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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 10/15/15 11:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The first part of this trip report is probably going to be a little odd. The trip started out a little different than most of ours, but BEAR (pun) with me, it will return to a more traditional format soon enough. The boss and I had a couple of weeks away from our jobs recently, and as we have so many times before we headed west. I'd love to share some pictures of the trip with you all, but I'm going to have to do this in stages. Trip reports aren't easy things to put together, especially if the trip is more than just a few days.

Most of the time, we make no plans or reservations when we head off in the camper. This time though, we had a plan for the first 3-4 days. After that it was unscripted. Our travels this time took us through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.

The boss graduated from Baylor University in Waco, TX (ain't sayin' when) and was in the marching band the four years she attended. We hadn't been to an alumni function there in quite some time, and she was really wanting to attend the alumni-band weekend this year which was scheduled for the Baylor/Rice football game. Everything ended up falling into place and we were able to go. I'm not an alumni, and wasn't in marching band, but I sure enjoy listening to and watching them perform. I'd always had a good time going with her in the past.

We parked the TC at a private RV park near the campus. Being near the campus was it's best and possibly only attribute. When we left I realized we didn't take a single picture in the campground. Imagine that!

The campus has grown a lot since she was there, and finding a parking spot the day we got there was a challenge since it was a weekday. I managed to squeeze in a spot on the street. Later, I took the camper off the truck in the campground so we could get around campus easier.

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Another big change is the football stadium. It used to be about 3 miles from campus, and the band members had to find their own transportation on game day! Now they have a big, new stadium just across the Brazos River next to the campus. They also have an indoor practice facility on the campus side of the river, and a pedestrian bridge connecting the campus and practice facility to the stadium. The band practices indoors before the home games, then marches across the river into the stadium. I've never seen such a huge spectacle before! Tailgaters on the grounds around the stadium, and "sailgaters" in boats on the river.

This is a view of the new stadium from the practice field.

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Inside the practice building. It's used by the football team and the marching band.

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First practice for the alumni, sans instruments. Gotta learn to walk first!

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The students take the field. The Baylor University Golden Wave Band, or BUGWB (Bug-Wub) is about 210 members strong. They are a great sounding band!

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Here are a couple of videos I took of them practicing. If you enjoy marching bands, you'll like these. Since it's indoors, the sound is really good. Turn it up!

Practice Marching On To The Field

Practicing the Half-Time Show

When it was time to get over to the stadium, BUGWB and the alumi band all marched and played together. I got to stroll along with them and take a few pic's.

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The pre-game show.

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The "Baylor Line" (Freshmen) take position in preparation for the football team running out. The noise level in the stadium was deafening!

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This is the halftime show, and it's about 6.5 minutes long. The sound isn't the best due to where I was sitting, but the marching is impressive.

Baylor vs Rice Halftime Show

Some pics from the show.

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The boss after the show.

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Final score. Sorry Rice fans.

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After the game, BUGWB always plays a handful of songs for those who want to stick around. I videoed a couple of them that show them having a lot of fun. The sound in these two short vid's is very good. I was down on the field with them while they played, and I think everyone will enjoy the songs, and watching the band obviously having fun playing them. If you don't watch any of the other video's, you should watch these. [emoticon]

BUGWB Post Game Jam 1

BUGWB Post Game Jam 2

After all that we got a good nights sleep and head out in the camper the next day. Out first stop was Ft. Griffin, a Texas State Historic Site in Shackleford County near Albany, TX. This is a post civil-war fort that was part of the southwestern frontier fort system to give protection to settlers from Indian raids.

Our campsite.

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Many of the buildings were made of stone, and their ruins are still standing.

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The wood structures had stone foundations.

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You didn't have to look very hard to find artifacts in the dirt.

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The restored Ft. Griffin bakery.

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The fort never had walls or a gate, and so was spread out over quite a large area. They have a couple of golf carts for you to get around on. The cat is at the boss's feet.

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A few residents like this corn spider remain.

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The parade ground and flagpole.

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Enlisted soldiers huts. Four men in each.

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Two bunks, two tables, one fireplace.

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One of four enlisted men's mess halls.

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The cat checking out a map in the visitor center.

