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VOLUMES 191 & 192-------- MAY/JUNE 2018

June 30, 2018

Can you believe that I'm starting this newsletter so that it won't be very late??  Sometimes miracles actually happen!

I left the last newsletter saying that my physical therapy for my TKR would soon wind down.  By May I was down to one session a week, with the last one on May 30th.  For that session, Eric, my therapist all the way through, turned me over to Scott for the final 'tests' to make sure I was ready to move on.  After the stationary bike, step-ups, squats, and balancing exercises, I was pronounced, "We don't need to see you anymore!"

Still lots of work to get beyond the swelling and regain strength to function as near normal as possible, although I did begin twice a week golf on May 1st, riding a power cart.  Walking the course will come later.  (I hope)

May also held a number of routine visits with other medical professionals.

First was a my dental checkup.  What few teeth of my own I have left, were pronounced OK and no fillings needed.

I guess one knows you're getting older when the Doctors who seemed so young when you first saw them are retiring as was the case with
my gastroenterologist. Thus, my first visit with a new one, to whom I was referred.  Some minor changes in meds was the outcome of that visit.

Next Ann and I both saw Dr. Fillmore at Eye Consultants for our annual eye checkups.  Ann got a new eyeglass prescription, as did I.  My vision had deteriorated to about 20/60 in my left eye, which is a result of a condition diagnosed two or three years ago called an Epiretinal Membrane.

This is described as, "A thin, almost transparent layer of fibrous cellular material which grows over the surface of the retina."  "Almost like a layer of plastic wrap," I was told.  Again, an ailment that affects some of us as we reach our mid seventies.

Over time the membrane may change shape which can also change the shape of the eyeball.  Thus my prescription actually went back to about what it was several years ago for the left eye.  However, having to look through the 'Saran Wrap' over the retina, made it possible to get that eye to only about 20/25 with eyeglass lenses.  Still a bit blurry, even at that.  Will just have to watch and wait, as more serious problems can be caused by this condition, and surgical intervention is quite risky.

Fortunately, this level of vision is fine for everyday activities, but my left-handed
shooting with a left master eye, is a bit of a struggle when sighting in a rifle.  Which brings me to another subject.

I have written numerous times about the fact that I have been pretty much uninterested in the "Modern Sporting Rifle" craze of the last few years.  AR-15's have been among the top selling firearms in recent years, and now  AR's are made in nearly any caliber you can name.  And, the more they are demonized by the anti gunners and do-gooders, the more popular they become.

Yes, we continue to have mass shootings, nearly all by perpetrators who exhibited plenty of warning signs that were either mishandled or ignored.  The standard answer to the problem by Liberals and their Mainstream Media allies is "ban the rifles."  Never mind that one of the latest shootings at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD, was accomplished with a pump action shotgun!  Again by a perp who should have, and could have been neutralized by the justice system, had it not failed.  Again!

It ain't the guns, folks!  It's the society in which we live and have all had a part in either making it that way or sitting by and watching it happen!

Before I get off this soapbox, I'll reproduce my recent letter to the editor of our local paper.  The Spokesman Review printed the letter in their June 15th edition.  The first two parenthetical items are additions the editors made to identify the articles to which I was referring.

Interesting contrast in recent Shawn Vestal ("Resistance to safe storage for guns is telling," May 23) and Sue Lani Madsen ("We need culture change, not a law," June 2)  articles regarding citizen’s initiative 1639.  Here we have the typical liberal view from Mr. Vestal, that a ‘law’ will somehow change behavior of bad people, while Ms. Madsen points out that the ‘law’ will change the behavior of only law-abiding citizens, whose firearms pose no threat anyway!
As reported in GUARDIAN WEEKLY, an October 2017 study showed that universal background check laws in WA and CO have had “little measurable effect.”  Look for 1639 to accomplish exactly the same thing.  Several WA state law enforcement organizations told us the background check law was “un-enforceable” before it was passed!
Unfortunately, left leaning voters in the Puget Sound area will likely make 1639 the law, as they did I-594.
If we really want to stop violent behavior with firearms, particularly school shootings, here’s what we need:  Two parent households, teaching their kids Judeo-Christian values, and swatting butts for bad behavior.  (Judeo-Christian values need have nothing to do with organized religion)
Since the likelihood of this happening, is somewhere between zero and zero, let’s face reality and harden the security of our schools so no one gets in with a gun!

Jim Parman
Newman Lake

Nope, not quite off the soapbox yet.

Remember when NRA Executive VP Wayne La Pierre was vilified, along with the NRA itself, for stating, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."

Then comes the Preacher/Volunteer Fireman/E.M.T. with a concealed carry permit who stopped a gunman in a Walmart parking lot in Tumwater, WA just a few days ago.  The gunman had fired shots inside the store and ran out to attempt a carjacking.  After threatening one driver and shooting another, the criminal was shot and killed by Pastor David George.  Mr. George was hailed a 'hero' although he downplays that label.

While this incident did receive some national attention in the media, the many times a gun is used to stop 'bad guys' are seldom reported.  Many times the mere realization that a 'good guy' has a gun is enough to send the 'bad guy' on his way without a shot fired!  So don't tell me that 'good guys' with a gun can't make a difference!

One reaction after the Parkland, FL school shooting was for retailer Dick's Sporting Goods and their Field and Stream Stores to stop selling so called 'Assault Rifles' and raising the age to 21 to purchase any semi-automatic rifle.  One twenty year old Washington state resident sued Dick's over that rule because current law says that 18 is the legal age for such purchases.  In addition to facing the lawsuit, several major firearms manufacturers have severed their relationships with Dick's.

Our local NBC affiliate, KHQTV, reported on the lawsuit.  While discussing the matter, background pictures of AR's and AK's were shown behind the reporters.  The semi-auto rifle that was refused the twenty year old was a Ruger 10-22, one of the most popular rimfire  rifles in the country, and miles from being in any way similar to the rifles pictured!  Still think the media only reports and doesn't try to sway opinion???

Now off the soapbox, except to say that the continued, constant barrage of "No one should be allowed to own one of those nasty 'Black Rifles,'" finally convinced me I should have one!  A little research showed me there is lots to know about AR's, their innumerable options and gadgets, and takedown and reassembly.

So, on May 11th Ann and I trekked off to Cabela's in Post Falls, ID to look at some.  (Well, I looked at guns, she looked at clothes)  I had saved Cabela's gift cards received for birthdays over several years, and we had several dollars in 'Cabela's Points' which would nearly pay for a new gun!  Those points accumulated by virtue of using Cabela's Club Visa cards for most of our major purchases.  Real cash money seems to have gone out of style these days.

After looking at the display models of AR's in .223 Remington caliber, and being told that they could hardly keep them in stock, I was about to walk away without a purchase.  I wanted either a DPMS or Bushmaster, neither of which was on the .223 display rack.  Then the nice gentleman found a .223 in the wrong spot on the next rack over, where the .308's and larger calibers reside.

My, My!  A Bushmaster!  Even turned out to be a bit less expensive than the 'I never heard of' brands I had been looking at.  The upshot was, they had a half dozen more of the Bushmasters in the back room that my salesman didn't even know about.  Interesting about the less expensive issue.  When the bar code was scanned, the computer said the price was about $200 more than the tag price.  While she didn't look too happy about it, the floor supervisor honored the tagged price.  I'll bet that price tag changed shortly after I got out the door.

This was a new model, called the 'Minimalist."  As you'll see in a minute, this is what's called a 'Flattop,' this one with a picatinny rail, full length, along the top of the action and handguard.  No carry handle supporting the
rear sight and no tall front sight often seen on AR's.

Bushmaster ''Minimalist" in .223 Rem Caliber

The scope and mount were added later and I'll cover that in a minute.

After getting the Federal paperwork done and the instant background check completed, the rifle came home with two spare magazines and a bulk pack of Remington .223 ammo.  The magazines are Magpul brand and the ammo is standard 55 grain full metal jacket with an advertised muzzle velocity of 3240 fps.  (The Minimalist has only a 16 inch barrel, so actual velocity will likely be somewhat less.  I'll chronograph them later.)

Remington Ammo along with the original magazine and a new Magpul

I spent some recliner chair time over the next several evenings reading the owner's manual and workbench time learning the controls and how the gun operates.  One evening was spent disassembling and reassembling the gun to become familiar with the innards and how everything works.

Remembering that these were originally designed for the military, I found some interesting features.  For example, the pins that allow separating the 'upper' from the 'lower,' are captured.  Meaning they won't come completely out of their holes so they can't be lost.  As soon as the operator becomes familiar with the process, the disassembly and cleaning is straightforward, and putting them back together can only be done one way.  Also the parts in AR's are mostly changeable from one gun to another without special fitting.

Now I needed to remedy the fact that the rifle has no factory sights before I could shoot it!  For that, I again utilized Leupold's Hunter Education Instructor's program.  I contacted Gohlem Afshar of Leupold who had helped me with previous purchases, completed the order form, and emailed it to the factory in Beaverton, OR.  Leupold soon had a MARK AR MOD 1 tactical scope on its way accompanied by a Mark 2 IMS mounting system.  I dislike the term 'tactical,' but that is the favorite buzzword in this arena right now.

