Sunday, November 30, 2014

Penthouse View

From Barley the Van.

Good Sunday Morning from Florida,

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Global Warming...

It's real! 
I saw these critters on the banks of the Mighty Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Nah. Just joshing you. 

All these odd and beautiful creatures were observed in a Florida nature preserve.

The Great Blue Heron (not to be mixed up for the Great White Heron of South Florida) stands tall at four feet. It weighs in at a lean mean 4-5 pounds. Please don't get any ideas of replacing your 2015 Thanksgiving turkey with this dude. They croak when they talk, not even a gobble, gobble, gobble.

You will see Great Blue Herons in Colorado. They probably grow more down feathers to stay warm through the long winters. As a species, they are tough and adaptable. (Like humans). 

Hope no one had any horror stories about Black Friday shopping out there. 
Be safe!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We Give Thanks...

to Abraham Lincoln for declaring Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1863. 

We give thanks to the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys for providing entertainment while we overeat and over-imbibe the last Thursday of November.

We give thanks to the lowly turkey (our almost National Bird) for making the ultimate sacrifice in providing sustenance and sandwiches while we watch NFL games today. 

Lastly, I give thanks to my bestest family for a great Butterball Turkey dinner with all the fixings on this special day. It's so hard to bake a bird on a Colemen stove in Barley the Van. 

Enjoy the Holiday,

PS: Please don't get stampeded at a Best Buy on Black Friday.

Meet Max Sambur...

The first (and only) Made in America male of the Third Generation Sambur variety.

Here lies the future of the baton passing of this unique last name. (You won't find a Sambur in the greater Bismarck, North Dakota phone book.)

Hey Max! No Pressure!

He's a great young man and darn cute too. 
What a guy!

Happy Pre-Thanksgiving from Palm Beach, Florida. 

PS. I suppose I could have helped the Sambur name cause, but I forgot to get married and create sons.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fido is a smitten...

kitten, even though he's a Pug dog. (One if these cuties won Best in Show at the World Dog Show in 2004)

Is that not puppy love etched all over his squashed-in face?

Meet Fifi!
Fido's newest squeeze. My dog is one chick magnet. I'm envious, although I don't think Fifi is my type or species either.

From O'Hare Airport in Chicago, en route to Palm Beach, Florida. 

PS. I can try and find out where Fifi shops for her boots.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Becoming an Antarctica Explorer...

Is now officially off of my Bucket List.
After 38 years of venturing up, down and sideways in the Grand Canyon, this was my most frigid journey there yet. I was freaking cold! Don't believe it when an REI Lumina sleeping bag is guaranteed to keep your toes snuggly cozy at 25 degrees. It LIES! 

So anyplace remotely close to the point of liquid water turning solid is off of the Sambur Bucket List. 

Despite the abnormal Minnesota temperatures, the Grand Canyon still rocks figuratively and realistically. 

I can't think of too many places I'd rather be turning 60 than the Great Defile. Then again, I never turned 60 before either.

Be well and explore,

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"Don't look back...

Something might be gaining on you."
Satchel Paige

It took me 60 years to come to this moment?
So how do I spend my birthday?

Looking down into the Grand Canyon. 
It's older than I am and more photogenic too.
I might smile more often though. 
I start a 5 night backpack trip on Sunday with Cat Pumford (Mark granted her a kitchen pass to hang with me). 
I'm hoping on my climb out from Phantom Ranch, I won't be saying "I think I can! I think I can!"

Be well and don't look behind you.

Cheers from above the Rim, 


PS: Thanks to all for those birthday wishes.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If you ask...

real nice, I'll tell you where I found these gems.

Remember, you can look, take photos but don't touch. And you can't tell the ghost of Dick Nixon (the tagger) where they are either.

The two Triangle Dudes were 20' above me.  The artists must have been amazing rock climbers or used archaic scaffolding. Michelangelo performed his artwork on his back. I'm impressed by both. They all shared a do or die attitude about their passions.

Hint: it's in Utah.

From the brewpub friendly city of Flagstaff, AZ.
Good night!

The ice on the creeks chased me from the northern territories. 

"You won't have...

Nixon to kick around anymore!"

Watergate, the only President to resign and a few racist quotes to boot. That is how I remember Tricky Dick.

Now we find he's a vandal in our nation's wonderlands.

Remember this classic? "Don't change Dicks in the middle of a screw. Vote for Nixon in 72!"

Oh those 70's.
Those were the days!

Canyonlands National Park...

Is younger than me. I'm happy to announce the red rocks and the dirt are older though. It was 50 years ago when the former managers (the BLM) decided the land had negligible Moo and Mineral potential (Grazing and Mining). They offered it up to the NPS who said, "Sure! Why not?" 

The Bureau of Land Management didn't consider the monetary value of the landscape's inherent beauty. I do. It's priceless.

En route to Bluff, (Yawn!) Utah.
The bright lights and brewpubs of Flagstaff are calling me on Friday night. (It's cold, might be tonight!).

Good day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Don't forget to thank a Vet today...

 and everyday.

