Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: On the road again

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: On the road again

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MY, MY, MY. Lots of people are using walking sticks just like me, I smirked smugly as we walked through a parking lot at one of the ‘arches’ at Arches National Monument.

Daughter corrected me: “Dad, those aren’t walking canes, they’re Selfie Sticks.”

And she was right. The cellphone camera and advent of ‘selfies’ have changed our culture. I was with daughter Julie and granddaughter, Miss Carsyn Elizabeth Murphy, who is just about to turn 14, and we were on a Bucket List trip out West.

I — being the fat old guy — had purchased a walking stick to help get around the park’s unending walking trails, and boy was it a great purchase!!

Let me apologize right now for my inability to convey the magnificence of sights on this trip — Arches, Dead Horse Point State Park (Utah), Mesa Verde (Colorado) and the roadside scenery of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Texas and Oklahoma.

Julie and I started making these Bucket List trips several years ago. Our first outing was to Meteor Crater in Northern Arizona, which was #1 on my bucket list. Since then we have been to Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Grand Canyon, Roswell, and Charleston, S.C. (to see my old Navy aircraft carrier).

The trips are spread over a span of six years. Every year we democratically pick a destination. I get two votes. We’re considering another trip out West next year, but there are in-laws back East and all of those stupifying sights in Washington, D.C.

If you have not been out to the Great West, and if you can still get around on two feet, by all means go, go, go.

We heard many languages and met many nice people along the way. When I see someone in a party of four getting ready to take a picture of the other three, I intrude and say: “I bet there’s always one person missing from every photograph on your trip.” And then I offer to take a picture of their whole group using their camera. People mostly appreciate this gesture. I have only come across one nationality which consistently turns me down. I won’t tell you here, but if you ask me privately I’ll tell you.

On our 2017 trip, we met (and photographed) people from France, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore and Japan. They were in awe of America. As am I.

There are hundreds of arches and balancing rocks in Arches National Park. You can stay in your car and see some; others require a walk. Some walks are easy. Some are hard on a fat old guy. We were too late to see one of the most famous. Wall Arch partially collapsed in 2008 and the trail to it is closed because of the danger of more falling rock. We walked in to see ‘Sand Dune Arch’ and had to squeeze through narrow slots in the tall rock formation. Inside, there was a middle-aged lady with a wire brush and spray water bottle. She was mumbling and scrubbing some graffiti off the wall of the slot. Why would someone do this? Julie asked rhetorically. “Because they can,” the woman answered through gritted teeth.

Mesa Verde is a World Heritage Site. Pre-historic peoples lived atop the mesa, and later in adobe buildings under cliff overhangs. Then they disappeared, leaving all kinds of stuff behind.

You can drive to overlooks and close to some of the mesa-top sites, but if you want to hike down to one of the cliff dwellings you must sign up with a tour ranger and you’d better be in good shape.

We pushed real hard to get back to Arkansas, and we drove until 10 one night. We were on the wrong side of Albuquerque and there was only one motel we could see. The clerk was behind a plexiglass window and the room rate was a whole $55. We were alarmed, but very tired. I got us up next morning at 4 and we got out without having tires stolen. Carsyn said that there were some girls standing on the balcony above our room. Julie, the wise one, asked what the girls were wearing. “Not much,” Carsyn said. I’d write more about this but I’m sure  you wouldn’t be interested.

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HEARD FROM. Andy Scott, now the swimming and diving coach at Kenyon College in Ohio, writes about his father using a loud radio in an effort to repel the deer which were determined to poach a meal from his garden. The dad also tried dangling tape from strings, and even used an all-night spotlight on the pea patch. Deer managed to remain fat that summer despite all efforts. Andy’s mom even said she imagined the deer saying to one another, “You guys have to come see this place. He’s got food, music, streamers, and even leaves the light on for us.”  Andy is the son of Royce and Barbara Scott, and that pea patch is at a place we used to call Sorghum City, just barely west of Midway.

Royce has other ways of dealing with deer.

Andy was a MS Hornet quarterback.

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KISSIN’ COUSINS. Stand Up and Be Counted. They’re a mite on the pushy side.

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HE SAID: “I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.” Paulo Coelho, Brazilian novelist

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SHE SAID: “Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” Ann Landers, advice columnist

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SWEET DREAMS, Baby