A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Desert Sands Garage


It was midnight Monday after all the hoopla from the two idiots fighting when I heard some ruckus around behind us.  This guy had pulled in.  A late model pickup was parked behind him.  All lights were on, doors open and hood was up.  They were working on the RV engine in the darn near freezing cold.  He’d crank away at the starter with the engine struggling to catch hold and run.  I wasn’t upset in fact I was cheering him on.  “Come on...come on...start.”  Finally it did running extremely rough.  
The pickup left.

He left Tuesday for most of the day returning in the late afternoon.
I later learned he had went into town to Autozone, a car parts store. 

It was then I discovered he was Canadian from Quebec.  I wondered how he made it this far.
On a wing and a prayer?
I later learned it ran fine on the way down here.

I went for my walk Wednesday morning after things warmed up.
He was outside, hood up, still working on the motor.  After I made my circuit returning home I saw he was still at it running the extremely rough sounding engine.  I decided to walk on over mainly to satisfy my curiosity as to if he knew what the problem was.

I told him I was his neighbor and he told me he speaks French so his English isn’t all that good.  
“That’s fine, take it slow.”  He did well communicating just fine. 

First thing I noticed was that it was an old setup not something with a lot of computerized electronics and fuel injection. This was old school with a carburetor and distributor.  Now that I might be able to be of some assistance.  To me it sounded as if the air fuel mixture was off causing the rough running and not idling.  I got to looking around.  I am finding rubber lines not connected, split, or leaking.  Vacuum leaks.  Not good.

These two lines going into the base of the carburetor were not connected.  The rubber was so old they had broke off from their slip on connection.  One runs back to the distributor for the vacuum eadvance.  Not connected the engine was sucking air right in there.  I found another on the backside on the base of the carburetor that was split (sucking air) at the connection.  That line actuated the butterflies on the four barrel carburetor opening them up when you stomp on the gas to pass someone.  He cut off the ragged ends of each hose and we slipped them back into place.  The engine started right up and ran much smoother.

Here he is adjusting the idle.  
 I pointed out a couple other loose lines but we couldn’t figure out where they were to go.  One had been plugged off for some reason.   At any rate he was pleased that it ran much smoother now.  The poor guy had already spent money on replacing the air filter, spark plugs and put in a new fuel pump in a futile attempt to fix the problem when all it was were these unconnected vacuum lines.

I left him to it to go eat lunch and here it is an hour and a half later and he’s still fiddling with the idle while I compose this.  It isn’t dying on him anymore as it was but he’s still trying to get it perfect.  I’d leave it with the idle up a bit rather than trying to get it so low.  There still must be something not hooked up but at least it is a hell of a lot better, running smoothly and idling without sputtering out.
  He’s got a bad exhaust leak at the header on the right side also.   

It’s kind of funny now. He keeps revving it up and waits for it to die on him, but it won’t.
It’s like he cannot believe it.

What is the world going to do when us old farts with all this knowledge die off?

- comment replies -

I didn’t want to keep the Yeti cup.  It’d just remind me of these losers.  
“I wonder what has gone on in their lives to make them live this way?”  
At one point I heard him yell at her “You’re like your mother!”
So you can imagine the girl’s mother being some crack whore.  
The girl had little chance in life, and her mother couldn’t care any less for her than she does.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

What They Left Behind


To address your concerns, I never felt any sort of threat from these two.  They nary even acknowledged our existence except the woman did wave at me when she was naked with the blanket wrapped around her.  I didn’t even give her a nod.  The two were wholly wrapped up in mistreating each other.  But I do appreciate your concerns for our well being.  Thank you all.

I really thought they would leave that day and was quite surprised later that afternoon to see they had no intention on moving.  For us to move elsewhere would leave us open to being near other campers running their generators constantly, playing loud music or having dogs continually barking.  There is only one place an RV can park close to us in this location.  Their fighting would only last for a short time then be over.  Really the worst part in having them there was the distraction.  I kept glancing over there not wanting to miss out on something.  I am sorry to admit it but there was the entertainment value.  

The second night.

It was 6:30 p.m. when the first round of fighting began.  By 7 p.m. they had simmered down and were quiet.  I figured throughout the cold night they would be quiet for the most part.  In the morning for sure no doubt they would really start at it again.  Around 9 p.m. I saw a flashlight or headlamp dancing around in the darkness.  I went to sleep.

In the early morning I looked out and they were gone.  
They had evidently been breaking camp in the darkness when I saw the flashlights.  This left me with questions.  Why leave at 9 p.m.?  Where do you walk off to in the darkness around here while the temperature plummets?  They had been quiet throughout the whole process of packing up.

Their mess.

The box the tent came in.  
A couple burnt taquitos in the remains of what had been a Mexican food take out.
Water still in the bottle.

That is a pricey Yeti insulated stainless steel cup there.
A couple slices of expensive Daves Killer Bread left.

This is a like new camo hooded jacket.

The green bag had held the tent poles.  One broken pole was laid by the wayside.
The blue blanket.  What is she going to wrap around her nakedness the next time she needs to pee?

Women’s undies or shorts.  I didn’t touch.

Sadly the dog’s water dish was left behind.  Those are rocks inside of it.
The poor dog.

Later I went over and cleaned up their mess so I wouldn’t have to look at it.

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Monday Morning Breakup


It was dark Sunday night, I was already in bed when I heard a car pull up outside and doors slamming.  By the time I decided to get up and investigate our new neighbors, the vehicle was pulling away from this spot heading back onto the road away from where you are looking.  Notice the bottles and jug of tea left in the shadow of the bush.

Two people walked around in front of us and proceeded to set up a tent in the dark with the aid of a single flashlight.

In the morning, fortunately I was already up eating my yogurt when the fight began.
The yelling, screaming, swearing was at an intensity I have never heard before.  No doubt it could be heard throughout the entire camp area. This continued on for about an hour.  Besides each telling the other how horrible they are and listing all their faults and short comings the only details I was able to make out among all the F words was that he was hogging the blanket and she was freezing all night and he was complaining that she drank all the dog’s water.
View from bedroom window.

She wanted him gone, out of her life.  Finally he threw the dog out of the tent and went back to yelling, cussing and screaming.  It never got physical except at one point she did push him out the tent door.  Finally he put on his boots, grabbed his guitar and walked off with his dog.
Well that’s over with.

About an hour later he came back.  Oh no, please, I thought we were done.
Well he came back for the few things he owned it seemed.  I guess the tent was hers.  I heard him say the word ‘apology’ but she was having none of it.  He gathered up what few belongings he had, put a saddle bag on the dog and...

...walked off for what I hope was for good.

I went for my walk and returned just before noon.  I let Beans out for a walk and the woman came out from the tent with a blanket wrapped around her naked lily white body.  She had to pee.  I fixed lunch and debated on whether or not to make this post or continue on with our botany classes.  It was then I began hearing her crying in the tent.  I cannot stand to hear a woman cry.  It tears at me.  The crying evolved in uncontrolled wailing and yelling.  Finally she settled down after a few minutes of this sobbing.


I finished the above part of this post just before 1 p.m. when she crawls out from the tent and I see the guy coming back!!  You gotta be kidding me!  They act like nothing happened!

Best I could capturing her and her ugly tattoos scattered over her body.
At the base of her neck on the back were the words ‘evil _ _ _ _’ I couldn’t make it out but pretty sure it was just a four letter word, not five if you know what I am getting at.

He has long hair, a mustache and cleaned shaven.  How does he shave?
She was wearing soft leather Indian moccasins and walked off up the gravel road.

He sat in the doorway of the tent coughing liking a tuberculosis patient.
He was carrying a plastic bag when he returned and had a sugary drink in his hand.
If he brought back food and drink for her she walked off without touching it
I wondered if the poor dog ever got a drink or something to eat.

At 3 p.m. they both return to the tent.  Words were exchanged.
It appears we are in for another round of fighting at some point in time.
Let me know if you want more of this sordid affair in a follow-up post or drop it.

I forgot to mention that two days after moving over to this side of the mountain I once again could hear the electric bass guitar from way over on the other side of the hill at 1:58 a.m.  Amazing.
I want out from here but it is still too cold to the east.

- later -

As I am fixing dinner it dawned on me: they have no stove, no ice chest.  
It will be two degrees above freezing tonight in a Walmart tent.

Sunday, February 5, 2023



Saguaro cactus grow in the Sonoran Desest of Arizona and down into the Mexican state of Sonora.  They can grow over forty feet tall and live an excess of 150 years.  The tallest ever found was 78 feet tall, being a single spire with no arms.  A windstorm toppled it in 1986.  The largest was at 45 feet tall but had a girth of over ten feet and was estimated to be over 200 years old.  They will grow their arms after 75 to 100 years of age.  One specimen had 78 arms.  Just imagine how old this fellow is.  Older than all of us and he looks pretty well for his age.  Saguaro grow from seed and will only grow a quarter of an inch in the first two years.  It takes twenty to fifty years to reach three feet in height.  They have the ability to store large quantities of water and expand greatly in doing so weighing anywheres from 3200 to 4800 pounds fully hydrated.

