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Old 04-22-2015, 03:13 PM   #1
Dr. Greg OP
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Dr. Greg & "Wotan" do the Possum Trot and a Tour de Texas

Dr. Greg & "Wotan" do the Possum Trot and a Tour de Texas...

It's been seven years since I've done a Tour de Texas back on my 2006 Uly (great bike, BTW). And that trip was during Spring Break---I hadn't retired professoring yet---and I endured 100 mph winds (honest) at Guadalupe Mts. Nat'l. Park. Ouch. Anyway, it was time for a reprise.


The Possum Trot...what a Coincidence!

When I started checking the Tejas "Regionall" forum, I saw that a rally---namely the Possum Trot ADV Rally and Challenge was being held almost exactly the dates I wanted to travel.

So I'm gonna attend the PT---even though with road tires I ain't doin' any dirt ridin'---and it oughta be fun. I was assured that this skinny geeky retired mechanical engineering professor would have fun hangin' around witha buncha trash-talkin' possum-handlin' tough Texans. We'll see.


A "Live" Ride Report?

I can't promise that I'll be able to stick with a live Ride Report. I'm gettin' old (almost 68) and seems like chronic fatigue syndrome is setting in...but I'll see what I can do. My prospective route is from Albuquerque to Lubbock, TX (staying with an inmate there), then on to Graham, TX and the Trot.

Gonna stay with a series of inmates for a few days and work my way down to Austin, sightseeing along the way. Then head back to New Mexico via camping, maybe Garner State Park in TX, Big Bend, Guadalupe Mts., etc. Gotta get back by Saturday, May 2, cuz of a doctor appointment Monday and a very important engineering presentation I gotta give on Tuesday (I still do consulting...my area is robotics).


A few pics to wrap it up...

I haven't gone anywhere yet, so there's nothing to show. But I'm getting ready. See, got most of my stuff strewn all around the floor:


I take more than this, but packed some of it before the pic.


See, there's some already in the left side case:


There's more down there than water bottles.


Finally, a pic of the good Dr. and Wotan. By the way, Wotan is a 2013 R1200GSW, got about 32,500 miles on him so far. I'd have more, but I've been sick a bunch...gettin' old kinda sucks in more ways than one.


Dr. Greg and Wotan almost ready to go.

No, that's not my riding gear in the above photo...


Anyway, I hope things work out, and I can keep updating this Ride Report. If I can't, I'll finish it when I get home. If any of you can follow along, that would be cool. I've written a bunch of RRs over the years---mostly cuz I enjoy reading them myself so much.

Adios for now, amigos, see ya down the road...

--Doc
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:33 PM   #2
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:40 PM   #3
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:47 PM   #4
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Old 04-23-2015, 06:11 AM   #5
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Morning update...

Was gonna post a pre-departure update, but our ISP decided to drop the ball, and my phone keyboard is just too tedious.

41 deg this morning in ABQ...brrr!

--Doc
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:09 PM   #6
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Thursday evening update...

Thursday, April 23

As I mentioned in my previous posting, I was gonna write up a little more "informational" pre-departure posting, but our ISP went belly-up, and the only device with Internet access was the iPhone. And my fat fingers are too much for that tiny keyboard. But life goes on...

The hardest thing about leaving on these stupid trips is...

...saying goodbye to my wife of 41 years, Mrs. Greg (aka Annie). Talk about the perfect esposa if you're a motorcycle rider...she is IT! I managed to get a pic of her and Wotan outside the garage just before I left...


Annie and Wotan...I'll let you figure out which is which.


Finally on the road.

I was sure I took a pic while on I-40 in the middle of Albuquerque, but I can't seem to find it. No matter, it's just a bunch of cars and trucks and faceless interstate. Things always improve so much when one gets out of a city...hey, wait, I just found it! Well, it's even less interesting that I said, but here it is anyway:


I-40 in the middle of Albuquerque; traffic not as bad as I remembered...

Oh yeah, it was 41 friggin' degrees this morning in ABQ...gave me another opportunity to curse the Panzerhead engineers for screwing up the heated grips on the GSW. The late '14s and '15s are good again, but the '13s and early '14s have absolutely anemic heated grips. I may spring for a retrofit on my own dime.

Heading E on I-40 from Albuquerque, you climb thru the pass between the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, but it's not that picturesque, so no pics for you so-discriminating viewers. However, for some reason, the "tourist-trap" that is Clines Corners always appeals to me, so here's a pic of that (it's also where I left I-40 for US 285...a very good thing).


Wotan outside the "tourist-trap" that is Clines Corners.

