Peter Shelton

The Answer Is: Religion or Defense

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on October 15, 2011

The question is not: Why did the Anasazi disappear? (The answer to that one is still a swirl of conjecture.) The question should be: Why were they there in Chaco Canyon in the first place? And what is the meaning of the monumental architecture they left behind? (more…)

The Monastery of Pure Landscape

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on July 22, 2011

Years ago, I overheard some German motorists in the visitor center in Moab say: “Ya, zis is ze first time ve are traveling in pure landscape!” (more…)

Hidden High Grade

Posted in How the West was Lost, Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on June 21, 2011

In the compressor house next door to the mine portal they gave us yellow hard hats and waterproof rain jackets. Then we climbed aboard the trammer and straddled its hard metal bench. A tour guide who calls himself Rock Chip swung up on the engine, and the trammer clanked and jerked into the tunnel. The light of the outside world, the warm summer sunlight of Ouray, quickly shrank to a silver dollar behind us, then vanished altogether. (more…)

Part 3: When Do We Find Out If We Passed?

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on May 5, 2011

The final station, the last stop in the daylong draft physical, was the medical captain’s office. I want to say I was still in my underwear, but I can’t be sure. The memory is blurry. Surely, I think now, 41 years later, they would have allowed a potential recruit the dignity of his shirt and pants. (more…)

Part Two: A Rude Shock in Boise

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on April 28, 2011

The bus taking me to my draft physical in Boise rewound the last 150 miles of the route I had just driven from Berkeley. From Hailey, Idaho, where my P.O. box was, the old Greyhound rolled down the Big Wood River out of the mountains, through Shoshone and west along the Snake River to Boise. It was one more weird aspect, but not nearly the last, of my temporary “residence” in Idaho. (more…)

A Tale of Two Draft Boards

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on April 21, 2011

Last time I wrote about Sun Valley and its place in American ski history. But I didn’t tell the story in which Sun Valley saved my life. (Or at the very least prevented my children from being born Canadian.) (more…)

Surfing the avalanche

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on January 7, 2011

Ellen thinks maybe the second avalanche was still moving when we drove through it. (more…)

Palestinians on Horsefly Peak

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on October 8, 2010

It was just an imagination exercise with our morning coffee. But what if?

What if we were the Israelis and we had the Palestinians bottled up in a tiny space of land more or less equivalent to what we see across the valley on Horsefly Peak? (more…)

Bentley Boys Do Skyway Loop

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on June 30, 2010

What do Queen Elizabeth II and your humble reporter have in common? We both drive Bentleys.

Well, actually the Queen is driven around London in her claret-colored Royal Bentley limousine. And I drove a Bentley for the first and probably last time in my life last week on a bit of a total lark. (more…)

The Zen Stick

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on May 20, 2010

There I was a couple of weeks ago writing about The Idiot’s Guide and taking care of our cars and how they’ve lasted so long with a bit of love and regular oil changes.

I should have known better. The law of the universe says that when you pat yourself on the back—whup!—here comes the Zen Stick to beat you back down again. Down to where you belong. (more…)