Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Facebook friends have seen (and perhaps had suffered) the litany of anti-Trump and anti-GOP posts. No, I am not stopping it, because resist the Trump agenda is necessary to the future for our great country. Actually, I becoming more vocal.
When I planned my charity donations for 2016, I upped my donation to the National Parks Foundation and for the first time, donated to the Sierra Club. These because of the threats to our wilderness areas and National Parks by the Trump Administration.
A an getting involved in local Sandoval County (and perhaps Rio Rancho) politics. And I had send inquires to join the Rio Rancho "Resist" Indivisible group.
He must take back our county from the right and big business, making it again From, By, and For the PEOPLE!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Congressman Ben Lujan

Well, this afternoon I was out and got active in politics. Attended a function for my congress Ben Lujan (D), meeting the congressman and other New Mexico politicians. Tomorrow there's an ACLU meeting in the area (just a fey blocks from me).
Reports around the area are filtering through about attendace of today's "Science" Earth Day March. Congressman reported 3-5k marched in Santa Fe. Have not heard attendance numbers from Albuquerque.  Saw video of the large crowd in Chicago.  Keep protesting, America!
The photo here is if my Congressman addressing the local group.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Trinity Site

New Mexico played an important part in the development of the atomic bomb.

Los Alamos National Lab was constructed in the mountains of North central New Mexico to research and build the first bomb.  The town of Los Alamos grew as the need for housing for the scientists and technicians.

The location for testing the first bomb was selected as the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico.  Later, the range became White Sands Missile Range.

Trinity Site is a National Historic Landmark.  The landmark is a 51,500 acre area on the White Sands Missile Range. The site is open 2 days a year - the first Saturday of April and the first Saturday of October.

This morning, my cousin and I were  out of Albuquerque at "O-Dark-30".  Stopped into Socorro for a light breakfast and heading to the site.  From the San Antonio exit of I-25, head East about 11-12 miles to the road to Stallion Gate. There was a line of vehicles waiting for access to the site when we arrived about 8am.  It took us an hour to get to the gate.  (see upper photo).

He had no problems getting onto the range (you need your state government ID or passport for every occupant and the insurance certificate and registration for your vehicle).  Another 15 miles or so we were at the parking lot for viewing the site.

When we arrived the site, my cousin and I estimated that had to be nearly 1000 people that were already here or already leaving the site.  It is about 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot to the site.  Thankfully, there was a large "golf cart" (8-10 person) with driver to carry "handicapped" visitors.  With my knee problems, I availed myself of the ride to the site.

Of course, everyone wanted a photo of themselves or family at the ground zero marker (see photo to the right). There are remains of the of the original 100 foot tower (basically nothing).  On the fence to the far side of the site had photos of the detonation, and some of the people that were out at the site.  There was ever a "polo" teams at the site!  There is a covered shelter protecting the portion of the original crated cause by the detonation.

The bring in a "fatman" casing on a trailer to show the basic size of the bomb.  The last stop for me at the site was a stop at the the National Park Service vendor to get at least a bood about the test.  Ended up with a good book, at DVD and hat pin.

From there, Don and I boarded the bus taking us over to the McDonald Ranch House.  This was where the plutonium core of the bomb was assembled.  The house was left to the elements for many years until Commander of White Sands decided in was a important part of history and had the house restored.  There are a couple outbuilding at the ranch.  They are basically ruins and think there is no plans to restore them.

By the time we boarded the bus back to the parking lot, my legs had had it.  It was a little after noon when we got into the car and headed back off the base.  On the way back out of the gate, there was still a line of about 2 mile long waiting for access to enter the base!  It seams there was not any "slack" time to visit the site!

We headed back to the highway, intending to stop at the Owl Bar for a burger and brew.  Unfortunately, a lot of other folks at the same idea.  There was a line to get into the bar and for seating.  I am not big on waiting for tables to eat.  I convinced Don (I was driving) and it would be better to get food in Socorro. we stopped at the Bodega Burger Co in Socorro.  (see lower photo)

The weather was a bit "iffy".  Rain moved South further than first forecast.  We had some rain driving down to Socorro.  After our light breakfast, he headed to the site.  It was mostly overcast at the site, sun trying to peak out and even a couple sprinkles of rain while we were there.  We saw there had been a heavy shower that came through San Antonio.  We hit some more rain on the way back North to Albuquerque.

It was a interesting day.  I dropped Don back at his house in Abq,  It was about 4pm when I got home in Rio Rancho.  I grabbed my camera, processed most of the photos, wrote a short facebook post and crashed into bed for a long nap.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

HT Programming Software

Back in the summer, I purchased a new  2M/220/440 Handy Talkie.  The dealer (Grapevine Radio) sold me a cable to program the HT.  These new transceivers have too many options for my liking.  But, that's what they sell, and the Wouxun KG-UV8E w=is well in my budget.

The problem was the programming software.  First, the mini disc of software instuctions were in Chinese.  The installation was in Chinese until you have finished the install - then you could change the language to English.

The software was eventually running.  But it would not recognize the radio for reading/writing programming.  After exchanging e-mails with Jason at Grapevine, he suggested it may be the problem with Windows 10.  He suggested trying Windoes 7 (which I do not have anymore).

I do have 2 old Windows XP laptops, so tried using them for programming.  The software installed, but with the same problem - could not communication with the HT.  Jason suggested other remedies, but at this time I was done with it.

A ham in our club suggested programming cable and software from RT Systems.  I bit the bullet and ordered the CD and Cable for about $50.  A far cry from $15 I paid with the HT.  Ordered the system on Sunday evening. On Thursday, it was in my mailbox.  Awesome service.

I installed the software on my desktop, connected the cable to the computer and HT.  Turned on the HT, clicked on the software icon and my HT was recognized and had no problems reading and writing frequencies to/from the HT.  The cable and software from RT Systems is worth the price.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Your Argument

A new t-shirt I picked up online. I am a little tired of being timid about my Army service. It is, in a large part. because of the way we were treated when we came home. This T-shirt expresses my feelings.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

TV Station Tour

High Desert ARC President Jerry, W6LIE made arrangements for club members tour the facilities of KNME, the PBS station in Albuquerque.  Thanks to the folks at KNME for taking the time to conduct the tour.  I did not make a counot, but think about 20 of us attended the tour.

The tour started in Master Control.  This is the heart of the station.  Stations 5 and 9 in Albuquerque are housed in the facilities on University Blvd.  Each station has their HD channels and 2 SD channels.  Many years ago I toured a commercial station in Wausau, WI, the big change I saw that most of the screens at flat panel LED monitors.  The back wall of Master Control is filled with computer servers, instead of tape recording machines.

From Master Control, we went to the Control Room for the studio.  In addition to the programming control and it's switchers, there were separate Audio and Video control booths.  The photo here is of the control panel.  From there we dropped down to the studio.  Most of PBS programing here is on network feeds.  I understand the busy times have been pledge season and election night overages.  Otherwise, the studios area not used,

We ended our tour by heading over to the Village Inn for food. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Chama River Brewery

Today was the High Desert ARC Social "feed".  The 4th Saturday meal had been at breakfast.  Today, it was changed for variety as a lunch.  The locale was the Chama River Brewery, Near Pan American Highway & Jefferson in Albuquerque.

The brewery has a limited menu, typical pub fare.  Good food, decent selection, and reasonably priced.

I started with a pint of their Amber Ale.  Very tasting ale, not too "hoppy".  A pleasant beer.  My meal was their "Build Your Own Burger".  I splurged with cheddar, bacon, and fries.  Washed down a second pint of ale.

Was an enjoyable lunch for the 15 members and spouses that attended.  Thanks Marcie for arranging.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Spare Bedroom

Information for my friends - the spare bedroom is now furnished.  Full-sized bed, night stand, lamp, clock radio, small TV, DVD player, 6 drawer chest of drawers and a walk-in closet.  The closet is about half filled with overflow from my move.

Anyway, ready for visitors to the Albuquerque area.  My house is in Rio Rancho.  There are lots of things to do in the area.  Downtown ABQ is about 25 minutes away at the junction of I-25 and I-40.  Amtrak serves Albuquerque via the Southwest Chief running from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Air Travel is through the Albuquerque Sunport, just South of downtown.  We also have the New Mexico RailRunner commuter train from Belen (South of Albuquerque) to downtown Santa Fe.

There are lots to see for history buffs - Spanish occupation, Civil War, ghost towns, Historic Route 66 are a few things to mention.

Give me a shout.  Would love to have you visit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

El Camino Restaurant & lounge

Sunday, I processes my photos from the drive on the Quebradas Back Country Byway.  Even had time to create the web site and changing one in the New Mexico section - a special page to back country byways.  Did not want to get out to find a place to food, decided at the El Camino right next to the motel.

Had a very inexpensive serving of meat loaf, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and roll.  Washed it down with a bottle of Alaskan Amber Ale.

Monday morning I stopped by the motel breakfast bar for some cereal, apple juice, and coffee.  Head out to shoot photos.

I started feeling ill a little before noon while stopping at the Winston General Store.  Got the chill.  The gatorade I bought came back up at couple miles down the road.  By the time I got back to Socorro, I was getting sick.

Spend the night in and out of the bathroom.  Bad case of diarrhea. Was able to drive back home without having any problems, but the problem was not gone until late morning.

I do not know it my problem was the food or a 36 hour bug.  In anyway, it was not fun.  As soone as my system was cleaned out, I started feeling better.

Cuchillo, Winston & Chloride, New Mexico

After shooting the birds at Bosque del Apache I drove South almost to T or C.  Headed West & North on NM 52.  This route took me to 3 ghost (or nearly ghost) towns.  The first of these, Cuchillo, is only a few miles of I-25.

Like many so-called "ghost towns in New Mexico had a mixture of abandoned buildings and others just holding on.  Yards are full with junker cars and other previously valuable items. They attest to broken dreams.

From Cuchillo, it was about 25 miles on a winding road.  At the junction of NM 52 and Republic Road you will find the village of Winston.  The only thing that gives a sign of any prosperity is the Winston General Store.

At the junction, make a hard left and head down Republic Rd, and follow the signs for Chloride.  At the end of the road you will find a interesting little village with much history and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor.  I should have stopped in to see the museum .  Maybe another time.

At the Winston General Store I stopped to use the rest room and get some fluids.  Also, I wanted to get information about road conditions further North towards the VLA (Very Large Array).  The clerk at the store said it is 59 miles on a dirt road and seemed to disway me from driving this by myself.

At this same time, I started getting the chills.  I could feeling a bug had taken hold in my body.  With that I decided to high-tail it back to my motel in Socorro.

I spent the rest of the day, overnight, until early morning, nursing a bad case of intestinal discomfort. 

Bosque del Apache

Early rise and out of the motel to hopefully catch the morning flight of birds. I was driving NM 1 out of San Antonio.  There were a lot of photographers just into the refuge.  I stopped and took many frames of the snow geese as they leave the pond for their food spots.  It was a chilly morning (about 18 degrees) but there where a lot of birders out.  As the flocks dwindled I head over to drive the refuge roads.  There were more snow geese at the South end where I photographed some a previous visits.  On the North loop were many sand hill cranes.  Was able to get close enough to get a couple good photos.  Also go some great shots of other geese.  Was a productive photo shoot.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Quebradas Back Country Byway

It was time to make a trip to Bosque del Apache.  I decided to make a couple day trip out of it and
play tourist.  On the NM DOT web site I found map and information for some scenic drives.  It has been dry, so I was sure back country dirt/gravel roads would be passable.  Guebradas Byway was along my way from Rio Rancho to Bosque del Apache.

Thanks to good direction on the DOT web sire, I was able to find the byway off I-25 at Escondida (just North of Socorro).  Follow carefully the NMDOT web site direction to find the start of this back country byway.

It was a welcome break from the Interstate and the traffic of the ABQ Merto area.  Other than some folks out for 4-wheeling in  "dune buggy type" vehicles, I only encountered about 3 or 4 vehicles on the 24 mile road.

The road drops you onto US380 about 11 miles East of San Antonio.From there, I drove south on NM 1 to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuse visitors center.  By that time I needed was facility break and picked up pass for the refuge.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bicycling Community Meet & Greet

This evening, I drove over the the Balloon Fiesta Museum for the Albuquerque Bicycle Community Meet & Greet.  There was no speeches, just a quick welcome and acknowledgement of the groups & clubs in attendance.  The rest of the time was spent consuming finger food and networking.  I registered as a member of AMBA (Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association). 

Monday, January 16, 2017

16" boots

While I was packing up the Iowa house, I did not think I would want/need any of my high boots.  I had a pair of Red Wing 16" boots that was not fitting right these days (I was much heavier than when I bought them).  Not thinking about of the boots that I bought from Nature, I decided I did not need/desire the tall boots.

Now that I have been losing weight - about 40 pounds so far - I was looking for 16" high boots.  I started looking at boots on-line.  Red Wing no longer makes the 16" lineman's boots.  There were others out the retailing over $400.  I was able to find Carolina Boot Co 16" boots for $209 (shipping included).  I bit the bullet and ordered the boots (size 12W).  Those boots arrived this afternoon.

Took time to pre-lace the bottom eyelets and tried on the right boot (was rough to get it on - because of my high inset - but fits good once on).

Later this evening or tomorrow I will lace up both boots to wear them a little - break them in. 

Update:  Was able to get both boots on.  Little problems getting them on because of my high instep.  Once I got them on, they are comfortable to wear.  Think I just need to wear them to stretched them - or may have to check out places to stretch the instep area.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sandwich at Local Brewhouse

I seemed to have a little cabin fever and decided to check out "The Local Brewhouse" for early Friday evening dinner.  It was a pretty busy place, more than I had seen other times.  Most of the bar stools were occupied.  I decided to sit at a table in the main part of the facility.

The place had only been open for about a year, it was good to see that they are making a good of it here. They do a good job on most of the food (I like their burgers and Philly Cheese-steak).  They usually end up having too many fries with the sandwich.  My favorite beer there is the "Local" Amber Ale. 

I like the food at this place.  Its about a mile from the house.  Not too far from the local VFW post.  The VFW post has $2.50 pints of Alaskan Amber Ale, but the post canteen allows smoking (being a private club). It's too smoky for me.

First Measurable Snow

It was almost a whole week into the new year before we had the first measure-able snowfall here in Albuquerque/Rio Rancho.  Over Thursday night, the temperature dropped as precipitation fell in New Mexico.  We were right at the freeze line.

When I got up on Friday morning, there was about an inch of snow on the ground, under a thin layer of ice.  Conditions were dicey enough school was called off in Rio Rancho.  I stayed inside except for a walk to the street to snap several photos.

As typical, the sun was out and the streets were clear by noon (except where in the shadows). This was in spite of temperature barely reached freezing that day.  Was a beneficial snow - areas in the mountains got some good snows for the ski slopes.