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Showing posts from May, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway

Yesterday, I made a special trip out of my way from Charlotte, NC to Richmond, VA all the way west to Roanoke, VA so that I could spend today cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I woke up early and gassed up. It was easy to follow signs in Roanoke to the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a special road around which the natural beauty has been carefully maintained. The speed limit is usually 45 MPH or less to encourage cruising and gawking. There were also viewpoint turnouts every few hundred feet and lots of people were biking or hiking along the road, giving it all a very casual atmosphere.
Our first stop was at a place over looking a railroad track. And as luck would have it, a train was going by just as we pulled up, so I let River watch it before we got out to play.

I left this video without much narration because I wanted to capture a bit of the peacefulness that this drive offered. It was the dictionary definition of bucolic splendor.



I didn't make it all the way …

A Little More North Carolina

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This was gig added at a later date and not on the original plan. But my friend and colleague, Kate Finlayson found out I was coming through her town and asked if I could fit in a gig at Joy of Movement studio in Pittsboro, NC.

I had originally had a class set up at a fitness facility that later had second thoughts about allowing River in. So we cancelled that date. It worked out perfectly because I was able to give it to Kate.

River and I stopped to play in a park on the way out of Rock Hill, South Carolina.

I miscalculated how long it would take, with traffic to get to the motel. I was again afraid I was going to be late to class. I'm usually good at not getting myself into these jams, but for some reason, I've been caught off guard by ridiculous traffic conditions lately.

I got to the motel and quickly took the fastest shower I could, shaved, and put in my contacts and got immediately back in the car and headed to the studio.

Turns out I made it in plenty of time. The stud…

South and North Carolinas

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I woke up in Tucker and was shocked when I took River out for his morning walk and saw Georgia in the parking lot. It looked like a totally different color. I thought I saw it as green; almost like slate. In the dark of the night before it looked very dark grey.

It was going to be another epic day. My third in a row.

This day was all orchestrated by Sherrie Flack. She rented a gorgeous ballroom in Fort Mill, South Carolina and attracted a shimmering group that really got into the wearing of the metallic clothes.

The class was brilliant and we all had a blast.



Then many of us caravanned over to Gail Coplin's house for a pot luck lunch. After lunch, I led a two hour 8BC barring workshop for seven ladies. I felt really good about the progress we made; it seemed like everyone left with a lot more clarity on the practice. And then, I had about three hours until teaching another class at a yoga studio in North Carolina. I went back to my room and napped for about twenty minutes and th…

Thumper and Georgia

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It had been on my mind for a while. I was unhappy with the moon roof in Thumper. It was glass and didn't block the sun from beating down on my head. There was no relief from relentless UV rays on the top of my head. After a couple of hours of midday driving, I could feel a burning sensation on my exposed skin.

So I knew I was going to trade it in for a new one, or get it fixed with a decal. I wasn't fond of the decal idea because then I have a defaced moon roof. I thought it made more sense to just get a hard top.

Once I set my mind on something I like to act. I don't like to wait. I had all day to go just about three hours to my next destination and no classes to teach until the following morning. So I stopped into the local Mini dealership to inquire about what my situation would be and my options on inventory and leasing over buying, etc.

To make a long story short, I traded cars.



I'll miss some things about Thumper. He had keyless entry and automatic locking and t…

Georgia

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This is actually still the same day as Alabama, but a different state, so I made it a new post. I drove right from the class in Cullman, to the guy who didn't have any soap and from there on to Decatur, Georgia.

I lost an hour crossing over from Central to Eastern Time and barely made it to the Decatur Recreation Center in enough time to walk River in the park and eat some cashews and strawberries before class started. The traffic going through Atlanta was so incredibly slow, that I had to scrap my original plan of going to the motel room and showering and eating before class. Instead I drove directly from one class to the next.

Although I had rinsed my costume in the sink in Alabama, I didn't use soap (still hadn't found any) They were dry by the time I was putting them back on in the Decatur Rec Center restroom as I had laid them flat on the back platform in the car under the rear window. They dry quickly from the sun and the wind. But as I put them on, I was aware that …

Alabama

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The sign, welcoming us to Alabama says, "Alabama the Beautiful."

And my first impression was that it was indeed beautiful, and it was also very humid and hot.

It is very peaceful, too. I feel a calmness in the air that slows me down a bit; it's nice. Even the speed limits on the streets and highways seem slower than average.

I found a farmers market and got some turnip greens and some tomatoes and cucumbers and strawberries. The greens farmer was talking my ear off about the nutrional value of the stems of the greens and various vegetables, and how his son grew the biggest pumpkin in the county this year. All the while with turnip greens in his teeth.

River got lots of loving attention at the market, and after shopping with me, I let him sniff around in the weeds behind the market before we took off for class.

Ann Caretti was the producer for my Goldfinger class at the Cullman Recreational Center, in Cullman Alabama, and her students were so lovely and came dressed in t…

Mississippi

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Leaving New Orleans, in the morning, we headed out of state, bound for Atlanta, Georgia. I was planning on giving Mississippi a miss, but mid-Mississippi, Thumper needed to refuel and River needed to (ahem) "stretch his legs". So we pulled over in ...
I enjoyed our quick stop in MS because when I walked into the store to pay for my gas, I got to hear the clerk, with her head in the hotdog machine, saying, without irony, "Gaggumit. Ah! Dagnabbit"

The drive through the south was surprisingly lush. I didn't know it, but I must have I had this mental image of the south being more barren. I was surprised that there is a decent amount of greenery and a lot of trees.

And there is certainly no shortage of bugs.





New Orleans

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New Orleans was a day off for me. I couldn't get anything going here so it's just a break from driving to my next gig, which is just outside Birmingham, Alabama.
It was fun driving into Louisiana and going over all the bridges and looking down at the swamp land below. I never saw any gators. 
As soon as we crossed the state line, we stopped at a Rest Area called Bienvenu Lake.



We arrived at the motel in just enough time to eat and go outside to play on the lawn before the sun went down. And I spent the rest of my evening eating the food that Georgia cooked for me, and catching up on my blogging.

Houston

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I don't know what it is about Houston or Mini Nav, but they don't get along. As far as Thumper is concerned, NiaMoves does not exist, nor does the entire street that it's on. Also, the street that the Motel 6 was on is not an option in my Mini Nav. Fortunately I had Siri and I can use my iPhone to get around Houston.

The Motel 6 had a giant lawn area that River loved to explore. I let him run around out there as long as he wanted to. And eventually he led us out to the parking lot. I remembered that it was the last time we were in Houston that we discovered the very sharp burrs that are in Texas wild grass, so I steered him back to the big lawn. He seemed over the lawn, so I guided him to the other side of the
building where our room was.

I got up early for an 8am class that was a great way to start the day. We had maybe 20 people in class And three of them were fairly new, so I'm glad it all went well and people seemed to be enjoying it.



The highlight of my day wa…

Corpus Christi

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The ride into Corpus Christi took longer than expected. I started off avoiding highways, just for fun but quickly realized that even using the highways, it was going to be four hours, so I was in for about five hours of driving through much of the same type of surroundings as I'd seen for the past three days.

To break things up, I like to take frequent stops and just run or stretch or explore the area on foot.

I was irritated because my calf or my foot, or both, were in spasm and I couldn't get comfortable. And in hindsite I guess that's why River was acting strange that day and didn't want to get back into the car when we made our first stop and stretch break.

I won't force him or order him to get back into the car. I have a suggestion tone and a command tone and I use the suggestion tone around the car hoping to keep it pleasant for him; and usually he's cool with it when it's time to go. But today he said "no".

I hung out with him for a long ti…

San Antonio

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The drive from Austin to San Antonio is a short one if the most direct route is taken. And I had nothing to do this day, so I set my navigation to take me on back roads and avoid highways. We took a nice, long drive with lots of stops.

Getting into San Antonio I was struck by how historic the town is; like a classic mission town, steeped in its Mexican history. I felt like I was entering Mexico with all the taco stands and the billboards in Spanish. Whereas yesterday, in Austin, I woke up to the smell of bacon, here in San Antonio is was taquitos filling the morning air.

And in the middle of all of this pastiche was a place called The Pearl. A post-modern retail development with an industrial look that houses a culinary school and a restaurant, many office spaces and the Synergy Studio, where I brought my Goldfinger routine. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it. What impressed me was how nondescript everything was. There was no signage or words of any kind. It felt like stan…

Austin

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The plan was to drive from Dallas and arrive in Austin to teach class late that same night. There were no weather abnormalities nor anything to upset the drive, which was quite simple and straight-forward.


I arrived in Austin with enough spare time to meet with a massage client. Someone answered my ad and requested a very gentle massage. I set him up with a time, but he called fifteen minutes late and was confused about the address. I gave it to him again and apologized for not knowing the lay of the land better, to help him find it. (I actually didn't have any trouble finding the place, myself.)

Another twenty minutes goes by and he's called three times, trying to hone in on the motel. He was very apologetic and said his biggest concern was that if he couldn't make it in time that I wouldn't get my funds, and he wanted to make sure I got paid. I told him not to worry about the time. I did have to leave at a certain time to make it to class on time, but I would go for…

Dallas

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Amarillo was extremely windy the morning we left. I had heard that Dallas was experiencing some weird weather, but it seemed like it was going to be moving out just as I was getting there.

But the closer I got to Dallas, the more grey the sky got. By the time I was in Dallas, the rain was coming down so hard that it was flooding all the street corners and making it hard to see. The windshield wipers were having a hard time keeping up with the volume of rain pouring down on us.

People on the street were getting routinely soaked by cars driving through the accumulated floodles at each corner. That's a word I made up to mean very large puddles that quickly formed due to massive and sudden amounts of rain.

And then the lightning started. It was really impressive, bolt lightning. At one moment I saw a bolt hit what looked like a cell phone or electrical relay tower. And it lingered and seemed to be striking repeatedly. I'd never seen lightning behave like that before.

I had just…

Amarillo

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I took the scenic route from Santa Fe to Amarillo by directing my navigation to Las Vegas, NM. first, and then catching 287 through Childress. It’s not like it was an unpaved residential road, but it was a far cry from the major I-40. I think it only added about half an hour to the trip, but it took me through small towns of 122 population and took a lot more interesting twists and turns than the big highway. It was a fun drive. 

Amarillo was dry and windy. I was happy to stay indoors and do nothing. I had plenty of food and no responsibilities, so I just relaxed.

By placing an ad in Craigs List, I connected with a man who was a teacher in the psychiatric prison. He offered to bring some hair-clippers over to my room and supervise my cutting my hair so I didn’t miss any spots in the back. And then he took River and I to what is probably Amarillo’s second biggest claim to fame, Cadillac Ranch. (I’d think the Route 66 song was its biggest.)

The sculpture has been painted so many times…

New Mexico

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Driving into New Mexico was thrilling, as we drove through major, zero-visibility dust storms and were pelted relentlessly by tumbleweeds. At first I was swerving to try to avoid them, but after hitting one, I realize that they disintegrate upon impact. The only ones that I was still leery of were the ones that moved very slowly. They seemed thick. But fortunately, were easily avoided.

We stopped in Albuquerque to teach a class. I arrived well over an hour early so we stopped and played for a while in a nearby park.




Class was full and we had an awesome time. The last time we were at this studio, River wasn’t allowed in. He was sequestered outside, but a student took pity on him and quickly drove him to her house to be out of the heat while we were in class. This time, River was allowed in. I was about to pass by Albuquerque without teaching Goldfinger, but after a chat with Ashley, the manager of Studio Sway, we came to an agreement that River could be inside with us.

After class, …

Out of Arizona

I started out the morning by calling Flagstaff Athletic Club once more to see if my hoodie showed up. And surprisingly, it was there! So I headed over to pick it up before getting on the road toward Albuquerque.

In Navaho Country, I stopped to get gas and was approached by a woman named "Cheyenne"; a name she said she got in prison. She had crooked teeth and smelled of alcohol and was asking me for some money for McDonald's. I told her not to eat that crap, but that I'd give her an apple. This touched her and inspired her to come close to me, grab my arm and with eyes full of tears, tell me I should call my mother and that I should apologize to my brother because I was in the wrong. I had a feeling she would have loved to stand and chat at the gas pump for hours, but I extracted myself and drove off.

A few more miles down the road, I saw a sign and decided we had enough time to investigate what I thought sounded like an interesting state park. It was not.


We didn'…

Arizona: Sedona and Flagstaff

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I slept in a surprisingly comfortable recliner chair last night and River slept the night in his crate. He’s becoming so mature. This is the second time on our many travels that he’s slept in his crate all night. He always does at home, but in foreign places, he wants to crawl in bed with me.

Alba had set up a french press, a kettle filled with water on the stove and a grinder full of ground coffee for me in the kitchen. So I woke up with the sun and went into the kitchen to make my coffee.

I took River for a walk and was surprised at how cold it was. My whole life, every time I’d ever been in Arizona it was always blistering hot, so it was odd for me to feel this 55ยบ weather this morning.

A couple hours later, Alba came by with a glass of homemade kefir. She took such good care of me. She also boiled me some eggs and gave me an apple and some almonds so I wouldn’t be hungry on the road. And she filled my water bottle with filtered water.

I packed up the car and Alba, her husband Fitz…

Beautiful Sedona

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The window in the Las Vegas Motel 6 room was not the kind that opened. I thought it was creepy that one could not open a window and get fresh air. Las Vegas is not the place to go for appreciation of nature, that’s for sure. Well, I need fresh air when I sleep, and I’m certainly not going to breathe the air that has traveled through the unclean filters of the in-room air conditioning system. Anytime I’ve actually turned one on, within moments I can feel the back of my throat protesting.

So I connected the latch on the door, which allows it to be left ajar and yet secure and was able to sleep with access to real air. I’m glad we weren’t in mosquito country.

We took a walk all around the motel grounds first thing in the morning. I was amazed at how different Las Vegas is in the morning compared to the night before. Without all the glitzy flashing lights, it’s really a drab, barren place.

We got in the car and got the heck out of there.

Driving through this arid desert part of the countr…