"The first call from a cellphone that would change our lives forever"
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says $1,500 in 1990 is now worth $2,938.23. I thought that phone seemed expensive!!!
Murphy's Law: Just In Case GPS Dies
As an expedition kayaker I need to have respectable navigation skills. I only remember being sufficiently confused one time, and taking a "wrong turn" while kayaking, it cost me more than an hour, and I almost missed the tides, worse it turned a long day into a very long day, and in the end I was exhausted. Luckily, the weather turned sour only as I was paddling the last mile, and while the water became dangerous, I had some protection, and only a short crossing. Then the weather stayed bad for a couple of days leaving me with time to recuperate, and rest.
Navigating from a kayak is difficult due to the flat perspective, you exist in the waves, not above them. Getting there is always more than half the battle.
I made my mistake after leaving my camp at Ala Spit, which is the spit just east of Jones Rd. at the bottom right of the map. I paddled north, and made a navigational error after passing the first slight wave on the cape, I thought I had made the turn east, and I mistook Skagit Island for Ben Ure Island. (Note: My problem was I failed to check the compass attached to the bow of the kayak, and I just dead reckoned my position, and direction. I will never do that again. I made this after hundreds of days of navigating on land, and on water in kayaks, canoes, and other boats.) Instead of turning east, I slid north passing close to Skagit Island, and ending up in the dead end Similk Bay. Bummer. This added more than an hour (probably 2 hours but I can't recall) to the trip and required that I paddle full effort in order to make it through Canoe Pass, before the tide speed made the passage impassable. I made it just barely, the current was probably running 6-8 knots mid channel but I was still able to ride the eddies along the waters edge until I made it through Canoe Pass. Luckily the pass is short. Again, this require 90% to 100% effort.
Exhausted, I then shortened my paddle cutting off a number of miles, but forcing me to paddle a very long open water crossing from Allan Island past Bird Rocks to James Island, and then on between Decatur Island and Blakely Island. I was late and not expecting the upwelling problems I found out near Bird Rocks. There the water was standing 2' above the surrounding water due to strong upwelling. While I don't mind this kind of paddling, I try to keep it to a minimum when fully loaded, and tired. The upwelling was an area I estimate to be +1/2 - 1 mile in diameter, so I had no interest in paddling around it.
In the end, I paddled about 8-10 hours at about 90%. I was very tired. There was one last crossing from the southern tip of Blakely Island to Frost Island with a strong wind directly from the starboard. While better than a following sea, the seas made the last mile difficult and dangerous. I was glad to slide into safe harbor at Spencer Spit State Park.
This 90 day expedition had more bad weather days, and more technically difficult paddling days than good days paddling. It was the most emotionally difficult paddle of my life, with constant cold weather (a full week with high temperatures at 33˚ to 35˚ when I was prepared for lows of 45˚), high winds, difficult seas, and I was solo.
The raccoon raider! Mammal tries to steal a kayaker's food
One of the first outdoor excursions I took Maddogswif on was to canoe the Alsea River from near the headwaters to the tide waters down in Waldport, Oregon. As expected by everyone but Maddogswif, the raccoons were thick each night. They would fight and fume while looking for scraps, and she would dive under into the sleeping bag claiming it was bears. So, I took the light, and we went out to confront the bears, er raccoons. Pretty funny. The rule is no food in the tent, ever. They will rip a hole in a tent to get after food, even if it is just the smell of a single 4 year old M&M. No food in the tent, ever!
Actually, the trip was a great success, we trapped, and ate crayfish, and watched salmon heading up river to spawn sit at the top of each riffle. It was a good trip, and she enjoyed it enough to let me eventually propose, and marry her. Ok, that might be too much to attribute to a single trip, but . . .
Everywhere I go on kayak expeditions in North America, I find raccoons, often even on the most remote islands. So, I hang my food, and cook away from camp. Problem generally solved, until I bring a noncompliant "friend" along, then I have to shoo the raccoons out of the tent, and he/she usually has to sleep in a near destroyed sleeping bag (where he/she was hiding the loot).
EastEnders' Dot Branning shocks fans as she takes great-grandson Matthew for a drive... despite being almost BLIND
I met my great uncle back in 1972 for the first time. He was an old guy who kept his teeth in a glass in the bedroom. That day he needed to take the motorhome back to the storage lot, so he took me and great aunt, and my dad drove the pickup car. About one mile into the trip, I realized that he was so blind he really could not see where to turn. Great aunt was guiding him on where to turn, how much etc. That scared the crap out of me. I was 12 or 13. Great aunt never learned to drive, and while she could see, she could not drive, and while he could drive, he could not see.
Can we get the self drive car today? Please!
How to ask out a stranger without seeming like a creep
I liked dating! I like marriage more.
The Surgical Soundtrack: The Effects of Music in the OR
My first surgical observation was just before turning 14. Over the next 3 years I would be allowed to stand in the surgical suite, at the patients head across from the Anesthesiologist, for about another 2 or 3 dozen or more. The two things I found disconcerting were the music in the surgical suite, it wasn't always what one might expect, and the cautery knife made the place smell of hard cooked bacon. The first time, the bacon smell was a bit shocking, and overwhelming, and I nearly had to leave, but got it together. After that, it was easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I was quite lucky, I was intent on being a surgeon at the time, and even followed that path for a number of years at university, until I realized it was an awful lot like auto mechanic work, only the auto was still running. And I hated auto mechanic work!
