Don’t Fence Me In…05/28/13

I think I mentioned in a previous blog that when I moved back home one of the first things I did was ask Sam to involve me in as much stuff as he could handle (or as much as he thought I could handle).

I had helped Sam one previous time walking fence line in order to repair damage done by; winter storms, fallen trees, dumb cattle, deer, elk and bear…just to name a few.  I must have learned just enough because Sam invited me to go along with himself and Mike Buchert.  Mike was getting ready to release cattle on some land not too far from the Wauconda Cafe, near the Diamond Bell Ranch & Walker Lake (oddly enough named after Sam’s family).

Mike is a Marine (as most of you know there is no “retired” Marine) and it shows.  That man goes determined…I mean everything is seemingly done with purpose.  And did I mention stride?  Holy smokes, when I worked previously with Sam we kept about the same pace, however with Mike….well let’s just say if I had attempted to keep pace with him, he would have walked my boot heels off and I probably would have had a heart attack.

Is this beautiful country or what?  The northern side of this section is the U.S./Canadian border.  Spectacular.
Is this beautiful country or what? The northern side of this section is the U.S./Canadian border. Spectacular.
Mike managed to break the trigger on his chainsaw.  He's doing his best to field repair it with a makeshift trigger.
Mike managed to break the trigger on his chainsaw. He’s doing his best to field repair it with a makeshift trigger.
So about that makeshift trigger...it's made out of barbed wire...ya gotta love the "adapt and overcome" mentality.  I'm learning it.
So about that makeshift trigger…it’s made out of barbed wire…ya gotta love the “adapt and overcome” mentality. I’m learning it.

I had a great time working with these guys and am honored they included me.  Hopefully I’ll find myself in their company again.

Trees of every size and shape.
Trees of every size and shape.

Mother’s Day & Warmshowers…05/12

What do these two subjects have in common?  I guess that’ll be the topic of today’s blog.

On Mother’s Day Mom and I enjoyed the afternoon watching a rendition of Monty Python’s “Spamalot”.  It was put on by the local community and I’ve got to say they did a great job of it (I saw the original put on in Vegas w/John Cleese).

Outside the local theater in Omak.
Outside the local theater in Omak.

We went to dinner at Whistlers in Tonasket.  We were just finishing up dinner when Mom pointed out six bicycle riders coming into town.  These guys looked like the were club riders since they weren’t carrying any gear, but it wasn’t too long before a support wagon showed up.  As they were loading up I saw a logo on the side of their van; http://www.rideforwater.com.

When we got home I got on their website and emailed them that if they were ever in the area and needed a place to stay etc…they should get hold of us.  Less than 15 minutes later the phone ran and “Chase” asked if we were serious about the offer.  I assured him we did and within the hour we had seven house guests (the six riders and the driver).

We got them fed and eventually they all got their turn at a shower (www.warmshowers.org is dedicated to giving bicycle tourists a place to stay and a warm shower).  They were a great group of kids riding for a good reason.  We were only too happy to give them a hand.

The Ride for Water group.  What a wonderful group of kids.
The Ride for Water group. What a wonderful group of kids.
A great send-off breakfast.
A great send-off breakfast.

And so we have begun hosting cyclists.  They are a great group of people who I have found have big hearts (and big appetites).  Mom really is enjoying meeting all these interesting folks.  I think it keeps her young, shoot, I think it keeps me young.

And the Work Begins…04/30/13

The clean-up of 40 plus years of storage begins.  A little follow-up is needed to clarify this; my Dad and Gene  were both pack-rats to varying degrees.  Dad would buy four bolts when only one was needed and the leftovers were thrown into a drawer.  This went on with damn near everything.  Any small bit or screw found a home within a jar, can, drawer or corner.  Gene carried on the tradition along with holding on to whatever part he was replacing.  This little habit has caused no end of pulling my hair out because the bad part was thrown back in with the good ones…or what I think are good ones…hence the pulling of hair.

So, enter me.  Those of you who know me really well, know that I’ve got a bit of an anal streak within (I can hear you laughing Mr. Leavitt).  The first order of business was cleaning out each and every drawer, holding on to only those items worthy of being retained.  You can’t even begin to imagine how big of a job this was, and continues to be.  Before I got rid of anything Mom and I called our good neighbor, Sam Walker, over to the house and offered him first dibs on anything.  Sam looked it over and told us we needed to get hold of David Stansbury.  He thought David would be happy to take the majority of it and then Sam could cherry pick what he wanted from David whenever he needed…that way he wouldn’t have to store it himself (smart man!).

