Monday, July 25, 2011

It's When the Running Stops That Brings Trouble

Don't know if it is a shadow or a blinding hot light, but it feels like it has stalked me forever. I think when I take off and go so far that getting home would take days or longer, and I keep roaming, that I manage to throw it off my trail for awhile. That is why I like traveling so much--the enemy has a tough time throwing that blanket of sadness over me, holding me hostage.

Once I'm home, I do less well at the happy evasion of the stalker. But I try. I spent years thinking I was facing it down, putting myself in jobs and situations that made it worse, but which held the promise of making me into something normal and more acceptable and OK. My definitions, obviously. What I don't know about what is normal and acceptable to others is a lot.

Fortunately there are a few people I manage to see regularly due to various obligations. Otherwise I could go months with virtually no human contact, even though I do not understand humans who hate their own kind, think bears have more right to be on earth, etc.

I'm actually amazed when I reflect upon the number of years I have battled certain demise and sadness. If the potential was ever there, as some professors, girlfriends, parent, etc. told me, then there was something else there that was more powerful which tended to thwart it. You'd have thought that a few years of cleaning dope and alcohol out of the system would be enough. And you'd be dead wrong in this case. It certainly didn't hurt, as it ensured I'd live to fight another day. It is unlikely I would have lasted much longer without some very big trouble. So, that was a good demon to face head on. It had some definition. It required a lot of change in my outlook and attitude in order to get free of the numbing agents.
Image lifted from someone named Vamane Corbin

Still wasn't enough to free me of the stealthy stalker. I may never shake that bastard. However, there are moments when I feel free and right. That is what I have to remember because there was a time when those moments were as much as a year or more apart. Now, it is rarely more than a week or two between them. Progress.

The big question is who will win, the prey or the hunter? I wouldn't bet either way on that, even though in a way I have already placed my bet that the prey will eventually vanquish the hunter. In the mean time, I'll just try to try to do...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Got Any Last Words?

It was late afternoon and I'd driven many long stretches of attractive road with not a gas station or town, so when I rolled into Loyalton, I felt I should take stock of things and decide when and where to stop for the night. Pulling into a roadside parking spot was easy enough, right in front of the Golden ??? Saloon and Motel. Can't recall for sure golden what. I think it was Golden West. I remember it really wasn't the sort of thing you could picture, like a golden nugget. Probably golden west.

It was built just like the ones you see in movies with the stairs on the outside. This was too good not to check out. I'd never stayed at a saloon hotel before. Besides, my knee was complaining loudly all afternoon. I'd tell it, "that is not pain, it is only fear leaving the body", but it did not help much.

That was the knee that went south when I had a canoe on my head, braving the wilds of Seattle. I'm pretty sure that what happened is that a bear jumped out of a tree onto the canoe just as I went to step up that bank. Bears are obese and heavy, much because they get special treatment and no one tells them they can't have trans fats and such. If we don't address the ursine obesity crisis soon, the west will probably sink a thousand feet or so and that will make for lots of bad weather.

So, I saunter into this establishment, walk right up to the bar keep and said, "Gimme yer best sasparilla." Then I looked over at some side winder whose expression I didn't much cotton to and called him out. "Yer yella, I said, and if ya ain't you'll draw. Go on,or is ya part chicken too?" I really let him have it.

Well, turns out that sidewinder wasn't afeared a'tall. Why he drew a picture of the whole town, Salvador Dali style, with cars that curved and cows that smoked hookahs, before I could finish my sasparilla. Being a man of honor, I noted that this side winder was in his purple phase and not a bit yella.

Finally, in an effort to save face and hide, I arranged for a room. The rate was reasonable, relatively speaking, and I was beat. My knee needed icing and I had my own food I could fix in the room. My room was at the back corner of the place. This enabled me to park in the gravel lot out back and go up the stairs back there. The stairs land on a deck that goes across the back of the place.

You've seen cowboys in movies fight on such decks and break the rail, falling onto whatever is below. Sometimes they jump from there onto their horses. I checked it out and it seemed too high to jump on a horse without busting things I would rather leave intact, including the horse's back.

From that deck a door leads to a hall that runs perpendicular to the deck. My room was first one on the right. A very strange woman was across the hall, but she made no trouble. I do not think anyone else was taking advantage of this inn that night.

In the morning, after a relatively restful night--my nights were not all that restful for a long time for various reasons--I gathered my things and headed down to the car.

When I was about two thirds of the way down, a voice behind me says, "hehe, know how many steps there is to a gallows?"

The guy came out of nowhere. I didn't see him in the hall when I left the room, or on the deck. I turned around and guess I gave a quizzical look, half saying, "Wha..?"

He said, "count 'em, see how many steps this is". And he half chuckled, half grunted.

"Thirteen!! That's how many steps they build for you to walk up to the gallows!", he suddenly volunteered. I had drawn the connection a split second before that and turned to grin at the guy. The Golden West Saloon and Motel has thirteen steps up to the second story rooms.

"Hha heha", him, with that semi-laugh again.

"Haha, you're alright!", he says.

"Yes, I am", I replied as I headed to load the car.

