Thursday, August 30, 2018

Fun with AR-15

Riff-raff! That's how Andrew described them.

After offloading his bike, they, there were two of 'em, roared off. As luck would have it, they returned the same time as I.

I asked how their ride was; their enthusiasm prompted, in spite of myself, a vicarious appreciation. One then asked if I'd mind if they did some shooting. Feeling beneficent, I said, "Not at all," and asked what they were gonna AR-15.

Left to right - Yerz Trooly, Andrew und Anthony

Well, I'd never seen one in real life so I asked if they'd mind if I watched. "Not at all!" they replied.

After a lesson in assembly and internet availability of components and a beer (Lagunitas), I stood back to watch.

Then Andrew offered a turn. As much as I dislike the noise, I've always enjoyed trying to hit the target. And this one didn't do too badly. Sighted for a longer distance, I was impressed with how consistent it was. And as Andrew said, "The grouping is more important that the bullseye."

I'll drink to that!

Preliminary Concern

The Shot

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


The sign, six feet tall, read


Lot 33

I made a u-turn and with only a glance at the subdivision's* map, drove straight to her door.

Her welcoming smile and invitation to coffee evoked memories of travels in other lands where hospitality toward strangers is still the norm.

Her art had/has an appealing immediacy (see it here) and we spent the next couple of hours discussing all things of importance, including polyamory.

Vulva  (6-12-11)

At dinner we had bison steaks; the bison having been "taken" by her husband from their back forty.

Three weeks later, on my way back from Alaska (to visit Canice), we, she and I, spent several idyllic weeks (August, 2010) atop a bluff overlooking the Takhini River.

 I got water at Mendenhall Landing, the river so clean it didn't need to be boiled.

In November she rode The Bus to Albuquerque. After introducing her to Michelle, we embarked in Trevor, the Ford Aerostar van, on a six-week sojourn into the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona.

Taking the roads less traveled (the only ones), she guided us over the Animas Mountains to Douglas. From there we followed along the border until turning north to resupply in Sierra Vista. (In those days the border was rife with para-military. And though we were frequently stopped for questioning, we reveled in having it to ourselves.)

Westward across Coronado National Forest to Patagonia Lake, we eventually came up for air in Arivaca. (I STILL cannot find the roads we traveled. At one point we went through a corral (two gates) that was 200 yards from the ranch-house. She was an incredible navigator!)

At home she spends much of her time hiking, weather permitting (or not, as the case may be), wearing naught but a holster with bear-spray. Although nothing of a stereotype, I read not long ago of a Dutch woman who, apparently unaware some people are uncomfortable with nudity, was, while strolling poolside, asked to don a bathing suit.

After we parted, Jozien (pronounced Yo-zeen in Dutch tho I used the Spanish: Ho-see-en), expanded on our experience. Over the following six years she explored the myriad rooms and dungeons of Castle Fetlife. As my karate instructor used to say, the highest compliment was when a student surpassed their teacher.  A woman of exemplary courage!

May 2018

* Subdivision is a bit of misnomer.
Not only is it the only concentration of homes between Whitehorse and Haines Junction, but the smallest lot is 20 acres. Of the twenty or so families who live here, many own several lots. It's 50 miles to Whitehorse and 80 to Haines Junction.

Two weeks ago Jozien came home to find a bear digging in the compost. Ignoring her honking, it continued until having unearthed it's prize, a soup bone, it retired to some nearby bushes.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Indomitable Bob - Hailey

His traverse to the pumps caught my attention. Using those crutches with a cuff that attaches to the forearm, he half dragged himself the distance; the expletives brought me over. They were sparked by his annoyance at having parked too far from the pump. He needed both hands to walk and doing it while holding the hose was too much. But he declined my help. Still, I was unable to leave.

He was 31 when he rolled his CJ5. His head hit against the rollbar putting him in a coma for two months. He awakened to find his right side paralyzed.

I didn't get the sequence of things, but he showed his enlarged right elbow; he'd torn loose ALL the ligaments in a skiing accident. His recovery(ies) peaked around age 50, but since then things had gone downhill. He'll be 74 in October.

He's had nearly all the vertebrae in his spine fused and had stopped counting the surgeries after the 30th. The most recent, three years ago, for the top of his spine, was done through his mouth. A lower vertebrae, still unfused, causes constant pain in his right leg. At some point he'd broken both collar bones.

  • As he settled into the driver's seat, I asked why he hadn't checked out. He gave a glib reply, so I asked again. He folded his hands in his lap, leaned back a bit and said, "I never really thought about it."