David came over later in the week and I told him he was welcome to anything…with the caveat that if he took one item, he took it all.  He pondered it for a moment before agreeing to it.  Thankfully David brought over his pickup.  By the time he left, the entire bed of the pickup was full.  I mean full of 5 gallon buckets of nuts, bolts (up to big 1″ buggers), washers, fittings etc…  I imagine his steering was a bit light on the drive home.  It was the beginning of a long process of thinning the herd.  It’s an ongoing process taking place not only in the garage, but the house, barn and all of the other outbuildings.  We’ve made huge strides in fairly short order.

Here's a big example of the cleanup needed.  This was the interior of the chickenhouse.  No chickens, but lots of stuff that needed sorted etc...
Here’s a big example of the cleanup needed. This was the interior of the chicken house. No chickens, but lots of stuff that needed sorted etc…
Here I am contemplating what to do with the corner of scrap metal.  Sam and I ended up filled my entire pickup bed with it (overloaded the springs badly).
Here I am contemplating what to do with the corner of scrap metal. Sam and I ended up filled my entire pickup bed with it (overloaded the springs badly).

 

Inquisitive cattle.  All was well till one of them pooped all over some boxes.
Inquisitive cattle. All was well till one of them pooped all over some boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam has been a great source for me.  He’s the go-to guy for answers regarding how to do, or who to see.  We had Sam over to dinner and I told him I was planning on going to Spokane on the weekend to have some more work done on the old Chevy pickup.  Sam said I couldn’t go since he needed me to feed his cattle while he was gone to see his daughter Wendy in Spokane.  It’s hard to explain, but for me this was quite an honor being bestowed upon me…at least as far as I was concerned.  I hold Sam’s opinion in high regard.  To give you an idea, I asked him what kind of boots I should get for working in.  He didn’t hesitate when he told me to spend the money on a pair of Nick’s custom boots out of Spokane.  Apparently Nick used to work for the famed “White’s” boots in Spokane before opening his own shop.  Mine should be done in time for a birthday present to myself in June.

Back to Sam…he came by about a week or so ago and asked me if I’d like to help him and Robert “Bunk” Ayers re-build a cattle guard up in the hills off N. Pine Creek road.  I jumped at the chance.  Sam picked me up about 7 the next morning.  We drove up to Bunk’s ranch, loaded up his tractor (not the small orchard variety) and got to it.  I hadn’t worked that hard since, well, since I tilled the garden.  It took all day.  It was hard physical work and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I hope I get to play with them again.

The hole was almost filled in where the old cattle guard was.
The hole was almost filled in where the old cattle guard was.

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The blocks replace the rotted timbers which shore up the hole.
The blocks replace the rotted timbers which shore up the hole.

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Darned near finished!
Darned near finished!

Mom had asked me to till the garden.  She commented that Gene only scratched the surface and she was hoping I’d really get down into it.  So I set the tiller to go as deep as it could and fired it up.  It didn’t take long at all to realize the reason Gene only scratched the surface…just under the surface was a constant, healthy bed of rocks…I mean everything from little 1″ diameter rocks to the ever-present 14″ variety.  This causes the tiller to jump, buck and run at damn near every moment.  I managed to get it done, but will tell you I felt as though I had gone six rounds in the ring with Ali.  All I can say at this point is “get used to it”.

I asked Mom what she thought about putting in raised beds in the garden.  I thought for sure she would balk at the idea.  I was surprised to find out she had asked both Dad and Gene for them, but neither wanted to go to the trouble or expense of it.  After getting into it, I can understand their reluctance.

We decided to make them out of recycled railroad ties (dont’ even start with the “they’ll leach into the veggies”…just don’t go there).  We decided on making three 16’x4′ rows and three 8’x4′ rows.  Since the ties are 8′ long this should mean we only have to cut them in half…I hope. I am currently on the road, but will be home tomorrow…there should be 60 ties waiting for me to be unloaded off Sam’s flatbed trailer.  At about 100lbs each I should get a good workout.

In the background you can see the freshly tilled garden and up front were our visiting ducks; MyrtleMay & Wilson (cudos to any movie buffs who know the characters)
In the background you can see the freshly tilled garden and up front were our visiting ducks; MyrtleMay & Wilson (kudos to any movie buffs who know the characters)
Mid-way through our raised garden beds.
Mid-way through our raised garden beds.
Almost finished
Almost finished
Finished beds, ready to plant.  The area to the left where the white boxes are will be for tomatoes and peppers.  The bare dirt on the left and up front is for corn.
Finished beds, ready to plant. The area to the left where the white boxes are will be for tomatoes and peppers. The bare dirt on the left and up front is for corn.

We had a pretty good time deciding on what should be planted where.  The long ones contain; 1) lettuces & greens, 2) cucumbers & peas, 3) carrots & beans.  The short beds; 1) strawberries, 2) beets & kale, 3) herbs.  There’s a few other odds and ends mixed in as well as a non-raised area for melons and raspberries.  We’ll end up enlarging the garden to include; asparagus, probably some more berries and other odd assortments of things.

Off I Go, Into the Wild Blue…03/30/13

What a heavy load!
What a heavy load!

So by the end of March I’m getting ready to leave Las Vegas.  In one day I managed to pack up everything I still had, loaded it into/onto Wes’ pickup and into the Blue Roo (formerly known as the POS).  It was loaded all the way to the gills.  I didn’t realize I still had that much stuff.  I drove the Roo up onto the U-Haul trailer.  This was great, unfortunately it was a tactical error.  That’s because I didn’t realize I should have put down the fender on the trailer prior to driving up on it.  This was an important point because the door wouldn’t open over top of the fender.  I ended up climbing out the window (good to know I can be a Nascar driver if needed), lowering the fender, opening the door, climbing back in, closing the window, getting back out and locking it up.  What a pain in the ass, but at least I was now ready to roll.

Nothing like a sprinkler left to run overnight during a freeze.
Nothing like a sprinkler left to run overnight during a freeze.
A beautiful stretch of canyon in between Alamo and Ely.  Looks like a good spot for a picnic and climbing.
A beautiful stretch of canyon in between Alamo and Ely. Looks like a good spot for a picnic and climbing.

The drive up was fairly uneventful.  I dropped the Roo off at Greg’s and he ended up driving it up to Mom’s.  This gave Wes’ truck a much needed break.  You’ll have to ask him about his adventure driving it up, perhaps, just perhaps, he has a new appreciation for the Roo.

You Can Never Go Home Again…Or Can You??…04/08/13

Hello gentle readers,

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve reached out, but it’s been a long and winding road as the song says.

Not many, if any, of you know the back story of my bike ride.  I took off riding Baja last spring with the intention of riding all the way to the tip of South America.  Funny thing about life…it gets in the way of livin’.  I had made it to La Paz, Mexico last spring when I got an email from my Mom and her husband Gene.  Gene had been diagnosed with cancer…and it didn’t sound too good.  I asked them if I needed to catch a flight home.  They assured me that I should continue my journey (after all, who knows when I’d be able to do this again?).

I had seen Gene in April at our family’s reunion for Mom’s birthday in April in Spokane.  At the time several of us commented on how run down Gene looked…had we only know his body was battling the cancer within…so when I got this email about the cancer I wasn’t shocked, but I was damned concerned.

I admit it, I’m a Momma’s boy!  My Mom loved Gene and that’s always been enough for me.  If Mom loved Gene, then so did I.  He made Mom feel good about living and that’s enough for me.  So, to hear he was battling the big “C’ caught my attention.

I continued the bike ride till I got to Culiacan where Rosa’s family met me with open arms (and I’ll always be grateful for their love), but I knew I needed to get back to the states.  Rosa and I reconnected and shortly thereafter Dom, Pedro and I parted ways and I caught a flight back to the states.  I stayed in Vegas a couple of months before taking off from the Bay area on my new bike to Tonasket.  I had a wonderful ride.  I spent several weeks with Mom and Gene.  It was funny though…when I first got to their house I could feel from Gene that I was the family member who was going to overstay his welcome.  Thankfully it didn’t take too long for the two of us to gang up on Mom.  We saw things eye-to-eye and I was a welcome addition.  I got to stay till Oct when I drove the Blue Ru (the POS) back to Vegas.

