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Showing posts from December, 2022

Camping with DEPLORABLES on Holidays

  During my working-stiff years in a major city, I used to watch the masses take off on holiday weekends.  They went to the other end of the state, where the lakes, rivers, and forests were.  Meanwhile I stayed put in the metro area, and did my favorite bicycling of the year.  The traffic was so light! This technique worked so well it makes me wonder if a camper is more likely to find peace and quiet in a Walmart parking lot, on a holiday weekend, rather than heading for the "backcountry."   People can be forgiven for getting discouraged and deciding that  there  is no  such thing as backcountry on a holiday weekend. But in fact, there is.  In summary if you allow yourself to think like everybody else, you will end up camping with everybody else.  (And you know what that means.) You just have to be assertive in breaking certain bad habits, such as going to "free campsite" websites and apps.  Avoid anyplace that can be recognized as a tourist-brand-name: if it has a

The Perfect Climate

There is an app on my phone that is more enjoyable than the others.  It is called Pocket Rain Gauge.  It gives one all-important fact and spares you the uninteresting junk on all the other weather sites.  It tells you how much rain you have gotten over the last 24 hours.  Where I am camped in the Arizona desert, we have gotten 0.26" over the last 24 hours.  Paradise! Can you imagine a better climate than getting slow rain at night?   Every drop soaks in.  I am already looking forward to spring wildflowers. If that isn't enough, slow rain at night makes for good sleeping.  And the world smells so good in the morning.

Glorious Winter Up North!

What celebrities snow and ice have become!  Some of these snow/ice videos are astonishing, or rather the people are, the crashing and sliding cars are. I envy and admire the people on these videos.  That is not facetious.  Nor is it schadenfreude .  People of a certain latitude have a chance to show what they are made of, as they experience Noble Suffering this winter.  Even better, they are learning -- or relearning -- some facts of life that they seem to have forgotten. They are relearning cold, friction, momentum, gravity, wind and other old-fashioned analog variables.  One might even be tempted to call these things facts, as authoritarian as that sounds.  Actually Nature's authoritarian streak tends to get neglected as poets and philosophers celebrate the freedom and spontaneity of living in 'harmony with nature.' Society had been circling the drain in a digital world, the world of what you see on an electronic screen.  It was a world drunk on censored fake news, fake

Mother Nature's Christmas Present

Camping on a riverbank is something many people like to do, and I am lucky enough to be doing that.  This is Arizona so it is more of a 'bank' than a river.  But I always like arroyos.  This one had a special gift for me.   Miles of nice, navigable gravel. In one spot and one spot only, a 10 foot high waterfall sits across the arroyo.  The rock waterfall is steeper than the photo shows: you couldn't walk up it.  But the Little Cute One surprised me by scampering up the rock waterfall. In the middle of the photo is a hiking pole, to indicate scale.  The gushing water has left two holes that are 3 or 4 feet deep.  How deep would the water have to be above the waterfall in order to dig out such deep holes?  I wonder how fast the water was moving? Notice that the holes are dirt, but there are no plants growing in it.  That would imply that the water event was recent.  The monsoon season this past summer was quite spirited.  But are you willing to believe the holes were dug out

What People Are Willing To Believe In

  Do people still tell their kiddies about Santa?  (I am so out-of-touch with modern childhood!)  If they did, wouldn't the 3-year-old just whip out their smartphone and look up Santa on the internet?  Earlier in life I used to disapprove of the Santa Claus tradition.  It seemed like a bad policy for adults to teach children something that makes them distrust adults.  In fact the Santa tradition should be praised.  How many beliefs become unbelieved as easily as Santa?  How many beliefs and delusions only waste a couple years of your life? How many are imposed by The Rulers (parents and adults) with genuine affection  for The Ruled? You'd think that the moral of the story for children is that the Santa tradition is good practice at learning to disbelieve nonsense in general.  Apparently some children decide that the Santa tradition is the exception rather than the rule for the rest of your life. Thus they continue to believe in shibboleths such as phony pragmatism and busy-ness

Cars Stuck in Snow

 Snowstorms have made the news all over the world, recently.  It certainly has made for some entertaining videos, with cars stuck in the snow or sliding into other cars.  Apparently the world is full of people who expect too much from their all-wheel-drive or 4WD car or pickup. Why are people so insistent on driving in snowy weather?  After all, they accepted lockdowns during the Covid pandemic.  So why don't they go along with 'General Winter' when he locks them down for a day? Does somebody need to explain to these people that all-wheel or 4WD systems don't help you brake better on ice? Many recent trends in the automobile industry are hurting people's efforts to drive through snow.  Consider how low the ground clearance is on modern passenger cars (aka, sedans).  Driving through deep snow, the underbody of the car floats on top.  That means drag from the snow as well as less weight on the wheels and therefore less traction.  This is one more consequence of fuel-e

The Great Desert Sky God Weakens

 When traveling down the Colorado River, there is an unusual pleasure to look forward to.  Rubble.  That's right, rubble.  By the time you hit Lake Mead you will be a slave of the Colorado River for the next month or two.  It doesn't start out well. Near Lake Mead the rocks are razor sharp.  Just reach down and touch the ground with your hand -- you almost need gloves.  These ghastly rocks destroyed my rear mountain bike tire once -- it half exploded.  This year I switched to an "enduro" rear tire with a heavier casing. When your dog goes out for a romp, the little fuzzball almost needs doggie hiking boots unless you stay in the arroyos.  Be sympathetic and avoid harsh surfaces. But further downstream, in central Arizona, the rubble takes the form of desert pavement.  And are you ever in the mood for it!  Desert pavement is not too sharp.  It can support the gigantic motorhomes that snowbirds "camp" with.  Of course desert pavement varies in its support or

Why Don't People Say 'Goodbye' Anymore?

 It has crept up on me how many people no longer say Farewell, So Long, or Goodbye.  Goodbye is supposedly a shortening of God Be With Ye.  In Spanish they used to say Vaya Con Dios, go with God.  Now the world says Be Safe.  What's with that?   I am suspicious that their real message is Be Afraid. It is ironic that I would be suspicious of 'Be Safe' because I have always been a bit of a safety nerd.  Shop class in high school gets the credit for this.  Working around all those tools required safety lectures to inherently reckless teenage boys.  But I didn't resent the emphasis on safety, even at that age.  In fact I adopted the idea that injuries are merely unprofessional and should be looked down on. Once an attitude like that is adopted, it can be applied to many important activities in life, with driving a car being the most obvious.  I was a "roadie" bicyclist for many years and never had a serious injury.  So many cyclists did get hurt. Lately the Twit

The Little One Sends a Christmas Card

The Little Cute One sent a Christmas card to her old mommy and daddy, the young couple in Phoenix that I adopted her from.   First photo of the Little Cute One, twenty minutes after adopting her.  We went shopping for doggie supplies. Perhaps this is a good time to repeat some encouragement for other travelers who are having trouble adopting a dog. I found her on Craigslist>Community>Pets.  It helps to stay flexible.  Perhaps the dog is a few years older than you want.  Maybe you don't like the color.  You can't really see the dog's behavior in a still-photograph.  Don't be too suspicious of somebody else's dog as "used equipment."  There are plenty of sensible reasons why somebody has to give up their dog.  The younger generation has been priced out of home ownership; they live in rented apartments.  The landlord or new landlord doesn't like dogs.  The young person's situation changes for various reasons, and a dog doesn't necessarily fi

Sentient Life Roars By

(Beyond Bullhead, AZ.)  It is hard to believe that I look back on the era of ATVs/"Quads" with nostalgia but it is so.  They drove slower and were more approachable than their more modern replacements, the side-by-sides.  I had nice conversations with ATV Quads people from time to time, which is probably hard for readers to believe, the way I besmirch the motosports industry. It always feels good when you get camped away from a busy noisy dirt highway that is popular with the modern side-by-side enthusiasts, but yesterday was Saturday after all, so I had a couple of the morons come by the camper.  One came by rather slowly, so I can't complain about noise and dust except for the loud redneck music he was spewing out.  He changed his mind about his route and started working on getting turned around. Then something remarkable happened: he turned his music down, as if self-aware of being just a few feet from the open door of a camper.  Wasn't that amazing?!  I realized f

Leaving Sodom

Some people actually like 'going for a drive.'  I can't say I'm one of them.  I drive like I shop  -- because it is necessary and let's try to get it over with.  But there are exceptions.  There are some areas in New Mexico where the density of traffic is so low that you can slow down, relax, and look at the scenery.  Then you cross over into a state to the north -- which shall remain unnamed -- and immediately you notice three times as much traffic.  I've not only cancelled that state, I've coloradicated it. But yesterday I was enjoying the drive along the north shore of Lake Mead.  Every year that I return to the Southwest, I enjoy the air more and the land less.  The landscape along Lake Mead belongs on the moon instead of Earth.  Still, you can be in the mood for that sometimes, especially when the sun is low.  It helps to have a 50 mph speed limit. I sighed, I cooed while driving over the Colorado River and leaving the great Sodom of North American tim

What Makes a Walk Perfect?

 It is almost funny how people can get interested in things that don't seem terribly interesting to most.other people.  The little dog and I had a perfect walk yesterday.  It surprised me how unspectacular and accessible 'the perfect' can be.  The rest of the day it seemed important to understand why it was perfect. For one thing, the walk started right at camp.  It is nice not to drive to a hike -- that would remind one of 'commuting to work' back in the rat-race.  I once had a hiker-friend who laughed when I told him that half of the sport of hiking consists of driving around in some damn car. It began with a rough and half-filled-out plan.  It would be a 'bushwhacking', non-official route.  The answer was not completely known. On a winter day in the Southwest, calmness almost guarantees a beautiful day. The air was still chilly -- but not cold.  No bugs would be seen today.  No snakes, no lizards.  But the little dog did harass a grasshopper. The sun fina

If You Can Stand Some Good News...

  You want some good news?  It is the best news imaginable that a declining culture like ours can still produce journalists like Glenn Greenwald: The link for this episode is on  His show, soon to start up on a regular basis, is called "System Update."  Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi make me feel optimistic about this country.  But I can't link to Taibbi because the fur is still flying over the Twitter Files that he is working on.

Emergency Power Needs to Be Shipped Over!

I am willing to put my opinions about NATO and the US Empire aside, and be patriotic about the need for generators being sent to Ukraine.  It does seem a little odd that the call hasn't been for solar panels and wind turbines, instead of old-fashioned, gasoline-burning generators.  Oh well. Now, let's get down to work: where are all these generators to come from?  It doesn't help to talk about factories that make generators, because that is too slow. I've got it.  Let's commandeer all the generators being used by RV snowbirds in the American Southwest and send them to the Ukraine.  Surely the owners of those generators wouldn't mind making a sacrifice for Freedom and Democracy in Ukraine?!