Thoughts from Williamsburg

I recently spent a week in Williamsburg, VA, and the surrounding area. I have already told you a little bit about that. I want to delve a little deeper into some of the thoughts I had while touring this historical area of our country.

At Jamestown you learn about the first permanent European settlement on what is now the  continental United States. At Monticello you learn about Thomas Jefferson, who was one of the founders of modern American thought regarding government, religion, and personal freedom. Yes, a slave owner was also one of the founders of the thinking that led to equal rights and freedom of belief for all people. Weird, I know.  At Williamsburg you can take a tour of the Governors Palace and the Capitol Building. The fine tour guides there will tell you all about the founders of our country, their amazing bravery of action, and courage of thought. It is truly an awe inspiring and humbling experience.

There is a lot of information about European and African peoples, and how they built our country. But I repeatedly was aware of a huge omission in all of this information. The Native American is scarcely mentioned, anywhere I went anyway. At Jamestown, there were some guides and information that touched on  the Powhatens, but that was about it.

When I was a little boy, in elementary school, I was told that Columbus discovered America. That is complete bullshit. The guy never set foot on the continental United States. If he had, he would have been proceeded by several million Native Americans, Vikings, and who knows who else. Columbus, like other European visitors, was sponsored by a Church or country, or both, in order to lay claim to new lands, riches, and peoples if they were convertible. If not, they just sent more guys to kill them. Columbus Day is a Catholic holiday to celebrate The Church of Rome claiming a whole continent that already belonged to someone else.

The settlement at Jamestown likely was in fact the first permanent English settlement. English. The Powhatens were already there.

At Colonial Williamsburg you can feel really close to the thinking behind our system of government, our way of life, and our personal freedoms. It is truly a humbling and mind boggling experience. You will also hear about how the language of the Declaration of Independence and other important documents of the time were altered so as not to include enslaved or indentured peoples. Although, by my interpretation of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, it includes everyone. At least everyone that these bold thinkers considered human. Apparently that did not include anyone who was not white European, and maybe even not male. Again, the mention of Native American peoples is glaringly absent from anything I heard, saw, or read.

My purpose here though is not to belittle the efforts of any of our Founders or the brave unmentioned people who did the work and fought the battles. But I do encourage you, should you have the chance, to visit this area, and consider the significance of what you see and hear. In the absence of the opportunity to go there, take the time to read The Declaration of Independence. Google up some information on the times and events that led to the writing of it. And above all else, have respect for all of the people who were a part of the times that initially shaped who we are today.

Williamsburg, VA Vacation

We spent the past week in Williamsburg, VA. We stayed at Marriott Fords Colony. This is a beautiful place, with a great location. Very easy to get to anywhere you want to go. We did Old Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Norfolk. We went to Monticello on the way as well.

The resort had very limited services, with only one place to get food and drink. They have two pools and bar/grills, but one was closed all week. That was annoying. They also decided to do some construction during my week, which was also annoying. There were also an amazing amount of really noisy small children considering it was mid-May.

We typically vacation at a hotel type of resort, with full services if possible. This place is really just a time share. If you are used to that, you will love it. For us it was a little bit different. Our room was very small, although I heard that other rooms were very spacious. The staff was really friendly and put forth a lot of effort to make our stay nice.

If you are familiar with the time share world, you know that people lie a lot there, and this trip was no exception. Oh well, no surprises that way. I would probably go here again, so there you are. Things are expensive around here, so be ready.

I recommend every single thing we did, so I will list just them, and you can go see for yourself.

Monticello, Old Jamestown, Historic Williamsburg including The Governors Palace and The Capitol, Yorktown Battlefield, Norfolk cruise on the Victory Rover, Williamsburg Freedom Park and Botanical Garden. All good choices. For food try Trellis, Aberdeen Barn, Giuseppes, Smoky Griddle Pancakes House, and Kings Arm Tavern. Do not go to Captain Georges, unless you really like rude and ill trained staff, high prices, and endless seafood buffet. We walked out of that place.

There are endless choices of historical sites here, hiking, golf courses, food venues, and even a Busch Gardens, if that is your thing. Virginia is beautiful, the people are nice.

I would go there again.



I like to read. I read a lot. I always have. When I was about 7 or 8 years old I spent the summer at my Grandparents farm. You can read more about that in other posts on this blog, Like Grandpa’s farm. My Grandma had a lot of the Reader’s Digest Condensed books. I read them all summer.

I now sometimes like to read books with a lot of words that I do not know, and have to look  up. I also am experimenting with reading more than one book at a time. My son suggested that to me. I am currently reading Destiny and Power, and Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments. The first is about George Herbert Walker Bush. The latter is about Philosophy. Did you know Nancy Reagan once referred to the Bush’s as the “Shrubs”, soon after George Bush became Reagan’s Vice President?

I suspect that people who are working for pay Philosophers are avoiding getting a real job. But the way they think can really make your brain smoke. A guy named Frank Cioffi once, when called the guy with all of the answers, replied “No, I am the guy that knows all of the questions”. He wore his pajamas all of the time. Philosophers like to explore the meaning of life and the existence of God. Or the lack of either, or both. They do it over and over. Argue it. That’s what they call it.

As I was reading   77 Arguments, I had some thoughts about the meaning of life of my own. Is it possible that the meaning of life is simply the effect we have on others? And that they then pass that on to the next person, and the next, and so on? I once had an experience that gave me that idea, so to speak. I theorized that one’s “soul” was the on going effect we had on those around us. My uncle passed away, and I went to his small hometown for the funeral. He lived most of his adult life in this small town, and he was a gregarious individual. So, he knew everyone. He was a clean living and righteous man. He was a man of faith, and a public servant. His funeral was held in the high school gymnasium, because that is the only place that was big enough to hold us all. As I observed my cousins and all of these people who came to honor this man, I pondered the possibility that his “soul” was living on in all of these people who’s lives he had touched. And the people’s lives  that they would then influence. And on and on. A soul eternal. Of course he being a religious man, I think my uncle’s ideas for eternal life were a little different than that. Or were they?

Now observe what I just did. This is what Philosophers do. I just shared an idea with you, without making a commitment to it’s truth. I made an argument, without taking a position. That is my definition of Philosophy.


While we were in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico in November of 2016 one of my hiking adventures took me to Nacapule Canyon. I had a borrowed car, and I drove myself out there one morning from our hotel.Sign

Nacapule is a park, and there was some kind of entrance fee. I use pesos while in Mexico, so by buying money at  the real exchange rate versus the tourist rate, and paying cash, things are really cheap by our standards in this area. Not like Cabo or Cancun.

Anyway, off I went, up a rocky canyon. The trail is vague to non-existent in places. The views are spectacular. Mostly rock and bigger rock.Nacapule Sign

This sign is pretty ominous, don’t you think? I saw it near the beginning, and I showed it to my wife later, just to scare her. It is really in regard to the zip lines that criss-cross the canyon near the trail head, but they are kind of appropriate to the whole experience. When I came out later, there was a busload of teen age people enjoying the zip line experience.

After some time working up through an at this time dry stream bed, I came to this. That is about twelve or fifteen feet of smooth rock. Hee hee. Good times.

Nacapule ladder

Above that, the trail is really a series of rock ledges. I really can’t even describe the amazing beauty of this place. I only saw a small part of it. Being alone, and seeing no other people around, discretion became the better part of valor, or however that saying goes, and I did not venture as far or  as wide as I really wanted to.


My car is parked out there in the flat area past the notch. Also, let me say, if a thunderstorm came while you were in here, you might well be screwed.Nacapule Cliff

I really, really want to go to this place again some day, but it is unlikely that will ever happen. So let me add my voice to the resounding cacophony we have all heard all of our lives, and likely ignored, or pushed to the side because it interferes with our “lives”: Make the most of every day, and every opportunity. You may never pass this way again. It is true. Curses, it is true.

Viva Nacapule!




In early November of 2016 we had the privilege of visiting a place in Mexico called San Carlos, in the state of Sonora. We stayed at the San Carlos Beach Club on The Sea of Cortez. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of this area, or the peaceful detachment from “the world” that we enjoyed while there. I will describe one of the hikes that I took while there. Of course, I was up with the sun everyday, and got in a few miles first thing, savoring the smell of the desert at sunrise.

Beach Club

This is the view from our room. We enjoyed seeing Orcas and Porpoises right out side of our window, especially at night. Pelicans are pretty interesting to watch as well. I kayaked around that point with friends one day, in 2′ seas, which was a little scary.marines

These guys were at our hotel one afternoon, which frightened my wife a little. To get to San Carlos, you can drive from Arizona, which I wouldn’t recommend right now. But we met people who do it. We flew to Hermosillo, and a friend picked us up and drove us the 90 miles to San Carlos. We took a cab back when we departed, which was interesting. If you have never driven in Mexico, you are in for a treat.

Near our hotel was Tetakawi. There are  a couple of paths you can take here. I chose the “front”, and set off to see the saddle between the two rock summits. Scaling those is more of a climbing effort, and not recommended for amateurs or by your self.Tetakawi Trail Head

The trail is rock, big rocks, dirt, litter,  and cacti. I love the desert, so the smells and the views were just amazing to me. This was just a couple of hours up and back, as I remember.Tetakawi View

Our hotel is over there near the beach, and I am parked on that road to the right. Amazing.

I had a  borrowed car and drove myself while on this trip, which is something I have never done in Mexico. San Carlos is pretty quiet, not much traffic, so no big deal really.

We enjoyed local food and music most nights. The sunset from the Soggy Peso is one of the local highlights. On US Election eve, we went to J.J.’s Tacos. He makes the best tacos de camarones on earth. The beer is very cold. Heaven. JJ also sells crap, really tacky tourista items, that he seems to think are funny. He is also a very warm and welcoming host. I wish I could go there everyday. As the evening went on, we all noticed that we were clandestinely checking our phones for the US election results. Even though we all had pledged not to.JJs

We eventually went back to our friends home, above the bay, and enjoyed a cigar, a beer, the night sounds of the ocean, and watched the results on a television internet feed from Tuscon.

I hold this hike, and this trip altogether, as one of the best weeks of my life. Ever. I would give anything to be at J.J.’s right now. Or hiking Tetakawi.

Leota South

Saturday I set out on the Knobstone Escarpment trail for the first time since January. It was a really beautiful blue sky day, although below freezing by a little when I set out.

I started at the Leota Trailhead, heading south toward my goal of mile 20.5 +/- where I had turned back in January. The map makes this section look pretty difficult. The beginning was exactly that. Leave the parking lot, walk down a steep hill to a road. Walk down the road to a hole in the guard rail. Walk down a steep hill to a creek. Now walk right back up another hill.

Once on top of this ridge, the trail seems to follow it for about one and one half miles. Then you go down hill slowly to a beautiful stream. The crossing is a little tricky, but this is a great spot. Then up a steep hill via a narrow switchback. Again seemingly flat to slightly down hill, into another beautiful stream bed. Then I just followed this stream to my goal. 4.75 miles, 2 hours. Nice.

Sign Saturday

Here I took a seat and had a snack. Along came a hiking man. Interesting. He started at Deem Lake the day before. After my snack, I started my return. In no real hurry, I enjoyed my surroundings, the birds, deer, a turkey that scared the poop out of me, and the geology. Then I saw two more peeps, poking through the rocks by the stream. Once back past mile 22, I started up what had seemed like a gradual slope coming down. Up that hill, down the switchbacks, across the stream, and up the next “gradual” slope. I encountered a fourth hiker here, equaling my total of persons seen on the trail from the start, in one day.

Around now I started to realize that for most of the outbound leg I had been slowly descending, in terms of general elevation. So the return leg was an overall ascension  of the same trail. With the 9th pit of misery yet to cross before I was done. I was moving really slow by this time. My knees started to hurt, and the last 1.5 miles were true agony. A casual observer, watching me scale the valley up to the guardrail, up the road, across it, and up the really steep stairs/roots of the last 100 yards, would have wondered why that fat old man was even out here trying this.

This fat, old man was wondering the same thing.


Leota El