Thursday, December 30, 2010


Be Prepared.

That's the motto of the Boy Scouts, and for a while, years ago, I was a Scoutmaster.

"Be prepared for what?" someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting,

"Why, for any old thing." said Baden-Powell.

Well, I failed the test this morning. I was definitely NOT prepared for the weather. We had known it would be cold and windy and rainy, so before going out to work the propane program today, I bundled up in layers: T-Shirt, turtleneck, heavy shirt, and heavy jacket. Sturdy blue jeans, winter socks, leather work gloves, fisherman's cap -- and the jacket had a hood as well. I was ready.


For over three hours the four of us stood, alternately shivering and pumping 364 gallons of propane into our neighbors' motorhomes and portable tanks. Why were we shivering? For most of those three+ hours, the temperature hovered somewhere near the freezing level, the wind was howling, and the precipitation went from rain to sleet to snow. By the time I drove the golf cart home at 11:00 I was freezing and shaking.

I plodded into the house, took off the soaked coat, wet shoes, wet gloves, and sat down to a hot cup of coffee. My hands were shaking so much Suzy was afraid I'd spill the coffee. After about 15 minutes I'd had enough and went and took a warm shower. Tried for hot, but the hot water hurt my fingers so badly I had to turn the temperature down.

The only thing that saved my life this morning must have been the significant personal antifreeze I enjoyed last evening at our SKP Chapter's Polar Bear Party. There were about 200 of us at the party.

What's a Polar Bear Party? Why, it's a party featuring Polar Bears. Not the white furry creatures, not the idiots who go swimming in the Arctic Ocean out of Barrow, Alaska.
From 2010-11 Winter Fun

We got these pictures of two of them when we were in Barrow, the northernmost community in North America, in 2005.

These Polar Bears are adult beverages, made in a blender, with Kahlua, vodka, vanilla ice cream and diluted with plain old ice. Undiluted, they'd knock you down fast! (By the way, we learned that, made with chocolate ice cream, they are called a Grizzly Bear.)

I neglected to take our camera, but one of our neighbors got some shots:

Here's Suzy enrolling a new member for Chapter 21!

I'm enjoying a comment from another fellow named Jerry.

These were the Polar Bear Mixologists. Jack Stout, on the right, and his wife Rita homesteaded in Alaska from 1957 to 1962. They've written a book about the experience, and we just got a copy.

Some folks got a little carried away with their enjoyment of the evening!

Back to today's weather! No, we realize that folks in almost any other part of the country are having worse weather, but this is us, this is where we live, and that's what we know. The snow didn't blanket the ground, but it did pile up where it did.

Right now, we are tucked nicely into our warm casita, continuing ... Our Life on Wheels. And a Happy New Year 2011. May you make your every dream come true!


  1. Must be that Montana blood that made you pump that propane in todays nasty cold weather.

  2. Great post... Try to stay warm and keep chugging those Polar Bears... LOL LOL
    Keep Safe

  3. Dang! Guess you should have just worn a parka and mukluks! :)

  4. Great photos of you two! You look so happy, it makes me happy too!

  5. Hey! You two look wonderful. That new eating plan is working it's magic. Congratulations!

  6. If your weather is going to be that cold and snowy and sleety, it's a good thing you sacrificed yourself, Jerry, so that your friends and neighbors can stay toasty warm using their propane. I hope you are all thawed out by now!

  7. Snow in Benson? Who'd a thunk it? Not even the Boy Scouts, I'd bet. Good thing you had enough anti-freeze in your system or you might just have become an ice sculpture. We're heading into California in the morning so you folks in the great southwest can turn the heater on any time now, ok.

  8. Your weather is similar to ours here at North Ranch, the SKP park near Wickenburg, AZ. But we didn't have to be outside in it very long yesterday. Still, Don experienced the same cold fingers and stinging while warming them up after he finished the outside hookups for the motorhome.

    We're looking forward to the Polar Bear party at the rally. Thanks for a preview.

    And Happy New Year to you two! Stay warm!

  9. I think you're right...the booze saved you . That's why I drink's lifesaving.
    Have a great New Year...and remember...a good cocktail warms you from the inside out!!

  10. I admire you two, always volunteering.. In this case even freezing your "you know what" off!!

    I'll tip one for that!!


Here's your chance to tell us what you think!