We talked a bit more about his history. He'd been drafted in 1968 and after boot camp, spent two months in Paris, France. He was then sent to Kaiserslautern where he was an accountant. He'd had a ball!

His wife is still alive although it sounded as if she too has health problems.

I'm STILL incredulated he's never thought about it.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Ain't Superstitious, but...

over the prev 8 years, from Mustang Island in the Gulf to Palmer, Alaska via the Alcan with only one flat, two in two days got me to wondering. Perhaps it was the DIY fixit kit acquired the other day in Winnemucca that provoked the Jinn?

Whatever, I decided the gods must have other ideas and headed back the way I came.

It's pretty country out west of Pitt-Taylor  Reservoir. No trees; you can see the sun disappear behind the distant hills; no freakin' dawgs yappin', generators or slamming of car doors. And of course, lacking all the aforementioned and best of all, NO PEOPLE! Nice.

Moon Over Pitt-Taylor w Smoke

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Back Road to Burning Man

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), one surmises, is, on behalf of the Paiutes living along highway 447, the main route to Burning Man, stopping folks for minor infractions such as touching the yellow line, dim license-plate lights and speeding, even when folks aren't. Seems like it'd be easier to just charge a toll.

Having authority issues, I was relieved to find a back way in. So far I've only had to repair one flat; we'll see if it holds.

I don't have a ticket to the event, but hope to get close enough to see the art; even if only thru binocs. If, perchance, someone has some extra MDMA or LSD, that'd be icing on the cake.

Tonight's camp is about 75 miles SE of The Playa. Traffic has been heavier than expected. A Jeep driver who was lost needed directions to I-80. The other, headed toward The Playa, went by after dark.

A fyne adventure!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Trapping and Wolves

I subscribe to Advocates For the West's online newsletter. Today, August 21, they sent an alert about a proposed rule change that would extend the time trappers are allowed to leave traps unchecked. My note, submitted through THIS link, is below.

I rarely post about political issues, but I consider trapping an extremely cruel activity. Please take a moment, using the link above, to submit a comment (ala Horton Hears a Who). My hope is that enough comments will come from out-of-state persons to get them thinking about the global community, not just their local interests. (Mike & Sarah, bow hunters I met in the Ruby Mountains, came from New York.)


I am opposed to ALL trapping and, as a U.S. Citizen, am writing to not only express my opposition to this proposed rule change, but to state my desire that you stop trapping completely.

I have been coming to Idaho for nearly 50 years, since I was age 16. Now 65, my partner (female) and I make frequent rips to Idaho from our home near Jackpot, Nevada. We are avid backpackers and wildlife enthusiasts. Not long ago we camped in the Yukon where we were visited for several nights by wolves, recognizable by their howls. This memorable experience will be treasured for the rest of our lives.

The days of trapping are long past. We want our public lands used as habitat, not as fur-farms. Please do all you can to respect OUR wishes.


Michael F. Herrmann
Albuquerque, New Mexico

The LINK again

Friday, August 17, 2018

Green Mountain Adventure by KK

Yesterday, the 1st of August, Michael and I left the camper locked and went west on the Harrison Pass road a few miles to find and explore a road up into the Green Mountain Creek drainage. We had previously driven a little ways up one road that became rough with potholes, didn't have much traffic on it, and so turned back.

We could not find another road that is marked on all our maps as well as showing on Google Earth. Thus we left the camper at our campsite and took Michael's 4-wheel drive Geo Tracker up the rough road that parallels Green Mtn Creek where it flows out southwest to the highway.


We soon came to a cow-bombed area – bare ground covered with cow pies over a large area next to the dry creek.

Wherever grazing occurs on public lands, there is supposed to remain a four-inch stubble

The Forest Service assesses utilization by percentage. 
This is  (dripping sarcasm) 100% utilization

Note humble Phoebe in upper right. She often has occasion to kick her in-step while muttering a self-effacing, "Aw, shucks."

The road track followed the creek but did not get much use judging from its condition and the few tire tracks, but we managed to find our way along the North Fork, which originates on the slopes of Green Mountain, 10,200'. We crossed the creek a couple of times and ended up on its north side when we stopped for lunch in the shade of some willows growing along a nearly dry tributary. A side track going up toward several green draws of aspen coming down the lower slopes of Green Mountain was calling to me, so after lunch I walked up it about a mile, found lots of beaver sign, both old and current, along with cattle destruction, and got back a little after 5 pm. Michael had had a good nap, which was to prove very useful.

After much paper and computer topo map study, we drove slowly up the road track. It was much more appealing to make a circle drive back to the Harrison Pass road and not have to retrace our steps. The lure was a trailhead to Green Mountain - and the Ruby Crest Trail - that we'd seen signed at Harrison Pass the day before. It was not only shorter than going back but surely (I thought) would be a decent road used by hikers on the Ruby Crest trail.

It might rain

But as our road climbed upward to meet this trailhead, it became very rocky. Michael was naturally concerned about damage to his undercarriage, so we would stop and assess the difficulty and if necessary, walk up the track removing problematic rocks. Some were too embedded so they would have to be avoided by driving to left or right of them. In low gear and 4-wheel drive, we successfully climbed up these treacherous stretches, always hoping we'd seen the worst!

The Worst!!

But they continued to appear, even more frequently, and we noticed that it was getting hard to see. The sun was not set but a summer rain system had developed into a thick cloud cover over the whole sky. Neither Michael nor I have the best of vision and it worsened in low light conditions. Feeling more additional pressure as it began to rain large cold drops, I walked ahead clearing the worst rocks and pointing out those I couldn't clear. The Tracker crunched its way up the rocks showing off its fine lineage. (link is to article & vid of 2019 Suzuki Jimny.)

Should we stop and spend the night? What was ahead? Were we on the right track or had we missed a turn? I was pretty low energy, especially in the brain department, but Michael appeared to be enjoying himself, energized by this challenge. Yet he suggested to me that I could look for a "camping place" as I walked ahead assessing and removing rocks. Yet there was no place nearly level enough and we continued. The rain came down harder and the wind blew it through me so I had to take refuge in the car as my body heat dropped. Michael seemed more excited than ever to go onward, now with headlights on.

I helped watch the road and if a rock looked like a problem he would get out and deal with it. In this way we crept up the hills and every so often Michael would check on his GPS and computer where we were.  When it was nearly dark we came to the trailhead" area, which was only another grassy track leading to the left with a Forest Service road number sign. We were elated, and I think I even heard the phrase "home free".

But the track from then on was unbelievable. The rocky areas became less but very steep and twisty challenges began. Where is the road? Our headlights showed only trees or grass. Several times Michael got out with flashlight to see what the deal was. Nearly dropping down over many big humps and gullies, as the hours went by we had to wonder if we'd missed the "main" track. One time it seemed to go nearly straight up. How could this be a road to a trailhead? It was more like a track only used by ATVs. We couldn't see anything outside of the headlights, and once we turned a curve and a striped skunk was in the road, moving toward the tall sidegrass. He again checked our position and yes we were on the right track, the highway just another mile plus away. It seemed interminable, but suddenly there was a small light to our right, vehicle headlights on the Harrison Pass road!

We turned downhill at the pass, where we had emerged. All was pitch black and the rain had stopped. I hadn't noticed there were so many reflector signs next to the highway, but they guided us brightly down the few miles to our turnoff to camp. It was only 9:30 when we pulled in to the happy sight of the camper, but we had been in a mindset of This Is Never Going to End so it seemed miraculous.

The smoked salmon, gin over ice, and olives and pickles were consumed as we talked about, laughed and shook our heads at the challenges we'd never imagined would be up there. Great praises to Phoebe and Michael's driving. I also appreciated his calmness and especially his humor that made it much more endurable, so much less exhausting and antagonizing than it might have been. At one point he said he was good in a crisis, didn't lose his head and enjoyed dealing with it. Who knew?

A few days later when we drove over Harrison Pass to Ruby Valley, there were five vehicles parked in pulloffs at the pass. I'm guessing that people are taking ATVs to the trailhead. Still, it would be a rugged ride up there.

MFH Comments:

Altho this didn't quite qualify as a crisis, there were enough adrenaline-inducing moments to shift me into hysterics - with accompanying humor and more. Near the start, we cleared nearly 1,000 ft of "road" of cobbles that might've caused Phoebe to lose traction...not a good thing when all I'm seeing is sky.

As night descended, the road REALLY got going. For a while it was steep sides with a deep trough down the middle. Next came ruts that, had we slipped, we'd've high-centered. Then a length of REALLY steep slant. Finally, it just disappeared. By flashlight, I walked over the ledge, assessed the boulders and decided on a line-of-travel. It looked kinda bleak if we wanted to go back. Lions und tiggerz und Barren! Yee-haw!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Chip Thomas - Artist-Physician

Featured in the July 30, issue of THE Magazine.


Monday, August 13, 2018


Her Mom taught school here in the '40s and her Dad worked for the Highway Dept. Other family members had businesses, mining claims and homes. Now there are maybe eight people, a dog and some cats.

A plaque on the highway offers a little history, but a fire in 2005 took out most of the remaining buildings. The firefirghters managed to save Uncle Lester's old homestead but there's no evidence it was near the center of town. Her surviving aunt lives up by the spring.

