Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Safely home

This post is about this photo: Chris, me, David, hanging out like we have for 20 years. Chris is headed back to Cali Wednesday and a month or so later, on to Afghanistan. David is leaving for Berkeley in a few weeks. What can I say? Old man, young men, father, brothers and sons.

Semper Fidelis means Always Faithful

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Journeys in the West

Having some formatting problems with adding photos causing broken sentences and then losing photos when I try to fix the problem. Reminds me of Windows 10 years ago. I'm just going to put the photos back up - again and we can live with broken words. Photo: CK & JZ, Wheeler Peak Wilderness in New Mexico

Leslie and I had breakfast at Whole Foods, then came home to say goodbye to David. I was on the road around 9:30 and then the endless Texas drive through Denton, Decatur, Wichita Falls, Vernon (State Hospital for the Criminally Insane), Childress, Clarendon, Amarillo, Vega, into New Mexico, and to Tucumcari, an unappealing town that I guess exists mostly because it’s hard to drive all the way from North Texas to Albuquerque or Santa Fe. There are new hotels/motels on the newer highway (I40) going past Tucumcari, but along the old Route 66 that runs through town, there are classic 1950s motels all along the highway. I stayed in one of the latter, pretty cheap, 56 Cadillac parked at the office, guy with Vaseline Hair Tonic or something like it working the desk, naugahyde furniture, the works. Photo below: Jim at our campsite in the trees

It was an okay room and I dug it a lot. Up early,

peanut butter sandwich and apple (from home) and cooold milk and coffee for breakfast. I took Highway 104 to Las Vegas and drove for several hours in the dark and in the dawn without seeing any other vehicles. On to Taos, where Jim Z. walked into the coffee shop were we planned to meet about 2 minutes after I arrived. It was a good trip backpacking with Jim, except I fell out on the second day; actually I was pretty much fallen out the first day, but on the second day realized there was no way I could make it up that mountain in any sort of reasonable time. Jim was kind and helpful and in the end, it was a good trip.

The first night we camped on the side of a hill under some trees on land that turned out to be privately owned. Joe, the man who owned it drove up in his pickup, saying, “You need to explain yourselves.” “Uh-oh,” I thought, “I need to stay out of this conversation.” Jim talked with Joe, who said we were welcome to stay on his land as long as we didn’t have any animals with us and didn’t build a fire. The next two nights we camped

in a grove of large pines near a stream and then hiked out.

From New Mexico I headed to Colorado, where I hung out in Fort Collins and Boulder for a few days, waiting for Jeff. Happy me in those mountain towns where (unlike Dallas) I look pretty much like everyone else. That’s a real nice thing for me. Photo: CK & Dr. Love

Jeff got to the hotel around 1am and I awakened long enough to let him in, and slept through him eating, showering, arranging his gear.

The next day we drove to the festival

site, where because of eagles nesting, camping alongside the river and under the trees next to the music had been changed to a treeless field far from any water and a 40 minute drive from the music. We camped kind of at the edge, near some other older people and a coffee and taco stand. A 20-something woman camping nearby attached herself to us and we had good times sitting around the campsite. When it came time to head to the music, the organizers had just one or two buses running and there about a hundred people clustered at the bus door, reminiscent of buses in Phnom Penh, except the buses there are spiffer. So we just spent several nice, though sunny days at the campsite.

The drive home was okay. I missed the turn-off at Raton Pass, so went a ways out of the way and once again drove many miles, this time on Highway 56/412 Springer to Clayton, without seeing another vehicle. Then I was again on Highway 87 Dalhart to Dumas and somewhere along the way there was a huge thunderstorm and I got off at a picnic area. I jumped out and ran through the rain (watching for rattlesnakes) to stand under the concrete cover over the picnic table, peeing into the torrent. Dash back to the car

to unleash the magic of the Campry, stretching out with my feet in the trunk and the rain pounding on the car roof and falling soundly into some of the best and dreamingest sleeping imaginable. Photo: CK & LK around 1970

Then that long cross-Texas drive and finally home and so glad to see Leslie and David. Several things were learned on this journey, including that I need to get it together on my physical status. To that end, I’ve resumed biking and walking and yesterday started at the Lakewood Gym. Another thing I learned was that Mike4 H. was right: the best way to Colorado is I35 through Oklahoma into Kansas to I70 on into Denver.