Journal of a Gypsy Cowboy

formerly Curt's Fulltime RV Journal

November 2007

November 30, 2007


Shootout in the Saguaros

Side Match Day

And the rains came. The side matches started at noon. The rain started at noon.

I shot most of the side matches. For a while at least I was in second in fastest rifle, 5.5 seconds for 10 shots on 5 targets, double taps. First was 2.98, but he used smokeless ammo.

Rain increased throughout the afternoon. By the time we finished the 3-stage mini-match, nearly everyone had left. The mini-match had us shooting at rifle targets with the pistol and rifle targets up the hill. Cowtown faces a hill. If you keep targets on the flat, they're close. If you use the hill, they don't have to be. The match doesn't use the hill. This was a THSS style Cowboy Bullseye match. With the rain I had more trouble with smoke than normal.

As I left I saw a guy leading animals 2 by 2 into a big boat.

Continued in the December 2007 RV Journal.

November 29, 2007


Stayed at the park. I worked in the garage, getting ready for this weekend's match. The Redhead worked in the bus, aided by the cats and George.

November 28, 2007


When we asked to extend to Monday, something we couldn't do when we made the reservations, the nice lady said, "okay." Good. We like it here. Didn't want to move.

Long day driving the ML. Went to both casinos in Prescott. At the first The Redhead checked out the 45 table (non-smoking) poker room and got flyers on tournaments this week, then she won $550 on a 25¢ video poker machine in about fifteen minutes. We left and went to the other casino. There she won $60 in about fifteen minutes. Unlike the first, this one smelled like an ash tray. Second hand smoke probably took ten years off my life. This was just a recon run for her. She was done. "Let's go to Dillon." I didn't hesitate agreeing.

Then we went to Dillon Precision, an icon of SASS. Most of us use some of their reloading machines. I have 2 in the shop, along with their primer tube filler, their electronic scale, their brass tumbler, etc. Nice place. I bought all I could. They have Starline Brass, but not .38 Special or .45-70.

Then we went to Wild West Mercantile, where to my shock, The Redhead, who hates shopping, started trying on dresses. She bought 2 with all of the trimmings, shoes, unmentionables, etc. I bought a little, too. The Gold Amex card turned green when swiped.

Heard at the store:

"Why do Wah Maker pants cost more than Frontier Classics?"

"Wah Maker are made in the USA. Frontier Classics aren't."

"Where are they made?"


"Good. I wouldn't buy them if they were made in China. I don't want lead in my pants."

I bought a pair of each, Wah Maker because they're made in the US, and a pair of Frontier Classics because there weren't any Wah Makers in that color. Interestingly I wear size 34 in Frontier Classics and 36 in Wah Maker. All of my SASS trousers are bigger than that and fall off without suspenders. Maybe these won't.

The Redhead, who has never been interested in "Dressing SASS," now plans to dress up for SASS parties, barbecues, and awards dinners. I'm pleasantly stunned.

It should be noted that she will be looking for a new ball gown among the many vendors at the SASS Convention. She doesn't buy such items online. She has to try them on.

The nice lady at Wild West Mercantile knew about Captain Baylor's Ranger Camp and had been recommending it to newcomers :)

Then we checked out 5 RV "resorts" in Mesa. Two were by the sinister "Cal-Am Corporation." All looked TERRIBLE. I wouldn't spend a night in any of them, much less a winter. Cal-Am advertises these ugly, cheap-looking, overcrowded projects as high class RV Resorts. No, Pleasant Harbor is a nice, high class RV Resort.

We'll keep checking when we come through again. Mesa is near Rio Salado range, where I could practice CAS. Of course I could practice at Cowtown, too, or the Tucson Rifle Club in Tucson.

November 27, 2007


We drove to the Pleasant Harbor RV Resort near Cowtown and the Ben Avery Range. Very nice place.

Then we did a recon run of Cowtown. Quickly we determined that this was not the place for a 65 ft., 42,000 lb. rig. We had reserved 2 days at Pleasant Harbor and want to extend till Monday. By the time we got back they were closed (5:15). Tomorrow.

November 26, 2007


Went to Tombstone. Breakfast at Nellie Cashman's Restaurant. We recommend this place HIGHLY. EXCELLENT food. Excellent service. The menu has the story of Nellie Cashman, the "angel of Tombstone." The best story, which may or may not be true, was of a drummer who complained about her food at lunch one day. Doc Holiday pulled a pistol, pointed it at the drummer, and said, "What did you say about the food here?"

"Excellent. Best food I ever tasted."

"That's what I thought you said, said Holiday as he holstered his six-shooter.

Then we took a stagecoach ride around Tombstone. The narrator talked as fast as he could to give the whole story during the ride.

Very good.

We saw sale signs at the Oriental Saloon, a well-known SASS clothing merchant. They've lost their lease and will be relocating to Madame Mustache's. We went in with the intention of buying something. Very difficult. Shopworn merchandise. The hats were unintentionally distressed. Trousers were in size 28, and 44 and above. Thus the sale price became unimportant. The Redhead bought a knit wrap for $5.

We walked around. Once more Tombstone proves the little known fact that cowboys wore mostly T-shirts with silly things written on them.

But the place was a lot more authentic than it was in 2001. Allen Street was closed to motor vehicles, and some dirt was put over the pavement.

Many of the merchants had taken the Curt Rich Successful Selling Seminar and greeted us as we went in.

But, sadly, they had nothing we wanted to buy. The Stetson store had no steam. I've been looking for a hatter with steam since the nice man at Rand Hats put an unwanted curl in my Gus Stetson.

