Archive for the ‘Pieces of my Mind’ Category

New Camp

Monday, January 18th, 2016
Trail ride to Seeping Springs petroglyph site.

Trail ride to Seeping Springs petroglyph site.


I have been giving my blog address to a few fellow travelers I meet along the way and I have mixed feelings about it. As you know, I make a lot of mechanical errors in my writing. It’s one thing to share my blog with family that overlooks my bad grammar but quite another to subject myself to the scrutiny of strangers. Bad grammar and misspelled words can be as distracting as trying to concentrate on someone talking to you while sporting a missing, front tooth. It may be a silly segue, but I am also sporting a missing, front tooth.

About 30 years ago I chipped a front tooth and had it repaired with a filling. Crowns weren’t as common as they are today, and even if I was given the option, I probably wouldn’t have spent the money anyway. Over the last few weeks I noticed the filling was getting loose, and just yesterday, while eating a taco chip, the filling fell out leaving a cavernous hole in my mouth. Time to get to Los Algodones.

I’m now on the Ogilby Road, 10 miles west of Yuma. The RTR in Quartzsite came to an end today and people are moving to several different locations in the southwest. There is a group going to Ehrenburg with Bob, another group is headed to Slab City, and I found out a few are caravaning down into Mexico. Others like me are dispersed around Yuma with plans to go into Algodones.

It was a good experience being at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. I met a lot of nice people that are mostly financially challenged. Sometimes life happens and people get left at the bottom. Whatever the reason, most of us don’t want to be a burden to society or our families and look for some way to be independent. Most of them say when it comes to a choice of throwing themselves into the welfare system or living in a van, the van makes more sense. And I really think they are for the most part happy living this way. They like to say that they are not homeless, just houseless.

The mobs of humanity that descend on Q this time of year are shocking. I rode to town a few times, fighting the crowds at the vender booths, checking out if there was anything I needed or wanted, and finally wandering through the big tent the last day I was there. Most of the booths in the big tent are selling things like appliances, jewelry, magnetic devices to relieve pain, and other objects you would buy if you had a Class A motorhome or house somewhere. There are a lot of campground people along with Amazon recruiters looking for workers, too.

I will be here for a while. I hope to pick up my meds and take care of a badly neglected mouth. That is as far as I’ve thought ahead. One guy at the RTR found out I was hoping to travel to Alaska this year and wanted to do some planning with me. I told him that I am the wrong person to ask where I will be, when I am going, what will I see, and how long I will be anyplace. I had a plan once and I didn’t like it.

I met a young lady at the last seminar of the RTR that has quite an impressive list of accomplishments. She is writing a book about the subculture of van dwellers. You should look at her biography and read the article she wrote for Harpers Magazine. Here are the links:

The End of Retirement

The Child in Me

Friday, August 7th, 2015
How many do I need?

How many do I need?

Here’s my dilemma: When it’s rainy or cold I spend more time inside watching tv, and that means I use more electricity than my solar can recover. I can run the generator to charge but it’s not free like the sun, so I decided to construct a way to use my small tv when I want to conserve batteries , and make it portable so that I can take it out of the way when I have lots of juice. I could set it on the table but I don’t like to turn my head.

Yesterday I rode into Vernal to check that the post office would accept some mail for me. I gathered a couple more items while in town and then headed back up the mountain to my camp. The road out of town has a 60 mph limit and I was going 65. Some idiot behind me had to go faster than that and passed me in an unsafe manner. Once he reached the curves up the mountain I caught up and stayed right on his ass until he finally pulled off and let me go by. I know I was being childish, and excuse my language, but I can’t help it.

No Cell Phones Please

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

2015-06-12 13.37.43

When you travel alone and camp on an obscure back road in a National Forest, you really are on your own. A few miles south of Jacob Lake, AZ, on the road to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I pulled onto forest road 217 in the Kaibab National Forest and drove about three miles until I came to a nice campsite. Since I’ve been here, no other cars have come by.

This is one of those forests where there is no cell service. I don’t really care that I will miss the information highway for a few days, but one thing I do think about is the safety of contacting someone in an emergency. At my age, one of my organs could sputter in the night and I would have to get myself out to civilization somehow. It is a nice feeling to know that you can call for help if you need it.

On a brighter note, this camp is at 8000 feet, so I won’t have to worry about being too hot. I had some rain last night in Page and sprinkles on the way here. I passed by the Vermilion Cliffs but they were shrouded in haze so they didn’t show off their full colors.

I have been thinking of a new hobby to play with. At the last camp I was at, my neighbor was playing a guitar and it made me think I should have one. I often pondered a guitar when I had my van but didn’t have room to carry it. Another toy I’m considering is a metal detector. What do you think? Any other toys or hobbies I would like? I don’t want to be like the guy that used all his spare time wasting time!


Monday, June 1st, 2015
Waffles hold more syrup!

Waffles hold more syrup!

Sometimes you have to make compromises. I love maple syrup and buy it whenever I can get one of my relatives to take me to Cosco. That didn’t happen the last time I was in town so I had to resort to imitation syrup. Even at Cosco the pure stuff is still expensive but way more reasonable than most supermarkets. I have been carrying this syrup for a couple months now and opened it just this morning. I feel good that I’m using it because I hate to carry around anything I don’t use.

I’m leaving tomorrow for a trip to Northern AZ. I may spend a night or two in Petrified Forest NP and Canyon de Chelly NM, and then probably mosey over to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. My apologies to everyone that I wont be at the party this weekend; it is just too hot in the Valley of the Sun for Minnie and me. It has even hit 80 here the last two days


Friday, April 24th, 2015

2015-04-24 15.53.23

How is it possible to accumulate this much garbage in only a few short days? It seems like every time I prepare and eat a meal, there are left over wrappers and empty containers scattered high and low on every reachable surface. I don’t think I’ve been eating an inordinate amount of prepackaged snacks and junk food, but I am forever tying up shopping bags filled with trash and stuffing them into an unused corner. Until today, that unused corner has been the forgotten realm of my shower.

I thought about all this when I wanted to take a shower this morning and had to remove all the debris from the stall. To be fair, a lot of the garbage stems from using paper products for eating and cleaning. Water seems to be the most precious commodity when boondocking here in the desert and conservation is the key to making it last.

Along with really quick showers and rapid flushes, I have some tricks that may help other new, desert boondockers conserve water: It is not absolutely necessary to wash your hands even if they become sticky or discolored. When washing dishes the term “good enough” is an expression to keep in mind. And you would be surprised how clean a spoon can be just from licking it. I learned most of these tricks from the Appalachian Trail.

2015-04-24 15.53.14

Tonight seems like a good night to burn a lot of the trash. Today was cold and rainy and the winds mostly light so I won’t have to worry about sparks getting out into the desert. It has been too wet, cool and windy to go anyplace, so I have stayed home and occupied my time with more domestic pursuits. There is always some little project that I think up to make things better, even rearranging storage, adding some little do-dad that I thought up, or just cleaning can pass the time with a satisfied mind.