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Showing posts from June, 2014

Ready for Material Sacrifices in the RV Lifestyle?

With only a little bit of exaggeration I can claim to have felt "panic" about giving up some creature comfort, for the first time in 17 years of full-time RVing. No kidding. Because my new trailer is smaller and lighter than the first one, the office chair was getting in the way of everything. Perhaps it should be switched to a folding chair with arms. But first let's look at the big picture. Wikipedia has an interesting article on the subject of chairs. It is quite surprising how new-fangled the Chair is, at least when it comes to widespread use (no pun intended for Americans.) And perhaps rightly so. They were always rather uncomfortable things.  It has only been the last 20 years that chairs have accepted the fact that the human back is curved. The office armchair is the most comfortable chair I know of. I don't understand how people can live with slouchy sofas, overstuffed easy chairs, or those dreadful little RV dinette things. Hence my panic. You might be

Noticing Special Pleasures on Unpopular Land

I've certainly experienced it before, and many times. But it has been awhile since I enjoyed the exquisite pleasure of a partly cloudy day. It was bright and cheerful enough. The solar panels could charge the batteries. But what you really notice is how kind the world seems when you aren't under relentless attack by the sun. May and June are the worst months in the Southwest. It takes a special effort to appreciate the importance of this kindliness. You just have to slow down, stop running around like a postcard tourist, and let it soak in. My dog and I biked up to the top of a large ramp called the Uncompahgre Plateau, west of Montrose CO. It is not as steep and photogenic as the newer orogenies of Colorado, therefore it is less popular with sightseers. Even Wikipedia virtually ignores it. It is a place that only locals and old-fashioned outdoorsmen go. But the lack of extreme verticality makes it more fun to mountain bike and RV-camp on.  But occasionally there are peek

Do You Feel Useless When a Friend is Sick?

The short answer is 'probably.' If we look at it in a typical modern utilitarian way, that pretty much ends the discussion. But is this just one more case when a "failure" really isn't a failure if you adjust your expectations realistically? Perhaps once again the true enemy of the Good is not the Bad, but rather, the Ideal. I returned to Ouray CO hoping to have a small beneficial effect on an outdoorsy RV friend. We did have a good visit. But medical complications got in the way of doing what I really wanted to do: go on recovery walks with him, and make the point that he didn't have to be athletic superman and indestructible super-Mark to be fun to be with; and to help him focus on the improvement rather than what he normally was capable of doing. Seen objectively, he has a lot to be pleased with in his life. A zillion hours in the Colorado Rockies, hiking with a wife who loves it as much as he does. Then there is the little matter of two seriously ni

Traveling Again, Observing Again

I'm glad that southwestern Colorado (Cortez, Mancos, Dolores) seems to be coming up in the world as a mountain biking alternative to you-know-where in southeastern Utah. I will never understand what is so great about fighting loose red sandstone. Southwestern Colorado has some good ponderosa forests with smooth packed dirt trails. The other day we saw a family at the top of the hill on the trail ahead of us. Did the mom ever have her hands full: a child too young to walk, a little boy-savage about 4, and a labrador retriever, together with all the impedimenta that goes along with them. I snapped my dog on the leash so that the mother wouldn't have one more issue to contend with. Oddly enough, she seemed to be enjoying the moment of chaos. Her lab was friendly so I unsnapped my dog so that they could play together. I got a kick out of the little boy-savage, with his forest-camo, face-paint made of "Teddy Grahams." All this little boy-savage-of-summer needs in

Back to Living

Readers have heard me say it so often they are sick of it, but nothin' in this old world of ours beats living partially outdoors. I am enjoying the chilly morning air in a Colorado forest, at 7000 feet, especially with a sunrise coming through the screen door: I would sleep all night with the IMAX screens open if it weren't for the possibility of a bear getting a whiff from my kitchen and then walking into the trailer! And I'm back on the mountain bike again, after a 2 month long hiatus. Coffee Girl and I are both out of shape. We like the dirt in the ponderosa forest near Dolores CO and the views of Mesa Verde.

