Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again — Wind Horse Hill Summer Camp — The Rest of the Summer

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers:

Do they really mean way up there?First in the Order of Winding Down to go for a walk. And what better way to walk than a Cache & Trash hike. Stands By Herself is over the hill and around the bend from Wind Horse; a perfect place to get away from The Cat Drag'd Inn for a few hours and see if I still remember how to use the stick shift of the toad. The cache description leads one to believe that the cache might be up in the air but do they really mean /way up there/? Good thing all the trash I found was on the way down.

2007July17, A Tuesday Drive

Had a nice drive around the block. Bill drove, Camilla and I took turns aggravating... er, navigating. Yes, that's what we're doing—telling Bill where to go. We lunched at the top of Davenport Lookout, a bump on the shoulder near the summit of Madre Mountain, and site of the local MegaLink repeater among other services. The 4wd road to the site was two miles of 10-15% grade. Ei8hty miles +/- for the day included a lot of backing and forthing and driving forest roads through washes still wet from the last thunderstorm.

World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts

The long awaited replacement for Lee Baxandall's World Guide to Nude Beaches... has arrived. No longer has his name on the cover; the title is now the world's best nude beaches and resorts. I'm disappointed in the contents. For all the hand wringing and crying about the state of affairs in the nudist "industry" this publication is a perfect example.

A while back I recall The Naturist Society responded in their magazine "N"  to a letter complaining about the preponderance of fat and/or old people pictured in the magazine by writing that the images used reflected the makeup of the nudist population. One could well complain that this new book is the antithesis of the same problem. I've not counted all the pictures nor all the bodies on display but I'm sure I can say that of all the hundreds there are barely two each non Caucasian, fat, old, under 18, or any combination thereof. Even those pictures from Scandinavia and Europe leave one wondering. Far and away most of the people pictured are comely, curvy, young, adults and obviously posing for the purpose. Where have all the children gone... Where have all the elders of the tribe gone?

Thursday Rain and TrashWhose Beer is This?

Actually the other way round. First there was the trash. Is there no end to people just leaving their refuse on the ground? I went for a little walk and here in the middle of these nice woods is an old campsite left from the days of Larry d'Logger. Must have been here all the way from French Canadia by the looks of the beer labels. Even a rusty old chainsaw blade. I'll go back this morning, once the day warms a little, and bring a trash bag.

After my little walkabout yesterday the afternoon rain came. This rain is almost a daily occurrence now. Mornings are sunny, late afternoons are fraught with thunderstorms. We had small hail and moderate rain with this one. 0.24" of rain with drifting and blowing hail in wind to 38 mph. Then, after a respite for long enough that I could get out for a shower, the next wave came that lasted well past bedtime. 0.16" that time.

Sara(h) La Gata hid under the bed the whole time but after one particularly loud crash she bolted for the door. Somehow she must think that outside is a safer place to be. Maybe she knows something I am overlooking. I caught her by the tail and hauled her back inside. No way cat; we are in this together. So we both hid under the bed.

The Dawn Chorus

Commencing at the first crack of twilight the twittering of early risers filters through the bug screen on my bedroom window. The Dawn Chorus builds in rhythm and intensity until the Coyote Quartet joins the throng and then Sara(h) La Gata adds a basso counterpoint rumble and purr to the coda.

Light Saber BirdsHummingbird Duels

And then there are the hummingbirds. A veritable flock of them flocking around two feeders. The air is electric with the hum of their dance and gyrations. At times the sound of their beating wings is like the dueling of Star Wars light sabers and indeed two or three of them will be fencing with their beaks. I should post the area in front of the bus a hard hat zone.
Feeding Frenzy
Had a nice walkabout with C yesterday except she insisted on my wearing a shirt. There is at play the usual mild paranoia that someone might see us without clothing. From the air perhaps? Will the ravens tell? The nearest person is a mile away. Nobody understands that I am invisible to the clothes-minded when dressed only in my skysuit. But my unhappiness was ameliorated by the finding of another midden of Anasazi pottery shards. Almost enough pieces to build a pot. Indeed several pieces found inches apart fit together. So the afternoon was spent washing and fitting and sorting.

Writing of Ravens: Hereabouts the ravens have been gathering in medicine circles to chant and confabulate late into the evening. Given the glare of their stare, the looks over shoulder, the occasional nod of the head, I'd say without doubt they are discussing the naked apes newly decorating with smoke the pristine air through which they fly. Perhaps they are doing a rain-medicine dance to make us go back inside our steel eggs. Nevermore.

What Is The Name of this Full Moon?

Small children come in all sizes but mostly they don't come at all, nor do cats, when you call them. Sometimes they get really excited and keeping up with them is hard for me.

Sara(h) the Slut was gallivanting about all night. She came home at dawn for breky and now will sleep most all day. Must be on the night shift. I used to work that way: Night Shift. Always paid more and there were fewer if any bosses around and one was always commuting on the open lanes. Now I work only days if I work at all and find my Self concerned that a coyote might take Sara(h) out for midrats. I've tried to explain to her that if she eats mice—and I'm thankful for that cos she keeps them out of the cookie jar—then she perforce becomes part of the food chain and she is nowhere near the top of that. But as with small children, the lesson is the same, in one ear and out the other; you have to keep them on a short leash. Or I have to admit that I am not worrying for Sara(h), only for my Self.

The house batteries are getting low as a result of this prolonged cloudy weather and perhaps too much writing on the computer.

Anasazi Pottery ShardsHad a nice walkabout yesterday: Found some more pottery shards and one more beer can. An old inner tube too but I left that for another time. One of the shards is about two/thirds of a pot handle starting at the top rim. Another shard is nearly four square inches of typical Anasazi design. Some shards have design on the outside of the curve, others on the inside. So far I've found none with design on both sides. Most of the beer cans have been laying on the ground long enough for their painted-on designs to fade away, perhaps a few years. The Anasazi shards have been laying about for a few centuries, twelve at least, and their designs are still crisp and clear. How do we comprehend the one to be artifacts of an ancient civilisation, to be revered and museumed, whilst the other to be rubbish of our own times, to be despised and disposed?

Here is a challenge: Write without using the pronoun "it".

I see a sign that says "Caution, Small Children Playing." I slow down, and then it occurs to me: I'm not afraid of small children.  —Jonathan Katz
What do these items have in common?
Here is another challenge: What characteristic(s) do all the items pictured to the right have in common? (By way of a hint: The items of interest include: Three rocks—each with holes worn or formed in them, two beer cans, a pair of pottery shards, and one juniper branch warped into a circle.) There is another hint hidden behind the picture.

Augusto Dos

Heavy rain here last night. The sky was heavily overcast after supper, the Sawtooth Mountains to the south were obscured by virga; I was just settling into the tub, with lightning at a distance—six and seven seconds—when one bolt much closer, four seconds perhaps, decided me that I really didn't want to be there any longer. Got my self back to The Cat Drag'd Inn just in time to put away a few tools before the deluge hit and my workspace was awash. Windy driving rain for a while. For just a few minutes one could not see across the yard. The gauge collected 0.28" in about 20 minutes and in a lull after dark one had to hopscotch from tussock to rock to tussock and back to read the numbers.

Bill went out at some point in the 4WD to check the road. One culvert had proved to be not large enough to handle the flow of runoff so the cover soil had been washed away but the surface is still drivable.
Petroglyohs on the Hill
The rain continued lightly for some hours into the night for another 0.05". This morning is partly cloudy so perhaps we will dry out and get some sun for a few hours at least. The battery is hungry for a charge.

OAE Jeff arrived from Beijing. We worked together at McMurdo and I in my travels have visited Ann and him at their home in San Diego (see 2005nov11); this weekend is my turn to play the host. We went on another round of walkabouts and shard hunts, observed the nearby petroglyphs and discovered Eagle Rock. After our hot and dusty peregrinations we used up lots of solar heated water in the big tub, and devoured more than sufficient delectible comestibles. A few days later, at the end of Jeff's visit, as he was driving to ABQ to find his plane, we stopped off up the road a piece to visit Liz and Lew. Liz is another McMurdo OAE; dispite that she and Jeff had never met on the Ice we had a very fine OAE Reunion.

Sunday — Another Day, Another WeekRiding the Rocky Eagle

The big new tub consumes water at a rate in excess of that which the pump produces on a cloudy day and we have had too many cloudy days of late. Conservation measures in effect are hampered by several leaks and we have run out of water a few times this past week. Insufficient shutoff valves and too many cheap plastic fittings.

This morning is foggy again and I have the propane heater on to drive out the dampness. Little consolation is derived to dizen my self with calico loden or taffeta haik, espadrilles & sari. (Can you find the secret word hidden in there?)

Another Foggy Morning

An inch of rain here in the past week. Only getting half-days of sun to charge the battery. This morning we were out searching a canyon for pictographs. Such writings on sandstone may have survived a thousand years but with the land sales and new housing all about they will likely not last much longer. Nearby this collection of pictographs the cliff swallows’ condos evince the doom awaiting.

Window in the MailAspen Canyon Pictographs

I am beginning to get an appreciation of the high cost of art. Beyond the you-see-what-you-want-to-see and the no-accounting-for-taste aspects of contemplative—but otherwise useless—objects there is without a doubt some truth to the Starving Artist syndrome. Starvation brings out creativity. Whether for food or for companionship, I have observed within my Self that I am most creative when hungry. (Perhaps that is part of why shopping on an empty stomach is not a good idea.) In the morning before breky I do my best writing. When alone, but not depressed, thoughts directed inwards, then things grow. Windows seem to be the expression these days; during the dark Antarctic Night my outlet was storeys and poems.

Betty's window went into the hands of the Postal Service. Fragile, This End UP. Insured up the wahzoo! Enough perhaps to elicit careful transport and considerate handling. Signature required; I hope that does not cause too much hardship trying to find her in the back-country of Glacier Park.

Perseids — VasenewsAspen Canyon Condo

I'm setting on the side of the Continental Divide at Wind Horse, near Lehew, north of Pie Town New Mexico. "It's All Downhill From Here" Summer Camp. Just about the most perfect weather I have experienced except for at the start, back in June, when the bugs were at their nastiest. Now the grass and trees are just beginning to catch up to Spring with the rain coming on every afternoon. The only real problem here is that the waterfront is about fifty miles away so I am not getting much playing with the kayak but we have a solar heated hottub close by. The temperature is mostly just right; some days I even want to dizen a shirt against the chill. Lots of ancient Indian stuff to look for in the hills. Anasazi pottery shards, petroglyphs, pictographs, all date from 1200 years ago.
Arrowhead found near The Big Rock
On walkabout this afternoon I found an arrowhead—first one!—near "The Big Rock". An ineffable find! For some reason one arrowhead means more than a handful of shards. Not sure why. Looks to be chert or quartz; white, pink, and black stripes/splotches, either unfinished or perhaps a childs point. Small and not very sharp. But clearly of the right shape and worked so one can say this is no accidental piece of rock. Not to mention that this kind of mineral is not of this place.

Perseids were a bust.Betty's Vase Window

After all that hype one would thing there would be something to write about.

Betty's window was delivered intact. Only 48 hours from Pie Town to East Glacier. Can you believe it? That's a thousand miles by air, not counting road trips at each end from airport to post office. Her joy is ineffable. Mine too.

Already sufficient time has passed since the end of Denali's tour for me to miss being On The Road Again... The northwest beckons. Hot springs in WYoming and IDaho... If you know of any mature sevens to youngish 12's, of a naturist bent—boys or girls looking for a unique adventure—tell them about Denali's Summer Camp on the Road. I'm beginning to plan for the Summer of 2008: A Summer Camp on the Road Trip to look for Dinosaur foot prints and hot springs in the Western States between hither and yon.

Omega Window Work in ProgressThere are two new stained glass windows in process at this time. The mostly blue one is from a design in tile by Mike Tedder whose work I have emulated in two previous windows. The Puff The Magic Dragongreen and red design is from an artist known to me only as “TS”. Building a window requires first a line drawing—a cartoon of the finished size and colour—of the design which serves as a pattern for cutting the glass. When all the pieces have been cut and cleaned the edges are taped with a copper foil. Fine adjustments to a piece’s shape may be accomplished with a diamond grinding wheel to get everything to fit just so and then solder is applied to the copper foil to bind all the glass together. Through all the days of this process one anxiously awaits the first moment the window is held up to the light.

Opposing Neptune — Charming Snakes

Omega Window CompleteOn saturday I was working on my new window when a hissing-rasping noise intruded upon my concentration. For a moment I paused to think if my fridge was grinding to a halt or perhaps the furnace had come on to add to the heat of the day. Then the sound filtered through and /rattlesnake/ came to mind.

I was reminded of a few days before that, when Jeff was visiting from Beijing; we nearly stepped on Grandfather Rattler up on the hill near to the water tank and that was the first one I'd seen since last Winter/Spring at Tonopah. Bill had come up and taken pictures of the snake coiled in repose atop a rat nest under a rock and we discussed whether to capture and relocate the viper.

By now, this time, I was moving towards this insistent sound only to find Sara(h) La Gata Snake Charmer faced off with a large Crotalus viridis coiled in attack mode. The snake's rattle was a blur of sound and silly Ms.Snake Charmer La Gata was sitting within range calmly offering her paw of friendship.
Crotalus viridis at The Cat Drag'd Inn
Bill responded to my call for Mutual Aid with his camera and after taking a few pictures we were able to capture the critter into our relocation programme transport bucket. Sara(h) sulked away to look for other playmates to charm. Later examination of the photos convinced us that this snake was the same one seen a days earlier a few hundred yards up the hill at the water tank. Eleven segments on the rattle and identical markings around the snake's eye made for our decision.

The Last Saturday of August

How am I today? Too early too tell. The time is Oh-dark-thirty here at the moment. But yesterday I felt fine and dandy. Strange how from day to day I waken at the same time, when the alarum cat goes off, but that each day I am awake the hour seems a bit earlier, a bit longer before the sun rises and the day warms. One would think that a proper alarum cat would be self adjusting for that seasonal regression.

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.

Love, ajo

front page trailerI 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.