A quick update

Hello all!

Dave wanted everyone to know he’s alive and well and enjoying more adventures. Currently, he is out of WiFi range and won’t be back from his latest trek until early this Fall. He has a load of stories to tell when he picks up his blog again in September. So keep coming back to see what crazy sights Dave has been experiencing this Summer!

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FIRST STOP, COCHITI LAKE

 

FIRST STOP, COCHITI LAKE

 

That is not exactly true. My very first overnight stop was in Belen, New Mexico at my favorite sports bar/restaurant, Fat Sat’s. It was an overnight stop to avoid drinking and driving, and eat the most delicious hot wings on the planet, made with their own secret recipe sauce that will make you sweat just a little, but after washing that bite down with a crispy cold beer you will hardly be able to wait for another bite. Oh yum!

Belen is a few miles south of Albuquerque so I waited until after rush hour to leave in the morning. It was hot the day before which made the cloudy morning sky look rather pleasant and inviting, even though clouds bring humidity.

Humidity in the desert southwest is nothing like the swamps and bayous of the southeast, and no place on Earth holds a candle, a very dripping candle, to Houston, Texas. I once told a pastor he could forget about threatening me with Hell because I had spent a sweltering summer in Houston. Believe me; the humidity here makes a tough Texan laugh because when it gets above 30% we whine.

Nevertheless, the drive up I-25 was delightful, except for one stretch of road that made me wish my RV had four-wheel-drive. It was not a ruddy dirt trail through the outback that made the RV buck and stutter, slam over sudden drops and shake the inside contents into a mass of clatters, bangs and …, do you remember the movie “Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang?” Well, this was one Chitty road; the I-25 freeway running right through Albuquerque. It could be that the military used it for shelling practice, but thank the Lord and Governor Martinez the road is being rebuilt. I often wonder how the New Mexico state government manages to keep this state running as well as it does on a budget that would not be sufficient for a Ted Turner afternoon soirée. This is the west; let us call it a hoe-down, though I doubt that Mr. Turner even has a hoe.

Continuing northeast on I-25 only a few miles beyond the halfway point to Santa Fe, New Mexico is the Santo Domingo Indian Reservation and Pueblo on SR 22, well-known for silver and turquoise jewelry, and traditional Green Corn Dance held in August. SR 22 heads north to Cochiti Lake at the Cochiti Pueblo where ancient crafts are celebrated such as pottery, jewelry and the making of Cochiti drums, made from hollow tree trunks. Their sound is rather unique, although it is doubtful that bees, termites and woodpeckers enjoy it.

If ‘reservation’ and ‘pueblo’ are unfamiliar, allow me to explain. A reservation is Indian land and recognized as a sovereign nation. They have their own laws and regulations. A pueblo is a community within the reservation. If you would like to read a little about reservation life as told in novel form pick up a Tony Hillerman book. He tells terrific mysteries that take place in tribal country. You will get hooked.

Once at Cochiti (pronounced: Coach-eh-tee) a campsite with a good view was easy to find. From the northeast the legendary Rio Grande flows into the lake through a carved-out canyon. At this latitude the river is impressive. It comes into the lake as a powerfully wide watercourse. The lake is small, but the campground is remarkably big, well-maintained and beautifully designed. Every site has a covered concrete pad with a picnic table and standing barbeque. It is the patio cover that immediately got my attention. An arched roof of what appears to be polished bronze gleaming in the sunlight would get anyone’s attention. The weather is a bit cooler up here at 5,520 feet.

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The first morning in a new area calls for a hike. Only a short distance into my hike I meet a group of the most venerated meteorologists in the world, ants. Look at the photo. They are clamoring to get inside. It is going to rain. The sky is bright with cumulous clouds and there is little breeze. Yet, I start working my way back to camp. I rarely believe politicians, but always believe my little formic friends. Moments later the sky changes to an ominous dark rolling mass of cumulo-nimbus clouds heading my way. The wind kicks into gear and the sweet smell of rain wafts through the air. Not many things taste as bad or smell as good as juniper during or after a warm spring rain. As the first drops begin to fall I am at the door of my RV. Moments later rain pours. And people wonder why I am so fond of pesky little critters.

 

DSCN4948          This is a short-lived monsoon type rain even though the season has not officially started. Perhaps Mother Nature did not get the memo.

When the rain lessens into a gentle shower I cannot help enjoying it on my face. It makes me smile. It feels like tiny butterfly kisses on my cheeks and as it pools and streams down my neck my only thought is to move before it goes down my pants.

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Opting for a site with no hookups, as usual, is economical and makes me feel more like a camper than an RVer; an illusion I know. My solar system (which does have tiny little planets and it’s own gravitational field – in my mind) is perfectly sufficient to provide the electricity I need. Operating on ‘clean, non-consumptive power’ as much as possible is important to me. My fossil fuel consumption is already way out of line driving ‘Mr. Thirsty.’

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Tomorrow morning I will be off to see something new.

 

 

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MOTHER’S GOT ME PINNED DOWN

The storm is coming and looks more ominous in B&W

The storm is coming and looks more ominous in B&W

 

 

Hello folks. This cannot be posted until I get out of here, but I thought I would let you know what is happening.

This is June 13, 2015 and I am at Cochiti Lake in central New Mexico. It is a lovely day if you enjoy the weather on Venus. The thermometer is going up and down faster than a gray-haired old lady running for a hot slot machine seat. The Emergency Weather Service has announced that we can look forward to wind that will not only blow your skirt up, but rip your pants off as well. Violent thunderstorms are going to cause much damage and many floods. Golf ball size hail will damage vehicles and break windows. Just once I would like to hear them say ping pong ball size hail. I am terrible at golf, but a smashing fool at ping pong. When my youngest nephew was still a cute little tot he came up with a cute little rhyme about ping pong I will never forget. It is simply “King Kong plays ping pong with his ding dong.” He did not grow up to be a poet.

Back to the subject at hand.

I have to interrupt this message (doesn’t that sound official as the dickens?) to describe what just pulled into the campground, a van towing a trailer full of wind surfers. You know those surfboards with a sail, right? I honestly do not think they are designed to go 80 mph across a lake while the rider is being beaten to a pulp by hail. I guess they do not have a radio.

Anyway, not that the above warning is insufficient, ‘but wait, there’s more.’ Tornadoes; or as those who live in mid-western trailer parks put it, Mother Nature’s house relocation service. The weather service announcer advised going to the basement, saying roofs will be removed, etc. The only basement in an RV are the storage compartments over-filled with unessential gear, things purchased in a fit of $19.95 excitement and things I forgot about having. The only way to get a body in there would be with a chainsaw. By the way, I have one, but it is somewere in the basement.

There are thirteen RVs here. That must be Mother’s idea of a joke. Recounted and yes, thirteen. Oh, I feel much safer now. There are also four tents. I wonder if it is too late to send them a Hallmark bon voyage card. I doubt Hallmark makes a ‘Have a nice flight in the tornado’ card, or ‘Say hello to Dorothy and Toto from all of us down here.’

And so I will sit and wait it out until it is safe to drive again. Remember kids; do not mess with Mother. She is big; she is bad and she will kick your butt.

IT IS OVER. Guess what? Nothing happened. All of the horrible predictions fell flat I love it when they are wrong.

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MUSIC (an editorial)

MUSIC

What does that word mean to you? Have you ever thought about it? Does it make you feel something special? Is it alive?

To me music is a living, breathing entity that saturates every molecule of my body. It is organic. It lives in emotions and dark thoughts and the brilliance of laughter. It makes me wonder and envision and smile and cry. It comforts me, excites me and lulls me into a netherworld of imagination where unknown creatures and emotions dwell that only appear when the chords are just right and the harmony walks in the shadows of my soul.

Music is auditory art. It makes us feel and it makes us react.

This is why I am confused when a person listens to only one genre of music. Recently I played “Attics of my Mind,” a 1979 Grateful Dead recording to my friend who swears to be a jazz aficionado and listens to little else. “Feel it,” I urged. “Let it in. Listen to the lyrics.” He sat unaffected for the first few bars and then a smile crept across his face. He got it!

A person who only listens to one kind of music is defying his own curiosity and limiting her emotional experience. Art is about experience. Music is the art of bringing experiences into one’s life through the emotions of tonality. At times we can hear a single chord and know exactly where the musician is taking us. It is familiar. Who could not identify Eric Clapton’s “Layla” after one or two chords, or the unforgettable guitar riff that defines it’s composition? We live in the moment of recognition and smile as if being visited by a favorite aunt, feeling solace and comfort.

And so I encourage you to experience other forms of music. If you are not pleasantly surprised it might be wise to check your pulse and see if your breath condenses on a mirror.

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YOU COULD BE INFECTED BY THIS TERRIBLE ILLNESS? (Jest for fun)

YOU COULD BE INFECTED BY THIS TERRIBLE ILLNESS? (Jest for fun) Do you feel out of sorts, irregular and a bit tight in your sphincter? Do you cry and/or wring your hands when someone you don’t know and is thousands of miles away curls a lip and sheds a tear? Do you find yourself being offended by words that have nothing to do with you, anyone you know, or might simply be a common expression. If so, there might be a simple explanation and relief for the condition that could be afflicting you. You might be a liberal. Yes, it’s true. Liberalization is creeping into all areas of society. It is a subtle and unscrupulous malady that can affect your reasoning, emotions and cloud your sense of reality. If you think you may have been affected by MLN (Malignant Liberal Nonsense) take the test below. It might not be too late. When detected in it’s early stages MLN is not life threatening (unless you tell Uncle Bubba to turn his house into a shelter for Welfare collecting drug dealers). This is the test. If you were educated in public school and cannot read it get help from someone who was home schooled. 1) Do you believe that the police are the enemy of the repressed common citizen? 2) Do you believe that guns are evil and responsible for crime, which did not exist before they were invented? 3) Do you believe that everyone is entitled to at least a middle-class income which should be excised from the rich and distributed equally among all the parental basement dwelling potheads who cannot find a job? 4) Do you believe that we are “all just people” with no differences or individuality? 5) Do you believe that stereotypes are completely fictitious and not the product of observation? 6) Do you believe that the word “blackboard” is racist so students should be forced to try to read what a teacher has written on a green board, which is sometimes almost impossible to see? Besides, wouldn’t that be racist to space aliens? 7) Do you believe that the cereal Lucky Charms should be taken off the market because it is offensive to mid…little people? 8) Do you believe that people who hate and want to kill Americans are really good at heart, just misunderstood and need a hug? 9) Do you believe that Cuba has a democracy? 10) Do you believe that men do not have the right or responsibility to defend their home and family? Well, how did you do? If you answered “yes” to three questions or less you are afflicted, but can be cured. If you answered “yes” to five questions you must seek professional help immediately. If you answered “yes” to seven questions and are in fear for your mortal soul consult with a priest (who might recommend an exorcism) or check with your mother to see if it’s too late for an abortion. If you are so vile and depraved that you answered “yes” to all ten questions, I am truly sorry, but you are beyond hope. Please be responsible and spay or neuter your off-spring. On the other hand, for those of you who only answered “yes” to three or less questions the remedy is quite simple. Get a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and pour a big healthy sippin’ glass full. Then put a Toby Keith or Hank Jr. CD on the stereo and crank it up. After an hour or two of laughin’ and scratchin’ you will be totally cured. When the affects of MLN wear off and you are a little schnockered, some nice soothing Gretchen Wilson or Lucinda Williams might do the trick. HAVE A NICE DAY!

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AN OLD MAN AND HIS MUSIC

AN OLD MAN AND HIS MUSIC

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My father once told me that if you love what you do you never ‘work’ a day in your life. This spring I met a man who is a perfect example of that sage advice, Clif Carriso. Carriso is a musician; he has been since playing his first gig at Wheaton High School in Wheaton, Illinois in 1957.

In case you are not old enough to remember those days it was the time of big fins on cars, “I like Ike” and Connie Francis.

Ten years later Carriso was discovered in Chicago playing drums with Chicago Slim’s Blues Band and recruited for the San Francisco rock band Daddy Long Legs. And so started an up and down ride in the music business that set them on a European-American cycle that is still cycling today. Though the members of the band have changed from time-to-time Carriso is still playing and recording.

Yes, that's a real Les Paul

Yes, that’s a real Les Paul

Being a bit of a skeptic I was very interested in hearing what the present day Daddy Long Legs sounds like. A lot of people talk a good game, but when it is time to play you might find that they have lost the ball, so to speak. So Carriso gave me two CDs. Wow! I am now a fan.

First let me try to describe their music style. Imagine putting country, rock and bluegrass all together and then slapping it with a healthy serving of blues and jazz. It is unique, it is fun, it is well thought out and much like Jimmy Buffet’s music, just what one needs on a cloudy day to lift your spirits and make you sing along, with a smile.

In 1970 the band was on the cover of the English Rolling Stone. They had three top ten hits, five hit singles and worked on the music for five movies. They did concerts with Sly and the Family Stone, Canned Heat, Pentangle, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart and Pink Floyd; just to drop some important names, and they played a Heidelberg, Germany concert for 55 thousand fans. These guys had a pretty good time of it and they are not done yet.

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At the moment Carriso is polishing a new album of original songs, now working as producer as well as musician.

“The road was tough,” says Carriso. “One time we did twenty-eight nights in seven countries.” And still he loves every minute of it and will not stop recording, writing and playing until his last breath.

This is a man who loves what he does with a passion. I think my dad was right. A guy like this never ‘works’ a day in his life.

 

 

 

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THE FISHERMAN’S DREAM

THE FISHERMAN’S DREAM

 

Have you ever day-dreamed about fishing every lake in America? If you are a true angler I know that you have. Would it actually be possible? What about your job and your endless list of responsibilities? A challenge like that would be absurd …, well, unless you reduced your responsibilities to feeding yourself and one companion and made fishing your job. It would be even easier if your companion was totally devoted to you and anything that makes you happy; accepts and gives all the love you want without hesitation, eats out of a bowl and will drink out of the toilet if the occasion calls for it. Meet Lunchbox, an English bulldog and devoted companion to David Salzberg who is a man chasing that fisherman’s dream.

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At thirty-six years old Salzberg knows exactly what he wants to do with his life, fish. At thirty-six I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. That matters little because I still have not grown up. After working at a few tradesman jobs and eight years in the army (served in the Middle East and returned as a wounded Vet – honor and respect folks, he paid for his freedom. Oh yeah, and ours too) Salzberg made the decision to go on the road and video his fishing adventures in a Hobe kayak, all over America.

We met at Caballo Lake in New Mexico. He pulled into the campground as I was preparing to leave after waiting five very long days for the wind to settle on something less than gale force. My kayak never came out of the RV. In that kind of wind a kayak quickly becomes a carnival ride. Since neither of us could get on the water we decided to sit a spell and spin some yarns, he being a Texan and me a country boy it seemed like the natural thing to do. When he told me about his plans I immediately told him that I have some folks who would like to meet him, most of them back in my old stomping grounds of West Virginia. So here he is.

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Now ladies, I am going to answer the first two questions I am sure popped into your mind. No, he is not married. No, he does not have children. He does have Lunchbox, a mighty cool truck and the most positive attitude about life possible.

Salzberg’s tattoos, of which there are many, reflect the way he feels about life. On the back of one hand is candle and on the other a mirror. He explained that these symbolize a philosophy of human nature. If you cannot be the candle, bringing light into someone’s life, be the mirror reflecting the light to them. The fish on his chest is unmistakable, a big mouth bass; Salzberg’s passion. On his arm is a portrait of his father.

The kayak might appear at first glance to be sort of a mish-mash, but everything has a purpose and this fellow has an eye for quality gear. There are two video cameras, one fore and one aft, a Lowrance depth/fish finder, four fully rigged poles with Abu Garcia and Shimano reels and some comfort as well as emergency equipment.

Who needs an art gallery when you're wearing one

Who needs an art gallery when you’re wearing one

Tomorrow morning David Salzberg and Lunchbox will head north. If you want to go with him turn on Utube and search for: The Kayak Nomad (with spaces), and you can follow his adventures from the deck of a kayak without leaving the comfort of your easy chair, getting splashed with cold lake water, having your stomach churn from seasickness or wondering where the heck the bathroom is on this thing.DSCN4890

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A WORD FROM DESERT DAVE

Tomorrow morning I am leaving on a new camping adventure. When I return on 6/3/15 I will have a new story to tell. It just might be a fish story. It might be about something entirely different. Who knows, I might find Bigfoot, the lost city of Atlantis or a UFO. Okay, in reality it will just be a fish story, but there will be pretty pictures and I promise no selfies.

I have to tell you that I have totally fallen in love with New Mexico, even though it is not ‘new’ or ‘Mexico.’ There is a lot more to explore than I ever imagined. In June I will be heading up the west side of the Rockies (Continental Divide) and you are coming with me. There will be all sorts of interesting and beautiful things to show you. Come along and share the fun, especially at the world’s largest nudist colony for supermodels. Maybe I read that wrong. Oh, it is actually the world’s largest nudist colony for super old Mongols. That changes things a bit. I mean, Genghis Khan did not look all that good with clothes on, so I may just skip that. I am quite sure we can find something far more appealing.

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I AM ABSENT

My friends, I am sorry I have not given you a story this month, but circumstances have kept me from doing most anything of interest. Next month  I will return and have a story; maybe even a few photos. In the meantime I hope you all have a great holiday weekend.

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BEACH CAMPING II – The Next Day

BEACH CAMPING II

 

The last article on Beach Camping was ended before much of the fun began. I thought things were going as good as possible. I was wrong. After I posted the story, festivities really picked up and got rockin’. I met some of the nicest people ever and enjoyed watching the lake come alive. It was so much fun that I could not leave you out.

The Easter egg hunt just up the beach brought out a lot of children, as they say, young and old. People took chairs out into the water so they could sit and fish. Fortunately, boaters paid attention and none of the anglers became targets. I did not see a single detached head bobbing around in the water. As Martha would say,” That’s a good thing.” However, I missed the photo of the day when a seagull dropped a gooey present on a little boy’s hand. He froze and stared at the hand like it had been totally violated. His mouth opened wide, terror in his eyes; he started trembling and went into a slow-motion crying jag that built up to one deafening shriek which brought his parents running from different directions.

An attractive young woman named Crystal got my attention with her marvelous tattoos. New Mexicans seem to have a real affinity for body art. Now, some of it is art, but some of it makes one wonder how empty the Tequila bottle was when someone asked for that particular tat and someone else made the attempt to scribe the ridiculous thing into the other’s skin. In Crystal’s case her body art is just that. The shoulder took five hours. That, my friends, is dedication to one’s art.

More fun than an art gallery

More fun than an art gallery

Peekaboo.  I see what you're looking at.

Peekaboo. I see what you’re looking at.

Sometimes love hurts.

Sometimes love hurts.

There was a general feeling of affability that fused a huge group of strangers into a big party of friends. Laughter was common; the smell of charcoal cooking lasted all day and it was especially heart-warming for me to see how well young parents cared for their children. A whipping post was totally unnecessary. I was amazed.

A ranger patrol boat spent most of the day floating in the cove we had turned into a carnival. Once it was obvious that they were not there to harass people or curtail genuine fun they blended in like everyone else.

The next morning it was a little unsettling to see that the water had risen so high that coolers were floating, chairs and tables were turned over and carpets were submerged. In some cases the water came right up to the campers steps.

Between the high water and blowing sand many vehicles were now stuck. People with big 4-wheelers ran around with tow straps helping everyone get out. Just another day on a desert lake beach. These are plucky people. As one local told me, “Sand ain’t nothin’ but tiny rocks. No worries.”DSCN4870DSCN4867

After being unshod for three days it was necessary to put on sandals to drive; it is the law, a silly one I think. A better law would be prohibiting driving without a brain, or pants. That would make spilling convenience store coffee in your lap very inconvenient.

So now I am back on the grid with electric, water and a covered concrete patio. The sun just dissolved into the distant mountains and the sky is displaying its usual beauty of bright pink, teal and blue streaks. Tomorrow a fruit smoothie in the blender, a wild caught salmon steak on the Barbie and jazz on the stereo is my answer to civilized living. How long thisDSCN4823 will last is anyone’s guess.

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