More Junkmail from Bob!

August 22, 2003, #141
Important Stuff.

Today's Junkmail is a little on the long side. Feel free to skip over the boring parts. You will not be tested over historical events or trip reports.

Today's Quote

"We believe that a free Iraq must not be subject to any interference by its neighbors."
Paul, the U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq.

Paul went on to say, "Only countries in North America or Europe should interfere with Iraq. Iraq's neighbors cannot be trusted." Or maybe that's just what he was thinking...

Response Time

I was in a computing class once about a hundred years ago. The instructor was talking away about real-time computing, response time, and stuff like that. All of a sudden, he stopped talking. People in the class started looking around, and he just stood there mute. For a long time. Finally, after what seemed like a ridiculous pause, he resumed and said, "As you can see, a 30-second response time is unacceptable to the user."

Some companies seem to have forgotten the importance of response time to their internet customers. I envision some corporate executives viewing a fancy presentation from their advertising people, duly impressed, approving everything before checking on web response time. It looks good on their corporate T3 in the conference room, so it should look good on the customer's dialup, right? Maybe the executives even add a few, "but can you do this, and this, and this?" comments, slowing things down further.

Here's an example. I went to to see how much a new sports car would cost (a dodge caravan). I happened to be traveling, and was on a laptop with a modem. I had a good dialup connection. At, it took:

      1:01 to load the main page
      :38 for the caravan page
      :48 for the "build and price a caravan" page (after disabling popup)
      :17 to start the process.

That's close to three minutes just to get started. I would have aborted before the first screen loaded if I didn't want to see just how long it would take. I didn't hang around to see how long it would take to actually get a price quote.

When people check the internet for motel reservations, they are frequently on the road with laptops and modems. The Super-8 Motel chain doesn't realize this. Their main page took 1:19 to load, tried to load a pop-up ad, and tried to load Macromedia Flash. After it finally loaded, it couldn't find Leadville, CO, even though there is a Super-8  Motel there.

Some companies don't seem to even consider their customers when it comes to the internet.

The other day I received some spam from the Los Angeles Times, wanting to sell something to me. Since the LA Times is a semi-legitimate organization, I went to the bottom of the email and clicked on the unsubscribe link. Then it asked me for a userid and password. I didn't know what it was. Why should I have to give them a password to keep them from spamming me?!!

So I went to the contact link and filled out a form with "remove from your email list" in every space. They emailed me and told me I was now unregistered from LATimes. I said I might like to read some articles occasionally, could they just remove me from their email list? No, they can't do that. If I read their news, I have to take their spam.

I have bought lots of stuff in the past at, but they've been going downhill over the past few months. First, they messed up their search engine so that it seems to use "or" instead of "and" between keywords. Most other search engines either require all the keywords to be found, or they give you the option. The other day I wanted to check their price on Pentium 4 CPUs. I searched for "Intel Pentium 4 Processor" and was presented with 14 pages of results. I didn't bother to hunt down the one I wanted.

Another day, I looked for an ink cartridge on I found one with a similar, but not identical, product number, but nowhere did it mention which printers it went with. Both Epson and should have fixed this mistake.

Which printer does this ink cartridge fit? is another web site with an unusable search engine. If you search their site for "canon digital camera," the results are meaningless.

Don't these people ever use their own web sites? They should look at some really professional, fast-loading sites such as and

Postal Inspector General

The U.S. Postal Service has an office of Inspector General. The Inspector General is supposed to inspect the entire organization and stop waste and corruption. Some people have been complaining for a few months about the Postal Service Inspector General Karla. They said Karla spends money extravagantly, promotes and fires people unfairly, and a lot of other things, instead of keeping the USPS from wasting money.

One example is that she has her entire 700+ person staff gather for an annual team-building, award-giving, and training retreat. It is a weeklong retreat, complete with a $3,000 per day team-building consultant. (That was his discounted price for the USPS.) These "meetings" cost over a million dollars each.

Monday, Karla resigned and David took over. It sounded like a big deal in the news. Except Karla's 7-year term was up at the end of the year and she would have been quitting anyway. And Karla "retired," which probably means she'll keep getting at least part of her $142,500 salary.

The President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency wrote a 274-page report and recommended that "the most severe administrative sanctions available be taken against Ms. Corcoran." Nevertheless, the USPS opted against tar and feathers.

In other news this week, Fedex stock hit a new 52-week high.

I had intended to put here how much money the USPS has been losing, but as near as I can tell, they actually made a profit in the first 3 quarters of this fiscal year (September to June) -- $4.5 billion or so. I'm surprised!

Windows and Linux

Got problems with viruses on your Windows internet servers? Use Linux for protection -- that's what Microsoft did!

Well, sort of. Microsoft started using the Akami caching system to defend against the Denial of Service (DoS) attacks that blaster and some other worms were mounting. Akami makes a bunch of copies of a protected web site,, for example, in different places around the internet. Akami's DNS servers direct traffic to the nearest available copy of the web site. If I went to from Oklahoma, Akami might send me to Kansas City instead of Redmond.

In a DoS attack, thousands of computers all send repeated internet requests to a single web site at the same time, overloading it and effectively shutting it down. How can this be done? Suppose you have an email worm on your computer. It's sitting around in memory, not doing much except trying to reproduce on other systems. Then, at a specific time and date, the worm starts sending requests to (or some other web site), over and over. Thousands of other worms on other computers do the same thing at the same time. The targeted web site is overloaded and effectively dead in the water.

But with the Akami caching system, there are lots of copies of the target web site, and the DoS requests are distributed to the different copies around the internet making it a lot tougher to overload every copy of the web site.

Akami itself runs on Linux, but I would guess that the Microsoft web sites were on Windows.

Ice Harbor

Today the President visited Ice Harbor Dam, on the lower Snake River in Washington state. Mike and I flew over the dam in the Aircam last year, when we were following the Lewis and Clark trail (


I don't think Bush got this view.

Crestone Needle

I read "trip reports" about people climbing different mountains in books and on the internet. They talk about enjoyable scrambles, easy walks, invigorating climbs, and things like that. I thought it was time to get my point of view in.

Last weekend, I decided to climb, or at least start up, Crestone Needle, a mountain in Colorado. I climbed Crestone Peak a few years before from the east, so I decided to take the route from the west, Cottonwood Creek, to Crestone Needle. It's about 11 miles and 5800 vertical feet. Since I'm young and stupid I figured that would be no problem.

I was going to stay the night in Salida and drive down in the morning, but I decided I'd see if there was anywhere to stay in Crestone. I drove down beautiful downtown Crestone, and spotted the Aldace Terrace Inn. The steps went upstairs to an open door, and I asked the lady inside if she was the one to see about a room. Nope. She told me to go down to the corner and ask the girl at the liquor store. So I did. The girl at the liquor store told me to go across the street to the deli and ask Rebecca. Rebecca wasn't at the deli. Nobody was at the deli. So I headed back to a place I saw on the way into town, the White Eagle hotel.

There were two cars at the White Eagle, but I didn't see anybody inside. It seemed deserted. There was some new-age music playing the lobby, but not a soul to be seen. I had seen something like this before in the Twilight Zone. I finally noticed a sign on the desk next to the "no credit cards" sign that said to call someone for a room. I did. It was busy. I drove around a bit and then came back and called again. She said she'd be right down.

It turns out the lady was selling the motel. She's from Jay, OK and actually knew where Pryor is. She explained that there's no smoking. I said OK. She said no smoking anywhere on the property. I said OK. She started to mention it again, and I finally told her I didn't smoke. Then she mentioned that there are no phones or TVs in the rooms, because they cater to retreats. I said OK.

