Thursday, June 30, 2011

RE Hooked on West

Per Bobby's question, I guess I refer to parts of AZ, NM, most of Colorado, parts of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California. There is a kind of expanse and the mountains seem to have wider valley's and higher peaks and something about the land grabs me. I like other places too, but now that I'm out here, it is so hard to think of not always being here and being able to get here at will. Even where I live in east SD county has some of that flavor.

I like the miles and miles you can see and drive and never encounter a stop sign, and how it will seem that some section of terrain goes forever, then you crest a hill and there in the distance is a huge snow capped mountain where the sky lives.

The desert is not much to my liking so no matter how you drive to Las Vegas I can do without it.

Unsung and Underestimated

Strawberry mountains I think. I can't tell when taking pic on this phone what is in frame.
Just now saw it for first time. Darn, it did not come out, and that was a really good view. Sorry.

As luck would have it, I managed to take the perfect route through Idaho and Oregon. I cut over on 84 I think, then 20 and 26. Those are highways and interstate, not in that order.

The path took me through southern Idaho through Boise. Like Salt Lake and provo, the highway is undergoing some mysterious construction. Stimulus maybe. Unlike Utah, the people with exceptional courtesy and good sense. I was amazed. As a result, the mess was not unduly stressful or bothersome.

Another thing is that this part of Idaho is really pretty, and people I encountered were nice. Glenns Ferry is a neat little town and people there like it--always nice to see. I am so used to living places in which a huge portion of people do not think much of the town. Miami and Memphis, to name 2. With Miami it was kind of love-hate, but the latter began to outweigh the former even with die hard old school South Floridians.

But I have to tell you, Hwy 26 going into Oregon is really fantastic. Don't expect to see motels and gas stations that often after awhile, though. The people in that part of the state are cool, too. Ranch and farm oriented, I guess, and that often makes for stock which hasn't been as eroded as people like me, my peers and most urbanites.

There was this cool little reservoir by the side of the road, with a creek running out--probably running in, too. I stopped and saw some people at the far end fishing. It looked like a great place to camp, or a place, at any rate. So, I drove over and asked them about it. The od guy gave me a rundown on camping and some suggestions. He said there's be other fishermen there and I'd get no peace.

I ended up somewhere in the Malheur Nat'l forest at a federal forestry camp location. You just set up, put money in an envelope and have a stub to show on your car. If a forest ranger comes by you are OK. I never saw a forest ranger, or anyone except some people a half mile away when I drove all around in there to scope it out. It was OK. Tall trees, and I found some dry wood to make a fire. Earlier in the day it rained. I did not hit that place until about 7:30 pm, so by the time I set up and made some pasta thing from one of those dry mixes that cost 97 cents, it was getting dark.

The drive today was even better because the snow capped Strawberry Mountain range, other I don't know, and My Hood came into view. I was in the mountains I guess. Lots of signs referring to snow areas, skiing, snowmobiles, and where to put on tire chains and where to remove them.

I am developing an aversion to cities. Once I got within 50 miles of Portland, people started driving like jerks and the whole feel changed.

Just an aside, and maybe you own one and can prove me wrong--BUT, does everyone who drives a big Dodge 4x4 lack any sense of lane usage or much else? Are they all compensating for something? Really, it is uncanny how they speed up to get right on someone's bumper and have no idea which lane is for passing. Maybe they make you fill out a questionaire: Are you an unadulterated dickhead? If yes, you can buy this truck!!!

Like I said, prove me wrong. But for me to consider your case, you have to explain basic road rules, like which lane is for passing.

So, I then decided to take a side street that said Longview and Long Beach. It sounded coastal. I drove through I guess, Longview, then some other town. Hell with that. Maybe the 4th weekend brings em out. It was getting odd and I saw no coastal things, just a long inlet--I assume.

I turned around, hit the interstate and found an Inn. I'm too tired to camp and nowhere I saw appealed to me at this time. I know when I get too cranky and argue with the gps lady, it is time to give it a rest.

I ran out of time on the video. The last thing is a quick view of the campsite. Too bad. Mt Hood was spectacular. Just a few fluffy clouds around the peak.

The people I encountered in southeast--I keep saying southwest, and central Oregon really were cool. This state ha more easy access to rivers and lakes and mountains and woods than anywhere I've been, and it is surprisingly clean. You see some trash where people have been but much less than other places.

26 runs by various creeks and the John Day river. It looked inviting, the kind of day and river that makes you want to kayak naked.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Few Notes on Nothing

Got to hand it to the guy who is at dead horse camping with the family. He has approximately three highly strung teenaged daughters and oddly odd wife who is not as loud as her girls and maybe a family friend, or extra wife along, not sure.

The girls scream and cultivate hysteria over everything. You would have thought a bear was attacking them. I think it turned out to be a lizard or bug, not sure. They constantly go to the car turn on the headlights, open and close doors, generally fidget and fuss. They seemed to be having fun from the sound of it. Sound was my main source of observation because I was under and behind trees in my little tent. No escaping it.

I noticed the next morning as I was packing up and pulling out that they had a little tent city going. Three or four pink tents and one larger blue tent. I'm guessing the girls all have identical pink tents. Nice ones, too. The things parents go through trying to provide for their offspring. In a way I envy the guy. In a way I don't. I do like the fact that they were out as a family and their kids were having fun, like cats, imagining great drama where none exists. It must take a patient man to oversee such madness. Never did I hear him raise his voice. No indication of discord. I think it is a mistake that family life is not glorified in more effective ways. Maybe it is the dissolution of gender identity and individual sense of purpose that has done this. Who knows.

I wonder if the fact that people in such settings are less friendly toward strangers is related to the family thing or otherwise significant. I have noticed that fewer people will return a hello or a nod than in the past. Region has something to do with it but not everything. The gradual refusal to respectfully acknowledge the existence of others in certain real life situations is not healthy. More than likely these same people would lol all over the place on their smart phones and computers with complete strangers they'll never see in person.

I hope I never become so insecure that I can't look at a person and at least give a nod of acknowledgement that they exist.

Off the subject. I think I am hooked on the western USA, especially the parts not overly populated. Aside from the wide open largeness and magnificent landscape, there is so much potential to organize and build in ways that haven't been done. It is important not to do it as it has been done because it is obvious that those methods lack foresight. Traffic alone should prove that point. And I do not think the plans to reduce mobility and freedom, and herd people here and there is a reasonable alternative. Parameters should always include maximum individual freedom and choice, then you work the design from there paying attention to consequences on all fronts which you can identify. Ignoring the side effects is the flaw that screws things up. Imagining that humans have no right to be here and use resources is also a recipe for disaster.
the end

Forgot What to Say In Tremonton Utah

That's where I am now. I'm headed up through southern Idaho and on up toward Seattle. People I ought to see. N2 and his cool girlfriend, S, and I don't know.

Anyway, at first I planned to see the land features I really love-the big beautiful mountains in Colorado, but then I realized I need to see the people who put up with me or share my blood, or both. This has resulted in taking roads I've never travelled and seing sights from another angle, or seeing things I've never seen. Like the mountains around Salt Lake and Provo.

I was going to go to the Salt Lake itself, but there was too much traffic and crowd. The season is on, and the fourth of July hooplah has already begun. That means hordes of people hell bent on getting away from it all with all the other people of like mind. It looks stressful. They'll have to rest and sleep when they get back home and go to work. That's what jobs are for in many cases; a good place to sleep while pretending to be busy.

If you do drop by Tremonton, JC's diner is off the highway maybe half a mile or so but it is your best bet for a cheap good meal, and people with a good diner attitude. Lots of locals there.

Thanks to a tailwind, the tour mobile achieved 32 mpg over the last 450 miles. I think it is doing its best to make me realize that it is as good as the first tour mobile which met an untimely and unfortunate demise due to Over the Hill Trucking's (out of Sacramento) negligent and dangerous conduct and subsequent dishonesty and lying which backfired, hahaha). I realized that I have never put this many miles on any vehicle I ever owned. I've owned a few longer, maybe, but never have I put that many miles on them. I guess it comes to over 30k per year, easily. This trip alone has been somewhere between 6 and 8 thousand.

I'm not sure because I zeroed out the A trip odometer by mistake. I zero B at every fill up so I can exercise my brain and do the math in my head to figure milage. I can't believe the mpg I get, considering I have to run a/c so much. One reason I don't rough it in that way is so my computer won't get too hot.

When I get home it will be close to time for a new timing belt and brakes. Even in the terrain outside Taos and some passes in Utah, I didn't use brakes much. It is an automatic but I drop it down into D3 or even 2. Where I live, I do the same thing. No need to go through brakes in a hurry. If there had been a 5 speed that met the conditions I needed at purchase, I'd have bought it. I don't think current automatics are really any drawback. It is nice to have control and and all that but I can deal with either one. And I'd be fretting over burning out the clutch if I had one so maybe this is best.

This town is not as touristy as some, and it seems like a good place. Two coin laundries, what more could you want?

None of that is what I thought about to say. I wonder what I originally had in mind?

I kind of lost focus and didn't know where to go there for awhile, but then I settled on a plan. All I knew this morning was I'd decide by the time I hit Salt Lake City. One plan was to go left on 80 and then something. Another was to go right toward Colorado, and the final one is to head up 84 and wind up in Seattle. I feel better now that I have a clue and some reason.

There are times when I like to wander aimlessly and times I prefer to wander aimfully.

Travel Tips and Thoughts for Aimless Gypsies:part N of N+X

First thing you should know: avoid driving up I-15 past Provo and Salt Lake City Utah.
The road appears to be perpetually under construction, blocked lanes are poorly marked, it is bumpy, and the traffic is heavy.

OK, that sounds normal for much of America. Here's the catch; the people driving on that road are mostly totally nuts. Perhaps it is a Utah thing, or just that area, I don't know. You have anywhere from 3 to 5 or 6 lanes going your way. Number of lanes is a bit vague at times. The speed limit is 55 in that zone which goes on forever; from below Provo to north of Salt Lake.

So, what do the people do? First, they speed up so that everyone is going 65 or 70 even though cops do pull people over. It is safer to go with the flow and try to put yourself out of the path of the many wildcats who pass at 90 mph even though they can see that everyone in all lanes a tenth of a mile ahead has suddenly slowed to 50. They like to pass on the right then swing to the left a foot in front of the car the just passed, then hit they brakes so as not to collide with the group ahead. If you foolishly adhere to standard rules of the road and pass on the left, you better watch out when you get back over to the right because the rocket jock driving the pickup may collide with you if you aren't aware. He certainly won't be watching for you.

I have a theory. Yes, S, I know I already shared this with you.

Some miles before the highway madness zone begins there is a billboard that reads, "Holding Out Hope For Polygamy". I think that is in an 80 mph zone. I did not catch the website at the bottom but they have one.

I'm thinking, it's like holding out hope for legal pot--yea, there is that hope but in the mean time people just go ahead and do it. In the case of polygamy this means a few guys who have the inside track on such things are scooping up more than their share of women. This leaves all the other young males in a bit of a quandary, especially if they are part of this belief system. It is like radical Islam--too many young males with very serious sexual issues and frustration, so they go crazy and act out in inappropriate ways.

The result is that the unsuspecting gypsy is taking his life in his hands on that road. Apparently some of the mac daddies are spread a little thin, so it results in peculiar frustration for some of the wimmins too. These people are nuts, whether my theory explains it or not. Just a word to the wise. And I lived in Miami for quite some time. If you've driven there in the last 30 years you know that me saying this stretch of highway is possibly crazier than that is saying a lot.

Another tip: the long meandering road trip causes nose and ear hair to grow faster than normal. Toe nails, too. If I was into government grants I'd see if they'd pay me to conduct a study on this phenomenon.


Not so much a tip as a WTF?
If you are a male between 50 and 60, about 75 pounds or more overweight, completely gray, I honestly think a tattoo of Frankenstein's head covering the entire side of your ample calf, plainly visible because of course you wear gym shorts and sandals, is not a fashion statement you need to make for any reason I can imagine. Your swagger and habit of standing at the convenient mart counter legs apart, swaying side to side and to and fro also does little to win friends and influence people. You're already taking up more space than your proper allotment. Again, perhaps a good subject for study on government grant. I won't bother with the rest of the "look", My mind went into overload at Frankenstein.

The good looking chick with a partly visible full portrait of a woman covering her back complete with some kind of background was another puzzle. That one probably has a story. I have a feeling the guy just thought, "hmm, tattoos are cool now. Frankenstein is awesome, dude. Put Frankenstein on my leg and I'll be cool too."

To each his own, but I can wonder and puzzle as is my right. I chalk him up to the Utah thing.

I should note that inn keepers and diner personnel here are rather personable and nice. Almost Southern, in the good sense.

another Tip; if you detect a merchant in a high tourist area has the attitude that all travelers are beneath him or her, don't buy there. Those who make their living off of travelers and visitors fall into two groups: those who know which side their bread is buttered on, and those who don't. I haven't spent much but my hostile-to-outsiders meter has cost people some money. It has made money for the souls who generate a feeling of gratitude and respect.

If you work in the take money from tourists business and you hate travelers, then get out of that line of work. We'll all be happier for it.
Almost forgot--if you can get where you are going on highway 89 or 89A, and you have the time, that is the road to take. Much more interesting than the big interstate highways. Many cool and interesting places on that road. After all, that is the road to Jerome, AZ, and it runs up here in Utah too.

Monday, June 27, 2011


My little G niece with the shades I gave her. Her parents also have their shades on in the bigger picture, but I did not want to get in trouble in case they don't want the fame posting their likeness might bring. The baby won't complain.

The glasses strap on so they don't fall off, or the ear piece poke the baby in the eye.

Can't Get There From Here

These pics were not shot by me, but they combine to give the feel of the area where now I am.

There is more traffic and around the bend, a little more to the town. It is a tastefully arranged tourist trap, and not a bad place. Several lodging options of all kinds, and many eateries and bike paths and whatnot. This pic is misleading.

Soon, I will again consult a map. My goal is to get to the ocean some way which involves as little desert as possible. I'm in some of the red rock mesa canyon, wild country now. Kanab, Utah. The locals try to run over you, unless you are doing business of some kind with them. In that case they are friendly, competent, and accommodating.

The countryside is pretty spectacular. This is not too far from the north rim of the Grand Canyon, or from Zion national, whatever it is called. I've been both places. Three years ago I camped at the north rim in a fairly primitive campground

That was the place where a bus pulled in at midnight. Keep in mind this is not a place with lights or anything. Off marched the Harvard Glee Club, who immediately broke into a world class rendition of "In the Still of the Night". They definitely rocked. Then amid giggles and who knows what they arranged themselves on blankets and in sleeping bags all around the bus. They were toward the end of the place.

It was then that I accepted the fact that my life moves, often, in a dimension which seems slightly askew from the one you normally see. Either I died and this is the after life, or I dwell somewhere else much of the time. It is OK either way. That Glee Club thing kind of shook me, under the circumstances. I figure it is better to embrace the twilight zone, should you wind up there, rather than fear it.

So, I am not wanting to repeat the same experiences this time so much. I'm following whim, gut, intuition, and orders from unseen beings.

Right now I am going to pul up a map and see what looks the best course to take. Soon, I must go home. I do not believe anyone will pay me to do this forever, and I like my east county San Diego place. I hope they don't sell it for awhile.

Holy smoke!! I've wandered myself into a pickle. There is no good way to go unless I go way up high, then come down, and in that case I cannot imagine spending much time on the coastal highway. Deserts and salt flats.

Woe is me. I may go up toward Salt Lake City and up through Idaho.
The other option is to bite the bullet and do the desert at night. Tis may be the wisest choice even though I'd like to mae it u to Seattle. Maybe I can just fly there later.

Yep. I will take the quick way out. It is close to time that I want to be home. Mostly I want to get out of 4th of July canyon tourist crowds. It is already starting.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Some Gypsies Use Maps Sparingly

Today I realized that I am quite competent when it comes to reading maps, but I seem to see less need for them than one might expect. It is a lifelong habit. When I drove to NC for the first time to go to school there, I traveled according to a friend's directions; take 95 until you get to 52 and go left, then when you get to 49 go left and you'll see it.

52 goes a long way before you get there. In any case, I made it. All 800 miles or however far it is from Miami.

What puzzles me is why I decided to hit Jerome now and not later. I was up closer to CO and all that when I was down by the river up above Taos. I guess I thought I'd get it out of the way. I formulated two goals today; the one long standing goal of not wanting to die in Memphis, and the new goal of returning to San Diego without driving through a bunch of desert. The latter requires a northly path. If I can swing it--time and money--I'll come down the coastal highway.

Jerome is still pretty unique. I almost tried to see if I could sit in with a group playing in a tavern there. The music begged for it, although they were not at al bad, and the crowd liked them. The doorway smelled like beer, or more precisely like a drunk smells who got drunk on beer. Between that and the probability that the group was doing well with the crowd, and may wisely subscribe to the theory, "if it ain't broke don't fix it", I did not try to see if I could play.

I was disappointed that the store where I bought my moccasins is not the same place any more. I think shops close and open and change regularly, although many are just as they were.

This place is called Dead Horse Ranch State Park. My tent is in one of the shady spots. It was 99 today but breezy. It should drop to the 50's but after dark the wind died completely. I'm hoping for breeze but it may take awhile before it comes.

One thing I'll say for Dead Horse, they have clean showers and such. And they don't charge much. They shouldn't for just a tent. Near Ballistic Mountain in California I checked a state campground and it was something like thirty bucks just to pitch a tent. What's the point? I'm mostly trying to keep costs down, and I do like getting out in the middle of nowhere some. The fairest rate was on the Hondo river. You crazy enough to camp here--have at it. Gratis. I wonder if the converted school bus that was at another pull of there was housing homeless people or real deal nomad gypsies. With that set up, you could live pretty cheaply.

Well, I thought I'd write because I could, and to kill time waiting for a little breezy coolness. I pitched the small tent this time because it is only one night and it goes up quick. I'm not sure the other one would have fit as well under the low limbs of my shade tree.

Who would ever have thought I'd be friggin camping, and be carrying two tents? I did have three but the other one had issues so I got rid of it at the outer banks. It worked well enough in Mississippi. Mostly, since it was up, I made do.

The peculiar part of this trip is that I could just wander indefinitely and not feel like stopping for good. More accurately I guess that is the peculiar part of being me. I envy those who put down roots have giant families and people always around, yet I could be a nomad. Maybe it is like second best and since first best is just not there, I work with what I got.

The above best is relative to me and may not apply to anyone else.

For a long time on this journey I spotted no other CA plates. Once I returned to this side of the Mississippi that changed, but I still only started seeing them once I got to New Mexico. They are usually like me, a little arrogant, although I'm more polite than most. I think we look at each other and wonder wy we decided to drive away from all that and into an oven. In my case it is due to things on another plane in another dimension--what Sedona wishes it could do.

What a country!!! We are really lucky. And I know I am quite fortunate to have the chance and good enough health to be doing this. I cannot explain the reason, but it feels like there is a profound purpose as regards things in my life that may need tweaking.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quick Arizona Trivia

Arizona does not do Daylight Savings time, because they have no need to save daylight. The sun actually never sets in Arizona until it has baked and blinded everyone on the highway. If traffic is slack, the sun never sets at all, it just dances around like a boxer waiting to take a shot at your eyes.

Sometimes you can trick the Arizona sun by wearing sun glasses on top of your head facing backwards, as well as a pair worn the normal way. But if it gets just a glimpse of your eyes, it will go for them. Beware!!!

Town Review: Gallup, AZ

So, decided to head toward Jerome, AZ, then decide whether to hit some of CO or what. I did not research it or consult the map. Why not just let the GPS lady in a box do the work? She is kind of boss, but I like her and she rarely disagrees with anything I say.

Anyhow, I thought, "Why not spend the night in Gallup?". After that I could decide whether to take very back, back roads or follow GPS lady's suggestions.

Some miles before arriving there was a sign which read, "Gallup, New Mexico's adventure capital!". There are various types of adventure. You can pretty much file any of them one of two ways; good adventure or bad adventure. I believe there is good reason that the sign did not specify.

I'm assuming there is some sort of historical value having to do with Rte 66. Motels abound. Pure garbage abounds. Worst of all, they think they are such a hot tourist trap that even good name chain motels play bait and switch with their signs.

The competition is great enough that many of them post the rate on one of those moving light signs. So, I saw one I liked, and since it also claimed discounts for being old, or AAA, figured I'd get them locked into the ad rate, then ask how senior is senior. Usually the look and say you have to be over 55, or 50. It is flattering. But then they try to mouse out of it.

This place, however, said, "oh, I'm sorry, the only rooms we have left are ($10) more than the advertised rate. I'm not one to argue about it. When I don't like the way they do business, I do not do business with them. I also happen to know that this chains rooms are all the same. Maybe they sometimes have a king instead of two smaller beds, but they've never charged me a different rate for that.

I looked at some other places then said "hell with it, this place is named Gallup for a reason". I'm guessing that in the old days, if it was as unappealing as today, a sensible cowpoke would gallup away as fast as he could upon seeing the hell hole he'd happened upon. Of course today they even have lower speed limits around the town on the interstate and everywhere just to test your discipline.

I toured the town and am now maybe 50 or 70 miles west, near Chambers, at the Chieftan Inn. Sounds like a condom name.
At any rate, they charge a fair price, don't BS you, and I like the ambiance of this dive. Where Chambers is, is anyone's guess.

All I see is this motel complex and a spiffy gas station, and little convenience store. And it beats the hell out of Gallup, AZ!!!!


It would be a good place for a homeless person who had a car and a tent. It is secluded but close to a road, right by a rapidly moving very shallow, clear cool refreshing river. I did not try it, however I could see the river serving many purposes, including nature's bidet!

There are a handful of places between Arroyo Seco and Taos ski valley ski area where you can pull off onto a sort of dirt road in the trees and camp right by the river. On the other side of it the peak rises very steeply. It is hard to believe the trees can grow on such vertical terrain, but it is heavily wooded almost to the top, then it is stone, waay up there. On the opposite side of the road it just rises up to another ridge, but not as steep.

I thought I'd get the eary weekend crowd but I did not. The place where I pulled in ony had room at each end so the other people were about 100 yards downstream, with some large, and small, trees between us. I couldn't hear them for the rush of the river and all the rapids.

It is shallow enough to walk in without geting swept away, and, of course, it has all those cool, smooth river rocks. In a couple of places there were even little islands of river rock, just barely above or at river level. I stepped in where it was mostly ankle deep and never up to my knees. Very cold, but it felt great.

No cell signals were to be had there so it was a good place to clear my head and pay attention to casting out the stupid worries I carry, and all that sort of stuff. I saw no UFOs, and BigFoot never dropped by even though I telepathically invited Mr/and/or/Mrs/and/orMiss/and/orMs BigFoot to come have some Cuban coffee. I heard the are quite intuitive and all that. Could be a language barrier, even telepathically.

I've thought of man things to mention but I forget most of them if I don't make a note. I made some notes earlier in the trip, but I am not sure where the note pad is.

Here's a pic down by the river

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Temporarily Off In Another Dimension

Made it to Taos.
May hang in the vicinity a day or more.
Other than that, nothing to say, and that's about it.

Lot of traffic in Taos proper. Some great streams and camp locales up in the hills.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Don't Pick Up Hitch Hikers around Here

Today was spent driving through northwestern Oklahoma. It is not a highly populated place, unless you are a cow or grasshopper. I drove for miles and miles through relatively flat amber waves of pastureland--most dead grass, I think. Then I see a yellow warning sign telling me not to pick up hitch hikers because they may be escaped convicts.

I'm thinking, "Well, what if it's Cool Hand Luke? I'd have to figure a way to make room for him". Then there is the "correctional" facility. Probably a misnomer. I wonder how much actual correction goes on, or how much goes on that is civilly and morally correct. I'm not one who likes the set up, nor am I one who thinks the "soft and cushy" treatment of prisoners is why we have crime on the streets and repeat offenders. Actually, I do not think the people who consider anything more than bread and water, and an 8x8 cell with a roommate is cushy, have the slightest clue what they are talking about.

Anyway, I saw no hitch hikers. But the next sign pointed left to a lonely and long looking little road. It said, "cemetery". I guess that is where the last guy who wanted to hitch hike home from the cushy prison is.

It seemed to fit; the warning, the Big House, the bone yard. I was in hard core blues country.

Oddly enough, I saw the same warning in New Mexico, but their Big House was less big, and if there is a cemetery to go with it, they don't put signs up so you know.

Finally, I see just a hint of mountainous terrain in the distance and made it to New Mexico. I need to look at the map to get the name straight, but I believe the spooky town was called Singer. There were some cars parked here and there, and of course an abundance of pick up trucks. There was a cafe/hotel that had a sign which said "open". A tiny town with sidewalks and such but absolutely no sign of human activity.

I parked and got out to check out the Brown's Hotel and Cafe closer, but everything looked old and unfriendly through the window, and it looked like you had to go through a foyer or something to get to whatever was there; no easy escape. I'm not sure if you can check out, and who knows if they have you for dinner. That is, if real people live there. Maybe zombies.

Not one other person on the sidewalks, any cars just drove past. No one else stopped. A dog in a fenced in yard half a block away barked at me, half heartedly. Probably a zombie dog.

When I was leaving and about a half mile out of the eerie place, I encounter some chubby girls walking hell dogs in the middle of the road, walking toward me. Smack in the middle of my lane. I moved to the left lane since there was no traffic. They had to hold the dogs which were straining as if they wanted to attack my car. Crazy. I was going 50 and the speed limit was 55. The girls and their dogs appeared abnormal, and not in a good way. They were headed toward the zombie town. I guess I could have turned around and followed them but I am a coward. Curious as I am regarding where they would go and if maybe all the vehicles in town are theirs, fear caused me to keep on truckin'.

So, I wound up in Cimarron. I stopped too much along the way. Once I stopped and Glass mountain park--maybe that is the name--and hiked up a mesa like thing. They have a trail cut and even steps cut in and such. I met a rattle snake and called an end to the hike. We both lived and neither of us offered the other any formal or informal greeting.

Cimarron presents itself as an artsy place, and I guess it is in a way. All the people I've met here seem like they may be on LSD. Nice enough, but kind of crazy. Hard to explain, but it would not surprise me to see people here running in circles trying to catch their tails, all the while shouting undecipherable threats at their pals. What I've seen is not too far off from that. But they are fairly nice to strangers. I have the feeling they aren't sure who is a stranger and who isn't. Charming thing in its own way.

I walked up the road and bought some books from a guy who keeps his motorcycle inside the used book store, and has about thirty overpriced used bicycles outside. All priced at $100 each. They aren't terrible but I don't think they run much more than that new. Used cheap bikes, not cheap used bikes.

I needed some reading material. One book by Michener, I know I haven't read. Prince of Tides by whatshisname, I am not sure. I may have read that one.

Once again I am bowing money on an Inn. This is the canyon Inn and it is OK. I think the tenants and owners are all on LSD like the rest of the townspeople I've seen. To her credit, the angry lesbian two rooms down is a looker, when she isn't sneering with a look that says, YOU ARE A MAN, YOU MUST DIE! AND I KNOW YOU WERE LOOKING AT MY ASS. PIG. I don't know, something about the sneer said all that, so I looked at her ass when she turned back around.

Needless to say, I like it here, but doubt I'd want to live here. There are various artsy crafty shops here and there, and that is good. Maybe the candle shop melts down people from Singer, the zombie town, to produce their art. Remind me to consult a map to be sure of that name. It is not a place you'd want to run out of gas or break down in after dark, or even before. Thinking of that place at night gives me the creeps big time. How could there be absolutely no activity, yet vehicles were placed as if someone should exit one of the shops? I so no activity behind the store windows, but you couldn't see much. Zombies never clean their windows.

