Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Food Drive

My church maintains a food bank all year, but a special food drive was held for November. It ended today so I drove 1014 pounds of food to the Bremerton Food Bank.

Jim and Dave after loading the truck.
The full load of food in the back of my truck.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

First Snowstorm Of The Season

The snow is going away, the roads are clearing off, the winds have abated and the power is back on. I guess I have survived the first snow storm of the season.

A lot of people laugh at us pacific northwest residents. We usually don't have much snow and people from other parts of the country arrive here thinking that our weather is nothing compared to what they are used to.

This storm did not deposit much snow, but other factors made it difficult for some. It all started on Sunday afternoon with a light dusting. No big deal, the deck was just barely coated. By Monday morning, there was 1/2 to 1 inch of snow on the ground. I drove down to the boat and when I arrived home, I left the truck on top of the driveway. Later that day, the snow started again and the temperature started dropping. Also, the wind started blowing quite hard out of the north. The news report were coming in that people around Puget Sound that were trying to get home were stuck in traffic and spending many hours on their commute. At 1715, the power went out at my house accompanied by the sounds of transformers blowing. Ironically, the houses just to the west and south of me did not lose their power. The many houses to the east of me lost their power.

I started the gas fireplace and located battery powered lights and radio. I had just started cooking dinner and since I have natural gas for cooking, it was no big deal. Same with hot water. It was actually quite comfortable through the night. But, I missed my computer, TV, microwave and I could not break the habit of trying to turn on lights when I entered a room. My main worry was the food in the refrigerator. I started moving food into the garage where it was colder than the refrigerator anyway. In 1990 when we had a similar storm and I was out of power for several days, the kitchen got so cold that I opened the refrigerator door and everything stayed colder than with it closed. In fact everything froze in the kitchen. That house had a fireplace in the living room. I closed it off with blankets to the kitchen and hall and that was where I lived until the power came back on.

By Tuesday morning, the temperature was down to 18 degrees. The news was reporting as many as 60,000 homes out of power in Kitsap County. The wind was still blowing hard and most of the meager snowfall was blown elsewhere. I drove down to the boat. The roads were really slick. With the snow blown away, the surface was mostly bare ice. There was a tree over the road and I had to backtrack a few miles. I checked on the boat and doubled up the mooring lines(something I should have done the day before) and then drove to Costco. Waaga Way was a mess when the road started up hill toward Ridgetop. Abandoned cars, trucks and even a school bus blocked off the shoulder and one lane. I later heard that some of the vehicles were stranded on Tuesday morning. I completed my errand at Costco and then went to McDonald's to get some breakfast for my parents who were also without power. McD's was a zoo. A lot of people without power had the same idea that I did.

My parents are dependent on electricity, so they have a harder time than I do. There water source is also a well, so no power, no water. At least they installed a gas fireplace after a brutal winter a few years ago.

I went home and then for a walk through Illahee Park to the waterfront and back. Even though it was cold and windy, the sun was out and it was really quite pleasant. I noticed the power crews working on the downed cables.

My power came on almost exactly 24 hours after it went out. My parents finally got their power back mid-day Wednesday. Things are fast returning to normal for some of us. Wednesday evening, the report is that 13000 are still without power, but should be restored by midnight. A lot of people had damage from the trees that were blown down. One friend in my church lost his home from a tree fall. The weather for Thanksgiving Day is suppose to moderate with rain coming for the weekend.

So now we will move on from this event and be surprised when it happens all over again!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where Were You........?

This time of the year the question comes up about where were you on Nov 22, 1963. That was the day that President John Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas, Texas.

I remember that day very well. I was at Chico Elementry school in 5 th grade. My teacher, Mr. Hopkins came into class and his words will always live with me. He said "I am going to tell you something and don't let anyone tell you differently, the President has been shot". Then later he came in and told us that the President was dead. The little boys joked about getting the shooter and a couple girls cried. We were allowed into the library where a TV was set up and news was being shown. I think we were sent home that afternoon..

The next several days our family was glued to the television during the subsequent murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and then the funeral. I remember my dad telling my sister and I to pay attention because someday we may be asked about it.

So, where were you this day in 1963?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fowl Weather Race-A Race For Turkeys

Saturday, I took the boat to Port Orchard for the annual Fowl Weather race. This is suppose to be a three race regatta and the prize is, well, a Turkey. I started this race for our club over 20 years ago. Around my family the joke is not to thaw out a turkey until we know the results of this race.

I was underway at 0730. The forecast was for 10-15 knots of wind from the north. It was also suppose to be cold and possibly some rain or SNOW!

I met the rest of the crew in Port Orchard. The first race was listed as the "F" course. This is about 5 Nm in length and goes around three permanent marks and one club buoy. I got a late start and trailed Dulcinea(J105) and Tantrum II(Schock 35). Things became strange when Tantrum II did not head for the first mark and sailed toward the second mark off Pt Herron. Then Dulcinea did not round the proper first mark(a radar target off Retsil) and rounded a different radar target a quarter of a mile north. We rounded the proper mark and caught Dulcinea and Tantrum II after rounding the mark off Pt Heron. We led the way to the finish. Since Dulcinea and Tantrum II did not complete the course, they were awarded DNF's (did not finish). Dulcinea does not sail in the Port Orchard area much, so was not sure which mark to use, even though the chart in the sailing instruction showed the proper one. Tantrum II was using last years sailing instruction. Should always check for the current sailing instruction!

The second race was a short beat followed by a long reach/run to the buoy near Gorst. The wind came up some and before the start, we changed to the Heavy No. 1 genoa. The race was a parade and we finished second behind Dulcinea.

For the third race, the committee became more aggressive with the course and set it as two laps of the "F" course. With a two hour time limit, we wondered if the smaller boats could finish in time. The winds were still in the 15 knot range, but puffy and shifty in direction. Near the Pt Heron mark, the wind got light and we got a good lead on the other boats, but after setting the spinnaker, we got caught in a dead area and Dulcinea sailed past us. On the last reach, the wind was off the beam and was gusting to 18 knots. We kept under control and hit a highest speed of 9.25 knots and maintained speeds greater than 8.5 knots for most of the run. Once again, Dulcinea finished first. Because of the scoring system used, Dulcinea was penalized heavily in the first race. We won overall by 2 points and took home the turkey.

It was a great day for racing. The sun was out all day and the wind was good, even though the direction and speed was variable. Thanks to the crew of Jim, Ron, Bionic Walter and Pete for the great crew work.

The trip home to Brownsville was epic. The wind built to 30 knots off Illahee and the waves were large. The boat pounded heavily and slowed way down. It was dark and started getting cold. I put on all my foul weather gear and even put on the goggles to keep the spray out of my eyes. I got to the marina at about 1700 and took two tries and some help from someone on the dock to get safely moored.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2011 Pacific Marine Expo

I went back to the BIG city of Seattle today. The Pacific Marine Expo is at the Qwest Event Center for four days and I wanted to see what was new. The expo is a show for the commercial marine industry. The expo is primarily geared toward the workboat/commercial fishing fleets and is a show of electronics, engines, auxiliary equipment and services. I enjoy staying in touch with the latest info in the maritime industry.

I caught the 0845 ferry, walked to the center, registered and hit the main floor. There was lots to look at and I had some good discussions with some of the equipment vendors. Some of the booths had give away items and I loaded up!

After 1-1/2 hours, I saw all that I wanted to see and headed to the ferry with a stop at Ivars for a lunch of fish and chips. I caught the 1235 ferry home.
Famous Ivar's Fish Bar!
And the delicious fish and chips! I ate in the covered outside eating area where I could watch the action in Elliot Bay.

Friday, November 12, 2010

2011 Seattle Auto Show

Today was a good day to make a journey to the BIG CITY, Seattle. The auto show was in town and like last year, I thought it would be fun to see what was new. The day was sunny and warm and the ferry ride to Seattle pleasant.

Like before, the Qwest Field exhibition hall floor was covered in shiny new vehicles. Some cars on rotating pedestals were being described by "beautiful people" even though nobody was listening. The display areas were carpeted in plush light colored carpet, so when I wanted to look under a car, it was nicer than in a garage on a concrete floor. Lots of eye candy with a lot of it in the category of "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it"!

I looked at a lot of cars and a couple of things became apparent:

1. The manufacturers are getting a lot of power out of their engines.

2. Fuel economy for SUV's, trucks and larger cars is still not very good.

Fuel mileage of a lot of the SUV's is no better(and many times worse) than my 1984 Bronco. And the Bronco never got good mileage nor did it have a lot of power.

There was more electric cars and hybrids this year. I do think an electric car would be good for around town driving.
I was still drawn to the performance cars. The Mustang GT500 was awesome as was the Dodge Challenger R/T. The Audi TT was still cool. I was even impressed with the Cadillac CTS-V that was offered with a 6 speed manual transmission. With 556 HP, it is the fastest V8 production sedan in the world.

I only spent about 1-1/2 hours and caught the 3 PM ferry home. I did not go to Ivars, but picked up a muffin and mocha in the ferry terminal. I will be going back to Seattle for the Pacific Marine Expo next week and will have lunch at Ivars then.


Cool Mercedes with the gull wing doors!

This is more my style! I really liked this Ford F150 SVT! Of course the GT500, Supercharged Mustang with the 6 speed manual tranny would be nice too.... Or maybe the Dodge Challenger R/T Hemi.....

At $340,000 it definitely fits in the category of "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it"!

Same with this car! Very expensive!
The floor covered with highly polished cars. From soccer mom vans to high end sports cars! There was even a small section for motorcycles from Downtown Harley and RMC(Renton Motorsports Complex).

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant-Goodbye Ms. Granada

Tonight, I finally sold the remains of Ms. Granada. I posted an add on Craigslist a week ago. The response was amazing. Several of the responders were in the business of buying hulks for scrap. This guy called me in the evening and after negotiating a price, he was at my house within an hour. Better than the guy that was going to call me last night and was suppose to be here today and then didn't show. I did not get much for the remains, but am happy that it did not cost me to get rid of her.

Ms Granada provided the essential parts needed to finish the Bronco transplant project and her hulk will provide more parts for someone else and ultimately scrap steel to be recycled into industry.

Ms. Granada loaded and ready to leave.
Away she goes!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mom and Dad's 60th Anniversary

Thursday was the 60th anniversary of my parents wedding. To celebrate, I drove them to Leavenworth, Washington. My sister and brother in law came up from Wenatchee and we had a great dinner at a Italian restaurant in town. Like most restaurants in Leavenworth, this restaurant offered an eclectic menu. Italian/Bavarian/Seafood dishes were served.

My parents and I spent an extra day in Leavenworth at the Bavarian Lodge that is located downtown. On Friday we drove into the country toward Plain and Lake Wenatchee. Plain is where their cabin was and we drove by it to see what changes the new owners had made. Later we went out to another Italian/Bavarian/Seafood/American restaurant and had another great meal.

The town was really pretty quiet with few people on the streets. It was easy to find places to eat with only a few customers. For those that don't know much about Leavenworth: It was a common small central Washington community that was supported by the apple industry. It had several cold storage and apple packing plants. As the business changed, some business leaders pushed for changing the theme of the town to represent a Bavarian village. The stores and buildings are all decorated in German motif. And the town is at the foot of the Cascade Mountains and could easily resemble a village in the Alps. Winter sports are big with cross country skiing being popular. An old ski jump area has also been reactivated. The changes to the town were successful and the main business is now tourism with many tourists driving over for events like Oktoberfest, tree lighting, etc.
Sister, Brother in Law, Father and Mother.
I really enjoyed the Eggplant Parmesan!

Downtown Leavenworth. Not many tourists.

Downtown Leavenworth again.