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Ft. Griffin is also the home of the state's official herd of Texas Longhorns.

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Roadside sculpture.

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After leaving Ft. Griffin, we head out to west Texas to visit a cousin of mine that owns a big dairy farm near the TX-NM boarder. He's milking 2000 cows 3 times a day, and farming 3000 acres growing mainly feed for the cows.

One of the milking parlors.

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Calf houses. They have a LOT of calves. Notice how the houses are tied down to cement blocks. It gets windy in west Texas.

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Are you my mother?

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Born just that day.

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He has a lot of nice new toys, mostly green stuff, but he also has a few well loved vintage tractors that we enjoyed seeing. Green is my favorite color.

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Like a lot of small towns, they have a small campground to encourage people to spend a few nights in the area.

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Taking a break. I'll add more later.

[emoticon][emoticon]

* This post was last edited 11/01/17 05:56pm by NRALIFR *   View edit history


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jimh425

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Posted: 10/16/15 12:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like a nice trip!


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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

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Posted: 10/16/15 03:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll bet that was fun.


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nycsteve

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Posted: 10/16/15 04:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So far so good.





zb39

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Posted: 10/16/15 06:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome!!!


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CptnBG

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Posted: 10/16/15 07:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics! Looking forward to the rest as I just came back recently from the same states.


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nomadictxn

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Posted: 10/16/15 07:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like a great trip! I like the historical aspect myself. Best I remember The MOB from Rice University has a pretty good marching band also. I use to go to a lot of Rice games in Houston and usually the band was better than the team. Not so with Baylor. I hope the rest of your trip is awesome. Going to Big Bend in November for our big TC vacation and I cant wait!


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Scott16

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Posted: 10/16/15 11:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip. Reminds me of my High School Band days,umm years ago! Played Baritone Horn in those days! A lot of history in that area of the country, like it all. Your cousin sure doe shave a Big Dairy operation.
Looking forward to the next post!
Scott


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sleepy

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Posted: 10/18/15 02:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip report Kevin, looking forward to more. Janet will enjoy it too.

Thank you again for hosting us to your home back in the spring.... it was one of the highlights of our 2015 sixty night trip report that I keep putting off. Maybe someday.... for now I'll just enjoy yours and the others.

Chet


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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 10/18/15 08:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

nomadictxn wrote:

Sounds like a great trip! I like the historical aspect myself. Best I remember The MOB from Rice University has a pretty good marching band also. I use to go to a lot of Rice games in Houston and usually the band was better than the team. Not so with Baylor. I hope the rest of your trip is awesome. Going to Big Bend in November for our big TC vacation and I cant wait!


Thanks! It was a great trip. We both like visiting historic sites in the west, and learn a lot about our country and the people who ventured out into the frontier every time we make a trip like this.

This was at least the third Baylor/Rice game that we've seen on an "Alumni Band" weekend. Rice didn't bring their band for this one, but we've seen the MOB a few times before. You're right, they are a good sounding band, but whatever that is they do scurrying around on the field sure ain't marching [emoticon] You want to hear some good-natured hating? Bring up the Rice Mob to any proper marching band! [emoticon] Baylor's football team was above average when the boss was a student, but they've become a real powerhouse the past few years.

Scott16 wrote:

Great trip. Reminds me of my High School Band days,umm years ago! Played Baritone Horn in those days! A lot of history in that area of the country, like it all. Your cousin sure does have a Big Dairy operation. Looking forward to the next post!
Scott


Thank you. I have a lot of respect for a good marching band program. They can be as good a means as any for teaching young people the life lessons needed to be successful as adults. One minor down side to going to these alumni-band events is that the songs they play get stuck in your brain. They play over, and over, and over, and over........ It's doing it now. It'll be weeks before it stops. [emoticon]

We were very impressed with my cousin's dairy operation. He and his wife have built a business that is just amazing to us city folks. The amount of automation, measuring and computerization is probably far beyond what most people would think a dairy would even need. Everything that goes in and comes out is measured. Dairy farming on this scale is about as risky as any entrepreneur can imagine. And yet, he managed to take it to the next level about 6-7 years ago by moving his farm and family from New York state to Texas. That took guts! They love living in Texas now, and I am tickled to death for them.

