Just Another Adventure Story

Editor’s Comment:

I met Robert Holmes over 30 years ago.  We first met at a photography seminar that he conducted at Point Reyes National Seashore.  Over the next several years we got to know each other during other seminars and photo shoots.  I found out he had shoot for National Geographic and had traveled all over the world. 

Even though Bob is much older than me ( he was born in Mach 1943 and I was not born until July 1943) we became friends. From our conversations I learned that he had shot extensively in India.  In fact he encouraged me to take a couple of months off and go to India to shoot.  “Play it safe” Munden did not follow through on that trip.

In 2001 when I moved back to Texas, which in some ways is like a third world country,  we lost contact.  All I remembered is that he lived in Mill Valley California.  

About 6 years ago I was attending a block party in Novato California.  Noticed a guy across the room.  I though, “That guy looks a lots like Bob Holmes.”  After I noticed he was staring back at me,  I walked his direction.  At that point me both knew who the other person was.  My hair was shorter than the last time we met.  Bob’s was even shorter.  That was the only difference.  Our conversation took off where we had left off.

As it turned out I was staying with my ex-wife and her husband in the house I had lived in for 15 years.  Bob had moved from Mill Valley and was living in a house three doors down from my old house.  Since that meeting I always try to touch base with Bob during my yearly trips to California.

Bob has lived an exciting live but he rarely provides any details.  COVID-19 has changed all our lives.  Bob’s normal busy travel schedule has come to  an halt.  He has had the time reflect of his past expediences. He first published the attached  story in 2018 and re-posted it a couple of days ago.  This is what real adventurers do.

Ron Munden

and now the real story

Robert Holmes’ career as one of the world’s most successful and prolific travel photographers has extended over 40 years. He is the only photographer to be honored five times by the Society of American Travel Writers with their Travel Photographer of the Year award, most recently for 2017.

He has worked for National Geographic, Geo, Saveur, Life, Time and hundreds of other major magazines and international companies.

His assignments have taken him from coverage of the 1975 British Everest Expedition to searching for snow leopards in the remote valleys of western Nepal for National Geographic Magazine.

Bob has illustrated over 50 books and he has regularly been one of the elite group of the world’s 100 best photojournalists invited to participate in the acclaimed “Day in the Life” series.

Bob is a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club.

“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong — that’s when adventure starts.”

– Yvon Chouinard

One misstep would have sent us careening down the mountainside, but caution was not a luxury we could afford, so we moved as fast as we could in the pitch darkness of night. Behind us, an angry mob from the village of Hispar was gaining ground.

The ice axe was still in my hands.

I was exhausted. I was supposed to be documenting the achievements of the scientists and explorers on our team. I had planned on climbing tall mountains and taking awe inspiring photographs. The rescue helicopter, the descent of the glacier, the sickness — none of that was part of the plan. Neither was being chased down a mountainside in the Himalaya.

There, in a remote valley in the middle of the night, the men who chased us were out for blood — my porter Ali’s blood, and my potentially-hepatitis-laden blood.


The Karakoram mountains rise where present-day Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and India come together — the result of tectonic collisions. It is a land of turbulence: earthquakes that change the faces of mountains; wars that change the borders of nations.

The eponymous highway winds treacherously across deserts and over mountains with frequent, sometimes-deadly, hairpin turns. Today, the Karakoram Highway connects Karachi, Pakistan on the coast of the Indian Ocean to Beijing, China. It is a 4,500-mile-long feat of civil engineering that many have traveled and some call the eighth wonder of the world. But back in July of 1980, the Karakoram Highway was newly built, barely completed, often unnavigable, and off limits to foreigners.

Read The Complete Story By Clicking Here

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By George Smith

Yeppers. Day started off okay. Good, in fact.

Then a old acquaintance from my youth in East Texas decided to pipe up and make a case on my FB page why Donald Trump is being persecuted for doing his job, giving him credit for the economic strides for the first two years of his first term. He is a upfront Trump supporter and while I admire his “loyalty,” the lack of evidence presented of Trump’s competence in any area of political competence is appalling but expected.

