October 2008

September 30, 2008

Tuesday

Went to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. I was very disappointed. Most of the museum is very dark. I kept bumping into rocks on the floor (designed to keep you too far from the displays for me to be able to read the captions). I actually had to use my flashlight to read a lot of the signs.

No photography was allowed. Too bad. They had on display a hat allegedly worn by a member of the 8th Texas Cavalry that I would like to duplicate.

But a lot of the museum was enjoyable. Allot at least 4 hours, more if you're going to see one of the IMAX films, of course. People not familiar with Texas history and wanting to be should allot a day or two.

Picked up The Redhead's Dell, with a new hard drive. Now she has to reformat and reload the programs. The data is backed up on Carbonite.com.

Got passport photos from Walgreens for upcoming CHL renewal classes.

The results of the TSRA match were online. Six was 22 seconds faster than I was. He had 3 misses. Cowtown Scout was 9 seconds faster with 10 misses. I had 4 misses, all the first day. Two bad stages killed me on rank points. Otherwise we were all pretty close on most stages. Lesson? Hit all of the targets. The front sight is the speedometer.

September 29, 2008

Monday

RV Park Review, La Hacienda RV Resort, Near Austin, Texas

We just wanted a quiet place to park the bus. This fills the bill, but the park is up the street from a marina on Lake Travis, and very near Lakeway, a town where everything costs 2x what it does elsewhere. But inside the park all is well. Big, easy to get into and out of spots, all the amenities needed (no picnic tables, though). The pool has a hot tub. Unlikely we'll have time to use it, though. There is construction going on. Big blocks of, I think, limestone. are being used to redo their retention pond into something that'll be a nice feature. They also closed off the old entrance to the park with a wall of the big stones. One day we could drive in and out of the entrance. We left, and when we came back, it was blocked off. The workers are all gung-ho. Trash is picked up almost as soon as it's put out for collection.

We asked for a referral for a mobile RV washing service. The service wanted $375 to wash the coach and the bus. Negotiations could only get them down to $250. The bus and trailer are still dirty. I'll give it ****. Were it not so expensive, it would be a ***** (that's all I've got).

Ran errands, primarily, taking The Redhead's Dell laptop to Geek Squad. Watched the political theater re the federal bailout bill. Noted that the Dow dropped 300 points while Nancy Pelosi gave her venom-filled speech. Yes, she is the anti-Christ.

September 28, 2008

Sunday

TSRA State Cowboy Action Shooting Championship

I shot clean. Cowtown Scout missed 2 per stage, so I won this morning, but not by enough (6 stages to 4 total). He got second. I got last. Six won. Haven't seen the scores yet. Welcome to Texas. Like I said, Texas is tough.

This match gave entries to Winter Range for first overall, Shalako Joe, and first lady, More Ammo, his mother. I don't remember ever hearing of a mother-son team winning an event. Congratulations are definitely in order. Three other entries were drawn from the winners of the categories. One was won by Badlands Ben, Joe's brother, first Gunfighter. Tally Book commented that he was the big winner. Probably so. (Tally Book is More Ammo's husband, and fathers to the Texas Wonder Brothers, Shalako Joe and Badlands Ben.)

They kept giving away Bond Arms items in the drawings. I kept waiting for the derringer. Never happened. They did give away a Cimarron Model P.

At the awards ceremony several people had already changed into T-Shirts and tennies. I tend to agree with Judge Roy Bean, who wouldn't give an award to someone who had changed into his traveling clothes. But then I

As I was packing up Delta Raider came by, and another camper came by to complain that I had gotten "his" parking spot. He had to disconnect his toad to get into the one he had. I politely pointed out that mine's bigger than yours. (Nyaa Nyaa Nyaa is polite, isn't it?) He has a 43' coach, but our rig totals 65'.

See the photos below for an explanation of size in Texas.

Agarita Ranch is something else. A lot of the stages involve real buildings. The stables is a real stables, not just a storefront. Delta Raider spent his children's inheritance building the place. Some pictures tell a little of the story, but it's more impressive in person:

Bath house has real flush toilet restrooms, no porta potties.

Bath house holds restrooms with real flush toilets, no porta potties. Sign in men's room over urinal: "In Texas size really does matter"

Blacksmith shop

Like most of the other buildings, the Blacksmith shop backs up to a stage

Fort

The Fort, a challenging stage with shooting from inside a building that requires standing on a raised platform. Shotguns are engaged from shooting ports in the wall

Shooting from the jail

The jail stage

Shooting through the bars

Shooting through bars always presents an obstacle These are steel bars, but pipe insulation covers the outside, minimizing damage to your original 1 of 1,000 Winchester 73.

The front of the jail

Marshal's Office and jail stage

 

Livery Stables

Livery Stables stage

Shotgun targets

The rabbit shotgun targets ate a lot of lunches. A hit in the main body might not knock them down. A hit on the ears won't do it It needs to center on the shoulder or neck. I was okay the second day but had to make up 2 the first day.

Hotel

The Shamrock Hotel, complete with rooms upstairs

Interior hallway of hotel

Interior hallway of the hotel

The bar, with Delta Raider tending bar and the brindle cat presiding

About the best looking bar I've seen at a shooting facility, in the hotel. Delta Raider is tending bar, and brindle cat is presiding

Far corner of the bar, where the gunfighters sit

The far corner of the bar, where the gunfighters sit. This one is using a PC. Note the upright piano

The Chapel

The beautiful chapel in the trees

The oak pews

The interior of the church, with the beautiful antique oak pews. A Catholic Church in New Jersey was going to throw them away when they went to padded pews. But someone suggested they put them on embay. They did, and Delta Raider was the only one bidding. $1000, and $1500 to ship them. There's more than that in just OAK! The stained glass windows came from a mansion in San Antonio. You could sure film a movie scene here--and in and around several other buildings here.