What they look like at the very top.

The barbless spines are extremely sharp and able to penetrate even bone.

The skeleton of a saguaro is comprised of ribs. (Internet photo)

(internet photo)

Gila Woodpeckers make holes in the cactus for their nest.

(Internet photo)

When the saguaro dies and decays they leave behind what is known as a “saguaro boot” the hardened nest cavity created by the woodpecker.  The bottom is between my boots and the opening to the left.  I only recently learned while back at WHY that it is illegal to collect these.  I was unable to find out why.

Flowers appear in late April through to June opening up at sunset and closing the following day.  
Besides bees and birds pollinating them so do bats.

(The rest are internet photos)

The fruit produces around 2000 seeds.  They will germinate easily but take a year to be ready to do so.  As such only 1% are able to germinate since the seeds are eaten by birds and small animals.

Looks tasty.  
Native Americans harvest the fruit using long poles to knock them loose.
They make bread from the ground seeds.

The driver escaped injury.
Said it was windblown snapped off and just bad timing on the driver’s part.

You don’t want one to fall on you.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Palo Verde


Palo Verde can be anywhere from a small shrub to a full grown tree over thirty feet tall. 
They need water so are usually found near and in water courses.

It is usually leafless for most of the year when water is scarce. 

Leaves and flowers appear in the late spring after rains. (Internet photo)

Which produce seed pods that small rodents and birds eat.
Native Americans also ate the seeds or ground them into a meal.
(Internet photo)

The end of each stem comes to a very hard sharp point.
Must be hazardous harvesting the seed pods.
One time Beans darted into a palo verde bush after a lizard.  She got poked very near her eye.  Scared me something bad so I am now aware of anytime we are around the bushes and lizards are present.

- comment replies -

You got that right Barbara.  That is why I love this lifestyle.  If your neighbor bothers you all you have to do is turn a key and move elsewhere.
Lini, the thought crosses my mind at times oh to live in a world without consequences.  A guy pulled in next to us at that evacuated camp, stayed for an hour.  He left behind a stack of flattened cardboard boxes for soda pop.  Ah...to have the power of God and smite him from the face of the Earth.  ZAP!
Thank you all for your supporting words.  I still will try not to be crotchety.  I don’t like being so.

Friday, February 3, 2023

To The Other Side of The Mountain

 Ten Miles West of Tucson, Arizona

I vowed that this upcoming year I would try harder to not come off as some crotchety misanthropic old man in my blogposting and journal writing.  At the very least I would strive keep my thoughts to myself.

New spot.

 A large group moved in near us, part of which included two hippy-fied  school buses.  No good will come from this.  It was around 4 p.m. when they cranked up the outdoor sound system playing loud techno music.  At least it wasn’t rap-crap.  Even still, I could only imagine it would continue on into the night.  We made a hasty evacuation to the other side of the mountain.

I went back in the morning to get a photo of the rave encampment and was shocked to see they had cleared out already.  I was disappointed in not having anything to show you.

Still, I was okay with having moved.  I had already endured two evenings of someone in the camp up the slope behind us playing an amplified electric bass guitar, thumping away off and on.  
One session came off at 2 a.m.

Off to the right of the guitar player was this camp who had an unknown number of large dogs barking, growling and howling at all times.  The guitar camp had a couple of hounds running loose also adding to the noise making and confusion.

Here we are barely into February and already I have failed in keeping my vow.  I’m sorry.
It seems people will continue to make it difficult for me to keep from writing about them.
It is going to be a bit of work on my part but I haven’t given up...yet.

We will get back to our botany classes tomorrow.  
And we’re looking at moving on down the road after the weekend...hopefully.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cane Cholla


The Cane Cholla grows throughout the desert southwest and is even found in Kansas.  Somehow it wound up in Australia where it is considered a noxious invasive weed.
It can grow quite tall looking like a tree.

The spines like all cholla have those microscopic barbs to them.
Don’t touch!

The cactus makes beautiful magenta colored flowers. (Internet photo)

The flowers leave behind a yellow fruit that will stay on the plant for a year.
The fruit is dry and not tasty although the Native Americans have been known to eat them.
The green spots are called glochids and have very tiny hairs (spines) that if you get in your skin are very painful.  Only way to remove them is using adhesive tape or paste glue onto the affected area, let dry and peel away hoping for the best.  Some cattle do learn to eat them ignoring the pain.

Cane cholla too leaves behind a stiff skeleton when it dies that have elongated slots which are very decorative and are made into canes, hence the name.