Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE On The Road Again -- Autumnal Surprises--The Leaves are
Falling! The Leaves are Falling!
Maybe next week?
Next week came and went. The weather has been mostly somewhat less than
desirable. As the locals talked of last year's foliage season, this
one is following the pattern. The leaves commence to change and a spate
of cold rain with lots of wind comes along and blows the trees bare.
Drifting and blowing leaves litter the dooryard and have to be swept
and shovelled out of the way to get from one end of The...Inn to the
other. Leaves may fall like rain in the wind however they don't run off
the awning like water.
On the floor of the garage a couple of days ago I espied a set of six
brand new golfcart batteries. Drool-drool I thought. Are those for me?
I asked Paul. A present? They could be, he said, do you want some?
They were for some other customer but it gave me pause to think about
my house battery. Four of the six batteries in my set are nine years
into their 4-6 year normal lifespan, the other two were added a couple
of years later. I'm not sure I could tell them apart now. I was looking
at the set this past Spring and just thinking about whether I would
replace them with the same kind.
When I got down on my hands and knees by the battery bay and cleaned
out all the other stuff packed in there it occurred to me I've not
them all out for their annual rotation-cleaning-test in more than an
annual so perhaps I should do that anyhow and see how they test. Then
it was, after I got the ladder and the dunnage out of the way, and
vacuumed the deck, that I saw the rot of the plywood way back in the
corner. So they're going to have to come out anyhow at this point; the
deck needs replacement. The next good bump could send the whole 400+
pounds right out onto the road.
Tho not so content with my first foray into the arcanum of Medicare.
The stupidity of it all and the complexity of the language and the
forms is overwhelming. When I go to the chiropractor and pay cash it
costs me 40$ a visit. When I go and present my medicare card he bills
them 75$. Then it says right on the medicare statement that they are
aware of this: "...your doctor may bill as much as 110%...but by law
you are liable only for the amount we approve..." which in this case
happens to be 47$. It is the same mentality as this bullshit of Cash
Back Rebates when you purchase a car or &c. What /is/ the point of
The Oncet of October (how does the
octal month come to be the tenth?)
...round and round... ...making progress backwards...
Yesterday was one of those days.
It started last week I think. Or maybe it was last year. I've been
having trouble with several loosely related electrical items for a
while anyhow. Sometimes the bus will not start. Often if I just turn
the key off and then on again--once or twice or thrice--it will work.
But then sometimes the key gets so hot it burns my fingers. I've taken
apart the ignition switch at least once to clean and tighten the
And then there are the fuel gauges which never read full. 3/4 is about
the max when the tanks are right up to the top.
I replaced the sending unit in the main tank last week but that did not
solve the problem so I devised one of my typical R.Goldburg fixes and
then had to wait on parts. So yesterday, after much building and
groaning and skinned knuckles, everything was in place to test this
idea and device. All set to throw the switch... and the bus would not
Click-click--click-click--click-click. Noticed that one of the
test/indicator lights was out. This one I had put in quite a while ago
to help diagnose the failure point in the long wire between battery and
key switch and starting circuit (in itself a tree with three
branches--starter-fuel pump-fuel shutoff). Why is that light out?
To get at it I have to open the auxiliary control panel. And since the
likely course of action in this no-start scenario is the control relay
that is where I looked first. Or at least tried to.
Putter-putter-poke-prod. First thing that happened is that a corroded
connector in the fog light circuit broke when I moved a wire. Open a
new parenthetical subroutine and add a goto-that-one at the bottom of
this one... Eventually I found the auxcontrol relay functional; the
reason the light not indicating such was cos the light was burned out.
Don't have one of those in stock for some reason so I replaced it by
building one with parts from another.
Back to the fog light connector. Trim the wire for the new connector
and it is too short so have to reroute to where it has to reach. Close
up that panel and return up a layer to the ignition switch. The fuel
pump is now working but still not the fuel shutoff. Its test/indicator
light is out. And the igkey is so hot again it burns to turn it off. So
I guess it is time to pull that mess out and R&R it again. I am not
sure exactly where the failure point is. I've never been a big fan of
those push-on wire connectors. They get the least bit hot and they lose
their springiness and it starts a vicious circle of failure. These seem
to be getting hot from the faulty igkey switch contacts. But whether it
all starts with the pushon connectors or the rivets in the switch
contacts or the switch contacts themselves I cannot tell. Time for
something completely different.
Some of the contacts in this igkey switch are loose and the substrate
material is charred. It has gone beyond repair. I choose a new one with
screw terminals instead of push-on. This necessitates replacing all the
push-on connectors with ring connectors. There are nine terminals on
the switch. Eleven wires, two with splitters, go on the nine terminals
and two of /them/ are two wires each stuffed into one connector.
Several of these wires can be relocated to other electrically similar
points in the wiring. There are only three terminals on the new
Pretty much all afternoon goes into this rewire project. Standing on my
head under the instrument panel with a light that shines more in my
eyes than on the work and tools and parts that Sara(h) La Gata finds
more playful than her worn out catnip stuffed Tigger. Suffice it to
write that I got it done; the details would fill another page. Turn on
And the fuel pumps do not start. The whole auxrelay panel is dead.
Again or still. I had that alive before I started this change over. So
there must be a wire missing. My notes are unintelligible by this
point. I've moved so many of the wires to other points or cut off the
identifying indicators to replace the connectors there is no telling
which is where now. Eventually I do find the missing wire and that does
the trick. Finally. But now the test/indicator light for the
fuelshutoff is still out. Turns out to be another blown bulb. Not in
stock. Tear into that and rebuild it with parts from another.
Are we ready yet?
Finally! It is a quarter past PHC. Garrison is probly singing about
Powder Milk Biscuits and I've not yet turned on the radio! The motor
starts! The radio is ON! /YES!/ All I have to do now is put away the
tools but that can wait until I have a cup of tea and a listen to the
Adventures of Guy Noir. Also have to find the keytag from the old igkey
and move it to the new key.
Would have been a nice day for a walk. I never even got as far as the
post office. Now, this morning, as I write all this, the sky is drear
and grey and my awning dripping. When I sit back to rest my fingers and
think about how to bring this storey to a polite end the back of my
chair is wet where Sara(h) La Gata has thrown her coat. I guess that is
The Mad Hatter's Tea Party
Some people just don't appreciate the significance of 10/6. Some people
are just too busy being grownups. Maybe I didn't try hard enough, yell
loud enough. Maybe I gave up too easy.
I had a nice time at the radio flea market but now I have all this new
junque to sort through and must find something, sort of as penance, to
throw away. Too hard to even think about. Perhaps I can leave some
things at the garage when I depart. Another trunk with my name on it
for posterity to find.
Three Days and Counting
This morning I was awake early again. The Alarum Cat went off at
oh-dark-ten, earlier even than her usual oh-dark-thirty. I think she
has forsaken her fine lovingly cleaned by her abject attendant catbox
and become enamoured of the smelly fraught with nails and glass dirt
pile outside the front door. As an aside, I have been thinking about
planting kittygrass in her catbox or around it to sort of simulate the
great outdoors. But I diverge...
I was up early and commenced to put away the dishes from last night's
washing thereof when it occurred to me that I have far more dishes than
one man requires in order to spread a meal at table. All this nice
china and pottery. I must have ten dinner plates--been a while since I
counted them--of two sizes. There are the Mount Washington
Commemoratives and the McMurdo Navy patterns. And there are five or six
desert plates. Of bowls for cereal or soup I have seven comprising
three styles and four more of a smaller ice cream desert size. Twelve
tumblers of a style that closely resembles the jar in which my
favourite B&B pickles are delivered. Mugs too numerous to mention:
Several on the counter, more in the dish cupboard, a few hanging from
screws in the window moulding, and one, my latest acquisition, in a
place of honour on the bookshelf, depicts a turtle--my totem--in the
To survive the course of a day I use one mug, maybe two if I admit to a
coffee mug and a tea mug. One bowl for cereal and one plate for lunch
would be sufficient and could be rinsed out for reuse at supper tho
more often one of those meals consists of bread and cheese and wine and
needs no support from china.
Then there is all the same discourse on the subject of silverware.
Spoons alone in three sizes sufficient to outfit a dinner party of six.
Tho not all with the same pattern.
