65, dead people, peaches and peas,
wonder, body armor, and stepping stones

I’m not a campground-type person.

On my 65th birthday last month, I celebrated with a six-mile hike up Dog Canyon at Oliver Lee SP and did 1000 reps of various leg, delt, pec, and core exercises. Not anywhere near the stuff Jack LaLanne did to celebrate his birthdays but probably better than most of those my age. Not all that shabby for both a cancer and transplant survivor. I also had a glass of wine from a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins (which Larry and Judy suggested a while back), very tasty.
Had my first physical since 2001; weighed in at 20 pounds less than when I graduated high school. I love not being part of the ‘norm.’

I used my last loaf of Dave’s Killer bread that I picked up in Moab; life is over. Guano.
At least I have my freezer back.

Remember I’ve said that I don’t tend to relate to solo full-timers who don’t have a pet? Often there is something missing when caring for an animal/human on a daily basis is not part of one’s life.

I realized that I also don’t seem to relate to those who don’t own a computer and access the web. I know, definitely not as meaningful as the animal/human thing, but still…. I don’t tend to find such people interesting. Interesting people seem to be interested in a variety of things and they have the knowledge and experience that goes along with it. I can learn from them. We need to keep exercising our brain as we age or unpleasant things can start to happen as an accelerated rate. The internet is such a stellar learning tool, but it’s not just learning about one’s ever changing interests. Curiosity, in and of itself, keeps me accessing the web (don’t think it will kill me).
And as you’ve heard me quote an old friend, ‘You are not dead until you stop learning.’ I’ve met a lot of dead people.

Larry and Judy (I wrote about them before: sold their Casita and bought an Outdoors RV Creek Side; Illinois; winter wading; astronomy; Spain; Mimbres Valley Brewery and Brew Pub; St. Clair winery; alcohol stove) stopped at Bottomless, while I was there, on their way to Tucson. It was good to see them again. They took me to an Italian restaurant for dinner and we had some good conversation. Their truck was filthy from road grit and it was cold so Larry drove through a car wash after dinner. Don’t recall ever going through one. It might have been the glass of Guinness I had with dinner, but I was thinking about Rose Royce’s song, (working at the) Car Wash. Even though there was no one working at the car wash.

I forget how many years I had the Casita before I took the cushion covers off, to wash them. It brightened up the whole trailer. I finally took the covers off the Nash cushions so I could take them to the laundromat. I’m sure there are more difficult tasks, but getting covers back on foam cushions is a bear. It would be so easy if the zipper were longer, continuing around a corner and along an end. I wonder if top-of-the-line rigs offer this simple fix.
Sure do appreciate the warm floor in the Nash; socks are fine. I always had to wear slippers in the Casita during the winter months. Good grief, was that floor cold.

Meadow and Mesa shredded their scratching post again, so I rewrapped the 2.5” PVC pipe over the table leg with new sisal—couple of happy campers.

I’ve been thinking of ordering some body armor for M&M. Then let some dumbass coyote come near our camping spot.

I was talking with a guy living in a truck camper and he started talking about how his body has been stiffening up over the last couple years. I asked what he was doing to help himself, and he actually gave me a blank stare. Good grief. I asked if he was going for walks, doing any body-weight exercises or stretching. He responded that he has never stretched. I said, Well, duh (my diplomacy gene has never fully developed). If someone is whining about something that they can actually do something about, I do tend to say something. At some point I will have to come back and see if I can fit a couple more ‘some’ in that sentence. I guess this is a third type of person I don’t seem to relate to. Maybe I should care. He also did not travel with a pet.

My friend, Theresa, sent me this link a few months ago. I wonder if she sent it because I can be somewhat weak with empathy. But at least in the last few years, I’m able to truly have it for my friends.

This is a good short piece by Dr. Brené Brown.

