I Do Love It Here

After months in the desert, one feels….dusty.  So…..

Shiloh gets a bath….

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And the next day Joy gets a bath.

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Too hard on my achy joints to bathe them both on the same day.

Much as they love jumping into any body of wild water, baths are barely tolerated, but getting dried off is loads of fun.

Then a few days later, Wandering Spirit gets a bath too.

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After the washing a couple days later she gets a wax job…except for the top.  Right now my knees aren’t letting me go up and down the ladder multiple times like waxing the top would require.

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Joy next to WS as if we were still camping.  This was taken while everyone was still dusty.

And then I bought this great big tarp and Mary helped me cover WS to protect her from sun damage.

74317E78-2D52-4C48-A99A-FB6CACC95A04😕. Not all that attractive  is it?  By releasing a bungee cord or two I have easy access to the inside so I can clean and whatnot.

C16324F3-5B2D-4899-B038-8101662CF8D2After and between the bathing and waxing, I’m working on a little garden in Mary’s front yard, and some potted herbs in her back yard.  This is a work in progress, something I’ll be playing with throughout the summer.

California is in bloom right now…..

E650A985-9E7D-4887-A8BA-1586D870507EA field of wild mustard.

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Gardens everywhere.

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This is called Breath Of Heaven.  A favorite of mine. I planted one in Mary’s garden.

8CA0C699-C77D-4D08-B342-A15F42C36A2CHeading towards ocean and sky…a view from Imjin Road in Marina.

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A view of a small bit of Monterey Bay driving on Hwy 101 through Sand City.

Yes, I do love it here!

 

 

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Now Living In Sticks & Bricks

After our visit with Kerry and Annabelle, we continue our journey ‘home’.

Back in California at last, and we take a last desert walk…

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Well, maybe that’s a desert run!

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And in Bakersfield, between the raindrops, we gather some oranges at Orange Grove RV Park.

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Lots of blossoms on the trees now, but still some juicy ripe oranges to be had.

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We continue on through the vibrantly green hills of California….

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And through the rain….

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As we near Gonzales, CA we are suddenly in the worst deluge of rain pounding down upon us that I’ve ever driven, much less towed in.  It’s as though the windshield wipers are nonexistent.  The only reason I can see in front of me is because a big yellow truck is in the lane right ahead of us.  I can’t pull over because I can’t see what might be there on the side of the road, and I obviously can’t stop, so I continue on almost blinded by water.

Though it seems to go forever, it probably lasts less than 5 minutes.

We continue on through more rain and finally arrive at Mary’s house.  YAY!  It’s good to see her again and Joy and Shiloh are excited to be here!

Within our first few days of being here friends Laura and Joel come for a visit, and a neighbor backs Wandering Spirit into Mary’s back yard for me.

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Wow, looks like WS has her own rainbow in the lower left there.

A couple of weeks ago friends Shirlee and Doug, two of the first people we met on the road and continued a friendship with, text to say they will be in my old stomping grounds on their way home to Canada.  As it turns out we all arrive here in the area on the same day.  We get a couple of visits in before they have to leave.

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Doug and Shirlee on our ocean drive in Pacific Grove.

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Ocean and rocks.

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Doug gets a kiss from Joy!

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We walk the trail near Mary’s house.  Mary is taking the picture.

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We make vegan pizza!

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And find some California poppies…(closed up because it’s near sunset.)  We must really be home!

Now we will try to settle a bit.  This will be the first time we live in a sticks and bricks for an extended period (a number of months) in close to 4 years.

We’ll see how this goes….

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A Brief Interlude

A Few Days In Prescott

On the way back to the ‘home place’ we stop for a visit with Kerry and her dog Annabelle. (Not their real names).  They are good friends now, whom we first met in the dog park in Quartzsite 2 1/2 years ago.  They wintered in Prescott but will be leaving the area soon.

We are near Watson Lake Park and the area around the lake is called Granite Dells.

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Yikes, look out below!

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Kerry calls this the bear claws!

Not only are Kerry and I good friends, but so are the dogs, and we spend our days giving them a good time together.

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Annabelle goes to class and Joy and Shiloh cheer….er…woof her on!

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We take lots of walks.  Here Shiloh and I take in the view.

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Joy and Shiloh haven’t enjoyed grass in a long time, being at the ranch.  There is lots of green grass in Watson Lake Park and there was lots of rolling going on.  Here’s a Joy Roll.

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Once Kerry was on the ground she was fair game….

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Shiloh the lap dog.

I’m so glad that Kerry and I met and became friends, and our fur kids too.  She and Annabelle are two precious souls.

