Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'M COMING: Put some clothes on!

As ususal I was up and had breakfast ready for Julie at 6:15AM. As Julie got ready for work I wrote a blog about my 78th birthday. Afterwards, I read my current novel, "Treasure of Khan" by Clive Cussler, and around 10AM I took a few minutes nap. Then, up and at'em to do yard work as planned.

As I was getting out of the shower my phone rang. It was my friend Kathy Hatfield.

She said, "I'm at your front door. Let me in". I replied "I've just stepped out of the shower". She said "Well, come let me in, uh, put some clothes on first". Its always the little words that puts the flys in the buttermilk, huh?

She explained that she was here to take me to lunch for my birthday. How sweet! I don't know of anyone, other than family members, who has ever been so kind on my birthday.

Another thing that has never happened. Kathy said Bob, her spouse, had given her the money to buy our lunch. I have no problem believing that a husband here or there may have given his wife money NOT to take me to lunch but never the other way around.

You know what? I must be getting old. HA.

On the way to Cracker Barrel my son Mark called to take me to lunch today. When told that he would have to get in line he said we'd do it later.My youngest son, Todd, replied to my morning blog as I was still working on it, wishing me a happy day. As we ate lunch my lovely daughter Kimberly called and she and her children sang happy birthday to me. She said "three voices in three differnet keys, Dad, but one sincere wish for you to have a happy birthday".

My new grandson-in-law, Aaron--Dr. Vaughn--has sent me two birthday wishes by email. He is a dandy and a real addition to the family. He and granddaughter Bethany may join us for dinner on Thanksgiving Day at Prospect Hill Plantation Inn.

He is doing his internship at the nearby UofV Hospital. Being the "new kid on the block", so-to-speak, he probably won't get to come back to Ohio for the holiday. We look forward to this possibility.

Julie said she would make Shrimp Devolo for me tonight but I said no. I don't want her to come home and cook dinner. We'll probably do Italian at a local eatery.

At 4:30PM it has been a good day. I decided the novel needed me more than the yard--I am way ahead with the yard--and I've enjoyed a day of reading.

It's been a good birthday!

"Always remember, you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else"

God Bless!

OLDER THAN DIRT: Happy Birthday Walt!

Happy 78th birthday, Walt! As grandson Riley says, "Older than dirt". Feeling good and fully enjoying life. Look forward to working in my yard today as it is supposed to warm up to about 58 degrees.

Discussing with Julie how I might live with the newly acquired information that I have a heart problem when under stress, Julie responded by saying "Walt Pierce you're not going to live like you're 78 years old". Julie, sweetie-pie, I am 78 years old regardless of how I live. HA

What does it mean to be 78 years of age? Apple pie still tastes as good. Girls are prettier than ever, and freely share more of their beauty than ever before in my 78 years. It becomes embarrassing when those doing the sharing are your relatives!

A rose is still beautiful and smells wonderful. The day starts off a bit stiffer in body, fingers ridgid and back creaks, but improves as the morning wears on and the ibuprofin kicks in. Jokes are still funny and friends are truly appreciated. Life at 78 is good!

I thank God and my parents and their parents for the good genes that allow me to enjoy the good health that makes the good life possible even at an advanced age. I fervently pray that I may have passed those genes on to my children and my many grand and great grand children. If I had a birthday wish, that would be it.

With life being so good, how can one know that they are even old? Well, in my case, I just attended the retirement party of my second child. I've been retired for 18 years but now I have two sons who have retired. Thank goodness for my wife and daughter who plan to work for awhile.

Son Todd just retired from 28 years of being a minister. Nine years ago he started the church from which he retired. He will be 50 years of age in a couple months. I'm sure he will seek a second career, maybe teaching. He is a wonderful teacher. It is interesting that my oldest son Mark sold his financial firm and retired as a stock broker to become a minister.

The pictures are of Todd delivering his final sermon, the congregation standing and singing, the 8 piece band and the fellowship hall.

