334.February 1

Nottingham, UK

I just got back from Amsterdam on Sunday night. I had such a good time and I met a lot of american students who are from Nottingham Trent University. I have some of them in one of my classes, but now I have a whole lot of new friends, in fact on Friday night I am invited to a party at Clifden campus. I am done with finals now, and I can start focusing on Lysistrata. I wrote to my Acting Professor from Luther, and he said that I can get 2 or 3 credits for turning in a good prompt book, keeping a journal, take pictures, and talk to him about the experience of directing the play when I get home. This is a dream come true. I am trying to reschedule our house course to meet mornings now so I can go out more in the evening and go to play rehearsals. It would be sad if the director cannot make the rehearsals.


Payson, AZ

(written in the Knotty Pine Café in Payson, AZ) Can you believe it? I hardly can, the weather, the cactai, everything. The coffee. One day in AZ down, one very cold night over with, and it is supposed to snow tonight or tomorrow. I camped east of Phoenix yesterday. I chose a national park site called Coon Bluff. The first thing I did was set up my mosquito bloodied tent. Then I climbed the bluff and photographed the valleys and rocks and catcai. I called Sharon and Chris because I had good reception up on the hill and none in the valley. I woke many times during the night, which was cold as hell. Finally, I went to the car to grab all the warm clothing I could wear or cover myself with.

I slept until 0730. I made beans and orange tang on a campfire. I recently passed by Theodore Roosevelt Lake, mad made by the largest masonry dam in the world. It would be a wonderful place if I was a water-user. No boats planned on this trip, though. There is a rest stop on the 87 that is at the turn-off to that lake. A lot of boats and racing cars were going that way. This restaurant has a sign that I think is incredibly funny.

FROG PARKING ONLY <---------> ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOAD My coffee is getting close to a drinkable temperature, so I will be leaving soon, but this place is genuine. It reminds me a lot of the movie “Bus Stop” for some reason. The counter is ultra worn 50’s fake table top. The rafters are huge and exposed. The doors to the kitchen look a hundred years worn. 474-4602 is the # here. Established in 1950, just as I thought, and unchanged.

Manzanita Campground, Site #13, Sedona, ArizonaI'm by fireside, actually sitting on the cement fire pit, boiling my water. It’s done, and done mixing my hot tang. There was some wood leftover in the grate, and I added a fire log, which is so easy to start. But I guess I’ll be up all night with it. They take a good deal of time to burn away. But I just bought some Remington Fleece long underwear at Walmart so I can stay up into the darkness. No sign yet of mosquitoes or bugs either. My tang is good. My fire is huge. I should have saved it until tomorrow morning, since I have a warm camp tent tonight with my new propane heater and fleece sleeping bag liner. I’ve had a wonderful day, perhaps I should describe it while I still remember.

I left off at brunch. I had a pancake and an egg at the Knotty Pine diner, then stopped next door in an antique shop. This is the day the 2nd shuttle Columbia went down. I remember so vividly watching the first one crash in horror with all of my classmates and the 6th graders. I assume the classes below me were there too. I had taken to staying inside for recess after lunch, to read Killer Angels. I remember some jerks cheering when the teacher blew up. This time I watched it in an antique store in Payson, AZ with a few other older snowbirds. The own asked after a bit if she could help anyone; if we had any questions. (I’m still drinking that same cup of tang) I sped out of town, passing a Walmart. I doubled back. I knew how cold I became the night before. Now I would be prepared if indeed I went to another campsite. I bought long fleece underwear, a fleece liner for my sleeping bag and a propane heater for tent. It is on now. Oh, and a sleep mat made of foam.

The next place I would stop was Tonto Natural Bridge. Oh, I took lots of pictures, with all cameras. I climbed down to the river underneath. It was a cave on both ends and a huge, cavely enormous. I walked a few of the hikes, and then got back on the road to Montezuma’s Castle, where I walked the small tour , just a little loop around the cliff’s edge, where there was a housing complex built in the wall of the limestone cliff with caves and walls. They were in the 1400’s, farmers and then they disappeared entirely. The houses were discovered in 1884 or sometime near then. There were poisonous snakes to watch out for. I found that the javalina mentioned everywhere is some sort of wild pig.

This wood will burn forever, it seems. I must admit that my orange tang is gone. I must make more.

Tradition. From Montezuma’s, I drove to Sedona, finding a slightly different route than I planned on. At first, I headed up the 75 mph highway 79 to Flagstaff, but turned off onto 179.

When I started getting into Red Rock country, I could not believe what I was seeing It was amazing, beyond belief. I realized I’d seen it all before in movies. Sedona used to be the backdrop for hundreds of cowboy movies. I want to see them forever, I took lots of pictures just in case I don’t get the opportunity in the near future.

It was 16:15 when I went to a tourist information building where I was informed about the area by a very tan old lady, though I think it might have been a crème. Who knows? But she knew the area very well. She told me where to go for free tonight and gave me the best routes to drive to get to the Grand Canyon and back.

I set up my tent, one of two sites left at the time, now it's full. I got to the airport to view that valley and hills at 17:15, and the sun set at 17:55

I called mom and Mary, in that order, to tell them of my progress. ( I have a mosquito after me now.) Then I went looking for beer and food. I would have settled for a beer and a supermarket named Bashas. But I found The Red Planet Diner - so cool for any city anywhere. But it was here. I thought of having the salmon, but then decided on the Roswell Burger, with Jack Cheese, Jalapenos, and a lovely burger on a toasted bun is more memorable. I had a nut brown ale and an Alien Amber ale round out my meal. After finishing, I went the six miles to the campsite, got my heater going, built a fire, and wrote this. I'm now quite sick of writing, ah, I marked my route on my map up until tomorrow. What a fun time to stay warm.


Server crash over the weekend has kept me busy today. Rachel and I had dinner at The Oaks tonight, and then hung out at Chris and Rhonda's house for the night. I looked all over the internet for Sherwani as my wedding attire. Watch out, groomsmen. Kilts are out, Sherwani are in!


Finally, a snow storm brought us about 10" of cover. I shoveled the drive and walkway, only to have it drifted in by the time we returned from a LaCrosse Chamber Choral concert where both Rachel and Mark had tremendous solos in an Islamic song. I brought my mom, Sarah, Marcia, and Lee along, and afterwards we went out to eat at A&W in LaCrosse, because on Superbowl Sunday, nothing else was open. We watched the 2nd half of the Superbowl that night, but I missed Katie Perry's half-time show.