Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Finishing things.

I may be wrong about all this, but here's how I see it.  you have an air mass moving east from the coast. it moves that way because of the earth's rotation.  when this air hits the Rocky Mountains, it gets compressed.  Then it passes past the Montana/Colorado/Wyoming etc. border and opens up to the northern plains. This air, due to compression and passing partly across Alaska and Canada is of a different temperature and pressure than the air sitting over the plains.  when it hits the other air mass, during this decompression, The results is violent, rain, hail, tornadoes, etc.  Welcome to my world.  I'm coming out of Grand Forks on a couple of days, and there are these really "cool" looking clouds to the west and south.  At some point, I'm traveling through hail and intense rain.  This is normal here, but something I never experienced in California.  Hopefully, the farmers here don't get their crops torn up too badly...

Evening storm coming in.  Sometimes the air is a funny color.

windy, rain starting

You don't get to see moving masses of air in California

Now, we're rocking

Oh, Summer snow from the cottonwoods

Pretties in my yard

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Here we are at the end of our summer.  I have another post or maybe two coming out about life here, the Fourth of July and the packing and leaving.  When we finish packing and leaving, It will mark the end of our summer and begin a new travel year for us.

Thank you all for your attention and readership. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

May 29th - TAPS - Memorial Day - Final day

So, Saturday we had the big final banquet.  Sunday there were a few sessions and Rolling Thunder.  TAPS annual seminar is just about over and everyone goes home on Tuesday.  This is Monday. Memorial Day.  Only one thing happens on Memorial day.  The President of the United States makes an appearance at Arlington Nation Cemetery to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier and then goes into the colosseum and gives a speech for the families of fallen soldiers.

I have to get a bit political here.  I am a conservative.  a few years ago, we heard President Obama speak here. He talked about how families of every country feel and bear the weight of wars.  It was a message that America was just one of many countries that has paid the price of war.  He made the statement that "America's military is one of the greatest fighting forces in the world".  On this day, when we remember how much America has paid for freedom in the world and how America has paid with more blood for freedom's sake than anybody, his message of global rememberance did not sit well with me.  This year, a different President acknowledged how America has carried freedom to the world on the backs of her military was a more national and appropriate message. I thank him for that.

After a brief tram ride, we went through security and got our seats inside. Early, there was the sound of larks in the air.  Later, as it warmed up, there was a constant buzz of cicadas. in the air and many of them flying around. They are huge.  It was great to see many wonderful patriots in the upper stands.  Ms. Corretta King, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Robert Dole and his wife and many others. 

After it all, the North Dakota contingent gathered at Ted's, a chain of steakhouses owned by Ted Turner, for our final get together. 

Tomorrow, we board an airplane and head home to Grand Forks.

Thank you, Bonnie, Dr. Frank, Frenchy, Sara, Jeremiah. Also a special thanks William and Richard Marriott and family for the beautiful Crystal Gateway Hotel, providing it to TAPS, and the amazing staff they employ.

Arlington National Cemetery

At the entrance

Inside the coliseum.

Artistic composition by Laurie McGloe

Gold Star Parents

Sen. Bob Dole, his wife, and also Chef Robert Irvine and his wife.

Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD

National Anthem. President Donald Trump and Gen. James Mattis

Outside Ted's, Arlington

An interesting cocktail

The group

Monday, July 10, 2017

May 28th - Sunday - TAPS - Rolling Thunder

I always look forward to Rolling Thunder. If I had known what this day would bring, I would have skipped it.  Rolling Thunder is an annual demonstration/protest by bikers from across the US to bring awareness of all the still unaccounted POWs and MIAs of the Vietnam war.  This was year 30.  Nearly 1 million bikes converge on the Pentagon parking areas, and stage a ride through the streets of DC to the National Mall where they hold a program of music and speech for the cause.  The ride lasts for hours.  Through Frenchy's connections with a group from Pennslyvania, we always have rides as Gold Star parents.  Laurie as not feeling well, and skipped going. She was then able to avoid what was to follow.

The day started well enough.  It was warm early and there was a firetruck on hand spraying water to help us keep cool.  We assembled, got assigned our riders and waited until parade time.  As we were on our bikes finally, and waiting to begin, the Air Force flew a B-52 bomber overhead to signal our start.

Then the rain drops started falling.

It rained throughout the entire ride. Easy at first, then heavier. by the time we got to the Mal, we were soaked.  They didn't have us park on the grass field where we normally end up, but along a street there.  The rain stopped as we were getting off our bikes.  As we walked through the mall to where we could get an Uber back to the hotel, it started raining again and would not stop until later that night.  We crammed too many of us into a too expensive Uber and spent a good half hour to hour trying to get out of DC back to Arlington due to the many roads closed for Rolling Thunder. Yeah, it was pretty much a nightmare. 

Still, our friend, Tim Chambers, The saluting Marine, was at his post on the route.  You can read tis amazing patriot's story here in his interview:
You should also visit his website here:

We got back to the hotel and them a few of us had to go back to help one of the riders retrieve his bike that had broken down before the ride. Luckily the rain had abated for this period.

That night, Laurie, our friend Gale and I went for a walk and ended up at a sports bar down the street that we've been to before.  We took seats I the patio that had open windows to the street.  While we were there, we invited Jeremiah and a couple of others to come join us.  Later, my new friend Richard and his wife came by and went to the upstairs room where a band performed.  He came down a couple of times to smoke and told us we should go up. We didn't but continued to sit with our group.  As it got later, our friend left, and Laurie and I decided it was right that we should go up before we left.  When we got upstairs, there was a pretty decent rock band playing and people dancing. ne couple that was there was our friend Tim Chambers and his wife. They are great people and we spent the rest of the night with Richard and his friends and Tim and his family. His mother was there too.  We had an epic night.

Vintage bike from WWII

1975 Harley - Don't ask

My driver and I. Our third ride together.

The National Mall in the rain.

Later that night. The band.  The bass player had an old Fender Jazz Bass just like the one I used to own.

The Chambers and McGlones

Friday, July 7, 2017

May 27th - Saturday - TAPS

So there we were....

The 23rd Annual Survivor Seminar.  Ms. Bonnie Carroll is the type of friend everyone should have.  Through the experience of her own loss, she has made a home for others to share, grow, and overcome grief.  Whenever someone wants to take a candid picture of Ms. Carroll, she is always hugging someone.  It just happens so often that it's hard to not see her comforting someone.  When she lost her husband, she found there was just no place to get the kind of help she and others like her needed to understand their grief.  Imagine how you would feel having a death of a loved one that is so deeply tied to that person's core beliefs and pride.  Military members have a commitment to country, honor, and service. When the death happens in the fulfilment of everything they believe in, it will rock the very foundation of the survivor's soul.  We have found a family in TAPS and a sister in Ms. Bonnie Carroll.  Thank you, Bonnie.

Another person I wish to thank is Dr. Frank Campbell.  Dr. Campbell has been a key presenter for all the time I've been around TAPS.  He has as big a heart for people as Ms. Bonnie.  His talks and sessions are always worth attending and this year was no exception.  I especially enjoy listening to his Louisiana accent and speech patterns.  Thank you as well, Dr. Frank.

As I might have stated, recent years we've been attending less and less sessions. Stuck in place I think we were.  So here's Saturday.  I attended four separate sessions.  Three were run by Dr. Campbell, and he was an attendee in the other.  That's a lot of Louisiana, I tell you. Two of the sessions were just for men.  It is true that men and women grieve differently, and men won't show grief or at least talk about it around the opposite gender.  Sessions like these are important for that reason.  I haven't attended one of these before but this year we had a lot of healing going on.  I was especially surprised how many step-fathers like myself there were and it was interesting how we are perceived in the area of family as sometimes outsiders.  The sessions were very good.

Saturday is the final official day of TAPS and there is always a formal banquet for dinner.  This year, Chef Robert Irvine (Restaurant Impossible) had volunteered to prepare our dinner.  It was amazing.  Then come the speakers.  Chef Irvine's talk was fun and entertaining.  The special guest emcee was Kimberly Dozier, a CNN reporter.  She had been reporting on the war in Iraq when she and her team along with the subject of an interview she was conducting became victims of a bombing in Iraq.  Her story is one of survival and the long road back from considerable injuries.

After dinner, we had our usual North Dakota group final goodbye meeting.  It's always sad as the week comes to an end.  BUT, it wasn't over yet.

Afterwards, we were in the lounge and we were able to meet Chef Irvine in person.  He is a really great guy, self-effacing and humble.  Later, I introduced myself to a vet named Richard and his wife who were in town for Rolling Thunder.  I went to thank him for his service, and we ended up spending quite some time getting to know one another.

Tomorrow is Sunday.  That means Rolling Thunder. 

Stay tuned...

Banquet night

North Dakota contingent

The show

Kimberly Dozier

Chef Robert Irvine

Later that night...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

May 26th - Friday - TAPS

A great opening ceremony and a couple of good sessions.  At the ceremony, we were treated once again to a music program featuring Ret. Gen. Martin Dempsey and this little girl he has been mentoring with for many years.  Gen. Dempsey is there every year and spends his time in the Good Grief Camp program for the smaller children in TAPS.  They, along with an older girl and a sailor, sang a song from Moana.  There is a hallway where pictures of our loved ones are usually posted on huge banners.  This year, they had a Family tree made from construction paper with picture squares velcroed to the wall as leaves.  Very nice.

That evening, we attended the National's baseball game.  Arriving at the field, Laurie, Jeremiah and I walked around and sampled craft beers and food.  There is a memorial plaque there for the Naval personnel who died during an attack on the Naval yard sea systems in 2013.  Being one of the top teams this year, I expected them to win.  Considering they were playing my hometown Padres, I expected them to win big.  The National's pitcher had 13 strikeouts, a team record, and the bats had 5 homeruns.  My Padres made a bad showing.  I love attending baseball games and never regret any game no matter the outcome.

As the game was lost pretty early, we left before it was over.  We were not interested in taking the busses back to the hotel, but strolled down the street to find a craft brewery called Bluejacket. The area on the north bank of the Anaconda River, which flows into the Potomac, is an area know as the Naval Yards.  The area was once a major ship building area for the nation. The factory buildings are still there for the most part, but they have been repurposed into a trendy shopping area full of restaurants and nightclubs.  Bluejacket is in one of those factories.  You go through two sets of ID check to get in.  We found the staff to be a little short on friendliness.  Of course, on a Friday night right after a ballgame 5 blocks away, they were busy, but still, I expected a little more.  We found some good conversation with local people, and the list of brews was really pretty good.  It was loud, but an okay time. 

We left and caught a Uber back to the hotel.  Sitting downstairs for a nightcap, we met a group there who were a lot of fun.  Aaron, Greg, and Sheila, and a girl who seemed shy or not interested in us. lol.  USAF and Dental people.  It was a great meeting and we laughed and talked about life and kids.

Breakfast Buffet Food was much better this year
The amazing Bonnie Carroll
General Martin Dempsey (Ret)

Family tree


Massive storm before the game
This was the line for people going on the Pentagon tour.  They were pre-screening people so they wouldn't have to stand outside in the parking lot of the Pentagon doing it.  It is a great tour, though.


A wonderful tribute

The field

Inside Bluejacket.  Obviously a brewery, but obviously also a factory

New friends

This is Aaron.