On Friday, January 26th, I followed hundreds of bison being rounded up on Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch, near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The tour was sponsored by Ted Turner Expeditions and was the 2nd annual Bison RoundUp. The tour part of the roundup lasted for 2 days and the bison on the 250 square mile ranch had been collected over the last several months. This was the last collection of bison and herds of 200 to 500 bison were driven into pens where they would be weighed, tagged and checked before being released.
The roundup lasted about 5 hours each day and involved 4 cowboys on horseback and 4 on ATV’s keeping the bison in line. The bison followed a truck that they mistook for a feed truck. Behind the herd, 15 of us who had signed up for the tour watched from ATV’s.
The 28 Turner Ranches are home to 51,000 bison.
The roundup is not advertised and will become an annual event. I received an e-mail invitation since we had stayed at the Sierra Grande Lodge in T or C, New Mexico, which is owned by Turner. The first class restaurant serves bison and the Lodge has natural hot springs spa tubs available to guests along with massages.
Turner Expeditions offers numerous other tours on the various ranches; all directed toward conservation and the preservation of natural habitats.
The Ladder Ranch has no paved roads, is 29 miles from T or C, and is near the Amadaros Ranch, another Turner Ranch. It is also near the NM Spaceport and Elephant Butte Lake. There are several vinyards that produce good wine. Turner’s Vermejo ranch is in Northern New Mexico, near Philmont Scout Ranch, where I first ate Bison in 1955.
The cost was $175 plus tax for a 7 hour day including driving time to the Ladder Ranch.
The guides were great and informative – they knew all about the flora and fauna on the ranch and a lot about the history.
The bison roundup is fascinating; with real cowboys and bison that are genetically pure .
In addition to bison, we saw a 40 Elk in a line and numerous birds. The ranch is a wildlife paradise and all of the ranches offer photographic expeditions.
I was told that there were about 27 bison bulls for 1500 cows, and that last year all but two of the cows had calves; however, I was unable to verify this.
And, of course, if you want to eat bison:
or, it is available at Whole Foods.
When we travel, we try to seek out non-chain places to eat; and, our recent trip to see our son in Waynesville, NC, led us to MOE’s Barbecue in Asheville, NC, for the third time. It is in an old building, near the Biltmore Mansion, with a large gravel parking lot and is always crowded. There are only about 20 tables inside, you order from the counter, and they call out your name when the food is ready. It has always been good, simple and tasty. You bus your own tables.
This time we shared a brisket sandwich with two sides and a drink. Our son had the rib plate with two sides and a drink. We had to wait for a table and borrowed two chairs for our table. It was out of our comfort zone, but we were with our son who knew of the place and he had taken me there before when I visited.
As usual, I took a few pictures, enjoyed the food and the crowd and thought it would be a good subject for a brief blog post. After lunch, I googled Moe’s Barbecue and much to my surprise discovered that even though Asheville is apparently the original Moe’s, it has expanded. The three boys from the University of Alabama, have expanded this Moe’s to 60 Moe’s around the country, including one in Albuquerque that I was not aware of. So, next week, I will start off the new year by eating at Moe’s in Albuquerque, aware that it is a big business that came out of North Carolina.
You can become a franchisee; the franchise office is in Vail, Colorado; or, you can just order a t-shirt and a hat from the retail site.
I will continue seeking out places out of my comfort zone, but will also check them out.
Trust but verify!
Just because it is a chain, does not mean that it is not good. And, of course, I satisfied myself at the meals there, thinking I was out of my comfort zone, not realizing that there was a Moe’s just a few blocks from me in Albuquerque.
Every town has a library. When you travel, a library can be your best friend. You can find:
- Information about the town you are in.
- A bookstore that will sell books that the library no longer wants or which have been donated for as little as $1 for hardback and 25 cents for paperbacks, many of them recent best-sellers.
- Frequently they have cafes where you can get a coffee and food.
- They have computers that you can use.
- They have interesting programs and sometime trips for anyone who is interested.
- Local and national magazines; see what is going on in town and read the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal.
- And, finally there is a huge magazine rack with the latest magazines; most of which you don’t get, and which take you out of your comfort zone.
In the US there are 26,200 prisoners over 65 in state and federal prisons and 124,400 over the age of 55.
The geezer, who is 75, and an “opportunist” is thinking outside the box; or perhaps ‘inside the box.” If I have no money, little social security, no home, no assets, no family; and have to line up at the soup kitchen for meals and the free street clinic for medical care, maybe there is another way.
At 75, what do I need? My sex life is a thing of the past; there is no one to take care of me, I am frequently wet and cold; I am regularly exposed to every type of riffraff; and, can no longer fight off street predators. How can I live out my days in some comfort, be warm, eat regularly, and have adequate medical and dental care?
The answer is to rob a bank.
The sentence seems to be 10 years plus an extra 5 years if you have a gun. I need to check to see if the gun has to be loaded; wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. The 15 years takes me to 90 which is about my life expectancy on a good day and I don’t have to0 many of them. If I got in a fight or two, I can avoid good time.
The big problem is that I might get probation since I don’t have a record; so, I might have to rob the same bank twice; or, even three times.
Given the economic and social future of the elderly, prison doesn’t sound too bad; and, it can’t be worse than a nursing home; even if I qualified. If you can’t pay, Medicaid is the only answer. Assisted living is out of the question without money or long-term care insurance.
There is probably a downside, but I am having trouble seeing it.
The food can’t be worse than most senior institutions. If I have a room(cell)mate, he would probably be about my age. I would probably be in some sort of minimum security facility, but, given the gun I might be in a maximum security facility. The friends I would make would probably be better than the ones on the street.
Would I be safe? Probably. I am sure that most Federal Prisons take care of old people; albeit, reluctantly. There are work programs in most institutions and perhaps I could care for other old people if I couldn’t get assigned to the library. Win-win.
The New York Times has an article on California state prisons that have caregivers called ” gold coats.” These are inmates, usually murderers, who in exchange for a “gold coat,” and other privileges, look after the elderly; especially those with dementia. They protect them from the other prisoners, get them food, make sure they don’t fall; and, in general act as highly trained caregivers. They sound better than some in nursing homes I have visited.
Do I want to go this route? I suppose it depends on how cold and hungry I get; and, if I am competent to rob a bank when the time comes.
Or, maybe it would just be cheaper and better to move all of us old prisoners and “Gold Coats” to the “abandoned” military bases where they are keeping illegal immigrants.
ACOMA PUEBLO – SKY CITY
On Saturday, May 14, 2016 I visited Acoma Pueblo Sky City located 370 feet above the desert on a mesa 65 miles West of Albuquerque, NM. It has fewer than 50 permanent residents living in homes on seven acres of New Mexico mesa top.
San Esteban del Rey Mission dominates Sky City. Established in the early 1600’s, it now has no priest. A service is held yearly on September 2 and is open to the public. The church was started in 1629 and completed in 1640.
There is a still-used cemetery in front of the church, with burials in dirt hauled up from the desert floor. The church’s is 150 feet by 40 feet and has a dirt floor. It is simple inside and is undergoing some reconstruction, but is still 95% original.
The streets in Sky City are dirt. At intersections cisterns collect rain water. There are no utilities. No water, sewage, gas or electricity. There are some generators and port-a-potties everywhere. They were installing a huge water tank on Saturday, so the water problem may be alleviated.
Commercial port-a-potties have replaced the outhouses suspended over the edge of the mesa that I remember from 40 years ago.
Until the 1920’s there was no road to Sky City, just a single-file path cut into the steep side, which made it easy to defend. A movie company agreed to put in a dirt road in exchange for the right to film. In the 1950’s a second movie company paved the road. Today it is used for busses and on the week-ends for residents cars and trucks as they work on their houses.
The Acomas are matrilineal and the homes in Sky City are owned by female tribe members. The youngest daughter inherits. They cannot be sold. Non-Acomas cannot stay overnight and of course there is no Airbnb.
The residences are from one to three stories, and usually reached by means of ladders.
Each family is responsible for their own repairs and the only restriction is maintaining the earth colors, so in repairing the homes, concrete block, insulation and modern roofing is used.
Traditional Food can be had in the cafe at the visitor center.
Fifteen miles away, on I-40, is the Sky City Casino owned by the tribe and which provides income and tourists. The Casino has a hotel and an RV Center.
At the visitor center you buy your tickets, visit the museum and gift shop and eat at the restaurant.
You board a small bus and make about a 10 minute trip to the top with an articulate and knowledgeable guide. You can also walk up and down, but… remember your age.
- Tours: daily on the half-hour
- Location – 65 miles west of Albuquerque, NM, off of I-40.
