Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE Off The Road Again -- Flour Tortilla Pizza
Flour Tortilla Pizza
My recipe: Take one flour tortilla, lay it on a plate. Sprinkle
liberally with grated or sliced cheese; smooth it into a layer, not a
mound. Place a second tortilla on top of the layer of cheese. Pile on
whatever suits you--except anchovies--including pasta or tomato sauce,
more cheese even, if you want a really cheesy pizza. Nuke in the
microwave for a few minutes until it is all hot and gooey. Serve with
Times Are Changing
Whilst visiting my sister in Nashua last Summer I came across a small
pile of Christmas Cards created a long time ago in a small town far
away. In my annual quest to lighten the load they seemed like a
good candidate to get rid of, send to someone else to hoard, save,
collect, treasure. Off they went in the post to a select few
correspondents with this additional insert of timely seasonal message:
"Please excuse the audacity of the Christian theme when sending these
cards to an ethnically diverse minority. "These cards date from the
1960's, a time from B.A. 'Before [my] Awareness' of Hanukkah, Kwanza,
Ramadan, and Solstice even for that matter. Accept them for their
antique value and write in whatever words are important to you."
Something like that. What am I missing? Boxing Day?"
Blowing in The Wind
I found one of your RS80 radiosondes on the east side of Saddle
Mountain in AridZona (33n25.911, 113w01.375) today. The number on the
silver box inside is: 505500807. Do you want it back?
Statistics from Summer Tour
584 gallons to get there and 476 to get back here. 1060 total. Oh
Well... 8761 miles round trip. 110 hours of engine time for the
3670 mile leg. 33.4m/h doing it that way. The cost of all that fuel
could have put two and a half kids through ten years of boarding school
in Erode, Tamil Nadu. Another Oh Well. I’ll probly be paying it off for
ten years anyhow.
Scott Ritchie writes:
"May your travels be blessed with the grace of only breaking down where
you wanted to stop anyways." I think it works better to say "May your
travels be blessed with the grace of breaking down only where you
wanted to stop anyways." Either way it is a nice thought and I thank
him for thinking and writing. I will add that one to my collection of
blessings and aphorisms.
I am not really keeping score but I have received as of early o'clock
this morning seven traditional cards, two ecards, two eletters, one
package in the mail and one package actually hand carried to my door.
It seems that in the galaxy of those around me the closest by relation
are the least likely to write, are the ones I have the least in common
with (perhaps that is why they don't write, eh). Does all that have
anything to do with the aphorism: You choose your friends but you don't
choose your family.
From Steven Pitzl:
There is hope. Check out The Clock of
the Long Now
Amidst history's mist, turgid frost
Voicemail is missing, emails lost
Bytes and bits fade
Information is toast
"Welcome!" to this future dark age!
"You have mail!" you silly ghost!
~~recovered data fragment from optical disc, late 20th century, all
other works by this author
presumed lost in 2015 tsunami or 2031
Last week I jacked up the middle of the floor in La Casa Blanca. There
was a spot in the corridor between the north and south offices that
sagged when one walked through. Underneath there was a broken beam; a
knot in the wood was the fault and the beam had cracked. This is an old
house. Made of real wood beams and lathing on which plaster had been
slathered like butter on English muffins. 1924 is the date the house
was built in Phoenix. In the 1950’s Otis Mitchell moved it into its
present location in Tonopah and set it down on a number of concrete
pylons over just enough crawl space to afford home to stray cats,
scorpions and a few old bottles. With two automobile scissor-jacks I
lifted the beam enough to set a heavy stone under the break. All that
lifting distorted the walls inside sufficient that the plaster cracked.
As the building settled onto its new crutch the creaks and groans were
scary to my Self lying underneath in the dirt; crashing plaster and
exploding dust did not inspire confidence in hasty retreat. Well, at
least the floor no longer sags. Now we must find some old artisan who
remembers how to slather plaster.
My email host has suffered an "Upgrade". One thing they are better at
now is the filtering and disposal of SPAM. The collateral damage
thereof is that the assiduous diligence of this process sweeps up some,
perhaps much, but not quite all, of the mail from those of you, loyal
readers, who once in a while write. I know from the letters I send out
that many of your SPAM filters bounce my mail back when it has been
refused so I can only hope that if your mail to me bounces you will
take the time to resend it via SnailMail. Think of it this way: If your
letter was worth the effort to compose then it is worth the investment
of a thirty-nine cent stamp and the effort to send it via the Postal
ColoradO Battered Again...
Snow? Oh yes. We had a bit of that in PHX last week. Just a bit north
of the intersection of Indian School and Litchfield, lasted for all of
minute or so. But it wasn't really snow. Ice pellets was more like it.
Sleet we used to call it in New England. Exciting! Some drivers stopped
in the middle of the intersection to let it pass. A radio announcer
started to announce school closure and then realised it was already the
Solstice Holiday. Oops! Nobody in school anyhow.
What have you resolved to make different this new year? I wrote in my
journal: What would I resolve? Other than to get even further into hot
water? I should resolve to spend less money. I should resolve to drink
less wine. And maybe walk more often. I should resolve to upgrade my
Amateur Radio license. I should. I think I will resolve to consider all
of the above whilst taking another nap.
Back In The Saddle Again
This walk is in my list of annuals. Only about four miles but a superb
day. The trail goes in mostly flat for about a mile and a half and then
mostly up for another half mile. It is at times like this that I can
appreciate the hardships some folks suffer through raising a family in
order to be able to share this beauty for it is somewhat a hardship for
me to go it alone. But then again there is no accounting for taste.
The Kid That Broke The Camel’s Back
Early start on a soggy day. Two such bad omens
meant that the rest of the day would have to be great in order to keep
the balance. My two young chargers, and their mom, still in their
all-togethers, dripping the dregs of breky from chin and chest, would
have to dress for this adventure. It was a minor inconvenience for the
youngsters however essential to rebuff the exposure of climate and
place. This was still Solstice Holiday, not yet Twelfth Night, and the
trail up Camelback Mountain, not too far from downtown Phoenix, was
sure to be crowded with peers. We four were on a treasure hunt for two
caches and for that matter just finding parking within the park.
The beginning went well. Clothes and boots, water bottles and gorp,
parking but no streaking. Jacob learned quickly how to handle the GPS
and made short work of the first cache. Camelback
Classics is a “kid friendly” cache, a treasure trove of trinkets
that sixers like to collect. Further
up the trail, the second cache was not so easy. Clambering over
rocks taller than he required a handy boost once in a while however he
was much more adept than me at skinnying through the narrows.
Eventually we found the treasure and exchanged troves. Too bad the day
was not warmer and less crowded.
We all went on a ways further towards the summit however the chargers
were becoming quickly discharged despite regular infusions of candied
ginger. Tamara turned the kids around when the GORPsack ran out of
ginger at halfway whilst I went on to the summit with a mission to
a Travel Bug, a journeyer from Germany, had a desire to summit
Camelback before returning home. My task was to get him to the top and
then into some cache where he might find a Way home.
Frozen hozen. The outside temperature was 33f at 03h40 when I was
up to pee. That's cool said Self to I and promptly returned to under
the down comforter with Sara(h) La Gata watching my back; Bill wins the
beer bet that it won't go below 25. When I got up next, after a
particularly weird dream that all I can remember of is that I stayed
asleep until it came to a successful conclusion, the temperature
outside was 28f and the brass elbow at the sharp turn to the "city
water" inlet was frozen. Bill still wins the beer.
Fortunately I had prefilled my kettle and the onboard water tank is
near full too so I was able to get coffee going and take a kettle of
hot water out to pour on the elbow. It is thawed now and dripping at
the galley tap.
The official temperature at the nearest AWS was 20f at Buckeye
FRS#1 [19 miles east ] and 18f at Tiger
Fan Wash [24 miles sort of northwest]. 28f here is the coldest of
the Winter so far but only about the same as other cold nights I've
seen here in the past several Winters. If this keeps up I may have to
change my sigblock...
The Rock Show Radio Q'site Gathering of
Snow Birds & Desert Rats
OhDarkThirty here in the land of hot water and a cold rain has
commenced to sprinkle upon the proceedings. Quick run-around to pick up
the pieces left out last night when packing was interrupted by darkness
Yesterday Dee arrived moments after Betty left. She and Bill had a bet
going that I would not get away by my appointed time of thursday
afternoon. Did I say that the bet was off? Between helping Betty screw
her side trim back in place and Bill asking me to stay and fix a broken
water pipe I didn't stand a chance of getting away on time. I think he
broke the pipe just so I would have to stay so he would win the bet.