I thought I had a phone pic of the saloon. Maybe on the FLIP cam. I'll get around to it. This is taken somewhere but I do not know where. From the speckles, it was looking through the bugs on the windshield. I figured a pic at this point was better than nothing, even blurry and undefined.

This character looked like the archetypal old miner, old codger, old timer, all rolled into one. A wide brimmed floppy hat, and the rest I can't say. I suppose it was some kind of felt or canvas cowboy hat. I don't know. Old codger headgear.
Women can look at someone and know not only the material and color of clothes, shoes, accessories, but the brands as well. This guy was old codger western fashion. And he had just a bit of a limp, of course.

While I was loading the car he wandered off and appeared to go down the road. He was out to the road and out of sight.

As I was beginning to pull out, he appears at my passenger window out of nowhere, so I ask if there's a good breakfast place in town. He recommended what'sername's bakery across the street---and I must say he was right. If you go to Loyalton, stop in that place across from the saloon.

He'd actually startled me because he was gone just seconds prior. I lowered the windows and boom, there he is with his head almost inside the car and a silly grin. He talked in the voice you expect from old western miners and side winders. I was beginning to see myself as Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western.

After the whatsername's bakery discussiojn, he says, as he looks me in the eye with one of those old codger wacko stares and a hint of a grin, "Got any last words?.......before ya go". The pause between the two phrases was dramatic and effective.

Now that did catch me dumbfounded. I just looked at him doing my best to muster my inner High Plains Drifter. "Can't say as I do." There are few times in life when a phrase like that actually works for a city boy. In this case it just flowed as if I talk that way all the time. Plus it was the truth as I knew it at that moment.

My pal seemed almost pleased and almost disappointed at the same time. "Well, I guess not then, other than good bye."

Good bye, I said.

"We'll be seeing you." Not really the most comforting parting words he could have uttered.

****I searched the net a found a reasonable representation of my Loyalton pal:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thirteen Steps

Some friends already know about my encounter in Loyalton, CA with what may have been the Grim Reaper, or just a mischievous ghost. Maybe I'll write about him later.

That's the number of steps they built in the gallows. You climb 13 steps on that last stroll.

What Can You Do; Hard to Know the Answer

Thinking about the balance of authority and individual autonomy, it is tough to figure the ultimate solution. People will abuse power, for the most part. That is obvious from behavior in motor vehicles. An alarmingly large portion of people will choose the path that inconveniences the other driver whenever that is an easy option. Things they couldn't do without the ton of steel around them. That explains the phenomenon in California of hostile young women on the road. "I"ll show you about power, Mr. Man." And the insecure tailgaters who drive oversized vehicles as close as they dare at high speed behind smaller vehicles. Rarely do they tailgate cars of equal size. More than just compensating for other inadequacies, I suspect.

But for the most part the drivers are harmless enough. It is merely the fact that in this culture we still haven't evolved beyond the petty power grab. Actually, I think we are moving backwards. In most places that power grab is expected, especially in 3rd world life. We are hell bent on duplicating that lifestyle, so here we go.

The thing about placing too much control of anything in the hands of authorities--I don't care if we do elect them--is that who is going to curb their appetite and ego? Just look what happens when you give law enforcement free reign to move from protecting your rights to making you prove you are not in violation of any of thousands of statutes and codes. People get used to it. Abuse is like that.

The same abuse applies when considering pure majority rule without constraints. The majority is not always right, fair or humane. That is what seems to be missed these days. The whole idea of a constitutional republic is to give the people voice while at the same time limiting the scope of what their government can do. It is the graying of the boundaries that has resulted in much of our difficulties. The trick used in many cases has been to ignore cases of fraud and forms of force, then declare a problem and make specific laws against Johnny putting gum in your hair or some such thing. Soon you have thousands of these little specifics, replete with conditions and special definitions. The real result is that loopholes have been provided for the real culprits, and their competitors have been thwarted in the process.

Next thing you know you have to pay for permits and bonding if you want to go door to door washing windows, so the people in the 'hood hire Mexicans who come over pretending to shop, but who really come wash your windows cheap and go home at day's end. You can't compete because you are still trying to round up cash to pay the price of being a legal window washer in one story homes.

Then you get stopped at a random check point and they write you up because one of your tail lights burned out. Who knew? But in being written up and ticketed, society benefits, although the cost of all that may be a little pricey considering they could have just said, hey the light's out, here's two bucks, go buy a bulb, and saved taxpayer money.

But, if no one pays attention, the lovely neighbors I encounter in this area would drive with no lights or turn signals at either ninety two miles per hour on the highway, or at twenty two miles per hour, or both. And the people would be bad and all that.

Although I did notice in some of the open areas with speed limits of 80 mph, people settled in to speeds which fit the terrain and conditions when 80 would be a little too fast for safe travel. It was where the limit was 60 or 65 and there was no good reason for it that they drove like lunatics.

It is always a puzzle. Who do I trust with guns more, the average citizen, or the official paid by tax money to hide and catch you doing something? Too bad the motto is not "Protect your rights and freedoms" . That one is a toss up, so I am all for people owning guns if they choose to, and not having to permit them unless they have proven themselves idiotic or troublesome in the past. I've had people shoot at my car before in Greensboro, I think, and Jacksonville Florida, but I've felt more threatened by cops, one on one, who went for their gun because I wanted to read something before signing or otherwise questioned what was going on.

