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Well the ladies and I went to the Northern California Renaissance Faire this last weekend. It’s held at a place called Casa de Fruta outside of Hollister CA. It’s about an hours drive away. It’s inland, hot hot inland. When we left the house it was about 60 degrees, at the Faire it was about 85 degrees.

I took this picture before we went in. The girls all dressed up some, I was a bum in t-shirt and jeans.

From 2011 Adventures

Megan and Nora ended up getting fox tails to wear around while Molly decided on a Tiara type thing.

From 2011 Adventures

We walked around checking out the different vendors, people, atmosphere, etc. While we wandered the Queen and her entourage went by.

From 2011 Adventures

There was also a group of players called the Danse Macabe that went through. Roberta joked “That’s Not Funny!” (-:

From 2011 Adventures

Here the ladies were painting some ceramics while “The Manly Men… in tights” were putting on a skit. It was pretty humorous. They were a pretty good comedy routine.

From 2011 Adventures

All in all a pretty fun day.



On Monday Roberta and I decided to go for a ride down Highway 1 along the coast. The plan was to head down past Big Sur and take the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road up and over the hills to Highway 101, then up to Greenfield and cut back across the hills along the Carmel Valley road.   It would be a fairly long ride, but nice.

From 2011 Adventures

Well, best laid plans and all.

We took off at about 2pm and headed down the coast. Cruising in and out of a bit of fog and sunshine. We met another biker on a new GSXR-750 by the name of Mat. He had wandered over from Arizona to spend some time with friends up in San Fran and was headed down the coast to LA and back home. He told us that pulling a wheelie on the Golden Gate bridge earned him a $3000 ticket. Ouch! We stopped at the Big Sur Lodge and had something to drink and some Sweet Potato fries.

It was a nice day for a ride.

From 2011 Adventures

The Nacimiento-Fergusson Road was basically a paved goat trail. Mostly single lane with turn outs and a shear cliffs edge most of the way up.

From 2011 Adventures

The view from the road was pretty spectacular.

From 2011 Adventures

After we crested the top of the hill and ran across towards hiway 101 for about 5 miles or so we stopped to rest for a few minutes. It was hot as the dickens. At that point the air intake temp (outside temp as read by the bike) was up over 90 degrees. We had seen 1 car and 1 motorcycle in the 30 minutes or so it took us to cross this far. We had no cell service at this point. We hopped back on the bike and started down the road when I noticed that the bike was showing a Check Engine Light.

Oh crap! We are literally in the middle of no where with no cell service, on top of the mountain 15 miles up a goat trail, and 80 miles from home. We stopped, I checked all the fluids and everything else I could think of. Nothing looked abnormal It was an Error Code 18 on the dash.  We had no idea what this was. So, the choice we had was to head back the way we came to Lucia, a no nothing little town with a gas station and a restaurant or continue forward towards Fort Hunter Liggett and King City.  We chose to go forward in the hopes that there would be better services that way than on the coast.

Another 15 miles or so of nervous, cautious riding and we reached a T in the road. To the left I could see Fort Hunter Liggett, to the right a sign saying Jolon, which I couldn’t see and didn’t know what was there. I didn’t bring my badges, but I figured the gate guard would at least  know where the closest services were. When we pulled up to the gate my air intake temp showed 104 degrees. Holy crap was it hot.  We explained to the guard that we had thrown a Check Engine Light on the bike and had no idea what it meant, where was the closest service station? He started to explain how far Jolon was when he noticed my DoD sticker on the Bike. Stopped, asked for my ID and registration, then said, go through the gate to the stop sign, turn left and go over the hill. It’s there on your left. Thank you Sir!

Even though the gas station was closed there was shade, a soda machine and a place to stop where we could get our asses picked up if the bike had truly died. Roberta whips out her Droid phone. does a Google search for Yamaha R6 Check Engine Light Code 18 (Thank you Google!!) and discovers the error showing is Oxygen Sensor failure. Turns out, after all that stress, that coming up the steep climb from sea level to 2800 feet, which I had been taking slow and easy, the bike had leaned out enough that the O2 sensor tripped a failure. No big deal. In fact the code reset itself after going down the freeway for 10 miles or so of normal riding. It would have been nice to know that when we were in the middle of no-where, worried we were going to get stranded in 100 degree heat, with no water, no cell service, and no one else around.

Anyhow. Once we figured out we were good to go we thanked the gate guard, headed into King City for dinner and then up the 101 to Salinas and over toward home. It was faster getting home that way than if we had cut through Carmel Valley road. In fact, by the time we got home it was pushing 9pm. A long day of riding.

We’ll definitely remember what an Error Code 18 is from now on. I can tell you that much.


I’m really not sure of the future of this blog/website. When I first started this website it was just after the family had moved to Alaska and I wanted a way to share our adventures with our families down in the lower 48.

That was over 10 years ago now. Since then a lot of things have changed, for us, and technology. Now it’s nothing to have a Facebook page, a twitter account, Google+, picasa, etc. There are lots of ways now to share information with others. Ways that we had no idea were coming down the line.

Even this website has moved around. At first I paid a monthly fee to have it hosted by Pairnic, where I had my own little linux server running httpd, then I finally moved it over to WordPress and let someone else manage the hosting and httpd portions for me, where it still is. It’s hard to argue with free hosting.

Now I look at this website and think, what do I say? Is there really anything I want to put up here? We’re not living in Scotland anymore, or the outbacks of Alaska. The last hurricane for us was 6 years ago last week. Our adventures are more like a normal everyday life now. We live in Pacific Grove California, where we have 4 police officers for the whole town. We work and play in a very normal, quiet fashion now.

Most nights Roberta and I go for a walk down past the lighthouse, through the golf course and along the beach. Sometimes we’ll catch the sunset over the Pacific, sometimes not. It gives us a few moments to relax and chat. During last nights chat I mentioned that we need to stop with the Hunker Down mentality. The last two years of our lives have been one long series of shock, sadness, and hunkering down. I guess that’s a normal response when someone is given a death sentence. How do you live a normal life when you have no idea how long you actually have? How do you plan for the future, or even the near future when you have no idea what that future holds?

When we were given 6 months to a year for Roberta’s cancer to kill her we dug in and braced for the worst. We hunkered down, we tried to prepare the girls and ourselves. Then a year later she’s still here and fighting, then another six months and another round of chemo, and another six months. Every time she gets sick we fear the worst. It’s been 2 years so far and she’s still doing pretty well. But, in that whole time, we’ve been dug in, preparing for the storm.

Now, my damn contract at work is up again. Being a contractor is okay, but with it comes a level of uncertainty. The place I work is trying to convince us all to become government workers, which I don’t want to do. It looks like I have another years contract in place, so for now I have a job. But, I’m being told that when that one expires, well, with the economy the way it is, it’s not looking good for a renewal. So, what now? How is Roberta going to feel in a year when I, probably, will have to be looking to move. Will she be alive? Will she be like she is now and hurting but functional, in hospice? I can’t even imagine what we’ll do if I lose my job near the end of her life. It’s almost better to move now before she gets that sick than to even have a remote chance that I’ll be out of work or forced to move the family at the very end.

It’s really hard not to hunker down, to make no plans, to just exist. But, we can’t do that, we have to try and figure out what to do in the future. Living in Pacific Grove is such a great place for the kids, but they are resilient, if we have to move they’ll do okay. They’ve played under the Midnight Sun, walked in the footsteps of William Wallace, and lived through the heart of Katrina. No matter what, I know they will land on their feet. Be it here in California or wherever our future takes us.

Like this web page, our future is unknown. It’ll be what it will be. So, for those of you who have read these pages over the last decade, we’re still here. We still don’t know where we’re going, or what we’re doing, but we’ll get there. Whatever the future holds for this family, well, time will tell.

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September 2011
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