the Bill Pennington Memorial
Pizza Cutter is no longer virgin.
Last night an item of the food bank largess was a 12" pizza of the Land
Fill variety. The pie was not quite beyond the "Best By" date as there
were as yet no
mushrooms growing thereon so I was perforce obliged to add a few.
Fortunately another item from the bank was a cello pack of sliced
portabellas however they proved to be somewhat around the bend so I
made do with fresh horse mushrooms.
When the pie came out from the oven the newly gifted BPMPC performed
well with no undo application of force, dividing the pizza into eig8ths
with ease, adding a new use pattern to the surface of my venerable
Marchetti-McMurdo Cutting Board.
Thank you Bill once again for your kindness and generosity. Sorry you
were not around to participate in this repast.
nudists? Well, yeah! Nudists have adventures too!"
Most recent book completed:
"...So if it was not age per se, then what was it? I was not sure, but
I knew an adult when I saw one. You could identify them by their
You were an adult if you:
1. Took naps for no reason.
3. Were very worried about losing your memory.
5. Wore reading glasses around your neck but often
forgot that you were wearing reading glasses around your neck.
9. Were suspicious of children and their motives.
Then there are the admonitions we see on labels: "Caution: Keep out of
reach of children." and signs: "Caution, Small Children Playing." and
it occurs to me that I am afraid of small children. I wonder: Is any
way to turn around and go back? Is that what
"Second Childhood" is all about, overcoming that fear? From whence
comes this mutual distrust?
Palo Verde Siren Test - A
A spur of the moment event which only at the last minute became a D'ARC
activity. Once a year the Palo Verde sirens are given a formal
system-wide test--includes briefing, testing, debriefing, and lunch.
Local ham radio operators help by confirming proper operation
and calling in malfunctioning sirens. KD7TKQ and K1OIQ managed to
the order of the first three parts.
2010xi21 Another Shade of
Blue Moon really blue?
2010 Thanksgiving Day
My list of thankful things is long and our correspondence is
close to the top. All what we consumed for dinner came
from the local food bank with the exception of the pie crust and that
was a leftover from the Pie Town Pie Festival. After I replaced the 100
watt light bulb with a 200 watter I was able to cook the nine pound
turkey in my little oven. The meal here was shared with three of the
denizens of this village,
everyone helped with the preps, and after the dishes were cleared and
clean a fourth came along for the scraps. Sara(h) La Gata helped with
scraping the pots
& pans so there would be not so much to wash.
Almost Equinox Again
Busy here with catching up on last Spring's cleaning. This life-style
of foot-loose-on-the-road-home-is-where-I-park-it has its costs and a
major one is Where To Put All My Stuff. I've got trunks and boxes
tucked away in the basements and garages of friends and relatives
scattered across several states. The rule is, from any given location,
I should be able to pack up and hit the road, move out as it were, in
one trip. Not the case right now from this place and so this mandate
has put me into a frenzy of divestiture and packing.
For the past fortnight I have been getting rid of things. Some things
are hard to give away. Not only that I've not worn a particular sweater
for years--one that my mother knit for me back in the sixties--but to
whom can I give such a treasure? Long storey.
There are tools that get used only once in a great while; I could buy a
new one for less than the cost of storing them. And of course when
stored they are always far away when needed.
Seasonal appliances are another thing that take storage space. Sold a
swamp cooler that gets used only for a month or two a year, which I
never really liked anyhow, but I'll keep the window mount a/c and find
some place to carry it. Perhaps in the window.
And how many tee shirts does a nudist need? Right now I have more use
for cleaning rags.
Jim writes from Chula Vista:
> We put on a lunch for about 40 homeless people yesterday.[...]
> thankful. And some had cell phones. Makes me wonder. Some of them
> want out of being homeless and some prefer it.
I see that also at the food bank where I volunteer four hours a week.
According to some
bean counters everyone who lives "on the road" is homeless. Whether RV
shopping cart or backpack, if one doesn't have "real property" then one
is counted as homeless. The big deal seems to be that government has
little control over the "homeless" and so a lot of communities rail
against the concept. But, at the upscale end at least, the folks who
live on the road spend a lot of money in those same communities. Such a
And cell phones have (just as with telephones
long ago) become as essential as shoes and shirts. No Shirt,
No Shoes, No Service. One must have connectivity so you can call for
reservations and to know when it is
your turn for service.
On The Road to Quoz
I try to slow down but then I am always late for something going
faster. Why are we all in such a hurry? That's a rhetorical question
don't bother answering. I'll have more to say in a subsequent letter.
Have you read Blue Highways
by William Least Heat-Moon? My book this
week is Roads to Quoz: An American
Mosey by the same author. Mr Heat-Moon
writes about slowing the fast pace of the American Way of Life. In lieu
of review I'll quote:
"In Hopes Perdurable Reader
Will Not Absquatulate
That Our Travels have reached beyond the halfway
reader, it occurs to me I've not yet said anything about the subtitle
of this book and its key word, mosey. Maybe you first heard the term
from the mouth of a bewhiskered, hornswogglin bullwhacker in some B
Western: "I reckon I'll just mosey on."
"But you'll note I've turned it into a noun about jogging along
literally and figuratively, the destinations little places in the
nation or in a notion. It's a mosey because roads to quoz everywhere
are posted "reduced speed ahead." To hurry, in space or idea, is to
miss obscured signposts, hidden turnoffs, or an exit to Sublimity City
(Kentucky), or Surprise Valley (California), or even Dull Center
(Wyoming). To go leisurely today is almost un-American, so putting
mosey, a pure Americanism, into the title of a book about America
verges on illogic and invites mocking from any citizen carrying a
fastport issued by the Department of Speed in a nation hell-bent for
destination if not destiny in the Posthaste Era:
"[TO BE READ PRESTISSIMO] Speedy drive-up window, speed-dialing,
speed-reading, speedball, speed freak, speedway, Speedy Gonzales
Andale-andale, immediate access, no waiting, call now - don't wait,
now's the time, haven't got the time, hasty decisions, hasty
pudding, short orders from a fast-food window, quick lunch and make it
snappy, quick stops, quick time, quick count, quick-change artist,
quick and dirty, a quickie, double-quick, on the double, be there in a
jiff, jiffy copies, instant coffee, instant cash, instant winners,
instant replay, instant stardom, overnight success, overnight express,
nine-day wonder, fifteen minutes of fame, tenminute manager,
five-minute rice, minute steak, a minute's all I got, flash-fried
clams, flash-dried potatoes, flash drive, in a flash, greased
lightning, like a blue streak, express lane, fast lane, fast track in
the rat race, fast-talking hustler, fast freeze, fast breeder reactor,
can't hit the fastball, faster than a speeding bullet Upupandaway, zip,
zoom, whiz, lickety-split, in nothing flat, in less than no time, a
rolling stone gathers no moss, don't let the grass grow under your
feet, make tracks, step lively, step on it, shake a leg, hotfoot it,
hightail it, pick 'em up and set 'em down, get in and get out, get the
lead out, pour it on, put it in high gear, put the pedal to the metal,
run it wide open, ball the jack, highball it, full speed ahead, full
steam, full throttle, full blast, hauling ass, barrel-assing, going
like ninety, eat my dust, now you see me - now you don't, Road Runner
Beep-beep, going like mad, going like a house afire, speed maniac,
speed demon, a bat out of hell, hell-bent for leather, only green
lights on god's highway, never look back - something might be
gaining on you, here today - gone tomorrow." [Should that last be "hair
today - gone tomorrow"?]
"[TO BE READ ADAGIO MOLTO] On the dead run until you reach the finish
line where six pallbearers will carry you at a funereal pace to your
six-feet-under to spend eternity at Dead Slow.
