I've been back in Homer since May 22 and I'm still waiting for summer. Could it be possible that this summer will be a repeat of last, when the good weather waited until after I was gone to show up? Damn, I certainly hope not.
|Solstice evening - Diamond Ridge - June 21, 2011|
I've included a few more shots of the plants and animals that inhabit the meadow where my little cabin sits. It's been a terrible spring for many people. When I talk with my sister Sandy, she complains about the cold weather in Buffalo. The people I spoke with in Utah and Nevada during the motorcycle tour complained about the slow start of their warm weather, and I complain about the Homer weather. By comparison, however, people in Missouri and other parts of the tornado belt had the worst spring imaginable -- the wind ripped up houses in a mile-wide swath of devastation in Joplin and a few more towns. And in Japan, the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disasters continue to haunt the entire country. I guess we should all be thankful for what we've got.
|Twin moose calves out for a walk in my meadow|
|Pushki ready to burst forth|
|Lupine on Solstice evening|
Still, it's been a tough re-entry for me. Things have happened that I did not foresee, some good, some bad. I sold the VStrom the other day with Tuli's help. I got what I paid for it not counting the money spent on the new tires. With its sale I've put an end to my motorcycle touring of the good ol' USA at least for now. I'll be shopping for a new bike in Thailand as soon as I get back there this fall.
On the bad side of the ledger: I had some dental implants that failed. As if that weren't depressing enough on its own, the cost to replace them would be a staggering $13,000! Sheesh. My dentist looked at me with a straight face when he told me what it would cost. I was like, are you serious? Who has 13 large laying around gathering dust? And the teeth that I lost weren't out of sight somewhere in the back of my mouth. Oh no, they were my front teeth! I look okay until I smile. All the more reason not to I reckon. I'll get new implants in Thailand where they're more affordable. Then I learned that this cabin will not be available next summer. So I've got to pack my things, compressing as I go by selling, tossing and/or gifting much of the stuff I've been clinging to for years. There is a saying about the stuff we accumulate: if you haven't used it in two years, get rid of it. You don't need it. Having lived out of two suitcases for 9 months I'm in complete agreement with that statement. At any rate, by the time I leave Alaska in September I'll be moved out of this beautiful cabin and its sweet little meadow I've so thoroughly enjoyed for three seasons. I truly believe that every cloud has a silver lining. Living on Diamond Ridge has many good points but it's too far from town and, for me at least, because of its 1200 foot altitude not a good place to bike from. When I eventually come back I'll be living in town, at sea level, for sure.
I talk with Nut almost every day on Skype and, without her really knowing it, she cheers me up immensely. And I'm playing tennis and enjoying it. My serve, while still not a boomer that wins free points, has improved considerably by becoming more consistent. I was feeling so down a while ago that I actually considered giving up tennis which has been my most consuming passion for the past 15 years. I'm glad to be past that stage.
|A camper van I photographed in 1995|
Some of you in Homer might remember the van KJ and I drove to Alaska. It was a 1969 Ford Econoline van with a little 302 cu in V-8 engine and I loved it. We practically gutted and then redesigned the interior to maximize storage space for our move to Alaska. It had a comfy full size bed and a tiny propane stove in a cabinet off to one side where I could brew coffee without ever leaving my bed. Clothing was in a storage cabinet just behind the pillows. Under the bed were a dozen or so milk crates carefully filled with our belongings -- stuff we were going to need to make a new life in the wilds of Alaska. It was an interesting year-long voyage that ended up in Homer at "The End of the Road" in the summer of 1983. Here it is 28 years later and I'm thinking again about traveling and living in a van. However, this van will be quite an improvement over the old Ford. The Roadtreks and their kin are fully self-contained and come equipped with heater, air-con, shower, microwave, generator, TV, fridge, the works. I'm quite looking forward to it.
|Typical summer dinner - Salmon Dijon, grilled fennel, purple potatoes, Inversion IPA|
July 28, 2011 - Summer is winding down
|Pushkii (cow parsnip) blossom - July 11, 2011|
As I complete this entry summer is marching along to its inevitable conclusion. The lupine and pushkii are almost finished in the cabin meadow and at least up here the fireweed is just about ready to burst forth in the last floral blast before the season turns. The good weather finally came and has brought some warm sunny days. When it's sunny up here on Diamond Ridge it's a very special place. Along with the weather my mood has improved greatly, especially considering the fact that my time to fly is approaching rapidly. I'm eagerly looking forward to being with Nut for the winter and I'm seriously thinking about returning to Europe next spring. I bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok and my research shows that a one-way ticket to Paris will cost only about $500 on one of several middle-east airlines. I'm guessing a week or so in Paris and then a few weeks bicycling in the Netherlands. Why the Netherlands? Because it's flat! There are no hills except for the small bridges over the canals -- my kind of biking. And it's a friendly country where almost everyone speaks English. After Europe I'll visit my family in New York and finally return to Eugene to begin looking for that van. By returning to Eugene from the east I'll have made a complete circuit around the world.
|Midnight sky - July 13, 2011|
|Max and me at the Homer High School tennis courts (July 27, 2011)|
|Yearbook photo (1961)|
I mean, take a look at that hair. What a dork!
I haven't accomplished anything big or lasting but there's still time, right? LOL I'm healthy, have enough income to live modestly, and I'm continuing to enjoy my addiction to tennis. There is more travel in my future, more adventure, more motorcycling, more love and more tennis. Everything's working out as well as can be expected, better actually. Again I find myself counting my blessings because I am indeed a lucky man. Blah, blah, blah.
Today is an absolutely beautiful day. There's tennis this afternoon and afterward at my office, a meeting of the 501 Club. All things considered, what promises to be a nice day lies ahead.
|The cabin on July 29, 2011|