Rope-a-Dope

In Montana not many of the homes have central air conditioning. Rarely would anyone need it. It has been especially hot the last few weeks so improvisation is the key to remaining cool. My house has a crawl space with a little door in a room we have always called the office. I don’t know why we call it the office. It has never had a desk, or even an office chair, that I can remember. Most of the time it is just a passage to put decorations in or out of the crawl space as the holidays change through the year.

The crawl space is a good source of cool air. I have a small fan I sometimes leave propping the little door open which cools the lower level of the house quite nicely. The other levels reap some benefit from this as well.

My friend Carl travels for work sometimes, which is common in the construction trades. He has been sleeping in Scott’s room. I still call it Scott’s room even though my son now lives in Kauai. Carl settled in, hit the rack.

As I was about to dose off I heard Carl making a clunk clunk noise. I thought he was restless, not being in his own bed. A few minutes went by and I had heard the noise several times. Clunk clunk clunk. Sometimes twice, sometimes three or maybe just once. Nothing steady to it, I may have gone to sleep if it was rhythmic. I turned a few times and tried to divert my attention. Sometimes at night I listen to some Chinese traditional music to relax. That did the trick. Then at three thirty six, clunk, softly, just barely audible. What is Carl doing down there?

In the morning I heard Carl leave for work. I soon got up and took my shower. As I was getting dressed I heard clunk clunk. I descended the stairs and found this fitness jump rope swinging lightly in the breeze on the office door.

I apologized to Carl about the rope clunking all night. “No” he said, ” Never heard a thing. What are you talking about?”

Nevermore, clunk clunk, nevermore.

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One Owner 57 Bonneville

Cars are often advertised as one owner. It brings visions of a pampered vehicle looking like it just rolled out of the dealer lot. If the car is from the 1950’s most likely the truth is the original owner’s estate left it to the guy who sold it to the dealer, who sold it to the guy, that bought it on a speculation, when the economy was flying high, and he just sees it as another investment that went bad.

This is not one of those cars and it is not likely to be for sale any time soon. The man wiping the rain from it and driving it is the man who, as a young husband, purchased this ’57 Bonneville Convertible for his bride. Man and car appear to have plenty of traveling ahead.

2012 Helena Horsepower Roundup Photos

Sunrise – Hauser Lake

An early morning walk on the road leading to Hauser Dam starts the day.

I saw more deer than people along the way.

I am not much of a fisherman, can’t even catch them on camera. They were jumping.

Walk over. No down to the business of the day I have dreaded. You can’t put a value on life, but when you split with a spouse you must put a value on the things in your life. It is going to be a long day. Can I just take another walk?

Additional Pictures

What Time Is It?

I am a marathoner. That means I like to run, and/or, walk 26.2 miles. While I do this someone, whom I have paid money to, provides me with water, snacks, toilets, and encouragement. All the while they keep track of the time it takes me to cover twenty-six miles, three hundred eighty-five yards.

Being a marathoner requires obsessive behavior. Preparing yourself, mind and body, takes an inordinate amount of dedication.  Obsessing about the time it takes to cover this distance stops your conscious mind from realizing, this torture would have gotten a murder conviction overturned for cruel and unusual punishment. This time obsession is so common organizers feel compelled to offer badges of honor predicting finish times. Runners multiply predicted pace by 26.2 miles and pin these on shirts to show the spectators how well they know their bodies.

The Nashville Country Music Marathon starts a bit later in the day than most. I recognized an opportunity to practice another pastime of mine, sarcasm.  The world record is just over two hours. Four and a half hours is a good goal for a first timer with a training plan. Many walkers and slow joggers take between six and seven hours, my category. I pinned on a 3:30 badge and strutted to the start line.

Nashville is a scenic race through the old mansion district. I had a great run and felt good throughout. I asked the nuns at the convent to pray for me climbing the hill, not revealing my Mormon upbringing. At about mile eight I passed one of the Kenyan runners. I went by like he was standing still. Poor little bugger was standing still, on the curb with a broken ankle. The course follows a path along the river. After a walk in the park, around a lake it ends up at the football stadium.

John Bingham is a tireless spokesman for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team in Training. He is also a race announcer. I approached the finish line, in just under seven hours elapsed time.

He asked “What happened to 3:30?”

I responded, “What time is it?”

John said, “uhh, it’s about 3:12 PM.”

My simple reply was “I’m early.”

In the parking lot one of John’s coworkers told me John laughed so hard he nearly fell off the announcer’s stand. I’m pretty sure that young man had been sent to verify my ignorance.

The Elk Tracker

Carl and I have hunted together since before we both shaved every day.
I shave every day. Carl, here and there. Nearly 29 years of military service hath wrought habits I will not likely shake.

When he asked if I wanted to go along on a preseason scouting trip to this elk hunting grounds I couldn’t have been happier. This is not a hunt, more a shakedown run for new gear. Break in new boots by walking a few miles. The new backpack fits alright with stops for adjustment of buckles and straps. Shooting is limited to my camera. Carl tolerates my blog related hobby.

I understand his eccentricities and he understands mine. Our friendship  has seen more ups and downs in our lives than the hills we walk. We’ve had vehicles, marriages, children, and jobs. All open for discussion without judgement or pretense.

Does he know why I always get my elk the last day of the season? We just don’t need to put that into words.

Worldwide Community of Independent Thinkers

I had heard the term blog and even read a few news stories about average people with a passion turning it into an internet phenomenon. I signed up with WordPress and went on line with a few posts. As other bloggers liked my posts and I looked at theirs it occurred to me there are common themes.

Independent thought is the main prerequisite. Each blogger has a unique perspective on the world. Blogs are about what they see, do or think.

Passion for improving the world is the next criteria. Observe, create, travel, cure, teach, inform, describe, discuss, collaborate, connect. Just like life, agreement is not universal on what is improvement. Putting ones thoughts, pictures, or art online may make the world better.

Thank you bloggers for welcoming me to the world wide community of independent thinkers. I will contribute as I can about my passions: Car shows, people, Montana, hiking, marathons, LLS cancer fundraising, and my life experiences.

Gran Torino – Thanks Mr Eastwood

Gran Torino at blast from the past car show 2012. Bill took the photo. Scott admiring the laser stripe.

Ford Motor Company built the Gran Torino at the end of the muscle car era. Ralph Nader, insurance companies and environmental regulations were changing the automotive industry. Gone were the ground pounding, high compression, two-four barrel carburetor, big blocks of the sixties. The 1972-1976 model years had the looks of the factory hot rods, but not the performance. They were fast for their day,but smog equipped meant less power. The classic car market for these cars had always been weak.

Clint Eastwood appeals to “the guy” in every man. His character is misunderstood by everyone but the movie audience. He communicates poorly with friends and family. Bad guys shake at the sight of him. Now Clint Eastwood makes a movie titled Gran Torino. He owns a Gran Torino in the movie. As I watched the movie I thought the value of those cars is going up right now. Thank you Mr. Eastwood.

Pictured is a 1972 Gran Torino at the Blast From the Past car show in Helena, Montana. The value of the car has increased considerably according to the owner. A benefit I had not anticipated was parts availability. Any restoration relies on the availability of model specific pieces. The Gran Torino Sport had an optional laser stripe on the side with a fading color scheme that is very hard to recreate in a paint shop. The desirable option had been out of production for years. Since the movie Gran Torino, the demand is high enough for graphics companies to reproduce the laser stripe. Cars that may not have been restored to their full glory are back thanks to the power of the media. I love America.

The Coolest RV on the Road Today

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The coolest RV in the worldI met Bob Skelding on my way to Crow Creek in the Elkhorn mountains. Check his blog: wagonteamster.com

This rig is completely self contained, near self sufficient. It has solar power with deep cycle batteries for the electrical. It has shower, coffee pot, refrigerator and toilet. The main wagon is living quarters. The second wagon carries supplies. He has capacity for a 2 day water supply, 7 day food supply.

The horses free graze, as he calls it. The grass is always greener in the barrow pit. Because of runoff from the black top they get more water than the surrounding fields. The highway crews spray for weeds and mow. It is a perfect scenario for this setup.

Bob called the horses the horses by name. Their ears perked up. He said “make tracks” and away they went.

As I returned from my day in the mountains I saw him camped along side Highway 12. Bob explained he doesn’t need a campground. Quite frankly they are not set up for him. He is just too independent for the confines of what most people consider the most laid back way to travel.

Missouri River Corridor

The beauty of Big Sky Country is easy to experience. Travel from Wolf Creek to Hardy, Montana. I traversed this section of Montana daily for several years. Take it in at your own pace. In a hurry, take Interstate 15. Got a little time, take the recreation road. Got all day, float the Missouri in a raft, canoe, or McKenzie River boat. If you are a photographer take the gravel road from I-15 Exit 228 to Craig for vistas of the river most people never see. Over the years I have seen, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, black bear, elk, bald eagles, pelicans, hawks, osprey, even a mountain lion from the seat of the car.  As I drive the recreation road and see people fishing I think “Man I love to drive.”