Wednesday, October 5, 2011

5 October The "Gas" Station

Jeep had stopped upon the busy passageway leading us from San Dimas to the township of Riverside.  We were met with many trumpets until Rueben arrived in his white wagon of which was attached a winch, pulling Jeep off of the road where all of us now traveled to fix the "gas gage" Rueben indicated was our problem.

Quickly our band, with Rueben at the helm, arrived at a place boasting a large red ball with the number "76" written atop it.  My assumption was the establishment came into being upon the celebration of the Declaration of the United States Independence.  Puzzling, as we had not yet left the Spanish Territory.  So my assumption could be completely bereft of facts.

Jeep was pulled aside a fairly tall metal box, resembling the work of da Vinci.  Reuben told us to pile out and he would lower Jeep so we could "fill the tank."  All of us stared curiously at the metal box.  Clark inquired of Jean Baptise about the Spanish creation.  Jean Baptise insisted he had never seen such an device.

Finally Reuben had detached Jeep from his own wagon and came around to us.  I attempted to compensate Reuben for his services, but the kind man insisted he already received reimbursement from the local government.  He was adamant what he had done for us was his duty.  Rueben bid us adieu, returned to his wagon, and quickly departed.

Clark removed a large flexible pipe attached to the metal box.  Suddenly numbers appeared upon the metal box.  Even with Clark's expertise in complex tools and other devices, he, like the rest of us, was bewildered.  All we knew was Jeep had stopped moving, the "gas gage" was lit up and Rueben insisted it was the source of our troubles.  Unfortunately we knew nothing more.  What was required of us now?  Sacagawea looked about, perchance to meet a settler of the village who may be able to give us the answer to our predicament.  Time and time again she was met with cold shoulders and simple "no's" as she approached the individuals, even with Little Pomp beside her. Jean Baptise knew some phrases in the native Spanish tongue, but got no better response than Sacagawea.  

For now, we would need to continue to struggle as Jeep remained eerily still.

Until Later, Dear Friends

Thursday, September 8, 2011

8 August - Jeep unwittingly stopped upon the passageway

Leaving San Dimas in the territory of California, Jean Baptise was eager to reunite with his friend and fellow explorer, Juan Bautista.  Lamar, one of the waitstaff at Denny's, had told us we could find Juan Bautista in the township of Riverside.  So our band pressed forward.

Only a mile or two along the passageway to the village aside the River, Jeep began fighting Clark's acceleration until she came to a halt.  Trumpets blared about us.  Clark continued attempting to encourage Jeep's movement to no avail.  Other wagons veered past us at great velocity accompanied with shouts of irritation and further trumpeting.  As only inquisitive young minds can discover, Little Pomp pulled his mother's attention to a yellow light behind the guiding wheel.  The picture was unidentifiable,  the glowing image novel to our band.

We spent a great deal of time unmoving upon the passageway, all the while Clark demanding Jeep move forward and barking at Sacagawea for her insistence that a Cherokee built machine would be superior to all others.  Of course he said this in his frustration, and would later beg forgiveness of her.

Amidst the horns and anger, a large white wagon arrived behind us.  It possessed a crane not unlike the ones used along the New England coastline for launching ships into the sea.  A man of robust stature approached me at my window and wanted to know if we required assistance.  Clark's pride wished to lash out a contradictory statement, but the rest of us held Clark's tongue, accepting this man (Rueben's) aid.

We departed the wagon.  Rueben moved his own transport before ours, lifting Jeep from the roadway.  Little Pomp was so intrigued by the crane that it was all Sacagawea could do to keep the boy from stepping before the rapidly traveling wagons.  It came to my attention at this time that the trumpets had stopped upon Rueben's arrival.

We were escorted into Rueben's wagon.  Although its size was impressive, we found our band, along with Rueben at the guiding wheel, tight fitting in the single seat.  Nevertheless, Rueben set us on our way off of the main passageway, detouring our journey.  Rueben gave snicker to our predicament, insisting we were foolish to ignore the "gas gage."  Little Pomp spoke up with the question all of us had upon our confused minds.  He solicited Rueben what he meant referring to a "gas gage."  Rueben reacted to the boy in a childlike voice, telling him that perhaps Little Pomp should be in charge of watching the "gage" as the adults (referring to us) were obviously naive to it, thusly causing Jeep to "run out of gas."

Bewildered faces upon us all, our band sat back in silence as Rueben carried the five of us, and Jeep, forward.  To where, we had yet to discover.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

1 September - The Unusual Map

We had completed our feast at the eatery, Denny's.  I must report my meal by, the name of "Grand Slam," was quite satisfying.  Although more food than what I would normally consume in a full day, the preparation of eggs, pancakes, bacon (and sausage!) was quite delectable.  I was most impressed by their English Muffin.  It was a luxury we enjoyed in the cities, but had not since we embarked upon our journey.  Certainly we had not seen a Muffin Man in years!

Jean Baptise enquired of Jeff, our server, regarding the possible whereabouts of Juan Bautista De Anza, a fellow explorer commissioned by the Spanish of which Jean Baptise had known some years prior.  Jeff pondered for some time.  The name did ring a bell to the boy, but he could not express any answer with certainty.  Overhearing, the dark skinned server (named Lamar as was sported upon his shirt) stopped and chimed in.  He knew Juan Bautista could be found in the township of Riverside.  Clark was prepared to explore the Spanish Territory right then and there.  I must say here that Clark has, throughout our journey, refused any offered maps, pigheadedly determined to forge his way with no assistance.  At more than one time, Sacagawea's efforts to find passages from local Indian nations were not heeded by Clark, much to the frustration of the rest of our band.  (which I believe is the reason our other journeymen did depart from us in Santa Monica)

Jean Baptise, anxious to reunite with his old companion, was eager to receive the directions despite Clark's insistence.  Lamar retrieved a small metallic device from his pocket.  He tapped upon it and then handed it to Jean Baptise to view.  Little Pomp eagerly knelt upon his seat to peer over his father's shoulder.  A fascination with us all, the image upon which we spied was indeed a map, but none like I had ever seen in all my days of exploring.  Jean Baptise touched the image and suddenly something changed.  Lamar took his device back, tapped it again, and returned it to Jean Baptise, this time explaining the map we looked upon.  Lamar swept his finger upon the surface and the map image followed his finger, laying out our path.  Jean Baptise turned to his wife who examined the device.  An amazing map reader, Sacagawea absorbed the information on a level none of us men could comprehend.   She gratefully returned the device to Lamar.

We settled our bill, was thanked by the lovely brunette who had originally greeted us, and returned to Jeep.  Now our quest to find Juan Bautista weighed solely upon the shoulders of Sacagawea.

Until Later, My Friends

Thursday, August 11, 2011

11 August - Denny's

I could humorously state that I have not journaled for some time due to the fact that the travelers on the 10 Passageway kept our band immobile for days.  But, in truth, we found our way out of Los Angeles within several hours.

Little Pomp, perched to see out of Jeep's windows, tested his English reading skills upon the marker signs as we passed.  Most of the settlements had Spanish names as would be expected.  El Monte, San Fernando, San Gabriel, and then San Dimas.  Jean Baptise was especially interested in San Dimas as we approached. He asked of Clark if we might stop in that township.  All of us hungry, the decision was unanimous.

With our coyote meat long since eaten, Clark eyed an eatery called "Denny's."  I have always enjoyed restaurants named for their proprietors.  I have noted they serve the best and freshest of local food.

As we entered the eatery, Little Pomp was immediately drawn to a glass booth with toys inside.  He smudged the pane with his nose as he searched around for some way to open the device.  Sacagawea pulled him away from the booth as the boy pouted.  At this moment, a lovely young lady with brunette hair pulled back from her face offered to seat us.  Her cordial greeting was a sure sign she must be Denny's daughter.

We were seated in a long, soft bench and handed large, colorful menus.  Clark snarled he was unhappy with the brightness of the eatery, being used to eating with the natural light of the sun for so long.  As we all mulled over the menu, we realized we were not familiar with most of the local foods.  Pancake Puppies, French Fries (of which Jean Baptise insisted were not from France) and their specialty, something called a "Grand Slam."  Indeed, they offered so many different dishes of the "Slam" that I felt inclined to request it.

A slender boy with unkempt hair and metal faceted to his teeth (obviously Denny's son) approached us and asked if we wanted to "start with drinks."  When his attention had fully fallen upon us, Son of Denny's eyes widened and a grin crossed his face.  I will quote the boy as best I can for I cannot fully decipher his tongue.  "Dude, Bill and Ted, right?  Party On!"  He then began imitating what was, perhaps, a banjo?  The boy was greatly amused by us as we looked quizzically upon his antics.  He called over a dark skinned boy who joined in the laughter.  He also imitated the banjo, which made more sense to me as the banjo's origins were from Africa.  The two stated they were enamored by our costumes (as if we were theatre performers?) and welcomed us to San Dimas.  The Son of Denny (who wore the name "Jeff" upon his chest) took our orders and departed.

Allowing ourselves to shake off the earlier incident, Sacagawea inquired of her husband the reason for his insistence on stopping in the township of San Dimas.  His eyes grew with excitement.  A fellow explorer, Juan Bautista De Anza founded this village upon his sanctioned travel through the Spanish Territory.  Not unlike our enlistment to do so at the request of President Jefferson through the Louisiana Territory.  Jean Baptise had spent some time with Juan Bautista some years passed and wished to see if he could locate his friend once more.  As our plates with King Henry the VIII sized proportions arrived, we pondered the course of which we might follow to find the Spanish explorer.

Until Later, My Friends

Monday, August 1, 2011

1 August - The 10 Passageway

Enduring a lengthy ordeal to obtain Jeep from the Impound Lot, our band decided to sleep the night and begin our journey at dawn the next morn.  We would continue our travels through the 10 Passageway out of the Los Angeles settlement of the Spanish Territory.  This was to be an unanticipated misstep.

With Clark at the wheel, our band began on our way.  I sat beside him while Jean Baptise and family occupied the rear seating.  Little Pomp, with the bright eyes only a five year-old can muster, leaned across his mother to watch the quickness of the land as we passed by.  Unfortunately, I was ineptly prepared for such travel and found myself ill.

We followed an upward trail with signage guiding us to the 10 Passageway East.  It was here my nausea was halted, as were the other horseless wagons about us.  Indeed, it appeared no carriage was advancing forward at all.  Little Pomp pouted as Clark's anger began to rise.  But what were we to do?  None of our group had ever experienced a trail with so many other travelers.  Sacagawea suggested the Spanish citizens were fleeing the Territory.  Although we had seen prosperity, mayhaps a war brewed within the hearts of the Spanish.  Regardless, our band was unwittingly in the middle of the refugees' exodus.  Sacagawea then suggested we should proceed to breakfast.  We had intended to do so after subsequent distance were gained between ourselves and the Los Angeles township, but now appeared to be an opportune moment.

Our band dismounted Jeep and Sacagawea laid out a blanket between ourselves and the nearby horseless wagon, ironically named for the wild horse, Mustang.  The individual inside was a well dressed, clean shaven man who watched us with wonderment as we sat and began our meal.  After some time, he opened the door and stood beside us.  He said we had the "right idea" as this "SIG alert" (we did not know his terminology, but he carried on before we could ask for an English translation).  Randall, as he introduced himself, said the "SIG Alert" was not appearing to allow any vehicles through.  Sacagawea invited the Randall to join us.  He reached into his Mustang and pulled out a cup and a small pastry, promptly seating himself directly beside Little Pomp, who quickly sat upon Randall's lap.  We enjoyed pleasant conversation and learned the man worked for "Paramount."  I had never heard the word used as a noun, but clearly Randall worked at a place of great importance.

Soon the horseless wagons about us began to crawl forward.  Randall thanked us for our hospitality and offered Clark a small piece of paper with Randall's information typeset upon it.  He reached one last time into Mustang and gave Little Pomp a medal on a ring with the word "Paramount" upon it, surrounded by an image of a mountain.  Finally the name made sense!  He was a mountain climber!  This endeared Randall to Clark immediately.

Our band returned to the interior of Jeep and joined the other wagons as we all began slowly moving forward.  All of us pondering if the "SIG alert" had to do with refugees or no.

Until Later, My Friends

Friday, July 22, 2011

22 July - The Impound Man

Following our good fortune of creating a Spanish "check" account filled with $78,000, our band returned to the gruff man at the impound lot to retrieve our Cherokee built Jeep.

With his feet up upon the countertop, the gruff gentleman ignored our entrance, despite the small bell which rang to announce our arrival.  Instead, he stared at a box with illuminated and moving images.  Indeed, a Spanish innovation of art.

Ever impatient, Clark pushed the man's feet from the counter and demanded his undivided attention.  Well, this act in no way brought us closer to the man's graces.  Observing the mounting antagonism, Sacagawea, holding Little Pomp in her arms, intervened as she had many a time on our journey to the Pacific Northwest.  She informed the man we had the payment for our fee and were ready to take possession of Jeep.  The man grumbled (equally so did Clark) and informed us the amount required was 260 Spanish banknotes.  I imagine by now you can envision Clark's reaction.  As I held Clark's fury in remission, Jean Baptise stepped forward and retrieved our new Spanish check account.  The gruff man's eyes squinted in a scowl rivaling a wolf on the hunt.  He informed us that he did not accept Spanish checks.  Here we were in the Spanish territory and he will not accept Spanish checks?

Thankfully Warren at the Bank of America had also given us several Spanish banknotes on top of the Spanish checks.  Jean Baptise counted out the equivalent currency which seemed to finally put the gruff man at ease.  If I might digress for a moment, I did find the Spanish banknotes peculiar in their design.  Certainly we have already seen our President Washington on the single dollar notes.  But Benjamin Franklin on the banknotes worth one hundred dollars?  How is it that the Spanish feature our important figures on their currency?

Regardless, the payment was settled and the man told us another individual would "bring the car around."  Nearly immediately the gruff man returned to his Spanish art box.  I took notice that Little Pomp was also interested in the images which gave me a small chuckle.  Perhaps his awaiting career is in the arts?

Finally a large metal gate rolled open on some kind of chain and we were reunited with Jeep.  Clark investigated Jeep's condition and appeared satisfied.  We thanked the young man and our band mounted the horseless wagon.  Jean Baptise suggested we continue on our way through the Spanish Territory so as to not encounter any further altercations with the people of this land.  Clark agreed.  The kind man who sold us Jeep had also included a "state farm" map.  I could not imagine a state run farm would have such a volume, but there it was, a book with maps of great detail.  Honestly, making the maps I crafted seem elementary!  As a strong map interpreter, I located our current position and we headed out on the "10" passageway, now heading East.

Until Later, My Friends!

Monday, July 18, 2011

18 July - The Half Disme

Our band had been waiting to hear back from the assayer regarding our half disme at the Bank of America.  Indeed, it was a lengthy stay, even after the assayer had arrived.  Quite a bit of individuals entering and leaving the office in which they examined our half disme.  Personally, I did not imagine so many people would take so long just to convert our American currency into banknotes of the Spanish Territory.

Finally the bank manager, Warren, and the assayer brought us into the office.  Sacagawea stayed in the waiting area so Little Pomp could continue occupying himself with the puzzles there.

The manager inquired where we might have acquired the half disme which they repeatedly referred to as a "dime."  I just assumed the term was the Spanish tongue for half disme.  Jean Baptise told the gentlemen we had obtained the coin before we departed Missouri.  The assayer was amazed at the pristine nature of the coin.  Warren asked us if we were willing to exchange the coin, and any others we possessed, for a bank account.  Clark immediately objected.  We needed banknotes to finish our travel through the Spanish Territory.  An account would do us no good.  Warren insisted our band would earn a considerable amount of banknotes for the coin.  The bank branch currently did not possess all the currency the coin would warrant, which also alarmed Clark.  What was explained to us was the account would contain the total we had earned, and would be accessible at our leisure by "checks."  We understood this was a form of a promissory note.  Warren insisted there were many Banks of America across the region, so we should expect no problem obtaining funds from our account.  Clark inquired how many banknotes our currency was worth.  The assayer told us the half disme was worth four thousand dollars due to its condition.  Any other coins of similar type would be worth a similar total.  Jean Baptise offered our other half disme and seven cents.  Warren then told us we could have a bank account of 78,500 dollars.  The three of us were left speechless.  This was far more money than we could ever have imagined.  Clark shook on it and Warren lead us through the process of establishing our "check" account.

Sacagawea was amazed when we told her the news.  How could this be possible?  But, indeed, it was true.

Our band then headed back to the impound place to retrieve Jeep.

Until Later, My Friends.