I generally take good care of my possessions, but I have not been doing well with keeping tarps over my bikes. They have been exposed to a lot of weather. Not good. So I dropped my Trek 29er at a shop in Alamogordo for an overhaul, not just a tune-up but the hubs, crank, and headset were also checked over and repacked. The bike is now as close to new as it can be. Hopefully, remembering the bill from the shop will help me keep the bike under cover.
I wonder if the thought of getting a new 29er had something to do with not keeping the bike covered. I just don’t mtn. bike enough to warrant a new bike.

I wonder if I should call this my ‘wonder’ page.

This man is not in a happy marriage. An 80-year-old woman was arrested for shoplifting. When she went before the judge he asked her, "What did you steal?" She replied "A can of peaches." The judge asked her why she had stolen the can of peaches and she replied that she was hungry. The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can. She replied, "Six." The judge said, "Then I will give you six days in jail." Before the judge could actually pronounce the punishment, the woman's husband spoke up and asked the judge if he could say something. The judge said, "What is it?" The husband said, "She also stole a can of peas." (^_^)

When I pulled into Oliver Lee, Denny was there and came over after I finished setting up. It’s always good to give someone enough time to setup. Fred, an Oliver Lee fixture, moved into a site next to mine from the other side of his ping-pong table. Jerry rolled in after a week. I met a lady whose husband had died so she sold her house, bought a Forest River Flagstaff pop-up trailer and plans to full-time for a year before going back to work. I asked if she had a pet. “Of course not. You can’t travel with a pet.”

Fred told me Richard was there a few weeks ago, got drunk (I think it’s a daily occurrence), had a confrontation with a camper who had come over to ask if Richard could turn down his music. A deputy sheriff was called. Ah yes, back in the parks.

I haven’t come across Victoria and Henry in the Dolphin yet, but someone said they saw them in one of the parks. Also have not come across Jim yet.

At least I’m feeling better now. Hiked 5.5 or 6 miles just about every morning of the two weeks I stayed at Oliver Lee. One morning when I was coming down, I stopped to talk with a couple who looked to be in their late 60s or early 70s. Had a great conversation with them. Definitely the type of people I would want to get to know. They moved down from Minnesota a couple years ago, now live up in Ruidoso, and stay active. They had been snowshoeing the last couple weeks and they were going to put in a few miles of hiking in Dog Canyon. They’ve done it before so they knew what to expect.

One morning I started up the Dog Canyon trail before 7:00 and after a mile and a half, there’s a hiker and his dog coming down. I smiled and said, that’s a Filson, right? He had the same hat I was wearing; Filsons last forever. We stopped and I commented that he must have gotten an early start. He’s into photography and generally hits trails early, initially hiking with a headlamp so he’s up where he wants to be when the light is good. He and his wife are from British Columbia and are traveling in a truck camper. I had another good conversation. They only stayed one night at Oliver Lee and pulled out the morning of this hike. Bummer. So I’m meeting interesting people; I’m just not getting the opportunity to get to know them. Oh well, still have another few weeks.

I’m presently at City of Rocks SP for two weeks. Next I’ll probably go up into the Burros for a couple weeks and come back for two last weeks at CoR. Then over to Bisbee for a week to see a couple friends.

The end of March I might go back to southern Utah and try for a spot I came across in the fall of 2009. I dug out my first road notebook and found the GPS coordinates. These two shots were taken back then. If I do, it will be the first time I visited the area other than during the fall. Well, since beginning this lifestyle; I’ve been down there in the spring when I lived up in Salt Lake and Park City. This spot is in a number of miles from the asphalt with some slow sections and one double-track spur, so I will probably only go into Moab once. The tracks were so deep when I first drove through in 2009, that the Casita’s A-frame jack got bent from digging a groove down the middle. Wonder how deep the tracks are now. It is not a section of road that gets maintained. We’ll see; I might decide to go somewhere else. Still don’t know where I’ll spend the summer.

Early one morning I went outside and took this photo. Oh wait, no, maybe I downloaded it from the web.

Here’s another story from that folder.

The Farmer's Donkey

“One day a farmer's donkey fell into an abandoned well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway; so it just wasn't worth it to him to try to retrieve the donkey (yeah, I know—I don't like this part either).

