Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I Have Functional Aphasia

I wrote this yesterday in my frustration.  It seemed to me that I was not taking seriously by my "friends" in my new home area of New Mexico.I was feeling that my comments and suggestions are not considered. Treated like a "country bumpkin" instead of the intelligent college educated senior.
I have functional aphasia...
My aphasia was caused by a stroke where I piece of my heart valve broke off and when into my brain. I was lucky to be in the hospital when my heart went South. The stroke on the left side of my brain left me with “functional aphasia”.
For some reason, health care professionals seem to avoid telling us that we have Aphasia.
I first remember hearing that term when reading a proof copy of “Let Me Die Laughing” by Megan Timothy. (Crone House Publishing, 2006). It sounded like I had some similar symptoms. I do not recall any reference to aphasia in the hospital or with my speech therapists.
It was time to surf the web to get more information. I found just what I was looking for. There is a wealth of information on the National Aphasia Association web site. (http://www.aphasia.org/)
Aphasia causes problems with processing language. It does NOT diminish intelligence. I know what I want to say, it just does not come out. My friends know about my speech problems. They know how to work with me. My problem is when I meet and converse with people that do not understand what I have gone through and how it is difficult at time to speak. They think that I am uneducated.
This really upsets me. In Junior year in high school, I won the county math contest. I was the was the #1 boy (5th overall) graduated in my high school senior class of over 160. That was in the collage-prep curriculum, including 5 year’s worth science courses and 5 math (including calculus) courses. Case Institute of Technology gave me early acceptance to college for Electrical Engineering.
My stroke was bad enough, that I had to relearn to read, understand, speak, and write.
In the hospital, the speech therapist started right away. I would hardly able to stand or walk, but they started working with my language skills. Some days I wished they would just leave me alone. I was tired, sore, not looking for a talk. But they preserved, thankfully.
Every time they came into the room, that asked my name, birthday, and some other questions. Really, at first, I did not the answers to those questions. At least I was unable to communicate to them.
Now writing, that was a trip. I could mimic writing a letter, but did not remember how to I used to write them. (That’s 1 letter, not even word or sentence). Same for numbers.
I don’t remember if we used flash cards in the hospital, probably we did.
It was frustrating, to look at something, know in my mind what it is, but just could not vocalize to write down what it was.
About the day before I was to be discharged from the hospital, I was able to really write my own name. I should say “scrawl” my name – to a point that I recognized my signature.
With discharge from the hospital, my treatment changed with VNA. Sessions were held 3 times a week for nearly an hour. At the end of a session, I would have a headache.
We would start the conversation, how have I been, problems with my language, others. There will be work with flash cards. One deck were pictures, which I had to say what the item is. Another deck was of words, which I was to say. I was not looking forward to those – that really taxed my brain. But each session I was doing better, running through the cards faster.
There was a time for working on my writing skills. That started practicing writing single letters, progressed to words, and on to simple sentences. Most days there was homework to be accomplished before the next session.
When a line for meds was removed, I was not longer under the care of VNA. My Speech therapy was transferred to Jenny Edmonson Hospital.
After my speech therapy, I continued to work on my speech (and especially writing skills). I continue constructing my website. I started a cycling (which has turned into a general topic) blog. I have been working on writing my memoirs.
The problems with perception with other folks continue. At times I am happy that people do not understand that I have these speech problems. Other times, people make fun of me when I choose the wrong words or have problems pronouncing the right words. At times, I feel that my thoughts and ideas are not considered, because of my speech problems. Even when they are written down, they are ignored.
My aphasia is manifesting it with:
Problems with numbers – I am an engineer. Numbers were easy for me. Now I struggle with adding tips on a restaurant bill. I used to be able to add dimensional lumber in my head – I have given up on that.
Fast talkers – I do not like people that seem to in a hurry when they talk. It takes time for my brain to process the sounds. Then, when I ask folks that talk slower because I am having problems understanding then, invariably the talk louder, not slower.
Telephones – Sometimes it is difficult to understand speech on the phone. Really difficult to write down numbers when speaking on the phone.
Background – If more than 1 conversation going on, the person I am talking with needs to talk directly to me. If not, mostly I will not hear/understand you.
Noisy Places – Crowds and noisy places – forget it. It takes me a lot of concentration to hear and process speech. And, I get a headache.
At times, I get assembly directions wrong. My mind thinks it knows what it's doing, but ends up wrong and I re-assemble things a couple times.
Here’s how you can help (me) a person with aphasia:
Speak slowly and succinctly.
Look at the person, speak to them. Establish eye contact.
Make sure you have their attention.
Turn down distractions (radio, TV, etc.)
Give the person time to speak. Do NOT finish words or thoughts for the person.
Do not ridicule the person when they use the wrong word. Do not correct it unless the person specifically asked for help
Communicating is always a task for me. I have been working on this for over 12 years. Some days are better than others. First thing after getting up and when tired at the end of a day, my speech goes out. All as I ask is that you consider what I have gone through to get to my current level of speech, and not ridicule me.
Tom Winfield

Friday, June 30, 2017

Back to New Mexico

The last day on the road.  Coming out of Cortez, CO, I had to find the NW New Mexico landmark "Shiprock".  The formation is located several miles SW of the town of Shiprock.

From there, I drove East to Farmington.  Instead of the direct route on US 550, I drove Rt 371 South.  The goal was to take photos at the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness.  I had seen photos of the unusual rock formation at Bisti.

Was able to drive into the area and got several good photos.  The best shots are actually along Rt 371.

Back into Rio Rancho early afternoon.  Stopped by the post office to get my mail and resume delivery.  Also had a Blizzard at the local DQ.  It is good to be back home.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pizza & Beer

The second evening on the trip I got my "cowboy" on for dinner.  I had a hankering for pizza.  First night in Reno we had some chain-store pizza,  Tonight, I was looking forward to a good, local pizza.  The Main Street Brewery delivered!  Had a tasty 10" medium crust pepperoni pizza with some peppers.  I washed down the pizza with water and a local light amber ale.

Colorado 141

I took the scenic route (Colo Rt 141) out of Grand Junction to Cortez.  This is a beautiful drive and the weather was perfect for it.  Most of Colo 141 is in a canyon.  Some interesting rock formations.  Stopped at a store in Gateway for electrolytes.

At Naturita, CO, my route changed to Colo 145 toward Telluride.  Did not detour into the town of Telluride. I was surprised its so far out in the nowhere for a major ski destination.

Settled into my hotel in Cortez.  Went downtown to the Main Street Brewery for a nice peperoni pizza and a pint of amber ale.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SLC to Grand Junction

Headed out of Salt Lake City.  Was mostly a boring drive down to Moab.    As I neared Arches National Park, I saw signs that the park was closed.  It was about noon. I could see vehicles driving the park road to the exit, but not into the park.  I later learned that it was so hot, they were allowing folks to come into the park early in the morning, but no hiking of the trails.  Then the park closing as it got too hot.

Was planning to drive the LaSal Loop.  The last time I was in the Moab area, the road was closed for construction.  When I neared the road, I learned it was again closed for construction.  Drove a few miles, anyway, to see the scenery.

Back-tracked to Moab.  Found out what's happening at the Visitor's Center.  Drove CO 126 along the Colorado River.

Found my hotel in Grand Junction (would have liked to stay in Moab, but room rates are too high).  filled up the gas tank ready for the scenic drive tomorrow.  Early to bed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SLC Friends

Settled into my room in SLC.  Made plans to visit with Danny & Ricky the next mornig.  They were Nature's landlords when he first moved from Las Vegas to SLC.  Dinner at a sports bar a block from my hotel.

Had a nice visit and lunch.  Went to the Levi's outlet in Park City (wanted a pair of white 501's).  Rested that evening.  Repacked for the last 2 nights on the road.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Great Basin National Park

Sunday seemed to be a good day to check out the Ward Coke Ovens and Great Basin National Park.  When I got to the coke ovens, I saw the state wants $7 for using the state park.  I thought that was a little high, since I just wanted to take a couple photos (which I did).

Stopped at the Great Basin Visitor's Center.  Picked up stuff in the store and checked the park map.  Drove the park road, stopping to snap several photos.  Nothing much else doing there since the cave tour was filled and I was not in shape to do any hiking.  Back to Ely, processed photos and repacked the car.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Night in Ely

After my train ride on the Nevada Northern Railway, I headed to my hotel.  It was time to check out what happens on Saturday night in Ely.  From what the hotel clerk, not very much.

Being Saturday evening, I showered and got my "cowboy" on.  Though it was rumored to ne a little pricey, I needed a good burger and large glass of craft beer.  Rack's did not disappoint me.

It was an nice evening, so opted to eat on the patio.  The burger was served on a "pretzel" bun.  The food was washed down with a 24 oz glass of Angle Creek Amber Ale.

Not much else going on in Ely on a Saturday night.  Anyway, my belly was sated, so I headed to the room for sleep.

Nevada Northern Railway

After breakfast in Austin, I drove through Eureka and on to Ely.  Drove on North to check out the Pony Express exhibit (nothing to write home about).  Made reservations for this evening train ride.  Had some problems with my reservation (they were expecting the week before).

Rested in the room and then headed to the train.  Nice weather for a train ride.  Was a little over 2 hour ride including the "hooky" staged train robbery and skit at "Keystone".

Sleepy Town

I knew it was  too far to drive from Reno to Ely and still see the sights.  Overnight in the sleepy town of Austin, NV.  Food establishments close by 4m and 6pm.  Had lunch when I got in town (bacon cheeseburger & fries).  checked out the Stoke's Castle (local landmark). Early to bed.

Breakfast at the same place (the other place in town is owned by a "Trumper" (signs all over the building) and I would not patronize their place if it was the only place in town.

On down US50 toward Ely.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Attended the 199th LIB Reunion banquet.  The hall was bitter cold - I was not comfortable.  When I got my food and sat back down, I was shivering.

Good turn-out.  I estimate over 200.  Will write more later.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Virginia City

Wednesday I headed up to Virginia City to play "tourist".  It was about noon when I got theer and just too busy on the main street,  (no parking) so I went back to Reno, planning to try again Thursday.

Did some walking down the street.  Suddenly, the stomach was giving my problems.  I knew I had to kill the tour and head back to the hotel.  Was able to get a couple photos before I had to head back.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Recovery Day

Slept in a bit, getting a good night's sleep.  Was thinking of having a breakfast.  When to the hospitality room and had a donut and cup of coffee.  That seemed to satisfy my hunger.  Visited in the hospitality room for a while.

About noon, I headed to the room and car to exchange luggage.  Needed to get a bag of clean clothes. Also took a nice nap before thinking of a early dinner.

Checking out the offerings at the hotel(s) I settled on the Brew Brothers Microbrewery.  Had a 22oz glass of their "Redhead Amber Ale" and their BBQ Bacon Burger w/ fries.  The amber ale was a little hoppy for me, but tolerable. .The burger was great - just enough sweet BBQ sauce to flavor the sandwich, while not overbearing.

The best part of the meal was the price.  I happened in there during "happy hour".  My burger & fries was only $5 and the big beer was also $5.  The hotel gave us reunion attendees $10 per day chits for food and drinks. So, dinner cost me $2.50 with tax and tip!

Short visit a couple other vets in the hospitality room (3/7th guys).  Pill time and call it a day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

199th LIB Reunion

Short drive Monday from S. Lake Tahoe to Reno.  Checked into the hotel, thankfully may room was available even though it was wat before check-in time.  Went to the 199th hospitality room and picked up my registration packet.

This was the first problem I had with my registration.  My name was spelled correctly on the registration envelop,but both the last name a location was wrong.  Got that corrected.

Settling into my room.  I could not log onto the hotel wi-fi,  Kept giving me an error message.  Had problems understanding the IT person (eventually asked for a person without the heavy accent). As it turned out, someone had spelled my name wrong! Guess they do not check my ID and credit card at check-in.  On top it all, when I turn on my TV, they have my name wrong.  URGH,

Back to the hospitality room for the memorial and opening session...The session was supposed to last 45 minutes, but the Chaplain was too long-winded.  Besides, I did not understand what he we trying to preach about as it did not make sense for me.  Ended up with pizza party hosted by the reunion. 

Bodie State Park

Just a few mile from Lee Vining was the road to Bodie, CA.  The ghost town of Bodie.  The dry climate has helped the preservation of the structure in this town.  The state has turned in into a state historic park.

It was very interesting to see this old town in the mountains of California.  Walked part way in town, until my legs were telling me to turn back because I still have to walk back to the parking lot.  Did take s rest and visited for a California local before the return walk.

Drove the mountain roads to South Lake Tahoe.  Too early to find and check into my room.  drove the roads around the lake.  Took at some photos on the California side of the lake.  Back in S. Lake Tahoe, it was time to find my room and settle in for the night.  By the time I got into my room, I was too tired to think about finding food.   Processed the day's photos and crashed into bed.

On to Reno and my Army Reunion...

Lake View Lodge

 While it was an expensive room for my budget) it was a nice, large room

Sandwich , salad, & brew at the Epic Cafe.  Just what I needed to end the day in Lee Vining, CA.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mono Lake

Had a full breakfast (eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast & coffee between trips to the car reloading from the room.  Was going to have a dinner last night, but just too tired from the boring drive.

The drive today wasn't much better until I get closer to the mountains and Mono Lake.  Checked out the view at the first view area along Rt 120.  Not to see there.

A little further down Rt 120, I found the South Tufa area of the lake.  Was ready to pay the $3 fee, when they asked if I had any of several card (like my National Park Seniors Pass).  Was a bit of a hike to view the formations.I grabbed my walking stick and headed down toward the lake.  Exhausted by the time I was back to the car.  Glad I also was wearing my knee braces.

Room was not ready, yet.  Treated myself on to a ice cream (soft-serve) cone.  Also drove a little further North from the village of Lee Vining to see if there were any other formations I could see and photograph.  Thought of driving over Tioga to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, but the pass was closed because of the high snow pack received this year..

Got to my room.  It's the last down the end of the hotel, closet to the cafe.  That worked well for me.  Settled into the room and walked pver to the cafe.  Had a bottle of local brew, Black Forest ham sandwich with Caesar Salad.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Extraterrestrial Highway

I had some cereal and coffee at the hotel, packed up the room, and headed down the road toward Nevada.  In Nevada, I bypasses Las Vegas by taking Rt US 89 (Great Basin Highway) and the Extraterrestrial Highway.

 When I turned off the Great Basin highway into the "ET" highway, there was a sign warning the next services were 149 miles in Tonapah!  There was nothing much to see along the 100 miles of the "ET" highway. The was one little village, a ghost town Joshua Trees and scrub bush.

Checked into my room at the Tonapah Station (urgh - confusion with the room,keys, etc) and steps to get up to the room.  Processed photos from the drive. Thought about some dinner, ended up sleeping until 9pm.  Might as well call in a night and get a good breakfast in the morning.

Some Food and Accommodation Photos

Spaghetti and meat balls at at Canyon King Pizzeria. Two pieces of garlic toast.  Washed down with water and Sierra Mist.

Jacob Lake Lodge Patty Melt with fries.
Hearty breakfast at the Jacob Lake Lodge.  Scramble eggs, hash browns (a little dry) mome made wheat toast, and awesome patty of pork sausage.  Added water and coffee.  Food decent. service left to desire.

My half-cabin at Jacob Lake
Double bed side of the room
Rest of the room.  The door was to the stool and tight shower stall.

No grounded outlets, no wi-fi, no TV, no radio - and of course, no microwave or fridge.  And a "steal" at about $100 a night.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pipe Spring National Monument

Hungry, I ordered sausage and eggs for breakfast (I was at the lodge just after they opened at 6:30).  Food was good (portions are too big), service not so good.  Took me over a hour.  Thankfully, I was not in any big hurry.

At breakfast this morning in Jacob Lake, I noticed that I would driving past the Pipe Spring National Monument.  A visit to this monument will give you understanding of the life of earlier inhabitants.  There were Ancestral Puebloan  people, Kaibab Paiutes, Missionaries, Explorers, and Mormon Pioneers.

Thankfully, my St. George room was available early.  Unfortunately, it is in the 2nd floor (thought  I requested first floor).  Most places I  stay at automatically put 69 year old guests on the first floor and near the services.

Worked on my web site and block.  Headed out for some ice cream (the thermometer in the car said it was 107!)  Tomorrow is scheduled as a day of driving - to Tonapah, NV.  Think I and going to get comfy wearing basketball shorts for the drive.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Canyon Sunrise

Got a good night's sleep in my little cabin.  Dressed and headed out at "O-Dark-Thirty" and drove the 45 miles to the Grand Canyon.  Was set up in time for the sunrise.  Did not hike to the best view area, because my legs were still sore from the day before.

After sunrise, I packed the tri-pod back into the car and drove the Cape Royal Road.  Was able to get some great photos without a lot of walking.  By the time I was back to the main road, I was exhausted.  Was back at my cabin about 8am and crashed into bed.

After much needed sleep, I processed my photos and worked on my website pages.  ent to the lodge and had food at the counter.  Had one of my favorite burgers - the patty melt.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Verillion Cliffs & Grand Canyon

A short driving day was on the agenda Tuesday.  Dropped down from Page to Marble Canyon od the Colorado River.  This area started the Vermillion Cliffs formation and the National Monument of the same name. Took some photos of the canyon, river, bridge, and cliffs.

I was too early to check into my cabin at Jacob Lake.  Headed on down the 45 miles to the North Rim on the Grand Canyon.  Checked in at the Visitor's Center.  Verified sunrise and picked up walking stick.

Took several photos.  By the time at got back to the car, my legs were "toast".  Checked into my cabin and settled in.  This is an old little cabin.  No grounded outlets (luckily there was a power strip with cheated on the end in the room.  Further amenities missing from the cabin was any TV, Radio, or internet connection.

Figured out how to make my phone a mobile "hot-spot".  It allowed mt check e-mail.  I did have facebook on my smartphone.  Did not want to run up my usage charges, so decided to wait for make large posting when I got to St. George, UT.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Got a good night's sleep at the Holiday Inn, Chinle.  Needed the rest from all of the walking at Chelly.  Splurged with the breakfast buffet.  Did not take me much time to packed - on the road by 9am.

Not in a big hurry, this morning.  I would be gaining an hour with a time change between Chinle and Page.  There were some boring stretched of the road, interspersed with some interesting red rock scenic. Most of the drive, I had the cruise set at about 55 mph (with a highway limit of 65 mph).  While slow to the traffic, I enjoyed the drive more.

Found the parking lot  and staging area for the Upper Antelope Canyon tours.When I got to the tour area,I found the tour 00cost is $40 the $8 (parking?).  I thought it a bit steep, but I stopping in Page for doing the tour.  Further, my room in Page is on "points".

When it was time for the tour, we were loaded on special pick-up trucks (12 per person) for a ride to the entrance to slot canyon.  Once at the canyon, we were herded through the canyon.  At time it was crowded in the canyon.  By the time we got to the top end of the canyon, I had enough if the tight quarters and crowds.  I was about ready to tell the guide to pick  me up on the way back, when were were out of the canyon. Glad I had the point&shoot camera and my DSLR - I used both on the tour.

It was a quick walk back through the canyon to our transport (no photos on the way back).  Was a struggle getting up into the truck.  I was thinking of doing the lower canyon tour the next day.  With my legs being toast and the cost, I decided it would not worth the price and time.

I was treated by an big room (suite) with  my points at the Days Inn.Settled into the room and started checking my photos.  Found food just a few blocks away (not having to drive into downtown) and had spaghetti and meat balls at  Canyon King Pizzeria.  Finally, crashed into bed about 8pm local time.

On to the Grand Canyon North Rim.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Canyon de Chelly

First stop of my Army Reunion trip was Canyon de Chelly National Monument.  Unusual for me, I was able to get a decent sleep the night before heading out.  Was well rested and headed out of the house about 3:45 in the morning.  Stopped for breakfast in Gallop, NM.

Just across the Arizona border, I turned North on Rt 12.  The map shows the road is a scenic route.  At Tsaile, I headed SW on Route 64, another scenic road.

This road included access to a couple view areas of the canyon.  Stopped by and walked to Mummy Cave and Massacre Cave Overlooks. The trail to Antelope House Overlook was 1/4 mile from the packing lot, so with my knees, I skipped that overlook.

Turned onto the North Rim road.  There, I found many more canyon overlooks.  At the first overlook, I purchase a souvenir of the trip.  A local was selling painted rock telling the story of the area and its inhabitants. My knees did surprising well for all of the walking to the overlooks.

By the time I got to the historic trading post, I was getting tired.  Did a little shopping and headed towards town to find my lodging.  The Holiday Inn is just out of the park.  Registered and settled into my room.

The rest of the day was spent processing the day's photos.  Stretched out my legs on the bed.  Started creating the website pages for the trip.  Finally, wondered of the the restaurant for a late light dinner of chili and frybread.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Local Art Souvenier

At Canyon de Chelly, I met a local artist.  He showed my some of his art.  He had painted the history of the area and it's people on the rock.  Very unique souvenir of my visit the National Monument.

Friday, June 9, 2017

199th LIB Reunion

In 2 days, I will be on the road to an Army Unit reunion.  Back in 2004 I attended my first reunion.  That reunion was a reunion for one company - Echo Company 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 199th LIB.  This was the group I lived with in Viet Nam.

With some personal reservations, I made plans to attend the reunion in Columbus. GA.  I was hoping to re-connect with some of my buddies from 1970.  Over the years of attending that reunion, I have been able to reconnect to some of the guys, met other that preceded me, but to date, have not been able to reconnect to some of the old hooch buddies.

This year, the Echo Company reunion is scheduled for St. Augustin, FL, where I have previously visited.  Further, its over 1500 miles from my new home in New Mexico.

I have become "facebook friends" with a couple of other vets that were assigned to the 199th.  The 199th Brigade reunion is scheduled to start in about 10 days in Reno, NV.In 'Nam, I was actually assigned to the Brigade HHC.  I have made reservations and will be traveling to Reno to atted the Brigade Reunion.

Meeting other members of the unit does not bother me.  My concern is if my old Chaplain should decide to attend.  He has not attended any of the Echo Company reunions, but I do not know if he has ever attended brigade reunions. I know over the years, He had logging into the brigade web site.

Why is this bothering me?  It's because I have no use for this man.  When I worked for him, he was a "holier-that-thou", bully.  I hated working for him.  I have many bad words about him in my memoirs.  I just hope I do not meet him at the reunion.  I am afraid I would tie into him, should I see him.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Facebook friends have seen (and perhaps had suffered) the litany of anti-Trump and anti-GOP posts. No, I am not stopping it, because resist the Trump agenda is necessary to the future for our great country. Actually, I becoming more vocal.
When I planned my charity donations for 2016, I upped my donation to the National Parks Foundation and for the first time, donated to the Sierra Club. These because of the threats to our wilderness areas and National Parks by the Trump Administration.
A an getting involved in local Sandoval County (and perhaps Rio Rancho) politics. And I had send inquires to join the Rio Rancho "Resist" Indivisible group.
He must take back our county from the right and big business, making it again From, By, and For the PEOPLE!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Congressman Ben Lujan

Well, this afternoon I was out and got active in politics. Attended a function for my congress Ben Lujan (D), meeting the congressman and other New Mexico politicians. Tomorrow there's an ACLU meeting in the area (just a fey blocks from me).
Reports around the area are filtering through about attendace of today's "Science" Earth Day March. Congressman reported 3-5k marched in Santa Fe. Have not heard attendance numbers from Albuquerque.  Saw video of the large crowd in Chicago.  Keep protesting, America!
The photo here is if my Congressman addressing the local group.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Trinity Site

New Mexico played an important part in the development of the atomic bomb.

Los Alamos National Lab was constructed in the mountains of North central New Mexico to research and build the first bomb.  The town of Los Alamos grew as the need for housing for the scientists and technicians.

The location for testing the first bomb was selected as the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico.  Later, the range became White Sands Missile Range.

Trinity Site is a National Historic Landmark.  The landmark is a 51,500 acre area on the White Sands Missile Range. The site is open 2 days a year - the first Saturday of April and the first Saturday of October.  http://www.wsmr.army.mil/PAO/Trinity/Pages/Home.aspx

This morning, my cousin and I were  out of Albuquerque at "O-Dark-30".  Stopped into Socorro for a light breakfast and heading to the site.  From the San Antonio exit of I-25, head East about 11-12 miles to the road to Stallion Gate. There was a line of vehicles waiting for access to the site when we arrived about 8am.  It took us an hour to get to the gate.  (see upper photo).

He had no problems getting onto the range (you need your state government ID or passport for every occupant and the insurance certificate and registration for your vehicle).  Another 15 miles or so we were at the parking lot for viewing the site.

When we arrived the site, my cousin and I estimated that had to be nearly 1000 people that were already here or already leaving the site.  It is about 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot to the site.  Thankfully, there was a large "golf cart" (8-10 person) with driver to carry "handicapped" visitors.  With my knee problems, I availed myself of the ride to the site.

Of course, everyone wanted a photo of themselves or family at the ground zero marker (see photo to the right). There are remains of the of the original 100 foot tower (basically nothing).  On the fence to the far side of the site had photos of the detonation, and some of the people that were out at the site.  There was ever a "polo" teams at the site!  There is a covered shelter protecting the portion of the original crated cause by the detonation.

The bring in a "fatman" casing on a trailer to show the basic size of the bomb.  The last stop for me at the site was a stop at the the National Park Service vendor to get at least a bood about the test.  Ended up with a good book, at DVD and hat pin.

From there, Don and I boarded the bus taking us over to the McDonald Ranch House.  This was where the plutonium core of the bomb was assembled.  The house was left to the elements for many years until Commander of White Sands decided in was a important part of history and had the house restored.  There are a couple outbuilding at the ranch.  They are basically ruins and think there is no plans to restore them.

By the time we boarded the bus back to the parking lot, my legs had had it.  It was a little after noon when we got into the car and headed back off the base.  On the way back out of the gate, there was still a line of about 2 mile long waiting for access to enter the base!  It seams there was not any "slack" time to visit the site!

We headed back to the highway, intending to stop at the Owl Bar for a burger and brew.  Unfortunately, a lot of other folks at the same idea.  There was a line to get into the bar and for seating.  I am not big on waiting for tables to eat.  I convinced Don (I was driving) and it would be better to get food in Socorro. we stopped at the Bodega Burger Co in Socorro.  (see lower photo)

The weather was a bit "iffy".  Rain moved South further than first forecast.  We had some rain driving down to Socorro.  After our light breakfast, he headed to the site.  It was mostly overcast at the site, sun trying to peak out and even a couple sprinkles of rain while we were there.  We saw there had been a heavy shower that came through San Antonio.  We hit some more rain on the way back North to Albuquerque.

It was a interesting day.  I dropped Don back at his house in Abq,  It was about 4pm when I got home in Rio Rancho.  I grabbed my camera, processed most of the photos, wrote a short facebook post and crashed into bed for a long nap.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

HT Programming Software

Back in the summer, I purchased a new  2M/220/440 Handy Talkie.  The dealer (Grapevine Radio) sold me a cable to program the HT.  These new transceivers have too many options for my liking.  But, that's what they sell, and the Wouxun KG-UV8E w=is well in my budget.

The problem was the programming software.  First, the mini disc of software instuctions were in Chinese.  The installation was in Chinese until you have finished the install - then you could change the language to English.

The software was eventually running.  But it would not recognize the radio for reading/writing programming.  After exchanging e-mails with Jason at Grapevine, he suggested it may be the problem with Windows 10.  He suggested trying Windoes 7 (which I do not have anymore).

I do have 2 old Windows XP laptops, so tried using them for programming.  The software installed, but with the same problem - could not communication with the HT.  Jason suggested other remedies, but at this time I was done with it.

A ham in our club suggested programming cable and software from RT Systems.  I bit the bullet and ordered the CD and Cable for about $50.  A far cry from $15 I paid with the HT.  Ordered the system on Sunday evening. On Thursday, it was in my mailbox.  Awesome service.

I installed the software on my desktop, connected the cable to the computer and HT.  Turned on the HT, clicked on the software icon and my HT was recognized and had no problems reading and writing frequencies to/from the HT.  The cable and software from RT Systems is worth the price.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Your Argument

A new t-shirt I picked up online. I am a little tired of being timid about my Army service. It is, in a large part. because of the way we were treated when we came home. This T-shirt expresses my feelings.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

TV Station Tour

High Desert ARC President Jerry, W6LIE made arrangements for club members tour the facilities of KNME, the PBS station in Albuquerque.  Thanks to the folks at KNME for taking the time to conduct the tour.  I did not make a counot, but think about 20 of us attended the tour.

The tour started in Master Control.  This is the heart of the station.  Stations 5 and 9 in Albuquerque are housed in the facilities on University Blvd.  Each station has their HD channels and 2 SD channels.  Many years ago I toured a commercial station in Wausau, WI, the big change I saw that most of the screens at flat panel LED monitors.  The back wall of Master Control is filled with computer servers, instead of tape recording machines.

From Master Control, we went to the Control Room for the studio.  In addition to the programming control and it's switchers, there were separate Audio and Video control booths.  The photo here is of the control panel.  From there we dropped down to the studio.  Most of PBS programing here is on network feeds.  I understand the busy times have been pledge season and election night overages.  Otherwise, the studios area not used,

We ended our tour by heading over to the Village Inn for food. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Chama River Brewery

Today was the High Desert ARC Social "feed".  The 4th Saturday meal had been at breakfast.  Today, it was changed for variety as a lunch.  The locale was the Chama River Brewery, Near Pan American Highway & Jefferson in Albuquerque.

The brewery has a limited menu, typical pub fare.  Good food, decent selection, and reasonably priced.

I started with a pint of their Amber Ale.  Very tasting ale, not too "hoppy".  A pleasant beer.  My meal was their "Build Your Own Burger".  I splurged with cheddar, bacon, and fries.  Washed down a second pint of ale.

Was an enjoyable lunch for the 15 members and spouses that attended.  Thanks Marcie for arranging.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Spare Bedroom

Information for my friends - the spare bedroom is now furnished.  Full-sized bed, night stand, lamp, clock radio, small TV, DVD player, 6 drawer chest of drawers and a walk-in closet.  The closet is about half filled with overflow from my move.

Anyway, ready for visitors to the Albuquerque area.  My house is in Rio Rancho.  There are lots of things to do in the area.  Downtown ABQ is about 25 minutes away at the junction of I-25 and I-40.  Amtrak serves Albuquerque via the Southwest Chief running from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Air Travel is through the Albuquerque Sunport, just South of downtown.  We also have the New Mexico RailRunner commuter train from Belen (South of Albuquerque) to downtown Santa Fe.

There are lots to see for history buffs - Spanish occupation, Civil War, ghost towns, Historic Route 66 are a few things to mention.

Give me a shout.  Would love to have you visit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

El Camino Restaurant & lounge

Sunday, I processes my photos from the drive on the Quebradas Back Country Byway.  Even had time to create the web site and changing one in the New Mexico section - a special page to back country byways.  Did not want to get out to find a place to food, decided at the El Camino right next to the motel.

Had a very inexpensive serving of meat loaf, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and roll.  Washed it down with a bottle of Alaskan Amber Ale.

Monday morning I stopped by the motel breakfast bar for some cereal, apple juice, and coffee.  Head out to shoot photos.

I started feeling ill a little before noon while stopping at the Winston General Store.  Got the chill.  The gatorade I bought came back up at couple miles down the road.  By the time I got back to Socorro, I was getting sick.

Spend the night in and out of the bathroom.  Bad case of diarrhea. Was able to drive back home without having any problems, but the problem was not gone until late morning.

I do not know it my problem was the food or a 36 hour bug.  In anyway, it was not fun.  As soone as my system was cleaned out, I started feeling better.

Cuchillo, Winston & Chloride, New Mexico

After shooting the birds at Bosque del Apache I drove South almost to T or C.  Headed West & North on NM 52.  This route took me to 3 ghost (or nearly ghost) towns.  The first of these, Cuchillo, is only a few miles of I-25.

Like many so-called "ghost towns in New Mexico had a mixture of abandoned buildings and others just holding on.  Yards are full with junker cars and other previously valuable items. They attest to broken dreams.

From Cuchillo, it was about 25 miles on a winding road.  At the junction of NM 52 and Republic Road you will find the village of Winston.  The only thing that gives a sign of any prosperity is the Winston General Store.

At the junction, make a hard left and head down Republic Rd, and follow the signs for Chloride.  At the end of the road you will find a interesting little village with much history and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor.  I should have stopped in to see the museum .  Maybe another time.

At the Winston General Store I stopped to use the rest room and get some fluids.  Also, I wanted to get information about road conditions further North towards the VLA (Very Large Array).  The clerk at the store said it is 59 miles on a dirt road and seemed to disway me from driving this by myself.

At this same time, I started getting the chills.  I could feeling a bug had taken hold in my body.  With that I decided to high-tail it back to my motel in Socorro.

I spent the rest of the day, overnight, until early morning, nursing a bad case of intestinal discomfort. 

Bosque del Apache

Early rise and out of the motel to hopefully catch the morning flight of birds. I was driving NM 1 out of San Antonio.  There were a lot of photographers just into the refuge.  I stopped and took many frames of the snow geese as they leave the pond for their food spots.  It was a chilly morning (about 18 degrees) but there where a lot of birders out.  As the flocks dwindled I head over to drive the refuge roads.  There were more snow geese at the South end where I photographed some a previous visits.  On the North loop were many sand hill cranes.  Was able to get close enough to get a couple good photos.  Also go some great shots of other geese.  Was a productive photo shoot.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Quebradas Back Country Byway

It was time to make a trip to Bosque del Apache.  I decided to make a couple day trip out of it and
play tourist.  On the NM DOT web site I found map and information for some scenic drives.  It has been dry, so I was sure back country dirt/gravel roads would be passable.  Guebradas Byway was along my way from Rio Rancho to Bosque del Apache.

Thanks to good direction on the DOT web sire, I was able to find the byway off I-25 at Escondida (just North of Socorro).  Follow carefully the NMDOT web site direction to find the start of this back country byway.

It was a welcome break from the Interstate and the traffic of the ABQ Merto area.  Other than some folks out for 4-wheeling in  "dune buggy type" vehicles, I only encountered about 3 or 4 vehicles on the 24 mile road.

The road drops you onto US380 about 11 miles East of San Antonio.From there, I drove south on NM 1 to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuse visitors center.  By that time I needed was facility break and picked up pass for the refuge.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bicycling Community Meet & Greet

This evening, I drove over the the Balloon Fiesta Museum for the Albuquerque Bicycle Community Meet & Greet.  There was no speeches, just a quick welcome and acknowledgement of the groups & clubs in attendance.  The rest of the time was spent consuming finger food and networking.  I registered as a member of AMBA (Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association). 

Monday, January 16, 2017

16" boots

While I was packing up the Iowa house, I did not think I would want/need any of my high boots.  I had a pair of Red Wing 16" boots that was not fitting right these days (I was much heavier than when I bought them).  Not thinking about of the boots that I bought from Nature, I decided I did not need/desire the tall boots.

Now that I have been losing weight - about 40 pounds so far - I was looking for 16" high boots.  I started looking at boots on-line.  Red Wing no longer makes the 16" lineman's boots.  There were others out the retailing over $400.  I was able to find Carolina Boot Co 16" boots for $209 (shipping included).  I bit the bullet and ordered the boots (size 12W).  Those boots arrived this afternoon.

Took time to pre-lace the bottom eyelets and tried on the right boot (was rough to get it on - because of my high inset - but fits good once on).

Later this evening or tomorrow I will lace up both boots to wear them a little - break them in. 

Update:  Was able to get both boots on.  Little problems getting them on because of my high instep.  Once I got them on, they are comfortable to wear.  Think I just need to wear them to stretched them - or may have to check out places to stretch the instep area.