Boxing Day Reprise a.k.a. Trash DayI've done my three doctor visits. Teeth are squeaky clean, PSA is down, BP and weight are down. My doctor was a little disappointed that there was not something wrong that he could work on and better justify his time, instead we chatted about UPS deliveries and driving conditions and flood control.
Hurricane Hazel-Rah brought in a sizable chipmunk yesterday afternoon and
let it go under the galley table. I guess she doesn't know the difference
between black and white stripes with a long fuzzy tail and small grey
pointy nosed with a skinny naked tail.
( ~~~ )/
By the time the adventure was over I'd had to move all manner of stuff out from along the wall to get at the critter where it was hiding behind my tool box. The chipmunk appears to be smarter than the cat. It knew where the door was whilst Hazel was still scratching her head.
El Niño Soaks AridZoñaThe Spring flowers are going to love this. 0.46 inches in 24 hours and light rain continues. My Inbox is starving; perhaps I should subscribe to more lists.
Mulling... Prob'ly Time For A ChangeOne of the interesting facets of my tenure is the shortening durations of each successive gig. Not counting my first few after-school jobs, my first serious position was from 1969-87 at the Mount Washington Observatory (just about coincided with the 330,000 mile lifetime of my '67 Chevy van...). After that 18 year period I spent ten years in Antarctica. Then another ten plus or minus more or less commuting between New Hampster and AridZona as the balance of power shifted toward some ill-defined tipping point. Now, the recent phase, the past five or so years, I've been mostly in the south west, between Tonopah and Pie Town, a much more constrained migration. That doesn't quite add up to 50 years of gainful employment but then again the period in question was not all that gainful. Now I'm coasting--as they say in Pie Town: It's all downhill from here.
January New Moon (According to Betty's Calendar)Cloudying hard here. Brain is foggy too. Two days before departure for Quartzsite and four days of projects to be ready for same. Yesterday I changed the thermostat in TinyTruck. The temperature gauge had been not getting high enough into the normal range--tho the heat seemed mostly adequate and fast enough; I thought the thermostat might be stuck open. Such proved not to be the case. But I did find a lot of stray oil, most likely spray from the disconnected fuel line from a previously--year or two ago--bad fuel pump, and a disconnected vacuum line. So I installed the new thermostat anyhow, plugged the discontinued fuel line, and reconnected the vacuum line. Then found the coolant level to be a half gallon down. All back together and the temperature gauge reads normal. My best guess now is that the level of coolant was too low to affect the temperature sensor. Close call. A nearby friend had his motor seize due to the same set of symptoms.
Then this morning Hurricane Hazel-Rah brought in a very much alive black headed sparrow. She, like me, needs all the exercise she can get, but unlike me she prefers to exercise indoors. Letting the sparrow go under the galley table where her kibble cache is--I guess she figures she should put food in her dish before eating it, eh--resulted in a game of tag with the sparrow, leaving a trail of feathers whilst flying from window to window, and cat, knocking over this and that and leaving a trail of dust, in close purrsuit. With one hand holding her back and the other moving things out of the way I was able to use my third hand to snare the bird and release it out the open window that it seemed unable to find on its own. Hazel, taking careful note of the birds trajectory, gave me a saucy flip of her tail and bolted for the door.
Better than the OFA, this collection of Weather Proverbs from the U.S.Army Signal Corp was long used at The Mount Washington Weather Observatory as the prognosticators favourite tool.
what clever leadin?I'm at Mile99 now after a long and arduous and scary start. The Cat in the back woke up Ok and the cat in the front went to sleep. The 3208 built air Ok, and TinyTruck hitched up Ok, but when I rolled out the driveway onto the street the bus was well on her way to overheating. And the cooling fans were not coming on; there was no heat from the heaters. Oh Dear! Already too late to turn around... I limped two miles to the T/A and parked there to inwestigate. Found low-point coolant drain partly open. The cat did it I'm sure. Seven gallons of CAT-EC1 later I was ready to roll. Fortunately the truck store had some. Phew! 16$ a gallon... After that the rest of the trip out here was easy. I guess I won't be buying any new radios this week.
