August 24, Shopping in Socorro, 160 Miles Round TripAll sorts of shopping adventures. Safe trip right to the last 20 miles; ice cream melting by the open road... Stopped in Datil for fuel, took on nine gallons. TinyTruck started Ok and rolled out onto the road, then there was a clunk under the bonnet and two of those red idiot lights came on.
Alternator/water pump belt broke. Damn! Well, its been years since the belts were new. But only twenty miles to go and I really didn't feel up to changing belts by the side of the road—not to mention the spares being older.. So I moved along. As long as I went fast enough the motor stayed cool. Made it home ok. Tomorrow I will change all the belts.
September Food Bank DayRegarding my Autumnal Letter, In response to your opening query of Why do we say "...sorry to hear about..."? Anyone explain that? Michael writes: I would posit that what folks are doing (and maybe not even intentionally) is avoiding apologizing (or appearing to apologize) for the death. That probably comes from the more prevalent use of the phrase "I'm sorry" as an apology, instead of it's literal meaning – an expression of sorrow — which is in fact perfectly correct and appropriate when expressing sympathy/empathy.
As I mature I realise that I talk to myself—sometimes I need expert advice—and sometimes I roll my eyes out loud; but I don't need anger management. I need people to stop pissing me off. My people skills are just fine. It's my tolerance of idiots that needs work. The biggest lie I tell myself is "I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it." At my age "getting lucky" means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for. (Adapted and adopted from some unsigned source.)
The kid next door came home with the assignment: “Get your parents to tell you a story with a moral at the end of it.” The next day at school, the kids told their stories. There were all the regular types of stuff: spilled milk and pennies saved... Then it was the redheads turn. Peter stood. My Daddy told me a story about my Mommy. She was a Marine pilot in Desert Storm, and her plane got hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory, and all she had was a flask of whiskey, a pistol, and a survival knife.
She drank the whiskey on the way down so the bottle wouldn't break, and then her parachute landed her right in the middle of 20 Iraqi troops. She shot 15 of them with the pistol, until she ran out of bullets,
killed four more with the knife, till the blade broke, and then she killed the last Iraqi with her bare hands.
''Good Heavens,' said the horrified teacher. 'What did your Daddy tell you was the moral to this horrible story? '
"Don't mess with your mother when she's been drinking."
35th Pie Town Pie FestivalHere's Jewel Star's storey about The Pie Town Pie Festival. Mine is not so happy.
I was there to blow bubbles and play string games. And take pictures. The first thirty pictures I took the camera failed to write to memory or the memory failed to record. But of course I didn't know that until there was no chance to take them over again. Other than that foobar the rest of the party went along just fine. First Pie Fest that I've tried the Bubble Machine. Great fun! There were a few kids who really got the technique down pat and made some biggg bubbles.
Monday there was a surprise B'day party for Tony. He's 75 now. Finally all the parties are out of the way for a few weeks and there is time for me to get back to work on various projects.
2015ix18Overnight low the lowest so far this "Summer"; one more degree and we'd be in the THIRTIES!Yesterday at dawn: 40f! This morning was warmer: 41f. Nice Green Flash sunrise.
I've more or less completed my data recovery project. Gone through a gazillion gigabytes of mostly useless files but I did find a few interesting things I'd forgotten about. I knew files never really get deleted but I was amazed—flabbergasted even—to find things on a couple of my drives that I did not ever put there. I always believed that FORMAT made things go away. Says that somewhar in "The Book". But not so. With the right forensic tools files can be recovered after a format. Scary.
The Day Before The Day Before Autumnal EquinoxA few hours after the #7 sunrise this morning I was on the road eastbound, Pie Town to Socorro for shopping, when I noted a strange glow below where the sun was being blocked by TinyTruck's visor.
Turned out to be a full 22.5 degree halo. The sun was at about 10h00 hours elevation. I stopped in the first wide spot and attempted to take pictures. Haven't looked at them yet. In addition to the full halo there were sundogs to either side and on the north side a bit of the horizontal halo—the parhelic circle—which bisects the sun and the dogs. On top of that, Tom exclaimed, there were the horns of that horizontal halo which is congruent with the top of the 22.5 halo, the upper tangent arc, where it intersects the 22.5 halo. More amazing was yet another appendage at the bottom of the 22.5 halo. I don't know the name of that one but it must be the lower tangent arc; I've never seen it before this occasion.
After changing my shorts I drove on a few miles until a peculiar glow to the north took my eyes off the road. An arc of the 45 degree halo was seen between about 8 o'clock to 9 o'clock circumference. WOW! What a morning! I had all I could do to make it to the Datil fuel stop without running off the road. I'll peruse the pictures presently, Tom said peevishly, and let you know what I got. My efotos turned out noway as good as those in the above articles. You had to be there.
26th September... Now We Are AutumnAutumnal Equinox was the 23rd. Today the Green Flash Sunrise was met with a temperature of 37f, that's now the lowest of the season. Time to think about rolling up my awning and moving to warmer climes. The Equinox_Sunrise.wmv in the link is from a few years ago but along with all the other "The Best Of..." these days this one will still be relevant.
