Friday, January 7, 2022

Gotta put it out there

We're riggin' for our first camp Road Trip in 10 weeks.  When we arrive Back In The Tonto Again Monday it will have been 71 days since our most recent camp trip ended.  Yep, that's 10 weeks alright.

The details and difficulty of riggin' for a camp trip is directly proportional to the length of time  since the most recent trip.  All sorts of vital items stray far, FAR away from the travel trailer.  The pantry gets robbed.  Supplies become depleted.  Batteries decide to go dead.  The longer the sedentary duration, the more difficult the prep work for the next camp trip.  And so it goes.  We well know the drill.

This time around we decided to complicate matters by deciding to obtain a metal bucket  with which to clean our camp site fire ring.  For some reason we've never understood a lot of people are downright pigs when it comes to the fire ring.  They throw trash in there and leave partly burned wood.  It's particularly vexing at Roosevelt.  So, we just assume we're going to have to roto-root the fire ring and carry off a LOT of stuff to the dumpster.

In the past, we've gingerly used a plastic bucket and somehow not melted it into a disfigured avant garde sculpture.  This trip we said, "We have to have a metal bucket."  Period.

So, we put a notice on our local Facebook buy-sell group and within mere minutes received a reply from a very nice local person who offered to give us a metal bucket.  Of course, we figured since it was free it was going to be a dented, beat-up derelict bucket.  Much to our amazement last night, the bucket turned out to be an antique coal bucket complete with scoop!  We were shocked and told the donor so.  The person was very gracious and happy to give us the bucket.  Sometimes it's so surprising what comes our way when we simply ask for something.  "Ask and you shall receive,: eh?

So, that bucket is the missing piece in our camp fire puzzle but lots of grunt work remains to get the rest of the puzzle together.  We haven't purposely built a campfire in over 9 months so you can imagine the "hide & seek" game we will be playing with our fire tools, etc.  What fun.

One of the biggest chores of riggin' is always battery management.  Geeze, Louise.  It just goes on and On and ON!  We have so many different elect5ronic devices and many of them have their own unique batteries.  It takes nearly a full day to find them and get them all charged up.  We're not complaining.  We're thankful to just HAVE all those electronic devices. Charging their batteries is definitely a First World problem.

As our Dear Friends and regular readers well know, we travel with way too many gizmos, gadgets and Gee Whiz kinda toys.  What's a geezer to do if he can't fiddle around with all those whirly gigs in camp?  It takes hours to make sure all of the toys are packed, hours to set them all up and hours to take them all down and pack them up to go home.  But what elses would I be doing anyway?  Sitting around admiring the scenery?

Riggin' for a trip to Roosevelt always means lining up peripheral stuff.  Like what, Yonni?  Well, in this case, we're hard at work on the Easter Sunday 1979 Salt River Rescue Story.  A few weeks back we advertised in Globe to find an eye witness who was there.  We got lucky and found an AZGFD Officer who was a member of the rescue crew.  So, we've been finalizing the details to do an oral history interview with him in  We have also been making appointments to visit our Dear Friends in the Globe/Miami area.  So that's all part of riggin', too.

Most of our Menu and Pantry Gig is all taken care of.  We overpacked coming south from Idaho so we still have enough food in that travel trailer to go camping for days and maybe even weeks.

We will be camping once again at Site #287.  It's the one we camped at last year.  It has two perfect hammock trees and a 40-foot bocce ball court.  The bocce area in that campsite is one of the finest bocce courts we've yet found in any camp site anywhere.  

Uncle NOAA has upped the ante on rainfall so it's probably gonna be wetter than we'd prefer.  That means we have to rig rain gear and various other rain-related stuff.  That's not a hassle, per se, at least as along as we remember to actually do it.  It definitely is kind of a bummer to camp in the rain without all the rain-related stuff.  There's no such thing as bad weather--it's just bad gear or the LACK of gear that  makes the weather seem bad.  Well, at least if it's not -37 degrees in three feet of snow.  That would be Bad Camping Weather in just about anybody's book.

Anyway, that's our daily activity agenda through today, all of the weekend and probably Monday morning as well.

When a loss is a gain

You lose some, you win some. It's pretty much The Way of Life.  So we lost one yesterday but we won one, too.  Here's how it all came down.

Back in early December we played cribbage with some local geezers at the Beaver Creek Community Center.  They really oughta call it a Senior Center since geezers are the only ones who use the place.  But we digress.  Anyway the geezers were playing on a board so small some of them could barely grip the microscopic pegs.

So I decided to make a multiplayer Big Board and donate it to them.  As some readers know from following our Facebook, I found a nifty way to drill 732 holes and keep them all straight as a piano wire.  Then I had the board trimmed out on a table saw; sanded it 'right & proper" and made six sets of color-coded pegs.  I was really stoked to present the board to the geezers yesterday.

Well, it sure didn't work out the way I thought it would.  Nobody liked the board.  One guy said outloud, "Your Board sucks."  Geezers are creatures of habit and those geezers really like playing on a teeny, tiny board.  People were not happy about playing on a custom made Big Board and they let me know.  It was rather humiliating but I took it in stride and never let them know I was humiliated.  During the two hours of cribbage play, I won half my games and had some pretty good hands.

Meanwhile, I packed up my Big Board and color-coded pegs and returned home with them.  However, I flipped the script and was very happy to retain possession of the six player Big Board.


Well, the primary reason is that those geezers taught me all of the cribbage variations and permutations I had never learned or played before.  Now I know how to play cut throat cribbage with 3-4-5-6 players.  I also know how to play doubles with four players.  I'd never bothered to learn those variations before and actually didn't want to know them.  But they are fun.  WAY Fun!  In fact, both four person doubles and 5 or 6 player cut throat cribbage could be my new favorite games.  It's a real horse race playing again four or five other people and the Big Board makes it even MORE fun for me.  It might not make it fun for that particular covey of geezers but it sure does work for me.

So, I was real happy they didn't like my board and that's how a loss turned into a gain.  Having the multiplayer Big Board will add an entirely new dimension to all of our cribbage both here and in Idaho Falls.  It's exciting to think about and we're thankful we made the board.  We're VERY thankful the local geezers didn't want it.

Sometimes ya gotta lose to win!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Life Changes in January 1972

Fifty years ago this week my Life Changed.  I had been footloose and fancy free, as they say.  During the first week of January 1972, I was hired on as Editor of "The Zionsville Times" and "The Northern Suburbanite" newspapers based out of Zionsville, Indiana, a then distant suburb of Indianapolis.

Zionsville was a picture postcard 19th Century throwback with a brick Main Street and all manner of Victorian gingerbread-bedecked houses scattered along tree lined streets.  It was the kind of small town Normal Rockwell could have retired to.  Zionsville was founded in 1825 and got its own weekly newspaper in 1860.  One of the very first Big News Stories "The Zionsville Times" covered in 1860 was a whistle stop by a guy named Abraham Lincoln who happened to be campaigning for President.  Back then a main line railroad ran right through the small town.

Anyway, a pompous meglo-maniac had purchased the two newspapers.  He needed some low paid flunky to hire on as Editor to attempt to keep them on life support. We won't give his name for a variety of reasons. We'll call him Jimbo.  Jimbo actually had a pompous three word name with the numeral III behind it and he insisted on being addressed as "the third" because of that numeral.  To say he was pompous is an understatement.  He was carried around in a stretch limo by a meticulously-dressed chauffeur. Whenever Jimbo came to visit the Zionsville office, the chauffeur would sweep through the front door and announce that so-and-so The Third was about to enter.  We were all required to stand up and show proper respect for Jimbo upon his entry.

Jimbo had purchased quite a chain of newspapers in and around Indianapolis.  He had grandiose visions that never materialized according to his mega-expectations.  First off, he milked each publication for every stray dollar he could while paying staff the least  amount possible.  Jimbo really despised dealing with actual people, especially people he paid.  So most of his communications where in the form of "orders" that were delivered by the chauffeur in an envelope that had been sealed with hot wax on the back flap.

Anyway, I really needed a job 50 years ago. ANY job!  We girl friend and I had just returned from Seattle in what was widely known as "The Dead Of Winter" back then.  The Dead of Winter was to Indiana during the cold months what the Dog Days were to the Hoosier state in the high heat of summer.  Cathy and I had barely supported ourselves in Seattle selling Time-Life books over the phone.  She became acutely homesick and was also suffering from a raging case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The only solution was to return to Indiana which we did just before the Holidays.

Well, her parents were incessant with the "When are you going to get a job?" refrain.  Morning, noon and night that's all I heard from them: "When are you going to get a job?"  Young people back then just couldn't be slackers.  They HAD to have a job. That's all there was to it back then.

Well, that's why I leaped at the chance to be Editor of "The Zionsville Times."  It sounded like a real job and I never told Cathy's parents just how low the wages were.  They were pleased that I had a real job and was actually using my Purdue journalism degree.  My folks were pleased, too, but they were OK with me being a slacker as well.

Well, it wasn't a fun job.  Nope.  Everybody in Zionsville hated Jimbo and some of them hated Jimbo so much they took it out on me.  People thought Jimbo was the root cause of a lot of social ills and all the old geezers in Zionsville loved to heap score on Jimbo, his newspaper and his employees.  There were only three of us in that little office and we felt like it was us against the whole world.  Some days it was tough to even walk out of the office and face people on the streets of Zionsville.  You have NO idea how difficult it was trying to get stories out of people in Zionsville.  They were all convinced that I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag.

Apparently, the person before me had ZERO writing skills and totally butchered every story he ever tried to write.  Slowly but surely, I convinced them that I was real and I cared and I would do my best even if Jimbo tried to thwart success.

Within a couple of months I actually had made some Friends in Zionsville and people began giving me compliments and even smiling when they saw me.  Whew!   It didn't take long before Zionsville people began hitting me up.  It went like this: "You ought to start your own newspaper and run Jimbo out of town!"  Seriously.

Well, that's how getting that job 50 years ago this week changed my life.  By spring time I'd heard the "run Jimbo out of town" so much I actually began to believe I could do it.  Cathy and I were married in May and I soon thereafter quit as Editor of "The Zionsville Times" and "The Northern Suburbanite". On August 8, 1972, we started "Zionsville Main Street" newspaper, a tri-weekly that sold for "One Red Cent" a copy.  It was an instant success.

Oh, MAN!  What a life-changing saga that was.  Cathy and I and our few loyal employees slugged it out for almost a full year with Jimbo and "The Zionsville Times."  Finally, we stole all of his subscribers and advertisers and ran him out of business and out of town.  He literally emptied out the office in the dark of night and locked the door and fled into whatever dark alleys meglo-maniacs frequent.

We were able to assume the sales contract of "The Zionsville Times" from its former owner for something like a mere $10,000 and then we actually owned and published two paid circulation newspapers.  Those were heady days of unbridled economic and social success.  

We were the toast of the town.  Money poured into our coffers.  We could do no wrong--make no mistakes.  Everything we touched turned to success. It was incredible and amazing.   The joyride went on for years in the 70's. It got to the point where we thought we were invincible.

And, well, you know how that goes.  NO one is invincible.  The higher they fly, the harder they fall. Sure enough, it all came crashing down and that's how I started a new life in Arizona.  But that's another story.

So, in the meantime for everyone who was curious about my cryptic little note on January 6, that's what happened 50 years ago this week that changed my Life.

To be continued.

Epilog: Numerous things happened after my divorce and departure from Zionsville.  The Zionsville Main Street and Times went through several incarnations and various names and finally folded for good in Year 2020 due to the pandemic.  It was absorbed by Boone County's leading newspaper in Lebanon and is no more.