Travels 27.1: Captains Log

There will be a posting after this one goes out.  When? I can’t say.  But, the next blog Travels 27.2 will be a concise explanation for why 27.1 is necessary.  It will reveal in bone-chilling, spine-tingling and shocking details, the series of wrong moves made by me, the so-called Captain, as we arrived at our home on or about 7:30 pm, Friday last.  I mean, why was I expected to remember that I had two bikes mounted atop the car when I attempted to pull it into the garage? Give me a break!  I had enough stuff on my mind, like getting into the house and getting Travels 27 out to my expectant fans.  Families had put off weddings and Bar mitzvahs to gather around the laptop and read the closing chapter.  Bowling tournaments were cancelled.  High school football games all across America extended half-time. Homecomings were delayed.  Guys doing some heavy making out behind the Grand Stand of the Owego Fair Grounds, stopped the biological urge and pulled out their Mini (iPad).  Internet cafes had extended their hours to allow the blog readers to drink more Mocha and Latte in anticipation of #27.

APPENDIX

  • Total miles travelled—–8,998.5
  • Average Mpg—–10
  • Duration of trip—–September 18 – November 8, 2013
  • Number of campsites—–47
  • Temperature range experienced—–96F to 27F
  • Number of states visited—–20
  • Approx. number of photos taken on two cell phones and a serious Nikon D3200—–320
  • Approx. number of times we dumped our “black water” tank—–10
  • Number of showers taken in the R-Pod—–0
  • Most awesome moment—–Looking into the Grand Canyon
  • Saddest moment—–The eyes of the Lakota people at Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Most frustrating time—–Being locked out of Yellowstone National Park during the stupid government shutdown
  • Most terrifying moment—–Watching how terrified my wife was on the Tioga Pass onto the Eastern Sierras
  • Least terrifying moment—–Taking a nap in the R-Pod with a Native American Flut player CD
  • Total number of times watches and clocks were changed by an hour—–7
  • Number of Audio Books listened while driving—–4
  • Number of MacDonalds Fried Chicken meals—–2
  • Number of times we were stopped by police for any reason—–0
  • Days snowed on—–3
  • Approx. number of rolls of RV toilet paper used—–9
  • Approx. number of compliments on the “cuteness” of the R-Pod—–12
  • Number of confrontations with hostile motorcycle gangs in the Arizona desert—–0
  • Number of rattlesnakes seen in road—–1
  • Number of “Beware of Rattlesnakes” signs seen—–1
  • Number of times Pat asked to take an RV break and stayed in a motel—–6
  • Number of motels we stayed in for an RV break—–0
  • Number of signs for legal brothels seen in Nevada—–3
  • Number visited by Pat (just to use the rest room)—–0
  • Number of movies on DVD brought on trip—–150
  • Number watched—–2
  • Most annoying thing encountered—–$20.00 to 25.00 admission fee to most National Parks (The land is ours…it should be free)

R-pod

Advertisements

Travels 12: A Rest Farewell

And though the line is cut,

It ain’t quite the end,

I’ll just bid farewell till we meet again.

—Bob Dylan “A Restless Farewell”

I’m sitting at Erin’s breakfast table composing the final post of our visit to Orting.  In an hour or so we will be on our way homeward.  The route back is going to be much different.  We’re heading down the Oregon coast for a few days, then into Northern California, Death Valley, Monument Valley (remember the John Ford westerns with John Wayne?).

On the way to Orting, each hour was just that many fewer miles between the R-Pod and Elias.  Now, each hour takes me farther away.

Thanks to the reasonable heads that reopened the Federal Government (and National Parks) late last night.  As far as I’m concerned, the Tea Party can go back to their districts and spin their loss any way they would like.  They failed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in a way that made the USA the laughing-stock of the educated and informed world.  I’m glad to put this disaster behind me.  Our only real remaining obstacle now is to get through Tioga Pass and over the Sierra Nevada Mountains before the highway is closed.  But these challenges are in front of us.  What’s behind us?  What will I remember about our visit?

The answer is far too long to answer in this short space.  We had a wonderful time here.  Elias has made progress even in the time we were here.  He is pulling himself up to a standing position with no effort at all.  I watched as he enjoyed story time at the local library.  I carved a scary pumpkin for him.  And, I’ve seen him meet new people with my wife’s special friend, Maureen and her husband who live in Seattle.

But all was not glory.  We made a drive to see the Olympic Peninsula but I wasn’t feeling that great so we returned after one night by a road that took us over the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge (where a previous bridge collapsed due to wind shear back in the 1940’s).  We never made it to Forks where the “Twilight” books are set.  But there were plenty of signs of the occult and esoteric in places like Port Townsend.

I must say that I did enjoy riding my bike for a few minutes along the Foothills Bike Path, until my front tire blew out.  It’s a good thing that I was wearing my helmet because when I fell my head came within two inches of an un-mowed patch of grass!

I also regret having a real coffee from one of those cute little cafes that serve one’s lattes from a drive-thru window.  These shacks seem to be particular to the Northwest.  I actually did stop at a few of these…but not the ones where the female baristas where bikinis.  Personally, I am offended by such a practice.  It is so not politically correct.  The male baristas should be made to wear bikinis as well…just sayin’.

So, now I’m off on the final leg of the journey.  Adventure calls.  Strange things will be seen.  I’ll even be driving part of the old Route 66, where I hope to get my kicks.

Friends and readers, more posts will be coming your way soon.  So, sit back and enjoy.

This time I’ll be following the rising sun.

Image

Travels 11: Is This Our Land?

I’m ensconced in Orting, WA. with my daughter, Erin, her husband, Bob, grandson Elias and my wife Mariam.  It’s one big happy family.  We’ve spent only one full day here and already I’ve managed to get caught in a hailstorm while walking across a Safeway parking lot.  We weren’t out in the Plains, facing the desolation while hearing the pelting of the pea-sized hail blast against the Aluminum siding of the R-Pod.  No, I was in a grocery store parking lot.  The only drama was that I was without my cell phone and was separated from Erin, Elias and my wife.  How did I deal with such an edgy experience?  Well, I trotted to the entrance of Safeway that adjoined the Starbucks.  I did what all semi-lost men do…I bought the local paper and ordered a Chai Tea Latte and settled in, waiting to be rescued by my wife. Sure as the snow on Rainier, she had made it back to the car at Erin’s house and returned to get me.  I even got a new tea mug out of the deal. It was on the Starbucks rack where I drank the Latte and it begged to come back to the East Coast with me on our return trip. As I reflect on the final drive to get here two days ago, I recall seeing something that made me think those Woody Guthrie thoughts about whose land this really is.  Passing through western Montana and into eastern Idaho, I saw coal trains that seemed to stretch from there to Detroit.  It would easily take me about 45 minutes to walk the length of these sinuous open cars filled with black chunks of black gold.  And, this was all strip-mined to make matters even worse.  I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as “clean” or “green” coal.  It’s a lie put out there by the Energy Industry to rape what’s left of our resources and get as much money out of pubic lands as they can. My simple question is this:  Who is thinking of the future?  The native americans had it right.  They took the long view and thought about what was to be left for their grandchildren’s grandchildren.  We tend to think about our next credit card purchase. The bill has to be paid in the end, one way or another. Image Image My educated guess is that this coal is from leased Federal Lands.  And I can’t get past the gate of Yellowstone National Park to watch Old Faithful. I want my National Parks back!