Category Archives: Transportation

Hitch-hiking from Beatnik to Hippiedom

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

When I got out of the Army, summer 1964, I had a lot of ideas about my bright future.  Shopped around the Portales area for a while and found a quarter-section cotton farm I thought briefly I’d buy and become a starving-to-death farmer, which fell through.  Worked meanwhile, for Abe Ribble at his cement operation, and applied for the Peace Corps, knowing I wouldn’t hear from them for several months.

I was hanging out with a number of other young guys who were at loose ends, drinking coffee and walking around town, sitting on benches around the courthouse trying to figure out the meaning of life.  Going out with a waitress out at the truckstop when she got off work at midnight.  A young woman with goals, and confidence that no matter what a man might want for himself, she could mold him into something more to her liking.  Once she got him nailed down on all the corners.

The World Fair was going on in New York that year.  I could feel the walls of Portales trying to close in on me, and the guys I’d been spending spare time with were mostly thinking of themselves as beatniks, to the extend a person could be a beatnik in Portales.  A slight beard and a beret went a long way in that direction.  Sketchpad and a piece of charcoal, or a lot of free-verse poems jotted on cafe napkins were the tools.

So another aspiring beatnik, Stan Sexton, and I, decided to hitch to beatnik heaven.  Check out the World Fair.  Visit a couple of New Yorker weekend beatniks who went to Eastern New Mexico University, but were home in Westchester that summer.

I’ve told elsewhere on this blog about that summer, about sleeping on the Brooklyn Bridge, about catching the freight-train out late-August, jail in Rochester, and eventually hitching, driving the school bus to California, etc.  About all those would-be beatnik women and the “Eh?  YOU don’t believe in free love?” pickup line that always worked.

When I was accepted for Peace Corps Training and headed out of New York I had no idea I was seeing the dying gasp of the Beatnik phase everywhere.  That a year later everyone who was anyone would be Hippy.  That Greenwich Village would be replaced by San Francisco as the center of ‘what’s happening in America’.  Kids would be burning their draft-cards and taking acid trips.  Doing ‘Love-ins’ in the park.

By the time I got back to Portales to spend my time waiting for the Peace Corps India X training to begin in Hawaii the world had begun a sea-change, though it didn’t know it. 

But at least some of the pressure was off in Portales.  The waitress had found someone else with better prospects for a bright future.  Cotton farmer, he turned out to be, if I remember correctly.

Old Jules

Learning debts incurred Universe-wise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately, learning a lot, some of which might be false, but I learned it anyway. Now that I’ve blown out enough tires on two different RVs to satisfy my curiosity I’m willing to try to apply some of it. Even though it robs my macho because of not knowing it before when I knew all manner of things.

First off, there’s the thing about tires. They ain’t as good as they used to be. Old guy behind the counter at the tire store and I conversed about it a while when we shared mutual memories of having bought junkyard tires and run them until they were down to the threads. Lots of them, and neither of us remembered much in the way of blowouts.

But now the DOT mandates they date those tires. And as a consequence, he opines they blow just about when the DOT predicted they would. The DOT gave the tire industry a leg up against criticism by providing them an “I told you so!” escape and they made great engineering use of it. Supposition, but possumly true.

Secondly, another old guy pointed out all the tires I’ve blown were right-rear dooleys. Beginning with inside ones. He opined that what I’m doing is running with that right rear wheel too near the pavement edge, maybe off it, forcing the inside-rear tire to carry all the weight. Which makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I’d been mulling over the fact every blowout I’ve had happened on highway RR479 north bound and wondering at the coincidence. It’s a fairly good Texas Ranch Road with a lot of hills and curves. Might just be I’ve been letting it drift, one wheel off the pavement instead of hugging the centerline.

Thirdly, I’ve also satisfied my curiosity about whether I’m interested in arm-wrestling lug nuts put on with impact drivers. Even with a 5 foot cheater, even with a T-bar after they’re loose, I was having to take breaks between lugs. And after I put them back on and tightened them, I’d stop a few miles down the road to check, they’d always be loose enough to require a little more tight with the bar. Half-dozen times between here and Kerrville. If an impact tool’s able to take care of just that problem of reality and confidence, it’s worth the price of admission.

[Debating with myself here, can’t recall whether 4th is spelled, Fourth, or Forth – what-the-hell]

Next: Careful examination of the half-inch drive corded hammer-drill suggests it might function as an impact tool, but it’s going to need a half-inch adapter between the drill-chuck and male socket whatchallit. If it works it’s going to be a lot cheaper than an off the shelf impact tool, and it doesn’t have a battery to go kerplunk.

Next: That trim above the right-rear wheel well [see pic] was destroyed when the tire blew. No way that piece of trim is going to jump out of the Universe at me to be replaced, so I’m going to have to find a way to innovate. Not entirely for aesthetics, but some places are pickypickypicky wanting to see pics of the rig before they’ll consider a person who wants to clean up their trash, mow their grass, listen to complaints of RV owners. In exchange for a pad with hookups, etc.

Last, I’ve been troubled because my ALT gauge doesn’t tell me squat about whether the alternator’s working or not. Couldn’t figure why. A guy on one of the vintage RV groups answered my question about it by telling me he had the same problem. Bought a cheap digital gadget plugs into the lighter socket. I got one yesterday and hot diggety damn. Yes, HOT diggety damn! You heard me right.

But I’ve digressed. The crux of it all is that, after having been provided all this new stuff to learn, I have to live long enough to use it, damn me if I don’t. Got myself a karmic debt on my Credit Card with an obligation I might carry spang into my next lifetime if I kick before using it.

So now, instead of just having to live long enough to pay back Keith and Rich for the lifesaving loans to get the RVs, instead of just having to outlive the damned cats, I’ve got to spend the remainder of my life changing blown tires and unscrewing pesky lug nuts.

Sheeze.

Old Jules

The underlying fundamental truths

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

If you’re like me, you are probably asking yourself why Johnson grass, crabgrass, beggars lice, goatheads, thistles and, say, salt cedar, thrive through the most difficult of times while all the stuff you deliberately planted requires care, nurturing by various means, irrigating.  You’re probably wondering why skunks can overwinter with rabies, throwing off the virus to all their kinfolk, while almost everything else dies within days of manifesting symptoms. 

Yeah, you’re probably wondering also why the skunks in Homeland Security run you about as you’d figure,  and the entrepreneurs in the private US penal systems are wallowing around in profits without ever getting their lives dirtied by contact with inmates.  Wondering why faceless ghosts in places such as the NSA would, not only wish to know the intimate details of your life, but actually be able execute a plan to do it.

You’re probably wondering why classy, wonderful aircraft with glide ratios and whirling propellers are rotting in hangars and on airstrip tiedowns while unnatural aluminum monsters incapable of manned flight zoom around carrying people places they didn’t need to go.  Why the only damned propellers anyone cares around are horizontal wings beating the air to death and crawling over the carcass.

Well friends and neighbors, if I had more time I’d explain it to you.  Because it’s one, or part of one of the fundamental truths of the Universe.

Unfortunately, this has gotten a bit long and there’s no point in me doing it right now.  It’s a proven fact that people don’t read long blog posts and that they click somewhere else the moment anything gets fundamental, or truthful.  Or if there are no pictures of naked dancing girls, celebrities, politicians, or tsunamis.

And hells bells, part of one of the basic truths of the Universe is that I can’t upload a damned thing.  So you’ll have to figure it out for yourselves.

Old Jules

The right tool for the right job

Hi readers.

If the Kennedy brothers had owned a floor jack and a half-inch drive impact tool when they attempted to get Vice President Lyndon Johnson assassinated every president then-until-now would have been named Kennedy and the Vietnam War would still be raging.

Okay, those inflated rear tires are on the ground, though somewhat wokkyjawed.  I’m having to skid the wheels sideways into place tightening the lugbolts with a cheater bar.  Couldn’t get the truck quite high enough to leave any room for doubt between them and the ground, so I’m punting.  Lots of good friction but nothing a cheater bar can’t handle.

But at least the whole shebang can’t come down on the brake drum if the jacks collapse. [Parenthetically, two each two-ton hydraulic jacks can be used to lift a 5 ton RV if everything else goes right and  you are dumber than cluckshit enough to try it.]

Still breathing too hard to go back out to finish it off yet.  Got to get the lugs tightened the rest of the way, then get those two jacks lowered and out from underneath.  Then put the blowout on the spare tire rack and watch these black spots in front of my eyes to see if they’re just floaters, or whether I died a little while ago but haven’t achieved Nirvana.

Lessons learned:  A man needs a 3 ton floor jack and a half-inch drive impact tool before he tries anything fancy.  If there are any Kennedys left alive I’m betting they already own some in case there’s another round of dynastic opportunity.  In fact, I’ll bet there’s a walk-in safe in the basement of the White House filled with floor jacks and impact tools.  In fact, I’ll bet somewhere there’s a National Defense Stockpile of floor jacks and impact tools controlled by Homeland Security.

Which is to say, sometime in the next year-or-three Hydrox, Niaid, Tabby and my humble ownself are gonna stick up a Harbor Freight wearing Richard Nixon masks and carrying 3/8 inch cordless drills.  Check out the SPECIALS flyers, then drag us a floor jack and impact tool out the front door at drillpoint.

Watch the evening news.

Old Jules

Lefty loosee, rightee tightee

For all the good it does.

 

That Chinese steel T-Bar doesn’t have the strength to take a cheater.  I should have bought that half-inch drive electric impact wrench at the Midland Harbor Freight when I had the chance, but was too smart and miserly to do it.

I planned to upload some pics of the blessings of trying to get the RV up off the ground high enough to change the tire, and why it ain’t worth doing because of a Chinese steel T-Bar lug wrench.

I think I’m going to have to try to drive this booger to town with a disintegrating tire on the inside rear and cross my fingers that I don’t blow another one, or that this one doesn’t come apart in a way to keep me off the road half-way between here and there.

Seems I’ve managed to piss off someone who has the knowledge and wherewithall to deactivate the functions of the WP text editor.  For now, maybe from now own, WP text editor won’t activate the buttons to allow me to upload image files nor post tags on the blog entries.

Ah well.  My old buddy Rich went through something of this sort a while back, he tells me, when he got crosswise with the same folks I evidently angered with my views on the Bible and a particular modern secular nation.

Life goes on.  They haven’t dragged out the really heavy artillery for me yet, the way they did him.

Old Jules

The Party Never Ends

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

First, I want to thank Bob for the link he provided about Gate Guard jobs, a particular blog entry that swivelled my thinking on the issue entirely.  The issues of wear and tear on the RV because of the dust on the sites, bearings and other wear surfaces, particularly.  Along with everything clogging, electrical connections not making contact, and the bad roads getting to town for groceries all conspired to convince me it’s not the job for this RV, these cats, and this old guy who wants to die before the party of the first part, but after the parties of the second part.

Second, today I’ll be taking it to town for the first time since I got the tags transferred.  Need to pick up something called a ‘deep cycle’ battery to run the various coach functions.  The one that’s on it is dead meat, which I knew when I bought it and used it to argue the guy down a bit on the price I paid.  But it’s got to be replaced.

I’ll also be going by a coin laundry for the first time since I’ve been in Texas to get some clothes back into non-pioneer conditions.

Afterward I’ll go behind all the malls and big stores for packing boxes so’s I can get my belongings out of here and into the storage place.  Everything I can’t carry along right now, winter clothing, that sort of thing.

Thirdly, groceries.  Getting food of types I haven’t been equipped to utilize in a goodly while.  Because everything on that RV WORKS.

Lastly:  I might put the thing through one of those oil change places, get it lubricated, everything checked out for fluid levels, new oil.  Instead of doing it my ownself, which ain’t all that much cheaper and is just one more time-sink.

Life’s a good adventure.  It allows the illusion of forward movement, even standing still, leaning forward, preparing to stagger into the future.

Old Jules

Macho Robbing High-Tech Living

RV x 2

If you’re like me most of you probably already know there’s something counter-frontiersman, counter-pioneer about just pushing a button to kick on a pump, then stepping inside a little room to have a hot, pressurized shower.  Washing dishes in a sink with hot water instead of putting them upside down over a fire-ant bed and just wiping them down after the ants do their work.

Like me, you probably feel a lot of guilt, something vaguely counter-natural, counter-human when you indulge in this type of behavior.

But yesterday and today I did.

And damn it felt good.  Probably do it again tomorrow and dwindle off some more macho.  I’m old enough to have some to spare that I would have needed for other things when I was younger.

Jules

The Centralist Texasist RV Magnate

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Feeling a bit blundery here.  Got involved in a book around 10pm and around 3am discovered it was 3am and I still had 75 pages demanding my immediate attention.  Decided what the hell.  Storm came around 70 pages later so I was up scurrying closing everything open to rain on both vehicles.

The attempts by modern civilization to snag me into negativity and stall the process of my registering the 1978 wossname, Holiday Rambler, failed and I dotted all the necessary eyes, paid out a few hundred bucks, only had to be the tiniest bit of an ooocher of legalities.  That Ford RV is now legally a resident of Texas, standing up on its hind wheels and whinnying.  Next it will be wanting to vote.

This staying up all night reading without intending to is something the law ought to insist younger men do.  Screws up all manner of habitual behaviors for cats and men my vintage.

Anyway, nice little rain last night.

The financial drain of all this has me thinking I’ll be online a lot today chasing through the available gate guard and pipeline guard for oilfield jobs.  I need a spurt of wealth to undo what’s been done to my wallet with all this.

My friend Eddie keeps track of such things as this and tells me the gate guard think is doable, sent me some links, and when I mentioned it in town to a couple of people a couple of them gave me some email links.

A few months of that would provide the friends I owe money to a relief of the burden of me owing them money [Keith and Rich, I love you as brothers and am eternally grateful for being there when I needed you].   And the weight of not being financially solvent robbing my macho, mainly, because neither of them’s hectoring me with anything but positivist enthusiasm.

Jules

Distractions

powerline helper

I’d have gotten more done Friday if I hadn’t come across this on the way into town.  I’d seen them doing the same thing the previous day, but didn’t have the camera.

powerline helper3

Can’t help wondering what the dingle dangler and helicopter pilot do for excitement on their days off.

powerline helper4

“So, how was your day, honey?”

“Same old same old.  Boss looking over my shoulder all the time.”

Various stuff

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Jeanne called yesterday and said she’d fallen and broken her arm in a parking lot.  Drove to a clinic somewhere and got a temporary cast put on.  Afterward she  said she’s having to type with one hand, so she mightn’t be doing much online work for a while.

I’m fairly concerned about this cat, Tabby.  She’s 10-11 years old ….. seems to have a propensity for skin conditions summers, doesn’t get along well with the two long hairs, goes through phases of beating up Niaid, or being so stand offish the older cats gang up on her and drive her away from the food.  All of them have too many scratches on their faces for my tastes.

Sometimes I’ll go a couple of days without seeing her, and when I do, about half the time she pretends I might hit her, cringes away.  I’m keeping as close an eye on her as I’m able until two weeks passes since the agressive coon incident, because I have the impression she ain’t feeling well at all.

One of the possible jobs I’m looking at is in Arizona, a couple has a self-styled animal rescue setup, would like someone to help out feeding and taking care of the animalcules on their four-acres of land.  In exchange for a site with utilities.  Might be fun to do for a while, and if Tabby did well there I think I might persuade myself she’d be happier there permanently than voyaging around with the two older cats and me.

Spent all day in town Friday trying to get everything done transferring title, insurance etc on the new RV, but the day wasn’t long enough.  Complications with undotted Tees and uncrossed eyes had me scurrying around back and forth up and down a lot of the day.

Back tomorrow to hopefully get it all finalized.