Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “Critters and Varmints”

Wild Horse Canyon Road

The long climb up from Green River, Wyoming tends to get one's heart and spirit a'thumping.

The long climb up from Green River, Wyoming tends to get one’s heart and spirit a’thumping.

I had partially forgotten the sensation of driving up Wild Horse Canyon Road’s 1,300′ climb above Green River, Wyoming’s 6,100′ elevation. That’s enough to drop temperatures several degrees, and enough to make life very comfortable for heat-generating persons such as myself. The main climb is gravel over dirt, and four thoughts kept churning in my mind during the ascent. The first was that Wild Horse Canyon Road is almost exhilarating to drive up, since the views presented during the unrelenting climb are impressive. The second thought was of course wondering if I’d once again see any wild horses. Were the two I saw last year a fluke? Third, the road itself prompts a mental note to take the descent seriously when I leave. The Ford’s brake module failure has decreased the amount of braking that the trailer alone can contribute. That alone is unlikely to pose a problem, but a wet descent could. Fourth, the slow climb, rough in many places, was such a crawl as to prevent locking up the torque converter. “I hope it’s okay with this long a period of stress”, I thought to myself. The trans temp itself stayed unmoved from normal. You don’t need to know anything about torque converters to appreciate this concern, because all you need to know is that they are expensive to be replaced. Near the top, it occurred to me to put ‘er in 4WD Low, to ease the strain, and that worked out great. Fortunately, the first two thoughts dominated the others, and near the top of the initial climb, I was rewarded with the distant sight of a small herd of horses grazing upon a hilltop.

I guess they don't call it Wild Horse Canyon Road for nothin'!

I guess they don’t call it Wild Horse Canyon Road for nothin’!

Once again, I'm caught with my telephoto down! Each horse had a different level of concern about my approach, but I was so far away that all stayed put.

Once again, I’m caught with my telephoto down! Each horse had a different level of concern about my approach, but I was so far away that all stayed put.

Thus rewarded, I pressed on. One campsite commentator promised, “Numerous boondock pullouts along the entire 30-mile stretch”, so I decided to go past Read more…

7 Reasons You Don’t Need a Pet

Still not using the litter box, you say?

Still not using the litter box, you say?

I read an article by one Erin Dostal in Prevention magazine that describes the benefits of having a pet in your house. I’ve spent decades owning cats and dogs and, frankly, the advantages and benefits listed below just haven’t outweighed the drawbacks for me. It’s a very good thing that many folks benefit from having a pet of some kind but, for me, Does Not Apply. Why? I’ve followed each of her points with my own. Remember, this is just me, and my own experience talking.

7 Reasons You Need A Pet

Furry friends do more than keep you warm at night—research shows that pets offer a whole range of Read more…

Of Moose and Dogs


Here’s a handy announcement for all you dog lovers out there.  I found it while searching for campsites in Colorado. This is about half of it, but here ya go:

Division of Wildlife

Dogs and Moose Do Not Play Well Together, Reminds CPW

DENVER – In the wake of several people being injured by moose this year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding outdoor enthusiasts that moose can be aggressive when dogs and humans get too close. Since early spring, wildlife officers have responded to three human/moose conflicts, including two recent incidents in Grand Lake. In all three instances, dogs – both on and off-leash – reportedly spooked the moose before it charged and seriously injured the dog’s owner.

Moose in Colorado have very few natural predators and they are not generally frightened by humans. However, state wildlife officials caution that the large ungulates see dogs as a threat due to their similarities with wolves, their primary predator. Wildlife officials caution that dogs should never be allowed to approach a moose.

“Almost all incidents with aggressive moose involve dogs getting too close to the animal,” said Lyle Sidener, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Hot Sulphur Springs. ” In most cases, a  threatened moose will naturally react and try to stomp on the dog. The frightened dog will typically run back to its owner bringing an angry, thousand pound moose with it.”

The Bee’s Knees

Most diehards down in Quartzsite aren't waiting for the forced march on April 15th.

Most diehards down in Quartzsite aren’t waiting for the forced march on April 15th.

Originally posted 3/24/2013

Camping like this is a commune with Nature to some degree. Tenters and vandwellers are really communing with Nature. They are immersed in it, and revel in it. By comparison, I have more of a nodding acquaintance with nature. When it’s hot, I’m hot. When it’s cold, I’m a bit cool but okay. Depending on wind direction, I may or may not be able to fire up the hot water heater. If it’s overcast, I monitor my use of electronic gadgets. I can hardly brag about going back to Nature. But it is a simple life, or at least can be as simple as you desire to make it.

John Burroughs wrote, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” Yeah, he makes a valid point, though I’m doubting that Mr. Burroughs ever camped in the Quartzsite LVTA in late Winter/early Spring.

I was walking the half mile trek to some campground dumpsters, lugging about 25 pounds of unused ruled paper pads and other garbage in two plastic shopping sacks, when I heard a loud stereo buzzing sound. Looking up from the rocky gravel trail, I saw a swarm of bees almost upon me, coming the other way and following the road. They were spaced about a foot apart from ground to about ten feet up, going about as far across as the 20-foot wide road. I perceived this as non-optimal, and wondered if they were killer bees disturbed from their nest. Several of them hovered close around me for several seconds and I instinctively  Read more…

Rearranging the Food Chain

A deceased rattlesnake.

A deceased rattlesnake.

Originally posted 3/19/2013

Well, so far, I’ve had a giant spider and a scorpion try to get cozy in my mobile bungalow. I’ve watched a bobcat saunter past the truck, and today was driving to the dump station when I saw a guy beside his quad ATV looking around on the ground as if he’d lost his keys. Turns out he’d seen a young rattlesnake crossing the dirt path and decided to readjust the risk to the many dogs (and people) in the area with a long crowbar. He was now looking for its head, which he was afraid would interest a passing mutt. I don’t know if he ever found it, but I’ll be watching the ground around the trailer just a little more carefully when I groggily stumble down its tilted steps!

Apologies to Bronson!

Originally posted 11/2/2012

While I was finding a place to stow the water filter assembly under the rear seat of the Ford, I came across this horrifying discovery: My 1-year-old grandson's tub toys! Oh, noooo!

While I was finding a place to stow the water filter assembly under the rear seat of the Ford, I came across this horrifying discovery: My 1-year-old grandson’s tub toys! Oh, noooo!

Ahhhh, Da Bee-udy a Nature

Now I know where they got the concept for the "mother" critter in the movie "Alien".

Now I know where they got the concept for the “mother” critter in the movie “Alien”.

Originally posted 10/31/2012

Well, my Innsbruck travel trailer appears to be a hit with the local denizens – witness the large tan spider residing on the refrigerator temperature control. I got up this morning and walked through an unusually stiff single spider web strand on the way forward, not thinking much of it. Didn’t see the spider yet, though. Just now, this afternoon, I even unpacked the mass of groceries I’d stored away in the back seat of the truck, including a few items I put in the fridge and freezer sections. Since the fridge has trouble cooling off new items, I thought I’d better kick down the temp control button to minimize its tendency to get warmer. Whoa!! Nice camouflage effect. Notice that it picked a tan surface to settle on.

This thing was large enough (1-1/2 inches) that I really, really didn’t want to knock it off and take my shoe to it. Would you? I’d be twenty minutes cleaning up the mess. Plus, the large “industrial” spiders that I’m familiar with, the ones that sometimes live above ceiling tiles in offices, are very aggressive and can jump a considerable distance. Hmmm. Never saw one of these, but it appeared to react quicker than its size would indicate. So, I drew upon my minimal resources of courage and held a large glass pasta storage jar under it while I knocked it off with the 18-inch grill fork my daughter had given me. I just knew I’d be using that here! Clink! It fell into the jar and I walked it 50 yards away near a bush, hoping it won’t find its way home again. I wonder how it got in. I guess the underside of the trailer isn’t as well-sealed as I thought.

I rode my bike to town today to get a few items at the hardware store, mainly fasteners, vinyl tubing and cork pads to modify the part of the bike rack that actually contacts the bike. The existing system wore through its padding and protective covers to expose the bike frame to steel, which chewed through paint and tried to get through gearshift control wires. The damage is done, but at least it’s an aluminum frame bike, so it won’t rust there. I suspect that its designers didn’t actually try it out for a very long distance before they put it into production, or more likely, management was in a rush and nixed any further work. Judging by the instructions, they’d had some problems with bikes slipping out of it completely. It’s now difficult and slow to use. Good enough for who it’s for, I guess. This is the kind of thing I had to clean up in my last product design job, but the clients would come in having already shot through their entire budget. Not very profitable for us, compared to the firms that initially screwed it up.

Still working at jamming five pounds into a three-pound sack. “Hmm, now where could this go? Oooh, boy.”

Post Navigation