Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In The North is Montana...

 ... and in Montana (and Wyoming ha ha) are the rivers...

One of the difficulties I've got with working as a "writer" is... having to sit inside for so long to do the writing. I'd much rather be out with the wind in my face, the scent of the pines... or the ocean... or the rivers.

Last night a Montana Thunder Boomer was slowly building out of the southwest just before sunset. I looked out the window and something tickled me to step outside just as the clouds lit up. I Captured a couple photos as the clouds moved in... looking across the Yellowstone.

The first was a capture off my phone. Not to bad. Then I ran back in and grabbed my camera. Lightning was flashing off to the left a ways. It was almost as if the clouds themselves were set on fire. An awesome display.

The rivers. Somehow they reach deep inside me. One of my favorite films is a "River Runs Through It". There is so much unspoken yet flowing through the words of that film. It stirs me to wonder a lot... The last lines of the film;

 "Eventually all things merge into one and a river
runs through it. The river was cut by the worlds great
flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.
On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops.
Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are
theirs. I am haunted by waters."

I'm not a boatman at all... but water... has always had some sort of a draw. Not so much to play on it or in it... but to live with it. There is something alive there in the rivers.

Somehow I make maybe an odd connection inside. Something in my soul bonds them all together into something that makes sense to me. The wind. The rivers, the waters... and a motorcycle. The most joyous rides I've made have been along a narrow twisting road that followed a river.

Sweeping through the wind on a bike, twisting and leaning as a ribbon of asphalt follows the river running over the rocks from the basement of time... Somehow it feeds my soul...

And sometimes, I get lost and hide from the wind and run from the river... but I always find my way back. The sound of the waters always brings me home.

Montana is blessed maybe more than any other place I've been with waters that touch the spirit.

The Blackfoot. The Gallatin. The Madison. The Yellowstone. The Bitterroot. And so many others. I don't fish them. I don't boat them. I let them fill my eyes and my heart. I breathe in their scent... and when I'm blessed... I split the wind beside them on a thundering motorcycle and feel whole.

Today I couldn't stay at my writing. I needed Out! From my mistakes I've been made a pedestrian with nothing but an old truck. But that'll do. Arlo and I loaded up to drive down along the Yellowstone River past Gardiner into the park.

We drove along the Gardiner river, the Gibbon, the Madison. We captured the poor photos here of the Firehole river.

The waters soothe the hurts of the soul and give it strength just as they feed the land. As the author wrote; "I am haunted by waters."

*The Madison is there, just at the far edge of the grass below the timber*
We rolled along those joyous waters to the lil' burg of West Yellowstone for some junk food... had to do the driver through 'cause it was too warm to leave Arlo settin' in the truck...

He doesn't seem to mind...

As long as I share a lil' with him... He's pretty much a hairy garbage disposal.

Turns out he kinda likes salty french fries.

It's actually a fairly infrequent thing for me to share groceries with him. He's got a bad habit of beggin'...

... trouble is, I have a bad habit of not bein' able to resist those beggin' eyes.

After lunch I had to make a stop for desert... The West Yellowstone Dairy Queen!

It's kind of a family tradition.

Buuuut... I maybe should have gotten the smaller one...

... and bein' as it's got chocolate in an M&M Blizzrd... poor Ol' Arlo couldn't get to share none!

He don't get no beer neither...

On down the road a ways, on top of Craig Pass is another small bit of water called Lake Isa.

I've been trying to capture a decent photograph of it for years.

I think maybe it's one of those places where it's better to concentrate on the small parts than the whole thing...

Montana... and Her Rivers... It is a Joyous, soul healing place. (and uh... Wyoming too! Since a lot of these photographs are from there! ha ha ha)

- Brian

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Working On Fresh Ambitions and Controlling The desire To... Um... Respond...

Recently re-read a book "Flying Through Midnight"... there's a quote of a fella in there. They were meant NOT just in the particular situation they were in, but to address life in general;

"Break some rules, Make something Up. Do as you please. Pos-si-bil-i-ties."

Those words struck a cord with me when I first read 'em. It was a good thing to be reminded of them now. That's pretty much how I'm thinkin' goin' forward. I keep trying to do what I want yet still find myself "playing by the rules." It don't work.