The scope is matte black with a duplex reticle, variable 1.5 to 4 X with 20mm objective lens.  Really this scope is no different than most sporting models, except for two things.  The windage and elevation adjustments are higher with finger adjustable dials and the adjustments are in milliradians.  Each click equals 0.1 milliradian, where most sporting scopes feature either 0.5 or 0.25 minute of angle for each click or graduation mark.  One MOA amounts to approximately one inch at 100 yards.  For those interested in such things, 0.1 mil equals .36 inch at 100 yards.

The tactical mount with rings, fits the picatinny rail at any point so fore and aft adjustments are very flexible.

Leupold MARK AR and the mounting hardware

With everything mounted and adjusted, the next step was to spend the better part of an afternoon getting sighted in and shooting.  As usual, I began with the LaserLyte bore sighter in the shop building at about 45 feet.  In a plain barrel rifle, this system is very accurate and has always put me 'on the paper' at 100 yards when I adjust the reticle to an inch above the laser dot.  In this case I was a bit uncertain about the laser accuracy because the AR has a flash suppressor and the LaserLyte would not actually engage the barrel crown.  The flash suppressor should center the laser fixture, but would it?

I decided to shoot a couple of shots at 25 yards rather than move directly to the 100 yard target to find out.  This exercise printed the bullets about 3 or 4 inches below point of aim.  Hmmm!  In my experience, with most high power rifles, a dead center zero at 25 yards will put bullets about 3 inches high at 100 yards, regardless of caliber.  With that in mind, I adjusted the scope until the zero was centered on the 25 yard target.

Now to 100 yards.  One shot and the spotting scope showed no hole in the target!  Another shot and still no hole.  What the heck?  So, I moved up to about 50 yards and shot two more times.  Now there were holes in the target, but way high.  Conclusion:  I was shooting over the target and target stand with the first two shots.  So much for the 25 yard zero theory with this gun!  I should have left well enough alone with the LaserLyte!

I made the proper scope adjustments and soon had the rifle shooting 2 to 2.5 inch groups, centered about 1 inch above point of aim on the 100 yard target.  So I shot it some more.  Then Rick showed up and he shot a 3 round group.  Damn, this thing IS fun to shoot!  Almost no recoil, and burns through ammo like nobody's business!

I believe the rifle has better accuracy potential than it was showing me.  Remember that little eye problem I mentioned earlier?  I simply could not see the scope reticle as well as needed for fine accuracy.  This session was with my old prescription glasses, but new ones are now on my face.  Hopefully seeing at 20/25 instead of 20/60 with that left eye will improve my ability to shoot, but I haven't tried it yet.

So there you have it.  I am now officially a part of the 'badass' crowd who owns one of those nasty, erroneously called 'assault rifles'.  The chances of my rifle actually harming anyone remains extremely unlikely.

May 31st was Rick's 55th birthday.  Jennifer drove up from Pullman and we began our celebration with dinner at Texas Roadhouse in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  Next was gift opening and dessert at our house.

Rick and Jennifer with us at Texas Roadhouse

Rick on the 'Celebration Saddle'  "Look Ma, no hands"

Ann visiting with Jennifer

Upon our return home for dessert and gift opening, I just had to photograph Jennifer's new shoes.  Ain't they purty?

Opening and reading cards is second only to opening gifts

Little Heifer had me scan and make a photo of this Dennis the Menace cartoon.  Zoom in to read the caption

Rick had Birthday Pie instead of Birthday Cake

The Elks Lodge has purchased a new property and took possession on June 30th.  The main building is/was an event center with all the modern conveniences required for weddings, parties, etc.  Hopefully we can rent the building frequently in order to improve our cash flow.  The purchase also includes a large shop building and a smaller building now housing a beauty salon.  Our plan is to just continue to rent the salon to the operators who have been in the building for years, and convert the shop building to other uses.

Over the past few months we have been holding our Lodge meetings in space at the local VFW hall, and this will continue for a while.  We did resume our popular 'Taco Tuesday' event at the VFW on June 19th, so that brings back our volunteer band.  Dennis, Chuck, Doug, and I are back playing vintage country music again each week.

On June 10th Little Heifer and I began the first leg of a trip with our travel trailer and the Wheelin' Elks RV Club.  We left a day early and pulled to Pullman, WA where we were able to visit with Jennifer and have dinner at Nuevo Vallarta, the Mexican restaurant where Jennifer works as a hostess.

We ate early to avoid the rush and Jennifer was able to occasionally sit with us as we ate.  We had a shrimp dish, where the naked shrimp are wrapped in bacon then deep fried, served with peppers and onions in a white sauce along with rice and beans.  Delicious!!! When finished, we were told by our waiter that Jennifer had paid for our dinners!

Doubting that Jennifer had the $$ to pay for the dinners, we soon found that the restaurant had comped the meals because Jennifer is so well liked.

After spending the night in the City owned Pullman RV Park, we pulled out for the Log House RV Park in Enterprise, Oregon.  (This was billed as a Joseph, Oregon trip, but the campgrounds there were full and Enterprise is only abut 8 miles away.)  We chose the most direct route, which involves some very crooked mountain roads.  The route goes through sister cities, Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington.  Then the two lane gets a bit hairy.

This photo of Ann is from the top of 'Lewiston Grade.' On the left is Lewiston, Idaho and the right is Clarkston, Washington, separated by the Snake River just before its confluence with the Clearwater

While the roads from Clarkston to Enterprise had plenty of steep and crooked, the new GMC Duramax Diesel had lots of power for the ups, and plenty of exhaust brake for the downs.  While
the old 1999 Ford we had before did not lack power, we love the new GMC's features that it didn't have.

The next few days included a little golf, a tram ride to the top of Mount Howard, a tour of a bronze foundry, and a group dinner at the Stubborn Mule Restaurant in Joseph, OR.

The Log House from which the RV campground behind and to the right gets its name

Our Campsite

Shortly after our check in at the Log House Campground, we went downtown for a late breakfast/early lunch at the Red Rooster Cafe.  I nice young man from Canada took our picture with Ann's phone, backed by the big Rooster

The valley around Joseph, Oregon has long been known for its bronze foundries.  While there were once three or four, the sole survivor is Valley Bronze, which offers daily tours of the facility.  As a reference point, this foundry is famed for a number of projects it has cast in this facility.  Not the least of which, is the giant Cougar outside Martin Stadium at WSU in Pullman!  More seriously, they cast and shipped a lot of the materials contained in the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.

Our tour did occur when the foundry was actually making a 'pour' with the molten metal into moulds crafted on site.  These moulds are incredibly detailed, to the degree that individual ribs in bird feathers stand out perfectly!

This is the vessel containing the molten bronze that will be poured into the moulds in the background

Here the safety suited workers are pouring the molten metal

These are some of the parts that will be assembled into an early surveyor for a museum project somewhere

Here are the surveyor's head and hat

This is a photo of what the larger than lifesize surveyor should look like when done

Next I'll insert photos of an Eagle and an Elk that were almost finished and ready to go.

Our next adventure was a tram ride from Wallowa Lake to the summit of Mount Howard.  The tramway is made up of a series of four person gondolas that rise nearly 4,000 feet in elevation to the 8,500 foot summit.  There are hiking trails at the top, along with a small restaurant.  As you can imagine, the views are spectacular!

One view on the upward journey

View of the mountaintop restaurant with a tramway tower on the left

Here's Ann, and there was still plenty of snow at the summit

Wallowa Lake from the mountain top.  Joseph and Enterprise off to the north in the haze

Another look at Wallowa Lake on the ride down

Next day found us with some golfing time so seven of us trekked off to Alpine Meadows Golf Course.  This is a nine hole venue in a wonderful setting, with mountain views all around.  Two sets of tees for each category, make for a slightly different look on the second nine of 18 holes played.

Ann ready for a great tee shot

A person could get to liking this kind of golf.  Bet the snow gets butt deep in the winter though

Ann and I headed home on Friday, while some of the crew stayed on another day.  We were flexible for another night in the RV on the way home, but decided to just pull on in that afternoon.  Good time was had by all!

I did take the opportunity while in Enterprise, to apply at the County Sheriff's Department for a non resident concealed carry permit.  Oregon does not recognize any other state's permits, but does have provisions for residents of contiguous states to obtain Oregon permits to carry.

The process requires filling out an application, which I downloaded and did at home, two forms of ID, proof of competency for handgun safety, being fingerprinted and photographed, then passing a background check.  I did all this on Tuesday, June 12th and was told I should receive the permit in "two to three weeks" if everything is approved.  It will be three weeks next Tuesday, so we shall see.  (Author's Note:  I received the permit on July 2nd before I could get this edition uploaded.)

The fingerprinting was an interesting process.  Not only because of the electronic machine that did the deed without ink and paper, but because the machine was located in the anteroom of the jail proper.  I've never had the experience of being in jail, so seeing that big steel door opened with a huge 6 inch key and then hearing the clang as it locked behind me and the officer in the fingerprint room was rather sobering!

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a quote by Harry Truman:

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb... that's where the fruit is."

Well, it's time to shut down here, so. . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!

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