I turns out that there are a lot of religious retreat places around Crestone. I gave a ride to a guy with bare feet, flowers behind his ears, and a lot of tattoos who told me that a lady bought a bunch of land there and donated it to religious organizations. There are lots of Buddhist places, and I think a Catholic monastery.

He asked what religion I preferred. I told him Methodist. I suspected this wasn't exotic enough to suit him. I was going to mention that I ate breakfast at Yasukuni Shrine a few times, but then I remembered that that is Shinto and not Buddhist, and he might not like 47 Ronin anyway. Just when I was about to tell him that I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance once, he said he wanted to ride with the fellow in front of me. So I stopped and he jumped out, ran up to the car in front of me, and jumped on the bumper as that car took off. I guess he didn't like Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto. Or maybe it was my driving. Eventually he got inside the other car.

The next morning I got up early so I could get up the mountain and down to the timberline by 12:00 or so, in case there were storms. I read later about lady and her husband who were climbing nearby Kit Carson Peak 2-3 weeks ago. They got down below the timberline as the storms came up. Even so, she was killed by a lightning strike. Lucky for me, there weren't any storms when I climbed. I didn't make it up and down by noon.

I decided to take a bicycle up the trail. I walked up the trail a couple of hundred yards, and it looked bikable. It would make it a lot easier coming down. I grabbed the bike and took off at 6:35 a.m. At about 300 yards, the trail became impossible to bike up, or at least impractical. So I pushed, dragged, and carried the bike another 1.5 or 2 miles up the trail, thinking I would be really happy to have it on the way down. It was tiring! There were a lot of big rocks and trees across the trail.

Finally I dumped the bike and started walking. I could go a lot faster that way.


The rock in the Crestone area is a conglomerate called, coincidentally, Crestone Conglomerate. This part has been sheered off by a glacier.


A little farther I crossed the creek. Close to a mile farther I began wondering whether I should be on the other side of the creek, and realized that the trail I was on wasn't very good. I gave up and looked at a map. Yep. The mountain I was looking at was not the mountain I was supposed to be looking at. I had taken the wrong creek and was headed to Milwaukee Peak.

Normally I would just go on and climb Milwaukee Peak or whatever is convenient, but if I managed to get to the top of Crestone Needle, it would be number 20 of the 20 highest mountains in Colorado for me. In hiking, as with driving, backtracking was naturally out of the question.

So I followed some animal trails across the creek, then followed the base of some cliffs around Broken Hand Peak, and managed to find the trail to Crestone Needle just below a waterfall. It only took about 4 times the effort that backtracking would have -- pretty good for me.

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The trail -- even the proper one -- was not what you'd call well manicured. There were dozens of trees fallen across it, washouts, etc. Willows and undergrowth hid the trail in some places.

When I got above the timberline again, it was really nice.

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For a while.

Not far about 13,000', the hiking trail turned into "scrambling," which translates into hand-and-feet climbing.

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This is pretty fun. Being the experienced mountaineer that I am, I took several wrong turns and ended up climbing up and down 100-200 feet in a lot of places that I didn't need to. This provided a lot of additional exercise value for the dollar. There were a lot of really nice views from these optional detours, too.

Usually, when you climb a mountain, if you keep going up you'll eventually get to the top. In the case of Creation Needle, there are a lot of needles like this:


And lots of dead-ends like this:

      dscn0526      dscn0528      dscn0530

So if you keep going up without staying on the proper route, you'll get to the top of something, but it won't be the top of the mountain. I checked quite a few of these places just to be sure. Eventually, trial and error prevailed and I made it to the top about 1:30.


Near the top I met a couple of people headed down the east side. They were the only people I had seen since some campers down miles below.

The weather held -- there were clouds but no storms. As I headed down, my left knee started to complain. It obviously was not paying attention to that "young and stupid" stuff I mentioned earlier. So downhill was slow going. It was really irritating -- I used to run down mountains! When I got to the trees I grabbed a walking stick, which helped. I lost the trail regularly until I got down pretty low, but it was about as easy to walk off the trail as on it.