So, I quit university, and worked in a paper mill for the next many years, working as many hours as possible, and taking no vacations. Which led to burnout, so I quit, and moved to Mexico during parts of 1981 and 1982.
Then my brother informed me he had reenrolled me in college, paid the costs from my checking account, and it was use it or lose it. So, I returned.
And after a few decades of intervening nonsense, here I am. Seemed to work out just fine. I think. Maybe.
Learner fails his driving test in FIVE SECONDS by immediately driving on the wrong side of the road
As he backed the car out of the parking slot, he hit the police car parked next to him. Yeah, he didn't even get out of the slot. State police officers acted as the driving testers back then, and the cop simply said, "stop." He then got out, made my friend get out, and then parked the car again. The next time ol' Greg took the test he actually made it out of the slot, and about 1/4 mile before being disqualified. The officer asked him to proceed through an intersection, and as he approached the light changed to yellow. Instead of stopping, Greg put his arm out protectively, and said, "hold on." No, really. The officer made him pullover, and the officer drove back to the DMV office. And the hijinx and hoopla didn't end there, but then Greg was a piece of work.
If I remember correctly it took him 6 months to actually bag the license, after about 5 or 6 attempts. Why they gave him a license, I have no idea, probably so the officers wouldn't be in such acute danger!?! Who knows.
I always wondered if he survived his incompetent driving, I never rode with him!
Then again, I drove for two years without a license beginning at age 14, in 1974. I had a job, and my mother tired of driving me so asked my father to teach me to drive. For the next half dozen hunting trips, I drove about 100 miles or so round trip. He then anointed me ready to take the driving test, and must have told mother because the next time I had to work, she handed me the keys to the spare car, a red VW Bug, and from then on I drove whenever, and wherever I needed to go.
I was too young to take the drivers course, however. I did get a permit at about 15, but I almost never drove with an adult in the car. At 16 my father needed my ID for some reason, probably an auto insurance change or the like, and asked for my drivers license. When I gave him my permit, he was nonplussed. I got my drivers license soon after, but only after a stern lecture.
Maddogsbrer 1 missed the great Alpine Meadows avalanche by only a single day, he was skiing there the day before.
I have been trapped by two avalanches, both inbounds one at Mt. Hood Meadows, the other at Mt. Bachelor. The Bachelor avy happened when Maddogsbrer 1, and I were skiing the Northwest area just after the resort had opened the Outback lift, long before the Northwest lift went in. It was a deep fresh snow day with lots more falling, and we were skiing the trees right up against the boundary fence. As we came out of a set of trees, we came up on a flat area which rolled over into a mid steep slope free of trees. About our third turn down that patch caused a BOOM, and we immediately headed for the exits, it was a clear snow fracture, and these always result in avalanches.
While Brer made the exit, I could not before the snow underfoot began to break up, no matter how I tried I could not stay afloat, and eventually the moving snow drove into the backs of my legs, and began piling up behind me. I had made it to the early runnout, but as the snow piled up on my hips, then back then shoulders it seemed clear I would be buried.
I lucked out, I was buried over my head, but there remained a small gap so I could breathe. It took about a half hour to dig me out. That was one long half hour.
The second was much more dangerous. Same Brer, and I were skiing Hood River Meadows after a massive snowfall, it was late in the day, and much had been skied off, but there were still some good patches. We noticed a good patch down through some small willowy trees, and decided to find it once off the lift. We did. As I came down through the willows, I made a cut, across the top of a knoll, or flat area. On the other side was a very steep, but short pitch. When I dropped in, I made a single turn and the entire mass of snow under me, and above me up to the flat broke away dropping tons of snow, and pitching me headlong into the roiling mass.
There was a short wild time before I came to a stop, I did have time to protect my face, and head, and pull my head into my parka, but still my mouth was full of snow, and I couldn't breathe. My hands were touching my face, and I cleared my mouth, but I was cemented into the snow so solidly I could not move more than my fingers, although I could breathe.
It was a good half hour before I could hear Brer digging me out. I was trapped for more than an hour. This was pretty scary. When dug out he said all he could see was a ski tip. I was buried head down with a single ski posting up, and only the ski tip showing, meaning my head was buried under about 8-10 feet of snow. My likely salvation was it was on a pretty steep slope and Brer had only to push the snow down and aways from where I was. This also made it much more likely that the snow I was trapped in could also break free and slide again, so this was a pretty tricky extraction.
When we skied down the lifty was shocked, he was just about to board as last ride out, so asked about our plight, we told him our story, and we rode out together, better than waiting for the shuttle bus!
All I can say, is all the snow in the photos which was subject to the slide is about the consistency of wet concrete, heavy, nearly solid, and very difficult to move, or dig.
Best wishes, and prayers to all.
I no longer ski patrol, but this is something I was lucky to avoid, the heartbreak of body recovery is bad.
Dr Heimlich, Whose Maneuver Saved Thousands, Dies at 96
Family Heimlich Maneuver story below.