Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Can You Mix Engine Oils? (Jeezus!! A friggin' *technical*!)

Out there in the fields, where we ponder our wheels....the question has come up a number of times (for me). I tho't you too might find this article of interest. Besides which, Overland Journal is the only publication, I know you agree, worth subscribing to. 

And their annual conference, Overland Expo, is coming up soon. (New location: Fort Tuthill County Park, mere minutes from Flagstaff)

How's tHAt for a press release & promo?

For those who, like myself, eschew campgrounds, road 89A going SW from Ft Tuttle C.G. is the "backroad" to Sedona. It's in Nat'l Forest and from my brief looksee this past Fall appeared to offer innumerable boondocking opportoonitees.

Finally, there's this.....

Happy New Year !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

When I'm 64

Double El has, for decades, goaded me into sometimes dangerous, but always entertaining situations. Here I celebrate one of the pleasures of venerability...not taking myself (as) seriously.

A purple candle on one of my mom's Haviland plates!

Double El's phone created this "animation."

Monday, December 19, 2016

Art by Audrey - Benson, Arizona

If you're on Interstate 10 between Wilcox and Tuscon, you won't want to miss Audrey the Artist. Her home is overflowing with her creations, including a pregnant transexual.


Responding to an advert for a FULL BODY MASSAGE, it was almost dark as I drove down the winding driveway between the pink Ionic columns, each topped with a gargoyle or bust. 


During the massage we chatted about art and how she grew up in Hollywood....and survived. I didn't get the story of her move to Benson but she said it was eight years ago and with nothing to do she'd started making stuff.  Her large, two-story home is now overflowing with her work. It's less than five minutes from the freeway and she welcomes visitors. Take the Ocotillo exit and turn north. Her number is 520-971-5884. Please give her my regards.

Fully functional. Only $130.00

"Corrected" night exposure. (Columns are pepto-bismol pink.)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

So, I had my annual physical and it was, as they say, all good.  I hadn't had any "riskque" encounters this past year and hadn't been ravished by any of those damned jumping toilets seats so was able to skip the STI profile. The nurse listened to my heart and lungs and they were, apparently, still there so without even a kiss or pat on the ass I was sent on my way.

I stopped at John Brook's Foods in Socorro where I often find interesting stuff. They had some gorgonzola and two kinds of bleu, one Danish and one French. This is REAL aged cheese; if you look closely you can see the pus-colored ooze along the bottom of the mold (that white layer). The brownish part had a nice crustiness to it, due, I'll surmise, to some exposure to air.

We stopped in T or C to pick up some books by/on Gurdjieff. He came up in conversation recently and it's been several decades since I read his stuff.  Xochis Used Books and Gallery is one of those incomparable resources where you can actually find things. The proprietor, an expert on psychedelics, has, in addition to the usual stuff, a locked case with some of the lesser-known works. I got several by G.I. himself and a couple by Ouspensky. More than enough for a "refresher."

Trundling westward. Thinking maybe of touring Patagonia, I hear it's an up- and-coming arts town; then over to Organ Pipe. Suggestions anyone?

Smith was delighted to be back in the wilds and wore herself out.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Politics - Dakota Pipeline

This came from Senator Martin Heinrich....

Dear Friend,
President Obama has just risen to the challenge and listened to all of our voices to reject the current route of the Dakota Access pipeline. I commend our president for doing the right thing and thank the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the protectors from across the country for working so fearlessly for this outcome.
The issues facing Indian Country are many and they are complex, but that should not stop those of us in positions of elected leadership from seeking to make a difference wherever and whenever we can.
Back in September, days after the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline began, I spoke out against the aggressive tactics being used against the demonstrators and called on President Obama to intervene. The Obama Administration quickly announced that they were putting a halt to the project until they could respond to the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by establishing better tribal consultation.
Last week, I again urged the President to seek a peaceful resolution that respected the desire of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protect their water and historic sacred sites and to keep Camp Oceti Sakowin open to demonstrators after an arbitrary date had been set to close it. 
No pipeline is worth more than the respect we hold for our Native American neighbors. No pipeline is worth more than the clean water that we all depend on. This pipeline was not worth the life of a single protester.
I will continue to defend and protect tribal sovereignty and explore ways to improve the tribal consultation process for projects like this one so the voices and expertise from Native communities are always taken into account.
Please contact me on this or any other issue of importance to you.
United States Senator

My reply.....

Dear Senator Heinrich:

As I travel the West in my vintage Hummer, a 1996 Geo Tracker with 4WD, I rarely pay attention to politics. It's not that I don't care, it's that I feel totally impotent. But when I read notes like the one regarding your position on the Dakota Pipeline, something I'd never even heard of, I was moved to tears.

As an aging (I'll turn 64 in a few days) hippie, I *still* haven't lost sight of the values our generation extolled. Not least was the recognition that for humanity to go forward we needed to change our attitude toward the environment and each other.

Finding common ground in these times seems more difficult than ever so I want to commend you on your courage in what must have been a difficult decision. And although it may be of little consequence. your decision will, as I travel, enable me to even *more* proudly acknowledge being from New Mexico.

Impotence is rough, but pride in one's representative goes a long way toward mitigating it.

Mil Gras !!!!

Wahnfried der Nomad

Friday, December 9, 2016

Birds & Vasectomy

Used to be they posted a bird count of the geese and cranes on an 8.5 x 11 sheet in the foyer of the Bosque Del Apache Visitors' Center. No more. A "staff decision" leaves one at the mercy of an electronic kiosk that (if it worked) would provide a count of damn near every bird this side of the Mississippi that was seen there and is present. It wasn't working. And the volunteer had obviously been briefed to NOT give any hint of counts other than to say (enthusiastically!) there were thousands. "And lots of ducks!"

Used to be we could hear the cranes flying over our hovel near Candelaria & Eubank in Albuquerque. I'm gonna say it's been fifteen years. I'm not that big on birds but the "count" in my (alleged) mind is a reflection of habitat. If there's no habitat (spawning/fledging grounds) elsewhere, there aren't gonna be many birds here.

The volunteer said if I wanted to see a bunch there was a goodly amount on the first pond to the north. And so there were. But a friend who lives further south, where they used to congregate by the hundreds of thousands on Lake Cabballo, said he hasn't seen 'em flying over for a number of years.

You might wanna keep it in mind as you encourage your children to get a vasectomy. (I've never understood why women have been expected to undergo major surgery when men can take care of the problem with a 15-minute procedure. And *cheap* too!)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Close Call

In a prev post I mentioned Smith had taken to leaping onto my head from the dashboard. Several mornings ago she was doing it as if on steroids. My attempts to ignore her had no effect and, after several rounds that included direct hits to Mr. Stomach, launched from atop the driver's seat headrest, I finally roused. 

It took a few minutes, but eventually I realized the grogginess and headache were symptoms of carbon monoxide overdose. I shut off the heater (a catalytic with very low co emissions) and opened the door. It was two days before I could think clearly again. (How could I tell, you ask?)

I had the windows cracked enough, I thought, but there was no breeze and the monoxide, heavier than oxygen, accumulated below the window openings. After giving it some thought I realized she started the leaping when I started using the heater. She hasn't done it since. 

A heroic cat!

No, she didn't lose her tail. I can only surmise that in the above photo she was, perhaps, striking a Napoleonic pose.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunsites, Arizona

Just down the hill from Cochise Stronghold, Sunsites is an up and coming arts community. Sunny, who commutes between her chiropractic practice in Tuscon and the one in Sunsites, recently organized a gathering that attracted 48 people. Not all self-identified as artists, but for the most part...

In the afternoon I bought a ticket to the art auction fundraiser for the library. That evening, upon seeing the 300 cars in the parking lot, I forced myself to the windows and looked in. There were at least 600 one huge room! Reeling in horror, I fled. 

Everyone I met on the street was great! Check out the Produce Wagon Grocery and Blue Bear Trading Post & Gallery. The Trading Post & Gallery is run by Sunny's husband Larry, who is letting go of his lifetime collection. There are some real treasures. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Double El had chemo a few years ago. Her oncologist pronounced her Free & Clear the other day and suggested she get her port removed. (A port is an implant that enables drugs, the chemo and others, to be injected and blood to be drawn without individual "stabs." It makes it painless too.) You can see the lump from it just below her clavicle but it's never caused any discomfort. The removal is one of those "rites of passage" I want to be there for so I'll return (to ABQ) on the 7th. In the meantime, Smith & I are working hard at finding a serendipitous route that's maybe a bit warmer.

We're in Wilcox, Arizona on Interstate 10 thinking of dropping down to Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains. Then maybe over to Tombstone and up to Benson to Beat-feet it back. OR...we could go down to Douglas and then head up toward Rodeo. I haven't been to Tombstone but the prospect of Benson and the long haul back on the freeway doesn't appeal. So, this is where that stuff about whim (I've written about) comes in. The goddess'll provide....she hasn't failed us yet

Smith's lookin' pretty sleek these days, dontchyuh tink?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Library

This surfaced while piddling through the hard drive. It was (originally) in the window in Beatty, Nevada....was that May? Might have been April.