There is no logical reason (except for the singular area of the extremely personal emotion raised by the abortion issue) why anyone would defend the corrupt and self-serving actions of Donald Trump.

This is the post on my page that has my blood pressure red-lining:

“…Trump is blamed for everything, the economy is better than it has ever been so let’s just blame Trump he can take it Obama and Biden had 8 years to do something and they did nothing but fill there own pockets, not a president has been treated like trump has and he is still trying to help the American people, But no one is perfect, all the Dem want is to investigate and spend tax payers money instead of doing there jobs.”

Trumpuppets don’t live in the real world, but in a world of soundbites and ludicrous memes and hoax posts on alt-right hate sites or blabber-words from the bilious bile-filled brains of the Rush Limbaughs of the world. They pay apt attention to the hare-mongers who focus on division of the people— of political parties, of races, cultures, issues, religion, sexual orientation… and, add your own items here.

(To keep it real, hardcore liberal members of society can be just as ignorant, just as mean-spirited, just as adamant about the righteousness of their positions. That also makes them just as wrong.)

The point is, this man whom I have known since 1955, man is lost to me. He lives/exists in a world that is of his own making; it exists in his mind and the mind of his ilk.

He is an enabler of the worst president of the 44 that preceded him. History will be the judge. And history will not be kind to his ardent supporters for they are on the wrong side of it.

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July 12, 2020

James HarrisAttachments11:32 AM (2 hours ago)
to Harris

Houston hospitals are increasingly turning away new patients as coronavirus overwhelms emergency rooms (FROM THE TEXAS TRIBUNE WHICH IS DOING NICE WORK)


What will a COVID-19 vaccine look like? Don’t expect a cure-all, scientists say
(J. Harris: This is a short, readable, seeingly accurate vaccine discussion; it was sent to me by Houston Internist who just sent me this message, Sunday morning: “Enjoy the day. My ER buddy works the Valley; chat this AM, last night he had 9 Covid patients in his freestanding ER who had been there over 100 hours but no beds in the hospitals–ambulances sit with patients at his ER for 3-4 hours, waiting till they have an open stretcher in his ER. They are on fire but a nurse there worked New York six weeks and he says it is not New York bad, yet.”

Cases over Time by County

After looking hard at the state spreadsheet, it looks to me like Dallas is fixing to be in trouble. What do you think?


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July 11, 2020

HARRISON COUNTY REPORTS 9 NEW CASES.On Friday, Harrison County Judge Chad Sims reported nine new cases for a cumulative number of 407.

Gregg County saw a rise of 43 new COVID-19 cases on Friday for a new cumulative total of 788, while Smith County saw an increase of 79 new cases.



COVID-19 Cases Are Rising, So Why Are Deaths Flatlining?
J.Harris: Good article with 5 reasons deaths are down. Readable.

HOPKINS:1. Intensive Care Admissions of Children with Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporarily Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) in the UK: a Multicentre Observational Study(Lancet Child & Adolescent Health) In April, 2020, clinicians in the UK observed a cluster of children with unexplained inflammation requiring admission to paediatric intensive care units (PICUs). We aimed to describe the clinical characteristics, course, management, and outcomes of patients admitted to PICUs with this condition, which is now known as paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS).
2. German Biotech Sees Its Coronavirus Vaccine Ready for Approval by December(Wall Street Journal) The German biotech firm that has partnered with Pfizer Inc. to develop a coronavirus vaccine is confident it will be ready to seek regulatory approval by the end of the year, according to its chief executive. Several hundred million doses could be produced even before approval, and over 1 billion by the end of 2021, BioNTech SE co-founder and CEO Dr. Ugur Sahin told The Wall Street Journal.

My sister bet that I couldn’t build a car out of spaghetti. You should’ve seen her face when I drove pasta.

