Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Odyssey is Moving Again

A whole month in San Diego is bad for your health. The weather is so nice you get up and just want to spend a few minutes outside soaking up the sun in a breeze under the bristling palm trees. And then all of a sudden it’s 2pm and you haven’t done shit except increase your chances for skin cancer, obesity and heart attacks. That being said, if we were ready to settle down somewhere, and we could afford it, it would be San Diego (so far).

So, two weeks ago we dropped the RV off at a storage lot in Lakeside, dropped off Luna at Sam’s home in Rancho Penasquitos (sorry, geography OCD), made our only appearance in the touristy section of San Diego when we parked the Jeep near the airport, and flew back to Colorado for Leo’s first birthday. Sam was Luna’s keeper for the week. We used a kind of AirBNB for dogs, dogvacay.com. Very cool, check it out pet owners. Anyway, we used our six days to see Leo as much as possible and filled in the other time with medical stuff.

And now this – Hotwire.com 101: The Academy Hotel, the only 3-1/2 star in the “north” section of COS, according to Hotwire.com, turned out to be really nice. That is, after lugging our bags up a flight of stairs, no elevator, at 1am, but, with the total blackout curtains, solid walls and really comfortable 3′ high bed, we slept until a few minutes before noon. We missed the free, cooked-to-order breakfast all days but one because we scheduled three consecutive days of doctor stuff too early and had early Leo time the other days, but what I wanted to point out is that there are great bargains on Hotwire.com and The Academy Hotel is one of them. What’s a bargain? With hotel name it was advertised as $94 a night. On Hotwire when they don’t show a name, it was $60. In some cases, like this, you can tell which hotel you’re going to get. The kicker on this hotel was the free breakfast – the full deal. Omelets, French toast, Pancakes – your ticket is valued at $14.99. But, yes, you need to eat it for it to be a deal. Similarly got 25% off the rental car by using priceline’s name-your-own-price.

Oh, by the way. One night in the hotel with a taco craving, we walked a block or so to a Taco Bueno. They started popping up all over Colorado Springs a couple of years ago. I had to find out. I love tacos. If you like tacos stay far away from Taco Bueno. Terrible. The bean burrito was flavorless as well.

That kind of works in a travelogue, no? Hotwire is pretty good for hotels and if you can get it, priceline lets you bid for a price. Definitely use priceline for rental cars. Name your own price is the only way to rent a car, unless you prefer to be stupid. Damn, I gotta be pissing somebody off by now.

Anyway, we hiked around Garden of the Gods on trails we never knew existed:

Birthday boy:

After a nice lunch on St. Patty’s Day, Leo’s Birthday, with the cutie pie and his adoring parents, we spent the rest of the afternoon with friends at, where else, Jack Quinn’s, the quintessential Irish pub in COS. Irish music and dancing all day (no, not me, little kids).

And then there was Yale and Middle Tennessee State, but sadly, no Stony Brook Sea Wolves. At least they kept it close for fifteen minutes.

Since there’s no real topic here – that travelogue thing is just an excuse for me to vent and offer my opinion when no one asked for it – let me offer congratulations to Ennio Morricone for his ‘Musical Score’ Oscar this year. First time I ever cheered at an Oscar show. I bring it up after our flight from Colorado last week. I had just plugged in my ear buds and in the middle of Al Stewart’s ‘Nostradamas’, the solo guitar part with phasers ripping through it as the stereo is manipulated left and right – really one of the great headphone tracks – and had one of those magic moments that one might associate with a hallucinogen (that is, of course, if one had prior experience with such a mind fucker). With eyes firmly focused on only the eyelids, the optic nerve wakes up and starts transmitting signals, colorful dancing light flashes, that seem to be conjoined with the sound waves and that realization sends an orgasmic shock wave from the top of the head down to every extremity. Sound familiar? Or, as one might state in 1974, “What a fucking Rush!” So now I’m excited about the next random track from my phone when violins sweetly introduce the main theme from the soundtrack to ‘Once Upon a Time in The West’, a great western that I have mentioned before. When the Italian singer, Edda Dell’Orso, launches you to the stratosphere with other worldly vocal wails, you smile a little at how such opposite ends of the musical world can touch that special chord. And that was followed by The Byrds’ ‘5D’ – could the lyrics be more perfect?

“Oh how is it that I could come out to here and be still floating

And never hit bottom and keep falling through
Just relaxed and paying attention”

I shook my head and smiled a whisper, knowing all about the place.

(No clue? Google that line)

The flight seemed to be over in minutes. Again, thank you Ennio Morricone for a lifetime of music. Check out his Wikipedia page. I could almost guarantee you’ve heard his work.

OK, back in California but bye-bye San Diego. We loved our month there. After picking up the RV and Luna, we headed for the Oceanside/Carlsbad area and what turned out to be a lovely park, Guajome County Park. We waited two hours for a couple of crackheads – is that too soon to judge someone? You’re right – that is, a couple of losers to leave our reserved site before a ranger quietly told us there were two other sites open for our 6 days. We moved to one of them and it turned out to be very nice. Old Daryll didn’t get his truck started until the next day, with the help of cousins Daryll and Daryll.

During our stay we got to visit a friend who Andrea got to know from the Bunco days in Colorado Springs. She and her husband bought a really nice house with a super back yard.

Next day she picked up Andrea early in her Leo-mobile

and the girls made a day of it. In the meantime, the cold that our Leo was dealing with decided to make war with my body. “I never get sick”. That’s what I told my doctor 10 days ago when she asked why I don’t get flu shots. Maybe next year. This sucks. And then out of the blue, my hip wants to get into the pain business. I got my back shot 11 days ago but just as its effects really kicked in my hip decided it wants to be elected pain king. Getting old is getting old.

Could be I aggravated the hip last night. Yesterday we moved to Long Beach. This is about as close to LA as we’re going to camp. We’re walking distance from the Queen Mary. I see container cranes around us. But, after settling in, we went to the Forum, or the Fabulous Forum, as the parking attendants say, to see David Gilmour.

Please, don’t tell me you don’t know who he is. Really, don’t tell me or you’re off the mailing list. He was the lead guitar player for Pink Floyd after they kicked out original member Syd Barrett who fell victim to excessive use of LSD – he went a lot crazy – come on, Syd, a little crazy would have been ok, I mean, that’s exactly what happens. Deal with it. Don’t fuck it up for the rest of us. But, I digress.

I saw David Gilmour with Pink Floyd for the first time at Carnegie Hall on May 1st, 1972. A week earlier I had been at Colgate University where a future brain surgeon told me, “Whatever you do, don’t go to a Pink Floyd concert tripping”. Authoritarian statements never did much for me except to do exactly the opposite. The journey begins.

Damn, that’s nearly 44 years. Bottom line, David Gilmour’s guitar playing has been the greatest source of entertainment for me in my 65 years. I have cried many times for the joy it gives me. He’s 70 now and I have to believe this was my last chance to see him. I hope you all love some music so much it reduces you to tears. West Side Story, Metallica, Sound of Music, Def Leppard…whatever. Hit that chord.

I know Paul G is going to see the concert in Chicago. You New Yorkers might consider opening your checkbook. He’s going to be in MSG and one night in Radio City. The opening number to the set after the intermission was Astronomy Domine. I think the Ummagumma version was perhaps the greatest recorded guitar solo ever – and that was a live performance also. We all have opinions. The version he’s doing on this tour along with a coordinated light show was, for me, worth the price of admission. It felt like it was never going to end – he just kept slamming it when you thought it peaked – and it was so powerful I didn’t want it to end. The light show assault was breathtaking as well. I couldn’t make my hands move to take a picture. A blast of light and sound that I hope my brain has stored for replay on demand. Shit, if I can dream within a dream, can’t I re-run that song on demand? It was so loud. Heaven. One song. I’d pay again to hear that.

Do you ever dream that you’re listening to music? Great – and then, oh shit it’s Kanye West! Wake up, wake up.

I’ve got a lot of video with audio but it just won’t fit on an email. Somebody must have posted some of it. Go find it. I’ll be buying the DVD when it comes out.

Love the music, baby.

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News Flash

The Stonybrook Seawolves are going to the big dance. For those who never heard of the school, Stonybrook University is a New York State college situated on the north shore of Long Island in the quaint little town for which it is named. Know for graduating world class doctors, scientists, and pot heads, my alma mater has, in recent years, after much success in the Bong Olympics and the Spliff Games, developed respectable sports teams. We’re in the brackets!

Tom, Alex, Paul M, and anyone else with a team in March Madness, be warned, Jameel Warney is coming!

This is our last weekend in Chula Vista so how about a few more pictures? A few are from two dog beaches, one in Del Mar and the other next to Seaworld in Mission Bay. For you pilots, yes, that’s a VOR out in the bay. The San Diego airport is not far away. Surf was up at Del Mar. The shot of Luna sort of shows her love for sand. She pushes her head into it and rolls around making sure she brings plenty back into the RV. The big Navy ship was docked in their yard a mile or so up the coast from the RV park. And the tiny airplane is, I believe, an F-16, one of the many noisemakers that fly overhead daily.

Next week we fly back to CO for Leo’s first birthday and lots of medical stuff. When we get back here on the 22nd we’ll be moving up the coast. This place has been all we expected – palm trees, great weather, and no major problems. But we’re itching to hit the road. Last night we were reminded that we’re not quite ready to settle down in one place for the winter. We went to an “appreciation” dinner, a thank you for spending the winter here. Like the last social dinner we attended over a year ago, we were the youngest couple. I sat next to a great grandmother from Idaho. Really? Yes, she’s been coming here for 21 years! On the other side was a couple who retired from the prison system and told stories of shooting snakes. We assumed they worked at the jails. And, the meatloaf sucked. The meat we cook for Luna is better. The good news – I didn’t see any oxygen tanks or colostomy bags. Unless it’s free tacos, we won’t be attending these socials anytime soon.

Anyway, adios from Chula Vista.

GAMBLING FOR A CAUSE: MARCH OF DIMES AND EARN FREE ENTRIES IN NCAA TOURNEY AND KING OF THE HILL

For you gamblers out there who love March Madness and can shell out $60, 10 of which goes to the March of Dimes, or if you know anyone who might be interested, contact Brandon. Last year the pool had over a quarter of a million. Better odds than any lottery game. The other pool he runs, the King of the Hill football pool, was a quarter short of a million. Both a little more interesting than the average office pool. It’s all cash so if that gets you nervous just wrap it like you’re mailing pot.

And, while we’re on March Madness – go Stonybrook Seawolves!