Thursday, June 27, 2019

it’s a wonderful life, Weed, coral reef
and OH NO



After eleven years, M&M’s window cage had acquired a good number of minor rust spots. So I wire brushed it and gave it a spiffier paint job.

With June here, I figured summer was coming. But on June first it hailed, and it hailed again a couple days later. I’ve been in RVs when it was hailing, and I always wondered why the roof vent lids didn’t get cracked. That day I opened the bathroom door and there was water on the toilet lid; I looked up.
Reminded me of that lame, old joke, when the guy says, There’s a dead bird. His girlfriend, with the color hair that is the brunt of many jokes, looked up.

I was expecting at the worst, a crack. But there were two holes. Guano. The next day I applied T-Rex tape on both sides and I’m waiting to see if it will work. If not, I’ll put more effort into patching the holes.



Then on June 10th, I had to light the Wave 6 to take the chill off in the afternoon. I had not used it for 3-4 weeks. I was getting ready to store the hose away for the summer.

On most Sunday mornings I like to have my two mugs of hot drinks while listening to gospel music on the local NPR station. Afterwards one day, I was outside messin’ around and realized how much I’m enjoying my present lifestyle. The morning was quiet, with just the bird chatter. I’m in the woods up in the mountains, living in a small trailer, on my own piece of property with Meadow and Mesa—“It’s a wonderful life.” Well at least for now it’s pretty good.


It’s somewhat like hardwall-camping off-the-grid—no cell phone coverage; no hookups; solar power; the closest neighbor is a few hundred yards away through the trees; I spend most of the days outside being active; and I have to drive for an hour and a quarter to get to a town where I can take care of things. It is somewhat like living in a small cabin. There is solitude here and some isolation, both of which I find nurturing.

Unlike true HW-camping off-the-grid, I only have to drive ten minutes to get where I can fill up my water buckets and the closest people are not a mile or two away.

I enjoy living simply and at a low cost. There is not much invested in the Nash and the property. The new pickup will cost over twice as much. I’ve had houses; they take a lot of time and money. Been there, done that, no longer want it. And it’s not just the house, but the furniture, large appliances, carpets/rugs, yard tools, insurance and more. Nope, having everything built in and on wheels is fine with me. But then again, I’m not interested in living in a town, let alone a city. My interests lie in the mountains. Different strokes.

This setup shows me I want more of it, but not here. I hope to check out two or three other areas in the Sacramento Mtns. during the summer, looking for another piece of property. We’ll see.


I drove over to Weed one morning and talked with a realtor. I told her what I was looking for and she drove me around to some of her listings that she thought I might be interested in. Nothin’ was anywhere near what I was looking for. I’m thinkin’ this search for new property is going to take some work. Bummer. Also not looking forward to dealing with a car-sales person.

While driving back home, I was thinking how well off I am with my setup in Timberon. I felt good. The drive along Scott Abel and Aqua Chiquita roads alone was worth the trip.

If I don’t find property in this area of NM, maybe with the new pickup I’ll get back to hardwall-camping off-the-grid next year, with a focus on looking for property in northern NM. I really would like to find ‘Last Sands.’ And I’ll be needing a new piece of land to work on. I’m addicted to the work.



I’m quite surprised at how much I enjoy doing heavy work on my acre with a pick, mattock, rake, shovel and wheelbarrow. Since September 2016 until now, I’ve moved tons of gravel, rock, dirt and lengths of tree trunk. Remember, the 15 tons of gravel gave me a good start. And since then, I usually move a couple hundred pounds of this stuff 4-5 days a week—at the least, 1-1½ ton a month. Dirt weighs over 75 lbs. a cubic foot and rocks more. And I move most of it multiple times. First I use the pick to loosen the dirt; then I choke up on the mattock to rake it out in a ridge; then rake it into a pile; shovel it into the wheelbarrow, and roll it away. Guano. No one who looks at me would think I would be able to do that kind of work. The wheelbarrow is getting hammered. Not bad considering I’ll turn 70 this winter. I don’t tend to let ageing be as restrictive as most allow it to. But then, the more one puts into something, the more one gets back. Kinda simple.

