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1466 - Tuesday, 1 May 2007: Z.

By the way, last Barberton show a vendor gave me a sack of surplus .30-06 blank cases, which are still primed but have been emptied:

Mixed headstamps: SL57, WCC54, FA59 MATCH (!), 43TW, and many more. GI primers ring-crimped and red-sealed; case length appears the same as live, with a slight second bottleneck at the mouth and remnants of red sealant where the blank plug was. They were free, the vendor just wanted them off his table. Some of the primers are likely corrosive of course (though, a big sack of these, 100+, all in the same condition at the same place/time, suggests they were made at the same time, which may mean the post-WWII/early-Cold War primers may be non-corrosive, whatever the headstamp says). The flash holes appear the same size as regular cases. I'm wondering what to do with these - waste not, want not. It looks like a pass with the sizing die's expander ball would open up the mouth and then they could be loaded conventionally, but the impression is that blanks were made from inferior cases not suitable for live rounds. Another use might be to make blanks of them again - here are star-crimp dies, but they're expensive and the brass can't be re-used (though with a cheaper cartridge, like .38 Special, that last would matter less). Wads, cards, paraffin, etc.? Then there's the question of load data. Anyway no urgency about this, my hands are full processing live brass at the moment.

And making the award certificates for the next plate match so I can deliver them on my next range trip (Thursday now), so everything will be ready for my deputy director in case I don't come back from Wyoming. And getting ready for the Garand match this Saturday and continuing to get ready for the road trip (by the end of which the meager resources will likely be gone and I'll have to go back to work, yech!). And there's a mail-in ballot I have to fill out before I leave too, tax measures and local bureaucrats.

May Day (international communist holiday, BTW) illegal-alien rally in downtown Portland, at the state capitol in Salem, and elsewhere around the nation. Criminals, stealing from hardworking citizens. -Looky - and I've said this before - if these filthy third-worlders would speak American; clean up after themselves; control their brats; wash their hands after relieving themselves; obey our laws and the rules of civilized society; work for a living instead of stealing my tax dollars through social services - if they did that, if they would assimilate to American culture, they'd disappear into our society and no one would care. A hundred years ago, that's what immigrants did! (More than a hundred years - I'm told my line includes Pennsylvania Dutch and I speculate some Hessian blood. I wonder if the Mormon branch of the family has all that written down somewhere....) Anyone can become an American. But noooo, no, this batch fly their flags, speak their languages, demand we pay for their unwashed brats, demand special treatment for their ethnicities, show contempt for our laws and culture, and then have the nerve to call us racists. Round 'em up and ship 'em out! -And I note that legal immigrants, who obeyed our laws to enter this nation and waited their turn percolating through the bureaucracy, are often more ticked than even I am at the behavior I just described.

I note that Winchester offers a white-box 147gr .30-06 load, I'll have to hunt some down for testing. Priced about as high as hunting loads though, no advantage there.

All HXP brass sized and tumbled, trimming. Three-stab primer crimp comes out easy with chamfer tool.

Speaking of illegal aliens, word on talk radio that Progressive insurance sells coverage to people without driver's licenses. This made the news because of a traffic accident in which the responsible party a) spoke no English; b) had no driver's license, ever; and c) had insurance from Progressive. (I use Nationwide.) -Further word that Progressive's head contributes to MoveOn.Org and schmoozes with Soros.

Reportedly some school districts officially busing students & teachers to the illegal-alien rally in Salem. Remember that next time the socialists whine for more money for public schools, or rant against vouchers, or push a bill to outlaw home-schooling. Also a Catholic church downtown (St. Francis of Assisi) is allowing the use of their mailing address - and, one might expect, phone lines and fax machines - by rally organizers, which should cost them their non-profit status.

Subpoenas in the mail. Just in time to ruin the road trip. Those filthy elitist government scum. Can anyone recommend a (pro bono of course) curmudgeonly republitarian attorney? This is beginning to feel like harassment. The DDA and defense attorney are probably sharing a chuckle in the lunchroom, over sticking it to the peasant.

200 pieces HXP fully processed, beginning to load. I have two pounds of BL-C(2) with the same lot number, I'll use that (~142 rounds/lb). -Done, a good consistent batch all made at the same time under the same conditions, checking thrown powder weights every 10-15 rounds. 35 for the match (reduced Course A, no sitting/kneeling stage, half-length slow-prone), 37 to sight in and practice with, and 16 full clips left over. Happiness is a loaded cartridge belt and a sighted-in rifle.

Email is backed up yet again. I hope to blow it out before departure, then keep it under control with Mail2Web while on the road. If I can't get the laptop online I'm sure there's a library with net access somewhere in Montana or Wyoming.

1467 - Wednesday, 2 May 2007: Zz.


Laundry, library, a little pre-trip shopping, haircut.

Rational commentary.

Finished Pournelle's Starswarm, not a spectacular orbit-perturbing blockbuster but not bad for a product targeted at juveniles. Next is more Sheffield, Starfire, evidently a non-juvenile standalone, about Alpha Centauri going nova and the blast front reaching us about a half century from now.

1468 - Thursday, 3 May 2007: Zz.

Walter M. "Wally" Schirra, fighter pilot, test pilot, one of the first seven men to be called "astronaut", veteran of all of America's first three manned space programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo), has passed away this day. May he rest in peace - and may we always follow the path he and his fellows set us on.

So I'm going to the range to sight in and get practice for the match and I get about halfway there and I realize I forgot to pack the ammunition so I cuss a bit and run some other errands around town and resolve to go to the range tomorrow.

So I'm in line at WinCo buying some apples 'cause I'm trying to eat a little healthier and in line before me is an overweight couple buying over $100 in groceries… with an Oregon Trail welfare card, which is my tax money. And they weren't buying ramen & rice, they were buying cheese-filled franks, iced tea, specialty cheese, premium meat. Nor had either of them evidently missed many meals. I made some comments intended to be overheard. Shoulda taken a photo of the pile and sent it to Lars, who has ranted repeatedly on such parasites.

A message on the recorder when I return - the Portland police detective calling with more questions on my recovered property. My GP100 has been recovered, reportedly a couple days ago, and the detective expects no reason why I shouldn't get it back after the trial (though I didn't ask how thoroughly it will be vandalized under the unwritten but widely-known police policy of never returning a functional firearm to the peasants). -The detective actually used the phrase "off the street." As though the revolver were walking around under it's own power, magically loading itself and pulling its own trigger. Didn't have any idea what cartridge a Simonov fires, either. Now tell me, who, who knows anything about firearms, has not heard of the 7.62x39mm Soviet M1943 cartridge, for which production of arms has probably reached nine figures worldwide since its introduction nearly two-thirds of a century ago? (Kinda answers itself, don't it? -Well, in fairness I did once overhear a bubba at the arms counter in Bi-Mart asking the clerk for "AK-47 bullets".) Anyhow with the prospect of getting my sacred property back sometime after the trial (and possibly another trial for, reportedly, another robbery in which the GP100 was used), my fangs shrink some and I'll gobble some antacid and get the multiple indignities over with. (And then I'll bloody well look for a job in this Wyoming oil boom I've been hearing of and kiss this socialist state good-bye!) Hm, should update the burglary page. (Ah! I still have the original store receipt for the GP, with serial number and my name & address. Also for the Mossberg and the Remington revolver. The other arms stolen, I bought in private sales.)

By an amusing coincidence, Cruffler forwards to me from an email list I'm not on:

…Police have made no attempt to locate stolen guns in the past. One of mine turned up under the front seat of a county cruiser a year and a half after being stolen - 9 months after that officer ran it on NCIC. Can you say "throwdown"? I knew you could. County cops are mostly poorly trained thieves with no desire to work, at least in Arkansas.
Meanwhile Yuri sends this cartoon. Related, another reader sends this.

Hitting email. I have said that NRA has warts - here's a bit of evidence from rec.guns:

First, we believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period ... with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel.

We believe America's schools should be as safe as America's airports. You can't talk about, much less take, bombs and guns onto airplanes. Such behavior in our schools should be prosecuted just as certainly as such behavior in our airports is prosecuted.

Wayne LaPierre - Denver, CO, NRA convention speech.

Bloomberg's a jerk. More data.

Hmm, police techniques for disarming opponents.

Yuri sends more from John Stossell, who is probably the only person on broadcast TV still worth the electricity.

Remember the 92-year-old woman killed by police in a botched drug raid? Follow-up. "...repeatedly lied to judges...." "...falsified warrants...." "...culture of misconduct...." "Three officers were wounded, apparently by bullets fired by their fellow officers." You blueshirts had damn well better clean up your own lives before you DARE tell me how to run mine!

More reason to fear and distrust government.

More rational commentary.

Police confiscate guns in Chicago. Because they can.

Reader sends article on expanding hate crime legislation. Am I going to have to invest in tanning sessions, and start wearing Sioux regalia, to avoid getting picked up by the PC Police for being too white?

This socialist utopianism, a former diplomat describing how to disarm the US populace, has been going 'round the net for a few days - Yuri already 'blogged it. Is this guy trying to start a civil war? If his plan were implemented the United States would make the former Yugoslavia look like... I dunno, an argument over who has the best lawn in the neighborhood, analogies fail me when I consider 80+ million American gunowners and what even one percent of them, sufficiently motivated, could do.

Still more rational commentary.

Continuing to prepare for road trip. Mail pickup - arranged. Lights and radio - on timers. Car insurance, electricity, and phone bills - paid. Checkbook - balanced. The digital camera will act as a traveling drive, it came with a USB cable - I only need my FTP utility, this May 'blog file you're reading, and my .HTML editor and if the laptop (still 200 miles away) has anything like a normal operating system (XP Pro, I was told) with a text editor I won't really need the latter. The camera has a 256Mb card at present and a 1Gb in the camera case, I could store whole novels. The only problem then will be connecting to the net. WiFi? A reader has sent several useful links but I really have no idea what's in the laptop.

1469 - Friday, 4 May 2007: Now I'm going to the range.

After the May 1957 issue of Guns magazine downloads.

I haven't linked this yet? Western Rifle Shooters Association. I think this is an RWVA splinter group. Not that there's anything wrong with that. More like a sister group actually, they link to each other.

Got my range session. Nothing wrong with the rifle or the load.

That should tell you something.

Very oddly, I discovered that both my SLEDs are now throwing shots way left, compared to regular clips. I've no idea why. I'm as ready for the match as I'm going to be.

Also a little P35 work, using up some old hovel-duty Winchester JHP and checking function and accuracy (both acceptable) with UMC replacement. The 17rnd KRD magazines are very stiff for the first two rounds, when loaded with 16 or 17, and that could be a problem. My Mec-Gar 15s have never given me trouble. Later I'll try the KRDs with the other floorplates, as 15s.

Interesting springtime Pacific Northwest weather:

1470 - Saturday, 5 May 2007: Match day!

Third Place!

In a field of fifteen in two relays. Club CMP guy Ed Perry (front row, to my left) won with 275/somethingX, 2nd had a lower X count, then me with 270/1X.

Departure day! Expect interruptions in updates and email.
It's 7:44PM at the G&J Dairy Freeze in Umatilla, OR, where I've just finished a cookie dough ice cream waffle cone which has dripped on my shirt. Sis is phoning her husband in Everett to see if he (or the cats) have burned the house down yet (negative).

I got back from the match (in which I scored exactly 90%, but finally I medaled in a Garand match - of course Mr. R. wasn't there, so that probably had something to do with it) about 12:45, a little later than I told sis, who found solace at a coffee shop while waiting. Emailing match pictures, to the newsletter director, from the hovel's recalcitrant Compaq, took longer than hoped, but during that time the Cadillac was well loaded, the hovel as secured as it's going to get, the neighbor alerted, and we officially hit the road about 3:15.

We took I-84 east along the Columbia River pretty much until we ran out of river on the Oregon side:

Peering at gazetteer and GPS I directed the pilot through the bustling metropolis of Stanfield:

…mainly because neither of us had been there before. This was followed in short order by the slightly more bustling metropoli of Hermiston and Umatilla, where on impulse we stopped for the aforementioned ice cream (sis had praline pecan).

Shortly before 8pm we struck north on I-82 for Kennewick and Pasco. Here on the far side of the Cascades the land is quite flat; sis compares it to west Texas, except in color. There appear to be, as the cliché says, more cows than people:

At first thinking to press on to Connell or even Ritzville, we ran out of daylight and what's the point of the scenic route if you can't see it?

Wandering through K. and P. we found the Budget Inn at Pasco for the night. They have free wireless internet - just fire up your transceiver, let it do it's plug 'n' play thing, and enter the inn's password (which for their sake I naturally won't 'blog) - but the new laptop (which in fact is a quite old NEC Versa LX PII running WinXP Pro) does not have wireless (yet - while the meager resources last I think I'll try to acquire a card in Spokane tomorrow- or Monday-ish).

You may remember about a year and a half ago when sis gave me my digital camera for my birthday. At that time I declared it to be the Coolest Birthday Present Evarrr. She has declared this laptop to be an early birthday present and I therefore declare it, old and slow though it be, tied (in my experience) for the title. I can compute in bed now. In fact I'm doing so at about a quarter past 11pm as I type. This machine is going to follow me lots of places, as the camera already does. Until I get a faster one someday of course.

So! We got to the room and started fiddling with the laptop. Sis wisely brought her NetZero CD; the laptop came with a 56k modem card and the necessary adapter cable, which plugs into a standard phone jack, such as the one in the side of the motel-issue telephone. After some trial and error with the software (during which dialup delays I cleaned the Queen) we got online using sis's already-paying-for-it $9.95/month NetZero account (tweaking settings to get local NetZero dialup numbers, dial 9 for an outside line, and avoid long distance charges). I brought CuteHTML and WsFTP installation files on the camera's memory card and tomorrow-ish I should be updating this journal from the road! Woo Hoo!

And another Woo Hoo for the match! This was the reduced course, only 35 rounds, 5 sighters and the rest for score. First stage, slow prone, single-loaded, 5+10 in 15 minutes, worst five counting as sighters. Since I had five throwaways I gambled and tried the SLED that yesterday had thrown my shots far left, using the sight setting I acquired from the bench with regular clips. I have no idea why the SLED did that, and even less idea why it started to do the same thing today and then started behaving normally and putting shots where I sent them after a couple rounds resulting in a first-stage score of 96/1X of a possible 100 which I will settle for any old day of the week. [shaking head 'til brain rattles] Second stage was rapid prone, and guided by experience (and the results of a simulated stage yesterday) I very deliberately went up two clicks, resulting in a wholly acceptable 90/0X. Very carefully going back to the slow-fire sight setting, and using the perplexing SLED again, I then fired a quite good 84/0X in the third and last stage, slow standing, for my 270/1X third place total. Good gods I love this rifle.

Back to the laptop - two batteries, which according to the LED bar are both accepting and holding charges, though both were low when we started out. One was recharged while getting NetZero up while plugged into AC, the other is charging overnight. I know I'm on the trailing edge of technology compared to many of my readers but as far as I'm concerned this is so cool.

1471 - Sunday, 6 May 2007: A brief glance at CNN on the room's TV indicates the world hasn't blown up while I slept. Click.

Going to a loop sling, as opposed to the Hasty, helps significantly with NPoA, even if the loop is simply the back end of GI nylon. It removes more muscles from the equation. And now I know.

NetZero software (v8.0) must often be uninstalled and reinstalled but this shouldn't be an insurmountable obstacle.

Everything is working. I can (slowly, with mail2web) handle email on the road and I would be able to upload updates if I could remember how to log on to FTP which is otherwise installed and running. Maybe it'll come to me later.

8:45am and we start again, touring some arms and pawn shops around Kennewick & Pasco, few of which are open Sunday of course. Wandering, we finally find a phone booth with an intact phone book with local maps. I photograph same with my digital camera at higher resolution, transfer the files to the laptop's hard drive, and we go down the street reading the map on the screen. Technology is so cool.

And I repeat a previous rant: how in the nine billion names of God can you not read a #$%^&* MAP fer CRYIN' out LOUD!? People like that really freak me out.

About 10am we found a Best Buy, where I did not splurge on a wireless card for the laptop - though I will later. A wise investment I think, since opportunity presents and finances permit. This will allow me to remain connected under varying conditions in the future, so long as I have electricity to recharge the batteries. But first, with the proven NetZero dialup connection, I'll research the products to get the best deal.

We tried to find some K/P-area arms shops but even the one whose phone book ad said it was open Sundays, wasn't. However there was a Sportsman's Warehouse in the same mallplex as Best Buy and in it I saw:

On to Walla Walla! Flat, empty country, except where the Columbia River has carved it up. Windmill farms on ridgetops:

Quite a view of a wide spot in the Columbia River from the junction of US12 and 730:

Farms everywhere, and the occasional ranch. -Nothing earth-shattering in Walla Walla, and besides most places were closed on Sunday. Through southeast Washington and some very small towns; up the eastern end of the state to Spokane.

The original plan was to take the interstates, examine the population centers, and (for me at least) evaluate the environment for relocation. Now we're out here we're taking US and state highways and getting more scenery:

No TracFone coverage in rural Garfield County.

Trees begin to reappear as we approach Spokane. Reaching said city about 4:30 we browsed at the General Store on Division, a big ol' variety establishment which carries ammunition, but no actual arms in evidence beyond air and paint. (Tomorrow we seek the White Elephant, which I remember from my last visit here years ago.) Room at TraveLodge, cushy. Peking North restaurant on Division St., the main north-south drag, serves Generous Portions. When the menu says Super Deluxe, it's not kidding. I'll be nibbling on the leftovers well into Montana tomorrow (TraveLodge rooms have mini-fridges and, for sis, coffee makers).

Checking email - readers send anti-government posters and news story about a convicted rapist running for a Portland school board. And you can add that to the list of reasons I want to escape Oregon.

Hmm. I still can't remember the login for the .NAME server, but I did manage to get onto the (crowded) Iguanasoft server (where I think I'm hazardously near my 30Mb limit). I should be able to juggle files so I can make updates and they'll be readable. Some hours with CuteHTML are ahead.

Hm, those are some kinda crummy pictures yesterday, and the 1MP originals have already been deleted. I'll reduce the .JPG compression for the cropped images.

Okay, near 10pm and I think I'm ready to upload the appropriately-altered files!

1472 - Monday, 7 May 2007: With the howl of street racing to be heard through the 2nd floor window I bedded down about 10:30, warm and fuzzy with the accomplishment of 'blogging on the road with old tech.

Arising about 7:30 I check email. Reader sends story of National Guard troops (and a cop) looting after Kansas tornadoes. I've come to expect as much from police, but now the United States military?

TraveLodge also has Continental Breakfast, consisting of cereal & milk, coffee of course, muffins, bagels, and even fresh waffles (you-grill). Decent accommodations, though spendier than I'm comfortable with.

About 9 we were checked out and on the road, starting with Division St., hosting several arms and related shops. First was "GUNS PAWN" at 4103 N., a small place but not bad, featuring some ARs, Kalashnikovs, new FN items, and a few less-than-usual 1911s including a SIG GSR and an Ed Brown bobtail.

Next was Evergreen Jewelry and Loan at 3609 N., featuring… not much in the way of arms. Then Army Surplus at 2635 N., where I think I'd been before, a really cool old surplus shop with new Molle items too, and a few arms including a SA Garand, 3.0million, "about $895" (which, really, isn't unreasonable for a non-Century M1 outside of CMP). Lots of stuff and lots of different stuff, a recommended stop for gunfolk passing through Spokane. Pleasing interior décor for Our Kind as well.

Then Brock's Gunsmithing, 2104 N., a fine old full-service shop also well worth the visit. -Not so much a selection of arms for sale, but lots of accessories, reloading tools, and a very complete-looking shop section.

White Elephant! 1730 N., a fascinating old variety store with at least a little of everything. I think they sell Goex black powder too (they did when last I was there) - most places don't because of storage restrictions. The northwest corner of the store is the arms section, and a full one it is. Not much of a handgun selection, though a few desirable pieces, lots of long guns, shotshells by the case, plenty of reloading stuff. Don't look for CCI #34 mil-spec primers though - I cleaned 'em out, all 2400 at $2.99/100.

Our last stop on Division was National Loan at 1101 N., not a bad pawn shop but not much arms selection. Also a car lot, BTW. I did sight an actual German K98, un-butchered, for $400; and a head-scratcher: a #1MkIII SMLE, apparently all original except that both points of the bayonet lug had been removed from the nosecap.

Another such was Dutch's Pawn at 415 W. Main - hardly any arms at all in fact, just a couple shotguns, but if you want a guitar they have a couple hundred, and a like quantity of other musical instruments. Next door was EZ Loan, with fewer music items and a few more arms, including a base-model .45 Witness on sale for $400, and a Mossberg M590, bead sight & SpeedFeed stock, also $400.

Continuing east toward Idaho on Sprague Ave. we found Best Buy Surplus, 2615 E., with not so much milsurp but some useful hardware items, tools, etc. Then Double Eagle Pawn at 3030 E., a big place with plenty of Remchesters, a couple ARs, and of interest, a Mossberg 500 Cruiser Just In Case survival kit in a bury-able tube, $300; and an old Colt Ace (?) 1911 .22LR, some work done to it, $550.

At 4823 E. Sprague is All American Arms, a wholly acceptable arms shop with, again, lots of Remchesters but a good selection of new & used handguns. Got some old Herter's .30-30 dies, no shellholder, missing decapping pin, $8 - I have a mound of Fudd-surplus .30-30 brass from my club's public sight-in days.

A bit longer drive takes us to Gunatorium at 5323 N. Argonne Rd., a fascinating place that looks like it escaped from one of those 1950s issues of Guns magazine I've been downloading. Splendid displays of vintage handguns and lovely long racks of longarms, shelves dripping with dies, parts, and accessories - if you're in or near Spokane and want to see what an arms shop used to be like, don't miss the Gunatorium.

Next we sought out N.W. Collector Arms at 818 N. Pines Rd., but it was closed Mondays! :( Through the windows it looked interesting though, perhaps not far removed from Gunatorium.

BTW, on the way we discovered another White Elephant store at about 12600 E. Sprague.

On to Idaho! With mapping GPS and a stack of gazetteers, it feels like cheating with navigation. WA290, to ID53, to Post Falls, which is right on I-90. Clearwater Shooters Supply & Pawn at 505 E 6th, more guns than pawn - H&R Garand, about a '44 receiver but if I read it right a '53 Springfield barrel, $900; Russian Simonov, star-arrow (that's Tula?) 1953, about $480, quite nice condition. A small shop but Our Kind, with crotchety geezer behind the counter. Some good not-for-sale handgun display too, a couple Lugers, a 2.5" Python, WWII 1911A1 w/accouterments.

Antique Guns, 2658 E. Ponderosa Blvd., we almost gave up on finding - it's a little out-of-the-way place in a residential district but holy smoke what a find! The proprietor understandably declined my request for photos but let me tell you he has a magnificent series of displays of the evolution of US martial arms from the War of Independence through Vietnam. He said he used to take his displays to schools for history classes, but of course Clinton & Co. put a stop to that sort of thing - now field trips come to him. And the stuff he has! An original Starr revolver in such condition it could be mistaken for a reproduction. On the long-gun racks, in just one ~2-meter section, I saw four Burnsides, five Smiths, and seven Spencers. Twenty or more Sharps just on the main rack, at least as many Springfields and Enfields from the WBtS, percussion, conversion, & early cartridge revolvers everywhere. In the other room, with the SpanAm-to-Vietnam displays, scale models of Enola Gay signed by Col. Tibbetts himself and a couple copies of his book too. Do not miss this stop if you are anywhere near Spokane or Coeur d'Alene. The proprietor also gave us travel tips for the rest of our journey - like the Custer Battlefield, a short hop from the interstate, which I hadn't even thought of, duh.

Eyeing the lack of settlements beyond Coeur d'Alene, we sought a motel room here, and settled down for some net research - of lodgings ahead, wireless card comparisons, park & museum fees, etc.

Hm, no photos to speak of today.

Motel 6 now, under $50 including tax for a double room - and a directory of the chain throughout the western US, useful. According to the rate charts we're in the cheap season, before schools let out for summer and families take their brats across the country. Non-weekend is cheaper too.

On the way we stumbled across Shooters Supply Custom Firearms, 4029 N. Government Way, where I sighted a real rarity: an M1A in .243, with very non-standard match sights, $2600. Some even more non-standard ARs, and Idaho is evidently an NFA state because Gemtech suppressors - including an integrated Ruger MkIII upper - were on display.

The NEC laptop came with a 56k modem card, an Ethernet card, a spare battery, AC adapter, docking bar for external peripherals, and a shoulder bag. Pretty good deal.

Planning the trip. Custer Battlefield, $10/vehicle - but what about transporting firearms through a National Park or Monument? Cased and locked we can do, but will they search vehicles? Yellowstone, $25/vehicle, and widely-known as a disarmed victim zone - we'll skip it. Glacier National Park, also $25… might also skip. More concerned about the 4th Amendment than about the fee.

1473 - Tuesday, 8 May 2007: Motel 6 is affordable, but has thin walls. However, there was a small bit of justice in this grossly unjust world when we seemed to be not the only guests to complain of a particular room.

Garand match…. Official results in email yesterday, no changes from what I've thus 'blogged. I know I can do even better - I was calling my flyers and recognizing, if not always what I did wrong, at least that I did. The Appleseed was definitely worth the time and expense.

Up early. Coin laundry is attached to most motels including the Coeur d'Alene Motel 6. I should have packed more socks. With that done we went to Northwest Pony Express off US95 at Canfield, across from the Silver Lake Mall - also an archery shop but, for all it looks snooty in its trendy little corner mini-mall, and it's a very clean and tidy shop, inside are racks of longarms to walk up to and fondle, including milsurp SMLEs, the occasional Mosin, '03, M1917, a ~$1200 Garand, many used Remchesters - and fine displays of vintage items, antique thingies (like a shot dispenser with an 1881 patent date), new-production engraved & inlaid Winchester 1895s, snooty over/unders; modern sidearms including Kimber 1911s and at least one S&W X frame. Even a (small) clearance bin.

