Monday, February 16, 2015
I did not come seeking the beach but stumbled into it by accident. Even as a child my heart rate quickened when I came upon the sea, topping that last rise and confronting the ocean, extending to touch the sky, then arching endlessly into a chartless and unknowable oblivion. ‘Neath it lie mysteries; the rusted hulls of battleships, pods of harried beluga whale, sunken Spanish Galleons, undersea cities, and the dispersed and digested remains of Amelia Earhart, Blackbeard and Osama Bin Laden.
I’m on a little spit of land jutting out from the "Forgotten Coast." It’s damn cold, 28 degrees last night and a high of 51 today, so I won’t be body surfing, sunbathing naked or parasailing.
Not that I ever intended to.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Sputnik has resumed her rightful place as the undisputed Queen of the Florida State Park system. She looks out over her realm with the quiet confidence of a benevolent ruler, lording over squirrels, common campground mongrels and endangered woodpeckers. The panthers and gators genuflect as they pass by. An awe-inspiring picture of aristocratic nobility. The locals tell me of a large and increasing black bear population in this area. I’ll never see them. Bears tremble in fear at the sound of Sputnik’s name.
My primary southern headquarters is an obscure little outpost located in the pine flatwoods of the vast Apalachicola National Forest. I find the pine flatwoods aesthetically pleasing due to their unique quality of being both open and wooded. The lack of thick canopy allows a pleasant view and the tall columns of Longleaf Pines add a sense of dimension, while low growing wiregrass and palmettos flourish underneath. The old adage, “you can’t see the forest for the trees” doesn’t apply here.
I finally found a grocery store within twenty-five miles. North Florida ain’t Miami, and that’s why I like it. The parking lot is filled with lifted pickups and ATV’s. Tank tops and camouflage are in fashion and the children respect their elders while they stab each other with scissors. The checkout clerk has a distant, half-witted look on her face, wipes her nose on her sleeve constantly and communicates with a series of simple, monosyllabic grunts. But they have semi-fresh bread products and kick-ass Cajun sausage.
Monday, February 2, 2015
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Sputnik knows long before I do that a journey is imminent with that unearthly canine intuition we mere mortals can never comprehend. Days before our departure she’d leap into the truck’s open door and stubbornly refuse to exit. She must be coerced and cajoled with veiled threats of violence and promises of dog biscuits and cheddar cheese. Hooked up and loaded the Gypsy Pod and was ready for takeoff Saturday morning. The weather was moderate, unlike the poor conditions during last year’s southern migration.
Trailing the Pod on my tiny pickup and traveling at interstate speed is similar to towing an obstinate, tethered parachute like the one used to stop the space shuttle during landing. Doesn’t do well up hills or into a headwind. Maybe a truck cap would help streamline its overall aerodynamic properties, but right now ten mpg is as good as I can get.
The landscape in Kentucky was frosted with a fresh coat of benign snow, but the roads were fine, and we made our way to a cold little campground of I-65 just north of Nashville. They placed me in the back row with the rear of the camper about one-hundred feet from the interstate. I fell asleep to the sound of the nightime highway, which is among the loneliest sounds on earth, and also a favorite of mine.
The siren song of the highway is the sound of restless movement, commerce and flight. Bleary-eyed, high-ballin’ truckers with doctored logbooks trying to avoid the twenty second nap that will end their run, or worse. Desperate families, their meager possessions piled high in the back seat of ancient Chevys, hoping the next town will bring them employment. Undocumented migrants and drug runners crowded into mini-vans and non-descript Buicks flying under the radar and hoping their secrets go unjudged before they make their destination.
After a decent night’s sleep I batten down the hatches, pull up the landing gear and power up the on-ramp as I join the others on Amërïkä’s endless, infrastructural, asphalt bloodstream as I move ever Southward.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Been slacking on the blog of late and gripped in another Midwest winter. The hibernating bikes are crowded into the shop so my tired, old diesel skid loader can benefit from the heated motorcycle garage if called upon, with just a short blast of ether, to perform snow removal duty.
The chopper project sits shrouded in rags and ninety-five percent complete waiting on funding and motivation.
This winter has been rather pleasant compared to last, with many days above freezing but Sputnik and I have been planning a mobile hovel run south nevertheless.
Monday, October 20, 2014
When the weather turns foul a young man's fancy turns to tinkering, so work finally resumed on the justanotherevosporty project. I mounted the poorly painted fender and tanks and cut down some shotgun pipes in preparation for some exhaust tips which are on the way.
Felt good to get back in the shop. This thing may actually come off the lift sometime soon.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
The Dollar General Store, (not to be confused with General Dollar, The Dollar Store, Dollar Tree or Family Dollar) is at the very epicenter of commerce in Jerkwater, USA. The product line ranges from food and over-the-counter medicines to clothing and furniture. With its plethora of substandard merchandise and sidewalk bargains no self-respecting hillbilly need visit Kroeger, Walgreens or The Gap.
Step inside and you're hit with the smell of poverty, EBT cards and artificial cleanliness. I once purchased a can of “Fish Steaks” for fifty cents. It was horrible, and the fact that the type of “fish” isn’t labeled makes one suspect. I have to wonder how they can catch, can and ship a product from the ocean, (I assume) all the way to Jerkwater for fifty cents when a bottle of freakin’ water is a buck and a half.
Then, I figured it out. I'm eating bait.
Could be worse though……
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
After repeated duck egg theft I endeavored to put an end to the robbery. The ducks themselves were picked off one by one, and the sole survivor had been mangled fairly severely, but recovered. I had lost a few chickens as well, and suspecting ‘coons I set the live catch trap and baited it with cheap Dollar Store cat food. After several nights with no luck I had all but given up when I caught a red fox. Foxes are usually hard to trap, particularly in a live catch, but this was a spring born pup and he paid the price for his inexperience.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Pictured are two nearly identical Teflon pans. The one on the right is about twelve years old, on the left, a brand new one. One might ask regarding the pan on the right, where did all the Teflon go? Sadly, the answer becomes quite clear when simple physics and basic logic are applied. There's only one place it could be. All that Teflon was ingested by me over the course of years, subtly seasoning my fried eggs, and sausage with its deadly contaminant.
Fragments of this insidious material are lodged within my body, doing incremental damage to internal organs every day. Or possibly, a legion of tiny, synthetic fluoropolymer (had to Google that) particles wait in the deep recesses of the digestive tract preparing to enter my bloodstream, and mount a full frontal assault on my central nervous system.
Maybe it already has, which might explain the tremors, drooling and some other things.
Oh Teflon, with your flowery promises of non-stick cooking and easy clean-up, you are a wicked deceiver!
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Always had an affinity for hogs, both two-wheeled and four-legged. When I was a young, too poor to afford the two-wheeled variety, man raising a family on a meager income I always raised and butchered a few hogs for the freezer.