Ever since Mrs Anderson, my kindergarten (alleged) teacher, I have known that authority figures are in no way guaranteed to be more decent and fair than the skid row bum, or the death row convict. That's why strict limits have to be placed on authority and those limits not loosened.

Hot Here Would Be Heaven In Many States

The temperatures have been a little on the warm side during the day, out here in the back country of San Diego County. Of course, the coast has been pleasantly perfect, in the low 70's. I know it was at least 88 F today. Whether it got up over that, I am not sure. That is hot enough when you have only fans and no A/C. The good part is that it drops a lot at night, and if I keep the place buttoned up during the day, it stays fairly cool, at least until mid afternoon.

All the more reason to get a crude fountain built that is portable. I'll use the fan to blow over the falling water and have a home made swamp cooler going in here. Evaporative cooling works well in this location.

There is work I need to do at the black ops house so next week I'll spend a couple of days there, skinny dipping at night, possibly under the glare of the local trophy significant-others. (not PC to say "trophy wives", but that is what I mean). That Rancho X neighborhood boasts more trophies than the women's soccer team and Green Bay combined. And that is per capita, almost.

Tomorrow I have to do some routine things and meet the internet guy and the hvac guy to let them in and discuss the earth shaking discrepancies. It feels good to be useful and to have the feeling that I was more missed than HM (house manager) is letting on. Some of it is obvious from the things that have been let go which I would have dealt with a little more conscientiously.

It looks like the thing to do is deal with all the immediate matters in front of me, and begin to work on other things which could make me wealthier. Having money appears to be a very useful thing, judging from my travels and powers of observation. Obtaining it looks to me like as much attitude and art as anything else. I never downplay the role a person's outlook plays in bringing them abundance. Even jerks can have that part down and although they may think it is their lack of honor that serves them, there is some simple rule which some people get which allows them to get paid.

I've seen too many people who are great at many things, honest, hard working, the whole deal, yet they are no good at getting paid. I've also seen those who are and still have all the honor and character of the first group. Same goes for dishonorable and shiftless slackers--some know how to get paid while others don't.

People who are very good at getting paid often do not trouble themselves with the same trivia which occupies the mind of one like me. That must be part of the art, avoid sweating the small stuff, especially the stuff which has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

Did I tell you I got harassed by border patrol at the permanent check point on I-8 on the way in? Yes, I did. A couple of Mexican agents. So, what are they looking for, I ask myself. Illegals, drugs, and the like, I assume. The guy wanted to know where I'd been, how long I was there, bla bla bla. None of his business. I have no drugos, and I have no illegal Mexicans in my car. That is all they needed to know.

Then the chick says, "Wha's under that blankeet?" So, I dramatically yanked it up off the cooler it was covering as I said, "this is called a TOWEL, it is not a blanket." That shut them both up for some reason and they let me go. I keep things covered from the sun as much as possible.

That started my mind going. The agents in now way thought they were intruding on my rights. Due process and probable cause, and irrelevance of their questions--none of that is within their philosophical grasp. They are protecting Our Borders, and those who do not see what they real problems are and how they came about believe that is enough.

Once upon a time there were some good people in this country who truly believed and promoted the concept of a free country, with maximum individual freedom and minimum control. We've been duped, in the name of very worthy causes, into giving up our presumed innocence, freedom from unreasonable or capricious detainment, search, and seizure--and we are not better off or safer for it.

I'm nice to border patrol, and I even made noise when our federal judicial system railroaded some of them for doing their job. Clearly some underhanded maneuvering involving Mexican officials, US officials and, most likely, drug cartels. That does not mean I think they have the right to mess with me just so they can claim not to be racist. Or just because it makes idiots feel better if we are all treated as criminals so that we might catch a real one every 10000th time. And to do it without telling me exactly what they suspect I am hauling is wrong.

I wish I'd had a couple of young Mexican women under the towel. What a shock it would have been to all concerned. Or maybe a wild Mexican cougar.

"Well, if you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about." I can just hear that reaction coming from some quarters now. Yes, I worry anytime a person or agency is put in a position of forcing me at gunpoint to satisfy either their curiosity, their dogmatic rules of procedure, or their personal biases. And the inconvenience is not worth to me what the alleged benefits are in this situation.

***These guys may be over the top but apparently I am not alone in the knee jerk reaction which brings those old movie checkpoints to mind Strange as they seem, I hardly disagree with these guys. It is a system which has crossed the line and most people don't mind. But some do. These are certainly strange times. Other than a cop in Arkansas who hung in my left side blind spot and kept driving oddly, only in CA did I see tons of people being pulled, cops hiding in bushes, and checkpoints asking me my business.
I'm not 100% with these guys I'm sure. I think they are within their rights but sometimes do more harm than good, and usually such people go off on tangents that aren't my thing. On the other hand, accountability in how police functions are conducted, and why, is sorely needed***

The problem is deeper than a porous border with a country whose own immigration policies are drastically more draconian than our own. Deeper than the misguided liberal talking points comparing this sort of influx with the kind we experienced when people came, "to be free", seeking opportunity based on their own willingness to work, etc.

There is much of that sort of thing, but much is merely a new class of willing slaves for the modern political plantation that keeps those with the mindset of elitists in power. They say they aren't but all their actions prove otherwise.

The problem is rooted in our own policies, belief that we have to class minorities because they are really not worthy on their own without special treatment--and in exchange, if they are to be considered proud of their ethnicity they must vote a certain way. As we all know, if you are Black or Latino, you think just like all the others in your group. Women need to do the same thing or else they'll be removed from the ubiquitous "minorities and women" phrase on job openings. Women who don't all think alike are not good for women according to Germaine Greer.

One thing we've learned: you don't need to know the English word "towel" to be a border patrol agent.

Maybe those old World War II movies with the "show me your papers" Nazis made too much of an impression on me. I was never much of a war movie fan, and ignored many of them, but the ones where people would smuggle themselves across checkpoints did attract me. French underground, that sort of thing. But I always found it very creepy when some official would detain the heroes and ask questions like, "where have you been? Where are you going?" "Is this your vehicle?" and search whatever they chose to search. Just like Miguel and Maria on I-8's border patrol checkpoint. (It is like a permanent roadblock. Yet they never asked to see my license. Maria did search the very back of my car under the cargo cover.

When our own president pretends (I hope) ignorance by saying to the La Raza crowd that Mexicans were here in Texas before Europeans arrived, I see little chance for the harsh truth to surface. The truth of cultures and nations is much like nature--brutal and unforgiving, and not at all pristine and in happy harmony for all life forms affected by events endemic to those systems.

Bottom line: Why do so many Mexicans find Mexico so intolerable that they risk all to leave and what is their blowhard president doing about it, besides chastising us for not being more hospitable? And why are his laws more harsh toward immigrants if that is how he feels?

CU Creek Pretends not to fire me

So, after being away on the journey that had to end sometime, the old band on the hill here decides to get together for a little practice and conversation. More conversation than picking, but the mood was one for talking.

My confusion stems from the blank I draw when anyone asks about my trip. It was the topic du jour for a couple of months, while it was in progress, and I have little else to say. The important aspects involve my interaction with individuals and that is pretty much our own inter-personal territory and not the best fodder for campfire tales of my adventures.

There may be an event or two which would be tantalizing enough, but just not the sort of thing I care to share. Hell, I got in trouble when I bragged about my new grand niece prior to my departure. Or it felt like trouble. You get a lot of that when you get along with various separate groups and maybe one of those groups in not that comfortable with another.

It did do me good to figure out that my brother was ancient aunt J's favorite. He's so convinced I was, and am, everyone's favorite, even if I don't deserve it, that I think it helps him soothe his conscience over his life long effort to prove his superiority and my incompetence, lack of insight, and general lack of character and meaningful intelligence. I wish like crazy that I did not, deep down, agree with that assessment. His mission, obviously, was a success. It is irksome that he'd never admit to that mission. I think it is the least he could do. After all, I admit that I was generally the favorite of relatives and anyone else who met both of us at the same time. I also admit it had little to do with intelligence or accomplishment. I was just easier to deal with and more fun.

Those days have passed. I am no longer more fun or easier to deal with, as a general rule. I'm closer to the basket case some wished me to be all along.

So, we had a gig, now we don't, and part of the band is playing elsewhere with a guy they sang with for years. I doubt they are changing direction, but I like to make trouble just because I can. I hope we start regularly practicing and seeking venues to perform.

No one said, "You're Fired!" so that is good.

Monday, July 18, 2011

So Far, So Good

I've been back for a week and might soon adjust. As it is, there appear to be no outstanding warrants or anything so that is OK.

The important thing is to keep in motion and don't give up, if at all possible. That was one reason I liked being on the road. you have that extra incentive to pick up and keep moving. Campgrounds only allow you for so long. Recent weather made hanging around anywhere too long akin to locking one's self in an oven set to cook pizza. The car has windows which make it windy if you drive with them down, and a/c for purely high carbon footprint, good old fashioned cooling. Even so, you probably get better milage with windows up, running a/c, than you do windows all the way down traveling the same speed. Windows just down an inch or two and no a/c, I believe, has the advantage.

My age and mortality confronted me on this journey, and that sucks, but I suppose it is good to get it out of the way at some point in life. I'm barreling head long toward the invisible finish line and will reach it whether I want to or not. I'm closer to it than I was thirty years ago. OK, accept reality, and then give it the finger and forget it. Way too much of our culture wastes time on some sort of worship of false immortality--too much plastic surgery, too much adulation of entertainers as if they are timeless and bigger than life, too much classification, like "seniors", and whatever they call young punk kids, etc.

Every time I get injured or sore, which has happened to me since I was a very small child, or someone else I know gets injured or sore, they invariably say, "well, we aren't getting any younger", "Old age is catching up", "i'm getting old". What kind of dumb ass attitude is that? Of course you are getting older. By definition everything is as seen through our reference frame of this 4 dimensional dimension. Time is the fourth, after length, width, and height. Or depth if you prefer. You measure time, then you automatically have age. So why point out the obvious?

You are probably suffering from self neglect is my guess. Or you may just have bad genes or bad luck and the place where you exist is liable to fall apart because it is a lousy unit. Or all the above. It is what it is. Time goes on, so if you gonna blame every ache and pain and shortfall on age, why not just end it all now? Put yourself out of your misery. Things fall apart. You work with what is salvageable. I was in worse shape years ago. I was in better shape other years ago, so there it is. Gimme dollah, man, I old and a friggin senior citizen.

Last thing I want is for kids to think I am cool. Those who believe that keeps them young are just frightened and trying to cover it up. Unless, of course, the snotty little bastards will pay me money because of it. Then, go ahead, think I am cool as glacier ice.

One thing for sure, senior discounts at motels are largely mythological tales designed to get your cheap, greedy old self in the door. AAA gets you the same thing, if anything. The standard line is to say, "Oh, I already gave you the discounted rate. The normal price is a billion dollars".

In a way, I'm glad of that. Discounts based on date of birth, race, or other condition of birth have nothing to do with the cost of supplying the room. I could see discounts for those who bring their own sheets, towels, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, maybe even their own bed. And who don't use electricity and such. But what is the logic of old equals cheaper? I've heard the fixed income rationale.

Why not just put everyone on a sliding scale? To each according to need, from each according to ability. Sounds like a plan that is sure to work and everyone can be happy and nice. Oh, maybe it was tried before. What could go wrong? Maybe what goes wrong is that someone or some group has to decide what is your need and what is your ability. And your cooperation cannot be optional in such a scenario. That gets sticky because then the nice people (or person) in charge has to force you to see the light and comply. Could get ugly.

The whole pension, social security scheme of things is a trap, but many die before it bites them. That is how those things work.

Anyway, the senior thing is garbage. Like it is easier for an 18 year old to afford dinner than a 70 year old. Another crumb doled out to help get votes.

In the mean time I will trick and harass any place that uses that senior discount bait. The trick is to wait until they give the price, then ask nonchalantly, "so, what age is considered senior these days", as if you are only curious--not greedy, which you are. If you are lucky, the 20ish, clueless clerk will say, "Uh, I dunno, maybe like fifty." "Oh, wow! I can't believe it--I qualify!! Thanks, young whippersnapper!" And you get 10% off because killing your joy over winning this miniscule lottery is impossible for all but hard core sociopaths Acting! Remember your lines, cues, and marks. And P r o j e c t!. But let me warn you, this only works maybe one out of seven times, and it is very hard to play the Indians, and Asians. "Oh, we're too cheap already. No more discount is possible!" Or, having a bit of a different work ethic, they will say senior is 75 years old, "maybe".

I managed to set and spring the senior trap a couple of times, but it almost is not worth it. One thing for sure, do not let them know your age before finding out what senior is. If you do, they just add a few years and set that as the senior line of demarkation.

I'm hungry. I had one good meal since Seattle. I still have my strawberry jam, homemade, so I am not hurting for good food. Plus the seasoning, I forget the name, too lazy to look*, that Joel thinks is better than Howling Wolf. It is from NC, and it is different and close to as good on french fries. I have to compare the two. Needless to say, for a vegetarian, I have the best rubs for meat and fish of anyone I know. The NC stuff is salt free, so that may be a benefit. But the Wolf is mighty fine. Both are better than you find in most pantries, so I will not call a favorite.

That did it, I have to figure out what else is here to eat.

*OK. Looked at the container--Richard's Delicious Seasoning .. for pork, poultry,seafood, did it say bar b que? THAT, and/or beef. No msg, no salt. Joel made me an offer I couldn't refuse--he spent hard earned money and gave me a bottle of it. I find it is best on salty things. So, if your fish, pig, cow, crow, chicken or squirrel is on a high salt diet, Richard's is what you want. It is also good on tortillas with butter. I'm now too seasoning savvy. I'll have to replenish my almost depleted supply of howling wolf, and when Richard's runs out, I'll have to search the black market for more.

By the way, that's where I get my protein, in case you were curious. The Black Market. The Seattle jam maker finally pointed that out because I have never known how to answer when a carnivore bares it's fangs and snarls, "So, you a gotdammed vegerarium. Tell me this, sissy boy, where you get yer dem protein?" Of course, the answer was obvious the whole time. The Black Market has always been where I got it.
Thank you, S.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Maybe This was CA

I think this was CA near lake Mono, or Mono Lake--whichever way they call it. Some high sierra action there. If not then it is Oregon, but I think it is CA.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Even Now I Still Crave That Salt Water at OBX

Every once in awhile I think about how great it is to let the waves on the Outer Banks, NC, bounce you back to shore. If you aren't careful you can get rolled and rocked like crazy. With very little effort you can just let the wave carry you in, or you can just bob around. There is something just right about the temperature, texture, salt level, waves, the whole experience. I've been to some nice beaches, but I always feel like the NC coast is the best when it comes to jumping into the waves.

How great to go back in time and see how the pirates lived there.

Where Was I?

It feels a little odd not to be in motion, darting from place to place, covering lots of ground. I've been told I should write more in depth about the journey but I find I am almost a blank slate when I try to think about it.

I know I am not and that I am constantly thinking about it deep down. One thing is very clear to me, people view the world differently and find different things important and interesting. I'm more interested in the people aspect or just the lay of the land rather than the geological history or extinct animal fossils. I think it is cool to imagine those creatures roaming the earth, terrorizing one another and all that, but I find the human cultures that were wandering around terrorizing one another more interesting.

Of course, there are many who don't want to believe that Native Americans ever made mischief on others but those things happen. If not for severely twisted and aggressive mischief, the Aztecs would not have been so famous today and powerful or technologically advanced in their day. Most of their cleverness was brought in by conquered peoples.

Anyway, my particular level and state of survival demands different things than some. I often need reminding that I have anything worthwhile to offer anyone, or that I have a brain or any ability in any area whatsoever. It is a curse, but I am not unique in that way. I'd blame George Bush, but only someone like Chris Matthews would buy it. I could blame Obama but that would be equally off the mark. Darn. I guess I'll either blame you, or just let go of blame altogether.

It was good for me to cruise through the last college I attended in NC. That is where a pattern of behavior really took off which did not serve me well, but the place was as idyllic and perfect as I remember. I went there with good intentions when I was almost 23, I think. Those intentions lasted not even one full day. My intent was not to drink, drug and waste the opportunity. Oh well. Maybe it took that in order for me to have more empathy and compassion. Now, like then, I do not consider it compassion if I use your resources by force in order to exercise my benevolent desires toward those I feel need the boost. That is what separates me from much of our civilization philosophically.

Somehow the trip has made me less inclined to consider involvement in such public issues. I'll continue to vote against every tax or increase in anything governmental, and leave it at that. Or try to. Maybe I'm right, maybe not. Hard to figure. A lot of the bankrupt places in the country are the nicest places. Of course it could be like the people who drive cars they can't afford and live in houses beyond their means---as soon as there is a little ripple in the cash flow, they go under and either pull some fancy legal antics that allow them to live well in bankruptcy, or they end up with an old Dodge Dart and set up house in a tent under a bridge.

It is interesting that the most polite, respectful people, culturally, live in towns far from major urban areas. Like one friend pointed out--people crave the society of their fellow man, so they end up in cities then they don't even say hello as they pass one another on the sidewalk and they do all they can to avoid direct contact. And they kill each other. Strange species, humans. Only species on earth that will place land off limits in order to ensure that other species will thrive, and only species that includes a large number who hate their own kind to the point that they would kill them in the name of protecting some obscure creature. Or just the vague concept of "saving the planet".

I figure no good books have ever been written by the planet or bears or any of those other things so I can't discount humans that way. Besides, though I often feel we must have been dropped here from another planet, I do not think we have less right to be here than those other things with sharp teeth and claws.

It was a little bit of a shock to see Greensboro traffic had become more congested and the driving more peculiar. I also sensed more racial animosity which seemed kind of gangish in nature. Memphis, on the other hand, seems to have toned down. Regardless of anyone's rationalizations, I know how I treat people, and I do not respect or appreciate being given the cold rude attitude due to the perception that I am a white male. You only get that in certain places, usually when any legal minority is in the majority. Facts are facts.

Excuses can be given, but the truth is, until people stop, racial tension will continue. That is where merit and civility come in. Until the culture figures that out, you are going to have punks of all races playing their games when they think they have the upper hand. Idiots. And playing the game of calling anyone a racist if they call it honestly is actually the real racist response. That's why I give up on that. I blame government, religion, and people who love to exercise power over others. Doesn't mean all government or religion or people are to blame but the evil thrives where it thrives.

Seattle is still got a unique character that is politely irreverent and fun loving. Though I did not explore it a lot, I honestly do not think Austin is as cool as it thinks it is. Which is the thing. Places that work too hard at being cool become less hospitable and eclectic, fostering a sort of rigid conformity in their self proclaimed non-conformity. My quick impression of Austin was that they are headed that way, and Taos is there. Cool places which tend to become uncool just because they were cool and got a swelled head.

Hopefully these observations are controversial enough to elicit angry rebuttals.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In AZ Nearing Utah

Not too far from Four Corners, heading toward Utah.

None of these videos are long or very exciting. Just the way it worked out.

After weeks of it, I was in search of a day under 100 deg F with a "feels like" of 210.

A Favorite Spot In My Old Home Town

Old Guilford Mill, Greensboro, NC
I consider Greensboro my adult home town, and Miami my childhood home town. Both were radically different cultures to the point that I had to learn the language upon moving to NC in my very early twenties. They sure did have more than their fair share of good looking, rather friendly women. Holy smoke. I was doomed from the get go, I see that now. And they were wilder partiers than those Florida people would have believed at the time. I was doomed doomed doomed. It is a miracle I survived, and a damned shame I did not hold on to one of those dames for dear life, crank out kids and be useful and involved. Oh well.

More of Joel and John's spellbinding dialog. I'm beginning to see how I could anger a person who actually knows something or thinks. But, I'm sure I'm wrong about that. He was born in Walden Pond. Thoreau broke down and got the doctor out there. They weren't sure what it was at first. The doctor confirmed it was neither tumor nor goat nor Clint Eastwood, but similar in ways. And that was the beginning of Joel's tour of this planet. He was doomed to a tour clouded with philosophy and intellect. And a very rare talent for arm wrestling. He should have hustled more bets on that--he'd be rich today.

