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Thursday, July 30, 2015

POST 1468; BELLINGHAM, WA; 07-30-15

Yesterday morning, Bob exclaimed that SPIA had an exhaust leak

Yesterday, SPIA received new engine exhaust system parts to replace the broken tail pipe and small muffler, both severely damaged from an apparent (unknown) collision pushing the tail pipe clear into the innerds of the muffler. 

This discovery changed the apparent cause of our Saturday accident with SPIA.  It now appears that I did NOT fall asleep while driving, but more likely was OVERCOME by SPIA exhaust gasses, causing me to momentarily pass out, losing control of SPIA.  A similar "incident" happened on the freeway approaching Minneapolis, Minnesota some 4 weeks ago...and, I numerous times since, fought losing consciousness while driving.

 ... and Yes, I have for more than 1.5 years, experienced a growing general weakness and lethargic condition.  I contributed this degredation to ..."an old man perhaps overdoing...walking too far ... working too hard ... or becoming effected by increasing care taking responsibilities or growing concern for the care and safety of others.

My personal Doctor has taken this new information ... being overcome by Carbon Monoxide ... as serious and has ordered new bloods tests which I will take tomorrow (Friday) at 12:30 pm (noon)... this to verify no Carbon Monoxide remains in my blood.

About the new STRUTS ???  They will be installed tomorrow morning.  This task will return SPIA to known full operational condition.

The recent events, including a botched drive to YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, has incurred costs exceeding $1,000.00.  LES SCHWAB (provider of the new STRUTS) has gratiously extended monthly terms which is very much appreciated.  THANK YOU !

Bob is settling nicely into his new home . receiving LOTS of visitors.  I am very pleased for him, and have loaned many special paintings and some furniture pieces to fill out the comfort and beauty of his home.

Tomorrow SPIA and ME will be packed, ready to continue our Walk and Ride.  More than one has asked me to stay.  Will take a VERY special lady to pull that off ... but why not ?

* * * * * * * * * *

Talking to DALLAS back home in CULLODEN, both he and CAROL are doing well; doing OK for the time being says Dallas.  So, no immediate rush for me to return on their score.

My "Dancing" lady has left West Virginia with Claude; so, that relationship has been resolved.  I am very pleased for her as she has fought for their acceptence for a long time.  Must accept it, Suzie.  We care for her no less.

One more hurdle (tomorrow's Carbon Monoxide Blood Test) to vault; then my mind and body will be fully healed ready for any and all eventualities.

LISBON to BEIJING walk is becoming a high priority.

We Shall See.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

POST 1467; BELLINGHAN, WN; 07-29-15


CURRENT (07-29-15):

ME:  I have received a rather complete battery of medical tests initiated by my Primary Doctor, SHIRGILL, who has been monitoring my health as I walk America the past 3 years or so.

Test results of TODAY:  in all aspects, my body test results are fully and completely NORMAL.

SPIA received a good battering in the accident of Saturday last ... and has emerged with NO physical damage.


SPIA and I have received in depth tests and inspections ... ALL of which have concluded NO injury or DAMAGE.

 SPIA shock absorbers are being replaced after wear and tear of some 275,000 miles on the a cost of $625.00.


This morning I gave Bob a ride to the hospital for some not-so-minor surgury..  Bob immediately exclaimed that SPIA had an exhaust leak.  Though I could not smell any Carbon Monoxide, I had been feeling blase' and disoriented for some months.  During my drive to Washington State, I fell asleep while driving in Minnessota,  barely avoiding an accident.  LAST SATURDAY, DRIVING TO YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, I AGAIN FELT SOMEWHAT OUT OF SORTS and was fighting to stay awake when I fell asleep. crashing SPIA.

Today Sister Carol tells me that she was on the phone with me when I said I could not stay awake.  She said to pull off the road and STOP !

I remember telling Carol I was looking for a wide spot to pull off the road.  Carol says the phone went "dead"...   was concerned but was afraid to call back or check this blog... and has not done so waiting for me to contact her today, her 73rd birthday.

It appears I was talking to Carol ...went to sleep in mid conversation, and lost control of SPIA for a split second ...recovering with SPIA airborne. 

From that moment I was fully cognizant of and in control of the vehicle guiding her through the incident to a successful stop some eighth of a mile out in the desert.

Motor in neutral and still running I looked back at the highway thru a huge cloud of dust.  No less than eight vehicles were passing by, making no effort to stop to help me.

* * * * * * * * * *

Four hours after the accident, sitting next to DANIELLE in Mc Donalds at West Yellowstone, I went into shock ... recovering normality this morning, some 36 hours and 700 miles distant.

Bob has kindly invited us to hang out for a bit.

Monday, July 27, 2015

POST 1466; BELLINGHAM, WA; JULY 27, 2015



Darn lighting.  I am slowly losing my low light vision, and Bob's lights leave something to be desired.

I am very tired from the drive from ONTARIO, Oregon to Bellingham.  Something is certainly effecting my body.  Will chat with ny doctor tomorrow.

Will also have a major check up for SPIA.

SPIA performed very well since the accident.  Tire tread wear appears to be normal ... even with the gimpy shocks.

Thank you for the good wishes.  The more I mentally review our accident , the more fortunate I realize WE have been.  I could easily have ended it all right there.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


The "Flying Leap" taken by SPIA yesterday has resulted in a major new direction for our walk and ride.  SPIA and ME have turned around, driving back to Bellingham.  Friends in West Virginia and North Carolina will have to wait a bit longer.

FIRST ME :  Although I was NOT injured physically in our incident.  I did go into SHOCK some three hours later and continue a bit shaky today.  Even so, I chose to bypass medical advice until I see my personal Doctor back in Bellingham.

NEXT SPIA :   Upon early cursory inspection by LES SCHAWAB of Idaho Falls, has identified one front shock absorber to be broken, with the mounting plate of the second shock absorber to be bent.  Replacement parts are not immediately available, but may be found second hand from a wrecking yard.  SPIA is fully and safely drivable.  Driving her with front end misalignment MIGHT cause undue wear on the tread of the front tires.

DECISION:   It is not prudent to continue driving a damaged SPIA some 2,000 miles to the East Coast at this moment.  It is not prudent to conduct a tour of YELLOWSTONE just now ... even though we were already in Yellowstone.  My heart would not be in it and SPIA could receive further damage in any off-road travel.

ACTION:  Bob Young has welcomed me back into his home (Oh, Boy ... I get to finish up the remaining work).  It is now 6:00 PM.  Driving all day, includIng two half-hour naps, we are settled in at LOVE's Truck Stop in the city of ONTARIO, Oregon. 

* * * * * * * * * * 

In the morning, we will continue on I-84, I-82, I-90, and finally I-5 back to Bellingham.
First up will be to visit my doctor for a look see.  Repair of SPIA is next up.

Will report here of our progress.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

POST 1464; W. YELLOWSTONE; JULY 25, 2015

Today I used up another of my dwindling supplies of lives.
I crashed SPIA and lived.

At 75 miles per hour, I fell asleep, allowing SPIA to cross oncoming traffic lane, fly off the 15 foot bank, smashing down on the side of the bank, nearly rolling over.

Through the entire maneuver, I , securely strapped in, gained control of SPIA, experiencing each moment in true slow motion.

Bouncing over clumps of desert plants, I let SPIA coast to a stop, motor still running.  A dense cloud of dirt and dust enveloped us.  I got out, surveyed vor damage.  Finding none, got back behind the wheel and drove back to the roadway embankment.  Being much too steep and high to climb back to the asphalt roadway, I drove first one way   ...  then the other way. 

After driving the rocky desert a mile or more, found a sloping spot where I gunned SPIA's motor, flying over the final four foot high steep spot ... and plopped back on to the roadway.

SPIA and ME both seemed uninjured, so let her run at 65 mph the final 25 miles to the city of IDAHO FALLS.  Had SPIA inspected, discovering both shocks broken or bent.  SPIA can still be driven, although with the alignment surely to wear out the front tires.

There are some saying I am being closely looked after.   No arguement from me on that score.

Highway 20 from Mountain Home to Idaho Falls, some 200 miles of desert mountains and valleys.

Water Water Water ..a problem every where in America.

MOON Crater Park....many miles of lava fields, simulating a Moon Scape.

Dropping down into the valley leading to Idaho Falls.

The distant mound (small mountain) is where I allowed SPIA to fly off the roadway.

* * * * * * * * * *
Both front shocks must be replaced soon on SPIA.

Friday, July 24, 2015

POST 1463; BURNS, OREGON;JULY 24, 2015

Today we traveled with SPIA from central south Washington State across Oregon State to the western border of Idaho, where plan to stay the night in the LOVES Truck Stop at Ontario, Oregon.

Making many stops to visit an air museum, small businesses and family members, our new attempt to continue and enhance some six years of producing our blog seems to be a worthy effort.

MADRAS, Oregon Air Museum features nearly two dozen World War Two WAR BIRDS ...nearly ALL in flying condition.

Above is the P-39 AEROCOBRA fighter aircraft.  The Red Star of the Soviet Union appears on the fuselage as this aircraft was enroute to Russia when it crashed ... later recovered from a lake bottom, fully restored, and now on display ... at the $9.00 entrance fee.

One of thousands of semi trucks traveling America's roadways.  Passing within 6 inches of my right elbow emphases the danger and excitement of walking across America.

US Highway 26 approaching magnificent Mt. Hood some 60 miles East of Portland, Oregon.

Mt. Hood peeking above the distant evergreen covered hills.

The American Flag reflection from lying on SPIA's dashbord.  Apologize fo my carelessness.

Bridge on US 26 over a deep gash in the desert some 35 miles East of Mt. Hood.

Looking into the Gash of MILL CREEK.

Highway 26 as it begins to drop into the mountain valley of Warm Springs, Oregon.

From the Canadian Border, some dozen majestic Volcanoes rise into the crystal Pacific Northwest skies as does this central Oregon beauty.

...and a few miles further South lies yet another.

Much of Central Oregon is "High Desert" country where every tree is precious.

More WWII restored - in flying condition - military aircraft on display at the MADRAS, Oregon Airport.

B-25 Bomber as used by Jimmy Doolittle's 1942 raid on Tokyo.

US Navy shipboard aircraft used folding wings to squeeze maximum number of planes on board the US Aircraft Carriers fighting Japanese forces during World War Two.

Crop Duster aircraft still used today.

Historic HAMPTON STATION on US Highway 20 exactly half way between Bend , Oregon and our destination of today, Burns, Oregon.

US 20 as it approaches BURNS, Oregon, home of my Daughter and family.

Son in LAW, BEN, surveying  the family property 20 miles South of BURNS, Oregon.

Double Wide home of Monica and Ben, fronted by their veggie garden about to deliver a bumper crop.

BEN's toys !

Many types of useful - and VERY USED - farm machinery patiently awaiting Ben's magic to put them back into operation.

MALHEUR REFUGE is a vast waterway for migrating waterfowl sited immediately below Ben and Monica's vast sagebrush property.  Normally many square miles huge; today, July 24, 2015, one can find only a few tiny pools of liquid gold ...WATER.

Following the lead of MOST of America, fresh water at MALHEUR REFUGE has disappeared.

BEN's modest fresh water well is showing signs of SALT.  Next door farms equipped with numerous "Rotary traveling sprinklers have "helped" lower Ben's well water level by 6 feet in the recent couple years.

Please say HELLO to Grand Daughter, KAITLIN and 1-week old RICHARD.

Please say HELLO to Grand Daughter, JESSICA with family, Husband KEN and children (my Great Grand Children), TYLER, KAIRI, and wee EMMA

Please say HELLO to Grand Daughter JENNIFER with 7-month old ANIKI.

Last GAS for 68 miles as one leaves the MALHEUR Valley on US 26 East.

* * * * * * * *
In the morning we continue our current trek toward YELLOWSTONE National Park and beyond.

As too often happens, $$ is once again going the way of farmers water wells...becoming somewhat scarce.

WE are, however, OK for now.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

POST 1462; LONGVIEW, WA; JULY 22, 2015

... and it is once again time to move on.  Bob is near settled into his home and the home's yard is absent the jungle of berry vines, clinging vines, and a number of rather large NORWAY GREY RATS caught in Bob's traps.

SPIA and ME are going to carry out an alternate program.  I see no need to further my own masikistic walks - walks to near exhaustion just to prove that old folks like me really can accomplish the unthinkable..."SPIA" = Seniors Performing Incredible Acts (or so says my 16 year old incarcerated supporter (in the Bellingham County Jail).  I WILL walk, but minimally so.  We will attempt to use SPIA (our 1995 MAZDA MPV) to reach more places than when only walking.  Feel I have little more to prove and hope to discover more interesting places and events by using the vehicle to range farther afield.

Home of my Nephew, Dale, who has lived and worked closely with me for some 40 + years in both New York and Washington State.  Thank you once again for being the perfect host, Dale.

View last night from my Bedroom.

This is the Green River (Duwamish River) at the exact spot where each Summer from 1941 to 1945 us brothers JIM (age 4), JAY (age 9) and I (age 6) spent our lunch hours while working for - at first - the Japanese Truck Farmers near Kent, Washington.  The Japanese Farmers disappeared into the Concentration Camps...a travesty in US History.

These summers were in of themselves, worthy of a sizable book. 

The Truck Farms are today a fashionable Golf Course...above photo taken this morning...July 22, 2015 from the MEEKER Street Bridge spanning the river...the same bridge we walked so many times some 70 years ago.

We brothers had no prepared food.  Each day, we picked veggies from the fields we worked on, walking to the Green River for a swim and Lunch.  Each day we walked (to the Kent Valley and back home to the Stump Ranch) some five miles each way.  SPINACH is still one of my favorites.

We were left to fend for ourselves as Mother and Dad were fully employed in "Defense" sensitive jobs ... Mother a true "Rosie The Riveter" at Seattle's Boeing Airplane factory helping build the thousands B-17 Flying Fortress...and Dad for Lee and Eastes, trucking bombs and such between Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

...and we would never think of misbehaving.  ALL our $ earnings were SAVED in War Bonds...all of which were given over to the family at the end of the WAR (WWII) to help purchase our family trucking company, Tri-City Freightlines sited in the town of PASCO, Washington.

One day we found a five dollar bill on 240th - next to the present day college -.  We walked on to downtown Kent where we purchased all the candy, games and underwear we could carry.  We stopped off at the Army Camp on Meeker Street, giving all our treasures to the soldiers. 

We really did try to do our part.

Our home, The Stump Ranch was isolated and alone - and still is - deep in the woods a few blocks West of Old Highway 99.  Around 1941 a Drive In Theatre was built at the corner of Highway 99 and 240th Street.  This is a photo of where the last row of Speakers hung from their posts - which movie-goers hung from the driver-side door window to listen to the movie projected on a huge silver screen sometimes a city block away.  Me and Jim liked to turn the speaker's volume up full...climb one of the trees - just like in the above pic...and enjoy one of the benefits of being among the unsung war heroes...viewing first-run movies.

Us kids also set up a booth on old 99 Booth selling black berries, huckle berries and salmon berries
we picked ourselves.  No, we did NOT spend the money, but did gain a world of experience learning what hard work does ... yes,  even by "babies",  whch we certainly were...

Today's young....begging a hand out.  Learning the value of receiving donations during my 5 + years walking America, I gave the man a ten dollar bill and wished him well. 

I am hesitent to comment on such matters, but speak my mind when I say our society does such needy no favors.  Such handouts without an effort on the beggar's part to contribute to the "family" is only destructive because it denies the recipient of the RIGHT to contribute something back...

US Highway 99 as it passes through MIDWAY, Washington.  The Stump Ranch was and still is some 5 blocks into the forest to the right.  A trail still snakes past the small stream and pond where Jim and me played out Huckleberry Finn some 70 years ago.

Stopped to chat with the bikini-clad ladies at this Midway shop.  No pictures allowed !!!

...but I assure you more and better is seen at most small town swimming pools.  When I explained I was blogging my way across America, the two scantily clad ladies screamed "OUT...GET AWAY" as they slammed shut the sliding window, blocking it shut with a stick on the inside.

This imprompto "church" pleading the cause of the early return of JESUS, the poster in the next photo pleaded the cause of ...not really for whom it pleaded.

OH MY...OH MY !!!

This is a large ROCK buried in the back yard of The Stump Ranch.

Little did I know some 70 years ago that it would become world recognized as a "religious" object of sorts.  Some weeks ago our Mud River Church ... yes, Sally's Church ! ...

Our Pastor explained that before being nailed to The Cross, JESUS CHRIST was beaten with a CAT OF NINE TAILS.  Hearing such news, I thought, "Shucks, Brother Jim and Me were beaten - with our bare hind end exposed from laying across the seat of the kitchen chair - ... whipped on a regular basis by DAD upon his return home from his run to Portland or Yakima."

Pleading innocent did not work for Jim or Me.  Having no PROOF of a crime, DAD simply clarified his need to punish for those things we did that he didn't hear about.

Jim found DAD's CAT OF NINE TAILS hidden in the rafters of the cow barn.  Together we jammed that CAT deep into the crack in the above pictured ROCK...using a screwdriver and hammer to get it deep into the interior.  THEN, we mixed up some Portland Cement, carefully sealing that CAT for ever ... or at least until DAD wasn't around any more.  Often wondered if we would bewrong to say, "Forgive him for he knew not what he did."

Really doubt it because he simply shifted to whacking our bare Hind ends with his metal studded leather razor belt.

Around age 45 I forgave him deciding I probably did deserve to be beaten.

The Stump Ranch July 22, 2015. 

Our Crypt "STONE" can be seen Center Left. 

After close inspection, I can pretty much certify that DAD's CAT OF NINE TAILS is still safely tucked deep inside.

The Stump Ranch July 22, 2015.  Our STONE is visible in the far center left.

Jim and Me slept in a single bed in the room top center.  The floor had no covering of the rafters.  Under threat of severe punishment on slipping off a rafter on our way down the stairs and across the driveway to the two-holer across the driveway, Jim and Me took to peeing out the window...or in really cold nights (we had no heat, you see) simply down the exposed wall studs.

For general information, our home looks as it did on that 1945 day of May 05, when moved away forever.

I have never really left.  Over the years I returned, checked the aging cement, and told stories to new tenents of how their home was built from lumber stolen from Boeing's pile of boxes used to ship the wings of the B-17 flying Fortress...and how Jim and my pounded thousands of nails from those pilfered planks.

The CAT story is told here for the first time...or at least I think so.

240th Street from old 99 West to the beautiful seaside town of Des Moines, Washington.

Old MASONIC Retirement Home, Des Moines, private property...OK, just read the notice in the following pic.

View of PUGET SOUND from the entrance of the old MASONIC Retirement Home.

The big white circle is a water pool...empty of water on this, July 22, 2015.

Des Moines, Washington Field House where as a 6-year old Second Grader, I was thrilled to see an Indian Show performed.  I memorized (most) of an Indian Ballad which I often sing on many a lonely night as I walk hither and yon across America (forgot the third verse):

In the distance I see
a dear Tee Pee
where my loved one is waiting for me;

By the camp fire she stands
with out stretched hands
where she's waiting and watching foe me

(Third forgotten verse)

Then away I will ride
with my love by my side
and she soon my Bride will be

When Queen of the West
she will soon rule  best
'or the land of my prairie dreams


Des Moines Field House

Field House Sports Field... where in 1942. I was cheated by Ralph S. during the Easter Egg Hunt.

Found an egg with the name John written on it, Ralph told me that egg had to be put back as it belonged only to John. 

Found - and put back - Peter's egg...followed by David's egg.

Was truly hurt when Ralph won a prize for the eggs I put back.  Was years - many years 'till I discovered how he did that.

Front entrance to Des Moines Elementary School.

At the Des Moines Marina ... looking down into salt water where live the world's monster octopus.  I witnessed a 19 foot diameter octopus caught by hand by free diver at 100 feet under water under Tacoma's Narrows Bridge.

Am told the record octopus caught in near by Puget Sound waters is 32 feet diameter.

Des Moines Marina.  Am told my first Salmon fishing trip was from this spot.  Am told I was three months old, making the cruise in a 16 foot row boat.  'course, had a difficult time just seeing over the sides of my apple box cradle. early reward for the coming CAT beatings for things I probably did not do ?...HHhhhmmmmm

Please say HELLO to my new friend, MARGORIE

We met photographing the same yachts...and enjoyed the next interlude discovering stuff  while over looking the waters of Puget Sound.

Yes, Sally...don't lose the faith !

This is the corner of my 1966 Secretary, JANICE. 

JANICE took her final breath at this spot near Des Moines and The Stump Ranch when her friend lost control of his car, being broad sided by an on coming car.  Often think of JANICE

Look closely.  MARGORIE is walking away from our too few moments this afternoon.

* * * * * * * * * *

Am creating this blog update at Mc D's near Longview, Washington.  Started working on it at 5:30 PM.  It is now 1:15 the next morning.  Think walking is tuff ???  Nothing compared to the effort involved to create a lucid story from memories and a few photographs. 

Will try to sleep in SPIA here in the  Mc D parking lot.

In the morning will drive south to Portland, Oregon...then cross Mt. Hood to BEND, Oregon and East to BURNS, Oregon where Daughter and her growing family are expanding the population of Oregon's High Desert.