Tag: Single Baby Boomer Men

A Single Baby Boomer Survives Hurricane Michael

A Single Baby Boomer Survives Hurricane Michael

 

Residents of the Florida Panhandle say that hurricanes are the price we pay for living in Paradise.  Most of the time we don’t give hurricanes much thought.  We buy water and supplies just in case we lose power and water but we forget or ignore what other hurricanes have done.  We send money to those affected by the storms but don’t believe it’ll ever happen to us.  We’ve seen the effects of Global Warming and heard the dire warnings but we live in denial.  Then it hits.

For video go to https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/10/10/hurricane-michael-orig-acl.cnn/video/playlists/hurricane-michael/

 

I’d given up watching the news for the weekend because of all of the gut-wrenching testimony in the Kavanagh hearing.  My doctor had even suggested that I may have anxiety issues affecting my sleep so when a phone call from my friend woke me up on Monday before Hurricane Michael I was surprised the hear we were in its path.  We debated what we would do and decided to go to a town an hour north since she could stay with a relative there.  My other friends were smarter and headed west.

 

 

The morning of Hurricane Michael when I awoke at 10 am there was a message saying that her kids had made her leave much early.  I decided to stay put since it was getting too late to outrun the fast-moving storm that had been upgraded to a possible Category 5 Hurricane when it hit the Panhandle.  It hit my hotel as a Category 2, but my town, Panama City, was right in the path.  After a night alone with my cat, I discovered there was still no power or cell service.  I started out to look for gas. Gas was not to be found but I got cell service farther west and was able to book a room in Montgomery, AL.  I decided I had to turn around and not waste any more gas.  A gentleman gave me a cooler for my ice and another told me that I could call on him for help.  Since Panama City was in turmoil and they weren’t letting anyone back.  Tired and frightened I drove toward Alabama with my cat and was thrilled to see the lights on at a gas station so I could fill up.  Exhausted from lack of sleep for three nights, I pulled into Montgomery and was thrilled to find the comfortable Drury Inn that allowed my cat to stay and even gave me free dinner, drinks, and breakfast.  It was full of refugees from Hurricane Michael.

A ballgame with some of my family relieved the stress.

The next day kitty and I were back on the road on our way to Chattanooga where I was fortunate to find a relative who had room for my cat and me.  I spent a week visiting with my family since I couldn’t get back to my condo and then I was lucky enough to have a friend who was going out of town and would let us stay in her home.  She was glad to have someone there since there were looters roaming the area.  Panama City Beach, where she lived, just got the edge of the storm so her house was unharmed.  I’ll never be able to repay her enough for her generosity.   Later my owners let me stay in their RV near Dothan, AL.  I was thankful to have a place to stay that was much better than most displaced people.

Two months later when I finally was able to go back to my condo on St. Andrew’s Bay.  After the hurricane we had a boat in our yard, a filthy pool, windows smashed and trees snapped in half.  We didn’t get power for two weeks and then big dehumidifiers sucked out the moisture to avoid black mold and raised the temperature to over 100 degrees.  The elevator didn’t work for almost a month but we were still some of the lucky ones.

There’s a boat in my yard.

 

Our carports

 

Most of my bedroom and closets on my bed.

 

Hall ceiling

 

Livingroom

 

If you look at the photos of my neighborhood, The Cove, you’ll see the devastation even after several weeks of clean-up.   Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base were virtually blown away.  Every time I went back to my condo I took a different route and each time my stomach was queasy by the time I got there.  There were houses with trees through their roofs that FEMA considered livable.  My FEMA inspector told me of a 90-year-old woman sitting in a destroyed home with her two developmentally delayed adults grandsons.  He called a crisis center to help them.  New parents went two hours away to deliver their baby and came back to a shelter.  They said it was so bad they decided to stay in their truck in a Walmart parking lot.  Security found them and got them a room for two weeks where employees were staying.  One of those security guards gave me a hug in a DQ when I thanked them for coming from their home states to help us.  There was an enormous police presence.  State Troopers were everywhere to help.  Restaurants served disaster workers and victims food.  There were food and supply stations set up in many areas.  Youth and other volunteers groups came in from all over North America. The lady who worked at the destroyed lab where I have my blood tests gave me her cell phone number in case I needed a blood test.  Power companies sent workers from all over the U.S.   I’ve never seen so many people offering services to those in need.  FEMA helped many people but people are still waiting for help.  Finally, some of the promised trailers arrived. A retired couple without insurance got $3000 for their destroyed mobile home that was worth $30,000+.  Tent cities sprung up in parking lots and parks. One was later bulldozed after the CDC was called when a bacterial infection broke out.  The victims were taken by bus to shelters in other cities or left to find another place to stay.  Three power workers were killed by a car while repairing power lines.  In one community it took residents five days to cut their way out to help.  Where I live in the Cove a few blocks from Panama City it took four days.  Sick people had to be airlifted out.  One of our hospitals was so damaged only a quarter of it will reopen so 800 people are laid off.  Five hundred people lost their jobs when the mall closed.  The schools reported 3,800 students are homeless.  Eighty percent of buildings are destroyed or severely damaged.  Seventy-five percent of the trees are lost.  There were forty-five storm-related deaths.  These are just a few of the sad stories I heard. 

 

 

There are people who will say that those in excavation zones should have left.  I’m among them but I still feel their pain and understand they may have had good reasons for staying.  Some just waited too long expecting Michael to turn or downgrade like Hurricane Harvey and were told the day of the hurricane it was too late to go.  Most of us, like me, didn’t go far enough away because we wanted to get back to clean up after the storm.

3 weeks after the hurricane in Cove

 

Downtown Panama City

 

So many roofs damaged.

 

Boats were blown against the drawbridge.

 

Debris in Panama City Marina

 

Panama City Marina

 

Pulling boats out of the bayou

 

Retrieving boats from the Bay

 

The sea surge moved sidewalks

 

Torn out by the roots by the wind

 

This is what’s left of someone’s home.

Soon the volunteers will be gone and we’ll be on our own like the victims of Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, Florence and others.  We’ll be better off than the people in Puerto Rico but we have years of rebuilding ahead of us.  Since the beach was spared, tourism will flourish there again but our businesses and marinas just a few miles away are in ruins.  Panama City has more residents in lower socio-economic groups who’ll have to wait for help that may not come and so like the victims of Hurricane Katrina will leave.  Some can’t come back and businesses that are up and running are closing early and looking for workers.  Who will fill those jobs?  School didn’t start until November 12th so there’ll be much to make up before the useless but required standardized testing.  All of these and many other things are results of Hurricane Michael and there will be more to come.

These smiles show hope for the Florida Panhandle’s recovery.

 

Christmas decor and winter flowers with a fire pit in the back.

So remember when you see a natural disaster in the media and then the next news cycle comes up with a new story, the survivors are still suffering and need your help.

 

Thank you to all of you who have helped us.  We appreciate it and will remember how you cared for us.  The people of the Florida Panhandle will pay it forward when a disaster hits others.  As the saying goes, you can make lemonade out of lemons as I did from lemons I found on a downed tree.  I believe we’ve learned a lot that will help us in the future.

 

Continue the adventure!

Linda Lea

Single Baby Boomers Need a Goal

Single Baby Boomers Need a Goal

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the synonyms of goal as “aim, ambition, aspiration, bourne (also bourn), design, dream, end, idea, ideal, intent, intention, mark, meaning, object, objective, plan, point, pretension, purpose, target…”  Your goal may change during different stages of your life and at times you may have more than one.  Your family, environment, job, health and religious beliefs can all influence what you consider your purpose in life.  You want to be true to yourself, but life has a way of interfering with your plans.  Perhaps you face a health issue and need to rethink your objectives for the future.  You can’t continue working or must rely on others for assistance after a life of independence.  You need to readjust your goals to fit in with your circumstances and ability to do what you need to do.  If you’ve been living life taking care of others, you may now need to focus on yourself.

 

Your physical, cognitive, and mental health depend on you having something to look forward to.  It doesn’t have to be a world-saving goal, just one that makes you get out of bed every morning and look forward to the day.  Some people make some sort of appointment or find an activity to get them out of the house.  If you’re still working and hate your job you may need something that gives you a lift each day like a walk at lunch time so you can enjoy the fresh air, relieve your stress and get some exercise.

 

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Your purpose needs to be something that will improve your life in some way.  It can still be helping other but you should get something out of it like a sense of pride or well-being.  These are intangible rewards and sometimes you need something tangible.  I plan trips to help me achieve my goal of visiting all of the places I want to see before travel becomes difficult.  It’s not the only goal I have in life, but when I’m feeling down or bored, it brightens my day.

Here’s how even this small goal benefits me.

  • It keeps my mind active by researching the places I want to visit, airfares, accommodations and things to see and do while I’m there.

 

  • I keep engaged with family and friends. Planning a trip to visit them is one way to accomplish this, but I also like to take them with me. Sometimes we stay at my timeshare and other times we take a tour or cruise.  When I have a question I can’t find an answer to on my own or want the opinion of someone else, I call someone I know who’s been there or used a service like Uber or Airbnb.

 

  • I also make new contacts when I ask for help or information. At the moment I’m planning a tour with a tour planner for a trip to England where some of my favorite mystery writers got their inspiration for such fascinating characters as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and Inspectors Morse and Lewis.  You can find out more about it on my Single Boomer Life Facebook Page.

 

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  • I develop new interests. Every time I start planning a trip I get side tracked while I’m doing research.  I try to keep my mind open to ways I can make the trip more interesting and I explore new areas I find on related websites.  The plan for the British mystery writers trip was born out of the desire to write a novel of my own, my love of British mystery novels and TV crime shows in addition to my desire to explore London, Oxford, Devon and Cornwall.  I was watching a video about Agatha Christie’s home when I found it was near Port Isaac, the setting of my favorite TV show Doc Martin.  I couldn’t find any tours that went everywhere I wanted to go and I wasn’t too keen on learning how to drive on the left side of the road, so I decided to plan one myself.  This opened up many new avenues to research.

 

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  • It keeps me positive and looking ahead to a bright future full of adventure.

 

  • When the time for the trip arrives I’ll have a sense of accomplishment from seeing my plan come together.  I’ll also get to meet new people and explore the places I’ve read about and seen on TV and in movies.

 

  • When I finish the trip I’ll have the memories of a new and exciting adventure. I feel experiences are more valuable to me than material goods.  They never go out of style or break. As Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 

This is a short term goal, but it’ll keep me entertained and engaged for over a year.  In the meantime, I have goals I want to work toward in other areas such as finding my ancestors in Italy, spending more time with my grandchildren and getting healthy and fit.  My goals change often, but I make them attainable and if I tire of them or just cannot meet them, I move on.  I don’t want to wallow in the fact I didn’t achieve them.  I just make new ones.  I may come back to the old plans when the time is right, but I leave the door open to new ideas and dreams.

 

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Travel may not be your dream but you can apply this principal to any goal.  The point is to find what interests you and set a goal to achieve.  Give yourself a timeline and date of completion. It keeps you motivated and accountable.

 

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Continue the adventure!

 

Linda Lea

 

 

 

Changes to Single Boomer Life

Changes to Single Boomer Life

Dear Reader,

I’m changing my blog domain to just WordPress.  It’ll still come up as singleboomerlife.com but may look a little different.  If you’ve signed up to have it delivered to your email inbox, that will no longer happen but you can just put singleboomerlife.com in the address bar or get to it through my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life.  I’ll still post on subjects of interest to single Baby Boomer, all singles and Baby Boomer, but not as often.  I have other projects in the works. Hopefully, one will be a book.  Travel is my passion and I want to concentrate on that and will blog on those adventures.  I’ll also continue to post links to websites and blogs written by others that I feel you might find interesting on my Facebook Page.  Please bear with my during the change.  When I imported my data, the photos didn’t come along.  I’m working on that and other issues.

I hope you’ll stay with me during the change and even write some blogs for me to publish or suggest other sites that I can post on my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life.  I would enjoy hearing about your experiences as a single and a Baby Boomer.

Continue your adventure while I continue mine.

Linda Lea

Single Baby Boomers Celebrate Life

Single Baby Boomers Celebrate Life

Not all single Baby Boomers have families who can celebrate the important events in life with them.  Many don’t even acknowledge their birthdays, saying it’s just another day.  They may say they don’t care if anyone calls, sends a card or recognizes their special day in an email, tweet or on Facebook.   As someone who always had family who remembers them, I know how much it means.  Women seem to be the best at keeping track of friend’s special days, but I have a feeling men appreciate the gesture in spite of what they may say.  As we age, our friends often become our family and are the ones who understand us best.  Here are some ideas for ways we can help our friends celebrate.

 

Mother’s Day/Father’s Day – I mention this first since I’m writing this the week before Mother’s Day.  It’s not just a Hallmark Holiday.  It was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.  Father’s Day was started to complement Mother’s Day.  Both holidays had versions hundreds of years earlier in several parts of the world.  Since single Baby Boomers often married and started families when they were younger, they have grown children and appreciate being remembered on these special days in some way.  Friends can also help by getting together for lunch with other mothers or fathers who don’t have children or grandchildren living near them.  A friend of mine invited me to share her Mother’s Day celebration.  It made my day.

 

Birthdays – It’s wonderful to have someone recognize your birthday even if you don’t want to think about the fact that you’re another year older.  I now have a large group of friends who throw each other parties, often themed based, for each new year.  It makes us all feel as special as we did when we were kids and gives us an excuse to get together.