And I impulsively bought an Armi Sport Hawken .54 percussion rifle! With step-elevation rear buckhorn sight and period leather sling, and a Ziploc of tools including flask, sliding brass measure, ball & patch puller tips, and leather capper - $160 + tax. Somewhere in Montana I'll stop for a pound of propellant, a tin of caps, some patches and ball. I don't know the twist on this yet but the way it's set up, no anachronistic adjustable pistol sight or QD sling swivels, I'm guessing it's rifled for ball instead of sabot; or maybe a compromise twist (later experimentation with a cleaning rod and 20ga bore mop suggests 1:40" or slower).

Then a bit further north on US95 to Best Buy, where last night's research caused me to purchase a D-Link DWA-652 Xtreme N wireless card for the laptop, on sale for $80. According to the directory some Motel 6s have wireless, but not this one - still awaiting testing. While there I also grabbed a free NetZero v8.4 CD, which hopefully will negate the bugs of sis' v8.0.

Today's plan continues to evolve but is looking like a Scenic Drive. Not much but forestry roads between Coeur d'Alene and Montana, so taking I-90. That to Missoula; left on US93 to Kalispell, where we have a room reserved at Motel 6. Photos from the car:

We crossed into Montana without hardly noticing, on impulse stopping at the famous 10,000 Silver $ Tourist Trap in Haugan, where sis sent postcards:

Casinos, or at least video slots, everywhere in Montana. Continuing on I-90 to Missoula we found Brady's Sportsman's Surplus, "One of Montana's Largest Gun Dealers", with a very respectable selection of hunting arms, an adequate selection of handguns, Full Shelves of munitions and accessories, and where I bought a pound of Triple Seven FFg, .530 ball, .015 lubed patches, and other such bits for the .54. (I forgot caps!) Time, fuel, and fatigue prevented us from seeking other arms shops, though there were a few in the phone book that looked interesting.

Missoula is a flat town, as though a glacier had scraped it so long ago. Lots of bicycles. Lots of hippie-Earthie-looking people. Surrounded on all sides by Imposing Scenery:

Oh, and here's a Montana motorcycle - 20mm ammo cans for saddlebags:

On to Kalispell! Which sis describes second hand as a hippie artsy town which I'll hate. On the way, the small town of Ronan, with Ronan Sports & Western - one end is a western clothing store, the other an actual gun shop. Where I again didn't get caps duh.

About 6pm we reached Polson with, among other attractions, Flathead Lake:

Summer weather since before Missoula, low 80s F.

Up US93 on the west side of Flathead Lake. This house was on top of a hill overlooking the highway and much else:

We reached the Kalispell Motel 6 about 7pm and, supporting the hippie description, I saw this:

And more such, including "MILITANT AGNOSTIC", in the back window.

NetZero v8.4 installed easily, but there are no local dialing numbers in or near Kalispell! The wireless card also appears to have been successfully installed, but without a hotspot I can't get online that way either. No updates today!

Tomorrow, from Kalispell, east on US2 skirting Glacier National Park, which we won't enter due to concerns of 4th Amendment, tourist critters, and entry fees. Then I-15 south to Great Falls, where there is also a Motel 6.

Finally finished Sheffield's Starfire. The ending of the main plot was perhaps forced some; the sub-plot murder mystery didn't excite me so much; but the sub-sub-plot of the other serial murderer had its intriguing bits. Continuing McGivern.

1474 - Wednesday, 9 May 2007: This morning we backtracked some on US93 to some arms shops we saw while approaching Kalispell, but which were already closed.

Ah, finally, with a bit of wardriving, I got the wireless connection working in a particular motel's parking lot. :) Last night's 'blog uploaded and email caught up on. Now the only problems are finding a hotspot, and battery life - one of the two the NEC came with has a very short life, though the other seems to be behaving normally. Connection speed pretty darn fast too - the Best Buy geek said this card would be "excessive", but with an eye to faster laptops in the future (or any kind of high-speed connection compared to what I've had) that's kinda what I want. Does anyone make an adapter for a PCMCIA card to a desktop computer?

Waiting for some arms shops to open sis visited Montana Harley-Davidson, on US93 south of Kalispell, to add to her t-shirt collection. Finally 10am came and we visited Brass & Bullets, a short distance away at 2703B Hwy 93 S., with very nearly everything you need for reloading (but nothing for muzzleloading). After that a bit further south to Wooden Nickel Pawn and Cycle Haus, the former closed and the latter remarkably junky but the sign did say GUNS and they did have some (overpriced) CCI #11 caps (also #10 for those import revolvers with undersized nipples). So now I should have everything I need to run the .54.

Heh. All this hysteria over .50s, and bans written so broadly they outlaw RevWar muskets, and now I have .54 which, once I learn how to use it, should be less dependant on infrastructure.

Yes, a flint rifle is also on the wish list, to be even less dependant on the grid for ammunition.

Sis wisely brought a (small) Coleman PowerMate power pack, and with the assorted adapters I brought I got the laptop running from it, extending computing time (it's about drained now though, but it did manage to fully recharge the laptop's good battery).

Finally we begin to depart Kalispell about 10:30am, making one last stop at Powder Horn Trading Co., "The Most Interesting Store in Montana," 2052 Hwy. 2 East, which does carry lots of blackpowder stuff. Coulda got a new ramrod for the .54 (the one with is not threaded, and missing the cap on the storage end) but I haven't made enough measurements yet. Not a big selection of arms, and not really a great deal of muzzleloading possibles, but decent, and the arms went from 1863 Springfield to AR. Most of the store is décor though, beadwork, lamps, furniture, some clothing. Sis got some miniature cap-gun Christmas tree ornaments.

Kalispell is also a flat little town, and indeed very artsy - galleries and studios and bicycle shops everywhere, antiques, taxidermy for the hunt-tourists, and sis points out the numerous espresso shops - but the bumper above seemed to be the most glaring example of leftism and I'm betting he gets flipped off a lot.

He's probably the exception (and some incompetent employees at a Burger King last night) - nearly everyone else in Montana has been very friendly and outgoing, almost disconcertingly so compared to what I'm used to around Portland. I'm so accustomed to being surly in response to pervasive surliness, I'm not quite sure how to react to decent folks.

Then we continue on US2 east, along the south end of Glacier National Park. Lots of tourist attractions along US2 - helicopter tours, wildlife drive-throughs, river rafting, RV parks & car rentals, gift shops. Magnificent scenery:

This is on the very boundary of the Glacier National Park, about a half-dozen miles west of the Continental Divide:

And the Divide itself:

Thence remaining on US2 eastbound:

About 1:30 we reached the… depressing little Blackfeet town of Browning, where we stopped for fuel and little else. Sure, The Plight of Native Americans, uh huh - but the heartless libertarian in me says "Quit drinking and get a job."

Continuing on US89 southeast toward Great Falls:

About 2pm we passed through the tiny town of Dupuyer, with More Cows than People. 20 minutes later the very small town of Bynum, featuring the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center (see also):

Montana east of the Rockies has that genuine bug-on-a-plate emptiness. About 3pm we reached Choteau for a late lunch:

It seemed a bright yet pleasantly quiet little town, but I expect it's badly crowded a couple weeks from now in official tourist season. Lunch at John Henry's was quite good, and next door is a small but respectable arms shop (in the back of the touristy gift shop).

Further on US89 toward Great Falls. Big Sky:

4:30 and we reach Great Falls. Shops are closing but wardriving for access I use the net to search phone listings and sought out Big Bear Sports on N.W. Bypass - where the decent selection is indecently overpriced (i.e. a used Rock Island M1911A1, scratched & holster-worn, for $350 - when half a year ago Mary's Pistols in Tacoma had them NIB at that price) (and $7.49 for an RCBS shellholder!).

Rooms at Best Western Heritage Inn (and Casino), where the wireless card works adequately but our room seems to be in a bit of a dead spot - I had a stronger signal and faster connection earlier in the parking lot!

1475 - Thursday, 10 May 2007: Up later this morning - 8:30. Not much wandering about Great Falls; on to Helena. Not a bad stay last night; up late watching TV. Great Falls is a small city, about 60,000 I think; Malmstrom AFB to the east spits out F-16s once in a while.

I-15 south! Skirting the eastern foothills of the Rockies. They love their horses in Montana - the animals, and gear and such for them, everywhere you look. Low population pressure here. Much of the economy seems to be tourism-based - hotels, museums, attractions, casinos. In between specks of population, swaths of emptiness, alternating ranches and farms. And scenery:

Cows & cell towers…. Not-so-random thought: is there a way to connect a laptop to a cell phone and use the latter as a modem?

The scenery can be overwhelming - we'd have to stop the car every couple minutes, and completely clog my server and your bandwidth, to take it all in:

Reached Helena, in spring rain, about 11:20. More cheating with technology - pull into a motel parking lot, get online, use YellowPages.com to find arms shops, load their maps in separate browser windows, then drive there with maps on screen even when the wireless connection fails. I don't even have to get out of the car in the rain to photograph phonebook maps, heh. And of course, there's the mapping GPS to compare to the static maps.

Most of the arms shops in Helena (a smaller city than Great Falls) appear to also be pawn shops, which have paled for us. We found Frontier Gun Shop, 4508 N. Montana Ave., but it was pure gunsmithing with no retail. Then on impulse we stopped at Goodbuddy Pawn, at Montana & Helena Avenues - lots of Remchesters again, a couple 1911s not unreasonably priced, and a fair collections of wall-hanging antiques, mostly smallbores like Stevens Favorites & Crackshots and Winchester 1890s and descendants.

About half past noon we visited the Montana Historical Society & Museum, near the capitol:

Featuring a replica of the Liberty Bell:

Then lunch at Overland Express at 11th & California, great big and really tasty burgers at reasonable prices. In the lobby, an event flyer showing that Montanans really love their horses:

The bumper from Kalispell is definitely the exception. Here in Helena there are far more unapologetic conservatives than militant leftists, judging by the bumpers, and the occasional pickup fully repainted in Old Glory's colors. -Southern Crosses aren't vanishingly rare either.

Curiously, a great big mosque - not much else it could be - near the center of town.

Our next stop would have been the Montana Military Museum at Fort William Henry Harrison, but apprehensive about security and a possible search & seizure of the vehicle we passed.

Thence to Butte, by a scenic detour on US12 to Garrison and I-90.

For the past few days, at most of these small cites and smaller towns, we've seen billboards or signs - sometimes government, as often hand-painted private ventures - condemning methamphetamine use. -Parenting beats prohibition, sez me; government can't change human nature.

About 3pm the GPS' memory gets full and it crashes, just as we're stumbling around trying to find Garrison. We fumble our way back to I-90 and reach Deer Lodge, where I get online again, download the GPS' manual, read it, and fix the problem. Technology Good.

We would have stopped at the auto museum in Deer Lodge, as sis and her husband are at least partly car people, but they're not yet on summer hours and were closing shortly after we arrived.

Sitting in a motel parking lot for a while we research Butte attractions - whoa, Bob Munden is in the yellow pages! (Probably not going there though, likely appointment only.)

Reached Butte about 5pm, everything closed of course; overnighting and relaxing.

In conversation the topic of WiFi hotspots at interstate rest areas arose. I mentioned that conservative talkers bashed the idea because pedophiles can download child porn at public expense; sis then mentioned hearing of several incidents of blueshirts sitting in their cruisers, viewing porn on the car's computer, and citizens walking by on the street glancing inside the vehicle and catching them at it. Will research. (If my readers, seeing this, don't flood me with links first.) (And it might be better to send such links to David Codrea anyway 'cause he does such a better job of it than my little page.)

Wind! Here on the plains there's nothing to break it up. On some of the fields we see big wind-break fences, not unlike brakes on a dive bomber, protecting sensitive points like feeding areas, or atop rail bridges to keep the train on the tracks.

Fuel prices right around $3.08 for Regular throughout Montana the past couple days. Back in Portland it's probably over $3.30 by now.

Lots of cattle herds, some horses, but not so much wildlife here along the interstate. We did see some bison the other day but I couldn't get a good photo; likewise an antelope about 4:30, some miles north of Butte, which had jumped the fence and was running alongside the interstate. Earlier today we also saw a small herd of antelope.

Next time - after I win the lottery and get an SUV (or a 4x4 motor home like the one we saw the other day) - I'll take the Really Scenic Route along US2 through the northern part of the state, or other US and state highways through the middle, or just pick a road at random and see where it goes. $omeday. Hm, a reason to go back to work, as sis keeps pestering about.

Reader sends shopping link to adapters for PCMCIA cards to desktop PCI slots! So there's, uh, half a piece of equipment I might not have to buy depending how expensive the adapter is. The hovel is very near a couple national-chain inns, and another reader has sent useful links for building antennae and signal boosters. [evil grin] Hm, might have to activate an email account from the .NAME server I'm paying for from GoDaddy, transfer a bunch of files from the Iguanasoft server finally, and close the Iguanasoft account. Later.

1476 - Friday, 11 May 2007: Good free breakfast buffet at Best Western.

