Saturday, December 19, 2009

santa rosa, oasis, bottomless, more déjà vu,
and five great lessons

Santa Rosa only had two other rigs here. Sites are close to the road but very little traffic in the winter. M/O out on one of our late afternoon walks. At some point on every walk, Meadow or Onyx will sit in ambush until the other one comes along, then pounce and roll around together. Sometimes if Onyx is crouched and waiting, Meadow will sprint past and they both go running up the trail with their tails straight up in the air. Meadow has no qualms about slamming into Onyx but she would just as soon not have the same happen to her. Very, very entertaining.

Had a few cold days with two single-digit nights. Meadow and Onyx bagged the walks. Had to stay an extra day because the roads were pretty icy and snow covered.

Meadow was watching something out the window one day. I looked out and saw this fox rooting around in the ground.

The morning I rolled out of Santa Rosa State Park, I stopped for breakfast at Joseph’s out on rt66. Had a tasty omelet and hit the road with, believe it or not, a TAILWIND. These seem to be few and far between for me. Always knew there were gods. Stayed at Oasis a couple days. Good loop for our walks and the water has been holding in the pond. Had a thin layer of ice on the water. Drove into Portales for web access and to pick up a few jars of the local peanut butter that Sunland makes from Valencia peanuts. Stayed an extra day because very heavy winds were forecasted (accurately). Coming out the next morning, I picked out eleven tumbleweeds wedges under the casita and Cherokee. Jeez, had it been blowin’.

I was listening to an 80’s show on the fm and the programmer was throwing out tidbits between the tunes. One was that an oft requested song at funerals is Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’. Now those are my kind of people—humor right to the end.

Got my favorite site at Bottomless. For us, the three best sites at Bottomless are out in the primitive area. This year there was not a single other camper in any of the primitive sites while we were here. Not bad. Only part way through winter and already I am having disperse-camping-site withdrawal, so this was good. Maybe I should look into becoming a monk.
There was a lidless trashcan not far from the camper and the first night there was some noise out there after dark. I shined a flashlight out the window and there was a large raccoon going through the trash. Not the least bit fazed that a light was shining on it. Like I did not have ENOUGH of raccoons up in South Willow Canyon this past summer!

I’ve been weeding through my MacBook lately and have been coming across stories that I’ve saved over the years. The following is one of them. I tried to find out on the web who wrote this one but it was always ‘Unknown Author’. Oldies but goodies.

‘FIVE GREAT LESSONS—The Important Things Life Teaches You...

Number One: The Most Important Question.
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired, and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'" I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Number Two: Pickup in the Rain.
One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her— generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance, and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him, and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain had drenched not only my clothes, but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others. Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole."

Number Three: Always Remember Those Who Serve.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table, and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier, and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies—her tip.

Number Four: The Obstacle in Our Path.
In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.

Number Five: Giving Blood.
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease, and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood. Attitude, after all, is everything.’

Now those—are sovereign.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Thursday, December 10, 2009

navajo lake, heron, water heater flush,
day-to-day variances, three ravens,
onyx and the shower bag, co-op, villanueva,
and the cold moon

I hate headwinds. Heading down rt191 towards Monticello with the pedal-to-the-metal, the ’91 Cherokee was only going 45 mph. Two more years and I’m getting an 8 cylinder. Driving over to Cortez and Durango was easier going. Didn’t stock up until Durango since I did not want to be dragging the weight from Cortez. There was an Albertsons, Wal-mart, and Home Depot in town.
Rt172 south was a nice, laidback drive until I hit New Mexico. The road then got rougher and was a steep 25-30 mph climb up the mountain, with no passing lanes. It took us quite a while to reach the top and luckily there was not any traffic. Sure looking forward to that 8.

Picked up another annual pass at Navajo Lake state park. It’s a decent campground but, as you know, campgrounds don’t generally work for Meadow and Onyx. The only campground that was open this time of year was Pine. Not many people here since they are mostly much farther south by this time. Damn do I plan well. I got a decent site for the little ones so they could go out but only because the three sites close to us were empty. Beautiful place if you have a boat. Only stayed here a few days because there were not any decent places to run or hike and only one walking loop for M/O. Don’t think I will be coming back here unless I find a solo canoe at some point. It sure is hard to find a used 12’ one. Caught up on various tasks. Picked up a 32 GB flash drive in Durango and have been backing up all the pictures and files I’ve been working on this year. My smaller flash drives were maxed. Working on converting my blog to html. Just for fun and to make sure I have not forgotten how to write the code and css.
I drained the water heater before I left South Willow. Finally remembered to take my flushing wand and flush out the accumulated sediment. Jeez, did a lot of crud come out. It’s been quite a while since I flushed out the heater. Sediment buildup in the bottom of the water heater tank is always a problem. When the heater is running, sediment collects on the anode rod (which is a real good thing [replace yours yet, Siscily?]). Sediment drops to the bottom of the heater and becomes crystallized so the tank should be flushed out whenever you check the anode for wear.

There are three more campgrounds up the road that were closed. These are just photos of a couple sites. Siscily told me last winter that I would probably like Sims campground best but it was closed. A ranger here said they might not open it next year since they might not have the personnel and money to run it. That’s too bad.

Went to open the door one morning at 5:00 to let Meadow and Onyx out—and the lock was frozen so the door would not open. Guano. It was not even that cold, just in the low twenties. I guess some rain from the day before got in the lock and froze. Every once in a while I get a chuckle out of how my day-to-day life compares to that of most others.

Just missed a week of single digit night temperatures at Heron Lake. They were still down in the teens while we were here, though. The first shot is of my site and the second is of the morning fog rising over the lake. It was good to see Siscily again. One night she came over for a game of Mexican Train. There was a bottle of merlot sitting on the table. There must have been a crack in the bottle. By the time we finished with the game, the wine was gone.

One morning Siscily met me at Three Ravens Coffee House in Tierra Amarilla. Fabulous shop. The photos only cover a tiny portion of the building. It had been boarded up for years. Paul Namkung has been restoring the old adobe building over the last ten years and has recently opened the coffee house. Absolutely stellar job with the restoration. The mud on the interior and exterior walls is the traditional mix of dirt, straw, sand, and water. It looks way cool. A small cup of the High Octane coffee had me buzzing for the rest of the morning. The hot portabella panini sandwich I had was delicious. Paul is a drum maker ( and his woodshop is also in the building. Be sure to have him play a bit for you and, if you are interested, show you his shop. Definitely a MUST stop if you are in the area.
Siscily is a park ranger at Heron Lake and is taking a leave for the winter and pulling her Casita and packing her feline, Buddy, down to Texas and will be working at the Amistad National Recreation Area through the cold months. Stop and visit if you pass near there.
Showers at Heron were turned off for the season by the time I got there and with snow on the ground, the sun shower was not my first choice. Tierra Amarilla has a town pool where one can shower. I did fill up the sun shower one day to wash my hair. The Cherokee was parked in shade so I could not put the bag up on or hang it from the Jeep’s roof rack. So I laid it out on a bench. Any guesses on what happened? Remember I have two cats. Yep, Onyx checked out the bag, first with a paw, and then with a claw. I noticed something was wrong when I saw water running over the bench. Guano. I used a bicycle tube patch to fix the hole. How many lives is that now for Onyx? MUST be close to nine.
I use a Bic lighter to light the galley stove. I know the mornings when I will be layering on additional clothing before going out for a run. They are the mornings when I have to rub the lighter in my hands to warm up the fuel. Always get some of those mornings.

Stayed in Heron a couple days longer so I could have my mail forwarded. It’s been over a month so might as well see what’s there. I heard some geese flying over the other evening. Need to pick up the pace a bit. Stopped at Three Ravens as I headed out for another cup of High Octane for the road and chatted with Paul for a while. The building he has been restoring was built in 1885. When he opened, one of his neighbors was brought over by her grandson. She walked into the middle of the shop and slowly turned all around as she checked everything out. The lady then thanked Paul for the restoration. When she was a child, her mother used to bring her in when the building was a mercantile. There were some moist eyes at that point.

While passing through Santa Fe, I stopped at the LaMontanita Co-op on W Alameda St, off Saint Francis, like last year. It’s only a couple blocks out of the way. Fabulous food and supplies.

The upper loop at Villanueva State Park was closed for repairs. Guano. For us, the best sites are up in the loop. No hookups but early morning sun, space, and M/O can roam without the danger of dogs because the RVers tend to stay down below at the hookup sites. So we had to take a site down along the Pecos. Luckily the park was pretty empty. Still, I only let M/O out for their 5:00 run in the mornings. Stayed a week. Longer than I had planned but it warmed up and there are plenty of places to hike. I also really enjoyed listening to KBAC, 98.1 Radio Free Santa Fe. A good mix of music.
The third photo is a shot of the upper loop from the trail on the other side of the Pecos.

I’m not into Thanksgiving Day. I go out and give thanks just about every morning. I also look at my birthday as my special day each year for being thankful for all that has occurred that year. A generic day in November doesn’t do anything for me. Be that as it may, a couple from Colorado came through for a couple days in their tent trailer. Eric, Monica, and Kiera along with Sammy and Zero (the dogs) invited me over for a Thanksgiving Day meal. Very nice. Good company and good food. I just passed on the turkey and stuffing. Eric is getting close to 25 years in the air force and does quite a bit of mountain biking. Eric and Monica took one of those supported mountain bike tours out of Moab down to the Kaibab Plateau in Arizona one summer so we talked about the Kaibab and biking for a while. What a bike Eric has! I had no idea such features come on bikes. Maybe if I win the lottery. Later, around the fire, we had a round-robin scary turkey story. It’s been years since I’ve done something like that.

One day I biked into Villanueva and came across a dirt road that climbed up out of town. Miles and miles of dirt roads up there. Very nice. I came across the grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe and took the shot of looking down on the town.

Stopped on Las Vegas for a few hours to access the web at the library, do some laundry, and pick up some supplies. Passed on a couple state parks that I was not impressed with last year and drove down to Santa Rosa. Not one of my favorites but there’s a decent hiking loop and quiet roads for bicycling. I’m going to also pass Sumner Lake this year and only spend a couple days at Oasis to see what they did with the pond. Remember the entry from last February about all the water leaking out? Then probably a couple days at a non-hookup site in Bottomless in order to get in some rides on the mountain bike trail. I plan to spend two or three weeks at Brantley Lake and then check out Oliver Lee. I did not get a chance to camp at Oliver Lee last winter and a couple people said I might like it. I also want to check out some BLM land down in that area. Then on to my favorite state park for getting in some serious exercise—City of Rocks. If I’m going to do any mountain biking with David when I get to Bisbee, I am going to have to do a few laps out on the trail including the Overlook switchbacks every day I’m there. The primitive sites are generally nice and quiet out next to the rocks, away for the hookup sites. Remember I only do these parks in winter. There are 45 sites out there and I’ve managed to get one or the other of my two favorites, the three times I’ve camped there. These two sites are not any of the more popular ones, so that helps, and they work best for Meadow and Onyx. Then on to Lynn’s place in Bisbee for a while. One of the high points of my annual loop.

December – The Full Cold Moon; among some tribes, the Full Long Nights Moon. In this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and the nights are at their longest and darkest. Also sometimes called the “Moon before Yule”. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long and the Moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter full Moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low Sun.

‘I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand,
as in what direction we are moving.
To reach the port, we must sail sometimes with the wind
and sometimes against it
but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.’ Oliver Wendell Holmes

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Thursday, November 19, 2009

canyon rims area, bored?!, rockland,
cowpie fires, and a new bed

Well, a couple days turned into a couple weeks. I love this lifestyle—it’s so unpredictable.

I hear many fulltimers say stuff like if they go off and dry camp, they are ready to bag it after two or three days. They don’t have anything to do, miss other people (in only three days!), and they get bored. Unreal. These are the same people who state that their grandkids need to be constantly entertained. Isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black? I don’t know if I could get enough of being out in the sticks for weeks at a time. I love steppin’ out the door in the morning in a place that demands to be noticed. I love it out here.
I drove about 30 miles south of Moab, turned off rt191, and headed west. After 8 or 10 miles I turned onto a dirt road heading north and came across the spot in the first photo to camp. I do like solitude. The next day I went out for a mountain bike ride and came across another place to camp so I moved the following morning after a nice run checking out land to the west. As luck would have it, while out running the next morning, yep, I found a camping spot I liked even better. When I got back to my camper, I had breakfast, made a fire in the feed pan, drank a mug of coffee and read a bit, gathered up Meadow and Onyx, packed up, and drove down this double track to the site on a rim. Marked down the GPS coordinates so I can find it again if I want. In cold weather, I like to position the casita with the large back window facing the rising sun so the rays help warm up the camper. Pack a compass if you are camping off the grid and thus have this option.

There were plenty of places to explore from the third site and it had warmed up so I decided to hang out for a bit. In a few days I made a run back to Moab for propane, wine, web access, a loaf of stone-baked Ecce Panis olive batard, and to get a map and fill up the Reliance water jugs at Gearheads. Shortly after leaving my site, I went the wrong way at a fork in the road. Since I was more or less going in the right direction, I kept going. After 22 miles, I finally got back to pavement. No big thing, it’s not like I’m on any schedule and I saw some neat stuff like this cave shack in 8 Mile Rock. If you ever find yourself on Looking Glass Road, just a bit south of rt46 (to La Sal), there is a strange community a few miles in from rt191. You’ll see a large rock jutting up from the flats and on the west side there are a number of caves. People have boarded up the openings, put in doors and windows, and made the caves into homes, some with two stories and extensions. While back in Moab, I asked someone about it and he heard it might be a polygamist community. In Utah!? Who would have thought? I need to email Glen to see what he knows about this place. Listened to a ‘Wait, wait’ podcast on the way back to camp. Sure do get some laughs out of that program.
I emailed Glen about what he knew about the rock and was not the least bit surprised that he knew all about it. They should have a local Moab game—Stump Glen. He wrote, “The rock you saw is called Rockland. It's where Bob Foster had his polygamist community. He died recently and I heard that things were in sort of disarray out there. Under that rock are thousands of feet of tunnels with rooms where people have food stored for when the "end" comes. He made his money by renting out the "rooms."

Note the comment posted to this link.
Thanks dixonge!

Most days I hiked along the rim until I came to a drainage and scrambled down to the bottom. After exploring for a couple hours, I looked for another drainage where I could climb back up to the rim. Never had to repeat the same climb. Not bad. The first photo is looking back to where the casita is parked up on the rim. If I knew how to insert an arrow into the jpg, I could point to it. It’s sitting up there in the middle of the shot. Some places just had an easy climb back to the top like the second photo shows and the third one shows I’m almost back up to the top. One drainage in particular widened quite a bit towards the bottom with steep sidewalls, a number of small caves and overhangs, shade, and standing water. I start to think cougar. I climbed up to some of the pockets looking for sign of recent use. Possibly not too smart. I would really prefer to not have my throat ripped out. No fresh sign although I came across some old scat a bit farther down the drainage. I started sending out strong vibes that I truly like cats.

Other days I did some mountain biking or went out for a morning run. Spent time working on my MacBook, reading, tried my hand again at throwing a boomerang (wish it did not generally fly like a Frisbee), worked on some silver pieces, and this-and-that. I was definitely maxed by the time to turn in each night. There was two pair of ravens who came by from time to time riding the updrafts along the rim. Something I do not see ravens do all that often. Way cool. Got back to taking sun-showers. Not bad unless it is November and a breeze comes up. Meadow, Onyx, and I went for a walk at the end of each day, a couple times for nearly an hour. Sure is entertaining. There is flint EVERYWHERE. Should learn how to knap and hit the rendezvous circuit and set up a booth. We were here for the weeks around the full moon, which is always a treat while out dry camping off the grid. I noticed a sign stating no collecting of wood in this area. Wood, along with water, is something I won’t buy. So each day I snagged my black rubber bucket and went out in the sage collecting ‘firewood’. I did use a couple finger-size juniper sticks for some flames to get the cowpies burning well in the feed pan. Reminds me of burning cattails when I was a kid. I dumped the ashes into the bucket each morning and went off to bury them.

Have not seen another person or vehicle the whole time I have been out here. Sure did need this dose of solitude.

I had a cat bed in my fifth wheel but got rid of it when I moved into the casita. There is not a whole lot of space. I recently broke down and bought a small dog bed for Meadow and Onyx. A cat bed was way too small for the two of them. They sure have been enjoying it.

I wonder if I will get any strange looks or see people sniffing the air—the next time I go into a laundromat and take my clothes out of the bag—after two weeks of burning cow sh*t.

‘This is the beginning of a new day.
You have been given this day to use as you will.
You can waste it or use it for good.
What you do today is important because
you are exchanging a day of your life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever;
in its place is something that you have left behind…
let it be something good.’
forgot where I came across this

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Sunday, November 1, 2009

moab, documentaries, deck plate, dipping bars,
uncertainty, and the beaver moon

I don’t like to drive from SLC to Moab all in one day so I went off on some sand roads south of Page for the night.

I spent a week at Lisa and Glen’s place in Moab. They provided a great place to park and are fine people. Glen knows EVERYTHING about local places to hike and camp. He pointed out places to camp south out of Moab in my DeLorme atlas. I’m set. We also had dinner one night with Theresa, one of my old principals, who grows the BEST garlic I’ve ever tasted. I truly enjoy these visits.
If in the area, check out the all volunteer community radio station—KZMU 90.1 and 106.7. They broadcast most of what is happening in town. If you don’t like the music, tune back in later. Each programmer plays the music she likes so the genre changes depending on the day and hour.

As luck would have it, the last Farmer’s Market of the season was on the weekend I was here. I snagged a fabulous loaf of blue cornmeal walnut bread, a VERY decadent small chocolate pie, and a tub of cheese by the local cheese-maker. Lisa picked up ten pounds of Alaskan salmon. I learned that salmon caught miles off the coast tastes way better than river salmon. Salmon are starting to die once they reach the rivers and start to turn red. For the best taste, one wants salmon to still have a silver color. Not that I eat fish but I love learning stuff like this.

A few mornings, I went running along the Old Mail Trail on the Millcreek Rim—beautiful. This old horse trail served as a mail route for miners and ranchers who lived in Wilson and South Mesas in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I missed a wonderful photo by not having my Cyber-shot with me—snow on the sage against red sand and rock—beautiful.

It seems strange that the last three times I’ve stopped in Moab to visit Lisa and Glen, there have been documentary films showing that weekend. This year the Moab Confluence’s 2009 event was called EATING THE WEST and was all about local food and sustainability. One film was about a Swiss Alps cheese maker. Some of the greatest cheeses in the world are made only in the summertime in the spectacular high elevations of the Swiss and French Alps. Cows are allowed to graze on mountainous pasture at higher and higher elevations as the snows melt in the warm weather. The cheese itself is made right there on the slopes in little stone huts. The lush array of herbs, grasses and wildflowers in the alpine meadows make for some of the greatest tasting cheeses in the world—Gruyère, Beaufort, Appenzeller, and Comté. The featured cheese maker was up there with only a young local assistant and a cow herder—WAY up there and very isolated.

Another film was titled the ‘Titans of New Guinea’. These people have fished traditionally for 40,000 years using bamboo spears. After WWII, fishermen had access to fishing line, hooks, outboard motors, and spear guns. Along with this came the use of money. Instead of continuing to trade for items they needed, they now had to catch more fish to earn money for food, clothing, school for their children, etc. With over-fishing the fish population has gone down dramatically. The Nature Conservancy is helping communities, such as the featured Pere village on Manus Island, protect the oceans’ nurseries—coral reefs. The village has recently created a Marine Protected Area to prevent over-fishing on reefs where grouper spawn—a move that will help stabilize fish populations that villagers depend on for survival. Villagers report a promising increase in fish numbers since Pere first imposed limits in 2004.

‘Seeds in the City—The Greening of Havana’ was a very informative film about urban agriculture. City food production has gone up 50% in just 5 years. As many as 100,000 Havana residents are involved in growing food. Many work their own backyard gardens, while others join together in collectives to work vacant plots of land provided by the state. Still others hire themselves out to work fields started in front of colleges, hospitals, factories and office buildings. More than 90% of perishable vegetables eaten in Havana are grown locally.

‘Fridays at the Farm’ was a presentation about a photographer/filmmaker and his family who decided to join a community-supported organic farm in Pennsylvania. They head up there on Fridays to work and spend time quality time out in nature focusing on the natural processes of food cultivation. The presentation looks like video but it was compiled from nearly 20,000 still images featuring time-lapse and macro photography sequences. Way cool.