New Chapter Began -- and Almost Ended -- Friday the 13th

I am in the habit of reading bicycle touring blogs, CrazyManOnaBike. I've noticed how uninteresting it can be to read the travel blogs of experienced and strong bicycle tourists. The daily numbers they put up are impressive. But everything is so smooth and predictable. It is usually more fun to read the blogs of raw newbies. They are more open about their fear and wonder. They screw up and then have to deal with the drama of digging out of one mess after another. This is redolent of my situation converting my first cargo trailer into a livable travel trailer. It was long-anticipated, and highly relished. But it turned out smoother than I thought. I didn't say 'easy.' But as I anticipate leaving on its maiden voyage tomorrow, Friday the 13th, I do feel slightly cheated. Where was the drama and the exquisite Noble Suffering that William James wrote about? It seems playful to taunt the gods by starting life with my new trailer on Friday the 13th, after two months of

"Boonie" Era is Over; Introducing kaBLOOnie

There is too much personal chit-chat on the internet. It is trivial, banal, and unintelligent. What I have tried to do with this blog is focus on ideas, principles, and issues. Leave the personality trivia to TV talk shows and Facebook. Thus I didn't even use a name at the beginning of blogging.  My first day blogging: a mighty wind of hot air was about to hit the internet. Why should I? The blog wasn't about me, per se. But commenters needed to begin with something other than, "Hey you," or maybe, "You jerk..." So dear old Granny J started calling me "Boonie." I sort of liked it, and took it up, despite it not being a perfect name for me. Most of what people call RV boondocking does not even appeal to me. What does appeal is dispersed area camping on public lands. Technically, the Quartzsite mob-fest and Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) camping are examples of dispersed camping, but these two don't appeal to me either. I simply do

Appreciating More Things in Life

Readers probably laughed off my "getting better with age" arguments as a mere pep-talk.  But I don't give pep talks, and roll my eyes when I catch somebody else doing it. Here's another important thing that can get better with age: the ability to appreciate more things in life. This ability is not guaranteed or automatic with age. It requires broad and varied experiences. Most of us don't really get this from our lives and jobs. Life has become too bureaucratized and regularized for that. But let's not surrender completely. Retirement offers enough independence and freedom to allow for wider experiences. (Must I say that I'm not talking about trivial experiences like looking at pretty scenery?) Of course early retirement offers more opportunities than retiring at the standard age, where, unless you are lucky, doctor appointments start to take over life. For instance, even though I have owned a stick-and-brick house, I've never before had the exp

Quickly Categorizing Travelers

Some people think it un-PC to stereotype people, that is, to categorize them. They think you are being "mean" and disrespectful. Nonsense. Every word in a language creates categories. If you said that a fire engine was "red", would a PC nambie-pambie immediately take offense because 'not all red things are alike?' Similarly with RV travelers. We look for categories because they are mental shortcuts for understanding and predicting others' behavior. Standard small talk, when playing 20 Question with Fred and Mildred at an RV park, might start off with 'sooooooo, where ya frum.' But it would be more informative to ask them about their shower. That quickly categorizes the RVer for me. If somebody can't survive without taking a 20 minute shower and using 20 gallons of water, they belong in an RV park or a house back in the suburb of the metropolitan area. It probably categorizes them as a vacationer or newbie. In any case, they will never suc

Altar of the Atlases

Yes, I'm turning into a rhapsode of "profound satisfactions" about converting a cargo trailer into a livable travel trailer. I built a symmetric rack for my cherished (and half-worn-out) Benchmark and DeLorme atlases. There was something altar-like in their position at the new "command-and-control" center. This was hardly a great engineering feat. It was a trivial project compared to the kitchen or the solar equipment. And yet I just loved it. Now how could such a small project offer such satisfaction? It must be the maps.  There is, in any endeavor, a delightful sophomoric phase when you realize you are no longer a mere member of the general public, but are becoming one of the cognoscenti.   With an RV traveler that phase might happen when you stop thinking in terms of Rand-McNally interstate highway maps, which gas stations and restaurants are at which exits, or which over-crowded, over-priced RV park you are going to spend the night. And this corres