Monday, December 27, 2010

Idaho skiing pictures

It has been a pretty good ski season so far. Winter can be pretty long in the northwest so you might as well take up skiing or snowboarding if you live in snow country and make the best of it. If you can't get out, you can come here to my blog and see what it's been like. Here are some of my latest skiing pictures.

It often looks cool and I'm always getting my camera out to take pictures while I ski or ride the chairlift. Everyone enjoys the views even if they stay on the easy trails.

And everyone gets a good workout and lots of fresh air.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I don't have a real Christmas Tree, but here's my Christmas Cyber tree/ trees from Lookout Pass on Christmas Eve.

I took my mom to church and she pointed out a little white angel way at the very top of the tree they had in the church. "Gertrude made that Angel." she said. (my dear old Aunt Gertrude who is no longer with us.) That was so cool to have her there in spirit like that!

I hope everyone has a great holiday season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chairlift photo

I have a lot of photos of chairlifts. I don't really know why I take them other than they freak me out so much. I figured out that I spent over 8 hours on just one chairlift a few ski seasons ago. I'm not kidding. Plus it was only one chairlift that I rode that ski season. So I'm thinking I'm going to put my chairlift photos on my side bar. It's something to do anyway..

Last weekend I rode a chairlift exactly like this one with a little ski school kid who was only four years old. He was so small that they had to lift him up and put him on the chair. His legs stuck straight out and his skis straight up off of the end of the seat. So I put my ski poles infront of him as a restraint and I reached around and grabbed his hood with my hand. There was no way he was going to fall off of my chair while he was in my care!

I've ridden that chair with a lot of little ski school kids. Some of them will talk your ear off and some of them won't say a peep, and usually they all wiggle around. This little guy talked a little and I had a hard time hearing him because I had my helmet on and my ear buds in my ears under it. When we got to the top I asked him if he could get off by himself and he said yes, but when the moment came he seemd to say on. so I reached around and grabbed him by the hood and lifted him up and off of the chair and put him down on the snow.

When I started this blog it was going to be about conversations on the ski lift with strangers. It became clear that there wasn't going to be enough material for just that so I blogged about other things. But I still love getting on the chair with someone I don't know and having a conversation with them. It really is like a box of candy in that you never know what you're going to get.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Block heater in my ski car

I read quite a few blogs as I'm sure lots of you do. Some people really have a gift for letting you know what they are doing and thinking and it draws you in. I wish I could be more like that, without totally letting the whole world know what I'm doing..

I really would love to blog about work. There's so much material there. Honestly. I could go on and on about each person, but I made a few rules when I started this blog, and one of them is to not talk about work.. stupid rule.., but a rule none the less..

And I have other blog rules, I won't go into them all. It's more of a formula actually but I guess you'd never know. Another rule is to not talk about my private life. Like my relationships with my friends and such. So I pretty much don't talk about the people in my life except for when my mom had cancer. It doesn't leave a whole lot to talk about.

Having said that, I'm going up to the far north to see my queen. It gets so cold up there that I decided to install a heater in my ski car so I could plug it in at night to keep it warm so it will start in sub whatever temps. They have a different scale to measure temperature up there and nobody can tell really how cold it is. It's sort of like the thermometer on my camper. The numbers all faded off of it so I wrote hot on the top and cold on the bottom. I still use it,.. I just look at it and think,.. well I can see that it's pretty cold.. Anyway I had to try and hunt down a heater that would work in my car. I ordered in a lower radiator hose heater, and tonight put the thing in. It took a couple of hours. So far so good but who knows how cold it will get?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


My dryer konked out last week. I only found out about it when I went to get some sheets out of it the other day.

When I was growing up we never had a dryer, just a clothesline. I'd actually been thinking about building one on my back yard for summer use. We also had one in our basment for winter use. So I decided to build one in my basement. I was amazed at how well it worked. You have to plan a little better but it takes way less energy. I like that.

A guy at work gave me an old dryer, but I'm still going to use this clothesline now. Especially for some of my bicycle kits. Some of those you ave to hand wash and air dry.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dressed to ski

I love a woman in a dress. I wish they'd wear them more often..

Woops,.. I didn't publish comments on this post because I didn't explain the picture well enough. Sometimes things get lost in the translation. This girl wears a dress for religious reasons. It looks kind of funny for skiing but I think it's pretty awesome.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Flathead Lake canoe

Here's a lonely picture of my canoe at Flathead Lake

counting petals

counting petals is a nice place to go on my sidebar, and a very nice place for my blog to be listed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Canoe on Flathead Lake

Thanksgiving is over. A snow storm decended on the northwest with winter storm warnings, bad roads and all fo that. I was thinking,.. good time to go out on the canoe.. The white spots are snowflakes caught by my flash. not going to let a little snow keep me off of the lake.

Here's a picture of Chief Cliff in the winter mist.

Good thing I don't have a cedar strip canoe,.. I need to be able to run the thing up on the rocks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Frosty trees

It was a nice drive to work today along the river with all of the frost on the trees, so I got out and took a few pictures until my fingers got cold. I guess it's going to warm up and snow again.

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving... Or at least a well fed one. Or at least a roof over your head and a warm bed.. And a cold beer.. plenty of gas in the tank, and a few bucks in your pocket.

..and at least one old guitar..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

International Scout

It has gotten pretty wintery around here the past few days so I decided to fire up my old International Scout. I've been snowed into my neighborhood in past years but I can get around in this here Scout.

It's my redneck side.. Well part of my redneck side anyway...

To turn the heat on you have to turn a valve under the hood that allows coolant into the heater core. You close the valve for summer use or you'll get really hot.

When I was young my Dad had a Scout just like this one. He took my mom and me in it on a trip across Wyoming to South Dakota in the heat of the summer pulling a small travel trailer. I sat in the back of the Scout. My mom wouldn't let us roll the windows down because she didn't want to get her hair messed up.. Gosh it was a hot box in there. Old Scouts are all metal with no insulation. So every morning I'd get up early and ride as far as I could get on my bike. That was the best part of my day. Then they'd catch me up and I'd have to ride in the hot box the rest of the day.
They did let me ride my bike through the center of Yellowstone Park though and that was the highlight of my trip. That and riding along the Gallitan River. I don't know what cycling is like in Yellowstone Park these days. There's probably too much traffic for it now.
If you want to take the slow boat to South Dakota, drive there in an International Scout pulling a travel trailer across Wyoming in the heat of the summer with the windows rolled up... Did I tell you how well you could hear the motor running?.. I liked it so much that when I grew up I bought my own Scout!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Montana pickup truck

This is what I looked like the last time I drove my pickup back from Montana. I wonder if they could give me a ticket for taking pictures while driving. It might take a while to find someone to ask.

One time I was outside of the truck taking pictures along this stretch of highway. You could see for miles down the road in both directions and not another soul in sight. Finally along came a guy in a pickup. I could see him coming for along way. He pulled up beside me and stopped. "Just taking pictures." I said. "You'd better pull it off of the highway.. Trucks come along here pretty fast and you'll get hit." He said with urgency. I looked up and down the road,. Nothing.. "Ok, Thanks." Then he drove off into the distance and out of sight and I was alone again.

I'd better move my truck off the road I thought. Maybe when I get done taking pictures..

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butte Creek

Here's another picture of the old road that goes along Butte Creek. At least once a year I like to walk up this road. There are cedars along the creek and it's just a beautiful walk. You can sort of see the coyote tracks in the pic and there's a cedar bow haning down. The rust color on the road is a coating of tamarack needles that has fallen from the trees. It covers everything on the forest floor here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Following coyote tracks

On my way to hunting camp Friday night I drove past the Community Church, and past the LDS. Past the Maranatha Church and past the Open Bible. Past the Slavic Baptist church where they'll give you a headset to listen to the service in English instead of Russian. Then past the Seventh Day Advents and on up into the woods.

"This is the day the Lord has made", I thought as I walked up the road following a set of coyote tracks that followed a set of deer tracks. Something I remembered from a sermon I heard on my shorwave radio the night before in the camper. That old preacher sounded to me like he'd had a little too much to drink I thought as I followed along in those tracks.

Darkness fell upon the forest and I got in the truck and drove back home. Past the Seventh Day Advents. Past the Slavic Baptist Church. Past the Open Bible and the Maranatha. Past the LDS and past the Community Church.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Tamarack Larch

The tamarack trees are dropping their needles a little late this year. It hasn't been cold enough I guess. Global warming... I hate it when people say that every time it gets cold, so I thought I'd throw it in. I think we're in for some climate change next week though as they say it will get much colder. Anyway you can see the tamarack needles everywhere in this picture on the forest floor and the three main trees here are tamarack, aka larch.

This is one of my favorite places when I go hunting each fall. This is looking up a great big mountain full of larch trees. One thing about hunting with a camera, is that if the hunting is bad there's always something to take a picture of. This picture looked a lot better on the camera than it does on my computer, but it gives you an idea. I've spent a lot of time here and there's something about this place that keeps calling me back.

There were mushrooms everywhere of all different shapes and colors. This one looks like it would be very good to eat! Good thing I'm not a caveman.. I'd eat this sucker! Someone figured out that it's only cool to eat some of them...Can you imagine the learning curve?

Here's a picture of my campfire. I made a cover with a tarp so I could sit there by the fire in the rain. And it poured down rain! Not a good weekend to be tent camping, but I stayed warm and dry in my old camper.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Setting up a mandolin

A while back I bought a cheap mandolin because I wanted to get back into it. When I was young I used to play mandolin with my dad who played banjo. I played violin in orchestra and the mandolin is strung the same as a violin. I bet you knew that! We used to play music together in the cabin on Flathead Lake. No TV or anything like that up there. We used to sit by the fireplace and play music together and eat popcorn. It's something I look back on with great fondness. The crackle of the fire, the ring of the banjo and mandolin, and the taste and smell of the popcorn. The warmth of our family.

I was sitting around thinking,.. I know how to play a mandolin, I should get one! (sometimes you can be too cheap for your own good)

Anyway the action on my new mandolin was a bit on the high side. Since this mando didn't cost me that much I decided to lower the action on it myself instead of taking it in and paying money for someone else to do it. So I marked the position of the bridge with tape before removing the strings as you can see in the photo. I wanted to make sure i'd have a reference point to put the bridge back on as I didn't want to have to slide it around as that could scratch the finish. The octave is half way between the nut and the bridge so you can move the bridge back and forth until the octave is in the right place, but it helps to mark it first. Plus I tuned my guitar to my piano so that I knew what pitch E would be.

The bridge is in two pieces. top and bottom. I could see that if I removed material from the bottom of the top part I could lower the action. I did that by sanding down the bottom of the top part of the bridge. I realize that's kind of confusing. I left the low G string on (loose) so I could center the bridge when I re-strung it starting with the high E string. (usually when I change strings I'll do it one at a time, and not all at once, but since I had to remove the bridge I took them all off except the low G) I didn't bring the strings up to pitch until I had them all back on and I slowly brought them all back up like you would tighten the lug nuts on a car wheel when changing the tire. The results were really nice. It made the mandolin much easier to play as it doesn't require as much effort to push the strings down now. A lot more fun to play!



I was surfing and found out I should remove material from the foot of the bridge and then raise the turn wheels to get the strings to the right height. So I've done that and you can see what I've done HERE

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Olive Lake reflections

Here are some reflections of the trees and the mountain in Olive Lake with old trees resting under the surface of the water.

It's been raining a lot and I haven't been outside much lately. I think it's starting to get to me. Well it's almost time to go to late camp and drink of the spirit water with the hunters of ten tribes..

