Kingman, Arizona

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

I have lost track how many times we have been here, "here" filled with joy seeing my Friends, filled with Spirit’s exuberance seeing his own Friends. Those dogs have however matured it seems like and their romping is just not the same as it was a couple years ago. Maybe as us becoming adults they have settled and calm down through their own time. In the meantime my taste buds have been teased for a while now for a certain taste, this vision of a pork loin wrapped around some goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto and spinach. The local Safeway, just rebuilt and revamped was a surprise filled with "good stuff". My first thought is always… why do I always end up in an area where such a store does not exist? Soon in Texas the nearest half decent store, hoping that maybe it’s displays have gone up a couple notches, will be about 50 miles away. Always compromises, just cannot have it all, isolated living and gourmet food just do not mix!

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While at it, why not also some roasted garlic chunky potatoes with sour cream and butter, thinking five heads of garlic being enough to also spread with olive oil on some jalapeno foccacia, and finish up with a puff pastry popover filled with a mixture of strawberries and blueberries, cooked down with some lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon, topped with some whipped cream… The broccoli, for appearance and color balance! The pork actually, not butterfly, but sliced thin in spiral end up being stuffed with some garlic~sun dried tomato Alouette cheese and some marinated red bell peppers with the prosciutto and spinach of course.

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I think Mark and Anjie were happy, eating quietly is always a good sign! It felt good being back in a kitchen. Close to forty years of practice and these past couple years out of it, besides flipping burgers in short bursts, have me thinking a lot about the path taken. I enjoy the upscale end of it, cooking with complexity mixed with a high level of presentation including textures and colors. We will be exploring Texas and near by States this winter, weather permitting, and at the same time will be advetising my services as a Personal Chef within about a 100 mile radius. Maybe amounting to one dinner a week in Alpine, Marfa, Ft Davis or Marathon. It could be a welcome reality which will allow us to continue exploring further destinations comes April of next year with warmer weather passed winter. Winters are hard on the road, I feel fortunate to have a piece of land which we will be able to call "home base" for those few months, explore and raise some much needed funds.

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We have had good Karma again here in Kingman. I have always wanted to learn how to use my camera in the RAW mode. A mode that allows a better control of the white balance after the picture is taken when having problems with some colors when in less than perfect conditions. I happen to be one of those with a brain that just does not comprehend much written instructions, and as I had ask questions on a photography Forum, the replies where not helping me. The last reply however, directing me to use RAW as being my only viable solution, was from Kingman. And I replied immediately… "how about getting together and teaching me!". What would be the chances in this big country for a Photographer, also a Blog reader, a motorcycle rider, to be in the same town as we are. We were on for dinner, a fantastic dinner by the way, so good that I forgot to take pictures…

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The photos are from downtown Kingman which is on Route 66, a fact that I had also forgot!

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I have now learned how to shoot in RAW for maybe better pictures to come! Joel and Dawn were the perfect hosts and a bit later on as I found out, as myself, they enjoy good coffee. I thought in turn I would show him the ropes on how to roast their own as I do. All is needed is a 1500W hot air gun with also preferably a cold air feature, a stainless steel bowl and wood spoon, the later two being dedicated for the roasting as they will "season" with time. My "green beans" are always ordered from "The Captains Coffee", great selection of Organic Fair Trade beans from all over the World and the nicest people to deal with.

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You will never go back to packaged coffee! Even if the seller claims having it roasted just days ago. The process only take 12 to 15 minutes with total control on its darkness and the crackling with the smoke in the air is enough to bring out the neighbors. Just make sure the hot air gun is not to close to the beans as to not burn them and always stop before the desired color as they will continue roasting on their own while cooling them off with some cold air. Never stop stirring. They are ready to be ground within an hour and I generally roast about half a pound at the time, grinding them for every cup.

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So I roasted my batch first and my student… Joel… did real well hoping that he will continue as I am sure they will get hooked on the taste of it. I would be happy to do as well with this RAW photo process as he did with his own batch of green beans. Maybe some day I might even have the ability to have one of those awesome Canon "L" lens as he does!

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In the meantime Mr Spirit made himself very comfortable in the beautiful environment he was in, he did like the well manicured grass, the gravel was also of his taste and I am glad that the pool was covered. I hope he is not too spoiled as only limestone and cactuses are awaiting for us!

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Tonight as we are just about in Tucson, there is not much on my mind besides a slide show of all these destinations we have lived in and now left behind. Of course I am looking forward to Big Bend and Texas, but I cannot help feeling a bit of sadness having closed the door to the past months. The key will always remain with us, the changes of seasons also brings on the changes in locations. We will probably stop at the Chiricahua National Monument for a couple days. There is a dirt road going over the mountain to Portal that I am very familiar with, some old memories I will write about next time.

Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In "Your Favorites", organized also in "States", some labeled "first year" and second year". Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through SmugMug.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute…

Be well, always. Ara & Spirit

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4 Responses to “Kingman, Arizona”

  1. Liz Miller Says:

    Ara, please please give a short lesson on how to roast your own, Love your blog.

  2. Carole Keogh Says:

    Ara & Spirit, how spooky is this, Mike and I will be travelling that route over to Portal at the end of next week. Enjoying the blog. Take care. Carole 🙂

  3. Laurie Herndon Says:

    To Ara & Spirit.
    Today at work I decided to take a “browser” break from all the daily mind-grind my week has brought me. Gazing momentarily at a passing screensaver I noticed a photo of Capitol Reef that I had shot on my last adventure to Utah in March. Ahhhhh… those grand carmelized colors of granite as the afternoon sun shown on ascending rock faces, and the turn of that ol familiar road with wooden barn and horses in the field on the loop through the park. The photo is one of my favorites. How many times had I stopped there to view the mule deer grazing in the fields and wish I had been born a few 100 years earlier and been one of the original settlers to discover such a wonderous place! I gaze again, longingly, at my computer screen and closed my eyes, trying to visualize being there at this very moment. Surely I laugh to myself as I always do when I wish I had lived long enough for someone to have invent time travel so I could ZAP myself to that very spot right NOW!….perhaps in some alternate universe when I move on, I’ll be luckier!!!

    My dear new friend Ara…we seem to have lots of “travel destinations” in common and this is what prompts me to ignor the pile of work sitting on my desk for the last hour and reply to your amazing blog regarding all of your wonderful adventures with Spirit through so many of my favorite states! Also, just a coincidence, I grew up in Naples and was born in Miami Florida but have been a native Californian most of my 50+ years now. Discovered my love for the desert at around 14 as I traveled the Southwest with my mom and landscape artist friend Russell White as he painted his way across so many beautiful deserts, and since those days I’ve never desired to be ANYWHERE ELSE! (FOR THE RECORD… I plan on hitting that damn lottery someday and retiring to Sedona or Zion, and hope you’ll accept my invitation to come visit now) Utah, as well as Arizona, are 2 of my favorite vacation destinations and I make a point to visit EACH at least once a year, usually in the fall when there’s just a hint of color in the Aspens and the night stars blanket me as I camp in the wilderness! Not an inch of either state have I not tried to explore by foot or horseback… I found your note in your AZ blog about that dirt road over the Chiricahua Mountains and can honestly say I know it well also! Slot canyons! I’ve explored as many as these old bones could take me to! Something about the spirituality of “rock” that calms my soul, don’t you agree?? Your photos are AMAZING by the way!!! Ask me if I could travel ANYWHERE ELSE in the world…I’d tell you either state would do…none of that European stuff for me (my apologies to France, Italy and Spain ) Just to have MORE time (than just vacations) to spend in my many “secret” Southwest spots that I’ve discovered over my 35+ years of traveling would be a dream come true! Just so you know my dear Ara, we are “kindred” spirits of sort. I’ve ALWAYS been a gypsy at heart as well, and would travel the rest of my life away if I could break away from the grips of reality I am forced to live by. Spirit has NO idea how lucky she/he is! Your passonate words in your blogs reflect the wisdom of a man well traveled and (an “old” soul to be sure) How marvelous are your written words of appreciation offered to us from the beauty “mother nature” has bestowed on this planet in the way of her deserts, mountains, oceans and prairies, throughout our good ol’ USA. I was so touched by your latest blog that I just happened upon when searching for a live web cam of Capitol Reef (sadly there are very few) Your photos caught my eye and I am so glad I got to read about so many priceless memories of you and Spirit as you travel to so many wonderful places and let us poor mortal 9 to 5ers tag vicariously along with you! I, for one, am TRULY GREATFUL for this day after reading your stories and have gained a new appreciation for people who see life through the eyes of mother nature (like us) and hope and pray for everyone else who doesn’t understand such simple things. The youth of today has NO IDEA what they’re missing!

    I’d like to leave you with this little poem (a native american writing) that I’ve posted on my windshield and I’m passing it on to you and others as I say goodby for today and thank you for sharing your life with us, so eloquently, through your blogs:

    “Every now and again we must all spare a precious moment from our hectic lives to take a good look at something not made of human hands… A star, a mountain, a tree, or the turn of a stream. There will come to you a great wisdom, patience and solace, and above all, the assurance that you are NOT alone in this world! Go to nature to be soothed and healed, and have your senses put back in order. Forget not, that the earth delites to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair”

    I’ll continue to visit your site weekly now as I know it will be as if I am traveling RIGHT ALONG with you and Spirit! I hope you know how special people like you are and what a blessing it would be to meet you someday (you can be sure I’ll be looking for the motorcycle with the sidecar and Spirits smiling face in the next National Park I visit!

    Till then… Be well, Travel far, Enjoy life, Resist Much, Obey little! A new fan! (Laurie Herndon aka belladonnaphoto)

  4. Ginny Says:

    Hi Ara! My mouth is watering looking at what you made! I haven’t stuffed a pork loin in a while…I am inspired to do so soon. 🙂

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