My First Summer In Retirement Has Concluded

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Well gang, my first summer in full fledged retirement has officially come to an end.  What a cool summer vacation I had!  As it turned out the maximum temperatures that I had to deal with was 81 degrees!  So it was literally a very cool summer!!

I headed out of Yuma back on June 8th in my 38′ Fleetwood Expedition on a summer tour of the Pacific Northwest with my traveling companions, my brother Jimmy and his wife Edie, in their 40′ Fleetwood Revolution.

The first stop on the agenda was a week long stop in Fresno,CA to celebrate a milestone for our Mom.  Back in June, specifically June 13th, we celebrated her 93rd birthday.  There was a large gathering at my sister’s house of family for the celebration.  In addition to my sister were all three of my brothers, my two sons, one wife and one girlfriend, and my two grandchildren, a few of my nephews and their families, as well as my cousin and his wife from Vallejo.  It was a joyous celebration of life!

My nephew, Scott, made a very cool video of Mom’s life.  For me it was very touching and emotional.  The video incorporated some really old family pictures of all of us kids, my Dad and Mom, all the while accompanied with some really appropriate music for the video.

It was a celebration of life, longevity, of our heritage, and of our extremely humble beginnings!

Additionally while in Fresno, I met with my old college buddy of a thousand years, Steve Detjan, well honestly it was not really that long ago!  However, I have known Steve since that extremely hot day in the gym during college registration in the summer 1969.  It happened that Steve had knee replacement surgery on June 13th.  So I got to visit him a couple of times, once the day of the surgery, and the next day during his recovery, as well.

From Fresno I headed northwest to a place called Duncan’s Mills, CA.  This very small hamlet is located on the Russian River about 8 miles west of Guerneville, a northern extension of the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, and about 8 miles east of Bodega Bay.  While hanging out in this area for a week, I visited two wineries, did a little wine tasting, and, oh yes, purchased a few bottles of wine from the Sabastapol area!  The two wineries that took some of my money were; the Russian River Winery and Dutton Estates.

From Duncan’s Mills I headed up  the California coast on US 101. Within a very short time I was driving my motorhome right up through the Giant  Redwoods of northern California.  The view was awesome, and awe inspiring to say the least!

The next landing place was Klamath, CA, in a little RV park right on the Klamath River.  Klamath is about 20 miles south of Crescent City, CA.  It was very quiet and peaceful along side the river.  The highlight of the seven day stay was the last three days of that visit.  Early one morning Jim and Edie called me to tell me to look out the front of my RV and just observe.  Quite to my dismay, there was a Momma and young baby gray whale that had found their way into the river from the Pacific Ocean!  Both were just frolicking in the river fro the last three days of my stay there.

From Klamath my summer journey continued north to Gold Beach, OR.  This neat little hamlet is located at the juncture of the Rouge River and the Pacific Ocean.  The highlight of the weeks stay here, and for that matter my whole summer, was the 104 mile Rogue River jet boat tour.  That is 52 miles up the river and 52 miles back down river!  The tour launched from the dock at 8am and returned at 3:30 pm, with a 90 min lunch break on the return down the river at a riverfront place called Agnes.

This stay encompassed the July 4th weekend.  That weekend there were many neat and fun things to see and do.  There was a hydroplane boat race on the river that was really cool to watch.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BECkFpDq2Qc

Additionally, I got my first glimpse of “Outlaw Go Kart” racing. These were not your regular little go karts, with lawn mower engines running slowly on a small dirt track!
See what I mean!

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47dC5dWuKBU

The July 4th weekend culminated with a really cool display of fireworks that was much bigger than I was expecting!

From Gold Beach I continued northward on US 101 all the way up to the northern coast of Oregon, to a little town called Rockaway Beach, OR.  Rockaway Beach is about 75 miles west of Portland.OR.  There wasn’t too much at Rockaway Beach.  However, there were two very fine eating establishments in that coastal town, Beach Bites at Rockaway, and Upper Crust Pizza!

Additionally, the Tillamook Cheese Factory was only 21 miles back down south on US 101.  The tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory was a really fun experience.  The cheese is to die for!!  But their ice cream was totally phenomenal!!  Therefore, on that day I decided that I was not a diabetic!!!!!  Did I say that their ice cream was fantastic?

After Rockaway Beach, I headed on up into the Washington coast, at Ocean Shores.  That week was totally forgettable!  It rained every day, all day long for 6 days! (there is an old Washington adage that goes something like this:  If you can’t see Mt. Rainier, it is raining.  If you can see Mt. Rainier, it is getting ready to rain!)  I couldn’t see Mt. Rainier for six days!!

