Monday, November 16, 2020

Conclusion of the Arizona trip

Hey Gang,
When you do a blitz of a road trip as I did it all gets blurred and confusing. 4 days there, 3 days home so yes it is a blur.
Final numbers are: Fort Smith Arkansas to home is 15-hrs 30-mins, 987 miles. I traveled it in 19 hours, that was including gas, toilet, snacks and supper.

Stretches of the area I drove through are a pickers paradise. The covid blues have really done a number on so many of these towns that were in hardship before. Building after building is shuttered. Motels, restaurants, gas stations are spray painted or just left decaying.
As far as covid, nothing is making sense. Some of the motels I stayed at were not serving breakfast because of the covid. We were told go next door to Denny's or Waffle House. Why can these places serve meals but not the motel?
Anyway... I was excited to eat dinner with someone I met on Facebook. Driving through Amarillo stopped and ate with Michael S.. The section of the city we were in is swamped with corporate places. We eventually found a small independent Mexican restaurant. Very good dinner, excellent conversation.

After that I motored onward to Van Buren Arkansas and stopped there for the night. In the morning I started the long trek home, 19 hours. 

Hit the road around 11:30 am and arrived home about 6:30 am. Not bad timing considering I got lost, ate supper, stopped numerous times for gas and restroom breaks.

And wouldn't you know it, the whole week I was on the road was cool. Since I was heading north to home the last day I put on a sweatshirt. The day started cool, 57 but warmed up to 69 in Missouri. The last day of the trip and now the weather warmed!

My last stop was in James, Missouri for supper. I saw a faded sign for Country Bob's Diner that made me exit.  It turned out to be a fantastic dining experience. I felt more like I was at someones house eating with friends rather than a restaurant. The buffet was delicious. It was smoked meat night.  Country Bob's is definitely an oasis for the road weary traveler. 

4 days there and 3 days home. What a road trip
Enjoy the photos. 

Gotta Go-Go!
Carey
















Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Day something Arizona trip

 Hey Gang,

I am still confused as to what day and time it is. Change of time zones, seasons, fall savings time, just confused. But I do believe it is Tuesday.

notes from day 4
snow
cold 47 in phoenix
1 dollar map
free pioneer museum
free map
cold snow
vista
views
people talk about trump

After we left Albuquerque it got colder and then bam, snow! SNOW! And in spots visibility was poor so had to ease up my speed and only did 80. Learning experience for me. I thought AZ and NM was always hot. But up in the mountains it gets very cold. There are plenty of ski areas. I was in a town called Snow Flake. 
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And another learning experience was the cold in Phoenix. 47 degrees! When we left Cleveland I questioned why would the lady bring a space heater, leave it behind. So glad she brought it, I ran extension cords to the van and used it to so I could sleep in it. When I woke I was still chilly, it was around 57 at 9 am. 
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I didn't bring any maps, have no GPS and there was no WiFi to use my laptop. I stopped at a few places to inquire where the welcome centers are but most were closed because of the covid blues.
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I got off at the town of Pioneer, sign said tourist attraction. They have to have a map. I went to Pioneer village which is a restored western town and have things like gun fight shows. Unfortunately it was closed on Monday and Tuesday. The lady said go ahead and walk through it anyway. So I got to see most of the town for free.  
She directed me to Anthem's welcome center. Anthem is a town that has sprung up in the last 20 years
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In Anthem I asked the sheriff hey where are the welcome centers, I need a map! He said go to Circle K, last night I saw a close out basket and they were one dollar.
I got lost and needed a map to find Circle K but eventually did locate it. The basket next to the maps were 1 buck items, maps were half priced. I said well the sheriff said 1 dollar. she said give it to me and rang it up at that price and said when you see the sheriff tell him I am going to punch him in the nose.
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I took an indirect route to 40 the main west east route, the way home. 260 east and forgot the other. If I would have stopped at each pull off for the vistas and scenery this 75 mile stretch would have taken a 2 weeks to travel.
Elevation I think started at 4,000 then went up to over 6,000 
Tonto forest the fifth largest national forest in the United States, Apache-Sitgreaves and three others that escape me right now.
Unbelievable the beauty.
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And there is no escaping politics. Almost every where I go people ask me, whats your thoughts? I have yet to meet a Biden supporter. Trump signs are all over. I do not see how Biden could have won Arizona.


 Off to Amirillo to meet Mike for coffee

Gotta Go-Go!
Carey

ay and time it is. Change of time zones, seasons, fall savings time, just confused. But I do believe it is Tues

Monday, November 9, 2020

2 On the Road to Arizona

Hey Gang
1 day, 2 days, 3 days what day is it? What time is it?
Day 2 
After leaving the nightmare motel It was fairly a quiet ride. The only excitement was truck with a boom that rolled. It looks like he drove to close to the edge of the road and boom over he went, This happened by Forrest City, OK if I remember.
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As I said it was a quiet relaxing ride so you take note of things like the adult bar named the
Pink Hippo. I am sure with a name like that there is no pole dancing because the dancers would bring the house down. Think about that for a moment you'll get it.
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I like this 2020 van for the speed and handling but hate it with all the tech junk. I was starting to call it Herbie but I think it is more like having mom in the car. The dash starts blinking after so many hours of driving with a warning that says Driver rest is advised. Do we really need a vehicle to remind us to rest? If I was nodding off do you think I would even notice it? I think the Italian version of this van starts blinking every 30 minutes - Did you eat yet? Stupid.
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Super 8 the motel that reminds me of the old film projectors was clean and quiet.
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Instead of ordering food out I went and bought steak and cooked in my room. Instant rice, can of beans thrown on top and steak cooked in olive oil. If you are going to try and cook in your motel room remember to disconnect the smoke detector.
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I asked the lady at the desk where is there store. She directed me to Walmart. I forgot that quickly and found a nice local grocery store called Homeland. Why don't locals promote more of their local stores?
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NO politics. I have tried my best to steer away from politics. I needed a break. But at the gas station I was talking to a lady and she said her American flag is flying upside down. That is a lady that is informed.
Then I wake again have not turned on the TV to take a break from all the politics so what happens?
I awake to a Southern black man with a deep Atlanta accent talking politics in the next room
He is so loud
I TELL YOU IN 2022 I AM GONNA RUN, A MILLION MORE VOTERS IN ATLANTA I THINK I CAN DO THIS... SHAWN HANNITY.... THEY DID THEIR JOB... LEBRON JAMES
I can't escape it But you know what, I may just knock on his door. Who knows he could be the next president. Well I didn't knock on his door but I did slip one of my postcards through his door. I got in my van and watched the card disappear. Then the door opened with a man peaking out. I said I put that in your car, wish I had more time talking to you. He said YES it is interesting while laughing and smiling. what did I write on the card? Sir, I found your talk about politics very interesting. I am an Italian American and we talk loud too. I wish you would have seen the man's smile, ear to ear.
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Day 3
The drive to Albuquerque. Speed limit is 75 so in long stretches I hit 85 to 90. It does say Uhaul I for sure be hauling. The covid blues hit the small decaying towns so hard. Things were a time capsule in before now so many businesses are shuttered. A pickers and photographers dream. another are I need to return to.
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We are staying in a much LaQuinta. Clean and quiet. went to Taco Cabana a really good 4 star sort of fast food style restaurant. They make much of the food from scratch. I almost ordered cow tongue and then cow cheek. Yes its on the menu, it looked good in the photos but um not that adventurous I guess.
OH what did the Mexican say? Still trying my best to stay away from politics during this trip, while standing there in Taco Cabana and man next to me stares and asks where I'm from. He was very hard to understand. He is from Mexico, been here 35 years but his accent says otherwise. Then out of the blue he asks. What you think of politics? Not sure what I was walking into. I threw it back at him and said you are Trump or Biden supporter? And what did the Mexican say? OH I like Trump, I am a business man in construction, Trump is a business man, every time Republicans get elected its good for business. And since he started it I will add this, you still believe in the media? Trump won the people over. media sold him out.
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Day 4 has just started it is 9:19 am New Mexico time. need to hurry. Off to Phoenix and then after the 5 hour drive need to unload the moving van.

Gotta Go-Go!
Carey


Friday, November 6, 2020

1 On the road to Arizona

 Hey Gang,

So here I am about to give you the run down on my trip when it occurred to me it sounds like nothing but bad and complaints. But then I thought, well it is the truth so I will blog away as is.

I was two days early for take off then ran a hour late. How is that possible, I thought we were leaving Wednesday it was actually Friday and then I was late a hour, make sense now?

Everyone knows how I hate GPS and here is another example or trip why. I was following the lady who is moving to Arizona. We were on 271 that becomes 71 which was our route. For some reason her GPS said take 480 to 77 to some road then back on 271 then 71. WHAT!

Example 2. Driving through Columbus all she had to do was stay on 71 for some reason GPS directed her to 670. She got lost, I took the lead and got us back on 71 all the way through Cincinnati into Kentucky.

Example 3 At that point I called her cell and said I don't have a map but I believe we need 71. GPS told her 75 which took us the route to Knoxville, we had to back track on roads the GPS directed her and we lost a hour and a half. I hate GPS.

And this newfangled 2020 Ford van is just not for me. Sure it has pick up and speed galore and the radio is great but I hate gadgets and no CD player. I don't know how many times I accidentally turned the wipers on, had to blow the horn at someone and instead turned off the radio, and the radio why do you need so many buttons? It has to much glass. I felt like I was in a terrarium. The thing that was really confusing is they don't want you to drink and drive than why does this van have 10 drink holders in the cab? 

So now I am La Quinta. What is a quinta? I need to find out. It is one very dated motel painted yellow or did it turn yellow with age? The beds are worn. Sleeping in the spring during the fall. If one of these springs lets loose I will be impaled. 

Then there is our little conspiracy virus - covid. Free breakfast won't be served because of covid and rooms won't be made up until you leave. But next door is a 24 hour Waffle House, the covid doesn't go there so I guess thats where I am eating and its not free,

Lastly is the cicadas from hell sound. It sounds like a bad B movie, A nuclear blast turns normal cicadas into behemoth monsters. How does anyone sleep around here? I found out there is a train yard across the street. We called the desk and asked whats that nose? The clerk said what noise? And then said OH thats the train it will quiet down. WHEN? When our nerves and ears are shot.

Did I mention this non smoking room smells like smoke?


Gotta Go-Go!

Carey

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Sherman NY - The Search for Bread

Hey Gang,

This video is part of our trip traveling on NY RT 86 to Coudersport and Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania. We were a few exits away from the most scenic rest area I have ever seen overlooking Chautauqua Lake where we would stop for lunch.
 Bread was needed for our sandwiches so we exited at Findley Lake, NY in search of a store. I always prefer shopping for food while on the road to try different local products, that's if you can find them.
There was no store in sight but there was a vegetable stand that I stocked up on tomatoes and peppers and one raspberry for Anita. The lady manning the stand said there is a Dollar General or get off at the next exit and go to Sherman there is a home town store.
I thought she said the name of the store was Hometown instead she meant a home town store not a corporate or chain store, got it, because I didn't.
So you will see me backtracking, driving and turning around looking for this elusive store named Hometown which was right there all the time named Graham's.
You'll get to meet Harry. Harry was sitting on a bench when I struck up a conversation with him. He was explaining that all the stores in town were originally three stories until the road was raised and took off the bottom story.
You will also hear the 5 o'clock siren, why does it blare at 5, because its the 5 o'clock siren.
Lastly at the end you will hear me say I am traveling in response to a question by Mark the owner of the store who who asked me what I was doing?
Instead of tossing us out I quickly explained I am an author and what I was doing.
The name of the store is Graham's Market in Sherman, NY in case you want to check it out. Neat little grocery store that was spotless. I was impressed with how clean it was.
Mark purchased both of my books "Hey Gang! Ready to G-Go? and Cruising Across America.
Hello Mark if you are out there hope you are enjoying the read and if not hope I am invited back in.
Sit back and enjoy the search for bread, here is the link:



Gotta Go-Go!
Carey


Friday, May 29, 2020

Dog-gone!

Dog-gone!
So there I am cleaning the van and other chores outside when I hear this whistling and yelling
Its past midnight, don't people sleep
I go and see whats going on
Drunk husband and drunk wife though she slurs he's drunk I am not
Whats going on
I opened the door and our dog ran out
So cops are buzzing around, lady and man are buzz buzzing around
I decide to join the hunt
I find the dog, call the cop shop and lady dispatcher says your name is Carey so is mine, but this has nothing to do with the story
Dispatcher tells me stay put will call them
5 minutes, 10, 15 minutes no one shows up so I leave
Moral of the story is never count your chickens before they hatch, one could turn out to be a duck
Carey On...

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Reflections on the Shutdown


Some things to ponder as we prepare to reopen society
When I was going through my three month bout of who knows what I had from mid-December to early March I watched TV and did little else. I had brief spells where I felt a little better and worked a few jobs but for the most part sat or slept.

Sometime in February when I was experiencing a high fever I felt like I was dieing. I had nightmares and when I awoke from one I was delusional. I no longer felt comfortable in my surroundings almost as if I did not recognize my house. It was cold and not homey at all. It didn’t even smell right. I had a strong sense to get things in order, gather unused and unnecessary things and throw-out. The first area was my closet.
So  on the good days I would clean house, then rest and watch TV. Right after the presidential impeachment hearings, which I just about watched the whole thing, more and more newscasts were about the corona virus. Then the shutdown occurred. And then came all the posts on social media sites of people cleaning their house and closets and throwing things out. Hmmm.
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We said we were alone during this quarantine but were we really? Vietnam was the first war to be broadcast daily on TV. Now we can say the covid-19 is the first major crisis where we lived through it via social media. 911 happened but many of these sites didn’t exist then.
I like to thank everyone who entertained us with their daily skits, humor and information to ease our angst. We may have felt isolated but we were never really alone.
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Also I like to thank many of you who checked up on me during my illness and immediately when the quarantine was first announced. I won’t mention names because of fear of leaving someone out. But you know who you are. It did ease my anxiousness during my illness knowing I had people to lean on financially if things got really bad.
But I know I was not the only one with friends reaching out. Many of you did that for each other. Take a collective hug and bow for being there for each other.
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Nothing has made sense during this whole fiasco, nothing and a thousand more nothings.
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In the that’s ridiculous department are the news updates of unemployment numbers going up. Is this really needed when most everything was ordered closed? What did you expect unemployment to go down?
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Arrows at the stores. Dumb stupid and asinine! So I was at a store where they have arrows pointing for the direction to go through the aisles. I was in the vitamin aisle. I left my cart at the top. I couldn’t find what I was looking for but realized that I made it all the way down to the end of the aisle but my cart was at the other end. Now what? Do I circle around to get my cart? Do I walk backwards towards my cart so I am not really violating the arrow direction? Or do I go rogue and go against the direction of the arrow. I went and got my cart.
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After leaving this store it occurred to me the arrows will never work. All it took was a brief observation of the parking lot with cars driving up and down in the wrong direction and parking where they shouldn’t.
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I was sick for three months so hardly ventured out and then the shutdown happened. I am a rebel to begin with and being stuck inside for three months do you actually think I stayed home during this whole quarantine? NO way. Every Sunday I took a day drive to some out of the way park. Just about every night I went for a walk. I had a friend over for Easter and I even shook hands and hugged friends and acquaintances. I am such a rebel! OY!
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Ridiculous talk number two. Within a day of this shut down I wrote how dangerous this is because of suicides. So now what is being reported, the rise in suicides – duh - as if they didn’t see this happening. You take away a person’s ability to put food on their table and coupled with the fear of losing everything you take a person’s self-esteem and hope away
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During my outings to parks most of their restrooms had for emergency use only signs. When you gotta go, you gotta go so isn’t most times an emergency? But some park restrooms had for emergency use only signs but had their doors locked. Now what is one supposed to do when they gotta go? Hello, 911 this is an emergency can you come unlock the restroom? Please stay calm, do you have to pee or number 2? Um a combination. OK this is what you have to do. OK OK but please hurry. Ma’am please stay calm, don’t move, cross your legs and sing Mary Had a Little Lamb OK. Yes OK….  Paramedics arrive. It looks like she isn’t going to make the restroom, bring a sponge and mop please. Lady don’t move, we will clean you up. Double OY!
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Almost immediately when this happened I wrote America will never be the same. And it won't be. The new buzz phrase is the new normal. Please think for yourself, do not use that phrase. There is nothing new or normal about communist run governments which is just about what were are experiencing.
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Sunlight since God said let there be light has been good for man and planet. Sunlight or being outside does wonders for ones health. They admit being outside and in the sun could help fight covid-19 and yet they keep our beaches and campgrounds shut. Do I need to comment further on this?
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And that's a wrap!

Gotta Go-Go!
Carey