Monday, June 29, 2015

Awk, a sketch!

Here we are, in our new cartoon-type bodies, to tell our travel tales...

"Any fool can tell a story. Take a few odds and ends of things that happen to you, dress them up, shuffle them about, add a dash of excitement, a little color, and there you have it."
- Lloyd Alexander, The Arkadians

Friday, June 19, 2015

4-Typed Pages

"What was the best thing about your trip?" is the first question our friends ask. A good question, but hard to answer. The red dots on this map show where we've been in Thistle this past several months. Lot's of enticing spots, so picking favorites is challenging. Yet, 4-typed pages is my answer, time-after-time. Four-typed pages?

In Flagstaff, Arizona, we visited our friends, Phil and Liza. While we were there, Phil sat down at his computer and generated 4-typed pages of his suggested Utah itinerary. Phil's suggestions were for back roads beyond the average tourist's knowledge. Knock-your-socks-off views, and more...

Hikes to petroglyphs and cliff dwelling on remote trails.

Back roads of dust and mystery and great dry camping.

The 4-typed pages became sacred, and once, when we misplaced them, we became frantic with searching. Covered in Phil's suggestions was Scenic Byway 12, a Journey Through Time, from Panqitch to Torrey, Utah. It took us two weeks to drive, from end-to-end. 122 miles. We didn't see it all.

We also were on the Trail of the Ancients where we visited Natural Bridges, Monument Valley, drove up Moki Dugway, and boondocked at Gooseneck and Muley Point.

Natural Bridges
Monument Valley

Muley Point
Moki Dugway


"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction"

- Rachel Caron

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Big Enchilada Question

An issue that continues to haunt me is that big enchilada question: what's the meaning of life? It is a frequent topic of discussion as we jounce along in Thistle. "Is this even the right question?" Ed queries, "Instead, should we be asking, how do we create value in our lives?" Oh yes, now there's a question that has some hope for an answer.

In my trendsetting age-group, we seem to be venturing out on yet another trendsetting excursion -- meaningful retirement. We will not quietly fade away, settling into a recliner with a remote control. For many of us, more so than previous generations, health, longevity and money stretch out before us, right along with the desire for fulfillment.

Historically, all generations have been set adrift in a sea of unstructured retirement but my generation is looking for more. We desire a retirement beyond comfort and mere entertainment. Something beyond the long held idea of simply staying amused and out of the way, as we await death. I see my peers seeking feisty over dull; accomplished over settled; independence over helplessness.

I feel an aha at the idea of structure being a key to filling my aging years with relevance. This has led me, personally, to reexamining not only what I do, but how I do it. I turn my attention to discipline. A walk a day, before coffee. Less, much less Facebook. Knowing more about the places we visit -- more studying, more observing, more questioning. Selecting increasingly weighty reading and definitely more biking.

Then I shift my attention to a skill I've wanted to develop for years -- sketching. On our most recent Thistle adventure I had all the tools -- pencils, pens, watercolors, brushes, sketchbooks, and even how-to sketch books -- but sketch creation was pathetic. If I could find a distraction, I did.

Here's my plan: A sketch a day and one blog posting a week that includes a sketch. Surely, insuring my public embarrassment if I don't perform, will be the kick in the butt I need.

Friends Watching


"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time."

- Mary Oliver

Monday, June 8, 2015


When my sister and I were little, my mom used to tell us a story about her large (I might add beautiful) mouth.  She kept us captivated as she told us she was born without a mouth.  When my grandmother consulted the doctor, he told her to "cut from here-to-here" as he pointed to my mom's tiny face.  Grandma thought he said  "cut from ear to ear".

As I read the following e-mail message, I could feel myself grinning from ear-to-ear, reminding me of my mom's story.


I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your blog.  I signed myself up to receive it by email and read it top to bottom every posting (we used to say "cover to cover").  Your pictures are amazing, and I hope you and Ed are assembling some kind of permanent resting place for them. 

Most important to me was your deliberate focus on our footprint on the earth.  No place was visited without your full knowledge of its  geological and biological history.  And you write so well. . .and pull perfect quotes out of your hat! 

Best to all of you, 


Thank you Kathie!   You have put a grin on my face that I simply cannot wipe off.


"I can live for two months on a good compliment."

- Mark Twain