Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Run For The Wall - A Pilgrimage to Honor our Veterans

The flag line on the County Line Road bridge near Williams, Arizona, greets over 500 bikers as they begin their pilgrimage to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.  For the fifth year in a row, veterans, bikers from Ash Fork, Prescott and Wickenburg, and family and friends lined up on the bridge to show their support to the group, which started out from Rancho Cucamonga, California early in the morning on Wednesday, May 15th.  Following two separate routes, one through the central states and one through the southern states, the groups met up at the wall on May 25th, to pay tribute to all Viet Nam veterans and those Killed In Action, Missing In Action and Prisoners of War.  They also journeyed to nearby Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

One blogger who participated and kept a daily log of the ride offers an account of her adventures and stories she picked up along the way here:  

My friend, Ellen, from the local American Legion, has been organizing the flag line for this event for 4 years now.  She invited me this year, thinking that my 10 year old son would really enjoy watching the motorcycles go by.  I found it to be a great opportunity to discuss respect for the American Flag, for veterans, pros and cons of having a military force, and love for country.  In spite of this stimulating conversation, the moment we got out of the car, he started checking out the parked bikes.  He quickly examined and evaluated each model and decided that when he grows up he wants a three-wheeler.  Sigh.  I hope he wears a helmet.  And rides slow.   

Run For The Wall, as Ellen put it, was started by "two guys out in California, to raise awareness of POW's and MIA's and help promote healing for Viet Nam vets and their families.  25 years ago the guys started this bike run to the Memorial Wall to honor their buddy who wanted to do it, but died before he could, so they did it for him."  It turned into an annual event.  What makes it different from other motorcycle events is the main rule:  NO ATTITUDES.  This is specifically a mission, a pilgrimage, to promote awareness of POW/MIA, honor and healing for veterans and their families and to remind the powers that be that there are still some that were left behind - and have not been forgotten.

Friday, May 17, 2013

National Train Day in Williams, Arizona

The Grand Canyon Railway runs the Polar Express every Thanksgiving through New Year's
Ever wonder where the Polar Express goes during the summer?  The Grand Canyon!  Actually, we stumbled upon the Polar Express at National Train Day in Williams, Arizona.  Every year the Grand Canyon Railway plays host to train buffs of all sizes.  Model railways are set up on display, the Harvey Girls come down from Winslow and a round-trip ride from Williams to Cataract Creek is only $15 for adults, $10 for children.  A grand adventure if you don't want to do the all-day trip to the Grand Canyon and back or if you've never been on a train before.

Ladie's fainting couch
I could not resist snapping shots of the "fainting couch" in the ladies room of the "Williams Flyer".  The men's room only had a single chair, but both facilities were far roomier than the current offerings on Amtrak.  The Flyer was Max and Thelma Biegert's personal railcar, when they owned the Grand Canyon Railway (now owned by Xanterra).  On this day it was the display area for the Fred Harvey china collection, complete with live Harvey Girls, who were more than happy to give commentary and answer questions about the china, the Harvey Company and the hotels it built along the railway.

Harvey Girls and Fred Harvey china
To even begin to describe the romance of train travel to a world enamored of the personal vehicle is an insurmountable task and would take far more room than I like to give to a blog post.  If you've ever caught yourself watching a model train go round and round its track, or if you've ever sat down with a preschooler and gotten caught up in an episode of "Thomas the Tank Engine", maybe you know what I mean.  Your next step would be to take a short train ride somewhere - not on a commuter train.  Perhaps you could take a short trip on Amtrak, or if your nearest train station has other options, give it a try.  You might get hooked!

Steam engine

Winslow Harvey Girls
P. O. Box 1
Winslow, AZ 86047 (928) 289-9110

The Winslow Harvey Girls are dedicated volunteers committed to preserving the history of Fred Harvey, the famous Harvey Girls, Mary Colter and the Santa Fe Railroad. They serve as meeters and greeters and ambassadors of goodwill for Winslow and Historic La Posada.
For tour information call Chris at (928) 289-9110 or Marie (detour agent) at (928) 289-3737.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

While The Cat's Away...

So, while the guys are away, toughing out the late spring snow and cold in Colorado, I'm getting ready for a couple of stealth camping trips.  (Shhh...)  The first order of business is getting the new (to me) camping trailer set up for adventure.  

The new tiny home
In considering what to christen her, I feel I must take into account my former gypsy domiciles.  The back of "Big Red" served me well for many a foray into the wilderness and she is still the puller of my camping castles.  Her first charge was "Noah's Ark", the oversize cab-over camper I lived in with my 3 now grown children, their 2 dogs, 1 cat and hamster, when we were traveling prior to settling down in Arizona.  "The Egg" was our next small camping trailer, named by my youngest son, after our dear friend's favorite camper.  "The Egg" was traded in for our current model, which is a bit roomier and has a toilet and shower - a big plus for any extended travels.  I guess I will have to keep "rolling it around in my head", as my grandma used to say, as the appropriate name has not yet presented itself.

Big Red
Back to getting the trailer ready, it looks like she's gonna need two new tires.  I was hoping for just one, but upon closer examination, both of them look pretty worn and primed for a blow-out.  At least the spare is new...  I have yet to give the inside a good cleaning and inspect all the plumbing and electrical, but as soon as I have the tires on, she'll be good enough for local camping trips.  At least it's a step up from a tent or the back of the truck.  

Looks like the tires will have to wait at least a couple of weeks.  I guess I'll go for some day hikes instead.  White Horse Lake is close by, and is uncrowded as yet.  The trails are great for getting back into shape after several years of not much hiking.  I'll post some pics and info on that soon.  

Until then...Happy Trailers!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bella - Review
Bella, released in 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival, is one of those movies that I really meant to see, but never got around to it.  Thanks to Netflix, I finally did, and wow, what a great movie!

The story, which takes place in one day, may get a little confusing as the backstory unfolds in flashbacks.  Jose, a soccer star who has just signed a lucrative contract, accidentally kills a small child and serves time in prison.  After his release, he works in his brother's restaurant as a chef, where he meets Nina, a waitress who has a brief affair (not with Jose) which ends in an unplanned pregnancy.  Nina's solution is to end the pregnancy, but Jose has other ideas, and Nina changes her plans (as shown in flash-forwards, confused yet?).  The subtle anti-abortion message is so powerful, that I can see why pro-life groups adopted this movie and helped to heavily promote it.  

I enjoyed the portrayal of Jose's family and particularly his interaction with his brother Manny, whose compulsive reactions Jose responds to with calm dismissal.  Such as when Manny fires Jose, who simply walks out the back door of the restaurant, then returns the next morning and cooks Manny breakfast as if nothing happened.

My favorite scene has to be Jose, sitting with a rosary in his hand, while Nina is taken into the back of the abortion clinic.  It's something you might miss, if you weren't Catholic, but to me, it screamed the power of Our Blessed Mother's intercession.

Bella is a story about imperfect people, living sometimes difficult lives and facing complicated choices.  It's about the power of God bringing awesome good out of our human weakness.