Riding in the Rain

I was late to jump on board with all the cycling attire that you see spinning down the road stretched tight over tight bodies and some that aren’t so tight. On guys I found it to be a little to exibitionary and well, on women I tought it could be distracting. One of the great advantages of this spandex wardrobe is the great selection of bright colors available for drawing attention to riders, proclaiming looky here you distracted motor vehicle operators don’t run over me. For me the change of heart came when I was looking for a way to keep my legs warm while riding in colder weather. I first tried a pair of yoga tights worn under my shorts to test for what warmth I might expect to experience while cycling. Being exuberintly impressed with how warm they felt and their lack of bulk I ordered my first pair of full length cycling leggings. As the temperatures here in San Diego got cooler in the mornings, when I would start my rides, I began to explore other attire that would make for a more comfortable ride for both the cooler mornings and the warmer temps that occur as the sun makes its presence felt. It is not uncommon to have a temperatures swing from 40°F to 70°F over the course of my morning ride. I settled on an Under Armour long sleeve body glove style shirt for my upper body. This long sleeve shirt with my high visibility yellow riding shirt worm over it and my riding leggings were just the ticket I needed to continue my rides going into the colder months.

As I progressed in my riding schedules I added a jacket that could be worn over the Under Armour shirt for colder mornings and for times when there might be some light drizzle. This jacket was designed as a wind breaker and to be water repellent. I found this jacket to added a lot of warmth but it also retained a lot of the perspiration that transpired during my rides.

During these early days of cold weather riding I became more and more comfortable with the spandex riding attire and less self conscious about riding in what looks like undergarments. I eventually gave up the modesty factor of wearing shorts over my spandex attire. To my riding leggings i eventually added spandex riding shorts and full length leg warmers. It’s funny how you find that you need various combinations for different riding climates that you might encounter when you consider riding across the country. What surprised me most was just how comfortable and warm the spandex cycling gear is.

Today I woke up to a steady rain that had started sometime in the night. Most people would be content to sit inside and enjoy the rain by watching it through a widow, but not me. Here was my opportunity to test my gear for rainy weather conditions. In my research I had heard that the best way to handle climate variation was to dress in layers. Rain is no exception. Using only the riding clothing I currently own I set out on a test ride. I put on my riding shorts, my leg warmers, my riding leggings and finally some riding pants, that I bought for both their warmth and their water resistance. On my upper body I wore my Under Armour long sleeve body skin under my high visibility yellow tee shirt. I followed these with my rain resistant jacket. I recently purchased a new pair of sneaker style riding shoes which I wore with a neoprene booty over the toes. Under my bicycle helmet I wore a cotton cycling ball cap. This was my complete attire when I set out for a 2 hour ride in the rain.

You are never sure what you will discover on a test ride under new conditions and this ride was no exception. I normally wear sun glasses when I ride but it was obvious that I would not be needing them today so I left home without them. What I immediately discovered is that when you run into rain drops, even at low speeds, they hurt your eyes. Having worn glasses for many years prior to cataract surgery I knew what a nuisance wearing glasses in the rain could be so I was hoping to be able to get by without them. This was not to be the case and I stopped to put on the perscription glasses I carry for times when I might need to see at a distance more clearly or for reading. These turned out to be a necessary item so I need to plan on some sort of safety glasses to wear in low light conditions or when it is raining, lesson number one. Lesson number two was that even while my feet did not get excessively cold on my two hour ride they were starting to feel uncomfortable. I have found that my feet can be very sensitive to either hot or cold temperatures because of the nerve damage that I have. I think that if I wore a pair of water proof socks my feet might have a better chance of surviving a long day slosh of riding in the rain. The third lesson was that even though I did not feel discomfort in my core body area my arms were a little cold and that if I were to add an additional layer of a light weight wool sweater I would feel more comfortable. This confirms what I had previously learned on a cold morning ride without rain that the wind could cut through my jacket and cause a little discomfort. I had thought at the time that a light weight down jacket over my wind jacket might be useful but with the water effect from the rain I think a better choice would be a wool layer. My fourth lesson for the ride, which I knew before I started, was that I needed a rain cover for my helmet. The culmination of lessons learned from my rainy ride came when I got home and began peeling off my riding gear. What I found was that each and every piece was totally saturated with water and yet I still was able to maintain a level of comfort that would allow me to continue riding in the rain.

I had heard that when dealing with wet weather riding that if you wear water proof gear you trap enough perspiration within the water proof clothing envelope that you still end up soaking wet. I’m sure there is a way around this by utilizing higher quality gear that allows perspiration to breath through the water proof layer, such as Gore Tex, but I am unable to speak from personal experience. What I can now say from personal experience is that by utilizing clothing made from wool or man made materials, such as spandex and neoprene, and dressing in layers that I was able to maintain a sufficient level of comfort necessary to ride for extended periods in the rain.

On Three, Ready Set Ride

Years ago there was a young boy who received his first set of wheels. A shiny new tricycle, a gift he was not so sure about. When he learned that the saddle was for sitting on and the pedals for pushing he had discovered his first step in being free. The dirt driveway was his proving ground. Then the day came when there was a two wheeler with training wheels, he was making progress.

Finally the day came when this little boy took flight. He was balancing himself on his first real bike, along with his mother’s help as the training wheels had been removed and she was slowly running be side him, pushing him along as he began to pedal, testing his wings, then she was gone, and he was free.

My first rides consisted of exploring our long dirt driveway but then it progressed into short rides out on the hard road. Soon came bigger bikes, rescued bikes that my father found when he was working in people’s basements as a plumber. And with bigger bikes came longer rides. There was the cheese factory, with the big paved parking lot, a 1/2 mile down the hard road in one direction, and in the other direction a 1/2 mile was a farm pond that deserved some attention. Bicycles at this point were simple my way of getting from one adventure to the next. Occasionally the bicycles became the adventure themselves. My friends and I discovered what mountain biking was all about long before there was such a thing as a mountain bike. We would grab any available bicycle, that wasn’t broken, and race through the local wooded lot, on paths we had carved between the trees and over rock ledges.

As I reached high school age, my now brothers in law, introduced me to real bicycling, on multiple “speed” bikes, and long distance riding. They would fill my head with adventures they had on their bikes and cycling tours they had been on.

I began saving the money I earned at my first real job, stocking shelves at a salvage grocery store, just down the road within walking distance. After a couple years working Saturdays and after school I had enough money to purchase my own new bike. After pouring over the Schwinn color brochure for several months I finally decided to spend my whole life savings on their blue Super Sport model. It was my first multiple gear bike with 10 speeds. I also remember adding a rat trap rear rack so I would be able to mount some panniers for future adventures.

This was a monumental decision for me back in 1972. I don’t remember the exact price but I remember feeling overwhelmed by the money I had spent. That overwhelming feeling soon was replaced by the overwhelming feeling of freedom I felt when I was out riding. Time was my only limit on how far I rode and I would spend hours riding as long as I could make it home for supper.

I grew up in Sussex County, New Jersey, a rural area 50 miles outside New York City. My goal at the time was to ride every road in the county. In order to keep track I bought a large county map, that hung on my bedroom wall and I would highlight the roads as I had ridden them.

Time moved on. I often wonder what happened to that bike. I turned 17, got my drivers license, bought my first car, graduated high school, spent a few years in the Navy, got married and had my first child before I once more found my riding love when I bought my second bike. I tried introducing my wife and two children to the love of cycling but while they all patronized me while participating in my adventures none are serious cyclist today.

This second phase in my cycling life came to an abrupt end while on a road trip to a our summer vacation in Bethany Beach DE. For a short period of time in my professional career I was a traveling salesman in the immediate surrounding area, for the company I was working for. One of the areas I covered was along the route to Bethany Beach. In my travels I discovered a short cut that would shave some time off the 5 hours it took for us to drive to the beach. When summer came and we were on our way, traveling in my pickup truck with the bed full of gear and two bikes strapped to the roof racks, I chose to take the short cut. What I forgot was the low bridge until there was a terrible crunch as we passed under it. This simple lapse in basic driving awareness caused the loss of both my wife’s and my bicycles.

