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

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Going up to Cripple Creek

Lake Pueblo State Park, Colorado

After seeing the works of M. T. Liggett in Kansas, we drive west all day and spend a night in Lamar, Colorado. We finally find some propane there. Lamar has the world's oldest building. It's a gas station constructed of 175 million year old petrified wood.

The next day we drive west again on US 50 to the Lake Pueblo State Park just outside Pueblo, Colorado. West Pueblo has seven cannabis shops, which Mrs. Phred directs me to bypass.

 In the morning I take a seven mile stroll along a paved park trail starting at 5:40 AM Mountain time. I see a mule deer, some rabbits and lots of desert wildflowers. It's harder than walking in Sarasota because of the constant elevation changes and high altitude.

The park has a marina, a big dam, a swimming area and a very fast-flowing river exiting the dam.

 The Arkansas river flows though Lake Pueblo and traverses the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas before dumping into the Mississippi 1497 miles from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains.

 We decide to drive up to Cripple Creek, which was once a big gold mining area.

 Up on Cripple Creek she sends me
If I spring a leak she mends me
I don't have to speak, she defends me
A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one
-The Band

The route we take includes 27 miles of unpaved, one-lane road that drops off into steep canyons. The sign says four wheel drive and high clearance vehicles recommended. We decide that the people who make these signs are afraid of lawsuits from idiots.... It's an exciting drive and we are fortunate not to meet any traffic from the other direction or lose focus and drive into the abyss.

Cripple Creek is up about 10,000 feet. It's full of old casinos. We manage to find one with a grill and have lunch. Cripple Creek and the surrounding area was once a boom gold mining area.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

M. T. Liggett, American Folk Artist

Mullinville, Kansas

We wake up in Wichita, Kansas at 6 AM and set out for Mullinville (Population maybe 300) about 100 miles west on State Road 400.

We saw M. T. Liggett's work there seven years ago cruising across Kansas listening to a great FM rock station out of Dodge City.I've never been satisfied with the pictures I took of his work back then, so I decided to drive 500 miles out of the way and try once again.

We hit the Mullinville junction of State roads 400 and 54 and get detoured down 54. Mrs. Phred suggests immediately parking in the Mullinville truck stop, but I insist on continuing down 54 twelve miles, up county road 39 four miles and back east 8 miles on closed road 400. There we run into a total road closure. I suggest walking to Mullinville the next four miles and back in 100 degree heat, but Mrs. Phred is having none of it.

I eventually agree to unhook the Honda, do a U-turn and return 20 miles to the Mullinville truck stop. Mrs. Phred says that I always eventually do the right thing after exhausting all other possibilities.

We stop for breakfast at the truck stop and I ask the waitress if she knows M. T. Liggett. She says he comes in mostly for coffee. She says if he likes you he makes you a heart, if he doesn't he might make an ugly sculpture and put your name on it....she has four hearts.It's a small town. She says his doctor doesn't want him to work anymore...

I went back just now to look at my 2008 blog about M. T. Liggett. It's interesting that out of hundreds of sculptures that I seem to have selected many of the same ones...maybe those are the ones that seem very powerful to me?

This time I take 170 pictures. I try to compose them properly and use Picasa to crop them. Obviously a blog with that many pictures wouldn't work well so I pick only16...not should go and look yourself before all this original genius rusts away....this guy makes Picasso look a little unoriginal and repetitive...

"Evolution is wrong," declares another of his signs. "Only a miracle from the Almighty could have created the moronic dumbasses on the Kansas State Board of Education." - See more at:
"Evolution is wrong," declares another of his signs. "Only a miracle from the Almighty could have created the moronic dumbasses on the Kansas State Board of Education." - See more at:

There is an article on Roadside America about Mr. Liggett.

"In 1989, Liggett  began creating metal sculptures.   He uses a plasma arc cutter and an arc welder to turn old farm equipment, car parts, road signs, and any other odd bits of iron he can lay his hands on, into fantastic characters which adorn his property, on the side of Route 400 just west of town.  Most of Liggett's sculptures are brightly painted, and many have moving parts that spin and flash in the hot Kansas sun."

Hillary Clinton is, "Our Jack-Booted Eva Braun,” Mr. and Mrs. Clinton caricatures are labeled, “Pothead” and “Porkadolf”. Mrs. Clinton is done up with swastikas.

As you drive around Mullinville, you see Liggett's work everywhere....rust never sleeps...

He’s got one that equates Waco with Auschwitz. Janet Reno has her head stuffed up her butt. A right wing Republican has his thumb in the same position. Halliburton is represented by a dark pig’s head.

"Evolution is wrong," declares another of his signs. "Only a miracle from the Almighty could have created the moronic dumbasses on the Kansas State Board of Education." - See more at:
It’s tough to figure out Liggett’s political position. He seems equally pissed by just about everything and everyone, especially politicians.

Lots of the “totems” are devoted to M.T.’s old girlfriends, who he has immortalised in junk. You have to wonder about his relationships with neighbours. My money says he doesn’t much care much what other people think.

. "Evolution is wrong," declares another of his signs. "Only a miracle from the Almighty could have created the moronic dumbasses on the Kansas State Board of Education."
Putting aside intent, is M.T
- See more at:
At times Liggett's neighbors have not been pleased with his work....however,  he has made Mullinville famous.

Lots of hearts... Here is a video about the artist....check U-tube for many more....

Friday, 19 June 2015

Taos or Bust

 Mountain Home, Arkansas

We're camped in an Army Corps of Engineers campground on Lake Norfork in northern Arkansas.

I can hardly believe we've spent eight nights here. We'll wait one more than to let tropical storm "Bill" amble out of our way.  It's dumped a pile of rain here and a lot more on our path west though Oklahoma.

We go down to Conway with Paul and Diane and help Jason and Caroline a little with the remodeling projects. They've found some amazing stuff on Craig's List including a deeply discounted $8,000 bathtub that looks like a futuristic giant egg, a stove, a refrigerator and an entire unused gym basketball court floor.

One day Mrs. Phred and I drive up to see the little known Bull Shoals Cavern. It has been inhabited by Indians, Confederate soldiers, moonshiners and trout farmers...the trout farming thing flopped because nobody wanted to eat eyeless, albino rainbow trout.

Paul, Dianne and Chris running hard oak pieces though a planing machine.

You can see the seam where the basketball court floor is joined's a really nice floor, new since we were here last June...

The kitchen we were working on last year is mostly done except for a couple of minor trim items.

Jason at work.

The Bull Shoals cavern has every type of limestone formation found in any cave in America including the rare "boxwork" formation which is only found in one other cave in the U.S. (the Wind Cave in South Dakota)...we've been there too...I forgot to get a picture but here's a hyperlink

More cave pix....

Mr. Phred making blueberry pies....

Thursday, 11 June 2015

On the Road to Nowhere

Holly Point State Park, North Carolina

Not really nowhere....Taos, New Mexico, Seattle and Anchorage  are waypoints....but..It's great to spend a week camping with the grandchildren. Here are number six and number seven sitting outside our RV.

Number four and five like to start fires and cook marsh mellows.

We spend a lot of time playing Uno and Mexican Train dominoes...

The week sees a lot of days swimming with the four youngest grandchildren. Number six makes us a nice note.

We hit Target the first day and load up on water toys: beach balls, water guns, splash toys of all kinds. Here are number six and seven....

Some nights number four and five spend with us.  One night all four of the youngest sleep over...

 We have epic battles....

Alliances shift by the minute...

 Number five and seven....on the beach

They grow up so fast...

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

We pick an RV park on the Pigeon River about four miles off I-40 on State Highway 66....It's another 17 miles south to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

View from our campground.

Pigeon Forge is on the way to the National Park on 66...A lot of tourist trap stuff for the kids....

We drive a loop in the National Park and do some whitewater rafting before resuming the quest on the road west....

A strange and twisted place....