Sep 11, 2014

Stuck in the middle of nowhere

You’ve heard this a thousand times before. "I was stuck in the middle of nowhere.” But I actually got stuck there!

Driving across the United States is nothing foreign to me, I’ve experienced flat tires, bad shocks, snow and ice storms, driving rain and sleeping at truck stops. However, I’ve never lost the tread on my tire before. I’ve seen semi-trucks shed treads often. You see them on the side of the road and occasionally have to practice your obstacle course driving to miss one in the middle of the road. Somewhere on Interstate 40 in New Mexico, I lost the tread on a rear tire. Amazingly, I just pulled off onto the shoulder and remained calm. I had to sigh, because I had had a flat the night before and removed that tire and placed my full-sized spare in it's place. That left me with nothing but a poor cell signal and the hopes that the Automobile Club could hear me through the static. A tow truck was dispatched, but I had to wait a warm hour and a half.
What does one do in the middle of nowhere while waiting for a tow truck?
Count cars? Trucks? Campers? Too boring!
You break out your iPhone and take photos :)
And that is what I did. Mishaps are only mishaps if you let them be. This one was a photo opp for me.

Jun 18, 2014

I'm a native

Mt. Shasta is a volcanic mountain located in Siskiyou County.
When people talk or think of California, they tend to think of sandy beaches, crowded freeways, Hollywood, Disneyland, movie stars, wine, the Golden Gate Bridge and earthquakes. Those are all part of the California culture to be sure. Some people forget all about the giant redwoods, the expansive farms and ranches and the snow capped mountains.

California's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast, to the mountain ranges – from the Redwood forests,  to the deserts. The Central Valley dominates the center of the state and is a major agricultural area. California contains both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous US (Mount Whitney and Death Valley), and has the third longest coastline of all states (after Alaska and Florida). Earthquakes are a common occurrence because of the state is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire so earthquakes are common, but most are too small to feel. At least half of the fresh fruit produced in the US is grown in California. Other industry includes aerospace, education, manufacturing, and high-tech.  If it were a country, it would be the ninth largest in world and 34th most populous. And we are just one state out of the Union!

People from California are normally all thought to be weird. This makes me laugh. Sure there are some hippies still roaming the streets of San Francisco (among other areas), but there are a great number of cowboys, Native Americans, surfers, grannies and grandpas, migrant workers, white and blue collar professionals, military, stay-at-home moms, redheads, brunettes, blondes, short, tall and average-sized people. Many races inhabit the state, some legal, some not. We have Republicans, Democrats, Independents and various others. I guess this does make us weird. We have an entire country's worth of people and lands. We know how to shake, rattle and roll with earthquakes and think nothing of living next door to a snow covered volcano.

I really can't stand when people refer to the state as "Cali." People! That is a city in Columbia! We are California, the mythical place in a popular 16th-century romance novel, The Adventures of Esplandián. California was the mythical island populated only by beautiful Amazon warriors using gold tools and weapons. It was written by Spanish author Garci Rodriguez do Montalvo. Hey, we did have a gold rush! We do have all those golden, tanned perfect bodies on the beach. Think about it!

Apr 13, 2014

April in Denver

I always thought it was April showers brings May flowers, but in Denver it's April snow brings May flowers! As we waited for our flight crew to arrive, we were treated to a nice storm and an inch of accumulated snow.
Sure left me feeling a bit chilled since I had no coat or even a sweater! Denver was only a stop over between to two points where Mother Nature proudly had the sun shining and temperatures in the 70s (F). But if the flight crew didn’t arrive soon, we just might be stuck in the chilly spot.

Delayed for an hour, our flight crew finally arrived, and we were able to make it out and to the Golden State.

Thankfully, I made all my connections and happily landed 30 minutes to midnight in my beloved, little local airport, where the night-time temperature was a nippy 65 degrees (F). But had I been stuck in Denver, I would have been up a shivering creek.

Did I learn anything from this? Yep! Always, and I mean ALWAYS bring a sweater.

BTW, did you know that most air carriers do not count a jacket or sweater as one of the two carry-on items? It is considered as part of the clothing on your back. Be prepared to don it when boarding a full flight however. Also, if you do not have room to stow your jacket or sweater under the seat in front of you, DO NOT PUT IT IN THE OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT. Trust me, it will be safer and more likely to survive with out any rips or tears if you sit on it as if it were a pillow. Roll it up and use it for lumbar support if you are stuck in an uncomfortable economy seat. They also make excellent lap blanks for when your seat neighbor turns their vent in your direction.