Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Archive for June, 2012

Avian Actors

posted: June 27th, 2012 | by:Bert

killdeer2©Bert Gildart: Each evening I’ve been riding my road bike (just like in Anza Borrego — Biking Fanatic) along our country road near Bigfork, Montana.  As well as providing just plain good exercise, the ride also keeps me in touch with many of the activities of members from our local avian populations.

Because it seems as though there are more Killdeer this year than what we’ve seen before I’ve become particularly interested in the species. But aside from abundance, Killdeer have a most interesting means of protecting their young, and that makes them particularly fascinating.

During the incubation period and then, later, meaning right now, adult Killdeer attempt to lure those that approach too close to their nest using their broken-wing act. The display indicates they have started building nests or may, in fact, have even laid their eggs. Because the eggs are mottled, they are difficult to see.

FRANTIC DISPLAYS

But Killdeer don’t know that. All they’re hoping is that their frantic displays will lure you away from what they value so highly. Instinct tells them that by faking injury, you and I will be attracted to them, and that we’ll follow wherever they lead, which is, of course, away from their nests.

As you’ll see from the picture, Killdeer eggs blend with the ground so they were difficult to find.  But eventually I found them, and shortly thereafter I set up a blind so as not to disturb the adults.  Almost immediately the nesting pair returned to the job of incubating.


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Killdeer are excellent actors and with bleats and with their broken-wing acts, generally succeed in luring predators away from nests.

 


Soon they’ll hatch and when they do nature has endowed them with the ability to almost immediately take care of themselves. Appropriately, Killdeer are classified as “precocial” and they epitomize the designation, for within days they are capable of flight.  Typically, they’ll soon be gone, and I’ll miss their antics as I ride along our country road.


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AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Bannack Montana

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PROTECTING OUR NEW AIRSTREAM – ARE WE GOING TO EXTREMES?

posted: June 18th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  As those who follow this blog may recall, following an insurance claim Janie and I purchased a new Airstream from George Sutton in Oregon.  We purchased a 30-foot Classic and because it was about two feet longer than the Safari we previously owned (with slideout), we had to lengthen the “barn” — if we wanted to protect it from the elements when it was not in use. Unfortunately, the first structure just barely accommodated the Safari.

NO EASY TASK

Creating an extension has been no easy task, requiring that I first knock out the rear wall.  Then I had to create a railroad tie retaining wall to contain the extended “runway.”


AirstreamGarage

New extension allows us to close "barn" door, even with Hensley Hitch intact.

 


After that I had to build a new wall to replace the knocked out wall – and it had to be high enough to accommodate the Airstream, which is about 9’ 10”.  Also, because I had to remove my Hensley Hitch each time I wanted to close the garage door (it was that tight) in the original structure, we decided to add additional footage so, henceforth, I could to leave the hitch intact.

None of this was easy, but creating the railroad tie retaining wall demanded using muscles I had not used in a long time.  To secure the ties I had to pound metal stakes using a rented “pole pounder.” Then I had to link one layer of ties to the next layer by drilling a series of holes in each of the ties and pound in rebar that was about four feet in length.  I then added several cables back to the existing structure and now believe the wall will hold back the 11 yards of gravel we shoveled into place to extend our “runway”  — and that it will endure the ravages of time.

KEEPING OUT THE MICE

After that I (WE) prefabbed a new back wall, hoisted it with the help of friends, added the roof and trim.  Then because we’d had trouble previously keeping out mice, I dug a trench inside the “barn” then nailed in flashing that extended down about 10”.  Then I covered the flashing back up with gravel. (More on mice.)


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Extended rear to accommodate Airstream

 


Periodic use of the vertical pronoun makes it seem as though I did this alone, but that was not the case.  I hired two friends, one a contractor (Jim) and one my next door neighbor.  “Hutch,” my neighbor, once worked trails in Glacier National Park and knew how to build bridges, and some of those skills carried over to this project.

MUSHROOM TAKEOVER

While working on the project, my lawn has gone unattended and this year with all the rain, mushrooms have taken over.


Mushrooms

Unknown mushrooms

 

Anyone know the names of this group?  With my Airstream now protected I have time to explore natural history, and I find the local variety can sometimes be fascinating.


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AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR

*In a Field Where Camas Grew

 

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