Monday, January 28, 2013

Just a Thought Series ~ Jan 1, 1981

The winter nesting continues as I scout the house drawer by drawer. A couple of days ago I found a few faded pages torn from a journal. I think my love of blue highways may have started with this trip to Colorado.

Goodbyes are difficult
No tears, but a knot within
I feel like I'm holding my breath
Watching you, watching me
As I drive away
Colorado's Rocky Mountain Splendor  - 11 x 14 Photograph   H-1138
Colorado Rocky Mountain Splendor
As I head into the sunset
It hits me
My journal is blank and open to new chapters
The possibilities bring a smile

Hell Yes!
I am my own best educator
I need only to look inside and ask
What are you thinking?
Tell me how you feel?
It's so much better
To experience reality
Than to live with the undefined fantasy
of perhaps
On the road again
God it's good to be traveling
It always puts things in perspective
A post script to this journal entry ~ Five months later I met the love of my life at the Fort Ross Volunteer Fire Department Picnic in Cazadero, CA and we continue to travel blue highways 31 years later.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Just a Thought Series ~ July 29, 1971

Having answers makes you wiser
Having questions makes you human
Perhaps it's time to do some thinking
But there are no thoughts 
It seems this free and open space 
Has allowed me to unplug

Flower Mandala Spiritual Energy Meditation Art - Hidden Treasures
Spiritual Energy

When this was written I was midway through a week long stay at a friend's farm near Cave Junction, OR. On this summer afternoon I sat naked and cross legged in an ocean of wildflowers with a journal and pen in hand. 

As we get caught up in life we tend to forget about the simple acts that help us to find the elusive compass point of center. Life is short, it's important take more time outs and unplug from it all. Some destinations may be in your own back yard or just up the road. 
 Richardson's Grove, CA

Marin Headlands

Beverly Beach Park, OR

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours. 
Mark Twain

This is the no excuses tour, time wasted is time lost forever. 
Shelley Macdonald

Saturday, January 19, 2013

One Thin Dime ~ Jan 19, 2013

For years two delightful dogs shared our home and travels. We lost them both in 1989. Their names were Diamond Jim and Jessica P Out of the Mud Grows the Lotus. He was a Heinz 57 variety tricolor hound with a white diamond on his neck and she was a black Lab-Golden Retriever mix who couldn't resist a tennis ball or any body of water.

We used to purchase their canned food by the case. One day I picked up one of the cans and it felt unusually light. When I opened it up there was a promotional coupon and a little round plastic case with a $5 gold coin the size of a dime, sitting in blue velvet. We tucked the coin in the safe and never thought about again.

With Spring on the horizon this time of year becomes nesting season for me and I start cleaning out drawers and cupboards. Another impetus is that we're trying to lighten our material load. Like a lot of folks our age, we have simply accumulated too much stuff.

Last week I was looking for something in safe and we decided it might be interesting to find out the value of some of the contents: an old pocket watch, the gold coin, gold teeth, old rings and various coins. We took everything but the coins into Olde Towne Jewelers in Santa Rosa. None of it had sentimental value so we figured what the heck. Well, we came home with a check for $1,600. Rod took the coins into a coin shop the next day and came home with $575 in cash. The value on all of it was the melt weight not the items.

What about the $5 gold piece from the dog food can? It sold for $168. Who knew?

I guess the lesson here is to start looking through all the old coins, broken jewelry, and stuff you have tucked away. Our little bonanza is seed money for one of the items on our bucket list: perhaps a narrow gauge rail trip across the Southwest, some time in Maritime Provinces of Canada, or a month in New Zealand. Two things are for sure: life is short and the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tombstone Road Trip ~ Tombstone to Home ~ Nov 11-13, 2012

Nov 11th ~ Breakfast with our same mates at the Bordello and then we're off on the journey home. We continue to make it up as we go: northwest on I10 then west on I8 towards Quartzite. When it's time for fuel (for the Honda and us) we picked a random off ramp and arrive in Tonapah, AZ (population 60). There was a little Mexican restaurant at the gas station so we decided to take a chance. Seems like the hole in the wall places have the best food. 

We're sitting across from two women, Sandy and Phyllis, who are on their way from the El Dorado to southern AZ for the winter. Sandy asked where we were from. When I said Sebastopol she got this big smile on her face and said "I grew up in Santa Rosa, my family owns Teevax Appliances". "Oh" I said "That's where we purchased our washer, dryer and dishwasher". She laughed and said "That was probably my brother who installed them". I no longer question these chance connections, they are a part of the fabric of my life and always entertaining.

Off again towards Quartzite and then north on Hwy 95 along the Colorado River and back to Laughlin for the night. We arrived in the afternoon and took a walk along the river. We had wanted to see Las Vegas, but we're going to save it for another trip so we can explore the area. Tomorrow we head for the California coast, one trip through the Central Valley is enough.

Nov 12th ~ The numbers game today ~ Hwy 95 to 40 to 58 to 101. The traffic is light and the weather clear. It's a long drive but not a boring one, We pick up Hwy 58 near Barstow, once past Bakersfield we find the proverbial long and winding road with a little bit of everything: oil, cotton, long horns, solar farms, rivers, large ranches and small towns: desert to golden oak covered hills.

Late afternoon just east of Paso Robles on Hwy 58

We're toast by the time we reach Paso Robles so we opt for an overnight at the Best Western and dinner at Bad Bubba's BBQ next door. A good call on all accounts.

