Old pics

My folks had a bin of old photos that they picked up from aunt Kathy. There were a few I just had to scan. I dumped them in my Older Stuff/Family Etc. pic folder.

I mainly grabbed a few that I’d never seen before of my parents. I think I figured them out a little better. My dad, for instance, walked the ultimate line between total poindexter/dweeb, and tough, well-dressed, and even cool. It finally dawned on me that he was the original hipster.

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It reminded me how young and good-looking my folks were not so long ago.

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I also was reminded what a dweeb I was. And what a dweeby time the late 70′s/early 80′s were capable of being.
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But then I saw my teenage self and remembered how I grew from dweeb to sexy…
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At least I would have been sexy…if I wasn’t still such a dweeb on the inside.

Really sick of this.

IMG_1844MOU0016456-1_20120515The other day, my mom called me pretty late. It’s never good when there’s a too-late call. Apparently, my aunt Kathy was in a bad way health-wise, and passed. I cried. I didn’t even know her health was going south until about a week ago. She was the one relative that would make an effort to call and write on a regular basis. She kept me in practice, and taught Henry what writing old-school ‘pen-on-paper’ snail-mail letters even were. I reckon she’ll be the last person I exchange those old “written letters” with. She would call and write so regularly, I actually noticed when it had been a few weeks. I was wondering what I said. She would complain a lot that I didn’t write her back often enough, so I sent 2 or 3 to her for those last few weeks with no response. Then I found out why. I sure hope she got the last one at least. We gave her one of Henry’s first school pictures. One in which his hair looks particularly ginger. I’ll not only miss Kathy, but I’ll really feel her absence in my day-to-day. She was to me as Ronda is to Henry. Sort of my nanny who helped raise me when my folks were at work. She was quirky. For example you almost never see her without a camera. She must have taken a billion pictures. It annoyed some folks. I only thought how I’d like to see where she stashes her billion pictures. She never did go digital. Anyway. Goodbye, Kathy. I’ll miss you. “Say Sour Cream!”

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And on that note, I should say why I haven’t exactly felt like posting for well over a year. It’s because on Valentine’s Day 2011, my only sibling, older brother, and best friend, Andy Walker died. And this right on the heels of having found out a really good ol’ friend, Shane Barney died. I was a pretty lousy friend because I didn’t keep up with Shane for the prior few years, but felt close enough that I had every intention of just calling him up and catching up again. It’s a bummer that now I can’t.

So I haven’t blogged much because I really don’t feel like going there again, and I could write a very, very long one on just what Andy was to me. So I’m going to sum it up with the Eulogy I said at his funeral. It was quite a task and a little slice of hell. Having to clean out his room. (If I didn’t during that brief trip home for his funeral, it would have never gotten cleaned out. My folks don’t exactly have the backs for heavy work). Then having to try to give a eulogy, summing up all he’s meant to me in a short speech. Pretty impossible. Then having to play the pipes a couple times. All without breaking down. Well I managed to somewhat pull it off. Some said I did pretty good. In fact I remember beginning to read my words, then just saying in my head, ‘screw this reading, I pretty much know what I wrote’. It flowed alot better after that. Felt like I was speaking from the heart more. Which I was. So my good friend Rob, at the graveside, let me have a few hits of his flask. It was a most welcome comic relief when we just finished the service, he approached, reached in his coat, and pulled out a flask shaped just like a cell phone and said, “Call for you.” We then found out ol’ Shane Barney was just a few yards away. So John, Rob, and I took a few moments to “Go say hi”.

Anyway, that has all been well over a year ago. And I just now feel capable of logging it in anyway. The following is my eulogy:

“One of the first things I think of about Andy is how much he knew,
how smart and ahead of the curve he always was, and how much he
taught me as a kid. He was almost freakishly smart.
I think he was just born knowing stuff. Being the first born, he had no
older brother to teach him the things he was teaching me by the time
I came out of the womb. Things like how cool “Planet of the Apes”
and “Space 1999″ was. He taught me how to make traps for bugs
and some licks at photography. I even remember him driving our
grandpa’s tractor as far back as I remember. And he wasn’t THAT
much older than me. I’m still no good with a manual transmission.
As kids, he introduced me.. and even our parents… to Friday night’s
“Nightmare Theater” on Channel 20, and “Doctor Demento”. I don’t
know where he got this stuff. It was like he was just seeded here by
aliens. I guess perhaps his uncle Jerry and cousin Kip may have had
a hand in some of that, I’m not sure.
And ‘Doctor Demento’ brings back a flood of memories of being kids.
Many late weekend-nights with our cousins, Steve and Dave. Steve
and Andy would always team up to see just how punishing they could
make this weeks’ flavor of torture for me and Dave. Many nights Andy
and Steve would walk in the house with their triumphant smirk,
followed shortly by their barely-recognizable younger brothers,
reeking from our plastering of rotten tomatoes, and covered in cat-tail
fluff. I attribute our tar-and-featherings from the masterminding of my
brother, who, at that age, should have been just graduating from
Sesame Street to G.I. Joes.
The dude was a genius. I know that’s the usual kind of ‘bla bla’ that
most people like to say in every loved one’s eulogy, or what parents
always say about their own kid, but Andy, ..there was just something
that most everybody who would cross paths with him would say..
‘man.. that guy is different. He’s sharp!’ I’m convinced was some kind
of off-the-charts genius. Somewhat of the evil scientist variety, but
genius, none-the-less. He was extremely artistic. I tried to follow the
way he could draw, but never nailed that edge he had. While I was
still drawing pictures of mommy and daddy and our house, he was
drawing rather explicit depictions of characters from the ‘Aliens’ novel
he just read, meeting their demise. And funny. He knew how to put
anyone in stitches.
I have alot of memories of camping with the extended family, and he
driving off on my grandpa’s little trail 90 motorcycle, with me on the
back. He would drive straight up a sheer 90 degree cliff with me
hanging vertically off the back by my grip on his waist, us going
around a tight bend on a mountain pass to find ourselves staring off
with an angry-looking bull who begin to stamp his hoof. I only thought
they did that in cartoons until Andy showed me otherwise. And him
looking at a flooded-out rural road with the colorado rapids going
through the middle. He would look over his shoulder at me and say,
‘hold on’. Next thing he’s pinned underwater by his semi-conscious
brother.
He didn’t play by the rules as we all know. School was too mundane
for a kid who was speed-reading Robert Howard ‘Conan’ and ‘Dune’
novels by the fifth grade. And he felt no compunction to play the
game. By high school, he was nothing short of a thorn in my parent’s
side. Conspiring with his nair-do-well friends and Cousins, like Ren
Shore, not just trying to fit in with a punk rock social scene, but
creating one. I remember difficult, but, oh so colorful moments
between he and my dad. Moments where dad would find pillows
stuffed under his bed covers and his window wide open. Somehow
my dad figured out where to find him and pulled him off a barstool..
by his ear… when he was in the middle of getting his mojo on with
considerably older but attractive women. I think he was like 17. I think
at some point that night my dad hurled him across the living room
with one arm. Andy and I would laugh for years to come as he would
relay the experience of flying across the living room in slow motion.
Though he was known to sort of… have an aversion to good decisionmaking,
there was definitely a part of me that always admired his
style, and his guts. He was not only cool in my eyes, but he sort of
defined cool. Gave it new definitions. He didn’t follow what was cool
and trendy, he just did his own thing. And it came off as beyond cool.
You see in Sandy and West Valley Utah circa 1986-ish, having 3-feet
of spiked-straight-up hair, earrings, and eyeliner… tended to be an
invitation…in neon… for possés to come beat him up. Consequently,
he was never at a loss of completely crazy stories of getting into
scraps in a public restrooms with his pants around his ankles, or
narrow escapes from skinheads and being rescued by bikers, etc.
And every time I would start becoming convinced he was greatly
embellishing his tales, which was often, I would meet somebody who
would corroborate one of his tales. It became a point of pride in more
recent life for me to tell my friends in Texas.. “you see that movie SLC
punk? Based on real life. Those were all dudes my brother ran with.”
So while I was spending my youth doing my homework and catching
all the reruns of ‘Gidget’, he was spending his youth, that in my mind,
resembled an adventure-crammed ‘John Hughes-meets-the Sex
Pistols’ movie. I only wish there was a more definitive record of the
many unbelievable, yet true, tales he would regale me with.
And even though there was the expected tumult in the home growing
up, there was always that undertone of love and joy. The love and joy
were always there no matter what the immediate situation. My folks
knew he loved them. And Andy always knew they always loved him.
We were pretty opposite, he and I. I would channel my efforts in good
grades and winning the game. He would throw the game out the
window. We were pretty segregated after childhood for awhile. He
was busy being wild while I was busy doing my best. And even
though we were so different, and his job description earlier in life was
little-brother-torturer, we had a beautiful coming together in
adulthood. Back in High School days, he was too cool for school and
the kids I ran with.. but it really really warms my heart to know that
since those times, we’d become best friends. My mother told me
that’s how it would be. She told me, back when Andy and I were
pretty much arch enemies, that we would one day be best friends.
Because friends tend to ebb and flow, and come and go. But Andy is
family. He’ll always be there, and I’m stuck with him for a brother
whether I like it or not. And some day we’ll have memories and grow
closer. She was absolutely right.
All the while I totally was admiring his strength to rebel, his rock-star
approach to things. He taught me so much, and influenced so much
of what I like now. As our cousin Ryan said, “I’ll never be able to
enjoy a comic book or bad b-movie quite the same”. Same definately
goes for me. My fanhood of Mystery Science Theater and Hammer
films, as well as a good portion of my tastes in classic punk rock, can
be all accredited to my brother Andy.
For the last few years, we had just started a tradition of him coming
down by himself and visiting me and my wife and kid in Dallas every
October for a couple weeks. That was a hard-sell to the wife at first.
But she confided in me… quite honestly.. after his first visit… ‘you
know, I miss him already. I really, really enjoyed his company.’ And
that was the same review all my friends would give after he would hit
a concert or Halloween party with our friends. He is just plain likable.
I have seen him as a great, loving, caring father. But now I got to
know Andy as a great Uncle that my son Henry became so crazy
about.
He would even put on the ridiculous costumes we designated for him
at those last few Halloween parties. I was Doctor Who, and he was K-
9 the robot dog. Last year I was Thor, and he was the trickster Loki.
Even when he sometimes would have trouble with the increasingly
difficult (in today’s times) art of being happy, I’m pleased to say that
we all had some genuinely great visits down in Texas where he would
be a pretty darn happy Andy. And we grew ever closer, opening up
and talking about everything for hours into the late nights.
Came to find out to my shock and disbelief that he secretly admired
my good grades, marching in bagpipe bands, and church-attendance;
all the while I was secretly envious of his raw charisma and rebel
ways.
But there was so much more to him than image and pop culture. In
spite of his rock star persona, he was deep. We eventually learned
how to have the longest, deepest discussions, often deep into the
night on our back porch. Usually politics and theology, all the taboos.
And especially now, it is my greatest comfort to know he was sold on
the message and deity of Christ the Lord. His life tended to be
fragmented. And unfortunately, he could not put the pieces together
in a perfect way, (who can) but I have no doubt that Christ made his
life better. He’s confided that in me. It’s like how C.S. Lewis compares
Jesus to tooth paste. He says the British brush and floss every day.
Their teeth still look horrible. Genetically. But can you imagine what
they’d look like if they didn’t brush every day? There wouldn’t BE any
teeth. So even though Andy’s life wasn’t the picture of church-going
Joe, I know he had a very real, very unique relationship with the Lord
at his core.
That is what gives me the comfort and assurance that this isn’t it. This
isn’t the end. I fully expect to see him again some day. Andy told me
that earlier in life, he was of the Agnostic persuasion. But upon
investigating the profundity of the mission of Jesus, couldn’t deny that
the Lord’s message is a double-edge sword. A truth that you can’t
back away from. Christ never gave us the option of labeling him as a
mere good teacher. Because He also claimed to be the Way to
heaven. The atonement for our sins. So he was either full of it. Or
perhaps insane. Or it’s truth. Andy came to realize this is why Jesus
was a monkey wrench in all other world systems and theosophies,
that withstands scrutiny. That He probably would not have endured
the cross if there are, in fact, other paths to God. These things are
what we would talk about with complete openness, and no
censorship. He came to accept that life-changing message, as I have.
And that is why I’m assured I’ll be seeing Andy again. Death is not
being snuffed out. But passing on to meet the Way to Heaven. And
when I see Andy again… I’ll give him a good slap. A slap for bowing
out early. Not that it was intentional. Just that he’s experienced and
learned all he was supposed to I guess. He always was ahead of the
curve. Then I’ll hug him. I love you Andy. We all do.”

