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Thursday, November 28, 2013

POST 1197; NOVEMBER 28, 2013; BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON



I once had a dream of standing on a stage before a screaming multitude...I woke with a start and a serious question.  Not as to how I came to be standing before thousands of people, curious as though that was, but perplexed as how I came to possess knowledge of the things I was sharing...speaking about things I had never before known.

Yesterday, SAM and ME were stopped on the roadway while out for our walk.  Naomi, shading her eyes with her hands, wrapped in an expensive cashmere winter coat, would not have been out of place in Hollywood... peering between spread fingers, asked if I was the same person she read about...was I that person who was walking all over America pushing SAM.

I assured Naomi that this was indeed SAM...say HELLO SAM...and that she may have come across some media effort written in the past few years.  Naomi shared that she and her daughter once walked across America...she part way...and her daughter all the way to Washington D.C.

Naomi also shared that she, over the years, traveled much of the world...including some years as a dancer in a CAN CAN troupe from the MOULIN ROUGE touring southern Europe during the mid 1950's.

Did you now, I exclaimed;  I too toured Italy for many weeks as a member of a MOULIN ROUGE troupe...all 13 girls and me, performing in Naples, Rome, Venice, Milano, and, and...

Naomi reached out for me, swept me into her arms,...I would like to hug you...as she squeezed me tighter and a bit longer than she probably should.  You must stop in - I am in apartment 203 over there (pointing at my next door building).  I think we have much to talk about;  but, not right away as I have appointments this week to have operations on both my eyes...nearly blind you see.

A couple days ago I came across a very upsetting news item...seems the U.S. Navy wanted to divest itself of one of it's oldest Aircraft Carriers...namely, the USS FORRESTAL.  The FORRESTAL is an historic ship in that it was the first SUPERCARRIER built in early 1950's.  The FORRESTAL was "sold" last week to a company in New England...sold, in that the US Navy gave to the company the sum of $0.02...to take the ship away and cut it up for scrap.

The FORRESTAL saw service during the Viet Nam War, during which it was nearly destroyed by a fire storm set off when one of the fighter aircraft on board loosed off a live rocket which exploded in a group of other aircraft waiting to take off.  USS FORRESTAL was rebuilt, but never again fired a shot in anger.

The FORRESTAL was also known (to few, to be sure) for playing host to a MOULIN ROUGE Troupe. The entire troupe, including Yours Truly, gave a memorable performance inside the Hangar Deck while the ship lay at anchor in the harbor of Naples, Italy.  (A video was made of our performance, which was later broadcast to the Carrier's Task Force...would love to obtain a copy of that video!).

and what, you may ask, has that to do with anything...

It was on board the USS FORRESTAL...in the cavernous Hangar Deck that I, mike in hand, together with 13 gorgeous CAN CAN dancers and fully nude girls gave our memorable performance before 5,000 screaming Sailors.

My prophetic dream was realized.

and, yesterday, Naomi walks into my life, once again bringing distant memories to life.

Today is Thanksgiving Day.  Sitting alone in my apartment, recalling the many moments for which I have been so thankful, I felt like sharing a moment or two with you.

Happy 2013 Thanksgiving Day.


* * * * * * * * * *

          ALONE
  
All Alone In This Huge Dome,
The Sea – Stars In The Sky,
My Tiny Ship… Silent… Sails On,
Memories Of Days Gone By;

Rich And Poor, Those Young And Old,
Have Been Mine To Share,
Hurt And Pain – Loss And Gain,
Often Lay My Soul Bare;

Faced With Love – Anger – Hate,
So Confused By It All,
Stars Beam Down  A Ray of Hope
And Strength To Stand Up Tall;

Despair … My Partner,
Takes Me By The Hand…
And Guides Me Through 
This Not So Promised Land;

I Struggle Up…I Face A Wall…
Again Lay My Soul Bare,
By The Grace Of God, I Make It Through …
Proof At Last…Proof I Care

What Becomes Of Me And Others Too
Is My Priority Number One,
To Leave This Place With Lightened Heart,
And A Job, I Pray - Well Done.


Composed February 1954

On a cold and stormy night on the 
North Pacific Ocean,
huddled between Fore-Deck Machinery 
of a Stinking Crowded Troop Ship

For and Dedicated to SAM

























Monday, November 25, 2013

POST 1195; NOVEMBER 25, 2013; BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON



Map of  WESTERN UNITED STATES:

Planned route of SAM and ME beginning January 01, 2014, is shown in the color Orange.

We plan to begin walking and rolling counteer-clockwise at the USA / CANADA Border Crossing at the Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington...some 26 miles north of Belligham, Washington, with our first destination being Bakersfield, California, some 1,800 miles distant.





This route is approximately 4,500 miles.

Duration is approximately:   5.5 months = May 15, 2014

This route crosses two deserts and numerous mountain (Rocky and Cascade Mountain) passes reaching 7,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level.

SAM and ME will walk Solo:  That is, we will have NO support.

Because of the great variety of topography, temperatures, and long empty expanses - up to 100 miles - between civilization(s)...where supplies / shelters can be found, we have decided that SAM and ME will provide our own transportation; i.e., our 1995 MAZDA MPV will accompany us for the entire walk.

SAM  and my sleeping space fit nicely together inside our MPV - let's call her "SPIA-2" (Seniors Performing Incredible Acts -2).

Employing SPIA-2 will allow nightly protection, water, food, plenty of clothing, electricity at all times to operate our computer, and the knowledge that SPIA-2 will always be within a three-hour-walk away...absolutely critical in the event of injury somewhere out in the boondocks.

Since before 1900 a.d., approximately 185 walking / running crossings coast to coast have been recorded...with approximately 40 individuals completing 2 or more crossings.  SAM and ME have completed 4.75 crossings so far.  Upon completion of our next walk, we will have completed 6 + (or equivalent) crossings.

2.5 of my prior crossings included SPIA-1, our mini-Toyota Motor Home.  How, one might ask, can we both walk and drive a vehicle at the same time.  After some 2,000 miles of trial and error, we worked out this scheme:

     1.  Park SPIA at Point A.
     2.  Walk and Roll 10 miles which is half way to Point B.
     3.  Walk BACK to Point A (to fetch SPIA); completing 20 miles.
     4.  Drive SPIA with SAM on board to Point B and park.
   
     5.  Walk and Roll 5 miles, which is half way to Point C.
     6.  Walk and Roll BACK to Point B (to fetch SPIA); completing another 10 miles.
     7.  Drive SPIA (with SAM) to Point C...park for the night.

     This will complete one day's effort of 30 miles.

The next day, repeat the process.  Miles between Points will change depending on logistics and how efficient we walk and roll.  Steep hills (up or down) and inclement weather takes more time and effort.

It also happens that finding a safe place to park SPIA is difficult.  My guideline is that we be settled for the night one hour before sundown.

There is discussion going on with my landlord to find a way in which we could somehow maintain our apartment for the duration of this walk...something like 6 months.  Frankly, such a solution does not look good; i.e., SAM and ME are anticipating being homeless by the end of 2013.



SPIA-1      Our tiny motor home...circa 2011.



SPIA-1...with SAM riding on her platform...circa. 2011

Monday, November 18, 2013

POST 1194; NOVEMBER 18, 2013; BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON


A week or so ago, SAM and ME joined the walking group from Seattle making a 8 mile walk around Lake Union.  At the time, we took a number of photographs, but since our computer software was not available, images could not be uploaded.

We have now purchased a new LUMIX Panasonic DMC-Z525 camera...the third such camera we have used on our 3 + year trek.  This, then is our first effort to share images of our walk around Lake Union, Seattle, Washington...


Looking South across Lake Union with Seattle Center in the distance; the Space Needle to the right at the base of Queen Anne Hill.  Seaplanes take off and land near the shore line adjacent to the Space Needle.


Lake Union offers numerous excellent water side parks, through which trails and local residential and business streets afford safe scenic lake access to walkers.

Please say HELLO to John and his two "retired" greyhounds.  This is the second pair (brother and sister) John has adopted to share their retired years together.



The above scene is from the Government Canal looking under the Aurora Bridge - Old Highway 99, which runs from Canada into South America.  Beyond the Aurora Bridge, from which not too many years ago, a city bus with passengers aboard, crashed through the guard rails, falling to the ground, lies Lake Union.


From the Seaplane Terminal, the Space Needle rises some 600 + feet.  An observation level tops off the Needle, with a revolving restaurant at the next lower level.  From the base of the Space Needle begins the Monorail which carries tourists to mid-town Seattle...about 7 blocks from the world famous Farmer's Market...home of the "flying Salmon".

Historic Note:  Back in 1968, while on a business trip to a work site of a new dam  being built across the Snake River, my employer Star Iron and Steel, Tacoma, Washington, leased a Piper 210 twin engine aircraft.  Returning to Boeing Field - where the famous B-17 of WWII were built - I, occupying the right seat, was given control of the aircraft by the pilot after taking off from the sandy beach on the mid-river island.  We flew the 300 + miles through thick clouds crossing over Cascade mountains very near Mount Rainier - tallest volcano in the lower 48 states, guided by air traffic control.  I had no difficulty flying the plane...until reaching Seattle.  The pilot insisted I descend through the clouds - under radio control - and land the plane.

Coming out of the clouds, after making two 90 degree left turns to reach final approach, the Space Needle Restaurant windows appeared a bit to the left and above our altitude.

Yes, I did land the aircraft, greasing her onto the runway without a murmur.

A month later, we - two employees and myself - once again leased the same aircraft to fly to the Snake River Dam.  We did not make it.  We were very fortunate to survive the effort,...but that is a story for another day.



Another view of the  spectacular Aurora Bridge, from which the bus fell...after the driver lost control from being attacked by a passenger.

Today was a most beautiful day in Bellingham...heavy fog, about 45 F...light winds...and a continuous mist falling, thoroughly soaking the ground.  I went out two times...both times without a jacket...just like most locals...

One of my greatest pleasures; walking through the "liquid sunshine" so treasured in the pristine airs of the Pacific Northwest.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

POST 1193; NOVEMBER 15, 2013; BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON


An overcast misting Saturday morning in Bellingham, Washington.

Was looking forward to taking SAM for another long walk 'n roll today...up at 4:30 am, prepared breakfast of hot oat cereal with raisins and brown sugar, toast with jelly, and day-old coffee ... to not waste the coffee, each drop is drunk instead of being thrown out.

Eager as I am to be on our way, the ole' body has once again refused to cooperate.

Our 30 + mile "extreme" walk to the Peace Arch was pushed a bit by psychological luggage; i.e., I far exceeded my normal 4 mile per hour pace and walked twice my intended distance.  I know, a dumb thing to do...and I know better to push so hard after such a long lay-off recovering from injury.  So now, I must again pay the price.

A sharp piece of crushed gravel got into my right shoe, immediately cutting a deep blister into my heel..
To travel quickly, I stupidly lengthened my stride to a pace nearing 5 mph.  In doing so, I stretched the right foot tendons atop the third and fourth Metatarsels  (foot bones leading to the toes).  And, stretched the tendon over the left Patella (knee cap).

None of these injuries are severe and will heal quickly.  It does mean, however, that I must be very careful to avoid extenuating the injuries.  I can - and will - still walk with SAM, however, at a much reduced stress level and for only short durations.

The news that I cannot check out of my apartment lease until December 31, has all of a sudden, become important in that we now have an additional 4 weeks to heal and get the body fully prepared before setting out.

When first deciding  back in 2009 to walk across America, I took nearly a year in preparation; i.e., learning to walk.  The first few weeks of preparation resulted in repeated muscle / tendon injuries; each requiring up to 6 weeks to heal.  That year of learning to walk was well spent.  In the next 3 + years, I walked some 15,000 miles without a single injury...not even a blister.  The recent string of injuries began with my carelessness descending too quickly - holding SAM back - down the steep steep hill into Fort Ransom, North Dakota, compounded by continuing to walk another 300 miles across North Dakota before recognizing that I was in deep trouble.

Now that my body is somewhat healed, really was kinda dumb to push so hard a couple days ago...pushing much too hard and too soon; not allowing for the muscles and tendons to achieve the strength and flexibility to handle the extreme stresses of high performance walking.

Looking to our up coming walk route, we plan to head South from the Peace Arch on January 01, 2014, arriving at Bakersfield - some 1,800 miles distant - about March 01, 2014.  We then hang a left paralleling Interstate 40 until arriving at Interstate 25 at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Our project at this moment, is to determine the "walking" route paralleling Interstate 40.  Highway maps do not include "back roads" in enough detail to identify suitable "walking" roads...and most states prohibit walking the Interstates

(Note:  Interstates are without question, the safest roadways to walk...in fact, the states of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota  - there may be more - promote walking Interstates...on which SAM and ME have already walk 'n rolled thousands of miles).

 We have made a major addition to SAM.  An fully enclosed "room" has been added...a room affording temporary protection from inclement weather (rain, sun, etc.).  Using the light weight folding chair so graciously gifted by CJ,  my personal Columbia, North Carolina, Barber,  our new room becomes a treasured addition where I am protected while resting - even catching a cat-nap.

I can place my "kitchen" table - manufactured to my specifications by SIGNS BY TOMORROW, Bellingham, Washington, in our room which has direct access to SAM's food storage area(s) as well as providing a safe place to light off our tiny propane stove.

It has taken me three years to figure out this new room.  Two stout golf ball-retrieving telescoping poles integrally made a part of SAM's structure, form the framework to support lightweight waterproof plastic,  attached to and draped over a small portion of SAM...thence over the extended poles reaching 6 feet high, the plastic drops to ground level where tent pegs hold it in place.  A back panel snaps onto the ends of the poles, giving an effective "door".  The finished room is two feet wide by 6 feet high by 6 feet long.  The entire structure weighs about three pounds and is installed in a couple minutes.

Since SAM and ME will soon become "homeless", SAM is proving to be an interesting and convertible vehicle.

I am again looking to make SAM into a self-propelled vehicle...this time using a water-fueled "hydrogen" motor to provide electricity to power SAM's 36-VDC hub motor front wheel.   

We shall see....















Friday, November 15, 2013

POST 1192; NOVEMBER 14, 2013; BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON



Yesterday, I gave notice to my landlady ... notice that I would be leaving WOODROSE APARTMENTS as of December 01, only to be informed that I must give 20 day notice not later than the 10th of the month.  This means I have missed the train.  Next notice deadline  for month-end departure is December 10, with departure being December 31, 2013.

This is OK by me, as I no longer live by schedules.  Gives me another month to prepare for our walk 'n roll.

This past week SAM and ME have completed two rather long walk 'n rolls; one in Seattle with a local walking group around Lake Union, and yesterday a 30+ mile trek from the Peace Arch at the US/CANDA border crossing to Bellingham. 

The Lake Union walk brought back many memories, as it was my major playground in those early years in Seattle.  In 1942, I often "borrowed" the dinghy - tiny row boat - from a family friend Harold H. who lived (and parked his rather large motor yacht) in one of the well known boat houses  - Restless In Seattle - lining the lake shore.  Down the shoreline was - and still is - located the Seaplane terminal.  As a daring 7 year old, I found great sport to row Harold's dinghy onto the "air strip" where the planes took off and landed.  My goal was to row like crazy into the path of aircraft taking off....only once did I have to duck to avoid being hit by dripping pontoons roaring over my head.

Then too, was the huge sign board high on the side of Queen Ann Hill facing Lake Union where Aunt Patricia - Pat was 9 months older - and me would climb, sit on the work platform, watching cars and trucks traveling Highway 99 some 100 feet below our dangling legs... and the sea planes taking off and landing on the lake.  It was on that big billboard  in 1944, that Pat one day said we can't play you show me yours and I'll show you mine anymore...ending some of the most important lessons of my young life.  Some years before, Grandma caught Pat and me comparing notes while under the driveway bridge to their old Allentown home.  After being switched all the way into the house, Grandma took us into a private room, sat us down, and held an impromptu sex class.

My buddy Patricia, suffering from Arthritis for many years, died a few years back from the effects of countless surgical operations to replace virtually every joint in her body.  To the end, Pat and I remained close and in touch.  

Other things happened on Lake Union...among which was the discovery that Harold H. was sent away to the State Penitentiary in Walla Walla for child abuse...I somehow missed out on that.

So, this Saturday morning some 70 years later, I sit uncomfortably in front on my mini HP, ... uncomfortable from a very sore body not used to 8.5 hours SAM and ME spent on the roads  yesterday walking 'n rolling to and from the Peace Arch.

Just yesterday I received a telephone call from my dear friend, Karen, from Columbia, North Carolina.

The destination for SAM and ME in two weeks time, was to walk directly to the home of Karen and Craig.  Karen asked us to please NOT come.  After battling cancer for untold years, ..."I really do not have the strength for visitors...".

It was Karen's phone call that precipitated our long walk 'n roll yesterday.

Spending much time on the back roads of America, I recall the endless moments of my life and the many people I have loved...many who accompany me in spirit only.  I am, however, one to live for the moment.  Cherishing the past moments, I look to the next hill and curve in the endless roadway...I look to the next corner up ahead...knowing (and often proven) that incredible moments...incredible new "friends" await my arrival.

From time to time, I receive the opportunity to speak with / before groups.  One memorable moment, I was asked..."...of all the places you have been, what has been the most rewarding moment...?"

I considered this question for some months.  When again receiving the same question, I was ready:

..."This one...this moment that you have taken to come chat with me.  There has been / is no greater moment in my life than this moment we are spending together."

I now often repeat this moment.  For retired older people, many of whom have been left behind by their society, are shocked and reduced to tears...hearing that they are the most important moment in the life of a complete stranger.

As Karen said to me:  ..."It is as it is, Bruce...."

How can I not step out to meet these people.

I spend quite a lot of time these past 4 or so years with tears falling down my cheeks.




Sunday, November 10, 2013

POST 1191; NOVEMBER 09, 2013; BELLLINGHAM, WASHINGTON


Believe it...once again we will do a short update. 

Walking:  In the past month, SAM and ME have completed 3 - 4 walks each week...each of 2 - 3 hours duration.  Left foot / leg still swells up a bit, but has no pain.

Medical:  Still experiencing difficulty breathing !  Seems to be associated with the long-standing intestinal problems I have experienced the past few years.  Unable to eliminate properly.  Have entered many ER (Emergency Room) in hospitals across the country including a recent 4-day stint IN the hospital, including X-ray and CT scan...all with NO determination of what is going on.  Swelling of adomen during constipation seems to press against the lungs, inhibiting proper breathing.  It is past time for a colonoscopy, however, with no insurance and because my primary doctor has retired, I must wait until my Veterans Administration medical is finalized - it has been initiated.

Whether or not we get a handle on the breathing / elimination problems, we are making arrangements to terminate our apartment lease on November 30 - three weeks hence.
Furniture etc will be placed in long term storage.  SAM & ME plan to become "homeless" at that time.  Our initial action will be to begin our next walk.

We are leaning heavily toward walking US 101 to Bakersfield, California; hanging a left destined for Columbia, North Carolina - to the home of Karen and Craig...thence up the East Coast, continuing across the top of  America, making a stop at Sister Carol in DeKalb, Illinois...then on to our starting point at the Peace Arch near Bellingham.

Such an effort will result in something like 8,000 miles, giving SAM & ME 27,000 miles in the recent 4 years. 

...and yes, I would love to have a hand to hold...see what you did, Tammy !!!

Re photographs:  Have re-activated our mini-computer.  When we shut it down upon placing our ANDROID into service, the imaging software was somehow deleted.  Must purchase a new camera, as our current Panasonic Camera software is no longer available.  When we set off, our $$ finances will become available so we can purchase the new camera. 


This route is + / - 8,000 miles.  This trek will also complete the unfinished 5th cross country walk.



Friday, November 1, 2013

POST 1190; NOVEMBER 01, 2013; BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

Sincerely apologize for the absence of blog update.  Many a time I sat before my computer to post an update...realizing that the past two months have been absurdly boring with not much of interest to share.

Have, in the past two weeks, returned slowly to walking.  SAM has been modified...and the tendon(s) have come along nicely.  Walking 2 - 5 hours every other day or so.  Still incur some swelling in the left foot and lower leg.  Yesterday I set off on a 40-mile walk to the nearby tourist village of LA CONNOR, Washington, where on Saturday (tomorrow) I plan to join a walking group outing from SEATTLE.  As La Connor is close by, decided I would walk there and back to Bellingham, making for a 4-day outing, camping along the way.

Reached the 1/4 point, walking the beautiful cliff-side roadway - CHUCKANUT - which skirts the waters of PUGET SOUND.

For whatever reason, my body reached a weakened state giving clear signals that it would / could not continue.  I turned back.  Reaching my apartment by literally crawling the final two miles, I dragged myself into bed and crashed in early evening, not waking until 5:00 am this morning.

Obviously, the three months of little or no exercising (walking) has resulted in severe loss of body strength.

Nonetheless, I am faced with a major cross roads.  I can no longer afford to stay in my apartment.  Within the next two weeks, SAM & ME will once again continue our unending walk of the by-ways of America.

Since we must complete the final 900 miles from the North Dakota / Montana State borders...and recognizing the Winter cold / snows block our passing over the Rocky and Cascade Mountains, SAM & ME plan to walk South along Route 101 bordering the Pacific Ocean to the Los Angeles basin...then hang a left paralleling the Mexican border to Texas...then another left walking North across the Colorado Great Plains, across Wyoming, South Dakota, ... and finally, reaching I-94 at the North Dakota / Montana border.

From I-94, SAM & ME will head North West across Montana to the town of WOLF POINT on US Highway 2, which we will follow to within 30 miles of Bellingham. We should return by May 2014.

In so doing, SAM & ME will have completed our 5th walk across America...AND... will have circumnavigated the Rocky Mountains from the Peace Arch (BLAINE, WA.), South to near the Mexican border, East to the state of Nebraska, North to the Canadian border...,then, back to the Peace Arch.

SAM & ME will have walked / rolled some 25,000 miles.

We hope to become associated with a "cause", promoting awareness - and donations - for the "cause".  To finance our continuation, we will give up our apartment (become truly "homeless"), thus freeing up the $750.00 per month previously paid for our monthly apartment lease...which for the past one year, stood EMPTY...empty since our apartment has been subsidized for "seniors" by government program(s).  Such subsidized apartments PROHIBIT sub-leasing or even access by family or friends unless I am physically occupying it.   In actual fact, such government rules required me to THROW AWAY nearly $6,000.00 last year, when SAM & ME so desperately needed $$ walking across America.

Whether or not SAM & ME become associated with a "cause", our primary message will remain to promote AWARENESS of the LYMPHATIC SYSTEM...in my mind, the third most important organ of our body; the Lymphatic System, controls amount and movement of WATER within our body...AND is the center of our IMMUNE system.  Body fluids flow through our body -  essentially by means of our Lymphatic System.  Within our Lymphatic System are Lymph Nodes, wherein are created  WHITE BLOOD CELLS.  As body fluids flow through Lymph Nodes, all elements are challenged by our White Blood Cells...a continuous FRIEND / FOE interrogation.  All "Foe" elements are immediately engaged  in battle AND KILLED by our White Blood Cells; i.e., our IMMUNE SYSTEM in action.

We have discovered that nearly NO ONE of us knows we even have such a Lymphatic System, let alone where to find it or how to make it function...YES, HOW TO MAKE IT FUNCTION...because the Lymphatic System does not / cannot function without OUR daily life-long activation !!!

Enough for the moment...

At the moment, I am fine.  Must "prime the pump" so to speak, to gain strength lost during non activity while the ligaments have healed.

Trust all are happy and well.

Will drive to La Connor tomorrow to participate in the Seattle-group walk.

GO HAWKS !!!