Monday, December 14, 2015

bags of what?! slippin’ n’ slidin’,
you hear something? mini-book,
and two photos

There were a lot of rabbits up on the bluff; mostly cottontails but a few jacks like this one.
Ever notice when driving along a dirt road, if a cottontail comes out, it tends to run across the road? If it’s a jackrabbit, it tends to take off down the road ahead of the vehicle, as if to outrun it. Strange.

I gathered two bags of processed grass for a few campfires this winter (some refer to it as cow pies). They have a pleasant smell when burning, but I’m sure there would be some who would complain if they noticed what was being burned. It was a different mindset back during western progression and the use of buffalo chips (correctly referred to as bison chips).

Well, I had my most interesting moving day last month. Listening to NOAA weather on my Etón Scorpion, I heard that it was going to rain, snow and stay inclement for the next two or three days. The red dirt is very slick and I would be stuck here for awhile. I decided to head out early in the morning trying to beat the weather; one of my many dumb ideas. Rain woke me up at 4:00 so I decided to get up and was pulling out by 6:00. I saw 18 rabbits running about in the first mile driving through the sage. The dirt roads were a bit slick but not too bad; I felt more at ease upon reaching the asphalt. Little did I know what was to come. It was snowing to the south a bit and as hwy. 191 gained elevation heading toward Monticello, it was becoming slippery. On one uphill, the Dodge started sliding to the left, just crossing the centerline. Not good. I took my foot off the gas, waited until there was traction, steered back into my lane, shifted into 4WD and drove along about 35 mph. Luckily there was very little traffic at that time and most people had slowed down. The road was much better through Monticello, merely slushy. Hwy 491 to Cortez, CO got worse and worse. I had gotten back into 2WD but ended up sliding two more times. This is somewhat unsettling while pulling a trailer. The second slide had the Dodge halfway into the oncoming lane (SO not good) and the last one, fully across the oncoming lane almost to the shoulder. I had to pull over after this slide to chill out a bit. I really lucked out since more and more cars and trucks were coming the other way as the morning wore on. I kept in 4WD at 30-35 mph for the last 20 miles to Cortez. I pulled over whenever three vehicles or a tractor trailer got behind me, and that was only three or four times. When I got to Cortez I noticed a Best Western and pretty much decided to get off the road for the day. I did some shopping in Walmart and when I got out, hwy. 160 was clearing up and it was partially sunny. The mountains to the east towards Durango were overcast but not dark, so I decided to keep going. It wasn’t too bad, all the way to Pagosa Springs. Hwy. 84 going over the mountain south towards Chama was back to slick and slow, snowy and poor visibility, definitely 4WD. I was dreading the downhill right sweeper coming down off the other side, but it was okay. What a day. I mean it’s not as if I don’t have experience driving on slick roads, having grown up in Jersey, and lived in Lake Placid, NY, and Alta and Park City, UT. Pulling a trailer in such conditions was new, however.

I know the correct procedure when a vehicle starts to slide is to turn in the direction of the skid (steer in the direction your car's ‘back’ end is going). Simply, steer in the direction you want to go. AND STAY OFF THE BRAKE! Where one can go wrong, is to steer back too aggressively and over-correct. Probably putting the vehicle into severe fishtailing, and possibly into a spin (and off the road).

I didn’t do this, other than staying off the gas and brake. Firstly because there were no oncoming vehicles, so I had a choice of how to respond to the slide. I let the truck go until traction was restored and then gently steered back into my lane. The trailer swept back and forth a bit, but not what I would call true fishtailing. The second reason I chose this action is because counter-steering may increase the swaying and eventually result in a loss of control. But often, one does not have a choice. If a vehicle were in the approaching lane, I would have steered back. But the trailer would have probably fishtailed into the oncoming lane.
Two years ago, I got the Nash fishtailing after I did something dumb, and that, most assuredly, was fishtailing. What a rush. I could feel all that weight sweeping back and forth, quickly building up a lot of power. At that point, I understood how a trailer could overturn on a straight road.
Yes, a most memorable day.

There was no one at Heron Lake state park when I pulled in and there were a few inches of snow on the cg road.

I got in a 2-hour hike each morning I was there, the first couple in snow, then snow and mud (whoopee). There were a few rigs passing through during the week, but no one was around the last three days I was there. Nice and quiet.

You hear that?

Pulled out heading south to Santa Rosa state park, and, as always, stopped at Three Ravens in TA for a muffin and a mug of Paul’s High Octane coffee (w/two shots of espresso) to go. One mug of that and one is good for the whole day.

I need lists when I’m out and about, for when I think of something I want to do the next time I’m working on my MacBook or have access to wi-fi; to write down things I need to pick up in stores, whatever. Or I’ll forget, no doubt about it.
I used to carry one of those small 3 x 5” spiral notebooks. But I don’t need all those pages. A number of years ago I learned how to fold a sheet of printer paper into a small 2¼ x 4¼“ 8-page mini-book. Priceless (at least for me).

Watch a how-to video

text w/photos

Since one will have a pen in her/his pocket, one can search on the web for how to use a pen as a defense weapon. Never know when you might wish you knew how. And you’re not carrying a ‘weapon.’

I looked at the current Nash brochure on the Northwood Manufacturing website
(3rd page) and they used two of my photos. Way cool.

And, I have a picture of Mesa posted on the RVwest gallery. Scroll down a bit.

As you know, I like the comedy of Derek Edwards, a Canadian. Check out this skit.

I like making a loop while hiking at Bottomless, walking up to Mirror Lake, then hiking up onto the bluff, and back to Lea Lake, staying on top. I came across a guy who was flying a remote craft from the overlook. It was a DJI Phantom 3 quad copter. What a stellar craft. He put bright LEDs across front curve of copter. It must look like a UFO at night, especially around Roswell. There was an awesome camera attached underneath the quadcopter for video or stills. If I am remembering right, the craft could be set for self-takeoff. When it rose up 40’ or so, it went into a hover if the thumb toggles weren’t touched. In fact, the Phantom 3 automatically went into a hover whenever the pilot released the thumb toggles. Even I could probably fly one of these. The Phantom can fly out over a mile and still maintain a signal, and with the camera, the pilot knows what’s going on, even though he can’t see the copter. Again, if I’m remembering right, there is a kind of failsafe, maybe when losing battery power, and the Phantom comes back to where the flight started, and lands. Unreal, I was totally impressed.

My second etón solar powered radio is dying; it only works during the day, even though the screen shows a full charge. I don’t always have a signal when off-the-grid, but when I do, it’s nice to have access to a weather station. With two strikes against etón, I looked into ratings for other solar powered radios. What I found surprising, is the number one rated solar portable radio is the etón Scorpion, the one I presently have. Guess I’ll order another one at some point.

November sixty minutes sixty years—2095 minutes
November Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2010; core: 2085; legs: 2030

What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

stocking up, vertigo, butt huntin’,
and too early for 34 degrees

Fall again, time to place my annual orders for a few basic staples, entertainment items, and miscellaneous stuff that needs to be acquired or replaced. A couple friends in Moab let me have the packages delivered to their house. I placed my annual order for 6 kilos of yerba mate from Three of the kilos were a variety pack; they threw in an extra kilo (I love free useful items). With all the found metal I’ve been acquiring over the last three or four years, it’s way past time for me to get back to my bench, so I ordered new templates for medallions I plan to make.

I also ordered an awning cover from Sure hope that proves to be a good investment. I put it over the rolled up awning for the winter. Also purchased another iPod nano for a backup. All this should carry me till next October.

I stayed at four other spots in the area south of Moab since I’ve been coming here in the fall. This is the third year I’ve stayed on the bluff. The first year I probably only saw a handful of vehicles down on the roads below the bluff, and maybe another few during hunting season. Last fall there were more vehicles. This year there were dozens of vehicles on the roads during hunting season. Thankfully only one drove up onto the bluff and came over to my camping spot. These two pseudo hunters asked if I had seen any deer. Good grief, no concept of the challenge of a hunt. Hey, can you give me the GPS coordinates for a nice buck?

I have not hunted since the late sixties. I got my first deer in my sights and then thought how good the animal looked in his environment. Back then, this was totally out of character. I didn’t take the shot and bagged hunting.
Back then it was ‘boot hunting.’ One went out in the area one planned to hunt, looking for game trails, water, figuring out were game were likely to be at different times of the day, etc.. One would also practice stalking skills to get in close for a sure, safe shot. Then when hunting season came around, one would lace up his hunting boots and go off hunting. For the past 20 years of so, hunting is pretty much restricted to ‘butt hunting.’ Riding around in ATVs, pickups, and SUVs, stopping from time to time to look around through binoculars, ‘hunting.’ Lame. If one isn’t into the challenge and doesn’t possess the skills, shooters try to compensate using high-power scoped rifles. I realize that there needs to be hunting seasons so wildlife numbers are kept in check. Otherwise there will be shortage of food and other problems. However, I would prefer it still be done by sportsmen.
Some shooters sit in a deer stand up in a tree. This isn’t hunting—it’s waiting.
Back on the Kaibab, when I came across deer, it was often a doe with a little one. After hunting season, I saw does with two and once, three little ones tagging along with her. Sad to see.
Bounty for coyotes in southern Utah is up to $50! It has been quite a few years (decades) since I knew what the bounty was, back then it was $5.

Another room with a view.

I had a new experience this fall. I woke up one morning and had an episode of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). I started the beautiful day with nausea, dry heaves, funky vision, an intense spinning sensation, and topped it off with passing out. After waking up feeling nauseous and experiencing an intense spinning sensation, it was a scramble to get out of the mummy bag as my body went into pre-retch mode. Luckily it was only dry heaves (just as harsh but without the clean up). I then had to go outside for a few minutes. The trees were very blurry and seemed to be moving side to side, psychedelic. Not good. WAY strange. After coming back inside, I felt a strong spin take hold of my body and then it was lights out. I came too (might have only been a second) having spun 180 degrees and lying on my back while still in a world of spin. At that point I was quite disconcerted.
It occurred again the next morning and lasted longer, maybe 10-15 minutes for the whole episode. At one point I had to go outside and walk for 4-5 minutes. My steps were small, shuffling, with a slight meandering from side to side (not my normal gait); all the time taking in the funky visuals. Then that was it, two mornings and I’ve been fine since. I mentioned it to friends in Moab and was told to see a doctor, and I actually followed up and saw one.

When I was lying on my back, I was wondering how I was going to get out of here. I was miles in off the asphalt with no one around. I sure couldn’t drive, let alone hook up the WDH and tow the Nash out. It was scary in that I had no idea of what was going on or how long it would last. Later, when I found out what it was all about, it’s really no big thing and not all that uncommon. Although passing out and blurry distance vision (short vision, like in the Nash, stayed sharp) is not supposed to be a part of BPPV. And now I know how to do the Epley maneuver to redistribute the crystals if it ever occurs again, either to me or someone with me. I enjoy leaning new things, but good grief, is stuff like this what I’m going to be learning about life as a senior?

I had lunch at Moab’s Bangkok House three more times with friends. I get their tofu/vegetables with green curry, extra hot and spicy. It is SO tasty. Be sure to check the place out if in Moab.

During my last two Octobers camping on the bluff, I did not see a single snake. This year, I saw four, all within 20’ of the Nash. Another small rattler and two friendlies, like this one. Meadow knows to stay away from rattlers, not sure about Mesa. Just as with humans, there can be a price to pay for the freedom of a particular lifestyle. There are dangers for M&M in this life but they seem to absolutely love their freedom. They’d hate being kept indoor. It’s the same with me. I’m a small, weak, slow senior but I love living out off-the-grid for most of the year. With no one around, if a couple of lowlifes came across my site and wanted to do me harm, I’d be pretty much helpless. The same if an old cougar, who can no longer run down a deer, came up on me as I was out meandering. Never had a problem but I’m sure not going to restrict my lifestyle by staying in campgrounds year-round for some semblance of security. I’d hate it.

I stayed at this spot for a while after I moved off the bluff. Not nearly as scenic or offer as many places to hike, but there are a couple of new areas to explore. Meadow and Mesa seem to like it better.

This is what it looked like on the third morning; glad I was off the bluff. No one around for miles this time of year, nice. Next week I’ll hit Heron Lake for a week and rack up some miles on their trail. It can be down in the teens at night then, though it’s usually a bit warmer (well, not exactly warm).

In the seven years I’ve been coming to this area in the fall, this is the lowest inside temperature I’ve seen upon getting out of the sleeping bag. This was in the first week of November. Another few mornings, the inside temps were in the upper 30’s and some in the lower 40’s (I really don’t like having heat on during the night). I wonder what the predictions are for this coming winter in the southwest.

It’s been too cold outside (in the 40’s) to heat water in my solar shower bag so it’s back to placing it indoors on the back table; the sun shining in the back window does a fine job with heating up the water. It’s also too cold for me to be taking outdoor showers so I drape the bag over the Ram’s cab, as always, and just wash my hair. Ah yes, the joys of hard-wall camping versus RVing.
Since it’s been getting down in the twenties at night lately, I keep three 5-gal water buckets in the nook just inside the door, perfect. The other buckets are outside under heavy black plastic. I’ve had way better luck with buckets, than with Reliance jugs (that I started out with) over the years, in below freezing temps.

I’m going to spend the first two weeks of December at Bottomless Lakes state park. It’s the only park I hit that has wi-fi. Hopefully, I will catch up on the items that I need to look up on my web-to-do list. Probably not going to be much fun but it sure should be productive (unless their wi-fi is down again). I get SO far behind during the off-the-grid months.
I hope to spend three two-week periods at Oliver Lee between January and March. I really like the Dog Canyon trail and plan to hike about 30 miles each week while there; arriving for the first stay during the first week of January.
Definitely going to spend another couple nights at La Quinta this winter. What a treat—hot foam baths and wi-fi.
I’m not going to spend much time at City of Rocks this winter. It just doesn’t have the feel that it used to. I’ll stop there for a week to break up the drive from Oliver Lee to Bisbee and another week on the way back to Oliver Lee.
I know, somewhat lame for a winter schedule, but it’s the people that make my social-fix months rewarding. And I will get plenty of exercise at Oliver Lee and Bisbee.

One of Meadow’s favorite spots when it’s cold. Strange, but Mesa never sleeps in front of the Wave.

October sixty minutes sixty years—2275 minutes
October Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2145; core: 1930; legs: 2965

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
William Arthur Ward

Something I’ve done from time to time in the past, but thankfully, not for quite some time. And I hope to never do it again.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Thursday, October 22, 2015

October paperbacks, opening cans, heifer
once more around the world,
the note, a mystery solved, and futility

Finally! Got this shot a few days before coming down off the Kaibab last month. Took it through the back window. It doesn’t show the tall funky ears all that well—oh well, two out of three.

This past summer I finally got back to having a hummingbird feeder hanging off the back of my trailer.

Since acquiring a Kindle, I’m not reading as many paperbacks. There is one thrift shop I visit each winter that still sells paperbacks for 25 cents and always has an extensive selection. I fill a tote bag and I’m set for the year. I exchange books when I have the opportunity and I’ve had some luck on town-run days with stopping at an RV park to ask if I could exchange books. Only one park said no; the exchange was just for those staying in the park. Didn’t make sense to me; there would have been new books to choose from for those staying at the park.
Paperbacks are somewhat fragile and improper use can damage them. Pages are meant to be turned from the top corner. There is much less chance of tearing a page.
Also, the first knuckle of the index finger of the hand holding the book should be on the middle of the cover, giving a smooth curve to the cover and following pages. Paperback bindings are not designed to have the book opened wide; the pages start to let loose from the glue. This is not merely my take on it; this is how it is.
When I get an abused paperback, I repair it. I’ll reglue binding and pages and tape ripped or fraying covers. I figure this is giving something back to the book for the enjoyment of the story it held for me. A way of giving thanks.

I came across something that Stephen King said. “I take a book almost everywhere. Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” Wow, I have something in common with Stephen King!

I came across a magazine ad that started with, ‘Tired of opening cans by hand?’ WHAT?! It then went on to describe a battery powered can opener. Good grief. I could have fun writing about this lame-ass idea.

Last month was the fall equinox, and time for another Heifer International donation. I decided to branch out. This time I went for something in their ‘Improve Living Conditions for Families’ category. I chose the ‘Gift of a Healthy Home.’ The site states:
“This gift will support projects that give families the opportunities to earn the income they need to improve their living conditions. The gift of a healthy home:
Helps families purchase roofing materials, bricks, concrete and more.
Lowers risk of disease and exposure by providing adequate shelter.
Food, water and shelter are the three essentials for survival. However, in many of the impoverished communities where Heifer is working, all three are in critically low supply. These unhealthy conditions don't give a child much of a chance, which is why the first thing so many of our project participants do is put the money they generate with their livestock toward improving their living conditions.”

My Heifer International tally is now six goats, two flocks of chicks, one flock of geese, one flock of ducks, and a ‘Gift of a Healthy Home.’ Next donation will be on the winter solstice.

I first read Joshua Slocum’s book about his late 1890s circumnavigation, ‘Sailing Alone Around the World,’ in the early ‘70s. I remember enjoying the story but about the only thing I retained over the decades was the night with the carpet tacks. I downloaded a free audio book of it from Librivox a few months ago and just recently listened to it on an iPod nano. What a great story.
I can’t just sit and listen to a podcast or audio book unless it’s a moving day. They are priceless for getting me through the drive (I hate driving but love being a passenger). They also make all the time I spend doing odd tasks around camp more enjoyable. Sometimes I even listen to an audio book when I’m out taking Meadow & Mesa for a walk. The last time I accessed the Apple site, I noticed they discontinued the iPod. Guano. Guess I’ll try to pick up an extra one at a Walmart or online. Couldn’t do this lifestyle without a nano.

I leave a blue enameled bowl of water out for M&M, on the table if it is not in direct sunlight. I rinse and refill it each day, but at a camping spot last month, the water got pretty low on a number of days. One afternoon, I was off a ways sitting in the shade, reading. While drinking some water, I caught movement over on the table. I looked over and there was a small bird taking a bath in M&M’s water bowl. Water was flying everywhere! A chuckle, and another little unexpected treasure. A mystery solved—life is good.

I had another unexpected surprise last month, but not one of the little, up close ones. Being off-the-grid, I was totally unaware of the lunar eclipse. I went outside after dark that evening, as I do every evening—and WHOA! Way cool! BIG smile.

I talked about security on the February 2008 page and town-run days on the July 2014 page. If I’m going to be away from my camping spot for a day, I like to leave it set up so it sounds like there is someone not all that far away, will be coming back soon, and have friends coming. I think it was Greg, from Los Alamos, who suggested that I add something about a camp cam to my note clothes pinned to the door on town-run days. So my present note (if it is sunny) reads:

Jason is off hiking. I’m checking out two other spots to camp.
We’ll both be back around the time you plan to get here. If you’re reading this, you’re early!
Don’t even THINK of using the solar bag. Say hello to M&M.
You’re on our new trail cam.

This is how I leave my two low-rider chairs. Each paperback is bookmarked as if two people are camping here. Maybe leave an old mug or two sitting out. Thieves are more leery if there might be someone around, and more than one person.

Well, I’m back to my favorite October and November spot in southern Utah. Looks like there was a good deal of rain here this past summer. There was water damage on the roads going into my spot and the last spur was pretty much overgrown with grass at the turn.

I think I figured out why this spot didn’t feel as good back in May, as it does in the fall. I winter in spots where one can see off into the distance in various directions. During summers I’m in the mountains hemmed in by trees (just where I want to be) where I generally cannot look off into the distance. When I pulled into this spot a couple weeks ago, I set up, stood back, and looked around. One can see for miles, 360. It felt as if I was taking a big, long, deep, deep breath—with my eyes. My world expanded from under the trees into a panorama. It felt good, very uplifting. In the spring, it’s not nearly so much of a change. Yes, at this time, this is the place for me to be. And like the woods, it’s nice and quiet with no one around, except for the ravens, pronghorns, coyotes, and rabbits. Been into Moab to visit with friends; will be doing it a couple more times while in the area. Wish I had more opportunities to visit with friends throughout the year.

One morning, I was reminded that I was back in the desert. I was rearranging my water buckets the day after running into Moab, putting ‘new’ water towards the back. I pickup up one bucket and there was a small rattler snugged up underneath it. Luckily it was cold. I tried to sweep it onto my shovel with a corn broom. That didn’t work and the little one moved off to a spot where he wouldn’t be disturbed. I don’t kill snakes but I like it best, when they are not around my pets.
I was thinking of all the times I blindly reached under the trailer, behind a wheel to pull out the fire pan. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

When it’s windy here, ravens sometimes soar back and forth along the bluff. One time I went out and tried for a photo. These two shots were typical, either open sky or part of the bird.

One would come down close but trying to keep the bird in the viewfinder was what I believe is generally referred to as, ‘an exercise in futility.’ I missed every single raven that came in close, looking right at me; I could see their eyes. Guano. Even though I didn’t get a good photo, it was a most enjoyable experience—another little treasure.
I’m going to see if I experience any little treasures during the coming social-fix season. Or do they only occur when I’m off-the-grid?

I missed listening to Sirius radio the whole time I was under the ponderosa up on the Kaibab. It’s nice to have a variety of music and classic radio shows again.

September sixty minutes sixty years—2355 minutes
September Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2055; core: 2160; legs: 12,625

A ship in port is safe,
but that’s not what ships are made for.
Admiral Grace Hopper

A Nash trailer is safe on the asphalt and in campgrounds,
but that’s not what Nash trailers are made for.
Meadow & Mesa

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nash trailers, two lifestyles, spur roads,
options, and a shadow

I moved to a spot with longer morning and earlier afternoon shade. I’ve come across a number of places that would be good spots to camp within an hour’s bike ride. Many more looked good but had dead trees or large, dead, overhead branches that could pose a problem. Some had large live trees but with more lean to them than I feel comfortable with. My present spot has one such tree but it’s leaning away from the Nash. Some spots are too tight to position a rig where it would work best. I always want an isolated spot; one where there is not another spot nearby where someone could set up.

If I come back to the Kaibab, I might set up at the end of this unmarked spur. I would have to take my bow saw to some deadfall in order to get the trailer all the way back but it would sure be secluded. The spot is at 8,500 feet and would make another great base camp for my kind of traveling and with close access to the Arizona Trail.

This is another spot, but limited. There is no shade and is totally out in the open with a slope down on three sides, and exposed to the wind from all around. But if I pass through this area during May or September it might be a good spot with distant, open views.

One hears stories about how a Good Samaritan was taken advantage of or hurt. When coming back from a town-run, I saw a couple standing along rt 89A, up on the Kaibab, waving their arms—those stories came to mind. I pulled over and stopped. I’m thinking, am I being an idiot? Some of you are saying, Yes! The couple had a car a mile or so up a dirt road with a dead battery. My Dodge is a one-seater, especially on town-run days so they jumped up in the bed of the pickup. Yes, as I was driving along, those stories were still on my mind. We got to their car and went through the process of jumping the battery. (Does everyone know that one no longer connects a cable negative to negative? Once car engineers started installing all the computer modules, it’s a no-no. Modules can get fried with the negative to negative hookup.) The couple was from Quebec. They sold their cars up there and purchased this $500 car for the drive south. They will sell it at the border before traveling into Mexico. They might hit a coast and try for crew positions on a ship. Anyway, it worked out fine but I was a tad apprehensive right up until I was back in my truck and driving away.

Remember how I groused about the front rock guard on the Nash? How it is too high and the glare from the sun is the pits for the driver? It’s still a problem. At some point I’ll probably paint the top 18” of my grit guard, down to just below the light. I can’t decide on a color. I don’t want to use gray, to somewhat match the trailer’s color. Black would look awful. But any color would just look like a band of paint across the front of the Nash. I need an idea.

Northwood is still putting rock guards that are too high on Nash trailers but now there is hope. I was reading a review in a trailer magazine on the Nash 22H. One line was, “A front rock guard protects the trailer’s finish but can be blinding in the sun.” No sh*t. It’s as if no one at Northwood owns a Nash. Maybe when someone from Northwood reads the article, there will be a change.
The rock guard is way too thin to truly be called a rock guard. A sharp rock will easily pierce it. A sharp look, would probably pierce it. It’s more of a ‘grit guard.’

The article also stated, “It goes without saying that trailers are designed for the great outdoors, but these days, getting away from it all has a different meaning than it once did. Where primitive camping used to be the only choice in many areas, now we can be spoiled by full hookups and a variety of amenities, depending on where we choose to stay. While this kind of convenience is great for a lot of RVers, the side effect is that most travel trailers are no longer really designed for extended use in remote areas.”…”And since they usually spend their time on the road and on smooth, level campsites, their suspension and chassis aren’t designed for roughing it, either. As a result, many RVers must invest in some expensive upgrades to make a trailer suitable for use off the beaten path.”
“…, Northwood Manufacturing prides itself on building its own chassis, which is independently certified and designed to handle the rough stuff.” The frame on my Nash 17K is awesome; way more substantial than on many trailers quite a bit longer and heavier.

This review jives with the research I did prior to choosing a Nash and the trailer has been holding up well on the rough, rocky roads I use to get to secluded spots. Looks like I made the right choice for my 4th RV. Five people who followed along with my research and having then done their own, ended up buying a Nash. Three others emailed me with questions about the Nash 17K but I don’t know if they ended up with one.
I sure do like the new graphics they presently apply to Nash trailers. Way cool. Think Northwood would give me new graphics for selling five trailers?

Remember, I only like one trailer floorplan. Luckily Nash offered this plan in a length I can live with. If they didn’t, I would have ended up with a trailer built by a company other than Northwood (maybe a Keystone Springdale). I wonder how the trailer would be holding up. At least it would have had aluminum siding, which I prefer for this lifestyle.

One reason I might still be enjoying this lifestyle is that I really have two. One is RVing four months in the winter, in a few state parks—my social-fix season. I even hook up to electric sites for six or seven weeks during these months for my annual electric-fix. There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people and touch base with others I have met over the years. I make a conscious effort to do this. I probably get more out of these four months than many do in twice as many. This is pretty much the lifestyle that many RVers follow year round. Towards spring I start to get maxed and need to head back to Nature. I only dragged getting out of the parks one spring, and still don’t know why, but once I got back out off-the-grid, all was good.

Then for eight months it’s the hard-wall camper thing, hauling the Nash miles in from the asphalt and off along old, narrow, spur roads (mostly old fire and logging roads). I rarely have a neighbor other than wildlife. I only drive into town once every three weeks for supplies. I love the solitude of being out in Nature. Some are comfortable with this, and many are not. Most would find this boring; I can’t conceive of being bored. It’s important, however, to have a wide range of interests and activities. Most don’t, judging by what I see and hear during my social-fix months. Without a number of interests and activities (indoor, outdoor, whatever season or weather) and a pet, a solo lifestyle would be tough, and more than likely, downright depressing.

Repeat 3-week stints off-the-grid is almost like having a summer cabin up in the mountains (without all the chores that would entail). A place for turning away from everything superficial. A great base camp for hiking, running, mountain biking, meandering, and all the rest. I just don’t have the urge to drive from place to place in the context of seeing things. I don’t need grandeur. There is much to be seen in an area of a few miles if one gets off the roads and goes off through the woods with a daypack.

If I tried to do just one of these two lifestyles year-round, it wouldn’t work. I’d probably end up bagging it all and try something else. And there is always a chance that at some point, I might just do that. Before that however, I’d probably try a different balance, maybe another month or two of social-fix. October or November through March or April might not to be all that bad in campgrounds—but at this time, it’s not what I want. Four and eight is a good balance. Too much solitude or too much socializing would not be healthy for me.

Another option is an occasional month in an RV park, but definitely not the standard kind. I’ve seen some small, probably family owned places, that have a ‘campground’ feel to them, but still offer electric hookups and hot showers. They are not along the popular routes, near interstates, or have a website. Generally, one needs to find such a place a good distance from a town. The ones closer in can have the ‘trailer park’ look and feel to them, as back in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. There are plenty of ‘trailer parks’ still around; only nowadays they go by other names and are filled with all types of RVs, not just trailers—but still have the ‘trailer park’ look and feel to them.

I’d like to keep my eyes and ears open for these small private, off-the-beaten-track campgrounds. Most offer very reasonable monthly rates. Might be worth trying one for a month, during spring, fall, or winter, for a ‘vacation.’ Wish I could remember where I’ve seen one. Anyone have a recommendation?
Maybe I’ll do a little thinking outside the box for other options.

I came across these hikers out on the Arizona Trail. They started at the Utah border and are hiking through to the Mexico border. Not bad. The hiker on the left is 66 and he has hiked the full length of the Continental Divide Trail. So much for that, “it’s part of growing old” nonsense.

Okay, spurs, I’ve been down a whole lot of spur roads in a number of national forests in half a dozen western states. Some I’ve managed to pull a trailer along. Others I travel on my mtn. bike, generally keeping an eye out for spurs I can get a trailer up and looking for places to set up camp. I write down the GPS coordinates for ones I could use in my road notebook, in case I come back to an area.

When the National Forest Service initiated their Travel Management Program, many of the spurs I had, and could have pulled a trailer up are now closed to motorized vehicles. These spurs lead to isolated spots offering the seclusion I look for during the off-the-grid months.

In addition, many of these narrow spurs have young trees encroaching right along their edge. As they mature, the branches will close in the spur. Hard-wall camping in the national forests 30 – 40 years ago must have been awesome.

Many trees are growing with a lean over the spurs and as they age, will get lower and lower, also effectively cutting off the road. In past years I’ve been up some spurs pulling a trailer, that if I went back now, I doubt if they would be open enough to get through. I’m talking about the narrow spur roads that are little used and not maintained, the un-numbered or lettered ones, double-tracks; not the open spurs where one could pull a fifth-wheel with A/Cs on the roof. Seedlings take root on the older spurs and there can have 6’ trees growing in the middle of the road. Erosion damage over the years also make many spur roads inaccessible if one is pulling a trailer. The older spurs are being taken back by the forest. This is great for the forest and hikers, mtn. bikers, trail runners, and horse people. Not so good for hard-wall campers. For standard RVers, it’s no big thing since they don’t take their rigs up the narrow spurs where branches are scaping along the sidewalls.

Out biking one day I turned the Trek onto this spur. It looks more like a primary forest road rather than the spurs I go up but even this road has been closed off the motorized vehicles. This might be the first open-spur I’ve come across that has been closed. Not good.

One will probably be hard pressed, at some point, to still be able to live this lifestyle. The number of accessible narrow spur roads will be way down in number. In twenty years or so, I would imagine RVing in the national forests will be pretty much restricted to campgrounds and merely pulling off to the side of primary forest roads (mistakenly referred to as ‘boondocking’). Spur roads will be covered with trees and rutted and rocky from runoff.

There is probably a law about not cutting live trees in a national forest. But a lot of these small trees encroaching spur roads are packed tightly together. That’s not healthy. The trees will grow to be spindly, weak, and short-lived. Thinning would be helpful. It’s done in areas where there is funding for it so the remaining trees can get the nutrients and sunshine they need to grow strong. So really, is it wrong to take a bow saw to some of these trees in order to get a trailer through to an isolated spot?

There’s still BLM and state lands but for comfortable summer temps for those living/camping without A/C, one wants to be near 8,000’. BLM and state lands are not up at that altitude.
8,000’ if you are out west here and your rig is not always in the shade. My solar panels are on the roof so the rig needs to be in the sun for a few hours each day. Ground panels (with locking cable) would not work for my lifestyle.

I guess a 4WD high-clearance camper van would be able to get up some of the overgrown spurs. I lived in a van for three years back in the early 70s, working full time driving a beer truck back in Jersey (mostly Jersey City and Union City) while taking college classes in the evenings (Montclair State for a teaching degree). It was no big thing, but I was a kid. No way would I feel good about living in a van or truck camper at this point of my life. We’ll see what will come, might have to purchase a few acres at the base of some mountains and park a trailer on it for a few months each year.

If one prefers being around people, pretty much year-round, Workamper employment might be worth looking into. I wrote about it back in 2007 and 2008. It is worth joining for a year to see what it is all about. It’s not volunteer work so one receives a paycheck (always good). Don’t blow it off if you hear someone grousing about their experience. There are hundreds, if not thousands of jobs out there for seasonal workers. You will have the opportunity to find out the aspects of the position before committing to it.

If one prefers working in national forest campgrounds, check out American Land & Leisure or one of the other campground management companies. Again, one earns a paycheck; it’s not a campground volunteer position. AL&L’s website lists all the campgrounds they lease from the forest service, elevations, number of campsites and whatnot. They prefer you get the work done in the fewest number of hours per week (saves them money). There is plenty of time for one to enjoy whatever they are interested in, as well as have campers around for socializing. The campground managers for the few years prior to my working in the Stansbury Mtns. seemed to have let upkeep slide a bit. So I picked up quite a few extra hours painting just about all the outhouses in the five campgrounds I was managing. Not bad.

If you don’t get the Workamper or campground manager job you wanted, keep yourself available and in-touch with the employer. More often than I would have thought, an RVer does not show up for work or leaves after a week or so. The couple who were signed up for the job in the Stansbury Mtns. showed up at the gate, asked a few questions, and turned around and left! So much for being responsible. I jumped on it when I was called.

Another option is applying for a volunteer park host or other position with BC Parks or Parks Canada. That could be pretty cool. One frequently hears how friendly Canadians are. They are so nice there are even jokes about how nice Canadians are. I mean, it’s not as if one will hear jokes about how nice Americans are.

This is a photo of one of my Canadian friends. Jim is a carpenter in BC. Barb and Jim have quite a vegetable garden in their backyard, and a cat, Rocky.
I received a number of emails after my story in RVwest a few years ago with invitations if I make it up to Canada. I’m so thankful for things like this.
The friendliest and most helpful campground volunteers that I’ve come across were a Canadian couple, Donald and Heather, who came south for the winters, in their old Airstream. They were the ones who turned me on to the CBC podcast, ‘Vinyl Café.’

Out mtn. bikin’ on the Arizona Trail in the mornings, I’ve seen quite a few turkeys and deer, an occasional coyote, and numerous squirrels scootin’ away to run up a tree—animals. One morning—it was a shadow. As I was biking along, there were many shadows that crossed the trail in front of me. On one tree shadow, there was a squirrel shadow running along (up?) its side. That was a good morning chuckle. Yet another, simple unexpected little treasure.

I guess if I stop finding enjoyment in the simplest of things, it might be time to bag the lifestyle. It would tell me that I was no longer content and in need of some changes. If simple laughter is not part of one’s life, one might no longer be truly living, but merely existing, waiting for the sand to run out.

I came across this photo in a National Geographic magazine. Check out the teeth and length of tongue on this bat! The body is the size of one’s thumb. The story was about how these nectar-drinking bats and a night-flowering vine work together for the benefit of both. You can see the pollen gathering on the bat’s head. Way cool.

August sixty minutes sixty years—2130 minutes
August Triple 18—pecs/delts: 4305; core: 1880; legs: 9000

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Mae West

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, August 6, 2015

down and dirty in the sagebrush,
skip it, up another 900’,
germs, and charades

There are vast stretches of space in between the well-known places to visit. Ever been driving through sagebrush country? The landscape can appear to have a more or less monochrome uniformity, broken occasionally by outcroppings of bare rock (or juniper). To many, this lack of notable landmarks denotes an absence of anything worth seeing—just a place to drive past on the way to somewhere interesting. Others might not see it that way.

Hard-wallers have found that many of Nature’s little treasures are only accessible on foot.

When I’m out hiking, my vision is scanning the distance, but I can also miss much. So I balance it on walks with Meadow & Mesa. When M&M and I are outwalkin’, it’s slow, and I try to keep my eyes focused in close. I watch M&M and see how they investigate what is down near them as they walk along. I would imagine walking with a kitten or puppy would enhance seeing the world with different eyes/perspective even more. There is so much beauty on a much smaller scale. Almost wish I could smoke dope; I’m sure I would appreciate the simple beauty even more. Not only on a smaller scale, but at times, gettin’ down low enhances the experience. The trunks and branches of sagebrush can appear as wizened and textured as an old gnarled oak, and as artistically formed as bonsai. And do try to walk through sagebrush after a rain to take in the scent of damp sage. A simple life is about simple pleasures.

Even a common, narrow cow path looks pretty cool from down low.

Some areas are full of rabbit warrens and sometimes one sees an entry somewhat different from the rest. Granted, unintentional.

Occasionally, not often, I come across someone’s isolated camping spot while I’m biking along an old spur. If someone is in such a spot, I figure they are looking for solitude and quiet (or they have a meth lab in the trailer). If I don’t see anyone, I continue to ride by or turn around. If I see someone, I might call out hello or wave as I ride by. If they respond in a friendly way or ask a question, I stop. I’m thinking they might want to talk. If not, I’ll pick up on it and get back to riding. Anyhow, this is my take on it.

Feel free to skip this section; it’s merely about a neighbor who has no concept of living green. A couple days after setting up my first camping spot on the Kaibab, I realized I had a neighbor about ¾ mile away. Not necessarily a bad thing. Kind of expected since I wasn’t as far in off the asphalt as I usually am this time of year.
Most evenings, after I’m done with the day and have taken M&M for a walk, I go in, do a partial washcloth wipe-down for that clean feel at the end of a day, change into lounging clothes, sit down in my favorite spot with a view out three windows, stretch my legs out, take a deep breath, and smile. I settle down with something to read, a large mug of tea, and a glass of wine—I’m in my don’t-bother-me mindset. If it’s been hot, like its been, the door is open, all the blinds are up, all windows and roof vents are fully open, and two LEDs are on. Life is good.
One evening, I hear an ATV coming along the dead-end spur towards my camping spot. Guano. This guy pulls off the spur, drives up to the Nash, and sits there idling. Ditto guano. First off, proper etiquette to coming up to an isolated camping spot is to (probably not do it) do it mid-morning, and most assuredly, call out while still a distance away. Common courtesy. When I go out, he gets off his ATV and says, howdy neighbor (he could have called this out from 25 yards away to give me a heads-up to who he was). So already, I’m not likin’ this guy.
We talked for probably 40 minutes. He and his wife live in Page and for the past few summers, they leave their fifth wheel up here. Okay, here’s the first living green aspect. He drives his pickup back to Page once or twice a week to do chores and pick up supplies. Often the wife drives her own vehicle to come up to the fifth wheel. What a waste of gas. When they are both here, they use 12 gallons of water a day (I use two); they shower every day. What kind of crud does one eat to stink that bad? It’s not as if they are off sweating from hiking; they carry pounds and pounds of excess fat.
The only well on this part of the Kaibab plateau is at a private RV park in Jacob Lake; all other water is trucked up and stored. This guy drives to Jacob Lake everyday and fills up two 6-gallon water containers outside the restaurant. There is a sign above the spigot stating, be conservative since all water needs to be trucked up. He thinks nothing of this. This guy could easily truck his water up from his house in Page; it’s not as if he is concerned with the price of gas or gas mileage. I truck my water up from Kanab.
Okay, so far, camp etiquette, gas, and water—now it gets gross.
This guy runs his gray water off with a hose. The water will seep into the ground but all the crud remains on the surface. He dumps his black water down a rotted stump. This goes on day after day for the whole summer. Flies are a nuisance here. I cannot imagine how bad they are around his rig. The flies walk on and digest filth, then walk on their skin and hair, gross. But basically, this is just wrong. These kinds of people disgust me. Or had you already picked up on that?
No solar panels, runs a bargain generator for TV and A/C but at least it’s so far away that there’s not a noise issue. Definitely not my kind of people. What’s truly unfortunate, they bred and were role models. It wasn’t long before I moved to another spot.

I came across this spot while out mtn. biking. It’s up another 900’ at 7,900’. For summer @ only 35° north, another few hundred feet would be better for those who don’t use A/C. Access to the Arizona Trail is farther away so I ride my old, gray Gary Fischer mtn. bike along the forest roads for 2 or 3 miles, stash the bike in the brush, and start my run. Biking in different directions gives me access to four different sections of the AT. Lately I’ve been riding out an hour or so, turn up one spur or another that the AT crosses, and ride back towards camp on the AT. This is a good area to be active.

I wonder if the photographer was shooting the soap bubble in movie mode then cropped a frame.

This lady’s husband was grousing about needing more space. She locked him outside.

I’ve seen plenty of Kaibab squirrels but have not yet been able to get a photo of one. When I see one, I take the Canon PowerShot out of my pocket, turn it one, and by that time I can’t get a good photo of the squirrel. It’s either the dark torso and funky ears or the white tail. So I keep the camera turned on for a while hoping for a shot. I don’t know how many times I’ve done this. So far, I’ve found Kaibab squirrels to be an excellent way to run down a camera’s battery. Guano.

On 4th of July weekend, no one came along the dead-end spur I’m camping off of and only one ATV went by on the spur leading to mine. Not bad.

You know how germs can often remain on a surface for hours? On a run to town, one handles a gas pump, shopping cart, packages, doors handles, change, and whatnot. Wouldn’t it seem a basic practice, upon returning to camp, to first thoroughly wash one’s hands?

I came across a joke.
The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.

Yes, it’s worth a chuckle, but, good grief, THAT would be REALLY scary.

While out mtn. biking one morning, I came across a view of Marble Canyon off in the distance. The Colorado runs through it just before it enters Grand Canyon National Park.

July sixty minutes sixty years—2025 minutes
July Triple 18—pecs/delts:4320; core: 2220; legs: 5740

When you're finished changing, you're finished.
Benjamin Franklin

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

sixth goat, time to re-watch, from pad to basket,
back in the woods, orienteering, something it is not,
what are the chances, big ball, and lost to posterity

My Heifer International tally is now six goats, two flocks of chicks, one flock of geese, and one flock of ducks. My next donation will be on the fall equinox. But I might expand out from providing animals. Heifer International offers other programs that one can donate to: women enterprise, farming, water, and others. Will have to look into it before the equinox.

I came across a sentence in a magazine. And this is in no way a cut to the article’s writer; she was merely relating trends stated by a person in the RV industry. “(RV) Consumers also want more features on the outside of the unit, such as outdoor kitchens and TVs to maximize the outdoor living experience.” Okay, I can sort of see an outdoor galley but why choose to cook outside and have your back to the Outdoors? But an outdoor TV “to maximize the outdoor living experience?” Hard-wall campers and RVers, most assuredly, differ in their mindset towards the ‘outdoor living experience.’

Back on the January 2013 page, I mentioned the short film, A Story for Tomorrow. If you are new to these pages and have not seen it, watch it. If you watched it back in ’13, it’s time to watch it again.

While out walking one morning from Lisa & Glen’s, I noticed a disc golf basket in Old City Park. I had not known there was a disc golf course set up in the greenbelt east of the park. It was early and no players were on the course, so I walked it. I later learned that this particular course is considered a tough one to play (but a good one to walk, if early).

You probably remember Frisbee golf. Disc golf is different, more advanced. First off, if you are looking at a Frisbee and a golf disc, you are not going to mistake one for the other. Frisbee golf had a pole hole. Disc golf has a basket hole.
Players carry a bag of discs, often ten to twenty. There are drivers, mid-range, and putter discs. Each category has discs differing in speed, glide, turn, and fade. I had no idea.

For many of the holes on the Moab course, you cannot see the basket from the tee pad. Unreal. Each hole has a map so you can see where to throw one of your driver. Most of the 18 holes are between 300’ and 400’; all are par 3.

This is the 13th hole. The basket is left of the trees that go down the center and past the darker green trees at the top of the photo. And yes, this is called a fairway. Unreal. This is one of those holes where, if you are lucky or pretty good, you will have a straight shot at the basket after your second throw. Or you could have a tree or 6’ bush in front of you. If you overshoot the basket, your disc could fly over a rock outcropping and down a short, steep hill. The whole course just blew me away with how difficult it is.

I walked over again on a Saturday morning to talk with some players. I tagged along with a friendly and helpful couple of grad students down from SLC who were camping in the area. I asked SO many questions. On one hole, the basket was out-of-sight to the left so they each pulled out a driver that tended to curve to the left at the end of its flight. Then there are different throws: backhand, forehand, rollers, and tomahawk. Anyway, I found it quite interesting. I know, not exactly something a typical visitor to Moab would be interested in, but for one who’s not…. It was all pretty cool.

The day after a hard-wall camper sets up in a new area, she/he tends to put on a daypack and head out to see what’s around—their concept of travel. You’ll be miles in off the asphalt, down one or two spur roads, no one around, and usually, no established trails. One thing that’s pretty important before heading out is to mark your camping spot as a POI on your GPS. Then you’re good to go. With this done, if you get turned around or want a straight line back to camp after a few hours of cross-country hiking, you can turn on the GPS and use the GOTO feature.

Chances are you’ll never have to use GOTO, or your PLB, but it’s good to have backup when no one is around.

What one can then do, as an alternative (or to save battery life), is practice a basic orienteering skill. Make note of the bearing back to camp, turn off the GPS, put it away, take out your compass, orient it, and set the base plate for your ‘direction of travel.’ Look off in that direction, pick a tree, hill, rock formation, whatever and start hiking toward it. As you go along, keep picking points farther out along your direction-of-travel. From time to time look down at your compass to confirm you are still on the right heading.

If your grandkids enjoy the outdoors and depending on their age, you might give them a lesson on the compass: its history, how it works, setting the base plate, whatever. Then give them a practical application. You need to be in the woods for this; a wide, open space will not work. Have them orient the compass, set a direction-of-travel, and both of you go off along it for half an hour. Explain the importance of choosing a landmark far ahead and others behind but inline with it. You will be zigging and zagging around obstacles but at each landmark, you’ll be back inline. After half an hour, help them figure out a bearing 180 degrees from the first one, or just have them lay a straightedge across the compass to see what the new bearing will be. Have her set the base plate for the new direction-of-travel and start hiking back to camp. Again, depending on the age of your grandchild, she might get a real kick and sense of accomplishment as your campsite comes back into view after an hour of hiking. Anyway, it’s something to try if you are looking for something to do.

If they are interested in learning more, and you have a map, teach them how to orient the map to north/south. Then have them figure out the bearing to something a mile or so from camp. Set the compass base for direction-of-travel and off you go.

From time to time, it can be good to go back to the old ways, even something as simple as this.

This spot is somewhat of a treat; there’s a trail only a few hundred yards away from where I’m presently set up, the Arizona Trail. I don’t think I’ve disperse camped near a trail since the summer in the White Mountains of Arizona. And I did not know that trail was there until I was in the process of setting up camp. Anyway, this less popular section of the plateau also has quite a network of forest roads and numerous spurs. I’ve been racking up the miles on my 29er.

One morning I was out mtn. biking along a spur closed to motorized vehicles. Up ahead, two pups loped across the road. They were so cute; they were about the length of Meadow but so plump, they probably weighed twice as much. They were young enough to still have that fluffy, fur-ball look. But already they had built up some stamina. They loped all the way up a decent size hill and over the top, never stopping to catch their breath or to look back. I love these little unexpected treasures that Nature offers up.

This is one of those shots taken from a perspective that presents a situation, as something it is not. What I don’t understand however, is how the person who took this photo was able to hold the camera steady.

I’m one of those who turn off propane at the tank on moving days (I even turn it off on town-run days, when the Nash is just left sitting out in the woods). A lot of RVers do not do this. If there is a mishap out on the road and a hose, connection, or pipe develops a leak and there’s a spark, that’s all she wrote; seems kinda dumb. And it’s not just about oneself, but any others who might be nearby. Many also don’t turn off their water heater, refrigerator, and possibly furnace during the drive. When stopping for gas, there is a chance that fumes could be a problem either from a spill, leak, or just because there are gasoline vapors during refueling. I wonder what would happen if an appliance went into its spark-ignition cycle to light up a burner. Granted, probably nothing, but, possibly something.

While out on a run one morning, along the Arizona Trail, I came across a trailer set up by itself out in the woods. I called out good morning as I ran by. The person later waved me down, as I was heading back towards camp. So I met Jan and helped her push a slide-out that did not want to slide in. She asked about my shirt (I wear a “Transplant Survivor” shirt when I’m out doing something athletic) and I found out Jan was also a bone marrow transplant survivor. Unreal, what are the chances? I asked her about her procedure since a nurse had told me it’s now quite different from when I had mine (covered on my July 2011 page). And it is. I would have liked to talk with her longer but, as you can see, she was gathering stuff to pack into lockers and breaking camp. Also, it had started to rain and I still had a ways to run. Jan recently started full-timing and plans to do mostly disperse camping rather than hit the campgrounds. She travels with a pet, always a healthy choice, but her pooch was hiding out inside from the thunder. Hope to cross paths with her again at some point.

Again, thinking of the chance of this occurring. I talked with three BMT survivors before I went in for my transplant, trying to get an idea of what I was getting into. The doctors and nurses had told me some things and I had done quite a bit of research on the web but I wanted a recipient’s perspective. It was good to talk with them. The two who required a donor, like me, unfortunately died within a year (and they were both quite a bit younger than me). The third person, who had a different kind of cancer, had her own cells drawn, worked on, and put back (if I’m remembering right). She is still alive. Since having mine, I’ve only come across one other BMT survivor, prior to meeting Jan. The survival rate is just not as high as with some other transplants, but it’s supposed to be improving.
Surviving the experience made it easy for me to decide on a lifestyle like this. The norm no longer cut it for me.

I purchased a big ball. Lisa had a balance ball and I tried a couple of exercises that I had seen in magazines. I then went online to learn more exercises. I guess I had thought Swiss balls were pretty much geared just for women. Wrong once again. The exercises are harder than I thought they would be and one can feel the stabilizing muscles during the movements. Doing a basic exercise on a balance ball brings more muscles into play. So, I purchased one. What a fabulous piece of equipment. I can’t do all the exercises yet and some I had to start off by doing the easier version. But I’m seeing progress—and for a senior, that’s always a good thing.

I came across a sentence that sure brought back memories, and got me thinking. “One hard thing to explain to teens is how legitimately exciting it used to be when someone would wheel in an overhead projector.” And remember filmstrips, in those little canisters? And who did not, when given a test page run off on a ditto machine, first smell the paper? I wonder what kinds of little things like these, have been lost from various cultures over the centuries? It’s not as if they would have been written down for posterity.

Well, there you have it, another page of mishmash. I do try to be entertaining, and I like to be somewhat informative, in a random way. Some months I do a decent job, others, not so much, but I write primarily, for enjoyment.

June sixty minutes sixty years—2050 minutes
June Triple 18—pecs/delts:3355; core: 2145; legs: 2940

Take the risk of enjoying what you’ve got
and be brave enough to change what doesn’t work.
from ‘Orbit’ by John J Nance

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’