The time has gone, the Walrus said,
The bus is off up the road;
You're not going along? I'm surprised, he said,
Someone else will drive the Toad...
I've also added a radiator to The Cat Drag'd Inn's cooling system. 10x30 inches and three cores deep, it is a Jeep part. It's plumbed into the heater loop and mounted on the roof above the rear window so it catches all the ram air. What a difference! I went screaming 40 miles along Interstate10 at 55 mph in ambient temps of 91f and a tail wind--usually just the formula for 230f operation, if not full blown overheat--and the thermostats did not open for the first 20 miles. After than the main radiator added its cooling and the fans were never called for. Now I think I can see some ways to make better use of the air that is escaping around the main radiator. I will have to make some better ducting back there.
Still procrastinating here at the hot spring. This is too nice a place, peaceful, eden-like, and it is way too scary out there on the big road.
But I think when I face up to it that it is not the road that is scary but life it Self out there that has become scary. I feel safe from it all here.
Even so, the road calls to me ever stronger and I must heed that call.
What a screwed up mess my head is in just now.
Susi and Klaus came to visit. We had a good soak and a fine dinner. Now I guess it is my turn to visit them at their home in Switzerland again. Klaus gave me a picture he took during my last visit to them. Note blue hat and red beard, both are faded to grey now. The church in the background is where we went for a concert.
My first commissioned stained glass window was completed with just enough
time to get it installed in the window frame. The theme is that of the
desert. Combining ideas from geologic history and Zen meditation with elements
from the desert itself in the form of polished thin sections of geodes
and chalcedony created a striking collage. (If I do say so my Self.)
London Bridge is in Lake Havasu City; just up the street there is another 1964 Superior coach for sale.
This old bus is especially interesting because its roof line is different
to that of The Cat Drag'd Inn and it has no belly boxes. There are owner-added
storage boxes but not the sort of all the way under belly boxes found on
Cat Drag'd Inn. There is also no destination window. Inside, the ceiling
is at least six inches lower than mine however the acoutrements are well
arranged. There is a good shower and a nice sized bed. Lots of floor space.
Underneath is all new steering parts and an aftermarket air bag suspension.
With this one I have seen a total of four other buses of this make/model/year.
The others may be described in previous letters but I will list them here:
front engine, military version, with drawbridge rear door, seen at QTZ,
rear engine, high roof model on GM chassis, from Oregon, seen at QTZ,
the special, built as a motorhome by Superior, seen at Tonopah,
All the same year, all with the same front end. But some are on International
chassis, some on GM chassis. Only the
Oregon one has the original motor and only Lake Havasu has the low roof.
Ash Springs, north of Alamo was my first stop. The water was just right for an early morning soak and an hour of picking up trash. Just as my trash bag was nearly full two other persons arrived with more and larger bags. They wore hats with BLM stitched onto the front and one of them told me that they lived nearby and came out to clean up every morning after the usual hundred or so people who visited this spring. I put my bag of trash into their truck and thanked them for their efforts. --Don't thank me, the man said, thank the Bureau of Land Management.
The best cache of the day, for the walk anyhow, was the one in the rock wall across 375 from Echo Canyon Reservior. The best treasure came from the one in the Alien Abduction Zone, an Eagles CD. The most interesting cache was the one in the town of Rachel.
What is it about people that they like to fence their property and then litter it with all manner of trash? Or more to the point, what about when "they" leave their trash behind on "our" property. Among the stuff I picked up at Ash Spring was a pair of those zip-on legs that one can use to convert long shorts into pedal-pushers. Nearby were three socks, one towel, and sufficient empty bottles and cans to more than make up a six pack. What is to deduce from that other than an intoxicated three legged alien ran off with two legs undressed.
Last stop this day is at Tonopah. Tonopah NeVada that is. Unlike the flatness of Tonopah AriZona, this place is all up and down. I found a flat spot in a gravel carpark next to a boarded up bowling alley between Golden Mountain and Rushton Hill. Spring has not yet arrived at this Tonopah. The trees have only just begun to show the faintest trace of green; snow lingers on the higher summits around me. As I write this the outside temperature is 39f. I think I left Tonopah AriZona too early.
This Tonopah was once known for its silver mines. 1901 to 1921 Tonopah mines produced 8.1 million tons of ore. The gross yield in the dollars of those days was $147,600,000. Lottie Stimler was, in 1901, Tonopah's first white cook however the cooks of the "First Inhabitants" had been at it from some 10,000 years ago. By the mid 1900's they had been displaced by the establishments that Lottie pioneered.
Today, museums, MacDonalds, and trash (er-ah, pardon me; ruins and relics) are the featured items found in Tonopah.
I need to find some Ritalin for Sarah La Gata. She is climbing the walls
in a vain attempt to get out and play. While we are moving she will move
around and look from the windows or she will sleep on a shelf or under
the galley table, however whenever the bus stops she wants to get off.
When we stop for long enough and far enough from the traffic on the roads
I open her special door. She sticks out her head and, assaulted by the
strange smells, stops there, looking about and sniffing, before making
a leap onto strange soil. Moments later she is back. Just to make sure
this is her home bus? And then out again and in, again and again; each
out is for a longer time and her circles of exploration are greater than
the last. Then it might be hours before she returns to eat and drink and
Yesterday morning I drove up to the crest of the Toquima Range to visit
a cave by that same name. From the historical marker on s.r.376: "East
of the summit ... lies Toquima Cave. Red, white, and yellow Aboriginal
drawings decorate its walls.
"Usually located near springs, as here, and on migratory big game trails, painted or pecked pictographs are associated with the food gathering localities of NeVada's prehistoric inhabitants.
"There are no known specific meanings attached to the particular design elements. Presumably, these people created the designs as ritual devices to insure success in the hunt.
"Most petroglyphs, therefore, probably are not "messages" or conscious "art forms"."
The cave is gated courtesy of the Forest Service to protect the graffiti of the ancients from the graffiti of the moderns. I had to erect my supertelegrabber lens extension to get photos through the chainlink fence. There is a Forest Service Campground a quarter mile away however I would not try to get the bus all the way up to it. Rough narrow winding road, sharp turns, overhanging trees... On the way between Spencer's Spring and Toquima Cave there is CmdrMark's Past The Hot Springs Cache. Hard by the first tree on the right, under a cairn of stone. Found that one easy enough.
At the spring Kirk is camping. Kirk is a retired submariner who has
visited around the world a lot of the same places as me and a lot of different
places as well. He is also one of the volunteers who care for this beautiful
place so we had some good soaks together and shared a pasta dinner with
my famous tomato basil mushroom sausage celery carrot merlot sauce. And
an equally famous bread and raisen pudding for dessert in the desert. For
a tip he left me one troy ounce of .999 fine silver.
In Talent Oregon now for a day of renewing friendships. Kathy lives here with her husband Terry. Their two grown children are busy making over their parents into grandparents. I knew Kathy when she and her brother Billy were on one of our Fifty Milers across the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Back in the late '60's somewhen? Thirteen years later Kathy and her young family drove from Talent to New Hampshire one summer when we had a reunion of that Fifty Miler group. I last visited here in '98 whilst waiting on transmission repairs at a shop in Eugene.
The road from last night to here was along Oregon route 66 from Kalmath
Falls west to Ashland. Not a road I would want to drive in the easterly
direction, that's for sure. Going my way I was always on the inside, against
the cliff; driving eastward you would always be driving with your wheels
along the edge of nothing. For any of you with a copy of StreetAtlas by
Delorme, you can download
the log file for this section of the tour and follow along through
all the wriggles and switchbacks.
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered
before me. --Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2003, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , 03813-0144.