Monthly Archives: February 2020

Passion & Warfare.

Van Halen may have been Hot For Teacher first, but Little Stevie Vai did it better. This was always a favorite – both the song and the video – and I’m glad it finally showed up on the YT.


That Steve Vai, what a nice little boy.

This weekend, chores. Spring cleaning. Something. Trees to prune, scrap lumber to gather (from the steps project), and tinkering. Had to get the old tractor running so I can get rid of it (I bought a new tractor last summer; and had to take the mounting brackets for the bulldozer blade off the old one to put on the new one, and just finally got around to that). Cleaned out the garage a little, straightened up the barn, blah blah. It’s always something, and now I have a big pile of brush in my firepit to burn. Need to get some marshmallows.


But Sunday, a little leisure time. A visit to Blowing Wind Falls on the Ritchie Hollow Trail (Movescount data) – I haven’t been here in forever, and I wanted to get the Jeep and its new shoes in the woods; that, and I’m scouting places to camp as soon as Mother Nature settles down. Anyway, something new at the falls – scaled the bluff face adjacent to the falls to explore a cave (yeah, I know, shut up). Somewhat dangerous, but you know me. The view was worth it, at least.

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The Jeep did well in the mud and dirt and whatnot, but I really didn’t push it much. The front tow hooks and the skid plates I ordered should be here in the next week or so; once I get those, then I can see what the Buggy can really do in the woods. Still, just driving around in the forest is nice, even if it’s on the less-than-challenging roads.

Additionally, I had to discharge my responsibilities and put up a new flag at the cemetery. I installed a 30′ pole there years ago, so I periodically have to replace the flag. It’s pretty deep in the woods, but right on the main trail, so people do see it. Next, I need to replace the pole itself – it’s starting to show its age.

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Following the hike to Blowing Wind Falls, a required stop at Snooper’s Rock, and the work at the cemetery, a side hike to the Indian Rock House on the Cumberland Trail. It’s an easy hike; only about 1.5 miles round trip. This place has a little significance to me – when I first started hiking, this was one of my go-to spots to train. It’s not extremely difficult, although the last little bit through the “fat man squeeze” is somewhat challenging (and surprisingly, I fit). Because I was doing different things, I decided to scale the bluff to get back to the top, versus just going up the steps. No major screw ups (obviously).

Following that, the last stop was at Middle Creek. The last time I was here was kinda a train wreck, so it was nice to come back and enjoy the triple waterfall and other features. My intention is to boulder all the way to the top of the mountain, and after the limited bouldering I did here to get to the falls, it’s clear I need more leg days at the gym. Bouldering to the top is going to be incredibly dangerous, and if I’m going to attempt it, I need to do it soon, before Mother Nature unleashes the rattlesnakes and copperheads. Fingers crossed.

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So, I guess all things being equal, not a terrible weekend. But I’m ready for warmer weather. I need some motorcycle time, as well as some kayaking time. Soon. I’ve got my eye on you, Mother Nature.

Yesterday Was a Good Day.

A very good day, in fact. Today – Saturday – not so much. But I’ll power through it like I always do. Like I’m always forced to. And do you know what helps?

Journey. Journey helps. One of the few bands I’ve never seen (ditto Pretenders), and all it took was a tiny prod to give Ticketmaster and the boys (and Chrissie) 300 of my American dollars. So, assuming I don’t step in front of a bus before August, there’s that. That’s so far away, I can’t even think about it right now. Nonetheless, as it is written in the Albums, Departure 1:1 – Any way you want it, that’s the way you need it. Devotional meditation: Do I love to move? Do I love to groove? Do I love the lovin’ things?

What I can think about is my deck project. So, after driving around all night (again, which is a story of its own – let’s just say I’ve seen some sh*t; and over the past 9 months or so, I’ve logged a stunning amount of time just driving around aimlessly in the Wee Small Hours), I finally made it to the hardware store to get the lumber to finish up the steps. I’ve been wanting to get on this for weeks, but life kinda gets in the way of projects sometimes. But, now, done. Well, mostly done, anyway – I need enough lumber for a couple more steps and the banister. I’ll probably pick that up tomorrow, after a road trip, or Monday, after my home-away-from home time. (Monday addendum: except for a little sanding, the steps are done. So, would-be burglars, murderers, stalkers, whatever, you’re welcome for the much easier access – but be sure and smile for the camera.)

Steps are challenging. Lots of math and geometry, and very little margin for error. But I did it, without a single screw-up, nor a drop of blood spilled. Now, after, that’s another story – inexplicably, I got a really bad nosebleed. No idea why. Probably stress. Maybe it’s a tumor. Anyway, if I can build steps on less than an hour sleep, image the projects I could accomplish if I was well rested? I had debated hiring someone to do this, but why pay someone to do something I can do (probably better)? You just wind up with a shady contractor that does a half-assed job and it becomes a hassle. Do it right, do it yourself. Like me. Use your whole ass.

Now I just need to get my mighty pressure washer out and clean the deck. It’s always something, right? Right. Speaking of, I’ve ordered new sinks and faucets for my bathroom. No one sees it but me, but I still want it to be nice. Can’t stand a sloppy bathroom (or a sloppy house in general – I’m somewhat fastidious about my cleaning). I mean, come on. One thing I’ll never be accused of is being a slob.

Of course, I will pay my guy to work on the Jeep. Not because I can’t do it, but because I don’t have a car lift, and if you’re going to tear the suspension apart, a car lift helps move things along. Oh, right – I tore the suspension on the Jeep apart. Intentionally. I think I mentioned a while back that I ordered a lift kit and wheel spacers – well, all that finally came in, and because if a project is worth doing, it’s worth over-doing, so I went ahead and bought big new tires to go with it. In a word, it’s awesome. It looks so much better, and I’m sure will perform better off-road. Between the lift, wheel spacers, new tires, and the recently-added winch, I believe I’m ready to take my adventuring to the next level. Of course, it’s never done – next on the list is skid plates, and I’m having some custom tow hooks made for the front. Basically, to put the skid plates on, you have to take the whole front end off, and if I’m going to do that anyway, I might as well add the tow hooks, because that also requires dismantling the front. Gonna get them in yellow, to match the caliper covers. I’ve taken the back apart to install the tow package; the front should be basically the same. Being handy is awesome. And if you’re wondering, the inside of the Jeep is pretty spotless, as well. I’ll make someone a good wife someday.


I have also continued to add to my Ring camera network. I’m completely sold on it. I now have cameras covering all sides of the yard, the dog area, the barn, the Jeep and a few other spots I’m not going to divulge. Plus, of course, the Jeep itself is always recording – and I do mean always – it sees (and hears) everything, and I have a whole folder just full of…stuff. So, if you’re thinking about murdering me to death – or anything else – you better lure me away from the house, the Jeep and the motorbikes (I would suggest tasty, tasty donuts as bait). And keep in mind that I have Liam Neeson on speed-dial, and he has a very particular set of skills.

It’s that time of year again. My sweet Blackjack turned 8 years old. I can’t wrap my head around that. His birthday coincides with The Great Unpleasantness, so that means it’s been 8 years since that fiasco, as well. Yeah, there’s always some fiasco with me – but I’m working on it. I made it through the holiday season (officially, now), and I haven’t really celebrated a single holiday in a year – not Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. Not even flippin’ Arbor Day. Because reasons. Oh, I wanted to, but like every year, it just didn’t happen. All that’s left is that thing of which we do not speak in April – although, truth be told, I’m trying to look forward to it this year. Probably spend it on the Dragon. Now that the Jeep is all souped up, I’ll have to get new photos up there – and, of course, gotta get the bike up there. Sorry, kinda wandered off-topic. So, BJ turned 8, and he had cake, as always. He’s doing really well – he had some hip issues last year, but the daily Cosequin really seems to be helping. Great advice from my vet. I don’t understand people who have pets and never take them for basic veterinary care. Pets are a responsibility; not just something to dump off when it conflicts with your social schedule or are too self-centered to provide basic health needs. Grr. Some people just don’t have a heart. Or a soul. More specifically, some people just suuuuuuck.

And good news for the puppers, there was snow. Unexpected, of course. At least we got one snowfall for the pups to play in. And the Jeep (but that was prior to the mods) and the BMW. I’ll take it. It was the best kind of snow; a lot in the morning, and gone by the end of the day.

Of course, now that the Jeep is all souped up, it’ll probably never snow again. But at least I got out on the bike. That’s something.

There’s been a little adventure, as well. Not much, but a little. I went back to Falling Water Falls, which is always awesome, and then returned to Signal Point/Rainbow Lake and Edwards Point. These are some of my favorite places. The hiking is amazing, the scenery is spectacular, and wrapping up at River Drifters is always a bonus (OK, not Hot Chocolatier bonus, but a bonus all the same). However, tomorrow, there will be adventure. Much needed adventure. Watch this space.

Now, I need to go wash all my hoodies. Because of course I do.

Links:
Falling Water/Rainbow Lake/Edwards Point Photo Album on Facebook