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Saturday, March 15, 2008 - White Spar Family Campground, Prescott National Forest, Prescott AZ

Shusha.. shusha...shusha... kerpoow!..... Gold King Mine and Ghost Town, Jerome AZ, March 15, 2008
Shusha.. shusha...shusha... kerpoow!..... Gold King Mine and Ghost Town, Jerome AZ, March 15, 2008

Today was an interesting day

On my way over to Prescott this morning I took AZ 260 west through Camp Verde and over to Cottonwood where I picked up AZ 89A south so I might stop in Jerome for lunch and a walk about this interesting old mining town reborn as an artist colony and tourist destination. I was here back in '06 and wanted to have another look about.

Gold King Mine and Ghost Town

Parking an RV in this hillside town is a bit of a trick and I ended up following signage to a parking lot out behind the Fire House on the road to the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town. Well, after my lunch and walkabout, of course I had to venture up there - they did after all assure me of plenty of RV and bus parking on their signage. Ha - right! Things got a bit tight up there but we'll worry about that later.

On projecting a certain mountain man look

Entrance to this astonishing collection of junk is through the gift shop, where a small entrance fee is collected. "You look familiar" the clerk says, "have I seen you around town?" Haw! I wonder if the longish hair and the longish beard - and of course the Filson hat - have anything to do with this "recognition?" I'm in that kind of context.

There are pictures here and there of a long-haired, long-bearded floppy-hatted, overalled character I assume is responsible for this great entertainment. There are many such characters around this town. I'm beginning to fit right in here. You see, there's also the short sleeved denim shirt over the long sleeved Hensley I'm wearing with my ever present denim jeans and hiking boots. And there's my favorite Filson Original Tin Hat.

eeeeck! - I can feel it now...

The clerk and I joked a bit as I paid my fee; then I wandered off on my self-guided tour.

What a hoot! I could spend hours wandering about this fascinating collection. There is some really unusual stuff on this hillside! This place is one mans huge collection of cast off junk mining machinery, old trucks, chickens, power shovels, a dentists office with a foot powered drill (eeeeck! - I can feel it now...), bulldozers, goats, power plants, jacks, road graders, guinea hens, a blacksmiths shop, rock drills, a sweet old burro, fire engines, a bordello, dump trucks, cars, tractors, wrenches, signs. On and on and on. This ghost town looks nothing like its tidy wikipedia picture, obviously taken before the collecting began.

The draw of the day is a big old make-and-break engine running (yes, it was running) an equally old sawmill. Shusha.. shusha...shusha... kerpoow!..... shusha... shusha... shusha.. .shusha... kerpow!.... shusha...shusha... kerpow!...... shusha... shusha... all afternoon - exhausting through the neatest old piece of pipe dressed up as a dragon exhaling smoke - how cool is that?

On that certain mountain man look - take two

After absorbing about all I can take in in one go I head back out through the gift shop and into the parking lot where the issue of turning the rig around is now uppermost on my mind. Up walks these two guys, one saying to the other "There he is, this is the guy I was telling you about. This is the guy who put this all together." He's about to stick out his hand for a shake and hesitates at my quizzical look. "You look familiar, I've been here before - this is your place isn't it?" Uh, no.

"But I know I've seen you before."


Now I'm standing there with my mouth open trying to find the next words. You see, I know this guy - can this really be Roger? It is Roger isn't it? But he's completely out of context and now I'm hopelessly aghast that I'm not quite sure the name I instinctively put on the face is right. You see, I know what family this face belongs to. After all I'm an image guy; I know stuff this without language. But a name is a language thing and he's got brothers...

I'm stumbling, trying to buy time. He's stumbling too. I can see the recognition in there - but the name - what's my name? The moment lingers - we stumble. Why am I not trusting my first impulse? It's gotta be Roger - after all my first impulses are usually right. But...?

I know who this guy is - no doubt about that. I mean, we went to school together, did a fair amount of business over the years - I know this guy. Damn these senior moments. And he's obviously having one too.

"You from New York?" I finally get out. His head nods and I say my name at which point his companion, his younger brother David it turns out, instantly knows who I am and completes the introduction. It's Roger. Thanks bro.


[Update - summer 2010] I'm tending my "FREE" table after a yard sale back east, helping a guy load stuff in his truck. We finish and he says "remember me?" "I'm David - we met out in Jerome." Haw! indeed.

Night camp

Site 11 - White Spar Family Campground, Prescott AZ

Alex Can Spell

Not very long ago, Dr. Pepperberg began trying to teach Alex and another gray parrot, Griffin, to sound out phonemes, which are the sounds that letters and letter combinations represent. English has forty phonemes altogether. She and her colleagues wanted to see if the birds understood that words are made out of letters that could be recombined to make other words, so they started training the birds with magnetic refrigerator letters.