I’m not really trying to make a political comment here, but this morning when we woke up at the hotel in Albuquerque, there was a hawk camped out having some breakfast.

Hawk vs Dove

Hawk vs Dove


I have no idea what kind of hawk this is, or what kind of pigeon he’s got there, but he was determined to chow down on it. He worked it over right there for several minutes until he drew a crowd. Then he’d relocate, but not very far away. I wish I had time to watch him eat the whole thing, but we needed to hit the road.

Shaun, Warran, and I took the shuttle back to the airport and picked up our vans. That took forever, as they kept trying to hit us with fees we were not interested in paying. We finally did get them, and drove back to the hotel to herd our flock through breakfast and loading everything up. It took an eternity. I don’t know what time we left Albuquerque, but our ETA had suddenly shifted by 2.5 hours. We had intended to have lunch at Holbrook Indian School, but I think lunch is over by 2:30. So we stopped at a Dairy Queen and ate there. I phoned ahead to HIS to let them know we were running late and to not make extra food on our account. We still have to pay them for it of course, because they already bought the food.

And we did arrive at about 2:30. Robbie and Coral (a retired couple who drove out here ahead of us) met us at a Denny’s near I-40 and piloted us in the rest of the way.

We got a quick orientation, unloaded our luggage, and then got to work! First order of business was to load a bunch of broken bicycles onto a trailer.

Loading the bikes

Loading the bikes


While Warran oversaw that operation, Jared (HIS’s maintenance chief) asked for two or three strong guys to come with him to unload some windows. David, my oldest male Pathfinder, and I went to help him do that.

Windows are heavy.

We caught up with the bikes as they were being moved from the storage area to the workshop. It’s a nice shop. I had not yet had a chance to unload my tools (I brought about 60 pounds of them), and when I saw the shop… I’m not sure I want to get them out. They have plenty of tools. And since tools look like tools, it would be very easy for me to not know which ones were mine, and which ones were theirs. I have pretty much concluded that I will leave most of my tools in their bag in the van.

I will bring out a few specialty bike tools I brought though. And also the specialty window screen making tools. The bike tools are unique enough that I will recognize them, and I bought the screening tools just for this job – so I’ll leave them here.

The kids dug right in to the bike repair task.

Digging In

Digging In


We really had more kids than work, but the ones who were adept at mechanical things self-sorted from those who are less adept. I will leave those kids under Warran’s supervision, and the rest will make screens. Hopefully, that will work out OK.

While most of us were working on the bikes, Beth was at the cafeteria helping out there. She helped serve dinner.

Serving up some corn chips

Serving up some corn chips


The woman on the left there is Eunie Banuag. She is the one who I’ve been emailing for several months to set this trip up. She has been a real blessing to us, and has been tremendously helpful. Unfortunately, she goes on vacation Sunday, so we will see her for only a little while.

One of the things I wanted to do while here was to observe Canopus. That is the second brightest start (not counting the sun). We cannot see this one from New Hampshire, as it’s in the southern hemisphere. But I knew we would be able to see while we were here. It pops up above the horizon by about 3 degrees during the last week of February. If you are far enough south (we are) and have clear skies (we do here) with little light pollution (very little here), and a clear view to the south (it’s flat for 50 miles here), then you should be able to see Canopus during the last week of February and into the beginning of March (which is… now!) And I did manage to glimpse it tonight. I will take the kids out to see it tomorrow, and maybe I will set up to take a photo. I have never attempted to photograph a star before, so this could be a complete fiasco.

We will see!

Tomorrow we get to present the sermon during the church service here. The regular pastor is leading the choir elsewhere and asked us if we’d be willing to do this for them. Of course we are! We will present the video/newscast that we presented at our own church last week. We set up the projector and affiliated equipment tonight and ran through it once. It should work out OK.

After that we will do some desert sight-seeing. I will take several photos, and they will all have some annoying dots on them. I can’t figure out where they’re coming from, but every blue-sky picture I took today had them. I cleaned the lens as best I could, but it seems to not change anything. Here’s what I’m seeing:

Dots ruining my photos

Dots ruining my photos


Any advice in addressing this issue will be eagerly read and attempted.