Friday, October 30, 2009


Sold the truck for $500 Monday. Maybe I could have charged more money for it, but as a friend put it "I feel sorry for the guy you sold it to." The thing had passed 302K miles and was sold with a cracked windshield, two bald tires and a failing exhaust system... ...some major dents, a wooden 'tailgate', a busted passengers-side mirror... ETC.
I snagged some bobble-heads and superman from the dash, and the few things that hung from rear-view mirror have been divided amongst a couple of people who shared the truck the most! It will spend the rest of its days somewhere it Western Johnson County
I guess 10,000miles in three and a half months is a little much for such a truck.? But check out my shiny new PURPLE SUV! My father helped me get a good deal on a new 4x4 thing- I'm not too sure how I feel about the electronic everythings in it, but it sounds like a sports car compared to the old dodge!
(It looks even better covered in MUD!!!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009


A pic that I discovered on a CD from the floor of my room. Taken August 13, but I dont know where I was... Looks a bit like Jerry Smith to me!

I have spent A LOT of time sorting through hard drives and CD's to get as many of my old photos back as possible since the external harddrive which they were stored on crashed. The search has been successful in finding most of the photographs that I used in my 'portfolio,' but am still missing many of my favorites.

There are still a few of them that I am trying to find. Im looking for photographs from the hill and my California, Colorado and Arkansas roadtrips- but especially that awesome lightning pic that I shot in Sioux City in 2008. It was sent around and used several times in presentations and documents (I Know someone has it!)


Monday, October 12, 2009

Kansas City River

AUG. 12
A float by Bill; some photos I found from the beginning of August. Bill and Ruth invited me to float on the Missouri River for an afternoon. The weather couldn't have been better! We launched a mammoth 3-person Canoe from Kaw Point - The confluence was our first obstacle, but the heavy boat kept a smooth course through any turbulence beneath us. We traveled under the first few bridges and a trail blew its whistle on the bridge upstream of city market. There was a good story to the name of our vessel, but I forget both.
Bill tried introducing us to a betting game. "Train-Car Poker"- He explained that the game was played by betting on the last car, the second to last car or the third. When the tail-end finally shows up and reveals the identification numbers of the last three boxes, the numbers- I think that there were like five digits to a car- were played as a poker hand. Bill's last car, "Number-one" started with a lucky pair of 7's and a pair of 2's. Ruth chose to bet on Number 3, which beat my silly second car with a pair of 5's.
The City Market overlook was identified and we tied-off to one of the old wooden pier-supports just down from the overlooks hefty cement ones. We scrambled up the rip-rap, alongside the pillars, and overcame the weeds and briers to hop a fence and walk the stairs the rest of the way. Ruth and Bill posed for a photo, and I took a few of the downstream bridges. The river was beautiful all dressed-up in it's summer greens and with those fluffy afternoon clouds. We glanced across the bridge that connects the overlook-island with the rest of the world. Ruth spotted a small group of friends and everyone met to catchup. Bill tried explaining to me what little he knew of the folks and we showed our finest smiles for Ruth's extended family.

The sun sank into the thicker clouds as we approached another large bridge on the water. I lost another round of Train-Poker and Bill told us that all of the commotion that appeared to be on the next bridge was the beginning of construction for the new I-35. The next bridge was the last one before our take-out. We neared the construction, where they had a HUGE crane floating on a barge, and more equipment and materials on others. The sun vanished below treeline. Bill spotted a beach that he remembered camping on; Ruth told Bill that the large sandbar was not the one that he remembered. The disagreement was definitely a good excuse to stop and investigate. The dark sandbar held only a set of tire tracks and a block of dock-foam, and after Bill was convinced that the sandbar was not the one he remembered, and that night really was coming fast, we launched the dock foam and gathered our things. The canoe could not catch up with the minutes-head-start that the block of styrofoam had with the current and with only a quarter-mile of river to go before our takeout on the opposite bank, the three of us put some effort into paddling for the first time on our four-mile-run. Bill steered us across the river so that we paralleled the nightly shore with only an easy bit left to float. A spark of lightening lit parts of the Northwestern sky and it appeared that we would be on dry land just in time as the unexpected storm approached.

