How do you spell “tchotchkes” -?

In the Bavarian Alps, Switzerland, and the mountainous parts of Italy and Austria, all the little shops of trinkets and mementos have a sign in English saying, “A thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.” … Yeh, it’s a shop loaded with tchotchkes and misty-eyed tourist crap. Hunters have them too.
Since being a newbie to Cable TV, watching hunting shows on the Pursuit channel has been an eye-opener. Or closer. Besides the obvious QVC shopping-shows and various frying-pan/make-up/weight-loss machinery/grilling-whatever salesmen, where else (but America) is a half-hour hunting   show nakedly dedicated to product placement. So I bought a spray-thing of “Dead down-wind.”
Apparently all our scented laundry items, soaps and deodorants, and various other scents produce an easy to identify vector for deer and other game. ! Unless you wear the super-duper electronic physical-zone erasing clothing with the electro-fibers that reduce your electronic footprint/signature, so that deer will walk right up to you, because they see and sense electronically, not through a optical cortex.
Shades of super-electro higher spark-plug ignitions of Hot Wire – and Monster Cable.
Anyhow, what else?
Hunting blinds. I know hunters share an intimacy that’s different, or is it similar to motorcyclists except you need to be quiet instead of loud? So is a hunting blind that kind of personal? Is it like a motorcycle helmet, “That’s Yours Not Mine?” Because I have a little EZ-Up canopy I could drape with camo and not share – would that work? Thinking aloud here…
The same dye-sublimated print $20 Mossy Oak shirt at “Resplendent-Splendid Outfitters” is only $7.99 at Wal-Mart – and after the season they go on-sale for pa hunted.$2.99 each… Trying to figure-out this hunting shit. None of the things on-scene today were there when my Grandpa went out in a big, lined, canvas duffel-coat.
I haven’t worn a pattern-shirt this loud (or this silky) since Junior High School in the 70’s.
UPDATE: Thank-you everyone for the generous comments and advice!! I am overwhelmed by the positivity!


UPDATE: Click to bigger:
1105_06Panorama2000After breakfast we went to Home Depot and got ten bags of tanbark and threw them in the truck. At the ranch we laid-out the last landscape fabric and finished-up around the raised beds. The railing around the planters makes no sense and I’ll get rid of it on another push.
UPDATE: As Old NFO recognizes, the railing is probably for doggies. It shows up on earlier pictures I came across, that is prior to the previous owners, and its age is appropriate. It’s showing wear and exposure.

Old Mauser/New Scope = Adjustments

My old buddy who’s escaped the wretched BayAryans and moved-in up The Hill, came down Friday morning with a set of 1″ Warne scope mounts. Interference

The problem being that, with the original low-low Weaver mounts on the Interarms Mark-X, the new (and bigger objective) Cabela’s .243 caliber-specific 3-12×40 scope had an interference problem (see right): the bolt handle would not rise and clear the much larger ocular ring.

Low-Weaver Mounts

So we set-to swapping the old low rings for taller ones with all the new gimmicks like torx head screws – and used a nifty $100 inch-pound German torque-driver of Pete’s that he uses on his air-rifle scopes, etc.   It measured 26lbs for the new torx-head screws to prevent tube-crushing.

After that and a bit of work with my vise on his AR flash-hider/muzzle-brake, we went to the Range.

Problem Repeated: Now I really  want to replace all my odd-sized and non-matching scope-screws with identical-sized torx head ones for uniformity. It doesn’t make any damn sense that so many AR fittings and scope-parts ALL have DIFFERENT size allen-head screws.

The Q/A asks, “Cabelas’ name is on the box but who is the manufacturer?” and the Standard Marketing Genius CabelasExpert064 Non_Answer goes: “Blah-blah…item number IK-714190, is made by a private label vendor exclusively for Cabela’s.” Yeh right, whatever. Another un-refuted but also un-verified answer from: State: Georgia, Age: 56-65, Gender: Male goes: “Meopta.” Looking on-line, another report suggests they are made by Burris. The box says “Made in China” – so maybe it is Burris.

After getting settled-in at the benches, during a cease-fire we set-up a target out at 100-yards and I proceeded to waste a bunch of shots trying to get on paper.
High-left, high-left, still high left. I ran the elevation click-arrows down until it stopped after just a few. WTF? The scope had run out of adjustment. Ok…let’s find the actual, physical center of this rig.
I undid the caps and we ran the Elevation erector click-click-click UP to the stopping point, counting all the clicks – fortunately it was easy because there was a nice witness mark on the tube and the clicks were indexed in five-click major increment hash marks. Then we ran it DOWN to the bottom and divided by half. Ostensibly that should be the vertical center. What happened is/was that the up-down/left-right arrows didn’t seem to correspond to the actual direction of reticle movement, at first.
So Then we went RIGHT with the lefty-righty rack-and-pinion projector (or whatever the hell you call it) to the stopping point counting all the clicks – and ran it back again to the LEFT and divided that number in half to approximate center. We went back and forth and up and down – and still were off.
Finally a wiser old head suggested we bore-sight it, so I pulled the bolt to have a look. With an easily identified target on the 50-yd line (lotta orange dots), glancing above at the scope we could clearly see that the scope’s sight-center was way-off, low and to the right. By now we had a helper in this effort and a few other commentators willing to add insight.
With the rifle held bore-on, we began moving the reticle to center – then after getting on-center the clicky-arrows magically began to operate in the correct arrow-indicating directions…
Hmm… First shot was nice (visible at least and close), but high and left, then the next was nice and on-center but still left, then move it over a bit to the right and X-marks the spot! After (FINALLY!) verifying zero at 50, I leaned over to shoot at the 100-yard target and couldn’t see my first shot. I could see my next shot because it split the 100-yard X. Time to put up a fresh target because things were getting confusing.
IMGP2379x1000When I went up to slap-on a shoot-n-see target, I noticed that my first shot had split the “10” – which had made it hard to see. After that it was just fun banging away, and varying the magnification didn’t seem to move the shot that much.
It’s maybe a 2-minute rifle at worst, but I seemed to get good three-shot groups with two touching, so I think it’s a one-minute gun – but either way that’s plenty for deer and it shoots nice.
Initially I was excited to think the scope was a re-branded Meopta, or Burris – but the weirdness with the turrets and backwards adjustments makes the “Made in China” lable on the box more prominent in my mind. At any rate it it bright and clear and sharp and fog-proof and things that won’t f*k up a hunt or mess-up the shot on a deer, except by me myself.
Incidentally I’ve been shooting Wally-World Winchester Super-X 100-grain Power-Point ammo, nothing special – should I change it? It seems to go to the target well enough.

Advances on the Low Out Croppping

Airport Overlook-Beach House has been undergoing some upgrades, and on the exterior She had decided the stupid pink plum blocking the view had to go – so yesterday it went. Today Bernard-Built-Like-an-Oak-Tree came out to grind the stump, which lead to some interesting developments. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees or the land for the rocks.
As Bernard skillfully maneuvered the very-very heavy, tracked, self-powered, land-vehicle stump-grinder (did I say tracked?) work it’s way across the rocks — and the pathway, and the rocks, and the terrain, and the rocks and tanbark, and finally to the cliff-side stump-site, we watched from above.
We made some topographical observations. We could do this: we could unify some of the terraces if we moved some big rocks. This is gonna be fun. My fingers will pay but it will be fun.
In other news The Railing By Burt went in last week. It took about a year, but the design and execution was a bit fussy, especially with the raw and hard-as-rock acacia, and that takes time. Can’t rush it:

Local Color, Local Heroes

Fall is in the air and last week we had a bit of local event-stuff at our Neighbor’s ranch. Out by the pond there’s a Bunkhouse and a Saloon built by Ed from local-cut timber, and we were invited for a Veteran’s Celebration pot-luck, which was a nice way to meet folks since we’re the newbies.
There were a variety of dishes including ground-elk cabbage rolls and our coleslaw.
Before dinner we had a Pledge of Allegiance, and after dinner Ed had a brief talk about his friend Buck who was a firearms instructor, and much-much more – who had passed away recently. As a half-Cherokee they held a ceremony for Buck atop a mountain overlooking the back-country of Lake Tahoe where his ashes were spread. There were a couple remembrances and stories told about him.
Basically the whole night was given over to veterans telling stories of their experiences, and it started with this: Ed’s first story revolved around the deceased’s participation as a US adviser training troops in a southern nation to the south in the mid-1980’s. Apparently a group of advisers he was leading on a bus was stopped by a group of “banditos”… Apparently they set up an ambush and flanked each side of the bus. Big mistake. After an attempt to communicate and resolve the issue (whatever it was) failed, the order was given and the guys inside the bus rolled out each side and took out the ambush. None of the “banditos” survived.
A petite female vet who must have been in her late 60’s (remember, never ask a woman’s age) recounted her time in Germany after Desert Storm when she had re-upped, where she met a German Chaplain with a German Shepard who went on marathon runs together with her unit, and who she ran into again in Georgia on runs when she was stationed there.
She also knew Ed and Buck from attending the one-room schoolhouse down in Pleasant Valley, while he went to the fancy there-room one further up the road, and her school beating them in Baseball. She was part Native American too and Buck used-to call her, “His Little Comanche.” Annie Oakley would have gotten a run for her money from her!
A third guy talked a bunch about being a Tunnel-Rat in Vietnam, the various equipment they used and later things…
Another Vietnam Vet brought his 94-year old father-in-law who had been a Marine artilleryman in the Pacific WWII, fighting from Peleliu to Iwo Jima – and who watched the flag(s) go up on Mount Suribachi, on Iwo Jima. He didn’t want to talk about that much and said he only survived because he was in the artillery. I got the distinct feeling he still was frustrated at the conditions and difficulties of supporting his forward Marines, against the Japanese redoubts and coral caves, but he was as fit and spry today as any 70-yr old – and more than most 60+yr old corporate-cubicle rats. Amazing.
I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to the crew-member from the USS Pueblo and congratulate him on his survival and sacrifice, but I hope I will get-to at another event. People these days just don’t seem to understand that Service IS Sacrifice, and how far it goes.

Tahoe Trail-Ride

Not exactly a real trail-ride since most of the bikes were big behemoths and many were two-up, but we found a couple of roads that transected the wilderness between the Lincoln Highway (50) and Carson Pass Highway (88), and rode the lumpy wilderness distance between them. First we got off 50 at Strawberry and onto Pack-Saddle Pass Road, and went up-up and then down-down to Silver Lake Road, and out to Mormon Emigrant Trail.
After lunch (about fifteen minutes from home!) on Pleasant Valley Road we went down to Somerset and out to Grizzly Flat where we took Leoni-Caldor Road to North-South Road and out to Highway 88. In that latter section towards the bottom we went through Pipi Campground where the Polka Dots MC holds the 49er Enduro, and encountered a couple of off-road guys at an intersection who revved-motors and cheered-us onward as a column of 30-plus motorcyclists rumbled through! I guess we were unexpected! What’s nice is that up here even Harley riders wave and wave-back at other riders, whereas down in the Valley and in the Bay they seem to enforce the Fundamentalism of Brand, and do not.
All together it was about 210-mile 9-to-5 day of mixed-tarmac, from a bunch of twisty -potholed barely asphalted stuff to smooth, “Now what do we have here! Wilderness asphalt??” – fresh stuff!
At 183 miles at The Most Expensive Pump in The World. In Markleville I added 3.42 gallons when we had a chance to gas-up, before running around out to Nevada and pulling up the Kingsbury Grade. With a full-tank as I had started-out in the morning (with a fresh drop or two) the R1100R would have made it, I just didn’t know for sure since I haven’t put so many miles on it until now!

The Gentleman's Express at Carson Lake with head of Edelweiss World Tours and all-around great-guy Werner Wachter - and George from Seattle to the left.

The Gentleman’s Express at Carson Lake with head of Edelweiss World Tours and all-around great-guy Werner Wachter – and George from Seattle to the left.

The pace was rational and we never got into twisting it hard, at a few spots on the Highway(s) we rumbled along at around 70mph. In the woods and under the tree-canopy it was much more sedate since the corners were pretty blind, but if you stayed within sight of another rider they could telegraph and anticipate the corner for you, and you could pick up your own pace where it wasn’t too bumpy or pot-holed – actually like I said some stretches looked freshly asphalted and were smooth and easy.
Fun-fun but my butt hurt and I have to get re-accustomed to street-riding. Some of the rider etiquette was very good as far as lane position went, but some riders seemed to switch back and forth randomly or were just unfamiliar with staggered-column riding – which is fine because you need to stay alert constantly and not fall into a too-comfortable zone-out riding style anyhow. Rebels!

And soon we hit the road

In anticipation of the upcoming Tahoe ride, here is the ride we did seventeen summers ago on the same bike as today (though the video is not of or by me). And don’t forget, 36-front and 42-rear when two-up on the Express!

And in memorium, we ride on.
(But imagine trying to fight your way up that, in the middle of winter…)

Goodby Old Friend

I am sad. My old friend who I mentioned in passing a couple weeks ago in Back to Work died last week. The friend who hired me for my first real job, a man who toured with the Rolling Stones as house-manager on the West-Coast section of the Sticky Fingers tour, who took American Conservatory Theater shows to successful Broadway launches and ran a theater back here – and who had a stroke several years ago is gone. And I am sorry I missed being a better and closer friend in recent years, pushed-off by the politics and the incursions of Ultra BayAryan Liberalism. I should have fought harder. My heart is full of tears.
UPDATE: David taught me to appreciate the sublime difference between various rotgut like Jack Daniels, and Scotch – and single-malt Scotch in particular. This opened the door to many things, and some evenings that I have little memory thereof. But I didn’t wind up a Scotch drinker, so tonight instead I hoist a glass of some old cane-juice squeezing; Barbados Mount Gay Rum, 1703 Old Cask Selection- and beg forgiveness and mercy. God bless you my friend, you were an incomparable story-teller of the Truth. I await the quiet voice of advice in my ear.

This Old Mauser. . .

I’ve really been wanting to jump on this rifle, but things keep piling up in other areas and sucking away effort and attention. Still the 1972 Interarms Czech Mauser deserves notice, especially since I just bought a Cabelas .243 scope for it apparently or supposedly from the same region.
I’ve read where the fine old Weaver K4 60-B that it currently sports is a dandy and a legend in its time – but also where everyone who owned one older than “a few years” had to be extremely careful and watch-out for condensation and fogging.
So as not to make the local deer (over)population too comfortable, and also to help ensure my hunt is not distilled into layers of disappointment, when I came across the caliber-designated modern scopes I thought “Wow!” – there really is a better way to go. And the (supposed) fact (noted in comments and in answers at the Cabela’s website) indicated the scopes were made by Meopta kinda sealed the deal. So I hope that remains true.
But I want to get detailed and intriguing photos out – and that’s where I’m stymied and backed-up with other chores and a gone-to-hell camera. Age in technology gets ugly.
More Upcoming…
UPDATE: So…with a bit of care and caution, and using my Gun-smithing screwdrivers, I removed the old Weaver scope. First loosening the tight-as-hell little screws (age has a way odff doign that, or Bubba-Mongo the ‘Smith), then the bigger ones with tip-off mounts – and attempted to install the new Cabela’s scope.
No go. What’s up?
There’s not enough room for the forward bell housing to clear the bases. Studying the situation I noticed that the Weaver-base lock-knotch (or whatever you call it in pre-Picatinny times) was offset forward. Brain! So I un-screwed the base (carefully) and flipped it around to allow set-back, cleaned the base-screws of years of crud, and applied a tiny dab of Blue Loctitite and fastened the front back-down again.
Voila! Clearance! Carefully getting the Weaver tops back on without scratching the anodizing, and using a level to get the cross-hairs square and flat, I proceeded in the backwards direction of re-installation. I don’t have a millimeter-gram torque wrench for scopes, so I didn’t crank down gorilla-style on the screws holding the scope. I figure they’re like axle pinch-bolts, firm-enough should be enough. Don’t want to bend and warp the tube or strip the nuts.
Phew! Looks sweet!IMGP2364x800