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Artt “TwoTs” Frank

I am walking around Tumacacori National Historical Park capturing images when a gent, who is comfortably soaking up the sun, rouses himself, hails me and suggests that I snap his picture as well.

Asked and answered!

Turns out Artt (“Two T’s”) Frank hails from Westbrook, Maine.

We exchanged our who-what-when-wheres:  Artt is a  jazz drummer of a certain reknown, having played alongside Chet Baker back in the day.

A simple internet search later and I am much more musically informed for having made the man’s acquaintance.

It was a pleasure to meet Artt.

30 Dec 2012

If the Ocean Was Whiskey and I Was a Duck

“If the Ocean Was Whiskey and I Was a Duck

I Would Dive To the Bottom and Never Come Up” 

Lyrics courtesy Tex Ritter

Images courtesy diving ducks & afternoon light

Patagonia Lake / Sonoita Creek, Arizona.


29 Dec 2012

Carrillo Trail ~ Saguaro NP East

Up to the height of land amid the Saguaro.

Very different environment: the Sonoran Desert.

21 Dec 2012

Hummers & Raptors ~ The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Neither a hummer nor a raptor – Arizona State Bird – The Cactus Wren

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird – Adult Male

Anna’s Hummingbird – Adult Male

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird – Adult Maler

Costa’s Hummingbird – Female

Here’s Looking At You – The Desert Screech Owl

American Kestrel

Gray Hawk

Barn Owl – Young Male

Peregrine Falcon

Harris Hawks – The Family That Hunts Together …

Please Correct Any Miss-Identifications : Thanks!

21 Dec 2012

The Franklin Automobile ~ Syracuse, NY to Tucson, AZ

On the north side of  Tucson, AZ in a dirt-roaded quarter-section of desert small town surrounded on all sides by development and southwestern sprawl resides the The Franklin Auto Museum.

This is one classy display of mostly Franklin automobiles in polished restoration or as is from the factory or the road. It is supported by a trust from Thomas Hubbard the original collector. This is a very accessible display of beautifully restored and well maintained high end automobiles from a span of three decades in the early 1900’s. A great presentation, good people and lots of information and anecdotes about the automobiles and the people connected to them.

Tom Hubbard’s “intentions were to preserve and expand the cars, … and facilities to be complementary to the established southwestern site and architecture.”

This has been done well. Between a loyal group of volunteers,  a local board and an unyielding estate judge, the Franklin Museum resides and prospers in Tucson, Arizona.

The Franklin was the creation of two men: H. H. Franklin, the money and organizational guy and John Wilkinson, a mechanical engineer, the hands-on nuts-and-bolts guy. The real impetus behind the Franklin automobile was a push to develop an air-cooled engine.

Franklin automobiles were high end luxury vehicles of the day.

The Franklin “fell victim to the Great Depression along with many luxury car manufacturers.” 

“The company sold about 150,000 cars over the course of more than 30 years in existence” in Syracuse, New York.

“At its most productive in the late teens and early 20s, the Franklin Automobile Company employed 3,200 workers.”

At Tom Hubbard’s Franklin Museum in Tucson the Franklin automobiles still present as high end and luxurious.

Tucson on Dwellable
20 Dec 2012

Heavy Metals : Green & Yellow and Betrayal of Allies

Hanging at Cody’s (Phoenix, AZ) had us exposed to all sorts of heavy metals : farm heavy metal to heavy metal music.

John Deere ‘heavy metal’ courtesy of Arizona Machinery, Buckeye, Arizona.

The ‘heavy metal’ jam session courtesy of Betrayal of Allies : Cody, Blake & Vinnie.

17 Dec 2012

Desert Botanical Garden

Another home-run for the Arizona Wildlife Viewing Guide: The Desert Botanical Garden.

Lots of time, money and effort has been put into this piece of the Sonoran Desert; to exceptional result. All is first class and well done.

Now that I have spent an afternoon getting the feel for the place another day or two could be spent photographing: long lens, closeups & wide angle!!!

I envy the ladies working at the shop outside under some shaded cover potting all day long.

‘Potting’ cacti that is, no pun intended – after all this is Joe Arpaio’s corner of Arizona, not Colorado.


Other Central Arizona viewing spots of note.

Yuma Bound!!

Phoenix on Dwellable
14 Dec 2012

‘Water Ranch’ ~ Gilbert, Arizona

After the onset of cold winter weather in northern Arizona nipped us we beat feet directly to the central mountains of the Grand Canyon State and found our way to the Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction east of Phoenix on US 60. The Lost Dutchman State Park is in the Superstition Mountains: beautiful setting!

One of our travel ‘bibles’, if you will, for the state of Arizona is the Arizona Wildlife Viewing Guide updated recently and published by the Arizona Fish and Game Department. It has not steered us wrong. Every spot listed that we have visited has been so much more than just a wildlife or birding area. Check it out.

The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert, Arizona is fantastic on a number of counts. A great concept: treated waste-water finding its way back into the ground water and aquifer recharge while providing wildlife habit and a green space and recreation for town folks and visitors alike. Wonderful. Back in the day, prior to Phoenix sprawl, Gilbert, Arizona was home to “Citrus, Cotton and Cattle”. “The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch has an urban fishing lake and seven shallow ponds where reclaimed water undergoes final purification by the workings of marsh plants, micoorganisms and solar energy. Part of the water infiltrates the soil to recharge the ground water, but before it does it is available as well to wildlife. Walking paths between the ponds have been discovered by strollers, bird watchers, equestrians, and folks walking their pets as a bit of verdant paradise amid the concrete of urbanscapes. The Gilbert planners whose vision produced this resource from ‘waste water’ and a quarter section of untaxed land should be commended.”

Eagles and Osprey too; only not for the Big Dawg today.

13 Dec 2012

The Rodriguez Sisters’ Mexican Food Empire ~ Globe, Arizona

After an enjoyable weekend with old friends Rachel and Michael in Durango, Colorado we drove the San Juan Skyway in a little snow, then through Navajo land down onto the I-40 corridor towards Flagstaff. Single digit temps that night caused us to abandon the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest/Painted Desert Nat’l Park visions: maybe another time but not during the winter. We dropped due South through an Apache reservation as well as through the Salt River Canyon on to the Sonoran Desert and Saguaro country. Experiencing all of Arizona’s climate zones over the two days drive: from six thousand plus feet of elevation to around two thousand feet above sea level.

The view from two different directions at the Beckler Memorial Overlook in the Salt River Canyon on AZ 60.

Along the way and after driving through (down into and then up out of) the impressive Salt River Canyon we had occasion to pass through Globe, Arizona. We were nearing our lunch hour so we stopped at the in-town Safeway to stock up the frig. Being intrigued by large bags of hominy corn and masa in the fresh meat display and being from back east not really knowing their culinary uses I summoned, by buzzer, the butcher of the day. After having the local uses of hominy and masa patiently and pleasantly explained the butcher mentioned that the Globe area was reknowned for its Mexican cooking and restaurants. We plied the talkative butcher for his opinion of a good Mexican restaurant to get lunch. His reply was ‘Guayos’, with the caveat that it was the best of many in his opinion. Globe is a mining town, copper and gold, therefore a boom town, with an Arizona State Prison on the outskirts as well as numerous excellent Mexican eateries.

There is a story here; in fact maybe we are already well into it!!

Finding our way to ‘Guayos’ along about one-thirty in the afternoon we were welcomed to a table by Toni, our waitress. After telling our tale of being sent by the butcher at the in-town Safeway the wait staff chuckled slightly and let us in on the fact that the owner’s wife worked at the same Safeway. Toni suggested the #6 plate, a beef taco, burrito and enchilada plate, as the best and most representative of ‘Guayos” fare. She assured me that I would leave full and pleased with the food. She was correct!!

At the hour that we were there the restaurant had other patrons but was not that busy, so the wait staff had the time and more importantly were willing to chat and answer our questions. A unique photo-shopped and transposed image was framed and hanging on the wall. The restaurant’s namesake and the original ‘Guayo’ is seated in front of his sons whom also own and run Mexican restaurants in the Globe-Miami area. I believe we spoke with the son on the left and the son in blue has retired in order to enjoy the out-of-doors.

Photo-Shopped behind the Guayo and Sons image is a portion of a painting hanging else where in the restaurant.

This painting is of the three Rodriguez sisters and the husbands of two of the sisters. One Rodriguez sister came to Globe back in the day and found success serving Mexican food to the copper and gold miners and the rest of the community. She in turn sent for her other two sisters and they found success as well running separate Mexican food establishments. All the Mexican restaurants for which the Globe-Miami area is reknown trace their lineage, their roots back to the three Rodriguez sisters and their families. Interestingly enough the Rodriguez family immigrated from Mexico to Marfa, Texas before relocating to Globe, Arizona.

One of the direct descendants of the Rodriguez sisters happened to drop by. She proudly shared her heritage with us as well as a framed image of the Rodriguez sisters’ mother, the matriarch of the Rodriguez family, and an image of the Rodriguez sisters from back in the day. Our waitress Toni holds that framed picture.

Kudos to the Safeway butcher for pointing us in the direction of this story.

Thanks to the staff and family at ‘Guayos’ for excellent food and a story well and lovingly told.

10 Dec 2012

Durango, Colorado

Lovely stay in Durango, Colorado: great recreation, great bicycling, good food and beers.

This video says it all.

Durango, Colorado / Parks & Recreation / Gold Medal Award Winner

Winter weather ran us out of town. Durango deserves a return visit during warmer weather.

Nice place, nice people.

Thank you Rachael and Michael.

Check out Animas High School (FB Page) when in Durango: wonderfully empowered young people.

8 Dec 2012

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

In the midst of the mind-numbing expansive  flatness of the Llano Estacado, the Southern High Plains of the Texas Panhandle, the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River drops off the surface of the prairie and into Palo Duro Canyon. Over the span of geologic time the river waters closely followed by the wind have eroded the second largest canyon in the United States.: roughly 120 miles long reaching a width of 20 miles at places. Its depth is around 800 feet. It is a prominent geologic feature of the Caprock Escarpment.

The Prairie Dog Town Fork cuts through the Caprock, descending in geologic time the Ogallala Formation of sand, silt clay and limestone is incised. The sand stone and coarse gravel of the Trujillo Formation appears. Next the Tecovas Formation can be seen with its yellow, gray and lavender mudstone. Located at the bottom, the oldest exposed rock layer in the canyon belongs to the Quartermaster Formation: bright red claystone and white gypsum.

Palo Duro is Spanish for hard wood: notably the Pinion and Juniper trees found on the wide canyon bottomland. Back in the day, after Col Mackenzie and the US Cavalry unceremoniously routed the Native Americans from the canyon during the Red River Wars, the canyon supported a huge ranching operation of over 100, 000 head of cattle.

The canyon forming Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River with Capital Peak in the background.

Note the different colors and rock striations of the different geologic formations.

My apologies for the ubiquitous red Rans V2 recumbent. The photographs only really worked with something prominent in the foreground. The Grand Canyon itself is next on the slate of photo ops. So I need to figure out the landscape perspective piece. Stay tuned.

It was great fun to ride the bike on the floor of Palo Duro Canyon: a geographic and geologic gem in the midst of the Texas Panhandle.

Who knew?

8 Dec 2012

I-44 / I-40 ~ Oklahome into the Texas Panhandle and onto the Llano Estacado

Oklahoma is the land of ‘Rogers’: Will Rogers from eastern Oklahoma and Roger Williams from western Oklahoma.

Will Rogers was born of a Cherokee Nation family in the Indian Territory later to become the state of Oklahoma. In the ’20s and ’30s he became well-known as a cowboy, social commentator, humorist, writer, vaudeville performer and movie actor. He was a world traveler back in the day, back in his day.

Rogers was known for turning a phrase:

“I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat.”


When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident [sic] like.” I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved.

Rogers died tragically in a small plane crash with aviator Wiley Post.

Roger Miller of ‘Dang Me’ and ‘King of the Road’ fame grew up in western Oklahoma, Enick, Oklahoma, during the Depression. After his father’s death his mother, unable to support the family of three young boys, sent each one to live with a different uncle. Williams grew up ‘dirt poor’ on his uncles farm.

The story goes “When he was 17, he stole a guitar out of desperation to write songs; however, he turned himself in the next day. He chose to enlist in the Army to avoid jail. He later quipped, “My education was Korea, Clash of ’52.” “

Williams became a Nashville regular, a song writer and performer of Grammy caliber.

The end of a long day of driving found us leaving Oklahoma behind for the Lone Star State of Texas. We found ourselves climbing imperceptibly onto the Llano Estacado or ‘Staked Plain’ at dusk as the sun set and the horizon was afire!!!  The traffic on I-40 did not allow for photography: instead it will remain one of those images in the mind’s eye.


Tomorrow a day off from driving. Hiking and photography in Palo Duro State Park, the Grand Canyon of Texas.

4 Dec 2012

US 40 ~ I-70 : ‘The National Road’

Between yesterday and today’s travels we have put Ohio, Indiana and Illinois behind us and we are working on Missouri.

Spent a lot of time on I-70 which parallels US 40 which is the ‘National Road’.  The National Road was also and probably more commonly known as the Cumberland Road. Construction of the Cumberland Road / National Road dates back to Jefferson’s presidency. It was the first roadway to be built with federal funds and when upgraded it was the first roadway to be built with macadam. The original intent was to connect the Potomac River with the Ohio River by land route and open the West. Plans were made to continue the roadway to St Louis and the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers but funding fell short and the original roadway stopped at Vandalia, the capital of  Illinois at that point in history. Jefferson’s National Road was the precursor to Eisenhower’s Interstate Road System.

Along the US 40 / I-70 way we passed through both of my parents home towns. My mother’s family lived and worked in East St Louis, Illinois. My grandfather Stephenson, my name sake, being a manual arts teacher and later a principal passed away shortly before my parents’ marriage. My dad’s family was from Indianapolis, Indiana. My grandfather McKinney was a downtown banker in Indianapolis back in the day. My mom and dad went to college and met at De Pauw University in Greencastle, Indiana also along US 40 / I-70.

Green and yellow tractors on display not too far off the highway and right on top of the Greencastle (Illinois) exit pulled us off the highway for some fuel and photography. Mid-morning on a Monday found the American Farm Heritage Museum closed up but with a fair number of classic tractors outside. Oliver Tractors (new to me) at the AFHM carried the classic green and yellow John Deer color scheme. An Oliver tribute web site represents the Oliver color scheme as green and white as well as green and yellow.

These tractor images are a shout out to my grandson Wyatt.

We left the highway in St Louis to check out the Gateway Arch. A wonderful monument and huge architectural accomplishment. Little has changed in the 20 years since we went cross country in a VW pop-up with our young daughters except for the security presence and the need to have our selves and our belongings scanned. Not so 20 years ago.

We are now in the West, beyond the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

3 Dec 2012

Head Down Driving Day – No Images :- (

Cleveland, OH to  Terre Haute, IN

400 Miles

High point of the day: good pizza and good people at Mugg-N-Pye in Monrovia, Indiana. Nice friendly hard-working folks willing to make a space for you. The veggie pizza with sausage was excellent. Nice thin crisp crust, not soggy in any way. Fresh veggies and sliced tomatoes on top of a yummy sauce and a goodly amount of sausage. The menu is a full one. It mentions hoagies which I thought were a strictly east coast – Philadelphia area and beyond appellation for an Italian sandwich. Up our way they are referred to as ‘subs’. I wonder where the sandwich nomenclature lines are drawn?? Busy place on Sunday evening. Friendly pizza consumers in Monrovia. Everyone had a smile and a word of acknowledgement. The owner’s wife spoke with us at length and a ex-pat Mississippian from the too near to Memphis small town of Olive Branch shared who-what-where with us as well. A great break from a long days drive.

The small town of Monrovia, 1000 plus in population, supports two pizza places almost right across the main street from one another. They both seemed like going concerns. Sometime in the month of September all the town folk and some turn out for a Monrovia Fest. According to the IGA check  out gal Monrovia got its name from a none too creative derivation of Monroe Township within which it resides. Being a scant 20 miles west of Indianapolis, Monrovia could be considered a ‘bedroom community although I doubt this’.

2 Dec 2012

Cleveland ~ The Flats & West Side Market

‘The Flats’, from the West Side, quickly gave way to the people and faces of the West Side Market!

The Cannoli Patrol

1 Dec 2012