Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off The Road Again -- A Vivaciously Verdant Vernal Equinox...Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Gentle Readers:

  Halfway Through January Already

After having read all the bad press about them I went to Bargainland Liquidation yesterday, at 3401 West Buckeye Road, just to see if they were really there. They are but there is no sign over their door and they have no over the counter sales. The only way to do business with them is through Ebay.

I asked the wench at the desk behind the counter that is not big enough for sales anyhow: --What about those of us who have no access to the internet? How do we shop for your bargains?

She shrugged her shoulders and turned away.

So I guess that begs the question: How does an unconnected person do business with a company which has no storefront? Is this some sort of high tech discrimination against the disconnected?

That adventure was just the first stop on a whirlwind shopping spree looking for parts. To and fro across the city, from one supply house to another. I would have been better off calling ahead to see who had what. I probly spent as much time driving as I would have listening to vapid music on hold. Some of what are, or were, the most common items are becoming harder and harder to find as components are replaced by throw-away assemblies and even the counter sales of what is left are usurped by the likes of ebay and other online functions. This is no world for a Luddite; the "Future Shock" is wearing me down.

...and speaking of beer...

For a long time back there in the old days I would drink only beers whose name began with an 'M': Molson, Michelob, Miller. Then I graduated to Dos Equis, and now I am up to the "C" beers. Corona! With lime of course.

Why choose M?  Wouldn't it have been much more interesting to start at A and try them all? Is there a Z beer I could have started with? Does it really matter?

Little Jon's cat Norton: Never met a food he didn't like.I think M is where I was introduced to beer in the first place. The two people, maybe three, who were my beer-mentors in the early days were fond of M-beer. Perhaps for different reasons. Guy liked Milwaukee cos it was the least costly at the Gorham grocery where the Mount Washington Observatory did their weekly shopping. Steak and eggs and beer for breky was his main use. Little Jon used Milwaukee on his cornflakes when the milk soured rather than mix up powdered. Dick Cook was a Miller man. The "High Life" appealed to those of us who climbed a lot of mountains. I went a step up from them I thought. The shape of the Michelob bottle appealed to me. Molsen was cool cos it was imported. Then there was Moosehead from Canada, came in a wooden case; I still have my 24-bottle Moosehead wooden case--use it for my sewing kit now.

I went through a recent period of testing and tasting local brews as I travelled. The Corona is a hold over from my time at Palmer Station when it was the beer of choice from Punta Arenas Chile. It was easier to have the icebreaker sail to Punta Arenas for a beer run--four days across the Drake Passage--than it was to try and order Moosehead from the states. So I guess one could say at this point that I am a slave to habit. Also a penny pincher. I am not willing to invest in a new beer and risk not liking it. However I am willing to try other brands when someone else is treating.

At the 5 Arm Cache Alarum.From The HamFest at Mile 99 in Quartzsite

Arrived monday afternoon in the sun. Tuesday was a great Hobo Stew; I will have to get the recipe for that concoction. At this writing it is early wenzday morning in the rain. The ground is very soggy and The Cat Drag'd Inn seems to be listing a bit to port. Yesterday there was a seminar on the subject of GeoCaching and I had an opportunity to compare my GPS device with several others older and newer. Interesting how six such devices can all sit on the same spot and tell you they are at six different locations. It would be like the kids in math class arriving at different solutions to the same problem. Who's right? Which location is correct? After that, off to find a cache.


"Most folks, if asked, say they favor a free society, but they don't know what freedom means...

"But has the U.S. federal government been true to this ideal? The test of freedom is when it is applied to situations that displease you. And here, the chiefs of government have shown that they do not understand freedom. Government officials know very little about freedom. "

GroundHawg Day... I hope the rest of the month is not like this

Yes, I have your letter and read and passed on the article. Thank you for sending it. Your letter is one down in the SnailMail ReplyPile. In the meantime I am working on: updating the El Dorado Hot Springs web site, rewiring the brake lights on the owner's motorhome, rebuilding the alternator for my bus, and fixing whatever is the crisis of the day. Two days ago, just as a fax for the brake light project was coming in there was a dull thud in the air, not unlike the "whump" of a distant explosion, and all the lights went out. We hear those "whumps" once in a while from the proving ground down towards Yuma when they light off a particularly large bomb but the lights never went out before. Bill the Boss went in one direction to get the generator started and I went in the other to see how widespread the outage and what was the cause. There was a note of panic cos we had for more than a week been hot on the trail of this fax of wiring diagrammes and didn't want to have to ask for a resend. On top of that we were moments away from opening for the day and needed the credit card machine, the office lights and fridge, and maybe even the main hot water pump, to be online.

In the course of the next few minutes extension cords were snaked across the yard to access some circuits found working and narrowed the search to the subpanel supplying the croo ghetto--a 60 amp circuit that is regularly running maxed out. So while the office was powered via extension cord from two RV outlets on the far side of the yard I explored the subpanel.

Two 120 volt phases came from the main panel and that was what I measured when everything was disconnected at the ghetto distribution box. However when any load was added the voltage on one leg would go up and that on the other would go down. Depending on the load the leg voltage might be as high as 240 or as low as 0. Immediate diagnosis: A break in the neutral somewhere. So I went upstream to the main box and found a hot spot. Very hot.

Charred wire. Melted plastic. And two neutral wires no longer connected to the neutral bus. One of those neutrals fed the croo ghetto. Everyone on the second circuit was still asleep and hadn't yet noticed. Probly the heavy loads had been heat-cycling the wire/bus connexion over enough time to fatigue the wire, soften it, and loosen the screws. Perhaps the muffled whump was the explosion of a big fat arc when the mechanical/elastic tension in the wire finally pulled it away from the bus. The end of the wire is welded over as if a giant spark occured. The charred insulation is sure evidence of a long period of excessive heating.

Well anyhow... Buy the time that was all put back together and the extension cords rolled up and put away the morning was gone. It was time for lunch, nap, visitors arriving to greet and soak with, shopping for other projects, and groceries... Oh yes, I forgot the beginning of this whole day. Oh-dark-thirty, just when I needed it most, my urinal failed. I won't get into the discription of that mess. Suffice it to say that I had just finished tearing it down and making a list of parts when the fax commenced to arrive. So now it was about ten o'clock at night when I am finally reassembling the urinal so I can pee and go to bed. Needless to say not much got accomplished that day. Nothing off my dolist anyhow.

17febter2005 The 239th anniversary of my gggggf's incarceration

Family Ancestor Holiday. Every family needs a history and at least one ancestor to revere. You get your own personal holiday on the calendar. Take a day off work, stay home from school, celebrate your family holiday. My gggggf William OXEN-OXDEN-OXTON, (from back in the days before some folks could read and write--I know, I know, some folks still can't) came over on the boat from "the old country" to the "New World" in 1766 as one of His Majesty's "Seven Year Passengers". This holiday will prove to be a protracted celebration since it comprises several related events.

Treasury Bond Convict List, Ship Ann, 1766"William Oxen ... for feloniously Stealing Several Red and White Silk Handkerchiefs of the value of ten pence, the property of the said Jeremy Hergest ...

"At the General Session of the Peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, holden for the County of Middlesex at Hick's Hall in St. John Street in the County aforesaid on Monday the Seventeenth day of February in the Sixth Year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, King of Great Britain. William Oxen was eventually found guilty and sentenced to be transported.

"William Oxen, Middlesex, Transported."  Quotes from various court records obtained from The Old Bailey, London.

William Oxen was prisoner #60 on a list of 81 from the County of Middlesex who were transported in the Ship Ann. That part is another storey, another search, another holiday.

Are there any of Jeremy Hergest's decendents among my readers?

Hot red chiles?

Won't they deforest your freezer? I just did mine. The frost was thick on the back wall. Removed about a quart of iceberg and made enough new room for another pint of B&J's and a pount of coffee.

Will this snake in the grass change its stripes?

Ground Hawg Day...

 Last Wenzday hereabouts was Rattlesnake Day.  Wenzday was also the State of the Union Address.  It was an ironic juxtaposition of events.

One involved a meaningless ritual in which we looked to a creature of little intelligence for an accurate prognostication of the future.

The other involved a snakeinthegrass. You can Anagram that to what!?

And Now We Are at the End of Febter--Marching Orders Next

Spring is Sprung/The grass is riz/No need to wonder/Where the poppies is. Great fields of them, gold in the sun, up and down the hillsides.

Black and orange banded baby snake. A whole new crop of Black Mollies in the Lilly Pond.

Bill Spindler at the New South Pole StationBill Spindler, OAE, writes:

"Wish you could stop in and see me on your next journey...but that might be a bit difficult. Last month I made yet another move...I'm currently the proud resident of a nice new room overlooking....the South Pole Dome. Yup, I'm wintering, along with 85 other crazy or not so crazy folks...seems that I've set a record for wintering a second time 28 years after the first. 

"So far so good, I've got an interesting job as the construction inspector on a small Navy contract, so I'm not working for the contractor...but as you know things have changed just a bit over the years. The new station is nice, fancy, and way too complicated. And it still has power failures (like today). This is the last year that people will be living in the Dome...and we're tearing down the bar (guess we had to start somewhere)."

Summer Tour to New Hampster Cancelled

Could be that I am just getting cold feet. But more directly is the matter of not enough money left in the pocket to guarantee return passage to this sunny warm land and not enough assurance that there would be sufficient work in NH to earn same. With fuel prices already rising in anticipation of the forecast it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fear-mongers have this country right by the balls and I for one am afraid.

That is the one thing I understand the least. Well, two things. The fear and the spiraling prices. I just read a book on the subject of how the media and the government control the "Fear Factor" of the American Public. The uncertainty is a great factor when one is living on an old worn out shoestring. I must re-evaluate my thinking.

What does it matter how the price of anything goes up if all the other prices follow in response? All the other prices that is except what the little people at the shit-end of the stick are earning. I guess I am turning into a bitter old man despite all my efforts to maintain a good outlook. It is an easy road to slide into. Perhaps I am tired of all this. Certainly getting to be harder and harder to see the point of it all.

