A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Off to the Desert

The weather report called for a week full of rain so what better time to head for the desert. We drove for 467 miles to Adelanto. We found an RV park there whose residents would be classified as homeless if not for their desert worn trailer or camper. I was curious as to what prompted the “NO PIT BULLS” portion of the sign but there was no one around to ask. Well there was the “assistant manager” as she called herself. She pulled up alongside in her car which looked like she was living out of it, but I never got around to asking. We moved on down the road, ate an authentic Mexican food dinner at a truck stop and over-nighted with the truckers. The next morning we continued on to Anza Borrego arriving at lunch time. The temperature was 75 degrees but it seemed warm to us. We’ll need some time to adjust. Later the wind picked up and it howled all night long. In the morning the wind was still with us which makes for difficult picture taking. We drove on in to Borrego Springs, ate breakfast, bought a bag of oranges and grapefruit and found a hotspot to get online.
Which one would you choose to travel in?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Best Start Thinking About Scooting

In checking the weather for the next 10 days, rain is predicted for most of next week. I scanned the infrared satellite photos and sure enough, there is a system in the mid-Pacific. Another is right behind it. Maybe we should get with the program and head out down south where the weather is sunny and in the 80's all week. In the storage lot where the View sits, there are quite a few empty slots. People are out on the road and we should be with them. I did some research trying to see when Easter vacation is for the schools. It is a haphazard affair ranging from now till a month from now. Pick a week. I remember the old days, everyone was free for one particular week. Now it is whatever any school district chooses. How are we expected to avoid the invasion when battalions are sent out each week?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Like Training at Altitude

As I jogged along on my somewhat level trail run today I envisioned it as like training at altitude. This made me feel better about today's effort. See training at altitude, say at 5,000 feet as the professional athletics do, you are taking in much less oxygen as you would do at sea level. This builds up your oxygen uptake and carrying capacity so when you return to sea level it is as if you are performing with a supercharger ramming more air into your lungs. More oxygen into the bloodstream, the better the body works. So with my nose and sinuses half plugged due to this pollen situation that is affecting me, it is like I am taking in less air than normal just as if I was running at Lake Tahoe or Denver. This allergy thing is good and it is making me stronger...or so I try to convince myself.

Spam - as it is called

I got a random anonymous comment today on a post made years ago. Do I really want to know about weightrapidloss/lose-10-pounds-in-2-weeks-quick-weight-loss-tips? So I had to modify the comments portion of the blog. From now all commentators will have to decipher the funny little word and enter it before their comment can be sent. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Today's hike revealed a lot of changes from just a few days ago. Spring is in the air. Small yellow flowers are beginning to carpet the meadows. The grasses seem greener. Trails are once again dry. The mud and slop is pretty much all gone. The few water courses remaining across trails are now mangaeable without getting wet or muddy up to your ankles. The most noticable change though are the lizards. The warm sun has everyone out and about scurrying within the rocks and beneath dry leaves. Even this humble hiker was able to leave his usual flannel shirt behind.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two Strikes and I'm Out

Yesterday I did another trail run using a different route. By the time I reached level ground the wind was out of my sails. I aborted my plan to continue on to the lake and turned around to go back. It is the nature of Annadel Park that any route into the interior requires a mile or two of constant climb and at this stage of my development, that is too much to deal with at any faster pace than walking. So yesterday I was quite discouraged. I'll take some time off, regroup and try to come up with a different plan.

I brought the View home for a clean-up and put things back together. I have been dealing with trying to locate how water was getting in during the rains. Having a ladder here at home I was able to inspect the awning mounts closely I did discover a possible source of entry for water. It seems so slight but water does move in mysterious ways. Another rain will tell if I did it or not.

Today it is suppose to be in the mid 70's and that sounds like a good reason to go for a motorcycle ride. The wildflower gauges in the deserts are slowly rising. By the end of the month they and we should be ready for a meeting. Meanwhile my pollen problems persevere and NeilMed continues to supply relief.

Monday, March 15, 2010

First Trail Run

My impatience got the best of me. I just had to do it even if I wasn't really prepared and apprehensive in doing this. I just had to keep telling myself that it would be no big deal as I've hiked the route numerous times. Whatever happens at least I can walk all the way if I had to. I chose a loop that would swing by the lake. I needed a goal. Total miles would be 5.9. That is farther than I have yet ran to date but an easy hiking distance. I told myself I'd walk all the uphills and jog the rest. When it came right down to it, I had no choice. I had to walk up the hills. In the end it went well. The main thing is now I know I can do it and have laid down a benchmark in which to improve upon. I plan to do a different route next time which has a longer yet less steep grade to it entering the park. Also, next time I'll do it after a rest day. I've done too much the last several days and there's no doubt, trail running is the most taxing of activities for me to persue. Right now I am spent but satisfied...no, make that very well pleased with myself.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Two Weeks Now

I still have nose problems. I'm tired of this. At least this never turned into something worse...like last year at this time.

