Thursday, March 31, 2011


It's all dry heat, don't ya know?  Well, 90 is a cold front in the middle of an Arizona summer but it sure it HOT on the last day of March.

PointHumidityDirectionSpeedSettingPressure24 hourControl
31 Mar 4:04 pm903917S30.0326.5150.00OK
31 Mar 3:45 pm903917SSW30.0326.5150.00OK
31 Mar 3:35 pm903917ENEG0230.0326.5150.00OK
31 Mar 3:24 pm903917SSW3G0330.0326.5150.00OK
31 Mar 3:14 pm904118NW30.0326.5150.00OK
31 Mar 3:04 pm903917WSW30.0326.5150.00OK
31 Mar 2:45 pm894018WSW30.0526.5330.00OK
31 Mar 2:34 pm904118N30.0526.5330.00OK
31 Mar 2:25 pm894018SSW3G0530.0526.5330.00OK
31 Mar 2:05 pm883918NWG0230.0526.5330.00OK
31 Mar 1:44 pm874019W2G0430.0926.5690.00OK
31 Mar 1:35 pm874019WSWG0230.0926.5690.00OK
31 Mar 1:24 pm874019SSEG0330.0926.5690.00OK
31 Mar 1:14 pm874019W30.0926.5690.00OK
31 Mar 1:04 pm854020W30.1126.5870.00OK
31 Mar 12:54 pm854020SW30.1126.5870.00OK
31 Mar 12:26 pm823821SW7G0730.1126.5870.00OK
31 Mar 12:15 pm823821SSE30.1126.5870.00OK
31 Mar 12:14 pm823821SSE30.1126.5870.00OK
31 Mar 11:44 am813922NNE3G0330.1426.6140.00OK
31 Mar 11:34 am803822SEG0530.1426.6140.00OK
31 Mar 11:24 am803923SW30.1426.6140.00OK

Thoroughly Thursday

We're definitely showing the affects of our 63 years of age this morning.  Yesterday's adventure was seven hours "portal-to-portal" and Josh and I paddled about 13.5 miles with two portages.  We marked and photographed almost 20 waypoints on the GPS and were on the water 4.5 hours.  The on-river portion of this project is finished and it feels good for all of us who made it happen.  Now, we have to wrap up our photos, GPS data and narratives and ship them off to Chip N.  That's when we can finally wash our hands of this project and move on.  Josh really shined yesterday.  He really demonstrated some sharp paddling techniques and now understands the timing and purpose of various strokes.  I seldom had to tell him which stroke to use or when to use it.  He sure came a long way since our first trip in late January.  By the way, Josh appears in a great article wirtten about his Grand Canyon Youth river trip last summer.  You can click here to see it.  Our trip ended yesterday with perfect timing.  As the canoe nudged the muddy shore, Suzi's Shuttle Service wheeled onto the ramp.  Sweet!

We took along the HAM radio yesterday and it worked perfectly, of course.  Someone from the local HAM club jumped in while I was calling N7NUU (AKA: Gary) and invited me to lunch today over in Cottonwood.  That's my main event for today and I sure am looking forward to putting faces together with call signs.  Meanwhile, The Yagi Project continues and we will be writing that up on our HAM blog soon.

We also received a cell phone call from a stranger while at the put-in.  The gist of the call is that we might wind up buying another vehicle today.  Naturally, that's a long story but stay tuned, it could be a big story.  No, it's NOT another Samurai.

Susun went off late Wednesday afternoon to spend the night with Phyllis.  Phyllis spent a year in Cairo, Egypt, and was showing all her slides last night.  Based on the few photos I saw on her email narratives, I'm sure it was an entertaining experience.

Gary and I shared the campfire by ourselves last night and enjoyed the usual discussion of "guy stuff."  It's getting hot here now.  The temp here was above 80 from 1:30 - 5:30 and peaked at 83 yesterday. Today's supposed to be hotter.  On the river it felt like early summer.  The cedar gnats came out yesterday.  Perhaps that ought to be our new motto, "When the cedar gnats fly, we're outta here." 

Not much else to report.

Please send some special energy to DF & LBR Maggie.  She's been going through some tough times lately.  Husband Steve's Dad passed on in San Jose last week.  We all know how hard such times are.  We're all thinking great thoughts for you, Maggie!  Hang in there!

Have a great day and Much to Cheer about.  jp

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whazzup This Wednesday?

Time has that habit and it keeps on slipping into the future.  It always seems odd when we realize we haven't posted up here for 48 hours or more.  ¿Wot hoppened to Monday and Tuesday, anyway?

We three enjoyed a lazy morning Monday.  Spudboater worked on her blog and created a flurry of posts.  They are all great blog posts and you can click here to read them.  The pace picked up in the early afternoon.  Our Monday adventure harked back to that line in the Gilligan's Island opening theme song, "Five passengers set sail that day for a three hour tour. A three hour tour."  We hiked to the top of Sacred Mountain to ponder puzzles of past people.  Then we went over to V Bar V to peruse the petroglyphs and their mysteries.  After that, we hiked a short distance down Wet Beaver Creek to some red bed ledges.  And then it was over to the star of our local show, Montezuma Well National Monument.  After a late lunch, the remainder of the afternoon quickly slipping into the future of a campfire.  We linger long over those fine flames as it was Spudboater's last evening here at 2nd Chance Ranch.  Gary came over and, as usual, a good time was had by all.  (More blog narrative below photos.)

Tuesday was your basic blur.  The morning disappeared all too quickly amid the hurry hustle of a busy day.  I left right after 8 am to head off to Tuesday Target Shooting.  Spudboater and Susun departed for Cordes Junction about 8:30 and arrived on time for her airport shuttle.  Luckily, we built a large margin of error into her shuttle schedule.  Her shuttle was late but she has ample time to make her flight.  She arrived just fine back in Boise and sent a sweet note south soon afterwards.  Here is a partially edited version of it:

"You two are two of the very best friends a person could ever have. Thank you thank you thank you for your gracious hospitality, and your unswerving friendship and good humor.  The entire time with both of you and making new friends was an absolute highlight of my life. Really! Talk about a harmonic convergence! I really like the Goatherders and Gary and Robin.  And seeing Brock and Kate Blevins was great, too.  I don't think we could have made up better stories than the ones we were all a part of. I've updated the blog already and added a few of your photos into mine. I look forward to your post about our V bar V trip and Sacred Mountain etc yesterday. And once I download my video I'll do one more blog about Wet Beaver Creek."

Thanks, Spudboater, you were a delight to have visit here and we all thoroughly enjoyed your ebullient enthusiasm and spirited spark.   Hey, here's a first---Spudboater made a blog post on a topic BEFORE we did!  Way to go!

We still have to get all those race day photo processed and posted in an online album but it looks like the delay will continue for awhile.  More about that below.

Susun spent the rest of Tuesday in Sedona helping Chuck.  She has a surprise lunch with Doug and Judy from Mountain Home, Idaho.  She arrived home after her long day about 5 pm.  After a real energetic target shooting morning, I went off to Cottonwood to pick up the manual for the IC-V8.  I also launched The Yagi Project.  (As noted, we will keep our HAM chatter off this blog so all of the details will eventually be over on the KF7OTE blog.)

Josh and I finally made a date and a deal to finish up our river project today.  We made 100% of our arrangements via cell phone texting.  I know, some of you are probably laughing about that.  But it's a heck of a lot easier to swap a few texts than it is to hem and haw over a voice conversation about a river trip.  The texts cut right to the chase and leave no room for debate or error.

Sooo....that being said, the clock is now ticking on pre-trip prep.  As Hank the Cow Dog would say, "Oh, Boy!"  Today's final paddle is gonna be a long one.  We put in at the Black Bridge and go to Beasley.  The total trip length will be upwards of 13-14 miles--we don't know the distance from Black Bridge to White Bridge.  We do know it's ten miles down from White Bridge.  The water's dropped a lot since the race so we shouldn't have any problems with the strainers.  The key word, of course, is "shouldn't."  We shall see.

The weeds here are all laughing at me.  I hear their taunts and hoots and hollars.  Well, all I can is, "Enjoy your last days alive, Weeds, we're comin' after ya soon!"

Time to proceed on.  Have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Spudboater and Susun drove over to hike in Red Rock Country yesterday but not until we engaged in a little outdoor recreation--cooking bacon outside on the Coleman 413D.  Ah, Sunday bliss is a BLT for breakfast with a side of scrambled eggs.  While S&S enjoyed their sojourne, I mostly milled around trying to avoid anything resembling work.  I spent quite a bit of time practicing darts and even going so far as to study dart grips, stance and throwing motions on the internet.  Meanwhile, Gary called and said he finally scored the radio we had both been waiting so long for.  As soon as I heard the good news, I downloaded the manual and the learning curve began.  There's a long post about it on our HAM blog.  Click here to go there.

After S&S returned, we all went over to Robin and Gary's for a tour de rancho.  R&G are doing some pretty awesome things there on their little homestead.  The day basically flitted away and campfire time rolled around quickly.  We cut up a pile of mesquite and had a great fire.  We threw on a dutchy full of Idaho potatoes for breakfast this morning.  Gary, Susun and I listened to some pretty entertaining stories from Spudboater and some of them had us LOL-ing in a major way.  Hey, did you know LOL is now an official word recognize by the poo-bahs at Oxford Dictionary?  True.

Well, spring is coming on strong now--we hear it's going to try to push 90 by the end of the week.  Geeze, Louise, 90?  What hath global warming wrought?

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Party Fairy

The Party Fairy worked her magic on our gathering yesterday and another nice event took place at 2nd Chance Ranch.  Far fewer friends attended this party compared to Game Day on February 6th.  Thanks to Bonnie, Bob B., Goatherder, Kate, Lin, Robin, Gary, Bob R., Marsha, Rosa, Spudboater, and The Party Fairy for making it such a special event!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ten Miles in 1:42

Spudboater really shined today.  Although she finished 2nd in her class, there's quite a story behind her race.  First off, she was entered in "Women's Recreational Solo Kayak."  Spudboater quickly realized she belonged in the expert class and changed categories.  It's a good thing she did because somebody probably would have cried "foul" after being beaten by 15-30 minutes.  Spudboater would have been so far ahead of the Recreational Class.   The woman who won first in Women's Competitive Solo Kayak was paddling a 17-foot ocean kayak with a steerable rudder.  Boats like that are almost impossible to beat with an old 4-meter fiberglass artifact.  Meanwhile, the spray skirt leaked and Spudboater wound up carrying about 40 pounds of water downstream.  Instead of a 32-pound boat, she was paddling a 72 pound boat.  So, the fact that she finished only six minutes off of the winner's time was truly remarkable.  WAY TO GO, SPUDBOATER!  Above, Spudboater crossed the finish line at Beasley Flats. In photo below, Gary and Spudboater pose with Das Boot and her nice plaque that she was awarded.   We took about 70 photos so we will post them up tomorrow.  The party begins in a few minutes so we don't have time to write any more details.  It was a great race and created a story we will be telling around the campfire for years to come.

King Fox SEVEN Old Timer Echoes

 Yep, Good Buddies, I got my HAM call sign from the FCC yesterday morning.  I yama HAM.  The call sign is KF7OTE.  All sorts of cool HAM stuff took place yesterday.  I rec'd my first antenna in the mail, bought the domain name "" and even have my first loaner radio from Robin (N7OAU) and Gary (N7NUU).  The hand held radio is a Yaesu FT-238.  After this paragraph appears here, all our HAM stuff will be written over on  We promise it won't clutter up this blog.  THANKS, Robin & Gary.

Another big news item of the day was received while Spudboater was visiting with Goatherder.  We rec'd a call from Chip N.  The Verde River Recreation Guide project received a $10,000 grant award!  WAY TO GO, CHIP!  The money will pay for a real professional hard copy production of the guide as well as maintenance of an online interactive version that can be updated in near real time.  The third big new item of the day was that NEMAC came to visit.  That's Dear Friend & LBR Nancy McC. from Flagstaff.  She was attending a school-related conference in Mesa and stopped by for a couple of hours on her way back north.  It was great to see her and get caught up on some of her "doings."  Nancy delivered the fourth big news item of the day:  The Verde River Facebook account is very popular and Nancy herself really love reading it every day.  Doug Von G. has turned out to be quite the evocative writer.  Nancy says his daily snippets are wonderful.  As LBR's will recall, the idea for that Facebook acct. was born right here inside Straw Central on February 22. That's the "2-2-2 too much day."  Click here for the blog post recap of that day.

It was a very good campfire that lasted over two hours before Robin and Gary went home and we three came inside to eat a fine meal by Miss Susun.  Susun spent a good portion of the day visiting with Betty.  Spudboater and I visited Montezuma Castle, Fort Verde, the Verde River White Bridge RAP, Black Canyon, Wally World, Safeway and GH's Place.  A good time was had by all.  In an hour, SB and I leave for her race day extravaganza.  Then let the party begin this afternoon.  It promises to be a long but happy day.

Many Cheers, jp

Friday, March 25, 2011


Sometime this morning, perhaps as I write this, we will record our 6000th blog visitor since we began counting last June 19th.  And one of our blog visitors showed up in person so we technically have 6001 blog visitors this morning.  Welcome to 2nd Chance Ranch, Spudboater, it's great to have am LBR spend a few days at Blogger HQ here at the Straw House. 

Spudboater had a long and circuitous day--flying from Boise to Portland and then to Phoenix.  Then her shuttle was late, traffic was bad and she arrived in Cordes Junction an hour late.  We barely got her back to 2CR in time to get a fire flickering by sunset.  It was a great night for Ye Ol' Campfire and we stayed out for more than two hours.  Gary came over and we all had a fun time.  It was a tad bit breezy but our new windshield handled the air flow well.  The metal sheet was used for many years as an irrigation turnout on the adjacent NPS property.  It's kind of an artifact we've been saving for a long time.  Now it finally has a purpose.

Have a great day and Many Cheers, jp

Thursday, March 24, 2011

He Did It

It wasn't all that long ago, maybe 2-3 weeks that we were kidding (pun intended) The Goatherder about how he ought to get a bumper sticker with a certain statement on it.  Well, he gone and dun it.  Here it is.
Way to go, GH!

Handle With Care

Thirty year old fiberglass kayaks are antiques and artifacts.  This one is pristine and ought to be in a museum someplace.  Anyway, you have to treat them VERY carefully.  So, most of today so far has been all able making a special rack for the kayak.  It's form-fitted and foam-lined.  The old 4-meter boat fits in perfectly and won't wiggle even a millimeter or two.

Special Delivery

A new chapter is set to begin in the saga of the Phoenix Cascade.  We were supposed to pick it up over at Gary's yesterday afternoon.  However, everyone's Day Plans changed and we then thought we'd get it today.  Imagine our surprise when Gary strolled through the mesquites and up the wash to make a special delivery of the venerable boat with the long story.  THANKS, GARY!

Gary made his first flight in his "new" ultralight yesterday.  He bought a used one.  He's been a hang glider and a licensed pilot since the 70's so he's no stranger to the friendly skies.

Gary's been telling me to buy a Garmin GPS 60csx at COSTCO before they disappear.  The 60 csx is the one we're using for the Verde River Guide project.  It not ours but we like it so much we want one, too.  Well, we should have listened to Gary cuz they are no longer for sale at COSTCO.  Dang.  As luck would have it, a used 60 csx ebay auction was ending at 3 pm yesterday.  After a spirited bidding war, we won it for $200.  The seller is the Big Dog Pawn Shop in West Jordan, Utah.

Speaking of Big Dogs, we went over to Myron's to buy a crab.  Myron's dog, aptly named "Big" here inspects the crab to make sure all is copacetic.  We will write a post on our Zuki blog about Myron's crabs.

It took longer than expected to park The Spudboater's guest cottage.  Our big truck has set so long the battery was stone cold totally dead.  It took several hours to charge it.  Susun worked her magic on the interior and it's quite a cozy little abode now.  Lots more remains to be done to it today.

Congratulations to Kirsty and her Family.  She finally posted a birth announcement on her blog.  Baby Ellabeth Malia was born at 12:19 am March 22nd.  She weighed 9 pounds and measured 21.5 inches.  These are very Happy Days in Kirsty's home.

Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back by popular demand

Hum....where HAVE we been anyway?  No blog post for 48 hours.  That's unusual but not totally unheard of.  Tuesday morning was far too high speed for a blog post.  We barely made it to the 9 am Target Shoot on time.
Then we became involved in a bank error that caused to have to rush  back to Camp Verde to rectify.  Luckily, the bank waived $70 worth of overdraft fees and the episode ended well and we were happy.  Meanwhile, a backlog of household chores ate the remainder of Tuesday.  I finally got around to cleaning and  organizing my shed.  If left alone, a guy's shed will devolve into total chaos in a very short timeframe.  It's all nice now. Our lit our campfire only minutes before sunset.

Monday was as described--some unremarkable errands.  Gary and Tom and I spent over 3 hours in his gunshop while he worked on the 1911's new trigger and other fine points.  There was no campfire Monday night--far too wet and cold.

The Target Shoot was, as usual, a barrel of fun. (Pun intended.)  Pete and Tom spent about 20 minutes giving me welcome hands on instruction in everything wrong with my grip, stance, posture and sight plane.  In that short time they did an extreme makeover of how I had been shooting a pistol.  I had no idea everything I was doing was wrong.  After the Target Shoot ended, I joined the group a the Hideaway restaurant to listen to their stories and enjoy their easy-going camaraderie.  They are fun folks.

Today promises to be even more mundane than the previous two. The Spudboater will be arriving from Boise Thursday afternoon.  Today's the day we set up her guest cottage.  We're parking the Skamper in its own little alcove of mesquites and will have it all set up for her five night stay.

Well, that's about all there is to report.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Cheers, jp

Monday, March 21, 2011

Slow Sunday

As we mentioned yesterday, Sunday was very s-l-o-w.  Susun took off for a solo trip to Cottonwood to do laundry and print photos.  I finally rallied up about 2 pm and spent 3+ hours whacking weeds.  It was really windy all day long.  Oddly, when campfire time rolled around, the wind obediently laid down and conditions were strangely stone calm.  Not long after the campfire was finished, the winds picked back up and really howled during the middle of the night.  The rains finally arrived not long after 9 am this morning.  This storm is supposed to yield anywhere from a half inch to an inch at our location.  The jury's out on whether it will do that.

Today it's my turn for a solo trip to Cottonwood.  Susun has a lot of various here at Straw Central.  Gary might meet up with Tom and I later this morning for a pistol maintenance lesson.  All of my other errands are far too mundane to mention.

This morning, we finally connected the dots and registered The Spudboater for the Verde Canoe Challenge this coming weekend.  As rocket scientists like to say, "All systems are a go."

Not much else going on--this is a lazy Monday following an equally lazy Sunday.

Cheers, jp

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Super Moon Trifecta

As you undoubtedly know, the media has been ga-ga over yesterday's so-called Super Moon.  We were originally underwhelmed by the whole concept.  Afterall, every full moon phase is a monthly cycle to be endured.  Something weird is usually bound to happen during any typical full moon.  It goes with the lunar turf.
So, we weren't expecting much out of the Super Moon.

However, three interesting things took place yesterday.  You be the judge about this trifecta.  First, we learned The Spudboater wouldn't be able to race in the Canoe Challenge next Saturday.  The power of the waxing moon helped us really unload some choice words on the organizers.  Frankly, our emails were rude.

Second, the waxing moon caused us to cram our booties off for the ham exam.

Third, the waxing moon helped us find, buy and install a hardtop for the Samurai.  Unfortunately, the haste and hurried-ness engendered bb the typical full moon caused us to forget a vital part for the hardtop when we picked it up.  OK, there you have the stage set for yesterday's trifecta.

We got up at 5:30 am and continued to cram for the exam.  We rushed over to the far west side of Prescott and took the ham exam.  We scored a perfect 100% and were Happy Campers.  Then we jammed way back east out to that lonely airstrip where we bought the hardtop.  The missing part was supposed to be taped to a fence post.  Nope.  No luck.  As we were walking down that lonely granite gravel strip, Volkzuk called.  (That's the seller's ZOA nickname.)  He said he might be able to meet with me in three hours.  Dejected and tired, I decided to return home to the Verde Valley.

After arriving home, Susun brightened my spirits by having a chicken sandwich already made and sitting in the fridge with a wonderfully sweet note.  THANKS, Susun, the power of your positivism is awesome!