One day after I had been working for almost two hours, I had a thought. This is the kind of work they give to people with numbers across their chest.


Remember there is no hardwood in the Nash, only some stained softwood? All the panels were faux wood, not even wood veneer, merely an image of wood, on probably hardboard. I like wood, and since there was mostly fake wood in my home, I decided to cover it up. I went the full route with TSP, 80-grit sandpaper, primer and two coats of paint.


I wanted a color a bit different, so I looked at some of the Southwest and Desert colors. A pale red caught my eye so when I went to the paint store, I focused on those shades. I took a number of cards home and placed them up on edges around the Nash and lived with them for a week. I decided on Coral Reef. Then I had to decide between gloss, semi-gloss, satin, flat; I went with egg shell. I also went with Sherwin-Williams since I only wanted to go through this process once and I figured might as well use a quality paint. Thankfully, there was a 30% off sale (must have been a sign from the gods). SW has a line called Harmony which is not supposed to smell anywhere near as bad as most paints. It was great.


The interior feels so much more like a home, than merely living in a trailer. After I pulled off the tape, cleaned up, poured a glass of wine, put on a classic Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue, I just sat there looking around, contemplating what I had just done. I really liked the overall effect. I’m thinkin’, Ya done good, boy.
Sure glad I did not experience another one of those, OH NO!-moments.

This is a good thing, because there is no way I can get away from it. Well, I could always go in the bathroom and close the door.

This is the kind of project Siscily would take on. Will have to ask her what she thinks of it.

Almost makes me want to get an aluminum-sided trailer so I can paint the exterior.
I also replaced all 12 drawer and door knobs with ones of four different colors and styles that I purchase at Hobby Lobby. They have quite a collection to choose from.


I really enjoy living in a trailer, but I don’t necessarily like the looks of a trailer, nor the looks of a fifth-wheel. A trailer is just a box. I like the looks of the shorter ones, 20-22’ or less. They seem more in proportion with their width and height. The long ones make me think of a square tube on wheels. And Class C and A rigs have an aesthetic, proportional look if their length is on the shorter side, but the long stuff just looks unnatural. Different tastes.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

May sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
May Triple 18—upper: 3630; core: 3620; legs: 5945

If the sight of the blue skies
fills you with joy, if a blade of grass
springing up in the fields has power
to move you, if the simple things
in nature have a message you understand,
rejoice, for your soul is alive.
Eleanora Duse


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

sweethearts of rhythm, hitching a ride, and nubs



It started warming up at night so I positioned the Nash for the summer. No longer needed the sun to shine in the back window first thing in the morning to warm up the inside.

I like this spot, and most of the time it’s quiet, which I need. But no way is it going to be my Last Sands. Last month I talked with someone who grew up in a nearby town, not even a town, Wikipedia labels it a hamlet. Landan (his mom was a fan of Bonanza) made it sound pretty good, lightyears above Timberon. He gave me the name of a realter, and I plan to drive over and talk to her next month. I need to buy another piece of property somewhere.

I heard a short interview on NPR with one of the surviving band members of the Sweethearts of Rhythm. They have been referred to as "the most prominent and probably best female aggregation of the Big Band era." I read a bit about them on the web. Wikipedia covered what the band had to go through when touring the South during the Jim Crow era.
I downloaded an album. It’s hot. I would love to have seen them on stage. A secondary reason for purchasing the album was the group is a part of herstory. And there is way too little of that.

I was down in Alamogordo on a town-run, when my truck’s speed started to increase, I mean really increase, with my foot off the pedal. Not good. I drove to my mechanic and luckily, he had time to look at it. The throttle cable was coming apart. Guano. It’s not a common cable so it had to be ordered. The taxi fare back to Timberon after some extra mileage and tip was $100. Wasn’t any other way to get home. And I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the driver the whole way. Money well spent.

I purchased my 2004 Ram 1500 back in 2012 for $13,000. Since then, I’ve put nearly $9,000 into unexpected repairs. I’m not talkin’ tires and upkeep. I planned to purchase a newer used pickup in 2022. Now I’m thinking I’ll purchase a 2019 model some time this year. I heard purchasing a pickup just before the 2020 models come out could save money. I need to look into how to purchase a new vehicle for less, such as finding out what the dealer pays for the truck, for options and whatnot.


I made signs to get me back down to the valley when my pickup was fixed. One to get me to the post office. Standing along the road there would offer a lot more opportunities for a ride. The first car that came by that was going all the way to Alamogordo picked me up (the others stopped and told me they weren’t going far). That was so nice of them and I did not know them. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation during the nearly hour and a half drive. The lady told me a story about a dance over in Weed that she and her husband went to a number of years ago. One fellow mentioned that he grew up in a ten-acre house. She knew there was a way that made sense, but she couldn’t think of it (either could I). He said he had seven brothers and sisters and their name was Acre.
The two made a point to write down their addresses and phone numbers in case I needed some help in the future. I thanked them and left gas money on the back floor since they wouldn’t take it.
There are ways to get rides from people here but one needs a land line, hence, new pickup.


Nubs are starting to show.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

April sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
April Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

Every book, you’ll find, has its own social group—
friends of its own it wants to introduce you to.
Caitlin Moran, writer


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

CH751, being-dead, ice, uu,
and cinderblock



It does not take one long to realize many RVs take the same locker key, CH751. I replaced the cylinder locks with different ones. Just had to move the finger-pull to the other latch since the new 1 1/8” cylinder lock was a bit too short.


I don’t care all that much about how my hair looks. So I bought a Wahl home haircutting kit. They range from $20-45, I got the $25 one and it came with way more attachments than I’ll ever use. The first time I tried cutting my hair, I was looking in a mirror. That certainly did not work well. I learned to just go by the feel of how the depth guard was moving across my head. Much better. I could give myself a really good haircut if my head was sitting on a table. But then I would have the being-dead issue.

Why is a ‘w’ called a ‘double-u?’ Looks like a double-v. The Latin alphabet did not have a letter to represent the W sound in Old English. So scribes of the 600s wrote it as ‘uu.’ The letters meshed over time, as we see if written in cursive.

One day I got buzzed by a hummingbird (never did see it), so I dug out sugar I had left over from last year and boiled up some sugar water. The bird did not come around again until the following morning. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the feeder in for the night. Can you guess? The bird stuck its beak into a slot—and hit ice. What the …?! He tried it another two or three times and flew off. The next night I remembered to bring the feeder inside.


I finally got the flat-spot roughed out. I need to fine tune the leveling and rake out excess rock. I hope to get some ground cover growing when the rains start. I’ll soon be repositioning the Nash. While it’s still cold in the mornings, I wanted the back window facing the rising sun.
But it wasn’t just about a flat spot for the Nash. I had to dig out an area big enough to 3-point turn the Nash so I could get back down the access road. The Dodge/Nash rig measures 42’ so it took a lot of work; cutting down the uphill slope and building up an area to back onto. And I’m still working on the access road. Should have it all done sometime this summer. Going to have to celebrate somehow.


Remember this photo? This is the spot when I first purchased the property. I know, I know, looks like I trashed it but green will come back.


I came across this house while on a hike. It has been abandoned for years. The house is on a nice secluded spot with great views out the windows. I like it; it certainly has potential. If it was mine, and it won’t be, I’d definitely add some color and a deck. It looks like a bank repossessed it.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

March sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
March Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

A man moved from ritual to ritual,
performing mostly by rote,
and it was only during the times in between
that he was fully alive.
But they were rare.
Robert Daley in The Dangerous Edge


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

meerkat, leaf springs, quick link
and snow



Last month The El Paso Times had a headline I forgot to mention.

