Thursday, July 13, 2017

some medical tweaks and air pistols



This is where I’m presently set up. Going through quite a bit of sugar for the little fighters. There were no tracks when I first got here, but the truck tires are making marks. Bummer. Not going to be one of my leave-no-trace spots. That’s an important aspect of hard-wall camping.

Parking across a slight slope was the only option. So, as I’ve done other times, I dug out two holes on the uphill side for the wheels to drop into and rolled the downhill wheels up onto three blocks to get the rig near level. Just another aspect of hard-wall camping.
As you can see, there are some nice Ponderosa down the hill, but I can’t get the Nash down there, so it’s out in the sun all day. I really prefer shade in the summer. I was not up for driving north and scoping out a couple new spots up at elevation to hard-wall camp for the summer. But I needed a base to recoup and this is working out well.

I’m definitely getting back into exercise. I might even nail Diana’s Sixty Minutes for Sixty years challenge that I wrote about on the June 2011 page. With all the tasks and whatnot I’ve been catching up on, it is a real treat when I can sit down and do some reading.
M&M like being outside again, but they stick pretty close. Maybe they scent the bobcats, lynx, and coyotes in the area. The only time they go out from the camping spot is on our evening walks.


I had an appointment with a hematologist/oncologist. The colon surgeon had some concerns with the tumor. It broke through two of the three layers of the colon. Through the third layer would have given the cancer access to the lymph nodes. The tumor was also kinda funky, in a sickly way. So I will be starting on a chemo-pill procedure. A number of pills a day for two weeks and then one week off. I’m hoping I can cope with the side effects. We’ll see. Since it is a three-week program, it will work well with my 3-week town runs. I need to pick up the next batch of meds at each visit.
I’m looking forward to seeing my lab results to see if I’m still anemic (the tumor might have been bleeding).

I also saw an ophthalmologists and will be having my cataracts cut out next month. I thought cataracts were a layer over the lens; I didn’t know it was a condition in the lens. Having my eyes’ lenses cut out and replaced with artificial lenses (intraocular lens) is somewhat unsettling. At least the surgeon does it on two separate days. Since I have no one to drive me, I’ll have to get a motel room down in Alamogordo for each day of the surgeries and hire a ride. Bummer. Oh well, at least I will get the hot, foam baths that I missed this past winter.

I forget if I came across this while reading or listening to public radio. It’s strange. There is a good-rated merlot, from Chile, that sells for only $6-7. The wine is only sold through Walmart. That just does not seem right. Anyway, I think the wine is Casillero del Diablo, Reserva. Produced and bottled in Chili by Vina Concha Y Toro. I like it.
I like this too. On the label, “More than 100 years ago, Con Melchor de Conch y Toro reserved for himself an exclusive batch of his best wines. To keep strangers away from his private reserves, he spread the rumor that the Devil lived in that place. Hence the name: Casillero del Diable. The Devils Cellar.”

I enjoy shooting handguns, but since I got into this lifestyle, not so much. I like the challenge, but not the noise. When I’m out off-the-grid and someone starts shooting, even though it is generally off in the distance, it puts a damper on the natural sounds. So, a few years ago, I pretty much stopped shooting firearms. I did not want to trash another hard-wall camper’s out-in-nature experience.

I still enjoy the challenge to shoot well, however. Back in the ‘60s, I had a Benjamin multi-pump air rifle; I think it was the Sheridan. I was totally impressed with the power and accuracy. Now I shoot a pellet air pistol.


I’ve had this Tempest since the ‘80s. It is a barrel-break, spring-piston pistol that shoots .177 caliber pellets at 400 fps. The Webley company was based in Birmingham, England and supplied the British Empire with handguns for decades, prior to and through World Wars I and II. The passing of the Firearms Act in the UK put a damper on sales to civilians. Webley then started to produce pneumatic guns. They offered a number of pellet pistols over the years, the Tempest, being one.
There are a few youtube videos on the Webley Tempest.


This past winter I purchased this Avanti 747 single-stroke, side-lever pneumatic pistol. It shoots .177 pellets at 360 fps. I swear, when outdoors, the pellet striking the small paper plates I use for targets makes more noise than the pistol firing.

“The spring-pistol air gun is powered by the compression of a mainspring when the gun is manually cocked. The compression spring is released when the trigger is pulled, driving the piston forward, thus building up air pressure that pushes the pellet out of the barrel. Spring-pistol guns are of three types: Break-barrel, Underlever and Sidelever. BB guns are also in this category.”

I like the standard FAS 6004 Match Pellet Pistol but I did not want to spend $500 on an air pistol. There are articles on this pistol on the web and videos on youtube. It’s an all-metal pistol made in Italy by Chiappa.


10 meter (11 yards) air pistol competition is an Olympic event. Competition grade pistols start around $1500. The bull is 5mm (approx. 3/16”).

Like I said, I enjoy the challenge of shooting well. When shooting an air pistol, the range is only 25-30 feet or so. If there is no one around, one can set up a target at the edge of one’s camping spot or go off on a walk, plinking at pinecones and whatnot. Air pistols are so quiet, one can shoot them in an apartment. Just don’t shoot into an unpadded metal pellet trap if you want to keep things quiet.
In the Nash, I use an empty 5-liter wine box stuffed with cardboard.

I just plink and target shoot. I don’t need the power of a multi-pump action, nor did I want the ongoing expense of a CO2 powered model. A single-stroke action is all I need. Keep it simple.
If I were to choose between the Avanti and the Webley, I would choose the Avanti. It takes a second longer to load, like so what, but I find it easier to shoot and a tad more accurate. But either one is a good choice for the price range.

Shooting an air pistol is a form of simple, fun, challenging, inexpensive entertainment, like darts. Airguns are also good for those who shoot firearms and want to keep up their shooting skills without having to pack up their guns and gear, and drive to a spot to shoot. They are also a good way for someone who wants to become familiar with a handgun and shooting but does not want to go to the expense of purchasing a good handgun without first getting a taste of it. But then again, different strokes.

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you;
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
James Lane Allen


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Thursday, June 22, 2017

back in the woods



They recently released a huge amount of water from the Glen Canyon Dam. This is a shot from standing a few miles downriver of the initial wave.
Oh wait, no, maybe the photo is from Tó Mané Porto, Portugal. The coast is known for its huge waves. Awesome.

This time of year I’m generally north, in a forest, and up around 8-9,000’. Change of plans this year. The medical problems went on for TEN! months. I wasn’t up for much driving. I’m presently up in the Sacramento Mountains in NM and might stay through the summer, focusing on getting back into shape. I am much weaker than when I left Moab.

It’s pretty quiet here but at only 7100’, it’s hot. I leave all the windows and roof vents fully open at night and inside morning temps, during the first week, were 49-51 degrees, but lately, in the lower 60s, not good. By mid-afternoon, the inside temps are in the lower 90s. There is no shade for the Nash and I use as many of the techniques I wrote about on the June 2014 page, ‘stay cool, online drawback, back to the life, and spruce, pine, or fir,’ as I can.

One advantage of not being under trees, is the stellar SiriusXM reception. Been listening to the Coffee House station in the mornings and Classic Radio, when I get the chance. I couldn’t use the Sirius radio in Green Valley with all the interference from local radio stations; so this is a treat.

Town runs take at least an hour and a quarter just to get to town. Oh well, pros and cons.

I never liked the look of A-frame cabins and they seem to have too much wasted space. So I’m surprised that I liked Arched Cabins (archedcabins.com) the first time I saw one. Similar, but more pleasing to my eyes. Cute, colorful, practical, and inexpensive. Maybe I’ll get serious about buying some land.
I stopped in at the county office here to see about land taken back for back taxes. In this county, the land is only sold at a yearly auction. Missed it by two weeks. Guano.

Meadow, Mesa and I love being back to hard-wall camping. It was a long time coming this year. The first evening, I called out, ‘Wanna go for a walk?’ Both came in from wherever they were and started following me. It’s as if we have been taking walks all along, and not since last July.


This is the view out the back window (west-south-west).


One morning I heard another animal sound I was not familiar with. I looked out the window, and after a while, I saw Mesa come into view, followed by a wild turkey. Mesa was not quite slinking, but he was not walking as tall as he usually does, and occasionally looked back. I’ve heard and seen plenty of wild turkeys while hard-wall camping, but this was a new sound to me. I figured there were little ones around and sure enough, a couple days later, the whole family came walking by. Wild turkeys are extremely hard to get close to, even hindered by their little ones. By the time I grabbed my camera and got outside, they were nowhere to be seen. I don’t always manage to get photos of the wildlife I see, but just seeing, gives me a smile and a memory.

Back in the state of New Mexico, where idiots are not allowed to vote.
According to the Constitution of the state of New Mexico, adopted January 21, 1911, Article VII. Elective Franchise. Section 1, reads: “[Qualifications of voters; absentee voting; school elections; registration.] Every citizen of the United States, who is over the age of twenty-one years, and has resided in New Mexico twelve months, in the county ninety days, and in the precinct in which he offers to vote thirty days, next preceding the election, except idiots, insane persons and persons convicted of a felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, shall be qualified to vote at all elections for public officers. The legislature may enact laws providing for absentee voting by qualified electors. All school elections shall be held at different times from other elections.”
I wonder how many votes Trump got from NM?

The word, ‘twain’ means two. Where the Mississippi River measured two fathoms (12’) in depth, steamship workers, using a lead-line, would call out, ‘Mark twain.’ You get this? Hence the pen name for Samuel Clemens, who, for a time, worked on riverboats.


I was so tired, the week after my colon surgery. Lynn took this photo of me napping in her Arizona room with Meadow keeping watch over me. As you can see, I’m way down in weight.

If you really want to do something,
you’ll find a way.
If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
Jim Rohn


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

tumbleweed and a success



Russian thistle found its way to this country, and many others, from the steppes east of the Ural Mountains. Tumbleweeds are a classic sight out west. But they are not something you want on your property.
Every winter the plants die and the stems become brittle. At some point, a stiff wind will break the stem and the plant will begin to roll, and roll, and roll; scattering thousands of seeds. Not good. Tumbleweed can be a big problem, piling up against fences, houses, whatever, clogging arroyos, and becoming a fire hazard (they are bone dry and filled with air pockets). Pretty much a worthless, no good plant. Easily spread and most difficult to kill.
The Department of Agriculture in Washington first became aware of a strange plant in 1880. There were reports coming in from farms in South Dakota. There are accounts from some areas, in the late 1890’s that many farmers were driven from their homes on account of the weed. In only 20 years, Russian thistle covered an area of roughly 35,000 square miles.
Presently, it’s in every state except for Alaska and Florida; it’s even been found in Hawaii. And from Russia, it has spread throughout dry areas of Europe and Asia. Australia, Canada, Argentina, South Africa are all infected with the weed.

For years, scientists from around the world have been working on a fix. They have been experimenting with pests, mites, weevils, moths, and fungi that prey on the weeds. Sounds like a possibility, but I seem to recall stories of a fix, turning into a problem.

Tumbleweed is like a roadrunner, a southwest classic. If only we did not have to live with it.

After my surgeon saw the CT results, she called me and left a voice mail letting me know the results. She said there was no sign of metastatic disease. When I listened to the voice mail and didn’t know what metastatic disease was, I called Lynn and she looked it up on the web. Pinball started reading a paragraph about it and when she was done, I told her about the surgeon’s message. Oh man, did I get an earful for not letting her know up front that I did not have it. Topped off with being called a name which I hadn’t heard her use before. Oops. I wasn’t thinking, only focusing the meaning of the term. Not having a thought what Pinball might be thinking as she read the description (it went on and on, and all bad). This is what’s called a mistake.
But we sure had a good laugh about it afterwards. Lynn was SO relieved that I did not have the cancer spreading. As I later learned, and could have guessed, she shared the story with a number of her friends.

On the 24th, I had a 5-hour surgery to take out the ‘very large bulky mass.’ Having read my medical records, my surgeon sure seemed to warrant her fee. I hope that was my last bout with cancer, twice is enough. The 14 staples will be taken out tomorrow (June 6 [I pre-dated this upload]). The first week or so sure was painful, even with wearing the support wrap. I’m am SO past ready for this run of medical problems to be over.

Decades ago, many kids were into a Kool-Aid type drink mix that made carbonated beverages (soda water powder). One night back in 1905, an eleven-year-old Frank Epperson accidently left his drink outside and it froze. The next morning, he tried licking it (why!?) and thought it tasted great. He sat on the idea for awhile and in 1923, he decided on a shape for the frozen drink and went with a stick coming out of the bottom. He told his family that he was going to patent the idea and call it, Epsicles (Epp’s icicles). His kids nixed the name; they didn’t call their dad Epp, hence, Popsicles. I love little stories like this.

‘Be curious about everything,
because curiosity generates questions.’
R.S. Karachi


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Friday, April 28, 2017

once more, into the breech


I was surprised and pleased that I could hook up the WDH when I left Moab. I was concerned about being able to crank up the A-frame. Then being able to crank up the added weight to prepare for prying on the torsion bars. And finally, being able to pry on the bars. It all worked out well. No way, was I capable of doing this back in December.
The next time I went to hitch up was more difficult. I left the pry bar on the bumper of the Ram when I pulled out of Moab. It was the factory one with curves forged in, to ease the procedure. Guano. I picked up a pry bar at Home Depot but I have to kick the torsion bars in when they are pried up high enough. Not the best time to be standing on one foot. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes.

I listened to an audio book on the drive south, ‘Blue Labyrinth’ by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Really good story. What a great way to get through a long drive. Couples could play an audio book through the car’s radio (if they could agree on a book). My podcasts continue to back up.

I am getting SO much use out of my iPod touch. If I had cell access year round, I would have an iPhone. The iPod gives me everything except the phone, with no monthly charges. With the OverDrive app, I’m getting most of my ebooks through the library, rather than free-ebook sites. Much better quality of reading material. Remember, I don’t live with a TV.

I had planned to spend a month in the Green Valley area of Arizona visiting with Pinball. Like old times, we went out after some geocaches. I got to meet her new cat and dog. Her cat, Mellow, is definitely mellow. We went out to eat a few times and I had the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve had in a restaurant (mine are the best). It was at the Cow Palace (can you believe I went into a place with such a name?) in Amado. Didn’t even have grilled cheese on the menu but the cook put what I wanted on one. I was most thankful.


Lynn was volunteering at The Animal League of Green Valley, and adopted her cat and dog from there. I was impressed with the cat enclosures. Each one had an indoor and an outdoor area with plenty of comfortable areas for the felines to snooze. And right behind there, is the Two Girls Pizzeria, where I had the best pizza I’ve ever tasted.

Bear with me here; I’m getting to the title. Remember the monthly pages titled, ‘not quite enough’ and ‘now, maybe it has been enough’? There was the necrotizing fasciitis and its three surgeries, the skin graft, pneumonia, and anemia. When I got to Green Valley, I went to a clinic to see about getting my last two iron IVs and maybe see a hematologist/oncologist since my counts are still below the norm. The clinic sent me to a lab for some blood work, and the results showed my thyroid is not up to snuff. So now I’m taking a thyroid med. Bummer. They also had me read off from an eye chart. That did not go well so they want me to see an ophthalmologist. Maybe it’s time to have my cataracts taken care of.

The nurse practitioner was concerned that at 67, I’ve never had a colonoscopy, so she set me up for one of those. As most of you probably know, the day-before prep is the pits. Lynn drove me up to Tucson for the upper endoscopy and the colonoscopy. Afterwards, while I’m still in bed, a nurse comes in and places a box of tissues on the bed. I’m thinkin’ this might not be good. The doctor then comes in with Lynn, who sits on the bed and takes hold of my hand. Uh-oh. The doctor found a large tumor, later found to be cancerous. We’re waiting for a surgery date. So it looks like once more, it’s into-the-breech. Guano.
Thankfully I have Lynn here to help me through this. It seems I’m taking more from my friends lately, than giving.

I’ve always thought I’ve been leading a healthy lifestyle (well, other than relationships). I’ve been a vegetarian for 46 years, no fish or any form of flesh, and I’ve always exercised with weights or bodyweight, hiked, mountain biked, and ran in the mountains and track skied and snow shoed in the winter. I’ve competed in various running races and was competitive in my age group. Never smoked but do drink wine and craft beers. But it comes down to genes. No matter how well one takes care of himself, if one’s genes are on the faulty side, it pretty much doesn’t matter.

Hopefully, in another month or so, I’ll be back in the mountains. Mesa and Meadow are missing them as much as I am. I want to check out some things in the NM Sacramento Mtns. The elevation is only 7,100’ so it might not be cool enough in the summer. We’ll see. If that does not work out, I don’t have any idea where I will spend the summer. I sure don’t want to do a lot of driving this year.

Most people pretty much stay within one chamber of their being.
If I never try anything, I never learn anything.
If I never take a risk, I stay where I am.
forgot where I came across this


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Saturday, March 18, 2017

now, maybe it has been enough



There is a trail up to the lower ridge just above the talus and one then looks down into Hidden Valley. The trail continues up, just to the left of the highest point. A week ago, Glen and some hiking buddies continued on across the valley and climbed up to the top ridge. He’s 70! And they kept going over the top to extend the hike. Unreal.


It took nearly two months, but I finally developed enough stamina to hike to Mill Creek from where the Nash is set up near Old City Park. It was a bear, however, to hike back up from down along the creek. Sure was glad to see the progress, though.


Last week I had gotten strong enough, sort of, to hike upstream to a set of stairs that took me back to the top. This is the lower set of stairs.


At the top of the lower stairs, there’s another set of stairs that take you the rest of the way. Now the stairs are the bear. A 1:45 hour hike that is presently my max.


Then of course, being in Moab, it is hard to go for a hike and not come across rock art.

It didn’t take all that long to work 4 months of processed food out of my system. Sure started to feel better. Good grief, many eat like that all the time!

I knew this past winter must have been bad. It was the first winter that I could not get into the winter solstice, my favorite day of the year. Sure hope it never happens again because it’ll no doubt be another bad winter. And I’m not talkin’ about the weather.

I’m hoping that all my medical problems are over. It’s been 8 months, enough already.

I came across a book on the web, We Have Lost the Pelicans by Paul Mathews. There was a line that went along with it, summing it up.
“London, 2044, Britain has a new president – a celeb with little brains, giant ego and no idea about politics. What could possibly go wrong?”
Hmm.

It’s lookin’ good for me pulling out the last week of March and heading south. I stopped to think and realized there is no way I can rack up hundreds of miles on interstates just sitting there and looking out the window. It’s not me. I’m going to stay on rt. 191 as I head out of Moab and then at Alpine, AZ, cut east over to NM on rt. 180 and down to Silver City. I have to take care of some things in Silver, then in Deming, and finally in Sierra Vista, AZ by April 1. It is going to be a hectic week. Hopefully, by the end of April, I’ll get back to some normalcy. I’m wishin’ and hopin’.

This is an awesome site:
The Shelter Blog

‘Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.’
~ Spanish Proverb


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

kindle and almost time to head south



Since I didn’t do too well with traveling on my own last year, I think I’ll spend this year traveling with The Doctor.
Oh wait, no, I came across this call box in the Moab library. Definitely brought a smile to my face since I’m a fan.

Okay, this is only for those who have a Kindle. Two things. First, you are probably familiar with all the sites on the web for free ebooks formatted to Kindle. If you have not already checked it out, look at the free ebooks offered on Amazon.
Amazon > Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Best Sellers > Top 100 Free
The free ebooks are not best sellers but I always manage to find a few to download. I don’t check out the site much, but there always seems to be a new list when I do. Don’t be put off by all the type books you would never read (can you guess?), there are other genres scattered among them.

