I was pretty sure I’d make it to today; once you do something for 41 years; it becomes part of your life. – So, what’s so fundamental to me today? Right?…. Well, it’s my 41st “birfday” in A.A. — Can you imagine?? Better yet, can I imagine….
Let’s see, it all started about nine months earlier than I was born, in 1945… “Just joking” here; – I’m not going to bore you with that. ALSO, I’m not going to bore you with how I got from my very last drink to 41years sober… I WILL say this… it’s been a strange / wonderful / weird / joyful… (I’m sure you get the picture here) journey.
My A.A. birthday always makes me ponder… it’s like a “bell-shaped” curve; it leads up to a peak… say, 30 days on either side… There’s WAY more thoughtfulness / contemplation that goes into my A.A. birthday… than my natal birthday. To us in A.A., one’s natal birthday is an ‘accident’ of biology, opportunity, and a HOST of other factors. — On the other hand, our A.A. birthday is INTENTIONAL! — It’s hard to say which one is more important. I’ll put it this way; I wouldn’t trade my A.A. “experience”… from overt uncontrollable drinking, to overt peacefulness… for anything I can think of. I’ve told many, many people over the years that A.A. is about 10% on how to stop drinking, and about 90% on how to live a “good, orderly” life.
In A.A., we’re non-religious, and non-denominational. — — (Ahem…) However we are VERY “spiritual”; in fact we don’t even use the word: “God”… (in a sneaky sort of way.) — Instead of using the term “God”, we use the ‘acronym’: “G-O-D” in its place. – To us, “G-O-D”… stands for “Good Orderly Direction”. We call it (literally) the “gift” of A.A. – Yeah, yeah… I know… you hear all the public “PR” about A.A. (and other programs) helping you END your addiction to alcohol and drugs (alcohol is a ‘drug’, btw)… But what you NEVER hear (unless you go to A.A. meetings, get a sponsor, and “immerse” yourself in A.A.) – is the raw “BEAUTY” of A.A.; the “transcendence” of A.A.
I have also stated “many, many” times that I wish EVERYONE could be an alcoholic, – just so they could experience the “magic” of being a RECOVERING ‘alcoholic”. The “gift of A.A.” is a profound, unexplainable, majestic, “shared” experience. – “Rebirth” is referenced frequently in biblical scripture… Trust me, GENUINE “re-birth” is experienced by millions of people, every day, throughout the world, in A.A. – Look around you sometime, even if you’re NOT an alcoholic… Here’s the test: if your own life is in conflict and turmoil, pick up “the Big-Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous and read it. They’re not hard to find.— I’ve recommended the principles of A.A. to more NON-alcoholics than I have to “alkys” —- If you want to sincerely change your life… buy one from Amazon and read it. — I say this kindly and respectfully, “Your life will change; you’ll never be the same.”
Welp, once again, I’ve gotten “preachy”. I promise myself every year that I won’t do that. I guess the overwhelming “peace and understanding” of A.A. is… just too compelling… I always want to share ‘the gift of A.A.’ with everyone. — And, over these past 41 years, I guess I have.
Now that the preaching is over, I want to pay tribute to a man I knew for more than a half-century. His name is Tommy Ellis… He was the first person I ever got an adult-job with. It was in the investment business, “stocks and bonds.” — Tommy took flight and began exploring the wonders of the Universe this past March 22nd , 2019. Tommy lived in Vero Beach, Florida. I rode my bike (motorcycle) to specifically see him in 2016. I was pretty sure he was in his ‘end-of-life’ cycle; and I wanted to tell him how much he had meant to me over the years. Tommy served as an “Airman”, in the Air Force and worked on his ‘birds’, (that’s what he called the planes) the brave pilots flew. He told me there was a ‘special’ connection between mechanic and pilot, and I knew he meant it. – He told me he felt “responsible” for their safety; and he wasn’t joking.
There was also a ‘special connection’ to me and Tommy. —- Tommy was the Municipal Bond Manager at the investment firm of Norris & Hirshberg, in Atlanta when I met him. I was barely literate, and had ZERO knowledge of investments, ESPECIALLY municipal bonds. – Tommy, very patiently taught me how the investment business worked. – AND… he became my friend. The ‘war-stories’ I could tell you about our “investment-adventures” would fill a book…. IN FACT, there IS a book that relates to it… it’s called “Liar’s Poker”, by Michael Lewis (the same guy who wrote: “Money Ball”)
Tommy Ellis was the nicest guy I’ve ever known (it’s an underrated quality.) He was also one of the most respected. He was known by his peers in the investment community as “the one guy” you could always count on to tell you the truth. (That’s a rare commodity in the investment arena.)
Tommy taught me everything I know about the investment business… and I taught HIM everything I knew about the ‘sales-aspect’. He told me one time that I was ‘THE best’ he had ever seen. I responded in kind, “Tommy, you were my ‘professor’; you (sometimes) kept me on the ‘straight ‘n narrow’… and I ALWAYS respected you in ALL your life-endeavors.
So, as “Airman”, Thomas H. Ellis takes flight one more time…. Join me in a silent moment to whisper a prayer of “safe-passage” to Tommy… “Tommy, my friend, how I miss you, – what great times we had; – we knew and loved each other for a half-century; – you really were THE BEST!”
Tom Adair May 15th , 2019
Welp, to be honest, it’s like being in a time-warp (cue in: “Rocky Horror Picture Show”) – I recently read a book about ‘Time’, (Carlo Ravolli), and the author makes several points about the ‘fluidity’ of time… Put another simpler way, “Time is strange” — That’s the same way it is turning 74. – I can barely say it… We’ve all known “old people”, especially when we were young. But now, BEING seriously one of those ‘old people’ is difficult for me to comprehend; to put in its proper place.
It’s NOT that I want to go back, necessarily (since my time-machine isn’t close by); its not that I missed anything along the way. I intentionally took a full swing at the plate, and have enjoyed the ride. — So what’s my ‘bitch’, right? – I’m not sure Hunny-Bunny. – I don’t have any apparent fear of dying… On the living front, I’ve got most of the toys I want (I tried to get my wife to buy me a Walther PPK at Christmas, but she wouldn’t do it.) – I’ve been to enough places here and there… so that the only thing I think I’m missing is Devil’s Tower in Wyoming… AND… I’m riding my motor-sickle there this summer.
So what IS this thing called love… oops, I mean, what IS this thing called, ‘turning 74’? I Don’t know for sure. I think it has to do with ‘relevance’; or the lack thereof. Nobody’s very much interested in my sage advice / comment / observation… AND… I agree with them. I was much the same way when I was young man marching forward. I think the only ‘old’ person I ever paid any mind to was this guy sitting on a porch one time out in bum-blank, Nebraska. I didn’t even know him. I was riding through Bum-blank one bleak winter day… and saw him sitting up on his front porch, ‘rockin’ (mind you, this was in the winter-time.) I looked through my windshield and saw him wave to me. I stopped the car, got out, and went up on the porch to visit with him.
We really DID ‘sit for a spell’ (it’s a southern term), I told him all my perceived troubles, and in the end, he said “It really will all just work out fine.” – Which, if you think about it… is universally true. An interesting thing about that visit was that I went out to see him the following spring; I wanted to tell him that things really were getting better. I went up to knock on his door.. an old ‘farm-wife’ in an apron came to the door, quizzically… I told her I talked to her husband, (I guessed) back the previous winter. She graciously invited me inside, we sat down, she went into the kitchen to fix us some tea, and sure enough, there was her husband’s picture, in a small frame, on the top of an upright piano, along with several others.
When she came back, I motioned to the picture, and said,”That’s a flattering picture of your husband, ma’am.” She said, “Oh, he’s been dead for going on 15 years now.” (I crap you not) – I gulped and turned a bit pale. Then she said, “You know, several people have stopped by over the years and said they talked to him.” – I asked her if she had ever had any vague feeling he was still around. She said, “Sometimes, in odd ways; maybe a tool out of place in the barn… a strange humming bird looking at me, and not moving… sometimes, an old dog will mosey up on the porch and stay a bit, then move on.” – She told me these things, and seemed very lucid in the recollection.
So, maybe that’s what happens when you turn 74/84/94… Maybe you just go on living; and aren’t encumbered by the perceived concepts of time. According to ol’ Carlo up above… “All time (past, present, future) is happening all at the same time, all over the Universe.” – As I turn 74, I don’t ‘Get’ being 74… What I DO “get” is that it’s a strange number that doesn’t apply to me. In math, there are ‘imaginary’ numbers; — well, to me, 74 is an imaginary number. Also, ol’ Carlo said: “Time is different for all of us (it’s provable), and the way we see time is personalized. — I think, guess, hope he is right. – The ‘Blue-Grass’ singer, Ralph Stanly, wrote a song one time called: “Oh, Death”…. In the refrain, he wrote, “Oh Death… oh death… won’t you ‘spar’ me over just another ‘yar’” (it’s hard to write blue-grass) – So, that’s what I’m thinking, Death has spar’d me over another year. I’m actually going to play that song right after this post.
So, how’s everything on my end? A ‘report’ you might say? – Well, I still go to the gym, still ride my motor-sickle, still go “shootin’”, gamblin’, and knocking up run-away teenage girls…
So, as much as I’m surprised to still be here… “Hey, life’s good”
Y’all come out to Las Vegas sometime, ya heah?”
Peace and out.
Las Vegas Slim…
…40 years ago today.
At about 10:00 o’clock in the morning, I got into a disagreement with “Atlanta’s Finest”. – After a lengthy discussion, (and a little physicality), I finally got into their police cruiser, and they took me to Atlanta City Jail. THEN… they REALLY ‘splaind’ it to me, Lucy… That was a Friday, and coincidentally, the day I took my last drink of alcohol.
On the following TUESDAY, I came out of my baton-induced coma, in a jail cell… and realized (it helps your ‘clearer thinking’ to be without alcohol for 4 or 5 days), that I was probably going to die, (from alcoholism.) This is no joke, I REALLY DID get down on my knees in that jail cell and ENTREATED (begged) God to help me. (There’s a difference between ‘asking’ and ‘begging’.)
As Johnny Carson used to say, “I kid you not”… while I was still begging, a ‘white-mist’ came into that jail cell; a lot like what you see when you open the door to a ‘steam-room’. That mist… whirled around… then “presto-snappo”; hey, I knew I was different. It could have been the “D-Ts”, right? – I agree… maybe… I DID have them on and off; (if you’ve never seen snakes crawling on your ceiling, or out of the phone, you haven’t lived.) But somehow or other, when you’re in the presence of a ‘Deity’, you almost always know it. Even to a still drunk brain like mine, I somehow or other heard that old refrain, “Amazing Grace”, – ‘When He reached down and saved a wretch like me.” (It’s STILL one of my favorite songs, I’m actually humming it right now as my eyes get blurry.)
Okay, so I got out of that jail cell, and started going to A.A. – I went to two meetings a day for the first five years. I celebrated my 1st A.A. birthday back in Atlanta, and thought it was the grandest thing that ever happened to me. Number ‘2’, came next, then 3 thru 4, and so on. – When I got to my 10th, I ‘took note’… that was the first time I was ever sober longer than I was drunk (which was 9 years.)
15 years came, so did 20, 30 (it was VERY memorable), then 35… and now today. “Who would have thunk?” “Right?” — Just so you know, only 20% of alcoholics actually recover. That means the other 80% DIE! (or become ‘institutionalized’, like prison, or asylums.) – Alcoholism claims 500 doctors a year, 30% of the airline pilots who take off… are legally drunk when they do it. – Alcohol, itself, as a drug… is a toxin to the body. That beer, that casual glass of wine… you drink on a pleasant afternoon contains more than an ounce of ETHANOL. – You can run cars on ethanol. That’s what they put in ‘dragsters’ at the drag-strip. – The point being here is that you don’t have to actually become a roaring drunk to feel the debilitating effects of alcohol on the body. That’s worth thinking about.
So what happened, right? – Hey, I haven’t had any form of alcohol in 40 years. But, you know what’s even more important?, — “A.A.” teaches the alcoholic how to have a successful life. Not just financially, but on every plain; health / serenity / ‘wholesomeness’, good-humor, ‘gratitude’, having a ‘spirit-filled-life’, joy, mirth, serenity… I could go on and on about the ‘gifts’ of A.A. – I’ve summed it up before by saying: A.A. is about 10% of how to stop drinking, and about 90% of how to live a successful life.
Well, there have certainly been “the vicissitudes of life” along the way. Was it a 45-degree, straight ‘trend-line’? – No. On the other hand, it WAS an upward trend-line. In A.A. we don’t claim perfection; we try to make ‘progress’ each day. Progress on all fronts, health, wealth, happiness, serenity.
Anyway, I know I’m ‘preaching’ here, and I’m gonna stop. I just wanted to reach out to you-all today and share my happiness with you. I also wanted to help you understand that if you have a problem with alcohol (or drugs) — OR… if you have a family-member, friend, ‘associate’, even an ‘acquaintance’… let them know…. that YOU KNOW… at least one alcoholic who was pretty sure he was gonna die from alcohol. And then, add this: “Ya know, BECAUSE OF A.A., he hasn’t had a drink in 40 years… then, put in… “Maybe you can find some help in A.A. too.”
(Preaching again, Right?, I know, I know… I’ll stop)
Hey, “Joy and goodwill to you folks today”, — forty years ago today the Universe change for me, and I’m better off for it. (You are too, by the way.)
“Long time, no hear”, right? – Sorry about that. “Been busy”, does that work? (No, I didn’t think so)
Well, let’s see… I’ve been refining my work on my anti-gravity boots invention; I wrote a screen-play for Brad Pitt; consulted on the Raider’s move to Las Vegas (Go Raiders) – mostly boring.
I DID take a little trip to a bed ‘n breakfast in Bishop, California. It’s called: “Rainbow Tarns” (here’s the link) – In case you don’t know, a “Tarn” is a small pond, (I know, I didn’t know that either.) It was unusually good, highly recommended, in fact.
What else? Well, the most interesting thing I’ve done in 2017 is take up a new hobby; “Ham-Radio”. My wife gave me a book over the winter called “Brain Power”, and one of its suggestions, especially for… uh… (ahem…) “older-folk” (yikes!) is to learn something new. The author stressed it can’t be just a new crossword puzzle. He suggested that one should consider learning a new language, say like Russian, or maybe Japanese. His point is… if you learn something REALLY new, you make new connections (dendrites) in your brain. He compared it to exercising the body. The phrase he used was: “If you’re going to exercise your bicep, you might as well exercise your brain.” –
I thought that was good advice to ‘seniors’, ‘the mature’, maybe including “the middle-aged”. And.. I thought it was excellent advice to me. So, since I can’t even spell ‘Japaneese’, and I thought “Rushia” was a verb… I took up “Amateur Radio”… (ham radio) — or, “radidio” as we call it in the So-uth.
I was pretty sure I didn’t know what an electron was… so my ‘non-knowledge’ would be perfect for: “learning something new.” – I took my first class back on January 25th and got my “Technician” designation. I progressed to the “General” course about a month later, and got my ticket in March. What the hell, I figured: “In for a penny, in for a pound” — and I started studying for the final designation on March 13th. It’s called “Amateur-Extra”, and with that license, one has ALL the privileges the FCC bestows on the public. – I got that sucker on May 6th. (HooRay!) – It’s actually a pretty big deal in “Ham-World”, — 50 random questions pulled from a pool of 700. The questions are written so that ANY of them are at least plausible. (Point being, you actually have to KNOW the subject (electronic THEORY) – just ‘guessing’ won’t work.
Let’s see… what else… Oh yeah, there’s one more thing, today… May 15th… 39 years ago, I had my last drink of alcohol (on the advice of the Atlanta Police Dept.) – Turns out, alcohol impairs your judgment. “Who’d a thunk?”
It’s been a long journey, on my last day of drinking, 39 years ago, I weighed 168 pounds, drank 12 ounces of vodka every two hours, and had “the shakes” so bad, I couldn’t lift the glass to my lips (I used a straw.) – I’m a HUGE advocate for A.A. – Millions of people have gotten sober, and stay sober through the miracle of A.A. – The tragic thing is how deadly alcoholism and drug-abuse is. Only 20% survive. Put another way, the death-rate for alcoholism / drug abuse is 80%. Remember “alcohol” is a drug… There are other drugs out there that are just as deadly as alcohol.
As a matter of fact, a close friend of mine lost a family member to drugs very recently. If you get a chance today, say a prayer for “D”, the universe will know who it is… When you get through with that prayer, – say another one for “D’s” family. They’re heart-broken.
There’s a tenet in A.A. I like a lot: “There but for the grace of God, goes I.” — I always re-phrase it to state: “There but for the grace of God, goes YOU!” – Think about it, and count your blessings if you haven’t had to deal with the ravages of alcohol and drug abuse.
(And don’t forget that prayer, either)
‘The Rubber Duck’
(KI7KGP) — by god…
Hey, take a look at my “Tweet” buttons on my blog. Just like Donald Trump, I’ve decided to ‘tweet’. I was actually encouraged to do this by a friend of mine up in Ottawa, Canada. He said I was funny and amusing (Is that a compliment??) and I ought to share some of my ‘horse sh…’ – uh… share some of my humor with my readers. So here ya go… hit the “Follow@Tom_Adair” button over on the right, and I’ll share some (non-presidential) thoughts with you.
Now, back to my blog… — guess what, I went over to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR) the other day
to ‘check out’ my dirt bike. You may recall, I had the ‘top-end’ rebuilt, and I wanted to see how it ran.
Oh by the way, do any of you recall me telling you MANY MANY times in the past to ALWAYS top off your gas tank BEFORE you leave on a ride? Huh? Well, motorcycles are just like airplanes without wings… they run on FUEL… GAS… not air. — AND… the only time they run out of gas is in the most inconvenient place. Now if you’re in an airplane, ya kinda ‘stall / spin / turn / auger / and hit the ground with great force. Same with motor-sickles… when they run out of gas, you’re usually on the freeway, between TWO FedEx trucks that are pulling trip-trailers; (most of the time in the rain.)
Well, that actually DIDN’T happen to me… but, I DID run out of blanking gas. Had to pull over to the side of a (major) road… cold, windy, pissed (and embarrassed.) After I pulled over, it WOULD NOT crank. Period. Which brings up my “btw” above. If I have told you peeps once, I’ve told you a thousand times: “Always, always… top off your tank.” Got it? Yeah well, ‘familiarity breeds contempt, right?” – It is almost a ‘tenant-of-life’. For instance, modestly put, I’m pretty ‘gun-familiar’. I was in the military, fired zillions of shots, TAUGHT gun-safety, was many times “Firing-range Sergeant”, blah/blah/blah… and would you believe I’ve had TWO accidental ‘discharges’ from guns I KNEW were NOT loaded? I mean, I knew like gravity, they weren’t loaded. Like I said, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’ (Let me know if you folks want to hear the corresponding stories.)
Get this… when I headed out on my bike to the ‘DNWR’, I actually RODE past THREE different places to gas up. The reason I didn’t???????????????????????????? Because I KNEW I had plenty of gas. ELSE… I would have gassed up. Did I ever mention anything to you guys about, uh… “Familiarity?” – So, I ran outta gas. Bummer. — Now there I was, sitting forlornly beside the road, – cold, disgusted, shaking my fist toward the sky, cursing the ‘motor-sickle gods’. – THEN… out of the blue… I had an idea!! … “THE RESERVE”… Ah yes, turn the fuel valve on the gas-tank to the ‘reserve’ position. (Pant-pant…) – Well, I did, (and held my breath for good measure) then, pressed the start-button… and by god, (literally) – it cranked. I immediately apologized to the motor-sickle gods, and swore I’d go to church on Sunday. (This time, I really mean it.)
Ya know, I have to admit, after I got back on 95, I WAS kinda holding my breath a little. But, it ran… perhaps a little s-l-o-w-l-y, I mean it IS only a ‘thumper’ (one-cylinder), and it’s 200ccs at that; but it ran. — So, in several more miles, I got to the ‘DNWR’ and dismounted.
— NO ONE… I mean NOOOO-ONE was there; for MILES! Hey, ‘who cares?’ Right? So, I took some pics, walked around the place a bit… “tagged it” with some spray paint (just kidding) and called my wife to tell her the ‘shake-down’ ride went unusually well; “no problems.” Like all wives, she knows when I’m lying, and asked me “What’s wrong?” — I actually wonder how wives do that. I know they’re smarter than guys for sure; better judgment, clearer insight… it’s just the silent ‘haughtiness’ that bugs me. Kinda like “we guys” are to be “put up with”…. AND… she’s probably right.
So, on the way back, I made a MAJOR decision. I WILL NOT FAIL TO TOP OFF MY TANK AGAIN!!… I said it three times. — I mean it this time, really. Also, I decided to “jet” my carb.
To you non-motor-sicklists out there… that means to modify it so it sends more gas to the engine, THUS… more horsepower. It’s kind of a big deal, really. Motorcycles are very similar to (wait for it…) violins. You heard me. Violins. — They have to be ‘tuned’… tuned to the terrain, the rider, the altitude, the anticipated speed, (slow OR fast) etc., etc., etc. – and MINE needs more gas… (So I can run outta gas quicker, right?) – No, smarty pants… ya see pilgrim, since I KNOW I’m prone towards poor judgment in the gas-department… I ALWAYS carry some extra “Few-ell” with me.
Note the red, extra gallon of gas strapped to my bike when I was riding out to the DNWR, (Just in case…) – Gotcha!
So that’s what I plan to do with my re-jetted, gas-using bike… I’m gonna carry extra fuel on the bike, and also in my ‘twuck’. I’ll outwit those motor-sickle gremlins yet. –
Now, depending on the W-E-A-T-H-E-R, (it’s cold out here, like 56 degrees, brrr…) I might go up to Death Valley next week for a REAL shakedown ride. It’s ca, ca, COLD in Death Valley… already down to 51 degrees, (brrrrr…) – Well, anyway, you get my point, if the ol’ weather-gods smile on me next week, and I can remember to top off my gas-tank… I’ll likely go take a peek.
Till then, “Over and out”
The Desert Fox
PS – here’s my “Tracking-Page” (http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0seJseUF8nps5v94ORZolubfWN1AosNFO)
So, it’s been a while, huh? –
Yeah, I know, nothing since May 29th… Am I still alive, or whut?
Yes, I am… — DAMNNNN…. It was hot this summer, wasn’t it?? Geez – 119 degrees on July 3rd –
So, here’s the deal. While I was out on my Can-Am this past May, I decided I needed to ‘do’ something “motor-cycly” during the ‘off-season.’ I already know my big ride for next year is up the California coast on the Pacific Coast Highway; also called California Highway 1.
I mean, if you’re a motor-sickle person… you’ve got to see this thing; — here… take a look: Pacific Coast Highway
I’ll be starting from just north of LA and going up to see my former motorcycle-mechanic, who moved to Vancouver Island. The ‘PCH’ is about 1,300 miles up the coast and goes up thru all the famous names; check this out: ‘Marina Del Rey’ / ‘Santa Monica’ / ‘Big Sur’ / ‘Monterey’ / ‘Frisco’ / ‘Portland’/ ‘Seattle’ — Who wouldn’t want to cruise thru there?, huh…
Buttttttt… that’s NEXT year, prolly some time in May/June. – in the MEAN TIME… I bought a 2005 Yamaha TW200 (200-cc) dirt bike to ride around / thru / all-over Death Valley.
The deal on the “Tee-Dub” (that’s what they call it) is that it’s kind of a goat. Not too fast on asphalt, (like ‘55’), but it’ll climb a tree.
I’m kind of a ‘geology-geek’, and ‘picking-around’ in DV is sort of appealing to me. Also, you never know who you’ll meet in DV… You wouldn’t believe the famous people who have moseyed through there… and NOT just Charles Manson, either. (He used to have a run-down ranch on the edge of DV)
One of the several places to ride on your bike is “Titus Canyon”:
Another is “The Racetrack”… they call it that for the “slow-moving” ROCKS there…
“Ubehebe-Crater” is another famous landmark in DV
Anyway, there’s a bunch of sights to see, and I’m looking forward to seeing them all. I’m going to use “Beatty, Nevada” as my ‘head-quarters’, and then mosey out on ‘day-trips’, kinda like spokes in a wheel. I’m WAY ‘geared-up’… it’s called “DEATH-Valley” for a reason, you know… I even have fresh batteries in my ‘spot-device’, so you’ll be able to track me on my daily runs.
All in all… I plan to do several “three-or-four-day” tours to various point in DV between now and next May. Gonna take lots of pics… write lots of “exposes”, Gonna camp next to “Area-51” and see if I can spot some UFOs.
I “think” my first sojourn will be in the first week after Thanksgiving. I just had the ‘top-end’ of my dirt bike rebuilt,
…and I need to check it out over in a desert park near me called: “Desert National Wildlife Refuge”
It’s pretty similar to DV, but is only 17 miles away from where I live. – If my ‘shake-down’ goes well in the Wildlife Refuge, then I’m off to DV.
Here is some ‘folk-lore’ about DV, (ghosts and all)
Who wouldn’t want to go there, huh?
Just so you know… among my OTHER surveil-gear is a .44 magnum, a .38 ‘back up’, a “Bear Grylls” survival knife, and my personal “Ernest Emerson Combat Folder” knife. (Gonna leave the grenade-launcher at home.)
I’m sure I’ll be fine… I’ve got several people watching me on my “Spot-Device” – I just told ‘em “If the spot stops moving, take note.” — (Actually, it has an “S.O.S” feature on it, just in case)
I’ll be sending updates and pics from the ‘Valley” soon… I’ve got a ‘low-light’ camera, a ‘low-light video-cam’ and ‘low-lite’ binocs to see what the deal is on those moving rocks. (AND… Area-51)
If I get abducted by a flying saucer, I’ll wave at you as we fly by.
PS – here’s my “Tracking-Page” (http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0seJseUF8nps5v94ORZolubfWN1AosNFO)
692 miles in eleven hours, flat… not bad, not bad at all…
See, I told you I wasn’t very smart, NO ONE should do a ride like that. If you were watching my “tracker” (thanks to all of you who were ‘riding’ with me… I felt your presence), there were a LOT of times I was over 90… particularly on the ‘down-hill’ stretch.
My ‘boyz’ greeted me when I got in… check out their bandannas (they say: “Welcome” – “Home”)
I left Santa Rosa at about 6:30ish… blasted outta there and immediately started ‘crusin’, you know… my favorite speed: 87. I blew thru the New Mexico low-lands ridin’ easy. Everything was coo’ till I got to Albuquerque. I rolled onto a HELLACIOUS accident on their downtown connecter. Six lanes of traffic (just on one side), ALL backed up and snarled. I’m embarrassed to say – I’m one of those motorcycle riders you hate. You know, the ones who dart between lanes & lines, disobey the ‘rules’… get in between spaces where cars can’t go. (Just so you know, I always ask for forgiveness and pray for redemption when I get home.)
So what about the wreck, right? – Hey, it was a first-class mess. As I wound my way around, (with people giving me the finger), I saw an older GoldWing motorcycle lying on its side. Not 200 feet further was a flatbed truck with its industrial equipment all over the place. Maybe 10 cop-cars channeling traffic, and bunches of officers screaming and yelling at people. (You KNOW it’s tuff to be a cop.)
Thankfully, the GoldWing rider was seated in the grass with some EMT-guys gathered around him. — SOooo… while everyone was banging about, taking care of ‘bidness’, — *I* snuck past and around some slightly ‘out of place’ (with the aid of my boot) police barriers. I looked over at one cop, as if to say, “Is this okay?” – He just nodded, annoyingly, and I could hear his mind-talk, (You smart-alec asshole, git your ass outta here.) – So, I accommodated him. Hey one less motorcycle rider was probably an advantage. — “Good Luck to you, GoldWing rider; riding a motorcycle is a lot like flying; any time you can walk away from a landing, it was a GOOD landing. (You needed a new bike, anyway.) — Get a Can-Am.
Upon departing Albuquerque, rapidly… I cruised past Grants, NM.. and on into Gallup. That was my dilemma… (hear that music?) “Should I stay, or should I go.” It was early in the morning… I was ‘feeling good / looking good’. Easy to stay in Gallup, nice town… eastern Arizona was just over the horizon… Hell, Winslow is only 50 miles from Flagstaff… bet I could get a room there… speaking of which, Flagstaff is only 300 miles from Lost Wages… Don’t you just LOVE how ‘rationalization’ works?? – “Honey (husband to wife AFTER buying Corvette), I was already in the Chevy dealership, the nice receptionist was so cute and helpful, the car is VERY utilitarian, we can BOTH drive it, Hunny, they made me a great deal.”
Just so you know, I really DID pull over in Gallup and have a cup of coffee out of my thermos… think, think, think… Finally, “What the f**k; I’m going to ‘Vegas.” I spun a wheel when I cranked up and roared out, (thinking: “I bet this is the same way people got on the Titanic”)
I roared past Flagstaff (you know, the place where I could probably get a room); whizzed past Williams, Seligman, and finally to Kingman, AZ. I stopped at my favorite gas-place, “Love’s”… gassed up, left a specimen, and flew out of Kingman. What you do is go slightly past Kingman and take a right on highway 93 to ‘Vegas. It’s almost a straight shot.
This black Cadillac had been horsing around with me on the way to Kingman, him passing me, me passing him, that sort of thing. So when I got on the stretch, just past Kingman that leads to the dam, I decided to give him an old-fashioned ‘testicle-check’, “We’re gonna find out if you have any, Cadillac-Jack. I bet you’ve got more car than you have skill… AND… nerve too. — Guess who won?
Hey, – Cadillac-Jack backed off just before we got to the dam… Musta been too nerve-wracking for him… “Get yourseff a Can-Am, Jack,” I said as I bulleted on toward the dam. (People are SO afraid of the Highway Patrol)…
My wife had been watching me on the “tracker” and even ran out to open the gate to our little village when I pulled up.
Safe, sound, tired (exhausted), exhilarated…. “all the above”
692 miles, – what a ride!!
So whad I learn? Right?
#1…America, this amazing place we live… it’s under-appreciated. The people, the places, the “good hearts” of most everyone… is incredible.
#2…I kinda ate my way across America, and I had grits / greens / hot-dogs (I LOVE a good, cheap hot dog from “Loves”), fish, seafood, fried biscuits, gravy-covered-chicken, “steak-by-a-lake”, with chocolate ice cream for dessert. – I saw a true American hero growing a garden in Alabama; nekkid ladies in New Orleans, another beautiful garden in Mobile… and the most important part: I saw “Friends of a lifetime”.
#3…I learned that I’ve been a VERY lucky guy. — I love you: Rob Coats / Bob Summerlin / Corky “by god” Harris / Jerry ‘Bull’ Dozier / Cathy Harris (you go win those Senior Olympics, girl!) / Tommy Ellis, (you living legend) / Ted and ClaraSue (hugs to you both) / Jon “B.G.” Jeffries, (I’m so proud of you!), and all my NEW buds and GFs I met along the way…
“Salut!” to you all… All of you made my trip a terrific event and an even better memory. – I love you all….
PS – here’s my “Tracking-Page” (http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0seJseUF8nps5v94ORZolubfWN1AosNFO)
So, I went from Clinton, Oklahoma to Santa Rosa, New Mexico yesterday; – about 350 miles.
I “almost” ran out of gas along the way. Running out of gas is a big deal in a car; running out on a motor-sickle is SERIOUS. Riding a motorcycle is a lot like being homeless. You ride “self-contained”, and pack up ALL your gear every day. If you run out of gas in some desolate place; like where I was yesterday (“On The Moon”, New Mexico), you’re in big trouble.
What are you going to do?… LEAVE your bike (and thus, your valuables) and hike somewhere for some help? Maybe wait for a kind car to stop and give you some ‘spare’ gas he/she carries (Do YOU carry any spare gas with you in your car? – I sure don’t.) Maybe call “triple-AAA” to get them to bring you some gas? — “Hello, is this AAA-Travel?… Well, I’m in ‘On the Moon, New Mexico’ and need some gas. Where am I actually located you ask? – Uh… let’s see… there’s some cactus, some sage-brush, and several old abandoned buildings, probably somewhere on old Route 66, I think.” You see the problem, Right?
So, what happened was that I made “an error of judgement” on where I SHOULD have gotten gas. “Nah, I’ll be fine, I’m SURE there will be an opportunity to get gas ‘on down the road’. (Note to self, ALWAYS get gas when you think you need it.) – Man, I rode and rode… nothing. If you’ve never ridden across desolate parts of New Mexico, try it some time. It’s comparable to Death Valley, Nevada.
So, I slow down to about 50, and start ‘nursing’ my bike along… (My evil foe, the trucks, laughed heartily as they whizzed by) – “I don’t care, you evil trucks, Pfffttttt… to you.” – FINALLY, I came to the ‘Russell’ Auto center. It was PACKED with ‘planes, trains, and automobiles’. Apparently I wasn’t the ONLY one who made an ‘error of judgement’ on getting gas.
The tank on my bike holds six gallons. I pumped 5.7 gallons in as I thanked the station attendant profusely for placing his facility at such an opportune location. – “I’m not going to make that mistake ever again,” I said to myself. (Oddly enough, the LAST TIME I ran out of gas was in New Mexico… I was driving a hot-rod Mustang I had just purchased in North Carolina back to Las Vegas. That thing got 8 miles per gallon.) – “Life’s Strange” isn’t it??
So, “what’s the deal”, right? – Ok, here’s my plan… I’m going to leave Santo Rosa early this morning, say around 6:00am. Its 686 miles to Las Vegas. I’m going to try to ‘drive in’… I don’t like heroic rides; and six hundred and eighty six miles sure sounds like one. ‘Heroic’ rides are dangerous, hectic, painful (to your butt…) and are a COMPLETE ‘false-agenda’. Because it makes zero difference at all when I get home, (logically.) — Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a shot. More than likely, I’ll bail out along the way… (Which would be the SMART thing to do) – No one’s ever accused me of having a high I.Q.
(I’ve already gassed up, smarty pants)
Ha ha… gotcha…
Not THAT Clinton… Clinton OKLAHOMA, Forrest! Geez… people are so jumpy in the political season. I COULD have stayed in Oklahoma City, you know. BUuuuut… on the off chance that Hillary stays in Clinton when she’s not staying in New York I rode an extra 60 miles to see her. She’s not here, drat… but Trump was… I even took him for a ride on my motor-sickle. Here’s what I told him… “Git yerself a motor-sickle… and then go see ‘Merica, there’s a lotta nice people out there.”
For instance, my license plate came off my bike yesterday. Hey, “who knew?” Right? You checked YOUR license plate lately? So… I’m blasting down the hiway, ‘bout, say, 85… I notice this white Dodge Durango coming up fast behind me. I keep an eye on him, and he gets up beside me and waves his hand to get my attention. When I look over, he’s ‘mouthing’: “Pull over” – So, what’s the deal, right? — Hell, I don’t know, maybe he wants to put me in a modern version of “Easy Rider, WTF?”
Always up for an adventure, (and with a small, loaded pistol in my jacket pocket”) – I follow him over to the side of “I-blanking-40” (Interstate… cars and trucks (my evil enemy) passing by) – When we both get stopped, I ease the zipper down on the side-pocket of my jacket (just in case, Bubba) – And he walks over to tell me my licesnse plate has come off my bike several miles back. I thank him profusely…(I mean, I’M not going back to get it, fo sho…) BUT… I DID admire his intention, and told him so; in volumns.
That’s what I mean by America being great. We really ARE a great country… From my Seal friend, Bob Summerlin, to an anonymous guy who wanted an anonymous biker to know he had lost his tag… — We Americans frequently help each other out. – “Thank you, Mister Sir, whoever you are… I sincerely appreciate the effort; ‘You do man…”
So there you go, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton… do right by America… and one thing I know for CERTAIN… we’ll do right by you. Nuff said.
So… all you weirdos who read my blog want to know about my adventure of almost getting robbed. And my meeting with the Pho-leece, huh… (A serious “thanks” for the response) Okay, ok… I’ll tell you.
So… one time, several years ago, I hit the wrong exit on my bike. It was up in St. George, Utah and I wound around trying to get back on the main highway and ended up in… what can best be described as… a very large asphalted area. I guess they were going to build some houses on it, and they put the streets in first. ANywHo… I pull over to a concrete curb (with nothing else there) and get off my bike, open my back ‘top-case’ to get ‘Charles” out… (‘Charles’ is my road-atlas… “Charles Atlas”, get it?? – Ok, maybe not, – google it, if you don’t) – So, I’m looking at ‘Charles’, (with the lid on my top case still open… “ya never know, ya know?)
Out of nowhere this faded blue, older, Chevy Blazer pulls up sort of in front of me, kinda at an angle. Mind you, there is NO ONE around for M-I-L-E-S! – Already, this is unusual, and I look over in my top case, see my pistol in it’s holster, and I pull it out, and lay it on top of the holster, ‘for easy access’ you might say.
So this brotha.. gets part way out of his Blazer and says, “Man, I aint go no money.” So, I say, “I’ve been there, if you aint got the green you’ve got the blues.” We just look at each other. Then, he says, “No really, I’m broke.” So I’m thinking, is he just TELLING ME this, or asking for money, OR trying to decide if he’s gonna rob me.
So, ‘what the heck’, I say, “Yeah, I’ve been broke before myself, know what you mean.” We just look at each other. HE SAYS… “Maybe I can just use some of yours.” – Again, we stare at each other just a tad bit too long. – (Ok, ‘mother-blanker’, you want a confrontation, I’m gonna give it to you.)
So, I put my hand in my top case and look him in the eye and say, “Sir… the decision you make in the next eight seconds is going to change your life, big time, — You may ‘think’ I’m an old, white-headed guy, but God is playing a cruel trick on you; I’m not. — Here’s the real deal.– I aint giving you no money, Period.”
We just stare at each other… My fingers are just tapping on the side of my pistol… (I hope I don’t have to shoot this asshole, I’m thinking) — So, just like that… He says, “Well, I guess I need to get going.” He gets all the way back in his Blazer and drives off… *I* go back to ‘Charles’, and leisurely figure out where the heck I am, (WITH my top case still open) — So, whaddaya think?? – Think he was trying to rob me, or he drove out to a very secluded area to solicit a donation. To be honest, I really AM interested in your opinion. Heck, maybe all I had to do was give him a ‘twenty’… tell me what you think.
As to my involvement with the Poh-leece.. On my way going out to Two-pelow (Tupelo, MS.) – I’m sure I was possibly, perhaps, maybe… going a tad bit too fast, for sure. I was off to an exhhilirating trip… rolling thru the hills of Mississippi… when I saw some flashing blue lights coming up behind me. Dang it… I looked down at my speedo, and sure enough.. I “might” have been close to 87, (my favorite cruisin’ number.) I figure, if you’re not doing 90, you’re not speeding, right?
(Hey Ann Biggs, I just saw on the TeeVee that it’s “Fleet-week” in New York City… bet you wish you were there.)
So anyway, I back off my “faulty” throttle (preparing for my deefense, don’t you know), and pull over to the side, with Mississippi’s ‘finest’ right behind me. So, I take my helmet off, and my earplugs out… turn my loud music down, and get off my bike, (hoping he takes notice of my white hair and (ahem..) ‘older’ features. – (It helps to know that I always carry poker chips from Las Vegas with me, to give to people who have extended a ‘kindness’ to me; a special way to thank them, you might say.)
So, this highway patrol trooper walks up and says, “You were going a little fast there, sir… “ and I said, (politely)… “What’s your name?” (in a VERY friendly tone). Thankfully, he says “Sam”. So I said, “Sam, my name’s Tom; have you ever been to Las Vegas?” He says, “No, I haven’t.” – So, I hand him a poker chip from Las Vegas and he just looks at it. “Sam, you know what you can do with that poker chip”, I say… (he looks up, expectantly), “You can take it to the roulette table, and if you manage your winnings well, you can make yourself a million bucks.”
A big smile spreads across his face, and he laughs… He looks at the poker chip one more time, and asks “Are you really from Las Vegas? I hand him my driver’s license, and tell him I am. He looks it over, smiles again at me, and says, “I think I’ll just hold on to it.” Then, he looks me and my bike over one more time, and says (literally), “You git your ass outta here… and SLOW DOWN!!” I assured him I would. Then I geared up again, and rode off. — “Thank you, Officer Sam… I appreciate the courtesy. I hope you make your fortune in Las Vegas. (You don’t think I bribed him, do ya??)
Hey, I’m getting outta here soon… on my way to Amarilla, and on to Albekwerky, New Mexico; 457 miles; gonna blast over there at about 87… — Look out for them coppers, Y’all…
Conway Arkansas?? – Yeah… Ya see, Gome… I left Wrens to go to ‘Lanna. (Atlanta, that’s the way they say it there, OR… “HotLanta” – I prefer ‘Lanna.)
I’m telling you the truth when I say that ‘Lanna is a traffic MESS. I got stopped just outside of their perimeter-road; and couldn’t go anywhere.. ANYwhere… So, I just parked it at a Quality-Inn, and let my bud, Jon Jefferies, come over to see me. HE… lives there, I DON’T. – Get this… even Jon had a hard time getting over to the ol’ “Q-I” – But, it was definitely good to see him… He was the last on “the list”, — the list of peeps I wanted to see on this trip. — (that’s his black Beemer beside my bike)
Jon is a radio hot-rod, a “sports-talk” jock at one of ‘Lanna’s hot radio stations. He’s done well. He USED to be THE NUMBER ONE “Rock ‘n Roll’ jock at Omaha’s legendary KFAB. Seriously, at the time, he was hotter than Las Vegas on July the 4th . But… remember Harry Chapin’s song: W.O.L.D.? – Well, Jon too… got old, (if 31 is old) and they kicked him to the curb. But, he recovered well and went on to make a name for hisself in syndicated radio. Mind you, he’s still a punk; but people in ‘Lanna think he hung the moon. – Aint life great…
I bet you’re wondering if I got those damn ‘All-the-way-dogs’, right?? – NO! – It’s one of the few times I’ve been out-maneuverd by the fates. I had it all figured out. I blasted out of the Quality Inn… roared west on I-20; I was like a pro half-back, runnin’ with the football… maneuvering in and out of ‘Lanna’s traffic… leaving wakes of traffic tie-ups behind me… I’m serious, several times I was ‘floor-boarding’ my bike past 90.
I got all the way to the downtown-connecter that takes you to The Varsity and that ‘mother-blanker’ was backed up tighter than a constipated race horse. I actually screeched to a stop over in an illegal parking zone, right in the middle of I-20 West. “Well, ‘blank’” I said. “I guess I’m not going to the Varsity.’ – (blif / splik / drat / dagnabbit).
So, I recognized my fate, and limped away (almost got run over by a FedEx-truck as I pulled away.) – Depressed, I gave him the finger and roared past him… I’m serious, it was a major defeat not to get those dogs… they’re like an Olympic medal… “Who among us, cannot say, “All-the-way-dogs” are not the true mark of a champion?” – Like John Henry, the steam-drill had defeated me, and I limped out of ‘Lanna, (at about 87 MPH)
“Homeward Bound”, at last. I cheered up as I got closer to Birmingham, (somewhat). There’s an actual ‘traffic-column’ between ‘Lanna and Birmingham; the only birght spot was TWO truck ‘weigh-stations’ that held up my evil foe, “the trucks”. I cackled like a mad man, as I sped by them, noticing how many were shaking their fists at me. “We’ll get you, ‘motorcycleMan’; next time, next time, next time…. It grew fainter and fainter as I sped away in victory.
B’ham was rapidly behind me as I plunded thru Jasper, and on to Tupelo. I was just outside of “Tupes” when I faded, and ducked into Fulton, MS. – Fulton is named after Bishop Fulton J. Sheen of tele-vangical fame. They even have a bronze statue of him, next to highway 78… “touching”, if you think about it. – I spent the night at a VERY comfortable DaysInn… arguably one of the best “economy” motel chains in America.
I developed a ‘rating model’ on motel chains. I call it the “Motel-6” scale. The ‘Motel-6’ median point is literaly “6”… and everything is either lower than ‘6’ or greater than ‘6’. For instance, the Quality Inn in ‘Lanna was a Motel-6 scale of 8… pretty good, actually. The DaysInn in Fulton was very close to an 8, (I don’t like to get too granular.)
I had a fabulous ‘truckers-breakfast’ at the Huddle-House in Fulton before I split. I blasted out to Fort Smith, ARE-Kansas this morning, with the full intention of making it all the way.
A ‘Tampa-like’ rain engulfed me just before Conway Arkansas, and I took it as a sign from God that I ought to spread my message there. – The rain was so hard that I literally could not see five feet to either side of me. I had my rain gear on and everything, and I was SOAKED. – I actually ‘guessed’ there was an exit where I pulled off… and at the top of a rainy / foggy / misty hill there stood a… (wait for it…) a… “Days Inn” (can you hear the music??)
The lady at the front desk greeted me like I was her son… “Come on in heah, boy; you gonna catch your death out thea” – (She had no idea how right she was) – I parked my bike under the canopy, and wondered at the might of simple WATER.
After I checked in, and drug my bags into my room, the front desk momma… said to bring my clothes up to the laundry and she’d dry them for me.
You know, by and large, pretty much at the 90% level, Americans are great people. I’ve been about 40,000 miles on my various bikes since I turned 66… and I have never had even ONE bad experience. Oops… there was one guy who was gonna try and rob me, one time in St. George, but I explained to him why that was a bad idea… Let me know if you want to hear the story.
Also, I have one OTHER story I’ve been keeping from you… I don’t know, think I should share it? It involves the Poh-lece…
Just so you know, I’m leaving Conway in the morning and going to Oklahoma City, Okalhoma.. I don’t know why they have so many redundant cities in Oklahoma… After Ok-City (there, that’s better) I’m going to Amarilla… (that’s the way they say it); them Texicans…