The Journal, Saturday, 7/11

The Day

Rolled out just before 4:30 (Arizona time) in New Mexico, north of Lordsburg. No checking email. No Internet. Just reality.

Great trip, but Dan and I experienced three days of excitement and adventure in about 8 hours.

Topic of the Night: Refilling the Well

I write from experience, as do most of us. Or at least near experience. I experience things, then put my characters in those situations, then extrapolate out from there. But to do that, I have to experience things. I have to refill the well occasionally. Yesterday, I topped off my well of experience.


We pulled into our camp about 45 feet away from a 500 foot drop into the Gila River, got out and began re-exploring and taking pics. I take photos for my book covers, but many also give me story ideas. Others are “art photos,” suitable for framing and display, and I might someday offer those for sale.

Then it started sprinkling, then raining. We got in the cab of the pickup.
It started raining harder, then hailing pea-sized hail. Soon that turned to dime-sized. That all lasted about an hour, then quit.

Cool. Back to exploring and taking photos, except this time there waterfalls all over the place. I think there were three or four to our south, two or three across the gorge to our west, and another one to the north. The widest (that I could tell) was probably 50 feet. The narrowest was a few feet. But all of them were grandiose. Remember, all of them were falling at least 500 feet.

Then an hour, maybe two later (I think… it might have been longer) Dan noticed a massive blue curtain to the west with a roiling off-white valance. I have never seen a wall of rain quite like that, and it looked like the precursor to a tornado, or maybe a batch of them.

Of course, being guys, we climbed a nearby rocky hill so we could see better. (grin)

When we’d seen all we wanted or needed to see, it was back to the pickup, and just in time.

The rain came. It was horizontal. I am not kidding. Then the hail came. It was dime-sized to quarter-sized, and much of it too was horizontal. The waterfalls I mentioned earlier were flowing hard, but after they plunged off the cliff, the wind caught them and tossed them up so they looked more like geysers. Again, I am not kidding.

The pickup (again, we were parked 45 feet from the edge of a 500 foot drop into the Gila) was jostling around hard from the wind. We seriously considered working our way down a “chimney” between two huge rocks to slip into a 1,000 year old pueblocito that had remained dry throughout.

But everything around the pueblocito was wet and slick, and very near the pueblocito, should you miss your grip on a juniper tree, was that same 500 foot drop with nothing to grab but slick rock and air. We stayed in the pickup.  (grin)

With more storm fronts rolling in, we decided to head for Lordsburg. It was apparent we wouldn’t be able to use our cots and sleeping bags, etc. Dan couldn’t make use of his tarp to protect from the rain because the wind was, well, western wind.


Several miles down the road there’s a large wash. The road ducks into it for about a quarter-mile, then out again. Only the wash was under fast-moving water.

So we “decided” (as if there was a choice) to make camp near a rancher’s windmill and catch pen until the wash was not moving.

I slept sitting up in the cab (because I can) and Dan slept under the camper shell in the bed of the pickup. It rained and dropped lightning off and on pretty much all night. However, when I wandered down to the wash in the predawn light, it was damp but not flowing.

About an hour later we drove down a hill, across the wash, up onto relatively firm ground and out. There were other minor adventures, including inching past a motorhome that some moron had parked ON THE ROAD (this is a dirt road, one and a half lanes max) because apparently he didn’t want to drive any farther in the mud.

But we were tired and hungry and wet and far from home (just like in the Marine Corps) so we didn’t honk or shoot at him or anything when we went by. (The owner and whomever else was apparently asleep in the back.)

Into Lordsburg at last, we dropped in to a restaurant for breakfast, then out to Shakespeare where a very kind gentleman named Rod allowed us in to take pictures even though they usually only allow people in during official tours. (We told him we’re both writers and that our characters know Shakespeare better than we do. Truedat. One of Dan’s characters named the place.)

Then Dan dropped south of I-10 to St. David and dropped me off. And here I am. Dan should be home about now, as I write this.

I’m not gonna write today. I’m gonna indulge my other side and enjoy the pics and videos. Tomorrow I’ll write the story of the week and then get back to Book 8 of the West Crowley saga.

BY THE WAY if you’re one of those who limit yourself to writing “only novels,” I urge you to read the topic of the day on Dean’s site AT THIS LINK. It isn’t today’s post.

The Writing
No writing today.

Today’s Writing
Fiction words: XXXX

Writing of “(as yet untitled)” (story of the week)
Day 1…… 2238 words. Total words to date…… 2238

Writing of Book 8 in the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 4125 words. Total words to date…… 4125
Day 2…… 2624 words. Total words to date…… 6749
Day 3…… 2766 words. Total words to date…… 9515
Day 4…… 1412 words. Total words to date…… 10927
Day 5…… 3441 words. Total words to date…… 14368
Day 6…… 1052 words. Total words to date…… 15420
Day 7…… 2486 words. Total words to date…… 17906
Day 8…… 3201 words. Total words to date…… 21107
Day 9…… 3186 words. Total words to date…… 24293
Day 10… 1585 words. Total words to date…… 25878
Day 11… 2178 words. Total words to date…… 28056
Day 12… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month…………… 18790
Total fiction words for the year……………… 424473

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