IMG_1975.JPG – October 12, 2009 – 3:31 PM
A donkey named Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales-Gonzales is a gift, of sorts, for my 34th birthday. Kerry and I are on vacation, a road trip to the American southwest for a whistle-stop tour of iconic U.S. national parks. This is decidedly not one of those parks; rather, it's an out-and-out tourist trap in Jerome, Arizona, that I've goaded us into because, well, it's my birthday. Called the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town, it's a junkyard pure and simple, owned and operated by a soft-spoken snow-bearded man who looks an awful lot like Uncle Jessie from The Dukes Of Hazzard – and guarded by a sign stating "This Place is Patrolled by Shotgun Three Nights a Week… You Guess Which Three". A colourful hodgepodge of vehicles long sent to pasture, rusted and retired machinery, nineteenth-century dental implements, sad-sack farm animals – you name it – the place bleeds, sweats and cries 'Murica. The Gold King Mine is precisely the sniff of culture I hope for in and among postcard desert vistas and Coyote/Roadrunner landscapes.
My 2009 Big American Birthday is capped with a burger the size of
Rhode Island Delaware, a Stetson cowboy shirt and a trip to a Gap outlet store for hard-to-find 33-waist/30-leg jeans.