Thursday, November 30, 2006

Two Avenue

Fern Avenue is a quiet place of Craftsman Style homes.


Minnesota Avenue is a noisy place of Mexican music and pot holes.


Bonus Photo!

Not only was this lid replaced ninety degrees off..., the employee who repainted the curb was careful to not to paint the lid!

A two-fer!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Photo taken in 1911. Corner of Redwood and Main.

Going for a walk this morning was like jumping into a cold lake. I really rather not yet some guilty part of me kept whispering, “sissy”. Oh, the hell with it, threw the covers off, struggled into my clothes, winter coat, gloves, hat and out the door.

28 degrees! Clear as a bell, air like ice with a hint of alder smoke! Magic!

As I’m striding along through the dark I get to thinking about the woman at the city council meeting who said “Redwood Avenue” when talking about access to the proposed Coastal Trail. At the time I thought, wrong, it’s “Redwood Street”; all the tree names are streets but as I returned home on Franklin Street I checked and by golly, she’s right. It is Redwood Avenue.

Once home I discover two more Avenues in Fort Bragg:

Fern Avenue. 4 tenths of a mile long.

Minnesota Avenue. North and South. East and West. Maybe a third of a mile all together.

My dictionary says an Avenue is “a wide street or main thoroughfare”.

More Swedish humor?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This photo looking south from the Elm and Main Street intersection makes me think about the presentation I heard last night at the Fort Bragg City Council meeting.
“Reconnecting to our Coast – Planning the Coastal Trail from Noyo Bay to Pudding Creek” – Summary of the Design Workshop, Community Outreach Effort, and Planning Process; Presentation by the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service.
I learned it takes a lot of money and planning to make a trail. So far “input” indicates the trail should be “environmentally friendly” and “recreationally positive”. As for actual trail building, that won’t occur until sometime in the future.

I also learned the Pudding Creek Haul Road Trestle Project hit a snag. The pilings at the north end need to be replace. Another million added to the budget. Estimated completion date revised from July, 2006 to September, 2007.

Walking and gawking is getting expensive!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

One out of Three

Yesterday at the Guest House Museum I heard the story that a Mr. Stenberg, as a joke, named a street in Fort Bragg after a street in New York City saying, “Now we got a Wall Street too”.

Swedish humor!

Today I decided to take a walk and check it out.

I found Wall Street and took this photo but here is the rest of the story…

When I first started walking the Streets of Fort Bragg my friends Ed and Suzanne asked me if I had seen the house that looks like a boat?

“No, and don’t tell me, I’ll find it.”

That was last summer and the days grew darker and darker. I figured I would not find it until spring.

But today I walked the length of Wall Street and discovered three things.

1. There are no banks on Wall Street.

2. There are no brokerages on Wall Street.

3. There is a house that looks like a boat on Wall Street!
High Fives!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving day was a fine day for walking downtown Fort Bragg. Almost everyone was home preparing dinner or watching football. These storefronts face west across Main Street. Laurel Street intersection just to the left.

I know there are folks doing inside “growing” but this is getting out of hand!

I have continued getting up at 5:45 AM for two and three mile “exercise” walks even though this time of year it is dark and cold the whole distance. I'm averaging 3.4 miles per hour and feeling pretty good about it.

My walk in the dark is nice in that there is almost no traffic but the main thing is, I don’t have to be embarrassed about doing my “Power Walk” thing!

Okay, here’s my “Power Walk” thing. Culled from

Stand up straight. Think of being tall and straight, do not arch your back.

Eyes forward.

Chin up

Suck in the stomach

Tuck in the behind

Elbows bent 90 degrees

Hands loose and partially closed.

With each step the arm opposite the foot comes straight forward. Not diagonally.
As the foot goes back the opposite arm comes straight back.

Elbows close to the body, don’t “chicken wing”.

Strike the ground with the heel first, roll through the step from heel to toe.

Push off with the toe.

To increase speed take more, smaller steps rather then lengthening the stride.

