Kick-Back Stack

Sunny’s eyes just about came out of her head when the waitress at Kick Back Jack’s set these monster blueberry pancakes down in front of her.

My dear wife had her revenge, though: she made it through about 80% of this massive stack, then jumped back into the car and drove another four hours.

Never underestimate the ability of a thin person to make food just seem to disappear.

Porta-Casa

If I can’t be on a train, I want to be in a tent.

Camping out with a well-run Troop, by about 10 in the evening the Scoutmaster can relax. The youth leaders are in charge: the Patrol Leaders have their patrols in their tents, and the Senior Patrol Leader has held a quick meeting to plan the next day before everyone else turns in. It’s now 10:30pm and totally quiet in the camp.

I change my socks, put my shoes by the tent door, tuck into my sleeping bag, zip up, set my alarm for 6:30, prop my head up on my extra sleeping bag, and turn on my Kindle.

After a long day and a superb dinner, the quiet forest and a warm sleeping bag conspire to shorten my time catching up with Fyodor Dostoevsky, and I am snoring within minutes.

Books of 2021: San Miguel

In a departure from his normally humorous style, T.C. Boyle builds upon the little-known history of a forgotten American domain to spin a novel both lyrical and haunting. So perfectly are the characters and their setting woven together that I almost feel like I was reading Steinbeck.

I finished the novel late at night, and, sitting up on the edge of my bed, opened my windows so I could invite in the mist and listen to the sea lions sing a duet with the foghorn.

Aluminum Ornithology

As a plane geek, I love living near Pt. Mugu Naval Air Weapons Station. There’s always something exciting flying around. 

One day a Marine Corps OV-22 Osprey will fly over. Last week, it was an Air Force E-3 Sentry AWACS. Over the past month, I’ve seen a Coast Guard HC-130J, several flights of Navy F/A-18 Hornets, E-2 Hawkeyes, Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphins, and Air National Guard C-130Js.

Happy/happy/happy.

Home on the Range

My favorite tent ever. Retro look, seven feet long, easy up, easy down, weighs two pounds, fits into a bag the size of a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle, and set me back a whopping $52 delivered.

I should buy two.

Winter Morning Music

red and orange solar flare
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Standing under a heater vent blowing 70-degree air on me, I still get goosebumps listening to Ed Sheeran singing “I See Fire” from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Removed we may be from the foothills of Erebor, but we never seem far from the breath of the great drake.

For there are days beneath brown hills, Santannas blowing dry from the Northeast bending the palms and sending crackles of static through hair and wool, when if you listen closely, you can hear the chuckle of the Old Wyrm amidst the howling tempest, and your breath stops, waiting in dread for the ridges to explode in flame.

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.

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.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