The Harder It Is The Better We Like It

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off and On and Off The Road Again — The Harder It Is The Better We Like It

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2024 Spring Equinox — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel needs her dreadlocks trimmed.

The Other Christmas Baby

No party here.  Dinner with extended family tomorrow.  For now I'm baking a banana bread birthday cake for my late brother Glen.  I'll light one candle before I cut the end slice for my midmorning tea.


And that brings up another point: Oblong.  Cellphone? Ha! A camera you talk to, a road map that plays music, a calculator on which you compose messages...  Phone is the least of the functions.  One might just as well say I'll write you a message on my camera.  Let me ring you up on my GPS.  I'll take a picture of that with my roadmap.  Oblong for the shape of this communicative Swiss Army Knife makes so much more sense.

Free For All

Strange day at the food bank.  Usually during this Christmas/New Year period there is none of the usual weekly food boxes.  Volunteer hours accumulate as credit in the Thrift Store.  This week, yesterday, just as I was checking out at the end of my four hour shift, the Food Room Manager came into the office to announce that a big truck from Costco had just left off several pallets of prepared deli meals and there was no room to refrigerate the load.  We have to get rid of this stuff, she said, grab a box and have at it.

Free for all reigned.  Whatever you can carry.  Take it away.  Mac&Cheese, MeatLoaf&Mashed, Stuffed Peppers, Shrimp&Coctail Sauce, 16" Pepperoni Pizzas, must have been a whole pallet of bananas mostly still not ready for banana bread. Another pallet full of 10# sacks of potatoes...  My two coolers were stuffed.  The only meat other than the meatloaf was a bag of foot-long hotdogs.


Slept mostly all the way through.  Only got up once and that was more to escape a bad dream than to pee.  The dream was not really scary-nightmare but scary-omen:  I was parked on a street somewhere I knew people.  In my old yellow van or this bus—there were features of both mixed together.  Early morning.  Strange scraggly ogre looking grizzled men were walking to and fro, looking in the windows.  I was running up and down the inside looking out.  I opened the side door, asking what they wanted.  I was not dressed yet and one of them stared and pointed.  Then my attention shifted to the back.  One of the doors there was open.  I went back to close that door but couldn't—something about kitchen table was wrong... the layers were delaminating.  I tried to glue and clamp the layers but Joan & Roger's lawyer in Florida said not to use... the back door was jammed or misshapen.  Then the other rear door fell off.  The frame was rotted and there was a huge nest of paper wasps between inner and outer walls...the temperature was sort of cold so the wasps were sluggish when I went forward to find the hornet spray...a woman was kneeling on the drivers seat grasping at something on the wall...I was dragging cans and bottles from under the front seat where I keep chemicals and such but couldn't find the bug spray...hornets and ants were crawling about and then I woke.  What does that mean?  And what about Naomi?

Happy Screw Year

Of all things: I got caught up in a scam yesterday.   Didn't lose any money,  at least not yet, my bank was watching and intercepted the charge due to suspicious activity.  Gave me a new appreciation of how one's mind works and pointed up a hole or two in my usual vigilance.

2024i1 New Years Day

My apologies for missing the Food Bank Gathering last thursday.  I'm not sure where I was or what happened; I have pretty much lost the past week.  Abducted by aliens?  Maybe.  Not sleeping off a drunk for sure.  I remember some of the events and things I did accomplish but I cannot measure or relate to the days.  Now, today, as I think about Food Bank on wenzday and shopping and mail, I am suddenly painfully aware I've not only missed that party but friday and saturday as well.  I remember checking out wenzday last and the free-for-all in the food room; I remember shopping at Fry's and having part of that nice meatloaf for supper; next thing is Michael stopping here for tea on his way home from dialysis last night.  I must have been here, there are entries in my daily journal.  They are in my handwriting, what I did and all; but then they could be forged.

George's Water Damaged MicOver The Bounding Main

George wrote from his sailing vessel off Puerto Vallarta that salt spray has damaged the microphone of his marine radio.  Thank you George for that picture of your mic.  I can see why any repair is beyond you.  Beyond me as well.  I used to believe that given enough time and money (mostly for parts) I could fix anything.  But that faith has been beaten out of me.  I don't have the tools to work on Surface Mount Devices.  My magnifying glasses get in the way of my soldering iron.  My doctor says I must wear a mask, eye protection, and maintain a Beaufort Scale 4 breeze when soldering:  My blood Lead Level is up to 6.

Twelfth Night...

Came and went.  No Wise Men here.  No wise gifts.  No dumb gifts even.

Hosen Frozen

28f observed.  Last time I saw the water hoses freeze was years and years and years ago at Eldo.

Brass Monkey with BallsWicked Windy Weather  40-35-20

Arctic Express roared through on Thursday whilst I was out visiting my ophthalmologist.  Drifting and blowing yard art, twelve-foot sections of corrugated roof steel tossed about like pick-up-sticks, Gust-O-Meter peaked at 44mph.  40Mph at 35f gives a Chill Factor of 20f.  That’s enough to “freeze the balls off a brass monkey”.   Yesterday’s annual vision checkup resulted in new scrip for glasses and additional admonitions for eye care. Nothing yet requiring intervention however cataracts in the corners and floaties in a family way do not bode well.

On The Road Again—Sort Of

Reporting from Allan's Tonopah Garage where I am presently parked not too close to the dumpster out front by the gate.

Have a nice Day? Let me count the ways:
    1.  Wenzday:  The 3208 and the APU started OK and ran a bit to be sure and ready for departure.  TinyTruck loaded up nicely wenzday afternoon and I went to bed and dreamt of miles rolling by under my wheels. (That's three...)
    4.  Thursday:  Unplugged shore power, filled water, TV antenna stowed, started motor and moved to hitch truck.  Tested lights.  No directionals no hazards,  Found flasher bad--installed spare.
    5.  Uptown to FlyingPilot.  No propane.  They've not had propane for a week now.  I think I have sufficient if the weather is not too cold.
    6.  To Eldo for a shower and a soak.
    7.  Post Office and find LF wheel bearing cover is leaking oil.  Uh-oh...  Top up and drive to Allan's Garage where I find the RF wheel bearing cover is also leaking oil.  Remove leaking cover for Show&Tell and TinyTruck off to O’Reilly's--closest place.  We don't have "anything that small" but we can order them, take about a week, try Tractor Supply just up the street; there I learn they don't have "anything that large".  So I called NAPA.  They have that part in the warehouse, be in Buckeye in the morning.
    8.  Friday now.  New covers installed.  Gasket glue takes overnight to dry-set-cure before you can add the oil.  So I busy my Self repairing a 4-6-4 steam engine for Allan's HO layout.
    9.  Mostly cloudy. Not a very sunny day.  Battery got up to only 90%.  We'll see if there is any "Nice Day" remaining for tomorrow.

Rain-Rain Go Away—At least wait until I depart.

Sunday in the tiny town of Quartzsite (population ~1500 in Summer and well over 15,000 in Winter) at Roadrunner 14-Day Campground for what's left of my fortnight away from Tonopah.  0.08" rain overnight, very cloudy now.  Burning propane in the APU to make up for no solar.

22nd January

More rain on tap for today—Monday—I think I will bake a banana bread.  Learning about a new tool for navigation.  A “what3words” address, made of 3 random words.  At you can learn that every 10ft square in the world has its own unique what3words address.  The Cat Drag'd Inn was located at Mile99 in the Roadrunner camp at ///triangles.wanderer.glades 0.61” of rain, moderate at times, puddles abound, washes washing knee deep.  Tight budget here.  Every character typed costs 17 photons of solar insolation.  More later when I return to sunny days or the grid.

Dougie on the MallRabid-Rabbit... Febter Oncet

What do you call a small bird with a yellow breast that starts away when you try to sprinkle salt on its tail? ...and that brings me to:  oncet there was a boy we called Dougie who must have been the younger cousin of an older boy on that particular tour.  We had been wandering the Smithsonian Museums on The Mall and were having lunch on a sward near The Carousel with a flock of pigeons sharing our crumbs.  Dougie, one of those kids who could never sit still, was forever poking at someone to play with him.  One of the older boys handed him the salt shaker and told him to go catch a pigeon. 

Earlier this week on the first leg of my return to Tonopah from Quartzsite I stopped at the propane store to refill the tanks for the APU and domestic use.  As I shut down the motor at the pump the old-timer from Maine exclaimed in a voice that sounded just like Mahty of The Mountain: “You got some leak heah...”  Red fluid was dripping from above down onto the propane tank and onto the ground. Pissing might be a bit more expressive. First inspection showed me the leak was at the point where the one inch copper for the heater loop comes from the engine, through the propane locker there on the starboard side, and elbows into the firewall just by the access door under the right rear window of the bedroom. See photo.

There are two ball valves which can isolate this heater loop. One is just beyond the propane tank there and the nipple from the elbow goes to the right to a hose at the firewall. When one looks in there at the right angle you can see the end of the hose and the fluid dripping out.  I closed both ball valves to isolate the heater loop but the pressure in the loop continued to force glycol out for another half hour. After that I was able to complete my drive to Tonopah. Now I have to take apart my bed to get down to the hose and the leak. Had I not stopped for propane that leak would have bled coolant for the next 70-80 miles.

High Road Or Low Road

Speed that is.  Parts of i10 west of Tonopah are under destruction; the “Travel Lane” of some miles reminds me of certain roads in New Hampshire where the road crew was known to fill in the potholes with bumps. Many vehicles are travelling in the passing lane and passing in the travelling lane.  Some, like The Cat Drag’d Inn, are straddling the lane marker and rumble strip and travelling with the right wheels in the breakdown lane.  In an effort to mitigate further damage to my bookcase I took the opportunity to explore the road less travelled and turned off i10 onto old US60 through Brenda and beyond Hope.  Just the way to go for a slowcoach wannabe.

Bedroom Rain GaugeGround Hawg Daze

Rain last night:  0.48" in my gauges; 29mph on Gust-O-Meter.  And in my bed, 0.03" from new leak in roof.  At first I thought the culprit was Hurricane Hazel-Rah however she was adamant in proclaiming "see how dry I am?" and I knew the water was not mine--wrong colour, wrong smell. So I was obliged to sit there and await another drop to fall. Ah-Ha! Water coming in along the TV antenna wire.  I had to give Hazel an extra dollop of milk to ameliorate Her Royal Miffedness.

A Stroll Between Winter Storms

Sun TokenThat hike yesterday to The Windmill Caves turned out upon reflection to be a special time for me.  Rooting about in the upper cave where I have on occasion left tokens in the cavelets I spied on the floor a token someone else left and for a moment thought to leave one I had in my Tree Tokenpocket from my late friend Nita.  Except, I found, that the token I would leave was not in my pocket. Should have been in the right hand pocket of my jacket, was when I put the jacket on that morning. I touch the thing, rub the surface between thumb and finger as if the token were a worry stone or a good luck charm that fell to me in a time of need. Oh well; fell from me perhaps to someone else.

On the walk out, where several others were blazing a new trail off to my left, I was following our outbound track watching for the only flattened beer can Cheryl and I saw on the way in. And there in the lug-soled footprint of a size nine Limmer was the Tree-Token that should have been in my pocket. The glassy silver half-dollar-sized medallion fraught with Nita symbolism must have escaped when I stopped to blow my nose.  Now the token has returned to my pocket, this time on the left side, affixed with a Safety Pin, removed from commingling with a rapacious bandanna.