Tabletop Mountain, an iconic marker, is visible for miles.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hazards of Indoor Living

Nothing, of course, equals the blueberries to be had from the Farmers' Markets in Oregon. They're to blame for honing my package-opening enable sampling-before-buying.

Stopping in Wells to resupply, I was pleasantly surprised by the Ocean Spray blueberries at Roy's Market; they actually had a hint of Oregon quality. But what sent me sprawling into commitment (to Roy's) was the discovery of a six-pack of Anchor Steam Porter. At $13.00 it took some seconds to resurrect "It's only money." But once I realized it's our DUTY to encourage merchants to carry items of quality, I slid down the slippery slope of blueberry sugar to beer with no trouble.

By the time I got to Contact the beer was hot. After a reminding swig, I put it in the freezer to cool and settled in to wait with a martini.

Next morning...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Lizzies Basin - East Humboldt Wilderness

The angle was steep and there were large rocks; the tires spun in the dirt. Mike emerged from the SUV and asked about the road ahead. I 'splained it got steeper and rockier and by the end of my 3rd sentence he said, "F-that." Anticipating the next move, Sarah had exited and taken a position to help guide Mike through the fifteen-point turnaround.

Assuming they were day-trippers, I was surprised to see them take up residence a short distance down the hill. Their hatch stayed open a while, then they both came strolling up, each with sizable packs.

After introductions, I learned tomorrow is the first day for bow-hunting mule deer. (I'd wondered why there was so much traffic. Theirs was the fourth vehicle this morning and, totally disgusted, I was packing to move.) They'd flown from New York to Las Vegas, Nevada, rented an AWD, and had an intinerary that included Lizzies Basin. 

Mike estimated that, along with his bow, he was carrying 50 pounds. Sarah looked equally well-equipt.

I wished them luck, asked them to save me the heart and liver, and they headed up the hill.

The temps were nearing 100, but I NEEDED the exercise. I spent the next two hours ascending the steep "road" that leads to the cowed-out mudhole called Lizzies Basin. A mere 1.2 miles, the GPS showed I'd gone  only 0.65 miles. I'd climbed nearly 1,000 feet in that short distance and was sweating so heavily I was almost comfortable.

Thinking of Mark & Bobbie and how far THEY go in their rambles, I took satisfaction in how in the not too distant past, a "trip" of 300 feet was enough to put me down for several hours.

It was dusk when they returned. They'd made it to the "lake" only to discover it was a cowed-out mudhole surrounded by cow shit. They'd spotted a deer, way up on the side of the mountain, too far to pursue, and, disgusted by the conditions, came back down. Hoping to get closer to their next spot, in less than half an hour they were gone. 

What kind of ripple effect will their report to their friends have on the Nevada economy?

Monday, August 6, 2018

B.J. Bull Pasties and Pies - Elko, Nevada

We were both in our early twenties when we met. I, along with my new wife and daughter, had just moved to Albuquerque and Blair, still living with his parents, had the house across the street.

Well-educated, middle-class folks, they'd come from Chicago. Blair had been doing concrete work for several years and along with inheriting his parents height had added about 270 pounds of muscle.

He had a 1947 Indian (motorcycle) with an extended fork that his girlfriend drove while he, perched behind, played his banjo. They and a few other biker friends would drive down to Ruidoso or Hobbs to visit the Dairy Queen...just to have an excuse to ride.

Indian Chief - Steel Gray (2018)

So now, imagine yourself ensconced or upon a vehicle of similar cachet, in the company of someone whose presence delights, having saited your other desires and now in need of further inducement. B.J. Bull Pasties and Pies will, I guarantee, provide the satisfaction. In no way could this be characterized as an excuse; this is a DESTINATION!

A joint venture of two, the woman pictured, I didn't get her name, runs it. As you can see, it's spotless. And when I wandered in around 2:30, she was nearly sold out. So, plan accordingly.

Excerpted w/o permission from Google review: Pasties (pass-tees), nothing fancy just good pasties, Cornish miners introduced pasties to the mining communities, they are a meat pie able to be eaten by hand when working in the mines.) Similar to the knishes one finds in the delis of Shaker Heights, Ohio.

I enjoyed both the beef (with potato) and cabbage (I forget its other ingredients) pasties and bought the remaining bread pudding, an apple pie and a pecan pie, all three of perfect proportion. Never much of a bread-pudding fan, this one completely changed my attitude. The other two, as stated above, are guaranteed.

Thank god Indian revived. Now all you need is a driver and to tighten up your banjo riffs.