Thursday, June 09, 2016

Look Out Chicago!

Another whirlwind trip is completed. I flew to San Angelo to help Daughter #1 (D#1) pack and load up over the Memorial Day weekend. It was time to go meet up with her fiancé. Things were in good shape so there was time to relax a little too. Nothing like relaxing to season two of Daredevil! I also became acquainted with the Sherlock series and found them to be highly entertaining. We packed most of the stuff on Monday evening with the valuables (TV, document box, etc.) getting loading on Tuesday morning and off we went. The wastelands of central Texas seem to be very similar to the western side as in they both sucked equally. About the only interesting part in Texas was near Wichita Falls where it rained quite hard if you want to call that interesting. A little north of Wichita Falls, Daughter #1 waved goodbye to Texas with a double one finger salute and said some last words that included good riddance.

People in the hick town of San Angelo figure that if a woman has short hair that she must be gay as God did not mean for girls to groom that way and would offer to pray for you to regain the correct sexual orientation and hairdo. Seriously, they would actually ask if they could pray for you. Innocently ask them why and they would hem n haw and stumble along to saying something like, "Well, you know, your hair." D#1 would ask questions like, "Oh my God, is it falling out?", just to watch them squirm further. Hick town religious morons. A lot of medical professionals do not like having long hair for a myriad of reasons but no excuse should be needed for any reason. Hence the FU to Texas on the way out.

We traveled on to Joplin without any real difficulties and stayed there for the night. We had some rain in the AM but nothing in particular and drove out of it on the way down to St. Louis. An interesting sculpture was at the Missouri visitor center.

Not every state uses construction markers as the basis for their art display. Hope they did not have to pay too much to the artist. I must say that Missouri has the greatest amount of road signs such as ads for the Candy Factory and Worlds Largest Gift Store, Route 66 Museum(s), Jesse James Museum, and caves. Lots of caves in Missouri to explore. This provided us with some amusement during the drive. There were all kinds of neat places we could stop along the way.
I must say that AZ probably has the record for the longest distance from signs to the location as there are ads for "The Thing" all over the state. I even saw one in NM in between El Paso and Las Cruces.

I was disappointed that when we crossed into Illinois the road signs disappeared. How boring it was, I think that I will write a letter to the chamber of commerce complaining about the lack of road ads.

We arrived into the Chicago area about 4 PM and only had stop-n-go traffic for the last couple of miles before our turnoff. We arrived just fine and D#1 took the fiancé's vicious guard dog
for a walk and then we unloaded the SUV. The beagle took a shine to me right away due to my glowing and kind personality. It had nothing to do with the treats I was carying in my pockets! I basically goofed off on Thursday and hung a few pictures as requested.

 Friday was a nice day and we went for a walk at the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve that is right across the street from the apartment. It was decided to walk to the waterfall and have a look see.
I commented that it was probably about two feet high as I did not see where the terrain was adequate for much more. Boy was I wrong as it was at least four feet high! Kidding aside, it is a nice preserve to hike around in.

Saturday found us at the Museum of Science and Industry. If you get a chance while in Chicago - GO! It is a great museum and I would definitely go back again.
 There were trains and planes and bridges (Lego) and games and submarines (U-505) and bicycles and robots!

I had one of these games!

This too!

 And electricity!

I always wanted to be an engineer!

We had a lot of fun. The following day found me at the airport as it was time for me to return to Tucson and work. I was sad to leave.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Another Trip Through the Wastelands for Graduation!

Daughter #1 graduated last weekend. We headed across the wastelands of Southern New Mexico and West Texas for probably my last driving trip to San Angelo. It doesn't mean that I won't see these wastelands again as we will head to Albuquerque in July for another function. The trip there was not too bad this time as we traveled the high wind areas in the morning before it kicked up. Daughter #1 and her fiancee brought goodies to the motel room when we arrived. Chick-Fil-A was brought for Mom and I had Fireball. I wasn't going anywhere so it sounded like a good idea at the time and was! Good thing we arrived early enough as the sidewalks get rolled up early in this town. This is kind of surprising for a college town but that's the way it is.

Friday night was the awards banquet where we had some nice brisket, chicken, sausage, beans w/jalapenos, salad, a bowl of jalapenos, and some other sides. The food was quite good. Daughter #1 continues to impress.

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award for the DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) Program
  • Academic Excellence Award (Only 4.0)
  • Research Award for Excellence in Research
  • Certificate of Excellence - Outpatient Orthopedics
  • Certificate of Excellence - Rehabilitation
  • Authored Three Scholarly Publications
  • Provided Seven Scholarly Presentations
  • And......wait for it........... Did not show up in the Friday night banquet slideshow being skunked at a bar!!!
The moron (another student) that put the slide show together included pictures of them partying at the bars. There really aren't that many bars in town but some of the restaurants do serve. There was heard from one table, "You were in a bar?". I assume that was from the Southern Baptist contingency. Daughter #1 was usually too busy prepping for the next event to go carousing and wasn't all that fond of a couple of the party people. It was a very nice evening unless you were the one being chastised by you parents. 

Saturday was a fine commencement. I like it when the main speaker starts out with, "America is one of the greatest countries in the world!". I would have had to choke back the bile if listening to some politician's speech. 
 While waiting for everything I spot this. That's my daughter, boots and muscle tights!
 Getting hooded.
See my hood! Let's get out of here! 

We headed back to the apartment to do some steaks and then what is appropriate after that? 
5 hours of Star Wars Monopoly! We gave up and called it a tie. As daughter and I had basically broken the bank and had enough cash that it was just going back and forth.

We had a grand time visiting with everyone and were sad that the trip was about done. Sunday morning found travelling back across the wastelands. Then we stopped at a few of the Bowlin's tourist traps as the hunt was on for grand baby clothes that were unique.  I found some nice Ass Kickin Ghost Chili Hot Sauce and we will see who the first victim is. 

We found all the high winds and were detoured off I-10 at Lordsburg, up to Duncan, over to Safford and then back down to I-10. I would like to see a class action lawsuit against the Phoenix conglomerate that owns the land that was just grubbed out that is causing this mess on I-10 right now. If you can prove you were on the highway, it would be appropriate to charge mileage for excess. What corporate shill decided it was a good idea to clear the land at this time of year? It could not have been a farmer. 

All in all - it was still a fine time!

Congrats to the first Doctor in the family that I know of!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Win 24 Part IV

I took Friday off from work to go with a friend to chase his dog and some chukars. What a great day! Dad's Win 24 SxS 12 gauge ready to go, a Brittany Spaniel working ahead of you and chukars on the ground all make for a fine morning. I have been working out the shotgun by firing numerous time into the snap caps and was looking forward to some live rounds to try loosening that action since the cerekote refinish. It was still tight after all these years prior to the refinishing and it was really tight afterwards.

Two birds were put out to start with. I shot the first at about 25 yards. My friend shot the second about 15 minutes later. While waiting for a couple of more birds, I ran about 8 rounds through the gun to attempt to get it so that it would lock up easier. Seems to be working! Another box or two aught to about do it. After the other birds were put out, my friend shot the next one. My first shot missed the last bird but I still shot the bird on the second shot (full choke) at about 40 yards. A few times I got to borrow this shotgun for pheasant hunting in Michigan if Dad wasn't going and always found that combination of the Mod/Full choke great for larger bird hunting.

It may seem strange or silly to some but there a little wave of euphoria and sadness upon taking that first bird with the first shot with Dad's gun. Memories flow and dang I miss that man.  It is also the first shotgun I ever shot. I would tag along with Dad when he was hunting even when I was too young to hunt myself. I would also nag the crap out him for me to shoot it, even just once. I was usually told that it was bit too much gun for a little guy like me. This is nothing but a challenge to a small boy so the begging continued until one magical day Dad said yes. We found an old tin can and set it up. I could hardly hold the shotgun up but you were not going to get any help. Either you can do it or not. I missed the can and about sat in the dirt. Dad asked if I wanted to shoot it again and I answered that I did not want to right now but would the next time we were out again. He laughed as I expected that answer was anticipated. My shoulder was so sore. I remember Mom wanting to know how I got bruised and was told of the sterling event. She commented to Dad that I might be a bit young. I believe the rejoinder was that I was old enough and it didn't knock him down. What bragging ensued among my peers as I got to shoot the big gun and had the bruise to prove it!

It is interesting in that I have the first shotgun that I ever shot and the first one that I ever owned (Sears bolt action 16 ga.) Hmmm, might be some more ice cream in stories about the 16 gauge.

Winchester Model 24 SxS

Monday, January 18, 2016

2016 Blogshoot

The 2016 Annual Central Arizona Blogshoot organized by The Smallest Minority was a fun time as always. Thanks to Kevin for going "early" to set up targets to share. It was a bit cold in the AM but a far cry from last years Blogshoot and Firearms Wind Tunnel Testing event.

I had the opportunity to test out modifications to the Yugo. It had some light primer strikes in the past which I associated with the replacement firing pin which changed it from free floating to having a spring. It was assumed that the trigger spring was too old and weak for the new assembly. A new spring pack was ordered with a couple of different strength main springs. That was not the issue. Upon dis-assembly, I discovered that I had not gotten all of the cosmoline out from inside the spring. It was apparently still compressed enough that the carb cleaner did not take it out and you could not see it until after full dis-assembly. The original spring was cleaned and everything re-assembled. Well, 140 rounds later and no light strikes. I guess I have a couple of spare new springs. Have I mentioned that I think the original iron sights on these are awful?

I had two 22 revolvers with me. The H&R 999 Sportsman (love those top breaks) had a touch of a light hammer strike on the rim of the cartridges and would sometimes require a second hit. A spring pack had been ordered from Numrich and the main was replaced. It is flawless in operation now. This is the second time I had this one apart as I replaced the ejector cam some time ago to allow for proper ejection of the 9 shells. 

The other revolver had not been shot and it is a High Standard Sentinel. This is a swing out 9 shot cylinder double action. It shot well without any difficulties. It was about time to try it out as it has been resting in the safe for about 6 months since I purchased it.

The Hawkins 54 cal smoke pole that was recently assemble from an old kit shot well. This was was purchased for a screaming deal from a fellow whose uncle had never assembled it over a lot of years. I do not know when Cabelas went from their kit guns being made in Italy to being provided by Traditions. I always want to provide some appropriate smoke on the firing line for the event so I tend to take a black powder weapon. You would think that everyone would thank me for using Pyrodex instead of the real thing! It was amusing to hit one of the steel gongs on the first shot seeing as this had just been assemble. I had thought that I would probably have to go to paper in short order however it seemed to be good on windage and touch off on elevation. Not too bad. I decided to wait for another time to actually paper it a 100 yards as I was having too much fun shooting and playing with the double trigger set.

There were no takers to shoot my little Leinad Cobray one shot derringer. Dang, they are crudely made and operate about the same. I had heard that the 410 shell kicked harder than the 45 Long Colt. This is true but not by much. What a handful! I shot 3 - 45s, 2 - 410 slugs, and 2 - 410 buckshot. It is a sure thing that I hit something (dirt) out there but I could never tell where. I had tried to shoot a dove earlier in the hunting season. It was put away after the first shot. I patiently waited along a brush row for a dove to fly close enough and one finally did. I shot behind it (big surprise) and had two thoughts. This thing kicks badly! The next one was that hearing protection is required as my ears rang for about a half hour afterwards! I will reconsider after I get another set of electronic muffs that have the back neck band as I want my hat on for UV protection while hunting. 

I would thank everyone that was there as all were pleasant to speak with. What a fun time and I look forward to next year. Be for-warned, I will bring the real deal next year for the BP guns so you should save me a space downwind of everyone else!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ugly Sweater 5K

Daughter #1 and I tend to find a 5k to walk when she is back around Christmas time. Two years ago was a Color Run which was a lot of fun but none were going on in this area.
Color Run

She found an Ugly Sweater 5k in Tempe for us this year. The charity this year is Save the Children. Samuel Adams was a corporate sponsor for the run, so my hats off to them for backing the charity.

Yes that is a banana suit along with muscle tights. Our thought was - why not!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hawkins 54 Kit Gun

I mentioned earlier that I had picked up a kit gun for cheap from a fellow whose relative never assemble it. All the parts are there. I am took a few pictures along the way.
Unfinished, ready for 1st coat.

I an using Minwax Antique Oil Finish on this one also. I like this finish as it dries hard but is not glossy.

1st coat

1st coat drying
2nd coat

2nd coat

2nd coat

Quite a bit of sanding was done after the 2nd coat.
3rd coat

3rd coat

3rd coat

4th coat

4th coat

4th coat

4th coat

This is just about where I want to be. I think one more coat after a quick steel wool. and it is assembly time.

None of the brass got buffed and polished as it is planned to just let it tarnish naturally.
Assembled! The barrel is Mud Brown Flat Cerekote.

Finish is not high gloss nor was it desired to be so. This one is going out in the field.

I love the double trigger on this. You can set it so that the final drop is almost a hair trigger. Almost, as I won't set it that far!

Were the rear sights traditionally adjustable for elevation and windage? Hahaha!

I hate the way I did the ramrod. Needs a coat of walnut oil stain and will get one soon. This is attention grabbing and detracts from the overall looks.

I still hate it!

That is a white Cerekote dot on the front sight.

My trusty helper, AJ, has been assisting every step of the way. He actually belongs to daughter #2 who is in Okinawa with her Marine hubby. AJ has become my shadow and thinks that he is also my protector!
Finally got the ramrod a color that looks decent.

Now to get some loads together for the Blogger Shoot on the 10th!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thar's Gold in Them Thar Hills

I was drawn for a muzzle loading hunt in the Santa Rita Mountains which I have frequented for the last 34 years and have taken a few deer over the years.

Very little sign was seen where I usually hunted that coincided with not seeing much in the way of deer. I slow walked and glassed (not in that order) some of my super duper secret areas to no avail. Where did the deer go? It is no concerning that deer were not seen right away but it is of concern that little or no deer sign ( you know, poop and tracks) was there. Food/water was good in these area. One area I snuck up to the following day was a bedding area that usually looks like the deer had quite a party. No sign - none. I did find sign of illegal traffic in these particular areas. Looks like the illegals are busting the bedding areas on a regular basis.

Nice view out towards the Baboquivari range.


Might rain today.

My usual areas are between 6,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation where you have some nice pin oaks and other goodies for forage. Most of this was on the west slopes. The following day found me kicking around down in the washes and amid the ocotilla. There I found sign and did see a few does. The last days of the hunt were spent driving the Bull Spring Road (not maintained for public use) and hunting Josephine Canyon area. Very little sign. One area where we have camped previously was near the stream and every day deer would walk through camp on their way to water and forage the benches. We called them the 11 o'clock does as you could just about set your watch by them.

I sat a hillside above this area glassing, saw nothing and decided to try something different after a few hours. Coming down the hillside I had to take a leak, took of my gloves and noticed my wedding band was missing. I have lost enough weight that my ring was loose. Crap, I forgot to take it off and put in on my key ring! The next few hours were spent searching without accomplishing anything. Usually, when you are distracted doing something else with the rifle slung, you briefly see a nice deer without the opportunity to shoot. We call that luck - bad luck that is. Did not find the ring or get surprised by that turty point buck.

The next weekend after my season was over, I returned to the place with a friend. We both took discriminating metal detectors and searched the places I had been that particular day. We also searched down hill of where I was on that one steep hillside as a bounce could be possible that could put that ring 20 yards downhill. No ring. I may go back for another pass with the metal detector.

Thar's gold them thar hills but no deer!