Saturday, June 17, 2017

First Update

As part of the terms of being an Artist In Residence I have to do community outreaches back home.  Well the first one came quickly!
In April I was asking at one of the local Art Leagues if they might want to hear the report when I got back, so Scottsdale Artist League has scheduled me as their July speaker on July 11!
I am hoping to find a digital projector as most of my tale is images.  If not, I guess I will have to paint more....
I finally am at the first stop of my piece about the mule deer that walked above the casita one dawn....
I fear the photos is not showing well, and the piece is not quite the mood I was going for... but it is a pretty good sense of how I felt that amazing morning looking over my refrigerator in my kitchen!

I will keep showing pieces as they come and update you all about any events or follow up activities.
My plan is a presentation to the park in October, when I am on the way to my annual trip to Denver.  Poetic balance, I think....

Monday, June 12, 2017

On to the Real World.

A little note as it ends (again) and I hope I get to post such things regularly!
I tried to make my stay valuable to the Park.  I am a dogged advocate and supporter of the NPS.  I had a great chat with Suzie and Steve as they departed this morning as well.
Not sure if there is any way I would have the resources to donate more time to them, but I want to look into the Park Volunteers!  These are the backbone of the place.  So much of the park is run on nothing but love and good will.
I came home with over 3000 photos and have hundreds of ideas in my head how to use them.
There is no telling what the donation will be but I hope to spend a few days in October delivering it on my trip to Denver.

I am not as bottomed out as I was before, even though the morning was a bust.
I tried to see the new babies at the tree on the south exit but they did such a great job of camouflaging their condo, that I could hear the babies yelling, saw one of them dive in for breakfast feeding but could barely see a nose a couple of times and NOTHING else.

I guess when I get back they will be hovering over me, hopefully giving a little guidance.

So I will take the advice of the sign below and STOP and let it all sink in.


YES I will update.

There may even be a chance to participate in Holbrook Wild West Days in July.   Doubt it could be as hot as here, and I really miss the wind already.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

For Real. Last Day.....For June.....

Seriously this was as wonderful as the last last day I had here! I woke up fully intending to hike, but had a headache and my knees did not work from all that sitting yesterday, so although it was past Sunrise, I went driving into the park.



First absolute excitement was elk!



Elk makes sense in the mountains, but not on the plains out here. I saw two, and they were running and running and running. I believe it was easily 20 miles to 30 an hour I would race forward beyond them, try to set up where they would be being, wait for them to come at me and boom they were past. It was pretty damned exciting!!!










Finally, they got tired of racing me and just crossed the road...










A little farther down the road I saw more Pronghorn but this time I saw two guys, hanging out, butting heads! Like, practicing for the real thing, and I even got some video!




But that was not all.
I saw a solo guy, who apparently had itchy horns, as he was rubbing them in the bushes in a dry wash.  Odd indeed, and I asked Andy, the biologist and he said he would talk to the pronghorn guy!!1

And just round the end, I saw a family of one big guy and his girls...
They apparently had worn him out, as he just decided to enjoy the early morning sitting down!

Because the trip went farther than I had planned and I thought it would be a good idea to use the restrooms at the South, which was not open, I figured it would be a good time to go pick up more rocks.
I got a big handful, and came home and wash them, and wrote Holbrook on the side of all of them, because I want to make 100% absolutely sure no one thinks I'm taking them from in the park. I suppose I should have showed them to someone when I came in the first time, but it seemed kind of dumb...


Jorge told me there are usually coyotes over by the parking lot and the propane tanks. He said afternoon. I just came home from sweating and its 4:30, but he probably means evenings...
With no photos it doesn't really matter when I stop the blog, I will fix it all up when I get home. Biggest problem is I have a whopping 30 photos left to take on my photo card!

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Turns out coyotes do not feel like they need to be in my portfolio, but it was a great, cloudless evening.  WAY windy, but there is an amazing NON sunset that happens on these nights.
And there was a pretty spectacular clear, bright moon... WISH I had a real camera.....

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Holbrook Route 66 Day

Hope you are not skipping days you THINK you read, as I have my camera, my big computer, and a keyboard that can actually type and spell-check!  So I updated the cell photos and there were some nifty things to see...

Jake was my Ranger helping at the booth:
It was WINDY!   But it was Route 66 Days and it was full of cars:


Had a really amazing Elvis impersonator among a full day of music....

Trouper and his Ranger on horseback came by and gave out free horsie kisses!  He is such an attentive and patient representative of the Park!  New in town, he picked up right where he left off!

Most of the day was spent hanging on to the roof.  Finally with a couple of hours to go, we pretty much lost the tent!  The wind kept  you cool, but without the shade, it was a lot more oppressive than I counted on.
There was a Hash-knife Posse breakfast, Navajo Tacos (... watching me balance it on my boot was a supernatural feat in the gusts!!!) but I wore much less than expected. And the shaved iced even gave me a frozen headache!  So I was not THAT hot!

Home in the casita, I had to race out to see a sunset on Blue Mesa...


Friday, June 9, 2017

Getting Some Kicks! (My Tour of Route 66)


This was such an unexpected adventure!
I knew I was happy to help out with the Holbrook Route 66 festivities, and was invited to do this amazing trip called the "Relics Tour" in conjunction.
I think I was hoping for more history of the Park, and when I realized what a truly devoted following the road had, it got even more exciting!  

Our guide on the bus was Petrified Jack, the ranger I met just before I left.  He is the perfect icon of a ranger and represents the park in THE BEST possible way.  He is tall and wise and funny but somewhat stern.  No doubt from his former life as a teacher.  He reminds me a LOT of Mom's husband Thomas!

So, before we all got on the bus in Adamana, he asked us all to relate our connection to the road.  Of course I had a few. 1. a MAJOR crush on George Maharais growing up from the tv show, 2. the boyfriend has a 62 red vette and 3. my recent 66 years on 66 adventure, which if you missed in the blog, keep scrolling down to day 18 in the park.
We had a great bus driver and two of the park folk, Jake who I knew from the first round whose job was pretty much taking great photos and getting people excited about coming here, and Bill the park Archaeologist!  Between Bill and Jack, no question went unanswered!
So, on the bus we go to the first few stops, which were on private lands and all told interesting tales of entrepreneurial adventures, heartbreak, the growth and development of transportation in the US and some pretty strong armed tactics that created both the freeway and National Park system of today!
I am posting from cell photos as the camera reader was forgotten this trip.  Good pix may follow, but the tale is here to tell.
First photo from Painted Desert Point Trading Post.   



It was pretty early in the day and the views north and south were actually pretty spectacular. The narrow area from which you could view both the White Mountains and Painted Desert did make it a great spot.  It had been there on the main travel route across the country beginning with the Whipple expedition (I was writing notes on a bus, so forgive me if I got them askew) in the early 1800's then experiments with wagons and camels, a stage-line route from Defiance to Prescott to the first major "road" the Old Trails Highway which preceded 66 which came in 1926!  Or that is what I seem to have written in the margins of what initially looked like a boring little hand-out that turned into a PHENOMENAL wealth of info, supported by the tales of Jack and Bill.   This trading post that was a shell station on 66 suffered mental illness, murder potential illicit booze and gambling!  But now is just a pile of debris.


I doesn't look like much, but two dips in the horizon show the old stage route as we stopped at Rocky's Old Stage Station.  Also a scene of power struggles and state vs private owner.

We got to see a beacon (well a footprint of it) that was part of the Air Mail route!  Why did it take so long to get letters when it was much faster navigation? Because until beacons, planes had no way to see their route at night!  This system of lights every 10 miles helped speed up communication.  They were disbanded for the war because of how CLEAR the routes to major population areas worked and could be used by Japan.  And then they made radar so that helped!


We bused back to our cars and drove into the Visitor Center Parking Lot for a foot tour of the roadbed in the park.  

Bill was great at explaining how HISTORICAL archaeology was as vital as ancient in telling the tale of this amazingly important strip of land that was the route for centuries for anyone going east and west.

We found some choice stuff and he gave us perspective on how carefully we all should think of "trash"



In the middle of nowhere, we found the parts of the foundation of the Painted Desert Tower. 

 So... I will attempt at this point to explain how it took from Teddy Roosevelt declaring the area a National Monument in 1906, one of TR's first areas under the NATIONAL ANTIQUITIES ACT (somewhat relevant even today....) to not actually becoming a Park until 1962 by LBJ.  It was about the entrepreneurs.  The area was checker-boarded with individuals going from Arizona Land Leases, to Homestead and even Railroad land, sold off to pay for the rails!  In order to consolidate the area to give to the public, they had to have the properties donated, or purchased or in some way acquired by the park.  Piece by piece in some very sneaky ways .. like if a roadside attraction was happily making money and had no intention of divesting, they would move the road...sneaky people, these Park folks!  The spot we saw was a very popular tourist haunt with a tower and great view (and possibly some stronger drink than Route 66 Soda Pops) (which they now sell in the PDI!) It sort of seems heartless to demolish a funky cute old tourist attraction (signs say "BURIED FOREST") but lets be real.  Were it running it would be upgraded and modernized anyway and the charm we lost would STILL be gone.

From there it was a much longer than advertised jaunt to the bus.  I mark it up to a lack of distraction... TOO hot already, a long walk to and equally long walk out without even broken pop bottles to slow us down.  One of our number tripped on the flat highway!  I know exactly how it happened!  After a long trek among the scruffy, unforgiving, not flat brush, looking at every footfall for a secure spot, the flat road, and then the small but SEEMINGLY DAUNTING dip on the other side pushed the last bit of energy, and BOOM, a toe drags and she is down.  With the opportunity to give up the fight, she literally sat and could not move.  


It was an intricate dance of areas of influence and who and how to take care of her.  Finally we drove her in the cool bus to meet paramedics at the park entry who assessed her well enough to continue the tour... BUT NO MORE HIKING!













We picked up where we were headed and had lunch at PDI they gave us all big fat sandwiches and an apple (to stay healthy)
Inside the Harvey Girls were showing off the crockery from the various venues. REALLY interesting.

 And along with my sandwich, we got a scoop of the ice ream downstairs!
ON the road again and was feeling smug that I had found that patch of road (the day BEFORE my 66 trip) and realized we were heading there.
WOW.  This was just fun.  HORRIBLE road, bouncing the whole way, grass growning between the paths! THIS was not for a Corvette with the top down, it was for an off-road vehicle..or a wagon train?!

First stop was the flattened Lion Farm.  Owner was angered by a little diversion station (no fee, just looked like an entry) that sent folks OFF Route 66 proper into the wonders of the park, so she kept a captive mountain lion, a pronghorn and an eagle, to attract visitors.  When the park got the land they REALLY flattened it.  Burned it, dug a trench and buried what was left.  We went picking in the residue.

THEN it got cool.


We were allowed to go on to Navajo land with their permission to see two HOLY GRAILS of 66 fans!  The Dead Wash Bridge and (drum roll) PAINTED DESERT TRADING POST.  I admit I was not aware of these, but the bus was literally twittering (or what ever the masculine equivalent was) and the road was so horrible it was just like a fun ride!


Dead Wash was a stark and amazing place littered with rusted car carcasses!
From above Ranger Jack and the tough lady who took the spill watched us try to get back up from the crumbling sides littered with corpses of cars I had never seen the likes of.  All old and very red with rust...



It was way out in the middle of nowhere.  It bounced us like a washboard in a full size school bus and it was soooo much fun... finally we got to the thing they were all waiting for....
The Trading Post was a seriously sad echo of its old glory.  


Here is the snapshot from the good old days 
We swarmed it, under the careful supervision of our guys in flat wide hats:



Here is the new AiR taking photos on her iPad!


I have a head FILLED with info and my neighbor and I commemorated it with footprints next to the painted road across the street from the Trading Post.

TRULY exhausted and have a busier (let's hope not) day tomorrow in the square in Holbrook.  



Thursday, June 8, 2017

....."She's Back!"

Yup.
I got recruited to help at the PeFo booth at Route 66 Days on Saturday in Holbrook!
Bringing rocks, although I just found out the early breakfast is sponsored by Hashknife Posse.  Not precisely the same guys I know, but .... Just rocks....

Got out a little later than expected and I will be only posting photos from the phone, because I forgot the loader for the camera card.  May take a while.. but GREAT FUN ALREADY!!

The other casita is at an angle.  The kitchen is bigger and the view out the door is pretty spectacular.   I  No protective wall and top to bottom view of that hill (the one the deer were wandering) and only the neighbor and road are hidden from view!
I immediately re-arranged it.
I was not facing the sunrise when I woke.  The cat might have been confused.  I can look at walls at home.  I moved the desk against the wall and maybe shoved the bed a bit into the corner, but makes the room very spacious.


I also met my neighbor.  I told her I had valued my solitude and she was welcome to talk the me, but I would let her be, so she could have it all to herself.... then proceeded to move furniture, drop things, talk to the cat and pretty much be noisy.  I just realized I talk to myself ALL THE TIME!

The bathroom is even cool!  It has a smaller tub and the same size water heater, so I am able to fill it warm!  Not that I am as excited about a HOT bath, as the casita had windows open and was 86 when I got there!  I know the nights are cooler.  That is what I am most looking forward to:  Silence and dark.  Wind blows most days and it is calmer at night... or it was when I was here!

Ran across the street for my ice cream and then I had to head over here (yes, the old visitor center) to find out what I am doing tomorrow.  The rumor is to meet at the Adamana exit at 7:30.  I CAN SO DO THAT!

Wanna know the best of the best of it all???

There was a Tony Hillerman book in the desk for me!!! I may be too tired to read, and THIS time I know what to do with all my spare time, but JUST FOR ME!!!
I am in heaven for a few more days...

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Since there's no Wi-fi anyway, and data is a bit more reliable in the Casita and Wi-Fi at The Visitor Center, (where I saw a moth that was easily four inches wide)
I have a few updates in the first evening.

Is though the thing has found the outdoors very entertaining. He managed to squeeze through a rip in the screen. This one is not nearly as well put together as the other one. So I noticed out of the corner of my eye he was in the window and then kind of not in the window. Never quite figured out where he went but it was in the other room and I had gone outside to watch the Sun go down. When I went in I couldn't find him, and that's when I noticed that although it was somewhat small, there was a tear in my screen with lots of fur around it. No cat. I found him on the other side of the house. I had been outside the whole time. He just didn't come around that side.

I was rewarded with a pretty spectacular Sunset, which I usually get! However this one was from the other side of the building. And I was lucky to have witnessed my second full moon! This is it rising over the old place...