I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.
By: joealaska, 3:18 PM GMT on September 30, 2013
The BIG GOLF WEEKEND is just a vague memory.
Long time friend Mark picked me up at 7 AM Friday. It was roughly 2 hours to our destination, Peninsula Golf Club. Surrounded by Lake Harrington, near Lancaster, Kentucky.
As we headed east on I-64 we started to see patches of fog here, and THERE. It got heavier as we drove onward. South on 127. We went through Bergin and the fog was thick. These roads are very narrow and winding up and down. Plus, there were several road changes we needed to make.
Mark, the driver, had printed up a direction sheet and was having me read it to him. This scared me a bit as he had been going to this location for several years. But we stumbled through and arrived in thick fog, so thick we could not see the course as we were driving through it.
There was a FOG DELAY on the course, so we were delayed getting out. Who cares? Eventually we were on the first tee. FOURTEEN GOLFERS. There were two teams playing against each other. Each nine holes we played was for one point. If there was a tie, each team got one half point.
After a couple days, the team with the most points wins.
The first day I was OK, hitting some nice shots and contributing to the team. I hit some great shots in my weakest part of the game...shorts shots near to the green.
Friday night we cooked up a steak dinner with a gargantuan baked potato, from our great villas next to the #17 fairway.
Saturday we awoke to NO FOG. The day before we played 27 holes. So many of us were feeling a bit stiff. I started out horribly, but eventually got back to just terrible. In 5 rounds of golf, where I could have WON, TIED, OR LOST, I never lost. Unbelievable, given the quality of golf I played.
That night it was a pizza extravaganza as we all watched Kentucky go down in flames to Florida.
Sunday was supposed to be a quick two hour ride back to LOU. The first hour and a half went well.
We were heading west on I-64. A cop car went flying past with lights flashing. I told Mark WRECK AHEAD.
Sure enough, we soon came upon a huge column of non-moving traffic. Well, there was SOMETHING moving... Cows. Four of them, walking through the parked cars toward us. We immediately, and correctly, assumed a cattle truck up ahead had an accident. Generally, all traffic was stopped dead. But there was still some minor inching forward at times. We were in the middle of three lanes. The lane on our left was ending maybe an eighth of a mile ahead, so there were cars in that lane wanting to merge into our lane, even though nobody was moving.
We saw a small red car slowly coming past us, and it was obvious the driver, an older guy, was trying to block cars behind him from going around him. It made no sense. But it was very entertaining for us. I even started filming, but I never really had a good angle, probably ought to have just gotten out.
The red car was now just stopped next to us. We noticed he had a rosary draped over his rear view mirror. The lane ahead of him was opened up, and he could have driven a few hundred feet more to where the lane ended, then try to merge right. But he just sat there by us. He made no sign that he was trying to merge over, he could have asked us if he wanted. We were right next to him and not moving. He was concentrating on the cars behind him. He pulled out to his left so he was straddling
his lane and the emergency lane. One car tried to go past on the outside. Red Car pulled out to block them, and they meekly gave up.
Even if these cars got by, they would only move a few hundred feet, then there would be nowhere else to go. But they HAD to try.
Now a big pick-up truck got impatient and tried to go around the outside. He went well outside, actually off the road. He had huge tires and high clearance, so no problem. Red Car jumped to action, gunning it and driving next to the truck, blocking him from even getting back on the road. I noted the lady in the big truck passenger seat had her mouth open in astonishment at what Red Car was doing. Red Car had Big Truck pinned against a small hillside now, and Older Guy was now gesturing wildly and screaming DON’T DO THAT!
Eventually, that little side show moved just out of our view.
Now the dam was opened and many vehicles on the left pulled forward. About 100 feet ahead, there was a spot where vehicles could make an illegal U-Turn and head back east on the interstate. But this was a primitive turnaround area. No pavement, just dirt with foot-deep ruts in it. Steep going into it, and steep coming out. Low riding vehicles should not even try it, risking getting stuck and blocking everyone else.
As time passed many vehicles used the turnaround. A couple got stuck, and other people helped get them out. We sat patiently and watched the action from our car, a low rider. Eventually the road would re-open, we had no deadline to be meeting. But we talked to some truckers who heard on the radio that it was a real mess ahead. Dead cows to clean up, live cows to round up.
One guy said it would take three or four hours. Just about then a few 18 wheel truckers started making U-Turns right in the road. The freeway had been shut down behind us, with all eastbound traffic being directed off at an exit behind us (Waddy / Peytona). THAT was another mess, as it was a real bottleneck with everyone using that one little exit with only a stop sign. All of the traffic near us started turning around at the rear of the line and driving back the wrong way. The cops were directing it all. The traffic went back about a mile to a nicely paved U-Turn spot where they all crossed over to the east bound lanes and headed back to Waddy / Peytona. Here they joined everyone else heading north a mile or two to catch state route 60, where they could take that smaller road west to Shelbyville and re-enter the interstate well beyond the Cow Crash.
Mark elected to get out NOW and we crossed the rutted pass. I anticipated some issues, but they did not occur. As we left and I looked back I saw chaos. Cars and trucks all trying to turn around at the same time. I saw a big truck coming down the right side emergency lane going the wrong way, going a little to fast in my opinion past all those stopped vehicles.
So, it took us about two extra hours to get home. No big deal. Especially after I heard on the evening news that the interstate did not open until 2:30 that afternoon. It was 9:30 AM when we first hit the traffic jam.
By: joealaska, 12:47 AM GMT on September 23, 2013
I debated about bringing up where I was applying, as it is so early it really means nothing. But what the heck. Big Bear Lake sounds interesting, even though it is a tad to close to LA for me. I like the LA area in general, but driving there on a regular basis blows. I went through there just before I moved to Alaska. Big Bear Lake was in the general cruise parameters while I lived in Goodyear, AZ. I came down from Lucerne Valley on RT 18, and continued south on 38.
UK was all over it.
But the first road to hit, if I moved there, would be 247 from Yucca Valley to Barstow.
Big Bear is in a serious FIRE HAZARD area. They get nice snow there, but there are opportunities to head south, as in DOWN in elevation, to escape if needed. Palm Springs is an area in which I have played a little golf. But there is a LOT more to check out!
Meanwhile I have just applied for positions in Lihue, Hawaii, Lincoln, Nebraska, and LA!!
Lihue, probably not qualified. Lincoln, definitely qualified. Wished it was a bit more west. LA? I thought I would NEVER apply there, but money is a funny thing. And I am qualified.
Hey Dave, good luck on that diet.
Finally, word from Idaho is not good. CYBERSUZE took a tumble while mountain biking outside of Boise. She broke her hip, but did not know that for sure for some time. She rode back to town, most of the trip being downhill. LUCKY. She was with her husband. They went to an emergency room in town. She was told it was broken and should see a specialist Monday. Meanwhile she is using a walker to bumble around.
The folks have a big anniversary in a few weeks, and Cyber needs to be in Kentucky. It is a rare occasion we all get together, the six of us KENTUCKYS. It will all be good.
By: joealaska, 5:28 PM GMT on September 20, 2013
Funny thing. Kinda.
This golf excursion I mentioned is an annual event the boys have been enjoying for 32 years. Now that I am back in Kentucky I can finally play (without flying back across the country for just 2 days of golf). I did hesitate to partake, just because my game is so bad right now. BUT, I did go to the ORGANIZATIONAL MEETINGS the last few weeks at a nearby bar. I agreed to play if there was a need to fill out a team, and that happened..
Well, it had been about a month since I heard the dates of the outing, but I knew it was later in September. Turns out it was a bit later than I thought. I had several conversations with others about the plans for the trip, but specific dates were not really mentioned.. Bottom line was I was packed and all ready to go when I found out I was a week early in my head. No big deal, I will just keep that packed bag by the door and use it next weekend.
Summer is coming to an end. It will be remembered for all the floods and fires. Right now flooding in Mexico, the airport in Acapulco is underwater. Last week it was Estes Park, Lyons, and Boulder in Colorado. Before that it was Missouri and Arkansas. Big fires in Idaho and California, the West in general. It will all happen again.
I spent the best summer of my life in Estes Park, Colorado. Well, actually 7 miles above Estes Park, near the base of Longs Peak. I was paid to take ranch guests on horseback rides into the mountains. Unfortunately the Double JK Ranch is now out of business. A year or two before I went there, there was a severe flood in Big Thompson Canyon. This is along RT 34 heading east from Estes Park. It is a typical Colorado Canyon. The river has a road right by it as it is the easiest way to put down a road going through the mountains. Usually a railroad line is doing the same thing. Those canyons are very narrow. Imagine a wall of water crushing down that canyon. Roads are scoured away, buildings are completely removed.
It will take a long time to rebuild those roads. Residents of Estes Park will have to take a longer way to get to Denver. The roads will be rebuilt. And sooner or later it will rain real hard again, and it will all be repeated.
I do not really have a point here. I would probably live there myself. But I think flood insurance is a great idea.
56 in Dutch Harbor, 84 in Louisville, 61 in Williston, ND. Four inches of snow yesterday in Big Sky, Montana. This will be my first time I can watch the change of the seasons in quite a while. In Alaska you get summer and winter. Even in Arizona, there is not much of a change. It gets cooler in the winter, that is the biggest part of it. But here in Kentucky I am waiting for the leaves to start changing color.
I applied for a position in Big Bear Lake, California. Too early to tell you much more.
By: joealaska, 4:14 PM GMT on September 14, 2013
Big day in the Bluegrass State today. Louisville plays Kentucky in football at Lexington. UL is rated pretty well, Kentucky is rebuilding. Louisville a big favorite with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
UL will not be very polite in their visit, I say somewhere around 48-21.
Yesterday morning Dutchie returned from her forest playground with a fat chipmunk. I met them at the door and said NO! Talk about a bad morning for that chipmunk. My interjection loosened Dutchie’s grip and the chipmunk was bolting. A fast, agile small animal dodging and jumping to get away, Dutchie right there on its tail. Wish I had film. Took about 10 seconds and Dutchie had it in her mouth again. Walked into the brush and disappeared, and who knows what from there?
This morning a lady came by the green area carrying a big black cat. She went past my place, stopped at the edge of the foliage, and let the cat go into the greenery. She saw me watching from my patio and she explained she wanted her cat to get outside and get some exercise. The cat walked further away, barely able to be seen in the shrubbery. The lady followed. Eventually I saw her return at a regular walk and head back from where she came from, but no sign of black kitty.
In 10 minutes or so she was back looking for the cat. I saw the cat sitting in the bushes, and pointed it out to her. She told me the cat would eventually return, but she wanted to put it back inside NOW. But she gave up and went back to her place and was just going to wait.
Yesterday, Dutchie had a face down with a big cat that suddenly appeared in the grass area. I heard the big initial scream, went and looked. The big cat was slowly walking into the heavy brush, Dutchie just sitting there. You know, no big deal, after that scream.
Suddenly the neighbor cats are making an appearance. Maybe new neighbors.
Game is started, gotta go.
By: joealaska, 5:12 PM GMT on September 11, 2013
911 snuck up on me this year. OH, a week or so ago it hit me it was coming up, but I woke up this morning basically unaware. Then I turned on MSNBC and they were running a replay of that morning. It still gets to me. Just staring at the TV with my mouth open.
Since I have come back the cats have changed their habits. Dutchie would sleep in the closet on the top shelf. Fluff would also use the closet, but sleep down on the floor. Now they both sleep in the box springs of my bed. Dutchie found a hole into there just before my recent trip, and I guess Fluff paid attention.
One thing I do like about this apartment is the “back yard” where the cats can play. On occasion someone will come by the patio walking their dogs. But it is usually wide open. Dutchie spends a lot of time out there, just not quite all night. She comes in at night just in time to go to bed, but wakes up around 5 AM and wants out. She spends most of the evening sitting on a chair on the patio. If someone walks some big dogs by (often just a few feet away) she sits calmly and watches them walk by. Fluff reacts the same way. No panic. The patio fence has no door in it, and I guess they have a sense of security now.
Dutchie brought me a gift a couple days ago. I had let her out at 5:30 AM. Fluff also wanted out, which normally is not the case at that time. I know Fluff would want in shortly, but I was going back to sleep. So I left the door open slightly and went back to bed. The squawking woke me up. I had been there before. I turned on the living room light and there were feathers everywhere. Then I saw Dutchie watching a small bird cornered under my desk.
Not sure of the type of bird. It was grey and black, and had a LOT of feathers. The bird was still alive. First I threw Dutchie in the bathroom and closed the door. Then I caught the bird and put it outside. It ran toward the trees, and I figured it was as safe as possible. It was now light, and when I looked out a few minutes later there it was sitting on the ground out in the open. Again I chased it into the trees. Not a lot of flying going on, but it was moving pretty good with the feet.
The job search is getting bogged down. Not a lot of interesting positions coming up.
I think I will be joining a group of guys for a golf weekend the weekend after this one. Play on Friday and Saturday, return on Sunday. They have done it for 32 years, and I have never joined them. Mainly because I lived in the west and it was too much to spend for just a couple days. So it is about time I jumped in. Liability issues are a bit scary.
The 90s are supposed to change to mid 70s in a couple days. WOO-HOO!
By: joealaska, 4:46 AM GMT on September 05, 2013
Last Saturday I woke up in metro Lonoke, Arkansas. First thing I did was check out a nearby golf course I noticed on the GPS the day before. If it was crowded, I was going to hit the road west. Not only was it uncrowded, it was closed. As in SHUT DOWN. This is something I am not used to seeing. Saturday Morning, Holiday weekend, there should be a crowd. Times are changing.
This course, Mallard Crossing, was part of an upscale subdivision. Big new houses here and there.
The bare outline of the course was there, just very fuzzy with deep grass now. One more course I will never be able to play...
Shamrock Texas was really neat. I had that steak dinner at BIG VERN’S, then drove around taking pics until dark.
Next day I played Hidden Hills Golf in Pampa, TX. Overcast and windy, it was actually cool. After that I took a short ride back to Amarillo and I -40. Headed west and stopped in Vega. It was early afternoon. But I wanted to watch Louisville play Ohio. See Teddy Bridgewater in action. Never heard of him? Just wait... He left in the 3rd quarter, and they won 49-7.
Next day I played golf at Tucumcari Golf Course, New Mexico. Pretty basic. Then I had time to kill, as CASA was returning with family from camping trip north, and not due back until at least 6. So I headed south at Santa Rosa, after a rare sit down lunch at Dennys there. When I went in the front door, a large kid was crying and throwing a tantrum right inside and in front of the door. The entire restaurant was watching him. He was screaming. I thanked GOD I was a single guy with a couple cats. I could not handle that stuff.
Then I went south to VAUGHN, cut across to WILLARD (We are now officially in the middle of nowhere), the head back north through Estancia. I followed a rain storm cell taking pics as usual. Then I checked in with CASA and he said he was on the way back, and that he left a back door open for me. So I checked into Casaford a bit early.
They got home about an hour later. We had a couple beers and chatted, and that was about it. He had to work next day, and I would just turn around and start east. A quick visit. Tuesday morning I went to Las Vegas, New Mexico to have breakfast with my sister BarbNewMexico. She is the one with the ranch and 60 or so alpacas, a few llamas, as well as an array of more typical farm animals.
Sounds like she is thinking of moving, just without all the animals. Will be interesting to see what happens. Will be seeing her again in a few weeks for the folks 60th ANNIVERSARY!
After my visit with sis, I headed up I-25 to Springer, then jumped off and east through Clayton and Boise City. The panhandle of Oklahoma, barely missing Texas and Colorado. I pushed on to Elkhart, Kansas. JUST into the state from OK. This morning I took another tangent. North to Ullyses, Kansas. I had met a guy in Phoenix maybe 15 years ago who had moved to Arizona to try and play professional golf. We buddied up at a golf course one day and met quite often after that. He did not have a real job, so I could get a game from him whenever I could sneak away. And occasionally I beat him, which was pretty fun. He played golf with me at TPC Scottsdale on the day before I moved away from Phoenix, the first time. It is the course where they play The Phoenix Open. I had a couple birdies and kicked his ass. Last I saw of him.
But I knew he was from ULYSSES, KANSAS. The golf course was 9 holes and had primitive sand greens. I finally had a chance to go through there. So I went to the only course in town, Bentwood. The ONLY car there drove in as I did. It was 10 AM. Times have changed. A guy and his wife got out. I started talking with the guy. He was not a young guy. So I asked him, have you ever heard of Duane my buddy? I gave his full name. And he DID. Knew he went to Arizona and was still there playing, just not winning money. Ulysses is not THAT small!
So I went out and played Bentwood. Just me, although a few more were way behind me. Nice and breezy,not too hot. Fun course, now 18 holes. Adventuresome greens.
Then I was cruising, bumbling around and taking pics when I saw something. Took some small roads and ended up in Dodge City. It was mid afternoon, but the next hotel would be some time further down the road. So I checked out another course here in town. Mariah Hills. Looked pretty nice. I went inside and asked about tomorrow morning. The guy said the course would be MINE. So I got that going for me. Back home this weekend.
Finally, Ariel Castro, you did good. Saved us a whole bunch of money feeding you for 30 years. Yes sir, suicide. Only thing it could be.
Nod, nod. Wink, wink.
Say no more.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.