Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thar she blows!

I was supposed to work tonight and get a bunch of stuff done. But by 7 p.m. I had had enough. I jumped on my 1963 Hawthorne 3-speed and headed north in search of whales.


I saw spouts as soon as I reached Scenic Drive. I carried my bike to the Luffenholtz overlook. Damn, that's a beautiful bike. I love the classic lines. I'm thinking of buying a basket for the front so I can carry supplies, like maybe some binoculars.

I went further north to some point just south of Baker Beach. At one point I saw five spouts all at once.


Thar she blows!


Thar she blows again! Man, did I have a cheesy grin on my face. Come to think of it. I've had that cheesy grin for several weeks now.


Then again, that antique Mickey Mouse bell on the left is driving me fucking nuts. The slightest bump or vibration results in non-stop racket. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. I almost stopped and removed it, but I must say it's nice to have people hear you coming on the Hammond Trail. Check out the Sturmey-Archer "trigger" on the right.


The news merchant and his pachinko machine

I read this very interesting article with a big cheesy grin on my face, then I laughed hysterically!

Right on!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tree above Widow White estuary at sunset.7.30.08


I spent so much time watching whales this evening that I lost track of time and bicycled home while the sun was setting.

There must of been about half a dozen whales west of Camel Rock. It was quite a show. Yesterday I also saw two whales near the mouth of the Mad. And on Friday I also saw two whales at the mouth.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Memo from Laboratory Management – Please use Entrance A

From now on, when entering Rambling Jack's Laboratory, we ask that you please use Entrance A. This is for your own safety.


Entrance A is located near the back of the laboratory. There's a key hidden in the mangled blue metal near the door. Please knock before entering.


If you smell or see anything gassy, don't panic. It's just sulpher dioxide.


We have plenty of ventilation for your safety.


Smoking is restricted to the third-floor terrace.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yeah, Baby!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Yes, but does it really work?

Today at the McKinleyville Safeway there was an old man in line in front of me. He purchased only two items – box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and a large plastic jug of DelMonte Tomato Juice.

I thought this was strange until he muttered something to the checker about his “damn dog.”

Then it all became clear.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


In the world of eBay, there's no such thing as an "old" bicycle. Everything a few years old is "vintage."

I think I'll use this term for all my other material items that I previously thought of as just plain old.

Honey, we don't need a new rug – this one is vintage!

I don't think we should repaint the living room – I don't want to cover up the vintage paint that's already on the walls.

Sure, these sneakers smell funky. But I can't throw them away – they're vintage!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Domestic Man of Minimal Mystery

Based on some feedback I’ve received, apparently some folks read my last posting and got the idea that I was planning some sort of “Into the Wild” adventure, in which I give up all my worldly goods and disappear into the wilderness with nothing more than a rifle, bag of rice and my new Trangia 28-T.

That’s not really what I had in mind. I was thinking of some adventures that might last a few days, or maybe a week. Maybe even two weeks.

But not much more than that. I don’t want to miss too much reality TV.

Friday, July 18, 2008

International Man of Mystery and the Trangia 28-T

I’m planning some upcoming adventures, the details of which cannot be revealed right now unless you have the proper security clearance. And even then we would need to whisper in code, using Navajo, under the Cone of Silence.

So be patient. All will be revealed in due time.

Meanwhile, in preparation for these adventures, the Laboratory is beginning to look like Q’s research and development department in the James Bond films.

My newest gadget is a Mini Trangia 28-T stove. Actually, it’s a stove and a cookset. It’s not the fanciest stove you can buy, nor does it have the highest performance. What it has going for it is that it’s small, lightweight and you can buy the fuel anywhere and in small quantities. It’s perfect for extended trips on a (REDACTED) from (REDACTED) to (REDACTED) to (REDACTED).


The entire package, not counting fuel, weights about 12 ounces and is extremely compact. Everything packs inside an aluminum pot with a non-stick tiny frying pan serving as the lid.


Here’s the cookset unpacked. From left there’s a pot, frying pan, windscreen, stove, simmer ring and, below the frying pan, the pot lifter.


The stove burns alcohol. You can buy denatured alcohol at a hardware store. A can is about $6 or $7, but is larger than I would want to carry on my (REDACTED). I found a 99 percent rubbing alcohol solution at the local Safeway for $1.99. It comes in a nice, smallish plastic bottle that would fit perfect on my (REDACTED). The more common 70 percent rubbing alcohol would also work, but with reduced performance. The point is that I can buy small amounts of fuel, for a small amount of money, almost anywhere. And it’s a clean fuel unlike gasoline.

If I was in a different state I could buy Everclear booze and take swigs of it as I filled my stove. Then again, Everclear is a dangerous beverage. After a few swigs I would probably roam around the (REDACTED) and (REDACTED) and (REDACTED). But why traumatize an innocent pumpkin?

I’ll stick to denatured alcohol, which you can’t drink. It will make you sick.


I ran some tests. Under perfect conditions, I can boil a cup and a half of water in five minutes. That’s a hot chocolate, a cuppa joe or some Top Ramen. I can boil an entire pot of water in about 10 minutes, which gives you an idea of what it would take to heat some stew suitable after a long day of (REDACTED).


Here’s me manhandling the frying pan. I can imagine myself sitting atop (REDACTED) frying up some flapjacks to fuel myself up before (REDACTED) to (REDACTED.) Sounds like fun, eh?

But before any of this happens, I need to do a few things, the least of which is to clean up the garage. It’s beginning to look like a McKinleyville meth lab, which my neighbors tell me it actually was a few years before I bought the place.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Schwinn Stingray

Last year I posted a photo of me on my first bike. Recently I came across this cool photo of my second bike. This would have been taken sometime in the mid 1970s, more or less.


It's a Schwinn Stingray, obviously. Check out the banana seat and giant speedometer. Pretty cool ride, don't you think?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tour de France

L'an dernier j'ai regardé une bonne portion de la Tournée de France. Je commencerais à enraciner pour un cycliste, alors le lendemain qu'il serait dehors flanqué pour tricher. Alors je choisirais un autre cycliste pour enraciner pour et la même chose arriverait. Après un instant j'ai renoncé et ai apprécié juste les paysages spectaculaires de la course.

Jusqu'ici, cette course de l'an est assez propre sauf le camarade espagnol qui a obtenu a flanqué dehors aujourd'hui. Il divertit raisonablement, bien qu'il n'y a pas beaucoup de pour les présentateurs pour parler d'au début d'une étape de 100 miles. Donc ils marmonnent juste loin, l'excursion si vous ferez.

Ce n'est pas jusqu'à ce que la fin de chaque étape quand c'est vraiment la valeur regarde. Oh, et comment de ces dames qui embrassent le vainqueur à la fin ? Très agréable.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008



Actually, this really isn't a sunset. It's a smokeset, taken shortly after 8 p.m. from my backyard. The sun doesn't set until sometime around 9 p.m. Photo is straight from the camera. No cropping or color adjustments.


Then I zoomed in. Please excuse my shaky hands!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Kneeland Airport ride

The bagel was slathered with cream cheese, topped with grated carrot, chopped scallions and black olives and drizzled with Larrupin Mustard Dill Sauce. This was washed down with a couple cups of extra-strong, thick-and-muddy black coffee. I was fueled up and ready to ramble!


The weather was beautiful. Here's the Mad River, which is a short distance from my house. The water level is low. I traveled through Arcata and continued south.


I admired this old church on Old Arcata Road. For some reason it made me think of "Night of the Hunter" starring Robert Mitchum. Great flick.


At Three Corners, I turned east. I started the climb. It was hot and I was sweating like a hog.


Here's a horrible self portrait of me huffing and puffing up Kneeland. I was hesitant to post such an unflattering photo, but it sums up the experience. Sweat was burning my eyes, my shirt was soaked and I was using up my water faster than expected.


Kneeland hill is one switchback after another. There's no easy way to the top. I just pedaled ahead at an almost constant pace of about 5 mph.


I made it to the Kneeland Post Office with half of a large canteen of water left, not counting a small emergency water bottle I keep stashed away for emergencies. I couldn't find any water at the post office. Onward!


After the post office, there's still some climbing but it's a lot easier. It's also really beautiful. I could ride out here all day.


I came across this angry bull. Fortunately, I never go anywhere without my leather chaps and a flank strap. I hooked him up and stayed on for 15 seconds before getting bucked off. We laughed about it and then I continued on.

At Kneeland School there was a drinking fountain. Water! Precious water!


I made it to the airport. Nearby, the CDF guys were working hard and their scanner crackled with updates about the "Paradise" fire. I scanned the landscape and couldn't see any smoke, just distant clouds.


I took Fickle Hill Road back. I saw about a dozen deer near the top. About half of them ran away, the others hid in the shade where they assumed I couldn't see them.


While I was enjoying the sun in Kneeland, the fog rolled in. When I got home, I was sunburned, tired and glad to be back.

Distance: About 60 miles

Random thought: Bridgeville is about 29 miles from the Kneeland Airport. MIght be interesting to strap some camping gear on the bike and head further south into the unknown. That may happen later this summer....

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