19th Birthday Party for 100.1 The X – Stones for Bones

Reno has a great local FM radio station KTHX branded as 100.1 The X.
The X has been in Reno for 19 years. Last night they celebrated their
birthday  by having a concert for charity. Stones For Bones featured 19
local bands, one for each year The X has been in business. Each band
played a different Rolling Stones song.The concert benefited The Nevada
Opera, The Reno Chamber Orchestra, and The Washoe County School
District's "Music In Schools" program.

Blue Haven at Stones for Bones 

It was a great concert. You would think that with 19 bands it would
drag but you really have to give credit to the people who organized the
show. It moved quickly and was fun! In addition to the bands there were
also a couple of Rolling Stones songs performed by people from The Reno
Chamber Orchestra and The Nevada Opera. There was even a performance
of  You Can't Always Get What You Want by a choir from a local
elementary school with the opera singers and the chamber orchestra. 
They all seemed to be having a great time and the audience loved it. To
hear kids, opera singers, and violins playing The Rollings Stones was
funny and great!

Not only was the music great but the whole event
was just plain fun. Reno has always had a great music culture. It
started back when every casino had an orchestra and it continues today.
All 19 bands in this concert were good and some of them were great. It
sounded like what was happening back stage was amazing too with the musicians connecting,
talking, and generally having a good time. The audience of 500 filled
the Nugget show room and we had great time too.

Guitar Woody & The Boilers

Old Tippecanoe – William Henry Harrison and His Time

William Henry Harrison was the ninth president of the U.S. Harrison’s 1840 election slogan is like a song that sticks in your head – Tippecanoe and Tyler Too. If you have ever heard that slogan perhaps you wondered like I did about Tippecanoe and its meaning.

I am in the process of reading a biography of each American president. This is a multi-year project!  You can see the list of other presidential biographies I have read here.

Before reading Old Tippecanoe – William Henry Harrison and His Time by Freeman Cleaves I only knew of Harrison as the first president to die in office. He only lived for a month after being inaugurated. Up until Ronald Reagan he was also the oldest president ever elected. Another unique fact about Harrison is that he is the only president to have a grandson also elected president.  Benjamin Harrison the 23rd American President was Old Tippecanoe’s grandson.

One might think that the story of a one month president would be boring and short Harrison’s presidency may have been short and un-noteworthy but his life was just the opposite. As I have discovered reading other presidential biographies you learn a lot about American history by studying our presidents. Harrison lived and served on the American frontier much of his life. He was the first governor of the territory of Indiana. When Harrison and his family moved to Vincennes the capital of the territory it was a tiny town on the edge of Indian country. The whole population of the territory included only 5,540 whites. Harrison built a brick home there, the first in the region. It was called Grouseland. From it he negotiated a series of treaties at President Jefferson’s request to acquire land from the Indians for settlers.

“Nearly all the Illinois country as well as southern Indiana had now been opened to the whites and before attaining his thirty-third birthday, Governor Harrison could survey many millions of acres peacefully acquired in accordance with Jefferson’s wish.”

Prior to being Governor of Indiana Territory Harrison had enlisted in the army in 1790. He moved up quickly. He must have been a charismatic and inspiring leader because his popularity both with his men and with the country are what led to him becoming president.

I think the story of the battle of Tippecanoe from which he got his nick name would make a great movie full of conflict and nuanced motives. There were not bad guys and good guys. The Indians, Tecumseh and his brother The Prophet built a confederation of Indians who were against ceding  lands to the U.S. They were terrorizing the settlers. I can see their point of view but I can also see the point of view of Harrison, Jefferson and the settlers. They felt that they had fairly received the land from the Indians. Harrison tried to steer a middle ground. The conflict with maneuvering and rights and wrongs on both sides culminates in the Battle of Tippecanoe.

“Two Shawnee brothers, one a statesman, the other a “Prophet,” were at the spearhead of a movement, and duly encouraged by the British they  threatened for a time  to check the entire scheme of land acquisition and Territorial advance”

On November 7, 1811 Harrison with his army of 950 officers and men had camped outside Prophetstown the Indian town founded by Tecumseh and the Prophet in 1808. Harrison planned to meet with the Indians the next day. Tecumseh had gone south to enlist the  Creeks and Cherokees in his confederacy. The Prophet told his warriors that they were invulnerable and that his spell had rendered the Americans harmless. The Indians attacked the army’s encampment during the night and a fierce battled ensued. The army’s victory was not a sure thing but they eventually prevailed. Harrison lost about a fifth of his men, 37  dead and 151 wounded. Indian losses were proportionately as large. They had between 500 and 700 men fighting.

Harrison’s roll in the Battle of Tippecanoe was debated for the rest of his life. He spent a lot of time defending it and his tactics. But his role as the victorious general of Tippecanoe contributed greatly to his eventual election almost 40 years later. Harrison’s election in 1840 at the age of 68 culminated a long and varied life. Harrison served as ambassador to Columbia in 1829 and as a senator from Ohio from 1825 to 1828.

Old Tippecanoe was a fascinating book. William Henry Harrison wasn’t the first or the last American military general hero to be elected President but he served our country well. I enjoyed learning about the role Harrison played in the expansion and development of the United States and the insight this book provides into what was then the west and its influence on American politics.


