Category Archives: General

Planes, Trains And Automobiles

We took the day off from our renovation projects (hopefully we’ll be through most of it by next week) to drive up to Mojave for the experimental fly-in (the “Plane Crazy” event held on the third Saturday of each month). It was beautiful weather, and a lot of interesting aircraft on display, including a Yak that someone had restored, and an old Chinese trainer based out of Santa Monica. After lunch with Doug and Ann Jones at the Voyager Cafe, we headed up to Tehachapi, because Patricia had never been on 58 between Mojave and Bakersfield. It was still pretty green up there from the winter rains.

I’ve driven by the sign for the Tehachapi Loop many times, but had never actually seen it. Neither had she, though she’s in the rail business. We actually took the old road from Tehachapi to Keene, and it was tightly winding and gorgeous. About three miles from the end, we found the overlook and marker for the loop. We didn’t see a train go through, but it turned out that if we’d waited a few minutes, we would have.

We had originally planned on going back from Mojave through Lancaster and over to the Poppy Preserve, to catch the tail end of the spring flower bloom. But since we were now quite a ways west, per Doug’s lunchtime suggestion, we continued west on 58 to 223, then down the hill to Arvin, where he said it had been very good. Unfortunately, though, we were too late. The mountain above us was still green from the rains, but the flowers were pretty much done along that route.

So we got to the 99, and headed back south to LA on the 5, but then cut back east over 138 to Lancaster, and took a road south to Lancaster Road, which goes right past the preserve. We saw quite a few poppies still in bloom approaching and departing the preserve, but a lot of the other flowers had faded, but there are a lot of cars parked along the road and in the (paid) preserve parking lot. It was about 4:30, and somewhat windy, so the poppies were mostly closed, though it was still sunny.

Rather than fight the crowds or pay, we decided to just head back to LA, via a new route. Normally, we go south to Elizabeth Lake, then out to Castaic via Lake Hughes Road, which is a beautiful drive, with great views of Lake Hughes and the Valencia/Santa Clarita area from above. But this time, we made a left on Elizabeth Lake road, and went down San Francisquito Canyon, then down Spunky Canyon, then Bouquet Canyon, and finally down Vasquez Canyon to Sierra Highway, all roads (other than the latter) we’d never been on before, and all beautiful, with many spectacular views, including a nicely full reservoir.

I never fail to be amazed at how much California there is to be explored, and this was an area that I’ve driven around for decades, but never through, and it’s right in our back yard.

House Renovation Blues

The bad news: We discovered a water leak behind the refrigerator in the last couple days.

The worse news: We pulled the fridge out, and it’s not leaking from there.

The even-worse news. It’s leaking from the copper supply line inside the wall.

The even-worse news than that. The supply line runs down the wall to the fridge, through the attic, from up another wall from the cold-water supply below the kitchen sink. So I get to go up into the attic to cut and pull copper and new attached PVC line through two walls. In south Florida. In August.

[Friday-morning update]

Huzzah! It’s not inside the wall. We just saw the water leaking from the back of the fridge when the icemaker valve opened. I just changed the inlet valves a couple months ago; the joint must have come loose. It just went from a major PITA to a minor repair.

[Update a while later]

OK, as noted in comments, I disconnected the leaking tube from the icemaker line, cut it off square, and reinserted. No joy. It appears to be leaking from the side of the fitting itself, which is integral to the valve, which costs fifty bucks (and I just replaced it less than three months ago). Sigh…

Molly Macauley

This is terrible; I’m in shock. She was murdered last night, walking her dogs in her upscale Baltimore neighborhood.

I’ve known her for decades. I just saw her in March, at a NASA-sponsored workshop on space safety that she had put together at RFF. The report is due out any day.

In addition to being a wonderful woman, this is a huge loss to the space community; she was one of the few economists really focusing on the economics of space development. My condolences to her other friends, and family.

On The Beach

We needed to go to (south) Florida to take care of things and get the house ready to sell, because we don’t seem to be able to rely on anyone long distance. In my experience, if unsupervised people here don’t do things half ass, they do them quarter ass. As the old saying goes, a sunny place for shady people. I had to fix two toilets today that had needed it for months, among other things. And how many south Florida people does it take to change a light bulb? Apparently an infinite number, if they don’t actually own and live in the house.

Anyway, Patricia also was badly in need of a vacation, so I’m writing this after a relaxing home-made dinner of sockey salmon with pineapple salsa and chardonnay procured at (amazing that they finally exist here!) Trader Joe’s, overlooking the Atlantic and listening to a nice wind riffle through the palms. One of the disadvantages of the east shore, of course, is no sunset over the ocean, but it was still pleasant to watch day turn do dusk from our balcony. For those curious, here is where we are staying. Old Florida style, but modernized enough to be quite comfortable so far. We plan to sleep with windows open to the sound of the ocean, though in a couple months, that will be less advisable.