No Frozen Hearts


February 17, 2019, Banning-

It was a fairly pleasant morning and early afternoon on the Orange County coast, with stops at San Clemente and Dana Point.  The first was to check out the beach and surf, after noting, from the highway, that the beach further down, in San Onofre, was cluttered with organic debris.

San Clemente Beach was occupied by a few True Believers, and was just barely safe for them to try surfing.  The outing lasted for less than ten minutes, though, as the boogie boarders observed a pretty strong undertow.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES



A TV News reporter, at Ocean Beach, in San Diego, reported that “The sea is agitated”.  True enough, when recognizing that the planet, and its components, are living entities and that there are consequences to mistreatment.

I later had a nice lunch, at Harpoon Henry’s, in Dana Point, with a long-time friend.  During our wide-ranging conversation, her lifetime of watching the changes in southern California’s climate revealed just how disconcerting the increasing dryness is, on the ground.  I have a number of friends in southern California and have long watched, with alacrity, the effects of drought on the region.  Lake Cachuma, near Santa Barbara, her home town, has been a focal point of her watch, as it provides for much of Santa Barbara’s water supply.  Its ups and downs have been a concern of mine, as well as the levels in nearby Lake Casitas-and Lake Mead, for that matter.

After bidding her farewell, I made an easy drive on Hwy. 76 to I-215 and Murrieta, where another friend and her family welcomed me for a catch-up session.  Come to find out, their extended family members are the owners and operators of Outlaw Donuts, one of my favourite spots in Prescott.  One of the gratifying things of my life has long been that, no matter the outside temperature, or the circumstances of the world, I can go just about anywhere and find a friend with whom to pass the time- and that there are often few degrees of separation between one friend and another.

It’s chilling, and quite gloomy, weather-wise, in this town at the base of the San Jacinto range, but this room at Sunset Motel is toasty and I will get a warm welcome tomorrow morning, at Gramma’s Country Kitchen-which I’ve visited several times, over these past eight years.  The drive back to Home Base ought to be interesting:  Eight inches of snow are reported on Prescott’s west side.

I know there are no frozen hearts in my life, though.



The 2018 Road, Day 1: Prescott to Carson City


May 27, 2018, Carson City-


One of my consistent stops, on this particular drive, is to check on the condition of Lake Mead,  a major reservoir of the Colorado River system.



As you can see, the lake’s level is rather low.  In a good year, the lake’s water level would be above the first shoreline ridge.  It’s been quite a while since the last good year.

I began my journey around 9:20 this morning, then drove to West Side Lilo’s, in Seligman, a town about 1  1/2 hours northwest of Prescott.  A Lilo’s breakfast is sufficient for the entire day, so I would need nothing but a bowl of salad, once I got to Carson City, 11 hours later.

I topped off with gas in Kingman, and after the brief welfare check of Lake Mead, zipped through Las Vegas, stopped at Amargosa Valley to pick up gifts at the Area 51 Alien Center, for a little girl up here, and stretched a bit.  The rest of the journey, through territory I have detailed in years passed, was very smooth, with little traffic.  Coffee at Beans & Brews, on the south edge of Tonopah, was my only reason to stop the rest of the way.  B & B is also a staple of my northwest-bound jaunts.

Four hours later, I found my way to this apartment that will be home for the next two days or so.  There are a growing number of places that afford me this kind of feeling, and to me, this is the true wealth, to have what feels like family, in each part of the country.

Ahead of me are a one-day intensive training session for a Baha’i course and quality time with the aforementioned child.

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XLII: More Flow than Ebb


July 2, 2017, Sparks- 

The drive through northwestern Arizona and western Nevada, yesterday, was quite pleasant, thanks to a well-maintained vehicle and the unusual amount of energy I felt.  This last was despite having had to tend, however briefly, with a neighbourhood emergency, in the wee small hours of the morning. Long story short, when it comes to the welfare of children, or vulnerable adults, I am not going to just look at the clock and roll over, back to sleep.  Police were called, matter was resolved, and I did get back to dreamland.

One of my concerns, along the way, was the water levels of the major lakes, en route.  I stopped, briefly, for a look at Lake Mead, before doing the customary straight shot through Las Vegas.  The reservoir, which has suffered, mightily, in the drought of the past several years, has made a modest recovery, this Spring.



The shimmering haze reflected the heat, 112 in mid-afternoon.  Needless to say, this is why I don’t tarry in LV, in July.   A brief stop at Snow Mountain, north of the valley, for a turkey wrap, was sufficient.

Another of my interests, in western Nevada and across the Mountain West, is the architecture of various mining towns.  This runs the gamut from Victorian elegance to honky-tonk kitsch.  It’s all good.  I stopped in the eclectic little town of Goldfield, between Beatty and Tonopah,  On the west side of town, there are a few examples of the latter.



There is also plenty of faded elegance, begging for restoration. In the background, stands the vacant Goldfield Hotel.


This is not exactly the Arc du Triomphe, but it serves as a reminder of the frontier spirit.


My mining town fix having been satiated, I headed on, to Tonopah, stopping at one of that fine town’s newest offerings:  Beans and Brews Coffee Shop, for a much-needed boost.  Tonopah, also, has much to offer, in the way of late 19th Century memorabilia, as I’ve documented on prior trips.  I had four more hours of travel, though, so my cup of Joe was to go.

Hawthorne, just above Walker Lake, has seen my smiling face a few times.  This town, you may remember, is where my Nissan began to falter, two years ago, and my angels took over, to get it to Reno. The guys at Pizza Factory,  prepared a delicious baked spaghetti with meat sauce, which I took to an overlook, four miles north of town. Walker Lake also looks in much better shape.



My Reno/Carson family were glad for my arrival, at 10:15 PM, and we caught up on life, for about an hour.  Today was more of the same, in the modest family home, here in Reno’s neighbour.  The kids made slime, the adults watched family-friendly movies and the menagerie kept guard.










The Road to 65, Mile 37: Visions of Mars


January 4, 2015, Valley of Fire, NV-  I checked my social media messages this morning, and found a post which compared the temperature on Mars with that in Minnesota.  Mars was reportedly warmer today.

I was reminded of our nearest planetary neighbour, once on the trails at Valley of Fire State Park, between Moapa and Overton, NV, northeast of Las Vegas.  As you will see further on in this post, red soil abounds there.

I started the day with a hearty breakfast at Comfort Inn, joined by a family who were driving to Colorado, from San Francisco.  They will have clear weather for their return, which is gratifying.  After tooling around Vegas,unsuccessfully, in search of a Wells-Fargo branch, I just bit the bullet, paid the ATM fees and headed up I-15 to Moapa and the park.

SAM_3601 I shortly came upon the reason for the park’s name.

SAM_3606 The Beehives are well-named, in more ways than one.

SAM_3608 Balancing Rock, near the Visitor Center, reminded me of a similar formation at Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs.

SAM_3625 SAM_3630 The otherworldiness of the Southwest is in full voice, in Mouse’s Tank, so-named for an outlaw who hid out in this canyon.  The westernmost Ancient Puebloans also settled here, in the 800’s.SAM_3641 SAM_3657 SAM_3660 The Tank itself was empty today.SAM_3667 Life in the Great Basin is always a balancing act.SAM_3670 I came next upon Rainbow Vista, so named for the striated Aztec sandstone found there.SAM_3684 The trail goes through a narrow, rough wash, to end with a gaze upon Fire Canyon.

SAM_3689 SAM_3690 SAM_3693 The apex of the journey into Valley of Fire was at White Domes, a mass of limestone and gypsum.SAM_3698 SAM_3699 Several distance hikers were in this area today.  Someday, I will be back and share their experience.  On the way back towards the Visitor Center, I caught a few glimpses of the blend of colours.

SAM_3705 Seven Sisters, a sandstone formation just south of the Visitor Center, is a popular picnic spot.SAM_3720

Near the East Entrance to the park, a memorial is set up to honour Sergeant John Clark, who perished here in 1915, while en route from Bakersfield to Salt Lake City.SAM_3731 Lake Mead National Recreation Area abuts Valley of Fire, to the southeast.  Its terrain has less of the Aztec sandstone and more limestone and gypsum.SAM_3740 The lake may be down, but it’s far from out. The scenery is still inspiring, especially around sunset.  I enjoyed several stops along the North Shore.


SAM_3753 Sunset hit its true magnificence as I came upon White Hills, AZ, and Rosie’s Den Cafe.

SAM_3756 Rosie’s is another amazing serendipitous find.  A homey, relaxing spot, with well-prepared food and engaging waitresses, it’s perfectly positioned between Hoover Dam and Kingman.  A plus is that one of the waitresses is also a baker.  Tracey’s no-sugar added cherry pie hits the sweet spot, of the palate, that is.

One caution, being in a rural community:


JK.  White Hills has a competent volunteer fire service. The stuff of holidays was still well in evidence.

SAM_3759 Rosie’s is definitely cracklin’.


The Road to 65, Mile 14: A Few Thoughts on Water


December 12, 2014, Prescott-  At long last, virtually the entire North American Pacific coast, from Anchorage to Ensenada, was getting a taste of intense moisture, yesterday and today.  The interior will start to get it tomorrow.  This makes me glad for some of the coastal places, dear to my heart, which have suffered, to some degree, from a lengthy drought:  San Diego, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and for those, like Bandon, Portland, Kalaloch and Seattle, that do get rain frequently, but can’t go too long without moisture- because of their ecosystems.

We in the Colorado River watershed have come upon the ingenious idea of using our precious reservoir, Lake Mead, to- STORE WATER!  Those who have gone to Las Vegas over the years can attest to the fact that this western of the two great river-lakes derived from the Colorado has come into grave danger of turning into a dust basin.  Let’s now see who is serious about the conservation effort.

There has been considerable talk, over the years, but more lately, about the efficacy of fluoridation of water and toothpaste.  It’s now common knowledge that fluoride is a waste product of coal production, in some parts of the world.  I have been scolded by chemical advocates for my own advocacy of filtering out fluoride, as well as lead, arsenic and selenium.  It’s true that we can’t be perfect in our filtering, but we can come close.  Perfection does not have to be the enemy of the good.

All in all, though, water is as good a beverage as any, unless one is a barkeep working for tips- in which case, making a sour face and getting brusque with water drinkers  may be sorely tempting, but remains counter productive.