Yet Another Tow Job

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off and On and Off The Road Again — Yet Another Tow Job [Spoiler Alert Beg-A-Thon Ahead]

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2023 Summer — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel needs her dreadlocks trimmed.
Solar Halo
                and Sun DogOn 31st March with a thin Cirrus Ovcst there was a solar halo with the Sun Dog. Sundogs, Virga, and Green Flash are fairly rare. Unless you have an all-sky camera running 24/7 you have to be awake, aware, and have a clear view to the horizon. Not to mention eyes in the back of your head. Sundogs at least are fairly stable and usually last more than just a few minutes. Green Flash OTOH last only a second and you have to be looking right at the sun. Generally not a good idea but quite spectacular under the right conditions.

47,888,000,000 miles give or take a few eccentricities. Around and around and around.  If stretched from Quito to Quito would amount to 1,923,100 commutes. Aside from a few eccentricities a fairly stable circularity.

April 12th - Happy Big Wind Day

Things are mostly well. I survived my annual physical examination and four parties to celebrate the 82. Round trip to Tucson & Deming went well except for the outrageous cost of fuel and the atrocious condition of the roads. The gravel washboard out to Allan's Tonopah Garage is in better shape than parts of i10 to Tucson. Sneezy-sniffly-runny-nose-watery-eye season is upon us now. Hurricane Hazel-Rah sneezes in sympathy.

                    Oxymoron MuseumOxymoron Museum

Oxymoron or Oxylesson?
ox-y-mo-ron (auk si môr'on)  n.
                  1.  a figure of speech that uses seeming
                       contradictions, as " cruel kindness " or
                       " to make haste slowly. "

Tired SneakersMother Nature Abhors a Vacuum... does shelf space. There is no going back. Expanding into the New Shed. Parkinson’s Law and Snoopy’s First Law are both observed to be at work here. Placing something on the floor, in a well defined morally acceptable manner, is exempt from the dynamics of Snoopy’s First Law. A clean box, well placed, showing evidence of ownership for instance. However a pair of sneakers, otherwise serviceable but dusty, broken laces, one laying over and showing evidence of habitation, are up for grabs, or occupancy. Tools and spare parts are especially vulnerable when scattered about.

We Have Met The Enemy...During the War of 1812, the United States Navy defeated the British Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie. Kelly’s parody of this famous battle report perfectly summarizes mankind’s tendency to create our own problems. In this case, we have only ourselves to blame for the pollution and destruction of our environment.

A Tad Bit late Earth Day Reminder

“We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us” --Pogo via Walt Kelly

Fifty-three years ago and what have we learnt? This morning my walk in the desert netted only one small sack of trash. But then I didn't go all that far and chose an area I'd previously policed.

Globe chamomileAridZona's latest invasive species?

Stinknet (Globe chamomile) Oncosiphon piluliferum is taking over the back yard, the front yard, and all the rest of the southwest desert. Any in your yard yet? The round bright yellow flowers can be judged attractive by those who like color in the garden but it carries juices that can cause allergic reactions to those with sensitive skin and asthma in others. Because it burns hot once it is dried out, and because it tends to grow in dense clumps that crowd out desirable plants in the garden, it really is a plant out of place in our yards. Health and fire hazards have recently led the Arizona Department of Agriculture to declare it a noxious weed under Arizona laws. The plant can be removed physically or killed with triclopyr; it is resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides. Other problems are its density which displaces native vegetation, high flammability of dried-out patches, and caustic smoke when burned.

Carry In Carry Out!Carry In Carry Out

Feast Day of St George

                 |  @___oo
       /\  /\   / (__,,,,|   * * * *  Gardyloo  
  /\  ) /^\) ^\/ _)
 <  > )   /^\/   _)
  ||  )   _ /  / _)
  | \ )/\/ ||  | )_)              Celebrate Saint George's Day
   \_____  |(,,) )__)                      23rd April
          /    \)___)\               Take a Dragon to Lunch!
      ___(      )___) )___
         _(_______;;; __;;;

                  George Nude by GoorEl Dorado Hot Springs

Excellent recent review of Eldo by Nanci Dixon April 21, 2023. “I love quirky RV spots and had never actually been in a hot spring before, so after reading a number of reviews for El Dorado Hot Springs that ranged from “kitschy” to “rustic,” we decided to try it.”

