A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Boxed Cat to Go

When the new tires arrived for the Western Flyer (see yesterday's post) they arrived folded inside of this box.  In no time at all Sinbad hopped in and made it his new bedroom.  I kept the box in my study for a few days but by then he had grown tired of it and resumed his usual spot behind the sofa.

He is a good cat and has never clawed any furniture.  But he will leave hair behind wherever he lies.  So if there is a particular chair we don't want cat hair on all we have to do is lay the square one inch thick padded cat mat my wife got for him years ago on that chair.  He refuses to lie on it preferring a hard floor, table top or a cardboard box over anything soft and cushy. 
He's a cat.  It doesn't need to make sense.

Monday, July 30, 2012

From Junk to...well, not so like Junk

Last year I picked up this bicycle for nothing.  It is a Western Flyer English 3-speed bicycle from the mid 1960's.  These bicycles were marketed through the Western Auto hardware stores here in the States.  When I got the bike it was as you see below.

No wheels or chain and pretty well banged up with a fair amount of rust here and there.

The easy part was cleaning it up and getting all the bearings and cables lubed and working again.  The hard part was finding wheels for it.  Just any old wheel will not work.  We're talking English made bicycle here.  The rear had to have a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub.  I finally located one in a bicycle junkyard.  This wheel was so bad and rusty that the guy just gave it to me.  The rear wheel looks much better now as long as you don't mind that the rim is for the most part is pitted, nasty looking and the chrome looking more like silver paint.  I was able to get two of the three speeds working so far. The front wheel I found on eBay.  It was in much better condition but unfortunately not correct.  I've made it work but am not content with it.

With new tires and tubes, an old basket and kick stand from another bicycle salvage shop and a used chain, here is it today.  It is rolling.  I rode it in a couple circles out front of the house and still needs some tuning and adjustments.  But I'm tired of working on it so it is hanging up in the garage for now.  I need to have something to tinker with this winter.
You may wonder why I didn't paint it.  Doing so would greatly diminish the value of the bicycle.  Not that it has that much value as a collector's item in it's abused state but the natural patina says more about it's life than a fancy paint job that would cover up all the original decals and hide it's idendity.

You will notice in the second picture on the chain guard the red strips from a label maker.  It was the little girl's name and address.  I wonder where Marilee Webber is today, nearly 50 years later.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

JAWS on SOOC Sunday

When I came upon this, the opening scene to the film Jaws came to mind.

This is linked to Jan's Straight-out-of-camera-sunday

Time Out of Mind

Yesterday's post was usual for me.  It was the 666th post on this blog and I don't know what possessed me.  It was an opinion.  Opinions are like holes.  Everyone has them and they always stink.

Friday, July 27, 2012


A long time ago my wife gave me this little refrigerator magnet.  I'm not really sure why she gave it to me.  Maybe I was doing just that with my pen & ink drawings at the time.  I still have the magnet and it makes a good topic for this post.

Quite often I read in people's blogs where they apologize for their picture being out of focus, over exposed, under exposed, in the shade or whatever.  If I look at a blurry photo on your blog and you apologize for it, it doesn't make it any better.  Oh my, it looks much nicer now.  It is your blog, and you can put on it anything you want.  Your blog is your art.  No apologies necessary.

Also, I don't feel you need to apologize for not posting either.  Often I read "I'm sorry for not posting lately..."  Well you damn well better be. I was getting pretty pissed about it!  I honestly do not think anybody's feelings are being hurt by you not posting.  We enjoy and appreciate when you do, or we wouldn't be following you.  It's okay, really it is.

Anyway, this is something I've been wanting to get off my chest for some time now, so there, I did it.  Sorry the picture is a little off.  It was taken with my point & click camera out in the garage.  I was too close for the flash and was trying to hold the camera still, not having much luck in doing so.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

You Just Never Know

All of the beach photos for the past two weeks were taken at Clam Beach just north of Eureka, CA.  It is a small county operated camp area (really a parking lot) just off of Hwy 101, cheap, no frills and with pit toilets.  I can always count on it for a stop over for the night.  This fellow pulled in an hour after we were there.  He was by himself in a small clean bright red Honda Civic Hatchback with fancy wheels.  He just kind of hung around his cement picnic table, standing there, looking off into the distance, much like he was waiting for someone else arrive.  He was always drinking something - water, a soda, an energy drink, but never a beer or liquor.  After a couple hours of this, he walked off behind us over to another area with a hatchet in his hand.  Nothing else, just that hatchet.  I thought that strange.  There is no firewood to be had.  Utterly no reason to carry a hatchet with you.  Awhile later I noticed he had returned and continued his lookout, always with that smile on his face, like he's having a simply glorious time.  He then began to methodically do something on the table.  I got out my binoculars.

If you are unsure as to what he is doing, he is sharpening a machete on a whetstone.  Back and forth.  Back and forth, stopping only to test the sharpness of the edge with his thumb always with that devilish grin on his face.

After awhile he left for the pit toilet and I just had to check things out more closely.  He was from Minnesota and had a couple of fishing poles draped over the passenger seat.  Otherwise, nothing else in his car looked unusual.  Not once other than taking his hachet for a walk and visiting the foul pit toilets did he leave his area.  He slept the night in his car on the driver's side.  No one ever showed up to meet him and he left early the next morning.

I had it in mind to write up a funny story about him and all that he did, but in the dark of the recent tragic event in Colorado it just isn't appropriate.  Thus I just present the facts here.  Strange, a bit odd, maybe even creepy to some, but most likely simply harmless and probably a nice guy, but I wasn't about to go strike up a conversation with him.  You just never know these days.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wheelin' and Dealin'

Another done with my little Canon point & click.  Pretty good if I do say so myself.

My wife was away for a few days last week.  I always like to use this freedom time to do a few things in the garage.  With her car gone, I can pull mine out and give the garage a good going over which means cleaning and continue on to try to put some sense of order to it. Three years in this home and I'm still working on it. 

I occasionally get asked by her Why do you have to have so many bicycles?  Let's see, I don't smoke, don't drink, don't gamble, don't chase women, but I have too many bicycles.  Oh Lord!  And with that thought in my head I stood there looking at my two mountain bikes.  Maybe I should get rid of one for I mostly ride the other.  I thought about it some and dreaded the agony of trying to sell it, using Craigslist to do so, and have to deal with the numbskulls and idiots of Craigslistland.  But this would be the easier way to sell it.  I cleaned up the bike, took a few pictures then sat down that afternoon to compose the ad.

In doing so I thought I should entertain the idea of doing a trade for a road bike and maybe get back into road riding once again.  This would increase the chances of moving the mountain bike.  Maybe someone might want to give up the streets for the trails.  I checked on other ads to see how people wrote them up and came upon a reoccurring ad by the same person for different used bicycles.  It appeared he picked up bicycles, fixed them up and sold them, plus he was right here in the Santa Rosa area.  Hmm...I gave him a call.  Yes, he does like to trade and he was very interested when I said I had a Santa Cruz Heckler.  I took the bike over to his shop that afternoon. 

My bike:

A bike that he had that I liked:

Done deal.  Straight across trade.  All over in the very same day that I decided to let the Heckler go.  I drove away unbelieving of my good fortune once again.  I probably had about $100 more into the mountain bike than what he was asking for the Trek but that was well worth it to me in avoiding the nightmare of selling it on Craigslist.  I am sure he'll make a small profit when he goes to sell it.

So in the end I didn't lessen the inventory of my stable of bicycles any, but I really am enjoying riding a road bike once again.  Now I can smoke them tires, drink lots of water in doing so, gamble that I don't get run over by a car, and chase the cute women cyclists wearing tight fitting Lycra cycling clothes.

My wife is leaving again this week for a few days.  I wonder what kind of mischief I can get into this time from puttering around in the garage?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


The Tour de France is over and I now have 3 hours of each day of my life back to do whatever I wish.   Congratulations to all of you Brits who follow my blog, a first for you to have a tour winner and second place too.  Good on you.

Next up is the Olympic Games.  No problem will present itself there for me.  I gave up watching the Olympics long long ago when it all became so... "political" shall I say?  The media puts so much emphasis on what country has the most medals.  Good grief.  Team events, I can see that counting but individual accomplishments should stand on their own.  And all the drama behind individuals, their private lives, the up close and personals...is this a sporting event or a soap opera? Then there are the events which are decided by a vote among judges such has diving, gymnastics and such.  How can politics not come into play there?  When the day arrives that software is developed and a computer/video combination makes the decision then we might have something there.

I recall the Olympics of 1980.  A new fangled contraption called a video recorder had recently come onto the scene.  I shelled out nearly $700 for a Zenith VCR (a lot of money back then) just so that I could tape the broadcasts of the Summer Olympics from Moscow.  I was all set and ready to go then Jimmy Carter boycotts the USA from the event!!  Oh was I steamed.  And if that wasn't bad enough, I made the wrong choice and bought the Beta tape version of VCR instead of the RCA VHS.  The Beta format rapidly died away in ten years.  Today I can go to Walmart and get a big screen TV,  the player, big speakers and a popcorn machine for that $700.  Well the popcorn machine might push it over budget.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How can someone...

...just walk off and forget their shoes? 

Quite easily if you're a kid. 

I left them there thinking the kid, or his parents, would later come back to pick them up.  Then I thought of how many people before me did the very same thing, leaving them for their owner to return?  Thus there they sat 13 days later, as I walked away.

This brings to mind not long ago when I went to a Kohls department store to buy a new dress belt.  In trying on several prospects I had removed my old friend that had been faithfully holding my pants up for far too many years for me to recall.  The next morning when I went to put on my britches, my old friend was missing.  My heart sank.  I drove back to Kohls and was there when they opened the doors.  Off to the men's department with slim hopes I speed-walked and miraculously my moldy old worn out military web belt was still hanging there draped over all of the shiny new leather dress belts right where I had left it, 24 hours earlier.  I grabbed my baby and marched out of the store, my head spinning with my good fortune.  What were the chances?  How could no one, especially store personnel, not notice this mangy looking belt hanging there at eye level?  Now, whenever away from home, I never ever set anything down but instead hang it off of me somehow. 

My life has come to that.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


...I thought I was done with the beach photos.  I forgot about those from my little point & click camera.  So this week, I'll run through those few but with no deep philosophical quotes to accompany them.  Maybe just a few thoughts of my own.  These were taken mid-day under harsh light so don't expect too much.  That is why I didn't have my dslr with me.

I am not a horse person and don't really get all that much enjoyment out of riding a horse.  Given the choice I rather walk.  But I do admire those who ride and thought this lady riding her horse along the sands of Clam Beach pretty cool.  It reminded me of a trip to Egypt we did 15 years ago.  A small part of that trip included riding a camel in the sands of the Sahara.  Thinking riding a horse, I wasn't into it but really didn't have a choice in the matter.  Do it, or get left behind.  I climbed aboard, the camel stood up and I had a whole different view of the world around me.  Off we went, each on our own and I immediately got into that slow undulating gate of the beast beneath me.  With the music from Lawrence of Arabia in my mind I was having a fantastic time and didn't want it to end.  I loved it!  I thought to myself if I lived in the desert back home, keep your horses, I'd have myself a camel.  My ultimate trip would be a camel caravan adventure in the outback of Australia.  Nothing could top that.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


   I think I will end this series of beach photos and quotes with this photo as the sun slowly dips into the Pacific Ocean.  Sinbad and I had left the Redwoods and we drove our way out to the coast for the evening.  After dinner I decided to take a walk out onto broad flat Clam Beach and maybe catch a nice sunset photo.  It was a pleasant evening and I had the beach all to myself except for a young woman who was slightly crippled.  She was having a difficult time getting through the soft sand with her cane and eventually had to turn back far from the firmer sand of the ebb tide.  I felt bad for her and the thought entered my mind that if I wasn't such a wimpy guy I would have offered to carry her.  I wondered if she would have accepted.  I thought how fortunate I was to have my health and fitness - despite my inability to lift and carry a woman. 
   I noticed the shells, seaweed and other flotsam deposited by the tide and began to take photos with no great intent.  It wasn't till later that evening (or the next day) did I upload them and was greatly pleased as to how they came out.  The sunset photos were rubbish but I am keen on going out to the coast again and do more of what I've been showing off these last two weeks.  And I've got oodles of quotes yet to use too.
   As for this picture, a family strolled by just as I was about to head back to the Little House on the Highway and my little buddy Sinbad patiently waiting for my return.  I took this final picture of the little girl collecting shells.  As I walked back I thought as I always do when I see children,  I wonder what kind of world will they have to deal with as adults and cannot help but to feel bad for them just as I did for the young crippled woman struggling through the soft sand.
   I think too much.

Friday, July 20, 2012


The more likely causes of death I avoid, the more likely it is that I will die of something unlikely.
author not known

A side note on this photo.  The bird had three zip-tie markers, red, white and blue, at the shoulder joint of the right wing.  You can just make them out by the neck, although they are in black & white here.  Normally birds are banded on the leg.  I didn't know what to make of it and wasn't in the mood at the time to pick around to find out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Ten Commandments

Last week a presented a quote (#1) which was part of the Traveler's Ten Commandments; from where I picked this up I do not recall.  At any rate since I am running low on these beach photos (but not quotes),  I thought I would present all ten for this post.  Good stuff to keep in mind when you travel.

1. Do not expect to find things as you have them at home,  for this is why you left home in the first place - to find things different.

2. Do not take anything too seriously,  for a carefree mind is the beginning of a vacation.

3. Don't let other tourists get on your nerves for you are paying out good money to have a good time.

4. Remember your passport so that you know where it is at all times.  For a man without a passport is a man without a country.

5. Blessed is the person who can make change in any language for he will not be cheated.

6. Blessed is the person who can say "Thank you" in any language.  It is worth more to him than tips.

7. Don't worry.  When you worry you have no pleasure and few things are fatal.

8. Do not judge people of a country by one person with whom you had trouble.

9. If in difficulty,  use common sense and friendliness.

10. Remember you are a guest in every land and treating your host with respect you shall be treated as an honored guest.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Don't take advice from someone you wouldn't trade places with.
author unknown

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views.
Edward Abby

Monday, July 16, 2012

Too Far

Far away is far away only if you don't go there.
author unknown

This is seaweed, or kelp as it is otherwise known.  Last time I showed kelp in the sand some did not know what it was so this time I thought best to say in advance.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Macro Monday

It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
Mark Twain

To non-followers of this blog, there are several more beach photos with little quotes like this on posts previous to this one if you like this sort of thing.

This linked to Lisa's



Do not expect to find things as you have them at home, for this is why you left home in the first place - to find things different.
author unknown

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Straight Out Of Camera Sunday

It doesn't make sense to take a around the world cruise only to haggle over the price of a pineapple.
Author unknown

This linked to Jan's Straight-Out-of-Camera Sunday

Vehicle Maintenance

The most important part of vehicle maintenance is clean windows, so if you are broke down you can enjoy the beauty of the view.
Dan Eldon

Friday, July 13, 2012


Don't talk to crazy people on the street, even though they may seem fun to be with.
Tourist Advisory for New York City

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Kids do not remember their best day of watching television.
Take them fishing.
Seen on an Arizona highway billboard

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


On the road you can find food of many different countries - Mexican, Chinese, French, Italian, and on and on.  But when's the last time you went out for Canadian food?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In Praise of the Thin Gray Lines*

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System,
it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.
                                                                                 Charles Kuralt

* the title of the post is in reference to the small roads on a road map

Monday, July 9, 2012

It is easier finding a traveling companion than to get rid of one.
                                                                       Art Buchwald

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Macro Monday

Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.
                                                              Ernest Hemmingway

This is linked to Lisa's Chaos Macro Monday

Creatures of the Redwoods

On a little walk through the woods following a pine needle laden path...

I came across the home of a little forest creature.

Upon closer inspection I saw this forest dweller liked Hello Kitty.  Hmm...can't be too bad  I thought although I do not know much about the Hello Kitty cult.

Nevertheless I thought it best to retreat and make tracks for new places to explore.

On the Avenue of the Giants we continued looking for new adventure.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Campfire Concoctions

Seen outside the restrooms at one of the campgrounds in the redwoods.

Now go camping and try out some of these delectable delights.
Oh, and pick up some litter while you are at it.

This is linked to Jan's Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday

Plants Like Redwoods

Although squirrels, birds and insects have little interest in redwood trees, other plants do.

Oh, and cats too.  No interest.