Roads less traveled

June 16, 2018

In the past two months, the husband and I set out across multiple states and thousands of miles to visit family. We drove past the farm lands of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa into rural Minnosta for a visit with daughter and family which included the youngest grandkids. A short trek on the way home was made across South Dakota and into Nebraska in respect to a friend’s company.

After a week or so of R&R, we headed towards the mountains of Colorado, traveling up through the western side of New Mexico to visit the son and his family–the older, but no less precious, grandkids. Then, across Colorado on surely the highest most winding roads in the US, and  into Northern New Mexico to great conversations with long-time friends.

In addition to the most treasured aspects of being around those we love, we experienced some events on the road that left significant impressions.

Most of the roads we took were quite devoid of other cars, except major highways with all the trucks and around big cities. This led to a bit of anxiousness because there was no cell phone coverage either.

We drove through a forest fire on the road from Silverton to Durango. We had to follow a police ‘pilot’ car in a convoy while the helicopter with a gigantic bucket of water flew over head to the douse the flames. And, then there was the dust storm right outside Big Spring, TX.

Durango forest fire area

Driving white knucked through a torrential rain storm in rural Minnesota with lakes on either side of the narrow road, we found out lightening can go right through your car.

Windfarms with amazing opticals of appearing never-ending by popping up on the horizons as you drive for miles and miles.

The gigantic rock formations in New Mexico–like reminents of a Martian city.

Our little Ford Fiesta got an estimated 40MPG and never waivered over any of the challeging roads or situations.

Shiprock, NM

Two old farts solving the world’s problems. Or, maybe talking fishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of right now, I vow never to road trip again. But I know the lure of family will take me again over roads less traveled.


Our time as an illusion

March 30, 2018

Albert Einstein’s famous declaration “time is an illusion” is explained in his book Relativity. Einstein writes: Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence. ( read more) 

It’s hard to believe that my grandson Justin Carter was arrested for an alleged terroristic threat five years ago in Feb. 2013. To some of us, the years may seem to have gone fast. To Justin it was probably an eternity of waiting, his life on hold, unable to move in any direction–a stagnant place of worry and inaction. This week, a plea deal was made–thanks to his amazing lawyers–and Justin is a free man. He moved to Colorado with his dad where he ‘begins a new chapter’ of his life. (read for details of plea)

Justin also set up a GOFUNDME page to raise money to help him get started in his new life. He was unable to use the internet for five years, even to seek a job. He did work at a restaurant for minimum wage for the past few years.

In this week’s time that I spent reading, I immersed myself in New York’s Bohemian world of the late 60’s-early 70’s with Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethrope in Smith’s amazing prose memoir “Just Kids.”  

In what seems like both a long time coming and a short time to get ready, we are in the real time of planning our big vacation trip to Minnesota during two weeks in May. Grandsons to see, one for the first time and their parents, we have been looking forward to this for months. 

As I approach my 71st birthday in June, time seems to have gone by rather quickly. I lie in bed some nights trying to remember events throughout my life, just for the sake of remembering.  As the implications of time swirl in a no particular order, I try to I keep in mind the biblical concept that “God’s time is the best time,” as I appreciate all the times past, present and future.


Serpentine Roads and Starry Skies

September 25, 2016

Our recent trip to Colorado and New Mexico was full of adventure–which I highly recommend, at any age, to stimulate your brain and keep your juices flowing.20160916_143101

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Driving up to Colorado through New Mexico, we were treated to a variety of big and beautiful landscapes. I saw parts of NM I’d never seen before.

Colorado proved to be breathtaking in many ways. Holy cow, the Colorado mountain roads are crazy twisted. Mountains on one side and bottomless valleys on the other, but if you are driving you can hardly take your eyes off the road to look. Highway 141 into Norwood had a 7% grade downhill for eight miles!

Farms and pastures, bright green Cedar and Pine trees, golden Aspens, running rivers and the Blue Mesa reservoir–just some of what Colorado is made of.20160919_093807

In Norwood, granddaughter Eve, her mom Jennifer and I had a wonderful time together at the farmer’s market and talking about our favorite TV shows like Buffy and Farscape. Eve told me all about her high school, total enrollment about 90.

Norwood’s few restaurants served excellent food and they all offered gluten free choices. We had lively family meals every evening. My son drove us down “Norwood Hill” and we all got out and took pictures.20160918_105536

In New Mexico we visited long-time friends Melissa and Henry and their neighbor who I also knew from college. We three ‘gals’ yakked up a storm leaving the guys without a chance to get a word in edge-wise.

Drinking in high places: Henry made delicious margaritas that included a splash of brandy. I had two. Spinning around looking up at the starry, starry sky, my head was buzzing like a beehive all night.

We brought home yummy tomatoes and squash from Melissa’s garden.
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Six Days on the Road and a Wedding

July 28, 2010

Let me say this right up front–I would rather stick a hot poker in my eye than go on another road trip.

Here’s how it begins. Anticipating the impending marriage of our daughter, Maria, Richard–aka Hubby– decided we should drive the 1,200 miles to Minneapolis where the wedding was to take place.  This way, he said, we could bring his specialty dessert, Torte Maria, to be used for the groom’s cake. So the trip went like this:

Good first day, ate a wonderful dinner at the Two Frogs Restaurant in Ardmore, OK. Displayed on the walls was a fine collection of rock and roll musicians’ autographed guitars.  We sat under Johnny Winters’ Firebird! “This is not so bad,” I thought.

Second day, spent two lovely hours in Burger King in Somewhere, Kansas waiting for the Imodium to kick in. Got as far as Des Moines, Iowa for the night.

Third day, drove in the rain through the rest of Iowa. Survived a killer mosquito attack at a beautiful Minnesota rest stop.

Finally in Minneapolis, Hubby, Maria, and I plan to drop off the cake at the reception venue. Driving around lost for an hour, Hubby is holding a 25 lb. cake in his lap all the while the warning bell is going off because he can’t buckle his seatbelt. Phone battery died, so no Google maps.  Finally find the ballroom, hand over the cake and get ‘shortcut’ directions to our friend’s house from the manager.  Lost for another two hours, Maria finally goes into a bar and gets good directions from the bartender.

Friday wedding rehearsal at the Lakewood Chapel. The groom’s mother, who evidently never even heard of Emily Post, doesn’t introduce any one of the wedding participants, but proceeded to give us each our marching orders. “So, Adolph,” I say to the young man escorting me down the aisle, “how do you fit in the family?”  “I’m Scott’s boyfriend.” “Cool,” I say.

After rehearsal, six cars of folks caravan all the way across Minneapolis to a “surprise” restaurant for dinner. Surprise!!–wrong restaurant. After another hour of driving around, trying to find the right restaurant, Hubby and I decide to call it a night and go back to my friend’s house, which we actually find this time fairly easily.

Wedding day. The groom’s mother keeps calling me Maria’s mother, when I am in fact her step-mother. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but she does this in front of the real mother’s mom and sister. Geez, could things get worse you ask.  Pastor Jeff Cowmeadow (I swear that was his name!) did a simple, sweet ceremony, calling Jason and Maria “you guys” about a dozen times.  Maybe he was practicing for Scott and Adolph’s wedding.

Reception speeches were all by the groom’s family. They never even asked if we would like to say anything. And, for the pièce de résistance, the entertainment was an Elvis impersonator who only vaguely resembled a very young Elvis.

By this time, all I can think about is getting home. The next day at the airport, after the plane to O’Hare gets pushed back for the fourth time, I realize there is no way I can make my connection to San Antonio. Re-route to DFW, stay overnight in a hotel (American Airlines’ dime) and catch the morning plane to San Antonio; kiss my front door and collapse on the bed.

All that being said, I wouldn’t have missed the marriage of Jason and Maria for a perfect trip to Hawaii or anywhere.  It was the shining star that made the trip worth all the driving and other misadventures.

Oh, and if you are invited to a formal wedding–DO NOT wear Capri pants and flip-flops


Snow Storm Creates New Year’s Vows

December 31, 2009

Christmas Eve, my husband and I drove from San Antonio, north to Mineral Wells to spend the holiday at the Double J Hacienda and Art Ranch. As we progressed on our journey, what started out as light rain, became sleet which quickly turned into snow.  George Curtis is credited with saying “The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows. ” So later, warm and cozy at the Double J, I stared out at the silent, sparkling winter wonderland and contemplated my 2010 new year’s resolutions.

A tradition which began about 4,000 years ago, marking the new year seems intrinsic to our human nature.  It is the time of year we appreciate and celebrate the cycle of renewal and rebirth. This practice probably made more sense when the new year began at Vernal Equinox or the first day of spring.  Even so, about 400 years ago, when January became the first month of the year in the Western world, we continued the old tradition–just at a different time.  It is an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, to start afresh, begin anew, and make those new year’s resolutions.

In my life, resolutions most often included eating or cussing less, going to church and exercising more, improving relations with family, and so on.  This year, I want to stay calm in the face of uncertainty, stay strong for my friend with cancer, and stop being too judgmental.  Oh, and to stop watching those insipid 24-hour TV news shows that just make me angry.

As you contemplate your own New Year’s resolutions, think about how you can: spend more time with your family or friends; broaden your horizons with a book club or class; walk 30 minutes a day; bring joy into your life; bring joy to others.  Let me know.

Music by Jerry Jeff Walker

Published on January 1. 2010 www.alamocitytimes.com


A Small Blog-Mt. Rushmore

August 5, 2009

Experiencing Mount Rushmore

This summer, I agreed to go on a road trip to South Dakota with some friends. Between having to repeat everything two or three times, stopping to use the bathroom and nodding out in the back seat, we saw some beautiful country and visited some standard American tourist spots.

One cold and rainy day, we drove for 2 ½ hours looking for buffalo in Custer State Park. Now, I’m thinking “who named a park in a state full of Indians, the site of the massacre at Wounded Knee, after General George Custer?” This guy graduated last in his class at West Point and went on to try to kill all the Indians in the Black Hills so everyone else could have their gold. Anyway, after we actually saw some black spots “way over on top of that hill,” we decided we had sited buffalo and could go to the next destination, Mount Rushmore.

We drove up to the huge parking lot at the park, walked about ½ mile up the beautiful brick promenade and came to a terrace lookout and saw…nothing! The entire mountain was shrouded in fog. Squinting and peering like we could part the fog with our x-ray eyes, there was not even a trace or outline of the mountain, never mind its famous faces. It was an other-worldly feeling, knowing this huge mountain sculpture, you’ve seen a million times on TV or in magazines, was just on the other side of that wall of fog. It was kind of like faith, believing something is out there, even if you can’t see it with your own eyes.

So, if you ask me if I have ever been to Mt. Rushmore, I would say yes. If you ask me have I seen Mt. Rushmore, I would say, “I believe I have.”