Sunday, May 24, 2015

Getting Around in the Old Days

Suzuki 250 cc X6 like I had once upon a time
A comment by one of my blogger friends, on another blog, brought back memories.  She mentioned leaning into wind, in her biker days.  The comment took me back like it was yesterday to a time when I was a biker.

When I was young, I did not get a good summer job that paid out much, so that I could save up for a vehicle.  In fact, I had to work for my father for nothing, while my brothers got good jobs that paid well.  One brother worked as a roofer at one of the mills while my other brother worked for a contractor.

One summer my father taunted me by saying he would give me a camera for working for him for the summer.  I wanted to learn photography.  Well, he gave it to me, but only for three months, then took it back, and thought that was very funny.

When I went away to religious college as was expected of me, I was simmering in a deep need to get away from my father, my roots, everything.  Rebel!   To someone raised as I was, in almost total isolation and control, to rebel even a tiny bit was very daring.

I bought a motorcycle. I couldn't afford a car and I wanted freedom, to go somewhere. I paid $75 for a used Suzuki 250 X6.  It was very used, the paint chipped and the bike rusted, but my brother and I painted it baby blue and I hoped to travel around some, down in the Napa Valley area, just north of the bay, in California, where I briefly went to college.

It was a religious "conformist" college, no straying of thought allowed there.   Believe what you are told and do what you are told, or be expelled.

So they were not sure what to do with someone who rode a motorcycle up and down the many campus stairs to class (the college and its buildings were on a steep hill), and a woman at that.  Even the California highway patrol in that area seemed surprised to see a woman biker.  They stopped me frequently, just to chat.

I once rode that little bike all the way back home, to southern Oregon.  It's top speed was 60 mph, but achieving even 60 came with the price of enduring severe vibration.  On one coastal bridge, with high intermittent wind, I thought I was going to die.  I'd have to lean severely into the wind, but a sudden let up would throw myself and the bike nearly over.  By the time I got home, my face was welted from rain.  I had no goggles and no face shield for the old helmet I wore.

My brother thought it would be funny to add an air horn.  So he did.  I tried to use it once.  It stuck "on", blasting as I descended "the hill" from college, until it drained the battery.  I hid the bike down a ditch in the forest, covering it in branches, and walked all the way back up the hill to school.  This was not easy, because it was very heavy.  We had no cell phones then, to call for help and hitchhiking was out of the question, because this was the age and territory of the Zodiak killer.  Later my brother and I went back for it, with a borrowed truck.

I crashed it at least three times.  One time, I was avoiding a dog who ran in front of me.  I tried to run after the dog to see if it had been hurt, after I hit the curb and went flying, but realized I'd smashed my foot against the curb.  It healed after a time, but I think I may have broken a foot bone, because it took a lot of time.  I crashed it once coming around a corner into loose gravel, on a return from Mendocino, but the bank I hit was soft dirt and there was no damage to me, nor to the bike.  The other crash was when an old couple turned left in their car right in front of me. I could not believe it.  I had to lay the bike over to avoid a serious crash and my knee was severely torn up on the surface.  I still bear scars on my left knee cap from that crash.  The old couple did not even stop and drove off.  I had no health insurance at that time, so did not even go to the doctor.

The bike rarely worked after that episode with the air horn stuck on.  The entire electrical system got fried.  It needed a lot of everything.  I've ridden only a few times since then as I've not had access to a bike again, outside of once in Alaska, when a guy I met let me take his extremely powerful bike on run.  I am still endorsed.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Moving Along

Yard flowers.  My camera did not want to focus tonight.



The Catnip is thriving, certainly.

Not a large to be cherry crop, but there will be plenty.

Zeva watches me.  She is owned on another block.


Funny Face, whom I've trapped twice for treatment of bad teeth and fleas, still makes his spray marking rounds, even though he was fixed years ago.  He too has a home, but they don't seem to take care of him.  He's often crawling in fleas.
Three or four times this week, beginning last Sunday, I have helped a friend move.  She lives in a second floor apartment and is moving into a mobile home that she now owns.  I volunteered to help.  I need the exercise.

Last Sunday I probably went up and down those stairs a million times.  Yes, I am exaggerating.

It's good for me, like the gym membership I don't have.

By Monday, my left knee locked up, something pulled tight and painful in the back of my knee and that runs down into my calf.  A tendon, ligament, muscle, I don't know.  I could barely walk.  But with rest and Aleve, it unlocked and soon I was at it again, feeling both knees gain in strength each time.  Of course, that is likely my imagination.

Today I had to take Aleve to even be able to go haul more boxes down those stairs.  But that's O.K.  The move is almost done.  I do not envy those who must move.  It is hell.  I've moved many many times in my life.