Your stride should be longer behind your body, where your toe is pushing off, rather than out in front of your body. Your forward leg has no power, while your back leg is what is driving you forward.

Getting the full power out of the push from the back leg as it rolls from heel to toe is the key to powerful, efficient walking.

Fast walkers train themselves to increase the number of steps they take per second and to get full use out of the back part of the stride.

For some reason I was embarrassed when I started walking this way but over time I am getting used to it. Besides, it looks like I am exercising and not homeless!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ho Ho Ho

I spotted my first lighted house this morning.

And the church on Chestnut had this to say.

When I got home I saw this on APOD

There is no hope.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I see another Franklin Street shop getting into the holiday spirit! A plastic tree decorated with lady undies.

I stopped by the Guest House Museum the other day and talked to the docent minding the store. He seemed rather knowledgeable, if a bit braggadocio, as I ran my list of ponderables past him. First on my list was square telephone poles. We moved over to a panoramic shot of downtown Fort Bragg, taken in 1911 (if I remember right) and got our noses up close. Bingo! Square telephone poles up and down Main street! Actually they were power poles.

“The Union Lumber Company generated the electricity for the town by burning scrap wood and sawdust. Power lines were strung on square poles made at the mill. All but two are gone because of rot.”

I was told to look for the filled in square holes in the sidewalks for evidence of the ones that are gone.

Okay. My next ponderable. What is the only north and south street named after a tree? I figured I would stump him with that one.

“That street was not named after a tree. It was named after my Great Aunt Myrtle.”

Oops! Sorry.

Sure enough, here is the first missing square power pole I have found. Located at the Southwest corner of McPherson and Laurel.

One last ponderable. I spotted these this morning. A replica of the male scrotal sack hanging from a trailer hitch of a pickup.

Brass, you s’pose?

Fort Bragg. Ya gotta love it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This walking blogging thing

This walking and blogging thing has grown into something I had not foreseen. The walking part seemed straight forward enough, I wanted to lose weight, lower my blood pressure and improve my cholesterol numbers. The trouble was, I never seemed to get around to it. One day a friend of mine told me her husband walks, “First thing in the morning. He just gets up and goes.” I gave it a try and by golly, it worked!

I recently moved to Fort Bragg so the next step was to start exploring all the streets.

A couple months later I stumbled upon Jen’s Walking Berkeley blog and bingo, I decided to start a walking blog too.

Over time I have discovered a community of fellow walkers and bloggers. Each day I look forward to reading what they are up to and, by their examples, I am encouraged towards more observant walking and better writing!!

Who’d a thunk it!

Spike wanted to know if one of the houses I photographed was Queen Anne. I had no idea so I borrowed the book, “A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia & Lee McAlester.

Jen’s suggestion of the book “Outside Lies Magic” has given me so much to think about while walking it has tempted me to become more gawker than a walker!

Suzanne has mentioned books I “must” order from the library plus, I really like her writing style and photographs of the wide open spaces.

Gary takes amazing photographs of the “City”, explains what he is doing very well and introduced me to the wonders of GMap-Pedometer.

Plus, some local followers of my blog are making suggestions and connections to help me better understand Fort Bragg.

AND! My weight, blood pressure and cholesterol are with-in limits again!


Walking and Blogging.
Outside and Inside.
How Perfect!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Something Different

Today was such a fine day I decided to walk to “Happy Lane”. The downside? Happy Lane is two miles north of town. To get to it I walked the dreaded Highway One.

Highway One is not walker friendly, nor bicycle friendly although it is the famous, “Do the One”, route for many cyclists. In places the room I had between speeding cars and a soggy ditch was the width of the fog line.

Part of my reason for walking the One was to get a taste of what it might be like in case I decide to walk to Seattle. In just two miles I discovered I really have to trust drivers to give me some room. Not a happy thought in this day and age.

I arrived at Happy Lane and walked east to a private airport. I’ve known about this airport for years but this was my first peek.

On my way back I took the Virgin Creek "beach access" trail to the Haul Road and had a much “Happier” walk home.

5.8 miles.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Outside Lies Magic

Jen of Walking Berkeley recommended the book, “Outside Lies Magic”. I ordered it from our library and after a two week wait it finally arrived. I’m now on page 37. The author “John Stilgoe” is basically preaching to the choir when it comes to the joy of walking but he does instill in me the desire to look a bit closer at my realm. Case in point; I walked to Safeway this morning (two miles round trip) and in the parking lot noticed these guys steam-cleaning the shopping carts. Prior to reading “Outside Lies Magic" I’m sure I would have noticed the steam cleaners but I doubt that I would have taken the time to actually stop, look and photograph.

Also, during my early morning walk, I noticed this book about our Skunk Train in the window of the used book store on Franklin. I wonder if our library has a copy. You see, I recently discovered the most amazing thing. The Library not only will order and loan me a book but they will also take it BACK! I no longer have to keep adding bookshelves!! It has taken me years to figure this out!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh Boy

A week till Thanksgiving and this is what I see.

Here are last year’s presents.
I know, I know, I’m gloomy but I have a head cold.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Okay Okay!

My “writing/reading/knitting buddy” and the “ice cream lady” both reminded me about the big mural on the north side of the building by the Skunk Train depot!
"How could you have possibly forgotten that one?"

Well, getting old sure helps!


I took this photo of X-45 last August.

Fort Bragg is very fortunate to have the Skunk Train, a railroad system left over from the logging days. Currently it is operated as a tourist attraction. They have Old X-45, a 1924 Baldwin 2-8-2 steam engine, a Diesel/Electric engine, a motor car and some rolling stock, Pullmans and open cars.

I love hearing the steam whistle. It is a real nostalgic event for me as I remember hearing steam powered trains when I was a kid in the 1940’s. I can tell when different engineers are operating the train just by the “English” they applied to the whistle lanyard.

I found this during my walk this morning. That makes TWO misaligned manhole covers!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Conversation and Mural

Early morning was spectacular with Tule fog lying low over the soccer field. I just finished taking a photo of it when here comes the walking fisherman guy I have been having one sentence conversations with. We greeted each other and he continued north on Harold at a fast pace. I started to continue south but turned instead and caught up with him. I soon discover he didn’t mind talking but he didn’t want to slow down either. So, north we go up Harold.

I find out he is 72, still works because he doesn’t know what he would do if he retired and he always does the same exercise in the morning. He lives at the south end of Harold, walks to the north end and back. 2.1 miles. Period.

As we approached the north end I said I was going to watch his procedure. Sure enough he reached out and touched the guard rail, turned around and head south. I told him I was wondering if he would do that. He confessed he is very anal-retentive. He has his routine and he sticks to it. I told him what I’m up to, walking the streets of Fort Bragg and looking for oddities. I pointed out one of the square telephone poles as we headed south. He had never noticed it but then, he is walking for his health, doing his morning exercise.

We finished “his” walk at the south end of Harold, shook hands and I headed back up to Redwood, down to Main Street, north to Laurel and home.
Along the way I passed this mural. I can’t think of any other murals in town. I’m going to start watching for them.
Detail. Very nice.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Past and Future

This was the past

This is the Future

Amost the complete ocean front of Fort Bragg, 465 acers, was occupied by the lumber mill.

The mill closed in November 2002. The remains are slowley being removed. Recent elections seated city commissioners who I hope will have a better vision for the property than what happened at the Glass Beach Development where expensive "second homes" face the ocean and "affordable housing" fill in the back.

Glass Beach Development

I think it would be wonderful if Fort Bragg can keep the historic flavor of downtown and the Skunk Train and build on that theme along with parks, hiking and biking trails and beach access.

Fort Bragg has a great opportunity for a "second chance" few other towns ever get. It will be interesting to see if the City Planners and the Coastal Commission are up to it.


By the way, the Old Coast Hotel "neon" sign's" clock in my last blog is correct only twice a day!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Walkie

Yesterday morning I thought about getting up, decided I would walk later in the day, rolled over and went back to sleep. When I did get up, one thing and another…, I never got “round tuit”.
This morning I decided to not argue with myself, just got up and went out the door.

It was dark and 34 degrees but not raining. I walked west two blocks to Franklin and turned north. I walked to the end of Franklin, turned around at Manzanita Street and headed south. Passing through the downtown portion of Franklin Street I noticed the neon sign at the Old Coast Hotel was on. I also noticed it was running twenty minutes slow.

I moved along at a quick pace because of the cold. Since it was early Sunday morning, no one was out and my walk became very invigorating and pleasant. I got inspired to continue all the way south to Noyo Harbor, around under the Highway One bridge, back up past the “Too Tall Motel” and home. Returning through the downtown section of Franklin Street it was light enough to photograph the store fronts. During my walk I think I discovered a good trivia question:

“What is the name of the only north and south street, in Fort Bragg, named after a tree?

All in all, one of my better walks. 4.8 miles

Friday, November 10, 2006

34 degrees

I had a bit of a wrestle getting out of my warm bed this morning but stayed the course and “hit the bricks” at 6:00AM.

I got my stride going and headed up Harrison wearing the sweatshirt hood over my ears and cotton gloves on my hands; walking fast to generate some body heat. Just walking, zoned out, enjoying the crisp air. When I turned the corner at Fir and Harold, Bingo! Something’s changed!

During previous walks past this corner I have noticed how the lights kept burning out on the Cotton Auditorium Marquee. The far one would be out. A week later the two middle ones would be out. Next time they would all be working and a week later the first one would be out!

I kept wondering if it was possible they were on individual switches but that didn’t seem likely. I meant to start keeping track of which ones were out but this morning, Bingo! They have all been changed to energy efficient florescent bulbs! It is nice to see something positive happen without saying a word.

Another plus this morning was spotting two bumper stickers I had noticed during previous walks when I didn’t have my camera with me. I have gone looking for these stickers various times but couldn’t find them. This morning both were along my route and this time, I had my camera. Yes!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006


I don’t know what bothers me more, this church reader board or the fact the water department can’t put the lid back straight!! Both of these oddities were spotted during, what I have come to consider, my basic walk; out the door at 6:00AM, North to Winifred. South to Walnut, home by 7:00AM.

It rained during the night but was dry this morning with the sun almost clearing the coastal hills when I finished my walk.

Attention. Attention. Square telephone pole and Obelisk update:

Local friend Valery e-mailed me some information. She said an old-timer told her the Obelisk was a mailbox post and the square telephone poles were where death notices were posted.

The obelisk does have two rusted off mounting locations at about mail box height.

As for the square telephone poles…. the flat surfaces would be perfect for posting death notices, I guess.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A test

Which one isn’t a bird house?

I woke at 5:45AM when the watering system timer went off. I was out the door by 6:00AM. On a spur of moment decision I decided to walk the Hall Road again.

I walked north until my watch said 7:00AM then turned around and retraced my route. I was home by 8:00AM. It felt really good. This was my first long walk since I returned from the desert. I didn’t have my GPS with me but working my route out on GMap-Pedometer it looks like I walked a total of 5.7 miles.

It was a warm 60 degrees, the sea air thick with moisture. Heavy low clouds and impending rain. I met three people I know during my walk. The Hall Road is a popular walking, jogging and biking route.

As time goes by I plan to keep increasing my distance up the Haul Road.

Monday, November 6, 2006


Getting a late start on my walk today allowed me to see a store sign that is not out on the sidewalk at 6:00AM. It gave me something to ponder as I ambled along

“Huge Bra Sale” Does that mean small ladies need not apply?

“Buy 1 Get 1” Does that mean both?

Fortunately I’m old and no longer “titillated” by feminine finery but I got a kick out of the sign.

Spike’s recent blog also allowed me to feel comfortable with my late start. In fact, he didn’t even go! Just…“Laid out on the balcony in a wooly jumper with a beer and watched the wind”.

It is important to kick back, now and then.