Cottonwood, Arizona

Anyone that says moving is a pleasant experience is on some kind of drug.  It is a trauma akin to root canal + knee surgery, both without pain killers + divorce thrown in all at the same time + a major remodel job on top of that.

Our “new” house in Cottonwood is coming along well, still needs a lot of work, but shows signs of coming together.  Still lots of boxes left in the garage to unpack and nowhere to put stuff.  This area is expanding fast .  Almost every person we meet at Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Walmart, church, restaurants are from elsewhere and have been here a short time.  All are helpful, happy, and are glad to be here.

Cottonwood is still on the edge of a vast wilderness and is in a transitional mountain-desert zone.  We see birds and critters from both types of environment.  Birds, ground squirrels, chipmunks, coyotes, peccaries (javelinas).  In case you don’t know what javelinas are, you are not alone.  Even experts disagree.  Let’s just say they are like pigs but smaller and with lots of hair.  Kind of cute in an ugly sort of way.  Our place is located on a piece of land whose back yard is up against a javelina highway.  We see groups of them going along (some west bound, some east bound).  Can’t tell if it’s the same bunch.  The little ones are kind of cute.  I guess that they don’t have large litters like pigs do because in the groups that we see passing only one or two are little ones.  I heard that they are good eatin’.  Not!  If you readers have a tasty method of preparing peccary, send it to me.

Cottonwood Weather

Christmas morning , about 1/4″ of snow.  Some frost overnight at times.  Light rain some days.  Most days in the 40 to 60 degree range.  Not bad compared to Cedar City.

Home Upgrades

I have been installing extra shelving in the house and the garage since most houses in this modern era (last 50 years) have stud and drywall construction.  Why does hardware such as towel racks, shelving, cabinets not come in widths that match the 16″ spacing of studs?  Some items that you want to hang on a wall are expected to be able to support more weight than those plastic drywall plugs that come with this stuff.

Even with the 16″ spacing rule some home builders are more apt to not follow the rules.  That’s why a good stud finder is fun to have.  Sometimes mine works OK.  If the wall is smooth.  This house has textured walls. If the area being searched does not have electric wiring in the walls to give a false signal – our walls have wiring in them.  Our contractor uses the knock, knock method.  “Sounds like a stud right here.”

Super Bowl – Robert Craft owner of the Patriots:

Mr. Craft visited Russia several years ago – he had on his super bowl ring.  During his visit with Vlad Putin, Mr. Putin asked to try on this very special ring.  Craft handed over his ring, Putin put it on and showed  his staff the ring.  The meeting went on for some time and when it was over Putin walked off with the ring.

In this new era soon even the losers of the super bowl will get a ring.  Possible instead of 14k gold and diamonds like the winners get, the ring will be fool’s gold and cubic zirconia.


Cat, being a master gardener, has started to purge plants from the yard that do not belong in this habitat.  We drove down to Anthem and toured 2 cactus nurseries.  She bought some cacti that are native to this area; will plant them soon.  She put all the plants in the yard on notice that they are on their own.  No water from her.


A Date for Valentine’s Day

I’m suggesting the following post to social media from a deserving woman I know:

A loving, kind, well maintained attractive mature woman looking to meet mature, handsome secure man.  If the secure part is big enough, then how mature or handsome you may be becomes less important. Remember, the more secure you are, the more social I become.  Send picture of yourself and your bank account.  Signed, Goldie Kravesalott.

Quartzsite, Arizona,Feb. 2017

My experiences and observations at the big rock show at Quartzsite, Arizona, Jan. 2017.

Our new house is only a pleasant 4 hour drive to Quartzsite.  However, I was forced to make a special side trip to Phoenix to obtain my Arizona sales tax permit for 2017.  I had sent my paperwork for renewal in November, waited for it until Dec. 10 – no mail.  Called and was on hold for 30 minutes to speak to a person vs. some computer at the license department.  The person said OK, will do ASAP.  Waited for snail mail.  No license.  Lots of time except no mail delivery – (2 holiday weekends + MLK holiday on Monday in January).  Needed to be in Quartzsite Tuesday.  Made the detour, located the tax officer.  Looked more like a fort or prison than an office building; the required metal detector & pocket search, etc. A short 5 minute wait and about 5 minutes for the nice clerk to print up a fresh license and I was on my way.

Next year I will go straight to the office and avoid the 2 months’ delay.  Of course the license came in the mail Tuesday after I was already in Quartzsite.  Oh, and the State can’t figure out which county Cottonwood is in,  Yavapai or Coconino.

The Pow Wow in town is one of about 3 or 4 big shows going on and about 2 or 3 hundred small locations in town where you can buy rocks.  The Pow Wow has 500 booths.  The weather was bad.  The people that winter over in the B.L.M campgrounds who are from Canada did not spend as they did in years past because the exchange rate sucks.

#arizona-state-tax-office, #quartzsite

Willis Creek Hike, Oct. 15, 2016


Joel & Cat with Sonya & John Swatsley.  This slot canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument must be taken in dry weather with no rain predicted in the area.  If you survive the torrent that runs through the canyon your vehicle will be stuck on the muddy slick Skutumpah Road.  Getting there: Utah state route 12 east of Bryce Canyon to Cannonville.  Check in at the BLM visitor center; get info on safe conditions in the area.  Go south on the road leading to Kodachrome Basin about 3 miles to Forest Road 500 which is the 30+ mile long Skutumpah; go 6 miles to the Willis Creek trail head parking lot.

We set up the card table and chairs and had a first class picnic lunch with salad, pink lemonade, tuna salad in pita pockets, hummus, vegetables,  and cranberry apple pie.


The four of us then started off on the hike which began as a walk beside tiny Willis Creek which gradually descended into a deepening and narrowing slot canyon.



The water was only a few feet wide and a few inches deep but at times was wall to wall in the narrows section of the slot canyon.  You will get your feet wet.  Wear rocky stream shoes or boots that you are OK to get wet.


John had on a nice pair of new boots and decided to only go about 1/2 mile down the canyon and turned back to save his boots.  Still he and Sonya got to see some of the nice canyon.  The slots were twisty and looked like frozen vertical waves.  The rock was more of shades of earth tones – gray, brown, black instead of red rock like Red Canyon or Bryce.


Cat and I hiked about 1 mile of the canyon before returning back to the trail head.  At about 1/2 mile from the parking lot, the canyon developed a lovely waterfall of about 10-15 feet high.  The trail bypassed the fall so we did not have to repel down the fall itself.  If it was a hot day and we were dressed for getting wet (or undressed), standing under the fall would be fun.


After the hike we continued in our cars south on Skutumpah Road, crossing Bull Valley Gorge.  Boy, is it narrow and deep.  Crossing it on a dirt bridge (which seems to have no means of support) is a thrill.  Someday we will hike that trail.


Continuing south was a scenic 2 hour drive with only 2 isolated ranches along the way to the paved Johnson Canyon Road.



Stopped for designer coffee in Kanab, then home to Cedar City through Fredonia, west on state route 389 past Pipe Springs, Colorado City (Short Crick), and Hurricane, and I-15 north.  A good day.


ribbon turquoise1 pendant, $40

ribbon turquoise2 pendant, $30

ribbon turquoise2 pendant, $30

ribbon turquoise3, $40

ribbon turquoise3 pendant, $40

#bull-valley-gorge, #john-swatsley, #johnson-canyon, #ribbon-turquoise, #willis-creek

Dino Land – Vernal, Utah, Sept. 19-22

Set out for Vernal to see the new dinosaur museum and to see the dinosaur dig sight in Dinosaur National Monument.  I had visited the dig sight 50 years ago and wondered what had changed.

  1. The dino bones are 50 years older.
  2. Some bones have been removed from the site and have been sent to museums.
  3. The remaining bones will stay at the site and no additional digging will be done.  (It was exciting to see people in the process of removing the bones 50 years ago)
  4. A new larger glass and metal building has been installed over the dig site.
  5. Electronic interactive displays have been installed and are quite informative.
  6. Better restrooms
  7. Replica and dino skeletons have been installed to show the different kind of dinos that have been found at the dig site.
  8. Large painted murals on the back wall depicts how live dinos looked and interacted with the environment and each other.  Some were eating plants. Some were eating the plant eaters.

The dino museum in Vernal (Utah Field House of Natural History) was modern, clean, and loaded with information about all aspects pertaining to dinos.  Outside of the museum they have full size models of what living dinos looked like in natural settings.  One item was not a dino but a full sized wooly mammoth, really big and fierce looking.  Primitive hunters had to deal with monsters like this as well as saber tooth cats, giant bears, over-sized wolves, and other nasty beasts.

Geology – Split Mountain – The Green River runs through Dinosaur National Monument through split mountain canyon.  The ranger at the visitor center said that the Green River should have gone around the mountain but instead cut a channel through the center of what is now called Split Mountain.  The split was actually caused by an uplift.  You can see the layered rocks from Jensen to Dinosaur on SR 40.  The rock layers are pushed up in a rainbow shape.  Rocks don’t bend very well so they must crack.  Like 2 points on the surface of a balloon, they get farther apart as the balloon inflates.  The strata that the dino bones are imbedded in is the Morrison Formation (hardened mud).  This layer is tilted up at about 60 degrees.  The Green River just flowed through one or more cracks and widened them somewhat.

The Grand Canyon flows through a similar uplift.  The north rim is about 1000 feet higher than the south rim.  If the land was almost flat in the remote past the river would look like it does at Moab, just a canyon of a few hundred feet deep, or at Yuma; just a few feet below its rim.

The trip to and from Vernal from Cedar City:  Cedar on I-15 to I-70 to SR 10 to Price, SR 6 to Helper, 191 to Duchesne (over Indian Canyon & Ashley Nat’l Forest, 9300 ft.), then east on SR 40 to Roosevelt and Vernal.  The route is rich in scenery but takes more time.  We enjoyed sights like Helper (train museum), old Main Street, Castle Gate, Indian Pass, etc.  A good trip.

Sept. 22:  A large cold front engulfed most of Utah starting in Vernal about 12:00 AM.  We needed to be in Cedar by that night.  Worried about snow on Indian Canyon pass we asked a helpful hotel cook for advice.  She said to take 40 and 189 through Heber City and Provo; the pass is lower.  Despite heavy rain most of the way we made it to Cedar by nightfall.2016-09-21-12-58-452016-09-21-12-59-37

wall of bones

wall of bones


main hwy. in Vernal with potted flowers

main hwy. in Vernal with potted flowers

front of Utah state dino & natural history museum

front of Utah state dino & natural history museum

Utah raptor, Utah 'field House of Natural History

Utah raptor, Utah ‘field House of Natural History

wooly mammoth

wooly mammoth

gay dinosaur

gay dinosaur


dino garden

dino garden


Dinosaur N.M ; road to Josie's cabin

Dinosaur N.M ; road to Josie’s cabin

Green River rafting disembarking site

Green River rafting disembarking site


#dinosaur-natl-monument, #green-river-rafting, #utah-field-house-museum-of-natural-history, #vernal

Canyonlands Needles District Hike to Chesler Park Overlook

Chesler Park

Chesler Park

The Needles or southeast section of Canyonlands is accessed from north of Monticello on Utah state route 191.  Turn west on Indian Creek Scenic Byway.  The indicator is Church Rock.  Big.  You can’t miss it.

Cat and I hiked the Chesler Park overlook trail, a 6 mile round trip described as moderate.  The destination is a view of turrets of striped rocks, Chesler Park.  I have no pix as the camera battery died the day before.  I will try to splice some in from the Canyonlands website.  We started at 1:00 PM and finished at 6:00 PM.  It was not moderate for me; we averaged about 1.25 MPH.  On flat ground I can travel about 3 MPH over that distance.  I also got hot and somewhat dehydrated.  Two days before this we went on an easy 2 mile hike which was not easy for me and I had on a rayon Hawaiian shirt that was hot and sticky and did not let my body heat out.  At the end of the hike I drank down a quart of Gatorade and was still thirsty.  I now think that I was at first stage of heat stroke.  I still felt a little weak and out of sorts 2 days later when we started the 6 mile hike or maybe I’m out of shape or just getting old at 77.  Cat, my understanding wife, had a worry that we would not make it to our car before sunset and would be stuck in some deep dark canyon overnight.  We beat sundown by at least 45 minutes but some parts of the trail were in deep shadows because of being in deep narrow canyons.

Had dinner at Wagon Wheel Pizza in Monticello; good eats at a great price.  Cat got pizza.  I got a big salad.  Both got big drinks.  $20. OK, next time you’re in Monticello, check it out.  By the way, the girl cook was an expert at tossing the pizza dough, and put on quite a show.

#chesler-park, #monticello, #wagon-wheel-pizza

Trip to Blanding & Canyonlands, Needles District N.P., Sept. 12-15


Church Rock


Newspaper Rock



Three nights in Blanding.  First night – steakhouse waitress – name Camri, like Toyota Camry.  She was so nice that her parents should have named her Mercedes


Newspaper Rock


Newspaper Rock


Newspaper Rock, along road to Needles District, Canyonlands


Newspaper Rock


Small town gas station overkill; propane, 2 kinds of diesel, regular + off road.  Question: how do you get your offroad diesel if you have to drive on the highway to get it?  Oh, and 3 grades of gasoline.  Too many product decisions.


Canyonlands park entrance view


road to Needles District, Canyonlands

Visit to Canyonlands southeast Needles section very isolated but with beautiful vistas of monuments, spiked ridges, long open river valleys with 500 foot cliffs on both sides.  Very under developed with only the visitor center where you could only get water.  No food or camping equipment.  Good but primitive campsites throughout.  Several trails to choose from.  Some very short ones.  Several overlooks you can drive to.  One small general store located just outside the park, the Needles Outpost, provided food, water, gas, showers, some R.V. campsites, trinkets, etc.

Alcohol – eastern Utah is dry – Bluff, Blanding, Monticello; no booze.  We were told alco


road to Needles District, Canyonlands


Canyonlands Needles District horizon


View from park entrance


clouds in Canyonlands


Wooden Shoe Arch


rock outcropping in Canyonlands

hol was a problem with the mostly Indian population there.

#blanding, #bluff, #canyonlands, #monticello, #needles-district, #newspaper-rock