We went into Pangenesis, a store reeking with history. Some of the losers at the gunfight in the alley near the OK Corral bought guns there when theirs were confiscated by the anti-Second Amendment Earps. George S. Patton, Jr., on his way to Mexico in the Mexican Punitive Expedition, bought a Colt SAA, 4-3/4" barrel, nickel plated and engraved, with ivory stocks with GSP on one side and a steer head on the other, and a lanyard loop. He would use this in what might be the last old west gunfight against a Mexican bandit leader, who he killed. He would later wear this in one holster, and a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum in the other, equally ivory stocked, as he led his troops across North Africa and most of Europe.

It's under new ownership, Lefty someone. Apparently after Lefty bought the place he had no money left to buy new stock. One case had several guns that appeared to be Colt SAA's. I didn't ask about them, so I'm not sure. One, an ordinary looking SAA with stocks that appeared to be ivory, was marked $1899, If the stocks were real ivory, this would be in the neighborhood. Then another SAA had a rounded butt grip frame and stocks. It was marked $2699. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Colt did not put rounded butts on any SAA's. They did on their double action pistols, such as those used by Billy the Kid and John Wesley Hardin in his El Paso years. But these looked like the ones Ruger put on some guns for a while. I guess I should have asked for the story about them.

Note to the owner of Spangenberg's: Find out what guns are competitive in SASS. Put some on display at competitive prices. SASS members will buy from you just to be connected to Tombstone history. BUT they won't pay a premium.

Or you can keep the store as it is and go out of business.

I did buy some gunsocks with Spangenberg's logo on them.

We went into several stores. As we have enough T-shirts and didn't want to pay 2X retail for western stuff, we couldn't buy anything.

We'd seen the gunfight reenactment and didn't want to again. Another group was hawking a comedy gunfight. Sorry folks, but among the words that shouldn't be in the same sentence are "comedy" and "gunfight."

I was somewhat interested in the underground mine tour, which wasn't there when we were last there in 2001, but The Redhead wasn't.

We did do the Birdcage Saloon tour. It hasn't changed, but it was still interesting. There was a photo, allegedly of Virgil Earp, John Clum, and Wyatt Earp. Wyatt was wearing a frock coat and a Boss of the Plains like in the movie. None of the photos I'd seen showed that outfit.

At one point they had the Kaloma picture. you might know of it as an alleged semi-nude photo of Josephine Earp. Various versions of it have been retouched, dodged, etc. to show more or less nudity. It was actually a 1914 photo. It was used on the cover of "I Married Wyatt Earp," a phony book by Glenn Boyer purporting to be by Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp. Kaloma became known to my generation when she appeared on a rock concert poster for Vanilla Fudge.

But the Birdcage hadn't changed their caption, which attributed the photo to C. S. Fly and said it was taken in 1880 and kept secret until after his death in 1912. Unfortunately this puts every aspect of their museum in jeopardy. If you find something known to be phony, can you trust any of their displays to be authentic?

But to show that they showed both sides, they were selling, for $15, the May/June 2002 issue of True West, with "Is this Mrs. Wyatt Earp" accompanying the photo on its cover (with the naughty bits covered in text). The accompanying article completely debunks the photo. It also has Jennifer Tilly mimicking the pose, though unfortunately, with her naughty bits covered in the print of a shawl. Kaloma's naughty bits are only covered in airbrushed versions of the original photo.

Eventually we decided that we had enough of Tombstone. We did spend several days there in 2001.

November 25, 2007


Ace La Rue Memorial Championship.

Main Match Day 2

Cold, warming up, clear, beautiful day.

First stage I had 3 misfires with one revolver. There was powder, but the nipples were loose. JEEZ!

Last stage had you staging a rifle vertically on a flimsy fence and placing the shotgun there vertically when done with it. When I picked up the rifle the wall moved (according to RO Solicitor General), and the shotgun slid down. This was either a prop failure or a stage DQ according to SASS rules. But here, as explained at the shooters meeting, this is a 10 second minor safety.

The same thing happened to Arizona Redneck, who was in contention for first overall, which was won by Hell's Coming. The trophies were nice tombstones in stone. A plaque will be mailed with the category and place on it. Thus the club can use leftover trophies. Smart.

Good event. Should be bigger. It looks as though SixPak, Diamond Pak, and Peanut, their daughter were the only workers. SixPak cooked the chicken at the Saturday night barbecue. It was very good. SixPak asked us to put the targets in front of the stages and to police up hulls and wads (cattle eat them). He asked for volunteers to help put them in a truck. Like I say, SixPak's family were the only workers. I don't know how he did it. Trophies were awarded on time, and they didn't take too long. All in all it was well done.

I hope he gets more help for the next event--and more contestants. 57 shot this, some for only one day because of the weather.

When the match was over we moved to Tombstone Territories RV Park, a nice, new park with all 40' x 80' pull through's. We had trouble retracting one jack. I put on tights with a red S on them and pushed it up--with a 12 ton bottle jack.

At the RV Park the dreaded "Exceeds Slope" message came on the HWH Leveling System. We moved and tried again. Same message. The coach was level, so I put the 4th jack down manually.

Margaritas were served at 5.

November 24, 2007


Ace La Rue Memorial Championship

Main Match Day 1

Started with 2 disasters of Biblical proportions.

The front came in last night, bringing rain and near freezing temperatures. Weather was bad at the shooters' meeting and deteriorated with rain and colder temperatures. By the time I was loading for the first stage it was so cold I had lost feeling in my fingers. I blame the catastrophe on this. Unbelievably I LOADED A ROUND BACKWARDS in the magazine of the '73. 9 misses.

Then it really was raining, and the powder flask, unknown to me, was dumping partial loads. One stuck in the barrel. 4 misses. The weekend, if it wasn't over after stage 1, was after stage 2.

