All Aboard! The path to the Klondike

The White Pass and Yukon Route were brutal, but, if you wanted to join the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, it was the route you took. In 1900, train tracks were laid and gold ore began its journey to Skagway, Alaska where the ore was loaded onto ships. That train and Skagway are still active to this day.

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Missouri Bugs, Part II, Seriously! (Though, I may have embellished a wee bit here and there)

The cemetery Spider has told on me…

 Today, as I’m leaving a restaurant that serves delicious specialty tacos, I see another Bold Jumping Spider on the side of our truck where the cab and the bed meet. “Hey, here’s another one,” I said, “I’ll get a picture.” And as I did, I saw it’s face, its eyes, its nose; “I have seen this face before, but where?” It was the face of a man, deviously smiling and wearing a really cool pair of sunglasses.IMG_1986

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Suddenly, without warning, it jumped through the air towards me, landing on my hand. I promptly freaked the sh*! out and ass-over-tea-kettled backward. The spider then jumped from my hand back onto the side of the truck and just sat there glaring at me; daring me to again, come close and take another picture. I, with my tail firmly tucked between my legs, raced into the truck and slammed the door, whimpering like a little girl. I was beaten and the damn spider knew it.

I told Lilly to haul-ass and make sure she took a different route home; this (insert expletive here) was making it personal. I looked out at the side mirror (you know objects are larger than they may appear) and saw the little terror crawling on the side of the truck towards the cab. We’re doing 40 mph and yet, still, here he comes; the intrepid hunter.

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Stopping at the handle, he, again, stared at me as if possessing the ability of a Jedi Knight to will those of weak-mind into doing its bidding. I suddenly pulled my hand back towards my lap, which oddly, had begun reaching for the inner door latch. I realized this creature was stalking me, watching and waiting for a chance to freak me out again and claim this truck as its own. The haunting melody of Jaws began echoing in the recesses of my mind. I’m desperate, trapped. I suggested running this side of the truck against a brick wall, building, anything, just scrape it the &%#! off! I’m fighting for my life here. Slowly, it crawls up on to the window’s ledge, watching me through the glass. The face, still smiling. It appeared to be relishing the moment; toying with its human prey.

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I’m lost in awe at the size of brass balls this spider must possess. It would stop, stare and then shake its ass at me; taunting me through the window. Then at the front of the window’s ledge, it sat again, staring. Then its “face” began to shift side to side revealing its hidden incandescent fangs. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat giving a play-by-play of its little dance when Lilly, who is now completely annoyed at the folly, says, “just roll the damn window down and flick it away!” Such a bold move! I was mildly tempted, “it’s not a frickin’ Chihuahua!, I protested. It’s huge, and it might just jump into the cab and then what will we do?” “Idiot,” she replied.

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Facing emasculation, I asked Lilly to pull the truck over in a parking lot. This treacherous little monster must never know where we live or, like its vindictive cemetery cousin, it will spread the word or whatever they do, and this torturous hell will never cease.

It then began to climb up the side of the mirror and when it turned its back, I jumped out of the truck. I found a stick near a bush and bravely stood opposed, staring into one of its “only God knows how many” eyes. I thought my odds of victory were about 54/46 and valiantly lunged forward. The spider, expecting my attack, dodged and squatted as it prepared to leap and deliver its death blow, but I countered quickly and with an unexpected backhand flick and twist, knocked it off the top of the mirror and onto the ground, a single strand of its fine spider’s silk was left blowing gently in the breeze. The spider landed about two feet under the truck; broken and defeated. I tossed my stick towards the bush and raised my hand towards the heavens as I drank to my ancestors from the proverbial well of victory.

But then, to my amazement, the wretched creature arose and began crawling towards me. “What is this dark magic you possess?” I exclaimed. I reached for my stick; it was too far away. This spider was bent on hellish destruction; a killer of men, and as I backed away, it continued to advance towards me. But, like a seasoned chess-master, I sorta-patiently waited and as he was blinded by rage, into my trap, he crawled. I squealed for Lilly to “hit the gas!” The wheels of the truck spun and though he tried to escape, it was too late, and they plowed his plotting, stalking, conniving, evil ass over where he then became one with the tire. I remained vigilant for a minute or two, expecting the monster to rise again, like a phoenix from the ashes, and strike me swiftly from behind. Finally, certain that evil had been truly vanquished, I climbed back into the cab and departed the glorious battlefield; victorious.

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And Three’s a Charm…

The third book is done and printed! The Diary of Francis Kelley. Amazon has been “struggling” with paperbacks lately, so the books are on my site: Travelinggump.Com under “menu” and the eBook versions are on Amazon. Just search “Travelinggump”

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Order here Thru Paypal and get Free Shipping!

Traveling Zen:::The Paperback Version is now Available!

Take me to AMAZON! 541E949B-10DF-4C91-810B-E2CFD159074D.jpeg

Why I Write, Post and What I Want From You. (Tip: It’s not cute pet pictures)

I write two Blogs. Travelinggump.com and Thesunflowermuse.com.  The first, mostly for travel and travel tips/ideas, the second, for opinions, thoughts and articles about our social condition.  I post on Twitter, Instagram, WordPress and Facebook.  Three sites are “blowing up” (Instagram, WordPress and Twitter) with followers.  Facebook is “meh” and I would like that to improve.

What I know:

  1. If I don’t write or post articles or pictures of value and interest, I should expect nothing in return.  Generally, I put an enormous amount of thought into most of the articles that I write, especially on Thesunflowermuse.  I’m trying to get to the core of the issues.
  2. That there is a “process” for getting your posts to the right audience, which I’m working on.
  3. That people are inundated with “stuff” and “like” whatever is easy to see/scan and are generally too busy (understandably) to read in detail. Hence the enormous popularity of pet pictures/videos.  Ugh.
  4. Despite having a large amount of followers, I am not getting the traction I want, especially on my personal facebook page, which supports the theory; “You can’t be a prophet in your own land” and/or you really need to improve your articles. The first I get, the latter I don’t feel the need to change at this point. Going forward, I’m going to try and confine myself to the two sites listed above.

What I want from you:

  1. If my articles are of no interest to you or my opinions are too this or that, leave.
  2. If they are of any interest, entertain you, provoke or evoke a thought or passion, acknowledge it somehow.  On Thesunflowermuse.com, my thoughts and opinions can be challenging and are written to be thought provoking.  Feel free to complain, gripe or even correct my grammar (please!), something! If you don’t agree, say so!
  3. And lastly, on Travelinggump.com, I am fortunate to have excellent advertisers (Amazon, Holiday Inn, Expedia, Orbitz, Trivago etc…).  Please search and book through my page as it costs you nothing extra and helps me to keep them happy.

There is so much “noise” on the internet today and I am trying to rise above the cute animal pictures/videos and provide great Travel Tips and Ideas (https://travelinggump.com) and Thought Provoking Stories and Opinions on The Human Condition and Society (https://thesunflowermuse.com). Please Engage.

Best Wishes, Michael

 

Women, World Travel and The Idiot Male

“Ten of the world’s most dangerous cities for women who travel alone”.  I’m staring at the screen and getting angrier by the second, not at the writer who wrote the piece, but at the title.  I just can’t seem to get beyond it.  I’m hung up on the fact that such an article would even have to be written today. That a woman, by virtue of her gender, has to “travel” differently than a male.  What pathetic class of knuckle-dragging idiots caused this?  Easy answer… men.

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I open the article and it has pictures; male soldiers holding rifles in one country, then another with pictures of other men holding rifles, scowling at the camera.  I keep scrolling, more males, more weapons and more warnings; don’t go here, you could be sexually assaulted.  I’m sensing a trend. What happened to us?  How did we get here?  Who in the hell put men in charge of anything?  IMG_0172Unfortunately, I need only look back to my childhood to find the answer. I was raised a southern Baptist and attended a church where the bible was interpreted “literally”.  In other words, if the bible said “Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:22-3) then the pastor made sure that we understood that this came directly from God, word for word and that was that.  I was taught that this is just one of the many helpful “marriage tips” contained in a book that many, including myself, hold dear.  Today, I don’t read it as “literal” and simply take these “verses” as the thoughts of writers from a different time and place.  I also read Homer, Dante, Mark Twain and Sports Illustrated in the same fashion.  I also suggest to you that organized religion, in its many different forms, and the varied literal interpretations of their “book” (Bible, Koran, Torah etc…) are the root cause of many of our problems today.  Just turn on CNN.IMG_0183

What does this indictment of religion have to do with travel or the article mentioned above?  Everything.  Why are women in “danger” to travel alone to these places?  Because, since literally “In the beginning”, men have been taught that women are “less than” and that respecting a women is secondary to respecting yourself.  Who taught us this?  Usually a male waiving a book in the air, his feet firmly planted on a raised platform, while an offering plate travels from row to row. IMG_0182 Wait a minute, now you feel offended.  You should be.  Do you really think it’s not that way today, that women ARE equal?  That organized religion plays no part in the formation of today’s laws or has no effect or influence on a woman’s right to choose.  I mean, it’s been 98 years since we “let” them have the right to vote.  But that was then, this is now…IMG_0170

The world seems to think that we are the most progressive country on the planet.  I honestly don’t know what “progressive” means regarding women’s rights but I do know that if we’re the leading example, then the women in “less civilized” countries likely don’t stand a chance.  In fairness, I don’t feel that anyone is safe in the article’s listed countries, male or female.  The centuries old recipe of men+religion+power has been disastrous and it doesn’t look good going forward.  To travel the world freely is to live life to its fullest and this joy should be available to all who desire it.  To deny anyone this gift because of a religious belief or some antiquated male-dominated custom is intolerable.  Incredibly, some “modern” countries still refuse to allow women the right to even drive a car.  To the countries (men) who oppress women, enjoy your 15 minutes, because the passage of time brings change and your days are numbered.

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So why does this matter to me, a male?  I have had the good fortune and privilege of being surrounded by strong women of character my whole life.  The men, not so much.  My Mother, Wife and three brilliant Daughters, who are all world travelers, would never tolerate anyone who suggested that they should yield to any man as described above.  They would gladly display his head at the end of a pike (ok, maybe that would be me) rather than endure the presence of such a person.  And for their strength, perseverance and sheer will to rise above, I am eternally thankful.

It’s amazing how an article about travel evoked such a strong emotion in me regarding the topic of the human condition.