Maybe One More

Under way from the end of the bowsprit.
(photo S Diack)
Unerway from the top of the foremast rigging.
(photo B Northrop)

Well, the air quality has gotten back to pristine! We are all rejoicing and giving thanks here! I don’t know how far south this extends. Steve-O in Ashland, OR was in the worse air ever and I haven’t heard for him recently. Check in Steve-O.

And in the all our news is the death of RBG. What a beloved individual. My Rebecca cried and cried. I’d like to write more but then I would have to apologize for being a guy and not understanding the depth of her accomplishments.

On a lighter side it is the home opener of Seattle Seahawks Football this evening. Everything will stop around here. Go Hawks!

So some great comments have come in concerning the sailing stories and maybe I have one more post in me. It has been fun for me to dig up those memories. And one thing that I have realized is the idea that this project started in someone’s “backyard”. That sort of says a lot around here anyway!

On the trip there were six of us, five guys and one woman and that seemed perfect. Two from California, two from Oregon and two from Washington. That divided up the day so that we each had a two hour day watch and a two hour night watch. The day watch was fun as everyone was up and around doing chores or playing pinochle. But the night watch was AMAZING. Just you and the universe overhead. The air was so clear and the darkness so dark that every darn star was out. There were amazing visits by dolphin friend then too.

The boat had a tiller and not a wheel. That is a long lever that the person steering turns the rudder with and thus steers the whole deal. It was such a powerful feeling to do that. As you stood there feet apart the point at which the boat rotated was directly below you. It is hard to describe how that feels other than to say the boat was you and you were the boat.

One of the weird happenings for us was that after a while it was hard to separate an awake state from a sleep state. Did I see that or did I dream that? Very woo woo! Maybe because of the constant movement sleep was relative. And the night watch played with your head so.

Sometimes at night ships were encountered and we would shine a light up on the sails to announce ourselves. We had an owl visit us once way out in the middle of nowhere. It sat in the rigging and rested and then took off to where I don’t know. We saw whales occasionally. We netted lots of Japanese glass fishing floats, great souvenirs. Very occasionally there were areas of floating plastics maybe hundreds of yards across. They were alive with life like floating islands. Those were the forerunners of things to come.

I remember reading a novel by an early American writer and his characters were letter writers and they would write back and forth to each other. And on the top of some of the letters there were dates and on some there was the phrase “of the instant”. It took me a while to understand that. But if you were answering in the same month it was “of the instant”. In other other words one month was an instant. And that was the way time was for us on the nineteen century boat. We had major cultural shock trying to cross the street in Sausalito.

Well, I am over 500 words and out of time.

later alligator loves, Felipé.


Well, we have choices. I think that I will whine about the smoke for one paragraph and then do something different. We have been waiting. The weatherfolks keep revising their forecasts numerous times and keep pushing back the relief. First it was Monday, then Thursday and now Saturday. Geez.

But enough! I‘m taking matters in my own hands. It was so much fun telling you about the sailing adventure on Thursday that I thought that I would continue. A story time.

It all started because I had met Bill here on Vashon, one of the first folks that I became friends with. He passed away last year. But at the time he introduced me to his old college roommate who had a project going on down in the Portland area. I went to look at Sam’s project. It turned out that Sam and a friend were building a nineteen century sailing schooner in their “backyard”. They had been working on it for maybe three or four years when I came along. What an outrageous project, I fell in love!

The Lizard King under construction.
(photo Sam Diack)

I was working up here on Vashon Island during the week and every weekend I would drive down to Sauvies Island near Portland to work on the boat. She was named the Lizard King and registered as a US vessel. This was a no BS ship, small but still.

On my first work weekend Sam handed me an oar and a piece of wood and said to make another, a mate. Well, I took it seriously and it took me all weekend to pass my test. My oar turned out to be identical in size, weight and balance. So I was in and joined in the construction.

Later, maybe the next year, we launched. Sam motored up the coast to Seattle and set up shop on Vashon to do the rigging which took a year. Everything was authentic to the times: linen sails, hemp lines and a hundred handmade blocks (pulleys). It was one giant history lesson.

The day of the launch, Spring ‘74.
(photo S Diack)

So, she finally sailed away off into the sunset and Hawaii. I didn’t go on that maiden voyage but was able to crew on the 26 day trip from Hawaii to The Golden Gate Bridge which I wrote about yesterday. My other experience with blue water sailing was aboard two US Navy ships a few years before.

This trip things were very primitive compared to the Navy ships. For instance we navigated with sextant and stopwatch the whole way, for real. There is probably an app for that now. There was no refrigeration so if you caught a fish you had to eat a fish. There was no showers or laundry just a bucket tossed over the side. We had an engine but only used it at the end in San Francisco Bay. And the kicker was we had no radio transmitter or radar. Like I said it was one giant history lesson.

