To all my Democrat friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes
for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive,
gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within
the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice,
or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular
persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice
religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful,
personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset
of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, but not without due respect
for the calendars of choice
of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America
great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other
country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere
. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age,
physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To all my Republican friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
December 31, 2008
Thought for the day:
Adventures with UPS
Called both phone numbers for Wes Flowers. Got his wife. She gave me the tracking number for the package with 2 ROAs in it. Came up DELIVERED. Went into DETAILS and was told it was left at CARPORT.
We don't have a carport. Various calls to UPS were fruitless. Went to the office. The nice lady there has contacts with the local UPS office. Called one. CARPORT is UPS Code/foreign language for TRAILER HITCH.
That still didn't make much sense, but I went back to the bus. The package was sitting on the trailer's A-Frame just aft of the trailer hitch.
Resumed getting ready to move the bus. Took the name tags, mail box key, and gate remote back and got our refund for same. Did a recon run to figure out how to get the bus onto the freeway with all of the construction centering on our area of I17.
CoPilot had us going through a barricade. Route choice 1 had us turning left onto I17 at Deer Valley. Construction made that nearly impossible, if not completely impossible.
Route choice 2, going north on 35th Ave and turning onto 101East then north on I17 didn't work. Another 101 route, getting on at 51st Ave resulted in a hairy merge onto I17. Finally went north on 35th, right on Pinnacle Peak, and north onto I17. We spent more time doing recon runs than the trip took once we got out of the park.
Went to Pioneer RV Park where Linda had promised us a warm welcome and a monthly rate on a pull through site. They were closed, but she had told me which site to park at. Parked at it, dropped jacks to level "Excess Slope", said the HWH board. Raised jacks. The narrow site didn't seem to have any area that was a different slope, not one we could use. I put a 2"x10"x24" board under each rear jack. The bus leveled fine then
Then I went to raise the door to get to the plumbing. Too close to a concrete-filled iron post designed to keep us away from the electrical pedestal and water faucet. Pulled jacks up, moved bus forward about a foot. Adjusted boards, etc. Dropped jacks. Attached plumbing. Put slides out. Did all of the other things needed.
Took the rest of the day off.
Happy New Year All.
December 30, 2008
Met Larsen E. Pettifogger at Cowtown to shoot his SKB with my loads. It worked about 95% with 36 gr. APP 2f loads, about 5% with 45 gr. APP Jim Shockey's Gold 2f(!?! 100% with 36 gr. Cowboy loads. After the practice session we had lunch at Red Robin and went to his workshop to put a similar spring into my shotgun. The stock spring, cut to the limit, had no preload. The replacement was a thinner wire cut longer to give a little preload. Reassemble. Test for barrel switching by hitting the butt with hand. Disassemble. Remove another coil or so. Reassemble. You get the picture. He got it to a point where it needs live fire testing.
Worked in the garage getting it ready to travel to Pioneer tomorrow.
The ROAs didn't arrive. Wes Flowers didn't answer his phone. I don't have the tracking number. We're leaving tomorrow. Hmm.
December 29, 2008
Took 650 Case Feeder to Dillon. Bought the kit to hold up the case feeding tube when not using the case feeder because they told me it would be two weeks before they got the case feeder fixed. Bought other stuff. Had a hard time getting some things warranted. The lady wanted the old parts. I've been using Dillon stuff since the 550 came out and never had to bring the old part in. Finally got the parts. Paid for some others. I'm trying to set up 3 tool heads with 3 pre-adjusted Powder measures, one for .38, one for .45 ACP, one for .45 Colt. I've settled on WW231/HP38 for the .45 ACP, Trail Boss for the .45 Colt, 15 gr./vol. for the .38s. Adjustments will be needed when I can't find the powder of choice, a possibility that doesn't seem to be getting better. Got Trail Boss, but couldn't get any more HP38 or WW231.
Got back to the bus and began loading .45 Colt using the case dispenser tube and brace. Then the decapper pushed a primer down crookedly, punctured it, and left the bits sticking down. When I tried to lower the shell plate, which rotated it, the plastic ring indexer broke in half. This is always a Oh @$!^~$%^&*! moment because it means just about completely disassembling the machine, then realigning the shell plate and primer feed, using the alignment tools for each. But that's not the hard part. Putting on the index return spring is the PITA. You thread a thread or string through one end, hook the other end to the post hanging from the platform, then run it around the shaft to the post hanging down from the ring indexer.
That's when I realized that the ring indexer in the spare parts bin was missing the delicate little post. I found another, equally bereft. Finally I found a third one, complete. So I put it on, aligned, etc. and went to putting on the spring. Spring one flies to parts unknown in the trailer. The thread breaks on spring 2. Then again. Spring 2 goes sproing. Search for spring 2. Find same. Get it almost installed about 34 times before finally getting it going. Reassemble machine. Start loading. More adjusting. Start loading. More adjusting. Start loading. Loading goes quickly and smoothly except for stopping to put in more cases every couple of minutes. By then it's an hour past Margarita time.
Wes Flowers called saying the ROAs were en route and would get here tomorrow.
