Sunrise at River Reservoir
Another Blog: Lots to talk about. Building a life. I left Florida and went a couple thousand miles. I had a plan. That didn’t work out so I shifted it. That’s what life is about. I got lured here. Making the best of it. I picked Greer for a home. Now, I’m fighting the start of winter to have everything done. The snow starts flying, the people aren’t going to want to come up the hill. I am going to get it in. The battle: Getting the power turned on. You can’t imagine what goes into that in these smaller areas. It was a major undertaking. You’ve gotta do this. Then this. Then they tell you that you also have to do this. I juggled a little. I got there. Bureaucracy. The Fire Department: The best of all of them. Little Colorado Sanitary District. Apache County.
The Greer area: No one there. I became resident number 130. In the winter, less than 40. There’s some life there. It’s all geared around visitors and recreation. The Greer lakes are a stone’s throw. What idiot put perch in River Reservoir? When I get trees trimmed I will have a view of all three lakes. The days keep passing. I keep making progress. I want no Phoenix. I want no Tucson. The future: Paving and widening roads. Getting water in lakes. So many days: No one fishing. At any of the three lakes. I drive them regularly. Someone’s fishing it gives me something to watch. Of course, getting all my stuff out of storage and up to Greer: There are more things to do. Cement. Pavers. Chainsaw to trees. Chainsaw to make firewood out of the downed trees.
Arizona: Home of the pothole. Amazing. Great weather. Ripped up roads. Is it the sun?
The bad news. The passing of Bill aka “Flounder.” He was my age. The cancer beat him up. Bad. Knew him from my first year in Double A, in Akron. He was good to umpires. He had a family. I think everyone’s dealing. Life’s interesting. This one, easier because he was suffering and he wanted to die. I wish we were closer.
The Neil Blog, only made possible by a hotel stay. “A hotel one night.” I haven’t gotten a hotel room in nine weeks. I have been living in my van on my property for two months. No power. The power thing changes any day. The money saved, impressive. My first shed: There’s the fridge and microwave ready for power. A hotel stay means a shower. Other days the shower is a swim in a creek. Or a lake. You don’t really realize the value of a shower until you don’t have one. A shower at my place: Still two months out. Have to get the house in. The house goes up: Building shelves. It’s a small building. I need shelves that go up to the ceiling to give me room to spread stuff out. Put in months watching snow fall then back to great weather. A space heater should work for this size space. Two smaller sheds: One for tools and one for general storage. So much will go in the main house (which is also a shed, just larger.)
30 years later. I did Florida for 28 years. It’s funny. The stuff I no longer remembered: That’s coming back to me. The name of roads. Routes to drive. Didn’t remember it when I first got here but with time: It’s coming back to me. In Florida, I was an umpire. Then a fishing guide. A leading conservationist. I left all that behind. It bothered my mother. She thought I had the importance to stay there. She may be right. I still wanted out. Do I miss the stardom and making a difference? I do not. I had it good. I worked for it. I earned it. I’d had enough. The move relieved me of some things. It removed some things but it got me out of some things. I’m out. I wanted out.
Am I sorry I left Florida. In a word: No. I wanted a change. I got a change. I don’t know if this is the final chapter. But I’m going with it for now. I am going to live in the snow. That part is interesting. I have the option: Go somewhere else if winter is bad here. I’ll play it by ear. Florida was good for most of the time I was there. I left at the right time. Lots of problems there. I did like my house. I did. I made it into my kind of place. That’s the only part that was too bad about leaving. Everything else: I’m fine with being in the woods. I’m mostly just happy I’m not there.
Photo heavy: It’s wildlife in Greer. A blast from the past. The overwhelming thought most days: My father drove this road more times than I have. There’s the little girl with a big trout. There’s the elk, deer, bighorn sheep.
No photo but one of the most fun to watch. Into town at sunrise. Deer. Like 8 adults and one baby. The older deer jumped the bard wire fence. The baby couldn’t jump that high. It spent minutes finding a wide enough gap to get through the wire. The other deer waited.
The internet: There’s still a bunch of you that can’t spell simple works and shouldn’t be typing. I’ve grown to accept some of the mistakes. Others: I don’t know why they’d subject themselves to looking to ignorant. So it goes. It’s not going to end. More of the same, coming up.
In cell range. No cell service. It’s odd. My phone doesn’t work anywhere in Greer, except my property.
A 1 Lake, a mudpuddle. I stopped and watched a guy with the fly rod. He did better than anyone I’d seen using bait. Big Lake, pretty good. Crescent Lake, still haven’t seen a single person fishing there (our former “go to” lake).. Those memories: Good fishing. It is just not what it was, something I was seeing in Florida too. What’s changed? What’s still the same? No question: There’s a water shortage. Crescent: That’s most of the problem. We need Florida rains for two full months.
Sunrise, going to town. Cops, lights on. The sun, right in my eyes. An old guy in a truck, stopped in the road. I veered and braked, threw up some gravel, but no collision. That’s going to Springerville. Springerville, where I met Muhammad Ali when I was about six. The hotel where my parents stayed for almost 50 years. It is now called The Rode Inn. Becker Lake: Busy two months ago. A ghost town like Crescent now.
Sunset: That’s bedtime. With electricity, bedtime gets pushed back. Now, no light, it’s time to pull the covers up over me.
Between Springerville and Greer: The Little Colorado River. My great Uncle Phil hiked and fished it. Something I never did and will never do. (I still have not caught an Arizona fish. I’m still just not into the idea of catching a fish yet). I’m still scratching my head: People only go fishing here after a lake’s been stocked. When I lived here, we avoided the lakes that were just stocked. Too much “I just need to catch a fish” going on.
Cold weather gear collected. It isn’t needed yet but it’s coming. How cold? How icy? Time will tell. More insulation. More blankets? The electric space heater. I’ve got it all in the works. Tarps, extra water repulsion. The socks: Big. The jackets: Good. The pants and the thermals: Excellent. More blankets: I am ready.
Two people predicted: I’ll have trouble with my eyes. I only have one day in over three months. Not major. So far so good. I didn’t talk much about it but if I had eye trouble I’d sell and move back east, and probably south (coastal Texas a big candidate. Louisiana gets the second place vote).
Mexican Hay Lake. Trust me, back in the day, it was a lake. Look at it now: It’s a field. Halfway, Springerville to Big Lake. Like other lakes: Why haven’t the locals taken bulldozers, dug these out, put down pond liner and when the rain fills it up the water stays. Why hasn’t it been done? Well I’ll tell you why: Because I left for 28 years. My father: He would be watching this one closely: Just how do I get involved here like I was in Florida??
This shot: There’s runoff water from Nelson’s Reservoir. My brother and I used to fish it. I almost drowned there when I was about 14 years old. Here is Nelson’s, other side of the Dam. I caught fish off this dam when I was about three years old.
No photo, went to Luna Lake in Alpine. No photo, Lyman Lake. Drove by that when I went to the county offices. More roads my Dad will have driven more times than I ever will.
Pictures of fish being held wrong. This will never go away. I don’t say anything anymore. I’ll chime in if someone else brings it up. There is still teaching to be done in this world. Some people just don’t know. Some don’t care. And that’s part of what’s a shame in this world. People who do harm, know they are doing harm and they are going to keep doing it that way. When Mel was alive I fought this one with my gloves off. Mel watched very interested. He liked the way I handled myself..