TinyTruck Gets A Lift or The Toad Becomes Towed

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off The Road Again — TinyTruck Gets A Lift or The Toad Becomes Towed

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2019, Spring — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her ears.

Wasted Sparks

In the Old Days radio operators were called "Sparks" from the early use of Spark Gap Transmitters. What are we called today?

The CDI APU has failed to start. Troubleshooting on-going. This old ONAN has a Wasted Spark Ignition. New concept for me. The wasted spark system is an ignition system used in some four-stroke internal combustion engines. In a wasted spark system, the spark plugs fire in pairs, with one plug in a cylinder on its compression stroke and the other plug in a cylinder on its exhaust stroke. No distributor. The two sparking plugs and the coil are wired in series. If either plug or wire fails, neither sparks. I see no spark on the cylinder I can easily get to so I am up to the point of testing both plugs together. Tomorrow maybe. . . . o 0 O (Do you suppose my ONAN is somehow related to that other Onan?)

Thursday, 17 January—Solar Powered in Quartzsite

I'm out to Quartzsite for a couple weeks: one at The Magic Circle and the other at Roadrunner, visiting nude friends in the former and Ham Radio friends at the latter. Totally solar and relatively slow connectivity. When I am the length of my extended extension cords near shore power I can leave this computer on from wakeup to bedtime and stop by from time to time to check mail, play 3D Pinball or Solitaire, read the news, explore the nooks and crannies of YouTube... But here, with partly sunny to mostly cloudy skies I am at the mercy of what solar insolation is at hand. And to make matters worse, my APU is at present nonfunctional.

Saturday, 19th, Breky With the Locals

This year the Weekly Saturday Breky is held at Taco Mio. The table was too long for me to see the far end but there must have been more than twenty Hams present. On my right was a new friend, Scot, with whom I have a lot in common. The bad news today is that my all-purpose biscuit mix stuff was fraught with weevils. Not really all that bad I suppose. They'll bake up nicely I'm sure; in my World Famous Male Banana bread they will be indistinguishable from the dried cranberries and blueberries and walnuts.
School Kids Robotics

Sunday—Commuting to Rover Robotics

Interesting Show&Tell at Q'Fest Opening Ceremony. The local school kids have a class/club project combining robotics and ham radio where they are using the DTMF pad on their handheld radios to control a model Mars Rover. The Rover provides video feedback to the operator, just as NASA views the desert of Mars.

Camping at The Magic Circle; whilst working on projects I never seem to have time for in Tonopah, I found  a disaster just waiting to happen. The three-stick antenna on the fantail of The Cat Drag'd Inn was about to fall off the brass stud that forms the base and connexion to the feed cable. From the looks of the damage I'd say that bumps and vibrations wore away the threads of the stud and coupling. The most arduous and time consuming part of this repair was finding the spare parts buried in a box behind the wine cellar. All fixed now and I've added some additional support to alleviate the bouncing around.

Mile99 - 14 Day Roadrunner Camp

Tuesday, relocated The Cat Drag'd Inn to the radio encampment at Mile99 for the remainder of my second week in the boondocks. Helped out with volunteer exams for new ham radio operators, visited with friends old and new, pimped Hurricane Hazel-Rah to a few ailurophiles, explored new possibilities with Mesh Net equipment,  and generally over-ate for a few days.
Hole In Propane Pipe

Back to Tonopah & Propane Leak

Upon return to Tonopah, the bill for refilling all the propane tanks came to an hundred dollars; I came to the conclusion that the time had come to deal with the leak.  Took two days of crawling around under the bus, breaking down the plumbing and pressure testing section by section, to find this break where the 3/8" copper tubing passes through the steel-foam-plywood deck into the head under Hazel-Rah's litter box. Along the way I replaced twelve feet of tubing, and added one shutoff to facilitate future pressure-testing of the propane system. Cause of the break is still under investigation. Could have been corrosion or vibration. Perhaps the tubing was damaged in the original installation before my time.

Happy Febter!

We have passed the tipping point, the temperatures are rising on the climb toward another long hot Summer. Another few weeks and "Be Warm" will become "Stay Cool".

Taco Tuesday

This Tuesday, 5th of febter, we will have a celebrity guest from north of the not-yet-wall. Jack says Canada will build a wall and get US to pay for it. Personally I canna believe anyone (right mind notwithstanding) would want to go someplace colder than here. What about my ten years in Antarctica? “That was then; this I snow”.

Winter Stalling Febutarry

This just in from my Winnipeg Corresdespondent: Heard by the side of the road whilst trash-picking: There is a British Tea Room in Mersey Point Nova Scotia where a certain young couple were enjoying the first day of their engagement. The day was rather warm, for Nova Scotia anyhow, too warm for a nice pot of hot tea, so they asked if any iced tea was available. “There is indeed”, the waiter said, “we have this very fine tea from Australia of the Koala brand”.

Six months later this couple, now married and celebrating the first day of their honeymoon, were at the QVB Tea Room, in the city of Devonport hard by the mouth of the Mersey River on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia. In a flash of insight Stephanie put Mersey Point Nova Scotia and Mersey River together and recalled that Koala Tea “...must be brewed around here someplace...” and so they set out to find the brewery. And they did.

But nobody answered their knock on the door. The door was not locked, so they entered, and called. Nobody answered their hallo. Walking further in they found a room of huge stills and vats, all shiny stainless steel, pipes and valves going this way and that, and a thump-thump-thump sound from somewhere within. Following the sound, the thump-thump-thump got louder and louder until they were standing below a large tank. Stephan climbed a ladder up the side of the tank to investigate. He returned to reveal that the thump-thump-thump was a large paddle wheel going round and round beating on a flotilla of dead koalas. Stephanie was aghast! Just then an impeccably attired Brit approached and inquired in his very best Queen's English what it was they were looking for.

Stephanie quickly explained their quest to find the origin of the Koala Tea they had by now enjoyed both cold and hot in Tea Rooms hemispheres apart. The Brit explained how the paddles beat the koalas to a pulp, the infusion which was then drawn off and bottled for export. “Oh dear!”, exclaimed Stephanie and Stephan in unison, “I do hope you at least strain out the bergy bits?”
Binary Soduku
“If you please my dear”, the very proper Brit said, “the Koala Tea of Mersey is not strained”.

Perhaps this might explain why the population of koalas has diminished?

A Binary Sudoku

Thanks to

Saint Valentine's Day Massacre

Sunny breezy weekend at the Yuma Ham Fest. Follow-up to Quartz Fest last or precursor to Quartz Fest next? Does anyone care to debate that? For my part the getting ready for this little side trip excursion was fraught with prognostication, precipitation, and procrastination. Between cold weather and abject laziness I only just barely accomplished the necessary fixing of the propane leak and biannual lubrication of the bus chassis in time to do a dump and fill before departing on thursday morning.

...Pardon me whilst I fold my breky omelet...

Now, where was I...

Oh yes. Jack and Nancy arrived in Tonopah for a second time this Winter and we started out in the drizzle to convoy to Yuma. They turned off at the east end of Gila Bend for propane, I continued through town looking for a grocery market. The one I remember from a previous visit, that shared a carpark with the Postal Office, is boarded up. There is no super market. Can you imagine: a city of 2069 (based on official 2017 estimates from the US Census the 79th largest city in Arizona) has no proper grocery. I stopped at one of those "convenience" stores that has one wall of beer coolers, one wall of fast food, one or two check out registers (Does a register count if there is no clerk in attendance?) and a large expanse of plate glass front cluttered with adverts. The three aisles of tinned and boxed foodstuffs contained no freshies. Typical “Eat Here and Get Gas” place.

"Do you have any Feta Cheese", I asked the clerk who was busy rearranging the tube steaks on the keeper-warmer. When she answered "No." I asked "Where do you folks go for serious grocery shopping?" "Buckeye or Yuma", she said. Buckeye is 40 miles back the way I came; Yuma is 116 miles the way I was yet to go. Feta Cheese will have to wait.

The Cat Drag'd Along much better now that the propane is not leaking and the chassis doesn't squeak. But the APU still is not fully functional. Over the past week in Tonopah I learnt about Wasted Spark ignition systems and finally managed to get the motor to start but now she won't stop without turning off the fuel and starving the engine into submission. I know I'm on the right track, just a matter of finding the right switch. No problemo this weekend: Where I'm planning to camp in the Yuma Fair Ground there is a current bush under the glide path just off the end of the northeast runway and I'm sure I've brought sufficient extension cord.

