Out of the Shoe Box

SteveTrucker2  Homepage   DreamVacations

     Goingwalkabout began as a chronicle of an unexpected journey through a stage of life.  It continues, in this new phase as a journey through Space (see Sneaking Up on Pluto, Part 1 & Part2) and in in this particular series, a voyage through Time.  I bring you greetings from a far-off place called “The Past”.  Since I have seen more of it than most of you, I’ll bet you will be surprised, amused and/or interested…unless you are one of those smarty-pants teenagers (I had two) who already know everything.

–.  —  ..  -.  –.  .–  .-  .-..  -.-  .-   -… —  ..-  –

Over the decades that now collectively inhibit gainful employment for Your Humble Narrator, he has embarked on many motivating sojourns.  Until recently, most all of them have been solitary travels and hence he has not many photos that include himself.  These travels occurred before the advent of the “selfie”, you see.

As we are now passing through a period when current travel is inhibited, I have gone to that repository so well known by every amateur photographer with age of about three score of years.

To explain to our progeny:

Once upon a time, photographs were accomplished by quaint little boxes referred to by the name that Merriam Webster says is from Late Latin and actually means a “room” in a building.  Rooms back then were not much bigger than boxes and well…   Back to the point:  Cameras recorded pictures on a plastic strip that was covered by an emulsion that changed chemically when exposed to light.  The “film” in the “camera” was hidden in darkness until the “shutter”…

OK, Look!  People wound up with little pieces of thick stiff paper with the pictures printed on them.  And that was it.  So, they stored the papers in a shoebox.  I have several such shoeboxes and a scanner.  So – look out, world – you are soon to be “exposed” like a piece of film to all my little pieces of paper.

For this first outing, I took the first four pictures that looked like they might scan well – pretty much at random.  This is only a test.  Had a real emergency occurred…


Figure 1:  That skyline is downtown Los Angeles in 1985.  Unless I am mistaken, this picture was taken from Griffith Park Observatory. 

The haze you see is not weather, but air pollution.  That stuff was called SMOG and was notoriously almost always hanging around Los Angeles, in those days.  Spoiled-rotten, neophyte, ignorami “environmentalists” of the recent era would have you believe that the air has never been dirtier than it is today.  They were not around when dirty air was King.  I was.  This was the normal condition of LA for this era and decades before.

The comedy show “My Favorite Martian” had an episode where Leonardo Da Vinci was catapulted forward in time to 1970’s LA.  One of his first comments was, “How is it you have a brown sky?”.  I seem to remember he was played by the very talented character actor Keenan Wynn, but I could be wrong.  In fact, I begin to doubt it – but check out that link anyway.

By the way, Los Angeles is the most abbreviated place on Earth.  Its real name is, “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, la Reyna de los Angeles de la Porciuncula*” and they call it “L.A.”

*Or maybe something longer…


Figure 2: 1985  So early in the series, we have an exception to the rule that Steve does not appear in the photos.

I was indeed, traveling alone as was my constant habit.  I prevailed on a fellow tourist to take my picture here at the top of a ski lift in Arizona, Just North of Flagstaff.   I believe this is now called “Snowbowl”.  I came here on the Southwest Chief – that’s a train – from Los Angeles which you saw in the previous picture.    You see my attire is not suited to skiing weather.  My, how observant are my intelligent readers!  Yes, I was there in the summer and they operated the ski lift for folks who wanted to go up and look around.  There is a long story involved with getting to this point that will have to wait patiently until I scan the other pictures.


Figure 3:  The Sydney (Australia) Tower 1990.

This requires a regression of some extent.  Long ago in a place we now know as a “poor” neighborhood of Houston, a young boy had an elementary school teacher who was a last-minute substitute, that stayed on for  most of the year (if not all – it  was over half a century ago!)   This lady (whose name – I am sorry to say – I have forgotten) inspired young Steven (for that was my name then when Father “Steve” still walked the Earth) with tales of her homeland – Australia.  She taught us to sing “Waltzing Matilda” and fascinated us with stories of – for example – the place where a person travelling across Australia had to de-train while the cars were lifted up and set on new “bogies” that allowed them to continue on the different rail “gauge” that existed to the West.  She told us of the “Tropical Cyclones” (just like our own Hurricanes – only rotating the other way.*) that broke the wind gauges at 200 miles per hour.  And -yes – Australia was pre-metric in those days.

So, when Your Humble Narrator was working in South America and could not re-enter the US for tax reasons, he went (alone, again) to fulfill a childhood aspiration to visit Australia – in 1990.

*I can explain that later – when I have scanned the other pictures of “OZ”.

PicoBolivar1990Figure 4:  This is a view from the Highest and Longest Cable Car in the World.

The photo is near the top of the four “assents” of the cable car system that takes the tourist from Merida, Venezuela to the top of “Pico Bolivar” 5007 meters above sea level.  That was the figure on the “standard” tourist map back in 1990.  You may find it quoted as 4,978 meters in the online literature.  That puts it at 16, 332 to 16,427 feet – in either case over THREE miles.  To quote Mr.  Spock: “A difference that makes no difference is no difference.”  However, it is an excellent talking point for responding to Denverites when they try to appear superior by saying they live a pitiful little mile above sea-level.  😉

Actually, the cable car goes to ”Pico Espejo” (Mirror Peak) which is not quite so high.  But you can climb to Pico Bolivar from there and you bet I did.

I was NOT travelling alone, this time. There is another quite complicated story associated with this place – involving newlyweds and a failure of technology that left people stranded upon this mountain.  This too must wait until more shoebox photos are scanned.

I will say that the pictures scanned far better than my expectation.  The exercise was successful.  We are go for launch.

Hasta Luego,


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