…as if nothing ever happened


There is a patch of desert not too far from my home that, I am told, was the original site of Apacheland Movie Ranch. If I am to believe, this is where from 1960-2004, some 44 years, 29 movies, 17 television series and hundreds of commercials were filmed.

But there is nothing out there. Sure, there are trails used by hikers and dirt bikes but nothing else. Nothing that would tell you the self- proclaimed “Western Movie Capital of the World” was here for 40 years.img_4456

The first time I walked down Kings Ranch towards Apacheland it was lightly raining.

August in Arizona is hot. Random showers during monsoon season bring us relief. I had no problem wandering around in the drizzle to see what I could find. I had walked over alone. I didn’t bring the dogs because I wanted to take pictures. At that time, I thought for sure if there had been a full movie studio and buildings there would be something worth taking pictures of.

There really is nothing out there except for a rock fence that looks like it could have been some sort of corral.img_4418

When I approached this area, I felt this energy then immediately tears welled in my eyes. The only way I could describe it was it felt like someone saying “Finally! What took you so long?”

My reaction surprised me. Why tears? I didn’t feel scared or that I was surrounded by ghosts. I just felt like I belonged there and was wanted.IMG_4391.JPG

It bugged me enough to head over to the museum to see what I could learn.

I learned they needed volunteers and the requirements were easy to meet. I could show up for 3 to 4 hours every Saturday, help sell things in the General Store and watch Elvis pretend he’s a cowboy in Charro! Paid with tons of free reading and education.

Besides, where else was I going to learn about this lost era…for free?img_4272

Born in Las Vegas, raised in the high desert of California and even lived as a kid for a couple of years in BAKER “the gateway to Death Valley”, I can easily say I have desert running through my veins. I had never heard of Apacheland until moving to Gold Canyon Arizona.

A few months and a few hundred viewings of Charro! later, I am meeting people who worked at Apacheland and that can tell actual stories.

The blacksmith John that volunteers at the museum has fun stories. His mom was an extra on the set of Charro! when he was a kid so he was also hanging around the set. Tells me he tried to sit in Elvis’ chair!

The local newspaper The Independent has printed two full page articles about the Stamp Mill and the Train that I have written and photographed for the museum. The monthly Superstition Living printed both articles as well. With my Blog, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram, I can share what I continue learning about this amazing area. I truly hope to be a part of preserving this little chapter in history.img_4250


…on empty

“I don’t where I’m running now, I’m just running on…running on empty….running blind…..running into the sun, but I’m running behind” (Jackson Browne)

I blink and three days have passed. We have lived in our little house on the hill in Gold Canyon now for 4 months. To date we have seen coyotes all around our property, javelinas, scorpions, one snake, one HUGE tarantula!IMG_1405Rabbits, lizards, squirrels, beyond huge ants and have had our car’s engine turned into some small creature’s home!IMG_5085If I am missing anything just scroll back a few posts.

Work is running on all cylinders. I’m smack in the middle of school photo season. Spent the last 2 amazingly busy days over at Mesa High photographing 3600 staff and students. (Probably the most fun group we have worked with yet… seriously, the teachers could use props for their pictures, lots of the kids looked their very coolest, not one problem with bad behavior and when their drum corps marched through getting everyone excited for the Friday night game, everything stopped so dancing could erupt! Great way to end 2 days of warp speed)

Today I’m off to the Superstition Museum to volunteer over in the General Store out in the old movie barn. Thankfully, inside the little store I can watch Elvis in Charro!

You’re like “thankfully”??

Elvis starred in Charro!  He didn’t sing in the movie but did sing the title song. The chapel in the movie survived the fire that destroyed Apacheland Movie Ranch.image It’s part of the museum and I need to be able to tell people about it accurately. So I say “thankfully” because I can do my “homework” while I am volunteering and not trying to watch Elvis during the start of football season!

This is the link to local magazine Superstition Living http://online.flipbuilder.com/gdlq/gzcv/mobile/index.html#p=11

The September 2016 issue featured a plug I wtore for the local public radio station The Wave!  That issue includes 3 of my photos as well.  Last month (August 2016 issue) they used my “A Need to Prune” article.IMG_5792.JPG

Now this magazine is small and conservative. I was not sure if they planned on doing anything, oh, say “creepy” for Halloween… (if you have been playing along with me for any length of time you KNOW where this is going…) so I sent them my shortest story from my collection that I plan on unleashing on you in October.

SL needs 400 words or less. Though all of my short stories are under 1000 words, 400 is tight space to creep you out in. But I have one. It’s about a miner.IMG_5268.JPG

Rejected flat out! “I do not like this story.” I won’t bore you with the rest of the response.

My reaction? Do you remember in the cartoon The Grinch Stole Christmas? Do you remember the smile that came over his face?

I guess I just needed outside verification that my Hauntings for October are not for everyone…only the sexy people(SNP)

I am inspired by people who take things to the land of crazy. Best example I can give is the movie Human Centipede 2. Although Human Centipede and it’s concept was wonderful, the story for the sequel gives me that “Grinch smile”. It’s just so wrong on so many levels that I wanted to stand up and cheer at the end of it if I wasn’t so exhausted from the shock of what I had just watched for the last 2 hours!

I have 2 more weeks to finish up the collection and photos…but I’m ready.IMG_2298 (1).JPG Are you?

“…leave your body and soul at the door”(OB)