My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Velocipedes, Jammers, & One Cool Dawg

This week has marked Sheridan's big annual shindig, when the rodeo and carnival come to town along with a crush of tourists, visiting family members and locals who moved away but return to town during this week like swallows to Capistrano or salmon to their spawning grounds. On Friday most businesses shut down early (if they opened at all), and Main Street is given over to events like a pancake breakfast, bed races (which are exactly what they sound like they'd be), and a parade, after which everyone heads to the bars, the carnival and/or the rodeo. Though we've attended in the past, for the last decade-plus we've avoided it like the plague. It's always hot (99º was the high on Friday), crowded, noisy, and filled with a lot of animals being forced to do stuff in the heat and noise that I doubt they'd ever choose to do if given a choice. Which, of course, they aren't. Anyway, it's not our thing (though I admit to being slightly tempted by the carnival rides!), but that doesn't mean we didn't get our own little private parade sneak preview early Friday morning...

It began with BW running past me, hollering something unintelligible in his exuberance, as I sat at the computer. He was so excited he had a hard time expressing what he'd seen that had him so excited and that he wanted me to come see. (It didn't help that he didn't know the name of what he'd seen!) It turned out it was our somewhat distant neighbor Rich, riding by on his velocipede, all dressed up in period clothing! By the time I got outside to see him he was hurtling past, down the street and around the corner and out of sight, and it was too late to grab my camera and get a photo. But wouldn't that have been great? Augh, curses!! Anyway, here's a simulation of what we saw, though Rich's clothing was actually much cooler-looking (Rich is actually quite cool - he's also a hot air balloonist! And clearly born a century too late)...

But, as it turned out, all was not lost! For shortly after the missed velocipede photo op we took the dogs for a walk and got another parade preview, on a nice, quiet neighborhood street, when we came upon this 1925 Glacier National Park touring bus getting ready to head for the parade route...

The owner (whose name we weren't told) lives in Billings, MT and drives his restored Glacier Park bus in parades. So maybe this was one of the two that were in the 2009 Rose Bowl Parade

(You can see a photo of it in Sheridan's parade, where it placed 3rd in the Novelty float category, by clicking here. It's a little more than halfway down the page).

A closeup of the logo on the bus door
The Rocky Mountain Goat is the official symbol of Glacier National Park

The bus also sports this beautiful license plate

If you've never visited Glacier National Park, I urge you to do so (soon, before its eponymous glaciers vanish completely!) Glacier is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of our national parks and well worth a visit. And guess what? You can even take a tour in one of the restored buses (1930's models), nicknamed "Jammers" back in the day because of the distinctive sound their original standard transmissions would make as the drivers jammed the gears going up and down the mountain roads. And a tour of beautiful Glacier Park in a Red Jammer is more fun than a hot, crowded parade any day! And probably safer and definitely easier than riding a velocipede. :-)

Meanwhile, as the heat drags on and there's not a glacier in sight, Tessa has been finding ways to stay cool. Like sleeping with her head in the communal water dish...

 ...forcing Willow to complain, "Mooommm! Tess is hogging the water dish again!"

After a little intervention by Mom, all is well...

Until Tess hogs the coveted space in front of the evaporative cooler...


Have a great weekend and


  1. How ace that Rich has a Penny Farthing! I have no idea how you'd get on and off one and they look uncomfortable as hell, but aren't they wonderful?

    I do feel for the dogs in the heat you're having - all that beautiful thick fur can't be much fun, although I do admire Tess's determination to stay cool at any cost :O)

  2. Really fun post. Boomer is 10 now so this year he got air conditioning. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  3. Barbara ~ Leave it to you to recognize that it's a Penny Farthing! I'd never heard of that name till I found that picture online! I can't imagine how you get on and off it either, but yes - it's really wonderful to see! Wish we could have watched him maneuver it down the steep hill between here and the parade route - that's scary enough on our 21-speed modern bikes! I can't imagine! How he got it back home is anyone's guess as well, but I imagine it had to be in the bed of a pickup truck.

