Friday, September 1, 2017


This is a photo taken out of the galley window, of a local family that I see from time to time.
Another day, I was in the Nash working on my Mac when I heard turkeys. I looked out the back window, and there was a family. But a parent was watching me when I turned my head to look. Those of you who are familiar with wild turkeys, know that at that point, there was no chance of a photo. These birds are true survivors

Timberon is an unincorporated community 32 miles south of Cloudcroft, NM, and 15 miles south of Sunspot, the National Solar Observatory. It sits at an elevation of 7,100’ in the Sacramento Mountains. The road from Cloudcroft to Timberon is paved and full of hills and curves, so it takes 45-50 minutes to drive from Cloudcroft to Timberon.

Roughly 400 people reside in the 20 square miles of Timberon. Considering there are over 7,600 lots in the community, ranging from ½ acre to over 18 acres, and some 90-100 ranch acres, one can imagine how sparsely populated the area is. There might be 7,000 lots that have remained in their natural wooded state.

Not all homeowners live here the year round; most come up for the summer, holidays, or occasional weekends. There is very little traffic in the community and drivers tend to keep their speed down. It’s generally pretty quiet.

The community has a general store, post office, propane service, pizza/sandwich shop, restaurant, hair salon, gun shop, 9-hole golf course, airstrip, pool, and a Baptist church.
There is a bulletin board outside Roberts Realty with notices of local events (like a visiting vet) and business cards of those offering services.

The community has a volunteer fire department and ambulance service, but no gas station, grocery store, or cell phone reception, and all the pay phones have been taken out. There are a couple of bars and grills, with one being above the Pro Shop. Not my kind of places so I don’t know anything about them.

There is also no law enforcement. There are a lot of gun owners, however. Some are retired law enforcement officers and many have served in the military; all have been trained in the use of firearms. So I feel pretty safe here, well, other than for the mountain lions. Also, if this is public knowledge, I can’t see troublemakers coming here. They might not like what they find. Occasionally one will see a deputy Sheriff car cruising through the community. We are in their district and part of their route. If a resident has a problem, and a land line, an officer could be here in an hour or less.

From time to time I hear a single gunshot. I tend to think a homeowner is shooting at an animal to add to his meat freezer. I could very well be wrong. Occasionally it is followed by a second shot. If one were sighting in a firearm, the shooter would probably shoot 10-20 rounds. If target shooting, maybe 40-50 rounds. But a single shot?

The climate isn’t too bad. June was the hottest month this summer with temps into the 90s. July temps were in the 80s and a couple only into the 70s. The rains started in July with clouds building up mid-day for afternoon or nighttime rain. I hate being up in the mountains during lightning storms where there is only one good road for towing the Nash out. There is a road going out through south gate but it is not maintained and really rough and rocky. One can then head east to Piñon or west across Ft. Bliss Military Reservation-McGregor Range to hwy. 54. But you would not be the first person to break an axle driving it.
Timberon generally gets only a few inches of snow but occasionally a storm can drop a foot. I was talking with a lady and when she and her husband moved here 9 years ago, the first storm dropped enough snow to reach their pickup’s outside mirrors. Sacramento and the two or three other short sections of pavement get plowed, but that’s pretty much it.
Some roads get real slick when wet, from the clay. Sacramento is the main paved road through the community, with two others partially paved, and most of the rest are graded gravel. And then there are other roads that you look at and think, Really? Quite a few are rocky and steep.

There was a fire in 2009 in which a couple houses were destroyed. It is thought to have been started by campers just outside of Timberon. The 2016 fire in which I believe, ten homes were lost, was started by a resident burning debris when a breeze came up. I thinned out quite a few trees and brush on a friend’s lot earlier this summer but I took it all to the area designated for dumping debris, the slash dump. No way did I want the responsibility to oversee a fire in the summer woods. Made about 15 runs with the pickup stuffed and stacked high.
There was another fire that was allowed to burn. That’s a good thing. This area needs controlled burnings to restore the forest to health. Kind of hard to do though, on thousands of small, privately owned pieces of land.
Be aware that Timberon is a forested landscape with only one good road out during a wildfire. Maybe not the best place for a house.

This is from Wikipedia’s Timberon page.
“In 1976 a missile from White Sands Missile Range went awry and landed in the middle of the community.”
I asked about this and was told the missile came down near where the storage units are located, Sacramento and Pawhuska. No one was hurt.
Oh yeah, Timberon is not a bad place to live. One just has to be ready to dodge the occasional incoming missile. And what’s it like where you live?

Janet, a friend from Salt Lake, owns a lot here and since she wasn’t going to be using it this summer, offered to let me set up camp. She knew I really did not want to head north. I took her up on it. She gave me the unit-block-lot numbers. When I got to Timberon, I stopped at Roberts Realty. I purchased a copy of the Master Plan and Michelle showed me where Janet’s lot was located. The map is the same one that is on the web as a pdf file.
Timberon is split into subdivisions (units), blocks, and lots. If one has the unit-block-lot numbers, one can find any lot. All the roads are on the map but lots are not marked along the roads.

The first two times I visited Janet’s lot, I left the Nash down in the Oliver Lee NM state park, south of Alamogordo, and drove the Dodge up to Timberon. Thankfully I did so. I spent two days cutting down small trees to clear access to the property and a place to set up the Nash. I later asked Janet if I could thin out the trees on the lot, cut down the diseased ones, and clear out the dead brush. She gave me the okay and that was pretty much my exercise, other than the hiking and walks for the next month.

Timberon started in 1969. Having spent weeks hiking and walking around and a little driving, it sure seems many people back then bought lots site-unseen. Many lots are too steep for building without a good deal of bulldozing and other work. One will see some homes however, where the uphill side of the house is on a ground foundation and the middle and downhill side of the house is supported on posts. Some were well done, others not. This photo might be of a house that was not supported properly. And many lots are more rock than dirt.

Most lots are heavily wooded with thick underbrush and need to be cleared to some extent for building. One will come across quite a few abandoned trailers, 5th wheels, truck campers, a Winnebago, old mobile homes, and a couple houses as you hike through the community. Those lots have a flat spot but one has the expense of having the rig moved out.
There are plenty of relatively flat lots, also. Timberon offers quite a range of terrain. If one wants seclusion there are roads that you need a 4-wheel drive to access the lots. There is a road of isolated lots that I like, accessed by okay roads, but I would not be willing to drive another slow couple miles or so to get to them. Remember, I do not like driving. And after a town run, I’m maxed on driving. Different strokes. This particular road is nice because there is a view in front of all the lots and no one will be building across the road from your lot since it is national forest.

Most of the time, one feels they are driving through a forest, which you are. Then there are sections of Timberon that have more of a community feel. Many level and open lots with multiple houses in view. You’ll see lawns and the types of houses one finds in the suburbs.

Some people who originally bought lots up here have died and decedents aren’t interested in doing something with it or they want to keep it in the family, and others just never got around to doing anything with their lot (and are tired of paying the yearly taxes), so there are always many, many lots for sale, as well as houses. I would imagine that these lots got bought up in the ‘70s, and they probably did not sell for much. So looking through a list of offerings, the current prices seem to be high. I mean, it’s Timberon. There are many reasons for not having property in a community such as Timberon. But then again, for others, this might be the place. It’s definitely different.

Some people have bought lots with the intention of retiring up here. I question that idea. There are a lot of retired residents here, however. The hospital is down in Alamogordo, an hour and a quarter drive, and if one is in a hurry, not all that many places to pass. I would imagine most seniors would want to be closer to a city and facilities, especially if they need frequent visits to their doctor.

This was an issue for me this summer, or rather my oncologist, down in Alamogordo. The present condition in my belly falls in a gray area. No strong argument for having chemo treatments and no strong argument for letting things slide along as they are. Since it is a gray area in regards to treatment and I’m so far away, without communication, my doctor thought about it further and decided to not start me on chemo treatments. I can understand her reasoning, but I would have preferred to be on the 3-week cycle chemo treatments. Bummer. If my condition worsens and gets out of the gray zone, things will change. So as it stands now, I will have periodic blood work and occasional CT scans. Not what I wanted.

Lots and houses are a bear to sell up here. Many are on the market for years, and some, decades. That gives potential buyers an edge. But think of what I just wrote. If you purchase a lot or house, and for whatever reason you want/need to sell in a couple years, say due to illness, you’re pretty much stuck. If one does not need the money tied up in the property, there’s not much of a problem, well, other than the yearly taxes. But if that’s not the case…

After spending a month on Janet’s lot, meeting people and spending days hiking different loops, I thought that if I could find a lot that I liked and purchase it for what I considered a good price, I might go through with it. At the same time, fully realizing I would pretty much be stuck with it. But the annual taxes are only around $150.

I came across a lot near the end of a through road. What’s nice about it is the road is closed the last 100 yards from where it T’s into the next road. The road has not been maintained and is rocky and steep; no longer a through road. There is not a house on either side nor across the road or in sight from this lot and the nearest houses do not have year round residents.
As you can guess, I wanted a somewhat secluded lot. And since I would be driving into it quite a bit, preferably one without a gnarly access road.

I can’t see me ever building or buying a house in Timberon. I don’t have as much faith in my body, its strength, stamina, and health, as I’ve always had. And I am not referring to aging. Best be closer to a hospital. But, if the price was right for a lot… Also, the covenants’ minimum square footage of 800’ in this section is way too much for me, 400’ would be nice. As to living in an RV, the limit is 180 days a year. So for a summer or winter place to reside, purchasing a lot would work.
This lot has access to water and electricity. Positive points for reselling the lot. As if that would happen in my lifetime.

This lot measures 204 feet along the road and goes back 300’, tapering in to 80 feet up top. It borders along a power-line right-of-way or whatever it’s called, at the top. This photo cuts off 90’ from the right side of the property.

This is the most level spot and it’s towards the top of the slope. It can be worked on so a trailer would sit level.
The lot has a lot of unsightly trees, as do many, many lots. It also has way too much scrub oak taking the nutrients and water from the few healthy trees. A lot of work is needed for leveling, clearing, thinning, and working on a narrow, rocky access road up to the flattish spot, including erosion control. Sure would be a good opportunity for exercise. Then there are the dozens of pickup loads to the slash dump. For joy. But it would only be for a couple hours in the mornings, three or four days a week. I mean, I do have other things I enjoy doing. Sure wish I knew an active lady with a small RV and a pair of leather work gloves.

So, the one-acre lot was originally listed for $13,500 and later reduced to $8,350. I asked Michelle (@Roberts Realty) to offer $5,000 (my one and only offer, I was not about to get into bickering) and list all the reasons I did not think the lot was worth more.

If I get a lot, and chances are I will, I’ll have a place to spend a few months each year, if I wanted to. And with the Nash, they could be summer or winter months. It’s not the repossessed ten acres I would have preferred, but I would have a small, somewhat secluded spot of my own. I don’t think it would be all that bad. But then again, I’d pretty much be stuck with it.
Whatever lot I might end up with, I’ll dig out another small RV flat spot, off a ways, in case I get the occasional visitor.

There are no hiking trails in Timberon but there are a number of trailheads along the road between Timberon and Cloudcroft. Also, there is a network of what were going to be developed into parks on the Master Plan and there is decent walking through most of these interconnecting greenbelts. I do most of my hiking and walking on the roads. I presently go for a two-hour hike most days and I rarely have a vehicle pass me. And with so many steep roads, I feel I can truly call it hiking.
From this particular lot, I would also have ready access to the Lincoln National Forest, just a 10-minute walk down the road.

The community almost has a group feel to it. When driving along the roads, most people wave. It’s a good feeling. On one of my trips to the slash dump, I met a 72 year old Hispanic man who could be cast as an old Don in a movie. I smiled as soon as I saw him. He has two acres that border on the Sacramento River, which currently has a few inches of water in it. We talked for about a half hour and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, and so apparently, did he. Like a good grandfather, he’s definitely into his grandkids. We’ll be seeing each other again; next time for a cold beer. I’ve enjoyed talking with a number of people I’ve met up here.

I do a town-run to Alamogordo every three weeks for laundry, web access, groceries, and miscellaneous errands. I leave the Nash at 6:30 to get to the laundromat when it opens (I HATE waiting for machines) and have not been getting back up until late afternoon. I am so hammered by then. It’s a long drive, or at least it is for me. Would be easier if I enjoyed driving.

Timberon surely has its pros and cons, probably more cons than most communities. I’ve learned a lot in the couple months I’ve been here. Definitely not the place for most people. But for a low investment on a place to spend a few months a year, maybe not so bad. And, it is best if one brings whatever is needed for one’s own activities and interests. This is not a place for entertainment unless one is into a simple life.

Do you think this might apply to the current White House, from time to time?
For every action, there is an unequal and opposite overreaction.

I might stay here until November this year, mostly hiking. If I purchase a lot this year, I’ll be landscaping it, working on getting it to look how I want it. I would have to come up with some creative ideas on how to use cut-up tree trunks artistically. But I also have to be aware of potential fire hazards. Think I’ll check out youtube for possible ideas.
December, I’ll be back in NM state parks, moving through 3 or 4 of them until mid February for my social fix. Then maybe meander up to southern Utah for a month. But then again, last winter did not go as I had planned.

I have quite a bit more to write about Timberon, and it will mostly be geared towards those who might want to purchase a lot for seasonal use. Photos of lots for sale, water, electricity, and sewer issues, whatever. And if my offer got accepted.

August sixty minutes for sixty years—2840 minutes
August Triple 18—pecs/delts/arms: 1865; core: 1830; legs: 2000

Kindness is the one gift that all can afford
and all can repay.
You will never have a completely bad day
if you show kindness at least once.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Thursday, August 3, 2017

one year, finally back to sixty for sixty,
armed to hike, and another ramble

It does not seem like a year to me, but last July 31st, was the start of, ‘here’s a little story,’ and all those bizarre photos. It sure feels good to be above the ground and still have both arms.

In the area of the NM Sacramento Mtns. where I’m presently hard-wall camping, I was told there have been 45 mountain lion tags issued. I don’t know how many cougars they think are here, but there are suppose to quite a few. I wonder about this; I would think male pumas would be buttin’ heads over territory. A couple days after hearing this, I went off on a hike and mountain lions came to mind from time-to-time. The area is forested with quite a bit of underbrush; plenty of places for a cat to hide and get close to prey. I might be packing a handgun on hikes. I would just hope I could defend myself effectively if faced with a charging puma. Wouldn’t bet much in my favor. I wrote about what to do if faced with a predator back on the August 2014 page (‘more on the July page, at the water’s edge, hard-wall camping, floor vents and housework exercise, salads, sawdust, and close encounters’). But once the mountain lion is running full-tilt towards you, the fat lady might have sung.

I know the meaning of this term, but it can also be a joke.
The one who first said, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” did not apparently understand what cake is for.

Last August I started to make a point to say,‘Thanks or thank you for your help,’ with eye contact, to everyone who was doing so: nurses, CNAs, lab techs, the people who brought my meal trays, physical therapists, housekeeping, wound care, whoever. I noticed how people responded to this simple statement; more often then not, generally surprised and appreciative, sometimes a smile. And that just rewarded me for my words. So I kept it up and it’s now something I pretty much always do.

People say ‘thanks, or thank you’ all the time, and it’s a good thing to do. But it becomes common, one hears it all the time, some don’t even respond to it, especially if it’s said without eye contact. Adding three more words seems to lift it above common, making it more meaningful, personal.

I started using ‘Thanks for your help today’ in stores and when calling offices to deal with insurance, appointments, placing an order, whatever. One can hear the surprise and smile in their voice as they give a thanks back. Brings a smile to my face. I find it too rewarding to give up. Maybe coming from a guy, is what catches people off guard. But whatever, expressing gratitude, is a feel-good event.
It’s been a while since I wrote a ramble.

Here’s some senior humor I came across. ‘New’ songs by aging rockers.
The Rolling Stones: ‘Gimme Sweater’
Led Zeppelin: ‘Stairlift to Heaven’
Willie Nelson: ‘On the John Again’
The Who: ‘Bingo Wizard’
And my favorite…
U2: ‘I Still Haven’t Remembered What I’m Looking For’

I am so thankful that I get a laugh out of stuff like this, a true laugh, not merely a smile. It’s like a state-of-mind check for me. It tells me I’m still feeling light and good about my life. If I don’t laugh, I know something is wrong and need to start work on getting my head back together. As long as I laugh, life is good; I feel light.

Mesa usually falls behind sometime during the first 10 minutes or so on our walks. Then he runs to catch up and I can sometimes catch him in this pose. Sure looks like he’s having a good time.

September’s page will be about an interesting place.

Since I started Diana’s ‘sixty minutes for sixty years’ challenge in 2011 (the June 2011 page: diana’s sixty minutes sixty years page). I met the challenge every month until August 2016. Then I missed it for the next 11 months! Guano. Now I’m back.
The same for the ‘triple 18’ challenge which I started in 2012 (the October 2012 page: back in the dirt for M&M, mail call, little chuckles, thrilling but nuts, scootin’ mesa, water containers, john’s eclipse, triple 18.)

July sixty minutes for sixty years—1920 minutes
July Triple 18—pecs/delts/arms: 1860; core: 1870; legs: 1980

It is clarifying to renew one's appreciation of life.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Thursday, July 13, 2017

some medical tweaks and air pistols

This is where I’m presently set up. Going through quite a bit of sugar for the little fighters. There were no tracks when I first got here, but the truck tires are making marks. Bummer. Not going to be one of my leave-no-trace spots. That’s an important aspect of hard-wall camping.

Parking across a slight slope was the only option. So, as I’ve done other times, I dug out two holes on the uphill side for the wheels to drop into and rolled the downhill wheels up onto three blocks to get the rig near level. Just another aspect of hard-wall camping.
As you can see, there are some nice Ponderosa down the hill, but I can’t get the Nash down there, so it’s out in the sun all day. I really prefer shade in the summer. I was not up for driving north and scoping out a couple new spots up at elevation to hard-wall camp for the summer. But I needed a base to recoup and this is working out well.

I’m definitely getting back into exercise. I might even nail Diana’s Sixty Minutes for Sixty years challenge that I wrote about on the June 2011 page. With all the tasks and whatnot I’ve been catching up on, it is a real treat when I can sit down and do some reading.
M&M like being outside again, but they stick pretty close. Maybe they scent the bobcats, lynx, and coyotes in the area. The only time they go out from the camping spot is on our evening walks.

I had an appointment with a hematologist/oncologist. The colon surgeon had some concerns with the tumor. It broke through two of the three layers of the colon. Through the third layer would have given the cancer access to the lymph nodes. The tumor was also kinda funky, in a sickly way. So I will be starting on a chemo-pill procedure. A number of pills a day for two weeks and then one week off. I’m hoping I can cope with the side effects. We’ll see. Since it is a three-week program, it will work well with my 3-week town runs. I need to pick up the next batch of meds at each visit.
I’m looking forward to seeing my lab results to see if I’m still anemic (the tumor might have been bleeding).

I also saw an ophthalmologists and will be having my cataracts cut out next month. I thought cataracts were a layer over the lens; I didn’t know it was a condition in the lens. Having my eyes’ lenses cut out and replaced with artificial lenses (intraocular lens) is somewhat unsettling. At least the surgeon does it on two separate days. Since I have no one to drive me, I’ll have to get a motel room down in Alamogordo for each day of the surgeries and hire a ride. Bummer. Oh well, at least I will get the hot, foam baths that I missed this past winter.

I forget if I came across this while reading or listening to public radio. It’s strange. There is a good-rated merlot, from Chile, that sells for only $6-7. The wine is only sold through Walmart. That just does not seem right. Anyway, I think the wine is Casillero del Diablo, Reserva. Produced and bottled in Chili by Vina Concha Y Toro. I like it.
I like this too. On the label, “More than 100 years ago, Con Melchor de Conch y Toro reserved for himself an exclusive batch of his best wines. To keep strangers away from his private reserves, he spread the rumor that the Devil lived in that place. Hence the name: Casillero del Diable. The Devils Cellar.”

I enjoy shooting handguns, but since I got into this lifestyle, not so much. I like the challenge, but not the noise. When I’m out off-the-grid and someone starts shooting, even though it is generally off in the distance, it puts a damper on the natural sounds. So, a few years ago, I pretty much stopped shooting firearms. I did not want to trash another hard-wall camper’s out-in-nature experience.

I still enjoy the challenge to shoot well, however. Back in the ‘60s, I had a Benjamin multi-pump air rifle; I think it was the Sheridan. I was totally impressed with the power and accuracy. Now I shoot a pellet air pistol.

I’ve had this Tempest since the ‘80s. It is a barrel-break, spring-piston pistol that shoots .177 caliber pellets at 400 fps. The Webley company was based in Birmingham, England and supplied the British Empire with handguns for decades, prior to and through World Wars I and II. The passing of the Firearms Act in the UK put a damper on sales to civilians. Webley then started to produce pneumatic guns. They offered a number of pellet pistols over the years, the Tempest, being one.
There are a few youtube videos on the Webley Tempest.

This past winter I purchased this Avanti 747 single-stroke, side-lever pneumatic pistol. It shoots .177 pellets at 360 fps. I swear, when outdoors, the pellet striking the small paper plates I use for targets makes more noise than the pistol firing.

“The spring-pistol air gun is powered by the compression of a mainspring when the gun is manually cocked. The compression spring is released when the trigger is pulled, driving the piston forward, thus building up air pressure that pushes the pellet out of the barrel. Spring-pistol guns are of three types: Break-barrel, Underlever and Sidelever. BB guns are also in this category.”

I like the standard FAS 6004 Match Pellet Pistol but I did not want to spend $500 on an air pistol. There are articles on this pistol on the web and videos on youtube. It’s an all-metal pistol made in Italy by Chiappa.

10 meter (11 yards) air pistol competition is an Olympic event. Competition grade pistols start around $1500. The bull is 5mm (approx. 3/16”).

Like I said, I enjoy the challenge of shooting well. When shooting an air pistol, the range is only 25-30 feet or so. If there is no one around, one can set up a target at the edge of one’s camping spot or go off on a walk, plinking at pinecones and whatnot. Air pistols are so quiet, one can shoot them in an apartment. Just don’t shoot into an unpadded metal pellet trap if you want to keep things quiet.
In the Nash, I use an empty 5-liter wine box stuffed with cardboard.

I just plink and target shoot. I don’t need the power of a multi-pump action, nor did I want the ongoing expense of a CO2 powered model. A single-stroke action is all I need. Keep it simple.
If I were to choose between the Avanti and the Webley, I would choose the Avanti. It takes a second longer to load, like so what, but I find it easier to shoot and a tad more accurate. But either one is a good choice for the price range.

Shooting an air pistol is a form of simple, fun, challenging, inexpensive entertainment, like darts. Airguns are also good for those who shoot firearms and want to keep up their shooting skills without having to pack up their guns and gear, and drive to a spot to shoot. They are also a good way for someone who wants to become familiar with a handgun and shooting but does not want to go to the expense of purchasing a good handgun without first getting a taste of it. But then again, different strokes.

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you;
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
James Lane Allen

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Thursday, June 22, 2017

back in the woods

They recently released a huge amount of water from the Glen Canyon Dam. This is a shot from standing a few miles downriver of the initial wave.
Oh wait, no, maybe the photo is from Tó Mané Porto, Portugal. The coast is known for its huge waves. Awesome.

This time of year I’m generally north, in a forest, and up around 8-9,000’. Change of plans this year. The medical problems went on for TEN! months. I wasn’t up for much driving. I’m presently up in the Sacramento Mountains in NM and might stay through the summer, focusing on getting back into shape. I am much weaker than when I left Moab.

It’s pretty quiet here but at only 7100’, it’s hot. I leave all the windows and roof vents fully open at night and inside morning temps, during the first week, were 49-51 degrees, but lately, in the lower 60s, not good. By mid-afternoon, the inside temps are in the lower 90s. There is no shade for the Nash and I use as many of the techniques I wrote about on the June 2014 page, ‘stay cool, online drawback, back to the life, and spruce, pine, or fir,’ as I can.

One advantage of not being under trees, is the stellar SiriusXM reception. Been listening to the Coffee House station in the mornings and Classic Radio, when I get the chance. I couldn’t use the Sirius radio in Green Valley with all the interference from local radio stations; so this is a treat.

Town runs take at least an hour and a quarter just to get to town. Oh well, pros and cons.

I never liked the look of A-frame cabins and they seem to have too much wasted space. So I’m surprised that I liked Arched Cabins ( the first time I saw one. Similar, but more pleasing to my eyes. Cute, colorful, practical, and inexpensive. Maybe I’ll get serious about buying some land.
I stopped in at the county office here to see about land taken back for back taxes. In this county, the land is only sold at a yearly auction. Missed it by two weeks. Guano.

Meadow, Mesa and I love being back to hard-wall camping. It was a long time coming this year. The first evening, I called out, ‘Wanna go for a walk?’ Both came in from wherever they were and started following me. It’s as if we have been taking walks all along, and not since last July.

This is the view out the back window (west-south-west).

One morning I heard another animal sound I was not familiar with. I looked out the window, and after a while, I saw Mesa come into view, followed by a wild turkey. Mesa was not quite slinking, but he was not walking as tall as he usually does, and occasionally looked back. I’ve heard and seen plenty of wild turkeys while hard-wall camping, but this was a new sound to me. I figured there were little ones around and sure enough, a couple days later, the whole family came walking by. Wild turkeys are extremely hard to get close to, even hindered by their little ones. By the time I grabbed my camera and got outside, they were nowhere to be seen. I don’t always manage to get photos of the wildlife I see, but just seeing, gives me a smile and a memory.

Back in the state of New Mexico, where idiots are not allowed to vote.
According to the Constitution of the state of New Mexico, adopted January 21, 1911, Article VII. Elective Franchise. Section 1, reads: “[Qualifications of voters; absentee voting; school elections; registration.] Every citizen of the United States, who is over the age of twenty-one years, and has resided in New Mexico twelve months, in the county ninety days, and in the precinct in which he offers to vote thirty days, next preceding the election, except idiots, insane persons and persons convicted of a felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, shall be qualified to vote at all elections for public officers. The legislature may enact laws providing for absentee voting by qualified electors. All school elections shall be held at different times from other elections.”
I wonder how many votes Trump got from NM?

The word, ‘twain’ means two. Where the Mississippi River measured two fathoms (12’) in depth, steamship workers, using a lead-line, would call out, ‘Mark twain.’ You get this? Hence the pen name for Samuel Clemens, who, for a time, worked on riverboats.

I was so tired, the week after my colon surgery. Lynn took this photo of me napping in her Arizona room with Meadow keeping watch over me. As you can see, I’m way down in weight.

If you really want to do something,
you’ll find a way.
If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
Jim Rohn

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

tumbleweed and a success

Russian thistle found its way to this country, and many others, from the steppes east of the Ural Mountains. Tumbleweeds are a classic sight out west. But they are not something you want on your property.
Every winter the plants die and the stems become brittle. At some point, a stiff wind will break the stem and the plant will begin to roll, and roll, and roll; scattering thousands of seeds. Not good. Tumbleweed can be a big problem, piling up against fences, houses, whatever, clogging arroyos, and becoming a fire hazard (they are bone dry and filled with air pockets). Pretty much a worthless, no good plant. Easily spread and most difficult to kill.
The Department of Agriculture in Washington first became aware of a strange plant in 1880. There were reports coming in from farms in South Dakota. There are accounts from some areas, in the late 1890’s that many farmers were driven from their homes on account of the weed. In only 20 years, Russian thistle covered an area of roughly 35,000 square miles.
Presently, it’s in every state except for Alaska and Florida; it’s even been found in Hawaii. And from Russia, it has spread throughout dry areas of Europe and Asia. Australia, Canada, Argentina, South Africa are all infected with the weed.

For years, scientists from around the world have been working on a fix. They have been experimenting with pests, mites, weevils, moths, and fungi that prey on the weeds. Sounds like a possibility, but I seem to recall stories of a fix, turning into a problem.

Tumbleweed is like a roadrunner, a southwest classic. If only we did not have to live with it.

After my surgeon saw the CT results, she called me and left a voice mail letting me know the results. She said there was no sign of metastatic disease. When I listened to the voice mail and didn’t know what metastatic disease was, I called Lynn and she looked it up on the web. Pinball started reading a paragraph about it and when she was done, I told her about the surgeon’s message. Oh man, did I get an earful for not letting her know up front that I did not have it. Topped off with being called a name which I hadn’t heard her use before. Oops. I wasn’t thinking, only focusing the meaning of the term. Not having a thought what Pinball might be thinking as she read the description (it went on and on, and all bad). This is what’s called a mistake.
But we sure had a good laugh about it afterwards. Lynn was SO relieved that I did not have the cancer spreading. As I later learned, and could have guessed, she shared the story with a number of her friends.

On the 24th, I had a 5-hour surgery to take out the ‘very large bulky mass.’ Having read my medical records, my surgeon sure seemed to warrant her fee. I hope that was my last bout with cancer, twice is enough. The 14 staples will be taken out tomorrow (June 6 [I pre-dated this upload]). The first week or so sure was painful, even with wearing the support wrap. I’m am SO past ready for this run of medical problems to be over.

Decades ago, many kids were into a Kool-Aid type drink mix that made carbonated beverages (soda water powder). One night back in 1905, an eleven-year-old Frank Epperson accidently left his drink outside and it froze. The next morning, he tried licking it (why!?) and thought it tasted great. He sat on the idea for awhile and in 1923, he decided on a shape for the frozen drink and went with a stick coming out of the bottom. He told his family that he was going to patent the idea and call it, Epsicles (Epp’s icicles). His kids nixed the name; they didn’t call their dad Epp, hence, Popsicles. I love little stories like this.

‘Be curious about everything,
because curiosity generates questions.’
R.S. Karachi

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Friday, April 28, 2017

once more, into the breech

I was surprised and pleased that I could hook up the WDH when I left Moab. I was concerned about being able to crank up the A-frame. Then being able to crank up the added weight to prepare for prying on the torsion bars. And finally, being able to pry on the bars. It all worked out well. No way, was I capable of doing this back in December.
The next time I went to hitch up was more difficult. I left the pry bar on the bumper of the Ram when I pulled out of Moab. It was the factory one with curves forged in, to ease the procedure. Guano. I picked up a pry bar at Home Depot but I have to kick the torsion bars in when they are pried up high enough. Not the best time to be standing on one foot. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes.

I listened to an audio book on the drive south, ‘Blue Labyrinth’ by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Really good story. What a great way to get through a long drive. Couples could play an audio book through the car’s radio (if they could agree on a book). My podcasts continue to back up.

