Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cold Winds and Sunny Slopes

Dang... I rode through a lot of Colorado winters. From before sun up to past sundown... Feeding six or eight hours a day. Feeding my own stock then on down to the ranch I was day workin'. Comin' back in the early evening and feeding my own again. Chopping ice, Plowing drifts, Cutting and Splitting wood... Lot's of days when the high never broke through 13 below.

Then another seven or eight years after we left the ranch... riding winters out on a motorcycle. Splittin' the wind goin' 70 mph at ten degrees... and still grinnin'.

Things have changed...

The past ten days or so on this Denver circle it's been cold... but... nowhere near the lows I used to work in without much of a thought. The temps we've got now I saw as dang near balmy twenty years back. Even the years I rode my bikes to the Hardware store in January snow... If I got up and saw thirty plus on the thermometer there wasn't the sliver of a thought of not riding.

Now... with highs way up into the 30's I'm stove up and hidin' out. ;) Yes sir... my get up and go done got up and went... leastways when it comes to fightin' through the cold I guess. :)

I am itchin' to roll on back to the winter desert for sure! Just a few more days to lock down the few "business" chores we've left and then it's highball back to the Sonoran  desert for the balance of the winter.

It's likely I am an irreversible Snow Bird for sure!

Let all the tough nuts who claim they prefer to "rough it" have that nonsense. I'm for soft beds, clean shirts and sunny slopes! Make no mistake, any Cowboy that tells you he likes to "rough it" is one of two things; You're talkin' either to a wannabe playin' tough... or cowboy spinnin' yarns! Either way, they ain't bein' honest.

Truth be known, the only thing that kept a Cowboy from comfort was the inability of a Mule, Wagon or truck to carry it. Used to be you judged the age of a cowboy by the diameter of his bed roll. If it took two men to unload his roll in camp you knew; This ain't no greenhorn. That sucker has some age on him! Along with the growth of his wisdom ... the thickness of his blanket roll kept pace!

So... right after the 1st day of the first month of the year 2013... before my bedroll gains any more weight... and in search of sunny slopes, we'll be rolling our dusty selves back south to ride out the rest of this winter.

Finishing Up our Christmas Circle

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishing You All a Christmas Filled With Laughter

Merry Christmas Every One. May your day be filled with laughter, joy and a belly full of Christmas feasting.

Thank You All for visiting goin' RV Boondocking  and the blog here, for the past year, and for the many years before this!

As is usual, I've got many hoped for projects and adventures coming in the next year. I hope we'll see you again after the Holidays.

Take Care and Party Hearty!

Chillin' in Colorado

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Denver Christmas Fishes

T'was decided we should take the lil' ones to the Denver Downtown Aquarium. Turned into an expensive lil' trip that a person ain't gonna do too often. Our last time there was the first time there... I think two years ago.

I don't remember chokin' when I heard the fare that first time. Either the prices went up... or I'm getting dangerously close to bein' a grumpy old tightwad. $60 bucks for three growed up gawkers and two lil' bits seems a bit pricey to me... for what's there... Maybe I'm just stuck in the 60's. ;)

The Denver Aquarium don't match up to the Denver Zoo... or Sea World, but I did manage to collect a few pics. Photography is a bit difficult. The place is all sky lights. In the daytime there's plenty of light. We went at night for what was supposed to be a "Family Night"... not sure what that meant... there wasn't anything special goin' on or any special discounts that I noticed...

... anyhoo... at night... there isn't much in the way of illumination. I expect that the critters require some period of time when it's dark. If you try and use flash... for one I'd expect it to be pretty irritating to the fishes and such on the other side of the glass... and two, most all you'll get is a big ol' flare on the glass. Sooooo.... I was tryin' to use my "museum" and non-flash modes...

The problem there of course is it shoots kinda slllloooowwwww.... meaning a shaky old biker combined with moving fish and critters leaves little extra room for error!

After you pay the tariff you head in up this fancy escalator.

Every tourist trap needs its setup to stick your face  in and have a portrait taken... right? Here's what a six foot tall one year old diver looks like...

I know some folks don't see a point in takin' the lil' ones to such places. I disagree... big time. To my mind, bringin' the kids up... with a strong attachment to and a deep respect for the land and world on which they live is just about the best foundation to start a life on.

Not to mention... it's a great treasure to have the photographs of the times we get to spend with our Kids and Grandkids.

When we're brushed up out in the desert or mountains... Hiding out there in far country, from a soh-sigh-uh-tee that an old Freedom Lovin' war horse finds increasingly difficult to hold any respect for... it's a great comfort to be able to sift through photographs of those I treasure.

Pricey or not... such a place as this is 'bout the only place I'm ever gonna see much of what they've got. Soooooo... I expect that should color my judgement of the price huh? ;)

Not sure...but I'm thinkin' such a horse as these next ones would be a lil' difficult to ride... Though if you're good at holdin' your breath and can find a Sea Horse sized saddle...

I had a set of aquariums when I was a kid. Always had difficulty keepin' my brothers from crankin' up the tank heaters and cookin' all my tropicals... but I admired their forms and beauty... Some day, it'd be nice to have a couple again... but I'm pretty sure an aquarium don't work out too shiny in a rig rattlin' down the road!

*I never knew Turtles could smile... must be a Disney critter! ;) *

JW ran/stumbled/fell from tank to tank. He was all eyes and gawkin'... the lil' guy truly loved it. The Denver Aquarium is set up inside a lot like a rain forest jungle. There's critter sounds playin', calls and echoes and such. Miss Jillian... it bein' dark and all... those noises and the dark had her some little spooked.

Ended up bein' carried and held close most of the time...

She was ready to cut and run when a fish bigger'n her swam up to the tube through one of the biggest of the tanks.

Those yellow tailed whatevers swam past the glass in a school. To put 'em in perspective...each one is big as a serving platter.

The critter you don't expect to find in an aquarium, but I guess it fits in a rain forest jungle is a Tiger... or three of 'em!

All through the day and into the evening they put on a lil' diving/swimming show for the kids... Actual, genuine, in the flesh Mermaids!

I'm seriously thinkin' of takin' up fishing again! :) I wonder what kinda bait ya use for...

They had a diver fella standing by, for if one of the Mermaids had a difficulty I suppose... ??? kinda pokes my funny bone ;)  at the end he swam up to the glass and started blowin' Water Rings...

He's at the bottom and you can see the ring in the upper left...

The evening got finished out with two bits of excitement... first... Miss Jillian wanted to feed the Stingrays they have in a big pool near the front.

Worked real well... until riiiiiigt about then...

When that sucker hit the wall and came up clear above the lip tryin' to get its fish... she let out a screechin' howl I'm sure they heard clean over in Bangor! :)

The last and best of the Night was lil' JW. The boy don't miss a thing...

Yes sir... when they set him on the Mermaids lap for a photo op... the lil Bronc Rider zoned right in on what he saw to be of the greatest value!

Can't afford to go to such places too often... but once in a while they offer up those "special" moments! :)

Laid up in Denver for Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Think I've Got RV Boondockers Dislexia!

You're supposed to go SOUTH when it gets cold... Right? I think I'm doin' this back'ards!

Took longer than I figured to get rollin' come the dawn. Got up at Zero dark thirty, after another night of desert rain... squeezed the truck through the narrow gate (8' 6" truck... 8' 8" gate!) in the dark (W/O hitting anything!) and headed on down the road... about a half hour after I'd planned.

By a bit after dawn I was into the bad road approaching Flagstaff up there at 7.000+ feet. That last thirty miles of the first hundred and fifty turned out to be the worst road of the run... and provided the best chuckle... I'm sorry, guess it's a mean streak... but when I see a TOW truck... with a crunched car on it... and the TOW truck is slid waaaaay off the road stuck in a snow filled ditch... my dark side comes out! Muhahahahahaha! ;)

Made a fast stop at the Flagstaff Walmart for some fresh wiper blades ;) a jug of washer fluid and another cup of road coffee...then shake rattle and roll.

*after the storm somewhere in the Navajo Nation*

My Plan worked out pretty well... When I checked the weatherman's Prog- Naws- ti - KaShuns... it appeared that if I went the usual I- 40 to I-25 up through New Mexico... I was gonna be racing direct into the worst of the storm as it crossed those northern plains and Raton pass, North of Albuquerque... and probably all the way from Gallup...

So... I opted to take the north western route across the Navajo Nation past Kayenta and up through Utah to cut east just north of Moab... and run down I-70. If my cal-cu-lay-shuns worked out well... I'd slip around behind the weather...

Now... that don't mean you completely avoid those other folks who insist on driving clear outside of their talents... "But Officer! I've got FOUR WHEEL DRIVE! I can STILL go 75 mph! I have FOUR WHEEL DRIVE!"

Yeah... you bet sparky... luck with that!

The evidence was 'round about fairly often of the fallacy of four wheel drive. It gives you a lil' better steering control... but in the end... if ya'll is countin' on it... What it will do is; Get you STUCK... fifty feet farther in! :)

Once past Flag I had sunny skies most of the way. Lots of ice patches here and there... and in the darker canyons it'd get kinda slickery... but for the most part... a non issue. The roads were wet/thin ice at 14 degrees much of the way... but a lil' common sense will go along way...

I heard that!

I might be... uh... an eccentric, opinionated, cranky old puss gut biker cowboy... buuuuuuuut I still know enough to not put the radio on the side of the bath tub!!! or put my makeup on drivin' down the two lane!

So, with Sunny skies and clearing roads, in spite of the wind...

...I rolled the 800 miles give or take in 16 1/2 hours. Flagstaff, Kayenta, Mexican water, Blanding, Monticello, Moab, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Vail... and down out of the mountains...

Not so bad. I have made the run in a car... when I was younger... in quite a bit less time... but uh... let's just say I moving a lil' quicker... in the dark of a dry summer night... than might be considered prudent! :)

Right there with Flagstaff was the last part of the I-70 roll... Glenwood canyon was iced up and COLD! ... below zero... it hit -8 here and there along the way... the climb up through Eisenhower tunnel was slick and packed... with a few hundred trucks pulled over to chain up...

The old Dodge was struggling to keep it's heater ahead of the chill... I almost stopped and put my vest on. The cab was getting a lil' cool when I looked up and saw -9 on the thermometer! But... if you're rollin'... best to just keep on!

Bottom line... winter drivin' ain't that difficult... cut your speed... keep coffeed up... soft hands and softer brakes... watch out for the uncoffeed bozos with Four Wheel Drive! ;) and Shake rattel and roll!

Coolin' Out in Denver

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Go From the Desert That Offers Respite From Man Made Trials... To The Wintry Storms in the North...

Got loaded this morning and hauled out of the boondocks and down into Phoenix to cache the rig. Tomorrow at O five hundred, me, the dogs, an' the old Dodge will start the run to Colorado to rendezvous  with the rest of the family in Northglenn.

Our last sunset in the Carefree camp was a nice soft sendoff...

I expect there's those that weary of sunset pictures... "Seen one you seen 'em all" sort of an attitude; which is something I just don't get. I'd guess they don't bother with any art in their houses/rigs either... I mean... "seen it once you seen it so why bother?" right? ;)

If it bugs 'em... I guess they can go look out the window for a while... I've got a few more to hang on here! But then... I would think there's curtains over the windows... they already looked out 'em once. ;)

Truth be told... I need the quiet beauty of  these desert sunsets just now... bein' able to walk out into a pasture and watch a set of colts runnin' an' buckin' would be a good thing too... or into a meadow with a bunch of fresh lambs... anything that speaks of new life and hope.

Been doin' some self medicatin' the past few nights... Hot chocolate and Butterscotch Schnapps. mmmmm... that's some potent stuff! Tastes like candy and carries a decent kick! ;) too many cups O' that and a fella might could get stupid! ;) Just one or two though and it works kinda like Nyquill... only tastes a lot better. :)

They've got rain laid on for tonight here in the Valley... or they claim anyway... Then... seems like I manage to trigger it this time every year for a couple now... Tomorrow the weather 'cross northern New Mexico is bleaker than a mother-in-laws outlook.

