Monday, November 24, 2014

ILLNESS SENDS US BACK TO CONGRESS ARIZONA

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WE ALWAYS LIKE TO TAKE THIS TRAFFIC FREE SCENIC SHORT CUT TO I-10 EAST OF MECCA THROUGH BOX CANYON

We are back home in Congress Arizona tonight.  Decision was made first thing this morning after Kelly had a really bad night with nausea & throwing up.  Aside from a small cup of Tomato soup tonight she has not been able to eat anything all day.  She has not been feeling well for a long time but we don’t know what caused her to become so sick Sunday night. 

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BORREGO SPRINGS LIES OVER THERE ACROSS THE SALTON SEA…HOPE TO SEE YOU NEXT TIME BORREGO

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SOUTH OF MECCA CALIFORNIA HEADING NORTH ON HIGHWAY 111

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GLAD TO SEE THIS SIGN EAST OF THE COLORADO RIVER ON I-10 THIS MORNING

We rolled out of the Slabs at 7 a.m. with Kelly riding part of the way home on her bed.  Stopped in Quartzsite for a McDonald’s coffee & fuel but Kelly only had 2 sips & that was all she could take.  Rest of the way home she spent much of the time lying on the couch.  Too bouncy in the back over the rear wheels.  We were home shortly before 1 a.m. & Kelly immediately laid down while I emptied the coach.  She had no strength left to do anything.  Pheebs has stayed by her side all day.  Because there are similarities between my sickness last week & Kelly’s troubles right now we have however come up with a possible theory tonight.  I don’t ever recall having but have heard about something called a 24 hr flu.  Could that be what I picked up from somebody last Wednesday.  I did shake a few hands & talk to a few people the day I got sick.  Is it possible I could have passed a flu bug onto Kelly??  We’ll see how things are in the morning.  If like me she feels better then I’m guessing the 24 hour flu theory may have some validity to it.

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ARE YOU GOING TO BE ALRIGHT MOM

Didn’t hear anything from Temecula RV today but we’ll probably phone there tomorrow for an update on our inverter.  Whenever the problem is determined & remedied & depending on how Kelly is feeling I will probably just take the Motorhome back to Slab City myself & have Solar Mike re-install the inverter & make any changes to the current set-up he feels necessary.  Things are kinda up in the air right now so we will just take things one day at a time & try to get a handle on what sometimes seems an uncertain future this winter………………...

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SUNDAY NIGHT’S SUNSET AT THE SLABS

GROANER’S CORNER:(( Taking my car to the mechanic, I was fearful that any needed repair might be too expensive. I was relieved when he told me all I needed was blinker fluid.

---

A woman was chatting with her next-door neighbor. "I feel really good today. I started out this morning with an act of unselfish generosity. I gave a five dollar bill to a bum."
"You gave a bum five whole dollars? That's a lot of money to just give away. What did you husband say about it?" "Oh, he thought it was the proper thing to do. He said, 'Thanks.'"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

SATURDAY NIGHT IN SLAB CITY ROCKIN AT ‘THE RANGE’….GROOVY:))

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THE KID’S WERE SURE HAVING THEMSELVES A GOOD TIME & THE LITTLE TOT ON THE RIGHT WAS HAVING HERSELF A BLAST >>>

With a couple coach tanks to dump & one to fill added to our grocery list we had the Big EEE’s wheels rolling south early this morning heading for a rest area 2 miles south of Calipatria which in turn is about 10 miles south of Niland.  No one there when we pulled in but within 20 minutes 4 more rigs pulled in to dump & take on water.  Mostly ATV week-enders with their toy haulers.  This is the rest area which is closing in 2015.  Too bad because it’s a convenient spot for RV’ers passing through this area.

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THE DRUMMER POINTS TO A SOUND PROBLEM IN ONE OF THE AMPS

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LOTS OF FOLKS DANCIN IN THE DARK

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Another 12 miles miles south & we were in Brawley California with the first stop being AUTO ZONE to pick up Wrangler Jim a replacement blinker relay assembly plus a can of CRC electrician spray.  From there it was down to Brawley’s south end & Walmart.  We were first in this Walmart not long after it was built years ago & we remarked it was the nicest Walmart exterior store design we had ever seen.  Still is with all it’s southwest colors.  Lots of trees in the parking lot & they sure have grown since we first saw them.  Picked up ourselves a stash of groceries & we were soon northbound for Niland & the Slabs.  A hefty breeze from the north just made it a perfect temperature day.  With windows & door open the rig remained a nice 75 degrees for a mighty fine relaxing Sunday afternoon.