Attending Todd or Mark's churches are such a change from the worship services at the Easton United Methodist Church where I belong. Except for the central heat replacing the pot bellied stoves, electrical lighting and indoor plumbing, our services are basically the same as they were in 1877. The boy's churches enjoy casual dress, lively music and great decoration.

I plan to make my 78th year a lot of fun, the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise too much. The wife and I have planned a year of involvement with friends and family alike. We've planned two large group parties and also monthly dinners in our home or at the lakeside retreat. We plan to do some travelling as well as spending a lot of time at the lake.

Today? Julie said to be alert at noon today and if a surprise comes my way not to turn it down. Hey, I'm never one to turn down fun and games. Let the good times roll!

Abraham Lincoln:

"In the end its not the years in your life that counts. Its the life in your years".

God Bless!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

RIPPLES IN A POND: Who have we touched in life?

Good news, yesterday! Don and Sally Wilson retrieved my trike and gear from the bike shop in San Diego and are back in Phoenix. Sally, talking to Julie, reported that they had a good trip and enjoyed visiting San Diego. She mentioned how beautiful the beach area was. It truly is.Sally said an unknown woman, seeing my trike in their truck I suppose, inquired about the owner. When informed she commented that her husband had met and had a conversation with me. She said he was a photographer. I do not specifically remember him.

There was a photographer who snapped a picture of me on Father Juperirto's Trail in the Mission Trails Park. We chatted off and on as we passed one another. I passed he and his companion on the down hill and they passed me resting my heart on the up hill. A very friendly couple. This might have been who Don and Sally met. I don't know.

I met and talked with so many people in the brief period of time I was in California.
There was the motel person who shared his dream of sailing. He inquired if I had ever tried sailing. Of course I told him I had sailed extensively around the world in a small ship as well the lakes and rivers of the USA. He shared his dream of building his own, rather large, sail boat.

I explained how large sailboats were expensive to build and maintain as well as difficult to single handedly sail. I didn't discourage his dreams telling him that he could buy a seaworthy craft of about 32 feet, the ideal size to singlehand, for less than the cost of material to build a large boat.

There was the woman I thought may have been a security person. She was a character saying that if security saw her they would probably shoot her on sight. We had a nice, thought brief, chat and she helped me with the information I needed.

There was the bag lady. What a sight! She was pushing an ill gained shopping cart with her life's treasures. She was probably in her 50's and had a head of what would have been beautiful blonde hair if it received proper care. She was wearing a brilliantly red sweater, with obvious moth holes throughout. She had on a knee length skirt but over it was a hip to ground overgarment consisting of heavy cord string, sort of like a hula skirt which swayed as she moved.

She stood in front of me as I sat on a bench and talked on and on. I couldn't understand a word she said. I gave her my biggest smile but didn't try to join in the conversation. Eventually she strolled on still talking.

There was the young college student from Syria. She told me she was studying english and having a difficult time of it. She spoke several languages. She was interested in getting a good job in America. When told that the medical field was probably the most likely employer she quickly responded that she did not want to work with sick people. Then I told her she should check out a government job using her first language as huge benefit.

Right away another rider on the bus chimed in that he didn't think the government would even talk to anyone without their having a PhD. I disagreed saying that if she had highly desired language skills and could pass security clearances they probably wouldn't even care if she had any college at all. I hope I helped her.

And, of course, there was Rick Goodwater, the construction worker who is a horse camper. He shared horse camping stories with me. And, there was the pastor of the church where I camped overnight in his church yard. He said he had been the pastor there four years and he laid his hand on my shoulder and prayed for me.

There was the Chinese lady in the bike shop that gave me a stool to set on as she shared that she also had back problems.

There was the lady in the WalMart pharmacy who explained California law to me that required at least 10 feet of space between a person picking up a prescription for security reasons. She showed me how to sign four pages of information for security purposes. She was nice.