Glycol Leak at FirewallGlycol Leak Reprise

                in Glycol PipeMost of yesterday (we’re up to 9th Febter now) was consumed by the process of taking apart my bed to get at the glycol leak discovered on my return from Quartzsite.  Where the copper pipe comes through the firewall from the engine to the cabin heater the steel edge of the hole has for years and years been sawing away at the copper.  Bumpy roads exacerbate the action until the coolant leak calls attention to the breach.  Now I have the pipe out and have to decide how to effect repair.  At one end of the scale I might try to fill the hole with solder and clamp a hose section over the patch.  I can do that.  But taking account of my mechanic’s admonition (“put it together in case your the next poor bastard to work on it down the road”) I should work at the other end of the scale and have a plumber rebuild the entire section of pipe.  Or replace the entire section of pipe with hose given the other factoid I learnt about the erosion of the copper pipe caused by flowing coolant.  Aside from the hole in the pipe, the wall thickness of the old pipe is perhaps half that of the new.  The loss of copper is due to abrasion/erosion of the flowing fluid.

Sleep Companions Then & NowCompanions To Sleep With.

Interesting comment on the times of life... Companions to sleep with: Childhood Teddy Bears have become Oblong and TV Remote.

Presidents Day Presents

Michael just bought a "new" car.  A few years ago, when his motor car blew its engine again he bought a used all-electric Fiat and touted the economy of carbon and lack of gasoline use.  But every time he drove 50 miles he had to recharge four hours before he could drive home.  So now he has gone back to a gasoline car.

Calendar Malfunction

Yesterday  I drove an hour to be late to a Poll Worker training session that was not happening.  Wrong day.  The training is today so I'm about to depart earlier to get there on time.  [Some hours and miles later...] Finished formal Poll Worker Training. A few homework assignments and I will be fully qualified to assist and tell voters where to stuff their ballots.

TinyTruck’s Turn To Leak

Clamoring for her share of attention on FoodBank Wenzday, returning from shopping TinyTruck humming along past the last exit before NoWhereLand and suddenly the cabin filled with steam.  Well, that’s what BreakDownLanes are there for, eh...  I found the radiator dry.  Two liters of Desert Emergency Water and a half gallon of coolant later I was able to get off at a truck stop exit and find more coolant to get me to Paul’s Safe Haven.

Thursday, 22nd Febter, Mom’s & Flora’s & George’s B’days

A day for fixing coolant leak in TinyTruck. I started out to do the fix on my own but quickly came to the conclusion I lacked the tools. So I topped up the radiator and sped off towards Allan's Garage. Two miles up the road the temp gauge was creeping up to the red line so again I stopped and refilled the radiator.  Then I figured if maybe I drove slower the motor might not heat so much. That worked! The leak seemed to open only when the system was hot enough to build pressure. So I drove 35 instead of 50 and the temps stayed down.  At the garage Allan put a pressure tester on the radiator cap and quickly located the leak near the clamp in a short hose between the block and the heater. Then the task became one of draining hot fluid and finding new hose and clamps. All fixed and soon returned to the road at speed. Just dandy!

Salome Yacht ClubLeapin’ Lizards & Leaping Days

Still working on the CritterCam and now a GPS has failed. No OEM parts available for either so I have to hunt around for scraps and rebuilds. This throwaway society of Homo economicus is tiring to say the least.  At the New Yacht Club on Salome Highway berthing in dry dock includes prestocked flotsam and jetsam so your hulk will feel right at home.  There is sufficient debris laying about to keep eleven able-bodied FoSM fellow trash pickers busy for three days filling a ten-wheeled dump truck and a flatbed trailer.  Times such as this serve only to deepen my resolve that Homo sapiens is approaching an evolutionary split:  Homo economicus v.s Homo ludens and my own writing on this matter.

Stolen Focus CoverPhrase of the Day:  iPad iSolation engenders iNability to focus.

Stolen Focus gets off to a slow start but then becomes more and more exciting and profound.  And scary.  From time to time in my reading I come across a chapter or a point the author is making that I have experienced in my own relationship with screen devices I am reminded to proselytize.  "Too much [screen time] makes you forget how to play."

LitterBox Letters (Inspired by “The Dogeared Page” in The SUN)

The Purina Diet (14 years ago)   Yesterday when I was out shopping for a video card I stopped at the Wal-Mart on the other side of the exit to buy a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Ms La Gata the Alarum Cat, who has recently taken to lifting her leg to pee. In the checkout line a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.  What did she think I had, an elephant?  So since I'm retired and have little else to do, on impulse, I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. (You might want to consider this too.) I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 17 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone on queue was now enthralled with my story.) Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no; I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both. I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.  Wal-Mart won't let me shop there anymore.

In other current news I've been working up some statistics. Since I started driving in 1960 my logbooks indicate I have driven eight vehicles* 700,000 miles. That's about 11,666** miles/year. Not counting various company trucks and rental cars, prob'ly an insignificant percentage. (“The Devil Is In The Details”) And that's only driving miles. A different statistic would be passenger miles: Planes, ships, railroad... I'll have to think about that number.

*1st an unknown klunker worked well enough to drive onto the lot as a trade-in for 2nd a used 1957 VW Bug.  Third was a new 1964 VW MicroBus. 4th a new 1967 Chevy G-10 Window Van with 45 gallon fuel capacity that by herself went 330,000 miles before the frame broke. A Honda 800 V-Twin and a BMW R-100-RT interspersed between deployments to McMurdo and Palmer.  Finally in 1997 my current /TinyTruck/ 1986 Isuzu and this 1964 Superior bus a.k.a. /The Cat Drag’d Inn/  And that’s not to mention my first motor-cycle—Honda 250 with training wheels—and my second, a Honda 450 that I set out to recreate parts of Persig’s book, and the Honda 750 that I left in Conway when I ran away to Antarctica.

**If 666 is the mark of evil, is 25.80697580112788031518842060519 the root of all evil?

The Harder It Is The Better We Like It.Another Hero Blown Away: Guy Gosselin 1933-2024

The Obs looked like a really cool place to live and work in 1969.  I was on the summit of Mount Washington on some sort of Scout hike then; the details are lost in the fog but Guy hired me on the spot.  He became somewhat of a father figure to me, more than he was "The Boss", or "The Chief Observer" of The Mount Washington Observatory, and I worked for him—with him—until 1987 when I ran away to McMurdo Station Antarctica.   See First Degree Page  for other late heroes.

Mar10 Day

Another discouraging day here looking at trash in the desert.  Appalling how some asses will drive miles on rocky sandy roads into the desert to dispose of a fridge or a swamp cooler rather than stay on pavement fewer miles and pay a fee to leave their junk at the transfer station.  The same mentality drives some idiots to travel miles out of their way to save a nickel a gallon on gas.

14 - 21 March, Pi Day, Geocaching, Equinox, Hail, Voting

Hail on BBQThursday Pi Day! Friday evening Hail!  Pea-sized hail covered the ground.  Food Pantry on Saturday (not to be confused with Food Bank) Feast Day of Saint Patrick, dinner at Toby-Sue's. Tuesday Voting.  Wenzday Food Bank.  Thursday: Nice day for a maintenanator visitatator.  Two of my caches out back in the hills were in need of new cachetainers.  R&R the leaky old plaxtic boxes with a shiny new metally air tight waterproof boxes.  For good luck I left a "Never Lose A Toss" NH State Quarter.  (NH quarters always come up heads.) Bring a pair of needle nosed pliers to pull the cholla clusters out of your shins.  Good Hunting.
There's Pie and there's Pi
22 March--I had a bite taken out of my right forearm. My DermaDoc said "Suspicious, needs biopsy." Another old timer there had a piece taken out of his ear.  In the evening email was a note from an Art Rogers.  Subj: Are you still breathing??  The rest of the page was blank.  I recall an Artie Rogers from Troop 55--1968-70, he would have been 12-13--who eventually became a truck driver.  Met him along the road once upon a long ago in Florida.  He was living in a sleeper cab tractor with his cat and scuba gear.  He must be 65 or so by now, eh?  I sent him a photo from that time to see if he can recognise himself.  I hope he writes again.

Primary Inverter is sending Error Messages.  Biopsy comes back positive.  These are the Straws that break the Camel's Back.  The Solar Eclipse will have to happen without me; I will not be travelling to TeXas.

So what about that bird? A Gold flinch (Aurum abhorreo).

Antique Watch Childre Sign
Send Money With Zelle QR Code
Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.Dougie Quiet

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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