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HOT DOGS HANGING AROUND THE HOT DOG STAND LOOKING FOR A FREE HANDOUT

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NOTICE THE LONE BACKPACKER CUDDLING HIS DOG ON AN OLD SOFA

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THIS FELLOW WAS A TRUE MUSICIAN ALL THE WAY

For anyone who has been to the Slabs they will right away know where Kelly & I spent a couple enjoyable hours Saturday night.  For the second time in 3 years we ended up at ‘The Range’.  It’s the place to be.  It’s where it’s happening.  There are a number of talented musicians living here in the Slabs & every Saturday night they gather with friends on a stage with their guitars, amps, drums, horns, harmonicas, washboards or whatever they have & play the night away.  People come up from the audience sometimes & join in.  There were about 5 different loosely assembled groups last night & they were all good.  Anything goes.

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DANCING WITH HER DOG

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I WAS WAITING FOR THAT GAL ON LEFT TO REALLY LET LOOSE WITH HER BASS GUITAR & i LIKED THIS OLDER FELLA’S DEEP BLUESY VOICE

Kelly & I sat in a couple old beat up front row chairs & simply enjoyed everything we saw.  Little Kids up dancing on a large old dusty slab of cement that once was the floor of a military building back in the 1940’s.  The name Slab City comes from all the slabs of cement throughout this once large military complex which stood here.  Military buildings are long gone but the cement floors/slabs remain.  If there was one dog at The Range last night I’d say there was a dozen & we enjoyed watching all the peoples dogs mingling with the dancers & folks in the audience.  The dogs as well as the people were all having a great time & we saw a lot of affection between people & their dogs.  An older couple twirled about on their wheelchair scooters swinging & swaying to the music.  Interesting looking characters everywhere & everyone seemed to know everyone else.  People were happy, a little booth did a booming business in hot dogs.  It felt like & smelled like a Carnival atmosphere.  Caught a few whiffs of marijuana in the air.  Maybe that’s why many were laid back with big smiles on their faces.  I tried that stuff a couple times way back in the late 60’s but it just made me giggle like a little school girl.  Now THAT was embarrassing!! 

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GETTING LATE BUT THE TINY TOTS ARE STILL DANCIN UP A STORM

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THAT OLD FELLA IN THE BACKGROUND WITH HIS DOG WAS A ROYAL HOOT WITH HIS SNARE DRUM SET ATOP A LONG BONGO DRUM…HE JUST CAME UP & SET HIMSELF DOWNDSC_0015

THE HOT DOG STAND WAS JUST A JUMPIN

Really enjoyed watching & listening to the musicians themselves.  One guy really knew his way around his guitar & I was hoping they would turn a lady bass player loose because I could tell she really knew how to drive that thing & I would have loved to just hear her rip off into the night with those heavy boogie woogie bass chords.  All & all for our second time at The Range we totally enjoyed ourselves & if your in the neighborhood on a Saturday night come on out & rock the night away outside at The Range:))DSC_0039

THE TYPE OF HEAD BAND THIS FELLOW & OTHERS WEAR IS ACTUALLY A PRACTICAL NIGHT LIGHT…WITH NO ELECTRICITY AT THE SLABS AS SOON AS YOU STEP AWAY FROM THESE GENERATOR DRIVEN LIGHTS IT IS AS BLACK AS THE ACE OF SPADES OUT HERE

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THIS OLDER COUPLE ON THEIR MOTOR SCOOTERS WERE GROOVIN IT UP ON THE DANCE FLOOR

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THIS FELLA IS SINGING A BOB DYLAN SONG WHILE THIS LADY HOLDS THE WORDS…DON’T KNOW THE NAME OF THE SONG BUT IT’S A LONG ONE DYLAN DID & I’M SURE DYLAN HIMSELF HAD TO READ ALL THE WORDS TO SING IT >>>

I may have created a false illusion when expressing my frustration at our inverter delay problem.  Tracking our inverter’s progress from Slab City to Temecula RV we noticed that UPS dropped the ball by not getting our package there when they should have.  This has caused a delay.  Our inverter should be delivered to it’s destination Monday morning.  Now I did express frustration with all that but it by no means means we are unhappy about sitting here waiting for it to be returned & re-installed.  We have a nice quiet spot with nobody near us.  We have unlimited walking room.  Weather’s great & we are not in Buffalo.  Lots of areas to explore around here with our Jeep if we chose to do so.  If we drove all the way back to Congress we would just waste a lot of gas to sit around the house again for a few days only to have to turn around & drive all the way back here again.  Idea was to combine this inverter problem stop with a usual boondocking trip to Borrego Springs.  Yes we could have gone into downtown Phoenix to have this inverter problem dealt with but I’d sooner spend my time out here in the wilds of this dusty old California desert any day than spend my time anywhere in or around downtown Phoenix.  I’m not bad mouthing Phoenix it’s just that I have a natural distaste & dislike for any large city no matter where it is.  Ok, we don’t mind Tucson so much.  For those of you who do not have that same sense of adventure I do then I guess Phoenix would be the more enjoyable option for you.

