S4 E40 — Don’t Bet Against Montezuma or the Yavapai-Apache Nation

Still not remembering that Mesa Verde National Park is in Colorado, not Arizona, I noted the Montezuma Castle was constructed on the face of the cliff here in the Verde Valley created by the Verde River.  


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Hi and welcome to Saturday’s 40th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 14th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12880 this week to 12943 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 204 viewers stopped by the week before.




Jay’s smashes avocados and whips them up into his secret recipe for an awesome breakfast of avocado toast. About 45 minutes later Jay switches to Elle’s Lexus SUV and I ride shotgun while the chicks gab in the back. 

But this time they want the air conditioner to work.

Image Credit: Apple Maps

Pulling out of their shared driveway and winding downhill we escape into the Verde Valley southeast of Prescott.

Maybe an hour later, Jay pulls into the Cliff Castle Casino grounds operated by the Yavapai-Apache Nation Indian tribe on our right. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

We then we immediately turn left,  winding down towards the national monument. 

Almost simultaneously all four of us realize that we left park passes at home or in the other SUV without backseat air conditioning. 

At the bottom of the hill Jay commandeers a parking slot up close to the main entrance immediately after a Camry exits. 

Some people have all the luck. 

Welcome to Montezuma’s Castle. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

But still following COVID space protocols there’s a limit to how many can occupy the combination souvenir store, history displays and the ticket counter. 

So, Jay does the talking about our forgetfulness as he has in other situations when he used to ask for professional courtesy as a fireman to talk his way out of speeding tickets or to explain why he’s driving without a California Driver’s License.

Getting up there in age with a bum knee getting bummer from climbing ladders, he no longer can get away with appeals for firemen favors, but he does have away about him, and we all pass without pay.

We pick up a folding brochure and a white map with black lines showing “Highways & Public Campgrounds” with a squared in “Points of Interest” legend showing the US Forest and Arizona State Parks camp grounds if that was our mission.

But it wasn’t.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Emma the Baroness and I both gazed over it quickly enough to see a dark thick black line labeled I-17 meandering from the upper left boarder (with an arrow to Flagstaff) down to the near middle page terminating under the corner of the legend square (with an arrow to Phoenix).

Near the mid range meandering above the legend “Points of Interest”  we saw a thinner, but dark line all squiggly yet paved road (89A) with an arrow pointing west towards Prescott.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Since this wasn’t inside South Coast Plaza and we weren’t standing next to the directory map, it took a few moments longer to zero in to “You Are Here” in this case Montezuma Castle National Monument.

“ WTF?” I muttered to myself.  I didn’t know what I expected as we strolled down a cement sidewalk through a clump of trees until they parted revealing the side of a cliff wall.

These are the Mesa Verde 5-story cliff dwellings, only not here in Arizona and not called by the right name.

Don’t take my  word for it, try Wikipedia:

When European-Americans first observed the ruins in the 1860s, by then long-abandoned, they named them for the famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in the mistaken belief that he had been connected to their construction. 

Having no connections to the Aztecs, the Montezuma Castle was given that name due to the fact that the public had this image of the Aztecs creating any archaeological site.

In fact, the dwelling was abandoned more than 40 years before Montezuma was born, and was not a “castle” in the traditional sense, but instead functioned more like a “prehistoric high rise apartment complex”.

Still not knowing where we were exactly, I asked our local European-American couple —Jay and Elle —who hosted us and drove us here, if they had been to Mesa Verde National Park which lies south of Durango on 1-160, where they used to live and we visited twice, once before they moved in when we explored the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace?

Elle flicked a fly that buzzed around her face and said she and Jay had talked about it, but didn’t.

Still not remembering that Mesa Verde National Park is in Colorado, not Arizona, I noted the Montezuma Castle were constructed on the face of the cliff here in the Verde Valley created by the Verde River.  

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

“Mesa Verde” and “Verde Valley”  and “Verde River” have to be connected, right?  I mean look up at the five stories main structure with about 20 rooms built over the course of three centuries.

Oops, I now recall it was the Anasazi people — ancestral Pueblo-ans — that lived for roughly 700 years in Mesa Verde, having migrated from the Four Corners region.

Here in Camp Verde, Arizona, built by the Sinagua people:

A pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately AD 1100 and 1425.

Like it was way back then, the Verde River is one of Arizona’s last free-flowing river systems. But, now like the I-17, the water flows to over 2 million people in the greater Phoenix area. 

Mesa Verde, now that was like the Trump Towers compared to Montezuma’s Castle.  