My son and I went for a mountain bike ride and during numerous breaks we took, I mentioned my nose problem. He said he had the very same issues when he moved to Santa Rosa. "It's the pollen. Sonoma county has the highest pollen rate in the state."
Well, I hadn't really considered that as I've never had an allergy/pollen affliction before. He said to get a NeilMed sinus flushing kit. "Best thing I ever did. I suffered for years until I recently discovered NeilMed."
The next morning I picked up a kit, went home, mixed up a batch and hosed my nose. What a relief! It is not yet perfect but it is the best its been in weeks. Great stuff!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hello, My name is Rosie, how may I help you?

My credit card expires this month and the replacement arrived a couple days ago. I called the 1-800 number to activate it and at the end of the process I was talking to a live person. Her name was Rosie and after verifying I was who I claimed to be she began to pitch a promotional program of some sort. It was then I detected an Indian accent. Whenever I talk to agents on the telephone I always like to find out where they are located - usually on the east coast, and then ask about their weather. They always seem to slip out of their professional mode, relax and seem to enjoy a bit of chit-chat breaking up the mundane of their job. With telemarketers it is a different story. Time is money and I am wasting their time asking about the weather. Loads of fun. When I asked Rosie her location I expected something like Delaware but she replied "New Delhi, India".  My mind reeled. Wow, here I was talking to some woman in the faraway land of India. Why Citi Cards would farm out credit card verification half way around the world is beyond me. The telephone bill must be enormous. It was 10:30 pm in New Delhi Rosie said and she works all night long. All night talking to people like me holding their new credit card in hand.

My Near Death Experience

One year ago today I went to the hospital. I had been sick with a cold for a few days but now I was feeling very poorly with no signs of any improvement. My wife drove me to urgent care (the emergency room) as I could not get in to see my doctor on such short notice. They laid me out, interrogated me, inspected me, injected me with an IV, withdrew blood and lastly did a chest x-ray. The doctor came back with the results. I had pneumonia among other things. I was given some medication and sent home feeling better than when I came in.

The next morning I felt I was on the road to recovery but by the afternoon I was worse than ever – down for the count. Coughing literally brought me to my knees on the floor. I was so weak it was all I could do to move myself about. We went back to the hospital. My wife helped me into a wheelchair by the curbside then went to look for a parking space. I sat there slouched in the chair, eyes closed, head hung down unaware of my surroundings. I heard a male voice asking me if I was okay. I don’t recall what I said if I said anything at all. He said he was going to take me inside out of the cold. He must have taken me to the counter as I could hear a female voice and the two of them were discussing me. The woman asked me who I was and what was wrong. With no energy to raise my head or even answer, I flopped my arm up on the counter. The hospital wristband from the previous visit was still attached. By then my wife returned and took control.

Punctured with another IV they added a stronger antibiotic into the mix. After a period of time I was sent home where I gradually got better. I took several weeks to get my strength back and feel normal.

I was to see my regular doctor for a check-up after a week. He read the reports mentioning “Pneumonia? People die from pneumonia.” He said it not only once but three times. Days passed and his words continued to echo in my mind. The seriousness of all this really began to manifest itself to me. I had never been so incapacitated, so utterly helpless in my life. I thought back recalling what it says on my mother’s death certificate – “respiratory failure from pneumonia”.

A year later and I am now deathly afraid of ever catching a cold again. A week ago Sunday I was in an indoor arena watching my grandson play soccer. There were way too many people packed in such a confining closed-in space. Scores of little kids with runny noses coughing and wheezing, running about touching everything. Infected parents sitting in the stands breathing on me, everyone spewing germs into the air I was breathing. Early in the week my throat felt funny. I nipped that in the bud but have been dealing with nose problems all week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A New Trail & Success to a point

I took a new trail for a hike on Sunday. It's called Cobblestone Trail. The trail head is a mile down Channel Drive from where I park the scooter in the RV storage lot, thus why I have never hiked it before. The trail is all uphill and looked to be a good route to take out of the park on future mountain bike rides. On weekends the trails have a lot more activity. Of the many people I encountered was a young couple with their little 5 or 6 year old girl. She was so cute. Long wavy brown hair, baseball cap and excited as can be. She wanted me to know "We're going to the lake." For a long time they were behind me about a quarter of a mile and I could hear her constantly jabbering away, talk, talk, talk. Boundless energy. They passed while I was eating my lunch and she waved saying "We'll see you at the lake". I would liked to have taken a picture of her but all I could think of was her parents thinking I was some pervert. I need to quit watching TV and reading the news.

Finally I figured out how to put a map image of the route taken into the blog. The site has several options to display (street map, satellite view, topographic, etc.) but only the street map version can be embedded. Unfortunately the street map version shows Annadel Park as a big green space with no features or trials. So if I put it on here all that would show would be a green splotch with a thin red outlined geometric shape depicting the route. I give up...for now.

