Monday, June 21, 2010

Linky Love

My newest favorite mode of burning daylight: Letters of Note. Memorable correspondence from politicians (everything from George Washington's letter to his nephew discussing the new Constitution to Ronald Reagan's love letter to Nancy), astronauts, sci-fi writers, and other folks from all walks of life. An eclectic, interesting and entertaining collection that is presently consuming my entire lunch hour.

Unfortunately, I'm expected to WORK while I'm at work (imagine that!), or it would be taking up my entire afternoon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Not so Random Cannon Sightings

These two beauties are from Stonington CT and are two of the three cannons used in the battle of 1812 to repulse Sir Thomas Hardy and four of Her Majesties finest ships over the course of four days. Not a single life was lost on land in Stonington while the British suffered quite a wuppin by those darn American upstarts. They are currently undergoing restoration at one of the labs here at Texas A&M University. I had to make a trip out to one of the remote hangers to check out some equipment and I had to pass the restoration facility on the way. As I was going past, I spotted one sitting out and had to stop and snap some pictures. Also got a bit of a history lesson in the process as I asked where they were from. The smaller cannon in the background is from the City of Mexia Texas just up the road a bit. The University is doing restoration work on their cannon as well.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Home at Last

Well, we are here. There are pictures to share and all that but we are done for today.

Left the hotel at 0426 local (Mountain) and arrived home at 1926 local (Central).

As we were on the way down the south side of Raton Pass, misbeHavens cell rang, it was her folks informing us what good timing we have. They were at 28 degrees and had 2 inches of snow on the ground and it was still falling! We just beat it out and came home to 96 degrees.

Sleep now, posts later. There are lots of pictures to organize and post. Wildlife, flowers, mountains, snow, whatnot.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


It's late, we spent 14+ hours on the road, 1-1/2 of it trying to get the hell through Denver.
More this weekend after we get home and start to unpack. Chimera let us know it has been continuing to rain at home. Checked the weather station when we got hooked up here, over 10" this week!!!! We may have to swim the last leg of our trip.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


One thing we saw that was and is not so good is the utter devastation caused by the Pine Bark Beetle. This is the mountainside across the valley from the folks place. As the FIL explains it, the reason their trees are still mostly green is they are young. The beetles attack the trees and the younger trees are able to produce enough sap to push the beetles back out before they do much damage. They had a fire run up their side of the mountain. Kinda ironic that the fire wiped out their side of the mountain and now the new growth from it is what is surviving the infestation.

We are here

The first morning we awoke to this sunrise. Quite the sight. Unfortunately, the clouds were a sign of things to come. We've had a number of rain showers to the point where we could not get out and make a hike up the mountain. We did get a few shots of the wildlife. There was plenty of the smaller critters running around and pretty much every day there is something coming around the house.

There are others that show up as well. Like this little Mulie Buck. He came back two days so far. Both morning and afternoon.


So, on up into MT from UT. There were lots of granite clouds out and about this morning. Still beautiful scenery. Lots to see along the way. The extreme conditions along the way lead to some unusual phenomenon. Like square clouds. We also ran into a shipment of wind turbine blades. Being a geek and working in a wind tunnel and occasionally testing wind turbine designs, this was a cool thing to see.

There was plenty of snow on the ground in the mountains. Just for HSOI! We didn't get any snow where we are staying so no joy there but it has been cold and raining occasionally. More posts later.

We ran across a Bald Eagle along the way. Well, we didn't actually run into it but we saw it. I tried to snap a picture of it while we sped by. Way too cool to see. Wish I had had my long lens on the camera to get a closer picture of this one.

Finally we arrive at and or near our destination. As we were driving up the mountain, we scared up a couple Bull Elks! The In Laws informed us we just missed a herd of 9 Bull Elk the previous morning in the yard of the house. I'm just waiting for a repeat of this so I can get some pictures.

Up Periscope

Drove down off the mountain and one town south to visit with the brother in law and family. THEY HAVE WIRELESS!
Posts incoming.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Breakfast and Going Dark

So, we wander over to the hotels restaurant this morning for breakfast and in looking over the menu I decided on the 2-2-2 (eggs,bacon,french toast) misbeHaven wanted less so I suggested the 1-2-3 (pancake, eggs, bacon). Yeah Right!That's a pancake right there it is!

And HSOI, sorry bud, weather for the week, lows in the low 40's and highs in the mid 50's. And that's in town, not up on the mountain! Chance for precip so up where we'll be there is a chance for snow! I'll save some for you and bring it back in a ziplock baggy if we get any.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

GunGeek Nirvana

So, I gave you hints yesterday about how monstrous today would be.

