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My Big Red Couch

Saturday, May 28, 2005

8th Annual Croquette Invitational

Scene from the lawn. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


A band around my heart... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Backyard Sunday

Do you ever take any pictures not knowing what you're going to get but hoping for the best? The rain was the subject but I didn't have any way to frame it :-/

The rain was coming down in really long drops. Look. Look! Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Up Close and Personal

We were out and about today and this is what we saw.

Taken at the Reindeer Farm by the Bodenburg Butte near Palmer Alaska with the new Nikon Coolpix 5600 that Jamie got me for our 8th Wedding Anniversary. Yes, I was that close (about 18 inches). Posted by Hello

They're domesticated so they're about as tame as dogs. I was a little freaked out when the first one came running up to me but then, when I was surrounded by about 6 of them, it all somehow seemed OK.

The sign said, reindeer and caribou are exactly the same but reindeer are domesticated and caribou are wild. Jamie noticed their feet clicking when they ran and thought they all had arthritis. It's actually their hooves clicking back together when they lift up their feet.

It was a fun experience, well worth the $13 dollar admission for the 3 of us that were big enough to get charged for it (we didn't have to pay for Vv). They even provided the boots. Vv's were too big so she kept walking out of them (can you say "eeeeeew, reindeer shit!). I ended up carrying her for about a half hour so I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I wanted and as if a simple "thank you" wouldn't have been enough, just as Jamie and Mad went in to get our shoes Vv barfed all over me. Can you say "pancakes and hash browns?" It was still a fun family outing.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


It gets better.

I get eBay Favorite Search e-mails periodically (actually, too frequently). Here's what I got today.

NEW ITEMS FOUND FOR mc R1150R Rockster
Dear beardedjon,

9 new items have been found on eBay matching your favorite search for: BMW

Price: $0.99
Bids: 0
End date: May-25-05 19:56:42 PDT
View item:

Are you ready for this?

Not your average bowling attire. Posted by Hello

Just what does "Bowl like a Rockster" mean? What were those panty people thinking putting that on there? Who would see that phrase at a family outing at the Bowling Parlor? Inquiring minds like mine want to know.

A few weeks ago I saw a man walking a bowling ball down the street in a part of town that doesn't have a bowling alley. Was he wearing a pair of these?

And all I wanted was some bike parts. I guess I will have to add "panties" to the - list for that search. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

If you can read this...

...who are you?

I'm at 1000 hits (according to Blogpatrol).

I feel like a late night drive-thru now :-p Posted by Hello

Leave me a comment. Let me know who you are and why you're here. I'm just curious. It's not like I'M INTERNET FAMOUS.

But check this out. These are the some of my site statistics:

"Ghettogram?" "most beatiful woman breast?" WFT is that all about? Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

13hours32minutes783.8miles - hour 3 and beyond

This picks up where the last post left off. Here's a brief synopsis:

Friday night, a few Fridays ago, I got a phone call from a guy in Fairbanks. "I'll pay what you're asking for that sidecar you have if you can deliver it to North Pole." I check my Pocket PC, Outlook, Dayrunner et al and ask, "will you be home on Sunday?"

I take my note pad and take notes (duh). Notes in italics with exposition in parenthesis after.

8:07 - Eureka / 119.5mi (Eureka lodge has awesome pies. I didn't take the time to stop for some)

8:12 - Slide Mountain - 40degrees - 135mi (Slide Mountain cabins is a cute little place that Jamie and I have never stayed at but we've talked about it from time to time. Maybe soon.)

8:18 - Dracula 2000 (CD)

8:20 - 2nd Motorhome

8:23 - 149mi - Copper River
(I spied a river with my little eye but more than likely it was the Tazlina River)

8:26 - want Metallica (I don't know if it was the road, which was wide feakin' open, or something on the Dracula 2000 CD or perhaps the phrase "and the road becomes my bride" but I was Jones'n for some Metallica. Why, oh why, hadn't I packed the black album?)

A picture over my shoulder somewhere before Glennallen. I don't know what I was trying to capture but this is the last picture of the Flamecar in my ownership. Posted by Hello

8:27 - 3rd Motorhome

8:32 - is speeding a crime
(ok, we all know that speeding is "against the law" but is it a crime? Here's my reasoning? In "the media" you hear about the crime rate. It's going up. It's going down. It's going nowhere fast. Are traffic infractions reflected in "the crime rate?" I want to know? Red light runners are a big deal in Anchorage. Is that a part of the crime rate? It's something to think about and, with roughly another 600 miles to go I had time to think)

8:46 - MP 180 / 170.6mi

Staring into the sun. Another sucky Jon picture. This is Mt. Drumm (part of the Wrangell Mountains). Posted by Hello

8:49 - Ptarmigan

8:50 - 40mph zone
(I hate having to slow down, especially for civilization. Glennallen)

8:54 - Richardson 179.5mi (This is one of severl "Y's" in Alaska. The intersection of the Glenn Highway and the Richardson Highway is listed as being 189 miles from Anchorage)

Glenn Richardson (no relation). The buildings straight ahead used to be the Ahtna Lodge hotel (pretty fancy for the middle of nowhere, er, Glennallen). It's state and federal offices now, I think. Dig the reflection of my iPAQ in the window and my note pad (attached) in the reflection and on the lower right. Is driving with a pen and notepad in your hands as dangerous as talking on a cell phone while driving? In the middle of nowhere? Posted by Hello

8:57 - 4th & 5th Motorhomes - 2 Troopers - got flashed (On the stretch of the Richardson Highway between Glennallen and Gakona I ALWAYS see Alaska State Troopers. This time I was cruising around 65 mph in a 55 zone. Motorhomes number 4 and 5 were a few car lenghts apart with Trooper 1 and Trooper 2 at the same interval. It's still technically civilization so when Trooper 1 flashed his lights at me I slowed down. I guess that was my warning shot)

9:03 - Roadking

9:06 - 192.2 mi (at the three hour mark my speed over ground average is 65.4mph)

9:07 - Tok cutoff - battery exhausted (Well, my pictures have been mediocre at best to this point and now that the camera battery, which hadn't been charged since Hawaii, was exhaused they became extinct)

9:12 - Frost heaves

9:15 - Garbage 2.0 CD

9:19 - Drunk line painters - 40 miles to Pax - 120 miles to Delta
(I lived in Valdez, Alaska from 1976 to 1981. When my parents and I would "go to town" it was either Anchorage, 306 miles west, or Fairbanks, 385 miles north. Usually we would go to Anchorage because that saved two plus hours on the round trip but occasionally, or annually, we would go to Fairbanks. One year on our way to Fairbanks the white edge line stripes and the centerline yellow strips had been redone. I don't know if it was the aforementioned frost heaves or, as my Mother hypothesised, drunken line painters that were the cause but it's been a family joke ever since)

9:21 - pipeline - Sourdough - 212.4mi (Pipeline was my first Trans Alaska Pipeline view, not counting where it comes up out of the ground then goes right back under at Pump Station 11. Sourdough is a roadhouse that is within a mile or two of halfway from Anchorage to Fairbanks on this road)

9:27 - Caribou 219.2mi (my 4th physical stop between Anchorage and North Pole was here when I noticed two caribou crossing the highway. In nearly 30 years in Alaska I can't recall ever seeing caribou up close other than at the zoo or mounted on somebody's wall. And me with no damn batteries in the camera. I didn't turn it off, but I stopped the truck and took a moment to watch them walk away. I even thanked them out loud from coming out for me to see. Hokey, prehaps, but I do respect wildlife. I respect even more that they had already crossed, that I saw them from about 3/4 of a mile away and that neither of them ended up as hood ornaments for my truck)

9:37 - 9:40 - June & Nita Lake Piss Stop 231.0mi (5th stop; no additional comment)

9:46 - junk van (I wonder about stuff. When I drive, or ride, I wonder a lot. There was this junk white van. The roof had been crushed; possibly from a rollover, possibly from somebody jumping on it. It was partially obscurred by budding alders and I passed it so quick that I didn't notice if it had wheels or tires but I wonder how it got there. I wonder whose it was. How does somebody just decide "I think I'll leave this here." How does something get abandoned in the middle of nowhere? How?)

9:47 - shot sign - small (I'm fascinated with the redneck pastime of shooting signs. The best one is at 20 Mile Creek on the Seward Highway near the Portage Road. The sign, all shot up, says "NO TARGET SHOOTING." I'm sure Shuttergirl will capture it for me someday)

9:49 - 241.5mi Gravel (part of this trip was to take a look at the road for Jamie because we have a trip planned out that way. HEY JAMIE! There's gravel 'bout 241.5 miles from our house. The rub is that we plan to bypass this stretch of road and go through Tok instead, but not because of this gravel patch)

9:56 - Pax (Paxon Lodge was my next gas stop but doin' the math in my head I figure I've got plenty of gas to get me the next 80 or so miles to Delta)

9:58 - called Dennis - left message - snow (amazingly there is cellular service right around Paxson. I called Dennis, more about Dennis coming up, and left him my # to call back so we could meet for lunch. Just up the highway about a mile or two from Paxson the area is known as Summit. They hold Arctic Man at Summit. I've never been to Arctic Man. Someday. I was surprised that most of the snow was gone until Summit, then there it was, all over the place)

10:02 - CD dumb 2 (another big curve, this one along Summit Lake)

10:06 - 261.6mi - MP197 (at the 4 hour mark I have sustained an average 65.4mph. I was just past Summit Lake at this point. There was snow on the lake but it was thinning with obvious mushy spots)

10:09 - The Knot (I do not profess to be an uber fan but I dig Slipknot. Something about loud music and the open road thrills me)

10:15 - 274.0mi - Dean's Gun (somewhere in this canyon on a motorcycle trip in the other direction with Steve, Anne and Brian we stopped and each fired off a few rounds from Dean's gun. Dean and JoAnn were cleaning house getting ready to move to Parumph and Brian had picked up a few pieces, one of which was this little 9mm. We each popped off a few rounds at nothing in particular, then we hopped back on the bikes and sped off. Around the next corner was a construction site and we ended up stopping again for about 15 minutes to wait for the pilot car. I remember that constuction site well because there was a 2 mile stretch of deep gravel. I thought I was going down more than once and I was the lead bike so I know my ass would have been run over)

10:17 - White bird (It might have been a Seagull, it might have been a Ptarmigan. I don't know. It's strange but there are Seagulls all over in Interior Alaska. It makes no sense to me. What strange lives the seabirds of Interior Alaska must lead).

10:20 - Cop or not? (The game that's sweeping the nation's higways: Cop or Not Cop? It must be hour 4 paranoia. I know that there are two troopers behind me so I shouldn't worry but I still have to play Cop or Not Cop in my head. I'm sure the rules are clear enough that I don't have to go into detail but, basically, you guess whether or not the vehicle coming towards you is a cop or not based on it's color, shape and size as quickly as you can before you get pulled over for doing something CRIMINAL [insert evil laughter here])

10:22 - Squirrel (for the sake of wildlife diversity. It wasn't even roadkill)

10:25 - 6 cars - 4/2 (since Paxson I have encountered a total of 6 vehicles, 4 heading South, 2 I have passed heading North. I don't mean to imply that this stretch of road is deserted but I passed a total of 6 vehicles in 29 minutes)

10:36 - 300mi (66.666666667 mph speed made good)

10:40 - Dome (this is where I spotted the Donnely Dome)

10:43 - Voicemail (It was Dennis, calling me back. He called back about 2 minutes after I called near Paxson and explained that his phone never rang, it only told him he had a message. So much for cellular communications in the middle of nowhere. Maybe it's a government conspiracy [I'm not at liberty to discuss what Dennis does]. It takes me a few minutes/miles more to finally get in touch with him but Dennis and I plan to meet for lunch in a couple minutes when I get to Delta)

10:57 - WIND _R_A (here I go again with my twisted sign fascination. A and E from WIND AREA have been blown off. Is that Irony?)

11:00 - Delta - 35mph (damnit, civilization again)

11:02 - Delta gas - 330.2mi - spinners griniding - old attendant - truck Trooper headed North - 5150 VH - Railcar (These are MY notes. They don't HAVE to make sense. As I am filling the gas tank, 270 miles from my last gas stop mind you, I hear this sound. At first I think somebody's welding behind me. Do you know that scraping/popping sound welding makes? It wasn't welding. There were two PVC vent pipes with spinning tops that were grinding together. It was a freaky noise. I guess you had to be there. I've made an average speed of 66.04 mph to here. The aged attendant complained while trying to get my credit card to ring through that so many people have moved into Delta Junction that there aren't enough phone lines so they have some sort of time-share worked out on the phone system and as soon as a circuit opened up he'd be able to bill my credit card. I know I should have paid cash. I spot the truck Trooper [Fish and Wildlife aka Brown Shirt, but still a State Trooper] headed North and figure that with an hour head start I shouldn't catch up to him. 5150 was the cost of gas. I should have written down the price per gallon or the quantity. I hopped back in the truck to go find Dennis for lunch. There was a double decker rail car sitting off to the side of the road. That's probably not too curious to you but Delta Junction is at least 60 miles from the nearest piece of rail)

This catches me up to the end of hour 5 where I stop for lunch with Dennis. Some of what he shared is not common knowledge so I will pick-up after lunch when I get back on the road.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

13hours32minutes783.8miles - Revisited (or finally visited)

Friday night, a few Fridays ago, I got a phone call from a guy in Fairbanks. "I'll pay what you're asking for that sidecar you have if you can deliver it to North Pole." I check my Pocket PC, Outlook, Dayrunner et al and ask, "will you be home on Sunday?"