And it occurred to me that this over abundance of tableware is my
faith: That sooner or later I will run out of water and need all these
extra bowls and spoons to tide me over until I find some to wash the
dirty dishes. Or perhaps that if I haul this superfluity around long
enough then somewhen down the road I will have several dinner guests
not from a SKP's background. Do you suppose there is an organised
religion whose deity is the resplendent soup bowl?
Liftoff: Minus Three Becomes Plus One
It was raining. As good an excuse as any to stay put and enjoy the
scenery. Besides that there is still lots to do. Getting ready to go
anywhere is not unlike peeling an onion.
Thursday 19th October: Plus Two
Yesterday was one of those days.
Everything went well for me but things in the garage were backed up.
Not that I needed anything from them to get packed and all, it was just
the karma and the atmosphere.
The night before one of the people, Roger, was moving a derelict from
out back by pulling it with a large front-end loader. He had chained
the bucket of the loader to the plow frame of a dump-body pickup and
was pulling it with the loader going backwards out of the puckerbrush
that had grown up around it. The pickup had been sitting there so long
that its wheels had forgotten how to turn and were dragging a streak of
mud across the pavement.
Roger came up beside The...Inn one truck removed and made a wide turn
around my front end and pickup. I could sort of see his lights
reflecting on the walls and my computer screen as I wrote. Then there
was a sickening crunch. The right forequarter--going backwards--of his
old loader made slow motion contact with a nearly new pickup parked in
front of the garage waiting its turn for an oil change.
My head snapped around in time to see the grill assembly fall away and
the headlight pop out like an eyeball on the end of its optic nerve.
The fog and drizzle lit up blue with expletives surrounding the loader
like an aura. So all day yesterday in the garage was devoted to finding
the parts to make it right. New trucks have this going for them: Most
of the front end is made of plastic and what doesn't break snaps back
into shape. And what does break is easily replaceable. For a price. In
this case about 800$ in parts and two trips to Portland. It took two
trips cos the wrong headlight assembly was delivered the first time.
None of that really concerned me other than the commiseration and the
fascination of watching the process of rebuild. My packing went along
up to the point, at about 14h00, when I was finally, truly, ready to
go. Well, almost. I still had to fill my potable water but I would do
that after I'd pulled around in front. The tank would fill whilst I
hooked on the truck and then it would be off to the dump station and
the grocery store. I should still have time to grab a cache in Bartlett
along the way to my first night stop.
But then the bus motor would not start....
I'm getting used to this...
Two hours later, with a new relay installed in the starter control
circuit, she starts fine but now I have lost the initiative, and most
of the daylight. The umbilical cord comes out again, and Sara(h)'s
Plus Three, The Last Finally
Here we are Friday morning, two days late but still a week early. Rain
again all night but the rain gauge is packed away.
Let's get this show on the road before it turns to snow.
Frost on the window, snow on the
...and a tilt to The...Inn. This driveway where I am leans a bit into
the woods. But first the news.
After two more finallies The...Inn is rolling.
First stop after finally leaving the garage was to shop for much needed
comestibles. The tab at check out was a hundred and some dollars. When
I expressed amazement at the total cost the checkerouter person
jokingly suggested that it must have been the two sacks of
kitty-kibbles. But I knew it was really the tomatoes, brocoli, and of
course the merlot.
Next, around the corner to the dumpstation. Nothing like taking a dump
in the pouring rain to tighten up a bunghole. At least I didn't have to
clean up much after. Between the rain and lack of obvious parking I
skipped going after three caches along the road up through Crawfords
Notch. However I did stop in Whitefield to see Sandy and Stan. They are
very busy at this time of year with all the hunters coming in for new
weapons and ammo. The moose season in Vermont opens tomorrow.
Destination for this first day on the road is Shilo, Greg's camp in Jefferson.
We worked together on Mount Washington long ago. Rain continued into
the evening and then got worse as a snappy cold front came through.
Sara(h) hid under a rug when the thunder got started. I watched the
temperature fall. Ten degrees in the first hour and another ten over
the next several hours. There was no snow in Jefferson but I listened
on the ham radio as folks where I was headed in Vermont talked of
inches of snow on the road and tree limbs down all over.
Sure enough. At East Concord there was a trace of snow on the grass. I
left Sara(h) La Gata to guard The...Inn and drove the little truck
north on Victory Road towards Gallop Mills. Greg has a cabin high on
the south flank of East Haven Mountain and the plan was to meet him
there for lunch. Along the trail there was lots of snow. I slogged
along humming my mantra: Shovel Never Only Wait--Shovel Not Only
Walk--Shovel Never... There were hunters standing as if at Moose Stops
waiting for the next one to come along.
Lunch was great, the view spectacular, and all our talk of the old days
was fun and enlightening. Time to go. Another hug. Down the hill. In
the snow there is spoor of moose and bear (not bare this time--too
cold) and rabbit. The moose hunters are still standing along the trail
as if waiting at a moose stop for one to come by. I often wonder why
these guys dress in camo so the moose can't see them and then add
day-glo orange stripes and patches so they don't look too much like a
moose to other hunters. Do moose not see orange?
I'll leave out the part about dragging the little truck ten miles along
the road with its hand brake set. How many times will I do that before
figure out a way not to?
Now, in South Woodbury with Robin and Stephanie and their two little
girls. Snow on the open ground here also. Not much, just enough. Nice
wood fire in the big living-kitchen. And wifi that reaches out to where
The...Inn is parked.
Sara(h) La Gata a Cat au Logue
Out with it Sara(h)! What is this cat-harsis you've composed? All this
time over the past week I thought you were writing a catalogue of your
meowmoirs and now I find you have been studying a catechism? She's
found religion! She's become a Cat'lic! After this catastasis what's
next? Are you planning to rename The Cat Drag'd Inn to the Holy C?
I spent my day cataloguing a woodpile. Not everywhere I get paid to
come and visit. Hint-hint... Just kidding. I'll come visit even if you
only feed me.
Writing from Bradford NH today.
Jim here is the guy who winds and maintains the clock in the belfry of
the local church. His consternation these days is someone nearby who
does not appreciate the clock striking the hours. On several recent
occasions a clapper kleft has blunted the bell's bonging as it tolls
the time of day. Now Jim has restored the trapdoor hinges and locked
2006october27friday, Hot Time in The
Ann-Marie called the Parking Police to assure them I was not moving in
like a homeless squatter taking up residence under a bridge or in a
city park. I should be good for a few days unless there is a Snow
Emergency. If that happens I will have to make an Emergency Exit in the
Fabric of Time and go to somewhen warmer.
First order of business was a visit to my Estate Lawyer. I'm just as
happy she didn't tell me her fee until we were all through our
discussion else I'd not have been so voluble and loquacious. By the
time we were through with all the reading and writing there was not
much estate left to disburse. My heirs will likely leave my bones on a
Next was the installation of a new shifter control knob. It is things
of this sort that really make the old bus perform better. Jim gave me a
fine telegraph pole insulator of blue glass that with a little help
from some wood scraps fits in place just so.
Now, as I write this the morning after, rain is pouring, dishes wait to
be washed, and Sara(h) La Gata...Cat o'Mine Tales is pacing the
Samhain Come & Gone, Winter's Come
& Summer's Gone
Now it is november in Franklin. When I was here in august I had grass
to mow. This time it is computers to fix. RPC wanted a LAN built and I
was able to find the NIC's for cheap at a flea market last month. While
I've been sitting here it seems as though we've lost another hour of
daylight; I'm getting up at the same time as always but the sun sets an
hour earlier somehow.
Just now I am in some high priced neighborhood in Shrewsbury (PA).
There are three hotspots right here. Stayed in the Stormville Rest Area
last night and stopped at the Delaware High Point for lunch today. Did
three caches right around there. One of them was along the DE/PA
border, marked here with a concrete obelisk dated 1892. There were
water-powered mills in this area.
Now with friends in Shrewsbury where I stayed on the way north in July.
Three or four caches yesterday, depending upon how you count, and just
enough sun to turn the furnace off in the middle of the day. Already
I've come far enough south that there are still a few leaves left on
the trees but it would seem this change in latitude has made no
difference to the temperature.
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
Back to Oso
Back to ajo
Copyright © 2006, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.