I am getting SO much use out of my iPod touch. If I had cell access year round, I would have an iPhone. The iPod gives me everything except the phone, with no monthly charges. With the OverDrive app, I’m getting most of my ebooks through the library, rather than free-ebook sites. Much better quality of reading material. Remember, I don’t live with a TV.

I had planned to spend a month in the Green Valley area of Arizona visiting with Pinball. Like old times, we went out after some geocaches. I got to meet her new cat and dog. Her cat, Mellow, is definitely mellow. We went out to eat a few times and I had the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve had in a restaurant (mine are the best). It was at the Cow Palace (can you believe I went into a place with such a name?) in Amado. Didn’t even have grilled cheese on the menu but the cook put what I wanted on one. I was most thankful.

Lynn was volunteering at The Animal League of Green Valley, and adopted her cat and dog from there. I was impressed with the cat enclosures. Each one had an indoor and an outdoor area with plenty of comfortable areas for the felines to snooze. And right behind there, is the Two Girls Pizzeria, where I had the best pizza I’ve ever tasted.

Bear with me here; I’m getting to the title. Remember the monthly pages titled, ‘not quite enough’ and ‘now, maybe it has been enough’? There was the necrotizing fasciitis and its three surgeries, the skin graft, pneumonia, and anemia. When I got to Green Valley, I went to a clinic to see about getting my last two iron IVs and maybe see a hematologist/oncologist since my counts are still below the norm. The clinic sent me to a lab for some blood work, and the results showed my thyroid is not up to snuff. So now I’m taking a thyroid med. Bummer. They also had me read off from an eye chart. That did not go well so they want me to see an ophthalmologist. Maybe it’s time to have my cataracts taken care of.

The nurse practitioner was concerned that at 67, I’ve never had a colonoscopy, so she set me up for one of those. As most of you probably know, the day-before prep is the pits. Lynn drove me up to Tucson for the upper endoscopy and the colonoscopy. Afterwards, while I’m still in bed, a nurse comes in and places a box of tissues on the bed. I’m thinkin’ this might not be good. The doctor then comes in with Lynn, who sits on the bed and takes hold of my hand. Uh-oh. The doctor found a large tumor, later found to be cancerous. We’re waiting for a surgery date. So it looks like once more, it’s into-the-breech. Guano.
Thankfully I have Lynn here to help me through this. It seems I’m taking more from my friends lately, than giving.

I’ve always thought I’ve been leading a healthy lifestyle (well, other than relationships). I’ve been a vegetarian for 46 years, no fish or any form of flesh, and I’ve always exercised with weights or bodyweight, hiked, mountain biked, and ran in the mountains and track skied and snow shoed in the winter. I’ve competed in various running races and was competitive in my age group. Never smoked but do drink wine and craft beers. But it comes down to genes. No matter how well one takes care of himself, if one’s genes are on the faulty side, it pretty much doesn’t matter.

Hopefully, in another month or so, I’ll be back in the mountains. Mesa and Meadow are missing them as much as I am. I want to check out some things in the NM Sacramento Mtns. The elevation is only 7,100’ so it might not be cool enough in the summer. We’ll see. If that does not work out, I don’t have any idea where I will spend the summer. I sure don’t want to do a lot of driving this year.

Most people pretty much stay within one chamber of their being.
If I never try anything, I never learn anything.
If I never take a risk, I stay where I am.
forgot where I came across this

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Saturday, March 18, 2017

now, maybe it has been enough

There is a trail up to the lower ridge just above the talus and one then looks down into Hidden Valley. The trail continues up, just to the left of the highest point. A week ago, Glen and some hiking buddies continued on across the valley and climbed up to the top ridge. He’s 70! And they kept going over the top to extend the hike. Unreal.

It took nearly two months, but I finally developed enough stamina to hike to Mill Creek from where the Nash is set up near Old City Park. It was a bear, however, to hike back up from down along the creek. Sure was glad to see the progress, though.

Last week I had gotten strong enough, sort of, to hike upstream to a set of stairs that took me back to the top. This is the lower set of stairs.

At the top of the lower stairs, there’s another set of stairs that take you the rest of the way. Now the stairs are the bear. A 1:45 hour hike that is presently my max.

Then of course, being in Moab, it is hard to go for a hike and not come across rock art.

It didn’t take all that long to work 4 months of processed food out of my system. Sure started to feel better. Good grief, many eat like that all the time!

I knew this past winter must have been bad. It was the first winter that I could not get into the winter solstice, my favorite day of the year. Sure hope it never happens again because it’ll no doubt be another bad winter. And I’m not talkin’ about the weather.

I’m hoping that all my medical problems are over. It’s been 8 months, enough already.

I came across a book on the web, We Have Lost the Pelicans by Paul Mathews. There was a line that went along with it, summing it up.
“London, 2044, Britain has a new president – a celeb with little brains, giant ego and no idea about politics. What could possibly go wrong?”

It’s lookin’ good for me pulling out the last week of March and heading south. I stopped to think and realized there is no way I can rack up hundreds of miles on interstates just sitting there and looking out the window. It’s not me. I’m going to stay on rt. 191 as I head out of Moab and then at Alpine, AZ, cut east over to NM on rt. 180 and down to Silver City. I have to take care of some things in Silver, then in Deming, and finally in Sierra Vista, AZ by April 1. It is going to be a hectic week. Hopefully, by the end of April, I’ll get back to some normalcy. I’m wishin’ and hopin’.

This is an awesome site:
The Shelter Blog

‘Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.’
~ Spanish Proverb

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

kindle and almost time to head south

Since I didn’t do too well with traveling on my own last year, I think I’ll spend this year traveling with The Doctor.
Oh wait, no, I came across this call box in the Moab library. Definitely brought a smile to my face since I’m a fan.

Okay, this is only for those who have a Kindle. Two things. First, you are probably familiar with all the sites on the web for free ebooks formatted to Kindle. If you have not already checked it out, look at the free ebooks offered on Amazon.
Amazon > Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Best Sellers > Top 100 Free
The free ebooks are not best sellers but I always manage to find a few to download. I don’t check out the site much, but there always seems to be a new list when I do. Don’t be put off by all the type books you would never read (can you guess?), there are other genres scattered among them.

This second thing is just strange, well at least to me. My Kindle has been acting up the last few months, slowing down and freezing. Restarting always takes care of the problem for a while. I’ve read close to 400 ebooks on it (some I only read the first and last 20 pages if I’m not getting into the book). I currently have over 200 ebooks on the Kindle. Since I use it everyday and a Paperwhite is so inexpensive, I ordered a new one in case my present one dies while out off-the-grid. Okay, this is the strange part. Here in Moab I’m using the OverDrive app (stellar app) on my little iPod to borrow ebooks from the Grant County library. These get scooted onto the Kindle for reading (through the Amazon site). Well, until one day. I had ordered the new Kindle on Amazon that morning. Later that day, I borrowed an ebook through OverDrive but it never got to my Kindle. Strange. Then I noticed the default setting for the ‘Destination’ for ebooks on Amazon had converted to ‘Sebastian’s 2nd Kindle.’ What!? The new Kindle was still sitting there in the Amazon warehouse! There had not even been time to package it for shipping. I had to sign onto Amazon > Manage Your Content and Devices, and change the default destination back to my original Kindle. I just found that pretty strange. I did finally manage to get the borrowed book to my 1st Kindle so I could read it. Unreal.

Before getting down to Moab, I didn’t know about the OverDrive app. A friend told me about it, had me download it to my iPod, and showed me how to use it. It blew me away. So I’ve been reading books from some of my favorite authors lately, Lincoln Child, Douglas Preston, Lee Child, David Baldacci, James Patterson, Wilbur Smith, Dean Koontz, Tess Gerritsen, JD Robb, and Tami Hoag. As you know, I don’t live with a TV, so this deal could not be better. Thanks Theresa!

I save paperbacks I’ve read over the year and exchange them at some places I know of in NM each winter. Kind of missed that this winter. But I lucked out at the senior center in Moab. I was able to exchange my large tote of books there. Not bad.

This is the view from my back window while on Glen’s property in Moab. I can’t conceive of how I could have gotten through the last few months if Glen and Lisa had not let me stay here. I had to get to a hospital three times a week for wound care, twice a week for PT, and then there was the pneumonia. Lisa and Glen, thank you SO much.

Looks like I will be heading south next month. Remember I thought I would be doing it back in December? Clueless. I have something to take care of in NM by the end of March and another in Arizona by April 1. Nothin’ fun and I’m certainly not looking forward to the days of driving. All my Wait, Wait podcasts I have not listened to yet will get my through. I won’t have the time to take a back route so I will be racking up miles on an Interstate. I’m gonna hate it. By the end of April I might be back to the style of life I enjoy. We’ll see.

Start by starting.
Meryl Streep

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

not quite enough

This is not my rig.

I met Victoria in early 2013. Back on the February 2014 page, I wrote about her and her one-eye dog, Henry. At one point, Victoria had to put him down and after a couple years, got another pet. It’s healthy to have a pet if living alone. Last year a fire totaled her Dolphin.

Her sister raised enough money online so Victoria could replace her rig. What a lifesaver.
Whenever I saw Victoria’s Dolphin, she was never at a hookup, not ever for a month or two in the winter. She’s tough.

I thought I’ve had enough medical problems since all this started back on July 31. Apparently not. I went in to see a NP I’ve been working with since I got to Moab. I had an appointment to get a referral to a doctor to have some work done on my chest wound. I had been extremely tired for the previous four days, pretty much slept the whole time and had to cancel a couple appointments. I knew I was way dehydrated, but when my blood pressure came in at 80 over 60, it kind of blew me away. The nurse also did not like the sound of my breathing. I was rolled into the ER and admitted for respiratory distress. I was started on fluids and labs came back positive for pneumonia. Then some more rolling down the hall into the hospital. Wait, wait, been here, done this, didn’t particularly like it! There I found out I was quite anemic and have been for a long time. Now I have a weekly iron IV.
Moab Regional Hospital is a great little place; stellar nurses and CNAs. I loved staying there and did not want to leave.

The following week I had an appointment with the doctor to see about doing some work on the chest wound. I then found out my body is not producing red blood cells as well as it should be. I got flashes back to my bone marrow transplant. Anyway, now I’ll be seeing a hematologist. I wonder if there will still be national forests when I finally get through all this?

value kindness

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’