- Hours: 9 – 5
- Cost – $20 for seniors
- Casino and Hotel –Sky City Casino Hotel
- Bus to top- Small bus
- Pottery- see museum and tables set up by residents.
- Toilets – Nice at Center on desert floor, port-a-potties on the mesa
- Museum – small but impressive – lots of excellent pottery
- The streets are dirt and rough. You can fall.
- Hot in the summer. Take a hat and water. Buy a bottle from tables
- Toilets are port-a-potties.
- Senior rate is $20.
- Senior Centers have tours at various times of the year – check bulletin boards and senior magazines at centers.
- There is an RV park next to the Casino.
- Never forget local Senior Centers. In Albuquerque, the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, has a trip to Sky City Cultural Center $ Haaku Museum on May 25, 2016. Depart at 8:00 am – return at 5:00 pm. $9.50 for transportation and $20 admission.
- See the ABQ 50+ Activities Catalog.
- Sky City Cultural Center.
- New Mexico True
I need a large “senior button” on my computer keyboard to take it into senior mode.
Pressing the button would disable everything I didn’t need including, without limitation, ads, spam, e-mails and anything except what I had specifically included.
The senior button has to be large, clearly marked and perhaps even a toggle switch or a button like the illustration that signals a bus driver that an old person wants off. I need to signal the computer that it needs to stop and let me off.
Pressing the senior button will disengage all the software and hardware, except for the following which would be in large print:
- E-mail from people I select.
- Skype in case my grandkids call.
- The obituary page of the local paper.
- Stock market update.
- Select telephone numbers that by clicking would dial select friends and family members.
- E-mail addresses with a picture of the recipient.
- An onscreen volume control so I can hear.
- Daily menu at the local senior center.
When the button was pressed a second time, it would re-enable the computer so that my grandkids could fix things.
This would be simple.
Think about it. old people suffer from too much, not too little; and not just in computers. Think about the world you occupy. There are too many choices that require too much time to learn.
Until we are old, most of us travel to vacation, to visit relatives or for business. After 60 there are other reasons to travel and to seek experiences that we did not seek when we were younger. This is not an exhaustive list, but simply the list of one old geezer. You should make your own list with this proviso: by definition travel is about the journey, not the destination; especially when you are old.
Geezer walking the Camino de Santiago 500 mile pilgrimage route at age 60.
Here are 10 ideas; none of which involve television. All will change you. They might even make you more interesting. Not the usual vacation.
- Pilgrimages – There are a number of great ones in addition to the Camino de Santiago. Try the Hajj Pilgrimage, Japanese Shikoku Pilgrimage, etc. Google: “Pilgrimages”
- Health – Spas, yoga camps, Blue Zones. Google: “Health”
- Genealogy – Don’t just trace your family history by sitting at a computer; trip it. Visit the homes of your ancestors; discover their environments. Visit their homes, schools, work places and cemetaries.
- Physical adventure – You can do more than you think. Road Scholar – Senior Olympics
- Out of your comfort zone. – Visit black churches, Mosque, Catholic Churches; 7th Day Adventists, etc. Visit nursing homes, assisted living facilities in various states – usually a free meal in exchange for the sales pitch. Find out what you have to look forward to.
- Volunteer – Habitat for Humanity, church groups, national parks, museums, nature centers, the list is endless.
- College – Seniors can usually get reduced tuition and in the summer dorm rooms. Try the London School of Economics for a summer dorm room.
- Reunions – What has your family, college, or town done since you left 50 years ago.
- Family – track down your living, and dead, relatives
- Political – Local, state and national – Indivisible – Remember the political activism of the 60’s. There is still a need and now you are older, smarter and richer. You can make a difference again!!!
Roma recycling discarded construction materials at Habitat For Humanity site in Macedonia.
GEEZER-POLLS FINDS 17 MILLION REPUBLICAN VOTERS DID NOT RECEIVE TREATMENT AFTER SHOOTING THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT!Posted: July 15, 2017
Infected Republican foot with self-inflicted bullet hole wound.
GEEZER-POLLS just announced that 17 million Republican voters who shot themselves in the foot in the last election have been denied medical treatment due to lack of medical insurance coverage. All refused Obama-care, and existing medical insurance has been cancelled due to proposed legislation that has confounded actuaries. The 17 million did not receive emergency room care, follow-up medical care, or psychiatric care due to being trumped six months ago. Many are wearing the bullet they used on a chain around their neck.
The most interesting part of the poll is that 15 million of the 17 million plan to shoot themselves in the other foot in 2018; even though none of the prior wounds have been medically treated and most are infected. Many have developed a red rash around their neck.
Republican members of Congress had, and have, concierge medical coverage and have been treated; however, each has a hard-to-see scar on their foot due to the fact that they keep their wounded foot in their mouth. All refused recommended psychiatric treatment.
Geezer-polls has a margin of error of plus or minus 99 %.
- Falling – If you fall, it may lead to the hospital or to not being discovered for a long time. And you forget the button that you are supposed to wear around your neck to call for help.
- Driving – You might have an accident, you might not pass the driver’s test, your kids may take your keys away, you may get lost and you will not know how to get home. What senior has heard of Uber or the bus line?
- Finances – Will your money last? Who is trying to get it? What if need long-term care? What about Medicaid?
- Memory – Not just a “senior moment” any more; you can’t remember where you left things, names, or what you did yesterday, etc
- Telling doctors your symptoms – The Dr. will make a record. The insurance company, MVD, your kids or the trustee under your Living Trust will take action. When you are old, you don’t want a record. What is the Dr.s duty?
- Medicines – You can’t keep track of them and you don’t know why you are taking them. – If you sell your opioids, you may go to jail, but you need the money.
- Caring for children – What if you screw up. they can talk you out of anything; they hide from you; and, teenagers want money and to use your spare bedroom.
- Eye exams – Will this keep you from driving ? Cataracts operation? Blind!!!
- Hearing tests – You never did like people with hearing aids and now you aren’t wearing yours. You are isolated and you still can’t make out the words, especially in a noisy restaurant. Plus, hearing aids are expensive, get lost, break, don’t work right and you forget to take them off in the shower.
- Hiring a contractor – What if he cheats you? How do you know what you need? Do you really need what he says. It is important to act like you are competent, so he doesn’t think you are dumb
- Travel – What if you get lost? How do you get the too-big suitcase in the overhead bin? Do you really need a wheel-chair? Plus, all the usual fears in this day of terrorism.
- Losing things – You put things under other things, or other things on top of the soon-to-be be lost things. Then you can’t find them and have to ask a kid, spouse, friend or stranger for help. And, you feel stupid. Every time you lose something, you know it is dementia.
- Dementia – You have to be really careful here. If you have Alzheimer’s, it is all in your mind; you forget that it won’t be your problem any longer; it will be someone else’s. The fearful time is just before you develop a full-blown case of some form of dementia, and you know something is wrong, but not what but you know you can’t really do anything about it.
And, of course, there are a lot more fears,
More and more seniors seem to be looking for alternative travel accommodation options. Today you have bed & breakfasts, Airbnb, Couch-surfing, hostels, refugios, and college campuses. Old people should ask a few questions and consider what they will be comfortable with. Since I turned 60, I have stayed in Airbnb’s, bed & breakfasts, hostels, refugios, houses and condos all arranged for in advance and at a distance, usually on websites. I have a few suggestions.
1. Will there be other guests? Are you comfortable sharing the facilities with strangers? Is the owner on premises?
2. Are there stairs? Does this give you a problem? Railings, carpeting, clutter?
3. Private bath? Do you have your own bathroom in your room? Does a bathroom outside your room have a secure lock? How many people use it?
4. Clean? You don’t need too much of someone else’s dirt at your age.
5. Kitchen? Can you cook? Store food? How many are cooking/cleaning at the same time?
6. How many people are you sharing with? Will you be comfortable?
7. Security? Bedroom? Bath? Entry doors?
8. Parking? Room for all the cars or do you have to walk in the dark?
9. Heating and cooling?
10. Access to owner/manager?
11. TV? Radio?
13. Bedside lights?
14. WiFi? Password?
15. Surroundings? Restaurants/pharmacy/urgent care/transportation/??
16. Photos – on webpage?
17. Comments on web page – read these and look for the negative ones.
18. Cork screw – Did you ever try to open a bottle of wine without one? Glasses, plates, silver, sharp knife, can-opener?
REMEMBER: You are old. You are interested in Comfort/Convenience/Security. You don’t want to stay in a place where you are uncomfortable.
1. Check out the web page.
2. Call the owner/manager and go over the specifics that are important to you.
3. Google Map the place – check out what is around there.
4. Say no if you feel uncomfortable; just don’t book.
5. Hope for the best!
Always have a PLAN B!