Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off The Road Again — Derelict in the Desert

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers:

A Once In A Blue Moon Blue Moon

Blue Moons are popularly known to be the second full moon in any month. Rare enough to begin with. Even more rare is a Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve, however, which happens only once every nineteen years. Viewed through the lens of sufficient Blue Moon Wheat Ale and the moon actually begins to take on a bluish cast.

I have spread fear into the hearts of many kids as we lunched at Dingmaul Rock on the upper slopes of Mount Jefferson, tracked the Side Hill Gouger on Mount Chocorua, and rescued more than one victim of the Wamfahoofus.

Limmertakus boottii, commonly known as the Wamfahoofus, was first described by Dr. Francis Boott (1792–1863), after whom a minor peak southeast of Mount Washington is named.

L. boottii is shaped somewhat like a leathery lily pad in a pond, with eyes like a frog—oftentimes only one eye, looks like a bubble—the Wamfahoofus waits in puddles, shallow wet spots, low boggy areas, along the trails of the Appalachian Mountains. The Wamfahoofus feeds on boot leather but will often be fooled into taking a sneaker as well. They have only a right hand and wait for the unwary hiker to step on them when trodding through their puddle whereupon the Wamfahoofus grabs on tight. If you are successful in escaping with your foot gear usually you will hear a long mournful wail, a schckckcklooop kind of sound, the cry of a hungry Wamfahoofus. Best avoided by keeping to the left of any puddles you encounter.

2010i1, New Years Day After SunsetCyB's 7.3 sunset, New Year's Day

Bill writes: > This one is a 9, at least.

This sunset was extraordinary to be sure, and that you had the presence of mind to capture the vision on "film" speaks volumes for the hidden strength of the Polack mind, however the rating of this sunset was somewhat less than a Number 9.

On the Official Scale: a Number 9 induces permanent brain damage. Surviving a 9 is generally regarded as a life changing experience and immediately results in dumbstruck awe. On Mount Washington, up until the time I ran away to Antarctica, there were only three Number 9 sunsets/rises on record. Greg, most professional of the three observers, managed one picture before he went 'round the bend and subsequently left the mountain to go off and found a church; Albie, perhaps the most susceptible of the lot, and a vegetarian to boot, ran off to hike the AT for a third time and never returned. Mine was the third and I'm sitting here in the desert with nothing on save a hat.

In my capacity as an Official Observer I'd give this one a 7.3 only. And that mostly for the sharing and the wine; this sunset was extraordinary, no question about that, however, but for the turn-on of the colours, did not much interrupt the flow of conversation.

20100102, Skinnywalk In The Palo Verde Hills

Headline: Eight foot tall portable highway sign holder thing found halfway up the side of Palo Verde Hill #3. You know those things that hold a diamond/rectangle caution sign? Three orange flags sprouting from the top? They sway in the wind? Why would anyone, much less the county road agent, carry something that large and awkward a mile in from the road? Not like there is going to be a road grader in here any time soon. Daniel carried it out for me. Thanks Dan! And then along the way we found one of those newspaper vending machines. Arizona Republic. Gutted, burned, but still heavy. Lots of cans and bottles left behind. Makes no sense why some Peoples shit in their own beds like this. What a mess.

If I plant the road sign thing upside down the outstretched legs might make good arms of a clothes drying yard. Not that a SkinWalker has much in the way of clothes to dry.

And it was just brought to my attention that today is Palindrome Day: 01/02/2010!

"A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. Here is a video palindrome. Not only does it read forwards and backwards, the meaning is the exact opposite. So simple and yet so brilliant.

01.02.2010 Palindrome Day Reprise

Surely if you are a writer or any sort of wordsmith at all you know about palindromes; did you know that there is a holiday for them? Several in fact. 01/02/2010 is a Palindrome Day! Could be that you missed celebrating January 2nd if you subscribe to the American notation of dates however with the Eurocalendar you have another chance to party-party-party today, 01.02.2010.

One thing I really miss about snailmail is postage stamps and postmarks from far away places. Collecting time-stamps from email is just not the same. You are in Greenland, Franck is in France, Jeff in Tibilisi, Gobu in Erode, Betty when she travelled by camel and train across the Gobi, Jan in Nijmegen, everyone's letters look the same.

