Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again — Trying To Get Ahead of Spring

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Seems to me that if Febter can be a Month with no New Moon then I can write about a Year with No Winter.

New solar operation just up the street. 19.3 megawatt (MW) DC (15 MW AC) Badger 1 Solar Farm located on approximately 172 acres in Tonopah. The Badger 1 Solar project consists of 64,920 photovoltaic modules installed on a ground-mount ATI Tracking System.

2014i20, Mile 99, QuartzFest, Quartzsite, AridZona

Out here for the annual Quartzfest Ham Radio gathering-swop-fest-tailgate-yardsale in the desert. First time the bus has moved since arriving at Tonopah early december. Hundreds of Hams hold forth to chat and trade storeys and equipment. Quartzsite. To get a day off from the Food Bank and a quiet week of introspection. Ended up being busier than ever meeting friends, spending money, learning about a thing called MeshNet. As well as all the swopping and festing there were seminars and games.

Rick of Blue Sky Energy was presenting a seminar

His subject was the charge controllers I use in my solar installation. After a few introductory comments he said that he had been selling a lot of his Blue Sky product in Quartzsite and by way of thanks decided he would... (...and with appropriate hand waving and body language...) Hey! Any of you out there wearing a Blue Sky Energy tee shirt or ball cap? We're giving away a brand new fifty dollar bill...

I was attending this particular seminar because I had one of his charge controllers which had gone bad. When it became apparent nobody had on a Blue Sky Energy tee shirt or ball cap I pulled that bad SB2512i out of my pack and waved it in the air. I'll take it, Rick said.

And so I picked up fuel money for the trip right there.

Later after his lecture we chatted about the problem with the SB2512i and he traded it with me for a new one. Thanks Rick!

So. I'm content. The problem is gone. We'll see how long lasting are the two in service now.

Quartzsite is a great place for shopping. Every year I get another widget. Took this opportunity to upgrade four of the 12-volt 2-amp incandescent lamps in The Cat Drag'd Inn to 0.2 amp LED arrays. Most of the heat wasted by incandescent bulbs is output as additional lumens so the lamps are brighter and use less power. The better to see all the dirt and dust collecting in the corners and under the table.

Febter - Mile 99 Over—Moving On

Back the day before, at the Quartzsite Mile99 hamfest, when I had reasonable connectivity, I'd bid on an item on eBay. Then, later, I moved to Scadden Wash. At Scadden, with the auction about to end, I couldn't get connected to watch. Asked Mike, via 80m, to stand in and then moved the bus looking for connectivity. Still no-go. Moved again. Moved the bus to the McDonalds in town and then to the Pilot Truckstop location to see if I could get better connectivity. In the end, between poor service, lack of connexion reliability, payment process cross-checking of shipping address with post office database when the seller was wanting to ship via UPS... on and on, round and round, finally gave up trying and returned to Mile99. I'll commence trying again, one time, before writing to someone who could care less.

Native CopperNative Copper Nugget

Native copper is an uncombined form of copper which occurs as a natural mineral. Copper is one of the few metallic elements to occur in native form, although it most commonly occurs in oxidized states and mixed with other elements. Native copper was an important ore of copper in historic times and was used by pre-historic peoples. (From Wikipedia)

Hiking and Geocaching around Saddle Mountain. Poking around, kicking at stones, looking for something pretty as my Uncle Isaac showed me. Here was a lump of obsidian! Looked as tho someone had carried it in from the carpark and smashed it into ten thousand pieces. A few big chunks and shards all over. Slivers of obsidian have been used as surgical scalpels--I have the scars. (Well... you can't see them any more but I had some nasty scabs for a while.)

It was the shape of this other thing that caught my eye. Rounded, and larger, amidst the sharper pieces of gravel. Just level with the surface, covered with dust. A copper nugget! Neat treasure.

 Naked Rambler video available

For years this gentleman has been rambling round Briton. Walking the country from end to end, in typical nasty British weather, nude. Like Colin Fletcher did when he walked the length of the Grand Canyon, hat, pack and boots, Stephen Gough has a mission. The gist I get from watching this is that Stephen is made to be in the wrong for putting his feelings and beliefs above those of others, of society; that he is in the wrong for abandoning his children; that he is inconsiderate for the way he has cost society thousands of pounds because he is always being arrested and of course fed and housed on the public weal.

Whilst The Naked Rambler pursues his calling, this same society, touting freedom and democracy, wages war, kills and maims, imbues children with shame and guilt and exposes them daily to murder and mayhem. There is something wrong with this picture but I canna quite put my finger on it.

Refreshing at least was that BBC aired the programme without obscuring the man's genitalia.

Actually I have four phone numbers for three phones:

207...,  rings--with a real bell, an almost orgasmic experience--a 1960's era wall phone. (AT&T Geezer Plan, 200 minutes/month NO text/data)

602..., is on the bridge, mostly only for when I am driving as the use thereof can be handsfree and I can tell it what number to dial. Primarily for data, tethered to computer. (T-Mobile Geezer Plan, 100 min/mo voice, "unlimited" data and text)

480..., is usually in my pocket, if I remember to wear any... ;-> (Verizon, 250 min/mo, NO text/data.)

575..., has no phone nor plan but is a Google service which when called will ring all the other numbers simultaneously. Then I can answer which ever one is closed to hand. When none are answered then Google will take voice mail and send me email. Clever system tho their voice to text application leaves a bit to be desired.

Telephone service out here in the wild west is spotty at best. All the hoo-haa adverts about tablets and iphones and G4 is just so much BS as to be pathetic. Some of them work if you are within the downtown area of not all cities. Some of them work if you are within the Interstate corridor, especially near a truckstop. But between hither and yon? Forget it. In some places picture-phones won't even take pictures let alone send text.

Look at the coverage maps of the various carriers ("We cover 97% of the American Population"--unfortunately they all cover the same 97% ) and see the vast area devoid of any colour at all. This is the great 3% that none of them serve. In the old days telephone and snailmail were provided by service oriented companies whose task was to unite this country. Today, profit is the determining factor; divide and conquer. Mr Bell and Mr Franklin can roll over in their graves all they want: Cows and cacti don't use mobile phones.

One particular stretch of U.S.60 in west central New Mexico has no AT&T or T-Mobile service for over a hundred miles, which just happens to include Pie Town in Catron County. Verizon works if you stand on the X in front of the Post Office or at the picnic table in the side yard of the Toaster House Hostel. But Cartoon County also has no stoplights, you can count all the stopsigns on two hands, and there are more cows than People and Humans combined. Also no OTA or cable television service.

24 Hours in The Old Pueblo24 Hours at The Old Pueblo

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Presented by Tucson Medical Center is one of the largest 24 Hour events in the world. (from the linked site). I went to help with communications and worked the "Hotel" check point and cactus thorn removal service. Some really crazy people riding some really fancy bikes. From noon saturday to noon sunday. Team riders do a few laps and then have a break whilst another team member has a go. Solo riders do the whole course round and round time after time, all night. Some bikes have three headlights and comprise more lumens than a small car.

The Incredible Shrinking Bumf Revisited

Perhaps you remember a subject from a few days ago. Weeks ago maybe? No, wait, a year or so ago when I wrote about how the width of the TP roll had shrunk a quarter of an inch.

We were discussing the insidious creeping hidden inflation of shrinking product sizes--OJ half gallons which contain only 59 ounces... Especially paper towels and toilet tissue. And you said something to the effect that you were surprised 'they' had not increased the diameter of the TP roller.

Well, it has happened.

The roller of the most recent batch of TP I bought--that day when we were at Fry's haggling over which bundle of paper towels was most cost effective and/or practical--the roller of the new product is clearly more than one-eighth of an inch larger in diameter than the roller of the previous product!

Too bad I don't have any wrappers of old and new so I could compare the fine print.

How could they do that and still maintain "1000 sheets"? Only by making each sheet shorter is my guess.

Spring Equinox and Happy Big Wind DayMike's offering for Pi Day

... have been and gone. Did you remember Pi Day? The Feast Day of Saint George is up next. And at the rate I'm going Towel Day will be here before this letter is posted.

In other news I too have been negligent and belated. Multitudes of computer problems at The Cat Drag'd Inn have put me off from writing newsy letters and web pages... My brother Teddy died almost unexpectedly a few weeks ago. He has been somewhat reclusive for a while and so nobody knew what was happening until it was practically all over. Lung cancer mostly. Now my sister Susan is just about in the same boat but with a better handle on the problem. She's going in to have half a lung removed in another day or so.

I'm doing mostly Ok. My PSA count is up so I have a get-acquainted appointment with a urologist for all of twenty minutes next week. Not hardly time enough to give a urine sample at that rate. And the co-pay is two cents a minute. Talk about pay toilets...

The Cat Drag'd Inn has been on a diet these past two months, so far all we've lost is two months.

I've been busy learning to cope with this new old computer. The main attribute of this machine is greater speed and more memory. So it can make bigger mistakes faster than the one it replaces. This week I am teaching my email client to encrypt and sign my letters.

Well, that about wraps it up. Don't know how long this will be available: A really cool B'day card sent by Tamara and Denali.

The Feast Day of Saint GeorgeDecendent of
                  a Dragon Feasting

News from the Front... So far so good. A one hour drive to an appointment in the big city. Poking and prodding. Bend over... DRE led to ultra sound. Looked pretty fuzzy to me but supposedly a sharp eye can tell male from female...

BPH is the doctor's comment. Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. Not in my dictionary but the phrase is well explained at Wiki.

But then again, as the doctor explained, the BPH symptoms could be explained by things a lot worse. Only a biopsy would know for sure. And even "for sure" is not for sure. At this point in time my PSA is 4.8, only 0.7 points above normal on a scale of zero to several hundred. So for the most part this current flurry of activity is to establish a baseline for "watchful waiting" and then we'll look again in six months.

In the meantime I have to think about taking the first step over the edge of the long and slippery slope of prescribed maintenance medications. It is one thing to take over the counter vitamins and other dietary supplements, or the occasional prescribed drug for pain or infection. Quite another situation when one gets into "meds" that control a condition as opposed to repair it. The urologist wants me to start taking "tamsulosin".

Another step to think about is down the road a ways but on the horizon nonetheless. Sooner or later I have to consider relocating to one of those geezer communities where one can be but a golf-cart ride from the medical center and pharmacy. When diesel gets to cost more than lot rental I will have to look for an assisted living caravanserai...

For all of my extended family and so-called free camping out here in the wild west, there is no place like home. Unfortunately there is no place at home where I can park The Cat Drag'd Inn and live within my means. There has got to be a better way.

My youngest sister Ann-Marie is still twenty years younger than me. Just imagine... I could well live another twenty.

Keep your insurance paid up...

We should consider opening a geriatric care center where we can establish a multi generational on-going family reunion.

I am opting for positive and happy thoughts. Or at least to maintain my wit and sense of humour. Presently reading The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner and learning that I am happier than I give my Self credit for. In this book I find: Clearly, some words can elicit instant joy. Words like "I love you" and "you may already be a winner". Yet other words--"audit" and "prostate exam" come to mind--have the opposite effect.     --Eric Weiner, /The Geography of Bliss/

Two Down - Six To Go

Another brother died yesterday, 28 April. Now we are six. This time was Glen, the youngest brother, at 01h00 yesterday morning in Lowell. Woke from coma long enough to tell his doctors to pull the plug. He had been neglecting for at least a year some infections in his legs. Last year the doctors wanted to amputate but Glen insisted he keep his legs and went on ignoring the conditions. Then he went septic, his kidneys shut down...

Don't be "sorry to hear"; better to be sorry for one's loss than sorry to hear the news about it. I need to study the derivation of that phrase. Why are we "sorry to hear" when those words convey the meaning that we would rather not know? Now that I am getting into that time of my life when I am outliving siblings and friends, especially those younger than me, I am sorry for my loss but not sorry to learn of their demise. The longer I hang on the more dead people I know. Getting to be time I find someone who will inherit The Cat Drag'd Inn.

Been years and years since I saw him. He, like his brother before him, was rather reclusive, perhaps estranged from the family may be a better term. In some ways I suppose I am estranged from my family--being out here in the wide open spaces of this nice warm and prickly desert rather than back east in the snow and cold and salty roads where there is no "free camping".

So little time. So much to learn.

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.

Love, ajo

front page trailer

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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