Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 31 - Preposition Propositions

In Barstow.

After the train.

Near the tamarisk.

At the station of the crossed clouds.

Across the Mojave on 58.

Below the southern Sierra Nevada.

Up Tehachapi Pass's Joshua trees, snow, and (unfortunate) windmills.

Through the industrial violations of the high plateau.

By the town.

Down the grade.

Past oaks and digger pine.

Into the fog of the future with Harriet at the end of a most memorable happy year -- and, to all, many new ones more!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December 30 - Slip-Fault Sliding

Fly away up Oak Creek Canyon, past the increasing snows of Slide Ranch,

to the switchbacks by

the piney


adjacent to the small world of a Sikh snowball fight and

Native-American vendors.

Declivity gives way to plateau thereafter, as we approach the scalloped plowed edges of a Flagstaff service station,

where the San Francisco Peaks reign supreme,

then down out from the elevation-c.-7,000 high country into Mohave County (there's no accounting for Arizonan non-Hispanic spelling)...

to the expanses of the Yucca Rest Area,

near the Arizona Needles,

over the Colorado

River at the spot on the map known as Topock

and back

to our strange wonderful state,

with towns named after strange/natural out-of-state formations,

and the ghosts of yuccas in the Sacramento Mountains marching off to uncertain futures.

Down the alluvial slopes into the line of a deserted overpass in Ward Valley (this land where I entered the state to take up more-or-less permanent residence so many years ago),

up into the Piute Mountains,

and down again -- a palm-and-cacti


near Goffs finds views extending east to the aforesaid prominences

and west beyond a sad, silent, waterless flock to

the Providence range in the East Mojave Scenic Area: creosote bush, dark igneous table lands, and even a bit of relief for animal companions.

But other signs, including prices a full dollar more than elsewhere (hey, we're back of beyond; what can we expect?), are less encouraging (non-humans, refer back to previous scene). Nevertheless...

Ole!... Since the Scandinavian equivalent is not coming to mind...

On. To lonely railroads before the Cady Mountains,

and the evenglow of the Calicos

extending to the outskirts of Barstow for rest. Stop.

Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29 - Lifting Our Eyes

Jerome lies basking next to part of its raison-d'etre -- the open-pit-copper Clark Mine --

up nd at the Mingus Mountains,

in glorious views the San Francisco Peaks (north of Flagstaff),

Sedona Cliffs, and Verde Valley, on the way to the

Douglas Mansion

at the State Park.

From there, the town is part of the view,

along with the Mine (namesake of the aforesaid original big-time minor, obliged to look at his interloping late-comer arrival's digs down the hill) and

Little Daisy Hotel (rather a lot really, named for Douglas's rival excavation, and now an unexpectedly private residence),

old mine equipment,

stately walls,

views scrimmed,

stark, and


extending downslope to Clarkdale (Clark's combo humanitarian-industrial founding), the Verde Valley, Sedona Cliffs, and Williams and San Francisco Peaks.

Upslope, lunch is at the Jerome Grand Hotel (a former hospital),


looking out on the patio,


and all the rest, again (now including the Powder Box Church -- now a private residence, and named for its construction utilizing old wooden boxes which once contained explosives).

Harriet buys me a new hat (much to the relief of some of my students), and we're out the door, back to Sedona.

First stop, Lower and Upper Red Rocks Loop Road, since it's about time to take in the picture-book vistas of Courthouse Butte and

Cathedral Rock,

set among various

foregrounds (clearly, look, but don't touch).

Dry Creek Road, the unique teal-arched planning-board-approved McDonalds, the adobe Safeway before Capitol Butte,

followed by Soldier (or Soldier's -- the first seems favored by a majority of guidebooks and maps, while the second is on the street signs) Pass's Coffee Pot Rock

evince the mixed blessings of development.

From here, we ascend halfway up Airport Mesa to the, shall we say, Vortex View of

the Coxcomb,

Chimney Rock,





The Sphinx, The Fin,

Wilson Mountain, and Steamboat Rock.

At the top of the Mesa, another stop --

are we viewed-out yet (with the Safeway down left from Capitol Rock and

the vista across the airport proper)?

Evidently not, because next is the beginning (but only the beginning, as the main course is unpaved) of Schnebly Hill Road, named after a founding pioneer in these parts, whose wife's given name was given to the town.

Here the world extends west to Mitten Ridge,

east to Munds Mountain,

and south back towards Capitol etc. And back towards there we head, to rendezvous with Roland and Liz at a local grill, for steaks and stir-fry and a far-inland fisherman's platter.