April 5, 2011Had a maniac, named Al Herndon, come in yesterday. He has a great story: lives in Holt, Florida, heads up a hospital deal and has been there for 36 years. He's 56 and haunted by his father's constant claim that "someday" he would travel west and see the mountains and the history of the old west. But, of course, his father never did and died without ever making the trip. Three years from retirement, Al is getting antsy. His wife tried to calm him, and remind him, that he only has three more years to retirement and then they can travel like crazy, but he was worried—"what if I end up like my dad?"
So, with his wife's blessing he planned a trip out west to visit their son who is in college in Salt Lake City. Before he left, Al emailed Johnny Boggs about an itinerary and Johnny sent him a long list of what to see, where to eat and routes galore.
Flying into Cheyenne, Wyoming, Al rented a car and, taking advantage of Bogg's itinerary, Mr. Herndon zig-zagged his way to Salt Lake, then meandered southward to the Grand Canyon. The North Rim was closed so he drove around to the South Rim, got a flat, ruined the hub and they told him the closest place to get that fixed was Flagstaff.
As Al waited for the tire and rim to be fixed, he kept looking on a map at the "short distance" to Cave Creek (it's actually about 175 miles) and so, yesterday afternoon, Carole came in my office and said we have a visitor who has traveled all the way from Florida to meet me.
I gave Al my own itinerary goals for him, including The Heard Museum, El Charro Cafe in Tucson, Tombstone, Bisbee, Silver City, Mogollon, Reserve, Socorro and Lincoln, New Mexico.
Here is a photo of the two of us (he asked if I would wear a T-shirt that touts their farm and I obliged).
I just called him to see where he is and he told me he is sitting in the Crystal Palace in Tombstone having lunch. He thanked me profusely for giving him my fave stops and he's off to Bisbee tonight.
By the way, the above photo was taken in front of Robert Ray's computer. He and I were working on the next cover, so there's a sneak peek. Hint: it's Jane Russell.
Went home for lunch and whipped out a twilight landscape study. Very soft effects, working wet into wet.
"The man who questions opinion is wise; the man who quarrels with fact is a fool."