“El Paso Zoo will name a cockroach after your ex and feed it to their meerkats.” What‽

“A horrible ex is pretty much like a cockroach—hard to get rid of and always trying to crawl back in through any space. Which is why the El Paso Zoo is offering the perfect tribute to bad exes everywhere on Valentine's Day.”
El Pasoans are encouraged to name a cockroach after their insignificant other through the Quit Bugging Me event, which will be marked on Feb. 14. And it's free.”

Participants watched their cockroach fed to the meerkats, either on the zoo’s Facebook Live or on the website. Some went to the zoo and possibly sang La Cucaracha while watching the feast. The meerkat exhibit was decorated with the first name and last initial of all the submitted exes. I would have liked to been there to watch the people. Probably would have heard some choice comments. Way cool.


Finally got smart about the electric brake connection. I knew it was dumb to just connect it to where I hook on the Nash’s safety cables. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the bumper and now connect the cable with a Quick Link. The hitch assembly bolted to a vehicle, have been known to fall off. Granted, it’s rare, but it has happened. Nothing is attached to the bumper so it will stay in place. Just playin’ it safe.


At the end of February, I was at my last state park of the winter, before heading up to Timberon, when I had an unpleasant surprise. As I went to kick a wheel chuck under a back tire of the Nash, I noticed a broken leaf spring. Bummer. I looked at the other back leaf spring; it was bent and looked mighty close to breakin’. Guano. I took measurements and had an auto shop order new leaf springs for all four wheels.

The weak axle leaf needed to be braced so I picked up a length of ½”x1” steel flat stock at Tractor Supply. Took me 20 minutes to hacksaw two lengths to use as supports. Sandwiched the leaf and clamped it together with three C clamps. I pulled over three times during the 20-mile drive to the shop to check on the C clamps. The curbside tires were 1” apart while the street-side tires were 3” apart; not good. I was SO thankful as I pulled into their lot. Really ready for no unexpected expenses in 2019. Hope all goes well for the next couple of years—nice and mellow.
br> It was warm enough towards the end of February to hang the window cage back up. M&M shot right out the window to scope things out.

This has been a good winter in the parks. Even during the last week, I lucked out and met a nice couple from Minnesota, Terry and Nancy, traveling in a Tab. Shortly after they pulled out, an acquaintance I met awhile back pulled into the same site across from me. Richard full-times in a Roadtrek and travels with his cat Maisy (not sure of the spelling). Had some good conversations.
I generally find more of my kind of people set up in a site without hookups. Not always, but a good deal of the time. Makes sense to me.


In the NM DMV, I noticed a sign on the wall, “Good morning…Let the stress begin.” I would imagine it reflects the workday for those people. They must get more than their share of grief. I told the lady that I liked the sign; she smiled and I thanked her for her heip that day, which brought another smile.


Shortly after I pulled onto my Timberon property it hailed, then snowed a bit. 48 degrees in the Nash when I got up. That, apparently was warm. The following morning’s inside temps ranged from the upper 30s (could see my breath) to the mid-40s. Yesterday it was a balmy 51. If I had an RVer’s mindset, this would be unacceptable. But to my way of thinking, it’s no big thing.
This is what it looked like out the back window the first morning. I had to dig out the ladder and sweep snow off the solar panels. I had been having day temps in the 60s and 70s down in the parks. Kind of a setback. Even more snow dropped four days later. Had two days when I pretty much had to keep the Wave 6 lit all day. Don’t think I’ve had more than a handful of days like that. Last year, one of my two favorite people up here said that it would probably be best if I not get back until April. Guess she was right.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

February sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
February Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life
exists elsewhere in the universe
is that none of it has tried to contact us.
Calvin & Hobbes


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Monday, February 25, 2019

cold weather hummingbirds
and wine bottles



This shot was taken on one of my hikes in the Canyon Rims Recreation area when I was back in southern Utah. It’s been a while.

I enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings while reading and listening to music. I’ve handled many wine bottles over the decades, so I was bound to write something about them in these pages.

