Ready to Hit the Road

June 19th, 2015

      Monday morning (June 22nd) will see me escaping the desert’s heat and heading for the cooler temperatures that currently prevail in the San Francisco Bay Area. My plan is to give the new BMW a chance to taste the open road and for me to take a short vacation from the grueling lifestyle that’s part of the Golden Years retirement experience I’m becoming more adept at surmounting.

     Monday, following a drive up Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, I’ll overnight at the Austria Hof Lodge in Mammoth Lakes. It’s an area I saw many times during my years of backpacking and peak climbing (also referred to as “peak bagging“) in the Sierras.

     Tuesday’s itinerary is to travel the Tioga Pass route through Yosemite National Park to an early lunch stop at Tuolumne Meadows. The remainder of the day I’ll be enroute to the Guerneville community in the Russian River area.

     Tuesday though Thursday morning I’ll remain in Guerneville, a community where I resided before moving to Palm Springs in 2002. It’ll be my first return to the area since that time. I plan to visit old friends and tour the countryside including Duncans Mills, Armstrong Woods State Reserve and the nearby Pacific Coastal region.  I hope to add a side trip to the Charles Schulz Snoopy Museum in Santa Rosa to my schedule.

     Thursday’s plan is for an after lunch stop in San Rafael to visit with Sierra Club hiking friends from my days as a hike leader on nearby Mt. Tamalpais. We hiked many miles together (including hundreds of cumulative foot elevation totals) during a ten year period that ended in early 1998.

     Thursday through Sunday I’ll be in San Mateo luxuriating in my exclusive use of a Palm Springs friend’s condo. I’ll probably commute into San Francisco each day via CalTrain or BART. I’ve been advised parking in San Francisco is practically nonexistent. Commuting won’t be a problem for that was my preferred mode of travel during the thirty years of my residency there.

     Friday will be my first day visiting in San Francisco. It’s a city where I lived and worked until I retired in 1998. That evening I’ve been invited to accompany friends to the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus – Elton: The Sing-Along performance at The Nourse.

      Saturday morning at 7 am I plan to be on the top of Twin Peaks to help with the 20th Anniversary installation of the Pink Triangle display on the side of the mountain. There will be mid-morning ceremonies commemorating the installation. Visiting dignitaries usually include politicians, both local and national, and others who support the message the display is intended to convey. It’s an annual event in which I participated in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Later in the day I’ll join friends and visit areas where special activities will be occurring in conjunction with Pride Weekend festivities.

     Sunday morning there will be a huge Pride Day parade on Market Street and I’ll join friends for viewing it. Afterwards we plan to visit the party area near City Hall following the parade’s ending. Since the visit will mark my first return to the City since 2001 my friends have mentioned a number of changes (Yerba Buena Gardens, etc.) have occurred and I hope to see some of them later that day.

     Monday morning I’ll be heading south to the Quality Inn & Suites in Santa Maria for an overnight stay.

     Tuesday, the last day of June, I’ll stop in Pasadena for lunch with my sister before continuing my return route home in Palm Springs.

     It’s my suspicion the new car will be rather tired following its “taste of the open road” and perhaps ready for a quiet 4th of July.

Bond Shands
Desert Political Opinion –
The Notebook –

Twitter Handle – @BondShands

Pink Triangle


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Preparing for War!

June 17th, 2015

      News reports of another United States military adventure in the making appeared on June 13, 2015. The New York Times headlined their story “U.S. Is Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in Eastern Europe“. Our nation has found yet another spot in Europe from which to engage in warfare.

     Will this nation ever turn away from being the world’s police department and become genuine peacemakers? I don’t believe it will. It’s in our blood (killing, I mean) and we see absolutely nothing wrong with it. Of course it helps to remember the bad guys are always the ones we’re out to intimidate, quash and/or completely destroy. Not to worry, though, when we almost but don’t quite win, we’ll spend tons of money to rebuild whatever the other guys lost from our conflict. That’s just more proof we’re the good guys.

     Must admit to wondering when this latest military proposal will move into actual conflict? But, since we don’t have a draft, it’s not really a big deal to most of us. At least there’ll be headlines and that should prove interesting, possibly entertaining, for a period of time. Should keep our military industrial complex folks happy.

     God Bless America, Hail to the Chief, America Forever, America the Beautiful and more are the mottos and phrases that guide us – for it’s all about us! And, of course, that’s the way it should be. After all, aren’t we the chosen people, the ones created to bring democracy to the world, and the savior of all who share our beliefs? We even have a huge segment of the population convinced that we have religious principles that need to be forced upon the rest of the world.

     I could rant and rave over this subject for hours but it wouldn’t change any minds, spur anyone to action or give many reason to pause and think about it. The truth is that our penchant for national warlike adventures has yet to find its limits. It’s almost as if it’s a game in which we need to always be a major player. We seldom win, but we never admit defeat.

     A recent article about the type of military we’re creating was depressing. Our beloved warrior combat forces appear to be the first step in what actually may be a homegrown mercenary fighting system. We entice “volunteers” with good pay and benefits, family unit support, and housing in a walled complex totally separated from the rest of the country. In those military-base walled residential communities there are shopping facilities, entertainment, education and, of course, the employment location is just around the corner. Military family residents automatically develop their own culture, associations are limited to those in the same community and the social and political views chart an independent course. It’s almost another form of population segregation. How can this be good for our nation and our future?

      Most who read this post will not participate nor even click the like button. That may be to avoid appearing to take a position, for being an avid peace lover is almost un-American. Our support for peace and opposition to war is more of the “please don’t do that” variety or “not really a good idea”. Advocating on behalf of peace and in opposition to all warlike adventures is just not done. This, after all, is America, and Dick Cheney may be gone from Washington, but fond memories of his time remain. Our own kids won’t be doing any of the fighting so – send in the troops.

      War – It’s becoming ordinary, just like breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Dare I say that we’re also a bunch of very, very, stupid dumb yucks!

Bond Shands
June 17, 2015
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