The first time we visited Durango, Colorado we left the Grand Canyon and came to a fork in the road.

Image Credit: Google Maps

East takes us past Mesa Verde National Park, on 160 towards Durango.


We’re twenty minutes away from the first set of Mesa Verde ruins and the ranger told us they close in an hour. We lost an hour during the time change — something we hadn’t counted on. And, that put us into the park entrance later than we wanted. 

Image Credit: Mesa Verde National Park

That means that the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace tours would be closed. 

Where did we mess up? We plotted our route taking us near Mexican Hat to the 666 and towards Cortez,

I didn’t even consider a time change for Mesa Verde and Durango. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

This has been one trip with a lot of driving. All I had thought about is next stop the Mesa Verde and then 45 minute drive to Durango, our outpost for three nights and two days before pressing on to Denver. 

But this time, here now at Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona Jay is doing all the driving.

Turning Montezuma’s Castles brochure over sitting in Jay’s passenger seat I noticed Sedona in the upper right hand corner.  First we’d spend a day in Jerome, and then bid goodbye to our Prescott friends and end our vacation in Red Rock country.

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

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“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “New communities and circles intrigue you. You can’t tell from the storefront what this is all about; you have to go in and feel the vibes. You’ll know within the first dozen interactions.” Scorpio

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E39Closing in on Uncle Billy’s Lynx Creek Mining Claim ; S4 E38Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace; S4 E37Racing a Little Wobbly on Whiskey Row

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E40How Stealing Your Sign Led Me to a Nobel Prize; S3 E39Ready for Your Big Leap Forward?; S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins; S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E40The Profound Impact of the Pandemic on Nouns; S2 E39The Best Tau for the Pandemic Year, Don’t You Agree?; S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?; S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E40Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving On; S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment


“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “New communities and circles intrigue you. You can’t tell from the storefront what this is all about; you have to go in and feel the vibes. You’ll know within the first dozen interactions.” Scorpio

Let’s see now.  We’ve visited Durango, Colorado twice.  The last time when Jay and Elle lived there.  Of course we spent almost two weeks with Jay and Elle on our anniversary vacation in Italy, when they had moved back from Colorado to Mission Viejo, but struggled to keep the documents flowing for closing escrow in time for their current home, here in Prescott.  

So yes, new communities do intrigue me, especially the history. I love to imagine what things were like in the past.  And of course, I wrote the series, The Knowledge Path: Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy which I’m now describing as Volume One all about the “where” — and two of the books drill down into the “how” of finding the best quality of life communities for you in California and in Colorado.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

You’ve faced a lot of challenges that conditioned your grit. Now you’ll put that knowledge to the test on a wondrous challenge. You will create yourself. Through actions, wishes, exercises, work and reflection you’ll become someone navigating a life you once only dreamed about. Your support system and your family tree will expand.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “As the sign of balance and fairness, you are keenly aware of how the quest for justice often leads to injustice. And yet, you still try to make things right, a mission that will absorb some of your hours today.” Libra

Well, if you scroll down near the bottom, you’ll see how I’m stuck on “accountability” and the shrinking “justice role” so prevalent today.  What my dear friend Jay calls conservatism and the Baroness and I call selfish, shady, corrupt and definitely not good business as one of her sorority sisters described the former president.

“3”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “You’re exciting because you entertain risky ideas, not because you always do them — that would make you foolhardy! What you’re cooking up in that playful mind of yours is making you very attractive to someone.” Sagittarius

I’m chalking this up to wish fulfillment.  If you’re like Jay you don’t favor anything that threatens a status quo — taking something away.  Or entertaining ideas like AI or quantum physics or any of the trends and forces influencing the direction and opportunities available to those of us who pull our heads out of the sand.  There, I said it.

“4” Steve Nash, 45: “This role you took on no longer feels like a good fit. Now what? Well, this script you’re going by is not the Ten Commandments. It wasn’t written on stone tablets. You can change it without a chisel.” Aquarius

What we’re talking about here is what I cover in “Volume Two Manuscript”.  How in your work life, if you now realized the misfit and are pursuing a better fit, I’ve got you covered. Of, course this also applies to how a one-year natural experiment turned into the 4th season and dragged me into the middle of it kicking and screaming.  Wink.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “It will be challenging to lead others to your purposes today. The key is to be consistent and repetitive. People will learn and dance to your rhythm, but first you have to start banging that drum.”Pisces

Bang. Bang. Bang.


    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate