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Automobiles California Crestline Lake Gregory Photography

Vintage Car Show at Lake Gregory

20140927-untitled (2 of 48) 20140927-untitled (4 of 48) 20140927-untitled (5 of 48) 20140927-untitled (11 of 48) 20140927-untitled (13 of 48) 20140927-untitled (14 of 48)Yesterday on our prowling about the San Bernardino Mountains, our first stop was down by Lake Gregory where a vintage car show was in progress. One of the most intriguing units was this Volkswagen which in this canister burns wood which produces smoke which fuels the vehicle. Amazing. This young man was the owner, told Jerry all the details of the vehicle’s operation.

My favorite vehicle was probably the Forest Service truck, but then look at the red on that other car. Haven’t heard which vehicle had the most votes. All were beautiful

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Automobiles Family Goodness of man Life love Photography

Rebecca’s Gift

Someone had said to her, “Let’s go out front. Want to show you something.”

20140920-untitled (38 of 134)“Oh, that’s a really pretty car.” 20140920-untitled (39 of 134)It’s yours, Rebecca. A gift from your brother Steve. 20140920-untitled (40 of 134) 20140920-untitled (41 of 134) 20140920-untitled (43 of 134) Aw, Aunt Bek, we love you so much.20140920-untitled (53 of 134) 20140920-untitled (54 of 134)We were down at Steve’s to help celebrate his 20th pastoral anniversary when last Saturday all this happened–Rebecca’s generous, giving brother Stephen surprised her with a shiny red Cadillac.

20140920-untitled (50 of 134)I believe I have mentioned before that our dear Rebecca has suffered cruel breaks in life, the major one being extreme and deadly health issues. Literally, she has more than one time been at the point of death. She is divorced and not able to work. Her old car was choking and heaving.

20140920-untitled (56 of 134)20140920-untitled (61 of 134)Sir Winston dressed for the occasion.

In the midst of this disheveled, gone crazy world, where only yesterday in Oklahoma a woman was beheaded in her work place…..there are still those who care, who love, who give. Lots of them.

 

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Automobiles Humor Life The World Travel

Go, Baby, Go!

After reading of Cha Sa-soon, a 68 year old woman, I feel energized and full of determination to do what needs to be done today Amazing grit and resolve. She just passed the written exam for a driver’s license….watch this…on her 950th try!

SEOUL, South Korea —  A woman in South Korea who tried to pass the written exam for a driver’s license with near-daily attempts since April 2005 has finally succeeded on her 950th time. The aspiring 0_61_110709_licensedriver spent more than $4,200 in application fees, but until now had failed to score the minimum 60 out of a possible 100 points needed to get behind the wheel for a driving test.

Source: AP

Cha Sa-soon, 68, finally passed the written exam with a score of 60 on Wednesday, said Choi Young-chul, a police official at the drivers’ license agency in Jeonju, 130 miles south of Seoul.

You go, Baby!

Now, though, she must pass the behind-the-wheel part of the driving test. Take heed down there in Jeonju!

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Addiction Alcoholism America Automobiles Culture Economy Family Life My Family

Stopping Drunk Drivers

Interesting exchanges, perhaps even controversial ones, arise when talk of the acceptable degree of governmental intrusion into our personal lives is considered. Nearly all of us agree that our business should remain our business, and that we are not fond of others dictating our actions, or for that matter even knowing what we do once our doors are closed and we are within the confines of our homes. Yet a rational person understands that for a society to operate in a safe and orderly manner, there are times when private activities may so affect the welfare of the general public that government directives must be issued, so as to safeguard its peoples.

Certainly such is the case when considering alcohol consumption. Now in order to further protect those on the highways, certain motorists will be required to install

breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars. Some believe this to be a remarkable development; others are of the opinion that this is again inappropriate government intrusion into private lives.

CHICAGO – Motorists convicted of driving drunk will have to install breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars under new laws taking effect in six states this week.

The ignition interlocks prevent engines from starting until drivers blow into the alcohol detectors to prove they’re sober.

Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska and Washington state began Jan. 1 requiring the devices for all motorists convicted of first-time drunken driving. South Carolina began requiring them for repeat offenders.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been conducting a nationwide campaign to mandate ignition locks for anyone convicted of drunken driving, claiming doing so would save thousands of lives. But critics say interlocks could lead to measures that restrict alcohol policies too much.

Users must pay for the fist-sized devices, which in Illinois cost around $80 to install on dashboards and $80 a month to rent; there’s also a $30 monthly state fee. And they require periodic retesting while the car is running.

“It’s amazingly inconvenient,” said David Malham, of the Illinois chapter of MADD. “But the flip side of the inconvenience is death.”

Read more of the AP story here.

As most people, I really don’t want the government peering into my bedroom, telling me where to go to church, how to spend my money, or where to shop for a bag of potatoes. But I do know this: In 1994, a young man, barely exceeding the measurement that marked him drunk, drove his red truck into my husband’s body and forever changed his life.

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America Arizona Automobiles California Culture Economy Life Outrageous Science & Technology Social The World Travel Uncategorized

Where Goes the $4.00 You Pay for a Gallon of Gasoline?

It seems any other time Jerry and I would have found it necessary to travel a lot would have been a better time than now. We are spending a fortune on fuel as we run here and there, and the subject of gasoline and diesel prices is on the lip of everyone we meet. So….I was intrigued today by this article from the Chicago Tribune that analyzes the $4.00 we plunk down for every gallon of the oily stuff we pump into our tanks.

The average price for gasoline on Long Island is at a record-setting $3.791 a gallon for regular, says the AAA. And diesel? Fuhgeddaboutit: It averaged $4.648 a gallon.

But where is all that cash going?

59.6 cents a gallon goes to state and federal taxes — of which Uncle Sam gets 18.4 cents a gallon, and the remainder goes to Uncle David in Albany; 26.2 cents a gallon pays for refining crude oil; and another 11.2 cents a gallon goes to distribution and marketing.

And, yes, except for the taxes, each of those items includes profit for the oil industry, Dougher said. Last year’s tally was about $123 billion.

But the industry, including Dougher, hastens to point out that those numbers represent a rate of return of only 8.3 cents per dollar of company revenue — a rate lower than those of the beverage, tobacco, pharmaceutical, computer, electronic and chemical industries.

According to Ray Dougher, an economist for the American Petroleum Institute, crude oil accounted for 74 cents of every dollar consumers paid for gas, which would work out to $2.765 a gallon, based on yesterday’s New York State average of $3.736 for regular. Dougher added that the rest breaks down as such:

59.6 cents a gallon goes to state and federal taxes — of which Uncle Sam gets 18.4 cents a gallon, and the remainder goes to Uncle David in Albany; 26.2 cents a gallon pays for refining crude oil; and another 11.2 cents a gallon goes to distribution and marketing.

And, yes, except for the taxes, each of those items includes profit for the oil industry, Dougher said. Last year’s tally was about $123 billion.

But the industry, including Dougher, hastens to point out that those numbers represent a rate of return of only 8.3 cents per dollar of company revenue — a rate lower than those of the beverage, tobacco, pharmaceutical, computer, electronic and chemical industries.

Those who don’t buy that argument are not alone. And they’ll be outraged again this week when Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Marathon Oil announce how much they made in the first three months of this year.

I’m not an economist, nor an oil tycoon or driller, nor a naturalist, nor a developer. I’m just a consumer whose wallet is suffering because of these prices. Can’t something be done? I ask.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Automobiles Culture My Family Photography Social The World Travel

India Rolls Out $2500 Car

It was an unusual thing to do on a Sunday, but during the afternoon of December 23rd, after our morning Christmas service had ended, Jerry bought a car. He had taken me to the motor home so that I could finish packing for we would be going to Crestline…as soon as he brought home the new car.

Because we live in the mountains 🙂 part of the time, for several years now we have driven four-wheel drive cars–actually Jeeps. The one we were driving had more than 130 thousand miles on it, and during the week before this memorable Sunday, in the Wal-Mart parking lot, it had refused to start. The failure to start was under Jerry’s watch, he had forgotten his cellphone, and had to traipse around and find a place where he could call Mike to come help him.

“Time to get a new car,” Jerry told me when he got home.

He had been telling me that for some time, but I had not waxed enthusiastic about the subject. Why?