Stidebaker army wagpm

Studebaker Army wagon, circa 1890s Speaking of movies, this one was used in North and South. Check out the battle of Manasses (Bull Run to Yankees). The movie people did some refurbishing, but they used all hex head bolts instead of square head bolts

I failed to photograph the big pavilion, where meals were served and trophies awarded. It's really nice.

All in all Agarita Ranch is an underused SASS mecca. It isn't the only one. Texas has a glut of annual matches. If an event isn't a state championship or Regional it doesn't have a good turnout, and there aren't enough state championships and regionals to go around.

Agarita Ranch should have a major match. The shooting facilities deserve it. It would need bigger RV parking. There are 6 spots with 30 amp power and water, and we taxed them to their limits. Power went out Saturday afternoon when the main breaker overheated. But they have 10 stages worthy of a major match. I'm sure you're aware that paying for such a facilities through having SASS matches is out of the question. This is a labor of love.

Drove to La Hacienda RV Resort near Austin. REALLY nice place. BIG, LONG pull-throughs. Parked next to a rig that had to cost close to half a million. There were several such. We asked the registration lady for directions to a good Mexican restaurant She directed us to Carlos and Charlie's in the marina down the street. For a Mexican restaurant it had few Mexican items on the menu. Fortunately the ones they had were very good. Margaritas made to The Redhead's recipe cost close to $10. Wouldn't have minded if they hadn't brought them in plastic shot glasses.

September 27, 2008

Saturday

TSRA State Cowboy Action Shooting Championship

Posse 4

Photo by Major Photography

I screwed up and didn't know that they were having posse sign up sheets until it was almost too late. Got on one with Cowtown Scout, the only person on the posse I knew. It turned out well. Very laid back group. No one was in a hurry at any time. The targets, as I mentioned, were pretty far out, and the smoke is being really unhelpful. Scout was beating me 5-10 seconds a stage. I sped up. He sped up. I won 2. He won 4. Six, on another posse, is probably ahead of both of us. I'm back in Texas. There are no easy categories in Texas.

One stage had a bonus. Reload a rifle and shoot a long distance target. Bonus 5 seconds. This is one that, if it were optional, I would have skipped it. I figure I just about broke even, taking 4-5 seconds to load and shoot. Cowtown Scout was about as quick but missed. Others who hit the target took more than 7 seconds on our posse.

Panorama of the particpants at the TSRA State Championships

photo by Major Photography

Dinner was barbeque at the pavilion. Very good.

September 26, 2008

Friday

TSRA State Cowboy Action Shooting Championship

The Redhead watches the horses

We were treated to a parade of horses as they went to their weekend pastures, away from guns

Registered. shot side matches (badly). Nice range. Real hotel, saloon, stables, a chapel that seats 150, a pavilion, indoor bathrooms, shade, some RV parking with 3- amp service and water.

Targets ranged from big to little. Pistols were 7-9 paces. Rifles were 25-30 paces of the ones I paced off. Shotguns were farther out than pistols. Some were animal shapes. The rabbits were especially difficult to knock down. Smoke absolutely did not move. No wind to speak of.

Handlebar Bob was over for Margaritas and Justice Lily Kate came looking for him to get him over for dinner. We were invited a few minutes later. Lasagna at Shotglass and Texas Jack Daniel's trailer. Excellent. Good conversation. A range cat jumped into my lap for scratching and snuggle for about half an hour. I asked him what he would charge to teach Arthur Pendragon to do that, but brindle barn cats don't think much of shaded silver Persians, so he wouldn't even discuss it.

September 25, 2008

Thursday

Drove to Lockhart to Agarita Ranch, home of the Plum Creek Carriage and Shooting Society, where the 2008 TSRA State Cowboy Action Shooting Championship is being held over the weekend. Delta Raider met us and led us to a RV spot big enough for the rig. 30 amp service and water. Way above average for ranges.

Doesn't look like they have many contestants. Too bad. It's not too late if you're close by.

I'm looking for Loose Cannon Lou or Gunslinger to repair the malfunctioning Evil Roy pistol.

September 24, 2008

Wednesday

Mounted the new tire. Put the spare back in the spare mount. I'm getting E Rated tires now as mentioned, and "High Performance" valve stems, steel. The tire pressure monitors unscrew themselves from rubber valves. I have 2 E Rated tires. The other one was in the basement of the bus. I put it on the right rear (logically the highest loaded tire). Eventually I'll have all E's, assuming I don't switch to light truck tires by then. Truck tires are tested to 85 mph. Trailer tires are tested to 60 mph.

Cleaned the bug-covered windshield. Took a while. Love bugs every two inches from horn to spoiler. Used Invisible Glass and Griot's Garage Lint Free Towels. Looked good when it was done. It's a good thing the VA gives me free* 800 mg. Ibuprofen.

*Well, not exactly free, call it prepaid

September 23, 2008

Tuesday

Busy day. Went to take the flat off the spare tire mount. Discovered the thinwall 3/8" drive 13/16" socket and 1/2" adapter was still on the side of the road in Oklahoma. Went to Sears. Bought complete set of 3/8" drive sockets and 1/2" drive sockets, and a De Walt 1/2" 19 v. cordless impact wrench, plus some other tools to replace lost ones. With Craftsman it's often cheaper to buy a set than 2 or 3 wrenches.

Went to Camping World. 3 warning triangles, 4 pylons, 1 ramp for changing tires. Drive or back the good tire up on the ramp. The flat one in front of or behind is now off the ground.

Went to C & S Trailer World. Bought 2 hooks for chain, and a complete chain and hook--backup.

Back to the bus. Removed the flat. Put in back of ML.Took the tire to Discount Tire. Naturally the hole was in the shoulder. Got a new E (10 ply) rated tire, Carlisle. The trailer came with 5 Carlisle. D rated tires All 5 tires were other brands now. I've started buying tires from Discount Tires with the warranty. Since I have 2 spares I shouldn't have to buy tires from Bubba's Tires in Nowhere, Nevada because I don't want to drive 200 miles to civilization without a spare. Once all of the tires are E rated Carlisles from Discount, if the attrition rate continues (and it should lessen as 2 were totaled due to errors I won't make again, such as going through a truck wash), then the warranties should prove useful. Several of the replacements have been because of nails in the shoulder, a non-repairable area. That'll probably continue as the roads to match RV parking are usually paved with roofing nails, rocks, broken glass, unexploded artillery rounds and more rocks.

Took the Redhead to dinner at the Stockyard. Picked up the tire from Discount on the way. They tried to give me the wrong wheel and tire.

September 22, 2008

Monday

Moving Day

Wasted Task of the Day

Cleaned the windshield despite the fact the good window cleaner, Invisible Glass, was inaccessible in the trailer, along with 2nd choice, Auto Glass Windex. Ditto the good windshield cleaning towels, those from Griot's Garage. Took forever. Windshield had been covered in bugs.

20 miles down the road the windshield was covered in love bugs.

RV Park Review

KOA Dallas Metro-Arlington—Location isn't great. It's pretty convenient to Dallas-Ft. Worth as RV Parks go, but, following Co-Pilot's directions (not the KOA's), we found it on the left of a divided highway with instructions to "turn around." Right. Instead we did a precarious series of rights and a left to get going the correct direction to turn in.

Inside there's a security gate. You're given a key card for your car, and your car gets a windshield tag. This tells me that they've had problems with security. Time to dig out the Officer's ACP that I don't wear out west. I'm in a big city again, and, like Saigon, they're more dangerous than staying in the jungle.

The spaces are great. Ours is 84 ft. long, gravel, wood edged, with lots of grass. Wide enough. Well, there is the problem that it points downhill. It took two tries to park into it due to the angles and my inability to drive half a bus width into the next row of RV's. The back of the space wasn't wide enough for the trailer to be at any angle. Came around again, pulled forward to the next row then backed up, keeping the trailer straight. Then we dropped jacks and saw the dreaded "EXCESS SLOPE" light on. Watch that first step. It's a a beauty. It was about 4 feet from the bottom step to the ground. Pulled jacks up, backed the bus until the trailer was at the rear edge of the spot and tried again. Leveled that time. Only 2.5 ft. to the ground from the step. Put the auxiliary step out. (Heights exaggerated for comedic effect). ****.

The Great Safety Chain Hook Search, part 1

Went to a Camping World on the way down. Encountered 2 sales ladies, one in basic training on being blonde, the other either convinced I was sent by her hated ex-husband, or in the depths of PMS, or just a bitch. Bottom line, no hook.

I wonder if Camping World realizes how much money they lose by hiring only incompetents. I know. That's all they can find. Competents don't work for Camping World. They've either started their own company, or they're retired and living in their RV's. (You'll note I didn't say they're working for Corporate America, Wall Street, or the Gumment.)

Checking campingworld.com I discover they only sell them for itty-bitty toy trailers, not manly SUV-hauling, shooting shop toting macho trailers.

Ditto for Pep Boys and Auto Zone (checked out online). Found "Redneck Trailer Supply". Will check tomorrow (along with finding a tire repair shop). ML is out of the trailer. Frozen Margaritas consumed. All is well.

September 21, 2008

Sunday

Ruckus in the Nation, The Oklahoma State SASS Championship

Shot the team match. One Evil Roy lost timing. I gave it to Brisco Kid. He put in a new Colt bolt spring, and it was worse. He put the original one back in and told me to find Gunslinger at the TSRA Match, that it was beyond him. This is the one I took apart to photograph the hammer. I assumed I did something wrong. It was refreshing for a gunsmith to tell me it wasn't his area of expertise.

Got Shawnee to go with us to the gate while I tried to get the bus and trailer out. He was waiting to tow the trailer if I had to disconnect, but from this direction we could clear—BARELY, and we scraped the front bumper on a dip.

But we got out. Thanked Shawnee profusely. Headed for Oklahoma City.

A tire on the trailer went flat quickly on the Turnpike. Very little shoulder, 45° drop off on the right of the shoulder, and occasional posts to remind us to stay on it. Had about a foot between the trailer and the white stripe on the edge of the road. Changed the tire while pickups played bull to my bullfighter. Most 18 wheelers gave me a full lane when they could.

Convinced me of 2 things: 1. I've always thought one of the high voltage, expensive, cordless impact wrenches were a luxury. I'm a big, strong, manly man, and I can change a tire with manual tools. But that damn wheel has 6 studs, fine thread, and getting the nuts off and on takes a while. I'm going to get one.

2. The warning triangles in the trunk of the ML are useless in these situations. I'll cure that, warning triangles and road flares will soon be easily accessible.

Changing a tire when under automotive sniper fire put me back to Fire Support Base Mary when I called in a Medevac twice by holding a strobe light while standing on the medevac pad while the sniper took pot shots at me—twice—two chopper loads of wounded. As I changed the tire I figured a) it couldn't be any worse, and b) if I faced down the road I wouldn't see it coming at least.

If you think, "Why didn't he just call his roadside assistance plan?" 1. Time. It would take hours to get a truck there. 2. They probably wouldn't change the tire there. 3. My one experience with the Good Sam roadside assistance program was, I told them to bring a HD jack in order to lift the 10,000 lb. trailer. The guy didn't and made me offload the ML (not possible on the side of the turnpike). 4. The guy had no wrenches that would fit the wheel or the spare tire mount (Different!) I decided right then I'd call them when I couldn't do something—only.

Parked at the KOA in Oklahoma City and discovered one of the safety chains had lost its hook. Will have to take care of that ASAP, too.

Once more the Pressure Pro tire pressure monitoring system paid for itself.

Arthur Pendragon lets us know how he felt about being put in the crate for the trip.

