Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘East Coast Travels’ category

My Run For Vice President In 2016 / Jump On Board Now!


I’m thinking about running for VP in 2016. Why not, you may ask, run for President, since you are obviously living in fantasy land. One’s as good as the other and most folks, in your situation, would run for the Big Prize. Well, the answer to that question is very simple. I don’t want to do any work. I’m already retired and have some things to do every day. Adding to the list would be stressful. But (!) an occasional trip to DC and a ride, once in awhile, on Air Force One (the VP does get to do this, right?) would be fine. I could make a speech every so often at least as cogent as the present occupier of the office. And I wouldn’t be causing any scenes, touching folks, and spreading germs. So that could be a plus.

Here’s how we are going to do it (because I’m counting on YOUR support). First, we need an issue and I’ve actually been writing about one here, on this blog, recently. The debt crisis. How do we solve it. Well, I’ve found two interesting articles. The first is by Thomas Sowell writing for Townhall.com entitled Fiscal Cliff Notes: Part II. 

And the second is by Stephen Herrington writing for Huffingtonpost.com entitled Conservative Myth Busting: Lowering Taxes Raises Government Revenue .

They are diametrically apposed in their ideas about solving the debt crisis and taxes. Today that issue is identified as the Fiscal Cliff although this term will probably be a distant or non-existent memory by the time you read this. What WE need to do is discover who is right! Because economics should be more like science, dammit! They don’t send up the space shuttle each time based on this kind of information!

Once we have the answer to our problem, we need to make sure, EVERYONE knows what-the-hell it is! Because I’m tired, and so are you (probably) of hearing about this every day. We can proceed, in other words, and make sure the word gets out. We do have, unfortunately, once small problem.

It’s called Global Warming. It has come to my attention that there are folks out there who do not feel our fiscal situation and 16 trillion dollars of debt is the primary issue facing our country. They feel the the level of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are more important! And one party is not paying enough attention to the fact we may drown (as a nation) while trying to figure out our fiscal mess. In fact, many of them feel it would be helpful if our economy collapses! This would cause many of us to be unable to drive our cars and cut down on smog. Among other things.  We need science once again!  And not the creepy made-up stuff!

So, as you can probably see (if you are still paying attention) these two issues are interrelated! And we need to sort them out before we can come up with solution (duh!). Once we have done this we can press forward. We can let the world know what needs to be done. There are many other issues, of course. And I, as a VP candidate in 2016 will have no position on any of them. Let the states sort them out. Let the Supreme Court have a stab at it. And I’m sure the military can stand up for themselves.

If we can solve the debt issue and make sure we don’t all get waterlogged in the process we will have done our part! And I, as your presumptive candidate for the second highest office in the land will be more than ready to take a few victory laps.

Next time, we will need to discuss who will be President and put our policies in place. She (or he) must be trustworthy, of course. So it shouldn’t be difficult getting down to the short list. And since we will probably have 50 million supporters by this time next year, I feel confident we will be able to find someone.

So, it’s time to go to work on these two articles. I’m looking forward to your comments. And, if they are really impressive, who knows? There may be a cabinet appointment in it for you!



Central VA Trailblazers / Bear’s Den Hostel & Harper’s Ferry Trip

We went up north this past weekend to Harper’s Ferry for some sightseeing and hiking. The weather was very accommodating and we took lots of photos.

Here’s a look at the hike to Raven Rock and back. It is described as strenuous due to the 1500 ft. vertical gain and the very rocky trail on the AT. I was happy to discover that wicking materials really do work in the cool weather. Listening to the wind in the trees I often hiked alone, at my own pace, happy to be among the trees on a trail that has seen many amazing hikers on their way to Georgia or Maine.

Earlier we all went to the town of Harper’s Ferry and had some food and drink. There’s lots to see here and they do reenactments of the John Brown drama that precipitated the American Civil War. There are many old, stone buildings that were painstakingly built with materials from the surrounding mountains. I was drawn to the foundation of an old church on the side of a steep hill overlooking the river and mountains. It has been nearly destroyed during the Civil War, later rebuilt and then left for another location closer to the town.

It was a fun trip. I enjoyed the company and the many opportunities for photo captures. Here are some pics!



A really good, antiwar song by Bob Dylan entitled, appropriately, John Brown. Mr Brown, of course, was trying to precipitate conflict over the institution of slavery. It’s a tragic flaw in the human character that it cannot give up the absurd without a lot of bloodshed. And war.

Keiko Matsui At Birchmere / Happy Birthday Mr. Blogger

Last week Betsy said, “It’s your birthday next week and so we are going to see Keiko Matsui at the Birchmere Theater in Northern Va. tomorrow night.”

