Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Morning Edition - 2456716

NOAA has downgraded the the rainfall expected in Central Arizona from 4.4 to 3.5 inches.  So, it's not going to be a Noah-Style event, just a long duration rain.  The rainfall will be split over a two-day period beginning later today and continuing through Sunday.

Meanwhile, the next 7 days are going to be a real wild and crazy time for the Pacific Northwest.  Also, during the next week, The Snake River Headwaters in Yellowstone National Park might, maybe manage to pick up 4 or five feet of snow, perhaps even more.  The weather action during the next seven days have potential to bring most of Idaho's watershed  (except maybe the Owyhee) back to normal or very near normal.  If the precipitation does come as forecast on The Upper Snake, it will go the extra mile to helping mostly refill Jackson Lake and Palisades Reservoir.

Below are three QPF Graphics  The first is for the the One Day expected precipitation.  The second is for the Two Day cumulative total and the third is for the 7-day cumulative forecast precipitation.  You can see Arizona's number in the 7-day matched the number on the Two Day so our storm will be over by maybe Monday.  Check out the PAC NW on the 7-day.  Pretty amazing forecast!

Somehow I missed this article on the Sedona Vortexes.  The article is datelined February 21.  Imust have been sleeping or something.  It's a classic article the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana is now officially the nation's largest, slightly edging out Vail.  I well remember when Chet Huntley announced his involvement in Big Sky back in the late 1960's.  Such an idea seemed so improbable  at the time.

Here's the NYT article on Big Sky, the Wiki on the resort is below the NYT link:
A screen shot from Stasea's attempt to order tickets.

Sweetie Susun's Sweet Daughter Stasea has her heart set on going to Burning Man this year.  She came up empty-handed when tickets went on sale yesterday.  Here's the story:

Speaking of Burning Man, just as we finished writing the above snippet, we glanced outside and this is what we spied.  We have to be out the door in 37 minutes so this is all ya'll get today.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday Morning edition - 2456715

Good Morning, Dear Readers!  Less than two days left in February.  My, oh, my did time fly.  One the very beginning of this month, we hosted our Big Mid-Winter Party.  Seems like only yesterday.  Speaking of time, we hit the Jackpot this morning with a story about a clock you will find below.  It's not often we stumble across such a sprawling story.  Heck, if not for abusy schedule today, we'd probably still be digging into this story come along about lunch time.

The Big Bubba Storm still hasn't yet impacted us here at The Edge of The Flat Earth Headquarters and Visitor Center.  Don't worry, though, it's definitely happening. We will talk more about it in this morning's obligatory weather widget.

OK, moving right along.  Why are we featuring a female singer as our lead story?  Well, it's such a Classic Utah Talent Success Story.  Plus, it's really cool to learn how this young person wound up on national TV.
There are some incredibly talented young people in that heavily populated area along the Wasatch Front.  We can imagine untold thousands of them pondering how this singer made it to the Big Time by simply posting a YouTube video.

OK, now here's a story that is kinda quasi-political.  You know how studiously we avoid covering political stuff here.  Anyway, we found a story in Flagstaff's "Arizona Daily Sun" this morning about how the City Council there is pondering whether to allow overnight camping in private property parking lots.

Many tourist and transient towns long, long ago banned overnight camping.  In some cases, such bans probably date back to the Dust Bowl and Depression Days of the 1930s when untold thousands of migrants and homeless shuffled across the landscape in search of places to roost for a nap, a night, a week or perhaps a life time.

Kanab, Utah, is one such town with a long standing ban.  When we washed ashore there at the foot of The Grand Staircase April 12, 2001, all we saw were "NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING" and "NO OVERNIGHT PARKING" signs.  It was late in the day and we were very disheartened and perplexed.  What to do?  We didn't know the small town well enough to know there were many private places to pay to camp.  So, we simply went to the Police Station and talked to an Officer and told him our situation and asked (um...maybe begged) for permission simply to sleep someplace for the night.

The kind officer said it was totally OK to pull into the Kanab LDS Stake parking lot on Main Street and spend ONE NIGHT ONLY there at that location.  He ever said the night patrol would keep an eye on us.  We didn't take any offense in that statement.  To us it meant we had our own "Security Patrol" and we thought that was a Good Thing.  Of course, what the Officer really meant was that if we got out of line or acted crazy, we'd get busted.

Well, due to a Police Officer bending the rules a little bit for us, we woke up the next day and absolutely fell in love with Kanab.  April 12th had been a really bad weather day--cold rain, heavy clouds, low ceiling, you name it.  April 13th dawned glorious and beautiful and the overwhelming charms of Kanab and Color Country captured our Hearts and Spirits.  Kanab's official motto rings so true: "Greatest Earth On Show."

Anyway, we got situated and wound up spending six weeks in Kanab.  In fact, our Kanab stay changed our lives.  Really, it truly did.  That's how, where, when and why we discovered The World of Forest Service Volunteerism.  That's how we wound up volunteering 4.5 months in Southern Utah that year.  That's how we would up spending 7 seasons logging more than 4,000 "official" volunteer hours for the Forest Service.

We could even make a case we wouldn't haev our place in Idaho if not for that one night of kindness by a Police Officer in Kanab.  Amazing, huh?  Well, it's amazing and true, too.

And so it is that the Flagstaff City Council begins a long overdue debate on whether to allow overnight "camping" (AKA: parking) in private parking lots.  As we read this story, our mind obviously wandered back to Kanab on APril 12, 2001, and then we began wondering just how many lives might be someday changed in Flagstaff simply by allowing the tired, weary travelers to get a good night's sleep without being rousted in the middle of the night by the Flag PD.  We sure hope it comes to pass for that mountain town.
Here we are once again talking about weather.  Why do we always talk about weather?  We love weather, that's why.  Drought is pretty boring.  It's the same old, same old D-U-S-T-Y story.  Now when REAL weather comes to visit, we get all excited.  This is what the winter season is supposed to be all about:
And so it is that Precipitation will soon be made known to us and we will rejoice and frolic in the rain upon the plain.  The graphic you see above tells us how much to expect between now and Sunday.  Oh, Joy.


Here's a nice article about rain already falling in San Francisco:

Well, ALRIGHT!  We hit The JACKPOT this morning with this story.  It's been a danged long time since we came across one single story so weird, so strange, so deep, so fascinating and, oh, did we say really weird?

Here's how it happened.  We were looking around the New York Times website and saw a story about bringing Mammoths back to life.  So we're reading this story and it's kinda weird and then we come across the following paragraph (in italics).  And we go, "HUH?"  And that's when the fun started.

"Among these projects are a 300-foot-tall clock designed to tick uninterruptedly for the next 10,000 years, financed by a $42 million investment from the founder Jeff Bezos and situated inside an excavated mountain that Bezos owns near Van Horn, Tex.; and a disk of pure nickel inscribed with 1,500 languages that has been mounted on the Rosetta space probe, which this year is scheduled to land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, 500 million miles from earth."

So we start digging into this clock gig in Van Horn, Texas.  Van Horn, Texas, is more or less in the Middle of Absolute Nowhere.  In fact, people joke that people who live in van Horn have TGIF written on their shoes. (TGIF = Toes Go In First).  Yeah, it's one of those kinda little places somewhere west of The Pecos.

Anyway, this whole clock gig is so out there, it got us to thinking about "The Twilight Zone" and Rod Serling and so forth.  Just check this verbatim snippet (in italics) from the clock gig's website:

Rod and his Twilight Clock.
"To see the Clock you need to start at dawn, like any pilgrimage. Once you arrive at its hidden entrance in an opening in the rock face, you will find a jade door rimmed in stainless steel, and then a second steel door beyond it. These act as a kind of crude airlock, keeping out dust and wild animals. You rotate its round handles to let yourself in, and then seal the doors behind you. It is totally black. You head into the darkness of a tunnel a few hundred feet long. At the end there’s the mildest hint of light on the floor. You look up. There is a tiny dot of light far away, at the top of top of a 500 foot long vertical tunnel about 12 feet in diameter. There is stuff hanging in the shaft."

Man, now that's the kinda thing that would have made Ol' Rod Serling smile real BIG!  So, here ya'll go.  If this doesn't keep ya entertained this morning, well yer unentertainable.

First, the New York Times article that started it all:

Next, a great article from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Next, the Clock's very own website:

Now, how about an ancient interview with Rod Serling himself thrown in here just for grins:

Finally, ya know Van Horn is only 74 miles from Marfa.  Bet you didn't know that did ya?  And, well, Mafa has their Lights.  So maybe you clock cleaned in Van Horn and then mosey down Marfa way to check out The Marfa Lights.
Ah, West Texas, what we would do without you?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday Morning Edition - 2457614

Good Morning!  This really isn't a Morning Edition in the typical context of various fun stuff found online.  It's been one of those morning during which our roaming far and wide has yielded exactly nothing.  We've come up totally empty-handed, in a virtual sense, of course.

