Monday, August 31, 2015

HOT High Speed Tandy Hill Hiking On The Last Day Of August

In the picture you are looking west at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown  Fort Worth.

Longtime listeners likely can intuit that this particular view indicates I was on the Tandy Hills today for an increasingly rare bout of HOT hill hiking.

I did not bring my digital camera with me today due to a pocket shortage. Which means this photo was taken with my phone, that being the device which has been taking selfies, of late.

I walked Tandy Highway for the first time since, for some unknown reason, the summit of Mount Tandy was peppered with No Trespassing, No Parking, No Loitering, No This That and Other Things Signs.

Few people used this as a parking location. Why did anyone go to the bother of putting up all those signs?

Anyway, I was pleased to see Tandy Highway has had some roadwork done since last I traveled that location. The two bridges across Tandy Creek have been rebuilt. Those crossings had become a bit annoying, due to unfixed erosion damage.

I was feeling quite light on my feet today, zooming up the hills. I think new hiking footwear may have been the cause of the lightness....

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Village Creek Indian Ghosts Led Me To A Selfie Trip Down Memory Lane

Sunday is my regularly scheduled day when I drive to Arlington to walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

I talked to some fellow walkers today who were being perplexed by the clear cutting of the underbrush that used  to make the paved trail seem like a walk through a jungle, but is now like a walk through what remains after a hurricane blows through.

Soon after crossing the first dam bridge which crosses Village Creek I came upon that which you see here.


I wonder if this teach peace message is the work of the Indian Ghosts? They certainly were not left in peace whilst living in their village alongside Village Creek.

This seemed to me to be an odd location to have chalked this message. Writing it big on the bridge would have been a good spot. Or by the formerly blue Blue Bayou which is currently green, hence renamed the Green Bayou.

That is the Green Bayou you see behind me.

Making this the location for today's attempt to take a selfie pic. I think I am about ready to stop with the selfies. I think I must need a better phone to do the selfie thing properly. Someone suggested something called an iPhone.

Years ago, way back in the last century, my first digital camera was a Casio. It is shocking to think of it now, but at the time I paid $599 for that camera. It ate up batteries, could only hold  60 photos, had no controls, no zoom, no focus, no nothing.

Well, there was a timer. And one cool feature, that being the lens could be rotated to point the camera at the picture taker, hence enabling what are now known as selfies.

Just a sec, let me see if I can find a photo or two taken with that antique camera. One of them I am looking at right now, printed, framed and hanging on the wall above me. I'll go find that one and maybe another....

Well, I found the one I have hanging above me, and a lot of others. I took a lot of selfies with that antique camera. It was way easier to do so than with this newfangled supposedly smart phone. We will start this selfie tour down memory lane back before I moved to Texas.....

That is Wanda behind me in the selfie, with that being Delicate Arch behind us. Delicate Arch is in Arches National Park in Utah. I think this was taken in 1997, October of. We'd been houseboating on Lake Powell.

The above selfie was taken on the same trip where the Lake Powell houseboating took place. In this selfie I am at Islands in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park.

That lady on my shoulder is picking blueberries in Schrieber's Meadow by Mount Baker. Wild mountain blueberries are good. Within a year or two, that woman on my shoulder would cause me to move to Texas.

Speaking of the move to Texas. The above selfie was taken somewhere south of Amarillo on Highway 287. I am driving my now dead van, loaded to the max. Behind me, in that yellow Penske truck, are the rest of my belongings. I am a bit appalled that I drove along at freeway speed taking selfie pics with my antique digital camera.

And now we move on to selfies taken in Texas, before my selfie taking camera was replaced by an Olympus camera in 2001.

That would be the blueberry picker on the left and Wanda on the right. This would have been four months after the move to Texas. I know this because for reasons still unfathomable to me, Wanda flew to Texas four months after the move. Her first and only time being here. I think Texas scared Wanda. I can see in this picture that four months in Texas was already putting weight on me. It was all the restaurant feedings that were doing me in. I'd never been to so many restaurants, so often, as I did the first two years in Texas. It was appalling. And many of them were all you can eat buffets. After the move to Texas my hair also got out of control, going through several bizarre iterations. I did not realize this til hunting for selfies.

The above is at Dinosaur Valley State Park, with Big Ed in the selfie behind me. We spent a few hours mountain biking the excellent Dinosaur Valley trails before heading south to a dude ranch where the blueberry picking lady was waiting for us to partake in a barbecue.

Now the above is an example of my hair going  through bizarre iterations after the move to Texas. I have no recollection of using a  huge amount  of gel product to create that mess. I think this was taken at the Fort Worth Nature Preserve, you know, that alligator infested location that occasionally supplies alligators to the tubing location of America's Biggest Boondoggle.

The above selfie has Lake Grapevine behind me. This was my favorite mountain biking location when I lived in Haslet in far north Fort Worth. Rockledge Park is where the trailhead is located. At the time this was the most popular mountain bike trail in the D/FW Metroplex. I do not know if that is still the case.

The last two selfies are pool selfies.

Which would make these skinny dipping selfies.

I do not believe I was purposefully winking in this selfie. I believe the sun was causing me to squint. I am not much of a winker. Or a smiler, but seem to be doing both in this selfie.

Well, now that ends this selfie trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did....

Saturday, August 29, 2015

In Dallas Driving & Walking Across Impressive Signature Bridges To Trinity Groves

Til today I had not been to Dallas since the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge opened to traffic on March 29, 2012. I had been to Dallas while the bridge was being constructed, but never could tell where that was taking place.

So, I was surprised today to see where the bridge is located and what an attractive addition it is to the Dallas skyline.

Construction of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge began in spring of 2007, which would seem to indicate it took around five years to build.

