Hoodooze awn Playa Conchal, CoastaWreeka

I don’t get to the beach often.  When I’m to sojourn in the vicinity, I try to run barefoot along the ocean’s edge every other day.  I am somewhat near-sighted, but still try to run without the specs when I … Continue reading

nada moocho gwan, part 1. of 2.

every post of mine should, axually, have THAT title! it’s been a while, dear 3 or 4 semi-regular readers. so … i’ve got a few disparate and unconnected occurences, activities and pursuits not really that active (‘passivities’?) to reminisce from … Continue reading

Triathlon Jammin’

pre start

June 8: wotta day. Betty and I hadn’t done a joint ‘athletic’ venture for many years. Officially, that is. This morning we participated in the local ‘sprint’ TRI, put on by the city of Grand Junction Rec. Dept., and they do a good job. Now, there’re TRI’s with many hundreds of participants or more, but this local one, with 150-some, is, as Goldilocks might say — “just right.”

Below, even “the Monument” looks bleary. But coffee-fueled, we were quite awake.


Deliberately waking up before 5 a.m. goes against whatever religion I’m following, but heck, WE’RE ALL SINNERS sometimes, aren’t we? I let her sleep in an extra 25 minutes, fed the ‘mules (what I call the animals) and we were off to Highline Lake before 6.

My beautiful picture

When I suggested she do the swim portion, in open water, she readily accepted. Heck, our life is so boring, if I suggested we go out and shoot tin cans off of fence posts, that might seem like a good idea to her. (I might suggest THAT next weekend).

swimmrs uhweigh

She bought a wet suit! and practiced a couple of times in some local big ponds. I think she was taking this more seriously than I, though when I entered us as a team a few weeks back, I knew I had to “ramp up” — as I am way out of bicycle shape. Today’s ride of a mere 16 miles was further than I had ridden since last year! And then I had to run …

swimrs ready to start

Betty, above, awaits the swim start. An acquaintance pointed out the lady off by herself (to the right), saying that that was smart — don’t get caught up in the frenzied group combat. Choose your own course. Start slow and gradually become part of the pack. I told him it was Betty. His girlfriend was in the thick of the mix.


Those’re our bikes. I’ll betcha mine, valued at about $300, had to be the least expensive one there. Betty’s, the white machine to the left of mine, cost 2.5 X as much. We brought it so she could get some miles in while waiting for me.

Triathlons are, of course, a lot more preparation-heavy than a mere single-sport endeavor. I had my running shirt with number pinned in place under my bike shirt, and decided that my minimalist Skora shoes would suffice both for riding and running. I had done the last two bike training outings with those shoes. I learned that I shouldn’t wear thin socks, for example. However, less than 1/2 mile into the run, I realized I had my bike gloves on. I complained (jokingly) later that they weighed me down, I would-a gone a BUNCH faster.

betty rosco

We were “Team 188”. Our combined ages. If we were transmogrified into a single person, we would have been second 60 and over! and 3rd in the 55-&-up category.

We survived the thing, in fact, predictably, a half-mile into the ride I was manic at just “being out and doing stuff.” Then there was the depressive side of manic, mainly, when I transitioned from the bike to the run. Though the run SUCKED, and I didn’t have a lot of fun, in retrospect, I had lots of fun in that I PASSED 15 PEOPLE (10% of the field) and no-one passed me. At about mile one (of 3.5) I envisioned a can of beer suspended from a string on a stick just in front of me. I ran after this imaginary can. Hours later, as I type this, I still haven’t had “enough” beer.

I was somewhat heart-broken a couple days later when I was able to view the results and splits. I figured I had to have gone faster than the report said I did. But when you start far from the front of the pack, a mediocre runner looks good. Now, if I started with the front-runners out there, and people not even in this triathlon, people like those who ran a desert 5-mile course the same day, or fast runners we know like Kara Goucher or my daughter or Vanessa Woznow or Ryan Hall or anyone named Komen or Bikela, well, I’d look (and feel) pretty slow.

rosco mike & betty's thumb finish

Rosco caught up with Mike from Newcastle a quarter mile from the finish. In an uncharacteristic fit of sportsmanship, I pulled up alongside and said we’d finish together. He was struggling (heck, he had done the whole thing) and I figured that not having to speed up or ‘jockey’ or just plain worry the last bit would be a small measure of relaxation for us both. WE were going to just stride on in but towards the very end A GIANT THUMB was gaining on us, so we had to sprint to finish ahead of it.

Runners will tell you that however they feel after the race wipes out whatever negativity experienced during the effort. I had fun. The run didn’t suck.

remove the anklet

The prisoner has his ankle-bracelet removed. I was too tired to bend over to do it myself.

June 8 was to be a sort of sandwich — the TRI to start the day, and, in the evening, our first ‘serious’ public musical performance after about 4 or so years. But in between we had a ‘last minute’ (well, three days notice) invitation. A birthday party for a work mate. Good thing, neither of us wanted to cook dinner. Chuck was turning the “double nickel” — the kid, and we were happy for the change of pace. Besides, Betty liked the tour of his house (southwest/mexican-style stucco) and I liked the neat and easy-to-maintain ‘minimalist’ yard outside. Wish ours was like that.

Then out to Fruita (Colorado) Cavalcade Music Hall to be the opening ‘act’ for the monthly “variety” (talent?) show.

Fortunately we forgot our cameras, and so far, haven’t seen our group in the venue’s on-line photo albums. Didn’t help that the Cavalcade’s “official” photographer was recruited to be our drummer, so if any photographic (w)record was attempted, it wasn’t by Thad V’Socke.

There were about a dozen “acts” and each played just one song. The one song we were to play, “Know You Rider”, we’ve played for so long and so often that I go “a little crazy” on it. In retrospect, I should have been less, uh, “show-boaty.” I overheard Betty telling someone she thought I acted like (for lack of less-polite words) an anal-orifice. She wasn’t mad or upset or anything … perhaps I could have been a little bit more subdued. Next time.

If I died & went to … Heaven?


Yeah, right. With my luck, I’d end up in Mormon Purgatory. Continue on in Jewish limbo? (Oh why, Lowered, does this pschidt always happen to me?) Be banished to being an alimentary-canal bacterium in the Boddhisatva’s stomach?

Well, probably.

But if I wuzz, you know, to abide after the body’s demise, in some pre-ordained boundary set of conditions for the next “go around” — it’d be like today (Satyrday, March 30).

We slept in late. How indolent is that?



We drove up into the hills, to the south (and upper) end of Cactus Park — where Betty rode the bike around the CP loop and I ran up Gibbler Gulch (see “x” in photo).

The south end of Gibbler Mountain — Gibbler Gulch goes west, eventually into the Dominguez Wilderness Area. We parked at a BLM park-lot at the yellow circle. Betty rode her bike back and around the “Cactus Park Circle” while I (& dawgz) went up the valley, through the red “X” … after a mile of ATV-churned sandy trail, we were in the forest, the stream was flowing with ice in places, with fresh canine footprints (fox and coyotes?) on top of the faded ATV tracks. Chattering of squirrels and various birds in the trees. The cerulean canopy overhead, punctuated by billowy cumulus.

Back home, as the Beatles might’ve sung (had they been Spanish)
Hacer el jardín, cavando las malos-hierbas, ¿ quién podria pedir por màs ?



I was fatigued, Betty was on a mild exercize-induced high. What better way to hydrate and sedate whilst “puttering about the yard” than …

A Stone Brewery offering, in the “odd year” 2013 series — a barley-wine style ale, with 11+% ACTIVE INGREDIENT!
And a 60-ring gauge Cubano, now that the lungs were cleared out and better able to appreciate it …

( knock on wood ) It appears winter is over, time for Bruce to move back outside, soak up the vitamin D (not a lot of THAT in the basement).

Friends just drop by and catch up …

kit dool

My kind of day — with, of course, good food (JonnyCarino’s!) & muzyk (we werkt on some new sawngz) later …

SNOW RUN (& ‘drive’)

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Satyrday nite, Nov. 10, we had our first ‘stick-to-the-ground’ snow since last winter.  Not a LOT of snow, but the accompanying cold temps (it’s also been a while since we’ve been sub-freezing) kept the white stuff around a while.  And … Continue reading

KNOT SEW sturrrraayngge nooze frum Portland (ver 2.0)

“what the predator sees”

“Grand-pa” and “Grand-ma” went to Portland (OR) earlier this month for the main purpose of BABYSITTING.  Our daughter was scheduled to work nights and Dad was out-of-town on an extended work field trip.  This past summer, Betty (gramma) flew out for a week and the airfare cost was about half of what the all-night babysitter would have charged.

Our send-off omen leaving home (west Colorawdough) was the spiral-mandala-cloud of sunrise.

For being first-time grandparents, and “the kids” living fairly far away, we’ve been lucky to visit with Eddy more than we expected — this would be Gramma’s 6th time.

I had thought to bring something bought at the downtown market a couple years back, the clever unique meat-cleaver thru’ the head thingy.  We usually try to attend the weekend downtown market each trip out there, and wearing the thing helps? contribute to the free-wheeling rollicking carnival atmosphere.  Fortunately, I forgot it, and we didn’t make it to the event anyway.  However, arriving at the airport, I did buy something which at first was IRRESISTABLE —

A kiosk of “made in Oregon” products had Rogue Brewery’s tribute to the essence of WEIRD Portland — I could NOT pass up VooDoo Donut Bacon-Maple beer.  Lovely kaopectate-colored bottle, eh?

As you might sus/ex/pect … one would have to be awwfully thirsty, borderline desperate — and just plain feelin’ wee-urd … which I was when we returned to the airport the following week.  It was, well, beer, but I’ll pass on the next one.  (Rogue’s other, more-normal, products are quite good!)

We tried to do and/or go somewhere/something every day — the sort of stuff we don’t have back home.  None of us, Rachel included, had ‘officially’ been to the Portland Zoo.  (We had been to it while running the Zoo Run during past Thanksgivings).

I thought I had taken photos of baboons, lions and tigers and bears oh my.  Either didn’t turn out or weren’t took.  “Bear profiles.”  (Eddy and me standing against a poster showing how big and tall various bears are.)

And guys feeding big seals.

Grandson watching seals, and seals performing while being fed. Scary, sorta.

eddy seez da seelz

We walked down a tunnel to see the seals below, in the wet stuff. Eddy involved in grokkation with the sealz …

Unda waddah and r and eddy mingling wif da sealz

Nearby, outside the boa constrictor cage, there was a camera and screen showing “predator” heat-imaging!  You know, the Predator sees our heat (or lack of).  Ostensibly, this is how the boa constrictor sees — in the infrared.  I don’t think we look very edible …

Speekinuv beasts …  we also communed and visited with Eddy’s “big brother,” Hugh.  Hugh has been with Rachel since 2003 or so.  I found Hugh and his sister as very small kittens in the field below our house.  I carried them up and Rachel, who was visiting but leaving right then, said “I’ll take this one.”

She (and Hugh) have lived at a half-dozen locations in Denver, two in Portland, and we have kept Hugh for many weeks and months when Rooch ‘n Ben would go on long trips (e.g., 6 weeks in New Zealand).

Hugh is obviously a dude.

Quite often we went out to eat, and quite often made good meals in the house, but sometimes I’d get hungry …

Nutella — Why hasn’t anyone told me about this before?

Above, we’re at House of Louie, in Chinatown.  I had to get my Dimsum fix.  This time was somewhat disappointing.  There’ve been occasions of enjoyable and quite satisfactory dimsum gobbling previously, in Portland Chinatown.  Hopefully next time as well.

Right after this, we toured the Chinese Gardens, in the rain.

Daddy came home earlier than expected.  They got the same eyes, nose, ‘n ears.

The first four daze there, the weather was uncharacteristically dry.  Warm.  Sunny.  Good climate for women playing guitar, women breast-feeding. Hippie stuff? We ain’t hippies … (no moah).

Ben had been wanting to cut down a ‘dangerous’ branch high up in a tree.  The branch was hanging on by the proverbial xylemical thread, and he eliminated the possibility of it falling down and killing someone.  And he wanted to play with his climbing gear.

After the successful dropping of the problem branch, Ben announced that he wants to “do big walls.”  Gear-intensive.  Rachel did not look very sympathetic nor excited about this.  I have a work-mate who wants to “do big walls” and I’ll see if they can get together…

Prior to visiting Oregon, I went on-line and entered myself and daughter in the ORRC “Blue Lake 5k.”

We’re starting …  I’m the veritable pixure of grace, tight-fitting racewear, form, eh?  (Ha!).  Below, I’m just goofin’, but shortly after decided to pick it up.

For many months now, each time I entered a race, I usually set my PW.  Runners strive for and talk about their “personal record” (PR) for a given distance.  Well, those times for me is long gone.  I figured I’d set another PW and planned on takin’ it easy.  A couple days before, Rachel and I ran around a park while Granma went swimming at the community rec center.  My daughter hadn’t run a race in over a year,  but was still in good shape, primarily due to riding her bike to and from work.  I mentioned, as she motored away from me on an uphill, pushing Eddy in the stroller, that she could probably run a 22-minute time easily.  “Probably,” she shrugged.  I figured I’d run in the 25’s, setting yet another PW.

“Da rooch” (my beloved daughter Rachel) cruises, smiling …  There were several out-and-back sections of the course, and each instance I’d count women ahead of her.  When she passed, I’d hold up fingers for what place she was in the women’s race.  As runners know, this race-within-a-race can sometimes be difficult to assess due to the numbers of men.  The first time I saw her, I held up 8 fingers.  The next time, I held up five …

She would finish a close third among women, 13th among all runners, in a time of 20:19.  The next day, when we were running around Tryon Creek State Park, she turned and said “Maybe I’ll start training.”  By that, I assumed she might start training specifically to run faster, in races.  Oh — I ended up not setting a PW, hitting the finish in 22:55, my fastest time for over two years.

Excellent form, eh?   “a thing of beauty”

Eddie plays with one of our “finisher medals” at breakfast afterward.  We each ended up winning our respective age group.

We enjoyed our week-plus out there, but there was a lot we didn’t do nor see.  The downtown market.  A day-trip to the coast (ocean experiences are few back where we come from).  This rock, below, basking in the west Colorawdough sun, was sediment in an ocean, more than just a few years back.  An ocean of lichen, eh?

the spiral sunrise of what some might consider the promise of a bright tomorrow, but, jaded Betty ‘n me, we know better …

Palliation, & other distraxions

NOTE:  another “passed from the blast” — appears to have been  conjecturated ~ Later Nov., 2010.



& other distraxions

One could (or even two, or more) look at all activities as palliation, of sorts.

            The first big freeze of the season came early.  Ran in it.  Continue to run in it, besides residual leaf-raking and the Sisyphusian shoveling and re-location of horsie and doggie poo-poo.  And other re-distributions.  Create?  Destroy?  Physics elucidates that matter/energy cannot be “destroyed” nor can anything be “created” — just transformed.  Or moved to another location.  That’s basically all I do, and not very well at that.  Sigh.  Tell that to my aching back!

            An acquaintance, a local weather-scientist, tells me that six years ago was much colder, and, yes, it was.  Still, it’s cold now, mostly due to everybody having been somewhat spoiled until mid-November.

            Ah yes, a change of scenery.  I ran from Ben/Rachel’s house a coupla weeks back.  It’s a strength-sapping vitality-draining brutal uphill.  But honest.  In retrospect, I love it.  (Don’t we all have our love/hate affairs?)  One can trot for a mile-and-a-half to the hilltop, the roar (not of the ocean currents but) of the Interstate.  Then back down.  I got disoriented (“it wasn’t a BAD thing”) each time, still arriving back at their house not too lost, thereby able to cash in the chips for a more-decadent recumbent hedonistic rest of the day.  And then …

            Ben and Raytsch took, pulled, left me on a slorshy foggy forest path along the upper Clackamas.  (I KNOW I would have been much much more apprehensive and attentive to my parents under such circumstances!)  In spite of frequent reminders of the movie “Romancing the Stone” where our hero(in)es slip-and-fall down a hill thru’ the sheet-flood-rainy hillsides almost to the river below, fortunately I did not slide thru’ the sharp rocks and broken ends of stumps and branches into the 33-degree rushing Clackamas.  It was highly possible, verging on probable, however.  A good scary adventure and workout.  Followed by a verging-on-extradimensional soak in a large hot-tub adjoining a wilderness area further up in the mountains. 

            Snow was falling.  The adjustable inlet into the hot tub was (by my calibrated and practiced calculation) 112° F.  The joy of the adjacency of the immanency of death-by-frostbite and so-hot-your-corpse-will actually cook.  We luxuriated for an hour. 

            If one looks at the intersections of any group of people’s favorite relaxing past-times, and the more-active group’s favorite group outdoor activity, and that outcast not-so-normal collection (such people are in such short supply that they rarely are a “group” but perhaps a thin … collection) of humans’ preferred indulgence, then the group-soak in a high-mountain hot springs bears few challengers.

            I don’t know about the Oregon residents, but for the refugees from the arid high-desert climes, this was an extra-worldly immersion.  Fortunately, the air temperatures were such that after having exited the sauna-world, we walked and exerting any effort beyond the zomboid-corporeal, we’d stay warm.  But we kind of had to hurry, no tarrying.

            And the following run … two days later.  I had never been to Forest Park, world-renowned if one lives in Portland and adjoining areas — “the largest city park in the world.”  Rumors circulate that there are tree-house villages more than a generation of longevity, of almost self-sufficient communities, some of whom venture out of the woods once every two weeks — to pick up general-delivery mail (tap into the wireless network), buy supplies, shower? doctor visits, cappuccinos and other dietary esoterica, and disappear back into the forest.

            So we ran there.  We met Wade, whom none of us had seen for months and months as he had just returned from New Zealand at a sort of pass or high point in the Park.  Ben’s brother and his wife, who had journeyed down from northern Warschington to join all of us for an early Thanksgiving, were part of the crewe.  Ben’s sister-in-law and Betty were to walk the dogs while the rest of us ran. 

            Wade was not comfortable with the pace the others trotted off at, so I followed him.  We ran, occasionally talking for about two miles.  We encountered a dozen or two other runners, all running the opposite direction.  I wondered if the Park had an unofficial rule that everyone runs the trail one direction one day, and the other direction the next.  If so, we were swimming upstream. 

            Wade apparently knew another way back and we parted ways.  Its fortunate that the others were waiting a mile or so further, otherwise I might still be wandering in Forest Park.  An appetite-building group tonic.  Two daze later Betty and I were re-immersed in the familiar scenery of the “high desert.”

             We spent the actual Thanksgiving with Tom at his house.  We drove over the night before on ice-and-snow-packed roads, watching the outside temp (as indicated by the car’s thermometer) creep down, and down … to about seventeen below when we reached our destination.

            Tom’s mental health appears to be above average.  Hockey helps.  I think hockey would “help” me, too.  (Darn).

            However, life for me, in general, could be summarized as “the view of the inside of the toilet bowl as i/we swirl about in it,  just before (the) … ”  And I’ve been having some rather vivid and intense sojourns in various dream-worlds of recent.  A return to, if not Narnia, Sierra Moreno. “It’s there.”

             Still, while so-called awake, I also frequently marvel.  At the interplay of the first light of the day on distant hillsides, the underside of clouds — as if one could pluck the edge of a very large fabric and the whole thing would ripple, and of such things as horses racing across a field or the baby desert bighorn sheep gamboling about on the clifftops or something as seemingly mundane and ordinary as the ever-present crows sitting atop power poles keeping watch on us.

             I know the BBITS* has aspirations, or, if not exactly aspirations, a probably unrealistic perfect-world-scenario expectation of us to GET SOMETHING DONE in this life.  Sigh, it could be the life after next for me.  At this rate.  Yawn.  Dizzyingly, can’t stand up, won’t speak up, retreat to the back of the room, the dream fades, continued entropy.

             *big-bulbous-in-the-sky.  Do you call it jesus?  allah?  the moronic angel atop the steak center?  The noon-time siren going off at the courthouses of small towns all over amerika?  and canada too?  making the dogs howl.  small wonder.  we should all howl too.  if only we knew.  the thin lying betwixt being swept along with time, and being able to FORD THE STREAM and, finally, dripping wet, but alive, looking around, taking stock of the possibilities, you are on THE OTHER SIGHED.

XPlorayshuns into the anti-Matter Yooniverse: Garfield Grumble, 2003

Xplorations into the anti-matter Universe:

Garfield Grumble 2003

If you go flying back through time and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it’s probably best to avoid eye contact.

     –Jack Handy: Deep Thoughts

Rosco “Atlas” Betunada holds up the whirled, @ Garfield

Shortly before the start, Garfield Grumble 2003: I was wearing a Central High School track singlet, inside out.  My son, a discus-thrower, had taken it home after his last season.  (Besides, it matched my CHS sweat pants, used as pajamas.  My daughter brought the pants home after her last cross-country season).  Somebody made a comment, hinting at theft of CHS property.

“No,” I said.  “This is from the anti-matter parallel universe – where the GOOD people (including my not-so-evil twin) reside.”  Good old Lartnec H.S.  Go, SROIRRAW, fight, win.

race die-rector (“BoogidieShoe” Conrad) giving dye-wrexions

The race started.  I attempted to assist Joe Schwarz in the traditional musical send-off.  He put his trumpet away in his car; I tossed my harmonica in mine.  All the other runners were concentrating on the task at hand (they were already running away).  Stepping carefully over the Starting Line Snake, Joe and I trotted down the road.  My two dogs scurried nearby.

Quantum physics… the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle infers that one can KNOW the position of an object at the cost of NOT KNOWING its momentum; or one could know momentum but not the position.  We were spread out in space in time.  Not being sub-atomic particles, there was probably a good deal of certainty as to the nature of ALL our physical and energetic properties – but we didn’t really want to know.  We wanted to question the obvious, to re-define the boundaries and push the envelope.

Joe talked of relativistic time effects in marathon running.  How the last six miles usually seems to take as much or more time than the previous twenty.  “The last mile takes forever,” he said.  “And the first mile goes by in a blur.”

… Relativistic time effects.  And how space, and place, also, are malleable.  Joe continued musing, each cycle of the conversational spiral encompassing increasing transitoriness.  Transitoriness?  Whatever.

Six days later I asked Joe if he remembered what he was talking about.

“Talking while running is just like drunks talking at a bar,” he answered.  “It evaporates almost as quickly as you say it.  It doesn’t mean anything.”

Joe asked about the following week’s desert trail run, the 5-Mile Triple Jump.

“It ain’t the triple jump no more.  No jumping required.  Now it’s the ‘Water Tower’ 5-mile.”  I mentioned that one aspect of the new Water Tower course had participants negotiating through narrow steep-sided arroyos.  The walls were often less than eight feet apart, and about ten feet high.  “Running through those reminds me of the rebel fighters zooming through the canyons of the Death Star.”

“It would be fun to make a video of that as you ran.  Perhaps while wearing a big Darth helmet, and a cape.”

We discussed a few other subjects.  I mentioned how there were not just one or two fast women runners in our area.  What might be surprising to the school-age runners was that some of these “older” runners had children – and were STILL really fast.  Take Leanne Whitesides, for instance, THIRD in this year’s (2003) Bolder Boulder Citizen’s Race.

“How many kids does Leanne have?” asked Joe.

I told Joe about Betunada’s Observation Regarding Kids, #3:  when parents have one child, they outnumber that child and the parenting situation is relatively easy to manage.  Two children represent having the parent’s hands full – sometimes the situation is “manageable,” sometimes not.  Three kids? – The parents are OUTNUMBERED and it doesn’t matter if there are three, four, or more.  I concluded that Leanne (and husband) had “more than two.”  You can count, identify the position and momentum of one or two children most the time, but more than that, there is definite spreading-out of the time-space matrix — The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Parenting.

“Leanne has more than two,” I answered.  There could be four children, or three, or five, but due to momentum and position uncertainties, I could not reliably and/or scientifically be 100% certain.

This reminded me of a tidbit from a collegiate anthropology class.  Frequently, so-called “primitive” tribes had been ‘first’ – encountered by professional anthropologists.  And, some of these tribes had numbering systems consisting of: ‘one, two, (and) many.’

Joe remarked that elementary school math class should be easy.  “What’s two times two?”


“Two plus one?”


Joe then predicted that we would pass “many” runners on the uphill portion of the course, about a half-mile away.  I predicted that I would lose “many” places on the downhill.

Just then my dog, Doolie, ran right in front of me.  He had violated the International Track & Field “Lane” rule:  I had to shuffle to avoid tripping over him as he ran immediately in front of my feet.

“Out of my way, Doolie!” I shouted.  After a few seconds consideration … “and stay out of Joe’s way too.”

“Thanks,” Joe quipped.

“summit, then plummet”

I did NOT pass “many” on the ascent, but saw “many” not too far ahead.  Beer at the top.  Water for the dogs.  Joe, stopping occasionally to snap photos, arrived at the summit shortly after I did.  The guy who arrived just ahead of us, waiting to become “un-dizzy” before continuing.

Two more runners came huffing up, sipping the obligatory water, shaking another cup over their steaming heads, and the four of us continued towards the descent.  “Dizzy guy” kept Top of the Hill Aid Station Girl company for a while longer.

FLAMING FINISH LINE.  Well, by the time I tottered down, it was somewhere between flaming and smoldering.  Plenty of beer.  Boom box.  Beautiful Breckenridge MaryBrooke asked, “Are all the local races like this?”

Wish I, in good conscience, could have answered “yes”.  On the other hand, “no” – the Garfield Grumble is unique – an entity with it’s own separate and different identity each year.  In these uncertain times, we can be fairly sure that the 2004 Grumble will, again, be wierd.  (And, of course, a good work-out).



betty and “the rooch” at the Bagby Trailhead

Betty & I were going, as has become habit, to visit our kids for Thanksgiving.  Rachel and Ben live in Portland (OR), and we don’t.  “The kids” were going to be busy at work for a few days early in our arrival, so Betty looked for “things to do.”  She googled “hot springs” in Oregon, and something named Bagby was tops on the list.

