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Showing posts from November, 2018

Keeping Camping an Adventure

It is quite something how we take a instant like or dislike to someone we have just met. A fellow approached me in a parking lot and started talking about being a snowbird/boondocker/camper in Arizona. He was rather new at this racket. Instantly I liked him, and wanted to be helpful. And then my bubble burst -- and it wasn't really any fault of his! My emotional rollercoaster was so extreme that I must try to understand it. He started asking about 'how to' this, that, and the next thing. He had done so much homework on well-known van camping forums and Yoob Toobs (aka, You Tube) that his approach was stereotypical, and therefore, predictable. I knew what he was going to ask next before he did. It almost hurt to listen to him. My gawd, is anything more boring than a 'nuts & bolts' guy who is utterly predictable?! Meanwhile my friend and I explored the ramp up to a mountain range. I had camped here, but it was so many years ago that it didn't 'help

Crossing Pathes with Pepe Le Pew

Perhaps I should have expected one more strange thing to happen today. For the first time in who-knows-how-many mountain bike rides, I got cold. Or rather, I returned cold.  It seems to be against some fundamental law of nature to experience anything other than cold mornings and hot mid-days. The day seemed sunny, so I under-dressed. Then it played a strange trick and clouded over. So I was cold all the way back down the mountain. When pulling into the "driveway" of our camp, I saw a small, strange animal running away. My dog saw it too. Was I ever glad that she was leashed! But it wasn't quite Pepe le Pew of Loony Toons fame. Rather, it was a western spotted skunk, an animal that I had never seen before. Of course skunks like to stay unseen. He couldn't have weighed more than 2 or 3 pounds, and dare I say it, almost cute! He wasn't about to hang around while I fumbled with a camera. For those who are interested in the etymology of words, consider

The Solution to Winter Evenings when Camping

Long winter evenings have never been my favorite thing, when boondocking. All I could do was waste time on the internet or read books. Perhaps older eyes just don't like reading in the evening. Or maybe I have had my fill of reading by evening. The result was boredom and glumness. This was a serious problem for me. My solution was to go to bed early. Some solution! It results in poor quality sleep. And who can sleep for 12 hours per night?! Lately I have been experimenting with organizing things in the evening. Consider all the photographs stored on your computer. They need to be organized and culled. This ends up being fun because it gives you a chance to reminisce over your travels. You could argue that you just have too many photographs to tackle in this manner. Then why not just throw them out? You are never going to look at them again, anyway. Organizing is needed for the file structure on the laptop and the smartphone, as well. There are physical things that n

November 11, 1918 to 2018, A Century of Progress?

If I were a student of American popular culture, I would follow the Media today just to see if anybody cares about the Great War ending 100 years ago. It is possible that a few of them do. But don't hope for too much in this country. But if you look at a wider circle, there is some good news. With the exception of the USA, most of the combatants of the Great War are not addicted to war anymore. They don't seem to see it as inevitable. Perhaps the USA is the exception because its people didn't suffer invasion or privation during the world wars. And its corporations made a lot of money during both world wars. It is also good news that Bolshevism -- one of the miserable legacies of that war -- is dead. There is some sad news to offset some of this: the Mideast is still a mess, thanks to the policies and agreements that arose during the Great War. On a personal level I am going to commemorate the day by reading some of the excellent anti-establishment opinion piece

Tables and Mesas

There is a quarry in the neighborhood that makes flagstones for patios. Maybe the quarry is a private in-holding, surrounded by BLM land; or maybe it is leased BLM land. Perhaps it is the latter, because that would give the quarry operators reasons for brown-nosing with the BLM. And that could explain the donations to a trailhead nearby. There were two picnic table made of these flagstones. They were functional -- but not too soft! You don't have to know too much Spanish too see something a little poetic in these flagstone picnic tables with a famous mesa in the background. 

Better Traction for a Cheapskate?

At long last I finally got a chance to install tire chains on somebody else's truck. This was important because I tend to be skeptical of promotional videos. Recall that this was the scheme for making my tow vehicle & trailer more capable on muddy roads. I really don't have problems on dry roads, when pulling a lightweight trailer with a rear-wheel-drive van. Tire chain installation proved to be pretty straightforward. All it takes is a bit of practice and some organization, with a foam pad and gloves. What it really takes is the self-discipline to install the chains before you slide into a muddy rut. In other words, most of the alleged negatives of tire chains are psychological and lifestyle-related, rather than real and physical. But let's back up a step and ask why this is important. Why not just be a normal American consumer and get a big expensive 4WD pickup on credit? Of course that would defeat much of my philosophy in pursuing this lifestyle. I want