In the winter of 1985 I was driving through the Mojave Desert with a friend, talking about our apparent need for new river gear. As we passed the Twenty Nine Palms Marine Base, a man unexpectedly appeared on the side of the road selling used ammo cans. My friend and I laughed wildly and quickly came to realize that the moment was "All In A Days' Karma". This blog contains the occasional ramblings of a died-in-the-wool westerner who loves seeing, understanding, and being alive upon these landscapes. I cherish the moments of bliss and irony that come to all of us as we explore the planet and its residents (and perhaps visitors) in the short time we are here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I could look at lava flows all day long. There is something interesting and intriguing about the movement of lava. See for yourself:

And here too (this one starts out slow but picks up:

Enjoy your lava day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photo's Phrom the Phantom Pheast

The Thanksgiving Pheast at Phantom was great. Here are the pictures.

Table setting at the Ranch

Dennis and Diane

Happy hour started at 1 PM

And continued till 2 PM

Joni greets her many guests - about 30 people were in attendance - some from as far away as NYC

Master carver - Yum! It was delicious turkey with gravy, broccoli, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes and dressing

Ranger Mandy Toy awaits the pheast

Bob loved the pie

Tom shares a moment with Joni

Beth, Bill and Helen in the food line

Joni Badley gave an awesome blessing before the meal. Thank you Joni for all of your and your staffs' hospitality. We will never forget this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Were Doin' For Thanxgivin'

Dear friend John  asks:"What's your holiday going to be? (see his blog posting here)" Fair enough question and what better place to tell you than ye old blog. John asks the following and I can assure you that while Wayne and Helen's answers are not all that traditional at first glance, they seem tremendously tradition filled to us! Here you go:

What are you doing for the Thanksgiving Holiday?
We are going to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Turns out that I have been cultivating my relationship to "all things Phantom" ever since I worked there as a Park ranger in the mid-70's. As an avid hiker, I can still manage the trails to the bottom of "ye old ditch'" Something about muscle memory. If I ride a bicycle, I'll gimp  and seize up after two miles. But I can stay away from a Grand Canyon trail for six months or longer  (it hasn't happened yet) and when I get back to it, it just flows (downhill of course).

Are you hosting the Big Feed at your place? Are you going to a friend's home?
No, we are crashing a dinner where we will only have acquaintances around us. We think the "Ranchers" may have a big feed out front in the cantina but it might just be something out back in the employee dining room. We don't know and we don't care. We just know that we were warmly invited to attend by Phantom manager Joni Badley. And having to walk seven miles to "come and get it" is a big plus for us, not a hindrance.

Visiting Family nearby? Visiting Family far away?
You could answer "Yes!" to both. The "Phantom family" has been serving up hospitality since the 1920's to anyone who stops by. Anyone. That sounds like family to me. And to Helen and I, Phantom is thankfully both very far away and yet very near to our hearts. We are visiting family nearby and at the same time very far away. We'll stay in the heart of Arizona's most iconic landmark.

How are you traveling? Driving? Walking? Flying? Or...?
We are driving 80 miles to the South Rim. For that reason, we will show up on some evening news cast as part of the 45% of the population (or whatever number it is) who will drive more than 50 miles over the holiday. We'll park our car at the trailhead and walk seven miles to dinner. The walk will be familiar, grand, and for us way too short. We can't get enough Grand Canyon. When we arrive at the Kaibab black bridge that crosses the Colorado River, we'll be flying high, amazed at the beauty of it all and happy to have Thanksgiving in such a unique and wonderful place. We are driving, walking and flying to our Thanksgiving. (I wonder if the newscaster will give figures for how many people in our country will walk seven miles to Thanksgiving dinner?).

Do you plan to be involved in the typical large, traditional meal? Or do you have a counter-culture repast planned?
We have no idea. We hope a mule has delivered a turkey to the Ranch but even if they have, there is bound to be some off-the-wall menu items that only those who live and cook in the bottom of the Grand Canyon could concoct. (I've had dinner with the employees in the back of the house many times and it's awesome!). We will be grateful for whatever we get but I know it will be delicious, exotic, and prepared with love! That is the Phantom way.

How many different types of potatoes do you plan to eat? Will the obligatory green bean casserole make an appearance on your table? Do you use real cranberries of the ones that comes in a can? What's your pie de jour?
Stay tuned for the postscript blog next Monday. I'll take photo's of it all!

When you you plan to begin the annual ritual of excessive consumption?
I think we'll starve ourselves on the way down the trail. Dinner fore us at the Ranch is at 2 PM so it will be traditionally early. Note that the employees still have to work and will be serving the normal two "dude" dinners at 5:00 and 6:30 (Phantom is open 365 days a year, except leap years when they are open 366 days). I'll eat as much as I can.

And, finally, you think dining tables will actually really be "groaning" under the weight of all that food, or did Grand Ma just make up that story? I've never heard a table groan, have you?
If any tables will groan, it will be these. Thanks John for such great questions and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let's Ride In A Cockpit To El Lay!

My cousin Ray, who works for TSA in Ontario, California sent this along. Enjoy the ride into LAX on a dark evening. The music is fantastic and so is the view. Watch the video here.

I myself have sat in the cockpit of a 757 on approach in Cairo and Miami. It was before 9/11 when we could do this on my private jet tours. It was truly one of the highlights of a 24 day tour around the world!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Flink Knapping of Woody Blackwell

Flint knapping is an art and Woody Blackwell takes it to the limit. Check out his portfolio here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lifetime Desire Met!

Everywhere you go in the southwest, symbols and images of Bighorn sheep are prevalent. And in many wildlife reserves and parks, wild bighorn roam the landscape. So imagine my surprise and delight in being able to savor the meat of this wild icon while attending an event in Flagstaff on Saturday, April 2! It was a dream come true. A friend of mine is an avid hunter and was able to obtain some bighorn meat recently from a colleague who had a successful hunt.

I have always been curious as to why those ancient ones were so enamored of this species. They painted so many sheep on the walls of their canyon homes - much more than the corn, beans, and squash that completed their diet. At the Flagstaff feast wild quail breasts and tiny drumsticks, elk meat, and venison were also served. And to be honest, I could not tell the difference between the elk, venison or bighorn. In fact, had no one told me that we were tasting wild game, I might not have have thought it was anything but beef.

All of the varieties (except the quail) were cut into 1 inch squares, lightly breaded, and skewered before roasting. It was like eating bighorn nuggets!

I know that some people may be aghast at such blatant hedonism. Not everyone may have a desire to taste wild game. But for me, this was a welcome rite of passage. Bighorn numbers are well managed and thriving in the southwest.

I have finally tasted the meat of Bighorn! My primal male curiosity is satisfied. Yum!

If this post does not "meet" to your liking, watch this hilarious video instead about the benefits of eating red meat.

Friday, February 25, 2011

My New Personal Blog Site

I created this blog on February 24, 2011 and hope to have some content up soon. Thanks for visiting All In A Days Karma.