OK, on with the trip report:

After leaving west Texas, we drove to Lincoln NM, where the Battle of Lincoln, the climax of the Lincoln County War, took place in 1878. The Lincoln County War was an Old West conflict between rival factions intent on monopolizing the dry goods and cattle business in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory. The feud became famous because of the participation of a number of notable figures of the Old West, including Billy the Kid, sheriffs William Brady and Pat Garrett, cattle rancher John Chisum, lawyer and businessman Alexander McSween, and the organized crime boss Lawrence Murphy. It's a long, convoluted story so I won't try to retell it here. Suffice it to say that several people came to a bad end. It's one of those historical events that I have a hard time keeping the two sides straight, and there really wasn't a "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys" to the story. The outcome (for better or worse) was ultimately determined by the direct intervention of the Army, who aligned themselves with one side. A common occurrence back then.

The Lincoln Visitor Center has a self-guided walking tour brochure that directs you to the historic areas of the town. The first is the Montano Store. Owned by the Montano family, one of the first in Lincoln. Operated as a general store by Jose Montano, who was neutral in Lincoln County War. A 25 man garrison of McSween men, led by Martin Chaves, were driven out by Col. Dudley and troops in July 1878 "Battle of Lincoln".

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San Juan Mission Episcopal Church

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Inside. Notice the interesting disk behind the pulpit. The steps into the pulpit are nearly vertical, so the priest would end up in front of the disk as he climbed into the pulpit. I've never seen one before so I'm not sure what it's called, but I can imagine it's purpose was two-fold. First, it would give the appearance of the "aura" around the person standing in front of it as was typically depicted in religious paintings, Second, it would help project the speakers voice to the congregation.

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The stone "Torreon" is one of Lincoln's oldest structures, and was used to protect the town's inhabitants and livestock from Apache raiders. It was also used by sharpshooters during the Lincoln County War. It's pretty small, so I can just imagine what it was like when it was packed with people and animals.

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The Tunstall-McSween General Store. Opening this store threatened the dry goods monopoly formerly enjoyed (and exploited) by the Murphy-Dolan store. Tunstall eventually lost his life over it, and a long period of back-and-forth revenge killings began, that became known as the Lincoln County War. McSween was eventually killed in the Battle of Lincoln after the house he had taken refuge in was set on fire. He was shot trying to escape the flames. The store today is filled with authentic period goods.

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Tunstall's living quarters adjoining the store.

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The two crosses mark the graves of Tunstall and McSween.

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The Murphy-Dolan store. They were the dominant (as in only) retailer in the county, and they didn't take kindly to competition. Their business eventually failed, and the building was used as the county courthouse for several years.

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Dr. Woods house with an interesting inset porch.

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This house has had some extensive restoration done, and is being offered for sale. About 550K if you're interested.

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Dolan house.

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After leaving Lincoln, it was time to look for a place to park for the night. Ft. Stanton/Snowy River Cave BLM campground was nearby, so we head there.

We were the only ones there that night.

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Just before leaving on vacation, I had finally gotten around to making a new place to carry my 20L Jerry can of Diesel. I had also bought a 5L Jerry can to carry some gas for my Yamaha 1000 generator, and I needed a place for that as well.

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I've always carried a can of Diesel in the bed of the truck under the camper wing, just in case we run short. I had been thinking about a way to re-purpose a spare tire carrier that I mounted on the camper bumper when I had a '95 F350. The F450 spare tire is just too heavy to carry that way, so the carrier has been unused for a couple of years. I got the 20L can from Swiss Army Vehicles in Fayetteville, AR several years ago when I decided these new CARB cans are for the birds. It's a real, surplus military gas can. The 5L can is from Atlantic British, and is a brand new can that uses the same spout from the 20L can.

I had already used the Diesel can once on this trip in west Texas, when the hills and wind blew my fuel mileage and we were going to come up about 3-5 miles short from my planned fuel stop. I was glad I had it easily accessible.

I am a notorious pack-rat, and salvage all kinds of things (junk) that would otherwise be thrown away at work, and I had several heavy steel angle plates, a 4'x4' sheet of 1/2" high density polyurethane, a bunch of 6" long carriage bolts, etc. I was actively trying to find a way to use some of this good junk, so I could free up some shelf space in my storage building for newer, gooder junk. I bought the Jerry can holder from a eBay auction at a good price, and I bought the nylon locking nuts. Everything else is salvaged. Actually, I consider the spare tire mount to be salvage as well, since it was originally on an old truck I used to own.

Here's a better view of the contraption with the Jerry cans removed.

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Backside showing salvaged 90 deg. plates.

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It can even still fold down, so that............... I'll figure out why it needs to do that later.

Edit: After doing some major damage to both my shoulders since I first posted this TR (torn rotator cuff, torn deltoid, torn biceps), that fold-down feature has been a shoulder-saver. I wouldn't be able to get a full 20L can of Diesel out of the holder if I had to lift it straight up.

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Back to the TR, sorry for the detour to talk about gas cans.

As the campground name suggests, there is a cave here, but it's by appointment only.

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That's fine, we just wanted a place to grill a steak, drink a bottle of Alien brew I bought in Roswell, and get some sleep. We had our sights set on another destination.

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The next day, we drove to Ft. Stanton, which was built in 1855. It was established to protect settlements along the Rio Bonito in the Apache Wars. Kit Carson, John "Black Jack" Pershing, Billy the Kid, and Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry all lived here at one time or another.

Confederate forces actually occupied the fort in the beginning of the Civil War but they only held it for about a month before abandoning it due to harassment by the Apaches. They tried to burn it as they left, but a thunderstorm prevented it from doing much damage. Ft. Stanton is unique in that most of the buildings were made of locally quarried stone, and have withstood the elements quite well.

Kit Carson was the fort's Commanding Officer after the Confederates abandoned it.

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In 1899 Fort Stanton was transferred from the War Department to the Marine Hospital Service, and converted to America's first federal tuberculosis sanatorium. During World War II, Fort Stanton was used as a detention center for 411 German nationals taken from the luxury liner Columbus in 1939 after becoming stranded in U.S. waters behind a British blockade. The U.S. was still technically neutral at the time of their capture.

Ft. Stanton Catholic Chapel.

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Inside the chapel.

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Hand hewn beams in the ceiling.

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Officers quarters. Most of the stone buildings have been remodeled and changed several times over the years. If you look closely, you can see windows that used to be doors, the added second story and bay windows, etc.

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More officers quarters. This one housed two families.

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Administration building and theater.

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Looking across the parade ground. The center building is the Commanding Officer's Quarters. It is the only building that has remained practically unchanged since it was built.

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Inside the Commanding Officers quarters.

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Beautiful polished stone fireplace surround.

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Patio.

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The museum had a great collection of old photographs from the fort and local area.

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The center picture has a young John Pershing in it (on crutches).

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If you don't know much about General John J. Pershing, you should read about him sometime. I'm convinced he is one of the United States greatest unknown hero's. He is the only US military officer to hold the rank of "General of the Armies" (plural) while alive. That is a six star General, a rank I didn't even know existed. The only other person to hold that rank was George Washington, and his was a posthumous promotion in 1976. His promotion order was intentionally worded in such a way to ensure that he out-ranked General Pershing!

This is a great picture. Even though it's staged, it's awesome.

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Another great picture of old trucks. The two on the far right are Mack model AC trucks. Before Mack adopted the Bulldog as their mascot, they used the stylized "M" on the hood as their logo. This would have been taken sometime after 1915. Chain drive, solid tires. It was this model truck that was given the nickname "Bulldog Mack" because of their "jowly" appearance when viewed straight on, and how rugged they were. Because of that nickname, Mack trucks now all have that well-known hood ornament. The unique shape of the engine bonnet is due to the fact that the radiator sat BEHIND the engine to protect it from damage, just in front of the cab. Look at those loads!

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This explains the difficult diplomatic situation behind the German "Detainees" from the liner Columbus.

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That's all I can do today. I'll add more as I get time. Next stop, White Sands Missile Range!

[emoticon][emoticon]

* This post was last edited 11/01/17 06:58pm by NRALIFR *   View edit history

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