Monday, October 27, 2008

Shopping Spree

Boat ownership can be an expensive, very expensive undertaking and since the economy needs more than a jump start, I thought about spending $150,000 on my boat this weekend to brighten her up, add to her wardrobe, maybe a little sparkle, but my checking account refused to earmark any additional funds so I had to settle for $101.06. This is far below expectations and I had to leave a very soft green towel on the rack and a dapper sun hat ($8.88 and $24.95). Earlier in the month I replaced several worn items and broke down and added a teak towel rack and today the mailman brought me a discount mailer allowing me to spend more money at the marine boat store at greatly inflated prices. The supermarket gave me a "Rewards" card that allows me to buy a loaf of bread for $4.56 and a barcoded card similar to the marine supply store.

A few weeks ago I bought a Jolly Roger to fly when my grandson goes on the boat and I also purchased a new ensign but Saturday I saw a shiny flagstaff that mounts on the transom rail and this allows me to fly a pennant that also services as a weather gauge. My pennants and flags don'y stay out at night or bleach in the daily sun but only grace the ship when we are sailing. My clinometer that been kicked a few times too many and needed replacing. This device tells you how far you are heeling (leaning over) and serves to give you something to brag about. My gauges in the cockpit show knots, wind direction and speed and I also have a wrist watch GPS that allows me to calibrate the knot meter and record time/distance traveled. Someday when I catch an Alaskan earmark I will purchase a fancy GPS like the big boys have.

When day sailing in San Pedro one almost always see a high speed passenger boat headed to Catalina, a large percentage of sailboats not using their sails, the Good Year blimp, seals sleeping on a buoy, a couple of off-shore what-a-be racers, the Coast Guard, the Fire Department boats, tugs waiting for a container ship, the Port Police, and the Life Guards.

Yesterday started with the morning fog and not much wind and a return sail with the normal daily wind that gave Hurricane Gulch its name and warm weather. After a fun day on the water the work starts again as I have to put all the toys away and put the baby in bed. The next day sail washing, drying and folding makes the one day sail a three day work detail.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nunc est Bibendum

Went to the desert over the weekend. Well I went to what is left of the desert and where we camped out is now part of a park ran by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). The area surrounds a dry lake called El Mirage and the lake bed is used by assorted fans of this vast flat surface for racing, sailing (with wheels), jeeps, motorcycles, gliders, normal airplanes and those not quite normal. As of October 1, 2008 the BLM started charging for entrance to park. They had been building a fence around it for several years and the rumor was some day they would start charging and now the day has come. I am not certain when the word BLM came into my vocabulary but among desert riders it was a very hated word then.

And there is my portable mobile hair dispenser who thinks the desert is maybe paradise and she rides shotgun seat or floor depending on her mood. Her name is DeDe, two Ds and she got that name by being a desert dog. She came into our family via a cardboard box that was placed in front of Stater Brothers market in Phelan which is located south of El Mirage and used to be the only store of that size for a zillion miles around. Myself, my son and his friend had stopped at the store for supplies and it was a few weeks before Christmas and I am a sucker for puppies. Her first ride was from the store to El Mirage where we went riding dirt bikes for the day. She probably had her first can of dog food (actually two small tins in the back of a Chevy pickup) and had just been weaned. When she was a wee pup she was a cute little ball of fur now she leaves her hair on the boat, our carpet, the van and anywhere she lays down. DeDe has been to the desert many a time but this trip was the first time she had so many buddies and friends to play, bark and chew with.

Before we left the flat lands to head for the desert we had to climb the feared toll road mountain that divides plastic southern Orange County from the mighty Santa Ana River that runs next to the fastest jam free 91 Freeway. Several wagers were made my the mutant teenagers than the VW van would never make it over the dreaded toll road mountain and the wages were even higher than it would never, never climb over the mountains to the high desert which is between 4 or 5 thousand feet at the summit. I tried to explain than the van was born close to the German Alps and would scoff at these small California mountains and indeed it did. We went flying over the toll road at 42 mph pedal to the floor and crested the summit going over into the desert at a brave 44 mph carrying a full size motorcycle parked inside next to the stove and kitchen sink. And nothing was removed or altered to carry it inside the van.

With several families sharing stories, excellent food, my daughter's Margaritas, and an unending supply of fire wood for the fire DeDe simply refused to get in the van when it was time to go home.
Since I use the word zillion as a simple plural I must guesstimate the number of flies inside my yellow rolling pent house with an upper floor bedroom to be more than a mere zillion but a zillion zillion (that is a zillion squared to those math majors) and the small stubborn flies refused to leave or be blown out by the violent winds that came through my wind wings when I reached 65 mph going down the mountain grade. We are already planning our next adventure to go motorcycling riding and next time will remember to bring matches, cork screw, and fly spray.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Main Street

With the present economic crisis the term "Main Street" has returned to the media. Occasionally words become popular that have different shades of meaning. My daughter objects to the current usages of main street while I feel the word maverick of Texas origin is being spun by the lip stick wearing pit bull from the frozen north and really doesn't fit the description of a GOPer.

The city where my childhood wandering took place had a main street, a city hall, a library, a bus line, a school system, an actual downtown town, two high schools, a city college, a newspaper and a name: Santa Monica, There was back then a Santa Monica Bank and many business and places with the name of the city attached. You could tell your whereabouts if you knew the difference between 4Th Street and 20 Th Street and you could actually get around without running into a maze of developments that prevented through traffic.

When my time has me here in Orange County, California this is not the case. Streets were not meant to be traveled in a straight line and the only direction one headed was to get on the freeway to leave. Adjacent Mission Viejo is full of streets with names that were made up to sound Spanish and was developed by a division of a tobacco company. A few older cities here existed before the urban sprawl and grove removal and they do have main streets and down towns but the sprawl had no room for them and the most visited Main Street is at Disneyland.

Saturday night I went searching for main street in San Pedro with my camera but my Nikon was giving me problems but I did grab a few spots. San Pedro is as different as night and day compared to the developed subs where bars, liquors stores, and local markets were not permitted in the zoning regulations or not needed. By accident I went into a bar, at least I thought it was, only to find a zillion pipes for sale and not plumbing pipes.