2016i28 Return to TonopahMany were the events and dark was the arrival. I have not driven with lights on for so long I had to don my readers to find the switches.
Mike has been looking for a coolant leak in his Class-C for as long as I have been sniffing for my propane leak in The Cat Drag'd Inn. He finally found it just after I departed Mile 99 and that, needless to say, delayed his liftoff. But by the time he arrived in Q'site it was evident he'd been unsuccessful in effecting a complete repair. Too late for lunch we decided to press on regardless and stop to inspect at each rest area... Never made it to the first one.
Just to be sure we pulled off at the first exit east. A "Road to Nowhere" at least had a sufficiently wide turn-around for The Cat Drag'd Inn so whilst I made tea Mike screwed around with hose clamps. I suspect now that the fitting he was clamping on was already cracked but we didn't know that then. Eventually the drips ceased and we were again ready to roll. Then, just as he commenced to roll: KABLOOWIE!
The plastic Tee fitting (see above) which connects front and rear heaters to the motor had ruptured. From the looks of the cracks and the condition of the material I suspect that was the source of the leak all along and not that there was a loose clamp. So there followed an hour or so of rearranging hoses and adding four gallons of water. At the next place we stopped to check everything looked ok. Onward eastward. By the time we got to Tonopah, Cliff was already cooling his heels at the truckstop and supper was begging to be had. Too late for me to find my way into Paul's back yard so I stayed parked next to Cliff, and Mike went on home.
Needless to say I will be harassing him to get the kludge properly plumbed before our next peradventure. And to have the proper parts and pieces spare just in case anyhow.
Kayak Sale Scam Ends Happily -or- Adventures in Fiscal Mismanagement.Selling my kayak turned into a white-water ride but ends calmly. So far anyhow. I placed the boat on Craig's List in early december and promptly received a letter from one Rebecca Alexander offering to buy for my asking price. There were complications and she would get back to me. She did. Several times. With each of her letters the storey became more convoluted however her tale was believable up to the point where she wrote that due to extraordinary circumstances she would not be able to pick up the boat and have to depend upon me to arrange shipping and so would send a check for my asking price plus some amount to cover my time and service and of course the shipping. Right there the alarum bells commenced their clangor.
Classic scam approach. I decided to play along just to learn, to see how it goes first hand, to have something entirely new to write about. So I wrote back: Ok, Rebecca, I can do that. My kayak was listed for 400$. She sent a Cashiers Check for $1,900.00!
And now, after all these delays and difficulties suddenly she's really hot to have me deposit her check and send the shipping company their fee to come and get the kayak. Here the whole affair gets really complicated. Her choice of shipper was a person in Hope Arkansas. Not a business, only a person, and when I looked up that person the name had an arrest record for petty theft at the Hope Arkansas Police Department. The Cashier's Check came in a plain brown wrapper within a 3-Day Priority Mail envelope. No purchase order with the check. The Return Address on the Priority Mail is a Volvo Equipment Dealer in Shippensburg, PA. The check is drawn on a bank in Great Bend, KanSas.
I am supposed to deposit this check and then Moneygram 1500$ to the “shipper”. Over a period of several days Rebecca wrote daily to see if I had yet deposited her check and wired the shipper the money. I wrote the Volvo dealer to ask why they had sent me a check for 1900$. I wrote my postmaster to ask several questions about postal fraud. I wrote my bank to see how long might be the time a cashier's check takes to clear before the payer can no longer stop payment. I wrote the bank in KanSas to ask if this check was any good at all.
The Farmer's Bank of Great Bend was the first to reply. The check was bogus. Fake. Counterfeit. Don't deposit the check. They were having a rash of these checks and were working on the case. At about that same time Rebecca wrote again to remind me that she was still waiting for my confirmation of deposit and I replied that my bank would not release me the money until her check cleared her bank. That could take a week or so.
So now I'm waiting to see where this goes next.
In recognition of everyone's favourite pizza-loving Nintendo character, take part in celebrating Mario Day. First appearing in Donkey Kong in 1981... Mar 10: Take your pizza to work day.
