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A Cello at Apache Creek

  A day has to be a good day in Arizona if there was 0.10" of precipitation over night. We even had the slightest touch of snow flurries -- and it is almost May! The ground was definitely damp in the morning, and the imagination could puff up some spots into a puddle. The residual moisture in the air made for euphonious puffy clouds in the normally-mono tonous blueness. It is hard to be "blue" on an Arizona day like this.  And I must surrender to this. The morning and evening walks with my older dog are turning from andantes to allegros , but under conditions so fine, allegro need only mean slow and beautiful. It was project day: time to add another solar panel to the roof. After brainstorming with another RVer, this approach seemed the least complex and expensive way to camp in deeper shade this summer, despite it sounding ironic. With untinted glasses on, I felt woozy standing on a ladder and looking at the ghastly Arizona sun bouncing off the white roof. And scali

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

You can see some extreme things out on the road, but what I saw yesterday certainly took the prize. It was a tricked-out Toyota pickup pulling a tricked-out "overlander" trailer, with tricked-out motorcycles inside. The two fellows had an interesting job. They drove this monstrosity around the country to appear at public events of various kinds. "Their" rig was essentially an advertising billboard for a motorcycle manufacturer.  They were friendly guys and I had a nice conversation with them. The ridiculousness of their rig didn't seem to bother me -- nothing surprises me in this world of ours. And besides, was their rig any more ridiculous than some of the things seen in my sport's culture? Do "roadies" still wear those tight, uncomfortable, shiny plastic, Italian cycling shoes ($250) with exposed cleats on them? They make it so hard for the cyclist to even get off at a coffee shop and walk around like a normal human being. What a nice concrete ex

The Opposite of Cattle Rustling

What a strange little animal! The calf ran over to my van like a dog welcoming his human home. He actually came up to the driver's door. What did the crazy little maverick want?  He took off in front of the van in the direction I wanted to drive. He hogged the road and wouldn't let me pass, although I came close a half dozen times. I was afraid to run over him. Finally I stopped, he stopped, and I threw rocks at him. This was getting strange. He was a half mile from mommy. What on earth is the rancher feeding these animals? _____________________________________ Last night my dog and I went on our sunset walk. As a dog gets older each minute of quality time gets more precious. Three more neighbors came up to visit, but they stayed on their side of the cattle gate. Tall, noble, beautiful. The horses graze in a lower pasture, about a half mile from camp. ______________________________________ On this morning's ride, I saw some pretty odd cattle. I can't remember ever seein

Making Bicycling More Pleasurable

I was shocked -- shocked! -- when he told me that he mountain biked with boxer shorts under loose fitting biking shorts, instead of the industry-standard $40 padded underwear or $100 padded spandex sausage shorts. Wasn't it Chesterton who reminded us to be 'frugal with our heresies?' And I have been: despite being skeptical about many of the trends that have come along in the bicycle industry, I have been conventional regarding bike-liners-underwear, the last few years. But it was not always so. Years ago I had two pairs of loose-fitting nylon shorts, with a thin, loose, and cool liner inside. I kept those shorts alive for 15 years, taking them to various seamstresses to resew -- and you know how hard it is to find a seamstress when you are on the road! Finally they were dead. But REI didn't sell them anymore. They were only selling the over-priced, thick, hot, overly long, overly busy mountain bike shorts that made you look like an urban rap singer. I refused. That pu

The Neighborhood Comes to Visit

The best travelers in the world are those who can meet people with interesting lives and talk to them. It must help to have an irrepressibly jovial disposition, be non-threatening, and have the right physical appearance and age. But even if these things aren't perfect, you still get a chance to meet the neighbors, every now and then. First it was the cows and their calves. Then "Hondo" paid call. That really was his name! What a great name for a real Western ranch dog, a workin' dog.   What a lifestyle Hondo must have! But it isn't all fun and games. He has 75 cows to fuss over. Of course he doesn't have to do it all alone. He delegates a certain amount of the workload to his human partner, who drives the ATV. She is recovering from shoulder surgery -- otherwise she would be driving her horse. Hondo even delegated a certain amount of work to me: he assigned me the job of checking on cows and their calves at a local wallow hole. The bottom is glutinous mud, and