Plainly Put, I’m Headed to the Carrizo Plains

A new day, another day to take to the road …

This Sunday (2-23) completes a week in Southern California at the home of an old college friend, his wife, two (adult) kids and two small dogs. Quite the domestic scene it is! It’s trippy to be in a home where (a) people get along, (b) people like one another, (c) people communicate in functional and healthy manners, (d) people relate! 

It’s the complete opposite of my childhood home environment and a wonder to witness and partake off for a short spell!

Today I begin the trip northward to the Bay Area to visit another old friend. Since I’m a girl with a shoestring budget, no job and no home, motels are out of the equation.

However, I am a girl with a Subaru, a sleeping bag and enormous expertise at plugging through life, resourcefulness and research so I’ve already done my extensive homework about where I might grab 40 winks in the next coupla days.

The problem — ONE of the many problems! — with California is that ***everything is so damn expensive!*** Example: Tent camping on a slot of land in state campgrounds costs $20 on the cheap and more commonly $35-40. For a night on dirt!!! The national campgrounds are a little less but not by much. 

Lordie I hate what this state has become! And as a native of California (which I write with no pride), I’ve ever right and authority to say so! 

So the trick is to locate Bureau of Land Management lands where dispersed camping (aka, boondocking, free camping) is permitted, hence that’s where I focus during my online research. Tonight looks Stayover Spot looks likely to be in the Carrizo Plains … a vast wide-open space in central-southern California known by few, appreciated by fewer and superb for solo venturing.

It features old preserved Indian paintings on rocks, expansive carpets of colorful wildflowers (where there’s rain – California’s in a major draught presently) and — particularly exciting to me — the San Andreas fault! Yes, that very one that stretches across the state and is responsible for many a quake!

Evidently there are places in the plains where one can view it at ground level. How cool is that?!?

Aside from these geographical features, ain’t nuthin’ out there save a small educational center (which will be closed today), thus it’s imperative to gas up and procure supplies like water or food before entering (nearest station is like 50 miles away). The nights are still chilly — around freezing — and the prairie so vast that solitude is if not a certainty at this time of year, then at least extremely likely!

It’ll be an adventure! I’m sans camera save the one on my cell phone. However, news is that there’s zero reception out in the “middle of nuthin'” so will see how that goes. Too, many of the roads are dirt and/or pretty rutted and, I read, the Carrizo Plains are NOT where you wanna be in a rainstorm! Evidently when it rains, it REALLY rains, turning the roads into impassable troughs of mud — yes, even for those folks with SUVs who are so arrogantly convinced that their cars are impenetrable and immune to mud, snow & ice. Note: THEY’RE NOT! And yet the snobbery arrogance continues … {sigh}.

Anyways, that’s where it’s at this Sunday in Thousand Oaks, Southern Cal. Off I venture into, literally, the wild blue yonder of the Carrizo Plains. Photos to come perhaps when I re-join civilization. Toodles.

 

The Wonder Bed and Other Random Musings

Comin’ to ya from the Thousand Oaks area of Southern California …

Today, Feb. 21, marks one week since officially closing the chapter of Kingman, AZ. One week that feels like three! Travel does that, for me. Travel is like a rubber band that bends, stretches, unwinds and upends time.

My neck injury has been an anchor, depriving this trip of lift. I’m happy to report that after a miserable several months of disability, immobility and round-the-clock chronic/acute pain, the neck’s muscles, ligaments and tendons (and concurrent shoulder parts) are at last loosening!

It’s all due to a great bed. The Wonder Bed, I’ve named it. It’s a 10++- year-old  Simmons Beautyrest Classic mattress that’s stood the test of time in its chain of hand-me-downs. If that ain’t a ringing endorsement, eh!? It’s still firm and has retained its shape through multiple users (including a married couple who slept on it for a decade).

“Forget” the herbs, the anti-inflammatories, the exercises, the series of new pillows, the chiropractic treatments and every other endeavor over the months to heal the neck. {Of course I don’t really mean forget, which is why it’s in quotes. :)}

Nothing but nothing has returned the immediate and positive and remarkable results as GETTING BACK ON A GOOD BED!!! And getting my back on a good bed! A nice firm mattress with juuuuuuuust enough give to support the shoulders and hence the neck toward recovery. That Wonder Bed has advanced recovery more in three days than any other modality.

The ruination of a bad mattress is real, folks. Ditto the ruination of a bad pillow. Put ’em together and it’s a wonder I can still walk!

I exaggerate to drive home the importance of a quality mattress  and pillow … and the distresses, debilitations and dangers of bad ones. I’m a flesh-and-bones breathing example. A mortal illustration who’s blessed to have friends with a fantastic mattress that has single-handedly and singularly advanced the cause of rest, recovery and healing of neck, body and mind and simultaneously returned peaceful rest and slumber!

I’m thrilled to wake up each morning, feeling a little bit better than the day before rather than worse. Believe me, I’ve lived the latter.

= = =

So as the neck healing progresses, too the travel. After a week of rest and reconnecting with friends, I’ll be on my way to the Bay Area of northern California for the next friend-ly stayover.

The travel time is going by much too fast and I’m still waiting for that Aha! … that engagement in the flow and the delights and the love of travel. Uncharacteristically, separate from a physical ailment, I’m letting concerns and worries and ruminations be my burdening shadow instead of leaving them in their rightful place …  out in the dusty Nevada desert, where they shan’t bother me again.

The flow, the flow, the flow … best to be in the flow …

 

 

 

 

On the road with Rude Campers, The Snorer and a Pain in the Neck

Wow! Is it only eight days since my last post?!

Eight days and some 800 miles.

Though my neck injury and consequential exhaustion no longer have me plastered to the couch delving into the delights of daytime TV {ahem}, I’m not yet outta the woods.

By force of necessity and will, however, I managed to haul the second and final load into my storage unit in Prescott (AZ), clear outta Kingman work- and housing-wise and hit the road — Destination: California to see longtime friends. {No other reason TO undertake CA insanity!}

The travels got off to a delayed and bad start due to my own stupidity and foolishness in staying in gambling town Laughlin, Nevada; no more to be written on that save that I need to live it down and let it go.

After finally clearing outta Nevada, I spent Night One at Owl Canyon campground some 10 miles outta Barstow, CA, best know, I reckon, as a pit stop in the Mohave Desert, an agricultural center and place NOT to live. Wasn’t as bad as all that but close.

My utter stupidity having depleted the best of me in Nevada, I was forced to fly on the cheap and bypass a much-needed proper bed in a budget motel for a slab of dirt for 6 bucks a night in the canyon. The beautiful canyon. The WINDY canyon! The  canyon with a wind so fierce that setting up a simple one-man tent became a battle of billowing thrashing nylon vs. man.

Man eventually won thanks to persistence, occasional pauses of gusts and the bracers of a picnic table.

Beautiful canyon but did I mention windy?

Oh, I did. Did I mention the group of loud and rude neighbors who use, in modern fashion, use campgrounds as their outdoor living rooms?  Did I mention the group of loud and rude neighbors who are either unaware that the setting amplifies all sounds (voices included) by 50 or don’t care?

I’d a-gotten outta my sleeping bag and gone over to tell them to shut the hell up were my injured neck less debilitating. FINALLY my prayers were answered and they did go to bed.

Peace at last! So I thought. Several hours later, deep into the night, I was awakened by a voluminous growly sound. Was there a coyote scrounging about the campground? A bear digging for an easy snack?

No.

It was a  human snorer!

That guy kept me awake for a guesstimated two hours! I refused to look at the timepiece. He sounded like a foghorn. Like an injured bear or cougar moaning through the night. It was nonstop. It was a sleep depriver — for me.

And all I could do was lay there and listen and experience the hours of much-needed sleep drip away. I swore over and over that come morning, I’d query the campsite neighbors over in that direction: “Are you the snorer? Are you the snorer?” And then once identified, I’d say: “I’d get that snoring checked out. It sounds like something’s really wrong.” Because it did.

“And though I don’t know your personal situation, it’s not fair to your partner or others around, the  loss of sleep.”

Come daybreak after I exited my tent, I counted not only a good number of neighboring campsites but men in them! I had neither the energy nor time to approach each to discern The Snorer.

And I will say: Between the Loud & Obnoxious Neighbors to my left and The Snorer to my right, all contemplations of spending a second night were cast, well, into the wind! (Like I’ve oft said, people ruin everything!)

From the gusty Owl  Canyon campground outside Barstow to my friend’s home in Ventura (CA) was an easy drive …  and here’s where I be today. Some seven days and 1,000 miles  (counting Kingman-Prescott RT for storage)  later.

Despite my stay at the gusts-ridden Owl Canyon, this travel has been uncharacteristically low on lift and high on worries. Worry about money. Worry about where I’ll stay when I get back to Prescott. Worry about finding a place to live. Worry about finding work. Worry about finding work that matters and isn’t my usual Lame Crap Job – menial minimum-wage shit job. Worry about my neck injury and health and overall well-being and mobility. Worry about plunging back into the same dastardly depressing dark hole from which I’ve struggled and fought my way out of for a good solid decade.

I shouldn’t be worrying. I should be totally digging this travel! It is earned. It is needed. It is therapeutic. There’s no overlooking the neck injury, chronic pain and resultant degraded well-being through the months. They’ve taken a toll. Made me irritable, cranky, exhausted, edgy, short-tempered and tired … tired of just feeling bad.

I don’t like closing a post on a sour note; however, plenty enough’s been said for today. Coming up on 2 p.m. on a sunny day … it’s time to snap shut the laptop and get the feet movin’. Sayonara from So Cal for now …

White wedding gowns & white heat of Bridezillas

“Bridezillas.”

Speaking, as I was yesterday, of the horrors of daytime TV …

The lowest common denominator rises to the top in American TV.

Now, I’d LIKE to think they’re just paid actors following a script, like “Jerry Springer” and “Keeping Up with the Kartrashians.” However, my radar tells me otherwise. Plus it’s no stretch of imagination: Brides CAN be THAT BITCHY.

Bitchy doesn’t cover it. There needs to be a new word. Like “brutalbitchy” … “supersonicbitchy” …. to convey “bitchy on steroids x 100.”

Dysfunctional relating between bride and family, bride and friends, bride and GROOM? To the max! Toxic relationships? Absolutely. Unhealthy communicating. Uh-huh. Hostile, mean and SELFISH women? Ohhhhhhhhh yeah.

And people watch this why?

My short-term viewing has reason and purpose: to educate and enlighten myself about American culture while laid up due to injury and health reasons. When I’m fully back on my feet and the TV’s resumed its normal daytime off status, I’ll not miss that show.  I won’t hunger for reality shows highlighting society’s lowest common denominators. I won’t be taping them.

And, were I a man, I certainly would NOT be marrying these gawd-awful supersonicbitches, the staples of “Bridezilla.” Speaking of staples, quite a few of ’em could stand some of the stomach if they dream of looking fit ‘n’ trim on their — quote: most important day of their lives — unquote. Which, incidentally, has never been a concept I’ve shared or related to.

Bride's day, my way!

Bride’s day, my way!

They’re quite militant about it being THEIR day too. THEIR special day. THEIR most important moment of their lifetime, THEIR wedding. As if the groom doesn’t exist. He has no part and no role except to show up and stand where she dictates, do what she says, smile when she instructs.

(Then she bitches and moans and nags that he’s “so uninvolved in the wedding prep! It’s like he doesn’t care!”  Well, ma’am, have you considered that you’re one scary woman who doesn’t allow him his air to breathe, never mind a voice?)

Not all blame can be put on these supersonicbitches. After all, it takes two to tango, including in the most hostile, passive-aggressive, toxic and dysfunctional of adult relationships. The men (who would be and are grooms) are pansies! Wimps. Brow-beaten even before they’re inside the church awaiting their “lovely glowing beloved future wife” as she walks down the aisle.

(p.s. Take care, she may well have those knives tucked under her garter.)

See, the way I look at it is: Those bridezillas are as responsible for their ferocious meanness and bitchiness and self-centeredness as the men are for their lack of owning their gonads, speaking up, setting boundaries and if not kissing her buh-bye and fleeing fast for the hills — or pub — then at the very least calling off the wedding and calling the therapist for couples counseling. bridez1

My view of the world, I admit, bears no resemblance to the mainstream’s. Like other reality shows that celebrate trashiness and society’s lowest common denominator, “Bridezillas” appeals to a certain wide population exclusive of yours truly.

However, it IS a popular show of duration, a frightening fact indeed. One that inspires me to propose to the TV network powers that be: How ’bout the reality sequel, “Bridezilla and Her Groom on Their Honeymoon” or even “Bridezilla and Her Groom: A Year Later”? With golden rings secured on fingers, the hostile sparks will turn their “wedded bliss” more into “welded bliss.” Ouch!

Twain, Travels and TV in the Daytime

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life.  The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” – Mark Twain

Because I adore Mark Twain’s intelligence, wit and way with words.

* * *

My impending move and travels have been delayed by poor health and exhaustion wrought by debilitating neck pain (and, relatedly, shoulder and arm pain). It’s been quite the enduring and ongoing issue chronically for six months, acutely & chronically for three. Living with pain, immobility and most of all lack of restful sleep is exhausting. I’d wish it on no one.

That long story skipped, as said, my move and travels have been delayed but not scrubbed. As a traveler near and far all my life, I’ve never experienced being downright grounded by a physical ailment.  Which isn’t to suggest that travels have always occurred in my best of health! Sure, I’ve been sick, tired, worn out, even exhausted in travels and relocations. Difference is, until now, I’ve never been physically immobilized. It’s not fun. It ain’t pretty. And I do NOT wear it well. My dad knows of what I speak on the deep, deep need for mobility. He knows like no other. The apple fell not far from that tree.

Sooo …. travel is, however, around the corner as I regain my strength — thank God for sleeping meds! — and with it a relocation. While blog-worthy, those aren’t the topic of today’s post.

Today’s topic is daytime TV. While immobilized on the couch by exhaustion and neck pain for the good part of last week, I took it as opportunity for education and enlightenment in American culture as reflected in daytime TV. I dared to view to learn what America watches and talks about around the water cooler at work … those fortunate enough to have jobs and/or the willingness to work, that is.

One word: YIKES!

Another word: WTF?! (well, technically three words)

Still other words: You have GOT to be kidding me!! Are we REALLY THIS STUPID?!?!

One-word answer: Yes.

Which isn’t to disregard or dismiss quality daytime programs. For example, PBS (educational public TV) has solid positive programs, such as the cooking show featuring Dutch oven cooking and French recipes that’s on as we speak.

The talk shows are the worst, to my taste … “Ellen” (self-congratulatory and “too cool” in a not good way) … “The Talk” (a buncha libs and catty females to boot) … “Wendy Williams” (whose tell-it-like-it-is manner I admittedly like but 10 minutes in she’s annoying).

Then there’s the SCREAMING WOMEN in all these audiences. Oh. My. God! Reason enough to switch the channel. And I do. I have to. I must have the ears of a man because I cannot STAND that high-pitched cheering, shouting and whopping that females do — and only females can do. Ear-bleeders.

Apart from that, I just don’t like or identify in any way, shape or form with hordes of women (never mind their ear-bleeding vocal pitches). I’d rather watch paint dry than those audiences and hosts. Hostesses?

What can I say about “Jerry Springer” that hasn’t been said a million times already? Trashy. America at its finest hour. Not. And yeah, I do think the rumor’s true: Those are actors.

Some of the game shows are all right, like “Let’s Make a Deal.” Comedian Wayne Brady, of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” fame, is affable, funny and enjoyable. The audience costumes are entertaining and the show’s quick and lively pacing is, if nothing else, a relief from the overblown egos of the talk shows’ hosts.

Public TV’s educational shows (i.e., cooking, travel) score points.

But my favorite has gotta be “Judge Judy.” Now there’s my kinda woman! She’s bold, direct, forthright and commands respect for the process, facts and law. She knows she’s on TV but she doesn’t play up to it — UNLIKE Judge Ito, the joke of a judge in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. P.S. He’s guilty.

Judge Judy tells it like it is, brokers no fools and rewards no idiots. I like that. She’s smart, on the ball and she runs her courtroom with discipline and regard for the law. She’s the judge I would be had I gone to law school (as I’d seriously considered) and become a judge. I know I was one in past lives and tolerated NO NONSENSE and took no prisoners. I only sent the deserving to them. 🙂

The short of it is I see a lot of myself in Judge Judy.  If only all of America’s courtrooms were run like hers, the country WOULD be a better one by leaps and bounds.

So I’ve done my part, in small measure, by plugging into what turns Americans on in terms of daytime TV shows. With the occasional exception, I’m extremely hard-pressed to say it becomes me or reflects me. The level of intelligence is pretty damn low,  the sensationalism and drama (phony or otherwise) pretty damn high, and the PC crapola, coupled with the ubiquitous attitude of Everyone Else Is To Blame and I’m a Victim and I’m ENTITLED, range from nauseating to revolting. To my sensibilities and values.

And btw, Rachel Ray, who’s been cooking like forever on TV, is even more fucking annoying! … which I didn’t think was possible!

Obviously my brief foray into American televised culture left me with quite the (enlightened) mouthful … and mush for brains were it a habit.

Three words: No thank you.

Case dismissed.

Watching daytime TV: I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. YOW! I can't think!

Watching daytime TV: I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. YOW! I can’t think!