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Adric M
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2 eyes 2 ears, still have 10 fingers and toes, much to the amazement of my friends!
2 eyes 2 ears, still have 10 fingers and toes, much to the amazement of my friends!

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Written by a friend, just a small correction for your browsing "pleasure"

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Not tomorrow, but next friday, Quelab is hosting the NM LockSport Enthusiasts group, 7pm, come on down if you are in town, and interested in locks, picking, keying, smithing, how they work, try out varous training locks and padlocks. 

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Its a good enough story, despite it being on the coattails of a funeral. but my wanderlust, and my #ingress desires, lead me down a dark cold path. but reassured me that while you can't plan for all things. you can plan, and then use your choices to make selectively more and better options.

pulled from recent memory, may edit and massage it later, or may not.

I got on my way out of town(Tucson) a little later than I had planned on friday. it was not yet noon, but i was taking a longer more winding route home. but by all calculations while i was only gong to be less than half way home by dark, the 2nd half was supposed to be the more simple, and familiar parts.

Went off the beaten path south of Safford, and started working my way up highway 191 up through with the intent of finally visiting Mogollon (ghost town). which involved about a 22 mile side trip off the main highway on a one lane little road known to be closed during the winters past Mogollon. well about 18 miles into a 22 mile (closest thing ive ever seen to a jeep trail that is still technically a asphalted road. (maybe 10' wide and mostly patches.)) i hit a "Road Closed for Construction", i was racing the sun anyway, seeing as how the town is in a box canyon, it was already at or past the magic hour. but it was not blocking the road, so i went on another 1/2 mile and discovered a huge landslide remediation effort and bridge repair was underway with workmen. I decided to take my losses and head back emptyish handed. (i did get some nice photos along the way. and a beautiful super bright rainbow.. and some explorers fun, although mostly kinda thwarted)


Well by the time i was back off that trail, it was getting dark so i headed towards Datil, (some ingress shenanigans in the area i wanted to try and take care of, now that i had both sprint and T-mobile service and was going to be vaguely near.) was looking at the distances earlier and estimating for the around tucson driving i did after filling up i had about 340ish miles and this 44ish mile excursion was expected. but as i was going on from there i foolheartedly decided to skip the all manual 2.88 pump gas, because i had close to a 1/2 tank which i was stretching my estimate max distance, by driving better, to 360 miles, which would get me maybe to Socorro.. I knew there were gas stations in Datil, and pietown, and Magdelena, so i was not worried,(although pietown was the wrong way, it would have afforded me proximity to Quemado, which is also of ingress interest. And it was not super late, (although dark, it was only getting to be about 6 when i got to a very dark Datil. And discovered the gas station was closed with a sign saying, "they will be back tomorrow if the power is back on".

I decided not waiting out the night in the dark Datil, I had now under 1/4 tank, which by current less optimistic estimates (due to strong head wind and snow) would get me to Magdalena, and for all i knew there would be a station open at the other end of datil or whatnot, but i didn't have the milage to get to pietown or socorro. or back to reserve, for that manual pump (if it was even going to be operational after 6pm).

No Sprint or T-mobile service pretty much since i had left AZ, So with a mix of coasting, and conservative gas use i got to magdalena, and my fuel light was on, I guessed i had 15-25 miles left if the wind cooperated which it was not. and neither was the snow. But pulling through Magdelena i found just a few flickry yard lights could be found (turns out they were likely solar or people with generators) has station had a sign on the door saying closed due to power outage. i see the pumps are dark and off. pull to the other station, it has older pumps with no credit options, also dark, no way to stuff cash in the door and have it do me any good.
Both payphones found had no dialtione (not sure who i was going to call, friends in socorro? a friend of mine who useto live out there and might be able to direct me somewhere? figured dad would be starting to worry by now, so was going to call him first, and get gas 2nd if i could, and then plan my options.

but no phone, no internet, no payphone, nobody out, not even any houses within sight of the road with flickering dim power. as i had passed a few further out earlier.

Guess I really should have grabbed the satellite internet "gadget" from work. ive not been this disconnected short of hikes, and small trips to nowhere.

I take stock of my supplies, 3 jackets, probably more than an hours worth of fuel to run the car heater(was thinking 10-15 minutes to warm up if needed) , i was in the middle if rural civilization, and its all before even 7:30pm. I have some snacks, some water, also had my spare clothes and laundry, and it was not even down to freezing yet, so i decided to make myself comfortable for the night.

I put a sign with a LED flashlight (i have spare batteries) up against my windshield saying, "Napping, out of gas, Wake if you can help!", and i bundle up and find some semi comfortable seat recline and headrest reversal, and quieted my mind until i drifted off. i know some people pulled through the station looking for gas, but none really stopped. and were likely not in much position to help.

I had even checked to see if i could get a few cups of gas out of the 4 pump hoses, via gravity trapped. but no.. modern pumps don't do that, and probably even the older stations pumps were likely retrofitted

I awoke when Power came back on at about 11pm, pumps and streetlights, and some inside the gas station, as was its open sign! I noticed the pumps all say "pleas wait" (yep typo on all of them), also quickly realize my false hope that they were open was wrong they had just left lights and open sign on when leaving, and all the pumps were in 'offline mode' (peering in the window i was guessing which button would need to be pressed. but short of finding enough of a pickset in my car and breaking in, or smashing the glass i was still stuck. but i decided to see if the tavern or other gas station had any signs of life now that places had some power. but wanted to be conservative with my gas so i could have heat.
but i stumbled across a lodge, and drove in, the snow was really coming down now, and a nice warm bed was starting to sound nice, and now that power was back on, perhaps someone would have landline phone, and the towers may even have power again. so i pulled up infront of the lodge office and stand on the porch seeing some light on, but door says closed, and next to that is "you want to buy a lodge?? call here" and a lockbox on the door. there was a unlocked key drop box but no keys in it. i decided to try the doorbell just incase the few lights on inside were a caretaker or someone, whom could at least call. and sure enough a minute or so later comes a woman in a robe and she answers the door, and i rattle off the shortest version of my story i could to hopefully alleviate the sketchiness of it.
she lets me in, and offered me the phone, although it does not work right sue to power outage it needed to be put back on its wireless base (landline stuff, im out of touch with it) we troubleshot it, and i called dad, Just as i suspected he was worried, probably pretty close to a panic, after all he and I had together buried his Son In Law and my Brother In Law the day before.

I don't like much talking on phones, even in a emergency, im prone to queue up the important elevator pitch, serve it and want to hang up and get done. but yeah i call him, and i can hear the panic in his voice as he fights with his charger, let him know im safe, and my preparations have lead me to this safe point, and at that moment he asks "well should i come get you? I was already thinking of driving back to see if i could find you!" and so i asked the Lodgekeep, if they have rooms? can she rent me a room? and she says sure, and tells me the rate, (pretty normal) so i say, no, i will wait here and get gas in the morning and drive back after. but just wanted him to know, im good, im well enough prepared and maximized my safe options.

So I turn in for the night, still no cell, no data, not even a room phone, but safe, and dry in a warm non-bedbuggy bed. it had a tv, i thought about trying to catch the weather channel so i could guess about the nearby weather/road conditions. but instead i just decided to sleep and see about things in the morning, I still had 2 more days of medications, and thinking and planning had gotten me this far in life.
The last few days of my travel my eyes have been pretty tired. when navigating a place you are not familiar with you do a lot of sign reading, and looking all over for how the streets go, and where you are going, and how to get to this or that thing. so when i woke it was light and i was suspecting people were getting going, so i looked out, and we had about 2"of snow, and it was still coming down, but looked bright so not a thick cloud.


I found the lodgekeep, she she apologised for putting the receipt for my room on my windshield. before the snow froze it down, i turned in my key and headed out. making it to the gas station, and there were plenty of cars, but all the pumps still said 'Pleas Wait"
I went in, and saw several locals, and several travelers all lounging about on all the places one can lounge while the elderly clerk, was on the phone with Vollero or wherever, and she poking all the buttons i was imagining poking lastnight from the other side of the glass. and the pumps wont go online.

I'm starting to debate in my head about asking everyone in the place if they have some hose and if i can siphon some gas. when i hear the grandmotherly station clerk swear at the person on the phone "how am i to know which one of these god damned machines is the fucking computer?!?!" at this point i see she is not having a good morning. so i say "uhm im a computer scientist, I can probably figure out which one they need us to restart" while i may not have a science degree, its truthy enough...

And its important to inflate your worth at times like this, in the apocalypse right??

I lock eyes and she sees the beta male, stepping into his alpha nerd role. and says go for it! so i duck back behind the counter and look at the boxes, and find some markings and types of ports, and a mini-itx making a odd stuttery sound like eh-eh-eh-eh... so i realy through the clerk, the status, and we try a restart, eventually an unplug and wait, unplugging didnt help, and no monitor for it oi could not even guess the error, but it did have one Serial, and one Usb connector, so i unpluggged both, and rebooted, still didnt boot. talked with the tech on the phone a bit, and he was giving up, they were going to send someone on monday, maybe sooner to fix it.
I told the lady i had one more trick. (i was going to pop the hard drive onto my usb sata adapter, and see if i could watch it try and boot on my netbook) got it open and found the cpufan was stuck and pretty hot. knocked crud out of the fan, and let it cool, while i reset the cmos by yanking the battery. after that when it powered on it sounded different, so i left the battery out, and we gently put it back open with the fan going, and plugged int he cords. and 2 out of the 4 pumps went online! i bought gas to test it, and was rewarded with coffee and a fresh donut and several very happy travelers. Told the clerk that computer is working now, but its on lifesupport, have them get the tech out with a new one asap.

So with that i drove off into the storm! during that time it had snowed almost another inch, and while it was only at freezing, the road was already looking worse/close to snowpack, than when i had gotten up.


About 5 miles down the road towards socorro my phone blew up with notifications. but i laughed and drive to Socorro before responding to any of them because the road was baddish, and very few good pull off places, and those that were could also be snow filled pits of doom.

About 1083 miles there and back again, ill post some photos, and possibly a screencapture of the path my navigation software decided to depict for a serious section of about mile climb of altitude switchbacks. Worst thing about the trip was the reason for it. even all and all being said the the trip while a little harrowing, its also rewarding to think back at all the stream of decisions, and possibilities, and picking the best safe plan at all the most important parts. should this have been even worse, i think the problems were invigorating to solve.

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This part of the revolution will not be televised.

What a picture. 

(Pic props: http://goo.gl/2rYjwJ )
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