You Got Me, Internet.

But it wasn’t really my phone that was the tool, not beyond the light and the camera. The rest was the internet—even, if I understand modern telecom correctly, probably the actual phone call. Barely more than a decade later, the internet is not the tool. I am the tool.  (“Men have become the tools of their tools.”  —Thoreau)  Somehow, I have been instrumentalized by the internet, which operates me through my phone. It often feels like the internet is reading my mind.

29th April Third Day Max > 100f

Letter from Annie Gonzalez, Parish Minister of UU Bedford Mass wrote:
DJA & ajo at Scout Camp long ago
                and far away.Beloved prankster, historian, and teller of tales Dennis Ahern died yesterday
afternoon at CareOne after a steady decline. His wife Lyrl was with him.
"Dennis the Menace," as he often signed his emails, was early on one of my best friends, a special friend even, for all the Scouting adventures and genealogy research we did together. Beloved, smart, eccentric, the best sort of Human, true to himself! I loved him. I've updated my list of people within my First Degree of Separation who have died over the years since I became aware.

Happy May Day

Route planning for the Summer in Pie Town. From Tonopah to Prescott, via Congress and the Yarnell Hill is pretty much the only way, and the scenic way, north without going up i17. I was looking for some slow roads.
1, From Prescott north to i40, east to Mormon Lake is 126 miles;
2, From Prescott via 260, up the big hill to 87, Happy Jack, to Mormon Lake is 118 miles.

Additionally, extending from Mormon Lake (no matter by which route I get there) to Pie Town, via Happy Jack > Payson > Show Low &c, the total is the same 536 miles. Weird. I checked the numbers thrice. So I believe I am obliged to avoid that Strawberry Shortcut and go by the northern route. Less steep hills and fewer wriggles. Either way I will take my time and climb hills slowly.

Once upon an earlier iteration of engine/transmission lessons: One Summer I was working in ABQ and of a weekend I was visiting a friend in Camp Verde and Verde Hot Spring. The return leg to ABQ was to head east > Show Low > Pie Town > Socorro, to the job site on i25 just south of ABQ. First leg was on 260, up That Hill, 6% grade for 9 miles up, to Strawberry and Payson. Long slow climb. At the top of the hill the transmission would not up-shift out of first. The bus limped along in 1st to the junction at 87. Eventually a low-boy carried the bus to the Allison shop in PHX and we installed a new tranny. Expensive to say the least. There is a longer Chapter 2 but I'll save that for another time. Thank you for reminding me of the Curse of the Strawberry Shortcut.

TinyTruck Odo at 400,000 MilesThis morning on my way to the Office of The Postal Service TinyTruck’s odo turned 400,000 miles old. Granted prob’ly a third of those are accumulated whilst on the towd bar behind The Cat Drag’d Inn, and granted that the Isuzu's motor has been rebuilt twice, and I’ve replaced the windscreen once, that’s still a lot of miles for a 1986 P'up. As if on cue the throwout bearing started to cry.

May The Fourth Be With You

Followed Closely by Cinque de Mayo  And another monkey wrench in the works. TinyTruck’s throwout bearing has been making little squeaky noises on and off for a while. Now the noise is more constant and louder and buzzier whenever I declutch to shift. Allan at the Tonopah Garage says “four hours next week”.

Monday May 8

After a busy overbearing frustrating weekend here. Sunday was at least not too hot for supper on the patio. I'm afraid I am increasingly suffering from what Alvin Toffler called Future Shock. "...a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time".  Is there any 12 Step Programme for Anti-Futurists?

