Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off The Road Again -- "Is this all there is?"...Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Gentle Readers:

April is A Special Month

Calendar Guy Bad Hair DayFun stuff here too of a sort. Things at Eldo are going along. Rocky road and slippery curves but grand sunsets and lots of flowers. I've had a few little adventures this Winter but have cancelled my plan for a long haul to NH this Spring-Summer. Instead, I will stay here again. To make matters even more thrilling I have taken the big step to formally relocate the place of principle garaging of  The Cat Drag'd Inn. New Hampshire is no longer the Live Free or Die state so I guess I have "died" and gone to AridZona. Been a few years since The Old Man had left town and that seemed to be a message to me so I have followed. AridZona has welcomed me more than NH tried to keep me. Not only that but it is less expensive over all. One insurance policy was more costly but registration, license, vehicle inspection, are all less.

Cache at Train Watcher HillHam Radio Rally at Pinal County Park was attended by seventeen rigs, not to mention their inclusive kids, pets, and ham radio operators. The Cat Drag'd Inn after catching a few caches on the way over from Tonopah. The first was at Train Watcher Hill where I caught the cache and watched a train watcher watch a train. Shawmut Grave View is next and then just on the edge of the Pinal County Park is Geocashews. Note my new tatoo.

Geocache TattooDuring the rally I got two of the three caches over at Table Top Mountain. One was at the trailhead and another about halfway to the summit. Good weather but a too late start to get to the top. Maybe next year.

Three'd of April 2005 - 1941...

Shawmut Grave CacheMy best b'day present is an old wooden box, dated 1887, containing three pieces of sterling silverware. They are monogrammed with a fancy "S" but I can appreciate that; "S" can represent a host of meanings for me. The pattern of the silver tho just happens to match that of my sterling birth spoon. Great set. Thank you!

My worst gift is a urinary track infection. Temperature of 101f over the past few days. Just about did me in when I went to the clinic: 135$ just to pee in a cup and have my vitals read. On top of that 40$ for ten elephant pills.  Taking each pill was about like swallowing four Sacajawea Dollars and tasted worse. And I've not even had any sex that might have made it all worth while!

...old and loosing my hair... will you still need me, will you still feed me? ... when I'm 64!

Fixing Sun OvenDo you remember a movie titled The Boy With Green Hair from 1948? Another of my presents this week was to have my hair "done". The Red Hat Ladies of El Dorado, shown here, in the Desert Pete tub, without their hats, conspired to henna my head. Something went terribly wrong. The formula? The water? The colour balance? Too much wine? Saint Patrick's revenge? I should have known something wicked was afoot when the henna mixed up green but they said that was normal--it would look red when it dried. I should have done something besides sit there when they commenced to giggle and cackle and refused to let me look in a mirror. Ahh, what the hell, it's all in good fun anyhow. It was green for a few days before we found some wash to get the green out. Now it looks more like it is supposed to.


All the quarters were stolen from the cash drawer two nights ago just the same day when we had some hitchhiker work for a few hours digging post holes. Same day someone/thing shat on the rug in the tool corral and same person or other stepped in it and tracked scat into the Desert Pete Soaking Area. Now we have to inspect everyone's footwear for the tread pattern left as evidence. Blame it all on the new moon. Or on Mercury being in retrograde. But the hitchhiker was a good worker. Diligent and self motivated. I don't know...

Twelfth April, 2005 - 1934...

See the Happy Big Wind Day item in one of my previous letters. Cool that Gooogle finds it with the search model "happy big wind day"! I like that. Near the middle of this letter is another entry. Someone else's calendar has it too!

So! This time it is the 71st anniversary of the World's Record Wind! 231 miles per hour Mount Washington New Hampshire 12th April 1934. Here is the note from the logbook of that date that Sal Pagliuca wrote in the Old Stage Office that served to house the fledgeling Observatory that Winter. I've been outside on the summit in 180 mph, crawling around on hands and knees just to see what it was like. There are pictures in Ten Years on The Rockpile by Lee Vincent.

All due and proper rhetorical devices and actions are in order for this occasion. Even Congress with all their filiblustering can get in on the party and be put to good use.

Making the Rounds

The Tub Ladies in Desert PetePerhaps by now you've heard/read this storey more than once. Maybe I can say I heard it first or second hand. On the local ham radio a woman was carrying on with her interlocutor about a traffic cop who'd been giving her a hard time. Eventually her rant expanded to include all men: --Its been like this all through history, she continued. Here I am approaching menopause, I have to undergo a histerectomy, and if that's not bad enough this cop stops me on the way to my guynecologist!

That got me thinking. Are there any other words that apply to women but are comprised of the male noun or pronoun?

16 April... The Day After

Geocacgews Cache> At least according to this article.
> "A study done at a nudist camp showed that persons who wore no
> clothing experienced fewer insect bites than those who did. This
> suggests that running around in the "buff" will decrease insect bites
> and the theory has been advanced that bugs like the warm, cozy
> confines under clothes."

From personal experience I can say this is true. Especially when it comes to tics. Tics like to get in under the top of your sox, under your sleeves. Perhaps it reminds them of the thick fur they find most homey. Being nude obviates the tics' instincts.

Yum! This morning I am building a Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie. From Scratch. We are having the Third Last Supper this afternoon for the dregs of the Winter Croo who are leaving over the next few days. By this time next week the help will be down to me and Dee and the owners. We are into the off-season now so there is not so much to do and it is daily getting too hot to work outside all that much. Up early, mid-day nap, some other tasks late in the day.

Some of the pictures in this letter are from the very fine calendar Dee made of the Winter Croo.

Reading List for Twelve Year-Olds (and some ten's also):

There has been a discussion of late about books a kid should read beyond "The Book" and the fifth grade reader. In addition to Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Lord of the Flies:
Able and Carter learn Cat's CradleThe Prince of Central Park, Evan Rhodes, ISBN: 0698106431

The Thief Lord, Cornelia Funke, ISBN 0439404371

A Light in the Attic, Shel Silverstein, ISBN 0060256737

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein, ISBN 0060256672

Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, ISBN 006025520x

In The Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak, ISBN 0060266686

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, ISBN 0395071224  The hardcover edition is important for the dustjacket and the maps that the edition contains which are not found in the paperbacks. Also it is important to get the text only and not the gussied up versions so that the reader's imagination can have full rein.

Nathan's Run, John Gilstrap, ISBN: 0060173858

Alice's Adventure in Wonderland/Through the Looking-Glass Louis Carroll, ISBN 1582342229

Wenzday, Red Hat Day, FatFreeCat

Blooming Claret Cup CactusSpring Croo Change has been proceeding apace. The Ghetto was empty for a few days until one Summer Fingy arrived from Maine. When Carolyn departed she left behind several comestible items. I took the skinless chicken breast to go with some refried beans. Dee took the stir-fry veggies. Sara(h) La Gata opted for the tin of fat free evaporated milk.

We adults had a bit of discussion whether La Gata knew what was in the tin, if she could read the lable or was only attracted to the shape and size of the tin, or the colour. Or maybe she could smell the milk through the tin. We went on to consider if she would turn up her nose at the skinny milk once it was open and poured. She's used to high fat evap--what I use in my coffee--of which she gets a dollop once in a while. Like when she comes when I call her in for her nap away from a hard morning of chasing mice and lizards. Would she gobble up this tasteless fat free stuff?

Sara(h) it turns out does not have the discriminating taste I expected of her. She is sucking up the fat free evaporated milk as fast as I will pour it and smacking her chops for more. So for sure I owe Carolyn an extra thanks as her can of milk going to La Gata will save one can of high fat milk for me. And I need all the fat I can get you know, it helps all those bad germs slide right on through.

The Feast of Saint George, The 23rd Psalm

Today I began to write in my 23rd journal. Since 1978, in Gorham, when I was, and not for the last time, jolted out of my complacency, I have been writing it all down in a journal.

Deep divisions between siblings on what to do about both parents becoming gravely ill exacerbated by personal tragedy on several fronts combined to become enough to make a body run away; eventually, after a year of counselling and a couple of years of experimenting with new and different lifestyles, I did.

Some of those journal entries resulted in storeys of my dreams and letters documenting my travels my travels to Antarctica. But most remain my secret fantasies and confessions. Those pages, and these pages as well, are my cathartic and I dare say have been my saving grace.

So! It is a new book and for that I am thankful to have a new day to begin writing in it. Not sure to whom I should say thanks. You'll do I suppose. Thanks be to you all and each for letting me have this new day to write, and for what to write about.

                 |  @___oo
       /\  /\   / (__,,,,|   * * * *   I love you! 
  /\  ) /^\) ^\/ _)
 <  > )   /^\/   _)                     23rd April:
  ||  )   _ /  / _)  The Feast Day of Saint George;
  | \ )/\/ ||  | )_)        Take a dragon to lunch.
   \_____  |(,,) )__)
          /    \)___)\
      ___(      )___) )___
         _(_______;;; __;;;

Snake In The Grass

Brdredrdrdrdrdrdrrdrdrdrdrdrrdr, tztztztztztztztztzt... tchtchtchtchtch... How do you imitate the sound of an alarming annoyed Rattle Snake that you are about to step too close to. Or on! Sounded like a hundred circadas on a hot Summer night. Rattling and echoing off the steel gate. Then I looked ... Yipes! But by then I'd passed him by.

Sam Sings an AriaSnake Alert! Snake Alert! Too late for pictures, old rattler was in the bucket and on his way to the Rattlesnake Relocation Programme. It is in the same area just up the street where we send the mice that manage to avoid La Gata and get themselves stuck in the live traps. But I came that close... That close. When I did see this guy laying along the bottom rail of the gate and stopped to think about how close I'd just passed by I could almost feel his firey fangs sinking into the flesh of my fibula. First time for everything.

Grand Uncled Again

Youngest sister's oldest daughter has first son.
So that makes me a Grand Uncle. Pat-Pat-Pat... Sam is a few weeks old already in this picture, news travels slowly in this electronic age. He looks like he is going to be a singer. Maybe opera?

May Day and Snake in the Grass Reprise

Salome Highway WildfireIs it Spring yet where you are? Getting on toward Summer here. We've had our first wildfire too close for comfort just up the street a piece. With all the rain this Winter there is an abundance of grass and weeds. That begets lots of extra rabbits, and in turn more and fatter rattlesnakes. Now it is the turn of the fires.

Speaking of rattlesnakes, and another photo opportunity missed: Little Alexis was out walking with her mum when she stopped to point out a snake in the grass. Rachael very nearly panicked when she saw how close her four year-old was to getting bit.

A three foot diamondback--Crotalus atrox--had started into the chicken-wire peacock enclosure behind La Casa Blanca next door. I guess he changed his mind in a hurry cos he turned and started out through the next available space in the wire matrix. Well, he got about a third of his length in and then out through the adjacent holes and then the bulge of his belly--hors d'oeuvers de conejo?-- prevented further progress.

I don't know if snakes have a reverse gear but I suppose his scales, like the sealskin climbing skins I used to wear on my touring skis, wouldn't slide backwards through the holes. I could see how the scales had opened and got caught up on the thin wire of the fence.

So the snake was not in striking posture, nor was it rattling. In fact there were several flies working in his eye-sockets. Alexis was safe. Rachel relaxed.

Speaking (...writing?...) of  climbing skins... Spring Cleaning

On the Trail up Table Top MtnI missed out on this last year. Spring went by so fast. It seemed the first warm day was followed so closely by the first hot day that there was no time. This year I have had a bit more of an opportunity and a bit of inspiration. Something smells not so nice.

A tin of Mandarin Oranges in the galley cupboard fell over on its side. The ends were bulged out so far... That got me started. How long has that tin been there, way in the back behind the stack of kippers and spam, between the noodles and corn meal. Once I got going there was no stopping. One cupboard after another and then into the storage under the galley seats. That's where I found the climbing skins. There are still two pair of snowshoes in the bus. One pair, that classic teardrop shape of formed wood laced with rawhide, with leather bindings--I think they are called Algonquin--I have moved from the bellybox to the bunkroom for wall decoration. The second pair, Bearpaws, with steel hinged bindings and ice creeper points, I'll keep in the bellybox along with other survival gear in event of getting stuck in Donner Pass. The climbing skins were in a stuffsack along with crampons, facemask, and mittens--nice boiled wool liners inside soft leather shells--all left over from living in the land of the World's Worst Weather. That was ei8hteen years ago! How can it be? And the skis and boots to go with these skins are in my sister's garage in Nashua. I should do something about getting all this stuff in the same place. And have a yard sale.

And lastly: now for something completely different:

"We speak often, and sentimentally, of being "enchanted" by the natural world. But what if it's the other way around? What if we are enchanted, literally, by the human world we live in? That seems entirely more likely--that the consumer world amounts to a kind of lulling spell, chanted tunefully and eternally by the TV, the billboard, the suburb. A spell that convinces us that the things we want most from the world are comfort, convenience, security. A spell that by now we sing to each other. A spell that, should it start to weaken, we try to strengthen with medication, with consumption, with noise. A slightly frantic enchantment, one that has to get louder all the time to block out the troubling question constantly forming in the back of our minds:
   "Is this all there is?"       --Bill McKibben

No! Wait! This Just Inn...

For risk of inciting a libel suit I won't tell you the name of the local eatery where I observed this during yesterday's shopping spree...

A young cowboy walked into a seedy cafe in a small town somewhat southeast of here.  He sat at the counter and noticed an older cowboy with his arms folded, staring blankly at a bowl of chili. 

After about 15 minutes of just sitting there staring at it, the young cowboy asked, "Are you gonna eat that?" 

The older cowboy slowly turned his head toward the young wrangler and in his best cowboy manner stated "Nope". 

Eagerly, the young cowboy slid the bowl over to his place and started spooning it in with delight.  He got down to the bottom and noticed a rotten dead rat in the chili.  The sight was shocking and he immediately puked up the chili into the bowl. 

The old cowboy quietly said, "Yep, that's as far as I got, too".

That's all there is/there ain't no more/Saint Peter said/as he closed the door...

Th-th-th-that's all folks...

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

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