Well! That last letter was a long one, eh? I had to write so much in
order to wrap around all those fine pictures. Got some nice comments back
about Denali and the Desert Tortise. But this time I will try to make up
for it. This letter will be so much shorter.
My flight north was Ok but beernuts and Baileys does not a sufficient lunch make. It was the first time I have flown since returning from CHCH in 1997. I'll be happy if my next niece does not get married for a long while.
My return flight was another storey. My aluminium trunk (5cu, nearly 60lbs), which with its contents survived several trips to and from McMurdo and Palmer was "selected for physical inspection" by the Transportation Security Administration (presumably at MHT however I don't know that). Except that they were not careful and I was not present. I've heard about how TSA has absolutely no compunction about opening personal luggage so I took the precaution of leaving the keys in the locks. That part worked ok. I also packed everything very carefully so that my books and papers, photographs and accoutrement, might survive the inconsiderateness of the baggage handlers. Thanks to TSA however, and the baggage handlers of course, the contents of the trunk were in a state of disarray when I opened it upon retrieval at PHX. If I ate books instead of read them the mess would have been a good breky--the upended jug of maple syrup was in process of oozing its contents onto the stack of books which I had left carefully separated and self-contained. The zipper on my large daypack was damaged as was the zipper on an accompanying daypack.
I wrote TSA: I feel that if you must go to the trouble of such invasive searches then you should at least take the time to set things right. Or you should have the courtesy to inform the passenger of your inability to repack their luggage. Your impertinent mishandling of my personal effects is appalling; national security is no excuse for such rudeness.
The day after I returned to Eldo the owners departed northward for their
quest to sunbathe in the Midnight Sun, north of the Arctic Circle. I did
that during the Summer of 1998. See On
The Road Letter 98e "North To Alaska... Finally" et.al. elsewhere
in these pages.
Round and round with the numbers. Counting the pile over and over. Finally I went to Jodi and asked her to come help me. We went round and round together trying to add up the numbers different ways and make it work. Trying to find where the money could be. The day-sheet rarely is perfect the way it gets done here since we never count the quarters. You can be a few dollars off one way or the other if there are a lot of quarters involved. But this was a matter of 90$.
Finally, after an hour or so, Jodi remarked that the amount, when you added the numbers just so this way, the amount missing exactly equalled the amount due from this particular person who soaked for three hours and had a one hour massage. Perhaps the transaction was a charge and not the cash that the day-sheet indicated. I went to the charge machine--we have a new one now that has all sorts of fancy reporting capability--and asked it. No dice. No such transaction was indicated.
So we went round the block again but now we were stuck with this perfect result and so came back to the same conclusion like it or not. Then it hit me. WHAM! I knew where the error was.
Not only had the person making the sale failed to note that it was a charge, but I had closed out the charge machine just after that sale in order to finish the previous week so that particular charge slip was with last week's records although it was not counted there. I did remember not to count it and had told my Self to count it the next day. That was what I forgot. It didn't help any that the duty deskie had failed to note that the sale was a charge.
In the middle of our rejoicing we heard the hello bell ring and Jodi noticed a man standing at the desk with a towel in one hand and money in the other. Oh my! Who could that be? A customer? At this hour? Uh-oh! It is nine o'clock and we have a party for Corral... Nothing is started yet...
Well, I'd better get to it now. My turn to open again; I have yet to
count today's money and the irrigation begs to be done first.
Glad you like them. In some of the snailmail versions of that letter
I send to the "internet deprived correspondents" on my list I have to cover
the bare parts. I have taken to using a cat's paw print rubber stamp to
walk all over the images. And just to emphasize the stupidity of their
censor's prudish insensibilities I walk all over the "private parts" of
the turtle and the cat and of course any bare breasts of men as well.
Amateur Radio Field Day has been happening for not quite as long as Drumming the Solstice. Hams tend specialise in various aspects of their hobby. Even those who don't are said to be rag-chewers when all they do is talk. Field Day is an opportunity for the Amateur Radio community to get out of the shack and demonstrate emergency preparedness by setting up stations in other locations: Out in a field, at the Civil Defence or Red Cross building, at a shopping center or in a park, or in our case, at a hot spring where we could operate "barefoot". Usually, operating barefoot means to make contacts without high-power amplifiers, using only the bare radio. For us, the "Ultimate Barefoot Radio Operators" (UBARO), the radios were not the only things working bare.
We claimed more points for bonuses (500) than for contacts (24) but
at least had fun and demonstrated a non-traditional mode of operation.
What the hell is that? The last fog of dream shreds as I lean up on one elbow.
Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Has the Alarum Cat found a new tool to get me awake at Oh-Dark-Thirty? Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Its not my smoke detector, that's for sure, mine has a pattern. This is Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-and it seems to be coming from outside.
Chi was bouncing around between cactus and Buda, my tool box and bicycle--with its flat tyre waiting to be fixed. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Venus rose above the Bamboo Wall and I wandered south toward the incessant Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep- It seemed to be getting stronger as my torch was dimming. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep- the lights were on at Jodi's and there were campers in Mesquite East. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-I turned toward Jodi's camp...
Beep-Beep-Beep-And it stopped...
Jodi was moving about. Having coffee and getting her last details ready, preparing to depart by 05h00 for a week of holiday with family. --Not mine, she expostulated when I inquired sleepily, I was over by the toilet when it started. I heard voices just then that might have been from Mesquite East and Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-there it was again. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-
Rudely leaving Jodi about to offer me a cuppa, the Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-had a stronger attraction and I turned towards the east. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-got louder but it was hard to pinpoint such a piercing Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-
I walked east, it seemed to be north. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep- I walked north around the front of the CyB Alleged MH, Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-past the Geo, Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-and the Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-seemed to be beeping behind me. And it stopped.
Around through the office and back towards Jodi. Maybe she would try to offer me the cuppa again. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep- WTF-Over? Turned east again, behind The Cat Drag'd Inn, and north between her and the CyB Alleged MH. The Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-was for sure strongest here Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-.
It was inside the Alleged MH! I went for the key.
Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-started again as I fumbled in the dark. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-somehow now there was a note of anxiety Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-as I got closer to the source. Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-was stronger now. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-to the front. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-the computer? BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-no. More this way BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-up. Over here. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-Shine the light here. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-Ah-Ha!
The Smoke Detector!
A little musty perhaps... A trace of incense... Leftover warmth from yesterday... No smoke tho... Maybe the bat-trees dead. Good thing I wasn't driving. I bet that would've scared the curves out of the road.
Back to Jodi's tent, to see about that coffee.
It's gone now. She's ready to leave. I'll go start my own coffee and
replace this battery. And maybe go back to bed.
Then the beekeeper came to collect another hive. The bees don't care
to soak but they do like the water. All day long tanker bees fly to and
fro, carrying water back to their hives. Some of our paying customers are
annoyed and all of them are at risk of being stung. Over the past few weeks
three hives have been removed. The bees mostly build their combs in sheltered
areas within the bamboo wall however the two hives we are looking for today
turn out to be other constructions. The largest is in a wooden shipping
pallet in the back of a wrecked semi trailer next door to the east. Larry
the beekeeper estimates 100-120 pounds of honey and several thousand bees.
Another hive is found under a millvan in a lot a hundred yards northwest.
Two down, more to go.
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered
before me. --Sir Isaac Newton
Back to Oso
Back to ajo
Copyright © 2004, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Center Conway NH 03813-0144.