Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cross Country Pedalers Hit Starbucks.

A pair of young transcontinental cyclists rode up behind me today on Hwy. 60 just west of Wickenburg.  I was on the Giant Hybrid for my morning exercise; these guys were putting in the serious miles as they made their way east at a pretty good clip.

I could see them in my rearview mirror, headed my way. "Hello, sir," announced Trevor as he pulled alongside. "Know where we can get a good, cold coffee drink," he asked?

Then his riding partner Guy appeared and I invited them to join me at Starbucks (my treat) before they continued their journeys -- Guy up to Canada via the Rockies, and Trevor due east along the southern route to Florida.

Great guys, these two.  They met up in somewhere between Joshua Tree National Forest in CA and Quartzite in AZ.  There's a picture of the three of us with Geri and Roberta, barista pals from Starbucks.

Talk about some good folks coming into your life on the road!  Keep the shiny side up, men. Safe travels.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brother Joe: 50 miles into a Century.

Talk about hard bodies (hard heads?) young-at-heart cyclist Joe Hoyt stopped mid-way through his recent "Century" -- 100 miles round trip from home in Coral Gables -- to weigh in at the local fishing dock in Homestead.

Reminds me of old fotos of Ernest Hemingway and his deep-sea fishing exploits off the coast of Cuba. Back in "Papa's" day, however, the Old Man and the Sea improved his odds with a loyal deck hand, a bottle of rum, and some puros to enjoy while he battled those duanting marlins.

As for Joe?  Tap water 'til that ran out, a banana that bruised easily, and some bag balm for the heiny when saddle sores began to appear.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bedoian Bakery + Cafe: Great Attiitude.

Emily Bedoian runs a helluva coffee and pastry shop in downtown Wickenburg, AZ.  She counts old Poppy here as a regular customer - iced skim latte and a pair of Bedoian's Best Ginger Snap Cookies.

Attitude is Everything at the shop.  Emily gets that from her Dad, who stands next to me in the back row in this picture.  What a fun time we always seem to have at Bedoian's.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Corner of Vulture Peak + Vulture Mine.

About thirty minutes into my ride today out South Vulture Mine Rd. (all uphill,  but how good it felt!) I pulled into Vulture Peak Road and stopped to take a break. I was hoping someone might come along to take a pic of me next to the Giant for perspective, but no such luck. I had the road to myself -- how sweet that can be.

The Great Vulture Mine (and the roads named for the mine) was discovered in the late 19th century by German immigrant Henry Wickenburg . Legend has it that old Henry saw a flock of vultures circling the tallest peak for miles. It's an omen, Herr Wickenburg must have thought, and he named the area in honor of the birds that led him to the gold veins he later exploited.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Old Glory: Proud, Alert, Ever-Vigilant.

We had some snow high in the Bradshaw Mountains over the weekend.  The storm's blown through now, sun's out, and a stiff breeze from the southwest keeps Old Glory proud, alert and ever vigilant.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Roots of Mega Pine Destroy Stone Wall.

Massive pine tree roots pretty much have their way with stone wall along Apache Street in Wickenburg. As I parked the Giant next to the crack in the wail for scale, I was careful not to breath too loud for fear of causing this behemoth to tumble over on me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

You Say "Tomato," I say "Encilada."

No matter how you spell it, the Chicken Enchiladas are outasight here in Wickenburg.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

ADOT Surveys Wickenburg Way.

There's a major highway and "multi-use trail" project going on Out Wickenburg Way.  Ground has been broken, heavy equipment is in place, and surveyors like my friend here are hard at it.

And what's he up to?

The surveyor's tripod boasts a mounted GPS receiver. Satellite images beam down from space so my guy can verify a survey taken earlier by the excavation contractor. Pretty sophisticated, I thought, and these guys sure do know what they're doing.

I asked my new buddy to remove his sunglasses and smile for the camera. He said he'd better not: ADOT work rules prohibited going "uncovered" while on the job.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Encyclopaedia Britannica Ends Print Run

A Sign of the Times: Encyclopaedia Britannica to End Its Print Run

One of my first jobs out of college was selling encyclopedias door-to-door in South Florida.  The brand was Collier's, not Britannica, and we said euphemistically that we were " .. placing a set of books in a family's home" and not actually selling reference books.

The work was hard, often lonely, and always humbling.  Some customer doors we knocked on were swung open wide, and we were invited in to give our spiel .

My first sale was to a single mom in Ft. Lauderdale, raising three kids and holding down a full time job. I thought I was pretty persuasive, but it was the mom who bought from me rather than me selling to the Mom.  She felt guilty, I think, that she wasn't spending enough time helping her kids hit the books.  

I had the solution: I could assuage her worst fears.

A full library of the Collier's Encyclopedia, bought on easy credit from the publisher, and sold with a reassuring smile by you-know-who, would make my prospect a gold-star mother in no time.

I quit my sales job shortly after earning my first commission check. It was a matter of principle and process, I think I told them.  Yet, I leaned so much from that work. And am so glad I don't have to walk the streets at night selling those beastly books today.

For all the stigma associated with how encyclopedias were sold back in those days, the 
product quality and promise were never in question.  

RIP, Encloypaedia Britannica:  you educated a lot of young people (and their parents) and gave a lot of salesmen a start in their careers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cowboy Crooner + His Cowgirl Groupies.

We didn't catch the name of the cowboy strumming and singing at Chaparral in Wickenburg but we agreed he had a haunting voice, and an undeniable appeal to the prettiest of the cowgals.

His  200-song repertoire, comfortabale sense of humor, and easy smile made this dude an immediate fave of our guests from Colorado. And when he covered Willie Nelson's "To All the Girls I've Loved," there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Ask Pat, Sammy and Betsy how big a tip they left in the jar!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday, Basha's!