“He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They each grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. Realizing what was happening, the donkey at first cried and wailed horribly (hang on—it turns out well). Then, a few shovelfuls later, he quieted down completely. The farmer peered down into the well, and was astounded by what he saw.

“With every shovel full of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up on the new layer of dirt. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off, to the shock and astonishment of all the neighbors!

“Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to not let it bury you, but to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

“Some simple rules to be happy:

Free your mind from worries.
Live simply.
Give more.
Expect less.

“Finally, the donkey kicked the living sh*t out of the guy that tried to bury him. Which brings me to the other moral of this story:

“When you try to cover your ass, it always comes back and gets you.”

Susan’s Photos with Captions

Mystery Town

As I strolled along a downtown sidewalk in this sun-washed town, I stopped to peer through a torn portion of a papered-over storefront window. What a surprise there was! In the old store space, lit by windows above, was this assemblage of trophies of all sizes, colors and subject matters, reaching almost to the ceiling.

The creative drive, that old human trait…you just never know where or in what way it will show.

Wabi Sabi Wall

Wabi Sabi is appreciating the beauty of forms becoming weathered, aged, or well-used. There is plenty of this to appreciate all around, when one pays close attention.

One day on the job, leveling red earth which had been cut from a nearby slope, my rake pulled this item from the dirt. My co-worker walked over and said, “It’s from an old flintlock rifle!” So when work was over, I walked to my little home, set this item by my computer, built a fire, and began my search. I searched “flintlock rifle.” Scrolling rapidly through hundreds of images, I finally found a matching object. I learned that this is a percussion cap rifle mechanism. It is not a part from a flintlock rifle, but close. The percussion cap rifle was an improvement on the old flintlock. Further searching after careful examination of the object revealed exact likenesses of this particular mechanism, so I was able to determine the maker and time of manufacture. It is from a Sharp’s rifle built around 1855. Outdated by then, this is the firearm used after the Civil War, in the mountains of New Mexico and Arizona. These were the firearms the buffalo soldiers carried, whose work was to fight Apaches. When I showed this object to the owner of the property--this was at a mountain lodge in southern New Mexico--he ran upstairs and came back with this stone axe head.

He said he’d found this axe head in the same dirt, while doing the bulldozing just days before. One may wonder how the old rifle and the stone axe had become abandoned, and why they lay so near each other.

January sixty minutes sixty years—2325 minutes
January Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1930; core: 1910; legs: 7640

As I’ve written before, I never did have a ‘bucket list,’ but I did have a lifestyle I wanted to try, hence my ‘bucket life,’ and this thought:

Sometimes, tomorrows never come.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’


Found your blog because I'm looking at Nash 17k trailers. I enjoy your writings, and it seems we share a lot of interests and opinions. I'm planning on retiring from Los Alamos lab in a couple years and want to see the country, the west in particular. I've done a lot of off grid camping with a Hallmark slide-in pop-up but just sold it as I want to be able to drive away from camp to fish, hike, whatever. Are you still happy with your Nash? Any advice other than what you posted in your blog? Is it decent on bad dirt roads? I had been thinking about the Livinlite all Al brand, but they are so expensive and spartan I'm having second thoughts. I think I would get an AC as at some point we likely would go south and east and that's tough to do in the summer w/o AC. Keep up the writing!
If I may also ask... what do you tow your 17k with? I have a 2001 Dodge Ram diesel and wonder how the Nash would pull. It seems like a fairly heavy trailer for its size.

How is the Nash on bad roads? With my Hallmark I went on truly terrible "roads" at times, crawling in 4-low. I don't expect that with a trailer, but hope to be able to camp on some "roads" that deter the less determined.

My son and I have camped at many of he locations you describe in your blog. Unfortunately, in NM they recently closed much of the public land we used to camp on. We tend to avoid camp grounds and find isolated spots where we can be alone.
I’m real pleased with the Nash 17K. It’s fine on rough dirt roads: heavy duty, cambered off-road chassis, and I really prefer two axles on dirt roads. It’s pulled with a 2004 gas Dodge Ram 1500. I’ll probably do a two-year review in May.

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