tally, between the roads, radio classics,
what to write, and the bricklayer

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for ‘Pink’ ever since my friend Cathy brought me a bottle a year and a half ago up in Utah. It’s an Australian sparkling wine by Yellowglen. For the solstice, I was looking for a bottle of Bordeaux. Didn’t find one. BUT, there on the shelf was a bottle of Pink. The gods must be telling me I’ve mostly done good this past year. On my favorite day of the year, the Earth’s New Year (and summer is coming!), I come across my elusive wine. That night I bundled up, got a small fire going in my steel feed pan, read a good book by headlamp, and sipped two glasses of Pink. As I told students in my silversmith classes—SIG, Simple is Good.

Living expenses went over $10,000 again last year. Guano. Life’s getting expensive. By only a few hundred, though. Not too bad. If I nixed the money I put into electric sailplanes and cut out imported beer I could have been under $10,000. Fat chance—quality of life and all that. I did overspend on groceries, however. That is SUCH a waste (literally).
Next year I start collecting social security! That’s going to be a treat. At one point I wanted to find out exactly what it was costing to live a life out in Nature. I only go into a town one day a week at most and generally only once every two weeks and sometimes closer to three. It’s no big thing to take the receipts out of my pocket when I get back to camp and write down amounts in the columns of my road notebook—two or three minutes work. It’s not like it’s a chore. What’s important to me is that I don’t have a feeling of sacrifice or doing without. Probably because I have so many interests. And if any require equipment, I already have it. Well, except for replacement parts for my Radian that I am always crashing. Most of my interests revolve around something physical so there’s incentive to stay in reasonable shape so I can do them. So far, so good.

Only racked up 6,500 miles on the Cherokee but I wore out two pairs of running shoes and put a good deal of wear on my Keen hiking boots (FABULOUS brand). Only went through three tires on my mountain bike (wimp year). I have no interest in traveling the roads. Any butt-voyeur can do that. I want to travel between the roads. I want to see what’s over the hill, along the creek, up the canyon, along the ridge. Different mindset. That’s another reason why I don’t think or act like people my age. I’d start to look like them and not be able to do the type of traveling that I presently live for.

Sure has been warmer down here this winter than last. Only had five or six nights down in the teens while dry camping and none in the single digits (that’s a first). Generally it’s only down in the 20’s and 30’s. Makes it kinda easy. Don’t generally need a jacket if out hiking since it warms up so much. But it’s going to take two or three of these winters to make for last winter. Glad I’m not in other parts of the country.

I read ‘Accordion Crimes’ by Annie Proulx a while back. What a stellar writer! She won a Pulitzer Prize for her ‘Shipping News’.
Last month I came across a thrift store with 25 cent paperbacks. Picked up 4 dozen. Those will take me through next summer and I’ll be passing them onto others as I finish reading them. Books are made to move from person to person. I rarely come across these 25cent places so I scoff up quite a few books whenever I do. Most times these 25cent places have their books sitting there for months or years since the books have been pretty well picked through and all the good books are gone. I’ve lucked out with the last two places I’ve come across. They both had fabulous selections due to constant book donations.

Listening to old radio classics on Sirius especially while camping off the grid is SO cool: the Green Hornet, Sam Spade, Johnny Dollar, Nero Wolf, the Shadow, Hopalong Cassidy, Have Gun will Travel, Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and quite a few more. I’m generally not able to listen during the summer since I always camp under trees. Almost makes me look forward to winter. Many of these radio stars lived into their 80’s and 90’s and some are still alive. I think that’s pretty cool.
For music I generally listen to ‘The Coffee House’—really nice selection of tunes. From time to time I switch to ‘Classic Vinyl’. Oh man—Emerson Lake & Palmer, the Allman Brothers, Traffic, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence, Cream, Jethro Tull, Joe Cocker, Fleetwood Mac—some good old sounds.

Even living the ‘simple life’ with so little, each year I give away some of what I have. It seems the less I have, the less I think I need or want. Not exactly how it generally works but at this point it sure feels natural to me. The less I have, the more enjoyment and chuckles I seem to get from simple, common everyday things and occurrences. Not bad.

Been having some great walks with Meadow and Mesa. One place we camped for a few days had two slot canyons where we meandered for close to an hour each day.

Like most months, I have no idea what I will write about next month. I can’t live much more simple than I do now. I shouldn’t have something to post each month. Am I just becoming more observant and thoughtful than when I was living a more ‘normal’ lifestyle—with the daily stimulus overload? I also take a friend’s idea to heart, ‘If one does not learn something new from time to time—you might as well be dead.’ (remember she is in her 80’s). Maybe I’ll just end up posting another ‘outwalkin’’ photo and the February humor piece.

January humor—I probably came across this piece 20 years ago and it’s still one of my favorites. As you can see there are two spaces after each period from back when it was first uploaded by someone using typewriter skills. OLD!


I am writing in response to your request for additional information in block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in block #11 of the reporting form that my weight is 155 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor I met the barrel which was now proceeding in a downward direction at an equally impressive rate of speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in section 111 of the accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in paragraph #2 of this correspondence.

Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground- and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.

I again refer to my weight in block #11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth, the severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the pile of bricks in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.

Policy #XYZ 23456”

I know, I know, my sense of humor is questionable.

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. Socrates

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’


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