Friday, August 31, 2018

Aunt Arlene On Oregon Coast Helping Make Orwell Fiction Again

I saw that which you see here on Facebook this morning via my favorite Scott cousin.

Cousin Scott currently resides in Elsie Hotpepper's favorite Oregon town, Cannon Beach.

Cousin Scott's mama, my dear Aunt Arlene, is currently, according to the aforementioned Facebook, visiting cousin Scott.

Aunt Arlene is my dad's big sister.

My dad was Aunt Arlene's big brother.

Via this Facebook post cousin Scott tells us his mom has never wanted to take a top-down drive along the Oregon coast, but she did agree to pose as if being the driver of cousin Scott's convertible.

Whilst wearing cousin Scott's recently acquired "Make Orwell Fiction Again" cap.

A Big Brother reference, but not one referring to Aunt Arlene's big brother.

I want a "Make Orwell Fiction Again" cap. I imagine such are popular on the west coast. And would totally befuddle many of those who might see such at my current location where the majority would have no clue who Orwell is, or was, or the meaning behind the message on the cap...

Will Wichita Falls Show Fort Worth How To Build A Roundabout?

A day or two or three ago I asked Questions About Fort Worth's Homage To An Aluminum Trash Can.

Apparently a lot of people are asking the same questions, or thinking about those questions, or so it seems, what with there having been thousands of page views of that post about Fort Worth's embarrassing homage to an aluminum trash can.

Yesterday, my bike made a full recovery from its broken seat debacle, so it took me on a long ride, including rolling through my favorite area through which I roll, in this town, the area I refer to as the Wichita Falls Beverly Hills.

In the Wichita Falls Beverly Hills one comes to several of the road entities known as Roundabouts.

Fort Worth's homage to an aluminum trash can sits in the center of an uncompleted, unlandscaped, weed infested, littered roundabout, which has been spinning vehicles around for years now, with the surrounding road and bridge development stalled in incompetent construction debacle mode.

An incompetent construction debacle known as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

As you can see above, the Roundabout my bike's handlebars are aiming at is landscaped.

What a concept.

Wichita Falls does a lot of things a town wearing its big boy pants does, which Fort Worth, for the most part, does not do, or do well.

You know, little things like roads with sidewalks. And city parks with modern restrooms and running water, unlike the Fort Worth city park norm of outhouses, with no running water.

Maybe Fort Worth could send an investigate task force to Wichita Falls to learn how to build a functioning Roundabout.

But, a task force looking into how Wichita Falls manages to provide modern city park facilities would be too big a reach for Fort Worth, for now....

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Mount Wichita To Home Base Death Defying Bike Malfunction

Yesterday I had myself a mighty fine time adding a snippet of Google code to the head section of a few hundred webpages.

I had not had this sort of fun for several years. I think the last time was way back in 2015, also inspired by Google.

This morning, after a long, peaceful, cinematic nightmare laden, night's sleep I decided going on a long bike ride this morning seemed like a good idea, what with the temperature not even in the 90s. And me in need of some much needed endorphins.

All went well with the bike ride, til near the end.

At the midway point I stopped to take a photo of Mount Wichita, a Wichita Falls landmark which has been rendered brown by the ongoing drought.

You see the lower right side part of the photo?

I had no idea, when I took this photo, that a few miles later that bike seat, part of which is what you see in the lower right side of the photo, would cause me excitement of the sort I've not had for awhile.

I was almost back to home base. Had just exited the Circle Trail, was within a couple hundred feet of my abode when suddenly I found myself popped off the bike, with the sounds of something breaking and hitting the ground behind me.

I landed hard on something hard. It hurt.

After landing on that something hard, I hopped off the bike without crashing to see that the bike's seat had popped off, popping me off the bike.

I picked up the pieces and soon saw the bolt which held the seat to the post, which is stuck to the bike, had broken. The bolt looked as if it was made of cheap pot metal.

A couple hours later I don't think I have had any damage done to my personal self. When this happened I thought my most vulnerable location had taken a direct hit on either the now seat-less seat post, or the top bar of the bike frame. But the immediate sharp pain has not translated into anything more serious, as of now.

This losing the bike seat seems sort of deja vu to me. But I can not remember details of a previous seat loss incident.

My last catastrophic bike failure, which I can remember, happened way back around the turn of the century, on the Horseshoe Trails at Lake Grapevine in Grapevine.

The Horseshoe Trails are classic mountain bike trails. A bit treacherous in some locations. I was pedaling along, swooped down a steep downhill, then up, fast, then hit a bump to find myself quickly halted due to the bike frame breaking where one leg of the triangle broke like a fragile twig snapping.

This did not cause a wreck. The only thing I suffered was a long walk back to my vehicle rolling the now broken bike.

I soon thereafter bought a new bike. A K2. That one lasted til 2010 when it was stolen. The first of two bikes I have had stolen whilst living in crime ridden Texas.

I may be taking a break from bike riding. Today's incident could have had serious consequences had it happened a short time previous, such as when I roll at high speed down the trail from Lake Wichita Dam, continuing fast through the turn under Kemp Boulevard.