December 28, 2008
Took day off.
December 27, 2008
Worked in the garage. Definitely need a few more bits so that I don't have to readjust anything to switch calibers.
December 26, 2008
Practiced at Cowtown. I went to clean one of the Evil Roy pistols and noted that the bolt screw was missing. Time to switch to the Wild Bunch guns. Worked on mag changes. Went from 3.5 seconds to 1.8 with one pinched palm along the way (damn no basepad rule!!!). I loaded one round in each magazine. Drew, chambered a round, and fired-1.3, reload and fire, 1.8. I remember doing this drill in 1.5 seconds when younger (and 1 second draws from condition 1), but we didn't shoot to slide lock in IPSC, at least not intentionally. It's probably another .2 for dropping the slide, so the rest is due to old age and decay.
Things were aided by a little work done yesterday. I was dry-firing the gun, doing one shot draws from condition 3, as is required in Wild Bunch matches, and decided that I'd try a lighter recoil spring. 16 lb. is GI stock. 18.5 is appropriate for a self-defense gun loaded with hot hollow points. I replaced the recoil spring, which was 18.5 lb., with a 16 lb. Wilson spring, the lightest remaining from my IPSC days, and the stock magazine release spring with an Ed Brown competition mag release spring. This is NOT something you want to do if you are using the gun for self-defense. Having your magazine fall out inadvertently during a gunfight can ruin your whole day. Both draw times and reload times went down almost immediately.
Made reservations to return to Pioneer RV Park on New Years Eve.
December 25, 2008
George S. Patton, Jr. tries to open his present.
Having trouble with the over-wrapped present, George gave up and grabbed a napkin instead. He played with bows from gifts more than he did with his present
Merry Christmas to all
And to those In Harms Way on a Holiday you'd rather be home with your loved ones, may God bring you home safe and sound and soon.
It seems like every Christmas I think about Christmases past in far away places under less than desirable circumstances. It does give me a perspective that might be useful to those of you in that situation today.
No matter how you're treated when you come home, ten or twenty or thirty years from now when men find out where you were this Christmas, if they didn't serve, they will be making excuses for not being man enough to serve their country in a time of war. If they did serve in another war, another time, they understand how you feel today, They felt that way on other Christmases in other far away, lonely, and dangerous places. This is a common bond for all warriors, all citizen-soldiers, all veterans. It's a bond that ill never be understood or experienced by the protected. Be careful, do good, and come home.
For those who fight for it,
Life has a flavor the protected
will never know.
December 24, 2008
Saw the movie Australia. Magnificent movie. Outstanding acting, especially Brian Brown. Hugh Jackman did a fantastic job as the male lead (and, pretty obviously, worked out for months and months for one scene.) The movie is part western, part love story, part war movie, with a lot of fantastic scenery. I read a review by an Australian who thought it was condescending to Australia because it showed pub scenes, but, not being Australian, I didn't care. And yes, Nicole Kidman did a great job and looked properly British upper crust until she made the conversion to being a strong Australian woman. I've always liked strong women, especially redheads.
They wanted to make Gone With the Wind for Australia. I'm not enough of either an expert in Australia or a movie critic to know if they made it or not. They did in my book. I'm kind of like the cliché: "I don't know art, but I know what I like."
Linda at Pioneer RV Park called and gave a long story giving credit to the manager for going to the owners to make amends for running off a good customer. Bottom line, if we come back, they'll let us stay at a pull-through, where trailers are allowed behind motor homes, at a monthly rate. Since that's about half of what Desert Shadows costs, and it's much closer to Ben Avery, Cowtown, and the Anthem Fry's grocery store, so we'll probably go for it when our prepaid time here expires at the end of the month.
December 23, 2008
More work in the garage, mostly loading .45 ACP. Finished with the cases on hand, including the ones shot yesterday. Found a few .45 Colt cases and will do them tomorrow. Called Dillon about a problem, and "Dave" wanted me to bring the machine to Dillon. Probably will as soon as I get enough .38s to last through January. I need to load some 12 ga. Running out of the stuff that'll work with the SKB. I'll practice with the Bounty Hunter or the CC hammer gun to use the light stuff.
Speaking of shotgun ammo, tried Estate 12 ga. yesterday with the '97 and with the SKB. Worked fine. I'll get a case for practice and for WB usage. Hulls aren't reloadable, but I can buy a lot of STS hulls for the difference in price between Estate and STS. The Estates do smell funny, though. Well, not hilarious, just enough to draw a giggle.
December 22, 2008
Desert Shadows RV "Resort"
This is one row of pull-throughs. Most of the spaces house "Park Models."
Our rig at Desert Shadows. It pretty much takes up the long pull-through space, and required negotiation to stay there, but...
Once we paved the way for coach-trailer combinations, a REALLY big rig parked near us. Tag axle coach (2 slides), 3-axle trailer that's taller than the coach! A BMW X-5 came out of the trailer. Don't know what else is in there. Haven't been able to talk to the owners. They're gone a lot.
Yesterday I took the '97 apart. It's a takedown model. Couldn't get it back together. Called Squibber, a renowned '97 gunsmith. Lazy bum wasn't working on the Sunday before Christmas. Jeez! Found instructions on Marauder's site. Got everything back together today. Decided to take the Wild Bunch guns to Cowtown for a practice session.
Started with a 24 round stage, and did it cold in 24+ Did it again in 23+. Then started working on individual weapons and known problems. Got the mag change, shot to shot, down to 2+ seconds, and first shot draw, chamber a round, and shoot to 1.3+. Worked on the shotgun. Was using STS Light Target. Most times in the 3-4 second range. Tried Featherlites and got 2.98. I know, I know, there are guys who can do this with unloaded '97s. They probably can do 4 in under 2 with a loaded gun to start with.
The rifle didn't get much practice. It's pretty much like shooting the .38 '73 except a little recoil. I concentrated on the other 2 guns.
Finally rain was approaching, so I did a stage to see how much I improved. 27+.
I'm shooting Traditional, meaning one-handed with the 1911. That's taking some practice. I try to use both hands. Force of many years of practice.
December 21, 2008
Breakfast at a Black Bear Diner
Worked in the garage. Nothing exciting.
December 20, 2008
Eight out of 10 voices in my head say "Don't Shoot"
Cowtown Cowboy Shooters, LLC Match
4 posses showed up the Saturday before Christmas in 41° weather--at least hear it was 41. At Cowtown it was 31°F. Had a cap jam on stage 2 that absolutely locked up the gun worse than I've ever seen. Took a while to get it loose at the unloading table. No good stages. Had one going in the 20s and the last pistol shot was "early," to the point that if it'd been a bit earlier it would have been over the berm. Slowed for smoke several times.
Lunch with Larsen E. Pettifogger and Dan Diamond. Went to the RV park and picked up The Redhead. I think she would have preferred to stay in the RV and play poker.
Considered going to the Payson match tomorrow until Mapquest told me it was about 95 miles. Too tired for that, mainly the drive back.
My Texas Concealed Handgun License arrived in today's mail. The old one had expired in October, so I've been naked.
December 19, 2008
Covering Jack Houston's Butt
Jack Houston just acquired a '73 done by Cowboys and Indians Store. He thought it was awfully pretty to be throwing around (been there, done that. A new '73 is an awfully pretty rifle, and after a year of competition it looks like a Ranger kept it over the saddle horn for the same amount of time--or used it as a hammer)
So he made a butt cover that covered as much of the stock as possible
Jack didn't like the curved butt, so he fattened it up by building it up with leather inside the butt cover to a flat profile. This is a popular way to turn a curved rifle butt into a straight shotgun butt. I finally got used to the curved butt on mine and don't want to lengthen the pull any. Might try it since this is undoable (just take the butt cover off)
He could probably make you one. Email Jack Houston at LoneRider Leather
Took the ML to the nearest Discount Tire dealer. One of the run-flat Michelins was losing 4 lb. a day. The built-in tire pressure monitor had warned us. They had it done in a few minutes, no charge. First puncture I've had in a long time that was in the tread and repairable.
I had made up 500 rounds of match grade .45 Colt to book specs of 1.60" OAL. They locked up the Winchester '73, but they worked in the Marlin. So today I adjusted the seater to make rounds 1.57" OAL and ran the remaining rounds through the seater and crimp er. Tested some in the '73. Smooth as silk.
December 18, 2008
REPLACING THE ANODE ON THE WATER HEATER
Replaced the anode in the water heater. Looked up instructions for doing so in the owner's paperwork and Trailer Life's RV Repair & Maintenance Manual. Nothing on how to do it. Lots on how important it is to change. Decided if they didn't bother with instructions, I could figure it out.
Spent half an hour finding a socket that would fit. It's a 1" socket. Most of my sets stop at 7/8". Just when I was about to head for Sears I found a 27 mm impact socket, 1/2" drive. I used the 18 V De Walt impact wrench to get the old anode out.
Turn off power and water
First I flipped the 15 amp circuit breaker for the water heater to off. Then I turned off water pressure and let pressure out of the hose. Then I loosened the anode and sprayed my cap, face, shirt, and jacket with warm water laced with whatever fills up the bottom of the water heater. I let a considerable amount of water come out, noting that it was clean and clear pretty soon. The anode was about 70-80% used up, which is when they tell us to change the anodes. I was just lucky in that respect, not knowing how long it takes to use it up. Then, using plumber's teflon tape wrapped around the threads of the new anode, I inserted it using a 1/2" drive ratchet wrench. Then I re-pressurized, turned the heater on, and checked frequently for leaks out of it. Oh, I also cleaned out the heater compartment.
Then I changed clothes and handed the shirt and jacket to The Redhead for cleaning and cleaned off the cap myself. Had worn my coveted EOT cap. Will wear other caps for future maintenance work.
As jobs go it's definitely "Echelon 1" maintenance, meaning owner/operator. If you're handy enough to live in an RV you can do it.
The ML had been telling me a brake light was out for some time. It was a secondary light. The primary one on that side was working, so I wasn't in a hurry. MB warranties light bulbs, so I just went to the nearest MB dealer, Schumacher in Scottsdale, a relatively new store on automobile Row. They changed the bulb in considerably less time than it would have taken me to remove the old bulb, take it to a nearby auto parts store that might or might not have it (Mercedes has been known to use bulbs that aren't common in the past), and then install it.
Went to Cabelas. HUGE store. They have a wildlife museum, an area with children's games to keep the ankle biters busy, a restaurant, an huge departments for everything.
The firearms department was crowded. They had a separate checkout line for gun purchases, and the gun salesmen had a number system. Powder and primers if available, are behind the counter, and I wasn't going to take a !$%~~@! number and wait for the poor, overwhelmed salesmen to get to me only to find out they don't have !!*!$#!*@! Trail Boss.
There were 11 people in the firearms checkout line 4473s in hand.
.457 Hornady Round Balls were $13.99. When I find something like this I'm usually so insulted that I won't buy anything from the store. That was the case this time. I'm not desperate for round balls, so I'll wait until new stock comes in somewhere. Lead prices are down, but bullet dealers are selling stuff bought in the summer. Either that or Hornady is gouging us. I'll bet on the former.
S and S Casting
Speaking of bullets 2,000 200 gr. LRNFP came in Priority Mail from S N S Casting, the winners in the online price search I did last week. They were a couple of dollars over HALF of local prices--including $13.95 postage. Of course, local prices are moot as they don't have any. I had tested their bullets in the .38 Special Ammo test earlier and didn't find any difference between them and the high priced spread.
Amazingly The Redhead made me go get them from the office. Even more amazingly they wouldn't bring them to the bus! Can you imagine? 2000 200 gr. bullets only weigh 57 lb., not counting packing material.
The plan is to load up all of the .45 Colt and .45 ACP brass I have and then not to have to load .45s anymore this year.
December 17, 2008
My name is George, and I'm a hataholic. The bedroom now can hold 13 hats
Still raining in the AM. Worked in the garage. Every gun I've shot recently is now squeaky clean and lightly oiled.
Added a 3-hat hat rack to the bedroom. It dismantles so the slide can come in. New D Bar J top hat over TV. Ordered two hats at the convention. Stop me before I hat again.
Went across town to, oh my God, a mall. Took The Redhead's Rolex to a Rolex repairman at a jewelry store.
December 16, 2008
Went to the nearest FedEx/Kinkos and got a big box and packing materials. Put 2 ROAs in, well packed, printed label, put in pouch, returned to FedEx, got a receipt. Left package. Got back to the bus and opened email telling me where the package is. Boy, working with FedEx is tough!
Anyway, the guns went back to Wes. My suspicions are that a slightly heaver spring will solve the problem.
This photo arrived in the email from one of my clandestine sources. It purports to be the chief of a KGB sleeper cell imbedded in Texas in the '60s and still awaiting the activation signal. (Yes, the face has been blurred)
Either that or it's another gun nut with camo and an ugly rifle that scares the hell out of liberals and other sheep people ;)
December 15, 2008
Mo' Lasses sent a couple of pictures from the SASS Convention Ball:
The lovely Redhead in full Cinderella mode
Some invisible guy and The Redhead at the Ball
Really Bad Phone Call
The publisher called. The Riviera Business Center strikes again. 29 out of 40 books arrived, repackaged, vandalized and destroyed. The publisher is pursuing a claim with FedEx. I'm trying, through SASS, to find out who to talk to at the Business Center who is over the manager who called The Redhead a liar and was worse than unhelpful. I know we won't get anything out of her.
Worked in the garage. It's cold and wet. The #2 Codymatic locked up yesterday with a round in the carrier that was well in the clutches of the extractor and wouldn't chamber (round did not go through station 5 somehow. Had a bell instead of a crimp.) This is why we don't compete with practice ammunition. Spent 2 hours disassembling the gun almost completely, removing the round, and reassembling. To get the bolt out you have to take almost everything else out, including the hammer/trigger group. Lost the firing pin spring in the process. This is why I have a lot of spares.
The innards weren't overdue for a good cleaning, but they benefited from it. Everything's clean and well lubed now.
Got the ROAs with the problem ready for shipping back to West Fargo. I presume he just needs a slightly strong hammer spring in each one. The spring that's in the ROA is usually the lightest that'll pop caps. Every ROA shooter has tried lighter springs. West has a progressive spring he developed. It worked fine on Shakey Shooter's ROAs. They'll go back tomorrow.
December 14, 2008
Evil Roy Video Series #5, Wild Bunch
At the convention ER gave me a copy of the latest video to review for The Cowboy Chronicle. Happy Jack, who produced it, had promised me one. I watched it this morning. If you're going to shoot Wild Bunch, I heartily recommend it.
Filmed at the Gunsmoke Range at Happy Jack Mine, it is a straightforward introduction to the Wild Bunch category, from clothes to guns to leather. All of your Wild Bunch questions should be answered. Then Holy Terror teaches each of the weapons individually, with particular attention to malfunction clearance. Redwing Trading's Screw knife is prominently featured.
I would also recommend it for anyone who teaches women shooters who think they can't rack the slide of the 1911. Holy Terror demonstrates the method the Israelis teach their CCW holders, who, by law, must carry in condition 3 (magazine in the gun, empty chamber, hammer down). It takes considerably less muscle than the normal method of pulling the slide back. Hold the slide with the weak hand and punch the gun forward. This uses bigger, stronger muscles than pulling the slide back.
Anyone ROing a Wild Bunch match can familiarize himself with the basic rules and the manual of arms for each of the weapons as used in Wild Bunch matches in less than an hour. I've been at some of the first WB matches shot using the EOT rules, and there was a learning curve for many of the ROs and the contestants. Having shot a 1911 since 1967 and receiving considerable training in it, I take familiarity with it for granted, but it is not common for most people. Holy Terror condenses the first 2 days at Gunsite or Thunder Ranch into a few minutes. If you don't know the 1911 intimately, rewind and watch her over and over until you "get" it.
I did laugh when she showed picking up, levering, and firing a '73 "in slow motion." Her slow motion is pretty quick for most shooters.
Like the other ER videos, it is no frills and with little wasted time. Additionally, watch the closing credits. I didn't know ER had his own theme music. Maybe he should have a boom box playing it when he shoots.
Went to Cowtown to practice. Saw Gil T. Azell and Squibber (and someone whose alias I forgot). Talked of many things.
Then shot the ROAs about 10 stages worth. Many failures to fire first time. Pulled out the other ROAs and fired them. No problems. Left a message on Wes's phone when I got back to the bus.
December 13, 2008
Went to the ACSA monthly match at Ben Avery. 90+ shooters! Posse 4 was nearly all Black Powder shooters. Shooting Frontiersman was like shooting it in a Regional with enough Frontiersmen to make a category at any big match in the company--in one posse!
And every one of them shot very fast!
Larsen E. Pettifogger, who usually wins whatever he shoots, brought 2 very short barreled SAA's, 3" or so. He couldn't hit anything with them, so he didn't win FCD. 26 misses. I had 3 caps fail to fire the first time around. Not good. Made me think that Wes put too light springs in the guns.
Had lunch en masse at the Olive Garden on Happy Valley Rd. The waiters had a tough time.
December 12, 2008
Called Escapees and gave them the new temporary address. Called the VA and gave them the new temporary address. (If I don't do this, they send me to Houston to see a civilian doctor for "evaluation.") Called the publisher of Common Valor and gave them the phone # of the Riviera business center to find the books. It turns out that the Business Center had the books until December 9th and sent them back to the publisher then--AFTER THE CONVENTION!!! This is definitely a @$!^^~@#$! moment, but not unexpected.
Unpacked the trailer and put the appropriate guns into the car for tomorrow's ACSA match at Ben Avery. Since I haven't shot the guns that Wes Flowers worked on, I went to Cowtown to test fire them.
December 11, 2008
The Ordeal ends?
Went to talk to the office this morning and tell them we'd moved to a pull-through. They had to send someone to inspect the rig (yes, this park, good looking as it is, has some old RV's that don't look like they came out of the showroom yesterday, but newcomers have to pass inspection. They're very subtle about it. "What year is your coach?" "What is in your trailer?"). The inspector told us we would have to move the bus 2 feet. This would necessitate our buying a 50 amp extension cord, something I've managed to not need in a year and a half. Then the nice lady had to call the owner to make sure it would be okay to park us in a pull through for 2-3 months. (There are a lot of empty sites in this park.) We went to breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel.
A nice man from the park called and told us we were approved and to see them when we got back. We bought a 50 amp extension cord at an RV storage lot/parts and service store 15 minutes away. Got back, swapped keys, paperwork, rent. Went to bus and got it ready to move. Then we moved it 2 feet and dropped jacks. Nope. Now we're parking on the down slope. The front wheels are so much lower than the rears the leveling system couldn't level. Went to the office. Got a list of other pull through's that were more level. Well, not much. Moved to one. Put 2" x 10" x 24" blocks under the front jack stands. It leveled, barely. Watch that first step. It's a long one. (I put up the portable step we have for such situations.)
Didn't need the 50 Amp extension cord ($160 + tax). Did need 35 feet of sewer hose. Hooked up everything. Opened slides. Let the poor cat out of the crate. Worked on this. Rather tired. Saw visions of Chip Jordan in my sleep last night. Waiting for him to pound on the door and demand we move again.
Margaritas were a bit late.
December 10, 2008
The Ordeal, Day 1
Just as I sat down to work on updating the journal, I got a call from Chip Jordan, Chip as in on his shoulder. He's the "general manager" of the park. He told me I would have to disconnect the trailer and move it to storage or leave the park. Now Pioneer RV Park is where I spent last winter, some months in a pay-by-the-month back in site, just like the one I reserved over a month ago specifically requesting a site for a coach with attached trailer, and moved into yesterday. I explained that. HE DENIED IT. Didn't happen. Now the Pull through sites allow trailers, of course. But they're rented by the week. No problem, I'll just pay by the week. It'll cost more, but if that's what it'll take.. No, they only rent them by the week and make you move every two weeks. That's right. If you want to stay the winter at Pioneer RV Park in a pull-through, then you have to move every 2 weeks. Am I just slow, or does this make any sense?
So we left. Now Pioneer has a long row of pull-throughs. There were 4 RV's and 20-30 empty spaces. About half of the back in spaces on the front row are empty. RV Parks are going bankrupt left and right due to the economy and this summer's fuel prices. RV Dealers are going bankrupt left and right. The likelihood of their filling all of the back in sites this winter is zero. So the owners of Pioneer RV Park should take solace that Chip Jordan cost them $1545--THIS year. I had planned to spend several winters there because of the proximity to Ben Avery and Cowtown. So the owners of Pioneer RV Park might be just ecstatic that Chip Jordan cost them over $16,000. If people were lining up to take the spot, as they were a few years ago, it wouldn't matter. Now, with RVing in danger of being destroyed by the bad economy, they might consider the stupidity of their position.
So we called several RV Parks. Some couldn't take a rig our size at all. Some thought they could. Some said they could. We went shopping and found Desert Shadows RV Park, a 600+ unit park. We picked a back in site and went and brought the bus and trailer. Their spot was wide and long enough for both vehicles to be side by side--but... In the middle of the site was a concrete patio. that moved both vehicles to the edge of the site. The one we picked had park models on each side. When I got the trailer in, I couldn't open the side door. That did it. It was getting dark. The office had closed. They had a list of open sites for latecomers. We moved into a pull through. It's expensive, but we can stay as long as we want, paying weekly rates. (Think of Scrooge McDuck seeing visions of dollar bills with wings flying away from him.)
December 9, 2008
Landed at Pioneer RV Park where we wintered last year. Looking forward to Phoenix.
December 8, 2008
Travel Day 1
Drove to Kingman and stayed at the KOA. Nothing exciting.
December 7, 2008
The SASS Convention, Day 4
Spent most of the day on the convention floor talking to vendors. A common complaint was the cost of vending, which didn't go down even though the convention was down on participants due to the economy. The lady at Old Scyene mentioned her booth cost $2200, and she paid for the booth, but not the rest of her expenses. Contrary to popular belief, vendors are there to make money. We like having vendors there. They MAKE these events. We can't do much to get more vendors there. Perhaps SASS can.
A note about last night's ball. It was at the Top of the Riv. It was overcrowded, and the food was not up to the standards of previous years. They had great entertainment, including Mark Twain. But the sound system was hopeless, and we couldn't hear anything over in the cheap seats.
Back to the convention floor. Had a long talk with Dave Johnson of D Bar J Hat Company. Some years back D Bar J fell on hard times. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005 (incorrectly it turned out), and he left the business in the hands of Mike, who did such things as take orders and keep the money and put out shoddy merchandise, including a hat I wound up selling because I couldn't get it to fit. Dave put D Bar J up for sale. It lost its lease. The last I heard was that I wasn't hearing anything from them, and I assumed they went out of business. I saw them at last year's convention but didn't see Dave. I assumed he sold it. He didn't, and he's back and in good health, the latter part as of July 2008. He's the only man I know who can quote the regulations on US Army hats for, say, 1916, and tell you the variations in size, color, and accoutrements without notes. His expertise on hats seems to have no bounds. Very impressive.
Lindholm Brothers Spurs
Wimpy waved a pair of spurs in front of me and said, "These are Robert E. Lee's spurs." Needless to say I now have a pair. I'll need spur straps for them. They have the buttons, so cavalry straps won't work. It should be noted that Lindholm Brothers Spurs raised $12,500 for Breast Cancer research with the help of the Carolina Belles and several other groups of women in SASS. They got me for $40 in raffle tickets, $20 at EOT, $20 here.
Wimpy was beat from quitting smoking cold turkey and from the Thursday night pajama party. Something about a "Cowboy Christmas Tree" and inadequate underwear resulting in indecent exposure. A SASS Wire Wag noted the Cowboy Christmas tree had Jingle Balls.
Awards for World Indoor Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting
The Dooley Gang did the awards, so they were entertaining. They gave out medals, the same medals that were given out for the two costume contests. But the costume contests gave Red for first, White for second, and Blue for third. For the shooting they gave out the traditional Blue for first, Red for second, and White for third.
I wasn't taking notes, and the results don't seem to be online yet. I was quite happy to get 2nd in Señor Duelist. I don't know how many there were in Señor Duelist, but there was a third place, ironically, won by Ima Duelist. T-Bone Dooley won first overall-again. The Dooley Gang won the bulk of the awards, even if some of the winners, like me, were only peripheral members. Someday every SASS member will be a Dooley Gang member except that person who wrote the nasty letter to SASS about promoting "gang colors."
Gun to Test
Got a EMF/Pietta Alchemista to test from Buffalo Sam Peed. More on that later, of course, when I do the testing. I have a Taylor's Smoke Wagon, USFA SAA, and EMF Alchemista to test. It'll be a busy winter.
