The 2011 Trip
Part 68 – Happy Birthday Captain Charlie – Silly Mountain

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Captain Charlie is 101 years old today. Sam phoned him with our birthday greetings and had a great chat with him. Joan and Charlies daughter were the best of buddies in high school and he and I sailed together over the years. We are the best of friends and visit often. He has had a wonderful life. He and his wife Celeste sailed together for many years. His family owned a number of small vessels and that is where he started his sea going career. He often said Celeste could take a sight as good as any of them, so he had her trained in navigation. Happy Birthday Captain Charlie!

We will never forget one run we made with Captain Charlie and it is worth describing here. We were coming up from Florida to the Bras D'Or Lakes in Nova Scotia. We rounded Scatari Island in a bit of a breeze. Captain Charlie was on the bridge and yelled down into the Radio Room and said: “Sparks, if you think we are crazy for being out here come see this.” I ran up for a look. She was a small steel fishing vessel named the ROSEMARY JODREY and I will never forget her. She rolled over so far in every sea we could just about see her keel. She must have had someone on her wheel because an auto pilot would not work in that weather, but we did not see anyone on her. We called the pilot station at 8 AM and said we would be there at 10 AM. Actually we called the pilot station several times because we did not get there until 4 PM. Had it blown slightly harder we would have had to turn and make for the open Atlantic and ride it out. The fishing vessel would have been to the fishing grounds and ready to fish when the storm blew out.

It was +1C or 34F here at 7 AM. We let the tap drip and had no problem with freezing.

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The sunrises are as pretty as the sunsets but the one this morning was simply routine. This camera does not show them so one can appreciate them. There was high cirrus cloud at sunset but the sunset was nothing out of the ordinary – typical Arizona sunset.


We should have made this trip fifteen years ago. There is something wrong with my right knee. A couple of times the pain has been bad enough that it nearly made me vomit. It has been that way since we arrived. We have a knee brace and wear it on the dumpster trips. My head has a continual racket going that is called tinnitus. We wear a hearing aid in each ear but more than three people talking around me and we have no idea what is said. No doubt Captain Charlie is in better shape than we are. The navy pays for the hearing aids and provides a small pension so they must feel they had something to do with it.

Joan, Karen and Bob walked up Silly Mountain this morning. We would have gone if we could but not with this knee. Silly Mountain is a lump in the desert that is not part of Superstitious Mountain. The parking lot is usually full with many climbing up and down it. Silly Mountain Park is part of The Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) and one can get more detail at www.SALT.org.

These are the photographs Joan took from Silly Mountain:

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This is Superstitious Mountain taken from Silly Mountain.


This is a house below Silly Mountain. The roof is constructed to catch rain water and the water is used to cool the house.

There were a few high speed radio operators on 14023 at sked time so we did not interfere. They were above 30 WPM. We could copy okay but it was not fun. About 25 or 26 WPM is good. One can enjoy it, but above that the fun goes out of it. This high speed character was still on at 3 PM and calling for some contest. They were calling CQ FOC. Would FOC be fast operators contest? Your guess is as good as mine. We have no interest in it. Around supper time it sounded like the same transmitter and the same operator transmitting UP now and then as yesterday.

The sewing service centre phoned and Karen, Joan and I spent the afternoon at two sewing centres. We went in and carried out Joan's sewing machine at the first. We then sat in the truck and enjoyed some of my CD music we had not heard in quite awhile while the girls shopped. It was a good afternoon. There was lots of traffic but it all behaved itself. Both girls created a little inflation in the two stores but nothing serious.

We sat out in the sun for about an hour when we arrived home from the sewing centres.

After supper we watched another movie and did not go to the dumpster. The temperature at the end of the day was +10C or 50F.

The coyotes over in the coyote pasture were howling pretty good this evening. This is superbowel weekend for the many football fans around here and the coyotes may be warming up for that.

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