 

Housewarmings – When you move to a new home, you want to share your happiness with your friends and family.  I had a small picture hanging pizza and wine party.  It takes forever to get things up on the wall when you have to do it alone.  Having someone else help you get your pictures up straight and well arranged can make all the difference.  Knowing my friends cared enough about me to come over and help decorate made all of the things that bother me about placement and spacing seem unimportant.  Their help made my new house into a home.  A larger housewarming may follow but for now, more friends are invited to my condo for a friend’s birthday party.

 

New Pets – When we’re older, pets become an important part of our lives.  Why not have friends over to meet yours.  It doesn’t have to be a party.  If a friend gets a new pet, welcome them with a visit and even a gift.  You can also offer to pet sit when they go out of town.

 

Career or Job Change – Many single Baby Boomers are still in the job market and make career changes or moves within their company.  This deserves recognition by family and friends because both are stressful and life changing.  They’ve most likely changed jobs before but each time it’s like they’re the new kid at school.  Even if they’ve just received a promotion at the same company, they have new responsibilities and may need someone to listen to their concerns or celebrate the change.  Take your friend out to dinner and show them you understand their apprehension or joy with this new chapter in their life.

 

Retirement – You’ve dreamed about it for years and now it’s finally here.  Work friends may help you celebrate but after the first few weeks they’re usually busy with their work lives and don’t have the time you do to go out for lunch or travel.  Now’s the time to find other friends who can help you celebrate or just adjust to this new time in your life.  I don’t mean you should forget about your other friends just expand your circle to include those with the same interests so you can learn to celebrate this new phase of life with adult “play dates”.

 

End of Life Events – Isn’t it better to celebrate your life or the lives of others with a happy event rather than the traditional wake and funeral?  Wouldn’t you rather celebrate your life while you’re still alive or remember your loved one with a party?  It’s been said that the people left behind need closure, but why can’t a celebration do the same thing?  It’s more uplifting for those left behind.  It can also make the person facing the end of their life more comfortable if they have one last bash to say goodbye and celebrate the great times they had together.

I’m sure you can think of more ways to celebrate life with your friends and family.  Please share them with us here or on my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life.

If you’d like to be a guest blogger on my site and contribute your ideas and adventures, please let me know.  I would welcome your input and the opportunity to get your point of view on any subject of interest to single Baby Boomer, singles or Baby Boomers.

Continue the adventure!

 

Linda Lea

 

10 Reasons Why a Pet Can be Better Than a Spouse.

10 Reasons Why a Pet Can be Better Than a Spouse.

I was researching a blog on Elder Care when my cat jumped on the couch to drink from her cup.  She has to have her own or she’ll drink out of mine.  I knew writing about Elder Care wasn’t what I wanted to do on a beautiful day on the bay.  After my cat had her drink she left without any questions or requests so I could get on with my writing.  Would I have liked her to sit by me just for company? Sure, if she didn’t want to sit on my warm laptop while I was trying to write.  Is having her in my life the same as having a spouse?  No, but she gives me affection and attention without asking for much in return.  That may sound selfish but as we age we sometimes find we want to simplify our lives and spending time with a pet can be very rewarding for a number of reasons.   You may not agree with them all, but maybe a few will give you laugh.

  1. Pets can help you feel more connected.  A recent study at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that young people who had “strong attachment to pets reported feeling more connected to their communities and relationships.” According to survey results, it also made them more empathetic and confident.  It follows that this would apply to all ages and enhances all of your relationships whereas being married often isolates people who spend more time with their spouse than with others out in their community.pet healthy
  2. Pets can keep you healthy.   We all know the benefits of walking a dog but research has shown that owning a pet can also boost physical and mental health. A 2011 study in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”, showed that “pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences than non-owners on several dimensions,”  According to researcher, Miami University’s Allen R. McConnell, Ph.D.,  “Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”  Research often claims married people live longer healthier life, but in truth never marrieds have a longer life expectancy according to Bella DePaulo, PhD. an expert on singles.

 

 

  1. Just looking at your pet can make you feel happier.  A 2009 study by Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University in Japan found that one’s level of oxytocin (the neurohormone that elicits feelings of happiness) spiked after interacting with their dog even if they only stared into their dog’s eyes.  I know petting my cat makes me feel relaxed and just seeing my friend’s dog, Joy, makes me understand why she named her that.  Your spouse can raise your oxytocin levels too but rarely does a pet cause you the pain a person can trigger with just a disgusted look.

cat

 

  1. Pets can help you recover from a psychological crisis.  Support animals have been used to help soldiers with PTSD recover from the horrors and pain they endured on the battlefield.  Many other animals have been found to help their owners in similar ways with just their presence.  Animals trained to be Support Animals don’t lose their temper in a crowd or demand your attention when you might need to time for yourself to sort out your life.  They may not have a shoulder to lean on like a spouse but they can give you unconditional love and support whenever you need it just by always being there.

 

 

  1. Jealousy isn’t a problem.  She may sniff me when I get home, but my cat doesn’t care that I’ve been petting other cats or even a dog.  Other animals aren’t considered a threat to your relationship with your pet like other men or women with whom you might get romantically involved or just want as friends can be to your marriage.  Pets often let other animals share their home but few spouses would agree to that even if you wanted another one.

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Photo credit: russelljsmith via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

  1. They don’t care if you leave them home when you travel.  A pet may care until the pet sitter comes to feed and pet them but it’s not like leaving a spouse on their own.  There’s no silent treatment because they have to stay home.  Pets like to be home and aren’t worried if you’re having fun with someone else.  I do feel guilty at times but my pet is always happy to see me and doesn’t make me feel like I deserted her to enjoy myself while I go off alone or with my friends.  Some animals show their displeasure by making a mess while you’re gone but it’s a rare male spouse who cleans up after himself and few women don’t ask what you did when you were traveling without her.  You never have to explain anything to a pet.

I only want the ears.

Kevin and peeps

  1. Pets don’t care about what’s for dinner.  As long as she has food in her dish and a few treats on the side, my cat is happy.  She doesn’t care that it’s the same flavor every day or if it’s served at the perfect temperature and matched with the appropriate wine.  There’s no need to mix it up with a new recipe or take her out to eat.  She’s perfectly happy with whatever I choose to feed her and seldom begs for anything I eat so I don’t mind sharing every now and then.  If you’re the cook, can you say your spouse will accept this arrangement?

 

 

  1. You’re usually the one in control.  Now it’s been said cats don’t have owners they have staff but any well-trained pet is controllable.  People on the other hand fight to be the one in charge and resent you if you try.  You can always take a dog to obedience school but the only thing close for people is couples therapy and you can’t physically drag a spouse there.  Pets also don’t want control the TV remote.

 

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  1. They can protect you.  Your spouse can deter a mugger or burglar by their presence but well-trained pets are less expensive and don’t have the same sense of self-preservation.  Their first choice is usually to fight when their owner is threatened.  If you walk your dog in the park, it’s less likely you’ll be attacked.  A pet has excellent hearing and can hear sounds you might not, especially if you’re asleep.  They also have teeth and claws and aren’t afraid to use them to protect their families.  Their sensitive noses have been known to sense smoke and gas fumes before their humans and save lives.  They’ve even towed drowning people to shore.

 

 

 

  1. Pets don’t take your covers in bed.  Now it can be argued that even a small pet who sprawls out in your bed can take up more space than its share, but they rarely take the covers and their snoring is usually not that loud.  It’s a lot easier to toss them out of your bedroom than to do the same with a spouse.  Pets may not like it but they’ll forget about it in the morning when you feed or pet them.  Spouses aren’t so forgiving.

 

 

I know I’ll probably be accused of being cynical when it comes to relationships but I’m not a lonely single Baby Boomer living with a cat who will be found dead and gnawed on by my cat.  There are times when a pet can’t give a person the love they crave.  However, a pet will always love you no matter how you look or feel.  That’s not always easy to find in a spouse.  If you’ve found that special partner, you may have won the relationship lottery.  For the rest of us who have either chosen to live alone or live that way through no choice of our own, there are our sweet, lovable pets.

 

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If you have a picture of your special pets, please post it here or on my Facebook page, Single Boomer Life, so we can all enjoy it.

 

Continue the adventure!

 

Linda Lea

I Checked the Grand Canyon off my Bucket List.

I Checked the Grand Canyon off my Bucket List.

I’ve seen it from a plane, but nothing compares to seeing the spectacle that is the Grand Canyon up close.  It reminds us that nature is a powerful force and one we need to respect and conserve.  It seems contradictory that the ravages of wind, water, and fire can create such beauty.  We can harness their forces, but never truly control them.

 

 

I was going to drive to the Grand Canyon but I was offered a discounted tour at my resort, so I opted for this option.  I was able to enjoy a narrated trip with our tour guide, Lynn, and sit back and look at the scenery instead of the traffic.  If you’re traveling alone, I’ve found tours allow me to appreciate the view and learn about the history and facts of the area while enjoying the company of others.  I was the only single on the tour, but I didn’t feel out of place.  I was able to wander off, taking the time to view scenery and shops at my own pace, as long as I returned to the van before it left.  Lunch and the entry fee to the park were covered and Lynn was a valuable source of information about the Park, Native Americans, and history of the Canyon.

 

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We started our journey in Flagstaff and motored across the beautiful, but often barren landscape toward some of the most stunning rock formations in the world.  Along the way, we passed The Painted Desert National Park, a U.S. desert of badlands in the Four Corners area, located on land owned by the Navajo Nation but part of the National Park System.  It’s known for its brilliant and varied colors, including red rock and even shades of lavender.  It was named by part of an expedition under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado on his 1540 quest to find the Seven Cities of Cibola, the Seven Cities of Gold.  After finding the cities weren’t golden, Coronado sent an expedition to find the Colorado River to resupply his men. On their way, they came upon the wonderland of colors.  They named the area “El Desierto Pintado”, The Painted Desert. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_Desert_(Arizona)

 

 

 

Farther down the road we passed the gas station featured in the movie, “Easy Rider”, and some Spanish Mustangs which are descendants of the horses that came with Coronado’s and other expeditions.  We drove by the area near the Little Colorado River Gorge where Nik Wallenda crossed on a tightrope.  Our first stop was at the Cameron Trading Post Gift Shop where I viewed Navajo art at their gallery.  There is also a motel and food is available.  https://www.camerontradingpost.com/shop.html

 

 

 

During the trip, Lynn told us about the Navajo Nation’s traditions and current way of life.  It is a matriarchal society where property in inherited by the women with the grandmothers being the most respected members of their families and their own government.  If a woman divorces a man, he’s left with nothing and must go to a Relocation Area since he no longer has a home.  Since these areas have more up-to-date conveniences, some of the Navajo prefer to live there.  That hasn’t always been the case though since both the Hopi and Navajo have been relocated in the past so their land could be used for other purposes by the government and settlers.  The Native Americans have always fought for their rights in wars and the courts, but in recent times have found that educating their children in business and other areas has helped them create jobs and make money for their tribes.

 

 

These are just some of the bits of knowledge shared by our guide.  She also told us that when it comes to the buying of products at the stands that dot the roadside, it’s preferred you don’t try to bargain unless it’s initiated by the owner.  Another thing she mentioned was that Navajo children are not always named by their parents at birth since their family needs time to get to know them.  They may have several names during their lifetime and if delivered at a hospital a traditional Anglican name may be given by the nurse who helped with the delivery.  There was a time when Navajo children were forced to go attend boarding schools and not speak their language so couldn’t use their traditional name.  That was another dark time among many others in the Navajo history.

 

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Navajo Art in the Desert View Watchtower

 

We stopped at several viewing points to see the spectacular panoramic views of the beautiful sequence of rock layers that have been formed over time by the forces of nature.  There’s rock that’s over 2 billion years old at the bottom of the canyon.  It has been exposed over time by land masses colliding and drifting apart, mountains forming and eroding away, sea levels rising and falling, and the moving water of flash floods running off the surrounding mountains into the Colorado River.  Since it’s located in the desert, little vegetation conceals the geology of the area, so the view from the rim shows all of its splendor.  If you’re interested in the details of how the Grand Canyon was formed go to http://www.bobspixels.com/kaibab.org/geology/gc_geol.htm .

 

GC timeline

Our guide told us the typical person who most often falls off the rim or is bitten by snakes is a 25-year-old tattooed drunken man.  Dying from heat or dehydration is a more common cause of death in the Canyon but it’s also the site of suicides and plane crashes. See http://www.mygrandcanyonpark.com/falling-to-death-grand-canyon/.

 

On June 30, 1956, The Grand Canyon was the site of a mid-air collision when a United Airlines Douglas DC-7 struck a Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation.  All 128 on board both flights perished. According to the book “Blind Trust” by John J. Nance,  the two aircraft approached the Grand Canyon at the same altitude and similar airspeeds.  The pilots were likely maneuvering around towering cumulus clouds, even though Visual Flying Rules (VFR) required the planes to stay in clear air. As they maneuvered near the canyon, it’s believed the planes passed a cloud on opposite sides leading to the collision.  It was thought both pilots may have been trying to give the passengers a better view of the canyon.  This tragedy led to sweeping changes in the control of flights in the U.S. The location of the crash has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

 

 

Many stories have come out of the building of the railroad and the rise of tourism in the Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon was the Santa Fe Railroad’s main tourist destination.  Fred Harvey’s Harvey Houses were instrumental in bringing ample food portions at reasonable prices in clean, elegant restaurants to the travelers throughout the Southwest.  Harvey hired architect and designer, Mary Colter, a lifelong single, to build many of the Canyon’s landmark Harvey Houses.  Colter blended Pueblo Revival, Mission Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Rustic architectural styles along with Mexican carved-wood and hand-painted furnishings, and Native American artistic motifs to help create a style widely popular in the Southwest.  It influenced a generation of Western U.S. architecture through the National Park Service and Civilian Conservation Corps for many years.  She once had builders tear down several stories of the Desert View Watchtower because they didn’t place a rock according to her design.  Colter’s buildings on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon included lodges, souvenirs shops, and special lookout points that are on the National Register of Historic Places. See https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/photosmultimedia/mary-colter—indian-watchtower.htm

 

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In 1883, Harvey placed ads in newspapers throughout the East Coast and Midwest for “white, young women, 18-30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent”. The girls were paid $17.50 a month (approximately $450 in 2017 dollars), generous by the standards of the time to start, plus room, board, and gratuity.  The women had a strict 10 p.m. curfew, administered by a senior Harvey Girl who assumed the role and responsibilities of house mother. The skirt of their official starched black and white uniform hung no more than eight inches off the floor.  The hair was restrained in a net and tied with a regulation white ribbon. Makeup was absolutely prohibited as was chewing gum while on duty. Harvey Girls were required to enter into a one-year employment contract, and forfeited half their base pay should they fail to complete the terms of service. This didn’t stop them from marrying though since there were few women in the Old West so marriage was the most common reason for a girl to terminate her employment.  One of the older servers at the restaurant where I ate a Navajo Taco was a former Harvey Girl. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Harvey_Company

 

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A preserved “Harvey Girl” uniform

 

See my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life, for more stories about the Grand Canyon.  If you delve into the creation and of this natural wonder and the history that surrounds it, you’ll find it’s more than just a giant hole in the ground like so many people think.  The Grand Canyon and its lore make it a destination for all Single Baby Boomers.

 

Continue the Adventure!

 

Linda Lea

Falgstaff, AZ – A Single Baby Boomer Gets Her Kicks on Route 66

Falgstaff, AZ – A Single Baby Boomer Gets Her Kicks on Route 66

Even though I live by the water, I find the desert intriguing. The stunning vistas and the history and current lifestyle of the indigenous Native Americas draw me back for inspiration for my writing.  The landscape in Northern Arizona is scenic and reminds me of an uncluttered room.  The wide open spaces are like the water view I have but dotted with rock mesas and buttes in a variety of colors that were left behind by the glaciers and the elements over the years.

 

After my trip to Sedona, (see my blog https://singleboomerlife.com/sedona-arizona-something-for-everyone/), I knew I wanted to return to the area to do research for a book, to see more of Flagstaff and check The Grand Canyon off my bucket list. An added bonus was a visit to Phoenix with my son and daughter-in-law for Spring Training and its delectable cuisine.  The first installment of this blog focuses on Flagstaff.  There is so much history in the city it deserves its own section.

After picking up a rental car in Phoenix, I drove the scenic road to Flagstaff amazed by the towering Saguaro Cactus and the snow-capped mountains.  In a day I’d gone from sea level and beach weather to 7000 feet and melting snow.  Since I’m a Minnesota native, I knew how to pack and enjoyed the cooler weather after our almost non-existent winter in Florida.  Later in my trip, I visited the red rocks of Sedona, new friends I’d met through an ancestry search and Montezuma’s Castle in the Verde Valley, an ancient home of the Southern Sinagua.  Montezuma’s Castle National Monument is a five-story, 20-room dwelling that was inhabited between 1200 and 1300 A.D.  It was recreated to its former state after years of looting. The exterior and nearby sites, Montezuma’s Well and Tuzigoot, the remnants of another Southern Sinagua village, are open to the public.  If you like to gamble, there’s casino and lodging near the freeway exit.

Although Flagstaff doesn’t have the wow factor of the Grand Canyon, it’s got a lot going for it.  The fact it still has a stretch of the infamous Route 66 running through it, may bring back some fond memories of road trips as a child.  U.S. Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. Established in 1926, it originally ran from Chicago, IL through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, CA, covering a total of 2,448 miles. It was recognized in popular culture during our childhood by both the hit song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.  You can get more information on this and all of the attractions in the area at the Flagstaff Visitor Center in the center of town right on Route 66.

 

While you’re downtown, stroll around and see the murals depicting the history of the area, sculptures and stop for a beer and local cuisine in one of the microbreweries and eateries frequented by residents and students of Northern Arizona University.

 

The Atlantic and Pacific Railroads were responsible for giving Flagstaff its start when the workers set up a tent village in 1881 during its construction.  During that time, shootings and lynching were common occurrences, so business owners kept guns handy to deal with troublemakers.

