Last night in Kentucky

Tomorrow I start the long drive back to Socal. Louisville to OK City, then to Gallup NM, and then to Fallbrook on Day 3. Another road trip, another three days to keep the wheels between the lines and think about things. It was anticipation all the way here; returning thoughts will be more retrospective and as I cross into the great Southwest, definitely anticipation about getting home.

It’s been great – I got tons of time with Em, Greg, Hudson and Jesse, which was the whole point. I probably spent more time with them than if I were living here full time – that’s natural, knowing that we had a limited time together. But it was sure better than just a weekend. Qualitatively and quantitatively better.


I got lucky with the AirBnB, this was a really good setup. Love the location – I didn’t realize how central the Frankfort Avenue area is to everything.

Here are some of the better pictures I took on the trip, culled from hundreds taken.

Sunrise in Oklahoma, 6am.


A beautiful trail at Creasy Mahan Nature Preserve.


A tired but loving Mom.


Great Blue Heron at Taylorsville Lake.


The water boys at the lake.


Me and Jesse.


Hudson feeding horses at an historic community farm whose name I will have to find.


And there were some great memories that I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of:

  • Golf with Greg and cousins Donnie and Chris at Hunting Creek.
  • Dinner at Le Relais with Mike.
  • All the great scenery on the drive east.
  • A nice impromptu lunch with cousins Chris and Marcie at a restaurant on the Ohio River.
  • Seeing Jesse’s weird little baby smiles.
  • The amazing, powerful thunderstorms that regularly blow through here. I miss these so much in Socal.

Next post…either in route or at home. Three time zones, 2100 miles and a world away.



Kentucky update, 6/22

Random musings after two weeks in Louisville.

I’ve been here almost two weeks and the weather was unseasonably mild most of that time. It was great, but real KY summer weather showed up 2-3 days ago: 95 degrees F and humid. Now that I think of it, the hot weather pretty much showed up promptly on the summer solstice, June 20th. Figures. Long, hot days…classic Kentucky summer. When I was young I could run, practice football, play basketball, do hard labor at the lumberyard in this heat and not really feel it. Now if I try to just walk a half mile in this heat I’m gasping. Not good.

One big unknown in my lack of fitness is whether I’ve actually had COVID-19 or not. I spent quite a bit of sleepless time last night thinking about it, and I’ve got myself convinced that I did in fact have it. A mild case, correlating to my O blood type. The symptoms were there – a cough that lasted 3 weeks, a sore throat, extreme fatigue, and then later coughing up phlegm as I recovered. I still don’t have the lung capacity or ability to exert myself that I did in January. So I’m self-classifying myself as one of the recovered. I’ll still socially distance and wear masks around others indoors (I’m convinced, but not reckless/stupid).

I’ve now driven to Ashland and back twice to visit my Dad (who’s doing fine, picture below with Phyllis in their isolation chamber), and the drive is beautiful but tedious. Green, green, green…so much green. Basically it’s a drive through 200 miles of forest with just an occasional pasture or river. The green satisfies a deep need in me, but six hours of it at a time (round trip)…that’s the tedious part.


Had a great Father’s Day with Emily and the grandkids (picture below). Spent lots of time with them (that’s pretty much the point of this trip), and Emily took me to a wine bar I’ve wanted to visit: Cuvee Wine Table. Great place, and we had lots of 2 ounce tasters of wines from all over. My favorite was a 2012 Gran Reserva Rioja.


The new season of Yellowstone started on Father’s Day. Absolutely love that show, and it’s Costner’s best role ever. I plan to go back and watch all the episodes from the first two seasons – it’s that good.

I thought of one other KY name for a creek: “ford”. I’ll add that to the original list.

Fishing, golfing, napping and noshing

Big day today.

Took grandson Hudson fishing again, but this time for real. He enjoyed it, Greg and I loved it. We didn’t catch anything except a lot of great memories. My fishing buddies are in the picture above and below.


