Day 3 – Naval Air Station Lemoore, California

Our stop at Beale AFB was very pleasant. Diane got to watch Dancing With The Stars, and I got to watch most of the Seattle vs. Green Bay football game. The latter was interesting because of the final play of the game that decided the winner. It was really Green Bay, but the officials awarded the game to Seattle for some odd reason. I’m guessing at least one official will be begging for work soon.

We got all packed up and headed for the main gate around 0930. On the way we stopped by Burger King for a breakfast sandwich. Diane had one cup of coffee in the room, but i didn’t because I was waiting for something better … that didn’t happen until we got to Sacramento. I was trying to get SIRI, on my phone, to tell me where the nearest Starbucks was but she kept aiming me at locations 15 miles behind us. I called her names but that didn’t do any good. Thins were better once we got our coffee, from a Safeway Starbucks.

Before getting that far I called Kathie R. to see if she might have a moment to meet us as we motored through Sacramento – she works in an office about 20 feet from the I-5 freeway so it wouldn’t have been a lot of trouble. But, nooo, she begged off saying she was getting a haircut somewhere 50 miles from where we were. So, instead, we had a nice conversation until her barber took the phone away from her. Perhaps we’ll get to see her on the way home … unless she decides to get another one of her hairs cut.

Things went well on the freeway as we headed south, then traffic came to a complete stop about 3 miles from Merced. A ramp ahead was closed for construction of some sort, and the two lanes of 65 mph traffic was being forced to zipper down to one lane. As soon as we did that, the speed went back to 65 like magic, and all the cars and trucks disappeared.

Before getting to the point, however, Diane had me retrieve the remainder of her foot long Subway sandwich and the little carrots so we could snack. After eating 3 inches of the sandwich she reluctantly gave it to me to finish. It was actually pretty good.

Now we’re only about 65 miles from Lemoore. Arrival time is a little shy of 4pm.

Travelling through the San Fernando Valley is pretty boring. I realize that it’s a major food producing area, but you’d think they could spruce it up a little … like paint the median grass green, or just set it on fire and make it black. Brown, all the time, makes me sleepy. Thankfully, it doesn’t affect Diane that way, or I’d be forced to drive. So far today I’ve escaped the hot seat.

Construction, construction, construction … they’re laying down so much cement and blacktop that it’s a wonder California doesn’t just snap off at the Nevada border and fall into the ocean. Maybe if someone took a shovel and made a dotted line along that line there would be no need for an earthquake … nah, that just wouldn’t be right.

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It’s now 1845 (6:45pm for you non-military minded folks) and we just got bck from the commissary on NAS Lemoore where we purchased a couple nutritious Stouffer lasagne meals. Diane has them simmering in the underpowered microwave as I type. Don’t get me wrong … the room is nice. Nicer than last night.

We arrived about 1500 (3pm), an hour earlier than I previously said we’d get here. That’s because Diane saw an open field and decided to check out the all wheel drive on her Buick. Turned out the field skirted the runway at Lemoore and, for some obscure reason, the fence was down and no one was around. So, instead of having to drive all the way around the base, like we did at Beale, we just drove across it. The AWD works great, BTW.

That’s a lie, of course. There’s no way security would have let us fly across the end of the runway like that. We drove around like we were supposed to. I just had the timing an hour off earlier.

Now we’re going to eat so I’m quitting.

Day 2 – Beale AFB, California

We slept extraordinarily well last night, even though I failed (I failed) to pack the cord for my CPAP machine which caused concern for both of us. Me, because snoring gives me a sore throat, and Diane because she was fearful she’d have to keep kick-starting me all night long. Neither happened, so maybe it’s OK for me to start breathing fresh air at night once again.

It was interesting that our motel room was 111. Eleven is a number that shows up in our lives repeatedly, so we see it as a good omen.

At the motel, we ate a bit of breakfast, filled our coffee cups in the lobby, and took off. We crested the Siskyou Summit at 9:44 am, and crossed the border into California at 9:48. It’s now 9:54 and we’re coasting in to the border control station at Hornbrook so we can tell the guards that we are not trying to sneak non-California fruits into their state. That’s important to them.

Whew! We made it past the crossing guard station … she was a hottie in shorts.

At the moment, we’re grinding along behind an RV who, in turn, is grinding along behind a semi-truck because the lanes are restricted. They’re working on 2 miles of the downhill side and we’re going uphill. Dang.

During this pause, some of the quaint little place names we’ve passed ate flitting through my little head. One, in particular, reminds me of an old trucker song we used to hear all the time. It’s Wolf Creek Pass which is a little north of Grants Pass. Another favorite is Jump Off Joe Creek, near the bitty town of Wolf Creek, is a name that causes me to envision all kinds of goings on to cause a group of concerned people to christen the place with such a descriptor. Do you think his name was really Joe? Do you think he really jumped, or was he pushed? Or, was this a place where Sam was actually on Joe and the snap of a nearby twig startled them, causing Sam to nervously jump and Joe compounded the visual effect by pushing Sam up and away. Bill, an innocent bystander, the twig breaker, having followed Joe and Sam to this secluded location because of concerns he had for the sanctity of heterosexual activity, witnessed the event and, since not a lot happened in that area of the woods, rushed willy-nilly to the nearest saloon to report that he had just seen Sam Jump Off Joe down by the Creek. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

It’s now 10:12 am and we’re cruising by exit 753 which is next to Mt. Shasta. The mountain is virtually naked … just a few spots of snow and ice are scattered sparsely around it’s tippy top.

I’m still think about Sam and Joe, and wonder if they were forced to flee Wolf Creek for warmer climes near San Francisco where they struck on the idea of starting a commune where they could spread the joy they found with each other to those seeking satisfaction in a similar manner. My search of the internet hasn’t revealed any concrete evidence to support this theory, but I think I’ve seen vague references about an obscure little rod and gun club that was opened in 1898 near the corner of Haight & Ashbury.

This, of course, is unfounded discourse,
making me wonder why
someone of my gender would
seek solace in another guy.

OK. That was a lame attempt at a bit of poetry and a disclaimer that what I’m sharing is pure figments. Still, there’s evidence throughout history that this kind of activity has been going on for pretty much ever. I’ve always thought it was one of God’s way to keep the population in check. One might wonder what the world would be like today if everyone had remained staunchly heterosexual throughout history. Just think about all that extra begetting that would have been going on. I suspect there’s a formula somewhere that could compute the difference in population density between the two different lifestyles.

Any guesses?

It’s 10:55 and we’re almost to Shasta Lake. First stop of this leg is Redding for gas and Gas (lunch).

Now I must pause and navigate before I get into trouble. Again.

Hey there … it’s 1:23 pm and we just left the Win River Casino in Redding where we had a very nice lunch. And we didn’t gamble even though we each received $5 on our Players cards so we could get the lunch special at a discount. We figure we made $18 with the free money and discounted lunch. That works.

It especially works because the gas tank lady was telling Diane it’s time to fill up so we stopped at the first station after leaving the freeway. I know, dumb thing to do, but we both thought the safe thing to do was fill up sooner than latter. As you may have guessed, we paid $4.30 a gallon instead of $4.00 had we waited a little bit.

It’s 90 degrees here. And mostly brown. Not pretty like home.

It’s 7:13pm, now. We’ve had a Subway supper and are ensconced in our Visiting Airmen barracks room on Beale AFB. We arrived about 4:00pm. It would have been about 3:30, but Diane let me drive for the last couple of hours and didn’t navigate me very well. The difference was that, instead of going around the right side of the base, to the main gate, I took a left at a sign that read Beale AFB, with a very distinct arrow pointing to the left. The Wazer program didn’t seem to object, except for a distinctive “BEEP”, so I thought everything was just fine. But, we had to drive all the way around the runway to a back gate.

Beale AFB is about the size of Vermont and is covered, mainly, with dried up fields that appear to have been cut and bailed. Very tidy. As we made our way across many miles to the correct side of the base, we watched high altitude spy planes landing. They look like gliders and are the modern day version of the U-2 Gary Powers was flying when he was shot down over Russia in 1960. At that time, the U-2 was running under CIA control. Perhaps they still are. I do not know. But, they are super quiet, and glide along slow as a bird.

Now, about our our barracks room … it’s really nice, actually, something I would expect for the Air Force. They always get the best housing while the Navy always got the best ships. That’s seems fair.

Our room is one of four access from a common area that is about the size of a large hotel room with a living room and a full kitchen. That’s where I’m currently sitting, watching the Seattle/Green Bay game, as I type. Two of the other rooms are occupied … one by a male sergeant, and the other by a female Lt. Colonel. The sleeping rooms are large, with their own TVs, with Dish Satellite. We can’t find anything wrong with the place and, it would be dumb to do so, because the room only cost us $34. Nice. There really is a benefit for spending half your life in the military.

Tomorrow I’ll keep another diary, whether or not you want me to, and finish it up from the Navy Lodge at Lemoore Naval Air Station. That’s going to cost more than tonight, I’m sure.