Archive for October, 2009

. . .  bet you wish you were here!

We found the drive yesterday to be much too beautiful to hurry through. The weather was absolutely perfect and the scenery even more so. We stopped at “Peaks of Otter” and walked around the small lake there, finding a great place for a picnic lunch and some relaxing before getting back onto the interstate to find a room for the night. The internet connection at this motel isn’t what it should be and I am having a lot of difficulty posting any pictures.


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No More Looking Back

No-More-Looking-BackLeaving Lee and entering Scott County, the view doesn’t tell half the story.

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Let's go!!!

We finally got on the road around noon today. I wanted to leave at 10:00, then realized this wasn’t going to be possible. And when you are retired, any time is on time. We said our final good-bye’s to the neighbors who became like family to us, and headed on down the road.

After a quick stop in Abingdon for coffee to go and to drop off the modem and cancel our internet, we got back onto I-81 north. Had a quick break in Pulaski, then decided to push on to Roanoke. It wasn’t really much further, and traffic wasn’t a problem at all.

We are spending the night at a newly opened Holiday Inn Express, and the place in great. I managed to break the chain on my pocket watch, but they had the tools to fix it at the front desk. High speed internet in all the rooms, wired or wireless. Huge room, very nicely appointed and all that. Gerda loves it.

Dinner at the Cracker Barrel right across the street. Lesson learned – don’t order a burger at a country cooking restaurant, order country cooking. Gerda did and it worked out better for her. Anyway . . .

In the morning, we just head down the road (no more Interstate for a while) a little bit and jump onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Really want to get an early start but won’t sweat it if we don’t.

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Pimpin'-ain't-easy-yoSoon after the world’s oldest profession came into existence, the second oldest profession evolved. Some may think pimpin’ is easy, but it’s not. Making it look easy is the goal, and for the the successful entrepreneur, attention to detail is essential. Crack may now be whack, but color-coordinating socks remains fly.

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Trail-GoodbyeWe took one last look at the Creeper Trail yesterday before heading out on Tuesday. The weather was cool and cloudy, but we’ve never had a bad day on the Trail. Not in snow and ice, torrential downpours and sweltering heat. It came close once, when a couple of bulls along a lonely stretch were getting loud and aggressive, but we managed to get by them without incident. There may be better hiking trails in America, but the Virginia Creeper Trail will always be at the top of our list.

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The Nobel Peace Prize was recently and surprisingly awarded to Barack Obama. Everyone has their own opinion on this. Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner, said it was “extremely well deserved.” I have a different opinion.

I think this year’s award is the Nobel Committee’s attempt to influence American policy on one or more issues, such as Afghanistan or the detainees in Guantanamo, Cuba. Obama is smart enough to know he has not done anything worthy of this (formerly) prestigious award. I just hope he’s smart enough not to succumb to Norwegian political bribery.

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The agriculture giant Monsanto is answering questions “about its marketing tactics in the biotech seed industry.” The Justice Department, along with Iowa and Texas, is investigating allegations Monsanto wants to control the industry, squeezing out smaller companies. DuPont (Remember “Better Living Through Chemistry“? It’s now “The miracles of science“) and Syngenta AG (“Bringing plant potential to life“) are Monsanto rivals and have been interviewed. Come on! DuPont surely understands business is war, and war is business. Justice can investigate all day Monsanto’s business practices, and may even find violations of law. This investigation is probably nothing more that a politically motivated attempt to shake a few more lobbying dollars out of a genetically modified tree. Then Congress can change the laws to make it right.

Any company is in business to make money. Altruism isn’t a corporate priority, only the appearance of doing good. All those smarmy adds about feeding the world only hide what should be obvious. As the world becomes dependent on a cheap, genetically modified food supply, that is all we’ll have. And when Monsanto is sitting on the only bag of seeds available, what will it cost?

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SoldiersHad my retirement party last Saturday, and everyone showed up. Jack, Jim, Ron, even the Captain was there. Later on, some of the locals brought out desserts including apple pie and something with peaches in it. I think that was what did me in, but who knows. I’m just glad that part is over with.

The weather was great, food was plentiful and everyone had a good time. I really didn’t want to do anything like this and would have preferred to just not show up for work after my last day. But retirement parties aren’t for the retirees, they are for those who aspire to be retired but haven’t yet reached that point where they realize they are about to join the ranks of the fixed income folks.  When that senior’s discount at MacDonald’s isn’t such a bad thing after all. And when someone asks what you do for a living, the conversation turns past tense. When the road ahead is shorter that the road behind.

So I went to my own retirement party to spend a moment as the center of attention, and for the swag, before heading down the road. I only have a few “work days ” left, and will do whatever I feel like doing. Even if it means working.


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