Monthly Archives: June 2013

Mr. Cramer, It’s that time again.

May 20th I spent the entire afternoon at the blood bank giving a platelet donation. Four weeks later they called, “we need AB+ at Children’s Hospital”.

Today I spent another three hours strapped down while my blood was drawn out of one arm and pumped back into the other. The worst part, my nose itched. You cannot move your hands or arms.

I know you remember all about platelet donation from my last blog on the subject, but here are a couple of reminders.

A single platelet donation can yield enough platelets for two or three therapeutic doses. By contrast, it takes four to six whole blood donations to produce a single therapeutic dose.

One platelet donation can be worth from 12 to 18 whole blood donations.”

Here is a link to the Red Cross – http://goo.gl/VQgV2

They have Netflix movies available. I wanted the longest movie possible. If you finish a movie in less than two hours, you lay there bored and itchy.

My choice was a double winner, Hemingway and Gellhorn is two and a half hours long. I had no down time. It is an incredible story about Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway. They were married from 1940 to 1945 when Gellhorn left to cover the Allied Landings in Normandy. Lacking press credentials she impersonated a stretcher bearer. She was one of the first correspondents to reach and report from the Dachau Concentration Camp.

I found Gellhorn the more interesting. Some say she was the best of 20th Century War Correspondents. She traveled with Hemingway to cover the Spanish Civil War.

Having read almost everything Hemingway wrote, I’m now anxious to read the works of this heroic woman who made such an impression on his life.

Today was the first and only time that I’ve enjoyed donating. Thank you Martha Gellhorn.

Gellhorn

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Liebster Award

I was more than a little surprised when I received a note that Lauren Sapala had nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. Having not a clue, I sent Lauren a note for clarification. Receiving her response was heartening. Maybe I might get this blog thing right after all.

Visit Lauren at http://writecity.wordpress.com/

Thanks Lauren. I’m going to follow your example in explaining what this is all about. I think the technical term is plagiarism.

liebster-award

The aim of this award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. There are no set rules for the award, but the guidelines are as follows:

Copy and paste an image of the award onto your blog.

Write a post on your blog to thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

Nominate some blogs for the award. There is no rule for the number of blogs you nominate, but the general recommendation is at least 5 blogs that are similarly up-and-coming with fewer than 200 followers.

Answer the questions from the person who nominated you in your post.

Ask at least 5 questions on your blog for those you nominated for the award to answer.

In addition to the questions and answers, list at least 5 random facts about yourself.

    My Answers to Lauren’s Questions

What movie did you see as a kid that had the most lasting influence on you and why?

Hondo – I’ve been lifetime fan of Louis L’Amour and the strong, honest, and usually humble heroes his work personifies. John Wayne’s portrayal of Hondo Lane was magnificent. For many years now, I’ve had a photograph of Hondo’s arrival, on foot, at the Lowe ranch tacked to the wall in my office.

Since you began blogging, what’s the most surprising or unexpected thing about the whole process for you?

How it’s been received. I didn’t expect to gain many followers, none really, but the number is growing. The most surprising thing is the friendliness of the comments.

Do you have anything you do on a daily or weekly basis that keeps you inspired?

If you mean inspired to write, yes I do. It may not be earthshaking but each week day I plug in three hours on my Outlook Calendar for writing. It keeps me focused on writing, editing, and reviewing my work.

What fictional character do you feel most closely resembles your real life personality?

As much as I would like to say Hondo Lane, I can’t. You might find that I most closely resemble Huckleberry Finn.

What’s the most helpful thing you’ve learned in the past year?

My children are adults and I’ve learned to accept that. It makes life easier.

What piece of criticism have you received that has helped you grow the most (in writing or in life)?

Writing – Cut out the adverbs and watch out for author intrusion.

Life – “Mr. Cramer you’re no better than anyone else so be humble.” Mrs. Bannister – 7th Grade Teacher – Conejo Elementary School, Thousand Oaks, California

If you could only take three books with you to a desert island, what would those three books be?

1. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
2. Anything by Bernard Cornwell
3. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

What advice do you have for someone who wants to achieve their dreams?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too old, too young, or that your dreams are beyond reach. Get off the couch and get started. Never forget the ancient phrase, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” Remembering this has helped me through many a tough time.

    5 Random Facts about Myself

1. I never learned how to whistle.
2. One year I went surfing or body surfing in the Pacific Ocean everyday but Christmas
3. I learned how to scuba dive at sixty-two
4. I love long distance rides on my 2001 Ultra-Classic Harley-Davidson
5. I don’t know how to swim

    My Questions for the Nominees

1. Who is your favorite author and why?
2. What has been the most difficult obstacle to your writing?
3. Do you have a regimen that you follow with your writing?
4. What do you consider the most significant event in your life?
5. Who was your most influential teacher?
6. What has been the happiest event in your writing endeavors?
7. What advice do you have for someone starting a blog?
8. What advice would give on becoming a writer?

    The Nominees

My Write Place – http://www.jkroyce.com

Time To Write Now – http://timetowritenow.com/

1 Dragon Writer – http://1dragonwriter.wordpress.com

Violet’s Vibes – http://violetsvibes.wordpress.com/

Fuzzy Red Socks – http://fuzzyredsocks.wordpress.com/

Sheila Bali’s Blog – http://sheilabali.com/wordpress/

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Rounding the Corner and Heading for Home

Rounding the corner and heading for home always brings a change in attitude. Much like the first day of a ride, you want to put on the miles. Our first day on this adventure we rode 440 miles, today I rode 432.

Jim and I agreed to ride about half way home and spend the night. Once we hit Redding, California, we knew we were headed home.

The weather was iffy leaving Crescent City but we decided against the heavy stuff.

P1030960

We made it about forty miles before we had to stop for bridge construction. It was warming up and it looked like it would be a long stop so I took off my jacket and stowed my sweatshirt. I took a couple of shots of Jim stretching before putting my jacket back on. The camera fell out of my jacket pocket, hit the ground, and broke. There is nothing visible but the viewer remains black. It will record an image but you have no idea what you are shooting.

We saw warning signs for Elk. Rounding a gentle curve, I saw a white van stopped in the roadway. Jim braked, and just before he stopped, the van moved away. Wondering what had caused the stop, I scanned both sides of US 101. Grazing in the front yard of a ranger station were at least a dozen Elk.

Later, coming into McKinleyville I saw at least forty Elk peacefully munching a farmer’s alfalfa crop.

The following picture of the California Coast line was taken blind.

Patricks Point
At Arcata, we turned east on California 299. 299 is a great ride and we have crossed it several times during Brown Water Runs.

I first crossed 299 more than fifty years ago. A freshman at Humboldt State College, I had relatives in Redding. So one Saturday morning I put out my thumb and away I went. Back then 299 was a true adventure, more like a corkscrew that a highway. I think the speed limit was 35 MPH. There were not a lot of warning signs. I got a ride on a loaded logging truck. It was an experience that I would not like to repeat.

About a month later, three fellow students and I decided to go to a dance at Chico State College. One of the guys had a cousin who was a student there. According to MapQuest it’s about 210 miles from Arcata to Chico. I know it was further back in 1962. It took us twelve hours each way. With the bald tires on my old Ford we slid across a few curves and off the road once or twice.

We slept on the floor at a Sorority house and had a ball at the dance. Chubby Checker was reigning supreme at the time. The only thing I remember clearly was doing the Twist.

Cal-Trans is still straightening out 299. We got stuck at a realignment project.

On 299

We passed a couple of cars on the right and pulled under a tree at the side of the road. The shade made it bearable. The picture was taken with my iPhone.

Once in Redding we fueled up and headed home. I-5 from Redding south can be best described as miserable and hot. I wasn’t disappointed.

Our next outing is only two weeks away. July 5th is the beginning of the 2013 Brown Water Run. We have over twenty riders confirmed.

Jim and I are already forecasting a ride for 2014. The plan is to ship the Harleys to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We’ll fly there and ride down the coast to New Orleans and ship the bikes home. The route is about 3,200 miles. But we never take the direct route. With Jim leading the way, we should cover at least 4,000 miles.

Key Largo

Jim has never been to Key West, Florida, and I am always up for a bit of scuba diving at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo. With any luck the Phantom will be well enough to join us, and maybe even a few other hardy souls.

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Rain and Remembrances

6.20 Todays Scenery

June 20, 2013

This gives one an idea of my view of the scenery for the best part of Wednesday and until noon Thursday. Actually, it was worse. Between my eyes and the windshield, the face guard on my helmet had an equal amount of water. Several times during the day it rained so hard I could not see the roadway. We rode for five hours before we broke out of the rain and into sunlight. It was miserable.

2013-06-20 10.47.15

Here we are at our first stop after leaving the rain behind. The person taking the photo is from Sydney, Australia. He, his wife, and four year old daughter, are riding bicycles from Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco, California. His wife has a solo bicycle. He and his daughter share a tandem bike. The child’s is equipped with pedals; she can pedal if she wants. If one is curious, the distance is 950 miles.

2013-06-20 10.45.03

These sea lions were on a rock below us. Less than a mile south are the Sea Lion Caves. The caves are located 11 miles north of Florence, Oregon. If you happen to be in the area, I recommend that you stop. It is quite a treat.

The URL http://www.sealioncaves.com/ will give you a glimpse.

A stop at Gold Beach was a must for Jim. While on the Brown Water Run in 2003 I had an accident and was medevac’d not far from Gold Beach to a hospital in Medford, Oregon.

1 Medevac

After I was carried away, my fellow riders continued on to Gold Beach for a meal. Doug Foss, retired San Francisco P.D. Motors, offered a memorial to George Cramer. I hate mayonnaise and my buddies have tried over the years to slip me a taste or two. The group went to the Port Hole Café. Doug arranged to have a small bowl of mayonnaise brought to the table with a lighted candle “in case George doesn’t make it.”

2 Memorial Mayo

Jim wanted to relive the experience at the Port Hole Café. We had a good meal and then rode south to Crescent City, California.

4 Chopper

July 12, 2003, not a fond memory.

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Chance of Rain – Beware of Old Wives’ Tales

Red sky at night; sailors delight,
Red sky in the morning; sailors warning

Last night produced a beautiful red filled sunset. This morning the sky was grey so we couldn’t see the color. The various weather reports reported “possibility of rain.”

It was chilly so we wore sweatshirts and jackets. Twenty miles down the road it began to rain. Not heavy, but steady. We started looking for a sheltered place to change into our foul weather gear. The rain lightened up to a drizzle and we made it to the next town where we stopped to warm up and get coffee.

1 Changing to rain gear

We changed under an overhang at a historical site.

2 - Lewis and Clark Park above Astoria

This was in the Lewis and Clark National Forest on US 101 about twenty miles north of Astoria, Oregon.

3 Crossing from WA to OR

We were still enjoying the rain when we crossed the Columbia River on the Astoria-Megler Bridge from Washington into Astoria, Oregon. The bridge is unique in two areas. First, it is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. The four mile plus bridge was the last segment of US 101. Once completed, it connected Los Angeles, California with Olympia, Washington in August 1966.

4 Astoria Bridge

The rain followed us all day. As usual it abated when we stopped for the evening.

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US 101 Runs North to South – Not Always

1 101 West
June 18, 2013

US 101 runs from Tumwater, Washington to the East Los Angeles Interchange, the world’s busiest. The stretch that loops the Olympic Peninsula has West and East across the top of the peninsula. Over the years, I ridden or driven over the almost 2,500 miles of US 101.

A route that Jim and I’ve covered from beginning to end is Washington 20. It begins in Newport at the Idaho border and ends on the Olympic Peninsula. You’ve seen some wonderful photographs taken along WA 20.

We began the day’s journey at Oak Harbor, Washington. After a nippy ride to the Port Townsend-Keystone Ferry and a short wait, we were the first motor vehicles to board the ferry.

2 On the Ferry Waiting

The last time we rode one of the Washington State Ferries, our Harleys were strapped to the side of the cargo area. We expected the same, but were pleasantly surprised when we pulled to the front (or rear) of the vessel. We parked the bikes on the kick stands. It was a smooth ride across to Port Townsend.

We stopped in Port Angeles for lunch and to change into our foul weather gear. It rained off and on until late afternoon.

3 Scenery

This was taken at a wide spot in the road. It stopped raining long enough for me to get the shot.

4 Sunset

We enjoyed a sunset that lasted more than twenty minutes.

Old Adage:

Red sky at night; sailors delight,
Red sky in the morning; sailors warning

In Matthew XVI: 2-3, Jesus said, “When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.”

Old adages and biblical quotes don’t always foretell reality. We had plenty of rain the next day.

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High Kill Zone – D.E.E.R.

June 17, 2013, we began the day at Newport, just inside Washington, across a river from Idaho. Washington State Highway 20 begins there. We came this way so we could ride through the Northern Cascades west bound. We came through east last year.

2013-06-17 07.16.47

We didn’t want to get out the foul weather gear. Even though we got rained on a half dozen times before lunch, we stayed in light gear.

Up at 5:30 a.m. and on the road by 7:00 a.m. gave us our earliest start of the trip. We didn’t make it ten minutes before we had a light rain. Another ten minutes found us at the Cross Roads Café having hot coffee. Checking our iPhones didn’t give us much information about the weather. One of the locals told us that we would have rain until Wednesday. Yah, right what did he know? He was right.

2013-06-17 08.46.03

This was typical of the scenery we were forced to endure throughout the day.

Are you curious about the High Kill Zone? Before we got too many miles outside of Newport, I saw a sign that identified the area as having an extremely high number of deer killed annually. They had a sign listing the number killed in 2012 and the year to date number. I was going a little fast to read the numbers.

We saw a number of D.E.E.R. on Monday, but only two are noteworthy. The first was a large doe that had an encounter with an eighteen wheeler. The truck was parked at the side of the road with the hood up. We couldn’t tell if the rig was damaged or if the driver was removing deer parts.

Later in the day, during another light rain, we encountered a tight curve. One of those where the 30 MPH warning sign means, thirty. As we reached the apex, the pavement was wet and slippery, we espied Ms. D.E.E.R. standing at the side of the roadway munching on grass. The doe looked at us but didn’t move. We were lucky. If we had been forced to take evasive action, the chance of kissing the pavement would have been great.

The Northern Cascades were as beautiful west bound as east. There was plenty of snow still covering the ground.

What I had forgotten were the curves. I call this marching. When marching one counts cadence, left, right, left right. These curves follow one side of a river canyon. One leans left, and before finishing the curve, leans right into the next curve. Back and forth, for anywhere from a quarter mile, to miles. Coming down Washington 20 we experienced at least a dozen of these sections. Once again, it only gets better.

Once we were clear of the snow, the temperature rose rapidly.

Coming down out of the mountains, we stopped for fuel. Jim wanted to call it a day. We had covered 332 miles. Both of us were hot and tired. He said, “Let’s go back to the Buffalo Inn.”

I said, “Works for me.

We back tracked only to find that the motel had gone out of business.

Back in the saddle, we rode another one-hundred miles before stopping for the night at the Auld Holland Inn, Oak Harbor. The town is on Whidbey Island.

We spent 11½ hours on the road and were exhausted.

Dinner at Flyers and in bed by 8:30 p.m. While waiting to be seated an elderly couple struck up a conversation. Jim and I may be bad bikers, but everywhere we stop, someone starts up a conversation, more often than not women. They always want to know where we have been and where we are headed. “Where are you riding?”

Jim has the best answer. “Our wives gave us two weeks probation. We just ride, turn, and stop whenever we want.”

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