Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her
42 Is Not The Answer This Time
The question comes up from time to time: How many miles
are on the bus? According to my log book: Since July 1997:
140235 miles. Plus another 5000 miles on an earlier
speedometer/logbook from 1985-86. So, over 145,000 miles
in 20 years. Not counting the ten years I was off the
road, out of the country, that amounts to 7,200
miles/year. And not counting however many miles were on
her from before 1985, before she was know as The
Cat Drag'd Inn.
Returning Old Mail
One never knows with the "Postal" "Service" these days.
Friday at the local Post Office I almost went Postal when
in my box I found three letters I'd posted to a certain
friend in Lodi CAlifornia on successive mid-Winter dates
for the years 2014, '15, and '16. All were marked “RTS,
Unclaimed, Unable to Forward”.
Autumnal Equinox – Shopping for a Radiator
I found a 97% exact replacement with a distributor in
Minnesota. For some unknown reason I am having a hard time
finding a vendor who wants to sell me one. You would think
that in the face of an easy 600$ sale they could be a
little more courteous and attentive.
New radiator is in the mail. Coming from Thailand. I hope
that is better than China. I can see why/how some folks,
especially elders of the tribe, put on so much weight.
Some days there is little else to do but dress and eat.
And I don't even have dressing to keep me busy.
So, how come the
tenth month is named with the combing form meaning Eight?
Window a/c failed and we have yet the second half of
Summer to go. New fan motor for the failed 10 year-old a/c
costs 200$, plus all the hassle of repair. New a/c costs
240$ plus a few minor adjustments to the window frame.
New radiator arrived. Shopping for a few different
adapters. The finches are here.
A Florida senior citizen drove his brand new Corvette
convertible out of the dealership. Taking off down the
road, he pushed it to 80 mph, enjoying the wind blowing
through what little hair he had left. "Amazing," he
thought thought as he flew down i95, pushing the pedal
even more. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a
Florida State Trooper, blue lights flashing and siren
blaring. He floored it to 100 mph, then 110, then 120.
Suddenly he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for
this!" and pulled over to await the trooper's arrival.
Pulling in behind him, the trooper got out of his vehicle
and walked up to the Corvette. He looked at his watch,
then said, "Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is
Friday. If you can give me a new reason for speeding—a
reason I've never heard before—I'll let you go." The old
gentleman paused then said: "Three years ago, my wife ran
off with a Florida State Trooper. I thought you were
bringing her back." "Have a good day, Sir," replied the
Plodding from one crisis to the next...
In early July a good friend out here, living with his
wife of 47 years, on the road in an old bus, went round
the bend rather quickly. Police found him ranting about in
the desert, his Jeep high-centered on a gravel road. He
was dehydrated and taken to hospital. His Jeep was taken
to an impound lot where by the time his wife got her wits
together had accumulated over a thousand dollars in fees;
the Jeep is not worth that much.
My friend was eventually incarcerated in the PHX VA
psychiatric ward while his wife was rescued by other
friends and installed in a spare house in Deming. It is
unlikely my friend will ever be released. The bus has been
sitting in the desert, food rotting in the fridge,
somewhere southwest of Wickenburg since July.
After a month of poking and prodding I have finally made
contact with the wife who at the same time has been trying
to contact me. My greatest frustration at the moment is
that with all the network of friends we have in common it
has taken this long. Now I have to see about recovering
personal effects and somehow get their bus out of the
desert and into safe storage. Beyond that I cannot think
other than to explore the rational of my own involvement.
Part of that has to be a pay-it-forward thing—that someone
may eventually do the same for me and my cat. Part has to
be a matter of cleaning up the desert and getting that bus
out where it might be salvageable. The wife will never
In the meantime, I have my boarding
pass to go to Mars.
10-2, the new radiator, when installed, promptly
commenced to leak.
Weather is cooling. Now are the days of the interregnum
between a/c to cool and furnace to heat.
Off to the "doctor" this morning. Chest X-ray and
abdominal ultra-sound. Something is not right in there.
Ides of ODDtober
In other news I've managed to squeak past another medical
issue. Abdominal ultrasound found nothing of either gender
in residence. Chest X-ray was clear but that does little
to explain why I have been coughing up phlegm a lot more
of late than ever before.
Still screwing around with a radiator replacement. The
first new one leaked upon installation. 600$! and it
leaked. So much for Quality Control. Now another new one,
pre-tested by the supplier, is being sent. Good thing I am
not parked by the side of the road someplace.
Late-breaking headlines: Hurricane Hazel has a new
playmate. Bootes, a long-haired black cat with white marks
has been hanging around outside for a fortnight, getting
closer and closer, inviting and allowing petting, and now,
just now, has invited her (just guessing there) self in
from the heat. And so far at least Hazel has not taken a
Big adventure yesterday. Thirty some miles uphill to the
north, in a little nook known to some as Convalescent
Canyon, my friend's 1960 Gillig bus sat abandoned on
state trust land. It had been parked there for nearly a
year whilst they lived through the Winter and then the
Spring. Somewhere about June or July Tom went round the
bend. I think I wrote you that part earlier but now I am
learning more details. After he was taken to hospital his
wife was rescued by friends so by the end of July the bus
was empty of humans, the fridge not working. Tragic
disastrous mess. But yesterday the motor started right up
and the brakes and tranny worked. Now the bus is parked
here and I have to learn what to do next.
