Get Your Kicks on Route Sixty-Six

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

(Part 4 of an ongoing series … Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

After it got to 110°F (43°C) yesterday afternoon at Willow Beach, and after a very warm night’s lack of rest in the tent, when we got up early this morning the temperature had fallen all the way back down to 95°F (35°C) … whoopee. I went down to the river and dunked my shirt and put it back on. Within about half an hour, it was dry again.

Before getting on the road, we took a tour of the National Fisheries Service fish hatchery at Willow Beach. Only about half of their ponds are full. The reason turns out to be the usual—government bureaucracy. They were hatching trout, but the trout need a constant supply of fresh river water, and the pipe broke … last year. They said it should be fixed any day now, but meanwhile the trout races sit empty.

We had a most interesting discussion with a charming young man named Geo who is the fish biologist there. He explained that they are raising a fish called the Razorback Sucker, which was once one of the main fishes in the lower Colorado River. Unlike the trout, they are raised in recirculated water, so the busted trout pipe hasn’t affected them.

gc razorback suckerThey’re raised in long raceways that are shaded from the sun …

gc sucker raceway… and they are packed in there fairly densely.

gc sucker fish packThe hatchery folks have an ingenious method for ridding the recirculated water of the ammonia from the fish feces. It’s a big bag filled with a whole lot of small plastic pieces about the size of corks. There are two kinds of bacteria that live on the plastic substrate. One bacteria converts the ammonia to a less harmful form, and the other converts it to a harmless form. That keeps the ammonia from ever harming the fish.

gc ammonia removalGeo had a most interesting point of view about the efforts to restore the Razorback Sucker. I asked if it was mostly threatened by imported fish, like say the introduced striped bass. He said no, the main problem was that the building of the Hoover Dam had totally changed the temperature, turbidity, and annual cycle of the lower Colorado River. As a result, he said he had little hope that the fish could be successfully maintained, unless there were a never-ending, continuous, labor-intensive and expensive annual re-introduction of hatchery fish.

He said that if we wanted to preserve the species without horrendous expense, we should dig a few miles of a side canal somewhere along the river. There, we could regulate the water flow, temperature, and turbidity to simulate the original conditions in which the fish originally evolved. Then the fish could live there happily as they had for millions of years. From his perspective, we weren’t re-introducing them into their former environment. Instead, we were trying to newly introduce them into an environment that they were never designed for, and from his perspective that was guaranteed to fail. Made sense to me.

From Willow Beach we rolled south to Kingman. After lunch at the Roadrunner Cafe, we visited a small museum across the street. The self-guided museum tour started with the “Hall of Presidents” containing paintings of all the Presidents, and I was surprised to find that they included all of the First Ladies as well.

gc hall of presidentsAs a machinist and a mechanic and an aficionado of early machinery, I liked the small steam engine which was built by some farmer around 1915. It’s on wheels but not powered wheels. The body of the steam engine is about waist-high except for the smokestack, and it put out 2.5 horsepower (1.8 kilowatts). The farmer used it around his farm to power the washing machine and small tools. Note the flyball governor at the top right. Note also that the governor is NOT called the “flyball feedback”. Why? Because as I get into endless trouble for saying, a governor is not simple feedback. It is a device that uses feedback to maintain a variable (in this case engine speed) within narrow bounds.

gc steam engineSeeing all of that machinery just to get two and a half horsepower made me very glad for both electricity and the internal combustion engine …

They also had one piece from a lost people, the Anasazi, who unlike the modern “climate refugee” wannabes might actually have been victims of climate change. They lived in the desert and apparently died out hundreds of years ago during a prolonged (as in decade after decade after decade) drought in the southwest. Stop climate change now and forever I say, pin that sucker down, weld it in place, and don’t let it ever change again.

gc anasazi potAppropriately, the lugs on the side indicate to me that it might have been used like a canteen to carry water …

After lunch, we got on the old Route 66. It’s a charming highway, two lane most of the way. At one time it was the main east-west road in the US, but it has since been superseded by the newer freeway.

In the museum there had been an old Burma-Shave sign, and the gorgeous ex-fiancee and I were talking about the demise of these signs, which were common in our childhood. Burma-Shave was a brand of shaving cream. The Burma-Shave signs were put up as a string of 4-6 signs spread out along the road one after the other, with the group making up a poem, and the final sign giving just the name. A couple I remember from my childhood were:

Cattle crossing

Means go slow.

The bull you hit

Is some cow’s beau.


… and …

Dinah doesn’t

Treat him right.

But if he’d shave,



And strangely, there were about five groups of obviously new Burma-Shave signs along Route 66, no doubt placed by some Route 66 Historical Society or other. A lovely reminder of long-gone times.

In any case, you can tell when you are in the southwest when your GPS looks like this for mile after mile.

gc southwest gpsCurves? We doan’ gotta show you no steenkin’ curves!

In the afternoon we experienced the usual tropical treat of cooling thunderstorms. These are one of the emergent climate phenomena that, given the right conditions, materialize wherever and whenever the surface gets too hot. Thunderstorms reflect lots of sunlight, both from the sides and from the anvil, and they also remove prodigious amounts of heat from the surface by moving warm air far aloft.

gc arizona thunderheadsIn the afternoon we passed through the Hualapai Indian Reservation, which was most impressive. I’ve been on a lot of reservations in my travels, and for better or for worse, they reflect the life and strength of the tribe. This one had nice, well kept houses with tidy yards, a large cultural center, clean and obviously cared-for schools, and most unusually, a 30-bed Juvenile Detention center where they work both with their own kids and those of other tribes who have started down a wrong path. Their focus is not on punishment, but on the reintegration of the offender into the mores, values, and customs of the tribe.

It turns out that the Hualapai are a most uncommon group of Indians. When the melanin-deficient invaders first appeared in the southwest, the Hualapai both fought with them and worked with them. But then the gringos started taking away the Hualapai land, little by little … and the Hualapai took a most unusual course in response. In 1941, they decided to fight fire with fire.

They hired lawyers, brought suit against the offenders (including the Santa Fe railroad), and fought the case all the way up to the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor in the first significant victory ever for Indian land rights in the US. It was a huge decision that applied to the Indian lands all over the US, and is still current law and cited today. So … big props to the Hualapai, both for their initial victory for all Indian lands, and for their current situation. Yes, I’m sure that they have all the modern ills of the reservation, drugs and alcohol and domestic violence and such, just like the rest of our society. But they are taking good care of the land that they fought so hard and so cleverly to retain, and they are obviously caring for their people as well. I can only say, Hualapai leaders and people, well done then and well done now.

Somewhere in the afternoon, I saw my favorite emergent climate phenomena. Like all the others, it arises where there is a hot spot and moves lots of heat away from the surface. But this one is kind of the forgotten stepchild of climate phenomena, the lowly dust devil.

gc dust devilsAs I mentioned above, emergent climate phenomena generally form where the surface temperature in hottest. In the picture above, behind the house there is a patch of bare ground. Since in that bare area the surface is not insulated by the grass and bushes, the ground gets hotter than the surroundings … and before you know it, there are not one but two dust devils (a small one is forming up between the power poles on the right) busy sucking the heat from the surface and moving it aloft.

I have no idea of the total amount of heat removed from the surface worldwide by dust devils. But given the number that I’ve seen, it must be large. And how much of this specifically targeted cooling effect is included in the global climate models?

Well … none. It’s far below grid-scale, and so it is just ignored by the modelers …

Not much else to say. We’re in Seligman Arizona now, just got back from walking a mile and a half to town, watching Thursday night football and storying with John, the barkeep at the Black Cat Bar, then walking back to the KOA where we’re spending the night. Tomorrow, it’s on to the Grand Canyon. After that, who knows?

My best to everyone, I wish you all a life replete with unexpected turns and curious incidents,


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September 10, 2015 10:27 pm

The Verse by the Side of the Road By Frank Rowsome Jr. One of the icons of the road along with South of the Border and Jesus saves white washed tires hanging on fence posts.

The other Casper
September 10, 2015 11:12 pm

I saw a farm engine like that one, running unattended, at a state fair some years ago.
It had one cylinder and what must have been a really heavy flywheel, as it was idling at just 120 rpm — that cylinder fired about once per second. And there was no muffler, so each second you heard and felt a cringe-inducing POW! No wonder it was running unattended.
We’re used to relatively quiet engines today. Must have been a very different experience back then, using a labor-saving device like that.
Thanks for the report.

Mick In The Hills
Reply to  The other Casper
September 11, 2015 3:14 am

I’ve got a current model Chinese diesel tractor that probably makes as much noise as that old banger.
I’m not allowed to take the grandkids for a ride on it unless I kit them all out with weapons-grade ear mufflers. Which are bigger than their heads. Makes great photos to embarrass them in a dozen years time though.

Reply to  The other Casper
September 11, 2015 4:33 am

“that cylinder fired about once per second.”
Maybe a Hit-and-miss engine?

Reply to  Paul
September 11, 2015 5:49 pm

A lot of the early 20th cent. 1-cylinder, big-flywheel gasoline engines had governors on them that would only open the fuel port when the flywheel slowed down enough (and a single power stroke was good for 15 – 30 seconds of idle-spinning). Keep in mind that gas was pretty pricey in those days, relative to income, and not anywhere close to as common as now – the market for naphthalene fractions of petroleum was still pretty undeveloped that early.

Reply to  The other Casper
September 11, 2015 5:58 am

Except the one Willis photographed is a steam engine.

Barry Sheridan
September 11, 2015 12:01 am

As always Willis interesting to read about real life in America. In particular to see that at least one of the native tribes is trying to deal with the outcomes of modern life in a constructive way. Hopefully this is free of any government interference, I remain with Ronnie Reagan here in that the most frightening words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help you!’ Take it steady.

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  Barry Sheridan
September 11, 2015 3:17 am

“Indians”, “natives”, “tribes” ? …… I didn’t know one was allowed to mention such words these days
Here in the UK, we’re having a few days of “Indian summer” (quiet, sunny weather just after the normal end of summer), but I’m sure even that’s frowned on in some quarters.

Reply to  Richard Barraclough
September 11, 2015 9:40 am

George Carlin objected to the use of “Native American”:

Reply to  Richard Barraclough
September 11, 2015 4:04 pm

Technically, Indian summer is the warm period following the first frost of the season. A great time to be alive.

Keith Willshaw
September 11, 2015 1:10 am

In the UK there is quite a thriving community of steam engine enthusiasts who specialize in small stationary steam engines. Typically intended for agricultural use they were still being manufactured right up to the outbreak of WW2. You regularly see them at county shows along with their IC engine brethren most of which were glow plug engines. Its enough of a market for companies who specialize in sales and spare parts for them to thrive.

Reply to  Keith Willshaw
September 11, 2015 4:43 am
Just in case you’re in the UK next year.
Not far from my old home.

Don K
September 11, 2015 2:29 am

Hi Willis> Re dust devils. Twenty or thirty years ago I was perched up on a steep South facing slope on one of the innumerable mountain ranges in the California Desert splitting slabs of shale looking for fossils. It was a pleasant Winter day with the temperature in the low sixties and quite nice … if you were out of the cold wind which was howling out of the NorthEast at maybe 30 mph(50kph). Down on the playa below me, occasional dust clouds were roiling across the playa, each looking for all the world like diminutive versions of the sandstorm in The Mummy. I was taking a break to admire the view, when one of these clouds sort of stopped, roiled around, then continued on its way as a spinning, presumably non-thermal, dustdevil. I watched for a while and saw that phenomenon repeated several times at several different locations.
I have no idea what triggered the transition from turbulent flow to more organized(?) rotary motion. I thought I’d mention it to see if anyone had any thoughts on what might cause it.

James Francisco
Reply to  Don K
September 11, 2015 9:12 am

I think I flew through a dust devil without the dust in New Mexico. I was taking flying lessons near Clovis New Mexico when the Cherokee 140 was jerked sideways. My head hit the side window. I never saw anything.

September 11, 2015 3:14 am

Willis. What you describe is the way just about every marine aquarium works. Then you do regular water changes to reduce the nitrates and replenish.the trace elements.

Reply to  Merrick
September 12, 2015 12:37 pm

It is basically a bio filter . Have them in our tanks and in the Koy pond.

September 11, 2015 6:22 am

I grew up in Arizona, my father is the founder of Kitt Peak observatories, for example, and we lived there on the mountain.
The entire valley of Tucson and the surrounding areas was coated with broken pottery and abandoned corn grinders which was from the terrible time of the Great Drought. The entire area was densely farmed by very cultured native tribes who made beautiful pottery, woven goods and carvings, etc.
All destroyed by this terrible drought. When the Spanish showed up, there were only scattered habitations left, like the vast Mississippi cities and towns that were destroyed during the same era the tribes in Arizona were decimated, very little remained of a fine, flourishing culture.
Yes, climate change can hammer humans hard! Which is why understanding how the climate works is so important and why the frauds, cheating, outright lies of the global warming gang is so terrible, criminal, destructive.

September 11, 2015 7:32 am

In BC it’s “First Nation”.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 12, 2015 12:44 pm

@w Could not agree more . The lawyers over the past 40 -50 years have sure changed the landscape. There are great Bands in BC that have shown that these people do not have to live in poverty as many of them still do. The corruption is starting to come to light . There are still bands where their “Leaders” and “Elders” are still ripping of their band members.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 12, 2015 6:06 pm

No nations? That’s debatable. The Haudenosaunee (AKA Iroquois to their enemies) seem to fit the description:

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 12, 2015 10:35 pm


…not a nation…

Settled semantics?

…something less than a single, monolithic polity…

The U.S. is a conglomerate of polities, as is Switzerland. Are they not nations?

…80 languages spoken by eighty different tribes.

Solomon Islands has one official language. Switzerland has four. Mexico has sixty-nine. Are they not all nations?
The five tribes shared the same language and customs.
Primary definition of “nation” from the Oxford Dictionary:
“A large aggregate of communities and individuals united by factors such as common descent, language, culture, history, or occupation of the same territory, so as to form a distinct people. Now also: such a people forming a political state; a political state.”
(“A distinct people.” Hmm. Maybe the U.S., Mexico, Solomon Islands, and Switzerland are NOT nations.)
And to that they add: “A North American Indian people or confederation of peoples.”
Yep, it’s debatable.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 13, 2015 12:06 pm

Willis, methinks you protest too much. I’m not flailing, and I wholeheartedly agree that “First Nation” is absurd—perhaps even as inappropriate as “ocean acidification.”
I simply noted that the definition of “nation” is debatable, and now I think even more so given the added ethnocentric alternate.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 14, 2015 10:24 am

I wasn’t quoting Shakespeare, Willis. My prior comment didn’t call for an argument.
I clicked on the reference I cited only to discover it’s paywalled unless accessed through a Google search, so now I wonder how you managed to read more than the introduction. Beyond your point of focus there’s description enough of a single governmental entity to justify “seem to fit the description.” But, just to be clear…
The Oxford and Mirriam-Webster dictionaries define “a tribe or federation of tribes” as a nation. The etymology encompasses both:

Word Origin and History for nation
c.1300, from Old French nacion “birth, rank; descendants, relatives; country, homeland” (12c.) and directly from Latin nationem (nominative natio) “birth, origin; breed, stock, kind, species; race of people, tribe,” literally “that which has been born,” from natus, past participle of nasci “be born” (Old Latin gnasci ; see genus ). Political sense has gradually predominated, but earliest English examples inclined toward the racial meaning “large group of people with common ancestry.” Older sense preserved in application to North American Indian peoples (1640s). Nation-building first attested 1907 (implied in nation-builder).
 – Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper


They spoke related but distinct languages.

You’re misinformed. They spoke different dialects of a distinct language, with recent research indicating a core vocabulary from 80-95% shared among the five tribes.

I’ve never read anyone who said that the people of the Confederacy identified themselves as anything but being members of their own tribe…

From what I’ve read (and as was true of the Yavapai here in Arizona), the Iroquois first and foremost considered themselves members of a matrilineal clan. The tribe defended the member clans against aggression from other groups and made food gathering more efficient. The Iroquois confederacy joined powerful tribes who were wasting resources fighting each other into a larger group that was unassailable by non-members until the Europeans arrived.
It’s reasonable that the clans of the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca tribes would realize their relative security depended on membership in the Haudenosaunee. “Iroquois” never referred to a specific tribe.
The Huron were not one of the five tribes. The early Iroquois pushed the Huron westward and practically wiped them out. More like the early US than the League of Nations in that respect.
Regards to you. And take care. Don’t try to cross any flooded washes lest you wind up sleeping with the suckers.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 14, 2015 10:37 am


…when you ask someone what group they belong to in the larger sense, they don’t say “I’m an Iowan”, they say “I’m an American”.

Do they?
If you ask most Americans what is the most important group they belong to, I suspect most will answer “family” or “church.” And if you qualify “in the larger sense,” you’ll get answers ranging from “my town” to “humanity.”
But kids are now being taught that, in the larger sense, they belong to the “world community.” The nation is of importance only inasmuch as it guarantees the “rights” to food, shelter, and health care. American kids are being taught that archetypal “Americans” are a threat to the world community.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 15, 2015 11:52 am


…it was called the Iroquois League or the Iroquois Confederacy…because it was a league or a confederacy and not a nation.

The United States of America is called that because the coiners thought the name would help keep the states united. But it was the individual colonies that were declared to be “Free and Independent States,” not the union. The union could have been called a league of states. Since they were sovereign states, it could have been called a league of nations. In 1781, the states agreed it was a confederation of states, with a federal government.
But without firmer support from the states, the confederation would fail. The Federalist Papers show that those promoting a strong Constitution were concerned that the states would form smaller confederacies with conflicting interests, which John Jay stressed would be “DISTINCT NATIONS” (his bold). Alexander Hamilton referred to the “national interest” as being the interest of the confederacy.
How did people in the 1700s interpret “nation?”
Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary defines “nation” as “a people distinguished from another people, generally by their language, original [origin], or government.”
I conclude with surety that “a large, powerful, and intractably indivisible and uniform form or process of civil government or constitution”—i.e. “a single, monolithic polity”—does NOT define a nation.
As to whether the entire Iroquois Confederacy has been “called” a nation, look to the “Iroquois” Wikipedia article describing the Haudenosaunee’s 1922 attempt to gain admission to the League of Nations. (The Haudenosaunee now refer to themselves as a “League of Nations”.)
Over the last few decades, the history of Iroquois/colonial relationships has been revised to various degrees for political effect. Congress played a role in this with Senate Congressional Resolution 76 acknowledging claims that the Iroquois Constitution was a model for the U.S. Constitution.
Anyway, I’ve also learned a lot from this discussion. Thanks for engaging.
BTW, there’s a difference between quotation and paraphrase. I happen to like the word “methinks,” and if I can combine it with “protest too much,” so much the better. My memory is far too bad to be quoting anyone verbatim without referring to the source.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 15, 2015 2:51 pm

verdeviewer says:
BTW, there’s a difference between quotation and paraphrase.
I don’t know if this would pass Strunk & White’s style, but when I can’t recall an exact quote, or when I paraphrase, I use a single quote mark ‘like this’ instead of “like this”. I only use the second quotation marks if I’m certain it’s a verbatim quote.
I’ve seen it used more lately, so if it’s a misteak I’m not alone.
Also: Good discussion between you and Willis. I learned some new stuff, too.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 15, 2015 9:07 pm

The AP style guide would have you using double quotes that encompass what it refers to as “commas,” and it expects the same with “periods.” And, if it knew you were writing “misteak,” it might have you eat your words, as it doesn’t tolerate mistakes. The Europeans have different rules, methinks.
Methinks also that what I wrote is neither quote nor paraphrase. As long as “doth” is excluded, “methinks” and “protest too much” don’t make it Shakespeare (though they might make it a travesty).
Much thanks for fixing the screwed-up Johnson’s dictionary link. I’m relieved that at least some of the multitude still following this thread won’t pull up a confusingly inappropriate page.
Now I must retire for a while. The research has been exhausting.

John F. Hultquist
September 11, 2015 7:47 am

Speaking of Dust Devils, take a look in central Washington State. We’ve seen such when there were dozens visible simultaneously from I-90. Over the time they are generated there must be hundreds as the area of dry-land wheat is large. The sky fills with the soil and is carried east toward Idaho. This video is NOT one we took.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 12, 2015 12:52 pm

@willis “As I said, the amount of heat moved vertically around the globe by dust devils must be immense,”
The tallest one I ever saw was about 200 feet high. I believe the amount of heat transported remains fairly local and to try and figure out the effects you’d need a lot of data loggers although I guess you’d probably be able to create the evil model somehow.

John F. Hultquist
September 11, 2015 8:05 am

Speaking of those here when I came west: They call themselves the Yakamas, live on the Res (mostly), and are members of the Yakama Nation.
They do not hesitate to use the term “indian.”
“. . . Yakamas and other American Indians are living people . . .”
from one of their web sites: Yakama Indian Culture and History

dennis dunton
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
September 11, 2015 6:56 pm

I had an enjoyable evening….and got pretty well oiled…..with a member of that Tribe at the saloon behind the “Gear Jammers ” truck stop. Can’t remember his real name but he went by “Yakima Warrior” on the CB. He wanted me to come back out for the tribal Pow-Wow which was, according to him, a nonstop week long party. I told him I’d heard that those types of functions weren’t open to the public. He told me that I had heard right, but I would be welcome as his guest. Wish I could have made it.

Gary Pearse
September 11, 2015 8:17 am

I’m enjoying your travelogue very much. It twigs memories in a very pleasant way. The razor back sucker is quite an unusual fish. Are they good eating, do you know? In Canada we have “Whitefish”, pretty descriptive! These are common In northern prairie provinces (lake country) and Ontario. They are a sucker with very white, flakey meat when cooked and are the fish and chips species here.
I, too, am a great admirer of the steam engine and other gadgets of a few of generations ago. I like how the ingenutiy is displayed so that you can see how it works – no black boxes. My father was a steam locomotive engineer for most of his life (and a locomotive fireman in the early years) with Canadian National Railways. On a few occasions, he would smuggle my brother and I on to the locomotive of a freight train on trips from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Reddit Ontario and return the next daywhen we were about 8 to 10 yrs old . We blew the whistle at the crossings and learned how to run the engine. I also remember standing on the station platform close to the tracks at Redditt when one of these giants was coming in and letting the steam flow over me. It had a pleasant boiled leeks smell to it.
My father used to laugh when he heard Merle Travis’s song “Sixteen Tons” about a coal miner: “I loaded 16 tons and what do I get, another day older and deeper in debt.” He shoveled up to 18tons in a trip during the 20s firing a locomotive that went from Rainy River Ontario to Fort Francis and into the US at International Falls, MN. Apparently there was a long killer grade that needed a lot of steam to negotiate and he prided himself in not requiring slowing down to build steam.
Willis, you sure do tease the memories out of us older folks.

James Francisco
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 11, 2015 9:18 am

Gary, did your dad ever long for those good old days?

Reply to  James Francisco
September 11, 2015 2:45 pm

He certainly had bragging rights, but I’ll bet he would have welcomed a stoker.
/Mr Lynn

Gary Pearse
Reply to  James Francisco
September 11, 2015 4:13 pm

James Francisco,
my Dad loved all the days, old and new. He whistled going to work, even in the middle of the night in January.
L. E. Joiner, yes, he laughed that as soon as he made engineer, the introduced the automatic stoker!!

dennis dunton
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 11, 2015 7:00 pm

Gary….I believe that was Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  dennis dunton
September 13, 2015 12:11 pm

“Sixteen Tons” was written by Merle Travis, but T.E. Ford was most famous for it – he had a voice deeper than a mine.
” It was written and first recorded by Merle Travis at the Radio Recorders Studio B in Hollywood, California on August 8, 1946.”

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 13, 2015 2:14 am

Used to stack cases in a peach cannery is summer. 50 lb cases at 200 / hr is 10,000 lbs or 5 tons. 10 hour shifts peak season so 50 tons. Once we did a run at 400 per hour as we were relabeling “brights” so rate was up to us as we took them off pallets (not cooker limited) and one guy wanted to set a record or win a bet… The next day was pretty rough 8-}
Good news was that it was a fast short lift off a conveyor belt to a palette, so about 1/2 with trajectory more down than up. Quick jerk then control flight… Bad news was that we had to land in an interlocking pattern so rotation and precision mattered. A missed placement and catching up was a real hustle as the belt run out area filled…
Was in great shape end of peach season though… tried not to think about the number of tons…

John M. Ware
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 13, 2015 2:32 am

The only version of “Sixteen Tons” that I heard was the one sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, a top-of-the-charts hit when I was a teenager. After moving here to Mechanicsville in 1993, my wife and I used to shop at a mom-and-pop grocery store and butcher shop called Mills’ Market. Old Mr. Mills was the chief butcher, and the shop had the best meat around. Mr. Mills was also a member of a gospel quartet that had made a few CDs (pretty good, too), and he loved to sing. One day we came in for some meat, and a bunch of people were back at the meat counter; someone brought up Tennessee Ernie, and almost immediately Mr. Mills started softly singing “Sixteen Tons.” The group around the counter smiled and joined in (including me), and we went through most or all of the old song, singing softly and gently swaying in time to the music. Then it was done, and we all transacted our business and left; but I have never forgotten that impromptu performance of “Sixteen Tons.”

Gary Pearse
Reply to  John M. Ware
September 13, 2015 12:14 pm

Gary Pearse
September 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm
Ernie’s the man, but it was written and recorded by Merle Travis about 10yrs before that.

September 11, 2015 8:22 am

Willis, I presume you’re going to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon? If so, I highly recommend hiking a little ways down the South Kaibab trail. There are some truly magnificent views. Just make sure to pack plenty of water. For an absolutely amazing experience, you could go to the river and back (down the South Kaibab, up Bright Angel), but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you’re in really good shape and have a really good understanding of exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
After the Grand Canyon, have you considered Havasu Falls? It’s a series of majestic, blue waterfalls set in the red rock, surrounded by lush green foliage (the colors themselves are amazing), near Supai Village (not 100% certain I spelled that right). The area used to be part of Grand Canyon NP, but the Indians were able to successfully lobby to get the land turned back over to them. There’s also a whole bunch of old abandoned mines carved into the canyon walls that are fun to explore. The only catch is there’s no roads there. In fact, Supai village has post office, but the only way for the mail to get there, despite it being 2015, is by mule train (if you go there, mail yourself a postcard-the postmark is pretty cool). If you’re not up for the long hike, you can hire a helicopter ride.

September 11, 2015 9:12 am

Ahhhh, yes. Discovered we’d been back and forth over stretches of 66 in Illinois, etc. but finally took a long road trip on the remains of it in 1999. Once visited a museum in Indiana or Illinois, with lots of spinning, churning machines when I was a wee tyke — not sure exactly where it was or what purpose the machines had once served — but it was fascinating. More recently I discovered cousin Nick (well maybe not actual cousin, but…)

Earl Wood
September 11, 2015 9:28 am

If you are looking for someplace to go after the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde is a possibility. It is between Cortez and Durango, CO and has Native American cliff dwellings that you can climb down into. From the size of the handholds, the residents must have been small and accomplished climbers!

Reply to  Earl Wood
September 12, 2015 4:51 pm

Or, if you’ve got plenty of time:
Grand Canyon -> Hopi Villages -> Canyon de Chelly -> Monument Valley -> Natural Bridges -> Hovenweep NM -> Mesa Verde
You can visit the HCN station at Canyon de Chelly.

September 11, 2015 9:44 am

Willis and @Jimmy…The village Jim is talking about is one that my father lived in for a time in 1936 rounding up horses with the Indians. He was 16 at the time (young men reached maturity earlier back in the old days) He didn’t speak the language but the chief of the tribe was kind enough to be his translator. The chief was just 23 years old and had been educated at Harvard which may explain how the Havasupai people found their way to the court battle Willis discribed

September 11, 2015 10:24 am

Dust devils and climate. The devil is in the details and climate models will never likely be able to reliably handle the immense complexities, just like long-range weather forecasts. Beyond a week or two, your best bet for a weather forecast is climatology … and for hundreds or thousands of years, paleo climatology.comment image

James at 48
September 11, 2015 11:55 am

Oh the humanity – little bits of plastic in the water. I conceded in the case of unintentional / negligently introduced plastic, some gets ingested or causes entanglements (and at times gives heart rending photo ops for the “humans are a virus” crowd). However, if not ingested, they are, as seen here, substrates.

September 11, 2015 1:10 pm

I think Geo was pulling your leg. I have read and reread your section on those Razorback Suckers and, from the information given, have to conclude that either they are one of the frailest species on earth or Geo was looking for more funding. Think about it.

James Schrumpf
September 11, 2015 1:32 pm

I always thought it said a lot about our forebears that a blessing could be “May no new thing arise,” and a curse could be “May you live in interesting times.

Duke C.
September 11, 2015 3:12 pm

I’ve actually camped at Willow Beach. We would sit in the Jacuzzi-sized hot spring a little north of the Marina, then race to the river and jump into the 48F water. Now THAT’S a rush.

Robert Landreth
September 11, 2015 3:20 pm

At this time of year, I would suggest you find a campsite in the mountains above 7000 feet. It cools off nicely, and as a boy scout, we tried to avoid desert campgrounds until later in the fall or early spring. Have a good trip. The Grand Canyon will be cooler as it will be close to 8000 feet near the rim.
Nevada is part of the basin and range with fault block mountains and graben valleys. Yes most of them are very straight.

September 11, 2015 3:45 pm

There are supposedly still breeding populations of razorback suckers in Lake Mojave, Lake Mead, and in the Colorado River above Lake Powell. They can grow to 3 ft long.
A related fish whose habitat was altered by dams is the humpback chub.
After construction of the Glen Canyon Dam and filling of Lake Powell, below-dam floods were curtailed, water was cleared of sand, and water temperature was reduced.
The humpback chub that have lived in the river for millennia need the warm, turbid water and regular flooding that the dam had eliminated, while “invasive” rainbow trout that have only lived there for tens of generations need the cold, clear water the dam provides.
The chubs were already somewhat rare back in 1940s, but after the dam was built the populations declined and they were declared endangered. Meanwhile, to the delight of fishermen, the trout thrived.
After much thought, the great minds in the Interior Department (motto: “No Climate Deniers Here!”) came up with a brilliant solution for saving the endangered chub: KILL THE TROUT!
And so they tried. But the local Indian tribes think the river is sacred and didn’t want the trout slaughtered, so the great minds said they would relocate the trout instead, perhaps to a local landfill.
In the meantime, however, the chub population was rising. The drought had caused water levels in Lake Powell to drop, warming the water. The chub could breed again, and to the amazement of the great minds, that meant more chubs!

Charles Higley
September 11, 2015 7:06 pm

If the Sucker was only in the Colorado River, then it was endangered before we ever saw it. It is not wonder that it is gone, it was much too specialized and finicky. Keeping it around is fine as an oddity, but we have to realize that it is a fish clearly already flirting seriously with extinction. It is not for us to invest heavily in a failed species.

dennis dunton
September 11, 2015 7:20 pm

Willis…I believe the Cherokee Tribe had a favorable outcome before the Supreme Court. “.In Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee Nation was sovereign. According to the decision rendered by Justice John Marshall, this meant that Georgia had no rights to enforce state laws in its territory. In addition, it made the Indian Removal Act invalid, illegal, unconstitutional and against treaties previously made by the United States. [28]
President Andrew Jackson refused to uphold the ruling of this case, and directed the expulsion of the Cherokee nation. US Army forces were used in some cases to round them up. Their relocation and route is called the “The Trail of Tears.” Of the 15,000 who left, 4000 died on the journey to “Indian Territory” in the present-day state of Oklahoma.” I had heard that Jackson said something along the lines of…..Well since it’s Marshall’s decision….let him go down there and enforce it.

dennis dunton
Reply to  dennis dunton
September 11, 2015 7:29 pm
September 12, 2015 12:25 am

The Anasazi were the ancestors of the Hopi and other Pueblo Indians. They are not gone at all. They suffered from an incursion of both immigrants and changing climate according to current info, or perhaps it was their imitators that did. The word itself is Navajo for “enemy” and indicates one of the immigrant problems they had – the arrival of the Athabascan-speaking Navajo and Apache. They were pushing down from the north around the same time the Spanish were pushing up from the south. The various Pueblo peoples stubbornly hung on and still do.

Reply to  Duster
September 12, 2015 3:01 pm

Apparently the Four Corners region was once a trading center and melting pot of ethnicities from as far south as Tenochtitlan (Mexico City).

September 12, 2015 3:12 pm

One that I remember from my youth:
The monkey took
One look at Jim
And threw the peanuts
Back at him

September 13, 2015 2:36 am

If you can, visit Marble Canyon on the far end. There’s a bridge from one side of the canyon to the other. Walking out on it is spooky in a way. Real Indian food at the lodge and about as far away from everywhere as you can get. On the road from South rim to North rim
It is most of a day driving through a reservation to get there so time consuming… which is why it is so special… then exit through Zion park in Utah on the way out north
Did that about 1993 and loved it.

September 13, 2015 1:42 pm

Don’t know about your itinerary but we have tent camped all over Colorado (and Europe). Two of our favorite campgrounds are South Mineral near Silverton and Chalk Lake near Buena Vista. It is now near the peak of leaf change and these two locations are especially spectacular with creeks flowing right by the tent, waterfalls nearby and in aspen groves. We retired to Colorado in 1999 and would love to have you stay at our house except we sold it last March.

September 15, 2015 8:32 pm

This is a cute one:
Don’t lose
Your head
To gain a minute
You need your head
Your brains are in it

Reply to  Rick
September 15, 2015 9:00 pm

The midnight ride
Of Paul
For beer
Led to a

Michael Fox
September 17, 2015 9:52 pm

Willis, I love your travelogues.
Regarding the steam engine’s governor: If I’m not mistaken, the flyball governor gave rise to the term “balls to the wall.” As you said above, “think about it.” 😉

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