Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Lesson in the Wind

The Arizona high chaparral is a mostly quiet place. It yields a drifter a sharp contrast between what is real and what is transient.

Here lays the land that was here for thousands of years before I came along... and will remain for thousands of years after I am gone.

When I stand on a hilltop and scan three hundred sixty degrees around... I can see the fleeting efforts of man to change this world lost in the vastness of the Arizona Desert. Communication towers on a mountain top miles away that will soon rust away to nothing without the maintenance of a crew.

The other way a highway, whose asphalt will rapidly degrade into a weedy trail, without man constantly refreshing its surface.

Nearby I can see the smoke from another camp. From three directions the sounds of rifle fire. Townie Hunters? sighting in their rifles and blasting away... and then hoping to collect one of their now loudly forewarned prey. Bwahahahahahahaha.

But the land... it remains. The sun rises and sets. The moon lights the nights... and if you listen... what's real will whisper its secrets.

*Sunset before the Storm*

*An Arizona Sunrise Masquerading as Sunset*

*Another Sunrise*

I'm sitting here, once again, with a broken rig. The failures seem to be accelerating, and many small jabs have gone un-mentioned.

There's an old saying that is often whispered in my head;

If you always do what you always did...
You'll always get what you always got...

Seems like maybe it's time for a stubbornly slow learner... to back off and look around for another trail to follow...

I wonder... is the true journey of a yonderer one of his body moving across the land? ... or his spirit... moving through time?

There are lessons to be learned and secrets to be heard in the sunrise and on the wind...

The question is... Am I listening

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sometimes Thanksgiving... Takes Some Effort -or- Broken Transmissions Test Your Metal

It's hard to not get down sometimes. It's hard to keep on keepin' on when it seems like every step you take you get hit with that startling punch in the guts.

And then... you take another step and... WHAM... the hits just keep on comin'.

Laying there you look up and think... why the hell bother. Why not just lay here and watch the clouds float by and say to hell with it...

Buuuuuut... after layin' there for a bit you start thinkin'. Yeah I know I should quit that crap... it's only ever got me a belly ache and in trouble... but it's an addiction I just can't shake...

So there I am... layin' in the ditch, starin' up at the sky... wonderin' what to do about a blown transmission... and I get to thinkin': "Self? You got bruises and scars, dents and dislocated parts... your teeth are bad and your attitude worse. This sucks mightily... But... BUT... two months ago the money wasn't in the bank to make the fix. So even if this consumes the last of that...the worst is... you're only back where you were... before you got to where you're at."

The old saw is true; There's others that have it worse... so Cowboy Up and ride boy.

There's Some are in the hospital with grievous illness. Some have lost their son's or lovers in a sorry, hopeless struggle in a useless pit beyond redemption... others have lost homes, jobs, friends and hope. My lil' difficulty don't measure up to theirs.

So... one more time... pick up my marbles... Cowboy Up, and get on down the road.

*** Made what was planned to be a quick run to Cottonwood for a meal with friends from the Nascar race... and rustling some jugs of water at the cemetery...

The trip had already started off a bit lame, literally, when the truck wouldn't start. The Montana electrical gremlin has returned... but with the help of the generator, the battery charger I got in Sydney and hadn't had to use, and enough cords to reach the truck where it was parked... I got the thing fired up after a bit.

Ran on to town. Did our visiting, enjoyed the light meal with them and then rolled in the dark to the cemetery for our water... wrong holiday for that ain't it? It's ok... the water tastes a lil' odd...  but we've never found anything floating in it... so all's well...

Then... we turned for home and ran out to Camp Verde, caught the interstate and ran up the ramp... headed south for Dugas.

Had made but a few miles when there was an odd... metalic sort of a sound and the tach suddenly zoomed nearly a thousand RPM... though the truck was slowin' down...

"That's odd" I thought. I disengaged the speed control and went to manual throtttle... ZOOM went the tach... After checking the stick and knowing the thing was in gear I'm thinking... "Damn... the clutch just let go!"

Well, I kicked her into neutral and looking up ahead I calculated that what with rolling along a slight down hill, I should be able to mexican overdrive it to where Hwy 169 cut off toward Prescott. Figured off the main road on the off ramp would be the best place to wait for a tow truck.

I hadn't yet come to a stop and I was already wondering; "How are we gonna get back to the rig, way out there in the high desert... once they haul the Dodge off?"

Pulled to a stop a ways back from the stop sign. As is my habit... before surrendering to defeat I kinda gave it a quick once over. I ran it through the gears. Well Damn! It weren't the clutch. 1st gear fine! 2nd gear, 3rd gear, even 4th gear rolled the truck. Hadn't crapped the clutch. But 5th gear for sure and for certain had snapped and cratered.

So... with the flashers flashin' and down to four out of five gears... I rolled the wounded Ol' Dodge back to camp. I'll tell you what... 50 mph on an Arizona Interstate is just a lil' bit of a risky proposition. Though I'll bet that diamond plate bed behind me would be less the worse for wear than them in their thin skinned sedans who wiggled on past in such an all fired hurry.

The next couple days will be spent figurin' out how to consume the last of the benefit we got from stackin' beets and haulin' NASCAR butts.

Easy come... easy go... Between The IRS, Tire shops, Battery barns and now... Tranny fixin's... we'll be back to the normal situation of eatin' this month... what we made last month. That's ok... didn't have a couple of months expenses in the bank long enough to get used to it.

Just Another Day of Duckin' and Runnin'

Monday, November 25, 2013

Under the Mogollon Rim

What a difference a day can make...

Mid day yesterday the promise of the weatherman that the sky's would clear some failed to materialize... It rained into the night, but  when I finally turned in I spotted out the window what I hadn't seen in too many nights... Stars!

This morning... the Local Star has made a comeback for sure.

*Finally... sunshine over Ash Creek on the Prescott National Forest*

It's going to take some time for that thing to firm up the ground in this camp. The rig has settled about an inch or so out of level east to west... and a bit more the other way

But after near three days cooped up in less than 300 square feet, it'll be good to get outside... well... just as soon as the frost goes off the grass ;)

Maybe even time to put the bike on the ground... if it firms up fast enough.

I think maybe I need some outside time to get the cobwebs from being fiver bound blown out so I can dive into the weaving of the current story... Now that the last three days allowed me to stumble onto the inspiration that led me to totally rework and improve the outline...

This area sure isn't lacking for inspirational vistas... or history...

This right around here, well east just a mite... is the Scene of the Pleasant Valley war... The Classic Sheepherders Vs. The Cattlemen...

Hurts cattlemen's feelings when the truth gets out... You run Cattle for to support your status... you run sheep... to put money in the bank! ;) The only trouble with herding sheep is... Biker Sheepboy... Just doesn't have the same romantic Ring to it that Biker Cowboy does. ;)

From just west of the Tonto Basin

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rain... 36 hours and Counting...

Yeah the Sunny Arizona Desert... You just have to dehydrate it first.

Started raining the night before last... a small blue patch floated by a short while ago.... but then PFFFFT it was gone... and the rattle of rain above me has resumed... Looking off to the south and west shows nothing but more liquid sunshine.

Near as I can tell, somewhere around 4 inches has fell on the roof of the rig since it started... Slow and steady too. No flash floods here. Just soaking in. Too bad for me, I've become largely a fair weather rider... I gotta say, even a foul weather scooter pilot wouldn't have much fun in this slop.

Stepped off the stair last night to walk to the end of the rig and shut down the generator... (had to run it since Liquid sunshine doesn't work on these solar panels I bought) nearly lost a boot! This stuff might have been solid and hard when we pulled in... it ain't no more!

Gonna take a day for it to harden up once the storm passes... assuming there's nobody around building a special sort of boat!

The benefit of it all is that I'm slogging through the early process of getting the next couple of books goin' strong.

Which was a one step forward and two steps back sort of deal. Turns out the storyline I'd conjured up a few weeks back for Ol' Ben Jensen just couldn't catch fire. So... I was sitting here staring out the rain speckled window imagining how to light it up in a rain storm... and CLICK! that spinning kaleidoscope struck some gold. :)

So... scrap the old... line out the new... and off she goes!

With nearly another day of the sky falling... there's no shortage of time to rattle the words around and get some momentum built up under it.

I gotta get after it too... Jeb is itchin' and impatient to get more of his story told!

Ridin' (NOT!) Writin' and Waitin' on the Weather

Friday, November 22, 2013

Even on the Prescott National Forest...the Stupidity Follows... IED's? Seriously?

From a camp under a gathering storm I walk...

The clouds gather over my head... and they gather thousands of miles away in the minds of men who scheme over ways to attain my submission and control what is not theirs...

Unlike that brewing in the capitals of man, the storm in my sight is one of beauty and clean power. It feeds the land and refreshes the spirit.

