Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Today so far

Drove down Six Mile Canyon and saw some more wild horses. That can't possible ever get old. I drove up some old jeep trail two-tracks to check out some mine sites on BLM land but didn't find anything accessible. I did kind of feel like a prat taking this brand new SUV with less than 270 miles on it back on these 4WD trails but I took it very slow and careful and didn't so much as scrape a skid plate or brush a tree. Got a little target shooting in at an improvised range that some locals apparently set up. And unlike the ones in MRE urban areas, it was neat and clean with a minumim of debris and almost no casings scattered about. Whoever uses this spot police up after themselves nicely so I followed suit and left no evidence of my visit behind.

Then it was down into Dayton to try to locate the old Sutro Tunnel portal, a holy grail fore history buffs and mine explorers. Back in 1860, German immigrant Adolph Sutro came up with the idea to tunnel into the lower levels of many of the large Comstock area mines to help with drainage of water--a major problem in these mines--and to improve ventilation. The mine companies loved the idea until they realized that his tunnel might also be used to haul rock out of the mines and that he stood to get paid nicely if that happened. They tried to stop him over the years but to no avail. He finally broke through into the workings in 1878 after tunneling over six miles through solid rock, but by this time the mines had gone deeper so the drainage benefit never really came off. Sutro sold his tunnel--now used for haulage--and moved to San Fransico where he became mayor. This tunnel connected to several of the largest mines though and I'd loved to have used it for exploration but for two problems: first, a cave-in blocked it a ways in, and second, it is privately owned by the Comstock Foundation and they have a rather unfriendly caretaker living on site, a one-armed fat guy with a serious bad attitude who lived up to the description given to me by everyone I'd talked to yesterday. He's locally infamous for his rudeness and hostility towards visitors. 

Now I could kind of understand not wanting to have everyone and their dog showing up at all hours and just poking around without so much as a by-your-leave, so I did the courteous thing and dove up slowly, right to his little shack, then walked up and knocked on the door to politely ask permission to take a few pics of the portal. I migh has we'll have saved us both the trouble--the guy was the biggest asshole I've met in some time, and right out of the gate with no provocation. "No you can't see it! The property is closed and you need to get off it right now!" Now we were less than a hundred yards from the famously historic portal and I could just see it from where we stood. I really tried to placate him by explaining that yes, I understood that it was closed to tours, but that I'd come to see him out of respect to ask the small courtesy of just a few pictures. "You need to just get the fuck out of here," he snarled.
"Not a problem," I told him. "I'll go, but that's a pretty poor way to talk to someone who isn't being disrespectful to you in the slightest."
"This property is owned by the Comstock Foundation. If you want to see it, find out when they do tours. They aren't doing them now though." 
"Ok, that's great. I'd love to check with them.  Can I get their contact info from you?"
"You can go look it up on the Internet. From someplace else. Now get out of here,"
"Fine. Have a nice day." I turned to walk back to my Jeep and saw that he was following me back to it, a flower on his face. I also noticed that he didn't appear to have a weapon, yet here he is being totally disrespectful to someone he doesn't know. Not that he was in any danger from me--and I was armed--but not everyone who happens along is like me. Push enough people with unnecessary disrespect and bluster and eventually you're likely to meet someone equally nasty who will push back. Law of averages. And especially stupid to do it where you live because you've now got to be on defense 24/7. A little courtesy is always smart when you're all by yourself out in the middle of nowhere, especially if you're obviously in poor shape and only have one arm. Yeah, I think I'd be nice to people if I was I his shoes, but that's just me. And from what I heard from everyone yesterday, he's always like this. Here's hoping that it doesn't come back to bite him on the ass one day.
Even in my case, I was tempted to come back after dark and take a look inside that portal just to spite him. From what I could see, would have been child's play and in years past I'd have done it just because. But I'm older now, and I have a security clearance to safeguard, so I'll take the high road and go find other sights to see. 
Still: Murphy's rule #17: "Don't be a dick to people strange to you until it's time to be a dick, and even then don't let your mouth write checks that your body can't cash."

Off to see more sites.

