Monday, December 4, 2017

Rusty Gold in Western North Carolina

I have been exploring Western North Carolina and have discovered a amazing amount of rusty gold sitting on the side of the road.  A 1957 Chevy was the car to have when I was a teenager.  This is a four door with a post.  Not the most sought after version.  But now it has value.

 This is a 1960's Toyota Land Cruiser.  This car restored is up to 70k.  The car is mostly there and there are companies around the country that support the vehicle.



A 1960 F500 stake bed, sitting on the side of the road.  I talked to the owner and it runs and drives.



What can I say about this.  I believe that it is a 1920's Ford.  Did not get a good look at it.  Driver's side front end damage, but still.








This is an early Chevy truck.  Not really sure what year.  Appears to be in pretty good shape.  The owner was not home, so I didn't get to talk to him.






Not really sure what this is.  Again siting on the side of the road.  What a shame.  I know there are tons of people who would lovingly restore this car.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Canoeing in Western North Carolina, Ela to Bryson City

Over the winter I picked up an old canoe.  It was cheap enough and I had always wanted one.  I have had it in the water a couple of time but have never really taken it any distance.  A river runs right next to where I stay so I decided to paddle down it.  I didn't really plan the trip, I just put the canoe on the truck and went up river.  I found a spot about three miles up the road.  It is call the Ela Public access site to the Tuckasegee River.  I put the canoe in the water and headed out.  About a quarter of a mile in, I encountered my first "rapids".  Everyone has heard that expression objects may appear larger in the rear view mirror.  Rapids appear larger when sitting in a canoe.  I tried to go slow, got turned sideways, hit a rock and cracked the canoe.  

It wan't a bad crack so I kept going.  The river was mostly flat and slow flowing and I was alone.  I was three miles from home and it took me about an hour and a half to get back.  I pull the canoe out of the water just before a bridge near home.  The water under the bridge was faster and fell a few feet.  I did not want to take the chance of more damage to the canoe.  I did manage to make a video of the trip.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Uncle Bill's Flea Market, Highway 74

I think to be truly content in life I need to be within easy driving distance of a Super Walmart and a good Flea Market.  Uncle Bill's satisfies the good flea market requirement for my current residence.  It is a long stretched out affair with a series of buildings in the middle and covered tables on either end.  Regular seller have about half of the tables.  The rest are usually occupied by seller from out of the area and locals getting rid of he clutter in their garage.  I have found some very interesting items that sold well on eBay.  I made a quick video that shows the flavor of the place.

flea markets, swap meets, western north carolina, smokey mountains smoky mountains, thrifting, tag sales, garage sales, used junk sale, antiques, used furniture, fresh produce, whittier, sylva, bryson city, ebay sales,  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nantahala River Rafting

A lot of water makes it way through Western North Carolina.  The Nantahala River is rafting central.  A dozen or so outfitters are located up and down the river and cater the thousands of river rats.  The launch site for most of the outfitters is just above Pattons Run overlook.  I stopped at the overlook to take a picture of the mist that hovered just above the water.  My camera wasn't catching the effect as well as I had hoped. While I was making other plans, rafters started floating by.  It no time at all it was a steady procession of all manner of floating craft.  Here's the video.

rafting, tubing floating, gorge, smoky, national park, river rafting, kayaking, kayak, canoe, canoeing, boating, summer fun, outdoor recreation center, summer fun, mountains, rentals, guides, fishing, 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bank Tellers and Other Strange Disappearances

Has anyone seen a bank teller lately.  I think I saw the last one about four years ago.  I remember a time when I saw one at least once a week.   The first time I remember something like this happening was about 30 years ago. Gas station attendants disappeared. Most of you reading this probably don't remember, but there was a time when if you drove into a gas station a person would appear and fill your gas tank for you. I know it's hard to believe, but its true.

Over the years other occupations have gone extinct.  When I was young, a company would deliver milk to your front door.  When you called a business a person actually answered the phone and directed you to the help you needed.  Then there was the diaper man.  Yes its true, there was a time when diapers were cloth.  A service would bring you clean diapers once a week and pick up the soiled ones.

