The USS Alabama is a BIG boat! It’s a bazillion levels tall (I looked it up) with lots of stairs. No, really – LOTS. OF. STAIRS. And narrow hallways and little cramped rooms.
There are three levels below deck, and at least eight levels above deck. I started with the bottom levels and then went to the upper levels, looking in each of the many little rooms. Normally, I can withstand small spaces and large crowds for short periods of time without any effects whatsoever, but I stopped after the fifth upper level because I was starting to get too claustrophobic and agoraphobic – I can only stay so long in small spaces and crowded places before my skin starts crawling and my anxiety level goes through the roof.
And people lived in these cramped quarters for years. I would’ve jumped ship.
The USS Alabama – too big to fit in the picture frame.
Hi, I’m still here. Sorry it’s been so long. It’s taken me a long time to write a post because I’ve been stuck on what to write about this one and the next. While both adventures were great, I was at a loss for what to write.
The other reason is that my website is running soooo sloooow and GoDaddy only wants to sell me more hosting (I already have the Deluxe plan, and relatively little traffic). About 70% of the time I log in, I can’t get anything done because my site is running at a snail’s pace.
Other than that, all is well in the Florida panhandle. Life is good. I’m working, mostly from home. Between sitting all day, being near the fridge all day, and a new allergy medication, I’ve put on a few pounds. I’ve gone back to working out several days a week and eating better. But I’ll never give up chocolate.
But I digress. (Ah, I bet y’all missed that? Ha.)
There are alligators in Alabama. No surprise, right? The surprise is that I have yet to see one in the wild, on the loose, chasing small children or pets. Not a one.
Pensacola, Florida, is the home of the Blue Angels. Everything is named “Blue Angel This” and “Blue Angel That.” They frequently fly overhead when practicing. On the weekends they’re usually out of town delighting some other city with their aerobatics.
In addition to watching the Blue Angels, there are many cool things to see and do, not the least of which is the National Naval Aviation Museum. The museum is massive and takes two to three hours to complete – and it’s free! Got to love the free.
I don’t know enough about the specifics types of aircraft on display, so I’ll dazzle you with a slideshow of my excellent slowly improving photography skills. *grins*
Despite the large number of photos above, there is much more to see in the museum. Twice a week the Blue Angels do a practice and autograph session. I highly recommend it to all who venture to Pensacola. Visit the Blue Angels and the museum daily, 9am to 5pm, at 1750 Radford Blvd.
Like a good snowbird, tomorrow I’m heading to Florida for the winter. Pennsylvania’s turned cold (but I think that started a few months ago).
I’ve been ready to leave for a new place for a while. I’m really looking forward to meeting up with about a dozen friends and framily (friends who are like family), several who live there, and several as they come through the panhandle. With one exception, these are all folks I’ve met on my travels. You’ve got to love that!
But I’m nervous about this trip, more so than usual, and I don’t know why. It will take me about four or five days to get there, maybe six.
I’d love it if you all would send me good, safe travel vibes! However you do it: prayer, metaphysically, sending the love, just good thoughts – it’s all good, and I appreciate it.
To RV or Not To RV, that is the question.
You all know I wrote a book, right?
Yeah, you know because you probably saw one of the dozen or so other postings about it.
Thank you to those of you who already purchased a copy! You all rock!
And because my readers rock, I’m offering a 50% discount for you all. The e-guide is only $9.95 to begin with, so you’ll get it for less than $5 with the discount.
How do you get the discount? Subscribe to this blogs posts (enter your name and email in the pop-up window, if you haven’t already) OR comment below and I will add you (you can always unsubscribe later, not that you would want to :).
*Once you do that, I’ll send you the code. Sign up for this blog via the pop-up or by commenting below no later that midnight eastern time, Tuesday 10/4/16 in order to receive the discount.
(After a long day on the road, I’ve realized it’ll take more time for me to email the code to each commenter and new subscriber so I’m just going to post it here for the next few days. Knock yourselves out ,feel free to share the code with friends and stuff. It expires 10/4.)
The day was hot – hot like only central Texas can be in mid-August. The kind of hot that would burn an egg on the sidewalk. Waves of heat radiated off the asphalt road. We were headed to Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad for the day, pulling a boat behind us. It’s a long drive from north Hill Country to Lake Amistad, a long barren drive through miles of nothing, punctuated by the rare intersection named as if it’s an entire town.
It was in the middle of this long stretch of nothing, the kind of nothing where cell phone signals are non-existent, that we got a flat tire. Because, you know, that’s where stuff happens – in the middle of nowhere with no cell signal.
Parked off to the side of the road, an area covered in fire ant hills (for you non-Texans and non-southwesterners, those are aggressive red ants that leave a burning bite) my friend fixed the flat with the help of a roadside mowing crew that I flagged down. (Because your tax dollars are hard at work, mowing the sides of roads in the middle of NOWHERE.) They didn’t speak English, and my limited Spanish wasn’t much help, but we all used hand signals. (All joking aside, I’d like to add that country Texans and native Mexicans are some of the kindest folks, always ready to lend a hand to someone in need.)
After numerous fire ant bites (on everyone), a nasty gash on a finger or two (not mine), and a string of cuss words (also not mine), we were back on our way to Lake Amistad. Like the weather, the truck was running hot for most of the trip but we finally made it to…
Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad
It’s a BIG lake… this picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the only long-shot I took.
The following is a slide show of the high cliffs and caves. Native Americans once lived in these caves. But, wait! There’s more…
A seven-foot-tall jackalope was spotted in Wimberley, Texas!
The furry jackrabbit-antelope hybrid was seen wearing a horse saddle, and galloping through Hill Country after throwing a unknown blond rider.
I have a feeling none of you are surprised by my attempt at a shocking headline.
I can’t even surprise you all anymore, can I? *sigh*
Pioneer Town, Wimberley, Texas
Pioneer Town, Wimberley, Texas – Home of the Jackalope
Pioneer Town, a replica of a mid-1800s western town, has all the requirements of an old western movie set: a dirt main street, a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, a post office, a print shop, a general store, old houses, a steepled church, and an opera house. It also has a cowboy museum and requisite souvenir shop,… and a giant jackalope.
Because every mid-1800’s western town had a giant jackalope. Probably.
This is a quick note to update those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
I survived surgery.
(Bwahahahaaa. I crack me up! Ok, so I’m probably the only one who found that funny, but whatever, it’s my blog. NO, dammit, it is not the pain meds that made me write that. Sheesh.)
They gave me socks in exchange for my uterus.
Ok, so you want non-gory details… (gory details and pics are at the very bottom, beneath a huge warning.)
I got a pair of socks in exchange for my uterus. (See above photo for picture of socks, pictures of uterus available upon request.)
The long-awaited surgery FINALLY happened Tuesday morning. I got home late Wednesday night, and it is now Thursday afternoon.
My patient advocate is terrific! Besides being a truly kind and caring person, she really got things moving forward for me. She came to visit me right after surgery and again the next day. She is continuing to monitor my situation and report back to all involved. Knowing how much she has helped me when I had no one in my corner made me want to do that for others. I’m not sure what is required to be a Patient Advocate, but I would love to help others as she helped me when I needed it most.
Looking out the small window of the 737 as it flew into San Jose Airport I saw one thing: Sameness.
Miles and miles of sameness. It was as if someone took a house-shaped cookie cutter and laid out millions of identical little houses on cookie sheets made of grass, bordered by roads of concrete and asphalt. Hundreds of thousands of cars zoomed in between the green blocks of sameness.
Looking out that window, I felt surprise. Surprise I’d lived in the middle of all that sameness for so many years and never realized how “same” it looked from above. The “30-thousand-foot view”, to use an already overused term, is one of sameness. I was a small part of that sameness for so many years and never ever comprehended it; it all appears somewhat unique from street level.
The familiarity of the sameness was warm and comforting, like a favorite soft blanket. The traffic, not so much. The traffic was more like an itchy wool blanket with moth holes. The convenience of having all manner of stores and restaurants within a few miles of my location at any given time felt luxurious. But that convenience is a double-edged sword: When you don’t have to go far to get anything you need, you rarely, if ever, venture out of the sameness. All you ever experience is sameness.
Slab City, Calif., is a desert oasis in a down economy.
There is no running water, no electricity, and no sidewalks. There are no buildings, unless you count the outhouses. Structures are either RVs or trailers, or a combination of scraped parts from the two.
Building codes don’t apply here.
For all it lacks in amenities, Slab City – about two and a half hours east of San Diego — has a lot to offer: two libraries, two churches, several social clubs, a night club, a skate park, a pet cemetery, a golf course, hot springs, and kitchens providing free meals. Local churches and charities regularly deliver bags of food and clothing.
There is enough folk art to fill two metropolitan museums.
Slab City, sign, just a hint of the folk art you’ll find.
And it’s all free. Yes, free.
Slab City has an estimated 150 year-round residents. From November to April approximately 3,000 snowbirding RVers arrive to camp for the winter in the warm southern California desert.
That’s partly why I haven’t been around much. Like anyone’s noticed. (I can’t yet tell you all the other reason just yet, but will tell you all as soon as I can. And I promise you’ll love it! ‘Cept for maybe my parents. But they’ve got to be use to me by now.)
It is truly a delight to show someone the sights who has the ability to let their inner child out, experiencing the world with that same sense of wonder and appreciation. He was amazed by the beauty of the Big Sur, California coast, and let himself express it and immerse himself in it. That’s the part most people seem to find hard to do. For me it comes naturally. Probably because I’ve never But, wait! There’s more…