Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Incredible Big Fish On The Road To Aticama


Hello Fellow Travelers,

As some of you may know I have been a motorhome person since the mid-70's, more than 35 years. I once hauled a 1962 Austin Healy across the USA in one.... stories upon stories,

Anyway, I have had the good fortune to meet a very nice full time RV person named George who lives in Ms. Tioga. Recently our little family set out on our yearly sojorn south to the little fishing/ancient pirate village of Aticama, Mexico in our motorhome - The Big Fish. Reading Georges shoutbox, I have decided to address some of his readers concerns about the fortitude of The Big Fish. Hence:
The Big Fish was created sometime in 1970 as a Chinook Mobile Lodge, one of a handful of these amazing class A couches to make it into production before the opec oil embargo (remember that?) damn near killed the rv industry. 26ft. long with a body of 1/4in. marine grade fiberglass laid up on two huge molds and bonded in the center with more glass than any motorhome ever built, she sports a Dodge M375 chassis with a Chrysler 413 Industrial Wedge motor and a 727A tranny with oversize torque converter. 417lbs of honest torque at 2,000 rpm, she was the reigning power monster of her day. This is a powerful machine by any standard. Built to take a load. A spicer 70 third member and Michelin LT tires can carry 30 percent overweight and we are doing just that. We roll down the road at a Cat Certified Scale weight of 16,100 lbs - 10,000 lbs on the rear axle at a blistering speed of about 40mph. She will go 70mph if you have the nerve and the pocketbook. At 40mph we get 9.675 miles to the gallon. If we go 44 mph we get only 6 miles per gallon. Fact. Over 2500 miles this translates to around $325.00 usd savings and takes about 10 hours longer. We travel with and do our road calculations with a Garmin Rino 530cx gps so you can bet my numbers are spot on. On steep grades, like the siskiu pass (highest on Interstate 5) we run up at about 15mph and down at 34mph. Never an issue with motor heat or brake fade....

Dense pack. The rig is very balanced, and, as any experienced Rv person know, is much more important than the overall weight. No space is wasted. We are carrying about 2500 lbs of food - canned, frozen and bulk grains and flowers, 22 gallons of paint, 600 pounds of tools, loads of building materials, spare parts, 7 batteries weighing a total of 575 lbs, 7 guitars, 6 computers, hundreds of pounds of concrete color, and full compliment for a family of 5 with a dog. Not to mention 2 20ft. ladders, 3 spare tires, 5 bicycles and a christmas wreath on the front. Full kitchen and bath and who knows what all else. 50 gallons of fresh water, an onboard compressor, modified 120/240 Onan genset, 100 gal. waste tanks and 70gallon fuel tank. Full side extra screen room and two cases of oil. Large propane tank and 2 large refrigerators.

A typical load for us minus a trailer. We did not have time to put that all together. Next time.....

Ok, now tired and off at first light.
Tomorrow I will post photos of The Big Fish packed and road ready..

Salud

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Swimming To Aticama

Flash Flood Update!

We are getting ready to shove off from the 'Bakersfield Palms' where we have had an enjoyable stay. The weather man is warning of rain heading our way - .75 to 1 inch per hour!!

Got to go before it reaches us.....

Salud

Monday, December 20, 2010

The ExtraOrdinary Strength Of The Northern Water Dragon.......On The Road To Aticama

Hello Fellow La Stradaitions,

Day 6....... the rain, the rain...... The Big Fish is swimming to Mexico... really, really slow..... Weng is detailing the 'shake down'.... average speed is 11.4 mph..... a new record slow trip.... tired.... hands are aching..... billfold has taken a serious, serious, very serious beating......

sorry for the piss and moan report.... spirits are high, just tired....

molater
Salud

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thirty Years Ago


Good Evening Music Fans,

Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the day that John Lennon was shot dead with a gun in New York City. A sadness unlike any other in my life, and in many others as well. Ask anyone alive at the time where they were and what they were doing on that day and chances are they will remember.

An imperfect man with a perfect question for the ages - What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?

Rest In Peace John Lennon, you have touched us all.

Salud



photo of lennon in Bermuda at age 39 with his son, sean

"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong".
John Lennon

Read more:http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_lennon.html#ixzz17VJ3vuUp

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Few Trees Here, A Few Trees There






From Rain Sogged Western Oregon,

After nearly 58 years gravity is uniting with cold clammy rain to pull at my bodys joints. I have made my new years resolution in advance - I intend to plant 580 fruit trees during our upcoming time in Mexico. Not all by myself of course. As soon as we arrive we begin looking for a family to live and work on our orchards. We will provide them with shelter and a fair salary. Over the next 3 years they will tend to the new trees. There is also a government program there to re-introduce native hard woods to the area. I hope to get us involved in this as well. Thinking about the pleasant work in warm climes warms me up from the inside out.

Salud

Monday, November 29, 2010

Waiting & Packing


Hello Late Readers,

Well, I am getting impatient with the slow speed that our home's paperwork is making through the system. We had hoped to leave on December 3rd for Aticama, and we will make the 'pack-um-up, move-it-out-litle doggie' deadline. But it now looks like blastoff will be a week or so later. That will give some more time to work on the exterior of the house and to finish the new daylight basement. Just a delay but, man o'man, my joints are aching for tropical weather!

Salud

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Friend Passes


Hello Evening Readers,

Well, we just received a phone call from Aticama and we found out that a friend died in an auto accident yesterday. His name was Alejandro Santana and he was a good friend to us. 7 years ago he was the President of Aticama and he helped us with our road issues and we have been pals ever sense. Around 80 years old, he had a romantic life for a sleepy tropical ocean village kind of guy. While he did not talk about it, and few knew about it, he was a General in the Mexican Army when he was much younger. Coming from a Peon background this was something special. He was not much to look at as we knew him - hunch backed, toothless, a few strands of hair, bony with a sad sack belly He non-the-less had a flair about him. A hard gentle soul with dark brown eyes ringed in blue cataracts. We had some fine times and I will really, really miss him. I am certain that he is sleeping with the Sirens Of Aticama.

Happy Trails, El General, Viva Mexico!!


Friday, November 26, 2010

A Late Thanksgiving

Hello Leftover Eaters,

Well, due to this years very cold snap and a serious slowdown with the outside work, we decided to have our Thanksgiving a day later. Turned out to be a great idea! Weng and I went shopping at our local Winco early this morning and it was just empty. Everyone shopping at Best Buy on Black Friday.

"When you are out of the Blue and into the Black..."

This year we are roasting the turkey on the barby....

Salud

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Betty's Story


Hello Music Lovers,

In Matanchen Bay there is an organic fruit drying business named Groupo Organico. They dry a lot of organic fruit and send most of it to the USA. A good chunk of it goes to Europe also. Business is good and, last year, the owner, who we will call The Italian (who I have known for over 20 years), sold his business to a guy from Vancouver B.C.. We will call this guy The Musician. Now, this guy got his start in the fruit business long ago by hocking his beloved Fender guitar. And got it back. And hocked it again. And got it back. Now there is a little tropicrock band in the Aticama area.

Well, now. Enter Betty. Betty is an early '70s Ovation 1617 Legend hollow body electric 'silver label' guitar. She was born in Connecticut, where all of the real Ovations are born, and was raised and lived most all her life, until last summer, near a place called Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. She was purchased new by a woman we will call Dorthy. Now, Dorthy had ambition and she could sing a thunderstorm up on a dry day. She figured that having a fine custom instrument and her long hair and long legs could give her a leg up in Nashville. Dorthy named her Betty, after her mother. Now 18 years old, a lovely springtime and no parents to tell her no, she hitched to Nashville to seek her fortune. After all, Glenn Campbell played an Ovation. And she did OK. Until she met a man named Harry Watson. He was a sweet talking drifter man who knew talent and when he saw Dorthy playing for change at Nashville Union Station he got greedy. They married that spring in 1974 and she had a baby girl in December. Harry got her a booking at the Grand Ol Opery on the same ticket as Dolly Parton. Things went well and a record deal sorta emerged from a badly drunken after show party. Good money in advance and Harry scooped it up and pissed it away with women and drugs. Appointments got missed. Dorthy started doing drugs and Betty, along with her daughter, who we will call Opel, were largly forgotton for too long a time. At 20 it was 'working girl time' and Harry just disappeared, never to be seen again. Dorthy o.d'd so close to the edge more than once but somehow found the will to move on. And she did - to Red Boiling Springs and lived in a back-to-the-lander T-pee. She was an organic farmer. Opel grew strong, went to college at NYU and became an important doctor. Dorthy picked Betty up every afternoon and played 'on the porch music' every day. No drugs, no booze. She loved her Camels though. Betty came to smell like the sweet strong smell of a fresh lit Camel. In the end, at age 57, Dorthy was found on the porch, holding Betty in her arms. She had been dead for days and her face was smiling like the first light of dawn - she had finally found the Note Of Creation, and we poor humans, can only hear that sound once. Opel found her on Saturday morning on the summer solstice. Betty was a torment and wisely put up for auction on Ebay. By now she was worn, cracked and repaired after the really cold winter of '76, her case was long forgotten and her strings were rusty wires. I was the only bidder. She arrived on the Bonny Slope in a box with her story and I strung her, and she sang like the Sirens Of Aticama.

I sure hope The Musician gives her the love she deserves.

Salud

Icy Cold Redux


Dear Warm Readers,

Hoping that where ever you are you are warm, dry, well fed and rested. Yesterday we, here in Portland, had the coldest high temperature for any day in November in the last 25 years! Today may be the same. Not too much got done yesterday, and, during my trip to the market (off the Bonny Slope, down the mountain and to the valley floor, I saw zero outdoor activity of any kind - no construction workers, no homeowners in their yard, no people walking or jogging and only a few cars.

Nice. As quiet as it has been in 25 years.

Salud

ps. the photo was taken at 7:45 this morning. do you see the HMS James Bond on the left?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Big Cold


Dear Readers,

I hope this posting finds you warm and comfortable! An artic blast has frozen us and frozen us good! While not cold like it can be in other parts north of Mexico, it is, for us here in Oregon, very cold. Despite precautions all of our water froze solid last night - one of the tradeoffs that come with living in such a lovely little valley on the mountainside. Lovely nearly 8 months a year that is.......

It is now past 11am and the temp is about 25deg. That is cold enough for the fingers to stop working well outside with power tools. At one time I enjoyed the cold, The Struggle Of Man Over The Elements. Age brings aches in the joints and the attraction of enclosed warm spaces is nearly overwhelming. No school today because of the ice and cold. The kids are loving it. Their joints are new and fresh and strong and resistant to the cold. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up to above freezing.

Every day the Sirens Of Aticama sing louder......

Salud

ps. the photo was taken this morning from my window

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where Is Weng?


Hello Readers,

There have been a number of folks wondering "Where is Weng?" Well now, I can tell you that she has been busy! It has been nearly a year since she lost her AdSense google ads - a nasty virus took over her computer and did her wrong. Try and appeal and appeal but to no avail! Even Jorge (Tioga's man flesh) put in a good word. Maybe all her readers should mount a 'get Weng's AdSense back' campaign. But, I digress. This has been a VERY, VERY busy time for us!! (the busiest of our life together) The responsibilities of parenthood, working on our home here in Oregon, the long and winding road to getting our place paid off and going into big time debt, not to mention the weather, and preparing for our trip south has taken its toll. By the end of the day she is just to damn tired to deal with anything else. It takes Weng a long time to do her postings and she needs a calm center without distraction to feel good about what she has to say. I am her husband and I miss her wacky writing also!!

Keep Posted for more info.

Salud

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blue Moon In December


Hello Snowy Readers,

Yup, today we had snow. For a while. Then we had mud, again. Now, here is something cool - my birthday falls on December 21. That will give me a Blue Moon Over Aticama - who could ask for a better gift?

Salud

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Adventures With The Big Fish


Hello Readers & Fellow Travelers,
It is possible that some of you long time Rv's remember the Mighty Dodge 413 Industrial V-8 that powered the premier Motorhomes of the '60s and early '70's. Considered by 'Old Iron Guys' to be the most beasty powerful and lumbering of torque monster ever produced by the hand of man. With a massive 407 real pounds of torque at 2000 rpm, no other Atomic Age Land Whale could come close to its fearsome lifting force. Move 9 1/2 tons of rig and stuff - no problem. Serious machines.

And the Big Fish swims with this bad boy 413 as it's heart. Today, perhaps if all goes well, I will button down the mechanicals and we will begin 'The Load In'. Against long shot odds we work facing south - snow is coming the first of the week and that makes a difference....

Salud

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stress


Good Evening Readers,

We'd all like to think that a palm tree and ocean breeze, sweaty beverage and the sound of happy children playing was something waiting for us all at the end of a hard day.

Others may feel the same about a remote cabin in the woods, a corner view on the 60th floor or an endless corn maze in an Iowa flatland.

The point is this: We Are Only Going Around In These Walking Bones one time. In Old Mexico they still say that tomorrow doesn't exist. The lifestyle example being one of living as happy under the heavens as possible without having to dwell on your future needs. Having a debt free or nearly debt free life is the foundation for life without worry. Many of you readers surfed in through Jorge's site and I expect you understand what I am talking about. Other readers will, I hope, remain befuddled by my stress fueled ramblings.

You see; when I get home at the end of a long day I know that there is a Palm Tree Siren singing to me - melodic tunes of warm enchanting people and places. Sometimes the music overwhelms me with soulful contentment soo intensely that the world around my body grows grey with longing. I have become jaded. The compulsion to live the dream of Ratso Rizo ('Midnight Cowboy') is seductive to all mankind...

"Live Where The Weather Suits Your Clothes'

Salud

Saturday, November 13, 2010

End Of An Era


Good Rainy Morning,

A very busy week. There are a million and one things to do before we can finalize our blastoff plans for Aticama. The house is still a week or more of very hard work to do, The Big Fish has a week of mechanical work to finish, a few more meetings with teachers for the childrens education, and, of course, getting the deed to our house and property. Sleep is difficult. The brain never stops but the excitement level is high, just a bit soggy from the Oregon rain. One step at a time!

Salud

Monday, November 8, 2010

One Day At A Time And Doing What Needs To Be Done


Good Morning Readers,

That old expression "One Day At A Time" sounds so comforting! Well, it works well when you have little or no responsibilities to anyone other than yourself!

Most of the rest of us need a Plan. 40 years ago I only needed a Daily Plan, then I entered into a Weekly Plan around 35 years ago, followed by a Monthly Plan about 32 years ago, then back to a Weekly Plan about 24 years ago. The Weekly Plan then became a Yearly Plan 16 years ago when I married Weng. 10 years ago it became the Ten Year Plan.

Which brings us to today. Crossroads Time. I have always been a 'pay as you go' person and, generally, it has served me and my little family well. For much of the last 10 years nearly all of our spare time and energy has gone into building our Bird House in Aticama. This comes at a cost and that has been the neglect of our home on the Bonny Slope here in Oregon. The place has been a wonderful fair weather home but the rains in this tiny, tiny valley had eaten away at the ancient wooden bones of this century old outside world refuge. Last summer we decided to repair the place and it has keep us so busy that we began considering the Big One - A home equity loan. Millions of american homeowners do it, and with some heavy heart we have decided to do it. It will take less than 3 months to spend what will take 10 years to repay.

The new 10 Year Plan.

Salud

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Leaves Are Falling, Thinking About Aticama



Hello Readers,

As of this writing, we have lost about half of the leaves on the trees here on the Old Bonny Slope. Rain has started and, with the return of non-daylight savings time we will enter into the rainy, mostly sunless long night winter season. I am thinking of Aticama. Right now the weather is perfect! Upper 60's at night, near 90 during the heat of the day. Soon Dean the mobile mechanic will have installed the automatic transmission in The Big Fish. She is moored in the cargo dock and we will soon begin the 'Daily Little Bit At A Time Every Day Load In'. Usually takes about a month to outfit one of these Beasties for Liftoff..... Look for photos later...

Salud

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Duty To Country


Good Morning Americans,

No matter who you believe will guide our country to a bright future for our children, it is your responsibility, in a free democracy, to Vote!!

Make sure that all of your friends do also.

Salud

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Mighty GMC Dumptruck

Hello Afternoon Readers,

Just a quick update - after 4 hours we gave up, for now, on salvaging the Mighty Old GMC. Broken winch cable, spinning tires, on and on and .... zip, zero, nada,.... this old beast likes it here....


Salud

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Positive Energy

Hello Readers,

It is a lovely rainy day here in Oregon. Things are moving right along and the family is in good health and spirit. If all goes as planned today the old 1959 GMC Dump Truck will transform itself into a little pile of moola which in turn will turn into hundreds of gallons of fuel for our upcoming trip south!

keep your fingers crossed for photos of todays exciting event.

Salud

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"What's So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding?"


Hello Night Readers,

It's time for bed after a long and productive day. As the election grows nearer by the hour I am saddened to see this Nation of Opportunity tearing itself apart as politics overwhelm the media and unknown citizens begin drawing lines in the sand. What is the cause of this? Where did civility go? Incredible as it may seem US Senate candidates do not publically deplore the vicious behavior of their supporters. In Kentucky one follower threw a woman to the ground and began stomping on her head with his boots. In Arizona fear of brown skin people has become an acid that is promoting mindless hatred. In Alaska the truth that one in the Senate race admitted to lying and covering up vote computer fraud seems to make no difference to his supporters. Who can believe what they read or see at this point. I am sorry to my soul that these thoughts are so strong that I voice them on this forum but please understand that it is not my desire or place to offend anyone. I will have more to say on this matter over the next week so if its not your cup of tea then just surf some safe sites. My feelings will not be hurt. Much.

Salud

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Blessing For Francis


Hello Friends,

It is a rainy Sunday morning here on the old Bonny Slope. Like a hungry dog at a bottomless food bowl I have spent the last 8 weeks working my butt off on our home, and, like that dog, I overdid it a bit! 2 weeks ago the children brought home a little school flu and I charged on working, thinking I was the Superman of home repair Papas. I am often a little wrong and this was the case. Bam. My Musty Troder blew a spark plug and I took my body to the clinic to see my good Physician, Dr. Christopher Hall. A no nonsense man he told me that I was no longer 30 years old and, in no uncertain terms, told me to "slow down for a week or so". As is our norm, we spoke of politics a bit and I told him of my close encounter with President Obama. With a giant toothy grin he thrust his hand forward and had me shake his hand, no doubt hoping to get a little good atomic ju-ju. So, I have been taking it easy and spending a little time reading and posting. I expect to be fully up and running again by mid week.

But I am writing about my son Francis. As many of you readers know, all of my children (not unlike kids all over the world) possess gifts and Francis's is in the fields of Literature, Math and Abstract Conceptualization. What you may not know is that Francis is fortunate and blessed to have an amazing Mentor. A man gifted with wisdom, compassion and an incredible grasp of the mind of man, I will, for now, simply call him Dr. H. The generosity of his time, his patience and kind understanding are providing Francis with a rock solid foundation for building a ship of life that is capable of navigating the challenges of the emerging world around us. This man projects an energy that can only be described as the soul contentment one finds on a warm and sunny fall day. As a father I stand in awe of the two of them, as a human I am encouraged and happy to be a small cog in the wheel of fortune.

Salud

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Remembering How Far We Have Come


Good Saturday Morning,

I have been thinking a lot about 'the value of it all' lately. I blog because I enjoy it - I don't make money from it, I don't expect to change the world because of it and I am not normally affected in a negative manner by those who disagree with my personal or political beliefs. They are, after all, my thoughts and feelings and I am proud to stand by them. I spend my precious time putting my blog out there in thoughtful terms and I expect nothing in return except common respect. Well, I confess that I did take offense to the demeaning comments I received from an anonymous reader regarding my remarks about President Obama's visit the other day - I have never been compared to Adolf Hitler or had my work ethic smeared by those who don't agree with my lifestyle . It seems that, in these very political times, there is a fear projected by the lies and deception of those who would have their own beliefs forced on the rest of us. This tiny occurrence is nothing compared to the crap that our elected statesmen are forced to endure just to serve the people who voted them in. I don't see how they they can do it.

It seems our society is losing its way again and civility is a casualty of this morass. Truth is bleeding and near death. I am nearly 58 years old and I am proud as an American to say that I have voted in every federal and state election since I was 18. I have almost always voted for Progressive causes and I am proud of that also. I remember the fear of the McCarthy era, the sweat on my teacher's faces when the atomic sirens went off in school and we jumped under the desks, I remember my parents discussing the election of 1960 - my mothers defense of Nixon and my fathers military friends talking in the garage about John Kennedy's war service. My father and I stood on different ground most of the time, he was a decorated Navy Seal and a 'Zero Defect Man' (he checked H-B0mbs every night for the Strategic Air Command) and I was a Hippie. I also remember driving our black nanny home to the 'black side of town' when I was 16. Riding the city bus and seeing the black people in the back and even watching the whites hold their breath while the blacks walked by. I lived in rural Ohio for 20 odd years and never once saw an inter-racial couple. I bussed tables at the local hotel/restaurant when I was 12 years old for 0.65 cents an hour for 2 years and never once saw a black, yellow or red person enter to eat.I remember where I was when Kennedy was murdered and the flat headed bigots at the local gas station telling me that it was God's punishment for his policies. I did not really understand what they meant. I worked my way through middle and high school washing dishes at the local hospital with an all white staff. Around this time I met a girl who was half Japanese and we had our first touch of young love. All of my friends warned me that she was a spy, a slant eye and I should stay clear of her and I clearly remember how we were refused service at a local restaurant. I worked my way through two years of carpentry college at a foundry that made defense parts for fighter jets and icbm's. I made good money making things I did not believe in and paid lots and lots taxes that helped fund the war machine that Ike had warned us about. I bought into the system, married, got a house and bought lots of stuff on credit, easy, complacent - unaware but choosing to bury my head in the sand. My sports car became more important than my ideals.
Then, the game changer. In April of '74 a vicious tornado ripped apart my hometown, my house, my face and we lost our 7 month old unborn child. I saw Richard Nixon make is last public speaking appearance before he resigned standing in the rubble of my old kindergarten school. He swore that the town would be rebuilt. He lied. My marriage collapsed, my work went on strike and I re-assessed my life. I drifted. I looked for meaning. I was in Atlanta the night Jimmy Carter was elected President and I was inspired. I moved to Oregon and began working for the new Department of Environmental Quality and lived under the progressive government of Republican Governor Tom McCall. I am pleased to say that I have never been disappointed about the enlightened politics of the Great State of Oregon in all these years.

I digress. This missive was not intended to be a biography. I want only to point out that, generally as a society, we have made great strides in social awareness, equality among gender preference and races, science and medicine. I am married to an asian - unthinkable in the first part of my life, with 3 wonderful mixed blood children who are treated without discrimination. Our educational standards, while threatened, are still strong. It has not been and easy road for Americans over the last 60 years and progress has been slow and at great cost but with great results.

Stepping off my soapbox I ask only that, when we vote in this important election, we think it through clearly and refuse to return to a time when the merits of man were defined in black and white terms.

Salud

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hitting A Nerve

Good Morning Readers,

I woke this morning to rain and a nasty comment on my blog from 'Anonymous', relating to my political posting of last night. After responding to it and some soul searching, I deleted it. Why? Because, while I believe in free speech, I will not tolerate lies and personal attacks spouted from those who do not have enough courage to identify themselves. These bottom feeders can crawl under their rock of shame and wallow in their own pettiness -they are a pox upon this earth and should not be tolerated. Anyone who has read my blog knows that I welcome comments from those who do not agree with me - I think it is a healthy exercise of democracy.

Now, on a more pleasant topic - today my pal Bill and I, along with Weng will set in the last of the new windows on the north side of the house! The rains are coming soon and we are working hard to get the place all cozy for Thanksgiving.