Four hours at 80$per...

At least I had a good time pulling weeds, playing fetch and horse shoes with Greyson (read "shop dog" dog there), and picking up a pickup load of trash. The clutch is quiet but the cruise control is disabled and now that the tranny is all spiffy clean I can see that there is an oil leak that demands attention. Fixing the cruise control was a matter of realigning the pickup coil closer to the drive shaft. The oil leak still leaks a little.

Mother’s Day Eve

What a Mother this has been. To go or not to go; that is the question. More to the point is how to quantify, justify, what I want to do. I want to go to Pie Town and to some degree if I do not go, if I do not get out of my own way and move then I have a deep down feeling that may be the time has come to Hang Up The Keys. OTOH all the signs omens karmic overtones point to not going. What does that mean? Am I suddenly for the first time in ages, once again,  living beyond my means. Aren’t we all? 505 miles in The Cat Drag’d Inn at 7 miles/gallon the 3208 burns 72 gallons of Diesel which at five dollars per gallon comes to 360$. Donations anyone? 

55 Gallon Barrel Leaking YuckynessMother’s Day

Found this 55 gallon barrel on my morning trash walk about 3,000 feet SSW hard by that track to the west of here that runs through the desert on a road with no name. Barrel is leaking black yuckyness. Too heavy for me to lift upright. Call Hazmat Remediation.

16 May: On The Road Again?

I am still, somehow, having a twinge of doubt; we will see how that sugars off as this day wears on. My Uncle Newton said that the first day is always the hardest, to overcome the inertia of several months sitting still. I had every intention of pulling out by mid morning. Most all the packing and loading was done the afternoon before. This morning only needed to have shore power, network, and various antennas disconnected. The Cat Drag’d Inn actually rolled out the gate at 0900. After few stops-by-the-side-of-the-road for one forget-me-not-or-another we were over the top of Vulture Pass and on towards Congress and the foot of the Yarnell Hill. Already the ambient temperature was up to 95f and the the 3208 was up to 220f. Too hot for that climb so we put in at the Escapees North Ranch for an afternoon of air conditioned reading and writing. Tomorrow in the cool-cool-cool of the morning Yarnell will be a lot easier.

19 May Off The Road Again!

AAA has been good to me for 27 years since Antarctica and prob'ly another 20 or so years before that with my old yellow Chevy G-10 van. They have towed this bus three times in the past 20 years but now they have changed their rules and no longer will tow bus-conversions.

After a fine couple of days with Paul at Mormon Lake, hiking in the woods, visiting stone circles, cold water springs, wiring a couple of ceiling fans, and of course picking up trash. Then south on Lake Mary Road, Hwy 209, very smooth pavement, through Happy Jack, to Hwy 87 where the smooth becomes rough, then really rough, and finally there is a sign that proclaims "ROUGH ROAD". Lots of ups and downs. Prob'ly a nice scenic drive if I weren't so busy staggering between potholes. Finally at Payson Hwy 260 turns east towards Show Low, my sort of target for last chance shopping. At about 0900 I stopped at MM277 to have a cup of tea and walk about a bit. And that was the end of that days drive. So far at least. After tea the bus would not start but this time is not the same problem as a few days ago. I spent a few hours troubleshooting—thank you Allan—and commiserating—thank you Paul—and finally putting away my tools and calling AAA for a tow. Tuesday, no longer eastbound at mile marker 277, Hwy 269, between Payson and Heber, across the street from the Colcord ADOT Yard. N 34 17.636 -110 58.639 W

For the rest of the gory storey see Page Two here.  Precisely what failed is still a matter of conjecture. The big picture is no fuel to the motor. Runs ok as long as I spray ether into the air cleaner but I canna stand out back to spray ether and drive at the same time so my only recourse is to call for a tow. AAA is my service provider. I've been a member for 27 years and in that time they have towed this bus once in Washington and twice in AridZona. However now AAA has changed their rules. They no longer tow old buses. Interestingly, some big truck towing rigs will not tow upscale Class A motor homes.

Needless to say I am somewhat pissed off to say the least. I've been two hours on the phone, bouncing from one rejection to another whilst The...Inn rocks from side to side in the slip stream of fast moving vehicles speeding up the hill I should have been over hours ago. So far I have a towing appointment for maybe Monday. If anyone wants to come visit over the weekend there is plenty of parking in this turn-out and plenty of trash to pick up. Fortunately I have plenty of wine and toilet paper.

20 May Oh Dark-30

That last leg from Hwy280 MM 277 was an exciting ride. And an expensive one. AZ HD Towing as much as said we'll be right up. Their fancy year-old truck hauler showed up at 2330 and by 0300 The Cat was Drag'd Inn to Allan's Garage in Tonopah. $2800.00 for haulage. Too early to say if that is the end of my Summer Savings. We yet have to learn what went wrong and effect repair. And there is a matter of seeking reimbursement of the towing fee from AAA.

21 May

Lealing to Port, prefering Merlow.In Tonopah now, on the Handicap Parking apron at the front of Allan's garage. More or less level, a bit of a list to port, tied down, awnings out shore power connected, in for the long stay. Consultation with various knowledgeable sorts point at a failure in the injector pump area so we have a lot of dirty greasy heavy work to do. I'm thinking about cashing in my life insurance or starting a GoFundMe page.

Engine Room Open for Business23 May

For the most part I've been doing all the work on the bus my Self. In order to get the injector pump out to the shop (about 40 miles east on the wending whiles of i10) we had to first remove the 200a alternator, drain four gallons of coolant and remove some plumbing, then the air cleaner, intake manifold, and injector plumbing. Next Allan attended to several steps of alignment to assure the timing relationship of the crank, cam, and injector shafts. Then the 40# of injector pump can be lifted clear. All these steps must needs be accomplished within a narrow 2-3 hour window of opportunity each morning before the tools become too hot to handle. Across the open doors of the engine room I have placed an eight foot sheet of roofing tin to provide some relief from the blazing solar orb. May be here another week yet depending upon how long the injector shop takes and then there will be the matter of remembering how all the parts and pieces go back together in the right order.

Could be another week and another Master Card overload before the pump returns.  I'm working on that slant. Application outstanding to AAA for refund. The whole issue is complicated by changes in their rules and similar tho perhaps opposing changes in the towing industry's rules. AAA has towed this bus a few times in her years on the road since 1997. By low-boy and by truck-hauler. But now? AAA, some clubs at least, AridZona in particular, now refuse to rescue bus conversions--too big-too heavy-too expensive. Conversely some tow companies refuse to tow high-end Class A Motor Homes due to risk of risk of damage to their mostly flimsy plastic exteriors and slide-out misalignment.

On A Lighter Note: Towel DayLuki dressed for Towel Day

A towel, according to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value -- you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-tohand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you -- daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. You can also use your towel to wipe all that greasy grease from your hands after pulling out an injector pump.

What betides the Inn?

According to the advice and counsel of several Human gurus and not a few pages of 3208 parts and service manuals the failure is focused on the injector pump. Great opportunity sitting here on the handicap pad in front of A&J Tonopah Garage to work on all sorts of little projects whilst waiting on the injector pump.

31 May FoodBank Wenzday

Last night at 23:50 I was awakened by bright orange flashes bouncing around in my bunkroom on The Cat Drag’d Inn. Looking out the window I was jolted awake when swords of stabbing yellow pierced my befogged eyes. First sight outside was to see that the gate was still closed. Behind the bus the hazard flashers of a Ford pickup were pulsing under an open bonnet. I approached warily, waving a flashlight. As I got close to the Ford's right side I could hear a crashing and banging. As I went round to the Ford's left side I saw only the shadow of something large fly out the open driver's window and retreat westward. Inside the Ford I eventually found the hazard light button under the loose cowling of the steering column and turned off the flashing lights. Lacking the key I could not close the window. Must have been one of Mikey's stray cats. Back to bed.

