Sunday, December 19, 2010

They had you tube back then?

Since this was a Rain day in here in LA, I stayed in and worked on my book.
I've finally got them to Paducah. I grabbed my real life friends Brent and James, and sent them back in time. I gave them a Stable/blacksmith shop to run. I also decided to have one of my Characters a horse that needed new shoes.
So how to describe this? You tube to the rescue! It really hasn't changed that much since 1788.
This gave more ideas , since I also needed to describe a Gunsmith shop in Vincennes. However, most of the video considered a 1911 army revolver "Vintage". Ha! Still, this guy did give some ideas:

Now , if you excuse me, I need to find some General Store videos, with a glue salesman named Tom

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Solo Group ride

Been trying some different stuff
I kept on looking at the unfinished section of the Pacific Electric in Fontana, and thinking I could get through on my Giro 20. Veni, Vedi, Velo

Now where James Bond's evil nephew Jimmy Bond? I'm referring to 1967 movie, whihc is a lot better than a movie with 5 different directors deserves to be:

But back to that ride. We had planned this with the Socal Bent group. Only when I got to Encanto Park , there were no other recumbents. I took off anyway on the San Gabriel River Trail:

I then got on Hiway 39 with some nice views past the dams:

Some fall colors near the OHV area:

I waited at the turnoff for the trail. no bents here. I did enjoy the access road. Probably should have stopped and taken a photo of the Santa Ana sucker fishing area, since I felt like one. Anyway, enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Magic Number

Or Do Hare Krishna's sell rollaboards?
As I had mentioned before, the Olympia bag I've been using as a carry-on is getting a bit ratty. It probably didn't help that I threw it at a MTA Bus in a vain attempt to get it to stop
And I really wanted a spinner. Yes, I know, it's that vanity thing again.
And I did have a couple of other requirements. It couldn't be more than 11 inches, due to the fact that it needed to fit into the overhead bin of American's fleet of MD80's. I learned this from AA's website. They also have another “magic number” 45. the width, depth, and height combined cannot exceed 45 inches.
So I put my trusty measuring tape in my purse and headed over to Ontario Mills. I parked at the west end , between Marshall's and the JCPenny outlet. The other place that carries luggage there, Burlington Coat factory, is at the other end of the Mills. They didn't have much selection that last time I looked and the last couple of time I went there, they Kiosk vendors were more than overly pushy.
Sure enough, I had taken about 10 steps when “You need a massage, Pretty Lady”

Argh. I did make to Marshall's, where I found a Delsey Helium, and a Olypmia that were both labeled as 21 inch carry ons. I then discovered that I had left the Tape measure in the car.
So back out and past the vendors. again. no “pretty lady” this time. Hmmm, is that good or bad?
I decided to duck into Penny's. The had a Samsonite 21 inch spinner, originally $260, on sale for $49.
Deal of the Century! Advertised dimensions: 45 on the spot. with 10 inches of depth!
Then I got the tape measure 50 inches with 12 inches of depth. It turns out the advertised dimensions were for the main compartment and didn't take into account the other compartments or the wheels.
so it was back to Marshall's The Delsey also advertised itself as being within the 'legal' limits. The Olympia made no claim other than being a 21 inch spinner. The measuring tape showed the both to be same at 45 total, I thought this was odd, so I measured them again Delsey 48 Olympia 44. No wonder the airlines have so much trouble with carry ons! I wouldn't be surprised to see some one advertise Steamer trunks as a carry on.
And I do seem to have an affinity of the more nondescript brands. It does appear to be as well made as the Atlantic, albeit on the heavier side.
one thing I noticed was that most of the bag now have a TSA -approved clear bag of your toiletries. included. a sign of the times, unfortunately.
So hopefully, the Clerks will not pat you down when they see you measuring your carry-ons. This also end my obsession with luggage (hopefully). Maybe I'll see you in the boarding line

Monday, December 06, 2010

One case of Pistachos, to go

...Or the Seagull and the Eagle try an find Lucky Lindy at the Ghost airport.
Monday, my trip back , started out gray and gloomy. I borrowed the Mom-mobile and went down to Jackson City Park
This used to be the old swimming pool:

and then there's the rock garden:

and Hubble Creek:

I visited the city lake before dropping by Maple Dr

I filled it up with gas and we headed out to Cape. We had lunch at Logan's and the proceed over to Cape Rock Park. This is a Rock that juts out into The Mississippi(until the Railroad demolished part of it), It's where the "Cape" in Cape Girardeau comes from(the other part from Jean Girardot, the first European settler):

This ,allegedly, is Mr. Louis Lorimer. No ankle length ponytail, and no half Shawnee - half European mode of dress. He also doesn't look Half Native American:

We then went to the mall and looked at luggage. My old Olympia carry-on was falling apart, and we looked at some replacements before beading for the Airport.
Once we got to CGI, it was raining cats and dogs. The Plane that was to perform the 2:00 Flight was sitting at the terminal(CGI only has one gate.) It was grounded due to low visibility.
Mom was concerned that she would have to take me to Saint Louis. She started having me call her friends, one of whom called the shuttle service. I talked to the Gate Agent ,who was busying rebook several other folk with tighter connections than mine. He nodded that would be flying, and I understood he had other things to do. I bid the shuttle driver adieu
Finally, at 4, it was clear enough to get started. My flight was supposed to leave at 4:50, and since I was there, Cape Air gave me a boarding pass for the 2:00 flight. With the weather, I decided to leave my camera in the stowed position. We were in Saint Louis in about 40 minutes, safe and sound.
Arriving in Saint Louis can be like visiting a movie set. The airport has two Terminals, Main and East (or 1 and 2). Terminal 1 has four concourses: A,B,C, and D.
In the old days Southwest had the east Terminal, TWA had Concourses B, C, and D, and everyone else was crammed into A. Today Southwest still has the East Terminal all to itself, American, AirTran, Frontier, and Cape air have about half of C, and everyone else is in A. B and D sit vacant, waiting for tenants. I was reminded of this as we pulled in and rounded the end of C. Several air bridges there were meant to service TWA's "Heavy Metal" (747's and L-1011's), but now aren't being used.
Once I got inside, I started to take a tour. I remembered to turn on my cell phone. There was a message from our unit secretary. The billing company had screwed up my timesheet. Was I where I could get on the net and have a look?
I sat down about C19, and got out my netbook. I didn't have any luck with the Wifi, so I wondered back down to the Cape Air Gates and got the timesheet un-mangled. Hooray!
So , I set off on my tour again. I doesn't look too bad here:

at the end is another story:

A sad sight , and I'm not sure what to say. Part of it has been the consolidation of the US Airline industry into 5 Majors (United/Continental, Delta, Southwest/AirTran, American, and US Airways) have left several other Airports with similar gate excess (Pittsburgh and Cincinnati come to mind) The Saint Louis airport has tried to get Both the "New" United and Delta and the other tenants in A to move to C and D (this would get everyone behind a common security perimeter , as A has its own portal) as they have started to increase their flights in response to TWA's demise and American's de-hubbing.
I passed my time by having some Tamales from the Jose Curevo Tequileria and reading some local history books. No Tequila, as I have been accused of getting drunk on root beer.
The flight back was good. We pulled back about 9:00 PM CST. My seatmate and I chatted away most of the night. She promised to send me a case of pistachios from her ranch in Terra Bella, CA.
It was a clear night, so the approach to LAX was breathtakingly stunning. Let's go with a Musical Interlude

LAX was still The busy International airport. I had made another reservation at the Hacienda. It was 11:45 when I got to bed
Tuesday Morning: Yes this is los Angeles:

Went down to the desks, checked out, picked up my car, and headed out to await the Crisis of the day.
Thanks for coming along

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Visting The Dead

I woke up Friday morning and mom asked me what I wanted to do. I was at a loss, but then In saw the brochure for the National Cemetery In Mound City, IL. since it was only 40 miles, we made it a day trip

Mound City was the site of a major hospital in the civil war. It was established to bury the dead from that war and has open for free burials for all honorably discharged veterans ever since. Their signature is a tower erected by the State of Illinois to honor their dead.

I wandered about and found a burial guide Since one of my ancestors was a Confederate Veteran who disappeared near here, I took a look, no such luck.
We then went over to Mound City Itself. It. like Cairo,it is but a shell of its former glory. I did bid adieu to the Beautiful River(Ohio) at the fisherman's memorial.

We then headed back to Cape Girardeau and made the mandatory stop at Hutson's Furniture for their Christmas window

I then walked around downtown while mom browsed through the second hand stores
“Old Man river”

Looking up at The Common Pleas Courthouse:

and yes, at my advanced age, I can make it up the stairs:

it had been a while since I had checked on one of my inspirations for writing, so on to our next stop
Yep, Major Lorimer is still there.

I wish I could have spent more time, but my mom was still in the car.
Saturday, I returned the Rental car. We went over to visit dad's Grave in Jackson.

I then asked my mom if she would like to go to Old Appleton and Shawneetown. As you can Guess from the name, Shawneetown is where most of my fictional characters would have settled. I did get some photo of the old bridge over Apple Creek, but my mom was getting grouchy, so we settled for a driving tour of both of Shawneetown's blocks.

Doing research and spending time with my family reminds me of Jesus' parable about the slave with two masters. I think next time, I will probably let/insist on my Mom doing her own thing, While I wander to and fro about the earth in search of knowledge.
Sunday is our Christmas. So the next installment will be the trip back to LA.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Village of Chief Paduke

I decided to spend the first day of my vacation by going to the next major town to the East, Paducah, Kentucky.
Getting there is half the fun, they say. Actually going from Cape to Paducah can be more than that. You see, Missouri and Kentucky are are the only Two states that I know of that border each other (Via the Mississippi ) that you cannot go directly between using land transport . You have to spend some Time in Southern Illinois. My mom went went with me and we decided to go down via Cairo, Illinois.
Caro is rather unique, too, in that it is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio. Cairo used to be quite a bustling town, but times have passed it by. It now looks either a northeastern slum, a time machine stuck in 1959, or a post-apocalyptic Hollywood set(the first three similes that came to my mind). A very depressing place given the drizzle.
I stopped at Ft Defiance St Park, which is located at the confluence. Mom was wise enough to Stay in the Car

I found the old viewing point

And there was new sculpture by a Southern Illinois Professor at the point

And the the Coast Guard Navigation symbol:

I then went back in town to the Customs house museum. They don't allow photography there, but it still worth your time and $2. As it names implies, the building was the old US Customs point and Federal Courthouse
We then proceeded across the Ohio and on to Paducah. We had lunch before proceeding downtown.
Paducah is at the confluence of the Oho and Tennessee. It is the site of a Chickasaw Indian Village whose chief was named Paduke.
Chief Paduke had quite a unique set up, as the one of the few points on the American Frontier that Settlers and Natives managed to live in peace and harmony.
Part of his success is the geography of Paducah. Paduke and his Chickasaws lived on an island at the confluence, while the settlers lived on the mainland.

His rule was the none of the white man's vices(like liquor) were allowed on the island, which would interest my characters immensely. It's also where Tecumseh Broke his hip in 1788 while migrating to Cape (No Historical Marker, but my research leads me to believe that he was at where Kentucky Oaks mall is now.
The Big Attraction in Paducah is the museum of the National Quilter's Society.

Another place where no Camera are allowed, but it's still worth the Admission. I was a bit worried, as I read some negative reviews on the Internet,(“they used machines”) ,which is true in that does focus more on contemporary quilt making, but it's still an impressive display of talent.
We then stopped a the riverfront, which is where I wanted to go, to get some physical impressions. This George Rogers Clark dude keeps following me around:

I also stopped at one museum, and took this photo of an Illinois Central locomotive .

My Father and Grandfather both worked for the IC,
I wanted to go to another museum, but, apparently, I had wrote down the address wrong and didn't have an easy way to find it (I did not bring my Asus EEE, and web browsing on my phone can be clunky), Plus it was getting late, so we headed back.
We did make another stop across the Ohio at Fort Massac in Metropolis, Illinois. for the record I did not see a man flying around in Blue tights and a Red Cape (Metropolis is the only city by that name in the United States, and bills itself as the “home of Superman”.)
Fort Massac was an old military post that was used by both the French and the Americans. It was abandoned at the time of my story and it was Raining. so I only made an Impressions stop before heading home
I tried to keep as close to the route I Imagined my characters would have taken. The only issues were that Illinois does a poor job of marking their secondary roads and IDOT avoids routing hills over the bluff at the foot of the Mississippi flood plains, preferring the lowland routes. Back at the time of my Story, The lowlands would have been a swamp, so my characters would have probably hiked over the hills. If My mom was not along, I would have wandered around and found a route that was a better approximation. And found that other museum. Sounds like another trip. For the Record, Paducah is an EAS airport, but served by Skywest and United from Chicago O'Hare with Embraer Regional Jets . Not to my AAdvantage. :(

