It was five am on Monday when I rode the bike out into the cold morning air. The TV weatherman said it was getting warmer, but you couldn’t prove it by me. I still had a problem pedaling the bike because I was wearing so many layers of thermal clothing. I stopped to have some animal fat before I made the final push back to my compound. I checked the tapes as I always did as I ate. I never saw anything until the morning.
The thing I saw was a couple of deer crossing my drive. I was pretty sure I needed to mix my mash inside the trailer to let it work. I was a little concerned the the dear might try to eat the mash. With that decision made I rode home. I hoped I could get the box really warm before I showered. I hated to step from a warm shower into a cold bathroom.
My furnace in the house was propane gas as well as my cooker burners. The one in the house ran from a large tank, while I used a burner with a RV size propane tank. I had about ten different outlets where I bought the gas. That was just to keep the ABC boy honest.
That morning was all about weapons testing not mash or moonshine. I loaded the cruiser with all the weapons I owned and the two boxes of .22 mag ammunition. One box was plain hollow points ammo, and the other was the caulk and pellet bullets. I carried a couple of chickens and some old jeans to the range. I figured I could test the ammunition in either weapon, since they should react the same regardless.
I stopped for more coffee at McDonald’s on the way to Dobson. I didn’t get out of the car with so many weapons in it. I just sat in the car with the engine and heater running, while I drank the most of it. With less than half a cup left I headed to the gun shop and from there to their range behind the shop.
Since I had bought so many weapons from them they gave me use of the range at a reduced price. The five dollar charge included the spotter scope so I wouldn’t have to walk down range every time. They did know I would be walking on the range to retrieve the special targets. So we agreed that was a good thing I was early before the afternoon crowd arrived.
First thing I did was fit one leg of my old jeans into the other giving me a double thickness of cloth. Then I tied a string around the bottom the pant legs before I pushed the raw chicken inside it. I took them down to the 25yard marker and hooked them to the target. I also pinned a white piece of cloth over the chicken to bullseye it.
Once I had the target set I fired one hollow point with the scope topped rifle into the paper target beside the chicken legs. I used the spotter scope to zero in the bolt action rifle. Once it was zeroed and ready, I put a single hollow point in the rifle chamber and very carefully fired it into a chicken.
I was the only one on the range, when I went down to assess the damage. The bullet had gone through the heavy fabric and penetrated the chicken about an inch with a massive sized hole. I thought it was pretty impressive.
Then I went back and fired a caulk and pellet round at the chicken filled pants. It didn’t look all that different from 25yards. When I got to it I noticed the hole in the jeans was smaller. It didn’t look as though the bullet had mushroomed as much. Then when I saw the chicken I noticed the penetration was deeper and the hole was equally impressive.
My conclusion was that the caulk round would be more damaging to a human being, unless the round hit in an unprotected fleshy area. I stomach shot in the summer would probably be more damaging with just the hollow point. In the winter any shot with a caulk and pellet round would be more likely to do the most damage.
I spent the rest of my range time firing the lever action Henry rifle and the three pistols. The Henry was pretty accurate at twenty five yards. But I couldn’t hold it very steady at fifty yards with my bad hand and all. The pistols didn’t appear to be any different as far as accuracy was concerned. Except the Derringer which was pure trash as far as accuracy was concerned. It was okay at ten feet but at even ten yards it was all over the target but still on the target. At twenty yards it was just as likely to miss the whole target as to hit it.
I returned the spotter scope before I left for home. When I got to the box house I took the time to clean the guns before I mixed the next batch of mash. I bought two 100‘ cord which I planned to run a ceramic electric heater. I would use it while the mash was working off. I planned to use it to run a fan which blew the smell of the mash out of the still house and high into the air through a 6“ PVC sewer pipe. So that afternoon, I dragged the electrical cord from the box house up to the still house. I was less than the full 200′ away.
So with the heater running just a bit to keep the small area warm enough to give the mash a chance to work, I began to mix it. When I was finished I covered it and locked the house up tight. I was bored already, so I drove into town to report the results of my research to the Brit.
The Brit did not believe that the .22 mag was anything but a toy. He claimed the smallest weapon of any value in a firefight was the 9mm. So he really had no interest in my experiment.
After lunch I drove to the compound, then went straight to the still house. I checked to see if the mash had started to work. Since it appeared to have begun I checked for the smell of mash and didn’t notice any. I decided I could probably wait to turn the vent fan on until the next day.
With everything seemingly on schedule and Liam off at the the coast, I decided I would check out the trike. I hadn’t ridden it in a while, so I wasn’t even sure it would start.
I went to the little shed Tomas has added to the house. There I rolled out the trike. Since it had a centrifugal clutch all I had to worry about was starting the motor. The bike builder who assembled it for me swore the motor would be good for years. He also said it would need a tune up maybe every five years. This wasn’t the year for that, so I expected the damn thing to run.
I pulled the fuel line from the carburetor and let the gas from the tank run onto the ground. I let the gas drain from the tank as well. Then I sprayed a little cleaner in the gas line and reconnected it. I pulled on the starter cord a few times with the spark plug wire removed. Then I filled the tank with new gas and pulled the motor over. It took a couple of times because carburetor cleaner does not burn worth a crap. That I had learned at the fish and game compound on the edge of the Blackwater river.
After three or four brisk pulls the motor hit. I had to adjust the choke and let it idle to get all the cleaner out of the lines. Then I put on my nylon wind resistant parka and took off on the trike. I rode it all over town and enjoyed the smiles I put on the faces of grownups and kids alike. Yes I know I’m an attention whore at times.
I stopped by the pub to let Jeremy ride it. I found him two doors down working in his new shop. He was wearing a dusk mask and working on a headboard we had bought at an auction a few weeks before. It was fun to see him working, but it was more fun to watch him ride the trike. He was a real dare devil on the thing.
“Alright damn it, how much do you want for that thing,” he asked.
“Jeremy you don’t want that thing. It is not at all practical, you can’t ride it in the rain and you can’t ride it when it is cold, which is about half the time up here,” I informed him.
“I don’t care if it’s practical or not, it just took ten years off my life. I want it or one like it,” he said.
“Buy your tricycle and I’m sure we can find someone to put the motor on it for you. It really isn’t that hard.” I said not having any idea how mine was actually assembled. I was just playing expert without being one. Of course there was nothing at which I really was an expert, but I seemed to be doing okay.
I took the trike home, when I could finally get Jeremy off it. I barely got it home before the nice afternoon turned cold. I didn’t bother to check on the mash, I just watched TV and did some basic research on the computer.
I watched the sun go down just as the clouds rolled in. The forecast was for rain and cold for the next two days. I just set myself to be content with being house bound.
The beginning of my second day trapped inside I was considering going into the rain to ride the bike, but it was just to cold and wet even for me. There was a mall down the interstate a few miles. The mall was outside one of the college towns which the mountains were famous for hosting. It was also home of the school’s basketball team, which ranked nationally every couple of years.
It was my decision to go to the mall and walk since I wasn’t quite sure when I would get to ride again. I usually waited the day or two necessary to get back to biking, but I had been watching the news and saw the large number of walkers at that mall every morning. I decided I might meet a man there. Hey it could happen.
I had been looking for an excuse to do it and it looked as though I had one. That being the case at eight thirty I got into the cruiser/micro-mini van and drove to the High Meadows Mall. I parked outside the food court, then left my rain coat on the back of a chair. Under my parka, I carried the 8shot .22mag revolver, and I even had a couple of driveway stake daggers. One just never knew, what might be needed.
I knew that I walked at three miles an hour when I was just walking with no particular place to go. So I figured that’s what I would do at the High Meadows Mall. So I started at the food court, and started to walk along the walkway that circled the inside of the mall. I went around once up stairs then once down stairs. When I finished one lap, top and bottom, I had been walking just about twenty minutes.
I made the estimate that One complete lap top and bottom was a Mile. It sounded like a reasonable guess. I was going to be walking by time so it didn’t really matter how far it was. The plan was two hours walking. With a twenty minute break halfway through. That would give me approximately five miles. It wasn’t Andrew’s two hour run, or even my two hour bike ride along the mountain roads, but it was enough to work up a sweat.