Voyages of Starship Arrowstar

Voyages of Starship Arrowstar
Starship Arrowstar and Shuttlecraft Maxwell

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Captain’s Log - Stardate: 20-16-07-30 – Mission Day 25

Captain’s Entry:
It’s Saturday, and we’re in a stationary orbit somewhere between Laughlin, NV and Wickenburg, AZ on our way to Starbase Phoenix. The First Officer is in the galley whipping up breakfast, so I’m taking this opportunity to officially close the Northern California Mission. 

Yesterday we landed in Laughlin to go to dinner with friends at the Riverside Casino. The incredible heat there actually made the Starship’s floor too hot to walk barefoot on because we were docked on sizzling tarmac. The air conditioners took several hours to cool the starship, so I sent the First Officer off to dinner by himself because I was worried it would quit altogether and fry the space dogs! Luckily, it kept going and actually cooled us down to 78 degrees by bedtime.

End Captain’s California Mission Entries . . . 

First Officer’s Entry:

Yesterday was a very long, stressful day as we warped from Bakersfield CA to Laughlin, Nevada.  The original plan was to stay over in Needles, NV but we added the side trip to Laughlin because Laughlin is a heck of a lot nicer than Needles and it gave us the opportunity to meet friends Barney and Claudia who were spending the week there.  

Laughlin was running at 108 degrees and as the captain said, the AC’s were having a tough time handling it.  I left the her lying under the bedroom ceiling vent trying to cool off and went to dinner alone.  I was not a happy camper.

I have requested a transfer to another starship.

End First Officer’s Mission Entries

Captain's Note: Request Denied! You're stuck with me, Rusty Pistons!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Captain’s Log - Stardate: 20-16-07-26 – Mission Day 21

Captain’s Entry:
As soon as Rusty Pistons left on his journey to planet DTT (see First Officer Piston's entry), I unfurled the Starship magic carpet outside, rolled out the awning and set up the comfy anti-gravity chair and table. Peanut and Cleo, the space-duo, snuggled down in their beds under my chair and so passed the morning. Around 1:30 p.m. I walked down the camp road to the beach. Three-fourths of the way there Rusty Pistons called to say he had returned from his trek. 

I found a spot to sit on the beach just shy of the splash of the incoming tide. There were kids playing catch, romping in the surf and dogs playing fetch for their masters. Pitched tents graced the dunes east of the tide line and brightened the sand with their bright colors. There’s something about watching those breakers roll in and crash on the sand that mesmerizes me. I can stare at those foaming, churning water waves for hours! Anyway, you get the picture and below I’ve published some more. 

By the way, it’s Thursday, July 28 as I write this, and we’re on a trajectory toward  Starbase Home. Tonight we’ll probably dock in Bakersfield. I don’t look forward to entering the “ring of fire” in Phoenix, but I’m road weary and longing to land.

End Captain’s Entry

First Officer’s Entry:

Well, I completed my solo shuttlecraft soirée to planet Drive-Thru-Tree (DTT) and my To Do List (TDL) now has one fewer entries.  I trunked the tree and truncated the list!

As the line of cars in front of me decreased I noticed the local inhabitants gravitating my way.  I fully realized what was happening when I got out to take the photo and found at least 15 other people taking shots of Maxwell along side me.  That little shuttlecraft does attract attention!

The 28 mile drive back to Leggett was only an hour as the twisties were a lot less difficult in the shuttlecraft than in the Starship.  And the lumber trucks coming south at me were less scary as they were empty rather than full like they were yesterday heading north.  On the other hand, the return to the RV park was fun as the trucks were loaded again and I was basically driving a motorized roller-skate.

I thought deeply about this syndrome for hours and finally came to the conclusion that the forest must be somewhere south of Westport and the lumber mill must be somewhere north of Leggett.  Now how’s that for analytical thinking!  

Sometimes I amaze myself.

End First Officer’s Entry

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Captain’s Log - Stardate: 20-16-07-25 – Mission Day 20 (Day count corrected)

Captain’s Entry:

The ride today was harrowing!!!! (See my First Officer’s Description Below)

In a dark, dark wood there lived a whole buncha huge, giant-sized trees along a twisty, narrow track. That narrow track proudly bears the name Avenue of the Giants. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to save these big, burly redwood trees and then put a road through the middle, so the rest of us could see them. The road may have been scary, but thankfully it looked almost brand new, smooth, no potholes, and it had lots of turn-outs for big lumbering vehicles like ours. Whew!

