“Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting go of a little water.”   Christopher Morley

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After another conversation packed, sleepless night, the perfect stranger and I shared a late breakfast with our Canadian snow geese neighbors. Our breakfast backdrop: a river float plane, only reinforced the inevitable reality of the day. In a few hours, the perfect stranger would be boarding a plane bound for Long Beach, California and I would be returning home to a pending winter in Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona.

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On paper, our worlds couldn’t be anymore different. In practice, our hearts were kindred spirits separated by a zip code. I resided in a remote community that had one gas station and a post office. The closest supermarket was two hours away.


The perfect stranger lived in Long Beach. I had forgotten what is was like to have access to the modern conveniences of malls and medical centers.


The perfect stranger’s recreational playground was the Pacific Ocean while I had the Paria and Colorado River at my disposal.



I gave up a career in mental health to pursue a simple life outdoors while the perfect stranger turned her passion into a non-profit foundation.


As we packed up camp, the perfect stranger and I committed ourselves to a round two adventure. We considered our eight day maiden voyage as round one. Where would we spend round two? If I were lucky, I would get the opportunity to show the perfect stranger around my neck of the woods.


Our 60-mile drive to Kingman airport was a mixed bag of emotions and round one reflections. The songs playing on my mp3 player felt more like a love story soundtrack than just an indie music playlist. The genius of song writing is when an artist captures your thoughts and sentiment in a song. Seldom do I hear limbically driven lyrics in mainstream music. Thank god for artists like Garrison Starr, Lovers and Poets, Vicci Martinez, and Jamestown Revival.


As we exited Interstate 40 for Kingman Airport, the perfect stranger called her mother in North Carolina. Surprisingly, the perfect stranger introduced me to her mother via speaker phone. Her mother asked me about our adventure. I mentioned that the perfect stranger and I were finishing our trip with a fever and sore throat. How do you tell a mother you are sending her daughter home sick for the holiday season? You don’t! Instead, you jokingly threaten to kidnap her daughter for the holidays. The perfect stranger’s mother caught me off guard when she invited me to North Carolina for Christmas.


If I didn’t have my dog child Shadow waiting at home for me, I would have booked the first flight out to North Carolina.


Pulling into the Kingman Airport, the perfect stranger seized upon another photo opportunity. Looking more like a country general store, the Kingman terminal possessed real character and charm.

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As the perfect stranger approached the check-in counter, she was greeted with a lecture about tardiness.  We had arrived at the airport twenty minutes before the flight. This did not make the Great Lakes Airlines staff member very happy.

sadSmileyThe perfect stranger did her best to remove the somber look from my face while her ticket was processed.  I wondered if it was possible to be happy and feel sad at the same time? My happiness I embraced; however, the complete utter feeling of loss was overwhelming. How could I fall for someone in eight days? I was not looking for romance on this adventure; a new adventure buddy would have been enough.


As her plane landed, the  perfect stranger was rushed outside to the TSA security check. There was no time for a long sentimental heartfelt goodbye; instead, it was a rushed embrace. All I wanted was simply to hold her.

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I had no words to convey how I felt. Perhaps tears are simply unspoken words that run down your face. I felt exposed and vulnerable. Thankfully, my sunglasses created a safe haven from public view. In my twenty’s and thirty’s I seldom cried in public. I could hold back a tear like a dam sustaining a flooding river. On this day, the dam broke and I would never be the same.

My drive home to Vermilion Cliffs was one of self reflection. Is it really possible to fall for someone in eight days? The answer is, YES!! Was I hopeful that I would see the perfect stranger sooner than later? Most definitely!


I remember when I left southern California and my friends expressed concern about my future love life. How would I ever find Ms. Right living in the middle of nowhere? My answer was very simple. I wasn’t looking for love; however, I was hopeful one day she would find me.


“What breaks in daybreak? Is it the night? Is it the sun, cracked in two by the horizon like an egg, spilling out light?” Margaret Atwood


Have you ever found yourself sharing a two person tent while you were sick?  Is it possible to silence a barking cough and contain a raging fever without disturbing your camp mate? Does internalizing a cough only lead to a delayed spluttering of germs? Would you offer to sleep in the car or continue to transform the tent into a germ invested hotbox? What is the appropriate course of action when you find yourself in this kind of situation with a  love interest? If you are lucky and truly blessed, your personal Florence Nightingale will take matters into her  hands and come to your rescue!


Throughout our cold sleepless night, the perfect stranger’s tenderness and genuine concern warmed my heart and comforted my mind. Had I really found the ultimate adventure buddy, not to mention a potential future wife? Could our maiden voyage be a marriage vow test run? For better, for worse, in sickness and in health: we now had first-hand experience. To have and to hold, perhaps it was more a fantasy than reality, still, I was hopeful!


After a relaxing beach side breakfast, the perfect stranger and I headed south on Highway 95  towards Lake Havasu City. Legendary for its wild summer boat parties and spring break shenanigans; Lake Havasu attracts  more than three million tourists a year. For a quieter Havasu experience, I recommend visiting during the snow bird winter months.


Our first stop of the day was Mesquite Bay. Located within the city limits, Mesquite Bay serves as a launch point for kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft.


Oh, and don’t forget your fishing! According to this young man, the fish were biting.


As we walked along the fishing pier, I was mindful of savoring our last full day together. I wondered if we would ever get the chance to have a round two adventure? Would the perfect stranger’s work schedule permit her to travel? Who would look after her dog kids, Bear and Avi? How would we negotiate our travels once I returned  to work  in the spring? Were these just thoughts running through my mind, or was the perfect stranger entertaining her own set of questions too ? How realistic was it  to date someone who lives 600 miles away? Was our age difference a factor? Was my simple life too simple for someone who lived in the city?


There were so many conversations we were yet to have. There was no rush: however, there was a limbic urgency for me. In some ways, it felt like jumping out of an airplane with no parachute. Perhaps I should enjoy the free fall and not worry about the landing. Life does not come with an insurance policy, and neither does love!



When I think of Lake Havasu City, the first thing that comes to mind is the London Bridge. The London bridge is Arizona’s second largest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon. Without a doubt, London Bridge gave a remote, desolate, undeveloped town, an identity.


As I walked across the bridge, I wondered who was the visionary that gave an undeveloped town an identity? Who deemed the barren land surrounding Lake Havasu hospitable? Robert McCullough did!


As the owner of McCullough Motors, Robert McCullough, was flying over Lake Havasu looking for a place to test his new outboard engines. Even from an aerial perspective, McCullough thought Lake Havasu had real estate potential. In 1963, the man who revolutionized the chainsaw industry bought a 26 square mile parcel of desert land. At the time, it was the largest single tract of state land ever sold in Arizona. Robert McCullough’s land purchase became the official site for Lake Havasu City.


To spur the growth of this newly established city, McCullough offered a fly-in, “see-before-you-buy” sales program. At his expense, McCullough flew in 137,000 prospective buyers to Lake Havasu City, in as many as a dozen flights per week, from cities all across the country.


Potential buyers were treated to an all-expenses paid weekend that included: accommodation, meals, boat cruises, and fishing trips. By the end of the weekend, $2500 could make you an instant land owner,  or you could finance the investment for $25 down and $25 dollars a month.


Four years later, McCullough started searching for  a  tourist attraction that would not only draw visitors to his town, but also give Lake Havasu City an identity. With a sinking London Bridge on the auction block, McCullough flew to London and bought the London Bridge for 2.4 million dollars. Each block of the bridge was meticulously numbered before being dismantled. The blocks were then shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California, then transported from Long Beach to Arizona.


London Bridge was officially opened in 1971. Lake Havasu now had an identity. In 1978, the city was incorporated. As a planned community, the city was designed to reflect a balanced economy based on 40% light industry, 40% resort and recreation, and 20% commercial services. Today, with over 53,000 residents, Lake Havasu has grown into the city  McCullough had once envisioned.


With a pending sunset, the perfect stranger and I decided to follow the Bridgewater Channel  sidewalk. It was last minute; however, we had hopes of finding one of Lake Havasu’s miniature lighthouses. Yes, I said lighthouses!


Lake Havasu is home to more lighthouses than any other city in the country. These miniature lighthouses not only pay homage to the greatest lighthouses in North America, but also ensure the safety of nighttime boaters and fishermen. Perhaps the Lake  Havasu Lighthouse Club was inspired by the vision of Robert McCullough; by turning a necessity into a prominent tourist attraction. More than eighteen lighthouses can be seen on the shores of Lake Havasu while others can be seen by boat.