Went with the Oregon group
December 6, 2008
The SASS Convention, Day 3
Dixie Belle, despite the wax bullet problems, had only one miss. She was disappointed since she generally doesn't miss. Needless to say she was unimpressed about my 32 clean stages in a row in our Texas adventure
Shot the last 3 stages of the indoor match. The last one was clean, at least, and relatively quick. It should be noted that since there were no black powder categories, and since I've never entered an age based category in SASS, I was forced to enter the Mexican category, Señor Duelist.
Wild Shot was in my seminar room fixing the computer before the class. Needed, definitely
Gave the last Authentic Men's Costumes seminar. Needed a bigger room.
Cimarron just brought the guns this time, no Texas Jack's clothes. The booth was always busy and sold a lot of guns. Evil Roy worked the booth at times. The Evil Roy '73 is nearing production. He promised me one for test. Additionally he gave me one of the Wild Bunch training videos that Holy Terror just did. A review will go to The Cowboy Chronicle as soon as I can get it done.
Civil War Lady was back with her exceptionally beautiful, well-made gowns. I noted the ones on display changed about twice a day. I presume this meant she was selling them all.
Katie's Millinery. She has a lot of neat stuff. This guy was wearing one of her gowns at the banquet Saturday night
Laced, always a popular vendor. Why do I have 2 consecutive photos of men buying women's clothing, or, in this case, a corset that won't fit him well?
Redwing Trading, home of the Screw Knife
Ruger had a popular booth. The Territorial Governors approved the Montado with the grooves in the front strap removed just after Ruger presented one to each of the Territorial Governors at the meeting. That might explain why a .357 version came out earlier this year. Or it might not.
Taylor's & Co. was inducted into the SASS Hall of Fame. Well deserved.
Wild West Mercantile had a big, very busy booth, but, like all of the other vendors, didn't have a shirt Bret Maverick would have worn, turn down collar, ruffled front. I'm still looking
I didn't get photos of all the vendors for sure. Brims N Trims is a notable one. They were always busy selling, shaping, and adjusting hats. They promised me a hat like the one James Garner wore in the short lived TV Series Bret Maverick. But it wasn't ready on time. I won't tell what they did for me to make it up, because then everybody will expect it, and I don't want to make it policy (if they don't want it to be). But it was WAY above and beyond. I'm impressed and recommend them heartily.
The Costume Contest
Uncle Sam Wants You
Uncle Sam's outfit was copied from an 1876 poster. 1876, the Centennial, was the theme, and people dressing for the theme didn't get their own category this year but were put with the other contestants. These won Best Dressed Couple
Cowtown Scout, dressed as an 1876 4th Cavalry major according to the dress regulations won Best Dressed Military.
Costume contest spectators and participants. Hard to tell the difference, isn't it?
2nd Place Best Dressed Couple, another 1876 Centennial Theme couple
Contestants await giving their presentations to the judges at left while one lady gives hers. I saw people come in, watch some of the better presentations, and leave, often wearing great costumes. Fear of speaking in public. It's the presentation
The Redhead watching the Costume Contest
Uncle and Aunt Sam's presentation
The judges were at a round table, to Mad Mountain Mike's chagrin.
The Man With No Name used to enter costume contests. Then they dropped Silver Screen. Silver Screen is back, but it was on Thursday night
The Yesteryear Ball
Two lovely ladies at the ball who didn't enter the costume contest I believe
Happy Jack and Copper Queen, who have done a lot for SASS behind the scenes were impeccably dressed but didn't enter the costume contest. His white tie outfit was perfect for the era
Creek Harding and Sloan Easy, also very impressively dressed, at the Ball
Colonel George Baylor and The Redhead at the ball
December 5, 2008
The SASS Convention, Day 2
The Longest Day
Shot 3 stages at 0830. Gave the Authentic Men's Costume Class at 1100, starting late because the previous speaker had turned the computer off. It worked better than the other one did yesterday.
Opposite my men's costuming class was Bat Masterson's on The Victorian Gentleman. I wanted to go to it, but he was opposite my classes both times.
Gave the BP(Subs) For Dummies seminar in the afternoon. Same problem as yesterday. Too tired to go to any more seminars.
They scheduled Rowdy Yates' "Frontier Cartridge" seminar opposite BP for Dummies. Ah, wouldn't you think someone would want to go to both?
At 7-8 PM was a pretty funny and interesting seminar up in the Top of The Riv with Custer, Paul Hutton, and --- I'll think of it.
At 8 PM dinner with The Man With No Name and Connivin' Katy Jones. Too tired to go to the Dooley Gang's Karaoke session and pajama party. Back to the bus.
December 4, 2008
The SASS Convention, Day 1
World Indoor Cowboy Action Shooting Championship
CD Tom shoots the rifle while Boggus Deal tries to get close enough to get all of the shots, a problem with primer powered bullets. It was stunning to see CD Tom and not see huge clouds of smoke accompanied by loud booms, sometimes three feet of flame out of the end of the barrel. It's a criminal shame that they didn't have Black Powder categories. Oh, yes, indoor, wax bullets, no powder. Well, how about filling the cartridges with talcum powder, then put in the wax bullet?
