Sunday, April 28, 2013

Being Frank

This is Frank.  He is an Angel.  We discovered we had a BIG fuel leak early Saturday morning.  Big enough to be dangerous.  Every auto repair shop was closed.  Frank happened to be tinkering at his shop.  After he heard out store he said he would help us and opened his shop before 8 am.  He found the cause of the leak--a bad "o-ring" in the fuel filter connection and fixed it.  He refused to take any money.  He's holding the butterfly "Thank You" card we gave him.  Without Frank's help we'd probably still be in Provo.

When we pulled off I-15 at Willard Bay, some guy rear-ended Susun's Nissan.  Luckily, she wasn't hurt and there was minimal damage.  In the Spirit of Frank, we told the guy to forget about it and to have a nice day.  You should have seen his face.  He was so happy.

Things happen in threes.  After we were mostly unpacked yesterday I sliced off the tip of my index finger while closing the electrical breaker box.  That's what these blog posts are so short.  My main typing finger to out of action for possibly a few weeks.

Anyway, we're all settled in and life is good.

Hopefully, we will get an internet connection at home soon--we're having to connect via WIFI at Barnes & Noble.

Life is good and we're happy to be back at our Idahome.

Many Cheers, jp


Our main reason for going early to Provo was so Susun could buy a couple of these cool desk lamps.  She bought one in San Diego this winter and loved it so much she wanted two more.  Heck, I even bought one, too.  Luckily, we escaped IKEA only buying the lamps.
Below is our caravan parked at Space B5 in the Lakeside RV Park near Utah Lake in Provo.  $33 a night includes hot showers and free WIFI.
Below--Susun's pets get some sunshine.
There is a cool kiddie playground at the RV park and includes a real Ford Tractor for budding farmer tykes.
Neat piece of playground equipment.

Some Bryce Photos

Gotta put up these Bryce photos.
People can get up close and personal with Bryce.  You'd be amazed at all the people just staring at rocks and taking pictures of rocks.  We love it.  Look at this guy taking a picture of a non-descript slope.  COOL!
Looking northeast
Looking southeast
She's "In Her Element" again.
Gotta love these switchbacks.
Bye, Bye, Bryce, we'll see ya again next year.

Paiute Bryce Legend

The Paiute Indians have long had a very cool way of explaining how Bryce Canyon was formed.  We love this legend so much we're putting it here on our blog.
Here's a couple of Paiute dudes shown as they were encountered in the 1870's when Major Powell passed through.
Above is the major player in the legend.  Below is the legend.  Enjoy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why We Love Bryce

Bryce Canyon (BCNP) is a wonderfully Old School National Park.  It's small enough to get to know but big enough to hold many more mysteries than we will ever experience in this lifetime.

We love every single thing about Bryce.  In fact, we haven't found a single this to dislike.  We wrote out a list of stuff--it's just a partial list.  Here are the items in no particular order of importance:

The Trail System.  Bryce has one of the best day-hiking trail systems in the Western United States.  Not only that but the trails are all well maintained and signed properly.  The trails are absolutely fabulous.

The Hoodoos and geology.  No matter how many times you stare at Bryce's signature attractions, you will see something different.  It's never the same.  You think it's going to be the same but it's not.  There's something truly magical in the geology here.  It is mesmerizing.

The NPS management.  Some NPS properties are downright weird.  You can feel a heavy hand in the management.  Here the mgmt is laid back and really mellow.  It's wonderful.  The NPS keeps the law enforcement presence very low and not in your face like at a lot of parks we know.  Everything is maintained well and in tip top shape.

The campground.  The campground is one of our favorites.  The spaces are very large and no space seems cramped.  They have a separate campground for tents only--no RV's or generators allowed. The picnic tables are light enough to move and not chained down to an illogical location.  The fire rings are brand new.

The restrooms are heated with flush toilets.  The restroom building has a separate room with a great big commercial style sink so you can wash dishes and dump gray water.  The culinary water pressure is awesome and they use real faucet handles so you don't have to use one hand to keep the water flowing.  The campground hosts are totally mellow and there are no Barney Fife wanna be types here.  The fee of $7.50 a night is so awesome.

Bryce Recycles!  Everything can be recycled here, including glass and propane bottles!

BCNP has an awesome free transit system.  You could park your car and get everywhere on the bus!