After walking what seemed like twice the distance to the car, I came upon the bicycle. I was really tired by this point. In addition to a lack of air, I was just plain exhausted. I grabbed the bike and discovered that I even had to push it downhill in a lot of places. That just added insult to injury. But it was nice to ride downhill instead of walk when I could. It almost (but not quite) made dragging the bike up the hill worthwhile.

About a half-mile or so from the car, I met a lady. She was wearing a poncho with a hood, carrying what looked like a food basket. It was Little Red Riding Hood! But I didn't harass her about it, and we were polite to each other. I expect she was moderately appalled by my appearance -- I had even ripped the leg of my pants at this point.

I finally made it to the car at 6:25, well under 12 hours. I was dead tired, one knee hurt from overuse and the other hurt where I banged it on a rock, my back was stiff, I whammed myself on the bike seat, and I was scratched up from the willows across the trail and from where I fell a few times. All in all, a great hike! I wonder why nobody went with me?

Unmanned Air Vehicles

The Global Hawk is a UAV, and Unmanned Air Vehicle. Used for military reconnaissance, it has a range of 13,500 miles and flies up to 65,000 feet high.


Seven Global Hawks have been built. Some were used in Afghanistan, even though the first "production" Global Hawk was delivered to the government three weeks ago.

Last week the Global Hawk received FAA authorization to fly around U.S. airspace. Until then, the Global Hawk was only supposed to fly outside military restricted airspace at altitudes above 60,000 feet. The Global Hawk can now fly in all but two FAA regions. I'm not sure which regions those are or why, but it would be interesting to find out.

No other UAV has been authorized to fly in so much commercial airspace. This will probably be more common in the future. There are several new UAVs under development, including an unmanned helicopter:

Northrop-Grumman and Boeing are also developing experimental UCAVs, unmanned combat air vehicles. Boeing has the X45,

      D6a5h      dvd-244-002

and Northrop-Grumman has the X47.


Next time you see an airplane flying along, its pilot just might be on the ground.


Earlier this week, someone asked for some old photos of some relatives, specifically of some Trekells. I thought I'd check on the internet and see if there were any photos I didn't have, and I ran across a couple of interesting stories.

140 years and one day ago, William Quantrill and about 400 people made a raid from Missouri into Lawrence, Kansas. They killed 150-200 men in Lawrence. Missouri confederates and Kansas Jayhawks had been fighting off and on, but this was a big deal.

Here is a detailed account of the 1863 raid, published in 1897:

Thomas Treakle is my great-great-great-grandfather, give or take a great. Here's something from The History of Johnson County Kansas:

Greenbury Treakle's father [Thomas Treakle], an old man of eighty years [really 71], lived in Missouri six miles east of Aubry. He overheard that Quantrill was planning a raid on the city of Lawrence, Kansas and proceeded to walk there to inform commandant of post. Unfortunately, the officer in charge did not take old man Treakle seriously and 200 people lost their lives. Vaughn's men, having heard that old man Treakle informed on their attempt to raid Lawrence, returned a few weeks after and murdered him in cold blood in his home.

In 1862 Franklin Trekell went into the Union army and as a first lieutenant saw active service until the close of the war. He was one of the avengers of his father's death, raising a squad of men who went in pursuit of Quantrill, and it was Franklin Trekell who discovered Quantrill's muster roll in the saddle of a dead horse. With his squad of soldiers he also found the body of his slain father.

Five of Franklin Trekell's children made the Oklahoma Cherokee Strip Land Run on September 16, 1893. There were 4 or 5 land runs in Oklahoma, and this was the biggest. About 100,000 people raced to claim about 40,000 160-acre homesteads. Here's William Trekell's story.

Tales of the Cherokee Strip
by William Albert Trekell

For several years, people had been coming to southern Kansas, locating temporarily in preparation for the opening of the Cherokee Strip. Hunting and fishing trips were frequently made "down into the Strip," and with some success so far as game and fish were concerned. They were also looking the country over to determine where "to run" so they would have the claim of their choice.

