Thursday, June 08, 2006
Overall it was a great day. I want to go back and discover the underground city. Enjoy the pictures.
Dan pulled a few strings and was able to get us on the Coast Guard base on Pier 36. Actually, they probably would let anyone walk around, but they were pretty friendly after Dan told them that he was part of the brotherhood. We spent about 2 hours checking out the different boats on the base. The guys went above the call of duty to make us feel welcome.
Dan posed in front of a 41-footer, the boat that he spent most of his time on in during his stint in Miami. He also posed at the wheel of a smaller twin-engine boat used around the Puget Sound area. He was in his element. I'm just thrilled to find out he hasn't been spinning tall tales. In fact, he knew some details about the boats that some of the crew members didn't even know. Unless...wait a second. Maybe he was making it up.
The guys from the Polar Star gave me a CD full of pictures from their last trip. As you can tell they visit some frigid regions. To give you perspective as to the size of the Polar Star check out the guy standing in front of the ship (3rd pic down). The crew was very accomodating and friendly. I wish them the best.
For more pictures of the ship, visit: http://www.uscgpacificarea.com/go/doctype/833/8551/
For more info about the Polar Star, visit: http://siempre.arcus.org/4DACTION/wi_alias_fsDrawPage/1/76
The Market Street Festival was going on last Saturday in Seattle, so we enjoyed some great food, music, and street performers on Pike Street. One group that I really enjoyed was Soul Kata, a group that plays a style of music that is hard define. It's part jazz, part classical, part rock, just some great grooves (check out their site: www.soulkata.com). Their main singer is a girl whose voice transcends musical genres. She could sing anything. Their bassist was also incredible!
They were encouraging people to get up and dance in an open area in front of the stage. The woman (pictured above) appeared out of nowhere and began cavorting around, busting out some interesting dance moves (if that's what you call it). I laughed so hard I was crying. I desperately tried to get Dan out in the middle with Granny, but he wouldn't do it. It would have been classic blog material. The thing that really made it great was that she was definitely attracted to Dan. She kept coyly waving at him, pursing her lips. I think Dan was kind of scared of her. He avoided eye contact at all cost.
These music groups along the street around Pike's Market have about 15-20 minute time slots in each location. The group that followed was hilarious. They were wannabe Nirvana clones (which is actually a great name for a rock group). The band was made up of two guys who obviously missed class when they were discussing hygiene. They also missed the day they gave guitar lessons. And singing lessons. OK, they were awful. But, they were so bad, it was enjoyable. Figure that one out.
OK, so the pictures from Memorial Day are a little late. Who's keeping record, anyway? We went over to the Mullins' house and a great time. I was supposed to be watching Kassady (notice I used the word "supposed", referring to the undeserved faith Lori puts in my child-watching abilities) while I was eating out on the deck. I tried to look up every minute or so to see what she was doing. All of a sudden I noticed that she was climbing a 7'-8' ladder leading up to a slide by herself. By the time I reached her she was almost to the top, grinning and holding on with one hand. Scared me to death! Kassady doesn't need to have other kids around to have a good time. She spent the day climbing up the ladder, sliding down the slide, and swinging mostly by her lonesome.
Notice her swinging technique, legs folded up inside the swing.
Trey had fun cruising around the property on the dirtbike and on the 4-wheeler. He spent his time playing with all of the girls at the party. Trey doesn't realize how good he has it around here. Most of the kids his age are girls, and someday that will make him really happy. For now, he just bemoans the fact that they want to place dress-up instead of GI Joes.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
Recently, we have been giving Royce a hard time about his driving. Dan purchased a Garmin GPS system for the bus about 3 months ago. The GPS unit, affectionately called the "Garminator" keeps us going in the right direction (most of the time) and helps us keep track of time. It also keeps statistics such as average, slowest, and fastest speed.
Now, Royce has a love/hate relationship with the Garminator. He loves to hate it. It features a woman's voice telling him when to turn and where to go. That doesn't sit well with Big Daddy. He likes making the calls. He has, on occasion, made a wrong turn and has suffered the humiliation of the woman's voice telling him that it is recalculating as a result of his mistake. These deep feelings of animosity are in sharp contrast to Dan's embracing of the GPS. According to Dan, the Garminator makes no mistakes.
On our trip to Fresno, CA Royce drove through the night. Dan woke up complaining of the rough ride. So, Dan went to the Garminator to see how fast Royce had been driving. The GPS readout said that Royce had reached a maximum speed of 104.7 mph. Well, that's all the rest of us had to hear. We razzed him the entire trip. In fact, we were talking the guys from Legacy V about our trip out, so Scott Fowler publicly made a big deal of it with Royce. Royce kept on insisting that there was no way that he was going that fast, but we wouldn't hear of it.
While talking to Legacy V, they mentioned that they had saved $15,000 a year by keeping their speed at 65 mph and below. So, we decided to track our mileage, drop the speed, and see what difference it would make. It has already made a huge difference in mileage.
Well, on a trip up to Moscow, ID on a Sunday afternoon, Royce was behind the wheel again. Doran and Dan were sleeping in the back and I was working on my laptop. All of a sudden Royce yelled out, "Keith, you gotta get up here! And bring a camera." Royce isn't usually that excitable so I rummaged around for my camera and made my way to the front of the bus. Royce pointed at the Garminator and said,"See if you can top that." The picture tells the story.
Royce was, of course, vindicated and now the tables have turned. Now, it's Dan who's on the defensive trying to explain why the GPS made the calculation that it did.
Life on the road. We create drama.
Dan offered his insightful advice concerning alternator installation to the mechanic (who was actually doing the work). This is a common sight around the Liberty bus. Think Tom Sawyer painting the fence.
Actually, Dan does the heavy work, making sure we stay on the road. On this weekend's trip we had AC thanks to Dan and Myrl (our erstwhile bus driver). We replaced our alternator and rebuilt part of the generator. That was an expensive trip to Kansas.
Dan was in his element checking out this combine. Larry Froese,who helped us repair the alternator for the A/C unit, also builds giant machines for farms in Kansas and Texas. They go for about $250,000 each. Pretty impressive. Fortunately, Dan didn't get beyond the garage.