More tomorrow.

historic loves, Felipé.

Ryck, Caminoheads East Coast Bureau Chief

“Ramble On” Led Zeppelin.

“Good day, fellow pilgrims.

The Autumn is my favorite time of the year. We only get so many Falls, so many Springs, so many Summers, so many Winters. Particularly, though, it is the Fall that appeals most to me. Next time I walk the Camino, it will be in the cooler months of Fall, unlike the sweltering, unrelenting sun of mid-June/July. Summer 2017 was a scorcher on the Camino Francés.

(photo R Thompson)

The Fall this year is ending our major transition as a family from our beloved West Coast back to the East Coast. One thing I know for sure is that it is the people that make the place. It is good here.
The Fall allows us to wear that nice flannel, or hoody. It helps us breathe better, especially here on the East Coast with the humidity. Back West, the Fall brings much needed rain. It will bring respite to the entire coast, allow you to breathe again.
The Fall has a certain smell to it. It smells of the pumpkin field with rotting, dying leaves. It smells of cooler air. You can smell Football in the air too, seriously. This particular Fall, we can start to close in on a very tumultuous year. We can start to think about moving forward to the next year. What will it have in store? One thing I know for sure is that what literally did not kill us will make us stronger in 2021.
Recently got a bad case of poison ivy. Went rapid throughout my arms, legs. Doing yard work in the summer got me. Was the price to pay for some logs to be moved into the brush that I have out back in the ravine behind my house. It is not pleasant to have the ivy on the skin. It reminds me of the chance we all take everyday to enjoy life. With the good, comes the not so great sometimes, but it is all worth it.
I admire people who keep moving, keep going on with life despite life’s guaranteed setbacks. “The Man in the Arena” speech by Theodore Roosevelt is always in the background of my mind when I am trying to make something happen.
I think of people with handicaps in life that they overcome. One of my daughters is dyslexic we think. To overcome this, she has reinvented the English language in her mind and she has overcome it. People with bad anxiety issues can push through each day and make it work. One step at a time, sometimes. We can all learn from someone who has to work things different to overcome.

Gotta keep moving, or, “KEEP WALKING”.

One thing I am confident about with this pandemic is that it will end. We will see how we all racked and stacked during a time of crises. I think we will be ok in the end. It has certainly re- centered us to get back to the basic like enjoying the leaves turning orange, light brown. Smelling that cool air coming back. Watching the rains drench the fires. Having that big bon- fire in the backyard, sitting in your favorite camping chair, having a beverage of your choice. Hearing the sound of the ax split the small logs that Phil so ever-perfectly, stacks next to his house on Vashon Island.
Phil, if there was an award for properly stacking wood, you would be the champion.

More Autumn!
(photo R Thompson)

Fall loves,

The Doldrums

A flashback to Felipé, Annie and Salvador Dali.
We are on the loose in San Francisco!
(photo unknown)

In the present situation I am resorting to a flashback in the quest for interesting material to blog about. At breakfast a few minutes ago I was gazing out of the window at the breathless fog/smoke toxic atmosphere outside. It has settled in here with a vengeance. And each day the weather man or gal push back in time promised relief. It’s the classic quagmire.

In that act of gazing I flashed back to a similar situation I encountered years ago. In 1974 or 5 I got a chance to sail from Hilo, Hawaii to San Francisco. I was aboard a 55 foot schooner that I had help build and rig off and on for a couple of years. Our voyage, there were six of us on board, took 26 days to get to the Golden Gate Bridge and we sailed 2600 miles.

Traveling northeastward at some point we had to get through the doldrums or horse latitudes that separate two major bands of winds the Trade Winds and Westerlies. It is where one set of the Doldrums occurs, this transition. We got caught there for three days in the quagmire of that.

I am reliving it in my memory at the moment. The boat was literally dead in the water. Zero wind and there was a constant slow swell of the ocean that caused the boat to rock back and forth for three days. Pieces of gear and parts of the rigging banged constantly with this rocking. Normally when the boat is underway the rigging and everything is silent because the wind holds everything taunt. This constant banging, night and day, starts to drive you crazy.

Why does this remind me of today? It is a so similar feel of no progress of being dead in the water and waiting and waiting. We the people that thrive on progress cannot stand being “dead in the water”. At least that is what I am seeing.

There was a redeeming memory of that long ago time that I am savoring now. We got the idea to fish. I lowered a hook and line over the side with a quarter can of DAK canned lunch meat as bait. We had piles of these cans aboard that we had bought somewhere for 8 cents a can for emergencies. Looked like bait to me. I did manage to catch a maybe twenty pound Mahi Mahi on that handline, bloodied my palms. We feasted on that and it was the start of more fishing adventures to come.

We eventually were able to catch some wind also and continue toward California. It was a trip of a lifetime like the Camino. And a great flashback for me today. What is the takeaway?

fishy loves, Felipé.

Just To Celebrate Where We Are

Flashback pic to our recent camping trip. No corkscrew along so Wiley put two screws in.
(photo W Volker)
Then we pulled out the cork with a visegrips. Always a way!
(photo W Volker)

Yesterday just when the plagues were piling up in a logjam My Rebecca and I decided to celebrate. Seems odd when the whole thing seems to suck. But it seemed perfectly appropriate to celebrate how far we have come. We were exactly right where we were and it seemed like it deserved some recognition to be exactly right there.

On one hand we are laboring with air quality numbers in the 2 and 300’s but on the other hand Steve-O down in Ashland, OR is in the 500’s. Read his comment. Folks loosing there homes. Crazy.

There was a young family on the news yesterday that just lost their home, the second one in two years. What a claim to fame. They were laughing about it. What can you do? They said something haunting though, that it was beginning to feel like the fire was following them. That is spooky.

Our air quality warning here in Seattle is on til noon on Thursday. They are predicting something miraculous is going to happen. At least that‘s what it is feeling like at this point as the shroud of smoke smothers us.

My Rebecca is starting to remind me that her birthday is coming up later this month. She is just making sure that I don’t screw up. But Wiley and I got it covered. Not to worry!

Off later this morning to Seattle and the Institute. It is that magic time to see Nugget again and get OK’ed for another three weeks of clinical trial. Wish me luck for some good numbers.

more smoky loves, Felipé.

Waiting On Thursday

I hate to do any more whining but it looks like it will be Thursday before we here locally get some relief from the smoke. It is noticeably better today but tomorrow is supposed to be worse, so…

Would really like to pursue more along the line that White Eagle started us on but I am pre occupied with this mess on my trail. And we are sorry if this smoke is blowing your way world. We have a mess going on.

On the bright side I want to give you a pic of Scaleburgers. It is a tiny place! The ultimate Mom and Pop establishment. I have been stopping there since maybe 1990. I should buy stock! It is so quaint that they always have a guest book open.

Scaleburgers! They just closed so they lowered that green piece of plywood that protects customers from the weather. That plywood is 4×8 feet so that will give you a sense of scale.
(photo J Hyde)

I am off for now loves, Felipé.

Pretty Much….

Virgin Mary at the trail.
(photo P Volker)

Pretty much all of the West Coast of the US is under this shroud. Wow, that is a good word for it. We are coughing and sneezing with eyes burning. Inside the air is better but the whole situation is downright stifling. We are all waiting for the weather change that was promised us. Well, maybe promised is too big a word.

It is a challenge to keep oneself upbeat with these layers of pestilence in our shroud. In a weak attempt to cheer myself up I have been trying to remember humorous or positive events in the last few days. I know that I am whining. My Rebecca has the cable news on and there are numerous stories of folks loosing their homes. One was the Fire Chief in a community that was working when her home went up. There are folks with real big problems.

I am definitely whining, sorry but that is about all I got today maybe. But I do remember James, Wiley’s friend that went with us on the mountain trip, made us laugh one morning. Well, to be fair, he makes up laugh often with his quirky sense of humor. But on waking up he said that he had Christmas carols playing in his head. Hehe, sounds good to me as long as it’s not the Chipmunks!

Then we were on our way back to Vashon and we stopped in the town of Albe, WA for a Scaleburger. For a what? There is a tiny walk-up stand -in-the-rain burger joint there that we love. It is called Scaleburgers! That is a logging deal. The logging trucks that are hauling cut timber out of the forest have to stop at a scale to get weighed to make sure they are safe for the road. So what would be more appropriate than a Scaleburger? They have different sizes on the menu, I had a “Legal” and the guys both had “Overloads”. They have great fries and made from scratch milkshakes.

We were sitting out at one of the outdoor picnic tables gabbing about stuff and politics came up. Somewhere along that I said to James that in the last election I didn’t vote for the present president but wrote in Pete Carroll the Seattle Seahawks Football Coach. And Wiley said sheepishly that that was one of their favorite stories about me. Geez, that’s funny.

And speaking of FOOTBALL the Seahawks won YESTERDAY! We are so starved for football us Americans. But that is a good start to hopefully a whole season for us. We so need some good news!

Well, thanks for being with me today as I whine. We here are waiting on our rain and wind to come and rescue us. Hope that your day goes well for you.

Monday loves, Felipé.

Under Siege

Back at the ranch.
(photo W Hayes)

There is some favorable weather conditions coming but we will be in this nasty soup for at least another twenty four hours. The smoke from the wildfires is mixing with the foggy marine air to cause visibility to plummet here. We came back from the mountains a day early and here we are with this situation.

Fortunately I saw a FaceBook post from the Department of Ecology three days ago and they showed how to red neck together a air purifier using a box fan bungeed on to a furnace filter. I ran out and got filters on Thursday and put two purifiers together. My Rebecca has had them running on high for at least a day now so the air inside is pretty darn good at the moment.

So we are managing onward. Seattle Seahawks Football season starts this morning in Atlanta so that is a bright spot. Also Esther Jantzen is having a Zoom book launch this AM which we plan to make part of. She has this terrific mystery tale for teens that takes place on the Camino. It is entitled: WALK: Jamie Bacon’s Secret Mission on the Camino de Santiago. She has been working on it for years and finally it is here!

The weatherman is also promising some rain for days this week which be a godsend. Getting out from one of our current problems would be great. Currently we have pile-o-problems going on, getting Old Testament.

So time to dig up some breakfast and get the day put together. Hope that you are handling things where you are. We all need prayer.

soupy loves, Felipé.

New Sticky Wicket

Elk Hotel in the smoky Gifford Pinchot National Forest. James had his trusty drone along.
(photo J Hyde)
Close up of the Elk Hotel with Wiley, Felipé and James.
(photo J Hyde)

Just when we are all tired of being housebound with the covid we have an air quality disaster here on US West Coast. We have the worst air quality in the world here now and it will be bad for the next couple days. Maybe some rain coming to rescue us. Geez.

Wiley and his friend James and I went up to the mountains for the weekend but we got smoked out and we are running back home a day early. I have to get inside to some conditioned air. Right now we are sitting on the ferry dock waiting for the next boat. We had zero cellphone reception up where we were so this is the first time that I got to be with you.

Thank you Ron for your post yesterday. I am so grateful for my Bureau Chiefs. Such a happy neighborhood!

A flock of Canada geese going over me, honking and honking. Maybe they will fan some of this smoke away from me. No joke this is really really bad. Please pray for us here.

I think that I will leave the Camino closed for tomorrow even though I am back. We are all supposed to be inside. I intend to take the next two days and get caught up on my homework. I have a bunch of reading to do for the blog book that Catalina and I are putting together.

So, see you again tomorrow when I am rested up.

looking for rain loves, Felipé.

Friday Ron From Beautiful Astorga

“Unusual, un-virtual Camino experiences this week. Thursday morning was filled with a short walk west of Astorga to the memorial garden in Valdeviejes with none-other than Stephen Shields and Johnniewalker Santiago of We looked at the progress of planned improvements to the garden area and envisioned the way it might appear when completed. It was a great followup to tapas and drinks the night before celebrating “Buy a Priest a Beer Day” in Astorga. What? You didn’t do it? Add it to September 9th on your calendar.

Then at 11 am our friend Tomás picked us up and took us to his wife’s childhood home in Santibáñez where the extended family spends the summer months. Tomás was preparing some food from the garden and all was pretty normal until his wife, Marycarmen, arrived and encouraged us to leave the kitchen. So Tomás took us where he spends the middle of most days, the local Albergue.

Yes, a local guy meets other local guys at the albergue and enjoys drinks and tapas. Back in the US I called this the ‘Geezer Table’ found in many family restaurants. I admit to having occupied a seat at this table more than once. Same guys saying the same stuff to each other for years. Tomás told our story in proper Spanish (I wish I had recorded it, it sounded so good!) and we got to know the guys around the table. Some were cousins and brothers and the like. Then Marycarmen showed up and you could tell she was a regular at the table too! The tapas and drinks were informal and great – croquetas, mussels, patatas fritas, aceitunas – and the conversation was wonderful for us as only one person spoke at a time at a leisurely pace. Nothing heated or contentious.

What had me from the start was that local folks congregated at the albergue in this small town. Today two pilgrims were at another table, but I understand pilgrims often join in the conversation with the townspeople.

So what’s the point here?

Just as Felipe walked a pilgrimage on his farm in Vashon Island, and many of us are participating in virtual Caminos online, and Stephen and John are carrying others’ prayers, intentions, or things to the Cruz de Ferro, these local people are realizing another level of what our hearts are led to experience along the Camino. They are witnessing pilgrims, even in this unusual year, they are communicating in a supportive and loving way, and yes, they are enjoying the tapas, coffee and cold drinks enjoyed along the way. We were first-timers at the table and were accepted immediately and non-judgmentally. Sounds like the Camino to me.

Wrapping it back around to the White Eagle posts this week, “You need to be well and strong. And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.” I sure experienced that with both The WeWalkForYou team and the albergue ‘team.’

Please be looking out for your chance to do so too! ¡Buen Camino!

With bright vibrations love,