June Is Bustin’ Out All Over...Bird Feeder
                  Bent Our of Shape

That is the storey so far, and sometimes I am repeating my Self.. The injector pump is out for repair. Could well be another week or three before I'm on the road again. Fat black spiders marked by a red hourglass have tied the bus to the handicap pad.

Beware The Ides of June

We have the rebuilt injector pump mounted and most of the plumbing attached. There remains to tighten all the fittings and reinstall air cleaner, alternator, coolant plumbing, and whatever leftovers are found under the table. Then of course the big moment: does she start and run? I'm beginning to get excited. To relieve the nuts and bolts monotony and dirty hands of motor machinations I spent a few hours of haranguement with Verizon's MVNO Visible over the purchase of a new "FREE" oblong. Long storey. I could send you a transcript of the chat if you want all the gory details. A combination of inept ignorant help(less) help and poor website shopping cart order form design driven more by marketing than anything else. Oh, yes, and a liberal dose of plain and simple stupidity. It is my cross to bear that I am such a nit-picker for detail.

20 June—Tomorrow is Naked Hiking Day

Bare in Mind:  Naked Hiking Day which, this year, falls on Wednesday, June 21. Do you suppose we could have a Naked Work Day--a take your Bare to Work Day to go along with that?

Yesterday I moved The Cat Drag'd Inn from dry dock on the handicap pad at Allan's Garage to her home port slip and tied her down for at least a week and maybe two. First order of business is laundry and catch up on all sorts of snailmail, treemail, and other non -e- communications. There were a couple of last minute oil leaks easily fixed and a temperature instrument error not so easily fixed. Still waiting on reimbursement or refusal of the towing fee from AAA. And for all the creditcard bills to come due. And now of course this Summer Solstice Letter is due to be printed and posted.

de gustibus non est disputandumCoffee
                  Noggin Betty Gave Me

Of a discussion about brewing coffee Mikey wrote:
> If your coffee is bitter you could be using too much coffee or your water may be too hot.
> Are you using a "coffee scoop" or a tablespoon to measure? You'll want to use
> about one "scoop" or two tablespoons per 5oz of water.  Ratio can be adjusted to
> taste.
> Measuring coffee by volume will vary depending on grind and roast. The ideal
> coffee to water ratio, per the SCA, is 1:18 by weight.
> Don't use water fresh off the boil. Allow it to cool a bit, ideally to somewhere
> between 195 and 205°F if you're measuring.

Or/and another variable: the grind v.s contact time with water could be wrong. The coffee in those 7Eleven packets from the food bank is coarser than the coffee I grind from Major Dickason's beans. I use a noggin/burl, heaping not level, more or less by sight, not ounced.

Coffee Noggin with 2 tbso fresh groundsSee images. First shows the empty noggin. (Thank you Betty!) Second shows the noggin filled with my usual about 2.5 +/-0.25 tbsp fine ground. Mug holds 10 oz water +/- 1 ml. Fresh off the boil? Or about the time I take to off the burner, unplug the whistler, pick up the kettle, and pour. And remember we are about one barometric inch below sea level pressure so the boiling point is about 210f to begin with. Measured pour-over time: 1minute 57seconds.
Peet’s Coffeelosophy: “...all coffee should be roasted dark and made with exactly two tablespoons fresh grounds per six ounces of water.” From James Norris in “Readers Write” on the subject of Coffee, The SUN July 2023. No word on whether those are level, rounded, or heaping tablespoons. As an aside: At Pie Town I can squeeze a tea bag right out of my cup sans burning pain, not here. 198f there v.s 210f here. de gustibus non est disputandum.

New Year's Resolutions Censored

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.Cache In Trash Out

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 © 2023, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.