August Journal


Cimarron Model P, 4-3/4", blue, cch, .357 Magnum, Old Model Frame, new in box unfired (at least by me.)

Cimarron Model P with box



1.. My first wife and I divorced over religious differences.
She thought she was God and I didn't.
2.. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.
3.. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.
4.. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
5.. Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.
6.. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me
7.. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
8.. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.
9.. I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are just missing.

10.. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.
11. . NyQuil, the stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning medicine.
12.. God must love stupid people; He made so many.
13.. The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
14.. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.
15.. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?
16.. Being 'over the hill' is much better than being under it!
17.. Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew up.
18.. Procrastinate Now!
19. I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts; Do You Want Fries With That?
20... A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
21.. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance
22.. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!
23..They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.
24..He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless DEAD.
25..A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.
26..Ham and eggs. A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.
27.. The trouble with life is there's no background music.
28.. The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

Bear Warning

July 31, 2008


Practiced at Renegades range with Blackey Cole. Took the damaged door awning to the Newmar dealer for repair. Hopefully they'll put it on with something more than 2 drill-screws.

Got multiple phone calls. China Camp died of a heart attack today. At 63, he left us way too soon. I finally had the privilege of shooting with him at the Wild Bunch match at EOT, him and the wonderful women in his life, Sweetwater and Prairie Weet. A member of the Cowboy Action Shooting Hall of Fame, Ming appeared virtually unbeatable from 1992 through 1996, winning the overall SASS World Championship five consecutive times.

Always a gentleman, he helped countless beginners get into the sport. Unlike a lot of the top shooters, he and his wife entered costume contests. They won Best Dressed Couple in, I think 2003, at End of Trail.

Shooting with him and his family was a pleasure. He was competitive, but he was pleasant to be around, and he put a lot of effort into making the posse work well.

The effect on the SASS community was evident by the, as I write this, 7 pages in the SASS Wire of condolences.

He will be missed. That is an understatement.

July 30, 2008


Shot with Renegades practice session. Went to Man's Hat Store for some hat work. The ONE man who can shape hats is out for a week. I guess it should be renamed the One Man Hat Store.

Picking up The Redhead from the casino was complicated by the fact her phone wouldn't hold battery life long enough to tell her I was on my way. She was pissed. Took her to Circuit City/Verizon and bought her a new phone. Jack Diamond called while we were there. The Smoke Wagon for the gun test had arrived. Picked it up from him. Dinner at Landry's.

July 29, 2008


Worked in the shop. Nothing exciting.

July 28, 2008


The Redhead came back from the vet visit without George. The sore on his leg is a tumor. They operated at 1100 and biopsied it. Unknown at this time if it's malignant

or benign. I had an appointment at the VA at 1500. They had also moved an August appointment to September, and I had to take a different doctor to get it changed to a time I want to go. They also show another appointment during the Colorado State Championship. Working to get things changed. Can't stay in ABQ forever. Don't want to, either.

Picked up George after my appointment. The poor guy has one of those funnels over his head, and it's driving him crazy.

George S. Patton, Jr. and The Redhead.  George has one of those celluloid funnels over his head, and it's driving him crazy.

We had to hand feed him at first. He didn't think he could do anything with the funnel on, and he just wanted to stand on one of our laps. It took a long time to get him to lie down, but he did and slept well under the covers on my side of the bed. I slept on the edge.

July 27, 2008


Went to the Renegades Sunday match. Signup/setup starts at 12, shooting at 1 PM. 4 stages. Good turn out.

Shot FC, just for the change, and to see how I shoot compared to others. Hard to compare to Frontiersmen when there aren't any. There weren't any FC, but the smoke only slowed me a little except for one stage when there was no wind. (ALERT THE MEDIA: FOR 30 SECONDS THERE WAS NO WIND IN A SPOT IN ALBUQUERQUE.)

Didn't shoot too bad. Missed the bowling pin bonus target at 1,000 yards both times. You had to reload your rifle and try for the shot. No one that I timed made the shot in less than 5 seconds. But it wasn't optional. I believe the penalty for not attempting the shot was drawing and quartering plus a match DQ.

Got 2 of 4 pop-up soda cans (same 2 stages). On the other side we shot 5 clay pigeons suspended from a wire, and thus moving with the wind sometimes. There were people who got 10 misses from these targets, more proof you should shoot bullseye practice a bit every few practice sessions, and you definitely need to get your pistols to shoot POO=POA. I got 9 out of 10. One dodged in the wind. Crazy Kurt did the stage in 24.00. I did it in 29 with a 2-3 second glitch when I realized that in moving the frame for the pigeons after it collapsed under the impact of Kurt's warthog loads (not), they put it in front of a rifle target, and I had to lean like crazy to hit it. Figured the penalty was for failing to check that out before shooting the stage. In my defense, it was almost the same as the previous stage but shot backwards.

The members got a quorum together and changed the Saturday's matches to setup at 1000, shoot at 1030, and 5 stages instead of 4.

Now I'm putting on the next match, and I had 4 stages worked out. Not sure how many targets I have to work with. Added a stage at the saloon, which requires more targets. I didn't want to have 2 shotgun shell stages because, using this match as the last practice session before Outlaw Trail, I figure everyone wants shotgun reloading practice. But I had to do 2, and I'm not sure that'll work until I check it out Wednesday. I believe there are 5 SG targets in the left berm's storage room. Not sure how many are in the right side.

Got back late after long BS session with Kurt. The Redhead had scheduled George S. Patton, Jr. for a 0730 appointment Monday due to a sore on his leg that is growing.

July 26, 2008


Went to the Rio Rancho Regulators at the request of Rustlin' John, the match director. The Rio Rancho Regulators shoot at the Del Norte Gun Club. According to the map it's about 27 miles from here.

So why did it take us 2 hours to get there?

After all, they have a map on their website:

Map to range

And aren't I a former military officer with extensive land navigation experience, having traipsed through the jungles of Southeast Asia more than I cared to? And aren't I a 2 times Sports Car Club of America National Rally Champion with extensive experience finding routes in a car and driving over rough terrain?

Then, to complicate things, THE Redhead asked if I would take her to Santa Ana Star Casino on the way. Sure. It's only 10-130 miles out of the way. And Blackey Cole wanted to ride with me. With all our shooting gear that's a full ML.

So we got to Santa Ana Star and let THE Redhead out. 2 minutes later she called. "Come back and get me. They're closed."

Who ever heard of a casino being closed?

So the three of us headed for the range. Torcido Road is unpaved. Somehow the navigation system, Helga, got confused and put us down another goat patch. It went on for miles and miles, getting rougher and twistier until it ended in a circle lined with burned out cars, probably victims of the same map and navigation system. So we drove for miles and miles back to Torcido and King and tried again. Eventually we got there about 11. They started at 11, of course, and in The West they shoot in order. For some reason they, as is usual, put me in 3rd. This is a problem when you're shooting Frontiersman and haven't had time to charge pistols. So, instead of having the fourth shooter go ahead, they waited on me.

Fun group. Not very big. One posse, one stage shot differently times. They did move targets after 2. The last 2 had popups. Nobody seemed to be hitting them except Blackey and me. Apparently it takes black powder to break them. I got all of them. This was a shock to me. This is the first time I've finished 2nd in a shoot overall--shooting one handed smoky.

THE Redhead kept score, which probably wasn't quite as much fun as a poker tournament.

July 25, 2008


Worked in shop after taking The Redhead to the casino. Called Long Hunter about the Marlin's failure to extract problem. He suggested just bending a bit more tension into the spring of the extractor. Still no luck in getting a USFA Single Action Army for a test, but he's still working on it.

While talking to him a lady called from Taylor's. The 4-3/4" .45 Colt Smoke Wagon I wanted for a test was available. The only problem was I didn't want a .45 Colt. She called back. No .38s in 4-3/4", but 5-1/2" no problem. She'll ship it Monday. I'll have about a month to do the test. Let's hope I can set up the Ransom Rest at the City Range. I'll just group test the factory ammo used in the GW Custom test. I'll compare the innards to an Evil Roy's innards. Of course I'll shoot it a lot.

Finished loading shotshells for a while. All the shot is gone. I'm still waiting for boxes, though. The order for same from Top Brass arrived without the boxes. A phone call resulted in, "oops, those are on back-order. All we can do is credit your credit card back."

So I reordered them from Midway, along with another item I need, but mainly to get the order over $25.00 to avoid the dreaded $3 "Special handling" charge. As if $11+ for postage wasn't enough of a handling fee.

Right now about 2,000 rounds of shot shells are in plastic bags and bins around the shop.

Took The Redhead to Landry's for dinner. Boy, have Landry's, or at least this one, gone upscale. It reminded of us of the Babin's in Katy, much fancier in decor and menu than the Landry's. We remember Landry's when they were pretty homey. I don't know if the one in Corpus Christi is still that way, but it was the last I saw like Landry's of the '70s, more suitable for fried shrimp than Snapper Hemingway. This one had both. The Snapper Hemingway was pretty good. The Margaritas were the same recipe as Babin's. For those of you not in the know, both restaurant chains are owned by Tillman Fertitta, restaurant entrepreneur from Houston. He now owns the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and buys Mercedes there instead of Houston, lots of them. Restaurant managers get one for a good job. Landry's Albuquerque gets 4 stars, recommended. We've found a seafood restaurant we can trust, but still no Mexican restaurant we can recommend.

July 24, 2008


Went practicing at Renegades range with Blackey Cole 0900-1130. Shot up a lot of ammo. Actually got in useful practice--transitions as well as shooting. Shot several stages. Shot the SKB until it was too hot to shoot anymore. Couldn't match yesterday's times with it. Good session.

Then we haunted gun stores. I bought 4800 Remington #10 caps at $4.40/hundred. That'll last a while.

July 23, 2008


Practiced with the Renegades. They're not too serious. Practice got started about 1100, and everyone started leaving at 1200. Fortunately Buster Cap showed up about then and said he wanted to shoot pistols. So we put up the rest of the targets and shot pistols another hour. Finally remembered that thing on the front of the barrel I'm supposed to look at once in a while. It helped a lot.

The ROAs Rowdy did for me worked flawlessly. Caps fit tighter on these Treso nipples than they do on the other gun. Not sure why. I'll shoot these at a few local matches.

They had set up the targets so it wasn't possible to shoot a stage. The 2 shotgun targets were on the right side of stage 2, and the pistols and rifle were at stage one. I like to follow Long Hunter's rule and shoot a difficult stage first, then practice on specifics as needed.

Shot up a bunch of rejects from the current shotgun loads, which worked flawlessly, and a box of 36 gr. APP loads. They don't reliably switch barrels. Was doing 4 rounds in under 6 seconds pretty reliably when everything worked. One of the guys was complaining about using a double in a match because of the difficulty of vertical staging with a double. I demonstrated the T-Bone Dooley method of picking the gun up. Works like a charm.


Curt, been reading your stuff a long time. Bought several copies of "Drive to Survive" for kids and other relations.

Thought you might like to know, the highest paved road in the US is not trail ridge road, but the road to the top of Mount Evans, 14,240 feet. Was up there a couple weeks ago with some flatlander friends. It's open mid May to the first weekend in September, weather permitting.

Steve Vogt
US Army (Ret.)
Colorado Springs, CO.

That'll teach me to believe a Park Service sign.

July 22, 2008


Arranging matches. Farmington, NM, Tres Rios Bandidos, Shootout At Three Rivers, August 22-24 at the San Juan Wildlife Federation Range. Then,66 miles away, The Gunfight at Battlerock, the Colorado State Shoot at Cortez Colorado, September 4-7.

Then more work in the garage. Made a batch of shotgun rounds using APP 2f (Jim Shockey's Gold). Used red hulls so I can tell them apart from Cowboy loads (Gold hulls). Cowboy smokes less, but I have to buy it. APP is great when it's windy. Anyway, I'll use the APP for practice--AFTER I've used up the existing loads that don't reliably switch barrels on the SKB, even after it was reworked.

Red shotgun shells

I get the red hulls by shooting Win AA for smokeless practice (something I won't be doing any time soon with 50+ boxes of BP practice rounds (see above). I buy the gold hulls cheap at a secret source. They're all round and clean. I just count out 75 or so and start loading. The red ones take twice as long. I have to sort out the burned ones:

burned red shotgun hulls

Then I clean the others with a damp cloth and look for splits and the like. I also have a small number that've been stepped on. The result is it takes as long to choose 75 rounds (the capacity of the hull dispenser) as it does to load them if everything is working well on the SL900.

Gold reload, red reload, red WAA

Gold Reload, Red Reload, Red Winchester AA factory

I am eagerly awaiting the new shotgun boxes to arrive. The Gold hulls, because they're a bit thicker and stronger, have more of a tendency to open up if left free:

Gold shell that had opened up like a flower

I did discover, while re-reading the SL900 manual, a semi-cure for the above in adjusting the dies for the Gold stuff.

Of course it hasn't been a problem when I could put them in boxes.

July 21, 2008


More errands. Attempts to get my Playboy magazine subscription sent to my current mailing address have gone on since spring 2007, with no luck. Last fall I just let the subscription expire since I hadn't gotten one in months anyway, and ordered a new one. Nada. Emails, etc. nothing. Sometime in the spring I paid for another subscription. Still nothing. Finally emailings resulted in their realizing they had an unworkable address (and, I'm sure, whoever lives there was happy to get a free Playboy subscription and didn't complain). They've extended the subscription through 2012 and told me to let them know if I didn't get the August one by July 24.

Right. I went to Barnes and Noble and bought the August issue. I know there's not a chance in hell of my getting the August issue in the mail--unless I buy one. Been reading Playboy since 1962 when it was 8, and I was 16.

They did have, on Page 95, an illustration of a ladies B-Western costume which I think would be a real hit at matches, probably winning the costume contest. Yes, I know the gun is incorrect, but the artist can't be expected to be an aficionado of 19th century firearms, too. The rest of the costume is perfectly authentic. I believe Annie Oakley performed in exactly that outfit during her early years with the Cody Wild West Show. I can almost guarantee that any young lady who looks like this in a costume like this will be likely to win any costume contest with me as a judge—provided you carry a historically correct 19th century firearm, of course. I have reprinted it here strictly to illustrate the costume. No intent was present to violate copyright. Anyway, I know all of my readers who haven't purchased it already will go out and buy this issue before it leaves the shelves July 24th. There's only one left at the B. Dalton at the Coronado Mall in ABQ.

An illustration of a demure, totally authentic cowgirl costume

Actually, I believe she qualifies for Classic Cowgirl, too, boots, vest, cuffs, scarf. Close, anyway.

June 20, 2008


Ran errands. Minor good news: 25 lb. of shot down to $42.95 at Sportsman's Warehouse. Was $49.95. Other than that it was obvious that Sportsman hadn't been replenished since EOT. Out of a lot of staple items. Bought 1,000 Federal Small Pistol Primers just because they were there. I have, now, 5,000 Federals, 7,000 Winchesters. Bought 1,000 Winchester shotgun primers. They work well in Winchester and Remington hulls. Got "stuff" at Home Depot, too. I would really appreciate it if I could find 2 consecutive Home Depots organized the same way. I can go in any Sportsman's Warehouse and find everything I'm looking for. I can generally find what I'm after at Lowe's. Home Depot is total chaos.

Spent most of the afternoon fitting stocks to the 2 back-up ROAs, the ones Rowdy Yates just cut down to match the others. All 4 guns have essentially the same stocks, Eagle gunfighter grips, checkered, ivory polymer. They come too thick and oversized. Thus most of the fitting consists of sanding the inside on a flat surface until they fit around most of the edges. Since they're oversized, but tapered, thinning them makes them smaller. Then it's just a case of working corners and curves that don't quite match. Very slow work because it's really easy to go too far in one pass. Thus practice on cheap grips is probably a good idea. Remember we're doing it backwards to the way the factory does it. They put big blocks of wood or ivory on the unfinished grip frame and grind both frame and grips to shape at the same time. Thus they fit perfectly. We take finished grips and try to fit them without damaging the frame or taking too much off the grips.

Once I had them fitted, using 60 grit paper, I went progressively through 100, 220, 320, 400, and rubbing compound to get the surfaces to the same sheen as the untouched parts. Lots of slow, tedious work.

July 19, 2008


Shot with the Rio Grande Renegades. 4 stages from 1100 to 1530. One posse because several people were at NM State Championship. Good match as usual.

July 18, 2008


Went to order shotgun shell boxes from Midway USA. I store pistol ammunition in bullet boxes except for match ammo, which gets put in 50 round boxes after being dropped in a revolver chamber. Shotgun ammo, whether match or not, needs to be in 25 round shotgun shell boxes. Otherwise the crimps tend to open up. A little is no problem, but too much will allow shot to fall out.

Anyway, a box of 100 was $24.99. Remember that number. I figured while I was ordering, I'd check on other stuff in the "needed" list. I found some lubed .44 cal. wads and ordered 10 packs. They had 2 in stock and said the shipping for this order would be $11 something, and $8 something for the backordered items. So I deleted all of the lubed wads. Then I got a warning. Since the order was less than $25.00 (see above), there was a $3 service charge.

So I went to Top Brass and ordered the boxes from them. From them I could get red boxes for $25.04 (or white ones or $21.99). Evil Roy had told me they had started making .38 Special brass, so I ordered a thousand rounds for a little less than Starline. We'll see how good it is.

This adds to a long list of times I've tried to order from Midway only to be thrown an obstacle by Midway's site, and the order went elsewhere.

On the other hand, I don't remember Midway doing much sponsoring of SASS matches, so it's not like I owe them anything.

July 17, 2008


One posse of Plainsmen at EOT

Posse photo of Plainsmen at EOT, found on Doc Barium's online album

Spent the day in the shop cleaning guns, sorting things out, and reloading shotgun shells:

SL900 with about 800 rounds of output

A couple of hours of actual loading time on a (finally) well-adjusted SL900. The 3 boxes with blue lids are included. I ran out of boxes. Remington Gold hulls

Since the previous match load was marginal for switching barrels on the inertia operated SKB, I upped the load by 9 gr. More smoke, but should be enough recoil to be reliable at switching. Yes, that's why Browning SBS's go for $1350, mechanical switching.

July 16, 2008


Awoke at 1 something with gastric reflux. Since I hadn't eaten anything to provoke it, I figured it was yesterday's stress, or just my body bleeping with me again. We had noted that we only had one tuner working but assumed the DVR needed resetting. Just in case you work for Camping World installing overpriced, highly profitable Satellite Dishes for DirecTV and Dish, let me explain this v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I'll use small, easy to understand words. Most of what DirecTV sells since 1996 is DVR/receivers. This means you can record programs. You can record one program and watch another. For this miracle to work, the Receiver has 2 input plugs, and the dish has two output plugs. If you connect these with the proper cables, you will activate 2 tuners. Thus you can watch Hanna Montana while you're recording Monica Slicks Slick Willy's Willy.

After resetting the DVR twice I realized they hadn't configured the receiver for 2 inputs. This told my sleep-deprived, gastric reflux pained mind that they had only installed one cable. Two cables were there when they started.

About then I realized that getting to the New Mexico State Championship 30 miles outside Silver City was getting less and less likely. We were going to leave this morning, take 2 days, and get there tomorrow. I really wanted to do a couple of hours of preventive maintenance on the bus before leaving (wiper blades, add 3 qt's. of the elusive Transynd® to the transmission (finally found at Stewart & Stevenson. No other source checked had any. Cummins had drums of it, but only for their mechanics. This was one of yesterday's errands). I realized we hadn't made complete reservations and started doing so on line. Nope. Nada. Full up.

I was looking at the instructions for getting to the range, figuring we would just go there. One part finally jumped out in screaming red capitals:

"Once on NM35, go 10 ½ miles. You will come to Fowler Lumber Company on the right. Watch for signs onto the range. Turn right into Fowlers, and go through the frontage property, go across the Mimbres River (dry river bed) and come to a fork in the road, bare right, follow the dirt road to the Adobe House and Gate, once through the Gate, you can turn left to the range and Registration Office, or during large shooting events, continue straight 100 yards to the dry camp areas."

My sleep-deprived, gastric reflux nauseated mind remembered being told by Artie Fly that he had had to cross a low water crossing to get there once. It also wondered, "Bare right what?"

Let's see, choice A, stay at a RV Park in town is out. Choice B, cross a low water crossing or dry river bed in a rig weighing 43,000 lb. We won't know whether it's a wet low water crossing or rock hard dry river bed until we get there. I believe that's out.

I explored every RV park within 60 miles and concluded that, at about $1.00 a mile I didn't want to go 600 miles/dollars round trip and not be able to park the bus.

Anyway, we needed to leave today, and it's 0500, and I haven't been asleep more than 2 hours. And Camping World is no doubt going to bleep us without lubricant.

Then I went to bed.

When The Redhead awoke from her 9 hours of (very effective) beauty sleep, (she looks like a goddess when she wakes) I explained what I'd figured out. We got the bus together and took it first to Flying J, where we stood in line for an hour to get diesel at $4.60.9/gallon. 132 gallons of that will get your attention.

Then we went to Camping World and explained to another service writer that the installer had not hooked up the second tuner. Blank expression. I'm speaking a foreign language. He wanted me to explain what that meant. I said the installer would know. Let me talk to the installer. He went looking for paperwork in order to figure out who the installer was. Then he led me to the shop so he could get the installer. Instead a "manager" asked me what the problem was. I explained. He got testy. "How many TVs do you have? We only install this for one TV." I explained that it doesn't matter how many TVs are hooked up since the output goes through a control panel, and I can only watch one program on all TVs at a time. The problem is input. A DVR requires 2 inputs. You guys install the bleeping things and should know that.

Foreign language.

I kept pestering until the installer came out and asked what the problem was. He got it immediately, "They didn't tell me it was a dual input receiver. I'll need to drill another hole in the roof and thread a cable to the receiver. The dish has 2 output jacks. I thought that was for 2 different receivers."

Now those of you who know nothing about DirecTV are saying, "Really?" or "yawn." But those of you who understand basic DirecTV are saying, probably in unison, "THEY SHOULD KNOW THAT!"

One more time, all together now: "THEY SHOULD KNOW THAT!"

I'll spare you the details of the arguments from managers that I should have to pay extra for all the extra work because I didn't tell them I had 2 receivers. They'll never find those bodies.

Later I would find out that the installer hasn't owned a TV in ten years. A younger technician had to explain the remote operation to him.

We had towed the trailer because we've decided to return to Enchanted Trails for a month, but in a space without a tree in the way. Of course we had to disconnect, let them have the bus for 4 hours, and put up with a BS storm from managers, then reconnect. We have 2 working tuners now,

We're parked where we parked for 3 months, straight and level.

We should be here through Outlaw Trail. Then, depending on the price of diesel, we might start traveling. We're signed up for a couple of Texas events. We'll make them.

July 15, 2008


This morning we realized what we were missing when we watched the local news. Apparently Albuquerque isn't a preferred market for budding news anchors. At 0640 they had a traffic report. They showed empty freeways and said, "There's no construction, and no accidents. Looks like a clear shot all over town." That's traffic in Albuquerque. In Houston that wouldn't apply at 0200 on the fourth of July in Houston.

It took all day, as in 0800 to after 1800 for the 2 hour installation. We drove back to Enchanted Trails, parked, put the jacks down, the slides out, and watched the new megabuck dish spin merrily for half an hour without finding a satellite. We finally decided that the leaves from a tree on the west side were confusing it, either that or a tree a few spaces away was blocking the big, powerful dish. So, after dinner in deep TV withdrawal, we put the jacks up, disconnected power, put the slides in, and backed the rig up to the spot it had the night before. Then the dish jumped up, furled its wings, and locked in on a signal in 35 seconds flat.

Of course, it was about then we realized that in fitting this they moved the DirecTV receiver behind a wooden part of the cabinet, blocking the remote port. With some experimentation I did discover it worked if I stood on my tippy toes hanging out the window on the curbside front slide and pointed the remote exactly 65° from vertical and 32° from straight ahead while the base of the remote is exactly 62.45" from the front of the slide and 3'7" from the floor.

About then we realized there was nothing on, it being summer, so we watched something we had DVRed until Leno came on.

July 14, 2008


Drove from Raton to Albuquerque, back to Enchanted Trails. This time the spot had a tree that interfered with the TV Satellite dish, causing us to park at the rear of the parking spot, which left about 2'6" for cars, trucks, and buses to get through, but bleep 'em. We have to have TV.

Except for this little problem. The KVH Automatic Satellite Dish rolled over on its back, feet in the air, swelled up, and started smelling bad.

We called KVH. After only 15 minutes we got an operator after THE WORST call waiting music in history. She put us in the queue to speak to tech support.

I used the other phone to call the local KVH dealers to schedule an appointment. One said, "We don't work on KVH." "But you're listed as a warranty repair facility." "So? We don't work on them. Are you so stupid I have to spell it out for you in words of one syllable?" "You mean like this word, bleep yourself?" I replied cheerfully. It's hard to slam a cell phone down.

The bad music and worse KVH ads continued on the other phone for over an hour before I gave up.

I called the other one. The Nazi bitch that answered the phone used different one syllable words, but the result was that I figured if we kept the 0730 appointment and stayed away all day with both pets until we were called, that the odds of our having a functional KVH Automatic Satellite Dish were about the same as our winning the Powerball lottery without buying a ticket.

So we went to Camping World next door. They don't work on KVH products either, having severed connections some time back. Wonder why? They do sell Winegard. We talked to a nice young man who managed to get to us after only thirty-five minutes. He talked us into the best of the Winegard. line, which cost only twice the price of my first car and the annual salary of a second lieutenant in 1967. It can find and receive from 35 satellites at once, see through solid walls, pick up channels you didn't even subscribe to, automatically send a record signal when all Angelina Jolie nude scenes show up on movies, make Margaritas, and does world class action jobs on all CAS guns. It should. The dish expands to ten feet wide and four feet high. We were warned that in high winds it will blow over most RVs if not retracted. Fortunately it monitors the Whether Channel and automatically retracts itself at 45 mph, 47 if it's recording an Angelina Jolie nude scene.

Then we went to dinner and came back to the bus. Lacking satellite, we watched local TV. Local TV in Albuquerque is a riot. CBS comes across clear, at least. I understand why no one is watching CBS anymore.

July 13, 2008


Big Rig at Terry Bison Ranch

A r-e-a-l-l-y BIG rig at Terry Bison Ranch RV Park

Drove from Terry Bison Ranch to the Raton, NM KOA, 312 miles, not much in a nice car, but tiresome in a 65' rig. Few, if any problems. Stopped at nearly every rest area along the way and had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel at the Estes Park exit on I-25. Left at 0800 and had the bar open at 1700.

Note: They told us that parking overnight at that Cracker Barrel was okay. Just tell the manager. I don't know how many allow that, but I'll keep it in mind the next time feces happens.

July 12, 2008


Found a full-service car wash on the third try. Did you know my Mercedes was white? With black leather? I'd forgotten. Only took 6 guys two hours.

Also found someone to give me an estimate on a hair cut. She had to block off three hours or so. I no longer look like Einstein on drugs. I now look like the oldest guy to go through basic training and get away with a long handlebar mustache.

It'll grow back.

We'll be leaving for Silver City tomorrow, a 4-5 day drive in a big, honking motor home pulling a trailer bigger than most RV's. New Mexico State Championship, then sight seeing, then back to Albuquerque for a few weeks.

