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Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM

Snow at dawn, Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM, December 1, 2009
Snow at dawn, Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM, December 1, 2009

Yesterday I got nicely settled in here at Brantley Lake State Park, hooked up to electricity for the first time since I left NM last spring and what do I awaken to? Snow. More snow than I've seen in years. Well, a couple of years anyway. Pretty isn't it? I guess I'd better give the guys at Forrest TIre a break and delay our planned session with my right front tire a day or two.

The power just went out (9:30ish).

Experience with this old rig has taught me to be wary of getting caught with my infrastructure out of tune. Running short of drinking water or waste storage can turn an inconvenient breakdown into a big deal and I try to be ready to ride out a break down without having to abandon ship and move to a motel. So yesterday before I came out to the park I grocery shopped, then dumped my waste tanks on the way in and took on a fresh water supply soon after setting up. Too bad I didn't bother filling up on propane and gasoline. After all I have hookups and electric heat - I don't need no steenkin' generator or propane heat.....

[updated 10:30ish] The electricity is on.

In the it's-a-small-world department

Dr. Roberto Fierro was abducted last week. How do I know this? I was out for an early morning walk about the park and met up with a few fellow park residents to chew over the weather a bit. Brigid mentioned she had read or seen on the news (I forget which) that her dentist was kidnapped out of his office in Palomas, Mexico last week. That got the attention of the park host. Four strangers meet and two use the same dentist. Small world.

Night camp

Site 37 - Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad NM

Heliograph route between Fort Cummings NM and Tubac, AZ

1886 heliograph transmissions between Tubac near Nogales Arizona/Mexico, and Fort Cummings New Mexico: Joe Marques (Flagstaff) was doing some research in old Flagstaff newspapers and found something that might interest. In the Arizona Weekly Champion, Saturday August 7, 1886, page 2 column 1, it says: "A message was recently sent by the government heliograph (signalling by sunlight flashes) from Fort Cummings, N.M. to Tubac, Ariz., a distance of 400 miles, and an answer received in four hours." What a great [research] find! This was during the Geronimo Campaign of 1886, and the heliograph system at that time did indeed extend between the two stations. From Tubac, the most westerly terminus, the intermediate stations were Baldy Peak or possibly Josephine Peak just a little south of Baldy), Fort Huachuca, Antelope Spring, Emma Monk, White's Ranch, Bowie Peak (or Helen's Dome), Steins Peak, and Camp Henely (east of Fort Cummings). This means the message would have been relayed seven times, one way. It most likely was a test message, and relatively short, but I would love to know what it and the reply really said. The 1886 "airline" distance between Tubac and Fort Cummings; and of course on to Fort Cummings. I calculate the one-way distance between the two extremes as being 241 miles, with round trip of course being 482 miles.