Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On The Road To The Border

It's early in the morning here at Spadoville. The sun is popping up and there is not a cloud to be seen. A beautiful day for traveling. I've been up and getting some things packed. I'm heading out on my newest toy, the Triumph Scrambler. I sold my Triumph Tiger. It has given me great service, a lot of fun and more memories than I can ever remember in a lifetime. Every mile an adventure. Every wheelie, every twisted curve, every mile, every trip.

This Scrambler is a smaller, lighter bike with off-road capabilities, at least off-road enough for some gravel forest service roads and some dirt along with the asphalt. So today, I'm going to give it a little long range test run. I'm heading up to Ontario Canada.

2008 Triumph Scrambler 900

I'll cross the border at Fort Frances, across the Rainy River from International Falls, Minnesota. I'll get up to Falls by tonight and cross in the morning. In fact, I have an appointment with the border people at 9:00 AM. I'm thinking breakfast in Canada tomorrow, then a ride across on Canada Hwy 11, through Atikoken, to Thunder Bay, which is located along the North shore of the Great Lake Superior. Just North of Atikoken is one of the places where in used to guide canoe and fishing trips back when I did that sort of thing.

I'll come South in Minnesota along the big lake and stop off to savor the beautiful scenery that abounds up that way. So, it's just a three day ride. A good shake-down for the bike and me to bond a little. I have only ridden a few short local jaunts since I went to New York to pick it up after I bought it on Ebay.

The plan is to get off the hardtop and onto some gravel in the National Forest on the US side and the Provincial Parks in Canada. I'll also see if my passport works as it's been a while since I've crossed the border.

Reports and photos when I return. I'll try to stop riding and take some pictures, although that has been a tall order in the past. Seems that what my mind sees and records in the camera in my head usually suffices for my own memories. To share any of that, I have to use the camera. I just hate to stop riding, park the bike, take off the gloves, unzip the riding gear, take off the helmet and goggles, dig out the camera, focus and set up the shot, snap the picture, then, do it all in reverse, get back on the road and see another great photo op within the nextmile or two and do it again. It will be a chore, but I will try to be patient and stop along the way so I can share the memories.

In the meantime, I was playin' around with my iTunes and found a few of what I call classic gems from the old Dump and Shortcake Band days. Click on the title of this post and you'll hear a studio version of Lowell George's "Willin'". Originally done by Little Feat in 1971. The recording we did had to be in the 1970's sometime. My good friend and wonderful guitar player, Dave Coffey, is with me as I solo on this one.

Take care and be well. I'll be back soon to get ready for another trip to Elkader, Iowa and the surrounding area early in July.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mourning Dove

Shadow Shot Sunday
June 26, 2011

This is the weekend, time for Shadow Shot Sunday. A great meme of photographic and other expressions from around the world. If you’d like to see more Shadow Shots and find out how to participate, please go to Tracy’s Hey Harriet Blog.

The sun is rising early this time of year. Here in the Northland we have full sunshine by 5:30 AM and it doesn’t set in the Western sky until after 9:00 PM. The heavens stay lit until ten PM or later. 
It was one of these early mornings, when the sun was casting long shadows, that I saw this image on the throw rugs that were hanging on the deck. From my easy chair, while sipping some fresh brewed coffee, I had not a clue as to what was creating this particular shadow.
I wasn’t so curious about the “blob” seen on the rugs as I was about the long “stick”. I couldn’t figure out what was creating this amazing shadow. A power line? The dog run? What?
 I grabed my camera, always at the ready, and snapped a few photos when I realized that it was the mourning dove, one of two that come to the trough feeder every morning here at Spadoville. 

The bird was standing on the yard arm, (yes, all Pirates have a yard arm in their yards and I was definitely a Pirate in a former life), in that early morning sunrise.

Glad I captured this one. I found it to be unique, basically becasue I didn’t know what it was and what was making it a shadow in the first place.
Peace to All

Friday, June 24, 2011


Haiku My Heart
June 24, 2011

Be sure to stop in and experience more Haiku from the heart, as well as find out how to participate yourself, at Rebecca’s recuerda mi corazon blog, where every Friday folks from all over the world partake in the fun. And this week is the One Year Anniversary of this weekly meme. I have enjoyed thoroughly being a part of this project since the beginning and thank Rebecca for the inspiration, kindness and respect she shows to all.

Shiny silky hair
Children grin for Grandparents
Peaceful heartfelt love
Taken a few years ago, this photo is digital, but enhanced in Black and White. Although not as warm and toasty in my opinion, as B&W film, it still has nice warm overtones. I love the way her eyes shine as well as her hair. Anna will be thirteen soon, within two weeks. She is my first Grandchild.

Last night, at the dinner table, I told Anna that I had found this photo and how I was going to use it on my blog this morning for Haiku My Heart. She has seen it and remembers the small stuffed lion. She related to me that. "The head fell off all the time." We have yet to establish how old she was in this picture, but here at Spadoville we are all guessing it was taken in 2003.
The haiku speaks on so many levels to the love, joy and peace that the children bring into our lives. Sometimes, we get caught up in our own struggles and the children suffer. All it takes is one moment to remember how innocent and forgiving they are and that we should be like that ourselves.
I keep a record of all I post in an external hard drive. I keep the logo for Haiku My Heart there and pull it out every weekwhen I post my haiku. I came across my first notes from the first time I ever tried haiku. It was for the Haiku My Heart Friday on June 25, 2010. Here is what I wrote:

First Post June 25, 2010
Crispy Leaves in Fall
Souls Close to My Heart of Hearts
Sitting On a Log
Haiku My Heart Fridays Info

To go with this haiku, I used a photograph of my three daughters, sitting on a log in front of our 1980's home on the Snake River near Pine City, MN. Here's the photo:

Thank you Rebecca for the inspiration

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Photos From the Road

Just thought I'd post some photos from the past year or two taken on various trips across the country. I'll start with the Atlantic Ocean and end with the Pacific. I'll sandwich Lake Superior in between. Most of the pictures of state line signs are out West. I'll need to stop on my Eastern trips and take some photos.

Atlantic Ocean, Rhode Island coast

Just last week I went through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. And on my trip South this Spring I managed Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Missouri. I don't know why I didn't stop and take sign photos.

Anyway, Busy times here at Spadoville. VA appointments, motorcycle buying, selling and refurbiushing and home renovation projects along with having family fun and reunion trips. Sorry I haven't had much time to get out and see your Blog creations. I apologize, but will tell you I think of my fellow Bloggers often and appreciate greatly your visits here to mine.
Lake Superior, from The Cabinette

I'll leave you with another Dump and Shortcake Band tidbit. Click on the title of this post and you'll hear another song I wrote in the 1970's. It's called "B Model Blues" and the recording is from a live performance at the Duxbury Store in very rural East Central Minnesota. Here's more about the B Model Mack truck.
Pacific Ocean with a very small Grandchild

Peace to all

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Long Distance Driver

Haiku My Heart
June 17, 2011

Haiku My Heart was started by my friend Rebecca. See more fabulous Haiku from all over the world at her blog, recuerda mi corazon.

Making a living
Attacked by white line fever
Long distance driver

International Harvester CO 4070A I drove this in the early 1970's for Labeled Metal Products

Some time ago, I posted a list of all the places I have worked since I got out of high school. You can reference that post HERE. I was going to go back and edit the list by putting an asterisk by each of the jobs that involved long distance truck driving, or, as it is commonly called, Over-the-Road Trucking. I did take a look and I saw that least 14 of my jobs were in this category.
If you use Einstein’s theory of relativity, that is, when you are moving, time is relative to the speed when compared to the speed of light. I'm actually a little bit younger than most folks my age.
The Grandchildren, on Albert Einstein's lap, Washington DC, 2008