After the dark shade of the redwoods, the abrupt turn around a curve presenting the Pacific Coast like the burst of a flash bulb in our faces took our breath away. Stunning! Marvelous!  Incredible! Lovely! Amazing! Brilliant! (Flash bulbs? Cameras used to have them. Cameras? Like an iPhone for taking photos only you can’t make calls)

This campground costs $60 a night because you can pitch your tent on the beach and sleep to the sound of the pounding surf. You can take your dogs on the beach if you clean up after them. You can rent a teepee if you’d like. You can park your RV next door to the sand dunes. It’s an ocean-lover’s dream campground!! 

End Captain’s Entry.

First Officer’s Entry:

Here we are in Westport, California at the “Large Loud Family Escape from the Big City RV Park and Family Fun Center.”  At $60 per night, the most expensive park we’ve stayed at this trip. (But it IS right on the ocean. I gotta admit that.)  I am writing this on Monday, July 25th and I don’t know when we will be able to post it as we have no cell phone, no internet, no electrons at all down here in the depths of the California Pacific coast.

This place is PACKED with large families, large groups of families, large groups of friends.  The sites are stuffed with RV’s trailers, tents, tables, furniture, toys, and large campfire rings.  This is a family vacation destination.  The family next to us has Momma, Poppa, three little boys, a little girl and a baby. They have a big dualie-pick-um-up truck with 6 bicycles in the back pulling a small camper and have put up two large tents for the kiddies.  One of their four dogs dogs barks continuously and they think that yelling at it to shut up will actually get it to shut up.  Hasn’t worked so far.

Sounds bad, eh?  Well, truthfully it is a rare occurrence, sorta like when you check into the last room available in a nice hotel and find you are next to a big noisy family, or a very loving couple, or the elevator shaft.  Sometimes ya just gotta take your lumps and roll with the punches.

Our plan today was to drive south on Rt. 101 to Rt. 1 to Leggett, turn in at The Drive Thru Tree, take the Smart Car off the trailer and drive it thru the Drive Thru Tree and then proceed to the RV Park that describes itself as an RV Resort.

That didn’t happen.  The BIB didn’t say a word to us as we approached Leggett and we almost drove past the turn off to Rt.1.  Luckily (?) the captain saw a sign with an arrow saying “Leggett” and “Drive Thru Tree” and screamed, “Turn Right Here!”  So I did.  With much braking and a lot of leaning and swaying I managed to:

  1. Make the turn without turning us over.  (Barely.)
  2. Miss the sign saying, “Turn Left Here for the Drive Thru Tree.”
  3. Drive right past the sign saying, “RV’s over 40 feet long not recommended” (with the toad we are 55 feet) and got so far down the road that I was unable to turn around.
You’ve heard the term, “The road not taken”, right?  Well I just drove 28 miles on the road that shouldn’t be taken.  Whew!  Twenty-eight miles of narrow road with first gear hairpin turns, uphill’s and down, and huge lumber trucks screaming around blind corners at breakneck speed.  Cheryl darn near put a hole in the floor while pushing on her imaginary brake.
So here we are in the last available big rig spot in Loud-Family-Ville, which is the only RV Park on Rt. 1 between Leggett and Fort Bliss, paying waaaaay too much, and I still haven’t driven thru that flippin’ tree.

So tomorrow, while the captain walks down to the ocean beach to wave-watch, I will take the shuttlecraft and re-drive that miserable 28 miles of switchbacks all the way back to Leggett and drive through that mizerabel tree.  I’ve come this far, and I’m not going home without checking it off my Master Todo List.  

End First Officer’s Entry.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Captain’s Log - Stardate: 20-16-07-23 – Mission Day 17

Captain’s Entry:
I really didn’t need a “Zoo Fix” as the captain assumes below, an “Ocean Fix,” YES. That said, when we arrived at the small Eureka Zoo, so good ol’ Rusty Pistons could run in and squash a few pennies for his grandkids, I decided it would be fun to watch the little kids and parents flocking to the zoo on a Saturday morning. It turned out there was a Pokémon Go flurry going on, so lots of people were standing around staring at iPhones and ignoring the zoo animals which, I assume, made the animals enormously happy. 

Now I understand the attraction people have for this game. As the young mother playing the game, while she watched her little boy playing in a meandering stream of water built just for toddlers, explained to me, “It gets me out of the house and seeing other people and places . . . and it’s FUN!” So after I waxed poetic about the wonderful social aspects of the game, I realized the marketing potential for drawing crowds to specific events, stores, attractions, etc. Then the old saw, “Is there money to be made?” occurred to me. Sigh. Oh well, it’s the American way! “Smiley Face”

We did take time to watch the pandemonium of parents herding children through the zoo walkways, but seeing the animals turned out to be just as much fun. Here are some photos to prove it. (I threw in a couple of pictures of the dahlia garden at the zoo entrance, too. There were hundreds of blooms there to add to my “screensaver” photo collection!)

Ever wonder what an eagle's nest looks like "up close and personal?" Huge, isn't it!

Bald Eagle

Spotted Owl.  Lumberjacks say they taste like chicken.

A red panda

This "presenting the flower" pose is in memory of my grandmother, Carrie Thomas

When we got to Ferndale, I was disappointed to find that the movie set for the “Majestic” film had been torn down and replaced with a parking lot. The building used for the café in the movie remains, but is derelict. Another sigh . . .

I did enjoy seeing the old Victorian houses in town with their new paint and polish. It felt like a step back to a more elegant time. Movies come and movies go, but these “old dames” hopefully will remain here so future generations can “take a step back.” 

Meanwhile back at the car . . .Rusty Pistons’ “pennies for the grandkids obsession” aside, my First Officer made me love him all the more when he said, “I smell ocean!” We took off down an unknown road going roughly west and drove, and drove, and drove through rural countryside. Both of us were thinking we were probably going to get hopelessly lost on this adventure, but we persevered. Then around a narrow curve, up popped sand dunes, people dining on portable tables and cooking over open fires right on the beach and kids frolicking in the churning surf.

Yes, the surf really was churning up sand like crazy as huge breakers crashed on the beach. The ocean was busily constructing rips that made me worry about the children playing nearby (and me too!) Actually, no one seemed to be venturing beyond the foaming surf, and parents were keeping a close eye on their kiddies, so I relaxed. An unexpected surge of salt water surprised both Frank and me, so my slacks were soaked. I figured oh well, now that I’m drenched with salt water I might as well add sand. I plopped myself down on a dune to soak in the “sound and fury” of the sea. Unexpectedly, I saw a black head bobbing out beyond the breakers. I thought, “Oh no, there’s someone (or a body) out there!” Okay, so I’ve got a vivid imagination. I’m a writer, after all! Anyway, the small head turned out to be a seal grabbing his dinner. I was thrilled to see him several times. 

I leave you with this question: “Why is it that the ocean has such a calming effect on most of us, even while it pounds the beach and roars its violent message of enormous power?”

End Captain’s Entry

First Officer’s Entry:

Today we went to the Eureka Zoo, then to Ferndale, CA, and then to the ocean beach just south of Ferndale.  In that order.

The captain got her “zoo fix” and her “ocean fix” and I got to try to press a few pennies.

The pennies didn’t get pressed.  The store where the penny press was supposed to be located was out of business and gutted.  By asking around I finally found the machine in a small store across the street but it was “broken” and there were no plans to fix it.  Today’s score:
Captain 2, First Officer 0.

By the by:  A few words about California Rt. 299 between Weaverville and Eureka.

First word:  Incredible! 

Second word:  Magnificent!

Third word(s):  One of the nicest, most beautiful, and easiest to drive scenic highways I’ve ever driven.  It is smooth as glass, twisty but not too so, and has lots of well marked turnouts and passing lanes, so I never stacked up more than a car or two behind me and even then it was just for a mile or so.

Kudos to California!  They really did that one right.

BTW:  To all our friends in Phoenix, the high here today will be 68 cool but sunny degrees.

End First Officer’s Entry