Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Meal

Had lunch in Loveland with Rich and Bill at the Palomino Mexican restaurant. I was concerned over the Mexican choices with my grains/gluten intolerance, so I chose my usual -- a naked hamburger. Bacon strips was an added option.

When the waiter brought the plate, he pointed out the chef's artistic touch with the smiley face hamburger.

Done medium rare, it was an excellent lunch.

Good day. Good food. Good friends.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Car Show and a Model T

I enjoy going to car shows, but most times I am disappointed. I went to the Arvada car show this past week end. As a fund raiser, I forked over five dollars. That should have made me change my mind. Pretty sure I wasn't going to get five dollars worth of enjoyment out of the visit. Okay. The five dollars went to a good cause -- Children's Hospital.

When I go to car shows, I like to see the style, the lines, the elegance of the car body. I know it is silly me. That car body is there for the engine. That means that almost all of the hoods are open so the browsing public can see the engine.

Wonder if this engine runs. Or is it just a pretty piece of hardware that looks like an auto engine. Seems to me that a chromed engine would have to be washed and cleaned after every errand to the grocery story. If that was where the car went.

Of course there are other cars that don't even pretend to be interested in the body of the car. It is to hold the engine. In this case it is a carburetor for every cylinder. Okay. So this one you couldn't put a hood over the engine.

The 1962 Corvette was one of those very few cars where the hood wasn't open.

There are times that I have a difficult time finding a parking place for the Silver Slug. Sometimes, covered garages aren't high enough for me to park in there. This vehicle would have a problem in either case. Looks like an eight foot width. That might even be a problem on some narrow roads.

Then there is the novelty of cars. Could this vintage VW pursue a speeder, or more likely the vehicle is a siren with red lights.

The best car show was when I returned to the Elks Lodge. Mel brought his 1917 Ford Model T to the lodge to show us how he spends his spare time. Mel bought the car about 1960. It has been a work in progress ever since and continues as such. Someday it will have fenders again and other amenities so it could be driven in rainy weather. With no electric starter, Mel was the starter with a hand crank. Two speeds forward and one reverse, what more could you ask for in 1917.

Mel was offering rides. Ernie took a ride down hill to his RV -- about a 100 yards.

It was a great day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From The Gallery


Pretending I have artistic talent, 
a photo was enhanced
with the help of 
Photoshop and Topaz Remask plugin.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fat Tire

Yup. It's a beer. But it is also a tire. For a bicycle.

When walking the streets of Golden on a recent visit, I found a fat tire on a bicycle.

No doubt I could have gone in the bicycle store and gotten the answer to the reason for a fat tire on a bicycle and where it would be used. Instead I used the source for answers -- the internet. Surly is the manufacturer. Quoting from the ad copy for the Moonlander model:
Such a large footprint allows you to ride them at very low pressure, and like a snowshoe enables even greater traction and float over all kinds of terrain…wet stuff, roots, rocks, pebbles, gravel, sand, and many types of snow.
Moonlander, like its name implies, is meant to go beyond where normal bikes, even normal fat bikes, can go. It is designed from the ground up to ride where there are no roads, no trails, no people. 
With that tire surface area, no doubt it takes a lot of leg power to pedal that bicycle -- no matter where you travel. Even if there are people.

Wonder. Did the bicycle come first. Or the beer.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Giant Cowboy

In my nomadic wandering,
roadside oddities provide good photos
 -- and sometimes great stories.

This giant cowboy is at the entrance to an
RV/trailer park on Federal Boulevard in Denver.

Wondering why the statue, I searched the internet.
RoadsideAmerica had a entry about the Concrete Cowboy.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cobble Stone Art

Natural stone constructed buildings are works of art. Those beautiful buildings have provided me with many photo opportunities.

Hewed, carved and dimensioned stone is the most usual form in building construction. Field rubble and cobble stones are a more fascinating building material. Selection of the rock to fit while building a wall would qualify as art.

The best example of cobble stone construction is the Golden Armory (Colorado).  A three story building, the cobbles are not decoration. They comprise the walls of the entire building.

The first two photos show the main entrance on the west side, 

The bottom floor of the three story building is accessible from the north side. This photo on the south side shows the entrance at the second floor.

Driving on the streets of nearby Arvada, I saw this brick built home integrated with a cobble built chimney and front porch pillars.

Constructing an entire building of natural stone no longer happens. If it does, I have not seen it. Some building construction with stone is done in retaining walls, entry ways or other decorative features of a building. Not the entire building.

A mason who builds with natural stone qualifies as an artist.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blue Moon

Summer season's blue moon. 

Why a blue moon... Quoting the essential words from: August's Blue Moon: Lunar Oddity of Night Sky Explained

Names were assigned to each moon in a season: For example, the first moon of summer was called the early summer moon, the second was the midsummer moon, and the last was called the late summer moon. But when a particular season has four moons the third was apparently called a Blue Moon so that the fourth and final one can continue to be called the late moon.

Another unusual night time event occurred in the early morning hours two nights ago. About three I was awake to hear a great horned owl hooting. After several of the territorial calls, I decided to step outside (after I put on some clothes) to see if I could spot the owl. Looked in the direction of the hooting and I spotted the owl at the top of a pine tree. Watched as more calls were made.

Seems I was the only one awake at three in the morning. No others heard the owl. Without a corroboration from another bird watcher, I understand that I cannot claim the sighting. Sorry. You will just have to believe me.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Farmers Market

After my Sunday morning stop at Starbucks for tea, the next stop is the Arvada Olde Town Square for the farmers market.

The square has several water jets randomly spouting water providing excitement and wet entertainment for kids (and some adults).

The farmers market tents and booths are around the periphery of the square and the water fountain.

Farmers markets should be freshly grown edibles to take home to your kitchen. There are a few of those stands at every farmers market. However, they are out numbered by booths of fast food, goat cheese, popcorn, boutique winery, massages, flavored pastas, doggie treats, several bread/pastry bakeries, pillows and bedding, pottery, honey, salsa, etc.

The number of booths selling directly from the family vegetable/fruit farm is small. Very small. Sometimes a single booth selling locally grown produce.

At those same farmers market, there will be a booth selling branded produce (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) which can be found at your grocer. Prices are competitive. Have to wonder why you wouldn't buy the same stuff at your grocer chain store -- for the same price. Have to wonder why it is even sold at the farmers market.

My reason for going to farmers markets is to purchase grass fed beef. Snow Creek Ranch has booths at most every farmers market along Colorado's Front Range. With the ranch in southeastern Kansas, I find it novel that Front Range Colorado is where it is sold. At my next farmers market visit, I will have to get the rest of the story.

The Angus beef from the Snow Creek Ranch is expensive. Considering that bison in the grocery stores is $9 a pound, the $9.75 for the grass raised beef seems an okay price.

Always the skeptic, I have questioned the farmers market sellers about Snow Creek Ranch beef. Since they all read the same marketing literature, the story is always the same -- doesn't matter which farmers market I visit. So it becomes a matter of belief on my part.

Maybe I didn't buy the beef from the rancher, but the positive for me is that the product didn't come from one of the national food conglomerates distributing through a chain grocery store.

Friday, August 16, 2013

From The Archives

From a wild flower hike at Herman Gulch on July 16, 2000.
For a digital camera of the time, these are great photos.

As an early adopter, my first digital camera was about 1997. Still shooting film at the time, that digital camera was used rarely since the photos were -- pretty bad.

There photos were taken with my second digital camera -- the Kodak DC290. Purchased in 1999, it recorded my nomadic exploring until 2004 when I purchased a dSLR with interchangeable lenses.

Reviewing some of those photos in the archives, I wonder why I didn't keep that camera. Took some really good quality photos.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ordinary Beauty

No sights. No scenery. No vistas.
Just ordinary beauty.**
Found at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

** Credit for the term "ordinary beauty" goes to Ted at Life With Kurumi in his post The Arizona Trail.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

1937 Travel Trailer

Better than a tent, this trailer was luxury in 1937.

On display at the Forney Transportation Museum, 
a sign tells the full story for the 1937 Unadilla.

Not sure why the well dressed mannequin is included here.
How about someone who actually looks like they are camping.
The museum might need a new curator.

Imagine this trailer exploring the national parks of the west -- long before the traffic jams that is the usual visit today at the busiest western national parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon -- and Rocky Mountain not far behind.

Today most see the national parks from the air conditioned comfort of cars with kids in the back seat bored of the scenery and playing their tablet/video games. With that vision of today's visitor to a National Park, I am reminded of a favored quote from Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire (1968):
“Look here, I want to say, for godsake fellas get out of them there machines, take off those fucking sunglasses and unpeel both eyeballs, look around; throw away those goddamned idiotic cameras! For chrissakes folks what is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare? eh? Take off your shoes for awhile, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth, split a couple of big toenails, draw blood! Why not? Jesus Christ lady, roll that window down! You can’t see the desert if you can’t smell it. Dusty? Of course it’s dusty — this is Utah! But it’s good dust, good red Utahn dust, rich in iron, rich in irony. Turn that motor off. Get out of that piece of iron and stretch your varicose veins, take off your brassiere and get some hot sun on your wrinkled old dugs! You sir, squinting at the map with your radiator boiling over and your fuel pump vapor-locked, crawl out of that shiny hunk of GMC junk and take a walk-yes, leave the old lady and those squawling brats behind for awhile and take a long quiet walk straight into the canyons, get lost for awhile, come back when you damn well feel like it, it’ll do you and her and them a world of good. Give the kids a break too. let them out of the car, let them go scrambling over rocks and hunting for rattlesnakes and scorpions and anthills-yes sir, let them out, turn them loose; how dare you imprison little children in your goddamned upholstered horseless hearse? Yes sir, yes madam, I entreat you, get out of those motorized wheelchairs, get off your foam rubber backsides, stand up straight like men! like women! like human beings! and walk — walk — WALK upon our sweet and blessed land!”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fin Memories

Wonder what the car designers were thinking at the of 1950s when the fins started to appear from the rear auto fenders. The sprouted variations were endless. Horizontal. Vertical. Reverse. Scalloped. Sharp. Appears the designers didn't have focus groups. With a top down organization, the head designer made the design and the rest of the staff did the execution regardless what they may have thought about the design. The staff had no input.

Those were my thoughts as I was looking at the 1959 Cadillac at the Forney Transportation Museum in Denver. The changing exhibit (ends August 31) at the museum is Cadillacs from 1959 to 1969.

The 1959 Cadillac with the torpedo tail lights was the beginning of the series at the museum. Following the Cadillac models over the next ten years, the fins were absorbed slowly into the fenders of the cars and by 1969 the fin was no more than a ridge on the fender.

My one ton truck is twenty feet long. The Silver Slug is not easy to park in parking lots designed for compacts. My usual parking place is in the "no scratch zone" requiring a long walk across the parking lot or I park several blocks from my destination where I found a place to park the behemoth. It's good exercise for this old body.

I paced off the length of the Cadillac to find it was twenty feet long. Just like my truck. No doubt also as hard to find a parking place. Looking inside the Cadillac models, that auto could easily seat a family of six to eight very comfortably. In fact, there appeared to be enough room in the back seat for a rancher to haul a thousand pound beef to market. I then checked out the open trunk. The size of the trunk could easily accommodate three bodies with room to spare. Smuggling friends into the drive in theater would have been no problem.

It was great memories as I toured the ten year review of Cadillacs. It was a good day.

Prior to 1970, auto manufacturers retooled the entire auto body to present a new look every year. Those were the days when cars were uniquely identifiable for year and model. Today most cars look alike -- streamlined squat bubbles. The exceptions to the stream lined models are the "cube" styled autos that hope to grow up to be Hummers.

In the just wondering department... At a recent Silver Slug maintenance at the Ford dealer, I roamed the new car lot and noted the fuel fill location on the Ford cars. Why are some on the left; others on the right.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Color Blind?

Spotted this. Looked twice. Still looked pink. 
But the logo said "Yellow Cab"!

Doing a search of the internet, it appears that
 I've got a color blind condition that has not been identified. 

This getting old is not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

No More

48 hours without food for a 30 minute procedure. Yikes. The procedure was a colonoscopy done a few days ago. The 46 hours leading up to the procedure was the worst part. For most of the 30 minute procedure I was napping courtesy of some sleeping drug. However, to prepare for that 30 minutes, a heavy dose of laxatives is taken with Gatorade to flush the digestive system. It worked as described. No more details will be included.

That was the first time I tasted Gatorade. Of course after this, I will never have it again. At the grocer yesterday, there was a promotional display for Gatorade at the end of an aisle. Immediately, I started to gag. Had to move on -- fast.

About two hours before the procedure, I was weak and shaking. With little reserves on this skinny body, no doubt the metabolism of the body started digesting muscle to get protein.

The fourteen plus pages of legalese for the preparation and procedure included no driving after the procedure. So son TJ provided driving services. He called it a birthday present. Thank you TJ.

I had met the doctor previously at his office a couple of times. Not the most personable doctor I've ever met. Might just be due to his specialty and its point of view.

After the procedure, the doctor reviewed the findings with me. Nothing. Clear. Since everything was clear, the doctor said the next one will be ten years from now. Really. Sorry, but there will be no more. I just had the last one I will ever have -- no matter how long I live.

It's not the procedure, but I just don't do well without food for 48 hours.

Fortunately, it is all behind me. I will be going forward wondering and wandering. In the future I will steer clear of Gatorade displays or gastroenterologist offices.

Photo credit.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

First Days Of August

Shorter days. Longer nights. Cooler days. Cooler nights. Happens every year during the first couple of days in August. No plans to get out the long pants. Yet. The cool and rainy days will be followed by more 90 degree days.

(A screen capture from the iPad earlier today.)

The high today at my home on wheels was 72 degrees. Predictions were right.

Been in the Denver area longer than anticipated. I had hoped to get to the mountains for cooler weather in early August. Delayed that departure due to doctors' visits.

That's okay. The temps have moderated. It is cool enough here for this skinny guy who prefers to wear Hawaiian shirts and shorts.

Going to be around a bit longer. One more doctor's appointment. Extended my stay here by paying the rent through the first of September.

Still wandering -- and wondering. It was a great day.

Monday, August 5, 2013

From The Archives

Didn't buy diesel here. 
I had serious concerns that the additive 
would cause engine problems.

Photo taken in Cody Wyoming in 2007.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Unloading Part 2

Unloading. Relieving stress. Cooling off. Venting. Ranting.

A previous venting was last October in Unloading. This is time to share a few more issues that I ponder from time to time.

11. Insurance is about spreading the costs across a large number of premium payers. Medicare is a national pool of insured premium payers. The only way for insurance company execs to make big money with National Healthcare was for smaller pools of the insured at the state level.

12. How about purchasing driver liability insurance at the fuel pump. You buy fuel and then drive. You're covered. A couple of pennies on every gallon of fuel would pay for the insurance.

13. When white collar crime is not prosecuted and banks will never fail, the message to the college graduate is to get a job with a bank.

14. Noted in a Forbes list of wealthy people that there were several who made their wealth via hedging. Those new entrants to that list is due to U.S. tax law providing an effective method of making lots of income which is taxed differently and much less than ordinary income.

15. Has any municipality or state ever done an audit of the return on the reduced taxes for corporations to stay or relocate to their tax base.

16. Corporate welfare is bad enough. However, tax payers footing the bill for a sports stadium for a team owned by an individual is worse. Bankrupt Detroit is the latest falling for the scam that building an arena is good for the city. See Dave Zirin's Billionaire Gets New Sports Arena in Bankrupt Detroit

17. Whether a product is endorsed by a sports figure, movie star or other recognizable face, the data shows that consumers will buy more of the product versus an unrecognizable face/name. Why.

18. There are good and bad lawyers. It's about winning the case at all costs. The lawyer knows it was illegal or the client is guilty, but the lawyer doesn't lose cases.

19. How come elections are not held on weekends when more people can get to the polls to vote.

20. Considering the proliferation of hand sanitizers everywhere, that process will no doubt create "hand sanitizer" resistant bugs.

That is enough for today. No doubt I will come up with more for a post at future date.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


How about that for an onomonopic string of letters. That was the sound that woke me from a sound sleep. Probably was a pleasant dream that I was experiencing. However, there is no recollection of the dream. I will never know how that story ended.

It was 3:39 a.m. when I heard WNGWNGWNG. Why do I remember the time. More importantly, why did I look at the clock. Guessing the subconscious brain was trying to decide if that was the alarm clock and if it was time to get up.

Well. It didn't take long to realize it was from some siren in the kitchen area. It was the Safe-T-Alert propane detector that was making that infernal racket. Considering the close quarters in the RV park, no doubt my neighbors also heard the alarm. (They haven't mentioned it.)

Pressing the test/mute button made the unit stop the infernal noise. Now I was wide awake standing in the kitchen in sleep attire -- nothing. (I know. Too much information.) Couldn't smell propane. Opened some cabinets near the floor. Nothing there either.

Back to bed again and picked up a book. There was no way to go back to sleep after that. Reading for less than five minutes and the WNGWNGWNG was there again.

In the middle of the night, the internet is the source for information. Powered up the Mac and onto the internet. Found lots of suggestions. Eliminated dog farts. No butane lighter nearby. No drive by car exhaust. How about dust buildup. Considering my cleaning habits and the dust that I had seen collected on the unit, I got out the vacuum. That set off the alarm again, but I kept at it for a few more seconds to suck out any more dust.

In the outside chance that odors from the garbage set it off, the garbage was placed outside.

If I was going to get any sleep, I would have to disconnect the thing. Removed the 12 volt fuse that supplied power and went back to bed with a book in hand. With that I was unprotected from propane leaks. What is life without some risk.

Yesterday morning when I got up, power was restored to the unit. Been there ever since -- all through last night.

No beeps. No chirps. Could I actually have fixed the situation by doing a little vacuuming. Perhaps. But I am not ready to declare success just yet.

Without a middle of the night rude awakening over the next week, I will resolve to do a better job of cleaning. Yeah. I can hope.