Yesterday

Up and out. After a quick breakfast, I bought a couple of long sleeve thermal shirts because I'm not in Southern Louisiana anymore and then I headed off to an urgent care to try to knock the last of my persistent cough out. I almost left when they told me that the wait was an hour and a half, but then they told me I could leave my number and go do other things and they'd text me when me time was close. Well that was good, so I went off to meet Mike, a reader of this humble blog who just happened to be in Reno today, up from Texas for a conference. We dropped in on a couple of pawn shops, one of which had quite a few old firearms that I was interested in, but alas, they were all priced too high. By way of example, they had a lightly sporterized Rock Island 1903 Springfield, low-number but with a WW2 parkerizing job and a 1945 barrel. Stock was chopped but otherwise ok. They wanted a grand for it. I offered $500, which was still too high but I do have a stock for it at home and the bore looked good, but they wouldn't come down below $650. Oh well. Mike and I horses around there for a while and kicked a few more tires and then we went to a casino and got coffee and swapped German Shepherd pics. And his wife Stacy is a big Murphy and Belle fan, as most readers here seem to be for some reason. Finally I had to head off to my appointment but Mike says he's going to come to the NRA convention in Dallas to peruse the wares and meet all of the other bloggers on the sidebar that he's not met yet.

Doc had me rolling in half an hour with some new meds and a scenic but crazy two-lane highway took me over a mountain range and deposited me in Virginia City, where I found countless tourist trap stores, most of which are closed for the winter. I also found several mine shafts, all bat-gated, which isn't a surprise this close to town, and a couple small herds of wild horses, which seem to roam wherever they please without much bother or fuss.  I knocked around for the rest of the day, then found a nice room at a crazy low winter rate price that was nicer than anyplace I'd been staying at thus far so I dug in for the night and walked back down the road for a passable pizza. Then I found a small bar with three customers--two local women and a lab named Benny--and I sat down for one drink, which turned out to be a few when I found out that the bartender is a retired Nevada Trooper, and small world of small worlds, we've got some common ties. We swapped tales for a while and at the end of the night he wouldn't touch my money just to long as I promised to come back again today, which I probably will.

The night sky back outside town was incredible, with no light pollution to mess it up. The walk in the dark, back up the hill I'd come down in daylight, seemed a fair bit longer somehow. But there was no one out there far as I could tell besides me, the horses and b'rers Smith and Wesson. 

Now I'm off for a bit more exploring. No rush, no stress and no plans that have to be adhered to. I may stay here and I may move on. I haven't decided, and I don't have to do a damned thing between now and my Saturday morning flight back out. This is how every day shoul be.

Monday, October 16, 2017

My travels thus far

After a stupid-panicked first leg of the flight, I had a nice second leg. The aircrew bumped me up to the better seats and I wound up sitting behind MMA legend Ken Shamrock for three hours. He was my hero back in the 90s when he was just starting out beating up on the Gracies. I saw him once back then and he was awesome. And I got to see a lot of him on this flight too as he stood up in the aisle every half hour or so and did some stretching. Ain't never seen that on a flight before, but I wasn't about to tell him he couldn't. 

We landed, and I walked off the plane right to the Enterprise counter and they confirmed my reservation and put me being the wheel of a brand new 2018 Jeep Compass with just 51 miles on it, and they had me driving away within twenty minutes of my getting off the plane, a far cry from Vegas where I had to wait in line for over an hour and a half just to get to the reservation desk. "We're not Vegas, Sir. We're Reno. We treat people right," the rental guy told me. And they didn't press me even once to buy their overpriced insurance, unlike the Vegas guy who practically threatened me with every sort of calamity if I dared drive using just my existing policy, which, like most, covers rental cars same as your primary car. As a result of the niceness here, I will not be beating this Jeep to death on trails and two tracks like I did the Jeep SUV I got in Vegas. It pays to be nice to people that you give nice things too.

Because I was still under the weather, I grabbed a room, showered and napped for a bit then as dusk headed downtown to see the aren version of the Vegas strip. I found it much easier to navigate and take in, and the casinos weren't quite as flashy but they were also nowhere near as obnoxious and the people we much friendlier, especially some Reno street cops I spoke to. They're still trying to get a handle on Nevadas's new legal marijuana dumb decision, and everyone is shocked at how fast several large new pot dispensaries popped up within days of the vote. Lot of money was obviously sitting back waiting for that. And since it seems so out of character with rural Nevada, I asked them what happened in NV to bring this about. Every one of them shook their head: "Californians." They move out of California to escape the taxes and laws that they voted in there and then they turn around and start voting for the same stuff wherever they land. (Gee, just like Massholes and New Yorkers on the east coast...) east or west though, migrating liberals are like locusts, only less endearing.

The next morning, after a prime rib and potatoes breakfast that was big enough to have choked a bear, I hit the road and headed west to invade California. I first went to Truckee for a bit more coffee and then headed over to Donner Lake to see the place where the Donner Party got snowed in while trying to cross the Seirra Nevadas back in 1846 and threw that infamous dinner party to die for. (Yep--failure to bring enough groceries meant cannibalism or starvation back then. Über Eats wasn't coming by with a sack of burgers.) Then I took old Hwy 40 up to the crest and saw the rail bed where the first transcontinental railroad was cut through the maintains by hordes of Chinese laborers. The rail bed, mostly tunnels and massive concrete snow sheds, is a hiking trail now, though it took me some climbing to get to where it was from where I parked. I hiked a bit of it, enjoying the views of Donner Lake and Truckee far below, then descended back to my sinfully new car. 

Next stop was Lake Tahoe. I drove down to the north edge then drove around it, admiring the clear blue water. And because it was there, I hiked a steep trail to the top of Eagle Rock just to enjoy the view and show all the Californians what I could do with my newest walking leg. Yeah, it never got old watching groups of folks climb to the top all out of breath, congratulating each other on the tough climb, only to see me there casually greeting them with a smile and nonchalant "hi" as I sat there in my shorts letting the sun gleam off my nice new prosthetic leg. 

Now that they're all gone though, it was a workout. Oy.

Then it was down and around the south end, and every time I thought that it could not get more scenic, it did. Wow. And tons of nice houses all around it, and not a beater car in sight. Who are all these obviously rich folks and how do I get in on whatever money game they're all playing?
Finally, with dusk coming on, it was back over to Minden, where I had to stop by the airport to see Minden Air's famous firefighting fleet. This company was built on surplus military aircraft used for firefighting and I just had to see what they might still have. I found them, but the only thing I could see in their yard of interest to me was a stripped and gutted P2 Neptune and what looked like a clapped out Cessna 0-2A but turned out to be a Model 337 instead based on what I could see through the fence. If I get back down that way during business hours I'm going to stop back in and see if I can't get shown around a bit. Then it was back into town for dinner and a few drinks before turning in early. After all, I am still sick.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

So much for planning and preparation, vacation edition.

So last week's planned vacation trip to Reno got clipped by Hurricane Nate and it was moved to this morning. I managed to reschedule the flight, the car rental, the rooms...everything.

Tuesday I got sick, and Wednesday night I was in the emergency room at midnight with a sinus infection and bronchitis. But I couldn't change the trip again so I had to go. And I was feeling a fair bit better yesterday so I figured it'd be ok. Heck, better sick in Reno than sick at home, right? 

All my meds got me crossed up when it came time to set the alarm last night. I woke up at Five AM when my phone dinged to announce my fight departure from the airport almost twenty miles away...at SIX AM!

What were the odds I was ever going to make that flight?


I'm blogging this from Dallas Fort Worth Airport now, during my layover.  I made the damned flight. 

From a sound sleep in my bed to sitting on a plane at the airport in just over fifty minutes, with the dogs fed on the way out the door. I did it. I'll be buying a few minor items to replace stuff that got left behind in the rush but all of my essential gear made it too. 

Sucks to be the people sitting next to my unshowered self, but Reno, here I come! Let the vacation blogging commence!!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Post-storm Sunday morning.

One the storm threat was gone, I took the dogs for breakfast.


True to form, Belle was in her glory with Katie, a friend who happened by.

And Murphy was never one to let a distraction go to waste.
"I can has mimosa?"

Then it was off to watch friend Beth shop for dresses.

She bought one, too. For $265.

"What do you think?", she asked.
I was thinking that's a thousand rounds of ammo at 26.5 cents a round. But I didn't tell her that.

Murphy, after shopping:

Yeah, you and me both, boy.

Seen while walking...



So I guess the car's owner in unemployed?

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Here we go

First storm band from edge of Hurricane Nate. Dogs seem less than pleased.
Can't say as I'm pleased, either. But it is what it is.

Equipment test fail

So I've been running my one operational generator every couple of weeks just to make sure it stays functional. And it has always been fine, right up until this morning. I turned the fuel on, switched the power switch on, and pulled the cord...SNAP! The cord broke and most of it retreated back into it's housing. With hurricane half a day out. Fucking wonderful.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Sticking around.

And just like that, my vacation gets bumped back a week, courtesy of Tropical Storm Nate, which appears to be planning a direct hit on New Orleans Saturday night/Sunday morning. So I'll be staying, because I have a job to do, and because I have friends ad a house here (and two silly dogs), and I'll head out NEXT week-end instead.

That's two vacations planned this year, and the only two named storms impacting this area hitting here on exactly the same dates. What are the odds of this?

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Seriously?

Cast iron skillet. Large size. Not small, not light. Taken by usual suspect(s) from top of stove (far back burners) and carted through house to dog bed by the windows, 50 feet easily.


I quit wondering WHY they do this stuff a while ago. Now I just wonder HOW.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Time to recharge

Posting's been scarce late, I know. Haven't been to the range n a bit, work is off the charts assisting with hurricane relief from TX to GA and PR, and in my off time, I'm surrounded by half-wits who believe that every millionaire football player who "protests injustice" by disrespecting our national anthem is a hero just for opting out. (Hey, it's easier than giving a few of those millions to actual causes, right?) Those players have an absolute right to express their opinions, dammit...and it you have an opinion to the contrary, well you're a racist and if you own a business they'll do their best to ruin it. Because First Amendment only applies to people that the Left agrees with. (Full disclosure: I've been going for lunch at this place as much as I can this past week, and it's always packed with cops, military and oil workers--real Americans. Somehow I doubt that any of perpetually outraged New Orleans' purple-haired white hipsters have ever jumped on their bicycles and ridden out there to dine before this ever became an issue, but then this diner is in real red-state America, not New Orleans.)

They're also going on and on about how President Trump should be handling relief efforts even though it's clear that they have no clue beyond re-posting any story that comes from the alt-left sites in which the President is accused of either not knowing the Puerto Rico is a US territory or accusing him of being a racist who wants them all dead. And they're still blaming him for "provoking" that nice North Korean fellow and saying that if we get nuked, it'll just be because of our President, who could broker world peace, cure cancer and win the Indy 500 and they'd still hate him because...well because their candidate didn't win the election a year ago. And that means that this one has to be resisted no matter what he does until he can be overthrown.

Laughable to you and me, but these zipper-heads believe it. Every bit of it. And they go on and on and fucking on about it...I've had it. I'm tired of being an atoll of common sense in an ocean of stupid.

So this coming week-end, I'm outta here for a trip back to America. I'm flying out to Reno, NV for a week and I'm going to rent a 4x4 and go get lost in the mountains for seven days. It's going to be an epic battery recharge, and I'm not even bringing my work phone. They can kiss my ass too. I shall, of course, blog from out there. And if anyone has any recommendations on what to see or do in northern Nevada, let me know, because I've never been there before and I'm heading out to see stuff and do things.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Bless her little heart

Miss Memphis Belle, after years of sitting patiently on the doorstep waiting for me to open the door and inquire as to her desire to come in, has suddenly learned to scratch on the door when she wants in. (Murphy has still not figured this out, BTW..)

The problem is that she does not gently skritch at the door like a normal dog would. Oh no. She claws into that door like Freddie Krueger holding an ice pick, and her first few tentative "May I come in, please?" scratches have taken the paint off the door right down to bare metal.

This girl. Right here.
This is 50% of why I can't have nice things.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I don't get it.

Seems like there's hardly a day goes by here when I'm not running across social media posts made by those in my area who are attacking white people. They blame white people for genocide, blast all white people for being racist and greedy, and even state right out that white people are the worst thing that ever happened to this city/country/planet. The contempt and outright hatred for white people as a whole among these people is total.

The part I don't get? The carpers are almost all WHITE MILLENNIAL GIRLS, with a few rather effeminate white millennial guys who are doubtless just trying to be included.

I've popped in on three Black Live Matters rallies here in the past year or so, and each of then was 90-95% white girl, with the black participation pretty much limited to the speakers and the ones passing the donation buckets through the crowd. If not for white girl purchasing, the local BLM T-shirt seller would have sold maybe three shirts in the last two years based on what I see while walking around. I live and work in a very diverse area but the only ones I see who are flying the BLM flags and hating on white people as a group are...white millennials, most of whom only recently moved here from northern or mid-western states, based on the ones I know or have talked to. And there's a lot of them. And they are passionate. These are the ones demanding that our historical statues to great leaders of the past be pulled down across our country and masking their faces and attacking our police at public speaking events on the grounds of universities that very few of them even attend.

I definitely don't get this, and it makes me wonder where we're going as a nation.

EDITED: No sooner do I write this than I find this story about a midnight attack on a Thomas Jefferson statue because "he's a racist". And by the looks of the picture...it's mostly white kids.