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September 30, 2011

Coneheads Play Family Feud

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hamster on a Piano

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 30, 2011 at 10:31 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

On The Road

Today, I finished reading "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac. It took me about 2 months to read the book, because I kept picking it up and putting it down. But I loved the book. Kerouac was a genius, IMHO.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 30, 2011 at 9:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Monkeying Around

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 30, 2011 at 5:15 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 29, 2011

How much for the dog?

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 29, 2011 at 1:32 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Dog

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 29, 2011 at 9:45 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 28, 2011

Fall Foliage Tour

I'm going for a little ride on the XR. Plan is to go up Fall River Road to Alice, Colorado. Near Alice, I go off road on Forest Service roads, up past the Loch Lomond overlook, then basically north, and then eventually hit hardtop at Rollinsville, returning by way of the Peak to Peak Highway. If I don't post back that I'm safe and sound by midnight MST, send help. :)

Update: I made it back alive. :)

Basically, I went up Fall River Road and then turned onto Alice Road and went up to Loch Lomond. Then, I backtracked and found the forest service road up to the Loch Lomond overlook. Essentially, I followed Forest Service Road 353 from there.

According to my GPS:
Trip Odometer: 105 miles
Max Speed 78.6 mph
Total Ascent: 12,088 feet
Max Elevation: 11,980 feet


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 28, 2011 at 3:08 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Sic Transit Gloria

I'm washing Rushmore again. Sic Transit Gloria. "Glory fades".

"She's my Rushmore, Max."

"Yeah, I know. She was mine too."

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 28, 2011 at 2:17 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Reason We're Not Immortal

http://io9.com/5844172/computer-model-reveals-what-would-happen-if-humans-became-immortal

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 28, 2011 at 12:23 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Relocating Coons

I just relocated two coons this morning. That brings the total count to five, if I'm not mistaken. Two of them were big ones, and I had to get my neighbor to help me relocate them down the hill. But three of them were smaller, and I was able to relocate them without any assistance from the neighbors.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Bottle Rocket

Today, I watched the movie "Bottle Rocket" and I was noticing that some of it was shot in Dallas and slowly, I realized that, somehow, I'd never seen the end of it. I'd only seen the first half of the movie, for whatever reason. Not that it has a great ending, but it's a good movie and I was surprised to realize that I'd never seen the movie all the way through.

I got the same feeling that I had in August when, while driving up the Sonoma coast, I realized that, somehow, I'd never seen it before. Eventually, I realized that I'd skipped it on my last great adventure. I took the US101 North, and on the way back down the coast, just south of Mendocino, I cut off from CA 1 and took CA 128 back to the US101. I'd bypassed the entire coast of Sonoma County. Somehow I'd glossed over that in my memory.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 28, 2011 at 10:04 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 27, 2011

Killer Whale Impersonates an Outboard Engine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X8nIXTtgBk

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 27, 2011 at 9:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

USA vs. England

http://i.imgur.com/bMwVK.jpg

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 27, 2011 at 8:42 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Whitehouse Can't Find Colorado on a Map

Yeah, I hate to tell you dimwits, but that's not Colorado. (I froze the webpage in case they figure out the difference between Colorado and Wyoming. Original post is here.)

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 27, 2011 at 5:28 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 25, 2011

6 Parodies That Succeeded Because Nobody Got the Joke

http://www.cracked.com/article_19419_6-parodies-that-succeeded-because-nobody-got-joke.html

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 25, 2011 at 8:22 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Is the Movie 'Catfish' Real or Fake?

Is Catfish Real or Fake? It's fake, sorta.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 25, 2011 at 6:38 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

William Clark's Descendants Replace Canoe He Stole 205 Years Ago

http://news.bostonherald.com/news/national/west/view/20110925william_clarks_descendants_replace_stolen_tribal_canoe/srvc=home&position=recent

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 25, 2011 at 6:58 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 24, 2011

Aerial Photography with Trash Bags

http://www.projecttbac.org/

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 24, 2011 at 11:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Insanely Cool Story

Today, I stumbled across this little gem:

"In case you weren't aware, I am a military operations research analyst for the U.S. Army. One of the stories associated with the origins of my field of work involves a study of Royal Air Force bombers returning to England after missions over the Continent during WWII. Time and time again the same parts of aircraft were pockmarked with holes from enemy anti-aircraft fire. A study was convened to determine ways to reinforce those areas of the aircraft in order to protect the crew. Prior to the study's conclusion Patrick Blackett, an experimental physicist and early operations research proponent, offered the seemingly counterintuitive idea that the focus was completely wrong. Instead of looking at where the holes were, they should concentrate on where the holes weren't. Since every part of the aircraft was equally likely to be hit by enemy fire, the real threat to the safety of the crew was in those areas of returning aircraft that almost never saw damage-his idea being that, when damage occurred in those areas, the aircraft likely didn't return.

Blackett's mathematically based intuition, was of course, correct. The areas of returning aircraft that exhibited comparatively little damage were places like cockpits and fuel tanks. The larger lesson was that sometimes what we see obscures our ability to see what isn't there.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 24, 2011 at 10:38 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 23, 2011

Amy Kuney - All Downhill From Here - One Tree Hill

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 23, 2011 at 7:43 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 21, 2011

President Zero - We're Just Getting Started

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 21, 2011 at 9:27 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

CEO Fined for Hiring Too Many Employees

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/09/20/ceo_tells_congress_he_was_fined_for_hiring_too_many_people.html

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 21, 2011 at 8:18 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 19, 2011

Football, Religion, and BBQ in the Lone Star State

The most important things in Texas are Football, Religion, and BBQ, and not necessarily in that order. I walked into Mike Anderson's today for lunch and it's hard to know what to get. BBQ places are always that utilitarian large room with picnic tables, rolls of paper on the table. Zero atmosphere. No ambience. BBQ isn't about being refined and delicate. It's sort of a no-holds-barred kind of meal where, between the entree, sides, and praline desert you could easily end up swallowing enough calories to hibernate clear through to spring.

I never know what to get, but you don't want to put them off, of course. They're always sort of put off by people, in general. They're proud and haughty and condescending don't take well to people that don't know how to order. Most of the people are regulars, of course.

The guy behind me orders "the Monster - all the way". I'm not even clear what that is, but I make a mental note to order one next time I'm in.

The guy at the register remembered me. Even remembered my name. I started making small talk with him...it went something like this:

"You know...last week I went into Sonny Bryan's for lunch...and I gotta say...I like this place better."

"Wow. I'd rather not'a knowed that," he replied.

"Do what? No...you misunderstood...I'm saying I like this place better."

"Look'a here. You're not from here...kay? Shopping around at different BBQ places is like changing religions. It's just not done. And if you do do it, you shore as hell don't need ta be tellin me about it."

I'm not sure if he was joking or not, but I suspect he wasn't.

When I was working in Austin a few years back, I told Chuck Mueller that I'd gone to his dad's BBQ store and he cut me off in a hurry.

"I shore wish you hadna tole me that. That's nothing to me. That's none of my concern."

In the Lone Star State, you choose your religion, your BBQ, and your football teams very carefully. And you don't go swapping sides once you choose, apparently.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 19, 2011 at 9:22 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 18, 2011

The Deer Out Back

I told Jen today that the deer will be going into rut soon, so I don't want her going out back without a pistol. They're not in rut yet, which actually surprised me. The bucks are still hanging together. We jumped these bucks today on a run through the woods on the ATV. It's funny how you always look at your land and think of ways to improve it, but really you can't improve it over what nature does on it's own. My neighbor spent all summer with a chainsaw clearing downed trees. I left mine. The deer left his woods and came over to mine. No big surprise. They like to lay up in the thick stuff.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2011 at 4:53 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Nature's Way of Saying 'Do Not Touch'

Jennifer and I drove around back to put up a new salt/mineral lick for the animals. We were checking out the Choke Cherries (Prunus virginiana) when we spotted this black and yellow caterpillar with intimidating white spikes. We brought it up to the house to get some shots and investigate it further. Turns out it's the caterpillar phase of a Spotted Tussock Moth (Lophocampa maculata).

Reportedly, it has "urticating (irritating) hairs to which some people are allergic. " Needless to say, we didn't touch it.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2011 at 4:01 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

San Francisco's Downward Spiral

Wow. Two innocent people shot by San Francisco police in North Beach. This happened on Broadway, on the street where I used to live in San Francisco. This city is going downhill so fast you just can't imagine. It's a jungle out there. Makes LA look like Mayberry.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 18, 2011 at 5:25 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 17, 2011

Kenosha Pass - A Prelude to the Fall

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 17, 2011 at 5:31 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Baby Barn Swallows

Jennifer found these baby Barn Swallows at school and rescued them. The nest was on the ground, and one was deceased and covered in ants. These two have survived quite well on a diet of Iams dry dog food mixed with water. Their names are "Napoleon" and "Cotton Swab". ("Cotton Swab" is in the foreground. "Napoleon" is (always) the one hiding in the background.)

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Raptor Remnants

We stumbled across the remains of a raptor today. I'm not clear what it is/was. I would initially think a Red-tailed Hawk, but wings lack patagial markings. So, I dunno what it is really. I posted on Whatbird.com.

From Whatbird commenter Cavan Wood:

"The shape and the pattern on primaries and primary coverts looks good and t's large. Check the leading edge of the primaries to see if they have the tell-tale fringe of an owl.

http://www.owlpages.com/image.php?image=articles-Owl+Physiology-Feathers-3"

Update: So, this is something I was not aware of. The leading edge of the primaries on an owl have this tell-tale fringe that reduces the sound of air flowing over the feathers, allowing them to fly more quietly. Very cool. So, it's a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). Mystery solved.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Last Month was one of the Coolest Augusts on Record

Something you won't hear the global warming alarmists mentioning any time soon is that
"Last month was one of the coolest Augusts on record".

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 17, 2011 at 11:54 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 16, 2011

Only in California - The $2M Doublewide

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ontheblock/detail?entry_id=97670

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 16, 2011 at 1:23 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Reagan's Son to Challenge Diane Feinstein

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/16/MNJT1L533F.DTL&tsp=1

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 16, 2011 at 9:44 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 15, 2011

A Specific Elsewhere

I talk to people sometimes and then when they talk...they say absurd things like "No, I've not seen the Oregon coast" and "Oh, I've not read 'On The Road' " or "I've never been to Vancouver" and I'm just not sure how to reach these people. Not sure how to explain to them how important it is to read On The Road and drive a motorcycle up the Oregon Coast. I just dunno about these things. They're beyond me. But I did want to share some gems I found in the book tonight on the plane:

Jack Kerouac, On The Road - Part 4, Chapter 2 - Sal Paradise

"Suddenly I had a vision of Dean, a burning shuddering frightful Angel, palpitating toward me across the road, approaching like a cloud, with enormous speed, pursuing me like the Shrouded Traveler on the plain, bearing down on me. I saw his huge face over the plains with the mad, bony purpose and the gleaming eyes; I saw his wings; I saw his old jalopy chariot with thousands of sparkling flames shooting out from it; I saw the path it burned over the road; it even made its own road and went over the corn, through cities, destroying bridges, drying rivers. It came like wrath to the West. I knew Dean had gone mad again."

Jack Kerouac, On The Road - Part 4, Chapter 4 - Sal Paradise

"Laredo was a sinister town that morning. All kinds of cab-drivers and border rats wandered around, looking for opportunities. There weren't many; it was too late. It was the bottom and dregs of America where all the heavy villains sink, where disoriented people have to go to be near a specific elsewhere they can slip into unnoticed. Contraband brooded in the heavy syrup air. Cops were red-faced and sullen and sweaty, no swagger."

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/On_the_Road

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 15, 2011 at 10:00 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 14, 2011

The Donkey Whisperer

This guy Roger Williams is running for the Texas state congress. I think he's a shoo-in.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 14, 2011 at 10:25 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Scolding Jays

Now that I'm back in Texas, I love to be scolded by the Blue Jays and hear the absurd songs of the Mockingbirds. Texas is all about BBQ and toll roads and big huge gas-guzzling cars.

Last night, I was at Tom's trying to figure out what to do with my silly Diet Coke can. In San Francisco, you'd be lynched if you got caught throwing it away. But I checked in the trash can and saw that there were others in there and I was like "Thank God I'm finally in a place where things make sense again!" Like waking up from a long Alice-in-Wonderland type of dream. The reason people throw cans away is because they aren't worth anything. It's not some grand conspiracy. The reason we don't use solar power and wind power is beacuse it's not cost effective. Not because the oil company oligarchies conspired against us.

I like the toll roads in Dallas. All the roads are as wide as Caddo Lake with truck and SUV's all jammed and in there, shoulder to shoulder, texting and primping and preening.

In San Francisco, I was always dodging the homeless bums in the streets. In Oregon and Washington, if someone steps into the street, the roads all come to a grinding halt. But not here. In Dallas, if some homeless bum steps into the streets they're fair game. You get more points if they're pregnant or handicapped. It's just different here.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 14, 2011 at 12:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 13, 2011

Is Hindsight Truly 20/20?

In the BP oil spill of 2010, how much oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, which holds a trillion olympic-sized pools of salt water?
Enough oil to fill three million olympic-sized pools.
Enough oil to fill one million olympic-sized pools.
Enough oil to fill about 315 olympic-sized pools.
I was told there'd be no math.
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Update: Poll revised due to bad data/math on my part.

(See extended entry for the correct answer)...

Continue reading "Is Hindsight Truly 20/20?"

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 13, 2011 at 11:14 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Record Heat Wave in Texas

Texas is suffering through a record heat wave. Tonight, it's supposed to get down to 78 degrees in Dallas. No joke. Of course, the Global Warming conspiracy mongers are beating their drums. Remember, when a record cold comes through, that's just weather, and you can't use "weather" to make overall predictions about the long-range temperature change on a global scale.

Experts: Cold snap doesn't disprove global warming

But, when it's hot, then that's totally different, see? When it's hot, that's global warming and you people had all better be scared as sh1t because we're all going to FRY!!!!

Texas Burns As Congressional Delegation Votes To Deny Global Warming

Both of these links are from the tree-hugger liberal-gibberish uber-green website http://thinkprogress.org.

So, when it's cold, it doesn't disprove Global Warming. And when it's hot, it proves Global Warming. That's about as crazy as it gets right there. Keep it up, nut-jobs.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 13, 2011 at 10:44 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Remote Desktop at Work

RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) at work.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 13, 2011 at 6:25 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Ouch

Well, I'm sure we've all had this happen before. You haven't? OK. Me neither. But it sounds pretty painful.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 13, 2011 at 5:09 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 12, 2011

Big D

Somehow, I'm in Dallas again. Dallas is all billboards and freeways. Ginormous vehicles. Tahoes. Suburbans. Yukons. After so long in San Francisco, I began to feel like I was the last person on earth to own a Tahoe. But now, here, it seems there are other people that don't care about gas mileage besides me. I haven't seen a single prius since I landed. And no bicyclists either. They're not missed.

The temperature today is supposed to hit triple digits. Right now, it's 88. Everyone here wears short sleeves and I roll up in a leather jacket, khakis, with a handbag full of long sleeve shirts.

Beneath and grackles' watchful eyes, the crepe myrtles and Lantana explode - pink, red, white, orange and yellow. .

I was supposed to be at work at 8:00 a.m. It's noon. I'm not even sure where to go, really. Only I have a general sort of vague idea. I'm in the right part of town, anyway. So I stop for lunch at a place I've never been before - Mike Anderson's BBQ. Sign says "Don't hold the dang door open. Lets flies in. Lets cool air out. Makes Mike mad as hell!"

I walk in, order some beef brisket and sit down in the corner. While I watch, the place goes from empty to completely packed - elbow to elbow. Chop. Chop. Chop. The slicing of the beef brisket never ceases. It never ends. A trillion cows served up daily.

I check my email to see where I'm supposed to go. There's an address in there. I get directions to it from Google maps. Somehow, I drove over my GPS in the Great American desert so now, I'm sort of winging it. I don't have an iPhone, so I have to power-up this old-skool jury-rigged laptop/cell-phone-as-tethered-modem.

I see where I'm supposed to go. It's only two blocks away. I'm in no rush to get there.

I dunno why I still do this. I've been beating this drum for a long time now. Nothing ever changes, it seems. The guys that did Long Way Round and Long Way Down are supposed to be driving through South America this year on their next adventure. Maybe I'll ring them up and see if they need a photographer.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 12, 2011 at 11:38 AM : Comments (3) | Permalink

September 11, 2011

Into the Fall

After Labor Day, Summer fled the mountain's hills. The temperature fell and we woke up, closing august windows, shivering in the stillness before the dawn. Full moon and bright stars.

By the day's light, the men came into the hills, burdened with great trailers and pulled the summer from mountains. They lured the horses from summer fields and led them down into the rain-shadow prairies - safe from winter's storms.

The bluebirds faded a lost gray and flitted erratically down the borders of drying fields. The hummingbirds fled on their long trek south, down to Central America, stopping at the local feeders only briefly before continuing on their way.

The doomers wandered into their gardens, wondering along why the corn never tasseled. Hoses and hoes and back-breaking labor produced precious little in the foothill victory gardens.

At dusk, the bears came out of the woods, starving, and pushed over the trash cans. They're eating anything they can find now - berries, trash, mice - anything is a meal to an omnivore. The summer peels back now, exposing the fall.

The color fades from the aspens as they quake before September's winds.

The largest bull elk moved out in the the clearings and, for the first time this season, began to bugle...that piercing sound like a woman being strangled in the shadows. Eerie. Haunting.

At dark-thirty, the bats came out and chased the mosquitoes and gnats - dancing across the lakes and fields. Even Timmy came out to see what was up, then disappeared to go sleep with the neighbors.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 11, 2011 at 5:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 10, 2011

Karo Syrup in the Hummingbird Feeder

Actually, Karo syrup turned out to be too thick for the feeder. Go figure, right? So, I added some water to it and hung it back up. That thinned it out enough to where it's probably a liquid, at least. Let's see if they like it better now.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 8, 2011

Too Many iPhones

We're selling one of the iPhones:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220849600913

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 8, 2011 at 6:33 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hummingbirds Go into Insulin Shock

I refilled my hummingbird feeder out front with Karo syrup. Let's see if they notice.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 8, 2011 at 2:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 7, 2011

The Nimrods at the DMV

So today, I went down and waded through the nimrods at the DMV. Goal was to try to get my motorcycle endorsement re-instated on my driver's license. When they renewed it (or re-issued it) - whatever they did last month - the morons neglected to put my motorcycle endorsement on my driver's license. And they gave me h3ll for it all up and down the west coast. I was stopped three times by the police, and crossed the international border between the U.S. and Canada so many times I lost count. Not only was I issued a citation, but everyone that didn't give me a citation had to make a snide comment about the fact that my motorcycle endorsement wasn't on my driver's license and how lucky I was that they didn't tar and feather me for the oversight.

Now, first of all, let's start with the obvious.

1) I took, and passed, both a written test and a driving test to operate a motorcycle in the state of Colorado.

2) I was issued a motorcycle endorsement by the DMV in the state of Colorado.

3) This endorsement never expires.

4) Anyone that wants to try to drive a motorcycle should be allowed to. Either they'll be able to drive, or they won't. This is not an area the state needs to get involved in.

5) Anyone that ever learned anything from the state has no business being on a bike.

6) Odds are that, if anyone driving a bike crashes, they'll only hurt themselves.

7) The only reason the state wants to be involved in issuing "Motorcycle Endorsements" at all is to generate revenue.

8) The state isn't capable of teaching anyone anything, and shouldn't be in the business of licensing anything, from liquor stores to driver's licenses to hand guns.

9) The goal of the DMV (and all governmental bureaucracies in general) is a) to stay out of the newspaper, b) to spend all the revenue they get every year and c) ask for additional funds for next year.

10) The fact that you have to wait 3 hours while they issue you a new driver's license is something you'll just have to get over. So long as it doesn't make the papers, they don't give a tinker's damn how long you have to wait, and they'll tell you as much to your face if give them any indication that you're in a hurry.

11) Never mind the fact that it was their fault that they forgot to attach your motorcycle endorsement to your license when they reissued it.

12) If you bring up any of this, they'll tell you right away that it is YOUR fault that the Motorcycle endorsement wasn't carried forward to the new license. It is not their responsibility to put it on there. It is your responsibility, somehow.

13) You have to have another form of identification on you in order to get anything done to your license. Never mind the fact that the state issued you a driver's license and, presumably, would have required valid id at that point in time. You need another form of ID at this point. (Try not to scream.)

14) They will fingerprint you (again) and take a photo of you (again). Never mind that you were just in here 4 weeks ago.

15) They will not let you see the photo that they took.

16) They will send your new license in the mail, and it will be there when it gets there.

Dealing with the DMV does make me want to go in there and kill every single one of those nimrods. I'm not going to do it. But, I promise you, someone else will. It's only a matter of time. And when it happens, I'll laugh and say "I don't blame you one bit. [Fist bump]."

And for everyone that wants the Feds to take over the hospitals, I suggest you waltz into the DMV for a gander at the future of your healthcare system.

I'm reasonably sure that, when Jennifer turns 18, I'm going to renounce my citizenship and find a country with less bureaucracy.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 7, 2011 at 8:59 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 5, 2011

The Highest Paved Road in North America

After Jen left, I tried to just sort of hang around and be normal, but it never works. I found myself out in the garage, rolling the toys around. Sort of rearranging the four wheelers to make room for yet another XR. Rolling dirt bikes around is about like rolling a crack pipe across a coffee table or sticking your hand down a woman's pants. You know you don't have the willpower. You know where this is going before you even start. I find myself gassing up the bikes and hastily cobbling together a plan to ride up Mount Evans on one of the XR's.

It's hard to imagine how cold it is at the top of Mount Evans, but it's cold. Very cold. So I broke out all of my new Circle 7 gear and put it on thinking, "Well, I'll try all of this gear out and see how it works. I put on two Ibex shirts under my jacket and immediately started sweating like a whore in church. I backed off down to just one Ibex shirt and threw the rest of my cold-weather gear in the Givi case and made for Mount Evans.

My house is at about 7,450 ft above sea level. By the time I got to Echo Lake, at 10,600 ft above sea level, I was seriously cold. Stopped and put on my 2nd Ibex shirt from Circle 7, Frogg Togg DriDucks over my other clothes.

Thanks to the Circle 7 gear, my core was warm. Only my hands were cold really. Even wearing my winter ski gloves, my hands were getting numb from the cold, but I pressed on.

Along the way, I stopped and shot a few photos. Eventually, I made it to the summit at 14,130 feet. The bike ran fine the whole way, but was somewhat sluggish once we got about 2 miles above sea level. I'll probably have to re-jet the carb for about 10,500, I think.

The places I've been recently are beautiful....Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah...but Colorado isn't a bad place to call home, me thinks. :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 5, 2011 at 10:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Weinie Roasting Trio

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 5, 2011 at 11:09 AM : Comments (4) | Permalink

September 4, 2011

Yosemite Ravaged by Fire

I knew that Yosemite was burning before I went. I'd heard that various roads throughout the park were closed. What surprised me, however, was how much of the park was obviously burned when I got there - and the burn had obviously occurred prior to 2011. I knew that Yellowstone had burned. But I didn't know about Yosemite. Somehow I'd missed that. Turns out, back in 2009, the dimwitted bureaucrats that run the park did a prescribed burn inside the park and it got out of control. Brilliant. Repeat after me: The goal of public sektor is to stay out of the newspaper. Accidentally burning down thousands of acres of old growth redwood doesn't keep you out of the newspaper.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 4, 2011 at 10:15 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 3, 2011

Postcards from Nowhere: Yosemite, The Central Valley, and The Great American Desert

I recently drove the XR from San Francisco to Denver. The initial plan was just to drive the bike from San Francisco to Yosemite and check out the park, as I'd never been there. But once I got into Yosemite, I figured, "ah...what the h3ll. It's only a thousand miles of desert between me and home. I'm doing it!"

So, after driving across California's Central Valley into Yosemite park, I went up over Tioga Pass, down to the "Whoa Nellie Deli"/Mobil station at Lee Vining and Mono Lake, then across the Great American Desert back to Colorado. I drove across the desert on two-lane black-topped roads, namely California State Highway 120, US 6 and US 50, widely acclaimed as the Loneliest Road in America.

This is a slideshow of some of the 5,000 shots I took on the one week solo journey.

The images were all captured on a Canon EOS 50D frame and a Canon image-stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens - either the EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM or the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. I ultimately chose not to take my big lens, as it weighs too much and would have required a trailer to pull it, I think.

This slideshow features a song that I couldn't get out of my head when I was driving across the Great Basin desert of Nevada for whatever reason. Initially, I thought the song was by Coldplay, but it turns out it's Never Say Never by a local band, The Fray.

The images are compiled into a 15 Meg (4:08 Adobe Flash slideshow (yosemite.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (yosemite.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.

Image post-processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended. The slideshow was created using Imagematics Stillmotion Pro.

Lyrics and route in the extended entry.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 3, 2011 at 7:22 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

Trapping Coons Indoors

We came home yesterday to a kitchen ransacked by raccoons and this is Jennifer's observation:

"Dad...I hate to tell you this...but I think you're going to have to hire someone to trap the coons. We can't keep living like this."

I'm like..."Oh no. I'll catch him. I just haven't been trying hard enough. I'll catch one tonight."

"Wan'na bet?"

"Yeah. It's a bet."

So, last night, I moved the coon trap right up against the cat door, and baited it with a week old Safeway rotisserie chicken and a two week old container of something that probably once was macaroni salad. I gingerly set the trap with a hair trigger.

Then, set the cat door to "In Only", and put Timmy inside the house. So, Timmy couldn't get in or out, but he has a litter box. So, no problem there. And when the coon comes in, he goes straight into the trap, and he's caught.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 3, 2011 at 9:52 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

September 2, 2011

The California Bike: Day 5 - Home Sweet Home - Green River, UT to Morrison, CO

Update: I am alive and well and resting quietly in my trailer in the Injured Squirrel Trailer Park near Morrison, Colorado.

Vital statistics for Day 5: September 2, 2011
Miles driven today: 330.8
Miles this trip: 1,437.9
Photos taken today: 194
Photos taken this trip: 4,424
Weather today: Clear, sunny, warm

Gps Stats:
Trip Odometer: 336
Max Speed: 91.1 mph

Day 5

I wake up this morning and turn on my laptop. Laptop says it's only like 7:30 a.m., which is nice. Gives me some time to play with my photos from yesterday which I haven't touched.

I download all of the photos into the laptop and start culling through them. Not many good ones, but you just try to pick out a few half-decent ones to post. So that you might convey some idea of what is there. It's so hard to look at a printed map and have any idea really what a place is like.

I select a few shots, resize them down to something that the internet can handle, and post a few of the shots on my web page.

At 8:30 a.m., I decide it's time to get moving. I've got to pick up Jennifer at 3:00 p.m. from school. So, it's going to be close. Only I look at the alarm clock and see that it's actually 9:30 a.m. My laptop was set for Pacific time. Doh!

So, I'm an hour in the hole starting out. By the time I gas up and hit the road, it's 10:00 a.m. I've got to go a little over 400 miles in 5 hours, which I figure means that I should drive about 80 and make it on time. So, I climb onto the bike with the knowledge that I'm going to have to drive 80 miles and hour for 5 hours, and I'll probably still be late, no matter.

So I bust out of the gate and I'm off to the races. This isn't about catching a ride any more. Even if I could find a truck or a trailer with an open spot for a bike, those people don't usually make good time. I need to run 80 mph for 5 hours and the only way I'm going to be able to do that is on two wheels, I'm afraid.

So I get out onto the road and open her up, heading east.

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Posted by Rob Kiser on September 2, 2011 at 3:33 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

September 1, 2011

The California Bike: Day 4 - Small Town Eyes - Tonopah, NV to Green River, UT

Update: I am alive and well and resting quietly on the banks of the Green River in the town of Green River, Utah.

Photos: Probably won't post any photos today. Can't begin to describe how tired I am. Almost wiped out in the parking lot. 340 miles to go tomorrow. Ugh.

Update: Photos posted.

Vital statistics for Day 4: September 1, 2011
Miles driven today: 506.4
Miles this trip: 1,107.1
Photos taken today: 1,014
Photos taken this trip: 4,230
Weather today: Clear, sunny, warm

Gps Stats:
Trip Odometer: 517
Max Speed: 99.2 mph

Day 4

I roll through the town of Tonopah and small town eyes follow me. They're pinned to this nightmare dusty town like a butterfly on a cactus. And this stranger rolls through town on a bike with some gear and they all look and wonder...who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been?

The next town in 170 miles away. It will be a stretch for the bike. Further than I've ever gone between gas stations...since the Punta Prieta desert. That was 300 kilometers also. It was almost exactly two years ago but remember it like it was yesterday.

The desert here isn't so dry as Baja. Baja was full-on cactus from horizon to horizon. This land must get more water than Baja. There is some scrub on the ground, but not much.

As I roll across the desert, I realize that I'm cold. Almost to the point of shaking. I stop to put on my Circle 7 wool gear and that problem is solved. Thanks again.

Now, rolling across the spectacular morning desert. Yosemite was stunning. It's beautiful here also, in the desert, but in a different way of course.

Someone painted this two lane blacktop road across the desert and strung up telephone poles beside it. Where did the poles come from?

Boredom is all that there is out here.

I'm not really riding a motorcycle any more. It's more like a simulation. Sitting on a vibrating cushioned seat, watching the yellow line on the left and the white line on the right. Trying to keep between these two lines. But it's all an illusion. I'm not really riding the bike any more. This isn't happening. This isn't real.

This is a odd sensation. Something I've never experienced before. Not even in the deserts of Mexico.

Continue reading "The California Bike: Day 4 - Small Town Eyes - Tonopah, NV to Green River, UT"

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 1, 2011 at 11:16 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink