Monday, December 26, 2011

Headstock tuner

Well I got what I wanted for Christmas,.. A head stock tuner.. A pretty cool little thing. Man I wish I'd had one of these back when I was out on the road, but the technology just didn't exist. When I was in orchestra the conductor would tune us all to an old strobe. I can see why he did that now.

A 440... and for my Canadian friends, 440, A?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pine Cone Christmas Wreath

I made myself this pine cone Christmas wreath thing for above my door. Well I just found it in the forest and thought it would show some holiday spirit. I put a screw in the back and I tied an old guitar string on to hang it up with.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New ski race boots

So My friend Rog, who is a masters ski racer turned me on to a pair of Lange World Cup 150 race boots, and he pointed me in the right direction as far as size and fit. My old boots are getting packed out. The new ones are new old stock. I've always been a Lange guy when it comes to ski boots. So I've been wearing these around in my house to try and get used to how they fit. Race boots have to be really tight because if your foot is moving around in them you loose control, or have less control of the ski. At first I had trouble even getting them on. They do fit BTW, but they are screaming tight. Tonight I decided to put my custom foot beds (which were sculpted to the bottom of my foot) and that made a huge difference for the better. I thought there wouldn't be room for those in there but it totally improved the fit of the boot. So now my next step is to put them on with some very thin ski socks. And then after that I'll set up a pair of GS skis and ski with them for a while this weekend. I can tell that these are really going to improve my racing. My other boots were too sloppy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ask first

Back in 2006 I went out on the bay as the sun came up and took this pic with my little point and shoot as I drank coffee and fished and made this THIS POST as a result. Someone used the pic on their blog without my permission and didn't give me credit. So I thought I'd share it again with you. I do reserve the rights to all of my pictures, and I have a vast archive.

I also had Seeing Bears on my side bar for a long time and due to this I'm going to put it back up over there.

I don't mind at all if people open up the pics and look at them, that's what I post them for, but please ask first if you want to use one for something or if you want to post it online. I'll leave it there for now and stop short of linking to the blog that used my picture until they have a chance to remove it.

I've been in kind of a bad mood lately and this isn't helping..


The blogger removed my pic at my request. And the water calms...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Carhartt art

My friend's father in law painted these pictures on the back of his jacket. (believe it or not I do have a friend) I thought it was pretty cool.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Banff National Park photo

Here's a picture I took in Banff National Park between Banff and Lake Louise last week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lookout Pass photos

Ok, now I'm getting excited to go skiing myself. Here are a couple of pictures I took at Lookout Pass last year.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Forest pictures

Here are a couple of more pictures from hunting camp. A brief break in the weather allowed the sun to shine. It made for a pretty morning in the forest, but it wasn't long before the next weather system moved in.

I like to walk up this trail. It used to be used as survival training, then it became an ATV trail. Now that ATVs are banned from this area, it's just a trail that I like to hunt on. That big tree in the foreground is a cedar. There's a creek below to the right. There wasn't much color in the forest here when I took this picture so I removed what what color was left.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Retro camper pictures

I wanted to post a couple of more pictures from my weekend at the late hunting camp. It was really cozy in my 1974 Bell slide in camper as the snow closed in. I could hear the snow coming down and hitting the side of the camper and like I said I was snug as a bug in a rug in there. (and there were probably a few real bugs in there too..) Now the camper is off of the truck in my back yard and covered with a tarp, and my hunting buddies are still up at that camp in the snow.. Wish I was there with them. I might drive back up with the truck for the last day of hunting season, but we will see. If my guitar is ready I might drive back to Montana and spend the night at the cabin on Flathead Lake. I'll sit by the fire and play my guitar as winter closes in. It doesn't get much better than that.

Below is a picture of the forest view outside the back door of my camper the next morning as the sun came up. It was really something as I drank my morning coffee. Nabob coffee from Canada BTW...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vintage Camper

Don't you wish that some things would never change?.. I love to camp, but I'm not a big tent camper. Don't get me wrong I have a small tent, and I like it unless it rains. What I really like is camping in a vintage camper, from the 60s or 70s. There's just something about them that is different than the new campers. There was an economy about them and well, the price is a lot lower now than a new camper, I couldn't begin to justify the cost of a new camper or a new pickup truck for that matter, but I don't think I'd enjoy a new one any more actually. The systems in the old campers are simple and work well. Of course nothing lasts forever.

Last weekend I took my pickup camper hunting and I was snug as a bug in a rug in there as the weather closed in around me. The sun came out after the storm and it was beautiful in the woods for a while. But another weather system moved in and I think winter is starting to take hold of the mountains in the northwest. I really like the way the picture above captures the snow coming down. I was looking through all of the pictures I took on this trip and this one really stood out to me.

The sun came out the next morning and it was really beautiful in the forest. But the weather didn't last very long and another storm system moved in.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Vintage camper countertop repair

I've been spending all of my free time building a new countertop for my 1974 Bell slide in pickup camper.

To avoid confusion, now I have two vintage campers, the 1968 Aristocrat travel trailer, and the 1974 Bell pickup slide in camper. I got the Aristocrat travel trailer, because the countertop on the Bell was falling a part, and I wanted something nice to take Queenie camping in,.. (so I got an even older trailer house..) Anyway I decided that I needed to fix the counter top in the Bell as I figured no body would buy it, and I'd keep it for the time being to take hunting, as I don't want to abuse the Aristocrat on hunting trips in the snow.

So here is the result of my countertop work on the Bell. My friend gave me the teal oven out of his old Eldorado slide in when the roof on that old camper finally gave up the ghost. But the oven was too nice to just throw away so he took it out and gave it to me. All I had was a cook top, and since I like to bake bread and such, I wanted an oven. I've made a table top to match and still have to trim the formica on that and install the metal edging. Then I should be good to go hunting, and I'll save the Aristocrat for smoother roads.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Bone nut for my Martin D16

Last week I drained the water in the cabin so the pipes wouldn't freeze this winter. Then I stopped at Paradise Montana to meet with Rick who agreed to put a new bone nut on my Martin D16 guitar. I don't think he usually does this sort of work as he's busy building beautiful guitars, but a rancher friend of mine turned me on to him, so I think he's doing me a favor. Anyway, it was making a weird sound on the high E string when played open. So a new bone nut is in order. I can't wait to get the darn thing back as this issue was keeping me from playing that guitar, and it's really my best guitar. You'd think that Martin would have cut the nut better on this level of guitar but I guess nut.,, I mean not..

Got my guitar back and the problem is solved. So now I can get to know that guitar better as it pretty much sucked before Rick fixed it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall at Flathead

I love being at Flathead Lake any time of the year but fall is really nice. It's like a breath of fresh air after a hot dry summer. Those picnic tables are going to be vacant for several months now. How I wish I could transport myself there at lunch on any given day. There's just never enough time to be all the places you want to be.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Birthday and work station

We've been having a remod here at work and I ended up with a pretty nice work station. And for my birthday, and Queenie sent me a very nice fruit selection covered in chocolate! Well it is pretty darn good! I'm tempted to eat the whole thing but I'm going to have to measure my effort. Has my favorite apples (granny smith) covered in chocolate. Doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Giant slalom ski rule change

It was hard taking pictures last weekend in British Columbia as it was overcast most of the time we were there. Hree is a picture I took of the call colors near Wasa B.C. just outside of Cranbrook. Panorama is getting some snow though.

Well I'm looking forward to skiing as winter nears. And I've got a hot pair of Volkl race skis to do the recreational racing with. Now they've changed the rules on giant slalom for the world cup so that GS skis have to have a long radius side cut. But I got some new old stock women's world cup skis that have the shorter radius that used to be allowed for men. Without going into the whole legacy of rule changes that have taken place lately, these women's world cup race stock skis are fully powerful and still have the shorter radius racers like. Of course I could buy some "cheater" race skis but they aren't powerful like the "race stock" skis are.

Bodie Miller spoke out about the rule change that bumped the radius of GS skis up from the 20m range to the mid 30m range. He said that he wasn't out to win over another racer, he just wanted to ski as well has he could and the new rules for GS ski radius don't allow that. It will force everyone to skid turns instead of carving clean turns, and that's a step backwards. He went on to say he could go to the ski shop and buy recreational skis that he could ski on better than the World Cup skis Head could provid him with. And that's really sad.

For someone like me at the bottom of the ski racing food chain it just means, yes I can still get cheater skis, but I can't get powerful race skis that will carve well. So the rule change to Giant Slalom skis sucks all the way around. Going to have to hang on to all of those old race skis..

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Canned Ham

Since I got the Aristocrat, I've taken more of an interest vintage travel trailers. I always had one actually. They are so cool! I just want to live in one.. I want to hear the rain on the metal roof.. I want to play my telecaster and hear the natural reverb.. I want to wake up in the morning and smell the propane burning as I perk my coffee. I want to eat spam for breakfast in a canned ham!

And I want an aluminum Christmas tree too..

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall mornings and GOP politics

I wish spring and fall would last longer. I love the crisp fall mornings along the river. Here's a picture of the valley as the sun came up. I work over there in the distance. There's actually a river between me and the mountains in the background but it's out of view. Soon the state line bridge will be open and that will make my commute to work much better. I might even put the headlight back on my bike as it's going to be dark after work soon. I find myself trying to finish up things I should have done during the summer, but then it was too hot and now it's too cold. I did crawl up on the roof and paint my chimney at lunch though.

I've been watching the Republican debates. I honestly don't understand the popularity of Rick Perry. He seems to have absolutely nothing to offer except that his campaign has a lot of money. He wants to be president but didn't enter the race with an economic plan as he admitted in one debate. He criticized Cain's 9 9 9, but it seems that what Perry offers so far is 0 0 0... It makes me think that even if he does have a plan now on his website or something it's an afterthought or something one of his staffers came up with.. Donald Trump said of Cain's 9 9 9, that it favored the rich like himself, and not the lower and middle class but "at least it's something".. I guess people are starting to figured it out though. Since they've seen Perry in action he's dropped to 3rd in the poles behind Romney and Cain. It frightens me that Rumsfeld advised Perry, and makes me wonder if we really need another governor from Texas as president until the country recovers from the last one.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hunting camp with the Aristocrat

Here's a picture of the Aristocrat travel trailer and the old Ford F250 up at hunting camp. It was a good first test of the trailer. It got down below freezing at night and I stayed warm thanks to my Hydroflame furnace which worked perfect. My friend helped me start the propane fridge and that also worked great. Those things if working are worth more than what I had to pay for this whole trailer. So everything works except the tail lights. I used some magnetic trailer lights for towing a vehicle and just stuck them to the bumper of the trailer for this trip. And below is a shot of my bunk. Since it was just me in the Aristocrat, there was no need to make down the table.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Travel trailer interior pictures

Here are interior pictures of the new/ old Aristocrat travel trailer. I took them when I first went to look at it so the owner had a bunch of stuff in it. The dinette is in the front with bunk above, and the kitchen in the rear with toilet room on the right. I wanted a dinette in the front or rear with windows all the way around because when you are inside it's a great view of the forest or whatever and it makes a great place to sit and sleep. That was a major priority for me.

There's a small toilet in the bathroom but no sink in there, and the toilet works so that's a bonus. There's a little water damage in the corners but it isn't leaking now and it's pretty minor. It's not enough for me to want to tear into it. The stove works as does the furnace. I haven't tried the fridge yet but I suspect it will work also. It runs on propane only.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vintage Travel Trailer

Queenie and I took the 1968 Aristocrat travel trailer out for its first road trip over the weekend. We made a tour of a couple of the little lakes here in eastern Washington and had lunch in it along the shore of Hauser Lake in Idaho. We are going to have fun with this! I got a screaming deal on it too ($450) and it really doesn't need much work inside. The paneling and cabinets are nice, the upholstrey has been re-done and it has new curtains. It's not perfect, but It's very clean for how old it is and I found that they can be advertised as clean and be totally filthy. The wiring needs some work and it has one broken window but other than a few minor things it's good to go.

I've been wanting one of these trailers for years and have looked at quite a few. I looked at various brands, but I really wanted the same thing my parents used to own, and this is almost exactly the same except it has a different floor plan. Theirs was an Aristocrat Lo Liner, and this one doesn't have the Lo Liner logo on it but the shape is the same. I wanted something light vintage and small. I also bought the same vintage tow vehicle my parents use have, an old International Scout. It's also slightly different than the one they had but about as close as you can get. It's the same color and everything. They had a Scout 800A and this one is a Scout 800B. It has a tow package on it too. The Scout needs a little more work to take it on long road trips but should be fine for day trips or short overnighters.

It's funny how we become our parents.. In some ways anyway..

Friday, October 07, 2011

The holiday season

I've been thinking about not looking forward to the holiday season again. I've written about it before. The party at work, the insanity at all of the stores. If I hear that consumers aren't spending enough one more time I think I'll barf.

I'm always happy when the whole mess is over. Here's what I wrote about going to church and I talked about church hymns being some sort of honesty test. Like if you're not singing with enough conviction, a trap door might open and you'd fall straight into hell. Well I guess church tends to bring out the guilt in me...

I had to fake my way through a few church hymns. I'm a pretty good faker. I have a pretty small singing range. Three or four notes.. They had the words to the music printed in the hand out they give you to let you know what's going on. But you could also look the hymns up in the hymnal if you wanted to read the music. One of the hymns was really complicated. I was looking at the score in the hymnal thinking, how do people fake something this complicated? So then I faked it with a thoughtful confused look on my face because the choir is up there looking straight back at all of the people in the congregation and probably trying to decide who is faking it. That's what I'd do if I were in the choir... Then I got to thinking how church hymns might just be some sort of honesty test...

There were the usual people at church. The young and the old. A pastor with a peaceful smile. I'm sure he knows who's faking it... A little girl with a battery powered candle who stood a the pew in front of us and then just dropped onto her bottom in a seated position with the weight of a bird. It gave me cause to think,.. If I stood on the pew and just and just dropped onto my butt I'd probably throw my back out...

But there was one older lady who really stood out. She had a red sweater on with a red flashing Christmas light necklace. I had to admire her courage for wearing that. This was after all a candle light service and they were going to turn the lights off at some point... Then I thought what if I wore a necklace like that?... What would people think? What if we all did? What if 17% of the population wore flashing light necklaces?..

As usual it was hard for me to keep my mind on the service, but I'm sort of glad I went.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Wild Horse Island Pine Tree

Here's a vertical version of a tree I took a pic of on Wild Horse Island. I'm using three different browsers and they seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to blogger.

But yes, and duh.. I did have my editor set on medium picture size and didn't notice. Well the wheel's going around but there aint no hamster...

Hey that could be a country and western song..

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pictures from my trip to Canada

Here are some pictures from my recent trip to Canada.

Abraham Lake

A vintage Chrysler. (Most people had nice new cars actually, I just liked the way this one looked.)

The view from East Glacier Lodge. You can't tell how windy it was in this picture, but it was really a blow.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cycling in Red Deer Alberta

I finally got to cycle in Red Deer Alberta with Queenie which is something I've been wanting to do for some time now. It's the farthest north I've ever cycled, and we had very warm weather for September almost 29 degrees, (whatever that is...?) There are lots of bike paths that are part of the Trans Canada Trail System, and they are really beautiful this time of year with the leaves changing. I was really impressed with quality and quantity the trails.

Here's a picture of Queenie at McKenzie Trails. I got her into cycling and now she's hooked! She might as well be as Red Deer is a very bike friendly city. You can get a map of the trails at Kerrywood Nature Center, and if you come to Red Deer, bring your bike!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wild Horse Island in Flathead Lake

Not very many sailboats spending the night in Skeeko Bay these days as summer comes to an end on Flathead Lake. I anchored my boat and went for a hike on Wild Horse Island in Flathead Lake as the sun went down.

I sat up on the top and enjoyed the cool wind and clear air for a change. Other people can have summer. Spring and Fall are my favorite times of year.

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

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coffee's hot and the beer's cold

I thought the pattern on grandpa's old chair matched the curves on my mandolin as the sun peeked into the cabin. Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast with plenty of hot sauce. Fall seems to have found its way into Montana now. Might be a good day to just sit around and play the darn thing. It's not quite cold enough for me to want a fire, but maybe later. Coffee's hot and the beer's cold..

Hey, that would be a good title for a song..

Coffee's hot and the beer's cold,
I just wish I'd never get old..

Um,.. well something like that..

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chief Cliff and Flathead Lake

Here's a picture of Chief Cliff above Flathead Lake in Montana. I only say all of that because someone might see this and not know what they are looking at. Anyway, I have this bad habit of taking pictures when there isn't enough light, but I thought the sky was interesting that night.

Summer has gone by all too quickly. Soon I'll drain the water pumps and winterize the cabin so the pipes won't freeze and get into the plumbing mind of my old man. I don't remember too many hot days at Flathead Lake when I was a kid. I don't remember the lake being warm very often either. Most of the warmth came from inside the cabin. Maybe that's why I long for cool weather anyway.

Soon all of the McMansions that now line the shores of Flathead Lake will stand vacant. I doubt very many of them will be winterized. I bet most of them will be heated all winter for no other reason than to keep their pipes from freezing.

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Purcell Trench

When I go north to Canada I drive through the Purcell Trench which is a vast valley going north and south in the Idaho Panhandle. It's pretty amazing and these pictures don't really do it justice. Today there was a forest fire burning just to the west and it was creating a lot of forest fire smoke that was filling the valley.

The picture above is looking north into British Columbia, and the picture below is looking south into Idaho. That is forest fire smoke in the lower picture, not clouds. I had to drive into that and I'm getting over a cold. You should have heard me coughing! To get the full effect you can click on the pictures to make them bigger, but they still don't do that valley justice.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Wild Horse Island Juniper

This is the view from our recent hike on Wild Horse Island. We sat in the shade of the ubiquitous juniper tree at the top of the west side of the island.

And I recently had an encounter with the newest little wild horse on Wild Horse Island. They transplanted a mare on the island that was pregnant and this is the result. I think Juniper would be a good name for it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hobie sailing on Flathead Lake

This Hobie 16 was getting good speed on Flathead Lake. This boat looks great with its colored sails. I love it when the spray is washing across the boat like this. It feels good on a hot day like it has been in Montana recently. At one point there were 5 Hobie Cats on the bay, and one larger catamaran. It's been great sailing lately.

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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wild Horse Island Flathead Lake picture

Here's a picture I took from Wild Horse Island the other night with Flathead Lake in the background. I actually saw the wild horses. Well the aren't too wild as they will walk right up to you. I saw the new baby horse too that is so well known now in these parts. They recently put some new horses on the island not realizing that one of them was pregnant. I got a snap shot of it and might post that later.

Click on this picture and make it bigger. It will make you feel like you're up there with me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tree family

Sorry for not posting lately. Or something.. Why am I apologizing for that? It isn't like I don't have anything to post or say.. I have to admit that I haven't taken the best pictures or anything lately even though I have gone to Canada and it's always nice up there. I did run across this picture from a set that I took going up there last year. I posted a horizontal version of it and I remember at the time thinking I should have posted this one instead. So here it is. The vertical picture.

Gosh that last post below about the Garmin GPS wasn't very uplifting.. It does suck though that it konked out. But I need to let it go.. My mom gave me this carpet cleaner thing. You put hot water in it and carpet soap and it scrubs the carpet. It's like big vacuum cleaner. It did a pretty good job. New carpet is nice, and old carpet is dirty and not so nice.

I went and looked at an old travel trailer to buy last week. It was a good deal and would have been nice after it was fixed up but I want one that is old but looks like new. This one was old and looked old. I guess I'll squeeze a little more life out of my camper. When I find the right trailer I'll get it. Then I'll go out and camp somewhere with a view.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Garmin GPS quailty issue

My Garmin GPS is a dead soldier. I'm very disappointed with the Garmin GPS I purchased. It konked out just a few months after the "Limited one year Warranty" expired.

This isn't a product I use every day. This is a product I expect to work when I turn it on even a few months after the "limited warranty expires" This is a product I never abused. This is a product that I expect and rely on when I'm in the wilderness, and I'm a person who does go into the forest a lot. (I also use a boy scout compass that I've owned my whole life but that's not my point.) My point is that you can't rely on a Garmin GPS, and you can't count on the company to support and replace it if you own it for more than a year, at least not yet. I"m going to see what they will do and let you know.

So I have a few choices to make, and I've already made one. I bought a new Tomtom Nav system for my car. I could have bought a Garmin but there was just no way I could bring myself to buy another Garmin product right now. And I could and am going to send this product back to Garmin and see what they will do for me. If they refuse to help me I'll be sure to blab it all over my blog... For everyone in the world to read... I think that's fair.

They don't put the warranty info on the outside of the box, you only get to read that affter you buy the product and open the box. I don't think that's right, not that it makes a difference, so they deserve this bad review in my opinion. The Garmin xTrex Venture isn't something you can count on for more than a year and I'm not really confident that it won't konk out when you need it. That's been my experience, and that just isn't good enough for this sort of product. If you think it is, then that's your problem when your Garmin konks out on you. If you own a Garmin, then don't forget to bring your compass.

don said:
I guess I'm just upset about it because it was quite a bit of money. I understand that most products like this are only covered for 1 year, and I'm sure I got a lemon. But still, I think they ought to cover something like this for at least 4 years and make the thing more reliable in the first place.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Boating on Flathead Lake

Here are some pictures of boating on Flathead Lake over the weekend. It's like summer just got started and it's already two thirds over.. So I took my big boat out for the first time this summer. Queenie says I'm a "water baby".. Well she might be right. What I don't understand is why all of those mornings fishing at Flathead Lake with my dad seemed to be hours and hours long? These days it feels like I never get enought time to enjoy the lake in the morning. But I did get to launch my 1976 Cruisers Bonanza (cool retro boat BTW if I do say so myself..) and take a tour of the bay as I drank my Tim Hortons coffee. It was a real treat. You can see Wild Horse Island on the left in the distance and Melita Island on the right with "mac alley" inbetween. That's were we used to fish for the big Lake Trout. Ok I realize you aren't supposed to take pictures into the sun but what the heck, that's what it looked like! (I always take picutres into the sun.. cause I just don't care, and I hate rules like that.)

Here is a picture of Melita Island on the right and Wild Horse Island on the left in the distance. There were scouts on the island just getting up and it reminded me of my time on the island all of those years ago. What a great experience for those kids to spend time camping on the island like I did. Scouting has changed a lot since I was there.

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

Monday, August 01, 2011

Dog Lake in Kootenay National Park

Here are some pictures from our hike to Dog Lake in Kootenay National Park British Columbia. Above is Dog Lake (AKA Lac Dog..) It could be named Lac Mud on the bottom, but you'd never know as it's so beautiful on the surface. Queenie and I went for a dip and you sink way in to sediment at least on the west side. I don't get the whole dog thing. Not one thing about this lake reminded me of a dog except for the dog we saw while we were hiking in.. It slobbered on my hand BTW, and I didn't get an alergic reaction to that. The dog wasn't native to the lake however.

We had to cross over the Kootenay River with two different bridges. That was kind of fun actually. Then the trail starts to climb over a ridge and decends on the other side to Dog Lake where this moss was in the forest. It was really pretty there.

It's only a few kilometers but kind of a steep climb both in and out. I think it took us about an hour each direction. Of course we were taking our time taking pictures of everything we saw as usual.. I think it's totally worth it if you want a short hike while in the park. You'll most likey have the lake to yourself and it doesn't get much better than that.