While I would have loved to have seen all the shoreline lighthouses, I was content finding the East Quoddy. Even though this was my second time visiting Lake Havasu, I was happy to be sharing my first lighthouse with the perfect stranger.



Retracing our steps back to London Bridge, the perfect stranger and I headed to the movie theater to see “Wild”.


Have you ever identified the exact moment when your choices, circumstances, and created opportunities  have collided?

Was this collision the necessary accident for fate to unfold, or was it simply happenstance?


In this happenstance story, the author of “Wild”, Cheryl Strayed ,was an underlining figure. Two years ago, I had invited the perfect stranger to join Min and I on the John Muir Trail. Even though she had never thru-hiked before, I knew she had an adventurous streak. In her early 20’s, the perfect stranger spent six months backpacking around Australia. Unfortunately, the perfect stranger could not join us on the J.M.T. due to grad school commitments. So, Min and I headed out on the JMT, interviewing female hikers as part of Min’s sports psychology class.

These interviews grabbed the attention of Cheryl Strayed, which  led to being included in a New York Times piece about her books influence on the Pacific Crest Trail.

My experience on the  John Muir trail led to a life changing decision to live more and need less. In 2014 I left southern California and moved to a remote outpost town in northern Arizona.

A year later,  I found myself on an adventure with the very woman who was unavailable for the JMT, and we were about to see Cheryl Strayed’s “WILD”.


It made me wonder, what if the perfects stranger had of hiked the John Muir trail with Min and I?  Would it have been a love connection or the foundation for a beautiful friendship? Were we destined to have an adventurous outdoors romance? What if I hadn’t hiked the JMT, would I have still sought out a simpler life? Had I been working a mainstream job I would not be having adventures a week before Christmas with the perfect stranger. Instead, I would be working,  working for companies that seldom offered paid leave to their employees. Simplicity offered me the opportunity for romance and the potential for meeting the love of my life.

It’s amazing  how everything comes full circle, back to the way it was always meant to be, SIMPLE!


“All love stories are tales of beginnings. When we talk about falling in love, we go the beginning, to pinpoint the moment of freefall.” Meghan O’Rourke


With “needle-like” rock outcroppings in the distance, the perfect stranger and I continued our paddle down Topock Gorge. There were no other boaters or kayakers on the river. It was just us!


Imagine having a 17 mile stretch of the Colorado River all to yourself? Every secluded beach, isolated cove, and quite backwater marsh was ours to share and explore. Could this be anymore romantic? Was this simply two strangers bonding and reconnecting with themselves, or was this the ultimate form of romance?  The word ‘romance,’ according to the dictionary, means excitement, adventure, and something extremely real. Without a doubt, this was real! What started as an eight day adventure trip had now evolved into the makings of a lifetime love affair.


With the United States Geological Survey Department’s  gauging station in plain sight, we determined the nearby beach to be an ideal lunch spot.


Our beach side kitchen was one of simplicity; a backpackers cooking pot and two stainless steel mugs. Dehydrated Spanish rice was lunch of the day, and I couldn’t have been happier. After nine months of living in an uncomplicated way, I had never felt so inwardly rich. I no longer operated in a currency of money; instead, it was time.


How much time can you carry in your wallet? You can wear it on your wrist, you can see it on your phone; however, you can never buy time. Perhaps time is the one commodity we take for granted. I have always considered the tick tocking of a clock, as the symbolic pulse of time. Office wall clocks used to be triggering for me, perhaps they served as a reminder that I want to be somewhere else, like outside!

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Without the distractions of modern consumerism, my life was now one of being and becoming.  I had never made so little money, yet I had never been so content. It seemed all I  needed; was some change in my pocket, a camera, outdoor gear, and good company. My life had become simple!


It seems my idea of rejecting consumerism and cashing in on simplicity is nothing new. The practice of voluntary simplicity has long been advocated in the teachings of Jesus, the early Christian Church, St. Paul, and St. Francis. Voluntary simplicity also has  roots in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, not to mention in the teachings of Gandhi, and even in the writings of Thoreau. So I guess the question beckons; if  theological teachings are based on simplicity , how did we permit ourselves and encourage society to be so gluttonous?  When did the focus become on having, as opposed to being and becoming? Is it humanly possible to live in the moment when our sense of self is fueled by consumption?


