Sunday, April 29, 2007

Resting day

Today we are taking an extra day at Monument Valley just to rest. The tour of the valley was great yesterday but a long 8 hours. The Navajo have established a Navajo Tribal Park and other than a 17 mile hard pack dirt road the park has closed access except for commercial tours with Navajo guides. There was a great deal of hiking to ruins up slick rock, which Wm participated in. He even was up on top of an arch. I have tried to upload a picture of me that Wm took from the top of the arch, but the speed of this connection is very slow. Our favorite things besides all the arches was a visit in a hogan with an old (91) weaver woman and a set of three kokopeli (the flute player) petroglyphs. Maybe somewhere else we will get a stronger signal and be able to put up images again. Today we are going to an "Earth Spirit" multimedia production and then out to dinner, maybe for Navajo tacos.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Southwest Journal

4/22/07 Update to the Supai Zip Code. This time I wrote it down, 86435. It was very windy with snow showers today. We caught a couple of ranger programs. We learned that one of the biggest hazards to condor babies is small sparkling trash. Either the adult condors are imitating ravens by picking up trash or the ravens are putting the trash in condor nesting areas. Either way the condor babies are eating the trash with fatal consequences. Too sad.

4/24/07 Yesterday it snowed enough to coat the trees with white and stick on the dirt. We drove to the showers and then went back to the Trailer Village and took the shuttle bus to El Tovar and had a lovely Anniversary dinner. As per usual Wm got more presents for me. I got a DVD of Orpeu Negro and Polartec Slippers. I got Wm a nice shirt he wanted. Today we drove to Navaho National Monument. We drove past the Elephants Feet which are two huge rock formations that do look like elephant’s legs and feet. As we were leaving Tuba City school was getting out. One school bus got on our tail and passed us at over 70 MPH. They have a long way to drive so I guess they just floor it so they get home in time for dinner. I was reminded of the Simpson’s bus driver, Otto. We are camping in a free camp site at the National Monument. Went for a walk after dinner to see how the clay makes odd small hummocks after a rain and also found a large area of slick rock and an overlook to watch the sunset. Dad befriended a bunch of Namibians while I was cooking dinner. They were touring the US in some rented RV’s and he helped light their oven for them.

4/26/07 Still here at the Navajo National Monument. Can’t beat free camping. The weather has moderated and dad is sunning and resting. We attended a ranger talk on the 24th where the ranger stated that at age 5 a child would be fully able to care for themselves. At 11-13 they would marry and begin to raise a family. From 15-35 they would be full adults in the community. At 40 if they had survived they would be an ancient one and there would not be many of them per village. The main reason for the short life span was smoke. They built campfires in the winter in the house and the smoke would vent out through a hole in the ceiling, making the room very smoky. Think lung damage. Also of course any major trauma, such as a broken leg, or any major illness, such as pneumonia, would have been fatal. There are cave dwellings here at the monument. We walked out to the overlook. They were only occupied for about 30 years or 2 generations. As these people were Ancestral Pueblo People they were farmers who depended on rainfall. They had a 20 year drought about the time they left. The descendents of these people, formerly called, Anasazi (a Navajo word for ancient ones), are the Hopi and other pueblo people. But the monument is in the Navajo Reservation. There is a certain conflict here. The Navajo only came to these lands in the 1500’s from Canada. In the 1600’s they began to raise domestic animals, mainly sheep. Although the US cavalry saw fit to interfere with their “cattleman” vs “sodbuster” feuds with the Pueblo Indians in the tragic long march of 1864, the Navajo have been fairly peaceful and more prolific than Pueblo Indians, vastly outnumbering them to this day. We decided that the Navajo’s advantage must have been the sheep, providing food, clothing, and fuel for fires, whereas the dry land farming of the Pueblo Indians would have provided a less secure existence.

4/27/07 As we left and turned toward Kayenta a big rig pulled in behind us with big metal teeth for a grill. Wm was doing 65 and had to go a bit faster to keep him from eating us. We are now in Monument Valley. Because we wanted power and showers we are staying in Gouldings. This place has an interesting story. Harry Goulding came through here in 1921 and really liked Monument Valley. He was according to various stories a sheep herder and trader or a sheep inspector. The particular land he wanted was officially part of the Paiute Reservation, although Navajo lived here. Conveniently in 1923 the Utah legislature moved the Paiutes. Since the land was now public domain, Goulding filed on a square mile. The Paiutes and Mormons later had some sort of war and there are only a few scattered bits of Paiute land in AZ and UT. Although the Gouldings had a hard simple life here for a long time, they eventually made a Trading Post/Tourist destination and Movie location out of the place. A number of John Wayne movies were made here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Southwest Journal

Southwest Journal

4/13-15 We are at Tecopa Hot Springs. Wm has been chatting with an old guy who pulls a trailer behind an old school bus. He says it is great fun here in the winter. I don’t know if I could live off the grid that long. No Cell, No Internet, No Newspapers even. He said they had great activities in the Community Hall. I went over to the community hall looking for a Pahrump Weekly for Wm and it smelled too much like old cigarette smoke. I think these old desert rats must smoke in there in the winter. The Lucky Rollers? A RV group were having their officers meeting in there. The last day we were here the place was filled with Koreans who chattered a lot. Lots of people come over here for the healing waters from Pahrump. Not any pics of the spa as it is segregated men and women and no suits are allowed in the pools.

4/15/07 Kingman AZ. We are at Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Ranch. A very nice place that has cell and internet but not enough time to blog. The koi pond in the front is fun. The koi come over to you as if they expect to be fed. Wm went for a walk while I cooked dinner and accidentally walked into a few cactus spines.

4/16/07 Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon is actually nice. The Shuttle bus system takes you all over. We rode on the blue bus today and got off at the end of the line, A big raven was on the trail very unafraid. The air quality is quite hazy. Winter air quality is supposed to average 100 mile visibility but today is 55 miles. The canyon has a blue haze. I don’t know why. The polluting coal burning Navajo power plant is shut down. I guess it is just from southern Cal and Phoenix. I took a picture of Wm with a rock formation in the background that I thought looked sort of like the now nonexistent old man of the mountain formation in Vermont. We also saw a cute nuthatch bird and some scruffy looking mule deer and elk. I thought they could use a brushing and I was reminded of the brushing I will have to do on Teddy when we get home. No Cell and No Internet here so journaling will have to do. We had a talk at dinner and agreed that the last good Republican President was Eisenhower. When I was nine years old I went over to the neighbors and watched the GOP convention on their TV. If I had had an “I Like Ike’ button, I would have worn it. I am thinking also that I would have liked to call Cyndi again and find out how Axel is.

Non Sequitur for 4/16/07

Some Say facts are alot more fun when you get to make them up. Yup!

4/17/07 I do not like the new Visitor Center at the Grand Canyon. It looks like a big high ceiling bus station manned by a couple of elderly docents. It has a few hardened exhibits and some places that tell times of interpretive programs. It certainly does not look like a regular Visitor Center with lots of interesting exhibits and plenty of things to read. Maybe this is the new Illiterate Center. In the basement of the Kobe gallery near Bright Angel we did see an interesting exhibit of old postcards and correspondence about the canyon. We have got a new best zip code to give out when you are at a store when you are asked for your zip code, the zip code of the Supai Indians (864xx) who get their mail by mule to the present day.

We did quite a bit of shuttle bus riding and walking today. We saw a group of rafters, but missed seeing them go over some rapids. The canyon looked slightly clearer today but still has some haze. We were able to see spray from a waterfall going into the canyon, though we could not see the falls itself. Today we were using the binoculars.

Last night I heard the coyotes, yip, yip, yip, owwww.

4/18/07 We spent hours watching the comings and goings on the Kaibab Trail. We first got off the shuttle bus at Yaki Point. From this overlook you can see many parts of the trails and part of the Kaibab Trail. We then took the shuttle to Pipe Creek Vista and walked part of the way along the rim trail until we spotted our own semi-private overlook to shelter from the high wind today. We watched 3 trains of mules going up and down between Kaibab and Phantom Ranch. We could see 2 way stations and much of the trail. So we counted people and mules. One last mule train had gone out of sight when we walked on to Mather Point and bused on to Yavapai Observation point (after some shopping) where we spotted that last mule train heading over the Kaibab Bridge and on to the ranch.

Decided to go ahead and post this journal I had been keeping in lieu of blogging.

Back on line

We are still in the Grand Canyon, but since it is cool and cloudy today we did wash and came out to Tusayan? to go to the IMAX and go to the internet cafe. We have had a great time hiking and loafing on the rim.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Black Snake Moan

Went to the Magic Theatre tonight. This was really a pretty good movie.
Black Snake Moan
Desire is a burning sickness for Rae (Christina Ricci), making her a sexual target of almost every man and boy in her small Tennessee town. When her true love Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) leaves for military service, Rae plunges into wild excess. Beaten and left for dead, she's taken in by Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), a reformed bluesman who nurses deep anger of his own. Fiercely committed, Lazarus makes Rae his prisoner to give her a chance at freedom, and in the process finds his own way back to the full force of life. Written and directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow).

Monday, April 9, 2007

Almost Blown up?

Click to see how Bush almost got blown up by plugging the power cord for a new Ford hydrogen hybrid in the wrong place. Nice design work!
Video evidence shows Ford CEO to be liar and braggart.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Upgrading the Inspiron

Because the new camera phone says you can take pics and send via bluetooth to your laptop, we decided to get an inexpensive Dell Bluetooth module. Finally found the directions on the Dell site. I hope I can do this. The most I ever did before was to add more memory to the old Toshiba laptop. Wish me luck.
Update: Bluetooth module delivered without the small cable needed to plug it in. So have returned that and await the sending of a new one. Probably not in time for this trip as we leave in the AM 4/12.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Foolish Fox

April Fools Poll on Fox. Funny and Misrepresented.

How to get Fewer Customers

Went to the Gym today on Member Appreciation Day and was able, at Noon, to park right out front. Usually there is enough of a crowd that I have to park around back. The place looked deserted. They had a big spread of food on the side and back of the counter with one old guy with a full plate looking like he was having lunch. They had given away heaps of one day visit tickets, but I think people stayed away in droves thinking it would be too crowded. A real PR backfire.

Alumni Dinner

Went to a UC Berkeley Alumni Dinner tonight and heard a presentation from the Center for Fire Research. Was OK. Chatted a lot to dinner mates. Wm missed it as he had volunteered to help interview scholarship applicants.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

ABC News

ABC news claims on skimpy anonymous evidence that Iran will have a Bomb by 2009. Now because it has been reported on ABC news this claim is counted as credible. When have we seen this type of reporting before? Glen Greenwald comments.

Tom the Dancing Bug By Ruben Bolling

The Bad New Boyfriend

The K Chronicles By Keith Knight

Visits in June

Texas Turpens will visit in June. All will be flying in on June 12th. Looking forward to the bike races. The NC Classic will be Val and Richard's 7th anniversary. All but Jasmine will fly back on the 18th. Jaz is staying until the 5th of July. Val says she will miss her a lot, but MaMa2 needs a vacation too. Ben is putting sentences together. Cute is " Uh Oh (sign for why) it go?" Said after throwing some food from the high chair. And "my ball" when taking a ball away from Robert. Other cute sentences also, but that is all I can remember from phone call with Val. Said she needs to start her own blog also. Easy at

Pooks Readings

Checked out "The Inheritance of Loss" on Amazon. It is a "search inside" so I was able to read the first few pages. Very spooky, misty moisty, scary. Pooks always finds the best books.

Rigorous Intuition

This guy has been blogging 911 truth for a long time and I think he is wearing out. I am so new to it that I can find fun in his old postings about coincidences .

Monday, April 2, 2007

Fear again

Read a great article in The Nation today, "The Sum of Our Fears", that reminded me of my last plane trip to Texas. I was sitting next to a very nervous man who said this was the first time he had flown since 2001. I made the comment that no one could scare me. And that is true, I have no fear of flying. This was even before I started reading anything about 911truth.
Stay Brave.