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Me Day

Up at 6, back to bed and up at 7:30, but turned off the lights for half an hour.

It had cooled off outside, but was still 75 inside. Spook had her butt on the padded box, and her face in the open crack of the bedroom window.

Trimmed my beard before showering.

Great Clips for a haircut, an hour wait. I wanted to go nextdoor to Safeway but couldn't because I wasn't going straight home, and stuff would melt.

Manicure, only a 5-minute wait.  The woman in pedicure seat 8 was model material. Pretty smile, great legs, nice rack. Nice to have her in my line of sight.

Massage. Started with a young one, but she traded me for an older model halfway through, seems she had an appointment. She encouraged me to make an appointment next time.

Grocery Outlet, plugged in the car and stocked up on fruit and cold cuts. And a loaf of PNB&J-able bread.

Missed all my streamers.

Made a k-cup of dark chocolate, it was good. The Starbucks mocha tasted like burned coffee, no chocolate. Thai tea is due in tomorrow.

Delivered was 600 insulin syringes. In theory that's a 3-month supply, but the math says 10 months. Used to be I used syringes 5 times a day, but now only twice, the other 3 times I use pen needles.

Loaded the new wallet with the old stuff. It's neater.

Social Security payment landed in my bank. I should pay down a credit card.

The fellow who played Zaphod in 1993 MPG Hitchhiker's guide left me a FB message in January, I just saw it yesterday. Told him I have a DVD of the show, if he wants it. He does. I found two iso DVDs, it took way too long to burn them into playable DVDs and longer to print on them (inkjet printable discs). But the 2-DVD set will be in the mail tomorrow.

Missed my streaming because of that. Had lox & Havarti on a bagel for dinner, and lots of strawberries. Ran out of whipped cream.

Paid way too much for a ticket to tomorrow's matinée of Queen of the Mist,  a musical about a woman who went over the falls in a barrel. Leading lady is an old co-star.

Yesterday I did 3 loads of laundry. Today I ironed way too many Hawaiian shirts.

It was too not-hot to fire up the aircon.

Plans for tomorrow:
Breakfast
Tabard Theater
Whatever

Not Much After Noon

Up at 7:30 for no apparent reason, except Spook was clawing at my arm. Not hard, just enough to let me know she wanted treats.

The problem with waking up early is the day goes slower.

10-ish, to UPS and dropped off the meters to return to Amazon. Then to MV, BB&B, exchanged 2 cartridges and bought a box of dark cocoa k-cups. All their coffee makers were >$100, no thanks.

Up Rengstorff to Safeway, bought some salad add ons, but not salad. Could not find the marinated artichoke hearts. Bought a box of breaded dark meat chicken. And a box of K-cup Starbucks mocha. Probably should have got that from the Starbucks next door.

Home, put away all the things. Watched bees in the garden. The roses are huge - hand-sized, and smell great. I will need to collect & dry petals soon.

It got very hot inside, 85°. Not much better outside. Took me too long to open the doors. Probably should start using the aircon. Except it still is cold at night.

Watched everything on the Tivo except some NFL draft hype which I deleted, and some Gold Rush hype, as well. Once again Oak Island shows how very amateur and over-invested they are. One of the leaders finally let slip how he is amused by the metal detection "expert" getting all excited at every little piece of metal. The guy's cockney accent annoys the hell out of me. Once again they are doing seismic testing, this time in a swamp. Idiots. all they will get is mush. The TNT needs something solid to reflect, the swamp will dampen the audio return signal.

Lunch was salad and a couple of those bland mac & cheese cups. Corned beef & sauerkraut for dinner. Ice cream.

All the door are open, and it's down to 78 in the office.

Streamed from 7-8, the last 5 minutes there were 6 lurkers and one chatter. I was talking about why we should just walk away from the Notre Dame cathedral. My argument is Jesus never built a temple or church - he despised them. He gave his sermons outdoors. And the Vatican ought to be raising money for the poor, not for a gaudy building.

Got a call from the manager of the contract agency which arranged the Comcast interview. I knew more than he did.

Ordered a nest thermo sensor for the bedroom. And a $50 k-cup coffee maker, which was supposed to be a same-day delivery but won't be here till tomorrow evening.

Plans for tomorrow:
Take the cover off the aircon unit
Set the nest for heat/cool mode. 72F ought to be okay. Last year I made the mistake of setting a wide range and ended up running the system 24 hours a day.
Get tickets for the Tabard show for Saturday if there are tables available.

This will be short

Up at 7:30 with Spook encouraging me to give her treats. So I did that and then went back to take a shower & get dressed. Found a t-shirt with a pocket so I wouldn't need to do up buttons or carry my phone in my back pocket.

The usual breakfast but with mint tea.

Mostly stayed in the recliner or in bed. Drank a lot of tea. Snacked a lot. At one point there were 4 storm chasers to follow. Caught up on a lot of Tivo.

The Orville from last week was pretty dark. The final happy ending shot was a stretch, and did not follow from the previous few scenes. All in all, though, they are back to their core values, minus the sense of humor.

Lunch was salad and PNB&J. Dinner was leftover pizza.

7-8 pm streamed, got some trolls, then  nothing.

Afternoon watched the bees on the garden flowers. Lots of honey bees, not lots of bumble bees. Roses this year are huge. Lots of poppies, and the CA Lavender is attracting bees too.

Very hot this afternoon, may need to take the cover off the aircon. Spook has not been comfortable in 80F. Neither have I.

New slippers did not work without their heels. :-(

Plans for tomorrow:
UPS, drop off returns
Bayshore park?

Sickly

Stuffed up and mild cough all night, the usual breakfast but with hot tea. Found a stash of dried crumbled mint leaves. Later plucked some fresh ones from the garden. Dinner time transitioned to Thai tea.

The expected 10 am phone call was a recruiter from a company called Live Planet  which makes VR cameras and related systems. 26-person start-up, only offering $25/hr for a QA role tells me they are not very serious about quality. They are in San Jose near the Tabard Theater. She will submit my resume and we'll see what happens.

Watched stuff on Tivo.

Mac & cheese & meatballs for lunch with garden plucked oregano. Tried to watch streamers but my eyes hurt.

Back to bed. Spook was already there. She did not make room for me. Petting her I found a mat, but she wouldn't let me work on it. When I'm feeling better I'll brush it out.

Woken up around 3:30 by a call from the contract recruiter for the Comcast job, can I make it too an on-site interview Friday at 1? Sure.

Up and dressed around 5, got the mail - in the mailbox was an Amazon order of a pair of slippers. WTF?

Recruiter called - managers won't be at work Friday, how about Monday? I suggested Thursday, forgetting (or ignoring) that it's Good Friday and people will be taking Thursday off too.

Another call, looks like it has to be Monday. Sure, fine.

Maybe I'll go to Great America's weekly hiring event Sunday. Could be theater tech work I can do.

More Tivo - Mysteries of the Abandoned. Some amazingly remote locations. Gold Rush has a mini expedition into the mountains of Papua New Guinea. So far they have managed to make friends with and not be eaten by the natives.

Plans for tomorrow:
More tea
More time in bed
If it's nice enough, maybe go to Baylands Park with my camp chair.

Best Day in a Long Time

Up at 7:30, Spook did her climbing Mt. Howard thing to let me know she was out of treats. She spent the whole night on the bed but out of petting range.

The broken Hgl meter was working again. Seems some of the cleaner fluid needed time to dry out. So now I have 3 working meters.

9:30 interview with Comcast hiring manager could not have gone better. He will be having the contract agency arrange an in-person meeting. Turns out their offices are not the ones near Lockheed, they are in the row at the end of Moffett Field near Amazon's megaplex. A whole 3 minutes further commute. He said they don't have car chargers - the ones there are only for Google. And my commuter tags will be useless because the commute is all on surface streets. I don't have them yet anyway. But the job is very close to what I want, and it is contract-to-hire.

Got all my vacation photos tweaked and online. The canyon shots all needed 3x contrast boost to make them viewable. Too many shots the GPS tagger missed.

LA
Grand Canyon Day 1
Grand Canyon Day 2

As I was uploading the last batch, Janice texted, she was at Peet's could we meet?

I drove over there, we talked for a couple of hours. I missed all the storm chaser activities as a result.

Have had a mild cold since Saturday.  Been treating it today with hot Thai tea.

Home, made a pizza for lunch. Forgot to press "start" on the timer so it came out a bit crunchy. Chocolate donettes a la mode for dessert.

Watched PTI, they were all about Tiger Woods' amazing comeback, which was aided greatly by the two other leaders hitting into the water at crucial moments. Luke Walton is now the coach of the Sacramento team, a political move inspired by LeBron, who effectively killed the Lakers instead of helping them. Walton led the Warriors through a major part of their last championship while Kerr was having back surgery. He's also a former star player, and son of star player Bill Walton. IMHO The Lakers should have kept Walton and sent LeBron to Sacramento.

Also watched a long series of Gold Rush episodes which Tivo thought was one show. 

Took a nap, Spook was already in bed. Up at 7, got dressed and out into the rain, to Cupertino, The Stein bar & grill which has an open mike night, and this time featuring heart throb Danielle, who was my favorite Little Shop of Horrors ragamuffin. After that show she starred in a couple of East Bay musicals, then found a career as a cruise ship performer. She has been gone far and wide for a couple of years. She was great in Little Shop, she is 10x better now. Amazing growth as a singer and performer. Well worth getting out of the house for, but unfortunately no one else from LSOH made it.


Home, watched part of Mysteries at the Museum, in which some researcher discovered there was an actual person The Headless Horseman was modeled after. A Hessian soldier decapitated by a cannonball while on his horse, buried in Irvington.

More Thai tea, odd to drink it hot. 

Delivered was a fingerprint sensor for the laptop, which did not appear to work until I noticed it wanted the finger pressed against it, not slid across it. Also delivered is a new wallet, which I'll mess with tomorrow. And a pair of Hgl meters, which will be returned, unopened, tomorrow.

Still on order is a pair of slippers.

Grand Canyon daredevil - there were 40 mph gusts, hitting suddenly and randomly. The guy in the green jacket on the right led people to the rim - no fear of heights at all. The woman, not so much.

Plans for tomorrow:
Up & breakfasted
10 am phone interview, but I am not sure what for. I think it's Ranstad, for a job at Walmart/Vudu
It may be for Live Planet, testing VR devices in San Jose.
Rest, get over this cold. Watch Twitch streamers. Maybe be one.

Gotta stop buying all the foods

Better sleep night, Spook was with me most of it. 8 am alarm, but she was already on the bed sitting up and yelling at me when the lights came on at 7:30. She got her treats but not till I was dressed.

Sprayed some Chlorox cleaner on a paper towel and wiped down the Hgl meter. And it gave an error code which meant a bad test strip. After the same error with four strips from two lots and a new battery, I called One Touch customer service, got a Hispanic woman who kept reading from her crib sheet well past the point where the questions made any sense. The error occurs as soon as a strip is inserted, well before it will accept blood, so don't ask me if I see the blood drop icon. Or if I wash my hands before taking a sample. I blew up at her (volume, still polite words) and finally hung up on her. The right response would have been "send it in, we'll replace it".

I have a duplicate meter which I kept at work, bu it wasn't in any of the usual drawers (four older meters were) or in the box of stuff from my last job.

Online, I ordered a pair from Amazon, but they wouldn't get here until tomorrow evening. A web search said WalMart has them in stock. $20 or so.

Lou was out across the street so I chatted with him & Margie.

Off to Milpitas, because in addition to a meter I also needed celery and large elbow macaroni. Ironically, as I arrived and plugged in the car, my blood sugar level dropped. Beeline to the bakery, grabbed a pair of apple fritters, ate one, and then snagged a Snickers bat and ate half before I was feeling better. Pharmacy, had to wait for someone to open the locked case, but got the meter. Never found the produce department or the pasta, but DiGiorno pizzas were on sale and so were Marie C turkey pot pies.

Out to the car, someone had unplugged the Leaf. It looked like it got a half hour charge, and my phone had a long list of alarms. The car was not just unplugged, the covers were closed and the front flap snapped in place. Maybe they have some minion who keeps an eye on the chargers. I plugged back in and sat in the car for about 20 minutes until it had a full charge.

Back towards home, stopped in at GO but they didn't have celery or macaroni but they did have a case of 8 mac-and-cheese microwave cups.

Home, took photos of the roses and videos of the bees on the lilacs. Phone rang, it was youngest sister. I put stuff away then called her back and we talked for more than an hour.

BofA, deposited the rebate check, got some cash. On to Lucky's, got macaroni and shells and celery and bananas. Mint chip ice cream too, I think. Or maybe that was GO.

Home, apparently my neighbor trimmed my verbena plant all around. I am fine with her trimming it on her side of the property, but she shouldn't be messing with my side. And in either case she should ask first.

Tried out the new meter, it worked fine and paired to the phone app.

Anyhow, now I had the fixings for stovetop stuffing but it's Too Soon after last night's disaster. Dinner started with salad, and then a turkey pot pie. Mochi for dessert.

Watched three episodes of PT except one was a baseball game and one started 10 minutes in after a baseball game. Tivo's EPG is not keeping up. Usually PTI is shown on ESPN2 when there's a ball game on ESPN.

Also watched a Secrets of Space Science on the search for extra-solar moons. And the latest from the scammers at Oak Island who didn't know that Nova Scotia meant New Scotland.

Taking something out of the fridge, I looked up and saw my work lunchbox, and remembered my spare meter might be in there. It was on the shelf behind that, along with my spare BP meter.

Just now I tried the meter from this morning, and it is working again. Must have gotten the sensor wet, and now it is dry. So when the two arrive from Amazon they will be returned. I think I'll switch to the WalMart one, and the other two can be spares.

Ordered slippers to replace the Birks.

Forgot to water the plants.

Plans for tomorrow:
9:30 phone interview with Comcast
water the plants
watch storm chasers
Work on a graphic for younger sister - she drew it, but her app makes it lumpy
It's probably going to rain.

Still kinda lagged

It was so nice sleeping in my own bed, close to sea level. I had really missed the ability to raise the head of the bed.

Doubled down on the Furosimide, having taken none since Sunday. I think that was a major part of the breathing issues, but taking it has me needing to pee right now!!!  which is not going to work on a series of long distance train rides or shuttle buses.

I think Spook slept on the bed with me, I can't remember. I do remember waking up at about 6 and checking to see if the drive E backup was done (it wasn't even close), and making many silly typos on FB.

Back to bed around 8, up for real at 10-ish. Banana & HB egg for breakfast. More mint tea. Mild cold symptoms, leaky nose, low grade cough. Took some Dayquil.

Caught up on FB, pared down email to just active job contacts. One clown sent the same JD 4 times, another twice.  think they are now blocked.

I know I have a phone interview 10 am Tuesday, but can't find any email on that, I think it was all done by phone.

Mail was delivered around lunchtime. It included the $2500 clean air rebate. And a reminder about Pear Slices. Costco catalog had nothing of interest. Chatted with the LPN who used to take care of my 100-year-old next door neighbor. The woman is 80 now, mostly stays in her house a few doors up the street.

Watched some NatGeo show on Tivo. Lunch was beef sausages and the last of the macaroni. GO doesn't carry it, I may need a Safeway or Lucky's run.

Ordered a fingerprint sensor for the laptop to replace the one which died. Also a wallet. Amazon tells me I tend to need a new one every 18 months. Need new birks, but not at $135 a pair. They are my in-house slippers, I suppose I should look for less expensive indoor footwear.

The E backup was done at 1:55, but immediately today's C backup took its place. When it was done around 2:30 I was able to power off the PC for a while, then slurp up the photos from the Nikon. All trip I took less than 400 pictures. This one was taken from about a mile away, using the 50mm lens. Cropped to about 10% of the original:

I got 4 shots of this idiot as he tried for a Darwin award. 30 mpg gusts when he jumped.

Tomorrow will batch tweak all the photos to auto-contrast + auto-tone or maybe auto-color. The weather conditions washed them all out. I may make the original of this one a 2020 calendar photo. See who gets it.

Dinner I was at a loss for, but found some stovetop stuffing mix in the cabinet with the dried beans. Chopped up an onion, threw in some mixed veggies because I did not have celery, made chicken broth from bullion powder. Had butter. Made the stuffing and tossed on a can of tuna.

It was awful. Despite the instructions to the contrary, it really does need to be baked.

A long time filker friend has been encouraging me to apply for jobs where she works, and I finally found one which might be a fit. Maybe. It's in marketing, doing web stuff.

Lots of Tivo recorded,  will watch some tomorrow.

Took a nap for 90 minutes, Spook slept parallel to me, easy petting range.

Hgl is back to normal, BP is a little low.

Filled the pill boxes for the week.

Plans for tomorrow:
Put the rolling suitcase in the shed
Distribute the dirty clothes to the appropriate hampers
Take the cover off the air conditioner & park it in the shed
Or not - rain predicted for Monday, lower temps tomorrow
Water the indoor plants
Garbage

Last Daze - more missed connections

Thursday I was up around 8, did not shower because it was still freezing and the rest of the day would mostly be spent sitting. The treadmills were replaced by rolling carts and vacuums. For a place where check-in isn't till 4 pm they sure start cleaning early.

Dressed, packed, watched some TV news, went across the street to the main building and checked out. Set up the laptop in the cafeteria but there was a very weak signal, even after moving closer to where others were online. One nice thing about this vacation package is they pick up the rolling suitcase from the room and bring it to the other end of the RR depot. I had my dino knapsack filled with camera, headphones, etc.

At about 11:30, since the GCRR train did not board till 3:15, I took the blue line to the visitors center. I was in search of a small water bottle an sunglasses. The bookstore/gift shop had a small metal mini-bottle in the youth section. The Nice Lady said they sold sunglasses down the way at the bike rental.

Bike rental/cafe had a very small supply of sunglasses, but I found a pair of ugly tortoiseshell polarized ones which can replace the ones in the car, and would be better than nothing for the long bright dome car ride.

On to the main visitor center just in time to see the movie. According to the web site: "Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder, a 20 minute movie that takes viewers on a rim to river and dawn to dusk journey through the park. Movie starts on the hour and half-hour."

People-watched for a while - lots of stretch pants, then blue line to the train depot, way too early. People watching there was Vietnam vets (some kind of convention, they had the same new hats on), the antidote to eye candy. None of them were in combat, which is mostly why they are still alive.

On the train at 3:10, again the outside is dead boring, so they had a guide entertain us with jokes and a buffet. No scones this time, but better stuff - chocolate chip squares, and a variety of those tiny square cake-on-the-inside-icing-on-the-outside things. Really good salami on the veggies and cheese plate. Diet coke. Guide handed out flutes and choice of Martinelli's and sham pain.

She made two toasts, one to "our military" which I ignored and one to "2019 - may all your pains be sham pains".

The sun was brutal, even behind the layer of low clouds, and my SPF was in the other bag. Major annoying sunburn. 

A truly excellent older cowboy with killer guitar and yodeling skills did some Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, etc. standards.

I was full from the train buffet, so skipped the buffet dinner. The shuttle to Flagstaff was due at 7:30, so at 6 I didn't think I would have time anyway.

A small but steady supply of eye candy was available in the lobby.

Shuttle was there on time, but it was a full van, and four people were late. Driver called dispatch, who said the 4 had canceled.

Flagstaff Amtrak, 8:15 pm, sign on the info desk says 8:30 train is late. 4.5 hours late.

I probably should have taken my bags and found a place for dinner. But I waited it out.

Just before midnight the train arrived, and boy was I glad to have upgraded to a sleeper.

For about a minute.

Used the restroom down the hall, passing the previous occupant - a very cute petite blonde in a black silk nightgown.

There isn't enough room in a roomette. Getting undressed was a contortion feat.

Lying on the bed was the wrong move, the top sheet and blanket were so tightly made I had to get up, stand in the 2 inches available between the bed and the door, and pull. Exhausting. Moreso at 7,000 feet. The whole night was a struggle in a too-narrow bed at elevation. The altimeter app on my Pixel 3 said we were still at 5500 feet after 2 hours.

Got some sleep, 6 am was woken up by a LOUD announcement that breakfast was being served at 6:30. The train was still 4+ hours late, but the food service is on its own schedule. So at 7 I got dressed, made a pit stop, and went to the dining room where they sat me at a table with a couple who were finishing eating. I was so very not hungry, ordered scrambled eggs and bacon, and an orange juice. Only managed to finish the eggs and half the bacon. There was a side of ugly roast potato slices and a bread croissant. When she delivered the food and asked if there was anything else, I asked for water. Which never arrived. Instead she parked herself across the aisle and chatted with the couple there. No tip.

Back to the room, it was now made up as a 2-seater, so for the rest of the trip I just sat and enjoyed the view. Windows too dirty for photos, a shame because I would have liked to take some. The camera stayed in the dino bag.

We arrived at LAX around 10:35 am - 2 hours, 35 minutes late. The Coast Starlight had left at 10:10. Most of the stranded passengers were going to Seattle, and the car attendant said we could catch up to that train by going to Barstow and taking the central valley train. But that connection is in Sacramento, I would have to transfer there to a southbound Capitol Corridor train. And looking on the Amtrak site, we were so late that even that connection was gone.

But I knew I could take the Surfliner to Santa Barbara and a Thruway bus to San Jose.

So...to the LAX Amtrak ticket line. 10 minutes for a window to open. Lazy woman sends me to Customer Services on the other end of the lobby. Almost as lazy woman gives me a slip authorizing the re-booking, says if the ticket lady has a problem with the bus connection, have her call a manager.

15 minutes in the ticket line. There are 6 windows, as soon as one opens two more close. Only one open, she closes when I am at the head of the line. Meanwhile I have to use my Theater Voice™ to send some local line skippers to the back of the line. Security everywhere, doing nothing.

As luck would have it, Lazy Woman 1 opens up. Looooooooong story short, she is on the phone with Amtrak Vacations for more than half an hour. When she finally gives me a new ticket, it is 11:40. The train leaves at 11:48. A golf cart arrives at the other end of the lobby just as I get there, takes me to the train, I am the last person to board, sent to the downstairs/handicapped seating on the end car. Fine with me, I didn't have the energy to climb stairs.

The Surfliner has the same great ocean views as the Starlight, but I'm on the other side of the car, and the sun is also on that side. Camera stays inside the bag. But I am wearing the ugly shades.

At Ventura we are sidetracked for 20 minutes, we will not make it to the bus connection in time. Except the thruway buses wait for the connecting trains, so I make it after all. There is no signage on the buses, but a driver standing by the bus asks where I'm going, and it is his bus. Rolling case loaded below, dino comes on board. Plenty of seats.

We make all the stops the train would, half an hour dinner break at a McDonald's in King City. It's a long ride, but no unexpected delays, and freeway most of the way. As we pull into San Jose, the clock on the bus says 23:56. Almost midnight? Feels like it. But my phone says it's 10 pm.

Stumble to the parking lot, my car is there, and not covered in dust.

Home in 20 minutes, Spook is at the carport door when I open it, and I manage to block her exit with the rolling case. She is very vocal, but she retreats to her space under the livingroom plant table.

Over the next hour or so I fire up the PC which immediately starts last Sunday's backup - full, so I'll be leaving it on overnight and most of tomorrow.

Plow through email. Phone interview with Comcast Monday at 9:30, and one at 10 am Tuesday but I can't remember who it's for.

Putting away things little by little. Leaving the bag of worn clothes to be sorted later. The jeans have seen enough action, it will be shorts from now on. House was at 75° when I arrived, one orchid looks fried. The one not in open sun.

Heated up some chicken soup, added matzo balls. Watched some Tivo as I ate =Graham Norton's story telling show (with clips from many very long ago seasons), The Zoo. There is only so much lemur surgery and endangered Chinese box turtle hatchings I can take in one sitting. To be continued. Three scoops of mint chip with Hershey's syrup, whipped cream & sprinkles.

To bed, Spook jumped right up and curled in close enough to be petted. Still vocal.

Woke up around 6, Hgl was >350. Insulin, and mint tea (remnants of dehydration cough). Facebooked, back to bed.

Plans for Saturday:
Finish unpacking
After the backup is done, turn off the PC for a bit, then download from the Nikon
The week's mail should be delivered today

Free Day catch up

My body was not built for 7,000 feet above sea level. I knew this from Denvention, which is only a mile high, but since then I have not gotten any younger. Shortness of breath after only walking a few feet, worse on an uphill grade. If I sit down I am not eager to stand back up, and will daydream in between. Dehydrated (yes, I carry water) which is not good because the CHF calls for less water than the average citizen. Even though I have been speed eating peanut M&Ms and had regular meals, and not injecting much insulin, my Hgl has been low. Did not bring my BP meter.

And then there's the weather. Tuesday was overcast, so photos of the parts of the rim we saw on the bus tour were not the best. But it was warm, spring-summer temps. The wind gusts were sometimes violent and always cold, but I was not surprised, being at the top of that vast canyon.

So of course for my free day yesterday I woke to half an inch of snow on the ground, and temps cold enough to keep it there.

The park buses are free, run every 15-20 minutes, and there are three routes out of 5 which hit different viewpoints.

The bus from the hotel to the general store was first, I bought immodium liquid and tablets, Afrin, diet Coke in bottles, two bananas, two HB eggs and chocolate dipped mini donuts.

Crossed the street - it was longer than it sounds - to catch the bus back to the hotel, medicate myself and drop off the food.

Back on the bus, this time to the bus station by the visitor's center. First bus Orange #1, up to a trailhead and then to Piper Point, where I got off and took photos. Minor breaks in the clouds, but we had snow flurries which got worse until the bus came.

I'd had enough for the morning, caught the Blue bus back to the hotel, had lunch in the main building.

The immodium was working, so blue bus to the visitor's center, looked around, then Orange #2 to Mather Point and I got off at the next stop, which has a geological museum with huge windows overlooking the canyon. Very cold and windy outside, but clouds were moving so I was outside taking pix till the bus came. Got some far-away photos of an idiot jumping for the camera, too near the edge, as the wind gusted.

Blue bus back to the hotel, Amtrak Vacations was able to upgrade my Flagstaff-LA to roomette, for basically full price minus senior discount. Worth it.

In the main building, dinner was the driest smoked pork loin ever, but the mashed and cole slaw were great. Apple pie was still partly frozen. I looked into the pizza pub, but they only sold 16" whole pizzas, 12"gluten free (no thanks) and slices.

The hotel room was very noisy. People upstairs and next door sounded like they were using treadmills. Or roller blades. I watched some TV, there was no guide, and the channels were all mixed around. Found local news/weather.

Restless night. Woke up at 11:30 pm for water and Afrin. Kept having the same dream, something about Facebook friends from high school, which reminded me of what should have been my First Time, Lois took us out to the back of a field, and pretended sleep expecting me to take the hint. I had no idea. Knew nothing about sex. Lucid dreaming, I navigated to the time we made up for that.

But up almost every hour, same dreams.

Plans for Thursday:
Pack up
Check out by 11
Write this
Bus to train depot by 3
3:30 train to Wilson
7:30 shuttle to Flagstaff
Amtrak to LA

Tags:

More Delays, finally see the canyon

One delay leads to another in Amtrak land, so we were more than an hour late getting to Flagstaff. I did not see the thruway bus to Williams, so I waited in the station till someone opened up the info desk. He said it was a shuttle, and they had been out there since 4, waiting. I had seen the shuttle but it said Phoenix on it. Walked out to it and he knew my name. Yes, going to Williams.

We're about to leave with me as the only passenger when a guy asks if he can buy a ticket. Driver says no, this is a private Amtrak Vacations run, he needs to wait till Amtrak buses arrive at 7:30. Then a family straggles up, they have tickets but they are for yesterday. Amtrak let them on the train anyway. I was in that shuttle for 45 minutes while driver & Amtrak worked it out. He took all 6 of us.

We get to Williams, the receptionist trades my many vouchers for many tickets. Breakfast buffet in another building, looked great but was too bland to eat except for the bacon and tall glass of OJ. The guy who needed the ride from Flagstaff is busing tables.

7:30 am and I'm pissed off because I had not gotten any sleep on the train, and that delay with the shuttle was nothing to worry about because we didn't actually have to be there till 9.

Put the 28-300 lens on the camera.

9:30 wild west show free with the canyon train ride, totally juvenile. Two old ragged horses were never ridden, actors' mikes only 2 of 4 worked well enough to hear. Lots of dust from wind gusts.

Finally it was over and we boarded the train. I barely fit up the stairs to the dome car. My side of the car was the sunny/dusty side.

63 miles at 30 mph, all barren desert except for being dotted with burned and starving Ponderosa pine shrubs. Nothing to take pictures of. No view of the canyon at all.

There was a guide who never shut up except when the marshal from the wild west show paid a visit, and then a guitar playing singer serenaded us with country songs. He kept changing the tune from the original, and when he did he usually sang off key and mumbled. He had a habit of ending sentences with "nnnnnn".  There was a small self-serve buffet, sodas on ice, OJ, ice water, trail mix, scones. The dome car is "luxury seating".

Off the train, boarded a tour bus and in about 5 minutes got to a canyon viewpoint.

My first impression is it is not as impressive as Yosemite because it's so far away. Yosemite you're right inside the gigantic rock structures, Grand Canyon it goes out for miles. Also, it was overcast, so not a lot of color or contrast. I'll probably be able to tweak that in Photoshop.

We walked around one viewpoint for 15 minutes and the next one for half an hour. I found a nice picnic table facing the canyon and watched the clouds move, changing the sun effects. The rails are not high enough or safe enough for me. Two people fell to their deaths last week.

We're at the Maswick Lodge by about 1:30. Check-in is 3 on my vacations docs but 4 on the hotel's. The receptionist says my bag is in the room, but it's upstairs, walk-up.  I ask for a ground floor room, it takes 10 minutes to arrange that, including moving my bag, and the new room is not ready yet. Check back in an hour.

There's a food court, I get some apple juice and a piece of chocolate cake, put the tray down to get some ice cream, tray falls on the floor, big mess. Refill the apple juice, pay for the spilled one too, grab a lot of napkins because the tray is flooded.

It's uncomfortably warm in the dining area, so when I'm done I wait outside. Nice day, 60's, when the wind isn't gusting it's warm, but gusts up to 40 mph chill the air. Lots of interesting people, tourists and employees.

2:30, room not ready. 3:00 same. 3:30 finally. Got a key and a map, but go off in the wrong direction. Awkward because not having taken any immodium, and the lack of sleep combine to make my bottom want to leak.

Finally find the room, spend a lot of quality time on the throne.

Get undressed, set an alarm for 7 pm, sleep for an hour, more throne time, then up at 6:59. More throne time.

Outside next door is a credit card Coke machine and ice machine. Got ice and a Coke Zero and a diet Coke to bring upstairs. Take my meds from last night and this morning, and steal an extra immodium from Friday's stash.

Fire up the laptop, wi-fi connection keeps dropping and is lame when it is on. Phone connects better. Tried to stream, but no go. Tried to tether to the phone, but somehow I'm down 3GB of data.

Checked email. A couple of possible jobs, but I gave quick "I don't have access" messages.

Back to the food court, hoping to get beef stroganoff,  which was on the lunch menu, but instead it is turkey breast, No thanks. Grabbed a chef's salad, cola chocolate cake & ice cream but had to cut it short and find the restroom.

Brought the cake back to the lodge room, but it seems to be part of the problem. More - but this time minor - throne time, threw away the cake, stole another immodium from Thursday = (they didn't sell them at the hotel shop) and settled down to journal.

Two diet Cokes and a Coke Zero seem to help. My dad used to give us cola syrup for tummy problems.

Put the 50mm back on the Nikon.

About the lodge. It's a rustic set of out buildings, each one has a name (mine's Aspen), two floors, 4 rooms left and 4 right per floor. They gave me 2 queen beds, work table & chairs, major power strip by it, on the night table is a clock with 2 USB outlets and 2 3-prong AC outlets, so I can charge the tablet and the phone. Basic tub/shower with liquid soap/etc dispensers. Lots of hot water. Lots of towels, heavy comforters on the beds. Dresser, TV, mirror, overhead fan. Back sliding door leads to a community set of wooden lounge chairs with a view of the parking lot. I am extremely disappointed because the travel agent said this was near the canyon rim, but it isn't. The rim is out of sight half a mile away. No view.

Plans for tomorrow:
Do some free bus riding, Find a store which sells immodium and lactaid. The rest depends on the weather. It looked threatening.
Call Amtrak, try to upgrade to a sleeper for the return to LA. Return to San Jose is not a problem since it's all daylight.
One more night in the lodge.

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