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Knowlesville      

The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

July 2007

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Mon, Jul. 2, 2007 - Kate's Back

Kate's Back

Kate had modeled for me several times over the last few years, but recently moved out of Humboldt County. Returning for the 4th of July, she wanted to get together for a shoot, so we headed out to Trinity County to my favorite pond and a few other locations out that way. It was amazing to see how much the vegetation had grown since my last visit a month ago. The big fronds that are now over 6 feet tall, were only about a foot high a month ago. Must be some good nutrients coming down that creek.

Tue, Jul. 3, 2007 - Skeleton Tree

Skeleton Tree

Memorial Day weekend when Blake and I were out riding, we hiked up to the top of the rock pile where I photographed Mountain Peek. While we were up there looking across the valley, I noticed a couple of other rock formations that I though would be interesting to photograph. I made a mental note of where they were, and when I got home I looked them up on Google Earth. I found out that they were close to the road that goes out to Hell to Find Lake, which of course we had just been on earlier.

So I decided to find the two rocks while I was out there yesterday with Kate. My first surprise was finding out that the first one was right above a field of serpentine rock that I noticed on the trip with Blake. When Kate and I hiked around to the back of the rock, we found this really cool dead tree that looked like it just collapsed after a hard life and nestled perfectly into the contours of the adjoining rock. I took some photos with Kate posing around the tree and rock and then some of just the rock. I'm definitely going to be returning to for more photographic exploration.

Wed, Jul. 4, 2007 - Kate's Ghost

Kate's Ghost

I put the camera away today so I didn't get the usual photos of the rides on the firetrucks, the 4th of July parade, the fireman dept. picnic, or the fireworks at Steve and Nancy's. I guess I just felt like experiencing the holiday with the big view, rather than seeing it through a constricting viewfinder.

So instead today's photo is one I'm still working on from Monday's shoot with Kate, but it's getting there. Kate wanted a ghost shot, and the dead tree seemed to be an appropriate area for such an endeavor. Although shot at noon, I tinted it to evening, using an old Hollywood trick. Three shots of Kate and the tree were combined with clouds from another shot and the moon from yet another shot to make the full scene.

Sun, Jul. 8, 2007 - Hazards of Painting in Ferndale

Hazards of Painting in Ferndale

I'm glad I didn't have a career as a house painter when I moved to Ferndale. There just seem to be too many obstacles that many other areas don't have to contend with. First there's the weather. You can simply rule out about 6 months of the year because it's too wet. Then you can rule out quite a few more days during the dry season, because, well, it's not really dry then either, in fact sometimes it can be quite drippy with just the fog. Then there's the wind, which often makes it inconvenient if not impossible to paint, especially when working with oil base primer overhead. But before you can even lay brush to wood, there's the prep. Our humid, salty climate means that most of the paint from the previous paint job will have deteriorated in as little as 3-5 years. So that must be scraped off and everything recaulked. Then there is the insect and spider problem. Not only do you have to clean off the thick layers of sticky spider webs and catepillar cocoons, but often they'll move back in right in between coats. Right now as I'm finishing up the garage paint job, we're in cocoon season and there are hundreds of catepillars building their temporary homes right in the middle of my freshly painted walls. Not very smart, because they all got wiped out so I could put on the second coat.

Mon, Jul. 9, 2007 - It's Done!

It's Done!

Today I finally wrapped up the paint job on the barn. It felt wonderful to complete a project. So now my to do list looks like this:

Tue, Jul. 10, 2007 - Slug Sex

Slug Sex

Possibly the only thing worse than thinking about one's parents having sex, is thinking about two slugs having sex. Aside from the fact that everything about slugs is pretty disgusting, it also means future generations of these disgusting creatures munching in your garden. I noticed these two slugs on our garbage can on the way to work this morning. You may not know this but all slugs have both male and female organs. That's what's a bit different about the slug on the left, he/she is proudly displaying his/her penis. The other slug must have had a headache though as he/she paid the other one no attention and continued on his/her own way. In case you want to learn more about the fascinating details of slug sex I invite you to watch this short video of two slugs doing the tango.

By the way, neither of the slugs pictured are going to be having any more sex.

Wed, Jul. 11, 2007 - Glad I watered the garden this morning.

Glad I watered the garden this morning.

While Redding continues to bake in temps over 100 degrees, it is raining here in Ferndale. The last couple of weeks has been very unpredictable for weather. We'll get a really nice day of sunshine and warm temps, followed by a day of cold and wind. Then a warm and humid cloudy day, then a day of fog. Well actually several days of fog, but that's the part we expect this time of year.

Thu, Jul. 12, 2007 - Tower of Power

Tower of Power

Ok, I stole the title from the newspaper. Today PG&E had to replace some of the supports on the big electrical towers that bring our lines across the Eel River. Since we don't have any redundancy here in Ferndale, that meant that we were without power for the day. My first thought was to take the day off and go motorcycling and take pictures out in the South Fork mountains. But then when I went into town to get my camera gear I noticed that most of the town must have had similar ideas, and our fire department was down to about 3 or 4 people. So instead I grabbed a chainsaw from the department and cut down the rest of the willow tree stumps that were on the side yard.

Fri, Jul. 13, 2007 - Ceiling Plan

Ceiling Plan

Maybe I haven't mentioned it, but I'm closing the studio on Main Street in August and moving the office back home, and the studio to a larger space in the Cream City building. So in addition to all my other home projects (see above) getting the office ready has become a priority. In our last house, my office remained the ugliest room of the house the whole 10 years that we lived there because I never wanted to disassemble my office to fix it up. Since it was the room that I spent most of my time in, I got really tired of it looking terrible. So this time I want to look nice. I've gotten used to going to my nice office on Main Street, and some days just looking around at the work we did there cheered me up from the problems of the moment. It's also one of the things I'll miss most about closing it.

Here is the plan for the Bradbury & Bradbury ceiling treatment. This paper has several interesting meanings that make it a natural fit for my office. The first web site that I ever created, for the Victorian Preservation Association, way back in 1995, used elements from their Morris Tradition Roomset for the home page. The specific colorway that we're going to install is their Aesthetic Green colorway, so that is also appropriate. In fact I told the salesperson when I was giving her my credit card info, it was nice that I wasn't going to have to spell Aesthetic for her.

Sat, Jul. 14, 2007 - Wall Plan

Wall Plan

This portion of the office renovation may have to wait for awhile, but here's the plan for the office walls.

Sun, Jul. 15, 2007 - Now you see it, now you don't

Now you see it, now you don't

Lori and I were going to a memorial service this morning for a friend's husband, and Lori wanted to make a nice basket of herbs and flowers to take. So we were walking around the garden seeing what was available. I noticed we had some flowers blooming in the backyard but I wasn't sure if they matched the colors of what she had already picked. So I went up to the front yard to see what she had selected so far. Lori noticed a doe and her two tiny fawns in the backyard so I went to go get the camera. As they moved further into the backyard, I walked around the other side of the house, and it was then that I noticed that the flowers I had considered had just been consumed by mama. What sort of looks like blood trailing down her face is actually what was left of the beautiful spike of burgundy flowers. After the memorial service, we spent the rest of the afternoon working on clearing the side yard so we can install the deer fence.

Mon, Jul. 16, 2007 - Riding Out to Zenia

Riding Out to Zenia

Memorial Day weekend Blake came up to Ferndale to do some exploring on our KLR's. One road we stumbled on, Van Duzen Road, was a perfect layout of pristine pavement, curvacious corners, and sumptious scenery. I knew that it demanded a return visit with the Sprint to really enjoy possible lean angles.

So today after the household chores were finished, I pulled the Sprint out of the barn and headed out 36. What is usually a fun ride was somewhat disappointing as there was a lot of traffic to contend with. Mind you, this isn't LA or Bay Area traffic I'm talking about, but for Hwy 36 it ranked as congested. I wouldn't get more than a few miles of fun before I would get stuck behind another slow moving vehicle. Usually the few drivers that I encounter on 36 are courteious and they pull over quickly. These must have been out of town drivers, as some of the plates and luggage piled on the top indicated. Ah, the summer tourist season.

Fortunately as soon as I turned off onto Van Duzen Road, I had the road to myself, and the pace picked up. The Conti Road Attacks continue to feel good with very predictible steering and traction. I was making my way to Zenia, not really knowing what to expect since I had never been there before. Up to the Ruth Lake turn off the road was the pristine pavement that Blake and I encountered earlier. Once past the turn off I was into virgin territory. The road became a bit rougher but still very enjoyable, although the speed and lean angles were lessened due to the amount of broken pavement and gravel. 90 miles into the trip I came into the town of Zenia, and I use the term town loosely. There was a post office that was just closing and in the same building a general store that had been closed for the last year. The postmaster was outside lowering the stars and stripes for the day so I stopped and chatted with her a bit. I find it's always good to talk with the locals.

I asked her what my options were from here since I was getting thirsty and had expected to find some kind of liquid refreshment in Zenia, not knowing that it had become a dry town by default. I had a map, but my goal for the day was to not use it and just explore. She pointed out that I could either continue on in the direction I was going and end up in Garberville, or I could split off and head back out to 36, or I could backtrack a bit to the next town. I decided on the Garberville route, because then I could ride Avenue of the Giants on the way back, which is always fun. On hearing my decision, she looked at my bike and said it would be a shame getting it dirty. I replied, that's what it's for, not picking up on her subtle warning.

Past Zenia I quickly began wishing my Sprint could transform into my KLR on demand, as the road was much better suited for something light and nimble and shod with knobbies. It was one of those county roads that are always under repair, and where the gravel sections are actually smoother than the paved sections that remain. There was some beautiful scenery though and I spotted quite a few ranches where I wouldn't mind retiring. I just took it slow picking my way through the larger potholes and navigated the gravel sections with care.

Arriving in Alderpoint through the back door, it took me awhile to find where the front door was and so I ended up making a loop through the little town to the amazement of several locals, who probably aren't used to seeing leather clad sport riders, much less on shiny red Triumphs. I eventually found the way out of town and continued on Alderpoint Rd. which winds its way down to Garberville. Here the pavement is still bumpy, but the gravel wasn't as predominate as before. This road I had been on before, in the uphill direction and it is a real hoot on a bike like the KLR. Continued tomorrow...

Tue, Jul. 17, 2007 - Calum's Dead Gold Wing

Calum's Dead Gold Wing

I got down to Garberville and then continued on to Redway where I stopped for a bottle of OJ. After quenching my thirst, I hopped back on salivating about riding the smooth undulating pavement of the Avenue. But just as I was hitting the onramp for the short jump up Hwy101 I noticed a old Gold Wing pulled over with a rider looking perplexed. So I shot across to see what was up. I met Calum, who was from Alberta, Canada doing his first long distance tour on a positively ancient looking GL1000 that saw the Honda factory over three decades ago. He felt like he was dragging something like an anchor going down the freeway so he was crouched down looking underneath the bike when I pulled up.

The bike wouldn't idle, and it would also stall when he put it in gear and tried to move. It was going to need a trailer. Fortunately, Redway, even though it is a small town, has a motorcycle dealer. So I gave him a ride to the dealer where we found they had closed a half hour earlier. Also fortunately, he broke down about a hundred yards from a campground, so I suggested he take his stuff there and get set up and I'd ride back up to Ferndale and get my truck and trailer and we'd at least get his bike to the dealer so they could have a look at it.

45 minutes later I was back in Ferndale and I loaded up the truck and trailer and Lori joined me since I had a suspicion we might have to manhandle the Gold Wing into the trailer. The return trip took 75 minutes, due to the law that you can only travel 55mph when towing. Since I recently got a ticket for breaking that law on that same stretch of Highway, I was reluctant to tempt fate on that issue.

When we got back to Redway we found Calum waiting for us, and as I expected, the bike didn't roll very well. I suspected a seized drive shaft, which I guess is one argument in favor of chain drive. With some struggle we managed to get the bike loaded. It had the full Pacifico fairing, saddlebags and trunk package, but nothing on the bike seemed very solidly mounted. It was hard to find something to grab hold of that didn't feel like it would break with just minimal pressure applied. In fact the more I looked at and felt the bike, the less comfortable I felt about him actually riding it. The proper thing to do would have been to shoot it and put it out of it's misery.

The dealer was only about a half mile away, and as I was backing the trailer up to their back gate I noticed that at least this time gravity would be in our favor for unloading the bike as the ground was sloped downwards in the direction we were unloading. We got the big black beast halfway down the gate of the trailer when all movement stopped. I thought at first that it had grounded out on the engine but that wasn't the problem. While I was underneath looking for the obstruction I saw that the rear tire was just barely off the gate, so I had Calum apply the rear brake and I simply drove the trailer out from under the bike. Worked perfectly and we left the bike there, as it wasn't going to roll anywhere.

We then returned Calum back to his campground and I left him with my card so he could email the results of the rest of his adventure. He was taking the day's events well, as he had no real travel plans, he was just going where ever the roads led him. Sort of what I was doing that day too, only on a smaller scale. It was fortunate for both of us that our paths crossed as they did. He got the help he needed, and I got to pay back some of the kindness I've received from other bikers during my tours when things didn't go as planned.

And that's what makes motorcycling so special, we're a community, always looking out for each other.

Fri, Jul. 20, 2007 - U-Hauling It Home

U-Hauling It Home

I received a call from Calum yesterday. He was still stuck in Redway as no one wanted to try fixing a 32 year old Gold Wing. Can't say I blame them. So I went back down with the trailer to pick him and the bike up and then we started working on how they were both going to get back to Alberta. I wasn't sure if you could drive a U-Haul out of the country but apparently you can so that was the plan he went for. He spent the night camping in our front yard, and then in the afternoon we headed over to Fortuna to pick up the U-Haul truck. It took a come-a-long and some liquid detergent on the tire to slide the bike from the trailer to the truck, and then we were able to pivot the bike on its centerstand once he removed the trunk and fairing so that it pointed forward in the truck. I think he probably ended up paying more to truck the bike home than it was worth, but that's what he wanted to do.

Sat, Jul. 21, 2007 - Wailaki Campground

Wailaki Campground

I went down to Shelter Cove for a weekend of rope rescue training. At the last minute I decided to camp down there since the class started at 8:00 each day, and it's almost a two hour drive to get there from Ferndale. After a full day of learning about equipment and practicing on some small slopes at the Shelter Cove fire department facility, I went off to find the campground that I saw Memorial Day weekend on my trip with Blake. I was hoping it was on the paved section of road which it was. I hadn't brought much food or really anything to do after the class so after setting up the tent I heated up what I brought for breakfast since I knew they were providing donuts and other goodies for us in the class. There was also a sign that warned about leaving out food due to bears so I felt obligated to eat the entire candy bar I brought. Not too much of a problem, except that it had coffee beans in it which I figured wouldn't be a real good thing to eat before trying to go to bed. I hiked around for a bit until it started getting dark and then went to bed and slept pretty good, even after being all sugared up and fully caffeinated.

Sun, Jul. 22, 2007 - Over the Edge

Over the Edge

Today we learned more knots and equipment, and then went out to the bluffs to try everything out that we learned. We practiced both repelling and being lowered. While the lowering method is supposedly safer, it feels a lot better repelling because you're in control of your own descent that way. Rope rescue repelling isn't the high speed commando repelling you see in the movies as the equipment and ropes used are different. It is much slower and you're walking down the side of the cliff rather than bouncing off of it and dropping down the rope. There was a lot to learn in the class and I've got to find time to practice it so I remember it all, but I came out feeling a lot more comfortable about going over a cliff tied to a rope.

Mon, Jul. 23, 2007 - Oh, Crap

Oh, Crap

On my arrival home I was really hoping to sit and relax after a strenuous weekend. I had a list of chores that needed to be done but as I walked toward the back door I realized that Mother Nature had other plans for my day off. Just last weekend I finally finished cutting up all of the wood from the willow trees I felled earlier this year. I thought I was done playing lumberjack for awhile, but this willow tree decided life was too hard without the friends it grew up with and decided to commit suicide right on my back porch, just to make sure I knew that I was responsible for its sad fate.

Although he has a shocked look on his face, the gargoyle did his job of protecting our house, and once I removed the tree I saw that even the railing wasn't damaged other than a little paint removal.

Tue, Jul. 24, 2007 - You're Kidding Right?

You're Kidding Right?

Shelter Cove is one of the dumbest places I've seen to build a community. The road into it pretty steep and windy, and even on a motorcycle you have to be careful to mind your brakes. The nearest hospital is Garberville, an hour away and there are no services in town other than a grocery store. Shelter Cove was sold as a retirement community, so you have old people driving their RVs down this steep winding road. There is a little airport there that has a checkered past. Back when the land was first being developed, a plane crashed off the runway into the ocean and aboard were all the real estate people invovled in the development. Some say it was an Indian curse that was responsible.

The first time I went to Shelter Cove I was struck by how many of the homes were for sale. It seams like at any one time about 70% of the homes are for sale. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there, and apparently a lot of people learn that lesson after they've signed the papers. The lot in the photo is where we practiced our cliff repelling. I really hope the for sale sign is a joke because I doubt this bluff will be there in 5 years.

Wed, Jul. 25, 2007 - BFD

BFD

Yep, that's a real fire department t-shirt.

Thu, Jul. 26, 2007 - Dinosaur Garden

Dinosaur Garden

While I was in Shelter Cove, Lori was off re-enacting her childhood with Paula. They went up to Dinosaur Garden in Oregon with the goal of recreating a photo of them in the same spot as kids. You may remember that we stopped by there on our way back from the Hoopers last November, but they were closed. I would have liked to have been there with Lori, not because I wanted to see the dinosaurs. After all how can you seriously take a dinosaur with a paint job that makes it look like a giraffe? But I sure would have liked to see Lori there. (And the photo to document the event would have been better too.)