End Of Summer Rant

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off and On and Off The Road Again — End Of Summer Rant

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2023 Winter Solstice — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:

Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel needs her dreadlocks trimmed.

The Winter That Thinks It’s Summer?

Leftover from the end of “Cleaning Up After & Planning Ahead”  when I ran out of words:   The remainder of the drive to Tonopah was very eventful but except for a couple of quiet days at Train Spotter Hill the very last day was the worst of the entire adventure.  Only a rant would encompass that storey:

End Of Summer Rant

Traditionally, when The Cat Drag’d Inn returns to Tonopah from a Summer On The Road we visit a certain truck stop in Gila Bend for one last dump and fill, fuel and scale.  Sometimes spend a night in an Escapees friendly campground, maybe dinner at a certain Italian Restaurant favoured by Prince Harry of British Royalty.   Now things have changed in Gila Bend.  The friendly little truck stop with attached campground and dinosaur playground has been replaced by a poorly laid out monster Pilot staffed by crass people who don’t know anything.  Used to be one could drive in through the RV Another
              Selfie?fuel island, around the back to the dump and fill and water, find a place to park for a shower and camp, and exit next morning, through the scale if you like.  Now, one cannot get from the RV fuel island to the propane fill but by driving across the auto parking traffic between the auto fuel and the store, around the auto fuel island, across the incoming traffic, and back in beyond the RV island.  Providing there is no RV waiting on queue for fuel in which case you sit there blocking auto traffic.  Really STUPID!

A Puzzling Interlude?

And after all that rigmarole there is no call button at the propane tank so one must walk back to the store, stand in line at the fuel desk and in your turn ask for propane.  "There is no propane".  What’s that big tank out there for?  "There is no propane".  How about a sign out there saying NO PROPANE so I don’t have to drive all the way around Hell’s Kitchen to get parked over there so I can walk back here only to learn There Is No Propane.  And the wench didn’t even say Sorry about that.

I didn’t bother with dump and fill and scale there.  Didn’t see any scale—the old station had their scale right out front.  Didn't bother looking for Dump and Fill, couldn’t get back there with out going out to the street and returning by the truck entrance.  On up the road to Wintersburg.  Usually The Cat Drag’d Inn can sidle up to their propane tank except this time when two pickups are parked in the way.  No matter, Wintersburg Store has a new rule: No Propane Before Noon.  What is this, some sort of Blue Law?

On up the road.  My original plan, after getting tanked up in Gila Bend, was to proceed to Winter Quarters Bay, get parked and plugged in, and then go to the post office tomorrow.  After Wintersburg the next propane is in downtown Tonopah across the street from the post office.  I may as well keep going.  The post office was open, my key still worked, lots of mail; at least this part of homecoming is still OK.  Across the street to another Pilot.

Scale Ticket ReportI used to like Flying-J and Pilot when they were separate.  Now they are “Flying-Pilot”, twice as big and twice as worse.  Traffic backs up into the street when there are a lot of trucks waiting to fuel and that queue blocks access to the propane and the scale.  Wait—wait—wait...  Finally get to the propane and walk to the fuel desk.  The register associate calls the propane guy—there is only one person qualified to pump propane—and calls and calls... He’ll be out in a while. Next?  Half an hour later I work my way up to the register again and start over.  This time they page the pumper.  Finally he shows up.  At least this guy apologises.  His radio was off.  Eventually the propane is full (26 gallons, 86$) and the bus is weighed (Steer Axle: 10,420 lb; Drive Axle: 18,740 lb; Truck: 3,980 lb; Gross: 33,140 lb.  Don’t tell those weight limited bridges back in New Mexico a few days ago) and I’m ready for a Gin&Tonic. And a nap.

Urination Station

Somehow, in another thread, we got onto the subject of toilet seats and how some always fall closed when you’d rather they stayed up and out of the way.  I had that problem at The Cat Drag'd Inn some years ago when Sara(h) La Gata conMigo Booger Mesquite La Rubia Frankencat Sinte Ikusheya Cat o' Mine Tales 11-11 TacoCat (Her name was a storey in itself) lived here with me.  Despite several options for water she preferred the freshly flushed bowl.   To keep the lid and ring up whilst the bus was in motion I devised a simple snap catch.  An elongated Z shape of sheet aluminium attached to the wall would snap around the ring rim when lifted into cat/travelling position.  A prod of the pinkie would allow me to lower the ring to accommodate my uses.  Sara(h), having since gone out to lunch with a coyote, obviates further need of that latch—Hurricane Hazel-Rah prefers her water from a fountain—so the lid and ring recline in repose whilst riding.
1967 Chevy Van, 330,000 miles, 48 states, 2
As far as the scattering pee part... I use a funurinal (that is a funnel on a hose under the lip of the basin at just the right height and plumbed into the basin trap) during the day and do a squatting squirt at night when I am too sleepy to stand.  Step by step instructions and photos are available upon application.  My venerable Yellow Chevy G-10 Van once won Honourable Mention at a Van Rally for being the only van with Front and Rear funnels:  The Front Funnel was on the end of a hose and stowed under the driver's seat.  With the assistance of a co-driver peeing was possible even whilst piloting the van at highway speed.  One time in particular I was caught in slow moving traffic and well... when you gotta go you gotta go.  I was up against the crosswalk at a stop light when my bladder reached crisis condition.  One foot on the brake to keep the van from rolling forward and one hand on a towel just in case and a pedestrian stopped in front of the van and bent down to look under.  He straightened up, pointed and hollered: “You got some fluid dripping out.  Looks like antifreeze.”  I nodded and thanked him and zipped up as the light turned green.  The Rear Funnel was stuffed into the right rear wheel well for the use of my guests.  A subway hanger strap was affixed overhead for stability.