After harvest in 1893, and before the great race on September 16, people who were going to make the run were busy discussing methods, obtaining satisfactory mounts, or rigging vehicles for that purpose. Some would make the race in covered wagons, spring wagons, two-horse buggies, one-horse buggies, two-wheeled carts driving one horse. More would make the race on horseback than any other way.

As for me, I had a young horse I drove and trained to a two-wheel cart until he would do two miles in six minutes, but finally I decided it would be better to go to the south side and run for a town lot in Enid, being not quite of age and too many on the north side knew it.

As the day of the run drew near and everyone was preparing for the race, it became necessary for all who would make the run to register.

Long lines of people were waiting to register. If you came in the evening before and stood (or slept) in line all night, you were among the first to register. If you arose early, did your chores and ate your breakfast before day, then drove hard to the place of registration, you were near enough the front of the line to get registered that day and perhaps get home before night.

There being several of us to register and some needed to carry on the work at home while others went, it required about three trips. We were twenty-some miles from Hunnewell.

On September 16, I slept well until dawn streaked the eastern sky, then slipped out and went up the street where a few early risers were gathered, and soon was seated at the table in the restaurant without the formality of standing in line. Very soon, the town was alive with people -- men and women who had come for the great race. Some had come in from up and down the line to get repairs for their outfits; some to replenish their supplies just before making the run to settle on claims where supplies for a few days would be necessary, but mostly they were people who were there to make the run on the train. Some would "drop off" the train at an opportune time and stake a claim. At least, that was their plan. Most were headed to Enid.

There was all kind of speculation as to what the train would be. I had pictured in my mind a long string of coaches with cushioned seats, such as I had ridden into Hennessey the evening before, only more of them -- a long train to accommodate the crowd. Along about 9 or 10 o'clock in the forenoon, many people were going up to the line about a mile north of town where the train would start. I went along with the others. When we arrived, there were long lines of people in every conceivable kind of conveyance and on horseback, facing the line and extending as far as the eye to the west.

The grapevine telegraph had it there were 42 cars on the train, but no one could count the people. I have no recollection of purchasing a ticket or giving one up to the conductor. I do not believe there was a conductor on the train. I believe tickets and fare were taken when we were admitted to the right-of-way, but I am not sure.

Now everything was in readiness for the run and awaiting the signal. The double-header cattle train was poised upon the rails with steam up and ready to spring forward at the signal and proceed at 15 miles an hour.


Twelve o'clock noon came and passed, as we thought, and no signal. There was more impatient waiting. Finally, the signal was given -- guns fired by soldiers stationed at intervals along the line doing guard duty. Some sections of contestants sprang forward momentarily ahead of other sections. The wild race had started and we in the cattle cars had nothing to do but watch it through open doors or through convenient cracks between the slats on the sides.

Some rider well in advance of the throng (perhaps having planned it that way) was violently reining his mount, quickly dismounting and uncinching his saddle, throwing it down on the ground and wildly waving his hat at those following to indicate his claim to that quarter of land as his homestead; his frightened steed tried to break away from him and his waving had, and all but succeeding.

Farther back some driver was standing up in a wagon, holding a loose line with one hand and wildly belaboring his team with the end of the long lines with his other hand.

Now a citified-looking young man was pedaling for dear life along the wagon trail which ran parallel to the R.R. Yes, he was riding a safety bicycle.

Soon the contestants had thinned out noticeably. Some had gone on ahead; many had risked their fortune by staking somewhere behind and some were going through the motion of establishing settlement as we passed. We were well on our road to Enid and were beginning to think of just where we would land and how we would act upon arriving at Enid.

Once inside Enid many jumped off between Maine and Broadway, on Broadway, on Randolph or farther. Many of them were on the outside of the cars, having ridden on the sides and on top. All they had to do was drop off. I intended to get off at Broadway, but the lines of the older men held firm, afraid to jump because of the speed the train was going. I yelled, "Let me out! Let me out there and I'll jump!" They were adamant at first, but finally one or two of them stepped back and I jumped without considering the speed of the train.

