Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gearing up for another train ride

Dear Lucy,
I am gearing up for the next leg of this journey; a train ride from Los Angeles to Jacksonville Florida.
By way of Chicago.
That's right. Chicago.
It seems that Hurricane Katrina is still having her way with the South as the train tracks from New Orleans east are still not up and running since the big blast. So, I could either take the southern route from Los Angeles through Arizona, New New Orleans and then head north to Chicago, or I could rent a car in New Orleans and drive the rest of the way (with a bicycle strapped in the trunk) or just skip the southern route all together.
I decided that being dumped off in New Orleans was not my idea of a good time and would stress me out too much, so that was out.
So, I will be going to Chicago, changing trains there, then going to DC and changing trains there and then heading down the east coast to Florida.
I have to believe that when an adventure takes a turn like that, it's for a reason, and so I am excited to see who I will meet, or what will happen on this trip.
I leave on the evening of the 3rd and get in to Jacksonville on Sunday morning. My friend Donna will pick me up and I will stay with her for a while before heading to Georgia to see Regi.
I have started packing and repacking, and setting items aside to ship home like my heavy jacket and items given to me by family.

I will try to write faithfully on this blog until I leave California. And maybe, there won't be any earthquakes between now and Wednesday!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Dear Lucy,

I am continuing to read through the book, "Living when a Loved One Dies", and working through the all the myriad feelings encompassed in the word grief.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

"If only I had...
treated the one I loved
more kindly.
called the doctor sooner.
Understood the full extent of the illness.
taken better care of
him or her.
not lost my temper.
expressed my affection
more frequently."

What we all "shoulda, coulda, woulda" in situations had we known what the future held.

Would I have stayed with Anne and not moved out and called it quits? I think I would have.

Had I known that a year after I moved out, she would be dead, I could have stuck it out. I would have stuck it out and likely had a whole different attitude about the whole thing.

I would have cherished her instead of hating what she was putting me through and hating the person she had become.

I would have spent more time with her rather than trying to get away from her.

I would have listened more. I would have tried harder to make every day count for all it was worth, rather than just try and get through another day.

I would have.

I should have.

I could have.

But I didn't. And it's over. And I did the best I could. And now I have to live with it. And get over it.

And move on...


Angels and Demons, the movie

Dear Lucy,

Last night Ken (my bro) and I went to see the movie Angels and Demons. Oddly enough, he and I unknowingly had just read the book; he in Hawaii and I on the train to LA.

Boy, was the movie different. Of course, it always is different because a screen-play adaptation can't give all the details or draw out the plot like a book. So, I expected that.

But, this was really different. I spent half my time trying to figure out where key characters from the book were in the movie, and why some key elements weren't used and different twists added.

It was a good movie. It moved quickly and had lots of action. But the best part of Dan Brown, the author of the book, is his ability to weave lots of information (about the Illuminati in this case) into the story without making you feel like you are reading a text book.

I was very good though in that after the movie and during, I didn't point out what I thought were some obvious flaws like that it was broad daylight in the movie after 8pm when the first murder took place which got me thinking, "it must be summer time, maybe it gets dark later there, but then it's so far south it would be more like Southern California that doesn't stay light near as long as Washington State in the summer..." and of course I lost track of the movie. Pointing out things like this to Anne used to drive her nuts.

Then at one point in the movie Ken leaned over and asked me if I had ever seen "Hunt for Red October". I guess a character in the movie was in that movie.

He had forgotten my problem with remembering movies. It used to drive Anne really nuts.

We would be with some friends and one would ask us if we had seen a certain movie. In unison, she would say yes and I would say no. Then the whole thing started. It went something like this:

Me: "Really? We saw that movie? When?"
Anne: "Oh, you remember (giving some reference as to a time), we saw it with so and so.
Me: "I don't remember it. Who was in it?"
Anne: (So and so, some actor's name).
Me: Who is that?
Anne: He was in (such and such a movie)
Me: Really? Did I see that movie?
Anne: Of course you saw it...
Me: What else was he in?

And on it would go until Anne would get frustrated and tell me she was never getting sucked into this kind of conversation again!
She would of course get sucked in, but as the years went by the conversations grew shorter!
She also wouldn't let me go pick out a movie at the video store alone either as I would inevitably come home beaming at the thought of watching the one I picked out that, of course, we had already seen.

So when Ken asked me about the movie I just laughed and he remembered this story. Some people learn faster than others.

So, I will probably rent Angels and Demons two years from now and watch it anew (in my mind) not remembering the book either, and have a different critique on it.

Life is always so fresh and new for me!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Alaska Pictures

Dear Lucy,

As I am going through the pics on my camera, I thought I would share some of the trip Anne and I took to Alaska a few years back.

First, a picture of me and Anne in our berth on the Alaska Ferry heading up to Alaska. I took the picture through the mirror in front of us. Clever, don't you think?

We called it, "Lesbian Jailhouse"

Next is a man fishing in Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Sunset

Close up of a glacier

As an unemployed lunatic, this is my future house.


Mount Baldy

Dear Lucy,
On Saturday I decided to take a drive to Mount Baldy. Mt. Baldy is about 25 minutes from Ontario, and part of the San Gabriel mountain range.

As young teenager I hiked on the mountain every Saturday with some of my siblings and my brother-in-law. As a young adult my friend Trici and I and whomever else was along, with a snoot-full of alcohol and a lung-full of pot would pile into her VW pickup (this was the 70's folks) and she would drive us up there.

So, this was something to do and a literal drive up and down memory lane.

Not much has changed on the mountain. It's drier having absolutely no snow on it even on its peak, the road isn't any better and the hair-pin turns are still as hair-pin as ever.

Coming home I stopped at a Carl's Jr for some dinner and was surprised to notice that there was a rent-a-cop working there! Security guards in fast-food restaurants?

I thought maybe he worked nearby and was on his break until an armored car pulled up and the guy came in to get the money and waved at the rent-a-cop.

What's this world coming to when there's a security guard at a Carl's Jr????


Friday, May 22, 2009

A Trip to the Bookstore

Dear Lucy,

Yesterday after reading a friend's blog I set off to the book store to find the two books she had recommended to those with a creative bent.

The books were in the self-help section, and while trying to get me to check out a self-help section is like trying to get a dentalphobe to the office for a root-canal, I went. I didn't find the books I was looking for (they were sold out), but I did pass a section on, Death, Dying, and Grief.

I ignored it the first time around, and then finally figured, "what the heck, I'll see what the latest psychobabble on the topics is".

Most of the books were pretty much that. Lots of blah, blah, about the stages of grief and what to expect. Too many words for me.

Then I hit upon this one: Living When a Loved One has Died, by Earl A. Grollman. It was poetry.

Really. It was pages of poetry that so touched me I nearly started crying in the store. Here is the first one that hit home:

"Your loved one has died.
You are unprepared.
The death has struck
like a tidal wave.
You are cut loose from your
You are all but drowning in the
sea of your private sorrow.
The person who has
been part of
your life is gone forever.
It is final, irrevocable.
Part of you has died."

Wow. That's it! That is exactly how I feel and I have been struggling to put it in words for months. Part of me has died and I feel completely cut loose from my moorings.

Lost. Vulnerable. The one and only person on this dustball we call earth who knew me inside and out--and still loved me!--is gone forever and poof, just like that, my life is completely upside down. I don't know who I am anymore, I don't know where I am going, and the person I had the most history with is not around to share that with and help me find my way.

And the worst part is that no one can really reach into that place in me and comfort it. They can offer solace, friendship, love, but it won't reach that place.

I think that's why so many people have a hard time dealing with someone who is grieving. There just aren't any words to say, not enough hugs to give, that can reach the person where she needs to be reached. I think only God can do that.

Unfortunately for me, I am not on good speaking terms with God right now even though I see His work in my life every day. Maybe that's the best I can do right now--acknowledge the work of God in my life every day.

But then, that's the best any of us can do.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finally got to the beach!

Dear Lucy,

So, after all my adventures, I finally made it to the beach. I parked at the pier, got my bike off the rack and my chair, and wouldn't you know it. I forgot to bring the key to my bike lock!

I had planned to ride a bit, stop to get some sun and to read, and then ride back feeling smugly superior for having gotten some exercise. CURSES!

Fortunately, the beach has some grassy areas by the board walk where those who don't want to get sand in there cracks can go, and you can just park your bike near you and keep an eye on it.

That's what I did. I parked. I read. I got a sunburn. I rode up and down some of the boardwalk. And I drove home feeling smugly superior for having gotten some exercise.

Huntington Beach was all abuzz setting up nets and bleachers and booths for some huge volleyball championship this weekend.

Just think; hundreds of young, taut, tanned bodies jumping around and slapping their leather balls over nets!

Isn't America great?


Me Want!

Dear Lucy,

While driving along Beach Blvd to the beach I passed this Honda dealership and they had this new Honda Fury out front.

I had just read about it on line and thought it looked pretty cool from the pictures, but wow. So, I had to flip a u-turn and get a picture of this.

I know, you're saying; "it's not a Harley, it don't count."

I say, "you are a dog, what do you know?"

Anyway, as you can see, it's their version of a chopper, a 1300 and something CC engine so it has a little giddy-up to it and it sells for just under $13,000.00. Not bad for a chopper.

As I stood outside taking this picture, of course no one came running out to ask me if I needed any help, which brings me to the story of buying my first motorcycle.

Anne and I went to Skagit Power Sports and were looking around the showroom and sitting on bikes for quite some time. No one offered to help.

So we sat on the bike I was interested in for another five minutes watching the sales people hanging out talking to each other and ignoring us.

So I, in my usual, easy-going, unassuming way, went to the parts counter, got the manager and said, "Is there some unwritten rule around this place that says you don't wait on people who are wearing a bra?"

I am sure I gave that manager a good story to tell his friends, and they have hired some women sales people since.

Changing the world one bike shop at a time!

I had thought about doing the same thing yesterday because I really did want to sit on the bike and see if my legs would reach the pegs (hey, that rhymes!), but I thought better of it. Where am I gonna get 13 grand for a motorcycle anyway?


Took a Day Off

Dear Lucy,

Yesterday I just had to take a day off from all this time off and go to the beach again. Wouldn't you know, it was a sunny day?

As I am gliding down the freeway I spot this car, the likes of which I ain't seen in ages. A Woody! With the original black plates and everything!

So, I fumble for my camera while driving and changing the radio station every two minutes, and try and catch up with the thing.

He's practically in San Diego by the time I get my act together.

The picture you see is the best I could do without endangering lives and risking a ticket.

I mean, think about it. What self -respecting lesbian would risk life and limb to snap a pic of a man and his woody on the freeway?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Angels and Demons

Dear Lucy,

I finally finished reading the book, Angels and Demons. I figured that since the movie was about to come out, and I hadn't read the book yet, it would be a good one for the train trip to California.

I have to say I wasn't all that impressed by the book and part of that is likely because "The Davinci Code" was so much better.

Angels and Demons started out much slower and it seemed to me that that Langdon, the symbologist was made of Teflon. Every time he got into a pickle, no matter how impossible it was to get out of it, he got out. It was hard to believe.

The votes are still out as to whether I will see the movie or not. My nephew Corey went to see it and said it was pretty graphic. Having read the graphic parts, I don't know that I want to see them in living color.

But I think my brother wants to see the movie and his wife doesn't, so I may go with him when they get home from Hawaii. We'll see.

In the meantime, I have nothing to read, so I am off to the used book store. If I find some earth-shattering, spin-tingling, awe-inspiring book, you may not hear from me in a while.


Monday, May 18, 2009

5.0 Earthquake hits LA County

Dear Lucy,
Sunday evening after getting home from my foray to Long Beach I was sitting in the living room zoning out on the TV when an earthquake started to rumble through the house.

Now it was only a 5.0, and it was centered in LA so it didn't hit here near so hard, but, I was alone, and well...I am terrified of earthquakes.

I grew up in Southern California and experienced many earthquakes and they scared me. But it wasn't' until I moved to San Francisco and the 1989 quake hit that I learned to new terror over them.

It was 7.1 quake that hit at about 5:15 in the evening. My partner at the time and I were both home in our third story apartment, she on the balcony smoking a cigarette and I in the bedroom taking a nap.

When the quake hit it bounced me out of the bed, and my partner nearly off the balcony. She spent nearly the entire 15 seconds of the quake trying to get back into the apartment while being thrown back onto the balcony. I only made it to the bedroom door and had to hang on for dear life just to remain standing. We both figured this was the "big one" that was going to split California off the continent.
When it was over, there was stuff strewn all over the apartment including several bottles of wine that had been torpedoed from the rack on top of the entertainment center to the far side of the living room.

We spent the night agonizing through the many hundred aftershocks, in the dark, drinking the wine that had been shot all over the room, and listening to her Walkman radio for news.

I never want to go through such an ordeal again, and I thought, "what are the chances that there would be an earthquake in Southern California in the few weeks I would be there?" I mean, what are the chances?

Damn good, I guess.


My Trip to Long Beach

Dear Lucy,

Yesterday, after my day of beer drinking and Guitar Hero playing with Hobie on the day before, I had...well...a bit of a hangover you might say. Hangover you say? After 12 beers? Shocking.

Anyway, I got this silly idea that it would be a good thing to drive to Long Beach and see the gay pride festival there. Who knows, I thought in my stupor, the future Mrs. Kathy Ferguson might be there just waiting to meet me!

So I took a fist full of Ibuprofen, drank some coffee, "shit, showered, and shaved" As Anne used to put it, (she had a way with a phrase I tell ya), and headed out to Long Beach.

Well, as luck would have it, it took me forever to even get to Long Beach, without directions or a map, simply relying on my memory of how to get there from 25 years ago (OK, a bad idea, but I was mentally compromised), and when I finally got to the 710 freeway (one of FIVE I had to take), they had several exits blocked off as they re-tarred the road, one of which, of course, was the exit I needed.

Now, you must understand that I didn't bring coffee with me because I didn't want to have to pee while in the middle of Long Beach and get lost. And I had more Ibuprofen in my pocket, but nothing to drink it down with.

So, the inevitable happened. Everything started to wear off! My head started pounding, my eyes started blurring and my tongue felt like I had spent the weekend at a stamp licker's convention!

Before I knew it, I was driving over some bridge and spotted the Queen Mary, (a famous ship, not a gay man with fabulous clothes) and was closing in on the shipping yards.

This unnerved me. So I got off the freeway, hopped back on going the other direction past the Queen, to which I waved properly, and ended up--you guessed it--back at Huntington Beach.

Whew, it was like landing in Mother's arms. I walked to a Jamba Juice stand, got a strawberry-banana smoothie, downed another fist full of Ibuprofen, got my tongue unstuck from the roof of my mouth, and took a walk along the Huntington Pier.

Of course, it was crowded at the beach and a hot day, and there was enough naked, tanned skin walking around to make anyone drool. I thanked God I had bought a pair of REALLY dark sunglasses a week ago so I could ogle incognito.

At the end of the pier there were dozens of people fishing. On one side they were pretty steamed because there was the cutest little seal out there having the time of his life swimming around and eating the bait off of all their hooks!

I wanted to cheer the little guy on but surrounded by fishermen who carry sharp knives, I thought this might not be, "prudent at this juncture".

I walked back to the car noting that there was a surfing competition going on hosted by the National Scholastic Surfing Association. Scholastic surfing???? Don't their books get wet?

Anyway, I did manage to take a picture of myself on the pier in all my hungover glory. It should be used in a, "don't drink or you could end up looking like this", ad campaign.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Day with the Nephew

Dear Lucy,

Yesterday I got to spend the day with my nephew Hobie.

Hobie is the only child of my sister Nancy who committed suicide in 1991.

The first order of business was a trip to the fairgrounds in Pomona where Hobie was competing in a trucker rodeo. Hobie drives a semi for Fed Ex and volunteered to go to this competition that hosted drivers from all kinds of corporations, even UPS.

So, I went to watch him compete to be a good aunt to my beloved nephew. Oh, ya, did I mention there was free food?

Anyway, they set up a course of cones and such that the drivers have to get through within 10 minutes. You would think that would be way more time than they needed, but they had to go really slow to make all the turns.

Hobie did well, though we didn't stay to hear the results. He was number 300 and was early in the day so there were probably close to 600 contestants. He had a case of Corona beer chilling at his house and so outdrinking him seemed a better way to pass the 97 degree hot afternoon than hanging out with a bunch of truckers.

He is married and has 4 girls ranging from age 5 to 12. His wife was babysitting twin boys who were about 5. It was a circus sans the organ music, but I finally got to try "Guitar Hero".

For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a game hooked up to the television set where you pick a character, get a little electric guitar and try to follow a song and hit all the notes. You score points for every note hit (oh and there's a wa-wa bar too; way cool) and then spend the points to go virtually burn down a hotel or buy a cooler guitar. It was loads of fun though if I never hear "Slow Down" by Foghat again (that's the song I played for about an hour) I won't shed a tear about it.

The best part of the day was when Hobie gave me two photo albums that he had packed away over the years containing pictures of Nancy from the time she was a baby to about 18. He said that he thought that I should have them as they would have more meaning to me than to him. He hit a home-run on that one!


Friday, May 15, 2009

A Tribute to Anne

Dear Lucy,

After spending the weekend recuperating from the trip down to Southern California, I put my bike on the bike rack of my brother's car, packed up a few things, and headed off to Huntington Beach to bury some of Anne's ashes.

Anne had a very horrendous childhood not only of abuse and neglect but of also having a father who was a regional director for US customs. It meant lots of moves to live short periods of time in cities and towns where she would just make friends and have to leave.

Her stint in Huntington Beach while a young teenager was, by her accounts, the best time she had in her young life.

It seemed fitting to me to leave a part of her at her favorite beach.

I parked about two miles from the pier and rode my bike along the walkway among pedestrians, skaters and other cyclers to the pier.

I locked up my bike, took my bag, and found a nice spot in the sand as close to the pier as I could.

Anne spent her summers at this pier watching the surfers and talking to the fishermen, collecting cola bottles off the beach to redeem at the local stores for the pennies, and trolling the local bead shops to spend her pennies on.

We had shared a good laugh when she told me this story because I was on the same beach doing the same thing from time to time when I was a young teenager and we were probably unknown competitors for the same bottles.

Once I settled into the spot I had chosen I dug a hole deep in the sand and very carefully poured Anne's ashes in and buried them before the wind could catch them and send them into every sandwich of every beach goer for two miles!

I etched a cross into the sand and filled it with little shells to make it stand out so I could take a picture.

I said good bye, sat in the sun for an hour or so watching the people cavort in the ocean, and then rode my bike back to the car and headed home.

It felt good to do something nice for Anne and like I had finally gotten the chance to begin the process of grieving.

For some odd reason, we humans rely on and are comforted by ritual. There is no logical explanation for it. No empirical studies will ever show how or what the real effect is. But as long as there are humans and reasons to celebrate or mourn, we will have rituals.

I will save the rest of Anne's ashes to someday take to Skagway Alaska as that is where she had wanted to live from the time we had visited on our trip to the state 5 years ago.


California Here I come!

Dear Lucy,

After returning to the hostel and checking out, I was surprised to run into Steve and Phillip again. We were all glad that we had the chance to say good bye and I even more as I had the chance to take their picture.

They talked with me as I secured my panniers onto my bike, and wished me well as I headed out. They were impressed that I was "biking it".

The trip to the train station, downhill, with the wind behind me and all the traffic lights in my favor, took 5 minutes. What a difference.

I took my bike into the baggage area as I knew that on this leg of the trip I would have to put it in a box (15.00 for a box) and check it on as luggage. Thankfully, I showed up early.

As it turned out, I had to remove the pedals and re-arrange the handle bars so that they were perpendicular to the bicycle to fit it into the box. I had assumed that the boxes they sold would have been big enough to just slip the bike in normally. Silly me.

So, after explaining that I didn't have anything even resembling tools, they lent me theirs and watched me as I deftly and with amazing speed and precision--NOT--cussed, used God's name in vain, swore revenge on all who ever assembled a bicycle, and sweated to get the pedals off and the handle bars turned. The baggage people were quite entertained.

We boxed the bike, tagged my backpack and I was soon off on the train for the 36 hour trip to Los Angeles.

My seat-mate on the train was a young lady who immediately, while blowing her nose, swore that she had a cold and not the Swine Flu. I told her that I wasn't anti-social that I had a massive hang-over. We were perfect for each other.

The train took a route that started inland until after San Jose and then wound from inland to the coast. It was beautiful.

Once we hit Santa Barbara, it was many miles of coastal views including surfers and sail boats and leather skinned beach-bums riding old Schwinn bicycles.

I enjoyed the trip, met some characters, and was thankful when my brother Ken and his son Corey met me at the station to take me home.

I was tired of moving...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sightseeing in Portland

Dear Lucy,
After my night of debauchery at the hostel, I had a few hours before I needed to be at the train station. Not wanting to miss at least seeing something of Portland before I left, I chose to go to the Portland Classical Chinese Garden.

I had some of Steve and Phillip's French bread and "dirty sock" cheese for breakfast, grabbed my camera and little map and set off.
The weather was with me again as it had been raining earlier but stopped on my walk to the garden. The area was "old downtownish"; one way streets, old brick buildings, Victorian style homes, and of course the odd homeless person.

I will copy the blurb from the AAA guide about the garden as it tells it in better detail than I can.

"Designed in the 15-Century Ming style, the urban garden was built by artisans
and craftspeople from Suzhou, China, Portland's sister city. The garden features
a bridged lake, open colonnades and stone paths that wind through courtyards and
nine pavilions where visitors can relax.
"The freestanding rocks framing the garden's waterfall are limestone (called Tai Hu rocks) mined from Lake Tai, a freshwater lake near Suzhou. Trees and shrubs, many indigenous to China include, maples, pines, dogwoods, wintersweet, plum, wisteria, hibiscus, bamboo, tree peonies, magnolias, camellias, orchids and water plants. A teahouse overlooks the gardens Lake Zither."

When I entered the garden there was a group of college students from an architecture class having a lecture from their professor. I stood and listened for a few minutes as he explained the intricacies of the buildings and the stones that made up the pathways. I would have stayed and followed them had I had the time!

Next I came across a man teaching Tai Chi to some visitors and when I stopped to watch, invited me to join in. While I have been interested in learning Tai Chi for several years, doing so in an open courtyard with a hangover and little time to even see the garden, prevented me from joining in. It looks like it takes quite a bit of balance, something I am not known to have!
Later, as I sat alone in one of the pavilions overlooking the pond, it started raining. It actually sounded tranquil as it hit the leaves of the various trees on its plummet to the lake.
I was soon surrounded by another class of students on a tour: A group of young teenagers probably around 15 years old. As the teacher talked of the garden, relating it to the philosophy of the Chinese culture, I was having a great time. The students, as students will be at that age, were bored and fidgety. I wonder if Chinese teenagers visiting an English Garden would be so bored and fidgety...
I finished my walk through the garden not having spent enough time to my liking, I had to get back to the hostel to check out and go to the train station.
The rain stopped again as I made my way up the street (the street that had the traffic lights in my favor and which I used to ride to the station) the rain seemed to abate somewhat and so I was still fairly dry when I got home.
All in all, a great way to spend a couple of hours in a big city when one is trying to relax.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Phillip and Steve

Dear Lucy,

It wasn't long after getting settled in at the hostel that I met Phillip and Steve having a beer in one of the kitchens.

The two friends, one gay and from Paris France and the other straight from Duluth Minnesota, invited me to chat with them and share in the copious amount of food they had just bought at the local co-op.

So, in keeping with the promise I had made with myself to be extra sociable on this trip, to accept whatever hospitality I was offered and to simply let the people I met share as they wished, I joined them for an evening of interesting conversation, and much eating and drinking.

Steve, it turns out, had just come to Portland from a two month stay in Hawaii. I never did find out his circumstances in France, and only know that his partner is there and seems to have no problem with Steve travelling for long periods of time.

Phillip had just moved to Portland from Minnesota in an effort to get out from under his rich and demanding brother. I don't know why.

Phillip, however, was full of charm, stories and opinions. He claimed to have done everything but climb Mount Everest and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

He was a Pediatrician, a school teacher, an author, a poet, and an all around humanitarian. He claimed to know everything imaginable about food, wine, women, life, death, and the hereafter. That is incredible coming from someone who hails from Duluth Minnesota.

But, I let him talk.

We ate. Boy, did we eat. Cheeses I had never heard of that tasted great but smelled like dirty socks. Strawberries the size of my fist. Shrimp Cocktail, French bread, salad, raspberries, chips and guacamole, even steak (remember I had vowed to accept all hospitality)!

At one point in the evening as all the younger hostelers were heading out for their night on the town, we were joined by a young Frenchman named Peter.

Apparently Peter had met the dynamic duo earlier in the day and so Steve invited him to sit and have a beer. He did.

Peter was a 30 something man with deep brown eyes, a soft, full beard, and the whitest teeth I have ever seen. He was eye-candy and Steve was taking in every eye-full while Phillip, feeling jealous of our attention to Peter, grew more and more frustrated and angry.

Peter had his opinions. He believed that Americans were too obsessed about germs and that we would be far less apt to get the Swine Flu if we stopped shielding ourselves from every germ in the world. He pointed out how the homeless weren't getting the flu.

He also thought that homelessness wouldn't be a problem in the States if we just paid more taxes to provide more shelters.

While Steve drooled over Peter, Phillip steamed over Peter, I just engaged him in conversation, playing Devil's advocate only in so far as it made the conversation interesting.

No one was going to solve such problems while getting drunk at a hostel in Portland. Why get in a snit?

At the end of the evening, Peter wandered off to some club in town, and I excused myself and went to bed.

Though there were only two other females in the dorm I was in, I didn't sleep well. Too much alcohol, a less than comfy bed, and the excitement of the day over shadowed my need for sleep.

But, I was safe, warm, well-fed and lubricated, and had two new friends.

In the picture Phillip is on the left and Steve on the right.


Landing in Portland

Dear Lucy,

At 2:30 on May 6 I arrived in Portland, Oregon for an overnight stay before heading out on the long trip to Los Angeles.

Lucky for me, the rain, so prevelent in Portland had abated for the afternoon and left the sky partly sunny with billowy white clouds and a good strong wind. Unlucky for me, was the wind.

I spent several minutes digging my riding helmet out, securing my Paniers to the bike and looking for the copy of directions to the hostel I had packed.

All things together, I set off for the hostel, a mere 16 city blocks from the station. That is to say, 16 city blocks uphill, against the wind and on a street that had a stop sign every block to await cross traffic.

It didn't take long to realize that riding my bicycle having to stop every block going up hill was not going to work. So, I spent a good half hour walking self, stuff, and bike to the hostel.

The hostel was really cool; a converted old two-story house with lots of patio space, two kitchens, two living-rooms and several patio areas.

I checked in, was given a tour of the house, locked my bike in the garage, unloaded my stuff onto my bed, dug out my flask of rum, and began searching the place for someone to talk to.

I was not let down.


Leaving on a Slow Train

Dear Lucy,

On May 6, 2009, being of sound body but unsound mind I left job, home, friends, and family to "run away from home". This was a last-ditch effort to avoid letting the stress and craziness of the past 5 years of my life get the best of me.

I loaded up my backpack, my bicycle and two paniers (that's sissy talk for saddle bags) and boarded an Amtrak train. I left at 8:30 am from Bellingham, Washington.

Having never tried to ride my bicycle loaded with a backpack and paniers, I checked in at the station and took the wait time to try it out.

I managed to get all sundry in their right places and took off at a not so whopping speed around the parking lot, and having convinced myself that I could navigate such a seeming impossibliity, I loaded my bike, stuff and self on the train and set off for my first stop

Portland, Oregon


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Crazy thing about Computers

I have a computer at home. It is only a year old. If I were at home right now I could whip this blog out in no time.
But, alas, I am not.
My brother's computer must be old. I can't find a thing on it. It moves slower than I do with a raging hang-over. It is covered in more dust than I am.
So, the pictures will come later after I disect this computer tower to find where to plug my camera in.


Why Dear Lucy?

Hey Everyone,

I have finally gotten around to starting this blog. Why call it Dear Lucy?
A friend at work suggested that I email every day as it could be used later to keep track of all that I am doing.

I had thought about having it Dear Anne as she is the main reason I am on this crazy trip, but it seemed morose.

I could have used Dear (any friend or relative), but how do I chose?

The only other "girl" I have in my life is Lucy my wonder beagle, I hear tell she is pining over me, so it seemed fitting.