Just the other day I was watching a video of an Amazon warehouse. Small robots roamed the facility selecting individual storage shelves and moving the shelves to a different part of the warehouse where a human picker was waiting to remove a specific item. The robot then returned the storage shelf to its location in the warehouse. These robots eliminated the job of walking through a warehouse and picking items off shelves. The workforce was reduced by 90%. If you ever visit a modern factory robots have eliminated countless jobs.

If you pay any attention at all, it can't have escaped your notice that the conversations about robots and computers taking everyone's job has increased dramatically.  There was a time when I mounted a small resistance to the process. When I went to a grocery store, I never got in a self checkout line. I felt by using the self checkout I was endangering a person's job.  I must confess that I have abandon my efforts and now I mostly use the self checkout.  I do still feel guilty about surrendering to inevitable march of technology.

The only real question left is what are we going to do when there are not enough jobs to go around.  Conversations have begun about a guaranteed  minimum monthly income.  The idea is that everyone get enough money to pay for the necessities of life.  I can't imagine our country being able to decide on this.  We are so dedicated to the capitalist model.  This dedication exist even with the constant erosion of the standard of living of most Americans.

In the 1950's a blue collar worker like a carpenter could support a family with six kids in a very comfortable home and the wife could stay home with the kids. In the Sixties and seventies the same life style required the wife to work. That changed to the point where both the husband and wife worked but they had nothing left to put away for savings. Now, both the husband and wife work, but they have to go into debt to have the same life style.

I haven't been appointed benevolent dictator yet so there is really nothing that I can do about this.  I'm not so sure that I have any answers anyway.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Amazing and Unique Quartz House in Rural North Carolina

I am exploring western North Carolina, looking for a place to establish a base of operations.  I have traveled many miles and looked at a lot of the western part of the state.  I always keep my eye out for interesting properties and for me this usually means something with a vintage log cabin on it.  I was south of Franklin NC and came upon a house made of stone.

I was headed from here to there traveling down a back road when I buzzed past this white structure on my left.  At first I thought that is must have been made of regular stone and whitewashed.  

You know those historical markers that you see from time to time as you are driving down the highway.  I used to never stop and see what they were all about.  I must have pasted thousands. I was always in a hurry to get to where ever.  I decided somewhere along the way that I just don't need to be in that much of a hurry.  So I turned around and went back to take a closer look at the house.

 It was not just any stone.  The front and both sides were built from large quartz stones.  I walked around the house and got a close up looking at how the house was put together.  I can't imagine how long it took to find all the stones used in this house.    The rear of the house was made from ordinary stone.  Naturally, I got some pictures.  I didn't have time to ask around for the story behind the house.  This was not a case of a thin slice of a stone attached to an underlying wall.  These were full size and solid quartz.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Another Mystery Tool Found at the Flea Market

If you have read this blog, you'll know that I buy old tools that I encounter when I do not know what they are for.  I figure that if I haven't seen it before, it must be relatively rare.  I found another.  I recognized that it was a tool from the time before electricity.  The attachment point at the top end of the tool was designed to be held in a brace bit.  There are no maker's marks on the tool.  But that is not uncommon for older tools like this.  It appears that something is inserted in through the bottom and a cutting surface is brought to bare against what ever is in the hole.  The cutting surface can be moved in closer to the center as needed.  There is also a device on the tool that controls how far the material can be inserted in the business end.

After searching the web I found the patent for a Adjustable Hollow Auger.  The Patent was to  A. A. Wood and Sons.  The tool was used in chair making.  The purpose of the tool is to create a tenon on a stretcher.  That is the supports that run from leg to leg of the chair. The tenon fit into a hole in the leg with glue and supported the structure of the chair.




The chair maker would first round off the end of the stretcher and then he would employ the auger.  Using a brace, he would slowly plane down an edge around the stretcher.  I have since found Youtube videos that demonstrate the use of the tool.  Mystery solved.