Whilst we were away fetching Tom's Gillig FedEx finally
delivered my signature-required but no signature obtained
MotoPhone which had been dragged through the mud and lost
for a day or so in a FedEx depot at Memphis Tennessee.
Mike 'n' me spent about four hours yester-afternoon and
eve (with a break for a meatloaf and rhubarb pie supper)
turning the phone on for the first time: language, (just
think... this thing has stored within a library of
operative words in at least 87 tongues; and more computing
power than was used by NASA putting two humans on the
moon!); name; tracking; texting, (Google Hangouts); time,
(here and there); photographs; movies; wallpaper; not to
mention maps and email... Oh yes, it works for phone calls
as well. All I need now is a phone number with unlimited
Working for pay. Playing the role of Marshall at a
polling place. I got to stand out in the dark and holler:
Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, Hear ye, hear ye, The Polls are OPEN.
Prob'ly should have been "...Here ye, Here ye...". Might
have brought the voters to heel in greater numbers. As it
was we had only three voters in five days. Mostly the
voters took the option for a mail-in ballot.
The Ides of November
The new radiator for The Cat Drag'd Inn
has been installed and removed and installed. Leaked.
Replaced. Filled with seven gallons of glycol and drained.
Now busy replacing a couple of the hoses. The lower hose,
it turns out, in service since the original installation
and has baked hard by heat from the muffler, cracked when
clamped to the new radiator. Speaking of space travel...
My 1987 TinyTruck
(Isuzu Pickup) at 350,000 miles surpasses my former 1967 Willshedoit (Chevy
G-10 Van) which in 17 years and all the Lower 48 States
accumulated 330,000 miles. Perhaps half of the truck's
accumulation is towd miles while the van's miles were all
on her own.
Prepping for Thanksgiving
You know how it is after a few weeks of rinsing your
favourite coffee mug between uses that a sort of crust
grows in there which if you wait long enough requires a
wire brush to remove? Ever since I scraped off the glaze
from the inside of my Amaquonsippi Trail mug I have made a
point to scour more often with one of those nylon scrubby
things. Well, I'm here to tell you that reusing/rerinsing
a G&T glass over and over builds the same sort of
Writing of crust, I prepped my pie crusts today whilst
waiting for the dishwater to heat. Krusteaz is my
favourite box mix for scratch building pie crusts. Five
crust-balls into the freezer for the pumpkin and mince
pies I expect to make. And perhaps a cinnamon roll to use
up the trimmings. And trimmings... That brings to mind
stuffing. This year I am going to try stuffing the
Crockpot. The turkey will not be dressed however the
guests will; there are to be textiles in attendance.
I used to be a master-baker (apprentice) but not so much
any more. Even had some professional on the job training,
hands-on experience, in that regard. My first serious
after-school employ was in a bakery where I learnt how to
grease the bread pans and frost the Danish. That was back
in the old days before child labour laws encouraged kids
to hang out on the streets and play with smart-phones
instead of each other.
Finally the dishwater is hot. My dishrag has been
sanctified. Holy is another, shorter, word for that
condition. So many holes that the dishes are only half
clean; I am obliged to wash them all twice. Now and again
a finger will poke through the Missouri hole and I have to
stop and count, be sure it is mine, and still attached,
before I drain the sink.
Eight Humans, six dogs, and a cat. Stuffing a crock pot.
Dressing a turkey. Rub-a-dub-dub / Thanks for the grub /
Put A Candle In The Window
Speaking of propane... I rarely notice the smell just
ahead of my propane running out but Mike often comments
that he can smell the gas even when everything is running
fine. He's helped me find a number of leaks in the propane
plumbing outside/under the bus. Sunday I came in from
packing boxes of Sue's stuff in the Gillig and started the
fire for tea water. Mike came in a few moments later
sniffing "I smell propane!" I checked the gauge, which
usually drops a few points when the smell is apparent, but
it was right up at normal pressure. The water was boiling
so I poured tea. Then the screech of alarum sent Hurricane
Hazel running for the door. Screech-Screech! I ran to and
fro checking CO monitor and smoke detector. I'd only the
day before replaced the smoke detector since it was 15
years old and a couple times had failed to tell me my
toast was done. After twice running between fore and aft I
finally saw the red light on the propane alarum. Even then
I had to look around for what valve was open. Thank you
Betty for giving me that alarum a hundred years ago.
Eventually I found the valve on my antique--no safety
features--propane space heater was full open. Prob'ly from
earlier in the day when I was dragging the vacuum cleaner
hose around. This was only the second time in all these
years that the propane alarum has announced a dangerous
which means "death cleaning" in English, is a new method
of downsizing and organizing from the Swedish.
Robbery: Most people in [...] northern industrial
countries have a level of vitamin D in their bodies that
is insufficient for optimum health, especially in winter.
Finally! A UFO...
Winter Solstice visits and soaks culminate in a UFO
oozing across the western sky shortly after sundown.
Camera at the ready and the battery went dead so I missed
the first photo opportunity and the second. By the time I
had the battery replaced Michael had beat me to the best
shot. Later, the evening news debunked all hope of an
alien visitation by announcing the UFO
was a missile launch from Vandenburg.
I have lately been dragged kicking and screaming into the
21st century with the acquisition of a "smart" phone. What
does the medical profession know/do about callouses of the
40 Years Ago This Month... 771224-JCL_AL Oxton in
Instrument Room, Christmas Eve, 1977.jpg