Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Pepsi and a Pickle Day

Ever tried a pickle in your Pepsi? Everyone should try it once. I had a chance to have lunch with Lela and Mary Lynne today. As they get older I realize how precious these times are. They will become fewer and fewer as the days go by. My gosh they are growing up! In fact grown up would be a better description.

The day started out with me being at work by 6:15 am. I wanted to get some work done before the guys got there. I can do as much in an hour with no one there as I can in three during the day when I have the constant interruptions. I had to leave for a while because I had a PT appointment. Linda's tired of my whining so earlier in the week she drug me by my hair down to the Physical Therapist. So far so good. I hope the shoulder is responding but only time will tell.

Lela and her babysitting charge, Alora, 19 months old, met me at the therapist's clinic and watched while I was twisted and pull on. Afterwards we decided that Brandy's would be a good way to commiserate. I sat in the booth opposite Lela and Alora. Mindy came to join us during her lunch break. Lela had hot apple cider which came in a large mug. Alora decided that she needed the mug. After a bit of a discussion with her it was agreed that she could have her own mug. The waitress brought us an empty mug into which Alora promptly spooned some of Lela's cider. When my Pepsi came, Alora wanted to play with the straw. Soon the straw wasn't enough and the Pepsi was the only thing that would do. We put the Pepsi next to Alora's mug and she used her spoon to put Pepsi into it. I figured it was just a spoon and a little apple cider. Cider wouldn't be too bad; might even be good. I continued to drink the Pepsi.

Our lunch came. I had an egg on top of a pancake and Mindy and Lela shared a nice sandwich. The sandwich came with a pickle on the side. Alora likes pickles. And Pepsi. And pickles dipped into Pepsi. After sampling for myself I decided I didn't like the combination all that much. Alora got the rest of the Pepsi. Despite the loss of beverdge, I enjoyed the time with my daughters and will cherish all that I can manage to have.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Alive!

Frankenbike lives! Mike the Bike delivered it late this evening. When I pulled around the corner and saw it sitting in the driveway I was thrilled. I got off of The Beast and jumped on Frankenbike. It is totally different but so nice. The Beast is a V-Twin and has the attendant sound and vibration. Frankenbike is an inline 4 with stock exhaust which just sounds sweet. There are some other glaring differences as well; the seating position, the foot pegs, the narrowness of both the handlebars and gas tank. The most glaring difference is the positioning of the foot pegs. They are much further back than I'm used to. It's the same position as my Yamaha 250 dirt bike. Good for standing up on the pegs while going over the bumps and rocks off road but a little uncomfortable on the highway. Highway pegs mounted to the crash bars are in order. Possibly even forward controls. The latter are to be determined at a later date. The other differences are just differences, not annoyances. Like driving your '55 Chevy for awhile and then jumping in your Mustang. All the controls are there, they just look and feel different. Pictures of both bikes will be forthcoming. Give me a bit, I'll need to get both scooters out in the yard to take pictures. And do it before the snow flies.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Flagstaff 7 went to Cottonweird today. When we left Flagstaff it was 26 degrees. Below zero. I had on a turtleneck, a pullover shirt, my thick Harley sweater (thank you Linnea!)my leathers (with the fringe) and my leather coat. (Without fringe.) It was still cold. I was glad we were heading south, off the mountain. As the journey began I wondered if it would be worth the cold. It only took a few minutes on the freeway to make me know that it was. The feeling is just unexplainable. The only way to make a person know the feeling is to make them experience it. If you really want to know what it feels like come and take a ride.

I took both of my helmets with me; the full face and the 1/2 helmet. The full face covers all the way down past my chin. The 1/2 only to just above my ears. I keep my Ipod on full blast and scoot along to the likes of Steppenwolf and George Thorogood. Of course when I hear "Bad To The bone" I have to sing along. With the full face helmet I can hear myself sing. I've discovered that I'm a much better singer with the 1/2 helmet on.

We had to have an excuse to ride, so ostensibly we went down to Laurie's dad's house to talk to him about his trike. He and his wife Carrol, have been riding trikes for quite some time. Lin and I are thinking that maybe it would be more comfortable for her if we had a trike. I'm having trouble with the thought of giving up the two wheels. There are some alternatives but we don't know about the compromise it would take to do those. If I could afford it I would get Lin a Goldwing trike in a heartbeat but I can't. In any event, Lin and Lela both got a ride on Dan's nice machine. They loved it, to say the least. The picture at the top of this entry shows the rear of Dan's machine. As we are currently discussing it they both say that they would jump on a trike for trips to the store. I may have to give up both The Beast and Frankenbike to get a trike. As an aside but not of lesser importance: We weren't at Dan and Carrol's for more than 10 minutes when Carrol went into her house and returned with a really nice leather jacket for Lela. It was very nice of them to think of Lela as a recipient of the jacket and Lela is thrilled with it. She didn't want to take it off.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sometimes the absurd just gets more absurd. Today I had a little time to stop at Burger King for a snack. I'd been having a good day and I thought a small chocolate shake would top things off. Before getting my shake I went in to the restroom to wash my hands. I walked in and turned right around and walked out. There's a guy in there taking a shower in the sink in the Burger King. I've worked in bus stations, camped, been deer hunting, had cars break down where there were no facilities for many miles around, but I've NEVER seen someone taking a shower in the sink at the Burger King. I've seen things in the restrooms at the bus station which were shocking, really shocking. But taking a shower? Not a sponge bath mind you, but a full blown shower. He was standing at the sink, filling a large spray bottle with water and then spraying himself all over. He had already soaped up and was in the rinse phase when I walked in. He didn't seem surprised or startled when I walked in; in fact he didn't even acknowledge me. I certainly didn't acknowledge him. I just backed out slowly and tried to erase the image from my mind. So far unsuccessful. I had to get on "The Beast" to help clear things.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Poor Gordon, Dead and Gone

Linda and I went to Phoenix Friday afternoon to see the concert mentioned in a previous post. (Anyone know how to make these posts go from first to last instead of last to first?) The concert was fun but not good. The picture of Gordon at the top of this post should show why. Mr. Lightfoot has been dead for quite some time but no one dares to tell him. The music and musicians were very good but Mr. Lightfoot's singing, while never good, has deteriorated considerably. Almost to the point of being un-listenable. I understand that I'm old now, and that the singers I liked when I was young have aged as well, but Grand Funk still sound like Grand Funk and 3 Dog Night still sound like 3 Dog Night. Those concerts were great. And The Moody Blues could still tour as a modern day rock band. They still have the energy and vigor of their youth. Gordon, on the other hand, sounds like Katherine Hepburn in her later days. Remember "On Golden Pond"? Horrible. We still had fun and enjoyed the music. It brought back separate memories; we didn't know each other when Gordon was popular.

Our trip to Phoenix was fun. We spent the night in a motel near the freeway. Near our houses in the valley actually. We drove by them. All looks well. One is coming off lease at the end of November but we have a renter already lined up. Lucky thing in these economic times.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Steamed Vegetables

Yesterday started off inauspiciously. I headed off to work not knowing what would lie in store but then again, I never really do. When I got out to Little Antelope I got word of a scene I needed to go take pictures of. Down around milepost 302 on northbound I17 a couple of truck drivers decided to stop and steam some vegetables. Seems that they were driving from California to Montana with a load of various types of vegetables. They decided to set their load on fire, call the fire department who would then come and steam their vegetables for them while the fire was put out. I suppose that a truck load of steamed vegetables might be just some restaurants would need, but most prefer to do their own steaming. Fresher that way. Somewhere south of MP299 the refrigeration unit on the truck caught fire. It burned the trailer and truck to the point that when the wrecker pulled the tractor away from the trailer several feet of the front stayed with the tractor. It took six hours, two tow trucks, three dump trucks and one fire truck to get the mess straightened out. Oh, and five ADOT workers. I've got pictures but they aren't available to me right now. I'll get them up later.

My darling wife's birthday was celebrated in the evening. The Flagstaff six plus Mary Lynne and Lela all went to Outback for some beef. Good friends good family and good food. I surprised Linda with some tickets to one of her favorite singer/songwriters; Gordon Lightfoot. Well at least I thought he was one of her favorites. She likes him, but not better than anyone else. Last year was supposed to be Andy Williams for Christmas. I bought the tickets and was all set to go but then it snowed. Dang I hate that stuff. Want to know the first day of significant snow this year? I'm sure it'll be October 24th, the day of the Lightfoot concert.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just a quick update on the last two weeks of recuperation. I'm still a little sore but doing well. My skin is still pretty sensitive where the stitches were. When Barkley decides to sit on me he has to sit on my right side or bad stuff happens. Fortunately I've been given some assignments at work which haven't taxed me too much. I rode The Beast to work a couple of days this week. Felt good.

Frankenbike is at a doctor's office getting some much needed attention. Fork seals, carb tune, and most importantly, brake cylinder rebuilds. I'm old enough that stopping has become as important as going fast. And at my age going fast includes less actual speed than it used to. Truth be told, I'm at the stage where the flash is more important than the substance. But regardless, I'm anxious to ride the Honda. The next day or two should include an update on Linda's latest challenge: Stan wanting a sidecar for Frankenbike.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Well I tried to commit stupidcide yesterday. Lela and I went to Phoenix to attend a memorial service. It was outside, in Phoenix, in September. It was HOT. Not as hot as it could be but when you compare it to Flagstaff, it was HOT. I was standing up outside of the tent when I started to feel faint. I leaned over and put my hands on the back of the chair my mom was sitting in but that didn't seem to help. I worked my way over to where my sister Loretta was sitting and demanded her chair. Actually she graciously offered me her chair. I sat down and my lovely sister-in-law Rose told me to put my head between my knees. Have you seen me? Put my head between my knees? I haven't been able to do that since 1931. But regardless, I took her advice to the point that I could and put my head down. After a few minutes I began to get my wits about me again. This surgery thing has made me dehydrated and it caught up with me yesterday. Needless to say I'm drinking lots more water now.

