Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Great Basin Highway - Redux

I spent Thanksgiving week with the Lovely Sharon in Palm Desert.  The weather was spectacular, we played lots of golf and had a lovely Thanksgiving Dinner with friends Jackie and Chuck and their family.  I had not seen Sharon in more than three weeks so it was very good to spend time together again.

I drove back to Salt Lake yesterday.  I took the long way home, on Highway 93 (the Great Basin Highway) through the Middle of Nevada.  It is s a long way home but a good change from the I-15 route.  I got on Highway 93 just north of Las Vegas and took it to where it intersects Highway 50 - 6,

There was some water in the "dry" Sevier Lake in Utah as there was the last time I took this route which was in 2010.  Here is a blog post from me written after my 2010 journey.

December 5, 2010

The Loneliest Highway in America

After a wonderful Thanksgiving week in Palm Desert, I left early the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving to drive back to Salt Lake. My journey from Palm Desert to Las Vegas was my normal route through Twenty Nine Palms, Amboy, Kelso, Cima and then Primm, Nevada. I have described this ride through the Mojave Desert before in this blog ( It’s a beautiful ride through a desolate but beautiful landscape. After leaving Las Vegas, I made a last minute decision to take a different route home. Rather than take I-15 all the way from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City, I decided to take Highway 93 (the Great Basin Highway) north through the middle of Nevada. I was on this road when I was about 13 years old when my family drove home this way from a boating trip to Lake Meade. That was 45 or 46 years ago. I don’t remember actually taking the drive I just remember we that took it and it seemed to take forever. I have wanted to try this route again but I always seem to be in a hurry to get to Palm Desert from Salt Lake or get to Salt Lake from Palm Desert so I have always saved this ride for another day. Last week I finally took that ride.

About 15 miles on the east side of Las Vegas Highway 93 turns off of I-15 and heads north approximately 200 miles until it intersects with Highway 50. For the most part this 200 mile stretch of road essentially runs through a series of valleys with mountains or both the left side of the road (the Sheep Range Mountains) and the right side of the road (the Meadow Valley Mountains followed by the Delamar Mountains). This 200 mile stretch of road is frequently referred to as the loneliest road in America. There are no cities along the road and only a few small towns and hamlets. 

Approximately 70 miles or so up Highway 93 is the hamlet of Alamo. About the only thing I saw there was a truck stop with a small store. The truck stop was packed with cars, pickups and a semi’s. It was the only place to stop for 50 miles or so in either direction. Alamo is near the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, approximately 90 miles north of Las Vegas in Lincoln County, Nevada, is located in the Pacific Flyway, and encompasses 5,380 acres. The name, Pahranagat, comes from the Pauite Indian word meaning valley of shining waters. Established to provide habitat for migratory birds, especially waterfowl, the refuge is a unit of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex. More than 230 different species of birds use refuge habitats. 

The next town I came to was the town of Caliente. This town was founded as a railroad town. There is a beautiful train station in Caliente. The train station was built in 1923.


Some 25 miles or so from Caliente is the mining town of Pinoche.  This town may be called ghost town by some but there are an estimate 800 people living there.  Here is some information from the town's website:

In 1864, William Hamblin, a Latter Day Saint missionary, was led to silver deposits in the vicinity of Pioche by a Native American Paiute. In 1868, San Francisco financier Francois L.A. Pioche purchased claims and constructed a smelter in the area, forming the Meadow Valley Mining Company. The mining camp was called "Pioche's City" and later became known as Pioche. The town rapidly became the largest mining town in southeastern Nevada in the early 1870's. Population estimates showed 10,000 people by 1871.  One of the worst fires in the West took place in Pioche in 1871. It began in a restaurant during a celebration commemorating Mexican independence and quickly spread. When it reached the Felsenthal Store, a stone fireproof structure where 300 barrels of blasting powder were stored, the subsequent explosion shot nearly 400 feet into the air, blowing a 1,000-pound door clear out of town and showering the town with flaming debris. The explosion of debris killed thirteen and injured forty-seven, and the accompanying fire left virtually the entire population homeless.  he fortunes of Pioche diminished in the 1880's due to the shutdown of the principle mines in 1876. During World War II, an economic boom occurred when Pioche was the second largest lead and zinc producer in the nation. Present day Pioche has little mining activity, and in being the county seat, the main focus is now government.

After my excursion through Pinoche. I got back on Highway 93 and continued on some 90 miles through the desolate Lake Valley where I finally reached Highway 50.  If you turn left onto Highway 50, it is 30 miles to Ely, Nevada.  If you turn right, which I did, you head toward Great Basin National Park, the Nevada-Utah border and Delta, Utah.  This was truly a beautiful, lonely highway. It was about 30 miles to the Utah-Nevada border. There is nothing at the border but what appears to be dozens of miles of unoccupied land in all directions.  This land must look like it looked 150 years ago when the pioneers were heading to California.

When I reached Delta it was dark and cold.  I stopped for gas and a burger.  From there I drove on in the dark to Nephi, Utah which I reached during the town's Christmas parade.  It took about 15 minutes to get around the parade and get on Interstate 15 which took me home.

The trip was at least 2 and 1/2 hours longer than my regular trip but it was truly a memorable drive through a part of the west that is still unsettled. Beautiful mountains and valleys, antelope grazing and hawks flying overhead.  I probably won't get back to the road again, but maybe I can talk the Lovely Sharon into sharing this adventure with me sometime.

Expand your horizons and get off the beaten path sometime.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving - Repost from 2011


Thursday, November 24, 2011


It is Thanksgiving again.  I woke up around 4:30 and made me a cup of coffee and read the online news.  The Lovely Sharon is still asleep and, except for my desk, the house is dark and quiet.  I like this time of day.  It gives me time to catch up on overnight national and world events, to plan my day and to think about life.  Today I am thinking about Thanksgiving, what it really means to me.  

Thanksgiving is a time to spend a week or so with the Lovely Sharon.  Golfing, shopping, doing things together and not doing anything but not doing them together.

According to the Bud calendar, Thanksgiving is the end of autumn.  I think of the summer fun I had.  I think out how fast the last year has gone by.  I think of how many leaves I have raked in the last few months and how many are still on the ground waiting to be covered with snow.

Throughout the year I try to be mindful of and reflect on my good fortune to have the family and friends that I have. Friends who are happy to see me after months apart.  Friends who want to help me and who I want to help.  Friends who you can discuss politics with and still be friends.   Each year through the realities of life our friends and family members face illness and death.  We never know who might be next. I have lost a few friends to deaths this last year.  Tragedies and illness have taken them.   I miss them.  I think about them.  I have friends that face uncertain futures due to illness.  I worry for them.

I am Thankful to be an American.

I am Thankful for my son Alex.  I am Thankful for my parents.  I am Thankful for my sister Tanya and her wonderful husband Scott and their lovely daughters, my nieces.  I am Thankful for my stepsons Shawn and Nick and for Nick’s beautiful and special wife Allie.  I am Thankful that Nick and Allie consider me to be one of the Grandpa’s of their children.

I am Thankful that I am relatively healthy.

I am Thankful that I am still excited about life and the things around me.  I am Thankful that seeing a bird or deer or the autumn leaves still excite me.  I am Thankful that I still want to learn about life, history, current events and the things around me. 

I am Thankful to be married to the Lovely Sharon.  She drives me crazy some of the time and I know I drive her crazy all of the time, but when I am eating Thanksgiving dinner today with dear friends Ray and Kay, I know I will have a tear in my eye as I give Thanks to life with her.

To all my friends, I truly am Thankful for you.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Alpine Loop Utah

One of my favorite drives is the Alpine Loop in Utah County, Utah.  It is particularly beautiful in the Autumn. I have driven the Alpine Loop many times over the last 40-50 years.  I took the drive a month or so ago.  The Lovely Sharon was busy doing something so I grabbed a camera, a book on disk and headed for a Friday afternoon ride.  The autumn yellow of the leaves was beautiful.  Here are a few photos I took that day:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hats at an Art Festival- Redux

Repost From 2012

21 Hats and a Bicycle

The Lovely Sharon and I like to go to the various town art festivals in the Coachella Valley. Towns from Palm Springs to Indio each hold an annual arts festival.  Our favorite one is the Indian Wells Art Festival that is held in March or April each year.  There are paintings,sculptures, jewelry, photographs and other arts and crafts.  I usually take my camera to this outdoor arts festival.  In 2011 I realized that the patrons were almost as interesting as the art.  Especially their hats.  Hats of all kinds and colors.  I  took off my lense cap and started shooting photos of hat after hat.

If you want to hear an appropriate song click this link

The Hats



The Bicycle

Thursday, November 6, 2014

San Francisco

I love visiting San Francisco.  I have probably been there for work or holiday more than 60 or 70 times .  My first visit was with my parents when I was about 10 or 11.  I remember my first time at Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Park and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. I still like visiting those same sites.  I remember my first view of the cable cars going up and down the hills with people hanging on, jumping on and jumping off.  From the first time I visited I became enchanted with the sights, sounds and smells of San Francisco.  I have read history books about San Francisco. I love mystery books, movies and TV shows set in San Francisco.

Before the days of ATM's one every corner, I kept a bank account in San Francisco for use when I visited the city.

Over the years I bought suits, slacks and shirts at "The Tailored Man" and "Wilkes Bashford."

I loved to walk throughout the city.  I especially love to walk down Columbus Avenue from the Pyramid Building to the Cannery. I like to walk down the Marina Green. One year, the Lovely Sharon and I walked over the Golden Gate Bridge

I like to browse in the City Lights Book Store.  I like to have a cocktail at the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel.  I used to like to dress up and go to the Top of the Mark and listen to jazz and watch the sunset.  My last time at the Top of the Mark was disappointing as it was full of people in tee shirts and jeans.  It did not feel like the elegant evening it used to be.

I am a devotee of black and white photos and the 1940's.  I found the following black and white photos of San Francisco in the 1940's on the internet.  Enjoy:

Heading home after a day at the office.

It would not doubt be more difficult getting out of the car than getting in the car.

A romantic walk in the fog.  Mist on your face and a hint of suspense in the air

Coit Tower.  A beautiful symbol of the city.

I have not been to San Francisco for a couple of years.  Its time to visit again.