July 11, 2008


Drove to Estes Park, Co., an the Rocky Mountain National Park. Drove Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in the U.S., at 12,000 ft. Yes, you need oxygen there.


We saw Elk


and more Elk


and more Elk


and an elk whispering in The Redhead's ear

A bird who posed

and a bird who poses for pictures


View from 12,000 ft.

View from 12,000 ft.

July 10, 2008


Lizzie Walker and husband took Katie of Katie's Millenary and her husband and The Redhead and her husband on a tour of Warren AFB and the museum there. It started as Fort D. A. Russell. Just after I took a picture of General Russell's coat, the battery on the camera died. Neat tour, though.

According to Wikipedia, which, of course, is never wrong:

The base was established in 1867 and named in honor of David Allen Russell, a Civil War general killed at the Battle of Opequon. In 1930, the fort's name was changed to Fort Francis E. Warren. In 1949, it became Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.

Over the years, the base served as home for numerous influential American military leaders such as Carl Spaatz, Black Jack Pershing, Billy Mitchell, Walter Reed, and Mark Clark.

Units of the 30th Infantry and 2nd Cavalry were the first occupants of the fort when it was founded as a temporary base in 1876. In 1884, it became a permanent base. It was the home to three Black regiments; the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th Infantry (the famous Buffalo Soldiers) for much of the late 19th century.

By the turn of the 20th Century, Fort D. A. Russell was one of the largest cavalry bases in the United States and several more expansions in the early 20th century further increased its size.

In 1919, the airfield became active and soon served as the home field for over 100 military aircraft. The last cavalry units on the post were deactivated in 1927. In 1930, the base was renamed Fort Francis E. Warren. Warren was a Medal of Honor recipient who served as Governor of Wyoming. (and US Senator for 40 years, crr)

During World War II, Fort Francis E. Warren served as a training facility for the US Army Quartermaster Corps. A prisoner of war camp was also constructed on the site.
In 1949, the base was redesignated the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base and became part of the Strategic Air Command in 1958. The base became the headquarters for the 90th Strategic Missile Wing in 1963. The wing controlled over 200 ICBMs during the Cold War. The base was the only missile wing to have Peacekeeper missiles which were deactivated in October of 2005.

On October 1, 1993, the Twentieth Air Force, which controls all of America's ICBM wings, relocated its headquarters to Warren.

The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

General D A Russell's uniform

General D. A. Russell's dress uniform

July 9, 2008


Did local museums, the Cheyenne Depot Museum (very good little museum, great depot), the Nelson Museum of the Old West (excellent private museum. It also has all of Mr. Nelson's hunting trophies, and he hunted everything but cockroaches and pterodactyls), and the Trolley Tour. Missed several museums from lack of time. Had a nice lunch at the brew pub in the Train Depot.

Tour bus arrives

The tour bus arrives at Depot Square

Nelson Museum of the Old West

Bohlin Leather work

Bohlin Hollywood "parade" rigs. Several saddles to go along with these were also displayed


Menea chaps

F. A. Menea chaps, with fringe. Wide pants legs. Might be able to get these over boots


Rex Allen's Colt SAA

One of Rex Allen's pistols with stag grips


Onw od Tom Mix's many Stetsons

One of Tom Mix's many hats. Note it's not a Tom Mix crease. These pictures were taken through glass, and sometimes there are reflections


Hatband with hat attached

Hatband with nice hat attached. That's some hatband. I want one


Campaign hat

Campaign hat, officer's braid, used in the teens on through WWII

1890s slouch hat

Slouch hat from 1880s through Spanish American War


SASS Member caught in display and afraid to move

A drunken SASS member had gotten trapped in one of the displays when he wandered away from the meet-and-greet at the Plains Hotel. He stayed, pretending to be part of the display.

1870s slouch hat

1870s campaign hat


Happy Jack's hat

Happy Jack's hat. I didn't remember who Happy Jack was. Wikipedia was no help. It's a song and a road in Cheyenne. Don't think either one would have worn this hat.

Rode horses from Wyoming to Colorado on the Terry Bison Ranch. Saw elk pretty close and antelope closer. Didn't fall off any cliffs. The horses loved to hug the edge of the rim of the ravine. Dinner at the ranch restaurant (ok).

July 8, 2008


In the Catching Up Department: Called AMEX about the problem with Flying J. The lady knew immediately what the problem was. The Flying J people were supposed to punch in the last 4 of the card # as verification. They did it wrong and didn't redo it when it bounced. This happens all the time at such places. She suggested I call Amex next time, and they'd straighten it out. I explained I didn't have time since my 65' rig was parked in front of an 18 wheeler who would want to leave when he finished filling up--assuming they didn't screw-up his credit card.

Fort Laramie

Fort Laramie

Where's the wall? When "Centennial" came to Fort Laramie, they were quite disappointed. They went to Bent's Fort, took down the "Bent's Fort" sign and put up a "Fort Laramie" sign. This is a wide-open fort of a layout that would seem like home to any modern soldier. Indians didn't attack forts much, preferring small convoys, settlers, and miners. Only once did a pack of braves run through the fort without hurting anyone (Counting Coups.) The signs and audio narration at the fort never mentions Indians, calling them Native Americans. Use the word you want. The soldiers and settlers called them Indians.

Merchandise in the Sutler's Store, footgear

To me the high point of the tour of the fort was walking into the Sutler's Store and finding the interior was stocked according to an existing 1860 stock list and a painting made of the interior that showed enough detail to arrange the stock exactly as it was done then. Footgear was hanging from the ceiling, boots and shoes. Please note, both boots and shoes have left and right last. It's a common misconception that shoes came in pairs with no differentiation between left and right. The military style boots had left and right. The 1859 pattern boot was the first to have left and right boots. The steamer Arabia sank in 1856 and was excavated in the 1980s. The boots in the SS Arabia museum are left and right. Some boots might have existed that weren't differentiated, but obviously some were.

