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!

History Pages links:

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Stamp collectin'

You had a stamp collection, right?  Right! Every kid had a stamp collection--either real or imaginary.  There's something about stamps and kids--a match made in stamp collectin' heaven.

I had a stamp collection.  It never amounted to much but at least I tried.  It didn't take long to lose interest because it was SO complex and also downright expensive in terms of a 1950's Kid Budget, such as it was.

When I was going through the detritus of my Mom's Estate in January 2012, I found remnants of my stamp collection.  They were some pretty sorry looking stamps and held no nostalgic value for me.  They were so worthless I had to throw them away, along with...well...we won't go there.  That's a topic for another time and place.

Well, wouldn't you know?  I've come full circle in my 72nd year.  I'm collecting stamps again. HA! HA!

It's not like a "real" stamp collection.  In fact, my new stamp collection is going to violate ALL Known Rules of Stamp Collecting.  In fact, my new stamp collection is, by definition, a Mortal Sin in the World of Stamp Collecting.

How so?  Please explain.  

Well, there's one Ironclad, chiseled-in-stone RULE of Stamp Collecting.  You treat your stamps like gold and handle them with kid gloves.  Well, guess what?  I'm gonna USE my stamp collection!  That's right!  I'm gonna tear valuable old stamps off their sheet and lick 'em and stick 'em right on a real envelope and let 'em be profaned with an Actual Postmark!  On, NO, Little Yonni, have you lost your mind?

Heck no, I ain't lost my mind, I just realized I want some nice lookin' old stamps to add some bling to the envelopes that will carry my typewritten letters to the recipients of such a retro artifacts.

Let's face it.  The Postal Service has dumbed down postage stamps until they are so danged boring it would be more fun to watch paint dry that peel and stick a stamp.  As a stamp geek, there's nothin' more fun that lickin and stickin' a stamp right smack dab on the envelope.  Self adhesive stamps should be against the law but, alas, they are not.

I didn't realize I had any stamp collecting mojo left in my aging DNA.  But then by pure happenstance I found a great looking stamp printed in 1936 called the "Oregon Territory" stamp.  You can see it right up yonder at the top of this here blog post.

Look at ALL the cool stuff on that stamp.  Man, now THAT's a Stamp! Well, anyway, it was Love At First Sight when I spotted that stamp.  I jumped on eBay and couldn't even believe I could buy a sheet of 50 for a mere $10.  I said, "You GOT to be kidding!"
But, yes, it was totally true and all I had to do was press "Buy It Now" and I didn't even have to quibble or biddle or whatever.

By and by, I realized that idea had a whole lotta merit so today I decided to go for a look-see at sheets of one cent stamps.  Lo and behold, I found a sheet of 50 Roosevelt one cent stamps including shipping for a mere $4.  I said, "You GOT to be kidding!"  But I merely pressed Buy It Now and the stamps are MINE!  Gosh, that's breath-taking.

So, we don't plan on putting them stamps into some acid-free sheet protector.  Nope.  We're gonna lick 'em and stick 'em to our typewriter-addressed envelopes we use to send our authentic typewritten letters.

We love typewriters and that's a topic for a whole 'nother blog post.  There here post is gettin' a wee long in the tooth.  So we'll wrap 'er up.  Anyway, we're collecting stamps to actually USE.  It's whole different concept than Old School Stamp Collecting and it's real exciting just to think about.

We're gonna go All In to Bling Out our envelopes.  Heck, we might even get in wax sealing and stamping, too.  Nah, Prolly not--it would really weird out the postal machine sorters.

Anyway, if an envelope shows up in your actual, real physical inbox--like what was once known as a Mail Box, and if it's decorated with a bunch of weird looking Old Timey Stamps, at least you'll know its pedigree and from whence it came.

As of August 6, we just added 100 used stamps for $4.  We can't put them on the front of our envelopes but we sure can use them on the back.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The cockpit caper

Grand Ma Susun (left) and her daughter Sarah with Grin Kids Van (left) and Gage.
Susun's Dear Grand children, Gage and Van, were coming to Idaho Falls in July 2016 for their second visit. As usual, I was in charge of entertaining The Grin Kids, as they are known.  During their first visit in July 2015, I only had bicycles and a camping trip planned.  I decided to go all out for 2016.

While on a camping trip beforehand, I got the bright idea to get the boys inside the cockpit of an iconic 1940's Beechcraft D18S aircraft.  I dutifully went to KIDA's renowed FBO Aeromark and made a deal with operator Tom Hoff.  He agreed to let the boys sit in the cockpit if and only if they could pass a quiz with a 100% correct score.

The boys would need to know the six essential flight instruments and their purpose.  Considering The Grin Kids were all of 8 and 7 years old at the time, that was a pretty tall order.  However, I resolved to do my best and let the chips fall where they may.
Poster print.  Note the two pennies for scale. See:
First off, I found a mostly correct rendition of the aircraft's instrument panel and took it out to Hoff for verification.  He said it was "good enough."  Then I made up all sorts of "learning props" for boys their age, including hand made flash cards, EZPZ definitions, etc.

As soon as they showed up on the Salt Lake airport shuttle, I started off telling them they were going to have to WORK on this trip.  Naturally, they weren't very excited about the idea of work or study or whatever.  But once they saw a photo of the Beautiful Beech, they decided to be "all in."  And then the fun began.

We went right off on a camping trip alongside the Henry's Fork of the Snake River up in Island Park.  Our campsite was filled with thick vegetation.  Each day I hid two of the flashcards in the vegetation and the boys would have to find them.  They couldn't come back into camp unless and until they found their "instruments of the day."  Being boys, of course, they were TOTALLY "all in" on that part of it.  You should have seen them beat the bushes to find those flashcards.  And then we grilled and drilled them all day on their two cards.  The plan worked perfectly and by the end of the camping trip they were driving their Mom nuts by reciting the six instruments over and OVER again.  I think they enjoyed the "driving Mom nuts" part more so than the instruments but whatever.

When we got back home, I pulled out the oversize poster print of the D18S instrument panel and those kids were all over it.  "Where's the altimeter?"  "I see the airspeed!"  And on it went.  When I was confident they were ready to roll, I contacted Tom Hoff and arranged a time to arrive at the hangar.  Tom is tall and rather imposing and he made a Big Deal out of the quiz.  He kept a totally stern face and gave them a lecture about how he wouldn't let them into the aircraft until they passed their "certification."

He picked on the 8-year-old first while the younger brother sweated it out.  Gage ripped off the six instruments so fast even Tom was impressed.  So then Tom asked a few questions about what a couple of the gauges did and Gage nailed 'em.  Well, this really challenged younger Van and the little kid was squirming around impatient for his turn.  Tom looked at Van and said, "Now it's your turn."  The little boy chirped off the instruments just like his A-B-C's.  Man, it was awesome to see and hear.  Of course, Tom had to ask a couple of questions about the function of the instruments and Van nailed 'em just like his older brother did.
Co-pilot Van
Then Tom led them out into the awe-inspiring Aeromark hangar and those kids looked and acted like they had just entered a cathedral.  They were totally dazzled.  He opened up the Beech and ushered them into the cockpit and the kids were speechless.  It was a truly special experience for all of us and their Mom and Grand Ma got tears in their eyes.  It sure put a lump in my throat, too.

Naturally, Tom played the whole game to the hilt and gave them a big narrative about actually flying the Beech.  Those boys acted like they were listening to God speaking to them. It was incredible and a vignette I will never forget.

The boys were so spellbound they hardly spoke on the way home.  Later in their visit, I made a home grown flight simulator for them.  It was built out of scrap lumber, electrical conduit and some plastic I cut out from a pickle bucket. But it had it all: rudder pedals, control column, wheel, throttles and a fake instrument panel drawn with a felt tip pen.  Each boy got to practice take off and landings.  It was hilarious and had the adults in stitches.  Of course, being kids, their imaginations were far bigger than their small bodies.  While one boy sat in the "cockpit," the brother would make airplane engine noises and I acted as flight controller with a nasal monotone voice.  They became pretty good flyers that day.  I had made up two funky licenses beforehand.  After they showed they could take off and land, I made a big speech and gave them their pilot's licenses.  Man, they were walking on cloud nine--or maybe that should be flying on cloud nine.

I asked their Mom to interface with the pilot of their flight from Salt Lake back to San Diego.and tell him about the "Cockpit Caper" and ask if he could show the boys the modern version.  She did so and the pilot graciously agreed and the boys finished their trip on a real high note there on the KSAN tarmac.

All-in-all it was the best Kid Adventure I've ever organized and carried out.  Hopefully someday it might even spark a career in aviation.  Who knows?  One can always hope...and dream!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

An F-35 Military Tribute

Story Time...

This is a Long Story...longer than the typical Facebook attention span. Therefore we urge you to Exit Now.  This story is going to go on  forever.

For those of you who are still here, we welcome you and say "Thanks!"  It's a good & worthy story that we are Very Proud to tell.

To tell this story properly we have to digress a few times before we get to the meat of the story.  That's why it's a story that far, FAR exceeds the Facebook Attention Span.  I mean like F-A-R!

First of all it begins with my Father.  For astute readers you know he was liberated from his last nazi prison camp 75 years ago on April 29, 1945.

As a result of his courageous WWII service and his forever high regard for guys in tanks knocking down prison camp fences, Dad had an affection for what he called "A Military Tribute."  To Dad, A Military Tribute had to include a list of obligatory elements and had to be pre-planned and had to be conducted "just so" in the Military Way.

This is what I grew up with. I've always felt I have a higher-than-normal awareness of and appreciation for "A Military Tribute."

OK, so let's rewind back to last year on May 10, 2019.  It was the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike and we were among the 30,000 people with tickets to attend the Promontory, Utah commemoration.  Oh, BOY!  It was totally over-the-top in far more ways than I will ever have words to describe.  The entire presentation took TWO full hours.  And there wasn't even a dull nano-second--it was THAT tight.

The ceremony ended around 1 PM and then they began shooting off all these fireworks. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!  BIG fireworks in broad daylight.

Well, being a fireworks fan I was confused. Fireworks in the daylight? What's going on here?

And that's when it happened. A Military Tribute for The Ages.  We heard them before we could see them.  Four F-35 jet fighters flew low and slow out of the smoke of the fireworks.  Their flaps were full down and they were throttled as far back as they could be and still fly.  The formation of the four fighters dropped low and slow down upon our heads and untold thousands of us stood up and cheered our lungs out.

It remains the finest example of A Military Tribute I've ever seen in my life. I couldn't even believe I saw it.

OK, let's rewind a few days back.  To get ready to leave Rimrock requires a whole lotta physical and mental work.  Even though I kept the computer on, I could only glance at and get snippets of stuff.

I caught a glimpse of something Tuesday in my peripheral vision but I didn't know what it was.  I had a vague feeling I should check it out but I didn't have time.

And time passed....

And today we learned "the rest of the story" and when I read it I just sobbed and sobbed.  It's The Finest Military Tribute I've ever seen in My Life and I honestly don't think it can ever be topped--at least in Utah!

My Dad would have been SO PROUD!

Basically, here's what happened.  Hill Air Force Base maintains what they call a "Demonstration Team" of crack F-35 pilots. Think of them as Blue Angle pilots...only different.  They were the team that flew through the fireworks smoke screen at Promontory May 10, 2019.

And so their team cooked up A Plan to Honor Utah First Responders.

And they executed their plan to perfection.  And they excited an entire state.  And they brought tears to the eyes of so many first responders all across Utah.

Can you possibly image a tight formation of four F-35's coming in low and slow with their flaps down right on top of your hospital?

The story was brought home to me realizing they flew Panguitch yesterday. The only way they could fly Panguitch was by coming in from the south after their St. George flyover. They had to have to glided in on the far south horizon and drift down over The Panguitch Hospital and the glide down The Sevier River to lift up over the Tushar Mountains.

I simply can't even imagine the power and glory of those precious moments. Piper Cubs don't even fly over Panguitch.  But FOUR F-35's????

The linked article shows their two hour flight path over Utah.  We will add comments about the story and from those who saw them.

All we can say is we saw them do their low, slow mode trick late May 10 and it was incredible.  Can you imagine being a first responder and seeing this Military Tribute???,

“It really made us feel like, sure, we (matter) as health care professionals,” said Gil Corona, medical assistant at Intermountain Medical Center’s transplant clinic. “It just showed that this is for us and we’re just glad to be a part of it, to be a part of the , just to help them out. This is awesome!”

Listen to Flight Leader BEO Wolfe thank her crews.

From St. George...

"Thank you so much for your service and for your flyby yesterday.  Down here in St George, at Bloomington Hills Elementary, we all went out on the playground to watch you.  Your gesture moved many of us to tears.  Personally, I felt you there and that made my heart happy.  I can't wait now to tell all of my students that the lead pilot was YOU.  You never know, that action may be the reason girls everywhere realize they can serve their country and possibly pilot a jet as well."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

January 23rd Whazzup Report

When I was a small child, January always seemed to be the longest month of the year.  IN fact, I often thought that January was The Definition of Eternity.  To me, if I survived January, I was fully good to go for the Whole Year.  Nothing compared to January.  Part of it was growing up in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, the most skyless, gray county in the Whole Known World in January. NOBODY beats Tippecanoe, not even all of North Dakota!  Not even Chicago and that's saying a LOT right there.

It just so happens that Tippecanoe County is in a Native American Vortex and that's why the Storm Troopers of the Era attacked the Indians in The Battle of Tippecanoe and then burned down their vortex town.  It's all about vortexes long before Sedona, but we digress.

Anyway, even since I was a little kid January has loomed large on my personal calendar.  Generally speaking, I live in annual fear of January because of primal lingering fears that it might truly last forever and maroon me in a sea of gray for the rest of All Time, including my life, of course

And so it is with Great Joy I can tell you I have survived January Twenty Twenty up until almost the last and fourth week.  Trust me, when you get into the final home stretch of the fourth week of January, you feel like a thoroughbred stretching for the final wire in the Indiana Derby!  Wait, wait, I meant the Kentucky Derby.

Just to know the last day of this infamous month is barely more than a week away lifts my spirits and brings Joy to my Heart.  Oh, YEA!!!

It's been a tedious, eternally long month this January of Twenty Twenty.  We won't go into all the details but, trust me, all these past 23 days have constantly reminded me of my childhood January trials and tribulations.

After Susun returned from The 4th Annual Women's March in Sedona last Sunday we talked.  She said her brother, Roger, had invited us to Mesa.  Cue rejoicing and wild cheers from the Fans.  So, we didn't waste a moment and packed up and headed south mid-day Monday. Remember that song, "Monday, Monday?"

"Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be."

Oh, YEAH!  So, we saddled up and headed our horses to Mesa.  We spent three gloriously fun nights with Dear Nancy and Roger there in The Heart of Mesa, Arizona.  Mesa was settled way back before ESPN and eBay but that doesn't matter.  They do an OK job down there in Mesa, regardless of what's on their table.

We had so much fun on this trip, especially playing cribbage and especially since we won.  IN fact, we won so bad last light we got kicked out of town today with various "terms of endearment."  That's what four "10's" and a "5" will do to a guy.  Just kidding, of course, Roger!

We cruised back through Payson, a town named for an Illinois Senator who bribed rubes to name towns for him in exchange for a Post Office.  We had a lot of stops planned in Payson and actually made them all, including a visit with Dear Friend Gena.  Of course, our astute Friends already know we're on The Case (and cage) of The Flyin' Lion that fell to earth in Hellsgate in 1927.  We made a bunch of new Associates in Payson and then we proceeded on to Pine.

In Pine we studied pine...and juniper and mesquite and other woody stuff.  It was fun.  We got home to Second Chance Ranch at 5 PM and that's when it's scramble time.  You can look at the Western Horizon and well know how many minutes of tme you have to strut yer stuff before it fades (rapidly) to black.

Well, we did git 'er dun and now we're a tucked in here to our cozy straw bale house, just a plottin' and a plannin' how we can git ourselfs another four tens and a five!

THANKS, Nancy & Roger!  We LOVE YOU!

Signed, Yer Country Bumpkin, Cribbage Winnin' Cousins from Wimwok!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Susun reflects on David Rust

Fast back to October when we dashed up to our Idahome to retrieve Dear Lil' Mosey Inn #1.  Naturally, we took the SLO-ROAD back to Ol' Airy Zonie.  Out into Goat Roper Wyoming and down through the West End of The Uintas and sneaking through the back side of the SLC metroplex via Provo and Spanish Fork.  And then we beat feet for Price and points Southerly.

By and By we wound up in The Center of The Universe in Hanksville, Utah.  Anybody who's anybody, of course, totally knows it's the Center of The Universe mostly because it's self evident and also well labeled.  Labeling helps in the 21st Century.

So, we're sitting there in the Center of The Universe and I said to Clair, "Have you ever heard about David Rust?"

Well, no, she hadn't.  But she was curious.  And being curious is a real big asset if you know what I mean.  So we drove on down from The Center of The Universe in Hanksville toward more mundane destinations, including, of course, Hite Crossing.

And it took most of a coupla hours or maybe more...maybe three tell Clair about David Rust.  You see, David was a most admirable Man.  He was a True Man's Man but he was even more than that.  You can't sum up David Rust just with a few words.  Nope.  It takes a book.  A Big Book naturally called "David Rust."

Well, by and by, Clair got David Rust Religion there a comin' outta The Center of The Universe like we did and she said, "I gotta read that book as soon as I can get my hands on it."  And, by golly and by gee, she grabbed ahold of a librarian and got that book in her hands PRONTO!

Well, when Clair finished the book (after 3 renewals) she burst into tears and sobbed and sobbed.  It was everything I told her it would be.

Tonight, it all came back around for her and she reconnected with the whole Hanksville Initiation Thing. (HIT).  Man, she LOVES David Rust and she LOVES everything she read in his book and it's so powerful and emotional for her.  Man, you can't even imagine.

Well, we're wrapping up TBT for this week and a lookin' forward to more fun stories a week from today.  But a word to the wise is this--if you wanna read something that's gonna knock yer socks clean off, get yer hands on "David Rust!"

Just ask Clair, she'll tell ya straight.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Mid-January Report

Healing Happens.  Two months ago on November 14, Susun tripped coming out of a travel trailer and broke a bone in her lower right leg.  It's a well known fact that bones take awhile to heal so we figured maybe two months would be a OK estimate.  Sure enough, she drove her little truck yesterday for the first time since the mishap.  Of course, there's more healing to go.  And a lot of caution and careful movement lie ahead.  But she's a model patient and has  been following Doctor's Orders really well.  We both fully expect here to be near tip top condition by the time her February 19th trip to Southern California comes around.

Once the mid-November incident took place, we were both pretty much "confined to quarters" here in Rimrock.  I served as caregiver and chauffeur while Susun recuperated and allowed the healing process to take place in its own natural time frame.  That meant I had a lot of time on my hands so that's when I began digging a lot deeper into some history stories I love.  And one thing led to another.  And I found even MORE history stories to love.  Before you know it, I began posting numerous history stories on various Facebook history groups in Flagstaff, Prescott, Grand Canyon, Verde Valley, Phoenix and Globe.  Over the past two months, such activity has turned into a "thing" and it's now an almost daily activity.  Meanwhile a Facebook page I created for the history stories is reaching around 15,000 people per week.

The whole "history thing" that has sprouted and grown as a result of Susun's mishap is a welcome addition to both of our lives.  I enjoy the digging and the telling and Susun enjoys the listening.  The endeavor continues to grow.  We're working on two stories that are larger than can be told via Facebook or even perhaps the ubiquitous blogs.  So that means we're having to finally delve into the arcane, inscrutable world of ebooks.  Even though we're a lifelong book lover, we've never taken a liking to ebooks themselves and have studiously avoided any confrontation with the ebook publication process.  I'm sure my life would be much better overall if I never had to even THINK about ebook publishing, let alone actually use it.  Ah, but times change and now we are engrossed in the sticky spider web of ebook publishing.  UGH!

The story we're trying to tell is about the Crash of the MGM Lion in September 1927.  The story itself is mesmerizing.  The method of trying to tell the story is anything but!  Probably the only way we're even going to get a break through is to use a blog to write each chapter and then transfer the narrative and photos to the convoluted altar of The Gods of ebooks.

Weather wise there hasn't been a whole lot to write home about lately and it sure doesn't look very promising for the near future either.  As usual, we all had high hopes of a "wet winter" when the first few gobsmackers gut punched Northern Arizona.  Alas, they seem to have been just a tease.  Or, as someone said, "Well, that was our winter--it's spring time now."  Meanwhile our Idahome is getting hit hard but that's another story.

Dear Friends Maria & Tim have been visiting Second Chance Ranch in their Gulf Stream Class A motorhome for the past few days.  The Wonderful Couple free ranges far and wide from sea to shining sea but they always seem to gravitate back here to Central Arizona.  We love their visits and eagerly look forward to their arrivals.  We're always sad to see them go but we know they are off on yet another thrilling, fun-filled adventure.  In a mere two days they will be tucked into the capital of Costa Rica to begin a two month stay in that country.  We're hoping we will see them in Idaho sometime this summer.

Speaking of summer, our planning continues.  As most folks know, we love taking one trip a year to Sawtooth Country.  Last year's trip was delayed into late July because a Dear Friend was going to be there then.  This year we're back to a more flexible schedule so we're already trying to squeeze into Sunny Gulch Campground outside Stanley and not far from Redfish Lake.  Wouldn't you know it, the few reservable sites at Sunny Gulch are already full.  Of course nobody up there right now is remotely thinking about camping.  They are all practically snowed in.  The Sawtooth back country generally has about five feet of snow right now.  It always seems so weird to be sitting down here in Arizona talking about Smoke Season and river runoff and such when Sawtooth Country is under a deep, deep blanket of snow.  Ah, the Life of Snow Birds!

We spent some fun days at Susun's brother's Mesa Place in December and we're looking forward to going back again this month for a short sojourn.  Roger and Nancy are lovely hosts and always roll out the red carpet for us.  Chances are pretty good we will head down that way next week.

Today being January 15th marks the unofficial end of Rimrock's Annual Cold Spell.  According to The Book Of John & Susun, the Rimrock's Annual Cold Spell begins on December 15th and ends on January 15th.  Of course, it isn't always perfectly cut and dried but it's a danged good guess as to when the coldest of the winter's cold will be upon us.  So far this Arizona Season has been mild.  Our lowest temp was 16 degrees way back in early November.  Most of the daily lows have been in the low 20's with some dips into the upper teens.  Considering that we've seen it get down to 2 degrees here, such temps are definitely considered mild.

Well, that's all there is to write about home.  Thanks for reading.  Happy mid-January.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Two R's

Remember how early one room school houses were said to focus on teachin' them kids The Three R's?

Readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmatic."

Well, at this point in my life, I am focused on the Two R's.  I couldn't care less about that Third R.  So I spend my days in R&R, so to speak: Readin' and 'Ritin'.

We generally get up around 6 AM and go back to sleep around 8 PM every day.  For who knows how many days, my life has been occupied by studying the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery. It consumes hours and hours of The Two R's.  It might not technically be considered "R&R" in the traditional sense of "rest & relaxation" but it gets the job done.  It helps me pass what would otherwise be a tediously long day while being consumed by the arcane details of history surrounding that 1889 event and the saga that followed.

I know this might seem hard to imagine but I love it.  I get so immersed in the Two R's of the CDTR that it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to do what I want to do.  It's one of those projects that seemingly has no end and sometimes I can imagine going on forever and forever into eternity.  Yes, I know that's a tad bit of an exaggeration...but not too much.

Each night, the call of nature gets me out of bed right around 1:30 AM...almost like clockwork. When I come back to the covers it takes at least 30 minutes (and sometimes 60) to go back to sleep.  It's during that precious "wee hour window" that I get my most productive thinking done.  That's when I can think the clearest.  That's when I can see new avenues.  That's when the really GOOD ideas come to light---ironically in the pitch black dark of night.

Every night I think of things to do the next day which eat up mass quantities of hours.  Sure enough, I get up the next day and start off following the threads of the "wee hour window" ideas and, POOF, the day is danged done before I even know it got started.

That's just how fast it happens--almost in a blink of an eye.  And there isn't a day yet when I don't go to sleep lamenting more what I didn't get done than what I did.  I never know what gift of insight the "wee hour window" is going to give me but I always know it will be Good.  I now look forward to that time of day perhaps even more so that broad daylight....or maybe even morning coffee.  Nah, coffee wins that game.  But whatever.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Just in case yer curious what last night's "wee hour window" suggested, it's ALL about this horse hoof you see here on the famous Buckey Statue in the equally famous Prescott Plaza.  So, one of our many projects today was to produce a post on the "Celebrating Historic Prescott" Facebook group about this horse's leg.  Yeah, that's what the "wee hour window" will do to a him get a leg up!

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Winslow Yards

Back in March 1943 when Jack Delano rode a Santa Fe freight train through Flagstaff to Winslow, he could have never known there would be people studying his photographs nearly 77 years later.

Delano's informative and often poignant images reveal a slice of Northern Arizona Railroad Life heretofore unseen.  Delano's career would span many genres and localities but it is his Office of War Information photos of the rails across Northern Arizona that will live forever in the annals of Southwest history fans.
This is one of the most touching Delano photos I have found in his entire collection.
Most Delano photos of that era where not focused on an individual "looking at you."
The largely Navajo hired hand day laborers were relegated to shoveling cinders.
Delano was such a pro he stepped out into their world and recorded priceless photos!
Winslow in '43 had the only diesel roundhouse on the Santa Fe line.
When diesels were invented, Santa Fe picked them for the Southwest.
Why? Well, water was an issue for steam engines. Diesels didn't need water.
Delano was a creature of his culture.  White Men climbing aboard The Mighty Steed
are a special part of the Jack Delano Collection at the Library of Congress.
Ditto.  This photo is instructive because it shows a once vaunted steam steed
of the mighty Santa Fe line now relegated to switching duties in the Winslow yards.
Delano was granted unprecedented access to the diesel locomotive engineer's cab.
Here you can see the Winslow yard laid out in front of the arriving engine.
If you look closely, you can see the Indian laborers at left shoveling cinders.
Delano was hired by the Office of War Information to give them what they wanted.
This is yet another photo of the strong, smart white man in control of technology.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Is it possible?

On New Year's Day we once again said we would start blogging again.  But we haven't.  It's five days later and we have nothing to show for the relentless passage of time.  I makes us wonder if we really CAN blog again? Maybe we just don't have what it takes.  Maybe we're just another faceless Facebook friend...just another meaningless member of the social media mob.  We wonder.

What's it going to take for us to break out of Hotel Facebook and roam free range on a blog's blank palette?  We honestly don't know that answer and we're obviously struggling to make the transition.  With that in mind, we're going to swipe yet another Facebook post to create the remainder of this missive.

"As we studiously study The Canyon Diablo Train Robbery (CDTR) Story, we are stuck by many inconsistencies, incongruities, and downright inscrutabilities.

This Journey Deep Back Down Memory Lane is a fabulous & fantastic experience. We had NO idea how much we didn't know. We "thought" we knew the story. HAHAHA! Oh, how we have been proven wrong time after time in the past few days...and fully expect to be proven wrong over and over again.

That's what is SO FUN about History. The History you "thought" you learned in grade and high school is as inevitably wrong as wrong can get.

It's only by questioning our own assumptions and peering deeply into our so-called "personal mythology" that we can begin to come to grips with what "might" have been so-called Real History.

The Canyon Diablo Train Robbery Story is a trip back down Memory Lane for me in so many ways. Technically my Purdue degree was in "journalism & history". It's only with age & wise eyes that we can look at what we once thought to be facts. HAHAHA!

The so-called "facts" of yesteryear are like last fall's crisp leaves kicked and crinkled under feet.

We've livin' and lovin' our retro revisit to The CDTR!

The Story Continues..."

Thank goodness we have the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery Story to give us some focus and purpose!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Canyon Diablo Train Robbery

Our latest and most current project is all about the March 1889 Canyon Diablo Train Robbery.  It's quite a famous story and an Arizona Legend in its own right.  It has been written about extensively.
We intend to compile and edit the various versions of the story.  Our goal is to help interested readers understand what may have actually happened.  There are so many permutations and combinations of the retelling of the story that it's very hard for people to separate fact from fiction.  Frankly, it's probably impossible to determine what truly happened with many aspects of the story.  Certain parts are well ground in verifiable facts.  Other parts...not so much.  We fully expect the project to take at least a year to get into a book format.  Chances are we will publish an ebook in conjunction with "print on demand" so that a hard copy can be available, too.  Most of our work is going to a blog located here: