Monday, July 28, 2014


DRIVING BY--I RECOGNIZED HIM IMMEDIATELY---He is none other than the world's most perfect man.

Will show you a better shot of him later.

Meantime, I'm also stunned to see a famous warrior riding in the grass.

And  cows idling the afternoon away atop a boat.

All this-- outside an ordinary looking house in the countryside near Cheney, Washington.

With some difficulty I turned around and made my way there---parked in a side yard.

A beautiful dragon greeted me.

And a lion--so I took a selfie--two Leo's smiling

Near a gargoyle

And my favorite---a gleaming bull

Does not intimidate Miss America

Visited  a room full  of icons and denizens

And another room full.
Thus far, I've not met a soul---only a sign saying feel free to walk around.
A large ape atop that shed.
You can imagine the questions I have by now.

Suddenly many of them are answered--this is a rural fine arts gallery.

With a quirky flair

Are you curious what one of these would cost?

Here's the price tag on the glossy bull

And if you didn't recognize the world famous man--it's Michelangelo's David.  You can have him for about $2,000.  And the world famous warrior is El Cid (I think)
Eventually I met the owner and learned that these statues are made of aluminum--in China.  Bronze has become very expensive.  for more info google Way out West Antiques--Spokane

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Many of my richest experiences occur when I respond to my curiosity.

Friday, July 25, 2014

SHORT STORIES --Part 5 --Road Adventures

Daybreak at the mountain pass that separates Idaho and Montana.  We parked undisturbed at a ski resort parking lot.
My companion leads us to an emu ranch where a nice lady gave us a tour. Here is a male and female.  The male makes a most unusual sound--with the depth of a kettle drum. When the fad of raising emus for profit first started a few years ago, a breeding pair sold for $45,000.  One year later the price was $25,000.  The next year $11.000.  The next year $1.000.  The next year they were given away free.

Apparently, it is a troublesome and even dangerous hobby.
The lady explained that raising Ostriches would be even more dangerous.  They sometimes kill.
She sells eggs---this one is equivalent to a dozen chicken eggs.

My companion considered--then rejected the egg---opting instead for 2 pounds of emu meat and a $40 bottle of emu oil.  (very refined and powerful stuff)

We rested for 2 days in this vacant lot of a small town.  Lying on the ground was a part that I had been desperately needing for my truck---wow what serendipity.

Into Missoula, Montana, which straddles the Clark Fork --a very serious river--as you will see.
Its thrust is enough to create surf-worthy  waves.

See those striations on that mountain? They were made about 10,000 years ago when an ice age glacier damned up this river creating a lake whose level kept on rising--up ,up, up---filling up giant lake Missoula--whose volume was greater than lake Erie and lake Huron combined.  Altogether it contained 500 CUBIC MILES of water.  AND THEN----AND THEN-- ONE DAY THE ICE DAM BROKE and 500 cubic miles of water rushed across southeast Washington in the greatest flood earth has ever seen.
I'm on my way to see what this surge of water did to the land.  (Will show you later)

See this bike/pedestrian path?  Missoula has them everywhere---on both sides of the river.  Bikes are everywhere--it is a college town.

Locks attached to the bridge fencing.  An imported European fad.  Each lock has initials on it symbolizing that someone loves someone, 

Here's something I bet you've never seen.  A vending machine for bicycle parts.  Sure enough you can buy a chain, an innertube, cables, gears--whatever  out of that machine.  And you can install them on that post apparatus--from which dangle the tools you might need.  On the side of the vending machine is an air pressure hose.   Neat! 
And guess what else---a lovely carousel.  I love them.  Persuaded my companion to give it a whirl also.

And then it got hot---sooo we drove into the mountains for 2 days--camping on this dead end road next to Snow bowl ski lift.
Then we returned to Missoula and found this perfect spot to camp and watch the 4th of July fireworks.

Meet Joe and Tracy, who drove up out of the blue--and called me by name---said they have read my blog for years.  Ahh friends--that strokes the ego--makes me appreciate the reach of an internet blog.   They have an interesting business--- auctioning things--all sorts of things--estates, farm sales etc.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Sweet people---I hope I've suggested what it's like to drift across the nation with an open and curious mind and a cozy little mobile houselet .  Add a bright and congenial companion  and one's cup runneth over.  Sadly, here is where we part ways--she has "promises to keep in the East" and I am drawn westward. 

Monday, July 21, 2014


A PLACE OF POSSIBILITY---far into the countryside around Victor, Montana--my companion leads us to a famous labyrinth.  If you don't know what a labyrinth is click here: or google labyrinth.

When we arrive we are greeted by this gate and instructions to push that buzzer.  A very nice man welcomed us, answered our questions and set us on a path. 

He disappeared into this lovely country home---said that the labyrinth was his wife's inspiration.

This one
turns into a WISDOM WALK with lots of sayings like this
and this

and this (especially like this)

and this

and this

Till we get to the gate

opening into this huge labyrinth.  I walk in an accepting spirit and assume a posture I've seen Laurie take on similar occasions

The center also has messages.  You'll have to go see them for yourself.

It began to rain----did not dampen this lady's will to walk the entire path.  Umbrella courtesy of the host.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  A more pleasant and inspirational experience than I expected.  I am learning to say yes to my friends suggestions. I don't know if walking a labyrinth has any magic or healing in it---maybe it does---if you let it.  I left refreshed and thoughtful. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014



An eight star rest stop: 1. It's free  2. Has water 3 A dump 4. A beautiful view 5 Phone service 6. Internet access 7. Quiet 8. Close to town

Don't know why they do it---but it's much appreciated

Small town--We walk its entirety--chat with it's deputy'
He declined to be photographed---the cop killings in Vegas fresh in his mind.

Thank you Mackay

Salmon Idaho campground with a great show behind my rig. A mother osprey with 3 chicks.

We stay a few days enjoying the drama.  The father flew in with a small fish.

Days are hot---90+ and mom shields her 3 chicks with her wings.

A fish wheel---whose purpose is to protect fish---specifically baby salmon--on their way to the ocean.
This complicated and expensive machinery is necessary because farmers and ranchers along the river dig canals to divert water to their fields and pastures.  Too often the small fish headed downstream mistake the diversion for the main channel and end up dying in a field.  This machine prevents that. 

 here's how :   Tiny salmon who swim into this canal (from the left)are channeled by these vee positioned  stainless steel tubes to a focal point where they are swept into a tube that sends them back into the main channel.  Water flows freely through thousands of tiny holes in the tubes and then makes it way to the large water wheel----- turning it with enough power to sloowly rotate the steel tubes.

Here's a single wheel version perhaps easier to grasp.  Water is flowing from right to left--turning the paddle wheel which rotates that rod---which slowly turns the perforated cylinder.  The tiny salmon fry are shunted into that notch on the right and down a buried tube.

and out this pipe back into the river.
(damned clever contraption )

The steel cylinders get clogged and must be cleaned occasionally.There are hundreds of these all along the Salmon river---many versions for special situations---and PAID FOR BY THE BONNEVILLE DAM.

I'm fascinated by hermits.  Years ago I met this one and paid 2 dollars for a tour of his cave.  He played his guitar and sang me a song.

So imagine my surprise to see him featured in the Salmon Museum.