What’s the Weather Bob?

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we get lots of weather. It comes mostly in the form of rain, though it is sometimes hot and sometimes snowy.
For Christmas, I received a geek gift. It fit me perfectly. It’s a Personal Weather Station. With it we can track more things than I can describe. High temp, low temp, rain totals, wind speed and direction, as well as barometric pressure and dew point. It keeps a running history as well presenting me with all time high and all time low information as well as rainfall to date and a lot more metrics which are all kinda fun to review.Being a true geek, I connected the weather station to the Weather Underground website. The Weather Underground is pretty interesting. You can find weather data from Personal Weather Stations pretty much anywhere in the United States as well as many foreign countries. Because the stations are mostly home based, they give a micro view of the local weather instead of just reading the “official” weather for a region which is usually registered at the local airport or City Hall. The video above gives you a glimpse of the current weather. If you want a deep dive, here’s a link to my weather station on the Weather Underground. Have fun checking out the wind, rain, heat and cold of Olympia, WA.

I also want to give a shout out to our SEO company for providing us the best strategies for online marketing.

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Down Under

A few hours less than a full week after returning from the Run For The Wall, I left on a business trip to Australia. I’ve been here before, that journey was for business as well.  I call it a journey as the entire voyage to Sydney from Olympia, inclusive of layovers and flights took 29 hours.

While I don’t have a great deal of time to sight-see as I’m here to work, the timing of my arrival couldn’t have been better for viewing the world famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge.  Starting May 27th and running through June 18th (Ironically, the dates of my two kids birthdays) Sydney has hosted Vivid.  Last evening, I walked the 45 minutes from my hotel down to the Sydney’s Quay (pronounced “key”) district.

Left to Right are Natalie, Ziggy, and Laura. Great hosts and fun kids.

Left to Right, excluding the photobomber, are Natalie, Ziggy, and Laura. Great hosts and fun kids.

While taking in the amazing sights and sounds of Vivid, I introduced myself to three college students who I overheard talking about going to the Botanical Gardens. Not knowing the area, I’d wanted to see how Vivid had transformed the gardens, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. So, I kindly interrupted their conversation and asked if I could follow them there. I figured asking to follow them might be better than being perceived as a stalker should they notice the generally round, balding American following them with a camera in hand.  They were very gracious and not only agreed to show me the way, but became the best tour guides I could’ve asked for, were there a place that offered tour guides to choose from for middle-aged businessmen with limited time to take in the amazing spectacle of Vivid.

The Botanical Gardens were somewhat

Harbour Bridge and Opera House Lit during Vivid 2016 © 2016 Daniel W. Slocum/SlocumMedia

Harbour Bridge and Opera House Lit during Vivid 2016
© 2016 Daniel W. Slocum/SlocumMedia

of a disappointment, but the company was not. They told me about the history of Vivid, how the images displayed on the Opera House were generated by massive projectors with even more massive lenses about 200 yards away across the harbour. They showed me some great places to take pictures and invited me to join them as they walked through the Cathedral of Light installation at the Botanical Garden’s edge.

Overall the experience was ‘illuminating’, insert cheesy grin here.  The art of Vivid was truly exceptional. If you get the chance to travel to Sydney, do try to coordinate the trip with Vivid it will not disappoint you.


Opera House Lit during Vivid 2016 © 2016 Daniel W. Slocum/SlocumMedia


Opera House Lit during Vivid 2016 © 2016 Daniel W. Slocum/SlocumMedia


Museum of Modern Art Lit during Vivid 2016 © 2016 Daniel W. Slocum/SlocumMedia

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Westward bound, Day 8: Home at last

It was with the honking of horns and the sounds of happy family members, we arrived at our homes after our 22 night, 23 day, 7719 mile road trip.  That’s about 1/3 of the distance around the globe. (circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles).  Machines, both human and mechanical are grateful for the respite.

Our last day was a 396 mile trip from Baker City, Oregon, through Yakima, WA over White Pass and then to Olympia via the back roads from Mt. Rainier.  It was dry and hot as all across the region, municipalities notched all-time record high temperatures for June 5th.