And, there was the clerk who told me what she thought of my chances of finding a trail bible in WalMart. She was wrong.
Like a pebble tossed in a pond, the ripples of my presence spread out to who knows where. I always try to portray a positive, helpful, Christian attitude. Was I successful. From the one feedback from the photographer's wife, I say I probably was. I'll never know in this life. (Picture is of the East shore of Lake Anna, a block from our home).

A favorite quote of mine that came from the grandfather of a man I respect, J. C. Watts:

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only things thats right is to get by, and the only things thats wrong is to get caught."

God Bless!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AH, SPRING! Another Great Year A'coming.

Where did all those leaves come from?

Although I am far too lazy to be a farmer I am a farmer in my dreams. The last two days have been so enjoyable. The days were sunny and bright and in the upper 40's and low 50's. Although the leaves are starting to bud on the lilac bushes, the other shrubs are leafless. Perfect for pruning and shaping. How much they grow each year.

And, the lawn. Every little nook and cranny was filled with leaves. The leaves were all cleaned last fall but some found their way to my yard over the winter. Thank goodness for leaf blowers.

So far I've filled two huge yard bags full of leaves and trimmings. I'll fill a third bag from my little front yard and at least three from my even smaller back yard.

Today and tomorrow is supposed to get into the 60's. Wow! I've got at least another day of prunning in the front yard. Although it is supposed to rain for the next two days unless rain is actually falling I can trim.
I'm trying something new this year, rubber mulch. Even at Sam's the initial cost is expensive but I use a lot of mulch.

If it lasts two or three years it will be worth the cost. Although my front and back yards are small they are scuplted with gently curving frames of mulch. With a sprinkling of color from annuals I humbly proclaim my yard to be the best in the neighborhood.

Last year I pleased Julie, and myself as well, by planting a corner with decorative cabbage, some in multi-color and some in purple. I sure got my money's worth from those little jewels. They provided color right on through the winter.

I have an obligation to have a beautiful yard. When I asked Julie to marry me I made her two promises. I told her I didn't know how our relationship would work out but she could be assured that her children would love me and she'd have the nicest yard in the neighborhood. Of the two promises, the yard was by far the easiest to achieve. Julie is proud of her yard.

I'm ahead of schedule with the yard. I want to get it in shape before I move to the lake for the summer. We've found a young man who will work for a bit of money so that I won't have to come home each week to care for the yard.

We've planned a great year with group dinners each month of the year starting in April. We plan to have a large group at the lake twice and couples there on an on going basis. On the 4th of July I hope we can get the entire family together for a hoedown cum barbeque. Put this on your schedule, Nancy Roop! We've had a luau several times over the years and have accumulated a lot of decorations. We plan to do another in September for both friends and family. We had about 65 at our last luau two years ago but will probably try to lower that number a bit to reduce the stress somewhat. We shucked 12 dozen ears of corn at the last luau, well, my friend Bill Ludwig shucked 12 dozen ears. HA

November and December promises to be outstanding. Julie and I are going back to Prospect Hill Plantation Inn for Thanksgiving. We have been to this beautiful, old plantation near Charlottsville, Virginia a number of times and once before for Thanksgiving.

We like staying in the "Boy's Cabin", a 1600 era hewn log cabin with a large, hand made brick fireplace. We've reserved it for three nights.

Adding to our plantation experience this year will be a visit with a newly discovered cousin and her family. Cheryl and Jack Buckley, who live nearby the Inn, will join us for dinner at the Inn on Wednesday and they plan to host us at a local restuarant on Friday night. Although she is a newly found cousin she has become an important part of our lives as we share joys and prayers.

Kimberly has acquired eight tickets to this year's Army-Navy game in Phildelphia the second week in December. The kids treated me to that game for my 70th birthday. This is an event that is unforgettable, far more than just another football game. It will be a new experience for Julie who has never been to Philadelphia. Go Navy!