I've even taken up working for food so I can direct all funds towards paying off this new Clatterpillar motor for The Cat Drag'd Inn. Of course lots of other projects are not receiving due attention now. Even taking out the trash keeps getting pushed back and pushed back. The tardiness of this letter could be called collateral damage.

Sara(h) has a new boyfriend however she is playing hard to get. GreyKitty is one of several resulting from the diaspora from the neighbors yard. Sara(h) seems to have changed a bit in the past year. Her alarum-cat function still works at Oh-dark-30 but not so much that she wants out as much as out of habit; she wants breky. Then once I am up and about she will migrate from the sleeping-bed to the nap-shelf.

Quartzsite Quartzfest 2010

The town of Q'site AridZona has a permanent (Summer) population of 3800 hardy year-round denizens, according to the mayor; in Winter snow-birds, desert-rats, and bargain hunters ramp up the count to a peak around one million during the last two weeks of January. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers several fee and "free" campgrounds in the area and also, through the newly established National Landscape Conservation System, looks after everything from Preserving Monuments to Mineral Extraction. Not to mention Grazing Rights. From september to april as many as 100,000 boondockers inhabit the "14 Day" area known as Roadrunner at Milepost 99 on U.S. 95 south of town. East of town, the area known as Scaddan Wash is even busier.Nude-Cacher at Hi Jolly

Other related tidbits: The Q'site Fire Department answered 1100 calls last year. La Paz County Search and Rescue serves an area of 4500 square miles and has a new member on the team: a black lab trained to sniff out bodies alive or dead. Boondocker trash may be taken to the Transfer Station north of town. There is a Geocache at the Hi Jolly Monument (N33° 39.873'; W114° 14.180')

Drifting & Blowing Lawn Chairs

Not nearly a Perfect Storm, this one was termed an Epochal Event. Nobody here can remember anything like this happening before. Some of us will just as soon not remember what happened anyhow. Certainly the worst short term weather in my experience. Tuesday's worsening conditions deteriorated and the forecast for Thursday was scary. Evacuate? To where. Move to higher ground? You've got to be kidding! So we joked about standing outside with a bar of soap. Some folks moved their rigs to park tail into the wind. The sky was dark; the wind was rough, and cold and blough, she put her hands inside her mough.

This time I did in fact remember to set out the rain gauge. Tuesday the gauge measured a total of 0.38" of windy cold rain. Wenzday morning there was another 0.11" in the glass however dawn was clear, an interregnum between storms. Very windy and then cloudy again before the battery had much of a charge. Since the PV array was not doing much I folded mine down, lowered the telly antenna. Thursday the rain got worse and the wind blew. Water was blowing in sheets across the desert floor. Before dawn the wash across in front of The Cat Drag'd Inn rose most of a foot, Class Two rapids. Drifting and blowing lawn chairs. Getting soaked helping others take down PV arrays and antennae masts—a day later my red tunic is still dripping wet.

Wonder of all wonders was that the Hobo Stew Team from Tucson delivered the goods through it all. Neither wind nor rain stayed them from their promise and the stew was quite incredible. Most fascinated I was watching the crick rise and fall and rise higher still. Never saw anything like it before this. The bus was rocking to-and-fro, things and stuff blowing past the windows. In the end this second wave of storm left 3.3" of rain and a peak wind of 62mph. Washes flooded here and there, roads closed, several people around me reported broken antennae and water blowing in through windows and doors. Friday morning dawned mostly clear and somewhat cooler, still windy tho not as bad; most everyone had their aerials up again before mid morning.

Remembering Forgotten Things

Should I take a nap or write a letter? If I write the letter now I'll fall asleep at table before I've finished; nap now and I'll likely not remember the subject of my writing. And I am told the situation will get worse when I get older. ... What situation?

In Hot Water Again

After a second Last Supper, a fairly uneventful leave-taking from Mile99—still with so much left undone—and then one more spasm of shopping to get rid of much of the income derived from selling all that radio stuff—I didn't want to risk being found to have aboard such an uncharacteristically large amount of cash if stopped by INS—there followed a long and arduous drive from Q'site to Tonopah. Following Mike for more than three hours, twice what that distance should have taken, many miles at a snails pace in the breakdown lane. At one point we were obliged to move some of the orange barrel cones blocking the entrance ramp of a closed Rest Area in order to pull off and do some fixit work on Mike's motor. There is no room for a breakdown in the Breakdown Lane.

But here we are. Showered, soaked, fed, and now the laundry is doing.

Denali sent a postcard. The caption reads: I want a Secret Santa gift that makes me feel sexually violated.

Sara(h) might have the same thing in mind when she invited in a friend the other day. Grey Kitty inspected Sara(h)'s cat box and food bowl whilst she sat on the couch watching him pace to and fro. He purrs loudly at the slightest petting. But I don't want to keep him. I canna see my Self dealing with two cats in the house, on separate ropes in the yard, conspiring to make knots I would rather cut than untie.

Seen recently in Tonopah Joe's parking lot.

Four wheel drive conversions.

Dual rear wheels.

Bullet proof glass and sides.

Radar and all forms of other electronic equipment on the roof.

Worth at least a hundred thousand each (more than I make a week), according to the driver.

Our taxpayer $$ at work!

So proud to be an American......

Well... At least they are Fords.

In the meantime over here, in PHX a new law has been passed placing a tax on the purchase of basic foodstuffs. For a long time prepared foods in the grocery such as baked chicken and potato salad have been taxed similarly to restaurant meals but now the city of PHX is going to tax bread and peanut butter and tinned peas...

Computer Crash Weekend

Whilst the east coast is weathering a snowpocalypse the west desert is enjoying a Winter Rain. We had half an inch of rain—fell all at once too. What a splash! And then right in the middle of an extensive edit on my 200-and-some entry mailing label database the screen went blank. Blank! Not a power failure, the computer was still running and the lights were on. But the screen was blank. Hard to point the mouse at the Save and Exit button when the screen is blank. I thought of turning on Voice Navigation for the Hard of Seeing but one can't even do that with an unresponsive monitor so I struggled to recall the keystrokes for save and exit and then hit the reboot button. POST failed with one long and eight short beeps which translates to Video Card failed or missing.

Well, it shore warn't missing.

Yesterday when I was out shopping for a video card I stopped at the Wal-Mart on the other side of the exit to buy a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Ms La Gata the Alarum Cat, who has recently taken to lifting her leg to pee. In the checkout line a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had, an elephant?

So since I'm retired and have little else to do, on impulse, I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. (You might want to consider this too.) I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 17 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone on queue was now enthralled with my story.) Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no; I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both. I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Wal-Mart won't let me shop there anymore.

Beer is Good for You!

I've been told more than once: Beer has food value but food has no beer value. Not that I ever doubted the word of well meaning friends but now there is confirmation from the scientific community.

Towel Day

Pi Day is coming up first. And before that event: and speaking of cats, Ms Sara(h) La Gata has added a new moniker to her tail of names: Taco Cat. Because often times she canna tell one end from the other.

When you read _The Catwhiskered Girl_ please go to and log the book. The BookCrossing ID is 671-7834366.

Pi Day, March 14

This week I am fixing up a 40-50 year old forklift. The last time it had run was ten years ago, been sitting in a field ministered to only by vandals since then. We towed it out of the mud and dragged it here. Last week got the big John Deere motor to start. Next we need to replace all the smashed instruments and missing wires. All the pedals are gone too.
Pi Day Pi
For Pi Day I'm making an apple Pi. What are you doing?

Pi Day ranks right up there with Mad Hatter Day in the List of Good Reasons to Have a Party, right after Solstice and Equinox and just before Birthdays. Sing along with the Pi Day Song!

> What is Pi Day?

Pi Day, as with Mad Hatter Day and Mario Day, is an excuse to have a
party based on some anthropomorphic manipulation of a date.

Pi Day is the 14th of March for Pi = 3.14.

We forgot to sing happy birthday to Mr.Einstein.

Mad Hatter Day is October 6th cos 10/6 = the size of the hat.

sLiz writes that we missed out on Mario Day. Mark this date on your calendar for next year: Mario Day, Mar 10. See ya 'round!

And Now Suddenly Spring Equinox Again

What day was it we went out to that place around the bend and just short of across the wash? That place between hither and yon, to the east of the road marked No Name on the Delorme map, well to the north of Why, but not quite beyond Hope; were we still even in AridZona?

I'm only writing this in the Tuesday Log cos I canna remember /when/ we went either. Could have been Monday. I know Wenzday I went to the food bank and Thursday was too cold to play outside sans ropa. That leaves Tuesday—providing you count only this week.