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A WARMING FIRE IN A BARREL WHILE A LITTLE GIRL RESTS QUIETLY ON AN OLD TATTERED COUCH

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LADY NEVER TOOK HER HANDS OUT OF HER POCKET EACH TIME SHE CAME UP TO ADD A FEW HARMONIES

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WELL, LITTLE GIRL WAS RESTING QUIETLY UNTIL LITTLE BOY CAME ALONG

Our military aviation friend Pat down there in that Sierra Vista place corrected my guess at an Apache Helicopter in Saturday’s post.  Pat says, “You caught yourself an AH-1 Cobra helicopter there Al, not an Apache. The Marines don't have any AH-64s.  Keep your head down out there, though, the Marines like to chase Jack rabbits with them”.  Wrangler Jim says it’s quite a sight out here when the Marines bring in their V-22 OSPREY aircraft Pat.  I’d sure like to catch one of those in my camera sights.

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WISHED I HAD TAKEN MY LONG LENS ALONG BECAUSE THAT GAL ON THE TROMBONE SURE WAS BLOWING SOME FUNNY FACES

Bob at the CARETAKER CHRONICLES said, “I wouldn't do well in the slabs. I'd be wanting to clean up the mess. I'm sure they'd punt me out in a hurry”.  Same thing I felt the first couple times we came here Bob but unfortunately it would take nothing less than a military type action with bulldozers, backhoes, bobcats, a fleet of dump trucks, etc with everything perfectly co-ordinated & with enough personnel to carefully return this piece of desert to the natural state it once was.  It’s really too bad.  I have nothing against folks living here & totally understand their desire for freedom but there is just no excuse for all the trash & rubbish scattered about.  It’s just too bad the Slabbers themselves couldn’t get themselves organized enough to try & clean things up.  But of course the reason many are here is they don’t want anyone telling them what to do & therein lies the seemingly unsolvable problem.  Don’t know what will eventually happen here some day but I do suspect it will make the news when it does.  We haven’t heard anything so we don’t know where things stand here at the moment in regards to California’s plans for Slab City…….if they even have any plans.  Oh, & someone asked if there were any rats here.  We have never heard anything about any kind of a rat problem at the Slabs.  Too many dogs to have too many rats.

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WONDER WHAT THE TROMBONE PLAYER IS THINKING

As with anything in life there are stark realities & the RV lifestyle has it’s own fair share of them.  As the majority of RV’ers know all days are not marvelously awesome & wonderful as some may suggest.  Just as in anything else there are those days that test the limits of anyone’s endurance, patience, & sense of well being.  I am always grateful to those folks who use there blogs to not only write about their good days but are not afraid to write about challenging events & how they are feeling on those bad days everyone has.  Case in point…..Check out Merikay & Craig’s post at MERIKAY'S DREAM.  Let’s just say their Troubles (Challenges) took place way over there in that Florida place & started off with their Class A Alpha awning coming unfurled on a Miami Freeway.  Their day didn’t get any better……………

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A LITTLE SPONTANEITY FROM THE AGING HIPPY BROTHERS ON THE END

I especially liked Nina’s latest post over at WHEELING IT.  She expresses so well her thoughts on blogging & I must say my own thoughts mirror hers to a T.  She says it true & she says it well for many of us.  Good stuff Nina & thanks for expressing those feelings:)) 

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THANKS ‘RANGE’……. HOPE TO SEE Y’ALL AGAIN SOME TIME

GROANER’S CORNER:(( The proprietor of a small village drugstore was called out one sleepy summer morning, leaving the establishment temporarily under the sole management of a very young, and very uneducated, clerk. "Just answer the phone if it rings, Jim," instructed the proprietor.  The phone rang. "Hello," said the clerk.
"Do you have streptomycin and aureomycin?" asked a voice at the other end.  The clerk scratched his head, then said, "Ma'am, when I said 'Hello' I told you everything I know!"