Salud


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where To Begin?


Good Evening All,

When I was a small boy, and TV was young and innocent, there was a show staring Jimmy Durante. The Snozz. Well, he would end every episode by saying "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, where ever you are." What follows is political and if you are afraid to hear the truth do not read any further. Just skip to the end where the hope lies.

Things have changed. Back then my mother was a Republican, but that meant something far different than it does today. Back then politics had a moral canvas that was easy to take at face value - a choice that was clear but most generally reflected a government that was for the people. I remember when Reagan became President and political advertising laws changed - no more equal 'air' time for those who were capable of serving in the government but lacked the budget to let citizens know who they were and what they were about. Corporate money began driving the political mind set and a new generation of greed head and fear mongers arose to spoil the soil of democracy. Finally, after years of planning and skulking in the shadows these dark men succeeded in pulling down the last vestige of fairness in our once democratic democracy with last years 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate/fat cat funding of political races with no accountability. For the first time in our history, elections could be bought and sold to the highest bidder, no matter what the outcome, the motive or even the nationality of those buying the race. And you aint seen nothing yet, just wait for the next presidential race.

Welcome to the elections of 2010. Herrman Gobbles was a baby compared to Karl Rove. This monster is using the Supreme Court ruling to bury the truth and we Americans are poised to give away our precious freedoms with little or no fight from the man on main street. Think I am wrong? Then you are just not thinking.

Two years ago, for a brief clear moment, after the greedheads almost destroyed our economy, we put a man of intelligence and vision in the drivers seat. Barak Obama. Against all odds and the poison of the dark side he managed to do many good things for us all. At a terrible cost to him and progressive statesmen, both Democrats and Republicans. The interests of the common man have been driven from a fair playing field with an ocean of money, by some estimates Karl Rove alone will spend more than 250 million dollars over the next 10 days to convince voters that we are doomed if we re-elect the current progressives who have pulled us out of Bush's folly. We stand to lose the environment, our education standard, women's rights, and our position in the world.
And for what? Think about it.

I have always been an optimist. My soul is tried mightily now though. Yesterday, through a series of small but wonderful events, my son Francis and I found ourselves front and center at the Obama rally here in Portland Oregon. Organizers had expected 5,000 people but more than 10,000 showed up. We were surrounded by people who believe that there is a better way to live and we stood in awe, some 20 feet away from the President as he spoke of what his administration had accomplished, despite all odds. He also spoke of what is possible if we, the people, get off of our butts and vote with intelligence and consideration. How hard the road ahead is and the line that we must draw against those who would give our children a world of fear and collapsing environment. He spoke like a fit man made of steel that was taking all of our lightning hits for us, strong and passionate. Some of the disgust and horror I have felt this election season died in that moment, and, like those around me, I felt energized and strong against the negative forces who would enslave us all. If we allow them to do so. 35 minutes later he finished and swept through the multitudes of common people and it happened - my hand went out and met his in a flash that I surely will never forget. Shaking his hand was electric and we locked eyes for a second or two and time stopped. I saw the hopes of millions carried by a soul that cares. The eyes of a captain guiding his ship through the biggest storm of all time. The eyes of a father who had given up an easy life to a conviction of compassion. And then he was gone, giving power to another, and another, and another. Even now I can feel his hand shaking mine, the hand of the most powerful person on Earth.

Do well, sleep well and prevail, Mr. Obama.

Salud

Something To Talk About

Morning All,

Lots to talk about! Unexpected stuff taking up today but I will be updating my blog tonight - rain is coming and I must button up a few things...

Salud

Monday, October 18, 2010

Voting This Morning

Good Morning Citizens,

Here in Oregon the voters decided years ago to allow 'vote by mail'. It was a great decision and had increased the participation in democracy considerably in our great state. This morning I voted from the comfort of my home - relaxed with no hurry and time to consider the issues. The election is important for our children and our common future. In other countries people get to vote on the weekend. Why not ours? In other countries people must vote as well as pay taxs. Why not ours? Perhaps one day things will change like election reform where those running can only receive funding from within the state they live in.

Think, talk, vote.

Salud

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Big Clean Up or A Tale Of Two Beasties





Morning Readers,

Some of you may know that we live here in Oregon on a beautiful little acre valley of wooded land with creeks and ponds and trails. In a few spots the trails are narrow, so narrow that the new roof on Mr. Electric Car cannot quite make it through with the new roof! In one peaceful corner this is a problem. Sitting there in all of their mossing (in western Oregon, even though it rains a bit, things don't really rust much -they grow moss) glory sets two mechanical dinosaurs named The Sub and The Big RV. Now the Sub in another life was a 1959 GMC School Bus from Shaker Heights, Cleveland, Ohio. It was part of my second 'Oddesey' from the East some 33 years ago. A noble beast it made it here to the Bonny Slope and then its Mighty Musty Troder (Trusty Motor) burst in an opera of mechanical chaos, just after it arrived under the Doug Firs. In the mid-80's I converted The Sub (bus spelled backwards) into a lovely little home with a tower on the back, complete with wall paper and stained cedar trim. For years she sheltered me through the uncertainty of the Regan years. It is now been 15 years alone, serving only to store items from an earlier part of my life. Asleep, waiting.
Resting close by is The Big Rv. She started life as a 1971 Travco and was the proud steed of a governor of Pennsylvania when new. No children graced her seats like the Sub and now she is filled with the ghosts of dead politicians. No one really knows what happened until the early days of the new millennium when we found her, via the internet, living in the Appalachian Mountains on a nature preserve. Sad and neglected and full of mice and rotting things we saw the hidden beauty and brought her back from the sunless backwater to Oregon with the notion of taking her to Aticama - the first of the Atomic Age Surf Shacks. Thomas John was an infant and The Big Rv served as his loving crib. A sweet time in life for sure. But, as things have a tendency to do, she was left alone under the the Really Big Willow Tree, near the Sub as we moved to bigger spaces. One stormy wild and windy night over 100 running feet of the giant willow fell upon her - breaking her nearly in half! Torn fiberglass and steel were no match for tons and tons of water logged wood. The Dream of Aticama for her was over. She sat and I tried hard to ignore the cries night after night. A mighty tribute to the men and industry of the 60's and early 70's, she will not die though. Mechanically she is ready, now looking like the Hunchback Of Bonny Slope she waits on an unknown future.

Which brings us to today. The area between The Big Rv and The Sub has collected lots of stuff throughout the years. My memory is foggy and I do not remember what lies under the ivy, down limbs, plastic and debris. It must all be cleaned up to allow passage for Mr. Electric Car and his vital material transportation. Mr. Giant Dumpster is waiting far up the driveway to receive all of the dead stuff clogging the North West Passage. To this end I began cleaning the area yesterday. Ugly. Ugly work. Sad and filled with other types of ghosts - ghosts of things made right here in the USA before we got soft and lazy.

Do not worry. The weather is lovely and spirits are high. And I found my camera, now if I can locate a few batteries for it.......

Salud

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moving On


Good Morning Readers,

About this time every year Weng and I get nasty colds. These weather logs come from school and hit us in the head with 'slow it down wither you like it or not' fury. The home project took a couple of hits also - Mr. Old Honda Garden Tractor broke his back (frame totally cracked in half) the other day while hauling gravel from the top of the driveway to the house. Now out to pasture he is in the de-composeaium - gently rusting away with the rest of the mechanical beasts - a victim of too much money to be worth to fix...

So, yesterday, I spent the day re-building Mr. Electric Car!! Ta Da!! WELL, last summer Kawena May and I sortakinda crashed Mr. Electric Car in the garden (jumping terraces) and for months the old wheeled horse has been resting in the shed. No more. I will see if I can find my camera - he is now up and running, complete with a new plywood roof!

We will make the big tests today. It looks like it will be another beautiful fall day here in Oregon.

Salud

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Is Fear Everywhere Now?


I am saddened by Tioga Georges loss of his son, David.


Hello Again Readers,

These words come from heavy hands and nearly horizontal thinking. And the tail end of a nasty cold. I have said my piece about David , bless his soul with grace and peace.

But Now, like Tioga George, my thoughts are about anger. Why we have it. George stirred this emotional pot with his words and I have had to let the outside world enter my soul with less protection for the truth than I have ever experienced. Every two years this society we live in goes crazy with the fear and negativity that our twisted election mindset smashes upon us all. I am angry about a society that demonizes the good of man under the guise of mindless profit and the convenience it bestows upon us. I am angry that devotion to selfless causes is coal black faced while the politics of war gobbles up our children's future.

Like all people I have anger but I am not, by nature, an angry man. We here in America, are slaves for the next 3 weeks to the very best lies, distortions, half-truths, and more lies the mind of man has ever thought of. Broadcast to us by way of every sense we possess, designed to influence our most elemental demons into believing without facts. All brought to us by the dark Horsemen Of Fear. Then, the day after the election there is a violent full on stop of this madness and we all wake up and say "What the hell did we just do?" Dazed by the happiness that fear consumes we retreat and swear to heal and be stronger the next time.

I am 57 years old and I was of the first 18 year olds to vote after the federal voting law changed. I have voted in countless elections and there has always been bile and evil waiting for the innocent to give away hard won freedoms. Never, never, has this evil been so crafty. To see what we have been reduced to, I must say, that in this time, this moment, for the first time, I am truly ashamed to be an American. I hope to change my feelings someday when, once again, our democracy is without the man behind the mirror.

Guys my age dropped the ball once to often. Think it through. Talk about it. Vote.

Salud

Friday, October 8, 2010

Heavy Hearts


Good Afternoon Readers,

The Sword Of Love cuts in many ways. If we are wise, and often times lucky, we are gifted with Kind Love. Love & Spoken Words go hand in hand - you cant see them, weigh them by the pound, hold them in your hand. Yet nothing in this life is more powerful. Fury, compassion, fear, hope, happiness and terrible, terrible sadness are all burned in our emotions by Love. Love and how we show it to others. How it moves us in our souls and the Truth Of It All deep inside. As humans we all feel it. Need it. Live for it and die for it. We all know someone who has died and we ask ourselves "why this wonderful person?" "It is so unfair - such a good heart leaves when so many black hearts remain to torment our paradise?"

Well, I admit it. Love, today, has left me sad and my passion for the moment has left like water draining into sand. No doubt you have all heard that Tioga George's son, David, has taken his kind heart to a place where it no longer gently touches us. The example he set is clear and full of true human compassion and he will be missed by all - even those who never met the man. It comes when the world takes a moment to remember John Lennon on the anniversary of his birth so now the two of them will forever intertwined in my feelings. I never had dinner with either, they never called me and neither ever held my hand. Yet, both have touched me and for that I am a better man.

In the end, what more can any of us ask from this life?

Salud

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tioga, George & George's Son David


Hello Again Readers,

Work proceeds with little time to tell about it. I am writing mainly in the off hand hope that our Pal, George's son, David may see my posting and phone home or give a call to:

David,
If you are reading this page, please phone lawyer Patrick Clancy 925-639-3158.
I've made arrangements for Patrick Clancy to represent you and be your lawyer.

George is a good man and can use our thoughts in this tought time.

Salud

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another 16 Tons

Hello Again Readers,

Oh, my aching back! Well, things are moving along with the home project. Two days ago 16 tons of fill dirt were delivered and dropped in the driveway in front of the remaining 8 tons or so of gravel, which is in front of the monster dumpster.....

Flash back two days.... moving all of this material from the road to the back of the house is work, not only for Mr. Arm & Shovel, but also for Mr. Honda Tractor and Ms. Dump Trailer. Down the hill, through the garden, over the Dam, and on to the very end of the trail - the new 'around the house' rainwater runoff system. Gravel is heavy. Ms. Trailer's tow bar buckled and things looked grim! The internet found the repair shop but, yikes!, a two day turnaround! Off to Harbor Freight with my coupon. Viola! $80.00 later and a new, whimpy Ms. Trailer is assembled and the work goes on...... Stopgap......

Yesterday the ol' Ms.Trailer returned home, better than before. About 9 tons moved brings us to today and the next step - more sheeting on the house. Yep, pretty cool......

Salud

Ps. Got word that Tioga George is back in the states dealing with a few family issues. I am sending out my best to him and his loved ones...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rain & Stuff


Morning Readers,

I was reading Tioga George and he was talking about stuff. Well, yesterday, it rained so I could not yard plywood up the side of the house so I went to the 'other' job - cleaning up stuff..............ugh, we all know about stuff....
I guess that there must be someone out there that likes to clean up stuff, I am not one of those people.......years and years (maybe decades) of stuff piles up in those hard to get to places, or forgotten places.... find out that you had two or three kinds of the same stuff, even stuff you bought last week because you thought you were out of that stuff.....


Salud

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Big Change In Plans






Good Evening Readers,

"Life is what happens while your busy making plans"

- j. lennon


A week ago tomorrow Weng and I made some really tough decisions about our future and about our timeline for the next year. School. Work. Mexico. Opportunity. We have always been the 'pay-as-you-go' type of family and our debt load has always been very low. That is changing as we have decided to complete the majority of the construction of our house over the next several months. This is a major undertaking - replacing all of the rotted siding (with 70 year old salvaged cedar), changing out the windows with new thermal windows (salvage from different jobs through out the years), new insulation (also salvaged from dumpsters), putting up new sheetrock (the old place had plywood inside walls - our home is a very old home - parts of it go all the way back to 1860..), new around the house rainwater drainage system again drainpipe from a dumpster), repairing the roof in several places and perhaps a new coat of paint (whoops! mismatched paint from home depot for 5 bux a gallon)!

Notice that dumpster in the photo? Nice, huh? That baby is a 30 yard monster sitting in the driveway ready to eat all of the trash, and debris we can shovel into it. The gravel? Yep. At cost from the fine folks at WestCoast Sand & Gravel. 16 tons.

Now, to do all of this we had to let the different people we work for that we would not be available for several months while this work goes on, and, well, it was just fantastic! Everyone understood and said that their ongoing projects could carry over as long as necessary. Weng will now be our principal bread winner and we have secured a loan capable of buying us enough time to tighten up the place before winter sets in.
Just Fantastic!

Uncle Bill stopped by today and he helped me fir out the stub walls of the rebuilt daylight basement. Nice, huh? Augustin layed up the block to replace the old rotted wooden walls. Weng coated them with 50 year old rubber paint I salvaged from a garage tear down. Same size walls but now strong, very, very strong.

Salud