Monday, April 9, 2018

ode to joy, flat spots, 1954,
and back in Timberon

Back in 1950 (my birth year), Alfred Eisenstaedt, a Life magazine photographer, was covering the University of Michigan’s famous marching band. He noticed a drum major practicing his high steps over on a playing field, A small boy ran out after him and fell in step behind him. Other children then ran out and fell in line. Eisenstaedt ran after them and took this shot. This is one truly kick-butt joyous photo. Life’s director of photography called ‘Drum Major,’ an ‘ode to joy.’
I would guess that the director of photography enjoyed the fourth movement in Beethoven’s 9th.

I replaced the bland blinds in the Casita with Bali 1” aluminum light blocker ‘forest shadow’ blinds to add some color. In the Nash, I started with the galley blind. I’ll order two more later in the year.
Check out the two strips of painter’s tape that I put inside the light covers. The under-cabinet light shown too brightly into my eyes. The cabinet edge should have extended lower. The strip of painter tape works well at blocking the glare. Also, I found that I didn’t need all the available light so I removed the LED bulb from the light on the right.

Going up to Utah in February, put me back in the NMSPs in March as I headed south to Timberon. Not good—spring break. Heron Lake was fine, since there was snow on the ground and stayed cold, most nights I had the place to myself. I liked it.
On cold mornings, M&M either do not want to go out at 6:00 or only stay out for a half hour before wanting to come back in. The day I planned to leave however, Meadow stayed out. I then followed her around trying to snag her. No go. Stayed another day and she was not allowed out in the morning.

Two of the other parks I stayed at were pretty full and at one, I took the last primitive site. I was told all the electric sites at the other cg were taken. I stayed a couple days at Oliver Lee since I had an appointment to have the Nash’s electric brakes fixed.
If one does the NMSPs in the winters, it’s common to come across acquaintances in different parks. I like this aspect. I crossed paths again with the three ladies I first met at Oliver Lee. Always brought smiles. Also, I was really surprised to come across Ric and Linda again. I had thought they would have been back in Massachusetts by now. If their house sells this summer, I might see them in the fall. That would be cool.

The electric brakes have not been working for a while. After being billed $500, they still did not work. Pretty much just for labor, pulling off all four wheels to check the brakes but at least the hubs were lubed. The brakes on the Nash are no longer being made and parts are not available. At some point I will have them converted to the current wider brakes. Unfortunately, this will entail wider drums to the tune of $1,700 for parts and labor. Guano.

I knew about tires developing flat spots when parked for too long. I guess I kinda thought that after the tires have been driven on for awhile, the flat spots would smooth out or it would just be a rough ride. Yet another dumb assumption. If fact, they delaminate. If one looks across the tread, one can see a high spot; delamination forms a bubble a few inches long. So, three new tires. Bummer.

During the summer, I’ll hook up and pull the Nash forward a ways, back it up and park, making sure the tires will be positioned 90-180 degrees from where they were. Have not found anything on the web stating that this might be enough. It would be way too much trouble to take the Nash out on the road for a spin.

From time to time, I listen to an audio book while out walking. I was listening to Michael Palmer’s ‘Resistant,’ when I heard a term I’m quite familiar with. On the last page of chapter 4, three doctors are visiting with the head of the Antibiotic Resistance Unit at the CDC. Remember this is just a novel. One of the doctors said, “You’ve shown us a number of frightening bacteria, is there one species of bacteria that you are most terrified of contracting?” “That’s easy,” came the response. “Streptococcus Pyogenes, cause of the condition known as necrotizing fasciitis. To be eaten alive from the inside out. To go from one limb amputation to another. Would far and away be the worse death imaginable.”
Oh yeah, still got most of my arm!!! Life is good.

On one long hill on the road from Cloudcroft to Timberon, I had to put the Ram down into D1 for over a mile. Certainly did not have to do this last spring; then I stayed in Drive. I took the truck to a shop down in Alamogordo to have them do something about the lack of power. The mechanic could not find anything wrong. But there definitely is something wrong so I’ll be making an appointment with the Dodge dealer. Bummer.
After this, I would really like to have no more unexpected, substantial expenses for quite some time. Enough already.

Last summer when trying to get up the access road to my property, I had a bit of a setback. At one point I wanted to get whatever running start I could and backed up too far. Both back wheels of the Nash ended up hanging free over a slope. The truck could not pull the Nash forward. When I first walked back to look at the wheels, I was not all that hopeful. It certainly did not look good. Granted, I was extremely tired by then from working on the road and way past my last meal. But still. Luckily, after the wheels were supported and I dug out the slope in front of them, the Ram was able to go forward. So far, I think that was the dumbest thing I’ve done so far with the Nash.

I had a flash of a scene from the 1954 movie, ‘The Long Long Trailer,’ with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz playing newlyweds.

Well, I got back to Timberon last month. In one way, I was disappointed. Remember, one of the reasons I purchased this lot was because it was pretty much at the end of a dead end road. There was a berm across it and the last 150 yards or so was not graded. Now the road in front of my lot looks like this. For some reason, they graded the rest of the road over the winter. With what’s in this area, it does not seem to have any purpose. Guano.
Also, the furnace has not worked since I got here. The igniter doesn’t click. I hope I can find out how to fix it; maybe there is a youtube video.

