Monday, March 26, 2018

The Show: Purple Rocks

Jeep put on The Show today at Last Hurrah on the purple rocks. My pictures aren't so great but as in years past they'll bring me pictures all the pros took within the next week. I did get some shots and a little video in the purple rocks.

Jeep would introduce the model. A guy from Jeep would talk about the thought process leading to it. There's be a whole bunch of picture taking. Then there were three courses set up around the property and the writers, photographer, and off road magazine people got to drive each of the models for about ten minutes on each trail. Here's a few examples.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Ghosts

There is one couple staying at the lodge at Base Camp and though Jeep has rented all of Last Hurrah they are just using it for set up for the big unveiling of the 2019 models on Monday. They call it "The Show." Linny has cleaned all day and I'm checking it out and moving hoses to make sure it's looking as good as it can look. It's quiet. There's nobody over here.

It's Saturday night and it feels like the early days when I moved here. I would set outside and imagine the time when dinosaurs roamed the land. Then later when the Anasazi, Ute, and Fremont were the caretakers. I'd listen to native American flute music and drift back to the day of the souls of before. Ghost time.

It's like that tonight. I feel them again. There are slight sounds. A few bats have returned and if your hearing permits high decibel reception you hear their pings. It's an acquired listen. At the river on the island a mile downstream geese are jockeying for nesting spots as occasional squabbles break out and as I walk around the pond to collect the pumps and hoses frogs jump in at my approach. The wind carries the souls of before and whispers peek around the corners. 
The female big horn are carrying heavy and soon there will be babies. The ravens have devastated the hawk population and the white-crowned sparrows, house finches, and Eurasian doves are calling for mates. The singing is plentiful. It's a spring of sorts and in a few days temps will reach the 70s.

Monday morning corporate Jeep will be here and the ghosts will fade replaced by 100 of the present. Writers, photographers, and the like. The talk will be of 2019 and the Hughes Net Gen 5 wifi will be streaming out the new models to all the off road magazines. There will be other ghost days, just not as many. Things as they always do have changed. I miss the time for imagination, the time for ghosts.

Moab Yaht Club (Mile Marker 46)

At mile marker 46 on the Colorado River you can find the boat house of the Moab Yacht Club at the Last Hurrah boat house. Granted at the moment it's only six kayaks but we have big plans.

Soldier Summit

On Friday Linny missed her ride from Salt Lake back to Base Camp and Janna saved the day again giving her a ride part way and meeting me at an out of the way gas station in the mountains at Soldier Summit.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Just a Bunch of Stuff

So busy. The disc golf tournament ends two weekends ago and most everybody was gone by Monday except for Jana. She became friends with Linny and helped Linny clean everyday. Jana saved us over the last ten days. To explain how busy it is. A few days ago between cash collected and deposits put down this year income has passed all of last year, in the middle of March. The best month we'd ever had was $17,000 and we're at $21,000 right now and might do $30,000. Or, $1,000 per day. It's crazy. Linny went home yesterday for a few days to prepare for her 15th birthday which I guess is a big deal in the Hispanic community and will be back Friday.

Interesting guests over the last week. Linny took guests out to the Cowboy Camp and found the partial remains of another hawk likely devastated by ravens. I haven't seen a live hawk since I got back from picking up Kobae. The ravens that I've complained so much about are taking a toll on the hawks who were taking a toll on the songbirds. Feels odd being on the same side as the ravens.

Somebody dug up the hawk Linny and I buried.

I took guests on a hike through the Rock Garden to Skinny People and then they did a 12 mile hike all the way around Jackson Hole and up into Jackson Butte where they found the remains of a big horn sheep. Now we know where the last kill the mountain lion made.
The washing machine at the lodge broke and flooded the laundry room and at the moment what is Kobae's room. Some sensor doesn't work and they've ordered it so we've been running to Last Hurrah Main House to do laundry between people checking in and out.
There are always rooms, hogans, or houses to clean, trash cans to empty all over the property, propane gas canisters or water jugs to be moved around and water to be pumped between the properties. The days are long but somehow quick.
The river has risen six inches in the last couple days and is starting to creep around this side of the island again. Took Beth (guest) to the Wind Caves and ran into a couple that was sort of lost so they followed us and took all for a hike to the top. They tipped me $10. It was cute.
Have some really nice guests staying in both the male and female hogans at Last Hurrah for a week and they've been active. Road their bikes out to Chicken Corner yesterday and today I dropped them in town for what turned into a six hour kayak back. I added a clause to the waiver that if things go bad I get to rifle through your stuff and take it to the swap meet at the Rez. They were the first guests to go down the river this year and without me having had a chance to go first and check it out so here's a picture I took in case I never saw them again.
They all made it back.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Some Stuff, Some Confusing, Some Not So Much

I'm struggling. I've battled the hawks for so many years and the ravens for all of this year. I fought the hawks for what they do to the songbirds that visit the lodge every day singing their butts off for a mate. I've despised the ravens for attacking the nests of songbirds and torturing the young in front of the parents so much so that having learned the lesson of the Sharp Shinned hawk winter battle years ago I've found you don't really get their attention until you go to their house. I've mapped the three pair of raven nests closest to the lodge should that day of battle come. While studying them I recently read they don't nest in the same place twice so it may be a long effort that requires finding the new location of their nests every year so I'm prepared should there be an incident. Now one of my enemies has killed another enemy. Are they my frienemy as the Sharp-shinned became years ago before they killed him too?

For the last few months the water pressure at the lodge has been dropping and if two people anywhere in the lodge try to take a shower at the same time, they can't. We've ruled out one thing after another and when all is said and done it appears the well is going dry. The guy that drilled it found water at 44 feet and he drilled all the way to 88 feet where he hit bedrock. During the seven or eight years of Camelot Lodge and now the 11 plus years of Base Camp the 44 feet in the middle however wide it is has been used up.

So, the temporary answer is to put in a 1750 gallon cistern. The well pump will be active during the night at it's slow rate of pulling water up and fill the cistern. The cistern will have it's own pump and push water into the lodge on the day and times when it's busiest so there will be sufficient water pressure. But, barring a whole bunch of rain that finds it's way 44 feet down, the lodge will run out of water at some point.

 I have considerable water rights with a mile of river frontage but because the water level and the beach move around a lot there's no consistent place to put a pump anywhere close to the lodge. So I'm about to become a short haul trucker from the pond or boat ramp to the cistern. I'd prefer the pond where it can sit for a couple days and settle making the water much cleaner as it goes into the cistern.
Business is way up. Sometime this week Base Camp will pass the revenue of all of last year between cash collected and booked. Last year almost doubled the year before and that will increase the water usage at the lodge and with a pump going all the time may put strain on the nearly new power grid of solar panels and batteries.

Sandra called and wanted to stay in the female hogan at Last Hurrah. I told her she needed a vehicle with some clearance to get here. She said her friends told her that the big truck she has wouldn't make it. Me, figuring she had a Ford 350 or similar I told her the propane truck makes it here every year, the septic truck does, a school bus with non retractable stairs and two 30 foot toy trailers showed up so unless she had a cement mixer on the back of her truck she'd be ok.

On Monday Sandra showed up in her truck. I misunderstood when Sandra said she had a big truck. It turns out she had a BIG TRUCK. No problem she said.

Wednesday evening.
I've never stayed at Last Hurrah, anywhere, not even one night. I'm pumping water at both places though tonight and I'm concerned about an overflow in the Last Hurrah tanks so I'm mostly staying over at Last Hurrah tonight though driving over to the lodge every few hours.

It's nice.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Base Camp Disc Golf Tournament

It's a biggie. Both properties are full and there are tents all over the place at the boat ramp, gravel pit, and for the first time ever we've rented out the upgraded boat house. It's pretty cool. With 22 extra holes added for the tournament it's a five to seven hour round for most players Linny and I have placed two coolers on the course with soft drinks and beer in them. At the conclusion of Day One, it's gone pretty well and most are really happy with the new basket placement. At some point we'll evaluate the results and add another 18 holes or perhaps 36 without going to the main house area and disturbing the birthing grounds of the big horn and mule deer.

Things You Just Know 2

It's Saturday the morning of the start of the disc golf tournament. The players are gathering for the players meeting and the tournament is about to start. A player comes to me and says "Tom, there's a dead hawk on number seven." Linny and I grab our gloves and shovel and jump in a side by side. There are multiple wounds on the back and then once it fell to ground additional wounds on the chest. We bring the Coopers to the lodge for burial in our wildlife vs wildlife memorial. Linny digs the grave and we mark the spot, knowing it won't be the last time. There will be others.

On Sunday morning the ravens do not show up.

Things You Just Know

Just prior to Linny and I going to San Diego to get Kobae there was a Cooper's hawk each morning hanging around trying to pick off a song bird by the feeding areas. Each morning I would go drive him off but they are pretty persistent. On Monday when we got back I didn't see him. What I did see were four ravens up on the hill doing their Happy Dance. They strut back and forth, heads propped up, feeling the pride. I've seen this before when they've raided bird nest and flung their young about before eating them and rubbing it in to the parents who are trying to fight them off.

For the mornings of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the Cooper's hawk doesn't show up but the ravens do and strut their happy dance on the ridge, the conspiracy of ravens. Something has died. The ravens are too happy.

On Thursday Linny and I head up the hill with a shovel and gloves to bury whatever the ravens are celebrating. It must be something special as they are flying high and then diving down one after the other in aerial celebration.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Knack of Haydukers

There might be ten people hiking the Hayduke trail all year and I just have a knack of running into them on the once a week or so I go to town. I invite them out to the lodge to stay at one of the hogans and sometimes do water drops for them down Lockhart Basin.

The disc golf tournament is this weekend and it's packed. On Wednesday Linny and I went to town filling the truck up with water and propane. On the way back we run across the first two Haydukers of the years and invite them to stay at the lodge. Really good guys and on Thursday morning at first light we say goodbye to Tacota and Norm.

This year the tournament is 40 holes each day with 22 new baskets added. When you play #31 at Hull's Place you're about three quarters of a mile away from the lodge so we've set up tables and chairs and refreshments. On our way to town Wednesday evening for the second drive that day we run across five more Haydukers and invite them to stay at the lodge and not long after the first two leave they're off on the trail.
At the store Linny and I buy $300 worth of beer and soda for the Hull's Place, Hole #31, break before heading back for the last nine holes to the lodge. I have Linny push all the beer up to the checker and I'm walking behind her with the soda. When people stare at her I tell them she has a drinking problem, it's not severe yet but I'm getting concerned.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Return of "The Man"

I can't get Kobae out of the truck by myself. He's too heavy. I put two straw bales up against the truck and after 30 minutes of thinking about it Kobae came out on his own. After he'd moved over into the sun Linny said "Look Tom, Kobae has a smile on his face." I think she's right. Welcome home my friend.

The Game

Probably 25 years ago or so I attended an indoor soccer game in El Paso between the Permian Basin Shooting Stars and the El Paso, well something, I don't remember the name of the team. El Paso was extremely disorganized and Permian Basin ran over them. After the game I went to a Pizza Hut to eat and the El Paso team came in to the same Pizza Hut. I talked to some of the team and told them some stuff they could do to be a better team next time and I owned a bunch of indoor facilities and the most successful professional team of all time, the San Diego Sockers practiced at my facility and I went to all of their practices so I knew of what I talked.

After about 20 minutes one of the players slipped away from out conversation and started going around to the other tables that had players eating. After a few minutes he came back to the table, nodded his head to the other players and said "It's done." Then he looked at me and said "We're going to get the coach fired, you want to be our new coach?" I declined.

On Saturday night San Diego was playing El Paso. Not quite eight minutes into the game San Diego scored. After the goal El Paso players got two red cards, kicked out of the game permanently, and another player got a two minute penalty. Later in the game another player was ejected for spitting on a referee. All night long El Paso was in trouble and frequently a player short on the field for penalties, which resulted in this, and this, and that.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A Kobae Hiking Day

Kobae mostly stayed out of trouble. Instead of going to either of the places where tortoises use to live he was all focused on eating so we probably hiked less than a mile while he feasted on dandy lions, sun flowers, and crab grass. He avoids the well trimmed lawns with no weeds. I did keep the wallet full of $5, $10, and $20 dollar bills so I could pay off people when Kobae breaks their sprinklers and solar lights without calling the authorities. He destroyed a few things but mostly it was a trouble free day.
The sun went behind the clouds and it got cold real quick. Kobae climbed into some bushes at a house a few blocks away, dug a hole, buried himself, and wouldn't move. Davis (the dog) that Kobae really likes to chase showed up to rescue us and get Kobae out of the flower bed but he didn't seem that interested but eventually with some coaxing we got him out. Then when Kobae lost interest in Davis luring him back to the house a new dog showed up that had no fear of Kobae and Kobae decided to teach him a lesson so we got back to the house pretty quick. Speedy, is completely blind, so he had no fear of Kobae and did a wonderful job of bringing Kobae back to the house. Thanks mom and dad of Speedy.

Kobae: We're in Trouble

The Magic of Youth Soccer

From thousands of hours of observation I believe there is a magnet in the ball that sucks small children to it. I think this proves my point.

Friday, March 2, 2018

It's Time

The disc golf tourney is next weekend and a whole new format adding 22 holes each day over on to the new property and a no driver tournament but the question I get from almost every competitor is "Will Kobae be there?"

So, Linny and I hopped in the truck Thursday and drove to San Diego. It turns out when I drop him off end of October is usually the Sockers first home game and when I go back to get him it's around their last home game of the season. This time though checking there schedule I saw they have a game this Saturday night so perfect timing. Then I look at their road schedule and they have a game Thursday night in Ontario. I look at the map for the arena and it's about two blocks off the freeway I'd be driving down anyway so Linny and I went to the game and met family there.

It's pretty rare when it's a good thing that the home crowd leaves early, boos, and is quiet. But last night, it was a good thing, for us anyhow.