Even though it was the last day, I wasn’t about to forget our mission.  I was on the lookout for someone to encourage.  The chance came really early.  Dad and I rode the short distance into town to visit the Starbucks, collocated within the local Safeway store in Baker City.  After we ordered I struck up a conversation with a gentleman wearing a USMC hat. At first he was reluctant to chat and made an excuse to depart.  After about 10 minutes, he returned and unloaded his Vietnam burdens on us.  It was an honor to hear his story and to assist him in unlocking what he’d carried for so long.  I never caught his name, but my Brother who served with distinction is now much lighter for having shared his pain with us.  Not everyone who served during Vietnam saw combat. This brother is one of those. He was ready, willing, able, and terrified at the thought of it.  Twice he was loaded onto a ship from his base in Okinawa with a destination of Vietnam. Twice the ship diverted back to base, or a training exercise elsewhere.  Knowing that his fellow Marines were paying the ultimate price for freedom and he never saw combat has eaten at him ever since. The telling of it put a light into his eye and a lighter step in his walk.  We encouraged him that not being sent into Vietnam wasn’t his choice. He is still a hero for having served during that terrible time and that he should carry himself with the dignity of a Marine and not with the weight of guilt.

The best thing about the whole encounter wasn’t that we talked with him, and wasn’t that he seemed much better for it, it was in knowing that God set it up.  If you recall, we carried the flag of GySgt Shirey to The Wall.  Gunney was a USMC Tanker.  Our new brother from Baker City was a USMC Tanker.  Our mission came full circle from day 1, to our final day 23. There is no way on earth we could’ve planned that.

USMC M41 in Vietnam


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Westward bound day 7

No pictures today as it’s just a drive until you get there kind of day.  We started in Orem Utah, headed for Baker City, Oregon. That’s a ride of about 515 miles.  It was really, really, did I mention really hot.  The winds were more in our favor and we made better time as we didn’t have to stop as often.

Fatigue, however, was our enemy.  After 21 days on the road, this day, day 22, we were paying the price. But!!  God had a plan.  Only one other time on our trip have we stopped at an interstate Rest Area. Today was the second. While we thought it was to clear the cobwebs of drowsiness from our heads, it was really a divine appointment with a great man I’ll call Frank.   Frank is the Father of 2 girls whom he recently fought for and gained custody of. Shortly after winning the custody battle, Frank was diagnosed with Cancer.  When we met him, his bike was parked next to ours and he was changing a bandage on his abdomen.  I asked him about it and he willingly unburdened himself of his story. He was riding home from a trip to see a Specialist in Salt Lake City whom he hopes can help him better cope with the chemo and possibly develop a plan to get his cancer in remission.

God has a better way! I asked Frank if we could pray for him, he agreed, so I simply commanded the cancer to leave in the Name of Jesus.  Yup, that’s all it takes.  No long lofty words, no shouting, no putting hands on foreheads and pushing someone over.  Simply taking the authority given to us as Sons and Daughters of the Most High King and putting it to use. I asked Frank if he were a Christian and he beamed out a “yes”.  I believed him. Frank’s heart and attitude in the midst of adversity was full of life and hope. No way, you have that without Jesus. I likely won’t see Frank again until we meet in Heaven. I can’t wait to hear of his healing story and how God was glorified through it.

Our lodging tonight is at Pine Haven. It’s a cozy cabin which sleeps 3-4, just outside of Baker City.  If you are in the area and need lodging, check it out.  The hosts are great and the place is cozy.

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Westward bound Day 6: Monument Valley

This morning we awoke in sight of the wonders of Monument Valley. The sites you’ve seen as backdrops in countless movies are indeed real and not “green screened” creations of someone’s imagination.  I don’t know how God dreams this stuff up, but it’s spectacular.


The man and horse are real. Click the image for a larger view.