One morning I went for a short hike with Glen to some 10,000-year-old cliff art. I thought Moab was pretty much overrun with ATVs, and it is, but there are still many trails that are accessible to only hikers and mountain bikes. Where we pulled off the road, there was no designated trailhead and not really all that much of a trail. Absolutely stellar.
I emailed Glen about the art and he wrote back, “The rock art we went to is the really old stuff. They generally refer to it as the Desert Archaic. It's the same as they find over in the Maze in Barrier Canyon. So sometimes people call that rock art the Barrier Canyon style. The normal rock art that you see around here is much more recent.” Didn’t I say he knows everything about the area? Unbelievable.
Stop in Gearheads on Main Street if you could use some information, maps, camping gear, or need to fill up your flasks and jugs with free filtered water. Two good maps for the area are Moab West and East Trails, recreation topo maps of trail and road access on public lands by Latitude 40˚ maps.

I rarely use my fresh water holding tank, preferring Reliance jugs. The last time I used the tank was the summer of 2007 for the weekly double-overnights up on the Kaibab. I installed a 6” deck plate ($12 at a marine supply store) on the tank. After cutting the hole, I soaked up the standing water in there and cleaned out the inside with bleach. After the tank dried and aired out, I began using it for storage. I don’t come across natural food stores all that often in my back-road travels, so when I do, I hit the bulk bines and stock up with about 15 pounds of TVP, nutritional yeast, cous-cous, and other grains and legumes and place the plastic bags in the holding tank. Works well. I also throw in some off-season clothes. I’m sure others won’t consider the storage aspect but anyone who regularly uses their water tank might consider installing a deck plate for periodic cleaning of the tank.

Scott fabricated a set of dipping bars for me while I was up in SLC that I can use outside the casita. I drilled two holes in the bellyband and thread rope through them to secure the bars against the trailer. I’ve been working on my lungs, heart, and legs, now the bars should help me build back some upper body strength. Thanks again, Scott.

I plan to spend a couple days down in the canyon rims recreation area, just east of Canyonlands National Park. I recently heard that there have been bear sightings in that area. For some reason a couple have come down from the mountains. Way strange. It’s November and I’m still a bit too far north so I need to be getting on into New Mexico soon.
From time to time in my travels, I talk to RVers and their mindset seems to want it all planned out. One pulls out his RV park directory and picks the RV park or campground where he will be that night. He pretty much sticks to the interstates and has a list of the standard tourist attractions to visit. It’s like connect-the-dots, secure, but kind of boilerplate, lackluster, and dull. The camper mindset seems more open. One has a general idea of where he will be camping that night. He will have checked out DeLorme to see where the public lands are or will follow a tip a friend might have given him. No idea of what he will find there. Campers look at this uncertainty in a positive way—somewhat compelling, a little spice, a little adventure, maybe a little risk. These people tend to be more laid back and roll with the punches. If a place does not work out—so what? Just roll on. As we grow older many constrict their boundaries; they continue to seek what is comfortable, familiar, and safe. These are our last years—why not look at things more openly?

November – The Full Beaver Moon. Time to set beaver traps before the swamps freeze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Beaver Full Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now active in their preparation for winter. Also called the Frosty Moon.

We find comfort among those who agree with us
growth among those who don't.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Friday, October 16, 2009

out of here

I’ll let my bumper sticker say it for me.

Yee-hah, we’re rollin’!

After these past four months, I will finally be getting back to the lifestyle I most enjoy. I really appreciate getting emails from those of you who have come across my blog, as well as those friends who have been following it all along. Thank you. It’s like a virtual social-fix whenever I come back onto the grid for supplies and access the web. Thank you, thank you.

give me a low-rider camp chair, a small fire,
a well written book, a bottle of Bordeaux,
some bread and cheese

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Sunday, October 11, 2009

meadow and onyx, horses, deer, turkeys,
‘a walk in the woods’, pam, cathy,
du pre books, and the hunters moon

Remember I stated back in August that Meadow and Onyx have been ready to move on? Instead of their usual roaming, they frequently sit around the site. I thought this shot was cute. It’s as if they are saying,
‘Hey Sebo, this is the road out of here, in case you don’t know. Let’s go. Pack up and pick us up.’

Another climber I met was Pam. A nice lady I enjoyed spending time with. She lent me ‘A Walk in the Woods’ Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. Very informative and entertaining. Two way out-of-shape friends try their hand at hiking the AT. Bryson has some hilarious lines about equipment, their ineptitude, and some of the people they come across on their travels. Thanks Pam. We also went to a local mountain man rendezvous. The next time I go to one of those, I have to plan to see the various events. We also had a fabulous 3-hour dinner at Ruth’s down in Salt Lake with a bottle of Merlot and on another night, some great Thai food and Thai beer. That was SUCH a treat.

NINE raccoons! Unreal. How many do they have in a litter? Between number eight and number nine, I caught a feral cat. Really nice looking feline but too old to try and adopt. I once took in a feral cat that was trapped in a Havahart once but she was only about two months old. It took a while but she turned into a real sweetie. That’s the one that an RV’er stole. Anyway, I released this cat in the spot where I release the raccoons.

With the sun dropping lower, the rays filter through more branches so I have to break down and run the Honda 1000 for an hour twice a week. Can’t really grouse since I did not have to run it all summer even though I was parked in the shade. Sure do like my 50watt solar panel.

This is a shot of the guard station up South Willow canyon. I set up the casita out back. No one has lived in the station for years. One afternoon I heard some horses trotting down the road. I looked and saw that the horses had gotten out. They ran up the driveway to the pasture gate but before I could unlock the gate, they turned and started back towards the road. I managed to stop them and closed the lower gate. Cows and deer feed on the lawn, so I figured might as well let the horses have their turn. After they grazed, they meandered back up to their pasture.
One day I was waxing the roof of my casita and looked up to see these turkeys. Sure do like always having a camera in my pocket. Another time I was sitting out back and this group came up. Another time there were two deer in the same spot.

Read another Du Pre book by Peter Bowen, as always, set in Big Sky country. Gabriel Du Pre ‘is part Metis Indian and 100% intuitive sleuth, you’ve never met anyone quite like him’. Good reads with quite a cast of characters. Some lines from ‘Thunder Horse’:
‘Father Ban Den Heuvel, the big clumsy Jesuit who had the little church in Toussaint, fumbled through the front door. His long black wool overcoat was misbuttoned and he was bleeding from his left hand.
Only man I ever know, thought Du Pre, knock himself cold shutting his head in the door of his car.
Bunch of times.
Saw him try to chop wood once. Jesus.’

Only working twenty-hour weeks this summer was great. These are two shots from early morning runs up the road. Got in much better shape than I have in years with all the hiking and my runs are up to one and a half hours. Still hours to go but at least I’m making progress. Sure do not want to look, think, or act like others my age.

I hiked up to the cabin-floor (what I used to call the cabin) one last time. The forest crew didn’t make it back up this year to finish taking everything out. Had one last fire with a thermos of yerba mate, my low-rider, and a Zane Gray. Not bad.

Cathy and I had a last hike up Pockets Fork, along the crest trail for a stretch, and then we dropped down into the top of Dry Fork. One shot is along the South Willow Lake trail looking towards Deseret Peak. Absolutely stellar! (As a side note, the skiers cabin was in the thick line of trees up on the left side of the photo under the two coulees [that they ski]). Then we had to do a half hour of atonement. Good grief! This other shot is where we left the crest trail and started down. I think we both lost track of how many times we slipped, fell, rolled, and tumbled down the slopes through sage, mud, and snow until we cut a trail. Not bad for someone nearly 60 and one a couple years older. Yee-hah!

Sure has been colder here than last October. A few times my water line has been frozen in the morning. Never happened last year. Don’t think I will be hanging around when my time’s up here like I did last year.

Getting close, only one more week. Been saying goodbye to campers I have met here the last two summers. Visiting with friends in Salt Lake and getting some last hikes in with friends from this area. Will be stopping at Janet and Mauricio’s for a couple days then down to Moab to visit with Lisa and Glen. After that I’d like to spend some time in Canyonlands before continuing on to New Mexico. Want to spend some time with Siscily and see how the summer went with her kayak business. There are also a number of places I want to check out in NM that I didn’t get to the last couple of winters.
Then over to Bisbee to catch up on eating out with Lynn. And more hiking with David. At least he probably won’t still be able to hike me into the ground. He also opened up a gallery on Main St., Jewelry Designs by Owen. Can’t wait to see it.

The October full moon is called the Full Hunter’s Moon. With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can ride over the stubble, and can more easily see the fox, also other animals that have come out to glean and can be caught for a thanksgiving banquet after the harvest. Different strokes.

Broaden your appetites, grasshopper,
and the world will feed your soul.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’