Sunday, December 31, 2006


Yes, this is me way back in 1973, I believe. I'm at a boring job that required no mental exercise and not much get up and go. I'm dreaming of owning a BMW motorcycle and travelling to places I've only heard about but never really understood. I never imagined opening the magic door that lead to endless highway adventures.
I think that most of us have that urge to wander about looking for the abstract things in life. Not many get the chance to make that dream come true. It can come true. It can become a reality. But it has a price. It has a price that many say can not and will not be paid. I took my shot at it and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to do so. But the price paid for me has been great!. I have never been married, no children, barely enough funds to subsist on in these later years and can not afford what more prudent folks do have and enjoy. But I have to say this. I have done what I want when I wanted. Travelled to wherever whenever. And have memories enough to support the minds of ten men. The tales I could tell and the things I have seen are unbelievable. Now I'm in Tennessee. And the adventures and experiences have continued. I have worked for the renouned Tennessee Wildlife Resources, as a sales professional for the finest "Harley Davidson Dealer in the country", I rove the countless lakes of Tennessee in a fine boat that carries me to a new level of adventure. My companion is a Golden Dog whom I have grown to love and adore. With him, I will create new adventures and stories I hope you enjoy.
My favorite bike of all time. There are some comments on her below in the continuation. What an excape mechanism


The bike below is the machine that has cemented my fate forever as a motorcycle enthusiast. It is a 1974 R90/6 BMW 900. This machine was light years ahead of all competition when it came to reliability and ease of maintenance. It handled curves and sweepers with ease and had the power to fly. She carried 5.8 gallons of gasoline and got 50 to 54 mpg. This was a dream machine. She carried me to every state in the United States and to most of the national parks and about half the national monuments. It was never parked in front of a hotel. In those days camping was part of the adventure. Those were memorable times!
And there she is ladies and gentlemen. A prime 1966 Suzuki 160 two stroke. We are going to Skyline Drive Virginia from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. There are further comments below. Incidently for those who care; I changed the gearing on this little bike so tall I had to pedal push it away from the gas pumps to get going in motion. It would do a top speed of 75 mph with that gearing.
This was the dumbest ride I have ever undertaken. See following comment. The red bike is mine.
I have always been one to try the ridiculous. These two bikes, a 1966 Suzuki 160cc two stroke, and a 1965 Kawasaki 150 two stroke carried us down the Sky Line Drive to the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway in December of 1974. It was nuts! And we camped on that trip. Those bikes should have never left the neighborhood. They were junk when we started and they were junk when we returned. No, they didn't break down. Amazing!
This shot was taken going through Kansas. The most boring piece of I70 West there is. I was so board I was taking pictures of myself in my mirrors. Then I got creative, as you see here.
A friend, Tommy, and I stopped here for a picture. Note that I have on a bandana over my face and my summer weight jacket on. It was 126 degrees and the sun would burn ones face quickly, especially when travelling at 70 mph. We all have heard of wind chill. It works opposite with the sun. And the results can be catastrophic. I continually doused water on the bandana from a canteen every ten minutes. Very hot and a memorable day.
Definitely fill up the tank before starting across the valley. I passed not one car this day. Not a great place to break down.
There is a wonder about Death Valley. I found it both interesting and spell binding. I was amazed by the vastness. It was glorious! It was unending! So is Kansas and Missouri. But in a boring way.
The road across Death Valley is long and lonely. And Hot. It was 126 degrees on this particular day in August 1974
Route 150, across Death Valley leads to this place. I never was impressed with Las Vegas. Its pretty to come up on at midnight though. It is a glow off in the distance across the Valley and gets brighter and brighter as one gets near. Wonder what its like to never have total darkness in ones life. Never thought about it. But any folks living near that place have perpetual light.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Below are a series of pictures that are incredible. The first picture was taken of me shortly after graduation from high school. I was about to fly to Washington state for a job interview. The rest of the photos are, well, see for yourself. A friend of mine and long time hunter was hunting in the back country of Pennsylvania with his brother, who is a Pennsylvania Game Commision Law Enforcement Officer. We call em Possum Sherriff's down here. Anyway, Bill, my friend, saw a deer coming down toward him. For some reason he didn't shoot. He let it go on. But it walked directly to him. He told his brother, who was beside a tree in close proximity, to take photos of this. The deer kept coming and walked directly to Bill. The results you see below. Tame? Raised by a kind person and released? This is "out there" in the woods. All common sense dictates that this deer was raised or at least fed by humans since young. Wild animals just don't do this. Who knows. But I'm proud of Bill for not taking advantage of this situation. Whatever the reason for this meeting; the results are devine.


I decided to launch the boat and check on the pair of eagles that I watched and reported on last year. I approached the nest as slowly and quietly as I could but the eagles were observing my approach and took flight. I did manage to capture this picture of an adult just before he lifted off. Last year I watched as the fledglings grew and moved about in the nest. However, I missed their departure from the nest. I will attempt to be more prudent this year and keep closer watch on happenings about the nest. Its a little iffy when one only has two days a week off. I will do my best. I am now using a better camera this year. My old Olympus gave up the ghost last month and I purchased a Canon S3 IS. The shot below was taken with 48 power digital and low density. All further photos of these eagles will be taken with 2816 x 2112 pixels. This is a heavy density setting and will provide clear shots. Keep your eye on the blog especially toward the end of January and late February. There should be some splendid photos of this eagle family.
The nest from last year is in really great shape and is being reinforced by the eagles even now in December. They should start serious work on courtship sometime late Jan or Feb.
Here is a closer view of the nest. The adult eagles are now carrying large sticks (limbs) to this nest and making repairs to the area around the top edge. It evidently has been damaged by wind since last year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I have learned to be more observant of things in my older years. Where once I would rush by things and barely see; I now stop to ponder them and worry over their form and function. There is much beauty in the smallest entities. Things taken for granted hold imeasurable beauty if one just slows the pace and takes time to look. Feel things, smell things, absorbe them and savor them. See their lines and textures. Wonder about them. Understand them. How many savage hands have held the weight of their bodies up against this old tree? How many conversations have been held while sitting under the protection of this trees' branches? How many camp fires, how many storms has this old tree survived? Look at its bark. Heavy textured, dark. Look at the diameter of it. Huge. See how the hard vines are attempting to strangle it. They have tried for a century and have failed. Yet they are tenacious and will continue the struggle till they finally win. And how many people have walked by this old monarch and took no notice at all?
It is an overcast day but mild in temperature. I see that Douglas's coat has become heavy and he appears more bulky than normal. His hair is thick and at times unruly but affords him great protection from the elements, which he mostly ignores. I'll have my job cut out for me when it comes time to curry out the old hair in the spring. I don't mind it, nor does he. He savor's it. I enjoy making him happy. What a great friend he has become to me! Always loyal, faithful and always just there for me when I feel low. His presence is wonderful.
I have always been facinated when I'm in the deep woods and come across an old fence that is clinging to existance by a thread. Nature has almost completely obliterated traces of it's beginning and it's end. There is always just a piece of the middle left. I particularly like it when the old boards are fastened together with square nails. That's old. What sort of enterprise could possibly have existed here. There are no open areas where fields may have been. This is all big timber. No house foundations or colapsed buildings of any kind. Just this old section of fence is here to spark the questions. Did someone try to scratch out a living in this forest only to find the rewards not worth the effort? How long ago? The rusted square tapered nails indicate an early time possibly mid 1860's. Wonder if a war brought its wrath upon this area and the squatters who built this fence decided to move to friendlier territory. How many Rebel or Union soldiers climbed over the boards of this fence while traversing this wooded ridge? What skermishes were fought here along this old fence? Things to ponder.
This view of Tellico Lake shows three silo's in the center. This was once a farm. It was flooded after Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) acquired the realestate from the land owner. This is only one such farm acquired through eminent domain. There are roadways and homes under the surface of the water. There is even a drive in theater out here that I drove my boat over one day. I found it when the waters were drawn down. Eminent Domain is a neat theory; huh?
