Friday, November 28, 2014
The chillins all had Turkeyobligations, so Ann and I said, "What the hell!"--threw the crates in the EGG and took off for KEOWEE-TOXAWAY State Park, in the S.C. mountains. Ann did up a complete Turkey dinner, with the bird,oyster dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes--pureed with cinnamon---and cranberry sauce (I could eat daily---the whole works!
25-28 pm degrees; am wind; invigorating; big fires to sit around and stare at the way we do.
Dinner better'n anything the Pilgrims--even Abe Lincoln, who invented Thanksgiving-- ever had & eaten, knee-to-knee, at the EGG's tiny table, and I was "the luckiest man alive".
Hiked a good bit in the hard wood forests with that magic leafless sunshine a-beaming on you and the fall leaves all-around and you stop every 45 mins. or so for snacks-- every hour for another turkey sandwich with Miracle Whip and gobs or cranberry sauce on both sides of the turkey slabs.
Photos, to follow, I take no credit for; it's all about the IPhone (3, no less). You figure it....
Peace 'n Later...
Friday, October 24, 2014
37 degrees last night; beautiful day Took a 7 mile hike on a horse trail--moderate grade; twinkling leaves with colors galore; blue, blue sky; trippin out on the day and my blood sugar is all over the chart--a mini Snicker & pack of orange Lance crackers and things settled down & we're going at a good gait, and the....... there in front of us is a healthy pile of fresh bear poop. Oops....we'd both forgotten this was the heart of bear country. Hummmm...and then, here comes a whole herd of jolly, college kids, horsing around...lots of loud banter and the fierce, boogie bear trepidations vaporized. A very, beautiful, wonderful day.
Yesterday, October 23rd we rode the Great Smokies Railroad from Bryson City to Dillsboro--a day trip there and back. Some cool pottery & touristy little shops in both B.City & Dillsboro...and, a good bit "hard times" afoot. Big learning from the railroad trip was a heartfelt appreciation for my ancestors who road back and forth across America on trains back in the old days....like the 1860's, 70's ; etc. with batches of children, and little or no train perks---just a seat. At maybe five miles per hour on average, you do the math for a distance of say, 2000 miles. Whew....I'm bushed.
ATTENTION, READERS!! PHOTOS FROM THE 23RD & 24TH SOMEHOW CLUMPED TOGETHER AND ARE ALL POSTED ON OCT.23 BLOG. (It's Bill Gates' fault.)
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
DEEP CREEK LEAPER---Oct. 21st, 2014. Yep, the Leaper is a bear that stuffs himself/herself on backpackers' food they've hooked onto a wire strung between two trees---the hip way to store one's food in the wild. That is, with the exception of the mighty Leaper. This-here bar climbs the tree with wire attached and leaps over to the food bag and rides it to the ground. Alas, the poor backpackers with no food must head back to their crib with their tails between their legs.
We're EGGing up here in the Smokies in Leaper territory. Both of us have been sick---me with bronchial pneumonia. But we have turned the corner. I figure I can hawk up mucus in the woods as easily as at me casa. Besides, the woods are where I belong. I spent my childhood way, way out in the country. Apart from the paved road out front, I could hike in any direction all day and never happen upon any civilization. Left the country for the city as a 9th grader; returned ten or twelve years later and our farm was history. In its place was a strip mall and a McDonalds. And the beat goes on.
More later from Leaper country.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
April 22-- Boy, Atlanta takes the cake. Everybody's speeding on expresso & the expressway, zipping lane-to-lane, doing 80, forgetting Wal-Mart is open 24 hrs.--maybe they've got to pee. Whatever--they're nuts! Drug the EGG through The Big Easy, Dallas several times, Houston, Pheonix--hell and the other half of Georgia, but Atlanta is hopeless. Garmin, 2 IPhones,road atlas & above normal IQ's didn't matter. We screamed a good bit, finally found I-85 North, and checked into a Holiday Inn Express.
Arrived home to waist-high grass, 25 lbs. of junk mail, various, perpetual medical bills I've already paid but they send you a duplicate bill in hopes you pay twice; etc. Most importantly, it was green; it was lush; it was the crib.
Thirty-six nights in the EGG; way too much sensory input; many laughs; a busted knuckle, a good bit of discomfort; some fear--all-in-all, we're real glad we did it. But, I ain't going no where for a while.
Reflecting on how this trek got started, two things come to mind: (1) Ann & I were looking through the living room window at a cold and gloomy day, when Ann says, "What are we going to do, just sit around here being old people?" (2) A little bit later, I stumbled upon a favorite quote: "Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, Before we too into Dust descend; Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie Sans Wine; sans Song; sans Singer, and---sands End!"
--The Rubaiyat, Omar Khayyam
Friday, April 18, 2014
April 18th, Foghorn Leghorn (Lake Claiborne) St. Pk., La.--Final entry before arriving home (BACK IN THE GREEN GROOVE). Where the Foghorn Leghorn came from remains a mystery. (A twisted mind is a dangerous thing.) Ironically, we stayed here Fall, a year ago, en route to Big Bend Nat. Pk. Gorgeous, huge, undeveloped lake skirts the park; kids everywhere, laughing, chasing, being happy. A lot we old farts can learn from this child behavior--the acting like you feel; the screaming and laughing.
The park is way back in the woods, 10-15 miles from Louisiana's piece of I-20 It's Good Friday. Lots of campers--big rigs and pup tents--all local folks. One fellow has a big propane tank with a roaring burner and a rolling pot of oil you could cook a turkey in--maybe two at once. He's happy. I'll have to see what he's going to cook. Like I say, we've been here before. Funny how you sometimes end up at the same sites when you move east to west/west to east across the country
Why do they call it Good Friday & not bad Friday? Isn't this when Jesus was nailed to the cross? And I like the robbers on adjacent crosses--one repentant--the other saying, "If Jesus is so special how come he's hanging up here on a cross like us ?" And the other robber asking Jesus for forgiveness, which Jesus does, and then gives him a pass to heaven. What do you reckon became of the non- repentant robber? Went to the fiery pit. Given Bible litigation, there wasn't any option, right?
Ann and I are feeling tired of trailering, for now. And I repeat, for now. I suppose we're feeling a little sentimental, too. It's always this way for us at the end of a journey. ETA, Charlotte is Sunday PM or Monday AM. No photos from today. Just glad it's green, green, green; there's humidity; it's warm and the constant, desert wind ain't blowing. I'll do a wrap-up in the next few days & I'll try not to be schmaltzy. Later....
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Having inadvertently dumped sewage in Hurricane, UT., next to the Mormon mink farmer's big rig, then dumping high test at the Valaro gas station in Clyde, Tx. I was beginning to wonder about EGG neurosis. Be that as it may, I'm flipping back in the travel chronology to fill in three events: Bryce Canyon, Kodachrome Basin & Tucumcari KOA, the dust storm, snow, and the nifty shower stall notice.
Like the Grand Canyon, you look down into Bryce from its rim--a good bit higher than the GC, with elevations in excess of 9000'. You'll note the snow remnants, an arch or two; etc. Kodachrome Basin is a noted, v. remote campground & the spot the former film & camera corp. came to test the accuracy of their color film. And then there was the sand storm on I-40--a blinding event forcing all but a few wacky truckers to bail off. We landed at the Tucumcari, NM KOA--lost in time, run down, a remnant from the 50's.
An ancient walkie-talky on the front door was how you roused the owner. There were few campers--most arriving due to the sand and horrid wind. The notice on the shower stall wall is self-explanatory. This KOA would be a choice spot for a David Lynch movie. The next AM the ground was covered with snow & all connections frozen. I filled my trusty 5 gal. bucked with hot h20 from the men's room, flushed it down the EGG's sink & toilet, got out my trusty pliers & we broke camp & blasted off, East, on I-40. Later...
Monday, April 14, 2014
April 14,2014, Clyde Texas, Valero gas station: I set the squeeze trigger on the high test gas filler & start filling her up. I'm cleaning my windshield, hear this gushing noise & gas is running all under my truck , around the island---maybe 1.5-2 gals. I step in the pond of petrol, click the trigger &, cut off the flood. Knowing I need to get the hell outta there, I hop in, but my gasoline-laden, rubber boot sole was so slick I can't keep it on the clutch so I can push it in & start the engine. I'm GD'n like a stevedore. Ann's eyes are like saucers (not knowing what's going on); I get her cranked, move beyond the blast zone but here comes a Minicooper & a dude in a painter van pulling into the zone, right amongst the high test. I warn them off; the cute Texas lass in the Cooper thanks me profusely--her eyes blinking like a debutante in lust & says "...yeah, this station has had a problem with this before." Humm... She's now directing newcomers to stay the hell away, so I sprint inside & tell the clerk--- who turned out to have a genetically predetermined blank look on her face--- that there's gas all over the damn place & get the gasoline-absorption grit muy pronto!!!! Her blank look got seemingly blanker, then she shuffles, nonchalantly into the cooler. I'm thinking, I need to get the hell outta this place. Me smelling like gas & Ann still wondering what the hell's going on, we bust off through pot holes in the adjacent, vacant lot---the EGG bouncing like a rubber duck in a baby's bath. In the rear mirror I see the debutante directing traffic like a crossing guard & the "blank" humanoid clerk watching with her hands on her mighty hips. Later...
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
April 8th--Didn't do yesterday's Zion Nat. Pk. blog justice. For perspective, note photos and imagine yourself maybe a 16th of an inch tall, standing at the foot of one of these enormous cliffs with their biblical names: G. White Throne, Court of Patriarch, etc, Canyons of Zion are all steep, steep masterpieces sculpted from raw rock by the Virgin River.
Today, found us en route to Bryce Canyon Nat. Pk.,with today's trek beginning with the Kolob Canyons Nt. Pk. 8 mi. steep, steep loop up to +8k' with countless spires poking another 1k-1500' into the sky. What can I say? More and more sensory overloading. The wild turkey was leery, but we suspected that it hankered a Ritz Cracker. From Kolob we tore off cross-country toward Bryce C. on Rt. 14--switchback upon switchback with adjacent snow and surprisingly, basalt lava rocks in the meadows. This black rock suggests recent (maybe the past million or two yrs.) volcanic activity.
Lunch at the Railroad Cafe ("Eat a Carrot not a Steak") and we had beef BBQ. Well....it wasn't a steak. Deer or Elk head loomed over my shoulder. Tonight, at remote trailer pk. not far from Bryce Canyon,which we'll do tomorrow. Note
photos of Zion (yesterday's blog) + today's photos per the above "rap."
I'm bushed. Later.....
Monday, April 7, 2014
April 7th, Monday--- I ain't making this up: Yesterday we pulled in the Hurricane KOA (they've got more & better Maytags), and our slot was rt. next to a Big Rig trailer ($400+K) operated by husband & wife mink farmers (Mormons?) from here in Utah."Does anyone wear mink these days?" I ask. "Of course, of course--you're not with PETA are you?"the wife answers
--her eyes narrow and mean. "Is the mink business very lucrative? I ask. "Oh yes--yes, it can be. But with the recession and all, we had to manage a bar to pay the feed bill. But we're doing good now." (Evidentially, given the size of their Big Rig.) Things turned sour when we accidentally dumped 3 days worth of stored sewage on the ground. Shortly, they moved to another slot. Alas.....
Went to Zion Canyon Nat. Pk. today. Tons of people---tons of sensory overload. Squirrels were so tame they'd hop in your lap for a handout. Oriental woman with an ostentatious Nikon on a tripod moved close to photo one of these tourist squirrels and said, "Ahhh...so...American rat have bushy tail."
(note photos of Zion.)
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Sedona to Flagstaff via 89 was another breath-taking event: skinny road with patches of black ice from an overnight light snow; serious switchbacks, overhanging rocks on the right side, causing me to go left over the double yellow line so as not to crack the EGG ; steep, steep grades requiring second gear--a first in +-20K miles of EGGing. There's only one photo of this trek. There were no places to pull off. Had lunch in Flagstaff with Carlton Shepherd, pal & outstanding artist.
April 3-6: And then there was the exceedingly GRAND CANYON!!! Took two long hikes along the southern rim. Hopefully, the photos will speak for themselves.
Sensory overload is a bit of a cliche', but this is what this far-western trek has been all about. You simply have to see it to understand. e.g., every view of the Grand Canyon tops the one before it and the same vista is always in transition as the day passes, the light pales, clouds move before the sun and maybe tufts of fog move down a cut in the canyon maybe a couple of miles away.
I'm looking out the EGG's window and watching a flock of ravens devour an absent, fellow camper's loaf of bread and bag of corn chips. We're in a national pk. campground with no hookups (elec., h20, sewer),so we're running the Honda generator per an allotted, short time AM & PM,only. We're at 7500' ; it's v. cold at night & with no elec. hookup there's no heat other than the allotted time periods for the generator, but we've got the "hot Swede" alcohol heater!!!! The "hot Swede" requires constant vigilance--not due to her randy nature, but due to her fire hazard. You fire up the Swede, make strong tea on the portable, butane burner & before you know it you're almost comfortable, Ann's recovering from a sinus infection requiring a visit to an urgent care. I'm wearing "antique" clothes in dire need of some Tide & a washing machine. We may hit a KOA--more cost but better Maytags.