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Today is the present… be the gift.

Whew… June 28, 2010

The last 5 days have been enormous.

We arrived home about 2 hours ago, somewhere around 1:45pm, having set out from Shawnee (Shawna was delighted with the name), Oklahoma, around 8 this morning.

The drive the day before (aka: Sunday), leaving Magdalena around 7am, brought us 600 miles closer to home by the time we stopped. And that evening (which was only last night, but feels like a week ago), we dined at a marvelous Chinese buffet where Shawna had octopus for the very first time. (Note: She liked the tentacles but did not care so much for the head.)

Backtracking further, the day I wrote my previous post (June 24, aka: last Thursday), was the day we arrived in Magdalena, New Mexico, and for a scant 68-hours (aka: 3 nights and 2 full days), soaked up the ambiance and culture of this sacred (a term I do not use lightly) community which pokes its head up through hard-scrapple terrain like a cactus blossom in the arid mountain plain… all of which I’ll say more about, later.

Fastforwarding back to (almost) the present moment, by 2:30 this afternoon, sweet Shawna (who drove the entire trip, shy only about 200 of the roghly 4000 miles — incident free, I am thrilled to announce) had our chariot unpacked of luggage, technology, snack box, cooler and assorted trinkets gathered along the way, was showered, had donned fresh clothes, text-messaged at least 6 friends, posted 2 notes to Facebook, made plans for the night and was out the door to check in with her (previous) employer to see if a spot still existed for her to come back to work.

Also by 2:30, I had turned on both of my desktop computers and started downloading emails: 6oo+ to one account, and about 50 to the other. Also, I noted that the house was not cooling down from the humid 80-degrees the thermostat read when we turned the a/c on… a circumstance which had not changed even an our later, just before I started this note, and so I called to get myself ‘on the list’ of our local heating & air folks who will (thankfully) be able to come check things out tomorrow.

Which is fitting, somehow, to come home to the routine nonsense of life. The maintenance, repairing, maintaining, and outfitting of a home, which — so long as one owns one — never ceases… except for spaces of time such as indulged for the last three weeks, which have in every dimension perceptible have been sheer bliss and pure enlightenment…

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Arizona June 24, 2010

Phoenix is a tribute to its name, at least from the perspective of the freeway by-passer. Surely, this city has won awards of some significant nature for the meticulous attention to detail expressed in the cultivated landscaping if its expressways… causing me to wonder: If the federal government is the ‘great equalizer’ in terms of maintaining a nationwide network of connecting arteries among the various states, what is Phoenix doing that the rest of us could model?

Because frankly, the state of our national roadways in other locations along our route unfavorably pales by comparison, with Colorado placing a somewhat distant second. In both places, however, one of the more impressive qualities is the mosaic embellished to the retaining and sound-deflecting walls that corridor the pavement. Denver has gone with a scribed ‘mountain & river’ motif, which scrolls along the top of the walls like an endless graphic tapestry that is surprisingly pleasant and much easier on the eyes than plain cement.

Phoenix, however, has captured the allure of Aztec temples with embossed geometrics and cultured landscaping, lush with flowering flora. Captivating.

Anyway, today we shall leave behind us the chimney rocks and blooming cacti of the Arizona high deserts. We spent last night in Globe, just a hop and skip to the New Mexico border on US 60, which we shall travel all the way to our current destination.

 

SeaSprites June 21, 2010

Tonight will likely be our last night in sunny/misty/foggy California, ending our quest for the last two days to camp in a place ‘by the beach’, optimally with some sun.  

Shawna sunbathing by the pool where we overnighted in Santa Barbara.

Shawna sunbathing by the pool where we overnighted in Santa Barbara.

  

Last night we camped in Santa Barbara. Very posh and pleasantly sunny, though unseasonably cool when we checked in, looking forward to a stroll on the beach just around the corner.  

Hunger called, however, so we set off to find dinner and ended up at an ornately bedecked and lavishly bedazzled India-cuisine restaurant in the heart of the tourist-trade district on (I think it was) Central St.  

The atmosphere was enchanting, lavish with tapestry ceiling and intricately carved woods. The presentation and service were charming and professional. Sadly for me, however, though I am certain the food was superbly prepared, I have never been a fan of curry and my hopes that perhaps my tastes had changed proved futile.  

View looking east from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

View looking east from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

  

Still, I reserved this news until Shawna — who was getting a first taste of the distinctive flavors — had finished her meal… or should I say stopped nibbling at it, sighed, and demurred that at least she liked the rice.  

View looking west from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

View looking west from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

 When I gave her the news that I’d never been a big fan of India food she, with raised eyebrow, enquired as to why I had not objected before we’d dined… and I told her that I wanted her to experience the tastes for herself, without my prejudicial influence. She smiled and said something like, yeah… but you coulda told me and I woulda believed you. To which I responded, sure… but now you know for yourself.  

What she did not get to know for herself, however, was that longed-for walk on the beach which was postponed after dinner last night, ostensibly until this morning. But with the fresh daylight, the sky was overcast and the breeze nearly chilly. So we headed on down the coast.Wending our way, making several wrong turns, keeping close to the seashore, we managed to find a motel that is right on Hermosa Beach. Not nearly so splendiferous in accoutrement, and nestled alongside a mixed residential and business district, the beach is literally right outside our door, the sun shines brightly and Shawna is enthralled!!!!

 

Day 11 June 18, 2010

Filed under: EN ROUTE — gozarks @ 9:06 am
Tags: , , ,

The accommodations at this Day’s Inn (where we’ve camped for two consecutive nights) are comfy, but the outdoor pool was not pristine. However, the break in the near daily unpack-reload routine was a treat and visiting with our kin was delicious.

In a few moments we shall depart these traveler accommodations, headed first for a bon voyage breakfast with family, then on the San Francisco through Yosemite National Park, which is supposed to be a spectacular drive.

The next few days will be busy, however, with back-to-back appointments in the Bay area tonight and tomorrow, then on to Lompoc Sunday. Thus I may be absent from these keys in any significant manner until Monday.

 

Bishop

Filed under: EDITORIAL,EN ROUTE — gozarks @ 12:03 am
Tags: ,

The last 24 hours have vanished in a pleasant rush of kin. It is elating to feel so warmly welcomed, especially by folks one had not seen in ages. And still, a picture is worth millions of words:

What is better than family?

What is better than family?

 

Reno June 16, 2010

Night berfore last we stayed  somewhere-mid-northern-Nevada at a posh ‘casino’ motel. Last night we landed in Reno. Still, proximity does not change habit. At least not automatically. And never having been much of a gambler, I have yet to place a dime on the tables or in the slots.

Shawna collects some salt from the Nevada flats, home to the 'measured mile'.

Shawna collects some salt from the Nevada flats, home to the 'measured mile'.

Which should not be construed to mean that I am not a risk-taker. If that were true I wouldn’t be on this road trip!!! I mean, three glorious weeks with a teenager… no sane person could contemplate this without comprehending that they are putting sanity at risk!!

Still, this is the role of a parent: To do what can be done to assist and enable our children to grow and prosper by exposing them to and immersing them in the way life is and the way it ought to be.  And to do this well, we must come to grips with the fact that the ‘daily routine’ we maintain is the real master of this (subliminal/pervasive) communication.

Yet there are moments when our surroundings and the events taking place present opportunities to emphasize important bits of ‘reality’ in context of our cultivated perception… which is, realistically, critical to each of us in developing an innate sense of well-being and cognitive health.

This morning, for example, as Shawna and I took our time packing, getting ready for my business meeting this afternoon, we had a chat about double-standards prompted by her questions about the California man who was pursuing Bin Ladin.

Not completely comprehending the details of a report on the TV news about his arrest in Pakistan, I gave her a factual account: That a U.S. Citizen had taken it upon himself to hunt-down Osama bin Ladin. That he had done this because he was pissed that Osama was still at large and since there was a bounty posted on Osama’s head — making him a ‘legal target’ for any self-declared bounty-hunter — the man had set out to bring Osama to justice, but was arrested for taking pursuit.

What?!? Was her answer. How could they do this? Why did they arrest him? She wanted to know.

And thus ensued our chit-chat about double-standards. How ‘we’ (as society) get desensitized to our own moral infractions: Saying one thing (ie: putting a bounty on a man’s head — which itself is to my way of thinking a questionable and immoral practice) and then doing the opposite (ie: punishing a person for taking seriously and acting upon our public encouragement to do something we have said should be done).

As if to make my point, the next news item was a video of a police officer punching a woman in the face for j-walking, which elicited an astounded ‘OH MY GOD’ from my darling child. Capitalizing on this illuminating moment, I gently chided: See… that’s exactly what I’m talking about. And that is why I am so brutally intollerant of ‘little’ inconsistencies in personal moral-codes and standards. Our society has come to worship  violence. We tollerate and even celebrate it as a supposed means of ‘doing good’.

However, this is not normal. It is a learned/inculcated behavior resulting from the incremental desensitizing of our innate sense of ‘good conduct’. It happens a little, and a little, and a little at a time, this inculcated immoral ideology until — socio-cultrually speaking — we end up in a space of time where law enforcement officers commit agregious criminal behaviors which are voraciously defended by officials as ‘honorable’ and old men are sentenced to five years in Federal prison for growing plants. ~~~

 

7 days June 14, 2010

Seven days (six nights) on the road… and two weeks to go <smile>. And I must add more kudos for this Day’s Inn, for the easiest connection to the Internet (egads, some of these places make you click through all kinds of ‘permissions’ every time you want to sign-on) and for having a modestly pleasant view. Anyway…

Though we are ‘behind’ the original travel schedule we calcualted (due to the luxury time indulged with kin), we are still on track with getting where we want to go by when we want to get there. Today we will drive through Utah and cross over into Nevada where I am ‘supposed’ to have some business appointments but have not yet confirmed. Thus now, with the luggage cart loaded, it is time to get back on the road.