Saturday, October 6, 2012


I'm trying to keep my driving to a minimum...what with the gas prices up in the Hope Diamond range here in the Golden State...still, when I am out and about I'm remembering to bring my little digicam.

Here's some signs that have caught my fancy:

In the window of Truckee's satellite Post Office
'Tis the Season
Douchebag Country

Happy dog storefront

"Red White and Blue" by
An extra million humans are expected in San Francisco this weekend! There's quite a list of events. NFL football, MLB Baseball playoffs, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, America's Cup World Series racing on San Francisco Bay while Fleet Week has a parade of ships with the Blue Angels taking to the skies overhead Friday, Saturday and Sunday...oh, there's an Italian Festival with parade and the Castro Street Fair.

It's a good bet I won't be crossing any bridges this weekend...

Friday, October 5, 2012


I woke up to hear that gasoline prices went up in California as much as 50 cents/gallon overnight! I'm listening to the top of the hour National News now, and California's gas price hikes are the second story of the package. They say it's a supply problem caused refinery troubles, a contaminated pipeline and California's "only-in-California" low-pollution gasoline regulations.

Thursday Truckee's Local Newspaper posted an article on Facebook: "Gas Prices Soar Above $5 a Gallon in Truckee" Here's the accompanying photo:

This reminded me of a photo I took on February 25th, of the Chevron station's price sign across the street from the 76 station's sign featured in the Sierra Sun's story.

The $4.59/gal was outrageous at the time...

No new photo for Friday's freight...yet...

I don't know what they pay for petrol in Japan, but the Formula One cars are burning it as fast as they dare this weekend. The Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit is Round 15 of the World Championship. The race is LIVE on SpeedTV Saturday night at 10:30PM PDT

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Winter is coming. It's already littering my Facebook News Feed. The first wave hit Monday evening when posted some Winter forecasts and his take on Season 2012-2013

Wednesday morning a Facebook friend reports that it's snowing in Boseman, Montana this morning and the overnight low is forecast to be 18°F!

I vaguely remember a tweet about snow in the Colorado Rockies sometime in the last week as well...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I looked under the hood of CorduroyPlanet over the weekend, and I noticed some readers dug extra deep and looked at my take on the fatal crash at the Reno Air Races last year again.

"Chilled" is my most-viewed blog by a longshot. Over 14,700 pageviews to date. I reread it again, and there's a few things that are a little more clear to me now. I wrote about it back in April. I penned "Old Wounds" after the NTSB held it's first presentation on the Galloping Ghost crash...Jeez, it seems so long ago!

OK, here's what I think happened, given the NTSB comments:

The Galloping Ghost was a highly modified P-51D Mustang aircraft from the WWII era. Many features of the airframe were modified to reduce aerodynamic drag and weight.

Modifications were made to the elevator trim tabs: The starboard trim tab was disabled by design and faired into the elevator control surface, leaving the portside trim tab to do all the trim duties, saving drag and the weight of the control mechanism.

The stock hydraulic elevator trim system was removed and replaced with an electric actuator, adjusting the trim tab via a control rod.

As Jimmy Leeward ran the Galloping Ghost around pylons 8 and 9 there was a failure of the elevator trim system...the actuator may have failed, or it's mounting failed, or it's connection to the control rod, or the control arm on the trim tab failed, sending the aircraft into a 9+ G climb, rendering Jimmy  unconscious instantly. The rest was the Devil's Arithmetic, only the grace of God kept the crash from killing hundreds. Jimmy never regained consciousness. Flutter of the uncontrolled trim tab ripped it free of it's mounts as the craft was winging over, as visible in the photo posted in "Chilled".

In the days after the accident, I read an account from a corporate pilot who was in the grandstands directly behind the point of impact. He said he saw the Ghost pull up suddenly, and he was on his feet and running up the grandstands before the Ghost finished the wingover at the top of the climb. When the craft impacted the tarmac, this pilot was halfway up the grandstand and he was suddenly soaked with avgas and hit with bits of shrapnel. Miraculously, no ignition spark was generated by the crash preventing a truly horrendous tragedy.

The "Missing Man" pit stall
The ghost of the tragedy hung heavy in the air at Stead during Race Week, Jimmy's pit stall was kept vacant as a memorial, and there was a minute of silence each day during the Opening Ceremonies.

It's hard to say which was responsible for the semi-subdued atmosphere out at Stead, the smaller crowds or the raw emotions given the tragedy last year. I expect the crowds to return next September. This year's crowds were suppressed by the late word (mid-August) that the show would go on. Air Race Fans will return, you can be sure.

I know I'll be back in the Valley of Speed in 2013!

October Baseball!
The San Francisco Giants just defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, eliminating the Dodgers from the Wild Card Race. Barry Zito pitched a good game before the Bums came back to make it 4-3 in the 7th. The Giants bullpen by committee pulled it out in a game that seemed like a playoff game!

Sunday, September 30, 2012


All this fishing is taking a toll on my tackle.

I stopped by the SturgeUrge Compound Saturday afternoon on my way home from a morning of errands. I had to pick up the GPS Chartplotter antenna for modifications and my rod and reel so I could re-spool the topshot of monofiliment.

My little AVET SX reel has a couple hundred yards of 30lb Power Pro spectra line on it and I run 60 yards or so of Red Cast Cajun 17lb line on top of it.

I didn't chose the Red Cast by color, it was the only 17lb line in the sporting goods store the day I needed it. I've come to love the stuff. When you're trolling three lines off a street-legal boat (no wider than 8ft-6inches), tangles become a problem...especially if one guy is running a plug when everybody else is running spinners...make a turn and you're not fishing anymore, you're knitting!

With the Red Cajun line, it's much easier to un-plait the resultant macrame mess!

So I stripped off the old Cajun line and I'll tie up a new topshot in the morning. An Improved Albright knot and a couple applications of PlioBond glue to fair the knot and I'll be good to go by Wednesday when weather permitting, we'll splash the F/V SturgeUrge into The Sacramento River near Rio Vista again.

The economics are impossible to current market rates for Wild King Salmon - $22.99/lb at the Walnut Creek Lunardi's Market, bringing home just 3lbs of salmon pays for the trip! That's gas for the boat and tow vehicle, bridge toll, lunch and launch fees...

Did I mention that these fish are mostly bright chrome ocean-fresh fish or males just starting to turn red...think pastel pinkish?

The fish are right there...though I'm beginning to see Dungeness Crab Season on the distant horizon...

Upon closer inspection, Ocean Salmon and Dungeness Crab seasons overlap for eight days...very interesting...if halibut are late hanging around...with any could be a Captain's Plate kinda day...or days...