Tuesday, December 7, 2010

campgrounds


I had the misfortune of spending a few days in a campground this past summer. I wanted to stay in an area but it was all primarily private land. Guano. After a day I probably knew the names of all the dogs and children in the nearby sites with having met only a few. Unreal.

Since I enjoy isolated camping out on public land so much, it really seems strange to me that I don’t seem to mind campgrounds during the winter months—until this year. I’m having trouble adjusting to the confinement of a campground and the rules. I’ve been feeling boxed in and I have to be more concerned about M&M when we are around campers and RVers. Even my activities are limited. Might need to come up with something else for the winters. These transient communities aren’t really my thing. But then there’s the wimp factor—I appreciate having access to indoor hot showers in the winter (although they are not really all that hot). The sun-shower bag has been working fine for me eight months out of the year. But there have been a few times when I thought I might as well join a polar bear club. Took my last sun shower for the year on November 24.

I stay in the less popular state parks where there are fewer rigs than in the parks along interstates. Some of these parks are almost empty and all the ones I visit are rarely close to being full. Campers don’t tend to be out in the winter; there are a few but it’s generally all RVs. Even with a number of rigs in a park, it feels pretty empty since RVers tend to stay inside their rigs rather than be out hiking around exploring and with the colder temps and winds, people don’t tend to sit outside by a fire in the evening so at least it’s pretty quiet. I enjoy going for walks after dark but the exterior lights on the RVs kind of put a damper on experiencing the full enjoyment of the night sky. I’m already looking forward to getting back in the mountains. I go off for a week of dry camping out on public land once a month and this is somewhat helpful. Well—summer’s coming.


Once I start to head north until sometime in November—forget campgrounds. Granted there are a lot of nice campgrounds out there, particularly some of the primitive ones miles up forest roads. But in campgrounds there are campers—so wildlife will be scarce. There can also be dogs running loose, children and adults walking through your campsite, people calling out to their dogs and children, noise after quiet hours, loud music during the day (even when camping next to a bubbling creek!), generators, chain saws, trash, and I think I’ll just stop here. On the whole, many ‘campers’ do not seem to have a grasp of basic campground etiquette or any appreciation of being out in Nature. Granted, one is outdoors—but not what I consider being out in Nature. When I step outside in the mornings, I don’t want to see other rigs—I want to hear sounds of nature and see wildlife. I want to take in the local flora and splendid views. For me, these are the sights-to-see. I go the mountains to feel a contentment that only Nature can bestow. That’s why I live this lifestyle. One can’t get that in a campground.

December Night Sky—these stars mark the location of a special spiral object. It is so distant that we can’t see anything farther away. The light from it is over 2,200,000 years old. Guess? She is the daughter of a King and Queen who spin around the North Star. Guess? According to Greek myths, Andromeda, daughter of Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus, was a very good lookin’ princess and her mother bragged about this a lot. This angered the gods so Andromeda was chained to the rocks and left there for the monsters of the sea. Yep, along comes the hero, Perseus, son of Zeus. In the sky it seems as if Andromeda is being carried to safety by Pegasus.
The farthest point we can see with our own eyes is the Great Spiral Nebula, also know as M31. The beautiful star-island is a galaxy. Follow a line from Polaris through Schedar in Cassiopeia (the bottom star in the right side of the ‘W’). It point to the Great Spiral. It’s not too bright so wait for a dark night. It’s fuzzy not a pinpoint like a star.

To find harmony, one's life has to be in balance.
One needs balance so one can walk in beauty.
In the end, it is all up to me.
(forgot where I came across these lines)


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Monday, November 8, 2010

tucked away in the mountains
with felines and birds



Maybe it comes from living alone with two felines, but I often find myself verbalizing my thanks when I’m out hiking and come across a stellar scene, the song of a bird, a strong scent, or a stream where I can cool off. I’ll pass on relating the things I say but you might want to try it. It also brings me back to the present if I’m off daydreaming. Can’t quite bring myself to do it yet, if I’m hiking with a friend. A few think I’m strange enough as it is. But then stopping to think for a minute, a few of my friends are pretty strange and probably no doubt wonder why I’m not doing so.











The earth can seem fragile and I truly believe that we are trashing it with the all too prevalent screw-the-grandchildren mindset. We are here for such a short span of time and it absolutely rots how we are destroying it. We’ve done more damage in the last hundred years than in all previous years combined. Maybe one reason I like to get so far off the asphalt is that occasionally I get to feel otherwise. When hiking up in the mountains, the earth doesn’t seem weak. The land has strength, vitality, and resilience. The earth does not feel like it’s going to shatter. I know it is only an illusion but I really need to experience this from time to time. Different strokes, but I do feel a tug to the mountains (& desert), as they say, ‘a call to nature’. In the mountains one can get a sense of restfulness that only Nature can bestow. Mountains can give shelter and sustenance and beauty all at the same time. That’s awesome.
Being off the grid, out in Nature—it’s easier here where only the fundamentals count.

When I first set up an isolated camp spot in a new area, I feel somewhat out of place—I don’t quite fit in. After a few days this changes and I start to feel at home. Day hikes let me find out about outlying areas and evening walks with Meadow and Mesa have us exploring all around the immediate area. The local wildlife start to take us in stride. It does not take long to learn their habits and routines, occasionally even recognizing individuals. I also notice that a lot of animals seem to be curious about domestic cats and come in for a closer look. The animals don’t seem to feel anywhere near as uneasy around the felines as they would if there was a dog in camp. The days become more comfortable and I often find myself putting off the day that I had planned to roll out. Sure am enjoying this lifestyle.

Presently I seem to feel best when I can find a secluded camping spot near a trailhead. If it’s a trailhead to a network of trails, all the better. The more time I hike in the mountains, the more I seem to enjoy hiking in and of itself. I was never into hiking when I was primarily a trail runner. Now it’s something like, slow down and smell the roses. I like a good hike, though—4 to 6 hours with a 3,000’ to 4,000’ elevation gain feels pretty good. It seems strange, but being alone up in rough terrain eventually lends a feeling of security. Maybe that’s one reason I like felines—for their self-sufficient independence. Being out in Nature, making use of Her fitness program, watching the local animals, coming across water, traveling the varied terrain, just plain hours in the Outdoors using my legs to get around, being away from my camper—it cannot get much better. Rock and sky—pretty simple—but often that’s best.

There are some good primitive campgrounds in the national forests but I stick to tucked away camping spots off the spur roads and I generally manage to come across some really nice places. A couple times I’ve gone a week or more without seeing anyone from my camp. From time to time I come across other hikers on the trails and have enjoyable talks to take care of my social fix. Just about perfect.


I was standing outside one evening. It was getting dark but the sky was still somewhat light. There was a medium size bird out a ways, flying slowly about fifteen feet off the ground. For some reason the bird turned and flew towards me and I saw it was a small owl. She flew by real close and I did not even hear a whisper of sound. She circled around and came back a bit off to the side, flapping her wings and I still could not hear anything. Awesome. I’m really surprised and pleased with all the wildlife encounters I have with this lifestyle. Don’t know why the owl came over in the first place. Maybe she just never saw a two-legged creature releasing excess fluids from its body. (^_~)

Silent flight gives owls the ability to capture prey by stealth, and also allows the owl to use its hearing to locate potential prey. The most unique adaptation of owl feathers is the comb-like (fringe-like) leading edge of the primary wing feathers. With a normal bird in flight, air rushes over the surface of the wing, creating turbulence, which makes a gushing noise. With an owl's wing, the comb-like feather edge breaks down the turbulence into little groups, like micro-turbulences. This muffles the sound of the air rushing over the wing surface and allows the owl to fly silently. There is also an alternate theory that the leading feathers actually shift the sound energy created by the wing-beats to a higher frequency spectrum, where most creatures (including prey and humans) cannot hear. Either way, owls are truly awesome night hunters.

Another bird I really like is the raven. Ravens have a distinct sound to their wing beat and whenever I hear it, I look for the bird. Once I looked up and there were two ravens flying close to each other, maybe 4’, while they were diving, swooping, and climbing as they flew by and past as far as I could see. WAY cool. Imagine being able to do that with the one you love?

November Night Sky—part of this constellation makes a large square. It is a major reference point for navigators. Two of these stars are very close to the line that marks the starting point for telling time and for pinpointing locations in the sky and on the planet. Care to guess?
Pegasus is the Winged Horse. For navigators and skywatchers, the ‘Great Square of Pegasus’ is a key corner of the sky. The line from Algenib through Alpheratz is very close to the line that marks the beginning point for mapping the whole sky. This is the ‘0 hour angle’. It helps navigators find the direction and location of everything else in the sky and on earth. Alpheratz is the zenith star on midnight of the first day of fall (directly overhead).

Nature is man’s teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search,
unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart;
and influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.
Alfred Bilings Street, poet


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Monday, November 1, 2010

designs by owen




Bisbee is a strange town to have a business. One needs to be on the first block of Main Street. If not, at least be on the next half block and, most definitely, on the north side of the street.
My friend David, moved his gallery to a stellar location. It’s hard for me to believe but I think the new shop looks even better than the last one. After living in Bisbee and going back each spring to visit, I’d say it is probably the best looking gallery in Bisbee with fabulous artwork. The lighting and overall setup shows real class. One will definitely feel that they just stepped up into another level of store when they enter Design by Owen. NICELY DONE, David!

Happiness is self-contentedness.
Aristotle


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Saturday, October 2, 2010

chama to moab





I sure was spoiled for most of the summer with more or less regular web access. Now it’s back to my normal lifestyle with access whenever I have to run into a town for supplies.

I looked into taking the following position outside of Sedona, AZ. I knew it would be hot there but when I looked up the monthly average highs for the year—I said forget it. Besides I took the A/C off the casita. The owners are a couple of stellar artists.

“WE ARE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO CARE FOR OUR PROPERTY.
 OUR 2 TRUST WORTHY SAFE HORSES MAY OR MAY NOT BE 
UNDER YOUR CARE TO FEED AND LOVE. 
IN CASE YOU WOULD BRING YOUR OWN TRAILER TO LIVE IN 
THEN THIS WOULD A PLUS. 
WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO BE ABLE TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
 upkeep on low maintenance holding with house and 
outbuildings in exchange for living space. 
watering of 4 fruit trees and
 some outdoor plants that are left and right of the
 house,
 and what ever upkeep necessary relating to the
 structures, all 
new and in good condition.
 This precious place is on the very end of a 7
miles rough
 dirt road, 
approximately thirty five minutes from town. The 
surrounding 
land is very beautiful 
and very unpopulated, lots of wildlife. We are 
basically surrounded by national forest 
land. Hiking and riding trails abound, ruins
 dating back 800 to 1000 years are everywhere 
present...you need only discover 
them. There are a zillion stars, much privacy and
quietude. 

There are no fast food chains down the block and 
no pizza hut. 
All Kinds of vegetation, variety depending on season 
and every year a bit different.
 You will have a nice view on the Kasner Mountain 
and some idyllic shady spots.”


After spending some time with me, a new friend, out of the blue, guessed my sign. Caught me by surprise, so I looked up general traits for my sign on the web.

“Don't expect an Aquarian to follow the crowd. They are individuals who like to do their own thing and they enjoy being different. Aquarians relish in their unconventional ways. Their unusual thoughts lead them to think "outside of the box". They need to retire from the world at times and to become temporary loners.” Well, that kinda hits close.


I’m set with my social-fix for quite a while now. Thought I might OD on all the new people I was meeting in Chama. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it also sure felt good to get back off the grid to more natural living. It might be the old ‘looking to nature for nurture’. It does not take long before I feel released and restored in these secluded spots and it’s as reliable as the gods who provide it. Kind of strange, but truly appreciated.



It took 9 days to travel the 215 miles from Chama, NM to the Hatch Point area south of Moab. I’m sure one friend could have gotten there faster pulling a Shelter Cart (sheltercart.com). One day I drove only a mile farther down a dirt road. Another day, two miles. My kind of driving days.
I came across a couple of isolated spots that felt really good so I stayed a while. Both of them were at the end of double tracks—one in the mountains and one out in the desert.

It’s been a hoot shooting my longbow lately. I picked up some judo points and replaced some target tips. Now instead of standing there shooting at a target butt, I’m walking along shooting at pine cones, tufts of grass, clumps of leaves, dirt clods, and whatnot. I’m sure it’s possible to loose an arrow with a judo point but it would be pretty difficult. Might even trash my target now that I have an alternative and it definitely takes up a lot of room. Sure do like instinctive shooting without a sight or using point-of-aim. Constantly varying the distance to targets is a challenge that I’m thoroughly enjoying. It’s like going out every day and shooting a field archery course.


On a run one morning, I came up on two pronghorn. Really surprised me that I got within a hundred yards of one as it stood there watching me approach. Then they took off but not bounding like deer. They just had a walking stride. Not all that fast but they sure covered ground. Wish I could run as fast as they can walk.
As a side note, one occasionally hears pronghorn referred to as ‘pronghorn antelope’. They are not antelope. Probably the same people who call American bison, ‘buffalo’.



This is what these two have been doing after our daily walks, lying down—couple of wimps. Notice how muddy the Cherokee and Casita are? It’s been raining and I went through some puddles on these dirt roads. Three of them were pretty long and deep so I picked up speed to get some momentum and hit the water. What a rush. Muddy water everywhere and the Jeep and Casita both fishtailing as we sailed through. We made it through each one but twice only just barely. I love this life. Traction sure would not have gotten us through. We would have bogged. All the tread on the LT tires (and the trailer’s) were caked with mud and looked like slicks. I looked at the built up mud on the casita when I was making camp and it was one inch thick (with pebbles). Figured I would have to wait until it dried up so I could get back out. It rained the next two days. When I rolled out a little over a week later, water was still in the low spots and the mud was even deeper since the soil was totally saturated. Had to edge around them so two Jeep tires stayed on dry ground for traction. Couldn’t do this lifestyle without 4-wheel drive.


Here’s an old Cherokee story called ‘Two Wolves’.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
"The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


October Night Sky—check out Comet Hartley 2. It makes its closest approach to Earth this month. At the beginning of the month, you’ll need binoculars to see it as it moves through Cassiopeia and into Perseus. By the 18th look for it east of Capella in Auriga. Look for a long tail pointing southwest.
Something else to check out in October is Uranus. It is usually difficult to pick out from the background stars but this month it moves across the sky with Jupiter, both in Aquarius. Uranus shines with a blue-green light. Using binoculars it can be seen above and to the left, within 2 degrees, of Jupiter.
Hold your hand at arm’s length. A finger’s width is approximately 4 degrees.

Clay is molded to make a vessel,
but the utility of the vessel lies in the space where there is nothing.
Thus, taking advantage of what is, we recognize the utility of what is not.
from Tao Te Ching by Lao Tze


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

learning to fly—part two
starting to get past the crashing



Since the lost plane fiasco, I downloaded a number of articles on learning to fly electric RC planes as well as J. Carpenter’s eBook ‘Beginner’s Guide to flying RC airplanes’. $250 late but hey… I get to chapter 13 (!) titled, ‘Crashing’ and it starts off, ‘Crashing is all part of the hobby of radio control flying…’. I seem to recall James also alluding to this. Not exactly the best incentive to get one into the hobby.


James stopped by for a couple days on his way back to Rodeo. The first shot is him bringing my Radian in for a landing. Like I stated in the last flying entry, he’s an ace. But—he has not had a good summer. I didn’t see the Multiplex Easy Glider Pro he was flying when I first met him. I asked him about it—it got destroyed. I asked him about his Radian—he’s waiting for parts. The wings loosen up over time and he had masking tape wrapped around to ends to snug up the fit. Apparently not enough. On one flight—the wings fell off. He said it was pretty cool how they fluttered down. I then asked about his Multiplex Easy Star. On one flight he noticed smoke. Not good. The ESC (electronic speed control) caught fire. He was able to salvage some parts from the crash, however. He was presently flying a Dynaflite ‘Bird of Time’ with a 108” wingspan. It looked awesome up in the air since it was so big. You’re probably know what’s going to happen. Yep, it crashed. The battery died and all control to the plane was lost.
I’m beginning to see why this hobby is not all that popular.


A couple people from further up the valley found my first plane while they were out walking their dog. The sailplane was twice as far away as I had thought. It was nowhere near the grids I was working. The pieces were scattered probably 40’. This is what they looked like all gathered together. Only one wing was salvageable. I had put in a total of 5 hours looking for that sucker. At least I got in three Wait, Wait podcasts and one podcast of From the Top while searching so the time was pleasant. If the Radian didn’t look so cool as it is flying, I really would bag this costly endeavor.

My second Radian was getting trashed from all the crashes. The fuselage was repaired so often that I was no longer able to keep the nose straight. With the propellers pointing a bit to the left only made it all the more difficult to fly the plane. I ordered a new fuselage and transferred the parts. That was an experience.

The more I learn about RC planes on the web, the more daunting the task seems. Since crashing occurs EVERY time I attempt to fly, that’s what I have been researching (I won’t tell you what my running buddy said about that). A prime explanation for a crash is ‘flying beyond one’s current capabilities’. Since I do not have any capabilities when it comes to flying—this might explain it. Another cause might be ‘structural failure of a flying surface’. Nope, everything gets glued back together after each crash. Some really cool things I’m looking forward to are: ‘Radio failure’, ‘a servo linkage breaking’, ‘less than adequate battery levels’, ‘a stall too close to the ground’, and more ‘disorientation’. Disorientation happens when your plane gets too far away from you to see clearly, which direction it's pointing and exactly what it's doing. Yep, been there, done that, have the wreckage photo to prove it. Disorientation also happens if you fly directly over your head and behind you. As you look up and turn, your eye to brain communications can become momentarily ‘distracted’ as you lose all visual reference to everything. You suddenly lose track of what your plane is doing. This is all getting to sound like a joke.

It’s been my experience that the wrong input from me on the toggles at the wrong moment usually means one thing—The Walk of Shame—and upon reaching the impact zone—start the ceremonial and embarrassing collection of wreckage that was, only a few seconds earlier, my RC sailplane. I really need to get past this Crash-and-Burn stage.

At one point I finally realized, that realistically, I cannot possibly be crashing as often as I do. So I came to the only plausible conclusion— someone is camping off in the trees and shooting down my plane.




Well the good news is that I’m still only on my second Radian—haven’t lost or totally destroyed it yet. Can actually keep it in the air for a few minutes. But jeez is there a lot to learn.




Heading over to southern Utah for a few weeks. Back to sparse internet access.

September Night Sky—this constellation fits right inside the Milky Way. This is also the home of the ‘Dumbbell Nebula’. Some think it’s a cross. Others believe it’s a bird. Want to guess the constellation?
Cygnus, the Swan, is also known as the Northern Cross. Albireo is at the Swan’s head as it flies south. Albireo is not very bright, but it is a beautiful two-color double star. Easy to see with binoculars since it’s in the Milky Way. Clusters, clouds, and variable stars fill the field. Cygnus is also the location of another candidate for a black hole, Cygnus X-1.

Buy lemonade from any kid who is selling.
Give money to all street musicians.
Robert Fulghum


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

little beaver pow-wow, paige bridges art,
this and that, and cherishing each day




Some locals took me to the Little Beaver Pow-wow over in Dulce. Oh man, VERY impressive. The Grand Entrance when all the dancers came into the arena was absolutely fabulous. The mother/daughter competition was great. The styles varied quite a bit and I had no idea what the criteria was for each round of elimination. Thoroughly enjoyed everything I saw that evening.

When in my 5th wheel, I had a number of vintage travel trailer prints by Paige Bridges. She does absolutely stellar work. When I scaled down to my casita I had to acquire all new prints since the ones I had were too large. I have emailed Paige a few times over the years and she’s a wonderful person.

Check out this youtube clip about her.

Also check out her site.
Keep her boxes of Christmas cards in mind as the season approaches.


I took this shot out the back window one morning. With this lifestyle, one should look out the windows each morning before making any noise or turning on lights. Sometimes wildlife is pretty close.

I recently reread ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson. What a fabulous little book about changes in one’s life. Move with the cheese. Lent it to Siscily and she really enjoyed it. She is getting married next week and retiring from the NM park service in a few weeks. At this time, I don’t think it is possible for her to get the huge, bright smile off her face.

I emailed Lynn down in Bisbee about a new sticker I put on the casita—
‘Adventure before Dementia’.
She wrote back, ‘Well... some people might think YOUR form of adventure... wandering off on uncharted paths and living off the grid... IS a sign of dementia.”
I love having friends with a sense of humor.


On the way back from an errand trip to Pagosa Springs one day, I drove the Cherokee down some forest roads along rt84 looking for perspective places for some secluded camping with the casita. Found some places that would work for me. Passed some ‘campers’ sitting around with bug zapper rackets and a couple six-packs. Ya think I might be a bit too far off the grid? (^_~) Down the last forest road, I came across a Casita. Michael lives in Tucson and he was out and about for a few weeks with Toby. I’ll probably meet up with him for a day when I get down to Bisbee in March. He has a 2010 model. Sure is a lot shinier than my 2001.


I was weeding through some folders on my MacBook and came across this piece by Ann Wells, ‘A Story to Live By’—an old newspaper essay about loss and cherishing each day. The original title was, ‘What Special Someday Are We Saving For?’.

“My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package.
"This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie."
He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite: silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.
"Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least eight or nine years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion."
He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment. Then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.
"Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.
Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event--such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for a small bag of groceries without wincing.
I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends.
"Someday" and "one of these days" are fighting a losing battle to stay in my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing--I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with--someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write--one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.
I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.
And every morning when I open my eyes I tell myself that this is a special occasion.“

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

Monday, August 9, 2010

don't sit on your ticket









Most mornings as it is getting light I hear the elk calling as they work their way out of the woods into the meadows. After it is light I go out and generally see something like this. Way cool.


Robert Fulghum tells this story of an airport encounter. ‘Out of one person’s moment of comic despair has come perspective for all’. He presents it as a letter.

“Dear Fellow Pilgrim,

"There you were, Hong Kong airport, end of the summer of 1984, tensely occupying a chair next to mine. Everything about you said ‘Young American Traveler Going Home.’ You had by then exchanged jeans and T-shirt for sarong and sandals. Sensible short hair had given way to hair long and loose. The backpack beside you bore the scars and dirt of some hard traveling, and it bulged with mysterious souvenirs of seeing the world. Lucky kid, I thought.

“When the tears began to drip from your chin, I imagined some lost love or the sorrow of giving up adventure for college classes. But when you began to sob, you drew me into your sadness. Guess you had been very alone and very brave for some time. A good cry was in order. And weep you did. All over me. A monsoon of grievous angst. My handkerchief and your handkerchief and most of a box of tissues and both your sleeves were needed to dry up the flood before you finally got it out.

“Indeed, you were not quite ready to go home; you wanted to go further on. But you had run out of money and your friends had run out of money, and so here you were having spent two days waiting in the airport standby with little to eat and too much pride to beg. And your plane was about to go. And you had lost your ticket. You cried all over me again. You had been sitting in this one spot for three hours, sinking into the cold sea of despair like some torpedoed freighter. At moments you thought you would sit there until you died.

“After we dried you off, I and a nice older couple from Chicago who were also swept away in the tide of your tears, offered to take you to lunch and to talk to the powers that be at the airlines about some remedy. You stood up to go with us, turned around to pick up your belongings. And SCREAMED. I thought you had been shot. But no…it was your ticket. You found your ticket. You had been sitting on it. For three hours.

“Like a sinner saved from the very jaws of hell, you laughed and cried and hugged us all and were suddenly gone. Off to catch a plane for home and what next. Leaving most of the passenger lounge deliriously limp from being part of your drama.”



That’s quite a story. The lady was sitting on her own ticket. I’ve sure sat on my ‘ticket’ all too often in this life. Sitting on whatever it was that kept me from getting up and on to what comes next. Not so much any more, though.

August Night Sky—The annual Perseid meteor shower occurs this month just after New Moon, so this will be a relatively favorable year to view these meteors, with only a small crescent Moon confined to the evening sky. These meteors are tiny particles from the comet P/109 Swift-Tuttle, "burning up" as they hit our upper atmosphere at a speed of 40 miles per second. The bad news is that the peak of the shower occurs in the evening for us, so the best time for viewing these meteors is in the hour before morning twilight begins on the mornings of August 12 and 13. The best way to view them is to sit in a folding lounge chair facing northeast.

May you live every day of your life.
Jonathan Swift


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
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Monday, July 12, 2010

house sitting in cañones valley






House sitting here is excellent. The first shot is looking west towards the house and greenhouse and then a shot past the greenhouse facing east. Not bad. The third photo is past where I’ve got the casita set up. Early each morning I go into the house and feed the dogs. Every other morning, after yerba mate, I mountain bike up the dirt road two miles, stash the bike in the brush and go off on a run up the mountain for a couple hours. Heaven must be like this. If I don’t come across any elk, at least I see plenty of deer. After breakfast I go out to the greenhouse to water the plants, weed and check out what I will have for lunch. Pat brews beer so there are a slew of hop plants to water once a week. Ate all the rhubarb but it was at the end of the growing cycle. Guano. Wish I knew how to bake a pie. Sometimes in the morning but at least every evening, I take the dogs for a walk. Other chores are mowing and trimming the grass and watering the indoor and patio plants, watering and turning the compost. Not bad. Really lucked out with this gig and lucked out with the owners of the property. Nice people.

I was thinking about trying house sitting and caretaking after I met Debbie the other summer up in Utah. She and her husband have been doing it for 20 years. Now that I have an idea of what it entails, I’m thinking of joining one of the organizations that post positions on the web and see what comes of it.


There are numerous small ponds like this all through the valley. It really is a choice location. I was out with the dogs one evening and saw an elk that could not have been more than 2 days old. It was SO cute but they seem SO vulnerable when that young.


I was out mountain biking one morning while I was still over at Siscily’s place and came across these black bear tracks. I think this might be the first time I’ve come across bear tracks. I asked around and there’s a good deal of sightings in the area. Wish I could run faster.

As always, play is important to me. With this field so handy, I’m starting to get the hang of throwing a boomerang. Nowhere near consistent, but after watching some youtube videos and experimenting with the variables, it’s starting to make sense. Something else I tried was making a bola. I drilled through 3 golf balls and attached them with 2’ lengths of 1/8” line. Even throwing something as simple as this is taking a while to get the knack of. I also set up a target and am back to shooting my longbow. Life is good. Well, except for my time with my new electric sailplane but I’ll save that for its own entry.

Have also been meeting some really nice people. Had breakfast down the road with some new friends on the 4th of July. We made omelets in bags. I’ve read about it but haven’t seen it done. Way cool. RJ had a table set up outside with bowls of various items to put in an omelet and a pitcher of whipped eggs. We each took a ziplock freezer bag, put our name on it, poured in a ladle of eggs, different items from the bowls, pressed the air out of the bag and dropped it in a big pot of boiling water. Served on paper plates with plastic forks sure made short work of cleanup for 8 people. Definitely will be trying this on my own.
Went to the fireworks in Chama with another group of new friends. Sure am getting my social fix. Two of these people were also into running ultras. THAT was a pleasant surprise. Have gone on some runs with one of them and boy, does she make me feel like a wuss. I’ve said for the last couple years that I would like to get strong enough to run another ultra, probably only a 50K, but the way my running has been progressing (or not), realistically, there was no way I’d be that strong again—but then I arrived here. I can’t believe how much I’ve progressed in just one month. Between the mountain trails and being pushed by my new running buddy, I’m beginning to feel that it is possible. Not bad for a transplant survivor. But this lady has been through way more than me and she’s out there pushing even harder so it’s not like I can just continue to wimp out here. We’ll see.


Went on a 12 mile trail run from Heron Lake SP down to El Vado SP and back on the Rio Chama Trail with Robin and her sister. VERY nice time.

The Dutchman was passing through the area and staying down at Heron Lake. Ed’s been full-timing in a casita longer than I have. I stopped down and had a good visit. He assembled his Klepper folding kayak and has been putting time in out on the lake. I might see him in southern New Mexico this winter since he has been wintering down there also.

July Night Sky—Comets are pristine remnants from the formation of the solar system that are comprised of minerals, rock and mostly ice, much like a dirty snowball. They travel around the sun in elliptical orbits and can be inclined to the plane of the solar system at any angle. Comets can sprout tails extending many tens of millions of miles, during their closest approach to the sun. Short period comets are thought to come from the Kuiper Belt on the outskirts of Neptune’s orbit and further, and longer period comets are thought to come from the Oort cloud, a vast spherical shell that surrounds the solar system at a huge distance. Recent spacecraft encounters with comets seem to raise more questions then they answer and some finds are quite unexpected. NASA targets some of these bodies with spacecraft loaded with instrumentation that help tease out the secrets lurking in these icy bodies.

Do something you WANT to
not something on your SHOULD DO list.


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Saturday, June 19, 2010

learning to fly



Initially I was climbing up to the barn roof and jumping off. It wasn’t working. I had no problem with take off and flying to a lower elevation. Gaining altitude, sustained flight, and landing, however, were somewhat problematic. So I started to learn to fly a Radian electric sailplane. That also did not work well.










These first two shots are of a friend flying his Radian. Never a problem.





