While it had always been my intent to replace the bicycles one thing or other took priority, both in time and expense, and it was 30 years before I resurrected the hidden fascination I had with cycling.

I was 57 when I retired on disability, (see my previous post “The Back Story”), leaving me with a lot of time on my hands. Some years prior I had stumbled across a cycling journal on “Crazy Guy on a Bike”, of a woman who had ridden her recumbent trike across the United States from San Diego CA to St. Augustine FL. I became fascinated with the whole concept of the recumbent trike and I set out to become more knowledgeable. One thing I did learned and it took precedent, was how expensive they were. With the decreased capacity of my legs the idea of the recumbent trike seemed like it would be a good match for me but I was hesitant to plunk down a large chunk of money to find out it wasn’t going to work for me.

In the mean time I was doing some work at my brother in law’s mother’s house and I saw a recumbent trike setting in her garage. A couple of years later, about the time I retired, she passed away and I heard that my nephew had taken possession of her recumbent trike. Being curious about whether I would be able to ride a recumbent trike I asked him about it. He was more than happy to get it out of his garage and I was thrilled that I could test one without forking over a lot of money for a new one.

After I brought it home and put it back in riding condition I took it out for a spin. I was very happy to discover riding a recumbent trike was something I could manage. I went out and purchased the rudimentary gear that I felt I needed; clipless cycling shoes, a helmet, a safety flag, and riding gloves. Then I started riding.

I had started my fascination of cycling on a tricycle and now here I was back to riding a tricycle and, it – felt – liberating. To be completely truthful real men don’t ride tricycles, they ride trikes, it sounds more manly.

Just like in the very beginning, the rides started out short and then they began to stretched out; up the road and back, around the block, 2 miles to coffee and back, a 5 mile loop, a 10 mile loop, and then the dream returned. I remembered it from when I was in high school; could I ride this thing from the Pacific coast all the way across to the Atlantic coast?

The first thing that I knew would have to change was that I would need a better designed trike. I learned very quickly that at higher speeds, anything over 15 mph, the stability deteriorated and I found myself gripping with white knuckles the steering yoke. Was this how all trikes performed? The trike that was given to me was, what I would classify as an entry level model and I’d been told that the were much better quality trikes to choose from. I was not sure what that meant. Was this squirrelly nature an inherent flaw in the recumbent trike concept? I needed more answers.

In my research of the different trike manufacturers I had my eye on the hpVelotechnik Scorpion with a Rohloff internal rear hub gear cluster. This trike was a “Cadillac” model of recumbent trikes and I knew I could not afford it. ICE was another manufacturer of recumbent trikes and they had a model that was a little less expensive that would fulfill my needs. What ever model I purchased I needed to know; was it going to more stable than the trike I was currently riding? I gave myself the rest of the summer to riding my “free” trike, building miles and confidence before I would commit to making a purchase decision.

I had been periodically checking Ebay and Craigslist in the hope that I would find something that I could afford and that would fill my expectations. Then in July 2016, in the Lord’s providence, I happened to be checking Craigslist and there it was, an hpVelotechnik Scorpion 26fs, not a 100% match for what I wanted but close enough. And it was in my price range, and it was located close by. I quickly called and made arrangements to go see it. I found out that this particular trike did not have the Rohloff hub but it did have an extensive range of 81 different gear ratios. It was also a folding model which was important to me. The only factor that would not have been on my build sheet for a custom order trike was that it’s rear wheel was a 26″ instead of my preferred diameter of 20″. While the 26″ diameter rear wheel is great for speed it does sacrifice some torque needed for hill climbing. This trike also had my desired suspension on all three wheels and it had disc breaks. The real test would be how it handled on the down hill runs. Fortunately there was a hill in the neighborhood where the trike was located and I was able to test this concern. Wow! It was smooth and glorious. I had found my trike.

