Monthly Archives: April 2016

Lake Tahoe

Farewell California. Tomorrow we will be heading back to Colorado. Next stop Winnemucca, NV.

The sky cleared today and the snow melted so we drove around the lake. It’s about 75 miles with lots of turnouts and overlooks. We both think the pictures don’t do it justice. You be the judge.

There’s something that looks like a one room castle down there on that island. Look closely.

Luna wasn’t impressed. Yeah, she sometimes sleeps like that. Weird.

It will be kind of fast the next 10 days:

Winnemucca, NV 1night

Wells, NV 1

SLC, Ut 2

Flaming Gorge, Ut 3

Hayden, CO 1

Pagosa Springs, CO 1

Monument, CO

Now, back to the national anthem. The votes are in. One vote (me) for, zero votes against. A unanimous decision for ‘All You Need Is Love’. And that’s the way democracy works in this country. You better get out and vote this year or the other idiot will win!

Imagine 15 baseball games tomorrow and they all start with:

Love, love, love…

Imagine

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The Central California Trilogy – Part 3

Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-ta-da-da-dum.

All you need is love

Do-da-do-da-do. (come on, sing along)

All you need is love….

Part 3, finally

Where the heck were we? Damn tangents. Ok, so we leave Bass Lake through Oakhurst – geography people, take a drive – on to CA 49 north. Twisty, windy (long I – sounds better to me than winding) through some rolling hills in the gold mine territory. Half hour later we’re in Angels Camp, home of Mark Twain’s Jumping Frog and annual frog jumping event at the month long state-fairish thingy. Something like like that. Look it up if you want to know exactly what it is. Twenty minutes or so later we pass through the cute little town of Mariposa. No big whoop, and then we pass a warning sign, “Trucks over 30′ kingpin to axle not advised next 22 miles”. I thought, “We saw that same sign from Temecula to Julian” and it was a bunch of very tight turns in the mountains but everybody just backs off when they see you, so WTF! Andrea didn’t see the sign. Didn’t want to scare her so said nothing. Then out of the blue we come upon an overlook, the perfect place to have lunch. And then we took a look. Cat’s out of the bag. Holy Switchback!

Lots of people stopped up there after coming up from Bagby Recreational Area, down at that bridge. One guy in a big white pick-up truck (I think the only color they sell in CA), advised us against going down there. Whoop, there it is! Sign me up baby. Must be one of loose screws. Tell me not to do it and the green light comes on. Had similar warnings 12 years ago when we drove our old 27 footer over Independence Pass in Colorado. That was one lane at points at the edge of a cliff, a must drive if you like that kind of thing. Get out of the way, here I come. Great game of chicken. Back to the Bagby Rec Area. Nicely paved road, respectful drivers of a 42 footer towing, and a tiring number of very tight turns and switchbacks. I would much rather be on a flat, wide interstate but if the road is going to be a challenge, give me your best. It was no Moki Dugway but, damn, that was fun. And, it seemed like we were sniffing glue halfway through. With so much shifting going on we were bound to break something – a bottle of clear nail polish. No wonder I felt like Superman.

The next 50 miles were only slightly easier. It’s all mountains where CA 49 transverses. We ended up in the old mining town of Columbia, our overnight (2) destination. To get to the 49er RV Ranch, you have to go through and then zig-zag around Columbia Historic State Park. No problem. But upon arrival, we got the last site available. Three guys, all with beards but all needing some dental work, guided me into my spot, up a very severely steep curving hill – backwards. Good job boys. Topped off an exhilarating day behind the wheel. And the Wi-Fi was good enough to stream the Mets game.

One more by-the-way: I bought the single team MLB package this year for my team so if you need to contact my phone during a Met game, try Andrea or 911.

Columbia is one of many of the original gold mining towns along CA 49, named for the real 49ers, not hapless football team. The road is also known as the Golden Chain Highway, stringing a dozen gold rush towns together over hundreds of miles. We passed through Sutter Creek, home of the original gold rush mine. Lots of history along the way. You could make a nice vacation of it if gorgeous scenery, old west charm, and history is your thing. Here’s a little bit of the state historic park in Columbia:

Now we’re in Tahoe Valley RV Resort, in South Lake Tahoe. Beautiful. The best of National Lampoon’s Vacation if they had come here. Very tall pine trees and a lovely full moon tonight walking the dog, rather breathtaking as we await tomorrow’s snow storm. The drive in on US 50 was more of the same, back and forth for 50 miles, a couple of switchbacks and finally we emerge far above the lake – a beautiful view – you gotta put Lake Tahoe on your bucket list. We took a short drive today up along the shore to Nevada Beach in, surprise!, Nevada. The actual national forest recreation area was officially closed but we walked from a nearby street to the beach and I hope Andrea posts some of her pics soon because I left my phone in the car. We have to go back because this was one of the most spectacular sights we’ve encountered in almost two years on the road. We went to Tahoe in 2006 for our 30th anniversary. Problem was, my math was off a year and it was only 29 years. But we gambled then so it was fun. The scenery was gorgeous. And it still is. We’re voting for it as the place we would most want to come back to. Do you like jaw dropping natural scenery? Or, would you rather look at crumbling ruins of man made cities? Come on, this is a destination. You like to ski? Heaven. Gamble? Yeah, the Nevada side. Sit back and love what you’re looking at? The best. The chamber of commerce ought to pay me. I’ll get some pictures Saturday, after the snow stops.

Prince:

I loved his rock guitar riffs. Eric Clapton, upon being interviewed as the best guitarist in the world, said that you should be interviewing Prince. Not a fan of most of his genres but when he started ripping on that guitar, I could just close my eyes and let him take me away. Would have loved to have seen him and Carlos Santana play off each other. I don’t know if that ever happened but I can imagine. As a human being previously known as the God of odd, I loved his independence – going your own way. We lost a genius.

OK, after running this by the editorial staff and cleaning up some of the steroid induced angry rants, it’s now Friday and the snow is here.

That’s some big fat snow.

Last thoughts. California is our favorite state. The geographic diversity, so much breathtaking scenery – we’ll be back, Arnold.

And my love to the editorial staff who has had to deal with the response to raging steroids and pain. I’m sorry for being such an ass.

The Central California Trilogy – Part 2

Left off with the two year old in a Pink Floyd shirt looking stoned. Wait, looking at me liked I was stoned. Friggin’ error correction.

We drove to the next suggested spot called Swinging Bridge, again getting lucky when somebody pulled out just as we were about to give up and go home. Been pretty lucky in life. But I knew that. The nuns told me when I was 6. I could have been born with the cannibals. Ah! Teach ’em fear from day one. But I digress. The view of Yosemite Falls was supposed to be pretty good from the walking bridge. It was, but it was also pretty good from the other million points where the other tourists were. Then it got interesting. I was using a very nice cane to help with those moments of knifings and electric shocks. Walking over the bridge we decided to meander off the path and follow the river toward the waterfall in hopes of another bridge just ahead, a shortcut back to the car. Alas, along the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we did not go. We ended up at the Yellowstone Lodge. If we had carried a map of the park it would have been easy to figure out how to get to the car. I had had enough walking so Andrea headed back to the car along the road we thought we had abandoned. Oops. Wrong road. As I sat on a rock watching Yellowstone Falls crash over and over and over – I could have sat there forever – a good Indica would have made it more fun – Andrea got misdirected by park rangers and an hour later walked back to me. Where the hell are we? In the lodge they suggested we get on the shuttle. So, first shuttle was full of zombies and we couldn’t get on. Next shuttle didn’t show until a half hour later, a few minutes after we figured out that we were not that far from the car via the first path we started from. By then my hip had enough rest to be dragged back to the car. My guess is the original quarter mile walk became about three miles. So much for restful recovery. But the pics were good:

If you like the same waterfall from different angles.

After finding the car we just wanted out but we were only about a quarter of the way into the valley.We kept going to Half Dome:

At which point we ran into two million drivers on a one lane road. Before dealing with more pansy (no offense to you pansies out there) drivers on 41 South, we stopped at an overlook just outside the big tunnel and got a last look:

If and when you go, avoid May-Sept, any weekend, and especially National Parks weekend. Better yet, sit back with something that floats your boat, and rewind the Ken Burns documentary.

Next: Leaving Bass Lake

I often leave out interesting drives because we don’t have photos. We had no idea the next 130 miles were going to be the most difficult in Odyssey history.

Hold on. Watching news as I’m writing. Anybody recall seeing this guy on CBS news, Major Garrett? He’s current. First of all, what kind of name is Major? I want to name him Trigger, or Mr. Ed. You know, you stick your face out there in the public eye and you might get a few of us taking a close look and wonder if he’s going ‘nay’. Some of us have this sarcasm gene for which we need medication but instead share notes. Maryann? And ten seconds later on local Reno TV is the CBS weather person (gender suggestion female) who looks like Flicka. I deserve a cruel death by The Foot. She lived two houses down with Shirl. Yes, you’re right. I am a bad person. You ever feel bad that way when you finish making fun of someone, someone pathetic (after you’ve had your little chuckle?) Good. I’ll see you in hell. (From Unforgiven quoting Little Bill as he’s about to have his head blown off by William Munny).

One more. Hey, I’m not taking any drugs except massive amounts of Aleeve and Tylenol, but I have another idea that I’ve been thinking about. A new national anthem. Nobody can sing the current one well. Don’t we all wait for Bouncie or whoever, to miss a note? Can you sing it? OK, Jill, you probably can but that’s one in 80. But can you sing ‘All You Need Is Love’? Of course. It starts with the horns that sound so much like the beginning of an anthem. And like the current anthem or pledge of allegiance when you go ‘blah-blah-blah’ through most of it, you can do that with the Beatles song, and then pipe up when you know when to sing the chorus. Anyone out there want to take the lead on this? Carol? (Uh-oh, 4 Carols on the list. You know who you are). If ever there was a political cause I’d sing for, this is it. “Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy.”

End part 2. Stay tuned for part 3.

“No where you can be that isn’t meant where should be”.

How many would like to change the national anthem to ‘All You Need Is Love’? Raise your hands.

The Central California Trilogy – Part 1

This one got kind of big – lots of material – so wait until you’re off work and read it while you’re driving. Actually, I just counted pictures. I usually get kickback on servers that limit email size and that’s generally about 10 pictures. So, there will be a part two and part three.

First, an update on the St. Agnes ER story. Not me. I left a couple of colorful moments out. First, remember the screaming ugly Melissa McCarthy character. She said something that explained why she looked so nasty. Rolling on the floor she said, “I’ve had kids, I got shot in the face, but I ain’t never had pain like this”. Does that paint a better picture? Second – Lola, the 110 year old Brazillian dancer with the 9 inch nails. Andrea spoke to her and the first thing that struck her was the gun tattoo on her cheek. I avoided eye contact so I missed that charming feature. Finally, the Susan Sarandon person? I’m convinced it was really her – she was on Bill Maher last week and that was the same person.

And that’s that. The hip? A few days of perceived relief. We’ll revisit that in a topic this summer called ‘Adventures in Back Surgery’.

I told you this is going to be long so pull over and start sniffing glue or work that vape pen.

Yosemite – If You Have Only One Day

That’s the page we focused on Saturday. The lovely RV Park at Bass Lake provided us with a nice brochure on the area, mainly about Yosemite. Well, a couple of days after the St Agnes ER episode, raging steroids gave me the bad sense that perhaps all is well. So off we went to Yosemite.

Unfortunately, it was a Saturday – more people – and, most unfortunately, it was free National Parks weekend. Did any of you go to a National Park this weekend? Wait. If you’ve already got your 62+ Senior Pass, you’re excused for not going. That 62 Pass is the best deal on the planet. But, somehow, a million people who don’t have that pass showed up at Yosemite Saturday. A million? Well, maybe not. Seemed like two million.

The weather was perfect, mid 60’s, gorgeous day. But really, where the fuck did they come from? Yosemite is 150 miles from San Francisco. We drove 50 some odd miles through the south entrance (CA Rd 41) on a dizzying, winding road with perhaps one straight stretch of a quarter mile. Otherwise it was curve left, curve right, up 1000 feet, down 1000 feet. The road was great for a Porsche. And there were no shortage of them. But…many more Dodge Caravans ruled the road and you could finally feel for the guy and his hottie in the Maserati crawling in the conga line.

Finally, we’re in Yosemite. When you drive up from the south to Yosemite Valley, the first suggested stop on a “if you have one day” trip is Glacier Point. Oops. Road still closed for winter. Next stop, Tunnel View. Good suggestion, if twenty-two million people aren’t there when you arrive. They only have parking for twenty-two. Something like that. But, we pulled into the lot and traded our English Rosetta Stone for a spot. After feeding Luna we took our first pictures in the park.

Ok, got the jist? Waterfalls. After Tunnel View was a pullover for Bridalview Falls. We got lucky and stopped to consider what to do when somebody pulled out just ahead of us. Wow. No negotiating for a parking spot. I got a chance to try some real walking. A half mile there? No big deal.

On the north side of the road was another waterfall. I don’t know what the name was.

And then our objective, Bridalveil Falls:

This was a stupid one. I got soaked but protected the phone.

But my favorite part of walking to those falls was when I paused to sit on a rock. A family passed by and the mom said, “Look honey, the same shirt”. Their two year old was wearing a Pink Floyd shirt. I told the kid she had a great shirt, good taste. Looked at me like I had four eyes.

End part 1. Part 2 coming up.

St. Agnes ER – Chapter 105

Something like that if this were a book. I think I’ve saved them all.

We’re going off travelogue topic here because this is worth a story, though as a travelgueish, blogish kind of thing, it sort of fits. No pictures but there were certainly opportunities. I’ll have to go with the thousand words option. You visual voyuers can drop out now. This is the longest one so far.

When you travel and need immediate medical care your options are somewhat limited. Last year we both had minor issues that urgent care resolved very quickly. Cudos to urgent care. Now, thinking you might be facing surgery, the dreaded emergency room is the ‘upgrade’ option.

So, this hip pain thing just went on too long and became unbearable. I was sure I had a hernia that was causing the hip pain. With my internet doctorate, the femoral hernia diagnosis trumped (can’t we eliminate that word from Webster’s?) the cracked bone guess. Again, using the internet (in a stupidly limited way), I found the best hospital in Fresno, about 50 miles south of our RV park in Bass Lake. We packed up for the possibility of staying the night. Unfortunately, when we walked in the best heart hospital in Fresno, it became very clear that the lovely surroundings did not cater to us street people. But, they were very nice and directed us to St. Agnes, a few miles away. Tip, when you need an ER, lower your standards – and check to be sure they have an ER before you drive an hour.

Well, remember the TV show ER? I don’t either. But somehow, memories came pouring back today. Are all ER rooms cliches? Come with me now to St. Agnes, a lovely hospital in an upscale area of Fresno, CA.

I missed the first video op about an hour after checking in. Andrea had just gone back to the car to walk Luna when two big security guards walked over to a man wearing a surgical mask who seemed to want to talk to anyone around him. The security guard, “Sir, would you come with me?” Fitting the-profile-man cliche he says, “Is there a problem?” SG, “Yes, there is, you are trespassing, come with me.” …Argument ensues, Profile Cliche, “I’m calling 911” and reaches for something in his pack. SG lunges at PC and a very violent struggle develops. I’m wondering, “Uh Oh. I’m ten feet away with a perfect view but if this guy has a gun, this might go very bad very quickly.” But then I’m in the TV show, an extra in a drama. And then again, this is real and I’m probably an idiot for sitting here. Over the PA system I here “Code Red ER, Code Red ER” – wait, this is TV – and out of every door come security guys. The bad guy is subdued and walked out into a police car.

Welcome to St. Agnes. Andrea comes back in a few minutes later and her reporter gene kicks in hearing every conversation around us. In minutes we have the telephone game story. Drug addict comes in hoping for a fix brandishing a knife near others awaiting care. I saw and heard everything after the security guard approached so I can’t comment on the knife. I never saw it and I clearly saw the guy’s back as he was roughly walked out, two hands locked firmly by the guard and no knife visible. Funny thing is, the story inside the ER by nurses is that the guy initiated a fight. The confrontation did NOT go down that way. He may have been a drug addict and he may have had a knife but he did not start a fight. His argument was actually quite good. Reminded me of Judge Haller in My Cousin Vinny: “That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.” But… apparently there was something more to this. I knew we were going to be there awhile and I wasn’t fucking up my time there to be George Clooney. Sorry moralists. Bottom line is I’m a pragmatist and a Darwinist. By the way, we ran into loads of candidates, hold on, not just candidates but guaranteed future award winners. The kid across from us might not make the news but he seemed to be a nice kid doomed to the Darwin theory. Let’s call him Darwin Kid, DK. In that first waiting room we learned he hurt his leg and had severe pain. He was fretting over spending so much time there. The 55+ lady with the 50 tattoos that were not aging well on her sitting next to him tried to get his attention and finally said that it takes a while to get in here. She’s been in this place before. DK responds, “Oh, I know. I got shot in the ribs last year and I waited a long time.” There were some Wal-Mart fashionistas. A woman, actually rather slender, was wearing a black, sumo wrestler diaper, but in a tour-de-force Walmartian display, decided not to tie it around her groin, or whatever we call the junk area, but let it just hang from her waist. Two 6-8″ wide pieces of cloth hung across the front and back. Bare legs up to the hips that were worth looking at said look at me. And her face told that story. Oh, please. She looked like her face had been on fire and it was put out with an ice pick (I stole that description from my friend Ted when describing his 3am bar left-overs), but they missed the nose. Pinocchioesque. And as we contemplated the Felliniesque (I like that ..esque thingy) play unfolding around us, God spoke, “Brian Carlin” – our saviour calls.

Ah, relief from the madness. A bed inside the actual ER room. With curtains still open, no George Clooney or Julianna Margulies to be found. Not even that hot little blond who showed up with the Trump family, the one that reminds me of the slutty daughter (my favorite character) on Married With Children. Please. Shut up. So, I got a bed and the 2016 version of Clooney – no, he looked a lot like Chris O’Donnell – comes to us to begin the process of figuring out what to do with me. Chad is the on-duty, managing RN, a straight shooter with a wry sense of humor and all the pragmatism that I admire, and so far, keeping personal judgement tucked away as he listens to my history and tries to process the current symptoms. Among the ocassional screaming and crying, we know that Fellini is back inside, though the environment is perhaps only 50% less chaotic. Chad leaves and we wait thirty minutes for Julianna Margolies. Alas, we get Monk, albeit playing a doctor. Wait, what TV show are we in? Tony Shalhoub in ER. Maybe a little Donnie Osmond or Erik Estrada mixed in. I always call my doctors by their TV look-alike. My favorite doctor, Anderson Cooper, retired right after I did. My current one, who I more recently call Bitch, is a prissy Donna Reed. In Texas I had a young Woody Harrelson. But today I’m going with Shalhoub’s Fred Qwan from Galaxy Quest. More questions but the good news, I’m getting a CT. AND, Chad comes back and hooks up an IV thingy and gives me a shot of Fentanyl. Whoop, there it is! That’s not really what I came here for but holy buzz. I came for a picture. Fuck the crazies. This is what I want. This is Good. Doc thinks it’s an infection brought on by the cold. Great! A new guess. An open mind after telling him I thought the hernia was the key.

A half hour later I’m off in a wheelchair in my stunning, tie-in-the-back, dignity-be-damned hospital gown to the CT room. But, oops, we stop at a waiting room. I was not able to communicate with the other wait room occupants. I’m seriously considering taking the Rosetta Stone course this summer. I’d really like to be able to speak to more Americans that I meet in emergency rooms, guys that wash our RV, and National Parks visitors. Ooooooh. Get real. I’m not kidding. Especially if we decide to go Deep Retirement and move to the Andes.

So, I get the CT scan and upon returning to the ER, get dropped off in yet another waiting room. Tulare (something weird like that), a human being lacking in dignity and, perhaps, the ability to resist an addictive lifestyle, was lying on the floor, crying about her pain and the time it was taking to process her broken elbow. A little while later, Chad passes by and told her, by name – guess she’s a regular, to get off the floor or leave. I like Chad. Minutes later her boyfriend arrives. She starts crying her story louder to him. With her voice rising, screaming profanities at the place, I’m calmly watching Walker, Texas Ranger, rescue dignitary Erik Estrada (or was that Donny?), a nurse answers her back, “Lower your voice and the profanities”. She gets louder. We’re not yet at code red but two more security guards appear at which time her boyfriend, Spike Lee, tries to calmly defend her and finally the floor supervisor arrives and speaks to him. Spike, “I wanted to speak to the supervisor”. Halle Berry says, “I am the supervisor”. Spike lights up, starts his appeal, seems pleased with her response but before she can leave to get the ball rolling he starts telling her his story, about his $35,000 medical bill and whatever he can talk about. I’ve been in enough bars to know a move when I see one. He’s hitting on Halle Berry. OK now. Grey’s Anatomy here we come.

Soon after, a very aging Suzanne Sarandon comes in and tries to sit down in the recliner on rollers next to me. After a few Lucille O’Ball slapstick attempts I hold the chair steady and help her lean back. She starts talking to Tulare – I don’t have a TV image – wait, a very ugly Melissa McCarthy. You know how she throws a shit fit? Then Suzanne comments on a Paul McCartney concert ad on TV – “You know I heard that floor seats were going for $2000. He was a hero in my generation.” Tempted, I still didn’t engage. I am the fly on the wall, MYOB in my oh-so-attractive nighty with the IV thingy sticking out of my arm. They all think I’m really sick and give the old fucker some respect. Then Suzanne gets called and I have to lift the back of the recliner to get her up and she almost flies out of the thing. I knew that was going to happen. Spike prevents her from a face fall. At some point, Lola, one of those Brazilian dancers from an old Abbott and Costello movie had come in – I suppose that would make her about 110 now, about right, and she hasn’t trimmed her six inch fingernails in a while – with her husband, Guillermo, Jimmy Kimmel’s sidekick, who has a one year old hip. Truth be told, Andrea had come in, after feeding Luna, and initiated the conversation. I think I said my first five words in this room after half an hour. Young Chris Evert with the pinkie that turned the wrong way sat across from us. She and her mother seemed normal. Then the Darwin Kid came in. He, Michael Jackson at 15, had broken his leg when he jumped off his bike before the car hit him. He showed it off to everyone. “Don’t make no difference to me.” Earlier in the day he had been mugged. Tough day. Don’t worry, DK, you’re not long for this world. There’s a Darwin award in your future. Yeah, I’m awful. I was tunnel-visioned and just want my damn hip fixed. Finally, called to a consultation.

We were again right across from the central nurses/doctor island and got to see the constant flow. It may seem like everybody waits forever but for the amount of work they do in the the time they do it, well I think it is pretty great. We did have the suspicion that the nicer you are, the higher up you move on the prority chart. Screaming Tulare had been there an hour before us. Anyway, Chad the RN comes in followed by Dr. Fred Kwan and the scribe – ok, this one’s a stretch, picture a thickly bespectacled Scarlett Johansson in a blonde, waist-length braided ponytail – maybe, but I liked her smile and she was nice and now you have a face for a character. And man, can she type, like Cousin Sal at the Costco returns counter.

So, the CT scan shows more of the same back problems with an emphasis on stenosis. Calling David Wright – how are you playing baseball, Studly? But now we’ve added some signs of arthritis and osteoporosis. What the hell is this hip thing? He believes it to be “a bout of sciatica on steroids”. Wants me to get a spine doctor. Orders an injectable steroid before we leave and two prescriptions, one for MethylPREDNISolone (steroid) and Vicodin. Chad pipes in with a goodbye as his shift is ending. He wants to thank us for being normal and shakes my hand. He had chatted with us at various points in the process about our life on the road and wanted to emphasise how relieving it is to have normal people for a change. Scarlett Johansson stopped typing for a moment and adds, “normal is the new abnormal here”. It was a nice moment. They all wish us luck and leave. A few minutes later Cheech Marin, the evening shift chief RN, brings in a couple of vials of steroids and shoots me up. He also delivers a packet of neatly compiled info with the prescriptions, my diagnosis, and a few generic pages on sciatica and spinal stenosis. A few minutes later he gives us a disk with the CT images and sends us off into the night. Total time, about five hours. I think, ‘great job’. I got my pictures and some relief in sight. Good night, St. Agnes ER. We thanked one of the security guards on the way out wondering how he does the job. He made peace with the screamer.

It’s Thursday now. I can walk. Not great and the limp is still there, albeit less pronounced, and I’m not afraid to take a step in the RV without grabbing something for support. I’m buying into the sciatica thing but I still don’t get the hip being the center of the problem. Maybe it’s the new arthritis evidence. I’ll give it some credence. And, Mae, thank you, I’m trying glucosamine.

Many thanks to Dr. George Alam and Chad.

Now it’s time for the Vicodin. Whoop, here it comes.

Sequoia National Park (and not Kings Canyon)

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, the great beach at Oceano. Well, after several days of deciding to go to an orthopedic center, or NOT, I went with NOT. I didn’t want to get stuck out here, perhaps hospitalized for something that may or may not be serious. I did that once. I think I have a thing about out of town hospitals. So, anyway, I’m going to drag my sorry ass through Yosemite and Lake Tahoe and then head back to CO to try to get my shit fixed. I tried walking 300 feet out to the General Sherman Tree with a cane and retreated after 10 feet. Pain sucks. Andrea took my camera and took some shots of the largest (by volume) and oldest tree in the world. 275′ tall, 3200 years old, the General Sherman Tree has seen it all. With 2′ bark it is impervious to insects, disease and assholes. But, as I said, Andrea took the pictures. I sat in the car with Luna trying to convince me that “Us and Them” applied to our giant sequoia experience. Similar to our political process, I gave her a few treats and she started dancing on the piano solo. With the saxophone piece, she wailed along. Good dog.

Anyway, short of a miracle – any of you religious guys got a hotline to the magic hip doctor? A supernatural anethestatist? I really want to hike a bunch of Yosemite. Otherwise it’s a drive-through for me and sending Andrea out hiking into a world of bears, wildcats, and foreigners.

So, what do we got?

A nasty day. Hours of driving to get to the biggest (by volume) and oldest tree on the PLANET!

This ain’t it. Just a rock over a once road.

A small Sequoia near the Giant Tree museum.

General Sherman

Look at the size of those little humans.

Tomorrow, off to Bass Lake Recreational Resort.

Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

One of the great hidden gems on our trek so far. Andrea walked out the mile or so from our RV park earlier in the week. We drove out on it Monday – my hip is still f’ed up (very slowly improving). But driving on it is the cool thing. ATV’s and Dune buggy’s all over with a bunch of vendor rentals on the beach. Lots of kitesurfers also. Enjoy the pics.

We head inland on Friday. Bye bye Pacific. Hoping the rainy weather forecast gives us a few hours of sunshine this weekend at Kings Canyon and Sequioa National Parks.

I think we could have wandered up the coast all year. California is pretty damned nice.

Movin’ On

Bye bye Long Beach. We didn’t like it. To be fair, we didn’t really see it. My fucking hip planted us. Actually, one day we drove up to Hollywood to see the big sign

and walk on the Walk of Stars.

It was a disaster. As soon as we got out of the Hard Rock parking garage it started raining.

Then, to get the $2 rate we had to get our ticket validated. Just buy something anywhere. Bullshit! Just buy something in the Hard Rock Mall. Andrea left food at two counters when they wouldn’t validate her ticket while I tried to keep out of the rain with Luna and pretending I could walk. We thought NYC was a tourist madhouse, and we worked in mid-town Manhattan – Hollywood Blvd is worse. Unless you absolutely have to get a picture of the Zsa Zsa Gabor star, just drive by. Or, better yet, don’t go. Watch Jimmy Kimmel.

He puts people on the street. We did see a Spider-Man and a Captain America but we couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

The RV park in Long Beach was off an inlet in the harbor.

If my fucking hip wasn’t such an asshole we would have ridden bikes to the beach and walked to the Queen Mary. I was able to walk Luna far enough to get a shot of the big boat.

That was Thursday when Andrea went to lunch with two friends from high school at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. In the meantime, after Luna dragged me out to that spot for the Queen Mary pic, I searched and found a Tilted Kilt. Not really. It just happened to be in the same shopping center as a BevMo, a chain of “real” liquor stores. I got priorities. The problem with liquor being available in every supermarket, 7-Eleven, and gas station is the variety. Extremely minimal! But, the drive through the kitschy little shopping-beach street gave me a good look at the locals. Besides a number of surgically enhanced traffic-stoppers, there was a bikini walking down the street and an untold number of long, straight blond haired lookers. The women were pretty hot too.

Anyway, we left the big city and with multiple traffic hangups, a 3-4 hour drive became almost 6. Some of the drive was right on the coast.

I know, taking pictures while driving is probably not a great idea. You know what makes it worse – knowing the person sitting next to you is going to give you shit for playing with your phone while driving. Come on, I just took this 42 footer through a load of awful traffic and asshole drivers. Did I mention California drivers? Well, I come from NY so some of the shit they pull doesn’t surprise me or piss me off that much. I Am impressed by their penchant for speed. At one point in our drive near Santa Barbara, there were three Porche Carreras in front of us across three lanes. That was a picture. And those people drive well. It’s the wannabes in the Camaros that want to prove to everyone that they have big dicks. I have to hand it to even the Honda drivers, these guys can speed with the best of them. That reminds me – one last word on the subject – Long Beach, in the area by the aquarium right next to where we stayed, they were preparing for an E Formula race, electric cars. Protective fencing and bleachers were being raised everywhere and guys with name tags were all over. Glad we left. I can’t imagine anything more boring than watching silent cars pass by every minute or so. Well, there’s tennis. And the all time sleeper, sorry Artie, golf. “So, Ernie, should he use the 3 or 4 club here?” “I don’t think so Bert. I like the driver on every shot.” Are you fucking kidding me? I get playing it. Kind of a big boys knock hockey. But watching it? Stop it! Watching porn is more respectable. Speaking of, one of the few porn flicks I’ve seen was at a good friend’s batchelor party, and we watched it with….come on (I didn’t mean it that way, you filthy minded pig), with a priest. True. Isn’t Life Strange. A Turn of the Page. A Book Without Lights. Unless With Love We Write.

Man, that was one long tangent, upon tangent (see chapter 9).

Anyway, we are in Pacific Dunes RV Resort and Riding Stable in Oceano, CA, about a mile from the ocean. They didn’t have our name with an assigned site waiting in the late-arrival list so we pulled into a spot up on a hill overlooking the dunes. Seems nice here. Nice sunset. The only plan we have is to go to a hospital with MRI equipment Monday if my fucking hip doesn’t get better.

To throw it away

To lose just a day

The quicksand of time

You know it makes me want to…

Nighty nite.