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July 10, 2020

James Harris9:39 AM (2 hours ago)
to Harris

Harrison County reported three new COVID-19 cases and nine more recoveries, on Thursday.

County Judge Chad Sims noted that of the 398 cumulative total of positive cases, 30 have ended in death, and 252 have been recoveries, for a current total of 116 active cases.

A free testing site was offered at Marshall Convention Center on Thursday. The site had reached its limit by 1 p.m., but county officials will announce more testing dates soon.

“As of 1 p.m., we were notified that the maximum testing limit for the day has been reached at the free testing site at the Marshall Convention Center and no more test will be performed today,” Jennifer Hancock, executive director of Marshall-Harrison County Health District said Thursday afternoon.

Gregg County COVID-19 cases up by 50; Smith County numbers rise 56

With schools ordered to open next month, Texas teachers ask, ‘It is worth risking our lives?’
…The state’s mandate that schools provide in-person instruction to families that want it — with a few exceptions — has stoked anxiety among many Texas teachers, administrators and support staff who worry their return to campus will accelerate the spread of COVID-19, putting them and their loved ones in danger…Education leaders acknowledge that reopening classrooms carries risk — though the precise danger remains subject to debate. Children rarely display symptoms of COVID-19, and their rate of infection and ability to spread the virus to adults remains relatively unknown…..While state officials are mandating the option of five-days-a-week, on-campus instruction, they are leaving many decisions about safety, staffing and scheduling to each school district….


1. I don’t plan to become involved in school issues. We have a knowledgeable and dedicated school board as well as good administrators and teachers. They’ll figure it out. Of course, this could be a great time to see if the world can live without high school sports and confine high school athletics to safer and cheaper and less time consuming intermural sports. This is a terrible time to be having group sports practices, sanctioned or “spontaneous.”

2. I plan to concentrate on hospital COVID census’ and hospital bed availability, and not worry with daily COVID counts they the reader can easily access in the newspaper or online. 
Harrison County Health Dept is : https://mhchd.org/    They are linked with the good state sites as well. 

HOPKINS: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: Implications for Infection Prevention Precautions (WHO) This document is an update to the scientific brief published on 29 March 2020 entitled “Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for infection prevention and control (IPC) precaution recommendations” and includes new scientific evidence available on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (An extensive review)

COVID-19: the worst may be yet to come(a brief world summary)
“…Two seroprevalence studies from Spain and Geneva published in The Lancet reveal an estimated seroprevalence of 5% nationally (10% in urban areas) and 10·8%, respectively. Even if antibodies confer immunity, most of the global population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. 5 months after WHO declared the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak a global health emergency, the virus continues to beat a concerning and complex path. For much of the globe, the worst may be yet to come.”Reflecting on experiences of social distancing

“…Phenomenological reflection on our experiences, on what we have gained and lost during the pandemic, can also lead to a renewed and deeper appreciation of what we had previously taken for granted—our embodied being with others in a shared world….Previous schedules have been largely removed from daily life, resulting in changes to our experience of time. The loss of norms, routines, and structure alters our sense of temporal passage. Some people report that time feels like an undifferentiated flow, an experience that is disorienting and dispiriting…”

(J. Harris, a personal note: My wife and I are constantly amazed at how fast the time is going by for us in our isolation. Are we the only ones? Have a nice weekend.)

German sausage jokes are just the wurst England doesn’t have a kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool. 

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The “Me Donald” Doll

By George Smith

There are those who believe I am “obsessed” with the mercurial “Me Donald” doll that happens to be president of the United States.

Please remember: I would have very little word-fodder with which to work concerning Donald Trump if he did not constantly draw attention to himself by doing, saying and tweeting stupid combinations of unvetted words.

You know, like the actions that resulted in this headline; “Trump wages war on CDC over ‘tough’ school reopening policy after lashing out at Dr Fauci”

What could the president possibly be thinking? Attacking HIS administration’s national disease control and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who, in polls, is one of the most trusted people on the planet when it comes to pandemic advice? What rational thought-path ended at that metaphorical cliff?

