Wednesday, March 23, 2022

FLG HFH


The median home price in February for Flagstaff was more than $600,000, according to local real estate estimates.

That kind of price makes it difficult -- or impossible -- for many families in the area, or for those wanting to move to Flagstaff, to purchase a home.

But Habitat for Humanity of Northern Arizona has a plan. They’re called “Starter Homes,” and the first two have been approved to be built on a city-owned parcel on the corner of O’Leary Street and Butler Avenue.

“To me, this is a really exciting opportunity to help a wider variety of families in our community,” said Kim Murdza, president of the HFHNA Board of Directors. “This gives us the potential to build more than our one or two homes annually -- which is especially needed in our current times.”

Eric Wolverton, executive director of HFHNA, said the concept of the starter home is to help young families get into the home-ownership game so they can begin to build enough wealth that they can either move up to a larger home as a family grows, or they can use that earned wealth for a business venture and more.

“We want to try to serve as many people as possible to get them into the American dream of home ownership,” Wolverton said. “We’re trying to allow people stay in Flag and to build wealth in Flag. We need affordable homes to function as a savings program to provide a hand up into conventional housing and lending.”

The concept of a starter home is this, Wolverton said: they are 400 square feet placed in partnership with the city or with other organizations that have land on which to build, with room for two adults and one child. HFHNA sells the home for $100,000 to an income-qualifying family. The family puts up a $1,000 down payment and pays $833 a month toward their principal with a mortgage that has 0% interest. Therefore, if the family is ready to leave after five years and wish to sell the home, they have amassed $50,000 in savings toward the purchase of a larger home -- which HFHNA keeps in a bank account ready for the family to “cash out.”


As part of the deal, the family must sell the home back to HFHNA so that the it may be sold to another family wishing to enter the homeownership game. The hope is to continually offer the same starter home repeatedly to new families entering the market -- a significant departure from building one home for one family.

Wolverton added that by the time a family has outgrown the start home model, it will have built up enough equity to afford to purchase a larger home in Flagstaff. The family must stay at least three years to build sufficient equity to ensure success.

Murdza acknowledged the concept is a departure from the HFHNA standard of building three- or four-bedroom homes for low-income families. HFHNA has built one or two such homes each year in partnership with city government, and there are more than 20 located throughout Flagstaff. Although HFHNA will continue to build homes of the standard model, the need has far outgrown such a standard.



Waco Habitat for Humanity gets $1 million from billionaire

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Friday, January 7, 2022

Gotta put it out there


We're riggin' for our first camp Road Trip in 10 weeks.  When we arrive Back In The Tonto Again Monday it will have been 71 days since our most recent camp trip ended.  Yep, that's 10 weeks alright.

The details and difficulty of riggin' for a camp trip is directly proportional to the length of time  since the most recent trip.  All sorts of vital items stray far, FAR away from the travel trailer.  The pantry gets robbed.  Supplies become depleted.  Batteries decide to go dead.  The longer the sedentary duration, the more difficult the prep work for the next camp trip.  And so it goes.  We well know the drill.

This time around we decided to complicate matters by deciding to obtain a metal bucket  with which to clean our camp site fire ring.  For some reason we've never understood a lot of people are downright pigs when it comes to the fire ring.  They throw trash in there and leave partly burned wood.  It's particularly vexing at Roosevelt.  So, we just assume we're going to have to roto-root the fire ring and carry off a LOT of stuff to the dumpster.

In the past, we've gingerly used a plastic bucket and somehow not melted it into a disfigured avant garde sculpture.  This trip we said, "We have to have a metal bucket."  Period.

So, we put a notice on our local Facebook buy-sell group and within mere minutes received a reply from a very nice local person who offered to give us a metal bucket.  Of course, we figured since it was free it was going to be a dented, beat-up derelict bucket.  Much to our amazement last night, the bucket turned out to be an antique coal bucket complete with scoop!  We were shocked and told the donor so.  The person was very gracious and happy to give us the bucket.  Sometimes it's so surprising what comes our way when we simply ask for something.  "Ask and you shall receive,: eh?

So, that bucket is the missing piece in our camp fire puzzle but lots of grunt work remains to get the rest of the puzzle together.  We haven't purposely built a campfire in over 9 months so you can imagine the "hide & seek" game we will be playing with our fire tools, etc.  What fun.

One of the biggest chores of riggin' is always battery management.  Geeze, Louise.  It just goes on and On and ON!  We have so many different elect5ronic devices and many of them have their own unique batteries.  It takes nearly a full day to find them and get them all charged up.  We're not complaining.  We're thankful to just HAVE all those electronic devices. Charging their batteries is definitely a First World problem.

As our Dear Friends and regular readers well know, we travel with way too many gizmos, gadgets and Gee Whiz kinda toys.  What's a geezer to do if he can't fiddle around with all those whirly gigs in camp?  It takes hours to make sure all of the toys are packed, hours to set them all up and hours to take them all down and pack them up to go home.  But what elses would I be doing anyway?  Sitting around admiring the scenery?

Riggin' for a trip to Roosevelt always means lining up peripheral stuff.  Like what, Yonni?  Well, in this case, we're hard at work on the Easter Sunday 1979 Salt River Rescue Story.  A few weeks back we advertised in Globe to find an eye witness who was there.  We got lucky and found an AZGFD Officer who was a member of the rescue crew.  So, we've been finalizing the details to do an oral history interview with him in  We have also been making appointments to visit our Dear Friends in the Globe/Miami area.  So that's all part of riggin', too.

Most of our Menu and Pantry Gig is all taken care of.  We overpacked coming south from Idaho so we still have enough food in that travel trailer to go camping for days and maybe even weeks.

We will be camping once again at Site #287.  It's the one we camped at last year.  It has two perfect hammock trees and a 40-foot bocce ball court.  The bocce area in that campsite is one of the finest bocce courts we've yet found in any camp site anywhere.  

Uncle NOAA has upped the ante on rainfall so it's probably gonna be wetter than we'd prefer.  That means we have to rig rain gear and various other rain-related stuff.  That's not a hassle, per se, at least as along as we remember to actually do it.  It definitely is kind of a bummer to camp in the rain without all the rain-related stuff.  There's no such thing as bad weather--it's just bad gear or the LACK of gear that  makes the weather seem bad.  Well, at least if it's not -37 degrees in three feet of snow.  That would be Bad Camping Weather in just about anybody's book.

Anyway, that's our daily activity agenda through today, all of the weekend and probably Monday morning as well.




When a loss is a gain


You lose some, you win some. It's pretty much The Way of Life.  So we lost one yesterday but we won one, too.  Here's how it all came down.

Back in early December we played cribbage with some local geezers at the Beaver Creek Community Center.  They really oughta call it a Senior Center since geezers are the only ones who use the place.  But we digress.  Anyway the geezers were playing on a board so small some of them could barely grip the microscopic pegs.

So I decided to make a multiplayer Big Board and donate it to them.  As some readers know from following our Facebook, I found a nifty way to drill 732 holes and keep them all straight as a piano wire.  Then I had the board trimmed out on a table saw; sanded it 'right & proper" and made six sets of color-coded pegs.  I was really stoked to present the board to the geezers yesterday.

Well, it sure didn't work out the way I thought it would.  Nobody liked the board.  One guy said outloud, "Your Board sucks."  Geezers are creatures of habit and those geezers really like playing on a teeny, tiny board.  People were not happy about playing on a custom made Big Board and they let me know.  It was rather humiliating but I took it in stride and never let them know I was humiliated.  During the two hours of cribbage play, I won half my games and had some pretty good hands.

Meanwhile, I packed up my Big Board and color-coded pegs and returned home with them.  However, I flipped the script and was very happy to retain possession of the six player Big Board.

Why?

Well, the primary reason is that those geezers taught me all of the cribbage variations and permutations I had never learned or played before.  Now I know how to play cut throat cribbage with 3-4-5-6 players.  I also know how to play doubles with four players.  I'd never bothered to learn those variations before and actually didn't want to know them.  But they are fun.  WAY Fun!  In fact, both four person doubles and 5 or 6 player cut throat cribbage could be my new favorite games.  It's a real horse race playing again four or five other people and the Big Board makes it even MORE fun for me.  It might not make it fun for that particular covey of geezers but it sure does work for me.

So, I was real happy they didn't like my board and that's how a loss turned into a gain.  Having the multiplayer Big Board will add an entirely new dimension to all of our cribbage both here and in Idaho Falls.  It's exciting to think about and we're thankful we made the board.  We're VERY thankful the local geezers didn't want it.

Sometimes ya gotta lose to win!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Life Changes in January 1972

Fifty years ago this week my Life Changed.  I had been footloose and fancy free, as they say.  During the first week of January 1972, I was hired on as Editor of "The Zionsville Times" and "The Northern Suburbanite" newspapers based out of Zionsville, Indiana, a then distant suburb of Indianapolis.

Zionsville was a picture postcard 19th Century throwback with a brick Main Street and all manner of Victorian gingerbread-bedecked houses scattered along tree lined streets.  It was the kind of small town Normal Rockwell could have retired to.  Zionsville was founded in 1825 and got its own weekly newspaper in 1860.  One of the very first Big News Stories "The Zionsville Times" covered in 1860 was a whistle stop by a guy named Abraham Lincoln who happened to be campaigning for President.  Back then a main line railroad ran right through the small town.

Anyway, a pompous meglo-maniac had purchased the two newspapers.  He needed some low paid flunky to hire on as Editor to attempt to keep them on life support. We won't give his name for a variety of reasons. We'll call him Jimbo.  Jimbo actually had a pompous three word name with the numeral III behind it and he insisted on being addressed as "the third" because of that numeral.  To say he was pompous is an understatement.  He was carried around in a stretch limo by a meticulously-dressed chauffeur. Whenever Jimbo came to visit the Zionsville office, the chauffeur would sweep through the front door and announce that so-and-so The Third was about to enter.  We were all required to stand up and show proper respect for Jimbo upon his entry.

Jimbo had purchased quite a chain of newspapers in and around Indianapolis.  He had grandiose visions that never materialized according to his mega-expectations.  First off, he milked each publication for every stray dollar he could while paying staff the least  amount possible.  Jimbo really despised dealing with actual people, especially people he paid.  So most of his communications where in the form of "orders" that were delivered by the chauffeur in an envelope that had been sealed with hot wax on the back flap.

Anyway, I really needed a job 50 years ago. ANY job!  We girl friend and I had just returned from Seattle in what was widely known as "The Dead Of Winter" back then.  The Dead of Winter was to Indiana during the cold months what the Dog Days were to the Hoosier state in the high heat of summer.  Cathy and I had barely supported ourselves in Seattle selling Time-Life books over the phone.  She became acutely homesick and was also suffering from a raging case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The only solution was to return to Indiana which we did just before the Holidays.

Well, her parents were incessant with the "When are you going to get a job?" refrain.  Morning, noon and night that's all I heard from them: "When are you going to get a job?"  Young people back then just couldn't be slackers.  They HAD to have a job. That's all there was to it back then.

Well, that's why I leaped at the chance to be Editor of "The Zionsville Times."  It sounded like a real job and I never told Cathy's parents just how low the wages were.  They were pleased that I had a real job and was actually using my Purdue journalism degree.  My folks were pleased, too, but they were OK with me being a slacker as well.

Well, it wasn't a fun job.  Nope.  Everybody in Zionsville hated Jimbo and some of them hated Jimbo so much they took it out on me.  People thought Jimbo was the root cause of a lot of social ills and all the old geezers in Zionsville loved to heap score on Jimbo, his newspaper and his employees.  There were only three of us in that little office and we felt like it was us against the whole world.  Some days it was tough to even walk out of the office and face people on the streets of Zionsville.  You have NO idea how difficult it was trying to get stories out of people in Zionsville.  They were all convinced that I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag.

Apparently, the person before me had ZERO writing skills and totally butchered every story he ever tried to write.  Slowly but surely, I convinced them that I was real and I cared and I would do my best even if Jimbo tried to thwart success.

Within a couple of months I actually had made some Friends in Zionsville and people began giving me compliments and even smiling when they saw me.  Whew!   It didn't take long before Zionsville people began hitting me up.  It went like this: "You ought to start your own newspaper and run Jimbo out of town!"  Seriously.

Well, that's how getting that job 50 years ago this week changed my life.  By spring time I'd heard the "run Jimbo out of town" so much I actually began to believe I could do it.  Cathy and I were married in May and I soon thereafter quit as Editor of "The Zionsville Times" and "The Northern Suburbanite". On August 8, 1972, we started "Zionsville Main Street" newspaper, a tri-weekly that sold for "One Red Cent" a copy.  It was an instant success.

Oh, MAN!  What a life-changing saga that was.  Cathy and I and our few loyal employees slugged it out for almost a full year with Jimbo and "The Zionsville Times."  Finally, we stole all of his subscribers and advertisers and ran him out of business and out of town.  He literally emptied out the office in the dark of night and locked the door and fled into whatever dark alleys meglo-maniacs frequent.

We were able to assume the sales contract of "The Zionsville Times" from its former owner for something like a mere $10,000 and then we actually owned and published two paid circulation newspapers.  Those were heady days of unbridled economic and social success.  

We were the toast of the town.  Money poured into our coffers.  We could do no wrong--make no mistakes.  Everything we touched turned to success. It was incredible and amazing.   The joyride went on for years in the 70's. It got to the point where we thought we were invincible.

And, well, you know how that goes.  NO one is invincible.  The higher they fly, the harder they fall. Sure enough, it all came crashing down and that's how I started a new life in Arizona.  But that's another story.

So, in the meantime for everyone who was curious about my cryptic little note on January 6, that's what happened 50 years ago this week that changed my Life.

To be continued.

Epilog: Numerous things happened after my divorce and departure from Zionsville.  The Zionsville Main Street and Times went through several incarnations and various names and finally folded for good in Year 2020 due to the pandemic.  It was absorbed by Boone County's leading newspaper in Lebanon and is no more.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Year 2021 In Review

Parson Parsons & Clair Buoyant are all smiles
after performing a wedding at Camp Verde's
Old Rock Church. Photo by Jodi.

Lucky, plucky, ducky Twenty One.

The CCCs sum up Year 2021: Camping, Cribbage & Camaraderie.

Roosevelt Lake was a Camping Mecca for us as the year began.  We returned over and Over and OVER to enjoy the blissful isolation of Windy Hill Campground.  We likewise spent gobs of time in Globe and neighboring Miami.  There we renewed a Fabulous Friendship and found new Friends, too.  We learned more about Gila County and Globe-Miami in 2021 than ever before. 

We camped twice in Prescott to get our covid jabs.  Then we decided to max out our Trip North and camped for days along a new long and winding way.  Practically as soon as we landed in Idaho Falls, we headed out to camp beside the Salmon River near Challis for yet another 10 days.

And, if that wasn't enough we then set up camp in Sawtooth Country, too.  After a a campapalooza in Year 2020, Year 2021 dovetailed right in.  Finally, when we returned home after camping near Stanley we both said, "Enuf is enuf" and decided our little bungalow is The Best Campsite in Idaho.

We didn't camp again until mid-September up at Riverside in A16.  That was a tune up for our Trip South and we spent yet another 10 days camping during a leisurely migration to Arizona.

Since we arrived in Rimrock November 1 we haven't camped again.. We're settled into our Straw House and feeling like it is The Best Campsite in Arizona.  As Year 2021 draws to a close later today neither of us has the slightest desire to go camping.  Of course, that will eventually change but who knows when?

Once we settled in to our Idahome, we began crafting cribbage boards.  Many Thanks to Jason for jump starting our cribbage craze. Of course, it became a near obsession and that's pretty much all we did from June through October.  We turned out nearly 50 boards and sold about 30 of them.  The most fun of the Cribbage Craziness were the stories our buyers told.  Gosh!  Some were side-splitting funny and one was overwhelmingly emotional. Each story was unique and wonderful.  We carried some boards to Arizona and continue to sell one now and then.  We don't know yet if we will continue making boards in Year 2022.  It's extraordinarily time-consuming, tedious and often very tiring.  On the other hand, it's a great repetitious process for exercising eye-hand coordination as well as streamlining the complex steps from start to sale to shipping necessary for success.  Plus, it keeps a geezer off the streets.  So, maybe we will and maybe we won't.

Year 2021 saw the departure of two of our beloved objects--Marvie The Nissan and our AIRE Lynx II inflatable kayak.  We were sad to see them go but clearly realized their Days In Our Lives were over and it was time to move on.  Both went to Great New Homes and their sales enabled our Salmon River and Sawtooth Country camping trips.

Covid didn't put much of a dent in our Camaraderie for Year 2021.  Family and several Dear Friends visited us at Roosevelt Lake.  We enjoyed great Camaraderie in Globe-Miami.  Many Dear Friend visited us at the Straw House.  Of course, each Summer at our Idahome is a time when Camaraderie shines bright.  Susun spent practically all of her time with her many Dear Friends and the proverbial good time was had by all.  Terry, Carrie and we enjoyed some memorable episodes of Puttz.  We also started weekly croquet and bocce games at a local pocket park.  Getting to visit and play cribbage with Mike & Camille was another highlight of the summer.  Of course, Kenyon & Julie always enliven the neighborhood with their delightful Camaraderie. Our soirees with Karen and Dave were a welcome and wonderful weekly summer tradition. 

Susun was able to visit her Dear Daughters and Grand Sons twice this past year.  Each of her trips to Southern California always seems to get better and better and filled with yet more fun.  As always our visits with Dear Friend Suska were memorable and fun.

Of course, we both had our medical challenges in the past 12 months.  That's a commonality with all geezers our age.  Susun likes to say, "We know we're going to have challenges.  It's not about the challenge.  It's about how we HANDLE the challenge."  So we won't go into medical details.  Let's just say we both handled our challenges as well as possible and we proceeded on.

Our personal Whirled of History continues to grow and expand.  We're finishing Year 2021 with almost 6,000 Followers for our three Facebook history pages for Arizona, Utah and Idaho. We delved into many fun stories and have "enjoyed" all of the Rabbit Holes we visited in Year 2021. Studying history stuff every day serves two purposes: A) It makes time pass very quickly and B ) It's a great way to avoid reading the news.  It's a near perfect Geezer Pastime and will continue so long as we are able.

Most of the last two months of Year 2021 were spent dealing with weeds and brush on our Rimrock property. We finish Year 2021 with perhaps The Best Defensible Space we've ever constructed here at the Straw House.  It's looking really, Really GOOD and we are both quite proud of our hard work since November 1st.

We don't have any specific plans for Year 2022 other than celebrating Susun's 75th birthday at 2:22 PM on 02/02/2022.  Chances are pretty good that Year 2022 will be once again dominated by the Three C's: Camping, Cribbage & Camaraderie. We suspect we will once again go camping at Roosevelt but we don't know when. We will undoubtedly play a lot of cribbage, even if we no longer make boards and abundant Camaraderie will once again be a Bright & Shining High Light of the coming twelve months.

May Your Year 2022 be Your Best Ever to be followed by every year even BETTER!

Happy New Year & Many Gi-Normous Holiday Cheers!







Friday, December 17, 2021

The Rabbit Won

I go down a lot of Rabbit Holes, far more than I need to and sometimes far more than I want to.  And sometimes I go down too deep in them there hare holes...so deep I can't even see light at the top of the hole.  Almost always I can beat The Rabbit and come back with good stuff.


But today The Rabbit won and I am pulling out with nothing much to show for a couple of weeks and seemingly countless hours deep down a dark, damp, dank hole.

Yep, it's the story of Dick Wick Hall and Salome, Arizona, and "That Salome Frog" and all of that amore more.  If ever there was a wall at the end of a bottomless Rabbit Hole, I sure hit that wall on this foray underground.

Part of me doesn't want to admit defeat, especially da feet of the rabbit.  They're supposed to be good luck, right?  But the bottom line is "ya hafta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em" and when to cut your losses and RUN!  Well, we're up and outta that Salome Hole and we're running fast and far away.

In some ways it's been fun and in other ways not so much.  I found a lot of good stuff but can't really use much of anything because it would be all out of context in a helter skelter meaningless mish mash.  And it just wouldn't be worth the time and trouble to mess with.

Dick Wick's story is filled overflowing with contradictions, conflicting facts, obscure, dubious sources, questions that can't be answered and sources that can't be found.  Just when I thought I was "on to something," I'd get smacked back down with the reality I was on a false, fleeting tangent to nowhere.

And then there's the Dark Side.  Sure enuf I found a Dark Side to Dick Wick, a side almost no one knows and if they do know it, they don't want to admit it.  Everybody just wants to let sleeping dogs lie and move along.  That's all well and good I suppose.  You can get in trouble if you wake up the wrong sleeping dog!

So, each night I lay awake pondering how I could integrate Dick Wick's Dark Side with hisw Light Side and somehow make it work.  Well, there's really no way to have your cake and eat it, too, in his story.  And then there's the fact that everybody LOVES Dick Wick and his Frog and his silly stories.  Dick Wick is kind of an Arizona institution whose "Salmon Sun" debuted 100 years ago.

SO, in summary,, as I tried to peer into the dim recesses of that deep Rabbit Hole, the realization finally dawned that I was on a false and inappropriate journey to nowhere.  

So I climbed out of that hole today and I'm not going back.  It's best to leave Dick Wick Hall's memory and legacy "as is" and not rattle those skeletons in the closet.  Just let it be, as some famous English boy band once sang.

So that's all the story you're gonna get out of me for nearly two weeks worth of hard work.  Now we'll move on to the next Rabbit Hole on down the line and try to keep it simple.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Rippin' it up


Some of you ripped up an alarm clock as a kid, right? RIGHT!  Man, it was easy rippin' it up...but there was NO WAY it was goin' back together to keep time again.  It was D-O-A the minute your little kid hands starting rippin' it up.


Fast forward to being a 70-something geezer.  It's a time of my life when I studiously avoid ripoin' it up.  After all, it's impossible to fix anything these days, right?  Plus, stuff is made to fail from the git go.  That's the modern marketing mantra.  Make it good enuf to work for awhile and then fail.  So people buy a new one.

Well, this week I somehow regressed and began rippin' it up.  Only it wasn't an alarm clock.  It was a propane heater!  YIKES!

A year ago we bought a $100 Mr. Heater catalytic unit to use in our travel trailer.  It performed flawlessly for the past year and completely changed our 12 volt paradigm.  We both LOVE the thing.

And then...  POOF!  It broke.  Like TOTALLY BROKE.  At first I was like, "NO way!"  But this thing was way broke.  I watched all the various YouTube videos on how to fix it.  Most of them looked really scary and I thought like I could die if I tried that stuff.  Propane heaters aren't like alarm clocks.  Alarm clock can't kill you.  Propane heaters CAN kill you!  Trust me.


So, there was a lot of ear and loathing in my rippin' it up this week.  Each day I would rip and tear into a little bit more and then get gunshy and stop.  Then the next day I'd get a little more aggressive and get to rippin' it up a little more.  Finally, Thursday I kind of passed the point of no return and I thought to myself, "I'm NEVER gonna get this thing put back together, let's just go buy a new one."

SO, I dutifully traipsed over to Tractor Supply in Cottonwood and that's when the fun began.  Sure enuf, they have one of the $100 units.  But they said it could only be returned for 30 days.  They said the warranty was only good if you shipped it back to Mr. Heater!  Well, I got cold feet on shellin' out another hundred bucks.

So, I figured, to heck with it, let's really RIP IT UP!  And I came home with a rippin' vengeance in my eyes.  A couple of hours later, the thing lay in even more pieces than ever before.  

And then...


I figured out the problem.  The pilot light feed orifice was completely clogged. Not a nano-atom of gas could pass through it.  So, after a lot of hassle, I got the orifice opened up.  And then, for good measure, I took the feed line to a local auto shop and had them blow it out with compressed air.  Sure enuf, the feed line was clogged with oil.  Oil?  Huh?  Well, Propane People put a so-called "odorant" into the odorless propane gas so humans can smell a leak.  The odorant is an oil.  If the propane sits around long enough, the oil separates and fills in the low areas of the feed line.

So it was a double whammy--a completely sealed orifice and a oil-filled feed line.  Whoop-dee-DOO!

Anyway, I got the innards put back together feng shui safe and, man, that little puppy fired right up with the strongest blue flame pilot light I'd ever seen on it.

All I have to do now is put the sheet metal and plastic side guards back on the unit, attach the handle and we should be good to go.

All this rippin' it up saved us over $100 so I reckon we can call it good.

We DO keep a carbon monoxide and propane gas detector near this unit "just in case," as they say.




Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Weird but Good

 


We're Thankful....

OK. Astute readers know we ordered our Black Friday item on Monday, November 22, right about 5 PM, Arizona Time. That's right. Friday morphed to Monday.

So get this: the Samsung Galaxy A02 Android phone we ordered will be delivered to Rimrock TODAY. If I read my calendar correctly, that's the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. Weird...but Good!

Remember the old Wild West Daze of Black Friday? People had to go out in the total dark of night and fall into huge, long lines snaking through parking lots. Many years ago, Clair and I purposely drove past a Best Buy in the Mesa, Arizona, area. The line was perhaps a quarter mile long. Some people had been waiting in lines for days. They had camps set up with BBQ's sofas and party decorations. They generally wore Hawaiian party outfits. It was C-R-A-Z-Y! Me, myself and I actually participated in such madness. When decent digital cameras were then a "thing," I joined a line at 4 AM in front of the Mesa Target store. We were maybe #5 in line. (Target deals weren't worthy of a conga party line.) The other people in line were multi-year veterans of Black Friday hand-to-hand combat. They swapped horror stories of their battle scars. When the doors swung open, a surge of humanity pulsed through and everybody (including me) took off running. It was a cross between roller blade, ice hockey, sandlot football and wrestle mania. People (including me) were throwing elbows and trying to trip their competitors. There were no rules and politeness and civility were not part of the Game Plan. The general idea was "firstest gets the mostest." Well, that night, I won. I got my whopping FOUR megapixel digital camera. Even as a Black Friday deal it wasn't cheap by today's standards. I think it cost me $125. HA! Now you can't even give away four megapixel digital camera--unless someone wants a trendy tire chock. We've had lots of other hair-raisin' Black Friday experiences plus one that was (and remains) absolutely hilarious. But that night at Target is unforgettable. I had to throw not one but TWO body blocks on two guys to get them out of my way. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it didn't come to outright brawlin'. In today's contentious cultural climate, I suspect it WOULD come to brawlin'...or worse. Thank Goodness stores have come to realize their liability for enabling and encouraging such egregious behaviors. It's quite fun to sit here in a straw house on a cozy Monday afternoon and score a Black Friday deal with a few mouse clicks. And it's even more fun to know that my Black Friday deal will arrive today. PS: Here's the Hilarious Story. It was at the Prescott Costco many years ago. I needed a new laptop and Costco had a truly incredible deal on a hot laptop. Even though I knew my odds of actually getting the laptop were Slim & None, I drove over to Prescott, knowing Costco was going to open at 10 AM and not a minute sooner. Well, the line stretched way past Tires but my intuition told me to stay the course. As soon as the scrum huffed and puffed their way into the store, I beat feet for the computer area. Sure enuf, maybe 50 people were crammed together trying to get the laptops. I quickly noticed there were NO laptops but then realized it was a "hang tag deal." That's right. You had to bring the hang tag to the register to get the computer. Well, while everyone was looking down and wailing about "where's the laptops," I looked up and, LO! There was the hang tag number, easily visible. I memorized it and hot-footed it to a register and asked for that number. The Staff quickly went and picked up a laptop and brought it back. I paid and walked out of the store while those 50 people were still wailing and moaning at the site. One of them saw me leaving the store with the laptop and yelled out, " LOOK! That guy's got ONE!" And the whole crowd of 50-some people turned slack-jawed to stare at me. I smiled and waved and tried my best to look like the Zip-Zag man "just passin' through." HAHAHA! I can't help myself. I STILL laugh at that one. It was a red hot, Super Sweet Black Friday triumph.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

First Edition 80 years ago





One of the Great Gifts that keeps on Giving is the New Deal Era Works Progress Administration Federal Writer's Project American Guide series.  The project began in 1935 and eventually produced truly voluminous guides to every state.  The state guides are incredibly fascinating, priceless time capsules.

We've long enjoyed a loving relationship with state guides for Arizona, Idaho and Montana.  Oddly, we've lacked the Utah edition.  Last night we stumbled on an 18-page journal article in the prestigious Utah Historical Quarterly detailing the creation of the Utah guide.

That piqued our interest and we found a 1941 first edition on ABEBooks for a mere $12.44 including shipping and tax.  Since it's being shipped out of a bookseller in Phoenix, we should have it soon.  It's exciting stuff for us.

Rather than try to regurgitate the journal article, those who are interested can read the entire work here:

 Likewise, here are two great introductions to the WPA Federal Writer's Project:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/WPA-Federal-Writers-Project

and

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Writers%27_Project


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The quiet joy of discovery


Oftentimes a search is called.  We decide we must find a particular item.  And off we go.  The search is hard, tedious, eye-tiring and brain-number work.  It involves digging into digital records from all sorts of sources. And the search goes on and on and ON, seemingly without end.  Oftentimes, we come close to despair that our search will ever prove successful.  But we never give up.  We never give in.  We keep searching and searching and BELIEVE we will find our quest...that one ONE particular item can fulfill.

And so it has been for days and days, going on close to a week now.  We decided we MUST find a photo of Arthur Lorenzo Crawford.  No matter what, we were going find his photo and we didn't care how long it took.  His picture HAD to be out there somewhere and somehow we kept thinking it HAD to be right under our nose.  But our nose simply couldn't find Crawford's picture....until just before 7 PM Wednesday evening.  Bingo, we got out man.  Man!  It's such a rush.  Oh! The quiet joy of discovery.  We sit silently here at the computer basking in the glow of hours and hours of work.

I guess in some sort of strange way, it is these types of moments that make it all worthwhile.  Not all searches are successful.  In fact, I'd guess less than half reach their goal.  So we know fruitlessness and disappointment equally as well as the quiet joy.  But it's that quiet joy that continues to draw us in for yet another improbable quest. Because we know if we win--if our search is successful we will once again feel the bright glow of that quiet joy.  And so it was this evening.

And so who was Arthur L. Crawford?  Well, you can read a lot about him in the clipping below. (You can enlarge the clipping by going to the source link here:  https://www.newspapers.com/clip/88712811/arthur-l-crawford-1946/

We became smitten with Mr. Crawford because of a portion of his remarks at the 1946 Hite Dedication Ceremony.  He essentially equated the new road between Hankville and Blanding using Arth Chaffin's brand new bubba-boy ferry boat across The Colorado River as the opening of "the last frontiers of loneliness"!  Well, when I read those words and understood their context, I simple HAD to find a photo of this eloquent man.


Indeed, it was Arthur Crawford's speech at the 1946 Hite Dedication that triggered our full understanding of the significance of that ceremony and what it meant on so many different levels.
We're getting much closer to closure on our Hite Project now.  The pieces are coming together and we think we can make this jigsaw puzzle visible to one and all...and soon.  Thanks, Arthur!



Six Day Break

6:42 AM, November 10, 2021

Hard to believe it's been six days since I did a blog post.  Alas, 'tis true.

As usual when we arrive in Rimrock, our days are filled with the minutiae of every day life.  Nothing seems particularly noteworthy so therefore nothing gets written about.  And all those little things add up to days on end.

Looking back to our arrival, nothing really stands out..well, except for the last few Light Shows. One of The Top Five things we Love about living beside Montezuma Well National Monument are the Land-O-Light Shows. We don't have them in Idaho Falls.   We're too buried in the city to see the glorious dawn and dusk light shows.  Yes, they DO exist in Eastern Idaho--we just can't see them from our vantage point.

1876 Williscraft photo of our homesite at left edge of photo.

It's a different story here where the Eastern horizon and landscape hasn't change since pre-settlement days. We have an 1876 photo proving it looks today just what it looked like when the first Anglo settler set up shop here.

6:45 AM, November 10, 2021

The colors always tend to shine their brightest only for a few minutes.  Right now in the morning, the Light Show peaks between 6:40 and 6:45 AM.  Believe me, it's worth getting up for.  We haven't yet pinpointed the peak viewing time in the evening but it's probably in the same time frame.

Most of our time has been spent fighting daily battles in the annual Weed Wars.  When we were younger we could go mano-y-mano with the weeds for hours at a time.  Now, we're lucky if we can put in two solid hours before burnout (pun intended) and exhaustion set in.

Our much-anticipated teen age weed ninja showed p on time yesterday at 3 PM and he performed as advertised.  We aren't overloading him so he only did two sections as agreed.  It's so nice to have the nightshades and their minions knocked down.   We've made pretty good progress on the tumbleweeds.  However, the goatheads are still in control of their sector of the battlefield.  I know God had a purpose in creating everything but, for the life of me, I can discern the purpose of goatheads.  They are wicked, vile, evil and extraordinarily painful when you step on one in the middle of the might.

The Hite Wedding, Sept. 17, 1946, in the middle of The Colorado River.

Perhaps our most fun activity of the past week has been studying Hite, Utah.  It's a long story, of course.  The "Hite Project," as we call it, has occupied many hours.  Once the daily session of Weed Wars is concluded, we settle down to our Hite Project.  It is a truly mesmerizing and bottomless Hare Hole and one that we feel honored and privileged to visit.  Many more hours remain to bring an interim finish to the Hite Project. 

We did attempt to take a Ma & Pa Sunday Drive.  Boy, that sure backfired.  What we call The Well Road is in atrocious condition--definitely a bone shaking experience.  We thought it would be better on Forest Road 618.  HAHAHA!  Not only was the unpaved road in terrible shape but the nature of the traffic there is dramatically different.  The UTV's are traveling somewhere between 40-50 miles an hour.  One old Nissan SUV was hurtling toward us only in tenuous, marginal control by the driver.  I thought seriously about bailing off the road in fear of a head-on collision.  So we bagged that idea and we've totally swore off even thinking of driving any of this area's once-delightful unpaved roads.

Speaking of traffic, ALL of our local roads are overloaded and congested with people driving way-too-fast. It's like a plague of heavy metal locusts.  But it's what to expect in a state that's grown to well over 7-million people.

We're still very grateful and happy with our humble home here beside Montezuma Well.  It's the best possible place to spend the cold months.  We own it free and clear and it costs practically nothing on an annual basis.  Property taxes, homeowner's insurance and propane are all about $300 each a year. Total annual expenses for this place are less than $1,800 a year, including internet.  Speaking of  the internet, it finally got it's act together and is working.  Despite being slow as molasses, we consider it adequate and we are pleased to have it.

Anyway, since we only live here six months a year, our monthly expenses are less than $300. In this day and age it would be truly impossible to find any RV park in the state for $300 a month, let alone a place like this. 

So, all-in-all, Life is Good and we are Happy Campers.

The Tuesday Evening, November 9, 2021, Land-O-Light Show.





Thursday, November 4, 2021

Our Hackberry Tree

When we bought this land in the early '80's, there was a scrawny young hackberry tree here.  My, OH!, My! How times have changed!  It's now a stately Hackberry Tree exhibiting Class & Style for its species.  We're very proud of this tree and happy that we didn't succumb to suggestions to "cut it down."

The Hackberry might not be a keystone species around here but it's probably close to that status.  You'd be amazed at how many birds utilize this tree during their annual avian migratory Life Cycle.

It's so nice to see our Hackberry Standing Tall & Proud on this TBT.

PS--Yes, that's a remnant Pit House we tried to build when we first owned this land.  Long story best told later.



Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Dry visit to Prescott


NOAA's just sayin' Arizona will be dry for the next 7 days.  Out visit to Prescott starts Sunday and ends on Friday, the 12th.  Nice to know it's going to be smooth sailing. We're back on our Chromebook now so having to relearn how to do a blog post.  The screen capture function is remarkably simple and we can paste a screen shot right into this blog.  Way cool.

We finally DO have internet here at 2nd Chance Ranch.  We initially thought it was a worthless WIFI signal.  Well, it didn't even exist!  Century Link finally activated our DSL internet here at 1 AM Wednesday morning.  Unfortunately, we can't seem to connect our primary laptop so we're on this backup Chromebook.

We will be doing more blog posts once we "remember" all the funky quirks of the Chrome OS.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

And on The Eleventh Day

The Party of Two returned home to their Rimrock straw house at high noon Monday, November 1.

After visiting the Winslow Airport and revisiting Peter Wolf Toth's Arizona Native statue, we enjoyed an uneventful leisure cruise up across The Mogollon Rim into the Verde Valley beyond.

As expected, the travelers were greeted with a veritable jungle of weeds on their property.  After hacking out a parking spot, The Mosey Inn was nestled up close and cozy to the straw house.
Our little tiny home on two wheels is our newest rendition of The Phone Booth.  We set up an 18 foot tall mast and connected an antenna.  The cell signal booster turned a useless one bar into three decent bars of connectivity. That's huge for us.  Why?

Even though Century Link turned on our internet as scheduled yesterday, it is totally & completely worthless.  So worthless, in fact, we're probably going to cancel the service and simply use our phones out here in the travel trailer.

Maybe one of these days we can rig the antenna and cables so that the booster works inside the house.  In the meantime, who cares?  We have nice connectivity and a great little hang out spot here in our new Phone Booth.
Today and the next few days are going to be Weed Wars.  The tumbleweeds are the worst they've been in ten years.  The dispicable goatheads and the worst they've EVER been. We renewed our fire department burn permit yesterday and will begin torching the tumbleweeds about mid-morning.  If we burn them one-by-one "in place" far fewer seeds disperse.  It's tedious, time-consuming and exhausting work but it has to be done.

Luckily, NWS Flagstaff said this morning: "A very quiet weather pattern lies ahead for the next several days bringing a period of dry and mild fall weather."  Translated that means Dispatch will approve our burning when we call in our permit number this morning.

It was EZPZ opening up the house yesterday--took less than two hours.  Other than the weed jungle, the place looks just like it did when we left it in late April.

It sure was a fun trip south.  Total fuel cost was $366, about $120 more than if we had taken the shortest possible route.  But that $120 bought some wonderful value added stuff.  Staying off I-15 through Salt Lake and off of I-17 south of Flagstaff was priceless.

The shortest possible route between Idaho Falls and Rimrock is 800 miles.  On this 11 day soutbound journey we traveled 1,270 miles, well over 50% farther than the shortest possible route.  It sure was fun!

 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Winslow

There's more to standin' on the corner in Winslow. You betcha.  Winslow is Home to Peter Wolf Toth's Arizona rendition of his famous series of Native American sculptures.  Even though Route 66 will always be the headliner click bait for passing tourists, Wolf's sculpture OUGHT to be one of the main attractions in this thoroughly railroad city.

Ever since we moved to Idaho Falls in 2007, we've been totally smitten with Wolf's work.  His Idaho sculture is smack dab on our daily travel route.  We get to see it in all phases of light and shadow.  No matter how many hundreds of times we've gazed upon that Indian, our Love just grows deeper.
Toth's Story is one of the Greatest Untold Epics of Public Art in America.  We have a first edition of his book and will draw heavily from it when we fully document and describe The Winslow Indian.

Suffice to say it is spellbinding.  Seriously.

Winslow is kind of like a "mixed metaphor" in a kinda, sorta Van Gogh way.  It has some truly first class artifacts like the La Posada.  It has some of the bestest Route 66 schtick stuff you're gonna find on that Get-Your-Kicks-Route.

But is has a dark side, too.  When we parked to see the Toth Sculpture there was a homeless campsite right across the street.  All the detritus of a homeless person was spread wide for the world to see.

Meanwhile, a wandering band of Navajo Kids playfully engaged Winslow's Railroad Park, climbing atop a caboose and skateboarding around the behemoth remainders of Old Railroad Daze.

There's a penitentiary practically snugged right outside Winslow.  It was sited here when Arizona's Legislators thought building a pen from convicted criminals would become a new form of Rural Economic Development.

We're camped at the Navajo County McHood Park on river left of Clear Creek.  We had some misgivings about camping here but our doubts were allayed when we arrived.

Alcohol is BANNED in this park so it's never going to be the Bubba Boy Party Spot we feared it would be.

Meanwhile, we think the park would qualify as a Tie Hack Graveyard.  No, not the MEN who hewed the railroad ties but the ties that they hewed.  We're quite dialed into the history of Tie Hacks and their handiwork.  It's easily one of the great mostly unknown stories of the spread of railroad technology throughout The Western United States.

Of course, the railroads ruthlessly took advantage of those innocent, hand-working men, paying them pennies per hand hewn tie.  It's somewhat embarrassing to even read about what they were paid and how hard their jobs were.

There's a Tie Hack Memorial outside of Dubois, Wyoming (Where REAL Cowboys Work and Play!). It's one of those classic ginormous retro sculptures that reaches for The Sky.

Being here in McHood looking at all these whitewashed remnants of The Tie Hack Days kinda reminds me of visiting a Boot Hill graveyard.  It's errie in a Halloween sorta way.

Today's drive from Sand Island to Winslow calc'd to 266 miles but it really wasn't that far.  HUH?  Well, we took a wrong turn that added at least 40 miles to the day's driving total.  Blame it on a truly stupid driver.

The drive through The Rez was mostly about visualizing Georgia O'Keefe watercolors.  Man, that's an evocative landscape out there!  And, yes, it's TRULY OUT THERE!

Hopi Land was much more fun and endearing to traverse.  We could actually see the ancient pueblos perched atop their mesas.  SO exciting!  Meanwhile at Road Level, one of the Hopi communities was getting a brand new water system and we geeked out on that aspect of our day's journey.

We're going back into Winslow Monday morning for "make up" stuff.  The light was all wrong on Toth's sculpture this afternoon.  Tomorrow morning it will be perfect.

Plus, we're hoping to get a Special Blessing to see a special exhibit in the La Posada.  (Good Luck With THAT!)

And then we're trying to buy an Old Trails Museum 2021 Calendar.  How esoteric is that agenda?

But whatever.  We're having FUN and that's really all that matters to Old Road Trippers.

Thanks for reading!

On to Sand Island...

As Road Trip Days Go, Southbound Day 8 was a Good One.

Every thing happened "just right" and the Big Bugga-Boo's didn't come to haunt our Halloween Weekend route.

The Capitol Reef to Hanksville portion has become considerably more endearing to us since we began studying the Life & Times of Port Pectol.

Hanksville is in A Whirled Unto Itself.  Perhaps that's why one of Hanksville's stalwart residents declared it The Center of The Universe.  Susun actually got to talk with The Creator of The Hanksville Universe today.  I opted out because I knew a male-to-male conversation about The Center of The Universe would go on for a few light years.

We needed to travel so we proceeded on.

We strayed in Hankville for over an hour before heading out to Hite.  The Road To Hite is pretty special in ways too detailed to describe here.  Suffice to say it's mesmerizing and even more so if you know the history of this area, especially David Rust's part of it. The Cass Hite part of it is pretty danged good, too!
When you finally get to the Hite Overlook, it's kind of like an epihany.  You stand there dumbstruck looking at everything there is to see.  It's overwhelming in a Good Old Fashioned Way.  The sweeping 360 panorama fills Your Heart & Spirit with Inspiration and much more, too.

From Hite to Blanding is a journey through plateaus, canyons, buttes, spires and many other features so typical of this area of the Colorado Plateau.  We will defer further discussion for a later post.

We prefer to steer far wide of Blanding so we only went into the south side of that community to buy gas and then turned around and beat feet for Bluff and Sand Island beyond.

Although we generally avoid Blanding, we have considerable personal history with San Juan County.  We once tried to buy a house in Monticello, the County Seat.  We put money down and signed all the papers.  It's a long story, of course.  We even had a Post Office Box in Monticello and a storage unit, too.

Sand Island is a BLM enclave beside The San Juan River.  It's Ground Zero for people rigging to run The San Juan--Grand Ma's River, as we have called it for nearly 40 years.
We have almost as much personal history on The San Juan as we do The Verde, The Salt or The Colorado.  We've spent huge gobs of time in Bluff and Sand Island and on The San Juan in all of its permutations and combinations.

Coming back to Sand Island is a lot like going to a Family or Fraternity Reunion of some sort.  You might not see the same people, but you sure see the same familiar faces of this place.

The San Juan never seems to change.  Sure, maybe the invasive tamarisk trees are a little bigger and more numerous but The River is The Same.  Hey, it's The San Juan and that's why river runners have been coming here for more decades than most of us know.

We will be pulling out of Sand Island on Sunday's Halloween Morning to head down deep into The Rez, as The Navajo Nation is often called.  We'll turn right and go out through Hopi Land before turning left and thence toward Little Colorado River Country at Winslow.

We're bound and determined to stay off infamous I-17 this trip.  We're coming back to Rimrock from Winslow with only four miles of I-17 time to return home.
While in Winslow, we hope to visit and photograph Peter Wolf Toth's Arizona Native statue.  We'll write more about Toth when we get back to a real computer hooked up to real internet.

As we close this Halloween Tome, we will leave you with a tantalizing thought. Did you know that Bluff, Utah, is joined at the metaphorical hip with Escalante, Utah??

Huh?  Say What? 'Tis true!

Now THAT's a long story and one we will tell when we comfortably back onlline at our Straw Home beside Montezuma Well National Monument.

Happy Halloween.  Happy Last Day of October!