Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mountain Biking River Legacy Park Thinking About Captain Andy's Fort Worth Bridge Revelations

Yesterday, if I remember correctly, I mentioned that if my hands were not rendered sore by yesterday's first bike ride in almost two years, that today I would likely find myself pedaling my wheels in Arlington's River Legacy Park.

And so I did.

Those are my handlebars aimed at the River Legacy Park Mountain Bike Trail Information sign. You can sort of see, via the map, the amazing maze of trails, which over time had become my favorite in the D/FW zone.

The drive from Wichita Falls to the D/FW Metro Mess seemed to go way quicker than has been the norm, what with my recent bouts of extremely long driving bouts, including Saturday's, which was somewhere around 800 miles before I decided to give it a rest somewhere west of Abilene.

Today being back in the D/FW zone after, so soon being in the Phoenix zone for a couple weeks, I was immediately struck by how incredibly shabby much of the D/FW zone looks. The lack of landscaping and sidewalks is appalling. Do not enough D/FW  locals lay their eyes on more, well, uh, modern locations in America, to realize how, well, third worldly much of their world looks?

A couple days ago I was driving Miss Daisy, also known as my mom, in a new developing area of the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. I made mention of the fact that the roads, landscaping and sidewalks were already installed, ahead of the incoming development. My mom, whose vision renders the world difficult to see, sees how things get done in her location, and said this is how they build things here.

"Infrastructure first."

My semi-blind mom sees the world more clearly than most Texans.

As witness my exit from D/FW last month when I was stuck in a traffic nightmare largely caused by the inept, incompetent, irresponsible out of control development in North Fort Worth, where malls, and housing developments have been built before adequately roads were built. Let alone sidewalks. Or landscaping.

How does one part of America become so backward when other parts of America are not?

I have been a bit overwhelmed of late. So, I have not gotten around to blogging about the latest iteration of America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridge fiasco. You know, those bridges of dubious design intended to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Part of what is known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, overseen by Congresswoman Kay Granger's inept son who has overseen an ongoing embarrassment which would be a HUGE embarrassment in a normal location in America. But is just, apparently, the Fort Worth Way of operating.

I think it was on Sunday, maybe Monday, Captain Andy sent me multiple photos documenting the current state of the TRCCUPID Vision's bridge boondoggle. Elsie  Hotpepper pointed me to an amazingly embarrassing article which contained some of the stupidest J.D. Granger quotes yet.

But, I have not found the time to blog about this and share Captain Andy's photos. Maybe I will do this tomorrow....

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Wheeling My Handlebars For A Look At Mount Wichita

It has been almost two years since I blogged about my bike's handlebars being aimed at some particular location.

I would have thought in all that time that at least one someone would have asked why I have made no mention of rolling by bike's wheels.

Such as a question asking why I've not mentioned biking the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

Well, even though no one asked I will answer that un-asked question anyway.

About three years ago I began to have a bit of onset of arthritis woe.  This first manifested itself in my shoulders and knees. And then my hands. Eventually the shoulder and knee woe abated, helped, I think, by spending a lot of time in the pool.

And then my left hand, particularly the pointing finger on my left hand became miserably painful. Even typing was a pain. Riding the bike greatly exacerbated the hand pain. So, I decided to take a break from the biking. The hand pain quickly got better, but did not totally abate.

So, this past couple weeks in Arizona I experienced many surprises. One of those surprises was to suddenly find myself with zero allergy woes, breathing free and easy, free of needing nasal spray. And then about the second day of swimming with the Sun Lake ladies I realized my left hand was totally pain free.

On the long drive back to Texas I decided I was once again going to roll my bike's wheels. And so today I did. Pedaled the Circle Trail to the Lake Wichita Dam where I aimed my handlebars at Mount Wichita on the west side of the lake and snapped the photo you see above.

Tomorrow I am rolling my motorized vehicle's wheels to the D/FW  zone where I am planning to take my handlebars on a ride around River Legacy Park. An activity I have not indulged in for a couple years.

That is the plan, which will quickly be thwarted if I wake up tomorrow with a left hand in throbbing pain mode...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Missing Arizona Diamondback Baseball & McDonald's While Re-Adjusting To Texas

After over two weeks of being separated, yesterday I was reunited with the USB cord which connects my phone to my computer, thus allowing me to move photos from the phone to that aforementioned computer.

If I remember right I previously mentioned my sweet sister Jackie had photo documented me over indulging in McDonald's delicacies at my dad's Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's buffet.

This would be that previously mentioned photo you are looking at here.

That would be my little brother under that Seattle Seahawk baseball, I mean, football cap you see in the lower right of the photo.

That mug with the number 12 on it is also a Seattle Seahawk item, not a Texas A & M item. I do not know why there was Seattle Seahawks stuff at the table, what with it being baseball season,  not football.

Speaking of baseball, and adding beef to what we are speaking of. In the past couple weeks I found myself watching more baseball games than I have watched this entire century. It was a baseball team called the Arizona Diamondbacks I found myself watching. It seems an odd thing to name ones team after, a venomous snake.

Apparently the word "Diamondbacks" is too  long, so this particular baseball team seems to always be referred to as the D-Backs.

I almost forgot about the beef.  In addition to consuming more baseball than I have consumed this entire century, I also found myself consuming more beef in the past couple weeks than I have consumed this entire current century, prior to my arrival in Arizona a couple weeks ago.

Apparently consuming a lot of McDonald's products and a lot of beef is a good weight loss program, because I lost myself a few pounds that I had when I left Texas. Stress and being up and about from the crack of dawn til past the crack of sunset may have been a weight loss contributing factor.

In Arizona I found myself sleeping peacefully all through the night. And despite the outdoor temperature being well above 100 we did not run the A/C at night, and I was totally comfortable. Now I am back where people say things like  it is not the heat, it's the humidity. So, true. Even though the temperature is way below 100 I ran the A/C all night. And I did not sleep peacefully all night long. There was a two hour plus bout of tossing and turning.

In Arizona I had an allergic reaction to nothing. Now back in Texas something is once again irritating my eyes.

However, all in all, I am happy to be back in my current cloudy, green, humid location in Texas...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Long Day's Desert Journey Sees Green Morning In Texas

Yesterday, as in Saturday morning, I left the Phoenix suburb of  Sun Lakes at some point in time before 8, after giving my dear ol' mom, also known as Miss Daisy, a couple goodbye hugs.

Most of the route back to my Texas home location I had driven before. But, not since the first year of this century. So, nothing seemed all that familiar.

I did remember the drive across southern Arizona and New Mexico to be a lot of wide open nothing. I did not remember the constant warnings about dust storm dangers.

 I also did not remember the scenic wonders of the Cochise Stronghold Dragoon Mountain zone of Arizona. By mid afternoon I was back in Texas, soon after seeing the giant roadrunner you see above at a New Mexico rest area and scenic overlook overlooking Las Cruces and the mountains which hover above that town.

El Paso appears to be a boomtown. In addition to a lot of buildings under construction there is a massive elevated freeway being built between the existing freeway and Mexico.  Passing through I could not figure out the reason for this second freeway.

I did make note of the fact that El  Paso follows the lead of cities to the west and makes El Paso's freeways look distinctive with color schemes and landscaping.

Maybe the towns of the D/FW zone could send a task force to El Paso to see how this is done, what with El Paso being much closer than Phoenix, or towns on the west coast which also have figured out how to make their highways look good, rather than littered, un-landscaped, un-attractive borderline eyesores.

Regarding eyesores, I am thinking of Fort Worth's freeway exits to the town's only real tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards. Maybe when the new version of I-35W is completed Fort Worth will finally get around to landscaping and de-littering the freeway exits to the Stockyards.

The last time I had passed past the I-10 border checkpoint which one comes to east of El Paso it was prior to 9/11. At that point in time a light thing, with mirror, was stuck under my van. The interior of the van was checked. This time, in this era when America is being flooded with so many Mexicans that insane people want to build a border wall, at the checkpoint a guy in a border patrol uniform, who spoke with a Spanish accent, asked if I was a US citizen. Si, said I, after which he waved me on.

Previous trips east on I-10 have had an overnight stay in Van Horn. On this trip it seemed too early to stop for the night in Van Horn.

So, I continued on.

Soon I found myself surprised to see how much West Texas has changed. Every little town along  the way east, be it Pecos, Monahans, Sweetwater, or other towns I can not remember, have had multi-story motels added to their landscape, along with the usual fast food suspects.

All these motels were full. I think due to it being Saturday night, and these motels having been built to help with the housing shortage caused by the West Texas oil boom. Eventually I resigned myself to continuing on to Abilene. Around eleven o'clock I had been on the road for well over 12  hours. I was not tired. But I decided to take a break in a rest area west of Abilene. I rested til about 3 in the morning, and then continued east in the darkness. I rather liked driving the empty freeway in the dark.

After about an hour I reached the outskirts of Abilene, got gas, and soon came to the exit to Highway 277, my route north to Wichita Falls. When I looked at 277 on a map I saw the road went through a lot of small towns. I was prepared for 277 to be a two lane highway on which I would be driving slow, not the 80 MPH speed limit on I-10 and 20.

Well, 277 turned out to be a four lane divided highway in excellent shape. With a speed limit of 75, except when one passed through a couple towns. I made such  good time I was back in Wichita Falls before 8 this morning, 22 hours after I left Sun Lakes, taking into account the time zone change.

As I approached Seymour, about 50 miles from Wichita Falls, the sun finally popped up. I tried to get a good picture of this. Below is the best I could do.

The biggest surprise came when full illumination arrived. I had been living in a desert for over two weeks. I had just spent a day driving through desert and desolate brown land. But, this morning, when the sun came up, I saw a lush landscape of green, beautiful green. I should have thought to take a picture of this.

So, I am happy to be back in Texas. But, I think I may be returning to Arizona some day soon....

Friday, June 23, 2017

Visiting Dad Before Driving Miss Daisy To See Penny In Maricopa McDonald's

Yesterday, after my mid-morning visit with dad, I drove Miss Daisy to sister Jackie's so I could drive both Miss Daisy and sister Jackie to Maricopa so we could find Penny at one of the Maricopa McDonald's.

The finding Penny mission was accomplished soon upon arrival at the designated McDonald's, where I soon found myself enjoying a Southwest Salad, McNuggets, a Fish Sandwich, Fries and a large Coke.

That would be Penny you see in her kitchen where she was preparing our McDonald''s vittles in non-air conditioned comfort due to a slight temporary air conditioning malfunction affecting the kitchen and the area where kids play. The area where we enjoyed our McDonald's buffet remained blessed with air conditioned comfort.

After an hour, give or take a minute or two, we left Penny, and McDonald's, to venture further south, once again, to the Ak-Chin Casino where sister Jackie and I once again negotiated the maze of trails and noisy construction zones to find our way to the spot where we come into possession of a piece of paper we take through another maze to go to the pool zone where that piece of paper, yesterday, was exchanged for a hand held kitchen mixmaster type device.

Leaving the kitchen mixmaster area we soon came upon a cactus forest.

I was informed that at night the Ak-Chin Casino cactus forest lights up to create an eye pleasing display. I found the cactus forest to be eye pleasing even without night lights.

Soon after leaving the cactus forest we returned to where we had left mom, in the 10 minute hotel check-in parking space.

Leaving Maricopa it was an exciting drive back through the desert to the Phoenix metro zone, due to the gas gauge light indicating the gas tank wanted some gas. This gas need was indicated via flashing lights and an occasional slight beep which had me driving along hoping Miss Daisy did not hear the beeping

All ended well, gas need-wise, when I sputtered into a gas station in time to fill the tank before totally running out of that vitally needed fuel. It would likely quickly turn quite unpleasant to run out of gas when the temperature is tickling into the 120 degree realm of heat.

Tomorrow, early, I begin my two day trek back to Texas. I hope all goes well this trek. I will be taking the south return route, through El Paso. Which means east of El Paso, on I-10, I will be going through the annoying area where I will be checked to make sure I am not hiding any illegal aliens onboard....

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Seeing Dad Before Heading To Maricopa Seeking McDonald's Penny

What you are looking at here is the tropical-like pool zone of the Ak-Chin Casino Resort in Maricopa.

Maricopa is a town a short distance south of the Phoenix metro zone.

Maricopa has three McDonald's, one of which is the location of Penny. On Tuesday we did not find Penny at her McDonald's location.

We did find Penny at a slot machine in the Ak Chin Casino Resort.

Today we are returning to Maricopa to try and find Penny at her McDonald's, among other reasons to be in Maricopa.

Such as returning to the Ak-Chin Casino. On Tuesday we visited the casino to get a crock pot, along with what seemed to be hundreds of other people seeking crock pots. I have never seen so many people carrying crock pots. Or sitting at slot machines with their crock pots.

Apparently if one visits the Ak-Chin Casino frequently enough one gets to get an assortment of kitchen appliances. Like I said, we are returning to Maricopa today, including going to the casino. I think today I am going to be seeing a lot of people, if I remember right, toting an electric mixer beater type device.

On Tuesday to get the crock pot we made our way through the throng of people playing various games til we got to a location where two pieces of paper were shown to one of the ladies checking the paper pieces. Then another piece of paper was given to my sister. We then meandered a confusing maze of halls til we arrived at the cool pool you see above.

Under a shaded zone near the ;pool was the biggest collection of crock pots I have ever eye witnessed. You can see some of those crock pots below.

That would be my dear sister, Jackie, soon after taking possession of one of the crock pots. We then joined all the other people toting crock pots and gradually made our way through the confusing maze of halls til we came to the location from whence we entered. Soon we found ourselves back in air conditioned car comfort with our dear mother where we left her with the engine and air conditioning running.

On Tuesday I had one of the new McDonald's signature sandwiches. A BBQ bacon crispy chicken, with equally crispy onion on an artisan bun. Plus a fish sandwich and maybe a couple other items. Today I will go lighter with one of the McDonald's signature salads. And maybe a fish sandwich.

I am currently in the lobby of my dad's current location. Mom is in with dad. Lunch should soon arrive. Dad was not too perky this morning. I left them with mom asking dad if he wanted chocolate milk and a banana...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Following Elsie Hotpepper Technical Computer Advice Arizona Malfunction

I asked for technical advice from that well known computer whiz, Elsie Hotpepper, regarding trying to get on to my computer an infamous photo of me eating way too many McDonald's products at my dad's Happy Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's Buffet.

Elsie cleverly advised me to use the phone blogging Blogger app to upload the photo from my phone. I followed Elsie's precise instructions.

But, when I got my computer back online, after getting dad back to his room, after another successful exercise therapy session, I opened the blogger program and the saved from the phone blog post, but the infamous photo of me eating way too many McDonald's products at my dad's Happy Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's Buffet was nowhere to be seen.

I suspect it will take til I am back in Texas, reunited with the cable which connects the phone to the computer, to get that notorious photo off my phone.

Meanwhile when I looked for that photo possibly being somewhere in the Google Cloud I clicked on a photo titled Durango New Mexico and soon found myself wondering as to the when and where of the above photo.

This photo would be from sometime back in the previous decade. I believe the rock behind me is called Shipwreck Rock, or some such similar name. I do not ever remember having a blue baseball cap. Blue has never been one of my favorite colors.

Back to the present.

Arrived at dad's location around ten. Found him in the therapy room walking the parallel bars. The physical therapist told us dad is making good progress of late. I was surprised by how fast he was moving on the parallel bars.

Soon mom and I will be leaving here, going to pick up sister Jackie, and then heading south to Maricopa to see Penny at McDonald's. I suspect one of those new fangled McDonald's signature burgers is in my future for day...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day After Father's Day Dad Takes A Long Walk

Back to the latest episode of the Days of Our Lives, also known as American Horror Story: Seinfeld.

Arrived at dad's place in time for his morning therapy session. Well, the end of the therapy session. Dad had finished 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

The Physical Therapist came out to see mom and me to tell us that dad would now be walking back to his room.

Huh? Mom and I sort of reacted at the same time.

Soon mom and I found ourselves following dad, walking, all the way back to his room. We went from two days ago being told dad had walked fifteen feet to this morning he walked all the way back to his room.

Back in his room I left mom and dad to return to the lobby to wait for my sister and the hearing aid expert to arrive.

When the hearing aid expert arrived he quickly determined there was nothing wrong with dad's hearing aids. Except, uh, the filter needed replacing. An extremely little filter installed from the end of an extremely small stick. My sister got the lesson on how to perform this task. I knew it was far beyond my technical expertise.

A few minutes after the hearing aid expert exited dad indicated he would not mind getting HOT. And so we exited the lobby to the courtyard, where we enjoyed the HEAT for a short duration, before crossing the courtyard to exit to the location where movies and church takes place.

Above you see sister Jackie moving dad into a HEAT absorbing position, with mom providing directional advice. Dad is in celebrity mode with the sunglasses, hiding from the paparazzi.

Tomorrow Jackie is taking mom and me to Maricopa to see Penny at McDonalds. This will take place after the noontime dad visit. I do not know why I am not exhausted. Today began with a long swim with Ann, Phyllis and the rest of the ladies, including the Grande Dame, Jacqui...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet With Uncle Mooch & Tillie

So. My dad's Father's Day All You Can Eat McDonald's Buffet went off okay.

Opening right on schedule a half hour before noon. Well, maybe a few minutes past that half hour before noon mark.

Dad's new hearing aid was misbehaving today, so tomorrow we are bringing in the hearing aid doctor to figure out what is wrong.

In the partial picture of those attending my dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet that would be my little brother, Spencer Jack's grandpa, and Jason and Joey's dad, Jake, on the far left. Next to Jake you are looking at my number two sister, Jackie, who is not a grandma but is the mom of Christopher and Jeremy, who were not in attendance. In the middle, looking at me, is the aforementioned dad. Big Blue on the right is my brother-in-law, Jack, who also is the husband of my sister Jackie and the dad of Christopher and Jeremy.

Miss Daisy, also known as my mom, is partially visible under Big Blue.

An incriminating photo of me was taken by sister Jackie, showing me double fisting a couple burger, with an array of McDonald's products in front of me. Unfortunately I am unable to share this photo due to it having been sent to my phone and due to the fact I left the phone connector to my computer back in Texas.

Dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet marks the first time I have actually heard mom refer to me as Gerry, aka Uncle Mooch. Last night, on the way home from seeing dad, mom confessed to repeatedly referring to me as Gerry.I told mom I had been told she had been doing such, but that I had not noticed.

Until today.

Continuing the theme, today, at least for awhile, dad thought sister number two, Jackie, was sister number one, Nancy. This became apparent when dad asked Jackie a dog question about sister Nancy's dog, Tillie. Something like "how's Tillie doing?"

Yesterday Spencer Jack's dad texted me he was arriving in Arizona tonight. But Spencer Jack's grandpa knew nothing of this arrival, as of when I saw Spencer Jack's grandpa this morning.

The heat has begun to get HOT. Miss Daisy sent me into Walmart this afternoon on the way to see dad. Dad had requested a chapstick lip balm type product. I do not know if the lip balm survived the bout in the heat before returning to air conditioned safety.

I guided Miss Daisy to dad's room and left as I heard mom telling dad she had something for him. I assume mom was referring to the lip balm.

I currently feel like I am living in a TV show. A sort of hybrid of Seinfeld and American Horror Story....

Happy Father's Day With Dad In Arizona & McDonald's

It is the morning of the 2017 version of Father's Day. I do not remember when last, til today, I actually saw my dad on Father's Day, but on this Father's Day I have already said Happy Father's Day to my dad and given him a Happy Father's Day hug.

And what a blessing. No hearing aid drama this morning. So far.

I went swimming this morning, all alone. Apparently all the Sun Lakes ladies, and the Grande Dame, take Sunday off.

In the view above you are outside my dad's room, in the covered patio zone. That would be the window of dad's room you see on the right.

If I remember right we are supposed to get heated to 114 today. 119 tomorrow. Yesterday early evening it was a bit brutally HOT during the dad visit, just the transit from vehicle to interior air conditioned comfort. To maximize my heat related discomfort today I am in long pants. I figured I'd try this sort of modified Arab method of dealing with HEAT. We shall see how well that works out.

Last night I reserved the special activity room for today's noontime Happy Father's Day McDonald's Buffet of all my dad's McDonald's favorites. I am hoping this includes my McDonald's favorite, that being the Fish Sandwich. I have not had a McDonald's Fish Sandwich since the last time I was in Arizona, five years ago.

I vaguely recollect my sister telling me this coming week she may take me and mom south to Maricopa to see Penny at one of that town's three McDonald's. Penny manages one of three McDonald/s and has been asking where my mom and dad have been of late. I do not think we will be bringing dad along on this McDonald's expedition.

I am currently planning on beginning my return to Texas this coming Saturday morning. Mom is planning on loading me up on frozen things, like banana bread and apple sauce, and unfrozen things like raspberry jam....