Black Friday Boogie

Sometimes even a pulp mill can be beautiful. On the ferry to Vancouver at the Duke Point Terminal. There were sea lions and seals in the water and gulls in the air as the day’s first scheduled floatplane to Vancouver clattered over.
Entrance Island. An iconic navigation point in the Strait Of Georgia
The ferry slowed for this pod of Orcas. There were about a dozen. They were busy feeding, probably on a run of salmon.
Canada ho! I love to joke about going over to Canada. At times living on Vancouver Island leaves me feeling like an alien; especially after a day in the bustle of the City of Vancouver.

Black Friday originally described a stock market event in the US in 1869 then re-emerged in 1966 as a marketing concept. Its ugly name has evolved to now officially mark the beginning of our annual frantic Christmas consumer orgy although there has, of course, already been some vigorous Christmas advertising through the past couple of months. The notation of Christian celebration of birth and renewal at the time of winter solstice, of family, peace, joy and love have been herded to the back of the bus. So it is within each of us to find something positive in this cold, dark, damp time of year. I only wish some other colour had been chosen to mark the beginning of what used to be the season of joy and celebration. There must have been a sale on surplus black after Halloween. And, Happy Thanksgiving to our American neighbours. There was a time when we Canadians celebrated this day at the same time. Yes look it up, it’s true. I remember Thanksgiving’s deep snow and cold and as a child, dreading the two more horrific turkey dinners of Christmas and New Years which lurked ahead. Folks would load your plate then force-feed it all into you. I can still taste those watery lumpy mashed turnips, parsnips, yams. Next came the heavy puddings, sauces and cakes. Bleah! It was agony.

Fluff in the wind…you know that song. I do not know the name of this vine but I love its winter flowers.
A pee mail station. Jack updates his file every time. It is a sawn-off pole. How many summer’s heat drew the creosote up?

The vehicle I followed out of the ferry terminal had something written on the back bumper. Of course I had to move up too close to read it. “All Out Sewage Pumping.” Of course I recalled others I have seen on sewage pumping trucks, otherwise known as “Honey Wagons.” “Back Off Or I’ll Flush.” “A Royal Flush Beats A Full House” and “Satisfaction Guaranteed Or Double Your Sewage Back.” Well look, yeah it might be a crappy way to start a blog but it’s humour and this gruff old sailor insists on grabbing all he can. I’ve even thought up a couple of hilariously rude seweriffic logos myself which will stay right in the bowel, (I meant bowl) where they belong. I would not want to offend P.L.O.P.S. (Professional League Of Plumbing and Sanitation workers.) Tonight’s news carried a bizarre story about some dude in Toronto who’s been dashing around dumping buckets of raw sewage on people. I could see the news-readers bursting to drop cracks about a shitty attitude. Dung ho! We have now plungered into yet another BLACK FRIDAY season and I, at least, need all the mirth I can find. Grrrrr to the notion that the amount you spend is a gauge of your affection for others.

Poo bears only!
Sailors are scrounges by nature. i descended on this abandoned RV like a seagull, hoping to find useful bits for my trailer. It was filled with nasty wet, mouldy blankets. I was warned that they were filled with discarded needles. Not nice!

Yesterday a friend dropped off an item I had left behind at a mutual friends house. I met him on that road from the ferry terminal and had no trouble recognizing his vehicle. It was a tiny three-wheeled electric car and a delight to see. A practical, affordable working electric vehicle. Developed in Canada it is a short-range vehicle, built for one person, has two trunks and enough range (160km) to get through the day. It is priced lower than many motorcycles and will be available with two seats in future. This is a product for folks who truly think green and want to travel warm and dry. A green vehicle should not have to be a statement about your wealth. Check out www.smallev.com It looks like a left-over from a Star Wars movie set and from what I saw, the vehicle accelerates like a fighter jet. It certainly looks like fun. Apparently there are over 20,000 orders before full-scale production begins. “May the force be with them.”

The SOLO
It’s a real car

Just back from our morning walk, Jack and I are warming up with a bowel of warm oaty gluten. You know, the stuff that drew the human race out of the woods, porridge and beer. Now it’s bad for us! A rising Norwesterly howled down the creek where we went and we came home dead chilly. Bugga! I just don’t have the juices I used to. There was a time when I never wore gloves, even when it was -40º. Mind you they were usually coated in grease. Now these old arthritic bunches of bananas whimper in my pockets. I used to feel this burning cold only in my feet at the end of the day, but now a viral pain sits on my shoulders and whispers in my tingling ears “South you old fool, south!” I’m working on it. So I walked along while improvising lines of poetry like:

They called her November Dawn

And it didn’t take long

To see why she’d gained her handle.

Her glare was dark and icy

The light in her eyes slow to kindle

As a cold rain began to fall horizontal

…… next line please.

Ah c’mon! Look mate, just trying to make it through the day! It’s tough living with a fertile mind. The thing about messing with words is that you have to keep juggling ideas until something lights up and then write it down then!

Rotten to the core.
Cedar and palm. Incongruous to find the two growing together, even odder is that the windmill palm is in flower.
Cedar and lichen. A few blocks apart, up the hill in the forest, clearly a different climate. That’s Ladysmith, where you’re always over the hill!
I photographed these this morning. It snowed later today.
Windows 13. I am always drawn to old workshops. They are cathedrals of the blue collar folk. This is an old rail shed on the waterfront in Ladysmith.

Next morning, the sunlight is gone, it has warmed up, there’s a chance of snow. Off we go again, just another day living the dream, hatching schemes and bad poetry out on the old sniff ‘n piss trail. We went out again this afternoon. It began to dump a load of wet greasy snow that pelted down for a half hour. When the clouds lifted a bit I could see half-way up the mountain above town. It was beautiful, up there. Well enough talk of winter and dark days. Here’s something from the streets of New Orleans to warm your heart. It is not at all Christmasy but it certainly cheered this gruff old sailor’s heart. This YouTube link to a Tuba Skinny video brings me the old message “Dance like no-one is watching” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJP3fhan75o .

I hope it makes you smile. Now off you go! Do the Black Friday Boogie. You can leave your gumboots on!

Dos Pesos! Jack stepped on it. To my amazement I saw it laying in the wet gravel beneath the pelting snow. I’ll take it as a good omen.
Out of my head! My goggles came off with my ear muffs while working on some sound bites.

One picture is worth 1,000 denials.” Ronald Reagan

Bliss!

But this is California! The backroad to the coast twisted and wound up and down through magnificent forest and valleys. The snow I could handle, the poor road maintenance and endless potholes had me shouting. Yes! Swear words.

There is a mystery in this old van. Every once in a while I misplace something and joke about “Oldtimers” setting in. Well now, I have something going on that is downright weird. There is slide-out crockery locker in my little galley. In it, with the plates and bowels, I have stored three saucers. Occasionally, I absentmindedly put them in an adjacent drawer. Now they’ve disappeared. I cannot find them in the van, anywhere. Three saucers are no big deal, but where in the hell did I put them? Lurching and winding over the twisting California mountain passes could possibly have shifted them. But they are gone. Gone! Hopefully, I’ll be able to report where I found therm. They must be in the van somewhere…unless! Call a priest! California, by the way has some of the worst roads I’ve travelled, both here and in southern regions. Patches on patched patches, sloughing grades, 10 mph hairpin turns and, nobody’s fault, …more snow!

Would the bad dream ever end?
Finally, down into the redwoods, out of the snow.
Always wonderful, even in the dripping wet of winter. I found another backroad and headed for the open coast. I have always wanted to see Cape Mendocino. It’s well off the beaten route, but a darkly famous spot for mariners.
Aw, c’mon! One more high pass, one more bit of snow. Down the hill is a hawk hovering in the wind.
Then things turned green again.
The California Shoe Tree, a sure sign of nearing the coast.
It blooms in mid-winter.
And thar she be Billy! A new kind of white stuff!
Cape Mendocino! Mariners give it a wide berth. Fifty to a Hundred miles out, the seas  are still notoriously nasty.
I decided to name this one ‘Battleship Rock’
Whassamatta…never seen a heifer before? I was stunned to find some of the most beautiful cattle ranchland I have  ever seen. Imagine having a North Pacific beach for a fence line.
Boris The Beach Boss. He did not need horns to enforce his status. He looked like he’d really enjoy having me come over the fence to his side. “You can be the ball!”
Who’s your daddy?
What a place. I’d like to go back in summer. Take the road to Honeydew and follow the coast. Go slow, it’s no freeway.
The wild game seemed less wary than the livestock. This doe had two yearling fawns with her. She’s in great shape.
How’s that for a home on the range?
Here’s the neighbouring spread on the north side of the cape. It is a long way to the corner store.

I am writing this at my little table in the van looking out the windows and watching the surf roll in and collide with the breakwater approximate 600 feet away. There is spume in the air and a steady thunder of breaking seas. It is a terrifying sound to the mariner in his boat but I am on the beach, safe, warm, dry. The wind and rain are horrific. I love it. I’m going to stay in the same spot for a while. A week ago I was looking for my night’s spot in that frozen gravel pit near Williams, Arizona. Next time, no more marathons. I’ll amble south until I am where I want to be and I’ll stay there, for days and days, maybe weeks. I’ll also have an RV far more suitable for back roads. I know now what I need. I’ve learned a lot this trip. When not at sea I want to be in the desert.

There were more redwoods. A former logger, i now find it incredible to look at such a forest and see only board feet.
The trouble with looking up all the time is that you miss some very wonderful things at your feet.
When a redwood falls in the forest… how long before it becomes earth again? I knew that these old-growth Sequias could support no large fauna, there’s just no feed for them. Right?
Oh yeah!
Oh yeah?
At first I thought this was an elk farm but then I saw that the huge herd of elk cows was between a fence and a river. They were instantly aware of me and magically disappeared below the bank.
The boys were just around the corner. These really are wild Roosevelt Elk bulls. They’re free to go and do as they please. Don’t go trying to feed them apples.Those magnificent antlers are designed for them to try and kill each other. Survival of the fittest, fatest, horniest!
Aw shucks!

At the moment, the pelting rain and wind are outside. I’m in an oasis of warmth, with a spectacular view. On the stove are three massive chicken legs slowly sizzling with an aroma of Pollo Sazonado, 3.32 pounds for $3.29! I splurged and also bought a pre-packaged Caesar salad. Be still my gypsy heart! This is bliss.

I arrived ai Gold Beach Oregon and hove-to for two days. The wind and rain and hail were horrific. I was snug inside with my frying chicken. This is the view over the fence behind my van. The booming surf is somehow comforting.
Pretty in Pink.
“Dear mom, I’ve bought a bigger motorhome. It needs a little work, but nobody will steal it and I’ll be able to find it in any WalMart parking lot.” The owner, my neighbour in Gold Beach drove, incongruously, a huge shining silver Lincoln.
On the wall above the urinal, a little poetry to muse on. There were other framed efforts including campground rules and completed jigsaw puzzles.
Highway 101, which follows the coast from Tijuana, Mexico, to Lund in British Columbia was built when esthetics mattered. This lovely old bridge spans the Rogue River at Gold Beach. The weather looks no better inland.

A day later, I’m in the same place in my van. The weather does not break. Every time I try to go for a walk an even heavier blast arrives. I’ve been working on getting caught up with my blogs, but the internet here is behaving strangely and I cannot get photos to download correctly. I decided to finally get my bike out and oil it up for when the weather improves.. I haven’t ridden it during the entire trip. Way back on Oak Creek I found a place to pull over and get some good photos. I decided to back the van up to leave as much room as possible. During that manouver a family in a little car wheeled in behind me. I did not see her in my mirrors. Yep, bang! We were worried about damage to her car which was fine, and she drove off. It turns out that I’d rammed her trailer hitch with my buckboard. It was bent up and today I discovered the front wheel on the bike was too wonky to be used. More swear words. I’ve been inside this little van for days and certainly most of the past twenty-four hours. I’ve had no significant exercise for days. I am frustrated. I could have stayed home in the boat, warm and snug in this weather and at least have some room to stretch out a bit. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!

I did not walk far. Every time I ventured out, another horizontal blast of hail arrived.
Between the incredible views and the blasting wind, it was hard to stay on the road.
Cape Blanco LIght. A beautiful place, the quintessential setting for a novel. I was happy to not be blown off the cliffs, the wind was at least 40 knots. I almost lost my new video camera…and the driver’s door on the van!
Wonder what the weather in the desert is like today.
Even the sheep were hove-to
A little colour on a dull day.
Back to old haunts.
Out of ballast, this old girl appears ready for the breaker’s yard. With all those scars on her face, I’m sure she has many a wonderful story.
The dreams never die.
Leaving Coos Bay, I had to  speeed up and grab this shot. The messages left me in wonder. Vape Junkies/ Order Online/ Drugs Are Garbage/ We Deliver.
The Bar is Closed.
Same old, same old.The rivermouth at Florence Oregon.
I’ll gitcha!
Gotcha! It is amazing to me how these tiny birds can be so tenacious in even the heaviest of weather. “Eat like a bird!”
Life can be a lonely flight.

I’ve only made it to Florence, about 100 miles up the coast, but I’ve finally been able to shoot some footage of an Oregon Coast winter storm. I did not get blown off the cliff but all my old winter aches and pains are back. I’m almost home. As Canadians say, “No doubt about it!” In the morning there is a strange blue patch overhead. A brillant light beams down out of it. I think I’ll go check it out.

A storm always ends, enjoy it while it lasts!” …meself