So it was time to pull up stakes, fire up the ol RV, and head to central eastern Oregon for some good weather.  The spot in central Oregon chosen was La Pine, Oregon.  It is a very small town just 24 miles south of Bend.  I spent a 10 day period at La Pine where the day time temperature was in the mid 70’s and the nights were in the mid 30’s!  Man, you just gotta love summer weather like that!!

At the end of the ten days at La Pine, I packed up the ol RV and headed back over to the coast of Oregon once again.  This time I spent two weeks in an RV park at Lakeside,OR.  Lakeside is about 15 miles north of Coos Bay.  The weather there was simply magnificent with daytime highs in the low 70’s and nights in the mid 50’s.

While at Osprey Point RV Park at Lakeside I made a Saturday trip over to Cottage Grove for a night of sprint car, midgets, and late model races.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFwRgpJ8cfY

On the subsequent Saturday night I hit the local Coos Bay race track for some outstanding races, as well.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qddIvmtMjyA

After my two week visit in Lakeside, I returned to La Pine, OR for another 3 week stay that lasted until Labor Day.

On Labor Day I packed up the ol RV and started my southerly trek back towards Yuma, AZ.  However, I made a couple of pit stops along the way.  The first pit stop was in Chico, CA.  My week stay in Chico served two purposes.  First and foremost, I went there to really, really work on my redneck!  It just so happens that every year around Labor Day the Silver Dollar Speedway, located on property of the Butte County Fairgrounds puts on one whale of a four day sprint car show known as The Gold Cup Race of Champions.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHnOBTo5s3o

In addition to watching some high caliber racing, one of my old Eastern Airlines/United Air Lines buddies lives in Chico.  So I got to spend some quality time with both Tim Donohue and his wife Dorothy.  We go way back!  I first met Tim in 1980 when we both lived in this old two story commuter apartment in Woodhaven, NY.  Oh the stories that surrounded this place!  Someday I will have to write about the adventures of Woodhaven!

Also, I was hooking up at the race track with two very dear racing friends from the Bay Area, Dan and Bernie Clapp.  So the visit to Chico served a multitude of purposes!  The camaraderie with both Tim and Dorothy, as well as Dan and Bernie made Chico a great week!

The culmination of the event was the two day World of Outlaws show.  It was fast and it was furious!

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK81qawarl4

The last stop on the way home to Yuma was Fresno,CA.  I pulled into my old home town for a four day visit with my Mom, my kids, my grandkids, and of course my old college buddy, Steve Detjan.  Additionally, I had to pay a visit to my cardiologist as well.

On September 15th, a little over three months after I loaded up the ol RV for my northerly excursion, I rolled back into Yuma, AZ., I had come full circle!!

My first summer vacation in retirement has concluded!

It was good to be back home!

FOR NOW THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SIGNING OFF: ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!

9/11: Ten Years Later

Tuesday , September 11, 2001, 8:46 am EDT.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I remember, do you?

I have elected to keep this salute/tribute to all who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack upon the United States of America, very simplistic!

This is your humble captain reflecting on the Paul Simon song from 1966, “Sounds of Silence”, it says it all!  Give this song and video a chance.

Gold Cup Day Three: The World of Outlaws

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It was Friday night, day three of the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Chico, CA.  So far, the action on the race track has mimicked the local temperature.  On Friday the local temperature was more than twenty degress hotter than, Monday,  the day that I arrived in this small northern California hamlet.  The afternoon temperature soared on up into the triple digits, around 102!

Notwithstanding the fact that I have been able to spend some good quality time with an old Eastern Air Lines/United Airlines buddy, Tim Donohue, I have also been the loyal sidekick of two very good racing friends, Dan and Bernie Clapp.  However, my main objective in Chico was to observe, enjoy, and inhale some very close, fast, competitive sprint car racing.

Day number three of the 2011 Gold Cup Race of Champions has given me a glimpse of just what I have been waiting to see in Chico.  After a brief delay, while the grounds crew rearranged and re-groomed the racing surface, the action began.

Paul McMahan had lady luck on his side as he picked up his fourth victory of the 2011 season at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif. With a challenging racing surface, the Elk Grove, Calif. native made the best of his pole position starting spot to lead all 25 laps, wall -to-wall. The starting spot was by virtue of his win in the night’s dash. McMahan started the dash thanks to a drawing of six, which placed him on the front row.

“To get a win here in front of (team co-owners) Dennis and Teresa Roth is huge for this team,” said McMahan. “The dash draw really helped us and it meant we got to start up front which was key. The track started taking rubber early on (in the night) and they worked it a little bit after time trials. For the feature, it still had a lot of rubber so I was trying to be patient as I worked my way around here. I knew Jason (Meyers) would give me a run for my money near the end and I had to keep him at bay. Great win tonight but we want to be golden tomorrow night.”