But went we in any case. I /do/ remember you drove. And drove. North. And then I lost track. How did that old song go? Over the washes and through the cacti, in a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Ho Silverado, the GPS knows the way to carry the clay, to the place where these boots were made for walking...

At least there were no thorns this time. Or perhaps your feet are finally calloused sufficiently. I remember you peering under that Brittle Bush looking for The Spot. Only inches away we are, you said. The Spot must be right under that bush. And then there was the Petrified Frog. Right next to The Spot, frozen in the desert crust, much as a fly caught in amber; the frog that never made it to the next rain. We built a monument to honour the Struggle of The Frog and struggled home to find another Gin & Tonic.
Vulture Eating Sara(h)'s Lunch
In celebration of The Feast Day of Saint George, in lieu of a dragon, Sara(h) took a rabbit to lunch. She  wanted to bring home the leftovers but I intercepted her mission with a shovel and removed the remains to beyond the west fence.

Two big vultures came a day later and took turns ripping and tearing and sitting on this fence post to watch for others.

Cinco de abril! Preparing to Migrate

Bill packed the truck and trailer for the Annual Migration to the cooler climes of Wind Horse. There was still snow on the ground at the Continental Divide but he had work to do there so he took along a few extra shirts and blankets. Getting the Geo Tracker into the dump body was a project and a half. Getting it out again would be easy...
Loading Geo into Dump Truck

Cinco de Mayo! What a day!

Busy at the Food Bank yesterday. Got off to a good start with a timely departure from The Cat Drag'd Inn and drove a good drive to Buckeye. Remembered to check the oil (and add two quarts), to bring my shopping bags (worth a nickel a piece at Fry's) and my shopping list, the GPS and geohash stuff for the day, ... and forgot my wallet. Mike rescued me so I took him to lunch.

Geohashingheloderma_suspectum on the trail

Mike and I have found a new activity. Sort of like the Geocache game, Geohash is more random and full of surprises. Daily coordinates are derived from some complicated formula that uses the opening of the DOW and the day's date. Extra points are awarded for all sorts of enhancing complications. Seeing a Gila Monster along the trail was quite a treat! Heloderma suspectum is a rare lizard with warty skin and a venomous bite that can grow to 60cm.

Towel Day!

Use the following five words, in any order (but extra points if used in the order presented), in one complete sentence: defeat, deduct, defense, detail, denial. Extra-extra points if you can build your own sentence without recourse to the WWWeb.

Spring Cleaning has been going on (and off) for a few months now. I've lost track. One cupboard at a time I have worked my way around the inside, and the outside too including the bellyboxes and the engine room. A rusty bolt and a few screws, a dented tin of peas, a package of dried something or other—couldn't tell, the label was worn off—two worn-out tee shirts and some socks left from the Last Crusade (holy), one moldy onion and a potato that had taken root in the drawer under the fridge... Nothing that will make any significant dent in the GVW. The biggest part of the job was washing the ceiling. You don't really notice how dirty it is until you sort of accidentally touch it. Yuck!
Spring Cleaning Reminder
Tried Armbuster, Holy Cow, Purple Stuff, Sheepherders, 409... Everything worked a little, none worked a lot. A combination of Brake Cleaner, Engine Degreaser, and Purple Cow finally did the trick. Just to remind me, I left a little patch unwashed, so when it fades into the background I'll know the time has come round again.

And Now For Want of Anything Else to Do

Here we are almost to Summer Solstice. Moving this letter to the website is long overdue but then again so far nobody seems to have noticed. Not that I have been holding out just waiting to see if anyone cares however the lack of inquiries has engendered a lack of encouragement. Part of my malaise, I suppose, has also been a lack of anything to write about. Aside from watching the sunflowers grow there is little going on here. I've been to training to be a Census Enumerator but that has not yet resulted in any work. The process is way behind and fraught with hardware problems that are delaying the feedback necessary for the Quality Control, Recheck, and Delete follow-up parts of the project.
How to properly water a sunflower
The sunflowers would be knee-high on a three-year-old were there any three-year-olds around to measure with so I'm only guessing about that. No flowers showing as yet but the leaves already follow the sun. They'll prob'ly grow faster now that we have figured out the correct way to water them.

The bus is greased and oiled, ready for another estivation.

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 © 2010, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.