Wednesday, June 14, 2023

~ Our 52 year Journey ~

Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  John Muir.

Denise and Bob Griego, Pinnacles National Monument, CA— married June 14, 1971.
photo by good friend, Greg Gnesios.


Bob and Denise Griego, Three Rivers, CA — 52nd anniversary, June 14, 2023.
photo by our daughter, Lori Jimenez.

Monday, June 12, 2023

~ Riding the Range ~


"The greatest adventure is what lies ahead."  - J.R.R. Tolkien

This picture is dedicated to my niece, Emily Rose Griego.
4/12/1996 ~ 5/16/2023

It's been nine months since my achilles injury in August 2022. This is my first long motorcycle ride and campout, and what better place to go than the Eastern Sierra. My heart, however, is heavy with the passing of our niece, Emily. I'll think about her often as I approach my first camp at the base of the rugged Sierras covered with snow.

It's memorial day weekend and I plan to attend the annual Bishop Mule Days. The Lone Pine Campground is closed due to the recent flooding and Tuttle Creek Campground is full, so I push forward along Highway 395. There is dispersed camping in the Alabama Hills but that too appears full and congested with RV campers. I spot a sign pointing to Goodale Creek Campground between Lone Pine and Bishop. I've never been here and stop by the campground host to inquire.  "Are there any available campsites?" I nervously ask. "Sure, pick out anyone you like, there are some nice quiet spots, like site #8, down this road," I tell him I've never been here before and it's such a beautiful area. He nods in agreement. 


Site #8 was heavenly.

I felt like I was camping on the open range.

My campsite is perfect. There is a small stream nearby, and a lady is fishing. The views are breathtaking as I set up camp and prepare my first gourmet dinner—tamales. It's windy, a common occurrence, along the Eastern Sierra. The picnic table blocks the wind just enough to heat up dinner as I peek toward the west.

Improvising with my pocket rocket and mess kit.

I never met a tamale, I didn't like.

Dark clouds gather to the west, but the wind blows them north. I plan to sleep out in the open but I always have a backup plan, in this case, Denise's backpacking tent. I skip a fire tonight as the winds continue to blow. Anything that can blow away is securely tied down. It's dark quickly. Gazing upward from my sleeping bag is a billion stars. I try to keep my eyes open to spot, what I affectionally call, 'the circle of eight,' but the diamonds in the night sky encourage me to sleep. During the night, the wind stops. The silence awakes me and my cell phone displays the time—2:30 a.m. The light from the stars is memorizing, and there miraculously, I see the 'circle of eight.' This group of eight stars in a semi-circle, to me, represents my brothers and sisters. I thank God for this experience after my long absence from camping and riding my motorcycle, reciting my mantra—breathe in life, exhale gratitude.

The dark clouds are concerning.


The Bishop Mule Days parade begins promptly at 10am so I break camp at 6:00 a.m.  The parade is the longest, non-motorized one in the country.  I grab a spot with my good friend, Jim Harvey who turns 87 years old tomorrow. He was once the top all-around cowboy at these events and has been to the Bishop Mules Days for the past 52 years. We all stand and remove our hats as the military horseback color guard passes by with the American flag. There are marching bands, packers, cowboys, cowgirls, wagon trains, horses, and of course mulestall ones, short ones, and everything in between. 

My new friend, Kent Reeves (a.k.a. diamonds4mules on Instagram).
He takes a break to watch the stiff competition.

Nick Knutson (#091) is one of the top Cowboys.

Bob Griego, Jim Harvey, Nick Knutson.

These Cowboys are my heroes.

The picture below reminds me of the song, El Paso by the late, Marty Robbins:

"One night a wild young cowboy came in, 
Wild as the West Texas wind. 
Dashing and daring, 
A drink he was sharing 
With wicked Felina, 
The girl that I loved..."


This year Nick Knutson led a new team, Cloud Canyon Packers.
Photo courtesy of Kent Reeves.


Near Magee Creek Campground, the snow turned me around.

My Indian Springfield was dwarfed by this snow bank.

 Crowley Lake and Highway 395 are below.

On my way home this Memorial Day, I deliberately take a detour to pay respects to my brother, Leo at the Barstow Cemetery.  He was a Vietnam Veteran who served his country as a paratrooper in the United States Army.  Among many commendations, he received the Bronze Star. 

Each Veterans Day, I would stop by his house and thank him for his service. I would always ask him, "Leo, where's your 50th Anniversary Vietnam pin," and he would point to his heart where it was pinnedLeo, thank you for your service.

Leo loved jumping out of planes.

Leo Griego
nació 2/23/1947 y murió 7/22/2022.

Home after 3 days and 884 miles.

~ breathe in life, exhale gratitude ~