Friday, October 15, 2021

Dodging The Gauntlet

 If we leave on Saturday, October 23rd, we would camp at Willard Bay State Park on the very north tip of the 100-mile-long Salt Lake Metroplex and then drive I-15 through the gauntlet on Sunday morning when everyone is in Church.

However, if have to leave early, there is NO WAY we would drive The Gauntlet on a weekday.  Absolutely NO WAY.  So, we would then have to drive on the east side of The Wasatch Front.  The route variations are below.

Here's the normal and most direct route from Idaho Falls to Capitol Reef National Park.  EZPZ.  We jump I-15 and drive to Nephi, then head south through Levan and Gunnison to Salida.  Then over to Segurd and thence South to Torrey, Utah.
A second alternate is to get on US 6 at Spanish Fork and go over Soldier Summit to Helper/Price and thence south to Ferron and take a paved backroad to Loa and then to Torrey.  It's only a few miles different than the most direct route.
The route that entirely bypasses the Salt Lake Metroplex is about 50 miles longer. We'd turn East at Ogden and then south at Echo to Heber City and then to Provo.  We'd take side streets (AKA: Old US 89) to Spanish Fork and then up and over Soldier Summit to Helper/Price  and then to Ferron, etc.  There is another ALT version of this going from Heber to Duchesne to Helper but the long, steep downhill off that plateau is wickedly scary so we won't be doing that.

The Weather Window

 The Southbound migration is always the one during which weather plays a factor.  After all, it's FALL and that's when the weather can be very fickle.  Nice today, not so much tomorrow.  We watch weather every day but much more so beginning 10-14 days before departure.

As of today, we're 7-8 days from departure.  The plan is to pull out of Idaho Falls on October 23rd.  But we could move that to October 22 very easily....possibly even October 21 is we actually to. At this point, it looks like we're going to have a decent weather window during which to hit Interstate 15 South.

The wild card is whether weather will develop farther downstream on our route before it works its way up to Eastern Idaho.  

The above graphic shows next Wednesday through Friday with our approx. route in red,  Note that area of Coastal weather over by NORCAL.  If that chunk of wetness decides to impinge on Utah, then we probably need to beat feet a little earlier.
So far this Fall,m the prevailing pattern for area has been shaped by pulses coming out of the Pacific Northwest, pulses spawned by robust low pressure systems in the Golf of Alaska.  We're going to get yet another such pulse early next week but it "should": be cleared out of the way just about the time we need to depart.  It's kinda touch and and go for this season's migration.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Scratching the history itch

When the weather turns nippy and the days grow short, that's when we get the history itch.  It comes on slowly but pretty soon it's mighty itchy!  We can feel it growing more scratchy by the day.  So, what is there do to but scratch that itch, right? RIGHT! 

And the only way to scratch that itch is by digging deep into the Rabbit Holes of History.  Frnakly, such Rabbit Holes aren't hard to find.  They're practically everywhere, at least if you know what you're lookin' at.

And if on any given day, you can't find a right & proper Rabbit Hole, you well know what to do.  Open up an old, OLD newspaper and let a rabbit Hole leap off the page and grab you.  That's what we did today when we decided to see "whazzup" 150 years ago in Prescott, Arizona.

Why there was actually an October 14th issue of "The Weekly Arizona Miner" newspaper.  Talk bout 150 years to THE DAY, eh?  How lucky is that?

Anyway, it was a heck of a lot of fun diving into that Rabbit Hole and we spent all morning down where only rabbits roam.  We found some fun stuff and took a whole new approach to presenting it.
We like to put stuff on our Arizona History Stories Facebook page.  Then we like to post the link onto one or more of the other Facebook history pages for Arizona.  In the past, we've just put our link on those pages.  Today we created a photo collage of some of our content and posted that along with the link.  Then, as an added bonus feature, we did a huge long blog post on one of the 150-year-old advertisements we found.  Plus, we even found a link to the entire newspaper.  So, it's kind of a win-win deal for anybody who's interested in such Old But Goodie Stuff.

If you're inclined to take a flying leap down my rabbit Hole de jour, here ya go:
Since we started scratchin' the itch a few weeks ago, our Arizona History Stories Page has been doing pretty well, actually.

Happy History Trails!

John Parsons Blogging History

Got blogs in my blood...

I probably started blogging in 1986 but didn't know I was blogging back then.  That's when I bought my first computer.  I would write daily entries on it and print them out on an old noisy dot-matrix printer.  When Windows 3.1 came along, I really amped up by daily writing.  As soon as I figured out how to post narratives online I did so.  That would be about 25 years ago, plus or minus, but probably 1995 and definitely no later than 1996.  That's back when buying a domain name and creating an actual hosted website was heady stuff.  I actually created the very first watershed website in all of America back then!  Seriously.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation bought an installed the latest, greatest computer for the Verde NRCD somewhere around 1995 and then they paid to connect us to the web with the best available local internet service provider.  Since it was easier to post text that photos back then, I would write frequent, sometimes daily entries about The Verde River and its watershed.  So, that would qualify as my first genuine "web log.."  You see, that's what the word "blog" actually means.  The two words "web log" were shortened to "blog" long fact, so long ago that most people don't even know.

Anyway, things proceeded merrily along for the rest of the 90's.  I was happily blogging away even though it still wasn't yet know as blogging.  In late Y 2 K, we decided to retire at the ripe old age of 53.  We decided to take a really long Road Trip from Arizona to the north tip of Vancouver Island.  Naturally, we named our trip: "Western Space Odyssey 2001."  And, naturally, we bought a domain name to that effect.  And, naturally, we began writing long daily tomes to post on that website.

What eventually became today's Google Blogger wasn't even invented until 1999 and it was so obscure I never even heard of it until a few years later.  The word "blog" was just beginning to echo in the lexicon of internet-related jargon.  To me, daily writing was a Way Of Life and it was just something that I did whether anyone was reading it or not.

Our last day at The Verde Natural Resource Conservation District was January 10, 2001.  On January 11, the very next day, we arrived on the beach at Rocky Point, Sonora, Mexico.  That's where my blogging really took off.  Of course, I STILL didn't know that IU was blogging!  To me it was just the daily habit of writing and then posting the words on the web.

It was rather difficult to get my writing actually posted on the web.  I had an ancient Windows 3.1 machine that used a floppy disk.  Remember those?  So, I would sit in our little pop top camper and peck away at the keyboard to write a long narratives of each day's doing's.  By and by, we would drive out little Suzuki Samurai into "downtown" Puerto Penasco to what was then known as an "internet cafe."  We'd pay our pesos and be granted access to a clunky desktop computer connected to the internet via one of those despicable 14.4K dial up phone modems.  Talk about S-L-O-W!

Each day we were eventually successful and posted out writing.  One of the visitors to Palmar RV Park that season was a retired airline pilot from an upscale East Coast area.  He became very curious about my writings.  So, he returned home and printed out each and every single day's worth of writing.  Then he had the printouts professionally bound into three booklets and sent them to me!  Seriously!  So, I have actually physical PROOF of my early 2001 blogging.

This whole archaic method of blogging continued unabated through that summer 20 years ago and then into the next couple of years that followed.  Sometime perhaps in late 2001 or early 2002, I actually heard about the Blogger platform. Back then it was owned by Pyra Labs and sounded decidedly cumbersome, unwieldy and expensive.  I ignored it.

Well, by and by, Google bought Pyra Labs in early 2003 and that was the down of the new Blogger.  Google made everything free and began a steady drum roll of amazing improvements.  I was one of Google's first "early adopters" for the Blogger platform.  I can't seem to remember or find my first Google blog but it's out there somewhere---probably in more ways than one of being "out there".

Google really had Blogger running slick by 2004 and that's when we started out first summer of Forest Service volunteering at Bowery Guard Station.  In the next few years and especially in late 2007 and all of 2008, I really latched onto Blogger and began creating blogs of all types and stripes, a trend that has continued to present.

As of mid-October 2021, I don't even know how many blogs I have, let alone where they all are.  I would guess I have at least 70 blogs but it's probably much closer to 100.  Seriously. I have somewhere around 20 Gmail addresses and each of those accounts has quite a large number of blogs.  I bet my primary Gmail account has more than 20 blogs.  One of these days we will count 'em up.

Google doesn't care how many blogs you have and they are all free so why not?  I often create a blog for any reason...or NO reason at all.  A few weeks back I created about six new blogs for which I have yet to create even a single post.  Why?  Well, I read about a new trend that hasn't yet caught on and figured I might as well lock up some relevant blog names "just in case" the trend takes hold.  I think they call that "blog squatting"...or something.

Obviously, THIS blog is my Number One Primary blog and it has it's own domain name: Live Simple, Care Much.  So whazzup up with that?

In the Fall of 2005, Susun and I spent a lot of time talking about the then new trend of "voluntary simplicity."  Back in '05, it was all the rage.  We both decided we ought to buy a website domain name capitalizing on that phenomena but we couldn't think of a name that both of us liked.  Time passed.  

On Christmas Morning 2005, we were getting ready to go to Christmas Dinner with Our Dear Friends, Brad, Kate and Joshua.  Suddenly about 30 minutes before our departure the name hit both of us: Live Simple Care Much.  BAM!  Just like that.

So we jumped online and bought the domain name and dutifully continued to pay our annual dues to keep it.  However, we really didn't know what we wanted to do with the name.  We just knew we WANTED THAT NAME! Time passed.

Back on Halloween 2009, a juvenile jerk badly vandalized our Arizona home  by breaking out numerous windows.  We rushed from our job in Idaho Falls down to Rimrock and began an incredibly labor intensive, long-term rehabilitation project.  It took nearly two months of non-stop work to get the house repaired and safely "vandal-proofed."  Then we headed back to Idaho Falls to resume working our paid job as Director of The Eastern Idaho Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).  Well, we got snowbound in Nephi, Utah, and had to hole up for two days at the Safari Motel there.

That's when I learned my boss has been fired and everything was going to change at my job.  We decided right then and there to retire from the job just as soon as we could get everything in order.
And that's when we decided to document the entire transition with a blog dedicated solely to the documentation process.

We created a Google Blog called "y2ten" and began blogging away.  Man, that blog took off in a heartbeat and I was writing up a storm on it.  As time passed I realized the name was totally inadequate and that's about the time Google decided to let people link their own domain name to a blog.  

BINGO!  Finally, we knew and understood the reason why we had the domain name "Live Simple. Care Much" and had held on to it for over 4 years.  We quickly linked the domain name to the y2ten blog and carried on blogging there for many years.

All-in-all we put up over 1,700 blog posts on Live Simple Care Much before we were kidnapped by Facebook.  Now that we have broken free of the Facebook cult, we're back to our roots here happily blogging once again on Live Simple Care Much.

We're not going back to the Facebook gulag. Yes, we will visit our account every day and like and share stuff but we will no longer write our own stuff to be posted there.  Whatever we write will be posted here.  We might occasionally link a blog post from here to Facebook but, as a general rule, we won't.

We're going back to writing purely for the sake of writing, just as we once did long before the word "blog" was openly spoken.  Whether anyone reads our writing is irrelevant to us once again.  It's a wonderfully liberating feeling and we're already immensely enjoying our born again blog buzz.


Yippie, skippie!  Our first "TODO" item for Thursday morning was to create a simple post from our Android phone.  It was EZPZ and took no trouble whatsoever.  So, we're good to go as far as creating blog posts On The Road.

As far as the photo goes, it was last night's dinner.  Dear Susun is getting SO Much better in her quest to create credible, appetizing and visually appealing Asian Pho. I sure cleaned my Pho Bowl.  

Today being TBT, our main blog post will be about our own personal history of blogging as well as when, where, why and how this particular blog was created.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

BBC Stickers coming right up!


We just ordered some of these stickers!  YEA!  They're only going to be 3 by 3 but they will look good in a tasteful sorta way.  BIG BOARD CRIBBAGE ROX!  Below is the proof of the sticker they sent to me overnight.  I approved it Thursday morning and should it will be waiting in our Rimrock Post Office Box when we arrive the first week of November.

Revised Snack Box

As everyone knows we travel a lot.  The diet of a traveler differs from one who remains sedentary at home.  Travelers often get "the munchies."  That's why we have embedded Snack Boxes in both our truck AND Travel Trailer (TT).  Of course, the TT Snack Box is considerably bigger than the one in the truck.

The TT Snack box danged near has it all--lots and lots of various crackers, canned oysters, peanut butter, black olives, orange marmalade, mango-habanero salsa, hot chocolate packets, onion soup mix and now even Cheerios, too.  When one of us gets the munchies, the LAST thing we need to deal with is a depleted Snack Box.

We amped up our Snack Box today to include breakfast staples, too.  Five grain flakes with all the trimmings: fresh walnuts, dried cranberries and raisins as well.

The cracker selection is arguably the best it's ever been: two pkgs. of flavored woven wheat crackers, a box of club crackers; two pkgs. of honey graham crackers; a bag of Goldfish and a stack of saltines. Now we're talkin' CRACKERS!

We're lucky that WINCO is less than 2 miles from our Idahome.  Whenever we get a whim, we can simply dash to WINCO to fulfill that whim.  We did so today twice.  Once for the Bulk Box and once for the Snack Box.  At less than 4 miles round trip, who cares?

WINCO has an awesome bulk section.  You can find almost anything there.  One of their tried and true, fan-favorite staples is fresh ground peanut butter.  Well, today there was NO peanut butter.  Seems there is a shortage of peanuts.  Ah, well, shortages are The New Normal.  Luckily, we have Back Up Peanut Butter, right? RIGHT!

Don't EVER plan a Road Trip without Back Up Peanut Butter!

One of the many coolest things about WINCO's Bulk Department is that they sell really goof stuff.  It sure makes our Snack Box Sing!

The Bulk Box

We travel with everything except the kitchen sink.  Sometimes we even think of bringing the kitchen sink along.  Most of the time when we prepare to migrate south or north, we purposely "over pack" and take more stuff than we need.

Our total food inventory is actually pretty extensive and complex.  We divided it into sections much like small town grocery stores are in sections or departments or whatever.

One of our staples (so to speak) is our Bulk Box.  It hold dry primary ingredients that must be cooked.  There's nary a single thing in that box that can be eaten "as is."  Most of the Bulk Box contents actually need to be pressure cooked.  Of course, we carry a pressure cooker...but you knew that already, right? Right!

Today, I roto-rooted the Bulk Box and focused on the items we eat most often.  All other extraneous items were removed.  Until today, we've always carried breakfast items such as oats and pancake mix in the bulk box.  Only quick cooking grits remain.  The oaks and 10-grain pancake mix are moving to a more convenient location elsewhere in our traveling grocery store.

Obviously lentils, brown jasmine rice and Navy Beans are very popular menu items for us--hence five one cup bags of each.  Lately we've found ourselves becoming quite fond of pressure cooked pearled barley so that one got upped to four one cup bags.

We're only carrying two cups of pinto beans just in case we need to make a "company pot" of beans.  Otherwise, we will stick with small red beans as they are slightly more versatile and go really, really well with rice.

It generally takes about a month to rig for one of our migrations.  We try to devote a lot of time to each task.  We don't want to wait until the last minute and then have to rush through everything.  It was a pleasure today to spend almost four hours on the Bulk Box.  It will serve us well through most of the upcoming Arizona Season.

"He don't know beans"

Even though the USS Constitution was launched in 1797, it remains an active US Navy ship.
There's virtually no doubt, Old Ironsides was powered just as much by Navy Beans as wind!

Have you ever heard that phrase?  A variation is an accusation such as "You don't know beans."  Well, I know a little bit about beans but I could easily say "I don't know beans" and be more right than wrong.

This morning I am trying to know a little bit more about beans than I knew yesterday.  Of course, it doesn't take much to increase one's knowing of beans since the internet is full of beans, pun intended.  So-called Navy Beans have long been a favorite legume of mine.

A treasure trove of recipes!
Yesterday I "rediscovered" a lost casserole book we purchased in Livingston, Montana, last October.  It has 2,000 recipes all contributed by Home Economics teachers in the mid-60's.  As you might suspect, most of those 2,000 recipes are full of Cheese Whiz, Velveeta, butter, bacon and all sorts of other yummy fat.  Some of the recipes aren't even casseroles.  I found one last night which sure sounded like a "pot-o-beans" recipe and that's why I am deep down the Rabbit Hole of Navy Beans.

First off, how did they get their name?  Navy Beans have been around for about 5,000 years and were supposedly one of the very first beans to be "domesticated." I'm not sure how you domesticate a bean.  Do you teach it table manners...or what?

Despite that little white bean's lengthy pedigree, it apparently didn't merit a name of its own until The U.S. Navy began serving the beans to sailors aboard ships at least from the mid-1850's and probably long before.  Those tiny bean's became rather ubiquitous aboard ship and it wasn't long before the "Navy" moniker was permanently affixed to the beans.

Four types of white beans.
In our casual research this morning, we found one article which asserts Navy (and other) Beans played an important role in creating the Industrial Revolution! "In fact, beans may have driven the industrial revolution as much as the increasing use of fossil fuels. As a cheap and abundant food resource, beans provided the impoverished workers with enough nutrients and energy to get through the long, grueling work days."

That assertion could well point to why small white beans became such a staple food aboard ship.  They are easy to cook and don't lose their shape or break apart.  They are easy to store and provide some of the most protein per serving of any dried beans.  The little beans pair exceptionally well with salt pork--a meat unit that could be easily carried aboard ship for long periods of time.

All-in-all, it now makes some degree of sense to me why and how those beans could come to be called Navy Beans.  I happen to love Navy Beans for the same reasons the U.S. Navy must have loved them--ease of cooking and a natural affinity for any sort of pork product.  I've used ham hocks. ham bones, salt pork and even bacon to flavor my bean pot. 

I'm looking forward to using this mid-60's "Old-Fashioned Baked Beans" recipe from Rogue River, Oregon, just about as soon as I can get all the ingredients together.  Knowing beans just a little bit better will help my imagination wander while I savor a bowl of Navy Beans.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

My Hero

 Heroes!  I grew up with Heroes and I LOVE Heroes!  I have a LOT of Heroes but I think that Andrew Carnegie is my Hero of Heroes.  His dedication to Learning through Libraries stands as a Forever Shining Example to the value of BOOK in people's lives.  Oh, how we could wax eloquent about Andrew.  There's been nobody like him ever since he walked this Earth.

Google today dredged up a post we wrote about Andrew over ten years ago.   That's when we realized we had been remiss in buying his stamps.  We just therefore ordered a full sheet of 70 Andrew stamps from eBay.  We can hardly wait to paste them onto our Postal correspondence!

A Rosie Idea

Many of Our Dear Friends well know how much we LOVE Arizona's Roosevelt Lake area and especially the Windy Hill Campgrounds.  So, I conceived this idea we could volunteer for the Tonto National Forest to create a Facebook Page for that glorious area.  EZPZ, right?

Not so much.  My Beloved Soul Mate accused me of "promoting" the area with such an idea.  Well, how can you promote an area that has been a headliner in Arizona for 110 years?  Aye!  That is the question.

My idea is about providing visitors with up-to-date information about current conditions at The Roosevelt Lake Recreation Area so that they don't arrive with unrealistic, unsustainable expectations.  There's plenty of leg room at Roosevelt.  NO one wants to be disappointed in their visit to one of Arizona's headliner attractions!

That's why we feel it would be important and valuable to provide current, relevant information about "The Status of Roosevelt."  The visiting public would LOVE it!

Once we HOPE that Clair Weslee understands the idea, we will begin to pursue it.

No Limbs Lost

Eastern Idaho and Idaho Falls got hit hard with a record-breaking snowstorm October 11-12, 2021.  Snow amounts varied widely but we received nearly 8 inches.

We thought such an event would cause a large loss of limbs from our deciduous trees.  Such was not the case.  Surprisingly, very few leafy trees lost any limbs.  There were exceptions, including one of our adjacent neighbors who lost several LARGE limbs. 

Oddly, the leafy trees have all shed their snow load and look totally normal.  The conifers are holding on to their snow load.  Go Figure.

One of the weirdest things about this year's seasonal shift is that the leaves just won't let go.  They keep holding on and on and ON!  It's weird because, normally, they have given up their game and totally let go.  But not this year.  NOPE!  Almost ALL of them are hanging on like they might have a New Life...or something.

We have this saying that when The Idaho Leaves Fall, we leave.  Just as when the Arizona Mesquites Leaf, we leave.  Such is Snow Bird Life.

This is the very First Post of our New Posting Life.  We will no longer even THINK about writing a long narrative on Facebook.  Each of the past 15+ times we've attempted to do so, Facebook has automatically deleted our narrative.

Google NEVER does that stuff to us and Google NEVER tells us we violate some sort of policy with our posts.  Therefore, we are no longer writing narratives on Facebook. We will write ONLY on Google Blogger and NOT on Facebook.  Yes, we will still post the usual assortment of snarky comments and memes but never again a narrative.

Been there, done that.


Friday, September 10, 2021

A Haunting Story

As many of our Dear Friends well know, we began building Big Cribbage Boards in early Summer 2021.  It has been a truly wonderful experience in every way. We have received fabulous support from our Dear Friends and total strangers, too.

The evening of September 8, we received a terse message from a Grand Ma in Boise, Idaho.  She simply said she wanted to buy a particular cribbage board and would pay full price for it plus shipping to Boise.

We dutifully began to find out who were were dealing with and why she wanted to buy one of our Bullet Boards.

She matter-of-factly told us that she had taught her Grand Son to play cribbage as a kid but he has since "forgot" and she wanted the board to help him relearn cribbage.  We accepted her statements at face value and proceeded to attempt to conclude the sale.

And that's when "The Rest Of The Story" poured forth.

It turns out that her Grand Son joined The U.S. Army and was sent to Afghanistan.  His troop carrier was hit by a roadside bomb and he suffered Traumatic Brain Injury.  He has made little progress over time and his Grand Ma had prayed for guidance to help him.

In one of her Prayers, she realized that a Cribbage Board might be able to resurrect some of his brain function.  When she saw my Facebook listing for my "bullet boards" she knew she had found her target, so to speak.

She fervently believes my Cribbage Board will be the ticket to reawakening her Grand Son's brain function.

I've heard of many uses of cribbage boards but never one like this.  I fervently hope and pray that Grand Ma is right and my board will work its magic on her Grand Son's brain.

Cribbage is a remarkable Game and has perhaps curative values we have not yet learned.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Peaks to Pits in 24 hours

I soloed a Piper Cub at noon on my 16th birthday November 21, 1963, and was riding the very tippy top peaks of youthful exhilaration, excitement and exuberation.

A mere twenty four hours later, I was in the total pits of youthful depression, despair and dreadful anxiety following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy at 12:30 PM, November 22, 1963.

The tragedy hit everyone young and old with a devastating emotional grief which took a very long time to overcome.  Although I didn't realize it at the time, Kennedy's death put an end to my aspirations to be a pilot.

Let's go back and begin at the beginning, shall we?

As most of you know, my Dad was a top turret gunfighter on a B-17 in World War Two.  He was shot down in his 13th mission and endured the brutality of Nazi prison camps for the remainder of the conflict. Dad had been fascinated  with aircraft every since he took a ride in a Ford Tri Motor as a youngster of perhaps 8 years of age.

After I came along in the late '40's, Dad dragged me around to view anything that would fly and a lot of stuff that wouldn't.  Most of my Father-Son dialogues with Dad involved some sort of  "plane talk."
Of course, I wanted to Honor By Father by becoming a pilot as soon as possible.  It was something I dreamed of from a very early age.

Mom and Dad insisted I couldn't begin flight training until my 15th year and they agreed to arrange for me to solo fly on my 16th birthday--the earliest legal age allowed by the FAA at that time.

All of  my flight instruction took place at a Mom and Pop place called Aretz Airport.  A famous World War One pilot founded the airport in 1930.  By the early '60's, the place was about as bucolic an airport as you could possibly imagine.  Totally Down Home in every way.  It operated for over 75 years before closing down in 2006.

I eagerly started ground and air lessons in the summer of 1963 and soaked up every word and action of my instructors.  A couple of them said I was the best student they ever had.  One of my instructors was a combat fighter veteran from World War Two.  He seemed ancient me as a 15 year old but was probably only in his 40's. He loved to give me a flying lesson on Saturdays in September, October and early November of '63.


Well, The Purdue University Boilermaker football team had numerous home football games at Ross-Ade  Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Back then it was tradition to release bazillions of helium-filled balloons just prior to the opening kick off.  My instructor timed my flight lesson for those balloons.  He'd be sure to be circling the stadium waiting for those balloons to rise.  And then he'd pounce.  "HERE THEY COME," he'd call out in a near shout, "LET'S GO GET 'EM!"  And then the aerial acrobatics began.  After he popped a few with the propeller, it would be my turn.  There was no such thing as straight and level flying when we attacked the balloons.  That's really when I learned the pure, abject Joy Of Flying, banking, diving and tight circling to get at those balloons.  Gosh, it was so much fun.

Most of my flight time was in a Piper Cub.  However, on Saturdays we took out a more powerful aircraft that was better suited to chase and pop balloons.

Mom and Dad made a "deal" with me.  They said they would pay for my flight instruction until the day I soloed.  After that, I would have to pay.

I was so excited to solo on my 16th birthday.  I could hardly wait and began counting down the days like people did before Christmas back then.  Mom wrangled a way to get me out of Central Catholic High School that day, even though the stern Principal priest was none to pleased about it.  Several of my parents Friends and Family came out to watch me solo.

I remember the flight instruction leaning into the small Piper Cub cockpit and looking be square in the eyes as he said,  "Just bring it back in one piece, OK, kid?"

You can imagine how fast my heart was racing as I idled up the little engine that could and taxied to the end of the runway.  I went through all of the obligatory checks and shoved the sided panel throttle to the maximum.  You can see the throttle on the left with the red knob. It seemed like that little place practically leaped into the sky while I nervously gripped the stick.  I had been strongly admonished not to fly out of sight of the runways so I gained altitude and flew a lazy circle around the airport.  Piper Cubs are slow as molasses so even just one circle around the airport took awhile.  Bu then I figured I better set up for the approach and land.  I was terrified of landing the aircraft by myself.  It's one thing to get it into the air but it's quite another to get it safely back on the ground.

I had landed the Cub many a time with my flight instructor and I always felt comfortable, mainly because I knew if I did something wrong the instructor would save my anatomy.  But this time was different.  There was no one else in the aircraft to save my anatomy but me.

Oh, how my heart raced as I began the final, eve3r so gently bringing that sweet little bird back down to earth.  Since the Piper Cub is what is known as a "tail dragger," the trick is to set it softly down on the two front wheels and then reduce the throttle until the rear wheel settles onto the runway.

Luckily, I did everything just right and had what the instructor called "a picture perfect landing."  When I climbed out of the cramped cockpit I felt like a celebrity.  My Mom was crying, My Dad was slapping me on the back and their Friends and Family were cheering and clapping.  Gosh, what a moment.

My folks were so overcome with joy they decided a celebration was in order so we drove all the way down to Attica, Indiana, where the region's most renowned steak house was located.  Mom and Dad treated me to a ginormous T-bone steak with all the trimmings that night.  We three talked incessantly of my bright future as a pilot.  It was a truly joyous occasion, the best of my whole life up to that time.

I went to sleep that night with stars in my dreams.  The next day at school before classes started, I was besieged with questions and comments and snarky remarks from my Friends and classmates.

And then...

And then I was sitting in Mister Eberle's class when the News came. I can remember it as clearly today as if I was sitting there right now.  I've never felt such a profound shock, not even with 911.  Many of the girls burst into tears.  One girl screamed and promptly fainted.  Luckily, she fell forward onto her desk and  not onto the floor.  Mister Eberle and a couple of Nuns attended to the girl while the rest of us were more or less cast adrift.  At that age, we didn't really even understand how to deal with such a shock and there were no counselors to help us.  It was gut wrenching an terrible and there was really no where to turn because every one else as badly or worse than I did.

I think everyone's life changed in some way that day.  I went into a funky sort of depression that lasted a long time.  I didn't want to talk or socialize and could barely even eat.  Any thoughts of flying any time soon were totally out of the question.  It was weeks before the topic of flying came up in Family conversation.  I just shook my head.  I didn't want any part of it.

Somehow during that time my flight log book disappeared from Aretz Airport's office.  When I finally did go back out to fly my records were gone, too.  Meanwhile I got a part time job as a bus boy at Holiday Inn for 50 cents an hour.,  Trust me, you can't buy flying lessons on 50 cents an hour.  Soon, all the joy of that Solo Flying on my 16th birthday faded into oblivion.

Life went on and I never took up flying again.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Blog dormant

 Currently, my personal blog is dormant but I am hoping to start posting again today or tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Rain Shrine


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, that in thy celestial apparitions on the mount of Tepeyac, thou didst promise to show thy compassion and pity towards all who, loving and trusting thee, seek thy help and call upon thee in their necessities and afflictions.

Thou didst promise to hearken to our supplications, to dry our tears and to give us consolation and relief. Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, either for the common welfare, or in personal anxieties, was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto thee, we come to humble ourselves in thy august presence, certain that thou wilt deign to fulfill thy merciful promises. We are full of hope that, standing beneath thy shadow and protection, nothing will trouble or afflict us, nor need we fear drought, or lack of rain, or any other sorrow.

Placing ourselves beneath thy maternal gaze and having recourse to thee in all our necessities we need do nothing more. Oh, please do not despise our petition, but in thy mercy hear and answer us.
We pray you grant our Prayers for Rain & Snow and Lots of Rain & Snow. Water Upon The Land will bring many Blessings to your Faithful Devotees. In thy name we Pray.

Friday, October 30, 2020

The Axe Throwers

 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."

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

According to sources


Ah! Such a Magical Word. Many of our Dear Friends well know the magical allure of that mere word: Headwaters: The Sources of Rivers.

There's something primal, mystical and deeply emotional about the instinctive human urge to seek out headwaters.

This coming Saturday is really special for Susun and me. It's an event we spontaneously organized on our own with no sponsorship, no financial support or whatever, We just decided to do it "Because it's The Headwaters." So many of our Dear Friends instantly know what we mean.

Who among us hasn't yearned to stand at the Birthplace of a River to reflect upon the supremely spiritual importance and connectivity going on at a Headwaters. You can't explain it. You can only experience it.

As a result of our upcoming gig, we looked back on the Headwaters we've visited in our lives. Gosh. It's quite a litany. Verde, Salt, Gila, San Juan, Little Colorado, Green, Grand, Salmon, Lemhi, East Fork, Snake, Henry's Fork, Tuolumne, Metolius, Rogue, Sevier, Paria, Virgin, Bear, Provo, Wildcat, and even the teeny-tiny-dry-enuf-to-cry Puerco! I know I am forgetting many other Headwaters and I apologize to them.

Saturday we will conduct a very short (think 10-15 minutes) pseudo ceremony to commemorate the 1895 discovery and documentation of The Headwaters of The Mighty Missouri.

Gosh! I never thought I've ever have the opportunity in my Life to do anything relating to The Glorious Mighty MO! WHOA!

I gotta tell ya. Of all The Headwaters stuff I've ever done, this upcoming event is "right up there." I am so thankful for the opportunity. It's Total Headwaters Karma come full circle and we're LOVING IT!

NOTE: Photo attached is from THE FINEST Headwaters website I know and it just so happens to be the site we're commemorating! Check it out!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Why we're outta here

"Be here now," Bubba Ram Yonni intoned.  And indeed, they are now cozily being here now at Site A07 of Riverside, their favorite Island Park campground.

So, wot hoppened?  

Well, it all bubbled down to the city's water main replacement project in front of our Idahome on 12th St.  The project has been going on for two months while becoming progressively more and more annoying.

During the past week the project has been unfolding in very slow motion right smack dab in front of the house.  And we're talkin' MAJOR annoying!  The construction activities have been shaking the house itself and vibrating pictures hanging on the walls.  The noise has been intense and unrelenting.  Due to an unforeseen development, the noise and vibration was certain to become borderline unbearable.


Well, long ago, some lazy workers dug a big trench to repair the old 1930's water line.  Instead of filling the trench with gravel compacted in layers, they just filled the whole she-bang with concrete. EZPZ.

Well, today's contractor quite literally stumbled into those behemoth massive glacial slabs of concrete and was like, ""Huh?"  And those gi-normous pieces of concrete just kept surfacing like breaching whales.  It was all the excavator could do to drag them out of the ground.

Meanwhile, the pieces are too big to break down into small pieces.  The contrator tried every trick with his many machines. Nope.  No can do. We have no clue how they intend to break up those gi-normous chunks of concrete but we suspect they will bring in a a specialized pneumatic core drilling rig or a hydraulic concussion hammer.And we don't wanna be nowhere near our Idahome when that mayhem cuts loose.

So, that's why we be here now, enjoying another episode of Happy Days alongside The Henry's Fork of The Snake River in yonder caldera amid the densely packed lodgepole pine forest.  As you well know our Love at First Site # A21 is booked solid all season so that one was out of the question.  We took whatever was available and snagged Site # A07 for two nights. When we have to leave A07 Thursday morning, we will simply move to whatever other site might be available, most likely in the first-come, first served "C" loop.  The C Loop isn't near the river but that's OK. No matter where you camp in Riverside, it's a great spot and a fabulous place to be here now.

One of the nice things about not camping in A21 is being able to watch what goes on   in adjacent campsites.  A21 is so far away from the nearest neighboring campsite, we can't enjoy watching other campers.

Our nearest sites here at A07 are A08 and A09.  It was quite fun watching A09 yesterday.  First a Harley couple pulled in to camp. They were a textbook classic Harley couple with beautiful motorcycles and full leather regalia.  The woman's machine was tuned with "hot pipes" so she could make ear-catching motorcycle noises while the man's ride was as quiet as a church mouse.

They settled into camp and seemed to be enjoying a pleasant late afternoon.  By and by, they up and left.  POOF, gone.  They clearly must not have known they were sitting in one of the entire region's finest campsites.  Well, that's their problem.

We then began fear and loathing of the worst fate of camping in a developed campground---a GENERATOR!  Some campers insist on bringing a generator big enough to power a Third World Village. Such generators are huge and very noisy...noisy enough to raise the dead from their graves.

But we got lucky.  Two SUV-loads of fundamental women and children pulled into the site.  We breathed a big sigh of relief.  So, what are "fundamental women?"  Well, that's our way of describing women who wear really long 19th Century style dresses that often actually reach the ground.  Those dresses are always a very drab color such as very dark, murky blue or gray.  No such thing as a brightly colored dress for fundamental women. The dresses are also long-sleeved and the shoulders have a very Old School design. They wear their hair in a style more common to 1870 than 2020.  There are many such women in various agricultural colonies in Montana and also in FLDS groups in rural parts of Idaho-Utah-Arizona.

We figured these women wre from Montana.  Their tents are very colorful and they are traveling with a pack of rather unruly dogs. They enjoyed towering White Woman campfires last night and this morning.  However, their license plates were Idaho so who knows where they were from?

Anyway, the troupe is fun to watch and we have ring side voyure seats here in Site A07.

Wednesday dawned cloudy and cool in the upper 40's and there was even a brief cat spit hiss of rain. This might be a perfect day to drive over into Montana and visit Cliff and Wade Lakes.  We've only been to those lakes once back in 2005 so it's clearly time to refresh our memories about their ballyhooed beauties.

Lots more to discuss but this narrative is already ridiculously too long so we'll say bye-bye for now.  Or is that tah-tah for now?

Whatever, we're outta here.

Inspect, detect, repair and replace

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.

That's why we long, long ago adopted a Life Mantra of "Inspect, Detect, Repair & Replace."  We just assume that our 32-year-old travel trailer is fixin' to fall apart.  So it's up to us to stay ahead of the curve and find the weak spots BEFORE they put us into an ugly situation such as happened yesterday on US 20.

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

Travel Trailer Tinkering

(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!

Testing the Mobile App

Well, first thing Sunday morning we decided to do some testing of the mobile Blogger app. It seems to works easily except for sizing and alignment of photos.  That's a minor glitch and we don't care about it.
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.

Well, that concludes our test.  (Note that we used the Mobile App to add more photos to this post.  It's a work-in-progress and it's proceeding well.)

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Our Anniversary

Eight-Eight is our wedding anniversary.  Therein lies a story.

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

Wither Weather

 All throughout The West there's a common refrain: "Only two kinds of people predict weather here,  newcomers and fools."

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

Waterline Project

Here are some photos of our waterline project in front of our house as of August 6, 202o.

Front Door Entertainment

It's not often we get treated to some fun entertainment right from our front door.  City contractors are replacing the water main on 12th St.  They've been working for months on the project.  They finally progressed to a point in front of our house.  Apparently, some crews plugged a hole with pure concrete.  So this excavator operator decided it would make small pieces out of the large piece.  It didn't go to well for him and he finally gave up.  The video runs three minutes 13 seconds and can be seen here:

History Pages

Facebook enables anyone to create a "Page" about any sort of topic they may desire. For the past few years, we have belonged to various Facebook History Groups.  A Group is vastly different than a Page.

Groups are almost always "by invitation only" and requests to join must be approved by an Administrator.  Groups often insist than those who wish to join answer one or more pointed questions.  New members must agree to all sorts of rules which vary from Group to Group.  In most cases, any posts made to a Group must be reviewed and approved by an Administrator.  However, the most annoying aspect about private Groups is that you absolutely cannot share any post made to a private Group.  What happens on the Group stays on the Group.

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.
As of August 6, 2020, the combined total of Likes for the three Pages is 2,376 and the number of Followers is 2,525.  There's a difference between Likes and Followers. Here's a short summary.

When someone Likes a Page, it shows their Facebook name and profile photo.  Other people can see who Likes a Page.  Just because someone Likes a Page doesn't necessarily mean they will see all of the posts on any given page.  Now someone can be a Follower of a Page without having their identity visible.  There's no way to know who your Followers are.  However people who choose to Follow a Page will see all of your posts to that page.  So, it's definitely good to have more Followers for a Page than Likes.

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've had combined People Reached stats as high as 44,000 for a two-day weekend time frame.  We can't offhand remember our biggest weekly total but it was in excess of 70,000.  Since we started this history page gig, our aggregate People Reached measures in the hundred of thousands.

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!

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