The two items we have here were actually pasted into this post yesterday.  Pamela H.R. posted this photo and note on her Facebook yesterday.  We dutifully shared her post but also felt this item important enough to place it here as well.  Spreading Kindness is a Very Noble endeavor and is to be much encouraged, celebrated, congratulated and emulated.

The whole idea now has us wondering how to fit this concept into our daily lives.  Without doubt, the seed planted by Pamela's discovery and report will be with us forever.  Since the originators of this practice appear to live in Sedona, we will attempt to seek them out and have a chat, so to speak.  At a bare minimum, we will definitely funnel raw materials their way for the construction of their charms.

Hopefully, Sweetie Susun's penchant for making beaded ear rings can morph into something similar to this concept.  Please do visit the website linked below a copy of Pamela's note posted on her Facebook.  This is a VERY Good Idea and we hope our Dear Friends chip in some thoughts and comments on this concept.

"Found this today on the trail - should have photographed it where I found it. Here is the website on the back that talks about these random charms left around the world. Love the idea."

Speaking of finding stuff, this story is in an entirely different league that the charming story above.  What a truly amazing find.  What's also truly amazing are the comments from the lucky couple about how it isn't going to change their lifestyle.  We love it that they are going to donate some of the proceeds to help the less fortunate.

Here is some really, REALLY Good News, Dear Readers!  Check out this graphic.  We will talk about it below the graphic.
Yesterday, as you will recall, we were all excited that the 7-day QPF showed 2.7 inches of cumulative precipitation for The Heart of Arizona.  How, lookie here this morning.  Good Ol' Noah (AKA: NOAA) has upped the ante to 4.4 inches of precip over the next 7 days.  Now if that ain't Good News, then I don't know what is!

Also, as a double bonus, Noah, reupped the precip in The Snake River headwaters.  It's back up to near 4 inches.  Since that's Cold Country, that could mean up to three feet of snow.  The Two Ocean Plateau SNOTEL in Y-stone National Park already has over 100 inches of snow.  Adding another 36 inches to that pile would definitely put Jackson Lake and Palisades Reservoir in good shape going into the growing season this year.  Looks like the Idaho Farmers who depend on Snake River water definitely dodged a giant bullet this winter.

Well, that's really about all the news we have this morning.  Interesting stuff but not much of it.  So, in lieu of news, we're going to spend some time talking about our Grand Canyon hike that didn't happen.  There's simply no way it would be wise or prudent to hike into that environment during a storm of the magnitude expected.  Here in bold italics is a snippet from "The Arizona Daily Sun's" Facebook page today:

"The National Weather Service in Bellemont is forecasting as much as one to two inches of liquid precipitation by Sunday, potentially doubling the winter total to date of 1.64 inches.

Friday at 11a.m. is when the precipitation gauges finally see some action again. That’s when widespread rain is expected across Coconino County – and a lot of it, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Robert Bohlin.

“At some point Saturday morning, it will likely change to a rain-snow mix and then to snow, but the timing of that is less certain,” Bohlin said. He added that the snow level will begin dropping after sunset on Friday."

We waffled quite a bit back and forth over whether we could, should or ought to take his backpack trip.  Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we came down firmly on the side of, "Yes, we're going to go."  We tested out all our body parts and deemed them suitable for such a trip.  We spent many hours over many days working on all our long-dormant backpack bivvy.  Who knows how much time we spent getting our food ready?  Let's just say "lots."  We spent a lot of money, too.  So much so that we don't even want to tally up our expenses for a backpack trip that isn't going to happen.

We are saddened that we aren't going on this trip.  We had reach a point where we were quite excited about the trip and were counting the days until departure.

Now, if you know both of us, you know that we firmly and totally believe "Everything Happens For A Reason."  That's just a flat fact.  So, I can take comfort in knowing that this hike didn't happen for a reason.  As usual, I have no clue what that reason may be.  Someday perhaps the reason will be made known to me.  But it doesn't really matter.  Just knowing that there actually IS a reason is all I really need to know.

It has been quite a lot of fun tinkering with tiny little meals and tiny little gear.  I'd actually forgotten just how much fun all this tinkering could actually be.  Whether I take a backpack trip someday or not, at least I have had the fun and joy of "messing with stuff" for the last couple of weeks.

Yesterday I was standing out in front of the house eating out of a cookpot when one of our Neighbors came by walking his three dogs.  He said, "What are you doing?"  I said, "I'm acting like I am backpacking, Gerry, you know, eating a typical backpacker's meal."  He laughed pretty hard at that.

It was actually quite a nice meal that I was looking forward to making so I said, "Why not?" and cooked it up for lunch yesterday.  Here's the recipe.

One cup instant rice.
One quarter cup dried shrimp
Three sun-dried tomatoes, diced
One half ounce dried okra, scissors cut
One TBSP dried refried beans
Cajun seasoning
Garlic granules
2 TBSP sesame oil

At least all this preparation got me back to some danged fun backpacking recipes.  Geeze, that's good stuff.

Well, that's all there is this morning.  Have a great day & Many Happy Cheers.

PS--Enjoy the next 2-3 days of dry weather and then Batten ye Hatches.  This one's The Real Deal!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Morning Edition - 2456713

“Well, let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning’s sample, it would be a Twinkie… thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.”

Chances are you may not have even noticed the news.  Harold Ramis died yesterday.   He was 69.  He was one of my last remaining living heroes.  The vast majority (like 99+%) of my heroes are now dead. Harold was elevated to Hero status for being the primary, driving force in creating my favorite movie of all time--Goundhog Day.  If not for Harold, Groundhog Day as we know it simply would never have existed.  It's far too long a story to tell you why Groundhog Day is my favorite movie.  I've studied the movie extensively and most especially the role that Ramis played in helping bring the movie to the screen.  Suffice to say, it simply wouldn't have turned out the way it did without the singular influence of a singular man.  Ramis has a long list of popular movies to his credit.  While most folks will never know his name, there are those of us who doted on The Works of Ramis.

You can find more obituaries and tributes than you can read online this morning.  Just Google his name and spend your day reading about him.  We have only three links here for you this morning:

The Harold Ramis Wiki:

An article from a columnist about their childhood infatuation with Ghostbusters:

A lengthy treatise on the "phil"osophical aspects of Groundhog Day:

Phil: (to the breakfast lady) Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?
Mrs. Lancaster: I don't think so, but I could check with the kitchen.

Goodbye, Harold Ramis.  We're sorry to see you go.  But don't worry, Pal, you'll never be forgotten!
Speaking of kitchens, Taco Bell breakfasts are in the news today.  If you think the term "Taco Bell Breakfasts" is a classic oxymoron, you certainly aren't alone.  So, why did it wind up here on our Morning Edition?  Good question, Dear Readers, thanks for asking.  We were reading the story in our morning print newspaper and it contained this classic quote:

"Taco Bell's plans are to do breakfast with mostly portable items that its Millennial base can hold in one hand and cellphones in the other."

Imagine, if you will, the committee that designed this food working together in a corporate meeting room.
Imagine a Dilbert-style boss standing in front of a bunch of young people telling them their task that day was to figure out which foods worked best in one hand while talking on the cell phone in the other hand.

As Bill Engvall said, "Here's Your Sign."

From Dear Friend and Loyal Blog Reader Maggie J. comes this Genuine Gem.  THANK YOU, Maggie!

Finally, here for this Micro Morning Edition, we have an updated "Whazzup With Weather."  Stare at that 2.7 number right smack dab in the Heart of Arizona.  Feast your eyes and Spirit on that number 2.7.  Ah, the sheer Joy of it all.

Cue the song "Happy Days Are Here Again."

Did you know that the classic song "Happy Days Are Here Again" is said  to be also associated with the Repeal of Prohibition in the early 1930's?  That's why perhaps it could/should/maybe oughta be the theme song of our exit from "Dry" conditions to incredibly welcome and wetter times ahead.  Let the good times flow!

And speaking of flow, here's a great packrafting video all you river runners are sure to enjoy:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Morning edition - 2456712

Very short Morning Edition today.  Much to do--have to be out of the house before 7:45.  Maybe we will have more time tomorrow morning.  Thanks for reading.  Yesterday's Morning Edition has more "reads" than any Morning Edition since February 10th!  Happy Day!

Here's a fun way to start off your Monday Morning--198 photos of this winter in Alaska.  We found the link while visiting the Anchorage newspaper this morning.

Do you enjoy geology and yearn for more?  Yearn no more.  The USGS released the geology of Jupiter's Moon, Ganymede:

How's Big Bubba coming along?  Pretty danged good, actually.  Check out the newly revised, upgraded forecast precipitation totals progged for the next seven days.  Now we're talking some W-A-T-E-R!  Wha-Whoo!  Each day it just keep getting better for Arizona bleak drought-stricken situation and worse for Little Yonni's Grand Canyon backpack prospects.

Take a real close look at note also the 4.8 inches of precip progged for the headwaters of The Snake River along the Idaho-Wyoming border.  YEA, this is truly welcome news!

Time once again to get caught up with Sue Malone's travel blog:

Nanette S.C. has put up some fun stuff on her blog:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Morning Edition - 2456711

Alright, let's get this Show On The Road for the last Sunday in February.  February ALWAYS goes by in a blink of a why.  Seems January and March are always long and somewhat tedious but, February?  POOF, Gone!  You wouldn't think a mere 2-3 days difference would make a month fly by...but it does.

Obviously, we've been remiss on Ye Ol' Morning Editions lately.  We need at least 2 hours to get a decent Morning Edition going.  We normally get up at 6 am and there's really no much happening until 8 am anyway, so why not roam the internet looking for "fun reads."  We really try hard to find stuff you won't see on CNN or any of the other major media.  Some mornings there simply no fun stuff to be had.  Some mornings we simply don't have the time.  That's how it goes here in the News Room at Second Chance Ranch.  Hum...maybe that's News Corner...or News Nook.

OK, we do have one real actual, honest, genuine legit NEWS FLASH!  Arizona's FINALLY gonna get wet!  Cue thunderous online cheers, applause, huzzahs, shouts of joy and various other expressions of amazement.  Yes, as surreal and incredible as it may seem to our dust-drenched readers, Real water from the sky is going to fall upon parched portions of arid Arizona sometimes within the next week.  It's all because of what we've dubbed The Big Bubba Storm out there in El Pacifico.  Ol' Big Bubba's got a great big belly full o' water and he's headin' our way.  YES!
You can see Big Bubba above lurking out there in the ocean while deciding which State to molest the most.
Below is this morning's 7-day QPF and it leaves NO doubt that Arizona will pick up at least some table crumbs when Big Bubba comes to visit sometime between now and next Sunday.  Hey, we'll take whatever table crumbs the Weather Gods choose to give us.  It's so dry here, most folks have forgotten what real rain and snow are actually like.  They think dust is a way of life now.  WHA-WHOO!

We should actually note that we had a small bit part in causing this precipitation.  Yep, it's kinda the same as washing your car to create rain.  We've been working on getting ready for the February 28th Grand Canyon hike and, naturally, the hike will have to be cancelled to moved to a different date.  So, maybe the schedule of our hike played a wee small role in creating this welcome development!
Screen clip above from Albuquerque's Rebel Donut:
OK, let's move on to donuts.  What a wonderful Sunday topic, eh?  We don't eat donuts ourselves but we like to look at them and read about them.  Whoever heard of Nacho Donuts?  You can see them in the lower left corner of the screen clip above.  WOW!

Well, here's how we got off on The Donut Tangent this morning.  We decided to visit The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a venerable Midwest newspaper of some repute.  We hadn't visited the Post-Dispatch for many months.  Sure enough, we hit pay dirt as the newspaper trumpeted that THREE Saint Louis donut shops got featured in some New York gig on America's best donut shops.

Naturally, we were intrigued and followed our donut nose to the main article and then roamed some of the featured donut shops.  That's how we found Rebel Donut in Albuquerque and the Nacho Donuts.

As the New York gig notes, "So this list is not the 101 best shops, per se, or even the buzziest; it is instead a guide to the places and people that we think are doing their damnedest to pay proper respect to one of our country's greatest culinary traditions."

So, here's the Post-Dispatch article that got us started:

And here's the New York gig:

Happy Ranchers at The M Diamond.
Peggy and Larry Ingram have really carved out a niche for themselves and their guests at The M Diamond Ranch here in the Sedona and Greater Beaver Creek area.  They are running both a great, traditional ranching operation while at the same time helping tourists enjoy unique experiences and learn about The Old West straight from the source.  Here's a major metro media article that includes The M Diamond.  The article appeared in Saturday's Phoenix newspaper.  We are very proud of The M Diamond and wish them Best of Success Always and All Ways!

Not good news for some California farmers:
Meanwhile on the Forest Fire Front:

And here's the NYT article referenced in the above article:

Hey, History Fans, this is a Great Story about finding and curating a long lost newspaper.
In June 1976, The Teton Dam failed. It was an epic disaster.
Here's the Wiki:
Now the DOD, yes, The Department of Defense wants to set off a blast at the old dam site.  The article about it appears in this morning's Idaho Falls "The Post-Register."  (Copyright 2014 and used with permission.)

One of our Dear Facebook Friends, Nanette S.C. prepared this amazing YouTube video of never-before-seen photos of the aftermath of the disaster. There's quite a story behind the photos and you can read about it here:  

Here's Nanette's video of the still shots.

THANK YOU, Nanette!


This summer, the Department of Defense will spend a day conducting experiments at the former Teton Dam site.
The department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency plans to conduct seismic experiments at the failed dam site near Newdale. The "routine scientific experiment" will consist of controlled underground explosions to gather data on seismic waves passing through volcanic rock. The experiment is being coordinated with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
A date for the experiment has not been set.
The purpose of the exercise is to gather information to help identify and prevent detonation of weapons of mass destruction of all kinds, said agency spokesman Dan Gaffney in an email.
"Data collected from this experiment will be used to more accurately detect, identify and pinpoint underground explosions from across the planet," he said
In a news release, the Department of Defense refers to the planned detonation as a relatively small explosion comparable to 190 pounds of TNT. The experiment will be a one-time occurrence and is part of a series of experiments around the country through various types of rock, according to the news release.
After the explosion, the holes from the explosion and sensors will be filled.
Amy Verbeten of Friends of the Teton River said she reviewed the draft environmental assessment sent out by the agency and believes there is no substantial environmental threat.
Teton Mayor Phil Sutherin, however, sees a possible threat to the Snake River Plain Aquifer.
"My concern is that no one has been able to tell me it won't affect the aquifer," Sutherin said. "There were no tests on the effects on the aquifer. It's one of the largest in the world. ... To shake those volcanic rocks around, I think could affect our drinking water."
"There is no possibility of the test affecting the aquifer or any nearby wells," Gaffney said in response to Sutherin's concerns.
The news release announcing the project's draft environmental assessment said the experiment:
Will not affect the former dam site.
Will not affect wildlife in and around the area.
Will not affect the river or groundwater.
Will not pollute or contaminate the environment.
Will not affect any historical or cultural sites.
Will not impact the population, local towns, or structures.
The draft environmental assessment can be viewed online at
Comments on the document can be emailed to or mailed to: Jeffrey Thomas, 1680 Texas St. SE, Bldg. 20363, Kirtland AFB, NM 87117-5669.
Reporter Aubrey Wieber can be reached at 542-6755.

For Engineer Terry

Richard & Krysta
It's not exactly the cover of Rolling Stone but Krysta's Surprise Flash Mob gig made the Cottonwood newspaper this week.

Speaking of mobs--how about Mardi Gras, Yep, it's coming up in a mere 8 days!
The Houston Chronicle did a great gallery of Old Timey Mardi Gras photos.

And, finally, for those of you who simply MUST knkow how many days, hours, minutes and seconds remain until Mardi Gras, here's your countdown clock from one of the event's websites:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday Morning Edition - 2456708

February 20th is a Special Day.  First and foremost, it's Stasea Rae Arnold's Birthday!  Yea!  Happy Birthday, Stasea!  Stasea was born in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Second, today is the anniversary of this day in 1944 when my Dad's B-17 was shot down over Germany.  Thus began his harrowing life in the Nazi prison camps.  You can read about his WWII experience here:

Third, today is the anniversary of when we were flood out of Sweetie Susun's Cottonwood home during the epic high water event on The Verde River. If ever there was one single life-changing event in our lives together, that would definitely be at or near the top of the list.  Last year we wrote a story about it and the story is now archived online here:

Sometimes, readin' and roamin' is a lot like fishin'.  Just because yer fishin' don't mean yer gonna catch sumthin.  It's the same with roamin' 'round lookin' for fun stuff.  This morning has been a real bust.  We've spent an hour so far and come up pretty much empty handed.

One of "preferred sources" is "The Arizona Daily Sun" in Flagstaff.  Unfortunately, the Daily Sun has a very tight paywall that we simply can't get through...unless this might actually work.  The paywall is so tight we can't even copy the links to the stories we want to share.  However, the Daily Sun has a Facebook that promotes all the top stories of the day.   Today's edition carries a story entitled, "Trails on Peaks bare to the bone."  We've love to read it but we can't.  We're hoping YOU can read it by using the link we copied off of Facebook.  Please let me know if this technique works and we will then post more stories from the Daily Sun:
In the meantime, if the link below won't work, here's the HAZ
description and Trip Logs on the Humphrey Summit Trail:

Redfish Lake as it appeared at 7:20 am, February 20, 2014.
For current image:
Speaking of trails, the SNRA is proposing a 4.5 trail to connect Redfish Lake with Stanley.  Here's teh story from the Twin Falls newspaper:

A TV writer in Seattle speculates that "Downton Abbey" may have jumped the shark.  Do you know what that means?  The cliche "jumped the shark" originated with The Fonz on Happy Days.

Here is the Wiki on "Jumping The Shark:"

And here is the Downtown Abbey story:

Yes, as you can see, there REALLY isn't much out there this morning so we're going to call it a morning.

Many Cheers!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Morning Edition - 2456707

Good News, Bad News
The Good News is Idaho continues to get a gift that keeps on giving--SNOW!  The Bad News is that Arizona comes up short...and D-R-Y once again in this 7-day QPF graphic above.  Dust another day.

Which came first, the Chicken?  The Egg?  Or The Egg Processor?

We've been doing a lot of study on various esoteric backpacking stuff.  Some of you may know we've spent a lot of time researching various egg powders.  Finally, as we are wont to do, we actually began studying how egg powders are made.  Is this necessary to go on a two-night backpack trip in the Grand Canyon?  Of course not, Dear Reader--it is just us being us...Curious Johnny and all that stuff.  Well, if you've ever wondered how the magic of the chicken gets converted into powder that pleases people, wonder no more.  Here is the spray dry process described in more detail that anyone would ever hope to know.

Speaking of dust, there's a major Dust Up happening along the fabled Santa Fe Railroad line.  Of course it's no longer run by the Santa Fe but that's how we all remember it.  The photo above is from a movie about The Harvey Girls and is kinda reminiscent of the mind set several small-virtually-unheard-of-Southwest Communities feel about "their" railroad.  The article explains it all in more or less articulate fashion.

And so, naturally, after we read the article above we started once again ridin' our own rails through the Cyber System and got captivated by Death Valley Scotty's famous high speed run in 1903.  We studied this run in great detail about 30 years ago and had forgotten about it.  If you are a rail fan, you will enjoy it.  Note that their high speed in 1903 is pretty much the average speed of a passenger train in this day and age.
Here's the nutshell version

Here's the full flamboyant version

Yeah, it's a 2011 poster but the events & times are the same.
The Verde Valley's Native Americans have quite a story as all Natives do.  They lived here forever until white people showed up and took their land by force.  Our local Natives didn't go down without a helluva fight.  In fact, they fought three years longer than WWII, resisting for a total of 7 years (1865-1872).

The winner, General Crook, gave them a reservation that would include most of the whole Valley and bought supplies for his troops at the fort.  Jealous interests elsewhere got the treaty rescinded and the military somehow decided to round up all the local Natives and force march them to the 19th Century equivalent of a concentration camp almost 200 miles away.

Today's Yavapai-Apache Nation will once again commemorate that terrible time with the Nation's annual "Exodus" events Saturday.  The young and fit run a 50 mile relay race.  There's a community march, a Beauty Pageant and much more.

Here's a great article in today's Camp Verde paper about Miss Yavapai-Apache:

Here's some info from the Nation's Cultural office.
A pretty big chunk of The Navajo Nation is actually located in Utah, specifically San Juan County. Here's a great article about the current state of education in that Neck of the Nation.

The Island Park Caldera is inside the green circle at left
and is shown in relationship to the larger Y-stone caldera.
The Island Park Caldera is one of our favorite Play Places.
Here's a couple of articles from today's Idaho Falls Post-Register.  They are both Copyright 2014 and used with permission.  The first is self explanatory and will be of interest to anyone who knows and loves this land.

Island Park citizens discuss national monument designation


ASHTON -- The Island Park area of northern Fremont County is unique.
Its spring-fed streams provide anglers the joy of fish pursuit, and those streams also provide a dependable share of the water supply for downstream irrigators.
Additionally, Island Park is a snowmobile and winter sport destination, as well as a summer mainstay for boaters, campers, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
It also has historic and geographic significance -- the Trail of Tears of the Nez Perce passes through it, as well as the Continental Divide.
"Where the Nation Vacations" has been its motto.
Island Park's fans -- from ranchers to recreationists -- turned up Tuesday in Ashton ready to ask questions and offer opinions at the kickoff of a study on the future of Island Park. The meeting also included presentations defining the unique geological and related hydrological features of the Island Park area.
Talk of creating a national monument is sparking interest in and around Island Park, as well as across the region. In the 1990s, again in the waning hours of the George W. Bush administration and also last year, the Island Park area was mentioned for possible designation as a national monument.
The Henry's Fork Watershed Council's goal is to get as much local comment as possible into the study on Island Park's future.
One after another, speakers talked about the need for public participation in determining the area's future -- even if the national monument designation never happens.
Fremont County commissioned the study, folding it into a larger, federally funded study to develop a "regional plan for sustainable development." The county hired Jan Brown as special projects manager to oversee the study and asked the Watershed Council to provide the forum and distribute information.
Many of the questions raised as the speakers explained perspectives and the area's history expressed concerns about the motivations behind the study.
"What are the threats?" asked Steve Pinther, a contractor who noticed speakers frequently talked about the need to protect the area but discussed no specific threats.
Identifying potential threats to Island Park is one of the aspects of the study, said Steve Woodruff of the National Wildlife Federation. The federation is providing matching funds for the study.
"The threat is if we don't seize this opportunity," Woodruff said.
Under the federal Antiquities Act, presidents have the power to proclaim national monuments with or without public comment and approval.
Jim Caswell, who under the Bush administration helped craft a list of possible national monument sites, including Island Park, said he is not aware of any push today in Washington to designate an Island Park Monument. But he and other speakers indicated that could change.
"It's not some hidden agenda of the Obama administration right now," Caswell said.

Now, as you know, we don't normally put any law enforcement-related stuff into our Morning Edition.  However, we find this story fascinating.  As chance would have it, Idaho Falls stages a "Community Night Out" each year.  All the public safety agencies come to display some of their equipment.  The Bomb Squad always shows up.  I love talking with those Bomb Squad guys.  (It's all male.)  They are open, honest, fun and don't take themselves seriously.  They love to show off their equipment and talk about what they do and tell stories about hair-raising bombs and so forth.  Due to the way the world works, their coverage area is roughly TWENTY THOUSAND SQUARE MILES!

And so, now that I know they have this new toy, Man, I can tell ya right where I'm gonna be when this summer's Community Night Out gets underway along the Greenbelt!  I wanna know a lot more about this puppy's specifications and capabilities.  Way to GO, Idaho Falls!

Idaho Falls police purchase armored vehicle


The Idaho Falls Regional Bomb Squad on Tuesday unveiled a new armored vehicle to serve eastern Idaho, as well as parts of Montana and Wyoming.
Bonneville County contributed $40,000 toward the $336,000 cost of the 2013 Lenco BearCat. The federal Department of Homeland Security paid the balance, Sheriff's Capt. Sam Hulse said.
The BearCat, in addition to responding to bomb threats, will be used by SWAT to aid the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office and Idaho Falls Police Department.
Sheriff Paul Wilde said the vehicle is needed to keep officers safe while responding to calls involving suspects with deadly weapons.
"It's not one of those things that we're going to use out there and just tear things up," Wilde said. "With the more severe incidents that have been coming up with firearms and those kinds of things, this is a protection vehicle that we can use to make sure the officers are safe."
The BearCat, which seats 10, is equipped with bullet-resistant windows, an inside-air source, a gas-injector unit for deploying tear gas, a radiation detector and a mount for a bomb-disposal robot. It provides law enforcement with protection that previously wasn't available, Hulse said.
"The truth is in the community, multiple times a year we could have an incident that this truck would be very valuable to help defend and protect the citizens and law enforcement," Hulse said.
Bomb Squad Detective John Marley said the regional bomb squad averages 20 to 40 bomb reports a year. Before acquiring the BearCat, bomb squad members would have to carry 40 to 50 pounds of equipment to a location with only an hour of oxygen in their suits. Marley said the vehicle's on-air system will allow officers to get closer to bombs before detonation.
"It will be more efficient and a lot safer for the personnel involved," Marley said. "Just being able to carry the equipment in there instead of having to carry it down with the bomb suit is a big benefit for us."
Ultimately, the BearCat will allow law enforcement to save more lives, Hulse said
"The goal is always life-saving, both for us and for the suspect or violator at the time," he said. "This provides us with opportunities that we wouldn't have otherwise to possibly bring that to a safe resolution."