    Tess and Josie usually spend the nights outside where it's much cooler (Willow still prefers staying indoors, but at least she gets the evaporative cooler all to herself!) But last night stayed hot and humid, so they opted to be inside. It's been pretty miserable (especially for a thick--black-furred dog!), but we're supposed to have cooler temps starting tomorrow. (Right this minute, btw, Tess followed us out when we went to hang up laundry and is laying in the gravel in the blistering hot sun - by choice! She wasn't interested in coming back in with us. Crazy!)

    Gary ~ Thanks! That's great that Boomer has A/C! We're renting a dodgy little house while we build a new one, and though it has A/C it's pretty feeble and barely touches the temp in the garage that's been converted into a family room (of a sort) where the dogs are required to stay according to the terms of the lease. At least they have a cool concrete floor to lay on, and several fans and the evap. cooler. But the new house, which we'll be moving into in about a month, will be much better for them, with good A/C to keep them comfy and no lease to worry about.

  4. I keep thinking of that Noel Coward song now - 'Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun...'!

    As for the Penny Farthing - that's what they're always known as over here, honest!

  5. Barbara ~ Perfect song lyric for this - glad I don't know (or can't remember) the tune, or I'm sure I'd be unable to get it out of my head and then I'd have to hunt you down and hurt you bad. ;-)

    I think "Giant Tricycles" is what they're known as over here! LOL

  6. Like you guys, we tend to avoid carnivals and such....well, at least CG they can be a real drag. Loved the tour bus!!
    Will this heat ever end....NO!...keep the pups cool and yerseff as well ;-). @97* here today and it's so dry. Hope we all cool down and get some real rain soon. xoxoxo...Oh, any more news about the house?

  7. The bed races were not exactly what I had imagined. The concept of putting four bikes under a bed and racing it was just too much for my poor imagination. What a hoot!

    Too bad you missed the velocipede photo op but with the photo and wikipedia link my imagination COULD get a pretty good impression of what you saw. I love that BW was so excited about it and could hardly communicate what you had to comes see!

    I'm glad you also got a view of the Glacier NP bus. That wasn't even on my radar as a place to go visit. Even though Montana is no longer on my list of states to visit, you make it sound good enough to put on my bucket list.

    I loved the photos of Tess but better yet I loved your description of Willow's complaints. I love it when they sound just like my kids!!!

  8. Spud ~ Yeah, the tour bus was fun! Wish we could have taken a spin in it.

    It doesn't feel like it ever will, does it? Today stayed a lot cooler than predicted thanks to cloud cover (and even some rain showers) most of the day, but the next few days are supposed to be at or near 100º. And it's been so muggy! Very unusual for here, and it just sucks the life force out of me. I had a bad headache and felt pukey and wiped out since running around in the heat and humidity all day yesterday, and didn't feel better till this afternoon. Ugh! BW always works three days a week even if he's offered more than two days off, but this week he's going to take all the days they offer him; between the oppressive heat and all that's going on at the house, he needs them!

    I'll do a house update by this weekend. I've been taking photos on most of our trips to the house, but don't really have enough for much of a post. Tile floors have gone/are going in, along with the kitchen cabinets (not without a few issues, but so far nothing major), and the housepainters showed up to caulk and sand today. We're still working on finding an exterior trim color we like, but Sherwin Williams paint tinting machine has been way off and wasn't repaired till today! Makes it a little difficult!

    Jo ~ Well, they don't all consist of four bikes under a bed! :-) Each one is a little different. The engineer in you would probably enjoy that part of it. Obviously the NX Bar (or whatever) has figured out a winning design formula, though.

    Definitely put Glacier on your Bucket List! I would love to go back. Used to go there most summers growing up, but haven't been since our honeymoon!

    The girls are funny. They actually share much better than most human children I've met, but I can't blame them for jockeying for position in front of the evaporative cooler or the water dish these days! (Josie and Willow also have a little contest lately one who can get in the door first after we've gotten home from various errands!) :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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