Long May You Run

Ticket’s for the Liverpool Echo Arena, even plane tickets bought, insanity abounds, in the space of 10 days in August  it will be Alice Cooper, Fairport Convention and Neil Young.

Of course there will be no pump organs just the Mighty Horse, this means I have seen Neil Young and Crazy Horse every decade for the last three decades, now I feel old. This will be so much more special as I will have two of my three sons with me.

There is something special about being able to share this type of event with my boys. It  is bizarre to me that I now have two adult children, that is something my parents have to learn to deal with not me. Although parenting adults is just as difficult as parenting children. It is a treacherous boundary to have to negotiate, friend, mentor, father weirder than I thought. Well I guess I will have to approach this with the same seat of the pants make it up as you go along approach as everything else.

Back On The Streets

You would think being on vacation would allow for more reading but that’s not the case.

I read Survival by Julie Czenerda but got less interested when I realized it was the beginning of a series. I seem to be looking for more stand alone type books. It was an enjoyable read but nothing special enough to go out and find the other books.

I also read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer which was a fun read although not as fun as just saying the title. I know it’s part of the latest craze to add vampire or zombie to the title and suddenly a best seller is created, but I could not resist. Especially after seeing the poster for the movie. It is such a silly idea it is too good to miss. I will be waiting for the DVD though and not shelling out at the theater.

So the great 2012 roadtrip is over, 4,300 miles and just over two weeks of travel and fun and visiting . I had this crazy idea that I would update the blog from the road, then I just got involved in the moment and it was too much fun just spending time with family.

After the Black Hills we headed straight to Minnesota and the complications of family reunions. The Boxell murder clan got together and shared theories, fears and visiting strange old houses to look at alleged blood stains. The funner side was getting to hang out with people we don’t often see regardless of their weird obsessions. Sandy hosted the whole clan gathering brilliantly with just the right mix of humor and reverence for a story that obviously means a lot to her and others in Howard Lake Minnesota.

Once the wierdness of the reunion was over we headed out to Lake Aaron. This small lake in central Minnesota has immense meaning for Michelle and her family. It is the lake that her father grew up on in the summers and the place where his siblings put some of his ashes last year. The whole area is full of memories for Sandy and stories that are engaging and meaningful. GPS coordinates in hand we set out to hang out with Michelle’s dad and fish and have fun. The boys even caught dinner but negotiating the bony Minnesota blue gill was something I left for others. It is not the best fish you will ever eat, in fact it’s kind of bland, and no fish you have to work harder to eat than catch is worth the eating unless it’s for survival purposes. Three days of relaxation and hanging out where exactly what everyone needed and then we set off renewed and reinvigorated for a twelve hour drive.

Billings Montana for the night. Water slides and junk food and laundry. Nest day we were off to Glacier Park to camp. It was a long beautiful drive, a lot further than we thought, is Montana the largest state or does it just feel that way. In the end we were defeated byt he drive and ended up in a KOA camping cabin for the night. The next day they had kept our site for us and we had a wonderful day in Glacier National Park. It’s odd to think that in 2030 there will be no glaciers left out there. The lakes are beautiful, the bears elusive and Polebridge may be the coolest place on earth. If only we had known we were near the ancient Amundsen homestead but who knew really.

The drive home from Glacier was another long day. Everyone was happy to be home, the dog had survived and Thomas was very happy to see us all even though he may never admit it. A great long vacation in the jeep, dirt roads and asphalt, families and strangers and amazing sights that I never expected to see.

At the end of the day as with every vacation we probably did too much but I would probably not change anything as it was memorable and fun to hang out without such an intrusive amount of technology.

Fable of a Failed Race

So we took off to Seattle in the jeep and surprisingly the ride was a lot better than I thought it would be, of course it’s louder than a car but what the heck. The main purpose of the journey was the King Tut exhibit. After this last show in Seattle it is returning to Egypt never to leave. Which is only right after that countries natural treasures have been consistently plundered over the years. I had to think about how we would feel with the declaration of independence or the crown jewels being in another country.
The exhibit was astounding and Ben was pretty much in awe the whole way around. It is hard to imagine the way life was for normal people when all you have is the glimpse into the aristocracy.




Of course there was the obligatory ride on the duck with much blowing of quackery, this was very hard for me as shy retiring sort but I have to admit driving around Seattle in a large loud amphibious vehicle was fun and you get to go on the lake and see the house boats.

Oh I forgot about the butterflies, the butterfly garden at the pacific science museum was one of my favorite experiences . The quiet grace of butterflies has always been fascinating and I couldn’t help but think of the Robert Silververg book Nightwings.



Right to Decide

So this week I bought a Jeep Wrangler, well the head gasket went in the 4Runner and the radiator was cracked in two places, all the hoses were leaking, the A.C. no longer worked and it was going to cost more than the vehicle was worth to fix it. So we had to go car shopping, something a little larger than my wife’s Corolla so we can get everyone in and go camping, hopefully with OK gas mileage. Well that never worked out, it’s smaller in some ways than the 4Runner, has the same gas mileage and now we have a car payment.

It’s the four door version so on some level and in some quarters is not a true jeep but what the heck some people think Coors light is beer. Yes I know it’s a gas guzzling monster and in this time of high gas prices and green awareness it was a bad decision, I really should have bought the hybrid, or the focus. I know it’s loud on the freeway and the soft top will probably leak during rainstorms, it will be cold in the winter and I will be judged by the people I pass, or more likely am passed by, but I have to admit I couldn’t resist. The whole concept appealed to my inner child, or mid-life crisis, that and finally coming to realize I was never going to buy a Land Rover Defender when a ’93 was going for $32,000. So I bought a Jeep. Here it is in the dealership.

Then all of a sudden you realize that there are all sorts of things you need to do, it’s needs a small lift maybe, new tires, an antenna that is not 5 feet long and distracting while driving, a roof rack, harness for the dog and on and on and on.

Buyers remorse set in until the first time I took the top down, it only took an hour to get down due to inexperience and the confusing directions in the manual. Don’t ask about the confusion putting it up. I had never driven a convertible before. It’s fun to drive and of course people wave to you. Then you start to rationalize, I can go 4 wheeling, back country driving will be more exciting with the top down than it was in the 4Runner, but ultimately it’s just plain fun, and it didn’t leak in the rain storm and the heater is powerful so it’s not cold.Then there is the fact that when society collapses due to zombies, pandemic disease, Triffids and bright comets then we are already 50%  better equipped to escape the town on the back roads of Oregon, as long as it is not an EM pulse. Now I have to find the survival kit to be fully prepared.

There is of course the reading, constant and at times potentially intrusive but as I will no longer be able to afford to leave our house in the new vehicle because of the car payment it’s good there are lots of books.

The last couple of weeks have seen the end of Inverted World by Christopher Priest which was an interesting account of a city travelling out of sync with it’s world. It also seemed to be about imperialism and it’s affect on indigenous populations, especially when they are faced with a more technologically advanced society. It was a fun read Priest definitely writes with skill as he should considering some of the scathing criticism he directs at others.

The biggest surprise however for me was Lloyd Biggle Jr’s Monument. This was a book filled with humor and wisdom and managed to pack a lot into 200 or so pages. Again Biggle is a new author to me and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he writes. Written in 1974 the story like Inverted World deals with a more advanced societies impact on an indigenous population. In Monument however the natives are lucky enough to have a Plan handed down to them by their Langri. This is a story with a message but it is delivered with humor and compassion, there are also a few plot twists that make for a great book.


I also managed to begin Icerigger by Alan Dean Foster and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Icerigger is an old favorite that has been waiting to be reread and I am looking forward to it, especially as I have the other two books in the trilogy now. I have been looking for a reasonably priced copy of Snow Crash and finally found one in a Goodwill store for $2.99. Snow Crash is also this months modern read at the Classic Science fiction Yahoo group,  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClassicScienceFiction/, were it has already caused a little stir because of it’s stylistic elements and Stephenson’s writing style. I have enjoyed all the Stephenson books I have read so far, the Baroque Cycle may be one of the greatest series of books I have ever read, but he can at times be a bit too clever for his own good.

All in all it’s been a good couple of weeks, the garden is coming along well although I think I only planted onions and beans this year for some reason. It was also a reasonably good haul at used bookstores this last couple of weeks which have filled up the space on the fireplace. The ax is obviously in case of zombie attack,  the gold piggy bank is the book fund and the Costa Rica book is for Michelle and Ben who go to Costa Rica next summer and are super excited about it as they should be.