The trip to Arizona, though long and too dark to see anything through the windows, ended up being pretty interesting. I was fortunate to get a friendly, interesting seat-mate to chat with, and even managed a couple of naps. Coach travel isn’t too shabby. The seats recline and have fold-out leg rests, there’s a dining car, a cafe car, an observation deck, and wake-up service for those with stops in the middle of the night.

In Williams, Arizona, the train literally stops on the side of a gravel road out in the middle of nowhere, where my parents had been waiting since 3:50 a.m. to collect me. 

After a brief nap, pancakes, and a church service, we headed to a fundraiser for some friends of theirs that have started a rescue home for neglected horses. Let me just say that for a small western town in the Arizona mountains, this event was exactly what I wanted it to be. It took place in a big elk and deer-head lined hall with pulled pork sandwiches (macaroni for me) and a country band playing covers of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and the like. In the raffle, I also won a car wash (which went to my parents) and a gift certificate to one of the restaurants in town. 

In the evening, I went for a walk with my parents around their property out in rural Williams. It’s so quiet there that all you can hear are the sounds of birds chirping and the crunching of feet and gravel. 

This morning, we drove through the Kaibab National Forest to and underground lava river, where lava from a (now extinct) volcano flowed UP through a cave to reach the surface of the earth. 

It’s about a quarter mile long, and at 35 degrees, a nice contrast to the Arizona heat. 

These are our spelunking uniforms. 

The floor of the cave is cooled lava.

Family photo!

Almost there…

We emerge victorious. 

Also, here are some pictures of the various poultry that are roaming around my parent’s house these days:

Chicken number two.


This is Francine, the best chicken ever. The turkey sat on her head when she was a baby and turned it permanently sideways, but she is a survivor. 

Chicken number three. The friendly one. 


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