My Picture Time Line

I thought it might be fun to put together a picture time line of my life.



probably about 1955

004 (2) 

1956 – 4 years old


About 1959




In my Clayfield College uniform in Brisbane Australia about July, 1964


1970 at Iowa State

001 (2) 

about 1972

003 (2)
College Graduation February 1974



About 1979

With my daughter Allison – December 1981


About 1998


With my daughter Shannon about 2001

At our wedding 6-20-2003

Marion 11-14-2008

July  2008

August 2008

An Interesting Story – Jimmy Beans Wool – Reno and Online

Even if you are totally uninterested in knitting you have to find the story of Jimmy Beans Wool in Reno an interesting one. The company was founded in 2002 by Laura and Doug Zander.  Laura focused on the store and the yarn and Doug developed the web site. 



Last Saturday I stopped at Jimmy Beans Wool to look at a knitting
pattern that I had found from their web site. There were two cash registers open and a line waiting to
check out. Jimmy Beans is Reno's best knitting store. A yarn
distributor I know told me that Jimmy Beans doesn't buy from distributors
because they sell so much yarn that the yarn companies want to sell to
them directly. Business sure seems to be good.

According to an article about them in Fortune Small Business article in July of 2007 the on-line business at that time accounted for 70% of their business. They recently expanded their back room into the store front next door. Often when I am in the store I can hear people on the phone with customers taking orders.

The shopping experience on their website is wonderful. Browsing the web site just makes me want to buy yarn and knit. Right now they have cashmere sock yarn in delicious colors on the front page. They have hooked me on the possibilities. I am probably going to buy some. 


Perhaps because I am a computer programmer at heart I find it inspiring that this website is their own, developed by them. I've always
thought that it would be fascinating to develop a web site and sell on line. But what a lot of
work. When you look at the complexities of the Jimmy Bean website and
store and yet how well it is designed for ease of use you really have
to admire the fact that the web site was created from scratch. 

Bottom line is that Jimmy Beans Wool is a real Reno success story. If you want to create your own business, work really hard, be a bit lucky and I am sure put a lot of money and sweat equity into your effort Jimmy Beans is proof that it is really possible to succeed.

Reno to Virginia City via Back Roads

If you live in, or are just visiting Reno, a trip to Virginia City is a must. Virginia City is one of the oldest towns in Nevada. It was at the center of gold and silver mining and the rich Comstock Lode in the late 1800s. At its height 23,000 people lived in Virginia City. Today the population is about 1000. Although it is a tourist town it still feels like the old west and is a fun place to visit. If you take the main roads it is probably no more than an hour from Reno. But in the words of Doc Brown in the movie Back to the Future –  “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” My husband, Duke and I really enjoy exploring by taking old dirt roads.

Today Duke and I went with some friend and took the Jumbo Grade Trail and the Ophir Grade Trail to Virginia City. We came home on the Old Geiger Grade Toll Road. All of these roads are rough dirt roads and I think four wheel drive and high clearance are definitely necessary to drive on them. We had a great time. Ed, our leader, and his wife had done the trip before using the book Nevada Trails – Western Region as a guide.

We left the paved roads about 4 miles south of highway 395 near New Washoe City. You can see where we left the pavement and the road we started up on in this picture.


In this next picture I am looking west across Washoe Valley. You can see the remains of a giant landslide described in an article titled Catastrophic rockfalls and rock slides in the Sierra Nevada, USA by Gerald F. Wieczorek

“At about noon on May 30, 1983, a large complex rock and soil slide detached from the southeast face of Slide Mountain, Nevada…… Subsequently, along the northeastern margin of the rockslump zone, a rapidly moving rockfall avalanche of large boulders and a debris avalanche of gravelly sand initiated and entered the northern end of Upper Price Lake, a small reservoir….Price Lake, displaced most of the lake water, which overtopped and breached a low dam. The water then breached the dam of Lower Price Lake and sent a torrent down the gorge of Ophir Creek. In the steep canyon the rapidly moving water picked up fine and coarse rocky debris. Emerging from the canyon 6 km downstream, the debris flow spread out and deposited over the alluvial fan of Ophir Creek in the Washoe Valley, destroying and damaging houses, causing one fatality, and covering old U.S. Highway 395.”


Further along the road we had a wonderful view of Carson City, Nevada’s capital.


Here are a couple more pictures of us and the road. It was a cool, overcast, beautiful day.



After lots of rocks, ruts, and stops for pictures we eventually got to Virginia City. 


Virginia City has a very large Catholic Church. Some guys were in a basket at the end of a very tall cherry picker repairing the steeple. It is not a job I would want to do!


We had a barbecue lunch at Virginia City Jerky and Smokehouse. My spicy pulled pork had a wonderful smoky flavor and was some of the best I have ever eaten.


After leaving Virginia City we headed down on the old Geiger Grade toll road. The Online Nevada Encyclopedia describes the road:

opened completely in 1863 with several toll
stations. Its sharp descent, including hairpin turns and steep slopes,
made it impractical for heavy loads, but it was a popular route for
stagecoaches. Because drivers had to slow in some places, these became
favorite locations for robberies."

Even now it is a very steep and in places very narrow road. It is hard to imagine driving a stagecoach up that road or for that matter riding in one.

Here is a slide show of a few more of the pictures I took on the trip today.