Sunday, October 23, 2005

MeMe In The Morning

I've been tagged by this blogger "MeMe" thing; it's not, as I first feared, that avian virus everyone is worried about, but rather a set of topics that you're supposed to post about, telling a little more about yourself... sort of a cross between slumber party chatter and that time you were stuck in a motel bar in the middle of Wyoming during a blizzard, had way too much to drink, and ended up telling your life story to an equally drunk truckdriver, who you thought was very interested in it all, until you realized he was just passed out with his eyes open. Anyway, I was never good at following directions (which explains a lot that has happened in my life), so I'm just going to post what I feel like, rather than follow the right format.
Two interesting things that happened to me that skirted a fatal outcome:
I lived in California at one time, and one of my favorite camping spots in the early spring, was Death Valley, specifically Painted Butte Canyon. I had a Toyota LandCruiser, one of the early jeep-like vehicles available to the public; it was built like a tank, rather like a Hummer, but had a gas tank holding about 10 gallons, and was always running out of gas (including in the middle of the Oakland Bay Bridge). Anyway, you kind of need an SUV to get to Striped Butte; you take a winding dirt road, going by, interestingly, the borax mine of Twenty Mule Team fame, then into this canyon, which back then at least, was totally deserted, and you can camp right by a spring, visited during the day by numerous hummingbirds, and at night by herds of noisy wild donkeys. I just slept under the stars by myself, and spent the day exploring and climbing the adjacent ridge of low mountains that border Death Valley on the west, the Panamints. I saw nobody up close the whole time I was there, but several times saw a pickup come around the south end of the ridgeline and drive around about 3 miles down the valley, doing something or other.One day when I was climbing the ridge, I saw a ranch in the next valley, called the Panamint Valley, but thought nothing of it, until years later, I was reading "Helter-Skelter", the book about Charles Manson, and realized that the ranch I'd seen was the Spahn ranch, and at the time I was camping there (I think it was about 1969), Charlie, Squeaky, and the gang were all there. Apparently several people from around there disappeared at that time, thought to have been killed by them, and buried in the desert... I've wondered if Charley drove a pickup?
My second episode also happened in California. My brother and I drove down to the Ventanas, just east of Big Sur, to backpack. One afternoon, we stopped for lunch by a creek (as I recall, it may have been called Oak Creek). The creek drops right off a sheer cliff of perhaps forty feet, and we were sitting right on the edge of the dropoff, with our backs to it, looking upstream, eating our snacks, when a group of Boy Scouts, and their leaders, came running up the nearby trail... they were all kind of hooting and hollering, and running around, and one of the leaders, a fellow of perhaps twenty, started to run across the rock ledge right behind us, at the edge of the cliff. This ledge actually slanted down and he didn't apparently notice it was wet and mossy. His feet went right out from under him, and he rapidly started sliding off the ledge, and would have fallen to his death. It just happened, though, that he fell right behind me, and I instinctively turned, and just was able to grab him by his arm. I can still remember feeling his pulse pounding in his arm, as I gripped it tightly, and I looked him right in his eyes, and saw the fear. My brother ran over, and we were able to pull him up. He thanked us and sheepishly walked slowly up the ridge to where the other scouts, who were oblivious to what had hapened, were still running around. I heard this fellow telling one of the other leaders, that we had just saved his life, but the leader told him to quit kidding around.
Two foods I could totally live on; well but maybe not long: pepperoni pizza and sausage pizza.
The best pop song of all time that I know the words to (three way tie): Margaritaville, Unchained Melody, and Red, Red Wine.
Where was I when Kennedy was killed: in chemistry class. I was once sitting with my (then) 8 year old nephew, watching t.v., and some commentator was talking about how everyone knew where they were when President Kennedy was killed. My nephew looked at me sideways for a few seconds, then asked me if I was alive when the assasination took place. I told him yes, and that I was in chemistry class (I wasn't going to tell him it was my college chemistry class)! Then I said, that in fact I remembered the Korean Armistice, which quite amazed him, and that while I didn't remember it, I was born while the Second World War was still going on. At this, his eyes got wide, and he said "No Way!" Sigh... kids know how to really make you feel old.
Something I regret having considered, but never did: buying Microsoft stock at $4 a share.
What I'm looking forward to now: The first snowdrop of spring.

LOL Glad to read this, You are such a mystery :P.

Love death valley, I know all those places by heart! The borax mine is a very enat bit of history. I took a lot of cool pictures (in my eye) of the wagons and artifacts your find there.
PS...never mind my typos. My fingers are numb tonight
I suppose Painted Butte Canyon now has condos, with a blacktop road into it? When I used to go there it was completely empty. Of course back then you could also take a dip in the pupfish ponds, which probably helps explain why they are almost extinct now. One of the reasons I used to go to Painted Butte Canyon was to look for a lost gold mine on the Panamint ridge... it's still lost.
No, it's still pretty lonely once you get past the turisty places right off the main road. I was there a couple years ago in some very remote areas... Most of the turons stay to the main drag.
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