Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting Old Ain't All That's It's Cracked Up to Be....

Worked my first non-scrimmage of the football season last night, the first of many games over the next two my count, if I work most of the double header youth games on Sundays...I will have 50 football contests, and a handful of scrimmages worked by the time the regular season ends in late October...If my body holds out.

In years past my back has been the, it seems to be my feet and ankles.  Those have me most concerned over the coming football, as well as the basketball season that follows.  Baseball, despite working upwards of 100 games each spring and summer, certainly does not have that effect...there I am usually concerned with foul tips bouncing off my body in various places at various speeds.  So with the beginning of the varsity season tomorrow night, some 80 miles north in Montpelier, my main concerns are getting the calls right, and making sure my feet and ankles are supported.  I took care of the feet support by purchasing a couple of boxes of "Dr Scholl's" Gel Work inserts for my field shoes....I still have to find a way to support my ankles, perhaps tape, rather that the ankle supports I have used in the past.....getting old sucks fans, bank that!

And I may seem to be in pretty good shape for someone who turned 63 this past March...but as active as I am, things just keep "breaking", so to speak.  With the Carotid surgery on my birthday last March 16th, the obvious has become more so...I ain't getting any younger.  My goal was to continue with football and basketball officiating until I hit on the other hand, I would do until they put me in a box and shipped my ass to the other side...those are still the plans, and I don't plan on slowing down...just working a bit smarter, after all I have been "retired" since I left the Van Wert Health Department, 10 years ago earlier this month.  Despite the financial hit I took retiring at 53...I wouldn't change it.

After-all I drove the highways and byways in luxury RVs {Motor Homes} for five years after my Health Department days....yesterday I counted that in addition to 2 Canadian provinces, I had driven those gas guzzlers, and got paid to do it, through 45 states, missing only Vermont, Montana, and South Dakota(and I don't know how I missed it}, along with Alaska and Hawaii.  My old regret is not returning in the old Jeep more often than I did....or getting a newer one, that was a bit more comfortable...I still remember that drive back from Vegas across I-40 and then who could forget the delivery to Yuma, Arizona, that oldest son Sam and I did together.  Dropping  two Motor Homes off in 100 heat, then by the time we entered the Texas Panhandle, with the temperature have dropped to 10 or so, we battle a torn section of "rag top" and froze our collective asses off as the little Wrangler rolled across the plains.  Even in my post Vietnam Air Force days, in Upstate New York, "humping" the ground around those B-52, I wasn't as cold as that 36 hour stretch from Show Low, Arizona, to southern Illinois, near Effingham, when it finally started to warm a bit, and allowed us to take off our wool hats and remove the sleeping bags wrapped around our legs....great times!...Seriously!

Speaking of Adventure......

All the thoughts of travel and roading it, got me to thinking yesterday about the years past....especially the 1970s...and the crazy 'road trips' me and old friends took.  Things you can do in your 20s, and the chances you take, are what makes life worth living...especially if you survive.

Lucky for us, I think all of us are still alive...Rich Pearson, Rick Tester, Nick Hromish, Jim Olson, Mike Schilling, and a scattering of other guys that jumped on for a ride or two.  The places and faces were varied, and I have described most of them on this blog over the past five years.  One such run was done by me and Pearson back in the late Summer of 1980....Patrica, daughter Anissa, and I were in the process of moving back to Ohio from Dodge City, Kansas. 

Anyway I had to return to get our 1976 Jeep Cherokee from a shop in Dodge, and gather the rest of our meager belongings  I needed a co-pilot, someone to drive the Jeep home, while I piloted brother Mike's Ford Pick Up, and Rick was always ready for a day trip, or in the case a "week trip"....anyway, making long story short, we ended up in Canon City, Colorado, and a trip over the infamous "Shelf Road" between Canon and Cripple Creek...and adventure of a life time especially if you were not ready for it....were weren't but had a ball anyway.  Including take a dip in the near freezing Cripple Creek.

That is how I happened to "Google" a website yesterday....I checked Google Images and came across the photo of two guys standing with off road bikes on Shelf Road....and I back linked to this site:

Big Dog is Mark Sampson, who lives in Southern Illinois, and has logged thousands and thousands of miles on his off road motorcycle adventures.

Those photos and stories took me back to my first "bike"....a 250cc Kawasaki on/off machine, which I used on the highway, in X Country Races, and for just riding the trail...after that of course I "graduated" to street machines for the next 15 years, finally giving up the ghost in 1987, after some old fool pulled out in front of me, and sent me ass over teacups, doing a 360 smashing my back and helmet into the roadway....and began a long, painful, battle with back second major wreck, first one was indeed my fault, ended my riding days at the ripe old age of 38...25 years ago.

Mark's web site and adventures however, have, I must admit, gotten be back to thinking off roading at least....after all, I still maintain my license to ride...and at 63 what the Hell can happen to me that's bad?  I'm in reasonably good shape, and have plenty of Life Insurance if the worst would happen,  Patricia could retire herself....{insert smart ass grin here}

But for those who like to at least wax nostalgic for adventure...check out the Big Dogs road trips.....I'm just getting started.

back later>>>>

Photos-(1) Pre-Carotid Artery Surgery last February....did I really look younger in photo (2) in 1977......some 35 years before?  (3) Swiped from BikeZ Catalog...this is what my Kaw 250 looked like would change over the next 3 or 4 years of my and it's life. (4,5) The Shelf Road as it looks from the drive and from below...Rick Pearson and I had no clue when a couple of locals from Canon City sent us that way to Cripple Creek...I want to drive it or ride it at least one more time in my life.....(6) If I only had a time machine....I would go here in the Red Wood Forests of California back in the early 1940s...this in my idea of paradise, from and old post card my dad  sent to grandma Houseworth during his days at Mather AFB, during the last days of WWII, And (7) 1974 me and the Kawasaki....just a block away from where I live today, nearly 40 years later.

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