Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Glacier's Story

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Millions of years ago, the area of the Rocky Mountains was a sea bed. Today, torn red rock appears throughout the mountains, at high altitudes. It is argillite, saturated with minerals and salts, and it is used by goats and others as a salt lick. They load up on the minerals before winter sets in. It is green when it is freshly broken, and then oxidation turns it red.

In the early 1900’s, Charles Bird Grinell was an editor at Forest & Stream Magazine (later Field & Stream). He was an explorer, hiker, and a conservationist with a powerful ally: Teddy Roosevelt. He was, however, no relation to Lady Bird Johnson.

After exploring the northwestern area of Montana, he was instrumental in having the area named a National Park in 1910. He named most of the mountains here; and Grinell Glacier was named in his honor.

The National Park Service was not established until 1916, so from 1911 to 1916, the U.S. Army was in charge of the park. Fire fighting, enforcement of anti-poaching and criminal laws, and mapping were included in the Army’s charter.

The Continental Divide is the line of mountains and foothills which collectively divide the eastern watershed from the western one. Rain or melting snow on the eastern side of the Continental Divide eventually gets to the Gulf of Mexico and to the Atlantic; the western water goes to the Pacific. Actually, a mountain in Glacier is named Triple Divide, because it also defines the Hudson Bay / Arctic Ocean watershed. King Charles of England (Chuck to us) declared that Canada’s southern border shall include all of the Hudson Bay watershed. We listened to him about as much as we listen to his descendent, Prince Gnarly Charlie, and the Canadian border runs about 50 miles north of here.

Based on Army surveys, a road to cross the park was designed in 1916. It was designed to climb the mountains with numerous switchbacks. After construction of a couple of miles, that approach was abandoned and the area was re-surveyed. Construction was resumed, and the final road has only one switchback, named The Loop, which is a hikers’ rally point not far from Logan Pass, the road’s high point. The road was finished in 1933, because the building season was restricted to June, July, August and September by the snow season.

Indian tradition holds that the Creator built the mountains, and then returned to heaven by walking up the tall mountain which they named “Going to the Sun”. The road was renamed from Cross Park Highway (sounds like the Cross Bronx Expressway, or Long Island’s Cross Island Parkway) to Going-to-the-Sun Highway. In the past 40 years, the word “highway” was changed to “road”.

Four ice ages filled the park to depths of 2,500 to 3,500 feet. Glaciers – moving sheets of ice at least 50 acres in size – carved the faces of the mountains as lower areas softened and melted, allowing glaciers to flow down the face of the mountain. If a mountain was carved on two sides by a glacier, it is called an “arête” type; if carved on three faces, the resulting is a distinctive horn shape typical of the Park. A famous example is Europe’s Matterhorn.

Even the trees are interesting. One of the dominant pine trees, Lodge Pole Pines, are very tall and very straight. Their seeds are locked in pine cones which will only open when exposed to heat between 114 °F and 140 °F. The heat melts the pitch in the cone, and the seeds are released. Then, the seeds require unrestricted sunlight to germinate. So, a stand of Lodge Pole Pines indicates that a forest fire once cleared the area.

Oh, and we had a 5.6 earthquake yesterday, but it was received as “ho-hum” – just more nature at work!

Finally, my tour of the park the other day encouraged me that I should overcome my memories of terror when my Dad drove us over the Highway in the 50’s. But, the 21’ length restriction prompted me to measure Big Ride. The truck is 22’-6” long, so I’d have to rent a car. No thanks. When hitched to Big Easy, the 33’ trailer (which measures 35’ overall), the combined length (because they overlap at the back end of the truck) is 53’-6”. Not important for you to know, but I need to remember that!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Busy Times!

We have been fishing, hiking, doing laundry, cooking, and fixing up the trailer.

Luxury is washing all of the bedding in the campground laundromat!