Well, Today started off in Clifton CO and we headed north out of there up HWY 139 and then across HWY 40 to Vernal UT. This is a spectacular drive if you are not a type A+ personality in a hurry. Fortunately, we were not in a hurry and misbeHaven made me check my A+ at the door before vacation started. The drive through the mountains had all sorts of 15MPH switchbacks and views that were just breathtaking. Once we got to Vernal, we were there in search of Ogres! We found one at Basin Sports. If you ever need anything sports related, shooting, archery, hunting, camping whatever, and you are in Utah, You need to go see the folks there. They know of what they speak. The main reason for us to go there was to meet up with George Hill, Better known on the interwebs as MadOgre. We went out to lunch for,,, wait for it,,, Mexican Food. Yeah, like were gonna find good TexMex in the middle of Utah. Well, it really was pretty good. Have to say we were surprised. As for visiting with George, YARP, that would be TXGunGeek and MadOgre behind a Barret .50. How cool of a store has 1800 or so guns in stock including not just one .50cal!!!! There is another on the rack behind us farther down. They got your tactical coach guns and all sorts of cool goodies. Good thing I didn't have an extra credit card in my pocket! Just not a wide enough lens to capture the awesomeness that is Basin Sports. And they have the Ogre and a really well balanced staff that can pretty much answer any question you might have.

For those of you gunnies that don't have a geek card, the T-Shirt, you can get them from Tripp Research, is 1911 in binary and John Moses Browning, the greatest gun designer to ever live. And if the name Tripp Research means anything to you, think the T in STI makers of the most awesomenest 1911 style pistol ever. My limited gun and practice .22 gun are both built on STI frames but my open .38super (GUNRACER) is built on a Tripp Research frame from before STI was STI.

BUT WAIT, there's more!

So, from Vernal, we headed west to Ogden UT for our hotel for the night. Once we finally got there we checked in and I asked for a ground floor room with parking lot access. It's easier to unload and load guns form the truck to the room if they are close. Well, the only ground floor king rooms were on the back of the hotel and faced the Rail Road tracks. The woman at the counter then asked us to hold on a minute, there may be a way. Since I am Platinum with this chain from my previous life of a roadwhore in the semiconductor industry, they upgraded us to a suite. This is such a cool room, including our own hot tub, separate kitchenette and dining area, living room and bedroom.

BUT WAIT, there's even more!!!

So, once we got checked in, I made a phone call to see about dinner plans. Se, the greater SLC area happens to also be home to the one and only Monster Hunter International, Larry Correia. We drove down to meet up with Larry and his family and have dinner and visit. What an wonderful guy and family. We also got him to autograph our copy of the self published version of MHI. He said to stash that one away as they are going for some pretty ridiculous sums on EBay.

So, now we are back at the hotel and getting settled in for the night. For tomorrow, WE GO DARK. We'll be up in the mountains of Montana with no internet access, news, phone, electricity, etc. When we make it down off the mountain for supplies in town, we may be able to hit a hotspot and check in or post a few pictures of that. Otherwise, it will have to wait till we get home as the drive home is planned in a mad dash.

Memorial Day

So this one is a little late. I needed to dig for pictures. This would be the Dad unit receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions behind enemy lines in Korea, this would be the first. He retired with an Oak Leaf Cluster on his DFC as well as the Air Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters and a list of other citations including the Air Force Commendation Medal .

Someplace back on the computer at the house I have a scan of the front page of Stars and Stripes with his picture and the accompanying article describing the first "Kill" by an unarmed aircraft. He and his observer spotted an NKA convoy and when they tried to call it in their radio was not working. So, they decided to find out what phosphorus marking rockets did to a fuel truck and proceeded to make low passes and fire off smoke marker rockets at the truck until it exploded.

He joined the Air Force and earned his Military pilots rating flying Stearman Byplanes and retired hauling nukes in B-52's. Despite surviving daily flights at extremely low altitude behind enemy lines in Korea, he was no match for cancer. His last words to me were, "I've had enough." when we left the ICU room at the insistence of the nursing staff, they called a code to his room. He had had enough and was through fighting.

It is a shame that it wasn't until very late in his life that we finally started to connect. I have to say we were closer in the last couple years of his life than we had ever been before. It pains me to realize I wasted all the years we could have had together had I been a bit more open to the relationship.