The Doldrums

A flashback to Felipé, Annie and Salvador Dali.
We are on the loose in San Francisco!
(photo unknown)

In the present situation I am resorting to a flashback in the quest for interesting material to blog about. At breakfast a few minutes ago I was gazing out of the window at the breathless fog/smoke toxic atmosphere outside. It has settled in here with a vengeance. And each day the weather man or gal push back in time promised relief. It’s the classic quagmire.

In that act of gazing I flashed back to a similar situation I encountered years ago. In 1974 or 5 I got a chance to sail from Hilo, Hawaii to San Francisco. I was aboard a 55 foot schooner that I had help build and rig off and on for a couple of years. Our voyage, there were six of us on board, took 26 days to get to the Golden Gate Bridge and we sailed 2600 miles.

Traveling northeastward at some point we had to get through the doldrums or horse latitudes that separate two major bands of winds the Trade Winds and Westerlies. It is where one set of the Doldrums occurs, this transition. We got caught there for three days in the quagmire of that.

I am reliving it in my memory at the moment. The boat was literally dead in the water. Zero wind and there was a constant slow swell of the ocean that caused the boat to rock back and forth for three days. Pieces of gear and parts of the rigging banged constantly with this rocking. Normally when the boat is underway the rigging and everything is silent because the wind holds everything taunt. This constant banging, night and day, starts to drive you crazy.

Why does this remind me of today? It is a so similar feel of no progress of being dead in the water and waiting and waiting. We the people that thrive on progress cannot stand being “dead in the water”. At least that is what I am seeing.

There was a redeeming memory of that long ago time that I am savoring now. We got the idea to fish. I lowered a hook and line over the side with a quarter can of DAK canned lunch meat as bait. We had piles of these cans aboard that we had bought somewhere for 8 cents a can for emergencies. Looked like bait to me. I did manage to catch a maybe twenty pound Mahi Mahi on that handline, bloodied my palms. We feasted on that and it was the start of more fishing adventures to come.

We eventually were able to catch some wind also and continue toward California. It was a trip of a lifetime like the Camino. And a great flashback for me today. What is the takeaway?

fishy loves, Felipé.

Just To Celebrate Where We Are

Flashback pic to our recent camping trip. No corkscrew along so Wiley put two screws in.
(photo W Volker)

Then we pulled out the cork with a visegrips. Always a way!
(photo W Volker)

Yesterday just when the plagues were piling up in a logjam My Rebecca and I decided to celebrate. Seems odd when the whole thing seems to suck. But it seemed perfectly appropriate to celebrate how far we have come. We were exactly right where we were and it seemed like it deserved some recognition to be exactly right there.

On one hand we are laboring with air quality numbers in the 2 and 300’s but on the other hand Steve-O down in Ashland, OR is in the 500’s. Read his comment. Folks loosing there homes. Crazy.

There was a young family on the news yesterday that just lost their home, the second one in two years. What a claim to fame. They were laughing about it. What can you do? They said something haunting though, that it was beginning to feel like the fire was following them. That is spooky.

Our air quality warning here in Seattle is on til noon on Thursday. They are predicting something miraculous is going to happen. At least that‘s what it is feeling like at this point as the shroud of smoke smothers us.

My Rebecca is starting to remind me that her birthday is coming up later this month. She is just making sure that I don’t screw up. But Wiley and I got it covered. Not to worry!

Off later this morning to Seattle and the Institute. It is that magic time to see Nugget again and get OK’ed for another three weeks of clinical trial. Wish me luck for some good numbers.

more smoky loves, Felipé.

Waiting On Thursday

I hate to do any more whining but it looks like it will be Thursday before we here locally get some relief from the smoke. It is noticeably better today but tomorrow is supposed to be worse, so…

Would really like to pursue more along the line that White Eagle started us on but I am pre occupied with this mess on my trail. And we are sorry if this smoke is blowing your way world. We have a mess going on.

On the bright side I want to give you a pic of Scaleburgers. It is a tiny place! The ultimate Mom and Pop establishment. I have been stopping there since maybe 1990. I should buy stock! It is so quaint that they always have a guest book open.

Scaleburgers! They just closed so they lowered that green piece of plywood that protects customers from the weather. That plywood is 4×8 feet so that will give you a sense of scale.
(photo J Hyde)

I am off for now loves, Felipé.

Pretty Much….

Virgin Mary at the trail.
(photo P Volker)

Pretty much all of the West Coast of the US is under this shroud. Wow, that is a good word for it. We are coughing and sneezing with eyes burning. Inside the air is better but the whole situation is downright stifling. We are all waiting for the weather change that was promised us. Well, maybe promised is too big a word.

It is a challenge to keep oneself upbeat with these layers of pestilence in our shroud. In a weak attempt to cheer myself up I have been trying to remember humorous or positive events in the last few days. I know that I am whining. My Rebecca has the cable news on and there are numerous stories of folks loosing their homes. One was the Fire Chief in a community that was working when her home went up. There are folks with real big problems.

I am definitely whining, sorry but that is about all I got today maybe. But I do remember James, Wiley’s friend that went with us on the mountain trip, made us laugh one morning. Well, to be fair, he makes up laugh often with his quirky sense of humor. But on waking up he said that he had Christmas carols playing in his head. Hehe, sounds good to me as long as it’s not the Chipmunks!

Then we were on our way back to Vashon and we stopped in the town of Albe, WA for a Scaleburger. For a what? There is a tiny walk-up stand -in-the-rain burger joint there that we love. It is called Scaleburgers! That is a logging deal. The logging trucks that are hauling cut timber out of the forest have to stop at a scale to get weighed to make sure they are safe for the road. So what would be more appropriate than a Scaleburger? They have different sizes on the menu, I had a “Legal” and the guys both had “Overloads”. They have great fries and made from scratch milkshakes.

We were sitting out at one of the outdoor picnic tables gabbing about stuff and politics came up. Somewhere along that I said to James that in the last election I didn’t vote for the present president but wrote in Pete Carroll the Seattle Seahawks Football Coach. And Wiley said sheepishly that that was one of their favorite stories about me. Geez, that’s funny.

And speaking of FOOTBALL the Seahawks won YESTERDAY! We are so starved for football us Americans. But that is a good start to hopefully a whole season for us. We so need some good news!

Well, thanks for being with me today as I whine. We here are waiting on our rain and wind to come and rescue us. Hope that your day goes well for you.

Monday loves, Felipé.

Under Siege

Back at the ranch.
(photo W Hayes)

There is some favorable weather conditions coming but we will be in this nasty soup for at least another twenty four hours. The smoke from the wildfires is mixing with the foggy marine air to cause visibility to plummet here. We came back from the mountains a day early and here we are with this situation.

Fortunately I saw a FaceBook post from the Department of Ecology three days ago and they showed how to red neck together a air purifier using a box fan bungeed on to a furnace filter. I ran out and got filters on Thursday and put two purifiers together. My Rebecca has had them running on high for at least a day now so the air inside is pretty darn good at the moment.

So we are managing onward. Seattle Seahawks Football season starts this morning in Atlanta so that is a bright spot. Also Esther Jantzen is having a Zoom book launch this AM which we plan to make part of. She has this terrific mystery tale for teens that takes place on the Camino. It is entitled: WALK: Jamie Bacon’s Secret Mission on the Camino de Santiago. She has been working on it for years and finally it is here!

The weatherman is also promising some rain for days this week which be a godsend. Getting out from one of our current problems would be great. Currently we have pile-o-problems going on, getting Old Testament.

So time to dig up some breakfast and get the day put together. Hope that you are handling things where you are. We all need prayer.

soupy loves, Felipé.

New Sticky Wicket

Elk Hotel in the smoky Gifford Pinchot National Forest. James had his trusty drone along.
(photo J Hyde)

Close up of the Elk Hotel with Wiley, Felipé and James.
(photo J Hyde)

Just when we are all tired of being housebound with the covid we have an air quality disaster here on US West Coast. We have the worst air quality in the world here now and it will be bad for the next couple days. Maybe some rain coming to rescue us. Geez.

Wiley and his friend James and I went up to the mountains for the weekend but we got smoked out and we are running back home a day early. I have to get inside to some conditioned air. Right now we are sitting on the ferry dock waiting for the next boat. We had zero cellphone reception up where we were so this is the first time that I got to be with you.

Thank you Ron for your post yesterday. I am so grateful for my Bureau Chiefs. Such a happy neighborhood!

A flock of Canada geese going over me, honking and honking. Maybe they will fan some of this smoke away from me. No joke this is really really bad. Please pray for us here.

I think that I will leave the Camino closed for tomorrow even though I am back. We are all supposed to be inside. I intend to take the next two days and get caught up on my homework. I have a bunch of reading to do for the blog book that Catalina and I are putting together.

So, see you again tomorrow when I am rested up.

looking for rain loves, Felipé.

Friday Ron From Beautiful Astorga

“Unusual, un-virtual Camino experiences this week. Thursday morning was filled with a short walk west of Astorga to the memorial garden in Valdeviejes with none-other than Stephen Shields and Johnniewalker Santiago of We looked at the progress of planned improvements to the garden area and envisioned the way it might appear when completed. It was a great followup to tapas and drinks the night before celebrating “Buy a Priest a Beer Day” in Astorga. What? You didn’t do it? Add it to September 9th on your calendar.

Then at 11 am our friend Tomás picked us up and took us to his wife’s childhood home in Santibáñez where the extended family spends the summer months. Tomás was preparing some food from the garden and all was pretty normal until his wife, Marycarmen, arrived and encouraged us to leave the kitchen. So Tomás took us where he spends the middle of most days, the local Albergue.

Yes, a local guy meets other local guys at the albergue and enjoys drinks and tapas. Back in the US I called this the ‘Geezer Table’ found in many family restaurants. I admit to having occupied a seat at this table more than once. Same guys saying the same stuff to each other for years. Tomás told our story in proper Spanish (I wish I had recorded it, it sounded so good!) and we got to know the guys around the table. Some were cousins and brothers and the like. Then Marycarmen showed up and you could tell she was a regular at the table too! The tapas and drinks were informal and great – croquetas, mussels, patatas fritas, aceitunas – and the conversation was wonderful for us as only one person spoke at a time at a leisurely pace. Nothing heated or contentious.

What had me from the start was that local folks congregated at the albergue in this small town. Today two pilgrims were at another table, but I understand pilgrims often join in the conversation with the townspeople.

So what’s the point here?

Just as Felipe walked a pilgrimage on his farm in Vashon Island, and many of us are participating in virtual Caminos online, and Stephen and John are carrying others’ prayers, intentions, or things to the Cruz de Ferro, these local people are realizing another level of what our hearts are led to experience along the Camino. They are witnessing pilgrims, even in this unusual year, they are communicating in a supportive and loving way, and yes, they are enjoying the tapas, coffee and cold drinks enjoyed along the way. We were first-timers at the table and were accepted immediately and non-judgmentally. Sounds like the Camino to me.

Wrapping it back around to the White Eagle posts this week, “You need to be well and strong. And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.” I sure experienced that with both The WeWalkForYou team and the albergue ‘team.’

Please be looking out for your chance to do so too! ¡Buen Camino!

With bright vibrations love,

Time To Start

Hair on Fire. Thanks Jim and Jen for help on this self portrait.
(photo P Volker)
(photo P Volker)

No time like the present they say. The direction is coming clear. It won’t be a straight shot as the road is cluttered with debris and wreckage. It seems like a long way from the here and now to the portal but the more we walk the easier it will get. We will learn the best way to do things and it will be easier.

Let’s quit spending our precious energy worrying and dithering. We have been walking around in circles in the uncertainty and smoke. It is time to go now!

We won’t need much just the basics, nothing fancy. We have done this before. If we can keep our flame burning we can concentrate on that and not the uncertainty swirling around us. We are together. It is time to go!

up and over the Pyrenees loves, Felipé.

My/Our Next Camino

Terry Hershey and Felipé with our Grace Bower prayer shawls. Getting our photo taken for Grace’s birthday.
(photo N Pendergast)

White Eagle’s words have served to crystallize my thoughts during this strange time. I had my thoughts but they swirled and eddied uncontrollably. But now I see the beginning of the trail.

The goal or the Santiago of this journey is to get through that portal that she talked about. “You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you.” We have been trained for this, extensively I might add. We have to realize that! We have these tools!

Getting through this current ordeal joyfully with energy left over is the next challenge, the next Camino. Little did we all know several short months ago that we would be on this road and on this road together. It is all Buen Camino again!

This is the only road right now. Isolation and depression take us through the hole to be lost. Getting on the road is getting away from that. We will be together again. Can you see it? We know how to do this. Can you see it?

onward loves, Felipé.

Smokey/Windy Morning

Virgin Mary at the trail.
(photo P Volker)

We had a terribly smokey night although at the moment the air is clear. There are fires in Eastern and now Western Washington. The strong winds are fanning the flames and blowing the smoke around the State. Hopefully this will all improve.

I am a little preoccupied with this but trying to break away to be with you. One thing that came in was, it was an amazing thing, was that Padre dreamed up a poem about me. And now instead of being preoccupied now I’m self conscious. Geez, cut it out. I was trying to get it here to the post but as of yet can’t navigate that. Maybe I will try again.

Well that is not in the cards for today. I can’t figure out how to move it here to the post. So, just as well for I never had a poem written about me and I am trying to get used to that. Thank you Padre though.

So, I have been thinking a lot about the words and ideas from White Eagle in yesterday post. I feel like I am still digesting her words bu t we will go back there soon. For now I think that I will go.

concerned loves, Felipé.