For the first time in many months, and as a setup to the All AZ SP, I ventured to Vekol last night accompanied by Chris Schultz, a first-time-observer, and aided by my Spooner 10-inch Dobsonian. Although I have observed from Vekol many times in the past, Saturday night was especially memorable. Note though, the first entrance into Vekol is cut by a small trench manageable by trucks or SUVs with care, but given my post-sundown arrival, I found the second entrance safer with the scope in back. Surprisingly, attendance was weaker than I expected (5-6 scopes) and sparsely set up. I parked beside--I believe--Joe Goss (my apologies--please correct me if I'm wrong) who added plenty of light-hearted banter throughout the evening, as well as nice, but untracking views through his John Hall 16-inch. A short distance NNE of us, but isolated from the typical observing area, was astrophotographer Jon Christensen, who throughout the night became a regular at both our scopes. Apart from the bugs, the night was comfortable for me in shorts and T-shirt, but became chilly, as well as considerably breezy around the 0100 hour. Transparency was decent, a 3-4 out of 5, and seeing was better than usual allowing magnifications on bright sky objects in excess of 400x; in particular on NGC 6826, 7027 and 7662. With Chris along, I skipped my usual DSO routine, and followed a grand tour of the universe from stellar birth to stellar death, noting various classifications and visual distinctions. However, toward the end the observing run, Joe and I did give Chris a taste of deep sky observing, including the faint and mostly featureless galaxies surrounding Alpha Pegasi. For example, the galaxy group NGC 68 through NGC 74. Highlights of the evening were not limited to the sky, however. A small rattlesnake decided to camp near Jon Christensen's scope and when confronted by a stick, sheltered itself underneath Jon's truck. After considerable prodding, we managed to push the snake out of cover, but it had no intention of leaving the area. With two branches, one pronged at the end, I managed to hook the rattler and carry it some distance from the group. Fortunately, I had seen a few episodes of the Crocodile Hunter and felt educated enough to handle these dwellers without dropping a boulder on its head. Afterall, he has as much right to be there as us. But as if that wasn't enough excitement, leaving Vekol shortly after the 0200 hour, a border patrol vehicle steered into the right lane and forced me to stop--only a few feet before colliding head-on. "Most border crossers in vehicles just zoom right past us," the border officer appealed. Great, I thought, just put my life on the line. After a series of questions and notations of concern about camping at night in this area, we continued on our way only to get pulled over again just after engaging the I-8. "Border patrol?" I asked. Disgustedly, he shined a flashlight on his Sheriff badge. Oops. "Why were you on Freeman Road?" I explained about the star party and casually motioned to the telescope in back. After a second or two or examination, "The reason why I pulled you over is because we have a problem with drug trafficking in this area. I saw you enter the highway from Freeman Road and your vehicle is dusty, leading me to investigate." He proceeded to ask if anyone else was out there, and if we had seen other vehicles drive by. "Aside for the two border patrol vehicles and another Sheriff SUV on Freeman Road, no." The Sheriff seemed surprised there were other patrols out there, and like the other stop, cautioned us about the area at night before letting us go. This is not the first time I or others have dealt with either the border patrol or the sheriff's office leaving Vekol, especially in the last year or so. Although I do not have a problem observing from that location, maybe it would be best to select an alternate EVAC deep sky site. Still... a good time nevertheless, except perhaps by the snake. -FRANK -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list.