Trump wants the nation’s schools to open next month. Period. Paragraph. The president hisownself wants schools open, regardless of the coronavirus status, regardless of the Center for Disease Control  guidelines, or feelings of various state officials, school boards, teachers or parents.

Is it clear that Trump wants the schools open, just like  he wants stores and businesses open, and just like he wants to have full-blown “Trump Luv” rallies, just like he wants the virus to disappear.

What Trump wants, he wants…and fully expects to get. Do not try and insert reality into the conversation; it is, as Lightnin’ Hopkins decreed,  just a dead skunk in the middle of the road, a bump, a mere hiccup.

This egocentric man-baby, in his mind,  is not living in the real world that is defining 2020. His off-of-the track slot car mind is laser-focused on giving the economy a shot of optimistic adrenaline, believing that his edicts will halt COVID 29 and that — like a hopeful sigh…Ahhhhhhhh — everything will be back to normal.

(Sound of snapping fingers.)

“Donald. Donald. Mr. President! Please wake up! The country NEEDS you!”

But, sadly, it seems not in the cards for President Trump to obtain a level of knowledge and a sufficient degree of empathy to understand that this country is in the throes of a medical crisis of gargantuan proportions and a companion economic pandemic that has brought the country to its knees.

Record bankruptcies, big chain stores shuttering across the country, residents dying in record numbers…with no end in sight.

All this, and our president is casting blame to any and all the will o’ the wisps that could damage his re-election chances. This week he even  threatened anyone, including state and school officials, who will not follow his decision to reopen schools regardless of the virus status, of local situations, of health officials’ advice.

The nation is not well. Neither is its president.

Isn’t it time — no, past time — for members of his own party to confront him and persuade him to resign for the good of the country and the Republican Party.

Do I believe he will resign? Not for a minute.

Do I believe the Republicans in Congress will confront the president? Collectively, the GOP bloc in Congress has the combined backbone of an  eggplant.

So, here we are. The only ones who   can change this path of national self-destruction are those reading this column and those of a like mind.

Vote in November to end the Trump reign  and oust His enablers up for re-election.

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July 9, 2020

July 8, 2020 – 5 new cases to report and 2 recoveries says Judge Sims. 

LONGVIEW AND TYLER HAVE HAD MASSIVE INCREASES OF COVID CASES. CHECK THE PAPERS FOR DETAILS. They must have been testing there recently. “”The free COVID testing sites organized by TDEM do not require the clients to have any symptoms of COVID 19,” George Roberts, NET Health CEO, said. “While we do not have precise data, it appears that many individuals who tested positive for COVID 19 were asymptomatic.”

Free COVID testing is scheduled for Harrison County TODAY, at the Civic Center, 9-4. First come, first tested. No appointment is necessary. This type of test is good if you feel sick, have been around someone with Covid, or need reassurance—like children who have fever and sore throats and runny noses. Could they have COVID? Yes, they could; it may come to pass that COVID will be more common than the “common cold”  for a while. Wear your masks. 

COVID daily census reports are not available for 8 July, nor are the hospital reports. 

JOHNS HOPKINS REPORTS1.  “…and there are reports that major health systems in some parts of Texas are quickly filling with COVID-19 patients. In fact, more than 20 states have reported increased COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past 2 weeks. There are concerns that existing supply of critical personal protective equipment (PPE)—including surgical masks, gowns, and gloves—could once again be in short supply as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase. 

2. Amid New Surge In Virus Cases, Israel’s Top Public Health Official Resigns (NPR) Israel’s top public health official resigned Tuesday, claiming leaders ignored her warnings and reopened the country too quickly, driving a new surge of COVID-19 cases that officials are scrambling to contain.

