Meditations on a Journey

I’ve Seen

a thousand springs

a sad statue tall

a fool who sings

the colors of fall

the deserts deep

the bones of old

the mountains steep

the land not sold

the palette of the sky

the snow piled high

the rivers flow dry

that which will not die

a soul so new

the blinds loving sight

sweet trampled morning dew

staring eyes of light

the size of power

the grin of sorrow

an infinite hour

an impossible tomorrow

blinding information

teachers of life

the best of the nation

the best of my wife

nights of no sleep

dreams upon the road

beasts at night creep

pain from a heavy load

planets scattered above

rivers lit by the moon

packages of love

a sand slid dune

the morning come and rise

sulfur singed air

dark stormy skies

the lands of many fair

a mother hold her child tight

a coyote sprinting by

the young and old conduct a fight

love that lakes me cry

dry rolling tumbleweed

signs that told the truth

a cowboy perform a good deed

signs that told no truth

fall leaves that fall

signs in the rocks

the skeleton of a dead mall

signs in the skies form a whole

a stair to a fall

a stare to a soul

 

though the journey’s short indeed

I truly feel as though I’ve seen a lot

there is so much I still do need

see it all in this lifetime, I certainly shall not

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Home is wherever I’m with you…

12/8/13

I woke up at about 3:30am to use the restroom and realized that I had slept for 6 and half hours.  This was normal for me, so with renewed and revived energy I set out for home.

I was driving towards the mountains and over the ridge I could see there was an extremely long line semi trucks pulled over.  I passed a sign that said something about snow and closed roads, but went by the sign before I could read the information and comprehend it.  As I pulled up to the semis I realized that the highway was closed going through the South end of the Sierras.  Cars were slowly pulling up and then eventually parking in the middle of the highway.  I sat there for a minute trying to figure out my next move.  Of course, I had a plan…so, it had to work out another way.

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I sat in the van for about 20 minutes. It was literally freezing out so I didn’t want to shut the car off.  I started looking at the satellite map of my location so that I can figure a way around this weather as I had no idea when this highway would open up again.  I was on a highway, so…one way.  Then I noticed it,  about 200 feet ahead was a spot to cross the median.  I went for it.  I drove along the edge of the road until reaching the median crossing with the sign that says no U-turn.  I laughed and got to the other side and started driving back to the nearest highway that would lead me to towards L.A. and up through central California.    Good thing too, since shortly after getting back on the highway my gas light went on.  I ended up at a gas station just in time.

I started back on my way.  It was a beautiful sight having the sun rise behind me in California.

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I had to pull over and take a little nap.  After 20 minutes I was feeling ready to get home.  As it became light out I could see the cold that surrounded me.

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I made it through the mountains and was headed up through central California towards the Salinas Valley.  I was very anxious to get home, but a bit apprehensive to end the adventure.  I turned off the music and used the last couple of hours for some silent contemplation about the trip, about life.  Through the anxiousness and apprehension I also recognized pride.  I was proud of the accomplishment of a solo trip around the country.  The trip lasted just shy of 15,000 miles and would have easily surpassed it had I gone through Utah, Colorado, and the deserts of California.

I took my final exit towards Monterey onto 68.  The sign there spoke to me, reassuring and reenforcing my notion of pride in my accomplishment.  It said you must have “Coles Grande” to do what you just spent the last three months doing.  In other words…

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BIG CABBAGES!

 

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Strange Things

“There’s something happening here.  What it is ain’t exactly clear…”

This is a compilation of some of:

The strange things I’ve seen on the road…

I have traveled extensively throughout the United States.  This trip alone I predict about 15,000 miles.  So, when I say I’ve seen some strange things, I’m not kidding around.  Luckily I don’t suffer from coulrophobia as I have seen cars of clowns on three occasions, in three different states (CA, OR, MD).  Once, we were driving up to a bridge (OR) and a guy was standing on the edge.  He seemingly picked out our car in line of non-distinct vehicles to wave to, with a big grin, before falling over the edge (continuing the waiving and grinning).  We don’t know how deep it was, or any other details, because it took us a few moments to figure out what happened.  Whatever he was doing jumping off of that bridge looked fun, so we left it at that.  We have been startled by a plane that sprays pesticides in fields as it swooped 20 ft. in front of us crossing the highway.  We definitely didn’t see that one coming, or hear it as we were probably playing music.  We had an argument between to cars chasing each other at unsafe speeds pass us.  The best/worst part was that they continued to argue through our car windows as they passed.  When we lived in D.C. we were witness to so many commuter conundrums.  Drivers eating such delicious meals as hot soup(witnessed a spill too), Chinese food (w chopsticks), and two handed sub sandwich munching, all during stop and go rush hour.  We saw an SUV balancing on top of a Corvette,  an entire garbage truck and its contents laying on the side of the road, and a tomato truck’s contents sauced across the road.  We drove through there a couple summers ago expecting to see something crazy since we hadn’t been there since 2004.  Lo and behold, a pick-up truck filled with garbage…all on fire.