Still need to sow those Calif poppy seeds in the front 40, then begin packing. Should be camped, instead of "housed," by tomorrow afternoon. Still, it's always tough leaving the Michellles. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Accordion Babes 2017 Calendar

Nine days left to preorder the Accordion Babes Pinup calendar. Mine came today and it's awesome!!! And it comes with a CD that includes a tune by each of the women. Here's the link.

Two vids of Calendar Project Leader: Renee de le Prade

Nerd Love

Her latest....

Get out the Lube America

Follow Renee on Twitter at....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

But Will It Make Your Clit Tingle?

Distasio hangs out at a boutique coffee shop where he gets his social fixes. One of the guys has a porsche which, Vince shared in a cynical tone, he said when he drove it it gave him an erection.

Today a friend of Double El stopped by in her new BMW. It happens to be Michelle's fav color and to celebrate they took off to find some pie. Before she left I had to ask the question. She acknowledged it was the most fun you could have with yer clothes on. 

It's a manual shift, six speed. When I commented she asked, "You'd buy a car like this with an automatic?!!"

Phoebe, being a stick-shift gal herself, nodded appreciatively while politely refraining from mentioning how it's pretty much limited to pavement. Still, it IS a nice color.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Annual Physical & Sylvia Murphy's Blog

Yes, even *I* get checked once a year for STIs. These years it's nothing more than a tradition; a reminder of yesteryears when I could, at least, with only a little exaggeration, manufacture some risk. 

This glowing tube is birdwatching.

For those interested in Colorado, you might enjoy Sylvia Murphy's blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Angeles National Forest

My right hand, the one used in a former life for breaking boards, begins to hurt after a week of seaside proximity. So, in spite of the perfect weather, we headed inland. It was dark when we dropped into 4WD low, crawled up the hill to settle on the ridge. 

In the morning we hiked down and found the plaque telling about how the resort, a going concern in 1915, catered, unlike the other, plebian places that served truckers, to the motor stage. 

Is there correlation between discarded Bud Light (Rednecks counting calories!) cans and the defacement of signs?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

It Ain't Kansas - Los Padres National Forest

It ain''t Kansas. They drive like they gots sumwharz tuh go and they wants YOU tuh git outa the way. If you get outa line it may take uh halfn hour for yuh tuh git an opening so as tuh git back in. Yessir, there's peoples end-tuh-end. And no end in sight.

But we're be'un watched out for. (I guess since I ain't no drunk thet meenz ah mus be uh phool.) 

As preface to what follows, please take a moment to read An Average Life's blogpost of 10/25/16; it lends fine context to my tale.

At a remote campground that was empty I got out to read the regs & fees. I then went up the road where I stopped to look over the walk-in tent sites, remembering to roll up the window so the cat couldn't get out. A little further I came to the main campground and toodled about, stopping to compliment a young woman on her beautiful, full length, aubergine gown. It was nice to see someone dressed in something more original than the grey t-shirt 'n' khaki shorts uniform. I returned to the remote place, filled out the form, paid the fee and discovered, upon unloading the car, that I didn't have a cat.

I suffer from loss issues. Thus, my first reaction was, "Oh well, it was inevitable. I'll get over it." But then, after about ten minutes, years of therapy kicked in and I began thinking of where she might've gotten out. I began calling as I walked back to the C.G. pay station. Circling the area and continuing to call, I practically fell over when she came trotting across an open area heading for the nearby woods. She stopped to sniff the leg of a picnic table (she enjoys making fun of dogs) before jumping onto a low limb of a tree and and (are you watching?) pantomiming checking the tie-downs on her packboard before heading off into the wilds. I called and she paused, letting me get near enough (sssoOOO beneficent) to grab her. Cuddling her in my arms, I asked if she wanted to leave, if she was unhappy with me. Her quick glance with frightened eyes reassured me it wasn't about me. She's just a kitten and wanted to get out. 

The next evening, after driving for too long, we were forced into a campground where many of the sites, although empty, were reserved. With nowhere else to go, I chose the first one, fortuitously separated from the others, and unloaded the absolute minimum. I figured we'd keep it warm for them and when they showed up it'd take mere minutes to get packed and out of the way. I hoped to get a few hours sleep, enough to be able to drive on to somewhere. The ranger, who was kind enough to have waited until we finished our repast, was having none of it. "Move on, buddy. And be quick about it." I know I'd have been grateful if I'd been the reservee.

In my haste I forgot to close the back door. I'd looped the end of Smith's lead over the gearshift lever but, about 500 feet from the campsite, looked down and noticed it wasn't there. As I braked to a stop, the back door slammed shut. I soon realized, I was, once again, catless.

It was pitch dark and the woods were dense. A steep ravine, a fav exploratorium of hers, loomed its depths next to the road. I walked about with my flashlight, hoping no one else would show up and scare her. I scanned the campsite, calling into the night. I imagined her entangled lead, preventing her from responding. Existentialist correlaries and Waiting for Godot played about my (alleged) psyche. 

She came trotting down the boulevard with her lead trailing, "Thanks for waiting. You left the door open so I figured it was okay to get out. Ha, ha!" When I stooped to intercept her, she veered and quickened her pace, but my foot, always chancey with one eye (the left is blind), found its mark and I was able to reel her in.  An hour later, crispy-crittered to the hilt, we checked into the aforementioned remote C.G.  

The next day was better. After 12 miles of steep, narrow and winding up to the Figueroa Recreation Area (Hah! No muttering of generators up here!), we found a little knoll. There, between the steepyer (like pointyer but slantyer) slopes of the Sierra Madre mountains in the Los Padres National Forest, amongst the oaks, where much of the land is either up or down, I noticed a faint track of tires. Walking it, they soon disappeared. But upon turning to return, and with the light now behind me, I could see a vague suggestion. And we didn't even need 4WD. With all the trees (uhg!) Smith was in heaven!

Her exuberance is wonderful. It brought a full-on laugh when she came racing out of the forest, leaped in through the bathroom window and, with zuchinni tail in full-fluff (mock anger/terror), exited, still at fullspeed, stage right, through the front passenger door. My hair, blown by the afterdraft, streamed out beside my head and I reeled back expecting a herd of jackals to be hot on her heels.

The next day A few miles down the road the gods had left this little hidey-hole (see photo) open. It's atop the mountain overlooking Santa Barbara about 1,000 feet before the gun club (BLAM!! BLAM!! BLAM, BLAM, BLAM!!!). We surmised they'd forgotten their night vision stuff cuz it got quiet after dark.

The weather's fyne. Upper 70s to low 80s during the day. Nights in the 60s and, at these altitudes, no fog.

NOTE: The local Nat'l Forest cop gave hard time cuz yer sposedly only ''llowed tuh be one car length fum duh pavement. Everything I've read said 300 feet, but, of course, I didn't have it to hand. As per his authority, he took umbrage at the suggestion he didn't know the law. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sequoia National Forest

Up in the forest we trundled about. The large stump on the upper right was nearly as wide as the car. 

There were several small groves, but we never found any approaching the size of those in the northern section. Still, Smith was duly impressed. 

The road into Wishon campground continues out the back and, we were told, goes quite a ways. We only went about half a mile.

Temperatures are mild with warm days dipping into freezing only at the higher elevations.

When the rains came we went into Porterville. While there It cleared up so we went back. It was a few miles past Camp Nelson we found the forest road (top photo) to a nice campspot on the side of the hill. Just large enough for us to turn around, It seems we're destined to continue finding opportunities to be grateful for Phoebe (1996 Geo Tracker 4WD).

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Destination by Whim - A Mountain Lion

Destination by whim. For the last ten years or so I've been trying to get The Michellles (three els when referred to collectively) to move and had, somehow, gotten the notion that Tuscon would be good for wintering. It was time to go see.

By the time I got to Socorro (to the tune of that Glen Campbell song) it was already too hot. I camped at my spot on Caballo Lake where the braying of sandhill cranes competes with coyote howls. But if it was this hot here, it was gonna be WAY too hot in Tuscon. So I went to Silver City and took highway 180 north.

The Fall colors were hard at it and in Alma we took the road to Cooney's Tomb where, just beyond the "residential area," we crossed the creek (4WD!!!) and found a nice hidey-hole next to a tidy, well-built corral.

We, Smith and I, strolled back down to the creek where she clambered aboard a huge cottonwood and stroad its decks, practicing her Captain stances and yelling "Avast!" and "Ha'd tuh sta'bd matey!" 

After a while I started back, calling every 100 feet. I could see her moving between the crotches, ignoring my encouragements. (Whaddya expect? She IS a cat.) After waiting a bit, I returned and stood peering up into the mass and calling. It was so big I had to crane back and it wasn't until I paused to rest a moment that I noticed a cat, the very one I was interested in, nonchalantly sniffing an old limb lying on the ground a few feet in front of me. Cats!!!

I picked her up and carried her toward camp until, after about 300 feet, she started squirming and (silently) yelling, "Put me down! Put me down!" Assured she wasn't gonna go back to the tree, I wandered back to camp and she, enjoyed summiting the ones along the way.