The emptiness of the desert around me is deceptive. For those paying attention, it is filled with life.

Life that you might not want to "live" with... but, if left alone... leaves you alone... and you can simply admire the beauty of its creation.

But even here, in the natural freedom that is so available to all; Where life can be lived according to the rules of take what you need and leave the rest... Where the beauty is mostly unsullied by the "improvements" of geniuses... you can not escape the spreading pollution and quest for power.

...They that can only think; "How can I impose my power and values on others." Those that scheme; "How can ~ I ~ be the baddest Mother in the Valley"... Still come...

How do I know this? ... I simply take a walk down the road from camp, the view above filling my eyes...

Up ahead of me... in the road... Lays an object...

What could that be? Just litter? Someone's trash carelessly discarded? I've already burned a small pile of trash left behind by unthinking "others". People can be such pigs...

Yes, it is trash. At least it is NOW. A more accurate description would be to call it unexploded Ordnance.

That... is the remains of what they call, in Iraq or Afghanistan, an IED...

This particular, crude, soda can version could be commonly referred to as an Ammonium Nitrate "Bomb"... found laying in the middle of a road, where it was detonated, on the Prescott National Forest.

The people that tell me; "It ain't that bad" ... see a world that is different than the one I walk through. "You're such a downer Brian"... They don't hear the rumble of heavy guns in the distance... they claim it's only Thunder...

I can only shake my head and wonder; Do they truly not see? Or are they deliberately closing their eyes, hoping what they DO see is not real and if they ignore it hard enough, it will pass them by?

If you fix the leaky roof seven times... using the same technique and materials... and the leak continues without letup... isn't it time to try something different?

I've heard Matt Damon say some things before that at first blush, set my teeth on edge... but... if I set my "conditioned" thoughts aside... and simply weigh each word... 

I wonder if Matt isn't truly on to something

Or at least... The man he quoted... but then... Thoreau wrote pretty much the same... a hundred years before that... didn't he? Matt quotes a speech made by a man... way back in 1970... how much has changed since then? for the better? for the worse?...

ah well... I soak in the desert in this early winter storm... My effort to communicate largely fails. So all I've left is to try to get deeper... try to stay out from under the trees falling in the wind...

Out where the trees are thin

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Falling Into the Trap Always Circles Me Back to the Beginning

The Arizona I remember still exists... some of it.

It just can not exist back in the human anthill that is a city.

They struggle so mightily there... yet... a couple hundred years from now... the only enduring consequence of their industry and reproductive capacity will be depleted aquifers and all their labors, buried as all other civilizations... under a thick layer of dust.

What greater impact will anyone have over this guy? A hundred years from now, what greater difference will any of us have had? Than this, single, hopper? Other than the tribulations we inflict on each other now, here, today... what is the enduring consequence? Any?

In the whole true scheme of things, there are tracks of men on a flying rock a quarter of a million miles away... and remote control toys wandering around on another rock, millions of miles away, drilling holes to see what kind of dust lies just under the surface... such great effort to leave tracks and drill holes... to what affect on poverty or hate?

Obedience to the party, the nation, some propagandized human deity? Great efforts are made at solidifying all thought into one, single, unquestioning, monolithic mass... What has it gotten man?

There is a purpose for life I am sure... but there are few things I know... Contrary to their widely publicized claims... neither does anyone else.

Everything needed for joy and fulfillment in life is here. Space to breathe. Quiet to rest. Land to produce your food. Tools to build anything you want. Water to cool your throat. Music to soothe the spirit. Sun to soak in. Wind that sings in the grass and clears your lungs of the choking dust of that Place behind you in the distance...

Here I need pay No Man for the Right to sleep on the Earth that I was born to.
Here I need no man's permission to be.
Here, I am just a man. Free on the Earth.

Here is what counts. Now is what matters. What you say and what you do, for, to, and about others and your self... in THIS moment is all that matters. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow, for many, will Never Come... Today, this hour, this moment is ALL we have.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Back to the Arizona Chaparral

Some people learn... some just keep on hammering their heads against the wall. Unfortunately for my head... I tend to be a hammerer.

I've worked for as long as I can remember, to "get along" with and understand the folks around. Not to agree but to simply understand.

But, the consequence of that effort is that the more I've smiled and nodded at their "stuff"... the more "stuff" they try to feed me. I've got my fill.

For most of the past two months, I've been deep in their "stuff" in town... or close by it. Once again my belly and my head has been filled up with duplicitous bull hooey.

Once again I've learned that Soh-sigh-uh-tee is largely modeled after the Henry Ford Ideal; "You can believe and think whatever you want... as long as you believe and think as I say. Otherwise, shut up!"

Once more I have learned that there's places I belong... and places I don't... and the places I don't are always going to be filled with them that think they know and have greater right to decide... who and what I am... where I go and how I go there.

This... is where this child belongs...

RV Boondocking on the Prescott National Forest
*Back in an Arizona Camp*

... and the sort of place I'll remain.

I've quoted Hawkeye before... his quote of Chingachgook; They are a breed apart and make no sense ... reverberates in my mind. I don't know if it is they, or I, who are the breed apart... but... I can make no sense of them... and shall cease the futile effort to do so.

I watch their unfolding fate and know... from them I will keep. When they cry out from the deck of their "Titanic" ... the deck I have warned them was sinking and to step off of it, and was for my effort shouted down... I'll wave good bye and walk away.

To the mountains, I can rest there. 
To the rivers, I will be strong.
To the forests, I'll find peace there. 
To the wild country, where I belong
-John Denver

Back in the country where I belong

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Faucets and Journals

Not sure how this got to the head of the priority list... but... a functioning faucet got replaced by... uh huh... a functioning faucet... There's just often no accounting for the way things happen.

But, when there's a faucet in a box... you might as well put it in.

Pretty easy chore. Unscrew one... screw the other in place.

All done. Took all of a half hour I believe...

It does have a lil' better function I guess. The spout rises high enough now that you can get things under it to actually put water into 'em, or rinse 'em out... without a struggle. ;)

'course... now I've got parts left I'll have to either find a place to store until I can give it away or...

or bring myself to bring the earth to a crashing demise... by putting it into the ~ GASP! ~ Land Fill!

Know anybody who needs a lil' water filter?

It'll probably be out on the desert around Bouse come January...

This week I've been finishing up that Journal work I started way back in Montana this past summer...

Built the Stitching frame and stitched up the book block on the Clearwater River...

Then, between unexpectedly not finding leather along my route... and piling sugar beets for a month... the work got suspended...

With the solar batteries replaced, the bad taillight on the truck R&R'd and that faucet swapped... I got back to doing something enjoyable...

Carving leather is a satisfying craft. But I've also reminded myself, in my quest to rebirth my leather shop...

Hand Made Leather Journal

...Carving and working leather is a perishable skill. I need to polish up my skills a bit. I've been away from it for too long I've found. It's gonna take a few projects to get the muscle memory warmed back up again... but it'll come.

Along with shaping leather, journaling is a satisfying thing. There's something in putting your thoughts down on paper that gives their meaning a clarity and power in your own mind that holds a special power. This journal's been built to serve just that purpose.

This one was a special request. I need to whittle up one for myself now. Hopefully that'll have my leather carving muscles warmed back up sufficient to do work I'm satisfied with... and the market whetted for the building of another few here and there to contribute to the diesel and pantry coffers a mite.

While that is simmering along...

... Monday or so I'll be heading back out into some empty Arizona far country so I can get deep into another major project... Novels #5 and 6!!!

Always Moving

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Towns... One of those Necessary evils...

Towns are good... I guess.

Finding a hardware store would be a lot harder... if they were just scattered across the landscape. "Oh yeah... it's right over yonderways a bit. Go out till you see a tree. Turn left till you pass a big rock and then look to the right over around the back side of the hill in front of a lil' lake..."

... addresses for hunting 'em down would be a true pain.

But damn... collect a passel of people inside a square mile and the noise they generate just never quits. Walk outside at two in the A.M. and there's a constant hummmm...

It's almost as if they generate the same sort of interference like radios do when you get two of 'em too close together. You know... take one and swipe it real close by the first and it starts squealin' with some sort of feedback?

Stack up a bunch of those square miles side by side and the cacophony of all that feedback becomes brain jangling. 

I wonder is that what makes people so rough on each other in towns?

Planes and helicopters fly over in a constant aerial parade. Trash trucks bang and roar, hot rods rumble by, speakers thump shaking the very ground from cars hundreds of feet away, barking dogs, thousands of tires humming on asphalt, people hollering, hammers thumping, sport bikes screaming... Hundreds of noises all mixed up together until one single note is indecipherable. Just an unending burden of noise.

A moments silence is a creature that don't exist within the confines of a town. The din simply never, ever, quits. It's a pressure that makes it increasingly difficult to breathe.

When I get back out into far country after having been in town for... a while... The contrast is clear and present.

It's much akin to laying on the ground with a car parked on your chest... and then backing it off... it feels soooooo good! The silence releases that sensation much like taking too tight heavy boots off after a long day and slipping your aching feet into soft camp mocs.

The silence and space is sooooo sweet.

Counting the Sidney job... I've been "In Town" for comin' up on two months... two months too long for this child.

I still have a few maintenance chores to do here before I take out. Figure it'll be easier sitting here with the hardware outfits just down the street rather than in a camp twenty miles outside of some lil' place... I assume I'll be needful of other forgotten bits and parts to deal with a faucet replacement and a few other odds and ends...

The difficulty is... I'm rapidly getting to that place where... "ah... That don't really need to work... I never use it anyway... and if they can't see a big white wall... ten feet high and thirty feet long rolling down the road... that lil' light ain't gonna change anything." ;)

Better to just keep the Raider running well and let the rest wait on ambition.

Just a few more days in town

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Since When is Solar Power Battery Swapping A Violent Enterprise???

What Can I say... Some peoples kids are just destined for difficulties...

So... To swap out a Solar Power Battery Bank, the first thing that's gotta happen is;

The guy that done piled all that junk and nonsense all over and around the battery box...

Has got to empty it out of the way... before he can go to off loading the wore out Solar Power Batteries...

Yeah... he's carryin' too much precious Junk!

Boxes of leather tools, Soldering kits, Bags of rags... you name it... it's likely stuffed in there somewhere...

But, now it's all cleared out and he can go to draggin' them batteries out of the battery box...

Now... a Trojan T-105 deep cycle battery is sort of a robust thing. When there's six of em dropped into a battery box inside an RV compartment... it takes a mite of effort to lift 'em up outa there...

The sun glare makes seeing the work a lil' dark... so you'll have to watch real careful...  First my sunglasses hit the dust... and then... listen real careful...

Make sure you got the volume of your speakers turned up a touch. You don't want to miss anything...

 After I picked myself up out of the dirt... I did manage to get the last few batteries out of the compartment...

Trojan T-105 RV Solar Power Battery Bank

So... if these hold up like the last ones... I'm good till 2020...

Which is good... cuz one more solid blow to this dented brain pan and I believe Humpty Dumpty just might have some competition in Fairy Tale land for irrevocable bodily damage.

Sitting in the Dark... Watching All The Pretty Stars

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

After Seven Long Years of Heavy Use... the RV Solar Batteries Get Replaced Today

Made a long haul Monday morning, with NASCAR finished, all of 25 miles or so.

Before I leave Phoenix I figured it to be easier to squat at my sisters place and do some maintenance before I vanish into the far country of Arizona...

The Truck tires got replaced when we passed through Denver. That ate up $1400 bucks, or nearly so.... Here in Phoenix I'm replacing the solar power battery bank... Those six batteries will eat up another $750 or so...

Add in the federal extortion that caught up with us on the day we got our first beet check... and the rewards of piling beets are rapidly disappearing.  Yup... working for a living is like having a leaky bucket... pour income in the top and it runs right on out the bottom! ;)

Can't complain too much about the batteries. They were installed in October of 2006... the way I add up the months... that's a bit over 7 years for an RV Solar Battery Bank.

So... the folks that told me I'd better replace those Solar batteries when they turned 3... and 4... and 5... and... well... they were wrong. ;) one more time.

Fact is... the current batteries are working ok... sort of... but it's time. They drop voltage a lot faster than in the old days. The new batteries are ordered and should arrive today. If I'm ambitious enough I'll have 'em in and charging before dark.

How did they last so long? Well, the plan had been to install (4) to (5) 130 watt panels... but... the money to do that didn't happen so we've been living, full time on two Kyocera 130 watt panels. Powering the computers, the lights, the hair dryer, microwave and furnace... on this bank of Trojan T-105 batteries.

The trick has been to hold discharge to 20% or less the vast amount of the time. Finding the "routine" to do that takes a lot of stress off the batteries and greatly extends their ultimate life. The way it does that, I believe is; Staying at 12.4 volts or above pretty much eliminates sulfation in the plates, the death of batteries and the reason for "equalization" cycles. I have NEVER run an equalization cycle... just saying...