Between a bum back requiring therapy, when I could not help Julie decorate for the season, and preparations for what turned out to be an aborted attempt at a cross country bike ride, we did not entertain as we normally do at Christmas. I promised Julie we'd make this Christmas season the best ever. I look forward to it.

Until then, I look forward to peace and tranquility at the lakeside retreat. I have a brand new garden tiller and plan to put in a big garden and can the produce. In prior years I've had trouble with people stealing from my garden so I plan to stay at the lake this year.

I haven't fished much for the last few years but plan to do so this year. Knox Lake supposedly has the most bass per size of lake for any lake in Ohio. I catch a few bass on ultra-light gear but what the lake has is lots of channel catfish. It may not have as many lunker flatheads as in the Ohio River but it sure has a lot of three and four pound channel cats. I like to fish at night, too.

Yes, spring is the start of what I think will be a great year. The good Lord willing and the creek don't rise too much, that is.

Thank the good Lord!

God bless!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

FRIENDS: A most priceless treasure.

At first when I was forced to abort my cross country trike trip because of heart problems I think I was in a stunned mind set. My first instinct was to complete the cross country bike trail using a van to traverse the mountains and, riding a load free trike, do all the day trips across the trail. I could not let go of the idea of a charity ride.
That idea viewed from a distance by son Mark was flawed. After being home a short time I completely agreed. I then decided that I would drive to San Diego by the most direct route, get my trike and return home. I have lost count of the number of motor trips I have made across the USA in my lifetime. It was not an unpleasant plan.

My original plans in my cross country bike trip was to visit friends Don & Sally Wilson as I went through Phoenix, Az. Sally called home to see how I was doing and my friend Carla told her I could not continue the ride and was in fact at home with my trike still in San Diego.

Don & Sally winter in Phoenix and come home in late March/early April so Don can get his garden in and do some fishing. When they heard my plight Sally called Julie to say they would drive the 354 miles from Phoenix to San Diego and bring my trike home in Don's new truck. Only the very best of friends would immediately volunteer to perform such a kindness without even being asked.

Julie and I met the Wilson's about 8 years ago when both couples started attending the United Methodist church in Easton, Ohio at the same time. They are a tad younger than me and a tad older than Julie.
We hit it off from the start. We have gone on vacation together. We have got together to have dinner when we were both in Myrtle Beach with other couples. They have been my leading couple in square dancing. They are in the jug band with me. We belong to a dinner group and go to unusual places to have dinner about once a month. They have put their legs under my table a number of times and Don gives me fish and garden stuff.
I try to remember Don's birthday on Valentine's Day and Sally's on March 18th. Sally is very pretty and I tease her like I do all pretty girls. Sally certainly keeps me in line and fusses at me. We are what friends are meant to be.

When Don talked to Julie about getting the trike and discussing my disapointment Julie said he made the observation that "Walt is 78 going on 18". Sort of like the doctor who observed that I have a youthful outlook on life but my plumbing on the inside was still old. What can I say?

I am not surprised at their generous offer. I am amazed at my good fortune to have them for friends. Perhaps some day I shall have an opportunity to repay their kindness?

God Bless

Saturday, March 21, 2009

AN INSPIRATION: A Measurement of Success

In my son, Mark's, blog http://www.churchrequel.com/ he wrote an article on my recent attempt to ride a trike cross country. He spoke of his pride in me and expressed a negative opinion of anyone who considered my inability to continue the ride as a failure. Thank you son for such kind expressions of love and support.

What others may think of me is really so very unimportant to me. My families full and constant faith and allegiance to me is an absolute given as is mine to them. After that, only what I think of myself is of any importance whatsoever to me.

When I was a bit over 30 years of age I came face-to-face with an unpleasant fact of life. With the counsel of a good friend, Dr. John McGarry, I found a place of peace within myself. It was not religious but rather an understanding of a truth.

Very few people in the whole world seem able to grasp this truth, which was forced upon me, and they are perpetually unhappy with themselves and dissatified with their lives.

They see themselves as too old or too young; too short or too tall; too fat or too skinny; too tall or too short; the wrong shape or size of ears or nose; too dumb or too smart; teeth or eyes that are different or, heaven help us, too rich or too poor or even the wrong color hair.

I discovered that I am just right for me and that what others may think really does not matter if I am who and what I know I should be.

There is a mideastern poem which I use to deal with what others think. The beauty of this poetry is not the ryhme but the beauty of philosophy.

If you should say to me,
You are but a grain of sand on the infinite shore of the infinite sea
I should reply to you
I am the infinite sea and your thoughts are but grains of sand upon my shore


What I am is meek, lowly and humble, sweet, gentle and kind. If you have any question of this being true, ask me. I'll tell you. It's true! (Not letting the truth get in the way of a good story I have also been known to say that my good wife is "Mean, grouchy, overbearing and tight with her money!).

Why is this true about me? Because I choose to make it true. I work hard at making it true. At times I have to work very, very hard! What I am by nature is the absolutely meanest SOB who ever drawed a breath. Ask any of the many hundreds of people who have worked directly or indirectly for me over the years. Even better, ask those who worked in competition with me over those years.

My wife says I have mellowed with "years". Maybe she is right but I don't think so. Every great once in a while I feel called upon to stand up and be counted. I never hesitate to do so quite effectively.

So, what kind of a world do I live in, anyway? I live in a world where the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the bees are all making honey. Join me. There is plenty of room for you and you are most welcome.

The only question of import is "What's new, different and exciting". If your answer is "nothing" you might want to work hard to change that situation. You can you know!

I am blessed with family and friends. I am so grateful! And you, my friend, are included in that number.

What is my life statement? Let the good times roll! Why don't you roll along with me?

If my family considers me to be inspirational, then I am a successful man.

God Bless.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I left the church where I camped for the night in high spirits and a lighter trike that was running well. Bring on the mountains.No getting lost this morning. That mountain was like having the proverbal gorilla in the room, couldn't possibly miss it.

The trike climbed the mountains just as advertised. Put it all the way down in the granny gear and it would do a constant four MPH right up the road. I was also up to the climb. I have highly developed legs and had no difficulty making the climb. All looked well.


I HAVE A PROBLEM. The cardiolgist had made it quite clear. When my heart was under stress it's blood output was reduced by 50%. The lack of blood to the brain would result in a stroke. JUST THAT SIMPLE. I couldn't ride with a heart beat over 120. BUT I COULD NOT CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN AND KEEP A HEART BEAT OF UNDER 120!

I tried climbing the mountain like you eat an elphant, one small bite at a time. At home when my heart beat would get at the 80% of maximum level, 120bpm, I simply stop pedaling and coast until the rate decreased. I got down to where I was only riding 50 yards at a time and taking a rest. Didn't help! Fifty yards later I'd be well above 120bpm. I tried taking an hour's rest. Didn't help. When I pedaled just a few moments my bpm would be right back up there.

AT ONE POINT WHEN MY BPM WAS 140, I COULDN'T STOP PEDALING BECAUSE OF THE TRAFFIC. My butt was exposed and I had to keep moving. My bpm went to 148. At this point I realized that to continue the ride was sucidal. I promised Julie and the children I wouldn't do that.

At that point I ended my attempt to do the cross country ride. I had 17 miles of mountain to climb today and 34 miles of mountain to climb tomorrow. Physically I had the strength to make the climb. The trike was performing wonderfully. My heart was not. There are times in life when it becomes necessary to adjust to the absolutes of a situation. I had a lot involved with the ride but becoming a corpse wouldn't help.

The ride back down the mountain was exuberant even in the sadness of the moment. The bike was stable but with the rear end load I kept the speed below 25MPH. Even so, that was like flying and flying. I stopped to let the disc brakes cool. My heart bpm, okay!

I rode all the way back to the motel at San Diego. Didn't get there until 11PM. I rode for some four hours in the dark on the six lane high ways with cars doing 60-70 MPH. I stayed in the bike lane but it was still an experience. The entrance/exit lanes had to be crossed on the fly. No dedicated bike lane there. I just waited until it was clear. Yes, I had my lights on and no I wasn't really at risk. It was different but you get used to it. I was careful.

Passing Sea World in the dark I missed my Midway Street exit and rode a couple miles further. When I got to the Pacific I knew I had gone too far. I rode along the ocean to Point Loma Blvd. where I was in familiar territory and found my way to the motel. I was beat!

Didn't sleep well. At 5:00AM I called Kimberly and explained my situation. She arranged for a flight home and faxed the info to the motel for me. My departure was at 11:15PM. I had an hour layover in Atlanta and got to Akron-Canton at 9:15AM. I had a new book to read and finished it just before the plane landed. Kimberly sure looked good. She was chipper as ever and took me home.

I had taken my trike back to the trike shop and arranged to have it stored for up to six weeks. My first thought was that I'd go home, get the van and return for the trike. I thought I would van the Southern Tier Bike Trail doing all the day rides on an unloaded trike as I crossed the country.

Mark, in his wisdom, advised that I reserve making that decision until I got home and rested awhile. When I mentioned the church obligation I felt to Kimberly she replied that anyone who didn't understand the situation wasn't really a friend. When I got home, after being up all night, I crashed until around 3:00PM. By then I had a very sympathic email from my cousin Cheryl. She understood perfectly. I made the decision to simply go after the trike, come home and enjoy the lakeside retreat for the summer.

My support team had also fulfilled their commitment to me. John posted the only blog I mailed him and informed me he was awaiting the next. The eleven year old who worked so hard will still get her ride in our Lincoln Town Car to a fine steak house. Julie and I agreed on that decision as we enjoyed a great reunion at the Long Horn Steak house in Canton, our favorite.


God Bless!

WALMART? Whats a wall mart?

BLOGGED OUT OF SEQUENCE, but I wanted to mention my trip to walmart which I made before I left San Diego. I transferred my meds from CVS where Kathy, a friend works, to walmart as there are walmarts everywhere across the nation.

I was assured repeatedly that all I had to do was give the good folks at the pharmacy anywhere my name and birthdate and they would fill my prescriptions right away. I couldn't get one of my meds filled until I got to the west coast due to insurance time controls. Julie tried to get around those rules but couldn't.

It is a long story but when I asked the beligerent (palistinian?) inn keeper where the nearest walmart was he rudely replied, "don't go there, go to CVS or Walgreens down the block". People who are rude to me are few to non existent. Julie had problems with this guy when she made my reservation. Not to mention that he charged me $80 a night when later another clerk only charged me $70. I explained about needing a prescription filled and (?) his wife told me to go to the trolley stop which was down Midway St. towards the highway overpass. She said to ask someone there.

I'm into talking to strangers. My son Mark is aghast at this tendency of mine. I like people. Pretty young girls or bag ladies, I love them all. The people of San Diego are about as diverse as anywhere I have been. The ones around me on my travels to walmart were mostly hispanic followed very closely by orientals. There were only a few blacks and whites with a sprinkle of the mid east. The personality of the hispanic varied accross the board. The orientals were each and everyone courteous and extremely polite.

When boarding or disembarking from the bus the orientals greeted then thanked the bus driver. Every oriental, young and old, either gender did this unfailingly every time. (I always do this myself even on airplanes). A lot of orientals rode the bus. There were few to no mid east people riding buses. Most people never acknowledged that there was a bus driver.

"Go to the trolley stop". Uh, which trolley stop. Every block had signs for this and that public transportation. San Diego has the best public transportation, and the most used public transportation, in the nation I think. No wonder my good friend Donna loved living near San Diego.

I didn't understand the signs. I kept asking if this was the trolley stop that went to walmart. There are only three walmarts in this hugh city. No one knew about walmart and were confused by my, I suppose, confused question.