I'm thinking there is a gambling problem throughout Montana. Lots of casinos… even attached to gas stations. And lots and lots of pawn shops.

On to the arms shops. Bob Ward Sporting Goods, 1925 Dewey, Butte, isn't bad - decent selection, Remchesters to ARs, Hi-Points to X-frames, reasonable prices (sale prices anyway) - but not exciting and different.

Historic Butte:

Fran Johnson's Sport Shop, 1957 Harrison, an older, quiet little place - I didn't notice any handguns. I did buy some .54 rod-end tips though. On the sidewalk in front… if it were Portland these would be artificial, but in Butte you can't be too sure:

On the road! I-90 east to Bozeman and further points. More scenery, and just outside of town we crossed the Divide for the third time:

And then we leave the rockies for the plains again:

Bozeman about 11am and the gazetteer shows the American Computer Museum. Wardriving, searching… ah. But pressed for time we pass. Some arms shops around too but most are pawn shops.

On toward Billings. Sheep herds out here too, and the last couple days, including llamas, which sis points out are naturally aggressive toward coyotes and like predators.

Everywhere a casino. I don't dare.

This trip will take weeks to process after I return. Many of the area newspapers have websites and I can probably look for jobs that way. Wednesday in Choteau we eyed housing ads - apartments significantly cheaper than Portland.

Beef country! God Himself reached down and made it so!

And venison too:

Another thing - I haven't noticed many immigrants, evidently-illegal or otherwise, since Idaho. It's all American-speaking Americans out here.

Best Western Kelly Inn at Billings:

Sis is right about spending a little more on the rooms. Motel 6, as stated, is less expensive but has thinner walls.

Arms shops in Billings. Sagebrush Trading, 1111 1st Ave. N., a little Quonset-hut pawn shop - but lots of arms, from blackpowder and accessories to an AR pistol on the wall. Got a flash cup for the .54 and a pound of Swiss FFg, $20; $14 for Goex, and other options in that neighborhood.

Butt's Gun Sales, 1943 Main St., is packed full of stuff - a wide variety of arms, munitions, and accessories, including many vintage collectibles (when it was mentioned that we would eventually be going to the Custer Battlefield I was handed a not-quite-Custer Trapdoor carbine) and a knowledgeable proprietor who also doubles as tourist advisor, recommending many attractions (including the multi-museum in Deer Lodge we've already passed) which we just don't have time to see on this trip. The place was surprisingly tidy and organized (except the sacks of empty brass, on one piece of shelving, which every customer including myself pawed through) considering how much stuff is there. Strongly recommended.

Billings Gunsmiths, 1841 Grand Ave., has hardly any retail arms but a very respectable selection of parts and accessories. One thing that caught my eye was a rack of take-off Remchester barrels with the threads carefully taped for protection. This is far less a store than a shop where real gunsmithing is done.

And that's about it for Billings due to time and gumption constraints.

Using mapping GPS, in conjunction with print maps, is so cheating. :)

Back to the room for a bit, then to Burger King for take-out because it's Friday night and every real restaurant is packed. And thus ended our sixth day on the road.

Billings seems a decent town, but Friday afternoon traffic is as bad as Portland. Construction is underway.

1477 - Saturday, 12 May 2007: Not so much breakfast at this Best Western.

Fascinating indoor pool design though.

Sis says the local paper says there's only 2% unemployment in Billings. The town is visibly in growth mode, lots of road work and new construction.

On the road by 7:30 to the Custer Battlefield! I-90 toward Sheridan, WY.

About 8:15, approaching Hardin. Flatness:

About 8:30 we stop at a gas station at exit 510, for US212 toward the battlefield monument… and sis discovers a small leak in the Cadillac's coolant system. Fortunately it is only a small leak and I wisely brought one full gallon of coolant and two of water to cut it with and we're soon on our way again. However we might stop for service in Sheridan and not make Cody until tomorrow.

The cemetery:

The visitor center:

The battlefield:

The little specks in the distance are markers where US soldiers (white) or Indian warriors (red) fell during the battle:

Not just horses wandering on the battlefield:

This is at the memorial for the allied tribes which destroyed Custer and his command, just down the hill from Custer's memorial and the mass US grave:

Sis borrows another tourist's cell phone since mine has no service here, contacts a shop in Sheridan, and is advised to have the car towed 60 miles there.

Near 11am and a tow is on the way. Ah, my Tracfone has an adequate signal after all, it takes a moment to go into roaming mode.

Here before the regular tourist season it's very peaceful and quiet, especially early in the day when we arrived. Birds and crickets, horses wandering right onto the paths if they feel like it. Midday it starts filling up though. May is probably a much better time to make such a trip; although many attractions won't be open yet, the weather is milder and the crowds, which I can't stand, far thinner.

Right here at the visitor center the laptop tells me there are some WiFi signals, marked "crow", fluctuating up to ~25%, but either the signal is too weak or they're well firewalled and I can't get on.

Hm, evidently no sales tax in Montana. Looks like neither MT or WY is much for helmet and seatbelt laws either, though the carrier driver said there is a seatbelt law in WY.

About 11:45 the carrier arrives and the Cadillac is loaded without incident. About 12:30 the carrier crossed into Wyoming and about 1pm we reached Sheridan Motor Inc. (which has wireless, BTW). Apparently the heater core is leaking; coolant has entered the passenger compartment from under the dash. The technicians attempt to bypass the heater core (which we certainly haven't needed this trip; the Billings forecast this morning was for high 80s F) to eliminate the leak and get the car roadworthy, at which point we can continue the tour.

The bypass proves unfeasible and we're stuck in Sheridan until at least Monday, probably Tuesday for parts. It's a family curse, or at least a personal one; whenever I go on a trip or event something awful happens. Anyhow sis reactivated a Platinum card just for the trip and we're only inconvenienced, not doomed.

Well now wait a minute. The Appleseed was pretty good. Ah, but that was more in the way of work than recreation. Right, that explains it.

Super 8 on Main at the north end of town, haven't stayed at one of those yet - not bad, comparable to the others, except they didn't have a non-smoking room available. Good wireless connection, and the sign says BREAKFAST. Loud freight trains not far outside the window though. And thinner walls than Best Western.

So here I am in the Promised Libertarian Land of Wyoming at 3pm on Saturday. And we don't dare drive anywhere to look at it and by the time the car is fixed we'll have to head back to the northwest. Sheridan is a low-density place:

Already saw a gunsmithing sign just off the main drag, will investigate later. Pawn shops too of course, but no casinos outside Indian land. State lottery…? Not yet, in the legislature.

Difficult choices for the rest of the trip now. I wanted to take the interstates through the bulk of Wyoming but we no longer have time. Cody and its museums are directly on the way back, as is Boise and the Elmer Keith museum in the Cabela's store (which my readers tell me is an attraction unto itself), but under the new time constraints we're going to have to pass on the Browning museum in Ogden - which pilgrimage was one of the main reasons for the trip. #$%^&*. Hm, no Devil's Tower either, near Hulett, which wouldn't have been far off the originally planned route.

A trip like this should be made in a land yacht, over a month or more, with lots of money. Sigh. The Dakotas… the southwest… Texas… maybe even the South, see some Confederate sights and sites.

Reader sends story on a blueshirt overdosing on marijuana brownies… and probably still being eligible to wear a badge. Uh huh. Another sends this report of a decorated US Marine being murdered by a mob of badge-wearing ninjaboys.

Sis just had a Good Idea: if we're renting a car anyway why not make the run to Cody while the Cadillac is in the shop? The rental will be acquired tomorrow afternoon; the Cadillac put in the shop Monday morning, the heater core should arrive Tuesday.

1478 - Sunday, 13 May 2007: TBS was playing the Ring trilogy on the motel TV last night. I reckon I'll have to get the DVDs sometime. On previous stops Red Dawn was added to the list.

Dinner was from Country Kitchen, 2617 N. Main; sis had and praised the Country Sampler (rings, fries, cheese sticks & chicken strips) and brought back for me the Chicken Breast Salad, which beat the snot out of WinCo's prepackaged.

The Super 8 filled up during the evening, mostly truckers according to sis, which makes sense as the place is right between I-90 and a very active railroad. It's a little better than Motel 6 for quality, and a little more expensive, but Best Western is admittedly better.

Local coin laundry, then sitting around the room watching Fox News.

No vehicle searches, no security to speak of, at the Custer Battlefield, BTW.

In the process of changing to a non-smoking room, the attendant recommends a visit to Thermopolis, which was also recommended to me by a neighbor. We might extend tomorrow's Cody trip, since the Cadillac won't be available anyway.

About 2pm, a short (by my standards) walk to Country Kitchen for a late lunch - I had the Big Country Burger, and it was one big country burger, yum. On the way to the restaurant we were nearly run down… by a real live prairie dog in a vacant lot. Then back to the room to call a taxi, then to the airport for a rental, then unloading the Cadillac for its stay in the shop tomorrow.

Main Street in Sheridan is jammed with decorative little shops that even I would expect to find interesting. A bit south, off Coffeen Ave., is a small building with a barber shop on one side, a locksmith on the other, and a gunsmith in between. No casinos; fewer pawn shops. No state lottery.

Sis reports illness and we may be cutting the trip even shorter, as soon as the Cadillac is repaired. Cody tomorrow with the rental.

1479 - Monday, 14 May 2007: Up early for breakfast and delivering the Cadillac to the shop, then on the road to Cody! Sis feeling better, got an inhaler prescription - probably just a different climate.

$2.99 for Regular in and around Sheridan.

Leave Sheridan about 7:50. US14 west to Cody. Everything around here is beautiful, not least because it's uncrowded. You thought Montana was pretty? Brace yourself for Wyoming:

I took these photos at 2MP, then laboriously used Windows Paint to shrink them and IrfanView to save them as .JPG with a little compression to reduce the file sizes. The camera angle is not wide enough to get the full stunningness of it.

Someone with skills could vanish up here, it would take whole divisions to find him:

I thought I'd seen fascinating views before. Rock formations along the highway have signs telling how many millions, or billions, of years old they're estimated to be:

This was Sibley Lake, on US14 a few miles east of Burgess Junction, still frozen in mid-May (well, it is around 8,000 feet):

What is that, elk? I wear a size 10½ BTW. Those are probably more than twice the size of the deer tracks I see at my club.

I am going to be completely miserable returning to Portland. I now set myself a goal: raise a fund for relocation by spring 2008. Surely even I can scrape up a couple spare thousand in a year.

Everyone is so polite here, saying hello, holding doors open. New Orleans showed that cities are deathtraps waiting to happen; Virginia Tech showed that cityfolk are useless prey animals; daily existence shows that cities are unfit for habitation. I hate cities more by the hour.

About 9:15 we reach Burgess Junction and the Bear Lodge Resort, where sis realizes she has to put a couple more motel nights on her credit card, but the pay phone here is cellular and not presently functional; no signal for my TracFone either.

Then we find that US14 Alternate is still closed for the season (we're near 6,000 feet) so we have to backtrack a bit and get on regular US14, the southern route to Cody and Yellowstone. This takes us to Shell, with more stunningness on the way:

About 10:30 we reached Dirty Annie's Trading Post just east of Shell (pop. 50):

Lots of cool souvenirs; I got a Wyoming mug for my hot cider, a little state flag pin for my hat as a reminder of goals, and a decorative dangly Wyoming keychain for sis to replace the Las Vegas one she has on her Cadillac's mirror. Dirty Annie's stocks a little ammunition too, just a few boxes of the most popular calibers but there it is.

I'm going into ferret shock with the scenery. There are only so many pictures I can cram into this page. Come drive US14 yourself, between Sheridan and Cody. Bring food and drink and spare batteries for your digital camera - if you're not used to it, you'll be stopping every few minutes to stare, drooling. Interesting shops along the way too.

10:45 sees us in Greybull, pop. 1815, featuring the Smokehouse Saloon:

Sis makes another call to her health insurance company for the breathing meds and, with some other delays, about 11:15 we continue on to Cody. Soon we passed a Museum of Flight and the fire bomber station: a couple A-26s, an old Catalina I couldn't get a good photo of, and what looked like a boneyard:

Flat west of Greybull:

Amusingly, Emblem, WY, pop. 10.

About 12:30 we reached Cody and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

Our first stop was, of course, the firearm museum.


If I put all the photos on this journal page you'd never be able to load it, even with high-speed. I'll begin building a separate page, with thumbnails for full-size 2MP images, but it may take days. Here are a few reduced teasers:

I sometimes just stood staring, incapable of deciding which way to turn, as sis described it "trying to look in six directions at once". For hardcore gunfolk the exhibits are sensory overload. About the only thing I didn't see was a Pedersen Device. And there's a lower level. And the little records center for research. And the museum store with maybe every book R.L. Wilson ever published - they had one shelf section full of firearm-art and -reference books. If I ever get wealthy I'm going back there and getting one of each. Instead I spent $3 (evidently 5% sales tax in Wyoming) on a pin for my hat.

