Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off The Road Again -- Flour Tortilla Pizza

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers:

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 beerverage.

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.

Almost Solstice

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 firestorm.                                            --Steven Pitzl


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.

Upgrading Email

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 Service.

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.

New Years...

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 cache

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

Echos of Jacob at Swiss Cheese RockEarly 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.
Brown Bare & Bareis Goodenov on the Camel['s]back
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 accomplish. Kaept'n Braunbaer, 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.

MidMonth Janus

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 RatsSara(h) on patrol

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 and tiredness.

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.
a cache or a cactus or a cacia
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 privledges.

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 Morse Code.
Radios in Repose.
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.

I 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 computers.

A Fifth of FebterFound Arrowhead in Tonopah AZ

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 to MarchI _am_ so wearing a safety belt,

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.
...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.

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 © 2007, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.