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The Day I Lost My Toad

“Hey Buddy!  Whatever you think you are towing ain’t there any more!”

Grandpa, (my wife’s dad) lived for 17 years at a very remote desert ranch that he developed near Lucin, Utah.  It was 50 miles to his mailbox and 100 miles to the nearest shopping.  No phone, no electricity….. but this is another story.  When he was ready to retire from his retirement and move back to the city, he asked us to help him move.  Other family members were helping and there were lots of vehicles to drive to the new farm in Shoshone.  Packing went on for many days and finally it was time to make the final trip.

We spent all morning loading up the last things.  It fell our lot to drive the big farm truck,  loaded to the gills with stuff piled high.  Others were leaving with their loads but we had to linger in order to hook my car, a 1985 Renault Alliance,  up to the back of the farm truck.  The Renault had broken down while we were there and would not run.  Jim helped me hook it up and then he left with his pickup load as Susie and I finished up the rigging.  I was using my own professional quality tow bar, that was chained to the tow loops under the car and then hitched to the truck.  The tow bar connected at a higher angle than I liked because of the height of the truck.  In RV lingo, a car that you tow behind your rig is called a “Toad.”

Finally we were ready to leave.  Waving goodby to the empty ranch, we headed down the dirt roads following the dust of the of the others.  Taking the short cut to Burly, Id. meant traveling 100 miles on gravel roads. Since we could only make 30 mph with our big load,  we fell far behind and soon trouble began.

30 miles down the gravel road, there was a loud bang and the temperature gauge on the truck began to rise rapidly.  We stopped in time to see the last of the coolant draining out a large hole in the bottom of the radiator.  There was no help in sight and we had no cell phone.  We were stuck….but I did have my tools.  If we could just make it back to the ranch, may be I could scrounge up something to repair the truck.  The truck radiator was toast, so I removed it and replaced it with the radiator from the Renault.  It was 1/4 the size and I had to use a lot of duck tape to rig up the hoses but soon we were heading back to the ranch hissing and steaming all the way.  We used up all of our spare water making the return.

Upon arriving, I scrounged around in the farm “junk pile” looking for anything that would help.  I found an old dusty radiator that Grandpa had no doubt purchased at a farm sale.  I cleaned it out with water from the windmill and Jerry rigged a way to mount it in the farm truck.  It was too small for the big truck and it leaked a little but it would have to do.  We dug around and found every type of container we could find and filled them with water.  Old milk jugs, old gas cans, coffee cans, old pop bottles, ice chest….anything we could find.  In all, we squeezed about 30 gallons of extra water into every remaining nook and cranny of the truck.  It was too late in the day to start our journey so we ate some granola bars, jimmied a ranch house window and slept on the cold bare floor.

Next day, we started out again with the Renault in tow.  We decided to take the long way to Shoshone so we could avoid 70 miles of the gravel roads.  It was a 200 mile trip and now we could only make about 25 MPH.  We would drive for about an hour, then get out and add water, then drive some more.  We could not see the Renault in the mirrors but now and then, I would check the hitch.  The road was very lonely and nobody had passed us all day except for an occasional semi whizzing by the in other in direction.  About 2 in the afternoon, two guys in a pickup truck pulled up along side us on the two lane road.  The passenger rolled down the window and hollered, “Hey, whatever it is you think you are towing ain’t back there!” and he pointed wildly with his finger toward the back of our truck and then they drove off.  We stopped, and sure enough, we had “lost our toad.”  The car was gone and the tow bar was dragging behind us.  We never heard anything.  We never felt anything.  It was just gone.  We turned around and backtracked to look for it.  Fuel was becoming a concern.

We traveled back 21 miles and found the Renault about 50 yards off the highway down in a shallow ravine.  It had left the road and plowed a path through the sagebrush, and down the hill, coming to rest in a nest of brush.  It was a little scratched up but otherwise unharmed.  As we were surveying the problem,  the 2nd person that we had seen all day came driving up.  It was a sheriff deputy in a 4×4 SUV with his lights flashing.  He looked everything over with us and I asked him if he would pull the car out of the ravine and back onto the the highway for us.  He said, “I can’t do that.  I’m not allowed to drive this rig off road unless there is an emergency.”  I replied, “This is an emergency.”  “We need help.  Even if you called a tow truck, the nearest one is 100 miles away and we have no money and no credit cards.”  He agreed to help and backed his rig into the desert.  Soon we were back on the highway.  No ticket.  The officer gave us a few gallons of gas that he had in a spare can and wished us well, then he drove off.  We siphoned all the gas we could out of the Renault and put it in the truck.  Then we repaired the tow hitch and soon we were on our way again.  We made it Malta where we spent our last money gassing the truck, with just enough left over to pay for a cheap motel room for the night.

The rest of the trip was uneventful,  a routine of driving, and stopping to fill the radiator.  When we finally arrived, everyone was overjoyed to see us.  They had  figured out that we were missing and sent Jim all the way back to the ranch to look for us.  Of course, he took the short cut down the gravel roads and missed us.  He arrived later that evening and was glad that we were safe.  Grandpa was glad too, but complained saying that we had ruined his fine farm truck and now he would have to rebuild it…..and he did.  We later gave the Renault to some local kid who needed a car and then we flew home.

 

Rain Rain Rain

We have been hunkering down from the rain.  I bought a fancy weather station for Christmas.  It mounts on the roof and tracks the wind, rain, and temps, etc and transmits the data to a display in the dining room.  It is pretty neat, especially the rain part.  We had 1.7 inches yesterday measured from Midnight to Midnight.  Our worst day in February recorded 2.26 inches.

I have been making quilts.  I have made 8 since January 1.  I invented a “recliner quilt” that is a personal size, about 46 x 70, that is used whenever one just wants to relax with a book or TV show….OK…book.  I monogram them with the persons initial and also put my initials and date in small letters.  May be they will be kept by the respective family members when I am up enjoying the wonders of heaven.  I got the idea from my grandma who made a family quilt with a family tree on it.  Its been around for about 100 years.  I inherited it and passed it along to my son.  Its actually kind of fun although it doesn’t seem like a very manly thing to do…. unlike rescuing cats.

I bought a small gadget on Amazon that measures the amount of electricity that any given device uses and displays the result in dollars and cents.  You program in the PUD rate per Kwh and it is retained and used for calculations.  To measure something you just plug it into the device and let it operate as normal.  The longer you leave it the more accurate the results.  When you read the display, you get the results in cost per hour, day, week, month, and year.  The results are sometimes shocking.  Oh, its called a “Kill a Watt” by P3 company.

Spring is coming.  We can mow, mow, mow.

The best World Series ever played

It is often called the best World Series ever played. 1960 World Series It was 1960, between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburg Pirates.  The Yankees were highly favored and expected to win.  Indeed, they DID play well, because at the end of the series, the Yankees had scored 55 Runs on 91 hits and the Pirates only scored only 27 runs on 60 hits.  From the totals, it looks like the Yankees ran away with the series and should have won hands down, but they didn’t.  The Pirates won the series 4 games to 3.   I was in the eighth grade at the time and remember some of the surprise and lamenting.  How can you outscore your opponents by more than double and still loose the series?  The lesson for this is: Sometimes it is not how many runs you score but where and when you score them that counts.  You can read about this amazing series here:

1960 World Series.   (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/yr1960ws.shtml)

This game reminds me of the Electoral College and the results of this presidential election and a few others.  People who win, tend to like the Electoral College and people who loose sometimes hate it.  We all have probably scratched our heads and puzzled over it at one time or another.  With the Electoral College, it is not how many votes you score, it is where you score them that counts.  In this election, Hillary may have won the popular vote by a small margin, but she grievously lost the Electoral vote by a large margin.  Now she and her cronies are complaining and begging for recounts.  They are looking for fraud and an example that the election was somehow rigged.  They are threatening some electors and trying to get them to vote for Hillary even if it is against the law.  Some Democrats are rioting in the streets behaving lawlessly.  Hillary is looking for someone to blame and is unwilling to admit that it was her own lack of character that caused a large portion of her base to abandon her.  The name calling continues unabated.  Is this what Democrats are about?  It should not be.

I read this article by Bryan Dean Wright, a Democrat, that sums up the way it ought to be.  Its worth reading.

A Democrat Speaks Out   (https://goo.gl/E9vqmW)

 

Two skunks

We were skunked yesterday and saw no new mounds to the North so we pulled all of our traps.  Then we noticed two small mounds South of the parking lot and set two traps.

Skunked again today.  Nothing in the two traps.  I did notice one very small mound near the block building and set one more trap there.  We’ll see what happens.  I think we are just about done here.

Skunked

We got skunked today.  We descended on the property at 8:30 and checked all of the traps.  Nothing.  No only did we catch nothing, but we found only one new mound.  We moved one trap to the new mound and left.  We’ll catch’em later.

Another big one!

I went out today about 3:30 and found that the lone trap in the NW area was tripped.  To my delight, when I pulled it, there was a big juicy mole snagged in the jaws of the trap.  There really wasn’t much new activity.  We’ll see what tomorrow will bring.

Its a big one.

Its a big one.

Whistle Stop Cafe

We hopped on the scooter the other evening and scooted out Yacolt to eat dinner at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  It was a cool ride out there and a cooler ride back home.  Dinner at the cafe was very nice.  It is a family friendly place that has been in business for about a year I think.  I recommend it!

Nice Catch!

I got a note from Brooks this morning saying that there was a mole in one of the traps that he checked.  He left it there for me to see and photograph.  I went out this afternoon and found the little critter and gave him a proper burial.  There was a little new activity to the South West, so I moved the trap over there.  In the front, I noticed some new very large mounds to the west toward the bridge.  I pulled one trap and move it to this new area.

Our first catch of this campaign.

Our first catch of this campaign.

More activity

The moles are really busy.  I went out today at 1:45 to check the traps again even though Brooks had already checked them today.  I found ONE sprung trap and noticed the two new mounds that Brooks had spotted earlier.  I moved two traps to the new mounds and set one additional trap out front by the sign on a new mound that I noticed out there.  So far the score is Moles-3, Tag Team-0.

Sneaky moles

Brooks went out Wednesday morning to check the traps.  He posted this score card:

0 moles caught
2 tripped traps
2 re-set/re-positioned traps
3 new mounds
0 additional traps set
The new mole mounds are in the north lawn area near the playthings.