Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The pendulum swings

Our faux summer is coming to an abrupt end.  The past week has been amazing.  The little graph says it all--temps have been rising each day.  The past few days we have been in the mid-70's, peaking out yesterday here at 76!  That was only 3 degrees "cooler" than the official high at Phoenix of 79.  It actually felt downright HOT in Mesa Monday.  I forgot to put the sunshade in the truck Monday and the cab was too hot to get into.  Pretty amazing.  Well, that's all just history now.  The winds will pick up today and temps will drop.  By this weekend the high country might get a foot of snow while lots of rain will fall here at our 3500 foot elevation.  The daily high temps will struggle to reach 50 this weekend.  There's a saying in these parts, "Dust to mud in minutes."  It seems that the weather pendulum swings even more wildly these days.  It also seems that the "new normal" is no normal.

Josh & I had a great river trip yesterday.  Josh did a superb job paddling.  Thanks, Goatherder, for running the Shuttle With a Smile.  We will soon write up a longer narrative of the trip and post it on the river project guide.

The morning target shooting session was far more fun that I expected.  About fifteen guys get together each Tuesday to have a genuine target shooting extravaganza.  Everyone brings a variety of heavy duty metal targets as well as numerous paper target stands.  It's all very well organized.  They have formal Shooting Range Rules and everyone looks out for each other and makes certain no one violates the rules.  Everyone wears expensive ear protection and some of them use electronic bullet speed monitoring devices.  There's an impressive array of pistols in usage and the marksmanship is outstanding.  The oldest shooter is 87 and the youngest is perhaps 13.  Dear Friend Tom B. was my host and Mentor yesterday.  Tom's a lifelong shooter and exceptionally good.  He's been inviting me to this event for quite some time. Tom's old sidekick, Wes G. was there as well.  It was great to get to visit with him.

Frankly, I haven't gone because I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of career shooters.  Well, guess what?  I did pretty good yesterday and could definitely hold my own.  I might not be Annie Oakley but I can at least hit the targets.  Tom let me shoot one of his famous 1911 .45 automatics and I definitely did OK hitting the metal targets.  I also did pretty good with my .22 long barrel H&R 9-shot revolver.  (There's a huge long story about that pistol we will tell one of these days.)

I told one of the guys that I had been reluctant to come because of the quality of marksmanship on display and he said, "You're not shooting against anybody but yourself--you're hear to improve your own marksmanship."  He made me feel welcome and everyone helped me feel comfortable. One shooter passed on some welcome tips on how to improve my grip.  Everyone obviously really enjoys everyone else's company and it was the great fun.  It reminded me of the shooting events I went to with my Dad so long ago. There's a great camaraderie among shooters who know and love their sport. I regret not going sooner this winter and I look forward to attending every week until we head north.  THANKS, Tom!

Gary called last night while I was milling around the campfire.  He's down in Stansfield, a fly speck place in the Lower Sonoran Desert.  He's attending a re-enactor event with over 400 participants.  They are all learning and practicing the use of primitive skills like starting a fire with sticks or making arrowheads from rocks--that sort of stuff.  Anyway, we got to talking about the Tuesday Target shooting event and we both decided to bring something special next week.  No, not a .38 Special--we're gonna set up a breakfast bar, make hot coffee and have donuts and such for everybody.

Sparky The Electrician is coming today to install a 30 amp RV circuit.  Maybe once we get legit RV power here Dear Friend Nancy McC will bring her Rialta down for an overnight visit.  We waffled between 30 and 50 amp but settled on 30 amp after I quizzed some RV salesmen this past weekend.  They told me 50 amp would be mostly needed if someone was running two air conditioners and a washer and dryer in their RV.  Um....I kinda doubt that's gonna be the case here at 2nd Chance Ranch.  Anyway (hopefully) we will be feng shui with 30 amp service later today.

Our neighbor--the National Park--is turning what they call "The Old Field" next door into was seems like a sea of multi-colored plastic flagging.  It's been a hub-bub of activity all week.  They even had heavy machinery out there augering deep holes near some of the flagging.  Some guy has been walking around with a space age big GPS unit while other people have been unloading huge piles of wire cages.  Whazzup?  This Saturday they think they are going to put in 1200 native plants out there.  They want to screen out our house and other houses around their western NPS periphery.  It's a long story that's not worth retelling.  Anyway, wouldn't you know that the weather is gonna be downright inhospitable Saturday when all this comes down?

Speaking of Saturday, it looks like we're gonna cross paths with two of our favorite people--DFs & LBRs Maggie and her daughter, Kelli.  We will also get to meet Kelli's fiancé, Mike.  The trio will be in Cottonwood to secure a tent for Kelli and Mike's June wedding.  I was already planning to go to Cottonwood to attend an LDS "emergency preparedness" open house.  So, no matter what the weather, we're planning on having a great time Saturday.

We haven't heard Susun's Tuesday report yet.  When we do, we will post it up here, too.  We trust she and Stasea are having a wonderful time together.

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp


The Goatherder said...

You have to wear Camo and your Tea Party Patriot hat to that emergency thing. Don't forget or you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Rumor has it that Mr. Beck will be in attendance to discuss the coming rebirth of the Caliphate. Oops...politics = no good. Feel free to delete my comment. ;-)

John Parsons said...

Actually, GH, the LDS Emergency Preparedness Fairs are awesome. We really look forward to them. They are very family-oriented and worthwhile. We could all learn a lot from the LDS about how to be prepared for emergencies or all types.