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,


74 thoughts on “Get Your Kicks on Route Sixty-Six

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  3. 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.

    • “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.

      • Richard Barraclough September 11, 2015 at 3:17 am

        “Indians”, “natives”, “tribes” ? …… I didn’t know one was allowed to mention such words these days

        Well, to begin with, I’ve never been politically correct.
        In this case, I refuse to call them “Native Americans”, as they are no more native to the Americas than I am. And my preferred term, “Early Asian Immigrants” has never caught on for some reason, so I just fall back on the old standards.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

    • Thanks, guys, Yes, it’s a bio-filter, I’d just never seen one of that size and style. Interestingly, that one in the picture has problems in that it gets fouled by anaerobic bacteria. So they are trying (successfully to date) a new one in which the plastic substrate pieces are constantly in motion, to prevent anaerobic areas from forming.

  7. 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.

    • Monroe September 11, 2015 at 7:32 am

      In BC it’s “First Nation”.

      Sorry, not buying that one either. There were no “nations” in Canada back in the early days. I might buy “first tribe”, but even that is unlikely. My guess is that the “first tribe” was wiped out by the “second tribe”, who were killed in turn by the “third tribe”.

      • @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.

      • verdeviewer September 12, 2015 at 6:06 pm

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

        Thanks, verdeviewer. The Iroquois League was just that, a league of tribes. I’ve lived in the Solomon islands, where there are 80 languages spoken by eighty different tribes. And yes, some of them league together for various reasons … but that doesn’t make them a “nation” by any means. Even the reference you cite states that quite clearly, saying they were “something more than an alliance, but something less than a single, monolithic polity”.
        In other words, they were not a nation—instead, they were a particularly strong and powerful alliance of tribes.

      • w.:

        …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.

      • verde, your own dang reference said they were not a nation. Instead, it said they were ““something more than an alliance, but something less than a single, monolithic polity”.
        Now that you’ve realized that your own dang reference didn’t say what it claimed, you are flailing. No, they didn’t all speak the same language as you say “The five tribes shared the same language and customs.” They spoke related but distinct languages. Yes, the languages were related, just as Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese are all related … but that doesn’t mean that Spaniards and Italians share the same language, and it doesn’t mean that Spain and Italy are part of the same country.
        However, if you want to call them a “nation”, be my guest. I’ll stay with your citation, which seems clear to me, which says more than an alliance but less than a nation. In either case it is certainly a subject upon which reasonable men can disagree.
        But setting all of that aside, let me return the quote that set this all off, which was:

        “In BC it’s “First Nation”.”

        Perhaps we can agree that there were no Iroquois in BC, so their claim of being the “First Nation” is obviously as false as the claim that they are native to the Americas, and let it go at that.
        PS—As to being the “first nation” in the Americas, I’d have to give that to one to the Aztecs or the Incas or the like … the Iroquois League from memory formed in the 1500s or so.

      • 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.

      • verdeviewer September 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        Willis, methinks you protest too much.

        verdeviewer, whenever I provide a lot of detail in regards to a disputed question and someone misquotes Shakespeare back at me, I figure I’m winning the debate. The issue is never how much I do or don’t protest.

        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.

        Yes, and I agreed with you, saying:

        However, if you want to call them a “nation”, be my guest. I’ll stay with your citation, which seems clear to me, which says more than an alliance but less than a nation. In either case it is certainly a subject upon which reasonable men can disagree.

        When someone gives me a citation and then won’t stand behind it, and also won’t repudiate his own citation, and then starts repeating to me things I’ve already agreed about, as if I had disagreed with them, I start to wonder why I’m in the discussion at all.
        I had thought that we could agree to disagree and walk away. Apparently not. So … per your definition of “nation”:

        “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.”

        For me, the key point is 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”. A nation is defined by people who identify themselves as being one single unit. That’s what the definition means by a “distinct people”. They are distinct because they consider themselves to be distinct.
        Now, by that definition I agree with you that the Solomon Islands is assuredly NOT a nation. It is only held to be one because of its prior colonial masters, who defined it as such, and because it needs to have a national government to function in the modern world. And because it is not a nation, the national government operates very, very poorly.
        Because if you ask a Solomon Islander what group they belong to, they will answer with the name of their tribe, never with “I’m a Solomon Islander”. So I would say it is a nation in name only.
        However, if that lasts long enough, eventually I assume these smaller groupings will lose importance.
        And the same seems to be true of the Iroquois Confederacy. It was a long-term alliance of tribes, but I’ve never read anyone who said that the people of the Confederacy identified themselves as anything but being members of their own tribe (Hurons, Iroquois, Seneca, etc.). Yes, they all knew that their tribe was allied with the other four (eventually five) tribes, but from everything I’ve read, they didn’t think of themselves as “Iroquois Confederates” or something like that.
        Nor is the Iroquois League like the US, as you’ve claimed. The Iroquois League was more like the League of Nations. The Iroquois League was not formed to achieve some kind of new country. It was a way to end the ceaseless wars between the tribes, not a common striving for a common goal. It was a way to prevent fights, not a way to advance commerce and development.
        Now, the Iroquois League lasted a long while, and had the melanin-deficient immigrants not defeated and subjugated them, eventually I suspect it would have become a true nation, one where all the members no longer identified just with their tribe. But sadly, that day never dawned.
        As a result, I agree with THE REFERENCE YOU CITED, that it was more than an alliance but less than a nation. it was a league on its way to nationhood, and not all leagues make that final step—see e.g. the Lombard League which didn’t take that step, and the Swiss Confederacy, which did. They were called “leagues” for the same reason that the Iroquois were called a “league”—because they were leagues and not yet nations.
        Best regards,

      • 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.

      • w.:

        …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.

      • verdeviewer September 14, 2015 at 10:24 am

        I wasn’t quoting Shakespeare, Willis. My prior comment didn’t call for an argument.

        verdeviewer September 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        Willis, methinks you protest too much.


        The lady doth protest too much, methinks

        which is often misquoted as

        “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”

        So you were indeed quoting Shakespeare without even knowing it … go figure.
        In any case, thanks for the additional information about the Iroquois League. Again I say, it was not called the Iroquois Nation, it was called the Iroquois League or the Iroquois Confederacy for a good reason … because it was a league or a confederacy and not a nation.
        My best to you,

      • verdeviewer September 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

        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.

        True ‘dat … and thanks for the discussion, I’ve learned a lot from it.

      • w.:

        …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.

      • 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.

      • dbstealy,
        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.

  8. 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.

    • Thanks for that, John. As I said, the amount of heat moved vertically around the globe by dust devils must be immense, but I’ve never even seen an estimate.

      • @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.

      • Regards, asybot. You say that:

        I believe the amount of heat transported remains fairly local …

        Since the heat is removed from the surface and transported above the mixed layer, cooling the surface, I’m not sure what you mean by “local”.
        Also you say:

        The tallest one I ever saw was about 200 feet high.

        Not sure where you’re looking, but the ones I’ve seen have been much more than that. An Australian study gives mean max heights from 300-680 metres (1,000 to 2,200 feet).

  9. 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

    • 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.

  10. 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,
        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!!

    • 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…

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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…)

  13. Willis,
    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!

    • 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    • Brian, the Razorback Suckers used to live in warm, brown, turbulent muddy water full of all kinds of foodstuffs that had a huge swing in river flow from summer to winter.
      Now we are trying to force them to live in cold, clear, slow-moving water with little food in it and little change in flow from summer to winter.
      You think about it.
      PS—Telling someone to “think about it” is insulting, as it assumes they haven’t thought about it, and I can assure you, I have thought about it.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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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