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Showing posts with the label miningTowns

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."


I wish I had more pleasant encounters like this with homo…

Cycle-Sauntering with Benji and Thoreau in Pata-Goofie, AZ

After a successful winter of deliberately pursuing a lifestyle (in Yuma, AZ) that complements the other three seasons, I thought it would be effortless to get back to the normal lifestyle of traveling, RV dispersed camping, and mountain biking on public lands in the Southwest. Much to my surprise it is taking some deliberate effort. I am not complaining. The sheer momentum of living in any fixed way narrows a person and starts to make them inflexible. 

I want to live deliberately, as Thoreau promised on his way to Walden. For some reason, the modern interpretation of Thoreau ignores the word 'deliberately', and visualizes Thoreau's lifestyle as a solitary hermit, talking to the animals, living on fruits and nuts, and posing as a "nature fakir" by walking around the woods of Concord MA in a polartec loincloth.

Thoreau's short essay, "Walking," is worth reading. At least the beginning. Unfortunately he then meanders away from his theme.
I have met with …

Camping at Dusk on a Narrow Road

San Lorenzo, New Mexico. And to think that a reader/commenter thought that I was a coward for avoiding hiking, biking, or traveling near sunset! It has always been a good policy. But sometimes a camper has to push the envelope a little. I'm not advertising recklessness. But there's such a thing as going into the Unknown simply because you must. Although risks are unavoidable, they are not being pursued for the sake of themselves. It builds character to get yourself in a bit of trouble, fight to stay calm, and work your way out of the hole by solving one problem at a time. But even more fundamental than that is backing off before it's too late.
In general the Benchmark state atlas shows RV-friendly dirt roads as heavy dashed red lines, and they have names. In general there is a big turnaround once you get into a national forest; big enough for pickup trucks pulling horse trailers, or for firefighting trucks. My Ford Econoline van and 7 foot wide X 21 foot long trailer turn a…

An Incorrigible Kodger in Bisbee

Maybe Wayne was right the other day about beauty being available even in towns and cities. For instance the Mobile Kodger and I were walking through Bisbee AZ yesterday on our sojourn to New Mexico. Old mining towns -- even if they are tourist traps -- put me in a good mood regarding towns, cities, and -- dare I say -- even people. And I needed the advantage since I was walking through a funky town with the inimitable and incorrigible Kodger.

Those who have never had this experience might have difficulty imagining it. It took a few blocks for the Kodger to reach his stride. We started downtown, in the high-rent district: art galleries, gewgaws, baubles, trinkets, and bourgeois matrons. There really is a sad and noble beauty to the silent suffering of  any husband who is in tow in a place like this. The most humane and sensible matrons leave their suffering saints at home and do Bisbee with "the girls". In fact it might be a good idea for any man who is seriously considering m…

Idle, Idyllic, and Idols in Patagonia

Every day the same three guys sit in chairs under the canopy of the old-fashioned gas station. And since this is Patagonia, it still is a gas station. I giggle at this sight because they are so reminiscent of the old boys hanging out at the gas station on the Andy Griffith show of olden times. In fact that is one way to think of this town: Mayberry for hippies.
The best way to tour Patagonia is to ignore the art galleries and walk through the alleys to gawk at backyards. The normal bland suburb would have codes and ordinances against half of this town. Patagonia is a lower Leadville.
It is ironic. Most of the towns in America more interesting than Gopher Prairie or Levittown are old mining towns. So is Patagonia; yet, the locals are raising hell about a copper strip mine being developed in the area. Actually there is a second layer of irony: an environmentalist's favorite utopian dream is a nation running on all-electric Obamamobiles. How many pounds of copper windings would there b…

Annual Pilgrimage to Patagonia

In March I usually stay interested in the area south of Tucson, for a month. This year it looks like it will be closer to two months. The main attractions are the high grasslands and the Santa Rita mountains. The grasslands go up to 5000 feet, so you can stay comfortable almost to May.
Several years ago my standard (ammonia/hydrogen) RV frig went kaput when I was here. It turned out to be an interesting experiment to junk it and replace it with a homemade, super-insulated ice chest. It took three dreadful days in Lowe's and Walmart parking lots to finish the job.

I don't recommend the ice chest as a permanent solution, primarily because of the inconvenience and cost of block ice, but it's nice to know that it works well as a stopgap. After putting up with it for a couple years I bought a Whynter 12 volt refrigerator, with the high-efficiency compressor. It has worked well the last six months on a full time basis, and appears to be the permanent solution.
Just a few miles …

Appreciation Versus Craving and Ownership

There must be many a man who is surprised by how his career as a girl-watcher develops as he ages. Most young men probably think that age rots the pleasure of girl-watching. Are they ever wrong! They come to this erroneous conclusion because they confuse sex-drive with pleasure, and craving with appreciation.  Something similar happens with "owning a house". The more experienced man realizes that the house owns him more than vice versa. But that isn't to say that he can't be fond of looking at old buildings, ruins, foreign architecture, etc. 
A third example of the same principle is enjoying funky, artsy, old mining towns in beautiful locations. What a pleasure they are to visit. But I don't envy those who live here. How general is this tendency for us to outgrow ownership -- with all its irony and self-impalement -- and replace it with an appreciation that is sincere, flexible, and unbinding? And why not? We don't really own Life; we're just renting it fo…

Streaming Water Music in Mogollon NM

Whatever you do, don't try to drive a large trailer or Class A motorhome to the old mining town of Mogollon NM. You might possibly make the 9 mile climb of a couple thousand feet, but only if nobody is coming the opposite direction. I made it because it was Thursday and the two businesses in the town were closed, so nobody did come down when I was going up.

Once again this shows the advantage of small RVs; I can't wait until mine is less than forty feet long, combined.

What a marvelous first impression the old place made. It's in a ravine that wasn't too tight, fortunately. Greenery, running water, and butterflies are everywhere. It would be nice to know some names of these beautiful insects, but when something sounds like a big project it gets put off.

This guy looks like a mountain biker doing an end-over:


The next impression was just as pleasant: a small, fast-moving stream ran right down Main Street. A small RV could squat overnight on a gravel turnoff at the edge …