Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Orleans has been called many things.....

...the "most wicked city of its day, "the city that care forgot". It's also been called the "Queen City of the Inland Sea" and, as I prefer to call it, "The Paris of America".
It was 1937, and I was 25, traveling the country in search of new materials and methods of making buttons and findings. My travels took me to New Orleans….we were told of exotic woods in the bayous, mostly cypress. But I also found a wealth of African woods available there….Black Limba, Cocobolo…..being used by the locals to craft musical instruments! The mysteries in this city would intrigue me for many visits, and its heritage no doubt peaked my interest in both Africa and France. The voodoo, the Mardi Gras….and let’s not forget the chicory “coffee” and beignets! I still remember the morning I was sitting in the French Quarter, enjoying my “favorites” when word spread that Amelia Earhart’s plane was missing! The radio reported it for days, weeks, months, even years. It still remains one of the great mysteries! Every time I visit New Orleans, I think of Amelia........astoria
By the by, I recently read that new information has surfaced that might aid in the search for Amelia Earhart’s plane. The AP reports that “The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will launch a new search in June, 2012 for the wreckage of Earhardt’s plane off the remote island of Nikumaroro”. For more information on this, visit:

By the by, to go to the beginning and catch up on Astoria's adventures go to,

By the by, my tribute to Amelia:

Friday, June 1, 2012

As you might expect...........

I was not the only one to chronicle our various adventures. Below is a page from my beloved Archer's old, well travelled, leather journal. The cover itself brings tears to my eyes. Worn, touched by his hands, stained through the oil of his perspiration, it was an old and trusted friend who kept close company with the man I loved.
This excerpt was written while we were staying at that oh so strange hotel in Colorado.

Estes Park, Colorado-June ’51.

While Astoria and B were off traipsing after photographs of flowers in the high mountain meadows, Gerard and I decided to go kill something and put some meat on the table.
This French “Mountain Man” was more like a mountain goat when it came to stomping up and down the rocky high ground. He damn near wore me out!
He carried an old Enfield in 30-06, while I was carrying a new Remington bolt action in .270. Somehow he seemed perfectly at home with that wonderful old ball bat of a rifle (which I knew perfectly well he could shoot accurately out to a thousand meters!).
I was happy to be slinging my much lighter, more streamlined modern shoulder weapon across the valleys and scree sided mountain slopes.
We were in search of Mule deer, those wonderful mountain dwellers with the wide, beautiful racks. I needed another such mount for a particular spot in my lodge room, and Gerard seemed just the fellow who could help me.... not only help me shoot one, but pack it out as well!
We started early in the morning sitting on a scraggy mountain top glassing the opposite side. At those great distances, it was amazingly easy for something the size of one of these large animals to hide in the shadows and brush. Antlers turned to twigs, and their 200 pound bodies became just another shady rock…but finally there he was.
A fine specimen, sitting and watching the valley below......the wind in his nose and the safety of the mountain to his back.
Gerard and I quickly came upon a plan to circle far to our right, downwind, and try to cross the valley in such a way that we would end up behind and above the old boy for a shot.
It took a couple of hours to make the transition, but when we finally poked our heads up he was still there waiting for the afternoon thermals to shift and move him off his hillside perch.
I steadied the fine new rifle across my pack, settled the cross hairs, drew a deep breath and slowly squeezed the trigger. When the smoke cleared Gerard and I stood to see the old boy hadn’t gone but 10 yards before dropping. We whooped and hollered and hugged in the manly way that hunters will to celebrate a job well done. I must say it seems the French take such things a little too far, but then it somehow seemed a bit of alright to be doing it there in the mountains with no one else around! For a brief moment I imagined the women watching and Astoria thinking we had lost our minds! Then the work began.
We made our way down to the deer, assessed his marvelous wide rack and main beams, then we got out our knives and got to work dressing him down to manageable quarters and parts that we could load on our packs and carry out on our backs.
When we finally made it back to the horses, which had been tethered in a meadow, we were dirty, dusty, and exhausted.... inspired though, knowing the end of the trail would hold a blazing fire, roasted mule deer backstraps, whiskey, fine cigars and a wonderful story of men and the mountains to be shared with our appropriately impressed wives.

By the by, to hear about the Stanley Hotel and it's "oh so" strange happenings, check out the blog at,

By the by, to go to the beginning and catch up on Astoria's adventures go to,