My alarm goes off at 5:50am Sunday morning. I hit snooze. I've slept fairly well, I went to bed before 10pm but my habit more often than not is taking that extra 9 minutes to wake up. I turn off the alarm at 5:58. I dress and peck Jamie on the cheek before I leave.

I take my note pad and take notes (duh). Notes in italics with exposition in parenthesis after

6:06 - 43 degrees (I fired up the truck; that's what the clock and onboard thermometer read. I was on the road)

6:10 - 20oz breve with sugar free vanilla $5.00; super skinny denim (diet coffee is what I treat myself to. super skinny denim refers to the coffee girl. She's way too shiny and wearing a denim skirt that's frayed at the edges. She's blonde and her legs are whiter than white. It's overcast with a hint of rain but that's no excuse for her paleness)

6:17 - Highway cruise @ 70

6:20 - wet road F650PD
(my first motorcycle of the day, a BWM F650PD)

6:23 - old Wing or Ultra (my second motorcycle of the day)

6:30 - Bump to 75 @ Birchwood

6:36 - rain @ Eklutna end of the flats

6:42 - CCW Option
(CCW option is "counter clockwise." I hadn't considered anything other than driving up the Parks Highway and coming back down the Richardson Highway and across the Glenn Highway. Long about Eagle River I started thinking about the CCW option. The worst stretch of road, and by worst I mean the most complicated to drive when fatigued, is from Palmer to Eureka Summit so I decided to knock that out early in the day)

I went right instead of straight Posted by Hello

6:45 - Be Yourself / Audioslave (yeah, this may be simple but I dig Audioslave and hearing them on the radio near the beginning of the trip is quite possibly prophetic so I note it. Maybe this is my summer song or this trip's song)

6:49 - P/W Highway Stoplight (at the intersection of the Palmer-Wasilla Highway and Glenn Highway is my second time physically stopping the vehicle today)

6:50 - Palmer Tesoro (gas stop)

6:54 - Ford guy - back to the highway - 40.7mi (Ford guy was this kinda creepy guy that made small talk with my while I paid for my trip snacks. Honey roasted peanuts and peanut M&M's are my road food of choice. I had a full Nalgene bottle of AWWU's finest so I had plenty of fluids and I was back on the highway with a full tank of gas and my eyes on Paxon Lodge for my next stop)

7:00 - Trooper/PPD
(I'm not sure what it was, maybe even a State Corretions officer but it was coming from the opposite direction and miraculously enough I wasn't speeding)

7:02 - Moose Creek (I like the Moose Creek area. There's a State campground on the outside of the road at the bottom of a blind downhill corner. It's a wonder there aren't more accidents there)

7:04 - 50.0mi (I didn't figure it out for another few miles but I decided to record my mileage at every one hour interval from my departure time. Doing the math in my head in a couple of minutes I figured out I averaged 52 mph in my first hour. Not too bad with three physical stops of an average 4 minutes each).

7:12 - Kings River

7:16 - sunglasses
(There are two straitaways between King River and Chickaloon and on one of those straigtaways the sun came between the mountains and below the clouds and burned into my retinas. It was then that I realized I didn't have my sunglasses)

Here comes the sun (before Chickaloon) Posted by Hello

7:26 - Sable/Hockey (At the top of the hill just past Chickaloon you lose Anchorage/Valley radio and all that is left is whatever there is towards Glennallen and you also lose any passing lanes for a few miles. It was on the upslope of that hill where I got stuck behind a Mercury Sable that was doing less than my speed limit and I found Hockey Music on the radio. It was on KOOL 97.3 in Anchorage but it was cutting in and out. Some show about classic instrumentals of the 60's and it was the "hockey music" period. You know hockey music, right? pretty much anything that's played on an old Hammond organ or Rhodes piano)

7:30 - CD launch (I have a blue plastic rack that holds about 20 CDs in two rows. This rack, on hard turns, has a habit of wandering over towards the passenger side of the truck and as it descends the drive shaft hump it deposits my discs all over the floor. This wasn't one of those dumps; not that sharp of a curve, but it was tipped about half way over. The curve was one in the set of sharpest curves right before Weiner Lake. Those curves are a biker's dream. Mr. Truck loaded down with the flamecar was none too pleased. As it turned out when I tipped the CD bucket back up not a single disc stayed in it and they spread out all over the floor. The hockey music died out and I was left with either static or Sunday Morning Glenallen preaching. I chose silence for a few more miles)

7:36 - 83.4mi - glacierview (ok, for the record I thought I had spotted the Matanuska Glacier for the first time. It was either another glacier or a river. It was early morning and, while I wasn't quite delerious yet, I wasn't right either).

7:41 - Hicks Creek (there's a cafe/roadhouse with horse rentals here and I've sworn forever that "someday I will stop here." Not today)

7:43 - Pixies (just after Hicks Creek the road opens up to an uphill passing lane and I slowed a bit and nabbed Surfer Rosa. Yum)

7:44 - MP 100 / 91.8 (the mileage from Anchorage to Glennallen on the Glenn Highway is was measured sometime in the 1940's or 50's after the highway was finished. The new highway across the Palmer Hay Flats, bypassing the Bodenburg Butte, took about 9 miles out of the route but the mileposts have never been changed. That would be tantamout to changing the address of a few hundred people. In Alaska your milepost on the highway is your address so all the mileages are off)

7:46 - Glacier pix

Real glacier view at Long Rifle Posted by Hello

7:47 - motorhome
(It's not quite tourist season so I noted the first motorhome I saw)

7:55 - ear pop (It had been 8 minutes. I was getting bored)

New bridge at Caribou Creek. I love it for that few brief weeks in the Spring when the construction hasn't started back up yet. Posted by Hello

8:03 - Gunsite
(just coming alongide Gunsite Mountain)

The view near Gunsite Mountain Posted by Hello

8:06 - MP 127 / 118.6mi

Enough for tonight. More soon.

Shoe's eye view

Madeleine picks up every shell she sees and announces “nobody’s home.”

Genevieve runs down the beach, first stripping off her vest, then her hat.

Jamie says, “It’s way better than Hawaii . . . there are all these shells and stuff.”

"It’s warm in the sun” and I scoot out of the shade.

Shoe's eye view of the beach. I was trying to focus on a rock that is out of the field of view off to the right about another 10 feet. The camera was sitting on a rock and I couldn't get low enough to look into the viewfinder and it was too sunny to see in the preview screen but I like this show anyway and it goes with the poem I think. Posted by Hello

To give credit where credit is due, Jamie added the last line to the poem.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

These are the people in my neighborhood, in my neighborhood, in my neigh-bor-hood!

One of the things I love the most about Alaska is the wildlife right in town. Ok, I was up on the hillside, off of Goldenview, but he was there and I was there and my camera was there. Moose are some of the people in my neighborhood. I love those old Sesame Street songs. Aaah, nostalgiza.

This was taken zoomed ALL THE WAY OUT, not all the way in. I was about 8 feet from this guy. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Whatcha lookin' at, Alice?

Ok, so she's not Alice but I'm no rabbit. While Jamie was down the bluff taking pictures of the railroad tracks at Beluga Point on the Seward Highway I was left with the "little camera" and nothing to d0. There was this boulder with a hole drilled in it so I laid down on the ground and asked Mad to look through it at me. This is the result.

Don't smile, kid Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Experience Pays

I stopped off at the ABATE training range on Tudor Road on my way home last night because I spotted Jack and Harry talking by the connexs. We were chatting about teaching, just small talk, catching up from the long winter and a flat bed tow truck rolls by with a bike all torn up chained down on the bed and a detective in an unmarked car close behind. I had to know so I followed them.

KTUU Story

I asked the detective if I could snap a few shots. This one might become a poster for ABATE.

That's radiator coolant, not blood. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

When The Other Olive Drops - Part 3

Monday night Jamie and I did a bit of a pub crawl on 4th Avenue (by pub I mean really dirty ethnic bars; Pioneer Bar, 515 and Panhandle). This was by way of reasearch for the piece I did for The Anchorage Press. I should hear back from them sometime next week about the nightlife writer job. If I didn't get the job or if they're not going to publish my piece on downtown then I will be posting it here.

In the meantime my article on getting your bike ready for spring in Alaska Coast Magazine is on news stands everywhere. Check it out.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I love being loopy with drink. More soon.

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