Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again — Spring Equinox, 2013

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Pen Friends:

So Much To Say, So Little Room. (Again...)

I canna believe my last epistle was back before too long ago! Here we are at another Spring Equinox and if that is not bad enough, this morning was Spring Ahead Day! So I've already lost an hour. To begin with I must apologise for having no Winter Solstice Letter. But I did manage an annual letter. Sort of. A biennial letter was more to the point. The worst of all this is that I canna fathom where the time goes. The hurrier I go the behinder I get?

Octvember @ Pie TownPie Town First Snow

Samhain been and gone. (Samhain (pron.: /ˈsɑːwɪn/, /ˈs.ɪn/, or /ˈsn/)[1] is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year.) At The Cat Drag'd Inn: no tricks, no treats. Just dark and cold. First Snow of the season is falling today. Time to move to souther and warmer climes.

Five months to the week and the bus is ready to roll. The CAT 3208 motor started Ok. Three air leaks to deal with and several items to remember to put away or tie down. I think this estivation is the longest I can remember in several years. First stop is right around the corner. (I've been holding on for long enough. Got to take a wicked dump.) My major concern was that the dump valve heater being on these past few days of subfreezing and inhuman temperatures would have baked the effluent into a hard cake. Not to worry. Everything came out in a great rush. Sixty gallons. Never would have thought I could hold it that long. One other stop for propane then south from Quemado, through Reserve, over Saliz Pass, down sufficient  miles of 8% grade to loose 2,000 feet of elevation, and here we are at Faywood Hot Spring where I expect to sit for a month of working camping.

Faywood Hot Springs

There are three stone circles here! At the summit of a low hill a little east of the hot spring camping area three stone structures invite your exploration and meditation.
properly dressed soaker at the hot spring
Foremost is the henge. Stones the size of refrigerators, standing on end, mark the solstices and equinoxii. Setting them must have been quite an undertaking. I am exploring the history and construction of this neolithic monument.

Off to the right of the main path, near the top, is a single helix which looks as tho the bovines make more use of than the humans. There are several turns around a central alter stone. Magic abounds. Getting in and out is a dizzying experience to say the least. This circle could use some work to reset the bounds and the entrance.

Starting near the green gate and veering off from the main path is a narrow way which wanders upward and slightly to the right. The way comes upon the side of a labyrinth whose entrance is a quarter turn to the right. The structure looks to be at least several years old from the growth of the vegetation and the way the stones have settled, however the structure is well formed and in good repair.

So, besides cleaning toilets I have lots of projects to keep me out of trouble. Ensconced within the enclosure of the campground soaking area is The Waterpipe Family. Life sized sculpture of pipes and parts plumbed as a tableau of a family ready for a soak.

Hot mineral water at more than 130f comes from an artesian spring that for centuries has been building a tufa dome on the otherwise flat plain north of Deming New Mexico. There is water from cold wells to mix with as the hot is distributed by gravity to the many soaking areas.

2012xi27 - There's a Spider in My Grass and Turkey in the Straw

Several arachnids of the spider variety live at The Cat Drag'd Inn. They are not orb weavers (family Araneidae) but create webs that are great random clouds of silk, tanglewebs they are known as, or cobwebs of the family Theridiidae. Mostly these webs catch more dust than insects however the spiders prosper and fatten on whatever they do catch. I don't know what the proper name for these critters might be, they look like Chrysso more than anything else.
spider web near the spider plant
This photo is looking up from below Sara(h)'s pot of grass. The resident spider is just about in the middle of the image, up in the curve of the web.

The underside of the web is fairly smooth. The upper area is a catenary of support interstices and catchments.

Sara(h) Beatified

Sara(h), TacocaT to go.Did I tell you that Sara(h) has been Beatified? Saint Sara(h) is the Patron Saint of Gypsies.   -- Holy 'cow' in her font. Tolerates the evaporated kind so we don't have to carry around so much. Back in Pie Town, towards the end of our visit there, as the temperatures were getting down into the low twenties, her nose was getting frostbite from being stuck up in the frigid breeze so much. Here she is practicing to be one TacocaT to go please.

Carnage in Connecticut--12/12/15

"Plato had it figured, way back in ancient Greece, that every democracy eventually becomes a plutocracy--a government by the rich--because you can always buy votes. And every plutocracy devolves into anarchy, because poor people will only put up with so much. The U.S. has clearly moved into the plutocratic stage. The question is, can we return to a democracy, or will we devolve into anarchy? It's that serious."  --Kathleen Dean Moore, The SUN, December 2012

In the news this morning there was a bit of a squib concerning the shooting in Sandy Hook Connecticut where a teacher, leading some kids out of the school building, told them to close their eyes so as not to see the carnage.

Why should American children be any less privileged than their counterparts in Iran, Iraq, Syria...? Somebody please tell me: What difference does it make whether American children watch murder and mayhem on cop shows on television, blood and gore in their video games, or see carnage up close in real life. American children (and most of the rest of Americans as well) are far too isolated from the realities of this despicable grownup world and would benefit greatly from a good dose of what they are being trained for, what awaits them when they come of age. Perhaps with enough real life carnage they might turn away from perpetuating the same.

There are no innocent civilians any more.

Now, to whom can I send that where I might make a difference?

Another part of that same news was the ranking of this shooting event: SECOND! Can you imagine that. Only second place in the ranking. Do you suppose the killer ran out of bullets before he could make his body-count up to First Place?
Radios on the Bridge

Boxing Day

Someone wrote to ask how I had my Ham radio installed. Which one? There are at present seventeen plus or minus whether you count WiFi and Blueteeth. Could be as many as twenty-one. In this picture of The Bridge I can see parts of ei8ht. Maybe nine if you count the GPS.  [I’ve begun thinking of them as “cellgasms.”  --Roz Warren]

I have finally found a good explanation of why time seems to go faster the older you get. I remember in the old daze that Summer seemed to go on almost for ever, only when my mother surprised me with a back to school haircut did I know that Summer was over. Now Summer blinks past ever quicker. Why?

Why does every year seem shorter? Because as we get older, each year is a smaller proportion of our life. Think about that.

Taking Out The Trash

Won one at the mailbox store! Into a mailbox store next door to Fry's on Watson road to post a CD. I've learnt that there is a special reason why NetFlix sends their movie disks in a longer than necessary envelope. When I handed my outgoing to the counter clerk I held it by the floppy end and said: First Class please. The clerk took my item by the hanging down end where the disk was and said it was a small hard parcel and had to go parcel rate. No, says I taking back the envelope so it drooped again, Not So. The envelope is floppy; it goes First Class the same way as NetFlix. And so it did! Yeaaa! Stupid rule, eh?

When Was This Happening?

Mostly Ok now. I'm all recovered from a bout of what must have been food poisoning. No professional diagnosis. Fingers point at sushi from the local market after I had complained about the removal of my favourite brand (Mezzetta) of peppers from their shelves and wrote to Fry's corporate HQ and to Mezzetta company. I think the store was trying to get back at me but Mezzetta wrote later to say that their peppers were removed due to a restocking error and are back on the shelf. I have yet to go shopping there again, perhaps next week, we'll see if my running out of both ends was worth the peppers.

Now making annual pilgrimage to Quartzsite to visit the altar of the Goddess of Ether and do the Radio Wave.
Sara(h) Cat-o-Mine-Tales, 1999-2013, photo by Bill w1vbg

Saint Sara(h) Redux 2013ii07

Do you suppose the Saint Sara(h) entry (supra) was some sort of premonition? A fortnight now since Ms La Gata went out after breky and did not return. We were camped at Mile99, Quartzsite, visiting old friends and making new. Usually she goes out and in--she has her own door at The Cat Drag'd Inn--several times before settling in for her first morning nap. This time she did not return.

A day went by. Then a week. I'd posted a Missing Cat APB in several places and checked at the local shelter. Now The Cat Drag'd Inn has returned to Tonopah sans Cat. Really a Drag...

Sara(h) La Gata con Migo Booger Mesquite La Rubia FrankenCat Sinte Ikushia Cat-o-Mine-Tales 11-11 TacocaT had been my companion since november 2001 and she was, according to the adoption papers, about two when she took up residence as AlarumCat at The Cat Drag'd Inn. That would make her about 14 now? Old enough as a cat to perhaps be looking for a Way Out. I hope when my turn comes I can be so decisive.

Right from the start, when she brought in her first mouse I told her, and I reminded her often since then, that if she ate that mouse then she became, and was, part of the food chain. She never was 'my cat' per se, we lived together, we shared space, I cleaned her litterbox, she licked my eggy plate; that friday last was not the first time she got off her harness and went exploring.
Canis latrans
Who knows, maybe she will yet show up at the last, previous, place we spent any length of time. I'll give her a month or so before I shop for a replacement. Well... another. One can never replace such a companion.

Right now my main concern is that she not be languishing in someone's bellybox. Only Canis latrans knows for sure.

Marching Along...

Forwards and Backwards at the same time. This week at the Food Bank I came across a 1960s era honest to goodness genuine Western Electric wall phone with functional rotary dial and real bell! (You know? One of those brass cup-like affairs that 'ding-a-ling-ling' when struck with a clapper rather than 'beep-beep-beep'.) What a treasure! Just the thing for a 1960s era bus, eh? Several hours of research and fourty dollars later I had the W/E mounted on the wall in the galley and interfaced with my mobile phone. The first ring of a test call was just about an orgasmic experience. Not only does the bell ring but the dial rotates. You put your finger in a little hole and drag the dial around...whirr-ticka-ticka-ticka. What will science think of next? I may have to upgrade my mobile plan to have enough minutes...
A wall phone on the wall.


More than one friend has escaped contracting this unease by migrating to elsewhere. I have given over many hours of contemplation to the subject, read a few books, perused a few websites, listened to admonitions. But if I leave who will remain to carry the torch?

Maintaining Heavy Equipment

This week Bill made four trips from Tonopah to PHX, and back again, for brake shoes for the front axle of his Kenworth 10-wheel dump truck. First time he took only the truck's VIN saying that was all he needed to get parts from the KW dealer. The shoes were the wrong kind. Wrong style. Back to KW, with the old shoes in hand to try to match, to find they did not stock the style he needed. Did someone change the whole front axle? KW sent him to Peterbuilt. Peter sold him 'the right part' but nobody opened the boxes to be sure. Can you see where this is going? Back at Tonopah we open the boxes to find the proper style but the wrong size. Back to Peterbuilt with the wrong size shoes but now no old correct shoes to compare. Back again to Tonopah and believe it or not, in the two boxes containing two shoes each, three were the right size and style, one shoe was the right size and style but somehow or other the wrong configuration! Sort of like two left feet? Interestingly all were marked with the same part number as the proper shoes but clearly the wrong part. 

Back to PHX a fourth time.... Fourth time's a charm, right! So I have been a week working on this job which should have taken perhaps four hours. 

Moral? The parts people don't know their arse from their elbow. Always look in the box.

Spring Flowers and Spring Equinox

Hard to write of something which has yet to happen. Given the historical record I suppose there is a certain assurance that the Spring Equinox will indeed take place as scheduled in a week or so. With a bit less assurance one might add that the historical record shows The Cat Drag'd Inn will migrate into the cooler hills soon after that however with fuel costs going up as they are (Diesel is already over 4$/gallon hereabouts) any much travel is sure to be constrained or curtailed. Postage rates are up also. Mailing a postcard now requires more postage than the cost of the card! Prob'ly been that way for a while but the fact of the matter is just now dawning on me.

On the bright side... Over the past 24 hours 1.90" of rain and small hail in showers and thunderstorms fell into the rain gauge here. Already one can see the greening of the desert. My Volunteer Work at the local Food Bank continues to reward me with boxes of grub and opportunities to be of some help to others.

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 © 2013, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.