With this new trike I set out to discovering all of it’s intricacies. I tried everyone of it’s different gear ratios. I would try climbing hills that exercised my capabilities on the first trike and I would push the downhill speeds to beyond what I had previously been fearful of. I was ecstatic. This trike was one screaming machine. I had found my freedom once more.

Over the years the degenerative nature of my condition had slowly disintegrated the comfort level of my mobility factor. With the trike I began to recover my mobility acumen. I would greet everyone I encountered while out riding. I was like Crocodile Dondee walking the streets of New York City, “Good Day Mate”, figuratively of course, but I was definitely riding with a swagger.

As my miles accumulated on the new trike so did my thoughts of making a go at a transcontinental ride. The dream of being able to make such a ride began to gain form. Somehow I needed to gage whether I was really ready to make this endeavor. I had been reading a lot of books and journals of other people who had successfully made a transcontinental ride so I took some inspiration from them. Since I basically live on the pacific coast continental plateau, in a city, settled in a valley surrounded by mountains, I knew I would have to do some serious climbing to escape the oceanic pull. In order to know if I was ready to overcome this obstacle I set for myself the goal of climbing three of the highest hills leading out of town. The other obstacle I knew I would face was the fact that I would have to ride big mile days, day after day. There was really no way to fully prepare myself for this challenge without actually doing it so I set an abbreviated goal of riding two consecutive 40+ miles days. And this all had to be accomplished before the end of the year and that was three months away.

The climbing portion of this challenge I found easy to accomplish. With the gearing ratios of the hpVelotechnik trike I could drop it down into the lowest gear and by taking my time, I literally become a human machine and walked up the grades, the steepest of which I found to have a continual 11% grade. The second part of my challenge, I found to be more difficult. Over the days, weeks and months of putting in long rides I was not prepared for the strain I was putting on my legs. They were in a constant state of muscle soreness. Since for all intent and purpose, my lower legs being in such a condition of complete atrophy that they were basically paralyzed, I had to rely on my thigh and butt muscles to do all the work. I was riding 4 to 5 days a week and finally a couple of weeks before Christmas 2016 I thought I was ready for this last challenge of two consecutive 40+ mile days. On Wednesday, December 14, I set out on the first day of this challenge and was able to ride 44 miles, the first time I had ever ridden this far. The following day turned out to be a wash as I had to watch my granddaughter when she became sick and was unable to go to school. It was two more weeks before I could get back on the trike and ride because of the weather. On Wednesday December 28th, I made a second attempt at a 40+ day and rode 47 miles. The second day started out okay but by the time I had ridden 25 miles my legs were really feeling the burn. The final miles of that day all seemed to be up hill. When I finally reached my house after 45 miles, I knew I had accomplished my goal but I was spent. These last few miles proved to me that I was not ready to make a cross country attempt. Although I was disappointed in not being ready to fulfill my dream I was proud of my accomplishments. I finished 2016 with a total of 1,469 miles ridden and 97,385 feet of elevation climbed.

Not being one to give up on my dreams I simple postponed my plans for the transcontinental ride for one year. I needed to get a proper diagnosis of my condition and whether it would prevent me from achieving my goal. The new year, 2017, was spent pursuing answers, honing riding techniques, outfitting my trike with the accessories to make my riding easier, and building endurance by adding miles, lots of miles.

I enjoyed every mile I rode in 2017. I pushed my boundaries and expanded my comfort zones. I rearranged the configuration of my trike set up and then reconfigured it again. I learned how to pace myself and ride using efficient cadences with proper gear ratios. I learned about staying hydrated and feeding the calorie burning machine. I began researching equipment and proper clothing choices to accommodate multiple climate zones that I would travel through. I laid out a route across the United States using the historic Route 60 as my basic course. And I rode my trike. I rode it a lot. I finished the year with a little over 2,800 miles and over 147,000 feet of elevation gained. I think I have laid a good foundation and I now feel like I’m physically ready to meet the challenge of a transcontinental ride.

All my research has told me again and again that you cannot prepare for everything and that when the time comes I’ll just have to point my trike in the right direction, put my feet to the pedals and push.

The Back Story

It was a dark winter night, February 4, 1985 and what ever happened I don’t remember. What I do remember is waking up in the hospital. Over the next couple of weeks I was able to piece together the incident that put me in the hospital, a drunk driver lost control of his car and crossed over the center line and at a high rate of speed slammed head on into the car I was driving. The small VW Golf was carrying my family home from a night out at the mall. While the car performed as it was suppose to with the proper crumple zones it left each of us alive but seriously injured. Over the next several months we were able to fully recover, to the extent that a broken body can, and we returned to the normal routines of a young family.

I took up my cycling again and I also took up the adventurous activity of white water canoeing. I loved being outdoors and exploring new places. Theses activities along with hiking filled my curious mind with the thrill of discovering new places.

When a body suffers the trauma that we experienced there is sure to be some residual effects. Mine showed up as repetitive bouts of back and neck pain. I learned that this could be managed through the use of chiropractic care. Then the stumbling started and I noticed that I had a hard time keeping pace with coworkers when we walked between buildings on factory campus. I also discovered that I could not lift myself up on tip toes and I could not stand in ice skates. This went on long enough that I finally realized that there must be some physical condition that was causing this problem. When I finally got around to seeing a doctor about my problem he suggested it was probably a condition called Charcot Marie Tooth or CMT. I was sent to a neurologist to get a confirmation. The neurologist made the confirmation and informed me that it was a degenerative non treatable neurological condition.

In hindsight I should have gone immediately to get a second opinion but I waited until the condition was really impacting my ability to work. When I finally went to a second neurologist he was a little more thorough in his examination, performing a genome mapping blood test and an MRI. The second opinion was not much better but cleared me of a CMT diagnosis. This doctor again reported that I had some sort of degenerative neurological condition that was not treatable. What this doctor failed to do was report on the results of the MRI. It wasn’t until a few years later that my daughter, who works in a chiropractors office requested the MRI results and discovered that there were some bulging discs. Without wanting to go through surgery at that time I received some chiropractic treatment and continued working.

Fast forward to what I have just recently learned and it makes you want to question every diagnosis that you get from any physician. My condition progressed to the point where I finally retired on a disability. Since I was disabled I received full medical coverage under my VA benefits. I first pursued getting fitted with braces to make it easier to walk but in my quest for more freedom, in getting around, I started riding a recumbent trike.

The freedom that I felt in riding the trike led me to dream about riding my trike across America from coast to coast. In preparing for this ride I felt I was not making the progress I needed to be successful in my 2017 transcontinental trike ride. I pushed my dream off for one year and set myself a new goal of finding exactly what physical condition I was suffering from that was causing the paralysis in my lower legs.

Now the VA is not known for their speedy response but I have nothing but good things to say about their responding with a diagnosis that finally makes sense. I saw a neurologist that specialized in CMT and through her methodical EMG analysis and her assessment of a new MRI, she was able to conclude quantitatively that I was not suffering from a pathological degenerative neurological condition but that it was a physical deformity in the spinal cord, most likely caused by some trauma.

There you have it, 32 years of misdiagnosis that has left me partially paralyzed with no prognosis of full recovery. I do have the answer to my question. While I wait for the VA to give me their action plan I still have my dream of riding across the country in 2018, which I now feel I am physically ready to make.

Who Are You

Our children, growing up in the shadow of the “classic rock” era, would be challenged by me when the song “Who Are You” came on the radio; Do you know who is singing?  They soon caught on that it was “The Who”, but who are you?  I really want to know.

I think it is easy to compartmentalize our lives.  We have many doors that we live behind, some are very public, some are private, and then there are some that only we can go through.  “For who among men knows the things of the man, except the spirit of the man within him?”  With modern digital technology, using social media, we have the capability to show different sides to who we are.  Here are some of the strands from my digital web.

On Facebook I can be found as jbfrey717.  I grew tired of Facebook so I don’t travel there much these days.  I would much rather spend time on Instagram for my digital socializing.  On Instagram I can be found as Apricis_Nocte.  What you ask is Apricis_Nocte?  To make a long story short it is Latin for Sonny Knight (sunny night).  SonnyKnight was not available so I used the Latin phrase.  To find the whole story you can read it here.  I use Instagram to post personal pictures of days in the life of Jeff. I also have a Twitter identity and it too uses the Latin term for sunny night, but for Twitter I am identified as ApricisNocte.  Although I don’t spend much time on Twitter either, I use it mainly as my political sounding board.  If you’re not into politics don’t follow me, you might not like who you find.

Are you confused yet? I am.  I think I have a multiple personality disorder.  I, along with my daughter, just started a new Instagram identity called Freyer_Tuck.  My daughter and I like the craft beer culture and along with my wife, as the designated driver, visit the plethora of craft breweries in San Diego.11849980_903130173087832_607919505_n(1)

Of course then there are the WordPress identities.  I have the site that you are currently reading this blog on, “Random Thoughts From a Hot Tin Roof”, literally a collection of random thoughts.  I also have another active site that is currently being developed called “BloodyGlass“.  This is a work in progress that I will be using to promote a jewelry line I am making using fused glass.  Stay tuned for more information as it moves forward.  I also have one more WordPress site I used, to promote another product that I had hoped to market.  The product was called “Artistic Hanging Solutions” and I used this blog site to promote it.  Unfortunately, the idea never took off and I let the site go dormant.  Artistic Hanging Solutions still has a presence on FaceBook and periodically I somehow still get calls.  I think the idea has a lot of potential so I may resurrect it sometime in the future.

Oh yea, I almost forgot there are also some connections on Pinterest, Etsy and YouTube.

That is the story of the web I’ve woven and I’m sticking to it.  Is life complicated or what?

Sand Castles

I moved with my family from Pennsylvania to California fifteen years ago.  It was at the beginning of the real estate boom.  After living there and seeing the prices of everything continue to rise I thought it would be good to start looking for a more economical area to invest in for a retirement home.  In my research I discovered a little town that sets at the tail end of the rocky mountain range called Silver City in New Mexico.  During the Christmas season in 2005 we drove there from San Diego for a visit.  I had been studying the town online for approximately 6 months but other than that we had no idea what to expect.  We turned off the interstate in Lordsburg, NM and headed north into the foot hills.  We knew that Silver City was situated at an elevation of 6000 feet so as we crossed the mesa looking at the lower mountains in front of us we did not understand how we were going to get to 6000 feet in the 40 miles that lay before us.  It wasn’t until later that we discovered that Lordsburg was situated at 4500 feet so we actually only had to climb 1500 feet in the final 40 miles.

As we crested the final rise and looked out over Silver City spread before us it was rather anticlimactic. I think we were expecting a small community stuck to the side of a mountain but what we found was a sprawling community spread out before us across a scene of rolling hills.  Our first impression of Silver City was rather disappointing. IMG_0463

We continued to explore the city and the surrounding area, visiting the normal tourist attractions and the area started to grow on us.  We began to feel the magic, “the land of enchantment”.

IMG_0425 Down town Silver City

P1010691Cliff DwellingsP1120912Santa Rita open pit copper mine

P1010139_edited-2P1010126  The Catwalk

P1120890                                                           The City of Rocks

We loved the wide open spaces                   P1010140_edited-1 IMG_1786IMG_1481 the abandon places                                                                   P1010143 P1010380 and the memorial traces P1120917 Fort Bayard National Cemetery

After spending a long week end there in the winter we felt we should visit the place again in the summer.  It after all is the high desert, and Carol is not fond of the desert.  We travel across the desert again for another visit in the summer of 2016.  We rented a cabin P1010343 at the end of a very long dirt road followed by a trip up the creek to get there,

P1010385where we spent some time with the turkeys. P1010337 All and all we had a very good time and we even enjoyed the hot days and cool nights.

We both came to the conclusion that this could be a retirement place for us.  We still had some years of employment before retirement so we decided to find a property that we could purchase and then rent out until we felt the time was right for us to make the move.  We knew at the time that my career would be impacted by my medical condition but not to what extent.  We found a property that was close in to town but in a rural setting and made the purchase.

IMG_0612 Huse BackIMG_0613

Over the years we made several more trips out to Silver City for a visit and every time we were there we felt the magic.  Two times a year the local Arts Council puts on a free concert in the park at the center of town and an eclectic assemble of people descend on the town

IMG_1349 IMG_1509                  Every Memorial Day week end there is a Blues Festival and at the end of the summer usually the weekend after Labor Day there is the Pickamania, blue grass festival.

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Since Silver City is located at an elevation of 6000 feet they have four distinct yet mild seasons.  The summers are never exceedingly hot like the lower desert areas and the winters are mild and short.  They may even get a little snow.IMG_1026IMG_1018

We found that there are a plethora of artist and art galleries in the area.IMG_1483 IMG_1023

We also fell in love with the fauna and flora that we experienced in our travels around the area.

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Here we are 10 years later and our situation in life has changed.  I have been forced to retire because of my medical condition and difficult decisions must be made.  With the loss of a significant portion of our income we felt that it was best to try and sell our property in New Mexico.  When we listed our property for sale we had a tenant occupying the house so we were shielded from a major portion of the expenses but now the tenant has vacated the property.

I travelled there this past weekend to perform an exit inspection for the tenant and discuss the sale of the property with the realtor.  Mentally I think we have been distancing our selves from the love affair we had with New Mexico and when I drove into town I felt the disconnect that had occurred in my mind.  I have never really been able to quite put my finger on the societal dynamics of Silver City.  It is a city that appears to be a little rough around the edges, even appearing a little run down, yet every time we go there we find some new commercial property being built.  This town is by no means a dying town oppressed by poverty.  When I discussed this with our realtor, Patrict Conlin, who settled in Silver City from Chicago some 16 years ago, he informed me that the population consists of business people, artist, ranchers, retirees, old hippies, and red necks; and somehow they all have figured out how to get along.  I suspect it is the isolation.  The nearest metropolitan areas are Las Cruses at 2.5 hours or Tucson at 3 hours.  These people have learned how to make do with what they have.

As for my trip this time, I arrived early afternoon on Thursday, I spent all day there Friday, and I left on Saturday morning.  I met with the people I had to see, and visited with some acquaintances that we made and like every time before the magic started to take hold.  By the time I drove out of town on Saturday morning I was wondering if it was the best decision for us to write off this town.  Is there any way to make this town work for us?  I don’t know.  But God is faithful to provide.  As I see this story line of ours written on the sands of time being washed up on the shores of eternity I ask myself who are we that God should care about us.  So while I made my way home across the deserts and observed the many abandoned aspirations of those that have passed this way before, I felt okay.  If this sand castle, made with the sweat of our brow, is to survive it will be by God’s hand and He will guard it against the rising tide and the waves from washing it away.

Chicken Little

I remember as a child hearing the story of “Chicken Little” read to me and I am sure that I read it to my own children.  But when I asked my granddaughter if she knew about “Chicken Little” she said sure, “it is about a chicken that stepped on a piece of gum when it crossed the road and it’s pants fell down”  (Disney Bedtime Favorites – A treasury of Tales © 2007).  Huh???  What I remember from my childhood is the story of a chicken that got hit in the head with a nut falling out of a tree and he proceeded to run around yelling hysterically, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.  Maybe that explains it!  If you keep telling the story incorrectly long enough, a generation will loose out on the simple principles that can be learned from bed time stories and embrace silly nonsense.

Case in point, the Washington Times ran a story about NASA and NOAA using deceptive methods to support the premise that there is global warming.  The NASA and NOAA reports that July of 2015 was the hottest on record since they started recording temperatures in 1880.  NOAA calculated that July 2015 high temperatures beat their recorded high in 1998 by .08 degrees Celsius.  Where as the NASA calculated that July 2015 beat their previous recorded high of July 2011 by .02 degrees Celsius.

