Friday, September 30, 2011


Living on the road like we do, people always ask, where are you from?  The answer  is complicated  for Jim since he is in his sixteenth year of  living  full-time in a motor home. Many askers claim they would do it if only…
It takes courage to sell what you own, give up a complete former lifestyle and hit the road full-time. Many do it in stages by  simplifying home life, taking longer and longer trips. Or, living in two places in their RV, a summer climate in winter, and a winter climate in summer.
Traci, raised six children, her youngest just leaving home at 18, and she is rarin’ to go.  Over the years Jim has figured out how to live  life on the road economically as a  full timer.  When Traci wanted to make her dream come true, she found out renting an RV, paying mileage and then paying park fees, the cost for even a month was more than she wanted to pay.
She, and many who ask, are probably not going to be full timers on the road, but there are millions of full and half timers on the road, enjoying a carefree life, free of  responsibilities, living  simply and enjoying it.  I found links to three informative sources of information for wannabees, and there were several more.  If that fits your dream, have a look.
We enjoyed an evening of sociability at the Moose Club in Wilsonville, OR.

We watched the Thursday Night dart games after the potluck dinner. New to me- electronic dart boards. Players insert money and enter their name. The board tracks the score, and flashes the name of the next player up . Each team plays two games.

It is competitive game, but the players were obviously having fun.

Also new to me was a battery operated wine cork remover.  Not a bad idea considering how difficult it can be to remove the new plastic corks.

Earlier in the day we went to the grocery store and I took this picture of the parking lot.  You would never see a parking lot with beautiful shade trees at a shopping center in California. They would have mowed those trees down for a few more parking places and less maintenance and given you pure,  hot asphalt.  Reminds me of that  song…”pave paradise, and put up a parking lot…”

Thursday, September 29, 2011


My friends, to know where we came from it may interest you to see a picture of the oldest car in the world that is still running.  And, it runs on water.
Commissioned by French entrepreneur, Count de Dion, and built by Georges Bouton and Charles-Armand Trepardoux, the 1884 De Dion steamer was nicknamed “La Marquise” after the Count de Dion’s mother. Measuring just nine feet in length, La Marquise features twin compound steam engines, “spade handle” steering and seats four people “dos-a-dos” (back-to-back). The seats are located on top of the steel tank, which holds 40 gallons of water, good for about 20 miles; its sophisticated boiler, fed by coal or coke, can be steamed in 45 minutes. Of course, it has to stop every 20 miles to refill the water tank, but isn’t that a gas!  (Pun intended)  The car is currently up for auction.
Hydrogen “steam” technology is making some headway, but electrics are far an away the choice for the new cars all over the world.
I’m so into the new cars, the electrics and the possibilities. There are literally hundreds of them out there. But, our good congress people don’t support new technologies with much effort because half or more of them are too busy bickering and beholden to the oil companies. Too bad we can’t fire the whole bunch and start over with new rules.
Take a look at some of the innovative cars in other countries:

A British car conversion, powered by coffee grounds.

A sporty Chinese electric that may or may not be built by Ford Motor Company. Hmmm!

This is BMW’s electric scooter. I own an electric scooter, and a Prius. But this scooter is much sexier than the one I have. Hoo, hoo!
France will put 4,000 new sporty electrics on the road in 2012.  (Couldn’t find the picture.)
The prediction is that electrics are going to be the cars of the future. They are getting better and better. There is an ECON show going on in Missouri where home conversions are on display. One couple converted their Opel from a Youtube video instruction.It isn’t that hard, folks.
I’m in Wilsonville, OR. visiting Portland with a very competent Real Estate person over the next couple days. So, I will try and find the innovative technologies I promised in yesterday’s blog.
If you are really into new technologies, try Gizmag Emerging Technologies Magazine online and Gas 2.0. where most of this information came from.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


William Howard Taft was the President of the United States in 1910.  He was a Republican and called the Trust Buster President because he broke up over-large corporations with  monopolies  on products.
He strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission , promoted Civil Service Reform and strengthened the Postal Service. He also passed the Constitutional Amendment establishing income tax.  The business interests of the day hated him and predicted the downfall of the United States over such horrifying changes.
Instead, we had years of prosperity and a burgeoning middle class. Workers made money and spent it and made  more money for Wall St. than even Wall St. moguls imagined.
Today, we have a political civil war going on, its all about money and power, not the working people of our nation. We have a war on the middle class and an out of touch electorate.
Consider this quote from the past:
“We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers’ salaries and take away their right to strike.”
- Adolf Hitler, May 2 1933
That quote has a frighteningly current ring to it among some politicians and media moguls I’ve heard.
There are hundreds of Electric vehicles being developed around the world. Fast vehicles that go the distance.  Design engineers from every country develop amazing new technologies. These new industries could provide jobs but our politicians can’t see beyond their own personal power cartel called a campaign committee, its sole energy devoted to getting them re-elected.

Published on Monday, May 9, 2011 by The Guardian/UK

Renewable Energy Can Power the World, Says Landmark IPCC Study

UN’s climate change science body says renewables supply, particularly solar power, can meet global demand

by Fiona Harvey
Renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world’s energy supply within four decades – but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power, according to a landmark report published on Monday.

This is America under a corpocracy, not a democracy. A blighted section of Detroit, after Ford closed their plant and sent production overseas. And, who is getting blamed for a neighborhood that should be bulldozed?  Not the Governor of this state. Not the Feds. It is the poor people, mostly immigrants who have moved into sectors and formed a community. People are rightfully fearful that because it is poverty stricken, crime and drug riddled, we will have a homegrown terrorists breeding ground.
America is getting more and more blighted neighborhoods because of the mortgage crisis. Some states, like Ohio, is taking over from the banks we bailed out with billions of taxpayer dollars, these blighted areas and fixing them up as low cost rentals for people who have marginable jobs, some who lost the homes can rent them back. Its government housing but not the low cost projects called instant slums from the past.

And the business sector that can fix our problems if only we allow them to be unfettered and unregulated?  This is one example of how they do it. This youtube video is very short and to the point.

Read the preamble to our constitution and ask yourself, what part of Promote The General Welfare do our politicians not understand?
promote the general Welfare
This, and the next part of the Preamble, are the culmination of everything that came before it — the whole point of having tranquility, justice, and defense was to promote the general welfare — to allow every state and every citizen of those states to benefit from what the government could provide. The framers looked forward to the expansion of land holdings, industry, and investment, and they knew that a strong national government would be the beginning of that.
I’ve had my rant for today. I hope to blog in the days ahead, as we travel the road south, some positive values to counteract the negative here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


A storm convinced us to stay put for an extra day. During a break in the storm, I took a walk and met  these two girls on the trail.

At Chehalis it’s clear, they have the right of way.

They weren’t shy about insisting on their rights.

They crossed right in front of me.

The oldest one first, the youngest second. They weren’t in a hurry.

Possibly conscious of the speed limit sign which was posted on the opposite side of the road.

I  had to move on.

It was all rocks from then forward.


When I returned to the motor home, Jim was arranging his reading material.

He reads one author at a time. Cuts masking tape squares and numbers them in the order to be read. What can I say?  An engineer.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Moving south, Vancouver/Portland today. Leaving the parks, the deep woods, the beauty…the rain.  Well, it did rain most of yesterday and its been a cool (but enjoyable) summer. In fact, we walked for an hour and forty-five minutes on Saturday, taking pictures mostly. Practice with the new camera for me.  We used our  rainy day for doing the washing and house cleaning. Sample my pictures. I’m trying to improve my photography since we do so much of it.
I can’ seem to get enough of  moss coated trees.
A Fern beginning to turn yellow. At one time a major industry in Chehalis was shipping ferns to nurseries.
Amazing that only one leaf on this tree had turned color. Why this one?
Weeds with the delicacy of a Japanese painting.
I almost tossed this photo but Jim showed me how to crop it into something closer and more appealing.
Horsetail reminds me of bamboo.
A bright leaf attracts the eye.
 Peeking through the trees.


Fairy seeds blowing in the breeze.

Oregon Grape.

Peeling bark.

Chehalis has been one of the quietest places to stay. Of course, it’s off season by now. Lovely.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Chehalis, the town, has a very historic feel to it, yet prosperous and friendly.

Triangle buildings. The St. Helen’ s Hotel. Now refurbished as apartments. The cross walks all have garden meridians and marble insets right in town. The town was founded in 1873.

Jim and I wondered if this building was up to code?

I like old buildings and there were many of them here. I stopped a woman on the street and asked her:  What is your favorite place in Chehalis?
She hemmed a bit. Sweet Inspirations, a restaurant came to mind. “Good food, good people, and they have a bathroom now,” she added.

Old wood, brick. Charming.

Another thing about the commercial buildings on the highway through town is the depth. Buildings here suggest a former thriving city.
“The Bakery,” the best, she said.

It smelled great when we walked by. "Oh, no, my very favorite place is the old mercantile. They’ve turned it into this fabulous gift shop. I’m in there looking every time I come to town." She explained to me that she was born and raised in Chehalis and went off to college and came back because she loved it here, even though there aren’t many high paying jobs. “Amend that to NO high paying jobs,” she laughed.  She explained that it has a small town feel. Everyone knows everyone. The business people are friendly and helpful. It’s a great place to live and raise children.

An independent book store, with a whole line of art supplies  that’s been open for at least 30 years. I value independent book stores over the chains.

I spotted a Pub And Grill and thought maybe they made home-brew. It wasn’t open, but M & K next door was. His barrel suggests he has 101 different kinds of wine. He said, “Oh, that was last year, I have more now. I just haven’t changed the sign.”

He has a good selection of craft beers.

He carries  mint products made in Chehalis. Candy, snacks and drinks, some alcoholic.

I didn’t much care for the gift shop, but the town as a whole looks cared for and happy.

This building was once a car dealership. Hard to imagine.

On the next street over “downtown” continued with more modern buildings if you call that old Zenith sign Modern. Nice town. Beauty shops, computer repair, huge hardware, anything you need. It sits halfway between Olympia and Portland and me thinks they get plenty of “tourists”.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Downtown Chehalis has an excellent motorcycle collection located in the Hotel Washington. You enter the museum on the second floor of the hotel which in itself is a sight to see. Visages of its swanky past, gorgeous windows,  hardwood floors, an old key keeper like those you see in old-time  romantic movies where the lover peeks to see what room key the girl is handed by the hotel clerk. In the public restroom, each visitor is provided a thick white hand towel instead of paper towels. Now that is class.

The collection contains brands and types of motorcycles most people have never heard of. We met an avid rider, biker, camper, rv-er with his wife.  Watching his joy and overhearing his reminiscences was part of the enjoyment. He once rode a Flying Merckel like this one, he told me.

The guy talked about what a scary ride this bike was if you were the front facing passenger with no control of the bike.

The first belt driven machine I ever saw,though I learned many early bikes were belt driven.
First American bike. Note the wooden wheels/tires.

From 1960, a space age molded fiberglass model by Bowdon, only 522 were  made. Clearly an oddity way before its time. Like cars, motorcycles went through myriad designs before the standard machines we see today.

And this oddity.

Motorcycles have gone mainstream, they are safer, but I still  think of motorcyclists as the wild, daring ones, snubbing their noses at convention, wearing outlandish leathers and tattoos. The outfits of yesteryear started with leather boots, goggles and soon all  leather for warmth and safety. They started the traditions we see today.

Movies capitalized on that sense of adventure and daring.  A Harley Indian used by James Garner, Steve Mc Queen and other stars was accompanied by this letter of authenticity from the owner.

The machines are jammed tightly together and picture taking is difficult. The Sheriff of Calaveras County during the 1970‘s, Claud Ballard, was a Cherokee Indian born in Oklahoma Territory before it was a state. He showed me his Harley Indian that he road all the way to California in the 1930’s  looking for better work. He patted his badge and said “Not bad for an ole’ boy off the reservation.”

Roy Burke , a prize winning racer, beat the odds, doing what he loved.

This is his epitaph

Other related artifacts  make this a great visit.


A truism, maybe.

The belt from a race car.

A soda fountain from the 1950’s brought back a few memories. The room holds a Wurlitzer juke box, a motorcycle repair garage set up, and a  Road Kill Cookbook just for fun.

Even if you don’t like motorcycles, you can’t help but enjoy this museum.