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Thursday, October 04, 2007

FAR Future, Episode 10

This was going to be Episode 11, but the way things worked out I ended up swapping them. At least I have a post (mostly) ready for later.

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Great Timing

It was like flipping a switch here. One week, we were blacked out most of the daylight hours. The next… hardly a glitch. Fall weather has arrived at last, and brought some electricity with it! Of course, with summer gone, the windmill is turning, and the solar panels got delivered yesterday too. Oh well, at least I’ll have everything ready for next summer.

Another thing that fall has brought are tourists on bicycles. Last year, I finally setup the cyclist rest stop that I’ve been meaning to do, and it’s really getting used at the moment. Clubs organize group rides, but that usually means a bunch of small groups, where each group comes together from people riding the same pace… so there’s usually no more than 5 or 6 people there at a time, but they come & go through the day. I keep a water dispenser filled up, or try to these days — I left a sign showing where the outside water is if I’m slow, and the cyclists pretty much take care of it when I don’t. They do a good job of keeping the place clean too; I just change out the trash bags.

On my off-days, or days when not much is going on work-wise, I like to sit down there and talk with the people coming through. Most of the rides now are day/weekend things, but some of the really serious bikers are taking October off entirely and doing some long tours. Some of the weekenders camp out, which I don’t have a problem with. Mrs. Fetched was wary at first, but the clubs have put the word out: be nice to these guys. :-) I’ve brought up the idea of putting up a big pergola in the kudzu for shade, and got a bunch of people volunteering materials and labor. I wasn’t sure they were serious enough to actually follow through, but I just got an email from one of the bigger clubs about setting up a work day. I figure we can use it for a roadside produce stand next year, too.

A news article came down my Yahoo feed, about people who are letting their unused gas allotments expire instead of trying to sell them. Some don’t want to go through the hassle of transferring them, some are doing it out of principle (like the folks who buy carbon permits to take them off the market), and some are concerned about fraud. Shotgun Sam has been directed to talk up that last point, from the sound of it, and he might have finally found an anti-rationing topic with legs… either that, or using the faux-outrage that the wingies project so well as a cover, he managed to suggest several ways that his listeners could join the fun and get more fuel:

• Apply for a separate ration card under the wife’s maiden name, tacking an “apartment number” to the home address
• Lie about your occupation (everyone is a carpenter or farmer!)
• If you live near an abandoned house (and there’s a few of those in the burbs), use the name and address of the last occupant and snag the mail when it comes in

[Note to any NFRD enforcers reading this: I transcribed these suggestions from today’s “Shotgun Sam Weatherby’s Truthcast,” heard on AM750 from 2 to 4 on weekday afternoons and available on the Internet as a podcast. I’ve saved an MP3 if they delete or modify this particular episode. Don’t shoot the messenger.]

Now that I went and disinfected my fingers after typing the title of that show… Of the three, I’d say the last is the safest — the biggest risk is that someone gets the mail before you do, but you don’t have an illegal activity associated with your address (aka: plausible deniability). Sam’s (or rather, his patrons’) motives are obvious: game the system to death. Rationing is working, a bit too well for the cons in fact.

Come to think of it, that article left off another possible reason for allotments expiring: with summer over, people aren’t driving so much. Then again, the going rate on the exchange hasn’t dropped much, which makes me wonder whether people are buying and storing gas. Come to think of it, I’m seeing certain names turning up on the buy side quite a bit, buying up stale allotments and even offering to buy expiring (less than 4 days) allotments on the private exchange. I wonder if there’s any provisions for checking into those folks. On the other hand, if they only blow themselves up… like Larry Niven said, think of it as evolution in action.



  1. Hey FAR! Really enjoyed your thoughts of tourists on bicycles. Here at the "Yooper Shack" a snowmachine trail practically runs through the front yard. Just a little further down the trail now, sits a porta potty. Mrs. Yooper got tired of watching the guys taking a leak in the front yard and the women struggling through the snow to reach the privacy, the woods has to offer! ha!ha!

    Gas ratioing? What for? We're now seeing perhaps half the snowmachiners now as three years ago. I well remember the "oil embargo" of the seventies. Snowmachine traffic came to a abrupt halt, as did the manufacturing of them. Perhaps as much as 100 snowmachine companies went belly-up.

    We're also seeing perhaps half the annual snow fall, as when I was a child.

    Far, as you're folding those Sunday bulletins, perhaps, think about what you're life at MTU would have been like without power during the daytime hours..........

    Thanks, yooper

  2. Hiya FAR.

    I like the idea of the stopping place. Plus once it gets established you have a way of making some money.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

  3. Hey Yooper... we have bicyclists coming by here now. Once in a while, I see someone coming by loaded for overnight (or longer) tours, but that's pretty rare. There are snowmobile trails not too far from my dad's place too. Earlier this summer, I wrote about the Kal-Haven trail, which is a bike trail in summer and snowmobile trail in winter. That's pretty cool that you guys put up a rest stop though.

    MTU without power? Oh, we'd get occasional blackouts as it was! On weekends, we'd play Dungeons & Dragons, and found that with 14 college kids in a dorm room you needed to cut off the heat and open the windows (and it's -40 out there) to keep the room from getting too hot. As for snow, I hear that they had to truck in snow for the Winter Carnival this year for the first time ever.

    FM, I've been thinking about setting up a bike stop now. I see people taking breaks at intersections or wherever, and I thought it might be nice to give them a place to sit down for a minute or even refill their water.

  4. family man, yes, the idea of a rest stop. Perhaps, not like my wife's, porta potty, but more like a stagecoach stop....

    My great grandfather, had one of those here in Upper Michigan in the late 1800's. Perhaps, he did make some money at it,(amonge the many other occupations he had). However, in the long run, he only ran down the wealth the family had accumulated before him.... To be fair though, this man was the major employer, the doctor, the vet, the mortican, the dentist, and so on. It's not like he was'nt educated, (he was likely, the only one who was), he did his damnest to make it work, and "we're" here to this day.(This IS saying a whole lot, put this in your pipe and smoke it.)

    Far, you bet, I'll share my, "Laughing Sisters" story with you. I've only told it over campfires around friends. I'll present it here, later this winter...

    I'll bet you're wondering what I'm doing here?... My story, is a very bitter pill to swallow, but, I think you're up to it, perhaps seeing my "vision". Not much unlike the same one I shared with Sharon and John, over at BNB. I suspect, they were only of the few that, "seen it". Accepted it, is entirely another story....

    Over the months, I'll share this "vision" to you and you're readers, in bits and pieces. Perhaps, in the end, you'll think, "I'm full of shit". However, I don't think so. The readers over at BNB, applauded me, as the "hands down" winner, when the debate came to a close.

    Thanks yooper.

  5. Hey yooper, looking forward to seeing your storie(s).



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