Travels With Oso con Migo
Odyssey In America
OAE On The Road Again — When Is New Years?
is an insane day to celebrate the New Year. New Year’s Day on the
present calendar is not connected to any solar, lunar, or other
annually recurring natural event. Nor is it agricultural, religious, or
even very convenient. So begins the Naturalist’s Almanac & Book of Days.
Today is the Eve of this New Year and The Cat is Drag'd Inn to Holt's
Shell Truck Stop on the Butterfield Stage Road
in Gila Bend. We are on the Way to the vet in Buckeye for annual shots
for Sara(h) La Gata conMigo Booger Mesquite La Rubia Frankencat Sinte
Ikusheya Cat o' Mine Tales. I should get some annual shots too. .
. o O (perhaps a shot of
Optimism). For now it is her turn and also time to weigh the
bus. The Cat Drag'd Inn has
not been weighed since 1997, and she's gained quite a bit in her
dotage. In 1997 she weighed 24,900 with fuel, water, and propane full,
and me aboard.
Today she tips the scale at 28,040 with full fuel and propane, water
not full but the black tank is somewhat compensating for that lack, and
Sara(h) is aboard but not me. How much of that 3,000 pound gain is
books? How much is groceries?
Well, in addition to the ton of books--and Sara(h) and her kit and
friends--there is a considerably larger motor and transmission. There
is also the second, third, and fourth propane tanks that were added
after the first weighing. And a larger fridge. Several radios, two
spider plants, the PV array on the roof, and this computer. Not to
mention the all tools necessary to keep things fixed and functional. So
perhaps the books weigh only half a ton.
The little truck on the trailer pad of the scale, with the spare
propane tank--not full--in the bed, weighs in at 3300 pounds but that
weight is not included in the bus total.
The bus is still 2,500 pounds below GVW so I've got lots of capacity
for more dirt and groceries. And fellow travellers if I can find any.
National Letter Writing Week
I'm feeling particularly vituperative this morning: Tell me about it.
No, on second thought, don't. Whatever you have to say will be the same
storey here. Whilst King George spends all our the dollars "over there"
to keep the "ragheads" alive, "we the people" live in the streets and
starve with the economy falling apart around us and the Chinese buying
up all the loans.
This week I’m on another Retreat. Going backwards is a lot like going
forwards in that I always get a fresh perspective on Life. However many
things I would like to do over there are other things too scary to
repeat. Sometimes going backwards is easier... Eva Hoffman wrote:
"It may often be easier to live in exile with a fantasy of paradise
than to suffer the ambiguities and compromises of cultivating actual,
earthly places." Not to mention avoiding or tolerating the prudes and
Denali's Tamara's Tornado
Tamara writes that she had just returned home from work when the
tornado took out the warehouse and her new job: "And we were,
thankfully. Staying near the stair closet just in case the tornado that
took out the mall a few miles west happened to change course. In
February of all times? Unusual. The tornadoes usually hit here in
spring. (gee, can't wait)"
Kneading to Do This
Not every day was a downer in Quartzsite. Most of the fortnight was
busy and exciting. The Mile99
gathering of Ham Radio Operators
and Tailgate SwopFest was a good start. In between fun seminars,
interesting conversations, teaching & learning there was time to
hunt and find a few geocaches. One I went after is at the site of Hi Jolly's Grave
in the local cemetary. Hadji Ali was
a camel drivin' man. Another cache involved some heavy equipment and a
lot of heavy walking. Serious boot useage. After a week at Mile99 The
Cat Drag'd Inn was relocated to Scadden Wash for a week of serious
I baked a loaf of sourdough bread this morning and built a campfire at
sunset. Had a cup of tea and burned up half the wood I was hauling
around. Once again I'm reminded of Bilbo's poem: I sit beside the fire and think...
I sit beside the fire and think / of people long ago, /
and people who will see a world / that I shall never
know.... Bilbo wrote that. From The
Hobbit I think. Mostly what I thought about was: When in my life
did I stop looking forward and begin looking back?
Time was when I planned from year to year most of a year ahead. The
long cross-country trips, Summer Camps, the 50-mile hikes... The road
goes ever on and on... My sojourn in Antarctica might have been the
turning point; there was no planning that adventure. When the job offer
came I up and left NH on little more than a fortnight's notice. There
has been no total break in the direction of my thinking--even now I
think about the Summer ahead and the possibility of travelling the same
old roads with new eyes to see through. I've not yet got to that point,
as one old-timer said round the fire last week when asked if he planned
to show up at the next rally: "I'm getting so I don't buy green bananas
anymore". But starting with that first Winter at McMurdo I've been
thinking less and less about what to do next and more and more about
what's been done and how and why.
Roadrunner Market Refuses Service
The Roadrunner market in Quartzsite refused me service Monday after I
gave the the wench at checkout a bit of vituperation over their
requirement that I check my backpack at the door.
I'd entered the store with my green shopping sack, the one with the
zipper pocket emblazoned Maine
Public Radio, hanging from my arm and walked to and fro past
checkout twice whilst looking down the aisles for the ephemeral box of
matches. (The General Store has only the strike on box kind. I found
strike anywhere kind in Roadrunner however they are not Diamond or
Ohio; made in Chile it says on the box, but that's another storey.)
Back at checkout and this woman starts out not with "Find everything
Ok?", or "Will that be all?" But launches right into "Next time leave
your backpack at the door-see the sign", as she points and scowls.
First off my empty shopping bag is not a backpack. Secondly they do not
require women entering their store to check their handbags. Are they
tacitly calling me a thief? Is this an instance of sexual harrassment,
gender discrimination? The conversation went downhill from there, I was
too quickly--again--angry. There won't be a next time my dear; I don't
shop places which impugn my character before I've had a chance to do it
for my Self. Even as I had my wallet out and money in hand she moved
the box of matches aside and told me I could shop elsewhere. Are you
refusing me service then? Business may be down this year, perhaps it is
not down far enough.
Here is an unsigned editorial bouncing around the net that I happen to
"Like a lot of folks, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes
the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that
paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no
problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes
people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a
urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it
them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back
their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone
sitting on their ASS, doing drugs, while I work. . . Can you imagine how
much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to
public assistance check? ... Something has to change in this
country -- and soon!"
How am I doing?
Glad you asked. This and that.
Trying to adjust my expenses and expectations and reevaluate plans and
goals in order to survive within the pittance allowed me by a president
too busy spending your tax dollars on foreigners whilst Americans go
hungry and homeless cos there is no money in the budget. I've been
volunteering at the local food bank. Four hours once a week and they
give me a box of groceries. Dents and stales, occasionally some soggy
freshies, not much of anything I would ever purchase. But it is food
and I can trade the junk for other things.
I have to decide to either go to work to support my Way of Life or
change my ways to a less costly path. Trouble is if I go to work I'll
not have time to live the way I want so what's the point in that? Seems
like the easier course is to back down, retreat, downsize... I'm not
sure Sara(h) will take well to living in a shopping cart, spending her
days hanging around off-ramps.
Aside from the once a week at the food bank--moving boxes, sweeping,
checking donated appliances, picking up trash (I'm getting really good
at that task)--I do many of the same things at this not so Intentional
Community where I'm parked/docked/hanging out in Tonopah. I'd rather
have a little trouble to get into but the best I can do from day to day
is get in some hot water. I'm still reading and writing a lot. 20-30
letters a month. One of the things I plan to do away with is my Cat
Drag'd Inn website. That's 30$ a month and some hours of work once in a
End of Febter Already
Had a nice hike to Saddle Mountain Summit on tuesday and then a busy
day at the food bank yesterday. The specials this week were spaghetti
squash and oranges. They had some broccoli also but it had already
The hike with Tom went really well. I was a bit apprehensive along
parts of the way up. It was five years ago--hard to accommodate that
somehow--that I was up this route the first time; much of the way would
be called bushwhacking in the eastern mountains--cactus whacking might
be a good term here--so one has to do a lot of route-finding as well as
the business of putting one foot in front of the other. Two and a half
hours from trailhead to summit by what has become known as The Old
We spent an hour on the summit installing a new cookie tin for the
summit register and reading the old entries to find ourselves at
different times earlier. A nice lunch, a geocache close by, and bunches
of pictures. The down trail (by which I was up and down last year at
this time) took an hour and a half by the new route built by Ted The
Trail Maker. The upper reaches of this way still need a lot of work to
make a stable treadway but at least the path is a lot easier to find so
more effort can be allowed to walking and viewing. We had the entire
mountain to ourselves but for two people far in the distance who were
headed away. I thought they might have been after the "North End SM"
cache right along the trail there but as of this writing there is no
log entry of a visit.
The Spring wild flowers are incredible. Included in this letter are a
few of Tom's photos.
Does It Really Matter?
I used to believe, during my middle-age, that
there were "angry young men" and "senile senior citizens" and didn't
know which I wanted to stay or become. Now I see my Self becoming an
Angry Elder of the Tribe and I read of all the anger that is prevalent
in the larger community. Granted there seems to be a lot of people who
act like they are completely satisfied with the way things are
going--either they have their heads in the sand or they just don't
care. Or is it me who has my head in the sand? Or have I lost touch
with "Does It Really Matter"?
Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.
I do not know what I may
appear to the world; but
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
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all
—Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2007, A.J.Oxton, The
Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.