NEW MOON, NEW LIFE, AND BIRTHDAYS

Posted September 20, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Birthday, Holy Days, Home Maintenance

Tags: , ,

Been distracted lately.  Too many hurricanes;  too many earthquakes;  too much end-of-summer physical work on your property!  

Spent the day today outdoors,  digging,  hefting a shovel,  throwing dirt around,  moving a wheelbarrow around,  raking,  hoeing,   leveling new surface soil:

New Moon front

 

(And just how do you know when the surface is level?    Level enough to plant new grass?     Will have to try again  tomorrow.     Maybe then I’ll be satisfied.)

And planting:

New noon back

That’s an ugly picture!   But there’s nothing wrong with my grass.     Small areas of thin grass have been given a shovelful of new topsoil, grass seed laid down,  and straw laid on top of the seed.    Not a pretty sight,  but some day it will look nice!

While I was doing all this back-breaking work today   ( I know why they call it back-breaking!)  I was letting my mind go free.

Hey!    There’s a new moon today!     Good day for planting.    0 %  light from the moon, but as the moon grows a bit bigger each day,  new life from the seed is drawn out and grows larger and larger.    At least,  that is ancient wisdom.  Plant your crop during a new moon.

New moon

New moon – in September!     Today, then, is Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish New Year!   And the first day of  Jewish High Holy Days, ending with the joy of penitence, the offer of reconciliation to one’s neighbor, acknowledgement of sins,  and the joy of God who has made a way for forgiveness   (Yom Kippur).

This also begins my  “new year”  too.   In one week I will have a whole new possible year laid out for me,  and, God willing, I will live it.    That is,  my birthday,  which often falls within the Jewish New Year festivities.

One more week to be this “age.”     I don’t really care what number anymore.  I’m already old enough to go to school,  to drive, to  drink, and to vote.   But I rather like ages that end with a zero,  and there are only seven more days for this one.    I might have only a couple more “zero years” in my lifetime,  so I tried to consciously enjoy this one from time to time.

Here’s something about birthdays I’ve noticed as the years pass:  When you’re young,  other people celebrate your birthday for you and then with you.   But the older you get,  the  more you celebrate your own birthday,   with an appreciation for all the good things that make up your life,  things that only you know.

birthday

Your parties may look the same throughout the years,  with cake, gifts, cards, friends and family,  candles, singing, decorations – more or less from year to year.

And it’s all fun.   

But inside,  internally where you “live,” where you think and observe and feel and plan and know . . .  inside yourself,     when a birthday comes,   it’s you yourself that makes good cheer for the day that is your day,  special to you alone.

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LOYALTY SENSE

Posted September 14, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: A Nation of LEGAL Immigrants, Culture, Current Events, Lessons from History, War Against America, Warfare

Tags: , , , ,

“Ethnonational secessionism or global hegemony” — remember that phrase.  I’m going to use it in a minute.

(No photos, I think.  This is an interior thought from me and is a recording, for me,  of a snapshot in the timeline of world history.)

______________________________________

 “Blood is thicker than water.”     When it comes down to the most fundamentally,  extreme basics of life – your family is instinctively your first point of reference.      (There aren’t as many extremely dysfunctional families or self-loathing families as the entertainment-news media would have us believe.)

Normal people are rather loyal to their own families.   Grandparents, parents,  sisters,   brothers, children, and grandchildren.    And then cousins . . .   etc.

I grew up in the ’50s and the pre-radicalized ’60s.   (Never mind how old that makes me:  I’m not really that old.)  It was Chicago, and my home was in the midst of various ethnic groups:   Irish,  German,  Italian, Polish, and Mexican primarily, with a few outliers like me,  a Swede-Finn.     After a few curious questions like “What nationality are you?”  or  “Were your parents born in America?”  we went on with our lives, our school, our play, without any further thought or even awareness of our “differences.”   We went home at night to our various-language speaking homes.

Once Cultural Marxism took over and became the dominant philosophy presented to us in movies,  television, radio, and magazines,   we were taught to think that differences made a  . . .  difference.    Somehow.

A big surprise in the ’70s came when I read a sociological study that concluded that “People are happier when they are living in neighborhoods made up of primarily their own kind.”    One race likes to live among people of its own same race.   One ethnic group is happier living with people of its own familiar ethnic group.   Et cetera.

That seemed like common sense,  evidenced by my own observations from a pre-radicalized American culture.

Blood is thicker than water.   You are happiest among your own familiar  “kind” of people.

How hard it is to write those words today – and not feel defensive.

But there is nothing wrong with feeling patriotic and loyal to your culture even if it’s made up of many ethnic groups.    “America”  defines a culture with citizens of one common set of values.     It is worth our heartfelt  loyalty.

As a history major in the universities I attended,  I saw how evil ethnic cleansing is,  and genocide,   and granting privilege to one ethnic group or another.  One of the biggest causes of unrest in the world —   small wars,  skirmishes, guerilla warfares, armed revolutions,  civil wars —  is the deliberate creation of artificial  national boundaries,  breaking up families and tribes and ethnic groups into arbitrary political alignments.

Tribes just want to get back together again.   Clans and families want to live together.

As I’ve returned from my  rather long vacation and returned to reading world events,  I see so many areas of the world on the verge of civil war for just this very reason.   The Kurds want their own country,  their own national boundaries.  They do NOT want live across four or five other “nations”  created in the Middle East.

The Catalans want their own region back, under their own local control.    (Even though it’s been a few hundred years since they were annexed into Spain.)   Ditto the Basques.

Many  ( a majority?) of  Ukrainians speak and feel and identify as Russian.   Why do the NATO nations want the Ukraine?      Why should they?

Africa is one big political and cultural mess of forcibly moved ethnic groups,  with Leftist governments desperately trying to keep control through any tyrannical and murderous means they can use, starvation being a very effective tool.

China is trying to take back (or take over)  an area of northern India, closest to them.   They’re close to succeeding.   400,000 refugees in “relief” camps;  50 dead this summer.

China and the Uighurs.

Burma.   The Philippines.   Southern Russia.  Chechens.  India  (Darjeeling tea, anyone?)

If you are well-informed,  you get the picture and you’ll be able to see an overview, draw some useful conclusions.

This is the picture of Ethno-Seccessionism —  ethnic groups wanting to secede from the national state that is now governing them.

What is holding them back?    What force is opposing them?   Why cannot people live in peace among their own families, clans, tribes, and ethnic groups?

It breaks my heart that people can’t.

What’s stopping them?     It is the diabolically strong force of Global Hegemony.    The opposing Force wants control of —  everything!  And everyone.    to do that It must break down boundaries, barriers,  loyalties,  identities, blur differences, and absorb all.     It must have Global Control,  Global Hegemony over everything and everyone.

And this motivation is one of the driving forces behind the deliberate promotion of ethnic groups being “migrated” into foreign countries, where they don’t match the culture,  where they are not willing to be assimilated,  where they do not respect the citizens already there.

