Mark Atwood (fallenpegasus) wrote,
Mark Atwood

Travel Report. Utah, Phoenix, Boston, BiCamp.

Tuesday the 29th of August, I arrived in Utah.

When my dad met me at the airport, sister wyckhurst was with him. She, along with my 17 month old niece, were flying to California somewhere for a vacation. My niece thought I was just some random part of the scenery, until I said her name. Her head whipped around to stare at me, because I was suddenly a weird looking guy who Knew Her Name.

My nephew S stayed with Grandma and Grandpa (aka, my parents) while his mom was away. So they had two guests staying there for a few days.

It was hot and bright.

Dying Pine at my parent's home
Click to enlarge.
My mom pointed out the pine tree, that wasn't quite as tall as the house when we moved in in 1982, is now nearly twice as tall as the house, and is seriously infected with boring beetles, which are killing it. It's going have to be removed, which sadly will eliminate a lot of shade.

I installed my old ReplayTV 4160 for my parents. (It works just fine using OTA broadcast instead of CATV cable.) This involved snaking ethernet along a ceiling strut to the TV, and shopping trips with my Dad (in his Miata, of course) to get hubs and a/v switches. But now it's much easier to use stuff like the VCR/DVD player, and plus my parents will watch less of "just whats on" and get to watch their favorite shows on their own schedule.

I went out to Morgan Airfield with my dad, and helped him work on this airplane, a Moony that had been taken apart. It's not quite airworthy yet, but it will be soon. After working on the flaps actuator for a few hours, we taxi'ed it up and down the runway.

I watched the military recruiting DVDs that pheonix_jade left behind. Two were from the Army, one about the Army core values, and the other teaches the exercise and stretching drills. The other DVD was a LDS one, "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled", for Mormons who join the military.

I played AD&Dv3 with jatg and some of her friends. clymerchick, who was in San Francisco, we tried to have join us via Apple VTC, but Apple Hardware Quality (NOT) came thru, and the power connector for the iBook refused to work. So we used a cellphone on speaker instead, which worked pretty well. The adventure went pretty well, and I contributed pretty well, I think.

I had brought a warm jacket with me, which I considered to be a talisman to keep away cool and damp. It worked pretty well until I got to Boston, which is not a surprise, as I left it in Utah. Sigh.

I arrived in Phoenix Friday, the 1st of September.

As hot and bright as Utah was, Phoenix was hotter and brighter. It was "bullshit hot", and the shades for my glasses were lifesavers. I had a good time hanging out with Rob and his gf, and their cats. Their little dog, OTOH, just couldn't get used to me being there. Every time I would move, it would break out in another round of barkbarkbark.

Two restaurant trips. One pretty good southwest cuisine, and one very good sushi&saki. (The saki was a loss leader, they were selling good hot sake for a buck a bottle to advertise their new extended hours.)

I landed at Logan Airport on Sunday evening, the 3rd of September.

It was an interesting crowd arriving. Some of the more memorable in my crowd included an older man from New Zealand, with a very definite accent calling home to tell his wife and kids that he had safely arrived "in America". And there was the girl done up in lovely blacks and deep violets, with the hand painted luggage, also in black and violet. She had a lovely body, until you saw her face, which was constantly contorted into a pouting sneer or a sneering pout, which really detracted from her appearance. And there was an asian girl who had the face and build of a Petter Hegre model. And there were a couple of people who were extremely short, but didn't appear to have any of the other physical symptoms of dwarfism.

As I was leaving the airport, luggage in tow, one college age girl stopped me and asked if "this was the way to the subway". I told her yes, and to just follow me. (It's pretty stupid that Logan doesn't have a direct T stop, but instead has a shuttle between the airport and the closest station.)

After arriving at judyg's, I let myself in, waited for her to get home, and we enjoyed a bowl of veggie lentil soup.

Monday I decompressed from traveling. Judy and I went out for sushi and sake. We split a tray and a 350ml bottle.

The next day, Tuesday the 5th, I rented a car, and remembering how I got lost trying to get onto the MassPike the year before ("I lived here for 3 years, I can remember how to get onto the main freeway!". No, not so much.) I got one with a "NeverLost" GPS navigator. It's been a lifesaver, a nearly perfect guard against the risk of SAN loss that driving in Boston and New England involves.

When I returned with the car, the smoke alarms on the first floor were ringing. I got her cat out, and called her. She reversed course on the T, returned home, and we checked for smoke, fire, and break-in. It was all good, so she called the neighbor, and then used her condo management key, and we opened the apartment, checked again for smoke, and then shut off the damn loud alarms.

Since this was the first day of classes, and she would have been late otherwise now, I threw all the camping stuff in the car, and then drove her to UMass, dropped her off, and then headed west to Northampton.

In addition to the ease of navigating, I discovered another reason to like having a navigation computer. It counts down time and distance to the next turn and to the destination, while displaying a scrolling map. So it keeps satisfied the mental voices that are always asking "Were are we? Are we there yet? How much longer?", which makes the drive seem to pass all that much faster.

Stopping for lunch at the BostonMarket on the service islands was nice too. I miss BostonMarket rotisserie chicken. Sadly, it appears that about the only BostonMarkets left are those on the MassPike, even the ones in Boston itself seem to be gone.

I wore my Utilikilt on that drive. It got a LOT of looks and stares, especially from the older people.

I was the first one to arrive, but fortunately, zzbottom arrived shortly after. He unlocked the gate, and we quickly pitched our tents. The sky was gray and with a few raindrops. The river was high, fast, grey, and cold.

After I got my tent up, I hoisted the flag I brought with me. It had been first time I had operated a flagpole pulley since I was a boy scout.

The Bi Flag at BiCamp
Click to enlarge.

We were later joined by onemintjulep, houseboi, volta, missdimple, and hit the local grocery store to stock up the food co-op we had assembled. (It was certainly easier than individually shopping and packing food and individual cooking gear.)

BiCamp 2006, Panoramic View of Field
Panoramic View of Field
Hosted on Flickr!. Click to enlarge.

BiCamp 2006, Panoramic View of River
Panoramic View of River
Hosted on Flickr!. Click to enlarge.

I didn't carry a watch, PDA, or cellphone, and instead "told time" by how high or low the sun or moon was. Time is strange at BiCamp. There is a timeless quality, where the lazy sunny afternoon is an long continuing "now", and the days themselves blur together, and pass almost too quickly. Most of the days were clear and bright, and not too hot. At night, the moon was full and bright, so much so that very few stars were visible. (In past years, with less moon, the Milky Way is clearly visible.) Also, the nights quickly got rather chilly after the sun went down, which made me really regret leaving my warm jacket in Utah.

Friday afternoon, when I knew she was in transit, I used the payphone and called gipsieee to give her the payphone number. It's a good thing that I did, because much later that night, she called it back. She'd made a small transcription error in the directions, and was afraid that she was almost in Boston. Fortunately, she wasn't too far off course, and zzbottom was able to figure out where she was and what the mistake was, and talk her back on course. At just after midnight, she finally pulled in, tired and quivering from stress. I setup her sleeping bag into a warm tent, and helped her fall asleep.

I did make it to the swimming hole on Saturday. The water was still a bit high and cold, so I avoided getting too deep. (The more in shape I get, the less well I float). Instead I waded around, sunned myself on the rocks, and enjoyed the views and the conversations.

Sunday was the last day. After all the dew burned away, I packed up my gear. And discovered that the car keys were missing. I had been so careful with them, keeping them in the gearchest when I wasn't using them. I determined that I wouldn't panic until all my gear was packed and it was time to leave. I could feel the panic start to rise when Bethieee found them. Plugged into the keyslot of the trunk. Which I had opened that morning. D'oh!

It was so nice to see Bethieee again,

Mark and Bethieee
Click to enlarge.
and introduce her to all my friends on this coast. It was a nice convergence, someone from my "Seattle life" seeing what I have kept of my "Boston life". She seemed to have a great time, and socialized well with the other campers.

After the last pass of policing the grounds and packing up all the gear, the staff crew convoyed back to Northampton, to have our traditional wrap-up meeting, soaking in the hot tubs at East Heaven.

Yesterday, Monday evening, I went out to dinner with several of the staff crew. I got to meet one of zzbottom's gfs (I don't know her LJ name, if any). I gave my final goodbye hugs to them, until I see them all again next year. Tho maybe onemintjulep may be coming to Seattle in a month or so. I've been keeping busy spending time with judyg, composing this lj entry, selecting photos (and learning how to do photostitching to make panoramic images), running errands, returning the car, and arranging for FedEx to pickup and ship my camping gear back to Seattle.

Tomorrow evening, I fly back to Seattle. Whew!
Tags: life, travel

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