Hope Valley

On the way home from South Lake Tahoe yesterday, the Girl and I stopped for a walk along the West Carson River.
On the way home from South Lake Tahoe yesterday, the Girl and I stopped for a walk along the West Carson River.

My meeting in South Lake Tahoe went well yesterday. On the way home, I elected to drive over Luther Pass (California SH 89) and into Hope Valley. My hope (pun intended) was that I might see the aspens before the winds take their leaves. My hope (again pun intended) was that the light would be good enough to make a few captures of the fall color.

Alas, the sky was too hazy for the light to be good. But the leaves are still there (perhaps until the winds this weekend) and the view was breathtaking. That was good.

We stopped at the little roadside park just west from the SH88/89 intersection. The lot was crowded with passersby (as always), but there was a place to park the rig. So, I retrieved my X-T1 from the back, got the Girl off her perch, and locked the rig. We walked the few dozen yards to West Fork Carson River. We encountered only a couple other walkers.

The river burbled along the channel, pushing against the rocks in its path. The Girl hunted squirrels and lizards (but found none). I enjoyed the cool air, the sound of the breeze in the pines, the sound of the river moving along, and the sounds the Girl makes as she snuffles about.

Some yards away I heard an older couple playing with their retriever in the water. The calls of the man and the splashing of the dog added a pleasant counterpoint to the susurrations of wind and water.

The Girl, of course, noticed none of these things… or at least did not acknowledge them as important to her world. Her world comprises the world of sight and scent, which is a completely alien worldview to my own. Yet, these seem complementary as we enjoy many of the same things and enjoy them together. The worlds of man and dog intersect along our boundary of life and energy and we share much.

What would my life be without this Girl in it? I am not completely sure, but I am sure that it would be poorer without her. As I said long ago (and will likely repeat), I think we rescued each other — we are both rescue animals, each from a different place, a different species, a different tribe, but rescues nonetheless.

We wrapped up our respective reveries as we headed back to the rig to travel down the hill and to our (temporary) home. She curled up in the seatpan (bun warmer on) and I drove us down the valley back into Nevada.

I am thankful for these things. Life is good…

Mexican Dam

The Girl and I enjoy the Carson River Trail. That walk takes us from either Silver Saddle Ranch or the Carson River Park to the Mexican Dam (and farther if we'd like). This is a beautiful walk regardless of the time of day.
The Girl and I enjoy the Carson River Trail. That walk takes us from either Silver Saddle Ranch or the Carson River Park to the Mexican Dam (and farther if we’d like). This is a beautiful walk regardless of the time of day.

Over the last week or two, the Girl and I sometimes choose a different walk than our normal routes. The Carson River Corridor is pretty this time of year, as the cottonwoods and other woody vegetation take on fall colors. Plus, with the reduction of irrigation at the first of October, there is more (not a lot, but more) water in the river. The sound of the water passing through the riffles is pleasant and I love it.

So, several times the last week or two the Girl and I chose to walk along the Carson River Trail. The trail is not as challenging as those that take us up in the Prison Hill area, but the walk offers a different kind of outdoor beauty. We both like that.

Mexican Dam is an interesting structure. It was clearly not engineered. However, given the intent of providing enough energy to operate the Mexican Ditch, mass is sufficient in this case and I doubt the dam is going anywhere.

I have to laugh, though, because it is porous and water flows through the concrete at several locations. In addition, the operators placed a few sandbags in the upstream area to boost the head just a bit so that water will enter the headgate at the upstream terminus of the Mexican Ditch.

All that said, the Girl doesn’t really care. She can chase birds and critters. The water is good to drink and feels good on her dusty feet. The dam is too tall to jump from or climb, though, so she has to go around the abutment (or whatever that thing is that Dad says). It is good to be out of the house and in the sun and air. It’s fun when Dad plays, too.

We love being outdoors together. It’s good for both of us.

Fall Comes

The trees are beginning to turn…
The trees are beginning to turn…

There are so many images I want to share. My Resistance is making time to upload a few images at a time, write something that relates to the images, and then scheduling the post. I’m uncertain just why I find this so intimidating.

One afternoon a few days ago, the Girl and I left the hotel room to walk a bit. I needed time away from the computer and the project (paying, yay!) I’m working on. She just wants to be outside and have the opportunity to chase squirrels. So we headed off to the old orphanage at Stewart and Fifth Streets. It’s a couple of blocks from the hotel, although I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands every time I cross Stewart Street at the unregulated crossing near the fire station.

With Stewart crossed, safely, we walked a few more steps and then I released her from the leash. Although Carson City has a leash law, there are places where it is unenforced (so long as the dogs aren’t aggressive). We often meet other four-legged friends at this park and the Girl has an opportunity for a romp. It is good for both of us.

This particular afternoon, though, we were alone. We walked a circuit around the area, me enjoying the early fall weather and the Girl checking every… known… squirrel… hole… I suppose hope springs eternal and she sees (and chases) one of the California ground squirrels often enough to keep her drive up. I really don’t care if she chases them, so long as she returns on command.

I love how she returns, trotting, head and tail up, with that open-mouth doggie grin, satisfied that she chased yet another bushytail to the den. She makes me laugh.

As we walked back west toward yet another opportunity to be hit by an inattentive motorist, I noticed the light shining through this tree. The colors are just beginning to show. I need to get up to Hope Valley to see if the aspens are shining. Perhaps I’ll take an afternoon off next week and drive up that way.

I have a meeting in South Lake Tahoe Wednesday. I think I’ll drive through Meyers and then through Hope Valley. There’s a little park there where the Girl can get out for a run. I could even pack a bite of supper and enjoy the evening air before we return to Carson. I just might do that before the snow flies…

One-Cup Melitta

I bought this little one-cup Melitta to wean myself off coffee singles (expensive) and open the variety of coffees I can sample.
I bought this little one-cup Melitta to wean myself off coffee singles (expensive) and open the variety of coffees I can sample.

Many years ago Battlestar Galactica aired for one season. I was excited about another science fiction series after the demise of Star Trek. A couple who were a few years older than Wife and I were also interested in the series. Herbie was a Ph.D. student and his wife, Marsha, was an environmental engineer. They were close friends through our ties to Christian organizations working on campus.

They were also interested in the new series and so the date was made. We would watch the pilot together at their place that first Sunday evening airing.

On the appointed evening, we arrived. Herbie and I made fresh coffee with a maker similar to the little Melitta pictured above (which is what brought the memory). We then popped corn the old-fashioned way — in a heavy pot with oil and heat.

The preparations made, we gathered in their living room to watch the show together. Their cat adored me and approached me sitting on the floor (yep, I sat on the floor then) and I enjoyed his company too.

The program was just alright. The general audience will never have a taste for hard science fiction. But the company was enjoyable, the coffee and popcorn was good, and BG was good enough to provide entertainment.

The little Melitta coffee maker reminded me of those times. I adored Herbie and Marsha and lost contact somewhere along the way. They were gracious and loving people. I remember them fondly.

Key and Lanyard

I made this lanyard quickly because my key needed one. It's not the final step, I think.
I made this lanyard quickly because my key needed one. It’s not the final step, I think.

The key to my rig has been bouncing around in my pocket for a couple-three months now. I’m in the process of adjusting my EDC to better fit my lifestyle. It appears there are about three stages for my EDC. The first is the always carry and those things are on my person just about all the time. The key to my rig is one of those items.

So, I decided a month ago that my key needs a lanyard. Unfortunately, the lanyard hole was too small for standard 550 paracord. So I didn’t make any progress.

This morning, after walkies and getting my bite adjusted on the new appliance in my mouth, I had a few minutes and remembered putting a small triangular file in my portable toolkit. So, I retrieved some paracord from my kit, got the file out, did test fit to ensure my recollection was correct (measure twice, cut once) — it was — so I started to work with the file.

After about 15-minutes of cut-and-check, I was pretty sure I could pull a length of line through the lanyard hole in the key. so, I cut a piece of paracord, singed the new end, and pulled it through.

Then came the knot-experimentation phase. I tried a couple of times, then decided the project was good enough for the moment and quit. I needed to get the rig to the Toyota House for service and didn’t want to be late.

So this is my first shot at a short lanyard for my 4Runner key. I’m going to work up a finishing knot for the lanyard. Then I expect to use an S-biner or carabiner to clip the key into my new EDC kit.

I’ll get around to describing it and my other levels of EDC at some point. I’m still sorting all that out.

The Pulverizer

This is a piece of heavy equipment. It churned up the asphaltic concrete paving like a rototiller does garden soil.
This is a piece of heavy equipment. It churned up the asphaltic concrete paving like a rototiller does garden soil.

Tuesday evening the Girl and I went out for an evening walk. I mostly just wanted to be outdoors for a while, but also wanted to give her a chance to play, pee and poo, and to walk my regular circuit of Pokéstops.

As we rounded the north end of the Capitol Quadrangle, I noticed that Carson Street was closed and that there was heavy equipment working on the street. That was cool.

We walked a bit south, enjoying the evening air. The Girl was on the hunt for bushytails, although there aren’t many of them at the Capitol. As we exited the Capitol grounds proper, I noticed the machine. It was being pulled by a water truck (with a supply line to the machine) and was chewing up the asphaltic concrete like it was nothing. There was no bouncing, no change in the pitch of the engine to indicate an increased load — just the rumble of the cutters breaking up the pavement and chewing into the base material of the street.

The Girl rolled in the cool grass as I stood there watching the machine work. I made a short video (wished for a tripod) and shot some stills. The backlight was very strong, but I managed to pick up some of the bounce from the front of the Legislature Building. I was struck by the power of this machine.

After a few minutes, we moved on. We were both ready for supper and to settle in for the evening.

I returned in the morning to make the circuit again. Both of us needed walks. As I came around the corner, a worker greeted me. “Do you need to cross?” she asked.

“Nope… I was just admiring the grinder.”

“You mean the pulverizer?” she smiled, “that’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? After 18-years on this job I don’t notice it anymore, but it’s something how it chews up the pavement, isn’t it?”

I nodded as she petted the Girl. Then it was time to move along again, so we said “Good day!” and off we went, back to the room so I could get her vest and go find some breakfast.

What a wonderful encounter to begin the day. I’m truly thankful for such serendipities.

Sunday Morning Walkies

I stopped into Mom and Pop's Diner in Carson City, Nevada, Sunday morning for breakfast. The place has decent food (at least breakfast) and a neat vibe. It's an easy walk from my hotel as well.
I stopped into Mom and Pop’s Diner in Carson City, Nevada, Sunday morning for breakfast. The place has decent food (at least breakfast) and a neat vibe. It’s an easy walk from my hotel as well.

The Girl and I woke about our usual time. She retired early last night, tired and sore. She’s walking with a noticeable limp and was lagging behind me badly during errands yesterday afternoon. She was not interested in much walking last night, so we stayed in. I had laid in some provisions for the next week or so, and was prepared to feed myself (as well as the Girl).

I slept pretty well, especially given that we upped our distances the last couple of days. That’s why we’re both tired — I’m challenging us physically with distance and pace. That’s good for both of us, I think.

This morning we rose and I did my morning thing, some meditation, some coffee, and time to wake. Then we took off walking. I elected to go by the old orphanage to give her some time off-lead. We walked through the Capitol grounds for some exercise and to collect a few Pok&eacute’mon Go items, plus the grounds are beautiful and I enjoy them.

While there, we visited with another walker who was also picking up Pokémon Go items. We bumped into each other on the other side of the circuit about the time the deer showed up.

It's not a great capture, but it is what I got that Sunday morning when the deer came wandering by the Capitol Quadrangle.
It’s not a great capture, but it is what I got that Sunday morning when the deer came wandering by the Capitol Quadrangle.
The Girl really wanted to chase the group. But, I’m not OK with that, so she went into a down-stay. There were a couple of bucks, a couple of does (on with a radio transmitter who appeared to be the lead), and a couple of fawns, still in spots. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my Fuji X-T1 with me (darn it!), but still managed a couple captures with my iPhone that are good enough.

The take-away message to me is to start carrying the real camera along on my walks. Hrm…

I’ve been walking past Mom and Pop’s Diner for years, never stopping in. I decided that this morning I would. So, we crossed Carson Street and stepped inside. Because we were walking, I didn’t have the Girl’s vest on her, so I announced that she’s a service dog. I got no hassle. And, of course, the Girl behaved just like she’s supposed to.

The place has a neat vibe. Breakfast was good and the Girl has the remains of my ham to add to her kibbles for a few more meals. I’m glad I stopped in.

All in all, it was a good morning. We had great walkies, a fun encounter with a herd of deer, and good food. Life is good.

A Lanyard for my Victorinox

A Victorinox EVOgrip 518 and Lanyard
A Victorinox EVOgrip 518 and Lanyard

I had a hank for this really crappy pseudo-550 paracord loose in my kit. Why might I call it crappy? Well, there’s something not right with the core, it seems too fuzzy, for lack of a better term. I’m used to stranded core. In addition, the sheath and core don’t fuse well when scorched.

So, I had this hank of crappy paracord in my kit.

I’ve been carrying this Victorinox EVOgrip 518 multitool in my pocket for awhile. It’s a great piece of kit and very handy to have around. The scissors and bottle opener get a lot of use. The blade is also wicked sharp for a factory grind.

The tool also has a lanyard loop. So, I decided to tie up a lanyard for the Victorinox with that hank of crappy paracord.

The first attempt used a single overhand stopper knot with the loop just through the lanyard ring. It came untied several times and the knot would move around as the loop moved through the ring.

That was unacceptable.

So, I thought there might be enough cord (of the crappy variety) to make a double stopper knot and perhaps a cow hitch in the lanyard ring.

In the process of fiddling with the hank, the sheath and core came un-singed. So, I resigned the offending end, trimming a bit of core off (with the Victorinox, of course). I then tied the cow hitch onto the lanyard ring and used a double overhand stopper knot, which I cinched together fairly tightly.

So far, the lanyard is holding well. It makes an easy grab in the pocket of my cargos. Lanyards are useful, as I’ve come to learn. They’re also fun and simple to make.

A Cup of Tea and a Hank of Line

A cup of tea and a hank of line.
A cup of tea and a hank of line.

A few mornings ago, the Girl and I headed over to Edgewater Park on the Skagit River for an outing. We walked the perimeter of the park on both sides of the bridge (there’s a pedestrian underpass at the bridge abutment on the west side). The Girl was on squirrel patrol — gotta keep those bushytails at bay! She chased a couple of them, which gets her a good sprint into our walks.

It occurs to me that I should practice calling her off when she turns on. It would be a good skill for her to have — return from pursuit on command. I’ll add that to our practice routine. It will be fun, even if she doesn’t want to give up the chase.

On return to the rig, I decided to cook my breakfast right there. So, I got out my kit, retrieved some eggs from the cooler, and got things started. A single yellow jacket came in to investigate, but I shooed it away. I think the Girl got after it too, but I don’t know if she got it. (She really doesn’t like buzzies…)

Breakfast was good. While I ate, I put water on for a cup of tea. I made a nice cup of Earl Grey in my Yeti mug. While drinking my tea, I cleaned up a hank of rope I keep in the tail net of my rig. Sometimes I need a bit of rope to secure something. The hank had loosened in all our travels. So, I cleaned up the frayed end, made a figure-eight coil, and tied it off with a clove hitch. I liked the package, so I put it together with my mug for a still life.

Life is good.

Crater Lake

My visit to Crater Lake was wonderful. I will return.
My visit to Crater Lake was wonderful. I will return.

On Monday, the Girl and I rose early, moved around a bit, and I fed us. I handled a conference call that might (hopefully) lead to some new work. I could use a couple of new projects on the books. Then we loaded out the rig and headed west to intercept the Crater Lake Highway.

As we approached the area, the nature of the geology (volcanic) was striking. I could go back here and spend several days exploring the area. Another visit to Crater Lake (so I could capture images at dawn and dusk) is also appropriate.

I pulled up to the entry gate, showed my “old man’s pass,” and drove on with a map and newsprint in hand. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to look around. But, I could tell that the park was getting busier as the morning aged. So, we drove off to catch East Rim Drive and take in the park.

I was astounded when we pulled off at the first access point. It was a short hike to the edge of the pit. The Native Americans are right — Crater Lake is a holy place. I could imagine the battle between Skell and Llao that they must have witnessed so long ago. That struggle would have been truly heroic.

We spent a couple of hours wandering along the east rim. Then we drove on towards Portland, where my conference is being held this week.