I asked Arthur Pendragon what he thought of being put in his crate for trips.

September 20, 2008

Saturday

Ruckus in the Nation, The Oklahoma State SASS Championship

5 more stages, clean till the last one. 1 miss. Decent times.

The awards dinner was at the local Civic Center, no booze. Second place Frontiersman out of 6 (I believe). Blue Mesa won. Never saw him. He wasn't at the party. Brisco told me he's a young, fast shooter. Young, fast shooters should shoot Traditional or duelist or Frontier Cartridge or Frontier Cartridge Duelist or Classic Cowboy. Frontiersman is for old guys who like to fool with percussion pistols. He probably learned percussion maintenance from "Frontiersman for Dummies." Gotta take that off the site. Long awards dinner because they gave the little prizes away one by one in an interminable drawing. SUGGESTION TO MATCH DIRECTORS: Give little prizes away at registration. Have people draw for them there. Give GUNS away at the awards dinner. They had several nice guns, culminating with a set of consecutive serial numbered Taurus Gauchos. The MC noted that these had been back to the factory for repairs under the lifetime warranty because, as they were sold, they didn't work. That was my experience with Taurus.

September 19, 2008

Friday

Ruckus in the Nation, The Oklahoma State SASS Championship

Got on Brisco Kid/Kiamichi Queen's posse. Good laid back people to be on a posse with. Stages well-designed, simple. Simple is not to be confused with easy. The rifle targets are pretty far out for a 2008 SASS match. This isn't good or bad, just is, as Clint Smith says. It means you can shoot pistols fast but have to change speeds for rifles.

The mottled lighting, white targets, and my eyes conspired against me. No fast stage times. 36-49 seconds, 2 misses, rifles, of course, in 7 stages. Should have been in the 20s on a couple of stages, but too conservative on one, and messed up slightly on another, if you consider putting a rifle down after shooting 9 shots from a 10 shot string minor. Triple tap 3 targets, then one in the middle target. What do you normally do after triple tapping 3 targets with a rifle?

Apparently the lunch vendor ran out of food but returned after we had gotten back to shooting. I don't eat most match lunches but eat a Power Bar instead. Better to be a little hungry and alert than bloated and logy. Tequila eats Ensure. Evil Roy does something similar, forgot what. I do Power Bars. The people who eat range food were somewhat ticked.

Good posse. Every job always taken, with multiple applicants. No SNAFUs. Lots of fun.

I've started cleaning the guns at the range before coming home. This just leaves refilling powder, balls, caps, and ammo and any repairs needed when I get to the trailer.

Artie and Sadie came over for Margaritas. The Redhead made 2 pitchers of FROZEN ones. Some are still in the freezer.

Did I mention she got BLUE BELL Homemade Vanilla ice cream and MRS BAIRD'S BREAD yesterday? Is she an angel or what?

September 18, 2008

Thursday

Ruckus in the Nation, The Oklahoma State SASS Championship

Side Match Day

Several gaggles of people came into the trailer. Much gawking. Several people want to go RVing full time to SASS matches but can't because… (they don't want to bad enough, usually. We understand that there are those with children/ grandchildren/ uncooperative spouses, jobs they love, or illnesses that prevent this, sometimes forever. There are several planning for it now, though.) Shot all of the side matches that you can with main match guns, also pocket pistol and Derringer. I believe it's time to get a Bond derringer with competition springs/action job. Won't win anything, but they are fun.

The targets are mostly down hill, surrounded by and in trees. Mottled lighting. White targets. Pistols close, rifles far away, shotguns 7-10 yards or so. Varying sizes and styles of targets. Smoke is going to be a problem for us guys shooting smoky stuff. Reminds me a bit of Oakwood, but more light and faces north, not east.

Had Brisco Kid/Kiamichi Queen and Artie and Sadie Fly over for Margaritas.

September 17, 2008

Wednesday

Drove to the range at Coweta, OK. Not great instructions and one key sign being a small green street sign in the left side of the road on a 4-lane divided highway with 55 mph speed limit. Yes, we had to go down the road until we could figure a way back. Then we got to the range entrance. Tiny one-1/2 lane semi paved road to a narrow gate, deep ditches, bad angles. Bottom line. No way to get the bus and trailer in together. The contact phone number was Shawnee. He came out. We disconnected the trailer, attached it to his truck, and I drove the bus in—carefully. About the only parking place was on the asphalt near the range, going uphill, next door to a porta-pottie. Reattached the trailer, unloaded the ML and put the guns and guncart into the trailer. The huge parking area promised me is pretty soggy. Not a problem for 15,000 lb. 5th wheels, but a problem for this behemoth. Fortunately we were there early enough to get a prime parking space.

 

September 16, 2008

Tuesday

Tried to have breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel. No RV or Truck parking in the back. There was room for 2 big rigs in the front, but a trucker took the middle, leaving no room for another big rig. Where are the fender mounted Brownings now that we need them? Peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.

Drove to Oklahoma City, 285 miles.

#2 Diesel at the Flying J $3.81.9/gallon. Very busy in the trucking side.

RV Park Review, Oklahoma City East KOA. They have a row for big rigs with trees, but arranged so they don't block the southern sky and thus satellite reception. They're terraced down a slight incline, but they're level. Grass between sites, gravel on the site, edged with 2 x 4s set in the ground. Surrounded by trees. Nice place. The usual KOA items. Expensive. Oklahoma City isn't Las Vegas. *** 1/2. I'd give it 4 if they had a shuttle to the German restaurant 3 miles away (veal Weiner Schnitzel). Didn't want it bad enough to unpack the truck from the trailer. Revised 9-19: **** after more thought. I'm new at this reviewing game. The greenery and quiet was worth half a point. "Idyllic setting" is a description that comes to mind.

September 15, 2008

Monday

Drove to Armadillo, Texas, 299 miles.

RV PARK REVIEW, RV RANCH

We'll give it **** out of 5. Easy to park the big rig, nice people, semi-cheap with the Escapees Card. They have a deal with the Big Texan Steakhouse where the Big Texan sends a limo to the RV Site, and they take you back to the site after dinner. Good satellite TV and Internet reception, no trees in the way. Easy in and out. Didn't use many of the facilities, such as laundry, pool, whorehouse, crack den.

Caught you.

Dinner at the Big Texan Steakhouse. Got there at 1800, and the place was full. There was a tour bus parked outside. Apparently it carried 250 people. The usual good service and Texian food. Recommended: Filet, Chicken Fried Steak. The Redhead recommends the Rib eye. I don't recommend the Sirloin. Got a free dessert with a coupon from the RV Ranch. Worth the price of the dessert. I overtip, so this doesn't bother me, but the limo driver got $5 each way. The waitress got $10, and the 3 old guys playing country-western and wandering from table to table got $5. If this sort of thing bothers you, avoid Las Vegas.

September 14, 2008

Sunday

Went to Founders Ranch and shot the High Desert Drifters match. This is an example of why I should miss once on the first stage. I shot 4 stages clean, each one faster than the one before. By #4 I was cookin! So I decided to shoot stage 5 carefully, even if it meant shooting it slow. It had the (in)famous running buffalo. I waited until it had cleared the 4 shotgun knockdowns between me and it and shot carefully, even waiting when it rolled back behind one of the knockdowns. Then I missed the 9th shot. This should have been no big deal, but it completely discombobulated me. I almost shot the wrong gun next, and when I got to the pistols I missed 2 or 3 and almost dropped one. 49 seconds + 3 or 4 misses. Total Train wreck.

But this was better than Tex's shoot. On stage 4 you start sitting, shoot the pistols sitting, then stand and shoot the rifle and shotgun. When Tex finished, he tried to sit back down, but the workers had pulled the chair out of the way when he stood up. He fell ignominiously, hurting his neck. He had just been to a chiropractor and gotten the neck to stop hurting.

It was also better than Amber Ale's match. She knocked a loaded pistol out of her holster while running and picked up brass and counted for the rest of the day.

Test fired the Colt Government Model. Worked flawlessly. I did realize that I can't see the black sights against the black targets. I could see the white dots, but they'll be blacked out by match time, something I had to tell every person there individually as they all asked me if they were legal or told me they weren't. People who weren't even going to be at the match today drove there just to say, "Hey, those three-dot sights are illegal." Two words: Black Sharpie.

Then I got back and asked The Redhead how her day was, and she growled that her computer was down, and she had spent the day trying to fix it.

I understand that. Some spammers have gotten hold of my email address and sent out a massive mailing with my return address. I know it was massive because I've gotten 5 or 6,000 failure messages. I have to delete the junk mail file and deleted messages file every few minutes to prevent overload.

Additionally, the previous problem, which I thought was solved, popped back up. I've been trying to download a Microsoft Office upgrade, but it tells me a file I need isn't there. I would just reload Office, but George S. Patton, Jr. had gotten the disk and put teeth marks on it.

Something tells me she'll be looking for a Geek Squad, and I'll be looking for an Apple Store with a "Genius" Bar.

We put the ML in the trailer. The plan is to get out early in the AM.

Hurricane Ike

Worst Case Scenario—I grew up on the Texas coast, in Texas City, a few miles from Galveston Island. We studied the 1900 storm in school and knew enough about hurricanes to be afraid of them. We left at the very last minute before Carla, ignoring the orders to leave until it was almost too late. We barely got through the rising water. That time the water was rising from behind the town. Moses Lake had been filled by the tidal surge and flooded Texas City from behind.

Over the years we left town for some storms that didn't come where we were afraid they would. The Worst Case Scenario was always a big storm coming up I45, with a tidal surge higher than the Galveston Seawall. The tall buildings in Houston are all glass, and downtown Houston was filled with glass after one storm.

In our home in Katy we were pretty far from shore, so we could watch several storms from inside the safety of the house. When Allison flooded Houston, our street was on an island surrounded by water. We were going to flee Rita, but by the time I got home from work and got the lawn furniture and such out of the back yard, the roads out of town were grid locked.

So we are glad to be out of Hurricane Alley, but watching Hurricane Ike's devastation on TV has been pretty devastating to us. We have good memories of memorable meals at Brennan's. We've been to the Flagship Hotel and know many of the businesses destroyed in Galveston. Every shot of Houston is familiar to us, of course. We really feel bad for the Texans devastated by the storm. Personally, I don't have much sympathy for the idiots who stayed when mandatory evacuation orders came out and the officials told them if they were going to stay, to put their social security numbers on their arms. The idiots in Galveston are alive only because the 20 foot tidal surge was "only" 13 feet, and the seawall was 17 feet. As I write this emergency personnel have been rescuing these idiots and recovering their bodies and continue to do so. Those lucky enough to survive without using up the emergency resources talk to reporters as if they had good sense. Now they're begging for ice and food and the like. Millions of Houstonians who were ordered to stay in place to avoid causing a gridlock in the evacuation need ice and water and food, but some of it has to go to the idiots. As I write this the Fox News reporter mentions 2,000 rescues. The Coast Guard, Texas National Guard, and other first responders have done a fantastic job risking their lives rescuing people who, by rights, should be given Darwin Awards in lieu of rescue.

I hope that the next time officials tell people that if they stay they're on their own, they would mean it. I know they can't, and good men and women will risk their lives to save people who don't deserve the effort.

The rest of us can go on, forgetting about Hurricane Ike pretty quickly, but millions of Texans are without electricity, and thousands of homes were damaged by the high water or wind. Trees took out homes and cars and landmarks. Insurance, if they have it, won't replace the family photos and the video of their daughter's dance recital.

And five or ten years from now there'll be another bad hurricane, and thousands of idiots will again tax the emergency response system by staying in place and having a hurricane party. I'm old enough to remember the hurricane party in Louisiana that ended with everything in the house washed away but the foundation.

In Albuquerque it was in the 60's, with bright blue skies and light wind.

September 13, 2008

Saturday

Shot the Renegades match. The 5th stage was a 16 shot shotgun match ending with 2 popups and one crossing bird. Got everything but the crossing bird. With my peripheral vision I seldom see them. Was 2nd on that stage, which surprised the hell out of me. Remember, I was shooting smoky stuff through a double vs. smokeless, '97. The course was designed by a (right handed) '97 shooter. Shoot 3 here, run to the right through a couple of gates, shoot 3 there, then another gate, one there, then backup 9 ft. and run to the right, (of course), then 2, move right, then 2, move right, then 4 (2 popups), and the crossing bird. The splinter forend did convince me to be careful with my weak hand.

Got the trailer ready to travel. Tomorrow is a match at Founders Ranch, and we're leaving Monday as early as possible for Armadillo.

Government Model

Through a complicated series of trades I ended up with a late Series 80 Colt Government Model, probably the best out-of-the-box Wild Bunch Traditional Category gun. It is a Government Model, so no one can say it's not eligible for the category. It has big Gumment style sights, with 3 white dots just like the Springfield Mil-Spec (the 3 white dots must be made black with a Sharpie or equivalent). The ejection port has been subtly lowered so it won't dent brass (not faired back). It has a 1911 trigger (long) and mainspring housing (flat), which is what I'm used to shooting and what fits my hand. This one has a crisp trigger without overtravel, a reasonable mag release spring, and a full-strength recoil spring that doesn't interfere with racking the slide. It's 18.5 lb., but it doesn't bother me. Still, a 16 lb. would work with the ammo we use. It feeds H & G 68 Semiwadcutters and locks the slide back after the last round. This one had a pair of fancy wood, diamond checkered grips, but that's immaterial considering my collection of grips.

I can now shoot Traditional or Modern, and I should be able to shoot matches that make up their own rules. You never know. I shot one in which 2 of the 3 guns I shot at EOT weren't allowed, and the 3rd gun wasn't competitive with semi-automatic shotguns. I see several on my schedule with questionable rules. We'll see.

Can you imagine how big the sport would be if Traditional were done that way?

Sorry, Captain, you can't shoot that Evil Roy pistol. Real Colts didn't have a signature on the barrel. That '73 isn't legal. The front sight is 0.135. We only allow 0.100. Your shotgun isn't allowed because the barrel is too long (short) for an authentic coach gun.

September 8-12, 2008

Mon-Friday

Moved to Gallup Monday, Albuquerque Tuesday (Enchanted Trails). Shot the Renegades match Wednesday. The jinx continues. 1 clean stage. Thursday took the ML into the MB shop. No loaners available, and the 1-2 hour service took till noon because there was a campaign on the suspension compressor. Took the MacBook Pro in to Mac to visit with one of the "geniuses" there. Though not a fashion genius, he was able to tell me that in the switchover from .mac, where I keep backups of important files, to "MobileMe" attacked my computer, zapping Backup completely and zeroing out a lot of preferences, bookmarks, and the "Cat folder" which comprises my screen saver. I was able to rebuild everything from the local backup, which uses Time Machine, except Backup. After conferring with him I confirmed I'll have to rebuild it file by file, or, to be more accurate, plan by plan, as it backs up one plan at at time. I had about 30 plans working when it went south.

On Friday we took the bus to Cummins for a generator service and to ask about its rough running. Ken, their generator guru, determined it needed injectors within about 20 seconds. He predicted it wouldn't be out of the shop until Saturday, but it was out by 1400 with 3 new injectors (warranty, would be $700 out of warranty). $222 for the service. Pecos Clyde had said good things about Ken, and Ken said good things about Pecos Clyde. Ken had gotten a generator warranted by Cummins when Mandalay turned it down on a technicality. As I told the people at Cummins, I arranged this trip primarily to go to Cummins. I like this place and will try to continue to go there for Cummins/Spartan service.

From the SASS Wire

Sixgun Shorty on the Pioneer 12 ga Coach Gun
I agree with Cpt Baylor..this Pioneer Coach 12 ga is a cut way above anything else out there!
Fit and finish is superb,barrel latch is one finger easy,barrels stay open and shells fall right out ...springs are very light..this gun needs NO gunsmithing whatsoever IMO to be ready for SASS competition...Very nice wood, easy takedown and built like a tank..sort of like a TTN only very handsome gun and very well finished..hell, i'd take this 18.5"12 ga hunting in a second! No choke tube provision, but can always add chokes ..frankly, I think chokes on an 18" shotgun are totally unnecessary.
Also, Pioneer will be adding next year 38-55 and 45-70 rifled inserts for their 24" barrels which are interchangeable with the 18.5" barrels.
Overall, a very nice gun that should be a hit with SASS/CAS!

Note: This Pioneer has the finest trigger pull and easy cocking hammers i have ever seen on a SXS under $2500...The action, fit and finish are far ahead of Italian and Chinese imports
Another excellent feature: NO barrel markings, proof marks or any other BS nomenclature on barrels ..caliber, chamber size, serial # all under the locking lugs on the inside of the receiver.

Nice to see someone with Shorty's credentials agrees with me. The only thing wrong with the Pioneer is it's too pretty to shoot in SASS matches and throw it around stages.

ED W. FREEMAN
Mr. Freeman passed away on August 20th, 2008, Word just got to me this week. Captain Ed Freeman was a helicopter pilot. He received a Congressional Medal of Honor for actions on November 14, 1965. When you read the citation below and realize that he died of natural causes at age 80 you might consider that this is more proof that you have nothing to fear in this life. Anything you do in combat (life) can get you killed, including doing nothing. Conversely, you can get away with the damnedest insane actions with a little luck.

I believe Captain Freeman's award was delayed because of an idiot in a secure office with no incoming fire. I believe the Infantryman' Prayer is, "Oh Lord, please deliver me from the vicious enemy in front of me and the idiot REMFs behind me."

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Alpha Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Place and date: Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 14 November 1965. Entered service at: Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Born 20 Nov. 1927, Neely, Greene County, Mississippi. Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, distinguished himself by numerous acts of conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 14 November 1965 while serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). As a flight leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, he supported a heavily engaged American infantry battalion at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The infantry unit was almost out of ammunition after taking some of the heaviest casualties of the war, fighting off a relentless attack from a highly motivated, heavily armed enemy force. When the infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone due to intense direct enemy fire, Captain Freeman risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet of enemy fire time after time, delivering critically needed ammunition, water, and medical supplies to the besieged battalion. His flights had a direct impact on the battle's outcome by providing the engaged units with timely supplies of ammunition critical to their survival, without which they would almost surely have experienced a much greater loss of life. After medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area due to intense enemy fire, Captain Freeman flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation of an estimated 30 seriously wounded soldiers -- some of whom would not have survived had he not acted. All flights were made into a small emergency landing zone within 100 to 200 meters of the defensive perimeter where heavily committed units were perilously holding off the attacking elements. Captain Freeman’s selfless acts of great valor, extraordinary perseverance, and intrepidity were far above and beyond the call of duty or mission and set a superb example of leadership and courage for all of his peers. Captain Freeman’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

September 7, 2008

Sunday

Gunfight at Battle Rock, the Colorado State Championship

Team Shoot, Awards Day

The team shoot had 2 Texas stars, rifle. I had grabbed a box of Ten-X 130 gr. smokeless ammo, and it failed to take some down. They had to go down to count, and the next guy had to make them up with a shotgun. Hmm. We didn't win the team.

Let's see, I won Frontiersman, but El Pueblo is state Frontiersman champion. Next time I'll use the local KOA as my entry address (just kidding.) Evil Roy won overall. Lefty Jo was top lady. J. T. Wild was second.

Good match. Friendly people. Good facilities. Would have gotten crowded with a few more entrants as far as parking went, but they could have had parking at the "upper" lot with shuttle trailers to get us down and back.

September 6, 2008

Saturday

Gunfight at Battle Rock, the Colorado State Championship

Main Match day 2

Missed one. We had a big, well-decorated, bowlegged cowboy as the middle target in an X. You shot the bottom V of the X with the pistols, 2 sweeps, and the top V with the rifle. The cowboy rang like a bell when hit. But I had to aim at his crotch with the first pistol (blame Kelso), and it made no sound at all. Miss. Finish the stage. Look at target, hit right in the crotch, but the counters were holding up one finger, and I don't argue with them under anything but the most extreme circumstances. Don't know what that would be.

Finished with 3 misses, about 40 seconds/stage counting the misses, 38 without. That night was a nice dinner at the American Legion Hall, buffet, with a lot of little awards in the drawing, 2 guns, a .22 Henry and a Derringer. Won a bottle of Crown Royal. That's the first time I've ever encountered that as a prize.

Defective Ammo:

Edward R. S. Canby told a great story. There was a new shooter at her first big match on his posse. She didn't notice him much until he had to shoot the Texas Star from inside the outhouse. Immediately after he shot she went to Stumble Leena in panic. "There's a shooter whose rounds make terrible smoke, and they're noisier than other people's ammo, and actual fire comes out of the barrels. The timer operator and spotters were coughing and choking. You have to do something. What's wrong with his ammunition."

Stumble Leena, probably biting her tongue, explained that Canby was shooting black powder, and it's supposed to sound and look like that.

September 5,2008

Friday

Gunfight at Battle Rock, the Colorado State Championship

Main Match day 1

(Yes, the Purina Diet story yesterday was a joke.) Posse Marshal Capt. Woodrow K. Kelso. Way too serious. This is supposed to be fun, after all.

Just kidding. Serious he's not. First stage, early in the AM, no wind, shoot Texas Star with rifle. Shoot BIG target, star, big target, star. Star targets didn't have to fall to count. Stupidly I put in 105 gr. bullets with the thought that if they didn't fall off, the target wouldn't rotate.

True, but if that's the case, I should have continued shooting at target 1, the one on top. But no, for my next target I shot another one. It fell off, and the target spun like a propeller. Still no problem except now I've shot 4 rounds of rifle, and none of the smoke has moved an inch. I can see the white star frame, but not the black targets. No problem, I know where they are, at the end of the arms. Just shoot there. Would have worked if I hadn't already shot that one off. 2 misses, lousy time. Minor train wreck. I've had a LOT worse.

Shot the rest of the day clean, 6 stages. Exhausted afterwards and didn't go to the poker game.

September 4, 2008

Thursday

Gunfight at Battle Rock, The Colorado State Championship

Side Match Day

Shot long range pistol caliber rifle and long range pistol. Don't need to find a place for trophies for same, but I'm getting better. Shot the warm up (2 stages) and .22 rifle stage with borrowed rifle. THE rifle is the Marlin. I believe they're getting way too expensive for a .22 rifle. Couldn't operate the Henry rapidly. The throw was long, and so was the stock.

In the warm up the targets were BIG and CLOSE. I've read the scenarios of the match. Seem simple

Purina Diet

       On the way back to the RV Park The Redhead called and said we were running out of Purina One. Could I get some at WalMart? Sure. So, within a few minutes I was at WalMart buying a large bag of Purina One for George S. Patton, Jr. and was in the checkout line when woman behind me asked if I had a dog. Now keep in mind I was in full CAS gear, tall cavalry boots, black trousers and vest, pocket watch, beat-up Boss of the Plains hat, and waxed handlebar mustache.