2015ix28 The Day AfterAll the hype about SuperMoon and Blood Moon... Only so much room on the front page and I find it fascinating how The Pope's Visit and The Blood Moon take away from the Killing Fields of the Near East and whatever the latest school shooting. But at the same time I am also fascinated by how the moon and the sun are the same apparent size when viewed during a solar eclipse from some farmer's field in Pleasant Pond Maine. Turned round the other way, Earth's shadow darkens Luna with a red colour much the same way sunsets are red.
Nita is off to Mount Hood Oregon to ALDHA-West for the 20th Annual Fall Gathering to be awarded The Martin Papendick Award for Trail Angel of the year.
Oncest of October - My horror-scope today says:"You may look forward to taking some time off today, but might end up much busier than you ever expected. It's tempting to lazily kick back in the morning, but you could pay a hefty price if you fall behind on your work. Procrastination doesn't do you any favors now; turn your day around by working hard first and then pursuing your own interests once the Moon shifts into versatile Gemini. Life is less stressful when you keep your priorities straight." . . . o 0 O(...you can say that again...)
Yesterday the post office here requested a form be filled out to update their records. This morning I am looking at all the little boxes that need filling and see "two forms of ID, one with a picture". Driver License has a picture. Pass Port has a picture. Where is my passport by the way... Never mind that, how long has my driver license been expired? Not renewable on line... Now I must drive an hundred and umpteen miles to Show Low right away quick...
5th Monday Show Low and ReturnWell, that was fun. The last time I drove without a license was somewhen back in the previous century, the early 90's I think. That Summer I rode a Honda 800 V-Twin 17,000 miles coast to coast twice on an expired NH license and never even saw a traffic cop. This time was little different. Fewer miles, more wheels, only two states. My license had expired in April so was still within the grace period—no test was necessary. Eye test was all. Only about 200 miles round trip.
10/6—Mad Hatter's Tea Party then we play the On The Road Again music.
Sunday in DemingSunday Morning [still] Coming Down. Deming New Mexico is a few thousand feet lower in elevation than Pie Town even tho the Continental Divide (and Trail) pass by a little ways to the west. The first 3,000 feet are lost in the first eighty miles, from Pie Town to Socorro. Then, from Socorro to Deming we lose only a couple hundred feet. All that elevation is worth about ten degrees (F). Right now that makes the difference between snow at Pie Down and rain here.
Dream Catcher SKPees Park is part of my Extended Family; always good for a hug and a shower. One of that cohort, Capt Hook, lives nearby and knows where all the best restaurants are. Letter from Ken: ... just got word that old friend Bob Loring, another of those peers in my first circle, has been moved to Hospice, so the end of his struggles are probably near. In the 1970_50miler_roster, see his bio—4th item down.
A Sunday without omelet is like a day without you. So I had the omelet without you and ate twice as much. And I had your cup of coffee (with Baileys) also. Good thing the white-out doesn't show on this white screen. There was a little too much butter in the omelet this morning. I mean it's like trying to type with 17 fingers. I have enough typos typing with three.
Now I am at Faywood Hot Spring, same place as last year at this time, for a few weeks, thru Thanksgiving, before going on to Tonopah and Quartzsite for another Winter. The past few years have become a routine, a commute: Tonopah, Williams, Winslow, Red Hill, Pie Town, Bosque del Apache, Deming, Faywood, Tucson, Estrella, Gila Bend, Tonopah, Quartzsite... My GPS remembers the Way, over the washes and through the woods... Next year, I keep telling my Self, I will do something different. Do you know what the difference is between a migration and a commute?
When camping in a place such as this I am obliged to keep my longwire aerial entirely within my own campsite. Prob'ly works better this way; when the wire is all zigged and zagged like this then the directional characteristic is all confused. (Check out that UFO hovering above the bus...)
Truck Brakes Failing.My 1986 Isuzu seems to be some sort of a bastard truck when it comes to finding parts. NAPA has one part but not the right one despite the description. O'Reiley has another part, in Lubbock. The hardware kit for the front brakes costs 60$ at NAPA, 40$ at AutoZone (but we are not sure it is the same). The rear brake shoes I picked up a year ago in Socorro are not the right ones even tho they match the year-make-model-part number and the ones that are correct according, to a picture in the catalogue, are for 1989-91. My brake mechanic thinks that in this trucks younger days the rear axle may have been replaced.
Trick or Treat?I called the public library in Deming this afternoon to check if they had a book I'd read about online concerning Pavlov's Dog and Schrodinger's Cat. The librarian said it rang a bell, but she didn't know if it was there or not.
Now Nearly NovemberRobert Loring died.
Same-old same-old. My lady friend from an hundred years ago wrote that she still dreams of me at night and asks if I have romantic feelings for her. Is she my girlfriend or my girl—friend? Philosophically speaking, how is it, why is it, that our society allows that a woman can have a girlfriend and a boyfriend but that I can not? Is that construct sort of like how my venerable mother would often tell me to go out and play with my friends but when the weather was bad she would tell me to stay in and play by my self. You had to be there.
