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August 30, 2016

113 in a 65

We leave work and I race for the San Bernardino Mountains. This time, I take 215 North, heading, loosely, for Bastow. The furthest I would go is to Arrowhead, but we all left work late at something crazy like 6:30 or so.

And now, I see where Highway 60 peels off east and I go that way. I want to drive up to the big letter M that sits on the hills above the Moreno Valley. But the GPS doesn't look the way that Google Earth looks. I can't really sus it out, and I end up at Box Springs Park. At this point, the road ends at a parking lot and some trails here for tree-huggers with signs warning of Mountain Lions. But all I hear is a cacophony of coyotes.

I can't get up to the 'M' this way...not without running down a bunch of hikers, so I turn and head back down the hill.

I'm not really sure where to go now. I'd like to go to Arrowhead, but the sun is so low on the horizon. Summer is fading fast as I roll back down the hill from Box Springs.

Now, heading north on 215, I set my GPS for Barstow, California. Never been there. Only I know of it because of Hunter S. Thompson's classic. But I'm heading north, and the hills don't seem to be getting any closer. Daylight is fading fast and I'm losing my thirst for this journey.

It's very nearly dark when I turn around and head back south on I-15. Some guy comes by me on a crotch rocket in the HIV lane and I think....sure...why not. Let's go. The speed limit is 65 and I'm going 113.

I'm lane-splitting and but I can't keep up with him. I let him get away, and head back to the Motel 6 in Riverside. They put me in 112. The guy in 109 is missing a leg. 2 cops are pulling someone out of 113 in handcuffs. And tomorrow, I'll get up and do it again.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 30, 2016 at 9:17 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake

Every Monday, I fly across the desert and then, just before we get to Los Angeles, the desert does a funny thing. It disappears.
Suddenly, there are mountains and forrests and trails and that one enormous lake there.

Every time I see it, I snap a few photos, and I think, "that looks like a pretty cool place". This morning, I notice how the gnarly twisted road crawls up the mountain to the lake. Wicked switchbacks on a 2 lane black topped road. But where am I? Where does this road come out? and then suddenly, we're over the San Bernadino airport and now I know exactly where the road is and the lake is. But now, we're landing and then unloading and riding the KTM across the sidewalk and racing on Highway 60 east to work
and everything fades.

The memory fades and the lake disappears and suddenly, I'm in a room and we're on a call with a guy who just got off the phone
with the governor of California. And like...I don't even know who this guy is. I seriously don't.
He's rambling on and on and he just won't shut up. But no one says anything like, "Holy fuck dude...get to the point."

No one says that. Or anything remotely close to it. And now he's saying that he just got off the phone with the governor of
California and I'm thinking, "who the fuck is this guy" and "what am I doing here" and "I wonder if that chick is married."

This is sort of how my mind wanders.

Now, I shoudl mention here that we're in a warehouse in the middle of a desert. Just this soulless sort of desert on the eastern end of the
LA Basin and no one wanders here. There are no lost souls. THis is not where they end up.

The homeless people are all 60 miles west of here in Los Angeles proper, or Hollywood, Crenshaw, Watts...anyplace but here.
Not here. Not at all.

Too hot, dry,

The guy on the phone won't shut his fucking mouth and, quite honestly, I don't give a shit if he did just get off the phone with the governor. I mean....he's been talking for 90 minutes straight at this point. No one interruprts. Or comments. Or anything really. I wonder if the governor wanted to kill himself also?

Everyone is just typing away on their laptops, ignoring the shit out of whatever the fuck is being said by the invisible man in the speakerphone.

Now, he's talking about Merced and I'm thinking...."the central valley? are you shitting me?" Like, the Central Valley is on about par with
Detroit, IMHO. I'll never go back there. Not for hell or high water.

Stockton is where I learned to fear people on bicycles.

They say every city teaches you something, but the things I learned in Stockton and Detroit are not things I'm glad I learned. It erased my faith in humanity, the way one guts a fish.

He's talking about where we'll be with the project in 2018 and my eyes roll back in my head. Beam me up Scotty. No intelligent life forms down here.

FInally, the meeting is over and we all literally stand up and walk out of the conference room and no one says one single word. No joke. Just like zombie parade.

I feel like I've just been raped. Like a rape crime victim wandering around in the night.

I'm trying to rent a room from a couple that speaks no english and doesn't see the need to run the AC in August. But I text him, and they say the place has been rented already.

Back at my desk, I plot my escape. I'm going to check out that lake that I saw this morning. Big Bear Lake. I type Big Bear Lake, California into my GPS and it locks it in and I'm off.