Bryce Canyon Lodge is the last remaining original, un-re-muddled Lodge from the Union Pacific's Grand Circle Tour Glory Days.  The free WIFI is roccket fast.  When they burn wood in the big stone fireplace is like a fairy tale lobby.  It is beautiful in every way.

The new Visitor Center is top notch.  BCNP interpretive staff is always thinking of new stuff such as their Hoodoo reward program.  There's a lot of neat stuff going on here at Bryce.

Spring and fall at Bryce are never crowded.  Summer is crowded.  It's crowded everywhere during the summer.  Even if a parking lot is near full, it never seems like there are very many people anywhere.  We often wonder where they all are.

BCNP is a neighbor to GSENM and that's a HUGE plus.  GSENM is Disneyland masquerading as Utah Desert.  You can make Bryce a base camp to wander GSENM for days and days. Kodachrome Basin State Park is also a neighbor to BCNP.  The Dixie National Forest is yet another huge playground sitting beside BCNP.

The $2 showers!  Yep, you get 8 minutes of HOT shower water for a mere two bucks.  Heck, there's even a great laundromat here, too, right now to the fully stocked store where the prices are kept reasonable by the NPS.

A Super Newspaper--The Hoodoo.  It's one of the best park newspapers we know of.

Ruby's Inn and Bryce Canyon City are right next door.  Ruby's store is expensive but it has everything you might need or want.  Their auto repair place has saved our bacon a couple of times.  It's a great asset to the area.

BCNP pays attention to the little things--like making sure there are great benches to sit on to watch the sunrise or sunset.  They keep those benches in great shape so they are an inviting place to sit and enjoy the view.  When we look around at BCNP, we know someone is paying attention to stuff and that really counts for a lot in our book.

In short, this is a classic place where the total experience is greater than the sum of the parts.  There's always a feeling to this place that can't be put into words.  We've tried to capture the essence of this place with the above list but, trust us, there's a whole lot more here that we haven't been able to describe.


The last couple of days we've been out on the road in the GSENM.  We planned to travel again today but widely decided to save our energy for the remaining 460 miles standing between us and our home in Idaho Falls. Here's a screen shot of a Facebook photo album we just created. (Narrative continues below.)
Facebook, by the way, has by far the EASIEST photo album functionality.  We've given up on Google.  Google was once insanely easy and fun.  Now it's 180-degrees opposite and an exercise in frustration.  Anyway, here's the link to the Facebook album:

If we had to pick one single photo from our last two days to show here it would be the one below.  Driving around Utah is such a Magical Mystery Tour.  Everything you see sparks your Spirit and warms your Heart.
We're working on our list of things we love about Bryce.  We should have it done and ready for posting soon.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bryce Lodge

Walking back through the front doors of Bryce Lodge is a lot like coming home.  You know the feeling when you walk through the familiar door of your home.  Well, that's the same feeling we get here at Bryce Lodge--it's at once heartwarming and humbling to be able to walk right in, sit down and enjoy such a fabulous, wonderful and historic place.

Bryce Lodge is a genuine, historical throwback to The Days of Yesteryore.  The feeling of history here is almost tangible.  Well, heck, it IS tangible!  You can reach out and touch this place and enjoy it like not other National Park Lodge we know.  It's quiet and sedate compared to the mass throngs swarming through Old Faithful Inn.  It's so much more homey and welcoming that the El Tovar.  And there's no comparison between Bryce and Zion.  Bryce Lodge actually FEELS like your home does.  It's weird but it's true.

It's so homey, in fact, that Susun didn't even need the WIFI password--her computer and the Bryce WIFI router shook hands and gave each other a "welcome home hug" and Susun logged right on just like she was at home.  (I didn't have this computer last year so it had to introduce itself to the router.)

There are so many things to love about Bryce.  Sometime during this trip, we're going to try to summarize them all but it's going to be tough because the list will be so long and we will probably forget something.  Let's put it another way--there's NOTHING that we don't like about Bryce.  That means we like 100% of EVERYTHING about this place.  It's probably the only such place on Earth where we can say we love it all, every speck of it--top to bottom, side to side and everything in between.

Chances are we will be here until Saturday morning.  There's a wild card and, as usual, it's a weather wild card.  There's a chance that Sunday's weather is going to be wet up north and we both dislike driving through Salt Lake when I-15's wet.  We will monitor the situation carefully and make a decision when the weather crystal ball becomes clearer.

We haven't taken many photos since our arrival here.  Here's three with captions.
 Site #245 is perfect for our rig.  It sits perfectly level without the need of a single shim under a wheel.  It has large space between it and its neighbors.  Also, there's parking for the Nissan right in front of the site.  The pines damper the wind and it gets an early sunrise, too.
 The Shadows Know this as one of their favorite vistas.
Of course, America's favorite rock group, The Hoodoos, are always the stars of the show!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend wrapup

What a Great Weekend!  We arrived about 6 pm Thursday.  Susan, Jeff and Kate were there.  It was chilly and Jeff lit up the fireplace. Friday Michael B. ferried us ten miles up Glen Canyon to the Ferry Swale Campsite.  We spent six hour there doing nothing much but swapping stories.  The party picked up Friday night with Jan, Dick, Marsha and Hugh's arrival.  Saturday, we eventually mustered up the energy to troop through Lonely Dell and then up maybe a mile on the Paria River trail.  Michael showed up, Alison and neighbor Jeff came over and the party hit full stride.  It was easily one of the best parties we can remember.  Bryan and Chris stopped by today for a short visit after their 13-day river trip. Sunday was a lazy day and eventually everyone departed by about 3 pm.  Tonight, it's Jeff and Susun and me.  I came down here to Marble Canyon restaurant to use their free WIFI.  It's slower that Mexican WIFI was over 15 years ago and it's taken almost 40 minutes to load these pictures. At least there's one heck of a view out the window from my table.

We're not sure what we're doing tomorrow.  We know we'll get as far as Kanab but no farther than Bryce Canyon NP.  The Twitter is working out pretty well.  Thanks for reading and Many Cheers!  jp
 The view off the porch from Susan K's cabin at Vermilion Cliffs.
 Sunrise on the cliffs looming over the cabin.
 Marsha & Hugh's camping rig at left and our rig at right. 
 The inside of Susan K's cabin is a near perfect party place. 
 Michael's camp on the Colorado River was a great place to spend all day Friday. 
 Susun, Susan and Kate say "THANKS, Michael!"
Samantha Johnson's 1881 cabin at Lonely Dell near Lees Ferry. 
 A remnant of the Grazing Days on the Lower Paria River. 
 Two Happy Artists Susan (left) and Jan.
Jeff D. in a rare pensive moment.
Kate W. was all smiles all weekend.
Jan and Susun share a laugh while Marble Canyon Metal Works owner Alison checks out Jan's artwork.
Jan's husband Dick enjoys listening to Jeff D. spin yet another tale.
Michael B. takes it all in.
Hugh and Marsha share some repartee as the sun sets on the Vermilion Cliffs.
Naturally, Susun was "In Her Element."
Hugh cornered the blog author for this picture.
This place belongs to the reptiles and the partiers, not necessarily in that order.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On The Road Again

Just a short post to let our DF & LBR's know we're switching to Twitter this morning.  It's embedded her, of course, and you can also use the direct link.

Maybe we can post some stuff when we get to Bryce.  Who knows?  Maybe there is better WIFI at Vermilion. Ironically, our cell signal at Vermilion is WAY better than our signal here in Rimrock.

Well, we have lots of stuff to do and gotta git' after it.  Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, April 13, 2013

When a photo triggers a story

Valerie Millett  Photo - Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved.
We've all heard how sights, sounds and even smells can trigger memories, stories, flashbacks or whatever you may choose to call the deep well of experiences lurking in our synapses.

So it was this morning as we were perusing our Facebook account.  An outstanding Sedona photographer named Rusty Albertson shared a link to the blog of another truly outstanding photographer  Valerie Millett.  Finding a great new blog is always a wonderful treat so we spent some time taking a leisurely stroll through Valerie's blog and that's when we came upon Valerie's photo you see above.

And that's when the memories of a particularly very fond story came flooding back in a rush.  It's a story about learning how to canoe.   Valerie's awesome photo was taken from Muley Point in San Juan County, Utah.  Those are the famed Goosenecks of The San Juan River in the lower foreground.

So, how could Muley Point trigger a story about learning to canoe?  Well, let's step into the Way Back Time Machine and rewind ourselves to perhaps 1984 or 1985.  A brash Easterner had joined the Northern Arizona Paddler's Club in Flagstaff and he commenced to carry on a non-stop harangue and barrage of belittlement because of the prevailing attitude that we could only go boating when the water was "up."  Jim told us we were abject fools to harbor such stupid notions and proceeded to point out that there was water everywhere in the Southwest all year round.  Jim then proceeded to "educate" willing suspects by taking us on canoe trips at unimaginably low water levels.  I'll never forget some of those trips.

One such trip was from the Beaver Creek Ranger Station on Forest Road 618 all the way to Camp Verde at an official flow of 15 cubic feet per second.  No kidding.  Well, that was one heck of an eye-opener.

Obviously, once our eyes were opened and our attitudes appropriately readjusted, some of us decided we needed to learn how to canoe.  One of my Dear Friends at the time was Linda Hammond, a physical therapist practicing in Flagstaff.  Linda was an "out there" adventurer and always "up" for just about any adventure anyone could possibly conjure.

Anyway, one day I suggested to Linda that we go up to the San Juan River to learn how to canoe.  I had an idea.  The second she heard the idea, she was "all in."  We loaded up the big ol' canoe and took off.  I can't remember the precise time of year but I think it was in the fall, long after the spring runoff and the monsoon seasons ended. The San Juan was running at some ridiculously low level as it is wont to do during such a time.  What little water there was in the river was as crystal clear as a mountain stream.

We went first to Mexican Hat.  Just upstream from the river runner take out there was a large boulder sitting in the channel.  We spent hours learning how to paddle using that boulder as our training site.  We did everything imaginable with the boulder including wrapping the canoe, pinning the canoe, dumping upstream of the boulder, you name it, we did it.  We practiced getting in and out of the eddy below the boulder backwards and forwards and sideways.  We practiced ferrying through all sorts of scenarios and, together, Linda and I truly learned how to safely navigate the canoe that day.  Finally, after we were thoroughly worn out, we packed everything up and headed up The Moki Dugway,  one of America's most classic backroads to Muley Point.  We drove right out to the tip where Valerie took her photo and set up a camp, viewing Valerie's scene as we enjoyed our adult beverages and comfy lawn chairs.

The next day, we jumped back in the truck and headed upriver to Bluff.  I dropped off Linda and the gear and drove down to Mexican Hat and hitch hiked back.  In those days, you simply wore a life jacket and held a paddle and stood beside the road and you got a ride almost instantly.

Then we proceeded to paddle the canoe down through water most folks thought was far too low to navigate with a canoe. Some of the slots between the rock studded streambed were so narrow, we had to actually rock the canoe sideways to be able to squeeze through and continue.  It was a magical trip and we were both mesmerized by "discovering" such a whole new Disneyland of river running delights.

When we got to Mexican Hat, we high-fived and said, "Let's do that again!"  So, sure enough, we hot-footed it back up The Moki Dugway to Muley Point and enjoyed a deja vu all over again, staring off at the near mystical vista of Monument Valley in the distance with the Goosenecks  practically under our feet.

And the next day, we did the same thing all over once again.  It seemed ever better the second time and we were both hooked on canoeing for the rest of our lives.  Naturally, at the end of the second trip, we had to go backup The Moki Dugway to Muley Point for a third and final night.  It was too late in the day to even think of driving back to Flagstaff.  Besides, the allure of such a special road and a special campsite called out to us.

Somehow when we packed up and prepared to head home the following morning, we both knew we had just enjoyed an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience.  We stood silently staring off into the sunrise space of that sublime view, savoring sweet memories of so many special moments during those days.

Years and decades have passed since then. The memories of that experience laid dormant in my mind.  Somehow, seeing Valerie's photo brought them all flooding back out again this morning.

Thank You, Valerie, for sharing your wonderful and awesome photo.  It brings a mist to my eyes and puts a lump in my throat just looking at it.

Be sure to visit Valerie's awesome blog--you're in for a real treat.  Many Cheers, jp

Vicious Cycle

As all our Dear Friends & Loyal Blog Readers well know, Thrift Store Shopping is one of our Top Hobbies. Oh, how we can wax eloquent about our Love of T-Store Shopping!

One of the great advantages of being a Snowbird is the "Vicious Cycle:  Donate, Shop, Donate, Shop."  When we were back in Indiana for six weeks after Mom died, we had the privilege of enjoying the Vicious Cycle by donating and shopping at the Goodwill stores there.

That's where we spotted by far The BEST decorated semi-trailers in America.  Check out the motto on the side.  It says it all: "Donate. Shop. Donate. Shop. Vicious Cycle, Isn't It?" That pretty well sums up our lifestyle.

We shop all summer at Deseret Industries (D-I) in Idaho Falls and accumulate and store a whole new Arizona wardrobe.  Then, just before we head south for the winter, we donate our old wardrobe back to D-I.  When we get to Arizona, we unpack all "new" clothes and wear them through the November-April time frame.  Then, in early April, we donate that wardrobe and leave Arizona with barely more than the clothes on our back.  When we get to Idaho Falls, we start the whole Vicious Cycle all over again.  It's so FUN and we dearly love it.

Until we went back to Indiana in December 2011, we thought D-I was the pinnacle of T-Stores.  Nope--not even close.  Goodwill of Central Indiana is THE T-Store to beat.  They have set the bar so high and run such an amazing business model it's totally off-the-charts.  Their T-Stores are better than many retail stores that sell brand new merchandise.  They have Rewards Cards, too.  Their organization and customer service is totally The Best.  Here's their awesome website:

I sent them a note this weekend asking for the truck picture and they graciously obliged.  The word "Sample" is on the picture to protect their brand.  You can still see enough of the trailer to make out the awesome motto. THANKS for the photo, Goodwill of Central Indiana!

Anyway, off went my winter wardrobe this morning and we're now eagerly awaiting our return to D-I to begin the Vicious Cycle once again. What FUN!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

Van's hair has been flowing wild and free least since Van's "Forever" has existed.  Yesterday, Van willingly learned a lesson that's neither hair nor there when he went to his Daddy's Barber Shop and got his locks cut back to The Great American normal for children's hair.  Mom Sarah created this photo collage.

Mom Sarah and her Family ROX!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On The Rogue Again

Dear Friends Lora and Deano sent these two great photos yesterday from the banks of The Rogue River on The Oregon Coast.  Ah, the memories these pictures bring back.  Susun and we spent most of two summers there in the Huntley Park Campground in 2002 and 2003.

During our second summer Lora and Deano and we connected there at Huntley and spent many an hour discussing how they could get established on the Coast.  Lora eventually taught school in Brookings for quite a few years and Deano became a Licensed Oregon Contractor.  Now they live inland where is it not quite as wet as the Coast.  They love Oregon and we love them!

Anyway, here's what Deano had to say about their jaunt over to the Coast:

"Hi John & Susun!
We headed over to the coast for a couple days... to celebrate springtime.  Our first day was sunny, we enjoyed the sound of crashing surf, the smell of the salty sea, a hike, a bottle of wine and camped at Harris Beach.  Then the fog rolled in... we drove north and took a morning walk on Bailey's Beach, then escaped up the Rogue River in search of sunshine, ending up at your home-for-a-month Huntley campground, so we had to take a few shots for you two.  That night and the next day it RAINED in the true sense of Oregon coastal rain (ie horizonal, wind-pummeling rain).  Good to visit our old stomping ground, but even nicer to return to Ashland area with the significant rain-shadow of the Siskiyous, where rain falls gently, probing and prodding our newly-planted seeds to germinate.

Hope all is wonderful with you two!  Missing our friends in the southwest.
Love, Lora & Deano"

Thanks for your great email and awesome photos, Deano & Lora.  It's been TEN years since our last summer there at Huntley.

Camera's a keeper

When we took Susun down to catch her plane to California, we picked up a new camera--actually bought two of them so we will each have one.  We've been testing it all week doing various camera tasks and have decided the cameras are keepers.  We put together a video clip this morning using scenes from a Mesa, Arizona Mexican market called "Pro's Ranch."  They were selling roasted chiles for $1 a pound.  Here's how the video resolution of the camera looks in "medium" mode.  (We tired low resolution mode and it's real marginal.)
Here's the link in case the embedded video won't load:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

High Five for Gage

Happy 5th Birthday, Gage!
(l-r) Stasea, Van, Susun, Sarah and Gage 
pose for an Awesome Family Photo.


Twenty five years ago, plus or minus a couple of days or so, we had a life-changing experience due in part to a very heavy April snowstorm in Flagstaff.

The winter of  '87-'88 had been balmy, warm and practically devoid of snow. People (ourselves included) wore Teva's and shorts in the middle of winter.  In fact, we spent most of that winter in Teva sandals and therein lies the root of our life-changing experience.

Finally, along comes a kick anatomy April storm that dropped a giga-gob of deep, heavy, wet snow  all across Plateau Country.  Well, naturally, we couldn't wear Teva's in snow that deep and wet so we donned our heavy waterproof hiking boots to slog our way around the nearly snowbound mountain town.

The late '80's were major Party Times and somehow the new snow became the excuse for a party at Tim H's house.  There were probably six to 8 of us partying the night away there at Tim's.  The music was full blast and the beverages flowed like a flash flood.  Even though I don't dance, we were somehow swept up into a feverish group dance to the music of some long forgotten group.  I was in the kitchen dancing and feeling wonderful, as such partiers are wont to feel.

And that's when it snapped like a rubber band stretched to the breaking point.  The pain was incredibly instant and intensely acute.  I did not know it at the moment but I had completely snapped my right Achilles Tendon.  It turned out to be a total separation, not just a partial tear.

What happened was simple.  My feet and ankles had become accustomed to the feather weight Teva sandals.  The warm winter essentially made all those fibers, muscles and tendons in the lower extremities lazy.  Meanwhile, I put on extremely heavy hiking boots and spent the day walking around in ice cold snow.  The cold contracted the tendons and various associated parts.  As I kicked up my heels in Tim's kitchen, the heavy weight of those hiking boots acted like a big pendulum.  Dancing in those boots snapped that tendon in two as effectively as a surgeon's knife.

Of course, I compounded the problem by being totally foolish and refusing to seek medical care until it was too late.  I simply hobbled around in pain wishing the pain would go away.  By the time I couldn't stand the pain any longer and sought out medical care it was too late.  The Doctor told me the delay made it impossible to rejoin the tendon ends and that I would never again have full use of my right leg.

He said eventually the tendon ends would kind of fuse together but in the meantime the leg muscles would shrink and atrophy and become essentially useless.  He was as as spot on as a turban-wearing swami.  That's exactly what happened.

From 1982 through 1987, I had worked to become a full-time river guide in the Grand Canyon.  The upcoming 1988 season finally brought me to the point of success.  I was scheduled to work 13 motor trips with Canyoneers.  I already had one trip under my belt but the remaining 12 vaporized when the tendon snapped.  Eventually, I would up in a large leg cast and hobbled around on a cane for most of the summer of 1988, paying the price of foolishness.

There was virtually nothing that I could do.  My jogging days were over and done forever.  My hiking days wouldn't return until 2001.

With nothing else to do, that's when I decided to run in my second election.

My first election in 1986 had been to promote a specific cause relating to preserving streambed access for canoeists and paddlers.  After having run in that 1986 election, I knew the ropes and filed in 1988 to run for US Congress against the late Bob Stump.  I ran as an Independent candidate on the "Land, Water & Legacy" ticket.  Basically, I figured if I couldn't do anything else, at least I could be a politician!

I eventually learned how to walk again by stepping on to my right heel and not flexing the ankle joint.  By keeping the right leg straight and stiff, I would essentially pivot on the heel using the right leg as a kind of de facto crutch.  As the years passed, I would regain some flexibility in the right leg.  The muscles eventually regained some of their mass but there is still a noticeable difference between the two legs.

Running for US Congress changed my whole Life Ball Game and set in motion all sorts of events and circumstances that completely and totally reshaped my future in ways I could never have imagined that April night in Tim's house.  In hindsight it's one of those things that turned everything out for The Best...even though it seemed like The Worst when it happened and during the immediate aftermath of the event.

We are fond of saying "Everything happens for a purpose."   We fervently believe that the "purpose" is always a Positive Purpose.  We know that it is very difficult for ourselves and others to believe and have faith in that Positive Purpose when difficult and painful events and changes take place in our lives.  However, we've experienced so many such events in both our own life and the lives of others that we know beyond doubt that Good things can come from Bad things.

Twenty five years ago this week, we still really didn't know those lessons.  We certainly had yet a lot to learn!  In hindsight, we're eternally thankful to The Universe for snapping our Achilles tendon.  We are grateful for our Life as it is and know that we wouldn't have traveled the path to bring us here if not for that Life Changing Dance in April 1988.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Auntie Stasea

Gage (left) and Van welcome Auntie Stasea to their California home this morning.

Act Your Age

Our wacky weather hasn't yet been domesticated by the fact that its spring time.  Pundits can debate whether global warming is to blame but it doesn't matter.  Wacky weather is wacky weather regardless of the root cause.

The NWS said the wind was really gonna blow yesterday.  Most of us yawned and figured the wind "might" blow a little but certainly nothing like the Chicken Little predictions of the NWS.  Well, the wind came up and smacked us really hard.

Wouldn't you know that yesterday was the last shooting match of the season.  Gary hauled the gear trailer out to our public lands range area and dropped me and the gear off at 7:30 am.  I set everything up by myself before Al came by shortly before 9 am.

By that time the wind was a concern.  It seemed to grow stronger with each passing minute.  Seven of us gathered to conduct the match but it wasn't meant to be.  The wind decided to go on a genuine tear.  It ripped our American flag from it's pole.  It bent our steel rebar support stakes like pretzels   It blew up and ripped apart out target stands.  It blew over heavy steel targets like they were sheets of paper.  And, just for grins, it blew blinding sheets of grit and dust into our faces.  The wind howled so hard, none of could hear each other--even when we were yelling.  In a word, it was ridiculous.

If we would have dared guess the wind was going to be that bad, we would have canceled the match.  Bot, Noooo....we chose not to believe the NWS and we paid the price.  After the work schedule we've been keeping lately, plus the wind ordeal, we were wiped out when we return home not long after noon.

We tried to scrub as much of the grit and dust out of our skin as possible and then crawled under the covers and slept all windy afternoon.  The long nap didn't help.  We were still so tired we could barely sit in front of the computer without our eyes drooping shut.  Finally, we threw in the towel and called it a day and went to sleep at 7 pm.  We finally arose at 6 am, feeling only slightly better after 11 hours of nearly non-stop sleep.

Perhaps you may remember a common cliche of our childhood, "Act Your Age."  When we were much younger, adults would reprimand us with that cliche. Typically, it was a rebuke for someone who was acting childish.  Now when we hear echoes of "Act Your Age," we think of all our creaky joints and sore muscles and must reflect on the fact we are 65 years old and certainly not filled with the vim and vigor of a 10-year-old.  So, we now often remind ourselves to "Act Your Age," especially on days such as yesterday when the winds practically lifted us all off the desert and blew us into the mountains.

We're rather conflicted with that "Act Your Age" schtick.  Will there come a time when we truly get old?  Will there come a time when we must actually ACT old, too?  Why, yes, of course, that's a physical fact of life.  But when will these life chapters arrive?  Sooner?  Or Later?  When?  We suppose no one really knows.  Perhaps we will know when to "Act Your Age" in our own bones and fibers.  In any event, we are hearing many more echoes of "Act Your Age' lately and so these thoughts ebb and flow in our consciousness.  Luckily, days such as yesterday are few and far far.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I love it when a plan comes together

Above you see one of my favorite photos of Year 2013 so far.  Left is Roger Plothow, Publisher of "The Post-Register" in Idaho Falls and my partner on The Dugout Dick Project.

In the middle is U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson, easily Idaho's greatest currently serving Representative.

At right is Kathleen Plothow, The Force behind "All Things Dugout Dick."

This photo was taken today about noon beside The Salmon River near the site of Dugout Dick's former caves that were obliterated by the BLM not long after Dugout died three years ago.

Kathleen and Roger have lead the charge to "mitigate" that cultural loss and they are doing a fabulous and wonderful job.  We are so proud of them  We serve as an Adviser behind-the-scenes in this process.

Today was a high note of sorts in that process.  To get Rep. Simpson on site to learn about all the various things that have happened there is simply huge.  There's no other word for it--it's huge.

Tonight, we are basking in the peripheral glow that these sorts of coup engender.  This is one Very Sweet Photo!

Congratulations, Kathleen and Roger--you totally knocked this one out of the park with the bases loaded.

We are SO PROUD OF YOU!  Keep up Your Great Work and Carry On.  Many Cheers, jp

PS--The title of this blog post is taken from a old TV series called "The A Team."  

Team Leader George Peppard would smoke a cigar and utter those famous words when one of the Team Plans came together.