Sunday, June 29, 2014

Another Hiking Day

Although I had gone for a hike yesterday, I accepted Kevin's invitation for a hike this morning.

The hike was a series of forest trails on Mingus Mountain.

It was a long steep grade going up. Of course, that meant there was a long steep grade going down again.

The terrain is mostly chaparral with ponderosa pine, pinon pine and alligator juniper. Some of the alligator junipers were huge and no doubt centuries old. Most would have provided some great gnarled specimens for the photos I took. However, with other trees and brush in the scene, I could never get the stark beauty of those ancient trees.

The branching of this dead tree against the blue sky was a good second to my original hope.

Look close and you might see Kevin sitting on a rock in the shade removing a rock from his shoe. At least he had a rock to sit on. Early in the hike, somehow I managed to get a thorn in my shoe poking mid foot. Without a sitting rock, I sat on the trail and removed the offending thorn.

Other than rocks and thorns in shoes, it was an uneventful but enjoyable hike.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Amusing Email Spam

We all get internet spam of one sort or another. No doubt we all have received a forward -- that has been debunked on the Snopes site. These forwards are from friends and acquaintances who should be more skeptical and do internet research before forwarding. The most recent forward from a road acquaintance was the "Proposal for the 28th Amendment". I am not sure how long it has been going around the internet, but I have seen it several times from well meaning acquaintances over the past five years -- perhaps more. Nothing dies on the internet.

This time it wasn't a forward, it was an email. I didn't get upset by this email. I found it very amusing. Actually humorous.
Hello Sir / Madam,

This is  Mr. Kevin Avery, regards to your company to order some Barbed Wire Roll. Kindly email me back with the types you have in stock and the type of payment you do accept then we can proceed on with the order ASAP.

 Looking forward to hear back from you soon.Thank You.

Best Regards,
Mr. Kevin Avery.
Even though "Kevin Avery" sounds like an American/English name, apparently English wasn't the author's first language.

The more humorous part was Avery's desire to purchase a "Barbed Wire Roll". From the demand side, how many people with internet access have a need to purchase barbed wire. From the supply side, how many individuals who actually deal in barbed wire would have gotten this email.

Wondering further, I wonder why my name was selected to receive this email of the millions of email addresses available. The only connection to my space on the internet and barbed wire is a post from five years ago -- June 2009. I had found a wire spool for barbed wire on a hike and mentioned it in a post.

It was a good day. Entertainment came via an amusing email.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Awaiting The Rains

The Prescott area is laced with hiking trails. With the available options, it may be a while before I repeat some of the hikes.

A year ago, the Yarnell fire claimed 19 lives of a fire fighting hot shot team from Prescott. Memorials of those who died can be found in many places from downtown to the hiking trails.

This memorial was on the Goldwater Lake Trail. Within the center of the heart and barely visible is the number 19.

The risk of fire from a lightening bolt is a very real threat considering the very dry conditions. After a relatively dry and mild winter, the summer monsoons are awaited with anticipation.

On one of the several hikes I took, I stopped to chat with a couple who were seated on a rock by an area that should have been a small creek. They commented to me that in the 35 years they have lived in Prescott, this is the first time they were at this creek and there was no water.

With lots of hiking trails, hiking will be an every other day event awaiting the summer monsoon rains.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Red Arrow

Seeing Red Arrow on this business in Prescott caused a recollection of Morrison Wisconsin memories from 50+ years ago.

The Red Arrow sign reminded me of a very small country tavern about a quarter mile from the farm where I grew up. Prior to the Red Arrow Inn, it was Dodge's tavern. Dodge was a nickname because he was a "Dodge" man. A life long bachelor, Dodge lived in the back half of what may have been a building measuring 20 feet square. Inside was running water, but the restroom was an outhouse. With about eight stools, it was enough to support Dodge for most of his life.

The tavern was located at the intersection of Wisconsin State Highways 32 and 96 about a half mile from the farming village of Morrison on Highway 32. (Today County Highway W).

Wisconsin State Highway 32 is designated the "32nd Division Memorial Highway".  The shoulder patch of the 32nd Infantry Division was a red arrow.

Since the Red Arrow Memorial Highway passed by the front door of this country tavern, the Red Arrow Inn was a logical name chosen by the new owner. The Red Arrow Inn was also where I practiced the craft of bar tending. Since I already had a job, I am not sure why I wanted to tend bar. It didn't last long before I let the license lapse.

Tending bar at the Red Arrow Inn was an easy job. It was mostly beer with the rare call for hard liquors. One requested drink was a Boiler Maker -- a shot glass of whiskey and a glass of beer as a chaser. Ouch.

Subsequent visits to the Red Arrow Inn were as an infrequent customer with University studies taking priority.

I was younger. ambitious and no body pains. The Red Arrow brought back great memories.

How about a comment to relate your memory of the Red Arrow Inn at Morrison Wisconsin.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Train Hopping

Thirty years after Ted Conover wrote Rolling Nowhere, Conover shared the experience of riding the rails with his son. There were no Google maps or smart phones in the early 80s.

Riding the rails in the 21st century was a very different experience as Conover relates this latest riding the rails in an Outside article Rolling Nowhere Part Two.

Rolling Nowhere was originally published in 1984. My mini review of Rolling Nowhere can be read at Riding The Railroads. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hike Workout

Most of the recent hikes in Tucson (2400 ft elevation) were almost flat walks of 3-5 miles. This hike in the Prescott area began at a trail head at 6000 feet. Since I wasn't accustomed to this altitude, I huffed and puffed (and an occasional rest) to the first high point at 6500 feet. More high points on this hike were to follow.

Hiking through chaparral, juniper and pinon pine, it was a very different hike from those most recent hikes in Tucson. Although this area is out of the desert, there are varieties of cactus that exist here.

Easily identified is the alligator juniper. Who named this an alligator juniper. Was the guy from Florida and home sick. It sure doesn't remind me of alligator.

Moving up a ridge, a recent fire (less than three years) was quite evident with several ghosted trees. Nature didn't stop being natural. There were wild flowers. New shoots came from the base of burned shrubs and agave plants.

With a stiff wind blowing from the southwest, it tough on some parts of the narrow trail. Soon it was time to head back and downhill to the trail head. 

Although only a three mile round trip hike, these steep hills provided a good work out.

No doubt there will be more.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

No Doubt A Great Story

I will never know what the story might be.

Driving in Prescott Valley along highway 69, I was able to catch a photo of this car heading ahead of me. There was too much traffic to catch up and soon the car was through the next traffic light.

It appears to be an early 1950s Buick sedan. The car hadn't seen a coat of paint in a many years. Note the exhaust pipe on the right side. The history to this car must have included some customizing. Was the job finished or is this a work in progress.

Then there is the surfboard atop the car. Prescott is a long way from any serious surfing. I doubt the nearby lakes would produce enough of a swell on a windy day to make for good surfing. However, I really don't know.

Perhaps that surfboard atop a car in Arizona is a good conversation starter. The surfboard may make it also easier to find the car in a crowded parking lot.

I may never know the story unless I have the good fortune to cross paths in Prescott in the next couple of months.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Eat Butter

For decades the standard recommendation was to exclude saturated fat from your diet. Forty years later the headline on the cover of Time says to Eat Butter.

Finally. The science of fat has gotten some attention.

However, it will take a long time for people to get the message. There have been decades of brain washing about the hazards of saturated fats. It has become truth for too many people. That includes doctors. Changing belief is not easy.

Yup. Eat butter.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

No Home In Tow

I recalled the last 13 years of travel when my home was always with me. This first trip from Tucson without my home in tow meant packing for this trip. I was bound to forget an item or two. I did.

The trip north from Tucson meant stressful travel through Phoenix. I don't recall being so stressed when I was driving my truck and trailer when passing through Phoenix over the past ten plus years. In those nomadic years, I drove 55 to 60 in the slow lane and don't recall being stressed. Now that I have a car that can zip along at suggested speed limits, it seems I am in competitive mode keeping up with the traffic.

Something over 200 miles from Tucson, I made my arrival at a park model at Orchard Ranch in the Prescott Valley. This will be my base while exploring Prescott Valley and beyond. Chino, Cottonwood, Sedona and Jerome  will be some of the places that I will visit. That along with some hikes should keep me occupied.

As a new park model, I was the first renter.  By late afternoon, the untested  A/C was finally blowing cold air. I didn't care about the TV they were in the process of installing.  The good part is that the non-stick cookware hasn't been abused. As the first renter, there are no left overs from previous renters. That meant a trip to the grocery to stock the kitchen and buy some items -- including toothpaste -- I forgot when I packed.

This is the new life traveling without my home in tow. I miss it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Packing Day

Planning and packing for three months away from home is not easy. It's been stressful for this guy who rarely has a stressful moment.

The three month destination is a park model near Prescott (Arizona) at Orchard Ranch RV Park. The unit is furnished with the basics. So I am bringing hiking stuff, clothes (not the entire collection of Hawaiian shirts), cameras, computer stuff and items for the kitchen.

For the past two weeks, I have been eating down the contents of the refrigerator. The remaining items and condiments will fit comfortably in the 28 quart cooler for transport to the refrigerator at Orchard Ranch.

This packing for a move to another location would not be a problem if my home was on wheels. That was the way it was just six months ago. Just hitch up and move to the new location. 

However, that was the previous chapter of my life. Now as I make this temporary move, I have a packing day.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Camel Riding

Not me this time. But I did find some one who would "... rather be camel riding". Spotted this license plate guard at the trail head at Saguaro East National Park.

Wondering if camel riding could be done in the Tucson area, a search of the internet indicated the Phoenix zoo provided camel rides.

Been there. Did that. On an Australian visit many years ago, I had the opportunity to ride a camel. I prefer riding a horse.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

No Statins

This has become a mantra on this blog. I keep hoping to have others (maybe just one) rethink their decision to take statins because their doctor prescribed them.

In the last couple of days, I found more articles to corroborate my long standing contention that statins do more harm than good.
For close to 20 years, my primary doctor had frequently prescribed statins for my elevated cholesterol. I would take the drug for a short time (less than a month) as I researched cholesterol and the issue of taking statins.

After one of those visits to the doctor and the subsequent research. I posted Just Say No summarizing the results of my research.

No thanks to statins, I was able to drop the cholesterol levels. It was a change in diet.

At the beginning of 2012, I eliminated all grains (breads, pasta, pastries, etc.)** from my diet. Six months later at a health physical, the LDL numbers were down by 50 points from the previous year. Living Without Drugs was the result of those first six months of paleo eating.

A year later in 2013, the LDL dropped another 30 points. Later this year there will be a health physical and the usual blood tests to check on cholesterol levels.

Nothing changes for me. I will eat butter. And no statins.

**It isn't just the gluten that causes problems for me. Any whole grain with the husk intact (wild rice, brown rice, flax seeds, etc.) also results in heart burn.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Reality TV

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." -- Groucho Marx

"When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland."  -- Newton N. Minow

That quote from Minow was given to the National Association of Broadcasters in 1961. Over 50 years later, there is more TV programs over hundreds of channels. And the TV programming has only gotten worse.

For those of you who read my blog, you are aware that there has been no TV in my life for many years. Prior to that, there may have been a TV in my home. However,  I was never much of a TV watcher. TV was too passive with little action or thought on my part. I couldn't even question or get clarification from the TV talking head.

Ray Jason's essay Reality TV Is Unreal is a great piece describing the current state of TV. He does a much better job describing the state of TV in 2014.

My blog reader list includes The Sea Gypsy Philosopher -- Ray Jason. Jason lives full time aboard a sail boat. His essays are always an enjoyable read.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Observing At Starbucks

After the end of the barista's shift, he stands in line ahead of me. Making small talk as we wait, he decides that he is going to treat me my tea. I argued the offer. I wondered if he was a trust fund baby. He said that he was. Was he putting me on. Really. From California, he had gone to school at the UofA and then stayed in Tucson. For something to do, he worked at Starbucks. Perhaps. It is a nice story.

Of those that come inside to get their coffee rather than using the drive through lane, dress for men is construction attire to white shirt and tie.

The ladies wear a variety of outfits from the latest fashions to the latest thrift store recycles. A memorable sighting was a tall gal in a skimpy black dress with six inch heels. Hope she had a desk job.

It is interesting that as lady's fashions became skimpier and shorter, men fashions became baggier and longer. The shorts come to mid calf. May as well wear long pants.

Now that summer is here, bare arms and shoulders show a variety of tattoos. From a single tattoo to those with tattoos from shoulder to wrist. Too much ink. A single tattoo is an example of "less is more."

Then there are the hair styles and color I have spotted at Starbucks. Does hair come in those colors. Orange. Green. Red.

At another Starbucks on another day, there was the guy who had a blue beard and mustache. Considering the original Blue Beard was a serial killer, I am not sure what message the guy was sending.

For some, Starbucks is the office. Sure looks like an office as they stare into their computer creating documents and making or answering phone calls.

Once in a while, two or three people will come in together and actually sit and chat with each other.

Then there are other singles like myself who buy a beverage and take a seat to use the free wi-fi. Others are reading on their gadgets. Some patrons are actually reading a real book -- or a newspaper.

Then there is the guy in a Hawaiian shirt with an almost shaved head who stares into a tablet device. Oops. That's me. No colored hair. No tattoos. How unusual. Is that what others see. Or is there scant notice.

What do others observe when they see me.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Snake Spotted

Today's predicted temperature was 108 degrees. 107. 108. 110. Whatever. Anything over 100 degrees is hot. Since I was already awake at 5:30, I was on the trail shortly after six. In the shade of the Rincon Mountains, it was cool enough to put on another layer to retain some body heat. About a mile into my hike and warmer air temp, the layer was removed.

Noting hiker footprints on the trail, I was the first hiker on the Garwood Trail. Not sure what I expected at that early hour.

On that early morning hike, I spotted cottontails, jack rabbits, and four mule deer.

On the return to the trail head was when I met the first hikers. About a hundred feet further is when I noted the track of a snake in the path. Just off the path is where I saw the coach whip snake in a vertical position resting against a dead saguaro.

Without the pink underbelly, I would not have seen him. Resting vertically on the dead saguaro might have given it greater solar benefit. Just a thought.

Considering how frequently I hike, I am surprised -- and pleased -- that I have not been scared by a rattlesnake this season. Spotting the coach whip was the high light for this hike.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Trying To Adapt

Long time locals say that the first summer in Tucson is the hardest. I'm not going to stay all summer to find out.

The last couple of days of May already had temps over 100 degrees. There are more hot days to come. Tucson predictions are for over 100 degree temps until June 15 when I head to higher elevations -- and cooler temps -- at Prescott.

I am adapting to Tucson's daily high temps. On hiking days I am on the trail before the sun rises over the Rincons -- long before six. Temperatures are in the 70s. By the time I am back at the trail head, it is much warmer and time to head home for a shower and breakfast -- or lunch.

On those days when I am not hiking, all exploring is done before lunch and the afternoon heat.

After a lunch at home, I read a book until it is time for an afternoon nap.

I have to remember why I settled in Tucson. It was the nine months of good weather.

Yes. I will adapt to those summer months when the temperatures are over 100 degrees.