May 2014 Journal

April 30. 2014, Wednesday

2 trips to the VA, one for lab at 0630, then back in the afternoon for primary care.

April 29, 2014, Tuesday


April 28, 2014, Monday

Ouch! $448 for 117 gallons. $3.819 gallon for diesel. Up $1.75 a gallon since you know who got elected.

Took the bus to the shop. The Winegard satellite TV dish got half way down and stuck, limiting my speed to 50 mph and scaring the hell out of us. Checked into the Residence Inn. Nice place, nice suite (upgraded because we're so nice).

April 26-27, 2014

Saturday was a Wild Bunch match at Founders Ranch. Finished in the top 5. Of course, you know the punch line.

Sunday a RGR match was planned, but there was too much wind and it was canceled. 12 die-hards showed up before it was canceled.

April 25, 2014, Friday

RV LED Lighting, part 1:

RVs have 12 volt lighting, normally. 12 v Fluorescent lights come in 12 and 18" sets They're a pain in the ass, and they use more electricity than LEDs. Cabin Bright is a company that makes one form of replacements for both. The set shown is a 10 module unit for 18" fixtures. It promises 25" more light than standard. I got a set and installed them. Wiring is pretty easy. There's a RV101 Video online. You have to take out the old bulbs and remove the fixture from the ceiling, remove the ballast cover, and cut the 2 wires to it. If the term "wire nuts" is foreign to you, get help. Otherwise it's cut two wires and attach the new ones. Not rocket surgery. Then install the lights. They have double sided tape on back. I installed the end ones first...

Then the center pair...


Then the "in between" pairs.


If you've wired it correctly, when you turn the switch on it looks like this before the cover is put on. If the RV catches fire and burns to the ground you did it wrong. Fortunately if you correct the wires backwards the only thing that happens immediately is that the lights don't work. Turn the switch back off and fix it.


With the cover on they look like this. It's a "warm" light, 3200K. That blue-white is closer to 6000, These look orange to my eyes. They are bright, however, which was the goal.

A little camera exposure magic dims the picture, and you can see the 10 individual segments. The Redhead says she can't change these. LEDs should, theoretically, last long enough that she won't have to. I have, however, located LED lights that are in tubes and use the stock mounts. Rewiring is still necessary to eliminate the ballast. I'll get a pair and check them out.They're 4000-5000K.More later.


April 24, 2014, Thursday

Throwback Thursday--R & R in Hawaii, March 1970:

Every soldier in Vietnam, if he lived long enough, got 6 days and 5 nights in an R & R site. Married troops usually went to Hawaii.

Show at an amphitheater, I believe Kodak sponsored it



My young wife. At least one person on Facebook thought this was The Redhead. She is not.


The view from our hotel room


The view from our hotel room at night


The T-Shirt said, "Vietnam, the Edsel of foreign policy." If you're too young to know what an Edsel was, it was the Vietnam of cars.



The Arizona memorial





I took a lot of pictures


This is the outfit that got us thrown out of the Officers' Club at Fort DeRussey







We did a sunset dinner cruise on the Ali Ali Kai, a pink catamaran once owned by Henry J. Kaiser.

Rabbit island


The blowhole


Hanauma Bay I believe. The water was very cold.





Our pathetic Toyota 1200 rental car. When I saw it I laughed a long time.


Wherever this was I remember not being too comfortable. It looked too much like where I'd been the last 8 months.


I was very young then, too


The last night we had dinner at Michel's and stayed up most of the night.


The next day I had to get on an airplane and go back to the war.


April 23, 2014, Wednesday

No they shouldn't!


Empty .38 Special Brass. I guess I need to get to work reloading.


Making match grade shotgun ammo from STS Nitro hulls.


This is what the primer should look like when the machine is at the top of its travel. It can fail to fall for several reasons


And it can miss the hole.


There are many variations. All of them not good. This is why there's a big plastic tub to catch dropped primers (if you have the ceiling clearance to use the strong mount, mount it on a big cookie sheet. After more than 10 years with a SL900 I've managed to solve most problems (usually by judicious cleaning and lubing), but this one just never quite goes away.


On a slightly related target, this is a Federal 209A primer. It's looked like this since I started using them 10+ years ago.

This is what the latest box looked like. What happened?