In Pursuit of EnlightenmentA man of great enlightenment was walking with a group of disciples through a small village, when suddenly a large and vicious dog bounded out from between two huts. Bared teeth and vicious barking clearly communicated the dog's hostile intentions. As the dog rapidly closed the distance between itself and the group of seekers, the teacher raised his walking stick into the air, and just as the dog came within range, he deftly dealt it a sharp blow to its side. The dog yelped with pain and surprise, and withdrew to a respectful distance.
When they had walked on for another hundred yards or so, one of the disciples mustered up the courage to speak. "Teacher," he said, "you have always taught us the God dwells in all creatures and that whatever we do to the lowliest we do to Him. Knowing this, how could you strike that dog?"
"Indeed," said the teacher. "What you say is true. We are all God. Knowing this, and being so well attuned to the Absolute Mind, I was able to perceive immediately that God would much prefer to be struck with a stick than to be bitten on his leg."
----/A Galaxy of No-Stars/ (Jay Edson)
Ides of FebterThe Ides of Aries? By all means. I have a new regulator for my gaz grill and have several parties planned for performance in the possible pfuture. First up is My Mother's Birthday on 22nd Febter. Next is Mario Day on Mar 10--pizza is the main course--followed closely by Pi Day on 3-14 at a minute before two in the afternoon. Where will you be on those occasions? After a barely suitable interlude there is my birthday--about the Ides of Aries--and a last supper before departure to the Wilds of West Central Nude Mexico.
March In Like A...I've kept the furnace in the bus going for two decades with scavenged parts, rebuilt parts, and clever modifications. All the furnace comprised was a blower motor, two relays and a pilot. The pilot was a steady flame in the bus and at times was all that was necessary to keep the place warm enough. No telling how much propane was consumed by the pilot over the years. Now I have replaced that old furnace with a newer one. Recovered from a wrecked RV, this furnace checked out OK when I bench tested it outside. Lighter--flimsy construction mainly--electronic ignition so no pilot to keep me warm, and all manner of impossible to fix safety "features". Took a day to rearrange the plumbing and the wiring. After installation, after all the connexions were made it worked once and then the controller board blew up. Sparks and smoke! A 95$ part that is not field repairable. So much for progress.
Rats!Tuesday I had to put four new tyres on my TinyTruck. This morning, after getting as far as the fuel stop down by Fry's, the Left Front was near flat so I repaired to the Discount Tyre store conveniently just up the street. There, upon close inspection, we found the tread so worn it was not worth fixing. The spare was worse with the steel cords showing at the edge of the tread. Two of the others on the ground were getting down to the wear-bars but I'd hoped I could get through this Summer. Oh Well. Done now.
Coincident with that but I hope not related is that the truck has started to pull sharply to the left when I apply the brakes. Going to the garage today to see Whisky Tango Foxtrot.
“These days, law enforcement at all levels -- from the local cop shop to obscure federal agencies -- uses snitches to trap ordinary people. Snitches tell lies that send their friends to jail. Paid agents provocateurs talk or trick otherwise harmless people into committing crimes. In many places, Snitch culture has virtually replaced real investigation of real crimes.
“Don't think you're exempt if you're a "law-abiding citizen." The most trusting, naive, innocent people often make the easiest targets for these weaselly, lying, opportunistic vermin. Snitches specialize in targeting the vulnerable.”
Pi Day was a blast! Pi eyed and pi in the face and leftover pi for breky. We had Pi of Shepherds and Pi of cherries and my famous Male Apple Pie with a Ginger Crumb Crust. Now for the cleaning up after.
The Theys Have ItFinally! Singular They is the use in English of the pronoun they, or its inflected or derivative forms, such as them, their, themself, or themselves, as a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to a single person or an antecedent that is grammatically singular.
Out Like A LionI have to tell you about my flower hike on Saddle Mountain yesterday. Paul and I ascended via the so-called Ted Trail. We were up that way last week to a point just below the switchbacks collecting plants before turning around, so this time we went straight away to that turn-around and then continued up through the nasty switchbacks, eventually to the little hanging valley where the so-called Bill Trail comes up from the cliff face and meets the so-called Ted Trail and goes on the the summit(elevation 3037'MSL).
We did a lot of collecting right there and after a while decided not to go for the summit and descended via that Bill Trail which is the way I and others climbed up some years ago. That part was wicked scary this time. Part of my concern this time was too heavy a pack and too expensive a camera. But at the same time I was grateful for Paul's leadership and route-finding and walking stick.
I have a feeling I have met my match. But I will likely try again without the heavy pack.
April Fool's DazeTrash collecting again along the two-mile section of byway occasionally cleaned by Friends of Saddle Mountain. After the recent spate of flower collecting hikes I have been especially on the lookout for unusual plants. Today, whilst poking at the ground with my Quicker Picker Upper, I found a pair of Pestiferias agravada. Unfortunately not all that rare...
Sign seen on a passing wave... “Breaker Filled With 3-5 PSI of N2 Gas”
quindenary quinquennium?Party-party-party... For dinner I did a pork loin roast on the barbie, Paul brought a Wowie-Zowie cake, and Michael a confluence of tomato and green beans. We had a nice meal and storey telling session.
Getting harder to keep it up... IxxxSaddle Mountain last thursday, hiking with Paul to do some more of the AridZona Plant Survey. We got within about half a mile of the summit and turned back. The weather was great; I was tired and occasionally stumbling. The
worst part of the hike was in the descent. And then the day after...
My dermatologist de jure said today, of my concern about a certain spot on my wrist, "Not to worry; you're going to live long enough to accumulate a lot more of them." On the other hand she froze off three of a different sort and then one from my right cheek (rear). Then, the one that /did/ concern her, on my right shoulder, she amputated for further study.
Yesterday was Square Root Day (4.4=16) and Susan's B'day.
Little truck has been having a brake and steering problem for a few weeks. My mechanic thought it might be a rear brake dragging causing the truck to drift left. But when you tromped on the brake the truck would nosedive to the left. He couldn't find anything wrong. Went to an alignment/brake shop and they putzed around for most of two hours. Test driving twice around the car park and back on the lift. Finally with three mechanics and a manager looking and looking they found a broken strut that holds the left front wheel ball joint mount properly aligned to the frame. Because of the break then when you applied the brake the wheel would drop back a bit thus causing the truck to veer left.
But they couldn't/wouldn't fix it. Liability issues. No part available. I spent a day searching, found nothing. But my mechanic is an artist with the welder. Once the problem was identified it was easy for him to make a satisfactory repair.
With that out of the way it was back to the doctor for prostate issues; that's Ok at least until next visit. Phew!...
So now, two days late and several dollars short, I am on the road to Deming. First day was a 16h00 start so I got only as far as Gila Bend. Then this morning to Tucson for lunch at The Golden Corral with Virgina & Cliff and other SKPs. Then onward til dark caught up with me at The Thing.
Columbus: Between Saint Teresa and AnimasThe Morning after The Thing I stopped in Lordsburg for breky and fuel. Sort of an eat here and get gas affair. And a shower. Then on to Deming for groceries and south to Columbus to meet Jewel and Warren and their super-drone.
I have beheld “The Wall”. From this distance, at night, a thick grey line bisects the horizon between earth and sky. Regularly spaced bright lights give the impression of a yard stick lying on the ground. Every few hours—all day, all night—a Border Patrol vehicle passes by our campsite slowly. The Cat Drag'd Inn sits beside the dirt track they patrol parallel to Hwy 9. A few bus-lengths east a camera on a tower watches. And to the north a tethered blimp watches. This must be a small taste of life lived along the wall that separated East from West Germany in the last century.
Taxing The Day OffI'd like that, a day off. But there is writing to do, a new job to learn, laundry, mail, bills to pay, phones to call. The Cat is now Drag'd Inn to El Rancho Lobo, some miles east of Deming, where I expect to sit until mid-June playing the role of part-time camp host and all things which that task entails. Over the past few days of settling in I've added a quart of oil to the motor, a pint of glycol to the radiator, two movies to the library, and a sack of trash to the dumpster. Yesterday at dawn the outside temperature was 37f. During the day the Gust-O-Meter peaked at 42mph. Message from my dermatologist: they want me back to discuss that spot removed from my shoulder.
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 © 2016, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.