I already voted. We have mail in ballots here and I'm totally sold on that system. You can go through the pamphlet and really understand the things you are voting on and take your time with it. Then you aren't waiting behind someone who has gone to the polling place unprepared. I used to hate that. Plus they had to verify you and all of that. This way you get your ballot in the mail and it works slick.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cromwell Island in Flathead Lake

I don't remember when I took this picture from Wild Horse Island looking west to Cromwell Island. I gave my sister a ride around Cromwell Island the last time I was at Flathead Lake. She told me that one time the water was really low when we were young and there was hardly any water between Wild Horse and Cromwell. I find that hard to believe but I know it's really shallow to the south end of Cromwell.

UPDATE 6-17-11

Well well well.. The Missoulian reported that the codger (sportsman as the Missoulian called him) who owns Cromwell Island has groped one of his nurses.. According to the report when she told him not to do it again he reportedly said he could do anything he wanted because it was on his airplane.. Good Grief..

This is what I was getting at in the post below. Gone are the days of modesty and decency. I liked what one Missoulian commenter said:

This man is not in a nursing home and not senile. His comments make it pretty clear that his mind is working just fine. He's a rich pr##k with a major entitlement problem. I'd sue his #### to.

UPDATE: 1-12-12
The codger was sentenced to 180 days of probation, 30 days of home confinement, 60 hours of community service at the humane society, received a $5000 fine and had to pay $431.25 in restitution and issue a letter of apology.

His republican Nevada state senator friend among others issued letters of support... (one of them describing him as a "stately gentel man"..)

After all, care givers are pretty much just servants right..
Hey, I wonder if he knows Haley Barbour..?

I retain all rights to my photos.  Please do not use any of my photos without permission.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family of trees

I was taking pictures at an overlook in North Idaho of these trees, and this other guy who was out taking pictures too came over and asked me what I saw.. "just these trees.." I responded. He looked at me kind of puzzled.

I could have said, "I see a family of trees,. the grandfather tree in the front, the mother tree on the right, the father tree on the left and the children trees in the middle, and the community of trees that they live in, off in the distance."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olive Lake BC

Olive lake in BC is more like a pond but it's a pretty little thing. It has mountains that rise up around it and it's hard to get a picture of it.

I retain the rights to all of my pictures.  Please do not use without permission.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kootenay National Park photos

I went into Kootenay National Park for the first time since I was small. I don't remember much of it from back then so it was all new to me. There were large forest fires here in 2003.

There was a chill and a still in the air that burned the the experience into my memory. It was as if we were the only people for miles and miles and years and years. The quiet made it feel like time stood still in this valley, and only the running water of the Simpson River betrayed its magic. It was really beautiful and surreal.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Columbia Lake BC

Here's a picture of Columbia Lake in British Columbia just south of Fairmont Hot Springs. This valley really reminds me of western Montana. Well I guess it really isn't that far away.

I retain the rights to all of my photos.  Please do not use without permission.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quiet Paths

I'm going to add the Quiet Paths blog to my side bar as they are fellow Montanans who really know how to live. (that is if I can still figre out how to make a link.. :)

Quiet Paths

Check them out for cool adventures and great photos.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Last boat trip to Wild Horse Island

I made my last boat trip to Wild Horse Island for the year. It was as if I was boating out of the color of summer and into the grey of winter.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Clenbuterol and plasticisers

Wouldn't you know, another Tour de France winner Alberto Contador tested postitive for clenbuterol and also plasticisers associated with blood transfusions.

In an article by Daneil Benson at, David Walsh, author of From Lance to Landis and LA Confidential talks about the situation. Two things struck me. One about fan support and the other about marketing.
"All those that were going to turn away have long since done so because there's just been so many doping cases in these post Armstrong years. There was obviously loads of suspicion about Armstrong, and then there were the likes of Rasmussen and Vino."
"People have been turning away for a long time and the people that support this sport have made a decision that they don't care how many positive test there are they're going to continue to support it because they love it."
And about Saxo Bank pulling support from team director Bjarne Riis because of Contador;
"Don't expect big business to take a moral stance on cycling. We all know what happened to Festina watches when it was found out that the team was systematically doping - sales jumped up."
(I'll never forget Richard Virenque sitting there crying on camera when the whole Festina team got busted for doping. He did his suspension and came back to the sport a better so many..)
I think Walsh has some pretty interesting observations. Remember it was Riis who was stripped of his 1996 tour title because he admitted to doping, and it was watching him de-throne Indurain in the '96 tour that got me interested in bike racing. I admired Riis. And now here he is stripped of his TDF win and yet he's this respected figure in bike racing? WTH? (what the heck?) I do admire that he came "clean" That had to take some courage, but I still feel like he ripped me off.
And then there's Lance. When everyone else around him was doping, his rivals and his team mates, what does that say about his wins even if he never doped? Bike racing being a team sport..(he would remind us) There is a whole website for fans devoted to support Lance as he faces Landis allegations.
Good grief... What really gets me is that back during the Festina scandal, the TV commentators were really down on the "cheats" and now you don't hear much about it. Franky Andreu, who worked to help Lance win admitted doping to his credit, but is now working as a commentator. I guess they've come to the realization that if they have too much of a problem with it now they cut their own throats...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Moyie Lake B.C.

I went to Canada for the first time in years over the weekend. I've always thought that going north of the U.S. boarder was like going to the north pole, maybe because when I was younger it seemed like a very long way to go, but I found that B.C. is a lot like Western Montana. I really ejoyed my time in Canada. I don't think it could have been any better that it was.

This lake is screaming for my canoe..

I retain the rights to all of my photos.  Please do not use without permission.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hike on Wild Horse Island

I went for my last hike of the season on Wild Horse Island on Sunday. I got at daybreak and the lake was very calm in the for my boat ride to the island.

The sun was just coming up as I approached the island.

I could see my shadow on that big pine tree as I hiked to the top.

There were lots of mule deer but it was hard to get a good picture of them as they stayed in the shadows. Fall is in the air.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wild Horse Island Pictures

I took a lot of pictures of Wild Horse Island in Montana this morning, but this one captured what it was like on the island looking down on Flathead Lake when the sun came up.

It pays to get up early I guess, and my old man used to drag me out of bed really early to fish here when I was a kid. Right there in the distance.. All those years ago.
Well, today is the anniversary of my father's death. Something my mom reminded me of. I'm sure he would have loved the view and the boat ride to Wild Horse Island. He would have been fishing down there though.
(the picture gets bigger if you click on it,.. of course you know this. :) It's much better large actually, so click and join me on the top of Wild Horse Island!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Centenial Trail Spokane in the Fall

It was nice after work so I came home, skipped dinner and took my bike down to the Centenial Trail (picture above) for a ride along the Spokane River. Not many chances left this fall to do anything after work. Soon it will be dark after work, and the time of darkness will set in, so I have to make the most of every minute after work these days.

While I was riding along I heard on the radio in headphones that there was a bluegrass concert not far from where I live that started in a half hour, so I jammed back home, changed and headed to the Rockin B Ranch. It was pretty sweet. I love bluegrass. I had my own rocking chair, a long neck bottle of beer and some live bluegrass. It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Picture of Flathead Lake

Here's a picture of Flathead Lake from this morning. Summer comes and goes really fast in Montana. You can't tell from this picture, but fall is in the air.

This picture is better seen large and it will get bigger if you click on it.  I retain all rights to my photos.  Do not use without my permission!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spokefest photos 2010

Here are a few of my Spokefest photos for 2010. I took a lot of pictures as usual but I decided to post just a couple. It was a beautiful day for Spokefest once again. I've been on all three Spokefests and they've all been great!

