Fill ‘er Up

Fuel Stop

As we departed this morning from last night’s campground, we stopped at a nearby fuel station to fill the tank. When we were done, we took on 56 gallons of diesel which cost a nice round $200. The price of diesel back home is seventy cents less than we paid today. Welcome to Taxifornia.

At that price, the cost per mile of travel was $0.38 as compared to an average of $0.26 we got during our eclipse excursion in August and September. We got 9.5 miles per gallon on this last tank of fuel.

Since I don’t seem to be able to talk family and friends to move out of the maxtax state, I will just have to put up with the extra expense to see them from time to time. In the long run, it is worth it to us to be with our folks.

Tulare, CA B-17 on Display


The Better Half snapped this (clickable) image of a B-17 parked at Tulare Airport, just alongside CA SR 99. There are a number of aircraft on display with this WWII bomber and a Vietnam era F-4 Phantom parked close to the road. The B-17 is placarded with AMVETS signage by the fence in front.

We departed the Los Angeles area this morning and made our way up through “The Grapevine” mountain pass which is Interstate 5 from the north San Fernando Valley to Grapevine, CA. When we came through here last April, we had gusty winds up to 30 knots through the pass, but this time not so much winds and just a lot of traffic.

One more travel day tomorrow then we will be taking a break for the week and the Thanksgiving Holiday. If I don’t post between now and then, please have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

Sky Divers over Blythe, CA

Sky Divers

Today started out a bit overcast as we crossed from Arizona to California. Just after the border, The Better Half pointed out what appeared to me to be a Shorts Sky Van twin-engine airplane apparently on a final approach to Blythe airport. Just after that, she took this (clickable) image of five sky divers with chutes deployed a couple of hundred feet from touchdown. She saw four others in the distance (no photo) shortly after that.

Evidently, there is sky diving activity in the area. The Shorts airplanes are popular for sky diving.

Many years ago, I agreed to go sky diving with my sister for her fortieth birthday. Fortunately, she came to her senses and called it off before we both were going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

Classics Seen Today

Classic 1 Classic 2

These are only two of several (maybe a dozen) classics headed eastbound along both Interstate 10 and US 60 as we made our way westbound. I didn’t read about any event with classic cars happening in our neck of the woods, but all these guys were definitely heading in that general direction.

I didn’t take the time to identify either of these classics, but they certainly awaken the nostalgia just seeing them. Thank you to The Better Half for taking the (clickable) images.

We will be on the road until Monday at which time we will pause for Thanksgiving week at a family venue in North Central Kalifornistan. Good thing the whacko CalPoliticos haven’t revoked Castle Doctrine yet.

One Decade of Minstrel


Ten years ago, while engaged in blogging at Cap’n Bob and the Damsel, I decided that the range of topics important to conservatives was diverse enough to warrant a separate web log (mostly) devoted to the right to keep and bear arms. The topics important to CB&D were addressing the climate change hoax and various and sundry other categories plus personal life anecdotes. The Wandering Minstrel would post on the Obamination, the right to keep and bear arms and some fun things like classics and nostalgia.

Our first post on the Minstrel was a simple photo of some 9×9mm ammo (parabellum) and the Latin phrase “Si vis pacem, para bellum,” if you want peace, prepare for war. We still believe that concept to be true and important as our republic goes forward into the rest of the 21st Century.

We haven’t kept a steady almost daily input on either blog as we advance deeper into our senior years. It’s not strenuous work and our minds are still clear, but we seem to spend more time reading and observing the world around us. We will post here and on CB&D from time to time when we feel we have something to offer or when a life event warrants us to record it for posterity.

It’s interesting to note that a decade ago, we were still in the People’s Republik of Kalifornistan and working for a living (and paying high taxes). At that time, we knew we would eventually relocate out of K-Stan, but did not have a clear concept of where or how or when. Now, we’re out here in the beautiful Sonoran Desert of central Arizona with all those unanswered questions resolved. We claim WINNER status!

Visit to the ER Today

IV TubesI have been nursing a sore throat for the last week or so. I finally went to the clinic a couple of days ago and saw the Physician Assistant Lady who prescribed amoxicillin to try and get it under control.

Clickable Image - the intravenous tube hookup on my right arm

I took the meds for a couple of days and the infection kept getting worse. I slept for [fecal term redacted] last night and decided enough was enough. I reported to the local ER this morning where they put me in a little cubicle in preparation for some tests.

They took blood (several vials), did a swab test for strep throat and also did a CT scan of my head and neck area. We waited for the test results which found the following:

  • The swab for strep was negative
  • The blood work showed an elevated white cell count indicating an infection, among other things (they were quite thorough)
  • The CT revealed an abscess - Peritonsillar infection left side of pharynx.
  • The CT also revealed what appears to be an abnormal mass associated with my thyroid

After analyzing the results, the staff started infusing me with a couple of different antibiotics along with a liter of H2O. It took over an hour to administer that. They then discharged me with instructions and a couple of prescriptions: an antibiotic and a pain reliever.

With regard to the thyroid mass discovery, they referred me back to my family physician for a follow-up and possible biopsy on Friday. Whatever the mass might be, it seems to have no symptoms and was discovered when the radiologist examined the scan results. Jury is out on that one for now.

I am at home this evening, a little after eight PM Arizona time and resting fairly comfortably. There is still quite a bit of pain swallowing and the pain pills are taking the edge off of that. I am on an opioid called hydrocodon the use of which prohibits any activities that should not be performed under its influence such as driving.

Going forward, I have a list of things that could happen and, if they do happen, go back to the ER which is a 24/7 facility ten minutes away from home. I will report on the thyroid thingy when I know anything.

Uprighting a Drooped Ocotillo

Before and After

About two years ago, we acquired a couple of new ocotillos for the rock and cactus garden. One of them, sadly, did not completely assimilate itself on the rocky slope where we planted it. The shrub eventually sagged, leaning downhill until finally last week we noticed it was completely drooped on its side and in contact with the ground.

This morning, I decided to move the drooping shrub to a nearby, flatter location and to set it more upright. I dug out the base of the ocotillo from the sloped location, dug a hole in which to insert the big guy and plopped it down into its new location. I used a rope and some of my old Navy knots to hold it upright while I shoveled the dirt back down on its roots.

Now, hopefully, the ocotillo will recover, spread out its canes and become an attractive xeriscape asset to The Better Half’s rock and cactus garden. By the way, the other transplant is doing just fine.

Clickable image: Before and After.

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