A SoCal Break, Day 2: Crystal Cove

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June 13, 2017, Chiriaco Summit, CA- 

Not that much has come easy to me, over the years, largely because I grew up among impatient peers and had to do things quickly, or not at all.  Fortunately, my parents were a tad more sanguine, and gave me the space to master things at my own speed.

I mention this, because camping, while dear to my heart, has certain aspects, like putting up the tent, that have taken awhile to master.  So, it’s been a wonderful affirmation that my tent has gone up, three times in a row, without a hitch.  I know now that the whole discombobulation thing was a contrivance.  Even with the wind, at San Onofre State Beach, my tent stayed up all night, as did the others.

So, the day dawned with a fine view of the ocean, and I felt a strong sense of confidence.

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Coffee, another morning staple, has always come easier.  Billy the Barrista, at Dana Point’s Crank and Grind Coffee House, put together a superb Cranked Up Americano.  As the name suggests, it’ll get any sluggish beast firing on all cylinders.

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My next impulse was to stop and smell the roses, so up to Doris Walker Overlook, I went.  There is a commanding view of Dana Point Harbor, from this quiet redoubt, and I was able to offer my morning prayers in peace.

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A sea of flowers is complemented by a sea of boats and the Pacific, itself.

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After one further stop, at Corona del Mar public Library, to check my correspondence, it was time to head to Crystal Cove State Park, for a  lunch meeting with a long-time friend.   We have a mutual interest in the fortunes of the California coast, and the cottages of Crystal Cove are among our concerns.  Her news was that the California Coastal Commission had granted Crystal Cove’s Preservation Society permission to renovate the north side’s dilapidated structures.  In real terms, this means drawing blueprints, razing the existing structures, and building replicas.  That is certainly far better than putting up more high rises and condos, which would be a travesty here.

Here are some scenes of the north side cottages.

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After a fine lunch and lengthy catch-up conversation, at the Beachcomber, we walked a bit along the south beach, in search of sea shells.  Those we found were embedded in several rocks.

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Among the rocks which line this section of coast, here are two which are aligned perfectly.

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There were many people enjoying the beach, as one would expect, on so fine a day.  A couple had found the perfect perch, atop a rock that resembled a whale’s head.

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After a couple of hours, it was time to say farewell, and I headed south to Aliso Beach, in the southern part of Laguna Beach, and collected a Ball jar of ocean water, for a grieving friend.  Aliso, too, was packed, and as I was gingerly looking for a parking space, a beach ball sailed into the parking lot in front of me, pursued by a boy of about 10 or 11, just as I hit my brakes.  No one was any worse for the wear, but it reminded me of the TV ad, where a little girl, pursuing a soccer ball, runs pell mell in front of a car- whose brakes are shown to be of superior quality.

The drive from Oceanside, through Vista, Fallbrook, Temecula and overland to Palm Desert, was uneventful, save for a couple of crazed drivers doing 80, on a winding road that safely can support people doing 60, if that.  I always manage to pull off and let them go on their intrepid way, though seldom as quickly as they seem to want.  The second one chose to pass a tractor trailer, on a curve, against a double yellow.  I’d say his luck will run out, sooner or later.

Lastly, here is a scene at Cactus City Rest Area, uphill and east of Coachella.  There are no cacti, at Cactus City, but I had a peaceful supper break.

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Back to Arizona I go, if only for a couple of weeks, before family time ensues.

 

 

A SoCal Break, Day 1, Part 2: Point Vicente

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESJune 12, 2017, San Onofre-   

Since first visiting Palos Verdes Peninsula, west of Los Angeles, a couple of years ago, I have wanted to go back and actually walk a bit, from one of the overlooks, down to the beach and back.  This afternoon, I chose the southern end of the peninsula, at Point Vicente, to make that hike.

The Point Vicente area is the site of a U. S. Coast Guard lighthouse, one of three in southern California- the others being at Point Loma, in San Diego, and at Point Conception, between Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.  As an active Coast Guard facility, it is off limits to visitors, save for a few hours on a certain day of the week.  This was not that certain day.

