This story dates to Spring 2005. We were once again on one of our ridiculously long Secret Shopper Trips. We'd been out for weeks by late May 2005 and were in kind of a "blur mode" with where we were and where we were going.
It was Memorial Day weekend 2005 and we'd just finished up a three-interview day somewhere in Montana. We had no clue where we'd spend the night. After our last interview, we pulled off on a wide spot beside some road and looked at the Montana highway map. It showed a "camp symbol" not far from our location west of Butte.
So, we shrugged and headed for the camp symbol. By and by, a sign on the highway pointed to a "campground" to the left. So, we dutifully turned left and began driving down a nicely graded road.
Back then we drove a Big Chevy pickup with a poptop camper in the bed and towed a Suzuki Samurai, one of 7 such specimens we once owned.
By and by, the road turned from A-OK to s***and we were forced to disconnect the Samurai. As we proceeded, the road dived down a ridiculously steep, slippery grade into a narrow canyon. Susun drove the Samurai while I gripped white knuckles to the Big Chevy steering wheel.
When we got to the bottom of the grade, we could see a campground to our left. At that point it was a dead end road so there was no where else to go.
We turned left into Deliverance.
A large group of Deliverance men stood staring at us with long-handled axes in one hand, whiskey bottles in the other hand and hog leg revolvers on their hips. OH! MY! GOSH!
Well, we had no choice but to drive into their midst and take the ONLY remaining campsite left in that tiny campground.
It turned out that the campsite was vacant because it had THE Best Axe Tree. That's right, those bubbas were having an axe throwing Memorial Day weekend. We're talking long-handled, double-bit axes. You've got to be a BIG Bubba to throw a long-handled, double bit axe, especially from 50 feet!
But these guys were larger than life and they were ALL drunk as skunks. They didn't give a diddly damn if we parked in front of "their tree" they still kept their axes whizzing right beside out camper. They somehow had some unwritten code that each axe thrower had to throw his axe while holding a whiskey bottle in the other hand.
When one of then would actually throw the axe perfectly and it would embed in "The Axe Tree," everybody would pull out their hog leg .45 Long Colt revolvers and shoot reckless rounds into the night sky.
So, I didn't have any real choice, I HAD to play Forrest Gump and I really played my role well. I climbed out of the camper and said, "Well, what's ya'll doin' there boys, that there sure looks like FUN!"
Well, they kinda adopted me and helped me understand their axes and the pseudo-science of axe throwing and whiskey drinking and hog leg shootin' and it was a rootin', tootin', hootin' Danged Good Time.
They thought we were cool and we thought they were cool. I tell you what, I got to see some WORLD CLASS axe throwing that night and some righteous revolver shootin', too.
When I came back into the poptop, Susun had made bean burros and forever after we've called them "Bubba Wraps."
Friday, October 30, 2020
This story dates to Spring 2005. We were once again on one of our ridiculously long Secret Shopper Trips. We'd been out for weeks by late May 2005 and were in kind of a "blur mode" with where we were and where we were going.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Living near a tourist mecca brings an annual tsunami of travel trailers, motorhomes and tricked out vans to the highways criss-crossing Eastern Idaho.
Every year just like the proverbial clockwork, some of those rigs get in trouble, often BIG trouble! They crash. They burn. They roll over and disintegrate. Local media is pretty good about covering these breaking bad episodes.
Another such incident took place in Idaho Falls August 18, 2020. Idaho State Patrol said, "Appears something may have broke on the trailer." We've read that snippet fairly often over the years and it haunts us.
And over the years, we've found all sorts of trouble waiting to happen on our travel trailer. How 'bout severe stressing cracking on the front of the hitch? It should have cracked off but we caught it before it did. How 'bout amazing stress cracking on the rear bumper? It should have fallen off but we caught it before it did. How 'bout bad spring shackles? They were an eyelash from breaking in half but we caught them before they did? How 'bout a bad, misaligned axle that caused rapid, excessive tire wear and tire overheating that should have caused a sudden blow out? Luckily, we ID'd and remedied the situation before it caught us by surprise. How 'bout two safety chains woefully inadequate to hold the trailer in event of a hitch failure? Luckily, we detected that issue and now have safety chains strong enough to lift the trailer off the ground if necessary. How 'bout bad wheel bearings? Oh, yeah, let me tell ya about wheel bearings. We now service them once a year and lubricate them between each and every trip. Peace of mind ain't cheap and sometimes it's downright dirty but whatever it takes, we're ALL IN.
How 'bout an inverter that should have caught fire but miraculously didn't? Yep, replaced that, too. How 'bout an old refrigerator that could have injured or even killed us with a sudden escape of all its ammonia? Now we don't even bother with an onboard fridge. And how 'bout a leaking propane system that could have exploded? Yep, found it early and got 'er fixed. New trailer brakes? Got them, too. We carry two spare tires, redundant hitch jacks and much more that I can't even remember right now.
It's all about regular inspection, early detection, rapid repair and ongoing replacement. There's just no other way to roll.
People towing older trailers are really riverboat gamblers disguised as tourists. They are routinely endangering themselves and their fellow travelers. Each year the local media chronicles a litany of "all the usual suspects": Blow tires, burned bearings. Wheels flying off, trailers too big for the tow vehicle causing a rollover; people too cheap to buy anti-sway bars getting swerved into a collision. Propane tanks catching fire. You name it, we've read about it....or seen the aftermath first hand. When a travel trailer rolls over it just doesn't get a few dents and dings. Nope. It explodes in a tornado of cheap, thin fake wood and tiny little so-called studs. Travel trailers are a lot like eggs. Once you break 'em, there's no way to put 'em back together. They're G-O-N-E!
That's why our travel trailer life revolves around "Inspect, detect, repair and replace." Ain't no other way to roll!
Be safe and travel smart! Happy Trails!
Sunday, August 9, 2020
(Editor's Note: Photos were added to this post using the Mobile Blogger App after the post was written on the laptop.)
|You wouldn't think we could spend all day on this small space.|
But we did!
Why and how is it that we can ALWAYS find something to tinker with on, in or related to out 16-foot travel trailer. You'd think that we would ahve long ago run out of things to tinker with. It never ceases to amaze me that we tinker with the little things practically everyday. Of course, we don't begrudge that reality. Nope, we actually enjoy that reality. Tinkering is one of our fun nebulous hobbies. The travel trailer provides a seemingly endless cornucopia of Tinker Toys.
Yesterday is a classic example. We spent HOURS tinkering with condiments. Seriously? Yes, indeed.
You see, space is very limited in such a small travel trailer. There is only a portion of one small overhead cabinet that can be used for oils and condiments. It's less than one cubic foot....way less. I can't even begin to quantify the number of hours we've spent tinkering with that small space.
We have a plastic container that's supposed to hold canola oil, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Trouble is that is has NEVER held all of those items. It's held a few but never all of them. So yesterday was THE Day to tinker with that small plastic container and force it to hold those five items. That's why I spent hours tinkering with condiments. Every single original store-bought bottle is far too large to share space in the small plastic container with the hour other store-bought bottle. Producers of each of those five ingredients want you to use a LOT of the stuff they sell. So the first step is to sell you a large bottle of their stuff, far larger than you will need for a long time. Even the smallest bottle of either canola or olive oil is insanely large. Ditto the others.
So the challenge was to find five appropriate bottles that could fit comfortably in the small plastic container without having to cram them into their tiny spot. You'd think it would be EZPZ to find such bottle. HAHAHA! You'd think WRONG! After several hours of searching around town in several stores, we finally did find five such bottles. But then each bottle had to be "treated." That meant removing the labels, cleaning out the old contents, removing adhesive residue from the outside, drying, etc. But we finally did "git 'er dun" after all these years. All five ingredients are FINALLY united in the same small plastic container and will be easier than ever to reach up and obtain for cooking on the travel trailer stove top.
While we were at it, we redesigned the remainder of the small space and also have better than ever containers for salt & pepper, two bottle of hot sauce, Parmesan cheese and Thai green curry. That small space is the best organized it's ever been and we're quite proud of it. We don't care that it took hours yesterday. We don't even think about the time spent. We think only of the results..and they are good.
Today, we will turn our attention to the herbs and spices drawer and then to the pantry. One thing we know for sure after all these years...we will NEVER be done tinkering with this (or any other) travel trailer. It's ALL part of the process and all part of the FUN!
Since we're determined to put up one post a day, we really needed to have a was to post while on the road. We're heading up to Island Park Tuesday for our third camping trip there this summer. It's nice to know we will be able to blog from the phone. In case yer curious, there are all the OLD water pipes the city contractors have pulled our of 12th Street. The new pipes are huge compared to these old 1930's pipes.
Saturday, August 8, 2020
We first got together in September 1987. We then proceeded to live happily ever after. Well, along about after 27 years together, we up and decided to tie the knot. We both think it was in 2014 but neither of us can remember. Sounds about right.
But first, we must digress. We got married the first time without knowing about it. It happened on May 26, 2001, in the Escalante, Utah, Town Plaza. I introduced Susun as "my wife." After all, we were in a heavily LDS community that would have frowned an unmarried couple living together at Cowpuncher Guard Station up north of town.
Anyway, the very second I uttered those words, Utah State Law declared us man and wife. If course, we didn't know it at the time and it was many months before we read the Utah Common Marriage Law. All you have to do to get married in Utah is pronounce your spouse as your spouse. POOF! Yer married!
Well, back a few years ago we decided we oughta get married right and proper, like with a license and stuff. Anyway, August 8th that year was a Friday and it also happened to be the weekend of The Idaho Falls Roarin' Youth Jam. Susun had agreed to volunteer for the Habitat For Humanity booth down beside the Snake River on the Greenbelt. Susun's job was to run the toilet bowl. Say what?
Seriously. Kids would come up to the booth and Susun would hand them a ball and they would try to throw it into the toilet bowl. The title of the toilet bowl gig was "Make a Splash For Habitat." Of course, most kids love any parody of a toilet bowl so they were lined up anxiously awaiting their turns to make a splash. Naturally, Susun wore some old clothes that would still look OK after all the toilet stuff went down.
Well, sometime that morning, I got the bright idea to get married. It wasn't something we had talked about but I figured "eight-eight" sounded pretty good and so why not? Well, so Susun took a break from her toilet duties and we went across the street to the County Courthouse and bought ourselves an actual marriage license. It wasn't real expensive--$28 as I recall.
Well, Susun then resumed her splash management duties and eventually came home for a nap. Meanwhile, I was busily engaged in trying to find some appropriate official to marry us. It's not as easy as it sounds. Idaho Falls isn't exactly known as a Marriage Mill. Well, by and by, I learned that a well known retired Bonneville County Judge performed THREE marriages a week and ONLY on Friday afternoon. You needed to have $25 CASH--NO checks accepted.
The Clerk's Office told me she had only ONE opening left that day and I better hurry to make an appointment. Luckily, I was able to do so and then I rushed home. "Wake, up, wake up, Susun, we gotta go get married." Susun groggily arose from her cozy napping nook and we rushed off to the Courthouse. After all, it was Friday and time was quickly slipping away.
The Lady Judge escorted us into her old Courtroom, the one where she had presided since like forever before she retired. And she was a gabby judge. We got to talking about the Teton Dam Flood in 1976 and she showed us where she put her back to the wall of the Court room and felt the whole Court House vibrate. Well, Susun was getting pretty impatient with all this gabby flood stuff.
So, the Judge rather begrudgingly stopped talking about the flood and said some words and pronounced us Man and Wife. And then we rushed off to get the license duly recorded before closing time. We made it with 5 minutes to spare. That minor detail cost $10 so the total cost of our wedding was $63 and there were a total of three people in attendance. Sorry, no cake.
Anyway, once in awhile, Susun puts on her grubby old clothes she wore that day and I always compliment her on her wedding dress.
We don't have any pictures of our wedding. It's just a memory that comes around once every year on eight-eight.
Happy Anniversary, Sweetie Susun, I LOVE YOU!
Friday, August 7, 2020
Well, we're not a newcomer so that leave only one other possible description for us. Luckily, we've never shied away from weather predicting just because we're foolish. We enjoy the intricate challenges of weather prediction and so we foolishly forge on.
Our weather predicting penchant periodically ebbs and flows according to a fairly predictable annual cycle. At some times of the year, we're silent and don't bother with weather. Generally, we're most active in the wet seasons. However, our forecasting typically comes alive right about now in early August as we attempt to read the tea leaves portending the changes of seasons from Summer to Fall.
In Arizona, that would be a colossal waste of time and truly foolish! Here in Eastern Idaho, it's quite a bit of fun since it is SO subtle, SO inscrutable and yet SO real. You see, Fall tends to come early here in Eastern Idaho and it typically catches people by surprise. Why? Well, the biggest factor is almost certainly the juxtaposition of Hellacious High Heat when a sudden stealthy surge of tell tale Fall weather conditions.
For example, a week ago we were quite literally cookin' here in Idaho Falls. In fact, the cook had the oven cranked up and our daily high temps were breaking records. Any time a summer high temp record gets broken you can pretty well assume is actually, really is HOT!
OK, here we are a mere one week later talking about the onset of Fall. Is that crazy foolish or what? On the surface, it seems rather insane but Eastern Idaho is filled with climatic surprises and a sudden shift to Fall weather often happens to be one such surprise. We suspect such a surprise is in store for Year Twenty Twenty.
Let's review the current situation and then indulge in some delightful speculation. First things first.
We believe last week's record-breaking temps were the "high point" of our typical summer heat wave.
There's no evidence or hint in the forecasts that anything approaching those temps seen last week are on the horizon between now and next year. Yes, we will see occasional temps in the low 90's but that's a far cry from the nearly 100 degrees recorded a week ago.
Meanwhile temps are beginning to trend downward, especially in the mid and high elevations. Everybody knows Fall usually tips its hand by early September. Pretty much anybody can look up at the sky in mid-September and nod knowingly and pontificate that "Fall Is Here."
If we look at the Climate Prediction Center's 8-14 day forecast, we see below normal temps are forecast. Meanwhile the Old Farmer's Almanac concurs that seasonal cooling is very likely. Those are the high cards in our poker hand to predict the onset of Fall. It's nearly guaranteed we will be cooling off nicely between now and mid-August. Once we get to mid-August, it's almost impossible for the mind-melting high temps to return. Also, needless to say, mid-August is a LOT closer to the time when everybody knows Fall is here.
There will come a time between today, August 7th and September 7th when you will actually be able to "Feel Fall" in the air. Yes, it does have a tangible feeling. It also seems to have a tangible smell as well. There's something that changes in the air quality.
That's why we're just sayin' that we've turned the corner and we're headin' down that good ridin' road to Fall. It appears our transition from Summer to Fall will be a dry one this year. In any event, your loco Fool on 12th St. is on record as predictin' Fall is right around the corner.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
We love to write about historical topics just as we love to talk about such stuff. We know that few of the Friends of our personal Facebook care much (if at all) about history. However, we DO know numerous of the nearly 600 Friends of our personal Facebook who DO care about "all things history." Meanwhile, we were (and remain) loathe to clutter up our personal Facebook with history-related posts of interest to only a very few readers. So what to do?
Why create Facebook History Pages, of course! It's EZPZ to create a Page and insanely easy to manage a Page. We have 100% control over a Page and don't have to worry about the rules and regs of anyone but ourselves. We can posts whatever we want whenever we want however we want. The Major Bonus of a Page is that we can easily share ANY of the posts we create on any given Page with anyone or any Group of our choosing. Meanwhile, ALL history-related posts are now taken off our personal Facebook page and relegated to a specific zone.
We started by creating an Arizona History Stories Page in late 2019. It proved to be immediately popular and quickly grew in numbers of Likes and Followers. In early 2020, we then created a companion Utah History Stories Page. Finally in May 2020, we added an Idaho History Stories Page.
The Arizona Page just recently cleared the 1,500 benchmark in Followers. Idaho cleared its own benchmark of 500 Followers and Utah is close behind with 476. Utah is such a history-rich state that it's very slow getting either Likes or Followers there.
Another statistic we watch is known as "People Reached." Basically it's Facebook's way to quantifying who SAW any given post or post component. That doesn't mean they were "engaged" in a post or post component--just that they saw it. We keep a keen eye on People Reached because it is a barometer of how our work is received, so to speak.
As of August 6, 2020, our combined People Reached for all three Pages is a whisker over 32,000. That breaks down with 14,000 for Idaho, 7,700 for Utah and 10,500 for Arizona. Idaho and Arizona play tag for which Page has the most weekly People Reached. Utah always lags behind but still has healthy numbers.
We first began reaching out to people about history-related topics in the early 1980's. By the mid-1980's we were earning a significant amount of our annual income by giving paid history-related slide shows to various groups. A typical attendance for any given slide show would be around 50 people. It was a VERY Good Day if there were 100 or more people in the room. Without exception, some people came up after each slide show to ask questions or tell stories. Typically two or three people stayed around to gab. The most I ever recall coming up after a slide show was perhaps ten people.
So, back in those days, our "People Reached" stats were pretty danged low, maybe 150 a week max. but most often far, far less. That's just one reason why it's so gratifying to see today's People Reached statistics. It's amazing. We can also keep track of the People Reached stat for any given post on any given page. One of our posts on the Arizona Page now has over 13,000 People Reached. And that just for a single post.
So, how do we accumulate such eye-popping numbers? Well, it's EZPZ. We belong to many, many Facebook History Groups in three states. Some of those groups have over 30,000 members. All of them have several thousand members and none have less than 2,000 members. So, we simply share our Page posts on various groups. We typically design our own posts to appeal to certain specific groups. Think of it as if we were preparing a post to a Group. Well, we do the same thing on one of our Pages. And then we simply share it to the appropriate group(s).
Meanwhile, by doing so in this manner we retain the ability to share a Page Post with another Group or a personal Friend. It's a win-win for us and creates compelling content for whatever group we aim to please.
We have a common theme for the appearance of all three pages. We use each state's very first official seal as our profile graphic. All three seals are far, far removed from the appearance of modern state seals. We typically change the cover photo on a frequent basis. Most of our posts involve some aspect of trails, roads, highway and transportation infrastructure. We keep a close eye on all commentary and remove any irrelevant comments. So far, so good.
One of the most fun things about our history gig is the commentary we receive. Most of the time the comments are appended to the posts on private history groups so they aren't seen my readers of our pages. It's incredibly gratifying to read the comments we receive each and every day. Sometimes they make us laugh and sometimes they make us cry. But either day they are priceless and special benefits of the time and effort we put into out posts.
Well, we've been meaning to do a thorough explanation of our history pages and so there ya go.
Thanks for reading. Happy History!
History Pages links:
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
I had a stamp collection. It never amounted to much but at least I tried. It didn't take long to lose interest because it was SO complex and also downright expensive in terms of a 1950's Kid Budget, such as it was.
When I was going through the detritus of my Mom's Estate in January 2012, I found remnants of my stamp collection. They were some pretty sorry looking stamps and held no nostalgic value for me. They were so worthless I had to throw them away, along with...well...we won't go there. That's a topic for another time and place.
Well, wouldn't you know? I've come full circle in my 72nd year. I'm collecting stamps again. HA! HA!
How so? Please explain.
Heck no, I ain't lost my mind, I just realized I want some nice lookin' old stamps to add some bling to the envelopes that will carry my typewritten letters to the recipients of such a retro artifacts.
Let's face it. The Postal Service has dumbed down postage stamps until they are so danged boring it would be more fun to watch paint dry that peel and stick a stamp. As a stamp geek, there's nothin' more fun that lickin and stickin' a stamp right smack dab on the envelope. Self adhesive stamps should be against the law but, alas, they are not.
I didn't realize I had any stamp collecting mojo left in my aging DNA. But then by pure happenstance I found a great looking stamp printed in 1936 called the "Oregon Territory" stamp. You can see it right up yonder at the top of this here blog post.
Look at ALL the cool stuff on that stamp. Man, now THAT's a Stamp! Well, anyway, it was Love At First Sight when I spotted that stamp. I jumped on eBay and couldn't even believe I could buy a sheet of 50 for a mere $10. I said, "You GOT to be kidding!"
But, yes, it was totally true and all I had to do was press "Buy It Now" and I didn't even have to quibble or biddle or whatever.
By and by, I realized that idea had a whole lotta merit so today I decided to go for a look-see at sheets of one cent stamps. Lo and behold, I found a sheet of 50 Roosevelt one cent stamps including shipping for a mere $4. I said, "You GOT to be kidding!" But I merely pressed Buy It Now and the stamps are MINE! Gosh, that's breath-taking.
We love typewriters and that's a topic for a whole 'nother blog post. There here post is gettin' a wee long in the tooth. So we'll wrap 'er up. Anyway, we're collecting stamps to actually USE. It's whole different concept than Old School Stamp Collecting and it's real exciting just to think about.
We're gonna go All In to Bling Out our envelopes. Heck, we might even get in wax sealing and stamping, too. Nah, Prolly not--it would really weird out the postal machine sorters.
Anyway, if an envelope shows up in your actual, real physical inbox--like what was once known as a Mail Box, and if it's decorated with a bunch of weird looking Old Timey Stamps, at least you'll know its pedigree and from whence it came.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
|Grand Ma Susun (left) and her daughter Sarah with Grin Kids Van (left) and Gage.|
While on a camping trip beforehand, I got the bright idea to get the boys inside the cockpit of an iconic 1940's Beechcraft D18S aircraft. I dutifully went to KIDA's renowed FBO Aeromark and made a deal with operator Tom Hoff. He agreed to let the boys sit in the cockpit if and only if they could pass a quiz with a 100% correct score.
The boys would need to know the six essential flight instruments and their purpose. Considering The Grin Kids were all of 8 and 7 years old at the time, that was a pretty tall order. However, I resolved to do my best and let the chips fall where they may.
|Poster print. Note the two pennies for scale. See:|
As soon as they showed up on the Salt Lake airport shuttle, I started off telling them they were going to have to WORK on this trip. Naturally, they weren't very excited about the idea of work or study or whatever. But once they saw a photo of the Beautiful Beech, they decided to be "all in." And then the fun began.
We went right off on a camping trip alongside the Henry's Fork of the Snake River up in Island Park. Our campsite was filled with thick vegetation. Each day I hid two of the flashcards in the vegetation and the boys would have to find them. They couldn't come back into camp unless and until they found their "instruments of the day." Being boys, of course, they were TOTALLY "all in" on that part of it. You should have seen them beat the bushes to find those flashcards. And then we grilled and drilled them all day on their two cards. The plan worked perfectly and by the end of the camping trip they were driving their Mom nuts by reciting the six instruments over and OVER again. I think they enjoyed the "driving Mom nuts" part more so than the instruments but whatever.
When we got back home, I pulled out the oversize poster print of the D18S instrument panel and those kids were all over it. "Where's the altimeter?" "I see the airspeed!" And on it went. When I was confident they were ready to roll, I contacted Tom Hoff and arranged a time to arrive at the hangar. Tom is tall and rather imposing and he made a Big Deal out of the quiz. He kept a totally stern face and gave them a lecture about how he wouldn't let them into the aircraft until they passed their "certification."
He picked on the 8-year-old first while the younger brother sweated it out. Gage ripped off the six instruments so fast even Tom was impressed. So then Tom asked a few questions about what a couple of the gauges did and Gage nailed 'em. Well, this really challenged younger Van and the little kid was squirming around impatient for his turn. Tom looked at Van and said, "Now it's your turn." The little boy chirped off the instruments just like his A-B-C's. Man, it was awesome to see and hear. Of course, Tom had to ask a couple of questions about the function of the instruments and Van nailed 'em just like his older brother did.
Naturally, Tom played the whole game to the hilt and gave them a big narrative about actually flying the Beech. Those boys acted like they were listening to God speaking to them. It was incredible and a vignette I will never forget.
The boys were so spellbound they hardly spoke on the way home. Later in their visit, I made a home grown flight simulator for them. It was built out of scrap lumber, electrical conduit and some plastic I cut out from a pickle bucket. But it had it all: rudder pedals, control column, wheel, throttles and a fake instrument panel drawn with a felt tip pen. Each boy got to practice take off and landings. It was hilarious and had the adults in stitches. Of course, being kids, their imaginations were far bigger than their small bodies. While one boy sat in the "cockpit," the brother would make airplane engine noises and I acted as flight controller with a nasal monotone voice. They became pretty good flyers that day. I had made up two funky licenses beforehand. After they showed they could take off and land, I made a big speech and gave them their pilot's licenses. Man, they were walking on cloud nine--or maybe that should be flying on cloud nine.
I asked their Mom to interface with the pilot of their flight from Salt Lake back to San Diego.and tell him about the "Cockpit Caper" and ask if he could show the boys the modern version. She did so and the pilot graciously agreed and the boys finished their trip on a real high note there on the KSAN tarmac.
All-in-all it was the best Kid Adventure I've ever organized and carried out. Hopefully someday it might even spark a career in aviation. Who knows? One can always hope...and dream!
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Saturday, May 2, 2020
This is a Long Story...longer than the typical Facebook attention span. Therefore we urge you to Exit Now. This story is going to go on forever.
For those of you who are still here, we welcome you and say "Thanks!" It's a good & worthy story that we are Very Proud to tell.
To tell this story properly we have to digress a few times before we get to the meat of the story. That's why it's a story that far, FAR exceeds the Facebook Attention Span. I mean like F-A-R!
First of all it begins with my Father. For astute readers you know he was liberated from his last nazi prison camp 75 years ago on April 29, 1945.
As a result of his courageous WWII service and his forever high regard for guys in tanks knocking down prison camp fences, Dad had an affection for what he called "A Military Tribute." To Dad, A Military Tribute had to include a list of obligatory elements and had to be pre-planned and had to be conducted "just so" in the Military Way.
This is what I grew up with. I've always felt I have a higher-than-normal awareness of and appreciation for "A Military Tribute."
OK, so let's rewind back to last year on May 10, 2019. It was the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike and we were among the 30,000 people with tickets to attend the Promontory, Utah commemoration. Oh, BOY! It was totally over-the-top in far more ways than I will ever have words to describe. The entire presentation took TWO full hours. And there wasn't even a dull nano-second--it was THAT tight.
The ceremony ended around 1 PM and then they began shooting off all these fireworks. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! BIG fireworks in broad daylight.
Well, being a fireworks fan I was confused. Fireworks in the daylight? What's going on here?
And that's when it happened. A Military Tribute for The Ages. We heard them before we could see them. Four F-35 jet fighters flew low and slow out of the smoke of the fireworks. Their flaps were full down and they were throttled as far back as they could be and still fly. The formation of the four fighters dropped low and slow down upon our heads and untold thousands of us stood up and cheered our lungs out.
It remains the finest example of A Military Tribute I've ever seen in my life. I couldn't even believe I saw it.
OK, let's rewind a few days back. To get ready to leave Rimrock requires a whole lotta physical and mental work. Even though I kept the computer on, I could only glance at and get snippets of stuff.
I caught a glimpse of something Tuesday in my peripheral vision but I didn't know what it was. I had a vague feeling I should check it out but I didn't have time.
And time passed....
And today we learned "the rest of the story" and when I read it I just sobbed and sobbed. It's The Finest Military Tribute I've ever seen in My Life and I honestly don't think it can ever be topped--at least in Utah!
My Dad would have been SO PROUD!
Basically, here's what happened. Hill Air Force Base maintains what they call a "Demonstration Team" of crack F-35 pilots. Think of them as Blue Angle pilots...only different. They were the team that flew through the fireworks smoke screen at Promontory May 10, 2019.
And so their team cooked up A Plan to Honor Utah First Responders.
And they executed their plan to perfection. And they excited an entire state. And they brought tears to the eyes of so many first responders all across Utah.
Can you possibly image a tight formation of four F-35's coming in low and slow with their flaps down right on top of your hospital?
The story was brought home to me realizing they flew Panguitch yesterday. The only way they could fly Panguitch was by coming in from the south after their St. George flyover. They had to have to glided in on the far south horizon and drift down over The Panguitch Hospital and the glide down The Sevier River to lift up over the Tushar Mountains.
I simply can't even imagine the power and glory of those precious moments. Piper Cubs don't even fly over Panguitch. But FOUR F-35's????
The linked article shows their two hour flight path over Utah. We will add comments about the story and from those who saw them.
All we can say is we saw them do their low, slow mode trick late May 10 and it was incredible. Can you imagine being a first responder and seeing this Military Tribute???
“It really made us feel like, sure, we (matter) as health care professionals,” said Gil Corona, medical assistant at Intermountain Medical Center’s transplant clinic. “It just showed that this is for us and we’re just glad to be a part of it, to be a part of the , just to help them out. This is awesome!”
Listen to Flight Leader BEO Wolfe thank her crews.
From St. George...
"Thank you so much for your service and for your flyby yesterday. Down here in St George, at Bloomington Hills Elementary, we all went out on the playground to watch you. Your gesture moved many of us to tears. Personally, I felt you there and that made my heart happy. I can't wait now to tell all of my students that the lead pilot was YOU. You never know, that action may be the reason girls everywhere realize they can serve their country and possibly pilot a jet as well."
Thursday, January 23, 2020
It just so happens that Tippecanoe County is in a Native American Vortex and that's why the Storm Troopers of the Era attacked the Indians in The Battle of Tippecanoe and then burned down their vortex town. It's all about vortexes long before Sedona, but we digress.
And so it is with Great Joy I can tell you I have survived January Twenty Twenty up until almost the last and fourth week. Trust me, when you get into the final home stretch of the fourth week of January, you feel like a thoroughbred stretching for the final wire in the Indiana Derby! Wait, wait, I meant the Kentucky Derby.
Just to know the last day of this infamous month is barely more than a week away lifts my spirits and brings Joy to my Heart. Oh, YEA!!!
It's been a tedious, eternally long month this January of Twenty Twenty. We won't go into all the details but, trust me, all these past 23 days have constantly reminded me of my childhood January trials and tribulations.
After Susun returned from The 4th Annual Women's March in Sedona last Sunday we talked. She said her brother, Roger, had invited us to Mesa. Cue rejoicing and wild cheers from the Fans. So, we didn't waste a moment and packed up and headed south mid-day Monday. Remember that song, "Monday, Monday?"
Friday, January 17, 2020
By and By we wound up in The Center of The Universe in Hanksville, Utah. Anybody who's anybody, of course, totally knows it's the Center of The Universe mostly because it's self evident and also well labeled. Labeling helps in the 21st Century.
So, we're sitting there in the Center of The Universe and I said to Clair, "Have you ever heard about David Rust?"
Well, no, she hadn't. But she was curious. And being curious is a real big asset if you know what I mean. So we drove on down from The Center of The Universe in Hanksville toward more mundane destinations, including, of course, Hite Crossing.
And it took most of a coupla hours or maybe more...maybe three hours...to tell Clair about David Rust. You see, David was a most admirable Man. He was a True Man's Man but he was even more than that. You can't sum up David Rust just with a few words. Nope. It takes a book. A Big Book naturally called "David Rust."
Well, by and by, Clair got David Rust Religion there a comin' outta The Center of The Universe like we did and she said, "I gotta read that book as soon as I can get my hands on it." And, by golly and by gee, she grabbed ahold of a librarian and got that book in her hands PRONTO!
Well, when Clair finished the book (after 3 renewals) she burst into tears and sobbed and sobbed. It was everything I told her it would be.
Tonight, it all came back around for her and she reconnected with the whole Hanksville Initiation Thing. (HIT). Man, she LOVES David Rust and she LOVES everything she read in his book and it's so powerful and emotional for her. Man, you can't even imagine.
Well, we're wrapping up TBT for this week and a lookin' forward to more fun stories a week from today. But a word to the wise is this--if you wanna read something that's gonna knock yer socks clean off, get yer hands on "David Rust!"
Just ask Clair, she'll tell ya straight.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Healing Happens. Two months ago on November 14, Susun tripped coming out of a travel trailer and broke a bone in her lower right leg. It's a well known fact that bones take awhile to heal so we figured maybe two months would be a OK estimate. Sure enough, she drove her little truck yesterday for the first time since the mishap. Of course, there's more healing to go. And a lot of caution and careful movement lie ahead. But she's a model patient and has been following Doctor's Orders really well. We both fully expect here to be near tip top condition by the time her February 19th trip to Southern California comes around.
Once the mid-November incident took place, we were both pretty much "confined to quarters" here in Rimrock. I served as caregiver and chauffeur while Susun recuperated and allowed the healing process to take place in its own natural time frame. That meant I had a lot of time on my hands so that's when I began digging a lot deeper into some history stories I love. And one thing led to another. And I found even MORE history stories to love. Before you know it, I began posting numerous history stories on various Facebook history groups in Flagstaff, Prescott, Grand Canyon, Verde Valley, Phoenix and Globe. Over the past two months, such activity has turned into a "thing" and it's now an almost daily activity. Meanwhile a Facebook page I created for the history stories is reaching around 15,000 people per week.
The whole "history thing" that has sprouted and grown as a result of Susun's mishap is a welcome addition to both of our lives. I enjoy the digging and the telling and Susun enjoys the listening. The endeavor continues to grow. We're working on two stories that are larger than can be told via Facebook or even perhaps the ubiquitous blogs. So that means we're having to finally delve into the arcane, inscrutable world of ebooks. Even though we're a lifelong book lover, we've never taken a liking to ebooks themselves and have studiously avoided any confrontation with the ebook publication process. I'm sure my life would be much better overall if I never had to even THINK about ebook publishing, let alone actually use it. Ah, but times change and now we are engrossed in the sticky spider web of ebook publishing. UGH!
The story we're trying to tell is about the Crash of the MGM Lion in September 1927. The story itself is mesmerizing. The method of trying to tell the story is anything but! Probably the only way we're even going to get a break through is to use a blog to write each chapter and then transfer the narrative and photos to the convoluted altar of The Gods of ebooks.
Weather wise there hasn't been a whole lot to write home about lately and it sure doesn't look very promising for the near future either. As usual, we all had high hopes of a "wet winter" when the first few gobsmackers gut punched Northern Arizona. Alas, they seem to have been just a tease. Or, as someone said, "Well, that was our winter--it's spring time now." Meanwhile our Idahome is getting hit hard but that's another story.
Dear Friends Maria & Tim have been visiting Second Chance Ranch in their Gulf Stream Class A motorhome for the past few days. The Wonderful Couple free ranges far and wide from sea to shining sea but they always seem to gravitate back here to Central Arizona. We love their visits and eagerly look forward to their arrivals. We're always sad to see them go but we know they are off on yet another thrilling, fun-filled adventure. In a mere two days they will be tucked into the capital of Costa Rica to begin a two month stay in that country. We're hoping we will see them in Idaho sometime this summer.
Speaking of summer, our planning continues. As most folks know, we love taking one trip a year to Sawtooth Country. Last year's trip was delayed into late July because a Dear Friend was going to be there then. This year we're back to a more flexible schedule so we're already trying to squeeze into Sunny Gulch Campground outside Stanley and not far from Redfish Lake. Wouldn't you know it, the few reservable sites at Sunny Gulch are already full. Of course nobody up there right now is remotely thinking about camping. They are all practically snowed in. The Sawtooth back country generally has about five feet of snow right now. It always seems so weird to be sitting down here in Arizona talking about Smoke Season and river runoff and such when Sawtooth Country is under a deep, deep blanket of snow. Ah, the Life of Snow Birds!
We spent some fun days at Susun's brother's Mesa Place in December and we're looking forward to going back again this month for a short sojourn. Roger and Nancy are lovely hosts and always roll out the red carpet for us. Chances are pretty good we will head down that way next week.
Today being January 15th marks the unofficial end of Rimrock's Annual Cold Spell. According to The Book Of John & Susun, the Rimrock's Annual Cold Spell begins on December 15th and ends on January 15th. Of course, it isn't always perfectly cut and dried but it's a danged good guess as to when the coldest of the winter's cold will be upon us. So far this Arizona Season has been mild. Our lowest temp was 16 degrees way back in early November. Most of the daily lows have been in the low 20's with some dips into the upper teens. Considering that we've seen it get down to 2 degrees here, such temps are definitely considered mild.
Well, that's all there is to write about home. Thanks for reading. Happy mid-January.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmatic."
Well, at this point in my life, I am focused on the Two R's. I couldn't care less about that Third R. So I spend my days in R&R, so to speak: Readin' and 'Ritin'.
We generally get up around 6 AM and go back to sleep around 8 PM every day. For who knows how many days, my life has been occupied by studying the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery. It consumes hours and hours of The Two R's. It might not technically be considered "R&R" in the traditional sense of "rest & relaxation" but it gets the job done. It helps me pass what would otherwise be a tediously long day while being consumed by the arcane details of history surrounding that 1889 event and the saga that followed.
I know this might seem hard to imagine but I love it. I get so immersed in the Two R's of the CDTR that it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to do what I want to do. It's one of those projects that seemingly has no end and sometimes I can imagine going on forever and forever into eternity. Yes, I know that's a tad bit of an exaggeration...but not too much.
Each night, the call of nature gets me out of bed right around 1:30 AM...almost like clockwork. When I come back to the covers it takes at least 30 minutes (and sometimes 60) to go back to sleep. It's during that precious "wee hour window" that I get my most productive thinking done. That's when I can think the clearest. That's when I can see new avenues. That's when the really GOOD ideas come to light---ironically in the pitch black dark of night.
Every night I think of things to do the next day which eat up mass quantities of hours. Sure enough, I get up the next day and start off following the threads of the "wee hour window" ideas and, POOF, the day is danged done before I even know it got started.
That's just how fast it happens--almost in a blink of an eye. And there isn't a day yet when I don't go to sleep lamenting more what I didn't get done than what I did. I never know what gift of insight the "wee hour window" is going to give me but I always know it will be Good. I now look forward to that time of day perhaps even more so that broad daylight....or maybe even morning coffee. Nah, coffee wins that game. But whatever.
Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
Monday, January 6, 2020
Delano's informative and often poignant images reveal a slice of Northern Arizona Railroad Life heretofore unseen. Delano's career would span many genres and localities but it is his Office of War Information photos of the rails across Northern Arizona that will live forever in the annals of Southwest history fans.
Most Delano photos of that era where not focused on an individual "looking at you."
When diesels were invented, Santa Fe picked them for the Southwest.
Why? Well, water was an issue for steam engines. Diesels didn't need water.
Here you can see the Winslow yard laid out in front of the arriving engine.
This is yet another photo of the strong, smart white man in control of technology.