Beyond that, TinyTruck still lacks a muffler but at least the brakes are functional tho not fully repaired. The more money I put into that truck the dearer I think of her and the harder to contemplate replacement. I'm still working/living at Faywood Hot Spring. Waiting on coffee delivery and Thanksgiving leftovers. Made a pickle pie for practice and a rhubarb pie for friends and created new wings for Mr&Mrs Dragonfly and their kids.
November 12th – Overnight Low 26f DegreesThe furnace is giving me fits. Thanks be to the Goddess and Zeus that there are space heaters aboard The Cat Drag'd Inn.
Four Days Later—First Snow.Melted as it fell, but snow nonetheless. On Saturday I installed a new propane gas regulator. More capacity than the previous, better regulation. Too early to tell if this is going to help the furnace.
Sunday Morning Comin' DownThis time the temperature that is... 25f here this morning. Hazel-Rah crawled in under the covers at oh-dark-thirty. Wouldn't you know, the propane tank would pick this morning to run empty. At least it waited until I was happily sitting with my coffee and crossword. After a clew "Like Antarctica" stirred some primal memory I began to wonder why the breky-nook wasn't getting any warmer. Three gas heaters running plus the electric... Furnace blowing cold air finally drove me to question my senses. Now I'm wearing a hat, two shirts, booties and mittens and outside the sparrows peck at their frozen bath; this frigid condition leaves my mind rather nebulous about whether I should go for a soak—nice hot water—or go back to bed. Perhaps oatmeal instead of omelet and then go back to bed... And the longer I wait to decide the colder the bed will be.
Thanksgiving and On The Road Again.This part is being written a month after the fact. The folks at Faywood [I get extra soaking points for each insertion...] are as another house of my extended family. Campers, Visitors, Friends, and the Owners and their Kids. I lost count at twenty-eight so no telling how many were at the Pot Luck. The Master Chef at The Cat Drag'd Inn made what has become my traditional Pickle Pie; so good, and so radical, there are always a few slices remaining to take home for breky.
On the road to Tucson and points west. My itinerary has tightened up somewhat since first plans. First stop Deming to have the Steer-Safe components checked and re-torqued. Two nights there included a visit with Captain Hook and a day to catch up on some of this writing. On to Tucson, dinner with Virginia and Cliff and a short overnight. Next stop was Gila Bend to visit Ward, and do the annual dump and fill and scale. The Cat Drag'd Inn 78 gallons of fuel and scales at 33,200#, up 300# from last year. That includes the toad and her load. I'm doing Ok with my diet but the bus sure is not.
Finally Tonopah. Paul said: Welcome Home. Thank you Paul. Good to be back. My ruts are just where I left them despite an inch or so of rain, and the gold finches are all lined up ready and waiting as if they've not been fed all Summer.
Migration is over, commuting commences. Jon says the difference between migration and commuting is that when commuting you have to be destinated by 08:00 or you get fired.
I have my Annual Solstice Letter to finish and post. I have the paper copies printed and labels made and stamps bought; next step is to fold and stuff and stick. How many calories are in each lick of envelope glue? "It depends on the class of postage. In the UK as an enticement to use the more expensive first class postage, the Post Office used low fat glue. Second class was full fat and had more taste." "...the glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher..." Anywhere from a tenth of a calorie to several. Depends in part on how much effort is involved in fetching the envelope and whether the glue is organic... I'll have to drink a quart of Green Tea and fast for three days before I am through with this project. One hundred copies went via email; as of this writing, 18 replies. Very discouraging. Another thirty copies out by snailmail; too early to tell who all might have moved with no forwarding address. Winter Solstice Dinner and Walk in Paul's Labyrinth was much more to my liking. Pork Roast on Betty's grill, pumpkin pie from the Food Bank, other things and stuff... Yum! Meals such as this give me a chance to polish the silver and fold the napkins.
2015.12.25 Close Enough to The EndMerry Winter Solstice a few days back. Having so much fun here I missed writing about all the activities and adventures from way back to Faywood.
The propane/furnace issue mentioned a few paragraphs above turned out to be a multi-pronged problem. The regulator I had replaced was marginally functional, not responding fast enough to changes in load seemed to be the main cause the furnace would go out. Then there were a few leaks to deal with. The static pressure test is supposed to hold at 9 p.s.i. for at least three minutes. The best I could get was two minutes. M1k3y loaned me a propane sniffer with which I was able to locate three very slow leaks and one very fast one. The slow leaks were just a matter of torquing some fittings. The worst leak was hard to find—so bad it would blow away the leak-checking fluid before any bubbles could form—where a flare of one fitting had broken off the copper tubing. Metal fatigue?
All caught up now. Time to start thinking about next year: Quartzsite calls. And speaking of The End, here is a picture of the end of a bee hive. The bees packed up and left, took all their honey with them.
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
—Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2015, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.