Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tucson mineral show

Benton-tucson and a triumphant return to 3 feet of pow.

Pix on picasaweb site

Time flys when yer havin fun, the daze before leaving for Tucson were action packed: ski deep pow with win (see da guida blog), presentation at the local school to katys class, 14 raging testosterone 12 year olds constantly shifting, talking, asking questions, Darcy trying to keep order, one kid gets sent out of the room for saying “crap”, 2 strikes, wonder if they have a 3 strike rule here? Then a return trip to the sump with Darlene, a perfect day, dip in the hot spring, meet an old friend from saline with long white beard, hell be there for pres day.

Now time to shift gears and head to Tucson. Hit the road early, breeze thru bishop on my way to big pine for bkfst at lindas dog/house sitting job site, then down 395 stopping at daves in indepence to an empty house, lotsa work going on, new siding, man they never stop. I am so relieved that I could buy a modular house, plop it down in the center of my 10 acres and not worry too much about it.

Break at Macys to snooze on the bed on the front poarch, hes in Nevada at a cowboy poetry festival in elko. Now up to the Darwin plateau, breaking clouds, warm sun, twisted geology, the Joshua tree that was on the cover of the album U2 made, now with so many people walking around it in time, it is suffering, death by adoration.

Down the winding canyon to Darwin wash and into PSR (Panamint springs resort) for chili lunch and a tour of their photo gallery. Now thru the Heart of Death Valley, great vistas, 70 degrees, several breaks to mellow out and then through the Pahrump sprawl, in 20 years grown without plan into a major population center, mainly retirees, ron leu our old technician lives here, but im on my way to anns and scheduled to arrive at 6 on time.

I do, to great hugs and a fun evening with my old student and her boyfriend, also a geologist, rambling house open suburbs of Las Vegas, far from the crush of the city of lights. She even drives me to the airport in the morning and I slide into the jet, and theres dave storck my friend from the pf (petrified forest) and his cohorts paula and steve, ready to rock and mineral roll. Less than an hour to Tucson, jump in the rental car, a shiny new red mustang, and we are off to Electric park. Dave is after wood to sell in the shop and has some contacts, I am dazzeled by the usual display of 30 or so polished petrified logs, along with dyed geodes, amythist vugs and trilobites. It is a crazy assortment, all out in the open, then into the morocco tents, more old friends of daves, checking and cross checking prices, availability, and making deals worth thousands. Their budget for the trip is 30 grand, that could go along way. We hoof it around acres of tents, knowing this is just the tip of the iceberg of shows. We will do the strip this afternoon, but first lunch at cafĂ© minuto, great mex joining paula and steve, comparing notes, lists with stuff crossed off, nonstop conversation battle going on about what to by, where to go next and who to see. We have a load of boxes picked up at epark, so we get a pass to the riverfront (aka pueblo) show and drive around back to find steve a paula already hard at it, wheeling and dealing with two work-hippies that smell bad, natty dreads, beads, pierces lips, who expertly unload the stuff onto a pallet, wrap it up ready to ship to the pf. A great system after years of driving a uhaul rental up to soco loaded with 2 tons of product. I tour the morocco collection here, major trilobite display one with fuzzy spikes on top about 2 feet long catches my eye, $5grand, oh well. We tour the amethyst vugs, some 6 feet tall, some citrine, all in the hundreds of dollars, inspect the calcite and quartz secondary minerals poking out of the depths adding stars of white to the background purple. The older guy from the st george utah co. is proud of a slab of amethyst with quartz crystals with drusy quartz covering. He allows as how those were calcite crystals, I whip out the acid and wave it in his face “you mind?” he nods assent and sure enuf, it doesn’t fizz, now he has a new story to tell. Now to tour the big stuff, single quartz crystals 4 feet high, and milled quartz spheres 3 feet in diameter. The prices are staggering and the talk is about how the show will go with the economy in the dumps, there are lots of collectors, but not as many buyers according to one dude, but we are doing our part, piling up the boxes and securing orders to be paid by check. The big boss gets a fax Monday for the checks needed and runs them off and signs them and then fedex overnight to Tucson from soco on tues morning which then a mad dash around the shows to collect the rest of the stuff reserved.

We end up for the superbowl on Sunday at the executive inn suites, every room filled with displays, some junky, some artistically arranged, music. Chris from Benton has just pulled in and is setting up his room, jack a wood friend of daves is down the hall, and we tour a bit. I head across to natures own and find roy packing up a big order for some buyers, “I recognize that vest” he says and we catch up old grand canyon friends and agree to meet at the bar for the super bowl. My heel is really hurting now, a return bout of plantar fasciitis, and I have to walk, in pain. We settle in front of a huge projection tv and the game is on already. I call brian, and he is in town, I give him my 40 and hell be over later. People come by and party, watch the ads in 3d and cheer on the az cards. Steelers first blood looking strong and intercepting on the 1 just before the half. Shit, doesn’t look good for the home team. I introduce roy to dave and they talk, I call b coole on the cell and banter with her for a while totally pissing roy off cause I am loud and should be outside to talk on the phone.

We quaff some ales, I streatch my foot out, hoping the pain will go away, I am intent on the game when I am suddenly grabbed from behind in a big hug, its brian cook, my old friend and student here for another show. He is just in town and stoked for the action, we talk and catch up, he has a booth a t jgx, the top mineral show for his company Natures geometry. We go way back and review lives and watch the deteriorating game. I introduce roy to brian, they hit it off, but roy is disgusted with the game, so we repair to jacks tv, me lighting very smelly farts, drinking beers, eating beans. The game reaches an intense seesaw peak at the end with the steelers winning on lucky catch. Whew, that’s over, we talk more about rocks and life and gather a gang together for a foray to hotel congress for dinner. I am wiped, no nap, at it all day, walking on a painful foot, but we troop to the hotel and have a great meal, great conversations, jack did the tat several years ago and we swap yarns, but he is in high gear, dominating the conversation, motormouthing, and dave is getting pissed. Finally we repair to the motel and I am flopped out immediately. Sleeping the sleep of the dead.

UP early for Sabino canyon trek, Dave raves about this place, so we work our way thru the burbs, mansions on hilltops, sprawl everywhere, down oracle one big strip mall for miles, a few cute old Tucson neighborhoods, but mostly southwest modern. I find a walgreens and get a heel pad for my painful foot, now at every step driving a nail in to my foot. And we have to do some hiking, but on a road after a tram ride to the top of the canyon. We pay at the gate, having forgotten my geezer park pass again, and ride the tram up a narrowing canyon, horizontal stripes of gneiss exposed and tall saguaros towering below high ragged ridges of rock from the base of a core complex formed deep in the earth and then pushed up, ravaged by weathering and erosion in the desert. A great tour guide tells us stories as we climb high into the foothills of mt lemmon. We debark at the top and I limp down the road, taking pictures, nonstop dave talking, all cool stuff. Finally we hop on the tram and are in the red rocket headed to downtown Tucson. Stop at electric park to peruse some more goodies, getting crowded now, 3rd day of the show, hopefully portending of good fortunes all over. Lunch at el minito again, same salad. Great mex. Now out on the strip again, to quartz city, a football field of tables covered with smoky and clear clusters, big little , in flats, 15$ a pound for really beautiful stuff. Dave racks up another pile of boxes, arranges to pick up tmw when the checks arrive. I vow to come back. Wandering off I find a great varietiy of labradorite xtals, I want one, but the right one doesn’t come up. I buy a slice of geode with clear quartz in the middle, with a crystal tree pattern and have a great conversation with a vendor geezer dude, way in to rocks and fossils. I am overwhealmed by now and the afternoon is only half over. I get the call from b coole and she is just arriving from yuma in her van stuffed with textiles and costumes for a SCA gathering next weekend. We find each other by cellphone at the Ramada show and tour that for a while. Im wiped, so we repair to the executive suites and visit jack some more, chris is set up so I check his wares, nice garnets from bishop, great stuff. We trundle north on oracle and find bjs pub, a big place humming with activity and decorated with great paintings and flags. Chow down and then to moteland, Barbara pulls in back and sets up camp, crashing in her van. We listen to the beatles love album for a while and then drift off.

Barbara wants to go to the bead shows, so we are off early, get registered with resale permits and get badged and off we go into the deep bead scene. She reads to me from book Ireland, a great storytelling novel, with a wonderfully flowery prose rendition of the geologic history of Ireland. Great stuff. The dog, lucy (short for Lucifer) is cool, but keeps stretching out the extenda leash around my chair. Now time for the great entrance , Ive seen beads at shows, but never a whole show, and it is truly overwhelming. Barbra says “im goin into work mode, see you in an hour” and shes off wheeling and dealing, and I wander 2 huge tents and get bored fast, everything is the same and is huge, yards of piles of turquoise necklaces, bins of beads, glass everywhere, one table is red with rhodo necklaces piled high with very worried looking people smiling and trying to believe it ok the world economy is going down in flames.

I get tired fast, and the foot is hurting, take a vicodan for relief of the nail in my heel, and head out to the street, finding another stand with the same old shit (sos) as in the strip, but only a couple people around, all vendors. I get into a conversation with a guy who is vending for some aussies, and he has glossopertis, very nice fossils, and I pick one up. “Don’t worry about the marked price, those are 5$ apiece.” I check out the price marked, $20 , ive seen pieces like this at the strip for over 30, so I pull out a 5 and am off to new glory. The temp is up, hot in the February sun, I pay 1.75 for a banana and sit in the shade, cowering in the wind. Call Barbara, and shes almost done, we head for the strip, but Dave calls and wants to meet at Poca Cosa for lunch, hes been raving about this feed for days, so we slide up town, finding a parking space with Barbaras crip sticker. Dave pulls up in the red rocket, loaded down with booty from Electric park. We enter very posh stainless, curved surrounding, lith ballerina waitress seats us, the owner comes by to say hi, we chat about the menu, chalked on a board as the ballerina turns into an actress doing performance art with gustatory delights. I get a cod stew and salad and we dig in, great gomps, Barbara talking non stop about the siege of Leningrad, and how the germans worked to destroy all Russian historical sense, by burning palaces, steal ing art, burning and hacking to death anything they couldn’t carry off. The musem staff saw them coming and put all the precious art they could fit on a big passenger train and filled it with as much fuel as possible and drove east until they ran out of gas, and stayed there through the war out in the steppes. More great stories,, she has been a tour guide in Russia, and looks like a Russian mama, but great storyteller. We wipe out lunch and are off to the strip for one last shot.. I get some quartz clusters, she gets some coprolites (fossil shit), and we tour around finding a great booth with fluorescent minerals display. I note these for canyon, and then limp up the river front, meeting dave, paula, steve and their contact, Sam, who is shipping their stuff to the pf for them.

I ogle the huge trilobites and amethyst vugs for a bit, then purchase a led flashing mineral stand for me and win, and some necklaces for the kids, then off to executive suites for another dose of jack, chris and the shop of brains friend crystal images, huge crystals set in steel and bronze sculptures, buy a garnet from chris, then we order up a pile of margaritas anjeo tequila and get hammered. Its late I’m tired, and craig calls, in Mojave, headed down, ill miss him, but Barbara will be there to show him around. We cruse back to the hotel, im totaled out, but we remember the free barbeque that evening and have a over cooked burger and some juice. Back in the room Barbara has showered, is pissed we didn’t tell her about the bbq, but she isn’t paying anything, well, shes used to living like that, it’s a game and a way of life, so I let it slide. I repack my booty into a box for barabara to take to soco for me and my carryon for thte plane ride, and am off to z land.

Seamless trip to Benton via vegas, ann give me a ride to her place from the airport, and I snooze, eat leftover salmon and hit the road, clear sailing to Benton, 5 hours. Cathy is in bishop and we plot an attack on mammoth tmw with snow swirling in the forecast.

Copyright 2009, terry wright

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