The trouble IS... the RULES were wrote by a tiny percentage of civilization and spun for THEIR benefit to the cost of ever'body else. Worse, they've got real good at getting a person's self doubts to jab 'em good and hard whenever they go about pursuing any of their own interests that don't serve soh-sigh-uh-tee.

Now, I'm not talkin' 'bout dumpin' on anyone or taking advantage of anyone... less of course they're members of that tiny percentage or government; And THEN it's Open Season! :)

Last year and some, I got kind of stupid. Fell right back into the same old traps we all do. Got to thinkin' wrong 'bout most everything. Talked my self into things that turned out to be wrong and Built up a fresh pack of burdens way too heavy that gives too little back for the effort.

"I can see clearly now the rain is gone" :) Music always has a way of clearing out my brain pan__if I stop long enough to listen to it.

The future I'm looking at is "outside the box". It's austere enough it's even got ME spooked looking at it. Bwahaha. So that tells me I'm likely on the right trail... since the "System" works on us all to scare us away from doing what's good for us but Bad for the "benefits" it squeezes out of us.

Now all I got left is to cut away those foolish burdens I took on and Crack Out again!

Took the day off yesterday and made a circle through the north half of Yellowstone. Word is last year was a record for people there and this year is running ahead of that. I know for sure that there's more people than I've ever seen in the 50 years I've been wandering through there.

Takes a special effort to see through all that noise - and deal with it in socially acceptable ways.  Especially for those that are diplomatically disabled... like them such as me!

... from the__ahem__"foreign guests"__corking up stairways to take pictures of each other. Posing and RE-posing and posing again; While backing up all the people trying to just get on with their own days, who meekly accept such behaviour... and getting huffy when the old grump refuses to accept such rudeness and diddy bops right on through their picture... the ruder mutts walking shoulder to shoulder across the sidewalk, laughing, joking, plowing along and pushing people off both sides; who get huffy when ONE refuses to get shoved to the side. Who just stops and squats down in the middle to photograph a small flower off to the side... forcing THEM to split around...

To the bikers, riding ten under in a four hundred foot slug of scooters nobody can pass... who get huffy when they come up on the "Pot stirrer" who goes even slower than them in his wore out ol' Dodge along the windy river... where THEY can't pass...

Wave and blow 'em a kiss! and thanks for saying I'm number one! That's what holding up that single finger means... Don't it? :)

Do Unto Others fools... most folks just duck their heads and don't want to "cause a scene"... Me? I am tee totally willing to Do Unto Them as scenically as possible! Just as their behavior requested! I'll even tip my hat and say; "You're Welcome!" :-D

But, you know what? I've come to realize that being in that sort of "stuff" and dealing the best with it is a lot like Photographic composition! Really!

See, to get a decent photograph you have to focus down on details and crop out all the rest of the BIG picture. That BIG picture is too much to deal with usually and just clutters things up, so crop it out!

The beauty is in the details...

So... dealing most efficiently with all those wastes of space is really learning to focus on the gorgeous details all around and let the "Useless Clutter" just slide on by unacknowledged... like an insolent kid you ignore.

Yeah... I might take a good photo once in a while... I'd not hold my breath waiting on the "slide on by" part to happen very often... hahahahaha.

Had a morning that promised some awesome pictures. It dawned with a lot of "personality". Stormy weather adds so much to photographs... but alas, it broke off clear and I've not unlimbered the camera much in a while. My skills are rusty, but I got some so-so...

As the day passed along I did get better at just floating through the "noise" and letting it flow on by like it wasn't really there... most of the time. ;)

But when I was sitting on a rock just gazing out at the scenery and capturng this last photo I couldn't resist. I tried but I couldn't do it. Bein' a wise ass must just be a genetic thing. I sure have little ability to control it.

An old guy screeched into the little pullout I'd parked in and jumped out. He come stomping up with his camera in his hand and blurted out; "See anything?"

"Yup." I said and looked back into my camera.

"What?" he asked all excited looking around real quick trying to spot what I'd seen.

"Yellowstone" I answered. He got kinda huffy himself. "Yellowstone!" he says kinda sarcastically making one of those "Harumph!" noises, and wearing one of those "I just tasted something sour" scowls on his face.

One of those 'Can't see the forest for the trees' sort of fellas...

I got in my truck and rolled slowly away... knowing I got it and he never will.

It's funny really. I get labeled all the time with grumpy, negative, pissy and several more colorful descriptions of what folks take to be my many faults. But there I am, soakin' up the joy of being alive in Montana and Wyoming... and some of the folks slingin' the labels are... pushin', shovin,' cussin' and nastyfyin' life... while the grumpy old negative bastard is smilin' and loving the day... It's curious to me...

- Brian

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chores Done so... Montana Bound

Finally got the VA to let go... and I ain't dyin'... this week anyway... so, I'll try and catch up a mite...

Moved over to Vadauwoo west of Cheyenne to make life easier (cheaper) for all the appointments... even with the camp fees...

It also has some nice hiking around the base of the "major" rock pile/Mountain. Made the 3+ mile walk with Arlo four times in different directions.  Pushed pretty hard a couple times to add some extra effort to the deal. I'm still on the gain from last winters shoulder crunching and pneumonia... but juuuust about there.

*Along Turtle Rock Trail*

This place is a go to spot I guess for rock climbers in the area...

Now... they all call ME crazy for rumbling a big Ol' Red motorcycle through the wind at upwards of 130 miles an hour (yeah... bustin' the rules I know... so sue me) ... but these guys are WHACK!

Hangin' by a thin lil' cord that's strung through some aluminum bits you wedged in a crack in the rock? Um... No.

Then... there's another issue... Have you ever seen what comes-a-rushin' out of a 20 pound scairt goose? Uh Huh...

Standing directly under a guy doin' an imitation of a fly... is not my idea of wisdom... If you should ever be in a sitchy-ashun where ya'll talked THIS fool into climbin' in such a way... Never, EVER stand under me. I might not fall... but use your imagination here... multiply that scairt goose by 'bout 8 and extrapolate what might could come-a-rushin' your way...

Stand Back! and DO NOT look UP!

*On top at Vedauwoo*

Yeah__ I'll leave scrambling up a rock face to the lizards and rock climbers... and shroud myself in the safety of splitting the wind at 130mph on two wheels :) ...assuming I someday Regained two wheels...

The big fire over west a hundred miles or so contributed some smoke to add a bit of color to the sunsets... when it wasn't blowing straight at us. Smelled like a giant campfire some nights...

Got my VA stuff out of the way and headed north. Spent a night at one of the Wyoming State rest areas south of Meeteetse. Too far to make the haul in a day and I wanted to be pretty fresh for the haul over the mountain between Cody and Cooke City anyway.

That's not a real tough haul. (if you've learned proper mountain driving ways) It's a stiff climb up the east side and a steeper twisty drop on the west... but easy peasy if you've learnt the right ways to brake and such...easy except for the Moh-Rons that populate the highways and insist on making life difficult...

Left out of Meeteetse and promptly played some "lets see if that guy can turn his 18,000 pounds or stop quick enough to not kill me" games with a hundred bicycle pedlers along the highway.

Is the physics really so hard to understand for those folks? I mean... dart out from the side of a U.S. highway, across the shoulder stripe, into the traffic lane...20 feet in front of a 50 foot long, 18,000 pound rig traveling at highway speed... and Expect him to not blast you into the next world?

Courtesy by drivers is a fine thing... but I have to say my "courtesy" can't make that rig turn faster or stop quicker than physics will allow. No matter how much walt disney has taught me to want to... or how hard I say "pleeeeeeeeeease" through gritted teeth while I try!!!!

Then... there's the sweet lil' wrinkled up fart of a fool that followed me down the mountain in his lil' blue compact... I get to the bottom and bump into fourth when I finally get to where I can start rolling again... and... Yup... he darts out and passes, cuts back in less than a car length in front... still on the down hill... and BRAKE CHECKS ME! for__I guess__ coming down the mountain in a LOWER GEAR! .....

Um... Physics people... I very nearly had a 2500 Pound medium blue hood ornament...