April 22, 2014, Tuesday

Our 32nd Anniversary. Went to breakfast at LePeep and dinner at Thunder Road. During the afternoon while The Redhead went to a casino and played poker I updated "Black Powder (&Substitutes) for Dummies." I did a couple of charts of shotgun ammunition costs. Shotguns favor using real black powder over substitutes because of lower cost per pound, and, unlike cartridges, no expensive SPG lubed bullets required. required for BP vs. cheaper smokeless bullets for APP and 777. But the substitutes are less dense, so you get more charges per pound.

So maybe the subs aren't that much more expensive, after all. And yes, cost of components are through the roof.

April 21, 2014, Monday

Had to go back to the VA. The only part of the hearing aid "system," that wasn't replaced this month, the "ComPilot" has failed. $&@?! Lowest bidders! The tech was an asshole as usual. The replacement will be back in a couple of weeks.

(For those of you not in ABQ I should explain. "The bike shop" is the secret, hidden supply source for shotgun reloading and some cartridge reloading supplies.)

Went by the bike shop "on the way home from the VA". Looking for Remington or Federal primers. I've learned not to use Winchesters on Remington hulls. (From the Dillon SL900 manual: 8. Why do I get high primers when using Winchester primers and Remington hulls, but not when using Remington hulls and primers? The new silver colored Winchester primers appear to be .002 diameter larger than the previous copper colored primers at the point just above the flange. We suggest using a bit more forward push on the operating handle when seating the primer or switching to Remington primers for Remington hulls.) A bid more forward push means, "Hire someone from the WWE to seat the primers."

Hadn't seen hide nor hair of Remington or Federal 209 primers lately at any of the usual sources. They had both. Federals $32, Remingtons $44! Fortunately Federals work fine in Remington hulls. (Remingtons are $56 at Midway. Federals are $30, but they don't have any and won't take back orders, so they could be free. Wouldn't matter.) Remington isn't making any friends.

April 20, 2014, Easter Sunday

It's Easter. I hope the bunny was good to you.

RGR's Third Saturday was on Easter Sunday this month.

Amber Ale shooting a 20 second 26 round stage

April 19, 2014, Saturday

Rio Grande Renegades had their Wild Bunch Team match. Not like the SASS WB Teams. Pike and Lyle shot 1911s and 97 (Pike) or rifle. Dutch and Tector shot SAAs and 97 or rifle.

April 16-18, 2014

Worked in the garage. Got the July Dispatches off to the Chronicle. Friday took the Jeep in for 48,000 mile service.

April 13-15, 2014

Took the bus to the dealer on Tuesday in order for them to order the parts needed and find out what the items not covered by insurance will cost. The insurance covered the damages well, but while it's in the shop we're having the roof resealed and some other things done.

April 12, 2014

Went to the High Desert Drifters match at Founders Ranch.

Glad to see Cat Ballou out and shooting

Texas Tiger is a member of the secret society of the Quick Cal holster system. We have a secret handshake and everything. Here she's finished with her right hand--strong side--pistol and takes it with her left hand to holster.

Now Texas Tiger holsters her right pistol with her left hand while acquiring her rifle with her strong hand. Textbook-and very fast.

Photographing Tex is always fun. He shoots full charge .44-40 and .45 Colt loads, not to mention his 12 ga. loads,--GUNFIGHTER. He still manages to shoot some awfully fast stages. These 3 photos are an essay on Tex and cartridges in the air. You expect it now, but... —

...Tex has moved away from the rifle toward the shotgun, and there's STILL A CARTRIDGE IN THE AIR!! You figure it out.

Cartridges flew with his '87, too.

Tex took the pictures of me:


He managed to get the entire cycle of shooting the shotgun:


I've just caught the lever with my thumb and rotated the shotgun butt downward, which jerks the barrel to the rear and ejects the rounds. Right (weak) hand is on its way to grab 2 rounds

The butt goes back to the shoulder

Rounds are rotated in


and begin the loading process again. This probably isn't the fastest way to load a shotgun, but making black powder rounds fall free takes more effort than factory smokeless loads.

And here's Texas Tiger demonstrating cross-draw technique again. Shifting the empty pistol from strong to weak hand

Texas Tiger holstering her left gun while drawing the right.

Note the timing. The weak side pistol is going into the holster while the strong side is coming up

Texas Tiger shooting her strong side pistol.

Misty Moonshine was so fast I missed getting a hot of her actually shooting.

Lovely Amber Oakley is shooting, I think her first match. Excellent!


The last stage was something else It had 6 shotgun knockdowns, 5 rifle knockdowns, and 8 pistol knockdowns. No make ups. Start was with hands on table. Then, ON THE CLOCK throw a stick of dynamite into the well. If it goes in 5 second bonus. If it doesn't, humiliation and ridicule. Here Captain Stanton makes it.

Yeah, I know, Texas Tiger again. But wait, there's more. She hit the well...

Here Texas Tiger is putting the rifle down and grabbing the cross draw pistol...

Now everyone else shot this as a stand and deliver. Texas Tiger, on the other hand, started running as soon as the first pistol was empty and holstered it and drew her strong side pistol on the fly.

And she ran until she was directly in front of the second pistol targets and took them out. Very fast. Very clean. Tactically brilliant--assuming you can do all of these things at once while running very fast.

Edward R. S. Canby hit the well with the dynamite.

Dead River Dan shooting Remington New Armies. Note that the smoke is exiting the barrel-cylinder gap. Hard to get that on a photo, even with a motor drive. Luck.


EZGZ hit the well with the dynamite. To answer your question, yes, I put the dynamite in the well, got the bonus and cleaned the match.

Mica McGuire shows that not only did he hit the well with the dynamite, by the time the dynamite had hit he already had his hands on the shotgun. Interestingly enough at the end of the stage the last pistol target stayed up despite a good hit, and everyone groaned. The timer was about to call "and one," when the wind blew the target down. He got the hit and won the match.




April 8-11, 2014

And now for something completely different:

Ordered from Missouri Bullet Company because my normal supplier isn't doing 105 gr. bullets. Ordered a bundle, that's 4,000 bullets, the most they can ship in one USPS flat rate box. They put 4 boxes of 1,000 in a plastic bag, then that in the box, no other padding. One box broke open, but the bag caught it. Found out afterwards they do a military discount, but it's unpublished. That would make them as cheap as my usual source.

While getting ready for tomorrow's match I noted this. What's wrong with this picture?

April 7, 2014, Monday

Spent all morning checking out extended stay hotels. The bus will need 2-3 weeks in the shop. If we put it in the shop, say, next Tuesday, it would be 3 weeks because parts have to be ordered and come in. The awning won't be coming by air. It's over 20 ft. long. So if we take it in Tuesday so they can finalize the estimate and get the information needed to order parts, and then bring it back to the RV park for a couple of weeks while parts come in, it'll be closer to 2 weeks. That's what we decided to do because, as you would expect, extended stay hotels aren't cheap. On the other hand we don't want to spend 3 weeks in a cheap hotel without kitchen facilities, etc. and have to eat out every night. In addition to the fact I'd look like the Pillsbury Dough-boy after 3 weeks, it would be more expensive than getting a room with a kitchen. We picked the Residence Inn. Not the most expensive, but close. But you get what you pay for. Their pet policy is reasonable, and a cooked breakfast is included, not a sweet roll and raisin bran. Even so, 2 weeks at a hotel will have us both climbing walls to get back to the bus.

The great actor Mickey Rooney died last night at 90. To honor him Paramount Studios has announced they will remake his 1939 hit, Babes in Arms. It will be modernized, however.

April 6, 2014, Sunday

Back to Founders Ranch for the Buffalo Range Riders match. 2 good sized posses, good stages. COLD, WINDY.

Ty, the Founders Ranch dog, with his SASS badge

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has an original "Privately Purchased Officer's Hat" on display. The U S Army never issued a white hat. Most aficionados of 19th century military think the white campaign hat was an invention of John Ford's cavalry trilogy. Despite that a lot of SASS shooters wear white campaign hats. The Museum hat shows wear, including a hole in the top. It sports junior officer hat braid. The regiment is above the cavalry sabers. The company is below. The issued black hat after 1872 was cheap wool and was hated by troops. Officers bought their own uniforms.

D Bar J made this one for me. Like the original it has a 4" brim. According to David at D Bar J an issued (black) hat's brim could have been between 3 and 4" depending on suppliers. Since my full-dress 1879 uniform is of a 10th Cavalry captain, I had this one made with 10th cav brass without company letter. Most officers didn't put the company on their hats. I presume officers got transferred from one job to another in the regiment and didn't want a hole in the hat should they be moved to a staff position or another company . Both hats have grosgrain ribbon hatbands.

David at D Bar J used one of his antique machines to measure my head a few years ago, and hats made after that have been made to fit that mold (and a couple that had been bought off the rack sent back to be adjusted to fit it). The result is a hat that fits perfectly. We shot in high winds Saturday and Sunday. After it blew off in the first gust of wind Saturday I just pushed it down firmly for Sunday's match, and it stayed in place perfectly. As expected for a white hat, it's showing it was used shooting black powder already. Don't wear a light colored hat SASS shooting if you don't want it to get dirty. Note: I call it white. D Bar J called it something else. They have 30 or so shades of white and light gray. all of which David can differentiate in a split second at 20 yards. I just told them to match the photo. Looks like they did. If you wonder why I keep doing cavalry, I'll note that once upon a time my US Army MOS was 1203, Armored Cavalry Unit Commander.


April 5, 2014, Saturday

Went to Founders Ranch for the Bighorn Vigilantes match. Good stages, light turn out. Two clubs have matches on the same day in the ABQ area. If all of the shooters went to one match, they would have a good turn out. Cold, windy. It snowed as we put our gear into our cars after the match. Didn't stick.

April 4, 2014, Friday


Went to Camping World with a 5 figure check from Progressive for the damages to the bus. The adjuster, Eric, had recommended them first among the 4 places in town who could do it. Told us to see Jennifer. Went in. The Redhead asked the first service advisor she saw, sitting at a bank of desks. I'm Jennifer," she said, with a snap appropriate for an angry colonel reacting to being interrupted by a second lieutenant. It went down hill from there. She never looked up. Her behavior never rose to the level of a tired Department of Public Safety clerk. She didn't look at the estimates and basically wouldn't talk to us until we brought the bus in. The Redhead asked if their estimator could go next door to where we were. She snapped no and asked the manager, in a desk behind her. He shook his head and never looked up. We left. Business must be really good there. They threw away 5 figures worth of work, including some work that isn't insurance.

Drove across town to Meyers RV, the Newmar dealer, and the opposite occurred. We'll be taking the bus there.

Went to the New Balance store. The shoes cost a bit more there, but I'm paying for the advice. I could get that at a Foot Locker, etc., but they sell shoes made by child labor with advertising programs that encourage ghetto kids to shoot other ghetto kids to get their shoes. New Balance are made in the USA and are quality. Probably bought the most expensive pair because I asked for the most support for worn out feet for running. YOU CAN USE RUNNING SHOES FOR WALKING, BUT YOU NEED RUNNING SHOES FOR RUNNING. So I have really nice running shoes. I still can't run a mile in single digits, but that's another problem. If I had had them when I was running several miles a day in combat boots, my feet would probably be in much better shape... well, if I hadn't broken a few bones in each foot while in the Army... and if I weighed what I did while I was in the Army.

Back to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, where a different genius showed us the activity monitor. Who knew Macs had those? This showed which programs were hogging memory. We have 8 gigs of RAM. Mackeeper, which I started using because of the crashing problem, turned out to be using 4 or so even though I'd closed it--I thought. Added to the active programs it used up all the memory.

April 3, 2014, Thursday

Spent considerable time at the Apple Store at the Genius Bar. Didn't help. Spent the rest of the day with the Macbook Pro crashing.

April 2, 2014, Wednesday

On Tuesday we spent much of the day at the VA for 2 appointments, one being audiology. This morning I dropped one of the VA issued hearing aids and broke it, requiring another trip to the VA today to drop them off to be sent to the factory for repair. The other one already had problems, but not severe enough to send it off for 3 weeks by itself.

Wednesday night took The Redhead to Texas Land and Cattle for her birthday (she's 21 now). Very nice. As good as some steak houses that cost considerably more.

Roses arrived for The Redhead from an anonymous source


April 1, 2014, Tuesday

This just in--after receiving complaints from members in the east about having to go out west to New Mexico for End Of Trail SASS CEO Misty Moonshine announced a deal completed with New York City mayor Bill De Blasio to hold the 2014 End Of Trail in New York City. Dates will remain unchanged. Using a fund allocated to encourage new businesses to move to New York the city will build 18 shooting bays in Central Park and put up the tent city needed to hold EOT and pay the the entry fees of the first 700 competitors. For further information contact SASS at 877-411-7277