Started the day with 3 stages of the World Indoor Cowboy Action Shooting Championship. The bullets are wax, primer powered. The brass looks like a magnum rifle case with a really little bullet in it, .2 or so, on a case that chambered in .45 Colts.45. They're made this way to feed in lever action rifles, which they did pretty well, considering. They were inserted into plastic shotgun dummies for the shotguns. The pistols were Great Western II's and Alchimistas (which seemed to disappear after the first flight). The rifles were Marlins and '92s. The shotguns were TTN hammer doubles, 12 ga.
The rules were that if a bullet didn't go off, it was a hit. If the rifle jammed, you were on your own to work it out. A high primer locked up a pistol, and that shooter was given hits for the unfired rounds.
All guns were staged and returned to staging. No leather gear was used.
The targets were thin steel and kind of reacted to hits with these bullets. Spotting was HARD. The first few shooters got a pass, because the spotters couldn't tell a hit from a miss. Then, somewhere along the way, they "saw" misses whenever the target didn't do a death scene reminiscent of Shakespeare. I would hold up a fist, and the other two spotters would hold up all ten fingers. Then we'd negotiate. Slight exaggeration.
Boggus Deal ran the show and did a magnificent job. He wasn't a contestant, which was a shame, because he was doing 15 second stages when we finished.
The Usual Computer Problems
My first seminar was Black Powder for Dummies. The computer was password protected and had been shut down. This required getting Wild Shot's help. It took a while to get things going. The class started 15 minutes late. Then we got to one of the charts, and I got a blank screen. Sometime later I figured out the problem. The Power point Presentation was made on a MAC. Macs have Office 2008. Knowing that we have had trouble with the SASS computers having outdated software since the first SASS Convention, I saved the presentation as both PPT and PPS, in addition to the current format. It loaded PPS and PPT. However, I failed to realize that the charts, made in Excel, were the current version and couldn't be read by the computer.
Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome
Well, I didn't quite overcome it. I just kept on truckin'. I've promised the students I'll post the charts on the web site.
Here they are:
.45 Colt Loads, all using 200 gr. LRNFP.
Loads with * are 16 gr. loads using Black Dawge Filler:
Velocity Comparison, Ruger Old Army, 5.5" bbl,
30 gr. vol, 147 gr. Round Ball
Weight of 100 gr. Volume
Volume of 100 gr. Weight
Accuracy of .45 Colt Loads, 25 yard Groups
25 Yard Percussion Groups, Ruger Old Army
|APP fffg||30||1.75||1.75||best 4 =.75 x .75|
Life Members' Reception/Classic Cowboy Dance
I had volunteered to be a judge in the Classic Cowboy/Cowgirl/B-Western/Silver Screen Costume Contest. It worked out pretty well last year with me and two good looking women. Mad Mountain Mike told me I wasn't needed and should enter. So I did. The John King Fisher costume with the tiger skin chaps won. I believe it's my most winning costume. I'll have to total up Colonel Baylor's wins to make sure. Didn't have a camera, so I didn't get pictures of the others.
Went do dinner at Kady's. Too tired for anything else.
The Redhead had gotten us a nice, remodeled room with her Gold Players Card. It was free, but, as she put it, prepaid last year. It included $75 in food credits and $150 in free slot play. and 4 nights in the room. Since we have to go back and forth to the bus for the animals, this means we won't spend every night here, but we did tonight.
December 3, 2008
The SASS Convention, Registration Day
Registered. Went to the opening party for the 7th SASS Convention. Saw bunches of people I knew. The Redhead lost at the poker tournament, won at video poker. Substituted the bar by the Comedy Club for the Splash Bar. The bartender told us the 19 year old bar needed more work than it was worth to pass inspection. The plan is to build another one, he thought. (Then why are they putting slot machines in that area?) Dinner at Kady's.
December 2, 2008
The Redhead went to the store in the AM. I went to the new Sportsman's Warehouse in the PM. They haven't been raided yet. They had Federal primers, both small and large pistol. Bought all that would fit in the trailer.
Dinner at Ristorante Italiano.
December 1, 2008
Escaped the desert kingdom and made it to Las Vegas, pursued by the imps and demons who did the bidding of the evil king. Very bloody.
Parked in Circus Circus KOA, decent spot, closer to Circus Circus than previously. Dropped jacks, hooked up, opened slides. released cat from durance vile, released ML from trailer, and walked through Circus Circus. Realized that several of the imps and demons were grabbing at us and tempting us with lies and threats. They must have escaped the rear machine gunner's efforts. Held up a cross and ran through the gauntlet. If Circus Circus didn't have the midway, it'd be a decent place to visit... no, maybe not. I've seen the poker room. Remember the Crypt Keeper from Tales of the Crypt? He plays poker there. And he's one of the pretty ones.
Crossed the street and went to the Riviera. The Redhead wanted to check the casino out.
OH MY GOD!! THE SPLASH BAR IS GONE!!!! WHAT WILL THE SASS MANIACS DO?
Dinner at Kady's because Ristorante Italiano is closed Monday. Good as usual. They have their act together there.