Basha's Market in Wickenburg celebrates its 80th birthday today.  I was in the store -- the right place at the right time -- for some extraordinary birthday sheet cake.

Three of Eddie Basha's most gracious Wickenburg employees -- let's call them the Bashettes -- served me cake, posed for a snapshot, and had every bit as much fun as I did!

Happy b'day, you all, and here's to 80 more at least.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jason Shares Secret of Well-Baked Sourdough.

First, I created a sourdough "starter" by mixing flour, water and yeast into a 4 qt container. I let it bubble up, out in the open San Francisco air for a few days. 

After it started to smell like what might be beer you would never drink, I put a lid on it and threw it in the fridge for a couple weeks. 

I came back to my creation and used it in a Cracked Pepper Sourdough cheddar recipe. 

Pretty fun to make, and the taste was a big hit. Next I'll dabble with a pasta dough recipe and make ravioli.  
It's all about the bread machine to get the process started.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tailgatin' Wickenburg Style.

You've read my recent posts about Pat + Betsy coming to see La Nancita and me in Wickenburg. We had a grand time: hiked,  chatted, went to the Heard in Phoenix for Indian Market then chatted some more, ate some more, and celebrated the very best time together!

Just before the gals left again for Phoenix and the airport, I posed them on the tailgate of the 2005 Town + Country. I think the pic turned out pretty well -- but look at the gorgeoues gals I'm working with as my 'models!'

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Los Cab GC Lunch Staff Rocks!!

La Nancita and I ordered up three club sandwiches today to go. Wheat bread lightly toasted. Fresh fruit on the side.  And handfuls of the best chocolate-chip cookies you've ever tasted.

Better than the cookies? The Staff at Los Caballeros Golf Club. Outstanding. Awesome. Fun. Friendly.  They practically invented the concept of customer service.

Thank-you's to:  Art, Irma, Dan (who actually works on the golf course and not in the Grill) and Brandi.

Not to mention their boss Joe who was off duty today, but very much there in spirit.  He would have been proud.

Nice job, one and all.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Photographer Mark Gaggia Talks His Craft.

Photography is a basic part of my life. Yes, I’m a professional photographer. More important:  I’m a human being – astounded and humbled by how fast our world has changed, how fortunate I’ve been to record the “frames” of these passages for my children and grandchildren.

When I was a student at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, working in the 35mm format, shooting Tri-X, manually focusing my Nikkor lenses, setting f-stop and shutter speed, without a light meter, taking pictures was my window on the universe.

Not so long ago the world was still a mysterious place: Darkest Africa, Peru, the Far East, Afghanistan, the Orient. Destinations most people only dreamed about. Languages we had never heard, smells and tastes and clothing we could only imagine. This was in OUR lifetimes.  So different now.

Forty years ago we hadn't seen everything already, didn’t even know what we didn’t know. We were wide-eyed, curious, naïve. Back in 1972, when friends of mine at Brooks Institute dropped out of school to become the first white people ever to be seen by, and live with, a particular tribe in New Guinea, it took months for us back home to learn about them. MONTHS!  

When my friends returned to the States they learned from the priest who took them to New Guinea that the tribal people they lived with wept for them daily. My friends had become part of the tribe's Song. It was the song of their history and it was ten thousand years old.  

I still weep when I think how beautiful this story is: to become a verse in a community's song, a part of the history of their whole existence. My God, man.

I have always seen my life as framed moments, frozen in time. I’ll go to my grave seeing life this way. That’s who I am, probably why I became a photographer.  Memories in Black + White, of places far away, the mystery of humanity, the possibilities of discovery, the chance to become part of a People’s Song.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Smilin' Senoras, Stylin' Senora

Took the gals out to hike Vulture Peak this morning.  Wind was blowing from the northwest, a very chilly 50-degrees here in Wickenburg.  Adrenaline was pumping, no one was complaining, and plans were afoot to share the hiking poles on the ascent to the Peak (of Vulture Peak).

Betsy and Pat are veteran climbers and made it to the top -- some 3,526' above the Sonoran Desert, overlooking Wickenburg to the northeast, and catching a glimpse, if you looked hard enough, of Kingman, AZ way off in the distance.

As for Sammy and me,  we climbed into the car.   Back at home we had chores to tackle,  leaving our "huespedes hermosas" -- translates to "pretty guests" en espanol -- to do the heavy climbing.

More on the adventures of Pat + Betsy in a subsequent post.

Miami Joe hangs with Ghana Joe.

Used to say "you meet the nicest people on a Honda" - 

Yesterday Adam and I took a bike ride down south about 15 miles to The James Deering Estate, now a county park and historic site.

Nearby there is a dock where folks go to fish and enjoy the seabreeze.

Here we met this man - Joseph by name.  Joseph emigrated form Ghana to the US in 1958, settling in LA for 30 years or so before he moved to Miami about 20 years ago to retire.

Now 81 he heads down to the dock to fish for mostly barracuda, but also catches snook, small sharks and rays. Joseph asked me if I fish.  I said I had tried many times but ahd not had much success.

His reply - "aw, man - just fish, just fish!"  Some good and sage advice I suppose.

Back on our bikes again today.

Lovely Ladies Liven Up Sonoran Desert.

It's a sure sign of Spring when Gorgeous Gals like these pose for a foto with the Sonoran at their backs.  Shot was taken yesterday with trusty Canon on the little patio on the eastern side of the Lazy Fox condo.

Say 'hi' to (L - R):  Melissa, Pat, Sammy and Betsy.

After the photo op, we headed to lunch pool-side at Rancho de los Caballeros.  Tuff duty being the only guy in the group, but I pulled it off with elan.