Sunday, September 30, 2012

This new Google Blogger interface may spell the end of this blog, to be followed by a new website opening.

Without boring you to death, let me just say that changing any of the elements
of this blog page is almost impossible. You might notice the lack of an opening
photograph at the top of the page- that is from changing the photo and something being done to my customized template, I don’t know what- and the photos ending up hugging the left side of the screen and leaving a half page of white, empty space.Steaming mad

But I have registered a new domain and purchased some software to setup a website with and provided that I can figure it out, this site just may come to an end and be reborn at the following link, which right now is just a parking place on the net: 

By the way, those of you out there who might have an interest in getting your own web domain might want to get the same deal I did over at 1 and 1 internet,
99 cents to register and setup the domain for the first year. Since I have been
accused at times of being a shill for the coal, oil, and gas interests; I have decided not to put up a link to this deal here. Just do like I did, google search for domain search and setup. By your doing it that way, you will gain valuable web search skills and I will forgo a referral fee, and thus maintain my pseudo-
journalistic integrity.Winking smile

Character building, that’s what this blogging is all about, and I am glad to help out in any small way that I can.Just kidding

The 640 odd posts here will continue to be archived here, and will continue to appear on Google search lists, but barring a major change at Google, I don’t see much more going on here, after the new site is setup.

The new site will have a tabbed interface most likely, tabs across the top come to my mind, and will have a simple blog as one tab, and tabs for photos, and desert issues as well. I don’t see getting away from a desert emphasis but it may change as indicated earlier to an attempt to document the changes coming to that region from this modern day renewable energy land rush, as funding permits me to do so.

As mentioned here a few days ago, the first act of that new play will occur as soon as the first of my days off comes up where the temperature in the state line region drops down into a level that I feel that I can ride a mountain bike in and live to tell about. That just may be a week from now as this screen
capture shows below.
ScreenHunter_05 Sep. 30 17.37

The above chart shows a distinct cooling trend in the Nipton, California area
starting on 10/5 and culminating in a beautiful 78 degrees F on my scheduled day off of Tuesday, the 9th. I am sure that Wednesday will be in the same temperature range as well. If by some chance, I am off Monday the 8th, it is only a single degree warmer. Perfect bike weather, and hopefully signaling the
start of the fall season!

As you know, I have an interest in a few different things- getting into bike touring, landscape photography, etc- and these sort of things will be part of the new site.

So that’s the update for now. You are welcome to come back any time.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Great Times article about solar energy plants in the desert and a pushback from a trade group.

Here is the link to the L.A. Times article from the other day which you may have seen.
Taxpayers, ratepayers will fund California solar plants
I believe I blogged about this the other day so I won’t go into any more detail here except to say that there are over 300 comments up at the Times site so far.

As expected, there has been pushback from a trade group in the form of the article link below this:
View: California Newspaper Gets the Facts Wrong on Renewable Energy

In case you don’t have time to read the whole article, I am taking the liberty of
reposting my comment to their article here:

September 27, 2012

Here is the Times link:,0,4991127,full.story
So the author of this piece thinks that the Times reporters were unfair and probably biased? Well go read the article yourselves and see what you think.
To this article's writers' credit, he did point out that the prices contracted for in the power purchase agreements are secret, just as the Times reporters did. However he failed to mention the PUC member who showed how Abengoa Solar's project was going to cost ratepayers an additional 1.25 billion dollars over 25 years and that
made the cost of power generated about $200 per megawatt, an outrageous amount to be paid! Now the renewable csp advocates can say what they want, but I can assure you that the average person will take this data and extrapolate a higher figure heading their own way, because to their way of thinking, the projects are all the same- virtually free government land, virtually free money, and total secrecy on prices to be paid for the energy, and a long proven history of ratepayers being left on the hook for decades paying for it all. Does anybody here remember WHOOPS bonds? Some might very well argue that all the same conditions are in place with this new green energy landrush, with all the money and promises being bandied about, and the same old secrecy in place for certain important matters,that we are setting the tables for another Whoops scandal to take place.
I think this article at the Times is more than fair. They are attempting to take a tiny pin and let a little air out of this dirigible that is trying to take off, one that every day looks more and more like a trainwreck waiting to happen- with destruction occurring all around to one of California's ecological treasures, all supposed to provide safe, green energy. What the Times article is pointing out that it has been misspelled, it should be called GREED energy, all getting rich but the users.”
-------------------END OF QUOTED TEXT-----------------

All I am trying to say is that like any good debater, the writer at the renewable energy trade group site is trying to make his or her argument look good by pointing out some facts and conveniently not mentioning others. A practice used by any good writer or bloggerSurprised smile.

Let me say though without any hesitation that the Times should not issue a retraction, apology, or change even a character or punctuation mark in its’ expose of the sordid truth about greedygreen energy development out in the
California deserts. Sometimes the truth hurts, some folks all the way into their wallets, and the truth needs to be said here, at long last.

The fact that a mainstream media organization is saying it; a supposedly liberal newspaper, that is willing to go against the conventional wisdom as spouted by the other msm and websites, makes it that much more satisfying to
see in print and to read.

My main concern though with it is that it may be too little, and offered too late, to really help out much in the struggle to stop the desert industrialization.

But their hearts seem to be in the right place and that means a lot, at least to this blogger.


Monday, September 24, 2012

New bike getting repairs, Wee Thump area visit will be next week.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it but the other day I took the recently acquired mountain bike for about a 3/10th or so mile road in the neighborhood. This short ride on flat ground resulted in both of my knees aching big time during the ride, and my right wrist getting numb and tingly, due to a lot of weightSurprised smile being put on my wrists and hands due to the riding position.

So today I took the bike over to a local bike shop and said I would like to be fitted to the bike, and was then told that the bike while being the right size would need a high rise stem for the handlebars in order to get the weight off my hands, and that would require new cables on the front end and they also discovered that I need to replace the front brake assembly- all told about $100 worth. Of course, I gave the go ahead, but the bike won’t be ready until about noon Wednesday, which means I will have to go up to the desert a week or so from now.

That’s okay by me as it will allow the weather to get cooler, now that fall is coming.

Hopefully, I can get some riding done locally getting the feel of the bike before I go up- regardless, I will be going even if I end up having to push the MorongoCycle back to my car!

I will be off the next two days and hope to get another post or two up here. So if you find yourself with some spare time, feel free to drop back in here for a visit soon. Remember, you can always search the archives; who knows what you might find there.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Found out the hard way, just because you can hike don’t mean you can bike.

Well this afternoon I finally got around to checking out the MorongoCycle- added that Slime product to the tires and re-inflating them, and also taking
it for a spin around the long block in the neighborhood, probably 3/10’s of a mile total.

First impressions, man was I wrong. I thought just because they say that you never forget how to ride a bike, that it would be easy. Wrong! My 58 year old body let me know in a hurry, while riding it, that it was not ready to just jump right into an expedition out on a rocky and/or sandy dirt road.

First, my knees told me that possibly the seat was set too low. Then my hands and wrists told me that I was putting way too much weight upon them with the flat bars that mountain bikes come with. These aches and pains can be fixed by
making adjustments to the bike so that I can ride in a more upright position but they will cost a little bit more, which I don’t mind spending, if they work.

Plus, you work different muscles riding a bike and mine are letting me know  that they need a chance to get more used to the new reality.

So what I am saying is that most likely I will postpone my trip up to Wee Thump for another week, which will have the added benefit of a few more degrees of temperature reduction out there, while giving me a few more days to get the bike adjusted and myself some more riding time and familiarity time with it.

While not a gambler, it probably is not a good idea to attempt a 10 or 15 mile ride on dirt roads without at least reducing my discomfort level a little- being 5 miles from the lonely highway is not the place to discover that you can’t ride another foot, much less a mile.

Barring a last minute change of heart, it appears the run to visit the Wee Thump area will have to be put off a week.


The Holy Grail meets up with the Boondoggle to top all boondoggles. Which renewable energy technology will win out? And will the wilderness survive until the winner emerges?

First, a personal note. Longtime readers know that I wrote many articles about Ivanpah and desert renewable energy projects, opposing them, in favor of rooftop solar panels. But after about 2 years, a burnout settled in along with
a lot of negativity, and I quit writing about it. My opposition to the projects never
wavered, it was just that the idea that it served nothing but to vent my displeasure in the only way I could, via this soapbox out on the web, seemed not enough of a reason to continue down that trail.

Lately, I have been feeling a little more upbeat about the situation that is ongoing, despite evidence to the contrary, in the form of all the projects that are in the pipeline. I don’t have a solid fact to base this upon, only a feeling that has been coming on as news items come up on the radar, and political and economic events play themselves out. These things get processed in the
Morongo News Ticker and end up in writing here sometimes.

So yes, I am finally starting to come out of my funk! There is a chance that scientific breakthroughs combining with news of the actual costs to be paid, and who will actually be doing the paying, might be the fulcrum needed to
lever the direction of renewable energy development back upon its’ rightful
track, which is up on rooftops and then degraded, used up land, to meet our energy needs for the future. So let’s talk about these new developments. First,
it might be a good idea if you had some links to check out.
UCLA's new transparent solar film could be game-changer

By now, hopefully you will have visited that link and come back out on the backporch. Do you see why this has got me so worked up that I, in a fit of
hyperbole, am calling it the Holy Grail of distributed power generation?
What a scientific breakthrough, and a huge game changer in the renewable
energy debate currently ongoing, if in fact, it can be commercially viable and
made available quickly to the market. In my opinion, if the government wants to
intervene and back a winner, forget Solyndra, this is the real deal! Get the big brains at Livermore and other federal think tanks on this right away, without cutting out UCLA researchers of course.

I mention bringing in the feds only because of the difficulties involved in increasing the % of energy harvested using their infrared technology, they obviously need to double the amount of energy collected, and it seems to me that the government could play a role in providing research assistance- staff, money, etc- after all, do you think China is going to be standing by and waiting
patiently for this small company and research staff to finish up their work? China is going into renewable energy big time; who knows, they may also be working right now on a similar project.

The prospects and benefits of this technology are truly breathtaking- just imagine every glass sided skyscraper generating its’ own electricity with the
windows, while simultaneously reducing air conditioning costs! Amazing! And
just imagine other inventions which could follow from this, and other applications.

Why it might even help bring the demise of the local power companies antiquated command and control model of providing electricity! I could definitely live with that result. Just kidding

Enough of the good times. Now let’s have a conversation about the bad times.
Here is another article from the Los Angeles Times today about the ongoing
renewable energy Boondoggle to top all boondoggles ongoing out in the
deserts of the southwest.
THE SOLAR DESERT: Taxpayers, ratepayers will fund California solar plants

Now from the “I just can’t help myself” department- have I or have I not been saying ever since this blog started over 2 years ago, that these renewable energy advocates and companies have no skin in the game, that the long suffering taxpayers and the ones who pay their utility bills(ratepayers)
will be the ones paying through the nose for this new greedgreen energy
and that the companies, Wall Street, and others are laughing all the way to the bank at us CHUMPS?
I said it so many damned times that I finally got fed up with hearing myself say it. Now, at long last, the mainstream news media is starting to come around, to what I and you longtime readers here have
known for years. We are getting screwed! No doubt about it.

I don’t know about you guys, but I would at least like to get a kiss, when I it happens to me! These greengreedy bastards are making out like bandits, and the fun, for them, is just beginning. I am telling you, just wait, you just wait, until the power bills start coming in after these Ivanpah and Blythe solar projects come online- you just wait- all I can say is, your power bill is going to soar through the presently un-solar paneled roof atop your house!

But hey, it’s not like nobody tried to warn us, right? Voices were crying out from the wilderness, trying to warn folks about the destruction that was planned for the wilderness, and ultimately for the average person’s checkbook. Pretty soon,
we are all going to find out how much we will be paying the piper for that pipedream tune that he has been playing.

You better go grab that jar of Vaseline before the bill comes!

I feel better now that I have got that load off my chest. Now back to the article.

Right now at this very moment I am rereading the article which I admit that I only skimmed through earlier, and it is way worse than I initially thought, you had better go out and buy about a case of KY Jelly, because you and me are about to get the financial screwing of our lifetimes!

Did you catch this little factoid- although prices in the power purchase agreements are confidential and considered trade secrets, BrightSource will admit that the price is in line with the PUC’s recommended rate of $129 per megawatt hour, about 4 times the average rate paid in California for electricity! Wow! We are really about to be screwed!
Hope you like financial punishment, because like it or not, you are about to experience it. And don’t go thinking that because you live in another state, that you won’t be affected; trust me on this one, the federal government is doing all it can to promote renewable energy, sooner or later, you will be screwed just like the rest of us. Unless…..

Unless, we the people get involved in this and start telling our public servants, who allegedly still work for us, that this is how it is going to be. We want solar on rooftops first, period. You got that, bureaucrats? You got that, environmental groups? You know who you are, taking small donations from the little guys and preaching to the masses about one thing, and hobnobbing with
the BrightSource’s of the world in the backroom’s picking up the real, big money in return for not doing more to save wilderness from destruction caused by these renewable energy schemes, some of which, you have secretly supported and made possible by placing your own elite policy wonks on the rule writing committees- yeah, we know about it, we just need to quit rewarding your bad behavior by sending you more of our hard earned money. Enough, enough, you get the picture, my dear readers.

On the one hand, we may have found the Holy Grail of renewable energy development, which may be the answer that we have been looking for. Added to solar panels on rooftops and on degraded lands, along with wind; and continued conservation efforts, and with market driven choices that can bring the cost down, we may be on the verge of welcoming a new sunrise and an answer to weaning ourselves from fossil fuel power; on the other hand, same old, same old, the rich getting richer, and the rest of us, just getting screwed.

Which way will we go? My guess is that unless a whole bunch of people wake up, like yesterday, and start taking charge of their stake in this battle, we are just going to keep on getting the shaft, while the Wall Streeter’s and the industrialists will ruin the wilderness getting their gold mine.


Maybe this guy’s book will help kick start placing solar panels up on rooftops, not out in our wilderness.

Put solar on rooftops, not out in our desert wild lands!

Danny Kennedy, featured above in the video clip, is the President of
Sungevity, Inc and author of a new book promoting rooftop solar, also known
as direct power generation, Rooftop Revolution; a timelier book could not have
been written, considering the tsunami of wind and solar projects that are about to wash ashore at your mountain and desert wild lands.

In this interview, he talks of utility interests changing their models so that coal
fired plant electricity would become the backup source of power, and not the primary- he specifically says that the largest utility in the world(sorry I forgot the name) is now doing just that. Amazing!

So by watching this video, you can see for yourself that some big players are starting to jump on the distributed power bandwagon, and change just may be coming to the industry, whether the PG&E’s and the SCE’s like it or not. You can also read an interesting story about Mr. Kennedy and Sungevity over at
the New York Times.

It is really a shame though that the enviro’s working with Mr. Kennedy didn’t choose distributed power generation as the smart choice from the very beginning, which might have saved Ivanpah and other wild places that are now being obliterated under the guise of producing clean, green renewable energy.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

This video will go a long way to explaining the dangers that our southwestern deserts are facing from “Green Energy development.”

Thanks to the National Parks Conservation Association for making the film available to all, and to Shaun over at the Mojave Desert Blog for bringing it to our attention.

Yes, the deserts are feeling the heat from renewable energy development.

You can also read more at this article. If you haven’t already done so, click on the Mojave Desert Blog link above in the top paragraph for an in depth look at this problem facing our desert wilderness. I also make a strong suggestion that you make it part of your daily reading routine to head over to the Mojave Desert Blog for the latest news and updates on this and other matters facing the Mojave and other deserts.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trip planned to the Wee Thump/eastern Mojave National Preserve area next week.

According to the 10 day weather report, the temperature at Nipton, California should be 87 degrees F this coming Monday, and 84 degrees F on Tuesday.
Up the hill on Nevada state highway 164, it should be a degree or two cooler up at the area around the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness Area.

