Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Rare Sight

My pictures don't do justice to this beautiful sight outside my trailer a few days ago. There was a complete double rainbow. It wasn't raining and the sun wasn't shining. The rainbow pictures were taken facing southeast.

This was the sunset.

Here's Fido, my porch dogue, guarding the Oliver Memorial Garden.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The summer reading continues......

Next, I did read "Not Without My Daughter." It was a chilling, true account of an American wife, Betty Mamoody and her 4 year old daughter, who traveled to Iran with her Iranian-American Dr. husband for a two week vacation. She had fears that once there, he would not allow his wife and child to return to the USA. And that's exactly what he did. "She was a virtual prisoner of a man who rededicated his life to his Shiite Muslim faith, in a land where women are near slaves and Americans are despised." She was in that horrible country for 18 months, the last year of which she placed her hopes and dreams of escaping in the hands of strangers in a dangerous underground world. Finally, after escaping from her husband, she and her daughter spent one very long winter week travelling, at the mercy of some very shady looking characters, via car, jeep, bus, and horseback over the very high and frozen mountains between Iran and Turkey. After checking into a very nice hotel in Ankara, Turkey she and her daughter were kicked out, with threats of the police being called, because their passports didn't have the correct stamps. After a few phone calls and a night in another hotel, she and her daughter finally found help through the American Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and returned home to the the USA. But the drama didn't end there. She found it necessary for them to assume new names and live in an undisclosed location, in fear that her husband would retaliate.
This all took place in the mid 80's. According to current news stories, it doesn't sound like things have changed much in that horrible country. It was reported at that time that there were over one thousand American women in a similar situation in Iran and other Islamic countries.
I did see the movie, starring Sally Field, which I enjoyed very much. But the book gives a much more detailed account of the background of how she got to that point in her life, and many more details of the deplorable conditions in which she lived in and the ordeal she endured in Iran.


Staying with true stories, I then read "Misty's Long Ride," by Howard Wooldridge. Three summers ago, in 2006, while in Rapid City, South Dakota, I started following online the progress of a group of motorcycle riders who were riding to the 48 capital cities in the 48 continuous states, sharing with the American people the downside of illegal immigration as well as excessive legal immigration. The endeavor was the brainchild of Frosty Wooldridge, Howard's brother. Upon following the progress of the "21st Century Paul Revere Ride" I decided to meet up with them in Pierre, the capital of South Dakota, then continue on with them to Bismark, the capital of North Dakota. I had a great time and found myself a bit enamored with Howard. He was a very personable, intelligent and ambitious man, quite contrary to most of the men I have been enamored with. During an evening chatting with Howard, he told me about two very interesting years he had. In 2003, and again in 2005, he rode his horse Misty across the United States. The first started at the Atlantic Ocean in Savannah, Georgia and ended 6 months and 3200 miles later at the Pacific Ocean in Newport, Oregon. The second, a 7 month and 3700 mile ride took him from the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles, California to the Atlantic in New York City.
Howard wrote a book, or rather Misty his horse wrote a book from her perspective, on the first of the two rides. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about every day and every mile of the first long, grueling journey they took together. I opened my atlas to each new state they entered and followed along with their route. The big challenge for Howard, besides the weather and a few mountain passes, was finding adequate food for Misty everyday, and finding a dry, comfortable and safe place to spend each night. Howard paid only three times during the 6 month period for a camp spot. They walked along the shoulders of roads and highways constantly looking for water, grass, hay, oats, and cafes for Howard. Howard would ride for two miles, then walk for one mile in order to give Misty an easier day. Some nights Howard tethered Misty to a picket line strung between trees or posts, while he slept nearby in a tent. Sometimes they were lucky and Misty spent the night in a stall or an arena while Howard slept in a house. Most people, when asked, happily gave water and sustenance for Misty. Howard never asked for food for himself, or for a place to stay, but always accepted when it was offered. It was heart warming how many people across the country opened their hearts and homes to Howard and Misty. Both suffered minor health issues along the way, but always overcame them. It was a very heart warming story, made even more so since Howard has a special place in my heart. = )

Riding a 1,000 mile ride makes one eligible for the title of Long Rider. Riding across the country twice gave Howard the title of the only person to every ride cross the in both directions.

According to the Long Riders Guild, no one in recorded history has ever ridden both directions across North America. The Long Riders Guild selected Howard as one of the top dozen Long Riders in the world and Howard flew to London on March 12, 2005for a week and was honored with a weekend of events at the Royal Geographic Society Headquarters.
"I am still nearly punch-drunk for the honor given me. I am excited like a 6 year old before Christmas to meet the other 11, share a pint and stories of the road," says Howard.


Next, I read "Travels With Charlie, in Search of America" by John Steinbeck. In 1962 Steinbeck ordered an very unusual vehicle - a camper mounted on a 3/4 ton pickup truck. In 1962 RVing across the country was not something too many people did. Shortly after Labor Day, and Hurricane Donna, John and his Standard Poodle Charlie left their summer home on Long Island, NY and set out on a 3 month, 10-12,000mile adventure. Most of my RV friends would agree with me that such a trip should take at least a whole year, not a mere three months. Anyway, Steinbeck set out on his adventure in quest "to hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light and to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years." In this book he "reflects on the American character, racial hostility, on a particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and on the unexpected kindness of strangers that is also a very real part of our national identity."
Everywhere he went, Steinbeck approached fellow Americans and engaged them in colorful conversations. I'm suspicious that everything Steinbeck wrote about during his travels really happened. After all, he is a fiction writer.
But one common thread in all three of these books was the kindness of strangers. I myself try to do at least one random act of kindness everyday. Some days it doesn't work out too well, but I try.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Reading List....

Having lots of time on my hands up here in the White Mountains I have read 9 books in a 2 1/2 week period.

The first book was by one of my usual authors, Perri O'Shaughnessy. I'm familiar with her series about an attorney, Nina Reilly, who lives at Lake Tahoe. This book, "Keeper of the Keys," was about a different character. I was half way through the book before I realized Nina Reilly was never going to show up. = (

The next book was by JA Jance, another familiar author whose books I've been reading for quite some time. This book was "Hand of Evil." I already read "Edge of Evil" and "Web of Evil." This series is about a former Los Angeles News Reporter who got run off because she was too old. HA!! Ali Reynolds has moved back to Sedona, AZ, where she grew up, and seems to become involved in murders and other mysteries around every corner. I've enjoyed this series.

The next book was another JA Jance book, "Long Time Gone." This is another series, about a former Seattle Policeman, now working for the Washington State Attorney's Special Homicide Investigation Team, or loving referred to as "SHIT." It was good.

Next came Sue Grafton's "T is for Trespass." I've now read A-T and anxiously await "U." This series is about Kinsey Millhone, a Private Investigator who resides in Santa Barbara, CA. "T" was one of my favorites. It dealt with an elder next door neighbor, which kind of hit home since my elder next door neighbor took his own life the day before I left Sun City for Show Low. I came home from shopping and noticed several Sheriff's Deputies on my street, then what appeared to be crime scene tape around my house, then realized it was around my neighbors house, but attached to my trailer which was parked on the street in front of my house. One of the deputies came over and asked if I'd heard a gun shot during the night. I hadn't, or at least not a noise that recognized as a gun shot. The kindly gentleman was considerate enough to choose the carport for the incident, so as not to mess the house, or maybe to make it easier to be found in a timely manner?

The fifth book was another JA Jance book, "Day of the Dead." It is another Jance series about a retired Pima County (Arizona) Sheriff, Brandon Walker. This was the first book by Jance that I would describe as GRUESOME!! I haven't read the first two books based around this character. I might not read them if they are all as gruesome.

Then I took a break from murder and mayhem and read "A Woman of Independent Means."
When I first picked up this book I thought I had read it before. The title was very familiar. But when I began reading it didn't seem very familiar. The book is a series of letters written by Bess Steed Garner, a "precocious, bossy and loving woman." She was born in 1890 in Honey Grove, TX and her first letter was written in 1899 at the age of 9 to a classmate, Rob. She went on to marry Rob in 1909. Her last letter was written in 1968 shortly before she died. It was very enjoyable. I think I saw the made-for-TV movie.