Near on tuh dusk I heard a truck stop on the road and a door close. I waited at the trail and, sure enough, 'bout five minutes later a bean pole of a guy showed up. He said he'd heard there was a corral and he'd come to look at it. I was skeptical and thinking him a rancher investigating his new "neighbor" asked how long he'd lived here. Turned out he'd moved down from Aragon a couple of months ago. He was into photography and really had come to see the corral. 

I invited him up and led him through camp. Somehow the conversation drifted to some pictures he'd gotten of a mountain lion a few days earlier. He'd managed, with his little Cybershotesque happysnapper, to catch the lion in mid-stride as it, nearly 1,000 feet away, leaped for safety after it heard the click of his first "shot." I gave him my email but he doesn't use a computer so we'll only get to see it if his son follows through. But it's nice to know they haven't killed 'em all. And this one was a fine specimen!

Photos arrived (11/18/16)!! 

 As original......
                          The lion is almost dead center.

A bit left of and below center. 


...the upper image. One could mistake it for a bobcat. Its tail is hidden by the rock.

It's right rear leg is forward and its tail is above and parallel to the left rear leg. The white area is at the base of its tail. It moved approximately 200 feet between the time it heard the click of his first shot. (Youse might wanna consider carryin' some catnip when yer out hiking in the Alma area.)

Not having seen the sequoias in the Fall, I headed west. Somewhere east of Barstow this rabbit showed itself. 

                                                             Bunny behind Barrel (cactus).

Cactus growing out of rock!!!  

And that fine, crafted-with-enthusiasm and attention-to-detail roofrack tonied out our "overlander" look, don'tchewtink?

Note German flag on rear door.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Smiths - Through the Ages

It was on the Smith River in the Jedediah Redwoods that Smith signed on. 

I'd recently read Patti Smith's 
latest literary effort M Train 
and was fantasizing about us 
traveling together and how I'd call her Smith. 

Then Ms. Cook got ahold of the idea. 

Thus, we have: 


                      Smith Brothers cough drops

Jedediah Smith - Outdoorsman nonpareil

Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) Nicknamed Empress of the Blues, she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s.

                      Dr. Smith - Lost in Space


                                                    Patti - Singer, songwriter

 Maggie Smith - Actress

Celebrated British actress Maggie Smith starred opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in 'Othello' and won her first Oscar for 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.' She has since earned acclaim for her roles in the 'Harry Potter' films and 'Downton Abbey.'

The Smiths
The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1982. The band consisted of vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. Critics have called them the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s.

                                                                       Smithsonian...Museum of Natural History


Smith...the Cat

in her splendid walking jacket from 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kristen Mendenhall in Jemez Springs - Ends Oct 13

When in ABQ I sometimes stay at Ms. Cook's blue-collar hovel in the Northeast Frights. After over a year of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. barking from the dog two doors away I complained. The next door neighbor, a farm-raised bigot, took it upon himself to get revenge. Between his antics and the other three neighbors' dogs, not to mention the increased traffic noise over the last ten years, the place is, for me, almost unbearable. Ms. Cook's company makes it impossible to stay away, but it was time for some fresh air. 

We, Smith & I, drove to Jemez Springs, the valley of which is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Stopping for an art fix at the gallery, I was delighted to find Ms. Kristen Mendenhall's work. The individual pieces on this wall were priced at $245.00, but at a mere $2,205.00 for the "set," it seems a shame to break them up. 

(It's occassions such as this where my Sony Cybershot displays its weakness. If anyone has a Nikon D600 (or some such) just lying around I'd be happy to put it to use.)

Panel in lower right

Upper Right Panel. 

I enjoy the perspective and/or depth often seen in abstract and nonrepresentational paintings. Once, while gazing into the infinitude of a Jackson Pollock, I nearly fell over. The contrast in colors and triangular section at the bottom center of this panel offer easy access to the other dimensions. 

On my second visit

She also does photography. She explained they are one-inch closeups of rust, the texture of which she's captured without exposing the context. 

Her Artist's Statement is the best explanation I've read of the attraction of abstract and/or non-representational art. So hie thee hence...and the Fall colors are just getting going too.

Her show will be up through October 13th.

Here's her website.  This link is to her paintings. This one is her photographs. She also has work in gypsum.

Two and a half minutes about her work.

The Gallery is at the south end just before you get into "downtown." 

Highway 485 is 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Jemez Pueblo Visitors Center.

300 feet (0.9 km) across the bridge over the Jemez River on 485. 

I stopped to ask how late (into the year) Loma Linda C.G. was gonna be open. The HOST assured me All Year. I'm skeptical. Here's the number for the ranger station to check....575-829-3535. It's $5.00 per site. No hookups, pit toilets.