Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Back again!

In October every year I head to Denver to help my brother out, babysitting his aged pets while they have an anniversary trip to Mexico.  (Due to a simple but tragic mis-reading of my schedule, I was ORIGINALLY assigned this month for my AIR, so I wondered if there were any gaps in the schedule that I might come back and do a little token residing) This year it snowed his first day out and I forgot about what I will return to ...Phoenix HEAT!
The trip down was via Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado and last time I went up that route a couple of years ago I was crying on the way down.  The beetle kill was so awful.  This time I left early in the long shadows of morning, to the west, so the sun did not blind me and NO TRUCKS stressed me out!  I really enjoyed it!  Then back through the mountains and on to the familiar flat Rez land on the way back to Arizona.
Kip did arrange a three night recovery for me, from the 12 hour trip.  I feel it a lot more coming home than driving up. Probably the depression of coming back to boring old home....
In to the Park, I was eyeball burned and aware that it was no longer Spring.  The deep autumn in the park brings rusts and gold to the rolling flat grasslands.  And the air was softer, whiter.  I found there was a lot of "controlled" burning going on in the area.  It was seriously changing the nature of the place.
Once I located my key and was settled in to cabin 77, the L-shaped one, I met my neighbors, a water colorist and her husband from Tubac.  They had arrived the night before and I gave them my brief park rundown. They also made me feel guilty that I was not up to the task of this place.... Relived that an artist was in the park to contribute to the experience, but again, not sure where I fit..
I had been turned down for another residency (and I should have held off for next year, as I an already hoarding the days I can talk someone in to giving me precious hours here) but I had thought I might work on a sample of my project if I can apply it to another park... I have my eyes set on Mesa Verde as I had a short email chat with someone there and they MAY allow the cat! 
I wanted to do what I do best - humans.  The project, which really was an offshoot of the ill-fated model release I never ended up using, was to meet and immortalize at least one visitor a day, probably from another country, with a brief interview and a lot of photos.  To show how really valuable the park is to US.  The humans who revitalize ourselves, who often only get to experience actual nature in these parks. 
Now with the impending doubling of fees, I think it is even more necessary to show that access by EVERYONE is necessary!  We own these places and we need them to STAY human.

I packed for Denver and found myself lacking some necessities for the Park.  I have all (oh, I am nearing another good 500 if not more photos from the Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Arsenal wildlife snapshots) my photos in the camera, but forgot to bring the card reader for to put them into the computer to use when I am connected by wifi in the few areas of the park that I can connect!
I did learn that my phone can transfer a few photos, so we are lacking the beautiful shots and back to being a tourist!!!
Here is the Thing, settling in at his home away from home:
I left for about an hour and came home to tail-less corpse of a three inch lizard that he had already murdered.  
I understand there is a small chewing creature next door, and as this is our third stay, I am grateful that my traveling companion has earned his keep... of course the lizards are NOT an issue, but he is always on patrol!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Outreaching and updating.... and adventures ahead!

I realized a lot of drafts were sitting in my program here, waiting for better photos and I forgot to upload them!!!
So this is just an update on my recent adventures.

I have learned PowerPoint and just finished my third presentation as my outreach for the Artist in Residence obligation...well gratification would be better named.....

In July, I spoke at the Scottsdale Artist League.  August was Tempe Artist Guild and just Wednesday, gave a presentation to a great group of quilters called the Mavericks!   I bring my borrowed projector (GREAT thanks to the amazing Arizona Art Alliance and Mike Brady) and did this one in the daytime!  Still was able to show the drop in the bucket of my over 3000 photos from that month living in the Petrified Forest. When I return, November is Peoria Artist League and January will be the Mesa Art League.   Hopefully I will carry a little less of the original art with me for show and tell as it will be moving into galleries or permanent homes... or donation to the PARK!

Summer is always fighting the cabin fever I get in so many days over 100° weather in the Phoenix area, so I am coming out of my despair and starting to plan my annual car trip to Denver in October.

I have offered to be present for my original month of October (because of the annual jaunt, I nearly declined, but Kip was able to double up artists in I was out of sync) during the last week of the month as I drive back.  So I hope to put on my badge and set up - for a couple of days at least - in the PDI to work on a small secondary project of portraying the visitors!
My first concept was supposed to center around the ravens, and where they would lead.... but they basically HID from me most of the month!  This time I want to interview people stopping in and see if they will let me borrow their visages for a project emphasizing the HUMAN aspect of the park!

I am loading materials and getting them ready for the road as I go up to enjoy the trees turning in Centennial and come back to see another season in my beloved PEFO.

Just throw in a visual aid...
...from a previous trip..... I KNOW they will mob me this time!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Spider Woman's Hands

I am a portrait painter.  Because of that I am rather meticulous in trying to get model releases from anyone who could be recognized from my work.  Everyone who is demonstrating or helping in the park, from Rangers to Volunteers, all have to sign off on copyright issues.  They become part of the public benefit, just like the scenery (so I was public domain while I was there!!!)
When I was lucky enough to witness this presentation, I asked for a release and was greeted with "let me think about it"
There is a very good reason to think it over.
The Native Americans in the Southwest have been iconic and functioned at money-making props for many artists and tourism promotions and have not benefitted from their "personhood".  You are your face and features.  Stealing the one thing you ARE is a very tricky issue.
So, even as I left, she was still thinking.....
I have tweaked a bit the experience and this is the image I have of the presentation!   No face, just the amazing experience of watching hands on a traditional loom....

 I began with a way too detailed drawing.  The skin on these ancient hands is so full of character, much like the weathered mounds in the badlands of the park..
This is a toned canvas and I drew in pastel pencil and chalk to start the image.
I began trying to paint the amazing arms and silver

This was always the fun stuff! I love exploring flesh and although this model did not have my requisite "eyeballs" I say I paint, the humanity is what I hoped to capture.  I am always in love with work that shows it is not a photo, but the work of a human being, so I always like to stop before it is done, but this needs a better environment...

So I had to move on to the boring stuff... fibers and background:

 The piece on the right was about done, but it looked too empty....
I wanted to reflect the spirit of the weaver.  Spiderwoman, not in a place but just the weaver, and her spindle.... and........ what?

 I added the products of her hands and softened the light from the window.  

I have a high quality photo of the drawing above and will upload it to my Fine Art America store soon.  I will have a full area of my work from the Petrified Forest and continue to update.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Driving Home - Art

It is a long hot summer!
I have been stuck in my house for the last couple of months, looking at my photos and tweaking my presentations for art groups in Phoenix Area.
I did a nice presentation for the Teme Artists League in September and I will be showing for the Mavericks group of quilters and fabric artists this month. There have been some amazing fiber artists who were AIR in the Park!
Recently, the amazing Rebecca Mezoff did some truly stunning work! and Bill Meed and Denny Peterson were recent quilt artists as well.  I am hoping to let them know that the program welcomes ANY artist that needs, can profit from and give something back from the opportunity
So that proceeds. I  am going to present in Mesa in November and Peoria in January.  They are great fun and I get to meet old friends as I have been a member of many of these groups during my life!


I am close to giving up on landscape.
I tried another of my super strong images that evoked so much emotion to ME from my loads of pictures in the park.
I tried a tonalist style on it and was defeated at every turn....
Here is the work as it progressed and pretty well stopped.
Sketched in, I was trying to get the curve of the road and echos of the wonderful wind blown falling sky in the distance...  Lots of impending rain and at that time of the year, very little wet!

Final version....well, lets stay, where I stopped.
It was actually supposed to be about the lines in the road and tail lights, but I settled for the tail lights...

My little casita is just over the rise, across the road from the Painted Desert Inn.   When I was AiR, there was so little weather, but for the constant breezes, I have hundreds of photos of clouds.  

It is a good thing to do in 100° Phoenix weather, to reminisce about the cooler days...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One More Piece! One More Presentation!

It was a tense day.
I had applied for a second AIR. It is rarely done but I have such a great idea.... so it will have to wait.
I can do it in another Park, but this was inspired by the month I spent there.  I am going to talk to Kip later about a different plan, but no PEFO for me in 2018... Stay tuned, I am branching out.

And I have not updated, but I do have another presentation tomorrow at the Tempe Artist Guild in Friendship Villiage, 2645 E. Southern Ave, Tempe AZ.   I will be running the artist critique at 5:30, with the business meeting at 6:30 and ME at 7:30 to 8:30!
So there you are!

While waiting for good or bad news, I did another piece.  Many of these will be entries in the Mountain Oyster Club in Tucson in November.  What a lot of exciting reference I have!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Little Visitors on the Flagstone

It is hot here in Scottsdale.
It is sweaty and the air never cools, but we did have a monsoon rain last night and I left the door open!!
That is all my excitement.

I have been working on  another one of my birch panels.  This is two little ground squirrels, snacking in the shade of a scrub brush, right outside the kitchen, when I returned in June.  It is only 10" square and I am feeling like it may need something.... later.

I am going to do another presentation on August 17 at the Tempe Artist Guild.  I will probably do some editing on the slide show and, of course, we have a few new paintings.
With a week to go, who knows what else will show up!
Will post the details in the next blog.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Pretty sure we are done.... if not, I am betting you won't notice the changes....
On to more and more things stuck in my head, needing to get out.
(PLEASE share or contact me if any of these strike your fancy.  They are all for sale.  I am doing my donation in October, so there will be PLENTY of pieces by then!)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trooper, the Equine Ranger in Progress

So much that has nothing to do with anything has been happening, so a brief update.
I had my first presentation in Scottsdale at their art league and it went so well, another group asked for me.  The scheduling will probably end up in November or so, with the league's schedule and mine.
Tempe, which is very nearby also wants me and this time for AUGUST!  So we will put that on the agenda.  I figured out the issue I had been having with projectors.  You see my reliable little laptop does not have the proper hood up for almost EVERY available machine I can borrow or afford.  The new laptops don't tend to come with the plug either!  SO... I literally got and returned FOUR adapters before I finally found a small, rather old, but running win10 very slow and very old model REFURBISHED notebook that I will try to use ONLY for presentations.  If it wears out quickly, it was only $30 more than most of the adapters I exchanged.
I am breaking it in.

And I have been working on a portrait.
Still not done but here are a few progress shots....

 I knew what I wanted to do with Tooper, one of the horses that come (two days before I left) to stay in the park for the summer, but I was a bit unsure of what I wanted to do with the background.  So I drew him, sketched the background (which changed) and painted it all in black acrylic so I could do the background and still see the horse.

I finally decided on the scene and blocked it all in before I even began to paint the horse.  I called it eating my veggies before I had desert.  I am so bad at landscapes.  I love vignettes, but it is a bit nuts, to be around all that beauty and not use it at all in the paintings.  So this area was from a snapshot on the road.  I am pretty sure it is just around Kachina point, very near home... but I had blur in the thing and just loved all the stripes of color.

So,  90% done, horse near ready for the rest of the tack and I really did not like it.  Could not put my finger on it, but it did not do what I wanted, did not look like a place that was truly there.  I spent a lot of obsessive time trying to fit the time of day (noon and strong vertical light) with a scene that would make sense, and try as I might, I was not able to get that sense of abstraction I wanted behind his realism..

I asked some friends and tried him in other backgrounds (more complex and suited to my obsessive mind)  and there was a general consensus that ALL of my ideas were good.... which did not help, but a friend reminded me of something I LIKE TO SUGGEST to artists stuck like I am.... Put a piece of plastic over it and experiment.

I am sure she is aghast at the horrible plastic I used, but I just needed to decide what color and how far I needed to go.
So why is this in this blog?
I am aware of something that happened to me there.  I have become REALLY unhappy now that I am home.  I do not feel connected to much.  The heat keeps me in the house like a cage and I don't know what to paint, don't know if anyone will buy them, how much more I can fit in here, and I basically and to afraid to start anything for fear of failing.
This was a free pass!
I gave myself permission to let go.
I got in there and started by darkening and moving the sky a bit...
Not too dramatic but then I started darkening the space behind to show the shadows of the clouds and eventually stopped trying at all to match the reference, just started playing with the colors.  I put the purple in the shadows of the rocks close in , and dotted the background with glints of light and basically started playing.  It was more about me painting my OWN Painted Desert.
I know you all don't think there is much going on that is revolutionary about this, but to me, it was very freeing, with my house full of art, to risk it and come back from where it was not so safe!
I need to let it be.  
It is finally to a point where when I leave it and come back, it is pleasing me!!!
Next post will be the finish.  I might have my donation piece....

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

First Public Presentation

Well, one more technology I have put my toe into.
Last night I did my first Power  Point presentation at the Scottsdale Artist League.  I had been a member of this great group of artists on and off for decades.  It was old home week.
The challenge was compressing my 3000 photos into some reasonable format (which personally I think I failed at, but that was actually NOT the idea) so I could give a taste of my month in the Park.
Three weeks of procuring the projector that would work with my computer and some food poisoning, a day long technology scavenger hunt for parts to interface and practice with the machinery for a good two days before, had resulted in a very well received presentation.
I brought the pieces, so far, from the residency and got the best review of all - nobody left in the middle!
Kip even helped out by shipping a stack of the Trip Planner newspaper and some brochures for me to pass along so people could follow a bit of what I was talking about.
In a group that is basically retirees, I lit a fire about getting their Senior Passes soon, so we may have a small flood of elderly getting the $10 pass before the price hike!
So I have a first round done.  Two other leagues are interested in having me speak and I know I can do it, so I can finally slow down and start planning art.
More to come.... always.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Old Folks: Get America's Best Bargain NOW

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The Senior Pass or former Golden Eagle (I miss that....) is going up at the end of August from $10 when you buy it from a ranger when you come into the park, to $80.  For the rest of your life, they smile and hand you the brochure and are thrilled you came to visit. 
Go see my man Jorge at the PEFO soon and be SURE to purchase it.
Or be more helpful and wait until the deadline and the money is used to help shore up the huge losses to every government penny sent to the park.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Captive of my Computer

I may have complained by not having wifi, but I do feel as though I am a prisoner of technology today!
I am learning OpenOffice Impress which is the freebie PowerPoint program that I can use on my laptop for the presentation at the Scottsdale Artist League on July 11.  I had it pictured that I would just go through my 3000 snapshots and run them like I do on the computer.... keeping in mind I tried to show them to some friends the other day and after two hours, we were only up to May 15.

It is a great way to organize my thoughts but it is also a great way to pretty much stay right where I am.  I do need to figure out my future and which of the 30 or so paintings in my head will escape to canvas.

I also have another project...... I am going to apply for next year.

The Artist in Residence program may or may not be around long, the way things are going and very few parks will let my cabin mate join me.  Aside from trying to find cat-sitters for shorter possible residences, I DO have a STRONG concept for the next residency.  This trip was so overwhelming I am having a hard time winnowing it to a single vision.

I am also drooling over possibly learning what happens in the season changes in the park.  Thinking of snow on my teepees is actually exciting.  Not learning to drive in slush or closing the windows and trying to keep warm, as it is the ONLY time to be happy living down in the valley, but I see WHY I need another month.

EVEN BETTER, four or more one week visits through the year to build an intimate knowledge of the place.  I feel like I belong there....sort of like it belongs to me...

Makes me feel even more cabin fever looking at the photos over and over again...
 Queen of the Battleship

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pronghorn on Birch Panel

I needed to use up some of the amazing wildlife stuff I had.   Trying to be more iconic, I got the iconic beasties of the park.  Pronghorn.
This couple was hanging out on the amazing last trek down.  He decided to rest and the three girls in his gang sort of wandered around.  This little girl decided to hang and chat.

I had a number of these panels from another project.  10" square with 2"deep sides, I never liked painting over the beautiful wood.  Seems as though the colors just organically tie in...


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Landscapes Win...

I have literally nearly gone blind trying to figure out which of these 3000 photos to paint from. Most of the shots were part of an idea or just an amazing moment that had to be captured.

I know I will do some more wildlife but as many pix of the teepees as I have, I found myself haunted by them.  Finally I just gave up!  I have a feeling the general public might like some landscapes so I started..... I is pretty daunting.
So many artists are just plain so much better at this than I am, but as I finally dug in, I started enjoying it..  This was from last night.

This morning I had a cat that just was NOT up for staying away.  He was total hell and I finally brought his cage in.... I was sort of leaving it in the car in case we needed to go somewhere.  (Aside from spending too much time looking for a new place to live, I fantasized of lovely car trips and of course, moving into that great place my PATRON set me up in.... I have been succuming to the heat, so please ignore my rambling)      (Unless you are a patron that really wants to help by setting me up in a new studio/living space.......)  I have him in the studio and he is much calmer just watching me.   No biting and play-time with the brushes etc...

And with his cooperation, I am at what I call SITTING STAGE.
This is where I MIGHT call it done but there is a good reason to stop and ignore it for a while.   The reason is sloppy, gloopy paint.  Not much oil lately but I apparently have a lot of enthusiasm.
I will get in there and fix the nuts spots when it is dryer in a few days.

I may do another.

I brought a stack of 11x14 canvases with me.  I have so many ideas in my head, it might just be worth it to get a few out and work on my ideas for my donation.  I don't have room for big pieces in the place so these small pieces are just about right...

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!

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 Maharas 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.