Saturday, November 9, 2013


That day I had finished up a hike down here at Indiana's "Little Smokies"' officially known as Brown County State Park.
This was the first year I purchased a season pass and I am sure as hell getting my money's worth.
I usually hike trail 10 a rugged 2.2 mile trail that gives me a great workout and there is a fire tower at the end of the trail that is a nice payoff for the view it affords and a cool breeze.
Instead of the usual familiar trail 10 that day, I decided to hike Trail 7 which goes around Ogle Lake.
It's only 1.5 moderate miles but it was an enjoyable walk with a beautiful view.
I already did my 5 mile hike this morning so this was just a bonus.
Afterward I decided to check out Hesitation Point Trail, a hiking/mountain biking trail that starts at Hesitation Point.
I just wanted to walk it for a half mile or so, just to get an idea of what an advance mountain bike trail was like.
At the time I had been toying with the notion of getting a used mountain bike and I wanted to see what would be in store for me on the biking trails. I have since bought one from my nephew and have been enjoying mountain biking a great deal.
I walked it for only a half mile or so, very beautiful walk with a bonus of getting video of a couple of deer walking the trail with me.
When I got back to the trail head I turned on some Stevie Ray Vaughn and sat on a picnic table at Hesitation Point, gazed at the beautiful vista and let my mind do a little hiking.

Hesitation Point, I like that name, It conjures up a vision of standing on a sheer cliff where the decision between life and death is only one small step.
Makes me think of some tormented soul standing there on the precipice, feet edging closer and closer, looking over the edge and hesitating for a few seconds, minutes or hours deciding their own fate.
Some choose to take that next step end leave this plane of existence forever, some step back and face their demons head on, but I think they all hesitate, be it a few seconds or a few hours.
This Hesitation Point is not quite that dramatic, if you took a step forward here you would just be one step closer to the North gate of the park, plus about 10 miles of rugged hiking trails. But it is a great view and a nice place to ponder.

I had my very own personal "Hesitation Point" just one road south of here the week before, I had been at the lake a few days and had hiked south from Hesitation Point on Schooner Trace Trail a double diamond expert mountain biking/hiking trail. After about a mile and a quarter you cross a road before you hit the difficult section of the trail that runs about 3 and a half miles through some dense and secluded forest before it meets up with Walnut trail.
Along the road there is a picnic table, I took off my backpack and sat on the table to ponder my fate.
I really wanted to go on and finish this challenging trail, the only problem, I had left my meds at home. I had already been three days without them, I can go without the fish oil, coloseteral, acid reflux, even my blood pressure meds for that long, but the Flecenide?... that's another story.

I have a love/hate relationship with Flecenide, it's a non coated pill that tastes like shit.
You cannot swallow it fast enough to not taste it even when you take it with 4 or 5 other pills. It throttles my heart rate down and limits me in some ways, it also keeps me on this plane of existence by keeping the ol ticker ticking in the right direction .
Before I started taking Flecenide a few years ago, I was hospitalized twice to get cardioverted to get me out of Afib.
I have lost a lot of weight and got myself in pretty decent working order, but I still have issues, the heart being a bit of an important issue.
As I dug out a granola bar and an apple out of my backpack I could feel just a bit of a misfire in the heart, it wasn't full blown Afib, just a bit of a stagger. It had been doing this the last 24 hours due to not taking the Flecenide twice a day. I felt fine and told myself even though I would be quite alone on the trail and it was a long stretch deep in the secluded forest that would be somewhat challenging, I was sure there would be no problem making the rest of the hike, or at least reasonably certain. Well pretty sure anyway.

I have hiked that trail a few times since, but that day I had no idea what that trail would be like? I really wanted to challenge myself and push on. So I hesitated and sat down and did a bit of pondering.
Back behind me was my starting point, Hesitation Point. Before I could begin the internal debate to advance or retreat I started thinking about all the other Hesitation Points in my life.
There were a lot of them, times where just one little step forward or back made exponential changes in my life.
Times where I looked back later on and thanked God I made the right decision and shuddered at the thought of what would have happened had I stepped forward at Hesitation Point.
On the flip side more often then not I have taken that misguided step forward and paid dearly for my foolishness.
Wish I could say I have batted 500 on making the best decisions, not even close. My past is littered with little ugly memories of "wish I hada and wish I hadn't. 
Even so, one horrible misstep at a Hesitation Point many years ago resulted in my two great kids and my wonderful grandson. So there's that.

The feeling that I needed to decide what I'm going to do and get moving was quickly replaced by the realization that I am no longer on anybody's damn time clock and I can sit here as long as I damned well please, so I lingered there and I continued to ponder.
As I pulled my Cracker Barrel cheese sandwich out of my backpack I thought it a profound thing that these little junctions and crossroads of our lives usually seem so insignificant at the time, but some of those moments lead to life altering events and forever change the course of your personnel history. 

You gotta love a speech maker who regurgitates the old "if I had it all to do over again I wouldn't change a thing". Bullshit! That is complete and utter bullshit. 
I could write volumes on corrections and life edits I could make in my History book.
But of course that is not possible so you make the best out of what is left and you try to mitigate the damage and you try to learn from the past, but I'm not going to even attempt to forward the idea here that I have done either on a regular basis.

But I'm learning. That day, I stood up, look at the trailhead of Schooner Trace trail, thought about what would happen if I was miles deep in the forest, alone and my heart went berserk. I feel for my pulse, shake my head, turn around and hike back to my car.

Learn to live to fight another day.
Maybe I'm learning, just maybe.

"But in the grey of the morning my mind becomes confused, between the dead and the sleeping and the road that I must choose"

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Checking out at Meijers today I wanted to text my bro to let him know I had just purchased bread and buns so he didn't buy them too.
I had thrown our half a loaf of moldy bread and a full pack of moldy buns the day before. Seems like we never get through a whole loaf anymore before it goes bad.
Since I had my hands full and I was on the move I thought I would try Talk To Text, on my Samsung Galaxy S4 so I hit the Google mic button and said "text Mike I got bread and buns today". 
I looked down at the phone and it was waiting for me to hit the send button, but when I looked at what Google thought I said I saw:

"I got raid and scones today"

Ok talk to text fail number 1:
I repeat into the Google mic once more, this time enunciating more clearly this time.
"I got bread and buns today" Galaxy S4 awaiting my approval I look down at the screen and saw, 

"I got brakes and gnomes today"

Aww shit! Now it's a quest and a pissing contest between me Samsung and Google.

I have a love hate relationship with modern technology, on one hand I spend a lot of time at the lake in a Ted Kaczynski sized fishing shed. 
I Like getting into the whole nature scene and living a scaled back and off the grid life down there with my 12 volt battery and gravity fed water systems.
On the flip side, this year I have added insulation, gas heater, solar panels and I now have my own Wifi hotspot through my new Verizon powered Samsung Galaxy S4 so I can use my IPad.

Kaczynski's rambling manifesto excoriated society's dependence on technology and he went on a long mail order terrorist tirade to make his "point".
Unabomber not-withstanding I have no digital ax to grind. I do see us all losing some of our human interaction to the 1's and 0's, or the 5 volts, 0 volts that make up our new form of communication however.
I mean not just the kids, I'm talking about us oldsters, my brother and sisters and even moms!
We will travel the dozens or hundred plus miles from all parts of Indiana and come together and sit there in a room with all of us peering into the warm glow of our collective IPads for crying out loud!

Oh well, I guess that's what we call progress isn't it?

Back to my story and the somewhat rambling point of all this, I tried one last time to "talk to text" even though I knew it would have been time saving to just call my brother or unleash my nimble thumbs and hand type the message that I clearly spoke, using my best mid-western accent, emphasizing the b's of bread and buns.

"I got bread and buns today!"

I looked down at the Googles interpretation and read:

"I got breast implants today"

Awwwww fuck it !

Monday, October 14, 2013


I know the literary world has been waiting with baited breath for my return. Well with a little prodding from baby sis here it is.
Alert the Pulitzer Committee!
Actually the need to vent has never been greater. I have been dealing abcess teeth for the last 4 or 5 months and this latest diet aid is one of the worst. I've had 4 root canals on two teeth and now I need another one, as soon as the swelling in the roof of my mouth goes away.

On the plus side I have never been in better shape in my life, other than the throbbing golf ball in my mouth.

In the past year I have lost and kept off over 55 lbs. I started eating healthy (most of the time) and I have had to buy some new clothes. 

In other news, I read somewhere today that those things that Obama is using to try and stop 90 plus year old WW2 vets from visiting open air monuments are no longer called barricades.
They are now known as "Barrycades".
Blocking off roadside vistas, closing down oceans. Something tells me this asshole spent a lot of time holding his breath and throwing hissy fits when he was a kid and didn't get his way.
His tactic of raining down the pain as much as possible should garner him plenty of negative press, if we had press instead of propaganda machines in this country.

The causation of the government shutdown being some Republicans trying to delay if not kill this debacle know derisively as Obamacare. Oh, and the Dems wanting to spend money we don't have to buy more votes.
It's very telling to me to hear Obama himself referring to the so called Affordable Care Act as Obamacare. The ego of this tool is mind boggling to me.  

I have been running options over in my mind about options I have for healthcare and had been toying with the idea that at some point maybe it is just not worth it and just say the hell with it, just go without insurance and see what happens.

Laying in bed last night with the tiny lump that has been on the roof of my mouth swelling to the size of a big fat grape (I took editorial license calling it a golf ball), I self diagnosed it to be some rare form of tooth cancer. I could just imagine going through something so horrible sans insurance card.
Imagine my relief when the X-ray showed I just had another little abcess.

I know that in the near future there will be a rationing of healthcare, there will be protocols to determine who gets what care, that is unless you are a member of the House, Senate or White House.
The rest of us Animal Farm residents will have to take a number.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

He's hoping for a new position.

We were attempting to get a pose in front of his namesake. However CnC was a bit distracted by other tourists. 

If only we had gotten the picture when Mark got the next pony ride. 

Is ANYONE going to alert my brother his blog has been hijacked?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hijacking a blog

If you, my dear brother do not stop ignoring your blog, I will begin posting really embarrassing pictures of you. 

In the meantime, here is one of my favorites of us in Italy. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013


So I walk up on high and I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself while the tears roll down
'Cause it's the world I know, it's the world I know
(Collective Soul)

Coming up on the one year mark here in a few weeks.
A year ago when I felt the rails came off the tracks, again.
A year ago when I began the process of reinventing myself, again.
Seems like that's something I have to do every decade or two.

The good news is, I have done just that. During the last year I have lost and kept off 55 lbs. I go to the gym regularly and eat like a person who wants to stick around long enough to piss off some xwifes.
I'm spending lots time at my place at the lake and hiking at the nearby State park. 
I went on a vacation in Italy that will never be eclipsed.
I met a great girl who has really made me appreciate the fairer sex, again.

The bad news???
There really isn't any. Well at least not on a personal level, but the truth is, the world seems to be coming off the tracks. 
We have an administration that has continually used the Constitution to supplement the White houses supply of toilet paper.
KBG's Putin has made Obama his bitch. Several Republicans don't know what side of the tracks they should be on. The nation is drowning in red ink and at such a frightening rate that it seems like the intent is malicious.
I mean free cell phones? Really? Forget about the healthcare fiasco, that boondoggle is so idiotic that even the tools that voted it in don't want any part of it, add to that crew the leftist union thugs who are jumping the sinking Obamacare ship.

In world affairs, the planet has come off the tracks on the trestle and the train is hurtling down to the bottom of the abyss.
The only thing is this world not in short supply is reasons for killing each other.

In the bigger picture lets look at the Universe.
According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics the Universe is in a constant state of deterioration.
So there's that.

I began this post with a chorus from Collective Souls, The World I Know.
I like that song, couldn't tell you what the writer was trying to say, or if he was trying to say anything at all.
But the song is on my phone, in a playlist I created of just a bunch of singles that I like.
I had that playlist going as I was walking in the park today. Usually I only have the music playing on my walk to and from the park just to drown out the traffic noise, I like to pause the music when I hit the park and just listen to the ambient noise of the woods and stream that seem to be the only sounds available when walking the parks paths.
For some reason I just let the music play on while I walked the shaded paths alone.
That song played when I was about halfway through. And the chorus plays and I always think about the the third planet from the Sun, I think about what an incredible terrestrial machine it is and the complexity and the beauty of the whole thing and what an incomprehensible being to have breathed it and us into existence.
Then I think about that being, lets call him God and what it must be like to have created all this and us and what he must think of our stewardship of this gift.

So I walk up on high and I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself while the tears roll down
'Cause it's the world I know, it's the world I know
(Collective Soul)

Ehhh just food for thought.

Monday, August 5, 2013



The 4 aged gentlemen stood by the creek that formed the boundary between the backyard and the woods. They chose a spot on the creek known as The Black Hole, that was back in the day. 
The day was 30 years and some change ago. 
Maddog looked looked down at the creek bank and strained his aging eyes to see the unmistakable ruts carved by wildly churning Mudder Tires of his modified Jeep. The only vehicle to make it through the Black Hole. 
The 4 elders stood for maybe 2 hours reliving the glory days, recounting events with crystal clarity, well history is in the eye and the lips of the story teller. 
One such story teller had a penchant for embellishing if not outright fabricating an event from the ancient past.
This was not something new like an excusable old age malady. This was a quirk that was deeply ingrained and readily accepted by his buddies. We learned to "trust but verify" everything Amos said.

The fact was all 4 story tellers trying to recollect stories from 40 years ago could not bear up under the weight of an outside fact checker, this had less to do with outright history revision and more to do with trying to recount events muddled by the fog of war and alcohol.  

The 4 old friends talked the afternoon away with few pauses and only 2 beers consumed. It's said some things never change, but this was akin to alcohol heresy. 

I am having an out of body experience, floating above The Black Hole and the 4 old geezers, one of which is me. We alternate the conversation from our Semi-true Stories to more serious and heartbreaking realizations. 
Two hours ago we 4 stood around a hospital bed trying to make conversation with an old buddy that was plagued with a disease that bores holes in the brain and turns it into mush. It is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, also know as the human version of Mad Cow Desease. 
I looked at the dry marker board that nurses write pertinent information on that hangs in the patients room. 
It's usually got things like the day, month and nurses name so the patient can remained oriented and sometimes has notes for doctors written on it. 
When we got to our old buddies room I looked at the board and noticed a note that I have never seen before. 
At the bottom it read "responds to Wormy". 
Despite the dire circumstances,  that brought a brief smile. 

I also thought it was amusing to have my old runnin buddies calling me Maddog all morning. 
I haven't been called Maddog in a long long time. That nickname came not so much from my behavior back in the day. It was more because of the initials of my first and middle name. M. D. With translates MD 20/20 or Maddog 20/20 a favorite cheap get drunk quick malt liquor. 

I walked  up to the hospital bed and looked down at my old buddy. He was sound asleep snoring looking straight ip with his eyes wide open. 
He is totally blind now so I figured it didn't make much difference. 

I hollered at him "HEY WORMY IT'S MADDOD!"
That brought him around with a "huh?"
YEAH IT'S MADDOD, and Amos (Randy) and (A O) Joe and Kevin (Kevin). 
I was surprised to hear him repeat all our names back to me. He had been totally out of it the day before. 
He couldn't speak very well but we were able to understand him very well as we recounted old memories with him and he was lucid enough to bring back a few of his own. 

I thought to myself this is a guy who life has kick around his whole time on Earth and it looks like he was going to finish up the same way. 

Wormy never had much of a chance, his worthless lunatic mother walked out on the family when he was very young and his father really didn't have much to do with him growing up. 
It's no wonder he grew up with a drinking problem and he had his buddies to assist with that habit. 
Our saying about Wormy was, he would get drunk on 3 beers but he could drink a case after that. 
He lived with me for a good while and we would all hit the bars pretty regular. Wormy was not a big guy but a few beers and he would fight a buzz saw. Or me on a few occasions. 
But Wormy could be one of the most entertaining and witty guys to be around and could keep us all laughing. 

I have to kick myself for not keeping in contact with him. 
He still lived in The Valley where I grew up and since I moved back to Greenwood I kept saying I was going to go by and see him, I did go by there 10 days earlier, but he wasn't home. He was already here. 

He had been living alone since his divorce some 30 plus years. His life was working, drinking beer and fishing, best fisherman I ever knew. 

After we left the hospital we went back to our meeting place at Joe's house. We stood around and told old stories shaken loose from the cobwebs of our minds. Some of the stories told by the 4 old men refreshed my memory and brought back a nugget of crazy history that had lay dormant for many years. 
In the case of one of the story tellers his was usually complete fabrications. . 
Some of the events retold that day were in fact accurate. 

But most were just semi-true stories. 

Go read She Said here


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Ok, I get why the news media needed to re designate the race of a man who would normally be referred to as Hispanic. They so desperately wanted to make this about a white man gunning down a black child for no reason.
They had to invent the term White/Hispanic to gin up the race baiting.
Now there are people who want to even up the score by killing more white people, and some are calling for the murder of Mexicans.
Ok so who will be in charge of score keeping..

So now that race has been redefined in this country, do we now say American is being lead (rather poorly) by the first white/black President?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Happy 3rd of July Egypt !
Happy 4th of July America!

Is there a lesson here in the streets of Egypt for Obama?
Just asking the question. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Train to Corniglia, find the trail head to take the trail back to Manarola. 
I have been dying to hike one of these trails since we came to Cinque Terre. The one preferred trail was the lower trail but it was still under repair from the October 2011 flood that devastated this area. 
The other option was to hike the upper trail. When me and Rita decided to take this trail we didn't know just how upper this upper trail was. 
It was literally up in the clouds. 
When the train stopped at Corniglia, we saw the small bus that takes you to the central part of the town that sits high on the jagged mountain. We approached it and I recognized the driver, my old friend Enzo!
He saw us and figured he already had a bus full of stupido Americanos and closed the door and hauled ass. 
Of course there is a back story to me and Enzo's short lived relationship, that story is for another day. 

Ok, so with Enzo and the easy bus ride that would take us close to the trail head driving off in a cloud of exhaust smoke our next decision was walk the steeply inclined road up or take the switchback stairs up. 
I had taken that the road route a couple of days before and it was no picnic and soon Enzo would be coming back down the steep winding road where anything could happen and I'm sure tourists get ran down here all the time so we opted for the mountain of stairs. 

Side note, I'm riding the fast train from Cinque Terre to Rome as I write this. It's rainy but I still get distracted by the mountains outside of my window moving slow enough to take the occasional picture and the objects close to the tracks whizzing by too fast to see clearly. 
I kind of enjoy this kind of travel when there are interesting things outside the window and we decided to spend the extra Euro to get first class tickets. 
Anyway back to the trail. 
We found out later there were 400 steps from the train platform to the street. We didn't know it yet but this would be a piece of cake when compared to the rest of our journey. 
(The train is stopping in Pisa now, I know this because I just caught a glimpse of the Leaning Tower that we climbed after Venice on our way to Volterra in Tuscony).

Rita struggled up the steps and I could feel a little burn in my leg muscles but it felt good. 400 steps later we hit the streets and headed for the trailhead. 
We were going in the right direction but we didn't know it so when we got to the end of town we reversed direction and went to the opposite side of town and found a trailhead and started our hike.

The trail wound its way close to the other side of the town and we saw the trailhead that we
could have taken that would have saved us a lot of walking but missed.

We started our assent, the first part of the hike was just that, climbing one  ancient crudely laid stone step after another. Seems like we were climbing for close to an hour and a half, the heavy woods blocked our view for much of that time. 

Little sister was taking more breaks as we went higher and now she was audibly cursing the never ending stone steps that continued to rise just when you thought you had reached the top. 
It reminded me of novice Everest climbers, when they spot the Hillary Step, they believe they are looking at the summit of Everast only to have their exhausted hopes shattered when they reach that peak and see the actual summit many frozen footsteps ahead. 

This was the bane of Rita's existence that day. Every time she approached her faux summit her hopes were quickly dashed as she discovered it was just another Hillary Step and the upward death march continued. 

I took the historic mean big brother pleasure in scampering up ahead and adding to her mounting misery by encouraging her that we were finally  leveling out, then when she rounded the corner or crested that peak her hopes are dashed, the look on her face was priceless. 

The the day before she chastised me for dropping the F-bomb, imagine my glee when I heard her say "another f@"&ing hill!"  
The best part was for me, kind of like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown so I kept doing it. Several meters up and it happened again and the payoff was seeing her look up and say "another mother f€#¥ing hill!"  
Ahhhhb bah hahahah, the MF-bomb! Sweet!
I'm telling mom!

After many of these treats we finally crested the ridge and were able to see the town below. We had been climbing close to two hours and I was surprised to see the town we had just left still directly below us. It didn't seem like we had made any progress in the direction of Manarola where we were 

We were a little south of the town but just barely past it. For a while I thought it was Manarola and somehow we had failed to follow the trail down to it and were now on our way to Riomaggiore. 
After studying the details of the town well below us we determined that we were still above the town of Corniglia. It seems we had spent the last 2 hours climbing the backside of a ridge that intersects with the mountain ridge that over looks the five or cinque towns that make up Cinque Terre. 
It was reassuring to know that we were on the correct path but now we understood that we had a long way to go before we began the what would turn out to be the arduous trek down the mountain. 
After we had been traveling south for a time two couples from our side of the planet caught up to us and began asking if they had just seen us at a place called San Lorenzo. Me and Rita looked at each other puzzled and said no we were staying in Manarola. 

After several questions back and forth we realized they weren't referring to some small town here along the Italian Rivera, they were talking about the place in Tuscony we had left 3 days ago. The Agraturismo  Pondere San Lorenzo at the ancient town of Volterra. These were the Canadians we had shared dinners with in the converted 12th century chapel. 
What were the odds in that?
We had a fun little reunion up there in the mountain ridge and took several pictures with them and trekked with them for a portion of the hike. 
After another long segment we came to the payoff of the hike. The view opened up to both towns below and we could now easily see both our starting point and our eventual destination. 

We could also look straight down and see the jagged cliffs and waters of the sea crashing against the place where certain death lurked several hundred feet down. 

Since arriving at Cinque Terre I had been admiring the mountain ridge and the terraces carved out to make possible the gardens that feed the towns and the vineyards that make the townspeople happy. 
When looking up to the terraces, I focused on the very highest one and wondered about the people up there who labored so high. Now we walked among them, the trail was incorporated with that very highest terrace and I could see the tiny clusters of grapes that were several weeks away from their fate in the winepress. I could touch the leaves and the vines, I was saying bon journo to the seemingly un-annoyed workers of the vines. 

Of course I took pictures and tried to guess how I would feel if someone from this land happened to walk by my homeland and snap pictures of me repairing a refrigerator. 
I chucked to myself at that thought. 

At one point the trail and the connection between two terraces narrowed and a stone stairway overlooked a gap that looked almost straight down to the jagged mountainside to the Mediterranean or more specifically the Ligurian Sea coast. As I took video of this dangerous crossing I looked up to see the glare and warning from my baby sister. 

At about the 3 hour mark I looked at my watch to check the chronograph I had started at the trailhead in Cornilia. I have a habit or some would say a compulsion to time things. 
Either I have a need to know how much time I have left to do something or how much of my life I have wasted on some thing or some one. 
Regardless, at this mark we had reached the mountaintop town of Volastra which sits directly above Manarola. 
Now the trail lead us next to houses, courtyards and a very old and interesting church. Of course we had to stop and investigate the church with eye and lense. 

Another check of the watch and now it is time to begin our journey down. There was food to enjoy and local table wine to drink. As we headed down we saw that a cloud was just above us hugging this mountain ridge. 
The mountain trail down turned into a never ending staircase of wide and long steps made up of several stones per step. 
Now I was the one cursing as my expectations to end the endless winding stairs were heightened by the burning sensation in my aging arthritic knees. 
After hundreds of the punishing steps we reach a junction that an opposing hiker had told us about when we crossed paths 2 hours ago and asked him how far to Manarola. 
He told us when we get close to Manarola to take the Panorama path. It's more difficult but the view is worth the effort. 
It was and it was! 

This final leg of the hike turned into a very steep climb down rugged steps of narrow stones, this is where the first and only fall of the two lone sojourners occurred. 

Rita was leading and started to fall on these steps and though I tried to help but all I could manage was to call her name several times and try to grab the strap of her backpack to lessen the fall. Too late, she landed smack on her hip against the stone.
I wondered many times along this hike, what we would do if one of us became incapacitated. I can't imagine trying to carry someone down to safety. 
Fortunately it was just a flesh wound on her ass or there close abouts. 
Spending too much time admiring the vistas and not minding your feet was not without peril. 

Finely reaching the level smooth path path that led around to the trailhead gave a, well I won't say a new appreciation for the upper terrace dwellers, just reaffirmed what I already admired about these people, the people who don't pay thousands of dollars to walk among the clouds every day, they do it to earn a living. I already looked at them in awe from far down the mountain. 

Hiking trail 10 in Brown County State Park several times sure helped train me for this hike, also walking 4 to 5 miles a day and working out made it possible for this almost 58 year old geezer with aching back, neck and shoulders able to do this hike pain and all.
I do have to admit I don't think I could have done it without use of my script of pain killers and did need to stretch out on the floor after. I left part of my soul on that trail, literally, chunks of the bottom of both shoes are still up there, big chunks.

Before I strain my shoulder parting myself on the back I have to tell you we met many people on the trail who were a hell of a lot older than me. You could tell they have been doing this a long time. 
I also have to admit that even though my baby sister was struggling mightily on accent, she hung in there and finished strong, back problems, old age and all. 

I feel bad about the flood that wreaked havoc in this area and damaged the lower trail. But if it would have been open, there is no doubt that is the path we would have taken. Nice and level, paved and smooth, no accent no decent. Also no high ridge top vistas, no walking the high terrace close enough to touch the still tiny clusters of growing grapes, no walking within reach of the clouds in Volestra and no meeting up with our Canadian friends from the Argatourismo we stayed at in the Tuscony region. 

I'm sure we would have enjoyed the easy path from Corniglia to Manarola. It would have made for a very enjoyable walk. 

But I will take challenging over enjoyable any day.
Taking the higher path is not always our first choice.
Sometimes it's just something we have to do.

Ready to go again Ree?

To read what she said about our hike click here

Saturday, June 29, 2013


After over-indulging on apple strudel and sausage biscuits and gravy (not at the same meal), it seemed like a good time to get some much needed exercise so I settled for a walk since I'm down in Southern Indiana visiting mom and a hundred miles from the gym. 

Usually when I'm down here I walk to the North and East away from the town and towards and through the cemetery . 
I enjoy the serenity of the old graveyard full of my ancestors. I also like to look for relatives of the town's founder with the family name of Gootee chiseled in stone. 
This time though I decided to walk South and West towards the town proper. 
Loogootee has changed over the years and Loogootee has stayed the same over the years. 
Walking down the old main street today my mind flashed back to walking down main street yesterday.
Yesterday was about half a century ago. 

Yesterday if you happen to have a few spare coins in your pocket you could go into Walker's  Drugstore and order a root beer float at the soda fountain. 
Better yet you could walk around the corner and catch a matinee and buy a small bag of popcorn at the Ritz Theater. 

The Ritz was old even 50 years ago with ripped fabric covering most seats and a ceiling that looked like it could fall in anytime and finally did not long ago. 

Many of the buildings of the old town square still stand and some are repurposed with other businesses but most stand empty, casualties of our current era of changing times and needs and power shifts.

Walker's Drugstore now has a sign that reads Bowling Massage on the window. 
At first reading I wonder to myself how they incorporate the two activities and I run numerous juvenile "happy ending" jokes through my head. 
Then I read on and see that the proprietors last name happens to be Bowling and I run out of material so I move on.

The old Five And Dime store has long ago been upgraded to The Dollar Store in another part of town. 
As I said, the old Ritz Theater gave up the ghosts of all the Horror shows one day and just collapsed on its own. The footprint of the building now half covered with a parking lot and the other half a body shop. 

Looking at that corner standing here in 2013 I'm trying to superimpose the Ritz in its former location and glory as I try to do with the rest of the 2013 town square which is more of a triangle. 
I get a faint image in my minds eye for the comparison though what I need is a book that has pages that overlay the current condition of the very old ruins with a rendering of what the structure would have looked like back in the day. 
I have a book like that that was done for another town to the East of here. 
That town far east of here, its old main street was itself a victim of changing times and needs and power shifts.
Comparing the two towns rise and fall is of course just an exercise of my own nonsense and penchant for automatically veering off on another tangent when I write. A symptom of my adult A.D.D. affliction I suppose,  I tend to stray after a bit. 

One of these towns is less than a couple hundred years old, the other town well over two thousand years old. 

Honest to God I don't know what point I was trying to make writing this post,  if any point at all. 
I started out writing about an attempt to walk off some excess calories then it evolved into reliving some ancient childhood memories then it metamorphosed into wonderment of an ancient and extremely brutal culture. 

Chasing rabbits. That's what old time preachers called it when they strayed off their intended biblical topic.

Choose your own cliche, as usual I have wasted enough of your time. 
Those who about to blog salute you!