.

Highway 1 north from Santa Cruz would be much more interesting. So, that was the way I would go. I planned to grab some breakfast on the way out of Santa Cruz. I failed to recall the limited number of quick-and-easy (and also cheap) places to eat along that part of my route.

I ran out of town before I managed to find food. No matter, there was always Half Moon Bay.

The coast was generally foggy this morning. Coastal fog can be beautiful, rendering the views of the ocean, beaches and hills in a different light. There were many pumpkin patches along the way, full of pumpkins anticipating surgery for the coming Halloween.

I wondered why this bit of coast had become a pumpkin capital? There were pumpkins everywhere. And fog.

Half Moon Bay came all too soon. I was hungry, and it would have been nice to get a bite, but the turn-off to cross the mountains and meet Highway 280 at the mid-point preceded any dining opportunities. I opened the bag of barbecue chips I planned to munch on later in the day and had breakfast while I wound through the mountains.

There was commute traffic here, too. I may not have won anything by the detour, but I did get to see some pumpkins.

I reached 280 in good time, and moved north toward San Francisco with what seemed like thousands of other pilgrims. I stopped for a moment at a rest stop, and saw a full-time road person living in an old Volvo station wagon. I noted that it did not appear to be a particularly comfortable form of full-timing.

Soon I was passing through the city. The route is fairly straight through the city, and I always find it pleasant. Interesting buildings, the bustle of the city broken by Golden Gate Park and eventually the Golden Gate Bridge looming ahead.

The bridge was shrouded in fog this trip. Sometimes it seems even more massive as the towers disappear into the fog. I reached the other side and stopped at the bridge viewing area. It is a nice little park with a great view of the bridge. Even a bridge draped in fog. The exit was easy enough, and getting back on the road was not particularly difficult.

I got my first pictures at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge. I realized that much of my journey would go un-photographed due to my having to drive. Some day I hope to overcome this limitation, but missed photos abound in my memory from this trip.

Now I was on Highway 101. I am fascinated by highways, and remember some of the numbers being like incantations in my youth. The numbers sometimes related to trips made with parents and grandparents, and the magical places we went.

I fell in love with the smell of coffee in my youth, long before I began drinking coffee. It was the smell of coffee shops on the road. The stop, the opening of that door. The smell of coffee extending an invitation and promising scrambled eggs, hot cakes, and maybe chocolate milk.

Today I just had barbecue potato chips. Actually, by Marin County I had an empty bag. I needed to eat.

Rolling on, Highway 101 being freewayed enough to bypass most of those delicious coffee shops, I finally pulled off in desperation at a McDonald’s restaurant. It was close to lunch time, so I just did some hamburger thing. With a coke. No coffee.


Back on the road. North. Pretty little valleys filled with grape vines. Wine country. Each vista made me wish my wife were along to share the beauty. It was really nice. It would have been nicer if I could share it.

She could have taken pictures along the way. That would also have been nice. Trust me, it was beautiful.

Eventually the freeway sections of 101 fell behind me, and two lane blacktop flowed through the hills and valleys. North of Ukiah it seems that the freeway disease was less evident. It was nice to be able to slow down a bit and enjoy the ride.

Willits was the first town I got to where the old highway actually passed through the town. I wanted to stop and visit the Skunk railroad depot, but I realized that even taking two days to get to Medford I couldn’t afford to stop very often. Too bad. Perhaps I can plan another journey this way and travel much slower.

Soon I began to enter wooded lands and small farms cut from the woods. The road began to wind and I could go even slower. This was really nice.

One of my targeted stops was The World Famous Tree House. It was closed. From what I could see someone who carves wooden figures had acquired this attraction and tried to tie the old-school tourist trap into his art. It did not appear to be a going venture.

I stopped to get photos. I recall stopping here when I was a child. Well, my parents stopped us here, and let us go in. I was fascinated. You went into a tree! Then through the tree into a gift shop.

My fiscal condition in those days has not improved much over the years. I had little to spend, and I eventually settled on a dried seahorse. It had nothing to do with the redwoods, but I could afford it and I thought it was cool.

Poking around the now defunct tourist trap I found a wooden carving of a seahorse. Cool! Also a bit scary. How did they know?

The juxtaposition of a carved bear holding a sign saying “Welcome” next to a sign saying “Keep Out” was too good to pass up. I seem to have a passion for signs, and this was priceless.

I got on the road again, buzzed around the corner and passed up Confusion Hill. I wouldn’t have passed it up except that I was around the bend and past the entrance before it registered in my mind what I was missing. It was delightfully touristy in my rear-view mirror.

One day I will just be on the road to be on the road, and I can turn around for such things.

On I went, until I came across the One Log House. It was alongside the road on a straight stretch that allowed my mind to register what I was seeing and apply the brakes soon enough to actually stop. I got out and took two quick photos. I eyed the tourist shop that obviously housed the business that had acquired this bit of tourist history.

It was an inviting place. They even offered the secret code to unlock the One Log House so that I could see inside. They had coffee!

Alas, I was due in Arcata in too few hours. I got in the car and continued my trek through the redwoods. Since I live among the redwoods and near an old growth grove, they do not hold the fascination they might for a person from another place. Still, I love driving through them.

At one point the highway is extra-narrow as it passes through a stand of redwoods. Most of the time it is necessary to go off of the highway to find roads visiting these beautiful forests. Perhaps I will find the time to pay those roads a visit in the near future.

It was not long before the mountains lowered toward the ocean, and I was soon passing through Eureka. Just glancing around as I passed through this city I could see that it would be worth a visit. I could just see the old town section from the highway, and the buildings were colorful and interesting.

So, I long to travel slow and have enough money while doing so to stop and experience these things. Not today, though. Not enough time and not enough money. Just a mental note to try and fit this in, someday.

About midway between Eureka and Arcata is the KOA. I had a reservation. I missed the entrance the first time around. I had to go around a bypass road to get back and try again. They are tucked away behind some kind of hardware store and a Department of Transportation facility. Just keep going on the little road past the DOT place and there is the entrance.

I got my site assignment and went out seeking food. I wandered through the center of Arcata and eventually found a Subway restaurant. A portable feast was soon in the bag and I went back to the KOA to set up camp.

I had reserved a tent site, not knowing how KOA sets up tent sites. I found mine, and could see I would not be able to get my truck into the site. I parked in front and assembled my tent in my truck bed.

Close enough. I may have to take a low-end RV space in future adventures. It will better suite my camping style.

So, set up and ready for the night, I did as the pioneers did in their camps. I ate my sandwich while watching a movie on the tailgate of my truck.

Snuggled in my truck tent I settled in for the first night of my adventure. Pretty good, so far.

Home again-

I have been away on vacation. It was a purposed journey, to visit my family in Medford, Oregon. I had Internet access there, but devoted the time on being with my family.

The trip there and the trip home were engineered to give me a travel adventure. I have already documented day one. I hope to get that published soon. I will get more entries done over the course of this next week, and publish as I can. I return to work tomorrow, and do not know how much time I will have to work on these things during the work week.

Perhaps that needs some explaining. I work twelve hour shifts. Night shifts. I work 28 miles from home. Because I find myself too sleepy in the morning to drive, I have been camping (low-profile except for blabbing it all over the Internet) to avoid risk of accidents. My Internet access is sporadic, since I do have a job and I try to do that job when working. So, I do not know how much time I will have to work on my blogs.

The travel was fun, and I really treasured the time I could spend with my parents, my sisters and my nieces. So, I better get to that first post.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Excellence in Design-

Once in a while I see something, and note to myself that it is an excellent design. Most of the time I grumble about poor design, but on occasion a really good design catches my eye (and sometimes other senses, if they are involved).

For me that awareness of superior design came in high school. Not in a class, but in a restroom.

That obviously demands some explanation. Whatever picture you have in your head, erase it right now.

The real one will be stranger.

Our school was expanding, with new buildings and some perimeter buildings being acquired. A friend came to me just after a building had been opened for student use, and asked me if I would like to see a urinal "big enough to hold an elephant's balls." Needless to say, I was curious, so I followed him to this new building and looked upon this amazing porcelain creation.

It was, indeed, large. It had an elegance that is generally missing in urine related equipment. It was tall at the back, sweeping gracefully out into a wide receiving bowl, and contracted into a leading point that projected much farther out between the legs of the user than any other I had seen.

This was a urinal pleasing to look at, which also would contain all splash, spray and dripping. It was a urinal that did its job with grace.

Whenever I see anything that is designed well to do its job with grace and style, my mind goes back to that urinal.

Needless to say, my mind is a strange place to live.

Throw the Incumbents Out-

Our purported leaders passed the Bail-Out Bill. I figured they would. Many know they committed political suicide. They were damned no matter what they did, so seeming to do something through this bill seemed the better choice.

We need change. I would love to see a real leader, guiding meaningful change. I don't. I see politicians. Oh, I would grant that most are doing the best they can. It is not good enough.

So, change for the sake of change. It is time to exercise the one real control we have. We can change up the "leadership" and not let any of them light too long. Sure, they might not be able to do much good that way, but keeping them moving keeps them from doing much harm.

Vote the incumbents out.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I have come to realize, over the years, that I am a vengeful man. I think it is the consequence of my high ideals and the disappointments of having society fail to meet my standards. I don't think those standards are unreasonable, but then I am probably not objective.

Anyway, whether or not this bail-out happens, there are fat-cats who engineered this fiasco. I am sure they were just wheeling and dealing in their own special style, which is what made them fat-cats in the first place. Be that as it may, they are responsible.

Some of these creatures of dubious lineage (that's an expletive transliterated to make me seem educated and not quite as course as I really am) will receive "golden parachute" compensations for failing their companies and seriously damaging the American economy. Rewarded for failure, and for injuring others.

My sense of justice is somewhat offended by this.

Since they acted in the freedom (though not the responsibility) of a deregulated economy, few will be subject to criminal charges. Since they are fat-cats, even if they were they would just O.J. through the thing.

In this particular case I am all for a redistribution of wealth. Take their wealth and apply it to the deficit they have created. Leave each of them a house (any one of those they own that is paid for, preferably the least valuable of the lot), a car, and $400,000. I am being generous, but someone who has been living high on the hog will suffer when living on sow bellies and pigs feet.

Poor them.

They can start over. Oh, we could engineer more dire circumstances for them to work their way out of, but then we would expose possibly honest poor people to these creatures of dubious lineage. That would not be right. We wouldn't want them taking direct advantage of the working poor.

That is what the government is for.

As disgusted as I am with the recent machinations of government, I still love this country. I just wish to see it rise to the fabled ideals that supposedly are its foundation.

That would be a nice change.