Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE On The Road Again -- Just The Facts Ma'am.
2006june17, Cherokee Nation, Just The
Where to start? It was a long and windy drive; some roads are meant for
motorcycles--and there were a lot of them out this day--and big old
buses should find other Ways. The maps and charts never do justice to
the twists and turns and elevation changes, and the "Scenic Byway"
designation only makes matters worse. (If I'm not careful here I might
well talk my Self into a cul-de-sac.)
So here I am, on a partly cloudy late afternoon, northbound on U.S.19,
a straight road (at least compared to U.S.129 from Tallassee to
Robbinsville) from Cherokee to Maggie Valley, between a Santa Land
Theme Park and an inviting wide spot, (35n28.043 83w15.806 to be
precise) and I decide to take up the invitation brom the back of my
mind to stop for tea.
Can you see where this is going yet?
Right directional on, ease left a bit to make room for a wide right
turn and slow to a crawl, look one more time in the mirror, commence
the turn to the right... WHAM!
A glancing blow on the forward starboard quarter (that's where the
front door is), an "Oh Shit" from me, and a black Toyota with "RAV4"
emblazoned upon its spare tyre cover bounced, literally bounced, sideways, into a tree that
marked the verge and the far corner of the opening to the wide spot I
was aiming for. It could have been worse I suppose. The wench speeding
by, passing me on the right, could have arrived a second later and hit
the bus more broadside amidships where the fuel tank is.
As it is the door still closes and latches but
it does not fit as well
as it used to. The front bumper is bent forward, straight ahead, like
the pincer of a giant beetle, the long-horn of an angry bull. My bike
bounced up from its carrier and
hit the right side windscreen causing cracks to extend from edge to
edge. Sara(h)'s door is Ok but the porch light aft of it was wiped off
and the fog light behind the bumper was smashed. I don't quite
understand how that fog light was damaged; it seems to be out of the
line of fire. The door is bowed in some and scratched. The fiberglass
headlight molding is damaged. The worst part seems to be the bumper.
Bending that back into shape and rewelding the braces and brackets is
going to be a job for supermechanic.
The officer investigating the accident says its my fault. That any
reasonable driver, seeing me pull into the left turn lane (the road is
three lanes wide at this point with the middle lane being designated a
left turn lane for access to Santa Land's carpark), would assume I was
going to make a left turn. Not a right turn as indicated by my
five-bulbs-blinking right turn directional signal? Perhaps, he
suggested, I should have a sign proclaiming Wide Right Turns on the
rear of the bus. Maybe surrounded with blinking Christmas Tree Lights,
The black Toyota was, according to casual on the scene evaluators,
totaled. The black Toyota was not visible to me when I commenced my
turn, either it was following too close or so far back in the dusky
shadows, either way, I saw nothing when I commenced my turn. The driver
of the black Toyota refused medical attention and refused transport
Well! There you have it. I'll have nightmares for a while but otherwise
I seem to be OK.
The good news is that North Carolina has a Mutual Responsibility law
that specifies if either party to a motor vehicle accident admits or is
found to have any causative action with regard to the event then their
claim will be denied. Such is the case here. The other party was found
to be travelling at an excessive rate of speed whilst passing on the
right. Still not clear what being an unwitting participant in this
event does to my driving record and the insurance companies decision is
subject to appeal. We'll see how it goes.
Thunderstorms almost daily. An inch or two of rain each. Sara(h) does
not like the thunder and slinks into one of her safe cubby places. I am
enjoying the tall trees and lush grass--except for the almost
continuous noise of mowing. Downtown is a short walk. I could live
Mostly I am being dampened by the rain here in Waynesville Nortre
Carolinia. Days and days of it now, several inches, water running in
the streets. At this rate we need not drive far to paddle kayaks. The
Cat Crawl'd Inn here under her own power, a short drive from the scene
of the incident, to where I was bound in the first place. Friends here,
New Hampster expatriots, with whom I have been visiting now for a week.
Seems as if only a couple of days. Time to move on. I hope my
reluctance to get going is not a reflection of any incipient
I will continue to wander as chance and monies allow. Probly, if and
when I make it to New Hampster, to my home port garage, I will get
repairs to the bumper done. Mostly. The scrapes and scratches are
already patched up and painted over enough at least to look better; I
was able to use George's chop-saw to amputate the bloody bumper so it
will be less likely to break someone's kneecap.
Whynot on The Potters' Highway does not
have a post office.
However there are lots of potters along there. Several years ago Liz
gave me a nice blue bowl that is just right for cereal with sliced
peaches and yogurt. I've been wanting another just like it ever since
so today I went looking for the artist who created this fine bowl:
potter E.J. King. Way far down beyond
Whynot I found his store amidst a collection of several. The doors were
all unlocked but only at Jake's Pottery was anybody home. Jake, it
turns out, is a parrot. His resident Human is named Robby who, it might
be said, is only just getting his hands dirty in this business of
making pots. Robby said he makes mostly mugs and so we talked about my
commissioning a coffee mug like the one I have. He also said he's
looking after Mr.Kings shop so we went next door to look for a bowl to
match the one I had in hand. The colours of the one I found there don't
match perzactly but the shape is right and they nest mostly Ok. Now I
can go a day longer before I have to wash dishes.
2006July4, A National Day of Mourning
Can a pony be a horse? Can a horse be a pony? That question and others
about the differences and similarities of horses and ponys were
answered at the Chincoteague Pony Show. Do you remember Misty the pony
and the orphans who rescued her? The storey of Misty rates second only
to Black Beauty as a horse tale.
Emily and George live in Assawoman on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
There is water all around. Fresh water of rivers and streams meets salt
water of ocean and bay. The protected seas between mainland and
island invite me to paddle. The estuary of the Assawoman River is at
low tide on this particular early morning. Before the heat of day the
water is flat and thin, the kayak needs the channel of the public boat
launch area to gain the depth of the slow river. Along the verge, the
space between channel and bank, the water is shallow, so much so that
this boat of little draught is skimming the black ooze of oyster beds
and not gliding. I am poling through muck rather than paddling through
water. "Dip, dip, and swing them back" is achieved only along a narrow
deep defined by markers protruding from the rippled surface. The muck
washes away from my paddles and they do indeed flash like silver in the
George collects junk. Good useful junk mind you. Good for salvage value
if nothing else. One of his recreational activities is to take things
apart--rusty old electric fan motors from local chicken factories and
anything with aluminium, copper, or brass parts--and sort the metals.
He must make almost as much selling scrap as he does launching ozone
balloons for NASA. Emily studies genealogy and does hands on healing.
We had a lot to talk about on both subjects.
Now writing from Germantown Maryland where hightest gas is 3$40 per
gallon. Just had lunch with David and Davy and talked about a tour next
Summer to visit hot springs in Idaho.
Did you know that the Earl of Sandwich was an evil dude who stole
credit for having invented what we now call the sandwich from the Duke
Here too, I have been so enamoured of residing in the desert these past
few years I have lost touch with some of the necesities of survival in
the swamps and forests of the northeast. At the moment I'm visiting
friends in Shrewsbury Pencilvainea as I wend my Way towards New England
and certain filial visitations. The premature rot of veggies and growth
of mould is taking a toll of my cleaning abilities. In the desert bread
left out dessicates to a styrofoam hardiness but here it, and the
cheese one might enShrewsbury within, moulds in transit between galley
and table. One must eat fast.
Larry, once upon a long ago a Scout in Troop 55
Billerica where I was ASM, invited me to visit his Scout Troop 205 at
their Summer camp. Tuckahoe is at 40n5.6', 77w5.87' and includes a
small lake and facilities sufficient for several hundred Scouts and the
other critters one might expect to find in the woods. At a campfire
paddles keen and bright,
There are several more verses, and a different tune, in an earlier
version of Land
of the Silver Birch as I eventually remembered it. We also sang Green Grow the Rushes and I
hear that has been changed as well. Is nothing sacred?
Flashing like silver;
Swift as the wild goose flight,
Dip, dip, and swing.
I was able to show some of the boys how to build zipper fobs and
alternate ways to build fires. Firebuilding and knot-tying have at
least stood the test of time and not fallen prey to political
Thanks again to all those Old Scouts who
helped me in my turn learn the things I taught during that all
too short visit.
Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.
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 © 2006, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.