I did eventually get to the trolley stop. Actually it is what I would call a big, modern and very busy depot. Trolley cars, bus after bus after bus and constantly changing local trains. And, lots of people. Lots and lots of people.

I went into the depot and asked the mid east person who was obviously the manager which conveyance went by a walmart store. In a very abrupt and discourtious manner he told me to "go outside and ask a security person".

Oh, security person, where are you. Eventually I saw a young woman in what looked to be a dark uniform with an ID hanging around her neck. I asked if she was the security person. She burst right out laughing. She told me if a security person saw her they would probably shoot her. She was very friendly and funny. She didn't know about walmart but said to ask a bus driver.

I started to ask a bus driver who was just sitting in a bus. He told me to "WAIT". Guess it was break time. Eventually people got on the bus and I asked him if he went by a walmart store.

His answer was complicated but he did make it clear he didn't and I'd have to do a lot of transfers to get to a walmart and he told me the fare would be $2.45. He said bus drivers did not touch money. Said it was not necessary to have the correct change, however, I could overpay. Ummmm. I thought I looked the part of a local and not of a country bumpkin. Guess not.

I asked another bus driver. He was black. He was also very friendly and knew just where the walmart store was. He said to take bus 44. He also told me the fare was $1.10. The driver on bus 44 knew just where walmart was, it was at the other end of his run all the way across town. I enjoyed the 30-40 minute ride emensely. He let me off at a shopping mall--everything is a shopping mall without end--with a big walmart store.

Ah, a walmart store. The store was absolutely jammed, like at Christmas time. Home again! The clerk in the pharmacy said "sure we can get your prescription transferred and have it filled. Come back tomorrow afternoon". I have had 43 years of in depth, professional experience with such answers. He quickly decided that I should come back in an hour. I did and the prescription was ready. I needed several items from a new trail bible to fuel for my pocket rocket stove. Good old walmart. They had every thing I needed.

I ate lunch at a JACK-IN-THE-BOX before I took bus 44 home. Sound familiar Donna? Their menu was different from anything in Ohio. Can't say what I had over rice and veggies with chicken but it had a tasty sauce and was good for about $5. Didn't see any snail trails like in Japan.

It was an exciting outing. What a life!

God Bless.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ANY PORT IN A STORM: Where to spend the night?

On the road again!

My bike wasn't running right. Wouldn't coast down hill, even had to pedal down hill. Made a terrible noise. Impossible to pedal up hill. I stopped and lubed the chain and every other moving part. A bit better but still had the noise and when I stopped pedaling the bike came to an immediate stop. Eventually I unloaded the bike and found the noise. The rear fender was out of the strut and riding on the tire acting as a brake. It took a long time to find this problem that sounds so obvious. It was covered up by the saddle bags.

Why didn't I just pop off the panniers and check right away? Those panniers cost me the better part of $500. The attachment locks broke immediately. I had to lash them to the rear rack. It was a difficult job. After correcting the problem the trike was wonderful. It would coast forever and the down hill runs were actually scary! I starting using my disc brakes at 20MPH.

I planned to ride only 4 to 5 hours a day. After 11 hours riding on the first day I was stuck for a place to stay as it was getting dark. My plans to stop at a campground went awry as the camp was closed. Little town after little town but no motels. It is dark at 7PM. At 6:30 I passed a church with people coming out of a secondary building by a large church.

I wheeled right in and told the folks I needed a place to camp for the night and asked for the pastor. There was neither a pastor nor a church member. It was an AA meeting. Those jolly good people immediately told me to camp on the church grounds. I did! Yes, desperate! As I completed setting up my tent up came some friendly guys. They were the church praise team there for a practice. Ross Lee, the leader, considered my camping on their grounds a blessing. What a guy. He unlocked an outside door to a bath room for me.

There was a huge church. There were two long building, an office and Sunday School facilities building and a fellowship building. In between those latter buildings was a beautiful court. I camped close to the rear of the front building--out of sight of the street. I cable locked my trike to a post of the overhang of the front building. It has been awhile since I slept on the ground but my gear is the best and I slept well.

At almost daylight it started to rain. Rain on a good tent is one of my absolutely favorite sounds. What is a good tent? Simple! A tent that doesn't leak.

I stayed in the tent and enjoyed the beautiful sound as long as my bladder allowedl When I unzipped the front flap and crawled out I got drenched. I mean an in the face soaking--from the churches sprinkling system. Boo Boo Hoo! If my brother Henry were alive and heard that story without hesitation he would say, "What a dummy".

There were construction people working on the church. One man, Rick Goodwater, was a horse camper and most interested in what I was doing. We had a several good conversations. I gifted him a lot of gear as I lightened my load. He explained he only had $10 but he insisted I take it or he could not accept the gear. I did. He said he'd send some money to the Easton UMC. Have a good one, Rick. You're my kind of people.

Good oatmeal breakfast with coffee and off to the mountains.

God bless!

UH, WHERE AM I? San Diego is a B I G city!

Yes, San Diego is a big, beautiful city. When I was a youngster in the Navy I spent a lot of time in this fair city off and on. Would I now have trouble getting lost? NAH. Immediately I recognized familiar streets.

Was it in the "red light" district. NAH. I don't think any of the OTHER GUYS messed around with any red lights in San Diego with Tijuanita just a short bus ride south. In those days there was no gates at the border. Well, thats what the OTHER GUYS told me.

Could it have been the tatoo parlors? Yep, I got one of my four tatoos in San Diego. It comes with being a west coast sailor. I chose a rose with Mother in a banner. After 60 years the tatoo has pretty much run together. I found a tatoo parlor but wasn't in the mood. Hmmm! Maybe the acupuncture?

The familiar street I reconized? Well, it could have been Point Loma Blvd. going by the Point Loma Naval Base. Yes, I did see the base on this trip with navy ships including an aircraft carrier in port. I hardly recognized it as a navy base, however, as it had "civilian guards" instead of those snotty jar heads, (marines to non navy persons) on the gates. Whats this world coming to anyway?

No, the street with the familiar name reminded me of one of my favorite people. Way to go Bud!

God Bless

THE TRIP IS ON: To San Diego

Twelve hours from my airline departure I'm setting in a cardologist's office discussing my taking my planned cross country trip. I do have a heart problem when I am under stress. I had said that unless the doctor informed me that taking the trip would be sucide, I was going to take the trip.

What the doctor said was that he couldn't think of a reason to tell a 78 year old man who was a diabetic with high blood pressure, an adominal hernia, a torn right shoulder rotor, a bum left knee who has a heart problem that he couldn't take a cross country trip. A tongue in cheek statement that I don't think was fully appreciated by my son, Mark, or my wife Julie who had gone along to hear the report for themselves. (Not that they didn't trust me. UMMM!)

He did let me know that if I couldn't keep my heart rate below 80% of my maximum rate I was subject to stroke, heart attack or worse when my brain was starved for blood. I had to keep my heart beat below 120. Above 120 beats my particular heart slows down to about 50% of its effectiveness. An unusual quirk not related to any blockage or anything like that.

The plane ride out was good. The plane change in Toledo was made timely and I got to San Diego about 11AM local. Took a cab to the motel for $15, including tip.

Made a bad decision to walk to the bike shop from the motel. It was about 5 miles and I was truly bushed when I got there. Roger, the bike shop guy, had my trike ready. I rode it back to the motel.

I stayed in an older Super 8 motel in a requested ground floor room. Costs $80 a night but I had a lot of room for the trike and the room, while older, was comfortable.

I was in a small side building, not the two main, two story motel buildings. There was a beautiful small court outside my room. The flowers were beautiful and smelled wonderful in the California sunshine.

Tomorrow is the big day.

God Bless