Friday, March 13, 2015

A Slapping off the Trail Dust Weekly Link Round-Up

I'm happy to report that the mockingbird that's been singing so beautifully (and loudly) during the wee hours of each morning may be experiencing success in his quest for a mate. I heard a very feminine-sounding voice answering him tonight, and after quite a bit of song-and-reply, it's gotten very quiet out there. 

Heading into Tortilla Flat

I'm still herding dust bunnies, but Denis and I both thought we deserved a break. We jumped in the Jeep and headed out on the Apache Trail. The Apache Trail was really put to use when the Roosevelt Dam was being built, and the tiny watering hole of Tortilla Flat was created so that the men working on the dam would have someplace to blow off steam and spend their money. Tortilla Flat is still busy today, especially in spring. The Apache Trail is listed in many area guidebooks, and on weekends it can be bumper-to-bumper traffic.

What amuses and annoys Denis and me are the flatlanders who get on this road and are absolutely petrified of the narrow, twisting mountain road with hairpin turns and no barricades shielding drivers from sheer drop-offs. The car ahead of us in the photo above had its brake lights on for most of the time we were behind it, and this wasn't anywhere near being the worst part of the trail. Fortunately the driver wisely decided to stop at Tortilla Flat before the pavement ended and the route becomes a true (unpaved) single-track trail-- even though it is officially Arizona State Route 88. Welcome to Arizona, tourists! We have everything from 14-lane freeways to single-lane dirt track highways... and if you want to venture off on State Route 88, you might want to have someone experienced do the driving for you!

Now that I've slapped off the trail dust (literally), it's time to round up those links. Head 'em up! Move 'em out!

Books, Movies & Other Interesting Tidbits
  • The fall of language in the age of English.
  • William Morrow is touting the success of their digital-first mystery line, Witness Impulse. Having gone to that particular well several times myself, I can see why it's popular. 
  • It is never too late to start writing your bestseller.
  • Just what are the true origins of the game Monopoly?
  • George R.R. Martin has given away a first edition of The Hobbit.
  • A group called "Women on 20s" wants to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with the face of a female hero. Knowing some of the things Jackson was responsible for, I think it's a pretty good idea.
  • Did you know that there's such a thing as Downton Abbey® Tea
  • For the first time in the U.S., Americans spent more money in restaurants than they did in grocery stores.
  • Are we supposed to be surprised by this? 83% of children love being read aloud to.
  • Oops! The Alameda County (California) Library was caught throwing away thousands of books. 
  • I have long been a fan of Maureen O'Hara. The legendary actress (aged 94) has decided to sell her home in County Cork, Ireland, and move to the U.S. to live with her daughter. I wish I had the money to buy her home-- Lugdine Park. The view alone is worth it! I also found the realtor's page that shows a few photos of the interior.
  • Take a look at this weapon of mass instruction
  • I'm looking forward to seeing Ian McKellen portray a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes.
  • First it was indie bookstores. Now James Patterson is donating $1.25 million to libraries.
  • Author Joanna Trollope knows how to set the cat amongst the pigeons: she claims no one can be a great novelist before the age of 35.
  • A survey is showing that self-publishing is helping women break through the book industry's glass ceiling.

Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones
  • Finally! An article that shows some of the colorful, fantastic art in a 3,000-year-old Egyptian tomb.
  • A lavish 2,500-year-old Celtic prince's tomb unearthed in France is an extraordinary discovery.
  • One of the most memorable places I've ever visited: Cahokia, America's unknown ancient city.
  • You know that big hunk of stone that you've been using as a tripod and a bird table? It's actually a Roman artifact
  • Cavers in Israel have found treasure dating from the era of Alexander the Great. Wouldn't you love to know how it got there?
  • Archaeologists dig up 3,000 skeletons at a London site.

I  ♥  Lists

Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett
  • Some of you folks really have it bad this winter-- but be very glad you're not these bald eagle parents!

The Happy Wanderer
  • Enjoy some mind-blowing photos of winter in Yellowstone National Park
  • Well, this guy was a happy wanderer until TSA caught up with him!
  • Check out city planning in Renaissance Italy. I wouldn't mind visiting Palmanova!

Book Candy

That's all for now. Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Have a great weekend-- and read something fabulous!


  1. Cathy - The Apache Trail looks like a great drive. I've put it on my todo list, thanks for the idea. I followed it along on Google Maps, looks doable to me, even with my 5 year old sedan, but I guess you gotta see it up close and in person. The dirt road looks a bit dusty and wavy, but Monument Valley Park is much worse. (BTW, is there any pressure being exerted to fix the MV road a bit, I was most concerned with jutting rocks cutting my tires, and over my last few years the park seems to have gotten a bit trashy. Needs maintenance, maintenance, maintenance). Ken, NOT a touristy driver.

    1. Due to all the traffic (and three lakes along the route) the Apache Trail is usually kept well-maintained, with the dirt section being graded regularly. It can get "washboardy" rather quickly though, and some of the hairpin turns on a one-lane-wide section of dirt between two huge rock formations when you can't see if there's someone coming from the other direction can be kinda scary. Once you make it to Roosevelt Lake, the paved SR 188 will get you back to the Phoenix metro area easily.

      It's been a few years since we've been back to Monument Valley, so I was unaware that the road maintenance had fallen. That's a shame. The last time we were up there, we stayed at Goulding's Lodge and did the whole-day canyon tour that you couldn't go on unless you had a Navajo guide. Well worth the money, and over some rough terrain.

  2. I love the idea of just taking off for a little trip like that, Cathy. And yes, if you're not used to winding mountain roads, they can seem really intimidating! Enjoy your well-earned break. Now, I have a Celtic tomb to read about...

    1. I can remember my grandmother driving one such road. When we reached our destination, my grandfather said to my mother, "I'm glad we didn't have a wreck on our way up here. We would've had to bury her with the steering wheel in her hands!" He may have been right-- she did have a death grip on the wheel, bless 'er!


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