It is one of the delights of primitive living that even small improvements loom large.
After a week on the road I got the refrigerator working. It is amazing how many things there are to eat besides packaged udon bowls when one has a refrigerator. I even have milk and meat now. And fruit and crudites.
And I have discovered that the microwave will work when the generator is on. Much as I despise the racket the generator makes, I am willing to endure it, and to inflict it on the world, in the increments of five minutes it takes to ruin a steak.
I have even been following Chaim's advice about meat being better when it is rarer. My inclination, learned at my mother's table, is to have meat well-done. I have been trying to eat rarer meat in hopes it will taste better and be more haute cuisine. I remain skeptical but am trying to ramp down the microwave times. Tonight I ran generator and microwave for four minutes. The meat was flavorless. But it would have been flavorless anyway because round steak is fatless and therefore juiceless. Baruch Hashem for ketchup.
Last night I re-wired the radio as a jury-rig to see if it would work without going through the ignition switch. It did. By crawling around under the dash, I was able to trace the iPod cord to its plug. I plugged it in and it worked too. It was wonderful. I had Yo-yo Ma and a full moon on the banks of the Malheur River in southeastern Oregon. And a decent single malt scotch.
The quality of the music is actually pretty good because I took the precaution of recording everything in Apple Lossless format. I have recorded a large number of books-on-CD on the iPod and more still on the pc, ready to be transferred to the iPod. The books are great to listen to while I drive.
I have been listening to a history of ancient Israel, from Abraham to Simon Bar Kochba. While it is conventional to doubt or even deny the historicity of the Bible, in every case where extra-biblical material (usually archaeological finds and inscriptions) become available they confirm the biblical text. In the face of repeated confirmations, one cannot help but wonder about the apparently partisan animosity of the nay-sayers.
The Biblical Minimalists, as they are called, all just happen to be violently anti-Israel. And denying the historicity of the Bible just happens to match the Palestinian denials that the Jews ever lived in Israel before the coming of the Zionist immigration beginning in the 1870's.
Fortunately the author is a solid academic who holds to the evidence available and to reasonable interpretations.
My strategy of smiling disdainfully at crowded RV parks as I drive past them, in favor of solitude in wide truck pullouts in remote scenic locations continues to be its own reward. The canyon of the Malheur will not make you forget Grand Canyon, but it is fine all the same. And I had it all to myself. The last car passed about midnight, then silence.
One wonders about the naming of names there. After the Malheur River came the bridge over the Malade River. One assumes the area was first explored by a French-Canadian trapper with a toothache.
I have gotten over my initial discomfort about driving the bus on freeways. Indeed, I discovered in driving across southern Idaho today that the four divided lanes of I-84 and I-86 are a lot less stressful than the busy two lanes of US20 with its constant fears of drifting into oncoming traffic and vice-versa. I am almost to Pocatello.
The theory is that I will meet my friend Larry at the Montana-Idaho border for the annual trumpet swan migration. I have heard about trumpet swans but not seen them. They are supposed to be the largest and heaviest flying birds and quite elegant in flight.