Tuesday, May 24, 2005

May 24, 2005
Another hot one here on the high Sonoran desert. Kathy went up on the roof this morning (I went up last night) and she managed to get the water turned on the studio cooler but the pads are bad. Need to go down to Home Depot tonight and get new ones tonight.

Here's a question me and my friends having been mulling lately. Would Deadwood be as successful without the cussing? What do you think? Vote here.

I’m trying to get out to Fountain Hills to see the True West display that Allen Fossenkemper put together. The website is at www.riveroftimemuseum.org

Tom Chenal and I are planning a plane trip down to southeastern Arizona to take some aerial photos of various locations including Gudalupe Canyon, Stein’s Peak Pass, Doubtful Canyon. We may stop at Reserve for lunch and see the Elfego Baca project. Then back in the afternoon. Exciting. I need to get all my cameras checked out.

Here's a basic list of the sites I'd like to photograph from the air.

• downtown Tucson from the Tucson Mountains (over A Mountain) looking towards the Catalinas. I'm particularly interested in the lay of the Santa Cruz River, to downtown, to the train station. And the alignment of the train tracks, both coming into town from the east and west.

• Looking back towards Tucson from Houghton Road Overpass (it's about 10 miles east on I-10). I have already painted this, but I'd like to be able to get a lay of the tracks as they approach Tucson, the landscape. As a bonus, I'd like to get a shot of saguaros from the air. They do not grow along that alignment (I know because I drove it two weeks ago and there aren't any natural saguaros in that immediate area), but I still need to get good art reference of looking down at saguaros from the air.

• Redington Pass between the Rincons and the Catalinas. Wyatt Earp and a posse trailed the Benson stage robbers from Benson down the San Pedro to Redington, then up Redington Road, over the pass and around the Rincons and back to the Benson area. I'd like to get good views of the Rincons and this route. In pieces of course. A view from Redington Pass looking down the rugged terrain to Redington on the San Pedro would be cool.

• Benson and the train tracks alignment as the tracks break off and go up the San Pedro River, south towards Fairbanks.

• The Whetstone Mountains, southwest of Benson. I'd like a shot of the pass at the south end of this range (it's just north of the highway that intersects Fairbanks and Sonoita) looking back towards Tombstone. It was in this pass, at Iron Springs (also called Mescal Springs) where Wyatt Earp allegedly shot and killed Curly Bill Brocius. I think I can spot it from the air. I have been up there several times and know the lay of the land.

• Various shots of the San Pedro River with Tombstone visible in the distance. Charleston (ghost town, nothing left but foundations), figures prominently, as does Contention. I'd like to fly from south to north along the river, and shoot from the left bank, out the right window and capture the mountains and roads leading to Tombstone.

• Tombstone from the air. I'd like to circle the berg and get the approaches and the mining holes, etc.

• South Pass of the Dragoons: The Apaches fought a fight here on their way to Mexico, and a Tombstone posse came out to try and capture Geronimo and his warriors. The view up to the railroad on the north end of the Dragoons would be great.

• A bonus shot would be of the Dragoons, and Cochise's Stronghold, with the labrynth of canyons intersecting the area.

• The dry lake south of Willcox as it relates to the railroad.

• In the Chiricahua Mountains I want to get a couple shots of Galeyville (ghost town) and the lay of the land. Fort Bowie is not essential, but since we are there, of course, we should get it for future reference. Also Rustler's Park which is not far from Galeyville. And West Turkey Creek, where Johnny Ringo's body was found.

• The Peloncillo Range running north and south from Stein's pass to the Mexican border. Geronimo surrendered four times in this range, as he liked the east-west escape routes of the canyons. I'm especially interested in Guadalupe Canyon and would like to circle this spot, right on the border, and get good views. Also Skeleton Canyon and then Canyon de los Embudos, which is in Mexico about ten miles south of the border (can we fly down there? Will we be viewed suspiciously as drug runners?). Cloverdale, just over the New Mexico line is of interest to me also.

• Old Hachita, west of present day Hachita and in the Hatchet Mountains, east of Animas, close to the bootheel of NM.

• Shakespeare, NM, just south of Lordsburg, NM. Ghost town. Anxious to get an angle from the east side looking west towards Stein's Pass.

• Stein's Pass, east of the Arizona-New Mexico line. I need good coverage of this landmark. Big gunfight here in 1880, outlaws ambushing two posse members as they rode by, need to get low and make a couple passes at the location. Also, north of here is Doubtful Canyon, where Cochise and the Apaches killed so many anglos, they called it Doubtful Canyon because it was doubtful you'd survive it.

• North of doubtful Canyon is Horseshoe Canyon where a big Apache fight took place with U.S. troops. Friends of mine went there with metal detectors and discovered that the army reported it being at Horseshoe but they found no lead in that canyon, when they went one canyon away, they found all of the lead, and determined that the fight actually took place one canyon over. I'd like to get good views of this formation from the east looking west.

And a couple others, but I won’t bore you with them here.

Crown Books sent me a publicity form to fill out for our impending book by True West writers. That book will be out in August, just ahead of CGII which will premiere on September 30. Worked on that book a bit today with Gus and I moving copy around on the South Pass fight. He’s doing a very ambitious map of Apache battles and all of the surrender sites of Geronimo (he surrendered four different times in the same mountain range). Actually quite a stunning trail of death. We have gotten so politically correct we forget just how brutal those “escapes” were. What’s even more amazing is that Geronimo basically got away with it four different times, killing, robbing and plundering all the way into Mexico. Then when it got too hot down there, he surrendered, and was protected by the U.S. Army until he got tired of res life and did it again.

Worked until about 5:30. We’ve got a mess of a feature in the August issue. We may throw out everything and start over. Much gnashing of teeth (mostly mine).

"Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us."
—Henri Matisse

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