I landed on the slope of the fill just south of the Elm Street bridge; went head-over-heels down the slope and landed sitting up in a patch of sand burrs. I picked out a few, though I might have run faster had I let them cling to the seat of my pants.

I dashed southeast across the townsite looking for a lot to stake, but people were everywhere, so close together I could see no opening until I thought I saw one west of the southwest corner of the square. I stuck as stake there, and men on both sides yelled, "Hey, you're in the street there."

Looking east and west of me, I saw no settlers, so decided they were right. I pulled my stake and dashed southeast across the block south of the square and across Two street. I could have staked a lot there but did not choose to stake in the low ground, so ran on across the R.R. and, finding a place where claimants were not so close together, I demanded of two where the lots were they claimed. Each one walked to his claim, and I said I believed there was room enough between them for me, so stuck my stake there. It proved a good guess. No one else claimed it.

I was thirsty. Inquiry failed to reveal any water nearby, but one of my neighbors generously shared the water in his canteen with me. Very soon, "the grapevine telephone" had it that soldiers were guarding the springs in what is now Government Springs Park, and refusing water to civilians. Also, that some men who had staked a lot on East Maine near the R.R. right-of-way had dug in a seapy spot at the base of the bluff on the rear of their lot and opened up a spring and were selling water at 10 cents a bucket.

Finally I went uptown, going across lots, under the R.R. trestle over Boggy Creek where the East Maine underpass is now. A fine-looking steel-gray horse lay under the trestle at the south end, helpless and quivering. It was said he was run too hard in the race. He died there.

The weather being dry and windy, and a great crowd tramping about the Government Acre on which the land office was located, everybody wore a mask of native soil -- a dust make -- on his face, neck, and ears. All were of the same complexion so far as one could see. This gave me an idea. Why not put up a bath house?

Meeting up with a young named Pemberton whom I had known at Wellington, I suggested the plan to him and he readily agreed to go in on it. Accordingly, I was to go to Wellington on the evening train to purchase equipment, which I did, but it took longer than we had planned as the equipment included a painted sign besides a small test, large tubs (round wash tubs), bath towels, wash cloths, soap, and a looking glass.

I arrived back in Enid the second morning after leaving, and was greeted with "BATH HOUSE" signs all over town. I soon met up with Pemberton and we agreed since the bath house business seemed overdone, it would be useless to rent a space for our tent and launch into business. Pemberton was soon lost in the crowd and I realized I had had a bath house outfit on my hands as Pemberton had not put up any money, and I had paid for the outfit.

What to do with it was the next question. Thinking other bath houses might be needing supplies, I went around to them and soon sold tubs, bath towels, wash cloths, and soap at prices I had paid. I could find no sale for the sign.

My older brother who, with my sister, had made the race from the south line, had come to Enid to make application to file and get their numbers. I met up with my brother and took care of his horse and buggy while he stood in line to file. He had a shotgun in the buggy and I well remember driving into the country a few miles and shooting a plover with the gun.

I had no cooking utensils but a can to make coffee in, but I found a new quart (no. 3) can, washed it and boiled some water in it to sterilize it. I dressed the plover, then went uptown and bought 5 cents worth of small sweet potatoes, cleaned some of them and filled the quart can with sweet potatoes and pieces of plover, and cooked it in water on a small camp fire.

The taste of the plover and sweet potatoes lingers with me yet. I never tasted a dish more pleasing to my appetite. Some were eating at restaurants, for there were a number in tents uptown, but not the average man. More likely he was camped on his lot, cooking his meager fare on a campfire and eating a grocery store snack.


William Albert and Stella Arrena Trekell

Pictures of Today!

Mountain Flowers

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A Rainbow and a Storm

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Here's a good picture of the Boeing B1. It requires a pilot.


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