Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Life Imitates Art

What with all the talk about Yanni's, it was inevitable. (You'll understand after reading the comments)

Southbound side, 22 miles N of Cedar City, Utah, on I-15.

Just the two of us..

Who says engineers don't have a sense of humor? And they're waterless.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

My New Ride

1996 Geo Tracker with 4-wheel-drive. Everything works including the cassette player and cruise control. Manual windows and locks (HURRAAYYY!!), it's responding well to premium; the occasional hiccup at idle has disappeared and the lifters are quieting down. A four-cylinder, it's geared low enough it doesn't strain to get the trailer moving. I found an empty dumpster for the seats, but hurrying to get The Schvoog (2008 Honda FIT) home hasn't left a lot of time for artful packing. 

My preplanning included calling a few people to see if they'd be interested in taking a road trip from Albuq to Weiser, Idaho. They all said NO! Plan B was multi-modal with Amtrak, Trailways and Uber. But She had it all worked out...it came with a hitch. And the folks who were selling it knew all about towing (they were gonna use it behind their motorhome) so it was a snap! I slept on the lawn of their back forty, woke with the dawn and was off.

We (the royal we, dontchya know) made it to Elko last night. Roy's Market, downtown, is the only place I've found pork tongues. They're far better than beef tongue. Just chop 'em up and sautee 'em. Good eatin', Maynard!!

25.87 mpg pulling the trailer.

Why an older vehicle? Excerpts from Wiki:

Powered by Suzuki's G16B 16-valve 1.6L producing 96 hp, the Tracker was different from other SUVs. Based on a rugged light-truck chassis, it was bolstered by a sturdy off-road 4-wheel-drive system coupled to a hi-lo, 2-4 transfer case. The Tracker had a strong front suspension with a rugged recirculating ball steering box rather than the post '98 models' wimpy, expensive-to-repair rack & pinion, and 'lectric geegaws such as pwr windows. The conventional front differential was rigidly mounted ahead of the engine, with CV axles connecting the coil-spring front hubs to the differential case. The rear axle was a conventional light truck unit on coil springs. As a result of the truck-like underpinnings the pre-'98 Trackers are notable for their durability. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Best Laid Plans...

At 1.9 million acres or 3,000 square miles, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument offers enough to keep one busy for a lifetime...except for the heat. It's already getting warm, but I figured it'd be a week before it got hot. Route determined, herring, gin and lox acquired, I stopped to check email. A serendipitous Craigslist search for a Geo Tracker turned up a mighty pretty face in Weiser, Idaho. After a lengthy conversation with the owner, I went off to sleep on it. 

The road is well-hidden. Although shown in the Delorme, it wasn't on the GPS and the location on the map wasn't clear. I stopped to ask. Peggy, managing the place, and Mark, a horse wrangler, were on the veranda discussing the weather. I'd barely settled muhse'f when a car pulled up...stopping mere inches from my knee and equidistant from Schvoogie's fender. (Double El thinks he looks like a house slipper.) While remonstrating the driver I noticed the word Sheriff on the side of the car. Cop humor: "Where yuh from and where yuh goin'?" has never hit my funny-bone. I offered to arm wrestle. He gave good directions and left.

Crossing Waweap Creek.

Dispersed camping is allowed everywhere...you can get to. But with NO cross-country travel and zero side-roads, at least in the five miles I traveled, it meant this song was echoing. I chose a wide spot. (Oh, BTW, overnight camping permits are required. To give him credit, when I copt some 'tude about the reg, he said to relax, there's only one enforcement officer and he lives in Cedar City.

A Wider Place

German Flag Suspenders and After-dinner Coffee

The Schvoog isn't cuttin' it tho'. He's several inches too short for comfortable reclinement. Fortunately, it's warm enough to sleep out. (That thar's muh bedroll behind me.) But with just ten gallons on board his belly rubs at the least protrusion; the 20 for this trip had him really hunkered. Not good.

In the morning I called the guy and said I'd be right up.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Overland Expo West - 2016

This was my second year to attend. Lots of interesting vehicles...and people. 

This one had some unusual accessories....

such as this Canadian Mosquito Screen.

Lug nut protectors.

FIVE locks !!!

Where they've been....


Friday, May 20, 2016

The Wait May Kill Yuh

We, Two El and I, set up the swampcooler and while she lowed the mawn I went down to my "apartment" (a Motel 6 Studio) for a break. She was still working when I came back and continued while I set out salmon, cheese and pineapple for dinner. She lost track of time and forgot she had two cat-sits. I returned the hose she'd bought and didn't need to Lowe's while she ate. We said goodbye several times as I got the last of the stuff into the car.

I went and picked up Michele (One El) at Vitamin Cottage (she doesn't drive and usually takes the bus) and took her home where I took Eggbert's plate off. Shel'll coordinate with The Make a Wish Foundation who's sending someone to come get him. They'll auction him off and the proceeds will go to the NM chapter.

Susan called this afternoon to tell me she got an apartment at the Curley School in Ajo, Arizona. For over twenty years she's dreamed of living there. A one-bedroom came open at the same time Section 8 gave her a voucher -- after they told her in January she'd have to wait two years. The timing was exquisite...she'd run out of places to stay and the van (see blogpost 11/22/14) was full of stuff her friend Jack had left her when he died a few months ago. She'll move in June 1. (Suzan was homeless in Nov 2014, so I gave her the van.)

Squishy Tulips (a blog I read) got to meet Susan Branch, an author she admires. In the course of the event, she was introduced to some people she knew by sight but had been too shy to approach. Several other wonderful things happened that day.

Timing is amazing. I gave up speculating years ago when I realized reality was gonna far surpass anything I could imagine. I still wish it didn't wait until the last minute. Sometimes the wait gets a tad excruciating.

Tomorrow I'll leave for the Expo in Two El's 2008 FIT. She's loaning it for the duration.

I made an appt with my physician for Sept 29 for my annual physical. One El reminded me that's our name day. She said we've been celebrating it for years; Two El said we celebrated it last year.

I guess we'll celebrate this year...if we're still here. All in all, the many happenings of the day hint at the possibilities of the next phase. It was a nice way to cap this one...most notable for the many deaths including Eggbert's mechanic (brain cancer) and Two El's mom (olde age). I can hardly wait! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016


I'm no longer comfortable feeding in public.

   Between the boisterosity of fellow troughers, 

shrieking infants, 

       eight-year-olds closing big deals on their cells while awaiting their appetizers, and, most recently, 

over-priced pretension ala Nello's Place, Redding, CA (Recommended by a motel clerk, it left a definitively negative stamp.) I'm now committed to takeout.

There're no words to convey the beauty of the redwoods. The weather was perfect.

If you're in Weaverville, CA you might stop at Bryce's Curiosity Shop. On the roof is printed COOL CHEAP STUFF -- you can't miss it. Nearly everything is 3 for $5.00 or some such. The opposite of Nello's, he has a Master's in psychology with an M.S. in Cognitive Science and hopes to get a PhD out of the jewelry with a dissertation on feminist influences of the yoni in jewelry design.

Bryce has been into jewelry since age 9. He recently expanded into art and had several East Indian story bracelets (like this one) worth asking to see. There was also a painted abalone shell depicting semi-clad couples cavorting on the green...a steal at $400.00.

But it was his displays that caught our attention. Please admire the pipe from a gas stove.

His surprise at how well mouse traps sell rings seemed as great as ours.

In Alamo, Nevada they forgot to move our reservation over one day and we got bumped. It was a blessing in disguise as the entire town had been taken over by a family reunion. It appeared to be the progeny of five couples who'd had ten children each and they, in turn, had done likewise; the grandchildren were now teenagers who looked eager for darkness. 

We lucked into an eighty-year-old, long-line motel (a single strip of rooms paralleling the highway) that had been lovingly cared for. 
At 10:00 pm the maintenance guy was still on duty and after I couldn't get the knob to turn he demonstrated how the knob doesn't turn...the door yields to a well-applied shoulder. 

Our room, spacious with a huge armoire-kum-TV-stand and spotlessly clean, was elegantly appointed in pink tones with Elizabethian notes worthy of any fine brothel. We'd been assured -- as if they were waiting in the bushes -- we'd find no dancing girls at our door. (He made a point of looking at Michelle while delivering this as he KNEW I'd be disappointed.)

Of the twenty or so rooms, only two others were tenanted. Spread out as we were, it was, we surmised, MUCH quieter than Alamo.

In the morning after a short run to St George we holed up in the 100 degree heat until sunset. I then picked up three new 5-gallon water jugs for $6.88 each, cheapest in the nation. (Mormons aren't as greedy when it comes to preparedness essentials, you see.)

Joy of Marketing!!

Volumizing: A term popularized by penis-enlargement ads.

Tomorrow it's on to Zion Nat'l Park and Kanab.

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Couple of Weeks Ago

Within minutes of stepping into the store we were in animated repartee which she laced with wry humor. Comely and about my age, she told of how she and her husband had been accountants, gotten bored and switched to retail.  They'd been there 15 years with no regrets. He joined us and we talked about our enjoyment of the out-of-doors. As I left I gave her my card.

I went back today to ask about places in the area to go. As I came through the door she said, "There you are! I thought about you last night." 

My immediate reaction was something like, "I didn't think married women were allowed to make statements like that." And although I hadn't seen him, I sensed her husband was nearby and for once kept my mug shut. I mean, what should I have said...
           -----  In what context? (too dull)

                ------     You have my sympathy.  (He might take offense)

                        ------    I thought about you too.  (the truth...but what does one say if she asks)

                                                       What would you have said?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Road Trip

Every few years Ms. Cook (see: Vince's Birthday)takes a couple of weeks off and we meetup somewhere. She's grown tired of flying so we decided to do a road trip... to the redwoods in northern California. 

We stopped at the Sinclair station in Bluff, Utah where she imagined lovers meeting in the parking lot able to have all their needs met from a vending machine.

         Climax Control Lotion
          Swedish Massage Oil

            Erotic Condom

               Oriental Exciter

A complete kit for only $3.00! ( 4 x $0.75)

At the main overlook on the Dugway, she found this sticker of Mokimunk. (There was sunshine and clouds and the view was spectacular!)

In Sierraville, Nevada she spied Godzilla's Pomeranian.

I'm so used to wandering my navigating skills are rusty but it's been "all good" as we've found some great places we'd have missed. (I missed the turn in Hanksville and it wasn't until I saw the mileage-to-Torrey sign that I had a clue. Highway 24 West from Hanksville, UT looked veeeerrry in-ter-esting -- even in the dark.) 

Robbers Roost, in Green River, Utah, has high marks on Tripadvisor. At only $43.00 it was a bargain.

Besides the spectacular scenery, a highpoint has been the Churchill County Museum in Fallon, Nevada. They have an amazing Native American collection (after 40 years in the SW my opinion isn't the least humble) and several unusual vehicles including a bonafide, steam-powered steamroller, a 1930s school bus, which, according to Gwen, our tour guide, was driven, by default, by the eldest child. She began driving tractor at age four and said in those days ten-year-olds were quite capable. There's also a 1920s Paige touring car...

         and this incredible music box (video below).

          (Assistance from staff is required to operate.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Vince's Birthday

In Albuquerque we came together to celebrate Vince's 77th birthday which is April 15th. An unrepentant Luddite, I've been patient with his requests to look stuff up online, but when he wanted to know how to corn beef, I decided it was time. 

I was lucky and found a Dell latitude E6410, in its day the fastest laptop on the market, at NAU surplus. 

He's a superb ranter and bicycles nearly everywhere to spite the oil companies. His '72 Hornet, bought new, is, I suspect, the last one functioning. We share the opinion that a car is a tool, not an ego extension. 

Of the thousands of artists, arts promoters, bureaucrats and media people I worked with he's the only one who became a friend. Michelle Cook (Double El) spotted him at the '93 SW Arts & Crafts Fair in Albuquerque where she too was exhibiting. His paintings, among the most bizarre I've seen, drip with angst. A graduate of Notre Dame, he has a degree in Biology and an M.A. in Political Science.

His obdurate, flat-out refusal of the computer means I'm enjoying it. He doesn't like beer so I also took back the Sheaf Stout.

He settled for a piece of cake.

L to R...Vince, Michele (one el), Michelle (two els) Cook and Yerz Trooly.   

Monday, May 2, 2016

Bluebird Diner & Power Place

I'm guessing about ten miles west of Kayenta (Arizona, U.S.)

N 36.44060 degrees W 110.74881 

or 36 degrees 26.437' W 110 degrees 44.929' 

On highway 160 about four miles w of the intersection of highway 98.





SEVEN TENTHS OF A MILE NORTH A RED SIGN ADVERTISES THE POWER PLACE. It's some kind of christian deal, but there're some buildings next to the highway with a chain link around them. There's an inviting opening in the link, not a cut, and a trail leading into the "compound."

It's like, WOW, Dood! Check it out.

Across the whey is a small house. The fence is too close to get the whole scene into the picture. You realize you're gonna hav tuh exit and walk around.

It was then I noticed the writing.

I'm like....hmmmm. Yuh know, it's troo. And all those times I'v listened to white people say how nice the Navajo are. And in general, they are.

But there's still a strong, lingering of the time I inadvertently camped on one of their suburb's doorsteps (see blogpost). The Tribal police were right there at 7:00 a.m. He said I upset a lot of people and asked me, ASKED ME, can you believe it?!!.... (rather than TELLING or arresting me or if I'd been in Albuq probly shooting me) .....to leave.

As I was hot-footing it to the highway I pulled over to let an oncoming by. The driver, a guy about my age, stopped, rolled down his window and reamed me a new one. And furthermore, "I was just damned lucky the young bucks didn't beat the shit out of me like they did the last guy."

Boy, howdy, there's nothin' like makin' a mistake tuh make yuh feel humble. And after all the white folks have posted their properties and hung their Dixie flags and put up 12 foot steel fences along the border it's no WONDER. Tit for tat as they say.

Watch for the sign.....

Oh yeah, one more. You can see this pretty good from the highway, esp with binocs.

Whadya think it means, Russell?