I always enjoy wandering around inside the souvenir shop at Clines Corners...I've never actually purchased anything there, but there's a first time for everything! But, alas, it was not to be this time...

And...I was grateful to see the "Indian" was still out front of Clines Corners...I always photograph him when I go thru there...


The "big Indian" at Clines Corners.


The Wide-Open Spaces of New Mexico...

Some people use a term I dislike intensely: Flyover Country. To me there ain't no such thing. All terrain has redeeming value (OK, maybe some cities could lay a claim...) But I absolutely LOVE riding through the sparely-populated high plains of central and eastern New Mexico. Finally, your mind can relax---no traffic, no distractions, for once you can just meditate. Shortly after heading SSE from Clines Corners I took the following photo just as I dropped down an escarpment.


A view to the south dropping into the high plains of New Mexico.


Then a bit later, another view down on the plains. I'm sure many of you would term this "flyover country" but, nossir, not to moi.


Another view down on the plains of east-central New Mexico.


Many of the little "towns" along US 60 thru here are nonexistent (like some in the Midwest), nothin' but boarded-up buildings and old faded billboards. Kinda sad...makes me think about the people that used to live there.


An abandoned storefront in Yeso, New Mexico, along US 60.


Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and the Billy the Kid Museum.

Whenever I go through Ft. Sumner, NM, I invariably stop at the Billy the Kid Museum. I've done a lot of reading about Billy the Kid and the Lincoln Country War in general. It's a part of Western history that fascinates me. Here's proof, showing Wotan outside the museum...


Wotan parked outside the Billy the Kid Museum, Ft. Sumner, New Mexico.

The video shown at the Ft. Sumner BtheK museum brings out one facet of the Lincoln County War that I've never heard anywhere else: the root of the "war" goes back to the old English/Irish conflict.

There is also a very worthwhile exhibit(s) in Lincoln, New Mexico---a town that's been preserved very well. It's maybe 80 miles SW of Ft. Sumner. I've included numerous photos from the Lincoln exhibits in some of my previous ride reports. Anyway, Billy the Kid ranged all over that country, as did many cowboys of the day. They were a hardy breed, traveling horseback in all seasons of weather.

If you're interested, I'd recommend a book titled "To Hell on a Fast Horse" by Mark Lee Gardner---it covers the Lincoln County War and some subsequent history: Sheriff Pat Garret and the Albert Fountain murder in particular. I love that kind of stuff.


Arrival in Lubbock and the Plans for Tomorrow.

Weather got kinda cloudy, and a stiff headwind kicked up once into Texas, but we made it to Lubbock without incident. Rode right to Chris' house, and with neighbor Robert we went out for a nice meal (Dr. Greg eating lightly after his righteous burger at "Fred's Restaurant" in Ft. Sumner).

The pic below shows Chris and Dr. Greg at dinner---Robert temporarily excused himself. Mmm good.


A good dinner was had by all.


Had enough time after dinner to write up this Thursday installment, which is nice.

And tomorrow gonna head SE from Lubbock to Post, Texas, from there E along backroads to Graham, Texas, site of the (in)famous "Possum Trot" ADV Rally.

I've heard that "ya better get yer party hat on" for the Possum Trot, and I'll do the best I can. But I'm likely to fall asleep about 9:30 or so...I'll try to take a few pics in any event.

So. A good day today, Wotan ran wonderfully (I LOOOOVE that bike...it's my last bike ever, honest, Mrs. Greg! ).

I'm assuming there'll be WiFi at the Possum Resort (or whatever it's called), so I can continue the updates. Thanks for following; I'm still havin' a good time!

--Doc
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:41 PM   #7
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Welcome to Tejas! I wish I could meet you at the PT but alas I must work. All my crazy friends will be there...good luck!
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:03 AM   #8
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Dr. Greg.... Great to see you again! You are welcome at my house anytime. Looking forward to your report and riding along with you around Texas!



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Old 04-24-2015, 07:40 AM   #9
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Friday morning update...

Friday Morning Update: Post, Texas...

Just stopped at a Mickey D's in Post for breakfast---IMHO the McD's breakfast is A-OK. But then I was never accused of being a gourmet...a gourmand, maybe (I had French in high school in SoCal---Spanish would've been a lot more useful, oh well...)


A Wonderful Evening in Lubbock.

What? That's an oxymoron, you say? I beg to differ. Not when your host is inmate TheRoss. I've stayed with Chris before, and he's the archetype of an ADV host. And his family is even better. The dog is even OK...perhaps you saw Chris' pics of me departing his place. Now it's my turn to show a pic of him:


Wotan had the privilege of spending the night in here.

Anyway, I slept like a baby until 0400, then had to get up for, uh, a "natural break." Comes with gettin' old. But dozed till my medication alarm at 0600, then time to "rise 'n' shine."


A Nice Cloudbank...

Leaving Lubbock on my way to Post, there was a very nice cloudbank to the east. While it portended rain, it had the beneficial effect of shielding me from Old Sol, whom I encountered viciously in Fall 2012 on my Civil War Trip.


Love these clouds...keeps Old Sol at bay (for a while).


America Feeds the World.

Is that still true? I bet it is. Whenever I pass thru the Midwest (TX Panhandle is close enough) I'm impressed by the agriculture. My maternal relatives are dairy farmers in northern WI, and I spent a coupla weeks there in '93---never saw harder-workin' folks.

The sunlight on the furrows in the fields caught my eye...


Shadows were kinda pretty.



At least I thought so...


Dr. Greg Misjudges the Light...Old Sol gets His Revenge.

Stopped at a "picnic area" a few miles before Post (to readjust my maps), and took a pic of a "historical marker" but I can't find it. I'll look again in a few minutes...found it!


Hope you can read this...it's kinda interesting.


While I was there the light was kinda pretty, so I thought I'd get a selfie (dislike that term, but I reluctantly use it). However, Old Sol got his revenge, as my head was not illuminated (perhaps for the better).


Dr. Greg decapitates himself (er, figuratively).

Shot a couple more pics while I was there; it was kinda up on a hill.


Wotan at the picnic area.



Proof that it was a picnic area. Good place for a "natural break" as well.

On into Post, Texas where I refueled both Wotan and moi. This is the junction of US 380 which I'll take to the east and towards Possum Kingdom Lake.


On Texas and Texans.

There has been (is?) a strained relationship between New Mexicans and Texans. Without going into the historical reasons behind that (there ARE some, FWIW), my experience has been that Texas is a wonderful place, and Texans are even better. Had a brief chat with a typical "tall Texan" here over breakfast, just the nicest guy you'd wanna meet. 'Nuff said.

As always, thanks for following, and I'll see ya down the road. Still havin' fun .

--Doc
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:07 PM   #10
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Sunday Lunch Update...

Sunday Lunch Update...

Been a while without connectivity; sorry about that. Got a lot of time today to try to make it up.


A Rainy Friday Ride from Post, TX to the Possum Trot Rally.

As I was riding E on US 380 from Post, Texas, I looked to the south, and saw some pretty ominous clouds:


Glad I wasn't going in THAT direction.

Little did I know that the storm was converging on me---pretty soon the rain started. Now---as a New Mexican---to paraphrase Mr. Spock: "I've not encountered this phenomenon before..." Okay, I have, but we tend to get rain in New Mexico about three weeks out of the year (August/early Sept). But I ended up riding about 150 miles in a nice steady rain. Probably help build character.


Good thing I have quality riding gear.


Along in the middle of nowhere I saw this BIG BULL on the horizon--dang thing looked realistic. As I drew nearer it was clear that it was REALLY big...see?


That's a lotta bull!


Finally the clouds began to show some "texture"...I interpret that as being a prelude to them breaking up.


The beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning?


About now I was very happy that I now have a waterproof camera (Olympus TG-3) and I can take fotos in the wet. And in fact the weather did continue to improve. See?


Looks a lot better.


My Arrival!

I had the GPS coordinates for the location of the rally, and pretty soon this sign popped up:


Gettin' close...

Finally, here we are:


We're here!


The Friday Night "Reception".

The Possum Trot is sorta sponsored by the ART (Adventure Riders of Texas), but specifically ghostrider64, namely "Dody." You'll see his pic in a while. I set up my camp near the trailer of "Carolyn" who was very cool to let me stay near. Lotta good folks in my vicinity ("good" means "quiet").

Here's a pic of a few of us chatting at the reception:


Some random Texans...


This guy caught my eye: his name was "Keith" or "Cletus" or perhaps some combination of both. I was to find out tomorrow that he rode a homebrew Guzzi sidecar rig, and handled it pretty deftly. Wisht I'd have gotten a photo of his Guzzi, but sadly I didn't.


This guy was a character, and had a great homebrew Guzzi sidecar.

Eventually Dody strolled out and gave us the lowdon on what to expect on the morrow:


Ghostrider1964, the chief organizer. A good guy, if a bit, um, well, ...direct.


The Evening Fire.

The resort folks didn't want any big fires, but it turned out that Carolyn was a master firebuilder, and soon had a wonderful little blaze going in "our" area:


Carolyn (at right) builds a great little fire.

I couldn't resist getting a closeup of this wondeful little conflagration. By the way, it had cooled off significantly due to the recent storm, and that fire was very welcome.


Closeup of Carolyn's fire.


A Sunset Photo and Plans for Tomorrow.

After the last rain squall blew through, it actually began clearing off for real: I tried to capture a sunset picture, with little success...nevertheless, here it is.


Promise of a good day tomorrow.


Anyway, there was to be a "rider's meeting" at 0730 Saturday, so we all went to bed in great anticipation. Can't speak for everyone, but I slept extremely well.

I'm gonna wrap up this segment now. After a short break I'll continue with the actual riding on Saturday. As always, thanks for following.

Oh yeah, I'm currently in Bridgeport, Texas, and just heard there are tornado warnings hereabouts. Just what I need...

--Doc
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Greg View Post
[size="4"]but we tend to get rain in New Mexico about three weeks out of the year (August/early Sept).

--Doc
This was last Dec. Someone didn't get the memo.





Good report, Doc.
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Old 04-26-2015, 01:03 PM   #12
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Sunday Lunch Update II...

Sunday Lunch Update II...

Got my second wind now...let me try to cover a little of the Possum Trot Rally action on Saturday, April 25.


The Morning Breakfast and Riders' Meeting.

The day started with a breakfast at the Possum Hollow restaurant...


A good breakfast is essential to start the day.


I was sitting at a table with these good folks...forgot all their names, of course.


My tablemates at the Riders' Meeting.


After we ate, Dody got up and addressed the group, in his initimitable style...


Dody "tells it like it is"...


Back at camp, a buncha guys wanted their foto taken, so I captured one as well:


Some Texas hotshoes ready to "Trot the Possum..."


Since I was on a week-long trip (and not eager to take my '13 GSW out off pavement anyway), I hitched a ride out to the rally area with "Brad" (who is an MSF offroad instructor, and had conducted a "dirt riding clinic" the day before). Brad is a very nice guy and a great rider.


I rode out to the start area with Brad in his P/U.


The "Challenge" was basically a Trials Ride.

There were various routes and classes, but the toughest was the "challenge"---attempted only by maybe 8--10 riders. The "challenge" sections were difficult to negotiate on foot, let alone by wheel. The first guy thru biffed it at a tough corner:


The first of many "get-offs" I'd see that day.


This uphill section was rough, rocky, and narrow:


Made it!


This poor guy lost his momentum, and could not get traction to restart on the hill.


A tough place to lose your momentum.

He finally accepted some help to reposition his bike, and got going again.


On the line again, off he went.


This "creek bed" section was full of pitfalls...


The "big" creek bed.

Most riders chose to pick their way through the rocky bed...


This was the most popular route thru the creek bed.


We spectators had been thinking that the far bank looked open, but any riders who attempted it would slide off into the creek. This guy proved us wrong:


A demonstration that the far bank was a good choice.


Some flora for you tree-huggers.

Although I'm not really a flower enthusiast, I snapped a couple fotos of some pretty blossoms:




A "nature break" for you flower-lovers...


Finally, there was a smaller "creek bed" section that was brutal. However, some older bikes slogged through it, proving once again that "it's the rider, not the bike:"


An oldie but a goodie.


There was a young lady there on a KLX-250 who was a VERY good rider. She mistakenly took the "expert" route (the rain had wreaked havoc with the course markers), and got hung up on a log...


High-centered...

With a little help she got going again...


With a little help from my friends...

Her father was also a very good rider, and trophied in the "intermediate" class. Runs in the family...


All during these sections, your correspondent rode in the back seat of a Polaris "Crew," handled expertly by driver "Captain Rick."


A photo from the cheap seats...


The Awards Banquet.

Saturday concluded with a catered fajitas dinner, after which the awards were bestowed. A good time was had by all...


The honors are bestowed.


The Afterglow...

The festivities being over, Carolyn again agreed to build a fire, and we enjoyed telling stories well into the night. The odd bottle of bourbon got passed around, and---in particular---I enjoyed having a well-reasoned discussion with "Andre" (originally from RSA...South Africa) on various metaphysical topics.

As I said earlier in this report, I have very much enjoyed hangin' out with all the Texans. They're a very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable bunch. I will be back. Hopefully multiple times.

Slept very well again Saturday night, with the possible exception that it seemed like in a dream some idiot was racing around and around my campsite on a loud quad. Turns out it was SOP for Dody, who usually terrorizes the camp around 0200 in his Polaris. Sigh. Some kids never grow up.

But I still had a great time. I think I'm gonna quit for now...maybe wrap up the day once I get to my evening destination of Argyle, TX where I'll stay with "Bob and Judy." Till then,

Adios amigos.

--Doc
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:04 PM   #13
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Great RR Dr Greg, that looks like a fun rally , glad you had some good weather for all the riders.

Today ,as you can well imagine from this area, we have had rain, hail, lots of snow off and on and right now nothing at all.

So should you come this direction be careful of dark shady corners in the hills around here.

Ride safe /smart, thanks for taking us all to the Possom Trot.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:40 AM   #14
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Well hello there my friend Gale! Nice to have you along---you'd have done well riding the "Possum Trot"...

Hey, I might be coming thru Pagosa in early June when I start a trip...I'll PM with info.

Again, thanks for following. You do know you're my role model for staying young

--Dr. Greg
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:42 AM   #15
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Monday Morning Update...

Monday Morning, April 27, 2015, Argyle, Texas.

As my title indicates, I did make to the LOVELY home of "Bob & Judy" in Argyle, Texas. Had a great day, and here's how it went:


Sunday morning at Possum Hollow.

After a hard night of celebrating the awards, the general rider community at Possum Hollow was slow to awaken. But when they did, they were greeted by some bright sunshine (OUCH!) and the promise of another beautiful day...


Sunday morning. Bright sun rising; Dr. Greg's camp shown...rear of Carolyn's trailer at left.

I sauntered back to our little firepit, where Carolyn spread out last night's coals...sure felt good to warm my feet in the 50-degree (by my thermometer) chill:


Toasting my feet over the remnants of last night's campfire.


Back on the Road.

Finally had to force my tired ol' bones (apologies, GaleB.T.) to pack up camp and start down the road once more. It is always a relief to break camp IN THE DRY rather than dashing around in the rain. So it was good. Said a lotta goodbyes, and---once again---the Texans proved their worth. I'll definitely be back. The "Roll the Bones" rally is in October (coincides with the 50th H.S. reunion, though) so we'll see. But the people here are the best. Real enthusiasts.

My traveling goals for Sunday were modest: from the Graham area, follow US 380 east to near Denton, then cut south a bit to Argyle to inmate "Packrat" (Bob & Judy). My GPS led me right to their beautiful house. But before that, I noticed the country along 380 was a heckuva lot "greener" than New Mexico:


The "light green" of Spring seemed particularly evident here in N Texas.


As I worked my way east, the weather---which had begun perfectly clear---began to degenerate.


Where did all these CLOUDS come from?

By mid-afternoon there was spots where I was glad I was not there (grammar?). And the odd bolt of lightning...


Glad I'm not in the middle of that little squall.

I stopped at lunch (Mickey D's, of course) for an extended period of time to update the RR, and the three folks in the adjacent booth were going ON AND ON about tornado warnings, where the best supercells were, etc. Finally they left...whew! I had texted Mrs. Greg, and she was a bit concerned. But the couple to the other side of me put me at ease. And in fact the weather began to lighten.

And so about 1630 hours I rolled into Bob's place. He immediately gave me a tour of his shop: any man with a milling machine can't be all bad .


Bob and his mill. He's had quite a career.


Bob regaled me with stories well into the evening...I got so intrigued I forgot to ingest my medication...oops! But I'm okay. And then there was Judy's wonderful lasgna dinner:


This dinner was the capstone to the day...


Finally got the lovely couple to pose for a pic...any man that goes barefoot is my kinda guy.


Bob & Judy...maybe the best hosts ever.


Finally, when I was gettin' ready for bed, I noticed this framed "letter" up on the wall. After I read it I was so tickled I tried to photograph it. If you can read it, it's hilarious...


The "bed" letter on the wall.


The Plans for Monday.

The forecast is for cloudy, mid-60s, chance of rain...PERFECT! Well, it beats midsummer heat. My goal is the town of Belton, TX (down near Temple), and inmate "dataman." I plan to work my way SW over to Stephenville, then take US 281 down to maybe Lampasas, then cut over east to Belton. I know, doesn't sound very exciting, but the Hill Country is comin' up eventually...I hope.

Oh yeah, Bob let me examine (and photocopy) some of his "Butler" maps of the Hill Country. I'd seen these advertised (Aerostich catalog) but never actually viewed one. Wow...they're GREAT! After I get home, another thing to spend money on...

As always, thanks amigos for following.

--Doc
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