I stayed in Vegas till Dec.  I told Rosa I intended on staying with Mom and Gene till New Years.  I flew to Spokane and had a good time with family even though we spent Christmas Eve with Gene in the emergency room in Tonasket and Wenatchee.  Come to think of it, we spent the better part of Christmas week in the hospital in Wenatchee while they poked and prodded Gene.  Shortly before New Years Eve they released Gene to our care and custody back in Tonasket.  Gene seemed to be feeling better than he had in a while, so with their assurances I took off back for Vegas.

I spent New Year’s Eve through Feb in Vegas with Rosa.  We rode our bicycles nearly every day (thank God our insurance replaced Rosa’s bike with a better than original bike!).

Rosa and I rode the bike trail near Lake Mead and it was mid-February when I got the call from Leona.  We had just finished our daily 12-20 mile ride and I was putting the bikes on top of the Blue Ru for the trip home when I got the phone call.  Leona was calling for Mom.  Mom couldn’t talk on the phone or she would burst into tears….that was when I knew there was a big problem.

Gene’s cancer had raised its ugly head earlier in the month and I knew he was going in for some radiation therapy and at the same time Mom was having her second total knee replacement.  I had previously asked Mom if she wanted me to come home to help out, now, those of you who know Mom won’t be surprised to hear that she turned down the offer.  However, at this point Mom realized she needed some support.  I told Leona to let her know I’d be on the road in two days time.

Two days later I was on the road headed north.  I took more than a few things since I had no idea how long I was going to be gone.  I was about 100 miles north of Vegas when Vicki (Gene’s daughter) called me in tears.  She and Gene had been in Wenatchee where Gene was supposed to begin radiation therapy to help cope with the pain.  Unfortunately his cancer has progressed way beyond the point where it would do any good.  They advised to bring him home for in-home hospice care.  I called big brother Greg and like the super brother/son he is he headed for home (very few of you know how much this meant to me).  He stayed till they got Gene settled in.  The next day hospice care gave them the bad news…Gene had 72 hours…what do you say other than “hang in there I’m on my way”??  Gene actually hung in for 10 days,  That time was a bit of a blur.  Lots of family and friends coming and going.  It’s with a heavy heart to recall Gene passing away on March 1st.  I will  say he was fortunate to have those who loved him by his side.  Selfishly I got to see the importance of family during a time of crisis.

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The photo above is a gathering of family and friends having dinner sharing memories of Gene after he passed.  Usually this would have been a memorable evening…and come to think of it, it was.  Six out of the group got food poisoning!  Thank God I wasn’t one of them…pansies!!

It wasn’t long after I realized I needed to move back to the farm to help out Mom.  She’s got damn little business running this place on her own.  Oddly enough I’m in a position to help out.

Rosa and I talked.  It wasn’t the best thing, but it was the needed thing.  I drove my brother Wes’ pickup to Vegas to haul home what little remained in Vegas.  Three days down, a few days there (two incredibly good days with Rosa) and three days back to Washington.  It took a few days more to get from Spokane back to Tonasket, but that’s another post….ah well….

Thieving POS… 11/29/12

It’s funny, I’ve been meaning to post something over the last week or so to let folks know what’s been going on, but instead it takes a low-life POS (piece of shit) scumbag asshole stealing our bikes to get me to do it.  Ah well…

Rosa and I have been riding our bikes just about every day on the beautiful River Mountain Trail…a 34 mile paved trail which winds its way through some spectacular desert scenery from Henderson to Boulder City and back again.  Rosa had made it up to over 20 miles.  Her riding skills have improved tremendously.

Unfortunately that has come to an end.  This morning I went down to get something from her Santa Fe and discovered some thieving bastard had cut the cable and stolen both bikes (I’ve got photos I was going to post, but given the day, it only makes sense that I’m having issues getting them to load).

I added up the cost of the bikes and was a bit surprised to see just how much I had invested in them.  I called Rosa’s insurance company so it remains to be seen what will be covered.  If there is a good side to this post its gotta be that they didn’t get my main bike…just my Gunnar…my favorite kick around town bike.  But really it’s Rosa I’m sad for.  She was really getting into the groove of riding and it showed.  Hopefully this won’t set us back too long.

A Tribute to Les

Growing up we always have people we admire.  For me one of those folks was Les Schertenleib.

Les and Edna lived just down the road from us so we saw them quite a bit.  Everything from helping them out during harvest to pulling soft-water taffy, or helping to make mince-meat pie.

Les was, well, a little bit of everything in my eyes.  He was a rancher, owned an orchard, a logger and most importantly, a friend of the family.  When in need he felt comfortable calling on our family and vice versa.