 Plan such as it is will be to stay at the hot spring for the Summer. I have a chance to earn some money and if I can find a way to save some of it then perhaps I will be able to travel in the late Autumn or next Spring. But then that is what I told my Self last year. I am barely keeping ahead of the interest on a bad loan I made to a friend--that is one of my main areas of concern. What was the sage's advice about lending money to friends and relatives?

All that looks like I'm wallowing in self-pity but I don't want it to sound that way. Caught between the rock and the hard place is all. At least I am still waking up in the mornings and I still live on the outside of The Wall. Although I am less sure of that last than I used to be.

Pi Day in case you didn't notice.

For the occasion I made a raisin pie served up on a round table with portions severed from the center to the circumference along lines of radii in opposition to other such lines and in combination with other such radii perforce becoming not quite diameters. Each slice thereby being today's date in inches of the arc of the circumference we had nine. One for each of us here. Except that I managed two. What was the size of the pie?

The Young Pan after a design by Mike Tedder

Ides of March, Goat Boy God

Pan, ancient Greek god of shepards, rendered in glass after an original design in wire sculpture by Mike Tedder, is the subject of my latest stained glass construction. I'm getting better at this. Did some really nice complex curves for this window. Pan is a good subject. Mike Tedder does nice work. So do I for that matter.

Hermes, protector of travellers and God of Games, was Pan's father. Pan became chief of the satyrs, God of Woods and Animals and protector of shepards. He played music on a set of reed pipes and is often depicted as a man with legs and feet of a goat. This window is a depiction of the young Pan when he still has his human feet however the horns of his deviltry are already apparent.

Observations from the course of other correspondence:

"I am at a cross road, no, a fork in the road, and I am at a loss as to which way to turn. The portents and advice and guidance from above and beyond, within and around me point in several directions. To stay or to go is not as easy a decision as it once was for me."

"Interesting how we as a society cater and even kowtow to some "-isms" and "-ians" and "-ists" but yet at the same time shun and repress others. For all our posturing of acceptance and broadmindedness society is still very narrowly focused on the will of whomever the current majority happens to be."
A Field of Mexican Poppies

Feast Day of Saint Patrick-The Last Supper-Spring Equinox Sunday...

All rolled into three days of relevelry in the Croo Ghetto.

That much is for sure. No matter how much we screw up the environment and the weather there will still be the seasons. The hummingbirds are here feeding in droves from the flowering aloe and the fake flower feeders. Some days one can lie in the hot tub and watch the mesquite tree leaving out leaves one after another. Remember that song: To ope' their trunks the trees are never seen;/ How then do they put on their robes of green?/ They leave them out! 

BikerBetty Ready To Toss the Ice CreamWe started off with and ice cream toss led by Biker Betty. Kathy made a rich chewy chocolate brownie to go with the vanilla ice cream and the rest of us stood around in the sun tossing the medicine ball sized bags of ingredients wrapped in rock salt, newspaper and duct tape. It takes about twenty minutes of tossing the cream to make it freeze. As long as the bags don't burst first or leak brine into the ice cream. YUM! All that exercise is well rewarded.

The last supper doubled as the Feast of Saint Patrick and the going away dinner for all the Winter Croo who are leaving over the next few weeks. Turkey and all that stuff. I made another pie. Apple-raisin with a combination pastry and graham crumb crumble nut crust. Two YUMS! for that pie.

The blessing this day comes from Earth Prayers--Cycles of Life: "Lord of the Springtime, Father of flower, field and fruit, smile on us in these earnest days when the work is heavy and the toil wearisome; lift up our hearts to the things worthwhile--sunshine and night, the dripping rain, the song of the birds, books and music, and the voices of our friends. Lift up our hearts to these this night and grant us peace." Adapted from W.E.B. Du Bois.

A Field of Owl CloverOut back, the desert is carpeted with yellow Mexican Poppies, Eschscholtzia mexicana; and several purple flowers: lupine, owl clover, Orthocarpus purpuracens. Not to mention thick dense clinging clumps of stickyweed and barrel cacti swelled to bursting.

Last week the weather was finally nice enough for a couple of nice walks in the outback. The first was ten miles circumhikebulating the south peak of Saddle Mountain. I did this route last year in a clockwise direction, this year went counterclockwise. Last year my route took a lot of shortcuts over ridges across loops in the road. This year the desert is so overgrown with new growth as a result of all the rain that it is hard sometimes to find the road never mind the shortcuts. There is even still some standing water and in a very few places some trickling water in gullies up in the saddle.

My second walk was shorter, only four miles, after nearly twenty miles of gravel road to find the trailhead.  Part of the purpose of this walk was to do some site maintanance at one of the geocaches and another part was to pick up trash on the way out. Amazing what some folks carry into the desert. I've written previously about the bowling ball and ten pin we found a mile or so away from the road. Perhaps I never mentioned the four foot square Formica covered tabletop Ian and I hauled out from even further in. This day, along with the usual beer cans and plastic bags, I found a twenty foot length of two inch street flared PVC pipe in very new condition.

Love, ajo

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

Back to Oso
Back to ajo
Copyright © 2004, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Center Conway NH 03813-0144.