Mom and Dad

Barb Phillips

Lila Ashby

Arlyn Fisk

Stan Fisk

Mike Preslar

Debbie Tarr

Randy Ashby

Jerry Ashby

Danny Ashby

Jack Ashby

Dale Fisk

Dana Kellerman

Venus Zook

Mandy Miller

Sweet Evie

Luna Belle

Onion Soup


Odds & Ends

Trivial Stuff

The following are entries from my journal during the trip Venus and I made to the Grand Canyon in the summer of 1980. I was on leave getting ready to transfer from my duty station in San Diego to my new ship, the USS Bryce Canyon in Hawaii in just a couple of weeks. My life was about to make another drastic change. Somehow, Venus and I always had a great time whenever we travelled together. She was, and probably still is, a great travelling companion. Let's see how things went on this summer trip.

August 5, 1980 - Tuesday

It’s Tuesday night and I am sitting at my aunt Velma’s house in Sun City, Arizona. After a delay of 5 days in our Grand Canyon trip, it looks like we’re going to make it now.

We originally began, Venus and I, on July 30th at about 1:00 PM from San Diego riding on my Honda 550 motorcycle. At sunset, 250 miles and 7 hours later, the fron tire went flat and we crashed on the side of Interstate 8, 30 miles west of Gila Bend, Arizona. We spent the night in our tent, pitched right alongside the highway in a hill of ants in 90 degree heat and 100 percent humidity, thanking God that neither of us were hurt. We caught a ride to San Diego the next day with a Chief Petty Officer, Paul Baker, who also helped me tow the scoot to the gas station at Stuckey’s, a mile down the road. You see, I decided immediately after the crash that I would never ride Elsie again so I went back home to borrow Carrie’s pickup truck but couldn’t use it so I rented a cargo van. Ron and I made the ride Friday night and brought her to the Honda shop where I now have to make a deal.

So yesterday, Monday, August 4th, I rented a little Opel Cadet, packed up and me and Venus headed back for the Arizona desert. Drove all the way to Sun City last night, leaving at 5:30 PM and slept in the car just outside of town in the desert. Greeted Velma and Dudley this morning at 7:00 AM and spent a pleasant day relaxing in their air conditioned home, Venus playing with their long-haired Chihuahua, Chico. Tomorrow we are heading for the Verde Valley area south of Flagstaff and from there, the Grand Canyon.

August 6, 1980 - Wednesday

Left Velma and dudley’s aboyt 7:30 this morning and arrived at Grand Canyon capmgrounds, Mather Point, about 1:45. We stopped off at Montezuma’s Castle National Monument to see the remains of cliff dwellings there. The Verde Valley area.

Venus was much impressed with her first view of the Canyon from Mather Point. We plan to sightsee along the rim tomorrow and hike down the day after. We are camping at sight J-36, Juniper Loop.

Sitting here at camp smoking I am strongly reminded of my first visit here in 1974. Strange! I have been camping many times since then and many trips on my scooters across parts of the country but now I feel so very close to the way I felt when I was first touring in 1974, my first long-distance solo flight. That first near 5000 mile adventure was a soul-searching journey to say the least and always since then I reflect on the feelings discovered on that trip whenever I travel. But this is the first time I’ve ever revisited any of the places I saw that year and I am simply ecstatic, jumping for joy when we finally arrived here after our previous setback.

All in all I am feeling the best I’ve felt in years and with Venus here to enjoy it with me, I couldn’t feel any better. Thank you Lord!

Saw a Ranger slide show and talk on Grand Canyon in the evening. Very nice. Followed by a show put on by a group of young Christian working at the Grand Canyon. Puppets, which was favorite, magic acts and singing. Very nice also. Harsh talk with Venus about arithmetic and life. Responsibilities.

August 7, 1980 - Thursday

Slept faily late and rose to pork sausage and cinnamon roll breakfast. Took the shuttle bus excursions to the West Rim today, about four hours of riding and walking. This country is picture-taking at it’s supreme! Just aim the camera anywhere into the immensity of its’ walls and you’ll get a number 1 pictture expression of Mother Nature at her finest. Sublime beauty and intense, immense awe.

Fixed hamburgers for supper and took showers after. Then we saw a Ranger slide show about the Grand Canyon in the Mather Amphitheater. After that interesting discussion we watched the variety show put on by college students again. Quite nice!