I was lucky the bike seat decided to pop where it did. A convenient, safe location...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Questions About Fort Worth's Homage To An Aluminum Trash Can

Way back in June I blogged about a Fort Worth Drive By America's Biggest Boondoggle Embarrassment after I eye witnessed the landscape mess the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision has become after limping along for most of this century with little to show for the ill-conceived, ineptly implemented effort.

Last Wednesday I was in the DFW zone and drove by the mess again. Little has been cleaned up, that I made note of, since I last saw this a couple months ago.

And driving around the "art installation" which locals refer to as an homage to an aluminum trash can, I found myself freshly appalled and freshly perplexed as to how and why this part of the overall TRV embarrassment came to be.

In about a month it will be four years since the Trinity River Vision's project manager. J.D. Granger, and his mother, Kay, along with other perpetrators of this nonsense, had a TNT exploding ceremony to mark the start of construction of three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Four years later those simple bridges are no where near being anything anyone can drive over, and are currently multiple V shaped forms, some with cement added. Locals have taken to calling these modern day Stonehedges the Yeehaw Seesaws.

A short time after that TNT exploding ceremony another ceremony was held, nearby, to mark the installation of that beautiful work of art you see above. This sets in the middle of an uncompleted, unlandscaped, weed and litter infested roundabout, which is part of the Boondoggle's bridge building effort.

This beautiful work of art cost around $1 million.

Why were these million bucks spent for this homage to an aluminum trash can years before the roundabout and the Boondoggle's bridges were completed?

How did the commission to install this homage to an aluminum trash can come about?

Did the million bucks benefit a friend or colleague of anyone in a position to influence such a wasteful expenditure?

Someone in the Trinity River Vision Authority or the TRWD?

Such as when a sweetheart deal was instigated by the TRWD's Jim Lane to help a friend suffering cash flow woes, with that sweetheart deal having the TRWD buy up some of the suffering friend's property, which later became the first drive-in of the 21st century, located due south of La Grave Field, a rundown baseball park, which was the beneficiary of a recent TRWD sweetheart deal helping another TRWD crony in financial distress.

Why was it so important to spend a million bucks on this homage to an aluminum trash can? It's not like the Trinity River Vision is flush with funds.

Just last May the TRV and its parent, the TRWD, used ballot shenanigans to put a measure on the ballot to raise a quarter billion bucks supposedly for flood control and drainage.

When flood control and drainage was not what the quarter billion bucks was for, which we learned last month from TRWD District Manager, Jim Oliver, who told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with nary a hint of shame, that "the approval of the bond sales by about two-thirds of voters was very important. It’s going to allow us to complete the project, keep it online and on track.The money is needed to buy land, rechannel 1.5 miles of the river and build water storage areas and floodgates."

We blogged about this subterfuge, and other related issues wondering why the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Is Unable To Answer Why Boondoggle Bridges Take So Long To Build.

Why aren't the Fort Worth locals demanding some answers to all the problems which have blinded the Trinity River Vision? Why does no one ask why, if this, which was sold as a vitally needed flood control and economic development scheme, is so vitally needed, why is the project progressing in slow motion, year after year, decade after decade?

It seems the only ones who have benefited economically from this scheme have been the Granger Gang and that gang's cronies, with one of the prime beneficiaries being Kay Granger's son, J.D., a lower tier attorney who was given the job of being what has become, under his unqualified, inept leadership, America's Biggest Boondoggle, for which he is compensated, annually around $200,000, plus perks.

Would any modern American city, wearing its big boy pants, tolerate such outrageous nepotism? The answer is no. Such can only take place in American backwards backwaters, locations modern America has sort of given up on.

The people of Fort Worth really need to wise up and take their town back from these grifters.

That is what should happen, would happen, in a modern American city, but it won't happen in Fort Worth, because it has never been the Fort Worth Way to be a modern American city...

Friday, August 24, 2018

Where In The World Are David, Theo & Ruby?

That was the question I saw myself being asked this Friday morning when I checked email.

Where in the world are David, Theo & Ruby?

Well, it took me a moment or two to figure out the location of the trio.

Solving this mystery required zooming in on the building in the background, and then Googling some words I found on the building, such as "Davidson Building" and "Scott Rollins State Farm".

So, I now know the answer to that where in the world are David, Theo & Ruby question.


That is a town in Eastern Washington.

I suspect David, Theo & Ruby took their parental units to the location known in Washington as East of the Mountains, which is how those who live in Western Washington refer to the part of Washington on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, in order to escape the smoke filled air which has been choking the Puget Sound zone.

I lived in Ellensburg for a few years way back in the last century, whilst attending the school in Ellensburg now known as Central Washington State University.

I was last in Ellensburg in late August of 2001. I had driven solo from Texas back to Washington to attend my mom and dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary party. For the return to Texas I opted to take a different route than that which I had driven to get to Washington, with that route back to Texas being Interstate 90 across the Cascades, through Ellensburg and on to Montana where eventually I left I-90 to head south on I-25 to the Highway 87 connection to Highway 287 in Amarillo.

I wonder if I will ever be in Ellensburg again....

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Not In Seattle Today Smoking 7 Cigarettes

This morning I saw that which you see here, on Facebook, posted by KIRO 7 in Seattle.

Apparently the smoke in the Seattle air today is so bad it is like smoking 7 cigarettes.

I know the smoke is coming from wildfires up north in British Columbia.

I do not know how nicotine is getting into that smoke making it like a cigarette.

Have Tobacco Farms been added to Canadian agriculture since I last lived in the neighborhood?  I know there are now Pot Farms across the Canadian nation, but I have not heard about any Tobacco Farms.

For at least a week I have been hearing from Pacific Northwesterners regarding the smoky haze which has covered most of the west coast.

Below is a dialogue from Facebook this morning of people commenting about the state of Washington's air....

Kimberly Ann Johnson: This smoke is crazy. Just drove home from Bow Hill. Headlights have an orange glow. It looks like October fog out there.

Bruce Forrester: I went to Marysville today and you can see how socked in the valley was from star bird road. I see according to Wa St air quality, that Bellingham and Lynden are worst. I know I smell it in my house, and don’t feel the best.

Kimberly Ann Johnson: I have asthma. My lungs are tight! I hope this goes away sooner than they're predicting.

Bruce Forrester: Lets hope so for you and your asthma.

Sandy Brooling: Bruce even over here in Port Townsend, we have orange suns. And I have started coughing more.

Christina Stockholm: The smoke is so awful!

George Hespe: Ruth & I were headed up to your area today, but by the time we got to Conway we were afraid we'd probably be lost in the smoke and drive right by your place if we went much further north. Glad we left bread crumbs to find our way home.

Tess Sakuma-dunlap: Smog?

Bruce Forrester: Smoke! Forest fires from Canada.

Now, Miss Tess asking if what these people are talking about is smog is a bit ironic, what with Miss Tess currently in Redding, California where she has been surrounded by wildfires for weeks, along with smoke filled air.

Miss Tess, like me, grew up in the Skagit Valley.

Just yesterday Miss Tess and I spoke of being homesick for our old home zone.

But I do not think either of us would want to head north right now, what with neither of us being smokers....

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Great Things Headed My Way Thanks To Nurse Canecracker

Yesterday I had fun outrunning mosquitoes chasing me on the Circle Trail whilst walking beside the Wichita River to the location of Wichita Falls original waterfall.

That original "waterfall" was actually more of a short, three foot drop in the river, wiped out for all time by a flood, but not before it inspired a name for a mighty fine Texas town.

Today I avoided all mosquitoes by going on a bike ride, eventually stopping for a water break at my favorite neighborhood fountain. Located on the campus of Midwestern State University.

When I reached for my drink I looked down to the ground and saw something turquoise which looked to be out of place. That to which I refer is located in the above photo above the center of the handlebars, on the ground at the bend in the brick wall which surrounds the fountain.

A close up look at that turquoise item.

Now, this was just the sort of inspirational message I was needing today.

"Great things are headed Your Way".

I can't wait.

I am a little hazy on this, but aren't these type message rocks some sort of fad? Was I supposed to take the rock and place it somewhere else? Or do what I did, as in leave it where it lay?

Anyway, today's inspirational bike ride began in slow motion in ultra low gear motivating Rafael Edwardo Plodz to waddle all the way to Sikes Lake. I left Rafael behind at Sikes Lake to make my way further north, where eventually that turquoise rock was found.

I woke up feeling real good today. I think due to the medical advice of Nurse Canecracker who called me after she read about my recent bout of debilitating insomnia. Nurse Canecracker was on her way to Boston to hop the Amtrak Noreaster to Portland, Maine, but she took the time to advise me to try Melatonin.

I had tried this type sleep aid previously, years ago, to little salubrious effect. But last night, the Melatonin did wonders.

And now, apparently great things are headed my way...

Skagit Valley Homesick With Zachary Jack

I saw that which you see above a few minutes ago, this Sunday August afternoon in Texas, and quickly found myself feeling a bit homesick.

The photo is from Andy Porter Photography. The photo was posted on Skagit Breaks Facebook page.

The Skagit Breaks caption above the photo tells you that you are looking at "Clear Lake under clearer skies". I suspect the use of the "clearer" word was made because of late the skies of the Skagit Valley and most of the west coast have been smoky, due to massive wildfires.

Near as I can tell this photo was taken from atop a monolith known as Big Rock. Big Rock is located about a mile to the east of my old abode in Mount Vernon.

I used to regularly hike to the summit of Big Rock. A hike the likes of which I have never experienced in Texas.

Nor have I ever seen a view in Texas the likes of that which one sees from atop Big Rock.

Due to such a view being impossible in Texas due to the fact there are no volcanoes in Texas.

That is the Mount Baker volcano one sees in the background, hovering above the Cascade foothills and the Skagit Valley.

There are five active volcanoes in Washington.

If I remember right the last time I hiked up Mount Baker was with Spencer Jack's Uncle Joey, also known as my Favorite Joey Nephew.

Joey lives in Clear Lake, the little town named after the lake by which the town sits, in the above photo. Also living with Joey in Clear Lake is his newlywed wife, Monique.

Joey and Monique are currently scheduled to be having a baby boy arrive in late September, or early October. I last talked to Joey when his grandma and I called him the last time I was in Arizona, which was last month.

Today whilst I was riding my bike for a short while I amused myself trying to think of a good name for Joey and Monique's baby boy. It is hard to top Spencer Jack as a cool name.

But, I think I thought of one.

Zachary Jack.

Just say that name.

Zachary Jack.

Zack Jack for short.

Or just Zack.

Or ZJ....

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Farmers Market Salsa Day With Original Wichita Falls Mosquitoes

At today's Downtown Wichita Falls Farmers Market it was Salsa Day.

No, not the dance or music version of Salsa.

Today was the dip a chip in it version of Salsa Day.

I arrived too late for the sample Salsa Dipping.

But, since I was in the neighborhood I thought a walk on the Circle Trail to the location of the original Wichita Falls might be salubrious and enjoyable on this mid-August Saturday.

I thought wrong.

By the time I reached the location of the Original Falls I was finding myself in a losing battle with mosquitoes. And thus I moved quickly with a lot of endorphin inducing aerobic arm movement swatting buzzing biters.

Above I stood still long enough to snap a photo of what I think is right were the original Wichita Falls fell. The Wichita River goes slightly into rapids mode at this location.

I have not yet made a count of how many mosquito bites I acquired today. I have a supply of itch abating lotion, should such be deemed needed.

In the meantime it is time for lunch.

With some fresh Wichita Falls Salsa on the menu...

Garbage From Booming Texas Pot Industry Is Not Clogging Gutters

I saw that which you see here on Friday in the Seattle Times.

It has been awhile since I have written one of my patented bloggings about something I see in a west coast news source which I would not expect to be seeing in a Texas newspaper, such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about a similar thing happening in Texas.

Can you imagine a story headline such as this in a Texas newspaper?

Garbage from booming Texas pot industry clogs gutters, sewers and landfills

First off, Texans, from what I have seen, do not much concern themselves with something as mundane as garbage clogging anything.

Texas is a state with towns which actively encourage citizens to go floating in the neighborhood e.coli polluted river.

Such as Fort Worth's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the regularly poop polluted muddy waters of the Trinity River.

Second off, does Texas have any booming industry? Other than extracting oil and gas? Let alone a booming industry involving something like growing and selling marijuana.

Last month, after returning to Texas from Arizona, I made a comment or two about having been in modern America and it being a bit unsettling to be back in backwards America, which had me asked, a time or two, to what I was referring.

Texas continuing to criminalize marijuana, whilst modern America has realized the stupidity of such, is not what I had in mind at the time I made mention of leaving modern America to return to backwards America.

Maybe in the coming days I will get around to making mention of the things I refer to when I make mention of modern America, and backwards America...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wichita Falls Rain Deluge Returns Sikes Lake To Full Pool

Today my handlebars took me back to Sikes Lake for the first time since the Monday deluge.

All that incoming water raised the Sikes Lake tide to overflowing, spilling over the Sikes Lake dam's spillway.

The ducks and geese were happy quacking and honking today, enjoying their freshly rain refreshed lake.

The green algae of recent weeks has been washed away, for now. Sikes Island is underwater, again, for now.

And this most recent, record breaking deluge did not cause a deluge of litter to make its way to Sikes Lake. The Wichita Falls zone of Texas is much more litter free than other zones of Texas with which I have been familiar in the past.

Such as the possible Litter Capital of America.

Fort Worth....

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lake Wichita Lily Pads Enjoy Record Breaking Rain

On Sunday, after eye witnessing their drought parched misery, I blogged that Wichita Falls Lily Pads Desperately Need Rain.

The next day, as in yesterday, which was Monday, the lily pad prayers were answered with a record breaking amount of rain falling on Wichita Falls and much of North Texas.

Record breaking, as in five inches, give or take a fraction of an inch, depending on where you were getting downpoured on.

Today my bike and I returned to Lake Wichita to see how those parched lily pads were fairing after yesterday's deluge.

As you can see, above, the lily pad creek again has water.

Muddy water.

The flood of water appears to have taken the lily pads by surprise. This appeared to be the case because the lily pads are in a state of disarray, coated with mud, and floating a bit cockeyed.

Enough rain fell to raise the level of Lake Wichita, but not enough to cause water to spill over the Lake Wichita dam's spillway.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wichita Falls Downpour Floods Moat Around My Location

After day after day of rain predicted, with few drops dripping, this morning, on this second Monday of August, multiple downpour episodes have resulted in a moat surrounding my location, as you can sort of see via the view from one of my living room windows, with my bike managing to stay dry, due to zero wind blowing rain sideways.

This August morning is reminding me of what a typical winter day is like in the Western Washington Puget Sound zone.

Day after day of a gray sky with water dripping, at times, all day long.

Day after day.

I had a horrific bout of insomnia last night. First time such has happened in a long time. No clue as to the cause, but I am exhausted, with this gloomy weather being a perfect fit for my mood.

If, or when, the rain stops, and the moat subsides, I may venture out to the Circle Trail to see if Holliday Creek is running a lot of water. The turtles, egrets and fish should be happy...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Wichita Falls Lily Pads Desperately Need Rain

Sunday morning I joined 56 other walkers, joggers and bikers on the Circle Trail to circle around Mount Wichita and cross Lake Wichita Dam.