My electric bill this month was the lowest its ever been here.  I was so happy when I opened it and saw the amount.  Reprieve for this month, at least, from the cliff's edge I live upon financially.

I live in the dark, with the lights off most of the time.  I try to take a shower only every other day, or make them really short.  I do the best I can to reduce expenses here.  But mostly the reduction is due to our very mild weather of late.

Old Vision seems to be failing, not eating as much, having some slowness walking.  But she still jumps around.  She is officially 21 years old next month although I don't know her exact birthday.



She likes to be held and petted and brushed and made over and I do that as much as I can.  She follows me around like a puppy too.  I just love her, but I know I won't have her around much longer.

She does not go up on the high cat runs any longer, from which she fell last August and injured that eye.  She remains ground level or, at the least, on the cat bed contraption at the front window.  She likes sleeping in the beds there and watching the birds flick by.

Stiletto!
There is great relief here, as the cats, one by one, receive needed dental care.  There is less mouth pain, which makes everyone relax and enjoy life.
Soloman, now 9 years old, takes a snooze.

Arrow, now, at two years old, the youngest cat here.  He's from Rosy's clan and they were about the same age.

I've added more cat runs in the cat yard so the cats can watch the birds and boy do they enjoy that.  Mona Lisa stares back at me, with Forest in the background, also on a cat run.  Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Slow Days

 Sometimes weeks go by when I have no meaningful human contact.  This can be difficult to bear.

I've become for the most part comfortable by necessity with being alone.  And quirky, which is what happens over time to those alone.

I still feel this need to be useful and since my self appointed job ended, with the loss of the spay neuter mission, I have been struggling like crazy to find meaningful endeavors.

I've tried to find small situations to help gets cats fixed, to feel I'm doing something, but they are few and far between.  I am hampered with no funds to pay for fixes or even gas now.

Gas is high again.  $3.00 per gallon here and more than that on the coast. Oregon's gas prices are usually higher than the rest of the nation.  I don't know why.   I had such high hopes it would remain affordable.  It keeps me at home most of the time.  When prices were low, everyone was happy and could get out and go somewhere.

I wander on, in a ragged blur.

This morning I took Button over to the shelter to have a dental.  I spent half the night trying to catch her despite feeding in a tied open trap for over two weeks, out where she and her sister hang.    1:10 a.m. I finally get her and am ecstatic.  I take her over this morning, happy, come home and call a man about fixing three ferals. I was referred to the situation by another group and assured everything was normal about it, that they feed the cats and would take them back.  Wrong.

They don't feed them and just hope they go away.  The man also spoke about dropping them at a farm. He works at a Christian run complex in town which is where the cats are.

 I held my tongue, although it was hard, and told him how that is not something that is kind in any way, that they die, very slowly because they have no idea where they are or where to find food or where safety lies and try to come "home", where they are unwanted too.  I asked if he would consider kindness instead, feed them, just let the three live out their lives where they are, after they are fixed.  He said he'd think about it.

The phone encounter upset me greatly.  I had not expected this.  I had been reassured the opposite about this situation.   I seem less able to handle such events lately.

Then, as I prepare to go pick up Button, I get a text stating they didn't have time to get her done.  I drive back over, churning in upset, knowing I likely will not be able to catch her again, without great difficulty, as the day sitting there in the trap, also would have her terrified and very imprinted that the trap is bad news.

I tried calling the affordable vet over on the coast, the one in the far NW corner of our state, hoping maybe they'd had a cancellation, like tomorrow, but they have no openings until middle of July.

 I made two appointments again.  I'll have to come up with about $450 for the drive and two dentals, but at least I have two months to try to do that.  I am trying to think up ways to raise money for these dentals, and the gas and the cat food and the litter.   I am falling short and I know it.   There must be something I could make and sell and somewhere I could sell it. I've got to try harder.

The day was a big time bust.  Some days are like that.

There was this, in Albany today.   Some company doing street view mapping.  I'd already seen photos of this car on facebook as others wondered wtf.  Who knows what company, no logo displayed. Nevada plates.  I went to the store to get Miss Daisy cat treats, since being out of those here isn't a pleasant thing, and saw the car for myself, off Jackson street.





Hey mister, you taking a 360 of the hood while I take a picture of you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sassy Gets Her Dental

Sassy got her teeth taken care of today.  13 were pulled!  Yowie!

Sassy is the last of the nine Albany business cats to go in.  All 9 suffered from severe mouth problems most likely due to their poor circumstance prior to rescue.   At last, all have now had initial dental care.  Rogue and Cougie will need no more, because they have no more teeth.