After Church yesterday, I went to Many Glacier Hotel, inside the park, for lunch. While munching on a cheeseburger, I gazed out at the magnificent vista behind the hotel. The memories of family trips in the 1950's flooded back. Please be sure to check out the new pictures.

Today, Monday, I spent the day finishing repairs and unloading totes into the trailer. We can actually move around now! In RV parlance, this is known as "full timing", and this is the perfect trailer for that.

Two more days here. I got the annual National Parks pass, which is a good deal. It will be an even better deal when I turn 62 ($10 one time for life), but for now it's $50/year and covers all entrance fees to every U.S. National park.

Plus, the fishing is free!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Inside the Park

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Friday, July 22, 2005

I put the date up there because things are timeless here. Without the computer, I cannot tell what day it is. Have you noticed that radio stations don’t tell you the day or date anymore? Besides, I have sworn off radio, TV and newspapers while I am in Glacier.

I took a Red Bus tour of the park yesterday. The buses are circa 1938, originally built by White Freight Truck Inc at about Jeep height, four across seating with five rows. Each row has its own doors. Thirty-three of the remaining buses were renovated by Ford and TMD in 1999, and they are great. Check out the rest of the pictures at http://promptruminations.blogspot.com.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road (which used to be called a Highway) is much improved since my Dad scared us so badly in 1959. I may actually drive it myself now with the truck, though anything over 21 feet is prohibited. I suspect the National Park Service wants to ensure that each car or truck can turn around on the two-lane road in case of accidents, fires or avalanches.

I wrote a lot of family postcards today. A fellow told me about a great fishing hole in the Park (federal land, so a fishing license is not required), so I bought a nifty Pack-It collapsible fishing rod at the Rising Sun lodge in the Park yesterday. We’ll see how Lacy does in the glacier-fed Swift Current Lake at Many Glacier today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Domestic Day

Today was very worthwhile, and very domestic.

Before breakfast – before coffee, even – I resumed the repairs and modifications to the trailer. No serious problems: two wooden drawers with broken plastic brackets (plastic? In a fifth wheel?! What were they thinking?), cabinet doors with top hinges but no way to hold the door open except one’s head; and a large closet to which I added four large (2’ X 2’) shelves. I fixed a dilapidated lateral file, beefed it up for bouncing around on Montana’s roads, and loaded in all of my paper files.

I threw out six milk crates (for the files), a broken four drawer cabinet which cost me $35 in California three years ago, and a lot of debris.

Then I showered and dressed.

Ain’t vacation grand?!

Today was also moving day. I moved to another site in the same campground – this one with a connection for my waste water and sewage. So, I’m back to doing dishes and showering in the fifth wheel. What luxury! But the main advantage is that I now have an unobstructed view of 16 mountains in Glacier National Park.

I can look at them for hours. They change as the sun moves and the shadows highlight different features. I can actually feel the stress and worries just melting away. They were totally invisible at sunrise - fog, and clouds ten feet over my head. Seriously! Then they appeared, one at a time. I count them to make sure that they didn't take one away for maintenance.

Lacy made a new friend - Sharon, age 7, from Arizona. Sharon asked if she could please pet Lacy; what a nice question. I gave her the leash, and the two of them romped for 15 minutes, returning breathless, hearts pulsing frantically, both of their tongues dragging, and ear-to-ear grins! They both made new friends today.

Today, finally, was also laundry day. I packed it all up, and used the campground Maytags. These are industrial machines, well worth the extra cost. (I think fees go up 10% with every additional 1,000 feet altitude. It cost me $.25 for six minutes of drying; $2.50 for an hour. But nothing can wreck this day!) I spent the time reading a book on the history of the park. Established in 1911, it has a lot of history.

They may have to come with a tow truck to get me out of here…

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Glacier History

According to Glacier Country: Montana’s Glacier National Park (R.C. “Bert” Gildart, American Geographic Publishing, 1990), the range of Rocky Mountains in the park was formed by volcanic fire, quenched by torrential rains, overwhelmed by vast seas, forced upward by tectonic plate upheaval and then gouged by continental ice sheets that came and went on at least four occasions. There are numerous peaks over 10,000 feet high, more than 200 lakes, and 60 species of mammals. This happened 65 million years ago, plus or minus 10 million years.

Church was very nice today. There are not enough priests in this area, so a deacon came and conducted a Mass-like service. He, and about half the congregation of 40 people, is a Blackfeet Indian. The church is very poor, and so the 20 tourists there were pretty generous, I think, at the collection.

Then I drove to Duck Lake, about 9 miles due east of the park, between Babb and St. Mary. I got to an elevation of 5,400 feet (per GPS), and I looked back at the 10,000 foot peaks in the park, and the valleys and lakes at 3,500 feet. Simply breath taking, and more of a church than the little building I had just left. Except that poor people built that church, which makes it very special, too.

Today was a day to cook: meatloaf, egg salad, a lemon cake with French vanilla icing, corn on the cob, Caesar salad. Lacy and I took a mile walk, and now we’re ready for another one.

My cell phone doesn’t work up here, so I called two of my sons and my daughter, and had great conversations. Kevin is so busy with the opening weekend of his summer show, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, that I didn’t bother him. Break a leg, Kevin!

It was warm today (high 70’s), but the sun just dipped behind a mountain and the temperature has instantly dropped 15 degrees! I’ll wear a sweater on our walk!

Many Glacier Hotel

One of the reasons I was eager to move to East Glacier is that access to one of the park’s premier lodges is easy from this side.

As a preface, I went shopping yesterday, and found a small market in St. Mary’s for fresh meat and vegetables. I checked out where Catholic churches are in this area, and found one in Cut Bank, about 67 miles away. In Montana, that’s considered nearby. I asked at the campground office, and found out that there is a small satellite church in the town of Babb, nine miles away, and a priest drives in from Cut Bank for one Mass each Sunday. I drove to find it during my shopping trip, and I am glad I did because it is not only small, but also situated on top of a 500 foot high hill off the main drag and easy to miss. It is also opposite one of the entrances to Glacier National Park, with a twelve mile long road which has only one destination: the Many Glacier Hotel.

According to The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges (David L. Scott and Kay W. Scott, The Globe Pequot Press, Guilford CT, 4th Ed. 2004), the Many Glacier Hotel was built by the Great Northern Railroad in 1914, and opened to guests the following 4th of July. The railroad built a sawmill and a drying kiln near the site, and used trees from the park for the construction. Huge trees for the lobby columns (three stories high) were harvested near Lake Josephine, five miles away. Even though the lumber and rocks used to build the lodge came free, the cost of importing fixtures, glass and boilers drove construction costs to $500,000. The hotel had its own hydroelectric plant at Swift Current Falls (200 feet away) for fifty years, but it was wrecked by a 1964 flood.

This classic old hotel has 211 rooms, five stories, but no elevator. Rooms range from $111 to $219 for family suites. There are horse stables, trail rides, boat rentals and simply magnificent scenery with four mountain peaks just beyond the hotel’s shoreline on Swiftcurrent Lake. That lake was Mom’s swimming pool, and the famous pier is still there.

I last visited here with my parents in about 1960. Then, the hotel was 45 years old. I don’t think we stayed there, because it was run by the National Park Service, reservations were 12 months in advance and it was expensive. (Now it’s run by Glacier Park Inc., a private company, and reservations are on the internet at www.manyglacierhotel.com.) I remember talking to the staff – college men and women working for free room and board and a small stipend during the summer.

I recall clearly that my Dad left his camera hanging on his chair at lunch. After he paid the bill and we walked into the gift shop, a young staffer came up to him and gave him back his camera. My Dad was so grateful that he gave the young man $10 – a fortune in my eyes. Then Dad said to me, “See? If you had been alert, you could have saved the camera and gotten $10.” I recall mumbling to my Mom, “Yeah, but only if I sold it to someone else.” Did your Dad ever pay you a reward for giving him back his own misplaced stuff?

Today, my visit is 45 years later, and the hotel is 90 years old. A five phase restoration project is underway, with exterior repairs complete. (On the hotel, not on me.)

Since the hotel is inside Glacier National Park, I had to pay the park admission. I bought a seven day pass for $20. I hope to get back to Many Glacier for hiking, for lunch, and to let Lacy commune once again with the very docile herd of trail horses tied up nearby. I’m not sure what she’s telling them, but I think it includes, “…and he won’t even let me drive.” Horses don’t really laugh; they just snort in derision.

Moving In

In the old diesel submarines of World War II (and perhaps on the smaller nuclear attack boats today), the crew packed out for deployment by fitting boxes and cans of food and supplies into every available nook and cranny. When that was all filled up, the remainder was stacked on the deck, and the crew walked on it for the first few weeks at sea until they ate their way down to the linoleum or tile.

I packed for California in various plastic totes, suitcases, and two large rolling job boxes. I found a place for most of it in the trailer or in the truck, and the rest went in the aisles and on the furniture. In transit, it meant moving stuff from the bed to the floor, or from the shower to the living room, as required from time to time for our nightly stops.

Now that we are in Glacier for at least a week, I started moving in last night. For daily use stuff, cabinet space was found. For less frequent use, under the bed or in lower outside bays (they call it “the basement”). For occasional use, into a job box which will be stowed in the truck bed while the trailer is unhitched.

After a couple of hours, it is already 50% more livable! And, the stuff in the cabinets can stay there when we drive again, with only the things on the countertops or table to be safely stored. I should finish the job after church today. I hooked up the Tivo, so I can watch a show I recorded at home during dinner. But I refuse to set up the satellite dish in Glacier; this is vacation, and there’s too much to see, to read and to do!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Glacier Camping

We had a rainbow this morning

Our KOA campground at West Glacier, Montana, was very full, and so they had scheduled us for a spot which - on paper - would accommodate our truck and trailer. In fact, it looked very tight to me. I am somewhat experienced in pulling, backing and parking trailers; but this one is very large, very new, and very scary in tight places. The site was hemmed in with trees, and the access road did not seem to have enough room for me to swing the big Ford truck. Because a fifth wheel hitches over the rear truck axle, it behaves differently from a trailer which is tied to the bumper of the truck. Fifth wheels seem to need more room to swing, and I was very concerned that the spot we were to occupy for a week just didn’t have the room.

The young folks at the desk tried to convince me that it would be fine, but when the campground owner looked at the site, and at my rig, he agreed with me. So, we have moved.

West Glacier put us in touch with the KOA at East Glacier, some 80 miles away, where we got a straight pull through site. This campground has few trees, but it has a wonderful view of the mountains in Glacier National Park one mile away. We are on a windswept area known as high plains, about 6,000 feet elevation. The big trailer rocks and rolls in the 30 knot plus winds, which blow almost constantly, but it’s fine. The Boy Scout troop here in their tents are having a more difficult time.

A few passing clouds dumped a little rain on us this morning. As if the grandeur of 12,000 foot granite mountains towering above us wasn’t enough – I really feel like I’m in a cathedral – we got a magnificent rainbow to boot. It appeared very large, and very close, with sparkling colors. It was impossible to look at it and not say, “Oh, Lord, thank You!”

Today is Saturday, July 16. I think some grocery shopping, a long walk with Lacy, a few minor repairs, and re-packing the trailer are on the list. Maybe I’ll cook roast beef, biscuits, and mashed potatoes tonight.

Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana

The town where my sister and her family live does not allow parking on the streets at night, so I found our first KOA campground. Very nice! Clean, well organized, and the hookups and facilities were in great shape. They are not, however, inexpensive.

My family has done a lot of work on the house since I was there last: new multi-level deck overlooking a pond and a small forest, and the basement is finished with two bedrooms, a great room, and a workshop.

It’s nice that my niece’s bedroom is downstairs, since I funded her new bass guitar, and she just got it!

After a great steak dinner at their house, my nephew and his friend (both in the 11 year old range) came back to the campground with my sister and her husband. They enjoyed the tour, until one of them saw my Tivo. Then, it was all “Cool!” That’s when I opened the refrigerator, and gave them ice cream cones. The thought that we’d have a refrigerator that works even when we are driving blew them away!

Got an early start the next day, headed for Bismarck ND. In fact, the roads were so good that we didn’t stop halfway across North Dakota, but continued on to Montana. There weren’t many campgrounds within the last thirty miles of North Dakota and the first thirty of Montana, so we continued until we found one. It was not fancy, nor expensive, so we pulled right in.

It is nice to stay in a beautiful campground, with laundry, store, electricity, water and drains. A swimming pool, an internet connection, and a game room are nice. But really our camping is focused on this wonderful hotel room we haul around behind us. Once we close the drapes, we are back in our home, and it’s easy to ignore what’s outside.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Montana: Indian for "Heaven"

The heat came on in the trailer this morning.

We arrived in Glacier National Park last night. Actually, we’re in the town of West Glacier, at the entrance to the park. Since the national parks restrict the size of campers, I rented a commercial site, plugged in the water and electricity, and cooked dinner.

Bush should explain how he uses my tax money to build 1,000 feet long aircraft carriers, but he cannot build a campground for my 33' trailer.

We are at 6,100 feet elevation in the Rocky Mountains. It was hot yesterday afternoon, so I ran the air conditioning in the trailer just to cool things down. I left a ventilator fan on when I went to bed, and at 6:00 am we needed some heat. It was about 53 outside, as crisp and as clear as it has been since leaving Minnesota two days ago.

My camp site is small, so it took a fair amount of backing and pulling to get the 33’ trailer and the 30’ truck into the 50’ space. I was taking it slowly, to avoid doing 400 HP worth of damage to anything. Clyde Bozo, one of my new neighbors, lost all patience with my patience, and came to my window to encourage me to turn the wheel harder. Accompanied with the inane head wagging, grotesque arm waving, incomprehensible grunting and obnoxious grimacing claimed by denizens of New Jersey as some kind of heritage. Sure enough, a “Nutley, NJ” sticker in the windshield of his lightweight pickup truck. So, lapsing into Jerseyeze, I sez to him, “Eah, whadexit?” Taken aback to hear his own dialect in the pristine, 300 million year old rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, he paused as his brain tried to reboot. With him on the ropes, I delivered my coup de gras: “I’m doin fine. Fuggedaboudit”, as I closed my window and shifted to drive. Ah, you can take Joisey out of the man,…

Yesterday, I stopped in Great Falls, Montana, for a nostalgic visit to Great Falls High School. I found it, appearing much as it had the last time I saw it during a family trip in 1960. It was built in about 1920, and my Mom and her brother and sister graduated there. The teachers provided a great education: Mom enjoyed literature and debate all of her life, Virginia became administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force and Jack was the first radio announcer (a role he reprised when it went to TV) for “Meet the Press”. Mom was in the class of 1940.

Grandma Roney raised her kids alone as she ran a boarding house in Great Falls. When Jack got the radio job, they all moved to Washington DC. Grandma rented out two rooms in the house to boarders, and one of them was a sailor. He was in town while his aircraft carrier, USS TICONDEROGA, was being outfitted at the Washington Navy Yard for the war in the Pacific. My grandmother told him, “Now you stay away from my daughters.” So of course he and Mom met, fell in love, and became my parents.

Atlanta, GA

Here are a couple of notes from the trip so far. The client has delayed things due to paperwork, so I am now a hermit in Montana until 8/1 or so. There are worse places to be! I'll write more soon, but for now... vacationing is taking all of my time!

