Friday, February 26, 2016

Words of Prophets Now Written on Pick-Up Tailgates.

Simon and Garfunkel wrote in "Sounds of Silence" that words of their prophets (ca. 1968) could be found on subway walls.  Here in the Safeway lot in Wickenburg, you only have to check out tail gates of trucks, rear windows of cars, bumper stickers everywhere -- there you'll find the truth, ca. 2016. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bamboo Bikes Spur Economic Development in a Struggling Alabama County

An economic development organization in Alabama’s Black Belt region is turning the area’s plentiful bamboo crops into income for residents.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Aunt Pat's Bengal Tiger.

Our friends Pat, Greg and Pierce were on a wild animal photo safari in India.  Look at this shot which Pat took -- barely ten feet away from the most gorgeous tiger you've ever seen.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Christmas '09 in Santa Monica, plus other Favorite Memories along the Velo Trail.

Old-time Helms Bakery building in Los Angeles doesn't really look like this. Messing around with edits within iPhoto.

Discovered these gorgeous (and very tasty) berries at the Wednesday Farmer's market last fall in Langley, Washington.
Cute little Brooklyn lass makes for a fine foto contrast on doorstep in Redhook, ca. 2010.

Nancy and I were on the California "Missions Trail" when we saw a more contemporary place of devotion and worship.
They look to me a little like grapefruit but since I didn't savor the Pommelo flavor I can't compare the taste to pamplemousse.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hiking the Appalachian Trail to Raise $$$ for Needy Kids in Honduras.

Friends of Barnabas volunteer Kyle Kirby is getting ready for an excellent adventure.  Kyle is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail - all 2,190 miles of it, from Georgia to Maine, in honor of Friends of Barnabas.
He starts tomorrow, February 10, Ash Wednesday.  Another wonderful FOB volunteer, Ronnie Dillon, will be hiking with Kyle for the first three days. 
I spoke to Kyle and Ronnie and they are already on their way, driving down to the start of the trail at Springer Mountain, Georgia.  They will stay overnight tonight at a hostel near the trail, and will be shuttled to it tomorrow morning.  They hope to be walking by 9 AM. 
Thanks to Kyle and his amazing heart and commitment to do this, we have raised nearly $20,000 for the children in Honduras. 
You can be a part of his journey! 
#1 - You can pray for Kyle as he prepares his mind, heart, and body for this hike.
#2 - You can follow his progress - starting tomorrow we will be posting regular updates to his page.  Click here for maps and pictures and the latest updates! 
#3 - You can meet up with Kyle - we will be organizing days and times - especially as he treks through Virginia - where we can meet and greet Kyle and celebrate his progress.  Stay tuned for news!
#4 - If you have not already, you can make a donation to support Kyle's Hike for Honduras.  Go to and designate that your gift is in honor of Kyle. 
100% of funds raised will go directly to children's medical care through the programs of Friends of Barnabas. 
Thank you for your support of Kyle, and of Friends of Barnabas.
Mary Beth Sams
President, Friends of Barnabas

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gettin' a Head Start on 68th annual Wickenburg Gold Rush Days Celebration.

Chamber of Commerce member (and former President) and realtor, Cindy Logan, and I share volunteer duties at CoC booth at Gold Rush Days.  We handed out walking maps, info on tickets to live entertainment, previewed rodeo events, and told a couple of passers-by where they could get a fabulous iced latte.

Cowboy from Wickenburg Ranch developer Trilogy helps a booth visitor swing a lariat and try to rope a Hassayampa Valley hay bale with mini steer head attached.

One of maybe 100 vendors at the show, this one selling very unique western hats.  If you peek through the shelves to the back of the booth you'll note the proprietress of the store, and, I suspect chief hat and style maker.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

86-degrees, no wind, had this road all to myself. What a day for a ride.

I'm still not very good when it comes to taking selfies, but you can still get a pretty good idea of what the terrain looks like here in AZ.  Gorgeous day for a ride, as I said in the headline.  Saw one other veloster, but he stuck to the bike path near Wickenburg.  And just when I needed to stop, drink some H2O, take a leak, behold a masonry bench out in the middle of nowhere.  Wonder where I'll be pedaling tomorrow?

Monday, February 8, 2016

After 100 years of Service on the Santa Fe line, "Old 761" Gets a Face Lift: Fresh Coat of Paint makes this Classic Steamer Shine.

Wickenburg is pulling out the stops this Spring to freshen up the town.  And the first place they're working their magic is down on Frontier St., where "Old 761" has rested for many, many years.  Built in 1903 in Philadelphia, and in service with the Acheson, Topeka and Santa Fe -- the "Santa Fe Line -- "761" was just waiting to be brought back to its former glory.

And a fresh coat of Sherwin-Williams paint was the (train) ticket. Ouch, the pun, the pun.

Of course tourists, business owners and pedestrians were restricted from getting close to the work site, but now that the job seems finished, the throngs are coming.  Just in time to be ooohed and aahed at during Wickenburg's world-famous Gold Rush Days. 

The iron spiked fence protecting "761" and caboose makes for an appealing photo prop when the sun shines just-so.

You can see (well, almost) the circular plaque a little to the left of the front of the train.   If you could make out the lettering you'd learn that the engine was manufactured in Philadelphia in the early years of the twentieth century. Don't you wonder where this machine has been during the past 100+ years?  And the adventures she's seen?

This is my fave shot. Not just the contrast of black paint and silver. But look at all those bolts holding the front boiler plate secure.  You know each of them was torqued tight by one strong railroad man, hauling hard on a massive iron wrench.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Amazed at Use of "Amazing."

amazing [əˈmeɪzɪŋ]
causing wonder or astonishment amazing feats

Writers overuse the word "amazing." This adjective is everywhere these days. 

How can everything  -- events, places, people, hair products, business start-ups, ski vacations, etc. -- ... cause wonder or astonishment..?

They can't, of course. We've gotten lazy. 

"Amazing" is an un-amazing, and soulless modifier. It's lost its ability to clarify and enhance. The word shows up in front of nouns when writers can't think of another word to use.

Reminds me of "awesome" not too long ago. Everything was awesome. Ugh.

Or, "far out." I'm dating myself here. 

My mother would admonish: if you can't find something good to say about someone, then don't say anything. By extension, if you can't find a more descriptive and enriching adjective than amazing, then don't use anything.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Brooks Leather Dressing Keeps an Old Saddle Soft.

Brooks leather dressing (lanolin based I believe) keeps an old saddle softer than it might look here.  Regular softening of the seat suits the old butt of a cyclist!  All Brooks products are spendy. The little tin of dressing here costs ten bucks, but it really seems to work.