A hundred miles a day for eight days

Between driving a stakebed out to a distant golf course and back for a show, cross-valley errands, and a camping trip to the Rim, I drove about a hundred miles a day for the past eight days, gaining some wisdom in the process.

First, the Equinox photo I promised:

2006 Chevy Equinox

That photo is near General Springs on the Mogollon Rim. If you can see them, the decorations drawn in the dust on the side of the car are courtesy of the children.

Eight busy days later, and I have learned a lot of things:

Three layers of mark-up will seriously impair the viability of a competitive bid.

Burn Notice is the secret re-boot of the A-Team.

Everyone in Little League is a volunteer, except the guys in the national office – who are paid – and this is reflected in the league dues.

My informal and random poll indicates that  0 out of 19 education professionals believe that No Child Left Behind (as implemented) is actually helping to educate children.

One guy calls the truck pack – and all the other logistical geniuses on the call need to live with that guy’s decisions, or you add an hour to load out.

If you have a crew loading out a show on a golf course, and you lock the only restroom, this will not prevent the crew from relieving themselves. It will only prevent them from relieving themselves in the toilet.

One simply cannot underestimate the importance of worklight when loading out in an open field in the middle of the night. Moonlight is not an acceptable substitute.

When launching model rockets, bring extra batteries and fuses.

The RXC went camping at Bear Canyon Lake, on the Mogollon Rim. Some notes about that site can be found on my other blog:

Are We Lost Yet?

Hammock at Bear Lake

When taking middle-graders camping, they all need chairs, or none of them need chairs. Musical chairs around the campfire is a recipe for discontent.

The kids get their own campfire.

The kids get their own campfire.

American adults car-camping will never run out of food. They always bring too much. This was, however, the first trip in a long time where we did not run out of booze. Perhaps we’re growing wiser.

Pie irons still rock! Especially now that we know how to use them.

New vocabulary: Bailing wire = “ranch tape”

I have established that the Equinox can bounce through the Buick Filter. Though I damn near found the Equinox filter (its still a 2WD) on our way to General Cabin Springs. We were scouting a multi-day bacpacking trip taking the General Crook Trail east from Clear Creek to its intersection with the AZT (near General Springs), then taking the AZT north to Blue Ridge Reservoir.

Having scouted that, I have concluded it wuld be far easier to start at Blue Ridge and head down to Clear Creek. But it would be even easier just to stay n the AZT and go down the Rim to Pine. I’m still noodling on these things.

But there is a marked section of the GCT that follows AZ 260 from around Camp Verde to the Rim. We found a blaze by following a randomly selected dirt road off the highway. I love the Equinox.

Camp Verde State Park s closed on Tuesdays.

Some links:

World Food Program trying to bring disaster relief over the objections of the Myanmar government. “The people of Myanmar do not eat biscuits…”

The Onion reporting on President Obama’s visit to Denny’s.

Now You Know

Counterproductive Drunks

It wasn’t my fault. The desk lamp knocked my beer over into the basket of freshly washed laundry. The lamp, I suspect, was drunk.

drunken-lamp

Of course, so was I. Not only was I not moving laundry forward, I was actually being counter-productive, which is just gut-wrenching for a workaholic.

Still, not nearly as traumatic as taking time out of my life to watch the Suns kinda wave their hands a little bit as Celtic after Celtic dashed past them for nearly uncontested lay-ups. Did GM Steve Kerr laugh or cry? I couldn’t tell.

Memo to former NBA coach and now ABC commentator/curmudgeon Jeff Van Gundy: Basketball is supposed to be fun. This is not Hardball. Lighten up.

A few writing links:

Gary Westfahlon why so many SF predictions don’tcome true. [via Locus Online]

And Lynn Viehl, in her blog Paperback Writer, shares the 22 Immutable Laws of Publishing.

So say we all.

Campground reservations jumped 11% in January, and firearm sales jumped 28.8% (though an upcoming change in legalities may have prompted the gun sales).

“Yes, economic times are tough and it’s obvious that lots of people are facing financial hardships. But lots of folks also respond to such challenging times by realizing the things that matter most to them – family, friends and the outdoors – can be enjoyed without a big hit on the family budget,” said Gary Hovatter, deputy director for the Arizona Game and Fish Department [to the AZGF public information officer].

Here’s hoping that hiking is recession-proof.

I can replace both for the gates in my backyard for about $150 in materials, which is refreshingly affordable. Now, just getting it done…

And then drink beer.

Now you know.

My new blog and circus knots [1/6/09]

Menasha Ridge has put me up as their Featured Author. Hurry – before they feature someone else. (The photo is courtesy of Mark Kinsey).

On that topic, I have a blog going on their Trekalong side site called:

Are We Lost Yet

Which deals with hiking and related subjects.

So we’ll deal with less of that here. If you go this week, a lot of that stuff will seem awful familiar. I wanted to get something up quickly, so I copied and pasted some material from this site.Thus learning that material copied from one WordPress theme will not neccessarily respect the boundaries of another WordPress theme.

I also learned about circus knots, the way you secure overhead rigging with aircraft cable when you can’t be bothered to bring or buy industry standard hardware for this purpose. Tie a clove hitch around a bar to be suspended, leaving a good length of wire as a tail. wrap that wire tightly up the load line several times, bend it back, and then wrap loosely around the load line and the tight wraps until you are able to tuck the end back underneath the top of the clove hitch. Then walk away, and try not to think too hard about what you have just done.

Did it fall yet? No? You tied it right!

Now you know

Time consuming exercises with no measurable guarantee of success [10/30/08]

Right now, I am doing what all freelance magazine writers do when they are not actually writing, or doing their day-job. I am waiting for sources to call me back. I could probably get this same information over the internet (or perhaps even from the library- I’m old school like that) but it is better to get it from a real person whom you perhaps could quote.

Research, like fishing, has no guarantee of success.

I went out to Lake Roosevelt Monday, looking for Bald Eagles catching fish.

I didn’t see any Bald eagles on Vineyard Trail last Monday. It’s a known nesting area, but it was hot, and eagles hate that as much as the rest of us. I did however, duscover that my Garmin Etrex GPS unit is completely caput. New batteries – no screen. This means it lasted about 45 good hikes. Happily I didn’t need it. Vineyard is a straight forward hike that I covered in my guidebook.

Did I mention I have a book coming out? I do.

I have tentatively replaced Bongo with Lizards.

But I have just learned that you can change a load of laundry and play – nay win! – a round of spider solitare before WordPress can be bothered to upload a photo, so I’ll update this to a Flickr site when I get to that point.

Time consuming exercises with no measurable guarantee of success brings us naturally to trying to publish fiction.

Consider this Epistle from the Slush-pile. The important numbers lie at the bottom. 65-70% of submissions are unreadable;95% are unpublishable. If you’ve written professionally competent fiction, you’re only competing with the top 5% in the pile – though that’s still a large number.

One last note:

There has never been a rain-shortened game in the World Series until this year. If you believe, as I do, that God reveals His will to mankind through baseball, then surely this is a call to repentance.

How then, will we change our lives in response to this vague but clearly ominous portent?

And still, my phone does not ring.

Now you know.