1. Cars are expensive.

2. I hated to part with the cash (since at our age our savings accounts are spiraling downward and not mounting upward!)

3. Although I recognize we must have a dependable car, and we drive many miles a year, I am not much interested in cars…can’t identify many brands. If the car is dependable and has a decent appearance and is reasonably comfortable, I would just drive the same one forever.

4. Cars must be the worst investment in the world. Pay $30,000 for one…in ten years, it’s ready for the bargain second-hand lot. Compare that to buying real estate, where years after paying for a house, and having the joy and protection of living there, the property is worth more than when first purchased. (At least that has been our experience with houses in California. I know that is not the case everywhere.)

Anyway, by Saturday we had narrowed the car choices down to a couple. “You choose,” I told Jerry on Sunday. I packed. He bought, and came home with a beautiful 2004 white Grand Cherokee Jeep, which we have now traveled in for hundreds of miles. It has proved to be a good car.

Take a look at this one, though. Next time Jerry wants a new car, I’m going to send him to India. 🙂 Save us lots of money.

Indian media and business officials surround the newly unveiled Tata car

(Money Sharma/EPA)

A team of 500 people worked on creating the Nano – Tata aims to prove that India can compete on the world market as an innovative car maker

It is a little over 10ft long bumper to bumper, can seat four passengers comfortably, has reached speeds of 65 miles per hour and is set to transform the concept of travel for the masses in India and in poorer parts of the world.

This is the People’s Car, the world’s cheapest car at a starting price of 100,000 rupees ($2,500) or the equivalent of a DVD player in a Lexus.

I love the line: “the equivalent of a DVD player in a Lexus.” Okay, okay, no rotten tomatoes, please. I know I have friends and family who drive Lexus’ . Just pickin’.

Happy trails, everybody…whether you’re driving a Jeep, Lexus, Nano, Cooper, VW, an Oldsmobile or a Chevy.

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My devotional blog is here.

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America Animals Automobiles California Christmas Culture Holidays Humor Life Photography Science & Technology Social The World Travel

Explanation for Holiday Traffic Jams

I can’t tell you how many times Jerry and I been driving on the tangle of southern California freeways, when of a sudden the traffic slowed to a creep, then finally was at a stall.

“Probably an accident or something,” often I have said.

“Most likely,” Jerry has agreed.

We stalled, crept, sighed with frustration, stopped, started, then at last our speed picked up, the traffic cleared before us and we were now moving at normal freeway speed. We’ve turned our heads in all directions looking for the wreck or the road construction or the detour signs, but in vain. There seemed to be no reason for the stalled traffic. Happened to you? Doubtless, if you live in an urban area. We’ve all puzzled over the phenomenon of a traffic jam to which there is no discernable cause.

Christmas lights and traffic. Tennessee, USA

QT Luong picture used under his “private” guidelines.
Now, a team of mathematicians from the Universities of Exeter, Bristol and Budapest, have found the answer and published their findings in leading academic journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Mathematicians from the University of Exeter have solved the mystery of traffic jams by developing a model to show how major delays occur on our roads, with no apparent cause. Many traffic jams leave drivers baffled as they finally reach the end of a tail-back to find no visible cause for their delay.

The team developed a mathematical model to show the impact of unexpected events such as a lorry pulling out of its lane on a dual carriageway. Their model revealed that slowing down below a critical speed when reacting to such an event, a driver would force the car behind to slow down further and the next car back to reduce its speed further still.

The result of this is that several miles back, cars would finally grind to a halt, with drivers oblivious to the reason for their delay. The model predicts that this is a very typical scenario on a busy highway (above 15 vehicles per km). The jam moves backwards through the traffic creating a so-called ‘backward travelling wave’, which drivers may encounter many miles upstream, several minutes after it was triggered.

Dr Gábor Orosz of the University of Exeter said: “As many of us prepare to travel long distances to see family and friends over Christmas, we’re likely to experience the frustration of getting stuck in a traffic jam that seems to have no cause. Our model shows that overreaction of a single driver can have enormous impact on the rest of the traffic, leading to massive delays.”

So, as my early Christmas gift to my readers, I bring this explanation as to why you are now stalled in traffic in Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago or Milwaukee. Relax, tune your radio away from the traffic alert station to one that is playing Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, or Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, or best of all, Joy to the World…The Lord is Come!

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My devotional blog is here.

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America Automobiles Courage Death Family Friends Goodness of man Home My Family Photography Recreation Social Sports Travel Vacation Journal Weather/Nature

Durango Vacation Journal Part 14

Thursday was our last full day of vacation in Durango, and around 10:30 Berl and Lavelta and Jerry and I were off to Silverton where we would meet up with Sue and Wes and Susan and Stan. Smedley’s Coffee Shop was the first stop in Silverton, although I didn’t have another cup. I’m not fond of forming a ladies lounge behind trees or wide bushes, so I’ve made it a habit to keep the liquids at a minimum when we’re to be out on the trails. Jerry brought out a cinnamon roll with his coffee and I shared a couple of nibbles. I thought we were ready to leave, but Sue wanted to go into one of the shops and buy a tee shirt that read, I Survived Black Bear. I don’t blame her. I’d wear one too. While they shopped and Jerry finished up the roll, I took pictures—all within one side of a block. This picture of a blue window in an aging brick building may be one of my all-time favorites.

 

View Shirley Buxton’s map

Taken in (See more photos here)

The trail—Araastatus–was judged to be a 4, and is the most difficult we’ve traveled yet. It ended at the Mayflower Mine. Sue and Susan began digging around among the relics and I soon joined them, for they said it was okay here. The county or the state is wanting this debris cleared out, but I wish they wouldn’t do that, but instead would just leave the historic mines in place. Berl found an old light socket I could have, pitched it out, but when I was at the top I could not find it. I brought out six rusted springs—couple inches long that were fastened onto a bed frame I “discovered.”

A couple of gentlemen, tourists from Illinois, had joined us at the mine and were poking around as were we. One quite elderly man told us: “I found this place a few days ago and wanted my buddy to see it.” They had ridden 4-wheel ATVs to the top.

Exploring over, chairs and snacks were brought out, then it was time to head back. In my estimation, downhill is the scariest part of wilderness 4-wheeling. But we made it without a hitch, though one place required such a tight turn, that with our long wheel base, Jerry had to back up to make it. I got out to be sure he didn’t back too far.

Last year on one of these trails a family went over the side, killing them all. The story is that the dad thought he had the car in reverse, but instead drove forward. We had been told this story and I saw Jerry deliberately staring at the gear shift. Reverse! Yes!

The other six went on to another mining trail, and Jerry and I headed to Animas Forks. We took the lower trail that runs along the Animas River, and it was so beautiful. I know my sweet camera has captured some lovely scenes, but nothing really compares to actually being in such places. The human eye is far superior to the finest glass in any caliber camera. The live scene is enhanced by the trickling sound of small water and the roar of a major fall, and birds who sing and flit about and floating butterflies and bees who buzz. The scent of flower and weed and of animal and of history and of the moment meld into a vision which cannot be captured.

 

View Shirley Buxton’s map

Taken in (See more photos here)

Animas Forks is an intriguing mining place in which several buildings still stand. I walked into one of the houses and took pictures from its window openings. As I always do in these settings, I tried to image the families who lived here, who worked so hard, who mined and reared families, who planned and focused and dreamed. And somewhere in the vast jaws of eternity they still exist…, awaiting the judgment of God.

We were all to meet back in Silverton, so after a while in Animas we headed back. Just as we approached Silverton, a Jeep pulled from a side road, and we fell in place behind the vehicle.

“I think that’s Berl,” Jerry said.

In the silver Jeep, Berl said. “I think that’s Jerry.

Sure enough, we had encountered the others at the precise moment that enabled us to take our place in the 4-Jeep parade. “It’s a miracle,” we proclaimed later. “A modern day miracle!” we spoofed.

We left the others and with Berl and Lavelta went to Black Bear Cafe for dinner. I didn’t notice the sign, but Jerry did, and it read CLOSED for certain hours. But the door was open and the waitress said, “Sit anywhere you’d like.” We ordered drinks, but no one brought menus. Then another waitress came with a clipboard saying, “Sign here. It’s $3.00 a person and put a dollar each in the middle of the table for a tip.”

We must have looked puzzled, for she added. “This is Senior night.” Seems each Thursday night the restaurant serves a low-cost meal to any senior. There were 20-30 people in the cafe when we were there. “During the winter about 10 come for the meal,” she told us.

“Does the restaurant provide the food?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, “and the State helps out.”

Seems it started many years ago, when in Silverton there was only one or two places open during the winter months. The year-round population is now around 500, but still only a few of the businesses remain open 12 months a year.

For $4.00 each we were served a tasty meal: Delicious split pea soup, roast brisket, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, a loaf of warm bread and lots of butter. The dessert was passed helter-skelter. I drew apple pie. Can’t remember ever tasting better. Jerry’s apple pie had a few berries mixed in. Lavelta was served cheese cake, and Berl had a piece of apple pie with a three-berry mixture stirred in. It was a fine meal. It was the LAST SUPPER of our Durango vacation.

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My devotional blog is here.

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America Art/Architecture Automobiles Courage Friends My Family Photography Recreation Social Travel Vacation Journal Weather/Nature

Durango Vacation Journal Part 13

Street scene of Telluride, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We finished up the snacks, heard the horrific/delightful Black Bear stories, then the four of us drove out of the box canyon and into the town of Telluride. We parked, and scheduled ourselves to be back in our cars in 45 minutes. Jerry and I strolled a couple of blocks, spending most of our time in an art gallery.

There’s lots of skiing around Telluride, a town unique in that it offers a free gondola that functions most of the year. We didn’t have time this trip, but on our last one we boarded the gondola and went to Mountain Village, spent time there, and returned on the gondola. The Telluride Magazine writes:

“While anyone in America can choose to commute via biodiesel or electric car, only Telluriders can get to work on a free gondola, a commute so unique it was featured last January on Good Morning America. The three-stage system between Telluride and Mountain Village runs 275 days a year, 7 a.m. to midnight, and carries an average of 1,918,445 riders annual. Obviously, not all of these people are going to work. But those who do have what is widely dubbed as “the most beautiful commute in America.”

A few miles out of Telluride, we turned off toward Ophir, drove through the tiny town and onto the trail. During the past few days they had received a fair amount of rain, which caused the trail to be very rough. We bounced and jolted around so much that I had a hard time taking pictures. Once, though, I turned around, saw this view, stuck the camera out and clicked. I’m astonished it turned out this well. The tiny town you see is Ophir.

A long narrow shelf constitutes part of the trail…a bit scary, as you can see here. That’s Berl’s jeep ahead of us, and I took the picture through the windshield, so you can see the trail our car is perched on.

 

 

View Shirley Buxton’s map

I was still photographing through the windshield, when we came up this steep grade, and were treated with this vivid scene.

The pass is quite short, and rather soon, we came to the highway that led us in to Silverton, then on to Durango.

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My devotional blog is here.

Taken in (See more photos here)

 

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America Automobiles Courage Family Friends My Family Photography Recreation Social Travel Vacation Journal Weather/Nature

Durango Vacation Journal Part 12

Trout Lake, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Yesterday, Berl and Lavelta and four friends they met here in Durango elected to “do” Black Bear Pass. Black Bear is rated 6 out of 10 in the difficulty level of four-wheeling. The day’s plan: Jerry and I would travel by highway to Telluride, where the Black Bear ends, then we would join them for the Ophir Pass, which is less difficult.

Our drive along Highway 145 through Dolores and along the Dolores River is as beautiful as one could ever hope to see. The picture you see at the top is of Trout Lake; it sets as a bowl among the San Juans near the small town of Ophir.

Telluride is such a spectacular place that I vividly recall the first time I traveled there. Soaring mountains surround the box canyon in which it splendidly sets with numerous waterfalls roaring over its edges at the west end of town (In every direction probably rush waterfalls, but I only observed and learned the names of two: Bridal Vail and Ingram Falls.) Its spectacular streets are marked with Victorian houses and stores, along with modern condominiums and other facilities.

We drove straight through the town and out to the place where the Black Bear trail ends and waited there for the 6 Black Bear travelers. We were in touch with them by CB, but long before we could see them, they spotted us, later saying they had waved as they stood near Ingram Falls, pictured here.

We had a visitor as we waited and as we snacked.

 

 

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Taken in (See more photos here)

 

 

Then they were down…we ate and drank as they regaled us with stories of The Crossing.

We’re off to another four-wheeling trail in a few minutes. Have to catch up in part 13. Hang on!

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My devotional blog is here.