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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: March 25, 2003 -- San Diego, California
Secret to a Long Life
The old cowboy had a long life
And his grandson was told the way:
It takes a pinch of gunpowder
Sprinkled on your oatmeal each day.
The daily breakfast prescription
The grandson ate it faithfully.
He was survived by many offspring
When he died at age ninety-three.
As numerous fam'ly and friends
Gathered with farewells to their chum,
A fire was lit, a hole was blown
Clear through the crematorium.
(Thanks to Jane Wood for the inspiration.)
Cowboy Poetry Gathering ... Actually, I forgot to mention this in my last column. It was held in Sierra Vista, AZ during the first weekend of February.
Cowboy poetry has always held a fascination for me. Before my fun days began, I had attended the annual gathering at the Arvada Center. The gathering in Sierra Vista was as memorable and included some of the entertainers that I had seen at Arvada.
Wandering Individuals Network ... I met up with the WINs at their annual dance rally in Casa Grande, AZ. The four day event started each day with line dancing at eight in the morning. From 10 to 12 and 1 to 3, the lessons were for Two-step, Waltz and Swing.
With a DJ or a live band in the evenings, we put into practice what we had learned. Actually, I gave up and just returned to my free form style of dancing. It is good exercise, but ...
After two days of dancing, I was ready for some hiking. During the lessons, I had met Kay. Not a WIN, she was there as a guest of Virginia. Since Kay was an avid hiker, she and I cut the lessons to go hiking at Picacho Peak State Park. I like that exercise.
More on the WINs .... Since they are a singles group, people join for the obvious reasons. Watching these older singles in action is no different than watching teenagers on the dating scene.
Yuma ... was the next stop after the Casa Grande dance rally. To take the chill off the morning in the desert, it was time to get a propane ceramic heater for Wandrin Wagon. When boon docking, it just isn't very practical to run the furnace. After the heater's first use, I wondered why I waited so long.
Slab City ... Been there -- did that! Many single fulltime RVers spend extended time there so I had to check it out. It's a free place to park the rig with no restrictions of any kind. As a result there are areas staked out by some residents which have turned into a junkyard of plastic, burned out vehicles and the throw-a-ways of human acquisitions.
Perhaps I didn't give it a fair test since I never visited with anyone. Even if I had visited with some of the residents, I doubt that it would have kept me for another day. There was nothing in the immediate vicinity to explore or hike.
Palm Springs Desert Museum ... had a detailed and extensive desert tortoise exhibit. There were other exhibits, but I am always drawn to collections of the West. The West and the cowboy was there in the art of Russell, Remington, Bierstadt and others.
In addition, there was the George Montgomery Collection. The western movie actor made furniture and was a talented sculptor of the West and the horse. Western movie stars John Wayne and Clint Eastwood were subjects for two of the pieces.
Campground ... The Carlsbad State Camp Ground is on a bluff with a beautiful view overlooking the Ocean. The campsites right on the edge go for $20 -- four dollars more than those on the other side of the park road. Even with the magnificent view, the effect is ruined by the heavy traffic noise of Carlsbad Avenue which parallels the park less than fifty yards away.
Since I'm not really an ocean person, I stayed a single night. Give me mountains -- or deserts -- or the plains of Kansas. Save me from the boredom of looking at the ocean.
It appears that the main reason for camping there was the opportunity to go surfing. That appears to have been the goal of at least half the campers -- lots of wet suits and surf boards.
Hiking ... After the WINs at Casa Grande, Virginia and Kay had gone to an RV park in Yuma for a week before they headed back home. So guess what.... Kay joined me for another hike. This was to The Arches in the deserts of California.
After Yuma, there were several hikes in the Palm Springs area:
I hiked at Pushawalla Trail at Coachella Valley Preserve. A local hiking group was heading off on the trail when I arrived and I joined them for the experience. It was a hot day -- in the 80s -- and I needed every drop of 72 ounces of water that I had with me. Even then I was dehydrated. I must have downed another half gallon when I arrived back home.
After that "heat stroke" hike, a few days later I did a cold hike in Joshua Tree National Park. There I hiked to the top of Mount Ryan. As I sat there enjoying my meager snack, the cold wind was blowing snow in my face. That is where I met Richard -- a reincarnation of Henry David Thoreau. ... Very interesting -- and unfortunately -- short conversation.... And I thought I was a loner!
To round out the hiking experience in Palm Springs, I took the tram to the top of Mt. Jacinto and hiked at 8500 feet (Palm Springs is at 500 feet) through the pine trees in the snow. Had I thought about it, just a few days earlier I could have used my snow shoes for a great snow hike.
Small World ... On the "heat stroke" hike, I met Betty. In the course of our chats, we discovered that we were both from De Pere, WI, but from different sides of the river. The small world part was that I had met Bev, her sister, in Las Vegas over the New Years when I was there to celebrate Marilyn's birthday.
Cinnamon Roll Search ... Since there was a week long stay in Yuma as I headed back to California, I had to make a few stops at Goldsboro's bakery once again. It is a great (the greatest) cinnamon roll. Kay joined me for a couple of those. She also has a craving for cinnamon rolls.
There are times that I get very desperate to satisfy that cinnamon roll craving. So when I see the "Donut" sign I will stop for something sweet. When I entered one of these establishments, I found Chinese takeout in one case and the adjacent case had the deep fryer donuts. ... Yikes!! ... I visualized egg rolls and donuts in the same fryer. No way. I left.
Just wondering .... How can taxes be reduced and not reduce spending; a war costs money. How can this be done? .... If I were to continue spending at the same rate after I took a job that paid less, I would have to file for bankruptcy.
Financial World.... Had I any idea that my investments were going to decline to their current levels, I could have taken the monies, bought a sports car over a year ago and enjoyed the ride for a year and then sold the car for half I paid for it. At least I would have had some enjoyment from my investment.
Latest Read ... I did read a couple of books, but there was nothing to recommend.
Speaking of reading, there is one TV program to which I am addicted. Every weekend, on CSPAN-2, the time is dedicated to BOOK-TV. This is a venue for the non-fiction writer. I don't watch it every weekend, but it has provided some very educational material as well as providing items to put on my "must read list."
With world focus on the Middle East, these past weekends featured authors who spoke of the history, religion and politics of the region.
WORDS .... Instead of "NO TRESPASSING" this hand painted sign came right to the point: "BEWARE BAD DOG AND SHOTGUN".
On the back of an RV: "Our kids left home so we did too."
During a conversation with Scott Legear, I had used the word "anathema" instead of using the simpler word "evil" to describe the same thing. Scott stopped me as he ran back to his rig and returned wearing a pin on his lapel that said "Eschew Obfuscation."
Ego Plates ....
MYOOOMY --- on a large truck used to pull a fifth wheel. Most likely when they brought it home that is what someone gasped when they saw the vehicle.
HI OFCER --- on older model T-Bird.
MAP MKR --- profession??
REFEREE --- obviously something the driver did and on the license plate guard it said "Roller Derby". Okay!!
BNTHR2 --- on an RV.