As I write this we have made our way to the great state of California. Yay!  We are in Needles (eww) tonight, then the plan is Barstow, Bakersfield, and HOME.

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On The Road

We take an early walk this morning.  I take all the bird feeders down.  What seed I have left, I scatter on the ground.  I’ve been getting things picked up and put away for the last few days.

Had to think about how to pack up and hook up!  It’s been awhile!  Fred and Colleen come  up to help and double check everything with me.  Then Joy,mShiloh and I pile into JR and leave at 8:30am.  I go s-l-o-w-l-y down the 8 mile dirt road…it takes me an hour!

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Ocotillo blooming and leafing on our way down the dirt road.

I drive about 150 miles to the KOA in Gila Bend….and now I have ELECTRICITY!  Whoo-hoo!

But…to regress…over the past week….it was a good, if not unusual week.

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Ruth comes up for a visit with her horses Major and Ronnie.

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Another time she comes up and we had a campfire and a lot of girl talk.  She’s also reading The Clan Of The Cave Bear series.  Or, I should say, re-reading it. ( I’m on the last of the 6 books now..got it on Kindle).

We have a wine tasting party at the club house.🍷

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Oh  gosh, and a couple of Margarita parties at Fort Kelly.☺️

I attend a Qigong class.  We’ll try and get that going earlier next season.

I do laundry.  Sometimes I do my laundry right at my own site…with a couple of buckets and a plunger!  Hey, you should try it sometime and you will REALLY appreciate you washing machine!

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I clean out the shed and try to mouse-proof it.  I use Steel wool, Irish Spring soap, dryer sheets…and even lights.  I put 2 strings of solar led lights inside, with the tiny solar panels outside.  I suppose they will use the dryer sheets for bedding, clean up with the soap, and use the lighting to find their way around easier? 😁

I try to take the views into my being…including the beautiful sky.

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Each day is such a gift and I try not to take them for granted.

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The older I get, the more I realize there is a limited supply of these gifts.

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I don’t want to be complacent.

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Then Wednesday, my last full day at CLR is….interesting.

I am busy inside WS when Shiloh began barking outside.  Not a typical playful bark, but more a warning…more a protecting bark.

I hurry out to see what’s wrong and find him barking menacingly at a young man, who is stopped in his tracks approaching our little home.  He carries a small backpack and his shoes are worn.  He is very thin, looks exhausted, and right now, frightened.  He has ‘illegal alien’ written all over him.  I call Shiloh off, and the young man sits down on the ground and begins to cry.  The only English he seems to know is “help me”, and he repeats it over and over.  I bring him water and tissues and eventually get him seated at my outside table with crackers and peanut butter.

While inside WS I also call Tim on my emergency Verizon phone and tell him what’s happening.   At the same time I’m calling Tim, Don, another neighbor, rides up on his 4 wheeler and tells me Boarder Patrol has already been called and he will stay here till they arrive.  I am relieved that he will be here.  He tells me that a few of the men here saw the guy coming up my hill, and were aware and watching.  A minute later I get a text from Fred who is in TOWN 50 miles away, to warn me as well.

Wow, talk about a Neighborhood Watch!  I am impressed!

A couple of minutes later Tim arrives on his 4 wheeler and he speaks some Spanish.  It turns out the young man is not Mexican.  He is from Venezuela, and basically starving.  Tim goes home and returns a few minutes later with burritos and some juice, and gives it to the young man. (Maybe 20ish.)  Then Tim leaves again to meet the Boarder Patrol when they arrive and guide them to us.

That happens shortly…two of the familiar Boarder Patrol trucks…white with a green diagonal stripe on the side…come up my hill.  The officers are polite and kind.  They talk with him and let him finish his meal.  He seems relieved to go with them.  It beats starving, freezing, and burning up while being lost in the desert.

This happens her occasionally…rarely.  This is the first time I’ve been involved.  I feel sorry for the young man, proud of Shiloh, and pleased that my neighbors were so aware of the situation.

Seems a strange way to end my time at Caballo Loco Ranch this season.

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It’s Almost Time….

To go.

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Look, the Ocotillo are leafing out!

I do feel torn.  I feel it’s about time to leave CLR and I want to head out, at the same time that it hurts to leave this simpler way of living.  This energy.  These people.  These views. (NOT that I’ll mind having electricity again, and easy internet access!  Who-hoo!)

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Sunrise yesterday.

I’m such a water person it seems strange that the desert here draws me so strongly.  There is something special about this place…right here….for me it’s a sacred place.

But, it’s time, and, there is going to be a lifestyle change coming up, at least for awhile.