I bought Paul breakfast for his service to our country.

Thanks Paul!

Instant Karma (of the Good Kind)
     They are found everywhere in America, from metropolises to tiny burgs and all the places in-between.
     I’ve collectively nicknamed these bands of men the “early a.m. coffee klatches.” They can be found in our nation’s caf├ęs, diners, McDonald’s, and gas stations. One can discover them wherever a cup of Joe is being poured. The one stipulation for making these sightings is to be a 0-dawn-thirty riser like me. With my early bird schedule, I am always on a collision course with these good natured, good ol’ boys.
     Their caffeinated banter is centered on harmless jibes, local news and gossip, sports and bumper-sticker sized solutions to the problems or our nation and the world. I think of it as a live version of the “Today” show minus Rockefeller Center and Al Roker.
     While traveling through the Northwest in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens National Monument, I was on a layover in Cougar, Wash. At 6 a.m. most of the lights in town were off (there weren’t many to begin with) except at the gas station. I pulled my camper van into the parking lot hoping for at least a cup of java and at best a breakfast. I was fortunate to score both and an animated coffee klatch to boot.
     After placing my breakfast order at the kitchen, I took a solo seat near the gaggle. As is my usual custom, I brought in a load of maps and hiking guides to help me figure out the day’s game plan. When my maps were spread all over the table, the local gent’s natural curiosity was piqued. A few came by to dispense advice on places to see and things to do. Most of the information was geared more toward ATV or equine travel than hiking, but I shook my head and smiled just the same. After a while they returned to their seats and their usual routine.
     I went back to looking at my maps, eating and eavesdropping on their conversations.
     From what I gathered they were a group of Army veterans spanning the years between the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. One or two of the more vocal ones told war stories as if they were in a fox hole with bullets flying yesterday.
     I finished my breakfast, collected my maps and made my way to the cash register. I stopped in front of their table and interrupted them for a moment.
     “Thank you for your help on the local scene.” I allowed that to sink in before I added, “And thank you for your service to our country.”
     With that I walked away.
     A hush fell over the crowd before one of them piped up, “Wow! It would be nice to hear that more often.”
     So in conclusion, thank a Vet. It won’t cost you a thin dime, and the payoff might be priceless.
     Think of it as performing a random act of kindness in an often time not so kind world. It’s a win/win situation for all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Arches for the...

Melancholy. With the onset of blink-and you-miss-it daylight time (dark-thirty time), my old arch enemy SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) kicked in. I'm coping with the malady by being in the sunlight as much as possible. I practice pretending I'm a plant. Now if I can get photosynthesis down, my food bill would be water, oxygen and sunlight. 
(I'd sneak in a brew for the essential minerals). 

Arches National Park and the Devil's Garden hike always cheer me up. It worked again today. 

From Moab, Utah enjoying Happy Hour with an IPA.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah...

A scenic wonder with an unfortunate name. Who knows if a few onnery cowboys really corralled some less than perfect wild horses on this spit of land to languish and die? It might be high time for a name change.

I know! Let's name it like we do subdivisions in suburbia! 
Pleasant View Acres State Park.

Give a look-see at the photos. Are those views pleasant or what?

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday,

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Upheaval Dome Loop Hike...

In Canyonlands National Park.

I've  done this amble a baker's dozen of times and I'm still enamored by it. There's big views, solitude and some sweat labor involved. In all the times I've hiked this trail, I might have seen a baseball team's
worth of humans. 

Maybe it's the "Attention Hikers" notice at the trailhead? All that's missing is the sentence, "Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!" But in all honesty, this trail is different from the rest. There's a lot of scrambling and exposure to "this would be bad if I lost it here" sections. 

Speaking of which, about a decade ago, I donned a backpack for an overnight trip. On my way out, I lost my balance (I blame it on the weight of the backpack) and was about to head into a grand abyss and beyond. 
My choices were: 
A) free fall backward and probably stop breathing forever. OR
B) launch myself onto a boulder with a few relatively minor injuries.

The God of Wandering, Wondering Jews nudged me toward option B. A few scrapes, cuts and bruises and I lived to see many more Happy Hours. 

Always be aware out there, (even in beautiful places.)
This safety message brought to you by

Good night!

Little Wild Horse Canyon...

and Bell Canyon loop. 

This 8 mile hike is the most popular trail in the San Rafael Swell. Then again, there aren't many true trails there to begin with. (Many require overcoming gnarly 4X4 axle breaking roads to arrive shaken but not stirred at the trailhead). 

It's a great hike. It features squeezing through three foot wide cracks. (Don't allow an obese person to get ahead of you, they might become wedged between the walls). There's also an alluring amount of scenery and serenity. I only saw two humans and one dog. 
With the spate of rain in the region, the narrow gashes had a lot of pooling water. For a normal sized person, this frigid muddy liquid mess would be knee-deep. For a smallish person like me, the water was invading the Sambur-family-jewels region. Now that's a wake up call.

From Dead Horse State Park in Utah,