By and by Volkzuk called again and said, "I can meet you in 45 minutes at the Prescott Valley NAPA."  So, I jumped in the Nissan and jammed through some of the craziest traffic I've seen outside Salt Lake City.  The full moon makes carzy drivers crazier.  A Super Moon makes them Super Crazy.  Volkzuk showed up within a minute of the appointed time.  But it went right down to the wire.  He couldn't find the part in his many pockets.  He fumbled fuming through every pocket twice before the part magically appeared.  Ah, SUCCESS!  I picked up a pair of color-matched metric machine screws at the NAPA and blasted back home, arriving tired and wiped out.  But at least the missing part was on hand.  I installed itimmediately and now we can actually USE our $500 hardtop.  Whew.

Susun had a wonderfully relaxing and fun day with Robin.  They had a Girls Day in Cottonwood, having lunch at a Thai place, browsing all the Old Town shops and buying gourmet olive oil and blueberry balsamic vinegar, too.  Susun can brighten the most tiring and arduous of days and so she helped rally me up from the fatigue of far too many stressful miles yesterday.

I cut some mesquite and we enjoyed a great campfire.  Gary brought over a Yagi antenna and we talked HAM stuff for awhile.  Meanwhile, at 7:24 pm that Big Boogie Man--The Super Moon--finally showed his glowing white face over The Mogollon Rim, rising just left of Hollingshead Point.  The three of us stood in awe of that handsome Mister Moon and then stirred the embers awhile more before bidding goodnight.

We came in to a fine baked chicken-mushroom casserole and I decided to check Ye Ol' Email.  Much to my profound shock and awe and abject amazement, there sat two emails from the Canoe Challenge race organizers.  One was an apology from the Main Man and the other was the form with which to registerThe Spudboater for the race. Amazing, but true.  It was a stunning end to a wild and crazy day--the Super Moon Trifecta!

We're profusely thankful everything turned out OK during the waxing moon cycle this week.  Each of the three of these little soap opera vignettes could have easily gone the other way.  Enjoying three great gifts in a single day somehow makes their total greater than the sum of their parts.

You may not have ever realized this but you will probably agree.  Begin watching yourself, your family, friends, neighbors and people in stores and on highways on the day following a full moon.  There is a noticeable ebb of activity and energy on that monthly day.  People are moving slower and sometimes appear to be "dazed and confused," as the saying goes.  We sure feel that way this morning.  We're moving low and slow and who knows when our energy tide will begin to rise and flow again.  We're very happy and glad this past week is now just a historical footnote.

Cheers, jp

PS--Kirsty's Baby may have been born yesterday, too.  She was due March 16.  As you can see, Kirsty left a comment yesterday hoping the Super Moon would lure her Baby out.  Thanks, Kirsty! We send our prayers that all is well with Kirsty and her Family.  Please join us in sending positive energy her way.  We anxiously await Kirsty's Birth Announcement.

PPS--Happy Spring!  At 4:21 pm today (Sunday) March 20th, it is officially the Vernal Equinox, AKA: Spring.  Sing a Happy Spring Song and spread some spring cheer.  Yea, SPRING!

Friday, March 18, 2011

SuziQ gets a New Doo!

So, this is how the day shook out.  I got tired of taking practice exams.  I hate to utter this word but I got BORED!  I mean how many times came you score in the mid-90 percentile before your forehead hits the desktop.  Anyway, after a few hours of that, I had to run screaming from The Straw House.  What to do?  How to settle down?  Ah, Zuki Fever, of course.  First, I ran off to Myron's Place.  That's a lot like playing Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.  Myron waved a magic wand over SuziQ and singlehandedly saved her transmission from certain death.

Then I came back home and after testing out between 94-97% on a few more exams, I chucked the whole kit and ka-boodle.  Either I pass or I fail tomorrow.  How many more practice exams can a guy handle anyway?

That's when I decided to install the hardtop we bought yesterday at our local rendition of Area 51.  You can see the AFTER above and the BEFORE below.  We both think SuziQ's new doo looks awesome and fantastic and is far more becoming for her than her old doo.  What "DOO" you think?

It was actually quite a "chore" to swap tops on SuziQ.  It took far more work and thought and cuss words than I thought it would.  However, we finished everything up by 6 pm and had all our tools and gear stored away and got a campfire lit by 6:20 pm, which is mere minutes before visual sunset.  Gary came over and the three of us had a fine time.

You Old People out there---Can you remember when somebody "tripped you out?"  It's a 60's phrase and only Old People would recognize it.  Well, Gary tripped us out tonight.  It was the coolest of the cool trip out we've had in Modern Times.

Here's how it unfolded.  First off, Gary was standing beside the campfire acting real nonchalant and feng shui as Gary is wont to do and be.  Meanwhile, his cell phone rings.  He VERY casually glances at his cell phone and then appears to ignore the call.  He folds the phone and puts it away.  A short time passes.  Meanwhile, Gary suddenly becomes agitated.  He starts pointing at the sky and saying, "The Magnetic Field, can YOU FEEL IT?"  He gets real dramatic in a mode that's unusual for Gary and he starts pointing at the sky to a specific spot and says,  "I FEEL IT AND I SEE IT RIGHT THERE!"

Needless to say, this is very unusual behavior for Gary.  He doesn't normally act this way.  It was somewhat disturbing for both of us and we were straining to see and understand what it was that Gary was feeling from The Universe. He kept it up and he kept saying, "IT'S RIGHT THERE, IT'S RIGHT THERE."

All of a sudden this incredible bright light appeared in the night sky.  It was like a shooting star only it didn't shoot.  It just stayed on one spot and got brighter and then suddenly disappeared.   We were both  momentarily stunned.  I had never seen anything like it before.  Susun was speechless.  How could you possibly explain such clairvoyance?  For a few precious moments, we were both TOTALLY TRIPPED OUT!

However, knowing Gary as I have for 30+ years, I immediately smelled a skunk and I turned to him and said, "OK, how did you pull that one off?"  I demanded to know his secret.  Gary being Gary, he couldn't keep the secret for more than a few moments.  His cell phone call had been an alert to an "iridium display" from an orbiting satellite.  If one knows the secrets of satellites, one can have their secrets sent to one's cell phone.  The phone call had actually been an alert that the light would be fully reflecting off a certain satellite's solar array at such and such a place in space and time at a specific location and Gary could look like a genius and trip us both totally OUT!  Well, it worked.  It was awesome.  Neither of us have been treated to such a trick in a really long time. It was simply flat out amazing.

After we recovered, we congratulated Gary on his precise stage management and choreography.  He played the game perfectly.  He played to his cues and his pacing was awesome.  His timing was perfect and he suckered us like no one has in a really, really LOOONG time!  Way to go, Gary!  "Ya dun good!" 

The full moon tomorrow is being called a Super Moon.  We will resist the powerful temptation to play with those words.  It will be whatever it will be, Super Moons being what they are, of course.  We trust that you will each enjoy the Super Moon in a Super Context at the end of a Super Day with Super Family and Super Friends and a Super Saturday Night dinner.  May your Day tomorrow be as Super as the Super Moon that is supposed to bring bright light to Saturday's Grand Finale!

Cheers!  jp  (PS--No early morning blog post 2-morrow. We gotta get outta here real early.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Two pictures in need of 1000 words

(This blog post title was written last night before we added the following text.) Thursday was supposed to be a total study day.  However, we spotted a Zuki Fever Deal on the Zuks of Arizona Forum.  Some guy had an aftermarket hardtop for $550.  New such hardtops now cost around $1200, give or take with shipping. In the Old Days, you could pick up such hardtops for a couple hundred dollars.  Not any more.  They are pricey and they sell F-A-S-T.  We started swapping emails and cell phone texts with the seller and pretty soon we set a time to show up at a mostly abandoned airstrip in High Lonesome Country.  We arrived over there just a few minutes after our 1:30 appt.  Good thing.  Some other Zuk Head was breathing heavily in the wings and told the seller if we were five minutes late to call him.  Just as Civil War General Stonewall Jackson once said, "He who gets there with the firstest and the mostest ususally wins."  And so it was yesterday.  We settled on a $500 price, dismounted the hardtop, loaded it up and skee-daddled back to 2nd Chance Ranch by 3 pm.
Above left is Sam and at right is the seller, Cory.  We met Sam at Myron's Place on February 6 when we bought a hood prop rod and spare wheel from him.  Meanwhile, Sam has convinced both his brother (not shown) and brother-in-law Cory to buy Zuks.  They have a great place to work on them there in that Old Area 51-style hanger near where the Orme Road meets Highway 169.  Susun can really light up a place and she certainly did so yesterday.  She was asking all kinds of questions and it was a lot of fun.  THANKS, SUSUN!

Meanwhile, on the way back home, we stopped off at the Camp Verde Basha's and made a point of checking out in Ken R's line.  LBR's know Ken from stories we've told about his long-running autobiographical project.  This was our first chance to capture Ken's image much to his protest.  However, we had him cornered there in the checkout line.  Ken got somebody else to man the register and dashed into his office.  He returned with a comb bound copy of all his writings.  You can tell Ken is a comedian just by looking at him in this photo, especially with the goofy tie.  Well, Ken writes like his smile looks.  His writing has you in stitches just about as soon as you complete reading the first sentence fragment.  He's absolutely hilarious.  We're gonna hafta figger out some way to get this guy's writing published to a wider audience.  Anyway, Ken is a bright beam of light in the world.  He is ALWAYS smiling.  I think his face is arranged in such a way that, even if he was in a bad mood, his face would still be physically smiling.  It's probably genetic.  But it works and it puts people in a good mood even if they don't want to be.

Believe it or not, I actually DID get in a lot of studying yesterday--certainly not the full 8 hours I had hoped but at least 5 hours overall.  My practice exam scored went solidly into the 90-percentile and I even notched a 100% perfect score.  I will be able to spend much more time studying today. I am feeling pretty good about my prep for the exam tomorrow but I certainly do not want to get over confident.  I must say I will be very glad when this Amateur Radio thing is behind me.

Have a great day & Cheers, jp  (Weekly stats are below Ken's photo.)

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Happy Saint Paddy's Day

Don't forget to wear green.  Last night we had corned beef and cabbage.  It simmered all day in the crock pot yesterday while I studied my ham stuff.  Made a yummy din-din.
There is supposed to be a storm-ette appearing onstage today.  The evening clouds were a harbinger of today's wannabe storm.  Those clouds didn't disappoint when the last light glowed in the sky. Great mid-March sunset.
We switched to burning mesquite last night.  After I hit the wall studying ham radio stuff, I fired up the chain saw and cut a lot of dead mesquite limbs.  Robin and Gary came over and the four of us enjoyed the fire until is was as "dark as the inside of a mule's mouth," as Houn' Dawg is fond of saying.

Susun spent most of the day in Sedona helping Chuck and Beth.  Chuck treated her to lunch at Jose's and Susun raved at the place's hamburger.  She stopped at Kate Blevin's Verde Earthworks on the way home and received a tour of the recycling facility.  Kate's a fearless pioneer in what she does and Susun really enjoyed the visit.

I studied over a period of 10 hours--about 7.5 of which were genuine nose to the grindstone study.  Since I'm not in the study groove, I had to take frequent breaks to prevent maximum brain overload.  I'm getting better at the practice exams and am scoring consistently in the 80-percentile.  I even have one exam with a 96 percent correct score.  It turned out there are only 396 questions to study, not 1,000 as I was told earlier.  The questions are organized in ten categories with a grand total of 36 subgroups.  The test itself has to have on question from each of the 36 groups.  Pretty simple, huh? The goal for each of the next two days is to review each and every one of those 396 questions one-by-one.  Heck, if I study for ten hours that's only 39.6 question an hour or one every 70-90 seconds.  Hum...maybe we will review half today and half tomorrow.  Yeah, that's a better idea.  Then we can use 8 hours studying 200 questions or roughly 25 an hour.  Shoot, that gives us over two minutes for each question.  Piece o' cake.

During one study break, I called up Houn' Dawg in Idaho Falls and we cooked up a grand plan.  We spent $129 to book ourselves into the Squirrel Meadows Cabin for three nights August 5-7.  Suzanne, HD and the two of us will have a fine time there on the Old Reclamation Road east of Ashton, Idaho. You might be able to click here to read about the place.  HD and I had booked the place for the same weekend last year but that's when I got the Middle Fork permit we never used.  So, we not only didn't go on the Middle Fork, we didn't go to Squirrel Meadows either.

Meanwhile, out of the clear blue, our neighbor Dean D. and his grandson came over to visit.  Dean drove his Pleistocene Ford Bronco.  As far as I know, the Bronco hadn't moved for a few years so it must have been a real chore to get it started.  Dean's on a short leash right now.  He's undergoing chemotherapy after surviving brain surgery that removed a tumor.  He's moving low and slow so it was a real treat for him to visit.  What a wonderful Gentleman he is.  We've often called him a Dream Grand Pa.  He's the kind of Grand Pa every kid would dream of having.  I took a picture of Dean in his Bronco but he looks so tired I decided not to use it on this blog.  It's better to show his beloved Bronco and I'm sure Dean would agree.  We pray for his success in his battle with the cancer and we pray for his full recovery.  It was awesome for him to come to visit.

That's about it for The Daily News yesterday.  Have a great day and Cheers, jp

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gearhead to Gigahertz

Henry's not human. Hertz doesn't rent cars and a Parad isn't a parade in need of a spell check.  We hope soon  we hear voices saying "here's your sign." It's our chance to bulk up on some capacitance and hope our inductance is up to snuff.  We're dropped all other tasks--even Zuki maintenance--and we're hamming it up for the next three days.

What the heck are you talking about this morning, Little Yonni?

Ah, we're soooo glad you asked.  At 9 am Saturday morning, we will be sitting in the Prescott Jeep Posse building putting pencil to paper to take the FCC Technician Level 1 Amateur Radio License Test.  We have a mere three days to learn what takes some people weeks or months to master.  We're trying mightily to become a Ham Radio Operator.

Frankly, the last time I had to cram so fast and furious was way back in 1969 when I was attempting to clear the final hurdles to get a college degree from Purdue.  That's back in the day when pulling an "all nighter" was the accepted route to academic success.

So, why this sudden detour from river trips, State Park dedications, weed spraying, and Zuki Fever?  Ah, we're soooo glad you asked.

Astute LBR's will hark back to some blog chatter last May when we were obsessing about our safety concerns while doing those NVUM interviews in MOAN Country where cell signals were unknown.  Susun and I are fond of spending as much time as possible in places where cell signals will forever be unknown.  These are the types of places where a CB radio is also worthless because there's usually no one around to hear you "Breaker, Breaker, Good Buddy."   When something goes awry in CAT MOAN Country, you're really out of luck as far as calling for help.  Since we've acquired SuziQ, you may have noticed we are intent of tricking her out for travel deep into the far flung, remote corners of Arizona, Utah and Idaho.  Even though the vehicle will be maintained in tip-top condition, things can and do go wrong.  Then what happens?  How do you get help?

We have been interested in becoming a "Ham" ever since we washed ashore at Bowery Guard Station.  Although we had a Forest Service radio from the Sawtooth, we traveled in large areas where it couldn't find a repeater.  Our supervisor refused to allow us to access the repeaters of the neighboring Challis forest.  That's why get got interested in having our own ham radio.  Well, it was simply too costly and too cumbersome so nothing ever came of the urge.

Last May, the urge to be a licensed ham surfaced yet again.  But the same issues trumped the idea.  The cost of a decent handheld radio was prohibitive.  Meanwhile, enter Dear Friend & Neighbor Gary.  Gary's been a ham for 21 years.  He's also been on Search & Rescue for as long as we both can remember.  He's a very active member of the Verde Valley branch of the Yavapai County S&R.  Recently, the local S&R decided to upgrade their handheld radios.  Gary's learned this Monday night that he's getting one of the old radios for free and he's going to pass it on to us, saving us hundreds of dollars.

It's illegal to operate this radio without a bonafide FCC Amateur Radio License called a Technician Level 1.
By now, we're sure you get the picture.  When we learned yesterday that a radio was coming our way, we immediately began researching how to get the license.  Well, it turns out that the tests are only given once in a great while--maybe twice a year in this neck of the woods.  By some minor miracle, the Level 1 exam is being given Saturday morning in Prescott.

But here's the catch--a normal person would have been planning and studying well ahead since the steep learning curve takes most people weeks, if not months to master.  Somehow, I have to learn all this material in a mere three days.  Can it be done?  Possibly.  It's a long shot for sure but, hey, we believe in miracles so why not?

Luckily, all of the materials and practice exams are online.  The test is 35 questions but the questions are randomly drawn from 1,000 potential questions.  That means I have to learn at least 1,000 things by rote between now and Saturday.  Ouch, that's gonna hurt.   Ok, so a Henry is the measure of inductance and a Parad is the measure of capacitance.  Hertz was the smart German guy for whom kilohertz, megahertz and gigahertz are named.  If I pass the test then I will hear those voices saying "here's your sign" when I receive my official FCC amateur radio call sign.

Soooo.....all our previous plans are out the window.  This is too awesome an opportunity to pass up.  If I can pull off a minor miracle and get the license, then we can travel MOAN Country with a whole new sense of security and peace of mind.  That's why we're putting our nose to the ham bone the next three days.  Sometimes a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

Cheers, jp

PS--The photo atop this post is this morning's sunrise.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Monday was an interesting day.  Susun took off to help Chuck in Sedona with some housekeeping chores.  Chuck is 89 years young and still sharp as a tack but he needs help on various things that you'd expect with an 89-year-old.  I went to the first hour of the NRCD meeting.  Frankly, I'm getting to the point in life where my tolerance for meetings is declining at a precipitous rate.

We learned yesterday morning that the reopening dedication ceremony for Homolovi State Park will take place this Friday.  That threw a wrench in our weekly planning and continues to be the wild card today as well.  Meanwhile, I have major egg on my face because I didn't pre-register The Spudboater for the kayak race March 26th.  Registration is now closed so I sulked around in abject guilt all day.

After coming home early from the NRCD meeting I decided to goof off so I headed over to Myron's Place to "talk Zuks."  Myron wasn't there but Randy took about 45 minutes to chat with me about "all things Samurai."  It was quite fun.  Then I went to Cottonwood and bought a new fuel pump and the various tools necessary to change it.   After that, I went to our local wrecking yard and pulled two front seats out of a dead Dodge Neon.  Then I spent the remainder of the afternoon scratching my head while trying to figger out how to swap out the Neon seats for the stock Zuk seats.  I gave up and will return the Neon seats.  Sometimes success remain elusive in this Samurai game.

However, at least we got to spend some quality time in a good, old-fashioned junk yard.  My Dad taught me the love of junkyards long ago in the early 1950's.  Navigating a junkyard is kind of like walking through an art gallery, only different.  Our local junk yard is a real throwback.  I know the owner well and knew his Dad well so we go way back.  He even let me take the seats without paying for them yesterday.  THANKS, Gerald!

Susun brought home a goodie from Chuck--a 7-inch digital TFT 12-volt TV!  Yep, a real TV that pulls down a decent picture of local signal with just the funky little antenna it has.  It will now be our onboard TV for the Skamper.  Spiffy little thing!  THANKS, Chuck!

Meanwhile, Susun used Gary's citrus press to process the boatload of fruit we've received when visiting Phoenix and Mesa.  I enjoyed a solo campfire and spent the remainder of the evening studying Japan's nuclear woes.

Today, we're off to the Tuesday Target Shoot and then we're planning to tackle our long list of nit-picky tasks left for the Skamper and SuziQ.  One of these days, we will finally scratch everything off that list.

Well, time to amp up my ambulations here.  Have a great day and Cheers!  jp

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday Brunch at Marsha's Place

Although we did a zip trip down and back to Surprise Sunday, the Real Surprise of the day was Sunday Brunch at Marsha's Place in Clarkdale.  Marsha invited us a week ago but we both forgot.  Luckily, she called to remind us.  We, in turn, called the Zuki Head and moved our arrival back.  Meanwhile, as usual, Marsha rolled out her Sunday Brunch best red carpet.  It was a perfect morning.  Above (l-r) Kristen, Susun, Phyllis and Marsha brighten the morning.
Marsha wears many hats well, as they say.  She loves cooking outdoors and Sunday Brunch is one of her trademark specialties. She goes all out--the full monte.  She even bought fresh roasted green chiles from Food City!  We're talking organic cheese, fresh mushrooms, real eggs, the whole nine yards.
Not to mention fresh ground coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice served with class and style on her sunny deck.
Ah, what a colorful and delicious repast.
Yea, verily, even Rex was pleased!
Marsha's been telling us about her "chess project."  She finally dredged up two photos yesterday morning and sent them to us.  Marsha has been an art teacher at a local private school for a long time.  This life size chess project is really popular, except no one wants to be the pawns.  Marsha says next year they are going to give the pawns small swords so it should be an easier "sell" to be a pawn.  Marsha sewed the custom chess board quilt herself.  Way to go and MANY THANKS, Marsha!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zuki Fever

You've heard of Gold Fever, right?  Well, maybe not Zuki Fever, though,eh?  There is an interesting comment appended to the post below, to wit:  "Hey John - could you give us non-Zuki folks a brief account on why you love Zuki's? It seems you are always buying parts for them or repairing them. What's the attraction and what are the upsides of these strange vehicles?"

Yes, they are strange vehicles, indeed.  What's the attraction?  And what are the upsides?  Ah, VERY good questions and we're glad you asked.  It will take us some time to wax eloquent in reply and answer to those two fine questions.  When we explain Zuki Fever, all will be clear.

Today was a fine session of Zuki Fever.  Our drive to Surprise was splendid.  We met John, his wife, Kathy and their friend, Steve.  Zukis littered the yard and all three of our hosts chattered excitedly about their steeds.  We poked and prodded engines, springs and such.  Kathy fixed everyone a great lunch and we sat at their kitchen table chattering like old long lost friends.  Each of them had many great tips and much advice for us.  We swapped stories and probably even told a few tales too tall.  The trio were only came down with Zuki Fever a mere 5 years ago.  What they've done since then was an inspiring saga.  Steve had just rolled his Zuki up on Moab's toughest trail.  John just finished restoring it and you'd now never know is was practically totaled a short time ago.  Those Zuki critters are tough as nails and they can come back to life more often than a cat with 9 lives.  John and Kathy are really jazzed about their hot rod Sidekick. It can outperform the baddest, meanest Jeep Rubicon alive.  We don't know if we're going to go that route but it sure was nice to enjoy the warmth, hospitality and camaraderie of John, Kathy and Steve.

I don't often suffer from total information overload.  I did today.  My brain went completely numb at one point as the stream of technical data, mechanical tricks and trail tales simply overwhelmed my ability to comprehend or remember.  Episodes such as today's are just one of the many reasons we love having severe Zuki Fever.  Gold Fever would be so BORING compared to Zuki Fever, but it's basically the same psychological phenomena.  Once you get it, good luck finding a cure.

Cheers, jp

Happy Sunday

Every day's a great day but Sunday always seems a wee bit greater. We hope and trust that your Sunday will be delightful in every way.

We're heading back to Surprise, Arizona today. Gee, it was only a few Sundays ago that we went down to Surprise. Whazzup? Well, we've been looking for a spare alternator for SuziQ. Looking long and hard, we might add. Finally, some Zuk owner decided to part with his for a mere $25. Yep, you guessed it--the alternator's in Surprise.

But the REAL question is: Why would we seemingly waste a perfectly glorious spring Sunday going to pick up a spare alternator?
We're glad you asked.

In talking with the seller yesterday, we learned he is also a retired guy who has a MAJOR obsession with Suzuki's. Currently he has FOUR of them: two Samurais and two Sidekicks. Of course, that's in addition to his own airplane and assorted other big boy toys. He spends his summers in the Rocky Mtns. and a month each fall on the Moab trails. Anyway, he says he's solved the puzzle of how to get a smooth ride out of a Samurai and that it's so smooth his wife loves going on his bone-jarring trail rides. He also says he's figured out how to turn a four door Sidekick into an awesome trail machine. Hum....

We told his news to Susun and she became as intrigued as me. So, we both decided to take a Sunday Drive to Surprise and spend time picking this guy's brain and checking our his four Zuks. The alternator became an incidental coincidence to this road trip. We're figuring it's time and gas money well spent in the interest of academic research. We've never met anyone with more than two Zuks under their wing. Four? That's unheard of unless three of then are junkers sitting in the back yard. Anyway, it's going to be an interesting Sunday.

Yesterday went according to plan. Susun waved a magic wand over her shed's interior and it's worthy of its own HGTV special now. She also painted the toughest wall (the one with all the trim). I planted and painted my two heavy steel posts and then moved at least 1,000 pounds of large rocks up out of the wash to place here and there on the property. We sealed off every avenue of entry for a normal pickup truck. As expected, both projects too all day and we didn't finish and clean up to almost 6 pm. We were both pleased with the results of the day.

The upcoming days promise to be very busy. Monday's the NRCD meeting, then there's the Tuesday Target Shoot and one day this week, we MUST do the last leg of our Verde River project. Josh is out on spring break now so we've got to finalize this project. Meanwhile, we have to get cracking on spraying the weeds so every spare minute is going to be occupied in the week ahead. Yikes.

Well, hey, at least it's Sunday and Life is Good. Cheers, jp

PS--The Goatherder reminded us that Monday is "Pi Day."  Here's his note:

Pi = 3.14159265

So... Today 3.14, at 1:59 and 26.5 seconds don't forget a hats off to Archimedes and them Babble-owninans. 

Personally, cobblers are square, and pie are round far as I'm concerned, less'n you make yer cobbler in a dutch, or your pie in a pie-rex, which disturbs the natural order of the universe and should not be attempted.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ranch Hands

'Tis time to be ranch hands and get crackin' on our chores here at 2nd Chance Ranch.  Susun's gonna saddle up her paint roller to give her shed a fresh look.  She sez she's gonna spend all day on her shed, doing extreme makeover stuff inside, too.  I'm gonna wrassle to metal posts and plant 'em near the watershed.  Last summer someone found a way to drive right into our front yard and then around the ranch in their truck.  The posts will be set in concrete and placed to block that avenue of entry.  That pretty well should take the whole day.  If it doesn't, we'll saddle up the backpack sprayer and resume Weeds Wars.  Exciting stuff, huh?

Yesterday went as planned.  Susun did 13 loads of laundry.  She's a Saint.  No doubt about it.  I spent more than 3 hours at Tom's getting the most thorough tutorial I've ever received in any endeavor.  Tom's awesome and it's great to spend so much quality time with him.  After refilling 24 gallons t the Water Store, we went down and dealt with this year's federal and state taxes.  Our tax person, Helen, has been a great gift to us over the years.  She's a Magician as far as we're concerned.  It's great to have last year's taxes finished and paid for.

The rest of Friday afternoon was easily forgettable until campfire time.  Both Robin and Gary came over and stayed late.  We had a great visit.  Susun whipped up some turkey burgers to finish off the day.

Snow melt water continues to flow in the Verde and its tributaries.  Each trib is running roughly 200 cfs and the Verde at Camp Verde is about 800.  That's also roughly its flow into Horseshoe reservoir.  The Salt isn't doing anything, trickling a mere 335 into Roosevelt with barely enough water to duckie the day stretch.  The big news (relatively speaking) is that Grand Falls is running 500 cfs. That's not huge by any means but it is putting on a show--a minor show--but still a show.  Warm weather is progged to continue so this will be the tepid peak of our runoff this season. Enjoy it while you can!

Cheers, jp

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday update

Greetings on a Somber Friday morning. Please join us this morning in a moment of silence and prayer for the victims and those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunamis.  Our hearts go out to them.  Sometimes when tragedy strikes, it's difficult even to read the news reports, let alone watch video of the devastation.  Our Planet is a restless and sometimes violent home for us humans.  Natural disasters serve to remind us that we live at the mercy of Mother Nature and her vast array of destructive forces: earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, solar flares, cyclones, droughts, epidemics and epic blizzards.  We often wonder what it would feel like to be near the epicenter of a powerful earthquake.  It's a feeling neither of us want to experience.  May God's Grace comfort those who are suffering from the world's 5th largest earthquake.

We left Mesa not long after 9 am yesterday.  We went to the Pro Ranch Market--a sort of a giant foodie COSTCO for Mexicans--to buy some chicken.  We came out empty-handed as the type of chicken we bought the previous day had flown the coop.  Traffic was tame (relatively speaking, of course) and we cruised over to 59th Ave. on the west side.  We met a Zuki-head who sold us a Samurai carburetor for $30.  We learned some neat stuff that will be on our Zuki blog soon.  Then we headed back to 2nd Chance Ranch.

Susun took a long and well-deserved nap while I unpacked and messed around with our assortment of stuff acquired in the Valley.  I put together a First Aid kit for SuziQ.  Now, doesn't that make you think of neosporin and band-aids?  Nope.  This is a first aid kit FOR SuziQ, not for humans.  If you thought long enough, you'd probably  think of everything that would be in such a kit.  We'll save you the time.  The contents include: duct tape, baling wire, twine, Super Glue, JB Weld, zip ties, electrical tape, and a tire repair kit.  This first aid kit goes into the box of tools and parts that we carry on our back country road trips.  We still need to add a spare alternator, fuel pump, and electronic engine control module to this box before it's totally trick, as the dirt bikers are wont to say.

The weeds are once again totally out of control and way ahead of us.  Our hot weather has caused them to explode.  (It was 82  here yesterday!) We had to deploy our $500 wheeled weed whacker for a couple of hours late yesterday afternoon.  At least they are now knocked back down for a day or two before their next spurt of spring grown occurs.
Susun put together a huge pan of chicken enchilada casserole and it made a fine repast following the evening campfire.  Gary came over with his two Rhodesian ridgeback canines.  We had a fun time visiting.

We take so many photos it's hard to keep up with processing and posting them.  Maybe we can get caught up this weekend.  Today is a Chore Day.  We haven't done laundry in more than a month so it's off to Cottonwood with a truck full of dirty clothes.  While Susun toils away in the laundromat, I have to go meet Tom to talk pistols and such.  He is working overtime to fine tune the custom 1911 gov't model .45 for me.

Last night's sunset had a real nice subtle tone to it, don't ya think?  Cheers, jp
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Take me out to the ball game

The Cubs-Royals game was great.  We entered the stadium a couple of minutes before the National Anthem and then went down to the HoHoKam Clubhouse for a free lunch with this Ho's.  We moved out into shaded seats near 3rd base and stayed until the seventh inning after someone sang the famous song.  The first string leaves the field after the sixth inning and then the scrubs take over.  We stayed until the Royals were up 10-3 over the Cubbies and ambled on out ourselves.  It was great fun watching all the Cubs fans and the general hub-bub of a MLB event.  'Twas definitely another Dear Diary Day.  If the slideshow won't load for you, click here. Below are two photos of beer vendors at the game--colorful and popular people indeed. 
Cheers, jp

Golf Greetings

The golf swing lessons were full and they were turning people away.  What to do?
Aw, shucks, not to worry--we went to the Dobson ranch driving range.
We practiced on the putting green and used our seven irons there.  It was fun.
Susun is getting a LOT better.  She has really taken her brother's lessons to heart.

Wednesday already?

What happened to Monday and Tuesday?  Well they are history now and it's Wednesday and time for the Chicago Cubs game today.  We will be heading over to the ballfield a little after noon. The game starts about 2 pm and we don't expect to get back here until about 5 pm.  The last baseball game we attended was the day before the D-backs Field opened here in Phoenix sometime back in the 1990's.

This morning, we both might be going to a golf swing lesson at the Mesa Hilton.  Sounds impressive but it's only $14 and Susun would get to go free for that price so it's seven bucks a pop if we both go.  The jury's out on her attendance.  That pretty well shoots the whole day.  Heck, I might not even have time to squeeze in a Harbor Freight pilgrimage.  On the way north tomorrow, we have to make several retail stops and also pick up a used Samurai carbureator out in Happy Valley.

Monday started out with an unusual event.  I had my brains scrambled and thought the NRCD meeting was at 9 am.  I showed up there 15 minutes early and no one else appeared.  Got back home and realized the meeting was March 14th. much for my reading comprehension skills.  Then it was off to Cottonwood for a variety of errands, including a nice visit with Myron at Zuks Off Road.  Susun spent a good portion of the day visiting with Amy and Betty.  That afternoon, I fabbed up a new battery hold down for SuziQ, changed her spark plugs, swapped out the fan belt, too, and then made a top rack for the Nissan. Someone had gapped the old plugs at .45 and they were supposed to be .30.  She runs a lot better now.  The fan belt was badly cracked and it's a miracle it hadn't already snapped.

Tuesday was a sprint to the finish from the 'git go.'  I left for the Target Shoot at 7:45 and got home at 11:30.  Then we packed up, loaded and strapped down the iron bed and headed to Mesa at 1:30.  We delivered the iron bed to the buyer in Central Phoenix and somehow managed to avoid rush hour traffic, scooting over to Mesa in record time.  We visited Deseret Industries and picked up some nice items.  Then it was off to the grocery to buy stuff to fix dinner for Roger and Nancy and we finally showed up at their house at 5:30 pm.  Whew.  I told Susun I felt like a rag doll in a dust devil.

You'd be happy to know the iron bed went to a wonderful home.  The little girl for whom the bed was purchased was enthralled with it.  Her face was the happiest looking kid face I've seen in many years.  The girl told Susun she was going to "feel like a princess" in the bed.  The Mom thanked us for selling it to them.  They were delightful people and it was a memorable moment.  We were all very happy.

The Target Shoot was the most fun yet.  We cooked some coffee for everyone and this time Gary bought the donuts.  The Goatherder was there and we all had a fine time. Life is good.

Well, that's about it for now.  Cheers, jp