Thursday 30 November 2023

Wow, Look At That Aurora

    Tonight (Nov 30) and tomorrow night (Dec 1) there is a great likelihood that in areas reaching halfway down through the US, there will be auroras in the sky, because of a powerful Solar storm.  For us here in the Robson Valley, it means that it will probably be overcast and cloudy.  

    It has been decades since I have seen a good aurora and every time I hear about one I think of the cold January night when I went out into the darkness to tryout the “Night Vision” capabilities on my camera.  It was pretty frigid and dark as I ventured out into the pasture to scan the open skies through the viewfinder of my camcorder.   I had the Night Vision on, and what I saw through the viewfinder was amazing:  Cloud-like areas of green, swirling across my eyes.  

    “Wow,”  I thought, “This is an amazing aurora.”   I turned on the video button of the camcorder to record the incredible aurora for posterity.  I kept my eyes glued into the view finder.  I was so happy to be seeing and recording such an amazing display.  

    After a while I lowered the camcorder from my eyes, and was surprised that I couldn’t see the aurora with my naked eyes.  I looked back into the viewfinder, and there it was again.

    “Wait a minute, something’s not right here.”  I began to think, and then it hit me.  There was no aurora.  What I was seeing, and recording was my breath, fogged up from the cold, and drifting across the front of my camera.

    I felt pretty deflated, and foolish at all of my excitement in thinking I was witnessing an amazing aurora, that turned out to be,  just my breath.

View my paintings:


Wednesday 29 November 2023

William H. "Bud" Schmidt

    Ever since I woke up this morning I have been worrying, because I couldn’t think of anything to blog about.  After I got done with my painting, I busied myself in my soup making, hoping that a blog ideas might come, then I got a text telling my that my dear “Uncle Bill” died in his sleep last night, he was the ripe old age of 98.  That was certainly not the sort of blog that I had been hoping to write.

    My Uncle Bill featured large in my childhood.  He and my grandparents, ran a commercial greenhouse and farm within walking distance from our house, and I spent a great deal of time there, having adventures playing in the barn, feeding the farm animals, and sitting on the farm equipment.  We kids loved to spend time in his bedroom, playing his rock and roll 45’s on his record player.  He was a bachelor at the time, and he often took us kids to the movies.  He loved big budget Westerns, with their sweeping landscapes and majestic soundtracks.  I credit him with instilling both my love of the West and music in me.  I always loved it when he would play honky-tonk piano pieces on my grandmother’s stately piano.

    Although Bud was a farmer, his love was to take road trips to what seemed like exotic locations to us kids.  He drove to Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, and also to Mexico.  He fixed the first “Mexican” food (something else I love) for our family after his trip to Mexico.  His vacations were major events in his life, and he loved being far from his home in Indiana, to spend time in the mountains of the Tetons, or closer to home, in the Great Smoky Mountains.

    He was always a compassionate and generous man, and later in life he donated hours working for the Food Bank and also Habitat for Humanity projects.

    Bud and his wife Emmy,  became the center of all our family festivities and gatherings for years.  When Emmy died in 2015, I worried about Uncle Bill, but he stoically carried on with his life alone, and I was surprised to catch him watching cooking shows on PBS, as he made his way independently.

    Bud’s health had begun to fail over the last few weeks, and we were happy to have a FaceTime call with him four days ago.

    Uncle Bill had been such an important influence on my life, and know all of those who knew him, will certainly be saddened by hearing of his death.

    Below is a painting I did of Bud and Emmy.   I called it, "Hoosiers".


Tuesday 28 November 2023

A Bit of a Coincidence

    Issac Newton said, “A body at rest, remains at rest.” or something to that affect.  That also seems to apply to this old ticket to see FDR.  I found it thirty or more years ago among some of the artifacts that belonged to my grandmother.  I took it, but it sort of disappeared among my things for more decades, then I must have happened upon it again.  I didn’t want to throw it away, because it seemed historic, but at the same time, I didn’t really know what I should do with it, so I laid it on the bookcase beside my desk, and there it sat collecting dust, for probably another decade.

