May 27, 2009

Notice of Violation

The economy is falling apart; every fourth house on our block is vacant or being repossessed; we've started mandatory water rationing; and I got a ticket for "front yard parking" of the Caboose.

After reading up on the code section, the problem is that it "shall be unlawful for any person to park a vehicle in the front yard area of any residentially used lot or parcel of land, except in a paved driveway."

Since we use our "paved driveway" for playing basketball, I mulched the area next to the driveway with wood chips and parked the Caboose there. Now it is parked on the paved area but you can see the trash cans now and it is against code to have visible trash cans so I expect another citation for that when they come to make sure I moved the Caboose.

May 25, 2009

Three Generations

We just got back from helping out with the Holcomb Valley Scout Reservation annual family camp. About two-hundred campers came out for the long holiday weekend, and summer kick-off.

Three generations of Harrisons were on camp staff. Andrew used his artistic talents in leading no less than sixty people in some awesome tie-dye shirts. He showed them how to tie off their shirts and blend colors to make some cool designs. It looked like a Woodstock reunion with dozens of bright colored t-shirts flapping on clotheslines strung between pine trees.

Grandma Jackie was leading craft projects too, showing the families how to make little loot bags and sun catchers. I spent hours in the sun running the rifle range.

May 11, 2009

Do You See It?

There, on the top of those rocks, at almost 8,000' is the Black Mountain Lookout. Earlier tonight I was given the keys to the mountain and I take over as the leader of about thirty volunteer lookout hosts.

Black Mountain is near San Jacinto Peak, and the town of Idyllwild. It has spectacular views of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Mt. Palomar Observatory to the south, San Gorgonio Pass to the north, and on a clear day you can see as far as the ocean to west. Occasionally, glider planes come over San Jacinto Peak, riding the desert and mountain wind currents, and wisp by silently.

Unlike most of the other lookouts, Black is not an electronic pincushion of radio towers. The only radio on this peak is the solar powered Forest Service repeater. Without any electricity at this lookout, the cab is illuminated with propane lanterns, and the restroom is a hike away from the tower (it does flush!).

I've canceled my shifts at Strawberry Peak this season, and I will be making two or three trips a month up to Black Mountain. This should be quite an adventure.

May 3, 2009

Just Dusting Off

We just got back from a couple days in the Mojave Desert, by Tecopa Springs, about ten miles east of Death Valley. On this this trip, we explored several abandoned mines and often found ourselves deep inside the mountainside. I took very few still photos so I can only share this one photo taken inside one of the mines, looking almost straight up one of the air shafts. You'll have to watch the video for the good stuff. I'm sure if Sherry had joined us, she would have had a stroke seeing what the boys were up to. A million thanks to Jake for being our tour guide for this exploration.