Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Selling Our Straw Home

Yes, The Time has come to sell our Straw Home.  This website is the portal to the information we are putting together about this wonderful, awesome, priceless place.

Additional information is located here:

You may also contact us at:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Straw House Construction

Here is an album of over 100 photos showing the 1994 construction of our post & beam straw bale house:
Above, John shows off the antique straw knife that played such a vital role in fitting the bales into the post & beam structure.  Below, Susun takes a break to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of building our own straw bale house.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten

Top Ten Best Qualities of The Straw Home

Contiguous to Montezuma Well National Monument NPS property.

A forever view unchanged since mid-19th Century pre-settlement era.

Located a short walk to perennial, year-round, free-flowing stream.

Well built Straw Bale Home w/low property taxes & utility costs.

Private well, electricity and DSL internet on eight-tenths acre property.

Two adequate building sites located on quiet, dead-end road

Room to park a large RV with multiple sites for additional visiting RV's.

Ample storage facilities, a large ramada and a safe camp fire party site.

A nine-tenths-mile loop trail located a few feet from property boundary.

Proximity to over 100 local and Sedona-area hiking & MTB trails.

In addition, The Straw Home is close to shopping, libraries, a gym and pickleball courts. It is located an hour from either Flagstaff or Prescott and is located just two hours from The Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Weather at the 3,500 foot elevation of The Straw Home is moderate compared to the extremes of The High Country and the Lower Sonoran Desert. The Straw Home is also close to The Wild & Scenic Verde River. Social and cultural opportunities abound in all areas of The Verde Valley.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Shakedown Cruise

We're going out for a short shakedown cruise this week before we head to Nogales next week to begin The Drive on US 89 from Mexico to Canada.

We've learned the hard way that short shakedown cruises are absolutely necessary before undertaking any really long Road Trip.  Call it a pre-trip checkout or whatever.  It's how you find out what you forgot or didn't think of.  No matter how many times you hit the road, you WILL forget something or fail to think of something.  It's just The Law of Road Trips.

When we migrate north or south, the bed of the pickup is chock full of stuff.  It's stuff we need to live for months in either location.  However, for this sort of Road Trip, the truck bed is mostly empty.  Very lean.

Here's what you're looking at (from left):

Black box on bottom hold sewer hoses fittings and stuff to dump the trailer's load now and then.  Blue box on top is all the other supplies for visiting a dump station.  Gloves, cleaners, etc.  The blue box also carries  a supplemental catalytic heater in case our battery goes dead or the heater decides not to work.

In the middle are three containers. The white bucket contains everything necessary to change a flat tire. No fiddling around wondering where tire-changing stuff is located.  When you change a tire, you want your tire changing stuff instantly accessible.

Behind the bucket are two black boxes.  The small one contains a high volume air pump that can fill a truck tire in minutes.  We check our tire pressures every morning before pulling out of camp.  You really need an expensive high volume pump to do the job right and quickly.  The larger of the black boxes holds all the trailer stabilization jacks and extra leveling stuff.  Behind those boxes are two solar panels we've owned for well over 20 years.  They still work great.

The cooler is a "just in case" thing.  It's empty and will remain so unless the trailer fridge decides to quit working.  In such a case, it's always a really good idea to have a back up. (If we were going into Bear Country, the cooler could not be displayed in such a blatant manner.  But where we're going this week there are no bears.)

The wood stuff at least is for leveling and also stepping into the trailer.  Ditto the stool at right.  And then there is a broom and a small rake.  You'd be surprised how often we need to the rake and broom to create a tidy campsite.

One of these days, we will get around to doing an inventory of all our electronic stuff we travel with.  Suffice to say it's one heck of a lot of stuff.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Highway Angel

Angel Delgadillo was recently featured in The Arizona Republic.  Route 66 News picked up his story
You can read the Route 66 News discussion and allocades for Angel here:

We first met Angel in October 1980 when we visited his brother Juan's legendary Snow Cap Drive-In. Juan's been gone since 2004 but Angel lives on as fresh and smiling as ever. We got to know Angel very well from August through early November 1986 when we ran in our first election for the Arizona Legislature. Angel's Barber Shop was like a refuge for me there in Seligman. The electoral district included Kingman so I'd stop often in Angel's Place and he would always ask for my help in getting Route 66 designated as a historic route. Believe it or not, that was not a popular idea back then. I always promised I would help, win or lose in the election. Well, not long afterwards, I got my chance to pay back Angel's Friendship during the election. The topic of designating Route 66 as a historic road came up in early 1987 at an advisory committee meeting. As most of you know, the top of the highway food chain only takes action on things that have been green-lighted by various and sundry advisory committees. I will never forget that meeting. There was outright negativity to the idea from one blow hard oversize male on the committee. He was the type of blow hard who made people cower with his loud, obnoxious, grating voice. He had a "Back East" accent and waved his arms a lot and really tried to dominate the meeting with his ridiculous ideas about how Route 66 was just a washed up piece of asphalt rotting under the desert sun. Angel was (and I presume he still is) a very polite, soft spoken gentleman who undoubtedly was born with a perpetual smile that lights up the Seligman World. Angel was no match for this reprehensible nattering naboob of negativity. But that blow hard met his match when I stood up to speak. Running in that election had really supercharged my public speaking confidence. By then I had logged several months as a registered lobbyist; had sheparded a successful bill bill to the Governor's desk and had been appointed to the Arizona Outdoor Recreation Coordinating Commission, a group with considerably more clout than this piss ant advisory committee. Plus, I had promised Angel I would come through for him. So it was time to "Stand & Deliver" and I really let 'er rip. I gave one of my best all time speeches. I'd give anything to have a transcript of that speech but, alas, public testimony wasn't being recorded at state advisory committees back then. Man, I paced back in forth in front of that committee; I pointed a finger at each of them; I made expansive gestures and I really, really conjured up the essence of what Route 66 would eventually become. I talked about untold numbers of people from around the world who would flock to Route 66 and, yes, I even invoked the concept of Highway Pilgrims going to the altar of the cathedral of The Mother Highway there in Seligman and beyond. Oh, my, my, it was the kind of speech you simply didn't hear in those days and rarely hear even today. I blew right through my three minute time limit and nobody except the blowhard seemed to care. No matter how he frowned at the chairwoman, she didn't shut me down. She let me go to my inevitable Cross Of Gold finale. As I finished I looked over at Angel and his eyes were welled with tears but he was smiling Big Time. The committee voted 6-1 to approve the nomination for historic status. Only the blowhard voted "no". The big bag of hot air didn't have anything to say during the rest of the meeting. He pouted in his seat and left in a huff. Angel and I hugged each and held our handshake much longer than normal. I will be forever proud of that day. I haven't seen Angel in many years but it is so gratifying to read about him this morning. Angel never faltered in his devotion to The Mother Road. He never gave up. He never gave in. He stood tall when he was the only one standing. Today he stands tall as a Patron Angel of Route 66, a man among men who made a difference. VIVA & BRAVO, Angel! May Your Spirit Soar Strong Forever!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Ground Hog Perpectives

A quirky romantic comedy and a gimmicky sci-fi premise, “Groundhog Day” managed to tap into universal, spiritual, larger than life questions. What kind of person do I want to be? What would I do with eternity? Do I have the capacity to change?
But the creators of the classic film, released a quarter century ago, say that the Bill  Murray comedy’s deeper themes and success feel almost accidental.
“I was not trying to write a spiritual piece, but I was trying to write a story about a human life,” screenwriter Danny Rubin told TheWrap. “You sort of go through these periods of time where it’s not quite right, and you feel like you want to move on, and you feel like you’ve tried everything and it’s just not changing. Yeah, of course. I think that’s a very common, human experience. I don’t know many people who haven’t experienced something like that.”
If you were immortal and could live long enough, would you change? That was the question Rubin started with in imagining “Groundhog Day.” Suddenly he had an idea about something more than a man caught repeating the same day.
“For some of these arrested development types, maybe one lifetime isn’t long enough,” Rubin said. “Now it seemed really promising, because it wasn’t just a comedy premise. It was the story of a human life, a very long human life. I thought of it like Siddhartha, a man’s journey through life all on the same day.”
When Rubin first met with director and co-screenwriter Harold Ramis, Ramis was fascinated by the film’s references to reincarnation and resurrection. It all came as a surprise to Rubin, and he looked to Ramis to help the script’s final draft find the warmth and humanistic qualities that have made it a classic.
“Groundhog Day” producer Trevor Albert recalled getting a call from a Buddhist leader applauding them for making a film that embodied ideologies of regeneration. Some time later, he got a call from a Jewish organization that had embraced it as a perfect depiction of “mitzvah.” And these were hardly the only theories that have followed the film in the last 25 years.
“Why is it 5:59 and then 6:01? Is that because how old Moses was when the flood happened? Oh…might be,” Rubin joked. “Did you know that Nietzsche was trying to figure out how to dramatize his theory of eternal recurrence? Is that what you were trying to do? Yes? Because I thought that’s just what Hollywood needed!”
“Wouldn’t it be great if we had that kind of experience and learn something from it? We go through life and are not always conscious of it,” Murray’s co-star Andie MacDowell told TheWrap. “Whatever religion you want to base yourself in, that’s ultimately why we’re here.”
MacDowell said for a movie about kindness, it was Ramis’ spirit that influenced “Groundhog Day’s” charm. She described him as “the nicest man” she’s ever worked with, always in a good mood and never grumpy. And she hopes that kindness rubs off on anyone who watches “Groundhog Day,” even 25 years later.
“Hopefully we do become more conscious of how we treat others and the affect we have every day, down to the point do we let the car go in, do we let a car pass us in Los Angeles, do we pick a fight, do we help an old lady cross the street? Are we conscious enough to make those decisions,” Macdowell said.
“It is about imbuing and hoping that irredeemable people can be redeemed. That’s the great human aspiration,” Albert said. “I’d like Donald Trump to watch the movie and see if it affects his behavior a little bit. You want people whose views you don’t agree with or who are unkind and selfish to be better human beings, or at least I do.”
MacDowell’s character Rita has a line as Phil has spent the day trying to woo her off her feet. “It’s perfect. You couldn’t have planned a day like this.” “Groundhog Day” too feels equally effortless in its charm and the spiritual legacy it has left on so many. “Well, you could,” Phil says. “It just takes a lot of work.”

If you absolutely MUST read the bove story in its ridiculously ad-infested context, here is the link:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Prophet Not Lost

The most defining chapter of my childhood is The Battle of Tippecanoe and most especially The Prophet.  Someday I hope to be able to write about the "who, what, where, when, why and how" the Battle and The Prophet helped shape my entire life.  However, for the purposes of this short story today, simply accept the above at face value and let's move on.
The 1830 painting  of  Tenskwatawa (AKA: The Prophet) above by famed legend George Catlin has long been an image burned into my young synapses and carried forward on the wings of my imagination forever. 
Some of my first memories with my Dad were going to the battlefield and then to see the view above from Prophet's Rock where Tenskwatawa chanted encouragement to the warriors. We combed the field between Prophet's Rock and the battlefield (in the trees on horizon) looking for arrowheads.  One day I actually found one and continue to treasure it to this very day.
I went to Prophet's Rock from roughly 1951 or 1952 until January of 2012.
This place was a Life Touchstone for me in ways I will never be able to describe in words. As the years  and decades passed, I often wondered whatever happened to The Prophet. How did he spend his life after Tippecanoe? Where did he go? When did he die?   Where was he buried?  So, how ironic it was today to reconnect with The Prophet through a bridge over wondrous waters.
Indeed, you know we recently posted an article about Navajo Bridge over The Colorado River.
The dedication of that bridge was a cause for much celebration.
On January 8, 2018, as chance would have it, Patti Allen posted up a photo on the Arizona History Facebook Group of the steel workers who built the bridge in the late 1920's.  Her great grand dad Thomas "Rusty" McCurnin is standing at far left.  All of these men worked for the Kansas City Structural Steel Company. So, naturally, I became very curious about the KCSS Company and looked up whatever I could find.
Lo and behold, I found this: 

"The great "Shawnee Prophet" lived with a group of still loyal followers in the last Prophets Town at the mouth of the Whitefeather Spring. This is on the property of Mr. Jack Beemont at 3818 Ruby and the site was recently placed on the National Historic Sites Register.

Another Shawnee Indiana of major importance was Charles Bluejacket, a Shawnee Chief and ordained Methodist Minister. He attended the Prophet's funeral and had lived in this area until 1870. In 1897, he returned from the Oklahoma Reservation and located the Prophet's grave."

And so, for whatever wild reason, my lifelong interest in The Prophet came full circle today compliments and courtesy of Navajo Bridge vis-s-vis the US 89 Team project. The Prophet's last resting place is quite likely on the very grounds of the Kansas City Structural Steel Company that built Navajo Bridge.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Back Update

Kate Curley
Today, November 24th marks the two month anniversary of the onset of our back problem. We wrote a post about it on October 11th and haven't said anything about it since either on this blog or Facebook. So whazzup with the back?

As of today we are pain free and can walk without a cane.  We have not had to have surgery.  We received an injection on October 13.  The procedure was very slow to take effect and nearly 3 weeks went by before we began to feel better.

On November 3rd, the Doctor said we were in the 99% percentile as far as positive response goes to the injection.  However, the Doctor wouldn't (and won't) clear us for any physical activity other than walking.  That  means no pickleball.  In fact, the Doctor said it might be next July or August before she "might" clear us to play pickleball.  Or she might not. 

We're also not cleared to travel.  The Doctor has said we must stay very close to home in case something happens to bring back the pain.  We meet with  the Doctor again December 1st and are hoping to get some idea about if and when we "might" get cleared to travel.  We sure hope she gives us a green light to go to Arizona sometime in early 2018...maybe mid to late January if we're lucky.

In the meantime, we are enjoying walking laps around the city block of Kate Curley Park. Yesterday we logged 3,000 steps.  While a 3,000 step count pales in comparison to our "pre-back" average of 12,000 per day, it's 3,000 more steps than we could have walked in early October!

Since the Back Thing changed our life style on September 24th, we've adopted a new saying.  "We no longer lament what we can't do, we are just very grateful for what we CAN do!"  Yes, it would be nice to be playing pickleball again but it doesn't bother us that we can't.  We're extremely grateful simply to be able to walk around Kate Curley Park!

Well, that's the back status as of our 2 month anniversary.  Chances are we won't mention it again for at least another month or more...barring an unforeseen setback, so to speak.
Such beautiful old trees in Kate Curley Park!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Back to the future...

We won't be heading to Arizona any time soon...maybe not even at all this year.  My back gave out Sunday September 24 and I have been laid up ever since.  We've been in and out of  more medical offices than I can remember. I've had the obligatory x-rays, MRI, etc. I have a major nerve that's being badly pinched by a bulging disk between the L3 and L4 vertebrae. There have been many times in the past two weeks when the pain has been Class 10.  Generally, I can't stand up for more than a minute or two and can't walk farther than from the house to the car or the car to a medical office. Pickleball is a distant fond memory.

So, there you have it in a nutshell.  We're staying here at our Idahome until the above medical issues can be resolved.  We do not know how long that process will take.  It could be weeks. It could be months.  We begin a treatment procedure Friday that may or may not work.  If it doesn't work then we will be recommended for back surgery.  Due to the location of the "pinch," surgery would be complex and require substantial time for physical therapy and rehab.

We have held off mentioning anything on Facebook about these new circumstances until we knew for certain that there was no way we'd be heading south according to our normal migration schedule.

Susun has been an awesome care giver since the very onset of these circumstances.  Clair is an Angel! THANK YOU, Sweetie Susun!  We both have a good attitude about our situation.  Interestingly, we're both excited about spending the entire winter here, if that's the way it works out.

We both believe everything happens for a positive purpose.  We're both looking forward to whatever our  new "back to the future" paradigm will bring.  We're Happy Campers even if we can't camp any more!

Our Dear Friends may have noticed that we've been posting more frequently on Facebook.  That's true.  It's because all we can do is sit here in front of the computer so additional posts are a natural outcome of such a circumstance.  We don't plan on putting many (if any) future posts about our medical condition. We figured we really needed to let our Dear Friends know we won't be soon showing up in Arizona. 

In case you're wondering, there was no specific incident or injury that brought on these circumstances. It wasn't pickleball related in any way. It just somehow appeared. The medical people we've talked with say that's the way it happens with many people.  Fickle finger of fate kinda stuff.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Still Standing Tall

Saving Watereton's  Prince Of Wales Hotel...

Friday, October 6, 2017


Hoodwinked...! A Life's Myth exposed...!

After well over 60 years of knowing about, playing and honoring the legendary Game of Monopoly, I learn today everything I thought I knew is lies, lies and damned lies!

Charles Darrow did not invent Monopoly. He stole it from Lizzie Magie. And then to add insult to injury, he changed the soul of the game! I have to tell yam Life's Myths die hard and learning all of this today has been a genuine revelation. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The whole story is after all SO monopolistic!
 This is the original patent for what would become known as Monopoly. It all started with thisTweet from the US National Archives for #ArchivesGameNight
Here is Lizzie Magie's signature on the patent paper. This NPS story brought my whole Monopoly Myth crashing down around my Get Out Of Jail Free cards:
The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man's lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game's questionable origins. Most think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvanian who sold his game to Parker Brothers during the Great Depression in 1935 and lived happily--and richly--ever after. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game decades later, unearthed the real story, which traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie who invented her nearly identical Landlord's Game more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly. Her game--underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today--was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt's famed Brain Trust. A fascinating social history of corporate greed that illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century, The Monopolists reads like the best detective fiction, told through Monopoly's real-life winners and losers.

It is available on Amazon here:
Ah, well, maybe it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.
After all, Monopoly has a Life of its own these days.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Face reality...

The camp site we stayed at in Waterton is just a few feet out of view on the right hand side of this photo.

Sooner or later, ya gotta face reality...

"The long-term impacts on the guest experience and visitation in Waterton are going to be horrific, no question about it. The backcountry is burned to a crisp.

It will be about two decades before the trees in Waterton are taller than people walking through the forest. It could take a century for trees to be full-size again."

It really hurts to look at Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park photos. It makes me nauseous. But sooner or later, ya gotta face reality and deal with it: the incredibly beautiful area around the Waterton Townsite has been destroyed and will never look the same again in my lifetime. We are so grateful that we went there this August before it was destroyed. Oh, how we would be kicking ourselves if we had let fire smoke deter us. Yes, it was a little smokey (well, a LOT smokey) but at least the innate beauty of the area shined through everywhere we looked. We had one final chance to see the place before it flashed to black. The Waterton Townsite itself was saved from the fire but everything around the Township was burned either by the advancing fire front or by the back burns set to save the village. It's hard to imagine, hard to swallow and hard to face reality. But it's true. Source for quoted narrative above: Source of the photos:

 We visited this exact spot during our stay in Waterton.
Will try to find the photo we took of those two iconic chairs.
We drove up this once lush Valley to visit a pristine glacial lake.

The team started work Monday morning at 8 a.m. MT and continued hard for the next 31 hours. From 9 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. the next morning, there wasn't time to take a break as the fired rolled up within about a hundred metres of the hotel.  "The embers were rolling up on the porch of the hotel," Primrose said. "We did get showered with embers, right up to the hotel." With flames encroaching, a rain of embers came all the way to the doorstep of the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.  "It was the most intense fire I've ever been involved with, and I was never at that point where I thought we would lose it," said Calgary fire district Chief Jeff Primrose on Thursday. "Not even for a second." A team of about 50 Calgary firefighters, in rotating groups, was sent to the national park to protect structural assets in the hamlet of Waterton as the wildfire approached. Crews from a number of other municipalities including Lethbridge and Taber were also called upon.  Calgary's team returned home Wednesday as the risk to the town site declined. Calgary fire Chief Steve Dongworth said local firefighters in Waterton, tasked with protecting the venerable Prince of Wales Hotel and other buildings, endured a hectic night facing down the massive blaze as it surged into the townsite. “To me, watching the fire coming down the valley at pace would have been very intimidating, and when the fire did arrive, it was very close,” he said, noting the crew worked in excess of 24 hours. “The building is unscathed to the best of my knowledge.” RELATED LIVE: Stay tuned here for real-time updates on the fire and evacuations Dongworth said crews in Waterton had been dousing the 90-year-old hotel with water and fire retardant foam in advance of the blaze. The hotel’s location, surrounded by grassland instead of forest, also helped keep it safe, said the chief. Calgary crews were able to quickly snuff flying embers from the wildfire, some the size of baseballs, which posed the greatest danger to the structure, Dongworth said. “We had a solid plan in place and we told them although the structures are valuable, none of them are more valuable than the lives of any of our people,” he said.

Monday, September 25, 2017

YEA!!!! It's HERE!

We ordered this new paddle for Susun at 8 AM, September 20.  It was tracked as "shipped" a mere one hour later.  It finally arrived at 1:45 PM, September 25.  It left Kent, Washington, and then went to Seattle.  From Seattle it went to Boise and then Twin Falls.  For some inexplicable reason it went back to Boise.  After sitting in Boise for awhile it went back to Twin Falls.  It stayed in Twin Falls for quite awhile and then went to Salt Lake City.  The tracking records show it left Salt Lake but then came back to Salt Lake.  Finally it left Salt Lake City and went to "points unknown" because it took 26.5 hours to get from Salt Lake to Idaho Falls...a journey that is normally four hours.  That's why we are so danged delighted to finally have it here.

Susun actually used this paddle (or I should say a demo of this paddle) in Stanley, Idaho, on Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10. Many Thanks to Bill Hart for allowing her to use his demo paddle.  Also Thanks to Bill for providing the discount code for Sawtooth Pickleball that saved us 5% on the purchase.