We took a 2.5 hour “basic” tour of the park, which is within the Navajo Nation lands and run by the Navajo tribe. Pretty sure I need to see one of my chiropractors in Franklin after that trip because my head was constantly turning quickly, one way and then the next to take in as much as I possibly could. The basic tour was perfect for our schedule, but I could have stayed there much longer than 2.5 hours.  If you go and don’t mind getting your car covered with red dirt, you can drive the park and take your time.  Motorhomes and ATV’s are not permitted, but regular cars, minivans, and most certainly 4wd trucks can handle the route if it hasn’t recently rained.  Considering they only get 15 inches of rain each year, the odds are in your favor. Plan to buy your handmade jewelry, hatchets, rock art and other trinkets within the park. There are several locations where Navajo set up tables with all manner of amazing handcrafted items for your purchase.  The deals here are far better than at the gift shops, but the selection is a little more limited.

One of the most special days of the Run For The Wall was when imagewe stopped in Gallup, NM and the Navajo Nation honored us with songs, dances, and a flag ceremony. I found it interesting God would bring us back to the Navajo Nation, to see their land, and interact more personally with some of their people. I didn’t openly walk around proclaiming Jesus to everyone I met, but I was deliberate about declaring prosperity over the land, increase for these great people, and a Revival among them. I especially had fun talking with the ladies in a gift shop the night we arrived. The Navajo are a great people for whom I know God has a great plan.

We left Monument Valley and made our way to Orem Utah. It was slow going as strong winds nearly had Dad’s 1100cc bike at a standstill.  He had it wide open and was barely holding 60mph.  His small 3.5 gallon tank was hardly enough to get us 75 miles without running dry.  Awesome as God is though, that is exactly the distance between the gas stops on our route.  Coincidence? Nope.

Clicking any of the images below will launch a gallery of all of them.  Be patient when first loading as the images are a bit large.

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Westward Bound: Day 5, Arches

P1000371 P1000369Dad and I awoke refreshed in Glenwood Springs, CO to a cool but warming day. Our destination was overnight lodging in Monument Valley, with a detour en route, to Arches National Park.  We had no mechanical issues, and no delays. We did encounter one strange, way overpriced gas station. When your tank is near empty though, you take the hand you’re dealt and make the most of it. I wandered the property and snapped a few photos oP1000372P1000370f the unique sights.


Inside the National Park we got to talk to several Veterans and one family about what we were doing and why we were doing it. I hope we were an encouragement to them as they visited Arches. Sometimes the trip isn’t about the destination.

OH MY WOW!!  Both Arches and Monument give real meaning to Luke 19:40.  I turned to Dad while we were reveling in the breathtaking view at Arches, “Can you hear them?” It’s easy to feel really, really small when surrounded by such majesty.  No wonder “Every knee will bow at the feet of Jesus”, this is just The Father’s handiwork, a dim reflection of who He is.

Since time was short and one could spend a whole day or more at Arches, we stayed to the P1000424main roads and didn’t stray much from parking lots with views instead of hiking anywhere. While I know with certainty, Arches is better when not viewed this way, I was still completely blown away with what we did see. I’ll post a gallery of photos after I get home. For now, here’s a sampler.


We rode another 150 or so miles after leaving Arches to get to Monument Valley. You’ll have to read that post to see pics.  Stay tuned!

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Westward Bound: Day 4, tow truck.

I didn’t post our happenings yesterday as we didn’t get into our hotel room till about 11:00 PM.  It was a long day. Our planned distance was 511 miles, and we met it, but not without some speed bumps.

At our first gas stop, just a hundred or so miles into the journey, Dad’s bike wouldn’t start after he filled it.  This is exactly the symptom he had corrected, not once, but twice already on this trip so this was immediately troubling. Before we left home, we hooked up a lead line to the battery to which I could connect a portable power device capable of jumping the bike several times before requiring a recharge. So, we got everything ready to jump the bike and get on down the road, but couldn’t find the line.  Dad removed the side cover to expose the battery, found the cable properly mounted to the negative and positive posts, but couldn’t find the end of it to jump the bike. So, off came all the luggage, both seats and there it was. The mechanic who did the last repair, had moved it so it was exposed on the opposite side of the bike. Had we noticed, we’d have saved ourselves at least 30 min of effort. Dad put his bike and luggage back together and we jumped the bike.  Off we went, happy that it was working, worried it wouldn’t last. And wouldn’t last, it did.

imageWe’d hardly gone a quarter of a mile and the whole bike just shut down. A call to Roadside assistance, an hour or so wait, a 70 mile tow, and we found ourselves in a small town motorcycle shop.  Horizon Motorsports in Sterling, CO.  Shawn, put the bike up on the lift, and started diagnosing the bike. Within about 20 minutes he found a wire leading from the part replaced in Virginia, some 1200 or so miles prior had come loose.  He put everything back together and charged the battery while we sought out lunch. Whoop!  It was Cherry Limeade time.  As luck would have it, there was a Sonic, just kitty corner across the street. By the time we completed our late lunch, the battery was charged and everything tested out ok.  Sterling and businesses there, like Horizon Motorsports, are in need.  The city’s sidewalks and streets were in disrepair. It felt as if the economy was running on fumes. Being there was a blessing, not a curse. It’s for towns like this we set out on our mission. The goal wasn’t just to complete the Run For The Wall and “Ride for those who can’t”. It was to pray for the healing of our great nation in every town we found ourselves in all across the land. Healing starts with good people like Shawn of Horizon Motor Sports, and Steve the tow truck driver, in small struggling towns like Sterling, CO.  Being there, gave us the chance to pray over the town and sew a seed for God to water.

By the time we arrived in Denver, it was too late to follow through with plans to link up with my long-time friend Rod, so we geared for the rain we saw on the horizon and assaulted the Rockies.  By the time we reached the midway point, at just under 12,000 feet, we were freezing. Snow was all around and night was setting in. Another gear switch to heated jacket and pant liners and we were off for the final 90 miles, all downhill, in the dark, with flashing road signs warning us to watch for moose, coyotes, cougars, and herds of deer. Yeah, it was not a ride for the faint of heart.  At one point, I saw a massive buck standing on the side of the freeway looking for an opening to cross. Nearby, there were 20-30 other deer grazing on the grass along the road’s edge. It was at this point I sought out a semi-truck to tuck in behind for the journey down the mountain. I followed him close enough that he’d encounter the wildlife first, but not so close that should he do so, I’d be caught up in the mele. With that, we arrived safely in Glenwood Springs, tired but well, and bike repaired, hopefully for the last time.


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Westward Bound: Day 3 (Givers and Takers)

Ahh… safely in our hotel room in Kearney Nebraska. The weather generally cooperated, though we put on and took off our rain gear several times today. We did lunch somewhere in Des Moines.  It was a grand adventure.  We found ourselves at what is likely the only exit that doesn’t have convenient food services.  There were two “sit down and stay awhile” places nearby but nothing like a Subway or other common lunch fare.

As we were gassing the bikes, I noticed a “Taco Truck” parked on the corner of the lot.  If you know me at all, you already know without me telling you that we at there for sure. After topping off the bikes, we found a place to park and walked to the window. We met imageZack, a “local” who was waiting on his lunch and struck up a conversation during which the attendant in the truck handed him his food. As he took it, Zack told her that anything we ordered he’d pay for.  I did a double take and thanked him.  Wow, God blessed us with Patriots who wanted to show support and gratitude two days in a row. I was floored.  Zack was a “Giver”.  He expressed with his words and his actions his support for the Military and for others.

Fast forward to our hotel lobby this evening.  In most locations of this hotel chain you can find freshly made cookies at the front desk. This was true with our hotel tonight.  Dad and I were nearly salivating at the chance to dive into a Dark Chocolate Caramel cookie, but asked the clerk to get us napkins so we could pick them up without touching other cookies on the plate.  While he was gone, a woman approached us, loudly proclaiming to the person she was with that she was going to get another cookie.  I told her that we were looking to take the “black ones”, you know, kind of a “dibs” thing.  She corrected me saying, “they are brown”, stepped in front of me and took one of the remaining two right off the tray and smugly walked away.  I was amazed and walked back to our room dumbfounded.   Cookie lady is a “Taker”.  I don’t know her reasons for not showing honor, love and respect to another human, but it left me disappointed for her.

I’ve been thinking about what I could’ve done differently and can’t find a better response then walking away. I’m not sure I’d have represented Jesus very well in that moment. I know it’s just a cookie, but we are tired and everything is amplified. Not an excuse, it just is what it is. Now, an hour or more post, cookie snatch, I’ve come to the realization that God put her there in that moment for me to learn of her needs and pray for her. No, this isn’t a “look at me, I’m an awesome Christian” moment, I’m just keeping it real.  I was miffed, walked away so I wouldn’t say something stupid, and now after the fact, God has been revealing to me that because we’ve crossed paths I can pray provision, plenty, and that she never again feels like she has to take something before it’s gone or she won’t have any (orphan spirit).

Here’s a couple of photos from the day.  I snapped one of Dad just ahead of me while we imagewere riding.  I keep my phone mounted on the handlebar for use as a GPS so it was fairly simple to turn on the camera and click the shutter. I snapped these photos of our rear tires to show you the difference between a standard bike tire after 5000 miles of highway driving and a car tire mounted on a bike after about 12000 miles of highway/street driving and about 3ooo of mountains.  Dad will have to buy a new tire shortly after we get home, while this car tire has a great deal of life left in it.

This mural was on a wall here in Kearney. I noticed it on our way back from dinner. It’s a reminder there are a lot of great humans, “Givers” left in the USA.  I hope you one of them and your skills aren’t rusty.

Note the !0 Commandments on the right side.

Note the !0 Commandments on the right side.


Bike tire with big flat patch worn in center.


Car tire, lots of life left in this one.

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Westward Bound: Day 2

Our trip home will hopefully be uneventful. Like today, we’ll mostly be rolling along across this great land. We do have two sightseeing stops planned. We will drive through Arches National Park and have a tour planned through Monument Valley. Otherwise, it’s keep moving west, chasing the sun.

Because of the inherent danger of using cameras while riding a motorcycle, I’ll likely not post much in the way of photographs until we stop in Arches and Monument Valley. If you’ve ever traveled the US Interstate system, you already know what we are seeing.  Farm after farm, cow after cow, truck stops and rest areas.  Nothing is really different unless you jump off of the Interstate and drive one of the US Highways, like Route 66, 30, or any of the many others that were our primary routes before the Interstates were built.

Today, we rode from Avon, Ohio to Davenport Iowa. Our route skirted Chicago’s South Side, and took us past South Bend, Indiana where my mind chanted “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy” as we went by. Dad and I have joked that no motorcycle trip is complete unless we ride from Cycle Gear store, to Cycle Gear store.  This is because on one of our previous trips we did just that. We stopped in Redding, Valencia, Redding again, Salem, Vancouver, and of course our home store of Tacoma before we left.  Today, we kept the tradition alive. imageYesterday afternoon, we encountered some significant rain. That’s when I discovered one of my waterproof boots, was no longer waterproof. As we approached Cleveland we rode through easily the heaviest rain I’ve ever been in on two wheels. Torrent, might be an understatement.  It was in this moment that I discovered the other boot was also no longer waterproof.  Cycle Gear, has a 5 year warranty on all of their “in house” brands so we looked up the nearest store that wasn’t behind us and added it to our itinerary.  The fine folks there swapped out our boots without even looking up our receipt in their computer system. The shift leader told me to pick any boot in the place and he’d make a straight exchange 1 for 1. FAVOR!!!  Once again, God had his hand on me. He has gone before us in the day like a cloud and a pillar of fire by night.  We’ve seen so many miracles, divine appointments, and blessings it’s hard to not ride completely and totally undone.

Case in point, this evening at our last gas stop leaving Illinois.  We were at the Loves Travel Center at Interstate 80 exit 81 (Utica, IL). We’d gassed our bikes and gone inside to snag a cool beverage before running the last 90 mile leg into Davenport, IA for the night.  Dad and I both chose our drinks and I picked up a candy bar.  While I grabbed my Midnight Milky Way, I heard the Assistant Manager, Mac, call Dad over to a register he’d just opened. Mac scanned Dad’s drink and Dad tried to swipe his card to pay for it.  Mac picked up the card reader and moved it away saying “No, no”. That’s when I walked up.  Mac then took my drink and my candy bar, scanned those and said in a deeply meaningful and sincere tone. “Not today…. thank you.” (it’s Memorial Day, he could see our patches on our vests and knew us to be Veterans.) I was blown.  It was a moment where I was so glad I still had on my riding glasses and they’d not “transitioned” to indoor clear yet. I shook his hand firmly, squeaked out, “thank you” and left the building.

Friends, patriotism isn’t dead.  You just have to get out of the big cities to find it. The USA is brimming with people who love this land and want to see her returned to the nation God built to protect Israel and to be a light of Biblical principles to the world.

A note about Memorial Day.  This is my own soap box. You don’t have to agree, but please listen and save judgement till you’ve read it all.  This is not my or any other Veteran’s holiday.  If you see a Vet on Memorial Day and feel compelled to chat with them, a simple thank you and a handshake is enough.  A lot of Vets suffer from survivor’s guilt and other “demons” on Memorial Day. It can be tough to chat with a stranger in those moments. Memorial day is for solemnly remembering our KIA, POW’s who haven’t been returned, and MIA servicemen for they laid down their lives so we can be free. Was I blown away when Mac paid for our snacks, absolutely! Was I grateful, yes! I recognize it was his way of saying “thank you” to those who lie silent in our National Cemeteries and I’m ok with that. However, as a general rule, I’d like to ask each of you to save those gestures for Veteran’s day and honor our dead heroes and not the living one’s on Memorial day.

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Westward Bound: Day 1

Our return trip does have a few days with an event planned, but mostly we are making tracks as fast as possible toward home. If you’ve traveled by bike you know that any stop is a 20 minute or more adventure of removing gear, doing whatever you stopped for, and donning gear again.  You can easily consume a half hour just getting gas, using the boys room, drinking a bottle of water and getting going again.  The point is, time is not your friend on these long hauls. Because of this, we won’t be stopping for sighting seeing much at all.

P1000354Today, however, was an exception.  We planned to make a short stop at Gettysburg to snap some photos of the General Slocum statue.  I’m not sure of the exact lineage, but Dad says he’d fall into the category of cousin.  Can’t say how many times removed, it’s been several generations since the Civil War. We’ll just call him Cousin Slocum.

We stopped first at the Visitor’s Center hoping to catch a quick movie or some other interpretive experience but found the place is so commercialized that not even our National Parks Pass garnered us admittance to anything. So, we did what all consumer conditioned Americans do… we stopped by the Gift Shop to see what we they might have that we “needed” to take home.  We also snagged a bite of over-priced lunch. With map in hand, we set off to find Cousin Slocum.

P1000361Wow! He’s huge.  I was very surprised to find that we had “giantism” in our family genes. 🙂  Actually, he was just created that way. History books indicate General Slocum was somewhat of a shorter man. I don’t find that very surprising, most of the Slocum’s I know come in around 5’8″.  One of the plaques on his statue gave his full list of military assignments. I found it pretty cool that both he and I were Field Artillery. Redleg must run deep in us.

Stopping at Gettysburg added a good number of miles and time to our journey. We slowed down to a near crawl for the last 40 miles of our journey as we were in a torrential thunderstorm complete with lighting.  God saw fit to route the lighting away from our route, but it filled the sky magnificently, while the rain assaulted all of our waterproof gear searching for any weakness. We both arrived with wet spots on clothing and inside boots where the rain successfully penetrated our defenses.

Regardless of the rain, we had reason to be grateful. We made it safely to our destination without injury and our machines are in great working order with the rubber side down and the shiney side up.

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