Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Today Will be a Very Sad Day.....

Our oldest cat, 15 year old "Sticky", will be taking his last trip to the veterinarian this morning. His health has been in decline for some time. He's lost a lot of weight, has problems keeping food down, and has some other issues. We've had him checked out, but there isn't anything we can realistically do for him...


Our Sticky story started in the first months of 2005. Earlier that winter, Nancy and I moved from Minnesota to Prescott, WI. We noticed a cute little black and white tuxedo cat that would come around every evening. We started to feed him and he began hanging around all day. At first, he was reluctant to come in the house and would stay outside in the cold spring air. I'd sit on the floor by the sliding patio door and try to convince him to come in. One night, I became frustrated by his stubbornness, slid the door shut and said, "Fine, be a f-stick"... except I used the whole word. The name kind of stuck and from then on, when either Nancy or I would see him in the backyard, we'd say, "F-stick's here". Over the years, the name evolved and was shortened to Sticky.


Nancy and I talked about letting him come in to spend the night and see how things went. We were considering taking him in and keeping him as our cat. We knew he was friendly and well behaved, but we didn't know if he was box trained or not. So one night in April, I set up a litter box and a pet bed for him, and I made a bed on the couch for myself. I had closed the door to the upstairs and when he walked in through the patio door, I closed it and the trial began. I played with him for a while before I fell asleep on the couch. In the morning, he was curled up on the rug beside me and he had used the cat box. I think, maybe it was Sticky who was testing us that night. Even after being let back outside, he was never gone long. I guess he chose us... We were "his", or was he "ours"?

We tried to locate his owner, we took pictures of him and printed flyers and put them in the mail boxes in the neighborhood, but no one claimed him...

We took him to the vet and had him checked out. The vet's best guess at his age was, maybe 2? He had already been neutered, so he wasn't feral, but only had 4 teeth, so the Vet thought that maybe he had been neglected and had a poor diet as a kitten.


Our place in Prescott was perfect for cats. There was a large wooded area right behind our house and Sticky used to follow me on walks through them. While we lived there, our cat family grew steadily. First was Sticky, then Orangie, then a pregnant female showed up and had a litter of 6 in my closet.... We found homes for the kittens and mom, but we kept 2, Rudy and Screamer. Neighbors brought us 2 more cats in the following years and we gladly took them in, L.B.K. (Little Boy Kitty) and Vinnie (the thug)...

By the time we moved up to Cable, in December of 2011, we had 6 cats. Starting at the orange cat and going counter-clockwise... Orangie, Vinnie, Screamer, Sticky, L.B.K., and Rudy...



They all got along great. Sticky was the "mother" and alpha cat in the house. He was always grooming the others and watching out for them.



Playing with the two new kittens, Rudy and Screamer...


And when I say that Sticky was a "mother" to the others, I'm not kidding. Here he is with Rudy, who is trying to nurse...


When he wasn't tending to the other cats, his favorite activity was to climb on me and nap...




If he wasn't napping, he'd be right next to one of us "helping" us with whatever we were doing... Working on crafts, cleaning the fridge, or cleaning firearms... he always wanted to be part of things.




Sticky was a great hunter, he used to bring his kills to us as gifts... One afternoon, after a couple hours of hunting, he brought home a sparrow, a chipmunk, and mouse. He piled the gifts on the patio downstairs. Once in a while, he'd sneak a trophy into the house and play with it...



We'd do just about anything for him, and have been through a lot with him. Including, two bouts of a blocked ureter, a 12' fall from trying to jump onto a hanging light fixture in the foyer, and a pellet still lodged in his hind quarters. Courtesy of the 35 year old, still-living-at-home-with-mom-and-dad, single, neighbor "boy" that thought would be fun to shoot Sticky in the a$$ from his deck, while the cat was walking in our yard... Just before we had Rudy put down, our vet took an x-ray of his lungs and found a similar pellet. I'm hoping there's a special place in the after life for guys like that. Thanks Sean :(



It's sad to know that after tomorrow, we'll be down to one cat, Screamer. We've lost 4 already... Vinnie, in 2012 to a sudden heart attack. L.B.K., in 2013 to a liver disease. Orangie, in 2016 to feline diabetes, and almost exactly a year ago, Rudy, to FIP.

On Sticky's latest visit to the Vet, she told us that when his bad days are more frequent than his good days, it's time to start thinking about... Well, for the last month or so, his good days have been fewer in number. He's not the cat he once was.

We both feel terrible about the decision we had to make, but it really is the best for him. We don't want to see him suffer, and we can tell that he's not himself and he's not feeling well. His gait is slow and unsteady and his appetite is fading... It's time...

For the last couple of weeks we've been spoiling him and loving him up every chance we can. I know Nancy and I will miss our little buddy. He was truly the perfect cat. He was always sociable when people visited our home, and was always accepting of new cats.

He was always the alpha of the pack, but once in a while he'd have to tackle Rudy and pin him to the floor, just to remind him who's in charge...


Rest in Peace my little friend. We're both going to miss you so much!!

Mama and Papa.


Saturday, December 02, 2017

What I've been up to...

No motorcycling news to report, but I've managed to stay busy. Winter made a brief appearance here then it kind of went away. We've had some pretty mild temps considering it's now the first week of December. Today it was a sunny 42° and tomorrow is supposed to be just as warm. I'm sure that winter will return later this week. I saw the forecast for this Friday, high of 13°, low of -4°...

I found an ad on Craigslist for some free firewood. The guy that posted the ad lives down by Hayward, about 30 miles away. He had two pictures in his ad...


He had put up a pole shed and these were cut down when he cleared the land. I think he kept the oak for himself and was giving away these poplars. They're not the greatest firewood, but hey, free is good and when the wood dries, it will burn just fine. So, I called the guy last Tuesday and went to see just what I was getting myself into. I had just left my buddy John's place so I was close by. The log owner and I discussed schedules and I agreed to come out on Friday and probably finish by Saturday.

After I looked at the pile, I called John and asked if he wanted to get some exercise this weekend. I told him about my find. So late Friday morning, I loaded up the truck with my saw, gas, extra chains, and assorted supplies and met him by the LCO casino. He followed me out where the logs were.

John and I spent the next couple of hours cutting, splitting, and loading wood. The owner set up his splitter for us so we didn't have to lift whole, heavy, wet, 18" diameter chunks into our pick ups.


John and I had loaded our trucks and were headed out by noon. There was still a lot of wood left to cut up...


John unloaded his truck then went bowling... I drove home unloaded mine and went back for more. By the end of the day I had this stack in my driveway...


Knowing that there wouldn't be enough daylight left for a third round, I cut and split until late in the afternoon. I left this pile for Saturday...


Today, I met John out at the wood pile at 9:00. We loaded up what I had already split. Then we cut and split the rest of it. He took a pick up load and I filled mine. There was still about a half a load left. I went home, unloaded, and went back for the rest.

When I was done, the log pile looked like this...


On the way home, I stopped off at the lumberyard and grabbed some free pallets.

Here's all the free wood I ended up with...



I had a quick lunch and a couple of ibuprofen. John came over about 2:30 and we fired up our log splitter and my tractor. We worked until sunset.
We filled an open spot in one of my wood piles with the stuff we split. The bright wood is the new stuff. It's a stack about 7½'L x 4'H, one row deep.




The fun will continue tomorrow.............

Saturday, September 30, 2017

She's Home...

On Thursday morning, at 4:25, that was 2 hours 35 minutes before sunrise, I left for South Dakota. I had rented a nice, but heavy, 5x9, single axle, U-haul trailer from the local dealer and picked it up at closing time on Wednesday evening.


I drove straight through to Wyatt's Hideaway Campground in Belle Fourche. 731 miles in 14 hours with 3 stops for gas and 1 for food.

I spent about an hour at the campground loading and securing the bike and talking to the owner, Kent.

I was back on the road at 7:20 (WI time). I started east and drove until I got tired. I was going to stop in Chamberlain but when I stopped for a pop at the only 24 hour gas station, the cashier suggested driving a little further to Kimball. He said the rooms were half as expensive as the ones in Chamberlain. We talked about trucks and motorcycles for about half an hour before I got back under way. I pulled into the parking lot of the Westwood Inn at 1:00 a.m., 1007 miles for the day!

I wasted no time the next morning and was back on the road at 7:50. I kept the speed down on I-90. It's posted 80 MPH but I was holding it at about 60 or so... had breakfast in Sioux Falls and made 2 more gas stops on the way home.

I got home about 6:30 Friday night, unloaded the bike, rinsed the leaked antifreeze off the trailer bed, returned the trailer, gassed up and was home and all unloaded by 7:30...


Secured with 8 straps... 3 in front, 5 in back... It didn't move at all! The trailer has a built in wheel chock for the front tire and 8 big D-ring tie down points. The only improvement to their trailer design I could think of was, if the tailgate could be folded all the way flat into the box for better aerodynamics when the trailer was empty.


38 hours
1534 miles
$260 for 100 gallons of gas.. but the truck wasn't full when I left on Thursday morning.
$55 for a motel
$52 for the trailer
$300 for the rental car 2 weeks ago.
No problems

That was still a savings of more than $153 when compared to the $821 + taxes, that U-haul in Belle Fourche quoted me to rent their smallest truck one way to WI...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

I'll Continue..... Sunday: Bad Luck Day

Sunday, I had a bit of bad luck... John and I started out in the morning and went down Spearfish Canyon, up to Deadwood and Lead, then down 385 towards Hill City. We got down to the Pactola Lake Reservoir and took a break. John wanted to meet up with some of his friends later in the day, so we split up. He headed back towards Belle Fourche, and I continued on.

From Hill City, I took 244 to Keystone. I got a couple of pictures of the side view of Mount Rushmore, but I wasn't going to wait in a huge line to pay $10 for a season long "parking pass" that I would only use once..

I left Keystone on highway 40 and rode over to Hermosa. I gassed up and took a short break. When I left Hermosa, I rode highway 36 west, towards Custer State Park. Just before the park, I turned right onto 16A, Iron Mountain Road. 16A is a n awesome road. Personally, I think it's best ridden from south to north because 2 of the 3 tunnels line up with views of the 4 faces of Mount Rushmore...


From 16A...


From one of the tunnels...



From Google Maps...


At the crest of the mountain that 16A crosses, is the Norbeck Overlook. I'ts a viewing spot with a large parking lot, right after a section of switchbacks...


There are 2 pigtail bridges on 16A. I had a hard time finding a place to stop to snap a picture...


16A took me back to Keystone. From there, I continued on 16A to 16, then looped around to Hill City again. This time when I left Hill City, I took 323, Old Hill City Road, towards Keystone. There's an old time steam engine powered tourist/sightseeing train that runs back and fourth, several times a day, between Hill City and Keystone. 323 crosses the tracks at least 8 times. I managed to snap a few pictures as the train passed by...


I took the back roads into Rapid City and met up with John and our friend Teressah (the mother of the child I never had) ((long story from 17 years ago..)) at Marlin's Restaurant. After dinner, John and I headed back to Belle Fourche for the night. We stopped at the Cenex station to fill the bikes to save some time in the morning.... That's when things went bad...

After filling up, I noticed a large puddle of green under the front of my bike. The bottom seam of the radiator was leaking. I guess it was better to find out now, than to discover the problem after starting out on Monday, and breaking down in the middle of nowhere.. Or, having it overheat and seize up on me 100 miles from the closest town.. @#%$&***!@... We parked the bike at Wyatt's Hideaway Campground just a few miles from town. When I used to go to the rally every year, the group I was with stayed there. A great place for tent, cabin, and RV camping in the Black Hills... Thank you Kent!!!

First thing Monday morning, I was on the phone figuring out how to get home. U-haul, wanted $821 + taxes to rent the smallest truck and drive it one way to home... The local car rental place had NO Cars!! I had to ride on the back of John's bike the 62 miles out to the Rapid City Airport, pick up a rental car from Hertz, drive back to Belle Fourche, load up my stuff, and head home.

I HAD to be home! I couldn't wait around... I got to the Hertz return at the Duluth Airport just after midnight. I met Nancy and we headed home. 804 miles in the rental car plus another 82 miles to get home from Duluth. I was too tired to do much the next day.

A few more pictures from Sunday's ride....


One more... I couldn't pass this up. Hayward, SD.... I live near Hayward, WI...



So, how do I get the bike back? My plan is to rent a u-haul trailer on Wednesday night, leave first thing Thursday morning, drive to Wyatt's, load up... Head home Friday morning. Still MUCH cheaper than the $821 for a one way truck would have been!

I'll pull the bike apart this fall and find a place to fix the radiator. A new one from Kawasaki is.... Are you sitting down?......... MSRP is $986.23.. OUCH!!