Saturday, August 8, 2015


On Edge..Literally

Tucumcari, NM.  8/8/2015:  We wrapped up our "Grand Tour" by spending three days with our friends, John and Marsha Taylor, at their home in Show Low, Arizona.  The dateline tells you we're now on our way home, so this report will pull together the last bits and pieces.

   Show Low sits atop the Mogollon Rim, an escarpment that forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau, stretching miles across the state.  The edge of the rim is a sheer drop.  The view beyond it is of endless forests bordered by faraway mountains.

    Color in waves.

   There is a trail along the rim.  If you're a hiker or a biker, you'll get what you came for.

   If you narrow your sights, the local flora may surprise you.  There is bright color everywhere..for instance, this red wildflower that was clinging to the edge of the cliff.  It was rooted in soil lodged between two boulders.  You have to cheer a spirit like that.

 I liked this fire tower picture, which tells a story of its own.

  Wildfire is always a worry.  The region has had more than its share.  Smokey the Bear is not a joke. If you go there, expect to be expected to go by the rules.  You know what they are.


   Now about Show Low:  It's a neat town, about 7000 feet above sea level.  There are permanent residents and folks who keep summer homes to escape the heat in Phoenix.  Lots of restaurants, art galleries and so on.  You'd like it..but you're probably wondering about the name.


   C. E. Cooley and Marion Clark lived there when the place was mostly ranch, partly settlement.  The two of them came to a place where it was clear one or the other would have to leave.  Guns?  No, Poker.  The trouble was, although the game ran all night, it ended in a draw.  What to do?  Cut the cards.  The way the story is told, Clark said, "If you can show low, you win."  Cooley turned up the Deuce of Clubs and said, "Show low it is."  Clark walked.  The town became Show Low and main street is still called Deuce of Clubs.

You gotta be kidding!


   In other matters, I found a couple of leftovers from the Grand Canyon in my camera that need to be shared:

   Amazing colors and lines in a bowl.

  A wagon wheel at Hopi House.

   And, by the way...

   I found this picture on the wall of a saloon.  If you ever stumble across a copy of the original, let me know.  Please.


And, big news:

   Joy, joy, joy!!  My 7 year old Granddaughter, Katie made the big time.  She is finally tall enough to pass muster for a ride on one of those aerial drops. She's always been brave enough, but never tall enough.  Now she is..and she did..and it was terrific.  Just thought you'd like to know.

   See you around the car barn.

   Home Monday.

   I think..


JS.  8/8/2015

Monday, August 3, 2015


Grand, indeed

Grand Canyon, AZ.  8/3/2015:   This must be the place.  As some old comedian used to say, "There's no place quite like this place, so this must be the place."  This is the Grand Canyon, one of the Wonders of the World.  It is so grand it covers 1900 square miles, is 277 miles long (river miles), is one mile deep and up to 18 miles wide.  It can be seen from space.  That is one really grand canyon.

   It fascinates me, mentally and emotionally, so I keep coming back as often as I can.  

      In round terms, the Grand Canyon is 2 billion years old..half the age of the Earth itself.  It has great beauty, but it also has dignity. And the canyon has a hear it with your eyes.  Listen and you will learn.

Sky so blue, shadows so deep.


   Our day at the canyon was full of side stories.  For instance,we encountered  this Raven, who seemed to like having its picture taken.

   We first saw Mr. Raven sitting on a stone wall at the edge of the canyon, so we pulled up near it.  I thought I could get a picture, but I didn't want to do it from too far away, so I moved the car slowly until we were parked literally next to the bird.  It never fact, it preened for the camera, turning its head left and right, up and down--ruffled its feathers a bit--but it never moved until another car drove in.  Seeing the new group, the raven turned its back on us and marched up the wall to see what it could do for the next customer.  

   I've seen them do this before.  I suspect they're just hoping for a goody from your lunch box, but you are told repeatedly not to feed the animals in the park.  Obviously, somebody does feed them, because they keep coming back.  It's very clear they are not afraid of people.


   Whoa!  That is a classic T-Model Ford, just like the one that a young Edsel Ford drove from Detroit to San Francisco in 1915 to prove the car was tough enough to do it.  The country wasn't much on pavement in those days, so Edsel took dirt roads, cow paths and the easiest way across farm fields to get there. And he did.  

   Now, meet Jim Gallagher of North Carolina.  He and his crew are doing the same thing.  

   Their Model T comes from Maryland, where it was tuned up for the trip, which began in Detroit, just like Edsel's foray.  Ford Motors donated a 2015 Mustang to go along as escort, but naturally, nobody pays a lot of attention to the Mustang.

   Jim says the only problem they've had so far is one flat tire. 

  Because the car isn't allowed on the Interstates, it is doing what Edsel did..back roads and farm fields. Jim says they've met a lot of great people along the way, including farmers who've opened gates to let them through and folks who just want to talk.  He and his crew stopped today at the canyon as one of the major waypoints.

   The T-Model is a muddy mess, but Jim told me that when he, as a representative of the Historic Vehicle Association, turns it over for display in San Francisco, it's going to stay "as is" so everybody can get a sense of what it did and how it did it.  

   It was like old times: I found myself doing an interview.

   Jim's a great guy..and he's got one heckuvva car.  Here are a couple of details you might like:

The catbird seat.

Elegant hood ornament.

The marker.  Look for it.


    Now, here's a factoid you might have missed:  CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) workers helped with construction projects at the park beginning in 1933.  One of the many jobs was to string a telephone line from the south rim to the north rim.  One of the poles still exists, planted just over the wall at the edge of the precipice near the El Tovar hotel.  Some kinda feat!!


   It was a wonderful day, but marching along with me can be wearisome, sometimes, so Jane always brings her crochet work.  She took a break in a rocking chair on El Tovar's spacious front porch while I went off to the cliff-top Kolb studio.

   There are worse ways to watch the passing parade.  Jane took some of these pictures..but not that one.


    As I said, I come here as often as I can.  If you have read this blog before, you may remember that I have a favorite bench by the canyon.

It still is.


JS.  8/3/2015