Friday, May 31, 2013

What Are You Gonna do When Your "Plans" Hit a Wall?

Been here before... I expect to be here again... and Here is where I am right now.

Before you decide to sell out everything and  hit the road RV Boondocking full time... you need to think about something; What are you gonna do, not if... but When...

When we pulled out of Glass Creek up near Mammoth lakes on Wednesday, our tentative plan was to move mostly north to Gardnerville; resupply at the New Walmart there and then continue North past Susanville.

Heidi was inside securing our supplies. I was sitting outside studying the map when that lil' voice of mine started whispering. Something wasn't right... but I wasn't hearing clear... I only knew I was uneasy.

I've learned over the last five decades to NOT ignore that lil' voice, so the only thing I could do different was turn west. I don't know that it mattered but it all fits together in my way of "looking" at things.

It was coming down out of the mountains that we started to hear a steady, tinny, rattle from the front end, that stopped at the lightest touch of the brake.

So...  the next morning, yesterday morning, after making sure it was OK with the Casino to unhook, I detached from the fiver and rolled the truck over to Les Schwab to have it checked out... thinking it was just a simple broken clip that was letting something rattle about...

Don't I wish... the rattle turned out to be a failed caliper that kept one side of the brake against the rotor... which ATE the rotor. That sound concealed the disintegration of the opposite wheel bearing and distracted from a tie rod going bad... ooooooffffff...

The consequence of it all coming down together was a repair bill of $1500 smackers... Which to be honest... was about 1498 more than we truly had... We scrambled it up... by, like I said yesterday, robbing Peter to pay Paul. An increasingly dicey balancing trick... cuz when you "borrow" from that which produces your meager income... the "production" can be expected to decline...

Yeah... that lil' store we still own back in Colorado, that is half or so of our sustenance got squeezed... 


The upshot really is... what are you gonna do when such things happen? Like I've said before, this deal wouldn't be an issue for a financially blessed wanderer... but... there are things that even those lucky buggers are gonna stumble across that'll take the wind outa their sails...

So the question remains; What Are You Going to Do? When the Bovine processed vegetable matter is horizontally accelerated by direct contact with the atmosphere agitation device... What are you gonna do?

Are you going to throw it in and quit? are you going to give up your dreams...whatever that dream is? or... are you gonna dig in and PUSH?

Back on the ranches it's been said; That man, or that horse "Has sand." For those unknowing of the term, it means; They possess the "grit" to keep on going. No matter what, they keep on going. They refuse to quit.

Maybe it's arrogant of me, maybe it's blowing my own horn to make the claim; BK Gore has sand. If it is, so be it ~ I'm arrogant ~ I'll accept the criticism. But, I believe in my life I've pushed ahead enough times that I can claim it's an accurate assertion... arrogant or not.

And now... one more time... I got to choose; and that's the real deal. When that "Stuff" is hitting the fan you're left with but two choices;

Bow your head and surrender to the winds of fate... or ... Cowboy Up!

This Ol' Buster picks number two. Always has, always will. I choose to grab that no good scythe swingin' "Reaper" along with his distant cousin Murphy and shake their stinkin' hides until their bones rattle. I'll convert their sorry behinds to chew toys.

Most I guess when confronted by the disappearance of more than what they could claim to actually have had would pull in their horns and curtail their planned summer circle. They'd tuck their tails and limp for "home".

Me? awwww... you already know the answer to that don't you?

Not a miserable damned chance! I'm goin' and seein' what my heart had itself set on showin' my eyes... and I'm taking herself with me!

Those that wish to sleep careful and "secure"... do that! I don't criticize or malign your choices, I truly don't. But that don't float my boat. I speak only for myself.

Though you might have believed you perceived otherwise, I don't presume to tell you how to live. I really only speak of how I must, and what I cannot endure. Some will identify the same feelings in their own hearts... some will think otherwise.

My way to me is clear. I simply cannot tolerate another moment of my life being consumed by allowing,what others see as "reasonable security", and I perceive as soul eating fable... to be permitted to command my future.

I know not what others may choose... But I shall follow my own path. (stealing a lil' founding father's thunder there!)

If the wind should blow against me, and I fully expect that it will, I'll lower my head and drive on. Either it will turn off from me... or I will split it clean in two!

If the wind wants to blow against my ambitions I say... Bring It On! because we're not turning back... We set our sail for the northwest coast... and that's where this cowboy caravan is goin'.

The sun is shining and the road is open. I love it so. A few broken parts, or a lot of broken parts won't pull me off it. Today we're poorer... but hope is strong and life stretches out in front of us. Of one thing you can be sure, when it comes along... I'll be there for every day of it. ;)

Just a Battle of Wind ;) ...some will claim I'm well armed! :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Murphy Won The International Championship

Started hearing a small noise...

Sooo... Detached in the Thunder Valley Casino Parking lot and took the old '99 dodge mouse farm to a tire shop to check things out...

Small noise was a bad caliper that came apart... Which, while it was eating the rotor on the left side, hid the sound of a bad bearing disintegrating on the other side at the same time... which all together masked the vibration of a failing tie rod end... Ooooofffff...

Bottom line... We're robbing Peter to pay Paul... And rolling one poor old drunk who made the mistake of stumbling past the Les Schwab shop at the wrong time.

Older, thinner and juuuust a bit poorer.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Biker Cowboy's Visit to The Bishop Mule Days.

It appeared to me that pretty much the entire town, and no shortage of visiting drifters, turned out for the parade Saturday morning. People lined the street in both directions, most as far as I could see.

*Mule Feet and Teamsters by the Dozens*

All up and down the street you heard the greeting; Happy Mule Days!

Now I'm used to seeing venders hawking cotton candy, soda, peanuts and beer at events of various sorts. In Bishop, Under a bright sunny sky on a warming day... one enterprising vender came up with something new, at least for me...

*Watermelon Vendor at Bishop Mule Days*

He rolled his cart of Watermelon down the street and had a booming business at I think I heard $5 bucks  chunk. ;)

When I was a kid the Parade for the Tucson Rodeo was billed as the longest horse drawn parade... this one is billed if I remember correctly as the longest non-mechanized...

Not sure who measures such things... The National Board of Parade Inspectors for Dimensions and Technology?

Just 'fore the real deal got working... two Ol' boys came along, riding the wrong way... and were doing a purty good imitation of what appeared to me to be stretching out the festivities of the morning after the "night before"...

That weren't fruit juice in the Red Solo Cup!

Right on time the parade came along, led of course by a Veterans Honor Guard, and those Mule boys rode off with it. ;) ... uh... the parade... not the Honor Guard ;)

All the folks who struggle to keep one horse shod... how'd you like the shoeing bill for that crowd? :)

There didn't seem to be a whole lot of saddle animal racism neither... horses were let in and rode alongside the mules without any nasty remarks. :)

... and then along came one of the legendary twenty mule team setups...

Though in the parade... I think it was a 14er ;)

*Death Valley 20 Mule Team*

At times it seemed like a Packer's Showcase. ;) I didn't count how many Pack outfits participated... but if there was one in California that wasn't here... I'll bet it was the ONLY one!

Lot's and Lot's of purty critters and fine equipment to admire...

Yes sir... real fine equipment. ;)

For the eccentric thinker... there was even a bit of RV inspiration...

*Mule Powered RV*

... I guess that makes 'em long eared Tow Vehicles?

Hmmmmm... if I made it a six-up... I could put in the extra batteries for my solar, a better water tank AND pull a pup trailer to carry my Yamaha! :)

I'd need a few new Website sections; "Fuel Economy of grass versus alfalfa" and  "The Care and Feeding of your Tow Vehicle"!

Then there'd need to be an article admonishing RVers to "Clean up after your Tow Vehicle!"

How about; "Tow Vehicle Options; Chevy, Ford, Dodge or... Hybrid!" :)

I'll just hang a few more pics of the Bishop Mule Days Parade on here or this'll run on till midnight... then I'll try and do a second post in the next day or three with some of the pics and clips from the "competition" performance in the arena...

Everywhere you looked was Mules. Dragging wagons, carrying packs, hauling fire "trucks" and... leading Zebras!

and... the littlest Mule... they claimed to tally 225 lbs. ;)

... and finally... a band of horsemen... guess they're like me... don't get along with Mules so good... 'cause they don't like dealing with critters that are Smarter than they are! :)

I'll finish up our Bishop Mule Days Day... in a day or so...


Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

So many Memorial Days have come and gone. Each year the list of those Memorialized grows longer.

The sea of tears shed for the lost grows deeper...

Enjoy the day. Celebrate in the Glorious Freedom Men and Women of Courage have given you.

But always, as you go through the day and your life... keep conscious of the price that was paid to provide you with that Freedom you glory in... and who paid it.

~ Brian

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Truth About California and A Hidden Pitfall of RV Boondocking...

We attended the Bishop Mule days yesterday... but with better than 300 picks and video clips to sort through it's gonna take a day or so to line that out to post. ;)

In the mean time... This spring of ours, spent along U.S. 395 in the eastern Sierra has been a bit of an education.

First, The earstern Sierras of California have shown something that might be unexpected to a lot of people who are "Outsiders" to Cali.

The folks that live here... are as much like those on the other side of the  mountain... the stereotypical "Southern Cal" sorts... as are the residents of Wyoming.

Fact is, the people of the Owens Valley and such areas are nearly indistinguishable from those folks in Wyoming and the farm/ranch folks up in Montana. The only way you can tell the difference is to locate 'em on a map. ;)

The sad result is... the political weight of the politically diametrically opposed population of those big cities over west buries the voices of the people here. Much like the front range of Colorado eliminates the voices of the Outlying counties.

The consequence being, those people in the eastern Sierras, and the northern end of California, as well as those in Colorado living west and east of the front range are left effectively without representation. Hell, up in Montana, they've had the will of people not even living in the State... Imposed on their way of living.

The arbitrary will of heavy population... living ELSEWHERE... is arrogantly imposed on them. A situation that has a dark future attached to it.

Now... our second bit of RV Boondocking education has been the most eye opening.

For a long time I've much preferred the far out and lonely camps. A mile or so up a logging road... Hidden behind a rise on the desert... tucked into the pines in the Rockies... Quiet and secluded.

Here along the eastern shoulders of Sequoia and Yosemite we've used our hidden in the desert straight up Alabama Hills Boondock camp, a pair of low cost BLM camps and an unexpected FREE U.S. Forest Service camp.

Out two weeks secluded in the Alabama Hills camp was a sweet spot for sure... but ... then we moved into Tuttle Creek BLM for two weeks; moved to Crowley Lake BLM for two weeks and have been here at Glass Creek for three weeks.

The difference being, we had people around.

At Tuttle creek we met Dale the full time Biker and Frank the part time wanderer (working toward full time) and career videographer who's only recently returned from ten years or so of film work in Asia and the Philippines...

Here in Glass creek we've met a super young kid named Quinn and his Dad William... Phil... and a few others.

One a gal living out of a pack and tent that "some" here have taken to calling the "Crazy Lady"... I don't know... a person who walks around having a three-way argument with herself, kicking trees as she squeals "Go Away" at them... and the non-existant "person" over her shoulder "qualifies" as a bit "off center"... don't you think?

Unlike me... each a bit eccentric. ;)

Each with a story... each finding their own way through this world... each an interesting individual to measure your own story against.

It's in that difference between our Alabama hills dispersed, boondock camp and the low cost/free but "developed" camps that we've been using the last six weeks where another pitfall lives.

Holding out in the bush for too long you can become isolated, cold and melancholy in your thinking. Isolation breeds a darkness of spirit. It creates a mental inertia that will hold you back.

While I can't entertain crowds for long, conversation with folks from other cultures, other communities, even open minded people who disagree with me... keeps me grounded.

I will never abandon my camps in my treasured Far Country. They are a beauty I cannot live without.

What I've found necessary though... is to maintain a good and proper balance between that treasured solitude and a healthy "Social Intercourse" that pushes me out of my "Comfort zone". Like a muscle, the mind requires a little pain to strengthen. I can't abandon the places where I find solace and serenity... but I need to step into that uncomfortable space on occasion to keep myself "awake."

The mirror of being around other people is needed or you lose sight of yourself.

Just Saying

Friday, May 24, 2013

When You Don't Live on a Schedule... You Lose Track of the Calendar.

One of the potholes you learn to skirt around is... losing track of those days. ;) NOT realizing the upcoming weekend is Memorial day, we'd intended to leave this camp today... uh ... that would be something along the lines of ... DOH!

We'll hang here for another few days stretching the time limit they allow :) and pull out Monday or Tuesday.

But that's OK... 'cause down in Bishop, this is the week of Mule Days. It would be a foolish thing to be right here and not go see a bunch of people who have a questionable love affair with Mules...

Now... here's the deal. I'm one of those one time busters that just don't get along well with mules... Best I can tell, I believe it's an ego thing...

When I'm dealing, up close and personal with a critter... I like for the smarter one to be... ME! When you're dealing with Mules... it's just too often that they've got the advantage, and that's just "something my vanity won't abide!" :)

I learned a long while back to just keep to horses and... a few dogs.

Come next week we'll be entering into a short period that likely will require more frequent moving of our camp. I've been wanting to go back up the coast a ways. The problem is, for the most part it's a costly enterprise.

The consequence is, though un-willing to NOT travel the coast, we have to do it fairly quickly and then duck back out to affordable Camp Lodging further inland.

Boondocking is mostly non-existent along the coast. If you're bold, and Lucky, you can "stealth" it here and there but relaxed and accessible boondock camps ON the coast are few and far between, if they even exist any more. We've not been successful in locating them... at least not for our med. sized rig.

Bold or not... pushing a rig that's nearly 50' long with a big red Motorcycle strapped to the truck... it's kinda hard for us to go un-noticed trying to overnight in some parking lot. ;)

There's no shortage of campgrounds all along the coast. That's not our difficulty. The thing is, those camps are pretty much for folks that have no problem paying near a motel bill for a parking place. They are pricey...

Prohibitively so in California where dry camping in the State Parks System often exceeds the already high price of a full hookup, belly to butt in a private RV campground... So for us those are out.

A thousand bucks a month or so to RV Park it up the coast is NOT gonna happen!

Once into Oregon the costs decline, as much as 30%... but they still remain high enough that we can usually only afford to remain along the coast for a couple of weeks. Then we retreat inland where we can find a wider selection of either non-inflated FS camps or straight up RV Boondock/Dispersed campsites.

The difference 'tween $24 a night and up along the coast (almost no fed camps)... and the Free to $2.50 we've been paying :) for most of the past nearly three months or is a non-affordable difference.

For now I'm hunting county park locations for overnights and maybe a touch longer... as near to the coast as possible... but even those often exceed our budget lately...I think I'm getting squeaky cheap in my old age ;)

Among the many sites we use when we have a need to find an organized campground are these two;
   *Oregon Coastal Campgrounds
   *Free Campgrounds

If we can't locate any new, affordable camps along Hwy 101... the option of pulling inland a ways and then day tripping on the Yamaha is always available to us. That's a hateful situation ain't it? Being Forced to ride my Motorcycle! ... yeahhhhh, riiiiiight. :)

Thing is... To be able to step out of your rig just around sunrise... and walk along the deserted beach before all your neighbors are awake; Walking the beach past all the tidal pools in the quiet of a pacific coast sunrise is awesome. It makes for a remembered time.

If you're cross-eyed from making your own camp search along the Boondockers road you can take a minutes respite and check out the newest RV Cartoon I published yesterday afternoon. If you subscribe to the "RSS" feed of the main RV Boondocking site, you'll get a notification any time I've uploaded a fresh cartoon... or any other page for that matter.

Working to find camps to stretch our coming stay along the Pacific Coast

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Overdose of Wild Iris? and an Unexpected Epiphany of Sorts.

Riding back from Bodie the other day we spotted a few Wild Iris blooming along the roadside. They'd grown in a place with no wide spots, so I didn't stop. But Irises are Heidi's favorite flower, especially the wild sort.

Back down on the Owens River road, a month ago, we'd seen quite a wide area of Wild Iris coming up. Being that it's a bit lower down there, we thought it was time to check it out for the spring bloom...

So it was back into the Owens River Valley for us...

* A wide view of the north end of the Owens River Valley*

A western wind was pushing the old Dodge around. When something near 9,000 lbs of steel gets bumped around on the road you know it's blowin'! But I still got some nice photographs of the Iris blossoms.

*along the Owens River*

Makes a guy kinda wish he could be back in town selling plumbing parts don't it? ... NOT!

I'd plans to do other things today... but... pshaw... That's the beauty of the life we're building... We go where the moment takes us, not worrying 'bout fitting to a schedule or a plan. We follow our hearts and our intuition these days, within reason and the physical limitations of budget of course. ;)

Mark wrote some about the "Stages" or chapters of life... and a book about that 25 years after 50...

If I'm getting any of the message that's in that book (third hand to boot)... I can't but think; "Too Little - Too Late".

If... IF... you wait 'till you're 50... to start living? To start injecting passion, risk and adventure... the "stuff of life" ... I got a lil' bit of news for you... less than 2% of 2% are gonna do it.

By the time you've ticked off 50 summers, you're so set in your ways, and so locked down by the ingrained fears and "what ifs", the likelihood of you changing the things you've been doin' wrong for half a damn century, exists somewhere 'tween not likely and ain't gonna happen. The emotional inertia created by the fear and stagnation drilled into you by the system has become so much a part of you that it's insurmountable by most.

Living in there is my only regret with this blog and my writing... So far... I feel like I've failed to find a way to reach those who need a better vision... the young people... 'tween 18 and 30... the ones that have a hope of living their lives to a different vision than what was drummed into... and crippled so many of us.

I'm preaching to the choir most of the time, I realize that.  I also know that isn't a bad thing. The choir needs moral support for their ambitions and dreams too... but, if a guy is going to truly change the basic way of things... or contribute to that change... he has to find a way to communicate with those who aren't yet SET in their thinking and ways.

He has to find a way to present a different philosophy for living to young people.

The young, among other things are taught to pursue a "productive career". It's that current "career" mentality that is the strongest anchor holding people back.

Careers? To me that's only the fancy name and religious dogma attached to the con to make it marketable. Let's face it... what is the "career" they are selling? answer; The way to stack up a bunch of green paper we pretend has value, so that you can "enjoy your golden years" in comfort. That's the false promise so many bought in to.

In the last ten years and more; How many have you seen have the fruits of their lifetime of slaving for the man in a "Career", STOLEN... by the man? The truth of that False promise should be clear to those with eyes to see it.

Those 18-30 newbies on this trail of life should pursue a different career... one that yields them a set of skills, polished "Talents" and a mindset that is THEIRS. Develop a set of diverse, portable skills that produce the needs of their subsistence where and as it is needed... so that they can LIVE a life of adventure, passion, risk and FREEDOM...

To be consumed In their Golden Years... Which are NOT those after 50...

The GOLDEN YEARS, are those from the age of Maturity on... each and every one of 'em. I say, don't waste 'em wearing out some buggers treadmill on some phony "Career"... Don't wait until old age to LIVE... too many never get there. The ONLY benefit of that thinking is collected by the ones selling that philosophy.

***just to say it... I've not yet gotten to where ~ I ~ feel like I've overcome that fear and emotional inertia. I have to deliberately confront it every day. I was well trained. I'm preaching as much to myself here as anybody.***

Nope... learn to overcome your fears and stagnation when you're 18, while you're still willing and able to learn. Wait until you're 50... and the % of those who actually succeed in overcoming that nagging feeling of loss and waste they've endured, for thirty years and more, is so small it could be labeled an aberration.

Yeah... another rant... I just wish I could find the way to communicate to younger folks... to open a few more eyes before THEIR thirty years are lost.

I know I'm running against the wind. The loudest who will curse my name are those who have invested so much of their essence in the blind alley of a career they can't tolerate admitting it got them nowhere... or admit to that unceasing gnawing in their guts for the last many years. That "something is missing" sensation; that; "Is this all there is?" un answered question...

They'll accuse me of making personal insults against their effort and sacrifice. That is not my intent or thinking. If that's how you perceive my words and goals its a demonstration of the wide void between our philosophies. "If I have to explain it to you... you won't understand me".

Swing away. I've been called names before... I can't hear you. I speak not to those who won't listen... but to those who are seeking that missing bit. Maybe, in my search I have found a clue or two... to where the trail lays.

I took these next two pictures and I couldn't help but see the striking symbolism flying above me...

The cattle pursuing their "career" of harvesting grass... only to be ultimately used, without any choice or option of their own, to the advantage of the owner of the "treadmill."  ... because...  "That's the way it's always been."

... and the individual... soaring off on his own string. Free as a bird... pursuing his/her own dreams, ambitions and passions; Constrained ONLY by the consequences and rewards of his/her own decisions. Carried on and overcoming all obstacles by the power of their courage, intellect, determination, ingenuity and PASSION.

A "career" ~  of the mindless "selling of plumbing parts" in pursuit of some imagined future "payoff"... or ... a "career" that is one of Living a Daily Payoff... of adventure, passion, learning and epiphanies...  throughout life?

Two ways to look at a Vulture ;)