December 17, 2011

Out of California and into the winter-world of upstate New York

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - And just like that, we hopped on a Jet Blue plane Thursday night and Friday arrived in Syracuse, NY where a Hyunda Sonata (no Nissan Cubes this trip) waited as our chariot to take us home.

For me it was slightly more than a 41-year absence. It was August 1970 when I left in a blue VW van, landing in Napa in mid-October after hitting more than 10 states in an odyssey, looking for who-knows-what, even now.

But the trip home was quicker. Our two California vehicles (my vintage Nissan pickup truck) and our Mexico-veteran Isuzu Trooper were loaded onto a car carrier Wednesday afternoon, a car carrier driven by two Russian guys with accents (and haircuts) right out of central casting. They arrived here in Watkins Glen at noon, with six more deliveries here on the East Coast.

The black car is our rental, the other three our NY fleet

Landing here also is the first time since the turn of the 21st Century that Admiral Fox and I have owned a home with virtually everything we own in one place. I say virtually, because the Pink Flamingo in Arroyo Seco still has some of our 'stuff' but not much.

When Dustin and Sylvia drove the Trooper (aka Troupey) out of Mexico last spring, they brought a carload of items, now resting either with Dustin in tony Connecticut or here at North Glen.

Duplicates - make that triplicates - of sooooo many things are popping up.

And at Brother Dan's shop in Big Flats, we have two palettes of boxes and assorted household stuff yet to bring here to look at.

Perhaps we'll bring it all to the house for Christmas to open the boxes then.

Sasha with friend
Last night - barely awake after very little sleep on the plane the night before - we went out for dinner to Maria's, a local joint where I go to talk politics sometimes. There we had a great fish dinner with amigos Gary and Sue and their son Jeff. Then we traveled over to visit amiga Amanda at her house. (Ok, we went there to visit Sasha the dog, too.)

It was a nice entree back to the community. And, not to let any snow accumulate under our boots, tonight we head up to the increasingly famous Hector Wine company (in Hector, of course) for a glass or seven of wine and to listen to the band 'Buford.'

No, that's not a typo... and I hear the group is quite good.

We awoke this morning to a light dusting of snow and all day have watched the flakes coming down. Very little is sticking, so at this point, it's picturesque and not pain-in-the-ass. We're set though - I found all my winter gear and my boots have been waterproofed!

Here's a winter view of the lake from our deck and our winter-covered hot tub which might get pressed into service.

And at the bottom is a short video of this morning's snow... Set to music, of course.

December 16, 2011

32,000 feet surrounded by snoring people

SOMEWHERE OVER LAKE MICHIGAN, USA, 5 a.m. -- Admiral Fox and I spent our last day in Sacramento running all those last-minute errands that drive you mad: mailing things, losing things, and trying to stuff 250 lbs. of our possessions into four suitcases for checking.

Yes, each suitcase can only weigh 50 pounds. We had to get creative.

But that was hours back and at this moment we are tearing up the miles crossing the U.S. in a Jet Blue plane with the snoring of sleeping passengers almost as loud as the jet engines.

When I say tearing up the miles I am not kidding. The computer shows us hitting 700 mph in airspeed.

Move over Chuck Yeager, we are coming through.

Our destination now is JFK Airport where we (and we hope our checked bags) will hop a second flight to Syracuse where a rental car awaits to take us to our new Tranquility Base in Watkins Glen. I have high hopes it will not be another Nissan Cube.

This air flight is a little quicker than when I made this trip west in August of 1970 in a VW bus that would only go 50 mph on downhill runs.

Both Adm. Fox and I are now official retirees from our university teaching positions - though I prefer the Spanish word, jubilado. That word comes closer to what we felt when we turned in keys and had our final separation papers stamped and approved.

It felt like a cross between a graduation and getting a presidential pardon.

(Asute readers will note that there isn't a lot of wistful remembrances here about decades of teaching. But come on, it's the middle of the night, I haven't slept and I am typing this on my iPad.)

By the way, for iPad addicts, note that your wireless keyboards won't work on airplanes. They aren't allowed. Instead, you have to use the screen keyboard on which touch typing is almost impossible.


And as I type this we have started hitting some dirty air and the plane is bouncing like Dolly Parton in a Christmas special.

More later.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad