Summer Solstice to Mad Hatter's Tea

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off and On and Off The Road Again — Summer Solstice to Mad Hatter's Tea (and then some...)

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2019, Summer — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
The Two Worst MorningsWhere's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her ears.

Summer Solstice to Mad Hatter's Tea

Nothing much to write home about for the first half of july. Enough time was taken just watching half a month go by that little else was recorded. Included among the Days of Our Lives was The Two Worst Mournings of the 21st Century. (so far...)

Fifty Years From La Luna

Really tired today. I napped for a few hours after supper last night and then woke up to brush teeth and go to bed. Must be the full moon; or all the specials and reruns of specials and news rehashing the specials of the moon landing. Where were you fifty years ago? I could swear I was on the Mall, parked out front of the Smithsonian Castle with a van-load of Scouts. That was the tour when Lester was misplaced. But my photographic record is seriously lacking from that year... Where have all the photos gone? Did I dream the whole thing?

Responding to my letter regarding “...the real origin of ok?” D writes: “ The origin of the term "OK" is the Scots dialect for the affirmative "Och Aye".”

Overlooking the Grand CanyonSummer Camp on Wheels

Naturally TiredSomeone else has this idea. Similar but different. Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions fields several moving camps each Summer.  Eighteen campers are here this weekend for a rest/work day after a Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon. Eighteen campers ... they remind me of what I left behind all those years ago. Colin Fletcher, author of The Man Who Walked Through Time, said: "The best dress for walking is nakedness."  He also said, with regard to carrying his house on his back: “You mind the ounces and the pounds will take care of themselves.”

Dump & Fill

Usually I get a month out of both tanks. Give or take a week, depending on how many times I wash dishes and where I dump the dish water and how many nearby trees need watering... Today, Man On The Moon Day, I am dumping and filling just because.

Monsoon Monlate

Monsoon Finally Here? Maybe jumping to conclusions but the humidity has been up several percentage points for the past week. Three mornings in a row there has been significant dew on the bonnet of TinyTruck and thunder storms every afternoon. So far not much rain but lots of noise and lightning.
Nine Lives Math

2019vii30—We Ei8ht Are Now 4our

My sister Donna called this evening. Gordon, first brother younger than me, died of Alzheimer's a little while ago. He'd been placed in hospital somewhen after I visited last year and then recently, with his condition deteriorating rapidly, moved to hospice. He was married to Phyllis some forty years.

At bananagrammes a few days ago we were questioning the origin of the Hoover brand name: In 1908, a department store janitor named James Murray Spangler was suffering from a mean case of dust allergies. So, he did what any entrepreneurial asthmatic would do: he mounted a motorized fan motor on a carpet sweeper and filed a patent for the world’s first household vacuum cleaner. Spangler soon sold the patent to his cousin’s husband, William Hoover, who launched The Hoover Company and began selling the devices all over the US and Europe. For decades, the Hoover brand enjoyed a near-monopoly on vacuum cleaner sales. The machines were so ubiquitous in England that ‘hoover’ became a generic noun (like Kleenex or Band-Aid), used as a synonym for ‘vacuum.’ Its provenance earned it a reputation as one of the world’s most trusted brands.
BananaGrammes with Gin&Tonic (efoto by
            The Hoover, in grim silence, sat,
            But sucking no more at the mat;
            Quietly it grunted
            As slowly it shunted,
            And messily disgorged the cat.
                            --David Woodsford

Labour Day

I'll drink to that. In the meantime I hope this finds you well also. In over my head here at Pie Town. Seems there is only one other person here who knows how to fix anything but pie. But the money is great. I'm saving up for new tyres on TinyTruck and next Summer's adventure. Trying to anyhow.
Sun Mural in Nita's Shako

Pie Town Pie Fest

Pie Fest was a wash, IMHO at least. Almost a washout. Occasional squalls of rain-hail-thunder kept visitors running between events and shelters. I mostly walked around and did a lot of people-watching. The best part was the traditional pasta feed at the Toaster House.

Engineering this sunset display has been my major project this time in Pie Town. Not to belittle rebuilding the well PV array or helping Camilla with Bill's radio inventory, mounting these two mural sections on the wall above the roll-up door took a crew of six men and a boy. The mural sections weighed about 120 pounds each and were lifted into place by the lifting squad and then clamped by the two clampers. Prob'ly the critter happiest to see completion of this project was MommaBird. You canna quite see her nest up inside the canoe but she was some put out every time I was in screwing around with the structural modifications.
Momma Bird Feeding Young

Rain Thunder Hail

1.17” in 24 hours. Most rain I've seen in a long while.

Big Boy is Coming to AridZona

Union Pacific’s historic Big Boy steam locomotive No. 4014 is touring the Union Pacific system throughout 2019 to commemorate the transcontinental railroad's 150th anniversary. The Big Boy’s return to the rails is the product of more than two years of meticulous restoration work by the Union Pacific Steam Team. No. 4014 is the world's only operating Big Boy locomotive.
On the leg between Gila Bend and Casa Grande Big Boy will climb the long grade past Train Spotter Hill to the height of land at Shawmut. That should be a sight to see.

Presby ER Socorro

This storey started a few days ago, no doubt as I was building the scaffold to hang this sunburst mural on the wall of the shako. I have no idea when for sure; a few days later I noted a swelling, a discomfiture, about the middle of my right outer calf. Later I was aware there was something in there, under the skin, some foreign object. A few days of applying a black tarry drawing salve, occasionally mixed with a green healing salve, produced no particular result other than to make a mess of my sleep sack. Retired Nurse Terri agreed that I should have my leg looked at by someone more professional than the usual gawkers hereabouts. After the tagline “I've had a wonderful life. Just wish I'd realized it sooner.” appeared in an email Nita twisted my arm and if I was that scared of the hospital offered to accompany me to the ER.

Some of you gentle readers are no doubt aware how much paper is involved in an ER visit however I'm gonna tell you anyhow. “Patient Rights and Responsibilities...” (Eleven half-pages plus one intentionally left blank), “Privacy Practices and ….” (Six full-pages: three each English and Spanish), “Notice of Nondiscrimination...”, (I get to keep all those) plus a page each of Medical History, Financial Responsibility, Next of Kin, When Was My Last Tetanus, and finally: What seems to be your Emergency?

Two nurses and an orderly later, after Incoming Vitals were taken and recorded, I was walked down the hall and around the corner, through these huge double doors, to the Altar of The Ultra Sound where an object was observed (gender not specified) under the skin of my leg right where I said one would be found. On the screen this thing looked like a headless common pin. “2.5mm hyperechoic linear area in the area of swelling and redness which could represent a foreign body...” is the final result rendered. Back to the admitting treatment room where, after reading several pages of the current Smithsonian (Thank you Nita very much for that magazine), Dr Tim appeared.
Cactus Thorn?
A great bear of a man, wearing, among other things, a great silver bracelet. “Wait”, I said, “before you get started, let's compare silver bracelets.” His bear was bigger than my bear but we were instant bear buddies. He palpated my wound, conferred with a nurse, and said: “I think I'm going to try something new. I've never done this before, just saw the idea on FaceBook.” Oh great, I said, I charge extra for being a Guinea Pig.

He went off and returned a moment later with a syringe, about the diameter of my thumb and twice as long, which he'd cut off the needle fixture from the business end. This he pressed against the entry wound of my swelling and pulled on the plunger. My skin was sucked up a bit into the syringe. He did this several times, Each time the bubble of swelling was larger and a droplet of icky stuff appeared. Then he removed the syringe and with a pair of forceps deftly removed the foreign object from my leg. Wow! Neat trick.

The doctor was out of the picture now and the nurse returned to take “Your End of Visit Vitals” [just to make sure one is still ambulatory?] after which I was free to go. But wait, the ER visit was not over. There's another few pages of Billing Information, Insurance ID Card, and copies of everything for me. After all that I had the temerity to ask: “What about the co-pay?” She said: “We'll send you the bill.”
Trail Angel Nita at The Toaster House


`Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: `it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.' The Mad Hatter's Tea Party this year also included a Teddy Bear's Picnic. Quite a party! Scones and crumpets and muffins with honey and watermelon, and lots of tea of course. We met at Nita's Toaster House on the Continental Divide Trail in Pie Town.

The Ides of October

The grade at Train Spotter Hill was not as much of a challenge as I'd sort of hoped for. BigBoy and his entourage of vintage passenger cars made short work of the hillclimb. The flyby as it were did not last long enough for a careful appreciation of the mechanism nor more than about thirty seconds of close-up video.

Getting there was half the fun. Departing Pie Town was as usual fraught with last minute tasks, tying up incomplete projects, packing tools, one last dump and fill, and of course the ritual forgetting somethings important. This time I remembered the sugar bowl.

Once The Cat Drag'd Out a day late the drive went well. Cool weather, mostly all down hill from there, no problem with over heating. There's at least one air leak but not leaking enough to be a problem, yet. One night at the Wally World Caravansary in Show Low and an afternoon of shopping for Coffee-Coffee-Buzz-Buzz-Buzz at Basha's in Maricopa got me to the Shawmut Switch and Train Spotter Hill several days ahead of the crowd to watch for the 4-8-8-4 Union Pacific BigBoy.
Big Small Little Small?
The several days of sunny weather gave me opportunity to decompress,  pick up two bags of trash, and fix a couple of broken radios—which was when I discovered I'd left my Fluke DVM on the red saw horse in Nita's shako. On the 16th Union Pacific's 4014 came rumbling through. Kodak would have made a small fortune had this celebration been 50 years ago.
Big Boy
                  at TrainSpotter Hill
Click on the 4014 headlight to download a 30 second (10MB .MKV format) video clip of Big Boy coming round the bend. If MKV does not work then there is a 27MB WMV format here.

One more night on the road to fuel around and do the Annual Weigh-In (the bus and toad combination scaled at 33,300 pounds) and The Cat Drag'd Inn to Winter Quarters at Tonopah. Time to get this letter in the mail and  begin composing the next one.

Samhain and Internet Addiction?

Not sure what the hoopla is all about. My "phone" -camera-datebook-alarm clock-magazine-check book-transistor radio-music player... still has an off button. Perhaps we need to recall Nancy Regan to teach us how to D.A.R.E. to Just Say No!

This Just In--Monsoon Revisited

My friend in NOAA's Ark sent this chart concerning the lack of precipitation in the Desert Southwest this Summer.

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.