3. My Covid-19 Symptoms Have Lasted More than 100 Days, and I’m Not Alone. Will They Ever End? (STAT) I’ve now logged nearly four months of symptoms, with little sign of returning completely to my pre-Covid self. As a physician, I was aware of the concept of post-viral syndromes; as a patient, this concept brings a dismal new meaning, signaling the possibility of a new disease and everything is unknown — especially how long the symptoms will last, and which of them might be permanent. (written by a physician).

4. Some good news: Scientists Make Precise Edits to Mitochondrial DNA for First Time (Nature) A peculiar bacterial enzyme has allowed researchers to achieve what even the popular CRISPR–Cas9 genome-editing system couldn’t manage: targeted changes to the genomes of mitochondria, cells’ crucial energy-producing structures. The technique — which builds on a super-precise version of gene editing called base editing — could allow researchers to develop new ways to study, and perhaps even treat, diseases caused by mutations in the mitochondrial genome.

Call for Retired Licensees and Out-of-State Providers

J. Harris: The Texas Medical Association and state medical authorities are asking doctors who have been retired 4 years or less as well as out of state doctors to go back to work in Texas and expediting the credentialing necessary to practice medicine in the state. Obviously, the medical folks think we might run short of doctors in the near future in Texas. Better wear that Mask.

I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off!

 Waking up this morning was an eye-opening experience.

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HCIDA Courthouse Endowment Board

announces installation of survey markers indicating the property boundaries

determined by recent survey of the Harrison County Courthouse Square

The Harrison County Industrial Development Authority (HCIDA) Board of Directors, most commonly referred to as the Courthouse Endowment Board, shared that the official survey markers connected with the recent HCIDA-funded survey of the property associated with the 1901 restored Harrison County Courthouse and Courthouse Square in downtown Marshall, will be installed on Thursday, July 9.

These 4-inch brass survey markers will designate the official corners and property boundaries of the Courthouse Square owned by Harrison County.

The survey of the property associated with the 1901 restored Harrison County Courthouse and Courthouse Square was recommended by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) earlier this year. The 9-member volunteer HCIDA Board voted in February to fund the survey in order to confirm the property boundaries. The survey was done in coordination with Harrison County.

Mark Patheal of MTX Surveying performed the survey, which was funded and managed by the HCIDA Board and volunteer Harrison Courthouse Manager.  Funded by the Courthouse endowment, the survey was carried out at no cost to the taxpayers of Harrison County.

Christina Anderson, president of the HCIDA Board of Directors, shared:  “We look forward to sharing with the Commissioners Court, the Texas Historical Commission, and our community the final results of the survey and the final survey report once the markers are installed and the survey is certified. It will be exciting to be able to share a definitive determination of the property boundaries not only for our community’s current purposes but also for all future purposes going forward.”

Ms. Anderson added that the HCIDA Board has kept Judge Chad Sims and the Commissioners Court, as well as the Texas Historical Commission, apprised of every aspect of the progress of the survey throughout the process.

The survey was informed by extensive historical research, legal analysis, and the compilation of relevant historical documents dating back to 1841, carried out by former Harrison County Judge Richard Anderson, who now serves in a volunteer capacity as Harrison Courthouse Manager, working with the HICDA Board in accomplishing the Board’s two-fold mission and work.

Created in 2010, the HCIDA Board of Directors has a two-fold mission a) to preserve, protect, and grow the Courthouse endowment which was established by the Commissioners Court in 2009 after the completion of the restoration of the 1901 Courthouse and b) to assist Harrison County with the ongoing preservation of the restored 1901 Harrison County Courthouse in perpetuity.

In 2009, after the completion of the restoration of the 1901 Courthouse, the Courthouse endowment was proposed and structured by then-County Judge Richard Anderson through the sale of historic tax credits and approved by the Commissioners Court.

The County transferred the proceeds from the sale of the historic tax credits in order to establish a Courthouse endowment which was created to assist the County with the ongoing preservation of the restored 1901 Courthouse in perpetuity so that the Courthouse would never go into disrepair again. As part of the HCIDA Board’s two-fold mission, the HCIDA Board has invested and managed the endowment funds so that they continue to grow for the purpose of assisting the County with the ongoing Courthouse preservation.

In recent years, in addition to the Courthouse Square survey in 2020, the HCIDA Board of Directors has carried out six other permanent improvement-related projects on the restored 1901 Courthouse. These projects include a Conditions Assessment of the restored building in 2015 to establish the permanent improvement needs going forward, as well as re-painting and repair of all exterior windows and doors of the Courthouse, the repainting of the area around the interior rotunda, replacing and installing UV-resistant sealant on the Courthouse and surrounding sidewalks, repainting the exterior handrails, and re-upholstering the 14 jury chairs in the historic courtroom.

These HCIDA projects have totaled approximately $95,000. All projects were funded and managed by the volunteer HCIDA Board and volunteer Courthouse Manager at no cost to the taxpayers of Harrison County. The Courthouse endowment is the only Courthouse endowment of its kind in the state of Texas.

The members of the HCIDA Board include Christina Anderson, President; Chief Reggie Cooper, Vice President, Veronica King, Secretary; Eric Neal, Treasurer; Dr. Blair Blackburn, Commissioner Jay Ebarb, Jack Redmon, Commissioner Zephaniah Timmins, and Amanda Wynn.

The HCIDA will share the results of the survey and more information about the process, as well as the historical research that informed the survey, once the survey is officially certified in the coming week.

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July 8, 2020




The majority of the Spanish population is seronegative to SARS-CoV-2 infection, even in hotspot areas. Most PCR-confirmed cases have detectable antibodies, but a substantial proportion of people with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 did not have a PCR test and at least a third of infections determined by serology were asymptomatic. These results emphasize the need for maintaining public health measures to avoid a new epidemic wave.


1.As Coronavirus Slams Houston Hospitals, It’s Like New York ‘All Over Again’ (New York Times) The death toll is lower, but there are echoes of March as cases spike, doctors fall ill and supplies run short. Now, Texas is trying to adapt hard-won lessons while addressing a new set of challenges.

2. INCREASED EMPHASIS ON AIRBORNE TRANSMISSION OF COVID VIRUS WHICH WILL BE A HOT TOPIC FOR AWHILE:The authors argue that airborne transmission may be playing a larger role in the pandemic than previously believed, which would significantly impact future prevention strategies and the resources needed to fulfill them. While droplet transmission risk can be mitigated via physical distancing and barriers like face shields and face masks, airborne transmission would mean that virus particles could linger in the air for prolonged periods of time or travel longer distances, including via ventilation systems, instead of quickly settling on surfaces. If this is the case, mask usage could be necessary in many more environments, particularly indoors, even if the recommended physical distancing (e.g., 6-foot separation) is maintained. Additionally, individuals at elevated exposure risk, such as healthcare workers, could need N95 respirators instead of surgical or medical masks.

3.Serial Laboratory Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Incarcerated and Detained Persons in a Correctional and Detention Facility — Louisiana, April–May 2020 (J. Harris: Good article showing frequent and REPEAT testing is necessary in congregate settings like prisons, nursing homes, homeless shelters. Almost half of seropositive prisoners had no symptoms. It would follow that more than a few discharged prisoners may be bringing disease back into the community. 

Very good read. Thank you, Diane Jones.

121 days so far of isolation so that my husband, age 99, can avoid the virus. And so that I, who have a chronic cough and breathing difficulties from every ordinary respiratory virus I contract, can stay upright to feed us. We have no help inside the house because we cannot be sure our loyal cleaning lady (whom we continue to pay) is not infected.

Because you all won’t wear masks when you go out, we cannot go out. We cannot visit our doctor, or see friends except via Zoom. We cannot see our grandchildren and children. That’s what your selfishness (if you are one of the maskless) means for vulnerable people.

We can’t protect ourselves without isolating. Isolating is hard, emotionally, as well as physically for older people. You could make it easier for us, and so many, many others, if you’d just wear the cloth mask, Bub.

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