As for this trip:

9/12/13 – Today I pulled up to a Cadillac from Oregon.  The license plate said SANTA…I had to see this!  I was a bit bummed to see that an old lady was driving.  Mrs. Claus I said and laughed to myself.  Then, there he was, in the passenger seat, Santa.  He had the stereotypical Chubby cheeks with white hair and beard.  I’ll admit, I was a bit disappointed that he was wearing yellow, but maybe Santa is sick of red.  Maybe he actually hates red, but it’s expected of him by billions of children to wear that horrid color.  If you ever see Santa, who apparently lives in Oregon and isn’t ashamed of advertising who he is, ask him about his favorite colors.

9/17/13  In a small Idaho town of Cambridge I saw a Vegetable Stand with a guy out front.  He was on a wagon playing drums, guitar, and harmonica all at the same time.  He would also sing between harmonica blows.  Sorry So Blurry…Idaho Empty

9/17/13  On 71, along the Brownlee Reservoir, in a pull off spot was an RV that had literally burned/melted to the ground.  What a sight that must have been.  How scary for the owners…unless of course this is insurance fraud (so cynical, I know).  Look at the seat skeletons and just imagine…luckily captains don’t have to go down with these ships.

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9/17/13

Oh, and I almost forgot about the first time that Michelle and I saw a sign, in the middle of this mountain forest drive, that said look out for live stock.  We laughed and thought why would cows be in the mountains.  We turned a corner and there they were right in the middle of the road and scattered throughout the forest.  Strange to us…Well on the way up to Hells Canyon again…

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I guess if you ever wonder if they’ll have hamburgers in Hell, now you have your answer…I assume they’ll just cook them the opposite of what you like, and maybe there will be a hair in it or something.

9/18/13

Totally stoned on the side of the road…

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9/18/13

Number Hill in Arco Idaho, the first town powered by atomic energy.  The numbers indicate every graduating class since 1902.  Cool concept and community building idea, but poor hill.  number hill So sorry nature.

9/18/13

“Where’s the bathroom?”

“Out front, across from the Delta Tau Chis house.”

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9/19/13

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Always great advice!

9/22/13

My picture didn’t do it justice, so check out this crazy house I saw as I was driving. It is called the Smith Mansion.  It’s found between Yellowstone and Cody WY in the Wapiti valley

I then saw a Big Boy statue in the middle of some ranch field near the Smith Mansion.

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In Cody I saw a man on the side walk.  Not strange?  Sorry don’t have a picture, but he was riding his horse down main street.  Not in the street, no, on the side walk.  Horses certainly do have right of way in a cowboy town.

Not too many strange sightings for a while, but when it rains…

10/3/13

I drove by a gate that I thought would lead to my estate as it had my initials in iron on said gate…signed the same way I sign mine…

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For some reason I couldn’t get in.  I moved on…

10/4/13

I drove through a tiny, tiny town called Christmas Michigan…

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…of course there is a statue of Santa!

If you know me, then you know that I have no issues with diversity and/or preferences.  I want people to be happy.  I just hope that the people that live in this house don’t mind the sign in their front yard that indicates the direction to a near by town, or the direction one might lean in preference, or just simply being happy.  I could only imagine the issues the sign could have caused in this small town.  Another laugh out loud at the possibilities and a forced U turn to get the picture to remind me of these possibilities…

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Strangely, I drove by, “The Last Place On Earth.”  I could imagine how some would be proud of this notion, where as others may be seriously depressed by it…

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The Lakenland Sculpture park was really fun and included some really strange sightings…

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You know you are in Canada when you see…

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Apparently diesel fumes makes this guy horny…oh and General Robert E. Lee.

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In the Carolinas I came across this in the shadows. My initial reaction…That’s a massive butt!

 

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Upon further inspection…

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I would hate to have to be the guy that has to open that Coke after the long haul…KA BOOM!

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Nothing like a huge waste of resources.  This is a leaf blower in the Smokey Mts…on a busy, windy day. At least he knows he’ll be needed tomorrow.

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Someone aught to tell this horse there is a bird pooping on his back…oh well, I heard it’s good luck!

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Watch Out! Panthers might be crossing…in this 2 mile stretch only.  Must be fields of catnip on the other side.

 

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If you ever see this sign (Everglades FL) please believe it!

 

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There once was an ugly duckling…

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Nothing says good summer fun like a Giant Beach Ball

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If the weather gets that bad..?  Maybe we could find a safer place to build.

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ARMADILLO!!!  RUUUUUUUNNNNN!!!

I’m…so…startled!

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They do exist outside of the west!

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Good morning tarantula!

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This little piggy…almost got run over by me!

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Actual tumbleweed…It was a stand off.

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5 days of wearing a hat day and night…no shower in between.  My hair HURT!

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You know your in the Southwest…Coyotes roaming the city streets of Albuquerque.

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Old timey route 66 where the “BAR” is right across from the local high school (no kidding).  I could imagine looking out the window in math class imagining my future.

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London Bridge Ain’t Falling Down, Falling Down, Falling Down…

12/7/13

I woke up and hung out for bit in the morning with Jeff and Jenn.  I took a rather Hot/COLD shower as Jeff started a new load of laundry.  No worries as it woke me up and prepared me for the cold weather that had been sweeping across the desert for the past few days.

I loaded the van and we met up at Freddy’s, a fast food burger place.  We ate our meal and said our good byes.  I enjoyed my time with the family, but it was time to move on.

Before I left I decided to get an oil change at a Jiffy Lube.  This took about an hour.  Not as Jiffy as I thought it would be, but I was on the road again and heading for London…The London Bridge that is…The London Bridge that was rebuilt in Lake Havasu, AZ.

I enjoyed the drive through the desert.

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It was getting dark and I was a little disappointed that I would be there in the dark, but I did see a great sunset on the way.

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When I arrived I was shocked at the number of people there.  When I found a parking place I got out and noticed tons of people on the banks of the river with fire pits, grills, lots of food, and Christmas music.  I just so happened to arrive the night they were to do the Christmas Light Boat Parade.  I stuck around and took some pictures.  It was quite a festive family event.  I took off right before the end knowing that I would get stuck in traffic if I stayed.  I started heading towards Needles, CA.  I gained another hour crossing the border, but it didn’t feel like it.  I decided to stop in Needles at a Cafe on historic route 66.  I realized that Michelle and I had eaten here before.  That’s when it really hit me…

It’s been cold, there’s supposed to be a snow storm through parts of California I was planning on going to.  I couldn’t see any other option but to go home.  The plan was to surprise Michelle and arrive on Sunday so that we could spend the day together.  After eating I felt a bit revived and drove until I reached a rest stop outside of Barstow.  It was only 9pm on my newly changed clock, but I was tired so I slept.

 

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Family III

Family III

12/6/13

Uncle Dale was holding a dinner party for his bible study group.  He had a chef make Chicken Marsala and cater the event.  I was pleased to eat so I thought I should help prepare the house.  We moved some furniture.  I vacuumed the entire house…I thought why stop at just the living rooms and kitchen.  We shopped for some last minute things.  Dale mentioned white chocolate covered Oreos. I asked if he had ever had homemade ones,and he said no, so I decided I wanted to make some chocolate covered Oreos.

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Dale (Hands on hips) and Jeanette (hands giving game show display) both prepared for the upcoming event.

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Penny helped with vacuum duty.

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Oh look, Jeremy showed up just in time to eat…how convenient.

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More Wine???

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The food was fabulous, the company was fantastic, and the conversations was fulfilling.  I was sure to get a group picture.

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We all had a great time, but the night wasn’t over.  After guests left, Jeanette, Jeremy, and Jeffery went shopping.  Dale and I stayed up and I interviewed him about teacher/student connections.  We always have some good conversations and we surely enjoyed our time.

I went to sleep knowing that I would be leaving sometime after noon towards California.

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Family II

Family II

12/5/13

I spent the day doing school work again…oh, and napping.  It seems that when I stop moving and am in a comfortable place all my lost hours of sleep start to catch up with me.  I went for a short walk to get outside and breath some fresh air.

Since we were holding a dinner party on Friday, Thursday was the only night to get together with Jason and Jenine.  I was pleased to meet them at a pizza place where I shared many stories ( I think I talked too much, as I was the last to finish eating) and caught up on our lives.  Sounds like they know what they want in life and I wish them all the best in their life together.

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Family I

Family I

12/4/13

I was able to hang out with Paisley and Rylan in the morning.

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Jeremy and I took Paisley to school and I had some of the day to myself as everyone else was working.  I got some school work done, spent some time with Jeff and Jenn…

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I was able to see them every day and get updated on their lives.

When they left I found myself taking naps.  Not because they bored me, but when it was quiet I slept.

Dale, Jeanette, and I ate dinner together and spent the rest of the night chatting.

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A Day of Rocks and People…Rockin’ People

A Day of Rocks and People…Rockin’ People

12/3/13

I woke up at the Baby Quail Inn and proceeded to the continental breakfast.  I was greeted by friendly faces.  One in particular lit up the room instantly.  He asked about my travels, and of course I was glad to accommodate.  As is the custom, I proceeded to ask about his travels and what he did before the hotel business in Sedona, AZ.  He said, “Why don’t I just show you.”  I followed him  into the breakfast room.  The walls were completely covered in memorabilia.  It turns out that Dick Curtis, owner of the Baby Quail Inn was a war veteran, a marathon runner, and most importantly…an actor, director, producer, and overall entertainer.  He had photos of himself with all sorts of stars; John Wayne, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Jonathan Winters, and Barbara Eden to give just a tiny sample of his experiences.

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Read this 5 part interview with him to really get a sense of who he is, then go to his Inn and talk to him yourself.

This is the perfect job for him as he probably has more than one story to connect to every person that walks through his doors.  The Inn was quaint and at a nice location in West Sedona.  The hot tub was perfect after a day of hiking.  It was close to many restaurants including Picazzo’s, a great place for organic and gluten free choices of Italian food.  It was across the street from a “Whole Foods” type grocery store with healthy and organic choices.  The bed was comfortable and the company was…entertaining.

From breakfast I finished a lot of school work and then left to explore the vortex locations of Sedona.  There are a lot of stories behind these vortexes.  Some say they have felt it, some say it’s a load of lies.

I wanted to see for myself.  I drove to the first one I wanted to see off of Airport Rd.  It was nice, though I did not experience some of the things that others had told me about or that I had read about, but I can say that I did feel a bit of a tight chest…could be from a number of factors though it’s fun to say I felt the vortex.

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I was a little turned off by some of the younger people being loud and cliched hippies.  I left and headed to the next stop.

I moved on to Cathedral Rock to find another of the main vortexes.  Before I hiked up I met Steve who wanted to chat with me about my Eurovan.  He has had many VWs in his lifetime and a story for each of them.  He was in the area visiting from Albuquerque,NM and had visited the vortex.   He gave me a card and informed me that I have a place to stay when going through NM again. It turns out he’s an artist and I was impressed with his work when I checked it out online. Beautiful, intricate art that is hands on as a puzzle.

I headed up the rockface along the trail and towards the vortex.  I made it to the top and saw some great vistas.

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On my way down I saw a woman looking for a trail, looking for her way.  I offered to walk with her to find the trail she was on, then I offered to give her a ride back to her vehicle.  I assured her that I had no timetable and was willing to help even if it meant adding 40 minutes of driving.  I have learned on this trip to go with it and see where the situation leads.  Her name was Aloe, which I think is a beautiful name.  Her name had significance because it is a natural plant, one of physical and spiritual healing.  This trip was for those reasons and I found it only fitting.  We had some great conversations.  It so happens that she is also on a journey by herself to find direction. Even though we were in different points of our lives, our purpose was very similar.  We had some uplifting conversations that were needed at the moment…I’d like to think for both of us.  I dropped her off at a park where her van was and I went off to take some more photos of the sunset.

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While taking photographs of the sunset at the park I dropped Aloe off at, I met a retired couple from Quebec, Gerry and Louise.  They had sailed the Caribbean together going from port to port.  Now they have an RV and are traveling all over the U.S.  They had a great sense of adventure, and I was able to give them a little advice about California.  We exchanged cards and may meet for a meal when they make it up to the Monterey area.

After it got dark it was time to head down to Glendale to spend some time with my family.

Turning the corner, like an airport runway, it was clear which house I was going to.  Uncle Dale loves his Christmas, and has created a “Christmas Vacation” house to show his love.

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I arrived a little later than I originally planned, but I was able to see Paisley and Rylan and spend some time with other members of the Slocum family before sleeping hard.

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Meditations on Sedona

Sedona Vortex

 

Spinning, Whirling

convergence of energies

twisting trees

soul seekers

surrounded by spectacular scenes

of red rock and green trees

they come from all around

seeking you out to be found

twisted tree mirrors the spiraling soul

sitting on this red rocky knoll

introspective

contemplative

meditative

our energies in accordance

twisting my tree

spiraling my soul

 

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Meditations on Grand Canyon Fog

Grand Canyon Fog

I look out and see only

that which is in front of me

I reach out yet can not grasp

You’ve distorted my view

changed my perception

Sadness surrounds

bitterness besieges

but with my mind

I brush away the brume

and find a new way to understand

that this view

is

just

as

grand

 

Grand Canyon Fog II

 

I saw the breath of the canyon today

A living soul inhaling

A mighty beast exhales

I saw the halos of angels in the clouds

A beautiful ring of light

An enchanting crown of brilliance

I saw the fog clear and the faces lifted

with one final breath

minds were clear

perception was altered

 

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