Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grandkids Fix After Action Report

Reader Alert. Very long winded post with mediocre photographs.

Back to base from visiting the grandkids. This was almost a time warp. Imagine a family home where the children act respectfully toward adults, have chores, do homework, meet standards of behavior, and remain mainly cheerful and happy. I’ve the highest respect for what my son and FDIL are accomplishing with their lives.  They do this while facing daunting challenges that would crush most people. It does my heart good to visit them. Of course, they do house the world’s cutest grandkids.

  Got to meet the newest addition.

 Who would adopt an eighteen year old cat whose owner died? Oh, how about two suckers? Poor cat. Goes from a one person home, to a pound, and then to a house with four kids, another cat, and two dogs. Resilient cat is Anne. She is whipping them all into shape.

Speaking of animals, I had to fight for a place to sleep.

Dugway, Utah is an interesting place. Some eighty five miles Southwest of Salt Lake City, it sits at the intersection of two dead end, two lane, and paved “highways”. In one direction, north, some twenty five miles away, is Interstate 80. The road is mainly straight and goes through Skull Valley. To the Northeast forty two miles is “town”, Tooele, Utah. The road over Johnson Pass is twisting, with numerous 20 mph curves. The area is all desert, some fairly high mountains, and salt flats. The five hundred or so people living at Dugway are military and dependents. By necessity, it is a very tight knit community. It is also the ultimate gated community, tightly fenced, one way in, with armed security. All visitors are screened. Every twenty feet on the fences are warning signs stating lethal force is an option. My son is hardcore OPSEC. He tells me the security at the town of Dugway is just the first level of security and, yes, they are deadly, repeat deadly, serious about security. It is not a good place to be an intruder. Nuff said.

Sunday we went shooting!  Son has a recently purchased Springfield XD-45 he is tuning and FDIL had her Browning .22. FDIL and my son agree she should be proficient with ALL the firearms they have, and she is. In truth, she can probably outshoot both of us.

Where they go is out in the desert in a bowl. The vehicle is out of sight from any roads and the high hills both muffle noise and provide good berms. Note to Old NFO. There is an easy 1,000 yard set up available; longer if you want.
Any trash and broken glass you see has been left by others. What we brought we packed out.

I enjoyed shooting the Springfield but would need a lot of dry firing to get a proper feel for the trigger safety. The weapon itself impressed me. My son did a lot of research before he settled on it. While staying true to my revolver preference, I can appreciate the piece. Fifteen rounds of .45 APC? Wow! What is amazing is how the piece balances in hand much the same whether fully loaded or empty.

Alas, as with all handguns, my chances of hitting the side of a barn would be greatly enhanced if I were in the barn. However, I wouldn’t want to be down range from my son or FDIL.

It was mainly a smooth trip. Some snow/sleet/rain going out and dry roads back. Did violate one of my rules and nearly paid for it. When your fuel gauge hits the half way mark, stop and fill. I literally coasted into the gas pump at Lyman, WY, after rocking the truck back and forth the last four miles to get the fuel left in the tank corners to the fuel pickup.  Put in 14.7 gallons. (Owners manual says it holds 13.8) I always zero my trip odometer when I fill up and have a good idea of my range. Just a backup to the fuel gauge. Works well if you remember you are driving well over the speed limit into a stiff headwind, then, not so much. Oh well, the blog title says it all.

On the way back, stopped to see a monument to financial chicanery, aka, the Ames Monument.
Site is isolated now, as the railroad has been relocated, and Interstate 80 didn’t follow the Lincoln Highway route. Two things struck me. First, the “scrappers” haven’t got to the bronze at the site. Two, the area now hosts trophy houses of the Cheyenne moneyed classes. Something symbiotic about that.

The Pronghorns, survivors from the Pleistocene era, don’t seem to care.

While it was grand sleeping in my own bed, clicking on the computer and seeing the work that has stacked up isn’t. On the bright side, that will help fill the coffers depleted by the trip.
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