Thursday, April 18, 2019

CH751, being-dead, ice, uu,
and cinderblock



It does not take one long to realize many RVs take the same locker key, CH751. I replaced the cylinder locks with different ones. Just had to move the finger-pull to the other latch since the new 1 1/8” cylinder lock was a bit too short.


I don’t care all that much about how my hair looks. So I bought a Wahl home haircutting kit. They range from $20-45, I got the $25 one and it came with way more attachments than I’ll ever use. The first time I tried cutting my hair, I was looking in a mirror. That certainly did not work well. I learned to just go by the feel of how the depth guard was moving across my head. Much better. I could give myself a really good haircut if my head was sitting on a table. But then I would have the being-dead issue.

Why is a ‘w’ called a ‘double-u?’ Looks like a double-v. The Latin alphabet did not have a letter to represent the W sound in Old English. So scribes of the 600s wrote it as ‘uu.’ The letters meshed over time, as we see if written in cursive.

One day I got buzzed by a hummingbird, so I dug out sugar I had left over from last year and boiled up some sugar water. The bird did not come around again until the following morning. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the feeder in for the night. Can you guess? The bird stuck its beak into a slot—and hit ice. What the …?! He tried it another two or three times and flew off. The next night I remembered to bring the feeder inside.


I finally got the flat-spot roughed out. I need to fine tune the leveling and rake out excess rock. I hope to get some ground cover growing when the rains start. I’ll soon be repositioning the Nash. While it’s still cold in the mornings, I wanted the back window facing the rising sun.
But it wasn’t just about a flat spot for the Nash. I had to dig out an area big enough to 3-point turn the Nash so I could get back down the access road. The Dodge/Nash rig measures 42’ so it took a lot of work; cutting down the uphill slope and building up an area to back onto. And I’m still working on the access road. Should have it all done sometime this summer. Going to have to celebrate somehow.


Remember this photo? This is the spot when I first purchased the property. I know, I know, looks like I trashed it but green will come back.


I came across this house while on a hike. It has been abandoned for years. The house is on a nice secluded spot with great views out the windows. I like it; it certainly has potential. If it was mine, and it won’t be, I’d definitely add some color and a deck. It looks like a bank repossessed it.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

March sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
March Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

A man moved from ritual to ritual,
performing mostly by rote,
and it was only during the times in between
that he was fully alive.
But they were rare.
Robert Daley in The Dangerous Edge


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Thursday, March 28, 2019

meerkat, leaf springs, quick link
and snow



Last month The El Paso Times had a headline I forgot to mention.

“El Paso Zoo will name a cockroach after your ex and feed it to their meerkats.” What‽

“A horrible ex is pretty much like a cockroach—hard to get rid of and always trying to crawl back in through any space. Which is why the El Paso Zoo is offering the perfect tribute to bad exes everywhere on Valentine's Day.”
El Pasoans are encouraged to name a cockroach after their insignificant other through the Quit Bugging Me event, which will be marked on Feb. 14. And it's free.”

Participants watched their cockroach fed to the meerkats, either on the zoo’s Facebook Live or on the website. Some went to the zoo and possibly sang La Cucaracha while watching the feast. The meerkat exhibit was decorated with the first name and last initial of all the submitted exes. I would have liked to been there to watch the people. Probably would have heard some choice comments. Way cool.


Finally got smart about the electric brake connection. I knew it was dumb to just connect it to where I hook on the Nash’s safety cables. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the bumper and now connect the cable with a Quick Link. The hitch assembly bolted to a vehicle, have been known to fall off. Granted, it’s rare, but it has happened. Nothing is attached to the bumper so it will stay in place. Just playin’ it safe.


At the end of February, I was at my last state park of the winter, before heading up to Timberon, when I had an unpleasant surprise. As I went to kick a wheel chuck under a back tire of the Nash, I noticed a broken leaf spring. Bummer. I looked at the other back leaf spring; it was bent and looked mighty close to breakin’. Guano. I took measurements and had an auto shop order new leaf springs for all four wheels.

The weak axle leaf needed to be braced so I picked up a length of ½”x1” steel flat stock at Tractor Supply. Took me 20 minutes to hacksaw two lengths to use as supports. Sandwiched the leaf and clamped it together with three C clamps. I pulled over three times during the 20-mile drive to the shop to check on the C clamps. The curbside tires were 1” apart while the street-side tires were 3” apart; not good. I was SO thankful as I pulled into their lot. Really ready for no unexpected expenses in 2019. Hope all goes well for the next couple of years—nice and mellow.
br> It was warm enough towards the end of February to hang the window cage back up. M&M shot right out the window to scope things out.

This has been a good winter in the parks. Even during the last week, I lucked out and met a nice couple from Minnesota, Terry and Nancy, traveling in a Tab. Shortly after they pulled out, an acquaintance I met awhile back pulled into the same site across from me. Richard full-times in a Roadtrek and travels with his cat Maisy (not sure of the spelling). Had some good conversations.
I generally find more of my kind of people set up in a site without hookups. Not always, but a good deal of the time. Makes sense to me.


In the NM DMV, I noticed a sign on the wall, “Good morning…Let the stress begin.” I would imagine it reflects the workday for those people. They must get more than their share of grief. I told the lady that I liked the sign; she smiled and I thanked her for her heip that day, which brought another smile.


Shortly after I pulled onto my Timberon property it hailed, then snowed a bit. 48 degrees in the Nash when I got up. That, apparently was warm. The following morning’s inside temps ranged from the upper 30s (could see my breath) to the mid-40s. Yesterday it was a balmy 51. If I had an RVer’s mindset, this would be unacceptable. But to my way of thinking, it’s no big thing.
This is what it looked like out the back window the first morning. I had to dig out the ladder and sweep snow off the solar panels. I had been having day temps in the 60s and 70s down in the parks. Kind of a setback. Even more snow dropped four days later. Had two days when I pretty much had to keep the Wave 6 lit all day. Don’t think I’ve had more than a handful of days like that. Last year, one of my two favorite people up here said that it would probably be best if I not get back until April. Guess she was right.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

February sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
February Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life
exists elsewhere in the universe
is that none of it has tried to contact us.
Calvin & Hobbes


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Monday, February 25, 2019

cold weather hummingbirds
and wine bottles



This shot was taken on one of my hikes in the Canyon Rims Recreation area when I was back in southern Utah. It’s been a while.

I enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings while reading and listening to music. I’ve handled many wine bottles over the decades, so I was bound to write something about them in these pages.

Wine has been stored in various containers for thousands of years but the glass bottle and cork combo didn’t arrive until the 1600s. Glass wine bottles come in various shapes depending on the type of wine and in over a dozen sizes. The large novelty bottles are named after biblical figures and predominant kings of Israel. The largest, 18 liters, 24 standard bottles, is named after Melchior (a king of Persia, one of the three wise man) and Solomon (a king of Israel). That’s two cases of wine! How many wine drinkers does it take to pour from a Solomon bottle?

In 1975 the European Legislation on packaging declared that wine could be sold only if packed in certain measure containers. So how was the size determined? Well, as I understand it, one guy’s wife told him if he didn’t choose the size bottle her brother’s shop was making, he’d be sleeping on the sofa.

I might have got that wrong.
The 750 ml (0.75 liter – 1/5 of a gallon) size was determined to be the most convenient for both winemakers and the public. There are different theories to explain this size.

As you know, back when wine started to be stored in glass bottles, the bottles were made by glass blowers. So one theory is based on the limit of pulmonary strength. 750 ml pretty much capped it.

Another theory is the quantity of wine per six serving glasses (125 ml) used in a small Italian restaurant, an osteria.

A third one points out that the 750 ml standard is the metric adaptation of the fifth, which was standard in the US and Britain.

Then there are the different shapes and sizes of wine glasses. Although, at this time, I think that would be pushing it.

I met an interesting couple of ex-teachers taking a road trip in their Scamp. They painted the bottom half of the Scamp, so theirs stands out from the norm. Nice. They live in Ruidoso, maybe 60 miles north of Timberon, in the Sacramento Mtns. Had a really nice visit. Wish I had more experiences like this.

I heard on NPR that there are some hummingbirds that winter as far north as British Columbia. Remember, I only have daily web access for a few weeks each winter, so I can be way behind on common knowledge. On my town runs during the rest of the year, I do not spend any more time on the web than it takes me to drink a medium Americano. Anyway, when I heard this about the birds, I questioned how they could survive. I mean, they do not have down feathers and they need to be taking in so much nectar. Hummingbirds have nearly 1000 feathers on their body, a ratio of more feathers per body size than that of any other bird species. I think they can fluff them, so that could help. Although I might be wrong about this.

It’s mostly Anna’s hummingbirds that are found that far north, but three others are named to a lesser degree (at least from the four sources I pulled data from). It’s individual birds that remain in the north for the winter. I wonder what brings a bird to go against the odds. The hummingbirds are taking advantage of widely planted flowering plants and shrubs, and hummingbird feeders. I would guess that it would take much more of a commitment for those who maintain their feeders through the winter. I wonder if they bring their feeder in at night.

The little ones go into a sort of nightly hibernation, a really deep sleep. They put a major damper on their high rate of metabolism by entering a state of torpor where their metabolism will lower to roughly 7% of normal. This state can save up to 60% of their available energy.
Hummingbirds also survive in the high Andes. I wonder if they are just on the west facing side.

In winter, hummingbirds are slow risers. It takes 20-60 minutes for a hummingbird to fully recover from topor. Care to guess what is the first thing on their mind? They eat 25% of their daily intake as soon as they recover.

I don’t know. If I was a hummingbird, I think I’d stick with the general consensus and head south. But then again, not all birds make it through the trip.

Two things about a different kind of bird. Yesterday, I caught the end of a talk on birds of prey. As you know, an owl’s eyes are in the front of the head, and, the eyes cannot move in the sockets. So they need their awesome ability to turn their head 270 degrees to each side. There are sites that explain how owls are able to do this; definitely worth a visit. Owls also have asymmetrical ears, with one being lower than the other. This aids the triangulation of sound. Way cool birds.

This past week, once again, I’ve been set up in goat’s head country. Bummer. M&M go out, pick up these nasty sharp stickers, come back in the Nash, use their teeth to pick them off their feet, and drop them on the floor. Remember, I do not were shoes inside but I do sweep the floor once or twice a day. Sometimes that is not enough. If I miss a goat’s head, I’m the next one picking one off the bottom of my feet. Guano. The joys of sharing one’s life with feline companions.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

January sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
January Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 2190; legs: 2445

Don’t expect anything original from an echo.
Joanna Wick


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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

groovy yurts, the arrow and the green book



On one of my walks, I came across this yurt. What caught my eye, was how well insulated it appeared. I never saw the guy who is living in it, let alone talk with him. So I accessed the company’s website, Groovy Yurts. It’s definitely worth a look-see. Watch the video of the story on these authentic Mongolian yurts, and you’ll understand their slogan, come full circle. There are also some great photos.


The FedEx logo has an arrow in it, symbolizing the company’s forward motion.


So far the most interesting people I’ve talked with this winter were a Canadian couple, Gord and Suzanna. They are spending a few months traveling around; at the time, they were five weeks into it. They wanted a rig that they could take off-road. Forest River’s No-Bo (no boundaries) trailer was their choice. I had never seen one and was impressed with what they had done with theirs. The size of the wheels, robust frame and ground clearance set this type of rig apart. I downloaded this photo from Forest River’s site. The trailer comes in different lengths and offers a number of options.

Check out the white space between the E and x in “Ex.”
Sorry, now you’ll never be able to look at a FedEx truck or box without seeing the arrow.

I read somewhere that some car insurance companies offer a discount for those over 65. I found out mine does not. Bummer, but I’m sticking with the company. Leave a comment if you know of a company that offers a senior discount. A reader might be interested.

The guy prefers to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And he cut his lip on it. The wound became infected. And he also chipped a tooth. (^_^) (Tweaked a line from Janeane Garofalo)


I first heard about the Green Book while listening to NPR’s Weekend Edition three or four weeks ago. Calvin Alexander Ramsey, the author of the children’s book, Ruth and the Green Book, was being interviewed. I jotted down some notes, drafted a story and then looked for more info the next time I has wi-fi access. That’s when I learned about the movie. Bummer. So, what I had planned to write here would not be all that informative. But I’m writing it anyway.


The Jim Crow era was not one of America’s best periods. Back in the ‘40s-‘60s, and in some places, probably for another few decades, blacks had trouble when traveling. Finding a place to spend the night, gas up their car, finding a restaurant that would serve them, all while keeping their family safe, were part of their lives. Tell me that does not rot. And some places were safe during the day, but you did not want to be black and in that area after dark.

Victor Hugo Green, a postal carrier in Harlem, had grown tired of the discrimination blacks faced whenever they ventured outside their neighborhoods. In 1936, inspired by earlier books published for Jewish audiences, Green developed a guide for black travelers, with the goal of insuring some measure of safety. The 15-page first edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book only covered hotels and restaurants in the New York area. The book gradually expanded its scope by gathering info from fellow postal carriers, black travelers and offering cash payments to readers who sent in useful information. An early example of user-generated content.

By the early 1940s, the Green Book listed thousands of establishments from across the country, all of them either black-owned or verified to be non-discriminatory. Hotels, guesthouses, stores, service stations, pharmacies, taverns, barber shops and restaurants that were known to be safe, and the listings were verified annually. An important sponsor for the Green Book was the Esso Standard Oil Company, which distributed the books and solicited African American customers through them. Nice.

The introduction to the 1948 edition ended with:
“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”

Green retired from the postal service in 1952 to become a full-time publisher. He charged enough to make a modest profit—25 cents for the first edition, $1 for the last. At the height of its circulation, Green printed 20,000 books annually, which were sold at black churches, the Negro Urban League and Esso gas stations. The final 99-page edition was published in 1966-67.

Victor Hugo Green died in 1960, four years before Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, finally banning racial segregation in restaurants, theaters, hotels, parks and other public places.

For black Americans traveling by car in the era of segregation, the open road presented serious dangers. The Green Book was one item African-Americans did not leave home without. This guide, no doubt, prevented beatings, deaths and other atrocities. One man, taking a step and making his world a safer place. Way to go, Victor.

It is hard to grasp that this was happening in this country not all that long ago. The United States was the best country in the world for many years, and even now, it is certainly the most powerful—but, is it still the best? How could the situation in Washington occur in the ‘best’ country in the world? It could not. I am thankful to have been born, and able to live in the United States. Doesn’t seem right, however, that for the last two years, I’ve been somewhat scared to be one of its citizens. Definitely looking forward to changes for the better. But how does that occur between two warring tribes? I would venture to guess that it would take truly ‘wise’ individuals working together toward solutions. How likely is that?

And there are those searching for ‘other’ intelligent life forms. From my way of thinking, one word should be dropped.

Back in November, a winter friend came over and asked for help with lifting something. I knew I was still weak but this task finally drove home exactly how weak I was. It was the stimulus I needed to finally get me back on an exercise program. The ball was in my court. I bent down and picked it up.

I had a new experience a couple weeks ago. The same friend only has a motorcycle for his town runs. He has a guest card from a mutual friend to Sam’s Club. Jerry doesn’t live by one when he is living at his home base and so he wanted to stock up at the store in Roswell. I drove him into town and he let me use his card. I’ve never been in a Sam’s Club. I grabbed one of my canvas LL Bean tote bags and we headed in. I learned that the store doesn’t provide bags. I like that idea. The first time I came across it was the summer I bicycle toured through Europe. Anyway, the whole store was an eye opener. But a membership would certainly not fit my lifestyle. I left Sam’s Club with a nice bottle of Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon and three boxes of energy bars.

Mind how you go.

Making someone smile lightens ones Karmic burden.


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Friday, December 28, 2018

e-MTB and milk paint



At the beginning of last summer, I made a deal with myself. If I got back into as good a shape as I was a few years ago, I’d purchase this e-MTB (electric mountain bike). I have the experience and knowledge to achieve this in maybe three months. I would just have to keep my mind focused on the long-term goal over the coming months.

This is not the type of electric bike one just sits on and is pulled along by the electric motor. I mean, seriously? It’s me.

The Trek Powerfly 5 is a pedal assist, 10-speed with different modes. Pedal assist means one must be pedaling to tap into the electric assist. No free ride. The bike has an approximate range of 20–100 miles depending on the power mode (4 in all), terrain, incline grade, wind, and one’s riding style. 20 mph is the top-assisted speed, at which point the assist cuts off. The bike can go faster, but it will be all pedal power. The bike comes with stellar components, including hydraulic disc brakes, a Bosch electric motor (the best), and 29” wheels, which I prefer. The power goes to the crank rather than the hub, as with lesser-priced e-bikes. Power to the hubs can cause broken spokes. Not good.

As I understand it, one can get all or most of the power through pedaling, with no, or only a little assist. Otherwise, I would think of it as a pretty lame way to bike. One could start off a long ride peddling out for miles with no, or only a little assist, and when beginning to tire, switch on more assist to get back. This bike would extend the miles and also give me access to more steep slopes. All in all, sounds pretty good.

The Trek Powerfly 5 is $3600. I could justify it if I met my goal. I did not, hence, no bike. My own fault, I didn’t put in the effort. Maybe another time.


I like how the paint turned out in your Nash, Rob. It makes the interior look cozy, warm, and homey. Good job. I wasn’t familiar with Milk Paint that you used so I looked it up. Sure seems a much healthier way to go when painting a RV’s interior walls. Smart move. Did you buy pre-mixed or did you mix your own. I thought you were only going to paint the galley wall. Are you going all around?

The winter solstice, my favorite day of the year—rebirth of the sun. The shortest day of the year kicks off six months during which we gain back six more hours of daylight. The solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years as a sort of birth of light, with light being a big part of the celebration.

Mind how you go.

Exercise will prolong one’s ability
to operate positively in the world.
Michael J. Fox


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Friday, November 30, 2018

back in the parks, cargo trailers,
and stimulating the brain



Why does this photo almost look scary?

Back in the NM state parks. I’ve met a couple of new interesting person and have been catching up with my winter acquaintances. Feels good. Sure wouldn’t want a lifestyle of this, though.

Down on the flats east of the Sacramento Mtns., I’ve been accessing NPR from a different station. The first Saturday, I tuned in early to see what time Wait, Wait would broadcast. I got a chuckle when I heard ‘Best of Car Talk.’ I haven’t heard these re-runs for quite some time. What a treat.

Has a psychic ever won the lottery?

Had new larger drums and brakes put on the Nash. Sure feels good to have working brakes again on the trailer.


The last couple of winters in the parks, I’ve noticed more cargo trailer campers. There are a number of companies now that convert the trailers into campers. A good number of people still choose to do the work themselves, as in this trailer. The owner purchased a top-of-the-line cargo trailer, constructed for heavy use. The forward section, in the ‘V’ is walled in for storage with a lift-off top. Stellar job.

As I wrote last month, walking and stimulating the brain help ward of dementia to some extent, as shown through studies and common sense. Two Moab friends provided me with something to supplement my daily Nikoli sudoku puzzles—word games. Many of you probably do them, but I’ve never been into them. The apps combine the best of word searching and crosswords. The free Wordscapes, from PeopleFun, app is rated 4.9 out of 5. Don’t be put off by how easy it starts because it gets challenging fast. You might want to first off, go to Settings, and turn off Music, Sound, and Notifications. I guess it would be okay to leave them on if you’re pretty much deaf. So now I’m doing daily walks, one or two Nikoli puzzles, and some Wordscape puzzles.

Mind how you go.

Not making time is wasting time.


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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

poppycock, park from above, and hope



I’ve been to Central Park and seen many photos of it. But not one from this angle. Pretty cool.

I came across most of these in a newspaper (remember those?) and they brought to mind others that I remember. How long has it been since you heard any of these lines? I remember them all and I’m kinda glad they are no longer in use. A couple of these words did not even show up in a spell check.

Everything Hunky Dory?
You drive that jalopy? and Don’t touch that dial.
You sound like a broken record. and Let me have a carbon copy.
That’s poppycock. and That’s gobbledygook.
You young, Whippersnapper!
It could be a boondoggle.
Heavens to Betsy! and Holy Moley!
Gee whillikers! and Jumping Jehoshaphat!
Living the life of Riley. and We’re in like Flint.
Not for all the tea in China. and What a nincompoop.
Gee, that’s just swell. and Knee high to a grasshopper.
Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. (How could one come up with this?)
Kilroy was here. (I had read somewhere that a riveter, or maybe it was a pipefitter, on Navy ships during one of the world wars wrote this along side his work. Sounds feasible.)
This is a fine kettle of fish. (What?)
Hey, it’s your nickel. and Don’t take any wooden nickels.
Oh, golly. and Phui or Phooey
Fiddlesticks!

It’s strange how our expressions have changed so much in only a few decades.

I got back into sudoku this past summer. It feels good to work out puzzles. Research shows that participating in such activities, as well as daily walks help hold back the onset of dementia. Simply taking responsibility for one’s health. Doesn’t look as if most people do that.

I’m somewhat apprehensive of getting back to hard-wall camping off-the-grid, next year. What if I was up in Oregon or Montana, as I could have easily been, when I picked up the bacteria? If my Moab friends didn’t help me out with my setback on the Kaibab Plateau, M&M would have died, and I don’t know what would have happened to my home and truck. And my friends in Salt Lake, with their visits and taking me out, lifted me up more than they can imagine. Then Lynn was there holding my hand in Tucson, with my next unexpected surgery. I was feeling so dull when I got to Lynn’s, that I apologized to her. After two months, she got me back up to snuff. I owe her.

I guess I’m starting to realize how vulnerable I can be. I’ll have to find some friends here in southern NM, who I can offer help to, and feel comfortable to ask for help from them. Don’t quite know how I’m going to go about doing this, however. I have not come across any of my kind of people yet. Still have hope.

Mind how you go.

Change the way you think.
Change your life.


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