Snow and wind... wind whippin' up 50 miles an hour. I'll tell you, those high plains above Las Vegas are gonna get down right unfriendly come late tomorrow afternoon... Don't know if you've ever drove through a New Mexico blizzard. Runnin' through that with the wind whistlin' high; the snow racin' at you like a million sparklin' lights till you can't tell which way is left... your eyes cross and you get vertigo sittin' there on the seat of your rig.

You'd pull over and stop... but your afraid if you let go of the wheel and shift gears you'll fall over! ;)

Yes Sir! It's a damn fine time! Genuine Western.

I'm thinkin' I'll take the north western route. Cut up across the Navajo reservation and slide around and come in through Utah.

Hmmmm.... maybe ~ Slide ~ wasn't the best choice of words... considerin'. ;)

The storm is s'posed to have blown through already; by the time I expect to make it that far... With any luck the tires on that old dodge won't see too much ice.

*Almost looks like a digital watercolor... Looking toward Wickenburg*

Was finishing up settlin' the rig in for the next couple of weeks where I've got it cached here in Glendale... and looked up over the top of my sister's neighbor's horses... and ... uh huh...

... More sunsets ;)

Patricia sent an excerpt from an editorial in Desert Magazine, published in 1936, in a comment yesterday. The sentiments touch a truth that kept me out in the desert these past few days for what I sorely needed... Thanks Patricia. (the country gained a good bit when you decided to become one of us!)

"There are 2 deserts...

Once is a grim desolate wasteland. It is the home of venomous reptiles and stinging insects, of vicious thorn-covered plants and trees, and of unbearable heat. This is the desert seen by the stranger speeding along the highway, impatient to be out of “this damnable country”. It is the desert visualized by those children of luxury to whom any environment is unbearable which does not provide all the comfort and services of a pampering civilization. It is a concept fostered by fictions writers who dramatize the tragedies of the desert for the profit it will bring them.

But the stranger and the uninitiated see only the mask. The other Desert -the real Desert- is not for the eyes of the superficial observer, or the fearful soul or the cynic. It is a land, the character of which is hidden except to those who come with friendliness and understanding. To these the Desert offers rare gifts: health-giving sunshine, a sky that is studded with diamonds, a breeze that bears no poison, a landscape of pastel colors such as no artist can duplicate, thorn-covered plants which during countless ages have clung tenaciously to life though heat and drought and wind and the depredations of thirsty animals, and yet each season send forth blossoms of exquisite coloring as a symbol of courage that has triumphed over terrifying obstacles.

To those who come to the Desert with friendliness, it gives friendship; to those who come with courage, it gives new strength of character. Those seeking relaxation find release from the world of man-made troubles. For those seeking beauty, the Desert offers nature’s rarest artistry. This is the Desert that men and women learn to love."

 Well, the weatherman didn't lie. The rain has come again to the desert as I'm writin' this. I'll send it off to you and hit the rack. Oh dark thirty comes pretty quick and I've got miles to go.

Night Folks. Hold each other close.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It Is a New Dawn... And We Must Go On Again...

Nearly two days of being cooped up in the rig with a cold desert rain falling; only the sadness that often  darkens life coming to me over the net... and it became a dark and heavy time alone here on the Sonoran Desert.

I'm working something out here... try to stick with me...

So often in these horrors, the media sensationalizes the story for profit and makes the vile beasts that performed the obscenity some sort of despicable celebrity. So many can remember the names of various deviants... yet the names of the innocents they took from us are consigned to anonymity. 

I say... ignore the identities of the beasts... let their vile attempts to achieve some twisted form of attention fail. Consign their souls to eternal darkness. Erase all memory of their very existence. Forget Them.

Let us instead remember only those Lost to us.

It is known that many of the teachers were taken... 
shielding and protecting Their Children

The names and birth dates of the Souls taken too soon
 ~ Let Them Not Be Forgotten ~

Charlotte Bacon (2/22/06), 6 years old, female

Daniel Barden (9/25/05), 7 years old, male

Rachel Davino (7/17/83), Staff member, 29 years old, female

Olivia Engel (7/18/06), 6 years old, female

Josephine Gay (12/11/05), 7 years old, female

Ana M. Marquez-Greene (4/4/06), 6 years old, female

Dylan Hockley (3/8/06), 6 years old, male

Dawn Hochsprung (6/28/65), Principal, 47 years old, female 

Madeleine F. Hsu (7/10/06), 6 years old, female

Catherine V. Hubbard (6/8/06), 6 years old, female

Chase Kowalski (10/31/05), 7 years old, male

Nancy Lanza, 52 years old, female

Jesse Lewis (6/30/06), 6 years old, male

James Mattioli (03/22/06), 6 years old, male

Grace McDonnell (11/4/05), 7 years old, female

Anne Marie Murphy (7/25/60), Staff member, 52 years old, female

Emilie Parker (05/12/06), 6 years old, female

Jack Pinto (05/05/06), 6 years old, male

Noah Pozner (11/20/06), 6 years old, male

Caroline Previdi (9/07/06), 6 years old, female

Jessica Rekos (5/10/06), 6 years old, female

Avielle Richman (11/17/06) 6 years old, female

Lauren Rousseau (June 1982), Staff member, 30 years old, female

Mary Sherlach (2/11/56), Staff member, 56 years old, female

Victoria Soto (11/04/85), Staff member, 27 years old, female

Benjamin Wheeler (09/12/06), 6 years old, male

Allison N. Wyatt (07/03/06), 6 years old, female

Tears burn as I think of the treasure lost and the torture being endured... I have to hold back a blinding rage and the desire to strike out... the desire to crush and destroy the evil that walks this earth... I choke on it.

But, Rage does not Honor and is no fitting memory of these women and these precious children. 

What can we do? There is only one thing we can do...

Live as they would have...
Seek the Promise stolen from them...
Seek out Life... in their Names.

With tears staining my face, and a shattered and broken heart... that is what I intend to do... It is the only thing I can see to do that does these lost souls any Honor. I go on. I must.

~ ~ ~ ~

Late in the afternoon yesterday the storm started to fail... and the sun began its return...

This morning I awoke with a soft sunrise to welcome a clearing day... Another one of those First days of the rest of your life.

The dogs were bouncing off the walls after being cooped up for too long and we were able to get out, soak up the sun and breathe. It's easier here... in this solitude... to get things put in the right order in your head.

... the harder part is to maintain their order when you return to socializin' with the rest of humanity.

We were still out there... puttin' things right... when this outfit flew low over our camp... and I thought... "man... I don't need this!"

The engine sputtered and died... you can see the prop not moving in the small pic.

I thought for a few seconds the sunrise that had promised a fresh and hopeful day had lied and more sorrow was close... until whoever was piloting the thing... fired it back up... and then disappeared down below my horizon...

... apparently, there's a lil' strip over there... and this outfit was practicing dead stick maneuvering or engine stall recovery or some such. I'm not so sure I'd wanna do that... quite that close to the ground! Not a whole lot of room for error.

The dogs and I were able to finish our stroll in the desert with no more excitement... and returned to the rig with a better outlook than the gloominess that had descended around here.

The idea had been growing all morning... and it came clear on that walk... the words of Robert Frost and others...


The events of the past few days have driven home, one more time; I can't, we can't allow these events to lead us to destroy the liberties and the glorious potentials we all have. If you truly want and need to Honor the lives of those who are taken you must find the Courage to LIVE!

If their suffering is allowed to destroy that of our world that was good, it is yet another attack on them. We must Honor their loss by embracing LIFE not an ever greater assault on Liberty.

With that in mind I must rededicate myself to the pursuit of Life... to pushing out darkness with laughter... and finding that Joy that it is said; "Burns out the pain."

I'd run across this outfit surfing RV's the other day... and I this morning I thought... Floating Fresh Hope...

How awesome is this rig? It's not about the "Thing" either... it's about Life and fun and laughing through the tears. What choice do we have?

It is not sacrilege or inappropriate. It is exactly appropriate... especially this time of year... to seek out life and joy in the face of the things we cannot change.

With simple inspirations and a refusal to allow their memories to be tarnished by our quitting, I step off... One foot in front of the other, one more time, as...

Life Goes On...