Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sigh, A Very Sad Day.....

As a pet owner, you know the day will come when it's time to say good bye to one of your pets. For Nancy and I, that day has been coming for a while, and today it happened....

The cat we never came up with a name for, the one we just called Little Boy Kitty, passed away at the vet's office at 8:25 this morning...

He's the one upside down...

He came to us a few years ago when we were still living in Prescott, WI. Like all our cats, he was a stray. He found our home and we welcomed him in to the family. He was a tubby little guy with short legs and kind of a short tail. He was over 16 lbs when he came to us. He was one of the sweetest cats you'd ever meet. Not shy, but not overly out going. He loved to jump up and lay with his front paws over my left shoulder. He'd push his chest into the side of my head and purr like crazy. If I sat at the computer, he was on my chest... He liked to be picked up and carried around the house. Many nights he'd jump up on the bed a cuddle into my side. He was crazy about me. When ever I went out to the garage, he was right behind me. He'd follow me everywhere. He was my buddy!

Over the last couple of months, he started to lose weight. At first we thought it was a couple of bad teeth that were affecting his ability to eat. The vet fixed Little Boy Kitty's teeth and we thought things were good. He continued to lose weight, slowly, but he was eating again. Then the vet diagnosed a liver issue and was pretty straight forward with us about the ultimate out come.

The one on the right...

In the last few weeks, his health took a turn for the worse. His little legs had a hard time keeping up with him when he'd run to the cat boxes in the basement. Then he started to have problems keeping food down. In the last few days, he was getting a little wobbly when he'd walk. His spirit never quit thought. He still wanted to be held and was purring right up to the end.

We called the vet Friday afternoon and he said to bring him in this morning and he'd give us his opinion. The vet told us what we knew, his liver was quickly failing and he was down to 8 lbs. 4 oz., and his ears and lips were turning yellow. There was really only one out come...

We brought him home from the vet so that we could bury him in the yard with his toy mouse and his zebra towel. Right next to Vinnie.

Rest in Peace my little buddy!!!!

I just found this................

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Sunny in the morning and shady in the afternoon...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Finally, an Update on My Latest Trip...

When last I posted, I was spending the night in a tent at the KOA in Ely, Nevada. I made it home OK, and I wish I could claim that it was an incident free trip, but things went wrong on Tuesday morning, 6-18-13. I had finished my last blog post that morning because the camp's internet service was very slow the night before.

As I was packing my gear, I noticed that my rear tire looked a bit low. I kicked it and discovered it was dead flat! I hoisted it up onto the center stand and spun the wheel looking for something in the tire.... I found it, I pulled it out with a pliers and it looked like a rusty chunk of barbed wire.

I carry a Stop & Go brand tire plug kit with me and it has 4 CO2 cartridges to re-inflate the tire. I used the tool to plug the tire, and a guy from the neighboring tent site loaned me his bicycle tire pump to inflate it. It took a few attempts to get the plug in the tire, but in the end it worked quite well. I'm going to have to rethink my choices after this. I think I'd prefer some type of patch/plug with glue, and a pump powered off the cycle battery.

I had originally planed to ride out into the middle of Nevada, but with a glue less, mushroom headed plug in my tire I was rethinking that idea. It's not uncommon for it to be over 150 miles between small towns, and traffic can be light to non existent! Think of most of Nevada as America's Outback! If a person went missing off the beaten path, it might be days, weeks, or ???? before you'd be found. With that in mind I decided to get the tire patched with something a bit more permanent, before I traveled out to the middle of no where!

I drove into town and stopped at Gale Oil and Tire. They were great. They said if I took the wheel off and put it back on, they could patch the tire from the inside. Great, no problem, right? I mean I do all my own tire work and I have the 32mm socket and breaker bar with me, how hard could this be...

I had the tire off in just a few minutes. I usually use a small piece of 1"x6" scrap deck material under the center stand, just to rise up the rear a tiny bit. It makes it easier to roll the wheel out from under the bike. All they had was a bunch of pieces of 4"x4".. I finally found something thinner, more like a true 2"x4"... A bit thicker than I normally use..... I'm sure some of you can guess what happens next?

I had the tire off and Randy took his time dismounting and remounting the tire so he didn't scratch the rim. Thank You! It didn't take him long to put a patch over the hole on the inside and get the tire aired up and ready to put back on the bike. He was an interesting guy with lots of stories!

This is when my day turned bad! I rolled it back under the bike, slipped in the spacers, lifted it up so I could slip the axle though.... That's when I noticed some sand had blown onto the greasy axle. I held the tire in place with my foot and attempted to reach for a near by rag. That's when it happened. The bike rolled forward and off the center stand. It crashed to the ground, landing on it's right side! $$$$$

The guys from the shop ran out and lifted the bike up, while I got out from under it. I reset the stand and blocked the front wheel. I was so mad at my self. Once the wheel was back on, I sat and contemplated what was next.

I tried to call home and get Nancy's input but she was out for the day. I know she would have convinced me to break open the wallet, buy a replacement tire, and keep going. In the end, I decided to head for home. The GPS said 1640 miles.

I left Ely, Nevada about 1:00 in the afternoon. I drove up Alt-93 to Wendover and took I-80 to Lyman, WY, where I stayed in another KOA. The next day's ride was Lyman, WY to Rapid City, SD. The last day was the longest, 775 miles to home! The last 50 miles in rain and the last 10 in darkness.

I did get a chance to play with the GoPro. I shot some video while riding up US 85 from the WY-SD border up towards Lead, SD. When I get time to edit it, I'll post a link to YouTube.

It wasn't a total failure as a trip. I met some pretty interesting people along the way.. The guy in Ely, that loaned me his tire pump for example. He and his wife retired and sold heir home, gave their kids a bunch of stuff, sold the rest, bought a new pick up truck and now spend their time travelling... homeless by choice. He was very interesting to talk to. The strange thing is he has political and religious views similar to me... hummm. I guess living in a tent out of a pick up is not much different that owning a huge RV and no home. With internet banking and on-line bill pay, who needs a home!

I didn't snap many pictures on the way home, but I did stop for a shoe/hat/glove tree along US-93, south of Wendover...

I tried to get a few pictures of the dry salt flats along the road too.

If you Google, Blue Lake, Tooele, UT, switch to "Satellite View" and zoom out, you'll see just how big the area of salt around the famed Bonneville Salt Flats is.

The trip was 4099 miles.

1 flat tire

$700 in damaged plastics + another $178 for a replacement tire.... ouch!

9 days of riding with just a bit of rain on 2 of them.

Lowest price/gal for Premium... $3.49 Casper, WY Exxon

Highest price/gal for Premium.. $4.48 right here at home, BP station

Lots of interesting people, and more fun that I've had in a while, even with the unfortunate body damage!

I tried to update earlier, but no matter what I wrote, it sounded like I was the worlds biggest whiner!!!

Do I replace the cracked and scuffed plastic???? It's only cosmetic... OR, do I just ride it and leave the damage as a symbol that my bikes get ridden and used????

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 6 of the Trip to ? : Getting Closer to ?

This post is a day late due to slow internet! It's for Monday 6-17.

I had a very good day today. It started with a photo opportunity right across the street from the motel. It's not every day you see a submarine conning tower in the middle of town.

I also had to stop for the Arco City Hall pic.

After gassing up, I headed south. I made a quick stop at the overlook just before Craters of the Moon N.M. It looked about the same as it did the last time I was there. As I was walking back to the bike, a woman pulled up in her pick up truck and as she was getting out, her dog bolted out the open door and headed straight for me, tail wagging and smiling! The dog just wanted attention. The woman apologized and walked over to get her dog. We spent nearly 20 minutes talking about motorcycles and riding in California and Nevada. She was headed back home to her ranch near Helena Montana.

I took a few shots of the lava rock along side the highway.

When I arrived in Twin Falls, I saw this sign... I must be getting close!

I'm not a fan of heights. I prefer to be standing on level ground, and not at the top of a mountain. I knew the bridge over the Snake River in Twin Falls was high, I just didn't know how high. I checked out the little park at the south end of the bridge, after I had already crossed it. Good thing I didn't stop on the north end!

I know that 12" of concrete on top of some 12" I-beams is more than strong enough to hold a bunch of people, probably many large trucks too, but there was no way I was walking out on this!

Earlier in the day my glasses started hurting my nose. When I looked at them I saw that one of the little silicone nose pads was only half there. On my way through town I saw a place to get them fixed. For $4.00 they replaced both pads, tightened the screws and cleaned my lenses. It was like I got new glasses!

Just before the Idaho-Nevada border, there was a huge dust devil twirling away just off the road...

