Monthly Archives: February 2017

Odyssey Groundhog Greetings

First of all, this Groundhog Day is a load of shot. That’s the word I have to use on Yahoo when I comment on news articles that I feel compelled to add my two cents to. I also get censored when I say someone is a member of the same organization that tried to create a master race. And I can’t call a whole group of a people the plural synonym for cats because they fear little brown men with beards rather than teenage drivers who kill 20 Americans every day. And I don’t really have an opinion on such things. The reason I feel compelled to write comments was explained to me recently. Oh, were you expecting some photos from the road? Well sure, go ahead and distract me. I don’t want to talk about that shot anyway.

So we decided that the Palm Springs area is nice enough to hang around another month despite the wind. Just when we made that decision, God said, hold it down. And the wind died down. Since then, you couldn’t ask for better weather. We can sit outside and watch the sun set over the San Jacinto Mountains. I thought the reflection on the back of the Odyssey was cool.

On the last day of January we took a drive to the mountains. We went about 20 miles west on I-10 to Banning, and turned south on CA243. You’re heading through civilization and then all of a sudden the road climbs, twists and turns into inhabitable terrain – and you better have good brakes. Speaking of, we just got new ones on Friday. You can tell on Google maps it’s going to be good road with all the zig-zags. It did not disappoint. In just a few miles there was snow on the roadside. We had to pause on the way up as a road crew moved a massive boulder that had fallen. We stopped at one of the many turnouts for slow traffic. Some have views. Some snow. Luna got a taste.

The Salton Sea has a very interesting history, too long to blab about here. Look it up in Wikipedia.

We came from the warm desert a few hours earlier. Just about 6,000 feet up we stopped at a “Vista Point”. They have these all over California. The vista sucked but the path was interesting.

The better vista was when I came back off the path, seeing the Jeep and knowing it had new brakes. The distant mountains were nice too.

This road led us through the cute little mountain town of Idylwilde. We stopped and Andrea had a croissant – the guy said it was there so long he had no idea what was in it. I had a slice of pizza that was as good as any I’ve had west of the Hudson River. Who’da thunk it?

CA243 connected to CA74 which straightened out on high plains as it ran east back to the Palm Springs area. It was pine trees down to ranchland. At the corner of CA74 and Palm Canyon Dr, we pulled off for a doggie stop. It was also a nice place to see a lovely Yucca Faxoniana up against the white caps of the San Gorgonios.

They actually call this section of CA74 the Palm to Pines Highway, a designated scenic route. However, as the road then turns north back to Palm Desert, a lush community at the southern edge of Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, it drops dramatically from about 5,000′ to near sea level. Cool road.


Palm Desert, the green below:

That was Tuesday.

We’ve been going to the pool almost daily. The thermal springs fed pools are supposed to have benefits for people with bad backs and other bad shot (Yahoo word). With my friggin (you can say that on Yahoo) back going sour again (while the foreign new hip continues to make peace with the home grown muscles and tendons), I made an appointment with my surgeon Wednesday morning to get an x-ray to see if any screws are loose.

Speaking of loose screws, back to those Yahoo comments. I’ve been finding the world a strange place the last few months and have been wondering what’s going on. I found a new shrink here who, I was told, gave advice to Jonathan Winters, Andy Kaufman, and Robin Williams. With streets named Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, and Gene Autrey Drive, you know this place has doctors you can trust. He says I’m having a full blown flashback, like I’m on an LSD trip. Gee, how could that happen? He says you can either check yourself into a nut house, kill yourself, or deal with it. He was making me paranoid so I left. Everything has seemed so bizarre. I go to sleep at night and have weird dreams and then I wake up and it’s just like the dreams. Last night I had a dream within a dream. Well, I always thought that’s what dying was like – dreaming all the time. And then passages from The Tibetan Book of the Dead seem to bang around inside my head when I watch the news so maybe this is dead. Whatever, you’re all in this with me so play along. I’m told flashbacks only last about four years. You kind of wonder, when you’re me now, has it always been like this? Is it in the water supply? I got questions. Hey Richard, is this how it is?

To keep me grounded, after my back doctor advised me not to do anything too strenuous to fork up the back anymore, like hiking, Andrea convinced me to take a hike Wednesday. She came too, as did Luna. We went out the back of the park and north into the hills which become the southwest corner of Joshua Tree National Park. We didn’t get very far when my paranoia started creeping over me. Actually, it was flying overhead. Do you see all those contrails? Now they’re criss-crossing, dropping their mind-altering gases all over the country. You see all that stuff?

We only went a little over a mile and a half, all gently uphill, passing more spent bullet shells than I saw at the firing range in the Army.

More flashbacks. You see, the Army gave me the acid. Or was it my cook buddy? Or was he part of the experiment? Did we really get it into the water tower? Far, forking out! There was also a lot of broken glass out there along with shot up TV’s, mattresses, and hand grenade pins. I guess this is normal now. Anyway, we eventually got past the first hills and into a narrow canyon.

We stopped for lunch in the shade. This is a 180 of our quiet little picnic spot.

Out of the blue, Andrea’s canine-like olfactories sniffed hamburger. We walked ten feet further and around the bend was a tent. How does she do that? See, behind the bush?

I wasn’t messing with somebody with more ammo than God so 1.55 miles turned out to be just enough. Get me out of here.

Downhill is better unless your knees have fewer steps ahead than they’ve taken. But, new views on the return.

On this last shot, or should I say photo, I was trying to capture the glistening hill to the right – it’s covered in broken glass – but the camera revealed the settling fumes of the contrails.

By the time we got back, the RV park looked like a scene from a zombie movie. Old people walking around like they all had arthritis, obviously affected by the mind altering chemicals falling out of the sky. When will it end?

Maybe now. Here comes a whale UFO stirring up a dust storm: