Sunday, July 31, 2022

Last Winter's Snow Long Melted From Texas High Country

Saw that which you see here, this morning, on Facebook, via the Skagit Breaking page.

A couple days ago, on this blog, I lamented Looking Back At North Cascades National Park and the fact that I used to live in a scenic wonderland, and that I currently live where it is not a scenic wonderland.

The caption on this Skagit Breaking post is "The snow is finally melting in the high country and the trails are opening. These are images from Copper Ridge in North Cascades National Park from this week".

That caption contains several bits of info that could never be applicable at my current location.

All the snow which hit the ground in Texas last winter has long been melted.

There is no high country for hundreds of miles in any direction on which snow accumulates.

And the only Texas national park with mountains is Guadalupe Mountains National Park way out in far west Texas.

The closest thing to a mountain I have in my vicinity is the big mound of dried mud in Lake Wichita Park which I call Mount Wichita.

If it weren't so HOT I would drive to Lake Wichita Park this final Sunday of the 2022 version of July and hike to the summit of Mount Wichita for a 360 degree view of mostly nothing...

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Semi-Cool Nature Commune In Lucy Park Backwoods


With clouds covering the sky, along with a temperature in the mid 80s, it was to Lucy Park I ventured on this final Saturday of the 2022 version of July, to commune with nature via the Lucy Park backwoods zone.

I have avoided the Lucy Park backwoods of late due to the extreme HEAT, long stretches with little shade, and snakes possibly rendered frisky by the Hellish type temperatures they like to slither in.

But, I have yet to see a single snake this year. Did that sub-zero deep freeze two Februarys ago kill off all the cold-blooded slitherers? I have seen other reptiles this summer. Such as lizards and turtles.

As you can see the Lucy Park backwoods jungle foliage has grown quite high, now with wild sunflowers growing above the tall grass.

Rain splattered my windshield as I left Lucy Park, almost turning into a downpour by the time I reached my carport. And then the deluge abated.

I think I am really going to enjoy the return to cooler temperatures in a couple months...

Where In D.C. Are David, Ruby & Theo?

Such was the question posed in the subject line of an email yesterday, which contained three photos.

Where in D.C. are David, Ruby and Theo?

Well, I am fairly certain in the first photo the Tacoma Trio are standing in front of the United States Capitol building.

A building which, at the point in time of their visit, was free of Trump crazed nutjobs attacking the building.

Here I am fairly certain the Tacoma Trio are standing in front of the Supreme Court building. Currently fenced off due to the fact that the majority of Americans are currently a bit non-plussed with the Supreme Court.

 And here we see Ruby, David, Theo and Mama Kristin in what I believe to be the Library of Congress.

I do not know if the book loving kids checked out any books from the library...

Friday, July 29, 2022

Exploring Washington D.C. With David, Theo & Ruby

I said on Tuesday, well, I think it was Tuesday, that I suspected I would be seeing photo documentation of the Tacoma Trio being in the other Washington. Such photos arrived in my email yesterday.

In the first Washington, D.C. photo we see Ruby, Theo and David in front of Joe Biden's temporary residence, the White House. I suspect the Biden's did not know the Tacoma celebrities are in town, or they would have been invited in for a tour and light refreshments.

Continuing on....

Here we see the Tacoma Trio has had a costume change and are standing in front of the Reflecting Pool, with the Washington Monument in the distance.

And now they have walked way closer to the giant obelisk honoring George Washington. For a few years this was the tallest manmade structure in the world. Til the Eiffel Tower showed up.

I did not know that visitors were once again able to ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument. Looking out at the empty National Mall one might think the Tacoma Trio time traveled back to the day Trump was inaugurated in front of a puny crowd.

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the iconic structures one finds whilst walking the National Mall. Standing in front of Abraham are Mama Kristin, Theo, Mama Michele, Ruby and David.

These photos are the first I have seen of David wearing glasses. The glasses make him look smart. That, and all grown up.

Here we see David looking smart in front of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I have known of this memorial to FDR, depicting him in his wheelchair, which was an image kept from the public during his long presidency.

Here Ruby is standing with the lady many consider to be the best, most influential and consequential First Lady America has had. I did not know of this statue honoring FDR's wife, Eleanor.

Ruby, Theo and David here are standing in front of another statue I was not aware of. Or would this be considered a sculpture? What I know for sure is it is easy to recognize we are looking at Martin Luther King.

Yesterday, during the day, whilst Mama Michele was at a conference, Ruby, David and Theo took Mama Kristin to see some museums, and then last night the whole crew visited the Library of Congress.

I do not know when David, Theo and Ruby are returning to the other Washington.

David, Theo and Ruby are experiencing extreme heat in D.C. of the sort they rarely experience in their home zone.

Ironically, if they were in Tacoma today they would be experiencing record breaking temperatures in the 90s.

The high in Washington D.C. today is predicted to hit 96, which is also today's predicted high for my location, along with possible rain and thunderstorms...

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Feeling 99 Degrees HOT In Lucy Park

What you see here is a screenshot from my phone, taken upon arrival at Lucy Park where I drove seeking some endorphins via aerobic stimulation.

I think 97 may be the hottest I have been at Lucy Park. As you see via the info on the screenshot the humidity made those 97 degrees feel like 99.

The above is a HOT shady look at Lucy Park in the throes of the current heat wave.

Tomorrow, if the temperature predicters are correct, and sometimes they are, we are getting a rare break from the over 100 degree heat, with tomorrow's high predicted to be a relatively chilly 95, with a chance of rain.

And that is predicted to be followed by another day only getting heated to 95. And then the 100 degrees plus returns.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Where Are Ruby, David & Theo?

In my email this morning I found this photo of the Tacoma Trio, Ruby, David and Theo.

There was no explanatory text in the email.

The email's subject line said, "Where in the (not) PNW?".

Methinks the subject line would be more accurate if it said, "We are not in PNW!".

With fairly frequent frequency I am emailed photos and asked to guess where in the Pacific Northwest Ruby, David and Theo are.

I correctly guess about half the time.

In today's instance I am fairly certain the Tacoma Trio are nowhere in the Pacific Northwest.

I think the above photo was taken in the other Washington, the one on the east coast, the one whose full name is Washington, District of Columbia, or Washington, D.C. for short.

I suspect I will be seeing photos of Ruby, David and Theo visiting the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building and other locations.

At least I hope I will be seeing such photos...

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Looking Back At North Cascades National Park

Last night something caused me to try and remember what year it was that North Cascades National Park came to be.

And so I Googled North Cascades National Park and learned, via Wikipedia, it was in October of 1968 that LBJ signed the bill that created the new national park.

The Wikipedia article contained multiple photos of North Cascades National Park scenery, including the photo above, of Mount Shuksan. 

Wikipedia insists the source of the photo must be credited, thusly--Photo by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA - Mt. Shuksan reflected in a small tarn on the Artist Point trail.

When I saw the Mount Shuksan photo I was puzzled, because I did not think that that mountain was in the North Cascades National Park. Mount Shuksan is quite close to Mount Baker. No mention of Mount Baker being in the national park was made.

Then I saw the Wikipedia map of North Cascades National Park and saw that Mount Shuksan is in the national park, whilst Mount Baker is not.

One of my all time favorite photos has Mount Shuksan in the background.

Those are my favorite nephews, Jeremy and Christopher, sitting atop Tabletop Mountain, with Mount Shuksan behind them. Christopher is looking off to the south, at Mount Baker, looming close.

Let's leave North Cascades National Park now for a look at Mount Baker.

I was heading north on Interstate 5 when I took this photo on the way to Birch Bay on August 11, 2017. We are a mile or two south of Mount Vernon, looking northeast at Mount Baker, looming large. This gives you a clear idea of how close I lived to scenic mountain scenery when I lived in the Skagit Valley zone. My Mount Vernon house was located a short distance past that notch from which Mount Baker appears to rise.

Now, let's go back to being at North Cascades National Park locations.

Above I am taking a rest on a granite slap, looking east at Hidden Lake.

If I remember correctly, the above photo was taken on the way to the summit of Green Mountain. There is a fire lookout at the summit. I recollect taking a nap when the summit was reached.

And here we see Wally, Wanda and Big Ed on the Cascade Pass Trail. This was a route used by Native Americans to cross the Cascades. At one point it was considered to be a possible route for the North Cross State Highway, but it was deemed to be far too difficult to engineer a road via this route, That and it would compromise some of the most scenic locations in the park.

And, the final North Cascades National Park photo is also on the Cascade Pass Trail. That is Big Ed trying to decide whether or not to take another step.

Seeing these photos and remembering how close I used to live to a scenic wonderland, well, it has me a bit homesick...

Monday, July 25, 2022

Birch Bay Postcard Bandit Strikes Again

Last Saturday a reunion I thought I might be attending this summer, took place, at a reunion convention location in the Skagit Flats.

I also long thought that this summer I would be finding myself at Birch Bay with a select group of my siblings. But that Birch Bay plan never came to fruition.

Today the mailbox contained another Birch Bay postcard, unsigned, with no message text.

However, as you can see, above, this time the perpetrator drew what looks to be an arrow pointing from Texas to Washington.

Previously I said that I compared the print on these postcards to a collection of Christmas cards, and found no matching handwriting.

Today I again compared the printing on this postcard to printing on cards I received last December.

And this time I found a match.

The "W" in Moose Jaw on the postcard, appears to match the "W" in PNW on the card.

I have previously asked the person who wrote the card with the suspicious "W" if she was the Postcard Bandit.

This particular individual, over the past many months, has asked many times if I had yet learned when I was going to be heading to Birch Bay. No other person in contact with me has shown that level of interest in the Birch Bay visit.

This particular person knows that the name "Moose Jaw" is associated with my name. 

I am not naming the suspected Postcard Bandit, because there is a slight chance I may be wrong. I await hearing a confession from the culprit...

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Whole Wheat Pepperoni Pizza Debacle

I made pizza from scratch on this next to last Sunday of the 2022 version of July. The result, which you see here, looks better than the result actually was.

I used the automatic breadmaker to make the pizza dough. I used whole wheat flour. Using whole wheat was a mistake. It made for an extremely unusual pizza crust.

On top of the pizza crust I spread a thick covering of pizza sauce, then black olives and a lot of pepperonis. And topped that with a lot of mozzarella, colby, monterey jack and parmesan cheese.

The pizza was rendered salvageable by sliding the topping off the woeful whole wheat crust.

This was my first cooking disaster in quite some time.

I also learned heating an oven to 475 degrees in not a real good idea when experiencing an extreme heat wave. The air-conditioner was not keeping the kitchen zone to a desired level of cool...

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Geese Feeding Frenzy At Drought Shrunk Sikes Lake

With the temperature a few degrees less than 100 I opted to drive to Sikes Lake for a relatively semi-chilly walk around the lake.

Upon arrival I saw a large contingent of Sikes Lake geese and ducks surrounding a lady tossing them food from a big bag of bird seed.

There were two bird feeders. I talked to the one standing next to me, not surrounded by birds. She told me they come feed the birds every day. And the flock is so used to this that when they see them arrive, in their white vehicle, they come waddling towards them.

This explains why, on more than one occasion, when I have arrived at this location, driving my white vehicle, that the flock of birds starts coming towards me. A behavior I found slightly disturbing.

No, that is not Sikes Lake at low tide you see above. That is Sikes Lake in drought mode, drying up.

Years ago Sikes Lake was dredged, with the material which was dredged hauled to Lake Wichita where it was turned into the tall pile of dried mud we refer to as Mount Wichita, also known as Murphy's Hill.

Methinks Sikes Lake is due for a new dredging, with a new mountain made at Lake Wichita, to be called the Twin Peaks of Wichita Falls.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Cloudy Drippy Semi-Chilly Return To Lucy Park

I needed to refresh my supply of reading material, so it was to downtown Wichita Falls I ventured this morning, to that socialist operation known as the Wichita Falls Public Library.

After the library, since I was in the neighborhood, it was to another socialist operation, Lucy Park, I drove.

As you can see via the photo documentation of the sycamore tree in the middle of the photo, we are not seeing blue sky today at my Texas location.


With some raindrops dripping.

And a temperature of only 84 degrees. Not quite a sweater wearing chill, but much more pleasant than when the outer world is heated to more than 20 degrees warmer than 84.

It was seeming eerily quiet in here, with traffic noise being able to be heard. I wondered why the atmosphere was seeming so different. And then I realized, the air-conditioner is not running.

This cold snap will be short lived, with a quick return to being heated to over 100 degrees HOT. I shall be enjoying the respite while it lasts...

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Record Breaking Temperature In Wichita Falls & All Over Texas

This morning CNN online had an article titled "Here are some US cities that set records Tuesday as temperatures soared to as high as 115 degrees".

I clicked the link thinking I was going to see record high temperatures set all over the U.S.

Instead the record breaking temperatures were mostly in Texas, with a couple in Oklahoma.

With the HOTTEST record breaker being the town I am in, Wichita Falls, which sizzled to 115 yesterday.

I had thought our high here yesterday was 113, and said as much to a friend from high school who was visiting Tonasket in Eastern Washington and had posted on Facebook how he was on the edge of suffering heatstroke due to the temperature being 90.

I proceeded to inform this person that he was a temperature baby.

Today is scheduled to be cooler, a predicted high of only 107, with a chance of some rain and thunderstorming. 

During yesterday's sizzler a wildfire erupted just out of the eastern border of Wichita Falls. The wildfire forced the closure of Highway 287, the freeway route between Wichita Falls and DFW. 

I do not think I have ever been so eager for summer to come to its end as I am currently.

From the CNN article...

Here are some US cities that set records Tuesday as temperatures soared to as high as 115 degrees--

Here are some of the record highs for July 19 that were set in Texas and Oklahoma:
• Wichita Falls, Texas: 115, breaking a record of 112 set in 2018.
• Borger, Texas: 111, breaking a record of 109 set in 2018.
• Abilene, Texas: 110, breaking a record of 108 set in 1936.
• Oklahoma City: 110, breaking a record of 109 set in 1936.
• Amarillo, Texas: 108, breaking a record of 105 set in 2018.
• San Angelo, Texas: 108, tying a record set in 2018.
• El Paso, Texas: 107, breaking a record of 105 set in 1980.
• Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas: 106, breaking a record of 105 from 1914, 1923 and 1951.
• Midland International Air & Space Port in Midland, Texas: 105, tying a record from 1981 and 2018.
• Houston: 100, tying a record set in 2000.

And there is this I saw a few minutes ago on Facebook. This version has the Wichita Falls temperature record being 113...

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Sizzling Tuesday At 113 Degree

The temperature forecast for today, Tuesday, July 19, 2022, is what you are looking at.

113 degrees Fahrenheit.

This morning I saw it suggested that the elderly stay indoors in an air-conditioned space today, and the following days, until natural air-conditioning returns.

So, I will not be going outside today, or tomorrow, but maybe I will do so on Thursday, with the current forecast predicting the high on Thursday will be a relatively chilly 98 degrees.

Grass at my north Texas location is no longer green. Green has turned brown.

Rolling my bike north on the Circle Trail on Sunday I came upon an area where the brown grass had caught fire. For about 100 feet the brown had been turned to charred black, from beside the Circle Trail down the slope to now, mostly dry, Holliday Creek.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sizzling Sunday At 109

Screen shot from my phone this HOT Sunday afternoon in Texas. The A/C seems to be running almost nonstop to keep the abode cooled to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before it got too HOT I went on a bike ride this morning. It was more enjoyable than yesterday's bike ride. I think pumping up the tires helped.

The coming week is predicted to be the HOTTEST yet. It really does get a bit tiresome...

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Rolling In The HEAT To Sikes Lake And Beyond

My bike rolled me around Sikes Lake and some other locations this HOT Saturday in July.

I don't know why, but I am not enjoying the bike riding like I used to. The HEAT is easier to take whilst bike riding, compared to fast walking. Rolling through the air creates a cooling wind chill, adding to the chill factor of the wind speed.

But, as soon as I stop rolling I quickly overheat and become a sweaty mess, which adds to the cooling as soon as I begin rolling again.

The bike's speedometer/odometer device malfunctioned today. It would not let me reset the distance. As in resetting the miles rolled back to zero. Instead, it added today's rolling to the previous distance rolled. Which forced me to use my limited mathematic skills to calculate how many miles I rolled, and how long I rolled, because it also would not reset the timer to zero.

Looking at the temperature forecast, starting tomorrow, through Wednesday, we are about to be our HOTTEST yet.

I do not recollect previously experiencing 110 degrees in Texas. In California and Arizona, I have been hotter than 110, over 120 in both states, with the hottest being in Death Valley in California.

So, it looks like Tuesday the Texas grid is going to be facing its biggest challenge yet, during this ongoing day after day after day after day over 100 degrees...

Friday, July 15, 2022

Today Lucy Park Falls Signage Did Not Help Start My Dead Vehicle

Today's warmly HEATED visit to Lucy Park turned into the longest Lucy Park visit ever.

But, before we get to that let's talk about the signs directing Lucy Park visitors to The Falls.

On my first visit to Lucy Park there were no directional signs. An event was taking place in the park, with the Texas Visitor's Center having an informational booth. It was at that informational booth I got the information needed to find The Falls.

It is rather easy to find The Falls in Wichita Falls, from Lucy Park. Simple follow the Circle Trail next to the Wichita River and you will soon come to The Falls.

About one out of every four Lucy Park visits I am stopped by a visiting tourist and asked how to get to The Falls. I never rudely say, "Just follow the signs." I politely provide the needed information in the same way it was related to me on my first visit to Lucy Park.

Above and below you see examples of the Lucy Park signage which now exists which make it easy to find your way to The Falls. And yet, I still get asked for directions.

The above sign even includes a map to make finding the correct direction real easy. This sign is a the Lucy Park entry to the Lucy Park suspension bridge across the Wichita River.

The above sign pops up at a trail junction a semi-short distance from the sign by the suspension bridge.

The signs really seem easy to follow, to me. 

Now, on to why I had such a long Lucy Park visit.

I arrived at the park before 11 this morning. I finished my fast walking exercise bout before noon. Went to start my vehicle and it would not cooperate. It had had the same problem a month prior, and had been fixed, supposedly, by an auto mechanic at a place called Alley's. It was a simple fix. Corroded connections. 

When the same thing happened today, I took off the connections, to see if they looked corroded. They didn't. But, I scraped them anyway. Put them back on, still did not start.

Called AAA. Was told help would arrive by one in the afternoon. One in the afternoon arrived, but no AAA. And then AAA called to say that it would now be three in the afternoon that help would arrive in the form of something called Pigg's Towing.

Every morning I hear an ad on the radio for Mike's Towing. It is a memorable ad. So, I called Mike's Towing. About ten minutes later Mike's Towing arrived to tow my dead vehicle back to Alley's where it had been supposedly fixed a month ago.

The Mike's Towing guy then deposited me back at my abode, where I was starving hungry and semi-dehydrated.

I guess I will now cancel AAA, since their road assistance appears to be worthless...

Thursday, July 14, 2022

With Linda Lou Visiting Mount Vernon Farmer's Market & Hank Frank

Late yesterday afternoon, Mount Vernon's Linda Lou went walking with me in Walmart.

During the course of our walk talk Linda Lou told me about a Mount Vernon Farmer's Market she had been to that day. 

Linda Lou described to me the location of this Mount Vernon Farmer's Market, at the west end of Blackburn Road. So, this morning I used Google Earth to visit Mount Vernon.

I believe that is the Mount Vernon Farmer's Market Linda Lou told me about, above. Linda Lou described a big variety of Farmer's products at the Farmer's Market. Three types of cucumbers, the greenest parsley she'd ever seen, bright ruby red radishes. And more, much much more. 

Including a walk-in cooler with various Farmer's meat products.

And shopping at this Farmer's Market used the honor system. As in, no checkout with a clerk. You pick the products you want to buy, estimate the total, and then insert the right amount of cash into a secured container.

I would have trouble shopping at this Farmer's Market, due to needing cash. All my transactions are made using a debit card. I suppose if I were in Mount Vernon I could get myself some cash to get myself some fresh products from this Mount Vernon Farmer's Market.

This type food shopping is something I miss at my current location, where no such similar thing exists.

Mount Vernon also has another produce selling location that I wish existed here. That being the Skagit Valley Co-Op.

The Co-Op is located in downtown Mount Vernon, in the old Penney's building. I could find just about any food product I wanted to find, at the Skagit Valley Co-Op. Including things like candied ginger. I've never been able to find candied ginger in Texas.

The Skagit Valley Co-Op also sold products other than food. Things like clothes and homemade soap. And there is a restaurant. I remember going to Friday night spaghetti and garlic bread at the Co-Op's restaurant.

And now I suspect a product has been added to the Skagit Valley Co-Op product line up which I definitely can not find in any Texas store.

As in various cannabis-based products. The Skagit Valley Co-Op likely now has entire section devoted to pot products. I must remember to ask when next I talk to a Skagit Valley local.

Since I was in Mount Vernon, via Google Earth, I decided to make a quick visit to Hank Frank's place on Beaver Marsh Road.

I am just about 100% I found Hank Frank's house. This is where Google Earth took me when I entered my Favorite Nephew Joey's address.

Someday, hopefully sooner than later, I will find myself visiting Hank Frank in person...

UPDATE:  Via Linda Lou we have now learned the correct name for the aforementioned Mount Vernon Farmer's Market is Waxwing Farm. And that Waxwing Farm has a website where you see how their organic farming operation works, along with a KING5 news video story about the farm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Having A Heat Wave A Non-Tropical Hot Humid Heat Wave

The 12-day forecast. No relief from 100 degrees in sight.

I did not leave my abode yesterday til after 5, to go to Walmart for some extreme air conditioning.

So far the Texas grid hasn't failed. At least at my location.

The heat pump and new climate control system which was installed last summer is making this so much more tolerable than the climate control system it replaced. The new system is quiet, cool and does not use as much electricity as the previous system did.

I see the prediction for Saturday, July 23, is 104 degrees. Months ago I thought it likely I would be in Washington on that day.

If I were to go to Washington this summer I would be shivering the entire time due to being acclimated to the non-stop Texas HOT sauna steambath, with Washington feeling like someone turned the air conditioner to a way too cool setting.

With rain...

Monday, July 11, 2022

Monday Heat Waving In Shady Lucy Park

I have let the HEAT keep me from getting any endorphins via fast walking in an outdoor venue.

Instead, I have been being aerobic in air-conditioned Walmart, pushing a grocery cart for a couple miles.

But, today, on this second Monday of the 2022 version of July, I opted to drive to Lucy Park for some shady fast walking, arriving earlier than the norm, hoping it would not be too HOT.

As you can see via the photo documentation, it was so HOT in Lucy Park that that big tree you see above is glowing orange, like it is on fire.

It did feel sort of good to be in the outdoor sauna steam bath. I probably won't repeat the experience tomorrow.

Today apparently there is some worry that the Texas grid may get over taxed due to the entire state experiencing triple digit temperatures.

We are being asked to be conservative with using electricity.

I have my A/C set at 78 degrees. Is that conservative enough?

I don't know what it would be like to experience a long lasting summer blackout, such as what happened winter before last, with the temperature below zero. I escaped to a motel which still had power.

If the power goes out I assume one would not want to be opening the refrigerator door. Water-soaked towels might be useful to keep cool. A cold shower would not be much relief, due to the fact that currently the cold water is warmer than lukewarm. The swimming pool is currently like a warm bath.

My vehicle's gas tank is full. A full tank should be able to power the A/C for a long time, if the situation grows dire...

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Birch Bay Postcard Bandit Strikes Again

Late last month I blogged about a Mystery Postcard From Birch Bay Washington.

That postcard was a mystery because there was no information informing who it was who sent the postcard.

Or why.

And now, this second Saturday of the 2022 version of July, I found another mystery postcard from Birch Bay in my mailbox. Actually, the postcard is about Birch Bay, it was from, or mailed from, Seattle. Just like the previous mystery postcard.

That is both sides of today's Birch Bay postcard photo documented above.

Previously I said I wish I had not discarded last year's batch of Christmas cards, because I figured I could find a writing style match.

Well, this morning I found that I had not discarded this year's batch of Christmas cards.

I found no penmanship match. Not even close.

Is the reason for these Birch Bay postcards something to do with the fact that the past two summers, well, last summer and this one, I thought I was going to be having fun at Birch Bay with all my siblings, except the un-fun one?

But, no Birch Bay plan became known to me. I do know that the ones I was most looking forward to seeing, and building sand castles with, David, Theo, Ruby and their parental units, are going to the other Washington, this month.

I think it is closer for me to go to the other Washington than the Washington with Birch Bay. Maybe I'll make a surprise trip to D.C. to see the Tacoma Trio...

Friday, July 8, 2022

Sizzling 117 Degree Scorcher

At half past five, this Friday afternoon, I left my air-conditioned abode to use my air-conditioned motorized motion device to take me to Walmart.

When I turned the key to ignite the engine, lighting up the various information displays, I was appalled to see the temperature device was indicating I was sweltering in 117 humid degrees.

After driving a half mile, or so, the temperature lowered to 111. The wind chill factor benefit of driving 40 mph? I don't know.

What I do know is Walmart keeps their air conditioned to a cooler temperature than I keep the interior of my abode.

That and way too many people, who are way too big, wear way too little to Walmart. And way too many of them have way too many tattoos.

There currently is no end in sight for this scorching heat wave.

Tonight, around midnight, thunderstorms are predicted as possible. I am already seeing big clouds that look like they could do some loud booming.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Humid Hot 106 In Wichita Falls

The above is a screenshot from my phone taken at 1:22 PM on this first Thursday of the 2022 version of July. 102 degrees, with the humidity making it feel like 106.

I did my salubrious endorphin inducing aerobic speed walking in extremely cool air-conditioned Walmart this morning.

All my previous HOT seasons in Texas I do not remember any previous HOT season coming close to this day after day after day over 100, with the 100 degree days beginning before the arrival of summer.

I sort of regret not making plans to be in the Pacific Northwest this summer.

My last time spending a whole month in Washington was from July 23 to August 23 in 2008. That trip, when I flew Southwest out of Love Field in Dallas, the temperature was over 100. I arrived at Sea-Tac with the temperature barely over 50.

I felt cold that entire month in Washington. I whined about it so much my sister bought me a coat at Costco, which I still have. It's a nice coat.

I remember my first night in Tacoma, in the basement bedroom, I was so cold in the middle of the night I got up and searched for more blankets.

After a few days of shivering in the basement I asked if it were at all possible for me to move to the top floor, which was not used as a bedroom at that point in time.

A top floor which I had discovered was pleasantly warm.

Permission was granted, and a bed was installed. The shivering quit being so chronic...

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Back Biking To Hamilton Park Splash Pad

Til today, it has been quite some time since I let my bike roll me anywhere.

Today, an hour before noon, my bike began rolling me north on the Circle Trail, exiting the Circle Trail in Hamilton Park by the Splash Pad, which is what you see my bike's handlebars pointing towards in the photo documentation.

There was some wind blowing, which made the 99 degrees feel a bit cooler. Combining the wind speed with the bike speed, the wind chill factor makes those 99 degrees feel like only 96 degrees. Give or take a degree, or two.

Of late my aerobic exercise of choice has been high speed walking. Such is much more relaxing and comfortable than sitting on a bike seat pedaling.

I think maybe I will be keeping bike riding on hold til cooler temperatures return, and instead continue going on shady high speed walks for my endorphin acquisition...

Monday, July 4, 2022

4th Of July Sikes Lake Cactus Chow Mein & Barbecued Ribs

Sunday night I was carousing way too late, which had me waking up way too late, 4th of July morning, to make it to downtown Wichita Falls for the Independence Day Parade.

I was wary of watching that parade, anyway. I'm still not liking being in a crowd. And there has been a breakout of Monkey Pox infections in Wichita County.

So, instead of watching a parade I paraded myself around Sikes Lake this 4th of July morning. Which is the location of the cactus you see above, sprouting near the trail which surrounds the lake.

My totally traditional 4th of July vittles are ready for consumption.

That is 4th of July Chicken Chow Mein you see in the wok. 

Along with a rack of BBQed ribs. 

I have not heard any firecrackers cracking, so far, today. Last night I heard a few booms, along with some thunder that came with a surprise rainstorm.

Theo Kayaking With Harstine Island Orcas

Incoming 4th of July email from sister Michele and the Tacoma Trio, David, Theo and Ruby, at Harstine Island. The email included three instances of photo documentation. The explanatory text in the email...

On Saturday, we heard Orcas were headed toward Harstine. Theo convinced me to grab kayaks. We paddled out a ways and watched them across Pickering Passage. They were a bit south of us and all the way across toward the other shore. A few boats were close to them and then one came from the south way too fast and close and the whales, maybe 3 or 4, went under. We watched and waited for them to surface and then the biggest one did - right behind Theo and me!!! He saw it but I was too scared to move. It was so loud, and we got wet from the spray. I was shaking so bad thinking the others would also surface but none did. Later, another kayaker approached me on the beach and shared a photo he took off the video he had. He had his phone videoing the whole time, just waiting for them to come up. And a friend on shore shared the final pic, also from a video.

That would be Theo in the kayak in the top photo,

And the above would be the Orca surfacing a short distance from sister Michele and Theo.

The above is from the video shot from the Harstine Island shore.

I think it is rather rare for an Orca pod to be in the far south end of Puget Sound.

Though Orcas are also known as Killer Whales, there really are not any instances I have ever heard of where a killer whale manages to kill a human.

But, it is scary to find oneself in the midst of an Orca Pod. Such happened to me many years ago, whilst fishing with mom and dad near Cattle Point by San Juan Island. As we trolled for salmon suddenly Orcas appeared. At least a dozen, with a couple Orca calves.

The Orca pod surrounded us. Dad hit the brakes on the boat. The Orcas acted like they were checking us out. One got real close, maybe ten feet from the boat, looking like he was smiling at us. Mom reacted much like Michele, totally scared, with me and dad telling mom over and over again that they are harmless, they won't sink the boat.

I think of that Orca encounter every once in awhile. It happened decades before the norm became to always have a photo taking device on one's person. I do not remember ever taking an old-fashioned type camera along on one of the many fishing trips. I now wish I had.

If that Orca encounter with mom and dad happened now, I would be snapping multiple photos and video which likely would go viral once I put it on YouTube, with people finding mom amusing with her hysterical reaction to being surrounded by Orcas...