Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Weird but Good


We're Thankful....

OK. Astute readers know we ordered our Black Friday item on Monday, November 22, right about 5 PM, Arizona Time. That's right. Friday morphed to Monday.

So get this: the Samsung Galaxy A02 Android phone we ordered will be delivered to Rimrock TODAY. If I read my calendar correctly, that's the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. Weird...but Good!

Remember the old Wild West Daze of Black Friday? People had to go out in the total dark of night and fall into huge, long lines snaking through parking lots. Many years ago, Clair and I purposely drove past a Best Buy in the Mesa, Arizona, area. The line was perhaps a quarter mile long. Some people had been waiting in lines for days. They had camps set up with BBQ's sofas and party decorations. They generally wore Hawaiian party outfits. It was C-R-A-Z-Y! Me, myself and I actually participated in such madness. When decent digital cameras were then a "thing," I joined a line at 4 AM in front of the Mesa Target store. We were maybe #5 in line. (Target deals weren't worthy of a conga party line.) The other people in line were multi-year veterans of Black Friday hand-to-hand combat. They swapped horror stories of their battle scars. When the doors swung open, a surge of humanity pulsed through and everybody (including me) took off running. It was a cross between roller blade, ice hockey, sandlot football and wrestle mania. People (including me) were throwing elbows and trying to trip their competitors. There were no rules and politeness and civility were not part of the Game Plan. The general idea was "firstest gets the mostest." Well, that night, I won. I got my whopping FOUR megapixel digital camera. Even as a Black Friday deal it wasn't cheap by today's standards. I think it cost me $125. HA! Now you can't even give away four megapixel digital camera--unless someone wants a trendy tire chock. We've had lots of other hair-raisin' Black Friday experiences plus one that was (and remains) absolutely hilarious. But that night at Target is unforgettable. I had to throw not one but TWO body blocks on two guys to get them out of my way. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it didn't come to outright brawlin'. In today's contentious cultural climate, I suspect it WOULD come to brawlin'...or worse. Thank Goodness stores have come to realize their liability for enabling and encouraging such egregious behaviors. It's quite fun to sit here in a straw house on a cozy Monday afternoon and score a Black Friday deal with a few mouse clicks. And it's even more fun to know that my Black Friday deal will arrive today. PS: Here's the Hilarious Story. It was at the Prescott Costco many years ago. I needed a new laptop and Costco had a truly incredible deal on a hot laptop. Even though I knew my odds of actually getting the laptop were Slim & None, I drove over to Prescott, knowing Costco was going to open at 10 AM and not a minute sooner. Well, the line stretched way past Tires but my intuition told me to stay the course. As soon as the scrum huffed and puffed their way into the store, I beat feet for the computer area. Sure enuf, maybe 50 people were crammed together trying to get the laptops. I quickly noticed there were NO laptops but then realized it was a "hang tag deal." That's right. You had to bring the hang tag to the register to get the computer. Well, while everyone was looking down and wailing about "where's the laptops," I looked up and, LO! There was the hang tag number, easily visible. I memorized it and hot-footed it to a register and asked for that number. The Staff quickly went and picked up a laptop and brought it back. I paid and walked out of the store while those 50 people were still wailing and moaning at the site. One of them saw me leaving the store with the laptop and yelled out, " LOOK! That guy's got ONE!" And the whole crowd of 50-some people turned slack-jawed to stare at me. I smiled and waved and tried my best to look like the Zip-Zag man "just passin' through." HAHAHA! I can't help myself. I STILL laugh at that one. It was a red hot, Super Sweet Black Friday triumph.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

First Edition 80 years ago

One of the Great Gifts that keeps on Giving is the New Deal Era Works Progress Administration Federal Writer's Project American Guide series.  The project began in 1935 and eventually produced truly voluminous guides to every state.  The state guides are incredibly fascinating, priceless time capsules.

We've long enjoyed a loving relationship with state guides for Arizona, Idaho and Montana.  Oddly, we've lacked the Utah edition.  Last night we stumbled on an 18-page journal article in the prestigious Utah Historical Quarterly detailing the creation of the Utah guide.

That piqued our interest and we found a 1941 first edition on ABEBooks for a mere $12.44 including shipping and tax.  Since it's being shipped out of a bookseller in Phoenix, we should have it soon.  It's exciting stuff for us.

Rather than try to regurgitate the journal article, those who are interested can read the entire work here:

 Likewise, here are two great introductions to the WPA Federal Writer's Project:


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The quiet joy of discovery

Oftentimes a search is called.  We decide we must find a particular item.  And off we go.  The search is hard, tedious, eye-tiring and brain-number work.  It involves digging into digital records from all sorts of sources. And the search goes on and on and ON, seemingly without end.  Oftentimes, we come close to despair that our search will ever prove successful.  But we never give up.  We never give in.  We keep searching and searching and BELIEVE we will find our quest...that one ONE particular item can fulfill.

And so it has been for days and days, going on close to a week now.  We decided we MUST find a photo of Arthur Lorenzo Crawford.  No matter what, we were going find his photo and we didn't care how long it took.  His picture HAD to be out there somewhere and somehow we kept thinking it HAD to be right under our nose.  But our nose simply couldn't find Crawford's picture....until just before 7 PM Wednesday evening.  Bingo, we got out man.  Man!  It's such a rush.  Oh! The quiet joy of discovery.  We sit silently here at the computer basking in the glow of hours and hours of work.

I guess in some sort of strange way, it is these types of moments that make it all worthwhile.  Not all searches are successful.  In fact, I'd guess less than half reach their goal.  So we know fruitlessness and disappointment equally as well as the quiet joy.  But it's that quiet joy that continues to draw us in for yet another improbable quest. Because we know if we win--if our search is successful we will once again feel the bright glow of that quiet joy.  And so it was this evening.

And so who was Arthur L. Crawford?  Well, you can read a lot about him in the clipping below. (You can enlarge the clipping by going to the source link here:

We became smitten with Mr. Crawford because of a portion of his remarks at the 1946 Hite Dedication Ceremony.  He essentially equated the new road between Hankville and Blanding using Arth Chaffin's brand new bubba-boy ferry boat across The Colorado River as the opening of "the last frontiers of loneliness"!  Well, when I read those words and understood their context, I simple HAD to find a photo of this eloquent man.

Indeed, it was Arthur Crawford's speech at the 1946 Hite Dedication that triggered our full understanding of the significance of that ceremony and what it meant on so many different levels.
We're getting much closer to closure on our Hite Project now.  The pieces are coming together and we think we can make this jigsaw puzzle visible to one and all...and soon.  Thanks, Arthur!

Six Day Break

6:42 AM, November 10, 2021

Hard to believe it's been six days since I did a blog post.  Alas, 'tis true.

As usual when we arrive in Rimrock, our days are filled with the minutiae of every day life.  Nothing seems particularly noteworthy so therefore nothing gets written about.  And all those little things add up to days on end.

Looking back to our arrival, nothing really stands out..well, except for the last few Light Shows. One of The Top Five things we Love about living beside Montezuma Well National Monument are the Land-O-Light Shows. We don't have them in Idaho Falls.   We're too buried in the city to see the glorious dawn and dusk light shows.  Yes, they DO exist in Eastern Idaho--we just can't see them from our vantage point.

1876 Williscraft photo of our homesite at left edge of photo.

It's a different story here where the Eastern horizon and landscape hasn't change since pre-settlement days. We have an 1876 photo proving it looks today just what it looked like when the first Anglo settler set up shop here.

6:45 AM, November 10, 2021

The colors always tend to shine their brightest only for a few minutes.  Right now in the morning, the Light Show peaks between 6:40 and 6:45 AM.  Believe me, it's worth getting up for.  We haven't yet pinpointed the peak viewing time in the evening but it's probably in the same time frame.

Most of our time has been spent fighting daily battles in the annual Weed Wars.  When we were younger we could go mano-y-mano with the weeds for hours at a time.  Now, we're lucky if we can put in two solid hours before burnout (pun intended) and exhaustion set in.

Our much-anticipated teen age weed ninja showed p on time yesterday at 3 PM and he performed as advertised.  We aren't overloading him so he only did two sections as agreed.  It's so nice to have the nightshades and their minions knocked down.   We've made pretty good progress on the tumbleweeds.  However, the goatheads are still in control of their sector of the battlefield.  I know God had a purpose in creating everything but, for the life of me, I can discern the purpose of goatheads.  They are wicked, vile, evil and extraordinarily painful when you step on one in the middle of the might.

The Hite Wedding, Sept. 17, 1946, in the middle of The Colorado River.

Perhaps our most fun activity of the past week has been studying Hite, Utah.  It's a long story, of course.  The "Hite Project," as we call it, has occupied many hours.  Once the daily session of Weed Wars is concluded, we settle down to our Hite Project.  It is a truly mesmerizing and bottomless Hare Hole and one that we feel honored and privileged to visit.  Many more hours remain to bring an interim finish to the Hite Project. 

We did attempt to take a Ma & Pa Sunday Drive.  Boy, that sure backfired.  What we call The Well Road is in atrocious condition--definitely a bone shaking experience.  We thought it would be better on Forest Road 618.  HAHAHA!  Not only was the unpaved road in terrible shape but the nature of the traffic there is dramatically different.  The UTV's are traveling somewhere between 40-50 miles an hour.  One old Nissan SUV was hurtling toward us only in tenuous, marginal control by the driver.  I thought seriously about bailing off the road in fear of a head-on collision.  So we bagged that idea and we've totally swore off even thinking of driving any of this area's once-delightful unpaved roads.

Speaking of traffic, ALL of our local roads are overloaded and congested with people driving way-too-fast. It's like a plague of heavy metal locusts.  But it's what to expect in a state that's grown to well over 7-million people.

We're still very grateful and happy with our humble home here beside Montezuma Well.  It's the best possible place to spend the cold months.  We own it free and clear and it costs practically nothing on an annual basis.  Property taxes, homeowner's insurance and propane are all about $300 each a year. Total annual expenses for this place are less than $1,800 a year, including internet.  Speaking of  the internet, it finally got it's act together and is working.  Despite being slow as molasses, we consider it adequate and we are pleased to have it.

Anyway, since we only live here six months a year, our monthly expenses are less than $300. In this day and age it would be truly impossible to find any RV park in the state for $300 a month, let alone a place like this. 

So, all-in-all, Life is Good and we are Happy Campers.

The Tuesday Evening, November 9, 2021, Land-O-Light Show.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Our Hackberry Tree

When we bought this land in the early '80's, there was a scrawny young hackberry tree here.  My, OH!, My! How times have changed!  It's now a stately Hackberry Tree exhibiting Class & Style for its species.  We're very proud of this tree and happy that we didn't succumb to suggestions to "cut it down."

The Hackberry might not be a keystone species around here but it's probably close to that status.  You'd be amazed at how many birds utilize this tree during their annual avian migratory Life Cycle.

It's so nice to see our Hackberry Standing Tall & Proud on this TBT.

PS--Yes, that's a remnant Pit House we tried to build when we first owned this land.  Long story best told later.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Dry visit to Prescott

NOAA's just sayin' Arizona will be dry for the next 7 days.  Out visit to Prescott starts Sunday and ends on Friday, the 12th.  Nice to know it's going to be smooth sailing. We're back on our Chromebook now so having to relearn how to do a blog post.  The screen capture function is remarkably simple and we can paste a screen shot right into this blog.  Way cool.

We finally DO have internet here at 2nd Chance Ranch.  We initially thought it was a worthless WIFI signal.  Well, it didn't even exist!  Century Link finally activated our DSL internet here at 1 AM Wednesday morning.  Unfortunately, we can't seem to connect our primary laptop so we're on this backup Chromebook.

We will be doing more blog posts once we "remember" all the funky quirks of the Chrome OS.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

And on The Eleventh Day

The Party of Two returned home to their Rimrock straw house at high noon Monday, November 1.

After visiting the Winslow Airport and revisiting Peter Wolf Toth's Arizona Native statue, we enjoyed an uneventful leisure cruise up across The Mogollon Rim into the Verde Valley beyond.

As expected, the travelers were greeted with a veritable jungle of weeds on their property.  After hacking out a parking spot, The Mosey Inn was nestled up close and cozy to the straw house.
Our little tiny home on two wheels is our newest rendition of The Phone Booth.  We set up an 18 foot tall mast and connected an antenna.  The cell signal booster turned a useless one bar into three decent bars of connectivity. That's huge for us.  Why?

Even though Century Link turned on our internet as scheduled yesterday, it is totally & completely worthless.  So worthless, in fact, we're probably going to cancel the service and simply use our phones out here in the travel trailer.

Maybe one of these days we can rig the antenna and cables so that the booster works inside the house.  In the meantime, who cares?  We have nice connectivity and a great little hang out spot here in our new Phone Booth.
Today and the next few days are going to be Weed Wars.  The tumbleweeds are the worst they've been in ten years.  The dispicable goatheads and the worst they've EVER been. We renewed our fire department burn permit yesterday and will begin torching the tumbleweeds about mid-morning.  If we burn them one-by-one "in place" far fewer seeds disperse.  It's tedious, time-consuming and exhausting work but it has to be done.

Luckily, NWS Flagstaff said this morning: "A very quiet weather pattern lies ahead for the next several days bringing a period of dry and mild fall weather."  Translated that means Dispatch will approve our burning when we call in our permit number this morning.

It was EZPZ opening up the house yesterday--took less than two hours.  Other than the weed jungle, the place looks just like it did when we left it in late April.

It sure was a fun trip south.  Total fuel cost was $366, about $120 more than if we had taken the shortest possible route.  But that $120 bought some wonderful value added stuff.  Staying off I-15 through Salt Lake and off of I-17 south of Flagstaff was priceless.

The shortest possible route between Idaho Falls and Rimrock is 800 miles.  On this 11 day soutbound journey we traveled 1,270 miles, well over 50% farther than the shortest possible route.  It sure was fun!