Nov 13th ~ After breakfast we head west on Hwy 46 to Cambria and north on Hwy 1. The weather is clear and it's warm on the coast. Though I love exploring the desert and mountains it's a delight to again see the Pacific.

Elephant Seals ~ Another Roadside Attraction

A Constant Roadside Attraction

 Lunch View in Monterey and 70 degrees

Once we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge it was only an hour to home. We left everything in car, had a bowl of cereal for dinner and relished the thought of being in our own beds.

This was a great adventure. We travelled blue highways to new places and back in time. Tombstone's Archivist, Nancy Sosa, got me totally hooked on what she calls the "love of the chase". My next adventure is looking further into family history. It seems "characters were indeed welcome" in my family tree.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tombstone Road Trip ~ Tombstone Day Two ~ Nov 10, 2012

We're off to explore today. We headed up Hwy 80 to catch Hwy 82 West but missed the turn off. An oops of good fortune, as we got to chase some morning rainbows and discovered A Gallery of Dreams in St. David, just south of Benson ( 

There was a small art show out front and we met two gentlemen educating visitors about the Buffalo Soldiers. The gallery is home base to Tim Trask, an incredible sculptor, who is working on a clay model of what will be two life size bronze statues to commemorate the history and service of Buffalo Soldiers. We donated $20 to the project and were able to add two chunks of clay onto the forms he would use to cast the sculptures.

Next stop was the Fort Huachuca Museum to find out more about the Buffalo Soldiers ( It's a great little museum, very informative, but totally off the beaten track. It was hard to find tucked in the back corner of an active military base. Looking into their storied history was an amazing journey.

Mr. Trask's sculptures will reside in Tombstone instead of Fort Huachuca where the soldiers were stationed. Three blocks of Tombstone's Allen Street are permanently blocked off to traffic and over a million people visit there each year. Having the statues in Tombstone will provide an incredible teaching and learning opportunity. From the Civil War through modern times the Buffalo Soldiers served with honor on many fronts.
Next stop is Kartchner Caverns just southwest of Benson. The caverns were unknown until 1974, when cavers Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts found a narrow crack in the bottom of a sinkhole. They followed a source of warm, moist air toward what ended up being more than 2.5 miles of pristine cave passages. Hoping to protect the cave they kept the location a secret for fourteen years.

Working with the Kartchner family they decided that the best way to achieve the goal of protection was through development as a tour cave and they approached Arizona State Parks. In 1985, then-Governor Bruce Babbitt secretly left the state capitol with two bodyguards and spent three hours crawling through the cave's tight passages to reach the cave's showcase chambers.  The discovery of the cave was finally made public in 1988 when the landowners sold the area to the state for development as a park. The state spent $28 million on a high-tech system of air-lock doors, misting machines and other gadgetry designed to preserve the cave. Put this stop on your bucket list. For more information go to

We emerged from the caves in late afternoon for the short return trip to Tombstone. Time for a walk about before sunset and a light dinner before heading back to the Bordello.

Dinner View

The Heart of the Matter ~ to be continued

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tombstone Road Trip ~ Tombstone Day One ~ Nov 9, 2012

Guests gather in the dining room about 7:30 for coffee, conversation and a delicious homemade breakfast. Each morning we meet a different group of travellers: from a bike tour groups to travelers like us exploring the region.

First thing we decided to check out was Boot Hill, a graveyard rich with the town's storied characters. Most of the graves are from the early 1880's. It's a great place to wander about with a camera and look into history. We found out later in the day, however, that all who are purported to be buried there are not. It seems that history sometimes takes a back seat to a good story. Boot Hill Cemetery was closed in 1884 when the new City Cemetery was opened on Allen Street to provide a last resting place for the "proper" residents of town. 

FYI: Lester Moore was a Wells Fargo agent from Naco, AZ. In the movie Tombstone, when the Earps arrive in Tombstone 1881, they ride past Boot Hill Cemetery. Plainly visible is this tombstone, one most famous epitaphs ever written. The problem is that Lester Moore wasn't killed until 1884 ~ Think they call that a continuity error.

George Johnson made the mistake of purchasing a stolen horse and was hanged by mistake: an "oops" moment if I ever heard of one.

 One thing for sure though, the view of the Dragoon Mountains from Boot Hill is spectacular.

We came back up to town in the late morning to find town archivist Nancy Sosa and do research on my great grandfather Stanley Chipman Bagg. She and her assistant Jessica spent three hours with us going through old books and ledgers, city council minutes and photographs, making copies for us along the way. We knew he had started the Tombstone Prospector and bought out the Tombstone Epitaph, but had no idea he had owned a retail business, Bagg and Barrow, or that he had been so deeply involved in town politics.  She did some further microfiche sleuthing after we left and sent us more information including the masthead from the Prospector with his name on it. More on his colorful story later.

Nancy is the one who told us not believe everything you read. She is this field for the love of the chase and finding the truth. She does a lot of research for writers and historians, but there are two subjects she won't touch: Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Too many people have their own versions of history on these two and once in the bully pulpit they won't back down. She said she'd been to research conferences and wondered if presenters should be checked for side arms at the door. We had so much fun we took Nancy to lunch.

Off to Bisbee, another historic mining town, about 25 miles south on Hwy 80, to meet up with Auntie Betty. We did a little exploring, some window shopping and stopped for ice cream before parting ways. 

The drive back from Bisbee was gorgeous: storm clouds, sun, wind, red dirt, and mesquite. We had dinner with my aunt and uncle at the Crystal Palace and then dropped them off for the evening. They head home tomorrow and had to be up at o'dark thirty. We're here another night and have a map of places to explore tomorrow.