Gold Canyon, Superstition Stuff, The TSA, and OTB – Nov 2017

This is a long post. I got an app to shrink picture sizes so I can combine some topics. This new phone creates pictures anywhere from one to eight megabytes. I hope the quality isn’t too compromised.

Canyon Vistas is our favorite, large, 55+ RV resort. It’s not all that different from others, it just seems to get more plus marks than others. For one thing, it is very dog-friendly with three dog parks and a mostly shady, grass and tree lined pavement walk that runs from one end of the park to the other – about a mile. That’s another great thing about the park – it is flat and connected to three other communities. One is a younger, sister park with nice casitas (little Adobe-looking homes), each with its own parking area for an RV. These are designed for snowbirds who come for the winter. We’ve toured each model and they are all very attractive. Maybe someday. One of the other two is a golf community with a mixture of RV’s and park models (nomenclature for small, mobile-home looking homes). The other park is strictly new homes geared to the ex-mobile home owner – small houses in a well manicured, gated community. They are all gated.

The fact that all the communities have pedestrian gate openings to each other makes it great for casual bike riders. If you rode up and down every block you would get in close to 20 miles. It got me thinking about trading in my 21-speed mountain bike for a beach cruiser. I hate getting rid of things that work – like I should have kept my belt sander, drill press, table saw, and most importantly, the toaster oven.

So, I started converting my mountain bike to a hybrid cruiser. Besides that tinkering, we both got involved in some of the many craft shop offerings of the park. Andrea got into yoga, beading, and stained glass. I actually only participated in one group thing. I tried yoga but my legs and back couldn’t take it. However, while walking the dog I was inspired by another camper’s work to try wood carving.

I also installed a new, heavy duty, 120volt AC outlet in our living room, juiced by the extra 30 or 20 amp sources at the park’s power box, if available. You can’t otherwise run two electric space heaters. We hate using the big, overhead jobs – too noisy. If you want the details on how, email me at bjcarlin71

We also replaced all 27 of our small, 12 volt halogen lights with LED’s. One of our kitchen fluorescent lights shorted out and almost burned, so I pulled out the ballast and all the other junk and installed some strip LED lighting under the old cover. Works great. Intend to replace the others soon.

We have a new, rolling, storage cabinet that took me about six months to complete. That project sort of coincided with my inability to complete a blog post. Let’s not go there.

Now, back to the Gold Canyon experience. I left off our southbound travel with a photo of Superstition Mountain. Sunsets at Canyon Vistas were a kind of ritual.

Happy hours at many sites as well as a park sponsored band an hour or two before sunset culminated with people in the streets at the witching hour with wine glasses, beer bottles, and Solo cups paying homage to that Fat Old Sun as it dropped behind the western hills, Phoenix, smog and dust storms yielding brilliant oranges, yellows, reds and purples. It felt sacrilegious to take photos but we caught a couple.

We spent quite a few of those sunsets at the dog park as the late fall hours coincided with Luna’s afternoon walks. But, we did get a shot or two.

Our little solar light had a nice backdrop one evening.

At the end of October we visited:

It was worth the price of admission. It was free. Actually, it was worth a buck or two.

And that was that. Yeah, two bucks might be stretching it. Free was the right price.

On the way back we stopped at a weird bar in the middle of nowhere:

But, lunch was good and how can you screw up an O’Doull’s (maybe by drinking it?).

You drive around the eastern burbs of Phoenix long enough and you will begin to think the original people of this area had some phobias. Every other street, shopping center and mountain has “Superstition” in the name. Superstitions are really a load of crap but, then again, if I keep buying winning tickets from the same teller at the track, I’m going back there. Whatever it takes, but I don’t think I’m superstitious.

AIRPORT SECURITY? DEPENDS!

This is good, so hang in there. Sorry, no pictures, but if you really look it up, you can watch a video. Remember, I had the AUS (artificial urinary sphincter) installed in September? No? Oh. That was in an earlier iteration of these catch-up posts. Do this, Google AUS. Then, long story short – 2010 prostate cancer, prostatectomy, then they tell me they fucking didn’t get it all (does it sound like I’m getting pissed talking about it?) and had to get 44 days of radiation. If the snip doesn’t screw up your plumbing, the radiation will. And that ain’t all but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, an AUS gives you back some control.

Back to the TSA story. Well, the post-operative condition of your junk – imagine a softball – requires six weeks to heal before you can activate the nut button (if you questioned “nut button” then you didn’t look up AUS). That six-week timing didn’t work for us – we were southbound before I could get an appointment, so I found one of those no-frills, ultra-cheap, Frontier flights direct to Colorado Springs from Phoenix and booked it for Nov 8. No luggage, no carry-on, but I did pay extra for a good seat. A window seat finally paid off. Pictures in a minute.

After eight years of deteriorating plumbing, I was up to wearing, not just Depends underwear, but also, when going out in public, a Depends pad. It was that bad. Kind of like using two Bounties when you probably only need one. Kind of. It’s bulky but you wear loose pants. Maybe you’ll get an admiring stare. (You might wonder what happened to my dignity. Who the fuck tells a story like this? Go get your prostate removed. Death of dignity.)

At the TSA scanner, they have learned how to read medical hardware in your body. So the back screws, rods, and that weird hip thing? No problem. But, the scanner detected an abnormality in my crotch. Now I needed a pat down. It revealed, yes, an abnormality in my crotch. I was pulled aside for a pat down by a senior pat-downer (that could be patter-downer but I can’t look it up where I am now). Yep, that big, fucking, giant crotch threat is still there. “Come with us, sir.”

So, off I’m marched to a private room where I’m told that the scanner and two pat downs indicate a bulge in my pants. I was very tempted to say I was a porn star but also realized who I was talking to. I explained my delicate condition and offered to show them what was causing the discovery of such a bulbous abnormality, but as soon as I went for my belt buckle they got excited and told me to keep my pants on. They weren’t allowed to look. Apparently, there’s nothing in the training manuals, tactical bulletins, or take-down guides that comes close to addressing a double Depends situation. Fuck! What would you say?

I asked how we can resolve this. Someone had to say something and these dudes, once they understood how embarrassing this situation might have been for them – that is, they looked at each other’s crotches, looked up to The Almighty, made the sign of the cross, and prayed forgiveness – were clueless. Finally, Muldoon, after a glance to Toody, looked at me with sad eyes and said, “Once you are pulled aside to a private room, you have to be escorted back out of the boarding area.”

Unsaid, “Sorry. That’s the best I can do with my training.”

Toody came alive, “Ooh-ooh! Why don’t you remove the pad in a bathroom outside and try coming back through security again?”

“How about if I take it out right here and now?”

Muldoon, “Sorry, sir. You have to go through security again.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Wouldn’t you say that? The question repeated in my head throughout this ordeal and, perhaps, obviously, still, right, fucking now!, but my mouth said “Yes, sir.” (Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me? Are you….)

After Toody walked back with me out of security and I escorted myself to the pat-down-free potty, I got rid of the pad and went right through the TSA doorway of dread. No bells, whistles, buzzers, or crotch abnormalities and thus, no bulging crotch pat downs. I hope the TSA locker room had a good time with that.

That really happened exactly as described, except maybe the prayer part (maybe they did pray because I was encouraging the forces of evil and good to bring justice to ignorance – that would be for them to burn in hell).

LIFE AFTER TSA & 10 YEARS SINCE WHAT?

When the plane got to the Colorado Springs area, we started circling. I had that good window seat in the second row – the legroom seats on Frontier. The clouds below the mountain tops extended to the ground – dense fog. It made for some interesting views – seemed like a sea of white.

Think about that. The land poking out of the sea of clouds is, I’m guesttimating, southwest of Pueblo, and probably 6-7,000′ high. Shoot me if I’m wrong. Then I recognized Pikes Peak in the distance.

And then we got word that the ground fog was lifting. An IFR approach dropped us through the clouds next to Pikes Peak. What the heck is that other white bubble?

It was still pretty damn foggy on the ground. Kudos to our white knuckled pilot.

Finally, I go right from the airport for my one minute medical procedure, that I could have done myself! Voila! Push button pee! No more TSA hassling my crotch.

But wait, I have one more story that I think is kind of cool. (You’ll have to buy the book for the Army stories.) At least a bartender and the parties involved thought so. Reminder, it’s November 8, 2017.

After the activation of the device, I went to a drug store down the block but had to wait an hour or so for a prescription. Damn, what is one to do? There was a Dollar Store in the strip mall and I needed a gift box – and, a sports bar – lunch! As I approached the bar I had second thoughts. It had a bit of in-and-out activity, some seedy looking characters. And that has deterred me from entering a bar when? More like an invititation. As I found a seat at the bar I noticed a multitude of TV’s, all with either a horsetrack race or toteboard on it, or the same from a greyhound track.

It’s an OTB! I’m home. I ordered a sandwich and an O’Doull’s and asked the bartender where the betting machines were. She said they only had two cashiers in the back and she pointed to the area. I looked closely, saw a cashier and said, “Holy Shit!” I made her wait while I found this picture on my phone:

And then told her the story. That guy across from me was signing some forms in the midst of cashing my $48 (cost) pick six ticket on November 10, 2007, at the old greyhound track, turned simulcasting facility. The feds took about 5 grand off the top. The cashier gave me a check for about 14 grand plus about two thousand in cash.

I had promised I would join Bree at the first annual Colorado Beer Fest that night if I won enough at the track to pay for a taxi or a limo. We took a stretch limo to a beer fest.

The bartender, who was so excited about this, came out from behind the bar and walked me back to Mike. We had a quick reunion as he worked. It was just rather interesting – nearly 10 years to the day. I was tempted several times to bet on something, but I didn’t.

Did you ever hear the story of the $21K day? You gotta be a horse racing fan. (Again, buy the book.)

The next blog post, The Apache Trail.

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