The third shot is of my sailplane just prior to the first flight. The fourth photo was taken a minute later. I gathered the scattered pieces so they all fit in the shot. The next day after using Gorilla glue to fix the fuselage, I crashed again in even less time, again breaking the fuselage in two. I was having SO much fun. This time I put the fuselage together with 5-minute epoxy even though the Gorilla glue worked fine. Remember James, from Rodeo, who got me interested in electric sailplanes while down in the Gila Mtns? Well, he was going to be passing through Chama on his way to Colorado so I decided to not fly until he got here (and anyway, I had to wait for a replacement battery). This was smart decision. One thing he told me was that the trim settings on my transmitter were way off, hence the sailplane’s urge to turn left and dive. I was also told to turn off the motor whenever the plane was low and headed towards the ground but my mind kind of freezes prior to crashes. I flew his Radian a few times and did a couple of landings. Whenever I got in trouble with the controls, I passed the transmitter to James and he got the plane straightened out. I lost track of how many times I passed the transmitter. I was given a slew of tips that should prove helpful in this endeavor. There is way more to flying an electric sailplane than I had thought and this pleases me no end. In addition to learning to fly it, I have to learn how to search for updrafts and thermals. Should be interesting hunting for something that I can’t see.

A couple days after James left, I received the replacement battery, installed it and went out to fly. My first two flights again lasted less than a minute each but at least I remembered to turn off the motor as the sailplane headed towards the ground and the landings were soft. The third flight was one I REALLY could have done without. I managed to keep the plane up but couldn’t set the trim properly. I couldn’t get it to straighten out; it just kept going into turns. With all my focus on trying to control the plane, I forgot to turn the motor off once it got up a couple hundred feet. BIG MISTAKE. By the time I realized the motor was still on, the plane was over the pine forest beyond the meadow (those trees in the first photo); I could barely see it; and I still could not control its flight. I turned the motor off; the plane soon started down behind the trees and I lost it. I spent an hour looking for it and another hour and a half the next day with not luck. Are the gods telling me something here? Anyone need a transmitter and battery charger?

James mentioned the servos that control the elevator and rudder can die in flight and you lose control of the plane through no fault of your own. He’s climbed trees to retrieve planes even though he is an excellent pilot.

I can’t believe I lost a plane. If I lose another one, I’m gonna to bag it.

I’m a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.
from the sci-fi movie Serenity


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Sunday, June 13, 2010

camping spots heading north, breakdown,
and seeing the house





Didn’t like working my way up through central NM much. Luckily rt1 parallels I-25 so I didn’t have to do the interstate. Turned off rt1 onto FR 225 into the San Mateo Mountains for a couple days. Six slow miles of washboard to a decent camping spot if one likes open areas. This time of year it was too hot and too windy to roll out the awning. One day we went for a walk down in a wash.


Then I moved on to a night at Valley of Fires. I had heard good things about it and had been driving for 100 miles so was ready to stop for the day. Really don’t like these asphalt miles. I know, I know, I actually paid for a camping spot ($12) in warm weather. Hopefully it won’t happen again until November. The gods made sure I didn’t overly enjoy it. Took a site down a cul-de-sac so I could let M/O out. There was no one around anyway, the RVs were all at the electric sites. There was only a mile of trails but they have an informative nature walk, paved for wheelchairs, that’s definitely worth checking out. The host gave me a suggestion for free BLM camping with access to a lot of trails, not all that far away. I’ll definitely check that out if I come back through this way since I won’t be staying here again. Made a note about the BLM spot in my road notebook so I won’t forget. Sure do find keeping that notebook helpful.



Headed north out of Carrizo on rt54 and turned west on FR 161 into another section of the Cibolo national forest, just before Gallinas. Found a nice spot to camp about 7 miles up off a spur road and spent a few days there.


One day when we went for a walk, Onyx got spooked. We were walking along this cow path and came up on some cows. One was lying down near the path and when we got close, she stood up. Meadow and I just kept on walking but Onyx turned around and hightailed it back the way we came. It has happened before and Onyx was always back at camp by the time Meadow and I looped around and got back there. This time he wasn’t in camp. After an hour he still was not back so Meadow and I started out on the path again. I called his name from time to time and he came out of the brush with his tail up in the air about 10 minutes up the trail. We all turned back to camp. He’s high maintenance.

The day we headed out from a spot a bit farther north was the pits. I made a stop in Las Vegas for supplies and some quick web access. Then I planned to head into a section of the Santa Fe Mountains south of Bernal for a couple days. That didn’t pan out so I headed over to Rowe and down rt34 looking for a camping spot. That also did not pan out. Then I tried up rt63 north of Pecos. Yep you guessed it—ditto. So I continued on to Santa Fe. They were just getting over a power outage and the traffic lights were still down. It took SO long to get through the intersections on St. Francis Drive. I could not understand why there were no enterprising individuals with coolers at each intersection, walking up and down between the lanes selling beer.
The highlight of the day was stopping at REI and finally getting a decent pair of hiking boots—my first (of many) pair of Keen’s. My friend, Janet from Salt Lake, had first told me about this brand. THANKS JANET. What a stellar shoe.
Heading out of Santa Fe on rt84, I noticed I was getting awful gas mileage. As I turned onto rt115 towards Canjilon for a few days camping in the Carson national forest, the Jeep bogged but kept going. A couple miles up the road it died. I pulled over and looked under the hood because that’s the thing to do. Didn’t have a clue on what to look for. Looking underneath the Cherokee, I didn’t see anything leaking. I went to start it up, it started, looked under the hood and didn’t notice anything. Looked underneath—guano! Gas was pouring out of a line. No cell coverage so no calling my roadside assistant plan. A number of people stopped to ask if I needed help. Yes, I needed a winning lottery number. I asked if there was a backyard mechanic close by. The gods felt they had messed with me enough for the day and provided one. Brian got me back on the road and only charged me $40. He said that the fix would probably hold but I should have a garage check it out. I thought it might not be smart to continue up rt115 and go off onto dirt roads so I continued onto Chama. I stayed on Siscily’s property until it was time to move over to Pat and Mary Ann’s. What a day—on the road from 8:30 to 7:30. Might as well get into RVing.


The next day I made an appointment to have the gas line looked at and stopped over at Mary Ann and Pat’s place. I had met Mary Ann a couple years ago at Siscily’s but didn’t know Pat who I then met along with their dogs, Tera and Tico, and their cat, Griago. What a place they have! 17 acres, a stellar view and handy access to mountains. A place like this would bring an end to my lifestyle. Sure am going to enjoy spending a month watching the place for them. Pat took me mountain biking one day to show me numerous places to ride, run, and hike while I’m here. I almost feel like the desert in a cloudburst. I can die the day they get back and life will have been good.

While staying at Siscily’s, I biked on some of the dirt roads Pat had pointed out. One day I was going along on a double track and 2 elk ran across in front of me, not all that close but—BIG animals. I had a flash of that song, ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’.

June Night Sky—Checkout this site for info on the space station and space shuttle.

My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions
but in the fewness of my wants.
J. Botherton


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

change of plans, creek coffee and wine,
codgerspace, and sirius



Sometimes I don’t stop and think. I eventually realized that I could not take the route I had planned north this spring, at least the first 150 miles of it. I was planning to take 5 or 6 weeks to hike the area and the route didn’t take me near any decent grocery stores. For one thing, I would need a cooler to supplement my fridge. I don’t presently have the room for one. There would have also been the additional bulk and pounds of dry supplies. And then there’s water. A week’s supply weighs 112 lbs (2gal/day at 8lbs/gal – water’s a pound a pint). My rig is already overloaded. The Cherokee already gets into the edge of the red zone on mountain grades—not a good thing. Weekly water runs with the Jeep wouldn’t have been a problem and I can get a month out of two 5 gal propane tanks so I wouldn’t be looking for propane. Looks like I might break down next winter and look for used 8 cylinder for more power and a design with more carrying capacity so I can stay off the grid for longer periods. I don’t want to be restricted again next year.




Came back down to Silver City for supplies after a couple weeks and took another route out of town. Rt152 was pretty twisty with many posted 10 and 15 mph curves. The canyon becomes very narrow and there are no forest roads suitable for disperse camping. The 4 campgrounds up there are close to the road. I stopped at the third one just past mile marker 27 at an elevation of 7100’. At least Railroad cg is behind a large hill that cuts off road noise. Early one morning I ran up the road to check out Iron Creek campground. Not any better but a lot of Ponderosa pines (yellow pine). Not campgrounds one would want to spend time at unless you were going to hike the trails in the spring or fall. Railroad cg has a trailhead to Gallinas Canyon #129 (pictured), Railroad Canyon #128, Holden Prong Saddle, East Railroad Canyon, Hillsboro Peak, and Black Range Crest. A NICE week’s worth of hiking. A lot of water though. Just from the trailhead to the Gallinas Canyon trail junction at 1½ miles, you’ll cross the creek 22 times. A lot of stone stepping and log walking this time of year. Quite a few pools to sit down in and soak, sure wish it was warm enough for it. Iron Creek cg also has a trailhead. The 4 campgrounds are free. You have to bring your drinking water with you (the Gila forest service office in Silver City has a spigot just to the right of the front door). There are posted quiet hours in the campgrounds but no campground hosts to enforce them. Wouldn’t want to stop here in the summer or on weekends.



It’s not often that we camp by a creek so it can be a treat. I placed my fire pan, chair, and stool down by the creek. Stellar spot for morning coffee and evening wine. This lifestyle is SO tough. Watched a hummingbird hover over the creek drinking water one day. Way cool.


Whenever Meadow and Onyx went out, they crossed the creek and explored the hillside. M/O both frequently hung out on the rocks in the creek. Sure hope Onyx does not pick up giardia again. Guess I’ll have to start watching his poop. That’s always fun. What better incentive could one possibly have for bounding out of bed in the morning and spreading one’s arms wide to the world and give thanks for the pure joy of it all!?

Two campers pulled in the day before I headed out. Gael and Cherie were in a popup camper. Gael lives in NM and Cherie was out on a visit from PA. I enjoyed talking with them, good people. They were spending a week camping and hiking in the Gila’s.
I’ve heard of long commutes to work but driving to Texas and flying to SE Arizona is a bit much. At least working 3 days and having 4 off each week is good. This lady must definitely be good at what she does.

I finally got around to hooking up a Sirius radio in the casita. Only took me 4 months, I kept procrastinating about getting an antenna for my CD/radio unit (never used the radio). I purchased a Starmate 5 back in January. It was the only model that offered the basic $7/month plan. Figured I should start out with this since I had no idea if I was going to like it. It sure is nice to listen to at times. Every once in a while I catch an episode of The Shadow on the Classic Radio Shows channel. For a good deal of the year I don’t have much in the way of radio reception and if there is any, it’s country western or Spanish. Satellite is good.

Ever read any books by Daniel Pinkwater when you were a young teen? He’s very strange. I recently read ‘Codgerspace⁏ by the New York Times Bestselling author Alan Dean Foster. Set WAY in the future, these five retired people stumble into an alien spaceship that had been buried for a million years under the area next to their retirement community. It’s a big ship—200 kilometers (yes, kilometers) long. It caused quite a stir when it broke out of the ground, lifted off and hovered in the area. The authorities soon learned that it was crewed by a handful of old people who had recently been playing checkers and gardening. The book’s a hoot and all along I’m thinkin’ Daniel Pinkwater must have written this.

‘When everyone turns right, sometimes it’s good to turn left.
Then one has the road all to themselves and the view is better...
and one gets to make their own decisions.
Like life, every road trip is an adventure;
one never knows what the day (or next turn) will bring.’
Linus Mundy


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

trippin’ and fallin’, solitude, sacaton, sailplane,
and expenses






The first trailhead I camped near was off rt180 on FR196. Had to camp nearly a mile and a half away, however. Really did not need all that warm-up and cool-down hiking between the camping spot and trailhead. It didn’t get any better. I lost track of how many times the trail crossed the stream. Nowhere could I just jump across it since the water was high from the runoff. I had to step from rock to rock and managed to slip only once, thanks to my trusty PVC staff. Years ago, they used to mine up this canyon so whenever I saw an old mine up in the rocks, I climbed up to take a look. Even being careful while off the trail, I fell three times. I used to be able to feel myself falling and make an effort to catch myself. That seems to be a thing of the past. Two of these falls had me down on the ground before I realized I tripped. Not good—ended up with free-flowing leg and thumb cuts. I swear I’m going to die on a hike. Maybe I should start sticking just to the trails. All-in-all a nice hike, though—guess my standards are changing. This trail followed the creek for much of it and was cool and shaded but I was pretty maxed by the time I got back to camp the first time—lunch and a nap.

One day I had to wash my hair and the weather was overcast with intermittent rain and occasional flurries. I REALLY did not want to out and use the sun shower bag. The water was so cold my head actually hurt. Had to stop once and give myself a break. Then in Outside magazine, I read about Lynne Cox and how she swam for 20 minutes in the waters off Antarctica, covering 1.2 miles. And yes, I maybe, might have, possibly felt, for a few very short seconds, somewhat like a wuss. Sure felt good when it was all over though.

Most mornings I heard a wild turkey not all that far away. Two turkey hunters came by one day and asked if I had seen or heard any birds. Nope. Just what I want, people shooting shotguns near my camp and felines.







I’ve a feeling we’re not in the desert anymore, Todo.









Meadow and Onyx relaxing.













One of our camping spots. Not great but a good base for exploring the area with my mountain bike. Some nights were down in the 30’s and it actually felt good.

I need my social fixes and I really enjoy spending time with my friends but I also need solitude. It’s not only being out by myself but also the fullness of realizing that no one knows where I am. It’s an awesome feeling, like a deep meditation where you don’t really want to come back up. It’s SO recharging. I’m sure it contributes a good deal to why I appreciate simple things. And it’s not like I make being out of touch an issue, it’s just how it is being off the grid with no cell phone coverage. I frequently don’t even know myself what dirt road I’ll be off on at the end of a day moving to a new camping area. Or which spur I’ll be down. And if there are no hiking trails, I don’t know where I’ll end up when I go off on a cross-country trek. It’s true solitude. Even if my life changes in the next couple years, I’ll still need to go off and do this from time to time.

Went mountain biking one day over to Sacaton mesa. There’s a whole network of dirt roads up there on the flats. I can see myself spending 3 or 4 weeks there next spring. Not looking forward to pulling the casita up there, though. I’m sure the Cherokee will be over heating. It’s a 500’ elevation gain in a mile. No problem with an 8 but with a 6 pulling all the stuff of a vagabond, it will be tough. Been there, done that, know it for sure. Once I get up there, it looks like I might be able to cut over to the Dry Creek Trail for hiking if I go back in far enough and there’s a lot of ground for mountain biking and running.
When I was up there, I saw a white remote control plane flying around but I didn’t hear any sound. I got off my bike and watched for a while, saw the pilot and occasionally heard an electric motor start up on the plane but most of the time it was quiet—something like watching a hawk playing in the wind. I rode over and met James from Rodeo, NM. He was flying an electric sailplane. I have seen gas powered remote control planes in the past but they make a lot of noise and they didn’t do anything for me. I was not the least bit interested in trying it. BUT this sailplane was way cool. An electric motor is used for launch and climbing. Then you turn the motor off and fly the plane, searching for a thermal or updraft. One can turn the motor back on at any time with the remote to get the plane higher or to try out another spot. The signal goes out a mile but at that distance you can’t really see the plane so you can lose it. You can send signals but you can’t see how the plane is responding. You might have the plane flying away from you. An alternative is to have a buddy following the flight with binoculars. But then, if he lost sight of the plane you would have to shoot him. One can also get the sailplane in a good thermal and it would keep rising until it was out of sight. You have to constantly keep track of it and turn out of the thermal before you lose it. James has a number of sailplanes back in Rodeo with one having a 12’ wingspan. He suggested I look into the Radian RTF sailplane (ready to fly). The whole package, plane and remote is only $250 and has a 4’ wingspan. The wings come off for transport. Definitely will be checking this out on the web. Don’t know how I will learn how to fly it if I get one though. It’s easy to launch. You throw it with one hand while holding the remote in the other. But for a few short seconds I can see this becoming very intense. James also mentioned that replacement parts are cheap. This is good.
As you know, I generally always have a camera in my pocket. But this was all so unexpected and interesting that I never thought of the camera. James was having a buddy come up in a couple days who happened to have a Radian so I made plans to bike over to check it out and take notes on flying a sailplane with every intention of taking some photos. Yep, forgot to take out the camera. Guano. Anyway, I think I leaned enough to try it on my own. We’ll see.

You know how you might be taking a break and checking out the view after hiking up to a ridge, you’re sitting down, relaxing, and you catch sight of a hawk soaring the ridge updraft or rising in a thermal? If you are feeling pretty mellow as you watch the bird soar, you can kind of feel an exhilarating sense of freedom. Once I even felt a rush and lightness, like in an elevator, as a hawk dropped and swooped into a turn. An absolutely stellar experience.
I wonder what kind of experience it is for those who go up in sailplanes. They only have the sound of the wind up there. Don’t know if I would feel comfortable up a couple thousand feet in a plane without an engine though. Don’t even like going up on a 6’ ladder.


There were two steep sections of forest roads in the first few weeks of my meander north this year that had me urging the Cherokee along—steep, loose, and curvy with drop-offs. There was no way I was going to stop on the steep parts to take a photo. I don’t know, maybe a large class A rig, interstates, and starting on the sights-to-see is the way to go—do the old butt-voyeur thing. Nowadays I don’t really want much in the way of thrills and risk, but to have absolutely none would seem kind of lifeless.

Tallied my expenses from the first of the year and my spending has averaged $665 a month for the first 4 months. Should be less for the next few months since I’ll generally be farther out but, then again, I have some things I want to order while I’m up in Chama.

I read my April copy of National Geographic—their special issue on Water-Our Thirsty World. Jeez, sure glad I’m not going to be around in a hundred years.

Two things to learn from dogs:
Run, romp, and play daily.
Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.


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