Columbus [Day] Was A Cannibal  New
                Braun Coffee Grinder

News from the galley of The Cat Drag’d Inn is that my venerable Braun 3045 coffee grinder [a present from Betty P. umpteen years ago] failed this morning. Fortunately in a non-fatal manner so I'm not hurting for my first mugga. I think I can get through the next 2-3 days but after that may have to resort to mortar and pestle or maybe hammer and tongs.

Food Bank Wenzday

The thrift store is gearing up for gift shopping so there was a glut of plush toys in need of AA cells and tangles of lights requiring untangling and testing.  The food boxes were rather thin while shopping at the grocer was the ongoing battle between the opportunistic wanderers shopping for what catches their eye and the shoppers with a list who know what they want but stagger around looking for where the latest shelf shuffle has put their needs.

All that frustration was brought to a head by my friend Michael's dialysis ride refusing to stop here so he could pick up the groceries I brought for him. Insurance, rules, procedures... no matter the inconvenience they cause their clients the drivers have to follow the rules.  Big Brother is watching.  So now I have to drive extra miles over dusty washboard to make up for the ride "service" recalcitrance.

I have no patience for this stupidity.

21 October: The Ides of October Are Late or Food Pantry as Opposed to Food Bank

Hazel The Alarum Cat woke me with a gnarly growling instead of her usual feeed me-ow.  I Illuminated the pre-dawn darkness with megawatts of yard lights to catch a streak of grey wearing white socks flash past the front door and disappear under TinyTruck.  Could that feline flash be the return of Paul’s cat missing since the roll-over that trashed his truck?  I set out a dish of kibbles.  We’ll watch for a return engagement.

Proceeded with coffee and crossword and prepping for a day at the Food Pantry.  Part One was to move Paul’s car from the front of the garage so I could open the double-bay door to get at things to lade TinyTruck.  Paul’s car was MIA.  WTF Over?!  Reporting his car missing is another storey; I won’t go there.  Part Two: TinyTruck loaded, almost ready to go, Cheryl called to tell me I’m late and I have the keys.  I need to water the weeds in my arboretum but ran out of water filling the watering can.  Some fool of a student left their car parked in the shade where the food pantry line goes so we had to move the operation out into the sun.  That hurt.  Why are so many things going wrong today, these days...
"The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what's happening."
                      —George Orwell, /1984/ (written in 1949)
Back at The Cat Drag’d Inn now, the water tank is full, I’ve had a nap, where’s my supper?

                    bird next to tree Critter Cam UpdateBig Bird Selfie

Outback beyond the DuckThroughGate the CritterCam has been collecting images since August.  Over a thousand pictures, mostly of waving weeds and tree branches.  The camera is triggered by Infrared Activity and takes three frames a few seconds apart.  My Autumnal Equinox letter included a flying red tailed hawk.  Most of the critters are canines.  Birds are the more interesting subjects.  Several recent images show a large bird standing in front of a tree next to the water trough.  One of these photos is of the bird standing tall as if  ready to take off.  Another is of the head of the bird up close in front of the camera, an avian selfie.  Click on the images to see a larger version.  Your Back Arrow returns here.

Trunk or Treat

Sputnik-1Here are three recent images from the ISS passing overhead here. This entire series is of historical moments in amateur satellites.
By filename Date Time group:
 ...07.21.36 is the suitsat I was telling about at supper last night.
 ...10.35.25 is of the first Russian Sputnik.  When that launched I was in high school in Cambridge Massachusetts, listening to the beep-beep--beep-beep that stunned the world and galvanised the U.S. into action.
...14.42.20 is a collage of four Russian school groups building CubeSats.


I read a lot, books mostly, but I don’t often write reviews or recommendations.  This one however is special.  “In eighth grade, Amy was voted “Most likely to appear on Jeopardy!” by her classmates. Decades later, this trailblazer finally got her chance.  In the Form of a Question explores some of Amy throughout her life... to illustrate, and celebrate, the results of a lifetime spent asking, why?”

11.11.11Lead In My Blood Test Report

My Annual Poke&Prod was last week.  Lab results have my numbers mostly in the green—fit as a fiddling geezer can be—but for one: Lab tests - Blood (Blood, Venous); Results: Lead, Blood (Adult).  Normal range: 0.0 - 3.4 ug/dL Mine is 6.0. Occupational and avocational exposure: Too much sniffing solder?

