Public Comments Being Accepted for Department of Interior’s “Review” of National Monuments Since 1996


Hey, you!–you huge fan of all our National Parks–MAKE YOURSELF BE HEARD!

You lover of nature, you camping, hiking, backpacking enthusiast, you birdwatcher, you insect-a-holic, you flower fanatic, you lover of all critters in air, on land, and under water, you wanderer, and even (especially!) you, dizzy daydreamer with daffodils in your hair, PLEASE SPEAK OUT ON BEHALF OF A LIST OF NATIONAL MONUMENTS (shown below) CURRENTLY AT RISK OF LOSING THEIR DESIGNATION AS SUCH, leaving them to be stripped, mined, drilled and permanently destroyed, all for temporary monetary gain.

Do you see this stunning photo of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument?  It’s located right here in my home state of Arizona and it is at risk for losing its designation as a National Monument.

Coyote Butte North at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona

The National Monuments being initially reviewed are listed in the following tables.

National Monuments Being Initially Reviewed Pursuant to Criteria in Executive Order 13792
Monument Location Year(s) Acreage
Basin and Range Nevada 2015 703,585
Bears Ears Utah 2016 1,353,000
Berryessa Snow Mountain California 2015 330,780
Canyons of the Ancients Colorado 2000 175,160
Carrizo Plain California 2001 204,107
Cascade Siskiyou Oregon 2000/2017 100,000
Craters of the Moon Idaho 1924/2000 737,525
Giant Sequoia California 2000 327,760
Gold Butte Nevada 2016 296,937
Grand Canyon-Parashant Arizona 2000 1,014,000
Grand Staircase-Escalante Utah 1996 1,700,000
Hanford Reach Washington 2000 194,450.93
Ironwood Forest Arizona 2000 128,917
Mojave Trails California 2016 1,600,000
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks New Mexico 2014 496,330
Rio Grande del Norte New Mexico 2013 242,555
Sand to Snow California 2016 154,000
San Gabriel Mountains California 2014 346,177
Sonoran Desert Arizona 2001 486,149
Upper Missouri River Breaks Montana 2001 377,346
Vermilion Cliffs Arizona 2000 279,568
National Monuments Being Reviewed To Determine Whether the Designation or Expansion Was Made Without Adequate Public Outreach and Coordination With Relevant Stakeholders
Katahadin Woods and Waters Maine 2016 87,563


The following link will take you to the Department of the Interior page where the so-called “review” (which so far, all seems for show only) of DOI-1027-0002 is open for public comment.

If you care about these National Monuments at all, please take the time to leave a public comment on the following web page:

Department of the Interior public comments page for DOI-2017-0002:

Comments will be accepted until July 10, 2017.

(Note:  Public comments in support of Bears Ears have already reached the cut-off date of May 26, 2017.)

If any of the National Monuments listed above mean anything to you, or if you wish to make a general statement about the whole list of National Monuments under review, please do so at the link I provided above. When I submitted my comment today, I noticed public comments numbered over ONE MILLION! Please make yourself heard!

Thank you so much!



Whether or Not to Keep Your Mouth Shut in the Arizona Heat

We’ve had a crazy hot, hot, hot week in Arizona this past week–to the tune of 118 degrees at times.

The streets and sidewalks are so hot, our miniature Doberman Pinscher can’t go for a walk unless she wears booties. And because trying to outfit her paws with neon green silicon booties this week was an abysmal exercise in futility—akin to shoving glass slippers on my ugliest stepsister’s feet—the dog hasn’t been out in the neighborhood all week long. I wonder if her new affection for pooping in our bedroom closet is a subliminal message… You torture me? I torture you.

I’ve noticed the birds in the backyard have been passing time on top of the concrete brick walls that fence in our yard. Why on earth do they stand on the wall, I wonder, instead of the cooler grass? (Okay, half the lawn is the equivalent of dry hay, but still, it’s gotta be cooler than bricks, no?)

The birds look parched. Their beaks hang open all the time. They remind me of me when I was a kid. I used to drive my mother nuts. “Susan, close your mouth! For Pete’s sake, are you trying to catch flies?” (For the record, I wasn’t trying to catch flies. I don’t care much for flies, really. The argument of “you never know where they’ve been”–hint, hint, like on a shiny pile of dog poop–resonated with me. I mostly NEVER wanted to catch flies.)

Really, I had no reason to hang my mouth open other than it just seemed natural to do so. In my mother’s defense, I’m quite sure I looked dopey. She was probably trying to spare me the embarrassment of ‘seeming’ dopey. (I was in fact a bit of a daydreamer—dopey… but in ‘cute’ way, I like to think.)

The birds in my yard look dopey this week. Since I have a soft spot for dopey, I empathize with them. I assume they’ve got a perfectly good reason for hanging their mouths open. Probably comes natural to them to do so. I’m figuring it’s something to do with keeping themselves ventilated in the mega-heat, like maybe they’re pulling off some kind of swamp cooler thang. Ya know, like channeling incoming air through a moist mouth instead of a dry nostril. I don’t know. I only lived in the South for a couple of years. Before then, I never heard of swamp coolers. Never heard of hanging wet towels over open windows to cool the incoming air, either. Such a sheltered life I’ve lived.

Birds don’t have towels. For that matter, they don’t have windows either, so I’m thinking swamp cooler thang is their angle. What I do know from careful observation is that, like me, the birds don’t seem to be trying to catch flies. Plenty of flies buzz by, but the birds give a shrug, Meh… not interested. You never know where those flies have been! A person or creature need not be told twice. On any palate, flies with sticky poop feet is just gross… except if you’re a dog. Apparently, poop and flies are good eatin’ for a dog. Which explains why I cringe every time my adorable min-pin insists on licking my face. Ah, the things we do for love.

Speaking of love, we went out to dinner last night. It was too dang hot to stick with Plan A: grilling chicken out on the barbecue. While walking back to our car from the restaurant, we heard a woman screeching at a man in a car. Judging from her tone and carefully chosen words of advice, the man was her husband–poor dear. “Well, then, turn on the f#*king air conditioner, you idiot!” she shouted. He must not have heard her, because she repeated her suggestion over and over again until he and anyone within a mile-long earshot without doubt could.

I know he took her empathetic words of love to heart, because after she went back into the restaurant, he got out of the car and leaned back up against it. There he stood in the sweltering Arizona heat, looking dejected—baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, shoulders slumped, mouth hanging open. In all honesty, he looked kinda dopey. One of my people,  I thought, immediately feeling for this dopey fellow. I wanted to warn him about the flies that had sticky poop feet. Maybe nobody ever told him. More than that, I thought, Wow, what a sad soul. I’d be hiding in the car after a verbal beating like that.

But then it hit me. Clearly, this somewhat dopey-looking, dejected man had a perfectly good reason for standing outside, for drawing more attention to himself than had already been drawn—a perfectly good reason for standing out there, his mouth hanging open, for all who witnessed her wrath to see. His dejected dopiness was, in fact, brilliant! Masterful! The more he brought attention to himself, the more I reflected on what a nasty woman she was. His defiance—wrapped in a sad-looking package, presented in a public setting—sent a subliminal message that screamed, You poop on me? I poop on you. And good on him for doing so. Because if there were any creature in all of history who truly needed to shut its mouth, I think it was her.

So, no, things haven’t been entirely normal this week in the crazy heat of Arizona. Today, though, we get some relief. The forecast is for 110 degrees. I, for one, will be looking forward to things cooling down somewhat and getting back to normal.

With the dog days of this week behind us, we’ll ALL be back to keeping our mouths shut, which, overall, will probably be a good thing.

Stay cool, folks!

THIS is how we’ve been keeping cool. It’s 6-ft wide and 2-ft deep, but it does the trick! And, hey, this week it turned into the HOT TUB we never had!


1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_5: The Best Grill for Father’s Day

In the last post (1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_4: Grilling on a Sunday Afternoon) you may recall that Mark had finished painting the grill for our 1950 Chevy 3100  Vintage Pickup Truck.  Well, here’s how it looks on the truck . . .

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

Besides the grill, I have so much to show you. We’ve made tremendous progress with so many other features of the truck as well. She sure is looking pretty!

First, for the wheels, we went with baby moons on shiny black rims with chrome beauty rings. Nice, huh?

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

Then Mark refurbished the wood planks and metal separators in the truck bed. Both really pop now . . .

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

Mark was able to make use of the rear bumper that came with the truck but did some cutting and welding to add a nice curve to the ends and, of course, painted it the same shiny black we used on the grill. An update to the rear lights and the tailgate chain helps pull it together. . . .

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

We did our best to carry the wood color of the truck bed into the front cab with entirely custom woodwork for the floor and the center console that Mark designed and built (with my input and thumbs up, of course, because he’s good like that!). We managed to score a nice radio and speakers from the junkyard that sound great and look quite fab with the truck . . . kinda old school.

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

We have lots of places to stow various nitnoids. For instance, we can store stuff in the console, in the glove box, and Mark even custom built an extra box under the passenger seat. There’s also a shelf behind the seat we can make use of if needed.

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

Besides painting the dash and steering wheel shiny black, Mark also painted the doors in the same color. We decided on the best balance between silver and black on the doors to complement the rest of the dash. Mark custom cut and bent the metal for the upper part of the doors. He also had to replace the guides for the side windows . . . the original ones were much too trashed to continue using.

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

Somewhere along the way, we also ditched the original bench seat (it sure had seen better days!) . . .

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration and rebuild

We replaced the original with something we eventually found at a junkyard that cost us $30 or so. There are a few minor tears in the pleather on the passenger side, but other than that, the seat is super comfortable. We may do a custom cover on it some day, but are happy to live with it as is for a while. We also found seat belts that matched reasonably well. Junkyard picking is fun and often well worth the effort if you don’t mind taking the time. For us, its a scavenger hunt. We get a kick out of it.

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

The instrument panel came out great. It originally looked like this . . .

Mark was able to salvage the gas/battery/temp/oil gauge, only having to replace the display (which he easily found on the internet) . . .

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

But since he had transformed our three-on-the-tree manual transmission into an automatic transmission and had also changed up the original chassis, wheels, etc., he had to play around quite a bit with migrating everything that was affected by all those changes, which turned out to be a lot.

One of those things was the P-R-N-D markers for the steering column. Mark didn’t like any of the ones on the market, so decided to create his own. This turned out to be more of a pain in the ass than expected, mostly because there was limited space around the steering wheel for a pointer and for the actual lettering. He figured it out eventually, as you may have noted in the picture above.

The speedometer/odometer was also a pain. A brand new one would cost a couple hundred dollars, so Mark set to the task of using the original speedometer casing, but otherwise altering the thing to suit our needs. There was such minutia involved in getting the right display to line up properly with the speedometer needle that Mark eventually called upon my help in a graphics design program to just create our own and print it out. In the end, we created something that looks very nice. Don’t you think?

1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck restoration rebuild

I swear the “Susan’s 50 Chevy” addition was HIS idea!  🙂

That’s all for now! As always, stay tuned for updates.

Happy Restoring, Re-using, and Re-purposing to all you builders and restorers out there!

And HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all you amazing DADS!

I don’t know what we’d do without you!

Related Articles in this 1950 Chevy Restore/Rebuild series:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_3: Hard Body Meets Firm Foundation

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_4: Grilling on a Sunday Afternoon

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Sue J signature