Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE Off The Road Again -- "Is this all there is?"...
April is A Special Month
Fun 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.
Ham 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.
During the rally I got two of the three caches
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...
My 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
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!
Do 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
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
Perhaps 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,
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
> 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
> 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
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:
The Prince of
Central Park, Evan
Rhodes, ISBN: 0698106431
The Thief Lord, Cornelia Funke,
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:
Alice's Adventure in Wonderland/Through
the Looking-Glass Louis Carroll, ISBN 1582342229
Wenzday, Red Hat Day, FatFreeCat
Spring 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
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
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.
/\ /\ /
(__,,,,| * * * *
I love you!
/\ ) /^\) ^\/ _)
< > ) /^\/
|| ) _ / / _) The Feast Day of
| \ )/\/ || |
)_) Take a dragon to lunch.
\_____ |(,,) )__)
Snake In The Grass
tchtchtchtchtch... How do you imitate the sound of an alarming
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.
Snake 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
Is 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
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.
Speaking (...writing?...) of
climbing skins... Spring Cleaning
I 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
"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
consumer world amounts to a kind of lulling spell, chanted tunefully
and eternally by the TV, the billboard, the suburb. A spell that
us that the things we want most from the world are comfort,
security. A spell that by now we sing to each other. A spell that,
start to weaken, we try to strengthen with medication, with
noise. A slightly frantic enchantment, one that has to get louder all
to block out the troubling question constantly forming in the back of
"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
Th-th-th-that's all folks...
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but
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
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all
before me. --Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2004, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Center Conway NH 03813-0144.