 

The Babbitt and Riordan families left their mark during Flagstaff’s early history and still do today.  The Babbitt’s made their name in ranching, trading posts, and politics, activities that continue to this day.  They also run The Babbitt Brothers Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides opportunities to participate in the health, education, science, arts and historic preservation of the Northern Arizona communities where Babbitt Ranches do business.

The three Riordan brothers came to Flagstaff seeking professional opportunities. They started out in the lumber business in the 1880s providing materials for the building of the railroad. Their civic-minded enterprises helped establish a company hospital that served the lumber mill and the town, brought electricity to Flagstaff, the construction of three Catholic churches, and aided in the establishment of some of the most important scientific and educational institutions in the community, including Northern Arizona University, Lowell Observatory, and Fort Valley Experimental Forest Station.  They also developed a community hotel, the Monte Vista, which is still open today and has hosted Hollywood stars and has resident ghosts.  See http://www.hotelmontevista.com/site/page/view/famousGuests and http://www.hotelmontevista.com/site/page/view/ghostStories.  As fate would have it, the families intermarried and a dynasty was founded.

In the U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 017-01, “The San Francisco Volcanic Field, Arizona,” Susan S. Priest, Wendell A. Duffield, Karen Malis-Clark, James W. Hendley II, and Peter H. Stauffer at https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2001/fs017-01/ offer the following information. “Northern Arizona’s San Francisco Volcanic Field, much of which lies within Coconino and Kaibab National Forests, is an area of young volcanoes along the southern margin of the Colorado Plateau. During its 6-million-year history, this field has produced more than 600 volcanoes. Their activity has created a topographically varied landscape with forests that extend from the Piñon-Juniper up to the Bristlecone Pine life zones. The most prominent landmark is San Francisco Mountain, a stratovolcano that rises to 12,633 feet and serves as a scenic backdrop to the city of Flagstaff.”  The area offers diverse recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and winter sports.

Photo credit: Martin_PHX via Visual hunt / CC BY

The peaks of San Francisco Mountain, which includes Arizona’s highest point, Humphreys Peak, tower over the ruins of an ancient Native American pueblo in Wupatki National Monument. Its inhabitants must have witnessed the eruption of nearby Sunset Crater, the state’s youngest volcano, in about A.D. 1064 A.D.

 

Most of the 600+ volcanoes in the San Francisco Volcanic Field are basalt cinder cones. They’re usually less than 1,000 feet tall, formed within months to years and were built when gas-charged frothy blobs of basalt magma erupted as a lava fountain that fell back to the earth as volcanic rock with cavities created by the trapped gas bubbles. The smaller fragments of rock are called cinders and the larger, bombs, which as they accumulate built a cone-shaped hill. The cinders are used in Flagstaff during snow storms to coat the road and prevent accidents until the spring winds blow them back into nature.

Starting in 1963 the rocky landscape and Cinder Lake provided NASA with a stage to prepare for the Apollo Missions. The Astrogeology Research Program transformed the northern Arizona landscape into a re-creation of the Moon by blasting hundreds of different-sized craters in the earth creating an ideal training ground for astronauts.  For more information see http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/About/AstroHistory/astronauts.html.

 

 

While we’re on the subject of space, Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory, established in 1894, is among the oldest astronomical observatories in the U.S.  It was there that the now dwarf planet Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh.  The Observatory’s original 24-inch Alvan Clark & Sons Telescope is still in use today for public education. Every year Lowell Observatory hosts 85,000 visitors who take guided daytime tours and view the wonders of the night sky through the Clark Telescope and other telescopes.

Arizona Snowbowl is located on the majestic San Francisco Peaks at 9,500 feet above sea level. It’s a year-round destination for skiing in the winter sun or escaping the summer desert heat. The ski area uses reclaimed water for snowmaking. The Navajos, Hopis and the other 11 tribes who see the Peaks as sacred say the water contaminates the entire mountain and devalues their religious practices.  They consider it a violation of their religious freedom. They’ve protested and filed a suit in court but have yet to stop the snowmaking.  Jones Benally, who’s in his 90s still works as a Navajo healer. He regularly collects medicinal plants from the San Francisco Peaks, just outside Flagstaff.  “In creation, it is said the mountains were placed here by the holy people,” Benally said. “I collect medicinal plants and vegetation from the San Francisco Peaks because it’s very powerful.” http://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/2015/03/13/navajo-nation-files-human-rights-protest-snowbowl-snow-making/70214892/

Photo credit: ariztravel via Visual hunt / CC BY

There were many more things to see and do in the area, but I had the Grand Canyon to visit.  Next time I’ll tell you more about the Native Americans of the area and about my tour with our guide, Lynn.

 

Continue the adventure!

 

Linda Lea