This is where the grits I gave to my dear cousin J came from. She fixed them for breakfast when I left. They were so good I forgot about everything else, like leaving the spare key instead of taking it with me. She is wealthy and has rooms full of gold, so I am auctioning the key on ebay. I'll also disclose the address to the winning bidder.

If that doesn't raise some cash then I will rely on the mesa boogie amp./ Blue angel with 4-10's. All in one cab. Nice cover, good tubes, spares, goo condition.
Then I will get the old bassman head and the mesa box from G1 if he doesn't change his mind. I doubt he will.

I have oat meal, pancake mix--two kinds--from the Old Mill. It is all better when it is made there. Old elves run the place. They have been doing it for hundreds of years. They are pretty much immortal although Spikie Guilford got ground into oblivion in 1821 when he fell under the grindstone when they were making wheat flour. Since then, it never happened again. They keep the story alive and even have an annual play reenacting the tragedy on the anniversary of his death.

They've made a lot of money on that place, enough to find ways to blend in with mainstream America. As a matter of fact, DNA testing recently proved that Danny DeVito is a descendant of Spikie Guilford. Many families tried to hide their elf heritage.

But, times are changing and soon you'll see parades and elf pride days, elf power political action groups, the whole bit. I wonder if I'll still like elves when that happens.

It isn't like I ever showed disrespect or laughed at them. If a thirsty elf can't reach a water fountain, I've always been the first to hold him up so he can drink. I always favored elf suffrage, and supported their right to drive--provided they could. Same as people. Elves are polite drivers, observe the common rules of the road and lots of times, they'll pick up hitchhikers, or stop and fix cars left on the side of the road, frequently painting them in happy designs as a finishing touch. .

Camped at MS Hill Country Harp fest

This was first camping event of the trip, in Mississippi at Foxfire Ranch outside of Oxford.
That tent ended up going by the wayside in OBX. The coastal skeeters were hip to the broken door zipper and the sun smelled seared flesh and cranked it up when it realized the rainfly had issues which limited ventilation, but without it you had no shade.n It worked OK in MS. I snagged the shadiest spot in the place.

Most of the video I took was just in case they found my car at the bottom of a cliff, or if aliens grabbed me or whatever, then people would know where I'd been to some degree and it might make for good conversation. I saw a couple of choices here; preserve as many moments as possible, which meant playing observer or kind of staging them, or live as many moments as possible by being a natural part of them. I chose the latter because that is what I needed to do. I still need to learn to do that more. It is called knowingly being alive and living. That is tough for me.
My default mode is one of wondering when I'll enter the stream of life rather than sitting isolated from it while the flow of it goes by. Hence the tour. hence less video.

But don't think that means I won't play for the camera enthusiastically, given the slightest encouragement. In my bubble of an imaginary world I'm an entertainer.

Boringest Video He's Ever Seen

But wait, HE's the videographer and has not yet seen it. Perhaps Greensboro's Clint Eastwood is gifted with precognition.

The intense world of conversation between Greensboro friend Joel and myself.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Who You Gonna Believe? me or your own eyes; tour ends

That is not me stealing a baby.

It is not me at all. What baby?

Oh, well it depends upon what baby means and what steal means and what being me means.

See, you give up. It was all a vicious conspiracy perpetrated by my enemies (hard as it is to believe I have any).

The Tour is now over. Let me qualify that---this particular road trip is now over. It was a ballistic tour, however the large picture balisticTour continues.

The car held up dandy.

A few things learned, if I can recall them:

PEOPLE ON THAT NORTH-SOUTH HIGHWAY BETWEEN PROVO AND SALT LAKE CITY ARE BEYOND INSANE. in some places you chalk up behavior to ignorance, others just a jerk culture, and others, like Miami, to a joyful sort of zany madness(albeit deadly and often accompanied by gunfire).
That part of Utah, and much in the areas above and below those cities, defies any explanation. It is like jihad and the whole lack of reason and rationale that go with it. Those people may all be potential or actual terrorists. I suggest the feds pull out of everywhere else and focus on that highway.

POINTS NORTH OF TAOS ARE COOLER THAN TAOS. ARROYO SECO IS ONE EXAMPLE. hope I got the name right. Oh well, call my complaint department.


LOYALTON(?), CA IS STRANGE BUT COOL. GREAT PEOPLE. NOT SURE IT WASN'T ALL JUST MY IMAGINATION--the place may not actually exist. one guy pointed out that the staircase I was descending had 13 steps-just like the number of steps to the gallows.
Later he asked if I had any last words I like to say before leaving. He looked like he could have been a ghost; one who wasn't quite sure whether to be sinister or just happily mischievous.







That's about it for now. I'll add to what I learned as I remember. Oh yea---if you have a bum knee don't try to take a big step up with a canoe on your head. That, and I discovered I like southern Idaho better than northern, and better than most places.

In many ways I can see that my perspective on lots of things has changed over the last three years. And better than that, it has changed some over the past seven weeks.

BOTTOM LINE: Despite my regrets for not having a dozen children or for the many opportunities which fell in my lap only for me to either not see it or simply walk away or get drunk, etc. the truth is that then and now I am constantly getting second chances and good fortune in one way or another. I say second chances but that can include the fiftieth chance.

Anyway, I am very fortunate to be here writing this bit of vanity. I was able to just say screw it and go, and I may be able to cover rent next month. Not only that but most people I visited seemed glad I stopped by. I'm never sure about some people but they may not be sure about me. Take 'em at their word, at face value I guess. I'm positive I am that little baby's favorite whether she knows it or not. The subliminal message was planted. It's a skill I picked up along the way.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Spy Photo On Seattle Lake--Washington?

That's a native woman in the front of the canoe. Hard to tell what's what from the pic. She was cute but I had to take her by boat back to her people. She'd been bad and I respect their customs so I turned her over to the medicine man for proper punishment.

That is the very canoe that was on my head at the time of the surprising failure of a trusted limb.

How to Attack California

Like everything else on this journey, I'll play it as it go. Except I decided I have no wish to do the coast. If I can only look at the sea, that won't get it, especially considering the crowded nature of CA's coast and resulting high prices. Nothing like being bilked and bunched up with people all at the same time.

My plan is to hit cool inland towns, hopefully in some kind of mountainous areas, and meander secret back roads all the way down, or for as much of the way as is possible. This knee thing may influence it. Sometimes it aches from head to eternity.

I'm downloading my Flip cam as we speak so I can again record some of this trip. Seattle may be relatively undocumented.

Been to Seattle

People in the greater Seattle area are two things: polite and in love with setting off fireworks on 4th of July. Maybe it was organized online, but where I was, slightly north of Seattle proper, those in the township which had no fireworks all set their own off at the same time the neighboring town let fly. By town I mean the kind that are sort of suburbs of the big city.

I've learned many things on this trip. The latest bit of wisdom is that if your knee seems to be acting up and you try to carry a canoe on your head then step up that thing that gets you up on the path to the car, it may give way completely and you may wind up sitting down with a canoe on your head. See, that is the sort of thing I was never told during my tortured childhood. It's just not fair. This definitely limited later facility to play effectively in the marketplace.

I had great views of Mt Lanier on the way out of town. The big shock was that it is not so cool only a little way south of Seattle. 90 deg F in southern Oregon. Talk about your Not Fair!

Seattle was mild and not hot while I was there. It was good.

I spent time with S and N2 and not-wife-but-may-as-well-be of N2, hereinafter referred to as NWN2.

It was touch and go there for awhile concerning whether S and I would die laughing when we caught an episode of Dual Survivor. It's on discovery or History channel. We missed the premise of this particular predicament as the hippy and the ex army guy cleverly got out of the latest pickle: stuck in the woods with a broken down pick up truck.

What to do? The hippy beat on the truck with a log in case someone could hear them while the army guy ripped out a headlight, the horn, cut up the seat belts to make a shoulder sling for carrying the battery, ripped wire out so he could make the light and horn work, and then he smashed the windows so he could leave a trail of glass for rescuers to find them.

But wait! They aren't going to a road for help.
They made their way to the seashore to flag down passing ships. I forgot to mention the army guy ripped out the rear view mirror so he could signal ships in morse code. I also left of the part about using burnt tire to write a note on birch bark. The hippy did that, and left the note in what was left of the truck.

I'm telling you right now, no way I'd rip up the tour mobile so I can flag down ships a mile away in a shipping lane if I break down in the woods.

Seattle grows on you. It is so easy to do things, like drive ten minutes and drop a canoe or kayak in the water---without paying some tax or license. They have their share of laws, like I think you have to wear a helmet in the bathtub, but half the time people don't seem to pay attention, and instances of courtesy per capita are undoubtedly at the top of the scale for large cities, both in situations on the highway, and when crossing paths on foot. I also had the advantage of good company which helps put a good spin on one's impressions.

N2 never ceases to amaze me. The kid can do almost anything. His house has a giant, cavernous basement area full of metal working and wood working machines and tools, as well as giant pieces of mahogany logs, and other wood and metal raw material. And his girlfriend is a looker and nice. It is good to see people of my blood break the chain of tears and frustration. I try not to be envious.

How could I complain? Whether it will mean I am a pauper forever or what, I have been able to take a huge trip without a blueprint and find some great surprises and much warmth all along the way. That is a rather fortunate circumstance. And I've still got one good leg. With luck the bad one will heal up soon. Mabe I can find a native shaman out in the hinterlands of California before I go home. It is already about time for another haircut too. Perhaps I'll have to go back to Misenheiner, NC since it is the only place I know of that gives a decent cut for a cheapo price.

Did I mention that Mt Rainier was in full view under a cool crisp blue sky as I drove south? S rode with me because her place of work is along the way. It wasn't hard to temporarily rearrange things since we'd re-organized the car during the down time over the weekend. I found the items I had mis-located. S cleaned the cokpit--of the tour mobile. It is all spiffy now.

So, I'm holed up in Meford, headed down to get some ice because I've been told it will be good for my canoe knee.

Are we at war or under a new regime? I don't know because I've been avoiding the news.

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


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