Friday, April 29, 2011

Farewell to drilling

Last day of drilling. Weather over Mt. Emily.

The Chetco still cuts the toe the landslide.

The weather was dramatic all day. Late afternoon clearing.

I could get used to eating the fish tacos at Cielito Lindo, once a Texaco station.

There is a bit of frustration shooting with the infrared D5000. The kit 18-55mm lens is notoriously not sharp, so I tacked on my 35mm prime lens. This lens generates a better image, but there is a circular ghost in the raw images discernible at smaller apertures. When converted to infrared, they requested a variable focal length lens to calibrate, but I would have been better off to have them calibrate with this lens. There is so much to try to understand about IR shooting and I have not spent the time. I just keep clicking away, forming new questions and thoroughly enjoying the spooky quality of IR.

There were amazing clouds all day. As I filled up my tank, this appeared:

I returned to Harris Beach to catch the first sunset in a while. There just hasn’t been enough clearing in the gray to catch one.

This one is like so many I photographed last year. It was really chilly, so I missed the drop at the bottom.

A farewell look towards the west-southwest.


It was a relatively quiet weekend after playing a little music on Friday night. On Saturday I was dealing with my imminent permanent departure from Curry County. Sad but true. Monday was an office day where I convinced ArcGIS that it could give me the XYZ of a cross section line at full LIDAR resolution. I swear, ESRI is the worst. The fix involved some hidden module that functions like the old DENSIFYARC and LATTICESPOT together. I already forgot where it was buried in the toolbox; maybe it was ‘Interpolate Surface’ or similarly intuitive tripe. So back down the the Chetco I went on Tuesday for a little more geotech drilling. It is interesting that the first actual work for me here takes place with my car packed with the last of my things.

After work, I looked for a camp further upstream. There as a beautiful USFS campground that was closed down. I haven’t seen an abandoned, full-service campground before. It had been closed for a few years. Further up, I found Redwood Bar and was pretty happy and found some quiet time with the beautiful river.

I couldn’t have anticipated my tranquil evening speared through the heart in such fine fashion (but I should have). It was Shelley’s birthday, and 10-15 of her rowdy friends met at Redwood Bar to burn a sofa or two in her honor. They were so close to me and yet I think they missed me altogether. Their party lasted from 10 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. Evidently Jack and his F150 bit off more than they could chew, as Brooking’s finest rammed the truck between trees, boulders, and a slope far too steep for the inebriated driver and the badly running Ford. They were especially close at this point, less than 30 feet from me.

After the bowl was passed around I suppose they calmed down and the many big trucks made their way, screeching tires uphill to whatever these creatures call home. All except for Jack. When a girl declared comically after he hit two or three trees, &ldqou;YOU”RE DONE, JACK. YOU’RE DONE. So he drove his truck down to the gravel bar. They all called her party popper. A few hours later, the Ford power was as dead as they come. No amount of jumper power could save it. In the morning, this was the scene as I drove the heck out of there:

I was once young. I don’t think I have burned a sofa. Not a fan of littering really, either. Back to our day drilling; I miss my mega zoom Sony often, especially for shots of the crescent moon. Here I zoomed the LX5 to 4x, placed the 1.7 lens for the sony and even zoomed digitally a bit.

Drill rigs are elaborate machinery.

Our friend, Poison Oak.

I ate the best fish tacos I can ever recall. Three of them. There was also a new Ninkasi Spring Ale that was fun to try. As I sat on the bench at Harris Beach, I noticed there was a campground behind me. This is looking west-southwest through the LX5 at 4x plus the 1.7x adapter held up.

Across the street, the evergreens

It is a beautiful campground though a little close to 101, just north of Brookings. I hope I get a nice long rest tonight.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


There was such a beautiful full moon to the east over East Park reservoir. I had not planned for it though, and went out shooting with the Hipstamatic. The next 3 Hipsta shots are from last Saturday, April 16.

My life amazes me. I once photographed the Chetco River. It was a beautiful shade of aqua. On that day I also finally changed my phone and driver’s license to Oregon; so I became an Oregonian again, and hoped for a long stay. I walked from the DMV in Harbor to Brookings. Just after I snapped that picture and walked across the bridge, I changed my number.

That blog was April 21, 2010; this week, exactly one year ago. When I got the call for temporary work on a landslide, the image of the Chetco surfaced in my memory. It was a long drive back to Oregon to show up working for a geologist I had not met before. There are some images from that first day already posted.

April 20. The next morning (Wednesday), I was surprised by this stone. I am unable to go into the connections right now, but it is a welded tuff from Alturas, California.

South to the Chetco, then up the North Bank road. Geotechnical work is not glorious: split tube sampling on a mud rotary dill rig.

April 21. I met a number of nice guys from the county this week. We all have much more to talk about than we allow under normal circumstances. One of these guys grows 5 acres of cranberries and needs 12 hives at $70 per hive to pollinate. The price goes up for him every year. He likes bumble bees, but there just aren't enough. The bees come from California and are much more aggressive than the bees that he once used. I would like to know why he switched beekeepers, but then again, we were all working at the same time.

The other guy has a son who races cars. Fast, custom built Chevrolet small block engines with 640 horsepower.

These geotechnical drillers seem to me a cut above compared to the rough sort that I am familiar with when I was an gold exploration geologist. Mike at right, was exceptionally hard working and bright. The main driller was shy. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

I am not sure if this is the shot, but a piece of the bank collapsed downhill and I watched a 70+ foot tall trees slowly fall into the river, creating a wake up the gravel bed. I haven’t been around a lot of logging, but to watch a huge tree fall into the river by itself was pretty neat.

I do love my old school Vuarnet’s. Here I am near a different slide with drilling mud on the lenses. Sadly, after 8 years, my new use of the glasses is seeing them scratched more and more daily. I think it is the fine grit of the drilling mud. I have been wearing this same frame shape since 1987, when my brother handed down a pair of red Bucci sunglasses in this shape. I went through about five pairs until I stopped wearing sunglasses near 1997. When I saw Dr. DePolo in the field, I got my sunglasses. That was 2003. These "eighties glasses" have amazing lenses, no matter how uncool they have become.

After several long days, I played music with my friends. It was a good night. Oregon’s Senator, Ron Wyden was in the restaurant and thanked us for the music. What a trip! This Saturday morning started off sort of slow, but there were some neat things that happened, including my new manual typewriter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What A Difference

a day makes. I awoke to uncertain skies in western Colusa county.

There were some surly rednecks who chose to camp right next to me. I was glad for headphones. They hacked up some impressive firewood. In the morning however, it was a serious phone call from the wife, I presume. Though they were belligerent only hours before, they left, with their diesel Dodge tail between their legs. And I scored the rest of their wood. I didn't think it was quite so dry, and boy, did I have me a BONFIRE! It was great. I parked my 'andrew in a tarp burrito' nearby. By the time the full moon was overhead, the wind was howling from the west. It blew my giant wood fire to ashes in a few hours. There were other lame interruptions I will spare you from.
Bring your stones in.

I do marvel at the lameness of people, with near consistent, 'maximum lame.' I suppose that must include me. By mid day, my course was set. I said farewell to East Park reservoir, where I had picked up tons of trash and glass. It was a great stay. Once I checked in with the email, a whirlwind ensued.
299 East. Very early a.m.

Geotech drilling on the Chetco river. Fresh landslide!

And so I pulled a rabbit out of the hat, and became a geologist again (for this week).

Drill rig.

Everything looks quite different through the infrared d5000. Fern, moss, and myrtle.

A surprise of another sort found me as I dealt with my carload in a favorite spot “READ UP!” This little birdie has issues.

With one eye, and some type of nerve damage, I am not optimistic for survival.

The sun was headed down for a great PLOP into the silver fabric void, so I hiked down for a view.


Saturday, April 16, 2011


I am off to meet with a large apiary where yesterday they were putting new queens in cages. I am a little late for my 1:00pm meeting, but I thought these ‘creature pitchers’ were worth it.

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