About 20 minutes later, I'm climbing slowly out of the LA Basin into the San Bernadino Mountains on a 2 lane black topped road and I'm climbing, climbing...switching back sharply....1,000....2,000.....3,000....it starts to get cooler. There are trees now. ANd now I'm driving through a forest, 4,000 feet above sea level, watching the sun set. Wow. I really had no idea how high these mountains were. It's beautiful. Stunning. It's really funny because, I had no idea that Los Angeles was surrounded by all this beauty. I've been spending every night down in the LA Basin in this shitty little Motel 6 and now, I finally break out of my routine, and discover this beautiful mountain range, and I feel kinda silly for not realizing this was here sooner.

I reach the lake about sunset, and the road forks. One road goes to the North Shore and the town of Fawnskin. One road goes south to the town of Big Bear Lake. But I go North, on the road less traveled because, from the plane, that seemed like the place to be.

By now, I'm in a deep surreal forrest at 7,000 feet above sea level, and it's freezing cold.

By the time I get to Fawnskin, it's solidly dark. And I'm seeing Inns and Cabins, but no one is around to take my money. And now, I'm thinking...I don't have a place to stay tonight. I may as well spend the night up here. I don't normally drive at night, as it's just oo dangerous, and it's now solidly dark.

I decide to head to the southern shore of the lake, so I double back and roll into Big Bear Lake. Stop at the first place I come to and rent a cabin for the night.

I'm not sure what the traffic will be like in the morning, but I'm not driving back down the mountain in the dark. I stop into a Mexican restaurant for dinner and decide to call it a night.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 30, 2016 at 8:08 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 21, 2016

Places We Went Camping and Fishing

Now that Jennifer has moved out of the house, I've been riding more in California and Colorado. Yesterday, I ended up crossing Webster Pass, and then riding up above Montezuma. I passed one of our old campgrounds, and the thought occurred to me that a) I might never go camping with Jennifer again and b) she wouldn't really have any way to know where it was that we had camped when she was younger.

So, I thought that I'd post a link on Peenie Wallie so that, if she should ever wonder where it was that we used to camp, she could come to this site an possibly see where it was that we had camped. It's a long shot, but it's easy enough for me to post.

1) We used to camp above Montezuma, Colorado. This is just above Keystone in Summit County. This was where we took the rabbit camping, and took our ATV's, and did some 4 wheeling. The bunny chewed through he leash and escaped. It was my fault and I'm sorry. To get here, drive through the tiny town of Montezuma, Colorado. Continue on Montezuma Road and you come to a small parking lot. Keep going up Montezuma Road (Summit County Rd 5) a short distance, and you'll see where we used to camp on the left, on the side of the road, by Deer Creek. Warning: This is outdoor camping. No facilities here. Here's a map that shows where we camped. We rode the ATV's up above here for a short distance. This campsite is easily accessible in a car.

2) We used to camp at the West Chicago Creek Campground just south of Idaho Springs. There are facilities at this place, and you can make reservations, as I recall. But I think most of the time we just camped on the side of the creek. To find these campgrounds, just go south out of Idaho Springs like you're going up to Mt Evans on Colorado 103, and turn right at the first switchback. This place is fairly close, easily accessible by car, and has facilities. Here's some pictures from one of our camping trips to West Chicago Creek.

3) We camped up on Chinns Lake up by St Mary's Glacier. Here are some photos from one of our camping trips to Chinns Lake, but now I'm thinking maybe we camped there more than once. This lake is difficult to access. Somehow, we took the Tahoe up there, with a canoe and the ATV's, as I recall. But it's not easy to access. No facilities. Very difficult 4wd trail, but a beautiful lake. This is where the people were playing loud music at night and daddy had to fire the pistol several times and tell them to "turn that shit off". Here's a map that shows how to get there.

4) We used to go fishing up at Montgomery Reservoir, just south of Breckenridge. Here's a story where I recollect that we caught 28 trout there in one day. This was in September of 2006, so you were 8 years old at the time. Here's a map that shows how to get to Montgomery Reservoir from Breckenridge. It's easy to access by a car.

5) We used to fish up at the Georgetown Lake.

6) We used to fish up at lake Evergreen a lot.

7) When you were first starting out, we used to fish in that stocked pond down on US Highway 285. I think we have a video of you catching a trout here when you were like 4 or 5, as I recall. Here's the map.

8) One summer we went camping/fishing/hiking up at Wellington Lake, with Charlie and Piper, as I recall. Here's the map to Wellington Lake.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 21, 2016 at 11:29 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 19, 2016

Saxon Math

http://thefederalist.com/2016/08/15/how-a-war-hero-launched-a-war-on-bad-math-instruction/

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 19, 2016 at 2:10 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 17, 2016

Where were you when I was lonesome?

"Moby: When It's Cold I'd Like To Die"

Where were you when I was lonesome?
Locked away with freezing cold
Someone flying only stolen
I can't tell this light so old

I don't want to swim the ocean
I don't want to fight the tide
I don't want to swim forever
When it's cold I'd like to die

What was that my sweet sweet nothing?
I can't hear you through the fog
If I holler let me go
If I falter let me know

I don't want to swim the ocean
I don't want to fight the tide
I don't want to swim forever
When it's cold I'd like to die

I don't want to swim forever
I don't want to fight the tide
I don't want to swim the ocean
When it's cold I'd like to die

I don't want to swim the ocean
I don't want to fight the tide

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 17, 2016 at 7:12 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Online Voter Registration

https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter-classic/pages/pub/olvr/verifyNewVoter.xhtml

Remember, Republicans vote on Tuesday November 8th, 2016. Democrats vote on Wednesday November 9th.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 17, 2016 at 10:40 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 15, 2016

CatTraq I

http://www.mr-lee-catcam.de/pe_cc_i9.htm

I'm wanting to start tracking my cats again, as I'm not really clear where they're spending their time these days. I found my CatTraq and a little harness to put it on the cats. I plugged it in and it seems to be charging now.

I'm guessing at this point that I need to erase any tracks that are on there already.


http://www.mr-lee-catcam.de/BINARY/CatTrack1_User_Manual.pdf

So, I extracted all files to here: C:\Users\Rob\Downloads\CatTraq

Then, I ran TerminalSettingSystem.exe. Not real sure what this does.

OK. It says GPS Logger USB was installed successfully on COM4 and it's ready to go. Hmmm.

Run TerminalSettingSystem.exe. This time, it takes a while, like it's downloading data, but then it gives me a password error.

Now, I remove the password and click OK. Starts off again....Loading...
Login failed, please try again!

Changed it to GVT (no password).

This is all I ever get: Login failed, please try again!

I finally took it downstairs and hooked it up to an old XP computer. It immediately copied the files off, deleted the files. So, I erased it, anyway.

Now, I'm trying to figure out how I can tell if it's charged. It has a flashing blue light that flashes intermittently.


OK. Now that I'm digging around, I found some more cat trackers. Apparently, at some point, I ordered the Cat Loc8tor also.

https://uedata.amazon.com/Exceptionally-Small-Electronic-Pet-Locator/dp/B002ZJ6NVY


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 15, 2016 at 5:13 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 8, 2016

Random Screening

The alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. And, I'm up, shuffling around in the darkness. Feed the cats, throw some things in a bag, and I find everything except for my helmet.

Step outside to see that I left my helmet on the bike last night. In the driveway. And it rained.

So, my helmet is wet. Great. Climb onto the bike and head down the mountain. I leave the house at 6:15 a.m. for a 8:45 flight. So, this is right. This is good. I have enough time.

But once I get to I-70 and I-25, the traffic is always backed up, so I'm driving down the shoulder when I pass a Denver city cop. He drops in behind me and pulls me over.

License, Insurance, and Registration.

Great. So, I hand him everything he asked for, but I have no idea where this goes. Do I have warrants? I'm not sure. Maybe. Maybe not.

After a while, the cop returns and hands me a ticket. 1 point. $130 dollars. Worse things have happened. "Be careful out there," I tell him.

Now, I drive out to the airport and roll up to the entrance at Canopy Parking.

"Park in Section C", she tells me.

The signs I pass say park in Section B.

And now, I see a guy in a parking shuttle. "Park in Section D", he barks.

So, it would be nice if they'd get their act together. But this is where we are.

I park my bike, and take a photo of where the bike is parked. The parking spaces are numbered.

The shuttle driver doesn't give me a vehicle locator slip, so I have to ask him to write me one. Once he does, I take a photo of it also.

He just keeps loading more and more people on the the shuttle, without leaving. Until we've been sitting here for 15 minutes and I have to tell him I need to get to the airport.

So, reluctantly, he starts off driving us to the airport.

"What airline are you flying?" he asks.

"I'm not going to a ticket counter. I already have a boarding pass. I want you to drop me off at the first door you come to."

So, he drops me off close to where I asked. I flash my frequent flyer card to one of the coats and now I'm clearing security. But the metal detector beeps when I walk through it.

"Why did I set off the metal detector?" I ask.

"You've been selected for random secondary screening."

Great. Like, after they raped me out in Ontario last week. Just what I wanted.

But he pats me down very briefly, and says "You're good to go." and turns me loose.

Now, I hustle out to the Terminal 3 and find my way out to the gate.

After waiting for about 30 minutes, they start lining us up. Now, I've photoshopped my boarding pass, per usual, so that I can board sooner. But this time, when he scans my boarding pass, somehow he figures out that I'm boarding too soon.

"You board with the C group. Just wait over there," and he waves me off to a corner of the airport collecting dust balls.

Great. So, that sucks, in a big way. See, by not flying for 2 years, I lost my status and now I have to board at the end and I'll be stuck in a middle seat with is just death.

So, finally I get to board with the C group and now, I'm going to be shoe-horned between 2 total strangers. Excellent.

So, finally, I choose a middle seat between 2 women. 1 is fat. 1 is thin. Wearing a wedding ring. Not ideal, but I don't want to go any further back or I'll never get off the plane.

What I missed is the 4 year old sitting behind me. So, I'm uncomfortable, shoe-horned in between 2 strangers. I put my seat back, I shove in my ear plugs, and manage to fall asleep. I wake up as we start our initial descent. Now, the 4 year old wakes up also, and she won't shut up. She's kicking the back of my seat over and over. I want to murder her.

Finally, once we land, I can stand it no longer. People are in the aisle and debarring and this little rugrat won't stop kicking my seat and finally I've had enough. "Would you please ask her to stop kicking my seat?"

But the things mom is this horrid medusa and she's like "She's 4 years old!" She just keeps shouting this at me, over and over like....because she's under 5, apparently she can't be controlled, it seems.

Finally, I manage to escape from my seat and deboard.

Go outside to catch the shuttle bus to Parking Lot 5. The driver asks me where I parked and I tell him exactly where I parked. But he doesn't get it. "I parked at the front of the lot, all the way down, in the shade." Like, I really couldn't make it any clearer.

But now, for whatever reason, everyone on the shuttle bus is asking me why I can't remember where I parked. Which, is absurd. I know exactly where I parked. I park at the same place every time. It never changes. And like...why is no one else talking about where their car is? It's just surreal. Like a bad dream.

"I always take a photo of my car so I don't forget where I parked," this bitch offers.

"I did not forget where I parked. What the fuck is wrong with you people. I know exactly where I parked. If he wasn't going 3 mph we'd be there by now."

Finally, he drives me to my motorcycle, parked exactly where I told him it was.

I hop on the bike and consider my options. This is where my trick of driving away without paying comes into play. But today has not been a good day. The trouble is, I couldn't pay if I wanted to, because I didn't get a ticket when I came in on Thursday. Great.

So, I wheel out of the parking lot without paying and race towards work. A few of us go to lunch as soon as we get to work. In the parking lot, the boss says, "I don't feel like doing anything today." And I'm thinking....that's exactly what I was thinking.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 8, 2016 at 2:44 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Random Screening

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 8, 2016 at 2:42 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 4, 2016

Ontario Airport

Looks like the monitors at the Ontario airport are stuck on the Clinton News Network. I'll have to see if we can't fix that. The monitors appear to be NEC Multi-sync LCD3735WXM monitors.

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=multisync+lcd3735wxm&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 4, 2016 at 5:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 2, 2016

The Baja Trip

Looks like the final metrics on my trip went something like this:

I left Riverside, CA at 1:15 pm on Thursday 7/28/2016.
I got back into Riverside, CA at 11:30 a.m. on Monday 8/1/2016.
So, I was gone for roughly 4 days.


Trip Starting Odometer: 42,993
Trip Ending Odometer : 44,240
Trip Miles Driven: 1,247 miles

So that works out to roughly 300 miles a day for 4 days, which seems about right.

I made a few mistakes on the trip. I should have boned up on my Spanish road signs before I went down there so I knew what they meant. Also, I should have immediately stopped at an ATM once I entered the country to get some local currency. (I had about a thousand pesos, but I needed more). Finally, when I came back into the USA, I made the mistake of not stocking up on drinks (Jumex, etc) while in Mexico, and I would have liked to come back with more Mexican currency also.

But other than that, the trip went pretty well. I had a GPS, which helped, but a lot of the towns are not in my GPS for some reason. That's something I need to take up with Garmin, I suppose.

Probably taking a paper map as a backup would be a good idea.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 2, 2016 at 1:22 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 1, 2016

March Air Reserve Base C-17 Globemaster III

I see these planes taking off every day, but I just got out here and I wasn't clear what planes I was seeing. Today, I got a decent photo of one and looked it up. What I'm seeing is the C-17 Globemaster III.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Air_Reserve_Base

In 2005, the 452nd retired the venerable C-141 Starlifter and commenced transition to the C-17 Globemaster III as the first AFRC unit to operate the aircraft as an independent wing not associated with an active duty C-17 wing.[9] March is currently home to nine C-17 Globemaster IIIs, which belong strictly to the Air Force Reserve Command, as well as twelve KC-135R Stratotankers. The tankers were the first in the Air Force Reserve to convert to the Block 40 Pacer CRAG modernization upgrade.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 1, 2016 at 11:12 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Coins in a Fountain

I think that the desert makes you appreciate the conference room.

Like, normally, you sit here, as your life slowly drains out of you. And none of us are contributing anywhere near our true potential to this economy. None of us. Not one of us is even remotely close to contributing to the world anything remotely close to our true
potential. And you know that in every meeting you go to, as your soul leaks out at the corners.

I feel like I want to scream out. The same as I felt when I used to sit in church. I'm not good at sitting still and listening to someone drone on through a meeting, fluorescent lights in a teleconference, with an overhead projector. All of this is death, death, death.

It's all so painful. Sitting in a remote squalid warehouse in the desert in a timezone that's not your own, something inside of you thinks, "Not this. Check please."

And that is what the desert solves, I think. You enter into the Punta Prieta desert with all of these problems...all of the mental knots. You enter into the desert valleys with
angst and trepidation. You carry this burden into the desert - all of this baggage of deadlines and plane tickets and hotel reservations.

But once you get into the desert, everything sort of melts and fades away. All of these deadlines and questions and complexities. The desert irons them out. Simplifies the confusion. It makes things simple. Makes you glad ot be alive. Lets you feel your own heartbeat. Like you're your own doctor.

Like you're trying to save this pateint, and the patient is you.

There is nothing in the desert but death and pain. And you move carefully through the cactus mountains, certain that death lives in every corner.

Every turn in the desert is death and pain and sunburned exhaustion. Every guardrail is ripped from it's mooring. At the bottom of every mountain curve is a graveyard to smashed windshields, broken axles, abandoned wheels, and occasionally, an abandoned vehicle or two. On the side of every straight-away is a small roadside tribute to someone that didn't make the curve. Or feel asleep and ran off the road. A mute tribute to someone that escaped the desert the hard way, leaving this earth in a sea of pain.

Every straight-away ends in a mind-bending roller-coaster series of curves through the mountains. The 18 wheelers crawl up as slowly as a caterpillar. So eventually, you learn to just pass them going uphill on a blind curve.

Every roadsign is in the wrong language somehow, and my Spanish is not that good. I don't know what the roadsigns mean, so it's hard to really grasp their significance. I see the roadsigns, and just try to sort of look around, and pay attention.

They don't really give a motorcycle the full use of his lane down here. It's common for larger vehicles to intentionally cross the center line and take a little bit of the motorcycle's lane down here It's just how they drive. Different country, different culture.

It's easy to lose focus in the desert. You're just driving and driving for hours and hours and, in the afternoon, the heat is insufferable. You're driving down the road, trying to convert pesos into dollars, kilometers into miles, and liters into gallons. In the heat of the afternoon, you're sort of dazed and losing focus going 87 mph and suddenly, you realize that you're coming into a hairpin curve with an 18 wheeler coming down the mountain halfway in your lane.

Why is this world this way? Why does the 37th candy bar not taste the same as the first? It's always perfect, but no one talks about the temperature inside of the mall. Why is this? Why do we need the desert to make us tolerate the conference room? I dunno. I think that I will never understand. Only I know that it is this way.

It was the same as when I drove to Alaska. When I was lost and running wild up the Dalton Highway in the middle of the night in Alaska. Lost and confused on the Dalton Highway, low on gas, and full of fear. No one is as grateful to be alive as the man who has just cheated death....the man who coasts into town on fumes in broad daylight at 11:00 at night.

And make no mistake, that's why I'm down here. I'm rolling the dice. I'm cheating death. Trying to take some of the pain out of being alive.

The goal is that when you go into work on Monday morning, you don't feel like you wasted the weekend.

Every Monday morning, we fly into LA and meet up for lunch. Over breathless lunch, we share our stories...casting coins into a fountain.

Some of the guys went to a museum in Chicago. One girl went out in San Francisco. Another guy was hanging out in Ottawa. And now, it's my turn, and I'm telling them about when I drove a motorcycle alone through the Baja desert. And thinking that I'm talking about some long ago adventure, they're like, "When did this happen...that you drove through Mexico?"

And I'm like "Saturday."

And they all burst out laughing.

"Dude...you look like you got run over by a train. Do they not sell razors in Mexico?"

And for one weekend, I won the weekend story-telling contest.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 1, 2016 at 9:26 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink