Saturday, June 25, 2011

Feeling Better And You'd Think I Was Deep In The Woods

After my post regarding the weather yesterday, my son sent me an email telling me that he wholeheartedly agreed with my analysis of the situation however he sent me a rather interesting link.

After reading this blog I am starting to feeling a little better. While I don't really like the lack of sunlight on my shoulders, I guess it is a good thing that we aren't having a long warm spell or we could end up flooding a lot of people across the country.

Gold Bar Nature Trails (not a nudist camp) is a few miles away from where I live. Most trips we enter Highway 18 in Federal Way and cross to I90 to the north. We can take a long leisurely ride through the countryside passing by Snoqualime Falls and the towns of Fall City, Carnation, and Duvall. We arrive in Monroe and head east on Highway 2 which is a mountain byway. From Monroe you pass through Sultan, Startup and Gold Bar to get to the park. These are the foothills of Highway 2 as it starts to climb up to the summit and over into eastern Washington

While we are not that far from civilization, at times it feels like we are off deep in the woods. And yet the modern conveniences are only a few minutes away.

This creek, May Creek, runs through the park. These pictures were taken from a bridge built by the park so that we could access the other side of the creek where there are roughly 30 campsites. Normally this creek is a dry bed during the summer months and frankly, I can't recall the last time I saw this much water running through it. Even in the winter. It was wet and raining the day I was out and about taking these photos. In fact, there were puddles big enough to bath in on most roads within the compound.

An while it looks like I might be walking deep in the woods this is actually the tree cover over the road near the creek.....Can't believe everything you see in pictures..

Drive save out there....

Friday, June 24, 2011

The River Runs Thru and I Am Sick of It...

Short post on a sour subject this Friday evening.

Yesterday the Sun was out and birds were singing; grass was growing; people were running, walking and strolling in the warmth.

Twenty-fours later those same birds are hiding; the grass might grow if it can pick it self up after being plummeted; people left their houses in the warmth in shorts and other short garments only to find themselves caught in a deluge that made the street in front of our condo look like a river.

Frankly, I AM SICK OF THIS....I want some warm, sunny weather for say....two weeks...just enough so I forget....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

God, Fathers Day, and Older Age Ramblings

Presbyterian was the religion of choice by my mom and dad, mainly mom. Each Sunday growing up, I attended Sunday School or Church. While I can't say we necessarily practiced what was preached we did attend, volunteer and tithe to our local Church. At some point, we stopped after mom became bitterly disenchanted with the Church during a long illness. I can't remember the exact age but I believe I was coming up on or was in my early teens. I lost track of Church and didn't attend again for several years.

In my early marriage, I was not a nice person to be around. My wife is a saint for sticking it out with me. I have two great kids, who I don't see enough. Who could blame them. My grand kids are great and I love everyone in the family but I nearly lost it all. I was an alcholic in my younger days and drank way more than any individual should drink. I was always absent even when I was in the room. My kids grew up with that. I didn't give much direction and who could blame them for not paying attention to a drunk. I wasn't violent, just drunk.

At some point, something happened that brought God back into the picture. I converted to Catholism and started to pray about my miserble life and what I was doing to myself and those around me. I found the strenght to quit smoking and drinking on the very same day of the same year nearly 20 years ago. But by then my kids were nearly grown.

Once I stopped drinking I started preaching. I soon found out that wasn't such a good idea, so I kind of let God slide out of the picture again. While the majority of my immediate family do not believe in a God in the same way that most Christians do, I still have unanswered questions and continue to seek answers. I haven't been to Church for sometime, but recently have had an experience that kind of makes me want to go back. I don't plan to preach to the family or try to change their attitudes but I think it is something that I need.

I was baptised when I was young. Most Christians are. In the days of Constintine people waited until they were nearly on their deathbed before being batised thinking that they couldn't possibly sin in the last days of life. I am thinking maybe I should have waited.

At 64, with Fathers Day looming, I wanted to say how much I appeciate and how proud I am of my two kids and three grandchildren. And to my wife, who stuck it out all these years, I can never thank God enough for her. I love her more each day and hope we have many more years to go.

Travel safe out there and have a Happy Fathers Day


Here we are, half way through the month of June, and still waiting for spring to arrive. Summer is coming, or is it? Yesterday was a warm one into the low 70's. Today, it is raining, hard, and in the upper 50's. I don't get it. This has happened repeatedly over the past few weeks. One or two days of really nice weather and then back to this junk.
I want to go to the park this weekend.....
We'll see..

Monday, June 13, 2011


In the southeastern portion of the state of Washington and parts of Idaho lies an area called the Palouse. Roughly 160 miles north of the Oregon Trail this area was once more populated than the Puget Sound region of the state. It is home to Washington State University and lots of farm land. Nearly every square mile is planted with agricultural products.

As you leave Lewiston via Clarkston you wander through farmland westward towards Pomeroy. Farms spread out across the horizon for as far as you can see. If you take a turn towards Starbuck you come to an area that is pretty much desert terrain. Out in the middle of this terrain is a small sign announcing the fact that two miles down a gravel road is Palouse Falls State Park. Your in the middle of desert terrain. What could it be? A trickle? You would be wrong.....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Weekend

Went off the the park Friday night. Had an absolutely great weekend. Saturday was overcast but we were able to take a long walk, install solar lamps around the lot, clean the lot, burn off some weeds and still have time to eat and enjoy the day. So quiet on weekends like this.
We have decided to watch the Matrix trilogy and started with the first one on Saturday night.
We woke up to sunshine and birds singing this morning, had a wonderful breakfest and they went for another long walk. We cleaned up to get ready to come home and I sprayed off the roof of the trailer and then washed it. We tidy up and left to go see our son, his wife and our new grandbaby.
I really enjoyed the weekend and so did Mia. I hope we can enjoy some more this summer...
Be safe out there...

Friday, June 10, 2011


Off to spend some time with my lovely wife, our new trailer and mother nature....see you on the flip side.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Indulge Me.

Found on a used car lot in Lewiston, Idaho. Posting these so a co worker can see them. 1954 Chev 3600, 3/4 ton, 235 6 cylinder, M-20 4 speed tranmission. They say it is rust free...It looked pretty good to me...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Early To Bed, Early To Rise. Thank God I'm A Country Boy

Timeless words from one of my all time favorite songwriter/singers, John Denver.

As I said, I love all things country. More of the scenes I passed as I drove to and from Lewiston.

There is a huge discussion going on about the visual "blight" created by the wind farms in Eastern Washington.

Or we could have this visual "blight" shot during the aftermath of the recent earthquake.

Monday, June 6, 2011

To Do Or Not To Do

I had considered railing against the Econo Lodge, but it turns out that it really wasn't that bad as long as Mia wasn't along for the ride. I would want something a little better for her but in retrospect throwing them under the bus does no one any good. Besides I had a wonderful weekend so I can't see being that picky.

I can't help myself. I love eastern Washington and the farm land. I have loved the idea of farming or ranching since I was a little kid and I loved working on the farm during my teen years and during my vacations after I high school.

The guy/gal is flying right at telephone pole height. The plane is just three feet inside the poles as they make the run to spray the crops in the field below.
Another thing I like is old barns. Love taking pictures of them

Then there are the water towers that announce the city you are in.

My trip was 766 miles and I absolutely loved the whole trip.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wireless, Eh!!!

Sitting in my cheap hotel room in Lewiston Idaho, know that I said I was off the grid for the weekend but discoving they have free Wifi. I just uploaded a picture to my facebook and I thought it would take forever, so I am not really sure if any pictures will be included in this post.

I drove an 2010 Tiguan manufactured by Volkswagen, from Federal Way, WA. to Lewiston, Idaho yesterday. I put a little over 322 miles on the SUV and sat in the seat a little over five hours with one restroom stop. I have to say that this is one fun little SUV to drive and it was very comfortable. Sometimes in smaller vehicles, I get back pain if I sit too long, but not in this rig.

We had a beautiful day yesterday in the mid 80's. So many family members came from all over the Northwest and as far away as South Dakota to help celebrate my cousins 90th Birthday. I think she was genuinely surprised at the turn out. I had a wonderful time and ate too much as is normal when I come over here to visit. These ladies are fantastic cooks and always have interesting meals.

I will write more about the trip and some of the interesting stuff I saw when I get back home because the picture of the Tiguan that I started to post one half hour ago, just showed up on the blog. I'll wait until I get home to do more....

Going to church with the family this morning and then another day of visiting before heading home on Monday.

Be safe out there.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Road Trip

Leaving early tomorrow morning.....Federal Way, WA to Lewiston, ID all alone, together with myself.....I'll be off the grid until I get back Monday afternoon.

Be safe out there.....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Soap Box 3.0

After reading the owners manual it was discovered that synthetic oil was not required by Ford. They did not say "no", but they were clear that it was not essential. In the back of the manual on the maintenance schedule they discovered that the oil and filter service was 10,000 miles not the 3,000 miles on the sticker placed in the window by the competitor. After looking at the receipt one more time it was discovered that the last time the Ford was serviced by the competitor the automatic transmission was serviced and the radiator was flushed.

Next stop, back to the Ford dealership to see if they could learn anything more. Sticking out like a sore thumb was "The Works" - Fords synthetic oil change and comprehensive inspection for $39.95. Their inspection was a whole lot more comprehensive that the competitors.

So is the competitor cheaper and more convenient? No on both counts. Here is the math. They can get "The Works" at a Ford Quick Lane facility that is closer than the competitor for $39.95 - synthetic oil change and comprehensive inspection. This would be done every 10,000 miles. Or, they could go get the "Signature Service" for $35.99 nearly $4.00 cheaper than Ford. But, once there, they switch them to synthetic oil with an up-charge of $29.00. They hand a bill over for $67.25 (after tax, 58% more expensive than "The Works") and slap on a window sticker to come back in 3,000 miles. Their computer reminds them and the customer, that they always get synthetic oil. And the counterperson assures them the Hybrids require it. It is convenient but, probably no more convenient than the Ford Quick Lane they pass on their way to the competitor. Over the course of 10,000 miles I'd be reminded to go to the competitor three times. Total cost would be $201.75.....only if they could resist aggressive sales tactics to change the air filter, flush the radiator, flush the transmission and so on. The "Works" would have saved them $159.20 for a single necessary oil and filter change.

Consumer education is a wonderful thing.

Soap Box 2.0

The number one competitor to the auto dealerships service department is looked on as both cheap and convenient. But are they

At team of independent folks decided to find out using a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid with over 87,000 miles on the odometer. They went shopping to find out.

Their first stop was the local Ford dealer where they asked for a comprehensive inspection to find if anything was wrong with the vehicle. They tagged along with the service technician as he worked on the vehicle. Oil was fine, filters were OK, tires safe, all fluids good-to-go, brakes with plenty of life left, shocks and struts working fine. All they found was a broken license plate light and a cracked windshield. When asked for the bill the dealership refused to charge anything.

Next stop, the competitor. The lube sticker in the car told them they were 1,000 miles past due for a new Signature Service. They parked the car and sat in the waiting room. By the way, those stickers are extremely effective at prompting customers for service. The top prompt for customers was a vehicle performance issue, followed by odometer mileage and window stickers.

The technician came into the waiting room and validated the owners address and said, "you still using synthetic oil?" (Remember, Ford had already told them the oil and filter were OK.) The customer stated they didn't use synthetic oil. He replied, "Well, that's what she's been using." The customer replied that he did not need synthetic oil. The technicians comeback, "Hybrids are supposed to use synthetic oil." The customer inquired as to the price and was told $64.99. So they let them put in the synthetic oil because, "Hybrids are supposed to use synthetic oil." They got the car back 15 minutes later, paid $67.25 and the shop didn't mention the license plate light.

They then went home and checked out the owner's manual.

Tomorrow the I will reveal the results of this study.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Soap Box

But first let me share my latest project. Teak furniture. A wonderful, beautiful product that when left to the elements becomes an ugly, terrible product. Witness what I started with on the left and the finished product on the right. Looking much better.

On to the Soap Box....

I have worked in the retail automotive business for a very long time but I learned most of what I need to survive machinery while working on a wheat ranch in eastern Washington when I was a teenager. It was hard work with very little profit. Called dry farming because we didn't use irrigation we were totally dependent on rainfall or snow pack for our water supply. Because things were tight we struggle at times to make ends meet but we never, I repeat NEVER, let the machinery maintenance go undone.

Maintenance was something close to religion. You just did it and usually you did it every day. Farm equipment takes a brutal beating when in operation. Dust from the dirt tends to coat and clog everything. Most equipment is used well past the design and engineering parameters. When things break, you fix them. Getting up a couple of hours earlier to grease the equipment, change oil, fuel, clean filters and check tires and other operations was a daily action.

Lately I have been reading with some interest people complaining about their equipment, be it automotive or recreation vehicle, and the cost to maintain it or the cost to fix it when it fails. Maintain and repairing my equipment seems like a no brainier to me. While it does cost money to maintain equipment I have found it takes much less money to maintain that it does to fix or repair.

The question is, where do you find a good mechanic that can do the work correctly. Over the years and because I work for a auto dealership in a management position, I have always taken my trucks, cars, and RVs to the dealership where I purchased them. Generally, they are knowledgeable about the vehicle and update any on board systems as required by the manufacturer and take care of those nasty recalls that pop up every now and then. Yes, it seems they are more expensive but are they? Do we perceive them to be more expensive or are they really that more costly?

I get tons of information as a manager in my position and I am going to pass some along over the few days to help give you some insight. Let me say that what is really needed is a consumer, you and I, who is well educated about the vehicles he or she owns. In the next couple of days I will give you some info regarding a popular oil change company (I won't name names) compared with the local Ford dealer.

Please share this with your fellow bloggers.

I leave you with this question: Did you read the owners manual that came with your vehicles and do you understand the maintenance schedule?

Be safe out there...