Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Long Gap, Much Travel

The past several weeks involved a lot of business travel to Houston. I still do not fly or take the bus in light of the pandemic. I do not eat indoors at restaurants, though I do get takeout. My little Hyundai Kona car makes the trip with aplomb. The trips amounts to 240 miles or so. I developed a routine--stop at a rest stop in Navarro County, stop in the middle for a quick meal from a fast-food place, and stop at the rest stop in Walker County. The Walker County southbound rest stop features a small hiking trail. This past Wednesday I walked around a little pond there and saw the Carolina Chickadees and Yellow-Rumped Warblers.

Last night my drive lasted until 9:30 p.m. I listened to high school football games involving small town teams on the radio. In the mornings I like KIVY, the radio station for Crockett, Texas. The musical leaning of this station is country-western, but when I listen the station features mostly spots about local businesses and events. One show featured nothing but simple paid ads for local political candidates. But the paid political "ads" were simply a bare-boned classified-ad-ish  "John X is running for County Commissioner. He asks for your vote."

I meant to avoid watching the election returns, as I expected it to go long, But in the event I stayed up and watched, and woke up and watched  more. Late last Saturday morning I walked in Bethany Lakes Park. When I returned to my car near Noon, National Public Radio reported that Joe Biden was projected to win Pennsylvania. In the time since then, the sitting President has used rants about rigged elections as a platform to raise money.  I will be glad when we have the new president.

I finished reading "The Light Years", a science fiction novel by R.W.W. Greene. I downloaded G.K. Chesterton's "The Innocence of Father Brown" I had read this before in hard copy. I am almost half-way through. I have on deck to read next Helen Kitson's "The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson." 

Roughly 2/3rds of the way to Houston traveling south I encounter the town of Madisonville. Its Lake Madison Park provides me with a good place to walk. I have stopped there twice. I saw a Belted Kingfisher perched on a tree with a small fish in its mouth. I saw two White-Tailed Deer bucks with little spike horns. I  took pictures of Northern Mockingbirds perched on small, shrubby trees on the dam. I saw lots of shore birds including lovely American Avocets.

During this busy time, I regret a bit not getting to see my extended family. We will not travel to Kansas City to see my wife's family this Thanksgiving or Christmas, nor will we gather with my brother's family nor my sister's family. The pandemic continues to worsen. My wife works entirely from home. I must go out among people, keeping my mask and social distance game solid.

I noticed on my eBird that my number of Texas species, a bit over 110, is consistent with prior years. But my Collin County list is still below its usual 100, and is down at 94.  I do more birding in Dallas County than usual, and that county list is at an all time high, albeit a high of only 67 species. I will follow with interest how high each list gets.

I have some nice snail mail to answer, and work to do. I should call some people I do not see currently. As in a science fiction novel, the internet made world-wide communication inexpensive and effective, but unlike in the science fiction novels, VOIP did not increase my calls to friends overseas. On the other hand, I have more friends overseas due to the internet. We just speak by phone.

I saw one of my social media friends is moving over to Parler, the conservative social media micro-blogging platform that does not regulate wild conspiracy theory claims by its users.  Others report switching to  MeWe, a Facebook alternative.I thought how on the one hand, I probably would not enjoy either place, and dislike all the conspiracy theories.  On the other hand, fragmentation offers a path forward to
a different internet, less controlled by one or three megaliths.

One of my cousins hearted a happy birthday wish. I know she is estranged from parts of her family, so I am glad we stay in touch, however fleeting the contacts.

An acquaintance just had her spouse go through Covid. He required hospitalization but pulled through. I am glad he made it.

Staying in a hotel in the pandemic proved fairly non-scary. The lobbies tend to be nearly-empty. The hotels focus on keeping things clean. House-keeping does not visit during the stay unless arranged. Elevators are one passenger or one family per trip.

from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice

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