THEN they called a rain delay. I adjourned to the shop with a hair dryer and pistols there with 20 gr. of Triple 7, on the theory that if things went to hell and I was not getting full charges, I'd be more likely to get enough to launch a bullet downrange.

Finally we shot. I shot clean for the rest of the day despite:

Both powder measures clogged. I caught it, cleaned out a spout until it worked, and successfully loaded the pistols the rest of the day.

It got COLDER and COLDER. Dressed in the warmest stuff I could come up with, I was freezing. Keeping the hands warm and working was difficult. I had acquired a pair of gloves from the bus during the break along with a heavier coat. Wasn't enough.

I didn't get on the posse with the guys shooting in the teens. These people are all human beings, not alien robots sent to take over the planet. Lots of slow but clean stages, some pretty fast. Few misses.

Good stages. The range isn't very big. Each setup was used for 2 stages, different scenarios.

The evening's barbecue would have been great in warm weather. Good food cooked by the match director. Everyone took theirs back to their respective RVs where there was heat. 41°F, feels like 35, according to the weather gurus.

Forecast for tomorrow 70s. Figures.

November 23, 2007


Ace La Rue Memorial Championship

Side match day.

Cowboy Clays was set for 0830, so I showed up for the aerial target practice/wasting a bunch of shotgun ammo. It never occurred. They had long range single shot and lever action rifles. The one target was at 320 yards and almost invisible to some of the contestants. I couldn't see it at all, so I just helped out. The guy who had painted the target offered to repaint it. I walked out with him. Boy, did he walk fast. I almost had to run to keep up. Bad terrain, cavalry boots with spurs. When we got back I still couldn't see it without a pre-aimed spotting scope. Obviously long range isn't my forté. With the eye/optic nerve problems I've had, I'm just glad I can still play this game and drive the coach under close supervision by The Redhead.

Pistol caliber rifle was next, 120 yards offhand. Couldn't hit it. Not the only one.

Finally they started the 4-stage practice match. I didn't have a good stage. Kept having trouble with shotgun knockdowns. Then I realized while rifle and pistol targets were close, 7 and 15 yds roughly, the shotgun targets were over 10 yards, requiring precision shooting. Been there. Done that.

We were also staging and re-staging long guns in precarious vertical locations,kind of like the Winter Range with all of the stage DQs for dropped weapons. That started a trend toward horizontal staging. The shotgun started sliding down on the first stage. Caught it, at the cost of several seconds. Of course after knocking the shotgun off the table at Comin' Atcha, I'm a bit skittish. Tables were used for some long gun staging. Good stages overall.

Apparently there's an inter-club rivalry going on here, and it cost this club a lot of entrants for this event. Too bad. There seems to be a lot of that all over. I stay out of it. I'm tired of it though. Silly. We're all in the same sport. Get over it people! You're missing the whole point of this sport.

Anyway, you're forgetting the rules:



I can tell you for a fact that when you wake up from cancer surgery you have a clarity of mind despite the anesthetic wearing off, and you know you'll never take anything that's not life-or-death seriously again.

There are some really good shooters here, teens and twenties for times.

Quoted from the SASS Wire:

"Failure is not an option!

It's standard equipment."

Wrangler Jones

November 22, 2007

Thursday, Thanksgiving

Ace La Rue Memorial Championship

Couldn't get the trailer electrics to work. Kept blowing the GFCI. Everything checked out with the meter . Looked for more sockets. Found one in the right front compartment, wired for a freezer. It's not on the inverter, though, so had to keep the generator running, but the trailer works. After discussing this with others, I believe the GFCI has been rode hard and put away wet too many times running the trailer AC off that socket.

We went to the potluck Thanksgiving dinner (2 PM). Worked out well. Nice group. Met several people. Doc Manos was one. Knew him from the SASS Wire.

The $5 folding chairs from Camping World worked fine.

The Redhead commented that this might be our best Thanksgiving ever. Can't argue with that. Beats working.

November 21, 2007


Don Hubbard from Military Order of the Purple Heart called early. He must've just hit the office. I wasn't expecting a call back till next week because of Thanksgiving. He explained that the requirement for the physical was good news. The VA had approved my claim for prostate cancer (an artifact of Agent Orange, to which there's no doubt I was exposed. I'd had skin conditions that now I would attribute to it when I came home from Nam. After that nothing obvious. I was crazy before I went to Nam). A check is making its way to my direct deposit account, delayed by the holiday, probably Monday or Tuesday. That is unbudgeted money. Will be helpful with the massive inflation that's going on now. The gumment says 2.3%, which is what they'll increase SS and VA disability payments on the January check. We all know it's more like 2.3% A MONTH.


See one of the vet organizations service officer. All of them have them, VFW, American Legion, MOPH, others. They can get you through the maze of regulations and procedures the gumment uses as a land mine field to prevent vets from getting anything. I have a college degree and (borderline) genius level IQ, and I wouldn't have made it through the maze to get into the system and get compensation without Don Hubbard of the MOPH. He was a VA exec for 35 years before "going over to the light."

Headed to Tombstone. You probably can't get any more "old west" than a CAS match overlooking Tombstone. Got almost there, still on I10 near the Benson exit, and the Pressure Pro tire pressure monitoring system started beeping. The left rear tire had dropped to 56 lb. I had noticed it was falling. I check the system periodically while driving and noticed it had dropped to 62 shortly after we left a rest area.

Pulled onto a quiet, wide side street in Benson, failing to find a safe spot on the main road.

Examined the tire. Nothing wrong. Further checking revealed the PRESSURE PRO SENSOR had loosened enough that the valve was leaking. All it needed was air.

No problem. There's an air outlet at the front of the coach. I had set up a hose to fit it. It uses a different fitting than you get at Sears. But I hadn't configured the hoses to connect to each other properly to reach the left rear tire on the trailer. Some wrench work fixed that. Then pulled the hose toward the tire and realized it was a couple of feet short. No problem, there's another hose with the little compressor in the trailer. Got that out. Put it in. It had sprung a leak. Went looking in the tool box and found another 25 ft. hose. Put it in the system. Pumped the tire up to 72 lb., about right for a hot tire. It held. We went on to the shooting range overlooking Tombstone. A few RVs were there. Was met by SixPak, the match director, who guided us into a space. As usual, leveling was a problem. Final solution was to drive the right side tires onto 2" x 10" x 24" boards and to put 2 of same under each right side jack. Leveled fine then.

Visited SixPak and DiamondPak in their MH, then invited them to ours for Margaritas.

November 20,2007


The Basement--You'll remember a few days ago I rearranged the basement for weight distribution and access. I took photos:

Passenger side, closest to the front--Mostly .45 Colt ammunition. Those big plastic boxes aren't full, maybe 20 boxes each. Too heavy to carry with much more. The cardboard box is computer stuff. The white stuff is tire covers.

The next one, with full-width sliding compartment. Seldom used tools, often used flag, folding chairs, squeegee, Confederate swords (2, one engraved), 6th wheel/tire for the trailer, etc.

The half-slide compartment has the grille, propane, a dog kennel, etc.

The next compartment has things we use all of the time, the 50 Amp cable for the trailer, the TV cable for the trailer, electrical adapter and extension, 2" x 10" x 24" boards, orange pads, black pads, 12 ton bottle jack, folding step, chocks, more.

The next one has tools

Driver's side, the one opposite the half-width slide (as opposed to half-wit owner), has things we don't need often deep inside. Spare plumbing stuff and the cat carrier are accessible.

The one in front of the plumbing connections has extra white and green hoses, water filter, water softener, electrical extension.


The Water System:

I finally got around to putting the water softener together. It's the big blue cylinder. There's an additional water filter inline first. The water softener uses table salt. We could tell an improvement with the first showers.

Today was a day off, so to speak. I took advantage of the non-travel and cleaned the glass on the bus with "Invisible Glass." which I had picked up on impulse when looking for Rain-X at Pep Boys yesterday. I cleaned the ML glass with it last night and was impressed. After doing the big windshield on the bus I'm more so. I may need a case. After reading the Rain-X instructions (still as hard to put on as it used to be), I put it away for a rainier climate.

The VA (actually a civilian contractor) wants me to go back to Houston for a civilian doctor's evaluation of the prostate cancer situation. They had scheduled it for December 3. I said no. The lady (who sounded like a girl just out of high school on her first job) said I could only put it off 30 days or I'd have to resubmit the claim. I told her December 19 and left a call with MOPH. HELP! I don't want to fly to Houston or drive the coach there.

November 19, 2007


When I was middle-aged and foolish I did a lot of cross-country driving. Texas, being over 800 miles wide, was a lot of it. West Texas was better than the Autobahn for high speed runs. I never exceeded 160 moh and only did one tank at an average over 120 mph. Lots of adventures, sex in roadside parks, hitchhikers with chain saws, 20 years of successful evasion of West Texas revenue collectors, much testing of radar detectors and occasionally jammers (good on X and K, not Ka). Now that I'm an ex-speeder, driving 43,000 lb. as though it carried all I own and love, they raised the speed limit out west for lightweight vehicles to 80 mph. Probably have to do over 90 to even have to worry about a ticket. Figures.

MEMO: Always wear a straw cowboy hat when working around an RV with the slideouts extended. Then when you hit your head (not if), you'll hit the hat first and avoid scars and bouts of unconsciousness.

We drove to Las Cruces. The KOA here is quite nice with concrete runners for parking (too short for us), and a nice view,

The Redhead volunteered to drive, and once she was driving, didn't stop for 2 hours plus. She did well, not hitting anything bigger than a Prius, which doesn't leave marks.

November 18, 2007


Driving from Houston to Lost Wages is a two day trip in a car. In a big RV it's an expedition. Most RVers wisely plan on 200-250 miles/day. Driving the bus takes a lot of concentration. Most of us don't drive 40,000 lb. at high speed. I normally set the cruise at or below 60 mph. In West Texas on I-10's wonderful vistas I've splurged to 65. The fuel economy gauge is permanently selected for viewing, and the economy has been improving, so I felt I could "get away with it."

Typical travel day:

If the ML has been taken out of the trailer, it must be put back in. Both of us are required.

In getting the bus ready to go we have to disconnect and store the sewer hose, water hose (kept quite separate for sanitary reasons). Inside everything must be stowed preparatory to pulling in the slides. Either/both of us can do this. The internet dish must be stored. The cats must be located and put in their travel crate (24" x 36" x 24"). This usually takes us both, aided, of course, by the dog. Then we retract the slides, then disconnect, retract, and store the power cable.

Before starting the engine I do a visual inspection of the engine compartment and check the oil. When the engine is started, the jacks are retracted. This takes several minutes. During this time both of us do an external examination. Each basement door is locked and checked that it's secure. One door has opened twice while we were moving despite this. The engine compartment door has opened in flight, too. Each of us does a visual inspection of the trailer hook up, the hitch, chains, cable, and power cable, etc. I check all 10 tires for new abrasions, scratches, cuts, etc, and I visually inspect the visible tread. The Pressure Pro tire monitor gives me a pressure readout of 9 of the tires (until the 10th sensor is replaced).

The Redhead has a checklist on her computer to keep us from forgetting anything. She also inputs our destination into Co-Pilot and Garmin.

We prefer to make reservations online ahead of time, but some RV parks don't do that. If we don't have reservations, it's my job to make them by phone. How far ahead we're making them varies according to how far ahead we know what the hell we're going to do.

When the engine is warmed up and the HWH panel is all green, both front and rear air bags to spec, then we can move.

No, we can't. George has to be put on his bed on the navigator's seat, and The Redhead has to get settled and belted in. This takes 37 minutes on a good day.

Then I look at my watch, declare "wheels up," release the air brake, and put the Allison into D. This i ALWAYS later than planned.

That's just getting us going. You can understand my thoughts that I should be wearing a 50 mission crush cap and A2 Flight jacket. There should be nose art on the side of the nose with a row of mission counters. The 8th Air Force used bombs. I'll think of something.

While in flight we look for Rest Areas, Picnic Areas, and Parking Areas. Preferably once an hour I need to use the john, do a walk-around inspection, get another Diet Coke, and occasionally take a 800 mg. Motrin. My hip will be hurting by then, or my neck. The latter is because of the poorly located shoulder harness. If you're looking for a motor home, give preference to the ones with the seats with built-in shoulder belts (a Mercedes-Benz invention). Unfortunately that's an expensive seat, so it's usually reserved for expensive MHs. Yes, I'm looking into having one retrofitted. The Redhead, not driving, doesn't have the problem.

Occasionally the dog must be walked.

If we want to eat at a restaurant, much planning must be done. We're pretty much limited to truck stops or SOME Cracker Barrels. We don't do this often. For one thing, truck stop restaurants usually serve 2,000 calories and 150 gr. of fat for a main course. Walking through the smoking section to get to the non-smoking session took 3 years off our lives today.

When we get to the RV park we have to check-in and park, checking for trees that might obstruct one of the satellite dishes. Yesterday we asked for a different space, so we parked twice.

When all is well I turn off the engine, put the switch into ACC, and drop the leveling jacks. Today I did that, and the system told me that the ground slope exceeded the capabilities of the system. So I had to re-park the coach over to the left 2 feet, no easy feat.

Then the power cable is plugged in, and power is turned on. Slides are extended. Water and sewer are hooked up. Then the internet dish is put up, and the satellite TV dish needs to find a satellite. Sometimes this takes 2 minutes. Sometime it takes an hour. Today we gave up after an hour of electronic searching and started watching programs we'd recorded. Then it worked. Beats me. If in-motion dishes don't have this problem, I'm ready to upgrade. Sometimes the internet dish takes a while to lock in as well.

While the dish is searching the stuff that was stowed that is covering the bed has to be put back where it goes (hats, Theodore Roosevelt Bear's picture, various throw pillows, the printer, this week's reading material, etc).

Just when I'm ready to start making Margaritas, The Redhead reminds me of something I've forgotten.

If we're going out, the ML must be removed from the trailer. This doesn't take long, but at least one RV Park character comes over and asks questions about the trailer, the ML, or the shop. Then he tells me his life story and that of his dog.

I've probably forgotten something.

November 17, 2007


Wheels up just after 0900, but spent an hour getting fuel and weighed at the Flying J in Brookshire. I'm sure some trucker can make sense of the following:

When we weighed the coach by itself: front axle 12,880 lb.

Rear axle 20,160

Gross Weight 33,040

Today the scale first weighed the coach and trailer combined as if it was a truck and trailer.

Steer axle 12,460

drive axle 8420

Trailer axle 23,820

Gross Weight 44,700

Then we convinced them to just weigh the trailer. I had to pay for 2 weight certificates.

Gross weight 9,880.

This is below maximum allowable gross weight (a little).

Add 9,880 and 33,040 and you get 42,920.

Fuel tank was full. Grey and black tanks were empty. Propane tanks were full. Fresh water tank had a small amount in it for traveling needs. 2 adults, 1 dog, 2 cats aboard. If max gross for the coach allowable is 34,200, and max towing is 10,000, then 44,200 is total max, leaving us below max.

I don't know what the trailer tongue weight did to the rear axle weight. It looks like the only thing that might be over gross is the rear axle. No way to know without weighing each wheel separately, which I can't do at this type scale.

Then we drove to Kerrville, to the KOA there. MEMO: NEVER, NEVER again take I410 around San Antonio. It's like going through Houston on I10. Take Loop 1604.

At the KOA I had the good sense to look at the trees overhead before settling down, and the nice man gave us another choice of spots. Had to go in backwards and run the power cable and water hose under the coach to plug in. Didn't need sewer for one night.

Barbwire called me back about Shootout at the Saguaros in Phoenix November 30-December 2. She didn't recognize my alias. We've shot on the same posse before. (She's really a nice person, just didn't remember me.) Need to find an RV park in Phoenix area. I've been warned not to take the bus to Cowtown. No problem.

Then SixPak called me back about the Tombstone event. He has a 40 ft. Monaco Knight and camps there, so it should be okay for Camp Baylor. He mentioned a friend of his had a 40 ft coach with a big trailer--Pecos Clyde, the guy who got us into this (well, actually his wife, who convinced The Redhead to do it.) He didn't recognize my alias either. I'm beginning to wonder how many people read my column in The Cowboy Chronicle.

Almost forgot. Drove to Fredericksburg. Got to Texas Jack's at 4:40 to buy a Sharps .45-70, an engraved '66, and a stainless Remington '58 to match the one I won at Comin' Atcha (yes, the royalty check was good this month). They were closed. Damn. I wanted a vest to go with the new frock coat, too. Probably would actually have bought that.

Walked a block on main street. I used to love that. But I've come to the conclusion that Fredericksburg is loaded with stores that sell crap. As The Redhead said, "We've moved on." We've been going to Fredericksburg since the '80s.

But Friedhelms still makes great schnitzel, spaetzle, and strüdel. The no smoking in Fredericksburg restaurants rule opens their great bar to non-smokers, too. I've spent a lot of good times at that bar, CAS shoots, Thunder Ranch class parties, and just drinks with The Redhead.

