Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back In Gear

Days off mean different things at different times of my year. We just observed Labor Day...I did errands on Labor Day! I managed to get up the Hill, and touched bases with the Boss and my neighbors. I evaded Holiday Traffic by going Thursday evening, and returning Saturday afternoon. Saturday, the eastbound traffic was awful...I tried that on Memorial Day, and turned around, defeated. Interstate 80 looked like the same "parking lot" as I blew by in the Westbound direction!

Elsewhere on CorduroyPlanet, the Northern Alliance met for the first time in twenty-or-so years! KirkVallus was on the road to and from Boise, Idaho, and touched bases with BajaBabe at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Saturday, SisterSweetly called in with the rain report for Humboldt County just before KirkVallus called his road report in...Rain in the Willamette Valley Friday, drier the more Easterly they got.

Back in the Inland Valley, SturgeUrge got roped into working Sunday of the Three Day, and Labor Day is not a good day to be on the water, though hanging around Boat Ramps on Big Holiday Weekends can be hilarious!

Folks get busy in America...Labor Day sneaks up on us, and all of a sudden it's: "Yikes, Summer's over and I haven't had the boat out all season! My wife's gonna kill me, or make me sell the thing." This is the perennial prologue to the "Boat Ramp Follies"

Outdoor Magazines have pages devoted to the various "Stupid Human Tricks" that make up the Boat Ramp Follies...usually the stories begin on the last page and tell a tale of unfolding errors that compound into the embarrassing punch line.

The worst story I ever read was about the Father and his Adult Son, launching the Son's new Boston Whaler. Dad had dreamed of owning a Whaler for his entire life. Raising a family put the dream forever into dreamland. Well, the son did pretty well after college, and picked up the Whaler before he got married.

The big day came, the boat was loaded and prepped , but as they started backing down the ramp for the Maiden Voyage, the boat rolled off the trailer, and all the way down the ramp to the water! The son's description of the Whaler's gelcoat drawing parallel white lines down the concrete ramp to the water made my stomach turn.

I can't say I've never been a chorus girl in the Boat Ramp Follies, but at least my Whaler's gelcoat is intact! I've forgotten to install the drain plug...twice. I left it in one winter too, when the boat was parked at a friend's corporation yard, and the boat filled with rainwater, right through the canvas boat cover. I had to do some rewiring that spring. Both times I forgot to put the plug in, I was barefoot so the water alerted me before the situation turned desperate.

Today I accompanied my Mother to her monthly Church Luncheon. We usually share a table with a nice couple who have lived fascinating lives. Dave and Janey are retired school teachers and missionaries. Dave was born and raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) He taught gifted high school classes, and returned to Africa to teach in Church Schools with Janey after they met and married in college stateside. Dave has had a life long interest in weather, and we always have plenty to talk about. We talked about hurricanes and he explained the weather in his native country.

I can't imagine what it would be like living a thousand miles away from the nearest ocean! Dave said: "we were 1000 miles from the ocean, 2000 miles from the Mediterranean!
When they had a big gully washer, they'd say: "It looks like the whole Red Sea is coming our way!" All the weather they got was Continental Weather. Orographic lifting caused most of the rain in Zimbabwe, and those same mountain ranges determine the strength of India's Monsoons.

I thought about America's Midwestern weather, Tornado Alley, and the phenomenal Thunder Storms I've witnessed from Colorado and New Mexico to Indiana. All of these are Oceanic in origin. The warm moist air-mass from the Gulf of Mexico meets the cold Canadian air, and wham-severe Weather. In the Big Picture, we think of the Oceans as stabilizing influences on our climate...never mind that the same "stable" oceans spin off nearly every storm we get in the Central Sierra Nevada. Stable is another relative concept, you see.

This afternoon, I did a quick scan of the BajaNomads website to see how the Hurricane Jimena Relief Effort is going. The Baja Bush Pilots and Cruz Roja are on the case. The situation is "stable" Help is on the way.

The oceanic influences on the Inland Valley's weather have been far from "stable" of late. It seems like the weather runs hot and cold almost daily. It's not typical for September, hardly "stable". I can't help but wonder...what's coming this Winter?

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