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Durango Vacation Journal Part 2

 

 

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Our first day of travel could not have been more beautiful. The skies were electric blue, festooned with ascending domes of silvered clouds, so white they glistened in the shimmering summer atmosphere. Then in the distance thin arrows of lightening danced, and once I saw a double strike, though I heard no thunder. Across the horizon, at one point, Jerry saw a horizontal streak.

Gales of wind commenced and Jerry fought with the wheel of the motor home, and beside the road, I watched the tree branches as they whipped furiously. Wild sunflowers grew there too, and I saw them bent double so that their sunny faces brushed the black asphalt. “Rain, Shirley. There’s rain on the windshield,” and so it was. I took pictures of the precious drops.

Quickly it passed, the wind ceased, and little more than four hours after we left Lake Havasu we pulled into the KOA of Flagstaff. If one wanted to choose a park for an extended period in Flagstaff, I would recommend this one. Passing through and merely staying for the night? I’d say find another place.

The roads within the park are so narrow and lined with trees, that Jerry was fearful he could not even maneuver to our spot. He could easily have hit a tree, or one of the stones that line the paths. It is so bad that someone has tied red warning ribbons around many of the trees, and several of the trees show scars where they have been swiped. We were assured that our assigned spot–#188–was a “pull-through,” meaning that we wouldn’t have to disconnect the Jeep, and there would be plenty of room to pull through. Not! Jerry saw it was hopeless, so without even trying, he disconnected and I drove the Jeep to a parking place. Even just getting the rig into the spot was a challenge. But we’re settled in now, so all is well.

Within the hour of our arriving, I meandered down a road, camera in hand. I had only passed three or four RVs when a lady walked out to meet me…and I found it to be someone I had met before. She thought we had met at a conference, and then she introduced her husband, Pastor Shaffer. They are starting a home missions work here in Flagstaff, and while a house is being built for them, they’re living in their RV.

 

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Their two-year-old granddaughter wandered over, and she was such a striking child I asked if I could take her picture. She absolutely would not smile at me, but when Jerry said something to her, she flashed him the biggest grin–an absolute flirt. “She likes men,” her grandmother told me. Her name is Alyssa.

 

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The altitude here is nearly 7000 feet. Bliss! Cool bliss! Great sleeping tonight.

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Durango Vacation Journal Part I

Yep! We’re off for a 10-day vacation, Jerry and I. We’ll be leaving this afternoon, and will drive four hours or so, stopping for the night at the KOA in Flagstaff.

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Early Monday morning we’ll leave there and drive on in to Durango where our friends Berl and Lavelta Stevenson already are situated in the Alpen Rose RV park. They’ve been there since around the 15th of August, I believe. When Jerry called to make reservations for us, I heard him ask if management could place us beside our friends, and yes they could, and so (who knows how many times this will make) we will pull our rig into a spot beside our dear friends and spend vacation days with them.

Jerry rolled in our motor home awning last evening, and is out now disconnecting things so that we’ll be ready to move after church this morning. Yesterday, too, we stored the desktop church computer in a shed that was here on this site–a shed I thought we wouldn’t need, but that is now, a couple of months later, rather full! I have a few things to do inside here to prepare the rig for motoring–books that are arranged on the dash and a lamp there must be moved, the coffee pot and the fruit bowl set in the shower, passenger chair swung around so that it faces the front–such as that.

According to their advertisement, the KOA in Flagstaff has wireless internet service. We’ll see. If so, I’ll try to post Part 2 this evening.

Have “good church” today!

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Hey, Google, Come Here

Because our internet service is down at DJs RV Park, and has been since Friday, and because I’ve had to traipse to the library to post, I’m intrigued with this first year celebration of Google’s free WiFi in Mountain View, CA.

It’s been a year since the folks at Google successfully knocked off WiFi in Mountain View California. Transmitting all those great 802.11 b/g signals to the grateful residents, businesses and visitors at absolutely no charge at all. They are still trucking along on the San Francisco wireless deal with EarthLink and the city to give all residents free connections to the internet, but who knows when that will all be resolved.

Nevertheless, Google is on a mission to provide top notch WiFi networks, but what exactly does it take? Well, in Mountain View there are over 400 mesh routers that cover 12 square miles and 25,000 homes, with 15,000 unique users per month. Traffic over this free network has risen 10% every month and handles 300 gigabytes of data each day and 95% of the routers are being used every single day.

 

Where would you like to see Google create their next free WiFi Network?

, New Orleans, Denver, Dallas, Detroit, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Bangalore, India, Dublin, Ireland, Mexico City, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago Vote

Well, I searched that list looking for Lake Havasu, but did not see it, so I voted for Los Angeles. Not sure why–probably because it is the largest city near my home in Crestline.

Head on over to Download Squad for the complete article and a place to cast your vote. If Lake Havasu has popped up there, have mercy and give a nod to our fair city.

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Danger by Gun Drawing

Sometimes I think we have gone stark, raving mad. Our judges do sloppy work that lets loose admitted pedophiles to walk the streets, Nicole Richie spends little more than one hour in jail for a DUI charge, major league caps blatantly featuring colors and symbols for some of America’s deadliest street gangs are being sold in stores, and then school officials suspend a little boy for drawing a gun.

EDIT: 8/24/7 2:00 pm PDT To further emphasize the dichotomy of these events, is the breaking news that the pedophile Jack McClellan just arrived for court in Los Angeles–naked. Yet, this perverted man, who has said if it weren’t against the law, he would have sex with a 3-year old, continues to roam around, while a child is suspended for drawing a picture of a gun.

MESA, Ariz., Aug. 23, 2007


drawing of gun by 13-year-old student which led to suspensionThis drawing by the 13-year-old son of Paula Mosteller led his school to suspend him for five days. (KPHO)

Ray Parker
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 23, 2007 12:00 AM

After an eighth-grader was suspended for drawing a picture of a gun on an assignment paper, angry parents are questioning whether the Chandler Unified School District went too far with its zero-tolerance policy.

The Payne Junior High eighth-grader, along with another student, was suspended Monday for five days for the drawing. Parents Paula and Ben Mosteller were able to get the suspension reduced to three days after meeting with school officials.

The uproar over the drawing, which the student turned in with a school assignment and contended was just a doodle, cuts to the question of what constitutes a “threat.”

Read it all here.

It is close to impossible to disconnect boys from an attraction to guns. When I was a child I lived in the city of Springfield, Mo. and my little brother wandered around the neighborhood with a BB gun. Seems a bit dangerous now, as I think about it, for it was a highly populated area, but I don’t recall there ever to be any problems with such activity. Anyway, I remember his coming in and frequently telling my mom, “I almost got a bird. Think I hit his tail feathers.”

When our two older sons came of the age when most little boys have toy guns, I recall being ambivalent about the subject. While we certainly did not want to encourage violence in our sons, we knew if they didn’t have cap guns or water pistols, they would still tear around the yards, and with their fingers point and shoot as they played out what seemed to be harmless games of “cowboys and indians.” I believe that when children of my era, and possibly of my children’s young years, played these games, they really didn’t envision actually shooting an indian person or a cowboy person. I may be wrong…really would like to hear from young men who played these games…or young women, if as a girl you played such games. I can’t recall being involved in “gun” battles, myself.

On a BBC site this morning, I came across an interesting article about WWII board games produced in England. The games are quite rare and are being auctioned off. You might want to take a look.

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The Family of Smokey, The Cross-Eyed Lover, Does Not Need Acatemy

Smokey, the Lover, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Something moved beyond the glass door in the guest bedroom where we stayed at the Allen home, and when I walked over, I saw Smokey rolling around and maneuvering himself into positions that are only possible with a lithe, flexible feline. I opened the door. On the moment, he stopped rolling, looked directly into my face and meowed. Loudly, did he meow, and when I walked through the door and began my prowl around the unusually beautiful backyard of this home, he moved with me, rubbing against my legs and setting up a constant stream of cat talk. Meow. I thought he was hungry, and when back inside, I mentioned my encounter with the cat, whose name I learned to be Smokey. “I think he’s hungry.”

“Nope, he’s not hungry. He’s a lover, and he wants you to pick him up and pet him.”

Look at that face. Could anybody resist such an animal? I ask you who are reading here.

“He looks cross-eyed,” I suggested to one of the family.

“Oh, yes. He’s Siamese and they’re all cross-eyed.” I had never heard this before, so I checked out that statement and found there is some foundation for the thought. The following is from Wikipedia:

Many early Siamese were cross-eyed to compensate for the abnormal uncrossed wiring of the optic chiasm, which is produced by the same albino allele that produces coloured points. Like the kinked tails, the crossed eyes have been seen as a fault and through selective breeding, the trait is far less common today.

On Reuters this morning, I learned of the Acatemy, a school where cat owners can learn to act like a cat, thereby relieving the human’s stress. I am positive you will want to learn all about this, for owners of the school say:

“if people can think like their favorite felines it will foster mutual understanding between cats and their humans.”

 

By Sarah Coffey

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – To know a cat, you must walk a mile in its paws, say animal behaviorists running a training school in New York where cat owners get to behave like their animals to understand them better.

The “Acatemy” is offering cat owners various classes such as “cat-isthenics” where you exercise like a cat, climbing on oversized scratchers and batting an oversized ball of yarn, and “cat-napping” where you curl up on a bean bag and snooze.

“People are going to learn a lot just by acting like a cat, and people are going to relieve a lot of stress in their lives,” said Warren Eckstein, a radio show host and author of “How to Get Your Cat to do What You Want.”

The school, set up at New York’s Daryl Roth Theater by Del Monte Foods’ catfood label Meow Mix, argues that if people can think like their favorite felines it will foster mutual understanding between cats and their humans.

The entire article is here.

Edit: I just found this article which includes a video of a cat hotel which has opened in France. You must go over and see this.

Aug 22 – A cat hotel opens in the south of France where cats can relax and be pampered.

A cat-loving couple in the South of France have opened a cat hotel, Le Jardin de France, so cat owners no longer need to feel guilty about going on holiday and leaving their loved ones behind.

Basmah Fahim reports.

Video link here.

I certainly want to hear from you. Do you have a cat? Is he/she an “Alley-cat?” A Siamese? Cross-eyed? Do you plan to attend the Acatemy? What about the hotel in the south of France? Plan on taking advantage of that service? ____________________________________________________________________

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Fabulous Fondue at The Melting Pot

Waitress Prepares the Cheese, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

In the entertainment plans, our friends the Allens, had scheduled the grilling of steaks for Thursday evening. In the early afternoon, we all made a run to their church where they gave us Sunday school material, and on the way back, the subject arose of fondue restaurants. Learning that we had never been to one, they immediately changed dinner plans, called The Melting Pot and made reservations for us to eat at 7:15.

The Allen’s two children grown children, Anthony and Melissa, were with us, and their presence added to this joyous occasion.

 

 

 

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The meal was phenomenal, lasting well over two hours. My favorite parts were the cheese courses, and the dessert. Our tables were fitted with two embedded, flat surface electric burners, over which our waitress prepared the cheese fondues. When we moved on to the entree course, she brought pots of cooking mixtures and set them over the burners. One broth was coq au vin–not sure about the other. The meats we impaled on our fondue forks were salmon, shrimp, chicken, plain beef and teriyaki beef. Raw vegetables for us to cook were also brought to the table–mushrooms and potatoes were my favorites.

Fondue at the Melting Pot

And then came dessert–two different kinds of chocolate pots. This presentation was of dark and white chocolate–appropriately called Yin and Yang. Platters of strawberries, pineapple, bananas, cake and other delicacies served as “dunkers” for the luscious chocolate. The other pot was called Turtle, I believe–had pecans and caramel included.

Yin and Yang

Somewhere during that time, we ordered coffee. We laughed, we relaxed, then we walked into the summer night, satiated–filled with outstanding food and with the delight of budding new friendships.

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A Snip of Solitude

Mimosa Blossom, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I had dressed, eased through my bedroom door, softly turned the lock on the front door, and walked into a glorious August morning in the community of Catalina, just north of Tucson. It was shortly past dawn. We were house guests of the Bob Allen family, at whose church on Wednesday evening, Jerry had preached. Now, though, the household lay asleep, and I, fully awake, stood surveying their magnificent gardens.

Around the corner of the house, I came upon a folded lawn chair, tugged it open, and sat. And sat. Tender air ruffled soft leaves of scores of plants, fountains and waterfalls played, and the tiny creek bubbled and bounced. Dozens of birds fluttered around me, the ground was abuzz with activity, and from somewhere in the trees over my head, I picked up the cottony coo of a grey dove. Butterflies flitted, bright yellow flags of morning.

Mexican Pot Fountain

For more than an hour, I didn’t move, but drew in wide draughts of solitude. I pondered, philosophized, and gazed. Such a stance was a wild divergence from that of last week when I was in Santa Maria, and lay as juxtaposition to the remainder of the day, for when the others were up and about, we would experience a day chock full of brilliant activities.

I’m of the mind that solitude is as necessary for the id and for the soul as is food for the body and exercise for the muscle. Quiet reflection refines. It replenishes the spirit, lends insight, and sorts through our maze of daily issues. Silent moments expand our vision, tune our ear, and search our souls.

Give such a gift to yourself. From busyness, sculpt a warm nook where for an hour or so you can hunker down and suck in deep swallows of reflection and of soul-awareness.

Allen's Front Garden

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Marley Goes Boating

Meet Marley. He’s a yellow lab who belongs to Mike and Mel, and who was a major player in our boat excursion on Saturday. He’s a sweet, docile dog and he loves the water. Mel dressed him in a blue bandanna for the outing

 

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Mike says Marley is paranoid, but I think he’s just very smart. If he doesn’t like a decision you have made, he is known to totally ignore a person. He turns his head and won’t even look at you. He didn’t like something Chloe did on Thursday evening as they were playing together in Mike’s pool, so on Friday when we were visiting there, and Chloe was again in the pool, Marley slunk over to us and turned his head away from Chloe.

“Look at him, Mom,” Mike said.

He does look kind of worried here, doesn’t he. He’s quite a fisher, for although I’m not sure he ever has caught one, when Mike says, “Catch a fish, Marley,” he goes after it, paddling rapidly, and looking intently into the water.

A couple of years ago, Mike’s secretary bought him the book, Marley and Me, which is the wonderful story of a yellow lab also named Marley. It’s amazing how similar are the two dogs.

Mel feeds Marley a snack.

Although I have never owned one, Labs are my favorite breed of dog. I first became acquainted with them in Idaho on a hunting trip where a couple of our friends had labs. They are sweet, gentle, smart dogs.

Marley enjoys riding in the boat, except when Mike revs up the engine and the boat goes very fast. Once, on Saturday, when we were skimming over the water, he came to where I was and nuzzled his nose under my arm. He senses immediately when the boat slows and is about to beach, goes forward and is ready to bounce off the boat and into the water.

 

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Toward the end of the trip, he tired, and took a little snooze.

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Saturday Morning Boating on Lake Havasu

DSC_0045, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Michael doesn’t take his boat out much anymore. Couple of reasons, I think: Lake Havasu is such a popular boating resort area, and is so much more crowded than it used to be, and then Mike’s interests have somewhat changed. Recall that in recent months he learned to fly, and loves it so much he even bought a small plane–a Cessna four-place.

But Saturday when Andrew and Chloe were here, Mike and Mel loaded up the boat and around 8:00 picked up Jerry and me, so we six were off for a few hours on beautiful Lake Havasu. The weather was perfect. It was hot, but with a bit of cloud cover so that we were not uncomfortable at all.

The source of Lake Havasu is the Colorado River that is dammed at Parker, Az. which is around 30 miles from here, I believe. The Colorado is a powerful, wide river, that in this area flows through through the lake and the city and onto the other side of town. On Saturday, we motored out of the lake and into the river channels heading north toward Topock. Some places are quite shallow, while others are deep. The water is clear and sparkling.

At times we motored slowly, gulping in the rugged beauty of the stone mountains that rise directly from the green waters; other times, Mike pushed forward the throttle and the Conquest reared up, reaching speeds of around 55 mph, I believe. Thrown water particles pelted the skin on our faces. It was wonderful.

 

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Sand bars are common throughout this area of the river, and three times, Mike pulled onto one of these, and we waded or leaped out for a swim.

That is not a sea-monster!

Lake Havasu is a popular destination for high school and college students on spring break. They flock here by the thousands for wild parties, especially in years past, to a place called Copper Canyon. I tried to find a replica of the picture on the internet, but was unsuccessful, in which hundreds of boats are wedged in the canyon, so that you can walk from boat to boat. I’ve seen the picture. The situation became so dangerous and so wild, that officials closed down the canyon. Actually, I’m not sure if it is truly closed, or just can’t be accessed during busy holidays.

Disposed of their favored place in Copper Canyon, the party-people surged to the giant sand-bar north of Lake Havasu that is pictured here. It too, became full of vile and dangerous activities, so while it is open to boaters today, on big holidays, the entire sand bar is closed.

Frequently mixed in with these watery moments were snacks from our baskets and drinks from our coolers. Around noon, Melina, always the perfect hostess, pulled out a giant subway sandwich, which she cut into serving sizes and passed around.

 

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The captain and his crew.

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How to Know When You’re in Lake Havasu

Summer Door Knob, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

You know you’re in Lake Havasu when door knobs around town look like this.

 

You know you’re in Lake Havasu when the thermometer outside your rig reads thus.

 

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You know you’re in Lake Havasu when often you admire the London Bridge, whose ancient stones were shipped across the ocean, and erected over Lake Havasu formed by the beautiful Colorado River.

You know you’re in Lake Havasu when, weeks ago, you turned off the hot water heater, for tap water now exceeds the temperature of lukewarm.

You know you’re in Lake Havasu, when it holds the record for being the hottest place in America more days than any other city.

You know you’re in Lake Havasu when, within the freezer of your motor home, a small bag of ice melts.

You know you’re in Lake Havasu when the shopping is abysmal, but dirt work is being done for the 17 acre mall that is scheduled for dedication in March of 2008. A Dillard’s will be there and a Super Walmart, which will be one of the biggest in the United States, boasting two restaurants.

You know you’re in Lake Havasu when you visit Chuy’s restaurant and they hand out stuffed animals to identify your table when the food is ready.

 

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You know you’re in Lake Havasu when you see really big sunglasses. (Pardon the Budweiser ad.)

 

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You know you’re in Lake Havasu when you drive to the end of a street and are met with such a sight as this.

 

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