"These wanderings into quoz are a mosey… Some of us find that a
[from pp 331-332, Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey
by William Least
Heat-Moon; ISBN: 9780316067515]
Also from that book, further on down the road (pp371-372):
"[George Stewart] wrote about dominating, dominated, and equal
highways, the category determined by how well a route is integrated
with the countryside it passes through. A multilane tends to dominate
because you're more conscious of it than the lands around. In a city,
the highway gets dominated by the surroundings. But on an equal road,
you're aware of the road and also what's beyond it."
And Now The Winter Solstice Is Here...
Along with a Total Eclipse of The Moon! This once in a four hundred
year coincidence was veiled by Altostratus of a Mackerel Sky, horizon
to horizon here on the dark side of the tailings pile to the south of
After the last fortnight of feverish finagling I've managed to trick my
Self into believing I can get along without much of this valuable junk
packed in boxes and piled in corners. Mostly untouched is all the
clothing hanging in the two amidships lockers. A red "jac-shirt"--part
Scout Uniform--from 1964, my Black Watch Kilt from about 1959 (still
fits me but such ceremonial occasions when I might wear a kilt are few
and far between hereabouts...), GoreTex parka from Mount Washington,
campfire robe, backpack, two pair of Limmers (these do get worn from
time to time hiking in the desert). All those things I kept. At least
until the next spasm of get-rid-of-it. A fine wool sweater my venerable
mother knit for me I sent to The Last Boy Scout I know and a backpack
bigger than she is I sent to Denali; perhaps she'll grow into it. Lots
of other stuff went into the Free Pile or the Fleece Market, some other
things went to the tip. Everything remaining is packed more tightly.
there remains a kayak. Not to mention several more trunks of journals,
books, photos, and trinkets stored in lockers and cellars from AridZona
to New Hampster. Less later.
And then On The Road Again! First to Tucson for Virginia's macaroons
and Cliff's list of projects. Two days of yummy fun and fixing widgets,
both for Cliff and things I found along the road that needed doing in The Cat Drag'd Inn. Then I pointed The Cat west
towards Why and Ajo
where Betty and The Solstice awaited. This route across the rez is
certainly the road less travelled. The last time through here was on a tour in febter
1999 but I can recognise some of the beer
bottles along the verge. In the Most Significant Scenery category this
road ranks highest in number of Memorial Markers per Mile.
Speaking of evolution
and roadside scenery... See the LEAVING YOUR MARK IS OVERRATED
sticker at the bottom of the page at the Leave No Trace Center's shop.
"Well", said the Wart, "what
"The best thing for being sad", replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and
blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails.
You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at
night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only
love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or
know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only
one thing for it then--to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags
it. That is the only thing that the mind can never exhaust, never
alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream
of regretting. Learning is the thing for you. Look at what a lot of
things there are to learn--pure science, the only purity there is. You
can learn astronomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature
in six. And then, after you have exhausted a milliard lifetimes in
biology and medicine and theocriticism and geography and history and
economics--why, you can start to make a cartwheel out of the
appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to
beat your adversary at fencing. After that you can start again on
mathematics, until it is time to learn to plough."
"Apart from all these things", said the Wart, "what do you suggest for
me just now?"
--Merlyn, in The Once and Future King,
2011i1 and 2 Another New
Year older and deeper in debt...
Plenty-Too Cold Below Zero in some places hereabouts; cold enough below
freezing here on the dark side of the tailings south of Ajo AridZona.
At first, tho, there were a few warm days and I got out for a walk.
Then made a Pickle Pie in a Pi dish for Winter Solstice Sabatical Trash
Can Turkey Dinner. Made an apple pie too as backup but the Pickle Pie
turned out just great!
Further reading on the Theory of Boxing Day
This forced "proof of concept" has been an eye opening
experience. Not to mention a wallet opening activity as well. Spending
cash money kind of buries the fact, unlike documenting expenses as with
a credit card.
Annual weighing of the bus indicates a serious gain of poundage since
last time three annuals ago. The front axle of the bus is up from
10,060 to 10,460--must be all the canned foodstuffs I am hauling
around--and the rear axle went from 17,980 to 18,260 for a total gain
of 680 pounds. Admittedly, much of that could well be a full fuel tank.
I have no tank status notes on the previous weighing, only the receipt.
This time I am making lots of notes.
Diesel weighs 7.15#/gal. 80 gallons = 572 pounds. So I will have to do
some experiments over the Summer and weigh empty and then full to see
what's what. Then there is also propane and water (potable and black)
consider. Propane is 4.2#/gal, water 8.3. All my tanks are at various
levels between full and empty. Taken together, if all were full:
Potable Water: 80gal tank = 664;
Black Water: 60gal tank = 498 (at least... does black water weigh more?)
Propane: total estimated 35gal in four tanks = 147;
Diesel: 110gal in two tanks = 786
Total all tanks full = 2095
So that makes quite a difference between full and empty. Further
research is in order.
Then there is the little truck. From 3300 last time up to 3820 this
time. That has to be mostly cargo. Gasoline is 6#/gal and the truck's
tank is about full at 10 gal = 60 pounds. The rest must be cargo and
So I have besides more research some serious cleaning and divestitures
to do. First I gotta make breky.
To Mile99 and Back Again
The Annual Mile99 Ham Radio
week-long fest and tailgate-flea market was
filled with seminars such that I could not get around to all of them.
Beginner Geocaching, as in past years, was the seminar I ran, with the
additional twist that there are several new official geocaches in the
I didn't have quite so much setup work to do. Fun times cooking on
campfires, toasting marshmallows, visiting around. At the end of the
week the NU7DE Desert Circle Amateur Radio Club held its annual meeting
at The Magic Circle
and Chef ajo made another Pickle Pie in a Pi Dish.
Returning to Tonopah to record low temperatures was somewhat a shock to
my system. 22f the morning after Ground Hog Day was the lowest I have
seen in all my Winters here. Now I have a few weeks to clean up after
Mile99 and repack for the next great adventure. Time is running out to
get in on this trip right from the start; see the Tour
Index/Itinerary page for the first draught of
my itinerary. Trippers could join me for all or any part of the tour.
Write for details. Bring money.
Weather Or Not
I've been casting about for something else to write about and in
response to my Weather Summary for Febter. Rex wrote from a far away to
the north opolis:
> Interesting, what type of wx station are you using?
Well... I never looked at it quite that way. Temperature measured by my
finger held in the wind. Wet finger for wet bulb of course. Exposed
butt measures wind chill. Not really...
On the left I have a Taylor Instrument dial thermometer calibrated in
Fahrenheit with a capillary about fifteen feet long (remember analogue
dials and capillary tubes?). The bulb is under the bus behind the front
bumper so I get a good shaded reading there but the response time is
surely affected by the nearby mass of steel. There is a secondary
thermometer salvaged from a wrecked car with the sensor mounted below
the drivers window to measure vehicle skin temperature. Also, out in
the tree a few yards away, in a semi-official proper instrument shelter
is a clever device: "Thermo-Hygro" by Oregon Scientific that transmits
readings once in a while. I found that at a Thrift Store but the
receiver was missing so I have to go out to the tree to read the
Second from left is a Maximum
"Maestro" for wind speed and
when I am driving the dial indicates "air speed" and shows cross wind
vectors. In the middle is fine brass gauge to measure domestic water
The instrument on the right is a Taylor "Stormoguide" (Copyright 1922)
barometer calibrated in inHg. More fun to watch going up and down hills
than the aneroid altimeter.
And then I have nailed to the stockade fence, just a little north from
the temperature tree, a "Tru Chek Rain Guage"
[sic] which mostly hereabouts collects various species of flying and
Record Cold in PHX and Tonopah
After two days of dawn temperatures in the low twenties, with frozen
water hoses, yesterday and this morning are in the mid fourties at
dawn. Yesterday was finally warm enough to work outside. As much
as I want to once again stay a Winter in New England and play in the
snow this sort of weather reminds me I really don't like the cold as I
used to and fear the only thing
I will find in those old haunts is that all the reasons I left in the
place are still
Perhaps one of the most interesting words in the English Language today
is the "F"
word... And speaking of that let me know if you have seen the Winnebago Man
Finished reading At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'neill.
this fine storey too. Set in Dublin during the early part of 1916 this
novel is written with a lot of Irish dialect; I've created a vocabulary list of
unusual and hard to define words.
Source: Online Schooling
several websites to assist with the partying
or the learning. And if you need another holiday at
the other end of the calendar there is 10/6, the Mad Hatter's Tea Party
Day. Which by the way should occur during October tho some
calendars would have one believe happens in June.
This week I am putting back together the motor for Bill's Ditch Witch.
We decapitated the engine nearly a month ago in a misdirected quest to
an oil leak which was filling the crankcase with fuel. Now the faulty
injector pump has been rebuilt and the head set back in place and we
up to filling with oil and glycol and cranking. Then, cleaning up at
the end of
yesterday--when I start dropping wrenches the day is over--I found
three small tiny little widgets in the oily mess under where the head
had been resting.
What are these?, says I to my Self. I don't know but where is the
fourth? Everything about this motor is in fours so there must be
another one of whatever they are someplace. Bill finally found it with
a magnet. Now of course I am obliged to tear down the whole thing again
and figure out where these things belong.
At least this time will be easier--I know the right order of operations
and all the bolts will be easier to remove.
From North of The Border - Nancy
and Jack write:
> I enjoyed most of your latest "Travels" letter.
I did NOT enjoy
the comment and
> the link about it being illegal in some jurisdictions to record
> police officer. Absolutely incredible stupidity !!! The comments
Thank you for that support! Our governments and their police have
essentially declared themselves to be above the law. Time for the
Revolution! Unfortunately "we the people" have all become far too
complacent and the attitude of "What, me worry?" will prevail.
This is a drill - This is a
Had this been an actual emergency there would be people screaming in
the corners and most of the communications upon which this drill
depends would not be functioning.
This is a drill, not a test. At the briefing: Keep in mind that the
plan for this drill was
written nearly a year ago. The scenario is: There has been a major
earthquake centered near the Palo Verde nuke plant. Cooling has been
disrupted and containment breached. For a two mile radius around the
plant and a five mile radius in sectors blah and blah--the downwind
plume area--all persons--some ten thousand--are to be evacuated.
The reception center for the evacuees in this drill event is the Desert
Edge High School
and all evacuees make their way there or are carried there by other
means. Persons coming in will be screened, decontaminated if necessary,
allowed to go to friends or relatives if outside the evacuation area or
bused to a shelter.
The drill in this instance was to practice the functionality of the
reception center. To see if people could move through, if busing was
adequate, if facilities to decon and house pets was adequate. It is
postulated that to process all the people living in the defined
evacuation area would take about fifteen hours so this was hardly a
real stress test of the capability, just to see about the functionality
Once again, the plan for this drill was written last April a year ago;
a few weeks
ago several observers and disaster admin persons from Japan were here
participate in the earthquake part of the drill-event which all went
unnoticed by the local population and press. In a lighter moment today
one wag observed that at Palo Verde at least they wouldn't have to
worry about a tsunami.
Vernal Equinox and Super Moon...
Here we are again, the end of another Winter, the beginning of another
Spring. I noticed these letters, the Travels
of Oso con Migo, are
getting fewer and farther between. . . . o 0 O (or is that supposed to
be further between?) Perhaps we are doing less? Or there is less worth
The Ditch Witch motor started right up once we got fuel to the
injectors. The four little widgets turned out to be rotator caps that
belonged on top of the exhaust valve stems so I needn't remove the
only to lift up the rocker arm assembly enough to set the caps in
place. Still a mystery how they came to be under the head where it sat
on the fender, and something of a miracle that they were still there
after several weeks of the head being off to the valve lapper.
With that project out of the way The
Cat Drag'd Inn is a little closer
to going somewhere else before the long hot Summer commences.