Archive for March, 2016

A Rocky Mountain Venture…..#224 (the 90’s)

March 30, 2016

Rob sprucing up the Buick


Greensburg Well

The Willson’s Buick was heading west on highway 54,  a Ouray Colorado journey to join Gary’s father & mother in-law  Bud and Helen Murrow at their annual summer retreat on the western slope of the Rockies, their 35 ft. fifth wheel trailer a Rocky Mountain 6 weeks  provisional home.   This summers foray would also find other members of Jan’s family assembling in the quiescence of the Rocky Mountain domain.   The Willson’s first stop, Greensburg,  a typical Kansas farming community celebrated as having the largest hand-dug well in the world, not a planned agenda stop  but the highway sign according the families attention.   The Greensburg morning stop a novelty to investigate something off the beaten path, its proclamation of acclaim giving raise to curiosity. The entrance thru a gift shop, finding a stairway leading down the 110 foot depth  to the 1880’s era’s townships water supplying well.   Robert, Sandra and Gary descending the stairwell into the dimly lighted hand -dug cavern,  Gary’s dissertation wasn’t the descent  but the experience.

Replica of old Dodge City.

Gun fight at Dodge







The journey continuing northwest thru old Fort Dodge,  erected in 1866 and then deeded to the State of Kansas in 1890 as the Kansas State Soldiers Home.   Another 5 miles to Dodge City,  the famous Cow town making its historic significance from 1876 to 1886,  a span of ten years before reverting to a sleepy West Kansas meat packing community.  The 1951 radio and later television program Gunsmoke responsible for its new-found prominence,  the replica’s of the Long Branch Saloon and the Boot Hill Museum a host to the inquisitive like Gary whom was an avid Gunsmoke radio listener of that  era.   The original Front Street buildings no longer giving a presence,  the victims of a 1970 urban renewal program, but the flavor of the old west still could be perceived.  The Willson’s touring the replicas,  mounting boot hill,  enjoying a gunfight presentation, savoring the memorable realm.

Newspaper account

Welcome to Rocky Ford

US Highway 50, the median west thru  Garden City,  then elapsing less than a mile from another noted Kansas town, Holcomb, its acclaim pronounced by Truman Capote 1966 book and movie, In Cold Blood.  The 1959 well publicized murder of the Clutter family in farming community of Holcomb being chronicled.   Crossing into Colorado,  the small town of Rocky Ford,  another distinctive town  nationally renown, noted for it its  cantaloupes.  Gary making a mental note for the return trip home, to stop at one of many roadside stands and redeem a quantity of Rocky Fords nationally known product.

The Rockies on the horizon

Double rainbow at Canon City Colorado

The Holiday Motel

Trekking west thru Pueblo, the arid flat plains of Colorado giving way to a vista view of the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the distance.   The day long venture about to conclude,  echoing in the first nights rest at the Holiday Motel in Canon City,  a small privately owned facility without amenities,  but the congeniality of the management and its low-budget rooms were adequate for an overnight stay.  Canon City,  the gateway to the Royal Gorge Bridge and State Park, Gary reserving the gorge visit for the return journey home.   The early morning breakfast fulfilled, the family making a decision to traverse northward, 1 ½ hour detour from Highway 50 to the Colorado gold mining communities of Cripple Creek and Victor.

Robert on the road to Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek

Journeying on Highway 9 the unpaved portion before intersecting the uphill Highway 11 to Cripple Creek and its sister city Victor,  reminding Gary of the mountainous roads of Siskiyou County California as a youth with the exception of the rocks causing the road to narrowed to a single lane then passing through the tunneled walls of solid granite.  The once booming 1890 town now renounced from its past,  the state of Colorado having just legalized Cripple Creek for gambling.  The sparse old shops housing antiques and tourist knickknacks now sporting For-Lease or For-Sale signs,  the future modern-day entrepreneurial proprietors yet to established all their gambling enterprises.

Aboard the CC & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad

Train Robbers

An early lunch at the Victor Hotel dining room,  followed by a tour of the remaining shops of Cripple Creek and a boarding of the CC & Victor Narrow Gauge Railway. The scenic journey hugging the cliff endowed tracks,  crossing the old trestles,  following the paths of the ore carrying cars to the stamp mills.  A group of masked outlaws,  firing their  guns,  boarding the train,  commanding a hold-up,  extracting gratuities from the tourist passengers,  a payment for the reenactment.  The late afternoon finding the Willson’s receding the 9494 ft. elevations of Cripple Creek this time on State Highway 24.  Gary thankful for leaving the thin air of the mining community,  the Buick breaching the scenic high mountain meadows,  again to acquaint US 50,  the westward venture continuing.  The scenic wonders of the Colorado  fulfilling the excursion as they continued upward on the majestic expanse of the Continental Divide.

Rocky Mountains leaving Cripple Creek

Sharing the terrain – Highway 50 & the Arkansas River


Continental Divide…….#225 (the 90’s)

March 28, 2016

Reaching the summit

Gift Shop


With the farewell to Cripple Creek and again on highway 50, the Buick Skylark reaching a summit on the Continental Divide,  Monarch Pass,  revered as one of Colorado’s most scenic overlooks.   The Willson’s halting their progression at the visitors center which included a gift shop and small restaurant.  The family taking notice of the aerial tram for those wanting to acknowledge the cable journey across a canyon to Monarch Ridge.  The family taking  a brief refreshment pause in the prevailing thin air Colorado environment,  acknowledging the postcard scene exposition.  Gary uncomfortable with the thin air of the 11,000 ft.  elevations, but relief was coming as they traversed downhill toward Gunnison, their westward journey continuing.

Down hill to Gunnison




The city and also the county of Gunnison Colorado was named for John W Gunnison,  a surveyor for the Pacific Railroad in 1853.  His demise coming from the Indians of the Ute Tribe resenting the intrusion in their majestic domain, the Tomichi Valley,  its area included the marvelous expanse of Gunnison.  The valley a scenic wonder, nestled at 7,200 feet, with the majestic Gunnison river.  Unlike the white water Arkansas which the Willson’s had witnessed during their scenic Highway 50 travels.  This smaller river journeys through the wide-spreading Gunnison Tomichi valley mostly presenting a presence of serenity.

Main Street – Highway 50 in Gunnison

Gunnison River

The Gunnison Super Eight Motel lodging accommodating Gary and his family for the night.  The morning found the Willson’s traveling north to the hamlet of Crested Butte,  a small scenic community 30 miles north of Gunnison.   Crested Butte was primarily a winter season Activity Center with ski lodges and lifts,  the pronounced presence of 12,162 foot Crested Butte with its  sloping 2.6 mile ski run overlooking the community.   The township with less than 1200  was dotted with small sundry shops,  Gary finding an atmosphere reminiscing of the Hippies communities from the bygone era of the sixties.

Crested Butte

Crested Buttes shops

The return to Gunnison on Highway one 35 found the outset of the Gunnison River,  it was a confluence of the Taylor river tributary from Crested Butte and the East River,  the two coalescing to form the Gunnison at the town of Almont, 15 miles north of the municipality of Gunnison.  The River flowing southwest, then making a horseshoe turn, changing and flowing northwest before entering the Colorado River at Grand Junction.   Jan and the kids mentioning   the numerous river rafting enterprises along the river on the return from Crested Butte, Gary getting the message, deciding to stop and inaugurate a new experience, river rafting.


The sign read Scenic River Tours,  Gary halting the Buick’s journey to inquire,  recognizing that Robert and Sandi’s excitement starting to blossom with expectation.   The world of river rafting an unknown to the family, the explanation of white water rafting being discerned,  a type 1 voyage being a gently float down a river,  advancing in scale to a white water type 5 perspective, requiring experience to work as a crew member,  able to adhere to the instructions from the guide without hesitation.   The juncture of the Gunnison river,  its flow towards  the town was a rafting category type 3,  not a floating experience, but in respect, not a hazardous white water type 5 encounter either.


he Willson’s adorning their life jackets, boarding the raft,  taking their assigned rowing positions.  with cast off they listened to the instructions from the experienced helmsmen,  even with their attentiveness they were still able to absorb the beauty of the countryside and the enhancement of the sparkling clear brisk moving river.  The 45 minutes of passage was an onstage presentation of Colorado’s natural beauty.  the quiescence experienced with the roar of the river,  then a calmness,  the silence of serenity abounded with the husbandry of nature,  the charisma of the flowing river removing all thoughts of the quotidian world.   Gary subliminally making a mental note, having  experienced the gleam in his children’s eyes, plus his own countenance, this first experience of rafting would not be their last.

Blue Mesa

black Canyon National Monument

Again the westward journey  began, the Willson’s departing Gunnison,  Highway 50 still a bulwark of progression,  another two hours would find their destination.   The high altitude plains of Colorado and Blue Mesa Reservoir promulgated before them,  the largest body of water in Colorado,  Gary having never experienced a 36 mile long reservoir.  the highway paralleling the seemingly endless body of water,  its presence but a brief pause for the flowing Gunnison river.   The roadside sign red Black Canyon National Monument,  its designation further north.  Gary hesitating,  a curiosity,  filing a thought for another time,  a possible inquisition on the family’s return to the plains of Kansas.

Montrose turn off


.Arriving at Montrose,  their westward trek on highway 50  coming to an end,  the Buick turning south on Highway 550, an hour’s journey to embrace their destination, a  small sequestered community of 800,  slumbered at seven thousand seven hundred and ninety two feet, nestled in the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, its prominence proclaimed as the Switzerland of America, Ouray Colorado.


Hooray – Ouray……….#226 (the 90’s)

March 26, 2016

Welcome to Ouray

The Willson’s Arriving at the Switzerland of America,  Ouray Colorado,  an  unique town nestled in the San Juan Range of the western Rocky Mountain at an elevation of 7811 feet,  Gary remaining Curious of how Jan’s mother and father found this picturesque  location.   The Willson family having made prior reservation at the Rivers Edge Motel,  a scant distance from the  river trailer sanctuary hosting the Murrow’s 35 ft. fifth wheel mobile home.   As expected,  Jan’s sister Lynne, husband Shawn and daughters Sarah and Jamie having stationed their tent travel trailer accommodations in the same location.

The Rivers Edge Motel (note the blue 87 Buick)

The Rivers Edge Motel (note the blue 87 Buick)

Murrow’s 35 ft. 5th wheel trailer

As anticipated,  her Aunt Esther and Uncle Charles Terry,  having found enrollment at the Matterhorn Inn,  a more affluent residency.   The Willson’s impressed with their River Edge Motel accommodations,  their spacious upstairs corner room enabled them to descry the rippling sounds of the adventurous Uncompahgre river, and with the rooms windows open, its nighttime discharging sound providing a constitutional environment,  proclaiming its Colorado presence.

Esther & Charles Terry

Matterhorn Inn

The Uncompahgre River (An Ute Indian name)

The agenda for each day was nondescript,  a progenitor discussion held the night before about the coming ascendancy  enabling a determination of the next day’s events.   A daily stroll uptown to acquaint the many store exhibitions filled with tee shirts and Ouray memorabilia,  like many scenic wonders the town dependent on tourist for its livelihood.  The Murrow’s and Willson’s venturing into The Old Tyme Photograph Shop on Main Street, the opportunity for a meritorious Photograph was irresistible.  The Willson family opting to be photographed as a western formal sitting family of the 1880’s,  Sandi and Rob enjoying their characterization. Gary taking an interested in his father-in-laws quiet but reserved demeanor, the seriousness and subtle pride of donning the confederate uniform, as if recalling a past memory, having done this before in a prior life.  Bud was very much like Gary’s Dad sheltering his inner feelings and opinions within.

The Old Tyme Photograph Shop

The Willson Family

Bud Murrow a depiction from the past but ever-present today





Helen Murrow – a celestial Bride

A meaningful dedication



The captivating couple








An afternoon ritual a lunch engagement with the communal family, the Murrow‘s, Johnson’s and Terry’s,  an adherence to the dining opportunities of Ouray,  followed with a gelatinous appearance at the Ice Cream and candy store.   Gary and Jan enjoying a walking exercise east on 8th Street,  a 3 block journey to appraised the splendor of cascade falls,  the water descending off the mountain,  able to acquaint the alluring Falls, up-close and personal.

Sundry shops

Candy & Ice Cream Shop

Cascade Falls

Jan and Cascade Falls

The Rocky Mountain town  a portrait of opportunities,  not just from its endowed natural artistry, but a simulacrum of  visitation for its guest.   The 800 block of Main Street,  home to the Ouray Livery Barn.  Jan,  Robert, Sandra and the two Johnson girls ready to saddle up for a venture into the surrounding hills via horseback,  the chaperoned excursion a well-received equestrian event.

Sandra and her Mount

The Johnson Girls

The  trailer hook-up area extended for 3 and one half blocks north of 7th Street and was located on the west bank of the Uncompahgre River,  the facility with a unique name 4 J+1+1 RV and trailer Park, which also provided restrooms, shower facilities, a laundry and  vending machines.   bud and Helen Murrow enjoying a home away from home.  Shawn and Lynne Johnson displaying their tent trailer adjacent to the Murrow’s 5th wheel location.  An early morning breakfast could be discovered if the person’s timing was good,  the Willson children having commendable morning dietary predication,  if not prepared by their Grammy, prepared  by their Uncle Shawn whom enjoyed  displaying his culinary breakfast talents.

The 4J+1+1 RV & Trailer Park

4 J + 1 + 1

Esther Terry & Shawn Johnson

Sarah – Sandra – Jamie and Robert in the RV trailer

The family members escalating their 87 Buick,  traversing the quarter-mile southwest on Box Canyon Road to hike into the cavern domain of Box Canyon, a steel scaffold walkway allowing passage,  the roar of the water cascading thru its formidable aperture filling the air.  Entering the Falls dominion,  a spectral aura could be experienced,  the force of the water providing a rebounding intonation of aptitude,  a resolution of mother-nature’s ascendancy.  One could journey into the cavernous atmosphere of white water pluming through its rocked carved highway  seeking its freedom from containment..

Inside Box Canyon

A gushing presence

Another adventurist location, the Bachelor Syracuse Mine, the pioneering industries of a by-gone era,  the gold mining enterprise that first brought acknowledgement to the community.   The Willson’s desiring to partake of the 3350 foot journey on a train tram into the void of solid rock designated as Gold Hill,  to their disappointment there was a long waiting list.  The miners of yesteryear also were disappointed, they found that most of the mining effort wasn’t productive for gold,  but discovering a bonanza for another commodity that was inherently abundant,  silver.

Bachelor – Syracuse Min

Gold ore

A mile south on Highway 550 was the intersection of  county road 16 which ascended across several streams,  raising above the valley below, the entire Murrow related family assembling for the outing.   The area providing stopping points to engage the crystal clear water,  which gently flowed from above,  enabling a venue for gathering rocks and weathered wooden artifacts and a vicinity for Robert to engage in a display of his rock climbing ability.  The promulgated destination projected an overlook platforms  providing a majestic vista,  below one could view the panorama of Ouray and the grandiose San Juan Mountains could be ascertained.

Rock hunting

Robert & Grammy

The Willson’s – Bud Murrow – The Terry’s

Twelve miles north of Ouray,  the community of Ridgeway awaited,  its prominence established when the 1969 John Wayne Movie, True Grit, and the 1962 epic How The West Was Won with its all-star cast. but its tourism industry expressed predominantly in the winter.  its location at the junction of Highway 550 and 62, the well-traveled avenue to the renowned winter haven of  Telluride.   Gary finding it interesting,  Telluride was located in a box canyon just 10 miles from Ouray,  but one had to traverse  55 miles of highway to get there.   The small town besides being a winter wonderland is known to the movie industry for the annual Telluride Film Festival,  the cinema elite in attendance.

On the scenic drive to Telluride,  the Willson’s noticing the presences of the eastward flowing Dolores River,  navigating onto a dirt access road to accord a better view of the waterway,  a discovery in a weeded over grown area on the side of the road,  a rusted 1960’s VW  Van,  a makeshift chimney protruding thru it roof,  Gary surmising,  a probable home to a personage from the bye gone 60’s era.   The river providing an opportunity to disembark,  to communicate with its flowing aura, to feel its pulse and experience its breath of life.

A relic from the past

The Dolores River

The Dolores River near Telluride







A tour of Telluride finding a 12 square block domain very similar in size to Kiowa Kansas,  but studded with an array of proprietary buildings inflated with wears,  catering to the thousands of affluent visitors each year.   Gary concluding,  the San Juan Mountains,  their 14,000 foot majestic peaks,  the travel time to Telluride in itself a nominal price to pay for the wondrous scenic experience.  The days  travels concluding,  the grandeur of tomorrow awaiting.





The Million Dollar Highway….#227 (the 90’s)

March 24, 2016

Red Mountain


Gary couldn’t believe the passage on Highway 550 over the 12,980 foot elevation of Red Mountain,  its program south from Ouray  designated as The Million Dollar Highway  was  a carnage of progress,  the Willson’s destination being Durango and points west.   This renown  highway was a cornucopia of twist and turns,  the incline of the road finding highway signs disclosing a warning message to slow to a speed as low as 5 miles per hour thru the curving deviations.   The Buick ,its transmission paling,  registered in first gear to slow its downhill decent,   the brakes being applied on numerous occasions to moderate it’s speed,  the family taking notice that many sections of the road unsheperd with guard rails

The view of the gorge below,  the depth of the incline giving reverence to the perplexity of those workers  who fashioned a path on the sheer cliffs of the 13,000 ft.   mountain.   Halting their travel at Silverton,  the family disembarking the Skylark,  Gary noticing an emanation discharging from the Buick,  a familiar odor from his peregrinations with his father during his youthful travels in a ten-wheeler loaded lumber truck,  the smell of calescent brake pads.

Continuing the digression on the Million Dollar highway,  but this time being somewhat more cautious in braking the automobiles advancement, the smell emitted by the hot brakes still lingering,   the 70 mile journey from Ouray to Durango a two hours juncture being fulfilled.    A hesitation at Durango,  the Willson’s then embarking west on Highway 160 to the Mesa Verde National Park,  a historic presentations of Colorado heritage,  its Indian Cliff Dwellings dating from 550 AD to 1300 AD,  but never acknowledged until the 1870’s by William Henry Jackson and finally recognized as a national park in 1906.  The road trip ensuing a 40 mile venture,  the passing scenery mostly made up of desolate rock propositions, then a sudden conclusion with the appearance  of a vestige tree habitation,  thus acquiring its name Mesa Verde,  “Green Table”.

Mesa Verde National Park

The Buick reaching its destination,  the family embarking on a winding rock spawn path entering the realm of a Indian civilization that existed for more than 800 years,  their demise still questionable to this day.   The cliff dwellings and their presentation a wondrous vision of the past,  Gary a student of history,  intrigued with the surroundings,  a curiosity about the inhabitants culture, their thoughts about life and the future,  or was it all about survival.  Rob and Sandi touring the realm, examining its remains, Gary wondering how long the permutation would hold their interest., but what really matter was providing the opportunity, learning years ago not assess another’s inquisitiveness and especially with children, just enjoy the moment.

The tour of the relics of the past completed,  once again in the presence of the Buick reversing course but with a final cessation,  Gary noting a sign for an overlook, “Four Corners“,  a view from one vantage point of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado,  the family according the winding road to acquaint the presentation. Discovering the flatland view somewhat anticlimactic.  Returning to Durango, ensuing a discussion of acquainting the Durango Silverton Narrow Gage Railway Tour, but because of the late hour decided to forgo the two-hour tour,  Gary desiring to arrive in Ouray before dark,  postponing the event for another time

The Willson family Matriarch







Family Gathering

The contradistinction visits to Ouray finding Gary’s mother,  Betty Willson,  the dexterous matriarch traveling from California to the high altitude region,  making an aeronautical entrance to the Montrose Airport to join them in Ouray to celebrate the abundance of the Colorado Mountains.   The Murrow Family playing host to the eldest Willson,  sharing their riverside trailer pavilion for her stay,  Gary happy to see a closer articulation of the two families.

Acknowledging his mother’s presence as an uplifting experience,  her attendance giving acquiesce that another family realm existed besides those propagated from the domination and dynasties of Kansas and Oklahoma.  With the new arrival,  a return to many of the local enhancements including the dominion of Box Canyon and the cavalcade of rushing water.   Gary’s mother spending the better part of a week experiencing the presentations of Ouray community and the over-powering instigation of the Rocky Mountains.

The Rivers Edge Motel

Western Hotel

A departure time having ascended,  the Willson’s River Edge Motel provision having expired,  but a desire to remain another day was acquired,  a move up the street,  a block away to the historic Western Hotel,  it’s remnants from an earlier era.   The dining room and bar a depiction of something out of a western movie, the upstairs rooms having old metal spring beds,  the restroom a commune down the hall,  the experience a peregrinations back in time.

Turn of the century dining

A real saloon bar

The departure morning the family enjoying a buffet breakfast in the western hotel, Gary and Jan visiting with the proprietors,  the conversation revolving around the sale of the property, its ascension and its despondence,  for a second a peak of interest bridging Gary’s mind, a move to Colorado brandishing itself,  but being dismissed as only a dream of a beholder.

With the Willson family departure in the morning, Shawn Gary’s brother-in-law, affirming he would see Gary’s mother Betty to the Montrose airport the following day,  Gary very appreciative of Shawn’s jester.  With goodbyes having been said, the Buick once again embarking on a journey, only this time east towards Kansas.


White Water……………..#228 (the 90’s)

March 22, 2016

The Willson Family

black Canyon National Monument

The Willson’s having made notice of their portal trip,  the return journey  to Kansas having commenced, the memories amassed from Ouray forever ingrained, the family still anticipating adding excursions during their homecoming venture.  Once again traversing on Highway 50,  the  road sign proclaiming Black Canyon National Monument, the Buick Skylark veering north to explore the reaches of another one of  nature’s commemorations.

Visitors Center

Gunnison River in canyon

Arriving,  the scenic pathway from the visitors lodge leading to the bounds of the canyon,  the family from high above the able to view  the waters of the Gunnison River, its flow providing a majestic contour of Colorado topography.   Continuing on, a brief stoppage in Gunnison for lunch at the Chatterbox Cafe before continuing eastward towards the Royal Gorge and the flowing Arkansas River.

The roadside sign proclaimed river runners whitewater rafting, Gary halting the Buick in anticipation of what lay ahead.  Entering the rafting operators pavilion discovering the River Runners provided Class 3 & 4 river experience for the family, a 16 years of age requirement preventing a class 5 river journey.   Suited with life jackets, mounting the fourteen foot river raft, Gary sitting on the forward port side, Robert on the starboard Jan  Sandra and another couple all positioned with oars making up the capable crew,  the helmsman ready to bark the rowing instructions.

Casting off,  the river presenting a flowing quiescence,  the oarsman pilot adducing an explanation to his crew about the necessity to adhere to his commands and the procedure for their safety if the raft should capsize.   The scenic canyon housing the empowered Arkansas providing a majestic view,  the flora,  the habitat,  including the long horn sheep visible on the cliffs of the gorge.  The white water now a more frequent occurrence,  appearing in longer presentations,  its deafen roar no longer a background intonation but an on stage advocate to  mother nature’s paramount production.

White water – a challenge

The Willson’s on the Arkansas

The swiftness of the river cascading over the boulders, the crew of the water besieged vessel giving their full attention  according the helmsman and the administering of his commands.  The adrenalin beginning to flow with the temporal onslaught of whitewater,  the aura of the experience casting ones total fulfillment.  The assailant began its recession, a calming inauguration of the river, a relaxing temporal landing ashore,  the crew joining others   embarking on a bus ascending Highway 50, a return to the inception,  the white water adventure coming to a conclusion.  The only casualty being Gary’s watch.  In his haste in the port side rowing position he forgot to remove it from his wrist, the river remedied his forgetfulness and removed it for him.

royal Gorge Bridge

Bungee site

The Royal Gorge National Park entrance was a exiguous 6 miles from Canon City,  the Willson’s appointed overnight lodging before abrogating their opportune Colorado journey.   The entrance to the park finding an abundance of parking and a pathway leading to the famous suspension bridge.  The structure having a suspended wooden walkway 955 feet above the Arkansas River,  its 150 foot towers providing support for the 1260 ft. long, 18 foot wide wooden pathway.  The bridge completed in 1929 and most recently used in a 1980 television program, That’s Incredible, where a world record-setting bungee jump of over 800 feet was made.

A petting experience

Having a new acquaintance

Happiness shows

Most surprising to the family was the deer habitations found at the bridge entrance,  so accepted of mankind, a person could approach them and stroke their presence.  Jan and the children taking advantage, able to pet the ancestry of nature.   Gary finding the view of the Arkansas river and the royal gorge railway below a majestic display, one was able to watch the kayaks of the river rogues navigated down the torrent of water, observing their small vessels oscillating upside down in the domain far below. The enlightenment of the Gorge,  its scenic wonder furthering another display of the wonderment of Colorado.

The Royal Gorge from the bridge

A royal person at the royal gorge

An early morning Canon City start,  the Buick up and running for its return to Kansas,  bidding a  farewell to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado,  the flat easterly plains lay ahead.   A final scheduled stop before the Stateline,  Rocky Ford, the family not forgetting its famous cantaloupes.  Crossing into Kansas, the continuous journey about to conclude, at last the welcoming of home,  Anthony,  the family adventure indelibly imprinted, a mnemonic occasion for remembrance.

The Anthony House

After Arriving home, Gary received a phone call from California, his sister inquiring about their mother’s health,  his mother embarking from her flight in a wheelchair,  a discernment that she may have been under duress during her stay,  the 7800 ft. elevation may have caused an encumbrance to her health.   Gary mentioning that she never related a problem to those presence during her stay,  Gary thought.  the stubbornness of a matriarch,  never to beset others with her problems.  But thankful that her prognosis was better and her detriment on the mend. and that the time they had spent together was a blessing.

The Willson family Matriarch

Family Gathering


An Eclipsing Grief……. #229 (the 90’s)

March 20, 2016


. The overcast morning at the Riverside Cemetery, the sky’s solemn display representative of the eclipsing grief displayed by the Bud Murrow and Stevenson families.  Jeanette, the  eldest of the  Murrow’s Granddaughters involved in an automotive accident was reposed in her final earthly resting place.  The 27-year old divorced mother of two an unexpected precipitous tragedy, a gesture of life’s entwined path of uncertainty,  a question of reason enshrouded those in attendances  for the somber memorial.  The assemblage somewhat separated, a vestige of remembrance instilled in the gathered families , its members gathering in supportive unison, but inwardly searching their own intrinsic resolution awaiting a temporal reconciliation.   Gary was cognizant of the furtive petitioning displayed by of  paternal and maternal families after the commemoration. 

.  Gayle Robb, Jeanette’s mother, her daughter Shawna and Helen Murrow besieged with consolatory members of the Apostolic Christian  Church.    Lucille Stevenson, the paternal grandmother and Jeanette’s younger brother Todd, surrounded by sympathetic townspeople.  Gary taking notice of the two separate groups, also noticing a grievous Bud Murrow standing alone, disengaged from the array, a consideration to approach him. but hesitant, Gary knowing that his Father-in-law as the man he was, preferring to address his tribulations in solitude.

. Jeanette and Todd, the offspring of Gayle’s first marriage to Kiowa raised Jim Stevenson, the Stevenson’s  a prominent Kiowa and Barber County family.   Jim’s father, Andy Stevenson elected Barber County Sheriff, adhering the position for 24 years before retiring in 1974.   Gary recalling in years past the Robb family upon visiting Kiowa, Steve, Gayle and Shawna would accommodate the Murrow family home, Todd and Jeanette acquainting the Stevenson’s household with their overnight presence.   An undercurrent of inauspicious events in Jan’s sister Gayle and husband Steve’s onset giving precedence to their grieving lamentation and despair for the loss of Jeanette.  The augmented Robb family, Steve, Gayle, Todd, Jeanette and Shawna through the years embraced by Bud and Helen Murrow as exemplifying the canonical presence of a prominent heritage, the couple’s stature as a foundation of the ultimate attainment.  Gayle repenting and becoming a Sister in the Apostolic Christian Church,  Steve, an Officer and Gentlemen during the Vietnam conflict, an activist and pillar of his community.

  With the passing of time, an ominous cloud forming, a metamorphosis progressing, a subtle fissure was apparent in their propinquity.  The  Murrow family members beginning to have a growing concern, confiding surreptitiously of laden aspersions, arising and casting speculation.   Gary overhearing Ester Terry’s chronicle of Gayle’s articulated acquaintance with her photography store employer and their overnight business trips.  Gayle’s insatiable desire for extravagant furnishing to attain status,  Steve relating to Esther’s husband Charles, Gayle was about to bankrupt them with her excessive ambition.


. The Robb family and public suddenly made aware of  a new development, one of unbelievable consequence, a catastrophic disclosure, Steve having abruptly submitting his resignation as a prestigious bank loan officer.   The bank and newspaper publicly disclosing allegations of improprieties concerning the United Way Charity account, an implication adding to the distress of the Robb conjugation.  Gary discerning that during this time of turmoil there was an unattended situation that also addled Jeanette, a separation and divorce from her husband Robert Tice and loss of the custody of her two young boys Logan and Cody.  Jeanette having difficulties coping with the unrestrained turmoil turning to frequent latitudes of unseemly acquaintances, eventually culminating in the fatal automobile accident.   The whole specter of the unmitigated plight that addressing the Robb family, its once quintessential pedestal of endowed prestige having waned with it deliquesce.  The final outcome, disillusionment,  the conceptualized perfect family realizing imperfections.

Gary’s respect for Steve Robb remaining immeasurable,  Steve’s alleged improprieties were acquiesce, his motive honorable, his retribution was reputable, his creed remaining intact, but the addendum was never worthy of his sacrifice.   Gary reasoned, the road of life reveals itself as it is traveled.


The Future Remains Hidden…#229A (the 90’s)

March 20, 2016

From the Alva Review Courier

.  A new beginning for the Willson’s,  the Anthony communities ongoing battle with Hospital Administrator Lee Adams having come  to a conclusion,  Adams terminated as administrator and exiled to a minority post in  Wichita  HC A’s   Westley hospital.   The  residue consequence,  a subsided term of employment for Jan Willson as Nursing Director,  the RN agreeing to terminate her Anthony Hospital position.   Jan having no difficulty finding temporary employment as a nurse in Wichita or Pratt.   A review of the Wichita Eagle,  discovering a notice,  the Share Medical Center in Alva Oklahoma was searching for a Director of Nursing.   Jan enthusiastically submitting her resume to  Share Medical Center,  a finding of emanation,  scheduling an interview with Mike McCoy,  the hospital Administrator.  Jan returning home in Anthony, deeming her interview with the administrator and Hospital Board of Directors as going well, and a subsequent notification from the hospital proclaiming success.   Gary as an eternal optimist,  having no doubts she would be selected for the position of D O N,  never doubting his wife’s tenacity.   Jan’s acquisition to the administrative position in the pristine 80 bed medical facility,  was in keeping  with  her resolve for her profession.

.  The compass of Jan’s new employment,  having to experience a 60 mile one way drive to Alva Oklahoma from Anthony,  her time at home presenting a deprivation from a preponderant family.   Gary continuing his culinary role as family cook,  providing the meals for Robert and Sandra and accepting the new family procurement.    Jan’s daily 120 mile trek to Alva in the 87 Buick a concern for Gary.  The Buick having provided  good service during the past years, but the added miles were beginning to accumulate, coming to a decision,  it was time to upgrade her transportation to one more in concert with her traveling status,  deciding on a journey to Wichita, to apprise the automotive specter.  Jan already having aspirations for a convertible, having taken notice of the recently displayed Dodge Shadow,  Chrysler having added a Shadow convertible for the 1993 model year.

.  The couple traveling the 52 miles to Wichita,  halting at a Dodge Dealership on South Broadway,   finding an array of new Dodge Shadows,  but no convertibles.  Continuing to the intercity on East Kellogg,  an area encompassing several mile of automotive dealerships, distinguished as automobile row.  Arriving at the pristine Davis  Moore Dodge Chrysler enterprise,  taking notice of the showroom display,  a Dodge Shadow Convertible,  an E S 6,  fuel injected model.  The salesperson introducing the showroom presentation,  Jan sitting in the displayed convertible,  her presence, a complementary grandeur,  an equated pair.  The couple not making a commitment, but the sales person insisting on taking the Willson’s financial status,  mentioning that the noon hour was approaching and that it would take some time for the dealership to acquisition a conclusion if they desired to proceed

.  The lunch hour finding the two proceeding east on Kellogg,  Gary noticing the expansive Rusty Eck Ford dealership, a decision being made to stop, finding a host of salesmen about to pounce upon their entrance..  As expected they were greeted with a Rusty Eck spokesperson,  Gary according the explanation,  they were interested in a mid sized convertible.   Immediately a red 1992,  5 oh  Mustang Convertible appeared before them,  the sales person insisting that the couple take it for a test drive,  Gary mentioning the lunch hour,  the salesmen insisting they take the car,  returning it after their lunch.  Gary driving the Mustang, the Fords odometer reading  a little over 20 thousand miles,  a four speed stick shift,  Gary very much impressed with the car’s performance,  but  finding it lacked two concepts  the new Dodge Shadow processed, the Shadow having an automatic transmission, and most of all,  that ever present aroma found only in a new car.

.  Returning the Mustang,  it was back to the  Davis – Moore dealership and the showcased E S Shadow,  Gary recognizing his wife’s avidity for the Shadow  Convertible.  Gary realizing from the sticker price, the monthly amortization exceeded their budgeted expectations,  but having experience the ardent radiance in Jan’s eyes,  he couldn’t refuse her predilection.   The long-established 1987 Buick, its presence providing years of recreational contingency for the family, would be instilled as a covenant of exchange,  Gary reluctant,  but realizing the necessity.   The financial acknowledgement of accreditation attained,  the recorded papers signed.

.  There was no discernment as to who would drive the new Shadow Convertible on the return to Anthony.  Jan behind the wheel leaving Davis  Moore in the late afternoon,  the twilight of evening hour starting to prevail.  The journey from Wichita, the convertible top down,  Jan’s hair blowing in the wind,  Gary observing the projection of her,  and the sovereignty of the attraction she beheld.

.  The requisitioned mileage to Anthony,  a pleasant journey, able to acquaint the atmosphere of the countryside,  the aura of life’s surrounding bouquets, the aroma of the fields, the dictates arising from the water filled creeks,  the essence of livestock in the field.   The day coming to a completion, Gary finding its aspects a taxing experience,  but it’s conclusion rewarded with a satisfaction,  Jan’s transportation was a compliment to perspicuity of her new position as Director of Nursing at Share Medical Center in Alva Oklahoma.


Like Minded Amway Family…#230 (the 90’s)

March 18, 2016


The door bell sounded at 602  North Springfield Avenue,  Gary answering the summons,  the person inquiring was Dr. Donald Ransom,  a familiar acquaintance from Jan and Gary’s servitude at the Anthony, and Kiowa  Hospitals.   The doctor,  a surgeon providing his expertise at several Medical Facilities within a fortuitous radius of his Medicine Lodge,  Kansas home.   Gary’s curiosity for the visit was answered, Don venturing an invitation for the Willson to join him and his wife Barbara in an impressive business opportunity called Amway.  Gary and Jan having been surreptitiously introduced to a Amway proposal earlier by  a nursing friend of Jan’s in Wakita Oklahoma, the couple having accepted an invitation to journey to the town south of Anthony.  The gatherings purpose not divulged until the beginning of the presentation,  Gary finding little interest in the endeavor, but finding the host, and others in attendance were very congenial, as were the snacks provided.



Dr. Don’s marketing presentation was more meaningful, his professional integrity giving gravity to the Amway Organization.  Gary very much impressed with the doctors enlightened  presentation, realization that as an Amway Distributor you didn’t sell merchandise, but purchased the quality Amway products for your own use,  the financial benefit coming from a commensurate of establishing other to do likewise.  The corporation being structured as a motivational continuity,  each distributor encouraged to enroll others and for them to do likewise.   The organizational chart providing point values, with designated levels with names such as Diamond,  Emerald, Ruby, Platinum, Gold, and  Silver,  all dependent on the quantity of members in your group, and the volume of merchandise that you and your sponsored representative distributed.


The couple deciding to bond with Doctor Ransom, and his wife as their up-line sponsor in the Amway Enterprise,  discovering when attending their first meeting  at Century II in Wichita,  a host of professionals,  doctors, attorneys, business owners, all well dressed,  with pad and pencils, taking notes from a renown motivational speaker.  The Amway group being mastered by a Diamond family residing in Wichita,  Jim and Marcia McAnarney,  Dr. Don’s immediate up-line being a respected plumbing supply distributor ,  Earl Carra and his wife Rhonda.   Gary although agreeing with the premise of the  endeavor was not immediately  receptive,  somewhat reluctant for a total commitment,  but Jan’s vigor was respected,  a suspicion that her ambition as a nurse and being engaged in a business venture with a physician, was a profession attribute.



Gary began to acquire enthusiasm for  the indicative program,  the undertaking of discerning and sponsoring acquaintances whom he thought would have an understanding, and conception of the benefits and opportunities of the Amway Program.   Dr. Don joining Gary in his solicitation of Amway down-line participants,  with tripod and diagrams, and the Doctor’s presence,  his regal descriptive message acquiring prestige, and plaudits to the program.   Gary discovering, once a new distributor applicant has attended a larger Amway function,   the cognizance of-the-inception would be recognized,  not as a convenience, but one that could be fabricated as an income multiplying asset with unlimited potential, and evident by the distinguished  presence of the Diamonds,  Emerald and Ruby level Members in attendance.



Dr. Ransom, his wife Barbara,  their Chevrolet suburban journeying south to interstate 40,  Jan and Gary, two of the six consigned to the conveyance, the group’s destination, Albuquerque new Mexico, a baronial Amway weekend symposium at the Kiva convention center.   The center providing seating for 6000, more than adequate for the joint venture of the McAnarney’s Organization,  the world information network, shorten to the acronym, WIN.   The Wichita based group having diverged from The Flying Eagles,  a larger Amway group encompassing Kansas,  Oklahoma, and New Mexico, both groups in Attendance.


The Stellar groups almost filling the Hall,  the Willson’s seated taking notice, instead of the accustomed Motivational speaker colloquy, the host introducing a different format with a movie screen being lowered, the full length Hollywood production of the 1993 film “Rudy”, starring Sean Astin began.   With the movies  conclusion, the lights coming up, and to the awe of those in attendance, the host announcing, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Rudy Ruettiger” , and from behind the curtain, the real life person the film depicted appeared onstage.


The afternoon convocation of Rudy Ruettiger energizing,  Rudy behind the podium exhibiting  motivational presentation to a stunned audience.  The afternoon program concluding, Gary inquisitive as to what the evening would instill that could crest the accolade of the afternoon’s  event.   The evening hour motivational palaver beginning,  the unannounced entertainment to  follow.  The education portion coming to a conclusion, the stage curtains opening to a very recognizable renown band,  Paul Revere and the Raiders,  a celebrated group  apropos to the age of much of the audience.


The experience of Albuquerque,  the journey to and from Kansas a memorable perspicacity for those who indulge in the contentedness of Amway’s incentives, and its projected motivation of achievement.  Gary discovering the Amway association having opened a new social perspective to a community of people whose ideals, morality and principles were Transcendent.



Jim and Marcia McAnarney having procured a 50 acre lake near the intersection of Interstate 235 and Highway 42,  within the city limits of Wichita for the expressed purpose as recreational reward to those who were adjutant in the Amway avocation.  Gary‘s certainty in building a distributor association having significantly increased,  an invitation extended to a small number of distributors in recognition of ongoing achievements, including the Willson’s,  Ransoms and their young children.   The lake and its accessories of motorized water accouterments, including boats,  Yamaha wave runners and Ski-Doo jet skis providing an afternoon of enlightenment.   The invited quests provided a late afternoon meal in the boat house lodge,  followed by a business program in the residency adjoining the lodge.


Diamonds Jim and Marcia providing many incentives to their down-line distributors,  with a continual recognition, and acknowledgement,  leasing Wichita’s Joyland Amusement Park for a Saturday afternoon’s private use by the family members of the WIN organization.  The Willson family spending the day along with several hundred in attendance,  almost all familiar faces.   Gary finding an aura of harmony among the group,  a sense of a concordance,  a like-minded Amway family of marketeers.

A Treasure of Knowledge………. #230A (the 90’s)

March 17, 2016


   Gary’s elderly friend, Jim White,  was on the telephone, inquiring if Gary would be interested in going to Wichita, and attend a scheduled program put on by the members of the American Theatre Organ Society,  featuring  century 2’s  famous Wurlitzer Theatre Organ.  Gary having attended programs at Century 2 in the past, but was unaware  Century 2,   designed by  John Hickman and Roy Varenhorst,  apprentices of the most distinguished American Architect of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright,  was the only building in Wichita having a large enough area to provide a home for the organ.  To complicate matters, the only time the  theater organ organization can schedule a program, is on an evening when the  rest of the 200,000 square foot convention center is vacant, the vibrancy of the organ being felt and heard throughout the complex.

Gary curious,  discovering an entrepreneur named Richard Simonton, the same Richard Simonton,  who purchased a world war II, naval drafted,  rundown Mississippi riverboat, restoring the Delta Queen to a Mississippi river touring Pavilion.    Purchasing the future Wichita organ,  which was setting idle  the past two years,  in the vacant Paramount Theater in New York City,  for installation in the Los Angles Belmont Theater,  but the Belmont became unavailable.  The members of the American Theatre Organ Society in Wichita approach Simonton and obtain the organ for the new Century 2 complex.  During its storage,  a break in occurred,  vandals set fire to the console.  Not dissuaded,  the organ society, using original Wurlitzer blueprints and schematics,  under took an exact restoration of the organ.  On December 9, 1972 at the Century II, the mighty Wurlitzer,  once again enveloped the atmosphere, breathing life, proclaiming it voice in the world of music.

The scheduled night arriving, Jim’s residence conveniently located around the corner and a ½ block north on Anthony Avenue.  Opal, Jim’s wife,  taking gary aside with Jim absent from the room,  in hushed tones asking that he keep an eye on Jim’s night driving,  that normally she accompanied him,  but wasn’t feeling well and was grateful Jim had someone to accompany him.  Gary soon discovered,  the journey to Wichita would be a history lesson,  Jim enlightening Gary, as a youth, among other endeavors, he  was a theatre projectionist in the era of silent movies and theatre organs, and  how he come to be involved with the theatre organ.  A friend,  who  was a member of  American theatre organ society,  contacted him about having difficulty finding a replacement blower motor for the  organ,  knowing Jim was familiar with an organs functional operation, but more important,  his mechanical expertise in motors, their rpm, and p s i output.  

Gary curious about the organ pipes, posing a question to Jim as to their number.  Jim replying he was unsure, but the pipes were grouped in what they called ranks.  The Tibias rank, sounding the lowest notes,  measuring 16 feet in length and there were 32 pipes in a rank,  the other ranks held pipes as small as 4 inches in length.  The Wichita theatre organ,  being only the second Wurlitzer to have been manufactured to utilize 58 ranks.  and because of the pipe size and number,  Century 2 was an ideal home for the mighty Wurlitzer

The Buicks early arrival in Wichita having a purpose, Jim explaining, he and Opal always stopped for supper at the Country Buffet on West Central Avenue. Gary couldn’t help but notice the age of the clientele, and from past experience, was able to determine in all probability, the quality of the meal would be on the bland side, but he was in Wichita, not for the cuisine, but to experience a Theatre Organ. Gary discovering the inaugural journey, and introduction to the Wichita Theater Organ, was the first of several, the most memorable one, being a presentation of the 1927 silent movie, Wings, complete with the original accompanying organ score. Gary enjoying the time spent with his knowledgeable friend and mentor, amazed that he was a treasure of knowledge in every respect. Jim who was four years older than his father, in some respects, fulfilled a paternal void in his life.


Never Forgotten Memorable Events……#231(90’s)

March 16, 2016


The point of exaltation was Wichita,  Robert and his Dad projecting a designation in the Chevrolet Blazer to The Darryl StarBird Rod and Custom show featured in the exhibition hall of the Wichita Century II Center.   Both looking forward to the exhibition of outstanding products of the marauding outlandish endeavor that was once an American Idol,  the Hot-Rod.   Gary apropos to the Convention Center,  he and Robert entering the circular expansion and for some unknown reason Dad  misjudged the entrance, instead of the Darryl StarBird exposition entrance, they enter a pavilion and behold a Culinary Arts Exposition.   Row after row of tables laden with divergent culinary cuisine,  an extraordinary presentation of delicacies waiting to be sampled.   Gary noting the eleven o’clock hour,  deciding to preclude their later scheduled lunch, instead  the two gathering a paper plate,  proceeding to gaze with an earnest look but in reality ready to indulge in all the comestible diaphaneity.  Gary and Rob, once their appetency fulfilled, exiting the food pavilion,  acquiring the correct entrance to the Rod and Custom Show.

.  In the late Fifties, Darryl Starbird, a Wichita self-taught auto customizer, was given a commission  to build a custom ’57 T Bird for noted road racer,  Bob Turgeon for  the custom car show circuit. After many weeks of hard work, the customized T-Bird made its debut on the custom circuit,  and was  an award winning  entry.  Starbird,  reflecting on what he learned building Turgeon’s Bird,  located a badly-damaged T-Bird in a local Wichita junkyard.  Utilizing segments from other makes, with diligence it became  anointed as one of the most famous and advanced custom show cars of the era, appearing in 1960,  on the cover of Car Craft and Motor Life.  In 1964 Darryl Starbird introduced the first Darryl Starbird Rod and Custom Show in Tulsa Oklahoma,   starting an explosion to acquaint the American Public with its proclamation.

The national touring Rod and Custom Show having been inaugurated in Wichita Kansas,  the Wichita Star Kustom Shop rolling out its first custom car in the late 50’s,  starting an explosion to acquaint the American Public with its proclamation.  Gary as a teenager,  working at the Mountain Blvd Signal Service Station in Oakland California, pumping gas having a close association with those whom drove the infamous “raked 40 ford” and recalling his access to ride in the 57 Chevy purchased by Oakland’s Bruce’s Tire Company that won the Pike’s Peak Race and was more adherent to the display of cars than his son,  but understanding Rob’s coalescence would come with age.

The StarBird presentation wasn’t only automotive,  but included a display of female beauty giving presence and the  vocal entertainment by Peter Noone  noted as Herman from the British Rock Group,  Herman’s Hermits.  The Rock Group having sold over 52 million records,  outselling the Beatles in 1965.  The father, son outings a memorable one, not so much because of Darryl Starbirds Rod and Custom Show or even the miscalculation discovering an outstanding lunch at the Culinary Exposition, but memorable in that father and son shared a time and place together.

.  Labor Day in Kiowa Kansas is always a premiere event,  the population of 1100 in the small rural community adjusting to receiving visiting patronage twice it size.   A ritual of a Free Bean Feed put on by the chamber of commerce, but mainly administered by the members of the volunteer fire department, including Roger Robinson, Keith Rathgeber,  Bill Duvall and the other members of the appreciative firefighters.  This annual meal consisting of beans stewed in 3 ft. high Kettles, the simmering process starting the night before, served with added condiments of coleslaw, luncheon meat sandwiches and a table of enhancing homemade ice cream donated by the community.

.  The event sponsored booths displaying goods and works of art exhibited by mostly local entrepreneurs,  their craft wares being illustrated for barter,  but among the presenters were others traversing from as far away as Wichita to flourish their commodities.  Gary’s wife Jan, in prior years displaying her ceramic intrepidity, her Stateline Crafts endeavor  having participated in the Labor Day event.   The event was not without a traveling carnival,  snow cones,  cotton candy,  a Ferris wheel, Merry-go-round and other rides,  providing the younger set with entertainment.  Gary’s daughter Marlo, husband  Chris, and  Grandson Garrett spending the weekend in Anthony with the elder Willson’s,  enjoying and making their presence known at the Labor Day festivities.

.  Gary and others recognizing the person who shouldered most of the Labor Day Celebration responsibility,  Bob Hayes,  the owner of the local Gambles Hardware Store, providing organizational credence to the event.   Bob’s full-time service person,  Bill Duval assisting in the logistics for numerous requirements and the  public address systems.   Community activities being programmed, included an old fashioned tractor pull  with designated participants along its route,  mounting the sled to give it added weight as was done in a previous era.  An ongoing horseshoe contest,  mud-volleyball presentation,  and the infamous cake-walk,  the cakes being donated by the residence of Kiowa.

.  Gary having been introduced to the Kiowa Labor Day event years earlier, in 1974,  having made the acquaintance of then president of the Kiowa Chamber of Commerce, Judy Stairs, who was frequented Gary’s band, The Persuaders,  playing at Val’s night light Club in Alva Oklahoma.  Judy visiting with Gary about contracting the band  for an upcoming Labor Day Celebration.  The presentation,  an evening dance to be held at the City Community Building.  The family spending the day,  but adjourning the evening presentation,  Chris,  Marlo and Garrett having to return to Oklahoma City,  the Kiowa’s Labor Day activity providing a lasting memorable family event.