Decent Margaritas, but from a machine.

November 16, 2007


Had an appointment with the VA. Stopped by medical records first to get the records from the urology clinic that did the surgery sent to the VA. The guy who waited on us was straight out of "MASH". Wore a Hawaiian shirt. Hated Texas. From Detroit. Loved the Redwings. Also loved the motto of Detroit when it was murder capital of the US in the 80s. "Come to Detroit and I'll kill you." Sarcastic. His message taking skills must endear him to his co-workers. I have no idea if we'll ever get my records over to the hospital.

Then I went to the appointment, a bone density scan in nuclear medicine (or as we used to say, unclear medicine). They scanned the left hip and spine. The right hip is the problem and caused by an accident.

Angie from Camping World left a message. The Splendide people want me to bring the coach back in so they can re-diagnose the problem with their tech support involved. We're heading west tomorrow. I didn't call back.

Loaded up on supplies at Wal-Mart, prescriptions, Blue Bell ice cream. Got the mail. Among the things not in the mail, the long-awaited sensor for the right rear trailer wheel for tire pressure monitoring, and the refund check from Ron Hoover for the useless window treatment.

Loaded the ML into the trailer for an early start tomorrow. Left messages at the contact numbers for the Ace Larue Memorial Shoot at Tombstone next weekend and Shootout at the Saguaros next weekend in Cowtown, north of Phoenix. Will try to shoot both on the way to Las Vegas (even though the second event doesn't have Frontiersman. I'll have to shoot Frontier Cartridge Duelist there.) Both events are listed as limited, so I want to make sure I can enter (not too worried, but it has happened elsewhere that late entrants were refused.)

November 15, 2007


From today's email (seen it before, but worth keeping):

 Another History Lesson 20th Century Gun Control History

  Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million
Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated
  The Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20
million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
exterminated 1935
  China established gun control. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political
dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
exterminated 1938
  Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, a total of 13
million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were
rounded up and exterminated 1956
  Cambodia established gun control. From 1975 to 1977, one million
educated people , unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and

  Guatemala established gun control. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan
Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated
  Uganda established gun control. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians,
unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. In the
20th Century, because of gun control, 56 million Defenseless People were
rounded up and exterminated.

More email wisdom:


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay "them."

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop" And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,but   by the moments that take our breath away.


November 14, 2007


Got the wheel and tire from the tire store. $101. Another Chinese tire of a brand I've never heard. Finally found a car wash--of sorts. Better than nothing.

Called the VA. They have an appointment for me for Friday at 1100, a bone density scan at Radiology. That means diverting to Houston on the way west. This is as close as we'll be to Houston for a while, so we'll do it. Called Escapees to send mail to the Brookshire address. We haven't had mail for a while.

Dean from Cargo Mate/Forest River called and said the trailer was ready. We'll pick it up in the morning and head to Houston.

Attempting to find out if Camping World has the part ordered. Several phone calls have resulted in no firm answer. Getting it put in while we're in Houston is unlikely to happen.

I spent a couple of hours rearranging and cleaning out the basement. The front axle was at 13,000 lb. (14,400 lb. capacity) when we weighed the bus. The rear was at 20,165 (20,000 capacity). The intent was to move weight to the front from the back. Thus the right front compartment became the .45 Colt ammunition compartment. The second spare for the trailer goes in the left front of the second compartment, a full-length pull-out. The front left compartment is the propane, nothing we can do about that.

The old computer and screen came out of the front and will be donated to charity--with the hard drive formatted. That saved 30-40 lb. The second compartment got tools and other semi-heavy stuff. The third got the grille and accessories. Not much else I could do weightwise. Empty suitcases and a box of books went in the "middle" area, hard to reach, no slideouts. They won't be needed often.

Usefulnesswise the next compartment houses the "camping" stuff. Curb side: Eight 2" x 10" x 24" leveling blocks.

Four 1' orange plastic pads, used to put under the jacks when on grass or dirt to spread the weight.

4 black pads, used under the trailer jack stand.

2 chocks for the trailer wheels (when disconnected from the bus it has no brakes).

One 12 ton bottle jack with handle for the trailer.

One 50 amp 25 ft. cable for the trailer.

One 30 amp 25 ft. extension cable.

One 50 amp female to 30 amp male adapter.

25 ft. video cable for the trailer TV.

One 30 amp female to 20 amp male adapter.

Driver's aide:

2 50 ft. white water hoses

1 75 yd green garden hose

1 four ft. white water hose

inline water filter with stand

Portable water softener

One 30 amp 25 ft. extension cable

One 50 amp female to 30 amp male adapter

Spare sewer hoses, fittings, and connectors are stored in the driver's side compartment in front of that one. It also houses the cat carrier, which is used for vet visits and thus needed often.

Notes on several months of fulltiming

When I said I was going to retire, several people told me I'd be bored.


Several people said I wouldn't have enough to do.


We're usually going full speed from coffee till Margaritas. I can't get ahead in first echelon bus/trailer maintenance. I can't get ahead in reloading. Can't get ahead in writing, but I'm making the deadlines on the Cowboy Chronicle column without much in the way of problems. Another novel will require considerable changes in lifestyle.

Living in the small space of the bus has proven no particular problem. We're learning packing skills as well as what to throw away better as we go along.


The eye hasn't gotten any better, but it hasn't gotten worse. I can shoot with it. Lousy at night, though.

I had seen an orthopedic surgeon about the ulnar nerve problem, and it proved the adage, "Never ask a barber if you need a haircut." He wanted to cut. I ran like a rabbit. But along the way I encountered several shooters with the same problem. One of them, Stormy Raines, told me of a drug therapy for it. I then went to my internist, and he gave me samples and a prescription for Lyrica. The problem was minimized very quickly. It's still there, but it's down to a minor annoyance with this.

Joint pain problems have been minimized by Celebrex. I was also having lots of foot/leg pain. I've tried a lot of "comfortable" boots to no avail. Now I wear tennis shoes when not shooting and either the old cavalry boots or some calf-high moccasins, and the pain is minimized. The VA is looking into the hip pain, which wasn't anticipated. Sitting in the driver's seat (or the seat in which I write this, among others) becomes quite painful with time. This hasn't been a problem in the ML.

Things I hadn't counted on:

RV parking at events that have RV parking has proven difficult at times. Most have no hookups. Some have 30 amps. Very few have 50 amps. None have enough for most of the contestants. Few have water. This is not a criticism of the clubs putting on the events. Making an RV park is expensive. Most of them aren't level and don't provide level spots. I have eight 2" x 10" x24" boards for leveling at spots that exceed the capabilities of the HWH system. I've been at places that exceed even that. We need an auxiliary step for places that leave the front end elevated in comparison to the ground. We can get in and out, but George S. Patton, Jr. has problems, as do some guests. The bus gets stuck incredibly easily. I'll be very unlikely to put it in a soft place in the future.

Finding a place to stop on trips can be a problem. Even when there are rest areas, we can't get in and out of a lot. But I need to walk around once an hour or so, and, of course bathroom breaks are needed. Sometimes it's a search.

Advanced planning for RV parks is essential. Many can't fit a unit our size. Many are full up. Getting in and out of them has proven surprisingly difficult. They're not designed for big rigs. Trees aren't trimmed. Once we get into spots, we find trees blocking out satellite internet ant TV reception. I figure EVENTUALLY park owners will get the message from complaints, but that won't help us. And we're only going out west. In the east I understand it's worse.

How are we liking it compared to working?

For example, when I was changing the flat on the trailer, dealing with the idiot telling us to move, and contemplating what it would cost, it hit me that "This sure beats working."

November 13, 2007


Called the Cargo Mate factory, which is in Waco, and asked for a recommendation where to get it fixed. I was given the phone number of Guthrie Trailer Sales, 16 miles down the freeway. Called them. They said to bring it.

Noted when cleaning out the inside of the trailer that the tire had punched a hole in the floor. What the @%#! else??!

Not impressed with Guthrie Trailer Sales. The guy who looked at it was, let's just say, what Central Casting would send for a movie about this. Called Edsel at Trailer World. He called the factory. While waiting for the Guthrie owner to come out I took the wheel next door to the tire store there. They have to get a tire, 45 minutes. I told them to get it.

Finally the Guthrie owner came out and said to take it to the factory and see Frank. A nice truck driver who had delivered stuff there said he was going to the factory, and we could follow. We did. Glad we did. Not an easy place to find.

Frank Telley was extremely helpful. He quoted a price for fixing it and explained what it needed. ($538). He offered to add another stock wheel. The spare is grey steel. The road wheels are 5-spoke alloys. $170 for wheel AND tire. I jumped at it. We'll have 2 spares. I'll deal with it. Due out Thursday afternoon by 4.

Put the bus in a space with no trees, got the DirecTV and satellite internet working, got groceries, had Margaritas.

November 12, 2007


Veterans Day (Observed)

For most of my civilian career I've had to work on Veterans' Day. Now that I'm retired I do what I want to. This Veterans Day I joined other veterans and shot a CAS match at Oakwood.

Then we moved the bus, heading to Waco for the night. Within 15 miles of the destination another car pulled us over. The one tire not protected by the Pressure Pro tire monitoring system (because that sensor failed, and, as of yet, I have not received a replacement) failed. Since we couldn't see it, the tire disintegrated, damaging the inside wheel well. I changed it on the side of the feeder road, using the bottle jack I'd gotten. No big problem to change. One idiot did come along on the grass side and say, "That's not really a safe place to park."

"I'll move it when I'm done changing the tire," said the man with the tire tool in his hand.

"Those cars come off the freeway pretty fast, and they're comin' from the feeder road."

"I'll move it as soon as I'm done changing the tire!"

"I was just trying to help," said the idiot as he drove away, feelings hurt.

Trying to help would be, "Here, I have an air wrench and a compressor in the truck. Let me help." Jeez!

The nice young girl at the RV park parked us under a tree. No DirecTV.

November 11, 2007


I drove to Oakwood for their Sunday match. Gene took his coach and parked there. Shot Frontier Cartridge Duelist, tired of loading percussion pistols. Lots of fun. The Evil Roy pistols are a delight to shoot, light and accurate.

November 10, 2007


Defend Old Fort Parker

Buffy Logal shot through on Saturday dressed as above. This made the job of unloading table monitor more fun than normal. The guy with he is just some guy who wanted in the photo.

Shot 4 more stages. Everyone in Frontiersman seemed to have at least one disaster of biblical proportions except, of course, Bad Gene Poole. Omaha John, who looks at results, said I was ahead of him at the start of the day. More fun stages. Good posse (4 Frontiersmen, Bad Gene Poole, Omaha John, Cowtown Scout, and me) didn't slow anything down and added to the fun. (Top 4 were the above in that order. 2, 3, and 4 were very close together in the results)

The awards party was at an old fashioned honky tonk. The Redhead brought a large bottle of pre-mixed Margaritas, and we paid for ice. She even had cups with salt. She was very popular.

First overall was a Buckaroo, Justin Parker, who has quite a future in SASS until he discovers girls.

Omaha John

Handlebar Bob

Bad Gene Poole dominated Frontiersman as usual

Does he really shoot in those things? Yes. Badly.

Ringo Fire horning in on a photo of Hey You

Buffy Logal, Ringo's better half

Omaha John and wife Patty won Best Dressed Cattle Baron and Best Dressed Cattle Baroness

November 9, 2007


Defend Old Fort Parker

Capt. Baylor and Handlebar Bob add color to an otherwise dull posse ;)

Shot 6 stages. Had a bad round in the first pistol on stage 1, 3 misses due to that, 2 more due to failure to aim the rifle. That should do it. Strong field. Didn't get a really good stage. Some 5-10 second glitch on every one. But a lot of fun. The stages should be a model to other clubs, big, close targets, simple shooting order, enough movement to be interesting but not give heart attacks.

November 8, 2007


Defend Old Fort Parker

This is an annual match that's been successful without being a state match/regional, etc. It drew 125 this year.

Side Match Day

Shot fastest rifle and shotgun. Did 10 targets on the rifle in 6.52. Sounds good until you realize one of the kids did it in 3 something. Shot Plainsman. Wildly different from Comin' Atcha. The bays don't allow long range targets, and the normal targets are set up close and big. Noah Gonatellya set up the 4 stages of Plainsman the same way. Some of the contestants had REALLY light rifle loads. But it should be said that the winner, Reverend Trinity, used stock Goex .45-70 rounds. Shooting fast was the key. Easy targets. I shot it clean, but, of course, not competitive with the fast shooters. Lots of fun.

Had a bunch over for Margaritas. Great.

November 7, 2007


Went to Fort Parker and got settled. Omaha John and Bad Gene Poole arrived. We all went to a Mexican restaurant in Mexia. Mexia is semi-dry, so we were forced to violate the state law against eating Mexican food without drinking a Margarita.

November 6. 2007


Loaded .45-70 until I ran out of bullets. Then cleaned up the trailer and got it ready to travel. Had scheduled with a mobile RV wash guy to get the bus washed. He kept putting it off. Apparently he got tied up in his previous call. Now it's scheduled for tomorrow at 0800.

Took the bus to Camping World. They diagnosed the problem as a burned out heating element and ordered another. Warranty, no argument. Nice people. Angie, the service advisor is a cute redhead. That helps. Jarrod, the technician seems like a nice kid. Don't know when the part'll be here. As a result we still don't know what we'll do next week.

Back at the park, Margaritas by 5:30.

November 5, 2007


From today's EMail:

Made the long trip to Carter Country for a hand primer and more decapping pins. Stopped at Camping World to get a water softener. While there I noted they sell Splendide, the brand of washer-dryer we're having trouble with. I asked service if they could look at ours--tomorrow at 3 PM.

Primed all of the remaining new .45-70 cases. Learned that the stem on the decapper/resizer is bent. Got the universal decapper and decapped the fired cases. Couldn't do more. The Redhead dragged me to the vet. Emerald has problems. She's 12, but I was hoping she would make 20.

Also from today's email:

1- Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.  

2- If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

3- I carry a gun, 'cause a cop is too heavy.

4- America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the mall.

5- When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

6- A reporter did a human interest piece on the Texas Rangers. The reporter recognized the Colt Model 1911 the Ranger was carrying and asked him "Why do you carry a .45?".  The Ranger responded with, "Because they don't make a .46."  (My philosophy since 1967)

7- An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

8- The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. "Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?" "No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my rifle."

9- Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it!

November 3-4, 2007


Went to the Tejas Pistoleros range for practice both days, their organized practice days. A few people were there Saturday, but Sunday I was by myself. Their rules require a board member there for practice. I realized Jake Cutter and Laurie Darlin weren't practicing, just sitting around for me to finish, so I packed up and left.

The targets are so far away that some practice is minimally effective. Most clubs have targets 3-5 yards closer for shotgun and pistol and 5-10 yards closer for rifle. I slow fired at some shotgun knockdowns with the loads I used all over the country with great success, nothing. Winchester Featherlites, nothing. I have a rule: Since many old people, women, and children can only use Featherlites, if the target won't fall with a solid hit from Featherlites, it's set too damn hard--or, in this case, too far away.

Sunday Jake and I moved one stage in to reasonable distances, about the same as Oakwood (which has never been accused of putting targets too close). I practiced there. Much more useful. I did note that even at that my full-charge 158 gr. loads were iffy at taking the plates on the plate rack down. But then we didn't adjust the rack like we would expect the match director to do before a match.

I was able to sight in the .45-70. Joe Brisco had put on a new bead front sight at my request, and put in a dovetail for the rear to give me a choice of rear sights. We tried an express rear sight he likes. The sight was on at 25 yards, required a 6 o'clock hold at 40 yards. sounds good to me. On for windage. Only fired 6 rounds as a result (in case I don't get to load any more before next weekend, I'm hoarding what I have.)

November 2, 2007


Loading .45-70 rounds, I broke the primer seating mechanism and the decapping pin on the Turret Press. RCBS is closed on Friday, so I can't order any parts.
"Never argue with an idiot; they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ~ anonymous

November 1, 2007


This morning we drove to Texas 6 and Clay road for a state inspection for the bus.

Did it after 10 AM to avoid the traffic. $14.50. On the way we stopped at the Flying J and got the bus weighed. 13,000 on the front, 20,165 on the rear. This puts us 1000 lb. under gross, but 165 over for the rear axle. Hard to figure that out. I'll be re-arranging the stuff in the basement Monday or Tuesday, moving everything heavy to the front, but there's not that much heavy per se, just a lot of stuff.

Then we picked up the trailer at Trailer World, $957. Good work, no complaints. When I started my mistakes cost $880. Now they're over $950. Inflation I suppose, maybe the high cost of crude oil.

I have a cold, so I took the rest of the day off. The Redhead and George don't have such an excuse, but they did, too.