Proposed Timeline

Rick, Kelly and I sat down tonight and hammered out this approximate timeline for my Camino (this is give or take 20 miles or 2 days from St. Jean to Santiago):

Thurs July 24 – appointment at Swedish Hospital, Seattle and leave SeaTac 6:11 PM for Madrid.

Fri July 25 – arrive Madrid

Sat July 26 – arrive St. John Pied de Port, France.

Sun July 27- St. John Pied de Port to Roncesvalles, Spain.

Mon July 28 – Roncesvalles to Zubiri.

Tues July 29 – Zubiri to Pamplona.

Wed July 30 – Pamplona to Puente la Reina.

Thurs July 31 – Puente la Reina to Estella.

Fri Aug 1 – Estella to Los Arcos

Sat Aug 2 – Los Arcos to Viana.

Sun Aug 3 – Viana to Logrono.

Mon Aug 4 – Logrono to Ventosa.

Tues Aug 5 – Ventosa to Azofra.

Wed Aug 6 – Azofra to Granon.

Thurs Aug 7 – Granon to Tosantos.

Fri Aug 8 – Tosantos to San Juan de Ortega.

Sat Aug 9 – San Juan de Ortega to Burgos.

Sun Aug 10 – Burgos to Tardajos.

Mon Aug 11 – Tardajos to San Anton.

Tues Aug 12 – San Anton to Boadilla del Camino.

Wed Aug 13 – Boadilla del Camino to Carrion de Los Condes.

Thurs Aug 14 – Carrion de Los Condes to Ledigos.

Fri Aug 15 – Ledigos to Bercianos del Real Camino.

Sat Aug 16 – Bercianos del Real Camino to Mansilla de Las Mulas.  Last day with Kelly.

Sun Aug 17 – Mansilla de Las Mulas and bus ahead (211 k or 131 miles) to Samos.

Mon Aug 18 – Samos to Sarria.  First day with Rick.

Tues Aug 19 – Sarria to Portomarin.  Start of the last 100 k.

Wed Aug 20 – Portomarin to Palas de Rei

Thurs Aug 21 – Palas de Rei to Ribadiso.

Fri Aug 22 – Ribadiso to Opedrouzo.

Sat Aug 23 – Opedrouzo to Santiago.

Sun Aug 24 – Pilgrims Mass in Santiago.  Last day with Rick.

Mon Aug 25 – fly to Madrid and fly to SeaTac.

Tues Aug 26 – appointment at Swedish Hospital, Seattle.




Stats for the Week.

This is a catchup of stats for the last week that I forgot to log in:

6/14/14  1 1/2 miles and no record of steps.

6/15/14  4 miles with 13777 steps.

6/16/14  6 miles with no record of steps.

6/17/14  5 miles with no record of steps.

6/18/14  4 miles with 14160 steps.

6/19/14  6 miles with 16520 steps.

6/20/14  6 miles with 15984 steps.

6/21/14   3 miles with 10763 steps.

The Three Legged Dogs of Summer

Happy Summer!!!  Things are definitely looking up.  For one, Bud, my good bud has succeeded in switching over our computer and operating system to the latest and greatest configuration.  Rebecca and I took him and his wife, Shela, out to have dinner and wine on the deck of the local country club to enjoy a beautiful preSummer evening.  It has turned into our favorite place to be this time of year.  Surviving the long winter seems worth it all of a sudden when it is warm and dry.

Then this blog seems like it is over the major pains of beginning and we will be able to communicate the action as we proceed toward Spain and the Camino.  My goal is to be able to describe the inner and outer Camino as we proceed.  Everything is posed for future adventure and I have my seat belt fastened.

Kelly has a favorite saying, “We could have done that when we were younger!” whenever he hears of some feat like the reports back from my son on the Pacific Coast Trail and his  group trekking twenty plus miles per day in the mountains.  Which is true Kelly, we could have done that.  Maybe one wonders whether we are smarter now and don’t have to do stuff like that but that is another topic I think.  Anyway, the point as I see it, is that at some point in time over the last few years as I have been grappling with my health issues I realized that I was now a three legged dog, so to speak.  I was recovering from a hit by the careening mighty fickle finger of fate and left three legged.  Things were going to be different.  New ways and adjustments would have to be found.  New ways to think would have to be put together.  But in the end all that happened.

And it is such an inspiration to see a real three legged dog and realize that he is going to be happy in spite of it.  Yea.  And as I am finding out there are hidden benefits to be found.  Mysteries come forth.  New opportunities come forth.  New friends arrive.  Old friends check in.  In the end it’s all good, amazingly.  Saint James is Afoot, Phil.


Good Morning Vietnam!!!  Thinking about quirky and Robin Williams popped into my brain.  But for now my brand of quirky is that we were doing some serious messing around with this blog site last evening and what resulted is on the quirky side which on reflection is probably a good thing.  We wanted to upgrade the site to take advantage of features that would make it better as showing pictures.  And that happened, if you look for gallery and click on that.  Also, we had to cut and paste all the old blog entries and put them in the correct format and they got in their “ass backwards” so a quirky deal is that some go forward in time and some backward.

Vashon Island has always gotten the rap as a quirky place.  So, living here for over forty years I must be quirky too, I suppose.  We’re small but like Mighty Mouse, feisty and on the map.  Does anyone remember Might Mouse?

Thinking quirky, something in the country of Malta comes to mind.  I want to seriously talk about Malta at some point coming up.  I have friends and readers there.  Hi to the Maltese!!  But in one of the old towns and the name escapes me now but there is a church that was built in the 1500’s.  That is not unusual for Malta.  But it has two steeples and on each one is a large clock which as I remember shows the hour only.  The clocks are easily read from the street and handy for the pedestrian.  But the quirky deal is that they have two different times on them on purpose.  Don’t ask he how to tell which one is correct.  The explanation is that they did that at the time to fool the Devil!  Anything to screw up the Devil was a good thing is the idea.  Yea.

Rebecca, my dear wife,  loves movies about quirky people.  Movies, as “What About Bob”, “Oh, Brother Where Art Thou”, “Mixed Nuts”, “Harold and Maude”, “The Commitments”, “The Sapphires”, “Hearts of the West”, “Blues Brothers” come to mind, quirky all.  Now that I think about it maybe that was why she was attracted to me.  Hmm.  And I have been trying all these years to be normal.  That’s a clue.

Enough of that, the important thing to focus on is that this is a brand new day!  What are we going to make of it?  SJA, Phil.


We’re on shore!

May 21, 2014 3 Comments Edit

Caminoheads –   It was hard fought and tough on the treasury but we are on the shore and moving inland rapidly.  Bullets, beans and bandages will be coming in behind us.   So glad that we had so many friends egging us on to get this blog  established.   We will have fun!  We will keep each other inspired!  All that and more.   That’s all the writing for one day.   SJA (St. James Again), Phil.


Day Two

May 22, 2014 3 Comments Edit

Greetings.   Thanks for joining us.  Things still pretty primitive here but up and running.  Yesterday we established beachhead on this foreign shore.   And today we will put one foot in front of the other and make some small progress inland.

Yesterday  the editor of the local newspaper, Natalie, came to walk on the Camino here and talk to me.  It was an interview for an upcoming article in the Vashon Beachcomber <>  .   And that went well.   I said good things about my care at Swedish Hospital and my good care from St. John Vianney Catholic Church and good care from my family and Camino friends (Caminoheads we are).

I realize that at some point soon I need to put some background material about things that are pertinent to this discussion but it will have to wait for a rainy day.  But soon.   Then there are pictures and graphic stuff like maps and charts.   Big fun.  So stick with us.  I am planning on putting something up each and everyday in the morning.

Walking this morning later with Kelly or Padre, as I call him.  More on him later.  We are starting new phase today which will be a trial period to test gear that we will be actually using in Spain.   OK, I am going to leave you unsupervised for twenty four hours so don’t get into too much trouble.   SJA, Phil.


Day Three

May 23, 2014 1 Comment Edit

OK, day three and we are going non linear.   Just wanted to post a little story about stuff,  as in material things.   A dear friend brought the topic up and I thought that I would jump on it before it got away.  And this is walking related!

Several years ago I started teaching a class on survival for the State of Washington to students that were purchasing their first hunting license.  As part of the process of my learning about the topic I read every account that I could find.   One that sticks out in my mind was one called “The Longest Walk”.  This is by a Polish officer in WWII who was captured by the Russians and sent to Siberia to one of there famous gulags.  Grim is not the word for it.  So, he gets it in his head to escape by getting a group together and heading south in the winter or is it always winter.   He winds up walking all the way to India.  I forget how long it takes him but what I remember is that he slept for two months in a hospital there after arriving.   And not everyone made it.

But the point is that they did it with practically no stuff.   They decided not to carry weapons.  They had no shoes or belts.   Scraps of furs on the feet and held their pants up with one hand.   And somewhere along the “trail” one of the troop found a roll of wire.   The roll was such that he put it over his head and carried it the rest of the way.  Trading stock he figured.   So, they are walking and at some point they are befriended by a man who lives alone in a cave.  He takes them in and feeds them for two or three days.  And his only possession is a cast iron pot that he fed them out of.  It  used to have a bail handle, like a bucket, but it was missing.   Hard to picture handling a heavy pot over an open fire with no handle.  So, wire man gets out one of the only things that they possess and fashions a handle for pot man.   And this is one of the best things that ever happens to pot man and maybe to both of them.

In our lives today we are overwhelmed really with stuff.  We have to fend it off and manage it and deal with it to such an extant that it takes up valuable time.  Can we streamline  our gear and start having a “better” experience.   Walking the Camino and living out of a small backpack would be a good learning experience for us.  What is really important?  He who dies with the most toys wins or is the point  something else?



Vashon Trial Walking Schedule

May 23, 2014 1 Comment Edit

When we were walking the original Camino I was using a calendar and scheduling friends for specific days.  So, now that that phase is over we have something a little different for you.  Below is the trial schedule for upcoming walks.  Each location has a different character and one might be better for you than another.  Also, Kelly and Rick are going to be walking also so someone should always be there 95% of the time.  We are pretty reliable but not fool proof.

So, if it starts at 0900 we will gather and stretch for ten minutes and start at 0910 for example.  So you are there on time or not.    And we will be trying this for two weeks to see how it goes and maybe make changes.

OLD MILL –  This is Old Mill Rd starting at 220th and going south to 232nd and back.  Park close to 220th.  The round trip is roughly 1 1/2 mile.  It is fairly flat and there are three surfaces available:  road, shoulder and the grass trail along the fence.

KELLY’S HILLS –  This starts at the little parking area along the road by Agren Park.  This is about going up and down hills on the roads and the length is something like 4-6 miles.   We have yet to finalize this one.  It is the most rigorous.

PHIL’s WALK –  This is the trail at Phil’s that goes through pasture and woods.  Each lap takes approximately 15 minutes.  If you can’t make it at the exact time then this one is for you.  Just come and hang out till we come around.  Also, if you only want to do something short than you can do as many laps as you want.   Park in the yard.  For directions and address please call.  206 408 7236,


Monday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200.

Tuesday – Kelly’s Hills from 0900 til 1200

Wednesday – Phil’s Walk from 0900 til 1200

Thursday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200

Friday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200

Saturday – Phil’s Walk – 1000 til 1300

Sunday – Kelly’s Hills – 1000 til 1300.



Early Saturday Morning

May 24, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Early morning here, and in between rain showers.  I am off to my Saturday bible class  in minutes.   I have missed it for the last two weeks because of class that I help teach.  It will be good to get back.  Just some random thoughts that are in the housekeeping category are coming to me at the moment.

Yesterday we were talking about the book about the Polish officer who walked from Siberia to India.  The right title for the book is “The Long Walk”  and his name is Slavomir Rawicz.   Yup.

Maybe yesterday, Joel my good Marine buddy, ask, “What is a Caminohead anyway.”   So that is an important question and we have our people working on that one.  Yup.

And soon we will have pix up on this blog as soon as we figure that out.    All sorts of shots have been taken over the last five months that we could include if you send them to us.  Some we have to find that are here somewhere.  Yup.

And lastly, I/we have yet to figure out how to talk about my/our selves on this blog.  I/we mix this up continually.  In one paragraph I/we go back and forth several times.   This is truly bothering me/us.  Does this make sense to anyone out there?   As Caminoheads we share certain important things that we didn’t before.  We are still totally unique individuals and we cherish that but simultaneously we operate in a mysterious communal way (or is that Way).   I/we have heard this referred to as “the flow of pilgrims”  which is much more than the physical movement down the Camino, I/we am/are learning.






May 24, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Carole King song?   Maybe, but what I want to add is that our people have informed me that work needs to be done on our computer and that could happen today or soon.  So let’s hope for the best and good outcomes and that there will be little interruption in this fledgling blog.


Memorial Day Eve

May 25, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Yesterday my good friend Steve commented to my bible class, “Check out Phil’s blog.  His writing is really good but I have no idea what the heck he is talking about!  He did say heck.

This has a very easy explanation.   It’s all the “world according to”  Phil,  a right brainer.  You just have to have faith that it will all come together in the end.  We will ramble around, seemingly,  but it all has some sort of purpose.   There.

Did you notice that at the end of our last entry, out away from the text, there was the word “think”.    Now where the heck did that come from?  I don’t know but I like it.  And we might see more of that.  Seemingly random but useful and perhaps important.

So, Memorial Day Eve, today is.  I am off to church at 0800 then walking with Kelly at 1000 then to the cemetery at 1300 to help put up 500 flags on vet’s graves there.    The Boy Scouts will be there.  We are getting ready for tomorrow for the service there.  My American Legion Post is in charge of this ceremony and it is one of the best things that we do.

The main thing to remember and acknowledge at M. Day is for us to say that we stand on the broad shoulders of those that have gone before us.   That’s it really, pretty simple.   Just have to do it is all.

Just a story for you as I remember it told to me.   In the winter of ’66-67 I was in Marine boot camp on the infamous Parris Island, SC.   It was one evening when our senior Drill Instructor, Staff Sgt. McDonald had our attention as we sat exhausted from the day’s fun.  He seemed to get all warm and fuzzy at these special times and we let him.   I don’t remember the lead-in to it but it was as story about the Marines in Korea our predecessors on whose shoulders we stood.   And its purpose, as in everything that we did, was to add to our growing knowledge of things Marine.

I don’t know the year exactly but it was in the early 50′s at a point in the middle stages of the war when our forces got a little bit too far to the north in North Korea.  As in north bad, south good.  This is the fight at the Chosen Reservoir or the Frozen Chosen as it was more apply known.  Our guys survived on Tootsie Rolls  because somehow they had a lot of them  and it was the only thing that they could  eat when frozen solid.  Anyway, a  general named Chesty Puller (great name) was in charge of the Marines.

So, the Marines are totally surrounded by divisions of Chinese troops who are intent on their demise.   So, what does the normal person say in such a situation?  I can think of a number of them starting with,  “Oh sh__!!   Not Old Chesty, he says, “They can’t get away from us now!!”   That’s enthusiasm for you and a different take on adversity and that’s the kind of guy that we stand on the shoulders of.    God bless them all.



May 26, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

If this post looks a little strange it is because I am using our Kindle Fire to write to you. I just lost my first attempt but now things are going pretty well. Ha! This is the unit that I will carry in Spain maybe.
Excuse me as I subject you to my practice. The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. Is that true? I do know something that is true and that is that we are going to have a Caminocogregation here at the ranch when Esther gets here. That date is June 12th
, all day from 10 AM to 10 PM. So if you have walked a Camino, or will walk or are interested please feel free to come. More to come on that.
Well other than the fact that I can’t always find the commas I think that this has been pretty successful. WONDERFUL!
I will be out tomorrow morning working on. Memorial Day activities along with the rest of the guys and gals from our.Legion Post. So no posts tomorrow. So get out there a grill some protiein and remember those on whose shoulders we stand. Love ya.


Work In Progress

May 27, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

First of all, I must be thankful for such a successful Vashon Memorial Day service yesterday. Every aspect of our effort turned out great. We got so many nice complements. And the weather cooperated. People on Vashon appreciate things that are sincere and they don’t have to be perfect. Local is a plus
A friend had run accross an article from local paper from the 1930′s that described a situation on the Island that existed then where peope on one end of our island voted in or out of being on Daylight Saving Time.which resulted in us having two different time zones! There’s a quirky deal.
OK, so back to Work In Progress. Yesterday, I checked in a young friend’s blog. It was interesting and BEAUTIFUL! As compared with mine which is still pretty darn primitive. So, in an attempt to upgrade our look Rebecca is working with a techie today. I am here at hospital seeing my doc and getting treatment. Pretty much an all day process.
Have to go for now.


Hard Core Camino News

May 28, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Yes,  here it is finally after all my right braininess and kimo (changed spelling, thank you Ivette) braininess.  I was at Swedish Hospital, Seattle yesterday to see my Doc and flirt with my nurses (more on that later)  and to get my gallon (seems like) of kimo chemicals.   I still remember that a paragraph needs at least three sentences so, yea.

So, during my doctor visit we hammered out the window that I can safely take to go to Spain and do the Camino and get back.   I got a hard date to leave Seattle and a hard date to be back for a scan and perhaps the beginning of a new round of treatment.   The Doc is hard core on me staying in the parameters.  He is a real adult and I need that!

Now I can make airline plans and lay down my money.   Kelly is taking care of this research and planning task.  Also, at our regular weekly meeting and wine tasting we filled out the forms on the net to get our Pilgrim Passport so we can save time in St. Jean.  Also, our phase two walking program is happening.  So, you locals, check the schedule on an earlier blog post and start back walking.  I know that the little break that we had over the last week was disrupting but it was necessary and we are now back in the saddle.

Phase two walking is to try and duplicate the French Camino as much as possible.   Phase one was for me and my original needs and capabilities and that has been satisfied.   Now we are interested in testing and breaking in gear, team building and increasing our daily mileage.

Please check out the newspaper article that came out about the Camino here on Vashon Island and my personal story.  It is the lead story and easy to find but in time to come may have to search for “backyard pilgrim”  I suppose.  The link is:

!BUEN CAMINO,  Hare Core Phil.


St. James, Annie and Me.

May 29, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Just repeating the new walking schedule :

Monday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200. (start at 220th)

Tuesday – Kelly’s Hills from 0900 til 1200 (start at Agren Park)

Wednesday – Phil’s Walk from 0900 til 1200 (Phil’s)

Thursday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200

Friday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200

Saturday – Phil’s Walk – 1000 til 1300

Sunday – Kelly’s Hills – 1000 til 1300.

Please come and be with us.   We are back in the saddle.  Stretch,  walk, hydrate, that’s the plan.   OK, back to today’s blog.

St. James is the apostle James in the original twelve.  He is brother of the apostle John.  Both were fisherman and sons of Zebedee.   His words are a part of what used be called the “Last Rights”.   Now this sacrament is termed the “Anointing of the Sick with Oil”.  That doesn’t sound exactly right but you get the picture.  It is now also given to people that are in need of healing.  I have received this twice.

Back to St. James who sparked all this interest in the Camino in the first place.   He is buried at the Cathedral at Santiago.   And millions of pilgrims over the years have struggled to get in close proximity of this energy.   An amazing phenomenon really.  This is the short story of course and I don’t really give it it’s due but it has had plenty written about it already.

What is my interesting to me now is St. James on the move.   This is part of  the phenomenon of the Communion of Saints  in the Apostle’s Creed.   I am no theologian but I know that St. James is “alive and well” and available in our lives no matter where we are.  Saint’s for us are our spiritual Big Brothers and Big Sisters.   They have been there, done that.  They are available to us if we only tune in.

Annie.  Annie is Annie O’Neil of the Camino Documentary (  Somehow by the marvels of modern communications, the help of my wife Rebecca, the help of my physical therapist Michele and the movie and the help of S. J. I got to meet Annie.  Not only met her but to have her walk with me here on my Camino here in real time, no virtual anything.   What an inspiration!

I will talk more about Annie soon.  But Annie and I both have been visited by Saint James and admit that our lives are both being influenced and  inspired by something extremely spiritually powerful and we acknowledge that this is the Holy Spirit.  But it is the Big Brother St. James that we see as the disensor of this somehow.  And when you see the phrase, “Saint James Again”  or for short, “SJA”  this is something that Annie and I have developed to express St. James being present and active and influencing things.

Have to go and walk.  Thanks, SJA, Phil.


Thank You Annie

May 30, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

“Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.”  1st Peter 5:7.

Well, that’s a darn good start.  Big day today.  Kelly and I are meeting to purchase airline tickets!  We’re putting our money down.

There has been amazing response to the newspaper article.   I  saw a comment from Qatar from an old friend.  Here I am walking around the ranch and  my friend half way around the globe learns about it.  A big thank you to Natalie, the editor, for her work.  I thought that it was extremely well done.  It captured the flavor of the situation.  (Google Vashon Beachcomber)

Also,  I was at Swedish Hospital yesterday for treatment and saw some of my favorite people, my nurses.  They told me that they had this blog available in the nurse’s lounge and ready to go for reading.  So, yea.  This all, today and for the next two months, is really a practice for the trip to Spain and then being able to relay daily info to the nurse’s lounge from remote exotic locations.  Amazing, these modern communications.

Annie commented on yesterday’s blog, so check that out.   She has this way of making seemingly complicated things easy is what I see in her.  And that is no small thing!  I know that I will have to explain that at some point soon and I will.   See, that is appearing to me as “seemingly complicated” at the moment and I am tabling it.

Annie has a blog , has written a book, has sung a CD and has inspired all kinds of folks.  Her site is   You need to check that out also.

Well, the sun is out, the corn is up and we all have a big day ahead.  SJA, Phil.



Wiley, Osian and Me.

May 31, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

I got my hiking boots on early today and am ready for whatever.   Roy is here in one hour to pick me up and take us to our weekly bible class.   All kinds of stuff happening today and winding up teaching an archery class to kids from the Zen Center this evening.  Keeping busy is good medicine.

I got to hold two of our child yesterday, one a son and one a grandson.  The grandson is working on being three weeks old and the son is twenty five (years).  Osian is the new grandboy and he has caused all sorts of excitement around here.  Two grandmoms on the hover right now.   Osian is a Gallic name meaning little deer or dear, not quite sure at the moment.  Wiley is our rough and tumble son who is off on another adventure and our goodbye included a chance for me to hold him.

Wiley is off to join some of his buddies who are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  They started at the Mexican border and are set on getting to Canada.  Wiley is flying out today to meet them somewhere around Bakersfield, CA.  So far they have been doing twenty miles a day.  Rough and tumble they are.  So, we wish them all the luck and give them our prayers.

And Osian, he is not quite walking yet but showing great promise!  He is eight pounds now.  He was born with lots of hair.  Soon I could post a photo if I could figure out how.

So, I got to hold the future which is humbling.  All the good and the bad to come will be influenced by these guys and their peers.   Have we taught them well?  Are we teaching them well?


Egg Sandwiches

June 1, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Early Sunday morning at the ranch and all is calm and quiet.  A good time to write a blog.  My faithful dog, Sture, roused me at 0530; had the alarm set for 0630.  He exclaimed, “Up you lazy bum, time to blog!”

My dear friend Steve voted me “the least likely on the planet” to have a blog.  What does that tell you?  Wonders never cease right?  It’s always a brand new day!

Last night I had twelve people over from the Vashon Zen Center to give them an archery lesson.  Went great.  It wasn’t the traditional Zen archery but it gave them some of the flavor.

I tried to eat my two egg sandwich breakfast while blogging just now and I shouldn’t  have ordered the running yolks.   This is something that everyone should keep in mind while blogging.   But ever onward, off to 8 o’clock Mass with Father Marc.  SJA, Phil.



June 2, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Beatles song?   Yes, but I am also thinking of it because of the dried egg yolk debris on the front of the pullover that I am currently wearing.  You will just have to read yesterday’s post to learn about that adventure but anyway, yesterday.  Last evening we watched the most incredible DVD entitled “Twenty Feet From Stardom”.

Rebecca, my dear wife, keeps me abreast of things cultural and she really picked a winner with this offering from Netflix.  It is about all the black back- up singers from the 60′s and on that were a huge part of all of the music that we know and love.  They were everywhere all the time and bringing a huge amount of horsepower and soul to the occasion.  That is a through understatement.  They not only brought some soul but  most of the time THE SOUL to the situation!  They brought THE SOUL to us in a bigger sense.

This movie is reminiscent of another about the back-up bands that were the driving force behind Motown music.  All these black guys had come north to Detroit to work in the auto plants and some of them had tremendous musical talent and when they got together it provided the force and  know-how that provided the necessary horsepower  to thrust Motortown music into mainstream  American culture.  Very similar documentaries and I wish that I remembered the title of that.   Maybe someone could help us out with that?

At one point during the “Stardom” movie there is some absolutely beautiful footage (ancient term) of this huge flock of birds on the wing (swallows ready to migrate perhaps) that are moving to some sort of cosmic synchronistic cues that cause the whole flock to undulate and move is strange ways that is truly awesome and illustrates what the movie speaks about.

Which is in short that the singers really felt at home and performed best when they were a part of a blend.  They brought the best when they were asked to back-up or blend with a musical idea and push it forward.   They were team players trained to be parts of the flock and never really got their due in an industry that only saw and promoted the stars.   But they are beautiful and talented people that  need to be recognized for sure.

So, we as being part of the “cloud of believers” or the “flow of pilgrims”  are, I am thinking, exactly in that sort of flock that undulates and flows in strange ways as it flies forward on to it’s destination.   What does that mean for us?  Where do we go from here?


Cheap Thrills

June 3, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Janis Joplin, of course!  But what I am thinking of are a few things that have happened along the Camino lately.  But first I am going to show you my numbers from yesterday which I want to get in place as part of the reporting while on the trip.  This will include the  number of miles/kilometers covered, steps on pedometer and other metrics.

June 2nd –  6 miles on the Vashon Meseta (Old Mill Rd),  13910 steps for all day.

So, Kelly and I were walking what we started calling Kelly’s Hills two days ago.  This could also be called the Vashon  Pyrenees .  Vashon is basically, geologically speaking, a pile of glacial till.  Close up till is rounded stones worn smooth by the movement and pressure of the ice.  The last ice left Vashon in it’s present form, give or take some erosion.    In some areas the surface of the island is fairly flat but in some it is fairly steep going to 300 some feet in elevation above the salt water.   We were climbing these undulating piles that form part of the present landscape.   Anyway, the day was getting warmer and we were breaking a sweat and were taking off another layer of clothing when we both realized that we had the zip off pants on and that we could get to shorts pretty darn quick.   This was a first!

Of course, normally this would be should a small thing that it would not merit recording but the Camino is beyond normal, right?  Realizing that small changes can bring big results in comfort and performance is big and worth paying attention to.   Walking with shorts was such a joy just for the immediate freedom and  to celebrate that the darn winter was finally gone!  A Cheap Thrill for sure.

Also, out on the Vashon Meseta I was really able to stretch out and get in cruzin mode.  This was something that I learned about on the cross country team in high school.  It’s about economy.  To eliminate movement that is counterproductive is a good thing.   Two types of bad movement are  bobbing up and down and motion side to side.   Also, length of stride comes into play.

Anyway, I get a sensation at the point of max economy, cruzin speed, when my contact with the earth becomes very light.  I am not beating on it with my boots or my sticks.  All energy is focused on going forward.    It is overdrive gear.   It is akin to skipping a flat stone on the water.  I got there finally yesterday and it was a real big breakthrough to be back there!  Again, maybe a small thing in some ways of thinking but huge in the “here and now” of the Camino.   Truly a Cheap Thrill!


Inner Camino Part One

June 4, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Yesterday’s Stats:  5 miles on Kelly’s Hills with 20040 steps for all day.

Yesterday was a banner day.  Kelly blew us all out of the water,  The guy is all heart!  To start I had a record day with breaking twenty thousand steps.  But Kelly was off with Rick to walk in the early morning and then with me in the late morning, non stop.   So, he had twelve miles and 27370 steps before noon!  No slouch, that Kelly.

What is this Inner Camino, anyway?    Doesn’t sound like the usual fun and games.    Why does it come up in regard to this one walk?   Why not just walk, drink wine  and call it good?

Hmmm.    When Sture woke me up this morning my first thought about blogging was to talk about my sister.   And today we are not going to talk about her much but maybe only to say that she is beautiful and above all mysterious.   At this point it is enough.

I guess what I am struggling with is my inability to talk about the Inner Camino as an idea in itself in any substantial way but I’ll give it a shot.   Well to start, it is generally the inner spiritual journey that we are all on anyway.  We are in different places along it but we are definitely all on it somewhere.   Most of the time we, for the most part,  are too busy and distracted to see it much less work on it.

But I know that the Camino offers a great venue to do this in if this is want we want to do.  It is all set up and going now for over a thousand years to be a sort of spiritual boot camp.   A rough and ready experience  that works us over for the good!

Look at me pontificating on this thing that I haven’t experienced yet.  Or have I?  Not in Spain anyway.  I have over 500 miles in already on Camino de Vashon remember and have been worked over by the best of them: Saint James, Sister Joyce and Annie O’Neil to mention a few.

Eight thirty!  Oh, I have to go.  That animal Kelly will be here momentarily and will be pumped to walk!  Spiritual boot camp, up, up and away!


Everywhere All the Time

June 5, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Yesterday’s stats –  walked with Kelly here at Phil’s and did 4 miles, pedometer reading I failed to record but was approximately 14000.

OK, I have 20 minutes before Kelly is waiting for me to walk this morning.  I need the Mission Impossible music!  Just a little story to start.  Went I was in art school and afterward I was always on the lookout and gathering and to some extant hoarding materials for future projects.   This was time consuming and took away from the here and now of actually creating stuff.   Then at some point I began to realize that materials were really all over the place.  Everywhere all the time.   People were throwing stuff away that were just perfect material.   This realization was very freeing.

OK, two stories.  Here in the Pacific NW it is the perfect place for the gathering of mushrooms in the wild or not so wild.   People know of certain spots where they grow usually given the right rain and warmth.   So off you go to find them.  But there is also just walking through the woods and fields looking for certain species that you want to find.   You’re are walking and walking and looking and looking.  And after what seems like too long a time you find one .  Hurray.  And then, of course, you start finding more and more.  But you are never quite sure that it wasn’t you that was the weak link in the process  and that if you had been on the proper mushroom wave length earlier you would have started finding them earlier.   Were they just not there or did you just have a failure to see.