November 18—a Red Letter Date

First of the Winter Rains dumped 0.96” of water on the Ajo Lily plants.  Huge puddles on the roads. Verry soggy Food Pantry at the high school car park. What are your plans for thanksgiving ?


...and eat some more.

Monday I have CHiropractor and PhysicalTherapy and post office and then a nap.  My sciatica is acting up again.

Aftermath of a ColdTuesday, get ready for wenzday.

Wenzday, food bank, the fixing things work was good.  The food box was a bit thin but then I am not going hungry by any means.  I chose ham as my meat choice.  Big several pounds cooked bone-in ham. We'll quarter and slice when the beast thaws. Thanksgiving shopping, followed by first Thanksgiving dinner--community dinner at the Middle School cafitorium; I'm the Trash Miester in charge of cleaning up after, washing pots and serving trays.  Thursday, baking four Acorn Squash for Another Thanksgiving Dinner That Can't Be Beat with friends.  Friday? resting up for Saturday when I'm attending a friends wedding in Phoenix; with the driving to and from that will be an all day affair.  Perhaps I will even find some time this week to be thankful.  But the cleaning up after is becoming a disaster.  Must have picked up a couple of germs along the way between doctors and dinners.  My nose is running at one end and my butt is running at the other.

Aftermath of a Cold...

s’not rags from all over: L-R: USA, USA, Import, IDK, USA, China, RN, IDK, China, Korea, IDK, China.  Most are 100% Cotton or “All Cotton”, one is PolyCot. One is so worn from use and blowing in the wind I have to fold the cloth thrice to catch all the leaks.

Welcome To December

Restless night.  Long hassle with an ignorant Help Deskie at my bank: "America's Most INconvenient Bank".  Towards the end of the phone call I really lost my control; I was swearing at the wench.  All these places are alike... "can't do" whatever... ship something to a, register a phone number, whatever...  When what they really should be saying is "Won't do".  Or they tell you something won't work but they don't say why or what to do next or where to go for the correct answer.  I just lost my cool.  By the time I went to bed I was in no condition to sleep.

Got a raise in my SS stipend.Geocache TravelBug ID on CDI Rear Window

More money to spend on higher prices.

Re: FASTSIGNS Checking In

A few years ago  FASTSIGNS of Goodyear AridZona produced the Geocache TravelBug signage for the rear window of The Cat Drag’d Inn.  Occasionally they write to remind me of their “visibility projects you may be considering”.  I reply to thank them for checking on me...  Your occasional letters are so refreshing compared to the dunning deluge from most businesses.  Thank you for caring.  My needs at this juncture include a new starter and carb for my TinyTruck and insurance for my bus.  No need for signage except perhaps for a sandwich board [ WILL WALK FOR TRASH ] I can wear whilst collecting roadside trash and aluminium cans for the recycler.

11th December  - A Penultimate Paragraph?

I have eleven days to go to post this letter in time for the Winter Solstice.  Moving right along...  A rebuilt starter is on order—let’s hope the truck will start so I can fetch the parcel from the post office—a carb is on order, perhaps they will both arrive in the same mail—AridZona liability insurance for The Cat Drag’d Inn has been secured from StateFarm.  That was quite an undertaking.  Allstate’s Notice of non-renewal said “Allstate is no longer offering this coverage in your state...”  Reading here and there, and listening to other providers refuse me coverage I find that in some places providers are refusing coverage for DIY bus conversions, particularly school bus conversions.  In my case this bus is not a Skoolie.  Superior for a while back in the late 50s earlier 60s made RVs.  Another issue is perhaps the vehicle’s age.  The paranoid part of me is convinced there is some collusion between parts of the insurance industry and parts of the RV manufacturers to force people to buy newer vehicles.

 Another Ides

Yesterday I put in six hours at the garage changing starter and carb in TinyTruck. She runs a lot better now and I slept like a log despite the Alarum Cat frolicking on my bed.

Horn ToadVisitors VisitorsWX Balloon

Walking for trash yesterday we came across a Horn Toad walking across the labyrinth. Horn Toads, as with toddlers and cats, are exempt from the magic of a labyrinth and may cross the lines with impunity.  Trash accumulated during this walk about the back yard included several soda cans, two square feet of 1" white insulation board, and a weather balloon radiosonde.

Tree For an Angel Winter Solstice

The days start getting longer now.  At Tonopah, at this time of year, there is a little over nine hours of daylight.  During June, around the time of the Summer Solstice, a little over 14 hours. 

Shopping For Parts To Fix A Water Leak

At Lowe’s Strange A Thing Happened On My Way To The Exit:  At CheckOut I had scanned  my two items of PVC and was unzipping my wallet to look for a two-dollar-twenty-seven-cent-piece when this heavyset guy a head taller and behind me in the queue said Here let me get that; I'll pay for that.  I looked up in surprise and he said again,  Here, let me get that for you; do you need the receipt?  I fumbled my wallet out of the way and said No--no thanks as he scanned his item.  Thank you very much I said again and we shook hands and wished each other a happy holiday.

New Year's Resolutions Censored
Send Money With Zelle QR Code
Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.Listen To Me!

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 © 2024, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.