We left North Carolina in the late morning on Thursday, July 7th, and arrived at Atlanta that evening. There were some severe thunderstorms as we passed through Charlotte, NC, which caused five major wrecks ahead of us involving more than 12 cars and trucks. The delay prevented us from getting together with my brother-in-law and his family. My nephew is a great student in high school now, and an accomplished soccer player. He had a match which prevented us from a later dinner, according to his mother. Soccer is so big there that fields are at a premium. He plays on a mixed men’s and boys’ league, and their game that night was indoors. At 10:00 pm.

I don’t even watch sports that late.

So we stayed in Commerce, GA. It was the first time I drove into a campground which I had not researched in advance. It was late, so the owner and attendants had all gone home. So, one finds a space for the trailer; writes it on the envelope provided with all of the name, rank and serial number stuff; inserts the required cash; and drops it in the slot in the door. $22 for water, sewage and 30 amp electricity connections and a 70’ pull through space. Great!

The next day, I called Stew Magoo (GetStewed.blogspot.com), and we met at an Atlanta Bread Company store for coffee. What a great time! Lacy did the required Homeland Security sniffing, and we talked about everything. We sat outside, since Lacy was with me enjoying the smell of my café latte multo chocolatto fra deangelo. We talked about running our own businesses, how we each enjoy doing the work rather than selling, and how we both have forgotten what a forty hour work week was like. Stew’s business is putting companies up on voice-over-Internet-protocol, so he knows computers cold. Since my WIFI connection had died, Stew recommended a fix, and he took me to his friendly neighborhood computer store, where they gave me his discount and a new gadget. Thanks, Stew! A wonderful day.

From Atlanta, we drove across Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky to Paducah, on the Kentucky-Illinois border. There, we found another unattended campground and paid $20. I’m glad that we had electrical hookups, since the weather continued hot and humid and the air conditioning at night was great.

The next day, I drove from the southern tip of Illinois right up the middle, to Edgerton, Wisconsin. That’s about 15 miles into Wisconsin from Illinois, and we stayed at a very elegant RV Resort, if you can imagine. As an overnighter, they put us in a meadow in the midst of many smaller RV’s. They gave us two spaces, because the rig is so long. After I pulled Big Easy in (our 33’ fifth wheel looked like the Queen Mary to some other campers), a kid asked whether I would give him a tour! He also liked the truck, of course: Big Ride!

On Sunday morning, I found St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and got there in time for the first Mass. Someone was selling religious art made from wood from the Garden of Olives in Jerusalem, so I got some rosaries to send to my children. Then, two young men in business suits asked for our support as they embark on a two year mission . They are recent college graduates, and they are part of FOCUS, a group concentrating on Catholic university students to help them preserve their faith. They wanted our help financially, and I said, “Yeah, right…” until one said his assignment was to a college he had never seen, but he looked forward to: the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

Well, knock me over with a feather. My alma mater, and here I am in Podunck, Mid West. Of course I will sponsor him!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Trip, Change 1: Update


Did Bing Crosby and Bob Hope do a "Road to Vacaville" movie? They should have: this is a riot!

Here's the new itinerary:

Thursday - Atlanta
Friday - Visit friends, family in Atlanta
Sat - Springfield IL
Sun - Maple Grove MN - Visit family
Mon - Bismarck ND
Tue - Fort Peck, MT *
Wed - West Glacier, MT
Thurs - Visit Glacier National Park - the best!
Fri - Twin Falls, ID
Sat - Sacramento, CA - my campground for Vacaville

* My mom carried water to the guys building the dam, 1933-36 when she was 11 to 14 years old. Favorite story: Mom would say, "It was so cold building that dam, when you spit, you could hear the spit crack as it froze on the way to the ground." And I would ask, "Mom, am I to understand that my Mom, as a girl, spat all over the dam place just to hear it crack?" She never even smiled...

It wouldn't be a trip without changes, would it?

The itinerary now is North Carolina to Atlanta, to visit with friends and family. Then instead of OK City and Denver, we will go to Minneapolis, to visit family. I hope that some of them will join my caravan, so we will then go to Glacier National Park or thereabouts in Montana. Spend a couple of days, and then on to Sacramento and Vacaville.

My Mom was born in Montana, and went to high school in Great Falls, so my sister and I have been to Montana several times before, as kids.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I Choked As I Chortled

This morning I was browsing some favorite blogs when I looked in on Meredith's. Always fun to read, today she said, "I'm having crumpets with Laughing Cow and tea, of course!" As a modern Woman of the West (I mean, the American west - cowboys, animals, etc.) and with her recent recollections of favorite horses, I concluded that she was communing with nature in the form of a large bovine who was trying to slurp tea while giggling. Then I remembered something about Laughing Cow Cheese:

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I am now reassured that Meredith is not "going bonkers" (as the British say), at least on this issue.

My desktop, courtesy of crossroads.com, shows a more serious cow:

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Trip

The new client needs another week to set up offices, desks, etc. So I won't be leaving on my driving trip to California as soon as I had thought. But, instead of delaying a week and keeping to the six day schedule, I think I may slow it down to a ten day schedule. That way, I can see some favorite places again; see some new places; average five hours a day driving instead of seven; and allow for any delays or problems.

So, my new itinerary is:

Apex NC (start)
Atlanta GA
Memphis TN
Oklahoma City, OK
Dodge City KS
Denver CO
Laramie WY
Salt Lake City UT
Boise ID
Reno NV
Sacramento CA (end)

I think that this will be better. There will be more time to set up the trailer at night and in the morning, to cook dinner, and to take time to see some sights, and perhaps some friends and family along the way. What do you think?

Live 8: Its Time Has Come

The come-on:

- Every single day, 30,000 children die, needlessly, of extreme poverty.

- On July 6th, we finally have the opportunity to stop that shameful statistic.

- Eight world leaders, gathered in Scotland for the G8 summit, will be presented with a workable plan to double aid, drop the debt and make the trade laws fair. If these 8 men agree, then we will become the generation that made poverty history.

- But they'll only do it if enough people tell them to.

- That's why we're staging Live 8. 10 concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators, 2 billion viewers, and 1 message... To get those 8 men, in that 1 room, to stop 30,000 children dying every single day of extreme poverty.

- We don't want your money - we want you!

What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of it.

So, let’s see. 30,000 per day, huh? WOW!

They all stop dying, you say? Cool! So, at that rate, after just one week, there are 210,000 more children than there would have been. After a month, 900,000. After only five months 4,500,000 more kids.

Now, those kids have to live somewhere, and eat something. They need clothing, shelter, and every right the left can give them. (You saw this coming, didn’t you?)

Where does all that come from? Why, from the other group who cannot defend itself: the old, the aged, the elderly, the infirm. So, Live (at age) 8 really becomes Dead (at age) 62. And hey, WE CAN HAVE ANOTHER CONCERT!!

Who thought this one up? Tom Cruise?

Just one question: in five months, it’ll be December. Are those four and a half million extra kids gonna all be ahead of me in line at McDonalds?! Or, worse, in the bathroom?

You Shoulda Seen the One That Got Away

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A Thai catfish weighing 646 pounds set a fresh water fish record. It was weighed by researchers trying to identify, study and conserve large fish around the world.

One of the guys in the study was proud to say, “I’m thrilled that we’ve set a new record, but we need to put this discovery in context: these giant fish are uniformly poorly studied and some are critically endangered." He is a fellow with the World Wildlife Fund, which is partnering with the National Geographic Society. "Some, like the Mekong giant catfish, face extinction.”

I dunno. Maybe if they left them in the water…

Minnesota Shuts Down Its Government

Minnesota's government shut down for the first time ever after lawmakers refused to pass a temporary spending plan.

The Senate adjourned soon after Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he hoped the two sides could agree on a stopgap measure. Guess not.

Why didn’t they shut down during Jesse Ventura’s reign? Seems he would have been reason enough. But maybe he knew how to (whisper it) (compromise).


Five Things I Miss From Childhood:

This comes from Mellie Helen at Golly Blog Howdy. A trip down memory lane. Here are Greg's five things:

1. My Friends
Carol and I learned to smoke in Bill's garage attic. Every afternoon, we'd romp in the weeds behind the houses, or go to the Plaza for some shopping. Take the Illinois Central into Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry. Playing Pull Joe on the busy street in front of the house, with an imaginary rope. Paper routes.

2. The Midwest
We didn't have to lock the car in the driveway. People said hi to us kids on the street. If you found a quarter, you told your friends in case one of them lost it, because you'd never lie to a friend.

3. Shock Theater
Friday nights on TV after our bed time. Horror flicks. Make some popcorn. Sometimes, they even showed blood. But it was black on our black-and-white TV.

4. How peaceful a house can be without arguing.
I learned this after childhood, by contrast. I don't miss the arguing.

5. Sock Hops
We would dance with four or five different girls. They always smelled so fresh and clean. How did they wash their hair before a 7:00 pm dance when no one had a hair dryer? Especially Ladies' Choice.

And now it’s your turn. The Rules:
Remove the first person from the following list, bump everyone up one spot and put your blog in the number 5 spot. Please link all of the blogs as they are linked now, or you won’t get no dessert.

Shades of Pink
Mommy Brain
Routon Family Homeschool
Golly Blog Howdy!
Hasty Ruminations

Now select four folks who hopefully haven’t already done this meme, and add them to your list - with a disclaimer that if they choose to decline participation, it will not result in seven years’ bad luck, or even a bad hair day. Come and play if you like; no pressure.
And the tagging goes to:

Brenda at Planet Brenda
Stew at Get Stewed
Meredith at Random Thoughts
And YOU, Gentle Reader

I wonder how much of our recollections are shaded by the “things were so much better when I was a kid” phenomenon!

Who Will Bush Nominate?

Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring from the Supreme Court. Now is the time for unbridled gratitude, deep affection, and groveling awe for her not-too-long-but-certainly-long-enough service: "Bye!"

Who will G.W. nominate in her place? Well, not to reveal any secrets, but don't throw away those statue curtains just yet.

Mystery Guest Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005

NASA Sets July 13 Shuttle Launch Date

Discovery to Take to Skies More Than Two Years After Columbia Disaster

Is that a Friday?

Ahoy There! Oops!

Posted by Picasa

A ferry lost power, and destroyed 15 or 20 boats as it crashed into a marina Thursday while trying to dock at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, BC. There were no injuries.


The Captain was close to making a good landing, that is, stopping at the wharf and tying up the ferry. The bay is aptly named, since “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

The owners are looking for the Captain. And for some hand grenades.

Michael Jackson Vacations in Bahrain

Jackson and his three kids flew in on a private plane from Europe this week. He is the guest of Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the king's son, in one of the royal palaces. Sheik Abdullah is a friend of Jermaine Jackson, and at 30 somewhat older than Michael’s usual boy friends.

Too bad my Navy son and his wife just left Bahrain. They are missing the show!

As to the title, “vacation” is a NOUN. Change it to read “Mikey Spends His Vacation in Bahrain”.

Hope he’s near the hospital, for his back.

Actors Are Dummies Redux

A Hollywood director and actor has dismissed the 9/11 attacks as "too small" an event not worthy of the silver screen.

This from a guy who made his step daughter his third wife, and who directed some 41 epic, timeless, history-making movies (quick: name three of them).

We present the former Allen Konigsberg from Brooklyn already, Woody Allen!