---

I noticed a hand-painted gold and burgundy brandy snifter at my in-laws where we were celebrating their wedding anniversary. My father-in-law explained that it had been a wedding gift from Ireland that they had received 50 years earlier.  My brother-in-law picked it up and passed it around the dinner table. My heart was in my mouth as it went from one person to another because my in-laws seemed to habitually drop things. Finally it reached me and I put it back on the display case.
"How had this fragile keepsake lasted so long in this family?" I wondered aloud.  "It's the last of a set of eight," my father-in-law replied.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

WRANGLER JIM FIXES A SECONDARY PROBLEM WITH OUR RIG TODAY

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KELLY STANDS OVERLOOKING THE VAST MILITARY RANGE WHICH INCLUDES THE CHOCOLATE MOUNTAINS ALONG THE HORIZON

Oh how nice it was waking up feeling well again this morning.  That food poisoning thing is a nasty bit of business.  Fortunately it was of short duration but it sure messed me up for a 24 hour period.  Knew I was fine when I was able to resume my usual peanut butter & honey sandwich breakfast this morning.  I guess one has to get sick every once & awhile just to remind one’s self how great life feels not to be sick.

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THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS WERE TAKEN THIS MORNING FROM THE HIGH VANTAGE POINT WHERE THAT CROSS STANDS…BETWEEN US & THAT CROSS FLOWS A WATER CANAL & ON THE FAR SIDE OF THAT CROSS IS THE MILITARY BOMBING & GUNNERY RANGE

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THIS CANAL CARRIES WATER FROM THE COLORADO RIVER NEAR YUMA ALL THE WAY NORTHWEST TO PALM SPRINGS CALIFORNIA…PHOTOS ARE LOOKING SOUTHEAST & SLAB CITY IS TO THE RIGHT IN THE PHOTOS

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THIS IS ALL AMERICAN MILITARY LAND & IS MUCH THE SAME AS IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN SO WE SUSPECT THIS IS WHERE MUCH OF THE MILITARY TRAINING IS GOING ON  

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THESE ARE 2 MILITARY BASES TAKEN WITH MY 300mm LENS…WE ALSO KNOW THE AREA WHERE THE NAVY SEALS TRAINING BASE IS & MAY TAKE A DRIVE OUT INTO THE DESERT TO SEE IF WE CAN FIND IT

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SPOTTED THIS APACHE HELICOPTER OVER ONE OF THE ARMY BASIS

The day dawned cloudy Friday morning with a 20% chance of rain & we did get that 20%.  Nice to hear rain pitter pattering on the roof.  Only lasted 10 minutes just long enough to freshen up the desert a bit but not enough to turn the deserts gray dusty looking shrubbery to a vibrant healthy green.  Much drier here in this area than our Saguaro filled Sonoran desert back in Congress.

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STANDING AT THE FOOT OF THE WHITE CROSS KELLY LOOKS TO THE WEST ACROSS SLAB CITY

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OUR RIG CAN BE SEEN ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BOTH THESE PHOTOS

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LOOKING NORTHWEST ACROSS THE SLABS I FIGURE THAT CENTER MOUNTAIN PEAK ON THE HORIZON IS THE SAME PEAK BEHIND THE CLARK DRY LAKE BED WE CAN SEE FROM THERE WHICH SOMETIMES HAS SNOW ON IT…MIGHT BE TULE PEAK

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CROSS IN THE TOP OF PHOTO IS ATOP LEONARD KNIGHT’S SALVATION MOUNTAIN

Kelly’s little clip-on FITBIT device says we walked over 4,000 steps on our morning walk which equates to about 2 miles.  We are located right next to the water canal which in turn borders on military land so we have lots of room to walk without meeting other walkers or having to walk in any of the Slabs neighborhoods.  If we think we have a lot of barking dogs in our Congress neighborhood we sure don’t have anything over the slabs.  I think there are more dogs here than Slabbers.  We did hear there is a dog problem.  No kidding………DSC_0014 - Copy

OUR FIRST YEAR AT THE SLABS WE LIKED THE THE LIBRARY THEY HAD HERE BUT HAD HEARD RUMORS IT HAD BEEN WRECKED & THE ROOF BLOWN OFF…NOT SO

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DESPITE NOBODY LOOKING AFTER IT ANYMORE THE LIBRARY IS STILL HOLDING IT’S OWN

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WE THINK THE LADY WHO FIRST STARTED & LOVINGLY CARED FOR THIS LIBRARY LIVED IN THIS OLD BUS…WE ALSO THINK HER ASHES ARE INTERRED BY THE ENTRANCE

