Friday, October 28, 2016

First World Problems

Yesterday the spigot came off the sink. Guess fate decided that I needed a shower and the floor needed mopped.

Since I live in an apartment, called the property manager. She and the plumber show up. The plumber decides the gaskets are worn out (after I showed him how to disassemble the spigot). After going out to his truck, he decided nothing he had fit and, with the property manager’s approval, a complete new faucet was needed.

“I’ll be back first thing in the morning”, he stated.

Evidently his definition of ‘first thing in the morning’ and mine differ.

Maybe I’m at a point in my life where time is more valuable than money. I easily could have visited ACE Hardware yesterday afternoon, bought a faucet assembly, and installed it myself last night.

What was on the schedule this morning was picking up my lap top from the techies who are allegedly sorting out some issues followed by salvage yard crawls looking for Bronco II body parts and front seats from a first generation Mitsubishi Montero/Dodge Raider. Some forums say they will bolt right into my Mighty Max.  I prefer to do this early while it is still cool.

Instead, I’m sitting at a keyboard whining (and out of cheese).

On the positive side, did get to spend some time chatting with the property manager. She is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met and, at 40, HOT HOT HOT, not that I notice things like that.

UPDATE: Turns out 'first thing in the morning' is 11:10.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

First Liar Doesn't Stand A Chance

Lots of jokes about how tough people had it going to school.

“Walked ten miles through the snow, uphill both ways, and into a 90 mph headwind”.

Attended high school in Steamboat Springs, CO. On average Steamboat gets 30 feet of snow each winter. Winters are judged by how many wires on a four strand barb wire fence are covered. A bad winter is when the posts are covered.

Unless there is a cloud cover, temperatures drop to – 20 degrees when the sun goes down. – 50 is not unknown.

Until I was a senior and had a car, it was ¼ of a mile in a rarely plowed lane to the highway where we caught the school bus. As a jock I had to walk home after practice and  a shower. Out of a hot locker room into a sub zero night and a 1.3 mile walk to home. Downhill to the river then along the railroad tracks in the snow between the rails was my quickest way to the ranch chores waiting at home. I made the walk everyday regardless of the temperature or if it was snowing.

Breathing was sometimes difficult in the cold without wrapping a scarf across your face. The hair is your nose froze. Your cheeks went numb. Now 1.3 miles doesn’t sound like much of a distance but I would challenge you to try it in those conditions.

Our school had a dress code where all the females had to wear dresses. Stupid! Most wore some sort of pants to school and changed when they arrived.

Skiing was different as you could dress for the cold. Night skiing on Howelsen Hill was quite popular. Fortifying the hot chocolate with adult beverages was also popular with the adults.

All in all, I prefer the cold to heat and humidity. A summer day in Corpus Christi? No thank you. I’ll take a Wyoming blizzard first.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Informed Voter Effort

It is surprising the time involved in becoming an informed voter. 
Candidates, to be sure, require some research. Proposed Amendments and Propositions will have a longer shelf life and need more scrutiny.

Colorado is the only state to pass the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR).

Special interest groups, particularly (P)regressives,  try to get around it every election cycle.

This year’s ballot has six Amendments and three Propositions. One, #69, opens the state coffers to support Obamacare. Deny, deny, deny and dress up with pretty language but that is what it does with no spending caps or oversights – just a blank check.

One Proposition relates to assisted suicide, end of life for terminal patients. Something I’m in favor of but I will vote against this version. Too few checks and balances.

One Amendment, #71,  raises the bar on future efforts to get something on the ballot. Will require a certain number of signatures from each of the Senate Districts statewide. Right now you can gather enough in the Peoples Republic of Boulder and the free cheese areas of Metro Denver to get something on the ballot.

I’m down to deciding on local races. On those I will seek counsel from my sister who has lived in the area far longer, and is plugged into local politics. We seldom agree, me being a lapsed Democrat and her a lukewarm Republican,  but I do respect her opinions and keep them in mind.

I note with some amusement Sister Kink, a former co-worker I supervised, is running for the third time and will probably get re-elected. She is wholly owned by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Association. If the money was right, she would be all in for Shillary. She is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known and has the ethics of a starving piranha. The “kink” refers to her business practices. I know very little of her personal life, nor do I want to.  I’m glad I don’t live in her district.

Don’t watch television so am spared the ads. My information comes from reading and the internet. 

Why do I bother? Because I can.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

English Country Estates and the USA

Once again WSF is going off the rails. You have been warned.

Some of the audio books I use to stay awake on my three day per week, 500 mile daily drive,  have me thinking about the decline of wealthy English squires, their landed properties, and lands that supported them.

 Huge estates with grandiose manors were reduced to ruins in just a few generations of careless inheritors. They seemed to regard their inheritances as an endless supply of resources to fund their spendthrift lifestyles. After a few generations of recklessness, along with high taxes, they find themselves out in the cold along with their tenant farmers. Surely, during the many years this was going on, numerous people tried to explain to them how this course of action would end.

Yeah, yeah, WSF, what is your point? 

The USA is the estate, and the various (P)gressives and Social Justice Warriors the new squires. The beneficiaries of extensive public educations and often trust funds, these people seem to think their country is a inexhaustible source of funding for their special snowflake schemes. Seemly, no amount of contrary opinion from their fellow citizens is heard.

I see hard times coming.  

ADDENDUM: Traffic shows several visits via Google UK. My apologies to our British cousins if the blog disappointed you.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Colorado Rail Museum

Visited the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, CO today. Lots of memories growing up along the Denver and Rio Grande when my father was a section foreman for 10 years.

First hit of nostalgia, the smell of creosoted railroad ties. The second, motorcars that I got to ride on as a kid.

Few things are securely locked and the only guards are volunteers. One can imagine Murphy's Law running amok.

However, one of his relatives must have been visiting.

Admittedly the "Keep" part is hard to read but the "Off" s quite clear.

Rather than clutter the blog, pictures are available on Dropbox.

The various "Galloping Goose" units are no prize for cosmetic construction, just hell for stout, and still usable. Rides were available on one of them today.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bronco II Update

Working on cars isn’t my favorite activity. At age 72 it is also painful. This is balanced by my notorious cheapness. That said, the Bronco II needed a master cylinder replaced. Local shop wanted $100+. Simple repair and the auto parts store had one for $32.

First, we have to poor boy/lazy boy bench bleed.

Installed! This is no place for a good tight cross thread. Takes a little fiddling to get the threads lined up.

This always happens when I work on something. Your skin gets thinner with age I’ve been told.

Field expediency bandage.

Bleeder helper.

 The brakes work but the rig will go to a shop next week to have all the old fluid removed. I have a vacuum bleeder but hate crawling around on the pavement. It is worth it to me to take it to someone with a lift. Will probably cost me $50.

The next step is new shocks all around. About $130 for the parts. Know a guy who will do the labor for $20-30.

The old beast runs well, everything works, and the title is in my filing cabinet. Best part is the limited slip rear axle. 4x4 without a limited slip or lock up rear axle will get you well and truly stuck.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

DYI Funerals

Swiped this off Facebook because it reminded me of my late father.

My maternal grandfather died in Cottonwood, AZ. The family wanted him buried in Walden, CO. My father borrowed a station wagon/hearse from the Mortuary in Steamboat Springs, CO. This was not the formal hearse but a utility vehicle. After loading an empty coffin he headed to Cottonwood.

Enroute the alternator failed and he had to stop in Kayenta Springs, AZ.No alternator was available and had to come from Tuba City, AZ. Since he had to wait,  he slid the coffin to one side, laid down, and caught some sleep.

Kayenta Springs is a Navajo town, and a tough town at that. This was prior to the coal mines and power plants.  Navajos have strong beliefs about death and dead people, as in they want nothing to do with them or anyone associated with them. Not dissing their beliefs but situations can become awkward. The alternator finally arrived but the repair place employees wouldn’t come near the station wagon or my father. Finally, with the intervention of tribal police (who also kept their distance) the staff put the  alternator and some tools where my father could reach them. He promptly made the necessary repair. There was more awkwardness as he returned the tools and paid for the alternator but he was soon on his way.

I’m sure the situation was helped by my father’s people skills and that he could get by in their language. He had a gift for languages and had Navajo work gangs while he was with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. He was by no means fluent but had enough to communicate.

At Cottonwood, the remains were placed in the coffin and my father, mother, and her oldest sister made the drive back to Steamboat Springs.

My sister and I are descendants of a long line of hard nosed,  practical people. We learned most things are nothing more than a job of work. Some jobs are damned unpleasant, to be sure, but they nothing more than a job that needs to be done. So, in the words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Git’er done”.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sugar Economics

One hazard of driving 11 hours is the time it gives you to ponder subjects that don't matter. In this case, the economics of sugar beet processing.

In Scottsbluff, NE there is a plant dedicated to processing sugar beets.

125 miles to the South there is a plant in Ft Morgan, CO.

So, what sense does it make to haul sugar beets from Ft Morgan to Scottsbluff?

This is the road I must share with these beet haulers.

These are some of the beet haulers.

These are the "good" trucks. Some of the junk individual farmers and independent truck owners run are downright scary. I speak from experience having worked as a truck driver one harvest some years ago. By some miracle I didn't hurt anyone or wreck a truck. I did have a tailgate failure and scattered 12,000 pounds of sugar beets along a three mile path. Oops!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bad Cop, No Donut

0600 this am, Wheatland, WY observed a Platte County Sheriff 4 door pickup going East on Hwy 320 (main N-S commercial street). He changed lanes, turned right and then right again at MM78, merged on I-25 North and then exited at MM80. At no time, in any of these maneuvers, did he/she use the vehicle turn signal. Setting a good example?

A few months ago, in the very same locale and approximate time, a Platte County deputy gave me a thorough ass chewing about complete stops behind stop signs and proper use of turn signals. He was, of course, quite correct.

Yes, Sisty, I need to get a life.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Helped a neighbor load an ice chest into her car and we started reminiscing about traveling as kids. She is around my age and was off to visit grandkids.

She remembered water bags instead of ice chests and that started me remembering trips to Arizona with my parents and my mother’s parents around 1952.

We had a 1949 Ford V-8 three speed manual with overdrive. That car would cruise all day long at 80 mph. My Dad would tie two canvas water bags on the front bumper guards. That water would get cool, almost cold, from evaporation and tasted so good on a hot Arizona day. One time one bag slipped and was drug many miles before we stopped. No water from that one. Looking back I realized  Dad was smart to have two water bags along with a  5 gallon Jerry can in the trunk. He respected the desert. Said he remembered training in the Mojave during WWII.

We stayed in motels on these trips but cooked all our meals over an open fire along side the road. You would expect something different from ranch people?

My grandparent sold their ranch outside Saratoga, WY and retired to Cottonwood, AZ.  By that time I was off doing Army stuff so my wee sister had the fun of trips through Moab and Mexican Hat or the Monument Valley to visit them.