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Old 09-20-2010, 10:18 AM   #1
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Finnie.....''ON GUARD''

DEATH VALLEY


I think it was back in 08 me and Willa stopped in Death Valley. It so happened that the 49rs were having their annual rally when we ''stumbled'' by and we stopped to enjoy the festivities. I strongly recommend you attend if you happen to be in the area.


I think we stayed at Furnace Creek camp ground with about a kazillion other nice folks. One evening after supper I decided it would be fun to go out to ''Bad Water'' and watch the sunset. Willa was busy in the coach and she said she was going to lay around and read and that I should go on, and have fun.
Finnious Foghorn Farnsworth our Papillion dog gave me a whimper telling me he wanted to ''go'' with me. I grabbed a leash and hooked him up and we hit it for the pick up. As I recall it was about 20 miles over to ''Bad Water''...... I eased along watching for wildlife as it was getting over in the evening and things were cooling down and the critters were coming out to feed and look around. Finnie was hanging out the drivers window in close observation looking for gorilla tracks and other things of interest to him.


We made it to Bad Water, parked the truck facing out of the parking spot, and went for a walk. Finnie ''tinkled'' on several things and did a good ''sniff around'' to secure the area. Most folks were leaving and as I dragged out a folding lounge the last car pulled out of the parking lot. We had the place all to ourselves.........


For those of you that have never been to Death Valley I would like to give you some background on the place.
One. During the day it is as hot as the hinges of hell with all the blowers going wide open........
Two. After dark it can get as cold as the inside of a tomb in a relatively short time.
Three. It is a most beautiful place with lots of wild life if you know where to look. Sometime I will tell you the story about Wiley Coyote when I have the chance.
Four. Death Valley can be a most dangerous place if you are not prepared and are not careful in your adventuring. More on that some other time also.


Anyhow, me and Finnie claimed our section of the parking lot with out chair and we were going to watch the sunset and the stars come out to play. We watched the sunset and the darkening sky. I sat in the chair and Finnie chose a place on my lap to nap. The chair would lean back with a heel rest for your feet and was very comfortable. I leaned back to watch the night sky.




Out in Death Valley they have ''light restriction'' whereby no excessive lighting is used. This keeps the night sky virgin of outside lights and you can see the stars real good. I sat and watched as my eyes accustomed to the darkness that crept in on tiptoes. The first star was Venus which is not a star but a planet. From then on the stars each in turn peeked thru the floor of Heaven. I could see the big and little dippers and as the night grew more and more stars appeared. The day was getting cooler now. The sun was gone and the night cool was descending. Finnie decided that he would be warmer inside my coat so I carefully zipped him up inside my jacket with just his head sticking out under my chin. He dozed and I watched the shooting stars and the milky way.


After a time, Mr Moon came creeping out from behind the mountains. You have to remember that out there the sky is very clear and there is no ambient light to spoil the view at night.


I sat and watched while my guard dog slept on my chest with his nose outside the jacket. His body warmth felt good to me as the night chill was upon me now. I sat there all alone pondering the universe. Its vastness and depth and I wondered what was ''on the other side'' so to speak. I watched the moon slowly trace across the sky and meteorites paint streaks across the sky. Some so tiny they left a mere whisper of light and some so large that they left contrails across the sky. I sat and wondered and pondered and thought and became part of the night 280 some feet below sea level there at Bad Water parking lot. I wondered if God just poked holes in the floor of Heaven and let the light shine down on earth every night. Somehow, I could see Him with a sharp stick poking holes here and there to let the light from Heaven shine down on us at nite. I pondered that he ''hung the moon'' on a wire and let it dangle all nite on a slow trolley across the sky. Sometimes I think I ''ponder'' toooooooooo much. I 'scrooched' down in the chair and shut my eyes that I might listen to the sounds of Death Valley.......................




''YOU OK MISTER? YOU BROKE DOWN OR SOMETHING?''


I almost jumped out of my gizzard and when I moved my famous guard dog Finnie came to life and went into an attack mode inside the coat. I calmed the dog and looked up at a park ranger standing beside my chair.


''I wasn't asleep sir'', ''I was resting my eyes''.......
Yeah, sure. I told him to grab a chair out of the back of the pick up and have a seat and we would ponder the universe and solve all mans problems right here. He took a chair and sat beside me. He said he hated to disturb me because I was resting my eyes and snoring so nicely but he wanted to be sure I was ok out here by myself. I noticed that the moon had move all the way across the valley and the star pattern had changed some. I asked if he happened to know the ''time'' and he said it was approaching mid night and he was going in when he left here.


''Holly Kanolie'' my Willa will be worried to death about me. I could see her now. Pacing the floor wondering what had happened to her Seajay out here in the wilds of Death Valley........ Was he lost or had he been carried off by wild animals. I threw the chairs in the back of the truck, let ''Finnie'' tinkle one time and we hit the road for home so our Willa could stop worrying about us.


I eased into the campground and found our spot. The lights were on in the living room but I saw no shadow. I carefully opened the lock and eased the door open waiting for the tirade of a worried wife as to where I had been so long and how she had made herself sick worrying about me out by myself.


Willla was asleep on the sofa, her book on the floor ............................. shux, so much for her ''worrying''......


I put Finnie in the dog box and kissed Willa on the cheek.
''You wanna' sleep on the sofa alone or go cuddle?''
''Go cuddle after I go tinkle, I'm cold, what time is it?''


The night chill had crept into the coach and our ''cuddle'' felt good in the bed. We always sleep close renewing our assurance that the other one is there close by. Ö.......... Life is good Ö..
If you get the chance,,,,,,, GO TO DEATH VALLEY... It is worth the ride and the time


Dont forget to thank a Vet for your freedom.........
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:29 PM   #2
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I did not do what you did but it was great anyway. Death Valley is more than most people ever see. I did not go to see. I went to experience as you did !
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:43 PM   #3
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OK seejay you did it. I have a cousin that lives near Inokern, CA. He has been inviting me come visit, and ride horses with him, for years. I've just gotta go now! Like I really needed an excuse_ I'm a bit hesitant about riding out into the desert, but he's been doing it for about 30 years now. Thanks for the story.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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Love your story!
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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SeaJay,

I live in Ridgcrest, Ca. About an hour and a half from Death Valley. Love to winter camp there. I also love places with no light pollution. The stars on China Lakes ranges are great at night.
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by CorsairIIAT View Post
SeaJay,

I live in Ridgcrest, Ca. About an hour and a half from Death Valley. Love to winter camp there. I also love places with no light pollution. The stars on China Lakes ranges are great at night.
AMEN my brother sailor. Its a pity but most folks have never seen real DARK. I am talking about the ''REAL DARK'' like you see out in Death Valley or on a Navy ship five hundred miles at sea when they use to run ''Dark Ship'' with no visible lights outside the ship. I use to lay on the wild cats when we were running ''dark ship'' on the Norton and watch for shooting stars. It was especially wonderful on a clear moonless night. It seemed the longer you looked the more you would see. Literally Zillions of stars and the depth of the sky just kept going and going further and further away. One thing that was so amazing was the numbers of shooting stars. True, most of them were tiny specks but occasionally you would get a ''real zinger''. Silly as it sounds I use to listen for the sonic boom of the big ones......lol.... Like I said....... Most folks have never seen Dark, they have just seen holes poked into it by headlights or a flashlight. They have never heard a stream of water laughing over stones as it makes its way along or the ocean shore scrubbing its back with waves in the evening.

We were dry camping in the Bad Lands, SD. It was about sunset and very beautiful. There was a large storm curtain hanging over half the horizon. Black as night with rain sheets and lightning by the bunches. The other half of the horizon was a spectacular sunset with reds and golds and colors only Gods paintbrush can make. The whole situation was perhaps 20 miles from us but it was breath taking..... I took pix of it and we sat out and watched it until the light was gone. We never got a drop of rain as I recall.

Nuff said I guess........
Be safe my brother ......
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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SeaJay,

I do miss my days at sea in the dark. Loved working the flight deck at night. Then went aircrew and flew for the Navy for 8 years. Pilots loved having me behind them because my vision was good. When Air Traffic Control called out a Boggie I would spot it before anyone else in the cockpit. Now need reading glasses. Oh well we all do age.

You and Willa Be Safe also my Brother.

Mark
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:11 AM   #8
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SeaJay,

I do miss my days at sea in the dark. Loved working the flight deck at night. Then went aircrew and flew for the Navy for 8 years. Pilots loved having me behind them because my vision was good. When Air Traffic Control called out a Boggie I would spot it before anyone else in the cockpit. Now need reading glasses. Oh well we all do age.

You and Willa Be Safe also my Brother.

Mark
Wow...... A FLAT TOP SAILOR .... Wow........ If you worked a Flat Top in the dark, you got a ''set'' my brother. I use to read the ''causality reports'' as they came thru the radio shack and flat top duty was some of the toughest. It was nothing for you guys to get blown to pieces, run over, blown over the side, burned, mashed to little bittie pieces and just generally hurt a lot of the time. During ''flight ops'' I have watched you guys thru the ''big eyes'' scurrying around like ants among those jets and getting out of the way ''just in time''....... I just hope you were getting hazardous duty pay for what you done. I was in Communications....
Anyhow. tks for your service.....

Wind to your back sailor ...... smooth seas ahead ........

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Old 09-27-2010, 09:48 PM   #9
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SeaJay'

After seeing your pictures of the Paps. I have looked at Pap Rescue. We did draw flight deck pay. Not as much I drew when I flew. Although Desert Storm One did allow me to pay cash for a new Chrysler Lebaron convertible. Love living in the desert now. If you get out here to the southwest again do I have places to show you off the beaten track. A Tunnel through a solaid granite mt. A 1920's vintage mining camp. A place to dry sift for gold mineing.

Fair Winds And Following Seas At your back also.

The bad thing about being a Flat Top Sailor is you are always turning into the wind. So you have 30-35 knots over the bow. To launch airplanes.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:58 AM   #10
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Concerning my ''Paps''. I would encourage anyone to consider a "Pap" for a traveling companion. We have two, Gus the oldest, and Finnious Foghorn Farnsworth from Fillidelphia. Finnie is the ''lop eared one''. He can hold both ears up but he likes to let his left ear kinda flop over his eye so he will look like Troy Donahue the sexy TV star. We also have Gypsy. She is the on in the middle of the photo. She is a Yorkie about 4 pounds soaking wet. She was a ''throw a way'' and Willa found her and she is part of our family now. Money could not buy any of our dogs and I have made a nice financial proviso in my will for their care should Willa and I both die and the dogs survive. I know it may sound stupid but Willa and I want to be cremated and we will both be in the same ''jar'' and the puppies ashes mixed right in there with us. I would consider it an honor to spend eternity with the lady I so love and my three dogs that love me without question. (kinda weard aint it?_)

anyhow....... be safe on the road and I would look forward to sitting by a campfire with you and tellin sea stories someday.....
God bless you for your service to my country........

''Wind over the bow there Mr Flat top sailor and dont get ''blown away''..........lol...
ps. I spoke to the ''powers'' about a ''Vets Corner'' primarily for vet talk and they may consider it later. Time will tell maybe.

New forum organization not showing
Here is where I put my request letter. Read it if you like .....
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:36 AM   #11
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An ideal time to venture into Death Valley is in April. The explosion of wild flowers overwhelms the senses. The temps are just right. Make sure you visit the Armagosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction. A good place to stay if you like FHUs is at Tecopa Springs where you can find several RV campgrounds and the China Ranch date farm is just up the road. The Crow Bar cafe in Shoshone is a good place to eat and I'd recommend their steak for dinner.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:12 PM   #12
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One thing more about my ''Paps''. THEY HAVE NO ODOR. You can go for two weeks and not bathe them and unless the roll in a dead fish they will have virtually no odor in their coats. We have done this especially in the winter time when we are camping rough. They do ''shed'' and Finnie has a long coat and he is the worser of the two. We keep him brushed if we can get Gypsy out of his coat long enough to brush him. Gypsy just loves to gnaw and tangle his hair and we sometimes have to cut out places on his ears and tail but that just gives him ''character''....(he looks like ''some character'' that has been run over with a lawnmower) Gypsy is not like that. Willa baths her about three to five days because she will get ''gamie'' around her face and eyes. For her it takes a whole tea cup of water and three drops of baby shampoo. We have to take the 44 mag away from her while she is asleep and then wake her and bathe her. .....lol....
Nuff said about my dogs and it is off forum subject.....
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