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KELLY RUMMAGES THROUGH A FEW OF THE MANY BOOKS BUT WITH THE ROOF IN A BAD STATE OF DISREPAIR IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL THE MONSOON RAINS & DESERT WINDS DESTROY IT ALL…ANY FREE SPIRITED NOMADS OUT THERE LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO LIVE & PURPOSE CAN MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE SLABS, PARK THEIR RIG BESIDE THE LIBRARY & BECOME IT’S CARETAKER.  THE LIBRARY NEEDS YOUR TLC:))

We have another coach problem I hadn’t mentioned earlier.  Doing a lights check before leaving Congress last Monday morning I noticed we had no turn signals or four way flashers.  Decision was do we try to get this fixed before heading out or do we go with no turn signals.  Knowing the non heavy traffic route we would be taking to the Slabs I decided to go with no turn signals.  Not knowing if the problem was related to our inverter woes, a worn out part in the signal assembly or possibly a pack rat chewing a wire somewhere I knew it was nothing we had the expertise to fix.  Enter Wrangler Jim from Alberta Canada.

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YES THE SLABS DEFINITELY HAS IT’S CHARACTERS

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LOTS OF SOLAR POWER EVERYWHERE

Friday while I was sick Kelly had driven over to Solar Mike’s to get the UPS tracking number for our inverter.  On the way back she drove around a bit looking for maybe a shadier spot for us.  Stopped up in the Canadian section to have a look at a place beside some larger ?? trees.  Got talking to a fellow Canadian Snow Bird fellow living in a renovated bus there.  Turns out Wrangler Jim is a full blown mechanic who once operated a 4 bay garage in Strathmore Alberta.  He still lives in a Strathmore RV Park during the summer.  He sold his house, garage, & whatever else & hit the road back in 2007 in his now 45 year old bus.  Been coming to the Slabs since 1995.  Said he’d come over & have a look at our turn signal problem & this morning he did just that. 

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GOOD THING WRANGLER JIM IS SLIM ENOUGH TO FIT UNDER THAT DASH

As anyone knows electrical problems in vehicles can be a nightmare unto themselves but throw a another few hundred feet of wiring into the mix & the problem can quickly become one’s very much most worst nightmare of ever.  Wrangler Jim brought his testing device & quickly ruled out a fuse problem anywhere.  He next suspected a turn signal relay switch but here’s where the problem came in.  Where was the relay switch.  Normally located under the dash in the vicinity of the steering column it turned out to be quite a chore for Jim in locating it in the mass & maze of spaghetti tangled wires.  Nothing resembling a relay switch was visible anywhere.  Then we caught a break.  Jim had crawled back out from under the dash contemplating his next move when out of curiosity I reached over & depressed the 4 way flasher hazard switch & it started clicking.  No lights but we had clicking & that was all Jim needed to crawl back under the dash & track down where that relay switch sound was coming from.  Took him awhile to get his hands through the maze of wiring but at last he was able to locate it & pull it out.  He had brought a new relay switch with him just in case & sure enough when he plugged that new relay switch in we again had our 4 flashers back plus our turn signals were working again.  He had just picked that switch up in Canada before heading down to the Slabs this year.  Tomorrow we will probably head on down to Walmart in Brawley & pick him up another relay switch at the Auto Zone.  Yes they’re open Sundays.  Talk about a lucky break in finding a full fledged mechanic parked nearby.

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OUR FAULTY TURN SIGNAL SWITCH & WRANGLER JIM’S CAMP JUST A BIT SOUTH OF US

Took ourselves for a little drive around the Slabs this afternoon.  I won’t attempt to explain the Slabs but if you go to the search gadget at the very top of our right hand column & type in Slab City it will bring up my posts from previous times here.  I have thoughts there & plenty of photos.  Seems I always have plenty of photos doesn’t it.

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NOT ALL OF SLAB CITY LOOKS LIKE THIS BUT UNFORTUNATELY ENOUGH OF IT DOES TO GIVE IT A BAD REPUTATION…THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE HERE BUT UNFORTUNATELY AGAIN THERE ARE THE OTHER KIND TOO………………..

GROANER’S CORNER:(( Manning the computer help desk for the local school district was my first job. And though I was just an intern, I took the job very seriously. But not every caller took me seriously.  "Can I talk to a real person?" a caller asked.  "I am real," I said.
"Oh, I'm sorry," the caller said. "That was rude of me. What I meant to say was, could I talk to someone who actually knows something?"

---

The preacher was having a heart-to-heart talk with a backslider of his flock, whose drinking of moonshine invariably led to quarreling with his neighbors, and occasional shotgun blasts at some of them.  "Can't you see, Ben," intoned the parson, "that not one good thing comes out of this drinking?"  "Well, I sort of disagree there," replied the backslider. "It makes me miss the folks I’m shootin at."