Friday, January 27, 2017

Car Art and Desert Finds

Odometer 54446

Ajo, AZ

Joan and I love to take long walks, and it was during one of these walks that I got the idea of doing a blog post on people's yard art.

The desert is a great preserver of cars, and folks here love to show off the parts and pieces that they have collected.  Most of it is very tasteful, in my humble opinion- of course I'm a car guy.

This display is maybe a hint of what used to be.  Of course, more could turn up at any time!

A little desert patina on this 40's  Buick Special Deluxe

This family has two crawler tractors in their side yard.  Awfully close to their orange trees, but it looks awesome- I'd like to get one for our yard!

This antique's dealer has a couple Durant Star Fours in his inventory.  This one is fairly complete, the other is a lot rougher.  The Durants were "assembled cars" built from parts made by other manufacturers.   Near as I can tell they are early twenties vintage - probably 1925?

Desert Find Kenwood 2-way Radio
Disassembly and cleaning
While Joan and I were on a walk-about in the BLM area south of town we came across a pretty high dollar Kenwood UHF/VHF radio.  We spoke to a Border Patrol Captain who said it's not one of theirs- most likely from an undocumented border crosser.  There is no identification on, or in the radio and it has no charging base, but I was determined to check it out- see if I could determine if it still works.  I took it apart and cleaned out very little dust and cleaned a little bit of corrosion.  The radio has very good moisture seals and someone had put caulking around the knobs for extra insurance.

A little sand in the charging base
I remembered seeing a charging base for a Kenwood on one of the first outings Mark took me on in November.  That trip was in a different area about 10 miles from where we found the radio.  I used Mark's GPS to backtrack to that location one evening with Joan.  We found it just before dusk and skedaddled back home before dark.

I took the base apart and inspected all the components and it looked good except for the sand that has crept in over the months it has been lying in the desert.

I now have 2 of the three components needed to find out if this thing works.  The last part I need is the 12 volt charging cable that goes from a 12 volt power port to the plug in the back of the cradle.  Thanks to Kenwood, that is an uncommon item, and I don't really want to order one til I know if any of this works.   The Li-on battery may be toast.  Even if the radio were to operate flawlessly, I have no use for it.  It is still currently sold by Kenwood in the $400 range and I don't mind putting energy into cleaning it up, but not sure I want to incur any expenses.

When I get back to Oregon, I'll check to see what the City of Port Orford uses and see if this will charge up and power-up, and be useful to them.

Next week Joan and I are off to Medford, Oregon.  I have been offered an opportunity to present 3 separate safety trainings.  We have booked a flight to Portland where we'll rent a car and drive to Salem for a quick visit to my mom and brothers before driving to Medford.  For those that do not know, I work occasionally for a safety training company based in Eugene.  That company offers trainings on Fall Protection, Scaffold Safety, Confined Space, Excavation, Forklift, Telehandler, Aerial Work Platforms, and more, including a whole contingent of programs for Rescue.
Joan and I were offered two days of training in Medford, followed by 3 more days in Grants Pass.  I say Joan and I, because although I do the presentations, we are a good team, and it takes a lot of support to do it well.  My employer will fly me up and back, and provide us with lodging, expenses, and a fee, so why not?  It will be an adventure!

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Art in Ajo

Odometer 54464

Ajo, AZ

Here's a new years blog that should be a treat for the eyes.  A partnership between the Ajo Street Art Project (ASAP) and the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) allowed a local alley to become the go-to place in Ajo for street art.  ISDA, the owner of the Ajo Plaza gave the green light to a group of local artists to light up the alley with some fantastic murals.

Joan and I discovered the alley quite by accident.  We were across the street checking out the restaurant at 100 Estrella and when we found out that they were closed, we glanced across the street and saw just a corner of the first mural.  We wandered into the alley and our eyes popped out when we realized that there were murals the whole length of the alley!

We probably spent the best part of an hour looking at each mural and checking out the fine details on many of them.  Coincidentally a letter to the editor in the local paper the very next week explained how the murals came to be.  Local artist Michael Baker described the process of getting ASAP and ISDA together, and soliciting local businesses for funds for paint, brushes, and other supplies

Two local businessmen Kord Klinefelter and Mike Holt were the most generous donors, funding an account at the local hardware store,  along with many smaller donations from individuals.
Hop David and Michael Baker were the spark, bringing the challenge to the fine artists of Ajo Street Art Project.

One of the best parts for me was that given all the utilities that enter each plaza store from the alley side- I would have found this frustrating.  To the artists, these appear to be insignificant, and some even incorporated the pipes and conduits into the design!

Sorry I missed getting the whole mural in this shot- I did have my back against the opposite wall of the alley.  I tried to shoot it at an angle, but I didn't like that either.   I do like the message! 👍

Sueňo- Spanish for dream, depicts the hope for a brighter future north of the border

The cross of the oblivion?  Couldn't figure that one out...  I do agree with the "Ajo, Arizona The best" for winters in the US it's hard to beat.

We 💗 Ajo

The Troubadours

This one took me a few minutes.  This artist is showing similarities between the Berlin wall dividing Germany and the international border between Mexico and the US dividing the Native American Tohono O 'odham Nation.

This artist is prescient.  The left side of the panel looks like it could be apropos for the election we just had.  I hope I'm around for the awakening.

I love artists that can put a door in where there is no door and fool the eye.  Maybe just for a second.

I could study this one for hours, there is so much hidden in this composition.

Shameless advertising ?

This mural seems to be the only one that seems the least bit commercial in nature- it is for a good cause...

How can this mural not make you happy?

There is probably some deeper meaning that I'm missing, but this looks like euphoria to me!
Ajo Samaritans
A little more than 2 years ago the Ajo Samaritans were just getting started, coincidentally that was when Mark and I found human remains on one of our trips through the desert.  (If you'd like to read that blog in a seperate window  Click here  - Close the pop-up window to come back here)  We got to know the local Sam chapter during that experience.  For those that aren't familiar with the Sams, the mural really says it all.  Their feeling is that no-one should die an agonizing death attempting to cross the hostile desert in search of a new life.  That is different from saying it should be legal, or that undocumented border crossers should be aided in any other ways.  Just not starving or thirsting to death.

Under construction...  watch this space

At the far end of the alley, close to the south entrance to the Plaza there is this neat sign that we missed, having entered the alley from the other end.  We weren't sure if the sign was incomplete or styled this way- looks cool either way.

Door to the now long closed Hole in the Wall Grill in the Plaza

I decided to include this awesome restaurant door that we have often admired while walking around the Plaza.  

The door has weathered copper cladding that is pieced in like leaded glass

A beautiful ceramic mosaic welcomes all to Ajo

We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of street art.  Of course there is much more than would fit in these pages, but I hope you find this interesting and amusing.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan