Category Archives: Brian’s Odyssey Adventures

Brian’s email accounting of our adventures full-timing and being retired.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

So I lied. Truth is, with snow in the forecast this week and my back killing me, I didn’t think we’d do anything travelogue worthy the rest of the month. Here’s a post I feel like I owed Colorado Springs. We did a bunch of hiking in the area over the summer but I never got around to writing about it.

If you like hiking, this is a great city to live in. It’s a small city, not quite a half million, but not exactly Ma and Pa Kettle. Damn, that’s dating me. I barely remember those movies but I do recall one scene that made me laugh. They’re going to the big city and Pa straps one of these ancient change makers around his neck. Seemed like everywhere they turned he was cha-chinging out tips. When he used it in a restaurant I laughed. I guess you had to be there (and be ten years old).

Anyway, Colorado Springs has a nice little downtown with loads of shops, restaurants and bars making for a sometimes raucous night life, you know, gunfire, people run over. It also has its share of homeless and, this is Colorado and Colorado Springs is not immune, people who shoot other people – remember New Life Church, no not that asshole Ted Haggard, the 2007 shooting (please read this if you’ve got jusome time: http://www.5280.com/magazine/2012/12/jeanne-assam-still-waiting), and the walking killer of Halloween morning 10 days ago. But there are psychos everywhere so don’t take points off for that. In Colorado we let them have guns.

The weather is pretty great here overall. Scenery is beautiful with Pikes Peak looming over the gorgeous Garden of the Gods (free city park), Seven Falls (expensive rip-off), and the entire city. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo sits up on the side of the mountain that housed the former home of NORAD. Nice view. Lots of giraffes. And if all that isn’t enough, legal marijuana is just a shout away in Manitou Springs. Just about on the border between Manitou and Colorado Springs is Red Rock Canyon Open Space, not to be confused with Red Rocks, the state park and concert venue up in Morrison on the west side of Denver.

Red Rock Canyon is all about hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Though most are very easy, some trails gain 800′ of elevation. It’s also a nice place to walk your dog. They even have off leash trails. The pictures attached are all from yesterday’s easy three miles.

The second picture features a rock climber. The third peaks back down the rather wide trail we took to the west side of the city. The next few zoom in and out on Garden of the Gods in the distance – those big rocks bulging out of the ground.

Colorado Springs, nice place to live. Now how about a few bucks for the promo, mayor?

Last thoughts – I’ve been sleeping late and the dreams keep coming. This morning the last dream was me sitting at a table with a few people (unknown) discussing the previous dreams of the morning. That was pretty weird. All very vivid. Kind of like a double rainbow – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

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Back in Colorado Springs

I know it’s been a while since the last email/post but the Mets were in the friggin World Series. Come on. I had no idea Kansas City was so good. The best team beat the second best team. Wait till next year when Zack Wheeler comes back. Be afraid all other teams, be very afraid. And that’s all I have to say about that.

A few pictures of the Holbrook to Taos trip are included. The stop about 10 miles west of Albuquerque was at an RV park that has appeared as a backdrop for some movies. That was last week so I can’t remember the names of the movies. They have a half dozen or so vintage RVs that can be rented. Taos is a tourist town. Scenic mountains to the north. Julia Roberts lives there, sometimes. And that’s all I have to say about that.

The drive from Taos to Colorado Springs included some white knuckle stuff and wet snow at the top of La Veta pass, just the kind of driving conditions we were hoping this life style would avoid. That sucked because we were kind of in a hurry to drop the RV off at the repair shop before they closed.

So here we are in a 115 year old rental house about a mile from where that nut shot three people last week. It’s actually a nice neighborhood really close to Colorado College and a mile from our grandson. He’s so cute.

This might be the last email/blog post until we head out of here in December. It’s been a little cold to go exploring and all that RV connecting/disconnecting three days in a row did a number on the spinal issues. But, Thursday’s spinal shot might lift my spirits to write something. If not, and if it’s your nature to worry and/or be paranoid then go take some tranquilizers. The rest of you, go have a drink. Talk to you in December. I’m going to get some egg nog and vanilla rum.

One last thing – I’ve been dreaming a lot since we got back here in relax mode. Last week you were all in one. Are you ready, dream analysts? I was driving a bus in some nasty weather and stopped to pick up one of my cousins who had been on the blog until his passing in September. He was rejoining all of you on the email list. I started driving again and the rough dark road seemed like it was becoming a canyon and we were flying above it. We were. As soon as I realized that I was driving a flying bus I took that hint – I was flying and realized it was a dream and left the bus behind. Maintaining altitude was a struggle but it still allowed me to fly with colorful, flying dinosaurs among tall, sparkling, colored mountains. The trouble with taking over the flying and knowing you’re flying is that you’re on the edge of consciousness. Enjoy those flights, dreamers. They don’t last long. Also had a dream with you, Monique, riding bikes. Somebody figure that one out. Monique was a bowling partner.

And that’s all I have to say until the next one. Happy Thanksgiving.

Escape From Hell

After that week in Salome where if it wasn’t too hot it was raining, we headed back to Mesa, The Palm Gardens Motor Home Court but please don’t let that name fool you. This must be one of the older 55+ parks because there are only a handful of RV sites left. The rest are single and double wide ‘mobile’ homes. It was so damn hot that we spent little time outdoors. We did find a dog park to take Luna to and after gradually moving her from timid to anything-goes to the lake park, she took her first swim. We kept pushing her favorite ball out further into the water until she had to swim.

Except for the visit to cousin Sean and family – they are all so likeable – the dog park was our only other highlight. Well, we found the Chinese food place where we loved their dumplings last time. Hot Wok on the southwest corner of Broadway and Lindsay has the best dumplings/sauce combo on the planet in our opinion. The hot and sour soup is really a spicy hot mushroom soup. The cold sesame noodles were not advertised as spicy so Andrea asked to make them a little spicy. After a small bowl each, we had to trash it. Some people might like food so spicy that you can’t taste it and you sniffle all night. We don’t. The moo-shoo is excellent but if you can live with one taste, get the pork dumplings and ask for two extra sauce cups per serving.

OK, left hell this morning for a scenic drive northeast across SR87 towards I-40 and points east. Forward AC still out, we ran the generator and an AC AC to keep us somewhat comfortable. About two hours into to trip I was sure I was witnessing and might be part of a horrible crash. We had turned left off SR 277 to get on SR 77 to Holbrook. We were first in a line of vehicles. A red Cadillac a couple of cars back didn’t seem happy with the Odyssey’s acceleration, which I must admit is painfully slow in the lowest gears. By the time this moron decided to pass, I was up to the 55mph speed limit and as he pulled into the opposing traffic lane, it was clear that he had no chance of passing me before this massive log-hauling truck would hit head on. I was screaming “You’re going to kill yourself” and seeing he wasn’t accelerating all that much I pondered accelerating to force him back behind me. And then I thought I’m going to kill this asshole if I do that so I slammed on the brakes to let him pass and even then it was just a few feet between him being crushed and coming away with shit in his pants. I smelled that shit for 30 miles. I can’t tell you what his early rush was but it wasn’t there after the near death experience. We followed him into Holbrook at the speed limit the rest of the way but a few cars behind.

That was the most frightening experience of my driving career. I thought I was going to see multiple deaths.

Anyway, it was kind of scenic on 87. Got some pictures and sent them to my friend on Krypton and damned if he didn’t send back that shot of his twin suns from a similar road on his planet.

We finally arrived at Root 66 RV Park about 17 miles west of Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert (north side of the park). After setting up late – it was a long drive for us – we headed out for the park about 45 minutes from sunset. It would have been better to be there an hour earlier but we got there for moonrise.

Next stop west of Albuquerque for game 1.

But, I Digress

In the last year or so, NBC has been airing clipped reruns of some really old Saturday Night Live shows in the hour before the Saturday night local news. They started with the very first show hosted by George Carlin. Tonight they presented a show originally aired in September, 1991, the first of that season. That era was my favorite – Dana Carvey, Mike Meyers, Chris Farley, Victoria Jackson, Al Franken, and Kevin Nealon among other big names including my all time favorite, Phil Hartman. This evening’s airing was hosted by Michael Jordan who was featured in a great bit, ‘Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley’ (Al Franken). However, the reason I bring this up is the discovery of what I believe to be the genesis of my oft used expression, “But, I digress”. The show started with a Wayne’s World review of the best events of the summer of 1991. At one point, Wayne goes a little off topic and drops the line, “But, I digress”. Bingo – there it is. The seed is planted. Some of you with functioning memory cells may have picked up on the origin a long time ago. In this case I can honestly say, like a subpoenaed member of congress, “I have no recollection.” However, when he made that to-the-side comment it felt like Quasimoto just gonged me. Who needs or wants a memory when you have reruns?

One other curious note from that show – musical guest was Public Enemy. Curious because they were also the musical guest last night (Friday) on Jimmy Kimmel Live from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. What are the chances? I suppose their publicist could have something to do with this curiousity and ruin my innocent wonder.

Wait. One more nugget from the same show – on Weekend Update Jesse Jackson reads Green Eggs and Ham. Fun.

Photos. Not many. First one is the deceased vacuum pump that made the air conditioner useless. Yeah, who cares!

Second: Thursday night, gametime. Granderson steps in. Mother nature steps on the satellite transmission. A whopper of a thunderstorm is on top of us. Thor’s not on the mound but throwing lightning bolts a few feet away. Exciting. The game is a jumbled mix of staccato images with a few seconds of video here, a little audio there until the count on the fifth batter is 2-1. A few pitches later Lucas Duda struck with some lightning of his own. The storm passed by the half inning break and left that stubby rainbow as a sort of, sorry about that.

Pic 3: looking towards the north, the sun peaking out from the passing storm lit up the mountains so that it looked like a painting. Very surreal. I’ll never get tired of that stuff.

But there was a game to watch. And then, condolences to the Chicago faithful. The Curse of the Murph, again.

Spent the evening tonight with my first cousin, once removed, Sean, and family, kids technically first cousins twice removed, and third cousins of our daughter’s son. Love you guys.

Happy Trails to you.

Until we meet again.

Did you know that Roy Rodgers first home was in a tenement that was later torn down to make way for Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati? Neither did I.

Correction – Blog Internet Address Was Wrong

The blog’s address was incorrect. It is:

CarlinRV.com (I don’t think the caps are needed.)

Thank you Carol.

One more correction. Near the end I used the term ‘fuckers’ when I meant to write ‘suckers’. Must have fat-fingered that sucker. Management pointed out the mistake. It could also have been an expression of more frustration than what was worthy of ‘suckers’ but I’m going with fat finger.

After a total of three hours, 10 phone calls and an untold number of “let me connect you to the right department”s, all DTV channels have been restored. I just saw highlights of the game and the last three runs were way more interesting with audio-video.

I almost never send one of these without a photo. So…..Let’ Go Mets!

Greetings from Hell

Wednesday, October 14th:

No, God didn’t strike me dead after the last email. The RV’s dash air conditioner took the blow instead. As we left Prescott Valley yesterday, no matter what settings we tried, it somehow wanted to be in defrost mode all the time. Actually it switched mysteriously to the vents intermittently throughout the 3-1/2 hour ride until about the last half hour. It was 97 outside and only felt cooler when those fans kicked in. Defrost mode will not cool you off. It was 102 inside when we arrived in Salome and that was with the front roof AC running via generator power. We’ve had two AC’s running continuously since we plugged in. The temperature outside dropped to 79 overnight and is forecast to be near 100 today. Methinks we have some evidence of global warming. This is too hot for October 14th, even out here in the Arizona desert. To confirm this is hell, no internet also.

About that last email. If anyone was offended then I suggest you visit a lovely and lively bar in Key West called Irish Kevin’s. Arrive mid afternoon while the music is in full swing, and, if you’re lucky, Irish Kevin himself will be the singer/guitar player. As you walk in the door the music will stop and Irish Kevin will greet you. Our experience from some years ago with 14 year old Bree:

IK: “Where are you folks from?”

Us: “New York”.

IK: “How do we greet folks from New York?”

Crowd: “FUCK YOU!!”

IK: “Welcome to Irish Kevin’s”

And so it goes with everyone entering.

Key West. One of my favorite populated places. If you go, fly into Miami or Ft Lauderdale, rent a convertible and drive. The convertible is worth the extra bucks. You’ll love it. Travel tip #43.

So, I only got one correct response from that email. One of my sisters wrote back and her first words were an emphatic (yes I could tell it was a shout) “F#$@ Y%#”. But she used the appropriate spelling. You might ask why the F-bomb was spelled out above and not here. Keep wondering.

Uh-oh. I just got a memo from management. We will be linking these emails to our seldom used blog, CarlinOdyssey.com. I’m told that the use of the F-bomb, other vulgarities, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas type tales and other philosophically disguised Carlos Castaneda-ish soliloquys will not be tolerated. Thus, the commentary from the last email didn’t happen. Think of it like Judge Hoyle in The Verdict throwing out the entire testimony of the nurse Kaitlin Costello Price. Dismiss it from your minds. I think about those jury instructions often when I say something stupid and I often say something stupid. Well, stupid is as stupid does. Must have tapped into the movie synapses.

For you who ended up on this email list sometime after September of last year and for you who have stumbled upon the resurrected blog, we began the blog upon the start of our travels in August 2014. The audience for which it had been intended was the RV community and more specifically full timers or wannabe full timers. I don’t think it got past two or three postings. Andrea found her niche on Facebook and my email rantings, which were originally intended for family and a few close friends who knew me well enough not to take offense at some of my delirious, Steppenwolfish ‘Not For Everyone’ takes on the universe, sort of became a very unofficial blog. As more people were added to the mailing list I tried to tame it down a little but then they get boring. This ain’t just a picture show.

Now, with these emails going completely public they are going to include more information for RVers. Maybe. That may mean more words for you photo voyeurs but I promise to go off the deep end as often as possible.

Speaking of RV things, we have some problems. We have to find someone to fix the driving AC, and the motor for the shade on the front door, and the disabling effect having anything plugged into the cigarette lighter has on numerous electronically controlled items, including the full slide. We’ll be having fun soon.

We visited this place, Salome, AZ, last February and the weather was perfect. I sent some pictures back then of our bike ride/hike, mountain scenery and sunsets. This time we don’t expect the conditions to be habitable for a few days. It’s near 1PM Wednesday and we haven’t even lifted the window shades for fear of letting the sun heat up any dark surfaces. The AC’s drone on. A reading day though the feeling of imprisoment lingers.

Sunday Night Oct 18th

It was 97 degrees last Tuesday and Wednesday. We hid inside with the air conditioning. Thursday wasn’t much better but at least we had the Mets-Dodgers game that night though it started raining and rained through Friday night. Hello again El Nino. Went to Quartzite yesterday. It was a ghost town, except for Silly Al’s, the bar-pizza place. Decent pizza. It’s too early in the season to be here. Maybe that’s why the vodka tonic was $1.75. Imagine that?

Monday the 19th

Finally some relief from the heat. A local auto guy came over and diagnosed our air conditioning problem as the death of the vacuum pump but damn if he could get one of those around here. Again, too early to be here. In the winter this is RV heaven. Right now it’s ghost-townish.

Tuesday, October 20th

Note to self: pay the DirecTV bill. A few months ago I unentangled our old Century Link phone account from DTV but they never told DTV. And, my bad, I never called DTV to initiate a new payment method. So when I turned on the TV a minute before game 3 today, I found that my service was shut off. After an hour of futzing around with DTV and Century Link I was 10 minutes late calling the billing services people to get it straightened out. Wi-Fi here, like most RV parks, sucks so MLB audio didn’t work. I “watched” the game on ESPN’s Gamecast. Real exciting. Good pitching again prevails over good hitting. And I want the drugs Daniel Murphy is taking. Oh, for you new to this blog, I’m a die-hard Mets and football Giants fan.

Well, no TV – and those fuckers disabled the DVR as well – so I’m catching up here. Finally got a few pictures. Not much in terms of scenery this time. I’m thinking a spelling class might be in order for the school in town.

Heading back to Colorado Thursday, at our pace, but hoping to get the vacuum pump replaced Friday in Mesa. And hoping to visit the Chandler Kelly’s if you guys are around Sat-Sun. I’ll be in touch later.