Our serene lunch time siesta was interrupted by employees of the United States Geological Survey Department. Yes, the U.S.G.S. fellas pulled into the gauging station to check the depth and flow of the river. As friendly as they were, the perfect stranger and I were happier once they headed  downstream. We were both really tired and in desperate need of a nana nap. I started to wonder if we were both getting sick. Could our days and nights of endless conversation be wearing us down? Could I be coming down with strep? My throat was red raw, and I felt feverish. We still had twelve miles of paddling ahead of us, and another two days left of our maiden voyage. What greater way to get to know someone, than by being sick together on an adventure.


With the toss of a rainbow flag, we packed up our picnic, and headed back out onto the river. Even though the perfect stranger and I were feeling under the weather, the majestic sand dunes of Topock Gorge seemed to reinvigorate us.


On this trip, I had expected to see volcanic rocks rising into dramatic spires, however, I had not anticipated sand dunes. The sand dunes were surrounded by jagged rock cliffs that stood several hundred feet high. At their base, the dunes blended into the bright green reeds by the water’s edge. I wondered if Topock Gorge’s sand dunes sang like their neighboring relative, Kelso Dunes. There are over 30 locations around the world where sand dunes perform like musical instruments. Kelso Dunes have a musical range of  E, F, and G. I was fortunate to spend the night on Kelso Dunes earlier in the year. And yes, I did hear them sing!

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With a current of 2 miles an hour, the perfect stranger decided it was time for a dip into the cold Colorado River. Remember, it’s December, it’s winter, and the water temperature is a bone chilling 48F. Fully dressed, and without a wetsuit, the perfect stranger revealed her love of the water.


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With our kayaks tied together, the perfect stranger swam over to say “Hi”. Foolishly, I reminded her not to tip the kayaks, as my camera gear was on board. I feared losing my camera. I wasn’t prepared to give up our adventure photos. I guess it all comes down to trust. Trust is when you hold something of value in your heart, head or hands, and your friend honors it. The perfect stranger felt the same way: so I trusted her. My camera full of memories would not become a drowning statistic; instead it was honored, valued, and held in high regard.


Like a playful dolphin in the open ocean, the perfect stranger bear hugged the stern of my  kayak. Irresistible; is when a high spirited, rollicking, living in the moment kind of woman, asks to hitch a ride on your kayak. Joy; is when you witness freedom in action. Perhaps her  free spirited existence was the ultimate act of rebellion. The perfect stranger was  undoubtedly a rebel with a cause; the cause of my happiness.

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Our final beach stop permitted the perfect stranger to change into some dry clothes. Cold December winds blowing through wet gear is not pleasant, and there is no need to suffer. I would be miserable paddling in wet clothes. As someone who lives with Reynaud’s syndrome, I basically live in a constant state of cold. Beanie hats are my friend, even in summer. Wool socks aren’t  just for hiking, they’re a necessity for me when sleeping. With that said, I still enjoy cold weather adventures. I simply dress 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature.


With a spiking fever and a barking cough, reality was setting in. I wasn’t getting sick. I was sick! We still had two more cold camp nights ahead of us. I wondered how the perfect stranger would manage a sick playmate. Chances were, she would get it too. Consider it the ultimate souvenir; processing our emotional connection while sick over the holiday season. Would she ever forgive me?  Who would take care of her?


Two hours before sunset, the perfect stranger and I had calculated that we were ten miles from our exit point, Castle Rock Bay. We would need to maintain a 5-6 mile an hour pace down the home stretch. It was doable; however it did limit our picture taking.



Our  instructions were to turn left at the Castle Rock Bay sign. From there, we would push to the right, heading towards the reeds. Helen, from Desert River Kayaks , told us to keep a watchful eye out for a small channel opening on the left. This was our route into Castle Rock Bay.


A little before 5pm, the perfect stranger and I found ourselves bushwhacking with our paddles. I have bushwhacked  through the Everglades on foot, but never in a kayak. This was a first!


Castle Rock Bay was now in clear view.  Even though I was sick, I felt very sad leaving Topock Gorge.


Extracted from the solitude and silence of our paddle, left me keenly aware of pandemonium in my heart. With only two days left of our adventure, I wondered if we would ever get the chance to do this again. Jokingly, the perfect stranger suggested a National Guard kind of adventure plan; one weekend a month, two weeks a year.  One weekend a month would not cut it in my book, so I suggested it would make more sense to marry her. Yes, I did say it!


Perhaps the wisdom for this situation comes from singer songwriter, Jay Nash. From his song, “Never Takes Too Long.”

True love never takes too long
True love shows up on time
So I’m gonna take mine
Gonna take my time
Gonna get it right
Gonna get it right


The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies and reminds you who you are.” Lynn Culbreath Noel


In the dark hours of the morning, the Perfect Stranger and I left Laughlin, bound for Needles, California. If you have ever driven across the I-40 in California; you may have exited at Needles to get gas, and perhaps wondered what this “in the middle nowhere” town has to offer. Call it an offer or perhaps an open invitation; paddling Topock Gorge, the crown jewel of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge was my inspiration for visiting Needles.


Leaving the I-40, we exited from Park Moabi Road, bound for the Pirate Cove Resort and Marina. The Pirate Cove Resort is a first class family destination nestled along the banks of the Colorado River. With a 250 slip marina and a seven lane launch ramp, it’s a summer haven for boaters and water lovers. In the off-season, it’s home to migrating fowl and snow bird campers. For the next few days, Pirate’s Cove would be our base camp and kayak launch point.


Out of  sheer convenience, we booked a kayak and shuttle package from Desert River Kayaks. For a mere $55, the company will deliver rental kayaks and shuttle you back to camp.This was my second time renting gear from Desert River Kayaks. The owner Helen Howard, has spent 46 years observing the changes in recreation and resource preservation on the Colorado River. As a board member of the Lower Colorado River Water Trail Alliance, Helen holds the Colorado river close to her heart. Her knowledge of the river and willingness to assist clients in trip planning makes Desert River Kayaks my first choice.


With expected overnight temperatures in the high 20’s, we decided to set up camp before Helen delivered our gear. I have made a point over the years of trying to avoid pet peeves. My pet peeve with camping; setting up tents in the cold and at night.


Around 730am, the Perfect Stranger and I left Pirate Cove Resort bound for Topock Gorge. This majestic 17 mile paddle had been on my adventure list since 2001. I was finally here! Not only was I here; I was sharing it with someone I was falling in love with. Perhaps it’s human nature, or maybe it’s just me: however I feel when we fall in love we tend to start thinking more about the future than focusing on the now. As much as I was appreciating and honoring the now, I found myself thinking about the future. How can I date a woman who lives 500 miles away? Would I entertain a long distance relationship? Is a long distance relationship really sustainable? Do long distance relationships need an agreed end point? Do long distance relationships feel more like romantic getaways, or do they simply lack in the daily rituals and routines that regular relationships experience?


Bringing it back to the now, why contemplate or worry about a long distance relationship with a woman I hadn’t even held nor kissed. Maybe it wasn’t worry; it was more wanting.


Barely half a mile down the river, the perfect stranger and I decided to make our first stop. Mother Nature’s light show had led us ashore. The shades, shadows, and textures of the early morning captivated me. I have often wondered if photography can legitimize a landscape. Is it really possible to capture the authenticity of a scene? Perhaps I am merely freeze framing the feelings landscapes evoke in me, or maybe I’m simply shutter friendly?


After a brief snack, the perfect stranger and I headed back out onto the water. In the distance, we could hear the sound of a roaring freight train. We were now approaching the Santa Fe Rail Bridge. Built in 1945, the Santa Fe Bridge lies next to the modern Interstate I-40 Topock Bridge and the Old Trails Arch Bridge



Completed in 1916, the Old Trails Arch Bridge was the longest three-hinged arch bridge in the nation. A decade later,with the opening of Route 66; the bridge was bypassed, abandoned, and deemed worthless. In the ultimate act of recycling, Pacific Gas and Electric appropriated the bridge. Thanks to a fresh coat of paint, this centennial bridge gives the appearance of a far younger structure.


Paddling under the Old Trail Arch Bridge meant we were officially entering Topock Gorge and the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. Home to over 318 species of birds; the Refuge lies within the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south migratory route along the western coast of the United States. Birders flock to the refuge during the autumn and winter months, not just for rare species such as Yuma clapper rail, Southwestern willow flycatcher and peregrine falcon, but also for the sheer abundance. Thousands of Canadian snow geese, ducks and other waterfowl seek winter shelter in Topock Gorge and Marsh.



As the perfect stranger paddled slightly ahead of me; the words of Loren Eisley came to mind, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”


The morning lighting on the Colorado River had created a fairytale kind of magic. I will never forget the breath taking cloud reflections, the sunlight sparkles bouncing off the water’s surface, and the perfect stranger, finding pink and purple peace on the river.


In many ways, I feel photography is about capturing unguarded micro-second moments. While a creative eye is considered invaluable, I feel the ability to recognize limbically driven moments is crucial. Personal is when you feel someone’s spirit, intimate is when you know them.


With twelve more miles ahead of us, I could only wonder,what is next?




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Have you ever wondered how a town earns its name? Is it local geography that inspires a town name? Could it be the first inhabitants or a colonial takeover that inspires the naming of a town? Have you ever noticed that 18th and 19th century American presidents have towns named in their honor? Founding father, Benjamin Franklin, is undoubtedly the most decorated American citizen with 50 municipalities, 32 counties, and one state.


Is there a gender bias when it comes to town names? Historically, in male dominated societies, female centric town names tend to be few and far between. Considering women account for 51% of the U.S. population, women have inspired relatively few town names and even fewer once you eliminate saints, Greek goddesses, foreign queens, and early settler’s wives.

Are there any American towns named after influential women? Olive Oatman appears to be the only shero who inspired a town name.


Olive Oatman was not my main motive for visiting Oatman; however, she did open my eyes to historical sexism and modern day misogyny.



One hundred years ago, a ten million gold dollar discovery forever changed Oatman. During the height of the gold rush, this Route 66 tent town was home to 10,000 miners. Today, with a population fewer than 200, it’s the wild burros and misogynistic billboards sustaining the living ghost town. Yes, I said misogynistic! What better way to honor the town’s namesake, than with store front billboards like this.




Perhaps only in Oatman, can tourists be greeted by wild burros and a “Glory Hole” sign.



Was it just me, or have other visitors found the signs to be rather sexist and misogynistic in nature? The local gift shop won the award for the most disturbing form of sexism and misogyny. Who would buy this t-shirt? In what social setting would you wear this shirt?


As mortified as the perfect stranger and I both were, we decided to focus on our main reason for visiting Oatman: the burros.


With an estimated 1500 burros living in the surrounding hills, we found a few dozen roaming the main street.


Be prepared, expect them to approach you, they are not shy!

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As tempting as it may be to feed the burros please don’t! The Bureau of Land Management discourages feeding these Oatman icons. Local shopkeepers, residents, and visitors have overfed the burros; leaving many fat and sick. You know overfeeding has become a problem when you notice these interventional style stickers.


After our burro encounter, the perfect stranger and I continued our stroll through town. In some ways, our walk felt more like date than a friendly adventure.


Is it really possible to establish such a close bond within a few short days? Was our newly found form of emotional intimacy shortening the distance between our sense of friendship and possible romance? Honestly, it would’ve have felt more natural to hold the perfect strangers hand than continue to do my shadow walk along side of her. I wanted to be closer, yet still be respectful of our developing friendship.


Nothing goes unnoticed or unacknowledged, when you are spending time with a micro-expression maestro. “Circle, circle, shoulder rub, head hang, look away”; was the sing-song, the perfect stranger used to describe my new found body language. Lol, how embarrassing!


Perhaps Paul Schrader was right; the secret of the creative life is to feel at ease with our embarrassment. I would like to think I have made friends with my old nemesis: embarrassment.


Oddly enough, it was a five year old girl that noticed our apparent connection and closeness. After noticing the two ladies in red, the young girl asked if we were sisters.

Was it our matching red shirts that implied a sister bond? Could the young girl sense the probability of a potential romance? How do you tell a 5 year old that she had witnessed two women falling in love? With her mom right beside her, we told the young girl we were good friends, and left it at that!


The perfect stranger and I headed off to the Oatman Hotel to grab an early dinner. It’s hard to believe that Clarke Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon here. Rumor has it, that Clarke Gable often returned to the hotel to play poker with the miners.


While miners no longer play poker at the hotel, part of their history remains. Throughout the restaurant, you will find thousands of dollar bills stapled to the wall. Consider it a souvenir to the past, because back in the day miners used to pay their bill on the restaurant wall.


Perhaps this is the ultimate form of an honor policy, paying your tab ahead of time, just in case anything unforeseen happened to you during your meal.


Like thousands of other visitors, the perfect stranger and I left our dollar bill stapled to the wall. I also left Oatman with the “Circle, circle, shoulder rub, head hang, look away,” sing song playing in my mind.