Train to El Tovar, II Too! (Don’t) Stop this Train…

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I’m just now planning a trip for tomorrow on a train to the Grand Canyon. Tonight is with Lace and Jay. Tomorrow  by 9:00 am, I’ll be in the middle of a shootout at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. How exciting….

Of course, this makes me remember another trip in these parts…another shootout that hadn’t yet happened….

A few thoughts and old photographs about that trip first…
Then, we arrived driving through Hoover Dam after a few days in Las Vegas. Yes, we took our Grade school kidlets to Las Vegas before we took them to Disneyland! Did not matter, they loved it, architecturally the same trip and none of us really gamble….Or at least I did not then. Life has many risks and it is so much better if one takes them…It was Easter. He is Risen indeed!

My main memory of Hoover Dam was looking down over that precipice and thinking of Albert Brooks meltdown in the scene from Lost in  America the morning after Julie Hagerty has gambled away their ‘Nest Egg.’  Jim Carrey in Cable Guy, too… “Kill the babysitter!” Thank you, Hollywood, for taking us on our first and sometimes only travels.

Here  are the Easter Day’s  highlights which began with our hike that started at 5:00 am. 


Hoover Dam Grand Canyon page from Jack Adams Webway


More El Tovar and Grand Canyon from Adams Family Webway.


I show the two photogs to document and remember two things:

  1. Yes, as I’ve said before… often it’s as if the mother taking the pictures never existed. Even then, I had to cut and paste myself into my life! (did you notice…? In my family album, I had not yet bothered to cut and paste mom into the photo!)
  2. I’ve included the second picture of this ‘family scrapbook’ 3 reasons. a) these are really the only photos of me taken because the kind waiter asked, b) it gives a feel for El Tovar Hotel Dining Room (Easter Dinner), and c) “Dad” has a derriere fetish and thinks it’s funny to fondle at the most inappropriate photo ops, oops… So, I have kind of a weird look on my face…Whatever.

Trip II I’m embarking upon tomorrow will have a more leisurely visit to draw at beautiful El Tovar Lodge designed by Charles Whittlesey. I’ll keep you posted…Trails to Rails…

(Don’t) Stop this Train…

And what will my ghost be like?

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I will quit talking and telling stories. Here are more Springer pictures.

Beautiful old buildings in use.

 Magistrate Court. Springer, New Mexico.

Zia Theater.

Hmm…I think the Zia Theater might be Clayton, NM. Someone correct me.

Worth a stop. It may only be open in summer or possibly moved to storefront down the street, but off and on it has been a flea/antiques market of sorts. I bought some tiny wooden carved cowboy boots here.

This is the R. H. Cowan Livery Stable, a beautiful building.

I cannot read the date.

Brown Hotel just north of the livery stable. Springer, New Mexico.

For me, here is where the fascination begins…

There is nothing more special and interesting than a town that is in some stage of much much later mid-life but is still very much alive…

And when things are left untouched, with no one coming in to perfect, re-work, clean-up or tear out.

To not try to make young again or worry if others see their antique and patina as trash or think it is depressing….it is not.

Simply content to accept…

Just like a person might be….could be….

So honest.

The places I love to ponder. Can you imagine being a small child in this town and playing around these old buildings? And hearing stories and making up stories about what happened in them? What a life!

Here, I’m going to take you on an adventure….

This is where I started...

This is where I saw the first anomaly….the red corrugated tin was fine, but the asian manner in which the side columns were arranged seemed out-of-place….

Yes, something doesn't look cowboy here...

So I ventured beyond and yes, Tonto, it does not look like we are in Indian Country…

Here is a clue around on the north side of the property...

There is some kind of old hotel here. Not the era of the Brown Hotel, of course, but perhaps when Raton had horse racing. Which, by the way, is sorely needed and desperately wanted in rural northern New Mexico. I heard it got caught into politics with horse racing around Albuquerque which is a loss. Nothing can be as interesting or exciting as traveling in places where people have not ventured for some time.

The office wasn't open, but their neon still looks good. Maybe Luminous Sign can bring it back to life!

I climbed up as best I could and this is the view over the stucco wall...

I don’t know if you can see, but there is a pathway that heads in with a bramble arbor that arcs overhead which a person must walk under…It’s like the artist that does those kind of boyscout lashing architectural structures (KU Campus by the Chapel) but in a time before it was art…

this dangles over the wall.

I just really could not scale a stucco wall, but I did see this on a rope over the wall.

A Key?

A clue?

What story to tell…

And what will my ghost be like?

The mounted roadie: Ride Tall, He’s always watching.

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"Went to see a horse about a man"

Went to see a horse about a man.

Taking a roadie is taking a break. I think we may all do it, always have, in all times and places, by whatever mode of transportation is available. And times, it has only been in my mind.

The restlessness, the need for freedom, I think, is a part of who we are, or at least who I am. Being a 5th generation Kansan and a 4th generation Jayhawker, it might not seem as though I’ve left home. But I have lived in Paris and traveled quite a bit, in the states and across the state. And we all leave home in different ways. Through the books that I read, adventure is only as far away as my thoughts. And I always return home, wherever that may be, with a new perspective.

"Location:  ridge in the home pasture"

Location: ridge in the home pasture

Sometimes taking a roadie is by horse. In the aerial, you can see that I’m in the home pasture on a ridge (the line) about a mile north of the headquarters, on the north side of the Cimarron River. As it goes, really not very far from home. But it’s the concept that counts.

I’m going to include this photograph that my father-in-law Raymond Adams took, for it is far better than mine. He said one time,”if want to get close to God, you get up on that grey horse and ride up that hill behind the house and you will be about as close to God as you can get.”  And another thing he said, “I am one helluva cowboy.”

Ride tall, he's always watching.