Beware My Alter Ego!

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Thor, of Norse mythology, hammer wielding god of thunder, lightning and storms?

Or is it Zeus, Greek god of the sky and thunder? 

While Zeus’ image is cast in stone, mine is captured digitally, showing my powers, as I prepare to unleash my mighty bolt of lightning.

In actuality Mark Nowery caught this un-staged image of me just as the light streamed into the motel room in Payson, having me holding the sunlight looking very much as though I am capable of casting bolts of lightning.

This past weekend was spent with friends in the cool pines of Payson, AZ, where we enjoyed cooler temps, a small car show, a BBQ dinner hosted by friends Mark and Steve, lovely weather and beautiful scenery.

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Although he is not what one would call an outdoor type, Mark was game and agreed to join me in a little off road exploration to the top of Mt. Ord. Bouncing and rolling along the rocky road, Mark hung on and endured the long haul up the mountain. The last half mile required a moderately steep trek up the road to the summit and several communication towers and a fire lookout tower. While we could not ascend up the lookout tower, the views were, nevertheless, quite beautiful. Being a bit hazy, we still could see for miles beyond including sight of the furtherest end of Roosevelt Lake. In addition to the views, both of us marveled at the old growth juniper trees with their alligator bark, tall pine trees, and some very unusual frogs/toads.

Mark may yet become a hiker (but I won’t hold my breath).

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In the distance, the norhern end of Roosevelt Lake

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Instead of taking the direct route back to Phoenix on Sunday, I offered to take Mark on a route he had not experienced, which is Rt. 188 that winds through a valley east of Mt. Ord, past the little settlement of Punkin Center and then along the far end of Roosevelt Lake. At the intersection of Rt. 88 and 188 is the Roosevelt Lake bridge and Roosevelt Dam (which was completed in 1911). On Rt. 88, The Apache Trail, the road is unpaved winding its' way over narrow mountain roads, up and down steep inclines, sharp hairpin curves, but mostly smooth enough for any passenger car. Along it’s route are two other lower lakes, Canyon and Apache, both very popular with boaters, fishermen and other recreational enthusiasts. The Apache Trail is one of my favorite destinations for showing visitors a real taste of rugged Arizona. Views are awesome, the ride is often breathtaking (literally), while offering a glimpse into some very remote, historic and treacherous backcountry. 

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However, I choose to not take the Apache Trail route, instead opting for the paved Rt. 188 leading us to the town of Miami, AZ. Known for the copper mining operations in the area, Miami has definitely seen better days. But going a block north of the highway one finds a revival of sorts in this downtown area with many antique stores, restaurants and old buildings, though abandoned, holding on to much of their charm and glory. At the Miami Rose Antique store, we talked with the owner Randy, a lifelong resident, who told us stories of his growing up in this town; the YMCA building next door (now closed), the Mexican YMCA several doors down, restaurants, what was the old Pontiac dealership across the street and other fond memories of his hometown. At some future time, we offered the possibility of driving our old cars for a show and weekend of discovery in Miami and surrounding area.

After departing the Miami Rose, and being parched, we next stepped into the Soda Pops Soda Fountain shop, a more recent renovation that is chock full of nostalgia and memorabilia. Enjoying a malt and a shake, we relaxed and absorbed the sights within the shop’s walls, including its’ tin ceiling, vintage juke box, stained glass, advertising signs and original fountain bar.

After a few more antique shops, the time to leave and return to Phoenix had come. Along the way we passed several mining operations and as the road cut through the mountains, high cliffs rising on either side, the beauty of the weekend was hightened.

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The trip to Peru is just 8 days away! We will be exploring for all of October, returning to Phoenix on October 29.

Tom and I have both gotten our vaccinations (Yellow Fever and Typhoid), plus a small pharmacy of other drugs that we may (or may not) need during our travels in Peru. Malaria meds will be started once we arrive in Peru, and altitude meds and others will be used if needed.

This weekend I plan to have my duffle bag packed and ready to go before we depart on Thursday, Sept. 28. The weather is early Spring in Peru with highs in the 60’s to 70 and lows in the mid 30’s to 40’s. Dressing in layers will be our best protection against any cold weather. 

I’m hopeful that I will find adequate wi-fi receptions while on this exploration and update our adventures. © Donald E. Kline 2012