Monday, July 27, 2015

Tombstone Series ~ Old Tombstone Bloody as Modern TV Version ~ October 11, 1961

I just found this newspaper column from The Arizona Republic buried inside an unmarked folder. Sometimes it pays to look twice, you could unearth a gem. 

The columnist: Donald Dedera was born March 16, 1929 in Arlington, Virginia. After high school, he enlisted in the USMC as a photographer. In 1948 he enrolled in Arizona State College in Tempe and graduated with a BA in Journalism in 1951. He worked for The Arizona Republic from 1951 to 1969 and became a daily feature columnist in 1953. His communications career spanned 60 years and includes approximately 23 books and over 2,000 journal and newspaper articles. This column came out of a conversation with my grandfather, John Sherman Bagg. 

Television struggled to become a national mass media in the 1950's, and became a cultural force, for better or worse, in the 1960's. One must appreciate the irony of the comment regarding a low juvenile delinquency rate in Tombstone. This article was written in 1961 when television was still in it's infancy, but apparently already having an influence on the children of the world. Two series stand out:

Tombstone Territory: 1957-1960 ~ "Tough sheriff Clay Hollister keeps the law in Tombstone, Arizona "The Town Too Tough to Die" with the support of his faithful deputies and the editor of the local newspaper".

Marshal Earp: 1955-1961 ~ "Marshall Earp keeps the law, first in Kansas and later in Arizona, using his over-sized pistols and a variety of sidekicks. Most of the saga is based loosely on fact, with historical bad guys and good guys, ending up with the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral".

Post Script: It was actually 7 months later when the family returned to Tombstone. They arrived on October 27, 1881, the day after the shootout at the OK Corral.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Into the Wild Blue Yonder VI ~ June 7th to June 10th

We've turned the proverbial corner and headed south on Hwy 101. Like two old team mules we knew our way home and the barn was calling. We love to travel but cherish home base and our friends and neighbors. 

Bit by Bit- a  pastel drawing from artist Wendy Leedy's mule collection- fine art print, signed
Bit by Bit

We left Lincoln City after breakfast and headed to Bandon for the night. We were hoping to get some walks in along the way, but it was colder than a Witch's Patootie along the coast, 54 degrees and 15-20 mph north winds. Too cold to play outside, so we made it up along the way. We stopped at the venerable Sea Hag Restaurant in Depot Bay for clam chowder (a great warmer upper). Next stops were at a couple of our favorite casinos in Florence and North Bend to play a bit. We didn't walk away with any winnings but logged five miles of walking indoors today.

Explored old town Bandon, visited our favorite kitchen store, Bandon Mercantile (we always find a must have there) and found a new addition to the town's landscape. A visual wake up call I'd say.

Got a good night's sleep drifting off to the sounds of the ocean. After breakfast we once again tried a beach walk, but the winds persisted. I am the original weather wuss and was chilled with 5 layers. Even my Nordic viking was caught off guard so after short walk we got back on the road.

The drive from Bandon to McKinleyville, through Redwood National Park is gorgeous any time of year, we took our time and made a few stops along the way. Got into Blue Lake in the late afternoon, had dinner and called it a night. After breakfast we visited with our friends Tom, Linda and Noah for a bit before we hit the road.

Our neighbors Susi and Carol had been taking care of what we call the "upstairs" of the property: watering the gardens, indoor plants, feeding the wild birds and keeping birdbaths full. I had texted Carol we'd be in a couple of days early, the 10th (which is her son Evan's birthday) instead of the 12th. Little did we know what these two would do. Carol let Susi know we were coming in early and she decided we needed some supplies and asked Carol what we ate. Carol put on her thinking cap for a minute and said "Wait, they haven't pick up recycle yet, let me go check the bin." She came up with a list and Susi had the larder stocked before we got in. These two are the cat's meow. 

The icing on the proverbial cake: Shortly after we got in Evan came over with a little ramekin of cheese cake. He had helped his mom make his birthday cheesecake and invited us over to sing Happy Birthday and share. Home, off the road, food in the refrigerator and cheesecake for dinner. It doesn't get much better than that. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Into the Wild Blue Yonder Part IV ~ June 3rd - June 7th

June 3rd and 4th ~ The back roads to Hillsboro and our friend's aerie, high on a knoll, are visual feasts. We arrive to clouds and then a light rain. Coming from northern California, where rain has seldom been seen this year, we are enthralled. What, we have to stay inside? What do you do on a rainy day? Let me think: build a fire, catch up, swap stories, enjoy the view, play cribbage and enjoy Deb's cooking.

She is a master chef and loves cook for friends. There is a small chalkboard to the right of the refrigerator with the menus for the day, for arrival night my favorite, Moroccan Pastilla. We can sit and talk for hours at the counter, and sometimes I even get to help out.

The sun came out and we got a bit of walking in and then took the rest of the day to relax. Visiting Art and Deb is like time out at a B&B Spa. To top it off the sky provided us with a heart.

June 5th and 6th ~ We head for Canby to stay with Rod's niece for a couple of days to help celebrate his grand niece Shawnail's high school graduation. First though we made a stop at Champoeg State Park for a long walk along the river in the cool of the morning. 

Got to Canby Friday afternoon and had lunch at the Backstop Bar and Grill. We went back that evening to have dinner with Rod's sister Debby and nephew Emmett before the graduation ceremony. Those without tickets to graduation sat in the bleachers, those with tickets sat on the football field for the ceremony. It must have been 90 degrees on the field in the evening sun, we had shade and a light breeze up in the bleachers.

On Saturday we helped Dawn and Andrew prepare for the graduation party at their place. The entire day and evening was low key and great fun. Met some more of the family. 

June 7th ~ Breakfast with Dawn and family at the restaurant where Shawnail works. It's been in the 80's and heading for the 90's in Canby, so we are heading for the coast. A little side trip to Domain Drouhin Winery near Dayton to pick up a present and then out to Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde for lunch. 

Domain Drouhin Winery 

Lincoln City was a welcome change: a nippy 61 and foggy, no middle ground in Oregon. Played the penny slots at Chinook Winds where we're staying. Not much luck but plenty of fun on new machines that actually play with you, as in give and take. Tomorrow we head towards home.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wordsmith Series ~ Dancing on the River's Edge ~ July 15, 2015

Choice is instant and final
Choose right and move forward
With confidence
Choose right for minutes at a time
And gain the sensation of flight

The rock you stand upon
Must be connected 
To the rock you flow to
And the choices you plot
Flow ahead of you

Clackamas River 

Slide Rock, Oak Creek Canyon 

And present themselves
As solid and reliable
Before you get there

© Rod Helvey July 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

Into the Wild Blue Yonder III ~ May 31st - June 2nd

May 31st ~ After breakfast we packed up and headed north on Hwy 97 out of Klammath and west on Hwy 62 to Crater Lake and the Rim Overlook. First thing we spot is this structure, a sheltered viewpoint situated on the caldera rim about 900' above the lake. It's called the Sinnott Memorial Observation station.

We really wanted to check it out but the path was still blocked by snow. It was built in 1930, the first structure built in Crater Lake National Park using rough stone masonry construction. It's named for Nicholas J. Sinnott who represented eastern Oregon in the House of Representatives from 1913-1928. As chairman of the House Public Lands Committee he actively supported the park. We got a nice long walk in along the rim. Part of the rim road was still closed due to snow but we did get a bit of exploring in on the west side of the lake. 

Sinnott Observation Overlook

Bluer than Blue 

Crater Lake partially fills a type of volcanic depression called a caldera that was formed by the collapse of a 3,700 m (12,000 ft) volcano known as Mount Mazama during an enormous eruption approximately 7,700 years ago.

Water from melting snow, rain and springs began to accumulate in the massive caldera about 5,000 years ago. Inflow, seepage and evaporation of this closed drainage system now vary less than 3 ft (1 m) per year. In one spot the lake is 1,943 ft (592 m) deep and the average depth is 1,148 ft (350 m). It’s also one of the bluest lakes in the world. Pure water has an intrinsic blue color because it absorbs most of the red wavelengths of light.

We toyed with the idea of staying at the venerable Crater Lake Lodge, but it was too pretentious and overpriced. Decided instead to stay in a cabin at Mazama Village just down the road near the campground. There is a small store and a restaurant within walking distance. Evening included a nice supper, some reading and early to bed. 

June 1st ~ Headed for Bend the back way to pick up Highway 97: south on Hwy 62 and northeast on Hwy 138: Wide open high desert vistas and large ranches. We stopped at the Warm Springs Casino just north of Madras for lunch and found out the back road we wanted to take towards the Metolius River, near Sisters, was not open. Rats, it promised to be an adventure. So we back tracked to Madras on Hwy 97 and then west on Hwy 126 and headed for Sisters for the night. The Best Western Ponderosa was a great spot with log furniture and llamas grazing at the fence line. An easy walk to dinner and back. 