      What did she think I had, an elephant?  So since I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again.  I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IV's in both arms. I had started gaining it back and was about 20 lb. over where I wanted to be, so I needed to do something.

      I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

      Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.  I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both.

      I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

      WalMart won't let me shop at that store anymore.

September 3, 2008

Wednesday

Another Happy Customer

I read your book and liked it. Good story and lots of great info on how things were there. I am now reading Hill 488 again.

Evil Roy

A reminder: the book mentioned is Common Valor.

Evil Roy on Bolt Springs

The ER gun used wire springs for awhile and now uses flat ones. The flat ones have a better feel and I think is easier to tune. They both work ok and both has its followers. The wire loses some tension over time and can get the gun out of tune and can cause damage before it is detected. The flat spring I think remains at book spec longer but when it breaks it breaks compared to the wire which usually loses some tension first. I have never broken a flat spring but have broken several wire springs. The springs in the ER are made in the US and are of high quality even though the Uberti springs are very good. One should replace either type at least twice as often as the main spring which seems to last quite a while. The most often broken spring or part on a Colt type gun is the hand spring and all Uberti Ps including the ER have a coil spring like a Ruger.

Colorado State Championship

Went to the range and got the shooters packet. Had a nice conversation with Pecos Clyde. We have more in common than I thought.

September 2, 2008

Tuesday

Soot Lords keep telling me to clean my nipples. I got upset until I realized they were talking about the ROA's nipples. I've been cleaning them with an ultrasonic cleaner, but it has its disadvantages. The alternative is to clean them with a wire brush in the cylinder. This gets the outside. Then loosen them 1/2 turn and wire brush again. Then RETIGHTEN the nipples. This doesn't make them pretty and new looking, but they WORK.

But, here's how you clean nipples if you just HAVE to make them look new. First, make or buy a jig that can be put into a vise. I've produced some and will sell them for only $99.95 with FREE SHIPPING.

You mount it in your vise and screw the nipple into it:

Captain Baylor's nipple cleaning jig, only $99.95.  FREE SHIPPING

Captain Baylor's nipple cleaning jig, only $99.95, FREE SHIPPING

Then you clean the dirty nipple with a wire brush:

Using a wire brush to clean a nipple mounted in the jig.

Cleaning the nipple using Captain Baylor's nipple cleaning jig and a wire brush

Cleaned nipple on the left.  Dirty one on the right

Can you tell which nipple was cleaned and which wasn't?

After cleaning, put Never Seize on the threads and reinsert into the cylinder and TIGHTEN.

Clean nipples in ROA

The RMC Nipple Wrench:

You'll remember I totaled one of my old nipple wrenches trying to get a stuck nipple out. The RMC nipple Wrench shown below works. I would prefer a wrench made to higher tolerances. The nipple is 0.175 in. One end of the nipple wrench is 0.183, and the other is 0.189. So I'm looking for a better one. Of course I'll just lose it.

Using the RMC nipple wrench

RMC nipple wrench compared to the wrench I had before.

RMC Nipple Wrench left, stock nipple wrench right.

All of the nipples are cleaned and tightened. The gun cart has been topped up with supplies. If only I could shoot, I'd be ready for the Colorado State Championships.

We went to the range to check out the RV parking. We're on the "upper" parking. It's a sand field near the road and about a third of a mile from the range. If we were to park there I would still be putting the guns into the ML and driving there. It took us both about .00003 milliseconds to decide to stay at the KOA with (kind of expensive) full hookups, and I'll just drive the 4.5 miles to the range. If The Redhead wants to go to the casino, she'll have to drive me there and pick me up.

September 1

Monday

The Redhead went gambling. I went into the shop and made a fool of myself. I have a Taylor's Smoke Wagon for a test for the Cowboy Chronicle.

Normally I don't disassemble guns for tests beyond what's "First Echelon" maintenance. But I had been reading about how different the hammer was from the other Ubertis, particularly the Cimarron Evil Roy.

So first I disassembled an Evil Roy and photographed the hammer and trigger.

Evil Roy Hammer and Trigger, showing some wear after 5,000 rounds

Cimarron Evil Roy hammer and trigger. This gun has been used extensively and shows minor wear on the sides of the hammer. Thinning the hammer ever so slightly prevents this, but the surface case coloring prohibited it.

Then I reassembled the Evil Roy. I disassembled the gun in a big, high sided pan with a magnetic dish in it so I wouldn't lose parts. I still spent time on the floor looking for screws that dropped, but everything got back in correctly. The ER has a Ruger style coil hand spring, and I anticipated it coming out when I took off the grip frame. But there was a small set screw in the channel for the spring, and it was safe.

I didn't want 2 guns disassembled at the same time. For a long time a museum had one of Bill Hickok's Colt Navies, and they knew what the serial number of the other one was because sometime, while cleaning the guns, he got the cylinders mixed up.

Anyway, here's the Taylor's Smoke Wagon hammer and trigger:

Smoke Wagon hammer and trigger, new, unfired

Smoke Wagon hammer and trigger, new, unfired

I discovered that, while the Smoke Wagon has the same Ruger-type coiled hand spring, this particular one didn't have the little set screw. I have another spring on order now. I wasn't planning on shooting the gun before I got back to Albuquerque at least anyway.

It also had a wire bolt spring:

Smoke Wagon bolt spring

Smoke Wagon Wire Bolt Spring

I'm studying the advantages and disadvantages of the Wire Bolt Spring. The obvious advantage is that it won't break, but it will lose strength. I hadn't photographed the Evil Roy bolt spring because I didn't know this was coming. But I have new mainspring and bolt spring ordered from Cimarron. I'll examine it more carefully when I switch them out. Roy said to change springs annually if you ride your guns hard and put them away wet. He said even Rugers. Hmm, the springs on the ROA's are pretty old and still pop caps. Probably won't touch them.