The Flagstaff Six, possibly minus Linda, who is attending a conference, are hoping to go out for a bite to eat this evening. I haven't been on the bike for almost three weeks now and I think that is the real cause of yesterday's event; motorcycle withdrawal. Well, could be.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I'm at home after getting some surgery done. Minor, but dang I'm sore! I'll leave it to the reader's imagination as to the nature of the procedure. I'll just say that the pain killer and antibiotic taste horrible. And Linda is making sure I get every ounce that I'm supposed to. Relates to the question of which is worse; the disease or the cure. I will be better later but right now the irritation is irritating.

I'm well enough to go downtown and look at the cars lined up on the streets. It's the Route 66 Car Club's annual show. They shut down registration at 366 but I don't know if I'll have enough strength to see them all. Pictures may follow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

This is a sign on the way to the North Rim. Linda's brother might get a kick out of it. Of course his name is Larry.
I've got a lazy bike. The dang thing just rests whenever it wants to. Last week I was at the credit union, just leaving the parking space when The Beast decided to take a nap. I mean I wasn't going more than 5 mph and making a hard turn when it just laid over on it's left side. I stepped off and listened to it snore. As I stood there pondering how to wake it up, 13 midgets in a minivan pulled up and helped me right the thing. Actually it was a skinny guy in an old Ford Econoline, but between the two of us we stood it up and I was able to throw a leg over it and steady it. I don't understand why the thing did that to me; I feed it premium fuel, wipe the dust off of it, try not to ride in the rain too much, but still it got lazy on me.

Today is the 27th anniversary of the day Linda and I said "I do." I am so amazed that she is still with me. I'm grateful for that and anxious to start the next 27. We plan for the future and enjoy the present. Thanks Linda for helping us be a complete family.

The problem I'm finding with blogs is that posts always go on the top. When I'm writing a story, the reader starts with the last post when the story actually starts with the first post. I'll wander around the blog site and see if there is a way to change that. In the mean time I'll figure out a way to tell the reader which posts continue a story line and which ones are just miscellaneous ramblings.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not much new this week. Been working hard. Hot days out on the asphalt. I rode the Beast to work today and intend to do so tomorrow. I'm pretty stoked though; at dinner this evening Angela told me that Tommy T has some handle grips with fringe. I gotta go get them. Remember, it takes a real man to have fringe on his scooter.

I'm gonna have a bit of time on my hands in the next couple of weeks during which I'll attempt to further describe the cycle related adventures of the Flagstaff Six. We're working on Colorado for next summer but it may be possible that we'll do a two day trip to eastern Arizona before winter hits.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just a couple of pictures to show what Linda and I have been doing this spring. Lin doesn't think these are her best shots. Not necessarily what she wants to be known for. She's just humoring me but I like it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How the heck do these guys ride this way? The fringe on my leathers would always be in my way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

April 14, 2008

We're in Laughlin, NV. Linda says that the best part of the trip is that nobody died. Some people got scared. Real scared. And those that didn't get scared have no imagination. Maybe that should be explained.

This all started last weekend when the New Flagstaff Six got carried away with ourselves, rented Harleys and took off for places we shouldn't have gone. In preparation for a planned trip mentioned above and described later, we decided to take a pre-trip to gauge the strength of our character and rear ends. Our strength of character was sorely challenged and the strength of our rear ends proved to be non-existent.

I should introduce you to the New Flagstaff Six: First there's Phil, the seeker of truth and hats. His wife Angela, who may indeed be an angel but trys to hide it. Next is Jeff (Hawk) Hawkins and his wife Laurie (Lady Hawk.) Then there's Linda who's name in Spanish means beautiful. She fits the name well. And finally me, Stan, or lately called Dr. FrankenStan. The name having to do with the Honda CB900 Linda and I are putting together with parts from various sources and dead bikes. The bike is called FrankenBike, hence Dr. FrankenStan.

Angela had made arrangements for five of us to rent bikes from the Harley dealer in Belmont. We wanted to get an early start so we made sure to get there at 8 a.m. Actually Angela wanted to get a really early start so we made sure we were there before 8. Way before 8. The problem with that was that the rental guys don't get there until 9. Not really a problem because we spent the time drooling over the cycles for sale. I picked out several, each of which Linda said I could buy if I could figure out how to pay for them. I'm working on that but in the meantime renting will have to do. Oh, only five of us needed to rent because Phil owns his.

It was with some fear and trepidation that I threw my leg over the Heritage Classic chosen for me to ride. I felt the vibrations and was glad I wasn't being too macho to wear my helmet. Then I realized the vibrations were just my knees banging against the gas tank and I should probably start the engine. I watched as Linda took off for a short test ride. She just pulled in the clutch, dropped it into first gear, revved slightly, let the clutch out slowly, put her feet up on the floorboards and took off. Nothing to it! Heck, I can do that! Easy. The rental guys knew that Lin hadn't been on a machine the size of the Harley before so one of them took off on foot to pursue her. What he would do if he caught up with her I don't know but needless to say he didn't catch her. A couple of minutes later she pulls up, downshifts, puts her feet down and stops. Ok, this must be easy, she's only been on it for a few minutes and already she's got the hang of it. Great, my turn. Off I go. Let's see now; pull the clutch in, got that. Drop it into first gear, got that. Rev slightly, got that. Let the clutch out slowly, got that. Put feet up on the floorboards which makes me stomp on rear shifter dropping it into second gear making me look like a doofus, got that. Yeah, I'm getting the hang of it all right.

We set out from Belmont into Flagstaff with intentions of having a leisurely trip to Valle, just south of the Grand Canyon. The ride into Flag was uneventful unless you count the seventeen thousand trucks that went by at twice the legal limit, almost blasting us off the road. We took highway 180 north out of town and stopped at Sechrist School. Whew, made it that far. We were just checking up on each other. Linda and Laurie looked all cool and refreshed. Phil and Angela being experienced riders were having no issues. Jeff is an old Goldwing rider so he was all together. I was really glad that I had on my full face helmet so that people couldn't see the terror etched onto my face. I just kept the mirrored face shield down and shouted through it “Yeah, this is great, I'm having a blast.” Lies, all lies. I was scared to death. And the worst was yet to come.

We set off again, me in the middle so that if I took a dive someone would see me and help pick up the pieces, or at least try to get the bike off of me. We only went 15 or 20 miles to the next stop where I was able to pull the helmet off. Mostly because I was sweating profusely lubricating the helmet so that it almost fell off. I acted all cool and went into the little store where I bought some beef jerky. I needed to walk to make my legs quit shaking. I came out and Linda was laughing and having a great time with the group. I was thinking “Why has she been so reluctant to do this? She's having a great time.” I was also thinking “What the heck's wrong with her, doesn't she know we could die?” And die we almost did a few minutes later.

We took off to Valle. I should tell you that highway 180 is in the high plains with only some scrub oak and juniper bushes to break the wind. Wind, did I mention wind? As we left the little store the wind began to pick up and blow across that plain like it had someplace to be in a hurry. I checked with the National Weather Service later and they said the wind had been blowing between 237 and 413 miles an hour that day. As Angela led us down the road my bike kept laying over onto it's floorboards and crashbars. At one point I let off the throttle but didn't slow down 'cause the wind just blew me down the road. I kept hitting the brakes but it didn't make any difference in my speed. I'm thinking “I paid money to do this? What rational human would do this for fun? What the heck is wrong with Angela, can't she see that we need to slow down? I paid money to do this? Why doesn't Linda put a stop to this madness?”

I was wearing a hoody with one of those hand warmer pockets in the front. When I'd straddled the bike after leaving the store I'd put my gin n u wine eyetalian leather stroker hat in that pocket. As the wind blew and I struggled down the highway, I thought I felt something happening that wasn't right but I was too occupied with trying not to die to pay much attention. I think I lost track of Phil who was behind me a bit. He likes to ride faster than I do so I figured that he'd dropped back in order to give himself some room to really turn it on. Did I really think all that stuff while attempting to stay alive? Sure I did. The old saying about perception becoming acute and awareness coming to the forefront is true. I kept having out of body experiences. As I was floating above the possible carnage I kept saying to myself “I'm gonna die. I paid money for this and I'm gonna die.”

After what must have been hours, though it felt like days, and was probably only 45 minutes or so, we arrived at Valle. We pulled up to the tourist trap and dismounted. Angela arrived first of course, and she had a big smile. Jeff and Laurie seemed fine and Linda was radiant as usual. I peeled off the helmet and found the nearest thing without wheels to sit on. As I sat there, Phil handed me my gin u wine eyetalian leather hat. Fortunately he had seen it come out of my pocket, stopped, picked it up and then drove over 200 miles an hour to catch us. I really appreciate his efforts. The hat means a lot to me; Linda bought it for me when we were in Italy. Florence to be exact.

We relaxed for a short while and then drove across the street to “Bedrock City,” a Flintstones village with a big Fred Flintstone sign. We took lots of pictures to prove to all and sundry, mostly Linda's brother, that we were actually on Harleys. I was afraid that people would think we had just gone to the dealership and faked it all. After the pictures it was off to Williams for lunch.

Down highway 64 to Williams didn't seem as bad. Maybe the panic attack was over or maybe the wind just wasn't as fierce, but whatever it was I began to relax a little and maybe even started to

enjoy myself.

After lunch we headed back east to Belmont. We utilized old Route 66 as much as possible. At one point on 66 we stopped for pictures. Linda drove up to me and said how much she enjoyed the leisurely pace of this part of the trip. I guess that's when I decided it was actually fun. Then we got back on I 40. The semi trucks have NO respect for Harley riders. We turned the bikes back in to the dealership without further incident. Now its the next weekend and we've made it to Laughlin. Further description of this adventure to follow. If I can figure how to post pictures I'll do it.


Friday, August 1, 2008

The revised Flagstaff Six, consisting of Linda, Angela and Phil Paris, Jeff and Laurie Hawkins and me are preparing for another cycling adventure. This one is to the north rim of the Grand Canyon on Saturday the 2nd of August. Linda will drive her cage with Jeff and Laurie aboard and Lela will accompany us on a Harley rented from the famous Tommy T. Updates as they happen.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm finally entering stuff into the blog. Lela set it up for me 6 weeks ago but I'm a slacker and am just now getting to it. Look for stuff intermittently.

Kino Bay 2008

Kino Bay, March 2008.

Adventure to Kino Bay, Sonora, Mexico. (Bahia Kino, Mayheeco) Brandon Henderson, Aaron Brewster, Mary Lynne, Lela, Linda and I, otherwise known as the Flagstaff Six (F6), left Flagstaff on Friday the 14 of March. The adventure started earlier than we thought it would. It should have been an uneventful beginning. We were to pick up Mary Lynne’s car from a shop in Phoenix where an engine was being installed. We picked it up and the four youngest of the group set out to see their friend Erika. They got about ¼ of a block away at a stop light at which point the ride died. Oh, it ran well enough, as it should have with the new engine. But all it would do is run; it wouldn’t move. Transmission was dead. We pushed it back to the shop where a transmission is being installed. The shop owners said it would be ready by the time we returned from Kino. Good thing it was before we left for Kino so I haven’t spent all the money! Linda and I dropped the kids off at Erika’s house where they spent the night. We went to Mom’s in Apache Junction.

Saturday morning Erika brought the group all the way out to AJ where we loaded up, slid Mom into the van and headed south. We left early so as to be in Oro Valley by 8 a.m. Yes I said 8 a.m. That means we left AJ by 6 a.m. Why in the heck would we need to be in Oro Valley by 8? If Stan is involved then wheels must be involved also. And indeed wheels are involved. Only two though. Motorcycle parts.

Yup, the disease has returned. Motorcycles are like arthritis. Once you’ve got it, it stays with you. Sometimes dormant but when it flares up you gotta deal with it. A friend gave me a 1980 Honda CB900. The thing is in pretty good shape but has been sitting for a bit. Some parts have seized up kinda like me when I’ve been sitting for awhile. Hard to get moving until some massaging is done. The massaging needing done is to items like brake calipers and master cylinders. The parts I got in Oro Valley include those parts plus others. Ellyn Davis came over with her van to meet us and pick up the parts. She’ll store them until we go back through Tucson on our way home.

The F6+1 met Holley, Wally, Sarah and Sarah’s friend Maggie, in Tucson where they joined us for the rest of the adventure. We wandered off in search of Mexico and beaches. Mostly beaches. And rest and relaxation for me. The gang is excited about the beaches but I’m not allowed out on the sand in a bathing suit. There are 37 states and 13 countries where it’s against the law for me to be seen in a suit. Unfortunately Mexico is one of those countries. In fact I think Mexico was the country that started the whole reciprocity thing when they saw me on the beaches of Rocky Point some 25 years ago. This NAFTA free trade thing has its drawbacks. Well, maybe it isn’t a drawback from the perspective of those who would have to be blinded by the white legs.

We headed south, thinking that would be the easiest way to find sand. We were right. After 41 hours, $3,671.00 in tolls, 434 checkpoints, and one bathroom stop we arrived in Kino. There was grumbling about the cleanliness of the facilities at the bathroom. I say you haven’t learned about bathroom quality until you’ve seen the hole, literally a hole, which serves as the toilet at the train station in Turin, Italy. No complaints from my perspective. A minor wait at Gray and Debra Jan’s, the property managers, got us the keys to a wonderful set of bungalows. One main house and two smaller houses. The main house is serving as our meeting point but when folk want privacy they can wander off to their respective areas.

Sunday. Today is a bit windy and cool but that hasn’t stopped the shopping and eating. For some the shopping is important but for me, it’s mostly the eating. Too much of everything. I didn’t have breakfast so that was my excuse to eat a loaf of Linda’s bread, fresh from the oven and an entire can of refries into which I put some chopped onion and some salsa casera. Great stuff. I’m not going to mention the M&M peanuts, Little Debbie snacks and myriad of other things. Hunger isn’t going to be a problem. As I write this, Wally has shrimp on the barbie which are a prelude to the enchilada casserole and fruit salad which Linda and Holly are preparing.

Monday. Cool again today. Nice day though. Most of us are sitting around eating and playing cards. Wally, Mom, Lela and I went to Hermosillo this afternoon. Wandered right to the Wal-Mart. Fate. Interesting to see the same general store layout but everything in Spanish. Mostly everything that you would find in a Stateside Wal-Mart but some different things. Right next to the office supplies was a section with tires. Not a great selection but still tires right in with the books and pens. The loudspeaker kept blaring announcements. Specials, lost children and asking for a manager. All in Espanol, of course, but that’s ok because they played it LOUD so the Americans could understand it. After we spent all the money we could in Wal-Mart we went next door to get some genuine authentic Mexican food at McDonalds. We ordered Mexican soft drinks and Mexican French fries y un hamburguesa. While we were waiting, the Mission Mormonaries walked in. Lela bought them dinner. Nice thing to do for guys away from home. Early to bed tonight. Not because we have a big day tomorrow, I’m just lazy.

Tuesday. Back home from a big adventure. Not a planned adventure, but an adventure none the less. We woke to a plugged drain in the shower. We called Gray the property manager. He said he would be right down. He came and warned us of the impending arrival of a pumper truck. Not a water pumper truck but a truck that pumps stuff that smells worse than water. We decided that an adventure to Old Kino was in order. We didn’t want to be around when the pumper truck was around. The whole group of us got into both cars and went to Kino Viejo. We did a little shopping but mostly looking and wandering the beach. After finding the store that has the great fruit popsicles we decided to go waaaaay over on the point to look for more shells. Mom and I remembered a restaurant and pier where we could find lots of shells.

We drove for what seemed like miles and miles on a great Mexican highway. Well, it was really a horrible dirt road but pretty good by certain standards. We found the beach but not the restaurant. Instead, there was this neat little stand where fish tacos were the advertised specialty. There was nothing else around, just beach and taco stand. I mean NOTHING else around. No houses, Pemex stations, phone booths, nothing! That wouldn’t have been a problem but….. The group of us set off down the beach in different directions. We were finding lots of great shells and really enjoying the search. After a bit Lela found Linda and got the keys to the van so that she could get in out of the breeze. (Gotta toughen that girl up; she’s always cold.) A little later Sarah and Maggie decided that they were cold and talked Lela and Aaron into taking them back to the bungalow. No problem, the four of them took the Rande’s car and left. Ooops, no problem he says? Wrong.

Linda and I were walking the beach, finding some swell shells. As I bent down to pick up a shell Linda says “Oh no.” I thought maybe I had split my pants or something. But no, it was worse than that. Linda continued: “I wonder if Lela left the keys in the van.” Well, we left the rest of the shells on the beach and hustled back to the van to search furiously for the keys. No luck. Lela had left with them in her pocket. We began to ponder our options. As we pondered, I wondered if I couldn’t take the steering column apart to bypass the column lock. Brandon helped me and we took enough apart to realize that yes, I could bypass the lock and make the car crank. Cranking is a good thing. Starting is even better. However, the car won’t start if you don’t have the electronic key. Good to know that it is hard for a thief, but we really needed that car to start.

As we were deciding that bypassing the lock wouldn’t work, low and behold a knight on a silver steed came riding up. Ok, it was a tourist from Agua Prieta driving a silver Honda SUV. After some difficult explanations from Linda to the knight who didn’t speak English any better than she speaks Spanish, it was understood that we needed a ride to go get our keys. The gentleman graciously agreed to take Linda the long distance to Kino Nuevo to retrieve them. As they were going down the road, they spied Lela and Aaron returning. Seems that Lela had gotten all the way back to the bungalow before discovering the faux paux. She and Aaron jumped back into the car and quickly returned. All anxiety vanished as we started the van and began the journey home. Of course on the way home we had to stop several times to go through the garbage dumps to check for shells. Actually it was quite interesting; there were three places along the dirt road where there were lots of conch and clam shells just dumped. There were some really pretty ones, and certainly bigger than the ones we had found on the beach. We gathered some and then headed for Old Kino and the bakery shop. Great bread and pastries. Now the youngest of the group are making dinner. BTW, the shower drain is working. I don’t smell any residual from the pumper.

Wednesday. Awakened early this morning by the staccato sound of rapid fire Spanish. Two Mexican men were outside the gate of the neighboring house having a friendly but loud conversation. Why they needed to do so at 4:30 a.m. I’ll forever question. I mean come on, it’s dark and unless you’re going fishing there’s no reason to be awake at that hour when you’re on vacation.

Nothing eventful today except for the huge water leak in the bathroom which we thought was fixed yesterday but was even worse today. We sopped up water and called the property managers, who called Roberto, the handy man. A couple of hours later, Gray, the property manager came by to see how the plumbing had turned out. We told him Roberto hadn’t been here yet so he set off in search of the missing hombre. A couple of hours later, Gray, the property manager came by to see how the plumbing had turned out. We told him Roberto hadn’t been here yet…. and you know the rest. Eventually Roberto did show up and fix the leak. Then Gray, the property manager came by. This time we could report that all was well.

One of the things listed on the website of available things to do was renting jet skis and quads. Wally and I set off in search of the office listed on the site. It turned out to be just a door or two down from Gray and Debra Jan’s. The gate was unlocked so we opened it and went inside. I glanced over to the side and saw a large rope and a large water dish for what I assumed was an even larger dog. I let Wally lead as we wandered the compound. I neglected to mention the rope and water dish to him. No reason for both of us to have fear and trepidation. We knocked on the office door which was locked. I kept glancing around for the dog to come bounding around the corner or from out behind one of the myriad of vehicles in various states of repair. No people answered the knock and no dog came bounding. The former was bad but the latter was good.

As we were leaving the compound some large Dodge trucks pulled up. The occupants said to wait, that “they” were coming. Wally, being the trusting type, decided to wait. I’m thinking “they” were probably the Federales coming to arrest us for being in the compound when we shouldn’t have been. Again I neglected to mention this to Wally as I didn’t want him to have to think what he would tell Holly from the phone in the jail. Turned out “they” were the owners of the place and they were only a couple of minutes behind the folk in the Dodge.

Upon inquiring about our business in their compound, they informed us that they no longer rented jet skis or quads. It seems that the local Capitan wants to change the nature of the beach area by designating only certain areas for jet skis, other areas for swimming and other areas for other things. Due to that, jet ski rental was taken off of the list of allowed businesses. I never did figure why quads weren’t allowed. Liability maybe.

For dinner we decided to try the taco stand just two doors down from our bungalow. Gray the property manager had recommended it to us. We went down to a place between the buildings where it was just sand and dirt. In the middle was a tarp covered area with several plastic tables and a cart with a propane fired hot pan. The proprietors are a man in his fifties and his younger looking wife. We ordered tacos all around. The guy took one look at the male members of the group and asked how many for each of us. Two was the general consensus. He set to work making tacos. He has what appears to be pork of some iteration skewered between two pineapple ends. He makes small slices, cutting small portions from the pork and then puts it on the hot pan. In just a short time the pork is hot and he has warmed fresh corn tortillas. His wife has put out several types of condiments and things to put in the tacos. Cucumber was my favorite. We had a great time talking to him. We told him how good the tacos were and he made a big deal of telling us they were the best in all Mexico. In Spanish of course, but we got the joke and we all had a great laugh. They really were good and Brandon, Wally and Aaron thought maybe they should have had at least one more. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday. Last full day here in Kino. We leave early tomorrow morning for home. We need to be in Phoenix in time to pick up Mary Lynne’s car from the shop. Didn’t we go through this already? I hope it’s done this time. Plus we need to stop in Tucson to pick up the cycle parts. It has been a great time here in Kino. Today was a laid back day. We made one jaunt over to Old Kino to do some final shopping but we didn’t spend much time there. We stopped at the market to get me a pineapple fruit popsicle but they were out. Instead Lela bought forty pieces of a particular type of candy she wants to share with some friends. She started out by asking for twenty, then thirty and ended up with forty. They just sold her an entire box.

This afternoon a boat went by dragging a banana behind it. Well, it was a large inflated thing that looked like a banana. It even had Chiquita on it. Linda talked most of the group into riding it with her. Holley, Mom and I were the only sane ones. The boat pulls the banana along at a pretty good clip so they got quite a ride. They came back smiling so I guess it was good. I prefer to stay dry. Unless I’m naked, and the laws against that are even stricter than the bathing suit laws. Not something that most even want to think about.

The afore mentioned taco stand was called upon to provide afternoon snacks but we spent the evening and early night time trying to furiously consume much of the too much food we had brought with us. We were unsuccessful in our endeavors so we will take much of what is left to Mom’s friend, Carmen. Carmen is the lady who used to run the Caluma bungalows where Mom had stayed on several occasions. On Monday Mom tracked Carmen down and they had a great time catching up on old times. Wednesday, Carmen and her daughter came down, spent quite a bit of time with Mom and left us with really good tortillas.

Friday. I put shoes on for the first time since last Saturday. Seems really odd. Plus the fact that for some reason my legs are longer now and it’s harder to reach my feet with my socks. I’ll have Linda check the cause of that phenomenon in one of her medical books. Maybe there’s a cure.

We didn’t sleep all that well last night. Seems that Easter weekend is a big doings in Kino Bay and the place filled up with lots of Mexicans. The Mexican people are a very generous people. They will share money, food and many other things. If only one person can afford a stereo it’s not a problem because that person will play their stereo at full volume so that everyone can share. And if you have several affluent Mexicans then you have several stereos at full volume. And if you have lots of affluent Mexicans, you have lots of stereos at full volume. Like I said; a very generous people. It would be nice though, if they would not share past 10 p.m. It was after midnight before the folk next door shut it down to a volume which allowed sleep. Ah, but then somewhere around 3:30 a.m. the neighbor on the other side of us decided to serenade us with some song that I didn’t recognize. I think he was saying something about momma, trains and being in prison. Oh wait, that’s a Johnny Paycheck song. Well whatever he was singing about was at full volume, just like the stereos. Again, a generous people.

The alarm went off at 5 a.m. Time to finish packing and head for the border and Taco Bell. Actually Taco Bell will be hard to take after the great food we’ve had the last few days. I think my favorite was the refried beans Carmen brought us. How the heck does she build them? Oops, this isn’t supposed to be about food. I was going to write about the trip back to AJ. The two cars full of folk left Kino a little after 6 a.m. I decided that I would drive half way home and give Linda a break. I figured Hermosillo would be about half way. Actually, by the time we got to Hermosillo my knee had decided to scream at me. We stopped at Mexican Mac’s for a quick break and to let Linda drive the other half way home. Once again I had an occasion to be proud of my girls. This time it was because they weren’t the Ugly American types which we saw there. They realized that they were the visitors in the country and asked for help instead of demanding it. Lela showed patience with the people behind the counter who in turn granted her patience. All was accomplished with no anger and a few laughs. I really like my kids.

The rest of the trip to the border was relatively uneventful. We stopped once to look at the beautiful copper pots being displayed by the side of the road. Mom ended up buying a nice one to put in the treasure for tomorrow’s hunt. We got to Nogales ready to spend at least an hour and probably more waiting in the customs line. We sailed through in around a half an hour. Not bad at all. I’m glad we left Friday and not Saturday or Sunday. I understand it can be absolutely horrible on those days. Sometimes three hours or more.

The cell phone service into the States started before we actually crossed the border. As soon as service was available cell phones started flying. Lela, Aaron, Brandon and Mary Lynne started making and receiving calls furiously. I waited until we were several miles across before I started making my calls. Gotta show some decorum you know.

We drove to Tucson and picked up the motorcycle parts from Ellyn. Howard was there. It was good to see him. I hope he appreciates that I appreciate the bike. Yes, it will cost us some money but I think the fun factor and the diminished fuel costs will be worth it. Especially the fun factor. I’m at the stage in my life where I’m thinking about the years I have left and I want them to be enjoyable. Cycles and droptops will help with that.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. My phone calls were unsuccessful though. The place where we left Mary Lynne’s car doesn’t have it ready, Northland Motorsports hasn’t worked on the Honda and Luke doesn’t have my Lincoln fixed yet. Maybe it was a mistake to let folk know I would be out of town for a week. I thought it would give them plenty of time to get stuff done. Instead it seems to have given them time to put stuff off. Oh well, can’t accomplish anything by being angry about it. We will cope.

All in all a great trip. We all had fun in various ways and at various times. Not everybody all the time but each of us in our own way and in our own time. The only real disappointments were that we didn’t get to rent the watercraft and Wally didn’t get to go fishing. We can do the jet skis over on the Colorado River and Wally and I will go to San Diego to go fishing. It’ll all work out. Thanks to Linda for putting it together for us and thanks to all for being pleasant.

As a side note and relating to each of us having fun in our own way: On Thursday night after all of us had gone to bed, Sarah and Maggie decided that they would go out on the town. Maybe they were just going to ask the partiers to lessen the volume of the music. They went out the front gate where Lela saw them. Unbeknownst to the party girls she and Aaron were on their way out to lock the front gate because we had most of our stuff loaded in the cars and the trailer. Lela innocently enough went and asked Holly if she knew how long the girls would be out so that she could lock the gate when they returned. Not only did Holly not know when they would return, she didn’t know they had left. Uh oh, stuff hit the fan. Holly asked Mary Lynne to lock the door to the room she shared with the girls so that they would have to knock in order to get back in. When they did knock Holly heard them. I’ll let the reader conjecture what transpired from there. When you’re sixteen and seventeen you are invincible. At least I was. Even though there was great potential for harm, no one got hurt and I think there was potential for a lesson being learned.