Thursday, October 20, 2005

October 20, 2005
On Monday, Ed Mell, his son Carson, my son Thomas and I left Wickiup and drove down highway 93 to Kaiser Springs and got out under the new bridge to take some photos. Spectacular canyon, maybe 900 feet high, perhaps 15 feet wide at the bottom with straight up vertical walls. Really dramatic. For the past five decades I’ve craned my neck around every time I drive by this spot, wondering what it’s like up inside. Still didn’t make it in because of the rain (Zonie common sense: don’t go wandering into a slot canyon when it’s raining anywhere within fifty miles).

From the Burro Creek Wilderness, we took the Bagdad turnoff and went up to the oddly named Arizona mining town. Evidently, two "salty prospectors" staked the original claims in 1882. The two claims were named The Hawkeye and the Bagdad (misspelled but it stuck). The reason for the name has been lost although a Kingman teacher, Mr. Boyson, told us kids on a field trip that a father and son were prospecting nearby and the kid said, "Pass me another bag, dad." It’s probably not true, but it never fails to get a groan when I tell it.

After a picnic in Hillside, we drove on through dramatic thunder showers, thru Skull Valley and Kirkland and on into Prescott. Ed has a wonderful cabin not far from Thumb Butte and we rode out the rain and ate grilled steaks and twice-baked-potatoes. I sketched and read. Delightful.

We went downtown between showers and walked down Whiskey Row to get a beer at the famous Palace Bar (Steve McQueen got in a big fight here in the movie Junior Bonner, remember?). But before we could get there, out steps Wyatt Earp and his wife Terry from a store nearby. After a big chat (they hadn’t seen the New Times piece on Wyatt) we went inside the store they were just coming out of and I bought Kathy a Kit Carson pendant of a crow with a kernel of truth in its beak ($60 cash).

Drove home Tuesday afternoon under dramatic skies, getting home about five. Ed shot a roll of film up on the crow’s nest and said with a smile, "Well, there’s my next show."

“Okay, 6 days have passed. What’s Brook’s version?”
—Curt Rich, True West Maniac #244

I’ve placed two calls to Brook at the Camelback Inn, basically pleading for her forgiveness. “Brook is on property,” her secretary told me this morning, “but she’s not answering her page.” Likely story. I offered her, via voice mail, the opportunity to "vent and dress me down good," but as of 11:30 today, no call back, not that I blame her. According to someone who dealt with her last weekend, I allegedly called her a few choice names that I don’t recall saying, but then, that’s the nature of history (he said—she said).

In my defense I mentioned the $85 courtesy phone charge to my daughter Deena who worked the front desk at the Doubletree last year and she was appalled, saying "What has happened to customer service?" My sentiments exactly.

One of the most respected book dealers in the country called me this morning and said he has sold out twice now with Blaze Away: The 25 Gunfights Behind the O.K. Corral. Bob Pugh said one of his most stickler customers pronounced it, "Flawless." This made my day, especially with the petty criticism emanating from a certain Tombstone resident.

"To be satisfied with little is hard, to be satisfied with a lot is impossible."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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