Tuesday, December 24, 2019

winkler, smokey and the solstice

Another one from Dianna’s folder

Met up with my favorite winter acquaintance and had some good talks and laughs. Simple pleasures.

I also met a couple from Wisconsin who travel south for the winters in a Holiday Rambler Class A, towing a Mercedes Benz Smart Car. Had two good, informative conversations with them. I need talks like this. They lent me a DVD of the 1988 miniseries, Lincoln, with Sam Waterson and Mary Tyler Moore. I remember Moore from the Mary Tyler Moore show. This is the only time I saw her in a drama, that I can remember. Mary Tyler Moore gave an absolutely stellar performance as Mrs. Lincoln. I do not think anyone could have topped it. He facial expressions nailed every scene. I was thankful that I was given the opportunity to see this performance.
When they were leaving the park, they gave me a package of Dove dark chocolate. This candy is now a staple in my freezer. I take them one-a-day, like a vitamin. Thank you so much. They also gave Meadow & Mesa a gift, a bag of Friskies Party Mix treats. M&M love them. I generally buy Temptations chicken flavor treats. I’ve tried something new from time to time, but M&M never liked any. Glad we now have a 2nd option.

I like Henry Winkler; he comes across as a good person. And granted, I’m only judging this from listening to him, the couple times he was on NPR’s Wait, Wait.
He said, ‘I live by two words - tenacity and gratitude. Tenacity gets you where you want to go and gratitude doesn't allow you to be angry along the way.’
I thoroughly enjoyed both times he was on. Wish I had more opportunities to listen to him. Maybe I will order a season of Happy Days. Or Not.

‘It’s alright, mate. It’s just Smokey’s (the cat) sense of humor. Whenever anybody sleeps in this room he likes to get up on that beam up there, and just as you’re dropping off and all’s right with the world, leap onto your stomach.’ Frank Legg

Once again, my favorite day of the year came around—the winter solstice. I started out with 40-minutes of exercise, including one of my favorite HIIT routines, 20-minutes of stretching, breakfast and an hour’s walk.

I added something to my solstice tradition. Buying myself gifts. I might have occasionally done this in the past but as of 2019, it will be a given. I wanted to add a touch of style. For some things, it does not take all that much. Something to wear when going into town. Hence, a pair of Dockers black, cap-toe dress shoes and two white button-down shirts. Now it’s leather footwear (one needs two types) for most things and athletic footwear (pretty much synthetics) for exercise, walks, hikes and the like.
I also wanted a heavy, wool, knee-length overcoat. I went into all the clothing stores I passed, but none carried overcoats. Bummer. Guess I’ll order one from the web once I get back up to Timberon. Maybe Lands’ End Wool Overcoat, even though it is not 100% wool and it does not look all that thick. Dark charcoal or navy?

As you know, I always purchase a good bottle of wine, and as a treat to look forward to each evening, limit myself to one glass a day until it is gone. With the first glass of this cabernet sauvignon, I watched a DVD that I’ve been saving. Simple pleasures.

I bagged the cow and pig meat based diet on the winter solstice of 1970 and started on my plant based diet—49 years. Not bad.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

November sixty minutes sixty years—1820 minutes
November Triple 18—upper: 2120; core: 2705; legs: 3985

Keep life moving forward, looking backward
is only for time travelers.
Rachel O. Washington

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Saturday, November 30, 2019

karma, people, the boot and
radiator & exhaust

A character in a book I was reading walked into the scene wearing a T-shirt with this on the front:
‘Dear Karma,
I have a list of people you’ve missed.’

Dropped down over 3,000’ in elevation from Timberon to have it go down into the 20s the first night. Guano. I’ll stay down on the flats until March. When I get back up to Timberon, there will probably be a few days with a little snow and/or hail, typical for March. But after four months getting my social fix, I’ll be over-ready for some solitude. March is quiet up there.

One from a file of photos sent from Dianna.

The ten years I was hard-wall camping, I was content with not having people around to talk with. It felt good. All the wildlife and Meadow and Mesa were enough. I didn’t think about people not being around. This year I realized that there are people around me in Timberon to talk with—but I cannot talk with them. Almost like feeling alone while around people. I have two favorite acquaintances I enjoy being around and I can talk with about most things. Remember, I differentiate between acquaintances and friends. With friends, one can talk about feelings and just about everything else. With acquaintances, not so much. I am truly thankful for my acquaintances, however. But if there are people around, I need more. It is nothing like the solitude life of off-the-grid.

So this mindset should get me seriously looking for property 20-30 miles outside a town or small city. With people who listen to NPR, are more health conscious, and a population with a much lower percentage of smokers. Talking with such people further open my eyes and help me grow. I’ll work towards developing a new set of friends. Wish I could be somewhat excited about the coming search.

For the two or three places I’ll be spending most of the winter, the signal for the public radio station comes down from Portales NM. The station offers a different schedule and some different shows. They play ‘The Best of Car Talk’ right before ‘Wait, Wait.’ On Sunday mornings at 5:00, it’s ‘Travels with Rick Steves’ instead of gospel. A nice treat for four months.

I have to wear this rocker boot for a month. Down to the last week. The initial bandage wrapping on my foot for the first two weeks was huge. It was such a treat to take it off and put on a much smaller one. The day the sutures were taken out was another treat.
Then I’ll start working back to decent walks. Next step will be building back strength for brisk walks (15-minute miles), starting with short stretches interspersed in my walks, working towards longer and longer stretches. Ditto for jogging, working towards running. Been here, done this, know how to go about it. I’m getting way more opportunities to build back up from medical setbacks than I thought I would get from a lifetime. But I really wish I could say it is not deserved.

This guy was saying how his body is like an old car. Every time he sneezes, coughs or sputters, either his radiator leaks or his exhaust backfires.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

October sixty minutes sixty years—2100 minutes
October Triple 18—upper: 1805; core: 1920; legs: 3235

In nature there are neither rewards, nor punishments;
There are only consequences. Robert B. Ingersoll

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

new panels, a comeback, ford
and paw prints

A doe occasionally comes by with two fawns. Haven’t seen a second doe.

Deer are not the only ones who drink out of these buckets. Even though Mesa and Meadow have their own water bowl, with fresher water.

I was reading through some legendary comic comebacks. I like this one:
Reporter: How many people work at the Vatican?
Pope John XXIII: About half.
I guess I found this humorous because it was from a Pope. The position might need a sense of humor.

It was time to replace my window foam panels. The aluminum facing on the other side splits and peels over time. These are the new panels I cut. I also cut one for the tall curb-side back window. When the panels are up, the blinds are down so the foam is out of sight. I use them most mornings in the summer since I have not been able to set up in the shade. They take up very little space in the shower stall.
I don’t use them as consistently in the winter and only at night if the temp is going down into the 30s or below. With the blinds down and closed, one cannot see the panels. Remember, I use a small $30 ceramic heater for the three months I get an electric site.

Whether here, or when I’m out hard-wall camping off-the-grid, most of what I want is always there with me. Most days start before the sun comes into view and M&M are around for entertainment and companionship. There might not be trails nearby but there are generally places to hike. All in all, a quiet, peaceful life with books and music. I don’t need much more than this.

I read the pros and cons on buying a Ford pickup. One of the cons was how the options can really drive up the cost of the relatively low-price pickup. Mine were were $6,000. But the Ford will probably be my last vehicle so, so what.

I’m more of a Ford person than a Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram person. I had a Ford Club Wagon back in the early 70s which was well made and had no problems. I even lived in it for 3 years as I drove a beer truck full-time out of Paterson, NJ to Jersey City and Hoboken. While taking pretty much a full load of college classes at night. Anyway, glad to be back with a Ford.
It’s a 2019 STX F 250 Super Duty 4x4 with a 6 ¾ bed. I really like the aluminum body. With 18” wheels, I won’t be changing any tires. They weigh a ton. The color (Blue Jean) is darker than it looked to me online (there wasn’t another vehicle on the dealer’s lot for me to see first hand), but I can live with it. Lighter colors are safer, as in easier to see against the black and gray of the roads.
Remember my May 2013 page, two trailers and one tow vehicle, when I was out in the woods up in Oregon? For a couple weeks here, it was two tow vehicles and one trailer.

"Nothing attracts paw prints to an automobile faster than a fresh wax job or a warm hood." Niki Anderson
Mesa tracked muddy paw prints across the hood and onto the roof the morning after I drove the Ford home. So predictable.

I donated my 2004 Ram 1500 to NPR’s Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program. I was too far away for them to send a tow truck so I had to hire someone to follow me down to El Paso and give me a ride home. I paid $200 to give away my truck. Bummer.
I have not yet found anyone here who listens to NPR. Reason enough to move somewhere else.

Looks like some grass is growing where I spread scratch grains this year. Might be my only grass. None came up where I put down grass seed. I wonder if buffalo grass would work here.

If you come across the November issue of Trailer Life magazine. Look on page 48. Recognize the photos? I submitted an article for their ‘RV Renovation’ page. My story was within the word limit but it was still cut and edited. Oh well. Wonder if they published it because of the photo I sent in of my Nash. Be that as it may, I’m thankful that they published my piece in their magazine. Way cool. Thanks.

You are stuck in an elevator that stopped between floors. Someone says, “There’s a first time for everything. Are you thinking, “There’s a last time for everything too.”?

Sometimes deer move off only a short distance before they lay down after eating the cracked corn. This girl didn’t even go that far.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

September sixty minutes sixty years—1850 minutes
September Triple 18—upper: 2125; core: 1970; legs: 6330

If music is a Place, then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness,
Rock is the Road, and Classical is the Temple.
Vera Nazarian, writer and philosopher

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

upset, 20 gauge, and smartest & dumbest

After it rains and the buckets fill from under the gutter spouts, I move them out to where the corn and scratch grain is. This is a common scene.

I might have finally taken a decent shot of my Montezumas.

When the lady gets a little upset, sometimes a simple, ‘Calm down,’ in a low, soothing voice—is all it takes to get her A LOT upset.

Early in the summer, hummingbirds were sippin’ the feeder dry in a day. I did not want this to be a daily chore so I started taking the feeder down around 8:00 in the morning and hung it back up around 5:00. I figured the hummers should learn where flowers and other feeders are located in the area in case mine wasn’t up. The survival thing.
If I’m late hanging the feeder back up and I’m outside, I’ve had a hummer buzz me. As if to say, Hey, slacker, where’s my sugar water? If I’m inside, sometimes one will hover outside the back window for a few seconds looking in at me. I always respond quickly.

I’ve been having trouble with one hummingbird for the last month. If there are only two or three hummers around the feeder, the little pisser chases them away. I think it is a male Rufous. I was thinking of standing out there with a fly swatter. Then I thought maybe I should add a 20 gauge shotgun to my town-run list. Wish he would re-locate.

Not the green I was hoping for back in April. Don’t know where the seeds for these plants came from. There were none of these plants in the area since I’ve been here.
Have not yet been able to get any grass seed to sprout. I depend on rain for watering, but we sure have not been getting much this summer. Have not had monsoon rains here since 2017.

Two campers staying in a National Park were talking with the ranger who was in charge of maintaining order in the campsites. He showed them how to operate the new garbage cans. The complex models had a rotating upper section and a special door designed to keep out hungry bears. One camper asked the ranger whether the fortified cans were working as intended. “Not really. We’re finding considerable overlap in the intelligence of the smartest bears and the dumbest campers.”

Mesa came in one afternoon with a mess of burrs. We deal with goat’s head every winter but these were nastier. He has no trouble picking off goat’s head with his teeth but not these. I took over 20 burrs off him. There were three tightly clustered on his cheek near his eye. Luckily I had a wide pair of tweezers. No way could I have gotten them off with my fingers. Some were buried down in his fur on his chest. Others were not a problem for me but there is no way Mesa could have gotten them off. How do wildlife cope with all that they have to deal with out there, with no human to help them out? M&M have come in with burrs many times but nothin’ like this. Mesa is not all that affectionate but he was on my lap all evening while I was reading. He sure seemed grateful. It felt good that I could help him with something he could not do for himself.

I’ve been looking at pages in my NM DeLorme Atlas for areas to check out for property. Nothing is jumping out. I have a number of requirements that I want as to a location and distance from a town and mountains, what I need in a town, as well as for the land itself. Maybe I should have held on to the ten acres I had in Lake Placid, NY, bordering on the Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

August sixty minutes sixty years—2965 minutes
August Triple 18—upper: 4400; core: 2880; legs: 10475

Life is how you spend your time.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, August 29, 2019

eye catcher, last of coral, first and boink

My pair of Montezuma quail with some of their little ones. Like last year, they do not come around much and I have yet to get a good photo of them. Bummer.

It has only been a couple months but it feels as if the coral reef has always been here. It adds so much color to the interior, not just the paint in and of itself, but how it changes as the light changes. Way cool.

If I ever get another RV with faux wood, I’ll keep an eye out for any problems with the rig, see how it feels after living in it for a few months and if it is a keeper, I’d—bring out the paint!

Entry level RVs are low-cost rigs. One will not see solid hardwood cabinets and wood veneer paneling. With low-cost rigs, I think some interior paint will really spruce things up. I wouldn’t touch the walls and ceiling; that might darken the interior. But remember, I’m talking from the perspective of one living in the box. For those using their RV for road trips, a bright interior might not be as important.

One evening, I was looking around to see if I wanted to use coral reef on anything else in the Nash. Maybe the roof vent sleeves, lights, ceiling strips and whatnot. Then I’m thinkin’—No. I feel anything more than I’ve already painted would detract from how it is now; just clutter. I did not paint the bathroom, its door, nor the paneling under the settees, bed and under the cubbies. I’m done and it looks awesome.

Okay, okay, only one more mention of coral reef. I guess I’ve kept mentioning it because the coral reef gave the Nash a whole new feel. Simple pleasures.

I’m not much into the ‘norm.’ The common, has many good points, but I feel it can often be improved upon, and I’m talking about most aspects of life. Stop and think, question, access—then make a change.

I like eye-catchers. When I taught silversmithing, I had my students make a pendant/medallion. It’s an in-your-face piece of art; one can’t miss it. When I wear one of my medallions, I wear it on a short cord, like a choker.
Now there is an eye-catcher as one walks into my Nash. Oh yeah!

Different strokes.

How bout a curve?

It can be said that Moses was technically the first person to download files to his tablet from the cloud.

One evening, I glanced up from reading and noticed two hummingbirds at the feeder. The female was sitting on the feeder with her tail feathers up and spread while the male was strategically hovering behind her, real close. Wasn’t on my Never Want to See List. I got an unexpected chuckle from it; always a good thing. This lifestyle definitely has some quirks.

Some young bucks stopping by for cracked corn.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

July sixty minutes sixty years—3250 minutes
July Triple 18—upper: 3145; core: 2455; legs: 3400

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh—
at yourself. Ethel Barrymore

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

a few short bits and thoughts on a move

Looks as if this guy is developing a nice rack. That’s cracked corn on his nose. Hope he makes it through shooting season.

A little kung fu humor.

A friend from Salt Lake drove down for a visit. Brent and I taught at the same private school for years. He always heads north for his road trips, so this was an unexpected treat, having him head south. We only managed to get in one short hike but we had some good talks in the evenings. He got me to see some things in a more objective way. Something I’ve always needed but mostly not open too. At this point in my life, decades late, I’m receptive to it. I also learned some things I did not know; always a good thing. Wish the visit lasted longer.

A week or so later, I was thinking I need more talks like that. Maybe I really will head up to northern NM next year. It would probably be good for me to find some property 15-20 miles outside a small town, with access to mountains. Going into the shops and cafe would provide opportunities to acquire a few new acquaintances, and possibly friends. I could use more dialogue in my life; merely exchanging pleasantries doesn’t cut it.

But I’ll still need a secluded piece of property for solitude. I get too much from solitude to give it up.

I only have one town in mind. I need to find out about others in northern NM so the trip will not be a bust. Any suggestions?

Recently I noticed a young doe pawing the ground before lying down. I wonder if this is common, to scoop out a snoozing spot.

I’ve seen scorpions in terrariums. I recently saw one while I was out and about. Not that I wanted too, nor do I want to see another. Unfortunately, it was around the 2x4s I have under the bags of grain and corn. I’m in those bags twice a day. Bummer.

Guess I can check scorpion off my Never want to see list. Or maybe on my, Never want to see without a barrier list.

Can’t say, As luck would have it, but I came across another scorpion while moving rocks along the access road I’ve been digging in the slope up to the Nash. Damn.

One day a mum and ten little ones stopped by to scoff up scratch grain. I miss all the turkeys that came by last year. This was the first time this year that I noticed more than one turkey at a time. Oh well. Sure going through a lot fewer bags of scratch grain and cracked corn.

I seem to need more color around me in the last year or so, hence coral reef in the Nash and some other things.
Wonder what my next shirt will look like.

Last month I placed my truck order but it will not be here until September. They have to build it. Bummer.

Debra, I’d like to see photos of your Nash after you are done with the changes. Thanks.

Looking out the back window watching the little ones sippin' in the rain.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

June sixty minutes sixty years—3020 minutes
June Triple 18—upper: 4040; core: 3365; legs: 4645

One day you will wake up and there won’t be anymore time
to do the things you've always wanted. Do it now.
Paulo Coelho

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, June 27, 2019

it’s a wonderful life, Weed, coral reef
and OH NO

After eleven years, M&M’s window cage had acquired a good number of minor rust spots. So I wire brushed it and gave it a spiffier paint job.

With June here, I figured summer was coming. But on June first it hailed, and it hailed again a couple days later. I’ve been in RVs when it was hailing, and I always wondered why the roof vent lids didn’t get cracked. That day I opened the bathroom door and there was water on the toilet lid; I looked up.
Reminded me of that lame, old joke, when the guy says, There’s a dead bird. His girlfriend, with the color hair that is the brunt of many jokes, looked up.

I was expecting at the worst, a crack. But there were two holes. Guano. The next day I applied T-Rex tape on both sides and I’m waiting to see if it will work. If not, I’ll put more effort into patching the holes.

Then on June 10th, I had to light the Wave 6 to take the chill off in the afternoon. I had not used it for 3-4 weeks. I was getting ready to store the hose away for the summer.

On most Sunday mornings I like to have my two mugs of hot drinks while listening to gospel music on the local NPR station. Afterwards one day, I was outside messin’ around and realized how much I’m enjoying my present lifestyle. The morning was quiet, with just the bird chatter. I’m in the woods up in the mountains, living in a small trailer, on my own piece of property with Meadow and Mesa—“It’s a wonderful life.” Well at least for now it’s pretty good.

It’s somewhat like hardwall-camping off-the-grid—no cell phone coverage; no hookups; solar power; the closest neighbor is a few hundred yards away through the trees; I spend most of the days outside being active; and I have to drive for an hour and a quarter to get to a town where I can take care of things. It is somewhat like living in a small cabin. There is solitude here and some isolation, both of which I find nurturing.

Unlike true HW-camping off-the-grid, I only have to drive ten minutes to get where I can fill up my water buckets and the closest people are not a mile or two away.

I enjoy living simply and at a low cost. There is not much invested in the Nash and the property. The new pickup will cost over twice as much. I’ve had houses; they take a lot of time and money. Been there, done that, no longer want it. And it’s not just the house, but the furniture, large appliances, carpets/rugs, yard tools, insurance and more. Nope, having everything built in and on wheels is fine with me. But then again, I’m not interested in living in a town, let alone a city. My interests lie in the mountains. Different strokes.

This setup shows me I want more of it, but not here. I hope to check out two or three other areas in the Sacramento Mtns. during the summer, looking for another piece of property. We’ll see.

I drove over to Weed one morning and talked with a realtor. I told her what I was looking for and she drove me around to some of her listings that she thought I might be interested in. Nothin’ was anywhere near what I was looking for. I’m thinkin’ this search for new property is going to take some work. Bummer. Also not looking forward to dealing with a car-sales person.

While driving back home, I was thinking how well off I am with my setup in Timberon. I felt good. The drive along Scott Abel and Aqua Chiquita roads alone was worth the trip.

If I don’t find property in this area of NM, maybe with the new pickup I’ll get back to hardwall-camping off-the-grid next year, with a focus on looking for property in northern NM. I really would like to find ‘Last Sands.’ And I’ll be needing a new piece of land to work on. I’m addicted to the work.

I’m quite surprised at how much I enjoy doing heavy work on my acre with a pick, mattock, rake, shovel and wheelbarrow. Since September 2016 until now, I’ve moved tons of gravel, rock, dirt and lengths of tree trunk. Remember, the 15 tons of gravel gave me a good start. And since then, I usually move a couple hundred pounds of this stuff 4-5 days a week—at the least, 1-1½ ton a month. Dirt weighs over 75 lbs. a cubic foot and rocks more. And I move most of it multiple times. First I use the pick to loosen the dirt; then I choke up on the mattock to rake it out in a ridge; then rake it into a pile; shovel it into the wheelbarrow, and roll it away. Guano. No one who looks at me would think I would be able to do that kind of work. The wheelbarrow is getting hammered. Not bad considering I’ll turn 70 this winter. I don’t tend to let aging be as restrictive as most allow it to. But then, the more one puts into something, the more one gets back. Kinda simple.

One day after I had been working for almost two hours, I had a thought. This is the kind of work they give to people with numbers across their chest.

Remember there is no hardwood in the Nash, only some stained softwood? All the panels were faux wood, not even wood veneer, merely an image of wood, on probably hardboard. I like wood, and since there was mostly fake wood in my home, I decided to cover it up. I went the full route with TSP, 80-grit sandpaper, primer and two coats of paint.

I wanted a color a bit different, so I looked at some of the Southwest and Desert colors. A pale red caught my eye so when I went to the paint store, I focused on those shades. I took a number of cards home and placed them up on edges around the Nash. Two were taken down right away; one was too dark, the other too light. I lived with the rest for a week, taking note of how they looked throughout the day in different lighting. I decided on Coral Reef. Then I had to decide between gloss, semi-gloss, satin, flat; I went with egg shell. I also went with Sherwin-Williams since I only wanted to go through this process once and I figured might as well use a quality paint. Thankfully, there was a 30% off sale (must have been a sign from the gods). SW has a line called Harmony which is not supposed to smell anywhere near as bad as most paints. It was great.

The interior feels so much more like a home, than merely living in a trailer. After I pulled off the tape, cleaned up, poured a glass of wine, put on a classic Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue, I just sat there looking around, contemplating what I had just done. I really liked the overall effect. I’m thinkin’, Ya done good, boy.
Sure glad I did not experience another one of those, OH NO!-moments.

This is a good thing, because there is no way I can get away from it. Well, I could always go in the bathroom and close the door.

This is the kind of project Siscily would take on. Will have to ask her what she thinks of it.

Almost makes me want to get an aluminum-sided trailer so I can paint the exterior.
I also replaced all 12 drawer and door knobs with ones of four different colors and styles that I purchase at Hobby Lobby. They have quite a collection to choose from.

I really enjoy living in a trailer, but I don’t necessarily like the looks of a trailer, nor the looks of a fifth-wheel. A trailer is just a box. I like the looks of the shorter ones, 20-22’ or less. They seem more in proportion with their width and height. The long ones make me think of a square tube on wheels. And Class C and A rigs also have an aesthetic, proportional look if their length is on the shorter side, but the long stuff just looks unnatural. Different tastes.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

May sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
May Triple 18—upper: 3630; core: 3620; legs: 5945

If the sight of the blue skies
fills you with joy, if a blade of grass
springing up in the fields has power
to move you, if the simple things
in nature have a message you understand,
rejoice, for your soul is alive.
Eleanora Duse

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, May 30, 2019

sweethearts of rhythm, hitching a ride, and nubs

It started warming up at night so I positioned the Nash for the summer. No longer needed the sun to shine in the back window first thing in the morning to warm up the inside.

I like this spot, and most of the time it’s quiet, which I need. But no way is it going to be my Last Sands. Last month I talked with someone who grew up in a nearby town, not even a town, Wikipedia labels it a hamlet. Landan (his mom was a fan of Bonanza) made it sound pretty good, lightyears above Timberon. He gave me the name of a realter, and I plan to drive over and talk to her next month. I need to buy another piece of property somewhere.

I heard a short interview on NPR with one of the surviving band members of the Sweethearts of Rhythm. They have been referred to as "the most prominent and probably best female aggregation of the Big Band era." I read a bit about them on the web. Wikipedia covered what the band had to go through when touring the South during the Jim Crow era.
I downloaded an album. It’s hot. I would love to have seen them on stage. A secondary reason for purchasing the album was the group is a part of herstory. And there is way too little of that.

I was down in Alamogordo on a town-run, when my truck’s speed started to increase, I mean really increase, with my foot off the pedal. Not good. I drove to my mechanic and luckily, he had time to look at it. The throttle cable was coming apart. Guano. It’s not a common cable so it had to be ordered. The taxi fare back to Timberon after some extra mileage and tip was $100. Wasn’t any other way to get home. And I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the driver the whole way. Money well spent.

I purchased my 2004 Ram 1500 back in 2012 for $13,000. Since then, I’ve put nearly $9,000 into unexpected repairs. I’m not talkin’ tires and upkeep. I planned to purchase a newer used pickup in 2022. Now I’m thinking I’ll purchase a 2019 model some time this year. I heard purchasing a pickup just before the 2020 models come out could save money. I need to look into how to purchase a new vehicle for less, such as finding out what the dealer pays for the truck, for options and whatnot.

I made signs to get me back down to the valley when my pickup was fixed. One to get me to the post office. Standing along the road there would offer a lot more opportunities for a ride. The first car that came by that was going all the way to Alamogordo picked me up (the others stopped and told me they weren’t going far). That was so nice of them and I did not know them. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation during the nearly hour and a half drive. The lady told me a story about a dance over in Weed that she and her husband went to a number of years ago. One fellow mentioned that he grew up in a ten-acre house. She knew there was a way that made sense, but she couldn’t think of it (either could I). He said he had seven brothers and sisters and their name was Acre.
The two made a point to write down their addresses and phone numbers in case I needed some help in the future. I thanked them and left gas money on the back floor since they wouldn’t take it.
There are ways to get rides from people here but one needs a land line, hence, new pickup.

Nubs are starting to show.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

April sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
April Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

Every book, you’ll find, has its own social group—
friends of its own it wants to introduce you to.
Caitlin Moran, writer

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, April 18, 2019

CH751, being-dead, ice, uu,
and cinderblock

It does not take one long to realize many RVs take the same locker key, CH751. I know, it took a couple years but I finally replaced the cylinder locks with different ones. I replaced the cylinder locks with different ones. Just had to move the finger-pull to the other latch since the new 1 1/8” cylinder lock was a bit too short.

I don’t care all that much about how my hair looks. So I bought a Wahl home haircutting kit. They range from $20-45, I got the $25 one and it came with way more attachments than I’ll ever use. The first time I tried cutting my hair, I was looking in a mirror. That certainly did not work well. I learned to just go by the feel of how the depth guard was moving across my head. Much better. I could give myself a really good haircut if my head was sitting on a table. But then I would have the being-dead issue.

Why is a ‘w’ called a ‘double-u?’ Looks like a double-v. The Latin alphabet did not have a letter to represent the W sound in Old English. So scribes of the 600s wrote it as ‘uu.’ The letters meshed over time, as we see if written in cursive.

One day I got buzzed by a hummingbird (never did see it), so I dug out sugar I had left over from last year and boiled up some sugar water. The bird did not come around again until the following morning. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the feeder in for the night. Can you guess? The bird stuck its beak into a slot—and hit ice. What the …?! He tried it another two or three times and flew off. The next night I remembered to bring the feeder inside.

I finally got the flat-spot roughed out. I need to fine tune the leveling and rake out excess rock. I hope to get some ground cover growing when the rains start. I’ll soon be repositioning the Nash. While it’s still cold in the mornings, I wanted the back window facing the rising sun.
But it wasn’t just about a flat spot for the Nash. I had to dig out an area big enough to 3-point turn the Nash so I could get back down the access road. The Dodge/Nash rig measures 42’ so it took a lot of work; cutting down the uphill slope and building up an area to back onto. And I’m still working on the access road. Should have it all done sometime this summer. Going to have to celebrate somehow.

Remember this photo? This is the spot when I first purchased the property. I know, I know, looks like I trashed it but green will come back.

I came across this house while on a hike. It has been abandoned for years. The house is on a nice secluded spot with great views out the windows. I like it; it certainly has potential. If it was mine, and it won’t be, I’d definitely add some color and a deck. It looks like a bank repossessed it.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

March sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
March Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

A man moved from ritual to ritual,
performing mostly by rote,
and it was only during the times in between
that he was fully alive.
But they were rare.
Robert Daley in The Dangerous Edge

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, March 28, 2019

meerkat, leaf springs, quick link
and snow

Last month The El Paso Times had a headline I forgot to mention.

“El Paso Zoo will name a cockroach after your ex and feed it to their meerkats.” What‽

“A horrible ex is pretty much like a cockroach—hard to get rid of and always trying to crawl back in through any space. Which is why the El Paso Zoo is offering the perfect tribute to bad exes everywhere on Valentine's Day.”
El Pasoans are encouraged to name a cockroach after their insignificant other through the Quit Bugging Me event, which will be marked on Feb. 14. And it's free.”

Participants watched their cockroach fed to the meerkats, either on the zoo’s Facebook Live or on the website. Some went to the zoo and possibly sang La Cucaracha while watching the feast. The meerkat exhibit was decorated with the first name and last initial of all the submitted exes. I would have liked to been there to watch the people. Probably would have heard some choice comments. Way cool.

Finally got smart about the electric brake connection. I knew it was dumb to just connect it to where I hook on the Nash’s safety cables. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the bumper and now connect the cable with a Quick Link. The hitch assembly bolted to a vehicle, have been known to fall off. Granted, it’s rare, but it has happened. Nothing is attached to the bumper so it will stay in place. Just playin’ it safe.

At the end of February, I was at my last state park of the winter, before heading up to Timberon, when I had an unpleasant surprise. As I went to kick a wheel chuck under a back tire of the Nash, I noticed a broken leaf spring. Bummer. I looked at the other back leaf spring; it was bent and looked mighty close to breakin’. Guano. I took measurements and had an auto shop order new leaf springs for all four wheels.

The weak axle leaf needed to be braced so I picked up a length of ½”x1” steel flat stock at Tractor Supply. Took me 20 minutes to hacksaw two lengths to use as supports. Sandwiched the leaf and clamped it together with three C clamps. I pulled over three times during the 20-mile drive to the shop to check on the C clamps. The curbside tires were 1” apart while the street-side tires were 3” apart; not good. I was SO thankful as I pulled into their lot. Really ready for no unexpected expenses in 2019. Hope all goes well for the next couple of years—nice and mellow.
br> It was warm enough towards the end of February to hang the window cage back up. M&M shot right out the window to scope things out.

This has been a good winter in the parks. Even during the last week, I lucked out and met a nice couple from Minnesota, Terry and Nancy, traveling in a Tab. Shortly after they pulled out, an acquaintance I met awhile back pulled into the same site across from me. Richard full-times in a Roadtrek and travels with his cat Maisy (not sure of the spelling). Had some good conversations.
I generally find more of my kind of people set up in a site without hookups. Not always, but a good deal of the time. Makes sense to me.

In the NM DMV, I noticed a sign on the wall, “Good morning…Let the stress begin.” I would imagine it reflects the workday for those people. They must get more than their share of grief. I told the lady that I liked the sign; she smiled and I thanked her for her heip that day, which brought another smile.

Shortly after I pulled onto my Timberon property it hailed, then snowed a bit. 48 degrees in the Nash when I got up. That, apparently was warm. The following morning’s inside temps ranged from the upper 30s (could see my breath) to the mid-40s. Yesterday it was a balmy 51. If I had an RVer’s mindset, this would be unacceptable. But to my way of thinking, it’s no big thing.
This is what it looked like out the back window the first morning. I had to dig out the ladder and sweep snow off the solar panels. I had been having day temps in the 60s and 70s down in the parks. Kind of a setback. Even more snow dropped four days later. Had two days when I pretty much had to keep the Wave 6 lit all day. Don’t think I’ve had more than a handful of days like that. Last year, one of my two favorite people up here said that it would probably be best if I not get back until April. Guess she was right.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

February sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
February Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 1800; legs: 1800

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life
exists elsewhere in the universe
is that none of it has tried to contact us.
Calvin & Hobbes

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Monday, February 25, 2019

cold weather hummingbirds
and wine bottles

This shot was taken on one of my hikes in the Canyon Rims Recreation area when I was back in southern Utah. It’s been a while.

I enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings while reading and listening to music. I’ve handled many wine bottles over the decades, so I was bound to write something about them in these pages.

Wine has been stored in various containers for thousands of years but the glass bottle and cork combo didn’t arrive until the 1600s. Glass wine bottles come in various shapes depending on the type of wine and in over a dozen sizes. The large novelty bottles are named after biblical figures and predominant kings of Israel. The largest, 18 liters, 24 standard bottles, is named after Melchior (a king of Persia, one of the three wise man) and Solomon (a king of Israel). That’s two cases of wine! How many wine drinkers does it take to pour from a Solomon bottle?

In 1975 the European Legislation on packaging declared that wine could be sold only if packed in certain measure containers. So how was the size determined? Well, as I understand it, one guy’s wife told him if he didn’t choose the size bottle her brother’s shop was making, he’d be sleeping on the sofa.

I might have got that wrong.
The 750 ml (0.75 liter – 1/5 of a gallon) size was determined to be the most convenient for both winemakers and the public. There are different theories to explain this size.

As you know, back when wine started to be stored in glass bottles, the bottles were made by glass blowers. So one theory is based on the limit of pulmonary strength. 750 ml pretty much capped it.

Another theory is the quantity of wine per six serving glasses (125 ml) used in a small Italian restaurant, an osteria.

A third one points out that the 750 ml standard is the metric adaptation of the fifth, which was standard in the US and Britain.

Then there are the different shapes and sizes of wine glasses. Although, at this time, I think that would be pushing it.

I met an interesting couple of ex-teachers taking a road trip in their Scamp. They painted the bottom half of the Scamp, so theirs stands out from the norm. Nice. They live in Ruidoso, maybe 60 miles north of Timberon, in the Sacramento Mtns. Had a really nice visit. Wish I had more experiences like this.

I heard on NPR that there are some hummingbirds that winter as far north as British Columbia. Remember, I only have daily web access for a few weeks each winter, so I can be way behind on common knowledge. On my town runs during the rest of the year, I do not spend any more time on the web than it takes me to drink a medium Americano. Anyway, when I heard this about the birds, I questioned how they could survive. I mean, they do not have down feathers and they need to be taking in so much nectar. Hummingbirds have nearly 1000 feathers on their body, a ratio of more feathers per body size than that of any other bird species. I think they can fluff them, so that could help. Although I might be wrong about this.

It’s mostly Anna’s hummingbirds that are found that far north, but three others are named to a lesser degree (at least from the four sources I pulled data from). It’s individual birds that remain in the north for the winter. I wonder what brings a bird to go against the odds. The hummingbirds are taking advantage of widely planted flowering plants and shrubs, and hummingbird feeders. I would guess that it would take much more of a commitment for those who maintain their feeders through the winter. I wonder if they bring their feeder in at night.

The little ones go into a sort of nightly hibernation, a really deep sleep. They put a major damper on their high rate of metabolism by entering a state of torpor where their metabolism will lower to roughly 7% of normal. This state can save up to 60% of their available energy.
Hummingbirds also survive in the high Andes. I wonder if they are just on the west facing side.

In winter, hummingbirds are slow risers. It takes 20-60 minutes for a hummingbird to fully recover from topor. Care to guess what is the first thing on their mind? They eat 25% of their daily intake as soon as they recover.

I don’t know. If I was a hummingbird, I think I’d stick with the general consensus and head south. But then again, not all birds make it through the trip.

Two things about a different kind of bird. Yesterday, I caught the end of a talk on birds of prey. As you know, an owl’s eyes are in the front of the head, and, the eyes cannot move in the sockets. So they need their awesome ability to turn their head 270 degrees to each side. There are sites that explain how owls are able to do this; definitely worth a visit. Owls also have asymmetrical ears, with one being lower than the other. This aids the triangulation of sound. Way cool birds.

This past week, once again, I’ve been set up in goat’s head country. Bummer. M&M go out, pick up these nasty sharp stickers, come back in the Nash, use their teeth to pick them off their feet, and drop them on the floor. Remember, I do not were shoes inside but I do sweep the floor once or twice a day. Sometimes that is not enough. If I miss a goat’s head, I’m the next one picking one off the bottom of my feet. Guano. The joys of sharing one’s life with feline companions.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

January sixty minutes sixty years—1800 minutes
January Triple 18—upper: 1800; core: 2190; legs: 3835

Don’t expect anything original from an echo.
Joanna Wick

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

groovy yurts, the arrow and the green book

On one of my walks, I came across this yurt. What caught my eye, was how well insulated it appeared. I never saw the guy who is living in it, let alone talk with him. So I accessed the company’s website, Groovy Yurts. It’s definitely worth a look-see. Watch the video of the story on these authentic Mongolian yurts, and you’ll understand their slogan, come full circle. There are also some great photos.

The FedEx logo has an arrow in it, symbolizing the company’s forward motion.

So far the most interesting people I’ve talked with this winter were a Canadian couple, Gord and Suzanna. They are spending a few months traveling around; at the time, they were five weeks into it. They wanted a rig that they could take off-road. Forest River’s No-Bo (no boundaries) trailer was their choice. I had never seen one and was impressed with what they had done with theirs. The size of the wheels, robust frame and ground clearance set this type of rig apart. I downloaded this photo from Forest River’s site. The trailer comes in different lengths and offers a number of options.

Check out the white space between the E and x in “Ex.”
Sorry, now you’ll never be able to look at a FedEx truck or box without seeing the arrow.

I read somewhere that some car insurance companies offer a discount for those over 65. I found out mine does not. Bummer, but I’m sticking with the company. Leave a comment if you know of a company that offers a senior discount. A reader might be interested.

The guy prefers to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And he cut his lip on it. The wound became infected. And he also chipped a tooth. (^_^) (Tweaked a line from Janeane Garofalo)

I first heard about the Green Book while listening to NPR’s Weekend Edition three or four weeks ago. Calvin Alexander Ramsey, the author of the children’s book, Ruth and the Green Book, was being interviewed. I jotted down some notes, drafted a story and then looked for more info the next time I has wi-fi access. That’s when I learned about the movie. Bummer. So, what I had planned to write here would not be all that informative. But I’m writing it anyway.

The Jim Crow era was not one of America’s best periods. Back in the ‘40s-‘60s, and in some places, probably for another few decades, blacks had trouble when traveling. Finding a place to spend the night, gas up their car, finding a restaurant that would serve them, all while keeping their family safe, were part of their lives. Tell me that does not rot. And some places were safe during the day, but you did not want to be black and in that area after dark.

Victor Hugo Green, a postal carrier in Harlem, had grown tired of the discrimination blacks faced whenever they ventured outside their neighborhoods. In 1936, inspired by earlier books published for Jewish audiences, Green developed a guide for black travelers, with the goal of insuring some measure of safety. The 15-page first edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book only covered hotels and restaurants in the New York area. The book gradually expanded its scope by gathering info from fellow postal carriers, black travelers and offering cash payments to readers who sent in useful information. An early example of user-generated content.

By the early 1940s, the Green Book listed thousands of establishments from across the country, all of them either black-owned or verified to be non-discriminatory. Hotels, guesthouses, stores, service stations, pharmacies, taverns, barber shops and restaurants that were known to be safe, and the listings were verified annually. An important sponsor for the Green Book was the Esso Standard Oil Company, which distributed the books and solicited African American customers through them. Nice.

The introduction to the 1948 edition ended with:
“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”

Green retired from the postal service in 1952 to become a full-time publisher. He charged enough to make a modest profit—25 cents for the first edition, $1 for the last. At the height of its circulation, Green printed 20,000 books annually, which were sold at black churches, the Negro Urban League and Esso gas stations. The final 99-page edition was published in 1966-67.

Victor Hugo Green died in 1960, four years before Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, finally banning racial segregation in restaurants, theaters, hotels, parks and other public places.

For black Americans traveling by car in the era of segregation, the open road presented serious dangers. The Green Book was one item African-Americans did not leave home without. This guide, no doubt, prevented beatings, deaths and other atrocities. One man, taking a step and making his world a safer place. Way to go, Victor.

It is hard to grasp that this was happening in this country not all that long ago. The United States was the best country in the world for many years, and even now, it is certainly the most powerful—but, is it still the best? How could the situation in Washington occur in the ‘best’ country in the world? It could not. I am thankful to have been born, and able to live in the United States. Doesn’t seem right, however, that for the last two years, I’ve been somewhat scared to be one of its citizens. Definitely looking forward to changes for the better. But how does that occur between two warring tribes? I would venture to guess that it would take truly ‘wise’ individuals working together toward solutions. How likely is that?

And there are those searching for ‘other’ intelligent life forms. From my way of thinking, one word should be dropped.

Back in November, a winter friend came over and asked for help with lifting something. I knew I was still weak but this task finally drove home exactly how weak I was. It was the stimulus I needed to finally get me back on an exercise program. The ball was in my court. I bent down and picked it up.

I had a new experience a couple weeks ago. The same friend only has a motorcycle for his town runs. He has a guest card from a mutual friend to Sam’s Club. Jerry doesn’t live by one when he is living at his home base and so he wanted to stock up at the store in Roswell. I drove him into town and he let me use his card. I’ve never been in a Sam’s Club. I grabbed one of my canvas LL Bean tote bags and we headed in. I learned that the store doesn’t provide bags. I like that idea. The first time I came across it was the summer I bicycle toured through Europe. Anyway, the whole store was an eye opener. But a membership would certainly not fit my lifestyle. I left Sam’s Club with a nice bottle of Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon and three boxes of energy bars.

Mind how you go.

Making someone smile lightens ones Karmic burden.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’