11.1.22

Passing On

 I assume this is a bar where you drink yourself to death awaiting the afterlife of great jazz!




17.9.21

75th in the Swell



For my 75th birthday, I decided a camping trip to the San Rafael Swell would be a great way to celebrate.  Also, my son and daughter in law were anxious to try out their gear.  So the Swell would be a good way for them to get some experience and also discover why I love this area so much.

My friend Rod and I drove the Willis and Nisa down the Mexican Mountain road to one of our favorite camp grounds.




The original idea was to hike down to the head of the Black Box, where the river just enters the deep canyon.  In previous trips, we had scoped out a couple access ravines into a canyon that led to the river at the point it started carving the Black Box.  How hard would it be to follow a cow path down the canyon?


Unfortunately, we followed the wrong ravine.  A big dropoff prevented us from accessing the canyon.  But exploring the ravine was fun, and led us back to our vehicle. 


From there we drove closer to Mexican Mountain and found one of the excellent trails to a Black Box overlook.











The return hike offered a fine view of Mexican Mountain.


Upon returning to the campground, we discovered good news and bad news.  The good news...  there's now cell phone coverage in the Swell.  The bad news... there's now cell phone coverage in the Swell...


After an evening around the camp fire and looking at stars, we bedded down somewhat early.  This let Rod get up at the "crack of dawn" for this pic.


Rod's excellent nature photos can be found on his website:  swellphotographs.com.  They are available for purchase will all proceeds going to the Southern Utah Wilderness Association.

All in all a great time.  I won't recount the major and minor tragedies that occurred. let's just say the tree will probably live, and hopefully the next ravine hiker has the same prescription.

26.8.21

Ah! Sunflower!

 Wild and free, sometimes sparse, other years prolific.  Found beauty...


Ah! Sun-flower

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done. 

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow: 
Arise from their graves and aspire, 
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

22.5.21

All Vaxed Up With No Place to Go

 Someplace to Go

After a year+ waiting out the plague, and fully vaxed, and the antibody period up, I looked for some way to get out and about.  With Miriam tied up with progeny issues, I decided to venture forth on a road trip.  After contacting vaxed up friends in Washington and Montana, I gassed up the buggy and headed out.

First stop, for the night, was Baker City, Oregon.  Always liked the town, it's well cared for and attractive to tourists.  The next day I decided to drive to Walla Walla via Hells Canyon and Joseph, Washington...  the LONG way around.  After a 70 mile drive, I arrived at a dead end!  The road to Joseph was still closed by snow.  Why couldn't Oregon DOT provide some sort of sign or notice about this...

At least the dead end drive was very pleasant in the early morning.  And I discovered this Oregon Trail Vistors Center (still closed due to the plague).  I thought the buildings were perfectly designed for the location.  High on a bluff, the location provided great views of the area.  Here are some shots:




One advantage of retracing my steps and driving the Interstate towards Pendleton was the incredible view from Deadman's Point, before descending out of the mountains into the vastness looking westward.


Walla Walla, Wa

Love that name...  fun to say.  Arriving in this Eastern Washington city, I was greeted by my friend, the poet Charles Potts who now raises Appaloosas on his horse ranchette.  Besides Potts, this guy was part of the welcoming committee.


A couple more of Potts horses...  check out the amazing patterns on these horses.



I've always loved Walla Walla.  Formerly known for its onions, there are now 120 wineries producing some premium, and expensive, reds.  The cuisine has also evolved...  lobster ravioli anyone?


There's some interesting architecture in Walla Walla, several by noted architect Henry Osterman.  Here's a shot of the downtown old theater with its Dutch influence.


I was also taken by the silhouettes advertising a gym in this old building.


Speaking of sweets, onions that is, it's an appropriate name for the local baseball team.


Visiting Walla Walla would not be complete without visiting one of my favorite record stores.  The inventory of this place, recordings, guitars, and lots of other stuff, boggles the mind.  I got the t-shirt!



Onward and Upward

After a few days, I was back on the road trying to find my way to the relatively remote village of Winthrop, Washington to spend a couple days with Richard and Lynette.  Nestled at the base of the Eastern Cascades, Winthrop made a deal with the devil to adopt an old west theme to attract tourists and is now overrun on weekends by West Siders.  But my friends live out of town in a beautiful home with views of snowcapped Cascades.  

Lynette was kind enough to invite me to a rehearsal.  She's an excellent jazz pianist and composer.  

Too overwhelmed by the surrounding beauty, I only got this one photo of the area.


Oh, and I should include one from the piano graveyard (garden!).  The winter took its toll, so things are rather dishevelled.



Back on the Road, Dam It!

From Winthrop, I decided to drive to Missoula, Montana to visit more friends.  On the way, I passed two of the major dams on the Mighty Columbia River.  First, the Chief Joseph:


Then the infamous (in song...  Woody Guthrie) Grand Coulee:




Driving along the Columbia is just beautiful.  Passed through a big apple growing area as well.

Missoula

Finally on an Interstate, I zipped over to Missoula to visit Larry and Prudence, the latter I hadn't seen in a zillion years (always had a sneaker for her...).  


We spent time checking out record stores (3! indies in town).  I also had some time to myself one morning so I explored downtown.  Some great old, and new, buildings in the area.  Here's the old Wilma hotel and theater:


And an example of Art Deco architecture:


The labor temple:


An old building formerly housing an early telco company:


This old apartment house, definitely in need of updating, held some sort of intrigue over me, like somewhere Robert Carver or Charles Bukowski would end up drinking and writing at the end of their days.


The BPOE:


And, of course, Missoula would have some great old bars.




Then there was this downtown parking garage.  One may enjoy or dislike the design, but it's so wonderful to see such a normally mundane and boring structure done with some class:




Since the plague may have eased but not ended, masks are still recommended in business establishments.  I like how a bakery provided masks:


We had a great time talking over old times and our untamed, radical youth.  Many of the old gang are gone, but the memories live on.


Finally it was back home to Miriam, the kids, and the dogs...  Just finally getting out in the world again was thrilling.  Now if we can get to Europe sometime soon...

Thanks so much to Charles, Richard, Lynette, Larry and Prudence for their hospitality and friendship.