Of course you could hear the surprise and tension in his voice when a gusty front-wind broadsided our placid canoe. The winds whipped across the river and down it's channel, and with nothing to obstruct it, it hit hard. For a moment the wind seemed to push us ashore- it was all-of-the-sudden so loud! My instincts were to get to shore and only a few hundred feet of water flowed between us and the boat ramp. the boat-ramp projected from shore to form a slower current upstream of the thing, and a much faster one around it's point; I wanted to get the boat to shore quickly and I didn't like the looks of the speedy current forming on the ramp itself. I started to paddle towards shore, though I made little progress with two other determined paddles on board. Bill was headed for the ramp! The wind changed directions and thunder and pouring rain started against us at the same moment. We were in the storm way too quick!

Bill shouted a few things that I did not hear and we beached the boat just upstream of the ramp. The scene was chaotic, but we managed to carry the boat and our things up to the lot- tied it to the cables between cement blockades and hid the canoe on the river-side of a block that outlined the parking area. The rain continued and it wetted each of us more than we would have hoped. We piled paddles and packs into Ruth's little car and she got us back to Kaw where the bout of exciting weather had already come and gone. Ruth yelled her goodbyes from the driver seat and left Bill and I to retrieve the boat with Bill's big truck. I asked bill to allow me a few seconds with my tiny camera and the dramatic night scene of Kansas City's Downtown engulfed in the storm.The damn thing didn't do much good for the photo's potential; I gave it up after three very different exposures. It was a beautiful thing, though!

Through Downtown and the city market area that we visited via the river. Bill made one last swing of his arm to point down the way that would take me to the same Overlook-

We loaded the boat in the rain again; the canoe was flipped and moved away from the cement so that Bill suspected aloud that someone had tried to steal it. My immediate thoughts blamed the boat's position on another stray gust of wind that may have come with the storm in our absence. I kept it to myself.

We lifted the canoe in an a light rain, and fastened it to the bed as heavy rain turned heavier. One heavy mess of rain forced traffic to slow down on the ride home.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dylan and Kelly- OUT

Libby met Kelly and I in town for a last Dairy King meal. We spent hours doin' the errands-thing and settled in the library for enough time to do emails and music, and for me to answer a phone-interview for the umpteenth job that Ive applied for. I sat in the truck for the phone-call; it hailed and sleeted and winded.
He hired me on the spot; I will operate a ski-lift for the winter season at Mammoth Mountain!
It was the perfect start to our roadtrip! (for me, anyways)...
...South on 34 and blue skies. We stopped in Empire to drop Bob's books off at the Sweet Shop. I ran up to an old gold mine, too; Kelly made an awesome quick sketch of the scene while I picked a handful of Pyrite crystals from the tailings. We drove through the long Eisenhower tunnel on I-70 and caught a stunning sunset many miles east of Grand Junction. Kelly asked me why the city was named Grand Junction. I couldn't answer and she decided to start a list of questions that we had about the things we encountered on the trip.
Why did the sunset appear to last so long?
Why is the city called Grand Junction?
We decided that the sunset had lasted much longer than usual; Kelly theorized that we'd been acclimated to sunset from deep in a mountain gulch and that the mountains had shortened sunset.I explored the possibilities of chasing the sun west. I guess that if earth rotates at 1040 mph, and we traveled at 70mph, it would add something like 9 minutes to the sunset (my math is probably very wrong!). I'm bettin' that Kelly's idea is much more likely! Grand Junction, like the more familiar Junction City KS, is named for the junction of the region's two major rivers: the Colorado River and the Gunnison. Grand Junction is also known as THE RIVER CITY in Colorado. "Grand" is a reference to the Grand River until it was re-named as the upper stretch of the Colorado in '21.... Wikipedia is awesome!
We didn't turn from I-70 until eleven or twelve; ran down Cisco's blue Highway- towards Arches National Park- until I spotted a steep dirt road on the left.
The truck's wheels spun over the loose gravel for a quarter-mile or so; the tent put up on the windless-side of the truck and we camped in small gravel pit. 'Sat in the light of a nearly-full moon, told stories of all of the creepiest critters we'd encountered and watched the cloud's moon-shadows pass over a vast desertscape.
From our tiny 'stealth-camp' sunrise was colourful and exciting. Blues and Oranges, but not much topography. The moon had revealed the flatness of our surroundings overnight, but the vastness of the plain was unexpected to me. Kelly crawled from the tent after the most exciting colours had grown dull.
The tiny camp-stove helped make some fine powered cappuccino-stuff. We each had a couple of glasses of coffee crap and i collected some fine agates before we hopped back onto the unnamed hwy to Cisco.

Im not real sure if the tiny desert town had any habitable buildings, but we spotted a sign that gave the town the nickname Hydrocarbon Heaven and Kelly added the mystery to our list.
Why is Cisco the Hydrocarbon heaven?
... We still dont know.The general store was gutted, stripped and leaning to the right, and a huge train yard sat to the north. Cisco actually hosts a great sheep and wool industry. South of the 'town' we entered a Colorado River-canyon and followed the river for many miles-

Pulled into Arches' Visitor Centre for quick break and some info. I asked a ranger-dude about the best hikes in the park and he gave us a list of short ones. The line of cars exiting the park was forever.

We slipped onto the double arches with a Japanese Couple and a German family in between tour buses. They were massive! Kelly immediately noticed the softness of the sand that we walked on- she compared it to shuffleboard sand. I was fascinated by all of the cacti and yuccas around us- all of the cool orange sandstone, too! My pics were disappointing.

The drive to Delicate Arch- the famous guy on the UTAH licence plate- took us maybe an hour for all of our short stops and hikes. The parking lot (and overflow) for the trail was packed. We went around once and slipped into the spot of a departing Illinois minivan. I was surprised to find a creek on the trail- and an exciting wall of recent petroglyphs marked by a trail sign. They'd been carved between 1600 and 1800-

The trail led over a long, steep slope of exposed sandstone. Short cairns and a barley-visible trail marked our way. The most traveled paths up the sandstone were slightly darker than the orange slope. The trail led us into a dry, sandy desert-type place dominated by huge, unearthly sandstone sculptures. The rolling, rounded structures projected directly from the bedrock and looked like something between the badlands and the loess hills. I wish I could describe them! Thy were of horizontal, waving layers and honeycombed with small pits and caves- Kelly said they belonged on mars, and later placed them to a StarTrek spaceship- ya, she's a dork!
The arch was crawling with people. People on the arch and under it and swarming the edges and trails around it. I spent some time simply waiting for a people-free shot of the arch. Families and friends took turns posing between the legs of the thing- Kelly basked in the sun for a while and spent about the same insane number of photos on her own camera. I hope hers came out better than mine!

We found a crazy dotted-grey line on the park map and hung a left from the main road. The dirt and gravel lasted for many miles- it looked like it MIGHT drop us off near 191 or the interstate, but we began to doubt it after about 20 miles. Kelly spotted a 'sparkly' hill side and we walked a ways to explore. It was a magnificent Selenite deposit!
The crystals were brilliant and clear- some were more than 4 or5 inches in length! I gathered a handful of the soft crystals in an empty littered cigarette pack and a small number of beautiful crystals for micromounts.
Kelly appeared to be as excited about the rocks as I was- impossible, right?- She gathered crystals and asked me all sorts of questions about them that I couldn't answer. My favorite was a 3-inch piece shaped like the leaf of a fern.. It was gorgeous in the dark dirt and I took a photo to share. The thing is very thin; I wrapped it tight in some toilet paper and stashed it where it may make it home.

We spotted the hwy on the other side of a valley and decided we weren't too far. ..The red dirt road led us to maybe a half-mile from our destination and T'd To force us right or left. I hung a right and another left and another right- slowly we made it closer to the highway. Im sure Kelly was thinking that we were very lost at the point where the road took a strait-shot for the hills again- we were- but I kept towards the hills and we popped onto I-70 near exit 182 or somethin- on the backside of a ratty gas station. We filled up on 70- a few miles after the sign that read next services 110 miles- and Kelly drove for a while. It was way-weird being a passenger... We rode through Hanksville, on our way to Zion National Park, and pulled off to check out another coll selenite-hill. Lots of awesome oyster fossils, too! I held one of the Hanksville fossils to the sun for a pic.