Cool! What a nice Bday present! And so, away we went, and had fun. We arrived there early and sat on a bench with a few other early birds. Then we got tickets and call ticket #8 which means they call you to be seated early. So we sat right in front of Keiko’s keyboard. And then the band came out and played!

They all played very well. They are all excellent musicians. And Keiko is especially good, as well as beautiful and, if you can imagine, humble as well. I love meeting extraordinary people who are so much like regular people. It’s such a vast distance to cover but there are those who can do it well. And, unless she is completely different in her private life (always a possibility although unlikely), Keiko is one of them. She played from her new album and then offered some fan favorites. I bought the album and a photo of her and after the show met her and asked her to sign them.

I’m really not into this autograph business but this is the second time I’ve met her and it just seemed right! I wrote about her last summer when she played in the rain at the Maymont Jazz Festival here in Richmond. That was where I realized she is an amazing artist!

So all is well except that I’m now officially a senior citizen. I’m in the last third of life. I will be changing teams (and uniforms) sometime in the not too distant future. Happy Birthday! It means different things at different ages.

Here’s a photo of lovely Keiko and the blogger. It’s not often that he is on the receiving end of a smile from a beautiful, talented super star (except when his wife is happy). So we cannot let this moment go by without recording it for posterity.




Humpback Rocks Backpacking Trip / Central Va Trailblazers At Large / Paul Wolfe Shelter

This past weekend I went backpacking again up on the Appalachian Trail just south of Waynesboro, Va. We traveled 8 miles the first day and 5 the second day spending a night next to Mill Creek and the Paul Wolfe Shelter. I also had a great opportunity to take some photos at Humpback Rock with its grand vistas of the valley below.

The weather was just about perfect. In order to get to the campsite we went down this zigzag trail and were greeted by other campers who had already arrived and were enjoying the cool stream. I set up my tent in an isolated area and went down to the stream to soak my tired feet in the water. Ah, bliss. Later on we started a campfire next to the shelter and enjoyed a few hours of camaraderie. It was just cool enough to make us appreciate the warmth a campfire provides as well as the nearly full moon glancing down at us between the trees.

This is how you get to know a group of relative strangers. And, yes, there were a few drinks involved in that process. But a father showed up with his young son in tow and we all kept that in mind as the evening wore on. They stayed in the shelter. Some of our group also slept in the shelter. I eventually wandered back to my tent, regretting that I has set it up outside the “perimeter”. There were lots of bear encounter stories to wind up the evening so I was thinking that if a bear came by I would, naturally, be the one he would pick off. But there were no bears in the neighborhood this night!

I wonder how one would react to the flash of my camera? Would I have the nerve to take his pic? These and other questions will have to wait until another time. There was much discussion the next morning about a loud introduction some beast, or bird, made around 6 am. I listened to a great number of animal sounds this morning and the closest thing I could find was the cry of a bobcat. It was quite loud and reverberated through the area. And it definitely would make a great alarm clock! Time to get up! Sleep will not be coming again for awhile.

I met a woman who was in her eighties on this hike and she really was impressive. She has had breast cancer, twice! And here she is backpacking on the AT! She sat next to me at the campfire for awhile and I discovered she also went to Boston University! But she was there back in the 50′s when I was still a child. They left early the next day and we did pass them when we eventually started hiking again. Bless her heart. I feel sure she got where she was going in God’s good time.

A Garter snake crossed my path on the way out. I should have taken a photo but I was humping it up a hill and not inclined to stop. When you are with a group there is some pressure to keep up but I regret not spending more time resting, listening and recording the event on film. We did stop, briefly, to take photos of a fireplace that someone had built long ago. Someone spend a lot of time and energy shaping these large rocks into a source of light and warmth. It was home for awhile but now the wood is gone and much of the foundation.

I’ve noticed that after returning from these backpacking trips I have a greater appreciation of the comforts of home; my comfortable, clean bed and much else. And I also have started feeling a bit tougher, in general.  There’s a big push in our consumer society to convince everyone that there is a product to make every situation less taxing. Less painful. And maybe there are things, to a degree, that do this. But it’s still a major challenge, especially for oldsters like myself and my 80-something year old new friend.  Getting older is not a game for sissies.

I guess I would say that, like walking 8 miles every morning, hiking does make you better able to ignore small pains and discomforts.  Without a doubt there are lots of people out there who have discovered this much earlier in life than I did. Military service, for example, must do it to the nth degree.

I never was in the military. But I’m happy, even at this late date, to get some training. And I don’t even have to go to war, although, if a bear shows up in the middle of the night, I may have to take his picture! Here are some photos of our backpacking trip.


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