Friday, December 9, 2016

Way Too Much Wind Chill On The Mount Wichita Summit

Well, I made it to the summit of Mount Wichita today.

In the abstract it seemed like a good idea to go mountain climbing.

However, the reality of such turned out to be not such a good idea.

When I drove to the base of Mount Wichita, around 11 this morning, the temperature was hovering around 35. The wind blowing supposedly made that 35 feel like the low 20s.

When I reached the summit of Mount Wichita the howling gale penetrated my windbreaker as if I had nothing breaking the wind at all.

I quickly made my way back to ground level and then  just as quickly made it back to the warm comfort of my vehicle.

The picture I took from the Mount Wichita summit sort of captures what a forbidding cold location this was today.

If I attempt mountain climbing again during this period of Big Chills I will likely do so attired as if I was going skiing. Or maybe just wait til HEAT returns....

Incoming Washington Snow Reports From Spencer Jack & Miss Linda

Incoming text and photo this morning to my phone from my old home zone of Mount Vernon in the Skagit Valley.

Text accompanying the photo....

Spencer Jack woke my up this morning to report overnight Skagit snow.

That appears to be quite a few inches of snow. Enough to cover the grass.

When I saw the "16" on Spencer Jack's Christmas lawn decoration it took me a second or two or three to guess what "16" referred to.

I am guessing Spencer Jack is counting down the days until Christmas.

Just as I stuck the period on the above sentence the phone once again  made its incoming text message noise. I figured it was likely from Elsie Hotpepper due to the fact I had text messaged the Hotpepper a couple minutes ago. But, the message was not from that particular Hotpepper, it was from the Washington Hotpepper known as Little Miss Linda, with that message's text telling me....

Brrrrrrr....from Mount Vernon.

Along with the Brrrrr, Miss Linda including a photo of the snow outside her domicile.

That does look very Brrrrrrr.

If the snow sticks the Mount Vernon zone has multiple great sledding hills. My old neighborhood in far east Mount Vernon was a mecca for sledding.

Meanwhile, at my current location on the planet the outer world is cold enough to support falling flakes of snow, if clouds were present to produce such a thing. We are hovering right at the freezing point, currently.

I think I will do some frigid mountain climbing today. I am assuming Mount Wichita is not slippery....

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Trouble Acclimating To This Texas Arctic Blast

Apparently I am not reacting well to suddenly being stuck in a deep freeze.

I am assuming the headache that began aching in the middle of last night, which has continued through the day, then continuing on after the sun has set, has been caused by the sudden loss of 40 degrees.

I tried the comfort food route to breaking the cold spell, barbecuing chicken, making extremely sharp cheesy macaroni and cheese, along with my signature salad, cranberry Waldorf.

To no avail.

By late afternoon I found myself sitting forlornly looking at the brightly lit view you see above. As I sat I could feel cold creeping in through the big window behind me. At least I imagined such.

I heard on the radio a few minutes ago that by the weekend we are scheduled to get back some of those 40 degrees we lost in the last 24 hours, with the outer world possibly heated into the 60s.

Tomorrow, while it is still freezing, I may take myself to Mount Wichita to see what mountain climbing is like at this location in sub-freezing weather. I do not think the mountain will be too slippery....

Freezing In Texas While Snowing In My Old Washington Home Zone

The screen cap you see here is from this morning's Seattle Times. One might think this is yet one more entry in my popular series of news items I read via west coast news sources which one would not expect to be seeing in a Texas newspaper about a similar thing happening in Texas.

In this particular case, I screen capped what you see here because I thought it was a stereotypical image of my old home Pacific Northwest zone, what with tall evergreen trees, a rain slicked street, a full sized transit bus (unlike what one finds in Fort Worth) and mountains in the distance.

In this view you are not looking east at the Cascade Mountains, instead you are looking west, from the Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace, at mountains in the Olympic Mountain range, which is on the west side of Puget Sound.

Now that you are causing me to think about it, this actually also is a blogging about something I see in a west coast online news source which I would not be seeing in a Texas online news source about something in Texas.

Mountains.

Multiple mountains adding up to being a mountain range.

Well, actually, in Texas you can find a mountain in a sort of mountain range. Guadalupe Mountain in the Guadalupe Mountain range.

Anyway, it ain't pretty when the Western Washington lowlands gets a dose of snow and ice. Very treacherous due to the fact that, like Texans, most Washington lowlanders do not get a lot of snow driving practice.

I recollect a Friday back late in the last century, being in Seattle when the temperature dropped faster than predicted, making for ice on the wet streets. Then snow began falling. I quickly made my way to I-5 to head back north. It took six hours to drive 55 miles back to my safe haven in Mount Vernon.

That was bad, but, by far, the worst winter driving I have ever experienced has been in Texas. Driving after an Ice Storm. I never experienced an Ice Storm til I moved to Texas.

Switching the subject to my current location and temperature status.

The temperature predictors had predicted the temperature would plummet to 20 degrees last night. However, we were spared. The low got to only 27, if my temperature sources are correct. We had been warned to leave all faucets dripping and to monitor the drippage because water pressure might drop during the night as Wichita Fallers increased their drippage.

I dripped all night long, but I do not think it was necessary, what with that not too low temperature.

The above temperature graphic from the Wichita Falls Times News Record indicates that that 27 degrees actually feels like 14 degrees, due to wind blowing at 13 mph.

Looking out my window, right now, I see no tree movement. I do see three flags in the distance doing some flapping, but not too much flappage.

I think I will likely forego my daily endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation acquired via outdoor activity, unless the temperature quickly rises to a more seemly level....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Spencer Jack's Tree Got Me Reminiscing About My Christmas Escape History

Last night Spencer Jack text messaged me that which you see here.

Standing on a chair installing the final touch on the 2016 Spencer Jack Christmas tree.

Spencer Jack also called the old-fashioned way last night. He was in Everett having taken his dad for a tour of Paine Field and some sort of new aviation museum.

Paine Field is near where Boeing builds its big jets in the biggest manufacturing building in the world.

I do not remember when last I was at Paine Field. It may have been way back in the last century at an air show where I got one of my worst sunburns ever, spending too many hours looking skyward.

Spencer Jack wanted to know if I was planning on heading to Arizona for Christmas, telling me that if I was doing so he was thinking it would be fun to fly his dad to Phoenix for that particular occasion.

I currently do not know where I will be on December 25.

Years ago, during the latter part of the last century my December norm was to skip the height of the holiday season by heading south, usually staying in Reno for a few days before going to California, usually Southern California.

Now that you are making me think about it the last time I escaped Christmas was in 1993. That year's escape skipped Reno and headed directly to Southern California on a nerve wrackingly crowded Interstate 5.

1993's Christmas was spent in Disneyland. On that particular day Disneyland broke its attendance record. There were some staffing problems and due to the unexpected big crowd food items ran out, such as New Orleans fritters, a staple, for me, of any Disneyland visit, dating back to my first time visiting Mickey Mouse's home, when I was 13.

The most amusing thing that happened on that Christmas in Disneyland day was on the Jungle Cruise. It was the last cruise of the day. When the boat was loaded the pilot looked at the crowd and asked if there were any kids on board. There were none.

The pilot then asked if we'd mind if he did the Jungle Cruise without the usual script. No one objected. So, instead of the usual script the pilot sort of sarcastically said stuff like, "Oh no, there's that pesky hippo again. I think I'll shoot him".

By the end of that Jungle Cruise everyone seemed to have had a mighty fine time, with many thanking the pilot for the best Jungle Cruise ever, when we finally safely docked.

After Disneyland, that year's Christmas escape included several more days in the Los Angeles zone, including a visit to the Nixon library. This was a few months before Nixon died. The Nixon library is like an adult Disneyland. Extremely entertaining and interesting.

Later that week, prior to New Year's Eve, I headed east for two days in Las Vegas. Then headed further east to spend one night in Flagstaff before driving north to the snowy, icy South Rim of the Grand Canyon the next day. Then continuing on further east where eventually I made my way to Moab on New Year's Eve.

New Years Day in Moab saw snow covered hiking in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park where at Islands in the Sky I looked down far below and saw mountain bikers. I vowed at that point in time to get myself a mountain bike and return to Moab to do some riding.

And so, back in Washington I got my first mountain bike, and then in March of 1995 returned for some adventurous slick rock riding, including the infamous Porcupine Rim Trail, and the less infamous Gemini Bridges Trail and the Slickrock Trail, where I had my only bad bike crash during that Moab stay.

It was on the aforementioned Disneyland Christmas escape road trip I first saw the San Juan Inn in Mexican Hat. The San Juan Inn pops into view when you cross the San Juan River from Arizona to Utah, shortly after visiting Monument Valley. When I saw the San Juan Inn nestled up against a tall redrock cliff I remarked that that looks like a fun place to stay. But, I continued on to Moab.

However, less than a year later I was back in Utah to do some Lake Powell Houseboating, so I made reservations at the San Juan Inn for the day we got off the houseboat, reaching Mexican Hat via the treacherous Moki Dugway.

The San Juan Inn did not disappoint. The Navajo Cafe which is part of the Inn made the best Indian tacos ever.

In a couple weeks my little sister is taking my Favorite Nephews David and Theo, and Favorite Niece Ruby to Disneyland prior to flying to Phoenix for Christmas in Arizona. I hope my little sister knows it can be cold in Disneyland on Christmas and packs accordingly...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Spencer Jack Looks For Snow On Little Mountain While I Look For A Little Mountain In Texas

The picture you see here arrived last night, on my phone, along with text which said "On top of Little Mountain  awaiting arrival  of snow".

That would be my Favorite Nephews Jason and Spencer Jack awaiting snow on top of Little Mountain.

Two days ago Miss Linda called me from her location slightly northwest of Little Mountain and told me she was looking out the window at Little Mountain dusted with snow at its top. And then as we were talking Miss Linda reported snowflakes had begun to fall.

In the Washington lowlands snow comes and goes quickly. It may stick around for days, or it may stick around for a couple hours before melting. It appears that Spencer Jack and Jason were at the Little Mountain summit after the snow Miss Linda saw had melted.

That green land you see behind Spencer Jack and Jason is known as the Skagit Flats. Some of the most fertile land in the world. The water you see in the distance is saltwater. I am guessing it is Samish Bay, an inlet north of Puget Sound.

Below is sort of a look at Little Mountain.


No. Little Mountain is not the big pile of white you see in the center of the picture. That big pile of white is the Mount Baker volcano. This picture was taken in April, hence Mount Baker being totally white. In summer much of the lower white melts away.

This photo was taken from the vantage point of I-5, heading north. That mound of green on the left is the east side of Little Mountain, which would make where Spencer Jack and Jason are standing in the top picture to the left of what you see of Little Mountain above.

On that particular day in April, of 2006, to be precise, I was being chauffeured by the individual who was later alleged to be the inspiration for Spencer Jack's name. Ms. Spencer. Jason had been advised to name his incoming newborn after his richest relative. Later it was revealed that the actual name choice was made due to the fact that it is a cool sounding name, particularly when Spencer was combined, name-wise, with Spencer's great grandpa's name, Jack.

Spencer Jack.

The reason I was being chauffeured north by Ms. Spencer, at this particular time, was to attend the aforementioned Favorite Nephew Jason's wedding in Burlington. After the wedding the reception party took place at Jason's Eaglemont Pavilion, located at the Eaglemont Golf course, with that golf course located on the notch you see above, between Little Mountain and the other mountain to the right.

At some point in time Mount Vernon turned Little Mountain into a city park. The access to the summit is via a twisting and turning well made gravel covered road. Or one can hike to the summit. Or bike.

When I was a youngster, back in the last century, the summit of Little Mountain featured a tall wooden lookout. By the end of the century that lookout had been replaced by a lookout not quite as adventurous.

The Little Mountain summit has a hang glider launch pad. Hang gliders take off and land on the green fields along I-5 that you see in the Mount Baker photo above.

Til you live in an altitude challenged part of the planet you don't appreciate how unique it is to have little mountains in ones town.

The town I grew up in, Burlington, also had what would be called a mountain in Texas, but is simply called Burlington Hill in Washington. The top of Burlington Hill has a giant illuminated cross which glows bright this time of year. At least I assume that is still the case.

If the town I am currently in, Wichita Falls, had a topographic feature like either Little Mountain or Burlington Hill I am guessing it would be a HUGE tourist attraction, due to its uniqueness in this flat land.

Maybe if Wichita Falls ever does get around to dredging Lake Wichita as part of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Plan, maybe the dredging could go deeper, digging up enough mountain building material to make a mountain that would dwarf the current tallest mountain for miles around, that being Mount Wichita.

As you can see, there is not enough mountain to Mount Wichita to warrant building a road to the summit.

A Mount Wichita lookout tower of the height of the Little Mountain lookout tower would add about a third to the height of Mount Wichita.

I am almost 100% certain that there is no possibility of adding a hang glider launch pad to the summit of Mount Wichita.

But, maybe if enough material could be dredged from Lake Wichita, sufficient altitude might be achieved to facilitate hang gliding. There is plenty of green space on which to land. And there is definitely enough wind regularly blowing....

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dense December Fog After Night Of Christmas Lights Before Arctic Blast

This first Monday of December, by the time I took a picture out of my computer room window, the dense fog I saw when I first looked out a window, whilst making coffee this morning, had somewhat lifted, with the level of fog denseness no longer rendering it dangerous to float ones boat on the nearby inland sea known as Lake Wichita.

Last night when the sun ended its daily illumination I toured the Christmas light displays one starts touring near the east side of MSU (Midwestern State University).

To tour the lights for a short distance I followed a horse drawn light touring carriage. After that I followed one of the lights touring trams, and then a few blocks later I came upon a second lights touring tram.

I have no way of knowing if the art of Christmas displays has ratcheted up to new levels nationwide, or in Arlington's Interlochen. But what I do know is I have never seen homes with Christmas displays the likes of which I saw last night.

Incredible.

It has long been a mystery, to me, why anyone would go to such effort to put up such elaborate displays for such a short time frame.

I will return to the lights sometime before Christmas to photo and video document that which I saw last night.

But, before I do that this current Arctic Blast that is chilling North Texas needs to come to an end with the return of reasonable temperatures.

As you can see, above, by Thursday the outer world at my location is scheduled to be chilled to 18 degrees.

18 degrees is cold. Real cold.

I must go on an extensive search for my illusive long underwear today in preparation for the incoming Deep Freeze....

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Talking To Linda Spencer Jack's Grandpa Reports Santa Found Mom & Dad

Little Miss Linda called me this afternoon from my old home zone of Mount Vernon, Washington.

During the course of talking to Little Miss Linda my phone made its incoming text message noise.

Also during the course of talking to Little Miss Linda mention was made of my mom and dad.

When Little Miss Linda hung up on me I checked the text message to see that it was from Spencer Jack's grandpa, who also happens to be my little brother, Jake.

The text in the message said "Santa finds mom and dad".

That would be mom and dad, above, with Santa. I have no idea where Santa found my parental units. It looks like a semi-outdoor venue. It does not look like a McDonald's semi-outdoor venue. My mom and dad semi-regularly go to McDonald's on Sunday.

When Little Miss Linda and I first began conversing today Linda mentioned that snow was on the menu for the Puget Sound lowlands. Linda said you know how that goes, the prediction usually does not come true. And then whilst we were talking Linda suddenly says snow flakes are now falling.

It is fairly rare for the Puget Sound lowlands to get snow, particularly the Skagit Valley, which is known as a banana belt, stuck between two convergence zones which usually block snow which might fall copiously just a few miles north, in Whatcom County.

I read a couple days ago that all Washington's Cascade Mountain ski areas are already open. There has been a winter or two over the years when not enough snow falls to open the ski resorts.

I don't know when the Texas ski areas will be opening. Oh, that's right, there aren't any....

How Could Anyone Cotton To People Disrespecting Durango?

In the blog post title above I slightly altered an incoming email's subject line which in reality said...

I don't Cotton to People Disrespecting Durango.

The email was from fellow Washingtonian, Steve A, who has spent some time exiled in Texas, to the point that he had to vote in the last election via the archaic Texas absentee ballot method.

But, Steve A is blessed with spending much of his time in paradise at a place called Ocean Shores on the Washington Pacific coast.

So, Steve A's email included the Facebook screen cap you see here and the following text...

to Durango:

From Facebook, I recently commented that voter fraud IS a problem, though not necessarily in the way people suspect. I'm sorry, but I cited you and got attacked for same. A screenshot follows. Apologizing in advance!

    -Steve A

PS: Eventually, right will be done in the TRWD. Maybe even the Kelleher censure will be undone....
__________________

Well, that is pretty funny. Apparently this guy reacting to what Steve A had to say about Texas voting fraud had no awareness that the State of Texas is in the midst of investigating this. Reading what this guy had to opine it seems obvious he has no clue as to what the vote fraud issue entails in Texas.

I have blogged about the voting fraud multiple times. I think the first time was right after the results became known of the most recent TRWD board election, when it was obvious something was totally screwy with the results.

The more recent bloggings about this subject include the one Steve A cited on Facebook...

Tarrant Regional Water District Board Election Fraud

and

Is The TRWD-Gate Scandal About To Blow Wide Open?

along with

Evidence Corrupt Tarrant County Political Machine Steals Elections

There you go, several blog posts from a guy no one should believe because he offers no evidence....

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam & Santa At The Wichita Falls Arts & Crafts Show

No, what you are looking at is not the notorious Downtown Fort Worth Santa Claus whose bad behavior aggravated a lot of people of late.

What you are looking at is Santa Claus at the Wichita West Arts & Crafts Show in the JS Bridwell Agricultural Center in beautiful downtown Wichita Falls, where Santa does not refuse to see kids waiting to see him, unlike what is allowed to happen in Downtown Fort Worth

The Wichita Falls Santa was with the West Wichita Falls Firemen, hence the unusual Santa hat.

The Arts & Crafts Show runs from today, til tomorrow. I did not know what to expect. A small amount of people, such as I've seen at the downtown Wichita Falls Farmers Market. Or a lot of people like at the downtown Wichita Falls Farmers Market Watermelon Festival.

Well. As you can see below there were a lot of people perusing local Arts & Crafts.


I'm guessing food counts as a craft. One crafter had handcrafted jalepeno jam in various flavors. I tried the raspberry jalapeno. At first I thought it had no jalapeno kick, just a strong raspberry flavor. And then the kick hit. Good stuff. I bought a jar.

Another look below of the crowd of Arts & Crafts seekers.


One art crafter had signage informing that he was a Texas Veteran. All his crafting had a patriotic flavor to it.


In the center of the above photo of the Texas Veteran's products is a plaque which says "If you can read this thank a teacher. If you can read this in English thank you military".

I would hazard to guess this Texan Veteran likely voted for Trump. Then again one of his plaques says "You Can't Fix Stupid"......