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Point Vicente does have a lovely Interpretive Center, operated by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.  The small museum, focusing on marine mammals and other aquatic life, is supplemented by a crew of docent volunteers.

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There is also a spacious viewing platform, with a particularly fine view, today at least, of Santa Catalina.

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In between the platform and the island, however, there is much to hold a visitor’s attention.  Beach plum is as plentiful here, as it used to be at the beaches of Massachusetts, when I was a kid.

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Once down to the narrow beach, it is possible to walk for about 1/4 mile, before a field of boulders renders the walk questionable, at least in the eyes of locals.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Small rocks jut out of the open water, as they do all along the Pacific Coast, the result of continuous volcanic activity, over the eons.

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Kelp is also plentiful, though the mollusks which feed on it are much rarer in southern California than they were, even ten years ago.

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The rock below gave me the sense of a stranded turtle, looking seaward.

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Flowering plants, like these daisies, always seem to find a niche, whether on the shore or in the desert.

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I could not remember whether these are hydrangea or Oregon grape.

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Palos Verdes’ trail system is also part of the California Coastal Trail, which “when completed” will provide access to 1200 miles of California shore line, from San Ysidro to the Oregon state line- after which, of course, the Oregon Coast Trail takes over, clear to Astoria.  I’m not getting any bright ideas, mind you, though there were four middle-aged people who made the trek from Crescent City to San Ysidro, in 2003.  The Trump Corporation has even granted an easement across its National Golf Course, south of Point Vicente.

Point Vicente, by the way, got its hybrid name from Captain George Vancouver, after his friend, Friar Vicente, when his ship rounded the peninsula, in 1790.   The connection, then, is with Mission San Buenaventura, some 92 miles to the north northwest.

A good day’s exploration done, I called it a rest, and headed southward, arriving here at San Onofre State Beach, a bit after 7 PM.  Tomorrow will bring a more sanguine visit with a friend of several years and a bit of collecting ocean water.

 

 

A SoCal Break, Day 1, Part 1: Recreation Park

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June 12, 2017, San Onofre, CA-

I am camping at this underutilized state beach, just south of a former nuclear power plant.  The plant’s presence may explain the underutilized part of the equation, but no matter.  Every time I pitch my tent, arrange comfortable bedding and have a pleasant visit, my confidence grows- something that may be hard for many to understand- but it’s been a work in progress, for several years.

My main objective, today, was a hike in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Long Beach and Redondo Beach, in LA County’s South Bay area.   First, though, was a visit to Long Beach, itself. I set out from Indio, where I’d spent the previous night, and where I stretched my legs, this morning, with a 2-mile walk.  It’s fairly mild, across Southern California, though that’s not expected to last.  The I-10 was fairly busy, as it always is, though once past the turn-offs to Riverside and San Diego, traffic thinned significantly.  I enjoyed a stop at one of my favourite eateries:  Gramma’s Country Kitchen, in Banning.   After lunch, and taking CA routes 57 and 22, I was in Long Beach, in less than ninety minutes.

I found myself in a pleasant, but definitely untouristed, part of town- the south side.  On Anaheim Street, there is the large, and multiple use, Recreation Park.  Several young ladies were engaged in a variety of artistic activities, on and around the band shell.  I don’t take photos of people, without their permission, as a rule, so any people seen in the next few photos are strictly incidental.  My main focus in Recreation Park was Yokkaichi Friendship Garden, a small, but heartfelt project, in concert with Yokkaichi, Japan- one of Long Beach’s sister cities.

There are three essentials of a Japanese garden that are evident here:  The open gate, arranged flowers (usually in a semi-circle) and carefully-placed rocks.  A fourth essential element, flowing water, is not present.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I felt a fair amount of serenity, with most of the  “recreationists” very busy with sporting activities and practicing dance routines, elsewhere in the great city park.  Below, see the back of the band shell building.  I did not photograph the dance practice taking place in the front.

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Next up, Palos Verdes’ Point Vicente.

 

 

 

Only In Indio

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June 11, 2017, Indio-

Before leaving Prescott, this afternoon, I called my very inspirational youngest living brother, on the occasion of his birthday.  He’s legally blind, yet has never failed to work, steadily, over the past thirty-five years since his college graduation.  His work has always involved a high level of responsibility, and on he goes.

A nice little brunch party followed my conversation, this one in a lovely garden patio, in Prescott Valley.  The conversation there centered on the fine line between creative thought and following one’s own path, versus the “right” to be willfully disobedient to the institutions of one’s chosen Faith.  I am no one’s idea of a Yes Man, but breaking a covenant is as far from where I want to be, as the proverbial Hell  itself.  The person who conjured thoughts of having one’s own sect, gingerly retreated and hopefully will remain so.  The party continued, a pleasant, lovely affair.

I headed out, towards southern California, around 3:30 PM, successfully avoiding whatever back to LA traffic slog might have ensued.  Dinner at a fine, best-kept-secret place, Nichols West, in the tiny old mining town of Congress, certainly helped in that avoidance.  Run by an acerbic, but somewhat cordial, New Zealander, Nichols offers a variety of burgers with unusual toppings, intense salads, exquisite Mexican fare and a surprising variety of seafood.  I chose the brie & avocado burger, with a modest helping of shoestring fries.  The burger was fabulous, grass-fed beef, crispy bacon and moist, ripe avocado wedges, held together by a generous coating of melted brie.  A lovely, very pleasant team of waitresses didn’t hurt the occasion, either.

I digress, though.  I decided to stop here, at City Center Motel, given that what lies ahead of me is I-10, CA 57 & 22 to Highway 1.  At the end of that jaunt lies Palos Verdes Peninsula, where I will make the hike from a gorgeous overlook, down to the shore.  Then, it’ll be a fair drive, with stops at Long Beach’s pier, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, before securing a spot in one of the state beach campgrounds, en route to Crystal Cove.

“Only in Indio”?  That is an ubiquitous sign, along Hwy. 111, and Business 10.  It alludes to the Coachella Music Festival, held in this area every April.  Then, this area fills to the brim with alt-rock lovers from all over.  Now, however, it’s a cool night in June.  Motel rooms cost less than $ 100 per night, and I gratefully parked my carcass in a nice one.

It happens, in Indio, that one can walk, safely, along the 111, for two miles, and not find anywhere, other than an AM/PM., to get a cup of coffee.  This is, as much as anywhere else in southern California, a city designed for the automobile, while those whose fortune, or whose choice, it is to be without wheels, manage to walk along wide and well-kept sidewalks, taking the time they need to get from A to B.  Somehow, I enjoy being among them, walking the flat surface of the Colorado Desert cityscape.

Now, it’s bedtime.  I pray for a little boy who didn’t survive a beat-down, allegedly at the hands of his stepfather.  It’ll take some time before I can pray for the stepfather, and all I can do right now is resolve to be ever better at being kind and loving to those children I, myself, encounter, every day.

May Beetles, June Bugs

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May 31, 2017, Prescott- 

This has been a grueling, yet vital, month.  In retrospect, though, the transition that has arisen as one of the options I must consider, over the summer, has been bubbling up from the magma flow, for quite some time.

I am likely to hang on to this apartment, for at least the rest of 2017, although rents in this area tend to command 60-70% of the fixed portion of one’s income, thus making it essential to be able to earn one’s keep, above and beyond government checks.  This is as true of “senior” apartments, as it is of the general housing stock.  The other factor is that the chief of our department will need some time to sort out who should work in what capacity.  Although this is hardly an employer’s job market, when it comes to the well-being of children, standards need to be maintained.  This, I understand and support, while being one who poses no threat to any child.

All the while, as I mentioned to an online friend, in a comment, this morning, I am continuously building a network of solid contacts, across the continent, and abroad, so that, even if I am relegated to staying in legitimate campgrounds, in the not-too-distant future, I will be able to hold my head up, engage in acts of service, and earn my way.  I had hoped that this would wait until I reached age seventy, but the Universe moves as it will, and we have to maintain some flexibility.

So, May ends, with me being halfway done with the task of clearing our overgrown back yard, and having been able to serve my Lord, in a few small ways.  June beckons, starting with taking care of an important errand in Phoenix, combined with a small act of service.  I will then complete the yard work; downsize my possessions; go to  Hopi land, for a weekend visit; go to southern California the weekend after, on another errand of service; and toward month’s end, take part in a Baha’i Summer School, at Bellemont, west of Flagstaff.

May slogged along, though not for naught.  June will blaze on out, and I hope to have some sense of accomplishment, when heading to Ventura, Santa Barbara, Carson City and cross country, after Bellemont.

 

Single- Track Through Paradise

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May 28, 2017, Cave Creek-

I have now gone from one point of angels to another, meaning from Superior to Cave Creek, via Globe and the Apache Trail.  This road (AZ Highway 88) is mostly single track, offering enough room for vehicles heading one way to pass, whilst those going in the opposite direction wait their turn.  It’s good for people to do this, at least a few times in their lives.  I last drove the AT, in 1983, with Penny in tow.  She was petrified and made me promise never to bring her there again. Today, she and my other spirit-minders made sure I paid close attention.  With scenes like the one below, it might not have been so easy, had my main focus not been on the well-being of everyone on the road, including yours truly.  Fortunately, there were also plenty of turn-outs.

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There are two lakes along the Apache trail, between Roosevelt Dam and Goldfield. Here is a view of Apache Lake.  When I taught at Villa-Oasis School, in the late 1970’s, this was one of the places groups of kids were sent for camping weekends.

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Imagine how the Salt River must have flowed, before these reclamation projects took root.

At Fish Creek Hill, I drove up a 10% grade, made doable by the dryness of the road, and the cautious courtesy of all comers.  One is rewarded at the top, by  amazing views of the Superstition Wilderness.

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Fish Creek Canyon looks like a fun place to hike and camp- in November.

I drove on, and found the pavement had resumed, about 1 1/2 miles west of the overlook.  So did one young man behind me, who chose to pass, on a double yellow line, in a 15-MPH curve zone.  The look on the face of the driver who had to stop and wait for him was classic.  I would not want to be on approaching driver’s bad side. Itchy Foot was the only one who broke courtesy, on the 44-mile drive.

I stopped at Tortilla Flat, a small tourist haven, close to Lost Dutchman State Park, in the heart of the Superstition Wilderness.  Siphon  Draw and Boulder Canyon are two popular hiking trails, accessible from Tortilla Flat.  Again, late Fall and early Spring are the best times for this area.  Tortilla Flat does offer a wide variety of cool treats, and I thoroughly enjoyed a sarsaparilla float.

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Back in  1900’s Arizona,, sidewalks, and even some roads, were made of planks.

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Having had a nice relaxing break, I headed on towards Apache Junction, then up through the Valley, to pay my Memorial Day respects to Penny.

There is one more attraction on the Apache Trail, before one gets to Goldfield (another, slightly more upgraded “ghost town”),  This is Canyon Lake.

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Each of the lakes and vista points along the Apache Trail is worth a day or two, in comfortable weather.  People, nonetheless, go there, even in the heat of summer, at least where there is water.  Looking back, I spent most of my summer days in and around water, as a child and young adult, so the appeal is a no-brainer.  It beats being inside.

I stopped at the Cemetery, anchored Penny’s flag, and one other, and thought of how fortunate I’ve been, with her presence, since 1980, and since 2011.

As I pulled up to Local Jonny’s, a lovely young woman, who seemed to be an advanced medical or law student, given her heavy briefcase, was securing her dog’s leash to the gatepost.  There weren’t many inside, so  Alicia was  glad I stopped in, and in ten minutes, I had the last of her pitcher of iced tea and a cilantro chicken salad was placed in front of me.  Jonny’s salads are good for two meals, so I have Monday’s lunch in my cooler, as the drive back to Prescott begins.

Having angels surrounding me, in all directions, including above, is a comforting state of affairs.  Oh, and an e-mail from the chief of department leaves the door to my staying in Prescott ajar, at least.

 

 

 

 

Tonto National Monument and Roosevelt Lake

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May 28, 2017, Roosevelt, AZ-  The day started with a wait to check out of  Copper Mountain Motel, Superior.  It was uncertain whether Ms. Amy would be up and at ’em, as stuff was going around, and had stopped at her doorstep, yesterday.  Well, she was over it, by 8:15.  I checked out of my superb room, with its reminder of what we are, as a nation.

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Globe, and breakfast, were next.  I spent about an hour with John and the dogs, watching as a hapless, and hopeless, individual ran over John’s flush hose, while trying to park at the RV clean-out station.  Some folks are worse off than I am, it seems.  We found the Copper Hen to be closed, so it was off to Judy’s Cook House, on the west end of town.  A few billowing clouds showed that the Pinal Fire was still a threat to the area, but was yet far from structures.  I heard nothing from the Red Cross, all day, so the fire is apparently being kept away, on this end.  Judy’s gave us a satisfying breakfast, and after solving a few of the world’s, or at least Globe’s, problems, John had to go straight back to customer service, at the Batting Cage, and I was on to Tonto National Monument, and Roosevelt Lake.

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The Batting Cage and RV Park are across the tracks from Globe Station.  Trains aren’t very frequent, these days.

Roosevelt Lake was named for Teddy, who of course had much to do with the reclamation of the West, as well as establishing places like Tonto National Monument.  It is visible from several points along the trail to the Lower Tonto Ruins, as well as offering four different recreation points.  The northernmost of these has a Visitor’s Center, which is closed for the holiday weekend.  The second photo below shows the marina near the Visitor’s Center.

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Now, more about Tonto National Monument.  Here is a glimpse of the Upper Ruins, which are closed until November, due to the heat factor.  It takes 3-4 hours, roundtrip, for the guided tour.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Lower Ruins trail is open year round, so I enjoyed that area, as well as the indoor exhibits.  As I said earlier, views of Roosevelt Lake are plentiful from the trail.  The Huhugam, and the Salado people who replaced them, made good use of the then-free flowing Salt River, whose waters comprise Roosevelt, Apache and Canyon Lakes.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are some views of Lower Tonto Ruins.  Much of the wooden beams and braces are the original mesquite and ash used by the Salado people, in their construction.

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Caliche, a calcium-based clay, is sticky when wet and hard as concrete, once dry.  It was the prime building material for the Salado people.

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The docent told us that these beams are original Salado work, dating from 1150, or thereabouts!

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Nooks and crannies abound, in the Lower Ruins.

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There certainly seems more room in this complex, than in the Huhugam dwellings at Tuzigoot and Pueblo Grande.

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Below, is a kitchen cave.  Note that mano and metate are both caliche.

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Amaranth was one of the Salado people’s staple foods.  It is the bright red plant shown below, and was also used in dyes.

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Having had a brief, but brisk, hike up to the ruins and back, I headed towards Roosevelt Bridge and Dam, two miles further north. The Dam was dedicated by its namesake, Theodore Roosevelt, in March, 1911.

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The Bridge was completed, and opened, in October, 1990, after eighty years of vehicles being driven atop the dam.  Penny and I did so in 1983, and after we continued on to Apache Junction, via AZ Route 88, she made me promise never to do that again, with her in the car.  You will learn why, in the next post.

 

 

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XXXII: Art Town Serenade

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May 8, 2017, Cave Creek-

In my thirty-three years of Arizona life, I had never been to the oft-celebrated, sometimes kitschy, seemingly quiet but artfully shimmering oasis that is downtown Cave Creek.  The southwest is filled with these kinds of places.  I live in one, and have been to several others.  Each has its share of solid, hardworking artistes, and several have kitsch galore.

After a routine dental check-up, I got a message to visit here, whilst at my beloved’s grave.  These notions almost always lead me to a special place, and to increased personal insight.  Today was no exception.

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Local Jonny’s is at the south end of a one-mile stretch that makes up Cave Creek’s arts and entertainment district, aka “downtown”.  It’s attached to “world-famous” Flat Tire Bike Shop, so one could have his bike fixed, whilst savouring a breakfast burrito and cup of delectable brew-of-choice, or carry a cup of java around, whilst selecting her very next entry into Tour de France.

When it was my turn to order, the counter attendant, Hannah, looked me in the eye, as if to say, “It’s about time you showed up !”, and cheerfully took my order.  She had a large, exquisite, Flat Tire Burrito and sumptuous coffee on my table, within five minutes. Jonny’s is one of those places, like The Raven Cafe, Marino’s and Two Mamas, in Prescott, Macy’s European Coffee House and Toasted Owl, in Flagstaff, and Sun Flour Market, in Superior, where if one feels not at home, it’s not the fault of the house.  The ladies told me that Cave Creek is just that kind of place, as a whole, from end to end.

After my early lunch, it was time to check out the A & E.  Cave Creek reminds  me, a lot, of Bisbee, Mesilla Park and Laredo, in the number of metallic art shops, selling all manner of animal figures, made from cast-off  steel, iron and copper.

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Disneyesque Frontier Town opts for wooden figures.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Essentially, the love and sense of fun, that is exuded here, is not to be bottled up and stored in a cave.

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So, I found that Local Jonny’s, and a dozen other places around town, could easily answer the question posed by another visitor:

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I’ll be back, time and again.

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XXVI: Three Bounties

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April 22, 2017, Globe, AZ- This Earth Day will long be remembered, to the core of my being, if for no other reason than being welcomed by a new, and  wonderful, friend, as she and her employer were trying to get set up for their busy Saturday.

I thought SunFlour Market was open at 8, but as the owner-chef, Willa, pointed out, the shop opens at 9.  It helps to check the website.  No harm, no foul- I was given a heaping plate of  the most savoury biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had, and stayed out of their way, while set-up continued.  I will be a semi-frequent visitor to this unassuming gem, over the next few months, at least.  It may well be that I become a regular, starting in August, but that’s to be decided in a month or two.

Kathy and Willa welcome their patrons with lots of love and good cheer.  As another example, a young couple came in, for a salad breakfast.  The ladies fussed over the vegetables, for a good twenty minutes, making certain only the best  produce went onto the plates.  The husband pronounced their meal, ” Some of the best food I’ve had, in Arizona.”

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There is also a mini-Farmers Market,  Saturdays, 9-1,from October-May.  The summer market is in Globe, 23 miles, and 1,000 vertical feet, to the east.

I spent a couple of hours in Globe, as well, given that another devoted friend has recently moved to the copper-mining mecca.

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John and I went to another well above-average restaurant, The Copper Hen, for a reasonable, and well-appointed, dinner.  The fare is Mediterranean (Italian and Greek), with the hours being definitely European. (There is a 2 1/2  hour break, between lunch and dinner.)  Rooster and hen motifs abound, but this is not a chicken-oriented menu.  The beef, ham, fish and vegetarian dishes are every bit as wonderful.

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In between the two visits, I took a 1 1/2 hour drive over to Safford, an agricultural community, in the Gila River Valley.  The region was having its first ever Multicultural Festival. It was a small, but heartfelt, effort, and I certainly hope it is repeated, fo ryears to come.  I focused on two events:  A martial arts demonstration, by a dojo of local youths and a talk on African storytelling, by an Arizona State University professor.

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This mighty girl did break the slab, in three blows.

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The presentation on African storytelling clarified several peoples’ misconceptions about why many African-Americans communicate, in the manner they do.  One example is that Africans, traditionally regard timeliness as “in its time”, rather than “on time”.  Another is that the African worldview sees no dichotomy between spiritual and physical.

Below, the presenter, Dr. Akua Duku Anokye, reads a short passage from an African folktale.

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Here is a slide, explaining the gist of her talk.

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I must have some of this, in my gene pool, as doing things “in their time” means more to me than “being on time.”

 

All good days come to an end, to make way for other good days.  The sunset over Globe bore witness to that truth.

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With these bounties, I am refreshed and ready for a Sunday of yard work and around-town tasks, then a solid work week.  I will return, to Superior at least, on May 6.  Have a great day, one and all.

 

 

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XXIV: The “First Home” Coast

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April 17, 2017, Prescott-   Last, but never least, on my recap of what has mattered most to me, in jaunts around the contiguous United States, are the special places that are on, or within a few hours of, the Atlantic Coast.

I’m a native of Massachusetts, so the places and people of Boston and the North Shore have had the most direct influence on the me that you see.  My special places in Saugus are still the Ironworks (now Saugus Ironworks National Historic Site), Breakheart Reservation, the Marsh (near where my middle brother lives) and anywhere along the old rail path, now a Rails to Trails hiking and biking route.  Kowloon and Prince Spaghetti House are still around; Hilltop Steak House and Augustine’s Italian Restaurant are not.

Lynn and Nahant still mean The Beach, and as a teen, I went to Fireplace 10, as that was where Saugus kids hung together.  The evening before I was to ship out for VietNam, I was with two of my mates at The Beach.  A rent-a-cop wanted to haul me in, for “being bombed”. I had had two sips of a 12-0z. can of Budweiser.  His sergeant heard my story of being about to head for the war zone, and let us go, with the comment, “Next time I see YOU here, is a year from now, right?”  “Yes, sir.”

There are almost as many beaches, along the Coast, as there are rent-a-cops.  Crane’s Beach was the site of one of my part-time jobs, after the Army.  Yep, I was a rent-a-cop.  I tried to arrest an Ipswich Selectman (town councilman) for being drunk and disorderly.  Guess how that worked out.  My favourite beach is still Hampton, NH- it had the biggest waves, when I was a kid.  Salem, Marblehead, Newburyport  and all of Cape Ann (Gloucester area) are my favourite seaport towns.  Gloucester House and Woodman’s (Essex) are fave seafood places, with Kelly’s, in Saugus, good as well, especially for take-out.

The rest of New England certainly has featured prominently, from childhood, on.  The White Mountains and Cape Cod were yearly fixtures of our family summers.  Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island were places where I got my toes wet, in terms of ferry trips and island adventures.  I didn’t get up to Maine much, except to Aunt Marie’s dairy farm, in Eliot, just over the New Hampshire line.  Now, I’ve been all over the Pine Tree State.  Cadillac Mountain, Kingfield, Moosehead Lake and coastal York County are all special areas.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, I used to enjoy Larrison’s Chicken Farm, near Bedminster, NJ, until it closed.  The diners of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, like the Mark Twain, on Hwy 22 (aka the Death Trap-the road, not the dining spot), and Bedford Diner, off the PA Turnpike, remain close to my heart, though my doc would prefer I leave such places in the rear view mirror.  Annapolis and Cumberland are  intensely special places, at either end of little Maryland.

I have fond memories of the great cities- Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington have all been kind, when I have either passed through, or had extended stays.  Boston Public Library is one of a kind as an edifice, and rules, as a grand place of public learning; so, too, does the Library of Congress.  I have had mixed experiences in DC- the security force, in the Bush II Era, gave us, and those near us, an unpleasant time, in July, 2007.  When I next visited the Nation’s Capital, in 2011 and 2014, all was delightful.

The Southeast is not as deeply ingrained in me, as the rest of the Atlantic Coast.  There are some special spots, though-  Martinsburg, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Hilton Head, St. Simons,  Savannah,Okefenokee and St. Augustine are this solo traveler’s  “feels like home”.  The Atlanta and Tampa areas have family, so they are built-in magnets.

Florida, south of The Villages, remains a mystery to me.  At some point, I will solve that puzzle.  Charleston (SC), Baltimore, Delmarva and the Hampton Roads area are, likewise, places that will get special attention, sooner or later.

Well, that’s it, for now.  I’m back to work, tomorrow and will be back in eastern AZ, next weekend.  Have a great post-Easter week, one and all!