I Am Sad Today
November 22, 2021
Today I am very sad. At 5 pm today we will have our old cat, Dixie, put to sleep at the vet. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing but she has to struggle to breathe, is deaf, nothing but skin and bones to the point where she can barely walk or even stand. She can't sit properly - her butt doesn't even touch the surface as her hips don't seem to move far enough to allow it. Her balance is really bad and her back end almost falls over when she starts to walk or when she shakes her head. She's had a kidney issue for a couple of years and has to eat a special diet - yet we can barely get her to eat it. She has a swelling of her nose area below her right eye - we've tried to treat it with medication from the vet but it has not abated. This blocks her ability to breathe through her right nostril.
The Rise And Fall Of Service Stations
November 15, 2021
"Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear!" Back in the day, when I was just a wee lad, I had a relative who owned a Texaco service station in Stayton, Oregon. I have a faint memory of my dad stopping in to visit him during one of our Christmastime visits back to the old homestead (so to speak). I remember all the slush on the road from melting snow and how it would freeze up under the fenders behind the tires. Later, I used to hang out and ride my bike around a Rocket brand service station in Fallbrook, California. I can still remember all the smells - gasoline, motor oil, grease, gear oil, the sound of the bell when a car pulled in, running over the rubber hose that triggered the bell, the noises that the Coke machine made when someone dropped a dime into the slot and opened the little glass window to pull their selection from the refrigerated rack inside . . .
Learning to SCUBA Dive, Getting Certified, Last Dive
November 12, 2021
For this memory, I take you back to 1975. I was a senior in high school when NAUI, the National Association of Underwater Instructors, offered a course in scuba diving at our high school. There were probably a dozen kids that took the course, which began in our school swimming pool.
My first few attempts at breathing with a mask were difficult for me. I felt like I couldn't get enough air and was suffocating. That was until the instructor pointed out that I needed to exhale if I wanted to inhale more air. Yes, it happened that I was panicking because I had inhaled all the air I could and had forgotten to exhale. Once that hurdle was over, breathing with scuba gear became almost second nature.
Sailing - My Only Trophy
November 10, 2021
The year was ~1968. We were living in a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida and my dad was a Marine stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. For whatever reason, he decided to register me in a youth sailing class through Base Special Services at Mulberry Cove Marina.
There were about fifteen or twenty kids in the class, and I really enjoyed learning to sail. First, we all had to pass a swimming proficiency test at the base swimming pool (not the "officer's swimming pool, as my dad always referred to the sewage treatment plant on base), which I had no problem with. Then there was instruction on using flotation devices, dock safety, knot tying, rules of the road regarding things like right of way, what different buoys signified and so forth.
My Time With Viking Freight
November 3, 2021
It was sometime in 1985 when I hired on with Viking Freight System in San Diego, California. I had been working for Amfac Nurseries, pulling sets of doubles around California delivering wholesale nursery plants to retail nurseries, when I happened to see an ad for Viking. They were looking for drivers in San Diego to handle all the work they expected to get when System 99 shut their doors in October of that year.
At some point around this same time, I had read about Viking being one of the top 500 companies for which to work, and I made the decision to change jobs despite pretty much enjoying working for Amfac. Well, for one thing, they were offering more money than the $8 per hour I was making hauling plants around. For another, I would be able to be home every night.
I Had A Model Life (That Is, I Built A Lot Of Models)
October 21, 2021
Now that I'm 65, I find myself thinking about buying a model truck kit and building one like I did back in the Nineteen Hundred and Seventies. Oh, I built quite a few back then, all in 1/25 scale. My very first one (after gaining some experience in building car and airplane models of various scales and having a small HO scale model railroad) was a model of a Dodge L700 gasoline powered semi tractor from a kit by IMC. If I recall correctly it cost a whopping $4.75 back then - good luck even finding a kit for sale now!
Mystery At Hoover Dam
October 15, 2021
I'm fascinated by things and places that are not open to the public.
Can somebody tell me how these vehicles got to the bottom of Hoover Dam? There appears to be a tunnel at the southwest end of the powerhouse or whatever this is at the base of the dam, but ... where would it come out? Or is there a vehicle elevator in the dam itself for the dam workers' vehicles? I've spent the last hour trying to solve this mystery and I'm just as confused as I was the first time I saw them parked there.
Here's some screen captures from Google Maps Satellite View to show what I'm looking at.
The Road To Kelso
May 10, 1984
It's a two lane strip of gray asphalt cutting south-southwest across the desert, called KelBaker Road. Miles and miles of unending stark beauty in the late afternoon sun. The closer I get to the mountains ahead, the farther away they seem to be. Heat rises in waves giving the image of shimmering wetness -- a flood -- on the road ahead. More miles and miles of desert, then a gentle curve, then more miles and miles of desert.
Finally I reach the crest of those 'mountains' and begin to drop into a wide valley, a basin, just as the sun sets, sending fiery pink and orange and red and purple hues onto the foothills of the desert around me. The shadow of my '76 Corolla stretches long beside me, racing me. In the distance, at the bottom of the basin, I see a mirage-like apparition, out of place in the middle of the vast and barren desert, an oasis of large-lush-green-trees; tall silver water tanks towering over a small settlement reflecting the sunset's ebbing glow, and a tiny point of blinking red light; a sentinel. Kelso.
Let Me Tell You About Taking The First Job Offered
October 2, 2021
I take you back now to to the early 1980's. My wife, toddler daughter, and I had just moved to southern California from Oregon, where I had had a decent job driving a dump truck. Business had dropped off with the Oregon economy and I hadn't been getting many hours working, so we had decided to make the move.
At this point I had about four years' worth of truck driving experience, one speeding ticket and an Oregon Class 1 commercial driver's license (predecessor to the current Class A license). We made the move by faith, with no job lined up to go into when we got to southern California, and at first we camped out in a travel trailer at my parents' home in Fallbrook.
Another Day, Another Drive
September 29, 2021
I have a lot to think about lately, a lot of stress in my life. With time on my hands, and because someone who subscribes to my YouTube channel requested more videos of my drives around Klamath Falls, I took another nice long drive yesterday. This time I left the Klamath Basin and took a circuitous route that led past Crater Lake (cutting through the southwest corner of Crater Lake National Park, but not entering the paid area -- time I have, money not so much -- so I didn't see the actual lake) and through parts of three national forests, three counties and two scenic byways.
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