The plan is to spend the spring and summer at least, in the ‘home place’ near Monterey, California.  Actually more precisely in Mary’s home place.  She’s had her trial run in her Prius RV and loved it, and now she’s ready to go for an extended trip, but doesn’t like the idea of leaving her house empty for a long period of time.  Meanwhile, I’m feeling the need to settle for awhile, so it works out really well for Joy, Shiloh and I to stay at her house while she hits the road.

Sooo…we leave Thursday.  Yup, this Thursday.  We will have a short visit in Prescott with our friends Kerry and Annabelle, and then travel on to Mary’s.

After summer….then what?  I just don’t know at this point.  Is my spirit done wandering?  I don’t think so, but only time will tell for sure.  I have thoughts of taking an extensive trip through California, and the Oregon/Washington coast still calls to me.  I might like to try Glacier National Park again.  (We got smoked out last time and the time before that I had a bad back injury).  I still haven’t visited the north rim of the Grand Canyon….there is so MUCH out there to see and experience….

But right now, I want to go home.  I want to walk Delmonte Beach with Joy and Shiloh,

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Sit on the patio at Napenthe with a South Coast Margarita, absorbing the incomparable view and energy.

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The view from Napenthe.

Hike in Molara State Park where the Big Sur River meets the ocean.

Maybe Patty will give me another Big Sur Lighthouse tour!

I’d like to have breakfast at my favorite place ever to have breakfast, Deetjens Big Sur Inn.

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I want to see family and friends in a leisurely way…not rushing to see everyone in a short time.

I’dlike to walk on Asilamar Beach with Jason and Mandy and reminisce about their wedding.

Hey, I wouldn’t even mind a trip to San Francisco ( the big city!😀), and try out some nice vegan restaurant and go sit on a bench I know of with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. 😊(hi Laura.  Hi Ulf!)

Yeah, home sounds real good right now.

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Nice sunsets from the Monterey Peninsula too.

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Ohhhhh…Big Sur….I do love you, and miss you!

So, we are getting ready to go, and I will keep blogging.  One step at a time here!

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Locked Out…And Locked In!

Once upon a time….actually about a month ago, we returned home from a campfire down at Ruth’s place.  It was a fun evening sitting around the campfire…keeping warm….visiting with friends. About 9pm we returned home, and I went to unlock WS’s door, but the key wouldn’t work.  I tried and tried with no luck.

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The culprit.

This isn’t unheard of among Casita owners, in fact it happens way too often as evidenced by stories on The Casita Forum, that I’ve read over the years.

Because I had read these stories I had a vague idea of what was going on and what to do about it.  Still I was cold and tired and not very happy about the situation, as you might imagine.

There is an escape window on most RV’s.  It’s supposed to be used as an emergency exit, from inside.  On Casita’s, besides the regular window lock, there are two latches on the inside of this window, and when they are opened, the whole window frame can be opened outward, from hinges on the top.

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One of the two latches on the inside of the escape window.

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View of the escape window open fully, and being held in position with a piece of wood on the left side.

Folks who’s locks have failed are very adamant about never locking the emergency window, but of course there are times when one wants to lock everything, so, what to do?

Standing there feeling frustrated, trying to open the door, I was hoping real hard that my emergency window wasn’t locked, and half afraid to go check, because if it was locked, then I have a whole new set of problems.

Of course, I went and checked and YAY!, it was not locked!  Next I get a flashlight from JR and go to the shed where I keep a ladder.  I stand it by the window, and though it’s short, it’s tall enough.  Much to the puzzlement of Joy and Shiloh, I climb the ladder, open the window and screen, then reach inside and unfasten the latches.

Now I’m very happy that it’s dark and therefore no one (except Joy and Shiloh) can see me squiggle and squish  this body into the window…head first…and land on the bed.  I put a pillow from the bed between my stomach and the lower window frame to make the process a bit less painful…and feeling like Winnie The Pooh In A Tight Place, I begin my journey.

Thankfully no pictures of this!

Finally, I’m in!  But the dogs are out, and as I suspected from reading the adventures on the forum, the lock won’t open from the inside either, so now I’m locked in.  From the inside, while trying to make comforting noises to the dogs outside, I take a screwdriver to the damn thing, working through the small opening in the screen door…while I try not to panic.

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Calming dog pictures.  Joy above.  Shiloh below.

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It’s difficult but I finally manage to loosen the lock enough so it will disengage.

In come the dogs and I bungee the door shut for the night, not wanting it to actually close,  in case somehow we manage to get locked in again.  Except….

The night brings with it strong winds, which manage to blow the door shut tight again!  And it locks…. I kid you not!

I discover this at 6am, and feeling rather angry at this point, I take a small hammer to the lock and manage to break it and we get out.

Foolishly I suppose.  I order a new lock from Casita.

In the meantime, Tim, a very kind neighbor, loans us an extra lock he happens to have, and puts it on for me.  It doesn’t fit properly, it’s too small for the hole in the door, but with the help of some white duct tape, it works just fine for a temporary replacement.

Soon, I receive the new lock from Casita.

Its the same wrong size as the one that Tim put on.

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Old broken lock on the left.  New wrong sized lock on the right.

I make a call to Casita in Texas and tell them they sent the wrong size….and they tell me it’s the only size they have.  I make more calls, search on line, and visit some RV places in Tucson, but no one seems to have the original size lock.  Maybe thas a good thing…..

Anyway I talk it over with Fred and Colleen, and they have some ideas.  Fred does some measuring, and a few days later comes up with some templates that he made.  The new lock fits in the templates, and the templates, fit in the holes in the door.  Tim comes over and removes his lock and fits the template and lock sandwich on the door!  It all fits perfectly!  Then he seals it all up with silicone and I’m all set!

So…advice?  Keep a screw driver and hammer in your RV, have access to a ladder,  and when possible, keep your escape window unlocked.  Especially, if you have a Fastec lock on the door.

On the more fun side of things, Colleen had a surprise birthday party for Fred and she asked me to help her.

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We really do think he was surprised.  That’s Fred on the right.  He was bringing the mail to the clubhouse, unaware…and that’s Dennis on the left, who kept him busy all day without giving away the surprise.

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Colleen and Fred standing in front of the board Colleen put up with lots of pictures of Fred and company, over the years.  I even wrote a poem called The Fred Poem, about some of the highlights of his life with info from Colleen.  The more amazing thing though, is that I stood and read it at the party.  Waaaay out of my comfort zone but I did ok!

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Colleen and I with one of the cakes.

it was a fun time.

And here’s another pretty sunset to close with.

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Life (NOT) In The Big City

As you may know, early last year I leased a boondocking site at Cacallo Loco Ranch, a Ranch in the desert for RVers, about 40 miles southwest of Tucson.

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The road that leads here is sometimes crowded, nobody wants to moooove,

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And, you might get some attitude from your fellow travelers.  😊

There is no electricity and no phone lines.  (Verizon works pretty good most of the time though).  Any power we have is produced by a great big generator, which runs from 9am till 9pm daily throughout the cooler months.  (In the summer it’s run once a week).

The generator brings power to the clubhouse, the library/game room, the laundry room…

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The office, lights for the bathroom down front, and the full hook up sites.  At least from 9am till 9pm.  Other hours you are on your own.

Where my site is, and most anyone else who stays for any length of time, you are on your own for power 24/7.

Water is supplied by some very deep wells in the desert.  It is piped to the buildings mentioned above, the full hook up sites, and also the bathroom/showers in the boondock area.

There is a pump house near the shower room where the boondockers can get water.

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That little white thing is what I call the pumphouse.  The boondockers bathroom is the red building and if you notice the white picket fence, that’s where the dump is.

My power setup is among the most simple of the boondockers.  I have 40 watts of solar on top of WS, 1 twelve volt battery and a Honda 2000 generator.

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At least 95% of the time my 40 watts of solar along with the battery take care of our needs.  Some others here have large battery banks, many large solar panels, and they have satellite tv and many other conveniences.

I rather like my set up…I like to keep it simple.

Water is another story.  Without a little (a lot actually) Of help from my friends, filling my water tank would be quite a chore.  Last season my routine was to take many one gallon containers and some larger ones, to the pump house, fill them, then bring them home in the truck and fill my water tank one gallon at a time.  Water is heavy!

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This season Fred built his own water wagon, with a 60 gallon container.

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Fred and his water wagon, filling WS’s water tank.

He tows it to the pump house with one of their four wheelers, fills it and shares the water with us, bringing it up our hill as needed.

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Fred has two filters and a pump on his water wagon.

About once a week I empty my black tank into my blue boy, which is actually gray.

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I hook it up to the hitch on JR and tow it down to the dump.

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Fun fun.

When I empty the black tank, I also empty the gray tank….down the hill to water the Palo Verde tree and some cactus.

Propane is sold here for the going rate which is $2.30/gal right now.

Oh and I can even get NPR on my little transistor radio…at least sometimes.

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The bird watching is great!

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Sometimes I have 6 or 8 Cardinals at my feeders at once.  (I have many feeders)….along with 50 or 60 other sweet birdies.

And the scenery is amazing.

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Cactus with a silver lining.

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Sunset with a view of one of the ranch water tanks there on the left.

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Cozy home.

Who needs the big city? ❤️

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