This guy was riding a 1959 Schwinn Corvette, and like many old hot rods it's been modified with a derailleur hanger on the rear dropout. When he rode up on me I heard this squeaking, and I said to him, "it needs oil,.." with a smile. :) he assured me that it was the saddle that was squeaking. (I'd oil the saddle then.. I can't stand a bike that sqeaks,.) None the less it was a sweet ride and he gets bicyclelog best bike male rider award!

Here he is letting it fly! It has drum brakes of all things.

The girl on the right is riding a vintage Fuji (I think it was a Fuji anyway, as I got a brief look at the head badge) mixte frame women's road bike probably from the late 70s. No top tube and notice where the rear brake is located. She gets the 2010 bicyclelog best form award. Not only was it a really cool vintage bike that looked great with her riding it, but her attitude riding style was great as well. That bike is probably as old as she is and I think that's really cool. She told me that her bike does what it needs to do, or something lke that. There were a lot of nice bikes and fit riders on this year's Spokefest, but without question, she was getting the most out of her bike and rode with the the most style.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Farragut State Park

This morning I drove over to Farragut State Park on Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho to go kayaking. It isn't very far away and it's really nice there.

This is the view from the shorline trail down to the lake.

I beached the kayak several times. For how cheap of a kayak it is, it works great!

When I'm at Farragut State Park I just want to hike, camp, chop wood and do boy scout things..

I retain the rights to all of my photos.  Please do not use without permission.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bark Less

Wag more, bark less.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seeing double

Last week I saw an add on Craigslist for not one, but two Nikon Coolpix 5600 cameras for $30 each. Well I had a 5600 and took some of my favorite digital pictures with it. I totally wore the thing out. I took thousands of pictures with it, and it was one of those cameras that seemed to make magic for me when more expensive cameras taking the same shot fell short. I took this picture with my old one. I didn't edit the color out of it or anything, the only thing I did to it was shrink the image size to post it.

So I thought about it for a while and contacted the seller and today I bought both of them for $40. Both with nice cases and memory cards. This guy and his wife each had one. One was pretty much mint and the other one had been used more, but they both worked perfect and at $20 a pop I thought it was a pretty good deal.
These cameras have optical view finders which is a feature found only on more expensive point and shoot cameras these days. They aren't super thin so they don't vignette, or get dark around the edges of the frame due to the lens not being able to gather enough light and get it to the edges of the sensor. (the picture above did not vignette the way I'm talking about. The camera was just really stopped down in this case due to the way the light was..) They are 5 megapixel which is enough since they have nice lenses. They take two AA batteries which is ok if you use Nickel Metal rechargable batteries. The view screen isn't that big but it does represent the image pretty well and lets you know if you have made a good shot. And they don't have manual controls or exposure compensation, but you can trick the camera into getting the right exposure.
So right away I'm going to revert back to using one of these most of the time outside when I'm not using my DSLR.
We expect things to get better and better over time and for the most part they do, but sometimes you find a product that you really like and the newer versions just aren't quite the same.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Centenial Trail bike path

I've been on my bike as much as I can lately as summer and cycling season are coming to an end. It always leaves me with impressions and reminds me of past cycling. Someone said that when you start talking more about what you've done than what you plan to do then you are old. Something like that.. I don't know who said it either because of my memory...

Anyway, last night I went out on a bike ride, and for some odd reason decided to go out on the highway. That really brought back some memories. I had the whole road to myself on the way out to the highway. Went past some farmer's fields, it was nice. Then when I actually got on the highway it was brutal. Lots of cars and semi trucks going past me fast. The wind, noise and even risk of it all really caused my mind to click. With cycling as in everything there are ups and downs. Good times and bad times, even within one ride. There was one other rider going the other direction. I saw him coming for a long way. When we passed he looked at me and waved. I nodded my head and raised a hand off of the bars.

Tonight I was back on the Centenial Trail going along the Spokane River. It left me with its own impressions. Cyclists coming and going. Each on his or her own path in their lives and yet sharing the same bike path. When I was younger there weren't any bike paths. I was always out on the highway. I was usually alone. Didn't see any other cyclists. It wasn't a shared experience the way it is now.