Close up of the shoes

Here's a close up of the shoes showing the stitching of the soles and the left and right lasts. These look a lot like modern shoes, don't they?

Merchandise in the sutler's store

Here a saddle was hanging from the ceiling. Not being an expert on saddles, I'll leave it at that. Looks authentic to me.

merhandise in the sutler's store

The stock, matching the painting. The "Living History" man behind the counter was quite informative. I did ask him about a couple of 1851 Navies and what the price was. He said since they were in the picture but not the stock list, he didn't know. I had mentioned that Colt was getting over $30 for revolvers from the Army until Remington got a contract at $12 or so each. He asked me what I thought they would have been priced at. I don't remember reading anything about prices that far west. I guessed over $30. I know in the gold fields they went for over $100.

Hats in the sutler's store

Here we see hats. They look like Stetsons but were pre-Stetson. Obviously Stetson didn't invent the shape of the Boss of the Plains. He invented (or knew from his family recipe, since he came from a family of hatters) a way to lacquer the felt to keep it stiff.

Pork Pie hat

Here is a Pork Pie hat, a popular style of the time. I have a photo of a Texas cavalryman wearing one (with a Texas star, of course)

Old Bedlam, the lieutenants' quarters

One of the restored buildings, "Old Bedlam," the Lieutenants' quarters


Interior of the sutler's store

An interior scene from "Old Bedlam". Rooms in several buildings were restored like this. Excellent views of life in the US Army at the time

Camp follower's quarters

On the other hand, camp followers lived like this

The Gatling Gun Lt. Col. Custer left behind

The Gatling gun Lieutenant Colonel Custer left at his post before going out to hunt hostiles.

best hamburgers in town

Outside the fort is the saloon Lieutenant Colonel Custer got drunk in, or so they told me. Excellent hamburgers there.

July 7, 2008


Moved the bus to the Terry Bison Ranch RV Park. Finally got to the Hacienda Guadalajara, the Mexican restaurant everyone said was so good. Okay. Would be in the bottom half of Houston Mexican restaurants. Gastric Reflux late at night enabled me to write some on the journal, almost catching up.

July 6, 2008


Hell On Wheels, Shootoff and Awards Day

Slept in and skipped the couples, team, and shootoff. Exhausted from several days of shooting and partying and lack of sleep fearing another after 10 knock on the door from the quiet police. (Normally I go to late night knocks on the door with a 1911 in hand. Don't at SASS matches. Maybe that's a mistake. Perhaps if you're coming to the bus after curfew, you should say the password, "Margaritas.")

Awards started at 1:30, ended at 3:30. Best Awards show so far for 2008 that didn't use the Dooley Gang. Not wasting time giving out 300 mini-prizes, such as powder or cleaning supplies like they did last year helped in keeping it short. These prizes were given out at registration. Alice Grierson, on her first major match, won a gun. I won a bottle of Cowboy Blend. She didn't want to trade.

9 people shot it clean out of 322 or so shooters. Did I mention that the targets were more distant than any match I've gone to since I left Texas? (I'm of the opinion that if about 8-10% of contestants shoot clean, more or less, it's a fun event. EOT's 44 out of 550 is close enough.) The distant targets were about the only thing I heard anyone complain about. The scenarios were generally simple and not procedural traps. Well, T. L. did shoot clean with a procedural, missing a "back to front" requirement. I'm of the opinion that if they hadn't moved the targets out, they would have won the best event of the year award. Everything else was very good. This isn't carping. I adapted to the target distance pretty quickly and enjoyed the event immensely. I'm just passing on the general scuttlebutt.

There are people who think that moving the targets out punishes the fast shooters and rewards slow bullseye shooters. Apparently they believe the fast shooters can't shoot. The winners list showed that not to be the case. The usual suspects were at the top. Evil Roy was First Overall. Sage Chick was first lady. I've watched both of them shoot, and they both shoot close targets very fast. At distance they both shoot very fast. As usual, the difference between the good shooters and the mediocre shooters just increases at distance.

Yes, Sage Chick is a phenomenon, winning Junior Girls at WR and EOT and here. She is quite smooth and quite fast and poised beyond her years.

I won Frontiersman, making up for losing last year on the last stage because of a stuck rifle round. Now I use new Starline Brass on match rounds, and each match round gets several inspections. Yes, there were other Frontiersmen, several. I untied them when the event was over.

Despite the fact I'm writing about the event for The Cowboy Chronicle, the promised results (and photos from other photographers) haven't arrived yet, so I can't tell who won everything else. Since Cat gave me a deadline of "you're late already," this could be a problem, but right now I'm ignoring it and having another Margarita.

July 5, 2008


Hell On Wheels, Last Main Match Day

Fort Hays Preacher was too serious

Fort Hays Preacher was too serious, never allowing any frivolity or humor

Ginger Belle

Ginger Belle

Nutiket at least wore pants one day

Tex proves he's a dirty old man

Ginger Belle was very popular, especially with dirty old men

Mud Marine in 1890s Marine fatigue uniform

Mud Marine shot in his 1890s USMC fatigue uniform. He had a really good USMC dress uniform at dinner


Cruzen Confusion in her shooting costume, 3rd place I believe

Shot the early shift today. No train wrecks, but the train was a bit late at times. No gun problems, no ammo problems, only 2 make ups on shotgun targets. The shotgun targets plagued a lot of people. The most distant was 20 yards, and none was closer than ten. Some were very heavy. My BP loads had no problems--if I shot the shotgun like a rifle.