After fishing, stopped by Wild Eggs for a simple brunch. Their food is always good, but I remember the portions being bigger.

Ran some errands for Em, then took a retirement nap. I do love those retirement naps – having poor nighttime sleep habits is easier to deal with when you can settle in for a 2pm nap.

Next I spent a while trying to find my golf swing at the Senenca Park Golf Course, which has a nice driving range. Apparently this course is played more than any other in KY – very popular and convenient. Another great product of the Louisville metro parks system, which I now believe is the best in the nation.

Good thing I only went to the range – within three swings my back tweaked and every swing thereafter was…painful. And awkward. Between the bad knee, bad shoulder and now the back, I’m ready to turn this carcass in for a new one. “Gettin’ old ain’t for sissies” – Jim Moore, said many times.

Finished the day with a quick stop at Louvino, one of my favorite Louisville restaurants. It’s not the same; they’re operating with a reduced menu and a skeleton crew. Just had an hors d’ouvre and a glass of Carmenere. Sat at an outside table on the sidewalk and watched the Bardstown Road traffic and oddballs go by. Amazing how many people decide to burn rubber at the stoplights on Bardstown. I mean, the traffic is bad, but accelerating hard for 150 feet doesn’t help you much. It’s entertaining, though.

It helped that this is another atypical cool, breezy, low humidity day in Louisville. I brought the San Diego weather with me, I suppose. You’re welcome.

First fishing trip

Spent a fine morning today at Louisville’s amazing Parklands, this time at the Boone Bottoms Trail along Floyd’s Fork. Grandson Hudson had a great time with his new fishing rod (above). Once he got bored with faux-fishing, he happily threw every rock he could lift into the water.

The river itself was beautiful. There’s something about these KY streams that I find comforting. Peaceful and calming.


The Fuji camera and long lens worked just fine in these light conditions. I managed to get a picture of a black and blue dragonfly, something I had never seen before.


A simple day, a great little family outing.


Always darkest just before the dawn

Headline picture above is of the nice sunrise I was gifted as I left Tulsa at 6am.

Had a discussion / almost argument with my daughter today about the Democrat’s rallying cry of “defund the police”. She pretty much likes the slogan at face value. I respect her opinion, but I don’t understand it or agree with it. In my opinion, that is a terrible, election-losing slogan. It’s a slogan that is so easy to turn back against the Demos, and effectively – much like Hilary’s unfortunate quote about “a basket of deplorables”. That quote cost her a LOT of votes in 2016. The Demos have again proven to be completely clueless about memes and the power of slogans, and the Repubs just the opposite. They have some messaging geniuses in their camp. We have…zealots.

No one in their right mind wants to eliminate the police. But that’s exactly how the opposition will spin that slogan. Cop culture certainly needs to change, but human nature is eternal – there will always be bad people, criminals, that we need police to deal with. So let’s not give the Repubs a wedge to drive between moderate Americans and a vote for sanity (i.e, Biden). Win the election and then make the necessary changes.

In other news my AirBnB host added a new table, chairs and umbrella to the little backyard deck attached to the house. It’s great – that’s where this post is being written. This ABnB is pretty much the best ever, and I’ll detail that in my review. It’s nice to get lucky like this on a long stay.

In other other news, staying keto is pretty much impossible on this trip. I give up. Pizza, exotic sandwiches, bakeries everywhere…it’s enough to make a carnivore surrender. And…pimento cheese. Every little grocery carries a unique style of pimento cheese and I have no defense. Must try them all. And you have to have crackers or bread to spread the pimento cheese upon. I always wondered why people in the south have a weight problem, and this is pretty much it. Pimento cheese.

Finally…Emily got a bunch of family pictures from a pro photographer today. Here’s an example. Pretty sweet.

The Monsma Family

First full day in KY

Quick updates after a day back in the heartland:

  • Got my rapid COVID test results (thanks, Donnie!). Negative, so no worries around the kids and family.
  • Got to hold new grandson Jessamine for a long time today. It was worth the trip. Picture above was before receiving test results.
  • Have a great little bistro / wine bar just a block from the BnB – Varanese. Talked at length to the owner Dave, who is also a wine enthusiast. Had a great little GSM from Australia (yes, Australia!). Brother Mike and I met there, sat outside in the diminishing heat.
  • Breakfast and brunch here have become complicated. There are so many takeout orders, if you just show up for a coffee and a bite it takes forever. Tested the old patience first thing today.
  • Wicked hot and windy here today (93F), but supposed to cool down and be much less humid for the next week.
  • I’ll give it another night or two before final judgement, but my first night on the BnB mattress was amazing. Best mattress ever, I think. It’s a Zinus.

All in all, an excellent first day.


Time and space

Just a quick note on the road to KY. After two hard days of driving east, I can safely say:

  • It takes a helluva lot of time to drive across our great nation
  • There’s a lot of empty space in between here and there. A LOT.
  • I’m very grateful for the interstate highway system. It works. If we tried to build it today, it would cost a septillion dollars and take 50 years. In the 60s they spent only a few billion, and the total cost to date is less than $500B. They were real engineers in the 60s – they also sent people to the Moon.
  • I’m very grateful for the superb German engineering embodied by my BMW. It truly is the ultimate driving machine.
  • We should all realize we live in an age of wonders. Yes, there’s a lot of bad shit happening, but we’ve come to take for granted certain miracles like routine air travel. I’m driving 30 hours to get somewhere that in January I could reach in just over six hours, door to door. I’ll never take that for granted again.
  • There are only five main geologic zones between my CA home and my KY destination. It’s really clear when you drive across them.
    • The great America southwest desert.
    • Mountains, either the Rockies or the Lagunas or both.
    • The Kaibab plateau.
    • The Great Plains.
    • The forested green zone starting somewhere in Oklahoma.
  • Hotel rooms without a corkscrew should be illegal. Just saying.



Here are some numbers that caught my attention today:

  • It’s rained about a tenth of an inch here today, unexpectedly. That brings our annual rainfall to 20 inches, compared with our 14.5 inch historical average. Not bad.
  • I start my 2100 mile, 30+ hour drive in a few days. Big numbers.
  • I start my drive exactly 90 days after we first hunkered down. Only 90 days and it feels like a year.
  • I’ve read 40 books so far this year. I set that as my 2020 goal in January, via Goodreads. Sorta blew through that number.
  • It’s 151 days until the 2020 Presidential election. I hope we can make it that long.
  • This weekend, or no later than Monday, the US will have counted 2,000,000 COVID-infected citizens and 112,000 of them will have died. Before it’s all over (a vaccine), I’ll predict those totals will be 1.5-2x as large. Just 90 days ago, unimaginable.
  • Biden, God bless him, just can’t help himself. he just got quoted as saying 15-20% of Americans aren’t very good people. While I agree with that, it’s something that can derail a Presidential campaign (see Hilary’s infamous quote about “a basket of deplorables”) and mobilize your opponents. He knows better, putting a number out there or even the thought was dumb, but he doesn’t have an effective filter between brain and mouth.
  • Just 5 years ago this week we attended the wedding of one of my good friends and golf buddies, Scottie. He, his lovely bride and their loyal hound are pictured above. It was a very nice wedding.

June gloom

It’s June. 87 days into The Great Disruption, by my count. Hard to believe. Socal weather is in its “June gloom” cycle and the rest of the country is saying goodbye to spring and hello to summer. June gloom was never so apt a description.

Even harder to believe is the shitshow happening across the country. Killings, riots, protests and politicians doing exactly the wrong things at the wrong time. The 2020 elections can’t come soon enough.

I’m on my way soon to see these fine people (below). New grandson Jessamine is doing great, and first grandson Hudson is growing up soooo fast. Too fast. I’ll be very happy to see them.