Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again -- Autumnal Surprises--The Leaves are Falling! The Leaves are Falling!

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers:

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? 420 lbs of New House Battery

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 taken 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.

I'm content.

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 this foolishness?

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 connexions.

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 start.

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 switch...

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 the key...

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.

Sunday Nextday

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 polite enough.

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 hot sun.
Galley Table set for Two
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 string.

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 ground...

...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.
Old Mill in Delaware (not really Greg's camp)
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 writes

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 the belfry.

2006october27friday, Hot Time in The City

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.
New Shifter Knob
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 street corner.

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 companionway.

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.
Polar Express on the DE/PA Border

Shrewsbury Reprise

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.

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 © 2006, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.