• The other weekend, I had time and inclination to find a new trail to walk.  I drove down to Valley View Glades Natural Area and hiked the 2.6 mile loop.  I had stopped in there once before, just to check the place out as a possible hunting location, but I hadn’t gone far.  It’s a pretty place, especially during the spring, though it would be nicer without the sound of the highway.
  • The 200 grain cast lead plinking loads for the .44 Magnum work well.  Definitely low recoil and a pleasure to shoot.  However, the amount of lead left behind was rather amazing.  Not only did they shoot pleasantly in my Ruger Redhawk, but also in my Henry Mare’s Leg.  I tried shooting the latter from the hip, and I definitely need to find a safer place to do that.
  • I finally got around to replacing the garage door.  It took me all of one day and parts of two other days.  The main thing that slowed me down was reading the instructions.  The new door operates and looks better than the previous one, and now I can part my truck in the garage again – which is good, because it has been raining nearly every day since then, and the rear window leaks.  The scrap yard gave me whopping $4 for the old door and track.
  • I thought the .30 Remington AR had completely disappeared off the face of the earth, but this weekend I learned that there are still some NIB rifles around and a fresh supply of brass, if you know where to look.  Now is not a good time, financially, but I felt like I needed to pounce before it was too late.  So, I have ordered a Remington R-15 VTR in .30 RAR, which will be delivered to the pawn shop across the street for the FFL paperwork.
  • I have been planning my camping trip.  I have pretty well figured out how I’m going to feed myself, which was the last planning obstacle.  I know what I’m going to do about all my electronics.  I have checked out the gun laws in the eleven foreign states I will be traveling through.  And I have generally chosen all of the campgrounds.  I need to make all my reservations, and I need to make a detailed equipment checklist.  The far point is San Francisco, where I will be visiting a friend for the day.
  • I read an article that got me re-evaluating my choice in defense ammunition.  The title predicts doom for one of my favorite calibers, but the broader discussion is about how the improvement of defense ammunition challenges older assumptions of what makes effective ammunition.  That was fresh in my head when I noticed the pretty little boxes of Barnes TAC-XPD on the shelves.  I researched their test performance and decided to buy a box of .357 Magnum to try.  If they work as well or better than the Federal Hydra-Shok I’ve been carrying (accuracy, recoil, muzzle flash), then I will switch.
  • Yesterday, I finished reading Walter Mosley’s A Red Death, the sequel to Devil in a Blue Dress and the second in his Easy Rawlins series.  It was quite good.  Aside from the things I usually like about hard-boiled detective novels, these offer an instructive glimpse into the life of an African American in this country.  The more I read of such things, the more I realize how ignorant I have been.  Ta-Nehisi Coates has been even more revealing, and I have high hopes for Chester Himes.
  • In a similar vein, I recently read another Bernie Gunther novel (by Philip Kerr).  These are set in and around Berlin, during the time before and after WWII.  These have really helped me understand how Germany could come to the point of committing the atrocities that took place during The Holocaust.

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