We perused the information — it sounded nice — seemed too far away — heck, we were just looking.

We flew in, rented a car, and the main trip “on our own” was to go see Astoria.  ‘Twas fun.

Kids ended their work shifts and suggested we go into the mountains, southeast, up the Clackamas, and take in Bagby Hot Springs.  Another in the never-ending series of what you might call ‘coincidences’ in our lives.

We had been to the Clackamas above Estacada the previous spring.  A resplendent sunny day, and Ben visited a certain area occasionally to acquire a truckload of smooth river rocks for his never-ending yard-beautification projects.  We went on a run on a trail on the hillside above the river, Ben and I, while Betty negotiated what she could on a mountain bike.  The next day, my back had seized-up and was somewhat inoperative — probably due to improper heavy-rock-lifting techniques.

Mid-November 2010 — the first winter storm for the Oregon mountains was imminent.  The idea of a hot springs soak was even more alluring.  Ben & R planned the trip with a lot more detail than Betty and I would have.  We had plenty of beer, they bought gourmet sub sandwiches at a deli in Estacada, and, of course, we had to go on a run.


the old man, schlipping & schlossing left behind on a riverside run, saw this, a lot

We stopped for provisions on the way, and then pulled over at a trailhead above where we had visited the previous spring.  The predicted storm had begun, mostly slush and icy rain but the temperature was tolerable.  We hardy mountain folk (yeah, right) were not worried.

As soon as Ben and R trotted down the trail (Betty was walking the dog) I was in unfamiliar territory.  Back home, I do not run off-pavement when it was wet, as we live in the slippery-shaley-gumbo-y high desert.  This stuff was definitely … sloshy.  Slightly slippery.  The precipitation continued (and increased) gradually, but “the kids” were obviously not worried.  They ran away from me, but I knew when they turned back we would re-encounter and getting lost was not among my concerns.

I was worried that I would emulate the scene from “Romancing the Stone” where our hero and heroine slip off the road down the frictionless muddy hillside into the river.  The river surged and roared scant yards below me.  The water temperature was probably just a few degrees above freezing.  Frequently the thought occurred to me that here was a “senior citizen” (over 60) left alone in the Oregon wild elements, with emphasis on elemental and wild, bare-legged, thin socks, totally soaked shoes.  Would I have done that to my dad?  In retrospect, they must have had more than a slight amount of faith in my abilities, more certainty than I.

“The kids” turned around as planned.  I saw them coming, reversed course, tried to stay ahead.  After a few minutes I was alone again, sloshing through the ever-deepening puddles and taking it real easy when on the wood bridges, and, especially, on the trail sections closest to the river.

Our trip plans, as stated before, surpassed most of what I would have considered, but we did not have much in the way of dry clothes.  We huddled into the car and Ben piloted the  craft up, up, and into the increasing snowstorm.


this was the view before it really started to snow

We hadn’t seen any other vehicles for quite some time.  There was a van pulled off the road not too far into our drive, and two guys were getting ready to ride their bikes.  (Oregon might have as many extreme wilderness-adventure types as Colorado).  We didn’t give this much thought.

Ben and Raytch had been to the hot springs a couple times before, and knew the road.  I’m pretty sure that previously it hadn’t been like this.  The visible road-pavement area diminished, until there was barely evidence of just the tire-tracks of whatever vehicle had passed this way last.  I think it was a car we saw going down.  The snow, if you could call it that, deepened with distance and time, until the schlussh reached mid-hubcap.


they’ve only run 4 miles thru the slush, NOW we’re ready to hike!

R and B’s previous hot springs sojourns had run the risk of lack of hot-tub availability.  After all, Portland, a major metro area, was within a two-hour drive, and Bagby Hot Springs had only a half-dozen or so tubs.  “Take a number.”

We pulled off the road and into a parking lot.  There were two other vehicles there, and I seem to remember that a group was leaving.  My memory of some things was hazy, probably affected by the weather.  Yeah, foggy.


yes, it really looked like this, when the storm cleared somewhat

We started hiking.  “The kids” (B & R are 30 — “kids” as far as we’re concerned) assured us that it was an easy 1.5 to 2 mile hike.  And we left their (poor) dog in the car.  Ordinarily, no dogs are allowed.  Had we known NOW what we KNEW LATER, the dog could have accompanied — no problemo.

Worrisome entity as I’m occasionally apt to be, the potential-for-vexsome quotient was readily spread out on the table.  We (we three runners) were already wearing our saturated running clothes, fortunately we had heavier jackets for outer-wear, but heck, back in Colorawdough, the temperature could drop many many degrees and, well, there might be a reason to worry.  The Kids, after distributing the trek provisions somewhat equally, resolutely hit the trail without any trepiditatious indications whatsoever.

Well, again, so soon, I was lost in foreign unfamiliar territory.  I hadn’t been up an upper-elevation stream in Colorado while it was snowing in more years than I would like you to know.  And then, we’d be on cross-country skiis and prepared for extended sub-freezing temperatures.  The Kids lived in the area, and acted like what we were doing was, well, sort of normal.


And so I lost myself into the primeval northwestern coastal foggy saturated late-autumnal forest.  A sense of wonderment, like you might feel if you just totally abandoned textbook knowledge and plodded along with only instinctual gut-feelings as your guide.  Made sense to me.  If I considered the rational alternative, I’d hustle back quickly to the car, drive to the nearest town, and buy dry clothes.

No, this was much more fun.


the everpresent loud and agitated stormy stream

Still, the 1.5 or 2 miles was taking a bit longer than, well, what I thought a 2-mile hike would take.  We crossed a couple bridges, switch-backing high above the river.  Coming down the trail was a happy jubilant boistrous group of people.  “Heck,” I thought, “we might have a hot tub or pool all to ourselves, without sharing!”  The Kids had mentioned, more than once, that usually you might have to sit in a tub with strangers.


i started to think we would just go and go, and never arrive, and

We finally arrived at the Ranger Cabin, gateway to the Bagby Hot Springs infrastructure.  I think they said that this is occupied during the summer season.  As an added bonus, we were at the edge of a Wilderness area.  The idea of “wilderness” has always appealed to me.  Nice to know they’re there.

Most the “tubs” are canoes — idyllic for a romantic interlude for two, and once obtained, probably difficult to share with anyone else.  And the crown jewell of the facilities is the Big Hot Tub.


it is a rare day, or night, or whenever, when you can just hike in and THE BIG TUB is yours !

As we had grown to suspect, the entire place was OURS.  The picture, above, shows the ladies opening up their sandwiches.  The “white thing” is the end of the pipe from THE SOURCE of the hot water, and if you don’t want to scald, another pipe from the cold stream is available.  You can moderate between these, adjusting the water temp.  I think when we arrived, the hot pipe only was flowing into the tub, so we had to turn that off and turn on the cold.


i didn’t know what the magick white wand of mysteriousness was, but i think it’s the hot-water faucet

And beer.

Sometimes I become like the Christopher Lloyd character from “Dream Team” and pick up trash.  I was dismayed to see empty bottles nearby and other discards.  Once suitably warmed, I would venture out of the embryonic amniotic vessel and gather and stuff as many as I could into the nearest trash-can.  I presume that this being a treasured spot in Enlightened Oregon, the continuing beautification process was in a brief lapse among whatever collective consciousness should ordinarily prevail.

sometimes it was foggier !

Yes, as the storm continued, and the slushy snow gradually changed to not-so-slushy snow, we had periods of fogginess.  Which, of course, added to the mystical aspect.  We were about as far from the dry high desert of Western Colorado as we could get.  And quite pruney.  Night was imminent, and so we put the soggy tub-garments and other soaked items into a plastic bag, and prepared for departure.  Fortunately, I had brought a large down winter coat purchased at a Columbia outlet store when in Portand on a previous visit.

“snow shroom”

I suppose that forests nearer the coast in Oregon should, on occasion, resemble those of Colorado in winter — snow-covered.  But the grass and small plants and, well, everything, appeared not quite ready for hibernation.  In spite of the “attack of the white stuff” it seemed there was a force field of resistance.  The so-called ‘annual’ (as opposed to perennial) forms of life seemed impervious to this onslaught.

The trip down went a bit faster than that coming in.  And — we encountered the two guys we had seen a couple hours back, many miles down the road — riding their bicycles on the trail.  In the gathering dark, it’s a safe bet to assume that they were going to spend the night.  We continued hurrying to the car.  Surprizingly, none of us was freezing.  Not very uncomfortable at all.  I was as, well, relaxed as could be, under the circumstances.

goinHOAM (& dry out!)

Dog (Aspen) was glad to see us.  And for the passengers, there was still some of that sedative hydrational substance for the drive back.

mac wilkins hugging oscar schmidt, 36 years later

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