Thursday, March 5, 2015

shillelagh, hikers, photo contest,
and 52 days



I take a day to weed through my 5x8x4.5’ cargo trailer each winter. I exchange items, pick up some clothing and paperbacks, get rid of a few things, and top off the tires. This year I picked up my granmum’s blackthorn shillelagh which she brought over from Ireland. It’s not something that is practical for me to be hauling around—but it is WAY COOL. She was a great person.


I decided to not go to the Burros for the two weeks between my two stays at CoR. Since it’s my social-fix season, I should be around people so I headed back to Oliver Lee. Sure do like the Dog Canyon hike. The park was pretty full but my favorite site was empty. I didn’t even finish setting up before I was thinking, it was kinda dumb to drive all this distance. In two weeks I have to drive all the way back. Next year I’ll go somewhere closer. I managed to get in a hike eleven of the fourteen days I was there. Racked up 60 miles in my Keen hiking boots. Definitely not something I could have done three or four years ago. I know, not much variance but I always get plenty of that in the off-the-grid months. Also, I don’t think I’ll have much in the way of elevation gain/loss when out-and-about this summer so I wanted to get some while I could. Bein’ a senior isn’t all that bad—unless you make it so.


A couple I met on the trail the last time I was here, had a dust devil story. They were tent camping in the desert when a large dust devil started coming towards their site, and it kept coming. It hit their camp, pulled up the tent stakes, sent the tent flying, and knocked off everything they had on their table. I said, didn’t you think of running out in front of it, jump up and down, gesture and shout Left, Left, Left! I’ve wondered how powerful the larger dust devils are. I’ve never thought it was prudent, however, to run into one to find out.


I met a couple on the trail. The husband was carrying the water, and the wife was carrying the dog.


Sometimes visitor centers’ tabletop space is a bit cramped.

RVwest magazine has a monthly photo contest and I sent in two shots of the Nash 17K on the bluff. I won for the month of January. I was quite pleased but also surprised; I don’t take all that many photos and I still have not mastered lighting. It sure brings a smile to my face, however, when a shot all comes together.


RVwest sent me two gifts for the photo. BC’s Majestic Thompson River by Bernie Fandrich sounds like a very good read going by the testimonials, Table of Contents, and back cover summary. Sure will be reading it soon. The other useful gift is Roaming Cooking’s ‘The Ultimate Space-Saving Meal Kit.’ It consists of a rectangular silicone collapsible lunch box, a silicone collapsible cup with lid and a titanium foldable spork. I picked them up through General Delivery at the town just down the road from CoR the same day I received a box with my last two or three months of mail. So I had christmas and solstice cards in one package and gifts in the other package. Christmas in February.

There might be three types of hikers. ‘Occassional hikers,’ those who go for a hike from time to time. They might not be dressed properly or have enough water with them but keep the hikes short enough so they are enjoyable. Then there are those I call, ‘hikers.’ They hike quite a bit and have the knowledge and experience that goes along with it. They carry a daypack with extra clothing, first aid kit, food, plenty of water, a PLB, other supplies, and often a small sack with enough basic gear to bivouac out in case of an emergency. Some might think over-prepared but hikers know how quickly conditions can change in the mountains and if a mishap occurs, hikers need to deal with it with their knowledge and what they have in their pack. They might also be able to aid others if there is a problem. Okay, let me lead into the third type of hiker. One morning I was coming down Dog Canyon and I stopped to talk with a guy, about my age, who was planning to go all the way to the top. He was wearing a T-shirt and no hat. He was not carrying a daypack or a hip pack and he had an army surplus 1-quart canteen on his belt. I questioned him about having only a quart of water and he said one doesn’t need much water and a quart will be enough. To the top and down is ten miles. I refer to this third classification as, ‘idiot hikers.’


I came across this cluster of bees when out hiking one morning. I wonder if they are in transit to a new location and are clustered around the queen to keep her warm. Don’t know much about bees.
The next morning as I was hiking up the trail, I noticed the bees were gone. Sure hope they found a good spot the day before because this morning was rainy, cold, and windy.

I’ve been enjoying a new wine I’ve come across. Considering how I’ve been eating the last 44 years, it seems somewhat ludicrous—Carnivor Cabernet (13.8%—I prefer dry reds), very nice.

I used the new HP LaserJet printer twice and was quite pleased with it. When I went to use it a third time, it did not work. Guano. The first two uses, I was plugged into an electric site. The third time I was using a 175 watt inverter (which was enough to run my old inkjet). The printer would just turn off in a couple seconds. Same thing when I tried my 350 watt inverter. So now, whenever I want to use the LaserJet, I have to take out my Honda 1000 generator. Guano. I share stuff like this with you from time to time, so you can see even an idiot can do this lifestyle.


Someone called out my name while I was at CoR. It was my neighbor Tim, from Bottomless (traveling in a Lazy Daze). He and a couple of friends were checking out the Faywood hot springs. He emailed me this jpg of a Tucson KOA he stayed at. Good grief, they didn’t even have this type of fencing around the Tourquoise Valley RV park in Naco, when I was there—and it’s a border town!

Jim from Colorado (lives in the back of a Ford pickup) also came up to my site at CoR. First time I saw him this winter and it was good to catch up on the past year. He told me Victoria had to put Henry down. Her little one-eye dog was always out walking along with her. Hope I come across her this winter.


Why does it hurt so much when a pet dies? It’s only an animal. But I get way more upset when a pet of mine dies than when I hear of someone I know has passed away. It hurts like hell but there is no way I could live my life without pets.

Then there are those who think animals are pretty worthless. You might hear them say, It’s just a cat; It’s just a dog. Can you guess this is a fourth type of person I don’t relate to? Animals deserve some semblance of caring and respect. And often, any hardship an animal is enduring is caused by a more advanced animal—a human. So which one is really inferior?

Back on the February 2014 page I mentioned coming across Daryl and his dog, Katy, on the mesa at CoR (game warden, travels in an A-Liner). Same thing happened last month and we met up for a hike the next day. He started off just like Glen but I enjoy it; I certainly get more exercise over a given distance. A great hike and I learned a bit about modern farming methods (Daryl is from Iowa). Definitly an interesting person.

You know I can’t do the standard, boilerplate RV thing. One aspect I never put any thought to is weekly town-runs. Most Rvers go into town every week, no matter where they are. I do it myself in the winter months when I’m just RVing. Towns are generally only 20 – 30 miles away; no big thing. But I was thinking, they do it month after month. That’s 52 days of each year spent driving into town for supplies. Full-timing is suppose to be laid back. 52 days is pretty close to two months worth of days. Once I’m back out off-the-grid and into my three-week stints, in one month I make one town-run and they do four. In five months I make 7 town-runs and they make 21. But then again, I’m farther out and my town-runs take hours. Weekly town-runs have got to become a chore at some point and you know how they would negate the out-in-nature thing for me when off-the-grid. Granted, many seniors have not developed all that many interests and activities over the decades, that they enjoy doing, so the town-run might be the highlight of their week (won’t comment on that). I’d rather spend my days (a lot of days) in other ways. Yep, you got it—another ramble.

I’m still enjoying this lifestyle and am truly content. If I didn’t catch myself smiling, chuckling, and even laughing about something that I see or think, from time to time, I guess I would be deluding myself.

If you enjoy African music, Ayub Ogada’s album ‘En Mana Kuoyo’ is a must have. Simple arrangements with a fabulous voice, a nyatiti, subtle percussion, and an occassional wind instrument.

One morning while hiking up Dog Canyon, I said hello to a couple who were coming down. It happened again the next morning so we stopped and talked and I met Mary and Rossie from Minnesota, traveling in a truck camper. Two more people I came across this winter who I found interesting and enjoyed talking with.


I first met Rick and Linda at CoR back in February 2011. They were set up in the spot next to mine when I got back to CoR for my second stay. What a great surprise. We caught up on what has been happening and I learned about their plans for the next few months. They are going up to Alaska again, but unlike most RVers, they plan to backpack and canoe. They have a copy of ‘Backpacking in Alaska,’ and have already chosen some hikes. On the way up, they are going to spend time in Tombstone Territorial Park in B.C. for a number of hikes. One hike that sounds special is the Chilkoot Pass hike out of Skagway. It’s a one-way hike and they’ll take a train back to their trailer. Then there will be more hikes in the Saint Elas National Park. Sounds like they will be covering their travels on their blog: morgoblogocon.wordpress.com


Linda has really gotten into brewing craft beers. She’s also into the history of beers and has some clips on youtube (search for Running Fox Brewing).
At their beer site, runningfoxbrewing.wordpress.com, go to “Brewing Across America” Episode 1. It’s Florida Gold Porter. This batch was started in Florida and came to maturity at CoR. They gave me a six pack. I love unexpected treats like this. They’ll be brewing up through the states, British Columbia, Alaska, and back to Massachusetts. Follow along on their brewing site.

Linda is also into amateur astronomy and I was surprised to hear she did not have a scope with her for this trip. Unfortunately, it’s down for repairs. When she gets back, Linda has to fabricate a dust-free and non-static environment before she starts working on the innards.

It’s been a good social-fix season. I never seem to be quite ready to do the campground thing each the winter but old acquintences and the new people I meet always make it worthwhile. But by March I’m really ready to get back off-the-grid. And writing these pages sure comes easier for me when I’m out there.

Next week I’ll spend in Bisbee to see a couple friends and then probably head up rt 191 to southern Utah.

February sixty minutes sixty years—2630 minutes
February Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2520; core: 1845; legs: 9045

The only thing that comes to you without effort is old age.


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