Daniel mentioned chicken and dumplings to me and the memory of my mom making my favorite dinner when I was a kid, flashed into my mangled mind. It was an amazing dish with big round two inch dumplings, big chicken pieces, and the classic sauce to die for.

I've only found two options for chicken and dumplings in this area. Striker's serves it once a week on Thursday at their early lunch, or I could drive down to Florence, AL to a Cracker Barrel.

Yea me, the cool old guy who was going to road trip hundreds of miles for an Indian meal, is considering driving 80 miles round trip for chicken and dumplings.

I like Florence Alabama. It's the big city next to me, where I go when small towns don't cut it. I love crossing the Dam and hanging out along the Tennessee river. Weather forecast is for 84.

The problem is, the chicken and dumplings at both locations look like shit. This may be the South but they fail on this one! Here's the Cracker Barrel version:

Lame! It looks like a TV dinner. Thanks guys, you saved me a trip.

I found an image of the Strikers plate, (and lost it) but it looked similar, in a bowl with flat dumplings. The South does not know how to make Chicken and Dumplings!

This is what I'm talking about, only with a bigger bowl and lots of chicken.

Some may wonder how I feel about Riley's new family. Raising him knowing I was not his biological father was an honor, an adventure, and some of the finest years I have spent alive.

I held him in my arms at the hospital, straight from a c-section on his mom. I fell in love with him and did everything I could to remain in his life, and I pulled it off!

Now he gets to meet a family he may of dreamed of. Real blood relatives of his father, a very dashing man that went by JP.

They live in Indiana and plans are underway about getting together for a big family reunion in Auburn, CA.

I just talked to Riley and I mentioned that I have a connection with Auburn CA, my grand mothers sister lived there, and I've been there many times.

btw: I'm invited!

A while back, my boy Riley's wife Jessica found his biological father, who had died. But he left behind a great large family, and the kids are now family with them.

Riley's oldest aunt and her daughter, his cousin, visited them at their home in Washington state. These two awesome women represent his new family. No more empty space with his real father.

The family resemblance is amazing!

Why am I still here? What do I still have to offer this existence called Life?

I offer a place for friends to drop by, I write stupid words on an old mans blog. I forgive people their weakness, because I have my own.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the hell out of life, I just keep having to ask the question, why?

Being retired and having the freedom to go anywhere I want to is cool, until I can't, because:

 • My body isn't working right, I walk like I'm drunk, sometimes I am. My right arm hurts.

 • Addictions have their hold on me.

 • I'm not motivated, my one self has not been able to produce any motivation, sadly.

Wishing my passenger seat was filled with a vivacious woman. I've been lucky to have Shelby and Mystery Woman ride shotgun with me recently, now it's empty.

The initial question was, why am I still here? I'm here because I was meant to be, to look you in the eyes through this screen with my words, and say hello.

I woke up this morning at 0500, planted my feet wobbly on the floor, and mumbled road trip. As I sipped my hot lemon drink I realized that I needed to shutdown this laptop and put it and all connectors into the back area of my old extended cab pickup truck.

Then ready my travel bag, gather up my beds top sheet and blanket, put them in the back of my truck. Swing by the bank and get some travel cash, breakfast on the Square, gas at Krogers.

Then drive five and a half hours to North Carolina to eat Indian food.

I was weighing the options on my laptop (Chai Pani is also in Decatur, GA), while watching a sappy movie I rented on Prime as 0700 approached. I wasn't packed, hell, I wasn't even dressed!

Still in my robe and a little sleepy, I laid down on my bed for a bit, until the phone rang. My first guess was friend and I was right. I knew he was off Wednesday.

He was headed to Square Forty to storm in over my breakfast and wish me well on the road trip. Instead, he came over here and got me stoned at 0806 in the morning.

I remember looking at my watch and knowing that I wasn't going anywhere today. As the minute hand rolled around the South end of 0800 heading North, I was making my first drink of the day.

Friend and I hung out and had fun for about an hour. I watched YouTube beach walking videos on the big screen while he scrolled through his phone.

So here I am now at 1000, friend is gone and I'm writing this pathetic post instead of doing, something...

Insert song: Poor Poor Pitiful Me.

I've already changed my road trip itinerary to, drive straight to Asheville, NC. I've found a cheap little motel for $69 plus tax next to a Red Lobster with a bar inside.

It's within a couple of miles of downtown Asheville, NC, where my Indian restaurant is.

Here's the plan, have breakfast at the Square at 0700. My bags will be packed in my truck and my house will be shut down. Hit my bank and grab some cash.

The route directly to Asheville is 371.88 miles long and takes 5 hours 51 minutes, running Northeast of Nashville. If I gas up after breakfast I should be there around 1400.

Check into the motel then drive to the Indian restaurant and fulfill a goal. After which, I will drive back to the motel, park my truck, and write a blog post.

Then try out the lobster appetizers at the bar.

If anyone would like to sit in my passenger seat for a few days, let me know quickly and I'll work out a different hotel. As it stands, I don't give a flying fuck where I crash for the night, as long as it's not in jail.

I was watching Colorado coach Deion Sanders in an interview. I'm almost pretty sure I think these words come out of his mouth: It is what it is, it was what it was, it is what it was, and was what it is.

I discovered that I do a good rap version of this phrase, in Deion's style. maybe I'll do a video one day.

We have a nice stretch of weather coming up. A normal guy in my condition would consider a day trip to Chattanooga, followed by a meal at Chai Pani in Asheville, NC. Straight shot back on Friday, make the County Fair on Saturday.

Sleep in my truck at Chattanooga, get a nice downtown hotel in Asheville.

Wish me luck getting off my old sore depressed ass!

Back when I was driving the Paratransit Bus at the base of the Grand Tetons, Idaho side, I started transporting a young man named Charley. A very handsome kid, always with a big smile on his face, and he was non-verbal.

His parents were Wallace and Abby Couch, an attractive and smart young couple from Tennessee. They bought a great spread down near Tetonia, and were working it. Wallace was a Civil Engineer and Abby had some mysterious professional remote job. Charley had two younger brothers.

They had a long circular driveway off a dirt road out in the sticks of nowhere. Since our elevation was 6500 feet at the base of a ski resort, it used to snow a lot.

Getting from the main highway to their place in the snow was tough, going down that driveway was brutal. One frozen afternoon I was trying to drop Charley off and got stuck near the entrance. They saw me and came out to my bus, Abby got Charley, but Wallace had a bottle of good whiskey in his hand and invited me in for drinks.

I had to decline, sadly, for many reasons, but my main responsibility was to unstuck that bus and get back to base. Always regretted not getting to know them in off time, they were great.

I got Abbys email address somehow a few years back and we stayed in touch. I just got one today, it's been a couple of years, and she mentioned she had quit her job and Wallace was picking up contract work to make ends meet.

Why would a vibrant smart lovely woman in her prime, mid to late thirties, quit her job? It could be illness (god I hope not), pregnancy (ahh, I doubt it) or just to be with her family (I hope so).

They also have an invite to drop down here to see me if they ever get home to see mom and dad.

It's a beautiful 72 degree lunch hour in the Park, and Fall's almost here, once again. The trees are shedding their leaves slowly and on time, while the Sun lays lower on the land.

This is a pain free zone for me (unless I stretch my arm). Parked at Shelter Six as the disabled folks and their clients have Seven. Sitting in my truck, pain still neutralized, master of my own direction and destination, wondering what happens next...

Telling myself to be real, speak honestly, and turn my fucking filters off!

I had a great time with family up in Nashville last month, but life has been on a steady decline ever since. Painful seems to be the dominant word to describe it.

The pain in my right arm has not declined and I just manage it now. Knowing I will die alone, lost love, lost friends, lost faith, pains my old heart.

Accepting the fact that I'm not capable of changing any of that, is the heaviest pain of all. And, like my arm, I just manage it.

As it stands right now, my faith in humanity, friendship and love is teetering on the brink, and I don't know where I'll land when I fall over it!