Next, was "Trading Places" by Fern Michaels, the first I've read by this author. The book was good, with funny parts, tense parts and romantic parts, but the premise of the story was a little far fetched. But it had a happy ending where they all lived happily ever after. = )

Then on to two more really gruesome books, both by Philip Margolin. The first was "Gone, But Not Forgotten." I saw the movie. It starred Brook Shields. The movie wasn't as gruesome as the book. I think I liked the movie ending better than the book ending.

The next, and last was "Wild Justice." This was VERY GRUSOME. Not just murder, but lots of torture, with a twist of torturous poetic justice in the end. = )

I've since started 3 other books but just couldn't get into them. I'll soon start another, hopefully with better luck. "Not Without My Daughter" seems appropriate with all that's going on in Iran. I saw the movie, with Sally Field, about an American woman married to an Iranian Doctor. They lived in the US but took a trip to Iran, where the Doctor decided they would stay. She wanted to go back home. He said fine, but their daughter had to stay in Iran. The woman eventually made a daring escape, with her daughter, and made it back to the US. It's a true story!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Wonderful Ride

Saturday I set out for a nice motorcycle ride. It was a little breezy, but that's nothing new around here. I rode on Saturday instead of Sunday, my peferred weekend riding day, because I have a social engagement on Sunday.

I backed my bike out of my rented garage, then headed to the tiny town of Concho to see if the even tinier Post Office was open on Saturdays so I could retrieve my mail. The Post Office isn't open on Saturdays so I hopped back on my bike and continued north on HWY 61 towards St. Johns where I then turned south on HWY 191/180. This was all new, never before traveled territory for me. It's was not very scenic most of the way to Springerville, but I found Springerville to be a charming little town. I then continued on to Alpine. This part of the ride was definitely one of the highlights of the day. I climbed to the 8550' elevation of the pine covered "Alpine Divide." The clean, fresh, pine scented air always puts a smile on my face. The town of Alpine was even more charming than Springerville and hope to get back there someday.

At Alpine I left HWY 191 behind and continued east on HWY 180. Before long HWY 180 poured me right into New Mexico

where I found myself rising and descending through the beautiful San Francisco Mountains. Eventually I turned left onto HWY 12. About 20 miles later I had a choice of continuing on HWY 12 to where it meets up with HWY 60, or take a short cut, north up Rd 32, cutting about 100 miles off my route. Since I passed up my mid week ride because of wind (hahahahaha) I decided to go for the long ride today. I'll have to come back this way and take Road 32 some other day. I continued on HWY 12 for what seemed like an eternity. The scenery became pretty monotonous and the wind was very annoying. Just when I was sure this leg of my journey was never going to end, there it was - the town of Datil and the intersection of HWY 12 and HWY 60. I turned west onto HWY 60 for the last 125 mile sprint back to the garage. This made for 125 miles of very strong head winds. I would have easily traded the 2 miles of hail I rode through two weeks ago for these 125 miles of head winds.

I rode west for 20 miles to the second highlight of the ride. I stopped in Pie Town for a piece of pie and some coffee. This was my first stop, after riding for four hours, except for one gas stop in Springerville. My friends Barb and Ron stopped in Pie Town several weeks earlier and wrote on their BLOG about their pleasant experience in Pie Town. I stopped at the first restaurant, on my right - Pie-O-Neer.

(Notice the large dog sleeping by the door. There was another one inside)
I think it's the same one Barb and Ron stopped at. I gave my experience a 10 for atmosphere, service, quality of food and price. Price because that's what it cost me for a piece of cherry pie a-la-mode, a cup of coffee and a tip - $10. A little pricey I thought, but definitely a memorable experience. On my way out of town, which is about half a block long, I noticed another restaurant advertising pie. I decided I'd try that one next time I pass through Pie Town. I stopped at the first gas station I came to, filled up my tank and sprinted back to the garage.

At times I found myself crouching down behind my windshield to give my neck a rest. The wind blasting into my fat helmet head made it feel like my head was going to snap off my neck, or at least blow my helmet off.

Six hours and 315 miles later, I pulled back up to the garage.

I got my bike all covered up

and securely locked in

where she will patiently wait for our next adventurous ride in the White Mountains of Arizona.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Ride for Liberty and Honesty

Check out this web site. It's about a Patriotic American who is riding a bicycle 3700 miles across our country, starting at the Statue of Liberty and ending at Alcatraz. The web site is complete with a map of his route. I'm going to try to meet up with him on HWY 40 somewhere in Arizona, on July 4th!!

The following is from the web site:

"May 17th, 2009

The Ride for Honesty is a pure grassroots effort designed to increase honest, well informed discussion, on issues related to the socio-economic value of liberty, and what the loss of our freedoms mean to the individuals who makes up this great country. This will be accomplished by raising awareness, via media coverage of the ride, and by providing educational materials to concerned citizens along the way.

In response to the recently leaked DHS documents, which label peaceful activists as potential ‘terrorists”, the ride will go from the Statue of Liberty to Alcatraz, symbolizing America’s apparent slide from Freedom to Fascism. In an effort to re-build healthy rapport between citizens and officials, the ride will visit County Sheriffs and State Governors to deliver educational materials, showcasing the solutions being promoted by the grassroots network known as “The r3VOLution”

The goals are simple, achieving them will have deep benefit, for all concerned. It is a monumental task for one man, less so for a man with friends… Those of you who choose to help, will truly “be a part” of “something big”. Is it a daunting task, yes. The pursuit of liberty demands bold actions

“Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.”-Virgil

“Never give into evil, rather move more boldly against it!"

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Up on the roof

Wednesday morning I climbed up on my trailer roof and cleaned the solar panels.

While up on the roof I took this picture of Annie.

Annie found a use for the wheel well hump behind the desk - a good place for a nap.

The First-Up screen room is a nice place for an afternoon nap or happy hour.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Great, Memorable Sunday Ride

Sunday morning I headed out for a motorcycle ride under blue skies decorated with white, wispy contrail clouds. I successfully backed my bike out of her garage, onto the scary, slippery gravel. The I successfully maneuvered down and up the deep ditch between the storage facility driveway and the the road. Then I settled into my long awaited, much needed ride. I headed west and traveled 15 miles to Show Low. I turned left onto HWY 260, riding through Pinetop Lakeside then turned right onto HWY 73 at the Hon Dah Casino. I traveled through beautiful mountain, pine tree terrain toward the small towns of Whitewater and Fort Apache. The route took me through Fort Apache Indian Reservation. HWY 73 swooped around and eventually it intersected with HWY 60. Instead of turning right and heading back to Show Low I turned left and headed toward the Scenic Salt River Canyon. I had been there 6 years earlier, in an overheating truck pulling a trailer (not mine). I was a bit distracted by the overheating situation so I didn't really enjoy the scenery before me. So, I headed back there today to take pictures and have a better experience, establishing new and better memories.
I spent a little time taking pictures and chatting with two Harley riding fellows. One was from Tucson and his visiting friend was from Louisiana. They headed off towards Show Low and I followed shortly after.
I eventually made it back to Show Low, rounding a curve, heading east into a cool wind and the sight of huge, black clouds ahead of me. I continued east toward my garage with lightning and thunder all around me. I was hoping to make it to the garage before the rain started falling. The wet highway told me it had already rained. I hoped it was done raining. I don't mind getting wet, but it sure can leave a dirty mess on a bike. Well, about two miles from the garage I started to feel wet stuff on my face. Rain. No, those hard, round pelting things were hail. OUCH!! It felt like my lips were going to explode. And it sounded like my windshield was going to explode. I crouched down behind the windshield to protect my vulnerable, exposed, delicate little face. I was so focused on the hail hitting me and my bike I forgot about the danger the hail produces on the road for a motorcycle. I had visions of me and my bike skidding and sliding sideways across the road. I skillfully slowed down, and made it safely to the storage facility, just as the hail subsided. Since there had been very little traffic passing me, my bike and I stayed clean. After I parked my bike in her dry garage home I found a soft clean cloth and wiped her down. She looked pretty. The hail did a good job of cleaning all the bugs off my chaps and helmet. So, even riding a motorcycle in a hail storm has a silver lining.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sun City house for sale (not mine)

Here's some info on my friend Gwen's house for sale, listed by my Realtor friend Sarah. If you or you know anyone interested in buying a house in Sun City, AZ give this house a look. = )

Tour ID #: 1903492
Tour Description: 11087 W Burntwood, Sun City
City: Sun City
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
SF: 1086
Price: $115,000

Click here to view:

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Shew
Keller Williams
7025 W. Bell
Glendale, AZ 85308