Other than that, it felt really good to be back. The clear air is so refreshing after months down in the valleys.

A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.

Mind how you go.

Goals are only wishes unless you have a plan.
Melinda Gates

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, March 8, 2018

good emotions, lost jacks, fog fence,
and last time in Utah for awhile

With all the light-weight trailers out there now, I went back to the November 2006 page, “choosing a rig,” and added my thoughts on these rigs. Might have touched on issues that could be missed.

Noah Smith, PHD and economist, stated that economists who study happiness have begun to entertain the notion that perhaps what matters isn’t the degree to which people get what they want but how much they like what they get. Good emotions may be more important than satiation of desires. I like that.

I missed staying in the parks last winter, and this winter I was somewhat bummed with the increased numbers of RVers. But it jives with the increase in RV sales. Guano. The last few years I noticed the increase of women RVers. That, at least, is good. This winter I met five whom I enjoyed talking with. Sure beats talking with the scruffy, old fat guys that inhabit the parks.

At one spot where I exchanged some paperbacks, I looked through a stack of magazines that were up for grabs. There was one I was not familiar with, RVW, for women who love to RV ( Their mission statement reads: “Provide women RVers, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or financial status, a supportive network and the opportunity to enjoy the RVing lifestyle in a safe and knowledgeable manner.” The organization had been around for 25 years and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I am so out of touch.
The organization holds national and chapter events offering classes on safe driving practices and RV maintenance.
“Wherever you go, RVing Women connects you to members who are interested in RVing and who can offer information, suggest places to see and things to do, and provide assistance when needed.”
Might prove beneficial. No matter how much one researches prior to full-timing, the first year is quite a learning curve. A prime period for having a sense of humor.

I stopped at my 5x8 cargo trailer for my annual visit. I cleared out more things and took them over to the local thrift shop. Also, I had purchased a set of stacking jacks and put one under each corner of the cargo trailer. Why do I feel the jacks will not be there when I get back next year?

I went off into the Apache National Forest northeast of Luna, NM on the way up to Utah. Within minutes, Mesa was walking up that log.

“In the foggy, desolate hillsides outside Lima, Peru, water for drinking and irrigation is a luxury. The area’s 1.5 centimeters of annual rainfall barely helps, and buying water isn’t an option for residents of this poverty-stricken region. Surprisingly, a piece of mesh hang vertically between two poles is an idea that holds water, literally. Invented by the Meteorological Service of Canada, the so-called fog fences capture water droplets in fog, and they trickle into a collection trough and drain into buckets or tanks. During the nine foggiest months of the year, the community of Bellavista (pop. 200) can harvest 75 gallons of water every night using five large fog fences. ‘These fog nets have improved our quality of life’, says a resident. ‘We can grow vegetables for our families.’ Fog fences are also helping irrigate arid regions in other parts of South America and in Africa. Recently, researchers from the Netherlands and China developed an absorbent fabric that may help fog fences collect even more water.”

I love hearing about stuff like this. A simple, helpful idea—way to go.

It felt good to be up in Utah again and visiting with friends. Don’t think I’ll be coming back until I start going north for summers. That won’t be until I can find a mechanic who can fix my truck’s lose of power. It just doesn’t have what it used to. The truck had to be down in D2 for many of the miles up rt.191. Guano. It’s either that or buy a newer vehicle with more umph.

It was cold out in the high desert. No water, so I had to truck it back from Moab in the 5-gal buckets. And yes, I left room for expansion and had no problem. One day I took the water-tight lid off one and the water was skimmed over. I broke through and pulled the ice out. Pretty cool. Now I know how water starts to freeze in a bucket. Maybe it will be a trivia question. Anyway, I placed the ice on a rock that afternoon, and did not get around to taking a photo until the following afternoon. Like I said, it was cold. The Olympian Wave catalytic heater is priceless for this lifestyle. Still don’t use heat during the night.

The coldest inside temp so far was 34. Beat it here.

If you hear someone say, They just love the smell of books, don’t you want to pull them aside and ask, To be clear, do you know how reading works?

Mind how you go.

If you want one thing too much
it's likely to be a disappointment.
The healthy way
is to learn to like the everyday things.
I forget where I saw this.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, February 1, 2018

next time, windshield,
and pleasure in a good novel

A view out the back window.

I went back to the July 2006 page (Table of Contents) and added some of my favorite photos from this lifestyle. There are so many more. Might be worth a look.

When I had the Casita, Onyx stood up at the screen door twice, pulled down the handle and walked out. Not good, if we were in the winter state parks. Up in the mountains, off the grid, it’s generally okay.
Wish I thought of this, then. Recently I picked up a sash lock at Lowe’s and instead of using it on a window, I screwed it onto the screen doorframe with 1” sheet metal screws. Didn’t even have to use the other part. A good, quick screendoor lock.

If there is a next time for getting a flat on the Nash, I will try something else. The hydraulic jack needed to be put on a stack of wood since it did not have enough range of motion. Not the safest arrangement. Next time I’ll build a ramp with my wheel blocks for the other wheel on that side and drive the good tire up onto it. It should have the flat tire hanging just off the ground. A few years ago, I read about someone doing it successfully. We’ll see.

You might have come across these two sites. They are worth visiting. I watch a film clip from time to time.

The Shelter Blog
What is the Tiny House Movement

The title of this photo was called, ‘visit the farm.’ This boy has got to go into acting.

The inside of my windshield had a greasy film on it that Windex was not cleaning off, even after three cleanings. The film makes its appearance, over time, from the fumes of the petroleum-base plastic dash. Isopropyl alcohol on a microfiber towel eliminates the greasy film. Be sure to keep turning the towel over to a fresh section so one is not just smearing the film around. Then use your favorite window cleaner.
There is another good use for isopropyl alcohol and thankfully, I only had to use it twice this winter. One can go to the travel-size section in the Pharmacy area in a Walmart, and pick up a small spray bottle. Mix 2 parts alcohol with one part water and keep it in your car (it won’t freeze). If there is a frost on your windshield, spray it and wipe the slush off. Beats scraping or wasting gas and polluting the air.

It doesn’t take all that much to entertain me and I do so enjoy watching people having fun. Don’t know if you have similar tastes as me, but you might want to go to and type in ‘flash mob,’ Some of those staged, public, musical performances are a hoot.
As you know, once a year I place a number of orders on the web and have the packages sent to a friend in Moab. Each year I purchase at least two dance movie DVDs. ‘Step Up Revolution’ (possibly my favorite in the Step Up series), is about a group of dancers trying to stop a developer from tearing down their neighborhood. Anyway, what got me off on this tangent is they do a number of these public performances. The first one with cars is kinda unreal. And the one they perform in an art gallery is extremely well done (in my most humble opinion).

This winter in the NM state parks has been okay, not one of my best, but okay. Met some new interesting people, which I always enjoy, and remember, these are the months for my social-fix. One more week in the parks, then I start meandering up to Moab. Only five weeks with an electric hookup this winter. That’ll probably do it until December.

I recently read something from William Rawlins, PHD and a professor of communications. He found three expectations, from a good number of people, describing and valuing a close friend: somebody to talk to, someone to depend on, and someone to enjoy. I’ve heard and read of other values in regard to friends, but these are along my way of looking at friends, and I am so thankful that I’ve got some.

Yep, another mishmash page. But I do tend to throw one in from time to time.

Mind how you go.

“The person, be it a gentleman or a lady,
who has not pleasure in a good novel,
must be intolerably stupid.”
Jane Austen, novelist (I like this lady.)

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, January 4, 2018

NM wildflowers, not yet ashes,
slow dance, and heart and soul

I went through images on my Canon and found a useable one of the bobcat peaking out from behind the prickly pear, so you can go back to the November page to see it.

I downloaded the NM Wildflower app to my iPod. It’s a treat when I’m out hiking or while out walking Meadow and Mesa. The pace with these two gives me plenty of time to look up plants. I like free, useful free items.

This month I have a birthday, and as always, it is my most meaningful day of the year to give thanks for all that the previous year has brought me and for being able to cope with problems that came my way.
I plan to go back and read ‘here’s a little story.’ It feels so good to not yet be ashes in an urn.

I noticed this one day while at Bottomless Lakes NMSP. Guano. But it gave me an opportunity to use the 2-ton hydraulic jack I’ve been hauling around in case this happened. I tried plugging the hole but did not have the strength to even get the rasp into the hole.

Here’s another document from my ‘thoughts and notes’ folder.


Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day On the fly?
When you ask "How are you?"
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time to call and say "Hi"?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over

Not bad, worth a little reflecting.

Here is a view out the back window of a dusting of snow on the desert.

As some of you know, I like to listen to SiriusXM ‘The Coffee House’ (channel 14) as I drink my morning coffee and yerba mate. The week before the 25th, all the music was Christmas music. While searching for another channel to listen to, I came across channel 48, Heart & Soul, “R&B for today, and back in the day.” Sure filled the gap.

As soon as the nurse made me put on one of those gowns, I knew my end was in sight.

Mind how you go.

December sixty minutes for sixty years—2185 minutes
December Triple 18—pecs/delts/arms: 1880; core: 1910; legs: 4210

Whenever something seems to be against you,
remember that the airplane takes off against the wind,
not with it.
Henry Ford

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

liberty, not so much and can gas

The Statue of Liberty was a beacon of feminism right from the get-go. I mean, it is a big woman, out on an island. And as typical mankind would have it, women were banned from the statue’s dedication. If ‘humankind’ were the norm, stuff like this would not occur. On that day, the ladies chartered a boat and held their own ceremony out on the water. They loudly proclaimed the hypocrisy of men “erecting a Statue of Liberty embodied as a woman in a land where no woman has political liberty.”
One just has to admire all the women who fought so hard and for so long to get the rights they should have had right from the get-go. How can we still not give women equal rights, across the world, across the board? And men still do not understand why so many women think we’re idiots.

When I lived in Lake Placid, NY, some friends and I took a road trip to visit the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine. It is a classic trip for any New England or touring camper. Presently, just behind Acadia National Park, the flagship store is the next most popular visitor attraction in Maine. Unreal, it’s only a store. But an absolutely awesome store. The company was started by Leon Leonwood Bean in 1912 and it sold only one product, the Main Hunting Shoe, now known as the L.L. Bean Duck Boot. The boot has a rubber bottom and lightweight leather uppers. I had a similar pair of boots, Sorel. Duck boots are priceless for the mud and snow; wore mine out.
The store covers 220,000 square feet and there are two other stores nearby that showcase what doesn’t fit in the main store. I should make a trip back; there was only the one store when I visited. If in the area, a visit is a must. I wonder if college kids still prefer the middle-of-the-night visit. The store is open has been open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year since 1951.
In Lake Placid, there was an EMS store (Eastern Mountain Sports); another awesome store. Maybe the east’s equivalent to REI. EMS was the first true camping/outdoor gear store that I was ever in. It blew me away; I was all smiles. I later visited their store in Boston, and I was just as happy.

This guy’s wife does not play golf but one day she decided to ride in the cart while he shot a round. He teed off on a par 3 and breathlessly watched as the ball rolled into the hole. The guy was ecstatic—dancing around and whooping.
His wife, not so much. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

The wines I enjoy most come in bottles. I also get box wines on occasion, such as Black Box and one type of Bota Box. Last month I picked up a Box Wize just because I got a smile out of some of the text on the box.
Hand over the wine and nobody gets hurt. And
Don’t cry over spilled milk. It could have been wine.

I rarely use my Honda 1000 generator but there are times when it is needed. I start it up and let it run for half an hour every month or so to keep it healthy. The generator never crossed my mind last fall, so when I went to start it last summer, it was all gummed up. When I took it in for service, I was told about canned gas. Never heard of it. It does not have ethanol and whatnot of gas-pump gas and is made for long-term storage. It is more expensive but a quart will last me for months, maybe even a year, and it is what I will be using from now on.
Even with all the cutting I did last summer with the Stihl chainsaw, I used less that a gallon of mix. So after I had it serviced, all I will be using is 2-stroke 50:1 canned mix. Am I the last person to learn about canned gas?

This would have been a most memorable New Year.
At the stroke of midnight, on December 31, 1899, the SS Warrimoo was on the spot where the equator meets the International Date Line. Think about it. The forward half of the ship entered January 1, 1900, while the aft end remained in December 31, 1899. Simultaneously inhabiting two hemispheres on two days in two centuries. Guess that tops Four Corners.

Mind how you go.

November sixty minutes for sixty years—2185 minutes
November Triple 18—pecs/delts/arms: 1880; core: 1910; legs: 4210

When life pulls you under,
you can kick against the bottom,
break the surface and breathe again.

Yeah, guess I might have done this late summer and fall of 2016.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, November 30, 2017

21 miles, 38 degrees, 28%
and another bobcat

I was not sure if I had dug out the slope enough and extended a backup area to 3-point turn the Nash around so I could get in position to drive down the access road (I didn’t). I decided to hook up the Nash and turn it around a few days before I thought I would be pulling out, just in case there was a problem. There was. I spent a couple hours doing more digging and cutting down four small trees that I really wanted to keep. Guano. Sure glad I didn’t wait until moving day.

Meadow and Mesa seem to prefer this orientation. Generally, the view outside the back window looks into the distance. With it all in so close here, M&M spend much more time on the table looking out. One afternoon this doe came in close to the window. Pretty cool.

This little spot is a favorite place for both M&M to chill out.
Whenever I was going to do some work around the property, I made sure Meadow and Mesa were outside. They followed me around and got familiar with the land. When I’m with them, they seem to explore more freely.
We spent too much time in our last spot so M&M were real ready for new territory on our daily walks.

I think it was during the last week in October while still up in Timberon. One morning I got up and this was the inside temp. No big deal. The Wave 6 warmed things up quickly.

Just out of curiosity, I figured out what percentage of my social security is being spent on medical insurance. I pay for Medicare Part B, Cigna supplement insurance, and Humana for prescription drugs. They add up to 28% of my SS. I’m not grousing about it. All my medical expenses last year were paid. It would be nice, however, if it was a smaller percentage. And it sure would be if most people took responsibility for their health. Why should those of us that do, have to carry all those that don’t?

As I’ve said in the past, some months I’m scrambling for something to write about. The last few months have been different. Back in July, I pretty much had the August, September and October pages roughed out. I closed on the lot back on August 7. I just needed photos and added in various stuff that came up. I’m guessing my winter pages will be short. And I sure hope they are nothing like last year’s.

Just about every morning when I get up, Meadow and Mesa go over and stand by the door, wanting to go out. They don’t generally stay out for long. After they came back in one morning, Mesa went out into the window cage and Meadow was on my lap while I was reading. Mesa tensed up and went on point. Meadow noticed and got up to look out the back window to see what had Mesa’s interest. There was a young bobcat, not 25 feet away. It was stalking something. I went to get my Canon but it had gone behind a large clump of prickly pear so I could not get a whole-body photo. I could see its butt and the swishing distinct bobcat tail. I’ve never had a domestic cat who swished its tail as rapidly as this bobcat. I wonder if that is why they have a short tail. If they had a long tail, there’s no way prey would not notice.

During my 2-week stay at Oliver Lee this month, I racked up 21 miles along the Dog Canyon trail. Not my usual 50-60 miles but, as you can imagine, I’m still working on building back strength and stamina. I then left for a week and came back for a few days, and my pace was a bit better. I’m looking forward to what I’ll be able to do when I stay there again in January.
The first couple hikes, I only went to the 1-mile marker before turning around. Then a few days turning at the 1.5-mile marker. The last days, I managed to get to the 2-mile marker and what got me excited, was getting to the 2-mile marker in the same time that I was earlier only getting to the 1.5 mile marker. I was way more stoked with the increase in speed than I was with the increase in mileage. Definitely making progress.
On one hike, I came across a hiker who commented on my Transplant Survivor shirt. He mentioned he had quadruple bypass surgery. That’s totally awesome. I love hearing how someone gets through an ordeal, starts exercising, and gets back to physical activities. So many just throw in the towel to some extent. I made a point of telling this person how much I thought of all his hard work to get back into the outdoors. Sure wish I came across more people like this.

I had a nice surprise one day at Oliver Lee. I was in the Nash and someone knocked on the door. It was Rick and Linda from Massachusetts, who I’ve written about on previous pages. I think it has been three years since we crossed paths. I like these people. They drove cross country pulling their Nash and stopping at 7 Harvest Hosts ( sites along the way. It was great to see them again and to catch up a bit. One day they hiked all the way up Dog Canyon, a ten mile round trip. Way to go.
Linda started a new blog: Check it out.

The week I came back to Oliver Lee, I met Pickett. She has an informative site about her lifestyle, I thoroughly enjoyed our talks. I also met a lady from Maryland who was quite interesting and I wish her well. Hope to cross paths with these people again.

I hooked up and pulled out of Oliver Lee, only to turn around and set up the Nash again. Brake problems. Took the Dodge to a mechanic and had a bill of $2300 after all the problems were taken care of. Took six days. Missed my first week at Bottomless. Guano.

Mind how you go.

October sixty minutes for sixty years—2680 minutes
October Triple 18—pecs/delts/arms: 2400; core: 1845; legs: 1920

There is stellar satisfaction from physical exercise
and contact with the outdoors

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

timberon II

Another hummingbird flew into the Nash through the cage window. The birds tend to just fly side to side across the back window, making things easy. I open the screens of the two bottom corner windows, put my hands close together and slowly herd the bird down towards the open screen. No throwing a towel over it as I had to do in the past when a regular bird flew in.

In one of Janet’s emails, she wrote:
“My Dad always signed off, "wake up happy" which is what his mom said to him before bed. I have been working on doing just that, waking up with happy thoughts. I know how easy it is to get discouraged when our bodies aren't at their best. Good luck and health I wish for you.”
I’m also working on it. Thanks, Janet.

As you can see, the owners accepted my bid. I wouldn’t doubt if I could have gotten the lot for even less. Most lots are tough to sell, but I thought my bid was a fair offer considering what lots actually sell for here. This lot would not hold much interest to a perspective homeowner. But my interests aren’t exactly the norm.
This is the view looking east.

I purchased a mattock-pick, spade, heavy rake, pruning saw, 28” lopper, some 3/8” rope, two pairs of safety glasses (clear & sun), two pairs of leather gloves and a heavy tarp, that I knew would get trashed. I had already purchased a 16” Stihl chainsaw for thinning the trees on Janet’s lot and I had a bow saw.
I’ve had a pair of Fiskars scissors in a galley drawer for years. I don’t know how they are rated, but they sure have been cutting well all along. So when I went to purchase a pair of loppers and saw a pair by Fiskar, that’s what I went with and have been quite pleased.
Both the spade and heavy rake are made by Kobalt. My first tools from that company, but if needed, I’m sure I will be buying more tools from them.
The rope is used for dragging lengths of tree trunk and rocks to where they needed to go. On one end, instead of tying a Bowline (one of my most used knots), I made an Artilleryman’s loop (also known as a Manharness Knot or Harness Loop). Way back when, if mules needed assistance moving artillery, one or two soldiers would tie a rope to the gun’s carriage, and throw an artillery loop over his shoulder to provide extra pull. Since all that sounded pretty good to me, I went with the military history knot.
For tying the other end to the log or rock, I either used a Snuggle Hitch or a Timber Hitch.

