Wednesday, July 1, 2020

~ Just this side of Heaven ~

Today is a free day. 

There are no doctor appointments, no physical therapy, no occupational therapy, or no anything else structured. 

So when she asked,  "Do you want to go into Sequoia National Park for a picnic?"

My answer was immediate. "Yes."

We spent the entire day hiking along some of the Giant Forest trails.  

We pushed it a bit further up the High Sierra Trail at about 7,000', higher than I wanted, but the incredible view of the Great Western Divide was so rewarding.  We hiked slowly but with purpose.

We share some pictures from this first day of July.


Lupine grows before a Giant Sequoia.



Giant Sequoia Trees stand well beyond our time.



Moro Rock in the background.

The Great Western Divide is itched in memory.



Delicate flowers with Moro Rock in the background.




Not riding my bike today, but awesome moments at Crescent Meadow.



Great sign on a Government car.

We saw two bears today.

The NPS has done a great job communicating an important message.

Nature comforts the soul.



Friday, June 19, 2020

~ 49 Degrees East ~


Eastern Sierra, Mount Whitney


Every day, every single moment causes me to pause. I’m the lucky one. 

You see, on April 29th Denise suffered a stroke.

Any stroke is serious, but when it occurs during Covid-19 well, your world is quickly turned upside down. I use to count moments in life. Today, I count ¼ moments. Honestly, time slowed down to a crawl.

My priority, my goal, my mission is her. Nothing else mattered.

The good news and short version are that she is making a remarkable recovery. Her physical therapist, occupational therapist, nurse, and you have contributed to her recovery. I was impressed with their compassion and single focus on her rehabilitation. They do this daily, yet they performed their tasks as if it was their first day at work.

Like millions around the world, we have stayed at home during this pandemic. We are thankful to the many friends who delivered home-cooked meals, freshly baked bread, flowers, cards, calls, emails, and visits.

To celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary on June 14th, we prepared our North Star camper and headed off to the eastern side of the Sierra for some quality time. We planned to camp at the Lone Pine Campground and the dispersed camping in the Alabama Hills. 

The pictures that follow are part of that journey, if only at one ¼ time.



Denise experiencing life below the watchful eye of Mount Whitney.


Our North Star in the Alabama Hils near Mount Whitney.


Our camper lost in the landscape as we search for the infamous Arch Rock.


We attempted the 3-mile hike in search of the Arch Rock.

Slow and steady.


When I said, "This is far enough after a 1 1/2 mile of a 3-mile hike." 
She replied, "If we quit now, they will never know we made it."  Without discussion, we continued.



Arch Rock. Well worth the 3-mile hike. Our 1/4 moment in time.  Mount Whitney perfectly framed.



Reading at camp the biography of Spruce Springsteen.

Our camp far below, what a view to behold.

Plenty of spare tires if you have a flat in the backcountry.

Saying goodbye to Mount Whitney.

Thank you, for helping me along this road.


Dramatic clouds, on our last night, say farewell.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

~ In Pursuit of Wildness: Great Basin National Park ~

The article "In Pursuit of Wildness: Great Basin National Park" by Robert Griego was published on the "RoadRUNNER Travel & Touring" website on 6/3/20.

On the path that leads to Nowhere I have sometimes found my soul.” – Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

Rarely do I ride 1,800 miles just because a stranger suggests an awesome ride, but I had just met a fellow rider, Scott, in Springerville, AZ, and he was already persuading me to take a ride near his home in Utah. He called it the Nebo Loop, but it’s also known as the Mount Nebo Scenic Byway. It’s near Spanish Fork, UT. I had never heard of it.
Honestly, I thought I’d never see him again, but fate has its own ways of correcting our misjudgments. So, 900 miles later, I was looking for Scott’s Fly Shoppe, where we had agreed to meet. Scott is a professional fly fisherman and is known for his quality, hand-tied flies. It was a treat to follow him as our motorcycles climbed higher into the surrounding mountains.
Toward the end of our mountain ride, we stopped for our final pictures and farewells. He pulled out a map and led me west. “On your way back to California, travel on US 50 along America’s loneliest highway and camp at Great Basin National Park [in Nevada],” he said. And with his fading words, this story begins.

MILES FROM NOWHERE

I stop for fuel early, not knowing how far the next gas station is along this sparsely traveled road between Lynndyl and Delta, UT. I’m sleepy, so I buy a cup of coffee at the gas station. “I’m heading for Great Basin National Park,” I tell the woman behind the counter. “Can you tell me how many more miles?” She replies instantly: “I don’t know. There is nothing out that way anyway.” What she describes as “nothing” is low-level desert along sage-covered foothills that touch the mountains with patches of snow. I don’t see many cars on this road, but I feel so connected to nature.
Not far from the Utah–Nevada state line is a comforting road sign: Great Basin National Park, 6 miles ahead. At the small grocery store in Baker, NV, I buy one ear of white corn and a rib-eye steak. Tonight, I plan to camp at either Lower Lehman Creek or Upper Lehman Creek campground. However, both are full. In another hour, it will be dark.
The park map shows that Baker Creek Campground is located about 3 miles away on a dirt road. Surely, a site will be there. As I circle the campground for the second time, hoping to spot an empty site, a young biker flags me down. “All of the sites are full,” he says. “You’re welcome to camp here at my site.” Tired, and thinking that it could be miles before I found a suitable campsite in the dark, I thank him. I had forgotten it was Friday.
“My name is Jim, and I’m coming down from Oregon, heading for Florida,” he says. In his mid-20s, Jim is riding a cool-looking Harley-Davidson; I call him “Easy Rider.” Apparently, he doesn’t enjoy camping alone. I’m glad I took up his offer. We share tales and a few beers.
He turns in early as he is planning an extensive 15-mile hike to Baker and Johnson lakes the next day. As I lie in my sleeping bag, the stars are brilliant. The night sky is dark and alive. The Big Dipper is my compass, pointing to the North Star. In the morning, I leave Jim a note thanking him for sharing his campsite.
I fire up my motorcycle to experience the diversity of the Great Basin along the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. This 12-mile paved road hugs the mountains of the South Snake Range and provides sweeping views of the Great Basin Desert. By 8,000 feet, I begin to see pinyon and juniper trees. At 9,000 feet, there are groves of white fir, Douglas fir, and ponderosa pine. At an elevation of some 9,000 feet, with patches of snow, the Mather Overlook provides panoramas of Nevada’s 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak. The road snakes higher to about 10,000 feet, where you enter a subalpine forest dominated by the white-bark aspen tree. There are ample pullouts along the way for pictures. The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is a must-do ride. The views take your breath away.
The rain clouds are forming and thunder rolls across the sky. A flash of lightning persuades me to leave. It is impossible to outrun the rain, so I brace for the worst. The scent of rain is imminent. In seconds, the storm turns south and is behind me. Relieved, I continue west along lonely US 50 toward Ely, NV. My camera tries to capture the moments while my mind simply repeats: Adventure. Gratitude. Alive.
I begin to hum a favorite song by Dwight Yoakam, “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” and I ponder the lyrics:
I’m a thousand miles from nowhere / Time don’t matter to me / ’Cause I’m a thousand miles from nowhere / And there’s no place I want to be.

Planning a Visit
Great Basin National Park, established in 1986, is located in eastern Nevada. This 77,100-acre park contains rugged peaks and underground caverns and supports a vast array of plant and animal life. The Great Basin bristlecone pine grows in the craggy mountain slopes near the tree line, where it can survive for about 4,000 years under extremely harsh conditions. A unique feature in the park is Lehman Caves, which extend a quarter-mile into limestone and marble and are most famous for abundant shields, relatively rare disc-shaped mineral formations, with graceful stalactites and other mineral deposits hanging from them. Weather can change quickly at any elevation; it is important to be prepared for rain or snow storms at any time of the year. GPS devices sometimes give inaccurate directions in this area, so keep a park map handy and pay attention to signs. Some roads are inaccessible in winter.

To Do

Options include day hiking, ranger-led activities, visitors centers, Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, fishing, stargazing, camping, birding, wildflower viewing, and more.
Lehman Caves can be visited only on a guided tour. Tours regularly sell out; reservations though www.recreation.gov are strongly recommended.

Hours

Great Basin National Park is open year-round. The Lehman Caves Visitor Center and Great Basin Visitor Center are open daily except for major holidays. Hours vary by season.

Fees

Admission to the park is free.
www.nps.gov/grba

Text and Photography:
Robert Griego

Monday, May 25, 2020

~ Remembering our Fallen ~



This Memorial Day we thank you, and untold others, for honorably serving our country  * * * * * *



My uncle, and my mom's brother, * Valentin Moya ~ WWII



Nancy Moya (mom) and *Sebastian Griego (dad) at their marriage ~ WWII



My best friend, *John Lopez (part of the Yamaha Gang) ~ heading for Vietnam




My best friend, *Gene Christianson (part of the Yamaha Gang) ~ heading for Vietnam



Denise Griego's uncle and Lucille Saldivar's brother, *Merle Longnecker ~ WWII



My Three Rivers friend, *Vince Roleter ~ WWII






Monday, April 13, 2020

~ In Pursuit of Wildness: Petrified Forest National Park ~

The article "In Pursuit of Wildness: Petrified Forest National Park" by Robert Griego was published on the "RoadRUNNER Travel & Touring" website on 4/13/20.


Petrified Forest National Park landscape
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
— John Muir


I’m on historic US Route 66 heading east for a small village nestled next to the Rio Grande in New Mexico called La Joya. Each year, I make this journey across the wild west, past little communities and towns with interesting names: Newberry Springs, Oatman, Cool Springs, Valentine, Peach Springs, Twin Arrows, Two Guns. They sound like names from old Western movies. The map tells me that it’s about 1,100 miles from my home in Three Rivers, CA, to La Joya, but I rarely follow the straight lines.
Today, I am riding my 2019 Indian Springfield on its maiden voyage. It’s three weeks old and just broken in with barley 911 miles on the odometer. I love Western movies, and I’m especially fond of the line by Augustus McCrae in Lonesome Dove: “Ain’t nothing better than riding a fine horse into a new country.” In Peach Springs, AZ, near Mile Marker 88, I stop to pay my respects to a fallen biker, Danny Cypert. The air is warm and the warm breeze pushes me toward Peach Springs. In the distance, a train with endless cars snakes across the prairie. This is a popular route for motorcyclists cruising Route 66.
Petrified Forest National Park is a perfect reason not to follow straight lines on a map. The park brochure tells me that this park is the only park in the national park system containing a section of historic Route 66. Petrified Forest stretches north and south between Interstate 40 and Highway 180. Whichever entrance you choose, stop by the visitors center to get oriented. The Painted Desert Visitor Center is located at Exit 311 off I-40 and provides excellent visitor information and a free 18-minute orientation film.
I barely travel 2 miles from the north entrance when I stop at the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark, which once served as a respite for travelers along Route 66. A walk around the area will produce sweeping views that vanish hundreds of miles away. My bike is running flawlessly, and like a proud new parent I’m taking pictures, including selfies, at every overlook. An elderly man walks up and begins talking. “I used to ride motorcycles, including several Indians. You’ve got a beauty there.” As he walks away, he seems to have some extra bounce in his gait. The road between north and south is a mere 28 miles, so I stop at every attraction. I walk the Puerco Pueblo trail for a brief introduction to the Ancestral Puebloan people; around 1300, the pueblo may have been home to about 200 people. If you have the time, the Blue Forest Trail and the hikes to Billings Gap Overlook, Dead Wash Overlook, Devil’s Playground, and First Forest Point provide great opportunities for adventure.

Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark

Continuing the 28 miles toward the south entrance, I stop frequently at places like Newspaper Rock, Blue Mesa, Agate Bridge, Jasper Forest, and Crystal Forest for super pictures of the ancient petrified trees. Before leaving the park, be sure to visit the Rainbow Forest Museum & Visitor Center to view paleontological exhibits complete with skeleton displays of prehistoric animals. There are two worthwhile trails from the Rainbow Forest Museum: Long Logs (1.6-mile loop) offers one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the park, and Agate House Trail (2 miles roundtrip) leads you to a small pueblo occupied about 700 years ago.
Museum archeologists provide a glimpse into two geological formations, the Late Triassic Chinle Formation and the Mio-Pliocene Bidahochi Formation that occurred over 200 million years ago. As I ride my Indian motorcycle along these ancient 28 miles, I think how fortunate we are to have the Petrified Forest National Park preserve, protect, and explain such ancient wonders.

Planning a Visit
Petrified Forest National Park, initially established as a national monument in 1906, became a national park on Dec. 9, 1962. It is one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world. With a little planning, you can see petrified trees within the park that date back over 200 million years. The park is located in eastern Arizona and easily accessible off I-40.
To Do
Within Petrified Forest National Park there are excellent opportunities to explore: day hiking, ranger-led programs, visitors centers, museums, scenic drives, backpacking, wildlife and wildflower viewing, photography, picnicking, and horseback riding. Visit the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark (open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Backcountry camping is permitted within the Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area. Permits are free and must be obtained in person at either the Painted Desert Visitor Center or Rainbow Forest Museum.
There are no campgrounds in the park; however, nearby Canyon de Chelly National Monument, El Morro National Monument, and Chaco Culture National Historical Park have campgrounds.
Hours
Petrified Forest National Park is open year-round except Dec. 25. Generally, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Painted Desert Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museum & Visitor Center.
Fees
Entrance fees, good for seven days, are $15 per motorcycle, $20 per vehicle for a seven-day pass, and $10 per person or bicyclist. An annual pass is $30.
For more information or to purchase a pass, visit www.nps.gov/pefo.



Text and Photography:
Robert Griego

Friday, April 10, 2020

~ COVID-19 along a Country Road ~

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." - John Muir


Homer Ranch Preserve along Dry Creek Road

We all will mark this time in our lives differently, yet we'll all use the same pen.  

COVID-19 has forever altered our time on earth.

Today, the sun is shining, the rains have stopped, and the wildflowers are talking. 

We are blessed to live in Three Rivers, CA near Sequoia National Park.  We have a country road called Dry Creek: The creek is flowing, the grasses are green, and wildflowers are blooming.

Enjoy....................


Poppies paint the hillsides



Lichen, barbed wire, and poppies



A lone Poppy shines. Photo by Denise Griego



Lupine flowers are special.  Photo by Denise Griego


 
I love riding along Dry Creek Road


Isn't that beautiful




Monday, November 25, 2019

~ In Pursuit of Wildness: Abó Ruins, New Mexico ~

The article "In Pursuit of Wildness: Abo Ruins, New Mexico" by Robert Griego was published on the "RoadRUNNER Travel & Touring" magazine website on 11/25/19.

Mission San Gregorio de Abó

In the 2009 documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Director Ken Burns spoke about the grandeur of a world known as Yellowstone National Park, as well as less familiar National Park Service areas, such as Abó Ruins, an integral part of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in New Mexico.
Burns once said: “We are all co-owners of some of the most beautiful places in the world. And ownership suggests only modest, in this case, responsibilities. Go out and visit your property. Make sure it’s being taken care of. That is, be a good constituent of them, and make sure they’re being taken care of for future generations.”
Those words linger in my mind as I ride my motorcycle along some quiet highways in central New Mexico. At least once a year I travel to the badlands of New Mexico to reconnect with my heritage and explore some of the state’s many lesser-known national park areas.
My sister Elva and her husband, Robert Esquibel, live on their 40-acre ranch next to the Abó Ruins. I’ll take this opportunity to visit them and explore this area. They know that I plan to write a story about the area and they immediately offer some colorful history. Robert’s father, Nick, was a subsistence farmer and grew many crops, including pinto beans. He was also a schoolteacher and conservationist. We walk around the ruins and the history begins to unfold. “Federico Sisneros, Abó’s caretaker, is buried just over there,” Elva tells me. The small visitors center offers a wealth of history, but I can’t stop thinking about the man buried here.
The Sisneros family has been in New Mexico for over 13 generations. The early families attempted to settle in Abó but were attacked by Apaches and left; they returned when the area became more peaceful, building houses near the pueblo ruins.
Federico Sisneros was born in 1894, and when he was 5 years old his father gave him the responsibility to care for the Mission San Gregorio de Abó. Initially his job was to keep the family’s sheep from licking the old stones for salt. Eventually, the sheep would destroy the ancient walls, which were considered holy. Sisneros married and began a family of his own and continued to care for the ruins at Abó. In the early 1930s, he sold Abó with the understanding that it would be better cared for under the protection of the state of New Mexico. Sisneros continued to live nearby and care for the ruins.
In 1980, the state turned Abó and Quari, another state monument, over to the National Park Service. The sites were combined with Gran Quivara National Monument to form the new Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. Sisneros stayed on as National Park Service ranger, caring for and living next to the monument. He led numerous tours of the area.
I remember Sisneros from my days working for the National Park Service. He was considered at the time to be the oldest living park ranger. Sisneros’ lifetime devotion as a caretaker didn’t go unnoticed. In 1981, he received the prestigious Superior Service Award for his decades of work. I recall being very proud of him and his dedication, even though I never met the man.
Sisneros worked until the day he died, March 12, 1988. His final wish was to be buried on the north side of the ruins of San Gregorio de Abó. In a rare case of bureaucracy, the National Park Service honored his devotion and granted his final request.
Ken Burns’ challenge was admirably met by Federico Sisneros, Abó Ruins honored caretaker.


Federico Sisneros, whose ancestors assisted in resettling Abó in 1869, served as caretaker for the Abó Ruins site, 
now part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument; he became known as the oldest park ranger in America.
He was buried at the monument in honor of his final wish.
 


In Pursuit of Wildness Abó Ruins, New Mexico, Bob Griego



Text and Photography:
               Robert Griego


PLANNING A VISIT
Visiting Abó Ruins can be an easy daytrip; enjoy a picnic while there.
Gran Quivira National Monument was established on November 1, 1909. Quarai and Abó, themselves national monuments since 1962, joined the Gran Quivira National Monument in the early 1980s. In 1988, the monument was renamed the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument; it continues to stand as reminder of a time when the cultures of the American Indians and the Spanish converged.
TO DO
Stop at the visitors center for information on a variety of activities, including ranger-led tours, self-guided walks, picnicking, and stargazing.

One of my favorite motorcycle rides (256 miles) when visiting Abó is east on US Route 60 toward Mountainair, then south on NM 55, stopping by Gran Quivira, and then continuing south on US 54 to Carrizozo, then east on US 380 to Capitan, then south to Ruidoso, Tularosa, Alamogordo, and finally Las Cruces.
HOURS
The Salinas Pueblo Missions Visitor Center in Mountainair is open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The three park Mission Units (Abó, Quarai, and Gran Quivira) are open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. Salinas Pueblo Missions is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The park may also be closed due to inclement weather. During winter, call ahead to check the status.
FEES
Admission is free.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/sapu.

Monday, November 11, 2019

~ Veterans Day 2019 ~




The Hanger - Lancaster, CA

Einstein knew, that even at the speed of light, you could only be in one place at one time.

Veterans Day is a special time to thank, honor, and remember our veterans.  Two special events are occurring this Veterans Day in the Antelope Valley and Sequoia National Park, nearly 200 miles apart. As fate would have it, and with a little help from friends, I attended both Veterans Day Celebrations over the last few days.

Sandy Smith, Executive Director for Destination Lancaster recently invited me to visit Lancaster to experience their downtown stretch, The BLVD which was recently named a California Cultural District. She also encouraged me to visit many of California State Parks in the region – Red Rock Canyon, Saddleback Butte, Vazquez Rocks, Devil’s Punchbowl, Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland, Antelope Valley Indian Museum, and of course the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

A week ago I heard about the mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall where bikers were invited to “escort” the Wall from Lancaster to Palmdale on Thursday, November 7, 2019. “Sandy, this is a perfect opportunity to visit Lancaster and return to Three Rivers for another special Veterans Day event.  Do you know who is organizing the event.” Sandy’s not a biker but she knows someone who would know – Ron Emard, owner of Antelope Harley-Davidson.  I called Ron and he said, “Stacia Nemeth is the person that knows everything about this event. Later, I would stop by his dealership in Lancaster and visit with him. He is an amazing person, a bad-ass biker, and well respected in the Antelope Valley.  I loved all the artwork in his shop, including his framed, historic Flag with 48 stars!

A safety briefing before the escort

Bikers lined the road in front of HW Hunter Ram of the West

We all were welcomed at HW Hunter Ram of the West by Miss North Los Angeles and Miss Lancaster

Stacia Nemeth is the Co-chair of the 10th Anniversary AVWall Committee.  She was informative and passionate and within ten minutes of talking to her on the phone, I knew I had to be there.  I left the very next day.  I wrote down what she said, “The escort begins at HW Hunter Ram of the West at 43226 10th St W, Lancaster and ends at the Palmdale Amphitheater at 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd, Palmdale. This wall is a bridge between Lancaster and Palmdale. I’m not sure how many bikers will turn-out but thank you for joining the escort.”

Wonder Woman or Co-Chair of the 10th Anniversary AV Wall Committee
Stacia Nemeth 

Later, I read in the Basic AV Wall Facts brochure that “The full name of this wall is The Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall.  Because it was created in the Antelope Valley, it goes by the nickname The AV Wall and is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Point Man Antelope Valley (PMAV) is the guardian of the AV Wall and is responsible for its maintenance, storage, and travel…The AV Wall is engraved with the names of more than 58,300 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing.”

From the moment I arrived at HW Hunter Ram, I was impressed. There were flags everywhere and what seemed like hundreds of motorcycles. HW Hunter Ram provided a new 2019 Ram 2500 Bighorn to pull the trailer containing the seventy-six panels. Wow, first class.

The Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall ~ AV*WALL: 10 years of bringing people together


We would be escorted by Michael Courtial, Deputy Sheriff of the County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department along with four additional Sheriff units.  He explained the route and emphasized safety above all else.  These Sheriff units blocked off all intersections as we passed without stopping.  Now that’s a bikers’ dream, red-lights, and sirens for us. We proceeded down The BLVD and cars pulled over, honking their horns.  I remember a small lady on a corner waiving her flag as we passed. Kids jumped up and down. Perhaps, the most touching moment for me was seeing a man standing proudly saluting, as hundreds of us passed.  I’m sure the salute remained until the final motorcycle passed.

AV*WALL, Palmdale Amphitheater 

(left) Michael Courtial, Deputy Sheriff, Stacia Nemeth, Co-Chair and supporting Sheriff's

This bike led our escort

There are seventy-six panels carried by two people to either the West or East section of the Wall.  It was an honor to help assemble the Wall, knowing that the names of many of my Barstow, CA high school friends are inscribed there.  There are 76 men of the Antelope Valley on the Wall. 

Each panel was handled with honor

The Wall goes up one step at a time

Work of love for the "Wall that Heals."
  
Everything must be perfect
The names almost blinded me


My good friend, Gene Christiansen. This piece of paper has been in my wallet for years.






(left) Robert Griego, Robert Martinez, Joe Enriquez - Barstow, CA
Gene Christiansen ~ b. 2/16/49 ~ d. 2/6/1969
"You are not forgotten" ~ Panel 33W, Line 70


Our Nation is stronger because of them


There are 76 men of the Antelope Valley on the Wall


Leo Griego, my brother was unable to attend the ceremonies but he told me that he has seen the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. He recently retired after 46 years as a Detective for the Barstow Police Department. Our family and the Barstow community are very proud of him.


Leo Griego (left) Vietnam Veteran, '66 - 69'
Army - 101st & 82nd Airborne

The 10th Anniversary Ceremony was led by inspiring speakers.  Mike Bertell, President, AV Wall Committee and a Vietnam Veteran, ’70 -’71 set the stage with these ending remarks, “The Wall in D.C. is known as The Wall That Heals.  Spending time at the Wall can leave a lifelong impression.  I am honored to have brought that healing opportunity to tens of thousands of people over the past ten years…God Bless.”

There are five mobile Vietnam Memorial Walls and the AV*Wall is deemed the best in our country.

Mike Bertell, President - Outpost Leader, Point Man Antelope Valley
  


Ron Reyes, Gold Star Son


There were bad-ass bikers with tears in their eyes, including me. Guest speakers like Ron Reyes, a Gold Star Son – Jose Ramos, U.S. Army (retired) and Senior Advisor to the Director of the U.S. 50th Vietnam War Commemoration – Carl Hernandez (read his poem, Does This Wall Really Heal) honored our Veterans.  One distinguished speaker quoted President Barack Obama:

“And one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam, most particularly how we treated our troops.  You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor.”

Before heading home to attend the Veterans Day Celebration at Sequoia National Park, I managed to visit Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland and the Antelope Valley Indian Museum.  The Antelope Valley is a region that I intend to return to visit some of the outstanding State Parks.

Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park


Prime Desert Woodland Preserve


The TownPlace in Lancaster is centrally located with full amenities for an extended stay 
  
Colonel Charles Young Memorial Highway Dedication occurred on November 11, 2019, at Sequoia National Park. 

He was born in 1864 during the Civil War to parents who were slaves in Kentucky.  In 1889, he graduated from West Point and began his military career.  In 1903 while still assigned to the 9th Cavalry, he served as Superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, making him the first black superintendent of a national park. He helped define what Ken Burns called “America’s Best Idea.”



Foothills Picnic Area, Sequoia National Park

Colonel Charles Young is honored

Colonel Charles Young was honored by Woody Smeck, Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Renotta Young, CEO of the Colonel Charles Young Foundation, Devon Mathis, 26th Assembly District, Jon Jarvis, Retired NPS Director, Dr. Joy Kinard, Superintendent of Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, and Shelton Johnson, Park Ranger of Yosemite National Park. 


Woody Smeck (center) Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

We honor Colonel Charles Young with this Memorial Highway

This Veterans Day, a portion of State Highway 198 near the Sequoia National Park Entrance was renamed "Colonel Charles Young Memorial Highway."


Three Rivers, CA