A day trip is grossly insufficient for a visit to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

After the firearms museum we had a passable but not extraordinary lunch at the on-site restaurant, then made somewhat abbreviated tours of the other four museums. Every one had at least two firearms at least symbolically represented, even the tree-huggy bunny-kissy museum of natural history. And in that museum they were showing both sides of the Wolf Issue. -Somewhere on the journey today I saw a window decal on a pickup: "Welcome to Wyoming. Now Take a Wolf and Go Home!" And similar sentiments on bumper stickers for sale at Dirty Annie's.

Even this early in the season there were plenty of visitors to BBHC. At the height it must be a total mob scene. We departed Cody about 3:45, and about 4pm we saw a tour bus going the other way. (At this time of year BBHC is open 8am-8pm every day, though some few exhibits are not ready for viewing.)

And more scenery on the way back, from the other side of the Bighorn Mountains:

Shell Falls:

GPS is handy. Up in the mountains, there was one point on the road where I figured I could get a spectacular shot of a little canyon, so I marked it as a waypoint, then after we were done in Cody told the unit to point us back there, and it worked. Here's a small sample of the result:

I took about 300 photos on just this day trip. Some were inadequate and deleted; others remain in my personal collection; what I think are the best, you see here, far fewer in number for considerations of bandwidth and server space.

About a quarter past 6pm we crossed the summit of the Bighorn range on US14, about 8,500ft as I recall, in a bit of ice and fog to sharply contrast the high-60s-low-70s weather on both ends of the journey:

We returned to the Super 8 about 7pm and sis vegged while I typed. Finally a bit after midnight this entry was ready for upload.

1480 - Tuesday, 15 May 2007: Good news! A replacement part for the Cadillac is right here in town and the car may be ready this evening, also for a lower cost than sis feared.

Planning the return trip, such as it will be. Looking like I-25 to Casper, then instead of Cheyenne and Laramie like I originally wanted, cutting across the center of the state on state 220 and US287 to Rawlins, then I-80 west and maybe still make the Keith museum in Boise.

The laptop started giving some trouble and we took it to a local shop, Microstar Computer Depot, 748 N. Main, a little standalone place. I described the problem to the tech and then tried to boot the machine.

And it booted. Probably the CPU was just overheated, or there may be a problem with the fan, which will be a lot easier to fix. Having had his job and sympathizing, I tipped him for his time.

Then to the arms shops. Down Range Gunsmithing, 722 S. Sheridan, is almost entirely a gunsmith's shop with nothing to speak of for retail, but if you need work done it's probably a good place to start. Shipton's Big R., 2049 Sugarland Dr., is a ranch & farm supply store with, in the back corner, a selection of arms and supplies to rival Sportsman's Warehouse (but like SW, no actual blackpowder, only substitutes). The rest of the store is interesting in its own right, for those who haven't seen such a place before. If I lived here, I'd shop there, often. I did in fact, getting a magnesium firestarter, haven't had one for years, it's going in the Corolla kit.

Not much to choose from for arms shops in Sheridan. The phone book shows some other places in and around Gillette, but that's too far out of our way now. Next we parked at one end of the Main St. strip and walked all the little western shops.

One of our first stops was Bighorn Design, for all the souvenir clothing you can carry - they also do their own computerized embroidery, here doing six caps of the same design at once on a machine any flavor of gadget junkie would stare at:

And heat-transfer t-shirts to order in minutes. Behind the cash register were autographed photos of the Bushes, Col. North, and Sean Hannity, and family members in military service.

Nearly every business we passed had a sign in the window welcoming their National Guard troops home.

We stopped at a Dairy Queen for ice cream, then sat on a bench in front of a pawn shop eating it.

It was very relaxing.

Inside the shop the proprietor was sitting behind the counter leisurely playing a guitar, and not badly. Sis pointed out this:

As for the law in Wyoming, I hope, and wish to move here because I believe, that they are less law enforcement officers and more peace officers, 'cause my Corolla will never outrun this:

A bank being constructed on Main St. suggests a healthy local economy.

The Beaver Creek Saloon used to be City Hall:

They love their horses in Wyoming too:

An accountant's office we walked past had a Friends of NRA Donor sticker in the window.

Cool sculpture on nearly every other street corner, and the occasional mural. Here's the Sheridan County Veterans' Memorial outside the county courthouse:

Here's John D. Loucks, the founder of Sheridan, in front of the current City Hall (note the yellow ribbon - there's another picture I need to take tomorrow, on that subject):

This one is titled "Bozeman Scout":

Probably the most impressive stop in town is Don King's Western Museum, 184 N. Main, part of King's Saddlery at the same address:

Here's sis surrounded by leather and Rodeo History, going into mild ferret shock of her own:

A school field trip was coming in as we were going out. Tourist season is beginning now; May is a better time of year to make such a trip, avoiding the worst of the crowds while still being able to access most of the attractions.

If you have to spend a weekend in a motel with a sick car in the shop, there are far worse places to do it than Sheridan, WY, where the people are polite (and not too numerous), the shops are interesting, the employees are competent, and the town is easy on the eye.

This evening sis examined the Cadillac and decided on a test drive; we went up state 338 a few miles and just moments outside of town I suffer more ferret shock:

While on this test drive, an antlerless mule deer (ears, and the wildlife maps in the gazetteer) Briskly Approached the road. There was no collision, but on the way back to the motel we stopped at a liquor store and sis treated herself to a bottle of Bailey's Original, wailing slightly about "three hours out of the shop and we wreck the car…!" She is deeply attached to her Cadillac, wanted one for decades.

One last pic today, from the parking lot of Star Liquor on Main:

A few times while we've been here we've seen guys driving these right down Main in the middle of the day. Haven't noticed any open carry yet.

After, we watched the GOP debates on Fox News, and Ron Paul's position on the war against Islam has probably knocked right him out of the race (especially when Giuliani jumped on him in rebuttal), which is a shame because he's excellent on many other issues. Tancredo seemed quite strong, especially on immigration and when he hypothetically invoked Jack Bauer. Romney has an excellent suit, but no one, who claims to support the 2nd Amendment and supports an "assault weapon" ban in the same breath, is getting my vote. McCain is out for three reasons: he campaigned on TV in Oregon years ago to "close the gun show loophole"; McCain-Feingold restrictions on free political speech; and McCain-Kennedy immigration amnesty legislation. Giuliani has an anti-gun, pro-blueshirt record, so he's out. Fred Thompson was of course not present because he's not yet officially running. The others, shrug, don't know much about them and they seemed formulaic. (We missed the first half-hour or so getting some Arby's.)

Sis points out that the screen ticker says Portland, OR, has the most courteous drivers in the nation. BWAAAHAHAHAHAAAHAAHAAAA! What, they didn't count any place with fewer than a million people?

1481 - Wednesday, 16 May 2007: Loading the Cadillac we saw this in the parking lot, with Texas plates:

Where the heck do you park something like that? Aside from the clichéd answer.

On the road at 8am! Sis stops at a service station to check Cadillac fluids - all is well and we're headed south on I-90 shortly thereafter. On the way, on Coffeen Ave., the other main drag, we see more evidence that Sheridan is a Patriotic Town:

The ribbons go on for about a quarter mile. There was another, similar display near the freeway south of town.

More scenery ferret shock. It's already taking nearly a minute to load the test page on the local hard drive. There should be fewer pictures from this point because it's so much work to put them all up.

By the way, here's one of those windbreaks I mentioned earlier. I think they're also situated to cause snow drifts upwind of roads and railroads, so the roads aren't blocked.

Passed through Buffalo about 8:50 - no stops. I-25 south to Casper. Now we're seeing more wildlife, particularly antelope, mixed right in with cows and sheep:

Sis points out a lack of revenuers on the roads. Pleasant. -Minutes later we saw a WHP cruiser examining an apparently abandoned minivan.

Near 10:30 sees us in Casper, a city about four times the size of Sheridan, which still makes it like a tenth the size of Portland. The town itself is fairly flat but the Laramie Mountains are just to the south. $2.85 for Regular here, but it's 85 octane; Plus is 88 at $2.94. A rest stop and some mapping and our next leg is state 220 southwest to US287 and Rawlins; no other stops here. Here's an old oil derrick at the corner of 1st & Poplar, and a bit of sculpture on 220 West:

Leftie commie treasonous hippie freak bumper stickers have been conspicuously absent for the last week.

Right outside of town you can see for twenty miles:

About 11:10 we passed Alcova, which appeared larger on the map than on the highway - no lunch there. Nothing much around but stunning scenery and the occasional pronghorn, freight trucks, and a few land yachts. Some county or USFS roads one could turn off to, to get even more isolated. Some interesting terrain features:

11:52 we crossed the Divide for the fourth time, entering the Great Divide Basin. 12:12 and our fifth to exit the Basin, just north of Rawlins. Still on the Atlantic side here; Rawlins is in a corner of the Divide.

At 12:17 we were stopped by officer Scott of WHP and fined $60 for 75mph in a 65 zone. Non-mandatory court appearance, pre-addressed envelope to send in the fine.

Uh huh. They gotta pay for those Dodge Chargers somehow. I'll need a radar/laser detector when before I make it out here.

Stopping in Rawlins (pop. 9006) for lunch at China House, where the food was all right but the service left something to be desired.

Seagulls? In Wyoming?

On our way again at 1:30, west along I-80. Eight minutes later we crossed the Divide into the Basin again, that's six. The interstate stretched away in the distance and a melancholy began to descend upon me as we began the return journey.

Now we're seeing more revenuers, maybe they come out of hibernation as tourist season approaches. At 2:16 we exited the Basin and crossed the Divide to the Pacific side, for the last time this trip.

Southwestern Wyoming looks like it's out of a Road Runner cartoon, except with more green:

Reached Rock Springs about 3pm, stopped for fuel, continued west. More scenery, and a tunnel through it:

Around 3:50 we turned northwest on US30 for Kemmerer and Pocatello. Very flat out here, not many terrain features. Oil & gas fields, the occasional refinery, lots of freight trucks passing through.

At 4:30 we passed Kemmerer. We would have stopped for a brief rest except for some kind of accident on the overpass at the exit, backing up traffic in both directions' ramps almost back to the highway. We continued west, with 164 miles to Pocatello.

The terrain became less flat as we neared Idaho. Warning signs for deer crossings for miles, much to sis' dismay. US30 turns north at a map-spot marked Sage, and runs along the Idaho border while still in Wyoming. Mostly ranches.

About 5:15, a rest stop at the Hideout Motel near Cokeville:

Nearby, this flying-buttress thingy:

Crossed to Idaho about 5:30.

About 6:30, Soda Springs, ID, featuring a geyser:

And some interesting weather:

Hm, photography for income?

Getting more depressed by the mile as we near the cities.

7pm the batteries die and I go into keyboard withdrawal until we reach a motel. 7:15 US30 joins I-15 north; about 7:45 we reach Pocatello and, at my insistence, a Super 8, with wireless net and the Fox News Channel (Best Western, in my experience, doesn't have FNC, hmm). This Super 8 is far cushier than the one in Sheridan-

-where we started this morning at the beginning of an epic ~11-hour drive-

-and in the lobby I found this:

The clerk informed me that the artist is Joe Woodland, flagposter [at] aol.com. If you look close, the first stanza of the Star Spangled banner is shadowed in the stripes, and each star contains a state abbreviation and the year of admission to the Union.

Fuel prices rising as we go further west, now about $3.20 for Regular.

Looks like I'll be back at the hovel tomorrow evening. Letting email slide today in that expectation; also one wouldn't think sitting in a Cadillac for eleven hours could be so exhausting.

:( Don't wanna go back!

1482 - Thursday, 17 May 2007: Up before 6.

The laptop is giving some trouble. I suspect heat expansion is causing the CPU to jump it's socket; this morning I removed and reinstalled the CPU and the machine finally booted. I've seen others of this model on eBay for cheap for parts, might get some.

Not the worst free breakfast at the Pocatello Super 8, small frozen omelets to microwave, etc.

Packing up and hitting the road about 7am, straight to Boise.

Never even got into Utah, much less Ogden for the Browning museum, which was the leading reason for the trip. Bought a Powerball ticket at the gas station. :(

In Idaho and western Wyoming, they build Burger Kings into the gas stations - same entrance.

Less photoworthiness now, it's more built-up along the I-86/84 corridor in southern Idaho, and what isn't, isn't very different from Oregon. Further, after you've seen Montana and Wyoming, even the Snake River isn't so much. And the depression mounts as I near Portland.

Flat east of Boise, nothing much to look at - except the swerving freighter ahead, behaving as though no one were awake at the wheel. I was nodding off in the passenger seat myself. But I haven't been getting much sleep this trip, often up late either working on this page, researching our next stop, or ODing on Fox News and the History Channel, then up again early to cover more ground, especially since the delay in Sheridan.

At 10:16 we crossed the Boise city limits (pop. 159thousand-something). Already looking depressingly like Portland.

The Cabela's store is at I-184 and Franklin Rd., and there are prominent billboards miles before. -I also saw a billboard for a warbird museum in Nampa, which unfortunately we no longer have time to visit. After Cabela's it's straight to Portland on I-84.