Discharge below that, approximately 12.4 volts has been rare. On the days the panels didn't bring the charge level back to 12.8 I topped the batteries off with a generator run. That actually was also a rare occurrence, mostly only in the winter. Between April and November, generator use has been rare.

Learning the routine is not much of a big a deal. It's never been an inconvenience. Only learning a new "choreography" for living. After a bit it becomes automatic without even thinking about it. You only use the lights you need. You turn 'em off when you aren't using them. You use more blankets at night rather than more furnace. You "think" a bit and slowly work into an easy, sustainable routine.

It's not, or shouldn't be a paranoia about the dang voltage. It's just a common sense, relaxed staying aware of what's going on.

In the winter I tip the panels up to maximize the Solar efficiency... that gains 30% or so in charge rate over leaving them flat...

One big key is to have a battery bank sized sufficiently to allow you to use the power you need and leave the batteries still at 12.4 or above. Too small a bank and you HAVE to pull 'em lower... your batteries will sulfate... and you WILL be replacing in three years... or four.

The consequence for me and my way is RV batteries that have lasted 7 years. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about... but all those others have spent double on their batteries... and the guy who don't know... didn't ... so... you decide how ya'll are gonna run. ;)

That, holding back the income leaking out of the bottom of the bucket... is how you stretch your wandering dollars as well. When you have some trouble pouring the nickles in the top... you'd best make sure they ain't runnin' out the bottom too quick.

Waiting on the Arrival of Batteries

Sunday, November 10, 2013

He Screams His Battle Cry

 Many won't like this... but there is another "inconvenient truth"...

For the Flag? For some imagined tradition?

There are stories told about Veterans and Warriors. These stories are largely untrue.

It is said; They fight for mom and apple pie, to preserve "Our Way of Life". He fights for the Flag, for national honor. It is said that a true warrior fights in defense of the meek and the helpless. That he dies for the oppressed.

Country, Duty, Honor...
The true warrior they say, fights for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Though such claims paint a pretty picture, these things carry little of a warrior's motivation. They are spoken to make those who send their sons and daughters to fight... feel better. They are mostly fable. They are the political deceptions used by those who largely never stood in harms way, to manipulate the honor of a youthful and naive warrior into the service of some political agenda.

What has been said of the Warrior, is an un-truth, spoken by those who are not warriors. However, there ~ IS ~ a fundamental, and for me a more beautiful and inspiring truth.

The true Warrior is one who, gazing about at those cowering around him in fear, pleading for mercy, knows without words... that to be so is repugnant to him.

He rises and with sword held high he strides out in front of the Beast.
With eyes flashing and an indescribable rage burning within... In Defiance of the terror, knowing it means his end... He Screams His Battle Cry.


Know this. He truly fights, not for those cowering behind him. Those lucky souls merely receive the benefits of his Courage.

The True Warrior fights for himself. 
He fights to refuse the Beast an uncontested victory. 
He fights because existing in meek and peaceful slavery is abhorrent to his very soul.

The Warrior fights for his Own Dignity.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day One of Our November 2013 NASCAR Driving gig is in the books

Ha ha... I love saying that. It's kinda pilin' Bull Hooey without it being a lie...

We're paid by a Nascar outfit... to drive... so... that makes us PRO-Fesh-un-uhl NASCAR drivers... Don't it? :)

One of our drivers is somehere 'tween Amarillo and here. They had to spend a couple days in a shop over east... getting a fresh motor hung in their motorhome when they blew it out on their run trying to get here...

... bad for them... good for us... we get their hours tomorrow!

So... a long day for us. Gonna fire up the tram 'bout 7 in the a.m... and run that sucker until nigh on to 2100 in the p.m.

The camp is fuller than we've seen it the three years we've been coming here to work... at least at this point in the week and the rigs are still rolling in here in the dark as I write... trying to find a spot to camp.

Tomorrow's schedule is a lot of practice and the Camping World Truck Series Race starting at 6 p.m. That's 1800 for you military sorts... gonna be a busy day

So... if I'm gonna be in decent shape to jump some gullies all day tomorrow... I'd better hit the rack.

Pushin' Steel and Haulin' Butts at Nascar

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leather and Nascar in the Arizona Desert

Though we always get here to PIR for her to start her chores on Sunday... I don't start until Wednesday. So... today I go to work as a pro-fesh-unal Nascar Driver...

... or... more lately... Tram Host... 'cause I have a tendency to want to just run over the illiterate bozos that can't read the NO PEDESTRIANS PERMITTED ON THE TRAMWAY signs...

I figure I can just use the same argument cagers use when they run down an Ol' boy on a motorcycle with their Buick... "Why Officer! He came out of nowhere! I never saw him!"...

So... what to do 'tween Sunday and Wednesday?

How about continue to march on the Leather Craft revival, now that the Beet harvest is done... The "Mystery Meet" up in Glacier that is still cloaked in legalese secrecy... and while I wait on the start up of my chores here?

Collected a few more bits and pieces here... collected a fresh piece of leather from Leather Factory while we were in Denver... and the first Journal is truly starting to take shape...

 I cut the leather for the cover on Monday... and doodled and schemed on what I wanted to do for the tooling design...

*Custom Journal in the Making*

Then I mocked up a test fit to see how it was all coming together as well as working at getting my leather carving muscles working again... It's starting to feel pretty good... been too long since I worked a piece of leather. I've determined that it was a mistake, to leave it behind.

So... knowing that it's never too late... I'm going back and picking it up again... Hoping that it will contribute eventually to the pantry...

*Tooling leather in the sunshine*

I sat out in the sun, amongst the rigs in the lot here at PIR and tooled up the cover for this first of my custom journals...

I've realized a couple of things; One, I need new glasses! ;) and Two... Leather Craft is a perishable skill... it takes a bit to warm all the muscle memories back up when they've been left dormant for a while... but still... they come back quick... So all is good.

With the leather drying from tooling... I went to town to pick up a couple more bits to shape into a tool I'll need... For some more work on the book block, the shaping of the spine etc... I need what's called a "Lying Press"...

I'm laminating up a couple pieces of Poplar... to be used with some decent Irwin Quick Clamps to serve that job...

*Lying Press under Construction*

This tool building keeps up... and I'm gonna need either a bigger trailer... or a base camp to put it all ;)

The trams are calling and I must go...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Cowboy Was Digging a Hole...

There was a fella. He was a cowboy. When he'd asked his daddy why they were cowboys the reply had been; "It's either one of two things boy; It's 'cause we're too dumb to do anything else... or the Boss thought there oughta be at least one critter... dumber than a cow."

So, many years later the cowboy was digging a hole for a new outhouse. The old one was full up and darn near unusable. It was a hot day and he was working hard. The buster's concentration was on the hole and that next shovel of dirt. Focused like he was on his task, he lost all track of time and progress. The fact that the rim of the hole had risen up over his head went by un-noticed.

He toiled and shoveled until finally, out of breath he stopped to rest. While he stood catching his breath he started to look around. It seemed to be a lot darker. He wondered was maybe a storm coming?

That's when he realized, the only thing visible was the brown walls of the hole he was standing in. Looking straight up he could see the blue sky overhead... but realized... he was stuck in the hole... No ladder. Not even a rope.

"Crap! Ol' Dad was right... That was dumb. I shoulda paid better attention."

While he stood scratching his head and pondering his situation a man walked up to the rim and peered down into the hole. "Looks like you've a real problem here. We can help! I'm from the government... I'll drop some forms down for you to fill out! When you're approved we'll subsidize the purchase of a backhoe, financed for 79 years, so you can dig faster and with less effort!"

The cowboy... being slow witted and prone to not believing let alone trusting the claims of government... chose to take the shovel he had... stop digging the hole deeper... and dig a ramp to climb out on instead...

When the man from the government returned with his forms and found that the problem had already been fixed, without his help, he became quite upset at the injustice of the outhouse situation.

He ran around doing talk shows and making speeches claiming that for the benefit of society it was necessary to make outhouses affordable for everyone. "People need help! It takes special skills and engineering, beyond the capability of the common man, to build an affordable outhouse!"

Eventually he had the cowboy arrested for being a "bad apple" and constructing the ramp without a permit. He was also charged with excavating without having made an environmental impact study. A fine was sub-sa-qwently levied for not signing the backhoe contract, had a per-use fee imposed on the newly dug outhouse to fund a federal waste disposal permit, while also fining him for the illegal dumping that had taken place in the OLD outhouse by the previous three generations...

The moral of the story; If you find yourself with a hole full of shit... don't expect "free" and subsidized "help" offered by the gov't to be of much benefit to your situation.

or; "If you keep on doing... what you've always done... you'll always get... what you always got."

The World as I see it

Monday, November 4, 2013

Even Along the Mogollon... I Can Find the Boot...

Knock Knock Knock! "Hello! Fish and Game!"

I look out the window and there stands a fella with one hand pounding on the wall of my rig... the other caressing a pistol butt...

Does a knock on the door from a man with a gun set your teeth on edge too? In a society ruled by the force of law... the law being whatever somebody else decides, in their infinite wisdom, is what you'll do... and having zero to do with what is right, wrong or reasonable... Freedom is a sad facade.

Camped a few hundred yards from a stock tank... the young guy with his bullet proof vest, big gun and an easy smile claimed we were "bothering" the wildlife and preventing them from getting to the water... and we'd have to move on...

I remember those delicate creatures, so fearful of people... bringing their twin fawns three hundred yards inside the ranch fence to chew the flowers out of the pots on our porch steps, while a 180 pound Great Pyranees barked at them from the end of his chain, six feet away.

But, me parked quietly in the trees the same distance from a stock tank... is the great tribulation that will end wildlife in Arizona as we know it.

I guess nobody told these neighbors they were supposed to be traumatized by my presence...

Or the Falcons living on the sky scrapers back east...

I wonder; Will the contamination of human thinking inculcated by Walt Disney and his ilk ever be overcome? or must man plummet into the abyss of his own stupidity first?

We live in a society and a world where Freedom is a curious, obsolete,  anachronism... and those promoting it are dangerous and must be marginalized... demonized even...

I expect I'll watch that conflagration from some high spot out on the desert... watching the smoke in the distance... and just shaking my head... history marches on, repeating itself for all those who refuse to learn from it...

So for now, I moved on to another week of work here in Avondale. The NASCAR partiers start moving into their PIR camps in a short while and starting Thursday we'll start hauling their butts on the trams. Till then I've got a few days to work some leather, and scribble some words.

On the Arizona Desert

Saturday, November 2, 2013

There are Places You Belong... and Places You Don't...

Along the Mogollon is one where I do...

After finding one of those places the night before, where I shall never return, we made a night camp along the highway in a roadside rest area...

Noisy as those can be, the sunrise offered a nice balance...

In the morning sunrise I turned west after fueling in Socorro, rolled past the VLA site one more time, and climbed up past Magdalena, Datil and Pie Town to Springerville. In just a few more miles I was rolling along my treasured Mogollon.

The simple truth is, though the High Lonesome, the coast and the rivers always attract me... the Malpais, the Chaparral, and the Sky Islands of Arizona and New Mexico will always be home. That is where I always breathe easiest. There and along the Mogollon Rim.

*Camp on the Mogollon*
Was under this rim that I chased wild cows 45 years ago. It's back in that country... and some of it still lives... where I'll end up.

Though the population has exploded in the settlements that choke the sonoran desert of Phoenix and Tucson... where five acre lakes, a foot deep, have been built amidst dozens of golf courses, that evaporate away precious water in a land where water is scarce...

...There's 113,000 square miles of Arizona to get lost in... miles that those townies have never and will never see.

Nascar is waiting... and Sunday morning we'll make the run to Avondale.

One of the last days in Denver our mail was picked up from fort Collins. I had dis-remembered a conversation I'd had with a reader a few weeks ago. He' told me of a gizmo he had that he used for sorting out some problems on his own rig. A laser thermometer. He allowed that he had an extra laying around and wanted to send it to me.

Now... let me say here that I am Not Good at receiving gifts. Fact is I'm awkward and stumbling. So... when I opened up the Box from Guy Cobham... a reader and RV Road Friend...

 ... to reveal a Laser Thermometer and LED light... I was... humbled. Thank You sir. Your gift will be a remembered kindness. It was a very nice way to start off a day.

Back On the Mogollon

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rousted Out Of Walmart

Las Lunas New Mexico has chosen to sign up for the RVers city black list.

It's been a good long while since the last time we were told to move on. Fact is I don't remember when....but the folks in Las Lunas New Mexico don't want the business of RVers.

So much so in fact, that we were told;."You can park for 30 minutes, and then you'll be towed!"

It takes longer than that just to do the grocery shopping.

So unfriendly Las Lunas New Mexico... No hundred dollar bill at Walmart. No twenty dollar bill at the Panda restaurant. No hundred dollar fuel fill. No tires at discount tires... No business ANYWHERE in your arrogant sewer. NO SALES TAX INCOME from me of ANY kind.

RVers, I'd suggest you pass on by Las Lunas New Mexico. Your money is tainted and unwanted there... and I've NEVER been threatened with towing before, if I tarry too long.

Low Tolerance for Fools