June is for Graduations, Pt. 2

So in CA the grandkids are graduating.  Just like their grandfather on June 9, 1966:

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Of course the trip to the kids’ graduations was also an excuse to reunite with some other denizens of the SCHS Class of ’66.  First there was breakfast in Roseville CA with Carl CJ Sabatini and Lou Meyer to whom we all referred as “Dutch” back in the day….Image

CJ, Lou, Bill

Of course, none of us has aged over the intervening 48 years.  Although we did find it awfully easy to converse together—almost as if very little time had passed.

On Saturday, we traveled to Santa Rosa in the CA wine country and found the lovely house of Kathy Zimmerman-Bonham and met her husband, Jerry, and their dog, Nettie.  We went to lunch at the Korbel Winery and again, it was as if no time had passed.  Kathy is as lovely as she was in high school……

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Bill, Kathy, Jerry holding Nettie

Finally, on Sunday, we met up with Don Gundry for breakfast at Lori’s Diner in SF.  Don lives on the peninsula and has a gig as an usher at SF Giants home games.  Once again, conversation came easily as if there were a few months, not 48 years, intervening since last we saw each other.

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All in all a very satisfying trip.  Such a pleasure to renew old acquaintances and rekindle old friendships.  I haven’t been very big on attending past reunions (as in I’ve made it to zero) but now eagerly anticipate the next one, number 50, in 2016…….

June is for Graduations, Pt.1

June is the hottest month in the desert Southwest.  The monsoon season starts in the middle of June and cranks up in July and August.  Its rain helps keep the temps down when it’s in full swing.  So we usually leave the Mud Shack and the critters in the able hands of my sister-in-law and head for more temperate climes.  Two years ago it was the Loire Valley and Paris.  Last year we traveled through NM, AZ, UT, ID, and WA, visiting old friends and family in WA state.  This year, the theme is high school……

Deliberately trying to make us feel old, my son had not one but TWO of his daughters graduate from their respective schools this year.  First was Emily, looking gorgeous, ending her career in middle school:

gorgeous mleEmily

IMG_1504Getting ready for the ceremony with sister and aunt in the background

IMG_1511Hooray she made it!!!! With proud mom and dad

The following night, big sister Isabella concluded her studies in high school:

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Mom has to make sure the lei is perfect, of course….

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and here’s the proud graduate

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with all her siblings

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heading to the stage to get the diploma

A Little Bike Ride

It was in late 1997 when i picked up a copy of Bicycling magazine—the cover intrigued me:

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(Yes, I still have the same copy!!!!)

I was doing quite a bit of mountain biking at the time and the idea of a cross-country ride like the one described fascinated me.  The ride approximately follows the trail that Butch Cassidy, Sundance, and the Hole in the Wall gang used to escape from Telluride CO following a bank robbery there.  The ride is a 215 mile long series of hut-to-hut experiences encompassing 7 days and 6 nights.  All the rider needs to carry is water, clothing, first aid supplies, and repair items.  Food and lodging are provided by the operators of the hut system.  Scenery is provided by nature.  The route leads through alpine meadows and national forests, ending on the red slick-rock that has made Moab UT a mountain biking heaven.

Now, almost 17 years later, this dream is coming true.  I have been going to the gym anywhere from 3-6 days a week since last October.  I’ve put several hundred miles on my Marin East Peak full suspension mountain bike over the last few months, riding the Las Cruces loop trail and also forest service roads in Cloudcroft NM, elevation 8700ft.  Our intrepid party (me, my stepson, 2 friends from NH) leaves Telluride CO Sunday June 22.  Since we will not have electricity in the huts and even cellphone access will be limited (let alone wifi!!), it will be a true vacation and escape from civilization.  I plan to document the trip with photos, hopefully video, and very likely an old fashioned written journal.  I’m sure this will not be my last post about this adventure.  And for anyone interested, a link to the San Juan Hut system with lots of information and  some videos: http://www.sanjuanhuts.com/mountain-bike-adventures/telluride-to-moab/

 

 

 

 

Again??

Been a while since I’ve posted–retirement can be busier than working…..

Just returned from what has become an annual June road trip, this time to CA. More in a later post.

Returning home and getting back into the normal routine has been a little upsetting this time.

First, there’s the “controversy” over Bowe Berghdal. The decision was made to trade Gitmo detainees for an American POW held by the Taliban. We got our man back. Why is this so controversial?? Possibly because it violates our ban on negotiating with terrorists—-as Reagan and Ollie North did in the arms for Contras deal…..Possibly because our president didn’t authorize a gung-ho-send-in-the-troops violent action to free him……

Also, to no-one’s surprise, more school shootings and mass killings. What else can be expected of a country that unleashed its National Guards on students at Cal Berkeley and Kent State????

So are there no solutions to these crises? Allow me to present two ideas. First, let’s abandon the idea of a “post-racial America.” Were the president white, like Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, or GW Bush, I’m sure his errors would not be exploded as Barack Obama’s have been. And let’s be clear, everyone of the named predecessors at some point reverted to violence or warfare to solve a problem that might have had a peaceful solution had they bothered to seek one out.
Second, it is this heritage of violence and warfare in the USA, going back to the country’s founding and constitution that perpetuates the killing of its citizens—-and its children. It is past time for a rational discussion about violence. The USA has been involved in “boots on the ground” actions since Vietnam and we have won none of them.  It is time to end our predilection for violence here and abroad.

It is my belief that if we turn off FOX News, MSNBC, and all the other poorly researched and bombastic echo chambers repeating the same mantras of intolerance and belittling of all other points of view, we might, as a nation, begin to rationally discuss the issues we so desperately need to solve.