Orange Monsters

Orange Barrel Monster

We did it! Made it out to California and back home again, all in one piece. We logged almost 6,000 miles in our new RAV4. It is a 2018, but it still feels new to us. We call it the Nanny Car, because it is always squawking about one thing or another: “That car is too close!”, “Stay in your lane!” and “Lookout for that pedestrian!” You get the idea, but we learned yesterday that it is not only a nanny, but it is also a bit of a tattle-tale. The day after its odometer clocked 15,000 miles, we got a call from the Toyota dealer, asking us when we would like to schedule maintenance appointment. The car had called it in, not content to simply nag us via Nice And Gentle reminders on its display panel, it had to phone it in to the mother ship. 

Pictured is a bit of sculpture that was displayed at the Missouri welcome center, just inside the Oklahoma state line, along I-44. It addition to this orange effigy, this rest stop also sported a wall full of license plates, featuring all fifty states. On this trip, Anne has been playing the license plate game. She has already won one game, scoring three Hawaii’s, including two parked next to each other. She has almost won a second game, missing only a few, small east coast states. I’m looking at you Joe Biden. You need to get more of your home state residents out on the road. I tried to convince Anne to fill out her dance card, using the wall of plates, but she wasn’t having any of it.

In our travels, we certainly saw plenty of road construction. If I had a dollar for every orange barrel I saw, I would be rich, but now that I’m back home, I would like to make a political comment. We have certainly spent plenty of time in Trump country, although, as we were driving into New Mexico, I saw a billboard that announced, “I’m Riding with Biden.” After being booted off both Facebook and Twitter, the Donald attempted to run a blog, but Trump’s blog failed, bigly and in only 29 days. That’s less than three Scaramuccis. Sad. On counterpoint, while traveling, I have successfully logged thirteen years of continuous blogging.

Lawn Art

Lawn Art
On the way to Frank and Kathy’s place, we passed by the pictured front yard, which I first took to be an amusement park, but is in fact someone’s idea of lawn art. Oh, deer! Frank gave us the skinny. At a county supervisor, he knows everyone around and they all know him. Sort of an occupational hazard. So far, on every day Frank has had a meeting. He is in the mist of working out budgets. Even though it is a small rural county, Amador still has an annual budget approaching $100M, of which about a quarter is still discretionary. So, the money is not just chump change and everyone wants a place at the public trough. He even has a meeting today, even on his birthday. Frank first ran for supervisor in 2016 and was elected the following year, after a runoff election. He was re-elected last year, but after this term is done, he is thinking of retiring.
Big Horned Sheep

Tulsa

Black Wall St.

We’re on the road again. Tonight, finds us in Tulsa, OK, heading west to California via Route 66. Today’s ride was a pretty easy six-hour drive. We didn’t have to get up super early, but till arrived by midafternoon. We’re staying the night in the downtown Courtyard by Marriot, a thoroughly modern hotel that is housed in the historic Atlas Life Building. After checking-in, we proceeded to explore. We checked out the nearby Blue Dome district, so named for a distinctive building housed beneath a blue dome. Adjoining downtown proper, it is mainly populated with restaurants and bars. After that we headed on to the Greenwood district, so called Black Wall St. Back in the early part of the 20th-century it was a prosperous and wealthy African-American community, until it was attacked and destroyed by a white mob in 1921. The whereabouts of the bodies of upwards of 300 people are still unknown. Greenwood was completely destroyed in the riot, leaving 10,000 people homeless. Hushed up and swept under the rug for a hundred years the story of this massacre is only now coming to light. A new Black Wall St. History Center is now under construction, but until it opens the pictured mural is probably the best remembrance of the events that occurred back then. Speaking of murals, Tulsa seems to be in love with murals. Many of its red brick buildings are decorated with them. After our walking tour, we hunted up a restaurant for dinner. We found an open-air place called McNellie’s Courtyard. Our first sit-down dinner in a restaurant in as long as I can remember. It was warm, in the mid-eighties, but with a strong breeze and low humidity it was still quite pleasant. I ordered salmon with a side of roasted green beans. Anne ordered a spinach salad with a vinaigrette dressing. We swapped plates halfway through. I also ordered a beer and got to keep the glass as a souvenir. After this sumptuous meal we waddled back to our hotel room for the night, because tomorrow is another day.

Little Blue Heron & Muskrats

Yesterday, we went back to Forest Park to walk again and for the second day in a row we flushed a Little Blue Heron from beneath a bridge, a bridge not far from where we had seen it the day before. This time it only flew a little bit away and I was able to get its picture. Not long afterwards we saw not one, but two muskrats swimming along in the river. First one and then the other, each with a wad of vegetation in its mouth, paddled beneath us as we were standing on the old Victorian wrought iron bridge, a bridge that predates the founding of Forest Park. Just a little bit away from the bridge they each disappeared into a hole in the river bank. I’m guessing that they are mates and that they are building a nest there to raise little muskrats. Call it muskrat love.

The Missouri Republicans have been on full display with their awfulness as of late. Yesterday, Josh Hawley, our junior senator showed how truly awful he really is by being the sole senator to vote against the COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill. I guess he loves hate, Ninety-four senators voted for the bill and only Hawley voted against it. Why he could not have just abstained like the five other senators that didn’t vote for bill is a mystery to me. I guess he wanted to standout. As bad as Hawley is, Missouri might be electing an even worse senator for our other seat in 2022. The current senator, Roy Blunt, has announced his retirement and has set off a race within the GOP to replace him. The lead candidate seems to be Eric Greitens our disgraced former governor who was force out of office by his own party for numerous wrong doings, including allegedly taking pornographic photos of his girl friend while she was tied up, in the basement of his family’s home. Greitens has been busy kissing the trumpster fire ass as of late, so he looks like the lead candidate. But Greitens isn’t the only sweetheart vying for this senate seat. Remember Mark McCloskey, the gun wielding St. Louis attorney who threatened peaceful Black Lives Matter marchers last year? He too is talking about throwing his hat into the ring. What a pair those two make and if one of them gets elected then what a peach of a pair of senators will Missouri then have.

Election Day

VOTE

Today, is municipal election day. No big deal. Just, a few school board members and some propositions. Nothing too controversial. Anne is working the polls today as an election official. She got up at uh-oh dark thirty and was gone well before sun up. It should be an easy, if long day for her. Unlike last November’s election, turnout should be pretty light. Giving her plenty of time to work on her knitting and get paid for it too. Her polling place is the neighborhood elementary school, site of her old favorite substitute teaching position. It has been more than a year since she last substituted. For a long time school was only virtual. Now it is reopened. With its reopening requests for her services have also reappeared. So far, she has ignored them, but today she might actually see someone who wants her to come back to work. It’s a lot easier to dismiss a text message than someone you know, in purpose. Of late, she has been seriously toying with the idea of permanently retiring, but you know what they say, “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in again!”

Anne had suggested that I come to her polling place to vote. A recent innovation in election technology allows a voter to vote at any polling place in the county and not just the one that they are assigned. But there was a bad wreck on the highway. Anne had taken the car, so I wasn’t going to be on the highway anyway, but traffic was such a mess. I first learned of this accident by helicopter. The weather was nice enough that I had left the back door open and through it I heard the steady thump-thump-thump of a traffic copter that had parked itself above the nearby scene below. I biked to the polls. Crossing an overpass, I could see the accident site. It was on the headed downtown side of the road. The opposite side was flowing west, but so was the eastbound half of the highway. The police had turned around the cars trapped by the wrecks. I later learned that the accident involved a semi and a car. The driver of the car died.

America’s Pastime

Baseball

Yesterday, in a surprising move, Major League Baseball announced that it would be relocating this year’s Allstar game. It had been scheduled to be played in Atlanta this summer, and would have afford an excellent occasion to memorialize the late great Hank Aaron, who passed away this year, but the Georgia Republicans had to go and screw that up. Reacting to the three stinging defeats handed to them, from the end of last year to the beginning of this one, the Georgia GOP enacted draconian voting restrictions designed to undermine and limit the black vote that had trice beaten them. This racist legislation is unconscionable and is reminiscent of Jim Crow practices of sixty years ago. MLB’s courageous stand should serve as a wakeup call to all Georgians and all Americans too. This is the 21st-century and no matter how much some people may want to, we are not going to return to those evil practices of the past.