Gone With The Wind

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Those of us with more than a few miles under our belts, can remember one of the first “Technicolor” big movies to hit the screen Gone With The Wind a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell, was set in and around Atlanta, Georgia.  But the only structure still standing from this epic 1939 movie is the Old Grist Mill, seen in these pictures, and located in North Little Rock.

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Now the site of weddings, baptisms, and summer picnics, this beautiful little park is a must see if you’ve 30 minutes to spare.

 

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I’m not sure if the park is this pretty all year long, but this spring it is a knockout.

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Trees and Birthdays

(Apologies to my Twitter and Roadtrippers readers for the loss of images  – just a temporary bug)

Joyce Kilmer once wrote a poem about trees ( I’ve posted it at the bottom of this blog) that has forever stayed in my mind all these years after reading the poem in my high school English class.  I’ve always had favorite trees that I’ve thought of from time to time.  Next door to our house in Mineola, old lady Konradson had an apple tree at the back corner I used to climb and spy on the neighborhood.  In Ronkonkoma on Brown’s Road was a beautiful maple that would change colors ever so slowly every fall and I would anticipate seeing that tree every day on my bus ride from school to my grandfather’s house.  As we drove through northern Texas and the landscape not only turned green but lush with trees, both Monica and I sought of let out our breath, as if we’ve been holding it in, while traveling across desert landscapes.  While we would not have traded this part of the trip for anything, we are definitely big tree and green grass people.

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Sister Jessica and Niece Meena by John’s grave.

Birthdays are often a time of celebration for many marked with parties and cake, but today is our son John’s birthday.  He would have been 36 this year and has been a pivotal, influential  person in our lives despite his short life.  If he had been born with today’s medical advances, he would certainly have lived.  But he died so doctors could learn how to save young babies today.  His life served a supreme purpose, one that took Monica and I many years to accept and eventually understand.  At Mass today, the gospel was about the resurrection of Lazarus and I can’t tell you how many times during John’s short life we prayed for a similar miracle.  We just didn’t understand John’s purpose at the time; but with God’s help, we’ll live with John in heaven.

Everything here in Texarkana is green with spring’s rain and sunshine.  The air is clean and cool and the trees with brand new brighter than life green leaves.  Spring brings everyone new hope and our hope and wishes are for our children and (great) grandchildren, nieces and nephews we’ve met or have yet to meet, that this and every spring brings them good health, that their future holds great promise, and their years after we’ve all gone much happiness.

I think that I shall never see   
A poem lovely as a tree.   
   
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest   
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;   
   
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;   
   
A tree that may in summer wear   
A nest of robins in her hair;   
   
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;   
Who intimately lives with rain. 
   
Poems are made by fools like me,   
But only God can make a tree.
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Guadalupe Mountains

We left the El Paso KOA on Tuesday just ahead of a blowing dust and wind advisory was to take place.  I had driven through one such event years ago driving from Tucson to Phoenix.  Tumbleweeds the size of a car blew across the road and when the dirt/dust storm hit there was zero visibility.  I remember sitting on the side of the road, engine off of course so it did not plug the air filter, eating dirt despite every window shut as tightly as I could get them to.  While the storm lasted less than 30 minutes, it left a memory I’ll never forget.  So with that in mind we headed out of ElPaso and across the Texas/New Mexico border headed east.

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Both my GPS devices took us along Texas Highway 180/62 that lead straight toward the Guadalupe Mountains and through the Texas Mountain Pass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we didn’t realize was that there were absolutely no gas stations, markets, anything all along the route.

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The first half of the trip was on a mostly two lane road headed into the mountains.

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When we were below half a tank I started to worry.  Monica searched the GPS for other options, used the CB to try and contact trucks or anyone for assistance, none to be found.

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Finally on the other side of the mountains, in a small town? village? called Mentone, we happened upon a few trucks filling at a lone gas and diesel pump.  No store, just a few pumps only one of which was working.  Hoping it was not a company pump just for the trucks lined up there, we found it was a commercial station that used just credit cards and linked via telephone line to authorize the purchase.  After what seemed like an incredibly long time waiting for authorization (remember dial-up?) we were approved, filled up, and headed for our destination in Gardendale Texas.  In this day and age I never expected to be on a road so desolate and devoid of any type service.  Lesson learned: there are still places in this country that are as remote and wild as they ever were.

 

 

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Desert Trails

It seems like a million years ago, returning from my first tour in Vietnam, I was stationed here at Davis Monthan AFB, in Tucson Arizona. I worked in a squadron outfitting new classes of pilots with their gear every few months as they rotated through F-4 pilot training. IMG_0590 Our recent travels across the great desert southwest has been an interesting one.  Devoid of most all life, the solitary lone mountain ranges are followed by hundreds of miles of desert.  Beautiful in their own way.IMG_0575

In some areas the desert is in bloom.  Strange flowers sprout from the top of cactus in random order.IMG_0572

I remember when I was first assigned here, I believe I got here in late May or early June, the sun was so intense it sapped my energy so quickly even at the ripe age of 20. I was lucky to be assigned to a  job where I spent the majority of my time inside. The base here has a military “boneyard” and just off base a few miles there is a civilian boneyard.  The desert air is a perfect place to store large aircraft because the rate of deterioration is so slow in this dry air.

We are not staying on base but at a beautiful KOA just off base, with our own gas fireplace at our site.

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We’ve been enjoying such wonderful weather these past several weeks, we’re afraid to talk about it less we jinx ourselves😏🦂

We’re off tomorrow headed to and through Texas. 🦅  Not to bash any state because everyplace has something wonderful to offer, we’ve just never had that great a time in this state.  I’m sure much of the feeling comes from our years in San Antonio.  Bottom line is we are just not “hot places” type of people.  The beach for a little while is OK, but any long term stay we just cannot do it anymore.

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Time and Again

I can remember not too many years ago in a meeting with school administrators, telling them my belief that computers would soon be in use by everyone and even the schools would have websites with teacher and parent interaction available. They thought I was crazy. Change is certainly readily accepted today (although by some reluctantly,) and often held at bay by other forces like the use of wooden telephone poles because of the immense stockpiles yet to be depleted. Even on the personal level many have had, may even still have, relatives still dialing up AOL, regarding Facebook as an evil, completely afraid of a system that has already washed over them.

I believe in my lifetime, the use of the driverless car by the elderly (me) the young, the infirmed, will grow so much and so fast as to be commonplace. Look at the developments in safety over the past few years. We are looking at a complete automotive revolution in safety, saving thousands of lives. Television shows, the delivery as we know it today as local channels, being completely replaced. Internet services provided as a utility to everyone and telephone land lines except where required for security or convenience, a novelty of the past. My family was one of the first in our extended family to go without a land line (I dare say some still have them) years ago and have not missed it at all. Finally, virtually every physician we use has electronic records available for review so we can see our results and keep our own records. Hopefully the day will come where the medical records can be shared across the board so my doctor with one hospital can share findings with my doctor with another hospital.

The food industry has changed so much my father who spent more than 40 years with A&P food stores in New York, would be amazed. Ordering for pickup or delivery, shopping on our smartphones, and prepackaged cooked or prepared meals delivered to your door. The separation between desktop, laptop, tablets, iPhones, watches morphing into a more fluid line of computers. Even the clothes we wear; breathable, special sizes, more comfortable than ever. Old institutions of brick and mortar like the once mega-giant Sears now bowing under intense pressure from on-line mega-stars like Amazon. Sears flinched in the big retail war and is losing as Wal-Mart tries to imitate Amazon and stay competitive.

Countries that not too long ago were just images in a geography book (yea, go try to find a ‘geography book’) are now connected to the world’s web and cellular network as they grapple with their third world status and try to grow into democratic nations. We may find ourselves someday on an even plane with a country that today, we can hardly pronounce the name of no less find them on the map. The global warming effect will eventually force island nations and those areas of low-lying land to rethink their strategy about saving their coastline. All those naysayers who were smug in their belief that the world was not warming and changing are then faced with trying to explain to their great-grandchildren why they stood idly by and watched it all happen. Wars that are fought today will be a distant memory as nations gradually adapt and soon become tourist meccas. Just look at Germany, Italy, Japan, and Vietnam. In one lifetime they’ve moved from enemy to ally; tourist meccas, exporter of goods we import and need.

Future goods and services are nearly ready to deploy in health and food, transportation, new technology to make our already papered lives even more comfortable. I just wonder what we have to lose to gain some of these benefits. It’s like the loss of personal privacy to gain enhanced security through the use of cameras on every corner, in every house. I have no qualms about the loss of personal privacy but I’m not sure that is all we are losing.

So what’s the point of beating this dead horse of a topic. I guess it’s not so much of a dead horse as an ignored one. I don’t want to wake up and discover I’ve overlooked or missed a potential action I could have taken that would have made the world a better place because I was chasing something new at the price of something old yet irreplaceable. I want to help stop global warming, I want to be on the team that provides healthcare for everyone, (what’s the argument against this fundamental religious belief?) I’d like to think I was capable of providing meals to those who have none. I want to be the better person and perhaps most importantly, not throw my actions into the face of those who do not want to help as I do simply because they’ve not been able to see the light.

So many small things: recycle, walk a few more steps, donate time/money/food/clothes, and most importantly, quit looking down your nose at others less fortunate.  Instead, use your blessings to help others and our planet.

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California Sunshine

One of the things Monica and I keep in mind throughout our travels, is a search for a place where we can live for a part of the year; we would like a place in a couple of areas.  Perhaps a small home here or a condo there, where we can travel between them as the seasons or our whims take us. This place is definitely on the list.  Check out the average temps:

Average San Diego temperatures
High °F Low °F High °C Low °C
65
49
January
18
9
65
51
February
18
10
66
53
March
19
12
68
56
April
20
13
69
59
May
20
15
71
62
June
22
17
75
65
July
24
19
76
67
August
25
19
76
65
September
24
18
73
61
October
23
16
69
54
November
21
12
65
48
December
18
9
70
58
Year
21
14

The weather here has been just so beautiful.  Gorgeous blue skies, a breeze off the ocean.  And did I mention flowers?  🌺 🌼 💐  Everything here blooms!  The air is sweet with the aroma off multiple flowers and trees in bloom.

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Our site (Chula Vista RV Resort) is beautiful as well.  Walking paths everywhere and all the amenities you could ask for to include early morning water aerobics to afternoon happy hour margaritas

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Next you add an absolutely beautiful beach, with the roar of the surf, miles of beaches, and perfect temperatures, it is like heaven.

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And then, just driving through the quaint villages along the beaches with clean, nice shops, & sidewalk cafe’s, I can’t think of a single reason … oh wait — fuel prices.  Yes, they are steeper by about $.60 a gallon.  But hey, something’s got to give in this paradise.IMG_0559

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Well, there is this one other thing.  We went out while we were in Albuquerque to what we thought was a German restaurant, WeinerSchnitzle, and we thought it was going to have, well, Wiener Schnitzel.  We found these here as well.IMG_0570 (1)

The building was a German style Gasthaus, not like the one pictured above, with the rest of the building below. A play on the American “wiener”, not the German/Swiss wiener which is a butterfly cut of veal.

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I don’t think a little wiener is going to cloud the otherwise beautiful location and wonderful weather.  We’ve been contemplating staying a while longer, and we have the time, but there’s this one little problem calling us home…

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What Happens In Vegas …

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Yea that happened, but more importantly we got to spend just a little time walking the streets of Vegas for a few hours.  We stayed at Nellis AFB FamCamp, home of the Thunderbirds, and enjoyed the sunsets for the three days we got to spend there.

 

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View out our rear window

We found the temperature to be a bit warm for us but with 15 percent humidity at least your sweat evaporated fast!  We walked a few blocks and enjoyed the scenery, even dabbled at the slots!

 

One thing we decided was that while this town may not be one of the places we’d like to settle, we’d like to come back and take in the shows and just spend a few days people watching.

 

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