That's alright because Cimarron's active populace makes up for it. None of the activity here makes sense to me. It seems to please the tail chasers though. I'm going to risk drinking the water so if I seem radically different next time anyone hears from me, you'll know why.

Tomorrow, provided the water does not induce insurmountable obstacles, I will hit the tried and true Taos campground. I look forward to it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Foggy Phone Pic

Since Mr and Mrs N1 are being quite slow in sending me pics from visit, I decided to post, without permission, the one from my phone. Since they and the Mrs' parents were snapping away, I thought I'd have access to images and no need to run the Flip or take pics myself. Brats, all of them!

Baby daddy in background trying to run away and leave the child with afore mentioned abandonment issues. The horror of it leaves me too sad to write more.

I Lied: not on the road yet

One more day, and that's it. Then I will head west. I'll leave early tomorrow.

Today I started off late, then communed with the spirit of Standing Bear at standing bear monument and park. The message was clear--go back, book just one more night, go to the noon gathering of other souls who've been to hell and back, pay homage to the Pioneer Woman monument, seek out a coin laundry.

All that is left is the laundry part. I'm not sure why I like this pace so much. My old great aunt-by-marriage also is of the opinion that Ponca City is one of the best towns ever. She's never been much of a world traveler but I guess she knows. She was familiar with the shoe repair place--The Bootery.

I guess I'll change into my Speedos and see if I can pick up chicks in the park. Lots of parks here, so I can sashay around in all of them. I'll bring chocolate and nylon stockings for the local wimmins. That ought to work well. After all, some of them may be French.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Magical Mystery Tour

Too bad that tag is taken--them danged mop-headed Beatles--because it sure fits this present phase of the BallisticTour.
I'm still in Ponca City, and I could easily fall in love with this town. No explanation for that, but I kind of like this middle of nowhere area. Besides they have a Lowes and a good shoe repair shop. Not to mention the two spiffy lakes nearby.

It appears that, if one isn't picky regarding employment, jobs are no so hard to find here. Cost of living is not bad, and having free wifi throughout the city, that would cut some costs. The place is small, but large enough that opportunities abound. My attraction to certain places does not follow formula or reason, just how it makes me feel. I never can say exactly why.

All day was spent in Foraker which is legally a town, I think, but only a few old dwellings are there, and a church, and lots of horses and cows. The last six miles of road you travel to get there is barely two lane, no lines painted on it--as basic as it get before you resort to dirt or gravel.

My parents grew up there, with my mother being valedictorian of the largest senior class in their history--either 12 or 14 students. Her sister's class had 5. My mother's parents and their parents also were from this area and put in many years in Foraker. Some of the coolest, real deal cowboys ever were in that group, like Uncle Charlie and Uncle Don, who gave me a lariat rope when I was seven or so.

I spent the day talking to Charlie's last wife. She's in her early 80's. Charlie like them a ot younger than himself when her met her, hence he kicked and she's been around long since. Not everyone in the family was that keen on Janette, but I alwas liked her. Her mind is pretty sharp and I liked spending the day discussing, life, death, health sickness, and books with her. She's read plenty and was a great one for talking to about writing and reading. Her little dog, Monet, was kind of fun, too.

It was definitely a surprise when I showed up because I gave no warning. I didn't even knw where she lived, however it wouldn't have taken lng to knock on all the doors in town. I didn't though. I encountered an elderly couple on one of the two or three little streets. He was working on some farm device he was planning to sell for scrap, and she almost walked into serious collision with my car. My cat-like reflexes saved her very life.

They were great people and knew my great or grand(?) aunt and where she lived. Of course all they had to do was point to "that white house over there". They even knew her well enough to assure me that she'd be happy fr me to go knock on the door. They were right. She said she wouldn't have ever expected to see me show up but she had no hesitation recognizing my name and knew my brother's name without prompting. I guess word travels so she knew a little of where I'd lived over the years and whatnot. At least she knew I had lived in North Carolina.

It was another magic experience. I think I saw the house where my mother lived and I know I saw the foundation of what used to be my Grandpa's general store close to a hundred years ago. Their life back then was so different from what we know. It stil is to a degree. Back then it seems that one's purpose was more basic and more evident. Survival was more directly linked to your effort and a bit more primal, yet in many ways people were more civilized.

People being people, you always have the judgements, opinions and things that aren't pure harmony. Still, there was a sense of honor and character that gets a little convoluted as our civilization evolves--or devolves, depending on your outlook.

It was a last minute decision to come here. Only minutes before leaving Dallas did I decide to take this route rather than heading toward Amarillo and points beyond. My path toward Taos my take me close to some scary fires so that chapter will also be written on the fly.

Severe thunderstorms were predicted with possible elephant sized hail and probable Armageddon. The 89 year old woman I met at the shoe repair place said it would probably pass us by like last time "they predicted all that mess". She was right, but I've never seen such heavy dark clouds that looked like these; all covered with stripes and a well defined edge. Dark as night to the west, covering the sun but blue with happy white puffs to the east. Very weird effect.

So much of this trip has become happy coincidence and unexpected encounters. It's almost scary. I'm convinced it has been well worth the blind leap of faith based on I don't know what.

It gives me pause that I find towns like Ponca City to be so appealing. I mean, I grew up in Miami, have lived in the DC area, and am a lad of exotic places and ocean sides. It makes no sense. Yet, I often am drawn to the less populated, less self congratulatory towns. Those places that think they are chic and sophisticated are generally shallow, mean, and uglier than they know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Tragedy of Dysfunction Passed Down From Generation to Generation

Is it any wonder certain of my clan has abandonment issues? This is tragic. When will the chain be broken? Much as I love my nephew, N1, and his wife, Mrs N1, their obvious neglect of my darling Grand Niece makes me wonder if I shouldn't take action. I may have to take her and raise her myself.

Viewing this shocking photo would surely sway any court.***

***as long as cousin J isn't a member of the jury---she thinks it was right that my lariat rope was confiscated when I was but a child fighting for freedom and justice

Town Review: Ponca City, OK

First of all, and this is very subjective and unscientific, the town has a good vibe. And why not? They have Kaw lake, Ponca lake and The Pioneer Woman museum. I like pioneer wimmins.

Another mind blower is that wifi is free, city wide.

I must confess, I opted for another motel night. 100 degrees at 730, and not much to go on re the campground, and I caved. I'll be better prepared next time.

The check clerk said she and her husband and five kids moved here less than a week ago. The already found a house--400 per month, and I believe that is a mortgage. She was hired on the spot at the second place she asked. Her husband may get on with the refinery, which I assume is the big employer in this area. In her words "they just give away jobs like crazy here". They moved from Witchita.

Her positive attitude and a kind of innocence I can't quite describe combine in a very charming and upbeat impression. But there is something cool about this place.

Before landing at an inn I drove some of the neighborhoods and the parks by the lakes. It is clean and I like these streets and houses. A nice place.

Somewhere up and to the left right is Foraker where my parents grew up and my cowboy grand and great uncles lived. I will go there tomorrow. It is as tiny a town as is possible and still have a name and a dot on detailed maps.

Many of the ancestors who dwelled here in the 19th and 20th centuries were old school cool. One had gone out to the CA gold rush on horseback and returned with more than one notch on his revolver. He was one of us who has the vagabond gene, however he managed to maintain a wife and numerous offspring. I missed that part and I blame it on the Woodstock nation and the "greatest" generation. They filled my head with mush and it took forever to empty out most of the trash.

On the way here a Mexican named Israel, whose 10 year old son spoke much better English, was by the side of the road with a tire off of his explorer and the family milling about. He waved his thumb so I stopped. His spare was on a rim with a different lug pattern and his tire was shot.

Lacking much room, I stuffed things from the passenger seat in crevices here and there to make room, and put the tire in back on top of the cargo cover which is covered by a reflective tarp. It worked. He had a cousin in Oklahoma City who would meet him and they, being mechanics, knew where to get another tire put on. He called cousin X and it was set. I dropped him at I35 and some street with no anglos to be seen.

Israel was ready to pay me, asking how much did he owe me. I never said I was asking a fee so that idea was put away with a "Nada. Adios, y buenos suerte amigo". Or words to that effect. He got the gist of it and I traveled on. I guess the family had provisions, plus his son was a rather competent little butter ball of a boy. Sometimes it is worth finding out how the story will unfold to stop for strangers.

My cousins, J and S, outdid themselves again showing me a great time, introducing me to more distant relatives and making me play harmonica for everyone. I played for aunt, and for my other cousin's daughter, her husband and their kids. Possibly the best looking couple in America. Their kids were 8 and 10 years old. The girl was oldest and the boy was probably younger, if you see my logic. Very fun and nice kids.

Cousin S pulled out some sheet music and I played along. We did very well, I think. Not everyday that you show up to a stranger's house, inform them that you are kin, then give a mini concert and leave. This trip is like that. I gave the little girl my C Lee Oskar harp. She is learning piano and seems to be musical. She found it al amusing and intriguing.

My cousins are a very good influence on me because they keep me from retreating into my usual cocoon of isolation. Very smart people and not strangers to the School of Hard Knocks.

It goes without saying I couldn't get enough of my little grand niece. She told me the meaning of life is orange molasses. Not 3 months old and I interpreted dozens of words and phrases. I hope her mom recorded them all in her baby book. Especially the first word, which was "Gruncle!"

I promise to spend more tent time in the coming days instead wimping out. But, really, temperatures of over 100 ought to be a little bit of an excuse.

I am trying to watch the money but it is hard, like watching someone give you a shot or draw blood. Sometimes it is easier to look away.

Quick Austin econolodge off of 183 review: Don't Do It! I'm sure it is a suburb of hell. Sleep in your car and you will feel better. The econolodge from hell is no place for people of our breeding and culture.

The second night I stayed with N1, Mrs N1 and baby, V. The night before I felt it would be kind of an infringement upon Mrs N1's parents and would tighten the space in ways. I stand by my decision but not by my choice of inns.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Helped With Horseboy fence; they think I'm an idiot

Something about the way I am causes people to either think I'm an idiot, or they are intrigued and like to discover things about me which they seem to respect. Horse boy's dad is of the former camp. Many arrogant Brits are, I've found.

They were nice enough, especially at first. That is because the Brit chick there was talking to me while he was doing other things. He's the top dog, and, except for the cowboy who lets him use some of his pasture and fixes fences, the guy is surrounded by adoring women. The dynamic is clear, and I can't say I blame him. Resent, yes. Blame, no.

Anyway, they are hard working, tainted by mild fame and have that hipper-than-thou British-Hollywood thing going. Needless to say, there is nothing I could offer the place. Or nothing that would be accepted, short of money.

Many of the tasks involved in the 100 degree fence fixing environment were things I could tell I would be much quicker and better at doing than even the cowboy. It was just one of those things where you let the dog keep his territory.

Speaking of dogs, the ones that came out there with me, the cowboy and the adoring women of various ages--all Canadian or UK people--gravitated to me and hung around me like those pictures of St Francis. It was quiet vindication. "See? Your dogs know who I am, dammit! How bout due respect?"

So, I politely left after close to three hours.

I mentioned writing and the guy grilled me about it, wanting my book synopsis in a short sentence, which I never gave him. He assumed I'd never known or talked to an author, telling me, "this is what writers ask". No, it is not. Depends on the writer, the context, and much else. He's not buying anything so who owes him the discussion on his terms?

He ticked me off, I guess, and I think that was a two way street, although I believe I was much nicer and more gracious.

No way you can show u to such a place and expect anything, so I am ashamed of my disappointment and small degree of anger. I know I could be very beneficial to their operation and they don't seem to think anything, except I do not fit their narrow set of parameters for what is cool, therefore I am not worth much.

I'll write my damned book, get it sold and send him a signed copy with an insulting inscription. I like some Brits, but some can exude a type of snobbish arrogance that makes you want to fight the Revolutionary War all over again, tagging them as first casualty.

I once heard that there is n such thing as a free education. Let's chalk it up to that.

One puzzler was if he and the Brit chick have a thing going. Maybe not, but she would if he would, I think. Almost a cultish ambiance there.

They are smart enough people, but I guess I felt snubbed, and that makes them dumber than they realize.
It happens. Some people cannot get past "that". Maybe it is my curse and maybe it is my undeserving person filter.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Subaru Service Dept Review

Finally, while in Dallas, I was able to resolve the horn honking when I start up issue. Cousin J suggested I go to Sewell Subaru, across from Love field in Dallas.

The place is first class. The customer lounge is spiffy with plush furniture, a soda machine at your disposal, and big pot of sweet tea, and it is not like the usual waiting area. It is more like a nice hotel lobby.

The service area itself has tile floor, very spacious bays and not a spot of trash or grime anywhere.

The tech fooled with some loose wires on a tiny box that the selling dealer had on there for some security reason. That was all it took. They said they could remove the box altogether but it would cost about $100 because the guy would have to rewire the stuff back where it goes. They seemed to think it would be OK and weren't pushing to do it so I didn't.

The diagnostic charge is $80, which is explained up front. They charged $0.00. The service writer was competent and able to explain everything in detail. All of them seem competent and not trying to mouse anyone. I decided I was due an oil change since I've driven maybe 5000 miles so far and had them do it.

I wish they were in SD county because I'd rather have them do the brakes and timing belt when due than anyone else.

So, I highly recommend the Sewell Subaru service department.
And I did not wait all that long. I got there at 2 and left before 3:30.
5 stars.

Magic Is Still Mojoing

Too many things have been going on in the last few days to leave room to write. Many of them probably wouldn't excite most people, but it has been great from my view point.

My Dallas cousins give me lessons in being gracious and most other facets of life. I've had great time seeing the town with them and visiting my aunt. I also had a good visit with my cousin J's son, J. He's one upbeat good hearted guy and I think his looks will help his various efforts in the marketplace as well.

Now I'm in Austin. I spent the day holding and entertaining my not yet three months old niece, V. I'm pretty sure she was talking to me when no one else could hear. She said, "Gruncle!". Then she laid an egg, so to speak.

I have to admit, I like babies. They are at that stage I never outgrew--trying to make sense of all the sound and fury around them. She may like everyone, but I think we hit it off in any case. It's like holding a giant bobble head doll, with the object being to make sure the head stays attached. Rarely, if ever, have I seen a happier, more relaxed new mother. Now I know the pics of her working on the computer between contractions were the real deal. She said she didn't want to think about being uncomfortable and figured the baby would come pretty soon. Or something like that.

Tomorrow I'm going to meet the Horse Boy foundation people at the ranch where they work with autistic children. It's about an hour from here. I was there but it is not easy to find. I ended up at someone else's place. He said he's does work for them sometimes but today was too hot. I followed him there and no one was home. He called them up and they said 10am tomorrow would be a good time to come.

I have no idea what I expect there. I just felt a strong desire to go there from the time I watched the Horse Boy documentary. After that I will come back and adore my little grand niece and enjoy the fine view from my nephews back deck on the north west outskirts of Austin.

All the people I have connected with on this tour have been supernatural and magic. I must have needed something and they have given it. All about the love I guess.

In some cases I had apprehensions, preconceived ideas, etc., but each time those were laid to rest and I have been blown away by the acceptance, hospitality, and kindness. I hope that these people receive something of the like from me. I try but can't imagine they get as much out of it as I do. I hope so anyway.

It is still HOT everywhere. Today was 100 degrees.

How my brother raised such sons, I will never know. He broke the chain. These guys are sane and appear to have better than average functionality in their relationships. It didn't seem possible considering ...

I hope I'm around long enough to keep this little niece straight and not selling out to The Man. Tomorrow we'll work on teaching her to sing the blues.

Maybe I'll have pics to put up soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Still Heading Out

Woke up and got hungry so I decided to update.
It appears I'm about one of three people who come to this page, but so be it.

G1 called and convinced me to take the bassman amp with me. It won't take a lot of space. The speaker cab is what takes the space. Quite a nice gesture. These are sought after units in some circles. I'll go by to get it as I leave town. I'm still blown away by the fact they did that jam, and now I'm leaving with the dream amp.

I'm requesting that everyone in Texas run their A/C outdoors. It looks like Austin will be over 100 deg by the time I get there. Dallas is stop 1, and I doubt it will be sweater weather there. Maybe there will be a Subaru dealer who can get that horn beep problem resolved. I think it is a reprogram deal with security or something. But I also tend to think a relay could be involved.

There is also a new reprogram thing required and since it may improve winter time emmissions, CA won't re-up my registration without it. Got that notice a day ago. It is not really a problem, only a slight improvement in some cases, under certain conditions, in fuel economy and emissions. I'm not as quick to jump on that band wagon as the typical subaru owner. Say green and they'll do anything. I've discovered a lot of green cloaked initiatives and products are not really any more resource conserving and kind to the earth (which is Not my mother, has no gender or sex, and doesn't get colds and run fevers like a mammal) than the evil not cloaked in green alternatives.

Common sense and real science and data---not just the stuff that fits predetermined conclusions. That is not so easy to find, but if you look - it is there. Often all it takes is reading a cited study yourself, without bias, and you'll find it doesn't say that people who like mice are 43% more likely to die of snake bite. Or you can poke holes in the conduct of the alleged study. Generalities will get you high fives and a sense of belonging, but rarely help discern the real truth of matters.

I hope rain appears over New Mex and Arizona. Lots of it, and quick. These fires are going to force me to make a detour on the way out of Texas.

Taos was specifically on my list of places to go. It looks like I may have to go there to put out fires if this doesn't change. Maybe I can do that.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

heading out

Tomorrow, Sunday, I hit the road.

The jam was good but best part is not recorded--par for course with these things.

I was stunned the old band went to such trouble to set up and play with me. G1 brought in an amp for me to play through that is best thing ever. I didn't use a delay or anything, and had real control over tone--from clean and sweet to down and dirty. Very full rich sound. An old vintage fender bassman head into a mesa boogie speaker cab with 1-12" speaker. Used audix fireball mic---very clean harp mic; can also be used for vocal.

It has been so long since I played this style and plugged in, I found myself doing things differently then I recall doing them in the past. I think I improved. That appeared to be the consensus. Drummer and bass expressed the wish that I'd stick around.

It was as much fun as I could have expected but was too short a session. G1 had to hit the road. He's got a complicated life at the moment. I know why he had to cut out, but the reason given was a smokescreen. Nothing personal toward me. I couldn't take that much tension and drama. At any rate, it was worth doing.

I'll see if part I got on video is worth sharing. Due to cam location I think all you hear is harp, and that wasn't the real mix in the room.

So, my Mesa Boogie Blue Angel is for sale because I will by G1's bassman with the money. He won't let go of the Mesa speaker cab though, s I need that. A good box with 2 10" would also work well I think.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Still in MEM

MEM is Memphis in airport lingo.

The dealer's computer can't read my car's computer because of a software glitch which won't be resolved until middle of next week. Supposedly it is ok to drive and ignore the horn beep on start up. I'll get it dealt with down the road.

I stuck an extra day or two because old band wants to meet up for a jam. I'm not sure if I was just so surprised they'd be so hospitable or if I really want to play plugged in electric one time. It has been awhile since I played anything but acoustic, just with mic on stand through PA. Different sort of music.

Anyway, I know it is time to hit the road soon. Lots of old regrets and sorrows to resolve in this town. That kind of surprises me. I figured the past was where it belongs--gone. Apparently I haven't come to grips with it totally.

Going to try to get video from the little jam tonight.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Waiting for Godot or something

So, after passing up time in a very cool region east of Chattanooga because my car horn honks quickly a couple of times when I turn the key to start it, and I didn't want to take chances so now I'm at the dealer in Memphis waiting to find out what's up.

It is 98deg F and the heat index is 103. There's an index for hot cold, everything. Once upon a time we did not have these life altering indices. Lucky us.

So, since they have wifi, I'm killing time in the ac and took a pic. Too bad I didn't catch one of the exterminator spraying in here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brief Documentation and review or two

Do not try this yourself--shading a tent on Ocracoke Island. I used it part of the day then took it off at night. I also soaked it in mosquito repellant. But the beach and the water--incomparable.

On the boat from Hatteras to Ocracoke.

The Carolina Country Inn motel in Burnsville, NC--in the mountains. I highly recommend this place. None of the modern inconveniences like key cards that don't work. Real keys. Chairs in front of the room that are actually cool places to hang out. Internet wifi. Big tv on the wall, windows that open. Good price.

Another recommendation.
If your are ever in Misenheimer or Ritchfield NC, there is a place on hwy 49, just off of hwy 52 called the Motel Restaurant (JUDY'S). They even include the parentheses bit on the sign.
It is a great diner in the tradition of great diners. Whatever that means. It is the place to go. That's all I can say. And they had the highest sanitation grade I've seen so far, 99%. In NC, they give you a letter grade plus post your score. I guess 95 is also an A. Maybe it goes down to 90.

It is not more than a mile or two from the Headquarters hair cutter where I lost my long hair.

Thunderstorms in the Blue Ridge tonight. Lots of spectacular lightening.
the end

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Surreal Adventure Ballistically Right

No one could have predicted where this tour was going. But that is why it is a ballistic tour; like being shot from a cannon and no one knows where you land.
Too bad the pic from a friend's phone is of the lowest possible quality, but here is proof I was in custody under authority of Barney Fife.

What more need be said?

There are parts of NC I like as well as anywhere, I think. Rural foothills please me most.

The real story, though, is crossing paths with the kind of friends that are not so common in life. I find myself more fortunate than I might consider that I deserve. From a certain point of view I think one could count me rather rich in the realm of friendships. The kind that would allow me to call for help from anywhere and people would go out of their way to help solve the problem.

When chips are down most acquaintances make rats leaving a sinking ship look like slow pokes out for a stroll. These days find that is not how it is in my life. It has sometimes seemed like anyone professing friendship was only an event of betrayal waiting its time. It's a way of life for many, and those who grew up in Miami when I did seemed culturally to assume that as the behavioral norm. I was by no means the number one victim. It just never seemed quite right. Lot of "just doin' my job", or "nothin' personal, just business" types in that bunch.

If you've been there, you know what I mean. If not, then not.

Maybe I am just realizing who my friends really are more than in the past. It takes some people years to do the weeding that others instinctively do all along.

Anyway, I jammed with a couple of strangers out in some very beautiful country, and one guy was bummed out that I'm a foreigner and passing through. He'd been looking for a harp player and thought he'd just got lucky. Very flattering. We'll see if we can collaborate long distance with sound files. Just some blues mostly, but probably original stuff at any rate.

I'm looking forward to getting back home to my Copper Creek family. They are a good group and I enjoy playing with them.

When it comes down to it this trip has let me know I may be loved more than I realized. That probably sounds selfish and stupid, but if you were me you know what it means and that it is a very good thing. I needed to have this sort thing hammered in. It will make me a better person more than likely. And it makes me grateful, and gratitude tends to make a person happier than not.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Haircuts, Salt Water, and deadly blood suckers

There is no water and beach on the planet that has the feel of home like where the Atlantic Ocean meets the outer banks of North Carolina. It is the perfect beach in so many ways; waves big enough to be interesting but not overwhelming (though rip tides can get you if you are unwary), very broad white sand beach with dunes lining the back, warm enough water to be bracing but not chilling wet suit swimming.

You can imagine feeling energized enough to raise the Jolly Roger and have your way with the world. The place does have that magic.

Oh yea, you can drive on the beaches for miles. I did not because I thought the salt and sand not the best ticket for my car. The four wheel drive would do it, but the clearance could be a little iffy in areas.

The thing is, one should either make a day trip of it, or have decent lodging secured. It is not a poor man's venture for long. Even camping you need a big tall tropical style shelter--or you will swelter. And be sure it has fool proof mosquito netting. Soak it in repellant chemicals. That is what I eventually did to my tent, the tarp, and my clothes and myself. Frisco is really a little better for the minimally equipped camper. I had no mosquito issue there which was surprising.

Another hint: if you decide to go over a sand dune path to get to the beach, at noon, and your flip flops seem to be bogging down in the soft deep sand, DO NOT remove them, thinking you can make a run for it barefoot. You will find yourself ankle deep in sand just two degrees below the point at which it turns to molten glass.

Holy smoke!!! Talk about a hot foot! I threw those flipflops back down and jumped on them, then went the rest of the way with left flop on right foot, etc. HOT. I found another less treacherous route back.

Before the Banks, I spent time with Joel in Greensboro. I think I mentioned staying in Hagan Stone park. I don't recall.

I decided I can't go way up to Mass. or NY or New Hampshire. I'm heading back west.

Had I the means for good lodging, and all the fun toys that lend themselves to the Outer Banks, I might have stayed there another decade. Lacking that, and finding absolutely no shade in the federal campground, and suspecting not much better at the private ones, and because of the unbelievably inconsiderate mosquitoes, I had to hit the road, Jack.

Good advice from Ocracoke; not sure if you can see it but this is a cemetery with a sign pleading for you to keep out. Ironic, I think. "PLEASE KEEP OUT"--takes less persuasion some days than others, in my case

After an all nighter, which included 4 hours of dozing in a rest stop, I wound my way down to Peiffer University, my last full time institute of higher learning. It is still as great as ever. I was saddened to think of my confused and horrifically wasteful ways at the time. But then it occurred to me some of the reasons and the fact that you cannot change these things. I love that area; quiet, pretty, lots of home grown culture.

Headquarters, home of master barber MR ?

I took a chance and got a haircut at Headquarters, the only barber in Misenheimer, NC. Too bad this guy is not ocated in Alpine. He was damned good, and his pals came in talking it up, almost like Floyd's in Mayberry, except this guy wasn't spooky like Floyd.

He did seem to repeat key phrases from his friends though.
Pal-"So, them Highway Patrols is out there an I ain't kidding, they're taking pictures and pulling em over"
Barber-"Taking pictures"
Pal-"It 'as so hot, I near laid out yestiddy"
Barber-"Near laid out"

These guys aren't old and ancient by any means. Just the way of it. That guy had every document known to the world of haircutting on his wall, and about ten billiards trophies. He sure did better than that Viet Namese chick in Alpine.

I miss having long hair. I like it long, but am not too thrilled with the look of it. I just like having it. Is that gay? Probably. Oh well.

Speaking of gay, my trusty Subaru, TourMobile#2, is getting very close to 30 mpg lately, even with a/c running. At times, it is down to 26 or 28, but that is because of all the 20 mph towns and erratic NC speed limits on highways---55, 45, 65, 70 50, 60, and not always in any logical place.

Pics aren't too good. I have some video but brought no electronics down to the beach.

Man, I forgot how much I love salt water, and none more than this stretch of the Atlantic.

I believe this is Frisco, just above the bottom of Hatteras, I guess, where you take the ferry to Ocracoke. I enjoyed that 40 min ride, and it is free.

This is probably from the top of the dunes since I know I brought no phone further than that

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

coast to coast

My connection is off and on it is not the best environment for a computer.

I'm in Frisco, in the Outer Banks of NC, heading down to the ferry to Ocracoke in a bit.

Nice ocean out here. I always liked this general area but have never been so far down the banks. It is still my favorite beach I think.

Too slow on upload to fool with pics at the moment. Not that you care, but I like to put them up anyway.

The stars were quite visible and vivid last night. Good navigation aid. I located the north star just in case life gets confusing. For the first time ever I tried the small unused tent. It set up quick and works OK. Made in China where they tend to make marginally functional zippers and design the rain fly for only a drizzle. It didn't rain.

If I find a place I like further south I will set up larger digs and hang a few days. Or I may come back up to this spot. Definitely a good area for sunscreen and mosquito sticks.

Short review: the mosquito sticks from Walmart work well out here.

The Tour mobile is serving well and I am quite grateful to it and for it.

the end

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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