Thursday, May 26, 2005

Did You Start Taking Drugs?

Funny tidbit related to the big conversation Jim & Chris & I had that day in Yosemite last week. I said something to my co-worker Jeff about a return of the old old Dylan who is so much more laid back about things than more recently. When I mentioned the idiots in the grocery store line, he said "don't you just want to smack those people in the head?" I said no, not anymore. His question... "did you start taking drugs?"

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Yosemite 7, Day Two

Woke up about 6 again. Was not cold over night. In fact, I was almost too warm. Almost, but not quite.

After breakfast, we decided on a plan. Chilnualna Falls, today, Yosemite Falls tomorrow and Ostrander Ski Hut on Sunday. I'm not sure that we'll really be able to do so much, and I'm not sure we can even get to the Ostrander trail, because the Glacier Pt. Road is closed.

Chilnualna Falls Trail is out C. F. Road through North (?) Wawona. It's a cute little town. Small enough to have only a volunteer fire department, but big enough, at the least, for an elementary school. The trail's pretty nice - 2100 foot gain over about 4 miles each way. Not too bad. There are actually two or three major waterfalls on Chilnualna Creek. Since it's still early and was very wet, there's water everywhere. We had to walk over a few creeks that all seemed to be there only because it is so wet.

Took a lot of pictures. I'm getting frustrated with the camera, though, because I am really having rouble getting it to focus where I want when I put it in macro mode. Will have to play with manual focus some more, but I find it's hard to tell whether I've focused well with such a small screen. I hope some of them come out. I'm up to about 150 pictures so far, and the camera battery's actually doing fine. I have another fully charged for when this one runs out.

Had a very interesting conversation with Chris and Dan. They were talking about their next several years... Chris, who's been writing since he was 7, wants to give himself 10 years to really see if he can make writing work. Dan, who has now taken the bar 4 times, obviously hopes he passed this time and can get on with actually working as a lawyer. I knew they were going to ask me about it... partly to avoid actually talking about my career itself, I preempted them and said that all I really want is for things to be easy for a while. It seems as if Dawn and I have been through a lot since we met, and it would just be nice if we could go for a couple/few years with nothing hard... no more deaths among family & close friends... a normal pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby... less strife & stress related to our jobs... A while later, Dan mentioned that he really understood what I was talking about, even down to the level of little stuff, such as the morons who can't be bothered to get their checkbooks out & start writing them until the checker tells them the total. Obviously not the level of hard I was talking about, but I think I need to try to chill out about that sort of stuff again; I never used to be bothered by things like that, but now they drive me absolutely crazy!

Played a bit of cribbage with Jim & Dan. Dan kicked my ass in one hand... first time he's managed that. Lunch was MREs on the trail. Dinner was steak ka-bobs courtesy of Jim with help from Chris. Quite tasty.

Just before dinner we found out that Dan passed the bar! This is a huge relief for all of us, and not as much more for Dan than the rest as you might think... The results were released online at 6 and he was able to get through to Karyn eventually. Funny that we were having that conversation earlier, although it's not surprising that we were talking about the bar at times...

I'm so tired that I'm actually going to be pretty early... it's only about 9 or so.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Yosemite 7, Day One

Woke up at about 6. Well... really, John woke up then, and Jim at the same time in response to John's stirring. I'd been awake at least half an hour or so. Was waiting for the pressure on my bladder to outweigh the expectation of cold clothes. I wasn't cold overnight under their blanket and our comforter. This bodes well, I think, for the actual camping... I was somewhat cold last year, so this time I've brought not only my air mattress and sleeping bag, but two comforters. I don't want to be cold on this trip.

Took quick trips to the restroom, then loaded our stuff and went down to the Bug cafe. Breakfast was OK. Dan joined us pretty quickly and we ate & talked while waiting for Dave & DSR. We decided not to get the travel lunches, though we did see that the cookies & trail mix they include are the same things we brought from Costco.

Drove to Oakhurst. This meant doubling back on 140 to Mariposa, then down 49. We did this partially to avoid any chance of the Valley still being closed because of flooding and partially so we could pick up a few things. So, we stopped at a Vons and a Long's to get ice, bug juice, batteries, and lunches. Dan conceded that I was right and he was wrong, publicly to DSR, who announced it to me over our radios. This with respect to turning left on 41 to get up to Yosemite... not sure why he thought we'd turn right...

I think we were at the Wawona Campground around 11:30am. They didn't give us 3 sites together, but 28 and 29 are decent. We're close to the front which makes it wasy to walk to the payphone, though probably a relative lot of traffic. We are, though, closer to the river and actually have a view of it from our site, which we didn't really last year.

After a couple of hours of setup and lunch, we walked out to the other end of camp. Dave, Dan, DSR & John played frisbee golf along the way. I wanted to go down to the end to take pictures of a log that I took a picture of last year. I can't remember exactly what the picture looked like, so I took several, including walking out to the other end of it in the water and taking some back toward shore, just because it seemed as if it might be cool.

Saw a garter snake and took a couple pictures of it. Won't really know how they came out until I get them on the computer next week. When we got back to camp, I put them all onto the iPod... took about 7-8 minutes to move 70 images and erase them from the card. Used up about half of the iPod's battery, so I'll need to make sure to recharge it whenever I can. Not sure how I'll know when the batteries on the reader will go, though I seem to remember that there's a light on it. It was hard to see...

We had drinks and snacks and chatted or read for a while. Chris didn't show up until about 6. Seems it was snowing at the pass on 80. Took him something like 7 hours to get through because there were even areas of 80 where they were doing repaving too boot! We set up Tent Mahal right away to make sure we didn't wind up doing it in the dark. I've decided to try having one comforter under the air mattress and the other on top of it but under the sleeping bag; that way I can wrap the top comforter around me if I need to. I'm also going to make a point of changing before bed to make sure my clothes are dry.

Dinner was pesto past and green beans with optional chicked & parm. Dan's idea of prepping advance definitely made a difference. As havce the two tripods we picked up for the propane lanterns. Chris and I caught up quite a bit while doing cleanup.

There's a contentiously raging game of Samurai Swords going on, but it's 11:30 and I'm tired, so I'm going to take some more cough stuff and go to bed. The cough hasn't been bothering me too much, but I have to make sure it stays under control.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Yosemite 7, 10th Anniversary

We're heading for Yosemite today. It's our third time with this core group (Dan, John & me), but we're calling it the tenth anniversary trip - the first trip was in May of 1996, which makes this the 10th year. We missed 2 through 8 for various reasons... Dan was going to Africa soon... Dan was just back from Africa... Dan was heading off to, or in, law school. Then we got to last year. I guess that makes it clear who instigates these trips and keeps them on track! Thanks, Dan!

This time, Frank isn't coming. Can't remember why, but we'll still be seven people because Chris' friend Jim is coming. Jim joined up on our Yahoo group a few weeks ago with a great email that had me laughing and thinking "oh, yeah... he'll fit in just fine."

It was a busy morning. I kept Rachel home from school so we could spend some time together before I left. She helped me pack for a while but then started reading. After I had my stuff packed, we went to do some errands - bank deposit & 2 stores. She had a grand time, although as usual, she insisted on removing her jacket in the truck and each store even though it was raining and wastes time. So I made her put it back on herself. Didn't keep her from taking it off every time, but maybe it will eventually. When we got home, I had to prep some food, and she just started entertaining herself... for 2 hours! It was great.

I checked last year's calendar. I was wrigin my weight & exercise times on it. This time last year, I was almost exactly the same weight - 248 then, 249 now - but bigger. I knew that I kept losing size even after I stopped losing weight at 234. I've gained some of the weight back, but not much of the size, as evidenced particularly by the fact that the travel pants I have (zip off lower legs, very comfy) are much looser than they were last year.

Rachel was great when we were leaving. Didn't complain, but came and gave me a big, long hug (she gives great hugs) and lots of kissed. I told her I needed 1 per night & then one more per night, and then a couple extra. She was only too happy to oblige, which was really nice. As we were walking down to the truck, I suggested that they could move the tent into the house and she could sleep in it. No idea whether they actually will do so.

John & I finally headed out at about 2. Unfortunately, we had to stop at Andronico's for potato hash and more ice, and 7-11 for a phone card & lottery tickets for the group. We stopped at In-n-Out for lunch at about 3 in Pleasanton and made it to the Bug at about 6:45. Pretty good time, and almost an hour ahead of the So Cal contingent, despite they're leaving around 1 and John's supposed slow driving. At some point, Daniel called wanting judgement on whether 'sheesh' is a word, which I decided it probably is for GHOST purposes. Laserium is more questionable, I think, especially spelled Lazerium, as Dan was trying for.

FNG Jim showed up about 15 minutes after they did. We had literally just been talking about what kind of car he drives - a Land Rover Discovery - when I saw one coming up the hill. The print-out Dan had brought with him listed it as a "Disco Series 1", which lead to many jokes about mirror balls.

One of the things John and I started on the way down was a Yosemite 7 playlist, of songs related to camping, etc. We came up with the idea of including a theme song for each person. I picked "I can't drive 55" for John, given, again, his supposed slow driving. Our thoghts for Dan centered on his legal career plan and his tendency to far a lot. We'll need to figure out Jim a bit more. At this point we haven't decided whether to have the rest of the group in on it or just to send the list to them after the fact. I do think it would make a good discussion topic, and on-going fun.

We're in the same set of tent cabins as last year, though John & I switched to the other. We spent about four hours on drinks, dinner, and the Samurai Swords board game in the Bug's restaurant. Dave brought it and spent about 2 hours trying to explain the rules. The game is fun. I wasn't into it at first, so I didn't play, but I was helping Jim for a while, and kinda took over Daniel's pieces when he went to bed. Of course, he quit because he'd just gotten badly smacked and there wasn't much point.

Dinner was just OK. I had some kind of spanish meat stew with lots of veggies and a simple salad. And apple pie that I shouldn't have bothered with. I didn't get to call Rachel and Dawn... thought about it at 8, but then it was 9 before I realized it. Rachel and I talked several times today about the fact that I might not be able to call every day. I did get through to Elis at about 5:30, and she was going to tell them I called.

It's midnight, and John & Jim are already asleep. In the morning the plan is to have breakfast here & head out. We'll stop in Oakhurst for things we need to pickup along the way. Bug juice. Batteries? I don't need any, but maybe someone will. We may try taking the trail lunches the bug offers, but we'll see. Chris is coming in with the MREs, which are the lunch meals for the week, but probably not until around four @ Wawona.

Good night.