Landmarks Re-purposed

Landmarks Re-purposed.

After reading the many fond remarks about memories centered around the Millpond from fellow residents of our fine valley, I find myself

Millpond Sunrise

Millpond Sunrise

returning again and again to that landmark and its significance to so many generations. When a picture was recently posted of the Millpond, the remarks brought a flood of remarks – which in turn prompted additional memories.

It also serves to reinforce my belief that nothing stirs up memories quite like a photograph.

History and photography – my two favorite subjects! The comments generated from the photograph went back to the early 60’s and continued through the 70’s. It was very enjoyable to read of the swimming, rafting, water-skiing, ice-skating, fishing and plain old frog catching.  Equally enjoyable to be reminded of my participation in those activities – except ice skating.

During the 70’s, significant changes began to take place around the Millpond – most notably is that a community sprung up with development on all sides. It had lost its private marina status. From a isolated playground to a central feature of the development of the north Tooele Valley, things certainly changed.

In my article Landmarks Re-Visited, I pointed out that previous generations had used this area as a day camp while waiting for their grain to be milled. It is certain that Native Americans used this landmark in similar ways – a place to stop and replenish on their journeys.

The logical campground would be the flats directly south of the mill and east of the Millpond itself. This area is where boats were launched in order to water-ski.

It might be easy to assume that this landmark has been lost altogether as a recreation area because of the development. Fortunately it doesn’t have to be that way. Current generations might find it impossible to launch a motorboat or shoot carp with a .22, but the Millpond still offers an abundance of new memories to be made by later generations.



The flats east of the Millpond now contains multiple ball fields where youth can now participate in league baseball. Also, there is a skateboard park and a picnic pavilion near the ballparks.

For quieter tastes, that area is well-suited to walking, with a pedestrian bridge for crossing over the Millpond (our options were limited to swim across or walk a considerable distance around).  SAM_0358



One of the crown jewels that should not be missed is the Stansbury Park Observatory complex. Placed years ago next to the Millpond to avoid light-pollution from larger metropolitan areas, it still hosts ‘star parties’ in the summertime. Seriously, this is something you should not miss. Take a liberal supply of mosquito repellent and enjoy our private, unique marvel.

The Benson Grist Mill itself has become an attraction in its retirement. Thanks to a dedicated group of people, the mill was restored and tours are given. In addition, many other pioneer buildings have been placed near the mill that allows us a glimpse of the past. A farmers market takes place regularly during summer months, supporting local producers and enhancing community spirit.

SAM_0357New generations creating their own memories based upon landmarks from the past.


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Landmarks Re-visited

Landmarks revisited

In the first installment of the Landmark series, I mentioned that Landmarks seemed to be generational. It seems that the memories stirred up by Landmarks are very multi-generational.

The north end of the Tooele Valley has a number of Landmarks – Adobe Rock, Benson Grist Mill and the Lake Bonneville benchmarks on the Oquirrih mountains – being just a few. The Benson Grist Mill, being built in 1854, easily pre-dates the Salt Lake Temple and probably any other structure I can think of in Tooele. Much has been said about it by many sources. ( Grist Mill and stone

The reason for it’s existence is a spring-fed pond to the south and east of the Mill. True to their nature, it was dubbed the Mill Pond. Providing a reliable source of hydro-power, it is the reason the Mill exists.

The Mormon pioneers would bring their crops – grain or corn – to be ground down so that it could be used. While the grains were being milled, it seems that the families would use the Mill Pond to make the wait more enjoyable. Swimming, perhaps camping and certainly a picnic would be the order of the day.

More than a hundred years later, my family enjoyed water skiing with their friends in this very same Mill Pond. Even later, I would enjoy hours of fishing with a bow and arrow – never having much luck but determined to keep trying.

Millpond Splendor

Millpond Splendor

Friends posted about their memories of the Mill Pond. Building rafts, swimming, wading, catching frogs – in addition to fishing with rod or bow, were all mentioned. It brought back pleasant memories of Simpler Times. Folks even remembered ice-skating during winter months, long before the Mill Pond was developed further and incorporated into a new housing venture.

I thought it was our private marina. Little did I realize that the Mill Pond is a prime example of multi-generational Landmarks. I was somewhat short-sighted in my grandiose statement, as it seems my generation was just suing a Landmark that had been creating memories for centuries, literally.

Not only did the Mormon settlers begin to make memories at the Mill Pond beginning in the 1850’s, how many Native Americans use this Landmark as a part of their existence? One can only imagine the uses they found for this wonderful little puddle. In my minds-eye, I can envision the encampment in the same flats we used as a boat-ramp.

Millpond Sunrise

Millpond Sunrise

How many of the Donner-Reid party stopped and soaked their feet in the Mill Pond? How many other gold-rushers had our venerable Mill Pond as their last memory of the Utah Territory* before setting out across the Great Basin? The cynic in me forces me to ask how many of their descendants would gladly trek back to the peaceful valley in Utah to escape the rush of California now?

*Authors note: At one point, Tooele County extended to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Always eager to explore new wonders and to claim all territory in the name of Erda, I didn’t realize I was easily not the first lad to enjoy a lazy summer day at the Mill Pond. I am glad I was not the last either. Not by a long shot.

Please feel free to make comments about your Mill Pond experiences.





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Prosolutions III

Prosolutions III

If you have made the effort to try some of the Presolutions that have been mentioned in the first two installments of this series, chances are that you have felt the difference. Rather than the old-fashioned Resolutions that many attempt, and fail, Prosolutions give you something rather than take away something.

Are you getting more sleep? If you haven’t figured out how to get at least 7 hours sleep, but have increased the amount of sleep you are getting, keep after it. You can already feel the differences; increased alertness, more energy, sane and stable reactions to emotions. If you have added meditation to the mix, you are already handling stress much better than you used to.

How about those manners? Please tell us how you are doing in that regard. Have you noticed the difference in your daily interactions? Are people nicer to you? Of course they are!  They can’t help but be nice to someone as nice as you.

All of these things are something you are giving yourself. As time goes on, they become life-long habits that improve your life. Today, we are going to add a few more things to your life.

Increase the amount of protein you eat in the morning. Make a chicken happy by consuming eggs – which are packed with protein. In a rush? Try a protein shake. The trick is to eat protein rather than carbs. We have become a society on-the-go, and as such, we tend to pack on the carbs that can increase your hunger for more carbs even as it increases your waistline.

When you eat protein, your body doesn’t need that mid-morning snack – typically something that is loaded with carbs or sugar. Protein reduces the desire for carbs and gives you that shot of energy that will last until lunch. Many people find that eating protein helps them to lose weight because they don’t fall victim to the cravings.

Next …. Read. Make time to read and you will never be sorry. Try to give yourself 30-45 minutes a day to read a good old-fashioned book (or two). Think about how much time you surf or watch one of the zillions of shows available to us today. When you read a book (or books) of your own choosing, you are controlling what you put into your mind.

If you make time to read, you are likely to choose a book that is meaningful or useful to you. A great story or a DIY book adds to your life while you choose what your mind is ingesting. When you spend hours on the web or watching television, you are playing someone else’s tune rather than your own. Put your foot down and pick up a book. Show them who’s boss.

Studies have shown that an occupied mind is a healthier mind. You are able to focus better, especially with all that sleep, and you are happier. All this is a result of choosing to read a classic, a romantic novel or even a comic (graphic novel)book rather than the constant bombardment of put-your-money-in-a-mattress clips that popped-up on your screen.

More sleep, being more relaxed, having more energy, being better educated and exhibiting pleasant mannerisms are low-cost alternatives to some of those ridiculous resolutions you used to make. The result is a happier and healthier 2016. Now get out there and enjoy it!

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More Prosolutions

Prosolutions II

How are those New Year Prosolutions working out for you so far? If you have begun to give yourself the gifts of better rest and treating yourself better – you certainly must be feeling the effects about this time. If you have slipped, no worries – that is the great part about this – just start where you left off and make a little more time for yourself.

The whole point about doing Prosolutions is to treat yourself better than you did last year. Remember, you are one of a kind! If you have gone from 5 hours sleep to 6 hours, that is an improvement and the benefits only get better the more you practice. Keep at it!

Isn’t giving yourself the pleasantries of more sleep and time for peaceful meditation much more enjoyable, more doable, than trying to lose 20 pounds immediately? You are adding things to your life – not taking something away in some drastic act.

It might be time to add a few more things to your life – more Prosolutions for you. These are equally as pleasant as more sleep and relaxation.

Do you have five or ten minutes to spare? Try spending that time writing in a daily journal. Try at least five minutes but no more than ten. The act of writing events and feelings down has a number of amazing effects. Think of it as free therapy, saving you hundreds of dollars that you can $pend on yourself and your family later on.

Putting pen (or pencil) to paper allows you to focus on what happened in your life today. It will give you a feeling of gratitude because you take the time to think about the things that you are grateful for. It allows you to recognize the true value of you!

Placing a time limit on journaling will eventually help you focus quicker – getting down to business instead of rehashing all the events of the day in your mind. This is important because the object is to help you quickly unload your thoughts, spending only enough energy on them to put them on paper – not to relive them.

Please remember the next Prosolution. Remember your manners! Practice them regularly. Start with two simple words – Please and Thank You. Remembering to add these two words to your vocabulary does amazing things – internally and externally.

When you say please, you are remembering that you are addressing another human being. They are equal, not a slave, and everyone should be treated as such. It changes the tone of all interactions. By adding Please to your vocabulary, you change the way that you think about others …. and yourself.

Thank you gives you many of the same satisfactions and rewards as Please. When you say Thank You, you are showing gratitude toward others. As this phrase generally takes place at the end of a transaction or encounter, you guarantee that you are thought of in a much better way. You also feel differently about yourself when you are gracious rather than ungrateful.

Plus, you generally get better service. Can’t say too much about how that can improve your life.

By adding these two simple things to your life – journaling and manners – you begin to drastically change your day to day environment. This is done by giving these things to yourself rather than taking something away. You are sure to be a success when you give yourself these Prosolutions.

Thank you – Please enjoy your time practicing these Prosolutions!

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New Years Resolutions

Proactive Resolutions for the new year.

Stop and think about how former New Years Resolutions worked out for you.  How long did it take to go back to the old habits?

Did you ever lose twenty pounds on January 2nd?  Were you able to stop drinking alcohol for the entire year  on that first day of the new year?  Of course not, because many resolutions that are made are not well thought out.  resolution garden

Not that these are bad ideas, mind you.  Excessive weight, too much alcohol or smoking cause serious health problems.  The success rate for people who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day going to zero smoking because of a resolution is pretty low.

The main reason for this is you are taking away something that you have done for years, then abruptly stopping this activity.  There is a big hole in your life where the habit used to be.  There needs to be an active plan to replace these old habits with new ones, otherwise we must go back to our old habits.

That is not what this particular blog is about.  If a grand lifestyle change is desired, find help.  There are plenty of support groups that are free or very low-cost.

This blog is about making the types of resolutions that stick.  Presolutions.  For many, a resolution is a wish for change.  I am going to point out some changes that you can easily make that replace old habits or fill the voids.

Nature abhors a vacuum.  When a vacuum is discovered, nature – naturally feels obligated to fill it – sometimes at your expense.

Many resolutions are directed toward health and well-being.  Bravo!  There is only one of you and you should take the utmost care of yourself.  One of our more common resolutions is centered around getting in shape, many times resulting in filling the void with expen$ive objects like exercise equipment and/or health club memberships.  You are tethered to $omething new.

Perhaps you are so determined to succeed that you go to a day spa, hire a masseuse or even a personal trainer.  That can add up in a hurry.  It may relieve some stress but comes with a stressful price tag.

Here are some excellent Presolutions to try. They cost nothing and yield quick results.

Get 7 or more hours sleep each day.  Early to bed, early to rise!  bears in bed




Beach not available in all locations

Make time for meditation each day.  For some, yoga is an alternative.

These two simple, no-cost Presolutions yield immediate results.  Getting proper sleep improves attention, lets your brain re-charge and gives you more energy that leads to better efficiency.   You can lose weight just by doing this one small (pleasant) thing.

Fifteen minutes of meditation brings with it loads of relaxation and a sense of well-being.  These two lifestyle modifications lead to happier thoughts! These two small things are easy to do, they require no sign-up fees or assembly.  Best of all, the benefits are immediate.


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Christmas Eve – Time to Shop!

Christmas Eve.

Being a world-class procrastinator, the art of leaving Christmas shopping until the last minute requires annual re-certification.  Some may call it lack of planning but I prefer to call it crisis management training.

Over the years (it is not sporting to ask how many), being primarily a bachelor – I have felt a certain amount of angst toward December 24.  Crowded malls and stores, parking lots that resemble a failed ‘War of the Worlds’ evacuation plan and many years contending with weather that insists in proving global warming to be a farce … this atmosphere tends to become decidedly similar to Roman-tax-census day back in the day.

In fact, once you stop and think about it, Joseph and Mary may have felt exactly the exact same way traveling to Bethlehem from Nazareth … on a burro and being with child.  Perhaps these caravans were mumbling something like ‘If you like your tax district – you can keep your tax district.

A vital trick I have learned that allows me to keep this endearing tradition going is to face this day with a smile.  That’s right, a smile.  It works! Fake it till you make it! Then back up that smile with a friendly nod or even the occasional Merry Christmas, that is sure to throw them off.  All of a sudden … it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas (eve).

During the foray, you may become unsure about a present for a particular individual.  Please keep in mind that this is a timed exercise.  Instead of bucking the current while standing in the aisle trying to decide – walk away from the item in question and look for a present for another person for a while.  Let’s face it, you always find the best present for one person when you are searching for another’s present.  Call it Nicholas’ Law.

Movement is the essence of survival.  A rolling stone gathers no moss and a laterally-mobile shopper will not be trampled.

What about those awkward moments when you hear your name being called out of a crowd of seemingly perfect strangers?  Smile … always smile.  Find the caller in the sea of faces.  Identify the caller if possible – if not possible, smile broader and call out a hearty ‘Hello’!

Even if you haven’t a clue who it is, offer a firm handshake, followed immediately with a friendly ‘How are you’?  This can buy some time and hearing their voice may spark a memory.  You will at least have a bit more time to gather your wits.

If you are still drawing a blank, offer a warm ‘Merry Christmas – Good to see you’ and move as quickly as possible to the hardware department or into the automotive area.  You might end up with an extra set of jumper cables but it will be worth it if it gets you out of an embarrassing situation.  Besides, there must be someone on your list that would think jumper cables are a very practical gift – ‘Never know when you might need these …’!

Remember!  It is only one day.  Ample evidence from the Bible assures you that ‘it came to pass’ … never ‘ it came to STAY’.  This, too, shall pass.

Merry Christmas.

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Tribute to Tommy Overstreet

Remembering a Friend and Mentor  by Rocky Russell

In what seems like another life, I thought I was going to be a Country Music Star. All my classmates and I were really rooted in 70’s Rock. I loved living in the Golden Era of Music. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Creedence, John Denver, Joplin, Hendrix, Aerosmith, The Beach Boys… The list goes on and on. But one day I was home sick and I turned on our 19″ black and white TV and my life changed forever.

The movie “Your Cheating Heart” was being shown that day on KSL and my attention turned to “Country Western” as it was called then. Shortly after that I turned on my transistor radio and found KDYL in Tooele and heard the song that set me on the path that would consume me for the next two decades. Buck Owens released “Tall Dark Stranger” and from that moment I was hooked.

Mom and Dad gave me an old Harmony Guitar for Christmas one year. They didn’t know that guitars needed to be set up first so a kid can learn before the extra unnecessary pain discouraged young fingers from learning to play.

I saved all my money and sent off for an electric guitar and amplifier. SilvertoneThe Guitar was a Silvertone I bought from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. My amplifier was bought out of the Montgomery Ward catalog. I was in Heaven.

A fire would later take all my treasures when my house burned down in 2003. I lost my Silvertone autographed by Tommy Overstreet along with my Gibson, Gretsch, Fender… all of which would be worth a pretty penny today.

Anyway, I found out my bestest buddy at the time, Pete Gordon also had a guitar and a new Erda kid moved into town who was Guy Johnson. Guy came from a musical family so there was much to be learned there. The three of us became a trio and we fumbled around as all young musicians do as they learn to apply their craft.

Guy would later move back to Canada and I soon found that no one else shared my passion and I couldn’t find anyone else to play Country Music with. My cousin Kelly Lee and I would frequently play together popular songs of the 70’s, but I thought if I was going to have a shot at a rapidly evolving country music I would have to stretch out and get some of the better connections I would need if I were to reach my Country Music dream. I wondered how a boy from Tooele Utah could get connected with Nashville, TN.

Along the way I thought the first step would be to get into radio. I went in to KDYL and met Wendell Winegar. I asked Wendell what a 14 year old boy needed to do to become a disc-jockey and get into some inner circles and make more contacts. To my great surprise, Wendell told me that if I would work for him, he would teach me the ropes and let me have my own show on KDYL.

There was just one big hangup…I needed to get my FCC 3rd Class Radio-Telephone License to operate a radio station and keep it within FCC guidelines which meant I had to keep the frequency tuned to where we were licensed. That was 990 kilohertz on the AM Dial.

I studied harder than I studied for anything in my whole life and one Saturday Morning I went up to Sunnyside Ave in SLC, paid my $20.00 (which was a fortune for me back in 1971) and took my test.

A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail with my license and a note attached to it. W. D. George, the head of the FCC wrote me a very kind note congratulating me and telling me I was the youngest licensed operator in the United States and that I not only passed my test on my first attempt, but I did so easily. Apparently not many adults passed this exam on their first attempt.

It was a very kind and a very encouraging letter of encouragement from the top man at the FCC. Later Radio Stations would lobby the FCC to drop the license testing requirement because so few people were passing the exams. Wendell trained me well, something I will always be grateful for.

It was during this period that the station started promoting concerts and we brought in some name acts. If you grew up in Tooele in the ’70’s you knew that Tooeleans did not like to support much in the line of entertainment.

I would later branch out, form my own concert production company and brought in Tommy Overstreet for a concert in the THS Auditorium. This is the reason for this post.rockyntommy Tommy would remain my friend for many years after. He wrote to me when I was on my mission. Years later when I worked at KSOP we brought him in for a show with Marty Robbins at the Salt Palace.

When we moved to California, we met up with Tommy at Pismo Beach. My kid’s mother was very “heavy” with our first child at the time. Tommy sang to her his song “What More Could A Man Want” Not a bad way meet the Male Vocalist of the Year is it?

This kind man mentored me and freely imparted his knowledge with me. He was indeed, a friend. His uncle was Gene Autry and he often told me that it was his uncle that helped him break into the business, so this was his way of giving back…to help another young dreamer as best he could. We communicated on Social Media up until about 2008 and then things seemed to fade away.

Today I learned my mentor has passed away. His Beautiful Baritone voice is now silent. Yes, my heart is saddened to know he is gone, but I will be forever grateful to know he was my friend, and that he cared for me. Pete and I sat at his feet when he and his band came to my home and ate a good, Erda home-cooked dinner. Erda had such wonderful water then. It was so fresh and pure. He left with as much as he could carry on the tour bus.

Thank you old friend. Thank you for taking a 15 year old boy under your wing. Thank you for your encouragement. I look forward to sitting down with you again someday and playing music with you again. There is a great band awaiting all of us who love music and were fortunate enough to have made it a part of our lives. I truly look forward to the show!

Tommy Overstreet    September 10, 1937 – November 2, 2015.

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Great American Muscle Car Tour Finale

American Muscle Car Tour Finale

For this final segment of the journey, I will combine the remaining two days.  I wanted to be absolutely certain that I was on the correct side of the Continental Divide before the inevitable change in weather.  Seems like every year a big old snow storm comes through during Thanksgiving and strands a bunch of people traveling for the holidays.  I did not want the great American Muscle Car tour of the south central States to end up with me in the ditch somewhere.

Leaving Lubbock a little bit richer than I had found it, I fell into musing about the richness of this great country.  Richness in resources and richness in people.  Driving around the country on $1.60 petrol sure beats driving around on $3.60 petrol.  Heading northwest toward the New Mexico border I passed fields of cotton and oil rigs, pastures full of cattle and windmills.

The folks in Texas, especially Lubbock, were very friendly – even if they did look at me as though I was slightly touched when I asked for maps.  I should have had a tee shirt made up that said “Traveling America without a satellite”, but eventually glad I didn’t because asking for directions is a great way to communicate.  It’s amazing how people want to jump in and help out – even though they may secretly be thinking that I am a bit daft.

Crossing the line into New Mexico at a place called Clovis, I began to notice that many of the numerous grain elevators appeared abandoned.  Are there no more starving children in China?  Have the Ruskies quit eating bread?  Plenty of cotton and cattle but man does not live by beef alone.  I must research that further.

Regardless of the numbness of my derriere, crossing the Great Divide was paramount.  Passing through Albuquerque,  I found more maps accompanied by more delightful people.  On to Farmington and Shiprock – hopefully in time to get a good sunset picture of that famous rock.  Not gonna happen.  🙁

As dusk fell, I was not yet to Farmington but I did find rush hour traffic.  Not just rush hour, but rush hour the day before Thanksgiving.  Keep moving lad, miles to go before I sleep.

Shiprock, New Mexico is the largest township on the Navajo Reservation with about 9,000 souls.  Many consider it to be the de facto capital of the Navajo nation.  The rock formation from which it gets its name is the remnant of a volcano that erupted some 30-40 million years ago.

ShiprockIt is about 2000’ of vertical rock that some say resembles a ship on the sea.  Missing my opportunity to take quality photos due to darkness (and lateness) I put it back on my bucket list for future adventures.

Heading northward toward the southwest corner of Colorado, I was treated to an dazzling showcase of stars.  Driving on a gently rising plateau gave a great opportunity to enjoy the nighttime gallery.  I went through Cortez, once again in the dark, and prayed there were no deer out catching a pre-Thanksgiving snack.  Another inglorious way to end the great muscle car road trip of 2015.

Once out of Cortez, this seasoned sojourner was on home turf.  The miles of Colorado soon turned to the miles of Utah with no deer to interrupt the journey.  Passing through Monticello, I recalled the great hikes I have taken in search of Anasazi ruins in this area.

Once again, the vista while traveling the high plateau was stellar.  The lights of Moab came into view.  I had arrived too late to contact friends in the area, which was probably just as well considering I had travelled some 600 miles this day.  Time for a hot shower and a good night’s sleep – this sojourner had earned it.

Up early on Thanksgiving, I had some serious choices to make.  Actually, mother nature made them for me.  I had hoped to catch both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park but if I delayed I just might have trouble crossing the mountains.  Instead, I thought passing through the San Rafael Swell on my way to a favorite restaurant of mine for a turkey dinner was the order of the day.

The San Rafael Swell describes that landform to a tee.  I bet the pioneers attempting to get their wagons across this abrupt upheaval thought it was anything but swell.  It was formed as one tectonic plate is forced beneath another plate.  San Rafael SwellIt looks positively alien.  It is a major factor in making I-70 one of the most expensive roads to build in America.  To call it merely rugged would be an insult.

Stopping for pictures might have proved costly, as snow was beginning to fall in the canyon beyond the Swell.  The snow wasn’t sticking and I wasn’t sticking around to make this blog about the great American muscle-sled tour of the central Utah barrow-pits.  I was soon closing in on my Thanksgiving objective – Salina, Utah.

The Salina of Butch Cassidy fame, not to be confused with the Salinas of Steinbeck fame, has one signal-light in the town.  From this crossroads, any direction you travel has multiple adventures awaiting you.  There is quite a famous restaurant at this crossroads because, well …, that is where the nationally famous restaurants are supposed to be located.

Tough luck, though, in this case.  It seems the objective of my drive had been the scene of an accident which sent one vehicle through the front of the restaurant.  Although it had happened about a month prior to my visit, it was not going to be open to serve me a tantalizing turkey dinner or one of their famous scones.

My disappointment was offset by the idea of taking old highway 89 the rest of the way.  What a fitting end to my adventure.  Long before freeways, US Hwy 89 had served as the leading road between Mexico and Canada.  Fix and FillIt could take the traveler from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone.  From the Sonora desert to Glacier National Park.  Muscle car asphalt, for sure.

In Utah, US Hwy 89 connects most of the county seats and continues to be the main connector to this day.  Towns steeped in pioneer history, I had the occasion to video-document three of these towns a few years back as part of a project to protect these historic towns from construction damage.  The highway had also carried me to many a rodeo event in my youth.  Yes, I confess to tasting some of the finest dirt in Utah.

Soon, towns like Gunnison, Manti, Ephraim and Indianola were passing by and I turned off toward Nephi.  Beautiful Utah towns with intriguing names, which can only be pronounced correctly if you grew up in Utah.  That’s Man-tie not Man-tea, Ee-frum not Ee-f-riam and Indian-O-la not Indian-olay.  Never say Nep-hee, always Ne-fy.

Utah does have its share of strangely pronounced towns – take my home town, for example.  Tooele, pronounced To-ella not Tool-ee or just plain old Tool.  Thank goodness Erda has a normal name – how on earth could you mispronounce that?Magical Place

Hence the name Erdalife.  Thank you for sharing my great American muscle car journey of the south central states.  Hoping that you have Simpler Times.

Enjoy!  Does anyone need a map?


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American Muscle Car south central states tour Part III

American Muscle Car south-central states tour Part III

One irrefutable fact is that you cannot drive across Texas in one day – without incurring the wrath of a number of law enforcement agencies.  One thing I am certain is not on my bucket list is tarnishing my driving record or worse.

Lubbock to Austin can be negotiated by a number of routes.  I simply had to say I had been to Abilene, I have flown over it many times and heard of the town on screen and song.  Even as I write, melodies course through my noggin that have not been thought of for a long, long time. dsci0192-medium[1] Actually, without a lot of time to spend, it was much anticipation over nothing – the logical roadway skirts the actual town.  What Festus would say about that is your guess.

Approaching Austin, towns with names like Lometa and Lampasas came and went.  So many towns, so little time.  Soon, I was approaching Round Rock and within the Austin metro area.  To say it was a challenge for a non-native satellite-less sojourner might be an understatement.  Once again I managed to bless the ancestry of the designers, only to realize that I really brought this on myself.

Stopping for gas, I managed to ask some locals about getting around without incurring tolls and the answer was ‘I never go down there’ or ‘I haven’t tried that since they built the new toll way’.

Business done but taking much longer than anticipated, I set out for Brenham.  After wandering lost in the countryside for another hour, I found kindness in a country store – obviously a local.  Bluebell steerOn the proper road, I settled down to enjoy a surprisingly peaceful evening drive.  After finding the proper subdivision for my son’s house, I quickly forgot my troubles and enjoyed the grandchildren.  Life is good.

Next day, I had an early start with the grandchildren again, finally tearing myself away for a tour of the campus of Blinn College.  Camera in hand, I was shown the new and the old parts of the campus.  Brenham has a long history and is rightfully proud of it’s college. SAM_0585

Established in 1883, the school has a long and rich heritage.  If only some of those road designers had taken the time to get an education.

Leaving late in the day, I opted to take a more northerly route back to Lubbock.  Heading toward Waco, I settled into marveling at the richness of our country.  Having spent a lot of time in the Dallas area, I had forgotten the diversity of Texas.  The miles rolled on.

Abilene was no better in the dark.  With a late arrival in Lubbock, a quick bite supplanted looking for another BBQ delight and a hot shower washed the miles off.  Mission objective had been accomplished but the mission was far from completion.



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American Muscle Car Road Trip Part II

Bucket List – American Muscle Car Tour Part II.

Many things can be said about ‘stopping and smelling the roses’ and I would have liked to have shot a couple of rolls of film in Durango, yet I barely glimpsed the city.  It was just a beautiful day to be on the road.  Honestly, I had hopes of being near to Austin by evening, to get a jump on Monday.

Not gonna happen.

This section of God’s world is spectacular, without a doubt.  I was soon mesmerized by the scenery.  I had not intended to stop until Albuquerque but I hadn’t factored in a place called Aztec, New Mexico.  On a chilly Sunday morning, you can bet I had the entire street to myself.  I almost resisted the urge to stop but then realized this moment was not coming around ever again.

With cameras in hand, I parked in the middle of town, shooting and walking like some old-time desperado in a spaghetti western.  SAM_0536The buildings dated back to the turn of the (last) century.  Having spent an entire year documenting Utah towns of the same era, I giggled in delight as I recognized the patent-plate for a store-front manufacturer located in St. Louis that evidently made many a store front for the American west.

Feel free to try to guess the odds of me photographing store fronts made in St Louis and ending up in Aztec and Panguitch.  I literally hit the photographer’s lottery!      Aztec New Mexico


It’s the little things.


Back on the road, gleefully storing that improbable memory away for future blogs.  Next stop Albuquerque, which seemed to come fast.  I contemplated taking Route 66 but came to my senses when I realized that I could hook up to an honest-to-God American Freeway and perhaps make up some time.  Which I did, problem is New Mexico is a pretty large piece of real estate.  Nice (but long) drive.  At the Texas border I realized that I wasn’t going to make it to Austin and instead put Abilene in my sights.

oil and cotton

Gas in Texas is cheap!  It’s a good thing because everything in Texas is far away.  By the time I hit Lubbock I was ready to call it a night.  Each and every day I encountered kindness and helpful people.

It seemed like everyone in Lubbock was over-friendly and that made my decision.  Another hot shower soothed my nerves and being in the land of real Texas BBQ didn’t hurt either.

Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Enjoy!    vlcsnap-2015-11-29-13h58m28s442

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