A Ham Fest is akin to any other hobby centered swop meet tail gate affair. Ham Radio is a hobby for Amateur Radio Operators so there is lots of buying and selling of radios and other communications equipment and paraphernalia and accouterments. Not to mention a certain amount of specialised clothing, jams, jellies (Hams got to eat ya know), and how-to seminars. And no end to gossip and advice (rag chewing that's called).

I sold a few things and bought a few (just to maintain balance), baked an apple pie for Suzi's Back-o-the-Bus B'Day party (her 77th), and whipped up a brownie instead of a banana bread, mainly cos the brownie mix from the food bank was about to run out of Use-By days. All this hyper activity cost me the loss of two days worth of naps so I may have to find a quiet roadside wide spot just to catch up.

Finally, in keeping with tradition at these sorts of affairs, as if the hobnobbing and eyeballs, gossip and shared meals ain't sufficient to entice participation, there are door prizes, hourly prizes, and grand prizes. There were thirty-some hourly prizes, two door prizes, and sixteen grand prizes. The grandest grand prize this time had a street value of $5,000 dollars! I didn't win any of them. Just as well.

By the way, my omelet was tasty. Now to hitch up and head for Tonopah.

Some parts of The Cat Drag'd Inn are getting so dirty that my plants are spreading out and taking root without need of a flower pot. If this keeps up I won't need to vacuum the floor; I'll have to mow the rugs.

Frosty The Table—Taco Tuesday Again

Overnight low temperature this morning was 28f. Frost 1mm deep snarled work table traffic until crews were able to get the sun above the shed to melt this rare visitor. One commuter on the way to the bird feeders said: "To hell with this; I'm going back south!"

Happy March.

4/3 A Prelude to 3/4
Dandy! First off to the propane store. I found a fine seven gallon bottle just off the road on a curve a few days ago. Must have bounced out of a pickup. Empty, undamaged. Great find. Had it checked out and filled. Then to my dermadoc to have a particularly nasty splinter removed from my left arm. After that I went to a market to find my favourite B&J's coffee toffee crunch ice cream, and another grocer to find some Bubbies B&B pickles. Then lunch and a hasty drive back to Tonopah to get the melting ice cream into the freezer before if becomes a lumpy frappe. Time for a nap then but first I had to feed the birds. Now I'm ready for another nap after writing all that.
Jack's New Mobile Antenna

Mar10 Day & π Day

Mar10 Day slipped past quite unnoticed at The Cat Drag'd Inn until Mike exclaimed just as I was about to tuck my self in for the night: Wait-Wait! he cried, perhaps we can still find a pizza someplace around here. Maybe one of those pre-baked, cello-wrapped, reheatable-in-the-nuker kind at the Eat Here & Get Gas place at x94.

We had talked a few days ago about what to do, how to celebrate, reminisced a bit about the party we had a few years ago at The Tin Top. Must have been 10-12 pizzaeaters at the long table there. Mike even had a few Mar10 games.

 Is now too late for redemption? Can we have Mar10+1 Day?

I hope I can do better by π Day. I have two crusty crusts and a sack of apples. Do you think a π will fall—as a cake might—if I'm driving and baking one at the same time?

Jack&Nancy have a new mobile antenna on their Residence Vehicle. The DX is fantastic but low bridges leave something to be desired.

Springquinox—Escapees Escapade and Xscapers Convergence

I think I have found a new enclave within my extended family. I used to be a super-hero, I told them, before I lost my cape; here I can feel right at home. The 59th SKPade happened at the Pima County Fairground, same place as two years and four years ago. This one was a little different tho I would be hard put to say just how. Maybe later; I have to think some. Getting there proved to be fraught with stops and starts. The controllers of both pairs of fans on the main engine radiator failed. When the secondary backup fans came on I knew there was trouble with the Cat in the Back. Hasty fix to get them going and on the road again. Proper repair will await new controllers. Next week.
Is this the dildo to end all dildos?
Donuts and coffee every morning and I gained two pounds despite bicycling most everywhere around campus. The day I volunteered as Shuttle Driver was cool and windy; the weather was nice but the wind kept my eyes tearing and made driving hard. The best seminar for me concerned how to make best use of my phone as a camera to achieve professional results. At the end I asked the instructor if he could also show me how to get better results using my Nikon SLR as a phone. The most exciting vignette was finding a 12er who knew how to do string figures.

The Titan II

...was a second-generation, 2-stage, silo-stored, silo-launched, liquid-propelled Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). It was stored in a hardened underground silo with its liquid propellant on board, so that it was ready to launch at all times. An ICBM is a missile specifically designed to carry a nuclear warhead from one continent to another. These missiles are ballistic because, like the shell from a gun, they receive a brief but powerful initial push from a rocket motor, then follow a ballistic free-flight trajectory to the target. The Titan II was the largest land-based missile ever deployed by the US.
Rattle in the Back Yard

Incite Of Spring Before Summer Reigns

I've got to get this letter out... 78 now but I've not found any theme music yet. 77 Sunset Strip doesn't work anymore. The secret was hidden in my phone number all along and I didn't notice. So much for all my training as an observant observer, eh? Jack and Nancy wrote: Maybe the theme for your 78th year is in your phone number? 1-19 don't count, you're just a kid getting an education on living. 20 to 77 gives you a lot of experience, much of it fun, most useful. Somehow, just to keep the records spinning, speeds within 5% tolerance OK, especially for hindsight. 43 33 78, adjust within tolerance to 45 33 78. B'day Suit B'day Hike

So you need the prefix code (2077), need the exchanges, it doesn't go anywhere without the last numbers: 2077 43 (+/- 5% to 45) 33 78—a good tune getting better. Watch Steve Key sing the rest: 33,45,78...

Yesterday went on a 8 mile Birthday Suit Birthday Hike in the Eagletail Mountains Wilderness with a couple of friends.

The Not-Snakes Are Coming - The Snakes Are Coming {26MB Video}

9th April—Taco Tuesday Not In Pie Town

Sixty-seven miles east of Tonopah, just a few miles up the road towards Payson, TinyTruck suddenly started bucking and snorting. Then there were two loud !BANG!s and she crumped by the side of the road. The loud bangs were the muffler blowing apart. Engine would not restart. Took me four tries to get through to AAA and then the dispatcher was really confused about where I was. Seems they trust their automagic call center to route the incoming call according to Area Code. My 207 number was answered by Chris in Maine. Three calls later I finally got past the computer to a dispatcher in AridZona. So much for A/I. In the meantime the local constabulary had been and gone, satisfied that I was safely off the road with a tow on the way.
The Toad is Towed
Except the tow was not quite yet on the way. Trying to tell them my location was as bad as making the call in the first place. No Mile Posts in sight. No cross-streets, businesses, house numbers. Nothing but trees. My logged mileage from Tonopah and GPS indicated I was "right here" but that didn't help the dispatcher. I told him to put my Lat & Long into Google Maps and that would show him where "right here" was. Nope. Can't do that. He suggested I call 911 and have them ping my phone. So I did that and 911 said I was half way between Mile Post 184 and 185. [Fascinating!] That information got the tow truck on the way for sure and a bright shiny almost new tilt bed car hauler arrived a cup of coffee later. The ride back to Tonopah in the HOV Lane through all the construction of the new i10/202 interchange was a treat.

Back at Allan's garage, TinyTruck started right up but died again a few minutes later. Allan's diagnosis is that the ignition module has gone intermittent. I hate intermittents! But the part is on order and I will go up to install same this morning. We shall see.

Good Thing This Friday Is a Twelfth

TinyTruck is fixed Twice! Or was it thrice. Long storey. The first fix went well except that in my haste and ignorance I neglected to observe the orientation of a part called the "reluctor". Went round and round with forensic evidence, pictures in the repair manual, gut feelings, and in the end reinstalled the reluctor backwards to the way I'd removed it but correct according to the repair manual—resulting in the timing being 55 degrees off. So we had to do the procedure again. Finally got it right—or wrong depending upon how you looked at it—and a test drive worked Ok.

But then she failed to start the next day....  At least I have the APU functional again.

New Year's Resolutions Censored

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.child pointing

Love, ajo

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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Copyright © 2019, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.