Friday, August 31, 2012

When You Buck Down You Have Two Choices...

You can lay there in the dirt... or you can get up and give 'er another go.

Sometimes... I loose a stirrup, the reins get jerked out of my hand, I lose my seat and I can feel myself tearing loose from the saddle. I scramble and claw but it's futile. I'm tossed free and tumbling through the air. There's a short time when I float along confused and not understanding. Then I hit hard; flung into the dirt to lay stunned; staring up at the sky with my chest paralyzed, unable to breathe; wondering what just happened.

I get up from the dust and rocks... with my head spinning, struggling to clear the cobwebs from my head and shake the ringing out of my ears and get my bearings. I try to restore my confidence that I can ride the bronc I picked out... but unsure. He's thrown me down... again.

What if? Maybe I'm wrong? People are watching... they're listening...

It's happened before. It'll happen again. But, it's become almost a regular pattern the last few years. At just the right time... my mouth full of dust and my spirit weak, needing a leg up... A reader or two of the blog will send me some words or a song that are exactly perfect. That speak of the self doubts I struggle with as if they could see the thoughts inside my head.

They serve to refresh the spirit and shore up my faith.

In the past couple of days I received two such gifts. They touched me in ways I cannot describe, at a moment when they could not have been more needed. My gratitude is so very deep. 

The first is an Eddie Vedder Song... which I believe I have heard before... but somehow it was forgotten...

The Lyrics to the song;


It's a mystery to me
we have a greed
with which we have agreed

You think you have to want
more than you need
until you have it all you won't be free

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me

When you want more than you have
you think you need
and when you think more than you want
your thoughts begin to bleed

I think I need to find a bigger place
'cos when you have more than you think
you need more space

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you're not lonely without me

There's those thinking more or less less is more
but if less is more how you're keeping score?
Means for every point you make
your level drops
kinda like it's starting from the top
you can't do that...

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you're not lonely without me

Society, have mercy on me
I hope you're not angry if I disagree
Society, crazy and deep
I hope you're not lonely without me

The second is a reading of the words of Chris McCandless by Hal Holbrook...  Chris was the young wanderer told about in the film "Into the Wild".

    So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
   - Christopher Johnson McCandless

There's not a lot to say about these two pieces. Either they speak to you and you can hear what's in the words... or you don't. I don't believe they can be explained.

With a Mouthful of Dust

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I go RV Boondocking for a Reason

Because every return to town only serves to remind me that what I leave behind pushes me back into the unspoiled purity of an open and free country.

Repairs were made, commitments dealt with... and once again beaten down and parasitized by a world for which I can muster less and less understanding, I retreated from town a little too late. Once again I left with less than I arrived. I knocked the foul dust of a contaminated civilization off my boots and filled my lungs with the pure air of open country.

If only the technological benefits of civilization... weren't consistently erased by the social realities of humanity. The species that claims to be the sole possessor of wisdom, reasoned, rational thought and self awareness... is also the most disgracefully, viciously cannabalistic and deceitful species on the planet.

Where did Honor and Dignity go?

I get lost down there in the cacaphony of city slickers and politicians hawking their latest, greatest scheme. They're good at what they do. I begin to lose sight of what's real and what's true anywhere great collections of people gather. It's as if there is an unseen cloud of psychic energy generated by concentrations of humanity. A Negative energy that prohibits common decency.

But here... this land repels that degeneration and I can hold it off for a time.

Here, in these mountains is the true and honest glory of creation. There is the unalterable acceptance of two simple realities. You don't work... and you don't eat; and Death follows life. No amount of fancy speechafyin', forced redistribution plans and hypocritical legislatin' is ever going to change that.

Out Here in Far Country are the last remaining places where the silence is sufficient to allow you to hear the truth. Could be why so many eons past that young carpenter went into the wilderness to seek the truth.

The only things that count in life, the only things worth death, are Courage, Honor, Integrity and Dignity; all those things that people strive for are the consequences of and only have value as the product of Courage, Honor, Integrity and Dignity.

Here in these mountains I can smell the parasites before they can get close. Their stench is not shrouded amongst that of all the others of their kind, that prey on the herd of humanity back in the settlements.

Out here... they are vulnerable and soft. Out here I am not distracted by all the dirt and noise... I am prepared and await their arrival. Here I own them... and knowing that, they keep their distance.

In this camp... Is where I live.

I walk the trail in the sunshine while the dark clouds of storms float by across the mountains on the horizon to the south. I can hear their thunder rumbling in the far peaks. The sun hides behind a cloud and then breaks out every little while and glitters on the Beaver pond below me with shining shafts of light.

The wind whispers through the willows in the pond, sending ripples sparkling across the water while the far mountains remain shrouded in the mysterious purple shadows of distance.

The dogs stand drinking, knee deep in a stream of crystal clear water gurgling over its bed of stones, just beginning its long journey to the sea. Its coolness refreshes them so that they race off in another circle through the timber, while a Beaver glides silently across the dark water of his high mountain retreat. It is a glorious vision.

There's a pine scented breeze coming across the meadow below us as we regain our camp. A Hawk hangs motionless, balanced on the wind above the pines that ring the meadow.

The sun slides down behind the pines on the ridge above our camp. It's softening light shades the clouds with hues of orange and rose... until finally it fades into the velvety deep violet of night.

Here, in this shining place, and a thousand others like it, I am home. I am where I belong. I am in the place where the Boss provides what I need. I breathe the purified air of Freedom; unpolluted by the manipulating, socialist, political effluent of modern soh-sigh-uh-tee; Uncluttered with the burdens that spew from the intellectual wasteland that has evolved into the perverted beast known as civilization.

Civilization; where parasitism and intellectual cannibalism are the principles espoused as the Holy Grail of socialism. Where demigods struggle to impose their values... by force if necessary... in their arrogant self appointed role as our all knowing saviors.

Civilization, where honor, integrity and self reliance are decried as disgusting barbarism.

I am not a man conditioned nor wired for the twenty first century. I am systemically and emotionally out of sync and out of balance with the decrepit values of a society determined to promote a degenerating version of character.

I am one of those born out of season. The Orwellian double speak that assaults my ears and my soul are intolerable. I am battered with the concept that; I must be supportive of the "lesser of two evils" of such dishonorable behavior or be branded unworthy of my Freedom and "Un-Patriotic". It creates a vile stench in my nostrils that I cannot bear.

When vile speakers such as Bill Maher can make $millions$ spewing degrading, disgusting, demeaning, defamatory filth at other men's Wives, and Sisters and Daughters... declaring that they are nothing more than profane body parts of a whore... Without physical consequence from a single husband, father, brother or son... and are still claimed by the "public" to by "Funny" ... I find that I am existing in a world which I can not abide and sharing life with males who are no longer men.

I am ashamed for those fathers and brothers and husbands... who have not stood up. Life without Honor is unworthy of the air it consumes.

Had Maher gone amongst those who raised me... and laid his despicable insults on their wives or daughters... or mothers... the insults with which he continually assaults other women... Maher would have been rendered incapable of speech. Willing or not... he would have found his sorry, vile ass on the Field of Honor.

Though I admit, that is a place he would never recognize and is probably incapable of comprehending. The man is the green puss of cowardice.

Yet this is the sort with which your President associates; and this is NOT an aberration! It is exactly this sort of degenerate with which ALL your political leadership consorts. It is the sort with which all your purported "Elite" covort... while you express your surprise at the absence of honor in your government.

... and still, you refuse to impose consequences.

When the President of the United States can accept millions from such as Maher and not have the truth be told; That such payment can not be for anything BUT services rendered... and Still have half the population claim him to be a great and honorable man and not just another political whore in that eastern wasteland... I have outlived the time I can understand.

I shall remain in the mountains. Quick trips will of regretable necessity have to be made to the degenerating dens of  "civilization" for re-supply...  for which I will as I always have, pay the going rate or do without. Let's be clear; I get nothing from society where it doesn't profit from the transaction. I have paid my way my whole life and I always will.

Don't bother me with that nonsense that I take anything from society. It takes the lions share of my labors as it does from all irretrievably snared in it. We are rendered merely "sharecroppers" in our own lives. Allowed to retain, by the generosity of our masters, a minority share of our labors.

I go there only as necessity dictates. Leave the fruits of my labors behind in trade for the physical requirements of life... and then shake the dust of those nasty places off my boots with fevered haste...

... to return to my treasured mountains, deserts, prairies and vistas of far country; where under the Boss's watchful care... Freedom and Truth yet survives.

That which uplifts your spirit and your soul is not to be found in the soap box orations and assertions of scheming shysters on the stump. It will be found hidden within your own soul... wandering with an open heart. The wilderness will shine a bright light on the good you seek. If you look hard enough for it, and honestly enough... you will find it where it has always been. It was just buried under the load of drivel the shysters dumped on you.

When the Kings man rebuked him with; "You call yourself a loyal subject of the King?"

Hawkeye replied; "I don't call myself subject of much-o-nothin' "

"To The Wild Country Where I Belong"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Unique RV's along the Road and Missing Pieces

... and makin' do with what ya got...

Feeling sorry for myself this morning... Pulled into the Laramie, Wyoming Walmart Resort last night... feeling good, what with being back on the road and all...

Well, this lil' rig was sitting there as we swung in... I'd say it qualifies in the Unique RV category!

*Genuine Allis Chalmers Road Train!*

Don't have a Powerstroke? Don't have a Cummins... or even a lowly Duramax? Don't have any dinero to travel with?

Not a problem... just go Allis Chalmers and think out of the "Box!"... or... THINK Boxes! :)

They've got an air conditioner, power station, and a covered BBQ Deck! ;) Haven't had a chance to talk to the residents... but the plates say Nebraska... and the rig is pointed west... so I'm guessin' they're headin' down the road some more! :)

So... why am I feeling sorry for my self? Cuz... I reached for my Camera to get some pics of this Unique RV... and THAT is when I realized that the burglars that raided our vehicles a week ago at my Friends farm, DID take something from me... BOTH my cameras. My Nikon and my Helmet Video Camera...

These pics I took with Heidi's broken lil' Nikon point and shoot... it works  but... you gotta keep an eye on the battery box or they fall out.

This morning to give a lil' contrast to the Allis Chalmers Road train... This rig pulled in... Pretty much the other end of the scale huh?

You meet all sorts at Walmart Resorts!

Then... there's my wore out old rig with the scrubbing tires, parking lot dings, delaminatin' fiberglass and the shiny Red Motorcycle wedged in... occupyin' the.... um... Lower Middle ground?  :) But the windows work!

At least they can't accuse me of bein' a politician!

The other half is inside stockin' up the larder... as soon as she comes back we'll pull for the High Country... as far as I can get from scavenging, two legged vermin... I can't afford the ammunition to do the required so-sigh-uh-tal repairs... or the patience to fill out the paper work.

Rollin' West Camera-Less

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dust in the Wind...

Almost finished the "project" I'm working on for a person who shall remain nameless. :) as he/she reads this blog on occasion. :) It's completion will have to happen up in camp ~ Somewhere.

'cuz, it's time for this buster to be Dust in the Wind... Why? Because... that's the only reason this child needs! That and the fact that In the Wind... is where I am Home.

One thing this summer has taught me, again, is; Waiting with the purpose of "improving" things is most generally an exercise in futility. This summer was supposed to be a summer to rack up savings for a Loooonnnnng roll next summer. Yeah... well... THAT worked out well. :)

I expect it'd be like a fish settling down behind a rock in the stream to save up water for next years swimming.

Tried that a few years back... and lost even more dinero to the real estate debacle... You'd think a fella would remember such a lesson wouldn't you?

Wait? For what? The only thing waiting has ever got me is older and made me late for the bus.

Nah. Just Live. I know... most all are going to say prepare! Research! as in; proper prior preparation prevents pathetically poor performance... the 7 P's. Hell, you've heard me say that!

The problem with planning is... Murphy.

That lil' Irish Prankster is sittin' in the bushes just watchin' and waitin'. Unless you have the IQ of Einstein and Trump's wallet... there's no way in hell you can deal with and prepare for all the pot holes and broken shocks you're likely to encounter on your journey.

And worryin' 'bout it all just hangs a shroud over the laughter of fresh horizons. Not to mention that if you spend the time and cash to Make such preparations... ya'll ain't gonna have anything left over for the trip!

Nah... the best way is to simply gain a wide variety of experience and skills... Learn to go into everything with a "make do" with what you've got sort of attitude... don't deal with "problems" until the arrive. Then, apply your vast redneck intellect to the leaky tire.

The thing is... you can't fix a tire that ain't flat...  But if your Brain Pan is in the right place, you can work out the way 'round the obstacles as the come up. comprende' Amigo?

That don't mean you drive around with your motor a quart low all the time waiting for it to blow up... It just means that you don't spend all your time worryin' ~ IF ~ the motor is gonna use up some oil... Pay attention. Deal with the "stuff" as it comes and know; Your stuff will Fail. It's man made. Anything man made is gonna wear out. It's gonna break. It's gonna get stole...

Depend on the thing twixt your left ear and your right... and you'll do just fine.

When you come to a wide and surging stream... turn upstream or down... somewhere lies a ford you can cross... or maybe a tree you can fell across the water to walk over high and dry. There is ALWAYS a solution.

Might could be it's not as you'd planned... but the good stories and memories rarely come from the planned... the best times grow from the unexpected... in... I'm likely one of the very few that's drug a 30' fiver over the 4wd sections of Buffalo Pass! :)

Don't get me wrong here... I'm not advising to throw ALL caution to the winds... just keep it in its proper perspective...

Few problems, are insurmountable, no matter now huge they may look at first. There's almost always a thin little trail that skirts around... or a simpler way... you just have to keep your eyes and your mind open to see it, and be willing to go "off road" and deviate from the "Plan".

So... does this philosophy make me a Deviant? :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

When the Noise of Hard Times is Loudest... Look Sharp

 ... That's when the Shining Lights of Opportunities are the Brightest!

The past several months seems like it's been nothing but repairs and maintenance! Put together with the "Fun" work of improving my motorcycle it's been a summer of mechanicin'. Don't know if I said it before... but mechanicin' really don't shine much for me. It's usually just one of those necessary evils.

I enjoy cowboy engineering and fabrication of new ideas... but fixing greasy, rusty, dirty, cobbled up, confused and worn out old junk? not so much! :)

Late last winter was the water pump... I started the summer with the hail shattered vent caps, then the water heater, then broke the clutch master cylinder and the trailer suspension. Then, when we got here last week the window regulator on the truck crapped out again. That was a touch of an ordeal. You have to ask is it the $75 switch? or the $75 motor?

Took me most of a day to figure out how/where to get that diagnosed... And it was close. Alllllmost bought a switch... only to figger out it was the re-manufactured motor I put in a year ago! arrrrrrgggghhhh.

Then it's a case of double jointed, twisting gymnastics bordering on masochism... figuring out how to run a flopping, multi-jointed, motorized octopus of a two foot long window mechanism, through a six inch hole and bolt it in place. :)

But... I got the window working again... and then tackled a pair of leaking nipples on the new water heater. I'd failed to wrench 'em down tight enough when I installed the heater earlier in the summer. Screwing pvc nipples into an aluminum tank is kinda dicey for a "plumber" like me. I'm always worried 'bout over tightening stuff... so I wimped out and didn't get 'em sealed down proper.

But to fix it means you gotta empty the whole tank again... to pull the pipes apart and redo. When water is scarce in a mountain camp you kinda avoid that... and keep a pan under the dripping pipe. :) Well, sitting here with a hose available, I conjured up the idea that I'd get that done right this time.

... almost did too... grrrrrrrrrrrrr... I put in a pair of new schedule 80 nipples. They gotta be pvc 'cause the tank is aluminum. Put in steel or brass and I'd have bad electrolysis corrosion on a HOT water tank especially.

So anyhoo I swap the nipples and the top one is sealed up tight. No Drips...

The bottom one, teflon taped strong and good, wrenched down till my knees were quiverin' thinkin' another tweak and it'll strip... and NO drips... for an hour or two... and then the tiniest of seeps... I may just consider that dang drip pan to be a part of the plumbing! :)

As I'm scrapin' my knuckles and feelin' sorry for myself doin' all these repairs, I got to thinkin' 'bout Hard Times. For one, I'm bettin' that considerin' the major part of My current world; Livin' in open and far country 'bout 98% of the time... Free as a bird... even if it's a bird with raggedy feathers and no bird seed for new ones, ;) there's likely to be quite a number of folks that'd trade places with me in an instant.

Uh... No thanks! :) I'll keep my sorry lil' outfit and Shining Times! :)

So... Hard Times. You know what those really are? Opportunities. Yes Sir! Great big huge Shining Opportunities.

Truly! Think of it this way. If you're broke... If you are down to not much... How much do you have to lose? I mean truly? That opens up a lot! Most folks have an idea and see an opportunity... but just can't screw up their courage to take the leap and chase it...  Fear stops 'em cold; 'cause they figger to have so much to lose if they fail.

and so... in the end they DO fail anyway.  'cause never trying is the Worst kind of failure. With hard times knockin' 'em down, that "something to lose" is often taken right out of the picture leaving them a clear road to Shining Times. Now, they don't have the excuse of something to lose blockin' the way! ;)

There's another angle on this to boot.

From personal experience with a couple of lil' businesses, I can tell you, the second if not the Biggest obstacle to taking off on your own string chasing a dream, or an idea or whatever you want to call it, is Gov't interference, parasitism, and arbitrary regulation. Fees, licenses, permits, EIS reports, taxes, regulations, restrictions, prohibitions... without end...

You get wore out trying to find the way 'round it's foolishness as it works to block the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness... it was supposed to guard, as it seeks ever greater power and control.

How-some-ever, hidden in there, if you look close, is your Opportunity! With government's growing family of dependent serfs feeding on the wide variety of public largesse gov't extorts from those who produce ... when Hard Times hit and there's less to extort... it has difficulty meeting the swelling demands from its dependents for; "where's mine?" (the truth that "Theirs" resides in sweat, and work and responsibility has been trained out of them in converting them to obedient serfs.)

All those folks who can't do simple math stand around having pubic protests squalling for the "Rich" to pay more. So they (the serfs) don't have to pay.  ??? Can they not add 2+2?

Sadly they're unable to do the simple math a $3 walmart calculator can. If they could, they'd know that even if those "Rich" were taxed at 70% their combined taxes wouldn't add up to a small dent in the deficits required to keep their freebie trough full with its extorted treasures.

So, they stand around squalling their demands for their freebies to continue and be protected... tying up and consuming the masters resources and energy as he frets about how to keep them under control and placated. (which he must do because they're slavery is the foundation of his power)

THAT is your opportunity! Yes Sir!

Think of it this way. You're camped in the High Up and Lonesome. Your family is gathered 'round and you have a table filled with a great feast... But here comes the Beast... a big, ugly, stinking thug of a Grizzly. He comes waddling across the meadow headed straight for your camp... Damn!

Except... He's been doin' a poor job of keeping the coyotes fed. 'cause, being coyotes and having plenty of time on their paws they've been busy... makin' more coyotes! and all those parasites want more! As he gets to the center of the meadow, a great pack of 'em descend on the Beast; howling and yipping and snappin' at his heels. "FEED US! GIVE US MORE! WE WANT IT NOW!"

He's so busy fending off their assault that he doesn't have time, or energy left over to devote any to watching you! Which gives YOU The opportunity to slip away! Ha Ha! :) and leave him with the cannibalistic horde he created! When he looks up... You're gone! Now what's he gonna do... ;)

Now is the Time. Not tomorrow. Not next week or next month. Now... Today... pick your foot up and make the first step of your journey... Today!

If not today ~ When? The beast is busy. Opportunity is waiting. You've nothing left to lose... In fact, you never DID have anything worth enough to let it consume your life! 

Tomorrow we haul back up into the high up and lonesome... Though considering it's Labor day coming up... Lonesome is likely to be gettin' a lil' crowded for a few days! :)

Opportuinizin' on the Road!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sometimes... The Past is Not a Bad Future...

We did that dog trial in Laramie last week. That got herself the last of what she needed to qualify to compete in the national competition in Denver at the end of the month... while I calmed down and got the spring shackle on the 5er repaired.

That's Good for her... while leaving my pack mule kinda sore footed...

The last bit of this summer of hangin' close to the Colorado mountains, there's grown a hunger inside me. An urge to refresh my sight of old and treasured places. I s'pose that it comes from not havin' it... you hunger for what's out of reach; but my mind has wandered back to having a hunger for those Oregon and Washington beaches... memories of strolling through weathered coastal villages with the scent of that Ocean air coming off the sea.

This desert kid truly admires that country... at least when it's not rainin' 24/7 for three weeks. ;)

The upstart of it is... we need to be in Phoenix to work the races the first week or so of November. It's always taken us a couple of months to cover that trail in the past, at the rate we wander. Makin' that circle twixt the 1st of October and the first few days of November would be a push that'd eat up a lot of diesel dollars in one month... bummer...

Might could be I'll have to let that hunger grow all winter and make our spring roll up the coast instead of up along the divide. But You know me... The more ya'll tell me I can't... the more I tend toward; "Oh Yeah? You might want to take a hold of somethin'... things are 'bout to get kinda bumpy!" :)

A thing that is proddin' my urge for the Healing Power of Sweet Horizons through the windshield as well; Not to mention the joy of my knees in the wind on that Glorious Yamaha; is the world I see when I make the mistake of peekin' out into the haze of the future.

Off on the horizon float ominous dark clouds. I can see the jagged flashes of lightning and hear the dull rumble of thunder. It leaves me knowing with the certainty of experience, that a storm is brewing.

Looking up close I see the squabbling, moronic, pea brains that have stood up claiming to be the shining Saviors that will pull our collective bacon out of the pan.

Watching this keystone cops charade is kind of like seeing the smoke pouring out of a  burning apartment building and two fire trucks pull up. Raggedy old, dented, crippled rigs with fenders hanging loose and flapping in the wind.  The paint is faded and worn through showing rusty, rotting, metal underneath. The cracked windshields and broken tail light lenses add to the vision of decay.

Out of the rigs climb two firemen, very, very slowly. Crippled by syphilis and liver failure from too much Jim Beam, they set their walkers on the ground and hobble in a direction away from the fire... peering around blindly through coke bottle glasses and flailing at each other with their walkers and colostomy bags, howling: "I'm the one Not You! I'm the one that'll save us all!"

 Frayed fire hoses leaking through multiple holes lend a great amount of confidence in their ability to extinguish the flames.

... as they get farther and farther from the problem as the fire engulfs the house.

... and through the smoke you can just make out a scratched and weathered old dodge pulling an equally worn old 5er... with a Shiny Red Motorcycle gleaming on the back of the truck... rolling away toward the Shining Mountains and far country... while the driver's head shakes as he mumbles... "Lord have mercy on the poor misguided souls depending on those idiots..."

Torn by what I see in my memories of the horizons behind me... and what I see looming ahead... what I have no power to do a gol dang thing about... I lean Hard toward turning back toward that which filled my heart... and let the chips fall where they may, in the coming storm.

There's town friends that have asked us to share a camp with 'em over the Labor Day weekend. It's been suggested that we roll on back to that last camp we had on Rabbit Ears. I've grown to the point where "Old" good is as good as "New" good. :) So it looks like Heidi and I will roll that way, maybe Tuesday, to try and capture a good spot for us all... before the holiday rush fills the woods later in the week.

Also looks like we'll do some ziggin' and zaggin' for the last of this summer. I'm thinkin' hard on trying to get back to Laramie after the weekend and ask Ol' Pete to just go ahead and zip up the other three corners as well... makes no sense to hunt up another welder with the proven one sitting right there. I'd have done it all right then had the "budget" allowed... see how the budget fairs the next week or so...

Onliest thing I can think to do over the coming months is take myself to places where a man can just be. Where he can fill his eyes and his heart with healing visions. Push the decay of those things he can't change clear out of his world with so many sights of strong and beautiful and pure; that there's no room for the parasitic, crippled wannabe's to darken his thoughts.

Bound for New Sights of Old Visions

Thursday, August 23, 2012

RV Boondocking Security

A couple weeks back we had a conversation with a couple and their boys on a trail near Dumont Lake. They'd recently bought their lil' trailer and were staying in the campground while they learned the ropes. We talked quite a lil' while. The conversation went from trails and refrigerators competing with the sun warmed wall of the rig to safety in camp.

When we mentioned our preference for full on boondocking camps. She said that she was "afraid" to get too far out into far country.

"Afraid?" I asked. "Well yeah." she replied. "Is it safe out there?"

She implied that they'd be vulnerable to thieves and attack out  that far from the law. It was all I could do to not laugh. I told her, in all the years I/we have wandered far and empty country, the ONLY place we've had Issue One with two legged parasitic scavengers... was IN TOWN.

Is RV Boondocking Safe? You bet. Far safer than the folks in the settlements thinking they are protected by police. I mean, when was the last time a cop knocked on your door because he'd heard that you Were Going to be burglarized and he was there to prevent it? They don't protect Against anything. They come AFTER the fact and do their best to clean up.

Nope, the parasites stay in town. That's where the prey is concentrated... and their treasures. It would cost the grubby leaches too much gas to drive out into the mountains and prowl around trying to find somebody's secluded unguarded camp. It makes no sense.

So... We're back in Fort Collins for a few days to deal with a few tasks that have popped up. Camped at a friends lil' farm hard on the east side of town...

Night before last Heidi "heard" something in the middle of the night and thought; "That's a strange noise for a coon to make!" Turned out to be car/truck doors being opened. When we got up in the morning a pair of sheriffs patrol cars were over at the "Big House." Their car had been broken into... and our truck.

Our friend lost some valuable items, $1500+ out of the car they'd absent mindedly left unlocked.  There was nothing in our old truck to take... but it had been gone through. Near as we can tell from the "Chronology" of what Heidi heard and misinterpreted... they went through his car... then our truck... and a minute or so later she heard the dog growl standing at our open/screened door... the trailer is parked about 40 feet or so from where the truck was parked.

I figure, the thieving fools started approaching the trailer looking for more loot... then heard the dog and realized; "Oh Crap it's not just parked! There's people there!"

Lucky for them. Had they got juuuust a mite closer; close enough to truly light that Aussie up? THAT there would have gotten me up... and then the fireworks of a cranky old, puss gut, cowboy biker vets Bad Attitude and distaste for thieving, two legged scum would have been on full display... NOT a pretty picture. ;)

The Deputies said they had several other break-in calls to respond to nearby... looks like the vermin were running a pre-scouted route... Something you DON'T see up in the High Lonesome.

 And... THAT is the point of this story. If you don't go out into Far Country out of fear of being that far from the "reach" and Protection of the "authorities"... Know this. That is the only place your "Safety" increases! Because the two legged scavengers are far far fewer and farther between. The "Protection" offered by the "authorities" in town is a charade and a fairy tale. They protect nothing and only clean up "Some" of the mess.

Most of all... You are safer in the mountains and out on the deserts than you'll ever be in town. The thieves see little profit in wandering around out there. It's too far and too unknown... and actually I think they're a mite fearful themselves of those camps.

They know that a heavy percentage of those folks are the Self Reliant Type who are equipped, willing, and quite capable of defending their own, while the fairy tale promises of government "guards" remain safely back in town. The odds are against them... so they stay away.

The only place I've heard of theft or other issues is down around Quartzsite in the winter... and an occasional RV PARK!... and THAT is because there is a HEAVY concentration of High Dollar rigs with marketable goodies for the smash and grab vermin to prey on in those places.

Parked by yourself three miles up a forest dirt road, thirty miles out of a little town... behind a copse of Aspen in a quiet mountain meadow? About the only thing you have to worry about there... is when you're going to have to go back to town!

Just Sayin' it Like it Is

Monday, August 20, 2012

"When You're Up to Your Neck in a Hole...

The first thing to do is stop digging." :) ... kind of an old philosophy ain't it?

Long ago I stepped off with a clear eye. Over time, mechanical failures and the wearing burdens of life grind away and throw up a veil of dust that clouds the vision. ~ Nobody is immune ~

You start to feel like you're losing your way. Such times can trigger an almost panicked feeling where you start flailing blindly. Like a drowning man pounding the water to foam struggling to stay afloat. When what he needs to do is just lay back and... Float.

When you're "lost" and confused, the first thing you do is really simple. Sit down and take inventory... If you go to panicked running in circles you end up still lost but now you're worn out too!

You have to sit down and just quietly look out toward the horizon and sort things out. When you do that you come to realize that once again, the confusion that besets you at times is just another ploy of the "beast" to drag you back under its control.

The beast despises Freedom and will toss out all manner of obstacles trying to trip you. If it can make you fall it opens up the opportunity to leverage your fear, into surrendering a bit of your Freedom for some bit of foo fur aw. It lures and deceives you back into chains.

Keep a Clear Eye.

Thinking you've broken Free isn't the end. You can't get careless. It's kind of like broncs. You may ride one today, but that don't put an end to it. There'll be another couple to climb on tomorrow. To sustain the foundation of our Freedom is an effort without end. Luckily, unlike the darkness it excludes, Freedom gives more than it takes. Much more.

No matter how strong you are, how clear your understanding, you'll get bucked off now and again. There's no shame in that.

"There never was a horse that couldn't be rode ~ Never a cowboy couldn't be throwed."

When you hit the dirt, no matter how hard; If you're still breathing it's time to Cowboy Up!... Sit up, spit out the dust you didn't swallow... stand up, brush the dirt off your jeans and your hat... put one foot in front of the other! ... and step off to see what Shining Times you can find for today.

Crackin' Out

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"If You Relax a Bit ~ You Get a More Harmonious Outcome"

Ever been 'round somebody that when there's a sudden sharp noise you look 'round and poof! they're gone? You hear a little wheezing and when you look under the table there they are grinnin' back up at you? :)

Welcome to my world. But then, just when you least expect it... if you quit fighting it and let the breeze blow, it'll all come clear.

Sometimes a guy can forget himself and it takes a quiet word from somebody to tickle him to stop scramblin' and take another look.

