Steve & Georgia Carter

Our Notebook

Page 15 of 19

Sewing Cabinet


Sewing Cabinet, a set on Flickr.

For years, Georgia has mentioned that she would like to get back into sewing, if only she didn’t have to use the featureless (although still serviceable)  Kenmore machine we’ve owned for 25 years, and had a place to store it permanently.  We got her a wonderful new Bernina machine which she liked because of its features, and I thought was cool because it has a USB socket to plug into the computer to download software and a vast catalog of fancy stitches and monograms.  But it looked crappy on the blue card table.  Unfortunately, our searches for sewing cabinets came up short.  No furniture store stocks them, the sewing machine stores don’t really have anything nice, and there wasn’t anything good online.

I’ve wanted to learn a new skill.

My ham radio friend Don Taylor is, in addition to being interested in radios, computers, model trains, motorcycling and RC airplane models, quite a woodworker with several handsome clocks to his credit.

One day last August, Don and I were talking about what we might do this winter once we had to put our motorcycles away for the cold weather.  Suddenly, a light bulb went on in my head, and I asked Georgia if she might like a handmade sewing cabinet.  We looked at online resources and came up with a  plan for the perfect cabinet .

I asked Don if he would be interested in teaching me how to make it, and after talking it over with this step-son Warren (who owns the garage with the woodworking shop), he agreed. We started out poring over the plans, and then I ordered a bunch of hardware from one of the many online woodworking shops; we went to Grand Junction to buy some cherrywood plywood and other wood materials, and visited one of Don’s friends who had a supply of cherrywood sitting in his back 40; it had come, I learned, from a Tennessee casket factory in trade for a handmade billiard table.  Long story.

We started in mid October, and finished the project by the first week in December.  We worked nearly every day working with the wood, carefully measuring everything, and cutting, gluing, sanding and measuring again.  Don did almost all of the work, but he taught me the use of all of the tools, and I learned the same lesson Daniel learned from Mr. Miyagi: patience.  Do it right, and if you don’t, do it again, and if something doesn’t fit just perfectly, either fix it or do it again.

I took Georgia for a sneak preview a couple of days ago.  She loves it.

Thanks, Don.

Motorcycle Trips

Between February 22, 2012, when I took my motorcycle off its stand for the first time, and December 2, when it went back into its cocoon, I rode 7,167 miles, changed the oil twice and the tires once. All the trips were in Colorado and Utah, and all were made more enjoyable because of the company of  good friends.

During the year, I started to fill the stamps on my National Parks  passport. Many of the trips this year are in posts of their own (click on the category “Motorcycle Trips” on the sidebar if you’re interested in reading about them), but some of the day trips we took were worthy of a magazine article to read on a cold, snowy January day.

Here are a few pictures from some of them.


Thanksgiving 2012

Pictures say it best:




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My quest d’jour is the Iron Butt Association’s special ride for those who aren’t up to ride 1000 miles in a day: for those of us whose butts aren’t exactly iron clad, they offer  a National Parks Tour.  I rode with Don, W0DET, to Dove Creek, Colorado.  It was his first excursion on his new (to him) Honda Shadow 1100, and I think he had a great time.  The fall colors were at their prime:

Entrance to Mesa VerdeAnasazi Heritage CenterP9280018P9280020P9280021P9280023
P9280028P9280030P9280031P9280032P9280034Hovenweep National Monument
Remind you of Cars and Cars II?P9290041P9290042FriendsYou can get anything you want ...Welcome to Utah, again
Wilson Arch just south of Moab, UtahSome of the beautiful jewelry availabe from a Native American at the rest sop.Arches National Park

Cortez, a set on Flickr.


Note that in order to document your National Parks Tour, you need to take a picture of your motorcycle in front of the park or monument.  Otherwise, you might be accused of cheating and gathering validation stamps in your car!  That’s why you see several pictures of mine.  For those who are interested, there are (of course) websites for the National Park stamp collectors, and those of us who are collecting them by motorcycle.

We stayed at the home of Don’s friends Norm and Carla.  He has installed a ham radio shack there with a huge directional beam antenna.   It’s located on their dryland farm not far from Dove Creek which is wonderfully isolated and quite beautiful.  From the radio location, you can see a majestic panorama of mountains in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.  And since the location is far from town, the stars and the full moon were  painfully bright, the coyotes’ cries piercing, mournful and a little scary, and the level of radio interference incredibly low.  Don set up his station for radio teletype, and his first contact was somebody in Croatia!  But the best part for me was spending time with the three friends.  They’ve known each other for years, and it took abut five minutes for me to feel at home.  Thanks for your wonderful food and warm hospitality!

On our trip back through Moab, we drove through Dove Creek, where the principal crop is dried pinto and Anasazi beans from the dryland farms.  We then pointed our handlebars west to to Utah, stopping  at Wilson Arch, where a Navajo girl sold me [spoiler alert] two lovely necklaces.

It was a wonderful trip, and I snagged six new stamps for my tour:  Anasazi Heritge Center, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park.  I now have ten of the 50 required parks, but only in two of the required 25 states.  Planning my next trip could be problematic, since there are very few  national parks and monuments in the midwest.

Reviving Droid

One of my favorite hobbies is reviving old computers and electronic devices.  Most of them have been built to last a long time, but technology passes them by long before they wear out.  A good example is my old Motorola Droid, the original Android device.  Our Verizon contract ran out, and both of our Droids have been replaced by an HTC Incredible (Android) for me and an iPhone 4S (Georgia).  Faster, prettier, snazzier. Continue reading

Postcards from Yellowstone

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Park service gift stores no longer stock film and flashbulbs or prephotographed slides or View Master reels of  scenic wonders, and their postcard collection is hidden in a corner.  How long has it been since you have sent or received one? I think I still have a lot of 20 cent postcard stamps somewhere (it now costs 32 cents to mail one, which is just about what they cost to buy). So in lieu of postcards, here are some pictures we took a couple of days ago at Yellowstone National Park.  You have seen thousands of photos like these before, and so have we; we’ve even seen some of this in an Imax theater; but it doesn’t compare to the real thing.


The park suffered from a devastating fire in 1988 which burned a good portion of the pine trees.  In keeping with their spirit, the Park Service pretty much let it burn, and has taken no steps to alter the course of nature; and nature has responded with a good growth of new forest where the old trees were.  Sometimes the trees are the same species, sometimes they’re different.  Towering over the new forest are occasional reminders of what was there 24 years ago; in some cases, there are tiny spots of green growth high up an otherwise dead tree.  It’s weird.

The viewing gallery around the Old Faithful geyser can probably hold over a thousand ogling visitors; the next eruption was scheduled for 3:59 p.m. The crowd assembled, and when nothing had happened by 3:05, several people started grumbling and looking at their watches.  “Hey, you’re on vacation,” I wanted to say.  After a couple of false starts, the geyser geysed, but because of the wind blowing the water and steam away from us it wasn’t quite as awesome as some of the ViewMaster reels I remember.   We followed in the middle of  post-eruption bumper to bumper traffic all the way back to Jackson.

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