A couple of examples;

When I was young, probably ten or so, Les called Dad and told us to bring guns (Les was the only person I knew who had a mobile phone…long before cell phones).  He had shot a mountain lion…possibly two and didn’t want to go after them on his own.  As I said earlier Les was a rancher and they had been having their way with local livestock.  Mom, Dad, and both brothers grabbed their rifles…all except me!  Off we went into the forest.  We met with Les who was feeling rather sheepish because it turned out the mountain lions were actually bobcats (either would have scared hell outta me).  We helped to haul them down.  They had the softest fur I’d ever felt.  I’m sure I’ve omitted bits but that’s how I remembered it.

I remember when Mom called on Les in the middle of the night to help with the pregnancy of one of our  milk cows.  She was ready to give birth and there was something wrong with the delivery.  Dad was working at Forest Grove, OR and both big brothers were off at college.  Les showed up a few minutes later and he and I went down to the barn.  I’m not sure why Mom wasn’t with us…anyway, it turned out the calf was trying to come out sideways.  He reached up inside her and got the calf turned headfirst.  By this time the cow was too worn out to push so Les told me to wrap a rope around the calf’s front hoofs and we would have to pull it out for her.  Les was really patient with me.  I was scared to death.  We pulled it out and everything was right as rain for both cow and calf.

I guess my favorite memory of Les is one of watching him play guitar and sing with Judy Walker at Sam and Judy’s house.  I don’t know what the party was, but I was mesmerized at how well he played and how many of the old-time cowboy songs they knew.

Several years later Mom gave me a copy of a cassette tape of Les singing those very same songs.  It was the best Christmas present I received that year.

While I was up visiting Mom we went to town and visited with Les at the local nursing home.  He was there mending a broken hip or leg I think.  He was 91, and although hard of hearing, he was lucid as ever.

Mom called me earlier this past week to let me know that Les passed away just a few days after our visit.

It’s with tears in my eyes that I write this, because no one likes to lose their heroes.

Robert Lester Schertenleib
9/2/21 – 10/18/12

And Back to Vegas I Go…10/16-10/19

After spending a couple of weeks with Mom and Gene in Tonasket it was time to head back to Vegas.

My old POS made it back to Spokane without any issues and I dropped it off at Bill’s Import Auto Repair, a fairly small, modest shop in north Spokane.  They had been recommended as being good Subaru mechanics.  I spoke to the owner and told him he would have it until my return in December.  Actually there was a fair amount of discussion between us about what I was considering doing to POS, but I won’t bore you with it.

My brother Wes showed up and gave me a ride back to his house where Ryan’s Subaru was waiting.  We grabbed it, drove back to the shop, unloaded POS, and transferred it all into Ryan’s (including Rosa’s bike on the roof rack).

Prior to heading back to Wes’ I told him I wanted to pick up some .38 cal ammo.  He said the closest place was Warehouse Sports at the Northtown Mall.  As we arrived he directed me to the parking garage….WHAM!!  Yep, Rosa’s bike took a hell of a shock up there….FUCK (sorry folks, no easy way for me to say it).  Besides bending the seatpost, and breaking the Freeload rack, it managed to screw up the roof rack on the car.  After several minutes of frantic work at the top of the ramp we were able to get the bike off the roof and get the hell out of the parking garage.

The rack ‘had’ another level to it and the seatpost used to run straight within the steel frame. Thankfully I didn’t have a Thomson post in there or it would have bent the frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent watching Son’s of Anarchy episodes on Netflix with the occasional F-bomb uttered by me at random moments.

I hit the road with no determined destination, but was headed towards Hood River, OR.  This route took me through the Tri-cities of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, WA.  The area that serves as home to the Hanford Nuclear site, as well as home for the pinhead who bought my beloved BMW vert earlier in the year.  I won’t go into a full-blown rant, partly because it would shine on my own foolishness, but mainly because it would be hard for anyone except pinhead and I to appreciate what happened next.  I decided to stop by pinhead’s workplace to let him know that the final check he had given me had failed to clear and to let him know of my displeasure at having to detour to deal with it.  After a few minutes of discussion it was decided I would follow him to his house where he would make good on the final payment.  As we were driving on the freeway I began to see smoke blowing from the right rear tire.  It was as though my faithful old Beemer was letting me know it would serve no master like it had served me and to prove the point it decided to blow the tire apart in front of my eyes.  Mr. Pinhead wrote me another check on the side of the freeway with the understanding that it would clear the next day (it was promptly cashed the following morning).  Karma is always at work in my world.