Wee Thump and the Castle Peaks area of the Mojave National Preserve have been on my mind a lot the last few days since I found out from the Mojave Desert Blog post regarding a huge wind turbine project possibly going in to the west and south of that location, basically at the nexus of several wilderness areas and the northeastern boundary of the Mojave National Preserve.

Followers of this blog will of course be aware that a gargantuan sized wind turbine farm is going up immediately adjacent to the eastern border of Anza Borrego State Desert Park, a development which will directly result in the cutting off of wildlife movement corridors and the deaths of quite a few desert bighorn sheep, a development that saddens and angers this blogger to no end.

So I fear for the wild integrity of the Wee Thump area now, with good reason I believe, based on past performance by the new green industrialists and their backers in government and on Wall Street.

As written about in my last post, I just purchased a gently used Specialized Rockhopper hardtail mountain bike(the Morongocycle) and I have been itching to take it up to the desert, and that is what I will be doing. I don’t have a car carrier yet, so I am just going to toss it into the trunk of the Morongomobile, after taking the front wheel off of course, and head on up, probably about 12:30 in the morning next Monday. It will take about 4-5 hours of driving to reach the Wee Thump trailhead parking lot- I may take a short snooze there- but then I intend to ride the dirt roads that go completely around the edges of the Wee Thump wilderness and try to get a photographic record of the place, as well as try to figure out how the place will be changed if this development does occur.
Late change- I will leave Monday after getting some sleep at home, and go via Joshua Tree/Amboy/Route 66/ Kelso Depot/ Cima- driving through the Mojave National Preserve, and time permitting, I will do a bike ride in the afternoon, maybe around Kelso or Cima, and then check into a hotel, and do this Wee Thump area ride on Tuesday morning, the cooler day temperature wise.

From correspondence with Shaun over at the Mojave Desert Blog and Drycyclist at, I have a good idea of where the development will be and the roads in the area. I have also discovered a free and excellent topo
map of the area which has been added to my gps unit, for use while biking on the dirt roads in the area.

Man, there is a lot involved in all this preparation for a ride on a bike on a dirt road. I never realized all that was involved. One thing I will have to get is a setup where I can attach my gps to the handlebars, and I may end up having to upgrade to a better model gps as well- actually I am bidding on one right now on Ebay, the same one used by Drycyclist on the ten ton bike on his expeditions in the Mojave National Preserve.

I really am not in shape for a major ride, so I am just going to take it slow and stop for water and photography breaks as needed. One day I will undertake a weekend bikecamping trip but not at this time. I did not envision being out so soon documenting potential future desert destruction, but events forced my hand.
CPW Northern Section

In the above satellite view, I will be riding around the words Wee Thump. Below is the large scale map overview, all those red
areas will be covered with giant wind turbines on the mountains, with many wide and destructive dirt roads bulldozed to allow entry for the construction crews and equipment, as well as the turbines themselves.
CPW overview

Having driven through and hiked in the Wee Thump area, I can already say that
from my point of view, this wind development project will be a total visual and
ecological disaster for this very beautiful area- home to Bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and raptors of all kinds. And don’t forget about the rare earth mine that may be going in somewhere near the top two red zones on the map.

So stay tuned, unless problems develop, I will be riding up Monday and should have more photographs and a few more personal observations about this situation developing near Wee Thump and the MNP.



Friday, September 14, 2012

Let the adventure begin!

I have been talking about it and thinking about it, today I finally pulled the trigger and bought a used mountain bike. The bike in question was on Craig’s
List, a 1998 or so Specialized Rockhopper hardtail mountain bike, appears lightly used, and picked up for $120 cash.

Now, where am I going to put it, and how will I get it up to the Mojave National
Preserve for its’ maiden voyage? Obviously the next move is to pick up a bike rack to mount on the trunk of the Morongomobile and some various and sundry
other things, like a tire repair kit and tools.

I figured I might as well start somewhere and my research led me to believe that this bike has good bones upon which to start a touring bike conversion process for the long term, and to ride dirt roads in the desert and bike trails here for the short term.