Another State sign...

This is part of the reason I love riding in Nevada... It's the middle of no where.. (Next Gas 136 Miles)

There was a line of NHP cars coming towards me on the highway. I pulled over and stopped like required, one of the troopers told me there was a WIDE load coming, and to get over as far as possible. A minute later, A semi with a huge dump truck box on the back passed by. It took up both lanes!

George F. I think you'll recognize this sign?

Another reason I enjoy riding in Nevada so much it the terrain. There are few large mountains, and most of the roads are in the basin or valley between them. On the was down to the KOA in Ely, I was riding in a valley. it looked pretty much like this on both sides of me.

Another cool night in the tent. The temp this morning is 44. I tried to post this last night, but the internet service was SO SLOW! It's better this morning, I think everyone's still sleeping!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Quick Morning Post...

I feel better today, rested and ready to go! I thought I'd share a couple of pictures Nancy emailed me the other day. Apparently the Bears have come to enjoy our back yard....

We have 4 of them that visit, twin small ones, maybe last years cubs, a big one and a huge one, maybe mom and dad??

When the "mom" stands on her hind legs, she's about 5' tall. We haven't seen the really big one stand up yet. A neighbor estimated his height at 8'...????

Nancy watched the couple interact, and said that the smaller one really keeps the big one in line. She nips at him and he just lays down and stays there... hehehe A hen pecked poppa bear!

Off to Nevada...

Day 5... Still en-route to ? : Magpies and TacoTimes

Not much to say today other than... Did you ever have one of those days?

For some reason I just couldn't get my head in the game. It started this morning with indecision about where to go today. It continued after a late breakfast when I knew I needed gas, but for some reason I blew it off and kept going. I turned off of the interstate and headed south to see Flaming Gorge. Well that was my intention anyways. There was another gas station at the top of the exit ramp, but their prices were almost $1 a gallon higher than the station I passed after breakfast. Pride got in the way as I thought, "I am not paying that much for gas". 30 miles later on the road to Flaming Gorge, the low fuel light comes on. It's too far to make it around the loop if I were to continue, so I have no choice but to back track.

On the way out, I refuse to stop at the station I passed on my way in. I hop back on I-80 and exit a few miles later at Green River, WY. My brain cloud continues to follow me. I pull up to the gas pump and swipe my card... the machine asks for my zip code but I can't read the numbers, the printing on the keys is worn off. The pump times out and it re-asks for my zip code. I enter it wrong. Now I have to see the cashier if I want gas. She has no problem with my card, but asks me how much I want to put in.... brain cloud.. $10.00? I know that wont fill it but it will get me on my way.

About this time I realize how hot it is. I feel sweat running down my arms and I remember I have the liner in my mesh jacket. After fueling up I get a bottle of water and try to look at my maps... brain clouds again... I can't decide where to go. I know I have to get off the interstate, I can't take the traffic anymore. I finally decide to run up US 30 towards Kemmerer, WY.

I make it to Kemmerer and know I need gas because the $10 I put in is gone. I roll up to the pump, swipe my card and realize it's a diesel only pump. I have to hit cancel and hope my card still works for me on the gas pump. I filled up and took a long break in the shade and drank more water and Gatorade. I called home and told Nancy about my credit card snafu. 2 years ago, Nancy got a call from Visa while I was on a road trip. They wanted me to call them because I swiped my card in a pump and it asked for some code I'd never heard of. I cancelled the transaction and went across the street to fill up. They wanted to make sure I was still the one using my card. I wouldn't be surprised if they call again after today!

I think I recovered after Kemmerer. While I was talking to Nancy she thought that I should swing up to Pocatello, ID and see the brother, Bill. We set up a meet for around 5:30 at the first exit to town. I called Nancy to tell her I was there, and she called Bill. He showed up less than 5 minutes later. I had a good burger at a place just down the street. I also got to meet his girlfriend, Linda. After dinner, I felt even better. I continued out to Arco, ID. I got a hotel room so I can relax, do laundry, take a long shower....

I hope my head's clearer tomorrow! As for the title.. Magpies and TacoTimes... well I know I'm out west when I see them. We don't have Magpie birds in WI and TacoTime is a western area chain restaurant, like Taco Bell.. only better!

Magpie... thank you Google Image search..


Another State sign...

The rest of the pictures from today aren't worth posting, kind of like the ones above....sorry!