    Last night I was looking for my guitar pick.  The night before, I had been at my desk, working up John Lennon’s song, “Happy Christmas” so we could do it at our jam, and playing the song to myself on the guitar using a pick was a bit too loud, so I laid the guitar pick down, I thought maybe on the bookcase.

    However, when I looked on the bookcase, the guitar pick wasn’t there, but I saw the old FDR ticket.  I studied the ticket again out of curiosity, and then noticed the date:  October 28, 1944, and was surprised at the coincidence, because October 28th was going to be the date today, 79 years ago. 

    (Of course, being old and retired, I am losing all track of time, because I now realize that it is presently November, and not October.  Oh well, the blog is already written)  

     I still don’t know what I should do with the old ticket, so I put it back where it was on the bookcase.  If someday, I suddenly get an inspiration about what I should do with the ticket, I will know where I can find it.

 You can view my paintings at:

Monday 27 November 2023

Our First Night With A Live Trap

    It was in the late summer of 1987 that we started to see the odd mouse (and signs of mice) in our house.  I love wildlife, and like to see them thrive, but not in our house.  I didn’t want to kill mice with a regular mouse trap, so I bought a live trap, similar to the one in the photo, except that our older model didn’t have the “skylight” in the lid.  

    I figured if I caught a mouse in the trap, I would carry the trap (with mouse) out into the woods and free the critter in the morning when I woke up.  However, things didn’t really work out the way I had imagined.

    Before I went to bed, I put a little pile of rolled oats in the trap, closed the lid, and set it beneath a table in the kitchen.  I was just on the verge of falling asleep, when I heard a metal sounding, “Ch, Ch, Ch” sound, then realized that there was already a mouse in the trap.  I figured the sound I had heard was the mouse, realizing it was trapped, scratching on the metal trap trying to get out.  I got out of bed, turned on the kitchen light and peered through the holes at the end of the trap, and did see the little beast.  

    I put on a pair of boots, and carried the trap across our yard, through the gate, down our property line, until I got to our neighbor’s garden, which was surrounded by woods.  Then I lowered the trap to the ground, and opened the lid to free the poor captive.  I expected it to immediately leap out and quickly scamper away, but the mouse seemed to feel more secure hunkered down trying to hide in the trap, so I had to poke at it with my finger before it finally decided to flee.

    I walked back to the house, took off my boots, I checked to see that the mouse hadn’t really eaten many of the oats, so I just closed the lid and set the trap back down, then climbed back in bed.  My outdoor activity with the mouse had interrupted my sleep cycle, so I couldn’t immediately fall back to sleep.  As I was approaching Slumberland, again I heard the “Ch, Ch, Ch” sound of another trapped mouse in the live trap, so once again I got up and repeated all of the actions that I had just gone through with that first mouse.

    It was not a very restful night, because after that second mouse episode, I experienced another three and had to deal with them the same way.  They made too much noise with there scratching, just to let them carry on through the night, until morning.  Those last three happened later in the night, so in addition to carrying the trap and it’s captives, I also had to also carry a flashlight, because it was then dark outside.

    After catching five mice that first night, I realized our mice problem was a bit more serious than I had suspected.  Eventually over several nights, there finally arrived a time when no more mice scratched in the trap, I had caught them all, and I was able to sleep through the night.

    While I was happy not to kill the mice, knowing that they could take their chances in the great outdoors with the owls and coyotes, I did begin to realize that my heroic actions in keeping them alive, did have a personal cost to my sleep.

You can take a look at my paintings:


Sunday 26 November 2023

Underwater Springs?

    As I have written about, the Robson Valley has been suffering under a severe drought for months.  The water in my pond had fallen more than a foot from what was normal.  Its water was no longer draining out of the outflow.  Over the last few weeks I have been surprised to see the pond’s water level begin to rise.  

    For the winter, I have allowed a bit of water from our waterline to continually flow into the pond to keep our waterline from freezing over, but that small amount of water draining into the pond does not account for the fast rise of the pond’s water level.  This morning I noticed a probable explanation for its fast rise.  Can you see the dark circles on the ice in the photo above?

    I believe some underground springs underneath the pond have begun running, due to the new snow now on the mountaintops.  The pond is covered with a thin layer of ice, which is topped by a skiff of snow.  You can now see a few dark spots on the ice’s surface where the snow has melted, and in one spot, melted the ice.  I think water from underground springs are seeping into the pond water, and being warmer, are rising, and melting the ice above them. 

    The water in the pond has now risen enough for the water to now begin to flow out of the pond’s outflow.  That is what the photo below shows.  That area in the middle and foreground of the photo, had been totally dry until a month ago.

View my paintings:


Saturday 25 November 2023

More of Lyuba's Sculptured Ceramics

    Yesterday I blogged about Lyuba Milne’s Ceramics Show at the McBride Museum.   Today I will just follow up by showing a few more examples of her diverse creativity, sculpturing clay.  


You can view my paintings at:

Friday 24 November 2023

Lyuba Milne's Ceramic Show

    We had a wonderful cultural evening last night when we went to the opening of Lyuba Milne’s Ceramic display at the McBride Museum.  I have always been impressed at Lyuba’s sudden dive into the extremely difficult and chancy world of clay, and her incredible creativity, once she sunk her teeth into it.    While over the years I had seen many of the creations that were on display last night, seeing the collection together in the beautiful space at the museum was a real treat for the eyes. 

    There were so many different examples of Lyuba’s sculptural styles, adorned in the amazing colorful and textured glazes that were created by David Milne.  

    Ceramics is a terribly difficult art form, plagued by uncertainty and potential failure during the whole long process.  You could be using the wrong kind of clay, and your piece might come apart while being fired.  The glaze you used may turn out totally different than what your expected, because of the temperature inside the kiln.

    I have always thought of ceramics as being a scary art form, because there are just so many uncertainties and unexpected ways you can fail, after all the time it took for you to create your piece.  Lyuba’s patience and determination has been remarkable, and she can certainly be proud of what she has accomplished.

    Below are closeups of a couple my favorite pieces that I saw last night, and I plan to show a few more tomorrow.  

    Her show will be at the McBride Museum through December.

You can view my paintings at:


Thursday 23 November 2023

Textured Ice

    Looks like I am back to trying to find local things that catch my eye.  Yesterday on one of the several trips Kona and I took around the pond, I noticed the bumpy ice.  It was caused when the snow that had fallen on the pond had started to melt, but the slushy clumps froze before they had a chance to totally melt away.  I did like the way the bumpy, glassy, ice looked.  

View my paintings at:


Wednesday 22 November 2023

JFK: Sixty Years Ago Today

   I was 15 years old.  It was a big day for me--No classes!  As a member of North High School’s Concert Choir, I was among those in the choir who were traveling up the big city of Indianapolis to give a series of concerts in some high schools there.  I don’t remember anything about the concerts, but I will always remember that when we arrived at one of the schools ready to give an afternoon concert, we were told by some of the students there, that President Kennedy had been shot.

    I didn’t believe them.  I figured those big city kids were just trying to put something over on us country bumpkins, but as the day progressed, I kept hearing news of the killing from different sources and I finally began to realize that maybe it had happened.  Before we left Indianapolis in the evening,  I managed to buy a newspaper (above) and seeing the news in print, erased any doubt in my mind about the event.

   During the 1960 presidential election my parents who had always been Republicans, voted for Nixon instead of Kennedy.  Taking my cue from them and being politically naive, I thought myself as a Republican also, so when the election results came in, I had been disappointed that Kennedy had won the presidency, but like most of the nation, I quickly fell in love with the Kennedy, and I too, began to admire the man and the freshness that he brought to the office. 

    My growing idealism made me support the many of the Kennedy programs, like the Peace Corps, and the actions he took to try to end racial segregation in the South.  It was a terrible shock to me when he was murdered.  I think the fact that I still have this newspaper shows how much his murder effected me. 

    Every time I see that clip of Walter Cronkite, the news anchorman, glance up at the clock, then try not to choke up as he tells the world that President Kennedy is dead, after all these years still causes me to choke up myself.

    Decades later after moving to Canada, I watched a television show about Kennedy, and was again shocked upon seeing how articulate, witty, and intelligent he was when answering questions, compared to the string of mediocre presidents the US had elected at the time.

    I have always been touched by a couple of songs that refer to the event.  The Byrds on their “Turn, Turn, Turn” album did a song called, “He Was A Friend of Mine”, and more recently I discovered the Billy Joel song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” where Joel frantically lists all the big news events of the fifties onward, and when I first heard him end one of the verses with “JFK blown away, what more do I have to say?” I was really struck, it summed up for me just how crazy the world was.  

    The Kennedy assassination has always spawned conspiracy theories, because the official explanations had been so shaky.  Within the last month or so, Paul Landis, the Secret Service agent who threw himself onto the back of Kennedy’s car, trying to protect the First Family after the gun shots, while Jackie tried to pick up pieces of John Kennedy’s brain off of the trunk, confessed to finding a bullet lying on the car’s convertible top cover. 

    He stuck the bullet in his pocket, afraid it wouldn’t get lost, as the car sped to the hospital.  Then later, without telling anyone, put the bullet onto the gurney that had been used at the hospital.  The Warren Commission didn’t know about that fact when they investigated the assassination.  It changes the whole “magic bullet” explanation, so the assassination story isn’t yet over.

    November 22 has always reminded me of that jarring day, back in 1963.  The events of that day, still sadden me these sixty years later.

Take a look at my paintings:


Tuesday 21 November 2023

Maybe They Couldn't Find A Bigger Box

    My wife ordered a sewing ruler and a pin cushion online.  The other day, she received this large cardboard box, with her ruler and pin cushion inside.   I guess fighting wastefulness is not very high on the company’s agenda.  I would have thought that surely they must have had a smaller box around that they could have used for shipping.  No wonder the natural world as we know it is disappearing.

View my paintings:


Monday 20 November 2023

Virginia McKibben Nail

    One of the things that has always surprised me about living in a tiny, very isolated, rural village is discovering some of the remarkable people that also live here.  Back in 1977 when we first moved into our house in McBride, we met a tall, elderly woman walking beside our property line, to her garden on her 40 acre mostly treed property situated adjacent to ours.  She was our neighbor, and introduced herself as Virginia McKibben Nail.  She came across as being a very “Proper” society-type woman, who seemed rather misplaced, living in the wilds of the Robson Valley.

    She immediately dominated the conversation, dropping names, and putting on airs.  When I told her my name, she asked, “Of the Smith Corona Marchants?” (the manufacturers of typewriters).  I watched her face as my status fell, when I assured her that I wasn’t.  Mrs. Nail had grown up in a prominent family in Pittsburgh, and was very proud of her family’s status.  While I wasn’t at all impressed with the status of her ancestors, I must say, I was impressed when I learned of the work she had done during her working years.

    From 1934-1954, she worked with Harlow Shapley, famous astronomer and Head of the Harvard Observatory.  Her name is along side Shapley’s in many groundbreaking published astronomical papers, many of which can be googled on the internet.  They did calculations about the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and studies of the Magellanic Cloud.  This was all very high level scientific work.   Mrs. Nail  had also met Albert Einstein.

    To us, Mrs. Nail wasn’t an astronomer, she was a gardener and member of the Art Council.  She had bought the McBride property, because her daughter lived in the Robson Valley.  Mrs. Nail lived here during the summer, spending her winters in Vancouver.  She didn’t have a vehicle and if she needed to go into McBride, she would just start walking down the road, and someone would stop and pick her up.

    She could also be seen walking past our house with a basket full of jars, to collect drinking water from the springs, just past our house.  She bought herself a rototiller, and I would till her garden, and she would let me us the machine to till our garden.

    It was pretty amazing and unexpected to find someone with such an impressive record of writing important scientific papers, living next door to us in rural Robson Valley.

View my paintings:



Sunday 19 November 2023

Sleeping -In: A Lost Commodity

    It is a weekend, it is 6:40 AM.  It is dark outside, it is dark in the bedroom, and I have no reason to leave my warm bed, except for one:  Kona.  She also has no reason to get up, except for her inner clock which tells her she must get me out of the bed.  It is something that happens like clockwork every morning.  

    She drapes herself across me with her nose in my face.  I try to regulate my breathing and not make any movements, hoping that she will think I am sound asleep, but not matter.  She is on a mission, which is to get me out of bed and dressed.  

    When I finally can’t stand it any more and relent, she settles back in bed and she watches me dress.  Then when I am done, she streaks out of the room, races down the steps, and waits.  I have to go to the door, where she waits some more as I put on my outside clothes.  I have to put the leash on her, because she can’t be trusted outside.  Once out there, if there is any sign or scent of a deer, if she is unleashed, she will be gone.

    One might think that having slept all night, Kona might need to pee, but when we first get outside, she is more interested in sniffing around, so I have to keep reminding her to pee, and finally she does, and so we can go back inside the house.   As we fix our breakfast, Kona lounges on the couch, happy in her accomplishment and ticking off her first goal of the day:  She has gotten her masters out of bed.

View my paintings:


Friday 17 November 2023

Will I Ever See Snow Again?

    Before you jump to conclusions, know that the photo above is an old one, not current, although we did get a skiff of snow overnight.

    Way back in February of 1969, I was in my last year of university in Indiana, where I grew up.  Months earlier, I had applied to join the Peace Corp, and I had just been accepted for a two year stint in the Philippines.  My twenty-one year old self was full of curiosity and questions about what my future would hold, knowing that the tropical islands of the Philippines would probably be in it.

    On that February morning it had snowed overnight, and when my class was over I was walking through the snow back to my MG to drive home.  As I walked, I looked down at the snow that covered the campus and was full of nostalgia and doubt, realizing I was leaving my home to live on the other side of the world.   I wondered, “Will I ever see snow again?”

    Potentially missing snow, seemed like a strange thought, knowing of all of the thousands of other and more meaningful things in my life that I would be leaving behind, but that was what my 21 year old brain was wondering about.

    One can never predict where their life might lead, and my best guess at the time was way off.  After my two and a half months of Peace Corp Training in Hawaii, I realized, that my Tagalog language skills were not going to be good enough for me to work in the Philippines, plus the job I was being trained for:  Running seminars for teachers, didn’t really appeal to me; I initially thought I would be teaching kids, and finally, the Vietnam War was continually escalating, and I wanted to get back to work with others of my generation to work toward stopping the slaughter, so I quit the Peace Corp and headed back to Indiana.

    Looking back, I guess I was wasting my time worrying about whether I would ever see snow again, because I ended up immigrating to Canada, where I have seen more than enough of the white stuff in my life.

View my paintings at:


Thursday 16 November 2023

BC's Snow Pillows

    All through the winter, snow piles up and accumulates on the tops of the mountains in British Columbia.  When it starts to warm up in the Spring, that huge amount of snow that piled up there begins to melt.  All of those rivers that run through BC, that were very low during the winter, suddenly, with all the mountain snow melt, begin to over flow and can cause flooding.

    To know what to expect, as far as possible flooding, BC had to figure out some way to measure and predict how much snow was up there on the mountains.  The six feet of snow that fell in one place, won’t contain the same amount of water in it as six feet of snow that fell in another place, because of compaction and maybe water inside it that has melted and froze.  

    The problem was solved by placing a mat on the ground with sensors in it that measured the weight of all the snow that accumulated on top of it.  The mat is called a “Snow Pillow”.  The measurement of the snow’s weight is automatically radioed to a station that keeps track of it.  

    I had never heard of a snow pillow until I started working at Forestry.  The snow pillow data can now be found on the internet, and it is very interesting to find out how much snow is accumulating in the mountains all around us.  Last year the snow accumulation around here was half of what normally falls and in the spring, the Fraser River didn’t overflow its banks like it normally does.

    After experiencing an extreme draught over the summer, with a lot of local people who depend on creeks for their water, became very concerned about loosing their water when the creek flows diminished or disappeared.  This winter everyone is hoping for at least a normal snowfall, if not an above normal one.

    Below is a photo of what a snow pillow site looks like during the summer.


View my paintings at:

Wednesday 15 November 2023

A Brief History of My Telephones

    The photo shows the kind of telephone I remember for most of my youth.  At the time, our phone number started with two letters from a word, something like “FRankland”, so our number would be FR-4637.   For most of my youth we were on a party line, so sometimes if we picked up the receiver to make a call, there would be people on our party line, already talking, so we would have to hang up and wait.  If I remember correctly, if we needed to call someone who was on our party line, we had to dial their number, hang up, listen to our phone start to ring, and then when it stopped ringing, we would pick up the receiver and the party we called would be on the line.  It seemed strange then, and still does.  

    Phone calls were very expensive, so “Long Distant” calls in our family were very rare.  Us kids didn’t do much talking on the phone until we reached our teenage years, then we were often told to get off of the phone, in case other people on our party line needed to make a call.    It was probably when I was in university, that everyone on our party line got their own private line.

    We did live our lives constantly using the phone, until I immigrated to Canada and took a job in a remote and isolated logging mill camp teaching in a one room school.  There was no phone communication available for the camp, so we lived without phone calls for about 2 years, but then the camp did install a microwave phone booth that we could use to make very important phone calls.

    When I took a teaching job in the very small village of Avola, BC, we were able to get a telephone in the teacherage where we lived for a year.  Once we bought a house in McBride, we had to wait for about a month for the telephone repair guy to give us a number, before we were able to use a phone.  During that month of having no phone, my parents who got worried, wondered why they hadn’t heard anything from us, and called the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to find out what happened to us.  A RCMP officer actually came to our house to see if we were okay.

    In McBride at the time, all we needed to make a local phone call was a four digit phone number.  After a bunch of years went by, the number of digits required for a local phone call, jumped to seven.  Then of course with the advent of cell phones and so many additional phones, the number of digits required for all phone calls jumped to 10, as we were then required to also dial the area code, even for our local calls.

View my paintings:



Tuesday 14 November 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Last Entry

    My accommodation in Mexico was the Hotel Canada, which was more expensive ($8.50/night) than the Hotel Concordia where I stayed at the beginning of my trip, but it is much nicer.  I cashed my last Traveller’s Cheque at the bank.  I had lost about $10 US cashing two cheques at the hotel in Merida, but it had been during the weekend, when I had no alternative.

    After wandering through Mexico City for a couple of hours looking for more souvenirs to take home, I had a shrimp pizza, then settled down in my room in front of the television on my last night in Mexico, to watch “Fame” and a Bill Cosby movie in Spanish, both of which were very boring.

    Next morning I caught a VW cab with the front passenger seat removed, for a ride to the airport.  It was a relatively calm ride compared to the taxi I had taken yesterday.  At the airport, I wandered through the shops looking to spend the rest of my Mexican money.  I had 28,000 Pesos left.  I bought two pairs of silver earrings.

    Walking out of the last shop, I was approached by a young Gringo, who asked me if I spoke English.  After I replied yes, he told me he had just had his passport and money stolen, had to call his parents for more money and didn’t have any money to eat on.  I told him I had just spent the last of my pesos, and he told me that “only a couple of dollars would do.” So I told him I did have $20 US emergency money, and gave him $10.   He gave me a little silver charm as thanks.  I wished him luck and I continued toward the waiting lounge for my flight.

    Going through Customs and Security, I had to pay $10 for the Airport Tax.  They confiscated by Boy Scout pocket knife, but didn’t even look through my 20 pound bag with my camera stuff.  On the 747 plane, I had a window seat, but couldn’t see anything out the window but the wing.

    In Canada, while going through Customsa, I was asked what was the most expensive thing I had purchased in Mexico, and replied it was a $40 pair of earrings.  That was it, I was waved on through.  I walked out of the baggage area and went upstairs, then remembered my pocket knife that I was supposed to pick up down below.  I waited and waited, and was finally told to come back later, which I did, and amazingly later, when I did return, I did get my pocket knife back.

    Looking out the Vancouver Airport windows, everything was grey and wet, and while I waited at the airport, anxious to get back home to the Robson Valley, I couldn’t help but think back on the three weeks I had just spent exploring ancient Meso-American pyramids, seeing jungles and  beautiful seashores, taking outrageous chicken bus trips, and sleeping in third-world hotel rooms.  It had been a wonderful experience, and I was glad I had kept track of it in my journal.

Take a look at my paintings:


Monday 13 November 2023

Lucifer Loves her Litter Box

    I was outside putting new cat litter into Lucifer’s litter box.  When I was done, I opened the door and carried her litter box into the house.  As soon as I entered, I noticed that Lucifer was sitting in the hallway looking at me.  I put the box down in its regular spot and turned around to take off my jacket.  As soon as the jacket was off, I turned to go into the kitchen, and noticed that in that less than a minute, Lucifer was already inside her litter box.  

    Life would sure be a whole lot simpler if Lucifer would just do her business outside.  She can be outside for a couple of hours, but then she come inside to do her business.  That dependence on her litter box inside the house, and her eagerness to use it, was my inspiration for the cartoon below.

Take a look at my paintings:


Sunday 12 November 2023

Winter: Coming Down the Mountains

     This was the view we saw yesterday walking Kona along Horseshoe Lake Road.  I was a bit surprised to see how low the snow line had come down on the mountains.   The snow also accentuated the area that was burned by the forest fire we had last May.  The dark skeletons of the charred trees stood out plainly against the white snow that has covered the ground.

Take a look at my paintings:

Saturday 11 November 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Back to Mexico City

        Those damn church bells that have been following me off and on during my trip have found me again, and clanged away at 5:00 AM.  I finally crawled out of bed at 7:00, showered, dressed, and packed.  I walked out onto the empty street and into the refreshing morning air, which lasted until I turned the corner by the park and was suddenly engulfed by the chaos of traffic, contaminating both the air ands the quiet.  More Huevos Rancheros for breakfast, but this time joined with a basket of French bread. 

        Returning to my hotel room, I gathered up all of my belongings and started the long trek to the bus station, where after an hour twiddling my thumbs waiting, boarded the Ado “autobus” for my return to Mexico City.  It’s a twenty-one hour bus ride.   After we passed through Campeche, the bus travelled along the coast, so I was treated with seeing a string of pelicans flying in a straight line, low over the water.  I also saw bushes in a field practically obscured by a large flock of white egrets sitting on its branches.

        In a bus stop at the city of Villamosa, I refueled, eating a tamale and some watermelon, remembering that watermelon was oddly good for treating diarrhea.  To top off my meal, I bought a chocolate bar and wandered over toward the door and before I started to devour it.  A stranger then walked up to me and handed me a 1,000 Peso bill.  Evidently, I had dropped it while buying the candy bar.  Honest people!

        The bus is equipped with a red light pointed toward the passengers.  It “beeps” and flashes whenever  the driver exceeds 90 km/hour.  It was a long night trying to go to sleep on the bus.  I remember waking up at some point during the night, getting off, wandering around in a daze, then re-boarding.  I woke up again at 3:00 AM, then spent the rest of the night alternating between dozing and waking.

        Like I remembered from the same bus trip five years earlier, as we approached Mexico City, which is 7, 350 feet above sea level (as high as the mountain tops around McBride) it began getting very cold.  I was better prepared for the cold this trip because I already had a shirt, sweater, and jacket on, but it still felt cold.  The streets of Mexico City were jammed with buses, people, smog, and noise.  

        I was happy to have survived my last bus trip in Mexico, although this last bus was very civilized, but as soon as I hailed and got into a Mexico City VW Beetle taxi to travel across town, I began to think my optimism about Mexican transportation safety was premature.  The cab was literally falling apart, with some dials of the dashboard dangling loose.  Several pedestrians, were almost smacked into oblivion by the taxi as it tore through the city.  Safety regulations, if they exist in Mexico, never seem to be a top priority.