Well, dear readers… here's the deal. The first vote was to head west to the Rockies, and so we are. But who knew we would meet up with the tail end of that mountain range so soon, or that we would bump into such interesting legends and ghost towns this early on? So, our new decision is: Should we stay and explore some of New Mexico's legends and ghost towns that we are passing by, or make a beeline for Victor, Colorado? Once, again, we will let our ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS decide, and go by however the vote falls.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Meanwhile, we are being lured by a state we thought to be little more than desert, only to find it has pockets of veritable paradise all through it. For instance, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains: "The Blood of Christ." How in the world did that bit of earth earn such a name? And is there some phenomena to observe if we go there? I'll leave it to you, fellow travelers. Anyone who looks into such mysteries for us that leads to an adventure, or divine appointment, along the way… will have their name put into the CAPTAIN'S HAT for a New Mexico souvenir. 

What sort of treasures are in New Mexico? Heavens-- gold, silver, turquoise, and even diamonds. They say you can still trade with local Indians for some of those things, too. So, I just might do some of that.  It is also a perfect place to look for a certain curiosity to add to my collection that I've been trying to track down for years… but more on that later. Any way you look at it, though, we are finally off on our great adventure. And as Mr. Holmes was known to say…

"The game is afoot!"


West to the Mountains...

The vote is to head west to the Rockies, dear readers, so west it is. We are aiming for the southern most prong of the Rocky Mountains that extends nearly a hundred miles down through north-central New Mexico.  So, it seems we will actually reach our destination much sooner by taking this route, as it will allow us to start "adventuring" through legends and ghost towns by the weekend. The most interesting of which seems to be the Lost Dupont Mine, near the vicinity of the old Copper City site (now a ghost town).

I'm looking for a place called Placer Creek, located near Hopewell Lake, in the Tusas Mountains. Will we find it? I don't know, but we will definitely find adventure. Not to mention a few divine appointments along the way, if we look hard enough. Up until Albuquerque, it will be highway driving, just ticking off the miles. But that makes for good working hours for me. It's wonderful to live in an age when you can take your office with you wherever you go. What am I working on? Another Stella Madison Caper… but more about that, later.

Meanwhile, I hope you've enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend, dear readers (we support our troops!) and I will be back tomorrow with an interesting bit about "Someone You Should Know…"


Here we go...

Well, dear travelers... I promised a video log on Friday, and there are only two hours left of Friday to go. So many obstacles got in the way of this little project I wouldn't want to list them all. Never-the-less, here is our first effort (at which we will get better, I'm sure). Now, without further adieu, I give you the beginning...


A Divine Appointment...

Why are we so interested in divine appointments? Of course, I can't speak for everyone, but the way I look at it, I can't think of anything more exciting than having something specially set up for you by God, Himself. It would imply that he cared for you enough to depend on you in some way. 

One thing I have learned about divine behavior over the years, is that God never has just one thing in mind. Whenever He intervenes, or sets something up, it always benefits more than just one person. It seems to me that whatever He touches has a ripple effect of good that spreads out in all directions, splashing wonderful things on anyone in the way. Many of whom had some sort of "help" in order to get into that position in the first place. And I am constantly in awe at how the Lord orchestrates these things. Here's an example of a recent one that "bumped" into us, just a couple of weeks ago...

Every year, for the last several years, we have traveled to a cooler location during the summer. Mostly because the Captain is an outdoor man, and once the temperature gets up over a hundred degrees and stays there for weeks on end, most otherwise enjoyable outside activities turn into torture. Since this has become such a habit for us, we decided how wonderful it would be to go back to something we have enjoyed so much on various occasions: living aboard a sailboat. Some of our most memorable times have been spent on boats. 

In fact, the more we thought about it, the more it seemed to actually fit into the "big picture" of our lives. We could see how it could even expand our ministry in many delightful ways. That would be the real draw of the thing, because if something doesn't fit in with God's "master plan," we wouldn't want to do it. Not because we are so selfless (I wish we were!), but because we have found His plans to be much more exciting than ours. And it is usually "His treat" when it comes to the expenses, too.

At any rate, we decided to "test the waters" a little bit, to see if this was really a "God idea," or not. So, we put our house up for rent. The phone started ringing within five minutes after the ad went out. Lots of people were interested. Everyone who came to see it within the next two days, wanted it. But there was one young family we had an instant connection with. It seemed they had very much wanted to live in the country (ours is a small farm), but everything they had been looking at was too expensive. So, they prayed about it. Because it really didn't look like something that would be possible for them to do. Shortly after they prayed that prayer, they saw our ad. 

I could end this story right here, and it would be enough for us to agree how good God is at working things out for everybody involved. Except I would be leaving a few special things out. Such as their desire to have some dairy goats because the goat's milk their two-year-old daughter needs is expensive. I happen to love dairy goats, and while I don't have any this year because of travel plans, the barn, pens, and pastures are already set up for them. However, we have two dogs who have been in our family for years, and we didn't look forward to losing them. So, we were more than delighted when the family agreed to take care of them for us during our travels. 

Something tells me, this is going to be a very exciting and unusual summer!

"Is it possible to miss a divine appointment simply because you fail to recognize the moment?" Hmmm…Meg wondered then if a person could actually go looking for divine appointments, and, if they got good at it, might even qualify for more…"
Taken from GOLD TRAP, the book that inspired our MYSTERY TOUR.

Treasure Hunt Wednesdays...

It is Treasure Hunt Wednesday, ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS. Since we are still on our trial week before departure, however, we are not exactly looking for treasures, yet. Still, it's important to see if the system works, here on the portal, so I've decided we should have some sort of a test run. Hmmm… 

As you know, our first destination is the Rocky Mountains, in search of some legendary treasures around the town of Victor, Colorado. Mostly because it is rumored to have some of the largest gold mines in the country, and also because it is said there was almost as much lost as found, around there. Of course, the Captain and I have been doing some research on just where and what we will be looking for, so we will know where to begin, once we get there. The thing about these legends, though, is that there is always a lot of hearsay surrounding them. In some cases, out-and-out falsehoods about whether they even exist. Why, already, we have had one that we have had to scratch off our list. It is called the "Ten Cent Treasure," and here's the story…

Seated Liberty dime
Worth $500-$1000 today
Sometime during the 1880's several wagons carrying large barrels filled with freshly minted Seated Liberty dimes from the Denver Mint, headed for Phoenix, Arizona. The shipment included a small escort against the many outlaws and thieves that plagued the American West at the time. However the entire wagon train went missing somewhere between Montrose, Colorado and what was then known as the Crawford Ranch. 

Years later, sometime, near the turn of the century, a group of treasure hunters located the remains of the wagons near the North Rim of Black Canyon. They were able to recover several gallons of dimes along the Gunnison River, but not the bulk of the treasure. 

This kind of story always makes me want to go treasure hunting. Except it didn't take much research to reveal that the Denver Mint dimes weren't produced until 1906, and by then railroad shipment was much preferred over wagon travel. 

A lot of people would be discouraged at such findings. Except that facts like this:

"According to the Colorado School of Mines, (on average) the gold is replenished approximately within one year in any given location in the streams and rivers along the front range of Colorado."

Now, this kind of information makes me want to go gold panning (which I love). Mostly, I enjoy being out in beautiful places and sifting through streams and collecting rocks. On these occasions, I have probably passed over more gold than I've found, simply because I don't know enough about it. I know one thing, though. I always enjoy doing it.

And I guess that's the point. 

So, anyone of you wonderful ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS who can dig up a bona fide location for us to "go prospecting in"… I'll bring you back something of whatever we find. At the very least it will be a "curiosity" and great conversation piece. Not to mention some mysterious connection to the past. It might even lead to a collectable story…

Which is always like gold to me.

Let's make the deadline on this Treasure Hunt midnight on the 5th of June, winners to be announced on the 6th. Up until then, share whatever stories and/or locations you can find, right here in the comment section.

Meanwhile, happy hunting!


Someone you should know...

Well, since we aren't exactly on the road, yet, and just testing out the system, this week, we haven't had many Tuesday encounters to share. But I am not beyond pulling something up from the past. So, here's one that gave me some of my most distinctive impressions of the character and personality of Mary Kingsley: that most amazing woman explorer that inspired me to write GOLD TRAP. 