Well... we survived those moh-rons and one fool of a Biker (motorized)... that passed to cut back in and grab the binders__ because he SAW A BUFFALO! ... not a hundred... or twenty... ONE! Missed him by inches... Hope he got his picture... and some clean shorts....

Fun day... but we got here... my fine camp on the Yellowstone River in Montana!!!

Couple of small ranches across the river... and a few lil' homesteads and houses... but off there just over that far ridge is the Lee Metcalf wilderness... North of here a goodly ways is the Bob and the Scapegoat. Northwest is the Salmon and the Frank Church wildernesses... and all around are several more that escape memory just now... Montana... God made it last when he'd perfected his skills!

The views here in just about any direction wash away all that crap you stumble through on the way to get here... and being as close as I am to Yellowstone herself... with her waters flowing just a few feet outside my door... awesome.

Few hours each day writing... a couple of days a week to go do some hiking and picture hunting... and the time I'm allotted here will race away much too fast!

Buuuut... I've got two more sweet camps I know about... over to Sula and up on the Clearwater... So the middle part of the summer is looking pretty fine...

One thing that run yesterday has driven home is that at this point in my gypsy livin' I've grown pretty weary of pushing what amounts to a "Big Rig" around... I'm really wanting small, light and what most would consider minimal... Filling a book with sketches... It promises to be an interesting fall and winter after the Harvest in September/October...

I'm kinda impatient for that harvest to come and go... Got great plans to make up for and clean up all the boneheaded mistakes I made last year.

But for now... I'll just write my stories and enjoy the Yellowstone rustling by... while the scent and sound of that river makes for good sleeping.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Bein' the Best There is__ Don't Make You Good.

I've been depending on Verizon for a lot of years now. Only because in a lot of places they're the only game in town. For a few of those years I saw their service footprint expand and improve in quality.

Buuuut maybe it's like old men... after a while telephone companies start to not give a fiddle and just let things fall apart. Old places I used to get online are now non-functional except for texts... IF ... you're willing to wait for ten minutes a lot of the time for the dang thing to send... or receive any reply...

They're loosing ground and I'm not real sure why... only problem is... there ain't nobody else to jump to in the hope of adding some competition pressure... So I just try once or twice and then quit until I can find some signal somewhere.

Soooo... the slowness of posts and replies is not ALL just the cranky old anti-social cowboy biker cussin' and squealing; "No! I won't!" ;)

 Knowin we'us gonna have to hook up and haul out so I was close enough to not spend a fortune running back and forth to keep those VA bureaucrats happy, Me an Arlo decided we should make the five mile up and back stroll to the Rabbit Ears before we left.

We been prowling through the timber and back roads around for days.

Climbing up to the Rabbit Ears would be ok__If__ the guy you had on the end of the leather was willing to NOT yank you off your boots on the slickery steep parts! He had to be on a leash 'cause his behavior when other folks are around is not something you can brag about.

It's not a bad lil' hike at all. Just a few spots where the sand on the hard pan of the purty steep trail gets kinda dicey and you curse yourself for wearing the wrong boots and leaving that walkin' stick behind.

And then that furry chainsaw gives a yank the wrong way at the wrong time and even coarser bad words escape into the environment...

*The Rabbit Ears are... well... kinda obvious aren't they?*

*Sunrise in the High Rockies*

*Along the trail to the Rabbit Ears*

*My, ain't it purty up here... From the top. Beside the ears*


A couple nights before we pulled out this big guy come a visiting... sort of... He's nigh on to 600 yards from the rig... zoomed out that classly lil' nikon and got this... kinda grainy but not bad for the distance!

He seems to be growin' a purty good rack.

We've moved to a spot west of Cheyenne to facilitate (That means 'make easier' for those less wordy than some others) the chores of these appointments.

And even here... I have to get in the truck to go a half mile to where suddenly there's signal... even though I can SEE two towers from the rig... arrrrgggghhhh...

Oh well... Anyhoo, as it stands it looks like we'll start movng north finally bound for... no friggin' idea. :) on the 20th or so...

Actually a camp I've had before up on the mountain above Sula in Montana has been sending its whispers on the breeze... which right now is Whistling through the rocks and trees around camp!

Slowly getting back into the swing of photographs and some proper writing... and likely some improper too!