Here are a few photos cribbed from the Craigslist posting, taken by Dave, the seller.
image 0

image 1

image 2

image 3

image 4

image 5

The bike has new knobby tires front and rear, new cables, new gel seat, and newer brake pads. The gear shifters were recently adjusted and it seems to be my size. Like the Trek I had previously, it does not have a kickstand, which takes some getting used to.

The plan is to take it to a bike shop and have it gone through again and also have the tires filled with a tire repair sealant such as green slime, as used over
on the ten ton bike at the drycyclist site which I mentioned here many times.

I can’t wait to take this bike up to the Mojave National Preserve or Joshua Tree.
I can’t wait to throw some stuff in a daypack and strap a sleeping bag and ground mat onto that Blackburn mountain rack on the bike and head up to the hills. My first trip will probably be to drive up to Kelso Depot, and leave my car in the lot, and ride the 3 miles up the gentle grade to the Globe Mine Road and then cross the tracks and ride the dirt road all the way over to the mountain range in the distance. Here is a preview pic to show you exactly what I am talking about.
archivecd16 118

Providence Mountains here I come!

Many thanks to my friend over at who sent me an encouraging email telling me to get out and do it, if not via bike, by car- get to the Mojave National Preserve- hike it, camp it- just do it. Thanks for the encouragement and now that the hot weather hopefully will be ending soon, I intend to get the you know what out of Dodge, and take that sage advice!

There are more than enough adventures to be found at the MNP to keep me busy until the bitter end of life’s journey, and now I hope to be able to start seeing it.

And of course, I will document it here, the good, bad, and oh so ugly!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Best debate I have watched in a long time.

On Democracy Now, between Glen Ford and Michael Eric Dyson,
regarding the Obama presidency. Mr. Dyson is a white house insider, Mr. Ford
is the editor of the Black Agenda Report, a website that I read and follow. 
ScreenHunter_04 Sep. 12 10.11

Here is the video link, I tried to embed the video here but my software for blogging does not recognize it:

Not only did I watch the whole thing, I also downloaded it for later enjoyment.

Long time readers know already that I stand on Glen Ford’s side in this debate.

If you would like to see a good example of a civilized debate, then you need to watch this.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another meetup with the bighorn sheep, and a major equipment malfunction. Part 2 of 2.

First , let me give a shout out and a big thank you to honorary backporch member, John, who observed me trudging up the Morongo grade on Hwy 62 and gave me a little honk behind me and then offered me a ride all the way to the Morongomobile which was parked at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve parking lot. John who moved out here to the desert from New Mexico a year ago is now an honorary backporch follower thanks to his generosity. Thanks a lot sir!

As promised yesterday, here are a couple of videos. Sorry for the large file size but I was very unhappy with the shrunk down videos which had horrible looking pixelated skies. You will get to see the full HD versions. If you want to see only the bighorn sheep, watch video#2.

Last night, I mentioned to a friend how I can spot the bighorns and I discussed it with another friend this morning. This will probably sound weird, but I am looking for shapes and patterns that will seem out of place. In other words, I am looking for something that does not belong in the setting. In the photographs shown yesterday, the shapes of the bighorn stood out from the shrubs and small trees, get it? Just like a bighorn standing sideways on a ridgetop showing the curved horn will stand out.

Now you know one of my secrets a little bit about finding bighorns, I will be expecting to see you out on the trail soon!

09102012bigmorongo 001 from bill mcdonald on Vimeo.

09102012bigmorongo 002 from bill mcdonald on Vimeo.

In which I spot a small group of desert bighorn sheep off the Canyon T rail at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.

See you later!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Another meetup with the bighorn sheep, and a major equipment malfunction. Part 1.

At Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, of course.

What a relief to arrive there at 1102 in the morning and find the temperature at
80 degrees F with lots of cloud cover and a cooling breeze! Way different from my last visit on July 4th when it was a whole lot hotter and my ankle was a whole lot worse than now.

Today I decided to try hiking in sandals and what a mistake that turned out to be. From all the little sharp stones that were constantly getting under my bare feet to the major equipment failure of the right sandal, where the back right side near the heel completely tore loose when somehow I stepped on a sharp stick.
ScreenHunter_03 Sep. 10 21.18

The sharp stick ripped the attachment loose by my heel, I am very lucky that it didn’t stick into my foot, it might have been a real emergency with no first aid kit, no cell reception and nothing to use for a tourniquet. I was truly lucky today. Another thing,
I constantly was trying to shake out small and sharp pebbles or rocks, from inside the sandals.

So I will be buying a new pair of hiking boots in short order.

I plan on adding a second part to this where I will post some videos taken and
more information on the hike. For now I will post a few photos and give a little more info and then I am hitting the sack.

Today I ended up hiking 7.5 miles with an elevation loss of 976' in the first 6.4
miles and an elevation gain of 228' in the last 1.1 miles. I did about 5.5 miles with the ripped sandal. The idea was that it would put less strain on the footwear by continuing downhill to the road and then hitching a ride back up the hill, than to turn around at mile marker 2 and head back up.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Here are the bighorns, which I spotted early in my hike.
09102012bigmorongo 005

Now with the Nikon Coolpix P510’s killer zoom and digital zoom enabled.
09102012bigmorongo 008

09102012bigmorongo 011

09102012bigmorongo 012

Remember to come back in a day or so for pt 2 of this post for the videos, one
of which shows you exactly how far away I was from this small herd of bighorn sheep, you are really going to be amazed.

Some have written me asking how I can spot these bighorn from so far away.
Well I don’t want to give away any bighorn whisperer secrets, but I will admit to having four eyesJust kidding


Saturday, September 8, 2012

My idea of good travel reading. Plus a hint of things to come.

This is a good place to start. Click on the image to see it full size.
ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 08 15.02

Also note the tab that I also had open. It is a local Craig’s List ad for a steel framed Trek 820 hardtail mountain bike for sale at about $85. I am in the information gathering stage and am thinking a Specialized Hardrock or a Trek
mountain bikes, as these have been successfully used in touring.

The inspiration for the purchase of course has been this site that I obtained the screenshot above from. If you haven’t done so, you really should visit the site.

As I mentioned in a reply to a comment left on one of my posts today, the weather up at Big Morongo Canyon is turning stormy Monday and Tuesday
ScreenHunter_02 Sep. 08 15.21

with real good chances for some thunderstorm action, meaning cooler temperatures so I am quite sure that I will be heading up with my camera, in search of great photographic opportunities and the elusive bighorn sheep. I
look forward to telling you all about it here. So make sure you visit here again
in a few days.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The winds of Thor are blowing cold.

Ledheads know the title of this post well but perhaps not in the context I am presenting it tonight. But I believe the words are an apt description of what is
happening in our world today, and we should heed their warning.

Everywhere I look, I am greeted with scenes of conflict around the world; a lot
of that conflict and death can be laid right at our door in this country. This I
consider an unassailable fact but you are free to try to disprove my conclusions
if you wish.

I am old enough to remember the breathless talk of a “peace” dividend and what we, as a nation, could spend it on. Lots of plans were brought up, and as
you may or may not know, that talk dried up and blew away like dead leaves in the breeze.

So now what we are going to have to talk about is the “war” dividend we will begin reaping after sowing all the destructive seeds that we could in the last decade or so, by administrations of both of our political parties. This was all facilitated by the so called fourth estate, the press, supposed independent fact checkers, which somehow got perverted into being cheerleaders for the warmongers that we seem to love and admire so.

Yes, the winds of Thor are beginning to blow, and they will be cold, and
heartless. I fear those winds that many in this world may feel are righteous and will bring us a taste of retribution that they, at least, feel we so richly deserve.

I don’t know what we average folks can do about this situation, except not to support it. I opposed both Gulf Wars and support getting out of Afghanistan while we still can. Get the hell out now and stay out, and keep our big nose out of the rest of the world’s affairs. That’s my advice, unsolicited, and guaranteed to be ignored.

There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the winds of Thor will be blowing this way soon and that they will blow a long, long time. Our nation and its’ supporting staff of sycophant client nations, most of them with long and bloody
colonial histories; why we just can’t seem to help ourselves from following the same old colonialist playbook on the rest of the developing world- rape the weaker countries for their resources, and rub their faces into it with our jackboots.

