Laser Island Voyages Back In The Day

Gonna hang these mermaids front & center above the bar, just as soon as I repaint the surrounding wooden board:

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Found some things I'd forgotten I had: that primo sandstone desert art and that lightning ball, or plasma ball, or whatever the heck it's called, LOL. That thing is cool at night, you can set it for continuous action or make it noise-activated, to music or conversation. :cool:

I'm off to the hardware store, gotta pick up a few items there before going to WallyWorld. Gotta check the prices on DVD players, I only have one and I don't wanna move it back and forth from room to room, it's already hooked up to the 65" curved screen in the master bedroom, got my own private movie theater back there, LOL. I was blasting "WE WERE SOLDIERS" last night, might watch the remake of "THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS" tonight, that's a good flick, filmed down at Chimney Rock Park in NC... a great venue for climbers & outdoorsmen, the "Cliff Trail" is radical, same trail featured in the movie, even though Cooper's story is supposed to take place in upstate NY, LOL. :confused:



Upside down?
Staff member
Round #2 of pics:

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Jumped the gun posting that one... one of my jobs today will be to hang that flatscreen in the Pool Room, I'm putting the huge curved screen in the back room to make a private movie theater, LOL. Pool table isn't done yet either, friends are coming over later this week to help level the slate and reapply the felt. Blanket & carpet remnant serve as covers so the kittehs won't scratch up the felt, LOL. :rolleyes:
Intrigued by the tile group showing a 17th century Dutch navy vessel (red white and blue flag ).
How did you get hold of that?
I think we actually bought that in Portugal, but I could be wrong... so much has happened since we lived overseas as a family. We MIGHT have bought it in Holland, Lord knows we traveled through enough countries in Western Europe, something like 16 or 17 by my own personal count, with my folks and some brothers also traveling through Eastern Europe and the Holy Land. The Western European countries were all done by touring in a VW Bus with a full-length rack up top, our camp gear and duffel bags all lashed down in true nautical style... my pop was a submarine commander, LOL. In those days, we lived & traveled like royalty on just a few dollars a day, that's how it was back in '68-'73... I reckon those were the best years to be there, now the place has gone downhill like so much of the rest of the world. :confused:

Touring & camping like that was heller fun back in the day, my pop would assign tasks to all of us and we'd set up camp in record time, LOL. Probably why camping is so easy for me now, all that training as a youngster has paid off BIG-TIME. Hard to believe that we once had a dozen people in that VW Bus, crammed in like sardines with all our gear up top... the good news is that most of us were still kids, so we managed to squeeze in there and make it work. Every summer, when the school year ended in Athens, Greece, we'd load that VW and hit the road for 2 or 3 months, camping and touring the whole way, and occasionally spending the night in some hotel with the money we saved by camping. It was a real adventure... and things like that tile art help remind me of the good ol' days, aye? Never see the like again, not with both my folks gone. :(

Wind was howlin' yesterday, still going strong today... maybe I should buy a landsailer, probably run 100 miles per hour and pass trucks on the interstate, LOL. I had planned to go up top on the roof and apply a second elastomeric coating today, but this wind makes it out of the question, ladder would blow over in no time and I'd break my freakin' ankle droppin' off the roof. No worries, I'm still finishing up the deck, and it's on the leeward side of my home, the east side overlooking the Dragoon Mountains & Cochise Stronghold. Leeward side today, anyway, sometimes the wind shifts and blows from another quarter... but today I'll be alright, just gotta trim & glue down the carpet I bought for the deck, then tack on some 90-degree metal trim or flashing round the edges. It's not really a traditional deck, more of a raised dais so that several people can sit in comfy camp chairs and view the Dragoons & Cochise Stronghold from just the right elevation under the broad metal awning. I really like those broad metal awnings on the east & west side of my home, they're at least 12' wide and they run the 60' length of the double-wide, with nice broad concrete slabs beneath 'em... they make for a long carport on one side and a long covered patio on the other. :rolleyes:

Should be receiving my hammock stand via FedEx today, I ordered it by phone and debit card a few days ago... I have a primo Pawleys Island quilted beach-stripe hammock, looks like an oversized beach towel, and that thing is great for swinging and stargazing. No tall pines here like the ones I had in Show Low, and I don't really wanna anchor the hammock between the shed and one metal awning, this hammock stand can be moved around and I can choose the best spot for swinging in the day and stargazing at night. Once I find the best spot for it, I'll anchor it for awhile and secure my hummingbird feeder supports to each end (double shepherd's hooks, so I'll have two hummer feeders at each end of the hammock stand). Anyway, I'm on my way into town to buy some BBQ material, figured I'd drop into the library and rattle your cage, LOL. Gonna go to a circus this weekend, the "Culpepper & Merriweather Circus" to be held under the Big Top this Saturday, rain or shine... WTF, it's right here in Benson, and ya gotta like circus and rodeo action, even the hokey small-town numbers offer entertainment. Might be some good-looking women there too, so I'm all in for a whopping $12, LOL. Better pick up a "short dog" flask o' booze to sneak into the show, makes the action that much better... ;)

Whoooweeee!!! That circus was heller fun, and I got to kiss the hand of the trapeze gal afterward, she was a looker, LOL. The circus was the hokiest rinky-dink one-ring podunk circus I've ever attended, but I felt like a kid all over again... my friends & I had a blast, we were laughing the whole time. There were two tigers and one lion, a solo trapeze act, Captain Jack the knife-and-sword guy, some hilarious trained dogs, jugglers on tall unicycles, two dudes who pulled rad stunts on what looked like a giant bicycle crank with a hamster wheel at each end, etc., etc. The jugglers were awesome, some pretty gals and one dude who juggled torches, bowling pins, and whatnot as they rode in circles or rocked back and forth in position... it was quite impressive. There were other acts too, including the standard clown acts, and we really enjoyed ourselves at the show... the peppermint schnapps I snuck in probably helped in that regard, LOL. Those same friends & I BBQd some yardbird yesterday, along with corn ears in the husk as usual, the only way to cook corn. Took a few pics of ongoing projects I've been doing lately, I'll finish the deck and steps later today... here we go with some pics, aye?

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Round #2 of pics:

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I was gonna rebuild the entire deck, and I will later, but for now I decided to simply shore it up, replace the carpet, add trim, etc. I still have many other tasks to complete, you understand, so I have to prioritize these tasks. See that trash bin? For two straight months, I've filled that thing to overflowing for every pickup, and we have two pickups per week, LOL. That's my BBQ, that simple $160 Home Depot model, it works just fine, as you'll see in the next round of pics. The hammock stand is functional, but it lacks the long pendulum swings I had when my hammock was slung between two tall pines in Show Low... I'll probably put a post with footing in my yard and sling the hammock between the post and shed, but that also comes later, this will do for now as I take the occasional break or gaze at the stars. That's a Pawleys Island hammock, supremely comfortable, you can Google the outfit to see other models, I just like the beach stripe number, it's like an oversized beach towel, LOL.
Round #3 of pics:

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Some of those pics just show my 'hood, it's a good area, not many tweakin' crackerheads, LOL. That shed needs a little sprucing up, but again, that's a low priority compared to finishing the interior of my home. Eventually it'll all get done, but today's mission is to finish the deck and drink a few cold beers on it as I watch the sunset, 10-4?
Round #4 of pics, final round for the day:

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Those steps will be carpeted today, glued down with trim attached... it'll look the way the deck does in the fourth pic. I'll add some wood trim to the sides of the deck as well, just to hide those ugly posts, LOL. That's my Crackhead stooging around the yard, he likes chasing the birds. Every morning, I sit in one of those camp chairs and enjoy the magnificent view of the San Pedro Valley and Dragoon Mountains, I'll drink a cuppa Irish Breakfast Tea and then mack a bowl of cereal or whatever, kinda like whatcha see in the last pic. Well, I'm off to the hardware store to bag some materials, y'all be good and stay outta trouble, LOL. CHEERS!!! :rolleyes:
Wait, for those site members who might wonder what a lifelong small craft sailor is doing in the high desert, here's the answer: my 1440-square-foot home on 1/4 acre has a great view, and it only cost me $36K, LOL. Paid cash so I'm free & clear, just gotta fix it up to my standards and enjoy life here in this AZ paradise... heller offroading and world-class technical rock climbing mere minutes away, AYE??? :cool:
WOOHOO!!! Call me the Great White Hunter, I FINALLY caught the pack rat who has been living under my home!!! For two long months, I waged the Great Rodent War against this pesky varmint, and never in my life have I faced a more formidable opponent. This pack rat was not only extremely intelligent, he was cunning to boot... no amount of chemical warfare or live trap baiting could bring the varmint down, he withstood all of it and kept up his pesky gnawin' and a-chawin' in the wee hours of the night, often waking me from sound sleep due to the volume of noise he created. However, the cats placed constant pressure on the varmint, forcing him to lie low for awhile and keep the noise to a minimum. Indeed, I thought the cats had driven him away for good when a week went by with no noise and no signs of the pesky rodent. But early one morning, during a pre-dawn visit to the bathroom, I heard a faint scratching noise and I knew the blasted varmint was still with us. NOTHING had worked: mothballs, foggers, Pine-Sol, ammonia, live trap baiting with all kinds of food, none of it had worked. :confused:

Well, yesterday afternoon, as I was drinking a beer after running errands for several hours, the two cats sprawled out asleep on the nearby sofa, I caught a movement out of the corner of my starboard eye, and I looked over to see the pesky rodent IN MY FRIGGIN' HOUSE!!! Not only in my house, but IN THE POOL ROOM, on my BRAND-NEW CARPET!!! I couldn't believe it... but I knew instantly what had led him to enter my dwelling. You see, among other items purchased during a stop at WallyWorld, I had picked up a 30-pack of Bud and a 12-pack of Corona, and the varmint must have seen me hauling that cr@p from the Mighty Camry to my fridge, yeah? Warm day, and the little guy was thirsty... a misguided effort to steal my beer led to his downfall, as I immediately leapt from my seat to corner the b@stard. An exciting chase ensued as the varmint ran from Pool Room to sitting room to kitchen and back, Sage bailing out the cat door while Crackhead joined the chase... with Crackhead's help, I eventually cornered the rodent in a small closet in the Pool Room, where the pesky varmint hid behind some pool cues leaning against one wall. Crackhead stood guard as I went to the kitchen, yanked a fresh bag out of the plastic trash can, and subsequent;y used the can to trap the rodent (live trap was in the shed, too much trouble to grab in the heat of the moment). :eek:

Now, some folks would have simply killed the pesky varmint outright, especially after he had caused so much trouble and noise in the wee hours, aye? But by this time, the critter had earned my respect for being the wiliest adversary I have ever faced. To kill him would have dishonored my name, and dishonored the most intelligent & clever foe I've met in 56 years on this planet. Therefore, with a coffee table book taped across the top of the plastic trash can to prevent his escape, I carried the varmint out to the Mighty Camry, carefully belted the can into the Governor's Seat, and gave the rodent a limo ride to the outskirts of town, where I released him into some brush far from any homes, 10-4? When I removed the book and tipped the can over with my boot, the little dude shot like a rocket from the can into the brush, vanishing in seconds... Goddard's rockets had nothing on this varmint, I tell you. Anyway, the blasted rodent is now off my property... all's well that ends well, I reckon, and let the pesky rodent go be a rodent elsewhere, ANYWHERE BUT UNDER MY HOUSE, LOL. Maybe he has already found a new home, maybe he's already snake or raptor food, I don't know and I don't care, as long as I never see him again. I have a feeling that, smart as he is, he will be a survivor... not a bad-looking varmint either, as far as rodents go, kinda like a hamster on steroids with a short little paddle tail, didn't look at all like the usual disease vector, LOL. ;)



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Yes, my rodent karma is good... remember the old "RAT PATROL" show on TV? [Dating myself here.] Well, I'm about to go on Rat Patrol, pulling a fast recon of Cochise Stronghold to bag some photos of the rocks and crags... weather is awesome here, and I'm just about done with that pesky deck, thing took longer than I expected, LOL. Probably would've been faster to simply tear it down and build a new one, but no worries, it's now looking good (enough) and will serve me well for awhile as I knock out other tasks. The list of tasks yet to be done is dwindling, thank goodness, but I have several weeks of work to still do... however, in this beautiful weather, and before it gets too hot, I wanna start pulling recons of the Stronghold and sussing out suitable routes for an old school climber & mountaineer like me. I'll be taking my Sportivas & chalk bag out there today, just in case I see some primo route I'd like to solo on sight. Nothing too difficult, just some cool route with fairly easy access... I'll have to check the web for a guide to routes at the Stronghold, I'll do that in a moment after I post a few pics of my progress at the Ol' Hacienda. Here we go:

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That old deck was a real PITA to shore up and improve, I had to place a "spine" between two uneven rectangular frameworks from a previous addition, and it devolved into a cutting & trimming circus. However, it is now rock solid, there's no ankle-breaking gap between deck and door where the huge sliding wrought iron security door and frame used to be, and the new carpet is 1000% better than the funky and moldy old peel-and-stick carpet squares... those things were heller ugly. Later, I'll build a new deck, I just wanted to make use of this one for the time being, that'll free me to tackle some other tasks on the property. I like that swirled birdbath, wanted to buy a pair but the store only had one, so now I gotta find a match or maybe just a bowl for the stump at the other end of the yard, I'd like to have two baths to really bring in the birds, in addition to all the feeders which are bringing 'em in BIG-TIME, LOL. Before the monsoon hits, I'll have to do something about the yard itself, like roto-tilling the main area and sowing some ground cover, wildflowers or whatnot. Hey, I'm really enjoying the home theater set up in my master bedroom, I just watched "BLOOD DIAMOND" and "LAWRENCE OF ARABIA" on recent evenings, those are some good flicks... the desert scenery in "LAWRENCE OF ARABIA" is primo on that 65" curved screen, 10-4? :rolleyes:
Round #2 of pics:

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I bought that stained glass in Tijuana many years ago as a gift for me beloved mum, departed now for approximately 3 1/2 years... figured I'd hang it where guests and I can see it on our way out to the deck & BBQ area, aye? Me mum was an excellent green thumb gardener, she could grow anything... moi, I've grown some good dope in my time, but not so much nowadays, LOL. The smaller plastic pieces are hanging in my kitchen, I put 'em where they'll catch the light but not obstruct my view. Here are some shots of work yet to be done, particularly in the bathrooms:

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That master bath is nice, but the tub/shower in the other bathroom is right next to the water heater, so it's the one I regularly use, since the water gets hot in mere seconds... but I'll use both baths in warmer months, when running hot water right away isn't such a priority. That other tub is actually deeper than the garden tub, so I like it better, and both bathrooms will look good once I'm done painting them. My very next task (now that the outside deck is finished) will be to swap out the toilet in that master bath, you can't tell from the pics but the base is cracked, so that toilet gets yanked & heaved into the trash bin. Might give the tank to a local handyman I know, nothing wrong with it... swapping out the toilet will give female guests more privacy, as there's a door missing in the other bathroom, LOL. As a bachelor with two cats, replacing that door has been low priority... :eek:

P.S. Pretty sure the tacky (existing) shower curtain and those rusty vise-grips will be hitting the trash bin as well, LOL. For now, they add a classy touch... ;)
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Round #3 of pics, final round for the day, just a few shots of the decor in this old sailor's home:

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Well, Johnny Cash isn't really part of the decor, I just snapped that pic for the hell of it, LOL. Dragon art is in the Pool Room... and I've yet to find a spot for Big Mouth Billy Bass the singing fish, yeah? The tall ship & lighthouse switch plate belonged to me dear departed mum, so naturally they went up... the switch plate even features sailboats, LOL. That last shot shows my margarita drinking vessel, something I'll be using in the near future as the home rehab work winds down... double-walled stainless steel for insulation, that metal cup is the bomb for keeping iced drinks cold. Alright, youse nautical heroes, time for me to get back to the Ol' Hacienda and finish that last trim piece on the deck, then load gear and saddle up for the ride to Cochise Stronghold... should get some rad photos of that venue this afternoon as the sun sinks toward the western horizon, WOOHOO!!! :cool:

Hey, check out these pics taken on or near my property, some are enhanced photos snapped with my Canon cam in "Creative Shots" mode, I dig the moonrise photos, LOL. :rolleyes:

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Those shots where ya feel like you're aboard the Titanic as the ship is going down, those are definitely enhanced, I was nowhere near that drunk when I snapped the photos, LOL. I like that "Creative Shots" mode, it catches color the Canon cam often misses in "Auto Mode"---go figure. :confused:
And now for some shots taken during yesterday's recon of Cochise Stronghold via Dragoon Road, Cochise Stronghold Road, and Ironwood Road, approaching the Stronghold from the north and east:

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Don't be fooled by these pics which only show one small end of the Stronghold, the rocks are larger than they appear and they get even bigger & badder to the south and west, my recon yesterday was simply to confirm access routes, I never really got a chance to don my climbing shoes and chalkbag, LOL. That comes later, now that I know all access routes to the Stronghold. Most of my climbing will probably be done on the West Side, where there are far fewer badges and many fine rock crags, domes & spires, but this access route wouldn't be bad for overnight trips, as there's a campground at the end of this road. Camping on the West Side is open, no developed campsites there... just the way I like it as a true redneck, LOL. Back in a moment with more pics... :)

P.S. Those Rattlesnake Ranch shots were taken en route to Dragoon, AZ, I liked the dinosaurs and the Gila Monster... that thing was bad@$$, LOL. :eek:
Some more pics taken during my recon:

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There's that Gila Monster again, I dug that sculpture... I would've gotten a closer shot of it, but I didn't wanna trespass on private property... a good way to get SHOT in Arizona, LOL. :confused:

Hey, those dirt roads would be great for monkeybiking, LOL... might hafta bring a mini out there, it'd be less offensive than a full-on dirt bike, aye??? :eek:
Oh, yeah, these last few shots were taken on the way home to Benson, these rocks are in Texas Canyon, good climbing there but it's mostly private property:

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Back in my "trucking daze" I hopped a fence by the rest area on I-10 and soloed some fine crags & boulders on the north side of the interstate... some folks down below filmed one ascent, probably thought I'd peel & die as I made my way upward, LOL. This last shot of some high desert badlands was taken from Sibyl Road... I detoured off the highway to enjoy the scenic roundabout way to my home:


For anyone interested in rock climbing at Cochise Stronghold, you can Google COCHISE STRONGHOLD ROCK CLIMBING: THE COMPLETE SET by Tanya Bok, there are even some pics of cool routes to be done, just click on the images when ya get to the web page. I'm buying that book today, LOL... in fact, I'm heading directly to the nearest store that sells the book as soon as I leave the Benson Library (where I get free Wi-Fi, y'all know I'm a cheap b@stard, LOL). After I pick up the book and resupply with food & beer for the weekend, I'm gonna swap out that cr@pper in the master bedroom... and this weekend, when the temp is a bit cooler according to the forecast, I'm gonna apply that second elastomeric coat to my roof, meant to do that earlier but I got sidetracked, as so often happens when pulling home rehab. :confused:


CHEERS!!! :cool:
Railroads played a BIG part in the history of Benson, AZ, and the trains still roll through today... some of those freight trains are over a mile long, the longest I've seen so far from my deck was nearly two miles long, with four engines up front, two in the middle, and two bringing up the rear as "pushers." EIGHT ENGINES!!! Never seen the like, but there's a heckuva lot of freight moving through Benson on this southern route, trains going east and trains going west, with the odd Slamtrak special rolling through every so often. Anyway, I snapped a few mural pics for y'all, there are some pretty cool murals in this burg:

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Pretty cool old trains, LOL. :cool: