Dave's Journal, Aug2011

The Adventures of August, 2011


I'm outahere for a month of adventure and "living in the immediacy of the moment"! So, at 10AM EST this morning, I blew a kiss to Debbie from 500 feet above the rooftops. "Don't forget to write! Did you pack your toothbrush and some magazines . . . o look, you left your cell phone down here." I smiled, blew her a kiss and tossed my hearing aids out the basket to her. "Put them in the cabinet 'til I get back." She caught them, clutched them to her heart and cried, as I floated into the clouds.

At this point, we can only wonder where the wind will take me. Hey, is that the ozone layer up ahead?


I flew over Boston late yesterday. A 757 landing at Logan Airport reported me to security and they scrambled some fighter jets to intercept and force me to land. This is the official US Air Force movie clip of the incident.

Well, we all got a good laugh out the incident, and they took it well. While the TSA inspected the balloon, I partied with some friends on a houseboat in the harbor.

The party chatter went on forever . .

Miranda: So, Dave, how much of that rumor is true? Did you really save the last shuttle flight using your own rocket?
Me: Gosh don't I love your hair in this light. But, yes . . . well I can't say about the shuttle. National defense and stuff like that.
Horatio: So, Dave, what's the secret? How did you ever break the world's heavyweight lifting record on such short notice?
Me: Keep this between you and me, okay, H . . . Twinkies . . . I ate 46 boxes of Twinkies just before the contest. Had so much sugar in my bloodstream, check the videos, that I actually did the lift with one hand.
Gunther, the German: Unser Land braucht Sie, um den militarischen Aufstand zu beenden.
Me: Ich kann nicht dorthin gelangen vor Donnerstag.
Miranda: Dave, gosh don't I love your hair in this light.

[Fade to black . . .]

Then . . . the call came in on Enrico's cell phone . . .

Enrico: Dave, they are grounding your balloon. It's a trap. They're waiting for you. Hundreds of them. Maybe thousands, armed soldiers.
Me: Hmph . . . only thousands . . . there's only one way to get my balloon back.
Henri (from France): Mais comment, Dave? Comment?
Me: How, indeed, my friend, how indeed . . .

[I poured my drink into a nearby potted plant, ripped off my jacket , wished my good friends au revoir and jumped into the harbor. ]


jpg The swim to the airport gave me time to work the details of my plan. I knew they'd be holding my hot air balloon in holding area 61 (secret code name HABHA61). So, I would simply swim up the airport sewer branch that leads back to HABHA61, jump in the balloon and take off. Since there were no armed guards working the night shift (federal spending cutbacks), we could avoid violence and spare the guards unnecessary injuries.


Postscript: it worked like a charm, and I am back in the air !

The jet stream is taking me southward along the coast . . .

. . . to Jersey . . .

. . . and some unfinished business.

First off, let me say that I got a lotta respect for Tony Soprano. He's always done what I tell him to do and mostly never complains, no matter who he has to "whack" for the business, you know. But once in a while he steps outa line and that's when I have to step in and smack him and his boys down a few notches. And I had to get this outa the way before I went on with my adventures.

Tony: Dave, Dave, it's good to see you, and let me say right off how sorry I am . . . me and the boys . . about what we did.
Me: Tony, you know, I got a business to run here and I count on you to, you know, oil the wheels like they say.
Tony: I know. We got outa line. Won't happen again. Promise. . . . and Dave, any chance that you'll pose for a group picture with us ?
Me: You guys gonna get back in line?
Tony: Promise.
Me: Okay, Tony . . . take the picture.


Well, we settled that bit of business, and Tony let me know that his garage was installing the newest and best GPS in the balloon basket and it would take a day. I hung around for cannolis and espresso and then had one of the boys drive me to visit the Lockwoods. Good people, Jim and Joanne. Had a few beers in the yard, Jim showed me his muscle bike collection, then James burst in.

James: Dave ! great to see you! Where's the balloon?
Me: Oh they're doing this and that to it and I dropped by.
James: Boy, I wish you could show me how to skydive.
Me: You know, kid, it ain't as esay as it looks, and you should be studying for college anyway, right?
James: Dad, you gotta talk him into it.
Jim: Hey, Dave, can you show the kid some of the key points of skydiving.
Me: Well . . . I guess, since I'm here anyway, let's go jump . . .


Well . . . I knew the fun was over once we landed, as the next leg of my journey weighed heavily on my mind . . . my Congressional Address at 8AM tomorrow morning. So I taxied back to Tony's, launched the balloon and a few hours later landed where my country needs me . . .


As reported in news media around the world, here is the text of

Dave's Address to the Nation.

Leaving America hopeful that I will "run" in 2012, I bid "the new Washington" farewell for now, and checked the jet stream on the GPS that Tony Soprano had installed for me. So . . . next stop looks like Europe. Exactly where? . . . only fate would know . . .


I fell asleep for a while, trusting the jet stream, and I dreamt of Boston (strange that I should do that) and that I was walking along the Charles River today, in the warm sun. Lots of other walkers and many many sailors - school age sailors just learning. I popped a photograph , then walked up Commonwealth and Newbury streets, and remembered that if I were in my twenty's again I'd be living in Boston, and then had lunch at the Black Rose (fish and chips, I think, and cabernet).


jpgI'm out here somewhere over the North Atlantic, and I realize that tomorrow is Debbie's birthday ! Yikes ! Must somehow get a message back to her (why did I leave my cell phone home ?) Wait . . . here's a bottle and a scrap of paper . . . maybe somehow . . . I have to give it a shot . . . I can only wonder if (and how) it ever gets to her by tomorrow.


As the balloon sped toward the horizon, the bottle with Debbie's birthday note was rescued by a racing boat (ironically named "Destiny") on it's way to New York. The bottle was now a wonderful mystery to the boat crew, and the mystery of it made them speed on.

At the seaport, the boat captain gave the bottle to her sister who forgot it the back seat of a cab that night; the cab driver didn't notice it until he got to Hartford and tossed it into a trash can at a diner where a trucker (who collects junk) snatched it to sell at the flea market in Boston, but how it got mixed in with a shipment of "Olive Garden" organic salad dressing bottles is anybody's guess.

jpg And how that particular bottle ended up on Debbie's table at dinner, with her friends on her birthday, is absolutely amazing . . . "magical" even.

Happy Birthday, Debbie !


Well, today is Debbie's birthday, and when I get back home, I'll have to somehow convince her that I put her birthday card in a bottle and tossed it into the North Atlantic. (I know she'll think I'm lying.)

Land-Ho ! . . Ireland !


This is my first day in Ireland, and it is beautiful. As pretty as Mike's pictures were from his visit. Even prettier. Rolling hills, farms, sheep and cows and waves pounding rocky beaches . . . just beautiful.

I hitched a ride to town with the farmer whose land I landed on. Farmers don't talk a lot, I noticed today. He went around the general store to get feed, bags of salt, beef jerky, coffee, flour and farm stuff like that. And he didn't pay cash; he gave the store owner a bunch of lamb chops (is that "mutton" ?) and a gallon of clover honey from his bee hive.

In the meantime, I wandered into the local pub for some great Irish stew, Irish music and a pint of "bitters" (maybe actually 2 . . . 3 pints, if we're keeping accounts). A band called The Black Irish Band was playing and they were out of this world. Then the talk turned to soccer, and the championship game this afternoon that was just a few miles away in Killarney, so we all drove out there.

It was the Irish team against the French team and it was traditionally a fierce rivalry. The game was incredible, very close scoring , very aggressive playing, when a key Irish player fell injured and they had to take him out on a stretcher. The Irish crowd was crushed, the score was tied and there were only a few minutes left to play, and the Irish had no more players to send out on the filed, because it was a Jewish holiday and the half the team was having a barmitzvah today.

It was a "no-brainer" . . . I had to stand in for the injured player. My job was to control the ball for the last two minutes and then score the winning goal at the very end. So . . . we start kicking and bobbing and head butting and kicking and then I got control of the ball. The French triple-teamed me so I had to kick and head-bob a lot more than usual but I kept control of the ball for a rock solid 98 seconds, while the French players collapsed in exhaustion.

Then my moment came . . . with 33 seconds left on the clock and zigged left then zagged right and double-spun back and across and kicked in the winning goal for the Irish team.

Needless to say, the rest of the afternoon went very well for me. I even got my picture on the cover of the Irish Soccer League website as "Super Champion from the States". If you don't believe me, here is the picture of me .

Well, we all decided to head back to the pub and drink and listen to the band and watch reruns of me kicking the goal over and over and over again.

The Morning After

My head is missing. I think in a fog, "Must get back to the farm and get the balloon in the air and move on. More adventures out there somewhere. Where? Paris ? "


jpg Landed the balloon near the Eiffel Tower and met an old friend in one of E. Hemingway's favorite cafes. He booted up his i-tab to show me a satelite photo of the balloon passing over the tower. We ordered drinks, his girlfriend showed up, then his boyfriend showed up ( gif ) and then his boyfriend's girlfriend showed up and then her girlfriend showed up. I tried to take notes about who was whose X-friend, but got too confused and ordered another drink.

We talked about Hemingway.

"Le Vieil Homme et La Mer. . Qu'est-ce un roman merveilleux."

"Oui, bien sur, mais ne negligez pas La Mort dans l'apres-midi."

"Ah mais . . . Un Adieu aux Armes . . . ah."

I knew we'd be there a while . . . "Garcon, plus de vin!"

jpg They went on badgering me for stories of Hemingway, F. Scott & Zelda, Ms. Parker and the others who haunted the bistros along the Seine back in the olden days. My French friends kept the wine flowing, and so I kept my stories flowing . . .

"I was showing Ms. Parker . . . ."
"Scott was brilliant, but . . . "
"And then of course, there was Zelda . . ."

Day passed into night and then to day again and the cycle repeated itself (it looked to me like every 12 hours or so) and we kept talking and drinking and eating until we all were slumped over (either forward or backward, but slumped over anyway) and sleeping. The experience will forever end in my mind as a blur of soft tones and a smear of sweet colors.

How I got back to my hotel room may never be known.

Paris . . . About Noon . . . Not Sure of the Day

jpg [knock . . . knock . . . knock]
my head spinning, my ears are ringing, my eyes are fogged over . . .
[knock . . . knock . . . knock]
Me: "Who is this?"
[knock . . . knock . . . knock]
Maid: "TI suis la servante."
[I open the door . . . it is the maid . . . oh, I thought, now I know what "servante" means.]

Me: Oh my . . . I . . . um . . . hum . . . errrr . ..
Maid: Donc, vous etes l'homme ballon.
Me: I don't . . . um . . . huh?
Maid: You . . . balloon.
Me: Si.
Maid: Si ?
Me: Pardonnez-moi. Je voulais dire "oui".
Maid: C'est un ballon agre'able.
Me: Je vous remercie. Ce sont de belles . . . um . . . uh . . . bottes.

(This, I think to myself, may be the last around-the-world balloon trip that Debbie lets me fly alone.)

Maid: You fly balloon me too?
[ My entire life flashes before me in an instant.]
[ Maybe this is it. Maybe this is God's golden chariot taking me home.]
Maid: You fly balloon me too?
Me: Uh . . . yeh . . .sure . . . I'll meet you in the parking lot later.

[Fade to black]


From the window, I could see her waiting in the parking lot with her overnight bag. If this was God's chariot calling me home, I'd be crazy to miss the flight, right ? . . . but what if it was just another chick who realized how cool I am and was just out for the kicks of it ?

jpg In the end, I had to break her heart. I called down to the desk, told them to crate up my balloon and store it and book me immediate passage on The Orient Express. Two hours later, I was speeding through France, heading to Spain.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oh, it feels just like home. I haven't been on the "Express" since the olden days. That's when people knew had to travel, alright. Before high-altitude jets, long lines in crowded airports, security lines, x-ray searches. Before highways crowded with SUV's and RV's racing alongside 18-wheelers and cement mixers. Before all of that insanity there were luxury ships, of course, and there was this Orient Express.

jpg The dining car was empty when I got there, but filled up shortly. Turns out that an old friend, a frequent (and notable) Express passenger, was aboard and joined me for an early dinner. He had a murder on his hands and needed my perspective on the evidence.

jpg But before I tell the story of our discussion, let me tell you about the dream that I had before I came into the dining car. I dreamt that I am not really on The Orient Express, but actually that I am at home stripping off the living room wallpaper. It was vague, weird, awful. Chemicals, scraping blades, smells, burning eyes. Happily I woke up and now am back to reality, on this famous train and about to meet my old friend, the great detective, Hercule Poirot.

Hercule: Mon vieil ami, comment allez-vous?
Me: I am doing fine. Traveling 'round the world for a month (my daughter's idea !). Do something adventurous.
Hercule: C'est bien, mon ami. C'est bien. Comment est Debbie?
Me: She is fine. Well, fine when I left, anyway. She works, so she keeps busy.
Hercule: I will speak English, okay. I have a mystery on my hands. Not easy. Let's go over the evidence and, as in the old days, you can tell me what you think, heh?
Me: Ah, good. Like old times, Hercule. I solve the puzzle, you get the fame, heh ! [I laugh, and he snorts !]
[ Hercule spends two hours going over his folder of evidence and witness statements. It is not an easy puzzle, this one.]
Me: Let me sleep on this one, old friend. This is not so simple as I hoped.
Hercule: I am glad you say that. Not so simple by any means.

[Fade to Black]

[ . . . . 2AM]

Me: Ah ! ! Hercule, Hercule !
The Train Steward: Sir ! Sir ! it is 2AM !
Me: Tell Mr. Poirot I have his answer!
Steward: But, Sir . . .
Me: Get Mr. Poirot !
Steward: But, Sir . . .
Me: Get Mr. Poirot !

[We meet in the club car]

Me: The wallpaper, Hercule. Look at the photo of the wallpaper above the body. Look and see, my friend.
Hercule: Ah ! Yes ! The scratches! Like a cat's claws. So she killed him, after all.
Me: Oui, my good buddy, it was the maid who killed him.
Hercule: Again, we have solved it.
Me: Yes . . . we have solved it. Now . . . let's order some French toast for breakfast, heh !
Hercule: And "home fries", like America, heh?

Me: Hercule, where is the maid now? If she killed him, you must catch her.
Hercule: Ah, mon ami. She was last seen in a hotel parking lot in Paris just yesterday. Waiting for someone, and holding only an small overnight bag.
[I smiled and kept the next thought to myself.]

jpg Pamplona

The Basque region, shared by Spain and France, is much too beautiful.

The train stop landed me in Pamplona, and I found a room in a country estate, and slept for a while.


jpg The nightmare came again . . . stripping the living room wallpaper . . . scraping . . . scratching . . . soaking . . . I woke up in a cold sweat.

Couldn't sleep anymore, so I shuttled into town, not realizing that today was the "Running of the Bulls" festival. Pamplona was absolutely packed with people; the crazy ones running with the bulls and the smart ones watching from the balconies. (I watched from a balcony gif )

After the Bull Run, the crowd headed to the arena, but I couldn't go there, so I hopped the helicopter to San Sebastian, which is on the Atlantic coast and (I think) on the border between Spain and France. The night life in San Sebastion is wonderful. I got there early evening and had time to stroll the seashore, and have a drink while the sun set over the ocean. Couldn't help but wish Debbie was here, but you know how she hates transatlantic balloon flights. So I took just her picture out and put it on the table while I relaxed, but had to quickly put it face down as the chicks strolled by.
jpgI spent a few hours hopping the Jazz clubs and casinos (made more than enough at Blackjack to pay for the helicopter ride). Decided to sleep over, before flying back to Pamplona.

jpg [next morning . . . knock . . . knock . . . knock]
(I'm thinking "Yes, dear Lord, I won't turn down that chariot ride again.")

Me:Is this the maid?

Maid: Si Senior'.

[I threw the door open wide and puckered up.]

Maid: Oh (giggling), you don't have to kiss me sonny, just leave a good tip on the dresser.

I didn't wait for the helicopter . . . took the rent-a-jet back to Pamplona.


I grabbed a local pamphlet, sitting in a cafe. It read . . . "Ernest Hemingway came to Pamplona for the first time, travelling from Paris, in July 1923, in the full swing of the Fiesta of San Fermin. The atmosphere in the city and, particularly, the gratuitous contest between man, bull and death made such an impression on him that he chose the fiesta as the backdrop to his first successful novel, "The Sun Also Rises". This representative of the so-called Lost Generation ran before the bulls, made friends with bullfighters -such as Antonio Ordnez- and locals -such as Juanito Quintana- ate, drank and lived with the locals, and experienced in their company the joy, heat and euphoria unique to the Fiesta of San Fermin.

"The Sun Also Rises" was the first Hemingway novel that I read (just after retiring). Absolutely loved the book. I watched the movie (Erroll Flynn and Tyrone Power) for 5 minutes, puked, and turned it off.

Well, I thought after a little while, time to move along. To Vienna, on the afternoon train.

Vienna . . . not what I had hoped for . . .

jpg To be honest, Vienna has been a letdown. I was thinking the beautiful Blue Danube, old world charm, a place that time forgot. Well, the Danube looks like any other river flowing through any other big city, , although here and there you will find a castle seemingly out of place in a modern location. I will say that the museums and the art (the stuff that survived WW2 anyway) is truly fabulous and worth the trip.

I am going to find a Viennese sausage and pepper sandwich now and contemplate where I should go next.

Sausage, Peppers & Wallpaper

Well . . . . I found that Viennese sausage and pepper sandwich at about 10PM, but I ate it anyway and (stupidly) went back the hotel and went to sleep. Not a smart idea. I had nightmares all night. The most vivid wallpaper nighmares so far this trip. Soak, strip pull and repeat and just as I finished one wall, the other walls grew new layers of wallpaper and I had to start all over again. I saw at least 3 of me trying to keep up with the dream.jpg

Finally I gave up and took a taxi to the hospital. "You gotta stop these nightmares." (Doctor reviews my statements.) "We'd like to help, Mr. Leo, but your medical insurance policy does not apply when you travel outside the US. We can do nothing unless you pay cash up front." "That's impossible. I am sick, don't you guys have a socialized, universal medical system over here?" "Yes, but it applies only to citizens of the EU." "Hey . . I am an Italian citizen, here's my passport." (He takes it and checks it out.) "Very good . . . we got you covered. Pick up this prescription on the way out (no charge) and have a good trip. And lay off the peppers at night !". "You bet, thanks doc. And hey . . . is there a Pizza Hut nearby?"


Well, the doc did not appreciate my humor . . . "Mr. Leo, I am recommending that you watch your diet and, more importantly, get to the Swiss Alps as soon as you can and stand on your head in the crisp mountain air." So, early this morning I took the rent-a-jet to Switzerland.


I've been standing on my head now for 2 hours . . . what is supposed to happen now ? . . . Are those poisonous bugs crawling up my arm? . . . these flowers are making me sneeze . . . my hair is all flat now . . . . what if somebody asks why am I doing this? . . . . is this like "meditation" and why does my head hurt? . . . the parking lot was filled with rent-a-jets, so where is everyone else? . . . what if my hat blows away? ?

jpg day passed . . . night passed . . . day passed . . . night passed . . . and the cycle went on (at approximately 12 hour increments it seemed to me), and I waited for the enlightenment . . . day . . . night . . . day . . . night . . . day . . . night . . .

then . . . then it came to me . . . sausage, peppers, jets, balloons, globe, Parisian maids, wallpaper, bull running . . . all of these things were taking me to my destiny . . . and that destiny, no . . . Destiny . . . is in Tibet . . .

Only the new hyper-bike with composite tubes and
turbo-boost pedals would get me up the Himalayas.


My sherpa training helped enormously for the final climb to the monastery.


The clothes are colorful and ever so comfortable.

Me: "You guys must get fabulous TV reception up here, I'll bet."

Lunch with The Dalai Lama

jpg Dalai Lama: Dave, my old friend, you never come visit anymore.

Me: Yeh, I am bad about getting up here.

Dalai Lama: Good to see that you kept up your sherpa climbing skills. The last half mile of the climb is a killer.

Me: Not a problem, DL, but packing that case Reisling that you asked for almost did me in. . . . Say, I see lots of new faces down in the monks' rec room, and jees . . . that 67" 3D plasma TV is a gas! Goes so well with the jacuzzi and wet bar.

Dalai Lama: Yes, the world below has encouraged a lot of young men to "drop out" I think you say in America, and come up to join us. We got the TV to watch US debt ceiling debates, but to be honest, most of the time, the guys are watching True Blood on HBO or else Looney Toons (isn't Daffy a riot ! ), since those are more intelligent and believable.

Me: You know, if the world gets any worse (and if you guys ever install wifi internet service), I may get religious and move us up here. You have condo suites for married couples, right.

Dalai Lama: Yes, we installed those a few years back, along with a small, but very upscale shopping wing to the monastery. The helicopters fly in new (and fashionable) goods every week. In fact, we are now the worlds leading test market for cutting edge shoe fashions. You must tell Debbie about that. By the way, where is she ?

Me: Oh . . . she is not so adventurous as I am, you know. No way I could get her into a hot air balloon or rent-a-jet.

Dalai Lama: Yes, now that I think about it, I have been keeping up with her on Facebook, and she mentioned that. Which reminds me . . . I have been reading your journal pages and see you are having nightmares about wallpaper ! ?

Me: Oh . . they are bad for sure. Hey . . . do you think any of those religious drugs you guys have would help me with that?

Dalai Lama: Don't know, good buddy . . . just pick up a variety pack in the rec room (in the fridge under the wet bar) and experiment. I mean, what could happen ? . . . Worse case scenario is that you become spiritually enlightened and get to Nirvana ahead of me gif . If you want, I can write you a perpetual prescription for the stuff when you leave. You do have Medicare Part D coverage, right?

Me: Absolutely!

Dalai Lama: Well, then, try this little pill for starters (hands me a blue pill).

Me: How long will it take to kick in ? . . . . o o o o



time . . time . . time . . . whenever i emerged from wherever i had been . . . i had lyrics ringing in my head and running out my mouth . . . "i just checked in to see what condition my condition is in".

"You're not as dead as you imagine, Dave", i heard his voice . . . "not yet, anyway" .

"Was that Nirvana, DL?" . . . "No, that was a wild reaction to a mild dose of Nirvana. I think the prescription dose will kill you. You should have started on this stuff in earlier years." . . . "The story of my f#$%ing life, old friend. Shoulda done this, shoulda done that. How old am I now anyway?" . . . "About two days older than you were two days ago."

jpg I knew it was time to leave. The DL gave me a prescription for the OTC dose and told me, "You're in no condition to climb down these Himalayas, but if you must leave so soon, let me offer what we up here call 'international airline service' . . . "

Me: Until we meet again, my friend.

Dalai Lama: . . . sadly . . . not in this world, old buddy . . . take care . . . the jet stream at this altitude is not to be taken lightly.

jpg jpg

jpg San Fransisco . . . I landed in Golden Gate Park and made more friends in the next hour than I ever knew. Pick a kind of person . . . any kind of person that you can imagine . . . you'll find her or him somewhere in this city. Great great artists, intellectuals, free thinkers, meth addicts, murderers, code writers, bikers, beachers . . . they're all here. Reminds me of the Dom Louise joke . . . A guy walks into a California health food joint and orders a hamburger. The clerk says "We only serve fruits and nuts". Guy looks around and says . . . "Well looks like they're all here."

I lived in California (southern) for 6 years (that was last century), in fact my daughter Loretta is actually a native Californian ! ! And, coincidentally, Deb and I are actually coming to San Fransisco in a few weeks for vacation. But right now, I am "in synch with the natives" . . . doing SF stuff, eating and drinking SF food, mingling, migrating, merging with the locals and blending into the SF ambience.

In many ways, SF never grew out of the 1960's. For example, a cop gave me a ticket for landing the glider in a public park. I just tore in up and ate it, and the crowd of my new friends went wild, picked me up and carried me on their shoulders to a meeting of the "Stop Them Now" group that (as best I could tell) was advocating that we stop them, but (although I spent the afternoon listening to speakers and drinking this incredible batch of Kool-Aid someone brewed up) it was never quite clear to me whom them is (are ?). They even asked me to get up and advocate their cause with a few words, so I obliged with the following remarks . . .

"I am sick of them telling us what we can and cannot do." [crowd cheers and throws stuff around the room]
"Who do these slobering fools think they are dealing with?" [crowd cheers and throws stuff around the room]
"We have rights . . . inalienable rights guaranteed by the Confiscution." [crowd cheers and throws stuff around the room]
"Inalienable . . . now there's a word for you."[crowd cheers and throws stuff around the room]

They kept passing me glasses of this remarkable Kool-Aid, and I kept passing them the extensive mass of wisdom I have stored up for just these ocsasions. . . . it was a win-win scenario as I see it.

jpgWell, the Kool-Aid ran out, and with it, so did the political enthusiasm, so we decided to migrate to the best local bar and drink and listen to the Black Irish Band. (I mentioned these guys back when I was in Ireland earlier this month, but it turns out they are a US-based group !). Half way through their set, someone bounced a beer bottle off the squeezebox players head and knocked him cold. The crowd beat the bottle thrower to a pulp and tossed him in the dumpster, but the big problem was that we were out of music.

Well, I thought . . . I haven't played the squeezebox in a while, but let me see if I still have the magic . . . I sat in for the guy and the crowd went wild and we took a group picture (I was surprised how long my hair has gotten on this trip).

Then, of course, it was time to move on . . . so I got a haircut, traded the glider for a chopper and headed south on the coast highway just as the sun was setting . . .


Made it into LA a few hours later, and decided to cruise Hollywood Blvd. and see what, if anything, is left of the old "boulevard magic" as we called it back when I was making movies. Well, it's all new faces now and I guess it's good we "stars of the golden days" let the kids take over. I was glad to see that someone has been keeping my Walk of Fame star clean and shining (probably my fan club).


As I feared, I was spotted while waiting in line at Pink's for a chili cheeze dog (extra onions) and root a beer (Old Dominion, no ice).

Paris: Oh Dave oh Dave, you're back in town.

Me: Stop pawing me in front of all these people.

Paris: Oh you must come to the party.

Me: What party?

Paris: The one I'm going to have tonight since you're in town.

Me: Paris, my dear, you know how I hate these Hollywood parties.

Paris: Oh you must. Please, Pookie, just for old times [ed: old times? Paris, old times are 1960, not 2008.] . . . . please please please ever so much, Pookie.

Me: Well . . . for old times . . . okay.

Yeh, they all showed up to see me again . . . . Brando, Deniro, Bob Duvall, Uma, Gwyneth, the Kates (all of them), and of course the sorry lot of Paris's spoiled friends. I told them about CafePhotos and my trip around the world, but off course they had all kept up with my going on here and there. (These, in retrospect, have been my most committed fans.)

Can't remember when, but the party eventually ended, and I jumped on the chopper and headed east on the Mother Road.

jpgRoute 66

Driving Route 66 is the dream of every free radical of my generation, and I never got to do it until now. Been thinking about this my whole life, and here I am, chopping my way through a lifelong dream.

Route66 has it all, for the nostalgic dreamer.

Great, classic drive-ins to eat.


Admittedly, some of the hotels need some TLC, but they have, what I'd call, low-budget charm.


There are, however, dangers . . . as well as opportunities . . . around every curve, and sometimes is not all that easy to distinguish between the two.



Hey, I made it to the (east) end of the Mother Road - Chicago.

I lived here for 6 months back in 1971, and was pretty impressed how well the city ran (Daley Sr. was the Mayor). Mike was born here!

Checked into the Ritz-Carlton (enough of this biker / road stuff for a while), called down for dinner (hot dogs smothered in caviar, Stewart's Root beer in a frosted mug with no ice) after a long hot shower and a nap. Then the phone rang . . .

Me: Yes, that's me. Uh hum . . .sure, okay, I'll hold. [wait wait wait] Uh hum, I'm still holding. Okay. Yes, that's me. Yes. Thank you, sir. Oh . . . Oh . . . That sounds very bad. Oh, yes, of course, Mr. President, whatever I can do in this emergency.

President Obama: Dave, here's the situation. The warhead is set to explode 30 minutes from now. It is sitting on the 6TY54FR model ICBM, and something went terribly wrong. This was a simple simulation test but the missile's hyperphoton modulator shorted across to the flux capacitor and armed and locked the warhead. We have to fly the missile out of Chicago into deep space in the next few minutes. If we fail, the entire middle part of the US will be obliterated, and now we have only 29 minutes left.

Me: Well, Mr. President, it's true that I am the only person to successfully pilot the manned 6TY54FR with a short circuited hyperphoton modulator, but to be honest, Sir, I was looking forward to some R&R this afternoon.

President Obama: Dave . . . !

Me: Just kidding, Sir, how do I get to the missile? [door kicks open, six swat people rush in grab me and rush me out the door] . . . never mind Sir, they're here now. . . . . [talking into the phone being rushed downstairs] could you have them crate up my chopper and sent home to me?

President Obama: Sure, Dave.

Me: And please have them be careful, that's a priceless paint job.

President Obama: Sure, Dave. Do you have a plan yet for the missile trajectory?

Me: Well, I'm thinking . . launch eastward. I should be at about 100,000 feet as we fly over Massachusetts. That is technically "space", I'll be outside the atmosphere, there is no measurable oxygen, I won't have a space suit or a parachute, it is -2500 and I'll be travelling at 25,000 MPH, but I think I'll just jump out.

President Obama: Well . . . I guess it's not any worse than getting blown to a billion pieces out in deep space.

Me: That's a good attitude, Sir. Kind of looks on the bright side of the afternoon.

President Obama: And, Dave . . .

Me: Yes, Sir.

President Obama: Hillary wants you to call Her about the upcoming Bolivian "project".

Me: Yes, Sir, I meant to get back to her . . . sorry, Sir, I meant Her . . . on that. And, have a nice day, Sir. [dialtone . . . I hand the phone to one of the SWAT people] . . . . You guys be careful with my chopper, you hear ! And I'm not paying for that phone call. Hey . . . could we stop at Dunkin' on the way ?

So, briefly, my plan to save the world looks something like this . . .



On the way down from outer space (about a 10 minute fall, terminal velocity of 120mph) I had time to reflect on the adventures of the month. Quite a trip for me, and thank you Catherine for suggesting it. I think that I'll be taking shorter adventures (a few days) during the year, and reporting on them in my journal pages here.

But for the moment, I am just happy to be home . . .