Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Alice's Restaurant

We're going to Alice's for Thanksgiving dinner....which reminds me...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Flamingos and Pit Bulls

Sarasota, Florida

The last couple of days I've had packs of pit bulls charging me on my walks.

So far they've stopped at the fences. There is a certain redneck mentality that keeps these vicious beasts for whatever reason.

I think I'll start carrying my banana knife on my walks. Without a competent weapon I'm just a another soft-skinned human and no match for three or four crazed pit bulls.

On my 5.5 mile walk today, besides the pit bulls, I also saw a flock of flamingos, a bunch of camels, a big snapping turtle, two alligators, horses and cows and a bunch of exotic waterbirds that I didn't recognize.

All the cows I saw today were accompanied by a flocks of about 40 white Egrets. I'm not sure why the white Egrets like cows. Maybe the cows stir up insects?

In dealing with a pack of pit bulls, I'd rather carry my assault rifle with the 50 round clip than a banana knife, but you can't just walk around rural Sarasota with a serious weapon.

After you leave New Orleans, there is a peninsula going south about 100 miles that is full of wetlands and bayous. Before Katrina, the Cajuns who lived there were very friendly to tourists and offered exceptional cusine.

Roy's was a Route 66 landmark. Now it stands empty with traffic rerouted to the interstate. Nearby is a small recent volcano. The locals like to make jokes by burning tires in the crater at the summit.


 A Mexican beach at dawn in the Gulf of Cortez.

Sedona...worth another visit this summer.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Walk It Off!

Sarasota, Florida

I splurged on some new walking shoes today. Apparently they no longer make the New Balance 926 models so I bought a new pair of 927s.

We visited the New Balance factory in Skowhegan, Maine this summer on the way back from the Canadian maritime provinces.We missed the big annual tent sale by three days.

The main thing to remember on my daily walkabouts is the little MP3 player. I have ten Pink Floyd albums, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Byrne, The Violent Femmes, Jimi Hendrix, ZZ Top, Alvin Lee and two Santana albums. It's only about half full with 15 or so albums.

I've been creating walking routes outside the park. One goes past the big cat rescue center about a mile and a half to the south. You can hear the lions roar every morning from our RV about dawn.

A hundred yards north of us is a little farm that sells eggs and milk. It's about a three mile walk to cover the hundred yards. We'll probably try some of their stuff this week.

I've been taking a lightweight backpack on my walks. I throw in my wallet, cell phone, pipe, lighter, tobacco and a bottle of water. So far, I've only needed the water.

Maybe I'll throw the camera in the backpack tomorrow. You never know what you'll see beside the road.

I have a six mile route in the morning. The four miles today didn't seem like quite enough.

How can you have any pudding if you don't clean your teeth?

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Mind's Eye

Sarasota, Florida

The Washer/Dryer in the RV is an Italian make. It has three plastic paddles on a steel drum that keep failing and shearing off.

We order new paddles periodically from the manufacturer. We talked to one guy at the factory who suggested using JB Weld epoxy to fix the problem once and for all. That resonated we me. I love the stuff.

I read about one guy who saved his company $20,000 by using JB Weld to fix a cracked block on a D-8 Caterpillar bulldozer. Another guy used it to fix his broken dentures. Once I used it to fix a bad crack in my motorcycle gas tank. So today I epoxied the paddles once and for all.

We went up to Zephyhills today for an early Thanksgiving with Mom and my sister and all Sister's children and grandchildren. As usual, Jay did most of the cooking. I really enjoyed the collard greens from his garden.

Sometimes you don't have a camera when you need one but your mind snaps a picture that just gets better as time goes by.

You might be in between pink and purple cotton candy cloud layers at 8,000 feet as dawn breaks over the Pribiloff the Bering Sea.

Or you might catch a glimpse of a golden temple on the takeoff out of Bangkok.

 You could see a waterfall flooded with red Autumn maple leaves only to find that your camera batteries are dead.

 It doesn't matter. The camera in your head always works just fine until it doesn't anymore.

Mrs. Phred has a bad case of "puppy belly" from eating too much turkey and pumpkin pie. I, on the other hand, exercised severe restraint and mostly snacked on salads, collard greens and fruit.

I've been doing 4 to 6 mile walks every morning and watching my diet. I'm hoping to lose 20 pounds by December 12 before the dive trip to the Grand Caymans and Cozumel. So far I'm down five.

The boat leaves from Miami, so maybe I can find time take our friends to Joe's Stone Crab on South Beach.

We have a party of six signed up for the dive trip.

All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
Everyone you meet
All that you slight
Everyone you fight
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
And everything under the sun is in tune

Pink Floyd

Friday, 19 November 2010

Random Thoughts

Sarasota, Florida

When you're 15, you can write your name in the snow from 10 feet away, especially if you have a short name like Bob, instead of something like Alexander...

In your late 60s you might be visiting a urologist to help go with the flow and writing your name may become a long, drawn out would have to move around a lot slowly dribbling your name...

I'm dreaming about a trip though the Florida Panhandle seafood restaurants and on to see the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. My last gambling "gris-gris" charm from Madame Trouseau is wearing out.

I'd like to spend some time in the Southwest again and then shoot up the East side of the California Cascades and cross over to the redwoods.

After that we'll work our way up the coast of Oregon and Washington and then head up the West Coast of Canada to Skagway.

We should be able to spend July and August in Alaska, fishing for King Salmon and 100 pound Halibut and then come back down the Alcan to hit the big mall in Edmonton.

The last leg will be the Great Lakes and Autumn in New England.

We've been doing this gypsy thing for just over five years now. I have 22,000 photos in 33 gigabytes and 755 folders...The photos here are a few randomly chosen happy travel memories.

Mrs. Phred in the middle of a 300 mile motorcycle ride in the Big Bend desert. Am I a lucky guy or what?

Grand Canyon. Point and click.

Crater Lake in May.

 It's time to think happy thoughts...even if they ARE random..

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sailing Close to the Wind

Sarasota Bay, Florida

Ken called me about 9:30 and asked me if I wanted to go sailing. He said I could steer the boat while he worked the sails.. He has a 30 foot sailboat. In the picture below, Ken is motoring over from his mooring to pick me up at the dock.

We went to where he has his boat moored and he paddled out in his "sea eagle" inflatable kayak while I waited on the dock. His faded T-shirt says, "Sailing: an expensive way to get wet, sick, and go nowhere".

We spent a few hours tacking into the wind. I learned which sail is the Jib and which one is the mainsail. The rope that pulls the the mainsail up is called the "sheep". Ken tried to teach me some sailing knots, but I have never been good at knots so it all went over my head.

It was a little amazing how he was able to sail almost directly into the wind and use the winds power to move the boat forward at 4 or 5 knots. As I recall from my time as an Air Force navigator, a knot is about 1.04 MPH. I had been afraid that sailing would be boring, but Ken has a bubbly personality and kept feeding me a constant stream of interesting data...and the weather was wonderfully cool and the strong wind made the day a lot of fun....

It's a strange hobby...Perhaps he will invite me to sail down to Fort Jefferson? At the end of the day we replaced the old "Jib" sail, which had a rip, with a new Jib. That involved cranking up the new Jib sail and then winding it around a pole. With all the ropes and pulleys, it looked like a very high maintenance hobby... was really fun...