Home Page

Awards

Biographies

Discography

Feedback

Filmography

Lyrics

Recollections

Reference

Reflections

Slide Shows

Special Features

 

UNC

Videos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAGES OF ARIZONA

February 26-27, 2011

 

Music: "On the Trail" composed by Ferde Grofé.

•  Benny Binion

•  Bucky O'Neill Statue

•  Dinner at the Coronado

•  Oatman

•  Yavapai Court House

•  Next page

•  Home

 

 

We left Kelowna on time (7:00 a. m.) and had an hour or so in Vancouver to go through the USA's very secure security checks and Customs which included checking my hands for traces of explosives! I was taking the reel of 16 mm film (the home film of Bob Nolan's holiday in Hawaii in February 1948) back to his grandson and it slowed the security check down noticeably. This kind of reel isn't seen by young people anymore and young people were manning the x-ray machines. They searched my bag by hand and asked me what the reel was - very politely, though. (In the whole two weeks I was in America, I was treated with courtesy by everyone.) We were a little late taking off because the plane we were using had to come from Calgary and it had been held up by adverse weather conditions. I arrived in Las Vegas about 20 minutes late.

 

Over Washington state

 

Over Oregon

 

Over Northern Nevada. The US has had a cold winter and we saw snow well down into Nevada.

 

Nevada

 

Nevada

 

Nevada

 

Nevada

 

Nevada

 

Las Vegas. Interesting to note how the colour of the roofs blend into the colour of the desert.

 

Las Vegas

 

That world famous Las Vegas skyline

 

South Western Airlines - taking off

 

Note the atypical lowering sky in Las Vegas. There is no snow in Las Vegas yet but a very cool breeze let us know it was close.

 

Met by my brother at the baggage carousel.

(Drake photo)

 

In the Coronado Cafe for dinner. The waitress offered to take our pictures.

 

A fine dinner, fine friends.

 

 

Sorting out problems with my room at the South Point Casino

 

The casino itself

 

Trying to look like I'm an old pro at this game.

 

Statue of Benny Binion by Deborah Copenhaver - better pictures below

 

A statue of the late Benny Binion graces the lobby of the South Point. This hotel boasts an equestrian centre and hosts an annual professional World Championship Bull Riding contest.

 

 

 

Deborah Copenhaver-Fellows is recognized throughout the United States for her bronze and silver sculpture. Her works can be seen in corporate and private collections, including the United States Capitol Building and the Reagan White House collections. Deborah Copenhaver-Fellows’ monument work has been commissioned by the University of Texas, the State of Montana, and most recently, James Irvine in Los Angeles. In 1990 Deborah Copenhaver-Fellows won the competition to sculpt the Washington State Korean War Memorial for the State Capitol grounds. Deborah Copenhaver was born and raised on a cattle and Quarter Horse ranch in northern Idaho. Her father, Deb Copenhaver, a World Champion Bronc Rider, supported the family with his winnings. She and her younger brother Jeff grew up on the ranch often alone with their mother.  Work on the ranch was shared by all, and a life long passion for horses grew from those responsibilities.

 

Statue of Benny Binion in the South Point Casino, Las Vegas

 

Statue of Benny Binion in the South Point Casino, Las Vegas

 

I woke up to snow, or so I thought, at 5:00 am. But when it got lighter and I looked out again from my 17th storey window, it wasn't snow but white paint on the flat roof of the casino below me. It turned out to be a very nice day, barely freezing, and we didn't see snow until we neared Prescott. We had breakfast at the Coronado and then hit the road for Bullhead City. A friend had suggested this route instead of waiting in long line-ups at the Hoover Dam Bridge. It's a new bridge and everyone wants to see it but we wanted to see new country.

 

Las Vegas to Prescott

Traveling companions

 

Deb Copenhaver's "Benny Binion" again, with me to show perspective. It's much larger than life.

I look larger than life, too, with my fanny pack safely but unbeautifully around my waist in front, under my sweater. J

 

Leaving the South Point Casino

 

Nevada's power experiments, just south of Boulder City (El Dorado Drive)

 

Nevada's power experiments, just south of Boulder City (El Dorado Drive)

 

Nevada's power experiments, just south of Boulder City (El Dorado Drive)

(Drake Photo)

 

Close-up of the solar power plant

(Drake Photo)

 

Nevada's barren Mojave desert.

 

The Mojave Desert, starting in Nevada, is Arizona's harshest and driest desert. Only 4.52 inches of rain fall in an average year and doesn't support much plant life. Since Nevada's Mojave Desert was the only desert with which I was even remotely familiar, I could never understand Bob Nolan's fascination with it. That's because I'd never seen the Sonora Desert around Tucson. Once I was there I began to understand.

 

Creosote bush on Nevada's Mojave

 

Greasewood, or "Creosote Bush" because a characteristic odour of creosote when it rains, can live to be over 100 years old. In fact, it is believed to live as long as 11,000 years, making it the oldest living thing on earth.  It is safe from cattle because it tastes so bad.

 

Greasewood in blossom on Nevada's Mojave Desert

 

More of Nevada's Mojave Desert on the way to Searchlight, Nevada, with those grim, dusty mountains always in the background.

 

 

My first Joshua tree, Nevada's Mojave Desert. Joshua Trees, some of which live 500 years, are as much a signature plant of the Mojave as the saguaro is of the Sonora Desert. A member of the yucca family, they grow as high as 30 feet in some places.

 

Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) Nevada's Mojave Desert

(Drake photo)

 

Not really a tree, the name "Joshua" tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The "tree's" unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. Ranchers and miners who were contemporary with the Mormon immigrants also took advantage of the Joshua tree, using the trunks and branches as fencing and for fuel for ore-processing steam engines. It is also called Izote de desierto

 

Joshua trees are fast growers for the desert; new seedlings may grow at an average rate of 7.6 cm (3.0 in) per year in their first ten years, then only grow about 3.8 cm (1.5 in) per year thereafter. The trunk of a Joshua tree is made of thousands of small fibres and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine the tree's age. This tree has a top-heavy branch system, but also has what has been described as a "deep and extensive" root system, with roots possibly reaching up to 11 m (36 ft) away. If it survives the rigors of the desert it can live for hundreds of years with some specimens surviving up to a thousand years. The tallest trees reach about 15 m tall. New plants can grow from seed, but in some populations, new stems grow from underground rhizomes that spread out around the Joshua tree. Like most desert plants, their blooming is dependent on rainfall at the proper time. They also need a winter freeze before they will bloom. (Wikipedia)

 

Nevada's Mojave Desert

 

This is my first Teddy Bear cholla (pronounced choy-ya), a frostily exquisite but vicious little cactus I was to see a lot more of in Arizona's Sonora Desert. My sister-in-law is always on the lookout for the dead trunk or stem she calls "bugwood". The plant has a soft appearance due to its solid mass of very formidable spines that completely cover the stems. From a distance, the stems appear soft and fuzzy, giving it the name "teddy bear".

The teddy-bear cholla is an erect plant, standing 1 to 5 ft (0.30 to 1.5 m) tall with a distinct trunk. The branches are at the top of the trunk and are nearly horizontal. Lower branches typically fall off, and the trunk darkens with age. The silvery-white spines, which are actually a form of leaf, almost completely obscure the stem with a fuzzy-looking, but impenetrable, defense. The spines are 1 in (2.5 cm) long and are covered with a detachable, paper-like sheath. The yellow-green flowers of this cactus emerge at the tips of the stems in May and June, and the fruits that follow usually have no viable seed. Flowers are usually 1.375 in (3.49 cm) in length. The fruit is 0.75 in (1.9 cm) in diameter, tuberculate, and may or may not have spines. These cacti produce few seeds, as the plant usually reproduces from dropped stems. These stems are often carried for some distance by sticking to the hair of animals. Often small "forests" of these chollas form that are largely clones of one individual.

Like its cousin the jumping cholla, the stems of this cactus detach easily and the ground around a mature plant is often littered with scattered cholla balls and small plants starting where these balls have rooted. When a piece of this cholla sticks to an unsuspecting person, a good method to remove the cactus is with a hair comb. The spines are barbed, and hold on tightly. Desert pack rats such as the Desert Woodrat gather these balls around their burrows, creating a defence against predators. The teddy-bear cholla is extremely flammable.

 

Nevada's Mojave Desert

Yucca

 

Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the agave family, Agavaceae. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry (arid) parts of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Early reports of the species were confused with the cassava (Manihot esculenta). Consequently, Linnaeus mistakenly derived the generic name from the Carib word for the latter, yuca.  References to yucca root as food often stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca, also called cassava (Manihot esculenta). The tall, spikey flower is the state flower of New Mexico.
 

Nevada's Mojave Desert

Joshua tree, sagebrush and yucca

 

Nevada's Mojave Desert

Joshua trees

 

Nevada's Mojave Desert

 

Nevada's Mojave Desert

(Drake photo)

 

On the way to Searchlight, Nevada

 

The landscape is desolate, the plants short and sparse.

 

 

 

 

Crossing the Colorado from Laughlin, Nevada, into Bullhead City, Arizona

 

 

 

Bullhead City got its start from the building of nearby Davis Dam in the 1940s. The town's name came from a large rock shaped like the head of a bull which disappeared when the water flooded the new Lake Mohave after the dam was completed.

 

Looking across the Colorado from Arizona to Nevada where gambling is still legal.

(Drake photo)

 

On the way to the mining ghost town of Oatman, Arizona

 

On the way to Oatman, Arizona

 

There is a kind of desolate beauty in the landscape near Oatman.

 

On the way to Oatman we travel on the old Route 66

 

On the way to Oatman, Arizona

 

On the way to Oatman, Arizona

The landscape is magnificently ugly but the miners were looking for gold, not art.

 

An old miner's shack on the way to Oatman, Arizona

(Drake photo)

 

On the way to Oatman, Arizona

(Drake photo)

 

 

Oatman was born in 1906 as a tent camp, flourishing until 1942 when it died after Congress declared that gold mining was no longer essential to the war effort. The area was used for making such feature films as "How the West was Won", "Edge of Eternity", "Universal Soldier", "Foxfire", etc. Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their wedding night here. The town is located on the old US Route 66, the trail of the immigrants from the Midwest in the 1930s. It was the last stop in Arizona before entering the dreaded Mojave Desert in Southern California. It is 25 miles southwest of Kingman in the most desolate mountain country.

 

Oatman takes its name from Olive Oatman, the 13-year old Mormon girl in a wagon train from Illinois who was abducted by a native American tribe and sold to the Mojave Apaches who took her back to the Oatman area. Her family was massacred in 1851 on the banks of the Gila River between 80-90 miles east of Yuma. Her captors took an interest in Olive and tattooed her chin, believing that, if you weren't tattooed, when you died your spirit would go down a rat hole.  Olive's sister, Mary, was captured with her but Mary died in captivity. Olive was rescued by the authorities at Fort Yuma when she was 16.

 

House with a view, Oatman, Arizona

(Drake photo)

 

Willa, docent of the museum in Oatman, Arizona

(Drake photo)

 

Some Drake diplomacy and placatory skill was necessary at times. The proprietor or docent or guard was snippy with my brother as he focused his camera on the interior of this old barn-like building. "Why are you taking pictures of old things?" she snapped suspiciously. She reminded me of a brightly-coloured bulldog so my sister-in-law and I ducked out quietly and left him with her while we explored what remained of the town. A few minutes later they were in amicable conversation.

 

Oatman, Arizona's "wild" donkeys roam the street looking for handouts.

(Drake photo)

 

Oatman, Arizona

I avoided the spotted one walking by me because she told me with laid-back ears that she would take a bite out of me if I didn't.

(Drake photo)

 

Oatman, Arizona

This little grey donkey had a broken ear.

 

Oatman, Arizona

 

Oatman, Arizona

(Drake photo)

 

The old mining town of Oatman, AZ, is all tourist trap now but it does have fine ice cream!

(Drake photo)

 

Just out of Oatman, at the top of a steep viewpoint, we found a fairly recent cemetery or memorial of some kind.

(Drake photo)

 

Oatman, Arizona

 

The trail (the old Route 66) was narrow and winding from Oatman through desolate country. I videoed part of it.

(Drake photo)

 

The view was spectacularly ugly in Sitgreave's Pass (3500 ft.)

(Drake photo)

 

Just out of Kingman we finally hit snow and we stayed in it for two or three days.

 

 

 

 

Juniperus monosperma?

 

I'm still not sure what these round bushes are that dot the Arizona high prairie - probably one seed juniper. I first noticed them on the way to the Grand Canyon in 2005. They are not much taller than I and nicely spaced, as if planted by hand.

 

 

South again onto Highway 89 to Prescott where we spent the first night.

 

 

An interesting sign.

(Drake photo)

 

Prescott nestles in those rounded rocks.

(Drake photo)

 

Prescott, Arizona.

The Yavapai County Court House was set in beautiful grounds surrounded by bronze statues.

(Drake photo)

 

Prescott, Arizona.

(Drake photo)

 

Prescott, Arizona.

 

Prescott, Arizona.

Memorial to the soldiers of the Viet Nam war

 

Prescott, Arizona.

1907 Monument by Solon Borglum commemorating the Rough Riders and Bucky O'Neill who lived in Prescott.

(Solon's brother, Gutzon Borglum, carved the heads on Mount Rushmore.)

 

 

 

William Owen "Bucky" O'Neill (February 2, 1860–July 1, 1898) was a American soldier, sheriff, newspaper editor, miner, politician, gambler and lawyer, mainly in Arizona. His nickname came from his tendency to "buck the tiger" (play contrary to the odds) at faro or other card games. O'Neill was born on February 2, 1860. In 1879, O'Neill left home, heading for Arizona Territory. In 1880, he settled in Tombstone, Arizona. During this time the Earp Brothers, the city policemen, and the Clanton-McLaury Gang, a group of rustlers and murderers, were at war with each other. O'Neill joined the Tombstone Epitaph; since it was a pro-Earp newspaper, he frequently talked with, and became a casual acquaintance of, the Earps. On October 26, 1881 the war escalated with the Gunfight at the O. K. Corral. O'Neill may have been the man to report on the scene. He left Tombstone shortly after, heading for Prescott, Arizona. O'Neill arrived in Prescott in the spring of 1882. There he rapidly progressed in his journalistic career. Starting as a court reporter, he soon founded his own newspaper, Hoof and Horn, a paper for the livestock industry. In 1898, war broke out between the United States and Spain. O'Neill joined the Rough Riders and became Captain of Troop A. FIrst Lieutenant Frank Frantz served as O'Neil's Deputy Commander. Along with Alexander Brodie and James McClintock, he tried to make an entire regiment made up of Arizona Cowboys. Eventually though, only three troops were authorized. The Rough Riders landed at Daiquirí on June 22, 1898. Two Buffalo Soldiers, of the 10th Cavalry fell overboard. Upon seeing this, O'Neill jumped into the water in full uniform and sabre. He searched for the men for two minutes, before having to come up for breath. On July 1, 1898, at about 10am, the Rough Riders and the 10th Cavalry were stationed below Kettle Hill. The Spaniards, who were on top of the hill, poured machine gun and Mauser fire down on the Americans. Bucky O'Neill was killed in action.

Theodore Roosevelt, commander of the Rough Riders, wrote about the death of O'Neill: "The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. O'Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover - a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, 'The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted.' As O'Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, 'Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you.' O'Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, 'Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn't made that will kill me.' A little later he discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness."

On July 3, 1907, a monument by sculptor Solon Borglum was dedicated to O'Neill and the other Rough Riders in their memory in Prescott, Arizona. Seven thousand people gathered to witness the unveiling.

 

Next page