The problem is that we do a lousy job of being colonialists and imperialists, our hearts just aren’t in it. Where is all the cheap oil that the neocons thought we would be getting from Iraq? What about all the grand dreams of vast military bases in the middle east and the Pax Americana to come bring peace and enlightenment to the Arab inhabitants?

The truth of the matter is that we were run out of Iraq and are in the process of being run out of that ancient graveyard of empire, Afghanistan, and are setting ourselves up for serious problems by letting Israel bully us into starting a shooting war with Iran.

This is truly madness and there doesn’t seem to be any will on anyone’s part to stop it. So it will probably happen.

No doubt the winds of Thor are starting to blow up a storm, and it is obvious to me that they will take this republic down with them if somehow, by a miracle, something does not happen to ease the situation developing overseas. The mother of all blowback is heading this way and
we the people are seemingly helpless to prevent it.

Some believers will hold hope that an Almighty God will intervene and straighten out our leaders hearts and open their eyes to the truth. I doubt that.
I think that the Almighty might just sit back and let us kill each other till we get our fill and then perhaps get involved. You see we humans just don’t learn too good. We obviously haven’t learned our lesson, we need a real dose of the rod to cure us of our arrogance, and the rest of the developing world is there to assist in the disciplining that is required in this case.

A pox on both houses, on both parties. There isn’t a nickel’s worth of difference between the parties and their respective candidates for president, as far as maintaining the empire’s hold on the world goes, so I won’t be voting for either. I, for one, will vote my conscience, period and will hold no loyalty to my party, the dumbocrats, who have done absolutely nothing to justify my vote or any other person’s vote for that matter.

Actually I encourage those who consider themselves progressive or LIBERAL to take a close look at other choices on the ballots in their own states, people like Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson, anybody but Obama or Romney, who represent the two sides of the same old Imperial coin, both smiling in your face while they are busy reaching around behind you with a long knife to stab you in the back.

This is my last little chat about this issue. I freely admit that my mind is made up and it won’t be changed.

You see, I am starting to feel the breeze coming from out of the north, and I fear the days ahead, when the winds of Thor begin to blow in earnest, and we had all better start battening down our hatches for the bad times that are coming.

This is all I have to say and I am sure that it is falling upon deaf ears but it doesn’t matter to me. I have said what I feel needed to be said, and just wish others would start voicing their opinions as well.

Our grand experiment, this republic, is dying or dead and we are just going along like nobody’s business, none the wiser, and actually providing the rope for ourselves to be hung with- as a good friend of mine says, “this is not the country that I grew up in” and I believe him- it isn’t and hasn’t been for at least a decade or more.

I am really starting to feel the chill deep down in my bones.



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Time to take a blogging break.

The light is going to be turned out on the backporch during the month of September. No particular reason, just feel the need to do other things.

As usual, I invite you to search the archives by using the search feature on the left side of the page.
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Below is a sample search with results in the next screen capture.
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Results of the search below.
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Or some of you may be interested in this search.
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The point being made that with over 600 posts in the last couple of years, there might be something in there of interest to you.

You might also take a chance and check out the sites that I read often, also on the left side of the page.
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Look, several of you visit this site multiple times daily. I feel bad for dropping
out like this, but I do feel that I just need a little break from the self-imposed
pressure of the blogging business- so okay I have twisted my own arm, if I go
looking for bighorns up at Big Morongo or Joshua Tree, or if somehow I take a fairly decent photograph, I will publish it here- but that’s as far as I will go.

Go out and do something. Take your family and/or friends out for a little wilderness viewing. If you live in an urban setting with no wilderness around, go to a park. Or find a nature preserve close by. Google it! Get involved! You want to impress your fellow readers here- write about it with photos and email me, I told you guys long ago, guest posts were welcome here at the backporch!

The pay is abysmal, no ad revenue or money to speak of, but you will get your work out on the world wide web! Just think of all the intrinsic satisfaction!

Enough, enough, I am out of here. For now. See you in October, unless the above events occur.