Many Thanks for the multiple "slow down Cowboy" comments. It takes such sometimes to catch your footing when you're slidin' down the slippery slope! Kinda like having a big bush to reach out and grab hold of as you whizz on by.

So, the comments got me squattin' in the dirt scopin' out that suspension again... and tryin' to put it all into the context of what we're wantin' to do over the next several months to a year... Massive reconstruction of this old rig don't really fit in there anywhere very well. Lucky for me I've got equal amounts of stubborn and bad attitude.

The quickest way to get me to stir up some blood sweat and tears is to back me into a corner and tell me "You Have To... You got no choice"... Oh, really? :) I don't like getting backed into corners. I just naturally dig in my heels and get grumpy about it.

The more I thought about this the more I questioned my idea of fixing what Might break in the future; in our current sitchy-ashun... or swappin' under pressure either. I don't like being pushed.

Also, I can't but admit, mindful of that lil' experience last summer with the pin box and that... ahem... "Welder"... double ahem! ... up in West Yellowstone; when I set about weighing the ifs and maybes of this current repair situation; I kinda got off balance. But... with time for thought and another Full Sail ;) I decided that maybe it was worth one more conversation. The upstart bein' I tracked down a Real Welder just a mile down the road from where we're parked.

He rolled his rig up to the Hansen Arena and in not much more time than it takes to write this post up... He did his magical metal burning ritual... and actually made it so easy I believe I may just do the other three corners the same way.

Makes you a bit more confident when a guy has a properly set up mobile rig, materials for proper bracing and plating... and... he don't have any trouble just strikin' an arc!!!

I showed him the failed spring hanger and what I thought could be done.

He looked at it careful and agreed my idea made sense and is what he'd do himself so he started burnin' iron.

You can tell pretty quick about a guy as soon as he starts laying out his tools.

As soon as "Big Pete" started looking at things I felt my ang-zy-uh-tee slippin' away. :)

Unlike last year when I almost couldn't resist the urge to be sick all over my boots!

He prepped and repaired the cracked hanger.

Pulled the inside hanger in and got it welded back to the spacer...

...and then added a plate between the two boxing them, that should add a lot of strength and reinforce the two sides.

*Repaired, Boxed and Strong!*
 Yup... When that Grizzly is comin' hard... the worst possible thing you can do is freak out and try to RUN! :) It can be a lil' spooky... but sometimes what ya gotta do is just stare the sucker down.

This takes the pressure back off and we're ( I'm) back to normal conjurin' and schemin'. :)

Anyhoo... if you're ever in the Laramie area along I-80, and are needful of a competent welder you can trust to do a proper Mobile Job on a busted rig... Give Big Pete's Welding a crack at it. The guy saved the day this time for us!

* A Genuine Welder... not a wannabe!*
I'm still wary of those other suspension points. What's gonna happen in the near future is I'll have the other three corners boxed like this'un... and then I'll have that welder run two pieces of 3" channel from one side to the other, front and back, as braces to stop those long hangers from getting warped around like they do.

Currently, the Bill of $140 bucks takes care of the immediate problem; puts us back on the road safe; while whuppin' the hell out doing a $2500 major surgery or the cost of swapping rigs under the gun. Since the fatigued axle isn't "Catastrophic" bad yet I'll just keep an eye on it... I have time to find a place to inquire about the reliability of tweaking these old axles. 

On the Road Again

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Money Goin' Buy Buy

:) Bob has it 'bout right... and I been workin' on washin' that over excitin' coffee out of my system with cool, clear, Oregon Beer. Yup... I been flyin' under Full Sail :) for a bit...

... didn't work :( Now I got this bangin goin' on... Which in a hollow brain pan the size of mine it's kinda like bangin' on an empty dumpster with a baseball bat. You have to remember too... what with my lack of sound softening hair... it's a situation with gawd awful acoustics!

So... the crux of the current "issue"...

You can see axle mount leg leaning slightly to the left?

And... if you look reeeely close you can see the cracked weld where the left side of the axle mount is separating from the spacer... you can see "daylight" where there just shouldn't be any...

From a little different angle you can see both cracks.

That crack on the front face of the mount runs more than half way through the member. Then the cracked vertical weld on the spacer is pretty clear.

Well... the thing is this. This in one of Six axle mount legs. If One is fatigued... the others ain't far behind.

Also, the front axle has been bent/fatigued/out of alignment for several months. If the rig was younger I might consider just tryin' to get it rebent/aligned. Only, especially with it's age and heavy use... I have Zero confidence in rebending an axle.

That's basically having it bent twice? and expecting it to stay that way? If ya'll believe that'd work for me you ain't been reading around here very long! ;)

Then, it makes no sense at all to me to plate/brace/weld/repair this one single leg and then roll down the road with the thought nagging in the back of my head that one or all of those other fiver are gonna let go... KERWHUMP! and hopin' that don't happen.

'cause I'm knowin' that they are only gonna do it when the only guy around is another useless country boy wanna be welder like that bozo in West Yellowstone last year.

And who in his right mind wants to go down the road with a constant naggin' worry about such things? Some might be equipped for such doin's... but that Some ain't this fella.

A rig ain't an asset. It's an expense. It's shelter from the rain and the wind and lets a fella take a shower once in a while without all the neighbors watchin'. So the bottom line is... what's the easiest, cheapest, least stressful way of fillin' in the current pothole?

I'm attackin' it from two directions. One is pursuing a quote to rebuild the complete axle system. That is currently lookin' at around $2,500 bucks... which is nigh on to $5,000 more than I've got in my possession. :)

The other direction is swappin' rigs... Either way is gonna force the less than choice use of debt. Funny thing about that is, that horse tradin' can be done with a whole lot less dinero up front... which... if you don't have any makes a fella go... hmmmm...

The only other option is bow my head, pack it in... and go back to livin' in the prison I escaped a couple of years ago... That there lil' option is not even on the table. Not even for a lil' while. Such a thing is a slippery slope. I even consider it to be a ploy of the "Beast". Days turn into weeks... into months... and then you look back and that "Little While" turned into a life lived by somebody else's rules.

Bottom line; it's all kinda like what people tell me 'bout politics; "Ya gotta make the lesser of two evils choice." Yeah, well in politics I don't have to. Here I have no option. I must choose... I get to pick which hole I want to step into. :) There's only those three choices here, and none of 'em are the sort that make you sit up and giggle like my Raider does.

It'd be a simple thing if there was a sweet option like that. Truth be known; You stand up, take your best shots and deal with what comes. Life in the West.

The past two years has made it clear to me where I belong, and what I am unwilling to endure a moment longer. The question a guy has to answer is; what price is he willing to pay to sustain and protect his chosen lifestyle? Is his way of living worth his life itself? In the end here I'm talking about money. And money is really only good for maybe one thing... filling in potholes... It has no other value to me.

I don't defend money... I defend LIFE and Freedom (as much of it as you can hang on to).

If what you are doing in and with your life is not worth defending UNTO your life... Maybe ya'll have been making the wrong choices somewhere along the line. There's an old saying I've often quoted. It came from some long ago philosopher. I can't quite recall who; "Sometimes, in doing what is necessary to survive, you render survival worthless." It's an idea that is never far from just about every decision I ever make.

I ain't one for existing. I'm more a pedal to the metal sort of personality. Do what ya gotta do and hang on tight for the ride. Damn caution and Let'er Buck!

The worst that can happen is a spectacular crash and burn... but then... that's just fodder for another story, ain't it! ;)

The next few days will tell the tale. At this early point we don't really know what's possible. Some things seem like they can happen. I did some rollin', scoutin', consultatin' and cogitatin' and investigatin' yesterday... but... until I've watched the movie, I won't know how the story plays out.

