Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Bloom - Grafton Wilderness, Nevada

I stopped in at the Grafton Wilderness for a couple of days on my southward-seeking-Spring odyssey.

When I first read about "Spring blooms" somehow, maybe from Arizona Highways Magazine, I created a vision of wide swaths, blossom carpets stretchin' out faar & wiide; bees buzzin' in drunken revel and Tiny Tim's yodel echoing off the verdant hills. Not quite like's still pretty awesome (dood!).

Stalks, or whatever these are called, are, I've heard, important to identification.

Here's the flower (I can see Clleeeeaaaaarrrllyy's fuzzy.)...

Some of these had more than one "bud."

This shot looks as if it could be from one of those hybrid marijuana catalogues, doesn't it? You didn't inhale?! Too bad.

The reality is a bit sparser (than blanketed carpets), but still some awesome specimens. Can anyone help with identification? I'm beginning, now at age 61, to relent to the idea that MAYBE I could call them something besides LPFs or LYFs (li'l purple or yellow flowers). 

A spurge? (at least it's in focus.)

I've dubbed these Teensy Reds. It probly won't hold up in the Long Branch Saloon (most violent bar in Riggins, Idaho if not ALL of Idaho), but I think Tiny would have been appreciative.

Teensy Reds up close....

This camera's (Olympus SP-600UZ) had a few scrapes over the years. The worst, from which it never really recovered, was when my belay slipped on my '09 ascent of Granite Dome and I fell on it.

Then there was The Chorus....

And the Yellow Star....

Another spurge?

The yellow ones.....

Some White Whatevers

The paintbrush were in profusion; a bouquet every 20 feet, at least. Amazing color even with overcast.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Salmon Falls Dam - 7 miles from Rogerson, Idaho

Be sure and stop at the Sinclair Station/Cafe/Store at Rogerson for some real food. The cafe also has tater-tots, but everyone was raving over the home-made roast beef. Unfortunately, I'd already had lunch. The Walleye Hall of Fame has some superb specimens and in the back there are photos of the dam before and during its uprising.

I had to walk it twice before driving. The sides of the road abutments have been scraped to the nub. There's an inconspicuous sign that warns of a length limit of 60 feet, but it's obvious it's a challenge for shorter rigs too. Note The Egg perched on the "hill" to the right of the block house.

It's one lane atop the dam.

There's lots of dispersed camping beyond Lud Drexler Campground (the campground is on the south side of the dam). No water at the campground. 

Spring is just around the corner. This one flower was the lone harbinger at my camp (NOT in the campground).

It's blizzarding in Wells, NV with horizontal snow at 4:15 p.m. PDT. Wind gusts 40 knots. Who'd uh thunk? Southward ho!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kettle Falls, Idaho - Not a Xenophobe in Sight

Time to do laundry. 
When I asked how many quarters it took he explained how one dryer got hotter. His openness came as something of a surprise since, when I'd visited this part of the world before, folks seemed noticeably xenophobic; it turned out he'd done a stint in the military which often fosters an easy amiability. When you know you're going to move within a short amount of time, you make friends quickly, or not at all. 

While he folded sheets and pillow-cases I learned he'd grown up in California, been stationed in Clovis (NM) and Alaska, spent eleven years in the mill in Kettle Falls before returning to school to study massage. He's a Rolfing specialist and has been in business for three years. Thus, all the sheets. In addition, he's a watercolorist and his wife does ceramics. 

As he told his story he described how, at 18, he'd joined the Air Force hoping to travel. Vietnam was going strong and his Mom was opposed to him enlisting. Stationed at Clovis, New Mexico, he spent most of his time in the barracks and sent his pay home. His Dad had died when he was 12 and with two siblings his Mom needed the help.

When stationed near Seattle he and a buddy went into town and got a room. It turned out the buddy was dealing drugs and the cops showed up. They hauled them both in but Greg's sergeant knew he wasn't the type and got the Base Commander to get him out. The sergeant's help came as a surprise as he hadn't given Greg a clue that he was in such good standing. 

In those days a bust like that would have ruined Greg's military career. Listening to him tell it, I recalled the era, the violence and the lost lives. A friend spent four years in a Federal penitentiary for possession of two, thin joints. I was in Nashville, Tennessee when Stokely Carmichael spoke and I knew first-hand the validity of the race riots. I also demonstrated against the war. And now, over forty years later, it was heartening to be in the company of someone who'd come through it all, at least from what I heard, okay.

509-675-5572 or 509-675-5571

When I asked how he'd surmounted the world-famous American aversion to touch, Greg told me how the folks in this neck of the woods have to work for a living, the kind that caused Maynard G. Krebs's voice to break. Many incur injuries and when standard medical practices fail to alleviate the problem, people come to him. 

He described how a wife whose truck-driving husband had injured his shoulder led him by the hand and stood by while Greg rolfed him. The results were so impressive that word quickly spread and he's been busy ever since. (Mrs. Pritchett is a certified Rolfer as well.) 

While I was waiting for a dryer, Eggbert got a bath. The local chapter of Proud to Wear an Apron (PWA) was having a fund-raising car wash to send the girls to Texas to compete in the Nationals. They didn't respond when I inquired if they were taught birth-control, but the enthusiastic appreciation for my contribution begged the question: Were their attitudes developed through participation in the organization or did they choose to participate due to their attitudes?

Kettle Falls is something of a throw-back to the 60s with some contemporary twists. There's a good-sized organic foods and vitamin store where a woman in hiking boots, wearing a beaded cap and ankle-length skirt with a baby in a sling on her chest looked as if she'd just come from a Rainbow GatheringDown the street, Kettle Falls Foods had, the evening before, held a grand-opening party to acquaint the community with the new owners, one of whom, who came out to dispense the propane, appeared to be of East Indian heritage. When I mentioned I'd bought out their stock of Sheaf Stout, he acknowledged his extensive selection of micro-brews. The times they are a spite of the xenophobes.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

John Bardsley - Amazing Grace

It was hardly more than a huge turnaround for boat-trailers, but I was tired and decided to stay over in the one, small, camp-spot with fire-ring and tree. 

In the morning I spied the turquoise metro and HAD to go see wha'sup. He gets 49.1 miles per gallon.

John Bardsley played the bars in the '70s and '80s. He started with the guitar in his early 40s, then picked up the keyboard and lately had found a Suzuki Q Chord. Intrigued, I asked him if he'd give a demonstration. He sang half a dozen songs. I'm sorry I didn't record more.

John & Ginger

There were a few others sitting around the dock in the morning sunshine and a Springer Spaniel enjoying the water. You'd have to have been there to feel the spirit of it all, but the video hints at it. 

Grace, who, with her husband, was sitting nearby, pointed out that "We're never too old."

Post-mortem "Aha!"

After years of post-mortem (the death of the gallery) WORK!!! (said with Maynard's inflection), it arrived.

It was 1997. A Hispanic man in his early thirties came into the gallery. He and his wife had attained a level of financial status that she felt dictated the display of taste and affluence and, with that in mind, she'd sent him out to get a painting to go over the couch. 

He was drawn to a piece by Francine Tint (link to her website) a New York artist whose large, gestural swaths were of the kind that prompted the remark: "My kid could do that." The work ("work" is art jargon for painting), always modestly priced, was, in this case, a mere $1,200.00 for a five-foot by three-foot piece of frameless, unstretched canvas with frayed edges, no doubt torn from a larger segment.

He asked how he could justify something like that to his friends....they'd laugh.

At the time I was, poor salesman that I was, at a loss. But the other day -- I closed the gallery in '98 -- this video of a master archer clued me to the answer. (You may want to skip to 2:25.)  

While childrens' drawings often have a wonderful immediacy (see my drawing at bottom of post here), the combination of talent and skill that produces art is often the result of practice. But practice is a bit of a misnomer since most artists rarely repeat a performance. And when they do, they may be the only one aware of the subtle difference(s). My aesthetic, the motivation for the Aha!, has evolved over a decade. And over that time I've continually practiced looking.

Francine's "gestures" captured the beauty of a moment that is, for me, similar to the one prior to the archer's release. And while a child may stumble into the realm of timelessness, masters evoke it at will. 

You've heard the aphorism: Practice makes perfect? Some of Francine's were better than others, but as a talented adult she was able to do it more often than not.

There being no stores in the area, I stopped at a cabin for water. Rambo-the-cat very solicitously

greeted me saying,  "All cats are talented; and never practice." 

Unfortunately, the fee to view his art was more than I could afford. But had I been able, I wouldn't have cared if they had laughed. If you don't look, you're guaranteed not to see.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why Don't We Do It In the Road?

Strolling the two-tracks near Bonaparte Lake I chanced upon a variety of scats, thereby proving they don't do it in "the woods." 


Isn't this a great "location" shot?

The white inclusions in the pointed piece in the middle-top are bones.

Yet another kind....

The inspiration.

Once In a Great While...

After leaving Tenasket, Washington, I started looking for a place to camp. While ascending (yesterday it was during the descent) a  steep hill, I realized I'd forgotten to get water. I began thinking I needed a well or a spring. Suddenly, The Father's Ranch appeared.

Founded by Craig and Sharon Loftus twleve years ago, it's a rehabilitation center for women. Craig greeted me and immediately led me to the spigot where he filled the jugs. A young man brought a case of Walmart water bottles and though I tried to decline (I don't like the waste of plastic) they joined the five-gallon jugs in the back. 

The Center is completely supported by donations, so if you're looking for a worthy cause, this could be the one. (As a devout agnostic, this will likely be the only mention of christians you'll find here. But as they say: one good turn deserves another.)

When I asked about a place to camp Craig directed me to Bonaparte Lake five miles up the road. There I found a secluded road with turkeys, ducks and geese and no need for earplugs. Every now and then even a christian can be helpful.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Peter Everly - Chesaw, Washington Surrealist

Although there was no indication of what was to come, the descent into Chesaw was so steep it caught my attention. But out beyond the "town" (the link above has photos) there was little of interest. Deciding I'd rather be further south and in anticipation of the ascent of the prev-noted hill, I dumped my water and stopped at The Merc (short for Mercantile) to inquire about art.

I strode in exuding my best "former art dealer comes to town" and was quickly made welcome at the roundtable where Sandee and Bill Everly, the owners, and a woman named Roe who had a left-handed sidearm that might have been an auto 45, were wiling away the afternoon.

When I asked where all the fine art was, Bill gestured broadly, pointing out the paintings by his brother Pete. After chatting a bit, Bill phoned Pete who met me on the road and guided me to an exhibit of his paintings in Tonasket.

Peter was well-known in his day in San Diego and along with having made a living selling his work (a rare accomplishment) had a couple of New-age bookcovers to his credit.

Second Coming

Now retired, he was enjoying his leisure. Although he said he'd never had a teddy bear, "The Second Coming" was his favorite.

Turning Back from Merritt, British Columbia

In Merritt, British Columbia, I listened to Canice's voice message (see post 4/3 for backstory) about how it'd snowed four inches and because she had to work she wouldn't be able to hang out and it'd be better if I came some other time. Her timing couldn't have been better. Merritt had all the signs of being the southern terminus of Spring and, cold-wuss that I am, it was an easy decision...I made a u-ee & went south.

In Oroville, Washington, I stopped in at the grocery/Department Store for a new ice chest (I'd left mine at Steptoe State Park) and a few food items. Upon emergence I noticed storm clouds o'er the mountains, but my main thought was for water. 

Thinking the gas station across the street might have some, I angled across the highway aiming for their drive. Suddenly I realized I HAD to follow the curve to the right. The curve led to a promontory, and there, spread out below me, was the abomination that is, redeemed by its emptiness, the Osoyoos Veteran's Memorial Park...with full hookups as far as the eye could see.

At the dump station the sign said not for drinking, but I figured it *had* to be the same system as the hookups and filled up.

It was late and tired from all the driving, I checked the rates and saw they had some cheap primitive sites. The only resident was a lone fifth-wheel ensconced in the center under the one tree. As I began scanning for the primitives, I was confronted with a "One-way" sign. Contrary-r-us, it reminded me of looking down from our 7th floor room in downtown Chicago. It was 1:00 a.m. with absolutely no traffic on the streets. I had to laugh as a biker gang roared up to the light and waited, so law-abidingly, for it to change. I figured if they could do it, so could I....and went the One Way.

The primitives weren't among the spaces along the river where ducks and geese frolicked. But aside from the regimentation of the manicured lawn, the proximity of the spaces to each other, the total lack of privacy, the loud mufflers on the visitors in the adjacent day-use area, the blatting of the jake-brakes from the trucks on the highway and the barking dogs at the nearby homes, it wasn't too bad. I reasoned that a mere hour of driving away there'd be quiet and headed for the exit. 

As luck would have it, I turned the wrong way. Less than a mile up the road at a point overlooking the mountains to the east where I was going I could see it was raining heavily, those dark clouds (prev mentioned) letting loose.

I returned to the park, exchanged the "dump water" for new (Justin Case) from spigot #42 and settled into my allotment (primitives being defined by sans spigot). With a New York strip sizzling on the stove and the hoo-rah of the birds, I reminded myself that if it came to it, I DO have earplugs.

In the morning the 5th-wheel was gone and I had the park to myself. THIS is the way an RV park should be!! And to top if off there was wifi!

Unbeknownst to me, it was happening (see next post).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Boston Whaler in Rodeo, New Meixo

Monday, April 07, 2014

Rodeo has a store-cafe but no gas station. With so little to look at it was impossible not to notice the Boston Whaler. I mean, a Boston Whaler in the desert?!!

Traveling, as I do, sans itinerary, I stopped to ask if they minded talking to strangers. Chris Biro was willing and we commenced.

What follows is, of course, a truncated version.

Twenty-five years ago Chris acquired a hand-made cedar plank boat that became the "set" for his pirate-based education program about parrots. He travels the country presenting at county and state fairs and had made a decent living. But he lost the boat and over 30 parrots in his recent divorce. He said it'd taken several months to get his feet back under him but thanks to the internet he located a suitable "new" boat in Boston. Similarly, he found a "new" trailer in Florida.

When I asked how he'd gotten to Rodeo he told about a couple who, years earlier, had tried to reintroduce Thick-billed parrots into the Chiricahua Mountains across the street. 
They hadn't been successful, but Chris thought he could make it happen and had come there to try. 

He has tremendous talent with parrots and in addition to his conservation work teaches avian training.

While working at getting the parrots reestablished he's converting the whale boat into a pirate ship and rebuilding his parrot stock. He's also working with a Canadian billionaire who's built a cruiseship port in Honduras. Coincidentally, the last remaining flock of wild Thick-billed parrots is in Honduras and the man has invited Chris to give presentations to the cruise-ship travelers.  

Chris's degree was in engineering and attributes part of his tenacity and ability to discern solutions to his "engineering mindset." It seemed like a conundrum...whether the mindset came first, or the degree. Either way, he said his passion for Thick-billed parrots -- and parrots in general --  is what keeps him going.

Here's a video of Chris and Sherona, the scarlet Macaw.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lordsburg, New Mexico - Michael the Barber & Clara Davis

I pulled into Lordsburg (a couple of weeks ago) with two goals...a haircut and a frying pan. I was enroute to the annual meeting of the Malpais Borderlands Group, a consortium of conservation ranchers and wanted to look presentable. Also, I'd recently finished reading The Back-country Kitchen by Teresa Morrone and decided to toss the calphalon and return to iron.

Michael's shop must have registered subconsciously as two blocks past I turned around. I could see someone standing out front smoking a cigarette and even at that distance something connoted "Barber." Perhaps it was the stance...or the speculative way he assessed the drivers of the passing cars.

We exchanged pleasantries and he relaxed back into his smoke as I assured him I had time. He said he'd moved back seven years ago after a life-time in Los Angeles. His parents had been here, but he'd left in his youth. Standing there watching the traffic, this IS main street, I was impressed by how many people honked and waved. It was obvious his is a valued presence in the community.  

He proudly shared his appreciation of the 1930s chairs and mirrors and pointed out the turn-of-the-century cash register. A friend had helped him put in the tile floor. 

"Nine dollars!" he announced when he was done. He beamed like a new father and I couldn't help but share in his satisfaction. I gave him $12.00. An eager eight-year-old was already settling into my vacated spot.

Michael had directed me to The Second Chance Hardware store for a frying pan. As I made my way through the backstreets a small "OPEN" sign tucked in the corner of a storefront window caught my eye. On the sidewalk a rack of clothes drew attention to an open door. I didn't need any clothes but something pulled me back. I made a yoo-ie, hitched Eggbert to the post and ambled in.

The floor was strewn with stuff, mostly clothes; the overflowing shelves made it hard to focus. I asked if she had a frying pan. She said if I'd wait a minute she thought she had one in the back. She disappeared behind a door and returned a few minutes later with a rusted relic. 

I must have looked a bit dubious as she quickly acknowledged its condition. But, she said, it has a history. It was one of a few items salvaged after a fire burned their house to the ground in 2009.  They thought honey from the bees in the attic had dripped onto some wires and started it. I listened as she described how she'd accompanied her husband, a radio D.J., from Missouri to Arkansas and further until, in Pennsylvania, he'd developed breathing problems. The doctors advised a move to a drier climate. They'd tried Deming but after a while had decided on Lordsburg. Her eyes misted as she told me he'd passed away in January. She and her son were moving to Arizona. Clara Davis was her name.

And all that in a frying pan. If I'd found it in Goodwill I'd never have imagined. 

She said all her items were $0.25. I gave $1.00 and a hug. It was one of the rare times I wished I had more money. As it is, I have a gift I'll treasure for many years.

Now, shorn & once again iron-endowed, I resumed my trundle toward Douglas (Arizona) and the Borderlands meeting.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Help! (Updated 7/27/14)

It was the Spring of 1970 and I was traversing the sward in front of the Denver Museum of Natural History on my way to the Idaho wilderness. There, under a tree, sat a young (16) red-haired woman (Irish, no less) who, three days later as she was enthusiastically leading me by the hand to my friend's apartment where we were going to make love, said, "I have to tell you, I'm a virgin." Unsure how to respond, I acknowledged I'd never made love with a virgin before. Her reply was, "Well, there's a first time for everything."


She lives in Palmer, Alaska and has been a paralegal with the Alaska Office of Victim's Rights 
(domestic violence and other crimes) for almost a decade. Today (4/2/14) she called and said she'd started a new, 12-week treatment to cure, not mitigate, but CURE the hepatitis C that has plagued her for years. She doesn't have medical leave and is determined to keep her job, but the medications are debilitating and she had to pause to vomit before closing the conversation. She was leaving for work in Anchorage, 45 miles away.

She used up all her medical leave last year when she went under the knife for 9 hours to have a painful, spinal deformity corrected; Bob, her husband, helped her through that one, but now she doesn't get paid except when she works.

Bob is a self-employed auto-body repair person and underwent back surgery three weeks ago. He'll be laid low for at least three months if not longer. He'd put off the surgery as long as he could in order to help keep them afloat, but we're all getting older and it was time. 

Michele (One El, as she's known), a major love of my life, once said, after I'd made & served Thanksgiving dinner, that I'd have been a good wife. I took it as a compliment although Michele (one el) has never expressed a high opinion of domestic bliss. 

When I suggested to Canice she could use a wife right now she went silent. She's one of those people, like many of us, who's reluctant to ask for help. When I asked if I could interpret her call as an invitation to visit, her enthusiastic response left no doubt.

I'm gonna put the travel expenses on my credit card, but it'll take all I have just to get there. I'm concerned that working and "taking the cure" might actually kill Canice. You know how much a day off here and there can help. Please send what you can to Canice Bryson, POB 4039 Palmer, AK 99645-4039. This is one instance where your support *will* make a difference. And if you would, please add a note to let her know she SHOULD cash the check, otherwise she might not.

My journeys all have titles. This one is Marbled Summer. It'll look good on the subject line of your check, don't you think? Here's where it came from...

On the back of the card

The card was part of the celebration of Michelle Cook's (two els) and my 22nd anniversary of being together.  

Nutrias in Love

We celebrate on April first.

The poem is by Anne U. White. Here it is a tad more legible.

                  I WOULD BE WITH YOU

I have said only that I
       would be with you 
Wherever you go
      and you with me.
There is no time or age
      to this one promise,
      nor any place except the
      one you are.
Knowing this, let it give
      you strength,
      and strength to me,
To make what life brings to each of us
Lovelier than before.


I leave tomorrow for Palmer.


Canice called yesterday. She's had two blood tests since her treatment ended and both show her free & clear of the virus!! Along with this wonderful news she shared that a friend that she hadn't heard from in 20 years had seen the blogpost above and sent a check for $500.00. It came while she was on leave without pay and helped tremendously. She didn't tell me your name, but whoever you are, Thank You!! 

It's coincidences like this -- the post and you reading it -- that bolster my confidence in Jung's collective unconscious.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hiiiiigh Burner CooOOOooking (to the tune of Smoke On the Water)

I've never been much for multi-tasking. Definite proof came the other day when I tho't to take a moment to check the stock market. 

Those were grade A, Seelekt, Italian sausages.