This second thing is just strange, well at least to me. My Kindle has been acting up the last few months, slowing down and freezing. Restarting always takes care of the problem for a while. I’ve read close to 400 ebooks on it (some I only read the first and last 20 pages if I’m not getting into the book). I currently have over 200 ebooks on the Kindle. Since I use it everyday and a Paperwhite is so inexpensive, I ordered a new one in case my present one dies while out off-the-grid. Okay, this is the strange part. Here in Moab I’m using the OverDrive app (stellar app) on my little iPod to borrow ebooks from the Grant County library. These get scooted onto the Kindle for reading (through the Amazon site). Well, until one day. I had ordered the new Kindle on Amazon that morning. Later that day, I borrowed an ebook through OverDrive but it never got to my Kindle. Strange. Then I noticed the default setting for the ‘Destination’ for ebooks on Amazon had converted to ‘Sebastian’s 2nd Kindle.’ What!? The new Kindle was still sitting there in the Amazon warehouse! There had not even been time to package it for shipping. I had to sign onto Amazon > Manage Your Content and Devices, and change the default destination back to my original Kindle. I just found that pretty strange. I did finally manage to get the borrowed book to my 1st Kindle so I could read it. Unreal.

Before getting down to Moab, I didn’t know about the OverDrive app. A friend told me about it, had me download it to my iPod, and showed me how to use it. It blew me away. So I’ve been reading books from some of my favorite authors lately, Lincoln Child, Douglas Preston, Lee Child, David Baldacci, James Patterson, Wilbur Smith, Dean Koontz, Tess Gerritsen, JD Robb, and Tami Hoag. As you know, I don’t live with a TV, so this deal could not be better. Thanks Theresa!

I save paperbacks I’ve read over the year and exchange them at some places I know of in NM each winter. Kind of missed that this winter. But I lucked out at the senior center in Moab. I was able to exchange my large tote of books there. Not bad.


This is the view from my back window while on Glen’s property in Moab. I can’t conceive of how I could have gotten through the last few months if Glen and Lisa had not let me stay here. I had to get to a hospital three times a week for wound care, twice a week for PT, and then there was the pneumonia. Lisa and Glen, thank you SO much.

Looks like I will be heading south next month. Remember I thought I would be doing it back in December? Clueless. I have something to take care of in NM by the end of March and another in Arizona by April 1. Nothin’ fun and I’m certainly not looking forward to the days of driving. All my Wait, Wait podcasts I have not listened to yet will get my through. I won’t have the time to take a back route so I will be racking up miles on an Interstate. I’m gonna hate it. By the end of April I might be back to the style of life I enjoy. We’ll see.

Start by starting.
Meryl Streep


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

not quite enough


This is not my rig.


I met Victoria in early 2013. Back on the February 2014 page, I wrote about her and her one-eye dog, Henry. At one point, Victoria had to put him down and after a couple years, got another pet. It’s healthy to have a pet if living alone. Last year a fire totaled her Dolphin.


Her sister raised enough money online so Victoria could replace her rig. What a lifesaver.
Whenever I saw Victoria’s Dolphin, she was never at a hookup, not ever for a month or two in the winter. She’s tough.

I thought I’ve had enough medical problems since all this started back on July 31. Apparently not. I went in to see a NP I’ve been working with since I got to Moab. I had an appointment to get a referral to a doctor to have some work done on my chest wound. I had been extremely tired for the previous four days, pretty much slept the whole time and had to cancel a couple appointments. I knew I was way dehydrated, but when my blood pressure came in at 80 over 60, it kind of blew me away. The nurse also did not like the sound of my breathing. I was rolled into the ER and admitted for respiratory distress. I was started on fluids and labs came back positive for pneumonia. Then some more rolling down the hall into the hospital. Wait, wait, been here, done this, didn’t particularly like it! There I found out I was quite anemic and have been for a long time. Now I have a weekly iron IV.
Moab Regional Hospital is a great little place; stellar nurses and CNAs. I loved staying there and did not want to leave.

The following week I had an appointment with the doctor to see about doing some work on the chest wound. I then found out my body is not producing red blood cells as well as it should be. I got flashes back to my bone marrow transplant. Anyway, now I’ll be seeing a hematologist. I wonder if there will still be national forests when I finally get through all this?

value kindness


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’