Fortnight of Transition, Day 3: Keeping the Door Ajar


September 11, 2020-

Much, rightfully, has been said today about the attacks of 19 years ago, and how eerily similar things feel-as cities are continuing to feel the effects of discord and an entire region of the country is reeling from fire.

We, in northern Arizona, are seeing climatic effects of the fires to the west, as smoky air has kept temperatures down and those with breathing issues indoors. Stories of people struggling, of those who have lost loved ones and of others who have lost everything, keep multiplying. COVID is practically an afterthought, though it could burst through and cause additional mayhem, as it did during the ship fire in San Diego, earlier this summer.

Now, the Pacific Coast is seeing something unprecedented-an early fire season, with no indication that it can be brought to heel. People in the large cities are even on a fair alert. Those of us to the east must get ready, then, for an influx of refugees-much as we would if the great faults were to buckle, or the Cascades erupt in fury.

It’s not quite that bad, yet, but mental preparedness is best begun, weeks ahead of a potential mass evacuation. In the meantime, let us also direct our positive energy towards an end to the firestorm and form a plan for bringing our western neighbours to a safe haven.

I say this, having seen a minor version of chaos, when people fled the Louisiana coast, during Hurricane Laura, and safe havens became overwhelmed, within a few hours.

Father’s Day Weekend


June 18-19, 2016, Chula Vista-

Saturday and Sunday were among the best, most bonding days I’ve had with Aram, in a good long while, which is saying something, because we are tight, for two who live such separate lives, in neighbouring states.

It comes down to parenting never being a work of completion.  I bounced things off my Dad, every so often, until he was no longer physically here to approach, for that purpose.  He still makes his views known, though, and I am finally at the point where I sense he is happy with my choices.  I can say the same about my pride in my son.  He has established himself as a valued presence, though his current position is not his life’s work.

Saturday was a day for errands, so we went to the recycling station, which is actually not  from his place, contrary to what their website says. We also found a Michael’s, for some frames he needed.  I was pleased to have found one that fit an off-sized print he had.  Filippi’s, one of my A-List restaurants in San Diego, has a branch in Chula Vista, so we hopped on over there for a sandwich lunch.

Sunday was a scorcher, all over the continent it seems.  I got reports from friends in Ontario, in Florida and in the Midwest, of horrible temps.  We nonetheless enjoyed a forty-five minute revisit to Japanese-American Friendship Garden, in Balboa Park, with a concert featuring the world’s largest carillon pipe organ, in the background.

Given the heat which most people reading this endured yesterday, I present you with various scenes of running water.



The bonsai exhibit is an exception, but it endures with minimal watering.


Aram’s birth sign is water.  H2O has always been his friend.


Here’s a nice view of the Lower Garden pond, which opened in July, 2015.


The water filters along rocks, carefully placed along the downslope.


This mallard was more than glad to stand in pose.


Close your eyes, and imagine Old Japan.


Rocks and flowing water are staples of the Japanese garden.


Small cascades invite one to splash about; though that would be bad form.


Lilies are more common here, than they were a few years ago.


Just how deep are these rocks?

We were suitably inspired by the water scenes, to head straight for the Jamba Juice, in a Chula Vista shopping mall, near the harbour.  Copious amounts of refreshing liquid are always welcome to both our palates.

Dinner was, of course, a buffet- at Zorba’s Cafe, with all my favourite Greek dishes.  This time, though, we both “made do” with about half the offerings.  Less can definitely be more.

I will go philosophical in my next post, which is the 1,000th of this website.  Scenes of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea beachfront, and of San Elijo Preserve’s western lagoon, will help in this effort.  Stay tuned.

The Road to 65, Mile 206: Evergreen Crossings, Day 4- Cascades and Coulees


June 22, 2015, Wilbur, WA- The day started with getting laundry done, in Monroe, at one of the more expensive laundromats I’ve seen in a while.  It uses an Easy Card, so the fare is purchased in advance, for  laundry supplies, washer and dryer.  I did everything in one load,as is my wont, when on the road.

I passed Travelers Park, before turning right onto Highway 2 East.


On the way out of town, I gave a short ride to three people, who my intuition said, correctly, were good risks.  They had no interest in me, other than to know why I was here, from Arizona- a reasonable query of a stranger.  Eight miles further, I let them off, at a place called Gold Bar.

My next stop, however, was a tough little town called Skykomish, which has about 500 people who still support a weekly bus service to Monroe and have their own school district.  It was founded as a rail stop, by routing engineer John Stevens, for whom nearby Stevens Pass is named. This old building used to be Skykomish Hotel.


The rest of the town also has a frontier air about it, still.


I had lunch (leftover lasagna) at a picnic table facing the main street. Then, it was on to Deception Falls.


This popular trail, at the foot of Stevens Pass, offers the three cascades of Deception Creek.


Note the relative purity of the water.


The trees provide variety in the scenery, especially as they lean,


serve as springboard stumps,


or act as nesting pots for new trees.


or, still as a place to drive piles.


Meanwhile,back at the falls:






There was a plenitude of visitors, yet much of the time, I found myself alone, as most people gathered at two overlooks.

The road led next to Leavenworth, not the Federal prison, but the touristy mountain community, about forty minutes from Wenatchee.  The Wenatchee River is a major comfort, for locals and visitors alike.


I stopped just long enough to walk along the river a bit, and to buy some coffee from a local grinder, Square 15.  It was to be a gift for my friends in Reno. The faux Bavarian scene can be taken in small doses.


I stopped in Wenatchee,for about two hours, long enough to marvel at the clear air (compared to the smoke which brought me here in prayerful service, three years ago) and to enjoy a fine Hispanic-fusion meal, courtesy of two friends.


I shall send them some Arizona treats, very soon.

The rest of the evening entailed driving down from the central Cascades, and into the western edge of the Great Basin.  Some outlying areas reminded me of the Great Plains.  There are patches of desolation.


There is a worrisome dryness.


The coulees of the Columbia River, and its tributaries, provide irrigation water, regulated by a series of dams.


One of these is Dry Falls Dam, about a mile south of Grand Coulee.


No, that’s not a fresh-water dolphin, in the river above.

I settled in on a grassy patch, at a little RV park called Country Corners, and slept fairly well, except there was this event called Aurora Borealis, and my tired self couldn’t leap out of the sleeping bag and take a shot or two.  Perhaps one or two of you saw it.