Over water.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is part of the Dallas version of the Trinity River Vision. The Dallas version is a bit further along than the Fort Worth version, with Fort Worth currently having three simple little bridges under construction over dry land with a four year construction timeline. While Dallas has one of three actual signature bridges completed, with the second, the Margaret McDermott Bridge, currently under construction, with its main arch visible from the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Does Dallas have some sort of rule that all bridges in town have Margaret as their first name?

It is fairly easy to find ones way to crossing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge from downtown Dallas. The bridge sort of sticks up like a landmark, visible from multiple locations as one heads west from downtown. In the above picture we are crossing the bridge with me snapping a picture through the windshield, which is the reason for the blue tint at the top.

On the west side of the bridge you immediately come to Trinity Groves. Trinity Groves has a lot of parking spaces, but with warning signs warning the parking is for Trinity Groves patrons, not bridge walkers. There is another parking area for bridge walkers, accessed by the first right turn one comes to after crossing the bridge.

Above is a look at the outdoor dining zone of several of the Trinity Groves restaurants. Trinity Groves is a Restaurant Concept Incubator, a 15 acre entertainment, retail and artist district brought about by restaurateur investors, Phil Romano, Stuart Fitts and Butch McGregor. The goal is to foster startup businesses. Chefs and restaurateurs present their concepts to a team of experienced restaurateurs.

From the Trinity Groves website....

Our incubator program has been successful in attracting diversity to the area; we are currently incubating a variety of concepts including Spanish Tapas, Middle Eastern, Latin-Asian fusion, Central-American, Italian, and sushi. In addition to restaurants and retail, Trinity Groves features a microbrewery and a culinary events center. We also host many exciting events such as art and theater shows, live musical performances and chef cook-off competitions.

Below we are on the other side of Trinity Groves from the covered patio you saw above, looking at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which as you an see, has a rather dominating presence on the Dallas skyline.

I can sure see why Dallas legitimately refers to this bridge as a signature bridge, as in a one of a kind bridge which will become recognized as part of the Dallas skyline, like Reunion Tower. I am fairly certain Fort Worth's three simple bridges, being built in slow motion over dry land, which  Fort Worth propagandists also refer to as signature bridges, will not tower quite as tall as the three Dallas signature bridges.

With all this bridge talk let's become a bridge walker. I decided that even though I had been advised that one can not park in the Trinity Groves parking lot whilst bridge walking, that it really would do no harm, nor rob a potential Trinity Groves parker of a parking space, due to there being many available.

The bridge which the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge replaced, Continental Bridge, has been converted to being a pedestrian, biking, blading bridge, which also seemed to be a linear park. I was so impressed with both bridges. I was not expecting the Continental Bridge to be something special. I had seen this bridge up close on the most recent conclusion of The Amazing Race, with it being the final destination.

No, that is not rainwater soaking the deck of the Continental Bridge. That is a water feature. See those round spots on the pavement? LED lights were inside those spots. And somehow when kids would step on the spots random shots of water would erupt. The kids seemed to be having themselves a mighty fine time. Note the green lounge chairs to the right? They also have a water feature.

Above we see an elderly gentleman enjoying sitting on one of the aforementioned lounge chairs whilst that pole to his left gently administers a cooling mist, that at times got a bit aggressive with the misting. The Continental Bridge provided a lot of seating opportunities as one walked across the long bridge.

Above are some of the seating opportunities. Note the landscaping of the drought resistant, low water, low maintenance sort. Several sections of the bridge were thus landscaped.

I only made it halfway across the bridge, going as far as the center of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge arch to take the requisite selfie photo.

I am not getting any better at taking the selfies. In sunlight it is hard to see the screen, and the picture taking button. I must be doing something wrong.

Anyway, I must say, I was very impressed with the Dallas signature bridge today, and the bridge which runs parallel to it. I saw a lot in Dallas today which impressed me, including an amazing number of bikers rolling around town. That looked like something I might try.....

I Tried To Visit Jefferson Davis Today But Dallas Would Not Let Me

Saturday is my regular day to go to Town Talk after hiking the Tandy Hills or biking Gateway Park.

Well, I had a successful stop at Town Talk yesterday on my way back from the Stockyards, finding 10 pounds of Italian sausage and a lot of tortillas and whole wheat pita bread. And blueberries.

Today I decided to head east, to Dallas. My intention was to go to Pioneer Plaza, park there, then walk through the cemetery to the huge Confederacy Statue that honors Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and another Confederate notable or two I am not remembering.

Following taking photos of Jefferson Davis my intention was to hike around downtown Dallas, something I have enjoyed many a time previously.


The parking lots for Pioneer Plaza were full. A block or two distant I found a metered street parking space. I had a pocket full of quarters, figured that'd be good for a couple hours.


That is the meter you see above. On the meter one is informed one can download the phone app to enable  paying for parking using ones phone. There also was a slot for quarters, though no mention was made that one could, or should, insert a quarter in that slot.

But, I felt daring, so I stuck a quarter in the slot. Immediately the meter registered .25.

Was that .25 referencing that quarter? Or a quarter of an hour? I inserted another quarter. Nothing happened.  The .25 did not change to .50.

I decided I did not need to visit Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis today, and so I got back moving through downtown Dallas, heading to my next destination.

Trinity Groves.

Trinity Groves and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge will be in the blogging after this one. But, before I get to that, I must say, driving through downtown Dallas never disappoints, adventure wise. The I-30 freeway on the south side of downtown remains as big a mess as when I first experienced it. A lot of road construction on the west side of downtown Dallas made for some fun confusion.

But, what is up with the Dallas parking meters? Pay by phone app? Using quarters causes a malfunction?

Dallas owes me fifty cents. I'd send the city a bill but the stamp to mail it would cost almost another fifty cents...

Why No Residential Towers Are Currently Planned For Fort Worth's Imaginary Island

Continuing our popular series of bloggings about something I see in a west coast online newspaper, usually the Seattle Times, that I don't see in my current local newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, we have what you see here, from the aforementioned Seattle Times.

I have mentioned before that rarely does a week ago by where I don't read about some new construction project in downtown Seattle; new skyscrapers, convention center expansion, Pike Place expansion, or, like you see here, new residential towers.

The text under the artist's rendering of the two tall towers says developers are proposing a slew of new residential towers over 400 feet high seizing on the City Council's rezone of South Lake Union to allow for greater height and density. And that developers are high on building Seattle high-rises.

I have not seen a high rise rise in Fort Worth since I have been in Texas.

A  few weeks ago Mr. Spiffy made an observation regarding the current stagnant state of development in downtown Fort Worth. Mr. Spiffy suggested that no developer is going to be wanting to develop anything while America's Biggest Boondoggle has the status of downtown Fort Worth in a state of confusion.

Will the imaginary island be where new growth will take place? Will that be where the focus of downtown Fort Worth will shift? Those are the questions a developer would be asking. That and when is that project slated to be completed?

And then when the developer learns America's Biggest Boondoggle has no project timeline, will that would be a real deal killer?

The Trinity River Uptown Central City Panther Island Vision Boondoggle is supposedly an economic development project, combined with an un-needed flood control project.

If this project was projected to be such a boon to the economy of Fort Worth, then why is it not already completed? Why is the project being built in slow motion?

Well, we all know the answer.

America's Biggest Boondoggle became such because the project is funded in a piecemeal fashion.

America's Biggest Boondoggle is not a public works project approved by the voting  public approving a bond measure to finance a project for the public's benefit.

It was thought by the Perpetrators of the Boondoggle that hiring local congresswoman, Kay Granger's son, J.D., a lawyer with no project engineering experience, would motivate Kay to secure federal pork barrel funding via earmarks.

But, that plan fell apart when the era of earmarks came to an end. So, Kay has not been able to secure as much federal money as was hoped.

Lacking the money to see the Boondoggle's Vision in a timely fashion, the Frat Boy hired to motivate his mother to get money for the project began to initiate events like Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats. Along with goofy things like naming the area where the floating beer parties take place, Panther Island Pavilion, along with calling a chunk of land Panther Island, where there is no island, and where there will only be a pseudo island if the long delayed flood diversion ditch is dug to go under the three bridges being built in slow motion over dry land to connect the mainland to that imaginary island.

The Frat Boy also helped bring the popular sport of wakeboarding to Fort Worth by having the Trinity River Vision build a pond so an enterprise called Cowtown Wakepark could provide the wakeboarding experience to the Fort Worth masses yearning to stand on a board while a cable drags them over dirty water.

As we learned yesterday, Cowtown Wakepark is now closed. The first of what will likely be many failures in the ongoing debacle that is America's Biggest Boondoggle.....

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Visit With Stockyard Longhorns Before Finding Part Of America's Biggest Boondoggle Under New Management

Yesterday I made mention of my pathetic attempt to take one of those selfie photos that seem so popular these days,  particularly on Facebook. At the end of that blogging I said...

Anyway, tomorrow morning I am going to be at the Fort Worth Stockyards, taking photos and maybe video. I will be using my old-fashioned digital camera to take photos, not this new-fangled phone method. And no selfies. Well, maybe one attempt with a longhorn.....

To which Elsie Hotpepper text messaged me with...

I definitely want you to take a selfie with a longhorn.

I almost always do what Elsie Hotpepper tells me to do.

In this instance I did not follow Elsie's instructions precisely, in that this selfie is not with just a single longhorn, but is, instead, with many members of the Fort Worth Herd, resting before their daily trail drive duties.

I was in the Stockyards area for an early morning meeting, so, since I was nearby, I decided to do a quick walk through for photo documentation of a theme that has been bugging me ever since a brouhaha has arisen over a new development proposal for the Stockyards.

Today's Fort Worth Stockyards blogging went on my Eyes on Texas blog, with the blogging titled A Look At The Fort Worth Stockyards Before They Are Possibly Ruined By New Development.

My route away from the Stockyards was over Northside Drive. Northside Drive drives by the Cowtown Wakepark. The Cowtown Wakepark is one of America's Biggest Boondoggle's products  that I have long said was doomed to fail. I believe the Cowtown Wakepark was the first of The Boondoggle's products to become available for public use.

Since I was in the neighborhood I decided to take the turn to the Cowtown Wakepark parking lot to watch all the people enjoying the great sport of wakeboarding, which J.D. Granger so proudly announced as such a wonderful thing for the people of Fort Worth, and beyond, to have available, so that the masses can enjoy the sport of wakeboarding in an urban setting.


When the Wakeboard pond came in to view I was not too surprised to see no one wakeboarding.

And then I saw the trailer you see above. A food truck, I wondered?

On closer look I found that which you see below, taped to the side of the trailer.

What a shock. Cowtown Wakepark is closed. This is likely the first of what will be one failure after another of America's Biggest Boondoggle's products.

Has the closure/failure of the Cowtown Wakepark been reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with me somehow missing that bit of news?

Is the Coyote Drive-In still showing movies? That product also seemed doomed to failure once the novelty wore off.

Spencer Jack's Hometown Values Gets Him On The Cover Of A Magazine

Who is that holding a big Deluxe Cheese Burger on the cover of something called Hometown Values Savings Magazine?

If you answered "Spencer Jack" you would be correct.

Behind Spencer Jack and his big burger is the Fidalgo Drive-In sign, advertising 2 Deluxe Cheese Burgers for $5.49, which is another clue that that is Spencer Jack you are looking at, what with the Fidalgo Drive-In being Spencer Jack's and his dad's restaurant in Anacortes.

I saw this this morning on Facebook, via Spencer Jack's grandma, my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Cindy.

This morning when I woke up my phone I saw that Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew Jason, had called me last night around 8.

At the 8 o'clock time frame I was disconnected from my phone due to being in the pool zone getting ready for an after dark swim session with the Yonker twins, Millie and Billie.

I suspect Jason was not calling to tell me about Spencer Jack's first magazine cover, but was calling to ask about his grandma, whose cancer bout he likely learned about via reading my blog.

Currently in the Fort Worth zone the Annual Burger War Tournament is underway. I'm banned from  reading the results due to this being a Star-Telegram thing. But I could glean from the front  page that the tournament has now reached the Sweet 16 stage, and that there have been multiple upsets.

I suspect Spencer Jack's Deluxe Cheese Burger would make it to the finals....

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mom Post Successful Surgery At McDonald's With McCafe

For years now it has been an annual tradition for my mom and dad to send me a birthday card, with me calling mom and dad on my birthday to wish them a happy birthday of their eldest son, with mom asking me if I got the card they sent, with me informing them that no card had arrived.

This is then followed by a week or two of asking me if the card has arrived, with the mystery then ended by a phone call telling me the card had arrived back in Arizona. We then figure out what went awry with the address, with the card then getting stuck in another envelope, and then successfully delivered to Texas.

This year the problem came from using the number 403 instead of the correct number of 433.

The card arrived at its final destination last Friday. I then text messaged mom and dad, telling them "Thank you. The card has arrived in my mailbox."

As soon as I sent that text message mom called me back. After going over the details of this year's card journey mom told me the news that she was going in for a surgical procedure today to remove a cancerous tumor of the melanoma sort, I think. Mom did not have many details. But has had such things removed  previously, though this one sounded worse, with some left ear involvement.

So, yesterday I texted my sister while I was not watching a baseball game at Yankee Stadium and asked her to keep me updated like she did a couple months ago when dad got a pacemaker.

That would be part of the update, above, with mom, post-procedure, bandaged, in McDonald's enjoying a McCafe.

Included with the picture of mom in McDonald's was the news that the procedure did not take as long as expected.

I suspect mom is in recovery mode now, being sleepy. I will wait til tomorrow to call to hear how it's going...

Climbing Fort Worth's Fosdick Steps Trying To Emulate Elsie Hotpepper

Today when I left air-conditioned comfort to head to Oakland Lake Park for my regularly scheduled Thursday walk around Fosdick Lake I left my old-fashioned digital camera at home, taking with me the new-fangled cell phone for photo taking purposes.

Well, the cell phone photos my cell phone takes do not turn out as well as the photos my old-fashioned digital camera takes.

I have long thought it is time for the selfie fad to fade.

Maybe I think that because my few attempts at taking a selfie of myself always end up being difficult. As in it is awkward, I can't see the screen, clearly, even when in shade.

Which results in that which you see here, basically me glaring at a phone while trying to touch the take a picture button on the screen.

Some people seem quite talented with the taking a selfie thing.

Elsie Hotpepper comes to mind.

Elsie may be the Queen of the Selfies. Of course it helps that she has such photogenic subject matter and is a whiz at new-fangled technology. Like text messaging. Elsie Hotpepper can churn out a mini-novel in seconds via text messaging, while it takes me several minutes to churn out a sentence.

After I gave up on trying to successfully take a selfie photo with the Fosdick Fountain showing up behind me, I switched the phone to the mode that takes pictures in the other direction.

As you can see, via the hazy photo above, a pair of fishermen were angling for dinner in the fertile water of Fosdick Lake.

Catfish? Bass? Trout? Garfish? Bullheads? All I know for sure is it is unlikely any salmon were caught.

With my bike temporarily out of service I needed a new way to get myself a dose of endorphins via aerobic stimulation, so as to put myself in a much better mood. My early morning swimming does not seem to meet my endorphin needs.

So, today I ran up and down the above Fosdick Steps a few dozen times. I was quite pleased with how light on my feet I was being, sort of popping up the stairs pretty much effortlessly. I don't know if the extra spring in my step was due to new hiking shoes. Or the 20 pounds I have lost. Or something else, like my morning deep knee bend addiction of 80 repetitions.

Anyway, tomorrow morning I am going to be at the Fort Worth Stockyards, taking photos and maybe video. I will be using my old-fashioned digital camera to take photos, not this new-fangled phone method.

And no selfies. Well, maybe one attempt with a longhorn.....

Apparently A Flat Tire Is Like A Bad Attitude

I saw that which you see here this morning on Facebook, expressing a sentiment which is currently somewhat accurate, pertaining to me.

Except I don't have a single flat tire. I have two flat tires.

But it is not accurate to say that due to these two flat tires I can't go anywhere, because all eight tires on my motorized mechanized transport devices are not flat.

It is on my bike I will not be going anywhere til the duo of flat tires is fixed.

My bike's tires had grown a bit threadbare, tread-wise, but I thought it not too big a deal until I flattened out in the rear three miles in on Monday, trying to bike with the Village Creek Indian Ghosts.

The wheel woes began on Saturday, worsened on Sunday, turned catastrophic on Monday, like I just said in the previous paragraph.

So, Amazon is sending me two new tires, 29" x 1.95", and two 29" inch slime filled tubes. This should arrive soon and soon thereafter I should be back rolling my wheels, barring any additional mechanical ineptness on my part....

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Swim At Your Own Risk At The PIP Squeak's Public Beach In Fort Worth

A followup from Elsie Hotpepper to yesterday's emailed screen cap of Facebook postings about what living in Fort Worth is really like.

Yesterday's Elsie Hotpepper Facebook screen cap turned into a blogging about America's Biggest Boondoggle's PIP Squeaks Declaring There Is No E.Coli To Worry ABout While Rockin' The Trinity River In Fort Worth.

Tarrant Regional Water District board member Mary Kelleher commented about getting the PIP Squeaks to do daily testing of the water which they are encouraging floaters to float in..

Mary Kelleher I had to fight to get the recreational areas tested weekly. The people have right to know "literally" what they're getting into. I'm going to speak with our environmental section to see what it would take to get that area tested daily.

Way back on February 7 of this year I found myself in the downtown Fort Worth zone, a location I rarely find myself located in.

Since I was in the downtown Fort Worth zone I decided to check out the current state of America's Biggest Boondoggle's products, such as Panther Island Pavilion and the simple little bridges which had begun construction the previous October, scheduled to take four years to build over dry land.

I blogged about that which I saw that day in a blogging titled Taking A Look At The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Products.

One of the products I saw that day is what you see below.

Below I copied from the February 7 blogging about the above lifeguard stand and beach....

The Boondoggle is now calling the area where the Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats take place a beach. For your amazed amusement I'll copy that which is on the sign on the lifeguard's perch below.

CLOSED FROM 10pm - 5am


A public beach? Closes at 10pm, opens at 5am? Swim at own risk?

Is that risk the risk of swimming with too much e.coli? And alligators?

If a city is designating a water feature as a public beach, and encouraging that water to be swam in, doesn't the public have a reasonable right to expect that that water is safe to swim in, tested daily? Particularly when that body of water is known to regularly spike with high levels of e.coli?

I wonder if the PIP Squeak's outhouses that serve the throngs of river floaters could be one of the e.coli sources. Most world class urban waterfront music venues do not include primitive outhouses  among their features....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Maxine Took Me On A Washington Wildfire Fly By To Tonasket

Maxine pointed me to a YouTube video "Northern Washington Fires Fly" which I just watched and has me sort of shocked to learn the wildfires burning up my old home state are much worse than I realized.

I had read this morning that the fires called the Okanogan Complex is now the biggest wildfire in Washington state history.

The Okanogan Complex fire is the one threatening Aunt Alice, she being Tootsie in Tonasket.  I took the screen cap showing Tonasket, you see here from the aforementioned video. I believe the fire line continues to move towards Tonasket.

Watching the video I learned most of the fires are still 0% contained. That is not good. Way too many fires with way too few resources, and people, to fight them all.

Today Aunt Alice is reporting she continues to persevere against the smoky misery.

So far, near as I know, the only major wildfire on the west side of the Cascades is the fire being called the Newhalem Complex.

I remember when I was a little kid, soon after we moved to Mount Vernon from Eugene, Oregon, a huge fire burned on one of the Cascade foothills, known as Cultus Mountain. We would sit outside at night and watch the orange explosive glow. That winter, after the fire had long been extinguished, a huge landslide slid down the area of the fire, leaving what looked like a big scar on the mountain.

Last I looked at that mountain that scar was still there.....

Taking A Look At TRWD Document With Results Of E.Coli PIP Water Testing

Earlier today I blogged about some fresh PIP nonsense from America's Biggest Boondoggle.

After that someone named Anonymous made the following comment...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "PIP Declares No E.Coli To Worry About While Rockin' The Trinity River In Fort Worth":

Take a look at a TRWD document documenting the results of e.coli testing at the confluence of the West and Clear Forks of the Trinity.

If the boondoggle is going to encourage swimming at PIP, they should be testing every day, just like a public pool. Take a look at the Long-Term Average graph. It's flirting with the "acceptable for swimming" limit. 

Looking at this TRWD chart it would appear that on any given day one might find oneself floating in the Trinity River in the PIP zone with an e.coli level above what TCEQ considers safe. And, like Anonymous suggests, the only way to be certain one is not floating with too much feces would be for the water to be tested daily.

Is the PIP squeak's spokesman still claiming the water the Rockin' the River floaters float in is no different than that which comes out of Fort Worth's taps?

PIP Declares No E.Coli To Worry About While Rockin' The Trinity River In Fort Worth

Incoming from Elsie Hotpepper.

I believe this is an iPhone  screen cap of some Facebook postings, from the Panther Island Pavilion Facebook page.

That would make this a Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision product.

If you are new to Fort Worth and wondering what Panther Island Pavilion is, well, it is sort of hard to explain. Basically it is an imaginary pavilion on an imaginary island where people float in an imaginary pollution-free river while drinking beer and listening to music.

The message from Elsie Hotpepper accompanying the screen cap....

Cut and paste is all they do...and again if that deadly levels of E. coli test was wrong, what about all the tests that said the E. coli was at a safe level? Isn't it more than likely it is those tests that came up with wrong results? Are they actually trying to claim that the Trinity River does not have an E. coli contamination problem?

Well, Elsie, you must remember  the spokesman for the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle also claimed the water the Rockin' the River floaters float in was no different than the drinking water that flows from Fort Worth taps.

Which sounds to me to be a good reason to buy bottled water, if it were true that the water the floaters float in while Rockin' the River is the same quality level as Fort Worth drinking water.

Does it only occur to me that it is a rather sad reflection of the shortage of fun things to do in Fort Worth that so many people think they are having themselves a mighty fine time floating in a polluted river while drinking beer and listening to music coming from an imaginary pavilion on an imaginary island?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Washington's Wildfires Cause Maxine A Smoky Laundry Illusion With Tootsie Tonasket

A couple days ago  I asked Maxine if this year's Washington dire fire situation was the worst she can remember, because that is how it is seeming to me from my vantage point a couple thousand miles distant.

I also asked Maxine for a hiking report, which I enjoy reading due to it causing that homesick feeling I enjoy so much.

Today Maxine emailed in a hiking and fire report, with three photos, including the one you see here. The other two photos show how badly the smoke from the fires has cut visibility.

Maxine's message, including the explanation for that which you see above....

Good Monday, 

Definitely the worst fires in my memory. Saturday was very smoky, I thought the smoke had discolored the white laundry I’d hung out to dry but Mike pointed out that it was just looking thru the air that caused  the illusion of discoloration.  At one point we couldn’t see the hills across the valley from our house.

Sunday we hiked the Skyline Divide trail. We did it a couple of years ago but it was very foggy and we couldn’t see anything. This time we were at the trailhead by 7 a.m ., had to take lots of breaks on the trail because the air quality was so poor.  Once we got out of the trees Mt. Baker was clear and beautiful-we followed the trail up and around until we were standing right in front of the backside of Baker. The smoke was settling in by the time we headed back down the trail and we could barely make out the outline of the mountain even though it was a clear day.

Our house is surrounded by trees. So far there aren’t any fires near us. There is a very small fire behind Whitehorse Mountain and that is the only fire of any significance on this side that I know of.



Maxine's location is about 30 miles, as a crow flies, southwest of the Newhalem fire in North Cascades National Park, which has been in the news the past several days.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Washington, Okanogan County remains on fire at multiple locations. Aunt Alice, aka Tootsie, in Tonasket, is working hard to stay optimistic, while having trouble breathing due to the thick smoke.

It has been an impressive thing to witness to see how the people of Tonasket and Okanogan County are using Facebook to connect people and to let the helpers know who needs help.

Let me see if I can find an example of a person on Facebook connecting the Okanogan County community. Found one. Patrick Plumb, go to Patrick Plumb's Facebook page. I think he may be the mayor of Tonasket or the chief chief of the Tonasket Tribe.

I hope relief in the form of rain comes soon to all the states currently on fire....

A Long Hot Walk With Arlington's Indian Ghosts While Strangling My Handlebars

Why am I gripping the throat of my handlebars you are sitting there wondering?


Around noon I headed to Arlington to the Village Creek Natural  Historical Area for my regularly scheduled Monday bike ride with the Indian Ghosts.

All was going well as I rolled merrily along.

And then as I was almost at my turn around point, that being the furthest from the motorized vehicle which brought me and my bike to Arlington, as I braked slightly going down the dip that goes under the Green Oaks Boulevard bridge over Village Creek, I knew I was in bike  malfunction mode.

I came to a stop, got off the bike, poked the front tire, no problem, poked the rear tire, big problem.

Flat tire in the making.

So, I began the long walk back to air-conditioned comfort. An almost three mile walk, with about half out in the open, with no shade.

I don't know how many gallons of water I leaked as I walked along, but I was dripping profusely. The bike's water bottle holds 30 ounces, I think. The backup bottle back in my vehicle holds 40 ounces. All gone by the time I got back to a tap water source of hydrating.

I have not yet done a forensic exam on the failed bike tire to determine the cause. I'll likely put that off til tomorrow.

It has been a long time since I had to walk an injured bike a long distance. If I remember correctly the previous incident occurred way back in 2005 or 6. I was at the 6 mile mark on the River Legacy Park paved trail, which put me about 4 miles from the nearest road. It  was extremely HOT. I did not have much water. I called for help, which had a rescue team rescuing me at where the trail intersects Collins Street.

Today I did not feel like calling for help. First off because three miles isn't all that far, even when pushing a broken bike.  And second off, I would have had trouble directing any of the directionally challenged people whom I might call to drive to Interlochen to find me on the Bob Findlay Linear Park trail.

Maybe I need to consider finding a new source of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation. Returning to roller blading perhaps?

What Living In Fort Worth Is Really Like Floating The Day Away At Pavilion Island With E. Coli

This morning when I checked in on Facebook I found a message from Elsie Hotpepper, with Elsie saying OMG, which I think means Oh My Goodness.

The thing that Elsie Hotpepper was OMGing about became clear when I clicked on the link which followed the OMG, that being What Living In Fort Worth Is Really Like - cowboys, culture, and a tubing trip down the Trinity River.

The link went to what I think is some sort of real estate website, selling Fort Worth houses, and touting Fort Worth with delusional propaganda that would make the local chamber of commerce proud.

Pavilion Island? Getting that name wrong is indicative of the quality level of the research which went into creating this work of propaganda art.

Below are three of the propaganda paragraphs....

As the fifth largest city in Texas, there’s nothing small about Fort Worth—except for the vibe. With an emphasis on neighborhoods and close-knit community, it’s no wonder that Fort Worth has been named as one of America’s Most Liveable Communities multiple times by the National Civic League.

It goes by the names Panther City, Queen City, Cowtown, Funky Town, and Fort Wizard. Call it whatever you relate to the most, as long as it’s not Dallas. Fort Worth is the city where people from cities like Dallas and Austin turn to when they grow sick of their own. They might share an airport, but that’s about all these two cities have in common. This is a southwestern city with pride in its roots and it’s not trying to be anything else, unlike some places.

Grab a tube with one hand and a beer with the other. You’re about to have a day full of fun, Fort Worth style. Panther Pavilion Island is one of Fort Worth’s most popular spots and definitely one of the coolest. Whether you enjoy the relaxation of tubing or the excitement of kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, you can do it all here. But come during the Rockin’ River events for the real excitement when all of Fort Worth shows up to party with you in the company of some great live bands.

Rockin' River events? It's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube events.

And the name America's Biggest Boondoggle gives to its imaginary pavilion on an imaginary island is Panther Island  Pavilion. Not Panther Pavilion Island.

Fort Worth is known as Fort Wizard? People from Dallas and Austin turn to Fort Worth when they get sick of  Dallas and Austin?

It's no wonder Fort Worth has been named one of America's Most Livable Communities multiple times? Actually it is a wonder, because this has not happened multiple times. It happened one time, when a Washington D.C. lobbying group put Fort Worth on a list of towns which supposedly had America's most livable urban villages. (note: it is livable, not liveable. Spelling matters, even in propaganda pieces)

Fort Worth had a city-wide celebration to celebrate this meaningless award.

Tacoma was one of the towns which got this meaningless award. At that point in time I met Tacoma's Deputy Mayor. I asked him if Tacoma had a city-wide celebration when they got that award. He said "No, we thanked them politely and that was the end of it."

I then told the Deputy Mayor that Fort Worth had a city-wide celebration for being on that list.

"You are making that up," the Deputy Mayor said accusingly.

"Nope. It's true. A city-wide celebration," said I.

That third paragraph, the one that mention Rockin' River events, is the most bizarre, telling people to grab a tube and a beer to spend a day Fort Worth style in one of Fort Worth's most popular and cool spots, the Trinity River, for real excitement when all of Fort Worth shows up to party with you.

No mention made in this article about Rockin' the Trinity River being shut down due to e.coli levels so high that the river was dangerous to public health....

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Today Bicycles Inc. Confirmed I Am An Unobservant Mechanically Challenged Moron

It will take me a few words to get to the part that explains what you are looking at here.

In March of 2012 I bought a cheap bike at Walmart which has turned out to be the best bike I've ever had.

But, after three years of rolling the bike's wheels, it looked to me like it was time to get new tires.

When I bought the bike the bike was clearly identified as a 26 inch bike. I have long assumed this 26 thing referred to the 26 inch diameter wheel, hence buying 26 inch replacement inner tubes.

So, yesterday I went to the Walmart where I bought the bike three years ago and bought a pair of 26 inch mountain bike tires.

I got back to my bike repair garage and eventually got the old tires off the rims. When I tried to put the new tires on the rims it quickly became problematic. As in there was no way I was going to be able to get  those tires on the rims.

I got out a tape measure and measured the new tires, and shocked was I to find they were not 26 inches in diameter, they were 25 inches in diameter. I then measured my old tires and was again shocked to find they are 27 inches in diameter. I then measured the wheel to find it is 25 inches in diameter.

At this point I was totally bum puzzled. I Googled "Bell 26 inch mountain tire won't install" to find  some people had similar woes, but for reasons that did not match mine. Plus most people were very happy with their new Bell tires.

I then returned the new tires to Walmart and got a refund.

At one point in the Googling I came upon someone saying one needed to match exactly the bike's tire specs, which in my case would be, I thought, 26" by 1.95".

I went to the Bicycles Inc. website, even though I've previously said I would never go to that store again, due to previous annoyances, like not having a tire trued by the time of the scheduled pickup. On their website I found Bicycles Inc. had something called a Sunlite Shipman 26" Tire Black 26 x 1.95 for only $15.99. And the website said this tire was in stock.

Just what I needed. And cheaper than Walmart.

So today after Bicycles Inc. opened at an hour past noon I called. Dallas answered. A person named Dallas, not the town. I asked Dallas to confirm they had the aforementioned tire in stock. Dallas said he'd never heard of that tire, but he'd go check. After about five minutes Dallas returned  to say they had no such tire. I then asked if they had other mountain bike tires with the 26 x 1.95 dimensions. Again Dallas said he'd go check and again after about five minutes he returned and said they had 26 x 2.0's, but that should work on my rim.

I told Dallas I would be there in about a half hour, with my wheel rim in hand to make sure the tire works on it.

I got to where I thought Bicycles Inc. was to find it no longer there. I thought maybe I remembered wrong, and so continued heading east on Harwood. About a block later I came to the new location of Bicycles Inc., in a much bigger store.

I walk in, wheel rim in hand. And stand. And stand. There seemed to be plenty of employees, all engaged with customers. I seemed to be the only disengaged customer. I got tired of waiting and so butted in on one of the Inc. boys and asked if one of them was Dallas. Over there, that's Dallas, but he's with a customer, you'll have to wait to talk to him.

And so I waited.

After about 10 more minutes Dallas seemed to be no longer talker to that customer, so I hailed him with a "You Dallas? I'm the guy with a wheel rim in need  of a tire." Dallas replied "I'm helping another customer, I'll help you next."

Another 10 minutes go by.  I see Dallas at a computer terminal. Then a rather large, sweating profusely Inc. boy asked if he could help me. I mention that Dallas was going to help me but he seems occupied.  I told the large Inc. boy what I needed. I told him Dallas told me, on the phone, that you had plenty in stock and they cost $15.99.

The large Inc. boy starts looking through a bunch of tires hung up against a wall. To no avail. Then he goes to where Dallas was, asks Dallas where the tires are that he told that guy with the wheel rim about. Dallas pointed in a direction to which the large Inc. boy headed.

Another ten minutes the large Inc. boy shows up, tire in hand.

I said "I need two of them, but first let's make sure it can go on this rim." "That rim?" he asks. Yeah," says I.

He then  goes, "That's a 29 inch wheel, it needs a 29 inch tire."

"What?" said I. "But I've always used 26 inch tubes," again said I.

"And they don't go flat quickly from being over inflated?" asks the large Inc. boy.

"No, the only flats I've had have been caused by items like nails or mesquite thorns."

Then I asked the large Inc. boy how he instantly knew it was a 29 inch wheel, to have him  answer with, "Well, it looks bigger than a 26, that and it says 29 right on the rim."

"What?" said I. "That's what that says? I'd never been able to make out what that was supposed to be spelling."

What I am talking about is that which you see at the top, a photo of the wheel rim I hauled to Bicycles Inc. today.

So, in the end I ended up being slightly less annoyed at Bicycles Inc., but just like I vowed after my last visit to Fry's Electronics, I don't think I will return to Bicycles Inc.

Now, I am annoyed at Walmart. Walmart sells three different brands of inner tubes, Bell, Schwinn and Goodyear. Mostly 26 inch tubes, no 29 inch tubes. Same with the bike tires Walmart sells. I did not know til today there is such a thing as a 29 inch bike inner tube. I've never seen one.

Out of this debacle I did learn one good thing, that being that I don't think my existing bike tires are as badly worn as I thought they were. I think I'll re-install them and not worry about replacing them until the memory of this nightmare fades....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

An Obelisk Monolith Skyscraper Has Risen On The Tandy Hills

I was last on the Tandy Hills on August 11. I did not enjoy the hill hiking that day.

Too HOT.

Today, 11 days later, with the temperature somewhere in the 80s, it was not too HOT to do some hill hiking, .

Which had me on the Tandy Hills an hour before the noon norm.

At Hoodoo Central I found no Hoodoos, just a pile of Hoodoo rock remains. I did find the obelisk monolith skyscraper you see above, dwarfing the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth.

I have no idea how this obelisk monolith was installed. It's one of those statues on Easter Island type how did that get there type mysteries.

I only find one plant that grows on the Tandy Hills to be annoying. That annoying plant is currently starting to be in its annoying phase. That is the annoying plant that you see below.

These annoying spindly plants grows quite tall, eventually sprouting a lot of white flowers. Due to these annoying plant's spindly nature they get whipped by the wind, such as that which was blowing today. The wind can cause the annoying spindly plant  to become a switch delivering a spanking or a slapping as one walks by.

After too many spanks and slaps it was time to head to Town Talk.

I have not been doing Town Talk treasure hunting much of late. For months the treasure hunting has not been delivering much treasure.

Today I arrived at Town Talk about an hour before the Saturday norm. The parking lot was full, cars were parked on the street, on the grass. I drove through the parking lot and found only one open space.

I aborted the Town Talk mission. No way was I going to mingle with the mass of humanity thronged inside, or wait in a long line to get checked  out.

I think any future Town Talk visits will take place during the week. Likely after mountain biking at Gateway Park, if those trails ever open again. Currently the Gateway Park trails are closed due to a mess of trail "improvements" being improved in slow motion by the good folks at America's Biggest Boondoggle who never do anything in a timely fashion....

Friday, August 21, 2015

Taking A Cool Bike Ride Around My Woodhaven Country Club Neighborhood

Weeks ago I decided the 100 degree HEAT had rendered rolling my bike wheels in my mostly unshaded neighborhood no longer feasible.

Today, what with the month early arrival of fall temperatures, I took my handlebars on a tour of the neighborhood.

There is still a lot of green on the Woodhaven Country Club golfing greens, but there is also a lot which has been rendered brown by those vexing 100 degree plus days.

Above the aforementioned handlebars are looking north on the Cholla Circle cul-de-sac one finds on Cholla Lane.

I only saw one golfer today. The golfers must not have gotten the news that COOL has returned to North Texas.

I am afraid the early preview of  fall may be receding into history even as I sit here typing. When I went biking around noon the temperature was barely 80. Currently the temperature is only nine degrees short of 100.

My windows are once again closed. And the A/C is doing its cooling duty.

The natural cool was cool while it lasted....

Aunt Alice's Tonasket Town Level 3 Washington Wildfire Evacuation Order

My old home state is on fire. I don't recollect wildfires ever being as bad as what is happening right now.

For days I have been asking Aunt Alice, also known as Tootsie Tonasket, if she was in any fire danger in Tonasket.

Tonasket is a little town in Okanogan County in Eastern Washington.

This morning, on Facebook, I saw that which you see here, from the Seattle Times, and the following from the Mayor of Tonasket....


7th Street/Mill Drive/Top of Highway 20: If we lose power, get your sprinklers on FULL BLAST and Shelter in Place and get water on your property. Since we still have power, lets hit it now. If you have a wooden roof, get sprinklers on it now. Wet ANY vegetation surrounding 300 feet of your homes.

Entire rest of City: Have hose ready and have sprinklers in place. If you have a wooden or burnable roof, get water on it now. If you see large ash falling around your house, shelter in place and turn water on to wet the area around your house. If you have ladders, lean them against your house so Firefighters can access your roof quickly. Make sure all of your windows and doors are shut. If you have elderly neighbors, and they are leaving, make sure that they have hoses in place and ladders against their house. MAKE YOUR EXTERNAL PROPERTY EASILY ACCESSIBLE TO FIREFIGHTERS. After that, wait it out. Watch for spot fires and extinguish them when they are SMALL and we can all get through this.

Elderly and disabled people that cannot do these tasks, get to the Tonasket High School Shelter or North Valley Hospital because they have a backup generator and we can shelter you in the basement. If you have more people to help, come help us keep the Nursing Home Roof watered.

Also on Facebook, Aunt Alice, also known as Alice O Della, in addition to also being known as Tootsie Tonasket, posted the following regarding the current dire situation in Tonasket....
Where should I go? Fire coming down hill out front? Mayor any ideas? No $ to go far.
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