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Showing posts from June, 2023

When Animals Act Like People

I am curious whether this summer will show more than the usual tragedies or just dumb stunts by tourists in national parks.  It seems like it would.  After all, You Tube is full of videos of wild animals acting like cutesie-wootsie pets, or acting friendly to different species.  Videos also promote tourists getting stuck on rough roads they have no business being on. We are all prone to anthropomorphizing wildlife.  But I fight it unless it seems harmless.  I was camped on a road that had short and sharp hills on it -- just high enough to block your view of what might be on the other side. Once an adult deer came into view.  I tried as hard as possible to freeze my motion.  The Little Cute One was silent and stationary, so she apparently didn't see the deer.  I'll be damned: it worked.  The deer just stood there and stared at me for the longest time. On another day we crested a hill and saw a fawn about 30 feet away.  He seemed a little startled of course, but to me he seemed

Adjusting to the Seasons

 It is still great sleeping weather, this close to mid-summer!  Is there a nicer pleasure?  During the day, a breeze is almost as good.  Strangely I instinctively dislike the sound of wind at night, as if it were still winter in the desert.  Come on!  Adjust to the seasons. It is a different world here in the summer at 6000 feet of altitude, in eastern Oregon. Where did all the brown go?  The rubble, the cholla, the extreme aridity and cloudless, monotonous skies.  Things are actually green and alive here.  The Little Cute One is going crazy over all the rodents and deer: They even build houses out of wood here, instead of stucco: It is ironic how a "mountain biker" like me doesn't camp or ride in the mountains proper.  You can't camp on a 20% slope, and if you bike there, you move at walking speed in your lowest gear.  Then you coast back down, while turning your disk brakes cherry red. Instead I seek out high ridgelines and their sacred breezes.  A tourist might loo

Turning Into an Oregon Green?!

  The first thing that you might notice about Oregon is their low speed limits on the road.  Great! especially for bicyclists and pedestrians.  It means I can drive my usual slow speed without getting honked at, or getting 'the finger.' There are other differences.  The strangest is that a motorist is not allowed to pump their own gasoline, although that rule is changing.  If you are careful to preface your question with an "I'm not from Oregon, so why...", you can ask the gasoline pump attendant why Oregon has this strange law.  One of these guys told me it was for 'safety' and to preserve jobs. 'Safety?'  Well, if you go back in time a few decades, when smoking was more common, the 'safety' argument makes more sense.  But today? And as for the 'job preservation' argument, I also got that as an answer to my question why the grocery store didn't have a self-checkout lane.  Couldn't one just as well argue that buying food at

A Back-country Home?

About 3 a.m. I heard an owl fairly close to my camper.  What a wonderful sound!  Perhaps their notifications are more common than we think -- it's just that we sleep through them.  I don't know why an owl's sound seems so pleasing.  I am just glad that it does. Earlier, the sound of slow rain was soothing me.  That is easier to explain: every drop of rain goes into a "savings account" that the inland Northwest will start drawing down, relentlessly, when the dry season arrives in July.  When the savings account has been emptied out, the forest fires will start.  The smoke, the haze.  I will try to be a good sport about it, and leave for the Southwest if they are having a decent monsoon season. This summer is starting to establish a semi-unique identity, and that is certainly a good thing.  Otherwise, geographical repetition would dull the liveliness of a full-time RVer's career.  By stressing subjective experiences, this lifestyle can remain fresh and challengi

Did a Blog Post Save My Dog?

Good timing is important. Just two posts ago I wrote about how hard it is for me to keep the Little Cute One on a leash, except around roads or towns.  The visibility was good at my latest campsite so it is easy to keep an eye on her, here.  And the only animals are gophers or prairie dogs.  Or so I thought. This morning I let her off leash and she did her usual dance/run of joy.  But she came back to me, quite well.   On a late afternoon walk, I considered letting her off-leash again, as her reward.  But I decided to play it safe. A few minutes later, we got within 50 feet of three badgers.  They are such flattened, weird animals.  They are not fast runners.  If the Little Cute One had been off leash, she probably would have run the badger down, unless it got into its burrow first.  I saw their burrow and will keep my eye open for them in the future. from One of the badgers seemed more curious or protective than the other two.  All three seemed full grown.  But mayb

Going to Canada...For My Revenge!

For years, a certain type of snowbird has irritated me in the winter.  Usually they are from Puget Sound, but Canadians are just as bad. They come to the desert Southwest in the winter, and then complain if there is more than one damn millimetre of rain per month.  They will say, "Oh, I hope tomorrow is a NICE, WARM, SUNNY day." Sunny day, my ass.  They are going home in March or so.  They don't care if we have a flowerless spring.  They don't care if fire restrictions start in early May.  All they care about is their sacred sunlight.  The selfish bastards. (grin) In early June 2023, Canada is having beaucoup forest fires.  Smoke, haze, emergency closures.  Hell, the place is burning down. It has been a lot of years since I took my RV to Canada.  Maybe it is time to go there again.  No matter what topic comes up I could insinuate "a nice, warm, sunny day" into the conversation.  How sweet! After that I will pretend to condole with them, in my best pious and

The Hardest Thing for a Dog-Owner

Since coming into the forest a week or so ago, the Little Cute One has been acting crazy about ground squirrels, chipmunks, and even low-flying birds.  She was oblivious to the rainy weather.  All she cared about was  some kind of rodent in the thick tall green grass.  She acted like a little wolf or coyote on some animal video you've probably seen: remember the way they jumped up vertically and then landed right onto a rodent underneath the snow? But I have to keep her on a leash for her own protection.  (Think cars and coyotes.)  It is  so hard  to do! It is hard, because it is their wild enthusiasm that I most love to see.  The biggest reason for preferring small dogs to big ones is not the little ones' cuteness.  Instead, it is the feasibility of allowing the little ones to stay high-spirited.  The bigger the dog, the more you must suppress their wild enthusiasm, lest they injure people, your clothing, or your house.  For a while I thought I could wean the Little Cute One

Rediscovering the Joys of Non-deserts

I am developing an intense appreciation for a couple things here, in the inland Northwest.  Perhaps I owe it to an overdose of the color brown that I got in the Southwest.     The grass is lush and succulent.  Who ever thought a person could get this excited over grass? I need to learn about the "motion" mode of photography that my smartphone is pushing.  It was delightful to watch this tall, lush grass fluttering in a breeze.  Delightful! So much of the land in the western states is useless agriculturally, that is, to the plow.  How lucky the human race was to have learned how to convert dry grasslands into meat and other useful products.  A mountain biker can see grasslands as paradise because it means they will ride on soil, instead of rubble. My entire skin is drinking in the moderate humidity.    It is so nice to be able to wear sockless sandals up here, with no fear of the skin on my heels cracking, painfully.  Perhaps moderate humidity is under-rated simply because 

Wandering Through History in the Wee Hours

Audiobooks are helpful at night.  Early this morning, it was a bit bizarre to be listening to a history of the Anglo-Saxon   period in England, while the sound of frogs came through the open windows of my camper. It was a disappointment because the sources are so poor from that era and place.  The Church was the most literate part of Anglo-Saxon society, so most of the documents that have survived pertained to organizational squabbles of the Church.  They squabbled over how to date Easter for a century.  Why was I wasting my time with such nonsense? And yet, this "nonsense" gives you the right perspective in thinking about the European Union of today.  What is it about societies that permits giant, complex, parasitic bureaucracies to rise up in their midst, and take over the society to some extent?  After tolerating the Catholic establishment for 1300 years  -- and 15--20% of the country's land being owned by the church -- it shouldn't surprise anyone that modern Euro