Trailheads and Paths, Issue 5: Fancies of Flight

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March 20, 2014- Once Aram and the ship had departed, I had a game plan for the rest of the day.  First and foremost, I replaced the low beam headlight bulb, on the passenger’s side of  my Kia.  Next, was a stop at Old Town San Diego, where I hope to restock my stash of exotic jerky.  It must be only a seasonal thing, as only ordinary jerky was available at the General Store.  I did sit for a few minutes, though, and watch three actors in a theater troupe rehearse a scene from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

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This is one of my favourite whimsical plays, but after a few minutes, the troupe started discussing their craft, so I decided to head for Balboa Park.  One place I had never visited there is the San Diego Air and Space Museum, which presents as complete a picture of manned flight as any place west of the Mississippi.  It is one of two museums there that were initiated by the industrialist and aviator, Ruben H. Fleet, whose name adorns the Science Center nearby.

I spent  about 2 1/2 hours in this unique institution, absorbing what I could of the story of one of  Man’s greatest dreams come true- from the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci to the most recent G-force experiments.  This museum presents the story of flight in objective fashion- including the achievements of America’s friends and enemies alike.

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Among the first replicas one encounters is that of  The Spirit of St. Louis,  just inside the entry way.

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Close by Lindbergh’s epic plane is a replica of an Apollo spacecraft.

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There is,as the sign suggests, a display called Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but it was enough for me to take in the main exhibits.

The combat exhibits are comprehensive, with Messerschmitts and Zeros taking their places alongside Allied warplanes.  One of the first exhibits tells the story of General Claire Chennault’s Flying Tigers, who impeded the Japanese occupation of south China and Burma, probably shortening World War II.

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Yet, World War I, and the exploits of all concerned, were fully covered as well.  Here is a shot of the first synchronized gear mechanism on a fighter plane.

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Here is a replica of  Manfred von Richtofen’s Red Fokker Dr. 1 Triplane.

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A Sopwith Camel is shown in the same area of the facility.

 

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In the Forties section are a Piper Cub

 

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and a Messerschmitt Bf 109G-14

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 In the Edwin D. McKellar Pavilion of Flight,

a full range of air and space craft is shown.

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Just before I exited, a father and son were inside a Zero Gravity simulation machine, experiencing astronaut life, in a safe manner.

 

 

There is no doubt in my mind that this amazing collection will continue to grow, as our treasury of air and space craft continues to evolve.

After taking in this dizzying collection of vehicles, I was ready for some peace and calm, so the Japanese-American Friendship Garden beckoned.

 

Trailheads and Paths, Issue 4: Bon Voyage, My Sailor

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A week ago, on March 20, my only child set out on his longest and most challenging rite of passage.  I can’t tell anyone where his ship is headed, or how long the vessel and crew will be in any one place.  I only know that they are in good hands:  One another’s, and the Creator’s.

I set out for San Diego, on the evening of March 18, having just had the bounty of a Baha’i study circle on working with adolescents.  Young sailors aren’t middle-schoolers, though, like any other group of unattached people who are looking for answers, they do have their moments.  I got as far as the small Colorado Desert city of Blythe, just over the river from Arizona, on that still, starry night.  Relax Inn is a spare, but comfortable place, staffed by a shy Tamil man from south India and his exuberant, chatty wife, who seems to be more likely from the north of the subcontinent.

Blythe has a few more decent eateries than one might expect.  Steaks and Cakes is near the motel, and serves up modest, but well-prepared breakfast fare.  The waitresses are all lovely, which speaks well of the clean desert air.

I rolled into San Diego about 11:30 on March 19.  As I was traveling longer that day, the Baha’i Fast, just about finished anyway, was suspended for me.  So, I met Aram and a couple of his crewmates at his apartment, set my bag down by the couch where I would sleep that night, and three of us went over to Sushiya, in the Point Loma area.  This was my third time there, and the same young lady who served us the last time was our waitress again.  She was in a much better mood than last Easter, so the meal was likewise more pleasant.

Being the day before departure, the guys mostly wanted to kick back.  We went over to the Nex (Navy Exchange) and everyone ,including me,picked up last-minute necessities. Mine was an eight-pack of shaving cartridges.  The sailors stocked up on necessaries that would be more expensive in the ports to which they are headed first.  We then had supper in the Nex Food Court.

Sleep came early, and so did the morning rise-and-shine of Departure Day.  I drove the three sailors to their dock area, parked and joined everyone onboard ship, for a few hours.  At 8 AM sharp, family and friends bid farewell to their  men and women in uniform, and we stood vigil for about an hour, dockside, until the access ramps, guy ropes and tethers were lifted, the Base Commander and his entourage left ship and the vessel set sail- for Coronado, where there would be more prep for the long journey.  From there, it was for the captain and crew to know, and for us to find out later, as to where they were headed.

Here is the view of San Diego, from Aram’s apartment (9th floor).

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It’s a bit fuzzier at night.

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Still, not much fazes my boy.

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Here is the ship, as it was getting underway.

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Then, it was off, across the Bay.

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A journey of many thousands of miles had begun, with a single push.  No parent has ever been prouder, and I know his mother is watching and helping.

 

NEXT UP:  Revisiting Old Town and Balboa Park

 

 

 

 

Trailheads and Paths, Issue 3: The Moving Chronicles

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From March 13-18, my world was all about moving out of my in-laws’ former house and into my one-bedroom apartment.  It’s closer to downtown Prescott, which suits me awesomely.  At 63, it’s way past time for me to be on my own, and live accordingly.  The folks are safely in an Assisted Living quarters of their own, and don’t need the weight of property ownership.

Anyway, here is a day-by-day recap of the proceedings:

March 13-  The focus today was on furniture.  With help from one friend, I got the big stuff across town, in 5 trips.  The biggest deal was getting the sofa part of the rollaway bed into my new living room.  It helped to take the feet off the sofa and the front door off its hinges.  All went back on very nicely, though.  I was fortunate to have energy for two evening meetings.

March 14- I was focused on getting most of the remaining items out, and needed help from two other friends, to make it happen.  At the end of the day, my new place was piled high with stuff, about 20 % of which found its way to Steppingstones and the DAV Thrift store.  Big furniture items went to Habitat for Humanity, and the new owners of the house bought other items.  After a rejuvenating fish fry and salad/soup bar dinner, I was able to put all of my clothes away properly.

March 15- This was a hiatus.  I spent the day, with a friend and mentor, attending a gathering in Phoenix, for purveyors of  Essential Oils.  If you need certified organic natural oils and products made with them, this is the place to go.  I can get anyone who wants these items, pointed in the right direction.  Anyway, it was a diversion, and time well spent, except for a poorly-served meal at Steve’s Greenhouse Grill, where the server threw some forks into a utensil vase at our table and sullenly tossed extra napkins on the table.  Seriously, it’s not even hot yet.

March 16- Back to business, I got the cleaning done in the house, and all remaining items out of the house proper, or so I thought.  The afternoon was focused on two previously-scheduled meetings, one for the American Legion and another for a wellness presentation.  Good thing I attended the latter, as a feisty and well-read man who attended was grateful for my presence.   The cleaning at the old house resumed at 6 PM, and I carried on until 11 PM.

March 17- I moved the rest of my stuff out of the garage, tidied it up,  filled the nail and tack holes in the walls,pulled the weeds in the back yard and made several trips to the thrift store drop-offs.  I was feeling a sense of accomplishment at dropping off the keys to the old house, at the Realty office.

March 18- The carpet cleaner came and spent several hours making the old look like new.  It was the most expensive part of the move, but the place finally looked presentable, in toto.  I also took two cabinets worth of kitchen items, which I had overlooked, to the thrift store.  NOW, everything was done!  I have downsized, and will live more simply, at least when I’m in Prescott.

NEXT UP:  Seeing son off

Trailheads and Paths, Issue 2: An Homage, and An Errand of Closure

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March 6- saw me abruptly pause in my preparations for this local act of closure- my move out of the family’s last property in Prescott, to a more centrally-located apartment.  More on that later.  I drove to Phoenix, parked my vehicle in the airport economy lot, and caught a shuttle, Light Rail train and a local bus to the U-Haul lot on 19th and Hatcher.  There, I placed my weekend bag and a parcel containing Blue Agave in the cab of the truck I had rented, and headed over to the home where the rest of my cargo awaited.

I knew Beverly for 32 years.  As a friend of both Penny and me, she had encouraged us both in our spiritual quest and kept us in a practical mode, as best she knew how.  When she passed on, last year, I set my heart on doing whatever was needed for her family to get closure, whenever they were ready.  That time came two weeks ago.

I picked up a couch, with a rollaway bed, an English garden bench and some cushions, at Beverly’s grandchild’s house, after a few rounds in the dark, in the ‘burbs of north Glendale, AZ.  Dinner came a bit later, at the Chili’s on Carefree Highway.  I was burned-out, after a day of traveling while fasting- so burned-out that the waitresses probably were glad to see my backside head out the door.  There were two of them: One very gracious, the other, rather brusque and inattentive.  The meal was good, though, and I felt rejuvenated afterward, so I made it to Winslow, and the Delta Motel, around 11:30 PM.

March 7- I had a small, but satisfying breakfast at the Delta, after a beautiful sleep in the Arizona Room.  Last time I visited Winslow, in July, 2012, I experienced the Delta’s Elvis Room.  There were no AZ musicians, like Marty Robbins, Stevie Nicks or Michelle Branch, to be seen in the room where I stayed last night.  It was cacti, Gila monsters and the Grand Canyon which were celebrated.

Heading east, I was back in territory very familiar to me:  Dinetah, the land of the Navajo.   The people of Manuelito, the first community off I-40 in New Mexico’s western edge, have a fine Visitor’s Center under their belt now.

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This is a fine testament to the gorgeous Red Rock country, on either side of Gallup, a vastly underrated gateway to the Land of Enchantment.  I have many friends in this area.  All of them were busy Friday morning, but then again, so was I;  miles to go, before I would sleep.

