5 Keys of a Successful Fiberglass Pool Installation

In principle, Fiberglass Pools may seem to be the easiest type of pool to install. Just dig a hole and drop it in…right? In theory that’s correct, but it’s not quite that simple. In fact, installers make mistakes all the time, and a poorly installed pool makes for an unhappy pool customer. So if you are considering the purchase of a fiberglass pool you’re in luck. We’re about to discuss the 5 Keys to a successful fiberglass pool installation. Let’s jump right in!

Key #1: A Solid Foundation

This may seem like a no-brainer but it is the culprit behind the failure of many pool installations. Here are a couple things to watch out for:

o Setting the pool shell on disturbed soil- When the hole is being dug, if the excavator accidentally digs too deep there is a tendency to build that area back up with the same soil. That’s a big no no! The area must be brought up to grade with a compactable base material. If this is not done correctly, the ground will eventually settle and so will the pool. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that means trouble.

o Uncompacted base material- After the hole is excavated a leveling material such as sand or gravel is dumped in the hole and is leveled as a base for the pool shell to rest on. If this material is not properly compacted the pool will settle over time.

These problems can be easily avoided by the contractor by taking the necessary time to insure the pool rests on a solid foundation. We have written extensively on this topic and are proponents of clean crushed gravel as a base material.

Key #2: Sound Pool Leveling Methods

Because a fiberglass pool is a one piece unit it is not realistic to expect that it will be perfectly level. The industry standard states that the pool can be up to one inch out of level in forty feet. We shoot to get the pool within a quarter but will settle for a half-inch. I have seen installers will use any means under the sun to get the pool shell level and some methods are perfectly fine, and others are frankly kind of scary.

We teach that the best method to level a fiberglass pool is to completely lift the pool out of the hole and either add or take away material to get the pool to the desired level. We also teach to walk the pool floor after the shell is set to insure the entire pool is resting on base material without voids. These two techniques will insure that the pool is not only level, but resting in its natural state and free of disproportionate stress at any point.

Key # 3: Sound Plumbing

What we’re really talking about here is the “L” word: leaks! Yes it is a dirty word, especially in the pool business. There are 3 things an installer should do to protect against leaks:

o Secure the plumbing- Because fiberglass pools have a tremendous amount of backfill material that can settle over time, it’s necessary to secure the plumbing to insure that it doesn’t move. Plumbing settlement results in leaky fittings in the pool and is a major pain to repair. We tie our plumbing up with cable to protect against any settlement.

o Use rigid PVC pipe- There are two predominant types of PVC used around inground pools, flex pipe and rigid pipe. Flexible PVC, as its name implies, will easily contour with the shape of the pool and make for a quicker installation. The problem with flex pipe is that it is not suitable for underground use according to the manufacturers of the product. They state this because the material is susceptible to damage from termites. We have also found that the pipe is prone to collapse under pressure and that the glue joints do not hold as well. Rigid pipe on the other hand, is much more durable and can also be contoured to follow the pool shell by a process called heat bending that we teach via video. This gives you all of the flexible advantages of flex pipe with the durability of rigid pipe. You simply have to be willing to invest the time to get it done.

o Pressure Testing- This should never be neglected. It’s better to find a leak now than later, especially if later is after the concrete patio is poured! This is pool install 101, but there are many contractors who still don’t pressure test their plumbing.

Key #4: Good Backfill Procedure

Backfilling the pool shell is a process that can have serious consequences if done improperly. Here are some backfilling guidelines:

o Bring the backfill material up on the outside of the pool with the water level on the inside of the pool. This keeps relatively equal pressure on the walls of the pool.

o Compact the backfill material to insure minimal settlement. Sand backfill requires saturation with water every six to twelve inches of lift. Clean gravel backfill compacts on placement and requires no additional compaction methods.

o Pack the steps and seats with backfill material to eliminate voids as much as possible. This is done by literally crawling under the pool and stuffing backfill material into the area with a board or other tool. It’s important to make sure there is at least a foot of water in the pool before beginning this process so the entire pool is not lifted from the ground.

o Brace large steps and benches with block to protect against sagging.

If backfilling is done improperly excessive settlement, bulged and crooked walls, or sagging steps and benches are some of the consequences. We are also huge proponents of clean crushed gravel as a backfill material.

Key #5: Quality Cantilevered Coping

A perfect pool installation can all be for naught if the coping of the pool is of poor quality. In many respects the coping can either make or break the entire job. Cantilevered concrete coping is poured in place on top of the pool and is a skill that requires significant experience to master. The two primary steps to producing successful cantilevered concrete are:

1. Proper form installation- Because the forms must contour with the pool, Styrofoam is the material of choice. The forms must be installed so they are secure enough to withstand the pressures exerted by the concrete and true enough to maintain their desired shape.

2. Proper concrete placement- As the concrete is placed against the form it is necessary to remove air pockets by tapping vigorously against the outside of the form.

A good cantilevered coping job will be free of significant air pockets and exposed gravel and the surface will be uniform and relatively smooth.

Well there’s some food for thought for those of you considering the purchase of a fiberglass pool. Based on my experience it would be wise to devote as much energy to finding the right pool contractor as the right pool manufacturer.

Sharing My Knowledge on Vedanta – Bondage

The study of Vedanta removes the veil and helps us to recognize that ‘I’, the Self, which is not affected by the maya and do not want us to be like a cocoon, getting caught into this web of samsara!


The ‘Self’, paramatman is declared in Vedanta as limitless (of space, time and object) and void of differences (gender, color, dimensions) but the limited perception of oneself in Vedanta is called jiva-bhava. I experience the ‘Self’ in this flesh as being limited by the space where I live, the time I live with reference to my body’s existence and see myself as different from the other objects that come in contact with in the outside world. This perception is Jiva-Bhava in Vedanta.

Three types of limitations

Vedanta declares the ‘Self’ as ‘nitya-suddha-buddha-mukta’ ie. ‘Eternal, pure, awakened, free’ Not understanding, not comprehending, not realizing this’ Self’ in us – perception is limited by space (desa), time (kala) and object (vatsu).

Spatial Limitation: The ‘Self’ is all pervading but in ignorant state, I say that ‘I am in such and such place’, ‘I am at work’, I am at home’ etc but in reality we have no boundaries and we are everywhere. This way of considering oneself as a speck in the cosmos is spatial limitation.

Temporal Limitation: The ‘Self’ is nitya, eternal – is never born and never dies. Again due to ignorance, I limit the self between the time this body is born by the grossification of tanmantras and dissipates into the five elements at the time of death. This perception of limiting one within a time frame is temporal limitation.

Objectival Limitation: The ‘Self’ in me is the same as the ‘Self’ in every other being and objects outside of my physical body. The Self if all pervading, One appearing as many but due to not knowing this, I experience myself different from other worldly objects. The perception of seeing oneself as different from others is objectival limitation.

Three types of differences

Our mind perceives three types of differences, also knows as bhedas in Sanskrit. They are:

Sajatiya-bedha, Vijatiya-bedha and Svagata-bedha.

Sajatiya-bedha: This is the difference between the objects of the same species like a man and a woman, between two men as to their height, weight etc.

Vijatiya-bedha: This is the difference that the mind sees between two different species like a man & an animal, and between two animals like a rat & a cat or a snake & lizard.

Svagata-bedha: This refers to the difference that the mind sees within an object like the arms to legs to eyes and ears in a man or animal body.

Results of bondage as described in vivekachudamani

Sankaracharya describes the meaning of bondage very clearly in vivekachudamani.

1. Bondage is the notion that Atman is anatman: Atman is Sat-Cit-Anada (Existence- consciousness-Bliss) and anatman is inert (immobile) in all three states of sthula, suksma and karana sarira without the support of Atman. Due to the ignorance of the knowledge of the ‘Self’ one tends to believe that the Atman is anatman ie the Self is gross, subtle and causal body, which leads to bondage.

2. Bondage arises from ignorance: This misunderstanding of the Self (not realizing the true nature of the Self) to be the not-Self (anatman) is tadatmya which is the cause of bondage. Just like with the ignorance of the waker self I dream of myself being the dream self, as being something that I am not, so too in this life we’re all in a dream state without knowing our true Self. The ‘Self’ is Sat-Cit-Anada but we cling on to everything that is perishable. Due to this attachment to the impermanent, suffer, grieve and disappoint seeking for happiness in them when we’re the source of happiness.

3. Bondage is the cause of birth & death: The Self is ever present and has no beginning or end but due to the misapprehension, we project the birth & death on the ‘Self’. We also experience the temporary pleasures of pain & pleasures causing the cycle of birth & death due to not knowing the nature of the true Self.

4. Due to bondage one considers the Self to be the unreal, body to be real and nurtures it: When we consider this body to be real, we nurture it in every possible way and become a servant to this body’s needs. This is an act of slavery due to the misconception that this body is real and the ignorance of the nature of the Self. This body is mithya- unreal, perishable and is an instrument to experience the world, purge papas and realize that the ‘Self’ is real, ever present, Bliss.

5. Because of Bondage one becomes bound like a silkworm in its cocoon woven by its own thread: The individual becomes bound to samsara (maya) by creating his own bondage as a result of believing that the anatman is the atman. He metaphorically compares the life of a human to that of a silkworm, which binds itself to its cocoon by creating the web with its own saliva. Once the misunderstanding that ‘I am the body’ arises, then we tend to cater to the multitude of demands of this body, conditioned by them and all the energy, intelligence and capacity gets shackled and fails to bloom to express themselves fully. (This is all due to the ignorance of the ‘Self’ and the misapprehension of the non-self to be ‘Self’)

Characteristics of ‘Baddha’ as described in jnana-sara

An individual who is under the powerful grip of bondage is called ‘baddha’ or a ‘bound person’ says Swami Tejomayananda in his composition ‘jnana-sara’.

He defines a baddha as, ‘One who has the identification with the body, attachments to objects, doership to actions, and a sense of reality of this world is alone bound and is ever unhappy.’

Further analysis details a baddha is

– the bound person thinks and talks only with respect to the anatman, especially when he feels immobile due to old age, not able to hear or see because he is ignorance of the Self and identifies with his physical body, mind, intellect as the ‘Self’. ‘Self’ is not deficient of anything. Self is whole, permanent, ever present ever existence Bliss.

– the bound person assesses his progress in terms of material comforts alone. Such people pray to the Lord for their material gains. With the notion that the worldly objects give them happiness, they get entangled into the bondage. All these worldly possessions are perishable with ephemeral existence. They all have a beginning & an end and therefore impermanent.

– is bound by the sense of doership. Since he identifies himself with the body, mind & intellect, he feels that the Self is the doer of all. He thinks the ego is the Self and therefore attends to the needs of the ego through all his desires & actions. This escalates his cycle of birth & death. The body, mind, ego and intellect cannot operate without the power or illumination of the divine Self in all of us. The entire anatman exists in the ever-pervading paramatman.

– Another characteristic is that the baddha considers the world to be real, together with the joys & sorrows of the world (ups & down of the experiences). If only he realized that the world is unreal and maya, he would be in equipoise and not be elated or unhappy at each experience. Swamiji affirms that the sorrow is the symptom of ignorance & the very signature of bondage.

The ‘Self’ present in all of us is not the doer or the enjoyer. ‘Self’ also called ‘Atman’ is the mere witness. The ego is the doer and enjoyer. We need to realize the ever present, eternal ‘Self’ that animates this body. Except this ‘Self’ everything is temporary.

Vedanta does not say that you should not aspire for wealth but suggests not being greedy and be lured by the material gain as they are only temporary. Instead emphasizes to recognize the presence of eternal ‘Self’ in us and to hold steadfast to the ‘Self’ alone for consistent inner peace as we interact in this ephemeral world.

Man of wisdom is ever aware of the world to be unreal and he is not affected by any of the things happening around the world. He is firmly grounded, part of the world and yet apart from the worldly situations.

My father who held a very high position in federal bank once said to me and the words still resonate in my ears, ‘just do your duty and don’t expect anything in return’. He was a man of wisdom.

I like the statement by Swamiji Chinmayananda, ‘Don’t take life seriously’ how true!!

Halogen Lighting – A Guide For The Domestic Buyer

The Halogen Cycle

The process by which Halogen lamps actually work! Occurring when the filament of a Halogen lamp has reached operating temperature, Halogen atoms within the bulb envelope attach themselves to the vaporised Tungsten particles emanating from the filament. The Halogen atoms carry them back to the filament where they are reused.

Linear Tungsten Halogen Tube

The high wattage tubular lamps found in security floodlights. These were among the first commonly used domestic halogen lamps, and whilst they now come in lots of different sizes, wattages and voltages, by far the most common is still 117mm, 300w or 500w, 240v. They have two ceramic caps at each end, and must not be touched by the bare hands when installing, as the salt from the sweat of your fingers will compromise the quartz envelope at high temperatures, leading to explosion!

Dichroic Lamp / ‘M’ Lamp

This very popular Halogen Reflector is the lamp principally seen in recessed down lights. The word ‘dichroic’ refers to the fact that electromagnetic radiation is split into two distinct areas: heat and visible light. A dichroic filter throws light forward and two thirds of the heat backwards through the reflector. Whilst the term ‘dichroic’ relates to both mains and low voltage lamps, it is commonly used when referring to low voltage ‘m’ lamps.

The two common sizes are 50mm and 35mm. This measurement describes the diameter of the reflector. Dichroic lamps are available in many wattages, and with a range of beam widths, covering both ‘spot’ and ‘flood’ applications.

Most lighting manufacturers and some in the lighting trade still abide by the original naming convention which used ‘M’ numbers. A 50mm, 50w, 38degree for example is an M258, whilst an M223 is 35mm, 35w, 38degree.

In terms of its cap the Dichroic lamp follows a low voltage standard in having two parallel pins at its base which fit into a ceramic lampholder.

Coming in a variety of colours, they are nowadays, usually glass fronted, to prevent the touching of the sensitive quartz capsule.

GU10 Halogen Lamp

The mains version of the 50mm dichroic. These lamps were developed fairly recently in response to the need for a compact halogen lamp for use without a transformer. GU10s are distinct physically from their low voltage counterparts by their base or cap. GU10s have a large bevelled ceramic base with two thick ‘twist and lock’ studs which fit into a plastic lampholder. (Dichroics, as described above, have two parallel pins).

GZ10 Halogen Lamp

Similar to a GU10 lamp, in that it is a mains halogen lamp. Unlike a GU10, however, which has an aluminium reflector, GZs use a dichroic reflector so that all the heat produced during normal operation is thrown backward. GZ10s are used in applications where heat must not be thrown forward.

Par Lamp

Halogen version of the common incandescent reflector. These too were developed fairly recently and met demand for a halogen lamp which fitted existing fittings. They therefor, most commonly, have an ES cap, though SES and BC versions are available. Their physical size is part dependent upon the wattage, which can range from 25w – 150w. A typical spec would be Par20, 50w es.


Original brand name for par lamps and GU10s coined by Sylvania, the first company to bring mains halogen lamps to the market.

Capsule Lamps

Very small 2 pin low voltage lamp. They are available in a range of wattages and in two different cap sizes, either G4 or G6.35. This measurement refers to the 4mm or 6.35mm distance between the two pins.


Rather like a capsule lamp but operates on mains not low voltage. They may be distinguished from a capsule lamp as they slightly larger and have 2 ‘loops’ rather than 2 pins at the base. G9 refers to the 9mm gap between these two loops. 25w, 40w, 60w, 75w, frosted or clear.


Like a G9, Halolux lamps are used in a mains voltage environment, but are fitted with standard SBC, SES or ES caps instead of two loops. With a second envelope housing the ‘working’ capsule they are physically bigger than a G9. Made only by Osram, they are available in frosted or clear.


Like a Halolux, Halogenas employ two envelopes and standard caps, this time BC and ES. Made only by Philips they are available in 100w and 150w.

For more information on all mains and low voltage halogen lighting please visit Gil-Lec

H Pylori May Cause Skin Diseases Like Rosacea and Urticaria

Your digestive system has an internal skin called the “Mucosal Barrier”. This barrier protects you from invading organisms such as parasites, mold, bacteria and viruses and houses an immune army that stops these “bugs” from getting into your general circulation.

Many skin conditions miraculously clear up when care is taken to identify and remove hidden digestive infections and foods that irritate the gut lining. I’ve seen hives, rosacea, dermatitis and even psoriasis disappear simply by working on digestive health with my clients.

For example, it’s now widely recognised that fungal organisms can cause dandruff, athlete’s foot and jock itch. It’s also well known that coeliac disease can manifest as skin disease (dermatitis herpitiformis).

We also know that foods such as cow’s milk can also definitely lead to skin conditions such as eczema.

Spotlight On Helicobacter Pylori:

In 2009, an excellent paper was published in the European Journal of Dermatology. The paper, entitled H pylori Infection and Dermatologic Disease examined the available research associating H pylori with a number of common (and some less common) skin conditions.

The paper shows clear associations between H pylori and several skin diseases:


Atopic dermatitis

Chronic urticaria



Behcet’s disease

Immune thrombocytopaenic purpura

Lichen planus


Sjogren syndrome

It is not clear why disturbances in digestive function and the presence of infections such as H pylori lead ton skin complaints. It is believed that the body’s immune response is the likely reason for skin manifestations.

Moreover H pylori and other digestive infections do not always cause digestive symptoms. Instead, they can lead to seemingly unrelated conditions such as skin problems, low energy levels and mood symptoms like depression and anxiety.

Unfortunately doctors will rarely run digestive testing unless severe digestive symptoms are present. This leads patients in the dark about what may be creating their mysterious symptoms.

Other bacteria, parasites and fungal organisms also have the potential to cause skin conditions. These organisms may include:




Dientamoeba fragilis

Entamoeba histolytica

Endolimax nana

Clostridium difficile






E. coli

Candida species

Digestive Infections & Bacterial Overgrowth Are Toxic!

As you may know, your liver and kidneys are the powerhouses of detoxification. They process the metabolic waste products that our bodies produce on a daily basis.

Certain parasites, bacteria and yeast and fungal organisms are known to produce toxins (these are known as endotoxins). The toxins can leak from the digestive system into general circulation, particularly if the mucosal barrier in the intestines has been damaged by the presence of the bugs.

This increase in toxic load within the body can overload the liver and kidney pathways. As a result, the body has to find other ways to eliminate the toxins. One way this is achieved is by pushing out toxins through the skin.

Consequently, areas of skin through which toxins are being eliminated may become irritated, swollen and either itchy or painful. I’ve personally seen these rashes disappear in clients when they have followed programmes to a) eradicate digestive infections and b) boost their detoxification capacities, particularly through the liver and kidney pathways.


There is no doubt that disturbances in digestive function can lead to skin diseases. As discussed, we do not know for sure why skin conditions develop in response to digestive infections and foods, but it is likely that the immune response and toxicity are involved.

The likes of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea, urticaria and others can all improve significantly when key foods are avoided and digestive infections are removed. This allows the “inner skin” of the mucosal barrier is allowed to regenerate.

Topical creams, lotions and gels will simply not work if the skin problem itself is being caused by internal imbalances in detoxification function and digestion. In fact, using topical lotions in these situations may make the conditions worse.

Instead, it is better to run clinical testing to identify exactly why the symptoms are occurring in the first place. The Metametrix GI Effects 2100 test is a good place to start (www.h-pylori-symptoms.com/h-pylori-testing)

History of BB Guns

It is very often said that “BB” is originated from “bullet ball” or “ball bearing” but actually this is not true. The BB guns utilized the BB-sized shotguns having lead shot, in between size B and size BBB. BB shot is 4.57 mm in diameter but it varies considerably in sizes owing to allowable tolerances of higher nature the use of shotgun shell. In the year 1900, Daisy, the earlier makers of oldest types of guns, altered the bore of BB gun diameter to 4.45 mm and started to make marketing precision-made shot made of lead especially for guns. They termed it “air rifle shot”, but in the meanwhile the name “BB” was already established and all began to call the guns as “BB guns” and for the shot it became “BB shot” or simply “BBs”.

In the year 1920, Daisy started to get reports from users of BB gun removing ball bearings of scrap steel for utilizing in the guns and as a result many guns began to come in for repairing having split barrels, from steel balls of oversize in form. American Ball Company immediately took the chance for it as the marketing opportunity. And began to sale shot having diameter of 0.171 millimetres to 0.173 millimetres for air rifle made of steel and meant for BB guns. This immediately resulted in a marketing agreement of exclusive nature with Daisy as ground steel BBs of precision nature were cheap in respect of lead BBs of precision nature. The light type of steel BBs also generated higher velocities in comparison to lead BBs, which resulted in guns of new type shoot more accurately in short ranges where they looked effective. In the year 1939, the American Ball Company was acquired by Daisy and it began to procure its own BBs. Since, Daisy had the monopoly in the market of gun; other makers began to imitate him by matching the bore diameter like Daisy and switching over to 4.55 mm steel BBs.

In the later stage, “BB” turned into type of more general nature relating to sometimes non-round type of shot and the round type of shot of different materials and calibers. It should be kept in mind that it will be technically incorrect if the name “ball bearing” is used for any sort of steel ball. This is the brief history of BB guns.

Shaker Stylings and Their Rich History in Decor

Shakers lived in dormitory style housing and celebrated God in a busy and active way by engaging in tasks that brought out the best in themselves. Design details fell under “American Rustic” and were unmatched in craftsmanship.

Cabinetry Characteristics

Shakers use stile-and-rail recessed panel doors, and the inset is plain and flat. Lip and outside edges are also simple and the most common woods are cherry and maple for shaker cabinets. There are also shaker colors that are common, and the woodwork is painted in these colors. They were:

· Terra Cotta

· Pink

· Yellow

· Olive Green

· Blue Tones

Not only are the cabinets painted, but often times window frames, skirting, peg rail and beaded board also painted.

Shaker Cabinet Hardware and Accessories

The Shaker artisans made their cabinet pegs and pulls out of wood usually, but also sometimes used hand-forged finishes and metal. That style still works in the shaker cabinets of today, as long as it sticks to the simplistic design. Homeowners can choose whatever type pull they desire but will find more overall value by sticking to classic styles.

Complimenting Countertops

Anyone who is going with shaker cabinets should stick with square-edged, solid countertops. Granite, limestone, soapstone and slate are all wonderful choices to go along with new shaker cabinets in any type of finish.

Choose the Best Surfaces

For overall look of a shaker style kitchen, there are certain surfaces that lend to the authenticity of the look that is desirable. Consider the following surfaces or finishes when implementing Shaker.

Walls: Walls can be finished or painted in any earth toned color, and often homeowners will choose off-white. In the old days, beaded board wainscoting along with pegs was used.

Ceilings: Ceilings were typically plaster and painted in off-white as well.

Floors: Varnished timber or wood was common for floors to go along with shaker cabinets. Some also used stone. It’s completely acceptable to include a woven rug atop these hard surfaces to add warmth and comfort.

Accents: Fabric accents were common with shaker décor. They, like the simple stylings of the cabinets, came in simple patterns and colors. They dressed up the plain interior with gingham checks, window checks, or simple checkered patterns that were in one or more colors.

Modern or Classic

Today’s shaker are used in traditional décor as mentioned above or work well with modern elements. There are no rules as to how to implement them. Homeowners should never be afraid to think outside the box when choosing what they’ll implement. A simple black or white painted shaker cabinet will give clean lines and allow for a sleek look. Many choose to implement stainless steel faucets, fixtures and appliances as well.

For a country cottage style kitchen, shaker cabinets come in many wood finishes and can be dressed up with porcelain pulls for a quaint appeal that makes any kitchen warm and welcoming. Add some wallpaper to one wall for a splash of color then match kitchen towels, pots and pans to it.

A quick internet search will reveal a variety of ideas that one can consider. They’ll quickly find there are many styles that work with shaker cabinets, and have fun creating their dream kitchen to show off to adoring friends and family.

What Is a Transitional Rug?

Recently I received an e-mail newsletter from a local rug showroom, announcing a sale. The store offered a wide selection on transitional rugs. Now, I’ve heard of many different rug styles – everything from Southwestern patterns, Oriental designs, shag, and even rugs made of recycled materials. I hear “transitional” and have no idea what that means in relation to flooring. When you transition, you move from one thing to the next. Are these rugs supposed to transition me to the next room, or the next house?’

So, I did some research, and came away knowing a bit more about rugs than I had before. It turns out that a transitional rug refers to the actual design of the rug. Its appearance and manufacture is reminiscent of a combination of two other styles:

Traditional: The traditional rug is normally defined by characteristics found in Persian and Oriental designs – in particular color, weaving, and patterns. When you look at an Oriental rug or carpet, you may be amazing by the intricate craftmanship and detail of flowers, laurels, and leaves.

Contemporary: The contemporary rug may remind you of a work of modern art. Bold colors and sharp lines, designs that remind you of Warhol paintings or Picasso’s cubism. Rugs like these look great in rooms with contemporary and unique furniture.

The transitional rug, therefore, takes the recognizable features of both styles and blends them into something unique and beautiful. You will note the care taken into weaving such a rug, and enjoy colorful designs that complement your walls and decor. Rug experts may tell you that this style brings to mind Impressionistic designs – muted colors and flowing imagery. Though the painters of the Impressionistic era worked with pastel hues, you’re more likely to find these rugs come in earthier tones – rich browns and tans.

If you are interested in buying a rug for your home – be it for your living room or bedroom – a transitional design could work for your overall comfort. You’ll want to find a color and pattern that best matches your larger pieces like your sofa or bedroom dressers and covers a good portion of your floor to protect it from foot traffic.

Buying transitional rugs from a carpet and rug shop is a good way to find the right style for your home. You might be tempted to try a home improvement or department store for a good deal, but often you’ll find staff isn’t as informed about how the rugs are made and how to care for them. A rug is more than something you walk on – it is part of your part. Just as you would buy a car from a reputable dealership, the rug you bring into your house should be sold by somebody who knows where it came from and what to do if it is damaged.

Ask your local rug dealer about a transitional rug, and transition the beauty of your home interiors.

Marathon Gas Card – So Many Choices

Marathon gas card, credit cards and gift cards just make shopping and fueling you care easier. If you have a gas card, you can use it right at the pumps so you avoid standing in line at the cash register. Although there are many different credit cards and gas cards, you can choose the one that will fill all your needs. There are benefits to having the gas card to use at any Marathon gas station including rebates and detailed reports every month of your gas usage. There is the Marathon Regular Card, Marathon Premier Card, SuperFleet Card, Marathon Commercial Card and Marathon Fleet Card.

Fleet, Commercial and SuperFleet Cards

The Fleet card is designed for business and commercial customers that need to have better saving, security and control over the use of the cards. This card allows businesses to save money on fueling costs and control who uses the cards for fueling. The Commercial card is simpler and gives the basic information about each transaction and other information. The SuperFleet card is designed to help fleet operators see where their money is going for fuel. This card is good at Pilot and Rich stations, Marathon, SuperAmerica and Speedway stations.

Premier and Regular Gas Cards

The Premier card offers rebates and interest free terms of payment. Many other features make this card easy to use. The Marathon gas card is available at over forty-four locations throughout the United States. You can get up to two percent rebates off your monthly purchases. The card is also good for five percent cash back on cruises, hotels and airlines and fifty percent off movie tickets. There is also a locksmith service and fifteen hundred dollars emergency cash if you are stranded.

The Regular gas card is a great way to purchase fuel at the pump or in the store. This card has no annual fee and is available in over forty-four stations in the country. You can get extra cards at no extra cost.

Buying Power

With most of the Marathon gas cards, you can use them in the stores, car washes and at the pumps. However, some of the cards do have provisions and are only good for gas purchases. The cards that offer open buying are easy to use at the convenient stores. The gas cards are not good for purchases from the co-brand fast food restaurants that are on the premises.

Whether you have a Marathon gas card or a credit card, you will be able to fuel your car at the pump for more convenience. If you need a few groceries, some of the cards allow buying other things on the cards. There are provisions that govern the purchases you can make. The personal use cards are great for those monthly purchases and fleet cards are great for keeping track if purchases made by your employees. Some of the gas cards allow you to choose the card design that you would like. There is no extra charge for this feature.

Polaris Ranger and RZR Fuel Pump Problems – Is Your Polaris Ranger Running Poorly?

We really like the ride of the Polaris UTVs. Unfortunately, we have noticed that Polaris built the RZR, RZR-S, and Ranger XP with an unreliable fuel pump. In fact, the fuel pump is one of the main problems we see at our service and performance shop. The symptoms you typically experience when your pump is failing are poor upper RPM performance, a loss of top speed and poor acceleration. This definitely makes your Polaris much less fun to drive, but even more importantly, a fuel pump problem can cause your engine devastating damage by not supplying enough fuel. When your engine doesn’t receive the required fuel it will run lean.

This creates heat which can cause detonation in the combustion chamber. The worst case scenario (and we have seen this many times) is that the intense heat will actually melt a hole in your piston. Here is what happens. After some usage the pump will wear and then drop from the factory PSI setting of 39 psi, to the low 30s. When your upper revs are sluggish you just aren’t getting any fuel. To test this install a fuel pressure gauge at your tank outlet. You can buy these at NAPA or PEP Boys. It is necessary that you rev your engine when testing because many times the pressure will be good at idle but not at the upper RPMs.

To replace your pump with the OEM fuel pump you will need to spend upwards of $600. The high price is because it is only available with the complete fuel tank assembly. Fortunately you can purchase a replacement fuel pump which will work on most Polaris S X S vehicles. Replacement pumps come with color instructions and include everything you will need for installation. Generally they can be installed in about 30 minutes with simple hand tools. The pump plugs right in with no wiring needed.

If you are experiencing poor performance with your Polaris Ranger or RZR this may be your problem. Check out your fuel PSI and if needed get a replacement fuel pump. You bought your Polaris to have some great times. Now you can get back on your UTV and enjoy its top performance once again. As a sidenote this same problematic fuel pump is used in many of the fuel injected Polaris quads. If you own a Polaris ATV and you are having similar symptoms simply follow the same procedure for testing the PSI. Replacement pumps are also available for the Polaris Sportsman.

Will My Face Fully Recover After Bell’s Palsy?


I’m experiencing my second attack of Bell’s palsy in five years. Other people with the condition seem to have varying rates of recovery. The only conventional treatment is a short course of steroids, which I’m currently taking. I did get referred to a physiotherapist last time, with limited results. A course of acupuncture was beneficial, but the facial nerves to my eye and mouth grew back incorrectly, so I am worried that this second bout could weaken the area even more. Is there an alternative way to aid recovery?


I know patients who have had repeat attacks of Bell’s palsy, but it is quite rare. The condition is caused by one of the seventh (often written as VIIth; each is identified with Roman numerals) pair of cranial nerves. There are 13 pairs of nerves that come out of the cranium directly from the brain. The VIIth pair control the facial muscles, one for each side of the face. With palsy there is a malfunction in the nerve-to-tissue connection, so the eyebrows, eyelids and mouth are visibly distorted. The eyelid doesn’t close and usually has to be patched or taped so that dusts particles. don’t settle in the eye. The lips tilt to one side, which may cause drooling. Talking and drinking can be difficult because the mouth won’t close properly. As the facial muscles don’t work, there is no expression on the affected side.

The worst aspect is the psychological effect, as people may stare and ask embarrassing questions. Because the recovery period varies, as you mention, patients are always worried about the long-term effects.

Although Bell’s palsy is similar to a stroke, the damage is focused on just one nerve and its centre in the brain. One theory is that it is viral in nature, and I have seen several people who have developed it after a ‘chill’. My hypothesis is that the culprit is the vertebral arteries whose branches feed the Vllth nerves and their centre in the brainstem. The vertebral arteries, which are located in a bony-fibrous canal in the cervical spine, supply blood to the subconscious part of the brain. I remember two patients in particular who came to me shortly after they had suffered attacks and showed remarkable signs of recovery after I used my technique to correct the disalignment in their necks. This improves the blood flow to the brain, and if we accept that improved blood flow can ameliorate the condition, then it is logical to assume that the vertebral arteries, if they are mildly compressed by tight neck muscles, can impair the function of the VIIth nerve.

Having used this technique to rehabilitate stroke and palsy victims for a couple of decades, I have some experience in this field. The technique is now being researched by a leading British hospital to study its effectiveness in acute stroke cases.

Here are my suggestions

* Don’t drink any coffee or alcohol.

* Do drink freshly juiced carrot and; celery: the potassium helps the muscles and nerves.

* Drink two mugs a day of home-made chicken broth, about an hour before your main meals, for two weeks. This provides calcium and other nutrients.

* Take one capsule daily of vitamin B complex and one Bioenergy tablet twice daily, to help boost the healing of nerve.

Massage the effected side

* Use Lifestyle Massage Oil to massage the neck, shoulder and behind the ear on the affected side, once a day. Start gently, then massage more deeply as you grow to tolerate it. Do this for ten minutes.

* Now move on to the face. Massage deeply (with the index finger) the areas in front of the ear lobe and the jaw muscles for three to five minutes, followed by the remaining pressure points shown left (for right-sided palsy; reverse for the other side). They will be sore to touch. Do the following facial exercises. Try to close the on the affected side while lifting your eyebrows (this offers resistance to the muscles that help to open the eyes); pout your lips, then relax; blow out your cheeks.

Practise therapeutic yoga

Helpful postures include the bridge, supine twist cobra, half spinal twist, locust and corpse. These are detailed in my book Therapeutic yoga, co-written with Jiwan Brar. You could also join a local yoga class.

Deadly Distractions – Applying Makeup While Driving

If you are a woman who considers makeup application to be a part of your daily routine, chances are you have been caught in the following situation more than once.

You pushed the snooze button on the alarm clock one too many times, pulled yourself out of bed and hurriedly went about making coffee, brushing your teeth and making your hair look half way decent. You then hop into the car and start speeding in order to get to work on time. Somewhere on the way you realize you are missing the make up that you feel naked without. You stop at a red and light and quickly snag your compact with foundation from your purse and start applying.

The light turns green, but you continue with base, powder, blush and lip stick. And just to make things more precarious than ever, you decide to start with your eye make up regimen which includes apply eye shadow, eye liner, the use of an eye lash curler and mascara to finish it off. When you are finally done, you put your attention back towards the road but remain completely unaware of the seven different situations in which you could easily have been involved in a serious wreck.

Cell Phones are not the Only Driving Distraction

While the dangers of talking on the phone while driving have been hotly debated and covered by the media, it is important to realize that there are many more driving distractions that exist. Putting on make up while you are behind the wheel can actually be much more dangerous than talking on the phone. Just because there are a number of laws preventing cell phone talking and texting while driving does not mean that it is inherently worse to engage in than other common driving distractions.

Make up application presents additional driving challenges. Many people who put on make up while driving look in their visor mirror during application to make sure it goes on straight. They also have something in their hand which means only one is on the steering wheel.

Eye make up has its own bag of potential dangers. If you need to suddenly stop and are waving a mascara wand in front of your eyes, you can stab yourself with it and possibly even become blinded.

Pergola – Roofing Options

Pergolas have been used in dwellings for centuries, classically, to add a shaded walkway, to link pavilions or to allow a sitting area which allows the breeze and sun to filter through. This amazing addition to a home will not only add to comfort, it can be an attractive bonus to the resale value of the home. Any open space around the home may be used as an invitation for a pergola. Over the years, pergola structures have adapted to the area so that there is a large variety in designs. While traditional pergolas were intended mainly for beauty and comfort, the current designs place more emphasis on providing protection from the harsh elements of nature such as rain and snow and ultra-violet radiation.

The design of a pergola depends on the geographical location. Depending on the area, the grade or the direction of the sun, a pergola may be a gazebo, an extension of a building, an open terrace or a veranda that has grapevines criss-crossing a latticed roof. One of the most important considerations when designing a pergola is the roofing structure and shape

The roof design on a pergola depends on the availability of direct sunlight as well as the geography and natural features of the region. Although, in earlier times, pergolas were constructed using brick and stone pillars, modern designs employ weather resistant woods such as western red cedar or coast redwood. Pergola roofs may range from simple, flat, traditional roof, elaborately curved roof, pitched roof, gabled roof or a gazebo style roof.

Roofing materials

There is a variety of materials that may be used to roof a pergola. The choice of roofing materials depend on the size, shape and style of the structure. The durability and robustness of the construction depends on the materials that are selected for this purpose. Currently the materials that are used for roofing include metals, plastic, fibreglass, polycarbonate, fabric, etc.

Metal Roof

The advantage of a metal roof is that it can be adjusted to the exact size and shape of the structure. A choice of metals such as copper, aluminium or tin also helps to make an easy decision. Metals not only easy to cut and shape, they also provide excellent protection from the weather conditions. However, they also have some disadvantages such as disallowing light to enter the area or enabling the temperature to get too hot inside the area.

Plastic and Fibreglass

Another variation of roofing for pergolas includes using plastic or fibreglass. The advantage of these options is that they are lightweight and inexpensive. They may also be easily cut to size and allows the light to filter in depending on the colour of the roof. They also protect the pergola from the harsher elements of the weather including the rain and snow. Also, ultraviolet radiation may be reduced when using these two options. Although plastic may not be a green choice, Fibreglass can be manufactured from recycled materials.


Polycarbonates are thermoplastic polymers which can be easily moulded and has a high impact resistance along with other advantages such as heat resistance, ease of shaping, flame retardancy and toughness. They are available for varying needs of heat transmission and transparency. Polycarbonates are also highly reputed for their protection from ultraviolet radiation. Along with a wonderful combination of colours to choose from, Polycarbonate can be manufactured to resist very specific and harsh environmental conditions in Australia. The two popular brands that are in use are Astrolite and Laserlite.


Everyone loves a colourful and pleasing roof that can uplift our spirits and enable us to enjoy the day. For this reason, fabric pergola covers which are also highly insulating may be an amazing choice. Depending on the type of fabric used, these pergolas may avoid the transmission of heat which could cause fading or damages to the roof. A tough and durable fabric that may usually be used in the making of the sails of a boat can also be used to filter ultraviolet rays and other harmful natural elements such as sunlight and heavy rain so that people can enjoy their investment for a long time.

Comparative Study of Roofing Materials for a Pergola

Permanent structures like metal roofs are difficult to change but they can be repainted. Fibreglass and clean plastic materials may change colour after a period but they can be discarded and new ones can be installed easily. The choice of materials to cover or roof the pergola depends on the buyer’s instincts as to the choices for durability, permanency and availability. In tropical Australia, zinc-galvanized corrugated sheets do not reflect infrared or ultraviolet much. White roofs reflect better. White or soft shades are better colors for a cool roof. As the Earth seeks to get greener, the best choice, of course is to enjoy traditional, open roofed pergolas.

Painting your Pergola

Anything that is exposed to the harsh elements of nature will eventually need protection. Painting is one of the best ways to provide this protection. It gives colour to the wood and also conceals some of the natural defects and characteristics that may stand out obscuring the real beauty of the wood. Paint is also beneficial because they prevent moisture damage and rust. Acrylic paints are the best choice for painting pergolas as they provide the best protection.

The durability of pergola depends on the materials chosen for its construction. As the roofs are permanently exposed to the elements of nature, the paint chose may fade easily. Also, materials such as fabric may fray or fade and plastic or fibreglass roofs may get warped or change colour.

To paint a pergola for lasting protection, it is important to follow the traditional procedures such as preparing the surface which include removing old paint, using sandpaper to permit absorption and applying preservative towards the end of the painting. Preparation of the surface is very important before painting as it decides how much time the effect of painting will last. Any remnants of oil or dirt on the surface of the wood should be removed thoroughly. Using sand paper with 50-60 grit, create an appropriate surface for good absorption of paint. If the wood is more than two weeks old or if it had been lying outside in rain, sanding, brushing and cleaning becomes essential. Application of a water repellent preservative with fungicide is an excellent idea before painting because it prevents absorption of water by wood which may cause decay.

Here are the steps to paint a Pergola:

  • Remove the furniture and any decorations you may already have.
  • If there are growing and climbing vines, protect them with plastic sheets and tie them up so that they will not be in the way. Also remember to water them if the painting takes more than a few days.
  • Wear a mask, a head cover and protect your eyes with safety glasses. Also wear an apron or old clothes to protect from paint splashes.
  • Using sand paper, remove all paint until the surface is completely prepared.
  • Apply a water-repellent and fungicide if necessary.
  • Using a paint-sprayer, spread evenly from the farthest end to the back. High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) sprayer is more efficient and smooth.
  • Use a paint roller to get a smooth finish.
  • Give a light coating on the roof of the Pergola.
  • Fill in the gaps and allow the paint to dry for up to four hours.
  • Apply a second coat of paint on the roof of the pergola.
  • Allow the paint to dry overnight.

Causes of Discoloration of Pergola roofs

Over time, Pergola roofs may get discoloration due to dirt, fungus, mildew or moisture. Also, any iron fittings may rust and cause red stains which may react with other pigments or stains. To prevent this, stainless steel nails may be used and a constant vigil kept to encourage the Pergola to stay dry. A commercial mildew remover or other multi-purpose cleaners and help keep the roof spotless. Stains that are caused by the reaction of water deposits on the wood may also be removed by washing it with cleaners. Chalking is another form of discoloration which is caused by weathering of paint or disintegrating of pigment particles, which appear as a powder. Restoration painting necessitates cleaning by paint strippers, bleachers and oxalic acid based solvents to remove stains.

Glover Bight in Cape Coral Florida – Under the Boardwalk

About three quarters of the way down Rose Garden Road in Cape Coral there’s a small, usually empty, parking lot off to the left with a sign reading, “Glover Bight Trail“. The “trail” is actually one of Cape Coral’s newer boardwalks. At 1500 feet, it meanders through saltwater wetlands and exposed mudflats towards an observation deck with views of Glover Bight. The bight, itself, is a small bay and anchorage at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. It’s also one of the few remaining ecosystems supporting smalltooth sawfish, a dwindling species listed as endangered since 2003.

The Glover Bight boardwalk begins at the immediate edge of the parking lot, marked by the only opening the tightly-knit mangroves afford. Leaving my lonesome car behind, I entered the verdant hallway of trees. Nature’s temple is found beneath a canopy of leaves. Sun and shadows bounced and crawled against each other, across my skin, as living vegetation rubbed shoulders with the mid-spring breeze. Brilliant white sunlight found its way through crowded, clustered branches, falling in mosaic patterns across everything in sight.

Southwest Florida boardwalk-walking is a pleasant, though predictable, experience. Having journeyed the complete lengths of dozens of protected wetland boardwalks, I usually know what to expect going in. Always the same, gray, slip-free material underfoot. Lots of trees. A few flying insects. Invisible spider webs wrapping around your face. I wonder where the hell the spider ended up. Noxious-scented mud in the dry season. Alligator water in the wet season. Mystery noises in the thicket and the unlikely snapping of twigs in all directions. What makes those noises? And, most importantly, no other people…even when the weather’s perfect.

This lack of pedestrians makes the whole boardwalk concept enigmatic to me. I think of modern commercial and residential development. I think of suburban sprawl. I think about how hard it is to get a government, even city government, to do anything for the good of nature or the enjoyment of conservationists. I think of the emotionless bureaucratic systems we’ve willingly put into place. Then I look at the miles of little-known but immaculately maintained nature-based boardwalks crisscrossing this part of our state, labyrinths of mindfulness, reminders of how much we’ve already lost and inspirations of how important it is to save what we’ve got left.

All these thoughts leave me wondering how any of these boardwalks ever got built in the first place. I’m not naïve…I realize most parks and conservation areas are the token public-relation tithes local governments force money-hungry developers to pay before they’re allowed to rape and pillage much larger parcels of natural beauty. But, who are they were built for. Who uses these places?

I mean, I’ve never been a big fan of other human beings, so it’s completely logical for me to frequent these shrines of people-less-ness. But where is everyone else? Am I the only visitor?

I often see evidence of others having walked before me. I read their journeys in the empty beer cans, candy bar wrappers and scattered pieces of clothing they’ve left behind. Why do I find single shoes and pairs of pants in the wilderness?

I’m not always completely alone. I do occasionally see other people out there. The divorced dad with his weekend child. The determined dog-walker. The outdoorsy middle-aged woman with her well-worn walking stick. All taking mute, insistent steps and adhering to their self-imposed vows of silence. We cross paths, hushed and suspicious, barely making eye contact…shaken back to surface consciousness until the rogue footsteps fade and our deep communion with nature pulls us back beneath its spell.

We come to the boardwalks and nature trails to be alone, away from other people. Some of us are answering a primal call towards the small pieces of landscape that money and pollution haven’t changed or ruined yet. Some of us need a place away from parents, spouses and other authority figures. Some of us need a safe place to exercise. Some of us are looking for a place to drink underage beers and smoke illicit substances. Some of us need a quiet place to think or heal. Today, I’ve come looking for the words to fill this unwritten idea of a personal essay.

Walking into the mangroves instantly takes me elsewhere. The scents change, from car exhaust and hot pavement to plant-released oxygen and compost. Memories tied to my sense of smell electromagnetically crackle their way into visual existence. Scenes from my adventurous childhood organically montage across my thoughts.

After-school hours and weekends allowed me ample time to explore all the nooks and crannies of my hometown. I’d set off on foot and follow whatever trails and paths revealed themselves to me.

Back in the future, a sharp contrast exists between my childhood and adult perceptions of the places I found. Knee deep in creek mud…septic runoff. On a wide, clear path through the woods…high tension power line right-of-way increasing my odds of childhood cancer. Climbing fences and investigating unused factory buildings…unlawful trespassing. Excavating an intriguing depression in a small patch of forest, possibly a Native American firepit…shuddering at the look on the old man’s face when he angrily told us we were digging up a grave containing the charred remains of several of his previous pet dogs.

As I turn the corner, swooning somewhere between narcotic memories and the omnipresent-now, an awakening comes to me. I stop and stand still…all at once realizing I cannot hear the sound of a single gas engine. Nothing but gentle breezes, rustling leaves, mating birds and snapping twigs. The audible pulse of nature.

I cross a raised area in the boardwalk, the only stretch with high sides. I slow down and look around. Why have they built sides onto the boardwalk here, but nowhere else? Up on my tiptoes, and peering down into an area most people would never look, I see a pile of trash. Who would cart all this trash out onto a nature trail to dump it?

Closer investigation reveals the pile of trash as an upended shoebox containing handfuls of addressed and stamped envelopes, hand drawn pictures and a few small trinkets. Who uses these places?

Curiosity piqued, I press slowly onward. Around another bend I reach an observation tower and a set of steps I assume are for kayak portaging. I begin my ascent of the tower, reading the myriad vulgar graffiti and declarations of love others have etched into the railings and floors. Torn letters and envelopes litter the surrounding dark marsh, written in the same hand as those in the shoebox. A brokenhearted adolescent mourns the end of a puppy-love relationship amidst the trees and sky?

The top of the observation tower rests above the mangrove canopy. A surface of leaves stretches out in every direction. The only significant mark of human existence is the hulking fortress of the Tarpon Point Marina high-rises currently under construction to the southwest.

Fiddler crabs click and dart back into their holes as I continue the remainder of my short journey to the end of the boardwalk. Mission accomplished, I stand on the deck overlooking Glovers Bight. A couple covered benches grace the wooden platform. A set of stairs descends into the water. And a sign adorning one of the wooden posts asks visitors to call if they see any smalltooth sawfish while they’re here.

But this walk hasn’t been about the bight for me. It’s been a meditation on the identity of my fellow boardwalk-walkers, a question on the soul and purpose of sacred places and the people who visit them. Who are they? Why do they come? What does this place mean to them?

As I turn back the way I came, I realize I can’t just allow the shoebox and letters to die their slow death in the mud. They revealed themselves to me as evidence, a story needing to be told, an unmasking of my invisible companion boardwalkers and their unseen intentions.

The well-hidden cache of correspondence proves nearly inaccessible. I try to utilize sticks and other crude tools to facilitate their collection…all to no avail. It becomes apparent I will need to leave the safety of the boardwalk in an effort to consummate their retrieval…down into gator central. Why have they built sides onto the boardwalk here, but nowhere else? I shudder at what might be living beneath the very stretch of boardwalk I’m standing on, but cannot allow my petty fears to stop truth from being revealed. Trembling at the foul set of teeth I envision clamped onto the flesh of my leg, I pull myself over the railing, hop off of the edge and land on the surface of the marsh with a dull, squishy thud.

I whisk up the papers in a blur of blinding adrenaline and scramble back up to dry sanctuary, fistfuls of soggy parchment in my hand. Wouldn’t it be awkward if the original owner of these letters showed up now? I head back to the trailhead at a quick clip, jump into the only car in the parking lot, lock the doors and head for home.

Once home, I fan the moist paper and smudged ink out across a wide table. Pages on top of envelopes, on top of drawings, on top of more envelopes. All dated and signed, with full names, addresses, and a postmarked stamp on every single one. Putting myself into forensic detective mode, I began analyzing the records, searching for their plot line, looking for the revelation I was surely meant to receive.

Slowly, a gritty and harrowing drama of family problems, legal troubles and love gone wrong came into focus. Letters postmarked six years ago, but wished away into the marsh within the past two days. Why now? The recent journey these letters had taken opened more questions than their written contents revealed.

What did I learn?

Who uses these places? People a lot like the rest of us. People who need to think about new things and forget some of the old. Why do they come? For the same vague reasons we all do. What does this place mean to them? What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you? I suppose our personal meanings are similar as snowflakes…all pretty much the same, but no two exactly identical.

I gathered up the letters, paper debris of a human life, and gave it all a proper disposal. My mind throbbed, freshly imprinted with old memories someone else was actively attempting to erase. I should have let my fellow traveler’s secrets decompose undisturbed in their shallow watery grave. I can’t think of a more fitting setting…a memory cemetery right in the middle of the place we go to be alone. What secrets have I let the boardwalk keep?

Every childhood and town has these kinds of lonely, empty places. Abandoned houses. Paths in the woods. Corners of empty baseball fields. Boardwalks through the wilderness. Places with no admission fee and no supervision. Places with no entertainment and no other people. Places that don’t judge. Places that accept and forgive.

Strange, how these forgotten places are the ones we remember most.

Step Into the Twilight Film – Tour the Film’s Shoot Locations

Much has been said and hours spent reading and re-reading Stephenie Meyers hit ‘Twilight’ series of romantic novels, and appropriately so. While targeted for the female core, there is much that is charming and endearing in these amorous works. Regardless of one’s perspective, Twilight is a current phenomenon and every biker with a sweetheart will ‘Win’ by taking his ‘babe’ on this beautiful Northwest ride.

Twilight is a tale of love between a modern vampire and a mystery struck teen – set in the dreary overcast of Forks, Washington – the perfect contemporary sun-less setting to accommodate 20th century vampirism. To create the rainy charm of the Northwest, director Catherine Hardwicke chose nearby communities in Oregon and Washington.


This motorcycle tour chronicles over a dozen locations that are part of the movie. The tour covers 234 miles with an estimated drive time of 5.5 hours, but the true Twilightest will want to spend time viewing, photographing and savoring each stop. Our family broke the tour into two days – the first day; visiting points west and north of Portland, and the second day; visiting locations east of Portland.

Tour Details

Our start is Portland, Oregon and travels northwest on US-30 to St. Helens, OR, a short 29 mile trip taking 45 minutes. As a side note, on your way to St Helens on US-30, you’ll cross the Willamette River over the St. Johns Bridge, a 2067 ft bridge that features two 408 ft Gothic towers. The adjacent community named Cathedral Park is named after the Gothic Cathedral like towers of the bridge. Be certain to look down river as you cross the bridge. You’ll see the Portland skyline as well as the distinctive arch of the Fremont Bridge. You’ll also pass Suavie Island a landmark of the Portland area. The island is devoted to farming and originally inhabited by the Multnomah Indians before they were decimated by disease and illness from foreign exploration. The island continues to provide fertile soil yielding wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables and serves as a get-away for residents and visitors alike. If you have time, a visit to the Suavie Island is worth your time, and the fruit is excellent.

St Helens, Oregon

Of all the locations featured in our Twilight Tour, St Helen’s, Oregon accounts for the largest number of scenes. First stop is Bella’s Forks home, which is actually located at 184 S 6th St, St Helens, OR 97051. Turn right onto Columbia Blvd and ride 1 mile. Then turn right at 6th street. Don’t be fooled by the ‘No Outlet’ sign – Bella’s home is up the street, last home on the left. The home was shot extensively in the movie, for both inside and exterior footage. The sequel ‘New Moon’ also features the home. It is a private residence and the owners value their privacy, but are open to exterior photos.

The next stop is a visit to Larry Gibons owner of local deli and resident Twilight expert. Larry enjoys sharing knowledge of places to see in St. Helens. What may be even better, Larry is a biker from way back and currently rides a pristine black 1990 Heritage Softail Classic. That’s Larry standing by his bike in front of Geppetto’s. Larry has ridden since he was 12 years old and once owned a 1965 Harley Davidson panhead with mouse trap clutch and Girder front end.

To the right of Larry’s deli is the alleyway where Bella was followed by a group of unsavory young men. At the top of the alleyway to the right is the parking lot where Edward rescued Bella. The scene is one of the most dramatic with a vampirish twist. In this case rather than the hero riding in on a white stallion to rescue the damsel in distress, Edward, a vampire, rides in a Volvo and rescues Bella. I must admit, I’d hoped Edward would do something more aggressive with the bad guys. In the movie, the event took place in Port Angeles, WA.

At the top of the alleyway and to the left is the Thunderbird and Whale Bookstore – 260 S 2nd St. St. Helens, Or 97051. In reality the bookstore is a local attorney’s office, but in the movie, Bella travels to Port Angeles, WA to the Thunderbird and Whale Bookstore to purchase a book on the Quileute tribe of the Pacific Northwest after doing some research on the Internet. The building was converted for exterior sequences of the bookstore.

Come back down the alleyway and turn left. At 251 S 1st St, St Helens, OR is Angel Hair Salon. In the movie the salon was converted to ‘Petite Jolie’ – the dress store where Bella and her girlfriends shopped for prom dresses. There are also two ‘Twilight Directors’ chairs you can occupy and take photos.

Continuing down 1st street, you’ll find Jilly’s Again‎ -299 S 1st St, St Helens, OR‎. The owner provided the prom dresses used in the Petite Jolie store scene as well as various dresses for the promo scene.

The final St. Helens stop is The Bloated Toad aka Boldr – 330 S 1st St. St. Helens, OR 97051. This is the location of the restaurant Bella and Edward went for dinner after Edward saved Bella from ruffians. Don’t be disappointed, it’s not as decorated as in the movie – no lights on the entry stair railing, etc., but this is the place none-the-less.

Kalama, Washington

The tour continues north on US-30 toward Longview, WA, approximately 22 beautiful miles of 2-lane highway with verdant lush green hills and an occasional lily-laden pond. Soak in the splendor. Just beyond Rainier, Oregon, you cross over the Columbia River via the Lewis and Clark Bridge/OR-433. There are typically several freighters at anchor. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch the scent of fresh-cut timber with lumber yards on both sides of the bridge as you enter Longview, WA. Take a right at Industrial Way, continue on 3rd Ave, merge onto WA-432 via the ramp to I-5, then take I-5 toward Portland, and leave the freeway at exit 30 toward Kalama. Drive to Elm & N 4th Street and you’ve arrived at Forks High School – well, not really. That’s just what the movie called Kalama High School. You’ll walk the sidewalks Bella and Edward strolled, and the famous parking lot where Edward saved Bella from being smashed by an out-of-control van. Make certain you get photos to show your friends, and you’re off down I-5 to Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon

Next stop on the tour is Madison High School – 2735 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97220. To get there, travel down I-5 and take I-205 south toward Salem. Take exit 23A for US-30 Bypass toward Sandy Blvd. Merge onto NE Killingsworth St/US-30. Turn right at NE Sandy Blvd/US-30 (signs for Sandy Blvd W). Turn left at NE 82nd Ave/OR-213 and travel to 2735 NE 82nd Ave – Madison High School. You’ll recall the first time Bella saw Edward was in the cafeteria at Forks High School. In reality, the cafeteria was at Madison High School. While you’ll not likely be able to visit, the Biology class scenes were also filmed at Madison.

Do you remember the greenhouse field trip scenes? Right after Edward saved Bella from the van, they went to the hospital. The next scene in the movie, the Forks High youth board a bus for a greenhouse field trip. The greenhouse is part of the campus at Clackamas Community College, 19600 S Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR. – just 23 minutes and 17 miles from Madison High.

Carver, OR

Another 11 miles and 17 minutes from Clackamas Community College is the community of Carver, OR. Carver is a small town set along scenic Clackamas River. Central to Carver is the Carver Café. In the film Bella and her father ate breakfast and lunch at a café in Forks. These scenes were really filmed at the Carver Café.

Corbett, OR

From Carver we ride to Corbett, Oregon, a beautiful community perched on the hills overlooking the picturesque Columbia River Gorge. The View Point Inn [40301 E Larch Mountain Road, Corbett, OR 97019] was the setting for the prom scenes near the close of Twilight. Bella and Edward walked the path through the Monte Carlo arch to enter the prom, and then walked to the dreamily lighted gazebo for the scene where Bella thinks Edward is going to bite and transform her into a vampiress. Of particular note is the Twilight walk.

Cascade Locks, OR

The route suggested in the Google map above directs you to ride down to I-84 to travel 18 miles/32 mins to the Bridge of the Gods. An alternate, more scenic route follows the Historic Columbia River Highway. Travel time will be longer, but the ride is relaxed and extraordinarily beautiful. [For details on this ride check out ‘A Day Closer to Heaven ‘] The bridge is featured at the beginning of the film. It is an all steel structure including the 1,856 ft. bridge deck and spans the Columbia River at Cascade Locks, Oregon. A word of caution, steel deck bridges are squirrely to ride on – maintain a slow speed with no quick movements and you’ll be fine.

Washougal, WA

The final stop of this tour is in the foothills of charming Washougal, Washington. The address for the site is 218 Rim Drive, Washougal, WA 98671. Two great scenes were shot here. The first is the baseball scene where Bella, Edward and the Cullen family play in the large open field, and are joined by Laurent, Victoria and James. James catches Bella’s scent resulting in a dramatic face-off, which leads to a violent showdown between James, Edward and the Cullen’s as they save Bella from James. The second scene is the romantic ‘tree scene’ where Edward and Bella sit near the top of towering fir trees with the Columbia River Gorge in the background.

Forks, WA

While not included in this ride, the most dedicated ‘Twilighter’ might want to actually travel to Forks, Washington. The community is small with logging being the primary economic driver. While I can understand your desire to see Forks, little of the footage in the film was shot in Forks. Nothing to my thinking can justify the 9+ hr round trip drive from Portland, OR., but if you must, have at it.

We hope you enjoyed this tour and that you’re looking forward to the next Twilight series movie – New Moon, scheduled for release in mid-July 2009. Happy Riding!!!

Here’s a Google Map link for your reference. Address locations will be included for each of the stops.

Twilight Tour map

The History of Automotive Repairs – Why We Need Trained Technicians in the Collision Repair Industry

Vehicle History Overview

  • They don’t make them like they used to.

The First Cars

  • The first motor cars were nothing more than a buggy and engine (Generally repaired by blacksmiths and carpenters. These cars were very expensive, which only the wealthy could afford)
  • Model T was the first car mass production on an assembly line in 1908 (Ford’s Vision was to produce an affordable car the average person could purchase)
  • Model T’s came in black only to keep the costs down. (The price came down once the assembly line was streamlined, but in 1908, the cost for a Model T started at $825. By 1913 the cost of the car reduced to $550)

Cars in the 1960s

Cars were made the same basic way up through the 60s

  • Body Over Frame
  • Rear Wheel Drive (Same concept, but the cars were very big, bulky, and heavy)

Except people in the 60s wanted SPEED! They achieved this with Big Block Motors, which created a lot of Horsepower. (The Birth of Hotrods, Rat Fink, Flames, and Pin Striping).

Cars in the 1970s

  • The government place strict fuel economy and emissions control laws
  • Customers demanded cars with increased fuel economy
  • New laws and customer demands started the automotive explosion of engineering ideas and changes in the automotive industry

Changes to comply with Demands and Laws

  • Smaller bodied cars and smaller engines
  • Aerodynamics (Increase Fuel Mileage)
  • Lighter cars by using different materials and designs
  • More work-hardened areas created during formation of panel (Body Lines)
  • Safety

Construction of Interstate Highways + Higher Speed Limits + More High Performance Cars = Accidents and More

Deaths from Auto Accidents

Federal Laws were passed to regulate safety. These laws included:

  • Installation of seatbelts
  • Safety glass windshields
  • Head restraints
  • In 1979, the first driver side airbag was introduced
  • Airbags are mandatory in motor cars produced after 1990
  • Unibody Torque Boxes: Allow controlled twisting and crushing
  • Crush Zones: Made to collapse during collision (To act as an absorber, absorbing the impact)

Modern Day Cars

  • Carbon Fiber Parts
  • Aluminum Parts
  • More Plastic Parts
  • High Strength Steel
  • Boron Steel
  • Unibody Construction
  • Space Frame Construction
  • Computer
  • Hybrid Cars

Now they even have cars that will tell you when you’re lost, where to turn, Parallel Park for you.


While the modern day cars appear to be made cheap and unsafe, they are actually designed to crush or collapse, while transferring the energy around the stronger passenger compartment to protect the passengers from injury.

There is considerably more damage to modern day cars during a collision than the older vehicles, which gives the perception that “they don’t make them like they used to”. However, in reality the cars are taking the impact instead of the passengers.

The lesson was designed to give you a little history, but to also emphasize that just a hammer, dolly and a few wrenches are not going to repair today’s cars. We need highly trained collision repair and automotive technicians to repair today’s vehicles.