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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: October 28, 2002 -- Benson, Arizona
To keep you from wondering, Benson is located about 45 miles east of Tucson in southeast Arizona.
At the latter part of September, I was still in Wisconsin. The nights were getting colder. The birds were heading south. It was time for me to head south. A recent glance at the Weather Channel confirmed that it was a good decision. Across the Midwest, there are bands of blue for temperature and blotches of white for snow. I have turned into a real wimp.
As I headed south, I had the opportunity to view the color changes all along the way. As I drove across Missouri and Kansas, I noted that the colors were more advanced than in Wisconsin. That may have been due to their summer drought.
The West ... Soon I was traveling west across the treeless prairies. To me, these barren lands are calming. There is nothing to interrupt the eye as it scans the horizon. The negative is that the discards of man's presence are quite visible. It is not as visible in the east; the moisture corrodes the refuse as it is hidden in vegetation.
Truman ... After a recent read of David McCollough's Truman, it was an easy decision to stop and see the home he lived in (when he wasn't commuting to Washington D.C.) from 1919 to 1972 when he died. The home is located downtown in Independence, Missouri. Truman's Museum and Library is located a few blocks away. It is well done and an excellent summary of his life and Presidency. The Museum also includes a recreation of the Oval Office as it would have been when he was President.
Steamboat Arabia ... is in Kansas City, Missouri. The steamboat Arabia sank in the Missouri River in 1856 after it ran into a snag. The River changed course and by 1985, it was under a cornfield in Kansas. Five men and their families started the adventure and eventually found the steamboat 45 feet from the surface of that cornfield. They salvaged all the site and stored the contents of ship. They restored the cornfield for spring planting. Since then, they have cleaned and prepared the contents of the ship for display in their museum.
The great thing about this is that they are sharing the find with the world rather than selling all the individual pieces to the highest bidder to be placed on the shelf in some one's home. This is a much better way to share the material. Thanks to all of the people at Steamboat Arabia for the effort. It was sincerely appreciated.
Liberty Memorial ... in Kansas City, Missouri was built as a memorial after World War I with the understanding that it was to be the last World War. It is now a memorial to all US wars since that time. It is a huge Memorial including some war museums.
Petroglyph National Monument ... is in an Albuquerque suburb. One of the petroglyphs looks like it had come directly out of Roswell, NM. I was assured that it was authentic and dates to about 800 years ago.
Other thoughts and observations ...
The fall elections were in full swing as I crossed though the Midwest. There is election sign pollution everywhere. It is in every state and in every town. Crossing through Guymon, Oklahoma (in the panhandle), Parsley was running against Boring for District Attorney. That was the only race that caught my attention. And no... Parsley was not running on the Green Party ticket.
In the category of great ad campaigns, the award should go to Aflack. That "squawking" duck is getting what he deserves!
For many years, I have had a crush on Teri Garr. I was sitting in a outdoor restaurant in Santa Fe, when she came in with three of her lady friends and sat at the table next to me. Do I talk to her? What do I say? ... I still have a crush!
Hiking ... Hiking in mountains is where I want to be. The first of those this fall was in Rockhound State Park in New Mexico near Deming. The name is appropriate since this is one of those few parks where you can take rock specimens home -- up to fifteen pounds. That is a lot of rock!
Picking rocks is not my idea of leisure activity. As a youngster on a farm in Wisconsin, I spent many days picking those glacial deposited stones that could destroy machinery. There was no reason to pick up rocks on a hike. Besides it was all Leverite. You know -- leave 'er right there!
(Note: According to a brochure, quartz crystals, blue agate, jasper, thundereggs, and geodes can be found in the park.)
The next hike was in the Chiricahuas in southeastern Arizona. The three miles up hill was tough for this body which hadn't done a serious hike in five months. There were times that I had considered turning around. It didn't help that I had come across some scat that looked much like what a bear would have left. I completed the hike and saw the numerous rock shapes that are prevalent in the park.
No bear was ever sighted -- or any other animal. That is not entirely true. There were some lizards along the trail. When I stopped at the visitor center at the end of the hike, I was told that there had been bear sightings in the park. That really did not make me feel any better. Judging by the contents of the bear scat, I would have been a much better meal.
Cinnamon Roll Search ...
Two bakeries that I stopped at had the large size rolls which were large enough for three people. At those times I find myself having an apple turnover.
I did find a proper sized roll and tasty cinnamon roll in Independence, Missouri.
It seems the only place to find the snack size cinnamon rolls are in the grocery store chains. The bad part is that they come six to the container.
It's best that I do not complain too much about this search. At least there is some variety in bakeries. Considering the sameness of coffee stores and ice cream shops, this variety is a good thing!
Latest Read ... "April 1965" by Jay Winik. The subtitle is "The Month That Saved America". This good read by an excellent story teller analyzes the events of that month and speculates how critical those individuals and events were in the formation and maintenance of the future of the United States. A book that any Civil War reader will enjoy.
One of the other books that I just finished was Barbara Kingsolver's "Pigs in Heaven". She is a great story teller and develops some very "far out" characters.
4EVR L8 was spotted in Santa Fe. Spotting the driver, I said that I liked the ego plate. A gift from her children many years ago, it has continued as a kind of family joke.
TO DY 4 -- Spotted on one of those new vehicles that is neither a truck nor an SUV; those four door things with the little truck bed that isn't big enough to haul a small piece of plywood.
FANTSTC -- Spotted in Deming, NM on a 4-Runner with a license plate guard with this quote: "Self indulgence is Job #1:"