June 2nd ~ Surprising fact for a destination spot, nothing opens in Sisters until 11 am, we couldn't find a restaurant for the life of us. Rod finally spotted a place called Melvin's Fir Street Market and Deli. A great discovery: the owner ran the store and was chief cook and bottle washer. We had the Full Monty: bacon, eggs and smashed potatoes (named for his friend Monty who we got to meet). Also met another character who told us about some morel mushroom gathering spots at the recent burn areas. 

The Metolius River defies basic geology lessons. It literally springs out of the shadow of Black Butte Mountain, on the east flank of the Cascades. The source of the springs is evidently unknown, but it is thought that it might actually be a large drainage basin on the other side of the mountain near Black Butte Ranch. 

A short walk through the woods takes you there

The unusual fault that created Green Ridge is thought to have brought the springs to the surface here. The mountain is a volcano, and a past eruption may have blocked or buried the flowing river as it existed before. The spring flows at a consistent rate of 45,000 to 50,000 US gallons per minute.

The river walk is absolutely magical.

After a delightful morning of exploring the river we head northwest to Hillsboro, OR to spend a few days with friends Art and Deb. Never ones to take a main road we left the Interstate to the fools and explored Hwys 20, 22, 221 and 219 to get there. It's about a 3.5 hour drive from Sisters, but through some beautiful hill country, farms, ranches and small towns. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Into the Wild Blue Yonder, Part II ~ May 29-30, 2015

May 29th:

After breakfast in Chester it's north on Hwy 89 to Lassen. We never tire of the trip, the mountain air and the views. The journey is uncrowded, the weather gorgeous. Times like this we miss the motorhome and camping opportunities. Cooking outside, sitting in front of the campfire, and star watching miles from civilization. 

We saw a number of these at higher altitudes in pine forests. With a little research we discovered they are Sarcodes sanguinea or Snow Plant. It has no chlorophyll and derives nutrition from fungi in the soil. Learn something new every day. 

Highlight of the day was a stop at Manzanita Lake for a walkabout of about three miles. Saw blue herons, osprey, ducks, geese, goslings, and a muskrat. 

Had a picnic outside the Manzanita Lake Store and then drove down to the park's south gate so the Rodster could do a little fishing. I was happy as a clam sitting in the shade reading some of my Grandfather's letters. Late afternoon we continued on Hwy 89 to the town of Burney where we spent the night at a little hotel in town.

May 30th ~ When in Burney you have breakfast at Blackberry Patch. Once packed up we headed to McArthur Burney Falls for some hiking and fishing. 

Flashback: In 1970 I hiked up Berg Lake on Mt. Robson, in British Columbia, with new friends Bobbie and James. It's a 15 mile hike that took us two days. I had my pup Charis with me and he would often take off ahead of us to explore and then come back and check in. 

The Lodge at Berg Lake

While Rod was fishing Burney Creek I was doing much the same. Hiking on ahead and walking back to touch base. I got in 5.5 miles and found some beautiful places to sit in the shade and just be. 

Walking near fallen trees along the trail we heard the unmistakable sound of chewing. Coming up the path from Lake Britton to the campground we heard the same sound, even louder, coming from living trees. The ranger told us it was an infestation pine bark beetles.

From the SF Chronicle March 2015: "Pine trees across the state have been dying off by the thousands due to pine beetles that take advantage of their drought-stressed bodies. The small groupings and vast swaths of dead trees create an especially dangerous fire hazard in already parched conditions..... experts warning that the situation is on track to worsen". Worst of all this isn't just a local problem, it's happening all across north America. What have we humans done?

After a snack we continue north on Hwy 89 and pick up Hwy 97 to do some exploring on the way to Klamath for the night. The Hwy 97 corridor from California through Oregon is visual feast, a legacy of the volcanic activities of the past: outcroppings, gorges, rich farmland, marshes and large ranches follow the road north. We stayed at the Best Western in Klamath and walked a few blocks to dinner. Early to bed, tomorrow we head for Crater Lake. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Only in Sebastopol ~ July 4, 2015

Have a Safe and Sane Day

The Apple Blossom Parade in April marked the debut of the Sebastopol Slow Down Cat created by local artist Patrick Amiot. He's all about recycle, repurpose and reuse.

He felt the portable sculpture could enhance local traffic safety while building further goodwill between the community and the police department. You never know where our Safety Cat is going to show up, but he always brings awareness and a smile. Patrick's sculptures can be spotted all around town and there are a number of them on Florence Avenue, always a fun walk to share with visiting friends. 

For more about Patrick visit his new website at