Monday, June 29, 2015

Blogging at 85

So,  There I was....* Headed to Colorado to celebrate my Aunt's 80th Birthday.  Little Juvat (he hates that moniker, but like Tuna said about callsigns, the more you gripe, the harder it sticks) is doing the driving and I'm taking the opportunity to ride in the back seat.  This may be my first time back here since I started driving. 

Anyhow, we're headed to southwest Colorado, to a place outside Dolores called Stoner Ranch.  Now, if that don't set you back....

"Howdy Officer,  what can I do for you?"
"I clocked you at 85 in a 75.  Where you going?"
"Got to get a blog post up.  Sarge is getting nervous."
"Where you coming from?"
"Big State,  Where specifically?"
"Stoner Ranch"
"Outta the car, Longhair!"

Making pretty good time.  4 miles every 3 minutes.  Except....
55MPH on right, 55.001MPH on the left

Got a bit of time to think back here.  Last time I saw my Aunt was when she and my Uncle traveled to our neck of the woods for my Dad's Funeral.  My Uncle (Dad's brother) has since passed on.  It's now down to 3 left in that generation of my famiy and I'm the elder statesman for the next generation.  Having just "celebrated" a zero birthday, that's been on my mind a bit lately.

Thinking about the last time I saw my cousins (4 Boys and a Girl).  Have to believe it was my Grandparent's 50th Anniversary.  Celebrated that out in Tuna's neck of the woods, Escondido in 1979, so it's been a while.  Pretty sure my Aunt is a great-grandma.  Well, I am sure that whether or not her grand children have kids of their own, she's a GREAT Grandma. (Just in case she reads this).

Discovered another benefit to being chauffeured, naps! A little siesta and I'm suddenly 100 miles closer.  Well out of the hill country now and definitely got some "see 'em comin'" vistas.

The Pecos River in all its raging glory
It occurs to me, the last time I actually spent serious time riding was at the Puzzle Palace.  One of the most unique things about the area was slugging.  Traffic in the area was (is, I'm sure) horrible.  HOV lanes helped enormously, but finding 2 additional folks that were going your way at your time was next to impossible.

So, without any Federal Government involvement (I know, hard to believe, right?), people found a way to get extra riders and use the HOV lanes.  The driver would stop by the Pentagon bus station and find the bus that served the route near their destination.  Then starting at the front of the line would proceed down the stating the bus stop he would end up at.  The first two people that had that stop or an earlier one would say so and they'd get a ride. 

One would think this was lunacy, getting in a car with strangers.  As far as I know, there never was a problem.  If you didn't like the looks of the driver, you were under no obligation to ride with him.

There weren't any federal government mandated rules, but there were some generally agreed upon conventions.  First, the only slug initiated conversations were "Good Morning" and "Thank you".  The driver could initiate a conversation if they wanted, but were encouraged not to discus religion or politics.  In DC, not discussing the latter meant it was usually quiet.
Phone conversations by the slug were limited to "On my way home, be there in xxx"
Since the bus stop nearest my home was the closest one to the HOV lane, that made the wife and I an attractive slug option, so we rarely rode the bus home. 

One morning, I'm at the bus stop, by myself, it's raining.  I've got about 10 minutes before the bus is supposed to arrive when a van pulls up.  Guy rolls down the window and asks where I'm headed.


"OK"  Transaction completed.

"Good Morning" I say as I get in.  Quick look around the van and it's only he and I.  There's no other slug pick up point prior to the HOV, but it's not my problem.  Besides the van's windows are tinted and it's still dark.

We're on the HOV making good time when the Driver asks "Where do you work in the Pentagon?"  I tell him and he responds with "Oh so you work for Shmuckatelli?"

"Yes, Sir, but I usually call him General"

He laughs and says "I'd say so".

I say "If you don't mind my asking, where do you work?"

"I'm the senior Senator from Montana."

As I said, slugging was one of the few very interesting aspects of life in DC.

Back in the back seat, we've cleverly managed to arrive in Pecos, home of the Best in the West Rodeo, just in time to meet the Rodeo parade head on.  Our 4 in 3 average speed is taking a quantitative hit.

Lots of Fracking traffic out here.  Take that anyway you'd like.

Arrived safely in Albuquerque.  A Little New Mexican food for Dinner with a very nice Hefeweizen. Or Two.

Expecting a paucity of Internet access, so signing off for now.

Tough view to read a book and have a cup of coffee with, but as's 15 miles to any internet, cell or GPS signal
Woke up Thursday morning in ABQ and did my weather check and discovered some UFOs

Saturday we went to Mesa Verde NP.  WSF's first CO Home!
My Ladies!

Pretty Decent "See 'Um Comin" Views!
But in the's all about Family!


  1. WSF's first CO Home! Nah, too uptown for us.

    1. Well, there is a lot of UP in that town. I can only imagine, based on the pain in mine, the size of those folks thighs and calves. That area is a beautiful part of the state though.

    2. The prehistoric history of the area is explored in depth by Frank Joseph, Advanced Civilizations of Prehistoric America. Might make Old AFSarge give us his obsesion with the French (or maybe not).

    3. $10 on Amazon for the Kindle Edition. Guess I'll check it out. Thanks.

  2. "...down to 3 left in that generation..."

    What's spooky is when there are none left and you realize you're one of the oldest in the next generation.

    1. That was the part I was thinking about. She's 20 years older than me. 20 years ago, I hadn't begun my last assignment yet, and that assignment seems like yesterday. Ah well, life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. (I don't know where I read/heard that, but it seems to fit)

    2. Yes, at age 71 it looks like I'm approaching the outer-marker to life's final glide-slope--hope it's a smooth ride and my DME is working! (although, on second thought, I'm not so sure I'd like to know in advance exactly how many miles I have left until final touchdown. :) )

    3. Virgil, we need you to hold at the outer marker, the pattern is full.

      You're not going anywhere until we've heard ALL of your stories!

    4. Concur with Sarge on that one.

  3. Loved it!

    I like to think that having a senior generation above you helps to keep Eternity at a step "once removed."

    It won't be long before I will be at the head of that queue. Dang!

    In that last photo, can we play "Spot the Juvat" or were you à la Matthew Brady behind the camera?

    1. I suspect you would have a distinct advantage, but yes. I'm in the picture. Little Juvat just bought a camera which has a wireless connection to his phone. He framed the shot and took the picture from the formation. Gots to get me a new camera!

  4. Glad the trip is going well! And it hasn't gotten any better back here... sigh... And Slugging STILL WORKS! :-)

    1. Re: DC traffic, I suspected as much! I am surprised that the Gummint hasn't tried (maybe hasn't succeeded) in regulating it. I mean transportation unions gots ta eat!

    2. Gots ta eat steak and Lobster!

  5. Good post. Reminds me of the time that my dad got to ride in back and snooze while I made the miles disappear across the southern part of Arizona on our way to New Mexico. During the return trip we listened to President Nixon resign - on our AM radio. It's been awhile.

    Other parts of your post differ in my memory. I distinctly remember that getting my license was a direct cause of my spending a lot of quality time in the back seat. ;-)

    Not alone either. Those were my teenage years and I had willing company.

    Might be why I was an enlisted guy in the Army. Or not. :D


    1. OK, let me clarify! It had been a long time since I've been in the back seat of a MOVING vehicle. I can neither confirm nor deny any activities in the back seat of a stationary vehicle. ;-)

  6. Safe continued travels Juvat - for you and yours!

    Marcus, long time off my radar. How's things in MAss?

  7. We're back home safely (Last Night). 13 1/2 hours driving Sunday, so I'm pretty stiff this morning. But it was fun! Thanks for the thoughts.


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