This schedule was great for getting The Redhead ready for the party/costume contest. Yes, you read that right, The Redhead finally entered a costume contest in THE Dress. We entered the couples contest so she wouldn't have to do a presentation. We're finding a lot of people who don't want to do a presentation, and it's hurting costume contests. It didn't seem to hurt this one, as the line to be judged (presentation optional) was very long. Lots of really good costumes.

It was a sit down dinner. Hors D'oeuvres and dessert required us to go through a line. Very nice. Awards done well. The few giveaway items (1 gun) were done by drawing tickets, and everyone had one ticket. Aspen Filly won a Mernickle Rig. You'd have thought she won the Publisher's Clearinghouse grand prize.

First Place Best Dressed Couple

best shooting costume, military

First Place Military Shooting Costume

July 4, 2008


Hell On Wheels, First Main Match Day

Ginger Belle, 14, has a great future in SASS.

Ginger Belle, Gunsmoke's daughter, is 14 and shoots very well.

Shot the afternoon, 6 stages in hot, dry heat. Army medics were coming through each stage every few minutes telling us to drink water.

Tex, shooting 7-1/2" Colt .45s with full charge load, in Gunfighter

Tex shoots 7-1/2" Colt .45s with full-charge BP loads in Gunfighter. The rifle is .44-40, and shotgun shells are loaded hot.

Lady Zan

Lady Zan shot Traditional in full costume, running and all

Sister Jack

So did Sister Jack, who shot Lady Gunfighter

Posse Marshal Fort Hays Preacher. Most of posse was his family and friends. Gunsmoke was there from Hodgdon, and Tex, and me. Good group. Everything went well. Finished near 5 PM. Planned on going to Casino Night, but several people were in the bus having Margaritas as the various deadlines for the poker game and costume contest passed. Finally took Cat Ballou to dinner. Tex had eaten at the TG's meeting. After dinner dropped her off at their bed and breakfast. The door was locked, and she didn't have a key. We didn't know that, of course, and drove off. Finally another guest showed up with a key.

July 3, 2008


Hell on Wheels, Side Match Day

In addition to the usual side matches, they had a 6 stage charity side match. The stages were quick and simple, say 5 pistol and 4 shotgun, or 5 rifle and 5 pistol, etc. One had 10 pistol and one shotgun. The gunfighters in the group thought it was good gunfighter practice.

We began to realize, as we shot the match, that the targets were further away than normal. Pistol targets were 10-13 paces, as were shotguns. Rifle were at 25 or so. There are clubs (Tejas Pistoleros, Texas Historical Shootists Society to name 2) that shoot at these ranges normally. I haven't seen such distances since I left Texas. The vast majority of the traveling circus, the guys who enter a lot of big matches, like close, big targets.

Plainsman Match

In the afternoon I shot the Plainsman Match. The first stage involved throwing a tomahawk on the clock for a 5 second bonus. Then you moved to a different position and shot your first pistol at a 12" square turned 60°. Next to it was a clay pigeon. If you managed to ricochet and hit the clay pigeon, you got a 5 second bonus. Then you shot 2 stationary clay pigeons with the shotgun and moved to a different position. Then you shot a knockdown/popper combination, then 5 rifle targets w-a-a-a-a-a-y out at the berm, then 2 pistol targets alternating, then the 5 rifle targets from the other direction.

Stage 2 had clay pigeons as bonus targets at the berm. I'm glad they were orange, or I wouldn't have been able to see them. Tex hit them. I don't think anyone else did.

I volunteered to design the stages for the Plainsman match at Outlaw Trail.

6 PM we had a meet and greet at the Plains Hotel downtown. It's a restored old hotel. Nice place. Small drinks. Lots of cowboys wearing their barbeque guns. I wore my engraved, ivory handled Colts. Had dinner with Tex and Cat and The Man With No Name and Connivin' Katie Jones.

July 2, 2008


2nd day of Evil Roy class

Transitions, picking up guns from tables and vertical staging. Since HOW has mostly vertical staging, I paid attention. Rain was coming in as we shut down. Got wet.

At 5ish I was in the shop, and a man walked up. Thinking he wanted to see the shop or ask a BP question or such, I said hi. Very rudely he told me I was in the wrong parking place, that I was supposed to be in 45 instead of 43 and stormed off muttering that he would have to make someone else move. As there was no one in 45 and no one was lined up trying to get into 43, I suppose telling 43 to take 45 would be a simple solution, a BETTER parking place than this one, as it's not under an intersection of electrical wires sufficient to prevent the TV satellite dish from working. The question of why they didn't tell me this Monday lingers.

At 10:25 another very rude man knocked on the door informing me that quiet hours started at 10. This had to be either a club-appointed watchdog or a self-appointed one as we have a relatively quiet diesel generator. I could hear gasoline ones going from the other end of the RV park. Checking the book I find that quiet hours are 10:00 to 6:30. I guess they like to sleep a lot here. I understand now why the Dooley Gang isn't here. 10:00! They'd just be getting started.

July 1, 2008


Evil Roy Shooting School revisited

Took Evil Roy's school again. Was looking to take it at a time when the class was semi-small. 10 students this time. Good class, of course. Just Roy and Wicked Felina. Covered place for the class part. The only problem was the Port a-Potties weren't delivered until after noon.

Covered most of the aspects of the shooting part of CAS, from gun selection to ammo to transitions to clothing that won't slow you down. Roy breathes, eats, and sleeps CAS, and he's constantly looking for ways to shoot faster. He mentioned a couple of things he hated to make public. Don't remember just which tips they were.

Shot a lot. Ended just before shooting shotguns.