Lately every day has rain and thunderstorms in the forecast, with every day passing without any rain, except for the drip of a drop or two.

And no thunder booming.

A couple days ago I heard a weather reporting person on one of the local TV stations say the Wichita Falls zone is back in drought mode.

As you can see it does look as if Mount Wichita has not been being irrigated lately, with brown now the dominant color, along with the grassy field which surrounds the only mountain in Wichita Falls, also mostly brown.

And then there are those lily pads I've made mention of a time or two.

The creek from whence those lily pads bloomed is now totally dried up. And yet one lily blooms, at the bottom of the group of lily pads you see above.

The lily pad roots must go deep to manage to keep being green after the creek's water has disappeared.

I may have to go visit my mom in the Arizona desert if I want to get wet in a rainstorm. Lately whenever my mom calls me she tells me the night before she experienced the biggest downpour ever. Along with thunder and lightning...

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Raindrops Falling On Day Full Of Inspirational Messaging

My mailbox was full of cards this week, well, maybe not totally full, but the two you see here I particularly like.

One from my sister, with what may be a new McDonald's burger, with black and green olives, in addition to all the regular condiments.

And a card from my mama, with my mom writing a note in the card, which takes mom a bit of effort, what with mom's eyesight not making for easy writing, or doing much of anything.

In the coincidence department, just as I was typing about mom writing a note on a card the phone made its incoming call noise. I looked at the phone and saw it was mom calling. Told mom I was able to easily read what she wrote, and that she could write a letter if she wanted to and the recipient would be easily able to read it. Mom did not seem to believe that this was true.

Anyway, off the phone and back to what I was saying...

After opening and reading what was inside all the incoming envelopes I decided to brave the possibly inclement weather to go on a sun-free cloudy bike ride.

I originally intended to ride the Circle Trail to Hamilton Park, then exit that trail to roll through the Wichita Falls version of Beverly Hills, eventually reaching Midwestern State University with a drink break at my favorite neighborhood fountain.

Well, incoming drips from the sky caused me to exit the Circle Trail prior to Hamilton Park to take the short cut to MSU and that aforementioned fountain, where I stopped for a drink and took the photo you see above.

See that plaque to the right of my handlebars? I'm sure you are curious what the message is on this plaque...


I guess that makes sense.

Soon after taking the above photo the drippage picked up in intensity, so I made a beeline back to my home base, with one roll around Sikes Lake, since the drippage had lessened by the time I reached that location.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Lake Wichita Dead Calm For Elsie Hotpepper's Birthday

For days now the forecast has been for possible rain and thunderstorms.

So far no such booming wet thing has happened, that I have noticed.

Today's stormy weather, so far, has consisted of dead calm, as in no wind, no rain, no nothing remarkable.

Unless one considers that dead calm thing remarkable in this usually windy location on the planet.

Today is Elsie Hotpepper's latest birthday. Last year, if I remember right, was the last year in which Elsie Hotpepper celebrated her 29th birthday. I am no good at math, so I don't know if this makes Elsie 30 or 31 today.

I decided riding my bike to Lake Wichita was a perfect way to celebrate Elsie Hotpepper's birthday. I have never seen Lake Wichita look so wave-free as it looked today. Like it was frozen. A lake of ice on a HOT August day.

It appears the paddle board purveyor who sets up shop, almost daily, in the parking lot which sits under the shadow of Mount Wichita in Lake Wichita Park, had a couple customers today, paddling boards on the mirror smooth Lake Wichita, whilst a pair of egrets try and decide whether or not to wade out to the paddle boarders.

Lake Wichita is shallow, real shallow. Which is why the lake quickly dries up when North Texas goes into drought mode. And is yet one more reason the lake needs to be dredged.

Switching the subject back to the most important event of the day, that being Elsie Hotpepper's birthday.

This morning Elsie asked me if I would participate in day three of her annual month long birthday celebration by making the chicken fried steak she has requested as part of her Sunday Birthday Buffet.

I am having trouble coordinating with the rest of the Birthday Buffet Chefs, so it remains in doubt whether or not I will be able to actualize this particular Elsie Hotpepper chicken fried birthday request...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Return To Wichita Bluff Nature Area Finds Circle Trail Extension Well Underway

Last Saturday I found bluff hiking at the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to be so salubrious that I thought maybe I have been overdoing the bike riding and not doing enough of that natural activity known as walking.

So, yesterday, what with the outer world being chilled to somewhere in the 80s, with a wind blowing in from the north, and clouds blocking the sun, I returned to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area and, unlike last Saturday, I hiked all the way to the current end of the trail.

Where I found a pleasant surprise.

Above what you are looking at is the view from near the current east end of the trail, from one of the covered rest areas, looking at the Wichita River flowing between the trees.

At this location the sound of heavy equipment machinery operating wreaked havoc with the nature area sounding natural. Continuing on to the current end of the trail it soon became apparent what was making the noise.

The new section of the Circle Trail is well underway!

How is this coming about, I wondered? What with the voters last May not approving the funding to complete the three missing sections of the Circle Trail. Maybe the funding for what I saw yesterday was already in place.

A few months ago when I biked to the location you see above, where the trail is blocked on the other side of the sidewalk closed sign, all one saw was scoured earth where a paved trail might eventually be. And so I was surprised yesterday to see that that paving has now taken place.

You can not tell it via the above photo, due, most likely, to my poor photographer skills, but this new section of trail looks steep enough to provide a high speed thrill when one is going down the bluff, and some endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation when one is going up this section of the bluffs.

Above you are looking at more of the newly paved trail, far below the photo taking vantage point. A bulldozer and a mechanized dirt scooping device were what was making all the heavy equipment noise.

When I eventually made it back to my motorized means of locomotion I decided to drive to where Loop 11 crosses the Wichita River to see if this new trail making effort has reached that location.

Crossing the river I was pleased to see the trail makers in operation. I then wondered how the trail was going to get across Loop 11. Turning around and re-crossing the bridge I was able to see that the Circle Trail is going to go under the bridge.

I do not know how far it is from Loop 11 to Lucy Park, or by what route the Wichita Bluff section of the Circle Trail will reach Lucy Park. I assume the trail will be running beside the river.

When the Wichita Bluff Nature Area section of the Circle Trail makes its connection to Lucy Park this will likely greatly increase the number of people enjoying the Circle Trail in what is likely going to come to be known as its most scenic, most adventurous section of the trail.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Visiting Durango Building In San Antonio Whilst Looking At The River Walk

I was looking through a folder of photos from last month when I came upon this one which I had forgotten about.

In July, whilst I was in Arizona, Bob Skywalkerman, via Elsie Hotpepper, sent me the photo you see here.

Apparently this Durango Building, if I remember the original text message correctly, is in San Antonio, which is a Texas town south of Austin.

San Antonio is known around the world for its River Walk.

That and San Antonio being the location of the Alamo.

The San Antonio River Walk walks for miles alongside the San Antonio River.

I do not know if this world famous attraction came about due to something called the San Antonio River Vision.

I am fairly certain the San Antonio River Walk was likely built in a timely fashion and involved no imaginary islands or imaginary signature bridges. Or employed an unqualified local congresswoman's inept son as the San Antonio River Walk's project manager.

San Antonio is a modern Texas American town wearing its Big City pants, unlike other Texas towns I can think of....

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Point Of No Point Sand Castle Building With Theo & Ruby Without David Or Orcas

Yesterday afternoon my favorite Theo nephew asked his mom to send me some photos.

When I saw the photo you see here I was able to figure out why Theo wanted me to see what he was doing.

Building a sand castle.

Last summer Theo and I and my favorite Ruby niece had a mighty fine time building sand castles and sand forts in the sand at Birch Bay, up northwest, in Washington, a few miles south of the border with Canada.

Looking at the photos I could not tell where the sand construction was taking place.

And so I inquired.

I was then told that Theo wanted me to guess the location.

My guesses which followed ruled out Birch Bay, due to the sand not looking right. I then ruled out a Pacific coast beach because the little waves did not look right. I thought maybe it was a beach by Fort Worden, on the far northeast side of the Olympic Peninsula. My final guess was some location on Hood Canal, perhaps a Hood Canal beach near the Clancy and Fancy estate.

I was wrong on all guesses.

Eventually Theo let me know he was doing his sandy work at Point No Point. The name sounded familiar to me, but I required Google to fine tune my memory.

Googling brought up a lot of Point No Point information, including two Wikipedia articles, one about the Point No Point Light, and another about Point No Point.

I think that must be the Point No Point Light, known as a lighthouse, in the distance behind shovel waving Ruby.

In part Wikipedia had this to say about Point No Point Light...

Point No Point Light is an operational aid to navigation on the northeastern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula on the west side of Puget Sound, at Point No Point where Admiralty Inlet joins Puget Sound, near the small community of Hansville, Kitsap County, in the U.S. state of Washington. Point No Point Light is considered the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In case you are wondering this is how Wikipedia explains the Point No Point landmark name...

Point No Point is an outcropping of land on the northeast point of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington, the United States. It was the location of the signing of the Point No Point Treaty and is the site of the Point No Point Light.

It appears Ruby was the project engineer for the sand castle building project, directing Theo and mama Kristin.

There was no photo evidence provided documenting Ruby doing the actual sand castle building.

And where was Theo and Ruby's favorite David brother?

My guess is David has been watching the news and has developed a totally irrational fear of getting anywhere near Puget Sound. All the news stories of late about the Puget Sound Orcas, also known as Killer Whales, would be the type thing to make David nervous.

Last summer David totally freaked out over one Dungeness crab in Birch Bay, requiring he be air lifted, well, carried, back to shore.

Orcas used to be known as Killer Whales. A totally inaccurate name. Orcas are harmless to humans. It is humans who the Orcas might accurately call Killer People. But, the humans have long been trying to rectify the harm done to Orcas.

To limited success.

I think I have mentioned before my one and only up close encounter with a pod of Puget Sound Orcas. I was fishing with mom and dad, out near Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands. Suddenly a pod of Orcas appeared, heading towards us. At least 20.

Mom got a bit panicky. Dad stopped the boat. This was before the current era of always having photo documenting equipment on ones person.

Soon the pod of Orcas was all around us. Some slowed to take a close look. Right up to the boat. There were one or two baby Orcas in the group. There was something about the way the Orcas were looking at us that seemed friendly and totally non threatening.

Even mom totally calmed down.

And then it was over, as we watched the pod swim away from us.

Orcas are not the only whales which visit Puget Sound. They are just the most well known.

Soon before I moved to Texas I was out at the Rosario Beach part of Deception State Park. We were walking along the beach and suddenly an enormous whale showed up, slowly going along the edge of the steep beach, feeding on who knows what. This was a whale much bigger than the biggest Orca.

I do not not know how David would react to seeing a giant whale up close to shore. But, I suspect his reaction would be amusing...

UPDATE: After reading the concern about the missing David he arranged to have the following photo sent confirming that he was also with his brother and sister at Point No Point. But David opted out of sand castle building for driftwood collecting.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Wind Chilling Saturday Wichita Bluff Hike With A Hoodoo

What with today being almost chilly, what with the outer world in the low 80s, and a strong wind providing some wind chilling, it seemed like a good idea to make my semi-regular monthly Saturday return to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to do some paved hiking on Wichita Bluff.

Since my last visit to this scenic area of Wichita Falls the new sign you see here has been installed. I don't quite understand the need for this sign, what with it being located only a few feet from the big sign over the trail which tells one they are entering the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

Today, whilst hiking the paved trail which traverse Wichita Bluff, the scenery was reminding me of the Tandy Hills which I used to regularly hike in Fort Worth. The Tandy Hills are located a short distance east of downtown Fort Worth. Wichita Bluff is located a short distance west of downtown Wichita Falls.

It was that which you see below which brought the Tandy Hills to mind.

What looked to be a collapsed Hoodoo. One of the many mysteries of Fort Worth's Tandy Hills was the frequent appearance of Hoodoos at various random locations. The Tandy Hills Hoodoos could be quite large, tall, and elaborately balanced.

There are a few seating opportunities on the Tandy Hills. But not nearly as ubiquitous and luxurious as the rocking benches one finds along the Wichita Bluff trails.

I do not remember if one ever gets a good view of the Trinity River from any location on Fort Worth's Tandy Hills, even though that sad river runs quite close to the north side of those hills.

Above you are looking east, with that shiny object in the center of the photo being the Wichita River. The stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Wichita Falls is in the distance, with the, uh, interesting landmark known as Big Blue dominating the skyline. Looking at these photos one would not think one is surrounded by a city.

The foliage looked almost un-naturally green to me today. I was expecting brown to be the dominant color scheme, what with a lack of natural irrigation falling from above of late.

The Wichita Bluff hills were busy today with more activity than I have witnessed previously. Walkers, joggers, bikers and that which you see below.

A dog directed a pair of people on what appeared to be motorized skateboards. This means of locomotion looked fun. The motorized skateboards seemed to have no trouble going up hill. The skateboarders and their dog zipped by so fast I has no opportunity to ask any questions.

I hope Wichita Falls voters find it in their hearts to vote yes to fund the completion of the Circle Trail. Connecting the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to Lucy Park would be a good thing.

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 3 Low Tide At Wichita Falls Sikes Lake

If you spent most of your time on the planet near the ocean, in my case that being the Puget Sound affiliated with the Pacific Ocean, when your handlebars see something like what they saw today at Sikes Lake, a specific thought comes instantly to mind.

As in...

Tides out.

A low tide.

Must be a full moon.

On Wednesday, that being the first day of this new month of August, when I visited with Beto O'Rourke, he made mention of the drought which tormented Wichita Falls for years earlier in this current century. And that it looks like North Texas may once again be at the start of a drought.

Which means that is not a low tide on Sikes Lake you are looking at above. It is Sikes Lake in low water, starved for rain, possible drought mode.

The ducks and geese which reside at Sikes Lake seem to be adjusting to the low water. Much of the lake no longer has water deep enough for the birds to float. So, they stand in the goose knee deep water and do their food foraging from a standing position.

I do not know if the Sikes Lakes ducks and geese know of Lake Wichita, which is only a couple miles south of their shrinking Sikes Lake location. I saw Lake Wichita yesterday. So far at that location I am seeing no low tides. There is one dried up creek. With lily pads looking a bit dehydrated.

Rain is in the forecast a week from now. That type forecast seems to happen frequently. And when those anticipated wet days arrive those day's forecast reverts, more often than not, to the regular blue sky. And hot.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Huge August 1 Beto O'Rourke Rally In Wichita Falls Stone Palace

Beto O'Rourke made his 4th return to Wichita Falls last night, on the first day of August, a little over three months before I, along with millions of other Americans, hope Beto puts an end to Ted Cruz being the senator from Texas.

I had previously watched short clips of Beto speaking. I had had others tell me how impressive he is in person.

Last night I found myself among those impressed to see Beto in person.

I do not recollect ever previously witnessing a political figure be so articulate, speaking so long, with no notes, or teleprompter, and with that which was being said seeming so authentic and so in the moment, what with Beto making Wichita Falls and surrounding area references over and over again.

The Beto rally took place in the Stone Palace in downtown Wichita Falls. Last night marks the first time I have been to an event in the Stone Place without running into one of my favorite Texans, Dana Wood Knot.

Miss Wood Knot was likely in the Palace, but I did not see her due to the size of the crowd, with some estimating the number as high as a thousand, and some as low as 700. There were not enough chairs, so it was literally standing room only.

I do not recollect when I was last at an event where those attending were so fired up. When Beto arrived a rock band began blaring, with the crowd standing, trying to see the incoming Beto.

I only had my phone camera with me, hence the bad photo above, and the equally bad YouTube video below, with that video showing part of the aforementioned Beto arrival.

Way back in 2016 I found myself in downtown Fort Worth on the same day Trump held one of his campaign events at that town's convention center. This was before the term "Deplorables" had been used to describe many of those not repulsed by Trump's repulsiveness. That day I had a visceral bad reaction to all the creepy people I was seeing lined up to get in to see Trump.

Last night, surrounded by hundreds of liberal, progressive, democrat decent type people, it felt like I was witnessing something historic, like this is what it is like when America comes roaring back, decent, good, right-minded, intelligent, caring America.

I hope I am right....

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Perplexing TRWD Land Swap Deal For Fort Worth LaGrave Baseball Park

A couple weeks ago, whilst I was in modern America, Arizona to be precise, Braig Prickley Facebook messaged me with a link which led me to the TRWD PRESS RELEASE you see partially screen capped here.

I read the press release and thought to myself what fresh ridiculousness is this nonsense.

I then replied to Mr. Prickley telling him something along the line of what with me currently being in modern America I just don't have the energy or desire to much care about fresh nonsense from back in backwards America.

And then I got back to Texas and soon found myself reading the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's "news" article about this fresh nonsense, with the article titled Deal to reopen Fort Worth Cats’ LaGrave Field full of dreams, but is there money?

Reading the Star-Telegram's question about money was not the question I was asking when I read about this "deal".

Before we get to looking at this deal let's look at what Mr. Prickley had to say after I replied to his message...

Yeah, looks like slimy Jim Lane got his way.  When they won the election, he said his TOP PRIORITY was getting minor league baseball back at Lagrave Field.

The slimy Jim Lane to which Prickley refers is one of the TRWD board members.

There is no mention made of it in the Star-Telegram article, but wasn't it Jim Lane who finagled an earlier "deal" regarding the land around LaGrave Field? A deal which had the TRWD spending multiple millions of dollars to rescue a bankrupt friend of Jim Lane. A friend somehow associated with LaGrave Field and its demise, if my memory is serving me correctly.

And then after the TRWD paid for that land, part of that land became the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century.

Any of this ringing a bell with anyone? No mention is made in the Star-Telegram article about the previous TRWD property purchasing shenanigans in the LaGrave Field area.

This Star-Telegram article about LaGrave Field tells us...

The Fort Worth-based water district, teaming with the federal government to split the Trinity and create the new island, also got $1.3 million in the trade plus 8.1 acres including the stadium.

The water district is teamed with the federal government to split the Trinity River and create a new island? Does the federal government know they have been teamed with the TRWD to split a river and create an imaginary island?

And then this about the land that was swapped so the TRWD could take over LaGrave Field...

In exchange, Houston-based Panther Acquisition Partners will get 15.3 acres along what is now a levee, giving the group a total of 26 acres on what will become Panther Island when the river is split.

What is this new nonsense about splitting the river?

Am I understanding correctly? The land which the TRWD swapped for the land including LaGrave Field is currently underneath 15.3 acres of Trinity River levees, which will be removed if the Trinity River Vision ever becomes something someone can see, with that land under the levees then part of the imaginary island.

And then there is this...

Right now, we’ve only heard lofty promises. If they come through, the new Panther Island development across the Trinity River from downtown will be anchored by a boutique ballpark and events facility built around the legendary 92-year-old ballfield. Here’s how iffy this deal is: It requires $4 million at signing from a charity foundation that does not even have a board of directors yet but is already collecting money.

The imaginary island development will be anchored by a boutique ballpark? And an events facility? Built around a legendary ballfield?

You reading this somewhere in modern America, have you ever heard of Fort Worth's legendary ballfield?

The deal required $4 million from a charity?

Why does Fort Worth never seem to do things the way towns wearing their BIG CITY pants get things done?

If you are reading this and have not seen Fort Worth's LaGrave Field, back when it re-opened, after reading what seemed likely to be hyperbolic exaggeration in the Star-Telegram about this newly re-opened facility, I ventured to the future imaginary island and took some photos, and then webpaged what I saw in Fort Worth's LaGrave Field.

During my multiple visits to the Phoenix metro zone this year, and last, I have seen multiple baseball parks, some beautiful big complexes, complete with a hotel and other amenities, such as the Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field at the north end of Dobson Road, in Mesa. Or my most recent last day in Arizona when Miss Daisy's driver drove us by the spring training ballpark for the California A's. Any of these Cactus League ballparks would be a worthy ballpark model for a big city like Fort Worth.

And why is the TRWD, as in Tarrant Regional Water District involving itself in something like trying to re-open a defunct ballpark?