Here’s another view of the area around Manuelito, which is named for one of the Navajos’ more robust chiefs, during the 19th Century.

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Tooling along, past Bluewater Lake, Continental Divide, Grants (with its awesome lava beds), otherwordly Acoma and Laguna, and on to Albuquerque, the memories came flooding back.  Each of these will be the subject of a visit and a post, or three, in the next couple of years.  Yet, even Albuquerque, the magical Duke City, could not slow me down.  Gas and a snack at Bernalillo, ten miles north, on I-25, was my pit stop.  Yes, I had lunch today- Baha’is are not required to fast while traveling more than 8 hours.

At this rest stop, outside Santa Fe, three wise women are celebrated.  I offer this testimony to two of them here.  All are, of course, in my Flickr pages.

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The other aspect of this rest stop, though, showed me what I was to face, in the hours ahead.  In Santa Fe, it was raining.  The Spanish Peaks of Colorado, though, would serve up snow- and and lots of it.

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I stopped in Walsenburg, CO, and had a lovely visit with some relatives of one of my Prescott neighbours, whilst dropping off the Blue Agave, safe and sound.  After a nice cup of hot green tea and some cookies, I gassed up and headed into the Colorado greeting. Snow started in earnest, just three miles north of Walsenburg.

About ten of us snaked through the steadily deepening snow, until we reached the first motel available- a Days Inn, in Colorado City, twenty-eight miles south of Pueblo.  We were all graciously received by both the hotelier, Bob Patel, and the proprietors of  Los Cuervos Mexican Grill, across the snow-packed road, which was fun for me to cross, feeling like a kid again.  Los Cuervos provided a roaring fireplace, which added awesomely to the mood- as did the many convivial patrons.  We had all survived the ten miles in one hour pace.  Sleep, needless to say, came easy tonight- for me, for the forty others who joined me in leaving the road, and for the menagerie of six dogs, two cats and four birds, who were welcomed by the Patels.

March 8-  I love my family, both the biological members and the members in faith.  It was an easy ride to Westminster, CO on this clearing and warm Saturday.  Of course, Colorado being what it is, there were snowscapes aplenty in Colorado City.

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From Pueblo on north, though, the snow was visible only from a distance.  This suited me fine.  I greeted K and E, my hosts for the weekend, dropped off my bag at their condo and the furniture at K’s office, turned in the U-Haul at a facility on the edge of Northglenn, where my Colorado family members live, and turned my attention to matters of Faith.

Here is Northglenn Senior Center, where the local Baha’is hosted a superb potluck supper, attended by many local friends, to break the Fast this evening.

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The facility has a few items of sculpture, and the park across the street features a Peace Pole, made of wood and inscribed in several languages, with a Braille inscription as well.

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The resident Canadian geese survived being harassed by an adolescent girl and her siblings, and resumed their own peaceful gathering on the park’s pond.

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Back in the hall, we ate splendidly and enjoyed real camaraderie.

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The joy would be repeated the next morning, just before sunrise, at a Village Inn on the other side of Westminster.

March 9- No trip to Colorado is complete without a visit to my in-laws, the Kosaks.  We had a delightful get-together, of course shopping at their favourite WalMart, then catching up on the six months since my last visit.  Dinner was delectable, as always- this time with lean pork chops and kale salad.  After a few hours of British TV mysteries, I headed back to K & E’s, and turned in early.

March 10- Daylight Savings Time had arrived yesterday, so my wake-up time of 2 AM was actually 1 AM to my body.  Arizona does not, outside of the Navajo nation, observe the Spring Forward.  I made it to the airport, thanks to Denver’s marvelous transport system, and by 6:15, Arizona Standard Time (Pacific Daylight, to most people), I was back in Phoenix.  At 7 AM, I wandered into Park Central Deli and had a bracing, hot breakfast burrito, with fine chorizo.  After a short nap at Sunset Point Rest Area, en route, I made it safely home.  The task had been completed, with much help from my spirit friends and family.

NEXT:  The Moving Chronicles

 

 

 

Trailheads and Paths: Volume 1, Issue 1

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All my life, I’ve been a nomad of sorts.  I have preferred walking to just about any form of transport.  Nothing wrong with bikes, cars and planes, mind you, but I’ve never been in much of an all-fire hurry, and prefer intimacy to the furtive glance.

I’ve had to wait on this, as my laptop needed a new hard drive and I still, after getting it back yesterday, had to research how to remove pesky virus-mongers, like Conduit, from my Google page.  SUCCESS!  I just went into the settings on Google and removed each specific page by clicking an X.

Now, back to the concept of trailheads and paths.  Every endeavour we embrace involves a path, of one kind or another.  Our mental processes, our prayers, all our work and leisure- entail planning and effort, the stuff of any journey.

So, as I have to make this entry brief, embarking shortly for Phoenix, picking up a U-Haul, loading some furniture, and heading for the Denver area, I will make one promise:  All my journeys henceforth will be shared under this title, with some throwbacks to sojourns gone by, every now and then.

Have a safe Thursday.

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