About 10:30 we reached the store. A Cabela's retail store is a lot like a Sportsman's Warehouse. Except bigger. Quite a bit bigger. With more displays and the occasional museum and fancy food bits (sis bought fudge) and hunting-video-game demos and Epic Taxdermy Dioramas and so on:

That's only one example; I fumbled some transfers and lost some photos. There's a large display of African game as well, and isolated examples scattered throughout the store.

The Elmer Keith museum was small (compared to Buffalo Bill's, which in fairness has no comparison in my experience), just a corner of the store, but nicely done, with a cool animatronic Elmer sitting at his typewriter and waving a cigar (though RKBA absolutists might take slight issue with some of his NRA-stroking). Elmer's own weapons are here, and many of his trophies, and if you're near Boise it's definitely worth a visit. It, like King's Western Museum in Sheridan, is free, attached to a store they want you to walk into.

As for the store itself, it's… like a big Sportsman's Warehouse. Prices on most things were not unreasonable, and the Gun Library was not snobby, with everything from 5-figure country-club stuff to ARs and 10/22s. Used arms here too, for example a couple S&W M22s for $200. Good selection of arms and goodies, reloading components and tools, etc. We were in a hurry so I was a bit distracted, but I think that's a SIG P210 near the top of the first photo:

And I bought… nothing. Except a souvenir pressed penny:

I almost got another ramrod for the .54 but still wasn't quite sure about the measurements. I'll have to go to another Expo show and the big m/l vendors there, they have barrels of rods. There is a Bargain Cave on the premises but nothing leapt off the shelf at me there either - I'm sure some things would have if I weren't now going back into Frugal Living Mode and hoping to build a relocation fund.

After the store sis got the Cadillac's oil changed as a precaution before the run to Portland. Then we lunched at A&W, then back on the interstate about 1:20.

Just before 2pm we passed a military vehicle sales yard right on I-84, but I didn't catch the name of the place, nor have time to get a photo. Shouldn't be hard to track down. A couple minutes later we reentered Oregon, to my increased melancholy. Not much heart to take more pictures, though there are some beautiful hills flanking I-84 near the Idaho border.

Just before 2:30 Mountain time we crossed into 1:30 Pacific time.

About 2pm Pacific we approach Baker City and as we do we see an Oregon state trooper in his expensive cruiser sitting at the side of the interstate with his radar pointed at oncoming traffic. No incident there but for all the wailing and tooth-gnashing on Lars Larson's show about how communist governor Kulongoski isn't funding OSP, wouldn't there be something more constructive for the reputedly-too-few troopers to be doing with their time and our tax dollars than hassling taxpayers who are simply traveling as their vehicles and these roads are designed for?

Rest stop short of LaGrande about 2:45.

Fuel in Arlington about 5pm.

Reached hovel 7pm, the second consecutive epic 11-hour journey. Half an hour to unload the Cadillac. Sis will overnight here due to fatigue and failing daylight, likely be gone hours before I wake.

Gods I hate it here.

Hovel and Corolla unmolested, Corolla starts and runs after brief hesitation, dunno if the solar thingie had anything to do with that, the Corolla's lighter socket doesn't output when the key is off but the battery seemed fine.

Phone message asking to confirm I will appear to be humiliated and degraded on the 21st, will answer tomorrow when the bureaucrats might actually be pretending to work. Also, in snailmail, new subpoenas for 4 June for the same case numbers, hm.

Meager resources about spent. Setting aside what's left as emergency reserve for if the Corolla blows up or I can't get a job or whatnot.

Launching relocation fund. Depressingly small.

Reader sends link to PCI card adapter for PCMCIA cards, so you can put laptop cards in your desktop. Five bucks? On the way soon. Antennae are a separate issue - no signal in the hovel with the naked card in the laptop, but readers have already sent plenty of URLs for building "cantennas" and signal boosters.

Rummaging through the stuff accumulated on the trip. White Elephant in Spokane has Hornady One Shot case lube in the 5.5oz aerosol can for $5.99 (plus tax). In Portland it's eight bucks; at Cabela's in Boise it was nine. I got two.

1483 - Friday, 18 May 2007: Zzz.

Aaand I'm back, gods help me.

On 9 May I received the following email, and after consideration sent the following response. The double spacing is in the original message:

#What cuases a 30-06 shell to get stuck in my rifle?

#I had to take a piece of wood and hit the slide ejector

#to release it from the bore.

#Was the shell to long or the neck to thick or what?

#The shell was a reload.

#Help please.

I don't mean to be unsympathetic, but would you please examine this visual aid:


and rephrase your request?

Sigh. No response of course. Looky folks, if you want people to treat you like adults, don't type like a government-schooled 12-year-old.

Pins at Wolverton Saturday, if I have gumption. I need some live-fire now that I'm back in enemy territory. Unfortunately that likely means I'll miss the Albany Machine Gun Shoot this weekend - now I'm all Frugal again and trying to save up to get the hell OUT of here I can't afford a long drive and rental and ammunition and such.

From rec.guns, story from CBS San Francisco. "Just because you legally possess a gun in the sanctity of your locked home doesn't mean that we're not going to walk into that home and check to see if you're being responsible and safe in the way that you conduct your affairs," [District Attorney Kamala] Harris said. So there goes the 4th Amendment.

Phone evil government instutition - trial set back to 4 June, confirmed receipt of new subpoenas. It is difficult to express how disgusted I am with this system. My home was violated, my property stolen, yet it is my life being further disrupted on the whim of a career-ambitious and, I suspect, bigoted DDA.

Live fire... pins tomorrow, yes I think; maybe try the .54 at my own club after.

Cleaning up files, reintegrating the road trip .HTML with the regular. First, copy files (mostly pictures) from laptop to old Compaq, where all my other files and applications are; use Compaq to get everything set locally; go to laundromat, and while I'm out, wardrive to use the laptop's high-speed wireless to upload new files to roomier .NAME server and delete them from crowded Iguanasoft, then also to check the result online.

Somewhere along the way I bought a little pack of brass mesh disks for the Hoppe's lead removal tool, thinking they looked awful similar to the Lewis - and they're identical, though the Hoppe's packaging says they're only for the Hoppe's tool.

So I receive, in snailmail or email, newsletters from the Barberton show and the pin shoot at Wolverton... and my name is misspelled, differently, in both of them. [rolling eyes]

State tax refund, there's a little breathing space.

NRA Easy Pay Life bill, $25 - online payment option, convenient.

Even weeks later, things I learned at Appleseed continue to sink in. "Don't drag wood!"

1484 - Saturday, Armed Forces Day, 19 May 2007: Didn't completely suck on pins this month, especially after I warmed up, but a slow start and I didn't win anything (12th of 16). Methinks I need a hotter load; I was getting hits! But the pins weren't leaving the table! Plugged plate match and intramural - the hard part with the intra idea will be getting people to show up at both events, and Wolverton is quite a drive.

Local ARCO Regular, BTW, $3.31 Portland and Woodland, WA, $3.29 Vancouver.

After, back to my own club to fire up the .54. On readers' suggestions, starting with 50gr by volume of FFg (Swiss in this case - I also have Pyrodex RS and 2F Triple Seven, and I think I have a pound of 2F Goex somewhere (lots of 3F Goex but I understand that's too fast for this bore size), but the Swiss and 777 is all I brought), .530 Speer round ball, .015 lubed patch, CCI #11 caps. Tight fit, ball starter and short starter required - maybe a thinner patch to increase rate of fire. (Good thing I didn't get the .535 ball.) First shot, bench, 25yds:

Allll righty then. Move target to 50 yds, three more rounds, then increase charge to 60gr for two more:

Then a fresh target and five deliberate rounds at 60gr:

The one that's low was the first in the string and I think I can count it as a called flier, in hindsight. The rest are under 4MOA and That Ain't Bad, considering it's like 25 years since I fired a weapon of this type in a neighbor's backyard and I've never owned one before. I reckon I'll keep it. For study, spent patches:

Those look all right to me. A little blow-through on the center one; I didn't recover every patch, just grabbed three as I was retrieving my target holder at the end of my session. Aha! I knew I had a copy of Sam Fadala's The Complete Blackpowder Handbook. Dug out for study.

On the way back, Vancouver Sportsman's Warehouse for more thingies: a new nipple wrench, and Muzzleloader Originals brand lubed patches in .010 and .005" thicknesses. More experiments will be performed later, with different powders, etc. Also comtemplating different projectiles, suggestions welcome. Is there a hollow-base Minié-type in this caliber, for fast loading without sacrificing accuracy, and are they easy to come by? Sportsman's Warehouse stocks T/C Max Hunter and Maxi Ball, but I think those are solid-base; they also carry Powerbands, but those aren't exactly Period. Sabots a'plenty, lots of places.

I got a Traditions nipple wrench, with one end for #11 and the other for musket sizes, and a separate handle to put through the crosswise holes, with a flared end on the handle to prevent it falling out. Now if I had designed this nipple wrench I'd've drilled another hole all the way through the long axis to store that handle in! I still haven't acquired a drill press.

The flash cup, not original to this weapon, continues to be adjusted and may be dispensed with.

The nipple this Hawken repro came with is peened and I was going to buy a replacement, except I don't know the thread size yet. On second thought, I'll just take the Dremel to the existing nipple and not spend more money. -Musket cap conversion? I'm not having ignition problems except that the cap doesn't go on the battered nipple and the first hammer strike often serves only to seat the cap without firing, requiring a second strike - but the Dremel will be taking care of that presently. No, don't need the conversion, but the larger musket caps would be easier to handle than the tiny #11s.

The Hawken will be the last firearm purchased for the forseeable future (except the 1911 of course, and even that might be postponed). I must focus on getting out of here.

Oh yeah, I suppose you want a picture of the Hawken. And I'll have to build a collection page for it. Lemme clean it first - here:

Hm, combustible paper cartridges with saltpeter-treated cigarette paper, as were made for percussion revolvers? Another reason to get a drill press, to make a nice loading block for such out of scrap wood.

Onnn further examination this thing may have a musket nipple already, which would explain why the #11s don't fit easily, hm. Nope; I have a single live musket cap I picked up at the range one day and it's way too big. Dremel it is. But the musket end of the wrench fits the nipple. Shrug, at least I have something that fits.

Hey, are these blackpowder bore mops machine-washable?

I don't have a rod of any kind with 10-32 threads yet; the muzzleloader rod tips I've accumulated don't fit my Hoppe's rod and the ramrod the rifle came with isn't threaded. A 12ga cleaning patch wrapped around a .45 pistol brush works though, for a little CLP on principle after the hot soapy water. A 20ga mop on the Hoppe's rod pumps the water well enough; a 20ga Hoppe's brush also works. There does appear to be a threaded breech plug but I probably don't want to remove it. The vent screw in the side of the nipple mount, on the supposedly-removable breech plug, has a damaged slot but probably doesn't need any attention right now. Much of the color case hardening has been blasted away from the lockplate by cap flames. Coil mainspring. Pretty good trigger. Plastic buttplate, largely concealed by the period sling. No escutcheons for the barrel wedge. Some dings in the stock, one chip gone, one small gouge in the barrel. So it has character.

.530" round ball is about 224gr, BTW. Chrono data someday.

At a Wal-Mart somewhere on the road trip I bought a DVD set of the two Conan films (ten bucks). I've greatly enjoyed the original Milius film (co-written with Oliver Stone) for many years and already had a VHS copy; the DVD includes added footage, including one scene before the Battle of the Mounds I'd never seen or heard of before, and special features, and of course the Best Movie Music Evarrr by Poledouris (he's probably still getting soundtrack royalties a quarter-century later). The second film, directed not by Milius but some clumsy schmuck named Richard Fleischer and written by another such named Stanley Mann, by itself is boring and compared to the original sucks mightily. The music can't save it.

At pins today another shooter loaned me a book he'd told me of, Ecological Imperialism by Alfred W. Crosby (Cambridge University Press 1986), studying why European stock colonized everywhere and no other ethnicity did a fraction as much and what it all means. Looks like Ringo & Kratman's Yellow Eyes, a Posleen novel, is coming through on hold soon though.

At the club I learned of an event evidently directed by Mr. R. and possibly a somewhat pale imitation of an Appleseed - but that doesn't mean I'm not going. An 88-round course of fire under NRA Sporting Rifle rules at 100yds, intended as, well, a bit of the Appleseed spirit as far as I can tell. I reckon I'd better dust off that MojoMosin and whip up some rounds; experienced shooters are encouraged to bring extra equipment. Might-could haul out the MojoVZ too.

Email is behind.

1485 - Sunday, 20 May 2007: Zz.

In the news, the amnesty deal and the wholesale sellout of American citizens by President Bush and the Republican Party. One talk-radio caller points out that of the six Islamists who plotted to attack US soldiers in Fort Dix, half were illegal aliens who would have received amnesty under this deal.


Mild recoil in the Hawken at 50 and 60gr FFg, very controllable. Enormous quantity of smoke.

Excellent guest editorial on Codrea's 'blog.

There was an AR24 at the pin shoot yesterday and it was working all right. The owner expressed satisfaction.

From the chat room, some Walter Williams commentary.

Bob Munden's website.

1486 - Monday, 21 May 2007: And now, Iguanasoft informs me they'll be discontinuing dialup service on 1 June. Fortunately I have all the files for the existing site duplicated locally, but there's a lot of HTMLing ahead to get everything running right on the .NAME server hosted by GoDaddy, and then there's the question of getting online after the shutoff, and almost certainly my email address will be changing. There was something about an email account included with the .NAME server, I'll look into that. And then I have to decide if I want another dialup service 'cause I might be able to afford it, or if I should take the plunge with high speed like DSL through the phone company or broadband through the cable company, or pursue wireless, or what.

Trying to work on backed-up email today... after doing the laundry I actually didn't do the other day.

Or maybe I'll just sit and mope a while.

1487 - Tuesday, 22 May 2007: Zzz.

In backed-up email:

New rimfire shooting game.

State prohibits free trade, charity.

Reader recommends Hornady Great Plains bullets for the Hawken, warns of reports of poor quality with T/C bullets.

WiFi spot search engine, and another and another and another.

Commentary in an Iowa City, IA, paper. Same reader also sends right/libertarian webcomics.

Technical discussion on internal ballistics.

Using cell phone as modem - also.

Quote o' the Day: "In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant." - Charles de Gaulle

Quote o' the Day, redux: "The goals [of No Child Left Behind] are great, but it is not the federal government's role to tell the states what to do... There is no constitutional role of the federal government to have the Department of Education. I don't believe we should have the U.S. Department of Education." - Rep. Tom Tancredo

Springtime in Islamberg. And if they were Christians there'd've been air strikes by now. Uh huh.

Online sniper training.

Thought police in action.

A Cleveland liberal gets mugged.

In radio news, local arsonists targeting SUVs, specifically Honda CRVs. Eco-freaks? Or extended road rage?

Survival site.

Readers suggesting seeking income from web design, writing, and photography, hm.


Blueshirt hand-to-hand tactics. Know the enemy.

Comparison of states for gunfolk-friendliness. MT and WY both got the highest rating. Linked from there, OpenCarry.org, ditto MT and WY. From what I saw, either state would do for my escape.

I have a new email address set up and working but I'm not releasing it just yet. I hate changing ISPs. Looks like I'll have to wardrive to use the laptop's higher-speed wireless to download everything off the Iguanasoft server to make sure I have it all. In the worst case, with mail2web, I can stay online and continue updates by wardriving even without ISP service. Looking into other dialup services; I've been paying $15/month for Iguanasoft, with 30Mb server space, but now I have 5Gb through GoDaddy and a separate domain. Some dialup ISPs are as low as $10/month; if I can get Outlook Express running with the new email address I won't care if another ISP comes with extras; a call or email to GoDaddy tech support should handle that. Lots of .HTML to adjust, sigh. But what I usually do is to set up the whole site on my home machine offline and make sure it works before uploading.

Starting Ringo & Kratman's Yellow Eyes, Posleen attacking the Panama Canal.

1488 - Wednesday, 23 May 2007: Z.

In radio news, more small SUVs being burned overnight. What is this, Paris?

Got what was left of the vent screw out of the Hawken, but the head is a mess. Hardware store later, maybe I'll get lucky. There was a Coffield article on recovering damaged screws in Shotgun News, might try that too.

Shopping for dialup services:
LocalNet, $9.95/month, plus optional $3 for some kind of acceleration on a standard line
SpireTech, $99.95/year plus $10 setup, 10Mb server space I won't need now
AracNet/SpiritOne, $10/month
StepHouse, $9.95/month

Any comments? I don't want NetZero, they put banners and such all over, toolbars in browsers, etc. I have the new email address running with Outlook Express - one reader has already suggested Mozilla for a mail reader but I'm used to OE and I have a lot of saved emails I don't want to lose if I can avoid it. As for DSL, I'm in the Qwest service area, FWIW.

Ethanol? Nuh-uh. Yay Stossel.

Oh yeah, the Hawken page, such as it is, is up. I'm hoping for more testing after the plate match Saturday.

Yellow Eyes is Kratman's book, written with the experience of a man who served in Central America and married a Panamanian woman. It's always rewarding to read something written by someone who knows what the hell he's writing about.

1489 - Thursday, 24 May 2007: Z. Apathy and lethargy. The meager resources will let me stay incomeless for one more month, maybe two if I'm careful, but then I'll have no reserve.

SpiritOne informs me that I can get DSL for $16/month to them plus $15/month to Qwest plus a modem sold separately, with some discounts for prepaying, hm. Can't I just get my own modem and pay just the $15 to Qwest and use the email and web server I've already bought separately?

Shopping for DSL modem - is DSL on the way out now? I could only find one on Best Buy's site and that was bundled with AT&T/Yahoo service. Five at Circuit City were all bundled with phone companies' services. Eh? One of those, $65, includes Qwest service and a $65 rebate with Qwest activation, hm. Let me see if I understand this - DSL is just a hopped-up phone line, right? With an expensive new modem which may have to be connected to the PC by Ethernet (which is built in on most PCs now)? Just getting another 56k dialup connection seems a lot simpler.

Got a replacement vent screw for the Hawken, 3M/.5, but all they had in the right head style was Phillips, either stainless or in the white (I got stainless to resist corrosion). At least it works and I can get it out for cleaning. -There is something viscerally rewarding about throwing a great big piece of lead with a huge cloud of smoke. Saturday I hope to test two weights of Hornady Great Plains, and some Hornady sabots Sportsman's Warehouse had on sale.

Beginning to switch to the new email address: JEFFERSONIAN [AT] JEFFERSONIAN.NAME. Starting with Yahoo groups. Also starting on the HTML. Transfer files to camera as though it were a USB drive; use that to transfer to the laptop's hard drive; wardrive with laptop for higher-speed wireless connection; upload files to .NAME server, delete from Iguanasoft, install redirect page on old server. Any day now. Let me know if you see anything odd.

Car-arsonists arrested, reportedly random cityfolk vandal scum.

Hm, don't have Goex FFg after all. Well, Swiss 2F, 777 2F, and Pyrodex RS, that's three powders to test. Caps, mostly CCI #11, some CCI and Remington #10s, that's all. Oh, a while back I discovered those little red plastic toy caps mostly fit standard nipples and will ignite powder.

Something odd is happening at my local Sportsman's Warehouse. The shelves are nearly empty of primers, except some #209s; the stacks of bulk lead and plated handgun bullets, i.e. Xtreme, Meister, Laser-Cast, are nearly gone. All the #11 & #10 caps were gone too, on the blackpowder wall, but there were still tins of musket caps right there, and jugs of 777 and Pyrodex right next to them. Eh?

Speaking of powders, examine these photos:

The fourth powder I got at a show in an older Goex can marked FFFg. It is powder and it does burn (well enough to scorch the hair on the backs of my fingers when testing a pinch in the driveway, heh), though there are some small clumps and apparently foreign matter in it. What is this, 1F for cannon? I won't be using it in the Hawken, certainly, I'll stick with known quantities there.

While I was taking pictures, see also:

Reader sends The Speed Trap Exchange, a user-updated listing of known or suspected blueshirt revenue traps nation continent-wide. In case you were wondering why government wants to tax, censor, or otherwise control the internet. Almost as bad as the &^%$# Darhel. And what was it Ripley said about the xenomorphs? "You don't see them #$^*ing each other over for a damn percentage."

A couple years back, seeing a photo in a Dixie Gun Works catalog, I made a pour spout from the cap of a Goex can and a .223 case with the base sawed off, epoxied over a hole drilled in the cap. Now I've discovered the threads on the Goex cap are close enough to allow this pour-cap to be used on the plastic Swiss blackpowder jug. And... yes, it fits the old IMR metal cans too. IMR now comes in wide-mouth Hodgdon plastic jugs, but Hodgdon offers a replacement pour cap for those already. I've also seen a valve cap for the Goex/IMR cans, which accepts standard spouts, turning the can into a full-pound flask.

In Ringo & Kratman's Yellow Eyes we see Kratman developing as a writer; it's not all just action and jargon, there's plot and depth, well flavored with the coauthor's genuine experience in the setting. We also learn more of the Posleen, their Aldenata creators, the Darhel, and the Galactic Federation - the reader might even develop some small sympathy for the scaly omnivorous centauroid devils. Watch on the Rhine, same authors, gave great big spoilers as to where the saga will end up, as to a lesser extent did Ringo & Cochrane's Cally's War and The Hero with Williamson, but that's all right. Ringo has a Big Picture in his head here and it will take a while to paint it. -Flyleaf says another volume, Sister Time with Cochrane, is forthcoming.

1490 - Friday, 25 May 2007: The big upload is finished and smaller adjustments can be handled by the dialup collection. Still some links to correct though, give it a couple days.

Finally the library gets Sands of Iwo Jima on DVD.

Uh huh! Uh huh! Didn't I tell ya! And now this amnesty thing. Have the Darhel infiltrated the GOP or #$%^& what?

1491 - Saturday, 26 May 2007: Match day. Struggling to overcome lethargy and depression caused by looming court indignities and the observed futility of city existence.

Well. There is one thing to cheer me up.

But first the match. Hot and sunny, and tiring - I tried an air horn to conserve my voice but the horn broke. Nonetheless I took 2nd Revolver. Jim Breen won overall again. 29 entries counting multiples, stack of loot for the club. Tired, I wimped on rifle work though I had brought the Hawken. With RSO access I may go up next week, also with Mosin and Mauser.

After, I stopped at Brightwater Ventures seeking a replacement vent screw for the Hawken, but was foiled by metric threads. Then, since it was only a few blocks away, I eyed the Sportsman's Warehouse on that side of the river, where I found primers in abundance, about the same quantity of handgun projectiles as I'd seen there before, and plenty of #10 and #11 caps in the blackpowder section (though no Hornady Great Plains bullets like the Clackamas store has, hm). So SW apparently isn't discontinuing sales, something weird must be happening just at the Clackamas store.

Later, I finally took official possession of... not a 1911. But the 1911 Fund was used for it. What is it?

Does this look familiar?

It's not a 1911 but it is .45ACP, can be carried Condition One, and uses ten-round narrow-staggered-column magazines for a slim grip. Holsters will be a bit of a problem but an Uncle Mike's Size 5, bought for the P35, will work if the bottom is open for the ported extension. I still haven't tried any Kydex holster for anything and they're hard to find for anything off the beaten path. I think a Fobus for the CZ75 might fit this large-frame .45 Witness but I have doubts. It came with the factory case and two magazines; two more are already on the way from CDNN. It was a steal at $450, considering all the non-standard features and obvious limited-edition-ness of it. In previous testing I already discovered it's very accurate, and reliable with factory FMJ; soon I hope to use it on pins & plates, and I'll be developing loads for it of course.

Thus ends the 1911 Fund and that's it, really! I'm going to try very hard to not buy any more firearm$ until I reach Wyoming or Montana!

Hm, one thing about the Witness: the safety does not lock the slide, as do those of the 1911 and P35. With a snug holster this might cause problems while holstering.

Cox & Forkum's Memorial Day Issue.

Finishing Yellow Eyes, a novel that drips blood, red and yellow, from near every page. The authors' afterword is worthy in its own right, a spirited and informative essay on Cultural Warfare. And these two guys, Ringo and Kratman, Really Love America. Go buy their books.

Starting Crosby's Ecological Imperialism. In the stack, recommended by an ex-SCA acquaintence, another bio of Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow - over 700 pages, I didn't know there was that much to write about Hamilton.

1492 - Sunday, 27 May 2007: Aaand I'm sunburned. Well heck, at least I got out of the hovel and did something. Even won something this month.

OAC show, theme "Gunleather" - bought nothing, gazed upon an approximately-Excellent "Red 9" C96 Mauser, a nice display of trench knives, other funky old stuff.

The Corolla makes a sound indicating the rear brake pads need replacement. Net shopping - affordable - on order from Schuck's warehouse to my local store.

Now the Witness is not entirely new to me; I've 'smithed it and test-fired it and been in its guts (a little). .45ACP ammunition is expensive though, moreso with recent industry-wide increases - but I am all set up to load it on the second Pro 1000 (though I'm having a bit of trouble with expansion with the Lee PTE die, and then taper crimping with the old Lyman die), and I've been scrounging .45 brass for over a year. Presently I have 200gr plated LSWC and I'd previously developed and tested a load which functions, but doesn't always feed (Cruffler points out that some pistols just don't like SWC). Sportsman's Warehouse stocks 230gr plated LRN and I'll likely get some; the Witness has, in limited testing thus far, never failed with factory FMJ, and I've already taken Dremel, felt thingie, and red stuff to the feed ramp, and gently broken a couple sharp edges at the rear of the barrel. This pistol was not used much before I acquired it.

Gun Talk and chat, discussing the atrocities Paramount has made of Tom Clancy's books:

"Only white Americans can be evil in Hollywood (unless they're lesbian Wiccans of course). Anyone who's not a white American can't be evil."

In Flanders Fields.

Day by Day Memorial Day issue.

This appears to be the military vehicle sales lot we passed near the Idaho-Oregon border.

Hey, does anyone know if the Fobus holster SG-2, for SIG and Witness, fits all Witness models or just the polymer-frame versions? 'Cause now I finally see it's available in a Roto-paddle, which would also allow me some modular fiddling with accessories, and I can adjust the cant for various clubs' and games' rules. Oh! Yes! All right then! Finally! I've been looking for this for months, since the possibility of acquiring the pistol arose. Ordering from here, a link provided by Yuri during chat. Roto-paddle, and Roto-belt adapter. House/vehicle mount later maybe.

Wish list for the Witness: a standard 4.75" non-extended, non-ported barrel, which may also have conventional rifling; a reader has suggested the tactical sight, a fixed rear sight which fits the Bomar cut, resulting in fewer moving parts; a more-visible front sight (EAA/Tanfoglio offer a red fiberoptic); a compact upper, possibly in another caliber, should I ever have to carry this; a .22LR kit of course. Looks like all of that can be ordered straight from EAA's site and dropped on, but it's not affordable at this point.

The safety doesn't lock the slide, but it allows checking the chamber or clearing the weapon without releasing the safety, if the hammer is cocked. The safety can be applied with the hammer down and that does have the effect of locking the slide.

Bored, I finally opened a window, placed an electric fan to blow through it, and fired up the donated lead pot, preheating the Lee .358/150/RN mold I found at some show or other, the only mold I have at present. From variously-collected scrap lead I have made 24 bullets (four cylinders in the GP100, which is strong and stainless enough for testing nearly anything). My equipment consists of a small donated electric pot, the aforementioned Lee single-cavity mold, a gunsmithing hammer with a nylon head installed to strike the sprue plate, a tablespoon to harvest slag and to dispense lead into the mold, and a pair of needle-nose pliers to fish larger foreign objects out.

Unsized and unlubed, a sampling measures .360", give or take a thousandth, and weighs between 147 and 149gr. Some look better than others but none look horrible. I have no sizer or bullet lube and I'm inclined to just load this test batch as-is to see what happens, hand-selecting each for weight, size, and appearance to get as consistent results as possible (some are a bit lacking near the base). But not right away, reader comments are welcome. Hm, don't have an ingot mold either; I'm leaving the lead, having repeatedly scraped off and discarded slag (and fished out the wheel-weight clips and husks of copper plating), in the pot. More things to look for at the shows. (Ah, next month's OAC is "Cartridges & Loading Tools".) -Probably I won't make a habit of casting my own handgun bullets unless prices go up even more; I'm really fond of plated, and factory projectiles remove many variables that this beginning caster doubtless cannot avoid. Casting for the Hawken, or replacement percussion revolvers in future, or the flintlock pistols if I ever get around to rebuilding the second one, might be more attractive. Or, if/when prices do go up I might get a bigger pot and a multi-cavity mold and sizers and lube and all that. -The Witness has a polygonal bore so casting for .45ACP is out, with the current barrel. -I'll look at Lee, Lyman, and other catalogs. Anyhow! That donation is actually getting used! At least experimentally. And I've again increased my reloading capability.

-Ah, reading assorted Lee .PDF instructions, lubing is mandated - later I'll see if Sportsman's Warehouse has Lee Liquid Alox, which looks pleasingly simple to use (I've seen large-capacity spout-equipped pots there). Lee's bullet mold instructions say that sizing "should not be considered an absolute necessity", but Lee's doubtless-inexpensive sizing kit (uh huh, $17 complete for one size, and every size I would expect to want is listed) is also added to the list. I didn't lube or carbon-treat the mold before beginning, as the instructions say, but that didn't seem to matter, the bullets fell out of the mold easily for the most part, some requiring a little jiggling or a gentle thump with the nylon hammer.

Sigh, I'm going to have to get another ISP any day now. At least this site and my new e-dress are independent and I can wardrive with the laptop or use the library to keep up if there's an interruption. I'm thinking LocalNet, $10/month, which also happens to be one of the ISPs suggested by Iguanasoft. -Speaking of computers, a reader and club RSO has given me a Knoppix CD, which according to the web is a self-contained, self-booting Linux OS, hm. I'm going to have to try it, but I don't know when or on which machine - the old Compaq shambles precariously along under Win98 while the equally-old PII laptop creeps along with WinXPPro. Maybe I'll throw together a test machine from the derelicts.

.PDF catalogs... oh! Lee offers six-cavity handgun molds! And single-cavity hollow-base .54 Miniés. Well, I'll save what money I can at the shows first. -Hm, much more of this and I'll have to build a bullet-casting page to go with the reloading pages. Hm, might even try making my own 12 gauge slugs someday, as Lee shows theirs loaded in conventional hulls with conventional wads.

No, I'm not likely to get into Cast Bullet Association benchrest rifle stuff, I prefer the matches I've been shooting, with actual field applications. But I'm told by a board member that CBA and my plate match are the two leading sources of income for the club - lots of folks show up for CBA, which appears to be held at least as often as plates.

1493 - Monday, Memorial Day Observed, 28 May 2007: Yeah, I probably should have served in the military. Too creaky and crotchety now though.

Signing up with LocalNet, plus dialup acceleration, $13/month plus $12 setup.

Vegging today, picking at a little backed up email, fiddling again with the lead pot and bullet mold - recycling... most... of yesterday's efforts. But I expected as much. Getting better results when pouring directly from the pot than when pouring from a spoon - want pour-spout pot. Striking the sprue plate at just the right time is also important. I'm learning.

Tuscon Tom warns that used wheelweights contain silica, which does not come out with slag, and will wear the bore. There are some wheelweights in my current brew but most of it is recovered bullets from various sources.

Gah, matches all over - the PIG on the 9th, Garands at Lone Oak on the 10th, Mr. R.'s not-Appleseed on the 17th, plates again on the 23rd, Garands again at my club on 7 July.... I'll be competing with something more weekends than not for the next couple months, if I can afford to. I'll need some serious practice sessions. Last year there was an inquiry in the newsletter about a muzzleloader match but evidently there was not enough interest.

Buy cool stuff. They even have Red Dawn t-shirts.

On this Memorial Day, reader sends a bit of untold WWII history.

1494 - Tuesday, 29 May 2007: Hot today.

Brake pads and other errands.

Theodore Roosevelt on immigration.

Today's Dilbert. Sigh.

From a Nova documentary on Apollo 13:

"If you're going to, what we say, buy the farm, you might as well do it in what you're testing. Cracking up in an X15, or testing a new airplane, or getting lost in space, is much better than the way they went." - Apollo 13 mission commander James Lovell, commenting on the deaths of Apollo 1 crew 'Gus' Grissom, Edward White & Roger Chaffee
Now why did this strike me as significant? Lots of reasons, and most of them increasingly political in this ongoing culture war. The courageous and highly capable men of our space program didn't give up. They didn't cut and run after a few losses. They were men who would rather have died striving than lived without trying. The parallels to GWoT, and the political divisions over it, are obvious. -And as for the space program itself, again I say it should be taken away from wasteful cowardly government bureaucrats (that's, what, triply-redundant?) and the private sector should be let loose. We'd have a casino-resort in Luna City in a couple years. (First sis had that idea, BTW, of letting some Vegas developer have at space exploration. I've heard worse plans.) Mediocrity is a fate worse than death. The socialist philosophies that would reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator are evil. As Apollo 15 commander David Scott said, "...there's a fundamental truth to our nature: Man must explore." Mankind must strive, must compete, must excel, or we lose everything that makes us men.

Swell advice. I should apply it.


New dialup connection is working, all should be well for now. I'll have to check on usenet, I want my rec.guns without having to go through Google.

Brakes.... As long as I have the wheels off I finally test-fitted the miniature emergency spare I found in the bushes behind the library a year or so ago, and the holes line up, yay. Haynes manual... road gunk... foiled, the drum won't come off. Looks like I need four hands and flexible eyestalks to follow the instructions (manually retracting brake shoes inside the drum). Might seek help from the old SCA acquaintences.

Hm, shopping for bullet-casting gear - don't need a ladle, I can pour from the little pot I already have and use a tablespoon to remove slag; I'm sure I can rig something for an ingot mold; I don't need another pot, really; need lube and sizer for .357 bullets, Lee liquid alox and their sizer kit; a mold for the Hawken, probably Lee's .540 Minié; a multi-cavity mold for .357, likely Lee's 6-cavity 158SWC - and above all, sources for metal!

1495 - Wednesday, Memorial Day Actual, 30 May 2007: Zzz. Up late getting sucked into this webcomic. Usually I don't like fantasy, preferring varying hardness in SF, but this is pretty good: heroes, villains, striving and conquering. And there's the subtle right/libertarian tint.

Emailing old SCA acquaintence for help with Corolla brakes.

LocalNet has usenet, setting up now.

Not quite enough signal strength at the laundromat for the wireless laptop.

According to talk radio callers and emailers, the US Coast Guard is not part of the US military. From 1790-something to 1960-something it was part of the Treasury Department (I did know the service was formed as Revenue Cutters); then it was in some other department; and now it's part of Homeland Security. So... this sort of thing is to be expected. Uh huh. Another reason to move to landlocked Wyoming perhaps. -And another reason to dislike S.M. Stirling's socialist amoral Nantucket series.

Car help arrives... and is stumped at the brake drum evidently rust-welded to the hub. Generous application of Kroil, propane torch, ball-peen hammer, and other tools has no effect. More help planned tomorrow (if political discussions can be avoided). At least the thing's still driveable if I put the wheel back on.

1496 - Thursday, 31 May 2007: Still stressing on upcoming court appearance. -Those people, attorneys (on both sides), judges, brownshirts and blueshirts - there can be no understanding, no rapport, no cooperation toward common goals between my kind and theirs. They think differently; their minds do not function the same, the universe they live in is alien and hostile to me. For example: I see our Constitution as a set of rules restraining the power of government and guaranteeing pre-existing natural human rights, on purpose - that being the purpose. They see it as an obstacle course, a flock of loopholes and inconveniences waiting for them to slip through and dodge around, a word game in which they keep score by counting destroyed lives and siezed properties. I want to be left alone. They are incapable of leaving anyone alone. Jefferson, et. al., warned us of this... quote Jefferson these days and you get ninjaboys breaking down your door. -In chat the other day one of the Elves had a t-shirt idea - simply: "--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...."

No car progress. Reassemble, and with snailspam in hand trek to Harbor Freight Tools for, finally, a $40 chicom drill press, which will be variously useful to me and which I feel I should get now while I can afford it. And a little machine vise for it, and a drill bit set of course. All on sale, total $61.

Fobus products arrive promptly from Executive Gun Works - SG21RP Kydex Roto paddle holster for SIG and Witness, and Roto belt adapter. And the pistol fits, extended ported barrel and all, but the holster fails the inversion test. I think if I very carefully applied some wire reinforcement at the seam of the holster at the bottom of the pistol's trigger guard, that would be fixed. Or maybe just a cable tie, hm, yes, I'll work on that soon if I can find a tie of the right size. The belt adapter is easy, just remove and replace the Roto screw, same for the house/vehicle mount I'll get later. -Ah, found a suitable cable tie in the junk drawer, and while looking discovered a few more wheelweights in the other junk drawer. Drill small holes in either side of the Kydex shell, positioned to not interfere with holstering the pistol; insert cable tie; carefully tighten, not too much; perfect, the bump to snap inside the trigger guard retains the weapon even when the holster is inverted, while still allowing a convenient draw:

The design of the holster is such that it should accept any variant of (post-1993, large-frame) Witness not equipped with optical sights. Looks like it will also take rail-equipped models, with empty rails of course. The Roto adjustment, a single Phillips-head screw, will satisfy any competition rule or range officer; crossdraw for driving, forward cant for concealed carry, etc. Great big paddle with generous hook section will stay put with any reasonable tightness of waistband. And low maintenance! No worries about leather care, or even about nylon retaining moisture. And if it wears out (which I expect to take heavier use than I'm likely to give it), get another for twenty-odd bucks. I expect to be getting more Kydex holsters and accessories in future. Aforementioned, the Witness' safety does not lock the slide; placing a thumb over the back of the slide while holstering solves that inconvenience. Wearing in the hovel, drawing, dry-firing, fondling, holstering, bonding. -Say, how much of that do the "trained, authorized, professional" blueshirts do? Snicker.

Reader informs that a Lee .54 Minié mold is being donated! Sweet! As for metal, the further car assistance (last night was Woodworker and Mechanic), possibly this evening, is Blacksmith, who also has deep experience with Cheap Cars and is highly knowledgable re: metallurgy and sources thereof. Meanwhile another reader is sending more brass and Garand bits!

And this webcomic is really darn funny for anyone who's ever played an RPG, D&D specifically. And is also right/libertarian tinted.

Woodworker arranges car-help session with Blacksmith for Saturday. Car is still roadworthy; no plans to speak of tomorrow, Washougal show Saturday morning.

More fiddling with the Fobus. I like the modular design - the paddle and belt-loop bits are ambidextrous and universal, with different model-specific shells bolted on; the separate shells are left- or right-handed. Unfortunately they don't offer a P35 shell for the Roto system, only riveted construction in either belt or paddle with a forward cant that is disallowed under most competition rules (and doesn't work for carborne crossdraw either). Looks like the GP100 models still aren't out quite yet.

April 2007 | MAY 2007 | June 2007

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