I got into Hood River and spent a few wonderful minutes visiting with Ashley and catching up on her latest news regarding her desire to backpack through Europe next year.  She was preparing to open the doors at the sushi house where she works so I didn’t want to take up too much of her time and hit the road to Camas, WA.  Camas is only about an hour and a half away.  I was looking forward to seeing Brandon and Kirsten.  I had met them on my previous visit to Camas and was looking forward to seeing them again.

Brandon and I had a few drinks and some dinner prior to Kirsten showing up.  It gave us some time to discuss some potential business ideas of mine.  Brandon is a shrewd businessman and is an expert in his chosen field of work.  I like being associated with people like this.  You people know who you are…or at least I know who you are.

We ended up going back to Brandon’s where I was graciously given the use of the guest bedroom for the night.  It was a night I won’t soon forget (although parts of it I would gladly if able).  To give you an idea, the next morning over coffee Brandon told me that Kirsten was afraid that he’d “killed the Dos Equis man”.  That brought a smile to my hung over head.

I hit the road again and had a sobering drive to south central Oregon.  For those of you who have never been in this part of the country…well, put it this way, there’s a reason you’ve never been here.  I hit the wide spot of Burns just as the sun was going down.

Mt. Hood seen from Hwy 26.
Mt. Jefferson seen from Hwy 97.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the type of landscape I was driving through in south central Oregon and north central Nevada. Pretty in its own right but not lots of vegetation.
However this is what I was driving along for the better part of seventy miles. What little grass and shrub there was had been burned to the ground.
And I do mean “burned to the ground”. The burn was on both sides of the hwy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnemucca has this old M3 Stuart on display in their Veteran’s Memorial Park. I read the fictitious exploits of this tank and crew as a kid reading G.I. Combat’s, The Haunted Tank.
Vastly outgunned since it only had a 37mm main gun.
I found this old farmstead holding vigil over the road between Austin and Tonopah.
Stark contrast.
Just south of Beatty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the drive through Oregon and Nevada were uneventful, but once again I was taken with the beauty of the Nevada skies.

 

Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig… 8/03 – ?

A few days after Aaron went back to Vegas I decided to work my way back to Mom & Gene’s in Tonasket.  I had the choice of taking either my POS or the newer one, but in good conscience I just couldn’t leave it parked in front of my brother’s for God knows how long.  So, I packed up POS and was on my way.

Once again I wanted to go a route I’d never taken before, so I went directly north with the intention of going as far as I could without crossing the border (they frown on firearms crossing the border).  I drove up towards Newport, WA (just across the state line from Priest River, ID…a beautiful area).  I came across a cow pen with something that caught my eye so I stopped for a pic.

Kinda hard to notice in this shot however….
It becomes quickly apparent that these cattle got an itch!

I gave a ride to a kid hitchhiking who was on his way to Newport.  He was on his way back home from Spokane.  This is something I probably wouldn’t have done in my former life, but I was glad to have done it.  Perhaps it has to do with receiving lifts from time to time as I rode…

I dropped him off and left a message with my nephew Nick, who works nearby in Priest River.  Unfortunately I could only leave him a message.  I grabbed a pretty good rendition of chicken fried steak and eggs at Audrey’s.  Several cups of coffee later and I was underway yet again.

My next stop was in Ione, WA…actually I stopped a few miles outside of Ione, at a farm right next to the Pend Oreille river (pronounced Pon-der-a).  I stopped at a farm to take a photo.  I’m afraid my rendition is a far cry at capturing the beauty of the sheer cliff walls I saw.

It’s too bad this doesn’t convey the beauty of the cliff wall hiding below the clouds.
Owner of the farm “Monte”.
A more distant shot of the same location. Love the clouds.

I was lucky enough to spot this old-timer, Monte, as I got to the farm.  He was kind enough to let me photograph the place and chatted with me for the better part of an hour.  I told Monte I would come visit him again after I got the POS running well enough to come over the pass from Tonasket.  He told me he’d have a pot of coffee waiting for me.  God I love meeting people.

My telling Monte I’d come back to visit once I got the POS running good wasn’t an idle comment.  I call it a POS for good reason.  It’s got over 300k miles and the power plant is worn out.  The valves and probably the top is in dire need of some tlc.  I’ll be getting this done over the course of the next six weeks or so.  I got a clear indication of how worn out it was as I went over Tiger pass.  I had to shift down to third to get over the pass.

So no doubt several of you are wondering why the POS.  Subaru’s ability to travel in snow is legendary.  I don’t believe in the disposable/discardable nature of the world and want to keep it running as long as it wants to.  I know other of you have different takes on this, but oddly enough I didn’t ask you your thoughts because this is mine.  No offense meant.

Howdy boys. There’s a new Sheriff in town, and his name’s Reggie Hammond. This will make sense to you movie buffs.
Ione’s Sheriff’s office and railway depot.
Crystal Falls…east of Colville, WA.

I got home without any fanfare.  Beautiful all the same.

The weather has held with highs in the high 70s.  The lows were evident in the mornings for a few days…

A chill in the air.
A clump of weeds never looked so regal as being frozen for my benefit.

Small town life isn’t for everyone, but anyone who knows me knows that although Las Vegas has been my home town for almost the last 36 years, it was never home.  The Okanogan valley has always had my heart and on this trip I really felt its pull.  It’s time to come home.

Homecoming parade for the Tonasket Tigers.

With that in mind I’ve found a place that’s going up for auction next month.  It’s 2.25 acres.  At first glance you wouldn’t give it a second glance.  But if it can be had at the right price it might be worthwhile.  Only time will tell.

A view from the rear of the property looking towards the road.
Not a helluva lot to look at, but the shell appears to be tight.

Only time will tell what it will auction off at.  I am however, ever hopeful.

Aaron Hits Town…Lets See How This Future Cat Rocks…9/28-9/30

So Rosa flew back to Vegas on Tues and my youngest son Aaron was due to fly up late Thurs night.  Why you ask?  A fair question indeed.  Aaron is a Senior in high school and is still deciding on which university to attend.  I knew he was interested in San Diego St and was surprised to hear he wanted to check out Wash State Univ…home of the Cougars…go Cougs!  Regardless I was happy to know he was coming up.

However, there is more drama to be had prior to his arrival….

Although I’d bonded with the beater POS(my generic reference to my new Subaru…the Roo) I figured it might be a good idea to take it to Rob @ Rob’s Automotive in Spokane Valley.  Wes has been going to him for years and trusts his judgement/ability.  That’s good enough for me.  I called Rob and warned him what I was up to.  It only took a cursory look for Rob to declare my car a heap and demanded its removal in order to keep his property values up.  Well, if I give it some thought perhaps there was more dialogue than that.

About this same time I had been looking for bike racks and came across exactly what I wanted…and guess what, it was mounted to the same model Subaru as mine except ten years newer and in a helluva lot better shape.  Did I mention he was selling the car too??  At a really good price?  Yep, I bought the racks…and the car too.

But getting back to Aaron…He flew in late Thurs evening and I was damn glad to see him.

We took off for our WSU campus tour the next morning and what a good tour we had.  The campus is beautiful and sizable to boot.  I think Aaron was suitably impressed.

He looks thrilled eh?

We spent the rest of the weekend kicking around Pullman, Greg & Jeannie’s house in Colton and down in Lewiston (love the smell of the paper mill!).  All in all it was a good time.

Found this cool old abandoned farmhouse along the 195 Hwy and snapped a couple of shots from the iPhone.

Sunday morning saw us heading over to Moscow to meet a Subaru enthusiast who agreed to look over my POS (did I mention Aaron drove the newer Roo while I drove the POS…it was a Roo caravan…breaker, breaker 1-9).  He pulled the plugs and put in a new set of NGKs and while doing so found one of the wires hadn’t been seated too well on one of the plugs as well as a pin-hole leak in the upper radiator hose.  After all was squared away we took off for Spokane via some back roads I’d never driven.  It was a great drive to Tekoa where we stopped for some chow.

Pretty uneventful.  I got Aaron to his flight on time and asked him to call me when he got back to Vegas.  He did, but it was with bad news.  His dog Cooper had to be put down earlier in the morning.  Coop had been a faithful companion to Aaron, Ryan and Paula for several years and I know his loss will be felt by all…but especially by Aaron.  Without doubt, he was Aaron’s dog.  It’s so easy to get attached to ’em. Via Con Dios Amigo.