Workin' to Fill in the Blanks

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What Don't Kill You Makes You Stonger? ...

That just might could be so... 'less of course it just keeps whackin' a buster with such fast and hurtful repetition that he don't get a chance to sit and digest his beans proper. Then it just leads to indigestion, compaction, obstruction and disruption of the proper workin' of his bi-oh-logical innards... until...

KABLOOEY! ... and you find yourself searchin' through the yeller pages huntin' up one of those "Restoration Specialist" fellers to clean up the mess!

Just about the time a feller says to himself; "Self? I think I got this deal figgered"...

... is jus' 'bout the time he should oughta be minding an old country tradition. When things are starting to look like the neighbor's kid is chunkin' rocks at a wind mill on a breezy day... That right there is the time to Holler... DUCK!

Didn't feel like goin' all the way to Laramie in one haul... that is most of probably 75 miles you know! ;) So... left late and pulled into a snowmobile parking lot, truly! It don't get much use in the middle of the summer. ;) It sits right near Wycolo... and a mite west of woods landing.

Got up in the morning to the singin' of an errant herd of black cows wanderin' past. After coffee I was walking around the rig looking at things... Not exactly the best time to find things that look like they shouldn't.

But... You know me... always been pretty good at finding parts that aren't complete and whole any more.

Now... Complete and Whole is pretty much how you want to think of axle mounts... not... cracked and warped.

Yup... another high dollar repair slippin' out of the woodwork and bruisin' the kiester... and another repair, due I'm confident, almost entirely to that poorly done Axle flip. Actually the flippin' of the axle was just fine, it was the reinstalling the shocks in a manner that turned 'em into rigid struts that has caused a lot of my difficulties over the past year or so...

In case you weren't aware of it... a fifth wheel should NOT be converted to a "Hard Tail." My son-in-law is already startin' to grouse a bit 'bout the ride of his Harley Hardtail he built last year. They beat you up!

I'm guessin' that lil' dido on Buffalo Pass a few weeks past was the final straw that wasn't the least bit helpful to avoidin' metal fatigue.

Somewhere 'tween there and here... it reared it's ugly head.

There's six points where the springs bolt to the rig's frame. The springs bolt into a double walled construction. Five are just as they should be... the sixth has a crack about halfway across one "Wall" of the mount while the other wall is separating where it's welded to the "Spacer" that is welded in to connect the two "Walls"... with the springs between the walls below the spacer... Totally cornfuzzled now? Let's just say...

...The bottom line is a cracked and warped axle mount. Aw what a shiny way to start off a mornin'... Lookin' at what surely will stack up a couple of grand to properly correct.

That's because you have to combine this with the front axle already being torqued for the past several months. It's been wearing tires in an odd manner... Odd but not yet catastrophic...But it puts a buster in one of those brain pan rusting decision times... Repair Again... or Cut your losses and swap rigs right now?

The only way to do it right is to replace both axles (as they are demonstrating fatigue) and completely replace the mounting framework (which is already cracked)... All that is surely goin' to stack up a couple of grand in repair bill. You have to ask yourself... "Self?"

Where'd he go? ... oh there he is... down there! Ha ha. The lil' bugger ducked! :)  ... so... "Self? is it worth it?"

Even if all the careful considerin' does bring us to the choice of swappin' without bustin' one of those ad your isms... Swappin is gonna be a tricky proposition all by itself. When you pile on the reality that necessity dictates the unpleasant reality of havin' to use somebody else's money to git-r-dun, in these times... it gets as athletic as outrunning a mad husband and you sportin' a eye crossin' hangover to boot.

The REAL difficulty in either the Repairin' or the Swappin' is; Either way, it's gotta get done with Dinero that don't exist. Yup. That Washington that I needed to stretch to look like a Lincoln?... Truly needs to get cinched up juuuuust a mite tighter so that it gets squeezed out to look like a Hamilton!

Just thinkin' on it makes my head feel just like it did when I parted company with a high flyin', sunfishin' bronc and came down to a meal of three pounds of Arizona dirt.

Between the repairs to the truck, the trailer, the dog (last winters emergency surgery) and... ahem!... ME (equalling the Dog's repair)... the piggy bank is in pieces in the dumpster.

The next couple or three weeks should be...just ffff... uh... Ok, I'll try to keep it PG... let's see... the next three weeks should be... uhhhh... a maximum stress test of the obfuscatin', horse tradin', wind suckin', palaverin', deal makin', cajone bustin', word chokin', temper ropin', plea bargainin', double speakin' abilities of a bald headed, puss gut, broke down, penniless language butcherin' drifting, biker cowboy.

Aw hell... that'll make me a gol durn politishun won't it?

Detected, Infected, Dejected and Rejected

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rolling for Laramie

We've been camped in these Zirkel Mountains for most of a month now. 9500' and better. From the excitement of goin' four wheelin' with a 30+ foot fiver on Buffalo Pass in second gear with a busted clutch... to the mostly quiet times here around Dumont Lake and Rabbit Ears pass.

From these high meadows down to the high chapparal of Arizona... and even the low desert at Bouse... it's these open lands and the open road that I was made for.

I've heard it said that "Wandering Men" only wander 'cause they be searchin' for That Place to call home.

Well girls...while that is likely true for many, even most... It ain't me.

 I Am Home on the Open Road.

Those other yondering souls might could be searching for a place to roost; But this traveler is only searching for a way to keep fuel in his tank, and rubber on the wheels to keep on movin'.

The feeling I get, when I see the road rolling out in front of me, fading off around a far bend in the hazy blue distance is a difficult to describe thing. I've never quite found the right words. It isn't "Joy" really... it's more akin to that feeling I'm sure some get when they've been gone for a long, long time on a wide circle... They pull into the drive and put the key in the lock and push the door open... Home... It's that surge of serene calm that washes over a fella when you Get Home.

It's that first full breath you manage to take after a particular difficult and tense time? You know when you can take that first, long, slow, easy breath? and the soothing quiet just holds your attention?

Only, for me, that feeling only comes when I'm Leaving! ;) When I'm wandering on the Open Road... Moving along, foot loose and fancy free.

We taken a run down into the "settlements" around Fort Collins the other day to help the kid out and meet a friends new baby...  let me just say... a day, a few hours, in such a place as that and I'm full up on town. Any bigger than Steamboat or Laramie and it's a hurry in, grab what you need and run screamin' for the hills like a passel of Comanches were hot on your trail, supply raid for me!

Whatever "It" was that allowed me to live down there for so long... is tee total used up and gone!

We'll be movin' camp to lower ground today and we're headed down to Laramie, Wyoming for a couple of days to do a dog agility trial. Gonna be camped at an arena on the "outskirts" a mile or so west of town.

I loaded the Raider yesterday afternoon... That has sure become a non event. What with the addition of those two footboard planks and the elimination of the headache rack (that gives me more room) piggybackin' the bike is not the jockey knotting enterprise it had become for an aging road burner. ;)

With a mite of luck and good fortune we're still lookin' to downsize our outfit a lil' more in the future... sooner rather than later I keep hopin'.

There was a time that our fortune permitted us to just jump whenever we had the urge and the idea. These days it's a more drawn out endeavor. It takes me some little time more, workin' out how to stretch a Washington so that it looks like a Lincoln.

I've gotten "The" rig penciled out in my head and on paper. It's not anything radical really. Definitely not what many would have as their 'Vision" of a full time outfit... but... for me it seems to be the thing that makes me nod; "Yup, that's her."

The rig I'm sketching out is somewhere around about five thousand pounds lighter than what we're haulin' now. Where we are now is just a shave under twenty thousand pounds. It's not much shorter, if any, but it's lower and lighter, a bit skinnier in places and well... shorter in some ways. ;)

The main deal is it's arranged in a way that would make it, if my cogitations are correct, easier and more convenient, day to day... and light enough that the stress level of pushing it down the road is dropped to the level of background noise. It would be so low as to not be an issue.

I guess movin' around on a motorcycle a lot has drawn my attention to my weight. ;)

It seems to have become a "Thing" with me. The farther and longer I go, the less I want draggin' around behind me. I see folks, right here in Dumont with truly nice forty foot busses... They're comfortable and spacious sitting in camp... but... then I think of 'em tryin' to climb over Buffalo Pass and I picture multiple Heavy Tow trucks parked with lights flashin'; The drivers standing around scratchin' their heads and askin'; "How in hell are we gonna get THAT outa HERE?"

...and the one guaranteed smart alec who has to ask; "Get it out? How in hell did he get it IN there?" :)

I want light, tight and rollin' easy. I've got my eyes on what I believe will do that... we'll see what happens sometime between now and Armageddon! :)

But for now I better get the rest of this gypsies camp loaded so we can go to rollin' down off this mountain.

Two Years Strong and Still Rollin'

Saturday, August 11, 2012

With His Eyes on the Horizon

The blue haze of distance. It is endowed with a mysterious power. When the realities of now tightens my chest and I ache for the fresh purity and wonder of a new trail... It leads my mind to ponder and explore the unknown future, and shrouds the melancholy experience of the past in the mists of time.

What lays just behind that far hazy ridge? What road might be hidden there to rumble my motorcycle along? It's like art. All light and shapes. New scents and sounds. Unknown things that wake up a routine wearied soul.

Unfished Streams to stalk trout... Trails to walk... Roads to ride and always more misty blue horizons running off into the distance.

It's as if hope itself resides in the distance. That if I can summon the strength and the persistence to keep chasing it... maybe one day, at the end of some new rainbow I'll actually find that pot of Hope.

I am not alone in my quest. The Stone Cairn builders who left their mark in the desert... have wandered here in the high rockies.

*a stone cairn left by ??? What were their thoughts as they built?*

I can't help but think they seek much the same as I... I wonder how many find it? I'll never know. It's not something that can be shared around a fire.

It's Curly Washburn's That One Thing in City Slickers...

It's not coffee that can be poured from a pot. Or a cool brew that can be pulled from your ice box and handed to a thirsty traveler.

What we seek is determined by each wanderer. Success in finding It will be decided by each, somewhere along their trail.

We can only share shining bits of our own personal search to lend each other motivation and support.

We can only remind each other that in the end... it is probably the search that is the most shining part of the Journey... not achieving the goal.

We can only remind each other that when we choose to change our minds, or our methods they are only steps along the trail; Glorious Experiences along the journey.

*The trail disappearing around bends into the unseen distance*

 I feel a growing need to Shake Things up. To break out of a growing routine. To cut holes in the "envelope" of convention that constantly works to recapture those who escape it.

I have a hunger for the tangy and sometimes sharp taste of the new and unknown.

"New and Unknown." people tell you; "People have been going there and doing that... for years! How is it new?"


The rain on my helmet and the fresh, rain cleaned air of the Yukon was NEW.
The sight of the Glaciers sliding down out of the Mountains... was NEW.
The road along the Lochse in Idaho was NEW.
The huge surf crashing against the shore along the Oregon Coast was NEW...

You don't have to go to the ends of the earth to find NEW... to find "adventure".

You need only go where you've not gone before... or approach where you have gone... from a NEW direction.

Still Seeking Along an Unknown Trail

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blogging ~ is Photography ~ is Life...

Uh Oh... his philosophizin' parts are hummin' again... :)

A couple of small things happened that got me wonderin' 'bout things again...

You know how so many curse Walmart? They do this to people they do that to their employees... and how Walmart customers are... uh... less than Shiny folks? (as in the people of Walmart pics?) yadda yadda yadda? I've wrote before about Wally World.

I worked for a company where it was part of their mgmt. philosophy that they'd curse Walmart and how poorly they treated their employees... and this from a company that paid a starting wage a full two bucks below what Wally did... offered FAR lower benefits... and fired folks on a whim and a LIE if they didn't like your socks!

So... yesterday Heidi went in to Steamboat to run some errands. She did some shopping at Walmart and asked could she write her check for twenty over to get some cash? Well, the cashier punched a button wrong... "Oh Crap, I forgot the cash over"... Heidi'd been given the wrong total and she hadn't caught it either so the check was made out for only the purchase...

Well... it was Heidi's last check. She asked wasn't their a way they could run it off her debit card or whatever, she didn't have another check... they said no there wasn't. Then the cashier said; "Wait a moment" and went to talk to some supervisor...

The upstart is... they came over and handed her a twenty dollar bill!!! Heidi said; "You can't do that! I'm not comfortable with it!" They said; "It was our mistake. That is how we're going to fix it. That is YOURS!"

And THAT my friends is how One corporation treated us. Put that on top of the anonymous Person of Walmart ( a few weeks ago) who took my high dollar smart phone that had got left laying on the bed of the truck and dropped it through the window... and I CAN'T HEAR all the noise about how bad Walmart is. Sure, they play hardball when it comes to business to business...but from what I've seen... I can't criticize too much. Nobody is perfect.

While she was doing that I was doing a little work updating and 'house cleaning' on the main GRVB website. I replaced the Home Page photos, worked on the text a bit, changed the background color, tinkered with the Nav Bar... yadda yadda yadda... just trying to spruce things up a touch...

I was already thinking about how much trouble I've had lately trying to capture photographs that seemed fresh and new... Then she got back and told me about her lil' experience...

It all seemed to come clear... once again... Though the BIG things are spectacular at times... to expect that each day is unsustainable. It's the small, close up, every day little things that you can count on... IF... you watch for 'em.

We'd taken a hike in the morning, circling the lake bed. I'd been displeased 'cause I couldn't seem to capture the sort of photos that GRAB you just plain old pretty scenes... DOH!... for a short bit I was ignoring my own counsel...

The spectacular becomes mundane if you expect that every day. It becomes frustrating when you fail to it find it every day, and you Won't. It's the simple scenes that are the "meat" that carry you through each day. The small kindnesses, the soft breezes, the quiet word... the simple pleasures.

You don't need to be climbing Kilimanjaro to find adventure... It's right there down the trail...

Can you see it? Right there between the fireweed blooms?...

Three "Bikers" passed us on the trail after we'd come around from behind the Beaver pond...

... From where we'd "Bushwhacked around the west side of the currently empty Dumont lake... and climbed back up to the trail... They forded the stream farther up and then put their backs into muscling their mountain bikes up the slope behind... They were headed all the way to Steamboat... over the mountain.

To come up with something fresh and new to write about is sometimes a struggle. It feels at times like everything has been said... yet understanding is sure not yet universal... so there is always another "angle" to be presented and explored... if a guy can just find the words hidden in the tangle of ideas rattling around in a jumbled brain pan.

You want to keep the "Big Picture" view around for sure... but it's best to leave it pretty fuzzy...

The FOCUS needs to be on the next step or two... Only.

The close up detail is what needs to be clear and sharp... Where you're going to "Set your foot down on that next step"...

Just give the steps after that time to come into focus in their own time.

Let the Horizon remain fading off into the mysterious blue haze of distance.

Like in photography. Sometimes THE photograph isn't that Grand Horizon view... Sometimes its' the small, simple little picture... right beside your boot.

I get lost in that Grand Horizon a lot... and have to consciously force myself back to focusing on not putting my foot down on that bit of gravel... on bald rock... of a slippery slope...

Getting to that Grand Horizon isn't gonna happen... if I fall off the mountain, 'cause I failed to pay heed to the small bits along the way.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize... but Focus on the small pleasures and beauty along the way... "you'll get a more harmonious outcome!" ;)

Working hard to learn how to play my personal "Harmonioum" ;)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hiking Poles Ain't Just for Granola Eating Yuppies!

Gimped up old biker cowboy vets can put 'em to good use too!

Have you ever noticed that a three legged stool is a lot more stable on rough ground than a bicycle? The same idea works pretty good for bi PEDS too.

Was a time I "Don't need no stinkin' Hiking Pole". Buuuuut the advent of busted bones, wobbly balance and the infirmity that goes with a slow learner sort of mentality in the rough and tumble world of a biker cowboy redneck has provided the motivation for a slight shortening of the list of things I Don't Need.

We've talked about and looked at the fancy, store bought hiking poles at REI and all the other sporting goods outlets. Truth be known... I just couldn't never bring myself to drop $75 or even $100+ on a pair of spindly, recycled beer can, telescoping sticks; let alone that much for one!

Me? I'm more of a make do with what I got and complain 'cause it ain't as good as I coulda done sort of guy. It comes from the old adage that if a soldier ain't complaining... send him to sick call... 'cause SOMETHING is obviously wrong! ;)

So... in amongst all our travels and stumbling through the woods we've kept our eyes peeled and here and there picked up a few chunks of tree that momma nature discarded.

 The one on the left got found up near Red Feather Lakes and the one on the right we discovered laying along side a beaver pond above Gunnison. It stll bears the tooth marks of the beaver that cut it.

They had lumps and snags comin' out off  'em that I cut and ground off with a rasp. With a bit of sandpaper and a quarter sheet sander I smoothed 'em all down to be comfortable in our hands.

I still need to do a little artistic tinkering to make 'em fashionable I guess, and should seal 'em with something... but for now... they get the job done.

From scrambling around in the above timberline high rocks...

To just helpin' an Army gimp stay mobile over lil' obstacles along the trail... having a Hiking Pole is a fairly convenient accessory on your hikes.

They even help a lame old geezer climb a gettin'-higher-in-the-Rockies,  make-you-grunt-a-bit slope a lot easier.

It's kind of amazing how much load it takes off your legs if you're pushin' off with that pole on each step. And just think... If you're doin' that you can dump that gym membership and move that money to your BEER budget! ;)

I like the found and whittled on variety most. They carry their own memories of where you found 'em and the places you've been.

But... if you're more attuned to the high technology of aircraft aluminum and high tensile fiberglass... REI, Sports authority and probably even Bass Pro will take care of you...

and you know... when the old man is teasin' you about how dainty you're bein'... crossin' that next creek... You'll have something to whack him with!

Now before I close for this post, a few purty pictures from recent days...

*Along the trail*

*Life and Death*

Now... as always... it's back to work for me! I'm well into the carving of the 4th book... This time... Mr. Ben Jensen has got himself into what I believe is a genuine murder mystery modern western difficulty! ;) Not to mention that #5 with Jeb and Ben finding fresh challenges is bumping along...

Duckin' the Whacks

Saturday, August 4, 2012

When You Hear; "RV Boondocking"; Does It Make You Nervous?

Does the thought of being camped out in the wild and free make you quiver? Why? This ain't 1870 any more. The Souix stopped raiding the camps of rovers a long time ago.

You  may only need a little RV Boondocking confidence.

Now, I'm not telling you to stick it in gear and drag your fiver over Buffalo Pass like I did. Fact is, most boondockers, with regular sized rigs NEVER drag 'em through the sort of country where I twist and torture mine! :) and some like Mike up Wyoming way... drag his through places I won't push my boots!

The two weeks we spent camped on top of Buffalo Pass I never saw another rig bigger than a pop up or a smaller pickup camper. The rocks that really required 1st gear and four low generally stop the more reasoning individuals.

Just the same, that shouldn't stop you from enjoyin' the benefits of RV Boondocking. There's a jillion miles of road and thousands of camps to enjoy without makin' your lady or your guy grab their ears and squeal; "We're all gonna DIE!"

Fact is, you can get to 'em all pretty much with ease! Is this scene below Boondocked enough for you?

 But, you say; "We've got a big rig to fit our needs and tastes! We can't go to such places."

My reply? If you look just to the right of the picture above, you'd see...

*High Style Boondocking - Look Ma! No Resorts!*

... a tandem axle diesel pusher. Is that big enough for you? His RV Boondocking camp is costing him $12 bucks a night... unless he's 62 or an Army Gimp like me... and then it's $6.

I'm sure there's a lot of folks just getting ready to haul out and see if the road is the place for them. Here's a suggestion; If you're not an experienced sailor I'd not recommend you dive straight in to a trip around the world. Sail along the coast for a bit and get your "Sea Legs."

If you're looking into RV Boondocking 'cause the thought of living in that big rig above with five more just like it parked 15 feet away on every side in an "RV Resort" don't tickle your thistle... You're on the right track.

Just take it slow. Learn easy and don't ruin the journey 'fore you get started, by jumpin' into the deep end, when you can't swim. Gain a bit of experience and then fully equipped and with the green knocked off you can CRACK OUT!

The best opportunity I can think of is Quartzsite in the winter. It's kind of "Basic Training" for Boondockers. Everything is right there. Dump Stations, Water, Trash, fuel, repair people... and best of all... a "Few" thousand other Boondockers scattered across the desert that are happy to lend a hand to a new convert. Have a problem? Just ask and half a dozen will come on the run to give you a hand and show you the ropes.

The alternative to that is a place like this camp we're in right now; Forest Service Campgrounds. Sure we're in a "camp ground." but there's no hookups. No sewer lines. No power. just a hand pump water source and an outhouse. Boondocking in High Style.

The great thing is they give you the time and space to get your feet on the ground and work out the kinks; while you take your hikes through open high country like this, just outside your door...

Rather than the jostling, noisy, paved roads through the "Resort" at $35 bucks a night.

You've got all the systems right there, built into your rig. Why not use 'em?

Over time as you wander, without even thinking about it, you'll start to develop the second nature habit of registering water sources, dump stations, fuel stations you can get into and Back Out Of!  Even public dumpsters and trash transfers! to get rid of that stuff. You'll start to discard the packaging that you can - at the grocery store - rather than having to deal with it in camp.

Over time you'll grow all the skills, tricks and talents of a genuine Boondocker.

You may never get silly enough to drag your fifth wheel over 4X4 roads like SOME yonderers out here do... ;)

What can I say... I have an evil giggle that's heard when I get the startled big eyed looks filling their windshield when "They" come sizzlin' around a bend on the back country, one lane dirt track to be confronted by the radiator of my rumbling Dodge... followed closely by the towering silhouette of my fiver! Muhahahaha!

But... you don't have to...

You can get to plenty of Suh-Wheet RV Boondocking Country... without ever kicking your truck into four wheel drive or calling a tow truck to drag your rig out of the mud...

And as your experience grows and your confidence swells you can start to stretch your envelope a bit. You can go occupy camps you scouted with google maps and checked out with your truck or your toad and expand your horizons with glorious memories of Far Country...

All the photos of this post are a soft morning hike from the camp that big Ol' bus is parked in. Anywhere He can go... YOU can go. Don't anchor yourself in town with the idea you Can't. Come out into Shining Country and find out what you've been missing...

Just... take a minute to Think About it before you follow SOME guys too far... Especially if you hear; "Hey guys! Watch this!" :)

Staying High in the Rockies