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This was all not long after my grandma Naomi died. She had been in pain, and was in a bad way for some time before, so it was no big shock when she went. She will be missed, nonetheless.

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And not too long ago, my last grandparent, grandma Patra died. She too was pretty long in the tooth, but I will always miss her short, sometimes a bit absent-minded, always sweet and giving, self. I have to admit I had to dig down and think a little for some of the chronology of this entire entry. The last year and half has been a bit of a blur of death for me. I wouldn’t take them back or anything, there’s still all the good times with my great wife and kid, but it’s been a pretty rough ride in many ways as well.

Henry’s 5th

Henry turned 5 today. We all got up early and opened presents. He got an “Angry Birds” game. Not a video game…but a game where you construct the pigs in buildings and launch the birds from a catapult. He was pleased. We played it a few times today.

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He also got his first 2-wheel bike. He got a tactical-looking green bike that sort of matches dad’s car.

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We then took him to breakfast of his choice, which, of course, was McDonald’s. Then we hit the park so he could try out his new bike and Spider Man helmet. It was neat to see him cruising around like a big boy. But at the same time, Sarah and I were feeling a bit of sad nostalgia at how fast the years have flown.

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We came home where Ronda was waiting for us. He got to open a few more presents. One was a set of ‘finger lights’. I had more fun raving with them than Henry.

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We went to work and Henry had a good day with Ronda. He destroyed an elephant pinata they made a few weeks ago, and they played some ‘pin the tail on the lion’. He probably had a few too many junk-food treats today, but hey, it’s his birthday.

 

Medieval Times

While Henry went on a drive with me to pick up my newly-repaired computer, I made the mistake of conversing with him about a place where you watch knights fight while you eat. This was MONTHS ago. Nothing further was mentioned for weeks. Then Henry, out of the blue, begins to ask when we are going to the place where you eat and see knights fight and joust. That kid does not forget…if it has his interest.

Sarah and I decided his birthday would be a good excuse to take the boy to see the knights. And Henry too. John and LeAnn were kind enough to come along, even though it’s definitely not a cheap deal. We got the birthday package which included his B-day announcement from the king, and birthday cake.

Henry found it only reasonable to don his knight costume from last Halloween. He was a sharp looking dude. It was especially amusing at the front ticket counter, when they were hesitating and having problems finding our reservations; because that’s when Henry drew his wood sword. And just stood there in his intimidation mode, staring at the guy at the counter.

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I enjoyed watching his face as much as I enjoyed the show. He was totally entranced. And that was for all the parading around, horse shows, and tournament games stuff. Then, by the time our meal was about over, the fighting began. Then he went from entranced to saucer-eye enchanted.

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He found it extra cool that our knight (Green) won. There was already no question as to his enjoyment of the entire evening, but it was further proof the way he was busting moves with his sword as we walked out. He seems to absorb the choreography pretty well, too, because he incorporates kicks and barrel rolls to his sword moves.

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Stay in Your Box!!!

Why do they make anything and everything you do so incredibly difficult, if it doesn’t conform to the standard, traditional, fast-food, corporate way of doing things?

This is the tale of my attempt to obtain a specific vehicle that I want. I’ve been wanting to get back into the bigger car/suv/truck zone again for my next vehicle. I also began realizing I always sorta dug those loud-colored FJ-cruisers I see driving around town. Then I saw they had released an army green color. Then my casual appreciation turned into unbridled want-lust in a pretty short period of time. We concluded that I was allowed to get one. It’s the least-cheap vehicle I ever ventured to buy, but I figured I’m just about 40. Must I wait ’till I’m 90 before I can declare it okay for me to get a car I want rather than ‘most economic and sensible’? Anyway, my rationalizations are a whole other story.

So I set out to find this cherished model at my local Toyota dealer. They didn’t have any. Then another. They didn’t have any. Then another….etc. Hmmm… this color seems to not be all that distributed here in Dallas. Then I found one up in Grapevine or someplace. Test drove it, and loved it. My fatal mistake was that I was still in the process of rationalizing to myself, and Sarah, this purchase. I told the guy I’d take my info and bring it home to the wife and let them know tomorrow. I called the next morning. It was sold (of course), and to a guy from Austin, no less. It was looking like this model was hard to get your hands on. It was, in fact, a “Trail Teams Special Edition”, which means, limited number in production, all the extra off-road package features, unique color that is unique to the edition of that year, etc. So I already knew it was somewhat limited, but this was stupid. I then found out why… apparently the tsunami in Japan directly crippled the production of specifically this car. In fact, they had a bunch on the line that were painted to be the ttse edition, but they couldn’t finish the job. So they released a bunch of ttse-colored FJs, but without all the off-road package and what-not attached to it. People who buy them call them the “Not-So-Special Edition”, or NSSE. Weird.

Anyway, my frustration was mounting. I began to surf the net. I’d find a few on dealer sites at weird places in the country. But more often than not, they would be sold when I would call. Finally, I found one on a dealer site out of Cleveland (my favorite place). I thought about asking bro-in-law Ian to go pick it up for me. Then I found out it was Cleveland, TN. Outside Chattanooga. I called…and it was sold out too.

BUT… the lady said she thought she could procure me another. She got back to me.. and she said there was one still at a Toyota shipping warehouse. Hadn’t even been to a dealer lot yet. She told me it could be shipped to Dallas, and the shipping cost could be rolled into the regular loan. I said “DO IT”!

It was a pretty stressful time, solidifying a loan, confirming that I actually HAD the loan, worrying about getting the vehicle actually TO me unharmed, worrying that something would be missing, etc. I actually made them send me pics at one point and discovered there was no tow hitch, like there was supposed to be in the description they sent. I made them put one on. Anyhow, Toyota of Cleveland successfully secured me a loan through BB&T, which I never heard of. In the months since, I’ve discovered a few BB&T branches around town here in Dallas, so they must be growing.

Now I had the car and was finally resting easy that our loan really existed. Now I had to register and license the thing. This is where the real fun began. I don’t even want to go into all the step-by-step, frustration-by-frustration labyrinth of pain, agony, disinfo, and public servant-retardedness that I had to battle my way through. I think I intentionally pushed much of it out of my brain in the time since. Seriously. I have to line up a ridiculous amount of detailed paperwork to go to the DMV, only to have them tell me they can’t help me because I’m missing such-and-such. Then I come back with that exact such-and-such they require, and they then tell me I’m missing so-and-so. And all so I can pay THEM. “Here, take my SLAVE money so I can have the PRIVILEGE (not Right) to travel in my vehicle..and you can keep closer tabs on me… and re-charge me money EVERY YEAR for being a SLAVE who gets to BORROW and use YOUR vehicle…take the cash…please!!! But this goes into my beef with the whole system in our “free” country…. back to my personal clerical agony….

Here’s the funny part: I refuse to do anymore at this point. Sarah and I decide to simply take the same stuff to a different (NON URBAN) DMV location, and they accept what I had, easily, from my very first visit… even less… she tossed a few papers aside saying “we don’t need this”.

Lesson learned: It has nothing to do with the rules. It’s how much of an asshole or non-asshole is the person you are speaking with. This is actually something I learned years ago. But it’s just so hard to exercise that sometimes. I have this foolish tenancy to think the actual paperwork and rules are sort of necessary for stuff.

So, finally, after a lump-some tax payment (for the whole vehicle!), and other fines and fees, I have a very, very sweet ride in a very, very sweet color. I’m letting the pain of beginning to think it’s not worth it to fade. I was issued a license and walked. I think part of it was the fact Sarah came with me for the first time. When she goes, things get done. Again, whether or not I did everything right in my solo attempts. It takes the wife for shit to actually get done, even if it’s just her presence. I say this with a touch of bitterness, because for some people… things just happen and work. Period. Then for others, every obstacle Murphy can think of… and more… gets thrown in the way. A simple run to the corner store for some TP becomes riddled with problems and setbacks, through no fault of the cursed individual. I can too-often be the latter person.

But all that aside, I’m happy with my ride. I had a temp plate for a minute but went back for a radio operator plate because I had recently passed my exam to be a ham radio extra (the highest rank, thank you). And that went much better. In fact, it only costs a buck to put in for a radio plate. If it were some other “vanity” plate, turns out that can cost a stupid amount of cash!

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I jumped on fjcruiserforums.com and discovered not only did I pick a good ride, but the types on this site seem to by my kind of peeps, bizarre humor and all. I went to a local meet & greet and got to check out eveybody else’s pimped out FJs.

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All this fun getting the vehicle was November/December. In the following few months, I’ve managed to get my ham radio installed, which I’m proud of, (but it’s gonna be awhile before I can afford the winch bumper and lift kit)  I found some sweet car stickers online, and got my army stars and hood serials (which include my callsign) put on. I think I was influenced by my dad’s ol’ green truck, and my uncle jerry’s ol’ army jeep that had the army stars on them. I also installed the MPAC rear-door Molley rack, which is pretty awesome. I drilled a mount on the roof rack for a couple Rotopax gas cans, and got a Hi-Lift jack mounted, along with axe/shovel using Fourtreks mounts. A got a tuffy center console locking box, of which I nicely lined the inside.

The FJs are sure fun to look at though. I like the slightly retro vibe to these machines, and they are arguably better than jeeps and hummers off-road.

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2012 Retreat

I just got back from the 2012 CRC men’s retreat in Torrey, UT. I’m very glad I was allowed to go. I spent a few weaks gearing and prepping up my sweet ride. Drove for a day, slept in a dive in Cuba, NM, then drove the rest of the way to Torrey. I got to meet quite a few new faces, and  catch up with some old friends like Tom, Kevin, and Tim. We don’t keep in a whole lot of touch, but it was like no time had passed with us. Good conversation, worship, and testing out my vehicles’ worth off-road. Soon as I rolled into town on Thursday, I drove off the road on some random trail head I discovered. It was a surprisingly rough road… it required some rock-negotiations here and there. I only took it about a mile in, took some pics, then went back.

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On Friday, I convinced 5 other guys to take the trail further and see where it goes. It didn’t go a whole lot further, but there were some hairy spots, and it ended up at a red cliff ampitheater spot. We hiked around a bit, then decided there was too much day left, so we cruised down to some of that Burr trail as it goes into Escalante. We found a crumbly-rock hill that they ski’d down like 15 years ago. We climbed up, got some pics, had some fun.

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On Saturday, I wanted to take my ride through the Cathedral Valley loop. Chris came along, and not a quarter mile in from our trail head, there was a stream going through the road. Didn’t look like much. I could see the rocks at the bottom for most of it. Well, just before I was across, the water was suddenly hood-deep. That’s when I found myself lamenting the fact I didn’t mod my ride with a snorkel yet. But I gunned it, and it went right through. There were some rocky patches and rough road through the whole loop, but worth it. I rounded a corner and found myself stuck right in the middle of a genuine cattle drive at one point.

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We stopped to see the Cathedral of the Sun and Moon. I also brought my pipes along and made a stop to see how they’d fare. Chris appreciated that, on account of he’s presbyterian and is quite fond of the pipes.

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Sunday was the day to hit the road, but I discovered Kevin was going the same way as me, so we decided to convoy for awhile and kill a few hours taking detours. Totally worth it. We’d stop to see sights, take some pictures, etc. When I thought we were pretty much out of the scenic stuff, we suddenly took a left off the road. It turned out to be a couple hour detour that was awesome. We took open, graded gravel fast, baja-style. Then we dipped down through some rocky-steppy, roads where you have to negotiate a bit. Then we dropped down into some washes. We came out near goblin valley, so we took some time to check it out. I don’t remember the last time I was at goblin valley, and it’s one of my faves. We had a burger in Hanksville, made a few more quick photo stops by Lake Powell, and eventually split up.

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It was time for me to make a pretty long push back to Albequerque before too late. I was home by Monday night. It was a whirlwind, but totally worth it. I was in as much need of testing my vehicle off road, getting outdoors, re-acquainting myself with the desert, as I was in need of fellowship, worship, a good message and communion.

Been Awhile…

I was getting lazy for a few months on the blog. In fact, the explosive popularity of facebook kinda made me extremely lazy about doing anything with the blog for quite awhile. Then when I was thinking about getting back into it, my brother Andy died unexpectedly. So I sorta didn’t feel like yammering about much of anything for awhile. In fact I also killed my facebook. I sort of got tired of “fluffy kitty quotes” getting far more stellar response and review amongst my friends and loved ones, than postings about how and why we are so screwed as a nation. Oh well. There’s a time and place for everything. I could ramble on about significant signs of the times, but I reckon I would start another blog for that. This here blog is for the purpose of being my memoirs. I have some catching up to do. I reckon I’ll be doing some back-dated posts pretty soon. Fill in a few memorable highlights of the last year-and-a-half… if I can remember them.