This is Doug's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Doug's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Doug
Deep South Texas
Interests: c. s. lewis, authors? tolkein, and guys like paul, and isaiah.<p> music? gotta be classic rock - or maybe a little jazz on occassion.<p> cigars? arturo fuente 858, arturo fuente cuban coronas, or arturo fuentes hemingway classics - they're all in the humidor. the occassional partagas #10 is good, though. women? same one for thirty some-odd years - think i'll hang on to her and see if it works out., and a nice short smoke is the macanudo petit corona. there are usually some punch punches in the humidor. the daily smoke is a macanudo duke of devon.<p> television? forget it. cnn international or the bbc is all i need.<p> kids? have one son, and he's busy being a husband and father to four. good collegiate rowing coach
Recent Activity
The War - the Vietnam War, of course. When the United States first sent in combat troops in 1965, most folks were all for it. After all, the Commies would just fall over and surrender once they experienced America’s awesome firepower. “It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home for Christmas.” —Ronald Reagan, October 10, 1965, interview with the Fresno Bee during his California gubernatorial campaign. The War - in Iraq, of course. The war began with “shock and awe”, a phrase used by the American government to indicate that our overwhelming firepower would end the war quickly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yr-LaMhvro That didn’t seem to work out in either case, did it? Same same but different. We tend to think of anti-war protest songs when we... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2019 at Virtual-Doug
I love music - I often play music that matches my mood. I have playlists of songs that suit me at any particular time. Most people like music, and music is often a lens into a society - we reflect how we feel and react to life through music. Videos are cool too, especially of stuff that happened a long time ago. Music can reveal how we felt in the past and how we feel today. You hear it often: “This country is more divided now than it’s been since the late 60s and early 70s.” And, I suppose it is very divided these days. There are some similarities between the two eras: the 1960s saw the rise of modern day feminism, a war figured huge back then, many people had a poor opinion of the government and politicians, the counterculture of drugs began in the 60s, the civil rights... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2019 at Virtual-Doug
Wow!! It's been almost five years since I've posted to this silly blog? I'm thinking of resurrecting this thing. Facebook is fine for short little blurbs, but nobody wants to read anything any longer than fifty words. Since I don't really care if anybody reads this or not, I may as well use the site. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2019 at Virtual-Doug
Image
Had a chance to spend a Saturday with Trang last weekend. I rolled up to the house where she rents a room - and this is what she wore as the bounded out of the house. After buying her a new helmet and jacket the next, we were off to the rolling hills north of Houston where we took a break in the area around the courthouse of Anderson. Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at Virtual-Doug
Image
(Note: TypePad, the hosting service for this blog, was hit with a big denial of service attack and was offline for awhile. This is posted a bit late because of that attack.) I write this blog mainly for myself, though I know there are a few folks who never turned off their RSS feeds. This is a story of a new baby who arrived in this world as clueless about its history as all babies are. Her name is Nhiên (say nyee en) and I’ve known her mother for nine years. Nine years - really that long? She was a first year university student then - more high school kid than college student. But she stood out from the other students. Besides wanting to learn for the pure sake of learning, she did the extra things to keep learning. She was a regular visitor to our apartment in Huế. She... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2014 at Virtual-Doug
This place is called Captain's. It's right on I45 (Gulf Freeway) south of I 610. Kind of a dive - but that's my kinda place.
Image
I seldom need an excuse to ride, but I don’t always have the time. When I had the chance to see my daughter Trang in Houston and take an extra day to go to the Hill Country of Texas, I took it. My ride would take me up through the coastal bend, a leg of superslab from Houston to San Antonio, a ride through the Hill Country, and last, a day through the Eagle Ford Shale area. (Be sure to click on the map and the other photos. You will see a bigger version.) Riding from my home in McAllen to Corpus Christi is not the fun part of any ride, but its unavoidable. I usually ride that section of flat scrub land fairly fast. Once in Corpus Christi, its over the harbor bridge, and the fun riding begins. There are a lot of wind farms on the Texas coast,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at Virtual-Doug
Image
Snow - they’d never seen snow, nor had they met my brother Russell and his bride Patty. The fall semester being over, it was a good time to put Ái Nhân and Kiên in the back seat of the car and head north to Colorado. The first 625 miles were pretty boring, but in Lubbock, the weather seemed out to get us. Refueling in heavy rain with a wind that seemed determined to blow the cold wet on me, we checked the radar and saw we could make Amarillo that night, albeit with rain the whole way. We checked into our motel, then went to eat in Cindy’s favorite dining spot - Waffle House. Morning light showed only dark clouds, but as we were packing up the car, the first snowflakes fluttered down - much to Kiên’s delight. But by the time we got to Dalhart (almost into New Mexico),... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
I remember when my parents moved to Florida back in 1959. I was just starting high school, and I remember them saying they were happy to move to Florida, but they missed the seasons. I thought they were a little loopy. Who needs seasons when it is warm year round? But now I know what they meant. There is little difference in the seasons on south Texas - it merely goes from warm to hot, but that's about it. Now that I am spending a few Christmas days with my brother and his wife in Colorado, I appreciate the beauty of a nice winter day. My walk took me down a small trail next to a creek. No wind and the sky so blue it was sharp to the eyes. The snow crunched under my shoes as I puffed on my cigar. Life is good. Posted with Blogsy Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
Weather - always a thought in the winter. The drive from home up through the Hill Country of central Texas was the usual, but then we ran into rain - heavy rain - as we approached Lubbock from the south. Though I liked the price of gas at $2.79, I didn't like the blustery wind blowing cold rain on my back side while I was refueling. We had a chance to fire up the smartphone and see it was just rain all the way to Amarillo, so Cindy made motel reservations while I drove - and Ai Nhan and Kien stayed bored in the back seat. And Amarillo delivered. Ai Nhan and Kien saw their first snow, even though it wasn't much at first. Packing up the car, a few flurries settled on Kien. With a bit of apprehension, we went back on the road - the weather web sites... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
On my little motorcycle venture, I was more than irritated that my laptop refused to read my camera's memory cards - and I had tried before to post to this blog from an my iPad, only to find it didn't work. Now that I have found an app, I'll try the iPad again when traveling. Its much better on a bike because it is smaller and lighter. But right now, I'm not on a motorcycle. Ai Nhan and Kien are with us in the car on the way to Colorado for Christmas with Russell and Patty. We're in Amarillo, and we may be stuck here awhile as the snow is coming in and the temps are at freezing. Its the coldest Kien has ever been. He was a bit awestruck when I broke off an icicle and handed it to him. No photos - yet. That will be the next... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
When you’re dumb enough to plan a 4,000 mile ride in early December, you have to expect some changes to your itinerary, even if you start out in deep south Texas. (Be sure to click on each photo to see a larger version.) Most of the ride was along the rim of the Gulf of Mexico, as I wanted to see an old friend in Miami. When I say “old”, I mean we hadn’t seen each other in 48 years! I also dropped by my son’s home in Orlando to spend some time with him and his family, but the rest of the trip was to go to Gainesville, GA, which is up in the northern mountains, then on to Nashville. I got as far as Gainesville to see two other old friends, but the weather forecast was iffy to go to Nashville. I called my nephew Paul (also a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Time to put some miles on the not-so-new bike. Tomorrow morning, my Honda NT700 and I will keep each company on a ride to Miami to see an old friend. In fact, Jim and I haven't seen each other in 48 years - the month of May, 1965, when we both left Florida Southern College. My route will take me to Houston for the first night (where I'll have dinner with Trang), then Monday, take the ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula and continue on across into Louisiana and on to New Orleans, where I'll have breakfast with Ken, a man who served at the same hospital as Cindy way back when during the war in Vietnam. Keeping off the super slab, Tuesday will take me to Crawfordville, FL, then Wednesday on to Keith and Misty's in Orlando, but going through Lakeland for a stroll across the campus of Florida Southern.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
We don't like change - unless its our own idea.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2013 on Be careful of what you ask for at A Deliberate Life
Image
My rationale is this: I was riding the Burgman scooter past its design limits on the trip to Las Vegas. Therefore, I needed a new machine. Ergo, I signed the papers on a new Honda NT700 motorcycle at a dealership in Dallas, and rode it home. That's my story and I'm sticking with it! And yes - though it is a 2010 model year, it is new. Honda still makes the bike, but stopped importing them to the US in 2011 after only two years of trying to sell them here. I literally bought it at cost. Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
This is in answer to Paul's question about my routes on the Las Vegas trip. The top map is on the way to Las Vegas, and the bottom is the way back home. Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
Ah, bliss. The morning I was to leave Albuquerque, I headed to the the Owl Cafe. I had to use my last opportunity to get huevos rancheros New Mexico style - in other words, with lots of green chile. I wish I had remembered to get a photo of the place on the way out - the architecture is distinctive - but I did remember to buy a black Owl Cafe t-shirt. There was a nice nip in the air as I headed east on old Route 66. At the town of Tijeras, I turned south along a comfortably bendy two-laner. Ah, delight - riding through old towns, some of them land grants from the days when Spain owned the area. Old churches in decaying villages as I rode on nice curvy roads along the side of the Manzano mountains. Too soon, I came back out onto the eastern plains... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
Okay - I admit it. I rode into Colorado just enough to be able to say I was in the state. My goal on this trip was to ride through seven states, and I've done it. Fourteen states down - only thirty six to go. Last night I stayed at a motel that serves Monument Valley. Think the landscape of a Roadrunner cartoon. Spectacular. Some of the formations leaked outside the park and stayed right there waiting for me to photograph it. On the way into New Mexico last week, somebody had stolen the welcome sign, so I had to get a shot of the New Mexico sign on the Arizona side. I got to Bloomfield, and while gassing up, saw Blake's Lotaburger across the street. For a former New Mexican like me, who still craves green chile, a Lotaburger with cheese and green chile is heaven in the mouth.... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
After trudging through the lobby of the casino/hotel, carrying my top case and waterproof bag, I checked the oi l and the tires. The scoot fired up and I headed home on Wednesday, April 24.. I wasn't able to avoid riding the Interstate. I wanted to go through southern Utah to ride some twisties, but had to ride the super slab to get there. Boring! The only interesting part of the trip was coping with the very stiff cross wind just north of Las Vegas. But the ride along Utah Route 9 made it worth it. Actually, the road is Zion National Park. Normally, one must pay a $25 entrance fee, but the smiling park ranger at the gate said "Its all free this week", and I rode in. There is too much other traffic to do the kind of centerstand-scraping twisty ride a lot of motorcyclists might want to... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
I love being in the desert. We once lived in the high desert of Albuquerque, NM, where the humidity was extremely low. But my body has become accustomed to high humidity while living in the Rio Grande Valley of Deep South Texas, and protested the dryness a little in Wickenburg, AZ, where it was drier than a popcorn fart. I set out on the last leg of the trip with cracked lips, dry nose and dry skin - and the humidity was 9%. I had to stop and take some photos of the area - it reminded me so much of New Mexico, with the faux colonial and pueblo style buildings, with rugged mountains in the distance. (Be sure to click on each photo to see a larger version.) It is serious desert from Phoenix to Las Vegas. The road is dotted with little towns that have largely been abandoned.... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
The high mountain town of Eagar, AZ, was gorgeous in the early morning light. When I went to breakfast, it was 39 degrees, yet when I returned to my room, it was already 45. The sun was warming the world quickly, so I eschewed the long johns, yet still wore the other stuff. I filled the tank at a convenience store that wasn't open yet (but the pumps were on), then down the road towards Show Low. This was the kind of morning that keeps me coming back to riding. Bright sun, gorgeous high mountain scenery, no traffic. I came upon high mountain ponds as well as elk crossing signs, I had bugs in my teeth. A cup of coffee in Show Low, then I began the long drop from over 7,000 feet to Phoenix' 1,500 feet - the change from 39 degrees to Phoenix' 91. I had to shed... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
I woke up at half past ridiculous, but having gone to bed early, I was refreshed and ready to go. An hour before sunrise in Portales, New Mexico, I opened my motel room door and found out it was colder than a mother in law's heart. Twenty seven degrees was a bit chilly for riding. So I bundled up with everything - long johns, t-shirt, flannel shirt, fleece jacket, liner and finally, my riding jacket. Long johns, riding pants liner, then riding pants. Fur-lined gloves with liner. I felt like the Michelin Man. Dawn was just breaking as I left town, heading west across the last cultivated land I would see the rest of the day. After an hour, I just had to stop for coffee and breakfast. My hands were very cold. But, coffee, eggs and sausage warmed the heart and hands and I was off again. The land... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Lisa - you mean you still READ this thing? Wow! For whatever reason, I could not post from my iPad during the trip - so I had to wait until after the trip. Thanx for tagging along. D
Toggle Commented May 2, 2013 on From Hill Country to the Big Empty at Virtual-Doug
Image
The weather front was due to come through Kerrville the early morning, so when the lighting flash awakened me at 5:30, that was fine with me. Breakfast at six while I watched the rain and packed up. By the time I loaded the bike, the rain had stopped. Leaving Kerrville, there was no wind but the temperature was dropping. The wind came in ten minutes - sharp and from the north. But the Texas Hill Country is a motorcyclist's dream - lots of twisties and whopp-dee-dos. The winding ranch roads I took were great - little streams, old houses, sheep grazing. (As always, be sure to click on the photo to see a larger version.) Then the land flattens out into an area mostly level, but dotted with mesas and buttes. There are lots of ranches, but cowboy country has a new industry - wind farms, generating electricity. The West... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2013 at Virtual-Doug
Image
(Note: I am posting this and subsequent road stories late. For reasons known only to the computer gods, I could not post during the trip. I started this trip on April 17.) It was beyond humid. As I was packing the scooter this morning, I looked at the sky expecting rain, but the weatherman said no - just low clouds. I was still inside my subdivision when the humidity became liquid. No, not rain - just enough moisture to crap up the windshield. And I was off on a ten day ride - five days to get to Las Vegas, three days at the reunion of the men of B 3/7 Infantry I served with in 1967, then five days back. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. The weather stayed cloudy with a hint of mist all during the day - and it was windy. Fortunately, it... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2013 at Virtual-Doug