Mugology: Road Buddy

The thrill of the refill. Twenty-four ounces of Scoutmaster juice.

This one is from Love’s Truck Stops. I’ve been using it now for probably six years, but will probably stop buying these for fear of eventually putting more plastic into a landfill. Something steel, like a Hydro Flask, will replace this. 

 

Patchology: Saddleback Butte

As the Summer turns to fall, the shores turn chill and the hillsides to tinder, the eyes of the camper (and Scoutmaster) turn toward the desert. October through March is prime camping time in California’s arid regions. Days are comfortable, nights are chilly but not arctic, and enough animals are active during the day to make hiking more than a long walk.

One of my favorite places in the desert is Saddleback Butte State Park, a modest, Joshua Tree-girt peak located in the heart of a triangle between Palmdale, Victorville, and Edwards Air Force Base. The campsites are mostly primitive, but there are toilets and showers, making extended stays possible.

I have been twice, and only on the last trip – in early 2020 – was I in the kind of shape to take on the crest of the Butte. It’s about a 1,200′ rise in about 4 miles, but the altitude is enough to tucker someone in poor shape, and the last 100 feet is a scramble not far from some fairly sheer cliffs. Summiting this modest promontory was more satisfying that I had imagined it would be, and vistas from Palmdale to east to Victorville and Edwards south to the ridges behind Wrigtwood on a bright and clear day were a huge payoff. I only regret not having taking better pictures.

I rewarded myself and my scouts with the above patch, purchased from the park gift shop in a trailer at the north end of the park, just as I had watched my predecessor do on our last trip.

This will go on a brag rag of some sort, either a blanket or a shirt. Either way, it is a favorite. I hope to go back soon: the campground is a delight and worth the drive.

Retirement Goodness #2

Another nice thing about retired life: stepping outside each morning at 7:55am and hearing “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing over the loudspeakers at Naval Base Ventura County in the near distance, singing along under my breath.

It sounds corny, but it is a calming and edifying way to start the day.

Haidilao midnight snack

Indulging in a late-night hot pot without having to constantly check email, worry about a 6am call, or think about what I need to get done when I get back to my hotel is an unaccustomed luxury.

That said, I will still be up early to ensure her ladyship opens her eyes to behold a Philz Soymilk latte.

Driving Courtesy

My newest bumper magnet is being taken literally by a remarkable number of drivers. I am starting to count the number of people who pass me and pull back into my lane.

Current average on the 101 is about 72 per hour, but traffic has been light.

Patchology: Hometown Heroes

I grew up watching Emergency! from age seven to fourteen, alternating throughout between a simple buff and wanting to be a firefighter. It seems I have chosen the former path, and as a part of that collect patches of fire departments that are relevant to me.

This shoulder patch, worn by the Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics in the show, naturally belongs at the top of my collection, since it commemorates when my fascination with firefighting began.

Apropos of nothing in particular, but the idea of sending four amateurs into space without at least one trained professional on board seems premature at best. I wouldn’t do that on a Cessna 172, and I damned sure wouldn’t do it on an orbital mission.

It is a bet that everything will go according to plan. And the wager on the table is four lives and the future of the civilian space effort.

If I owned a locomotive…it would be an EMD SD38-2. I like road-switchers, and this is the classic.

One Week In, Not On The Road Yet

I pulled out this picture of the northern approach to the old Ridge Route (looking south into Grapevine Canyon) as a sort of talisman, a charm if you will, in the hope that it would help me in my effort to get started on my list of road trips before age, global warming, or TEOTWAWKI make such trips either too expensive, too politically incorrect, or downright impossible.

A potent combination of consulting work, preparations for our Council Camporee, and an impressive honey-do list are all conspiring to keep this newly-minted retiree off the pavement and stuck to the 10 wheels of my Herman Miller Aeron chair. The road will need to wait a bit, so bear with me.

Meantime, there’s still lots going on and lots to share, so stay tuned. 

 

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