August 8, 1980 - Friday

We arose fairly early and began our day’s adventure down the Bright Angel Trail. We left the rim about 8:00 AM and took 2 ½ hours to reach Indian Gardens, a 4.5 mile hike down. We relaxed in the cool Garden Creek waters for about 3 hours, Venus spent most of her time building a dam under a bridge. We ate lunch there and then proceeded to walk the 1.4 miles to Plateau Point on the Tonto Plateau. Unfortunately due to my mistake, we hiked the wrong trail and instead found ourselves descending the inner canyons towards the Colorado River and the bottom. Well a mile of this was enough and, realizing my error, we hiked back to Indian Gardens for a 30 minute rest in its’ delicious shade.

At 3:00 PM we began our long hike out of the Canyon, naturally stopping very often to rest and drink. Going up we shared the trail with several groups of hikers, each of us pasing the others in turn, then pausing to rest and being passed again. The most notable group were three Dutch women, mother and two daughters, 14 and 16, who left the same time we did. The oldest daughter, a beautiful jewel, suffered from the heat and had to rest for 15-20 minutes to relieve her bloody nose. By 7:15, 4 hours 15 minutes after we left Indian Gardens, we reached the South Rim, totally exhausted but completely exhilarated from our adventure. 11 miles of canyon hiking and many memories to keep forever of our first trip into the bowels of theearth. Sleep came very easy this night.

August 9, 1980 - Saturday

Slept late, recovering from yesterday’s hike and decided to relax around the camp today. We did venture to the Bright Angel Lodge where we reserved seats for a momentous helicopter ride into the canyon tomorrow. In the afternoon, Bev and Chris arrived and are camping in the same loop as us, J-63 Juniper Loop. They decided to fly with us so we booked seats together for 11:45 tomorrow morning.

Called Sue and talked awhile, showered and saw the Ranger and variety shows again taking Bev and Chris with us. The Variety show is slowly disbanding, being the end of summer, and the magic man was gone tonight but the show was still good. Roasted marshmallows by our campfire tonight.

August 10, 1980 - Sunday

Well today we did something we will probably never do again, a 30 minute helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. The spectacle from a birds-eye view was overwhelming, soraing freely over the wondrous gorge, taking pictures. Venus was a bit afraid of the flight but handled it well. All of us but Chris were a bit queasy and dizzy when we finished. The sharp turns and quick drops down the canyon walls were the most breath-taking views of anything I have ever seen. Alas, thoughm the 30 minutes goes by so fast and soon we are landing, left with only the memory.

Venus and I spent the afternoon improving her mud city by our campsite and I took a nap. Bev and Chris fixed hamburgers and hot dogs for us all and then we took the shuttle to Hopi Point for a most remarkable sunset from the West Rim. Another Ranger talk and then back to camp. Venus and I roasted marshmallows before sleep.

August 11, 1980 - Monday

It’s mornig now and the time to depart our home for the past 5 days and nights is quickly approaching. It’s hard to believe it’s time to go but life is like that. Each day brings us closer to out separation again when Venus will board the silver bird and fly east to her home and I will fly west to my new island home. Give us the strength, oh Lord, to face the challenges of every new day. We thank you for your care, love and guidance. Praise!

By 2:30 PM we were at the Hoover Dam where we took the guided tour to learn more and to escape, if only for a short time, the blistering heat of the desert sun. Temperatures are easily 110 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. This blasted ren-a-car is sputtering and backfiring and now the muffler is loose and rattling, too. I hope it takes us home safely.

We found a delightful state park on the shores of Lake Mead at Boulder Beach where we set up camp and swam in the bathwater-warm lake. What a relief it is! Venus is overjoyed! We are 25 miles from Las Vegas and 320 from home. I believe we will stay here for tomorrow’s sun and leave, first for Vegas and Circus, Circus for venus, in the late afternoon or early evening. Perhaps the car will respond better to this.

We viewed another Ranger talk this evening on the early adventures of the Colorado River area and saw some meteors burn up. Today is supposed to be the highest concentration of meteor showers for the whole year. The earth passes through a cosmic dust storm.

August 12, 1980 - Tuesday

The night was very warm, probably never below 85-90 degrees, but strong winds blew making for some good sleeping. The sun poked over the lake early and it began to get very hot quickly, but some clouds have arrived on the scene, dotting the heavens and giving us relief from old man Scorch. It is very pleasant here now as I pen these words, drinking coffe, letting Venus sleep as long as she can. Today we will enjoy Lake Mead in Nevada.

We did just that and met a man and his daughter who live in Henderson, Nevada. He took us to the Marina where we fed the carp who acted more like pigs than fish.

We left for Vegas around 5:00 where we spent a hectic hour in Circus, Circus, Venus playing the arcades. Left Vegas at sunset and began the 350 mile ride home which we made with only a pit stop at Barstow and arrived home at 2:30 AM.

C’est fini!