Tag Archives: desert

Arizona Photos


These are in no particular order. I started to sort them and got walleyed. It’s more interesting out of order anyway. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.


There was always a highway just over the edge of an incredible view. Or is it the other way around?


It rained the day we went to the painted desert. My sister was sad the sun wasn’t there to make things glow, but I was happy to see all the blues highlighted! We argued about this a lot. I think I was trying to talk her into being happy despite the rain but I just ended up being unreasonably combative.IMG_20190915_140659796_HDRIMG_20190915_140754601_HDRIMG_20190915_115843855

Everything orange in the photo below is petrified wood. Or great big turds. See what you want.IMG_20190915_120718105IMG_20190915_120426625

Antelope Canyon X was surreal.IMG_20190917_110931836_HDRIMG_20190917_110945258IMG_20190917_110628661IMG_20190917_113345701


Trains, everywhere. Bringing food in from places that are actually able to make food.IMG_20190915_112648119IMG_20190917_141748914

This was my rock stack. See the useful skills I have accumulated in my varied life. Sandstone is hard to stack, because every time you put pressure on it it starts to crumble away.IMG_20190917_120130351IMG_20190915_100500313IMG_20190917_143826844_BURST000_COVERIMG_20190918_150558013IMG_20190917_170506298IMG_20190917_135551880IMG_20190915_183306657IMG_20190917_084418966IMG_20190915_115037311_HDRIMG_20190915_115013708IMG_20190917_141305446IMG_20190917_143934619IMG_20190917_140651189IMG_20190918_150000253IMG_20190915_105824222IMG_20190915_105748812IMG_20190915_113824581IMG_20190915_140648221IMG_20190917_170429464IMG_20190917_170720957IMG_20190915_115025563_HDRIMG_20190917_141758270IMG_20190918_150532846IMG_20190917_143327280IMG_20190918_150154259IMG_20190917_170402481IMG_20190915_140637172IMG_20190915_100243326_HDRIMG_20190915_140702640_HDRIMG_20190915_104946640_HDRIMG_20190920_122403237IMG_20190919_134300630IMG_20190920_152014397IMG_20190920_122714752IMG_20190918_155357620IMG_20190920_123007375

My niece took the below picture of the inside of a wishing well/fountain. It was too pretty not to include.IMG_20190920_151704271IMG_20190918_155249414_HDR

Below is Meteor Crater. Ten guesses what caused it.IMG_20190918_164456854

An old abandoned zoo. Weird derelict Route 66 stuff was everywhere. At first it depressed me but by the end of the trip I was starting to like it, despite myself.IMG_20190918_160430673IMG_20190920_122705100IMG_20190918_154432695_HDRIMG_20190920_121705320

Wanna feel fat? Take a short, moderate hike down into the Grand Canyon. Watch your family and friends outpace you. Watch them wait lovingly and politely for you to catch up at the top. Swear to self to be less fat in the future.IMG_20190919_134240310_HDRIMG_20190919_131050885IMG_20190920_111051352

I love taking pictures of people taking pictures of things. For some reason it’s just adorable to me, seeing them love the thing and try to capture it. See the way she loves that tree. Isn’t she adorable?IMG_20190920_121515592IMG_20190919_134224348_HDR

Entrance to the APACHE DEATH CAVE. Very tight squeezes, very ankle-turny. Amazingly, no ghosts! My favorite part was later when I asked my brother-in-law where he got that scratch on top of his bald head and he answered casually, “In the death cave.”IMG_20190918_154615192_HDRI thought the desert sun was exquisitely bright, turns out I just needed to clean my lens. Heh.IMG_20190920_121755899My siblings and I kept quoting Shorty in Indiana Jones, “See? Strong bridge! Strong bridge!”IMG_20190918_155405364IMG_20190920_121328323IMG_20190919_134233823_HDRIMG_20190920_180552688


Well, I expected rocks. Damned if I didn’t get them. You go to a gift shop, guess what they sell? ROCKS. You can also find arrowheads, or fossils, or petrified wood (i.e., rocks).

I expected a few more creatures, and life. Really didn’t get that. My brother-in-law and his son went searching for rattlesnakes, on purpose, everywhere they found brush, at every gas station or scrubby landscape. They. Found. Zero. I actually felt bad for them. Poor kids. No rattlesnakes for them.

When I got back to Missouri, I felt like a soggy mummy. My lips took a full week to heal.











Life in the Desert – collaborative story


I’ve been wasting time writing stories with my friend G lately, and they said I could post one of them. This one cracked me up. I love collaborating on nonsense like this.


G>S001 03/29/19

Janet and Bill had moved to the desert two years ago.  They liked Dry Climates, and they hated Rain, although they liked water.  Bill had been a former executive with Podunk Industries, makers of Inner Tubes, and Janet had been a programmer working for a small company called “Magic”, that had been recently bought out by Microsoft.  Janet had quite a large chunk of stock options in Magic,and she had cashed them out so that they could build their dream home in the Desert.  Their dream home was a Cave in the Desert, in which they invested a lot of money to make it into elegant and sustainable living quarters. It had running water, a sewer system, toilets, Propane piping, and electricity from the 15 Kilowatt Propane generator, as well as a solar powered system for energy collection on the sunny days, which of course was most of them. Polished stone flooring was added throughout the cave to add a touch of elegance.  The cave contained his and her garages for their vehicles, including a small helicopter, and there were secret passages, a safe, a safe room, a full kitchen, gym and workout room and rooms for their hobbies. All of this was sealed behind a huge door impenetrable by outsiders, and closed circuit surveillance kept an eye on everything so it was very safe and secure.   Bill played the Guitar, and Janet liked crafts of all kinds, so they each had rooms filled with stuff of their likings.  One day Janet said to Bill…..

S>G002 3/30/19

“All this stuff sure is great, but what good is it without children?”

“No no,” said Bill. “I have insecurities and I know I’ll make a terrible father. How about instead of a kid, we get a pet?”

“I would like a pet!” Janet said.

“Whew,” said Bill, relieved.

But his relief didn’t last for long. Soon the house, already jam-packed with belongings, was also jam-packed with camels, the manifestation of Janet’s unfulfilled desires. They had over thirty camels and Janet insisted on keeping them inside, and the camels chewed on everything.  One day Bob was trying to recline on his hammock in his room when the camel-chewed string broke and he fell, landing hard and breaking his coccyx.

“Help!” He called, but Janet had gone out for more camel kibble. A camel walked in the room and stared at him, glassy eyed.

“I hate you,” he told the camel.

The camel leaned over and started to lazily eat his Lego set.

G>S003 3/31/19

“That’s it!…I’ve had enough”, said Bill to himself, and he got the plasma rock melter out of the cave’s tool storage area, and headed to the back of the cave, to melt out a new room, a pen just for enclosing all of Janet’s camels. While he was performing this task, Camels would wander back to see what he was doing, spit on him, slobber, make a humorous braying sound and then wander back.

“Damn Camels!!” said Bill to no one in particular, and continued his rock melting. Bill
laughed when one of the Camels walked in front of the Plasma Rock Melter and was instantly vaporized. Just as he was finishing, Janet returned with a truck full of Alpo Camel Bits, Camel Kibble and 100 pound sacks of Buffalo Camel feed.

Janet said “Where is my Favorite camel Zelda?”

Bill said with a chuckle, “Just follow the smell…and you will find her.”

Janet said, “What are you doing, Bill?”

He said, “I am making a Camel corral to house all of your Camels before they eat up the entire house…they already ate most of your craft items in your craft room.”

Janet said, “Well OK, but right now could you get the loader to move all the food from the truck into the Camel Pantry?”

“Sure,” said Bill.

Janet added, “I bought something for you too, Bill…it’s in the Truck.”

S>G004 4/1/19

As Bill hobbled back to the entrance, he thought to himself how lucky he was that Janet wasn’t angry at him for disintegrating her camel. He hoped the present she got for him wasn’t heavy; the plasma rock melter was the heaviest thing he could carry. In fact, now that his rage had subsided, he realized how much pain he was in, and set down the gun before he went outside. He got there and blinked in the sunlight for a minute, wondering where the truck was, when he heard a stainless steel door slam
shut behind him.

“You melted Zelda,” Janet said from the balcony. “We’re through! I’m finding a man who can love me, my 4 billion dollars, AND my camels!” She went inside.

“Augh, what will I do?” Thought Bill. “We’re surrounded by miles and miles of desert. The nearest place is that little Western style town forty miles away.”

A Lego set crashed at his ankles. Another landed on his head. His scalp started bleeding. He stumbled over it and landed on his coccyx again.

“Janet, please,” he said.

“I’m not listening,” her voice called. “And I’ve got the plasma cannon aimed at your heart. Get out.”

Bill sighed and started walking.

G>S005 4/1/19

Soon the sound of a vehicle approaching could be heard.  With the desert mirage effects, he couldn’t tell what it was.  Then it got closer.  It was Janet.  She hollered to Bill, “APRIL FOOL!”

Bill said, “Huh?”

Janet said, “I don’t know how you could think that the Camels could be more important than you!”

“But,” said Bill.

“But nothing,” said Janet, “if you had been more observant you might have noticed the Giant Lego set that I bought for you in the truck.”

“You scared the hell out of me Janet…I thought you might even melt me with the Plasma Cannon.”

“Pretty good April Fools Joke huh?” said Janet. “Hop in so we can get back and corral the Camels in the new room you built for them…Two of the Camels ate all of the soap I just made in my Craft room, and one of them spit soap bubbles and bit me, so I think that corral was a real timely good idea.”

Janet applied gauze to Bill’s head, which had cauterized in the desert sun.

Janet said, “I am sorry I was so angry, but I was bitten by a scorpion when I got back, and the poison made me nuts for a short while.”

“Time for Ganja Janet?”

“Absolutely Bill, fire up Billy Bong when we get back.”


The End

The Restaurant

Today I burden you all with some flash fiction.



The dying man couldn’t believe his eyes. Another hallucination? Broken as he was, he couldn’t help but pull himself toward it, hope strengthening his limbs.

His eyes ached from the bright, unforgiving landscape, and the sand had worked its way into his deepest joints. His skin was thin, hard leather. This place had turned him into a living mummy.

But hope lay ahead. After an eternity, he reached the threshold, where a waiter in a fine tuxedo politely held the door for him, the epitome of timeless old world culture.

The guest dragged himself through the proffered opening and felt a sudden blast of restaurant air conditioning roll over him like the breath of a benevolent god. He wept dry grateful tears.

“Table for one?” The waiter asked. The man’s graceful manner said he watched the desert eat men every day, and it was no excuse for poor etiquette.

The man opened his mouth to reply and found that his voice had shriveled away. He nodded instead.

“Would you care for help to your table, sir?” was the next question, delivered formally and without judgment.

He managed another nod.

The headwaiter gestured down the hall where two more waiters stood like polite statues. They came to life and aligned themselves on either side of him, supporting him under the arms.

“After me please,” the headwaiter said, and swept into the dining area. The sick man was helplessly carried along in his wake.

“Please take a seat,” the headwaiter said, gesturing at a table for one with a white tablecloth and an array of shining silver cutlery laid out, precise as surgical tools.

Once the man was propped into place, the headwaiter began to speak.

“Our menu has recently changed. The special tonight is a salad niçoise with quail’s eggs, seared sea bass with shallots over a lemon–”

The man cracked open his mouth. Every breath raked the back of his throat like sandpaper. Forcing out words felt like he was trying to exhale a handful of thumbtacks.

“Water,” he croaked, then broke into a weak coughing fit. It was torture; he’d have coughed up blood if he’d had any left.

“Please,” the waiter said, offended. “Allow me to finish. Our menu has recently changed. The special tonight is a salad nicoise with quail’s eggs, seared sea bass with shallots over a lemon risotto, a cold cucumber dill soup, lobster rigatoni with a creamy champignon sauce, and for dessert we have a cooling tiramisu gelato.”

For the first time, he looked his shabby guest in the eye. “However, we ARE a rather exclusive, fine dining establishment. I am afraid I will have to ask you for payment up front.”

Did he even have his wallet on him anymore? The man felt his pockets and was relieved to feel a familiar lump of leather had made the journey with him. It was amazing to him that such a thing could hold value for anyone. What could be more important than water?

With shaking hands, he pulled out the wallet and attempted to work a credit card free. They wouldn’t budge. The desert heat had fused his cards and his wallet into one solid, multicolored blob.

“This is a common issue,” the waiter said. “you don’t happen to remember your card or checking account number?”

The man shook his head.

“That is fine. We are happy to accommodate. You may use our phone to call your bank. If you don’t know their number, you can give us their name and we will look up the number for you.”

The man geared up to speak again. “First… National…” this much speech was all he could muster before breaking into another weak coughing fit.

By the time he recovered, the waiter had looked up his bank, dialed the number, and was waiting politely to hand him the phone. The man accepted it and pressed it to his ear.

“Welcome to the First National Bank phone tree,” it was saying. “Please wait until the end of the recording and listen to all of the options as our menu has recently changed…”