Civil wars, unrest, agitations result, today, from this clash of Ethnocentric Secessionism and Global Hegemony.

Who do you want to be?      Who do you identify with?    Who are you and your family safer with?

Local control or an inhuman, “efficient” Big Brother machine?     Power makes on hungry for more Power.

___________________________________

To see how far along the second road we are,  check with your local township government,  your local school board,  or city,   or county.    See how much in compliance they are with Agenda 21 –  or 2030 – or any of the new names the Globalist have come up with.  

Check also the book of Revelation in the Bible –  chapter 13.  ( “Beast” is just a way of expressing the Force behind this growing Global Hegemony.)     If it’s seen in the bible, does that mean it’s inevitable?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POSTCARD SENSE – (A useful post)

Posted September 13, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Cooper, In the Mail

Tags: , ,

I’m from a time that when you went on vacation, you sent postcards back to the people at home.

fish image

It’s still a fun thing to do,  but we don’t actually do it anymore, even though they still make really nice postcards.    Nowadays I buy a few postcards, but mostly as souvenirs, or as interesting additional little bits of information for me to save.

donner post card

Vintage Donner Lake postcard

On my way out West, I heard about an app that allows you to take a photo on your own cell phone and send it in and “they” would make a postcard out of it,  write your message, stamp and  mail it!      How convenient –  how personalized!

I promised Cooper I’d send him a “thank-you”  post card made from a photo his Mommy had taken of us on Donner Lake,  when I got home.

I didn’t use an app.

Postcard front 370

Here’s the front of my new postcard,  from Mommy’s cell phone.  I printed it out on stiff poster board paper,  the 7 X 11 size,  printing the photo on the glossy side so I could use a pen on the matte side.

Postard back blurred 370

A ruler, a pen,  a stamp, and an address – looks official!      The size of the printed photo is 4 X 6 and I could fit two of my choices on one little poster paper.

_____________________________

 

The color on my  printed postcard  did not seem to easily smear or run,  but if I hear of any trouble,  I’ll just use the stuff you to save  jigsaw puzzles.  It dries into a  clear and tough coating.

Cooper says he likes to receive mail.  He’s got this unique, adult-type relationship with his mailman but in a conversation I overheard,  he told the mailman that he hardly ever gets anything in his own name.  I think I just found a fun way to send him things.

BICYCLE SENSE

Posted September 13, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Culture

Tags: , ,

Maybe you guys understand this,  but I sure don’t:

Why do perfectly good, well-inflated tires go flat if you don’t use your bicycle for a few months . . .  or a year?

Bike sense

You can’t just “take out your bike”  when the timing is right.

And why do the little caps on the tires where you put the air in become so much impossibly tighter to the very same fingers that tightened the cap in the first place?

I’m the one who tightened them;  I should be able to take them off.

But,  oh-h-h-h-,     it was worth all the fuss.  Until I get new Rollerblades,  being high on wheels   is a wonderful feeling.

_____________________________________

 

Here in the Far North we’ve had high overcast clouds with heavy misty rain this morning;  followed by a band of bright sunshine, wherein I could ride my bike;  and soon now, developing,  another band of high overcasty clouds which will surely rain down a fine, heavy mist onto us.

Remnants of Irma.

IRMA – PERSONAL FOLLOW-UP

Posted September 11, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: storms

Tags: , , , ,

Many of us know someone who lives in Florida,  or we’ve visited Florida ourselves and know some of the places that we’ve been seeing on television.

Here’s a street I’ve driven on many times before:

Alligator on Strawbridge 370

A battered and tired alligator making his way . . .  home, I guess.    This is Strawbridge Rd.,  a residential and small business street in Melbourne FL.

My sister,  who lives there,  came through just fine.

Irma Nancy 4 370

This is her front yard.  Note only small branches down.   No big trees this time.   Her truck is parked  crosswise to protect the garage doors.   I wouldn’t have thought of that.  But then,  I don’t have to,  up here in the Far North.

Here’s her back yard:

Irma Nancy 1 370

Just small branches down.  One year, during Charlie in 2004,  my sister stuck her cell phone out the window so I could hear the hurricane overhead.  It was pretty impressive.  And then there was a huge crash.    The next day they discovered part of their neighbor’s roof in this back yard.

I don’t mean to diminish the destruction that some people are suffering.  Irma’s winds were strong and long –  it was overhead for a long time with Tropical Storm force winds and Hurricane force gusts, so some areas sustained much more serious damage.   I’ve heard more than 60% of  people in Florida are without power, and will be so for weeks.

My sister’s horses?   Apparently the barn held in the winds and the horses, according to my sister, seemed more concerned about their late breakfast this morning than anything they had heard during the night before.

My neighbor’s condo and  his son’s family is in Pinellas county,  Tampa-St. Pete.     All is well there too.     However,   his son says next time he’d evacuate –  he never wants to go through another night like that!

And one more:  my in-laws, or uh,  whatever you call my son-in-law’s parents who  live just north of Ft. Myers.    —  no word yet.   Perhaps they were out of state.    Perhaps they haven’t returned to see . . .  anything.

I know of many prayers that were being said.   I know that referring all things,  all destruction,  all danger,  all feelings to God, can make things go better.

Deo gratias.

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I don’t usually like written-out prayers, or sugary sentimental thoughts,   but I picked this up from a bulletin of a church I had to go to this weekend,   and although they don’t mention Harvey or Irma specifically,   there was flooding, and I think this is a nice thought,  a thoughtful prayer — and so I’ll post it here:

Flood Prayer 390

 

 

BEAUTY AND THE (you know) BEAST

Posted September 10, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Nature

Tags: , , ,

I hate to be trite and use this well-known phrase to apply to the  hurricane —   but  I really was struck by the Beauty of some of the storm pictures:

Irma Palms over Miami

There are many photos like this,  showing the beauty of Nature in a storm;  the symmetry and strength,  the power,  the immediacy of the winds;  the seemingly unaffected   human dwellings far removed in the background;   danger and indifference . . . .

But of course,  the Beast:

Irma Beast

Many photos like this too, and many more to come.

As I write this, my sisters are  in harm’s way:

Irma map

See where the “95”  is?    My sisters don’t live in the same household,  but both live just slightly below that number 95,  one of them just a few miles from the ocean. 4,  5 miles? And the other one just about smack in the middle of the state.

The outer bands of the hurricane is roaring above them right now with heavy rains, strong winds and gusts, and waterspouts and tornadoes aimed their way.

Actually, in a much smaller way,  we here in the Far North may be impacted next week — we’re a little north of  the top edge of those tracks,  right in the way of the remnants of Irma.    For us it will be “interesting”  and “fun” if you like rainstorms.   Hurricane remnant rainstorms are noticeably different from regular rainstorms.

IRMA tracks

We all are praying there won’t be serious and widespread tragedies to mourn when it’s over.    Yeah, “prayer changes things.”    But humans are not in control.

We do what we can – to prepare and shelter and put things safely away:

Irma flamingos

Flamingos?    Even the flamingos in Busch Gardens (Tampa area)  need to be protected.   A long line of them were marched into shelter.  Kind of cute.

I’ll be keeping an eye on my favorite place in Florida:   Tuckaway Shores beachside motel apartments;    Bizzaro’s Pizza on Melbourne Beach with the best New York pizza you can order –  if you can understand their rapid-paced Brooklyn accent!

And, of course, this –

Irma Ron Jons

Ron Jon’s  (Surf Shop) of Cocoa Beach!   I stop there twice on each trip to visit family,  once coming and once going.   I don’t surf;  but I enjoy being a Tourist!

Unity?  Solidarity?  Community?  Empathy?    Stay tuned.   We’re all part of the vulnerability of the “human condition.”

 

 

 

CAN’T ALIGHT

Posted September 6, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags:

Alight:    (verb);    an adverbial of place,  with no object;   to get off a vehicle of some sort

This will pass, but it’s a strange feeling.    I’m home, so I’ve had a “homecoming,”   and I’m appropriately filled with gratitude and mild surprise that all went well.      But deep inside,  I haven’t “arrived.”

I can’t  “alight”  from my vehicle that has held me for the past two and a half weeks.

I am floating around my home as though I’m a ghost,  seeing, but not quite belonging.

I’m at the age where I can easily imagine leaving this world,  leaving my home for good,  and yet curious about what will happen to this house.  What would it look like when I’m no longer living . . .  here?

It would look like this, like it does now.    With me,  close by, looking down and around, but  not quite dwelling in it.    “I” will not be here,  but this house will still stand.

The reason may be that I’ve been doing the same things that I did when I was in “travel mode” and getting ready to leave for my trip.   I seem to be washing and arranging the same clothes that I had gotten ready for the trip, only now putting them back into their closets and drawers,  not in suitcases.

I’m looking through old mail, paying bills, throwing away junk mail and catalogs,  just as I did right before I left.

I’m still eating  from an almost empty refrigerator with “travel food”  yet to finish. Familiar food of  the past couple of weeks.

Still cleaning and organizing the car, as I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks.

For Pete’s sake:  I’m still watching a hurricane threatening our coastlines!

My reality is still . . .  traveling.

So what am I?    Am I the body now living in this house?   Or am I my mind,   still alert and oriented to my car?

It’s my birthday month right now, and I have to renew my driver’s license –  inside a Secretary of State office   I went there today,,  traveled a bit to get to a smaller office at what I thought was a good time of day;   took a number and realized there were thirty numbers ahead of me!

As I sat there I thought this may take  2 1/2 hours for my turn.  No, actually,  it would be  about 200 miles worth of driving.  Enough to drive out of one state and get halfway into the next.    That’s a big waste of time, just sitting there, getting nowhere.

I left the building.

I’m me,  in my mind,   but I haven’t yet come to terms with the ups and downs of everyday living.   Being here, not getting here.    I can’t put together the physical reality of being home and the mental reality of getting home.

_______________________________________

So who is me?

Where am I?

And what am I?

 

where am i

It’ll come back to me soon.

 

 

SAYING BYE

Posted September 5, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags: , , ,

There comes a time when you “just know”  it’s time to reverse direction and turn towards home.    After spending so much time together, side by side,  the little one,  Cooper,  my grandson, bravely accepted that I wanted to go home.  He knew I wasn’t going to be there when he came home from his second whole new day of school.

He shuffled around that morning,  went away and got something,   then handed me his favorite  cute little bear.    He said, “Here, Grandma,  you should take him with you.”

Byw Teddy Bear

He didn’t want me to be alone on my long ride home.  He wanted his love to accompany me on my way home.     (This is the “miracle child”  that was born under surprising circumstances, sent to us when the whole family needed him . . .  He brings peace, caring, and love.       The story is in the Archives for November 2010,  so I won’t repeat it here, except to say Cooper’s mission continues.)

So,  it was  time to hit the open roads again   (with little bear on the dash).

Bye On the road again

Those hazy mountains up ahead . . .  one hour later . . .

Bye Western Hills

. . .   one hour later I reached them and enjoyed driving through them for the last time this year.

Bye side rocks

Last drive through mountain scenery.    And then the  mountainous terrain thins out:

Bye curving roads

Hours and hours of driving later,  next day in fact,  there are still occasional mountains to drive into:

Bye rock in the way

Tunnels make it easier (and fun!):

Byw Tunnel

Eventually,  good-bye to buffalo land:

Bye bison

Good-bye to all the dinosaurs:

Bye Dinosaurs

Well,  but good-bye to fossils and archeological digs and dinosaur museums.    And an archaic way of looking at gasoline:

Bye sinclair

I grew up with those Sinclair gas commercials on television.   I think their mascot was called “Dino.”      Much to my surprise,  when I became an adult, I learned that oil doesn’t come from smooshed dinosaurs,  but that’s all right.

A couple days of driving later I had new scenery to look at:

Bye coming east

It’s all green now.  Rich, fertile land for cattle and sheep and wheat and corn.    Our food.

You think this might be a boring place to drive?     No!   If you’re open to genuine experiences,  the sheer immensity of the landscape, the wide green expanse,   the limitless scenery,   the vast distances that your eyes can take in –  occasionally I still just have to  take a deep breath when I see so far into the land  I’m driving into.

The high plains,  the prairie,  sometimes becomes a desert during August:

Bye dusty roads

You pass by moving clouds of dust alongside the Interstate,  knowing that a tractor or a little truck or a car is on the dusty local roads.

I’m on the road with the big rigs.    I feel safe with the truckers out there.    I love listening to the Truckers Radio Show during the overnight hours.   They usually love their jobs,  love the open roads,  but it’s a difficult job that’s tough on a man’s body.

Bye chapel

It’s a hard and lonely job.

So,  I’ve been putting  the West behind me as the sun hung low in the western sky.

Bye sundown

 

Fun with the sun:

bye sun on bridgeThe sun sits on the bridge in my rearview mirror.

And then night falls —

bye sun dark

From beginning to end –

I started out with the eclipse,  the new moon covering the sun.

I’ve ended it now when the moon is full . . .

Son's Full moon

On the day I arrived home,  Son was kind enough to help me celebrate on his deck with grilled steaks.    The last time I saw him the moon was less than a sliver.  Now we enjoyed the full moon,  glowing reddish orange high in the sky.

Same sun.  Same moon.    But I feel different.  I know I’m different.

So much has been added to me.

“LEFT COAST” LIFE

Posted September 3, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: American History, Cultural Marxism, Education, Social Engineering, Socialism, Transforming America, Travel, War Against America

Tags: , ,

 

The New Donner Memorial Experience:   Gone   Gone   Gone

Okay,  I hope you enjoyed “Lake Life”  and  “Mountain Life,”  because I have to get a little negative here.   Yes,  there was fun,  lots of activities,  lots of good food,  and lots and lots of really nice people —  but at the same time there were a lot of censorship and restrictions on the way you can think.

In fact – maybe the motto was:  Stay active;  don’t think.

Or:  Stay active;  we’ll tell you what to think.

As I traveled west,  I was pretty miffed about all the signs in the zoos that I visited that explained not what animal I was seeing or where they came from,  but   signs that  just gave the name, followed by    “And humans  are destroying this animal’s habitat.”

The World War One Museum conclusion?   “Humans who love their country –  Nationalism –  cause wars.”

The dinosaur museum?    “Humans are causing another extinction event  today. . .”

One day during my vacation,  when everyone was busy,  I decided to re-visit the Donner Party Memorial.  I remember it as a nice one, very informative, with lots of educational, interesting gifts in the gift shop.

But this time there was a big difference.  I should have known something had changed by the police presence there.

2 police presence 370

 

So maybe they were just having a meeting.

Here is the monument built to the Donner party,  90 some in all,  and 46 died.

2 Monument 370Their story is, of course,  a bit sensational:   betrayal and incompetence along the way,  miscalculation of the season and ignorance of survival techniques in  the weather,  and the overblown “horrors”  of cannibalism by a couple of the people,  in an attempt to stay alive.

It happened here:

2 map 350

That’s Cooper’s   “Beautiful Lake,”  as he calls it, where we did so much of our activities.

But in the museum (information center) –  Gone were the beautiful displays of animals native to the area.   Gone  were the life-sized figures of the people and their daily equipment, pots and pans,  children’s toys,  their covered wagons,  yokes, and wheels and axles.    Gone were the historical dioramas of building the railroad into the High Sierras shortly after the Donner Party tragedy,  a railroad which would have made their tragedy unnecessary.     Gone were many of the logs and diaries and books written by the survivors.    Gone was the sense of the grit and courage and perseverance of the Donner Party,  a tribute to the hope and dignity of human beings.

So much I had wanted to see again was just gone.   In fact,  if I didn’t know the story well myself,  I would have been a bit puzzled about what exactly had happened here.

2 donner party area 370

Because I had known what had happened here,  it was easy to recreate in my imagination what took place in these woods.   This is a poignant and eerie scene –  if you know the details.

A few areas were marked.  The actual campsite of one of the families:

2 camp site 370

With just a small plaque to name this site.

They had built a brand new large “information center”  —  so what took up all that space?

Well,  two main large areas told us:   “We must not forget that Western Man destroyed the culture of the   Washoe people  who lived here.”

2 Washoe 370

And there were some large displays of generic “Native American”  life.    This could be any tribe of Indians.    But they can’t live like this anymore.    This culture is  “gone.”

The second main large area was taken up by the Chinese coolies  (is it still okay to call them that?)   who were brought over from China  (shanghaied –  is it still okay to say that?  Because  Chinese merchants captured and sold their fellow Chinese to any country who could use them as workers.)   to do the hard labor of building the railroad across America.

The main statement was:   Western Man must not leave them out of the pages of history.”

Well, guess what!   Western Man didn’t!   I remember learning about the Chinese laborers in at least three different years in school,  with an increasing, maturing  presentation of their plight and of the context.

If young people today,  40 and unders,  don’t know about the Chinese laborers,  don’t blame Western Man –  blame the government schools and their weak, dumbed down curricula.     No one has “forgotten”  them except for the education system.

After all this negativity,  I felt like  “ducking”   every time I read some display sign.

This censorship of the “whole”  story of . . .  anything . . .  was all over.   There was an underlying feeling of guilt and self-doubt and uncertainty everywhere I went.

How about trying to buy some food?

2 Ca style food warning 380

 

And when presented by two or three or four trash cans side by side,  I never did learn which was “garbage” or “recyclable”  or  “compost”  or  “you’d better not put that in here”!

I hope this Left Coast mentality is stopped before it permeates our entire society.   This is not what our Founding Fathers,  our forefathers, and our grandfathers  fought for!   We must not lose our American History in a hysteria of anti-West,  anti-White,   anti-human propaganda.

flag

FREEDOM !!!!!

 

 

MOUNTAIN LIFE

Posted September 3, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

A Flowers 370

Beautiful mountain flowers, just one of many photos.    I’ve been living for the past few weeks at about 5900 feet, altitude,  but for the people here,  they find their fun way up higher — say  7200 feet.

So up we went one fine day.

A Preferred Travel another view.jpg 380

I loved loved loved these open chair lifts,  feet dangling,  the wind in my face!   I discovered, though that they only go part way up – and not down –  so then you have to use the covered “gondolas.”

A Mt Bike from gondola 370

This is  a view from inside a gondola.  We’re going down.    Your ears can pop from the altitude change!    We’re looking down about 50 feet onto a mountain bike trail.    Cooper’s Daddy teaches mountain biking . . .   winter mountain biking,  in the snow.   He’s probably a good teacher,  but I’m never going to find out!

Cooper was excited to be up in the mountain tops.  There were many things he wanted to do.    Gem panning, for one.

A Gem Panning 370

Panning for gold and semi-precious gems were one of the historic  draws to this area,  so I guess he’s learning his own local history.    He found some really nice ones, including a really nice portion of a geode with amethyst crystals inside.    I’m the grateful recipient of that —  his idea.

This was his second choice:

A Coopers Legs 370

Well, it was hard to capture this activity with the camera.

A Cooper Up 370

In case you wonder how he likes being catapulted 25 feet into the air  —

A Cooper Smile 370

So much fun!   Wish I were six years old again!

The third place he wanted to go while we were up on the mountain tops was a trampoline place.   They actually do some serious practicing for the Olympics up here.

A Cooper Tramp 370

There were dozens of trampolines, side by side, as well as gymnastic floor areas and  things you tie yourself up in to do aerial tricks.   The place was busy with all ages of kids working on their moves.     Cooper  enjoyed the jumping, and his Daddy got into the trampolines too and displayed some spectacular dives and twists.

But it isn’t all for fun:

A Cooper Snowboard practice 370

This is a place to learn your snowboarding tricks.   You can jump and spin and somersault safely, because when you do it in the snow,  it’s going to be a harder landing!

And, yes —

A Cooper bike 370

You practice spinning, jumping, twisting tricks on your bike too.

And when you come down from all the activity what do you do next?

A Soccer 370

See the long shadows?   That’s  “evening on the soccer field.”

After soccer practice . . .  a bike ride to a restaurant . . .

And then the next day . . .  another full round of activities!

(See why this lady is ready to come home soon?)

 

LAKE LIFE

Posted September 1, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags: , , ,

Here’s where the Little Blue Car has been parked for the past week:

L Blue Car 370

Beneath a mountain,  at the lakeside.    You can just about see it at the bottom right corner of Cooper’s house.  Cooper’s Mommy and Daddy have worked very hard and are working hard and long hours to be able to choose a home in this location,  but, nevertheless,   every day they told me how lucky and how grateful they are to have a home like that.

So, good.

The Little Blue Car hasn’t had much to do lately.    This is how we got around:

L how we got around 270

Cooper’s family spend a lot of time in that lake –  Donner Lake.

L Viking Dive 370

Tbere’s  a  fearless jump  into the Lake!   Daddy is close by in case he’s needed,  but by six years old?

Nope:

L Viking alone 360

He spent two hours  in  that Lake.     The whole family did.

And after lake time,  Cooper piloted the boat:

L Viking driver 370

Ahhhhh.   Viking blood runs true in the newest generation!

 

viking ship

________________________________________________

 

Active, active, active.   Everyone bicycles, serious mountain biking;   everyone does water sports in the summer,  snowboarding and snow mountain biking in the winter;   and lots of other sports all year round.      All the men.  All the women.  All the children.

But something else I noticed while here in the High Sierras:   I really didn’t see many people my age.   I think everyone must wear themselves out by age 50.

 

DESTINATIONED

Posted September 1, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags: , ,

Yes:  “destinationed.”     ” Destinationed out.”     As in “I got there and I’ve met my  . . .  end . . .”

These people are active!

It’s good.    I’m okay.    I’m exhausted.   Done thinking.    I’m sunburned,   been scraped and bloodied,    dizzied,     weak-kneed,    so-o-o-o-o-o thirsty,    tired,   and shaky . . .   and half-drowned at the bottom of this:

DL Lake Donner

I’ve  been staying there . . .  right about where that little boat in the bottom left corner is coming out of.     Donner Lake.    I’ve been on the Lake and under the Lake . . . .   Tricks on the Lake  you  shouldn’t do at my age, or at least while you’re still weak-kneed from other activities.

Do you know that after you peddle boat across the Lake and back again that your legs don’t work so well for a while?

I took that  Lake photo from up here:

DL Rainbow Bridge 370

 

Location of Rainbow Bridge:

2L The Rainbow Bridge

That little straight dark line in the center of the picture is the famous Rainbow Bridge.  Thanks to “Walt Disney Presents”  and my Viewmaster cards,  I learned about this Bridge as a child.    Almost never thought of it as real.

We got up there from Old US 40 – an old highway with breathtaking views and hairpin turns:

DL Old US 40

We parked our cars below and climbed up by foot further:

DL Rocks

There were more rocks to climb:

DL Boulders

Really was fun jumping from place to place, planning your footholds carefully.   Going down this mountainside was a whole different perspective.   You could see the depths.

Cooper was with me:

DL Cooper

He lives there at Donner Lake –  this is his back yard!    The mountains, the forests and the Lake.        We celebrated Cooper’s Daddy’s birthday — on a pontoon boat – and with ski lifts and gondolas and a bit of hiking at the Summit —  el.  7200 feet.

I did a few other thingsout here at Donner,  but I’m too tired to write about them right now.   Packing the car for the trip home is next on my mind.

I’ll need a rest from this vacation.

BONNEVILLE

Posted August 30, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Cats, Travel

Tags: , ,

One of the great stops along I-80  is the Bonneville Flats Test Sight.

After the flat green landscape of Kansas and the beautiful tan and brown and gold tones of the mountains of Wyoming and Utah,  you  notice a “change”  outside your car window:

B1 Bonneville 370

The land becomes white.

B2 Big Flats 380

Miles and miles of dry white surface.

And, of course,  these are the Bonneville Flats – and they’re made for driving!

B3 Flats are for driving 370

There are miles and miles of this.     I always say:   ” I’m not going to stop.”

B5.5 Rest Stop up ahead 370

“I’m not going to stop.    I’m not . . . ”

B4 rest area 370

But I always do.   They have a really nice and informative rest area,  and you can get as close as you can to the salt flats.

Although almost all you’ll see for many miles into the curvature of the earth is salt.

B5 just salt 2 370

Somewhere in that expanse there is a course set, varying in length each year, for the fastest cars to set speed records.  Only one mile of the course is recorded,  the fastest mile, I guess.

B6 sign 370

I’m not that interested in cars and motors and engines and how fast you can get a car-like vehicle to move,  but even for me a portion of that sign was impressive:

B7 sign portion 370

I’ve driven in “triple digit” m.p.h. — but not with an 8 in it!

Might seem like an odd place to take a stroll,  but there’s no danger.

B9 odd place for a stroll

And I always get out there on the salt-encrusted earth too:

B10 shoes in 370

Water seeps through some places:

B11 Wading 2 370

Wet and dry:

B12 shallow water 370

If you scoop up some of the salt from the wet portion –  well, it just looks like wet salt:

B13 shallow wet salt 370

 

But if you want some salt from the dry portion, you have to pry it up from the desert gravel,  you have to use a little force and try to get a big chip:

B14 salt sample 370

I had all the fun I wanted . . .  it was getting later in the traveling day . . .  and see that kind of white  line across the middle of this picture, leading on into the distant mountains?  —

B16 highway goes 370

That’s the highway where I had to go, off into those mountains,  up and over,  and into the high desert:

B17 highway into 102 370

Quite a temperature!

 

 

 

P.S. THE YELLOW AND THE BLUE

Posted August 30, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Dinosaurs, Travel

Tags:

Here are the “yellow” and the “blue”  I alluded to in the last post  about dinosaurs but forgot to include them at the end.     You see, some of these species are still with us, living today.

So here’s the yellow —  tiny little things that spit poisonous and deadly venom at passers-by.

D Yellow Frogs

They’d be easy to overlook as you walked past them.    They were on display behind glass   (rather thin glass!)   in the lobby of the Sternberg Natural History Museum.

Same with the blue deadly venomous spitting things:

D Blue Frog

Odd.  Different.   Strange.   Exotic.    Hypnotizing.

I wouldn’t want to raise little children where these things live.

We’re reminded that Nature around us is not necessarily a friendly place  . . .  at least not since after the Great Fall, which forever changed the relationship of Man and his Environment.

20170823_111925

DINOSAUR HEAVEN

Posted August 29, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Dinosaurs

Tags: , , ,

Those of you who know me know my enthusiasm  for dinosaurs!   A 5,000 mile road trip is just my excuse to visit dinosaur museums  ( ahem,  “natural history” museums).   So please join me on this leg of the trip for a visit to the dinosaurs, for as much patience as you have!

Getting there was easy:

D Getting there370

That’s  the middle of our country!   Kansas,  home of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.   And a very good one it is:

D Building

Easy parking.  No waiting in lines.    That big cream-colored  dome in the back houses the main exhibits.  You can see it better from the expressway.

Inside is a beautiful lobby, with blue and yellow live relics from ancient times on display  (more later)  and a lovely plesiosaurus   hanging overhead.     Also a thoughtful welcome sign:

D Bldg 80m 370

Guests are all primed and ready!    First stop, though, is actually the sea creatures,  displayed in a beautiful curving pathway through  “the sea.

D Thru the Sea.jpg 370

And  close to the “swimming”  monsters:

D Mososaurus 370

Looks fierce at maybe 25 feet long,  but we know what it used those teeth for,  sort of:

D Mosoaur diet 370

Each of the blue arrows shows bite marks on an ammonite,  a mollusk kind of thing, possibly eaten by the “sea monster.”

D Sea Creature 2 Tyrosaurus 370

Thirty or so feet long.   Tyrosaurus.

What’s left of him:

D Sea Creature 2 370

Reptile bones can be a little boring,  but sometimes they can show us interesting things:

This fish swallowed another fish whole . . .  and then died:

D Sea Creatures fish in fish 370

The head of the fish that got swallowed is to the right, so he was swallowed head first.  They know what kind of fish these are:

D fish in label 350

But the main attraction is always the big reptile things —  all kinds of dinosaurs — so I entered into “the cave” —

D Cave Entrance 370

Through the cave to another world –  with fun warnings:

D Warning Sign 278

And then a rather serious thought:

D Warning Tail Signs 370

 

I mean,  if you’re observant,  you would notice that tail sticking out from behind the rocks.    That’s a mighty big tail!

Life is mean,  80 million years ago.   Always was,  always will be.    Predator and prey.   It’s a “dog-eat-dog”  world out there.    Or whatever these are.

D Warning Fight 370

A T-Rex towering over me:

D T REX Head 370

And many others:

D T Rex friend 2 370

One walks through a land of dinosaurs with sounds of swampy groans and growls and piercing whistles and occasional roars . . .  it became eerily realistic after a while.  Occasionally a huge dinosaur would move as it called out –  thanks to subtle animatronics.

Although the Age of the Reptiles lasted for many millions of years,  even long before these dinosaurs was another age,  the Permian Age:

D Permian monsters 370

 

You really have to think about this to begin to understand the magnitude of ages before the ages before . . .  us.    If you were a time traveler and started out at the time of the dinosaurs and moved backwards in time . . .   if you stopped off every ten million years and saw what lived on this planet,   you would see the height of the Permian Age;  no dinosaurs for a long, long time to come.  Just Permian Age creatures of all sizes.

Then take a time-leap back another ten million years.  Still the Permian Age creatures.

Then take a time-leap back another ten million years.  Still Permian Age creatures.

You could keep doing that until you were tired of leaping backwards, ten million years at a time —  at still hardly reach the beginning of the Permian Age.

Maybe we don’t do that because the creatures aren’t as glamorous and familiar to us,  but if this scientific guess reconstruction is somewhat accurate,  then it was a beautiful and complex age too.

D Permian sea creatures 370

It was predator and prey,  dog-eat-dog then too:

D Permian monster jump 370

That guy was going after a tasty dragonfly.   The museum had a model of the dragonfly,  much larger, according to Permian Age fossils than our dragonflies today.

D Permian dragonfly 370

My hand , in the corner,  was much closer to the camera,  but still you can see the exceptional size of this creature with maybe a three-foot wingspan.

There were land creatures too of all sizes,  and creatures who lived in the water and on land

And then it came to an end.  We can only speculate why.   It’s called the Permian Extinction Event,  or the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event.   It occurred about 252,000,000 years ago.   So much of the planet’s biodiversity was lost;  about 96 percent of those sea creatures, and 70 percent of land vertebrates . . .  almost all the insect species.

This was the P-T Event,  which came long before the K-T Extinction Event which killed off the “dinosaurs.”      Someone once wrote that it’s like the earth was nearly scrubbed clean of life, and then after a long recovery period, something like a “cosmic dump truck”  just unloaded an explosion of brand-new life forms that became dominant.

What age are we in? How long will it last?

One thing is very clear from actual history written on this planet:  Extinction events happened because of natural causes –  causes caused by Nature and Nature’s significantly, planet-wide drastic changes.   Whether caused by events from outer space,  cosmic bursts of lethal radiation,   or by upheavals within the earth itself —  mankind DOES NOT CAUSE  planet-wide destruction  and mankind CANNOT CAUSE  planet-wide destruction of the “environment”  or the “ecosystem”  or even any portion of the immense “biodiversity”  that exists on this earth.

Climate change is the result of these immense forces that impact the earth.    It doesn’t start from any one species living on the planet.

Please don’t dismiss the Young Earth Theory  (not the “earth is six thousand years old theory”  but the legitimate Young Earth Theory —   that’s worth looking into too, and there is actual evidence, geological and fossil evidence,  that the earth’s age doesn’t need billions of years to explain itself.)   But just play around with all the theories offered.   There is “a diversity”  of theories too.    (None of us living today can determine the right theory.)

Sure I love dinosaurs,  but my heart  is in the last Ice Age,  about 30,000 to 10,900 B.C.

D Mammoth

Or — as they exist now in the Sternberg Museum:

D Mammoth 370

Here are Dr. Sternberg’s actual working tools:

D Sternberg stuff 370

That’s all we have of these magnificent past ages:

D All and hard work 370

It’s so worth a trip to your nearest natural history museum,  just to enter their worlds.

And ours.

ZOO TIPS

Posted August 28, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Humor, Nature Speaks, Travel, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Going to a zoo sometime during this trip west was something I looked forward to.

Z Zoo Sign

I found a couple:   the Kansas City Zoo in the city;  and this one,  way out in the country through narrow two-lane roads.     Surprisingly worth it.

Of course I’ve been to lots of zoos before, and in one way they’re all “alike”  —  all the familiar animals arranged in simulations of their native continents;   but each zoo is a bit different too,  and it’s those differences plus the animals that make it worth “going to the zoo again.”

Z Rhino

So,  you’ve seen lions and tigers in person;  you’ve seen a rhino;  exotic birds; you’ve been up close to elephants;  maybe you’ve even fed the giraffes with their long black muscular tongues!     (He just stuck his tongue back in when I snapped the picture.)

Z Giraffe 270

Some zoo tips:

First:   you are never too old to go to a zoo.    No matter how old you get, no matter how many zoos you’ve seen,  even if you have to go alone, your zoo trips are not behind you;   you’re never too old!

Second:      In the summer?   On a hot sunny day?    Hat, sunglasses, plenty of water and sunscreen with you?    But don’t forget that the animals are hot too and this is the time of day when the most interesting animals   go    to   sleep!

Sleeping furry tail 300

Cute little guys –  but they’re not going to be moving anytime soon.

Sleeping Flamingos 320

Pretty flamingos.   Pretty sleepy flamingos.

You won’t see much action from even the big guys:
SleepingTigers 370

And I think the bright noon sun bleaches out the colors in the photos.

Third:      Ride!      Ride the trams . . .

Zoo Tram 400

. . .  the trains . . .

Z Train 400

. . .  and the sky rides.  . . .

SkyRide 400

 

You’ll see the zoo in comfort and in shade, with a cool breeze blowing past you;  and it’s surprising how long you can last the day without feeling a bit tired.

Riding,  rolling  gliding your way through the zoo is a great way to see where all the exhibits are and plan which ones you’d like to actually walk to.   And there are always frequent stops,  so just get off near exhibits that you want to see, and then get back on    when you’re done there.

Fourth:   Don’t forget to see the humor – and take some funny shots!

Funny shots 400

Like a headless polar bear

Fifth:   Enjoy the signs –  but remember to be safe or you’ll get some surprises.       This sign was easy enough to understand:

Kangaroo sign and spiders 400

What it meant was that the kangaroos run freely, no cages,  and there are no barriers between you and them.

Kangaroo Spider surprise 400

This made one young man – one foolish, boastful young man –   tell his girlfriend (or wife)  that he was going to run right at those kangaroos and scare them!   His young girlfriend (or wife)  told him  “No!   They’re wild animals!    They could hurt you!”

But the young man ran off our pathway,  through the opening in the bushes,  and promptly began to yell:   “Aaaaaargh!!”       He had run right into some wild . .  .   spider webs!   He came out spitting and sputtering and rubbing his face.      “I’m not going back there,”  he said.   I guess he’d found his wild things.

Sixth:    Look all around and enjoy the whole wild, strange, exotic world that you are just a tiny part of:

Z Blue 400

There was a group of maybe 40 of them, all dressed alike in the same colors:  moms, dads,  children,  babies . . .  speaking “Pennsylvania Dutch,”   which since “Dutch”  means “Deutsch”  I could understand about a third of what they were saying.   How I wondered and speculated what their world is like!

Seventh:   Take Google with you:

Snake google 400

This is a giant python.  An ordinary python with a genetic defect  causing amelonism because of  a double heterozygous gene which produced a condition called … “leuco-”  something.   Another lady and I were trying to figure out what all this meant, what made the python such a pretty yellow color.   Finally we looked each other in the eye,  smiled, and whipped out our cell phones,  consulting Google for the full explanation –  which was rather satisfying.

And that wasn’t the last time Google answered our questions –  questions which could make sense only while we were there,  but answers which will stick with us for a while.

Eighth:       Leave your POLITICS  at home!!!

Not you –  the young millennial zoo people who insisted on writing, for every animal exhibit,   that HUMANS  have destroyed this animal’s habitat and that they are now becoming extinct, or in danger of becoming extinct, or one day will think they might become extinct.       Because  “humans did it.”      Humans are horrible!    Humans make it no fun to be an animal.

And soon there will be no more zoos.

Let me add a little animal sound to that:   “grrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

 

(Next post:  I’ll show them an extinct thing or two!)

 

 

 

 

 

WORLD WAR ONE REVISITED

Posted August 26, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Lessons from History, Travel, War Against America, Warfare, WWI

Tags: , ,

You should . . .  we all should:  revisit World War One.   Or maybe learn about it for the first time.     And 1917.  So much happened in that year that is relevant to us today — and if we don’t learn its lessons,   its warnings for us will come true.

KANSAS  CITY,  MISSOURI:

I had two things on my list to do in Kansas City:   (1)  visit the zoo;  (2)  visit the National World War One Memorial and Museum.

It’s NOT easy to drive in Kansas City,  and they had just received about 9 inches of rain, so many roads were still closed for flooding.  I was heading for the zoo, but got lost and found myself staring at a sign that pointed to the Museum . . .

It looks like this:

WWI Tower 400

It’s large.   You go forward and downward about fifteen feet, and then in through those dark doors in the middle.

Fortunately (if you want to have some fun)  you can go way up to the top of the tower too,  up in a rattle-y metal elevator:

WWI looking down elevator

That’s standing at the edge of the elevator looking down a couple hundred feet!   It lifts you up and then you walk up a further 45 winding steps,  just like in a lighthouse.

Quite a view!

WWI KC overlook

And my pretty blue car, way down there:

WWI Blue car

 

But inside the museum,  it was serious.    Serious history for a serious century.   You entered the exhibit rooms by walking on a glass floor.   Underneath the floor, about twenty feet down,  was a garden of poppies.

WWI glass floor anad foot

The reflection of the bright light makes it hard to tell that it’s a transparent floor,  but there’s my shoe to show you I’m standing on glass!

Deep down below, if you were there,  you’d see the poppies:

WWI glass poppies

I  cried.

Poppies.  *    We must never forget.

World War One was a slap in the face to “modern” man,  and a punch in the stomach.   With all the confident promises of modern technology to solve every problem, we discovered that technology could be used to wage the horrific, murderous, brutal war we could not even have imagined.   Airplanes were used to deliver bombs and chemical gases.    Artillery increased in unimaginable sizes.   Submarines delivered death to civilians, not just enemy soldiers.

And a new kind of warfare took the lives of almost half the men in the war:

WWI Trench 400

This was a life-size model of a trench from which much of the war was waged, on both sides.   10 to 15 feet or more deep.   Dirty, muddy,  disease and vermin filled.   A map of the trenches ran from the English Channel all the way down to Switzerland,  and it was not just one long narrow string of trenches.    There were many intersecting trenches,  some for fighting,  some for communications, some for the officers to plan,  some for tending the wounded,  some for supplies . . .   The web of trenches were like small cities.

And many, many young men died in these trenches.  Or trying to get out of the trenches.   Or ordered to get out, up, and over, to bring the fight to the enemy.

WWI Men sign up 400

America entered the war after a few years.    There were campaigns to raise money for our troops.  There was rationing at home.   “Tobacco parties”   or “Tobacco Balls”  to raise a supply of cigarettes to send to the troops.    And there was pressure on young Americans to enlist.

My grandfather enlisted in the Navy.      U.S.S.   Utah.

In 1917 the war effort faltered as Russia left the war to fight an internal war of its own.

WWI stolen guns

Actual German guns – taken by the Russians,  to use in the Russian Revolution.

Like World War One and “poppies”  the Russian Revolution is another event of the 20th century that should be revisited, since the same revolutionary group is at work in the United States today, promoting anarchy,  social upheaval,  class warfare,  racism,  discontent, and violence.

We need to remember what that did to the Russian people.   I know for a fact that our school and university history books do not tell us what we need to know.

World War One ended, then in 1918,   but its lessons for us do not come to an end.   Unless we want an inevitable Three.

 

 

_____________________________

.*

 

InFlandersFields

OPEN ROADS OPPORTUNITIES

Posted August 26, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Lessons from History, Mary, Travel

Tags: , , ,

I have some photos for you!  Finally!   I’m back in business:  after driving more than 600 miles today,  most of it looking into the blazing western sun;  and after resolving the war between Kaspersky and an “unsecure”  hotel Internet connection;  after finding a way to bypass a reluctant camera-to-laptop  connection while managing an insistent Roaming cell phone connection   . . .    and having my laptop shut down several times by the above mentioned parties to the “war”  —  I showed them all who’s Master of all this digital stuff!

BEHOLD:

Kansas Rd 400

Wide open spaces, as I wrote about last time!   Missouri and Kansas.

And Wyoming:

Wyoming Rd 400

I have so many photos of Wyoming, because it’s  the most scenic state I’ve ever  driven in.    This one just shows the open roads, not the scenery

If you ever want to feel like you’re driving on the very  top of the world, looking out in all directions for miles and miles into the horizon,  you would find that extraordinary feeling in Wyoming!     It’s a little like looking out from an airplane window.   The view is a cross between beautiful earth colors and a moonscape, and it lasts all day!    Ooohs and ahhhs and catching your breath is most appropriate!

The Glory of God reflected back to Him by Wyoming  scenery!

Well, this is about “opportunities”:    

Take them.

Mississippi 380

That’s the Mississippi River.  But not “just”  the Mississippi.   Think of all the history involved with that river:    Ancient Americans navigated it and built their mounds alongside its shores.    It’s quite likely, from the artifacts left behind that the Mauritanians   during the Roman era knew it.   (Mauritania:  an African province of Rome)      And “blue-eyed”  blond explorers (the Vikings?)

Certainly we know Father Pierre Marquette explored and mapped the river and the surrounding territory.   The first name  for this river that the Europeans knew  was “The River of The Immaculate Conception”  in honor of the Virgin Mary.

MAP River of the Immaculate Conception

The year was about 1673 and Father Marquette was 36 years old!

Of course the Mississippi River (as the English renamed it)  was important to the pioneers who had to cross it.

Did you know that when the first bridge over the river was completed, people were so afraid to cross that bridge,  that a parade of  elephants were led across the bridge to prove that it would be strong enough for people and wagons!

So when you’re driving across that ho-hum we-‘ve- heard- the- name- a- thousand- times river  —   when you’re driving,  take the opportunity  to think of all its interesting history.  And, as Son reminded me,  when you’ve driven to the western side of the  Mississippi River,   you’re really in the West.

Same thing for the Missouri River.

MIssouri 370

It also has a rich history and was meaningful to all those who had to cross it on their way west.    It’s really west,  far west,  and I felt quite emotional humming the beautifully sad song “Shenandoah,”   the river so many left behind when they pioneered west,  knowing they’d never go home again.   (YouTube it.)

Imagine what these strange-looking banks of the Missouri River meant to them:

MIssouri banks 370

Well, it isn’t just history and geology along the way.   Sometimes you have to make an effort to NOT let an opportunity get away from you.

Traveling along I-70  I saw many signs for wineries,  but I didn’t want to travel 20 miles north or south to get to one.  Then I saw this one:

Winery Bldg 380

Right along the edge of the interstate —  I drove to the nearest exit, turned around, and drove back to it.

Winery Sign 380

It’s hard to stop the “forward”   momentum  when you’re on a long trip,  but I think this was a little bit  worth it.  I met some nice people.   They let me peek into their back room.

Winery vats 380

The lady described the wines in terms that were foreign to me:  forward effect,  undertones,   fragrance,  airiness,  and , oh, yes,  “like taking a walk in a forest . . .”

I’m glad I took this opportunity and had the experience, even though  vineyards are only mildly interesting to me.   I’m not a wine-drinker — but the rest of my family  is.   I didn’t take a photo of the inside of the wine store and the bottles I picked out . . .  it’s a secret (until I deliver the bottles to my family)!

But more interesting stops in the next posting . . .

 

__________________________

 

Well, I found Shenandoah for you,  sung by a Norwegian singer!

(Remember,  it’s a very sad song . . . )

 

BEYOND “ROAMING”

Posted August 24, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags:

Well, I  am  traveling (roaming)   but so is my cell phone and it’s apparently very nervous about being so far from home.

I’ve traveled westward now for several days.  It’s a vast empty space out here.  You can drive for three hours straight, 80 m.p.h.,  few curves, few hills, and few cars  and without seeing any towns.    There are few exits, and there are usually no structures at the exits anyway.   Gas stations are few and far between.    You can fill up your tank and drive for another two or three or four hours and still see pretty much nothing.

Other than beautiful fertile landscape . . .  and lots of steaks-to-be.

For most of the last two days I had no cell service, and when I did,  I had to keep readjusting the roaming settings.    Now I discover that the Internet service is sketchy at best.

No photos?    Each photo that I have for you is taking 3 to 4 minutes to download.   That won’t do.

There is nothing that makes one feel “away from home”   as being away from cell phone and Internet.

(I’m driving up into the mountains tomorrow.   I’ve been there before.   There are even fewer people up there!)    Good-bye, again!!   

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SOME THOUGHTS ON ROAMING:

We have a vast, empty country, with relatively few people to spread around.   The people we do have seem to want to group together in too little space.      Now,  why should that be?    Back in the mists of time,  before ancient history,  we know  that our Creator said to “be fruitful . . .  and fill the whole earth. . .”  which we can understand means to “go ahead and live everywhere on this planet.”  

Also in ancient myths we repeatedly see that the Enemy had “taught”  humans to live in vast cities,  concentrating power and wealth in the hands of a few rulers.     Not good.

But we really do have enough land to spread out in small related groups of family and friends.    Sure would make true democracy a bit easier.

 

 

YES, WE DID

Posted August 22, 2017 by thesprucetunnel
Categories: Travel

Tags: ,

It’s taken an amazing amount of effort to get to see the eclipse —  and write about it!

e sun

We saw that, taken during the eclipse, but the eclipsed sun was still so bright that the camera couldn’t pick up the crescent sliver.    We did see the eclipse in all its phases,  at about 99+ % totality.

Safely looking through safety glasses:

e thru glasses

 

And looking goofy through the safety glasses:

e to edit

 

After tons of doubts and indecisions and not a few trepidations, Son and I had headed south for our eclipse viewing.  We made it all the way into Kentucky.    Reports of traffic jams seemed slightly exaggerated  but perhaps it was our lengthy morning discussions that allowed all the other cars to get a head start.  We nearly had the highways to ourselves!

We had no idea where to go in Kentucky, but there seemed to be a guiding hand watching over us and managing the timing and the location.

e npo crowds

 

We found our way to what turned out to be the local community college, where everyone was friendly and happy.   It wasn’t really crowded.

One advantage of viewing an eclipse in a college setting is that there are telescopes at hand!    Son gets a good look:

e telescope

We walked around, we sat down, we lay down in the soft clover grass and tried to absorb all the phenomena:  we watched the crescent sun get narrower and narrower,   the lights dim,  the air get slightly cooler  (it was 95 degrees — “slightly cooler”  still felt hot!),  we saw the shadows actually get unusually sharper with well-defined edges:

e sharp shadow

And then, all at once:  

In the trees all around us the crickets and bugs and things began singing – loudly!   The people who had been speaking in soft voices  each other had to speak a little more loudly to each other.    We all looked around in wonder because we hadn’t noticed any “absence”  of bug sounds just a few moments before, and now there was a full chorus around us!

e noisy bugs

Son discovered that these were dead bugs,  but there sure were a lot of them.

We had beautiful park-like surroundings on that campus:

e beautiful surrroundings

 

We lingered awhile, just reliving the experience and enjoying the scenery.   We sure didn’t feel like being among the first to leave.

e blue car

The little blue car was waiting for us.   Son starts his journey home to the Far North and I begin my journey West,  first stop  Kansas City, Missouri,  where there is LOTS to see.

Truly,  everything worked out smoothly for us.   Deo gratias.