This shot looks to the south.
I generally worked for two to three hours on two consecutive days. It felt so good to be outdoors doing physical labor. On the third day I would hike for a couple hours. Left me plenty of time for whatever else I chose to do and I did not have to take any naps. I don’t tend to need them if I stay active enough and drink enough water.
I could only work with the mattock for half an hour when I first started out; it was pretty taxing. Then it was cutting with the loppers, handsaws, or Stihl, raking, moving cut branches, dragging lengths of tree trunk, and loading the pickup with brush and branches to take to the slash dump. The work on an access road held a variety of tasks. So I had a range of work that needed to be done with some I could do when I was feeling strong to those I could still manage to do as my energy was just about used up. Pretty cool. My stamina sure did improve over the weeks.

Looking towards the northwest. The mattock was priceless for leveling out a flat spot for the Nash and working on the access road. The tool has been around since the Bronze Age. In front of the Nash I’m clearing an area so I can make a 3-point turn to get the Nash facing down the access road for when I pull out. Next summer when the rains start, I’ll plant grass seed on the dirt areas and wildflower seeds in other areas.

During the first two days of working on a spot for the Nash, I was thinking of hiring an acquaintance who has a small bulldozer. The third day with the mattock (only an hour total) I started thinking that I could probably do this. Thankfully I stuck with it and after a couple weeks, I had a flat spot for the Nash. What kept me stoked was how the exercise was improving my health.
I stopped at Batte Enterprises in Cloudcroft on the way back from a town run and had them dump a load of gravel in the back of the pickup. This was spread over the flat spot.
But when I pulled the Nash onto the pad, I realized there were a couple of problems. So after a week or so, I hooked up the Nash, backed it out, and spent a long day reworking the site. I know better now.

This lot had some things going for it. There are a few challenging hikes from here and I can walk to the Lincoln National Forest in less than 10 minutes. The acre is only 3.5 miles into Timberon and only 1.3 mile off Sacramento (not a whole lot of pavement in Timberon). With the end of the road closed off, no one is going to be driving past unless he is on an ATV. The terrain is varied, starting off with a hill, somewhat isolating and screening the flattish spot from the road, and of course, the flattish spot. With all the scrub oak, I can leave some for screening.

This is the first resident I met who shares the acre.
And there are turkeys around this lot too! I get such a simple pleasure with watching a family of turkeys. Life is good.

The Sacramento River is about a five-minute walk from my acre. This is the most water I’ve seen in it this summer but there is plenty of evidence that it overflows its banks from time to time.

We’ll see how it goes. Meadow and Mesa like the acre. There are patches of scrub oak for them to wander through and there are more climbable trees here for them, if threatened. All in all, not bad; I hope I made a good decision.

One morning after I let M&M out, the local wild turkey family came by again. They came in real close to the Nash to check out Meadow & Mesa who were under the trailer. I wonder why wildlife find domestic cats fascinating. I know why the White Mtn. bobcat was interested in them, but wild turkeys, fawns, young elk?

A few weeks after I purchased the lot, I went down to the water department to see about getting some road work done (yes, that’s how things work in Timberon) along the road leading to my lot. I did not have a road number so the lady looked it up. I got a chuckle. My birthday in 1/27 and the road number for my lot is 127. Destiny?

I went back and made some changes on the September entry. I was wrong about the amount of snow they get here, so I updated the info. I also put some text in about the south gate road. And I added a sentence about Timberon being a forested landscape with only one good road out during a wildfire and question if such a place is a good location for a house.

Okay, what if one is interested in purchasing a house or lot in Timberon. First off, roll into the Circle Cross RV Park, on the right just before Timberon. Pay the weekly rate for a site and set up your rig ($132/week and $350/month). Generally there were not all that many RVs there the times I drove by. For an RV park, I like it. It’s open but has numerous tall trees; simple, without the frills of most RV parks.

Second, drive into Timberon and stop at Roberts Realty, on the left, just past the general store, next to the post office.
Two things here, sit down with a realtor, even if you are not set on purchasing property. Ruby and Don Roberts own the business. I delt with Michelle and had all my questions answered and she pointed out some things I wasn’t aware of.
Have your realtor print out their listings and purchase a $7 Master Plan map. My first night, I took out a highliter and marked all of Roberts’ listed lots on my map. I found it most helpful while out hiking.
Many of the listed lots will not have a realtor sign in front. I don’t know, it might be because Roberts doesn’t think much for the lot selling and doesn’t want to waste the expense of a sign. Could be wrong, however. My lot did not have a sign.
Not only do some of the lots for sale not have a realtor sign in front, but they are not marked in any way. One has to pace off from a corner or road curve to get a rough idea of where a particular lot actually is. It worked for me.
If you decide on a lot, Dennis Flood is the local surveyor to work with, reasonable and personable. Just don’t be in a hurry.

You will come across lots listed on the web (try craigslist and Zillow), occasionally on the bulletin board by the PO or the Lodge, for sale by owner signs as you drive around, and you will see signs from other realtors while driving through the community. I suggest dealing with a realtor who has lived in Timberon for a number of years. If you want a lot listed with another realtor, work through Roberts Realty. If you want one you found on your own, again, work through Roberts. From time to time, property owners donate their lot to the water commission, who then put it up for sale. Also, there is an annual auction for Timberon lots, through the Otero county treasurer, down in Alamogordo.

Third, go off driving through the community. Plan on taking a few days for this. If you like an area, park the car and go walking around the roads for an hour or so. I came across all the lots I was interested in by hiking from Janet’s lot. For me, when a car came by, and it didn’t happen often, I stopped, smiled, and waved. Often the driver stopped and we started talking. I found it a great way to meet people and learn about Timberon. Have some questions ready.

Consider buying a lot in the areas that have been burned. I drove on the roads through these areas, and was thinking about it. The lots have been cleared of underbrush and the trees are bare and open to be cut down. Any diseased trees are dead. It’s quite an opportunity for designing a stellar landscape from scratch. Maybe doing some borders or artwork with the trunks (away from the proposed house site) and tilling the ash into the soil. Most potential buyers would shun such areas, so prices should be low, and one could buy up a few adjoining lots. You’d probably end up with a quiet, isolated spot. The burned lots might also be somewhat safer from a future fire, well, at least from my way of thinking. It’s a little thinking-outside-the-box.

This family lost their house in the 2016 fire and rebuilt with an Arched Cabin. Looks pretty good to me.

This owner hired a crew from Arched Cabins for the construction of this 20 x 30 footer ($7,800 for the basic kit). I was impressed with the steel supports and support beams. And with the three decks and loft, it will easily meet the square foot requirement. With having the septic tank dug in, water, electricity, propane and phone lines put in, and the extra cost of shipping all the building supplies to Timberon, expenses are currently at $80K.
If I was to have a permanent dwelling, I would want windows in all four walls. As with an RV, I require windows in three walls, not just two. If I’m in—I want to see out.

If one plans to build, different sections of Timberon have minimum square footage requirements listed in the covenants, from 800 to 1400 square feet. You can also pick up a copy of the covenants at Roberts.

This is a novel way to meet minimum square footage.

I stopped and talked with Jack, in the forefront, the owner of this house. He told me why he preferred to have most of the square footage open to the outdoors.

That house is for sale. It has an easier access road coming down from the top. I think it sits on 6 acres.

View from same house. House definitely needs work on the supports.

This vacation cabin on Roundup Rd. has quite a view and no near neighbors.

Electricity. Most lots have access to electricity, but not all; something to check into. There are timber poles for the overhead power lines throughout much of Timberon. The right of way is not wide enough along some stretches, so from time to time, a tree falls across a line, taking out power. I might have heard that once, the power was out for ten days, could be wrong. The forest service won’t give permission to cut any trees along the right-of-way (or whatever it is called) to widen it, so I guess this will always be a problem. I’m surprised there are so few houses with solar panels.

Water. Most of the roads have water lines, but not all the roads. Another thing to check on if looking to buy property. There is an aquifer under Timberon with good water down 1,000 feet. I think so-so well water is down 500. The water system is getting old and occasionally leaks develop. Sometimes one sees water seeping up onto a road from the underground pipes. They have been installing solar-powered sensors this summer, to more quickly track down leaks. There is sediment in the water, which causes problems with the pressure valves. There are filters but they can get clogged from time to time.
There are 170 miles of pipe, which will need to be replaced at some point. Don’t know where Timberon will get the money for it. I wonder what the situation will be in ten or twenty years. I would guess that a good percentage of the residents couldn’t afford to pay a substantial water tax increase to replace the water system; again, could be wrong.
A number of residents have a large water container in their yard (1-2,000 gallons?), with a pressure tank, for use whenever the water in their section is turned off for repairs.

Gas. There are no gas lines in Timberon. All households use propane.

Sewage. There are no sewer lines in Timberon. All houses need to have a septic tank and leach field. Could be quite an expense on a rocky lot.
So, how’s all this sounding?

There is an RV park in Timberon, which has not been used for years. The day I checked it out, there were no squatters. Since there is no one working there and off from the road, with no local law enforcement…
As one enters Timberon and sees the welcome sign, turn left onto Pounds Rd. The park is the second right. There is a sign there; no sign, don’t turn. If you reached Mars Rd., go back one block.

What do you think—800 square feet? But with its location, I really cannot see anyone causing the owner a problem.

I like the way these people have expanded useful space from their seasonal trailer. Nicely done.

This is an acre for sale up on Loghouse Rd. Nice view.

This is an acre on Ranger Rd. for sale. Standing near the back of the lot and looking towards the front. One can just see a section of the road.

This is a lot on Shallow Creek on which no work was done this summer. Might be for sale. There is a spot to the left big enough for an RV. At the top of the driveway, there has been a flat spot cleared for a house.

I was thinking, not for long, of buying another lot, cut an access road, dig out a flat spot, do some clearing, and post it up for sale on an RV forum. But then it sunk in that it would not be profitable.

Even if I won the lottery, I would not have a house built in Timberon, nor would I buy one. How can it not continue to go downhill? There are too many cons for me. I was talking with someone who has been here part-time for 30 years. She said Timberon had much more going for it back then and was way better than now. She and her husband are both recently retired and had planned to move into their house here. Now they are rethinking the move. I don’t blame them.

Some people moved into a house, and I did not hear if it they were renters or they bought it. But the people do drugs and shout and make noise late into the night. I guess a neighbor could call the sheriff in Cloudcroft and lodge a complaint about disturbing the peace. But then one is pissing off drug addicts, with no local law enforcement. Yep, there are lowlifes here just like in most communities.
Since houses are hard to sell, many are rented out, and some get trashed. An acquaintance has been putting quite a bit of time and money into repairing damage done by renters. When he completes the work, he will put the house on the market. It sits on two acres along the Sacramento River with a good location. Hope he doesn’t have much trouble selling it.
I’d hate to have a house and have some gits move in next door. And granted, it could happen in most places, but it would be nice to have local law enforcement close by.

I feel good, however, about purchasing an acre here, but I did look for a lot where chances are no one will be building on any nearby lots. We’ll see. I can always roll away. Very little money is tied up. And after I’m finished doing the work on the property, it might sell through one of the RV forums if I choose to get rid of it.

If I were to build or buy a small house, it would to be in the mountains; somewhere with more than one road to evacuate if necessary. And mountains which continue to go up in elevation another couple thousand feet or more. I seem to feel most alive when I can go out and up—up quite a bit, with my boots as my mode of transportation. Most assuredly, different strokes.

One morning after some rain, while still on Janet’s acre, I loaded my tools in the back of the Dodge and drove over to work on my lot. The road out front was slick (clay) and the slope of the access road was almost too much for the 4-wheel drive pickup. If I ever arrived at the acre with the Nash when the ground was wet, chances are good I would get stuck at the bottom.

So I had a little over 15 tons of driveway gravel delivered by Batte Enterprises in Cloudcroft. Mileage to Timberon cost more than the truckload of gravel (another con for Timberon). The driver backed up the access road as far as he could, which wasn’t far, and dropped 3 piles for me to spread out with my spade, rake, and mattock. Another stellar opportunity for exercise.

Took me three days to spread the lower pile and two for the middle pile. These were the easier ones since the gravel was shoveled and raked down the slope. I say days but it was only three hours a day. That’s all this body could take.
The top pile was half the load and took me a couple weeks to spread. Most of it went uphill. I threw shovelfuls up as far as I could. Other than some of the lengths of tree trunk I dragged with a rope, this was the most tiring task I’ve done so far. I also piled gravel onto a folded tarp, grabbed the corners, carried it up the slope and dumped it. Times like this, I guess many have their heart attack them. Kind of scary. But most of those people do not exercise their heart regularly. I’ve been back to exercising mine for months now. Once I could drive the Dodge over the top pile, I shoveled gravel into the bed, drove up the slope, and raked it out where needed; worked well. I’m quite a bit better off than I was at this time last year.
Thanks the gods I did not have someone tell me to not overdo it. Those of you who read my pages know how I feel about this type of overused phrase, but is the lack of original thinking, not even stopping to think, that really bugs me.
After the first day, I brought my iPod and started catching up on some of the Wait, Wait podcasts I had saved. The show can make many chores seem easier and shorter.

The access road as it looks now.

Having lived in Utah for 20 years, I thought my acre needed an arch. Couldn’t quite get the ‘delicate’ look.

The air in Timberon smells SO fresh and being outdoors doing physical labor on one’s own property sure is sweet. Sitting outside after dark with a Kindle and glass of wine under the totally awesome night sky can bring a smile to my face, and I’m thinkin’, Good move.

Well that’s my take on Timberon. Many like it here. Others can’t get a decent price for their house and are stuck here. A few have recently bought houses, and there are a number of nice houses at a good price. One or two are having houses built (I’m not going to express my thoughts on this). Some just like the seclusion.
And I’ve met some good people up here. The core residents tend to be helpful. A couple even offered me the use of their phone if I needed to make a call. They are intune.

A place for a few—and not a place for most. A place for a few, can, most assuredly, be the kind of place for me. It just might not be Timberon.

Like I said, I would not have a house here, but I think the Nash, on an acre, might make a good base for spending some time. IF I don’t get any close neighbors. A toe, in Timberon’s door, is enough for me.
A bit of quiet seclusion, fresh air, a fabulous night sky, and a place for Meadow and Mesa to roam—I’m smilin’.

There are not all that many birds here, pretty much just owls, ravens and hummingbirds. I never have woken up to birds singing. Kind of strange. Four jays showed up earlier this month for a couple of weeks. Don’t know what kind they are.

I’ll be pulling out of Timberon in a week or so and spend a couple weeks at Oliver Lee. If any of you are in the area, I’ll be at Bottomless NMSP on Dec. 5 for two weeks, then two weeks at Brantley and back to Bottomless for two last weeks. Would be glad to touch base with you.

Mind how you go.

September sixty minutes for sixty years—4045 minutes
September Triple 18—pecs/delts/arms: 3670; core: 2490; legs: 1905

There is stellar satisfaction from physical exercise
and contact with the outdoors

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’