Without trying to do a scientific explanation, the theory pretty much says that if you travel at the speed of light, you age more slowly. So, I take that to mean that traveling a portion of your life, although it is not the speed of light, it is a portion of that speed, and therefore, since I have logged over 2 million miles on the road traveling at 60-75 miles per hour, I’m younger than my 62 years, and younger than most people born on May 10th 1949 at 10:30 AM CDST.
Anyway, I’ve been on the road a lot in my life. Some of it for work and a paycheck and some for pleasure. I can say there is another category as well. The trip I did a week or so ago to go pick up a motorcycle I bought on Ebay was work, but not employment.
By the way, I never minded work. It was always employment that I couldn’t stand.
So, based on Einstein’s theory, I am a bit younger than many of you more sedentary people who need an act of congress to get in the car and head off somewhere farther than the grocery store. By the way, the speed of light is 299,792.458 Kilometers per hour or 670,616.629 Miles per hour. Even though, I still must pass the time I’m sitting there driving. After all, driving isn’t such a strenuous and focused activity if you’re on a freeway.

Driving a dump truck, 2001

I entertain myself in many ways. I listen to books or music. I listen to radio programs. I look at scenery. I think about a wide variety of stuff and I write in my head. At one point, I did have a mini tape recorder and produced many recordings of my thoughts or of stories that came to mind while spending time driving. Sometimes, I write music and musical lyrics.
I shared a song I wrote while on the road going to upstate New York in a recent post. Well, I wrote and edited a few on that trip. There must not have been too much happening on the radio and the CD player is cantankerous in the van and sometimes just doesn’t work.
I’d like to share another song I wrote. I wrote this many years ago, in the mid 1970’s. I was an Over-the-Road truck driver back then, for a job with pay. I wrote about it in this song. I polished the lyrics on this last trip and brought it out again. I used parts of the song in the Haiku for Haiku My Heart today. The rest is just poetry of some kind, I think.

Long Distance Driver
Pulled out for Atlanta
In an eighteen wheel rig
Atlanta to Ohio
Oh my load wasn’t very big
Never had a flat, no
Never touched a jack
Workin’ hard just ain’t my gig
I’m a long distance driver

Long distance driver
Really rollin’ up the miles
When you see me with a lady
All she ever does is smile
Never lift a finger, no
Never like to linger
I like to do it all in style
I’m a long distance driver

Arizona to Virginia
Truckin’ it a long long way
I keep my motor runnin’
Even when I’m out to play
DC to Minnesota
Back to Arizona
Never gonna go to LA
I’m a long distance driver

Got attacked by the white line fever
It grabs a hold of you for life
I wanted glamour and a reputation
All I ever got was strife
She married for the money
Now she calls me honey
That’s my wife
I’m a long distance driver

The Dump and Shortcake Band, Bruce on left, I'm on the right, Halloween in St. Paul, 1979

Dave on guitar, same Halloween party

If you click on the title of this post, you can listen to the original recording of Long Distance Driver. ( I hope this works, let me know, okay?)
That was recorded sometime in the late 1970’s by the Dump and Shortcake Band, which was/is Bruce A., drums and vocals, Dave C., guitar and Yours Truly, bass.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Mystery Tour, June 13, 2011

Hot sunrise in Wisconsin

Another trip under my belt
Things happen fast here in Spadoville. I was explaining the concept of spontaneity to the kids the other day. I had asked them if they were hungry one morning. They answered the question with an emphatic, “YES!”
I told them, “Get dressed, we’re going to the South Fork for breakfast.”
This was spontaneous. We didn’t plan the trip out for a meal in advance. The thought happened and we acted on it immediately. That’s what I think happened when I took this latest escapade to upstate New York, Utica to be exact.
The Grandkids having breakfast with Papa at the Southfork Cafe, downtown River Falls, WI

As many of you know, I love motorcycles. I have two, my 2008 Triumph Tiger and an old 1973 Honda CL 350. I was planning on doing a few things to the old Honda and next time I go to the RV down in New Mexico, I would haul the bike down and just leave it there so I could have something to ride when I’m down there in the Winter.
This is still an idea, but it may have been trumped by another idea. You see, sometimes when I’m sitting at the computer in the wee hours as I am prone to do, I read motorcycle forums and motorcycle classified ads from a variety of sources.
This usually doesn’t get me in trouble as I resist buying more and more motorcycles for the stable, but this time I saw a beauty I had to have. 
Besides that, my mind is uneasy this time of year. I can’t believe it has been 20 years since that fateful day when our oldest daughter Maggie was killed in an automobile accident. Maybe it’s this restlessness this time of year that prompted me to be on the road. I just don’t know, but I recognized the anniversary date on June 8th.
I was on Ebay, looking through the Triumph motorcycles for sale section and saw this 2008 Scrambler. The seller had done some enhancements to the motor and added some doo dads that made this thing look sharp. I loved the color combination and really liked the scrambler platform as an off road/on road type of bike.

I bid on it, and thought for sure I wouldn’t be the highest bidder, but I was, and the rest is history.
The bike was in Utica, NY. My Mapquest information said 1100 miles from here to there. I logged 1097.8 from my front door to the building where it was housed.

Here is the 2008 Triumph Scrambler that I purchased on Ebay

I usually make these trips much more leisurely by using the two lane highways, the roads less traveled. But I needed to get back quickly and didn’t want to spend a lot of time traveling. I was on a mission. I used the Interstate system pretty much all the way except for the first two hours from home along US Highway 10 in Wisconsin.

I've never seen this landscape before. It isn't too far from my home on a road I travel on often. The early morning dew and fog made this look like a volcanic mountain along US Highway 10
I saw some remarkable landscape as the hot sun made its way over the tree lined farmlands. Rivers and lakes abound. I saw eagles, hawks, crows and blue herons, not to mention the mourning doves, (or are they pigeons?), walking along the rooftop of an old abandoned homestead.
I left very early on Tuesday morning. The heat wave had been revving up and this day and the next were going to be scorchers. I put in 14 hours on the road that day and got a motel room in Erie, PA by 7PM Eastern time. A good meal at the Quaker Steak and Lube and I was all in by nine thirty.

The next day found me doing another 14 hour day by driving to downtown Utica, picking up and securing the bike in the back of my van and heading for home. I came to rest at Sandusky, OH at a cheap ass Motel 6. I did get a decent meal in Cleveland as I passed through there at dinnertime. I stopped and ate at Dave and Busters and watched a little Stanley Cup hockey. And the van performed admirably by averaging almost 18 miles per gallon!

I did have a picnic basket with me. Sliced turkey and some good bakery rolls to make sandwiches. Fresh grapes, hard boiled eggs complete with Cholula hot sauce and my newest favorite, Greek yogurt. I ate from the cooler every day and bought only one restaurant meal daily. Between getting great gas mileage, (It is a full size van with a V-8 motor), and not buying meals, all I had to expense was the tollway fees and lodging. A pretty thrifty trip as they go.
Not so hazy in downtown Cleveland
When I got up Thursday morning, I lingered a while thinking there was no sense of urgency to get home, but the miles flew by and I found myself driving through the heart of downtown Chicago at Noon.
A very hazy Chicago skyline

For those of you that don’t know, Chicago, like many major US cities, is notorious for clogged traffic constantly during any given day. There isn’t just a rush hour in the morning and evening commute. The propensity for back ups and slow moving along any highway or freeway is there 24/7/365. 
Add to that the tremendous thunderstorm that moved through the heart of the city that morning, and you have what you need for disaster. Flooded roadways, buckled pavement and a heavy volume of weekday traffic had trouble spots all through Chicago’s highway system.
I took the straightest route and banged right through downtown at high noon. I never slowed down and found myself in Milwaukee a little after 1PM.
I was planning on stopping at Eau Claire to transfer the title and get a license plate. I thought I’d do this on my way home. This would have me getting another motel just 60 miles from home, and doing the paperwork on Friday morning.
I called Mrs. Spadoman to tell her of my triumphant negotiation of Chicago’s tollway system and she suggested I get the title and license at a facility on the way and not wait to get all the way to Eau Claire. 
My new Triumph Scrambler fit neatly in the back of the van making it much easier than pulling a trailer.

As I thought about this, it made sense. I had her look up the Wisconsin State licensing facilities along my planned route and ended up stopping in Osh Kosh. I was in and out in a flash and pulled into my own driveway at a quarter past seven.
The weather was varied with very harsh hot and humid conditions across the country on Tuesday and Wednesday, but Thursday brought in heavy morning thunderstorms and temperatures down into the 50’s. I had been driving with the A/C on max high for two days, and now I needed the defrosters to clear the fog off the windshield and was wearing a hoodie!
I’ll do some motorcycle reports after I take this baby on a few rides. For now, I had another adventure on the road. It’s my meditation of choice you know. Sure beats yoga in my book.

A hot sunset in Erie, PA

So, you may wonder what I might be doing, besides driving, to pass the time while on such a trip. Well, I wrote some songs during those long hours on the highway. I was thinking about this new motorcycle and how sporty it would be. I’d almost certainly have to get a new leather jacket, dontcha think? Then, I imagined myself cruising down a rural highway and pulling into a roadhouse for a cold beer and a burger.
Here, I’ll share one of them with you:

I was sittin’ by the TV,
Watchin’ the nightly news at 10
The reruns were kinda boring
On Nickelodeon
I had to find a solution
This old news was gettin’ me down
Maybe I’ll ride the cycle to that place outside of town
To Emma’s Roadhouse
Emma’s Roadhouse
8 miles down the highway
Livin’ free with some of my friends

The highway was terrific
The miles flew by like time
I crossed the old pulaski bridge
Ahead I could see the sign
I pulled on off the highway
I was lookin’ for a spot
I spent the next two hours cruisin’ ‘round that parkin’ lot
(Repeat Chorus)
(Solos, riffs and general band mayhem)
Before I knew it was over
It was time to travel home
I didn’t want to leave so soon
I knew I was not alone
We yelled and screamed and made a fuss
And told her, “WE WON’T GO”
Bartender set another round and turn the lights down low
(Repeat chorus twice and out!)
By the way, I sing the Blues. In the band, 1987 on bass guitar


Saturday, June 11, 2011

This Old House

Shadow Shot Sunday
June 12, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday is a blog meme started by Tracy who hails from Queensland, Australia. Many, from all over the globe,  share the fun and see each other’s interpretations of shadows in photographs. Join the fun, go to Tracy’s Hey Harriet Blog to see more Shadow Shots and to find out how to participate.

This Old House

Not exactly like the television program from public broadcasting with a title by the same name, this particular old house sits in rural Wisconsin, USA along US Highway 10 between Durrand and Mondovi.
I was heading East to upstate New York last week and wanted an early start. The weather channel told me there was a heat wave with killer temperatures and humidity. I left the house very early, 4 AM, and got some hours in before the scorching heat had me sequestered in my Ford van with the A/C on max high.

The days starts to lighten up here pretty early. The light in the Eastern sky can be evident easily by 5 AM. As I drove along, my eye catches things and seemed to have been drawn to this old house. The patina of the old neglected wooden siding was already a slate grey color, but the early morning light amplified this effect and cast deep eerie images through the window and door openings, watering the interior of the place in a wash of dark shadows.

What intrigues me more then the excellent photographs that can be gleaned from such a structure is how the place came to be derelict in the first place. This is an excellent house. A large rural farm home, twin chimneys, at least 4 bedrooms. Room for a large family. When did the last inhabitant leave? Why was it abandoned? What’s the story behind the splendid shadows?

A highlight from these photos, which all seem the same, are the mourning doves walking around on the left side of the rooftop. Had the sun been out, as it ended up doing this sunny hot sweltering day, those birds would have cast quite a shadow themselves, albeit on the far side of the roof from my vantage point.

Do you know what these doves are saying to each other?

Gabba Gabba Hey!