Mary Kingsley
I think it was her courage that impressed me most. Which was almost always linked with stark honesty and rare sense of humor. Considering only one way tickets were sold to West Africa in her day (because most people didn't survive the journey), you would think only a woman of steel would have even considered it. But, no, she was far from it when she started out. Here are some of her first impressions of the place in her own words…

First when she arrived by ship…
"The mangrove-swamp follows the general rule for West Africa, and night in it is noisier than the day.  After dark it is full of noises; grunts from I know not what, splashes from jumping fish, the peculiar whirr of rushing crabs, and quaint creaking and groaning sounds from the trees; and - above all in eeriness - the strange whine and sighing cough of crocodiles.
Available free at
Five times have I been now in Bonny River and I like it.  You always do get to like it if you live long enough to allow the strange fascination of the place to get a hold on you; but when I first entered it, on a ship commanded by Captain Murray in ’93, in the wet season… a sense of horror seized on me as I gazed upon the scene.
While your eyes are drinking in the characteristics of scenery you notice a peculiar smell --  that’s the breath of the malarial mud, laden with fever, and the chances are you will be down to-morrow.  If it is near evening time now, you can watch it becoming incarnate, creeping and crawling and gliding out from the side creeks and between the mangrove-roots, laying itself upon the river, stretching and rolling in a kind of grim play, and finally crawling up the side of the ship to come on board and leave its cloak of moisture that grows green mildew in a few hours over all."  
And later when traveling by canoe with native paddlers, through unexplored cannibal country...
"The mangrove-swamp may be only a fringe at the mouth of the river, or it may cover hundreds of square miles.  The clay cliffs may extend for only a mile or so along the bank, or they may, as on the Ogow√©, extend for 130.  And so it is also with the rapids: in some rivers, for instance the Cameroons, there are only a few miles of them, in others there are many miles; 
Mary and her native paddlers
We hadn’t gone 200 yards (from a native village) before we met a current coming round the end of a rock reef that was too strong for us to hold our own in, let alone progress.  On to the bank I was ordered and went; it was a low slip of rugged confused boulders and fragments of rocks, carelessly arranged, and evidently under water in the wet season.  
I scrambled along, the men yelled and shouted and hauled the canoe, and the inhabitants of the village, seeing we were becoming amusing again, came, legging it like lamp-lighters, after us, young and old, male and female, to say nothing of the dogs.  Some good souls helped the men haul, while I did my best to amuse the others by diving headlong from a large rock on to which I had elaborately climbed, into a thick clump of willow-leaved shrubs.  
They applauded my performance vociferously, and then assisted my efforts to extricate myself, and during the rest of my scramble they kept close to me, with keen competition for the front row, in hopes that I would do something like it again.  But I refused the encore, because, bashful as I am, I could not but feel that my last performance was carried out with all the superb reckless abandon of a Sarah Bernhardt, and a display of art of this order should satisfy any African village for a year at least.  
From a domestic with no formal education, to
an explorer of world renown
At last I got across the rocks on to a lovely little beach of white sand, and stood there talking, surrounded by my audience, until the canoe got over its difficulties and arrived almost as scratched as I; and then we again said farewell and paddled away, to the great grief of the natives, for they don’t get a circus up above Njole every week, poor dears."
The most valuable thing I learned from Mary Kingsley? That even the most inefficient of us can become strong if we do not give up our aspirations to follow our hearts.
Something that still holds true in 2012.



My apologies if you have been waiting to connect up with with my MYSTERY TOUR, dear readers. The fault is entirely mine, as I have never been one for solving technical problems. While I know exactly what I want to do, I often don't know how to go about doing it. But, don't worry, I always figure a way sooner, or later. And I am definitely not adverse to suggestions of easier methods to do things, so, if you have one of those, pipe up and tell me.

Meanwhile, all systems are set for a Friday departure. We will start for the Rocky Mountains, by car, so that we can explore the backroads around Victor, Colorado, in search of lost treasure. Real lost treasure. We are taking along our prospecting equipment, have researched old legends, and will see what we can find. Two things are certain. We always find adventure, and we always meet up with divine appointments along the way. Very exciting, any way you look at it, and I am so glad you have decided to come along! 

Here's how the schedule will work…

Monday: Updates of where we are, and what has happened over the weekend.

Tuesday: An interview with someone interesting we have encountered on location.

Wednesday: Announcement of weekly treasure hunt winners

Thursday: Divine appointment encounter

Friday: Weekly Video log

Some details…

On the sidebar you will find a Weekly Decision Poll you can participate in if you would like. This first week, we are having to decide whether to head north through the prairie, or west to the mountain route on our way to the gold mines of Colorado. If you have an opinion, let us know… we will go by whichever way gets the most votes.

There is also a box where you can put your name on our Prayer List. We pray for all the special people on this list every day, and wonderful things always happen. Also, anyone who wants to share any special prayer requests or praise reports will be able to do so on a page I will have up by next week.

So, there you have it, fellow travelers… four days from today, we will be on our way! If you have any questions or suggestions for us, just leave them in the comment section. And in the meantime… blessings!