There is nothing I enjoy more than to see Douglas running full out enjoying his freedom. His powerful legs reach out from his beautiful golden body and seem to lightly touch the ground. His speed is amazing. That power is transmitted to the ground by young muscles and powerful feet. He flies! He is so at home here! It is good to see my friend enjoy life.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Today was a beautiful day to enjoy sloth and do nothing much of anything. I gathered up the Golden Dog and drove to Tellico Lake for a boat ride. I wanted to boat over to the East Coast Trail and just fool around. We walked up the hillside and sat in the dried leaves. I went to the movies last night for a change and the preview clips presented a movie coming soon named “Thee 300”. Hollywood certainly had a real life adventure to fool with this time. Anyway, I couldn’t get the 300 out of my head. The story of the Spartans at Thermopylae has always been one of my favorite adventures to ponder over. I couldn’t get it out of my head today. I have always been fascinated by stories of men and women who would forsake all, knowingly, for what they believed in and held dear to them. Does the Alamo sound familiar? Douglas! Come! He insists on going over a hill where I can’t see him. The only thing I worry about where he is concerned is a deer crossing his path. This has happened before but I have always been there to yell, “NO!” Oh well, I’ll let him be. So I clasp my fingers together behind my head and lie back into the great pile of dried leaves beneath me and close my eyes-------------------and ponder. Its 486BC and an enormous army of Persian soldiers 150,000 strong are trudging down mountain sides and across the plains toward a narrow divide in the southern mountains at Thermopylae. They cover the earth in an endless sea of soldiers. They are lead by King Xerxes and around him are his dreaded Immortals. They are called Immortals because Xerxes replaces each fallen Immortal with a new conscript. It appears as if their ranks never become less. With them are machines of war. Catapults capable of waging war on cities. Their eyes are set on the Greek cities of Athens, Thebes and Sparta. Ahead of them at the Isthmus (a narrow mountain pass) of Thermopylae stands the vanguard of the Greek army. King Leonidas had arrived here with 10,000 Greek troops to fight a war that would delay the Persians until a proper army could be raised by the Greeks. No one thought that King Xerxes could move that many troops in so short of time. A great fear arose when Leonidas found out that the Persians were deploying 600 war ships toward the principal cities. He sent all the troops back to bolster the ranks of the army for the defense of Thebes, Athens and Sparta. All, that is, save 300 Spartan warriors. These 300 were to hold the Persians back as long as possible. They were expected to fight to the death. They would buy time for the Greek army to mobilize and deploy. “Douglas!” “Douglas! “Where is he?” Crunching leaves give him away. He’s heading toward the beach and the water. Good. He’s hanging out with me. Spartan soldiers are enlisted at the age of seven. The children are taken from the families and learn the techniques of soldiering. From that time on, they are wards of the state. The state gives them everything they need. Everything including land. The land is worked by peasants and the money is placed in a bank for the Spartan. At the age of 37 the soldier has his nest egg. But he is forbidden to marry or to engage in any activity related to domestic life. He is trained to become a warrior. The best warrior! Xerxes stopped and relaxed his troops on the plain of Thermopylae and immediately threw two thousand of his front line troops at the narrow pass and the Spartans. As the Persians entered the pass the sides became narrow and they had to fall behind each other. The clash with the Spartans was disastrous. The Persians were hacked to pieces. The Persian weaponry was light weight for travel and their swords short for close-in thrusting after over running an opponent. The Greeks engaged them with seven foot lances and long swords. It was a route. Again and again the Persians attacked and were thwarted. The Greek casualties were few. The Persian bodies were piling up as if a wall were built from the dead. Even the Immortal’s were thrown back. Leonidas would create lines of Spartans three rows deep at the most narrow part of the pass. The fourth line was rested and put into service to replace one of the tired battle lines. Hence, it appeared to the Persians that the Spartans were tireless. They could not be worn down. Xerxes was now becoming concerned over the lost time it was taking to get past Thermopylae. He troops were devouring valuable food and so were his horses and animals. He needed to move. Just then he got his break. I turn on my left side as I hear what sounds like a million wings beating. Douglas has happened upon not one, but several coveys of quail. They were nearby all this time. I can almost see them hugging the ground tightly, secretly, hoping the interlopers wouldn’t find them. But the Golden Dog accidentally did. And off they went. Douglas was so startled that all he could do is stand there and look in all directions. His head snatched left and right quickly and then up and left and right. Never moved a paw. Big time hunter! Sure feels good lying here in the sun. His big break came in the form of a traitor. A soldier named Ephilates went to Xerxes and offered a way to attack the Spartans from two sides at once----------for a price. Xerxes agreed and Ephilates told Xerxes of a goat path that lead around the North side of the mountain and up and over to the South side and to the rear of the Spartans. That night Xerxes sent his Immortals on this road. In the morning the Spartans found themselves facing foes to their front and rear simultaneously. They fought valiantly. The final few fighters were felled by flights of arrows. The body of King Leonidas was taken before Xerxes. Xerxes commanded that the head be removed and placed upon a pike and situated in the center of the entrance to the pass of Thermopylae as a warning to the Greeks. The Persians paid a heavy price to pass through Thermopylae. 14,000 of them were felled by the Spartans. If things are quiet and one has an imagination; the clash of steel on steel and the screams of excitement mingled with cries of pain can be heard and hard breathing and grunts as strong arms swing swords in an effort to butcher the enemy. And then the quiet after. Guess its time to show a little life. This isn’t Greece, its Tennessee. Now if I can only keep Douglas on the sandy part of the beach and out of the mud when we get back into the boat.