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Showing posts from April, 2011

Deadhorse Alaska Updater

The temperatures are ranging from around 15 below to 15 above right now. If the wind isn’t blowing, it’s a surprisingly pleasant walk from camp to my truck and back.

We have about 17-1/2 hours between sunrise and sunset already; that translates to about 19 hours of daylight. We have rainbows, sometimes, that encircle the sun. It reminds me of Saturn, but with a multi-colored ring. This morning I had another of those verbal “WOW” moments. The sun not only had a rainbow, but a column of rainbow that went straight up from the top. It was really fantastic to see.

The roads are almost completely clear of snow and ice and the gravel is flying everywhere when a bigger vehicle passes you on the road. Last week I had a perfect windshield. Today I have a half dozen pits and a crack to see the world through, and all from oncoming vehicles.

With the warmer weather we may get more snow and wind. When I came up for the first time last May, the roads were covered with snow and ice. There was new sn…

The Red Fox on Texas Avenue

After getting spoiled in New Orleans by the French Quarter cuisine, my Bride and I decided it was time to check out Baytown’s upscale offering, namely The Red Fox on Texas Avenue. It’s located at 114 W. Texas and even though the road appears to be closed for restoration, there is ample parking in front of the restaurant.

In preparation for our visit, I downloaded their menu from their website and the first thing I noticed was how chic the layout and font choice was, but as one who writes, I may be bias. The food choices looked deliciously like something I would see in the French Quarter, albeit with a Texas Southern/Creole/coastal twist.

After being seated inside the beautifully decorated restaurant, I couldn’t make up my mind between the potato soup with bacon or the cheese and broccoli soup, but we both agreed we needed to taste the scrumptious sounding crab cakes. The ambience was a breath of fresh air over the mass-seating food joints in Baytown we are indoctrinated to expect. Fo…

One Mans Passion Brings Healing To Many

I paid a visit to one of Baytown's prized jewels, namely Ken "the Dauber" Pridgeon, a local artist on a mission to paint a large canvas of every military sacrificed G.I. from Texas in the Iraqi Freedom campaign.  Whew!  Ken is on Social Security and bears the cost of his passion, but the monetary side of it is minor in comparison to the burden of his soul as he embraces the sacrifice every airman, soldier, sailor, or Marine he paints.

Ken is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in North Africa, but is quick to say that he was no hero.

His studio is lined with large paintings of men in uniform, all of whom paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  In his early works, he painted them in high school sports uniforms, or enjoying their various interests, but as the scope of his project grew, he began to focus exclusively on their military experience.  He is painting himself into a corner.  The amazing likenesses of our boys have filled the studio to the bursting point.

East Baker Road Expansion Clarified

I sat down at city hall with Baytown city manager Bob Leiper - at his invitation, to clarify the plans to expand West Baker Road from North Main Street to Barkuloo Road.  Mr. Leiper made it crystal clear that this is the only plan the city has funding for at this time.

Using a large engineering blueprint he traced out the proposed path to Barkuloo Road.  I asked what exactly the road would entail and he replied it would be a boulevard with sidewalks on both sides and landscaping in the median and it would accommodate commercial property.  Eventually, it would pass directly south of Crockett Elementary with a 6 foot cyclone fence on the school side when the road is built to connect Crosby Cedar Bayou and Sjolander roads.

He stated the timeline would be approximately 18 months before construction begins and 12 months for completion.  This translates to approximately January 2014.

I was also informed the existing East Baker Road, which runs through Chaparral Village must regrettably b…

Baker Road Extension plans

I spoke at length to a city engineer yesterday named John Dupois about the *activity we are witnessing on the wooded area in between Chaparral Village and Crockett Elementary.  See the attached map.
*A path has been bulldozed through the wooded area from Barkaloo road heading east towards Sjolander road and surveyors have been on the pipeline surveying the lake.
According to Mr. Dupuis, a portion of the land has been donated to the city (for the road and park only) and has to be acted upon with-in the next 9 months, or the city loses the option.
Here is the plan for the land as best as I can explain it.  The lake will become a 22 acre park.  The Baker road extension will run on the north side of the acreage close to Crockett Elementary and arrive on Sjolander close to the RR tracks at Jenkins Park.
The pipeline will get a new Trail that connects Crockett Elementary with Barkaloo Park, then the new park and finally Jenkins Park.
There will be a new Harris Country drainage ditch extension t…

Nawlin's in a Beignut Shell!

My bride and I took a much needed break from our routines and spent 4 days in the French Quarter, in New Orleans and man, the food was crazy delicious!  Neither one of us is a nightlife person, so we did some tours, visited one of NO's famous graveyards, saw an IMAX, walked and walked and ate and ate.  Here are a few photos of our trip for your viewing pleasure.

My breakfast in New Orleans - biscuits, poached eggs, grits, gravy & chicken livers!  The Old coffee Pot restaurant! Delish! BB and Living Statue "Femora" at Jackson Square in New Orleans BB and the absolutely silent "Silver man". I dropped a buck in his bucket and posed. Even though I made small talk, he was totally mute. He looked like "Mr. Natural" to me, from the underground comics.  BB at the tomb of the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau in St. Louis cemetery.  I didn't feel a dang thing. I ham it up with 3 Egyptian cabbies in front of hotel Maison Dupuy.  I asked them to s…

My New Jeep Is In The Driveway!

Well folks, River Oaks Jeep sold me a Jeep cheaper by a mile in fact, than I could get it locally, so that is who got my business.  I really really wanted to buy it in Baytown, but business is business, or the lack there of.

This thing is awesome!  I do believe this Jeep is capable of everything my lifted and locked 97 Wrangler could do, except I had an additional traction device installed on my TJ and this one has an open differential in the front (I’ll upgrade that in the future with a Detroit TrueTrac).

My new Jeep has 3.73 gears, which with my auto tranny and torque-converter is the equivalent of a manual stick and 4.11’s.  Don’t feel alone if this tech talk goes past you, just suffice it to say that it is geared for off-road in Texas for the most part and can still roll on the highway as a daily driver.  I know from experience that I can run everything with this set-up, from the beaches to the logging roads with ease.

I had to have the beefy Dana 44 rear-end with TracLoc, which s…

Jeep Madness Update

It's deja vu all over again in Baytown!  I called Bayshore Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep on I-10 after not hearing from them for 4 days and wouldn't you know?  My offer was so unbelievable to them that they didn't feel the need to respond.  In fact, the salesman told me he would give me $1000 cash if I could find a dealership that would match my offer.

I said "Will you put that in writing"?  He said "I'll give you my word".  LOL  Geeze Louise. 

So, this very thing happened with this dealership in 1997, so I called River Oaks Jeep in Houston and on the first conversation, the salesman comes within $311.00 of my offer to Bayshore Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep on an identical Jeep +/- $200.00.

The hunt is on!  More to follow!

Jeep Madness Strikes Again!

Back in 1997, I bought my first Jeep.  It was a 97 Jeep Wrangler “TJ” and was the best out of the box Jeep ever made to date.  I did a certain amount of modifications to it over a few years, including a 4 “ lift kit, 33” mud terrain tires, and a limited slip differential in the front axle.  I also upgraded the gears from 3.54 to 3.73, as I was running an automatic transmission AND driving it daily.

It served me well and I ran every obstacle with ease from the Palo Duro Canyon, to Hot Springs Arkansas, Shiloh Ridge ORV to all the coastal beaches of Texas.

Unfortunately, certain circumstances caused me to move on and I became mortal and began driving a small compact car to get around.  My “Jeep Madness” never left me though, but lay dormant in my subconscious waiting a time of rebirth. That time is now.

So, today I drove over to the local Baytown Jeep dealership to put my hands on a new Jeep.  I believe in supporting Baytown, BTW, if at all possible.  If they can't bring me a deal, …

Alaska Update from Deadhorse Connie 4-1-11

Temperature at 0630, 17 below zero.

With daylight savings time rolling the clock forward, it is still before dawn when I drive to work; twilight.

This morning, as I sat in the line to get through the gate, I looked out to the east and whispered, “wow.”

Everything was a shade of purple, blue or pink; the horizon sprinkled with the lights of the various facilities. It was overwhelming…not eye candy…this was God-eye-va Chocolate. I had to thank God for the beauty, the purple tundra majesty, so to speak, that I was seeing, and for my eyesight and the ability to appreciate what a rare opportunity I have been given. I was so glad to be right there at that moment because it goes from dark to light very quickly, and that particular sight did not last long. My only regret is that there was no one to share it with; to say five years from now, “remember that April morning……..”

How can anyone believe this universe was an accident?

From the Arctic Circle............I remain,

Deadhorse Connie