Friday, December 03, 2010

"The best $50 I ever spent"

I went to work the day before my flight. Thankfully, I asked my co-worked for directions and managed to get to my hotel, The Hacienda Inn at LAX, a Half hour before I had planned. Unfortunately, There was a line at the desk. When the clerk handed me my key. he said “you're going to really like your room.” he was right. it was a suite:

I then headed out to dinner. While there was a Sizzler and El Pollo loco across the street, The street was Sepulveda Boulevard. I decided to patronize the in house coffee shop. I ordered some Pork Tacos, But when I got my dish, it was a pork chop. After a bit, I had my tacos. Not bad.

I started early in the morning, since my flight's departure time was 6:55 am. There were several other folks in the shuttle bus. The driver took a round about route through the terminal, which mainly consisted of dropping off the Air crews first.
He finally made to Terminal 4, which was my stop. I got off , checked in my bags, and proceed to the security line, which took the majority of the morning.
They weren't using the “Nude-o-scopes”, or full body scanners, but they only had one of the traditional scanners working. Once I made it past, I went to gate, and bought a Copy of the L.A. Times, a Coke Zero, and model of an Airbus A380, which was priced at $7.67 (some one has a sense of irony! Maybe the 777 is on sale for $3.30)

We all got on the flight in an orderly fashion, and the crew was able to push off early.

Despite sitting in coach, I had some good legroom, until the lady in Front of me reclined her seat (Maybe American could buy some of those non-reclining seat that some of those low cost airlines (Spirit, Ryanair, China Spring)use).
I left my Camera in my purse, and I regretted it, as I could have gotten some good shots of the Theme Building and a couple planes.
The “Mad Dog(a McDonnell Douglas MD80)” made the Turn, and howled off the runway, We were soon over the Pacific and made a 180 to head back over the LA area. I managed to get my camera out for a shot over the San Gabriels:

And the Desert:

The Captain announced that we were flying over the Grand Canyon. I didn't think I could get a good pic, so I kept the camera in the seat pocket.
We were flying over the plains of Kansas:

And the Ozarks:

And before we were knew it we were at Saint Louis. We flew past Lambert Airport and made what I call the “Arch Approach” Fly to the Gateway Arch and turn until you line up with the runway.
We were at the Gate a full 40 minutes early! Good Job, AA! I proceed to what I thought was the new Cape Air Gate C6. When I got there, there was an American MD-80 parked there. Oops!
I started down to the where the Gate used to be on the D Concourse. They had the D Concourse completely blocked off. Hmm.
Well, when all else fails, read directions! The Cape Air Gate was C7. I sheepishly made my way back. The Terminal was busy, a reminder of its old glory days with TWA. One of the Shots I missed at LAX was a plane at the Delta terminal next to us, a 757 with the Tail number N727TW, an old Trans World bird ( I was not able to get the Number of the MD-80 I Flew in on. Let's Pretend it was another TWA Bird, as the Flight crew was based in Saint Louis)
some shots in STL:

I asked the Gate agent if could get on the early flight to Cape Girardeau If my bag made it on time. She said they would see if they could. I took some pics and signed up for a day's internet pass, which was about the time the Gate Agent told me they had my bag, and would be able to get me on the 12:45 flight instead of the 3:20.
Flying in the 402 is quite different than your typical airliner:

The Captain made the typical pre flight announcements by turning his shoulder, instead of using a PA. This turned into a Q&A session “We're doing great (They had one unused seat, and most EAS planes fly empty)” “We Just got the contract for Ft Lenard Wood, and will be getting more planes, and upping our frequencies, know any pilots who need a job?”
The weather was clear , so my fellow passengers and I turned it into Sightseeing expedition. We had a very discussion on the History and Geography of Kaskasia Island.

Before we knew it, we were at CGI.

The greatest endorsement of Cape Air by my fellow passengers “They best $50 I ever spent”
We made another 180 and landed. I was not able to get a hold of either my mother or my brother to let them know I had made the earlier flight. I sat down at Sandy's place - the restaurant inside the airport - and waited. My mom arrived at the same time as my entree. Life is good!