Greetings from the Eastern Sierra! We hope this Holiday Season finds you happy, healthy and prosperous! For us, life is an ongoing adventure. We feel so blessed to seek personal growth and new challenges as we are in our “Golden Years”! We also continue to feel blessed with good health and jobs we enjoy and a passion to learn new things! I recently had cryosurgery for early, non-invasive prostate cancer and am recovering.
My work at the Southern Inyo Hospital Medical Clinic has been reduced somewhat because of a low census of patients and also from a lack of funds. The facility is using Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants more and more in order to reduce payroll. Get ready for Obamacare and fewer doctors! We have yet to go to computerized medical records although they are impending at the office and have already been established at the hospital itself but it has been a nightmare. Look out for your privacy from governmental intervention including insurance companies and other agencies. My reduced income from the clinic situation is off-set by earnings from working for the Coroner’s Offices in Inyo and Mono Counties. The types of cases I get are varied: traffic accidents, unattended deaths, environmental, aviation crashes, suicides, etc. I remain the one and only autopsy surgeon for both Inyo and Mono counties. I find the coroner’s cases (even after 49 years) very interesting and challenging.
We have eliminated our competitive running. I still have a “string” of all of the first 30 local Wild Wild West Marathons. (We help mark the course each year for the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce). Some marathons have been run in each Continent. That totals 138 marathons as well as 60+ ultramarathons for me. Denise has completed 107 marathons and countless ultramarathons (she didn’t keep track of the ultras).
Denise and I exercise by riding our Yamaha 450 and 700 ATV Quads. We have a dog crate on Denise’s Quad and we have been getting out into Owens Valley and also on some of the approved roads in the mountains.
I continue to do a lot of digital photography at races and other events. It is fun to share those with our many running and biking friends. Wherever I go I take my Nikon camera and try to catch shots of the beauty of our world. I use a Nikon D700 camera with a 70-200mm VR (vibration reduction) zoom lens. Lately I have also been using a GoPro Hero 3 camera for interesting action shots. Sometimes I get remarkable images using my backup ($200) Olympus Stylus camera. Webshots changed over to Smile recently so I am not using it as much. There are now over 100 albums with over 2 million album reviews and several thousand downloads. I am in first place in the Extreme Sports category out of over 17,000 entrants. Our website has been renovated using Joomla templates (free downloads) and FileZilla for transferring files and images (FTP). I also use Google Drive for editing (live) my revised Badwater/Mt Whitney 146 link. This link features the runners who have completed the course between Badwater and the top of Mt Whitney of which there have been 230 crossing by 113 individuals. I no longer keep track of the many runners who do the Badwater Ultramarathon unless the top of the mountain is reached.
During the year we love to get the chance to see our children and grandchildren. Due to the vast distance between my adult children it is hard to see them all at the same time. My three children - Randy, Sara, and Shelly and the seven grandchildren are spread out from Kernville to Carlsbad (southern California) to as far away as Sonoma (northern California). As well, they have their own busy lives. It is hard for them to travel to our remote area (east-central California) with no access to any nearby airport. It often means days and many hours of driving for all of us to get to them. California is a huge state when it comes to trying to get together. Denise’s daughter, Angie and son-in-law, Craig, and three grandchildren (Grace, Shay and Ashton) live only 90 miles away at Crowley Lake near Mammoth. So we see them fairly often.
Denise continues to enjoy her cosmetology work three to five days-a-week. Part of her passion in life is staying updated and on top of her profession by getting advanced education. She continues to enjoy doing hair extensions and changes they can offer. These are very time-consuming arts and she indeed views her job as an art. She has had to incorporate more days and hours at times to accommodate the clients who have enjoyed these new services. She continues to do the corporate bookkeeping for the medical office. Between those two jobs and her fitness training, she keeps more than busy. Of course, she always loves to have her grandchildren either at our house or theirs. Denise, her daughter and grandkids went to Sparks, Nevada last June to a Girl Scout gathering. They then enjoyed the Sparks Water Park afterwards.
We have our two Jack Russell Terriers: Nike, age 6 ½, and Turbo, almost age 6. They are full of energy and play with all of their toys with vigor. For fun and exercise, we take them out in the desert or up on trails with our Yamaha ATV Quads. We have found some exciting and different mines this year which have been fun for us to explore.
We are still involved with the Badwater Ultramarathon in assisting runners achieve their goals in getting from Badwater, Death Valley to Whitney each year in July. I do most of the “ambassador” duties as well as taking digital images during the event (as mentioned above). Denise does her “Blister Queen” stuff with a “Fixing Your Feet” expert named John Vonhof (above) by helping runners either prevent blisters or treat them after they form. Many runners still come up to us and say they have seen “Running on the Sun”, “Life in Death Valley” and “The Distance of Truth” as well as having read, “To the Edge”. If interested you can “Google” these titles for ordering any of them. Denise still sells quite a few issues via books-on-demand: “Death Valley Ultras: The Complete Crewing Guide”. It is still quite popular and has undergone a second edition. Admittedly, this publication has only a small audience, but it gives great advice to those hoping to get their runner from Badwater to Whitney successfully.
I continue to spend quite a bit of time doing community service: Lions Club International, Adopt-A-Highway (litter pickup), and the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce. The former Volunteer Hospice of Southern Inyo is now inactive since the hospital achieved an inpatient hospice service under Medicare. Wild Iris (for victims of violence and abuse) is now inactive in Lone Pine and is based in Bishop however I am still available. The IMAAA Governing Board (Inyo Mono Area Agency on Aging) has been reorganized by the County Of Inyo and their Board members are now the Governing Board.
Please forward any new address information you have so we can update our files.
See below for the link. We are both on Facebook so check us out as “Badwater Ben Jones Lone Pine” and “Denise Jones Lone Pine”.
Ben and Denise Jones
PO Box “S”
Lone Pine, California, 93545