, who thought sitting in first class allowed him to drink all he wanted, and to fondle the flight attendants as often as possible.
Along the street, home made signs were plastered, for buying and selling tickets. Guys with big beer bellies were sitting on their lawn chairs, drinking beer at 8am in the warm Georgia sun. Cars would stop, buy and sell tickets, and move on, sometimes sharing a beer with the scalpers. The Masters is a way of life here, no matter what side of the tracks you live on.
As I passed the Waffle House, Kenny Rogers Chicken, Arby’s, and Dairy Queens, I finally saw the sign that said, “Masters Parking”. I turned in to the big dirt lot, only to see John Daly and Davis Love’s huge motorhomes in the parking lot. Walking to the entrance, a guy asked me if I had an extra ticket. He perked up when I told him that I did, as my son was not able to make this trip with me. He asked how much, and I decided I needed some karma, so I gave it to him.
Walking through the gates, the excitement I felt kept building, until I saw the merchandise tents and toilets. First order of business, get rid of some coffee. Second order of business, buy some Masters souvenirs. I went a little crazy, as I bought things for my son, my friend Mike, and myself.
Then I had to take a look at Magnolia Lane, where members and participants drive up to the venerable clubhouse. I saw several players arrive, like Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal. Of course, Augusta National has members such as Warren Buffett, Jack Welch, and Bill Gates, though I doubt any of them have time for golf.
Then I had to see the huge oak tree behind the clubhouse, where the television and radio interviews take place. Then I meandered over to Butler Cabin (quite small), where the green jacket ceremony takes place for the television broadcast. But I wanted to walk every hole of the course. I wanted to see what I have seen on television since I was a little boy, before I even understood golf, or knew about Palmer and Nicklaus.
The course is magnificent, a soft carpet of green, surrounded by Georgia pines, completely blocked off from the urban blight of Augusta. The azaleas were in full bloom, creating a sea of color matching the best gardens in Sunset magazine. All of a sudden, I did not seem to care that this Southern white boy club excluded women and most minorities.
As I walked the course, I stopped many times to watch the players, and observe the crowds. I was not the only one to come from far away. I saw New Yorkers, Midwesterners, foreigners, and lots of Southerners. I saw Dads with their sons. And grown men with their Fathers, drinking in the glorious sunny day at the Masters.
Among the many things that distinguish the Masters from other golf tournaments: the refreshment stands and toilets are permanent buildings! Only the merchandise tents were portable here. Everything else stays here, year after year, as no other tournament does.
Then, the moment most of us weekend golfers wait for, the first view of Amen Corner, and to hear the roars echo through the Georgia pines. The first time was around 10am, and kept repeating itself throughout the day. This is indeed, the pinnacle of the golfing world.
Around 11am, I got hungry and headed over to the nearest refreshment stand. I bought a tuna sandwich for about $2, but was impressed to see they still sold pimento sandwiches. They also sold headache powders! No fancy jalapeno nachos, pizza, gyros, or falafels here. Just the basics, at 1950s prices.
I know I will visit again, but with my son Matt. We will watch the tournament, and we will play some golf in Georgia and South Carolina. And I want him to see and feel what I did on that glorious day in April. But I was able to parlay my practice round tickets into Thursday, 1st round ticket. Fancy that!!!!
Perhaps no more iconic scenic landscape exists in the American west than Monument Valley, Utah. It appears in auto commercials, travel advertisements, and most notably, the Forrest Gump movie. I think it is the most “American” of all American scenes.
Besides an iconic symbol of the American west, Monument Valley is the “sacred heart” of the Navajo Nation. Is it the pure beauty, the ruggedness, or the Navajo spirits that draw us here? Yet, it looks so familiar since we have seen it so many times on TV, and the internet.
And those who know say it looks the same, whether 300 or 3000 years ago. The sky might be a different shade of blue, since we are ruining the environment, but the canyons are as deep and the sandstone buttes as towering. The magic of wind and water has created a great work of art. The buttes reach over a thousand feet high. The Utah Arizona border is nearby, as are the famous Four Corners (where four states meet). We are in the heart of the Navajo Nation. The Navajo name for the valley is Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii, and covers nearly 92,000 acres.
Even the valley floor sits at 5000 to 6000 feet above sea level. The sand was deposited by the meandering rivers that carved this great valley about 50 million years ago. The bright red color comes from iron oxide, like many other famous places in the American southwest. The blue dray rocks get their color from manganese oxide.
The buttes consist of three layers: a lower layer of Organ Rock Shale, the middle is de Chelly sandstone, and the top is the Moenkopi Formation, topped with Shinarump Conglomerate. All I know is looking at the formations is as breathtaking as any sight I have ever seen in the world. Between 1945 and 1967, uranium (vanadium and copper) was mined here.
The park has their own seventeen mile drive, much different than our Seventeen Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula. The Monument Valley has been featured in Hollywood films since 1946, the year I was born. It was John Ford’s, My Darling Clementine. Wasn’t there a song, too?? What about Stagecoach in 1938?
The most notable features in the park: Three Sisters, Mitten Butte, North Window, Elephant Butte, Totem Pole, and Yei-bi-Chai. The Wildcat Trail is a short four mile hike for almost anyone. A guided jeep tour might be the best way to navigate the sandy, and rocky roads.
Many suggest getting there for either sunrise or sunset. While I may not be able to do that, just seeing the great Monument Valley is a treasure in itself. It might even become “the photo I did not take.” Ponder that for a moment!!!!
But I will make it over to Goulding’s Lodge, for a quick look, some food, maybe a Native American craft or fridge magnet, and a quick look around the museum. And if I look very carefully, I will find a Navajo medicine man.
Just over half of Native Americans living on American Indian reservations or other tribal lands with a computer have access to high-speed internet service, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The low rate of subscription to a high-speed internet service — 53 percent — in these often rugged, rural areas underscores the depth of the digital divide between Indian Country and the rest of the U.S. Between 2013 and 2017, 82 percent of households nationally with a computer reported having a subscription to a broadband internet service.
I am certain two full days plus here, sandwiched around some long bike rides are not enough. But certainly enough to feed my soul until the next time!
I had an office here back in the 70s, as well as access to a company apartment, which I did not care for. The office was in Mission Circle (Mission Valley area), near the shopping center, and most of the time, I stayed in a Mission Circle hotel. It was only a ten to fifteen minute trip over to the San Diego Airport. Not many people know that San Diego has hosted two world’s fairs, the 1915 and 1935, well before I was born. I was responsible for setting up the professional relations department, which included peer review, provider relations, and quality assurance for our company.
Downtown San Diego, where I will stay on this trip, is the home of the revitalized Gaslamp Quarter, home to snazzy bars and restaurants. And the new Petco Park is easily within walking distance from downtown hotels, the harbor, Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza, and the San Diego Convention Center. Both of my sisters have some history here. One, lived just up the road in Del Mar with her husband Norm, and their two now grown boys. My youngest sis graduated from San Diego State here in the 70s.
Obviously, the climate is a big deal here, as San Diego enjoys one of the most temperate climates in the world. The population of 1.4 million would not trade it for the fog of the Bay Area, or the humidity of the east coast (or the smog and traffic of LA). Median income is about $70,000. It is also one of the ten safest cities in the US. Tourism, the US Navy (largest employer), and the port are San Diego’s big three of commerce. The border between Mexico and San Diego is the busiest international border crossing in the world. But be careful if you decide to cross!