Archive for the Rancid Recollections Category

On the Road to Fayetteville

Posted in Rancid Recollections with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2017 by A lo Hawk

<1> Launch from the Colorado Rockies, turn east at Albuquerque >> blast off across the plains of NM, TX and OK on Interstate 40 fueled by cashews, caffeine and gobbling gummy grams of edible cannabis >> pass through towns with names like Aztec, Poteau, Tecumseh, Sallislaw and the Suessian Zuzax >> brown treeless hills dotted with cholla cactus gradually turns to verdant hills surrounding man-made lakes >> acres of three blade wind turbines rotating in the Texas Panhandle, hold steering wheel tight against gusty crosswind >> stockyard stench, cheap gas, Warning: Hitchhikers May Be Escaped Inmates >> after sunset a lovely stealth campsite on grass next to Tenkiller Dam OK, overhead full moon nightlight shower as I drift to sleep

<2> Morning aviary heaven, cranes and sparrows rejoice, first rays of light touch mirrored surface of lake, hallelujah! >> overgrown and easily overlooked SPIRO MOUNDS contain secrets of a great ancient empire built on high ground above flood plain of Arkansas River >> The Ozarks, Okie Dokie Road, crowds pack Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park >> watch village people Kenton and Christine, caretakers of PACO, old timer from Chihuahua, give an oatmeal bath for fleas in the kitchen sink >> home style vittles at Home Plate restaurant >> Dad strums new Ron Jon guitar from Vietnam

<3> Daddy dearest and I go Rogue >> rows of tables piled with quartz and slag glass, chiggers, zipline physics goes wrong (you need more mass young man and operators knew) >> shuttle to Fayetteville cuz cousin Wryand gettin hitched, Universalist Unitarian temple, tux t-shirts and Jayhawk shoes >> Hog Haus Brewery reception party on balcony overlooking Razorbacks on Dickson Street >> privately Lumpy makes a shocking Black Tar confession

<4> 2:30 am eyes open a crack, bladder release eminent >> fifteen hour push pedal gear steer frenzy –> home, car cabin cacophony therapy to prevent catastrophe >> three sailors of the open road roar past full throttle, Mongols of California on their jackets, bandannas over faces, dark glasses, hair flying straight back, aimlessly drifting across lanes at a hundred miles per >> stoic sentinels of Cadillac Ranch flash by while the radio declares ITS THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT AND I FEEL FINE


The Return of Coinstar

Posted in Rancid Recollections on October 9, 2012 by A lo Hawk

When we last saw parsimonious Mr Coinstar, he was a captain in a loose-knit army of scavengers who scoured the city looking for coin or aluminum to be recycled for cash.

Three years ago he resigned his commission in order to accept a position as Chief Financial Officer at Graeme Capital. Their primary investment was in a new student recreation center at a small town college with big city university ambition.

Eventually, Coinstar discovered the incompetent director had been recruited by the basketball coaching staff for the fall season and it would be at least six months before a new director could be hired. The apathetic director cancelled staff meetings and disappeared on his boat for weeks causing the facility operations to deteriorate. The CFO could only watch helplessly as his investment steadily lost value.

Coinstar’s ruthless and amoral nature emerged as he methodically embezzled funds into a personal retirement account. As the date of the imminent staff overhaul approached, crafty Coinstar engineered another successful relocation of his modest family — this time to the more progressive vibe of Durango.

Big Red

Posted in Rancid Recollections on June 4, 2012 by A lo Hawk

After Christmas of 1992, my wife and I were returning from a family visit in Los Angeles to our trailer home in Libby, Montana. While we were gone our trusty Honda Civic had been parked in an outdoor lot near the Spokane airport during a particularly cold and snowy period in the inland Northwest.

When we returned to our car I allowed it to warm up while I shoveled a foot of snow off the vehicle. We drove away and got as far as the freeway on-ramp before the engine froze up and the car came to a sudden and final stop. Luckily, we were within walking distance of the local AAA office where we were able to rent a car and cruise home the next day.

We came back the following week to a Spokane Nissan dealership and test drove a red 4wd Pathfinder. We excitedly drove it off the lot and took our bright new machine back to Libby. A mile from the house with the car full of groceries and a wife impatient to get home; I made the bonehead decision to pull onto a narrow snowy lane to test the 4wd capabilities. Predictably, I got the sport utility vehicle stuck in an icy ditch. I had to sprint to the house and retrieve a shovel and bag of cat litter to get the car unstuck.

A short time later we were in ‘big red’ with a friend headed to Bridger Bowl for a day of skiing. At a stop sign near the ski resort we were rear ended by an idiot who couldn’t stop on the icy road. It took months to get a claim settled with his insurance company.

While living in Seattle, WA we let a friend borrow Big Red to go downtown and sample the grunge atmosphere. Left parked under the vandal prone elevated viaduct; our friend returned to find the number of the beast: 666 keyed into the hood.

It was also in Washington State that I loaded Big Red with three friends, our four bikes on two integrated racks, and all of our camping and hiking gear. This essential SUV motored us to the North Cascades for an epic six day adventure.

The first time I entered the gate to the storage area where we had a rental unit I tried to navigate the tight corner at the entrance and backed up into the swinging gate with my tail light. I never got it repaired because the light was not too damaged to work; however, there is still a puncture hole in the auto body that looks like it was done by a giant can opener.

More recently, I have relied on Big Red to get me to remote trailheads in my quest to bag 14ers. Following a successful summit of Uncompaghre Peak, I decided to try a shorter but more technical 4wd road back to Ouray over Engineer Pass. It started to rain as I reached the pass and as I began the treacherous, narrow descent my stomach started to churn. Tight hairpin turns, steep rocky drops, crazy tilted angles; over an hour and a half of adrenaline and anxiety where my entire digestive system from my throat to my anus felt fused into a tight ball of nerves. The feeling of relief that washed over me as I turned the last corner and saw the pavement of hwy 550 is indescribable.

With almost 20 years of reliable service over 180,000 scenic miles through the western United States, Big Red has been my familiar travel companion. We have experienced countless adventures together getting to various hiking, camping, snowboarding, bicycling and Search and Rescue missions. I feel a closer connection to this inanimate machine than to most of my human acquaintances. Long live Big Red.

(R. I. P. 2015)

Hail the mighty breakfast burrito!

Posted in Rancid Recollections with tags , on April 13, 2012 by A lo Hawk

The breakfast burrito is my favorite morning meal when I need a hearty caloric intake to fuel a busy day.

When I was an ignorant youth, I had no experience with mexican food and I did not realize the power contained in the pinto bean.

It wasn’t until I attended high school (briefly) in California that I purchased my first bean burrito through a take-out window on the main quad on campus.

My ethno-gastric maturity accelerated when we moved to Texas and my digestive system was exposed to the fiery jalapeno infused into TexMex food (washed down with plenty of frozen margaritas).

My habit of eating burritos for breakfast intensified while working in downtown Eugene, Oregon at the athletic club. There was a tiny Burrito Boy cantina across the street that sold tasty breakfast burritos for $3.50. I averaged 2 or 3 per week for half a decade!

[The procedure evolved to: make a call from work and just mention my name; walk across the street and my usual order would be ready when I arrived.]

Today I get my weekly fix at Bocaza Mexican Grill which is a short three blocks from my apartment.

All of the ingredients are on display behind the counter as I walk up to the senorita who takes a large flour tortilla and places it between the plates of a heat press. Then she lays the tortilla on a tinfoil sheet which she slides along the counter piling on heaping scoops of scrambled eggs, potatoes, chorizo and salsa; finally sprinkling a generous amount of grated cheese on top. She deftly wraps the mountain of food within the tortilla and foil and places it in a paper-lined plastic basket.

I grab a fistful of napkins and ice water and head to my favorite table where I watch Telemundo TV while an 80’s soundtrack intrudes from the ceiling speakers.

This is my standard ritual on days when I am going snowboarding or hiking as it satisfies the second of three ingestible ingredients in this warrior’s recipe for BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS.

Spring Break 2012

Posted in Dermagraphology, Rancid Recollections with tags , , , on March 26, 2012 by A lo Hawk

Pursuant to my 2012 resolutions, I took two short road trips during spring break.


Back in February I visited a doctor in Durango who approved my paperwork for a medical marijuana card for treating symptoms of Lyme disease.

(You may recall Alohawk contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite while hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2008.)

I had not received my card from the state but my authorized paperwork allowed me to buy medicine for 35 days so I needed an excuse to go back to Durango to stock up.

(Grand Junction shut down all of their dispensaries last year.)

In February I also visited a highly recommended tattoo artist named Matt and described for him my idea for a mayan calendar inspired tattoo.

(Your Flesh is an ornately decorated studio on the second floor overlooking downtown mainstreet.)

I scheduled a four hour block of needle time with Matt which turned out to be one of the most enjoyable sessions I have had in nearly forty hours of needle experience.

(While in town I stopped by the dispensary for some edibles to use on my next trip.)


My long time running buddy had insisted we register for the Canyonlands Half Marathon. I had not entered a road race in years so I was reluctant at first. However, the gorgeous and fast course along the Colorado River finally convinced me.

(The downhill course cuts through a dramatic red rock canyon before turning towards the finish in downtown Moab.)

We met in Grand Junction and drove to a nice campsite along the river only a few miles from Moab.  As we set up our tents we noticed the wind was going to be a pestering annoyance.

(When we returned from check-in we found our tents mangled and our sleeping bags covered in a thick layer of fine red dust.)

Ed’s neighbors and  frequent training partners had made the trip over from the front range and, as they did the previous year, rented a condo and gathered for dinner. We met them at the Red Cliffs Lodge where we had drinks on the spacious patio with impressive views of the stark spires of the Fisher Towers.

(Ed and I had hiked the Fisher Towers trail earlier in the day.)

On race day we awoke early and headed to a cozy bakery for a pre-race meal of cinnamon buns and coffee. We had plenty of time to walk over to the finish area and hop aboard a bus to the start of the race.

(While waiting amongst huge boulders in the start area trying to stay out of the chilly wind, we ate a granola bar made with hash oil.)

As race time approached, everyone crowded into the road which provided welcome warmth, cameraderie and protection from the wind.

(A rare, pre-race calm settled over me as I began to feel the effects of the spiked bar.)

After two impatient miles stuck shuffling behind large pace group herds, I finally broke away onto open road where I found my fellow road dog at the water station.

(I began ramping up the pace as I felt myself flying between sun and shadow, wind swirling at me from every direction, my path an asphalt strip between mighty red walls bisected by the muddy river.)

The course emerged from the canyon and turned into a headwind along the main road into Moab. Automobile and race traffic was nominally separated by traffic cones.

(At one point a house on a wide-load trailer unexpectantly passed close to my left shoulder.)

After the race, Ed and I mooched a hot tub and shower before enjoying a catered dinner in the condo’s courtyard with the entire front range crowd.

(Like true camper trash, we returned to our dust filled tents and I spent a miserable night with a shirt over my face to keep from choking on the dust in the everpresent wind battering my shelter.)

The next morning, before returning home, we desparately needed a reinvigorating breakfast experience. We made one more visit to a Moab cafe where a temporary power outage delayed our gastric gratification slightly.

(Thus concludes my chronicle of a 51 year old pre-apocalyptic american male on spring break in 2012.)

Seven Days in December*

Posted in Rancid Recollections with tags , , , , , , , on January 6, 2012 by A lo Hawk

Friday After turning in my grades and loading up the 4wd Pathfinder with snowboard, camping gear and a case of mead from the Meadery of the Rockies; I began a midwest road trip to Kansas and Texas. First stop (after a tasty breakfast burrito in Gunnison) was Monarch ski area where I made my first runs of the season on thin snow.

Back in the car, I drove the rest of the day to a rest stop at the CO/KS border. On a cold, clear evening I pitched my tent in the grass. Moments later a cattletruck (empty, luckily) pulled into the parking area and sat idling the rest of the night only yards from my restless head.

Saturday  With the temperature in the upper teens, I struggled out of my warm cocoon and fumbled to get my camp stove to boil water for some Starbucks Via coffee. Then I warmed up the Pathfinder for the drive across Kansas to my birthplace in Ft Scott.

There I met up with my dad, aunt and cousins. We planned to attend a birthday party the next day for my grandmother who turned 100 years old. I broke out some of the sweet mead during dinner. Even the teetotalers in the family tried it.

Sunday After a big family breakfast, my brother showed up from California. We all headed to the adult care facility in Nevada, Missouri for the party where we met another aunt, uncle, and more cousins. Dad played his antique mandolin and we sang Christmas carols before eating bland white cake and drinking warm cider. It was the biggest family reunion in years and I saw some family members for the first time in decades. Most of us went back to Ft Scott for a big dinner. I sat with my cousins in the living room at a fold-up table and we drank rasberry mead.

Monday With all of the good-byes fading in my ears, I headed south to Texas. It was a smooth drive until I hit Houston rush-hour traffic in the rain.  Hours later I arrived at the home of my old college friend, the Rogue Botanist, in Angleton (or Dungpileton as he calls it). We ate a late TexMex dinner and he showed me his elaborate grow operation.

Tuesday Following breakfast at a nearby diner, R.B. gave me a nice parting gift of weed and Adderall to get me through the rest of the road trip.

A short drive to Edna took me to my mom’s place for a quick overnight stay. She loaded me up with Greg’s awesome brisket and her holiday sweets. We drank fruity mead and I drifted into a food coma. Later, I tried Angry Birds for the first time on her new tablet device.

Wednesday I drove to Austin where I had lunch at fabulous Hula Hut restaurant with another college friend and his family. We went back to his lavishly landscaped home and drank the delightful chocolate flavored mead.  In the evening, I cruised out to another friend’s house in Dripping Springs. We all drank the remaining bottles of mead and smoked weed. After this lubricating appetizer, we had a satisfying TexMex dinner at a new Trudy’s restaurant.

Thursday Today I began a 24 hour odyssey to return home to Grand Junction. I hit icy roads from a recent blizzard in Lubbock and I never got over 50 mph for the entire drive to Montrose, CO. This slow, all-night  journey was aggressively fueled by a revolving cocktail of Adderall, caffeine and weed.

*Sequel to “My First Illicit Prescription Drug”

why i do not care for baseball

Posted in Rancid Recollections with tags on February 18, 2011 by A lo Hawk

like many american boys, i wanted to play little league baseball

my dad and i would toss, catch and hit in the backyard

he took me to the ballfield on the day of the tryout

during the long day of nervous waiting, i noticed a pressure building in my bladder

the nervousness and pressure peaked while waiting my turn on deck for the batting skill test

i felt a warm, wet release of urine soaking the inner thigh denim of my pants

i remember walking up to the plate and making a humiliating attempt to swing at a few pitches

in a fog of shame afterward, i have no memory of my dad’s reaction or the ride home

all i know is the sport of baseball was never mentioned in our house again

My Psoriasis

Posted in My Narcissisms, Rancid Recollections with tags on December 1, 2010 by A lo Hawk

As a youngster, I was afflicted with the skin disease psoriasis.

red rash; white, flaky, scaly skin on arms & legs

My parents took me to a dermatologist who recommended strange treatments.

nightly routine: covering the limbs with plastic wrap before bed

The only effective cure appeared to be mega doses of vitamin D  and fresh air.

boy scout outings / long distance bicycle touring with dad

Now I crave a daily dose of self powered outdoor recreation.

blame & gratitude –> the Heartbreak of Psoriasis


Posted in Dermagraphology, Dulcet Tomes, Enigmatic Corporatic, Hip Histrionics, Insipid Manifestos, Maudlin Missives, Mental Laxatives, Rancid Recollections, Snark File, Trail Tales, Trivial Lists, Zealous Illucidations on October 8, 2009 by A lo Hawk

CDT PTSD — Continental Divide Trail Post Traumatic Stress Diary

Dermagraphology — History of the art that is fit to ink on skin

Dulcet Tomes — The Soft Underbelly

Enigmatic Corporatic — Reworked content from THE CORPORATION at large

Hip Histrionics — Riffs on Pop Culture

Insipid Manifestos — Ode to the Lobe

Maudlin Missives & Mellow Musings

Mental Laxatives — Brain Drano

My Narcissisms — Its all about ME, MY, MINE!

Rancid Recollections — The stories of my life

Snark File — Rated H.T.O.C. (High Tolerance for Offensive Content)

Trail Tales — The Long Strange Trip

Trivial Lists — …and a 1 and a 2 and a 3…

Uncatagorized, Declassified, Substandardized

Zealous Illucidations — Supernatural Ding Dong


Posted in Rancid Recollections with tags on September 23, 2009 by A lo Hawk

While living in Seattle, bored, looking for new interesting friends; I placed a personal ad in The Stranger, the weekly alternative paper. As a result, I met Greg aka “Talus Qur” and his middle-aged nerd posse.

Greg was a full-blown Klingon Trekkie; fluent in the lanquage and trivia of the Star Trek franchise. He had figurines covering his walls, a phaser from the original series, and a home-made uniform he wore to sci-fi conventions. During the time I knew him; he was seriously considering plastic surgery to have Klingon-like ridges inserted into his forehead.

Greg’s offbeat friends were passionate about the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. They spent countless hours developing characters, creating fantasy worlds, and enacting campaigns. As a social experiment, I decided to devote a winter of Saturdays immersed in this alternate adolescent reality.

My character was a pagan dwarf with low intelligence named SERADD (short for Serial Adder, a term from my engineering geek school days). SERADD was proficient in butchering and impaling; his main weapons were a head spike and battle ax.

A typical evening would begin with smoking copious amounts of pot followed by a confused discussion with the Dungeon Master concerning the objectives of the upcoming quest. Battles would ensue, treasures would be plundered and magic spells aquired. At the end of the night, a full accounting was made and experience points awarded to each character in order to advance to the next level of the game.

As spring approached, I grew impatient with my tedious experiment so I began planning my exit. At the next gathering, SERADD the IMPALER suddenly turned on his companions and attempted to gore them in the groin. When recovered from their shock; the other players rallied together and chopped my head off.

As I gathered up my dice and jacket to leave, I stared at their stunned and perplexed faces. I walked out the door and never saw those fantasyland fellows again.