Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off The Road Again -- Three Digit Temps ForecastNude Sunbathers Ahead

Gentle Readers:

Three Digit Temps Forecast

I'm not ready for hot yet. Still have some heavy outside projects to do.

Solitude Cache away out back.I have the DitchWitch all apart in the yard; gears and bearings lined up on towels waiting on a pair of keys to fix one drive gear to its tranny shaft. The longer it waits then the dirtier the parts get and the more likely I will loose something or forget the order of reassembly.

Then I have a new electric service. Big ditch, conduit, meter pedestal, distribution box. All of that is in place and the ditch filled. Now the inspector is not happy with one little part and so I must reopen six feet of the ditch and relocate the conduit. That is going to be an arduous undertaking for a hot day. To say the least. How are you with a shovel?

And I have a new battery watering system to install on my house batts. A fancy gadget that is supposed to make watering the batts as easy as watering my spider plant. Expensive experiment in any case.

And a furnace to fix.

And a roof vent to install. Two of them for that matter.

Sometimes my biggest chore is to not bog down trying to figure out what to do first. I think I'll go for a walkaboutback instead. Makes a lot more sense and it may be the last time for a while.

May 19th is Not a Holiday in Any of my Three Calendars

The DitchWitch is back together and the furnace works and the roof vents are in and venting. I don't suppose the frustrations are worth recording. An hundred years from now, if there is anyone left who cares, a reader is going to ask: Did this writer do anything but complain? Still and all, there is no reason other than greed that these things need be so difficult. If only Quality were the goal, rather than Profit...

2005may23, Record Breaking Heat Begets Becord Breaking Kilowatts

Temperature at Tonopah 109f two days in a row. Too hot too early and two A/C's operating just short of full time to keep The Cat Drag'd Inn at a sweaty 90f.

Robin writes: "Eudora has red-flagged 'nude' as thought it were offensive! Two red chili peppers."

I'd replace that Big Brother programme right away quick! Pretty soon it will be reporting your use of foul language to a higher authority. If you write something that gets you three red chili peppers it will report your every bad word to the thought police.

2005may28, Memorial Day WeekendMushroom Window

Finished another stained glass window. "Mushroom & Tree" is an original work comprised of glass, polished agate slices, and a round of Desert Rose (chalcedony). The window depicts a mushroom, perhaps an Amanita muscaria, growing on the shore of a small pond in the shade of a yellow birch tree. The sun is in eclipse and small clouds dot the sky.

In the current SUN magazine there is an interview with Jaron Lanier "On The Danger Of Letting Computers Do Our Thinking For Us" that discusses just such Artificial Intellegence and the diminishment of humanity when we turn control of our thoughts over to machines. Granted some human (but that one's humanity is questionable) put that word "nude" in the database of Ronin's Eudora however that fact is soon lost sight of as the machines replicate and pass on their "knowledge" to subsequent generations.

2005june8, Dos Osos Negro

Finally away for a little holiday. I've done all I can to organise the North Conway section of the World Naked Bike Ride, Dave has taken over the on-the-ground-leadership, and this is my last chance for a getaway before the Summer Management period at El Dorado Hot Springs gets underway.

At first it looked like it would have to be a good trip. The main awning rolled up right the first try. Stowed and locked. My main concern is that the blackwater holding tank might fall out but what the hell, all what's in it won't be the worst thing to hit the pavement. The tank is showing signs of severe deterioration and when I return from this little adventure it will have to be replaced at no inconsiderable expense. But that will be another storey for later.

The Cat Drag'd Out monday afternoon. Packing done, tanks dumped and filled as necessary, all last minute tasks either complete or properly set aside, or forgotton about. The DitchWitch for instance: What's wrong with it this time is not a safety issue and not operationally significant, so that can wait.

Firstly, after shopping for groceries and returning rented videos, I visited with Ian and his mum. He's managed to get through his Freshman year with passing grades. But now their house is being sold out from under them and so they have to move again. The kid has to be four inches taller them me now. But he's probly not yet smarter.

By dark I was somewhere north of the Sunset Point Rest Area on i17 before I was too tired to continue. Along the way the fan on the roof radiator fell off. Not sure if the tyraps that held it on broke leaving the fan hanging by its wires and beating its blades against the rear window or if the missing blade broke first and the resulting imbalance tore away the tyraps. So the engine ran a little hot up the hill, from 2000 to 7000 feet MSL and I don't know how many miles. But the saving grace was that as much as the road went up the ambient temperature went down. By the time I stopped for the night it had dropped from 95f to 65f.

Bump on a Log geoCache.The rest area was full, no room for The Cat [to be] Drag'd Inn. Finally, over the next hill and around the bend I found space enough in a brake check safety zone for the rest of the night and then discovered no tail lights on the bus. The lights on the little truck were on ok so it wasn't completely dark back there. I poked around with them in the morning and suddenly they were on again. Still don't know what was wrong there. All that new wiring and there must be a loose connexion already.

On to Flagstaff. Ham Radio came to the rescue to help me find a salvage yard where I might shop for fans. Way out on Leupp Road: Vintage Salvage. I parked out on the shoulder of the road, outside their gate. The yard contained lots of old stuff. Rick Sams was interested, interesting, and very helpful. After sustaining two skinned knuckles, three walks back to the bus for tools I didn't anticipate, and a small contribution to Global Warming when a freon line came apart, I'd retreived a dual fan set from a Honda that fits nicely on my Jeep roof radiator and also found a set of blades for the old Toyota fan just to be sure.

 Rick Sams said I could have driven the bus through the gate and parked inside. No thanks, I said, someone might come in and start buying parts off her. Just kidding, I said, the real reason is that when she gets into places like this then she just feels so much at home its hard to get her out again.

By then it was half past lunch so after a short nap it was off to meet with Laura for dinner and movie. We went to an India-Indian restaurant in downtown Flagstaff and I enjoyed retelling tales of my trip to Madras, Erode and Maduri. For dinner I had Chicken Madras. YUM! The movie was "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants". I recommend it to you all; two thumbs up! Stayed in the theater lot that night nose to nose with a wide load tractor-trailer and at first light headed north to find the first of two geocaches.

Lava Cave geoCache.Now I am parked in the woods near the Lava River Cave. Two caches--"Bump on a Log" & "Lava Tube" and a walk in the cave this morning. The cave was wicked cool. Too much so for a nude hike. Too crowded with Muggles as well. No red hat either. Hard Hat Area instead. But I did manage an appropriate efoto session between other groups at the end of the cave.

Just down inside the entry, the coldest area and roughest part of the trail, there was a tall column of ice, as if a frozen waterfall from the ceiling to the floor. The temperature here was 35f. Further along the floor becomes flatter and smoother and the cross-section varies from high and wide to hardly crawlable. Way at the end, in  a little crawl space that goes beyond the end of the end, my light went out. I swore at it and threatened to leave it there in the dark and it came right back on again.

Dark in this cave.One thing not mentioned in the linked article about the inhabitants of the cave: I found there to be not a few barking cave frogs in there. Mostly in the low spots where one was quite glad to be wearing a hard hat and had to walk all crunched down. Ribit-ribit... On my way out I met a party of young Muggles accompanied by a rather large grownup. We were just out of torch beam distance from where the cave divides around a massive division in the way. To the left is high and wide, to the right is just right for Hobbits and Dwarves. Which way should we go, the little one asked? To the right, I said, it is a much better adventure.

And speaking of critters: During the return leg of my walk to "Bump on a Log" cache I flushed out two black bears, Ursus americanus. They took one look at me and said Oh no! Another bare invading our territory. But me being the alpha male they split the scene in great haste.

2005jun9thursday, Overcast Day To Sit By The Fire...

Thirty-seven degrees here this morning at dawn. Now it is mid-morning tea and the temperature is up to 56f. But the sky is overcast, not getting much insolation; I may have to cut back on power consumption in order to break even today. Maybe run the genset just to see if it still functions.

Made a nice banana bread this morning so the furnace would not have to work quite so hard. Now I have some letters to write. I want to sit here for at least one full day. Maybe go for a little walk. The woods are clear of underbrush and fairly well bounded by roads so I shouldn't get lost too easily but the trees are so thick that one could pass within a few hundred feet of The Cat Drag'd Inn and not see her.

2005june10 Still In The Woods

Seecond morning in the woods northwest of Flagstaff, on a bit of a retreaat in the cool tall trees before the heat of Summer sets in at the hot springs. Temperature at dawn now is 35f. That must be about 3c. And not a whole lot warmer inside The Cat Drag'd Inn. Using lots of propane and amperes to make driving here worth more than a tent.

Amazing what a few feet of elevation and a few miles of latitude can do for the weather. At 8,000' MSL in the mountains north of Tonopah rain is much more common. The forrest heere is used forr grazing cattle; beetween them and the occasionaal fires the undeerstorey is opeen so walking through the trees is an easy delight.

Also having a prroblem with some of my keeys doublee striking and I haave pretty much given up going back to fix everry occurrrancee. Composing is taking twice as long. And I just replaced this keyboard too.

Yesterday had a couple of little walkabouts, once with a traashbag in hand, once without even that. Saww a cowboy running a small calf back to the herd but they didn't see me. Some rain and thunderr last night but not enough to puddle anywhere close by.

I will get undeerway later today. Peerhaps afterr another walk and some more letters.

Later...Route 66, Trivia geoCache, Venerable Bus.

Today, friday, I went back again to the cave by walking straightaway from my camp to the cave, two miles cross country. Saw all sorts of neat things one misses when driving including a deer, a coyote, two squirrels, and two robins.

After that nice walk I changed the air filter on the main engine before heading back through Flagstaff and then west on i-40. Did two geocaches west of Flag--State Trivia and Wooo Wooo--along the highway and now I am having a G&T at Camp Two Flats. I'll stay here for the night.

Still later...

Headed out for a little walk. Got as far as the tow bar and found the right hinge pin missing and that side of the bar pulling the truck by the safety chain. Got to remember to check that point more often. So my little walk turned into a fixit session of rummaging through the hellbox for nuts and bolts that might suffice to make up for the missing pin. At least for long enough to get me out of this Camp Two Flat and back to the truck stop.

Saturday, 2005june10, Lake Watson State Park

On the corner of South Airport and Rodeo, Williams AridZona has a great hardware store where I found enough parts to replace the missing pin. All downhill from there, from 7500 feet to 5500 here. And of course the temperature went up. The bus likes going down hill. Last time I parked at Watson Lake it was all lumpy gravel. Now the roads are paved and the lumps graded smooth.

Went for a little paddle with the kayak I've been hauling around since the last trip to the Pacific Northwest. It was pretty windy on the lake so I stayed close in. Enough to know the boat remembers how to float, and I remember how to paddle.

Back to The Cat Drag'd Inn and supper and take apart this computer's keyboard. Lots of floobydust, cat hairs, and other organic matter. Seems better now. 1qaz2wsx3edc4rfv5tgb6yhn7ujm8ik,9ol.0p;/-['=]\... I think that's all of them. Now the question is: Should I go back and fix all the typos in the previous paragraphs? I think I'll do the dishes instead.

2005 June 13 Monday, Trash Picking Caches at Vulture Peak

Vulture Squat geoCacheThis is the last day of my little holiday. Sorry none of you were with me but then again thanks for being there when I visited. I suppose it was just as well I did this alone, there was only room for one in the kayak.

At Watson Lake yesterday I went on three little paddles and one walk in the rocks. The kayak behaves better now that it has a keel but it still needs something. It really prefers to go round in circles and it requires a lot of work to move it along a straight course. Maybe I just need to give it away and get a proper one for what I want to do. Watson Lake is another got to go back to place.

Gerry invited me for lunch, and came to get me. I never would have been able to get the bus up to his house. Probly could have taken the truck but by the time I arrived at that conclusion lunch was a fait accompli.

 The road to Vulture Peak is curvy and hilly but at least mostly down grade from Prescott. One particular hill drops 1,500 feet in a distance of only a few miles!

Vulture Peak Park is the starting point for four nearby geocaches. I went after one right after arrival. Nice short walk. Two more caches right after dawn today while it was still cool. The fourth is near the summit of Vulture Peak and will have to wait for a cooler day and a companion to help carry me out.

Flower near where I found the cellphone.So. Now it is a short downhill drive back to the El Dorado hot water and a couple of months of sitting still. The Cat Drag'd Inn is in need of an oil change; I am in need of a shower.

Tuesday, WNBR: Two Arrested at North Conway

Ed writes:

"The North Conway World Naked Bike Ride was a disaster. Four guys showed up. Shortly after 8:30 we decided to start the ride. A mile-and-a-half into the ride, two Conway police cruisers showed up, from opposite directions.  One of the officers later told me a passing motorist had called the police on their cell phone.

"Two of the riders, Richard and Robert, were arrested for indecent exposure. They were handcuffed and taken away in the police cars. The other two riders, Ed and Jim, were allowed to go free, but not until the police asked for their driver licenses and radioed the information back to headquarters. No one brought a camera, so there are no photos.

"A couple of passing motorists honked and waved at us, but that and the police action were the only responses to the ride.

"And to think, the New Hampshire state motto on their license plates is: LIVE FREE or DIE.  Yeah, right."

There will be more press on this item when we return. Stay tuned for details at eleven.

Summer Solstice T-1

Today is the first day of my new-used-refurbished keyboard. So far the letters "a" and "e" work Ok.

CyB left yesterday in a great flurry of hugs and honks. Bill's air horn didn't work tho and that was one of the last things he "fixed". They called from only a few miles east and said their generator was overheating. It worked ok all last year and was ok the few times it was tested prior to this tour but on the road it was overheating and shutting down every few minutes. So they turned around...

I had the operating table prep'd by the time they returned and we got right to it. Nuts and bolts were flying every which way. Bill had no intention of staying, even for a second last soak. He had two hundred miles to drive before bedtime. We went in without even waiting for the unit to cool. Had to wear gloves.

Found a packrat nest in front of the radiator that I would like to say was all the cause of the problem but I didn't really think so. We fussed with a few other parts and rearranged some wires and baffles and discussed other options not least of which was to run with the bay door open.

Soon enough they left again and called that it was still overheating so they strapped the door open and continued. So now I am the manager for a few weeks and we are headed quickly to a combination Summer Solstice Full Moon and Gone Away Party this evening.

Summer Solstice and First Week

Lynn writes that Rufus brings in his catch by the dozen. The picture of him with his most recent collection of trophies has been censored due to the extreme and bloody nature of the violence depicted. All these mangled bodies of little critters laying about as if in a war zone have no place in a family publication such as this.

Sara(h) is not nearly so prolific, besides, she is practicing catch and release. She catches and I release. At least so far as what she brings home. She's been instrumental in directing the evolution of a new specie of lizard hereabouts. The short-tail lizard runs about twice as fast as its longer tailed predeceaser.

Busy coping with Summer. One breakdown after another. Not too many guests so there is plenty of time to fix things.

End of June--First Response Fire Plan

The fire danger is extreme hereabouts; there have been several wildfires around us this week so I've been stretching hose and wiring an auxiliary source of power for the booster pump. Last week two close fires went the other way. Yesterday afternoon a fire broke out in Buckeye along the Gila River south of town.

The view of the towering column of smoke from lunch with Dee in Goodyear was appalling so to speak. People hereabouts are used to this spectacle and there was nothing immediate on the radio; BBC News on NPR is busy with affairs of more worldly note. I found my Self overly concerned whilst shopping and rushed about my tasks. Even as it became more and more apparent the fire was not in the direction of Tonopah I was incessantly urged onward. I guess my interest shifted from one of concern about El Dorado Hot Springs and The Cat Drag'd Inn--not to mention Sara(h) La Gata--to a morbid interest in what was burning. I've never seen such a monsterous fire. I've never seen such smoke roiling and writhing as if it were something alive, eating its way along the ground.

Main street downtown Buckeye looked like business as usual even tho the fire was only a few blocks away. Perhaps the people were more used to such spectacle. And of course my camera was at Eldo. This morning there is no smoke. Home is still here.

Going 4th in 2005

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of these dis-United States makes living on the road in an old bus all the more attractive. I wonder how long it will be before someone approaches the Mayor of D.C. with a proposal to replace the White House with a Wal-Mart.

Speaking of  Wal-Mart... The nearby town of  Buckeye told Wal-Mart to take a hike. Sorry I forgot to put a tracking number on the package of male banana bread. Sorry the "postal" clerk did not remind me. They are usually quick to seek extra sales but of late have been preoccupied with locking the lobby. The Tonopah Post Office was vandalised and the postage machine in the lobby was broken a fortnight ago. Now there is posted a 10,000$ reward--federal offense--and the lobby is locked during off business hours. Just another small step in the "development" of Tonopah.

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.

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 © 2005, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.