Sunday, May 31, 2009

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'Saturn Twice' (continues)

Germany... I'd been in Germany before, but never in this part Germany, the far northwest ('Nordfriesland').  It's cold and damp (even in the summer), the countryside dotted with wind generators (indicating a cold and  incessant wind from the North Sea).

The border between Denmark and Germany is transparent (European Union), as nothing evident in terms of a gate or billboard/sign 'welcoming you' to Germany.  I actually wasn't sure I had crossed into Germany until seeing 'Zentrum,' versus 'Centrum.'  'Centrum is used to connote the center of cities in Scandinavian countries, while 'Zentrum' used in Germany.

The last town in Denmark was 'Tender,' and in Germany, I stopped in 'Neibull' for something to eat. 

When I saw a MacDonalds I parked Ms. Fiets and went inside.  Normally, I would never partake of a Ronald MacDonald's, but in Europe, MacDonalds have cheap coffee/food and a salad bar (basically better food).  Plus, I had to save my Euros.  This one was absolutely jammed with customers, on this Saturday, Easter weekend. So, getting my coffee and salad I retreated to sit outside.  I'm not into noisy children, but you go right ahead and have ten for me!  I often quote what my Grandmother 'Hutchie,' was famous for saying, 'Children should be seen, but not heard!'

After lunch and a respite I returned to Highway #5, as seemingly the best way to head south.  My goal for the day a town named Tonning, or thereabouts.  Part of my problem on this trip was that I never had a very good map.  Thus, never quite sure...

Several hours later I remember turning onto what appeared to be an Expressway (as four lanes), and suddenly the honking from motor vehicles started again.  But, this time I knew they weren't encouraging me, but warning me to get off.  So, when I saw a sign that said 'Zentrum,' I took it as I was basically lost!

The town I discovered myself in was named Husum (and interestingly as I had lived with my sister in Washington State, U.S.A. -- across from Hood River in the Husum Valley.).

Suddenly, there I was on a city street, stuck next to a line of automobiles waiting for a light to change.  For some reason I knocked on the window of the vehicle next to me (so close to my right).  Turns out I knocked on the right window, as the man rolled down the window.  I tried to explain I was lost and needed help.  He gestured that he would pull over.

This young man whose named turned out to be 'Tim,' couldn't have been more helpful.  In fact, what happened in the next several hours with two other people remains as one of the most amazing afternoons of my life.

Poor Tim got so frustrated with his English he kept apologizing.  But, he got an idea to buy me a better map.  So, he told me to follow him, which I did.  He led me to the train station which confused me, as I wasn't in a mind to get on any train.  All I wanted was directions to Tonning (basically south towards The Netherlands).  But, I locked Ms. Fiets to a lamp post and followed him inside.  Of the concourse, one of the many shops was a bookstore that had maps.  Tim examined several but then decided they wouldn't work for me as all in German.

Outside on the concourse he pondered what to do with me.  He tried to explain maybe taking a train would be a good idea.  He showed me how he could buy me ticket from a machine.  While he was doing this a woman walked up gesturing with some tickets in her hand.  They discussed her idea, which he tried to explain to me.  But, I was immediately suspicious of this woman (how wrong I was).  I didn't really understand that on holiday weekends the German Government reduces train fares, that she was offering some to me.  But when I didn't respond positively she retreated into the background.

At the same time another woman walked up gesturing I should take the cash (Euros) she held in her hand.  I was takenaback.  Here was a complete stranger offering me money.  I tried to explain I didn't need money but directions south.  But, she was unrelenting, thrusting a 20-Euro note into my hand (she could speak some English).  It was unreal, these three strangers acting like my guardian angels (don't ever let people tell you Germans are cold and unfeeling).  They conferred in German amongst themselves and decided I should take a train.  They explained what I should do:  Go get my bicycle and meet them upstairs, where the trains arrived and departed.  But, I had to hurry there wasn't much time. They would purchase a ticket for me.  What could I do at that point, but go with 'their program.'  So, I went outside got Ms. Fiets, rolling her inside the building and cramming her into an elevator, me behind.  It was a tight fit, the door barely closing.

On the train platform I found the three of them, Tim, Petra, and Rotrautt waiting for me.  Rotraut thrust another 20-Euro not ($25 U.S.) saying, 'You'll need Euros, the banks are closed for Easter!' I tried to protest, but she persisted.  The train was already boarding and I had to go!  They helped me lift Ms. Fiets, onto the train.  Note, in Germany you're allowed to take your bicycle with you or put in a special coach for bicycles (very 'cool!').  Additionally, Petra would accompany me, Rotraut explaining they were concerned about me making a connection!  My destination a town called Gluckstadt, but I'd have to change trains halfway (why Petra had come with me).  I thanked them all as best I could.

So, within an hour of being lost outside Husum I was suddenly sitting on a train with a German woman heading for Gluckstadt!   Ms. Fiets parked in the vestibule a few feet away.  Amazing grace, on Easter weekend!  Petra couldn't speak much English, but Rotraut had explained once Petra got me to Gluckstadt, she would continue on home to Hamburg.

The ride to the first stop was hypnotizing, as I watched the green blur by outside the window, the train rocking me into a reverie.  The love that had been shown me by three complete strangers was a 'ressurection' of sorts (and on Easter weekend no less)!  We expect love from family and friends, but complete strangers, in a foreign country...?  It was surreal!

At the first stop Petra helped me unload Ms. Fiets from the train, and then on the platform asked about the train to Gluckstadt and where to load my bicycle.  We had to wait thirty minutes for it to arrive, but when it did I was ushered to the bicycle coach where I fastened Ms. Fiets to the bulkhead (wall).  Petra and I walked to our passenger coach and boarded for Gluckstadt.

This turned out to be a shorter trip.  I remember arriving on a high trestle, making it seem like we were landing in Gluckstadt in an airplane.

Here, Petra helped me again retrieving Ms. Fiets then we parted.  I thanked her over and over, as I knew we'd never meet again.  Luckily on one of the train rides I'd had her write her name and address in English. Somehow she knew the others as well.  If only I'd thought of taking a photograph of all three of them back in Husum.

It was late afternoon by the time I exited the station in Gluckstadt not knowing where to go.  But, again my 'guardian angels' were with me!  I stopped a young German man and asked him if there were any places to camp for the night.  Not only did he know of one but he drew me a map.

It turned out this campground was further than expected (20KM), but I eventually found it tucked next to the huge dike, southwest of Zentrum/Gluckstadt. Because of Easter weekend this campground was packed with people.  But, the operator, a farmer,  showed me where I could pitch my tent.

With my tent up, and most of my belongings inside, I cranked into the little village of Kolimar.  I noted two restaurants, as I thought flush with Rotraut's Euros I would treat myself to an Easter brunch the following morning.

That night it rained of course, but I was snug in my tent.  There's something about being warm and dry in a sleeping bag with the weather raging just inches away!

I'll never forget as long as I live being blown off Mt. Hood in Oregon.  I had pitched my tent on lava 'sand,' as more comfortable than the rocky ground.  What a mistake as the stakes not in solid.  But, it was a calm night with no wind when I had set it up.  About midnight I woke up hearing the tent flapping in a breeze.  It increased in strength, until I was holding on for dear life!  Then a gust picked the tent off the ground, and we went ass over tea kettle down the mountain all my things crashing onto me!   At one point I managed to unzip the door and slithered out like a snake the tent itself flying away like a sail.  I zipped up the bag, as being blasted by wind-driven sand.  When it finally subsided, I walked down picking up what I could find, and then beating a retreat back to my car.  But, the mistake had cost me much.  I never found the tent or many of my camping things.  Oh life experiences... Painful but instructive.  You can believe I've always been more careful about where and how I set up a tent when on a mountain.

The next morning (in Kolimar) I was out early as wanted to beat the crowd at the restaurants.  The first one adjacent the dike was open, but only for a party.  So, I coasted down the hill to the other which was also open, the tables set but no customers yet. 

I discovered two women sitting at a small bar.  One of them spoke a little English.  They were celebrating their day off smoking a drinking.  So, I bought them a 'round of drinks.'  I ordered something to eat with coffee.  I languished in the civilized atmosphere, not unlike my time eating breakfast at Dan Hostel.

Along about noon, I cycled off to investigate the dike, and the Elbe River.  The Elbe eventually from Hamburg and beyond.

This part of Germany a series of rivers to cross when traveling from north to south.  All of these, I would imagine, flow out of the Alps (east and south), or some such.

Later back at the campground I chatted with the farmer owner who explained where to catch the ferry over the Elbe.  I took a shower in their bathhouse. 

The next morning, a Monday, I packed up and headed for the ferry, cycling the path near the river.  The ferry takes you across the Elbe to highway #495.  I didn't know exactly where to go but I turned left, and heading east and south for a town called Stade. I remember I found a very chic bakery/coffee house in Stade, and watched the locals rushing hither and yon.  Traveling, is a good way to observe people as you're not part of their daily 'drill.'   Afterwards, I found highway #74, heading south.

I think I ended up around Bremervorde by the end of the day, and started looking for a place to camp.  I picked a motor vehicle rest stop in a grove of trees.  It had picnic tables which makes cooking/eating easier.  I decided to try cooking rice, as I'd picked up some fuel for my stove.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong fuel and it burned up my stove (which was never to recover).  But, I was able to eat the rice.

In the morning, after packing up (a wet tent) I was off again, but now getting closer and closer to The Netherlands.  I don't know how long I'd been on the road, but more than one week.  I think I was heading for Stadland, as the map indicated a bridge to cross the Weser River.  I think it was hereabouts that I ran into two Germans traveling on bicycles (like me), the only ones I'd seen on this trip.  We stopped, of course, as cyclists always share information.  They spoke English, and told me they were returning to Bremen after cycling over to the coast for the Easter weekend.  They had all the latest, greatest Ortlieb bags and rain gear.  Me, I probably looked like a drowned rat!

Later and hungry, I stopped at a restaurant in a village.  This, by chance, turned out fortuitous as here fortune smiled on me again.  At the bar I ordered coffee, and a German man, hearing English, invited me to his table.  When I explained my trip he informed me the bridge at Stadland was impassable because of construction, and I should take the ferry at Bremerhaven.  Had I gone to Stadland, I would have found out too late and had to double back to Bremerhaven (losing an entire day).  I offered to buy his lunch, but he wouldn't allow. After he departed I partook of their luncheon buffet, which was expensive (7E / $10), but not very good.  I would call such 'pub food.'

Bremerhaven, is a fairly large city/port (on the North Sea).  I had to ask several times to find the ferry, but I remember getting there just in time to catch one (or would have had to wait another hour).  It was a short ride over the Weser River, but Bremerhaven's huge container port loomed to our right. 

Bremerhaven was heavily bombed during WWII as a ship building port for the German Navy.

Here I had to head east on highway #212, trying for a village called Varel.  I don't know how I managed to find highway #437 to Varel, as sometimes it's very tricky.  Europe is over developed, and has so many highways you have to be very careful (so many ways to get to the same place).  And the locals, not always reliable about directions.

Getting near dark I sought out another 'car park' or 'rest stop.'  The one I found was almost perfect, at least the night before.  It was set back behind a grove of trees, as in, since I'm breaking the law I don't want to be seen.  I pitched my tent in a small space between the trees and the parking lot.  No problem except everything was wet (northern Europe in April).

In the morning I was awaken by the sound of a large truck.  Peeking out, I was staring at one very large wheel/tire as it had stopped just adjacent me.  I waited until it departed then packed up and went into Varel for breakfast.

Somewhere I passed through a village named 'Marx' (picture at www.cyclingpeace.org).  I thought this might be where Karl had been born, but then later someone told me he was born in Trier (near Luxemburg).

In the afternoon I found myself in Leer (made me think of Norman Lear a television producer), a city of some size.  So, I sought out the library to check my email messages.  The library was difficult to find, and then required payment for use of the Internet.  But, the young woman was very nice.

It was difficult finding my way out of the city.  It was all very confusing as Leer is on a smaller river named Leda, but you have to cross the Ems River (much larger), going south to The Netherlands.  I couldn't find a way to get on the bridge, getting lost in a park.  Finally, after asking many people I managed.

I headed south for Weener, looking to take highway #436 into The Netherlands at Nieuweschans.  The goal for the day was Winschoten.  I had decided to stay east of Gronengen, as one of the largest cities in The Netherlands.

I crossed into The Netherlands late in the afternoon.  Again, the old border gate house was abandoned and no signs even saying 'The Netherlands!'







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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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27a0509

'My hat, my coat, my head,
All three aren't worth a damn!
Have you not heard of my fame
In the Universe?
I am Nobody!
I am Nothing!'

(Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi)

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

26a0509

Saturn Twice! (continues)

Cycling down the Jutland Penisula (Denmark)...

The next day in Fredrikshavn actually dawned semi clear!  I even saw the sun! Small wonders!

I found a place to have coffee and something to eat, then discovered an amazing library complex with the Internet included.  They say Denmark has the best library system in the world, and I found this the case, at least on the Jutland Penisula.  All the library complexes I stopped in were new and user friendly (and no charge for travellers).

My next task was finding the right highway south.  On the way, I stopped again at what appeared to be a camping goods store, as still looking to solve the stove fuel problem.  But foiled again!  I was so incredibly stupid about this, as simple petrol would have worked (in my expensive MSR stove).

By the time I found the right highway it was nearly noon.  I continued south, maybe 20 KM until I saw a large facility catering to automobile/truck travellers.  Here I had lunch in their cafeteria.  But, oh so expensive!  Good, but beyond my budget, my cash dwindling!

I continued on in deteriorating weather (by now cloudy and drizzling), until on the outskirts of Aalborg.   Aalborg is only something like 60KM from Frederikshavn, but it was getting late, and I needed to find a place to camp for the night. 

Aalborg, I discovered, is on the Limfjord and a 'gateway' to Greenland (North Sea).  If you want to take a boat to Greenland, Aalborg is the place.  I suppose this is why I enjoy travelling, you learn so much.  Now, I know how to go to Greenland, should I ever want to cycle on ice...?

I found a commercial camp ground just opened for the summer season.  I was practically the only one there as the weather still cold and rainy.  Additionally, one little piece of ground to pitch my tent on cost something like 25E or $30U.S.  But, this facility, in a park, had a kitchen and laundry.  After cooking dinner I got into my tent, outside everything wet from the rain.  Of course, Ms. Fiets doesn't mind so much but, I usually cover her with something like a 'space blanket.'  

I packed up in the morning, lucky for a break in the rain and headed south on the main throroughfare buildings on each side (population something like 100,000).  At a park, I was not sure which road to take, so I stopped and asked someone.  He directed me to the 'Old Military Road,' which runs from the very tip of northern Denmark to Copenhagen (bicycles welcome).  This was news to me, as not on my map.

'The Old Military Road,' turned out to be O.K. for awhile, but very slow up and down, and in some places over the old cobblestones.  But, while I was cranking along I imagined cavalry escorting the King in his carriage on this road, a thousand years ago.  It went though tiny villages, where I would stop to shop in their food markets (fruit mostly).  I'm sure they were curious...

By the time it was getting dark and time to camp, I was nowhere near any town.  So, I found a spot and pitched my tent in the rain.  

In the morning I headed south towards Viborg, a town on the map.  I remember stopping at a petrol station on the highway to buy something, and most of these (in Europe) as in the U.S., offer hot coffee and something to eat.

The rain gradually increased until I was soaking wet (ill prepared for such).  I was just north of Viborg by late afternoon.  I remember cranking up a hill ('Viborg' means 'Holy Hill.') leading down into city center.  Again, I knew where to go to find a camping ground as it was on my map.  This was in the southeastern part of town, in or near a park and adjacent lakes.  But, it turned out to be further than I wanted as now wet to the skin and cold.

Turning off the main road and into the park I remember passing a 'Dan Hostel' building on the right.  It looked inviting.  But, I was on my way to the campground as it was getting dark fast.  I had to find someplace quickly.

At the campground a man was about to close the office and annoyed at a latecomer became unpleasant.  After I asked the price he basically said, 'Take it or leave it!' as he wanted to close and lock up.  The amount, $40U.S., for a camping spot, was basically what I had left in terms of cash (and still many kilometers to go).  I pondered for a moment, but his rudeness angried me and I said, 'No thank you!'  Of course, I wanted to say, 'Fuck you!'

I cranked back up to the Dan Hostel, and parked Ms. Fiets outside.  Inside there was a fire in the fireplace, the warmth, the coziness made me dizzy.  Some guests sat in front of the fire laughing and joking, while I stood at the reception desk wondering what to do.  I didn't know what this would cost, and I didn't know if I had enough money in my bank to cover.  I needed to keep what cash I had to try to make it to Utrecht, TN, still a long way.

I asked for the minimum, which was something like $30U.S. per bed/night (group sharing as in Hostels).  Desperate, as now the rain was turning into snow I said, 'O.K., one night please,' handing him my plastic card.'  He did the usual, whatever you call that when checking to see if the card is 'good,' and you are 'approved?'  It came up, a big dud or N.G.!  He asked if I had another card, which by chance I did.  Handing it to him I said a silent prayer!  The wait was excruciating, my senses heightened to 'the max,' no longer aware of my wet clothing.  When I heard the familar sound ('zip, zip, zip') of the little printer meaning, 'approved,' I let out a sigh or relief relaxed into a reverie.  Of course, I tried to act nonchalant, as if I expected it!  But, what had happened was that my friend James A. (in the U.S.) had deposited $100U.S. into that account.  I could have fallen on my knees and thanked him!  Some people are 'Jesus like,' and he is one!

I was given a room key and shown where the room was located, pushing my bicycle along with me.  Better, when I unlocked the door no evidence of another guest(s).  I was, in fact, alone in a room that slept four.  The best part, it was nicely heated!  I spent the next hour unloading and unpacking, undoing everything to spread out in every possible way to dry.  I hung my tent outside, but under the porch roof. Inside, and gratefully alone I did get down on my knees and thanked God (and James A.) for my good fortune.

The bed was warm and comfortable, and listening to Enya, via my Sony Walkman, I slipped into an 'Alpha State' watching the snow fall beyond the window.  'There but for the grace of God go I!' I thought to myself.

The next morning I decided to splurge and partake of their buffet breakfast.  It cost something like 13E / $16U.S., in a word expensive!  But, it turned out to be the best meal of the entire trip.  They had everything:  all kinds of bread and jam, (meats which I don't do) cheeses, hot and cold cereals, eggs, yogurt, juices, coffee and tea.  I went back to refill my plate several times indulging myself.  I looked out at it snowing beyond the window undaunted, now fortified!  I might have stayed at Dan Hostel (never forget the name) for a week, had I had the money -- this just to partake of their buffet breakfast!

Afterwards I packed up and cranked into the 'Centrum' (City Center). I needed to find the library and get online.  Of course, my first email message was to James A.!

South of town I took a highway heading for the German border.  I had thought of going through Vegle and Kolding slightly east of where I was, but I decided to make it a long day and head for Ribe (more direct).  There was a resort/housing development on my map near Ribe.  I thought this might be a place to camp.  On the way, I passed through a town named 'Give!' How can one forget a name like that, after my good fortune in Viborg!

I stopped to ask directions in Vejen.  The man owned a campground, and later I thought I should have stopped there for the night as it turned out to be a long way to the resort.  Amazingly, however, I found it in the late afternoon.  It was both a fishing 'country club' (man made ponds stocked with trout), and a housing development. 

I cycled around looking for a suitable place to camp, but ended up in the parking lot of the fishing club.  I pitched my tent in a corner, thinking someone was sure to come and ask me to pay or leave.  They never did, and I ended up staying for two nights.  During my day of rest, I purchased snacks, sipped hot tea, and walked around observing the men fishing.  It was a bit strange, as I'd never seen anything like this before.  I thought of my father and all our fishing trips we'd taken together in the Colorado Rockies.  I wondered what he'd think of something so tame.

The morning I departed, I stopped into the reception office of the housing development --they were having a meeting.  But, being so kind they let me use their computer/Internet right in the middle of it!  Some people, actually most people are so nice, but there are always a few not so... When people aren't nice to you, however, think about why... for what reason?  Cranking down the highway I thought about the man back at the campground in Viborg... That, if he had been nicer I would have paid (too much) and camped out.  Instead, I had a wonderful night in a warm room (drying all my wet things) and a great breakfast because of his 'nastiness!'

This was to be my last day in Denmark, as the German border loomed.  It was at a little burg called 'Tonder,' that I began to smell the bratwurst.  I think it was Aventoft, across the border in Germany where I finally stopped for lunch, at a MacDonalds (no less).  But, it wasn't bratwurst that I ate!




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Monday, May 25, 2009

260509

Where I live!

I like the sound of the train
From my youth,
When there was hope,
Not the end of a rope!
When the sun shone on America!
When good was neither right nor left,
Now bereft!

I remember integrity and ideals,
Steel wheels turning
From place to place!

I like the sound of a train
Where I live!

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230509

230509

Saturn Twice! (continues)

I've visited the country of Denmark two times in my life.

The first time, years ago in the 1960s when working at ABC Sports, Inc.  A colleague wanted me to go with him to visit Copenhagen, I think primarily to partake of a 'sex show,' which were popular in Scandinavia at the time!  So, one year, after the British Open Golf we flew to Copenhagen, via London.

I remember a fashionable hotel on the outskirts where we stayed, trees out our window (funny how you remember some things).  I also remember being 'hustled,' by a clever chap with a car (wanting money as a guide).  He has 'picked us up' at a restaurant where we were eating dinner.  He drove us around Copenhagen.  When the subject of how we might see a 'sex show,' came up he said he would do some research.  He probably thought we were interesting in prostitutes.

It was back at the hotel, however, where we got the information about a 'sex show,' from the concierge.  But, we were late. So, rushing in a taxi we arrived way after the scheduled start time.  It was expensive, of course, I forget the ticket price, but I remember asking myself, 'Is this worth it?'

We were ushered into darkness via several curtains, into a room where a small stage was lit by 'klieg' lights.  On this stage, a bed where a naked couple writhed simulating (?) copulation to music.  As we were ushered through the darkened room to our seats my colleague became transfixed.  I was ahead of him, so I didn't see exactly what happened, but the next thing I knew, hearing the calamity,  I turned to see him thrashing about in the midst of the couple on stage.  He had tripped and had fallen right onto the stage bed!  Shocked they swore at him as he tried to extricate himself, apologizing profusely (in his Texas accent).   The 'performers' walked off the stage and the lights came on, all eyes turning to us as my colleague sat down next to me.  Their looks could have killed us!  I think I tried to become invisible, ignoring my embarrassed friend ('Do I know you?').

Talk about what to do in certain embarrassing situations...?  I think I tried to order drinks for the entire house.  Then after several excruciating moments, the couple reaappeared, shed their robes (to applause), and took up where they had left off.  As the lights dimed and we felt increasingly comfortable in the darkened room.

I don't remember too much else about 'the show,' except thinking, 'No, it isn't worth it!'  I was more interested in observing the patrons watching the couple and their 'lovemaking.'  The audience was made up mostly men of course, but there were some women. Who would pay to watch a couple simulate sex?  Why?  I guess technically it's a form of 'pornography?'  'Voyeurism?'  But, for me much ado about nothing...  I guess I like participating in the real thing!

The next time in Denmark came many years later (2005), the month of April to be exact.

I'd been living in Rannelanda, Sweden (western part near Norway), with a German woman and her children.  She had invited me to stay with them before cycling down to The Netherlands. I had met her years before (1999) in Kathmandu, but we'd stayed in contact via the Internet.  She lived in a wooden farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere (Rannelanda a small community of farmers)!  The nearest village of any size (food market) was 'Hogstater,' some 8KM to the south.  Before I got my bicycle together I used to walk there and back every afternoon.  

What an experience, however, as her little 'family' turned out to be dysfunctional.  Two of the younger children (boy and girl) lived with her and the older daughter lived with Papa (100KM away).  Worse, she and her 'ex' used the children as 'bargaining chips.'  Thus, there was always tension, the children incredibly spoiled.  Little did I know what I was getting into, a veritable Ingmar Bergman drama.  I think I lasted two months (January and February) before reaching my limit.  In the meantime, I got to experience a little bit of rural Sweden. 

I had been given my own bedroom upstairs, which was heated (Note, the offer had been for free in the beginning had been for 'free,' but as time went on, it was obvious I was not interested in her personally, she demanded money!).  Besides the kitchen (and my room), the rest of the house, including the upstairs bathroom, was as cold as outdoors.  So, I was either in my room or the kitchen (to take a bath was daunting).  They were gone (work and school) during the day so I had the house to myself.  In the morning, I would write, or use her computer to get online and connect with the 'outside world.' After lunch, I'd walk into Hogstater, or ride into Fargelanda, a larger community (maybe 5,000 people).

Fargelanda had a new library complex with 'free Internet' which included a coffee shop/bakery.  I used to look forward to cranking the 30KM into Fargelanda, as some semblance of civilization -- plus, the trip a wonderful sojourn through rolling, forested hills where there were swans on the ponds and deer in the forest.  At the library complex I would have coffee and pastry, while online.  Fargelanda had a good food market also.

One day i was cranking back to Rannelanda, up a hill on the outskirts of Fargelanda when a man on a bicycle turned right in front of me.  He was cranking a 'squeaky' one-speed bike but with some aplomb.  I didn't try to pass him, as curious.  Occasionally, he would glance behind to see if I were gaining on him.  If he thought so, he'd crank furiously to maintain the lead.  The first time, I noted where he turned off to his farmhouse, and continued back to Rannelanda.  Interestingly, however, I kept meeting this guy in the same place, both of us going 'home' at the same time.  One time I decided to 'race' him, and passed him easily.  This infuriated him, and he shook his fist at me yelling something in Swedish!  I named him 'Squeaky!'   We must have raced a half dozen times, mostly me letting him win.  Although we never spoke, we became friendly competitors -- we were the only ones 'out there,' in the cold.  The last time, and he must have known, instead of turning into his farmhouse he stopped on the highway, saluting me as I passed!  I returned the salute!  I shall always remember 'Squeaky!'

One day I took the 'Heart Stone' to commune with an ancient monolith (near Fargelanda).  I had to climb a hill to find it, but did.  Note this and several other pictures of Sweden are available at www.cyclingpeace.org/gallery/ ('Colorado To Sweden' album).

My hostess, the German woman, (still alive thus no name) had a new automobile (Renault Clio).  Like all new owners she was obsessed about washing it regularly.  Now, I've washed hundreds of automobiles in my day, but this turned out to be brutal work outside in the cold.  She had no garage or carport, no hard surface, so all the water made the ground muddy and dangerous as we stretched her electric vacuum cleaner out the kitchen window.  Additionally, we had to refill the buckets with hot water from the inside kitchen spicket.  I grew to dred this task.  On the otherhand, she drove me many places in her new, shiny (thanks to our labor) car.

Once per week we took the little guy, my namesake 'Freddie' ('Fred' means 'peace' in Swedish) to his martial arts class in a nearby village.  While he learned whatever, all dressed up in his little kung fu outfit, we would walk around the village.

She also took me down to Uddevalla one day, this to show me the city and have tea at a charming place (I grew to love) called Yerba's.  Yerba's is an old house converted into a new-age book shop and bistro.  Everything about it reeked of charm, from the outside grounds to the old wooden furniture.  It was owned and operated by a Dutch man and his Swedish wife, who I'm still in contact.  I grew to enjoy going there so much, partaking of Yerba Mate tea, I took to cycling down there and back, some 60KM / 40 miles each way, all in one day.

I got to know Uddevalla in the process.  It's a lovely Port right on the Oresund Sound leading to the Baltic Sea, the new Uddevalla Bridge in the distance. 

One time I took my camping gear as I wanted to stay overnight to shop in Uddevalla the next day.  I'd somehow met a man who'd cycled across America (with his girlfriend) and he invited me to his facility.  He had some kind of outdoor adventure business that was housed in a huge wooden building (an old barn), where he stored equipment.  It also had a climbing wall. I found it one day south of town in a Park, hoping I could camp out on his property.  He was against that, however, but recommended a camping facility nearer to town.  It wasn't open for the season yet, so I went to the most remote part, up on a bluff and pitched my tent.  It was a wonderful spot with a view of the Bay and the Uddevalla Bridge.  Even better, no charge!  I ended up camping there seveal times, and never bothered for it.

One time I was cycling down to Uddevalla, and heard what sounded like gun fire.  Seems the highway I took between Fargelanda and Uddevalla passed a large Swedish Army facility, and they were playing war (I guess?)!  But, so strange to me being in Sweden and hearing gunfire and explosions.  When I think of Sweden I think of Nobel Prizes and peace, not the sounds of war!

One time I accompanied my German friend as she had to spend the day in Got(h)enburg.  Got(h)enburg, is the second largest city in Sweden, and the headquarters of Volvo (although Volvo cars owned by Ford).  We drove down in the morning, and she dropped me off to spend the day wandering around.  I had no map and no idea about where to go, although I'm good at getting around (in any city, or country for that matter).  The first thing I did was to drop into a 'coffee shop,' for some good Swedish pastry.  But, so expensive!  One cup of coffee and pastry cost something like 7E, which translates to $10U.S.  But, it had a wonderful atmosphere, all wood and warm, customers partaking on their way to work.

Then I headed for the Bay or River.  I think the city is named for the River Gota?  It was a long walk down the main commercial street, but seeing all the sights, chic stores, and being a crowd felt good after being isolated for so long.

At the River I discovered the 'Operan' House (looking like a huge ship), and a Maritime Museum.  I saw the Volvo facility across the River I walked and walked, ending up in the Central Train Station (train to Stockholm) which had a place to eat called Cafe Ritazza (food in Europe more sophisticated than in the U.S.).  Here I rested and something to eat.

Then I walked back in the direction I'd come, east and south.  Here I discovered a hill (Kesten Crown), and I like climbing up anything (I like exertion.).  Stairs lead to the top where there were the remains of the old fortification.  You could look down on the red roofs of the apartment buildings.

Down again, I discovered a pub/restaurant ('The Earl of Sandwich) owned by an Englishman.  He'd married a Swedish woman, you know the story...  We had a good chat, as you know how common language people are... It had been a long time without speaking English with a native speaker.

By now it was getting late, and I had to find where I was rendezvousing for the ride back to Rannelanda.  The meeting place was a car park which I found, of course, it's where she had let me out. It was for many soccer (football) fields and waiting I watched boys 'splaying' football.

When she arrived she was with a man (I think that's the real reason she wanted to come to Got(h)eburg, as always looking...).  Anyway, we drove the three-hours back to the farmhouse, cold and lonely as it was it was where

One of the projects I got involved with while in Sweden was offering a series of classes about Taoism at the high school in Fargelanda.  I think it was Taoism, as they were into an Eastern Studies cycle.  It was interesting... The first time I was there I met the principal and was given a tour of the school.  The student's lounge was most enlightening as a young 'couple' were openly 'making out,' (kissing each other, etc.) in a room full of other students.  I thought if this happened in the U.S. they would be in serious trouble.

I had to get up very early, the trip beginning in the cold and dark.  I would park Ms. Fiets inside the school, and then be ushered to the teacher's lounge where they had a kitchen and we partook of some hot coffee and 'goodies.'  When the time came I was escorted to the class room, where I spoke (all Scandinavians understand English) about Taoism (in simple terms).  I think I ate lunch in their cafeteria one time. 

Several times we drove to meet 'Papa,' and exchange children.  He lived 'on the Swedish dole,' (as so overweight), basically did nothing but get online with his computer.  What a scene!  Also, parting was convoluted as the parents were always arguing about something.  Definitely my time in Sweden turned out to be an 'Ingmar Bergman drama!'

I finally had it, and told Miss Germany I had to go, and would be leaving on the 1st of April (April fool that I was).  The only problem I had to ship my things somewhere, as I wanted no more contact with her.  I picked two places, one Utrecht, The Netherlands, where I was going first, and the other Finland, where I thought was my next destination after TN.  But, sending two shipments used most all of my available cash.  Thus, I departed with too little, something like $60U.S. / 40E for a 1,200KM / 720-mile trip.

I first cranked down to Oddevalla, where I camped out.  I was looking for fuel for my MSR camping stove (so I could cook, rather than eat in restaurants).  I wasn't sure what kind of fuel would work, but nobody ever understood until too late.  Actually, it was my fault for not knowing, as simple petrol would have sufficed (completely stupid of me).

That night I made a wonderful discovery, however.  Nearby where I was camping there was a pizza place, and it turned out to be owned by an Arab family, some of the nicest people I've ever met.  The man couldn't do enough for me!  He first allowed me to cook my rice in his kitchen, basically doing it for me in their cookware.  After dinner, when I needed to know about route south to Got(h)eburg, he went to a nearby pay telephone to call a friend.  He wanted to drive me to Got(h)eburg, but of course I said no thank you.  He talked of nothing but peace and love, thus I wanted to stay in contact with them.  His son gave me his email address.  Later, however, it didn't work, so I've lost contact.  I think I have one picture of the exterior of their little pizza parlor in Uddevalla, Sweden (www.cyclingpeace.org/gallery/).  If you ever in Uddevalla, go there!

The next morning after packing up, I took off, not know exactly the way.  In fact, I got lost, and ended up near the big bridge.  I had to backtrack, losing valuable time.  Finally I found the Expressway and headed south as that's the route I'd been given by my Arab friend.  It was overcast and drizzling (typical of Swedish weather).  I don't know how many kilometers I cranked, but 'encouraged' by honking vehicles (as they passed), or so I thought!  I stopped to rest finally. 

Suddenly, I noticed a police vehicle had pulled up and parked nearby, a female officer walking toward me.  She could speak English.  She informed me that bicycles were not allowed on the Expressway, that I would have to exit.  I explained I didn't know that, that is what my friends in Uddevalla had told me was the way.  She said I would have to get off at the next exit, to follow them.  This I did.  And not only did they get me off, but when off they stopped again, explaining they would show me the way into Got(h)eburg.  I must have followed them driving slowly, for an hour!  I don't think I've ever had such good service from any police force in the world (except in China)!  In the U.S., they'd probably have shot at me!

Got(h)eburg, is huge and I didn't really know the way to the ferry to Denmark. Talk about a 'wing and a prayer!'   It was raining by then, and getting late but I have a 'sixth sense' about getting around, and after traversing the suburbs it felt like I was nearing city center (the quay on the River Gota).  I had been smart enough, the first time in Got(h)eburg, to note the ferry to Denmark on my map.  Thus, I knew approximately where it was. 

When I managed to find it, the woman at the toll booth informed me I'd have to to to the ticket office.  There I purchased a ticket on the next ferry, as cheaper (the 'express' costing too much).  With the ticket in hand I found a MacDonald's (they're all over Sweden), where I had some coffee (cold and wet by then). 

Back at the tollgate early for the slower ferry, I suddenly had some good luck!  The 'express' hadn't departed.  So, when I pulled up to be first for the slower one the woman motioned me aboard the 'express,' calling the Captain to wait.  I was last on board, the only bicycle of course.  I remember lashing Ms. Fiets to a pipe below and then climbed the stairs to luxury above.  Wow, there was a gambling casino, a bar, a large-screen TV, cafes, and other amenities on this ferry.  I took a nap in a comfortable chair, however.

A 'hydroplane,' this ferry 'boggied' across the sea to Denmark (maybe 50KM?).  The Captain, via a P.A., informed us, that because of the swells, he couldn't go as fast as normal.  But, we made it across in one hour and I was the first off in Frederikshavn, Denmark.  It was getting dark.  Luckily I'd planned ahead and had a map, knowing there was a campground in the northern part of town.

Amazingly, I found the campground not really yet open for the season, but the gate open.  I cycled around until I found a group of empty small cabins.  I pitched my tent next to one in a heafty wind, and safely inside prompty fell asleep.  Day one completed, having come from Uddevalla, Sweden, to Fredrikshavn, Denmark.

But, a long way from a 'sex show' in Copenhagen!







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Sunday, May 24, 2009

250509

But, for what?

This,
Preparation
For 'The Other'
More important,
Lasting!
Here only grasping
At the truth!

Life, trying to survive,
But, for what?

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Friday, May 22, 2009

22a0509

22a0509

Saturn Twice! (continues)

We ended up in Guatemala (circa. 1997)... Interesting... My life has been so diverse in experience, everything from 'A to Z,' in this case 'C to E,' or Christians, the Evangelical kind!'

We were living in Mexico at the time, Jaime and me (at least me).  But, the project came from Dallas, Texas.  I had a friend associated with the (Summer) Institute of Linguistics there in Ducanville (south of Dallas).  Funded by 'Fundies,' its mission is to creative written languages for indigenous groups, but with a hidden agenda:  Guess what it the first book published in the new 'written' language?  You guessed it, the Christian Bible.  I had met the CEO when living in Dallas, via my friend, but an unlikely partnership.  I can only guess what they would have thought if they knew I smoked marijuana and wasn't really a card-carrying Christian.  Some however (as they might say in Texan) they trusted me (Ah, a fool and his money soon parted!').  'Ya'll come back now you hear!  Bring the wifie and the kidies!'

So, one day we got a request to join their Board of Directors and accompany them while they traveled around Guatemala partaking of certain Institute projects.  We were to produce a short video from the footage we would 'shoot' of their trip.  I flew down from Guadalajara with the video gear and Jaime flew down from Dallas.

I remember the hotel in Guatemala as first class (this group had money).  I remember a meal where we all met (these kinds of groups always have 'icebreakers,' or in this case 'meet the video crew').  I remember they're going to a hotel where they met a former Guatemalan leader (maybe an ex presidente for all I remember), Jaimie and I recording it.  But, I felt like this guy was a Christian only in name as it served his political purposes -- maybe we had something in common.  The hotel, near the main plaza, was memorable as having an old fashion and quaint lobby.  I wanted to stay there.

But, we were on the go.  And after this Guatemalian man spoke we went out into the Plaza to 'shoot' the ambiance.  Vendors in colorful garb were selling handicrafts.  Additionally, I remember a Historic Government building we investigated. 

Then it was on to the ancient capitol of called Antigua Guatemala, just west of the modern city.  We stayed in a charming hotel, where I left my backpack in the dining room at breakfast.  I didn't realize until too late and we were hundreds of kilometers on the way to Solala (thank God for 'Google Earth') where there was some big event worth videotaping.  Solala is near Lake Atitlan.  Thus, from a restaurant on a bluff (in nearby Panajachel) we had an incredible view of the Lake and two volcanoes (Atitlan and San Pedro) on the opposite side. It was an incredible setting.

The night in the hotel, however, was hell for me as attacked my swarms of mosquitos.  I forget what I did to combat them, but I know I never want to go there ever again.  I'm not a low, green, hot/humid, jungle, mosquito kind of guy!  Being in Viet Nam for only a short time (six weeks) left a lasting memory!

But, in Guatemala I was desperate for my backpack, which held my passport (mosquito repellent, and everything else dear to my heart).  We'd called back to all the places I'd been, but nobody had seen.   I began to worry.  The group began to pray for its return!

We went to the big event, held in an auditorium.  I'm not quite sure what this was about (thinking back some 12 years... If only I could find Jaime, but seems to have disappeared?).  It was some kind of celebration, with much singing, dancing, speeches, all of which never seem to end. 

What I remember about that day was a couple of things... One, the local indigenous group... The men wore colorful skirts (kilts like Scotsmen).  Secondly, right in the middle of our recording the festivities, our 3/4" Sony video recorder stopped working.  So, Jaimie and I took it out to the bus to attempt to shake whatever loose.  Damned if Jaime didn't fix it, and in short order too.  I'll never forget this, because here we are in the middle of Guatemala, 'up a volcano without a paddle,' and he fixed it!  I was impressed, as we got 'back on the job' quickly!  Jaime had many faults, but he could repair shit (I think the 'Mexican' in him!).

In the afternoon, we toured the area stopping at the Group's (SIL's) headquarters.  Ah, Christian missionary zeal, it never ceases to amaze me, 'Doing God's work!' we were!  However, at this point all I had on my mind at that point was my backpack!  I remember one place we stopped because there was a telephone, and the driver (speaking Spanish) tried again.  'Nada!'

But, then a 'miracle!'  YES ('Si!'), a miracle, as it was found! It had been put in the luggage room at the hotel where I'd left it during breakfast, but without any documentation.  It was only discovered after a diligent search was made by one of the employees!  I rejoiced, and yes, thanked God!   The Group was mightly impressed with themselves (don't think I ever heard the end of it, the 'power of prayer!')  But, how can I ever doubt that maybe praying (by this Christian group) did have something to do with my recovering it?

The only other thing I remember about this trip was the landing back in Guadalajara, Mexico, the smoothest ever (and I'm a pilot).

So, certainly 'God,' (my 'Guardian Angel') was with us on this trip!






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Thursday, May 21, 2009

220509

220509

Some wonderful words of wisdom from Jalal-Ud-Din Rumi:

"...But, the sweetness of the Place of Peace
You'll only enjoy the city and your relations
After enduring all the griefs and ordeals of exile!"

And from Alan Price, the lyricist for my favorite movie, 'O' Lucky Man' (directed by Lindsay Anderson):

"Poor people are poor people -
And they don't understand
A man's got to make whatever he wants-
And take it with his own hands.

Poor people stay poor people -
And they never get to see
Someone's got to win in the human race-
If it isn't you, then it has to be me.

So smile while you're makin' it-
Laugh while you're takin' it-
Even though you're fakin' it-
Nobody's gonna know.
Nobody's gonna know."

Also:

"Everyone is going through changes
No one knows what's going on.
And everybody changes places-
But the world still carries on.

Love must always change to sorrow
And everyone must play the game,
It's here today and gone tomorrow-
But the world goes on the same."

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life! (210509)

210509

Life!

Life,
Juggernaut River
Flowing
Ceaselessly
In a cycle,
High to low,
Low to high,
Until we die!

Juggernaut River,
Life!

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

170509

170509

'Saturn Twice!' (continues)

From L.A. (circa. 1977) I moved up to Pismo Beach to write, 'Just A Little Flower.'  Or, was it to extricate myself from a deteriorating relationship with Bluma?  She drove me up there in what we called her new MG, 'The Chocolate Moth!'  But, after that we were never much of a 'couple' again.

I've been married twice, and had a hundred relationships with women.  But, coupling only a temporary idea for me, I grow bored easily!  I'm not the marrying kind!  Additionally, I've never wanted children of my own!  Now, at the venerable age of nearing 70, I'm most happy without either, wife or children! 

What's important to me is personal FREEDOM!  Freedom to go and do whatever I want and whenever I want, without encumbrances!  'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose!'  And guess what...?  We going to lose it all in the end!

Why did I pick Pismo Beach, a small beach community some 200 miles north of L.A.?  Because my friends Lee and Naomi owned a motel there, and offered me a free room.  I remember the caretakers, a nice couple, had a dog named 'Jazz!'   'There's no more jazz at Alcatraz!'  Jazz was a wonderer, however, and they were always asking me if they seen 'their dog.'

I had no car (nor bicycle), so I walked everywhere, including up to San Luis Obispo (30 miles to the north).  But, I had no idea how therapeutic this would be, living, and walking near the Pacific Ocean everyday!  I'm sure it helped greatly with my recovery.

Everyday I would work on the screenplay in the morning, then have lunch that I had cooked in my little kitchen. 

Note, I'm sure this is where I started the beginning of my transition from meat eater to vegetarian.  Ever witnessed maggots devouring your leftover steak on top of the refrigerator?  I have!  That was the beginning for me! 

Anyway, after lunch I would walk on the beach, south to the great sand dunes of Pismo.  In the months I was in 'Pis,' I walked all over these dunes, miles, building up my legs, inhailing the salt air.  In those days they still allowed motor vehicles to drive on the beach, which I abhorred.  I've always detested the motor vehicle!  So, I was happy to get to the dunes, where there were no 'dune buggies' at that time!  Now, I'm sure they're probably are -- anything to make money (fuck the environment)!

I had no telephone in 'Pis,' so to call anyone I had to walk to the laundromat, where they had a pay telephone. 

My #1 contact at the time (beside Bluma), was 'Jack, 'the Orange Cowboy' (something having to do with a Florida football team).  He, the son of a real estate mogel liked to 'dabble' in show biz projects.  I don't think I ever got a dime out of him, but not for trying.  I can't remember how I met him, however, maybe it was Lee Arthur in N.Y.C.?  But, he was a 'good conversation,' and whenever needing some 'movie talk,' I would call him while washing my clothes.

Sometimes I would walk up the coast on the highway (#1), and the views absolutely stunning near Avila Rock.  In those days the ocean was an aquamarine color.  You could see seals, sea otters, and porpoises in the clear ocean water.

In those days they were building the nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon.  There were many protests, which I joined.  But, of course when do governments ever listen to the people?  Hardly ever!

My work on 'Just a Little Flower' progressed, but not without much work.  I had 'butcher paper' (long brown rolls), stretching around the room, as it was my way of 'plotting,' (the story) in linear fashion.  I'd never written a screenplay before, and I didn't really know how.  But, I persevered.

Later when driving Highway #101 up and down from L.A. to the Bay Area, I always remembered my time, several months, in Pismo Beach.  I think the town is named for a type of clam, a 'Pismo' clam.

My favorite California seafood, however, used to be Abalone (when still eating flesh)!  We used to snorkel dive for it in Portuguese Bend, prying them off the rocks with a crowbar.  They are wonderful eating, but now impossibly expensive (as protected, or extinct).  I think they last time I ordered (circa 1973), this at Gallatin's Restaurant in Monterey, one serving cost something like $30U.S.  This was the time I fought over the bill with Fred Vance, my first boss in television, only to discover they didn't take credit cards!

Fred Vance, an interesting story, as long as his name has come up... He was my first ever 'big boss,' at in television, KVOA/4 in Tucson, Arizona.  I hardly knew him when working there, as I had two immediate bosses, Lowell Cable, and 'Doc' Hamilton. 

Later, when I was working at ABC Sports, he contacted me, this ten years later (talk about 'turn arounds').  He was foot loose and fancy free, as his wife of 30 years had run off with a tennis pro, and he'd left his job in local affiliate television.  He's always been interested in golf, so I hired him to be on the 'taxi squad' (our name for temporary help that followed us from tournament to tournament).  As he had money, he'd just 'show up,' at places like St. Andrews, Scotland (for the British Open), and work with one of our announcers (as 'spotter').  After I was fired, the contacts he'd made working at ABC he used to sell his photographs. He developed a second career as a professional photographer covering tournaments for various golf publications.

His daughter, 'Jewel,' is still alive and well in Tucson...?  I think she ended up being a nurse.

Oh life... So interesting, with all its twists and turns!

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

We go!


We go!

There's a storm acomin'
One like you've never 'scene,'
Takin' your breath away,
Never to return,
Even gone the burn!

Into another turn
We go!

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

070509

Beyond!

Where are you going?
You have to travel far?
What if no wind to help?
How will you get there?

In the 'dream' we are going!
Yet, already 'there!'
Where?
Where we are going!

Movement is an illusion!
We're already there!
Where
We should be!

Only in Duality
There is a 'here,'
And 'where?'
One and 'there!'
'Here' and two,
The due!
The difference!

But, how to explain
Beyond words?

Beyond!

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Monday, May 04, 2009

020509

020509

Saturn Twice!

(continues, after this personal note: How crazy living in China is for me... In the next room a Chinese friend, Bei Feng, is playing his guitar and singing, of all things, 'Way Down Upon the Swanee River,' in Chinese! Maybe appropriate for the following, all about my Texas friend, 'Garlene Parris!' Although in Texas it's 'The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You!')

Garlene! I've never known anyone in the world to have this name! Completely and totally unique, she is, just like her name! I've always wanted to write her biography simply titled, 'Garlene!' We spent a lot of time together going down Texas roads together in her Lincoln Towncar ('86 - '94)!

We met Las Vegas, Nevada, via Jack Favor, on a trip, circa. 1986. It was a reunion of the 'Wild Bunch,' a group of cowboys that had started the R.C.A. way back when (Jack was one.). Note, now the R.C.A. has morphed into the P. ('professional') R.C.A.

Gail (my wife at the time) and I couldn't get a hotel room in the 'official' hotel', so Garlene took it upon herself to find us one. She was/is always helping people!

Back in Texas our friendship grew. I learned about her past, all the travail she had endured.

She was the daughter of Velda Callahan Tindall Smith, a famous trick rider and barrel racer (member of the 'Cowgirls Hall of Fame') and Lewis Tindall. By the time Garlene was four-years old she was riding trick ponies, and soon to be a world champion herself.

Lewis, her biological father, was both a rodeo trick rider and small-time gangster. He worked as a 'collector' for Benny Benion in Fort Worth in the old days before Benion movied to Las Vegas. One day he 'stiffed' (withheld) money from Benion who suspected such. Months (or weeks?) later Garlene, a little girl at the time, was riding in an open car with her father. Suddenly, another vehicle pulled up and started shooting, but not before Garlene's father had pushed her to the floor saving her life. Tindall was killed.

Her step father, a policeman, Charles E. Smith, made life miserable for her. So, only 15-years old she got married to get away from him!

Garlene's life would make an interesting movie! The guy she married, 'Buster' (real name Alvin P. Marshall) turned out to be not so good choice (but who knows when only fifteen). They had two daughters together. Some years later, when the daughters were (maybe) ten and twelve, 'Buster' killed them and himself, in a bizarre murder/suicide (How can you kill your own daughters?). This tragedy would have destroyed most people, but Garlene persevered devoting her life to raising adopted children.

When I met her she was taking care of her mother, as well as adopted children. Garlene kept her ill mother at home rather than put her in a hospital or nursing home.

Garlene had by now married a guy named 'Ted' she'd met in North Carolina. Ted Parris (from where she gets the name) was a printer by trade and an avid golfer. Thus, as some point they moved out to Pecan Plantation a housing development near Granbury (some 50-miles south of Fort Worth). This so Ted could play golf more often.

Garlene had launched two pet grooming shops in Fort Worth to help support the family (as there were always adopted children around). 'Rosie's' on the southside (of Fort Worth) still remains in business (?).

I wanted to help Garlene so we started a variety of projects together, many ill-fated. One came from Jane Favor, Jack's daughter, and a man from the country of Belgium, Melvin Seblini. We'll never forget his name as a 'con artist.' I forget how they met, but Melvin had some scheme to sell the French language in some 'new and innovative' way. But, of course, he needed investors to do such. We set about trying to raise money, and were somewhat successful. They only problem, Melvin pocketed the money! We were naive (stupid I think a better description), and Melvin was good, a 'good con artist!' All I can say if I ever 'run into' Melvin, he better run in the other direction! He hurt a lot of people!

Garlene was always involved with cowgirls/boys, and related events (as that's how she grew up), rodeos, barbecue, etc. We got started with the 'Ben Johnson (of cowboy movie fame) Reunion' at 'West Side Stories,' a club on the southwest side of Fort Worth! We 'imported' many stuntpeople/cowboy/actors to celebrate the western movie! The first year, including a rodeo, it was a huge success! In the succeeding years it became more challenging!

An interesting sidebar having to do with Ben and me... He lived in Sylmar (San Fernando Valley), California, at the time I visited him, trying to sell 'A Winner Never Quits!' It was just after the first earthquake there, I think something like 1984. I was trying to get the screenplay to Burt Reynolds, as they had just worked together on something, maybe 'Smokey and the Bandit.' He described Burt as both 'movie and cowboy struck!' I'll never forget the phrase! Anyway, Burt might have been good to play Jack at that point in his career, but for some reason it didn't happen.

All of this with Ben, long before the Bass Brothers (of oil wealth) renovated the downtown area of Fort Worlth (now called 'Sundance Square'). But, of course, there's 'Billy Bob's,' a cowboy 'institution' on the North Side. But, my personal favorite in Fort Worth is J.J's Blue's bar (I'm not much of a cowboy.) But, some irony... I liked 'Cowtown' better than Dallas when living in the area. More a city!

Dallas, like L.A., has no cohesive personality... You can't get 'a handle on it,' just a conglomeration of communities (towns). What I remember about Dallas, is the JFK assassignation (1963), and the Hertz Corpo. putting their billboard on top of the Texas Book Depository! I've never rented from Hertz since!

Garlene had a way with people! She could 'chat up' a total stranger and be life-long friends with them in a matter of hours. She taught me a lot about selling, promotion, about how to attract people to your cause (and she's had many)! She could sell vodka to the Russians, yak milk to Tibetans, and tea to the Chinese! She never gives up! Even when faced with 'some shit' she kept on keeping on, always inspiring those around her!

She's defeated cancer, had radical masetomy's, chonic pain, and in/out of hospitals hundreds of times! When a young girl they diagnosed tuberculosis, and she had to lie motionless in a bed for months (where she developed an interest in books). But nothing stopped her! Like Jack Favor she's the last of a breed of American that's nearly gone! They were tough, their unwritten motto, 'A winner never quits and a quitter never wins!'

'Garlene!' They'll never be another one like her!

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