OK, where am I going with this?   Five more minutes.  I just finished a book about gratitude were the author was challenged by a friend to keep a log and find one thousand things that she was thankful for.  At first it seemed like a huge challenge and maybe an impossibility really but she persisted.  And what happened?  She did surpass the one thousand mark and once she got the hang of seeing all the good around her, everywhere all the time, she went on and on and wrote a book about it and it most importantly changed her life!

OK, so that is where I am going.  Is it us or what?  Are our glasses dirty?  Are we too busy, too distracted?  Are we looking in the wrong places or just not looking?  Are we on the wrong “mushroom wavelength”?  Hmmm.



Thank You Lydia B. Smith

June 6, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Yesterday’s Stats –  6 miles on Old Mill and 1/2 mile at Phil’s with 19519 steps overall.

June 6th, D day today.  Thank you to all the men and women who were part of that historic effort.  So, many things could have gone wrong that day that didn’t.  We are blessed.

Ivette is here visiting from LA.  A dear old friend from my early days on Vashon Island.  She worked for years in the film industry and knows every other person in Hollywood.  Thank you Ivette for introducing me to Esther, a three time Spain walker, retired teacher, author of tremendous kid’s book about the Way and Caminohead for sure!

Thank you Esther for coming all the way up here to see us.  June 12th we are having all day open house for all the Caminoheads in the area.  This is at our ranch and just call for directions (408 7236).  So, many folks are coming to ask questions and hope that Esther is ready.

Thank you Erna and Jerry who are also coming up from LA this weekend to be with us.  Erna lived in the neighborhood that I grew up in and we have kept in touch.  She teaches art down there.  Jerry, I want to thank for the big reason that he worked for the company that developed one of the cancer drugs that I am currently on and has made a huge difference in my life.  Quite possibly there would be no  Camino for me without Jerry and his posse.

Thank you to Michele, my friend and talented physical therapist for getting us to the big city on a snowy evening in Feburay to watch Lydia’s film.  And thank you to my wife Rebecca who through the wonders of Facebook got me in touch with Annie.

And Lydia B. Smith who is the producer of “Walking the Camino – Six Ways to Santiago” a thank you.  She along with Annie O’Neil are co-promoting the documentary which is now working it’s way across the country.   There are big happenings in NYC and Boston now.  So, thank you Lydia and Annie for bringing  this beautiful film to us.   Check out this review of it is NYTimes:

Off to walk with Kelly and Ivette.  Thanks to you all, Phil.

Two Hundred Miles

June 7, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Peter, Paul and Mary song?  I don’t know but that is how many miles Esther wanted us to have on our new hiking boots before going to Spain.  That’s how these Caminoheads think!  Wow, I was thinking twenty minutes.  But I am happy to report that we are on track to do that 200 miles before flying out of SeaTac Esther.  She will be here in a few days.

Then there is Melania who walked in I forget what year.  She came to my talk at the Episcopal Church and then came to walk with me.  She came home from her trip and built a labyrinth on her property which she invited us to.  In medieval times I have heard they were built to give people who couldn’t go on a crusade a chance to have a sort of virtual experience.   There is one at Chartres Cathedral that Sister Joyce and Maryka  told me about.

Then there is Susan who I haven’t met yet but talked to on the phone.  She did her Camino in 28 days.  Blistering pace, excuse the pun.  Then she went on to do treks all over.  I asked her if she wanted to do the Camino de Santiago again and she said that she wanted to remember it just as she remembers it which was a wonderful experience.  Yup.

Then there is Henry who is twenty three years old and the son of a dear pastor of Rebecca’s and my church in Burton, WA.  He walked last summer and came and walked with me recently.  He had all his trail clothes and gear and pack on just like the “real” thing.  Great young man who I am sure will be up, up and away doing amazing things in the future.  His priority on the Camino de Santiago was the camaraderie that he found there.  And, of course, some of these same pilgrims are traveling though the NW and he will meet them and care for them here.  Go Henry!

Then there is Annie O’Neil who I will use her last name as she is everywhere all the time promoting the Camino documentary and therefore the Camino.  Go Annie!  Well, she doesn’t really need that from me maybe because she runs on some sort of hyperenergy that only exists rarely on this planet.  She came back from her Camino in ’09 and has since has been on fire about her experience and what it has taught her.  See her blog:

Well, that’s all the steam and time I have for today.  I’m off to my bible class, if I can figure out where it is meeting, and then back here to walk on this beautiful day.  Buen Camino, Phil.


Bows and Arrows Today

June 8, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Friday’s stats – 4 1/2 miles on Old Mill and forgot to record steps for the day.
Saturday’s stats – 2 miles here at Phil’s with 10555 steps for the day.

Have a dozen kids from the Vashon Jewish Center coming at noon to get their first archery lesson. Last week I had a dozen adults and teens from the Vashon Zen Center for the same. Tiring for me but fun.
Archery really sells itself. All I do is coach really. What I mean by that is that we all have some sort of inner memory of shooting because mankind has been using bows and arrows for 50 thousand years, 100 thousand years, 150 thousand years. We don’t really know for sure but a heck of a long time. And everyone has this knowledge inside them; they know how to it is just buried. People that shoot for the first time, in the here and now I know have a sort of deja vu experience, “this looks familiar”.
We found a photo marked 1955 with me in it holding my bow. So, I know that I have been messing with this stuff for a long time now and still having fun. And I do a pretty good job of helping other people enjoy the sport.
Off to Mass and a short walk with Kelly, Phil.


Monday Monday

June 9, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Yesterday’s stats –  walked two miles on Kelly’s Hills and had 14946 steps for the day.

Mama Cass, I think.  Anyway, I have a big scan today.  I need a scan similar to the last four, God willing.  They were all good in the sense that nothing was growing or changing or moving.  That’s what I need  tomorrow.  Because I have my plane tickets, my passport, my pilgrim passport and my travel insurance and a bad scan would be a serious complication to untangle before the trip.   Prayers please.

Because I am in Seattle at Swedish Hospital three days this week and because of the open house on Thursday I want to post a temporary change in the daily walking schedule for this week only:

Monday –  Phil’s at 1400 -1700

Tuesday – Kelly’s Hills (Agren Park start) 0930 – 1230.

Wednesday –  Phil’s at 0900 – 1200.

Thursday –  Phil’s all day (open house 1000-2200).

Friday – Old Mill and 220nd at 0900 – 1200.

OK,  I am posting this tonight for tomorrow morning’s offering which I will have no time to write then.  SJA,  Phil.



Altered State

June 10, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Well, I have my lucky shirt on and I am off to the big city in a few minutes.  I had the big scan yesterday to see what’s happening on my inside.  Today, I talk to my beloved Doc to get his take on the results.  I am seeing this as the last big hurdle to the big trip.

So, my plan is to finish this post at the hospital later today from my comfy chair at the Treatment Center.   I will have time to practice on my Kindle and send you the results and thoughts on the results.

While I am thinking about it, please feel free to comment on any of the posts here on my blog.  Just say hi please.  Otherwise I have no way of assessing my efforts without feedback.  Also, when my blog first comes up you are looking at the latest post which I am trying to do every single day.  You might not be aware that if you scroll down you will be able to read all the previous posts all the way back to the beginning.  And if you are really a glutton for punishment you could start at the beginning and go forward to today.

OK, see you later alligator, Phil.



Lucky Shirt

June 10, 2014 2 Comments Edit

Such fantastic news! I just saw my oncology doc and nurse for the results of the big scan and it looks GOOD! I got the goahead for the month on the Camino. All good!
Doc said that I didn’t need my lucky shirt. What did he mean by that? I’ll have to get clarification. What kind of world would it be if we all had our lucky shirts on?
OK, have to go and celebrate! Later, SJA, Phil.


Freakin Over Stimulated

June 11, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Yesterday’s stats –  Was in all day treatment and did 1/2 mile in the evening with Esther.  5912 steps for all day.

Didn’t sleep much last night but tried.  Yesterday was slightly more fun than I usually have.  My PET scan that I got on Monday turned out better than expected and on Tuesday I got the “good to go”  for a month in Spain.   Everyone at Swedish giddy.   And yesterday Esther Jantzen showed up to bring us a sorts of Caminoness.

Tomorrow, the 12th, is our open house from 1000 to 2200 (10 PM).  Esther will be here to talk with you about the Camino de Santiago and other interesting stuff.  Please feel free to come and go.  We will do some walking on the Camino de Vashon and show some DVD’s and drink some wine.  Yup.

Thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers for me and my health.  You don’t know how important this is.  I pray for you also.  My prayers are usually about giving you strength to face life’s challenges.  The challenges are here for a reason we know.   SJA, Phil.


Party Party Today Today

June 12, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Yesterday’s stats – 5 miles with Kelly and Esther.  15476 steps for the day.

Our open house starts at 1000 and it looks like everything is a go.  People will be around till 10 PM.  Esther is here all day.  Kelly will be in and out.  We have a case of nice summery white wine.  Kelly bringing deviled eggs.

I have to run to the hospital to see Michele in the late morning and then the treatment center to get my portable pump unplugged.  So, I will miss the center portion of the party but that’s the way things are these days.  I will for sure be here for the late afternoon and evening.  Please stop by.

I want to put a whiteboard out at the party with valuable addresses for Camino information.  So maybe I will list them here first:

Phil’s blog:

Annie’s website and blog:

Film website:

1000 gifts blog:

So, I will sign off for now.  Esther is here and I want to be with her.  See you tomorrow, SJA, Phil.



Learning From Esther

June 13, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Esther took off a few minutes ago headed for Ashland, OR.  What a wonderful visit and what a wonderful person.  Great get together yesterday.  I missed some of it because of a run to Swedish but it was a beautiful event.  Fortunately it was nice for today is rainy, although we need it.

But back to Esther.  When I pulled in the yard a few days ago and saw her car for the first time I did a double take.  The same exact car and color as Sister Joyce’s.   The major difference is that Esther has all the gear for her current nomadic life neatly packed inside and still room to see out with the rear view mirror.

Rick, Kelly and I did a good job of asking questions about Esther’s Camino experiences.  She has done it three times now in various fashions.  The various fashions due to the need to do research for a book that she is writing.  We got a list of “can’t miss sites”  along the Way.  A few of which were not in the guide books.

Well, I could go on about how Esther’s style but basically it  just celebrates the whole notion of the pilgrim moving through the world wherever that might be at the moment.   Traveling light and being thoughtful of others and the situation is apparent.   Really, I am going to stop there because she is going to get back to tell me that this is ridiculous and unnecessary.  But I do feel like Grasshopper picking up tips from the Master.

So, tomorrow we have guests from the big city that are coming to walk here and that will be fun.  That’s Michele and Tucker.  Maybe the weather will be a little more summery for the occasion.

OK, have to go.  SJA, Phil.


Pilgrim’s Progress

June 14, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

This is quite a good book written in the 1600′s, as I remember it.  It was widely read until some point before my time.  Helen, a good friend, handed it to me as she has done with so many great books.  Thank you Helen.

Well, LA has won the Stanley Cup and today the Senior’s from Vashon High School graduate.   My American Post will be putting up a hundred flags to celebrate our graduates.  I am posting this early because we start that process at 0600 and there will be no time in the morning to blog.  Yup.

So, is there life after hockey?  One of the big questions.  OK, have to go get some shuteye.  Michele and Tucker coming tomorrow.  SJA, Phil.

6/12/14 stats – 1 mile here with 8445 steps for the day.

6/13/14 stats –  5 1/4 miles on Old Mill with 13180 steps.


Father’s Day

June 15, 2014 1 Comment Edit

I have 45 minutes and an urge to talk about my Dad’s WWII experience.  Maybe it will be too heavy duty for normal ears but remember we are beyond normal these days, at least on this blog.

Fred was  a pretty private guy and he is scratching his head at why I would be sharing this with the whole world but….  Both of his parent’s families came from Prussia in the 1840′s due to religious persecution.  Their whole town came on a chartered ship to NYC and then up the Erie Canal to Buffalo.  There they purchased a large tract of land near Niagara Falls and started a community.   They wore wooden shoes and the Indians called them “clop clops” because of the sound of their walking ( I knew that this was Camino related somehow).

Fred grew up in Buffalo and my image of his childhood is something akin to Our Gang comedy.  He joined the NYS National Guard’ horse cavalry unit and became a good rider.   Later he was employed as a horsemanship instructor during the Depression.   He learns  to be a watchmaker and is employed at his uncles’ jewelry store where he meets Mom.

But the WWII steps into the situation and he is drafted into the 77th Div at the age of 35.   Figuring that he is able to care for delicate small mechanical devices they train him to be a medic.   This becoming a medic is the turning point in his life and the following war stories will illustrate this journey.

Fred particaped in four major battles in the Pacific theater and has a gaggle of bronze stars on his dress uniform.   Ernie Pile the famous journalist was killed while traveling with his unit.  Finally Fred’s luck ran out on Okinawa the mother lode of all land battles of the  Pacific and last engagement before the bomb.  These three stories were part of my childhood memories and their harshness or heroism never occurred to me.  They were just some of my Dad’s stories.

One, we will start out easy, had to do with the idea that the medic is always on call and is always serving.  The whole division spent six months in Death Valley preparing to go to North Africa.  Then that battle was won by the Allies and the 77th went to the Pacific.  Dad’s recollection of that era was of a lot of long distance marches and of him never getting any rest on them.  Whenever the troops were allowed a break they would be stripping off their boots and socks and yelling for the medic to help with their blisters.   I am reminded of Christ calling us to be servants as he washed feet.

Two, was his recollection of numerous times of crawling around out in front of the nighttime defensive perimeter, after the sun went down, trying to locate wounded.   Totally hairy activity with the enemy crawling around also.  Then finding someone and giving care by feel only and then getting  help to drag them back to safety.  Very intimate way to fight a war.  He always said that you have to steel yourself because you are of no use if you fall apart.  Remember that.

Three, was this instance of him having a rush of first aid activity at the front and being soaked with blood.  He really didn’t know if it was his or the wounded at the moment.  After passing the broken soldiers on to be taken back to the aid station he had a break.  He was hungry and the only food that he had or was going to have, in his world then, was a chunk of bread in his breast pocket.   So, he pulls this out and it is soaked with blood.  Whose?   His?  Does it matter?   He gobbles it down, a sort of  battlefield communion.

Thank you Dad.




June 16, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Here we are with a brand new day.   A handy bit sized piece of life here for us.  Father’s Day yesterday and our family was out to brunch to celebrate.  Ramon our son-in-law, being a new father, was pretty giddy about his first celebration!

A bunch of us remain giddy over my PET scan that I received at Swedish last Monday, a week ago.   To me it is a miracle that this cancer in my liver shrank and shank and finally got too small to detect.   How is that for a reason to be giddy!

I am giddy about things that I hear are happening in my and the larger Camino world.  I will have to treat it as scuttlebutt at the moment but know that St. James is afoot doing what he does.   It’s all good.

Here is a giddy for the future.  Esther left us with the name of a French comedy film about the Camino de Santiago.  How fun!  We have yet to find it but it is out there somewhere.  It is “Saint-Jacques La Mecque” and it is with Coline Serreau.   So check that out.

I am working on one computer now and right next to me is another with it’s own monitor as we are in the excruciating process of switching to Windows 8.1.   Anyway, Rebecca, had set up the way to show our pix on the screen whenever it is not being used.  And I am working here on this incredibly important document and next to me images are flashing by of all sorts, all good.  And one was of our ten foot picnic table set for dinner during harvest season last year.  This peaks in late August and early September with the corn ripening.  This is one of the high points of the whole year.  And my giddy thought is that I will be jetting back from Spain on August 25 to be here just then.  Not in Spain, not anywhere but right here!  Nice.  Good on good

Have a brand new day, Phil.


Current Walking Schedule

June 17, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

Please come and walk with us.  Attendance has really dropped off since we changed over to this new program.  But come and check it out.  Still fun, still challenging, still about the same.


Monday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200. (start at 220th) (medium difficulty)

Tuesday – Kelly’s Hills from 0900 til 1200 (start at Agren Park) (hardest)

Wednesday – Phil’s Walk from 0900 til 1200 (Phil’s) (easiest)

Thursday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200 (medium difficulty)

Friday – Old Mill from 0900 til 1200 (medium difficulty)

Saturday – Phil’s Walk – 1000 til 1300 (easiest)

Sunday – Kelly’s Hills – 1000 til 1300. (hardiest)


Curing vs Healing

June 17, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Part of what I am doing here is supposed to be talking about my cancer hobby.  So, today I thought that I would get started on that.

This could all be very lengthy but I really would like to keep it light and moving.  What I say is not intended to be glib so don’t take it that way.  Cancer is a serious disease but having cancer doesn’t necessarily have to be all that serious.  I have found two things that I stick to and that serve me well:  One, do not deny that I have a serious disease and two, do not let that knowledge identify me.

So, they say that I have stage four cancer.  There is no stage five.  I say that I have an A in cancer.  I am excelling in this category!

In a very timely manner I was introduced to Dr. Robert Barnes’ book by Michele.  The title is “The Good Doctor is Naked”.   Dr. Barnes passed away a few years ago unfortunately but the book lives on.

Toward the end he goes into the difference between curing and healing.  And I really can’t do the topic justice here but just to take part of it and put it to work for me.   What I see in this is that curing is working on the body to rid it of the disease, a noble goal.   But healing is something that could include curing but doesn’t necessarily have to.

Healing, as I see it now, is getting out to the bigger picture.  About getting outside myself.  About knowing that my physical body is just part of the bigger picture.  It is about knowing that I am loved by God and that the cancer is a challenge like other challenges that I have faced, no more and no less.  So, whether I am ultimately cured or not appears to me as less important than whether I am ultimately healed.

Saint James is Afoot, Phil.


Did I say that?

June 18, 2014 Leave a comment Edit

I want to start out by trying to clear something up.  The fear of appearing a geezer and repeating myself is hampering my ability to communicate  with you.  So, I will stop worrying about this and just write.   OK?  Thinking that this doesn’t happen often but really don’t know.   So, bear with me on this.  So, bear with me on this.

OK, so yesterday Kelly and I had a great walk mostly in what is known as the Island Center Forest.  We were exploring various trails and byways.  Very few folks actually take the time to be there so we saw very occasional runners, walkers and horse people.   Actually, we didn’t see any horses but it was obvious that they are present other times.  It is designed to handle horses so the trails are big and wide and two Caminoheads can walk side by side and converse .   Perfect!   As Annie would say, “Oh, how Camino!”.

Annie just got back from NYC and Boston where she was accompanying the Camino Documentary ( ) to do Q and A sessions for the audiences.  I didn’t hear much about the particulars  but she did say things like  Hartford was sold out and we had to turn folks away.  It seems to be well attended everywhere.

Kelly and I are going to the big city on the 26th to go to the hospital for my three appointments.  But before, we are going to REI flagship store to buy a few more items.  The big thing is for me a pack but before,  I have  to get fitted for the  pack.  I thought that my pack problems were solved when I made the outrageous request of Annie to carry her pack across Spain and she said yes of course, the dear.  But what did I learn shortly after but in this over- engineered world there are male and female packs.   I mean, did pilgrims of the past have to put up with these kinds of complications?

Just one more thought on this post of dibs and daubs.   Every time I get involved in the minutiae of the pros and cons of different pieces of hiking gear, which is easy to do at a place like REI, I have to remember the “old” pilgrims.  What was their experience, hey?  Dodge a few bandits here, swim a few rivers there, starve a little here, flog yourself a little there.  Right?  And I have to dink around with male and female packs.  Doesn’t seem quite as heroic.  Oh well, such is our modern life.

But really the important thing to remember is that Saint James is Afoot!  Later, Phil.



June 19, 2014 1 Comment Edit

Ordered a pile of paper money yesterday from my bank.   Should get me from here to a few days into the trail.    As I sit here I am thankful for this luxury.   Pretty luxurious to spend money to participate in something that is largely physical labor.  Kind of like going to a dude ranch for someone that drives a computer to experience sweating.   This seems ironic as I look back at all the physical effort that I put in over the years trying to earn a few dollars.   I am blessed for sure and need to show my appreciation at this turn of events.

The physical aspect of the Camino is impressive.  One has to ask why this is needed really.  Why bust our butts?  Couldn’t I just sit down and read the Cliff Notes?  Couldn’t I sit in the shade and somehow arrive at the same conclusion as the poor pilgrims that walk 500 miles?  Why all this mind numbing shlepping of my expensive over engineered pack full of twenty pounds of can’t do without ?  Doesn’t the Camino de Santiago message come in a spray can?  Isn’t there a “Lite” version for me?

I have been studying all the video of the Camino that I can lay my hands on for the last six months.  How different walkers walk, how they interact, what gear do they carry and on and on.  One of the things that I have noticed is their state after supper at the prayer services that are held in some places.   They are calm, attentive, open and happy to be there sitting down after a long day or at least this is what it looks like to me.

This reminds me so much of my experience as a wrestling coach.  I used to help out with our youth wrestling team here on Vashon.  Our son wrestled for 13 years starting at age six I think.  A lot of kids do this as wrestling  is very popular here.  We are small but definitely on the map in the grappling world.  That’s the background.

What I am getting at is here we are as coaches with maybe forty totally energetic, athletic, fueled, motivated, ready to go young elementary aged studs in a rubber room.  It’s a rainy NW evening, the sun has been down since four in the afternoon and they have been couped up in a classroom all day before being couped up at home.  These kids are all like Marty Feldman with the eyes that rotate in opposite directions.  All there stuff is coming out.  They are bouncing off the walls like a bunch of super balls.   Get the picture.

And your job is to get them to a place to teach them  a new move, a new technique for that session.  Raw energy is not enough in wrestling.  One needs to work on a whole range of things like timing, mechanical advantage, using your opponents strength to your advantage, balance, speed and on.  How to get these over eager kids in a place to slow them down enough to teach them something.  And this only happens at the end of the session after you have hit them with a mind numbing hour of calisthenics and drills,   Then when they are happy to sit down are they open and pliable and available for the message.

Is that us too?



Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 9:11 pm

Love this post. I will ponder the difference between curing and healing for many many miles, I am sure. What first strikes me as curing may be the cessation of a condition. Ie, a person has X then that same person does not have X . They have been cured. But everything else about the person might be the same. Just that one part, X, has changed. Healing may be broader strokes. It may or may not include the curing of X, but it will most certainly involve more than just that one change. Healing seems to imply that whatever the condition was, it is now transmuted into something else, something quite valuable that a person can carry with them. Curing has a more short-term connotation to me, and does not include the idea of remaining with a person…not sure any of this makes sense. As I said, I think this is something to contemplate over the miles. Thanks for sharing it. You are such a blessing to me and to all you encounter, my friend. Buen Camino!

Curing vs Healing
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Select comment Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 8:56 pm

I remember you telling me the mushroom story while I was there walking with you. I love it! I have often thought about the idea of the “Mushroom Wavelength” and have in fact, seen it played out in other areas as well. For instance, when you decide it is time to buy a new car, you might get one in particular in mind. Then you see that car e v e r y w h e r e! It can’t be that suddenly everyone started driving those cars, but you tuned in! My pastor talks about the same thing happening when he decided to become vegetarian-he thought that suddenly vegetarian restaurants started popping up everywhere. So he would ask, when he would go into one, ‘How long have you been in business’ and consistently heard, ’10 years/20 years/18 years’!! He just hadn’t been on that vegetarian restaurant wavelength before. So my idea is this: let’s decide which wavelength we will be on today: the Kindness wavelength. The Surprise and Delight wavelength. The Abundantly Blessed wavelength! The Health and Harmony wavelength! Choose your bliss!

Everywhere All the Time
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Select comment Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 8:49 pm

You are just too kind! It’s so funny that you say that about my energy-someone else recently asked if I get tired. Well of course I do, around 8 or 9 pm when I am usually curled up on the sofa, or lying next to it surrounded by dogs. My husband won’t let me hold onto the remote because I just fall asleep! I love the Camino, what it has given -and continues to give – to me and so many others that I have been privileged to meet. Like you, Phil! And here I am reading all your posts instead of writing one of my own, ha ha! I WILL get to my blog very soon. I promise. What I really wanted to write in this post was that I absolutely love labyriths and am working on one in my front yard right now! I went to a school fundraiser and won a garden consultation that I will use to discuss the labyrinth as well as some other front/back yard magical elements. Yay labyrinths!

Two Hundred Miles
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Select comment Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 8:43 pm

You are so great! I love that you have all these groups of people coming and exploring archery with you! They offer some kind of archery at the Buddhist Ashram where I do yoga. I have never taken it but it does sound interesting. And there’s a place we used to take the dogs a lot to walk called the Arroyo where there were archery targets set up and we saw people there all the time. It’s kind of an underground hobby I guess. Anyway, bless you for giving service in the many ways you do, including the archery lessons. You are an inspiration!

Bows and Arrows Today
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Select comment Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 8:36 pm

All good. Always and all ways.

Monday Monday
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Select comment Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 8:35 pm

I have to figure out how to get your latest posts delivered to my inbox. I know it can be done….maybe i just have to subscribe. Could it be that easy? Yes! Everythig truly can be that easy. Ultreia!

Altered State
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Select comment Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 8:33 pm

Your lucky shirt is the one that you are wearing at any given moment.

Lucky Shirt
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Select comment Annie O’Neil-Paige
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 8:32 pm

Ahhh, it is SO nice to read your words. I love what you say about how you pray for all of us, who are holding you in prayer. My prayers are like yours, too, that you/we/whoever has everything that they need. We cannot dictate the outcome, for our good is Already assured! We know this! And prayer is a great way to remember, when we doubt it, or forget (momentarily). Peace-

Freakin Over Stimulated
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Select comment Signe Drake
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Submitted on 2014/06/19 at 5:43 pm

Phil, I posted the pix I took of you and Rebecca on the website listed above. I really enjoy reading your daily inspirational thoughts.

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Select comment corner48comcastnet
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Submitted on 2014/06/15 at 6:49 pm

Man, sometimes I heavy myself out. The act of writing this out this morning has really served to bring it into focus for me. My appreciation is soaring. Thank you Dad.

Father’s Day
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Select comment Annie
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Submitted on 2014/06/12 at 5:15 am

You are too kind. It is I who am so blessed to know you. But I gotta chime in and say, Inner Camino is where it’s at! My head had to change before my body could change. Inner Camino is where it’s at!

Inner Camino Part One
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Select comment Annie
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Submitted on 2014/06/12 at 5:11 am

Ahhh, Caminohead, you are quite welcome! It sounds like there is a party goin’ on over on Vashon Island! Wish I could be two places at once, but til I can do that I am here in NYC for a little while longer. It has been great, great, and a little more great! Just like your Camino Peace and blessings, Dear Phil! -Annie

Thank You Lydia B. Smith
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Select comment Erna
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Submitted on 2014/06/11 at 5:19 am

Fantastic! Had been thinking about you all day….you go boy! I will be following your trip, eager to see your progress. Great to see you…hugs and healing thoughts…erna

Lucky Shirt
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Select comment Signe Drake
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Submitted on 2014/06/05 at 4:12 pm

Reading your blog here drinking coffee Steve made. Read the awesome article about you in the Beachcomber. You are famous!
Remember to check out Rocktape (Kinesiology Tape – Olympic Athlete Tape) and maybe take some in your backpack.

Egg Sandwiches
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Select comment Signe Drake
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Submitted on 2014/06/05 at 4:03 pm

We are definitely going to watch “Twenty feet from stardom”.

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Select comment Maryka
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Submitted on 2014/05/31 at 5:02 pm

This is a lovely account Phil! Reminds me of another story of resilience you might enjoy in this Ted talk… I recommend listening to the whole thing of course, but the story begins somewhere close to minute 19 if you want to skip ahead:

Day Three
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Select comment Annie
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Submitted on 2014/05/30 at 8:40 am

Ahhh, Phil! Yes, it is certainly St. James that had a hand in having our paths cross. While walking the Camino in Spain it is quite common for pilgrims to acknowledge St. James. Miracles abound there, and after a while the miraculous becomes ordinary and I mean that in a most extraordinary way! Think Forrest Gump-” I got invited to the White House, again!” Yes, the beautiful hand of St. James, the Holy Spirit, angels or whatever you want to call it is always All Ways in action! I still shake my head at how our paths crossed! Truly amazing, but unfortunately I don’t have time to tell that tale right now. Later, I promise!
Peace, my friend, and keep writing. I’m lovin it!

St. James, Annie and Me.
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Select comment Signe
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Submitted on 2014/05/29 at 4:49 am

I am SO excited for you all to be going. Please remember about Rock tape and get some and take with you. Since I last saw you Phil I painted a room with a vaulted ceiling and built a 4×8 deck and carried my little grandson around and carried lots of groceries from the car to the fridge, so I hope that all counts as some sort of exercise lol, maybe half a peanut butter sandwich worth.

Hard Core Camino News
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Select comment Signe Drake
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Submitted on 2014/05/24 at 2:45 am

This blog is such a great idea. Old Mill sounds good. I’ll be at Port Susan the next few days but back on Vashon next week.

Vashon Trial Walking Schedule
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Select comment Joel Castoriano
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Submitted on 2014/05/23 at 5:16 pm

Congrats on your new blog! Will stay tuned. I would be interested in joining your walking group. Let me know.
Semper Fi,

Day Two
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Submitted on 2014/05/23 at 6:34 am | In reply to Kelly Burke.

Padre – I am replying from the blog to your comment. Yes, walking at 0900 on Old Mill. No blisters, Lucky.

Day Two
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Select comment Kelly Burke
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Submitted on 2014/05/23 at 1:17 am

Phil, Are we walking Old Mill tomorrow? This is all new to me too so let’s have fun. See you on Old Mill at 9:00 .

Day Two
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Select comment Esther Jantzen
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Submitted on 2014/05/22 at 2:49 am

Cheers! Phil, you did it! This is a great start. One of these days you can pick a banner picture and figure out some of the other features. You’re definitely at base camp! SJA!

We’re on shore!
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Select comment Annie
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Submitted on 2014/05/21 at 10:23 pm

You’re amazing, egg man! i am cracking up (pardon the pun) over here because of how long i took to think about, then plan, then finally get, then work on, then actually — USE my website! Not you! We were emailing about the availability of this site a few hours ago, and now look at you! I am lucky to call you friend rock ON!

We’re on shore!
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Select comment corner48comcastnet
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Submitted on 2014/05/21 at 9:32 pm

This is a comment on my own material. Rebecca says that I am to obscure. OK, maybe. Then she says that I am totally awesome. Well, you make the call. Anyway, the important thing is that we are here as in HERE and doing it as in DOING IT. You’re the best, Phil.