Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 26 September 2013

East on 10

Falling Waters State Park, Florida

We've spent a few days meandering along Interstate 10 to get back to Florida. We should be back in Sarasota later today. Mrs. Phred reaches for her drink on my birthday in Mesilla...

It's been a great summer seeing lots of new things and places, like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon....

Taking a canoe down the Yukon River...

Catching a halibut on the Kenai Peninsula.

Back to Salmon Glacier along the Cassiar Highway...10,000 miles of byway...

A morning balloon ride in Urgup, Turkey...

Checking out the riots in Istanbul...

A sailboat ride in Portugal..

Though it all, Mrs. Phred has been a fine traveling companion....I'm waiting for the first cross word...There might be some times when I am hard to take...I pushed her to the limits to see if she would break....

looking forward to lots of diving in Florida this year...need to get a new pressure gauge for my scuba gear....the old one rusted out...bummer.....this might be my last blog for the summer.....

Friday, 20 September 2013

Keep Talking...Keep Walking

Las Cruces, New Mexico

For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination
We learned to talk
-Pink Floyd, "Keep Talking"

Then later we learned to make characters to represent our talk...
and now we post our squiggles for anyone to read...
Our friends zap birthday wishes
from around the globe

imagine what will be... 
Thank you Chris and Alice and Helen and Stacey and Bennett
you characters made my day.
-Phred Firecloud

my name is robert dougherty
feel free to call me phred
im a creature of the asphalt
a long way short of dead

no bearded fat man navy seal
is gonna bawl me out
i ll have his testicles on toast
and spit the buggers out

my wife is known as mrs phred
shes beautiful and cute
we cross this land from coast to coast
shes something less than mute

my brain is not a normal mans
 it works some other way
like some gunslingers 45
or lightning striking day

okay okay im 70
ive lasted all this time
from vietnam to tonopah
hey buddy make it rhyme

and so tonite its mesilla
the golden eagles eye
my wife and i will look at life
my eyes may not be dry

-by Chris Macleod 

On my morning walk I found a lovely cemetery in Las Cruces and on a sidewalk was the inscription: "WPA 1937"...what a nice thought....The Works Progress Administration  was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works including the construction of public buildings and roads. In much smaller but more famous projects the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects...too bad we don't still have one of these....

We're getting about 60 digital channels here on the antenna, but 55 of them are in Spanish...the grocery store shelces are bulging with green chile, red enchilada sauce, hot salsa and tortillias...I like it here at 4,000 feet...

Yesterday we had a big lunch in La Posta in old Mesilla.

Billy the Kid and Pancho Villa both stayed here in their time.....

We had margaritas and shared a cup of soup and a fajita order. We both left feeling bloated and napped the afternoon the morning Mrs. Phred beat me again at tennis 6-2, 6-1.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Sonoran Desert Museum

Tuscon, Arizona

On our last day in Arizona we go with Jil and Tom to see the Sonoran Desert Museum outside Tuscon.

A skinny Coyote wanders past the car while I wait for them to finish up in the gift shop. The picture below is of Tom, however....

The museum has lots of flowering cactus, art, rattlesnakes and spiders.

This is a paining or photograph in the art museum...

Monday, 16 September 2013

When Black Friday Comes

Benson, Arizona

On Friday, I'll turn 70. I've never felt better and I'm down 53 pounds and packing my old wardrobe for donation to the homeless center in Sarasota.

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
-Steely Dan

We drove though the desert for days to get back to Benson and pick up the RV. It has a new windshield and the damaged rear end is bright and shiny. It was a good vacation with the typical suitcases and motels....

On my birthday I plan to have some "top shelf" margaritas, Brie with pecans and apples  and Chateaubriand  for two at the Double Eagle in Messilla, New Mexico. It's my favorite restaurant in the world. Billy the Kid ate there. At least he was tried there and sentenced to hang in Lincoln County for killing Sheriff Brady....where he made the escape that sealed his fame...

In the grocery store today i was looking (not buying) in the ice cream row when a bearded fat man with a Navy Seal baseball hat barked at me to move to one side of the isle or the other.

I told him what to do to himself and he pointed to his hat and yelled that he had spent eight years saving my ass. I told him that at least he had the hat, and that I was flying missions in Viet Nam when he was still crapping in his diapers.

He told me to kiss his ass and I replied that it looked way too much like his can sense at this point that we are regressing to kindergarten taunts....

He was behind me in checkout and so I waited just outside for him to come out for about ten minutes. He had 50 pounds and 30 years on me, but my switchblade is sharp. He never came out until after I left. What a poseur.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Largest Living Tree (on Earth)

Sequoia National Park

I've always wanted to see a Sequoia Tree. They are inconveniently located at an elevation of 7,000 feet on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in California in the middle of nowhere.

The General Sherman tree (above) has a trunk volume of 53,000 cubic feet, a diameter of 37 feet, a height of 275 feet and an age of about 2,700 years. There is a mushroom that covers 2,200 acres in Oregon so General Sherman is not the largest living thing on Earth by's just a big tree.

By volume General Sherman is the largest tree on earth. The redwoods are taller and a Bristle cone in the Great Basin is far older.

These old trees have a tendency to topple over for no particular reason other than a shallow root system.

The  CCC Boys had a sense of humor. They carved out this tree tunnel after the giant toppled in the 1930s. Mrs Phred is driving the Honda.

The Sequoia trees are short and fat compared to the redwoods. The Crannel Creek Giant (a coastal Redwood) was about 25% bigger by volume than General Sherman, but it was cut down in the 1940s to make patio furniture. Here is Mrs. Phred in front of a small Sequoia tree.....I guess we need to go see the mushroom on the next trip....

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Nixon Library

Yorba Linda, California

The Nixon Presidential Library is located next to the house where Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California.

I have a goal of visiting all 13 of the Presidential Libraries. I think I'm still missing Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Dwight Eisenhower  and the both the Bushes.

Nixon's time was tumultuous. You had to be there and be young to understand the anger over the war.

Give love a chance?

The Watergate section and timeline is very good with lots of touch screen videos and audio tapes. I spent a lot of time there remembering how all that unfolded.

The original "enemies" list included Leonard Bernstein. the list of 16 grew to 700. Nixon wanted the IRS to harass his enemies.

Richard and Pat Nixon are buried here. He lived 20 years after resigning.

Here is the house where Nixon was born.

Nixon came to Eisenhower's attention due to the notoriety he gained while investigating Alger Hiss...without that the world would have been different...