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Yoga for Chilly Travelers

Several times I have attempted -- and pretty much failed -- to convince readers of the value of surviving winter without a furnace. Very well then... one more try and then I'll quit. I'll be a good sport by consigning the readers to the fleeting shadows of perpetual unenlightenment.

The time for 'glory' was running out for this winter. A new warming trend was starting today. Just in the nick of time, the temperature inside my trailer went below freezing -- a magical place that can seem unattainable. (Once again, compare this to the beginning of the movie, "The Right Stuff," when the Air Force was trying to break the sound barrier.) I celebrated the occasion by heating water and putting it in the flexible water bladder (Platypus brand), and then inserting it under my parka.

But the real moment of enlightenment occurred yesterday. For a couple nights I had been sleeping in my insulated bib overalls. In the morning I simply got out of bed, threw the parka over the…
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"Zero Visibility Possible"

Normally I don't drive my rig on windy days. But I was doing it today, with the excuse being that I had a tail wind. A brown cloud was visible in the sky over towards the infamous Willcox AZ playa.

But I was already downwind of that, so why not keep going east to New Mexico? Soon there were the famous signs along Interstate-10 warning of  "Zero Visibility Possible." I have seen these for many years, and always had a good chuckle over them.

The first indication of something unusual coming up were state police cars, with their lights flashing. Then the sky ahead looked murky -- but more of a dirty white color than the brown you would expect.

As traffic slowed, the semi-truck ahead of me looked 'weird.' I could see down the entire 'port' (left) side of it, even though I was directly behind, with no turns in the road. Apparently the wind from 'port' was 'quarter aft', and it caused the trailer of the semi-truck to blow into an angle that made it …

The Over-Improved (D-I-Y) Van Syndrome

Notice to readers: to find the information that used to be in the margin of my old layout, click on the three parallel lines in the upper right of this page.

I did a double-take when I biked by that van this morning. The lady of the house was resting in her bed, with the van's rear doors open to the glorious morning sun.

Rightly or wrongly, I tend to open conversations with mock-scolding about something that the other person is quite proud of. (On "paper" this approach would create an instant enemy. But in person, they can tell you are just funnin' them.)  In this case, the entire roof of a huge Mercedes Sprinter van was covered with solar panels. She got the joke, so we ended up with a nice conversation about their converted van.

It was a marvelous piece of D-I-Y work that they deserve to be proud of.  But, several times in the conversation, a yellow light started blinking in the back of my head.

I wondered how many of the converted…

Time to Switch Your Animal Species Loyalty?

Is it good or bad to declare solidarity with an animal species other than the one everybody says you belong to?

That question is unavoidable as I look out my trailer's door to see a half dozen trekkers per day on their way north on the 800 mile Arizona Trail. Of course I can't know whether they are doing the entire course.

How do you explain these people? Is it simply an ego-achievement sort of thing, like running a marathon? Or are they reinventing a religious experience in a post-Christian, secular age? If so, we should call them 'los peregrinos,' the pilgrims.

Or are they actually having fun? If they consider 800 miles of water-less, hot, blistering trudging -- plodding! -- to be fun... well, they aren't the same animal species as me!

It is so easy to understand the fun of my dog as we start off in the morning, biking slightly downhill. Soon she is blasting away at 20 mph, even though she is going on 12 years old. We have to run the gauntlet along yard after yard of…

The Most Successful Organization in America

Guns are in the news, again. There is a way to put that to constructive use, while avoiding the stuff that has been talked to death already. This is easier to do if you have no real interest in the issue of guns or their control, and that is the case with me.

Think of how alien gun culture is to the average soccer mom in the big city. Think of how out-of-date gun culture is to modern, city-centered culture, where all the money and votes are. And yet gun ownership is still alive! How do you explain the success of the gun lobby in defending their hobby?

There has got to be a lesson in their success for anybody in any organization which wants to succeed. Somebody should write a book on this. 

I do not want to talk about 'gun control.' I want to talk about how a lobby can succeed when everything seems stacked against it.