Sunday, July 5, 2009

Back to Civilization

It's good to be home again.
I went to Ballet class today feeling a little rusty after basically being off my feet and sitting on a motorcycle for the last 3 days. The classes I take are for beginners, and I'm struggling mightily to earn the title 'beginner'. As fate would have it, today a highly accomplished world class ballerina dropped in to take our class. Maria Kochetkova trained with the Russian Bolshoi and is currently a principal with the San Francisco Ballet:

Maria Kotchetkova Blog

Not that even in my best form would I be anything to sing about, but it was a little deflating being rustier than usual on the pirouettes and arabesques while being in the presence of a dancing star, sigh. It was really great to watch her matter of factly doing fantastic things up close and personal like :-)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Homeward Bound

I caught sight of someone taking their classic Ford out for a July 4th spin. Only managed to get the front half of the car in my action shot but take my word for it though, the rear half the car matched the style of the front half exactly !

Next shot: No trip down US 101 south of Eureka is complete without rolling through the 'Avenue of the Giants'. One interesting bit about Redwood trees is that their roots are very shallow. The roots of the trees in a stand are intertwined so that as group the trees are holding each other up. United we stand, indeed.

My trip read is the autobiography of Kate Adie the BBC news correspondent. I had heard so many BBC broadcasts that opened with "Presented by Kate Adie" that I became curious about who she was. A pioneering BBC broadcast journalist, she had to start off being handed 'female appropriate' 'Homemaking' assignments. Her mettle in handling more 'serious' topics became apparent over time and it's telling that the photo on the cover of her autobiography 'The Kindness of Strangers' shows her in war correspondent battle dress complete with her blood type written in big letters on the front of a shoulder strap (!). The account of her pioneering days in getting new BBC programming off the ground reads with a great sense of perspective and humor and takes us along into a world where the paths to the attainment of goals are fraught with setbacks and detours, but a steadfast eye on the ultimate destination along with an uncanny ability to 'wing-it' can lead to surprising results (or spectacular failures !). A very good read so far. 1/2 left to go. Highly recommended !

Friday, July 3, 2009

Brrrr.. No C-C-C-Coos Bay to-d-d-daaay

It was a cold, foggy and overcast day today along the California and Oregon coasts. A bit adverse to making it up to Coos Bay and having time to wander around at an appropriately leisurely pace. So I wandered around the coast not quite so north as I had originally planned. There were a lot of other people on motorcycles going up and down this beautiful coastline today, um, 99% of them with windshields so appropriate for the weather.. Speaking of the weather, I learned today that the weather conditions in the areas that I ranged over are uniquely suited to the cultivation of very good Easter Lily Bulbs. That thought made my day, actually...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

3 day chopper getaway

I looked at my calendar and noticed that I hadn't taken any vacation time since last Sept. Well, we need to remedy that ! So I'm off for 3 days heading north to Oregon. I'd like to swing by Coos Bay, OR. I was last in Coos Bay in 1978 visiting my sister who lived there at the time. That visit was my first close contact with small town life. My sister's friends thought that I was a complete paranoid freak from the city constantly insisting on locking things (like vehicles) anytime we were leaving them. This was a town where no one bothered to lock the doors to their houses when no one was at home. It's a likely bet that things are a little different now, 30 years later.
On this trip I'm taking my Honda Fury, a bike not suited to making this kind of journey. There's no real luggage capacity, the seat is skimpy and hard and there's no wind protection. I've done many motorcycle miles on bikes with at least a minimal windscreen which makes it possible to do many miles at high speed per day. So this time it will be fewer miles at slower speeds. All the better notice more with not a chance of getting a speeding ticket. While on the open highway I caught up on a lot of my favorite podcasts: Culture, News, Technology and History from BBC, Deutsche Welle, PRI, Radio Australia, Radio Romania, Radio Austria, Radio Japan and NPR. It's a relaxing luxury to be able to listen to the queued up casts serially and completely.
One of the action shots shown was taken while passing a vineyard. It's sobering to think that 90 years ago or so, making wine would be illegal. Times change.