Wine has been stored in various containers for thousands of years but the glass bottle and cork combo didn’t arrive until the 1600s. Glass wine bottles come in various shapes depending on the type of wine and in over a dozen sizes. The large novelty bottles are named after biblical figures and predominant kings of Israel. The largest, 18 liters, 24 standard bottles, is named after Melchior (a king of Persia, one of the three wise man) and Solomon (a king of Israel). That’s two cases of wine! How many wine drinkers does it take to pour from a Solomon bottle?

In 1975 the European Legislation on packaging declared that wine could be sold only if packed in certain measure containers. So how was the size determined? Well, as I understand it, one guy’s wife told him if he didn’t choose the size bottle her brother’s shop was making, he’d be sleeping on the sofa.

I might have got that wrong.
The 750 ml (0.75 liter – 1/5 of a gallon) size was determined to be the most convenient for both winemakers and the public. There are different theories to explain this size.

As you know, back when wine started to be stored in glass bottles, the bottles were made by glass blowers. So one theory is based on the limit of pulmonary strength. 750 ml pretty much capped it.

Another theory is the quantity of wine per six serving glasses (125 ml) used in a small Italian restaurant, an osteria.

A third one points out that the 750 ml standard is the metric adaptation of the fifth, which was standard in the US and Britain.

Then there are the different shapes and sizes of wine glasses. Although, at this time, I think that would be pushing it.

I met an interesting couple of ex-teachers taking a road trip in their Scamp. They painted the bottom half of the Scamp, so theirs stands out from the norm. Nice. They live in Ruidoso, maybe 60 miles north of Timberon, in the Sacramento Mtns. Had a really nice visit. Wish I had more experiences like this.

I heard on NPR that there are some hummingbirds that winter as far north as British Columbia. Remember, I only have daily web access for a few weeks each winter, so I can be way behind on common knowledge. On my town runs during the rest of the year, I do not spend any more time on the web than it takes me to drink a medium Americano. Anyway, when I heard this about the birds, I questioned how they could survive. I mean, they do not have down feathers and they need to be taking in so much nectar. Hummingbirds have nearly 1000 feathers on their body, a ratio of more feathers per body size than that of any other bird species. I think they can fluff them, so that could help. Although I might be wrong about this.

It’s mostly Anna’s hummingbirds that are found that far north, but three others are named to a lesser degree (at least from the four sources I pulled data from). It’s individual birds that remain in the north for the winter. I wonder what brings a bird to go against the odds. The hummingbirds are taking advantage of widely planted flowering plants and shrubs, and hummingbird feeders. I would guess that it would take much more of a commitment for those who maintain their feeders through the winter. I wonder if they bring their feeder in at night.

The little ones go into a sort of nightly hibernation, a really deep sleep. They put a major damper on their high rate of metabolism by entering a state of torpor where their metabolism will lower to roughly 7% of normal. This state can save up to 60% of their available energy.
Hummingbirds also survive in the high Andes. I wonder if they are just on the west facing side.

In winter, hummingbirds are slow risers. It takes 20-60 minutes for a hummingbird to fully recover from topor. Care to guess what is the first thing on their mind? They eat 25% of their daily intake as soon as they recover.

I don’t know. If I was a hummingbird, I think I’d stick with the general consensus and head south. But then again, not all birds make it through the trip.

Two things about a different kind of bird. Yesterday, I caught the end of a talk on birds of prey. As you know, an owl’s eyes are in the front of the head, and, the eyes cannot move in the sockets. So they need their awesome ability to turn their head 270 degrees to each side. There are sites that explain how owls are able to do this; definitely worth a visit. Owls also have asymmetrical ears, with one being lower than the other. This aids the triangulation of sound. Way cool birds.

This past week, once again, I’ve been set up in goat’s head country. Bummer. M&M go out, pick up these nasty sharp stickers, come back in the Nash, use their teeth to pick them off their feet, and drop them on the floor. Remember, I do not were shoes inside but I do sweep the floor once or twice a day. Sometimes that is not enough. If I miss a goat’s head, I’m the next one picking one off the bottom of my feet. Guano. The joys of sharing one’s life with feline companions.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

January sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
January Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 2190; legs: 2445

Don’t expect anything original from an echo.
Joanna Wick


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

groovy yurts, the arrow and the green book



On one of my walks, I came across this yurt. What caught my eye, was how well insulated it appeared. I never saw the guy who is living in it, let alone talk with him. So I accessed the company’s website, Groovy Yurts. It’s definitely worth a look-see. Watch the video of the story on these authentic Mongolian yurts, and you’ll understand their slogan, come full circle. There are also some great photos.


The FedEx logo has an arrow in it, symbolizing the company’s forward motion.


So far the most interesting people I’ve talked with this winter were a Canadian couple, Gord and Suzanna. They are spending a few months traveling around; at the time, they were five weeks into it. They wanted a rig that they could take off-road. Forest River’s No-Bo (no boundaries) trailer was their choice. I had never seen one and was impressed with what they had done with theirs. The size of the wheels, robust frame and ground clearance set this type of rig apart. I downloaded this photo from Forest River’s site. The trailer comes in different lengths and offers a number of options.

Check out the white space between the E and x in “Ex.”
Sorry, now you’ll never be able to look at a FedEx truck or box without seeing the arrow.

I read somewhere that some car insurance companies offer a discount for those over 65. I found out mine does not. Bummer, but I’m sticking with the company. Leave a comment if you know of a company that offers a senior discount. A reader might be interested.

The guy prefers to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And he cut his lip on it. The wound became infected. And he also chipped a tooth. (^_^) (Tweaked a line from Janeane Garofalo)


I first heard about the Green Book while listening to NPR’s Weekend Edition three or four weeks ago. Calvin Alexander Ramsey, the author of the children’s book, Ruth and the Green Book, was being interviewed. I jotted down some notes, drafted a story and then looked for more info the next time I has wi-fi access. That’s when I learned about the movie. Bummer. So, what I had planned to write here would not be all that informative. But I’m writing it anyway.


The Jim Crow era was not one of America’s best periods. Back in the ‘40s-‘60s, and in some places, probably for another few decades, blacks had trouble when traveling. Finding a place to spend the night, gas up their car, finding a restaurant that would serve them, all while keeping their family safe, were part of their lives. Tell me that does not rot. And some places were safe during the day, but you did not want to be black and in that area after dark.

Victor Hugo Green, a postal carrier in Harlem, had grown tired of the discrimination blacks faced whenever they ventured outside their neighborhoods. In 1936, inspired by earlier books published for Jewish audiences, Green developed a guide for black travelers, with the goal of insuring some measure of safety. The 15-page first edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book only covered hotels and restaurants in the New York area. The book gradually expanded its scope by gathering info from fellow postal carriers, black travelers and offering cash payments to readers who sent in useful information. An early example of user-generated content.

By the early 1940s, the Green Book listed thousands of establishments from across the country, all of them either black-owned or verified to be non-discriminatory. Hotels, guesthouses, stores, service stations, pharmacies, taverns, barber shops and restaurants that were known to be safe, and the listings were verified annually. An important sponsor for the Green Book was the Esso Standard Oil Company, which distributed the books and solicited African American customers through them. Nice.

The introduction to the 1948 edition ended with:
“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”

Green retired from the postal service in 1952 to become a full-time publisher. He charged enough to make a modest profit—25 cents for the first edition, $1 for the last. At the height of its circulation, Green printed 20,000 books annually, which were sold at black churches, the Negro Urban League and Esso gas stations. The final 99-page edition was published in 1966-67.

Victor Hugo Green died in 1960, four years before Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, finally banning racial segregation in restaurants, theaters, hotels, parks and other public places.

For black Americans traveling by car in the era of segregation, the open road presented serious dangers. The Green Book was one item African-Americans did not leave home without. This guide, no doubt, prevented beatings, deaths and other atrocities. One man, taking a step and making his world a safer place. Way to go, Victor.

It is hard to grasp that this was happening in this country not all that long ago. The United States was the best country in the world for many years, and even now, it is certainly the most powerful—but, is it still the best? How could the situation in Washington occur in the ‘best’ country in the world? It could not. I am thankful to have been born, and able to live in the United States. Doesn’t seem right, however, that for the last two years, I’ve been somewhat scared to be one of its citizens. Definitely looking forward to changes for the better. But how does that occur between two warring tribes? I would venture to guess that it would take truly ‘wise’ individuals working together toward solutions. How likely is that?

And there are those searching for ‘other’ intelligent life forms. From my way of thinking, one word should be dropped.

Back in November, a winter friend came over and asked for help with lifting something. I knew I was still weak but this task finally drove home exactly how weak I was. It was the stimulus I needed to finally get me back on an exercise program. The ball was in my court. I bent down and picked it up.

I had a new experience a couple weeks ago. The same friend only has a motorcycle for his town runs. He has a guest card from a mutual friend to Sam’s Club. Jerry doesn’t live by one when he is living at his home base and so he wanted to stock up at the store in Roswell. I drove him into town and he let me use his card. I’ve never been in a Sam’s Club. I grabbed one of my canvas LL Bean tote bags and we headed in. I learned that the store doesn’t provide bags. I like that idea. The first time I came across it was the summer I bicycle toured through Europe. Anyway, the whole store was an eye opener. But a membership would certainly not fit my lifestyle. I left Sam’s Club with a nice bottle of Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon and three boxes of energy bars.

Mind how you go.

Making someone smile lightens ones Karmic burden.


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RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Friday, December 28, 2018

e-MTB and milk paint



At the beginning of last summer, I made a deal with myself. If I got back into as good a shape as I was a few years ago, I’d purchase this e-MTB (electric mountain bike). I have the experience and knowledge to achieve this in maybe three months. I would just have to keep my mind focused on the long-term goal over the coming months.

This is not the type of electric bike one just sits on and is pulled along by the electric motor. I mean, seriously? It’s me.

The Trek Powerfly 5 is a pedal assist, 10-speed with different modes. Pedal assist means one must be pedaling to tap into the electric assist. No free ride. The bike has an approximate range of 20–100 miles depending on the power mode (4 in all), terrain, incline grade, wind, and one’s riding style. 20 mph is the top-assisted speed, at which point the assist cuts off. The bike can go faster, but it will be all pedal power. The bike comes with stellar components, including hydraulic disc brakes, a Bosch electric motor (the best), and 29” wheels, which I prefer. The power goes to the crank rather than the hub, as with lesser-priced e-bikes. Power to the hubs can cause broken spokes. Not good.

As I understand it, one can get all or most of the power through pedaling, with no, or only a little assist. Otherwise, I would think of it as a pretty lame way to bike. One could start off a long ride peddling out for miles with no, or only a little assist, and when beginning to tire, switch on more assist to get back. This bike would extend the miles and also give me access to more steep slopes. All in all, sounds pretty good.

The Trek Powerfly 5 is $3600. I could justify it if I met my goal. I did not, hence, no bike. My own fault, I didn’t put in the effort. Maybe another time.


I like how the paint turned out in your Nash, Rob. It makes the interior look cozy, warm, and homey. Good job. I wasn’t familiar with Milk Paint that you used so I looked it up. Sure seems a much healthier way to go when painting a RV’s interior walls. Smart move. Did you buy pre-mixed or did you mix your own. I thought you were only going to paint the galley wall. Are you going all around?

The winter solstice, my favorite day of the year—rebirth of the sun. The shortest day of the year kicks off six months during which we gain back six more hours of daylight. The solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years as a sort of birth of light, with light being a big part of the celebration.

Mind how you go.

Exercise will prolong one’s ability
to operate positively in the world.
Michael J. Fox


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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