And then Little Truck wouldn't start when I was about to take off for
the post office to mail that book to Iran and grocery shop for last
minute mayo. All done Ok by sunset but that was that. Now, today, I
will really get off to an early start. As long as this rain does not
dampen my spirits too much I should be out of here at least by noon, eh?
The Q’site Rock-Radio-RV Show
Writing from the Roadrunner 14 Day Short Term Visitor Area, west of
South La Posa: Nothing much new here. The mayor of Quartzsite was
quoted as saying there was a million snowbirds camping within the town
limits. I’d say there was another million out around the edges. Two new
geocaches done and one old one revisited. Good meals, good visits with
old friends. No new friends, only old ones. Not enough time. I spent
five dollars at the swop-fest and took in three dollars. Anyhow.
Amateur Radio licensing has changed quite a bit since I tested first in
the mid 1960's and received the callsign K1OIQ. Then the test for
Technician grade was mostly of technical questions with a few of
operating technique and rules. The test also included sending and
receiving Morse Code at the rate of five words per minute. Beyond the
Technician class there were three more grades: General, Advanced, &
Extra. Each had more and harder questions and required an increasing
proficiency with Morse Code. Attaining each grade conferred greater
Over the years since, times have changed. A variety of factors
conspired to direct governing authorities to relax the requirements and
encourage greater participation. This has happened gradually, partly as
experiment, partly recalcitrance or momentum, partly I suppose so as
not to be too much of a shock to the system. The privleges associated
with Technician Class were sufficient for me so I stayed there. And
there was also the matter of learning to speed up my ability with the
Eventually the General Class grade came to me with a grandfather clause
that lowered the code requirement from 13wpm to 5wpm. Now the Morse
Code requirement has been removed from all classes and while the
complexity and length of the multiple-guess questions has increased it
was only a matter of practice, and dredging up disused formulae to test
out for the Extra Class.
passed the test--seventy multiple-guess questions--and have upgraded
the class of my Ham Radio license to Extra. That is one New Year’s
Resolution out of the way. And it means I get to talk extra more and
have extra privileges to do extra things. Probly also gives me cause or
direction to put on extra weight or at least lend extra weight to my
additional words. In this efoto of the Ham Shack aboard The Cat Drag'd Inn two of the three
HF radios are shown in repose. Note the two colour coordinated
A Fifth of Febter
Yesterday I went for a walk out back. To see if I could get from the
hot spring at Tonopah to Salome Highway and the Black Hills in a more
of less straight line. It took longer than expected. There was much to
stop and look at and there were many more washes to cross than I
expected. There is also a surprising and disappointing amount of
traffic and construction and occupied homes in there to avoid.
During the northbound return leg, tracking somewhat to the west of the
southbound leg, in the vast area of the middle, I found a significant
section of a geode that once must have been as big as a tennis ball.
Not too far away was another, smaller, section. And then a few steps
away, wonder of wonders! A perfect arrowhead. White, small, pointing
west and laying flat on the surface, probly a bird point, about an inch
long. Most astounding!
Remind me to show you.
The Last Week of This Letter--A Quarter
I’ve been salvaging the antennae and tower of a defunct Ham Radio
station about ten miles east of here. Quite a time working at the top
of a tower; another thing I've not in a long while. The 3-element
15-meter beam was only fifty feet above the ground but it is a whole
different world up there. Calm below, windy at the top. Derecting the
tower involved dismounting the antenna--14 foot boom and three
twenty-some foot elements--and rotor. After they had been lowered to
the ground the two top sections of the tower had to be jacked apart and
lowered. I want you to know, those who might be concerned, I was
properly attired for this task: boots, safety belt, and sun bonnet. And
also gloves. With the top two sections, ten foot each, out of the way
we were able to tip over the rest of
the tower and complete the derection and disassembly on the ground.
Would have been a
hard enough day's work in good conditions but it took over three weeks
of waiting on the weather and various other interruptions. ...and Bill
said: Let me give you a hand with that derection.
With that project out of the way we are building a stockade fence
around the yard of La Casa Blanca. Erecting about 40 feet a day. Other
items on the Do-List are lube and oil service for the bus, tractor,
ditch-witch, and construction of the LaST Building. And of course
watching the Spring Flowers bloom.
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 © 2007, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.