Here is the results from Friday night’s  feature:

A-Main – (25 Laps)

1. 83-Paul McMahan[1][$8,000]; 2. 14-Jason Meyers[4][$4,000]; 3. 121-Shane Golobic[2][$2,500]; 4. 63-Chad Kemenah[3][$2,200]; 5. O-Jonathan Allard[10][$2,100]; 6. 57-Jac Haudenschild[8][$2,000]; 7. 11-Steve Kinser[9][$1,800]; 8. 99-Kyle Larson[5][$1,600]; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell[15][$1,500]; 10. 5H-Mason Moore[14][$1,300]; 11. 55-Trey Starks[18][$1,200]; 12. 5W-Lucas Wolfe[11][$1,100]; 13. 83JR-Tim Kaeding[17][$1,000]; 14. 33E-Evan Suggs[22][$700]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides[19][$600]; 16. 25-Jason York[20][$600]; 17. 6-Kraig Kinser[24][$600]; 18. 9-Brad Sweet[6][$600]; 19. 1X-Andy Gregg[16][$600]; 20. 44W-Austen Wheatley[21][$600]; 21. 7-Craig Dollansky[13][$600]; 22. 2-Kyle Hirst[23][$600]; 23. 17-Justin Sanders[7][$600]; 24. 15-Donny Schatz[12][$600]

Listed below are the results of the heat races:

Heat 1 – (10 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 11-Steve Kinser[1] ; 2. 83-Paul McMahan[2] ; 3. 17-Justin Sanders[4] ; 4. 2-Kyle Hirst[7] ; 5. 19-Tyler Wolf[9] ; 6. 29-Justyn Cox[8] ; 7. 11VS-John Michael Bunch[10] ; 8. OO-Jason Statler[5] ; 9. 5H-Mason Moore[3] ; 10. 15X-Pat Harvey Jr.[11] ; 11. 24C-Colby Copeland[6]

Heat 2 – (10 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 57-Jac Haudenschild[2] ; 2. 14-Jason Meyers[4] ; 3. 6-Kraig Kinser[7] ; 4. 1-Sammy Swindell[3] ; 5. 89-Rico Abreu[8] ; 6. 2F-Brad Furr[9] ; 7. 26M-Sean McMahan[11] ; 8. 21-Mike Henry[1] ; 9. 92-Kerry Madsen[6] ; 10. 7Y-Clayton Snow[10] ; 11. 44W-Austen Wheatley[5]

Heat 3 – (10 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 9-Brad Sweet[4] ; 2. 121-Shane Golobic[3] ; 3. 55-Trey Starks[2] ; 4. 25-Jason York[1] ; 5. 28-Ian Madsen[7] ; 6. 21M-Peter Murphy[9] ; 7. 25M-Bobby McMahan[8] ; 8. 88-Brad Bumgarner[5] ; 9. 3F-Geoff Ensign[6] ; 10. 28X-Billy Strange[11] ; 11. 11MD-Mathew Davis[10]

Heat 4 – (10 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. 15-Donny Schatz[1] ; 2. 5W-Lucas Wolfe[5] ; 3. 63-Chad Kemenah[4] ; 4. 1X-Andy Gregg[3] ; 5. 11C-Roger Crockett[8] ; 6. 5D-Jason Solwold[7] ; 7. 7S-Jason Sides[2] ; 8. 3C-Cody Lamar[6] ; 9. 6C-Jeff Paraday[10] ; 10. 92N-Andy Forsburg[9]

Heat 5 – (10 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)

1. O-Jonathan Allard[1] ; 2. 99-Kyle Larson[2] ; 3. 83JR-Tim Kaeding[3] ; 4. 33E-Evan Suggs[6] ; 5. 91-Cody Darrah[5] ; 6. 19B-Bud Kaeding[8] ; 7. 7-Craig Dollansky[4] ; 8. 82-Robbie Whitchurch[10] ; 9. 6R-Bill Rose[9] ; 10. 64-Steve Tatterson[7]

With the end of the first night of action packed racing, the excitement builds for final night of the World of Outlaws, and the crowning of the Gold Cup Race of Champions!

THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SIGNING OFF: ROGER,WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!

 

Gold Cup: Night Two

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(captainblowdri file photo)

Last night was the second night of this four day racing event, called The Gold Cup.  The event was billed as “The Tiner Family Classic”.  Last night’s program consisted of  the USAC/CRA wingless 410 sprint cars, as well as, the Western States/BCRA “mighty midgets”.

There were 50 sprint cars and 24 midgets that showed up for the race.

Thursday turned out to be a very exciting, action filled evening of racing.  There was a rolling power outage in the greater Chico area that caused some delays prior to the green flag, temperatures hovering around the century mark, and a few spectacular crashes spread throughout the evening.  Early in the very first heat race of the evening, one of the sprint car drivers drove it very deep into turn one, launched himself over the berm, got on his head, then, began rolling with the race rapidly increasing in revolution speed, landing in the catchfence that protects the pit area from the racing action .

Nevertheless, the true entertaining portion of the night was not the wrecks, it was the hot, fast, keenly competitive races that unfolded as the night payed out.

The first two days of this four day event has given me plenty opportunity to work on my redneck!

So for now:

THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SIGNING OFF; ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!

Civil War Invitational Racing: Silver Dollar Speedway Style

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(captainblowdri file photo)

As my summer vacation is slowly coming to it’s end, I still have one last opportunity to Work On My Redneck!  One of my last stops this summer is in Chico, CA.  The 320 mile drive from La Pine, Oregon, where I spent a total of four and a half weeks, to Chico, CA took about six hours.  Need I say that the drive was spectacularly beautiful.  The prettiest part of the drive was transiting the Lake Shasta area on I-5.

However, the goal on my 320 mile sojourn was to arrive in Chico, setup my RV, and then enjoy four fantastic nights of sprint car and midget racing in Northern California. The Silver Dollar Speedway is an action packed, high banked, 1/4 mile clay racing facility.  The Gold Cup Race of Champions, as this event is called, is the culmination of a hot summer of intense, close competition.  It is one of the most prestigious races on the West Coast for Sprint Cars.

The first night of racing consisted of winged 360 sprint car racing in the 2011 Civil War Invitational.  The top 35 drivers in the points for this series are invited to compete for some really big money.

Likewise, the top drivers in the in the Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Spec Sprint Car Series were invited to compete on Wednesday, the first day of this four day event.

There were 53 sprint cars, both winged and wingless, for the first night of racing.  The quality of the racing was top notched and rivaled racing that I have witnessed at The Knoxville Nationals, in Knoxville, Iowa.  In both the winged and the wingless sprint car A mains, the racing was fast and furious!  The size of the race track, 1/4 mile, facilitates tight, wheel-to-wheel, aggressive fast racing.

No matter where you were focusing your attention, front stretch, back stretch, turns 1 and 2, or turns 3 and 4, it was an action packed evening of thrilling, intense, throttle-jockeying!

This was just the first night of an action packed four nights of racing.  If this was just a precursor to what is the culmination, a two night show from “The Greatest Show On Dirt”, The World Of Outlaws, then it will be money well spent!

So for now:

THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING, ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!

 

Giants of the Northern Calif. Forest

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(Captain Blowdri and a 19′ diameter/297′ tall giant redwood)

It is July the 4th weekend and I sit in my motorhome in an RV park at Gold Beach, OR.  This small resort town sits at the intersection of the Rogue River and the Pacific Ocean.

It  has been four weeks since I pulled out of Yuma, AZ for a summer tour of the Pacific Northwest.  This is the first summer of my official “Medical retirement”, and time to fulfill my desire to take the ol Fleetwood Expedition out for the summer.

The first stop was Fresno, CA to celebrate my mother’s 93rd birthday.  I pulled the RV into an RV park about 25 miles north of Fresno, near the town of Coarsegold.  From there it was just a 25 minute drive back down the hill to Fresno.  The birthday was a very cool celebration of Mom’s 93 years.

The next week I moved the RV over to an RV park near Bodega Bay, CA, the little hamlet is known as Duncan’s Mills,CA.  This RV park lies right along the Russian River about 25 miles east of US 1o1/Santa Rosa, CA, and 8 miles east of Guerneville, CA.  This is in the heart of Pinot Noir country!

Being in the western end of the California wine country, it was only natural that a couple of visits were paid to wineries.  There were two wineries that I visited to taste their products.  The first winery was the Russian River Winery, and the second winery was Dutton Estates.  Both wineries were very interesting and very informative, when questions were asked about their processes and products.

The highlight of the week stay at Gold Beach, however, was the 104 mile jet boat trip up the Rogue River!  It was an eight hour boat right with an hour off for lunch at Agnes, OR.  The sights of the rugged river valley and the wildlife that abounds there was spectacular!  It was a worthwhile adventure that I would do all over again when I return to this part of the country.

So for now:

THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SIGNING OFF, ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!