Here is the hiking route (in green). How I did this I'm not sure I can remember. Maybe if I do this enough times I'll get it down but for now, it took way too long to do.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Two More Bite the Mud

I reached the point of being able to run 3 miles relatively effortlessly (something I could never of imagined) and rewarded myself by buying a pair of running tights today. I got a great end of the season bargain of $20 for a $60 pair of Addias. These will work better for the muddy trails rather than the new pants I have. The predicted rains for today never materialized so once back home I went out for a mountain bike ride. I only mention it for the fact that I came across two more large trees down across the road. That makes six so far this season just on my regular 13.5 mile loop alone. How many more have fallen in the forest unknown?
What makes one of these so special is that it is situated on a really fast downhill section just around a turn.

Fortunately I was sort of putzing along here playing with my camera while riding instead of going full-on out as I usually am at this point. Otherwise this could have been very interesting. Notice skid mark.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Today's forecast was for rain all day. Yet when morning arrived it was clear and bright with sunshine. A good chance to work on the leak in the motorhome. After breakfast I rode the scooter to the storage lot and got into the task of applying caulk to areas of suspect on the roof. Halfway into this it began to sprinkle so I quit and went home perturbed. Of course once home, it cleared and the sun came out. I decided to make the best of this fickle weather and go for a jog on my 3 mile loop in the neighborhood. Naturally, half way around it began to rain with all seriousness.

This brought back memories of many training runs of long ago in the rain. I was feeling good, having fun and downright exhilarated jogging along in the wet. I am not a water person and when it rains I do not care to be in it in any fashion. But I had forgotten how different it was to be out in the rain while running. My most memorable run in the rain was a half marathon race in Oakland. It was December 6, 1981 in monsoon-like storm conditions. It was wonderful and I finished in 1 hour 20 minutes. Unfortunately I do not know what place I finished. I cannot find any of my running information from back then. I must have thrown it all away when we moved, thinking I'd never run again. Stupid thing to do, but how was I to know?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Making Progress

This is my next attempt in trying to get maps and such onto this blog. I resorted to using the scanner since I am unable to figure out how to save map images from Internet sites. Only I am unable to use the scanner with my main laptop since it has Windows 7 installed, which itself leaves a lot to be desired. Windows 7 is like walking into your long time favorite store and finding all the shelves have been re-arranged throughout the store. So I scan the maps and save the image in my travel laptop which has Windows XP. I then transfer the image into the main laptop with a flashdrive. Now you may wonder as to why I just don't use the travel laptop to make my blog posts. Here's why:
Sinbad commandeers the desk chair whenever I am in my study, and the travel laptop and scanner is at the desk.

The map shows Annadel Park and I have outlined the usual route I take when riding my mountain bike. Click on the image to make it larger. I still have a lot to learn about this computer stuff but I at least some progress is being made although at an elementary level.

Incidentally, yesterday I took my new trail running shoes out for their initial run. First off I have to say, with all the running shoes I have owned over the years these New Balance shoes are the greatest right out of the box. No break-in required. Next, the run itself. It was hard. Very demanding. Nothing like running on the street. I guess I have forgotten how trail running is since its been nearly 30 years when I last ran on dirt trials. I suppose the constant dodging of rocks, roots and mudholes requires extra energy. Maybe I was going too fast and was unable to judge my pace as well as on the street. I don't know. But I do know it was much more enjoyable and I look forward to running the trails more in the future. Now if the rain would just cease.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fighting the Computer

Computers were invented to make you feel stupid. I'm pretty sure of it. They test your level of patience by constantly frustrating you. At least this is my case. There are some out there who seem to have mastered the device. Yes, they are a great resource for information, to buy stuff, to sell crap or simply to communicate with friends and family. But to try and do anything fancy is where you are asking for trouble. One of the very few things I do on the computer is view other people's Blogs. I find what people write about interesting which is in most cases what is interesting most to the person writing. Someday I may write about other Blogs but for now it is about the computer.

I see things people do to their Blogs and wonder how they did that and could I do it? So far, I cannot. Early on I noticed some Blogs fill the entire page without empty columns on each side. I asked a couple bloggers how this was done and they either didn't understand what I was after or sent me some information which made little sense to me even after trying it. I spent days on that. Then I noticed how one fellow had a map depicting the route he took each day on his bicycle ride. I went to that site (mapmyride.com) kind of figured out how to do it, but how did he get the image into his Blog? I spent a couple days on that one. Fail. I noticed how some had written captions or put graphics onto photographs. "Gee, I wish I could do that." More days invested and finally success...to a degree.

So here is my primitive attempt to place on my Blog the ride I took yesterday on my motorcycle.

97 miles on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I should have devoted this space to the pleasures of that ride rather than computer aggravation. Tomorrow it will rain all day which will provide me with many more hours of exasperation with the computer.