Cats have 14 molars and premolars.  These are the most problematic when cats suffer from the allergy to their own teeth, like the Albany business cats.   Cats also have four canines and 12 little incisors between their canines.  Those little teeth, if bad, often just fall out on their own.

I left at 4:30 a.m. and traveled to the coast and the affordable clinic, dropping off Sassy the moment they opened, at 8:00 a.m.  Off I went then to Seaside, to walk on the beach.

Rain came down lightly off and on.

Fog drifted through.




A gull walks through mounds of dead Velella or purple jellyfish, that have been blown up on Oregon beaches then die in mass. They are at the mercy of the winds.  The gulls were trying to eat them.







I then drove down to Ecola State Park.  The road winds through a Sitka spruce forest and is quite narrow.  Watch out for middle of the road hogs and corner cutters!   You eventually get to the park and choose to go to Ecola Point Viewpoint or to Indian Beach.  I drove to the latter and then decided to hike the 2.5 mile Cascade Loop trail.

Ha!  I'd already walked a few miles on the beach and had only six hours of sleep last night.  I thought, 'Ah, 2.5 miles, big deal.'

The first half was up, up, and more up.  But very beautiful, as you can see!  The east half of the loop, going up, was very well maintained packed hard gravel and a steady grind up.  I thought I must be there, go around a corner, and more up for more hundreds of feet.  I'd stop to take a rest and take some photos of the gorgeous forest, dripping from rain, shrouded in fog.






Chopped out log bench!



Nice trail!




I heard voices finally behind me.  Before, for all the hike, I'd been alone with the forest.  Here came two young women, early twenties, with backpacks.  I told them I'd only stopped to tie my shoe!  Ha!  They caught on.  Behind them, two older women, and by older I mean older than the twenty somethings by a dozen years or so, but still way younger than me.  They were puffing some.  All were from Canada, although they were not together.  The younger two were making apologies for my difficulties with the climb by telling me it's over 800 meters altitude gain.  That's what clued me in initially they were not Americans.   The older Canadians were very friendly too and I ran into both pairs several more times.

I got to the top shortly after and to the Hikers Camp which was my goal.  I wanted to see it.  Now I want to camp there.  It's awesome.  I threw my pack down on one bunk in one of the cabins and took a nice nap.  I would have taken a longer one but, darn it, I had to get back down, to go pick up Sassy and also, I'd not bought gas and my car was scraping empty.

I had not known gas prices were getting high again.  I've barely bought gas the last month or so, to save money.  It's like $3.15 per gallon over on the coast.  So I'd not brought enough money.   Then I considered whether to buy lunch or pay the $5 parking fee at the state park to go on the hike, and finally figured I could eat when I got home so I paid the fee, but that did not leave me enough to fully fill my tank since gas has gone up.  I had water to drink at least.

It was worth it, paying to park there at the state park, for that delightful beautiful hike.  The Hikers Camp was so wonderful.  I cannot wait to go up there with a sleeping bag and spend the night.




There are three cabins at the Hikers Camp, each with four bunks, but space also for tents to be pitched.  There is a fire circle and covered picnic table and a bathroom, too.  However, because Ecola State Park is day use only, there is no overnight parking there.  To access the camp for overnight camping, one would need to hike in via the Pacific Coast Trail, to have a place to park, if you have no one to drop you at Ecola, the nearest access point being four miles from the camp near Seaside.   

The trail down the west side of the loop was not as well maintained.   Often it was rutted and muddy, with switchbacks and rocks and roots and even downed trees across it, and slippery.  I met more folks coming up it, and they inquired as to how much farther and the condition of the trail and I had to tell them they were only a third of the way up.  They decided to turn around.

The first part of it was absolutely mystical, with heavy fog and a deep forest.  I just stood in awe for a long time at one point.







A better part of the trail down


Terrible Tilly Light House  (Tillamook Rock Light: 1887 to 1957).  It got its nickname because the rock and area are so treacherous. After it was decommissioned a company bought it and made it the Eternity at Sea Columbarium, where people could have the ashes of their deceased loved ones placed in urns.  However, they lost their license due to many infractions.  It's just a rock again, with a dead light house on it, but if you look closely, you can see the sea lions call it home.  There is a viewpoint to see the light house just a few hundred feet down off the Hikers Camp, but also viewpoints along the west branch of the Cascade Loop trail which is also the Pacific Coast Trail.


Indian Beach rocks

Indian Beach again
Last but not least and the reason for the trip---Sassy, now minus 13 teeth.  I hope she feels better very soon.  Thank you so much to everyone who helped with donations so Sassy could get that done.  It's a huge milestone to reach, for all of the Business Nine, to have had vet dental care now.

Makes me Happy!