My first question is why are these two government agencies so far off in their calculations.  One claims a record high in 1998 and the other claims a high in 2011.  Then I ask myself how these government agencies, who can calculate the trajectory of a space craft to do a fly by of Pluto (the furthest known planet in our solar system), be so far off in their calculated differences.  Their differences of six one hundredths and 13 years, would have put their space craft in a different galaxy.

My second question is how are we to believe any government agency, when we have been repeatedly feed bogus numbers by them to support whatever they would have us believe and specifically in regards to data supporting the theory of global warming.  I know the chances of putting my trust in God, who created the universe and has promised to permanently sustain it for the duration of His will, are better founded than the speculations by finite human beings telling me the world is going to be uninhabitable from global warming.

Well, there, I’ve said it.  I am a denier of the hoax known as global warming.  Now, can I look at the bright side?  There is always a bright side.  I have just confirmed my reservations for a cot at the FEMA re-education camp. Can I have a room with a view overlooking the desert?  I love desert landscapes.

“Some Beach” – Moments

I think we have all experienced a few “Some Beach” moments in the context of the second verse of Blake Shelton’s song by the same title.  The gall of some drivers.  Really, I don’t know how they safely drive down public streets with their blinders on and then to manage to drive across the parking lot without running over some pedestrians.

My “Some Beach” moment today happened in the Costco parking lot.  As it is Costco is a little stingy on their handicap parking spaces so when I saw a space about to open up in close proximity to the store entrance I pulled over to the side of the traffic lane to wait for the previous occupant to back out.  In trying to being courteous to other drivers I gave enough room for the cars to get by me while I waited.  As it would turn out just as the driver backed their car out a car came up behind me, passed me by and proceeded to pull in the space with me on their tail laying on my horn.  Really? You didn’t see me waiting for that space?  And you couldn’t figure out what I was blowing my horn for?  The only thing I can ascertain is that at some point in your up bringing you fell out of the “Stupid Tree” and hit every branch on the way down.

I, on the other hand, try to be observant when I am driving thru a parking lot and if I see someone pulled over to the side I come to the conclusion that they are waiting for the car pulling out of the space in front of them to clear so they can pull in.  I DO NOT assume they are holding the space for me.

Don’t be a rude driver.  Lets all try and be more courteous to each other when we are driving so we can enjoy our Margarita when we get home.

“Some Beach” by Blake Shelton
Driving down the interstate
Running thirty minutes late
Singing Margaritaville and minding my own
Some foreign car driver dude with the road rage attitude
Pulled up beside me talking on his cell phone
He started yelling at me like I did something wrong
He flipped me the bird an’ then he was gone

Some beach
There’s a big umbrella casting shade over a empty chair
Palm trees are growing and a warm breezes a blowing
I picture myself right there
On Some beach, somewhere

I circled the parking lot trying to find a spot
Just big enough I could park my old truck
A man with a big cigar was getting into his car
I stopped and I waited for him to back up
From out of no where a Mercedes Benz
Came cruising up and whipped right in

Some beach
There’s no where to go when you got all day to get there
There’s cold margaritas and hot Senioritas smiling with long dark hair
On some beach

I sat in that waiting room
It seemed like all afternoon
The nurse finally said doc’s ready for you
you’re not gonna feel a thing we’ll give you some novocain
That tooth will be fine in a minute or two
But he stuck that needle down deep in my gum
And he started drilling before I was numb

Some beach
There’s a beautiful sunset burning up that atmosphere
There’s music and dancing and lovers romancing
In the salty evening air
On some beach
On some beach, somewhere

Revenge of a Jackass

I always try and live by the motto of “What goes around comes around”. I have enjoyed my share of just deserts but I have always tried to be tolerant of my neighbors. I aways find it amusing when developers build a new community next to a stinky barnyard and then expect the farmer to move because he stinks. Here is a story of the “farmer” getting the last laugh.

The happy Quitter!


I don’t know anything about baseball, but I know a thing or two about victories.

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Bob. He married young, worked hard and it took him only a few years and he was able to buy some land.

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