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 found your blog. I've also recently realized the need to sometimes be with people and balance it with time spent in solitude. Still working on the balancing part myself.
Looking forward to reading more on your blogs.
Been reading your blog for about 3 months. Really enjoy your outlook on life...and the great photos!
I need to convince my DW to unload the s&b, hit the road and start livin'!!
I believe that what you say is true. Being away from people for too long, I would imagine, would be difficult. There's a blogger who likes her solitude and doesn't enjoy camping next to people (and I can understand that), but we ARE a social species!
Great post, Brain. I enjoy your philosophical and political musings.
Regarding: "...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..." I understand what you say (I live in Denver), but isn't this representative of a democratic republic in action - the public voting their political preferences? Would that much really change if the "voices" were switched? Surely you and the California East Slopers and the Colorado West Slopers enjoy a multitude of freedoms and unmitigated independence that most people in the world could never imagine and certainly will never experience.
See, that's the problem... or two of them.
1. We are NOT supposed to be living in a Democracy. We are supposed to be living in a Republic.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Put another way; Democracy is simply mob rule. He who is outnumbered is simply without a voice. What he is allowed by the mob, to retain, is irrelevant.
2. The voices should not be "switched". The people of Denver, the people of L.A. should not be permitted to impose their "Values" on people elsewhere.
The social values of the eastern sierras or the west slope of Colorado are not "Political Preferences" to have dictated to them due to the population weight of a conflicting philosophy of life residing hundreds of miles away. That is not freedom. That is pure and simply absolutism.
That my/our freedom has not been degenerated, yet, by a control freak society living hundreds of miles away, to the level that other people suffer under is a weak defense for for the immorality of absolutism.
If you don't like hunting for instance, don't hunt. If you "like" wolves, put them in Griffith park in L.A., you don't have the right to impose them on Montana. If you don't mind illegal violation of your borders, don't stop it, but you don't have the right to tell Arizonans they must accept the abuse of Murdered Police officers by illegals.
The list goes on and on. The arrogance swells to obscene levels.
And it's all defended with the worst; the fact that a Republic which defended the supremacy of the Rights of the individual has been surreptitiously converted to the obscenity of a Mob Democracy.
OK, you make some valid points. So Brian, you wake up tomorrow and you are in charge. What changes to our current system of government will you make? Keeping in mind changes that are legal, realistic and mostly treat/impact everyone equally.
To answer the question in a comment, let alone an entire blog is not a possibility. it would take a good thick book to come close to doing the question justice.
Here, I can only point out some general philosophy basics that I adhere to.
I don't want and am unwilling to acquiesce to the basic idea that ANYONE is "In Charge"... That mind set is a huge part of the problem.
That people in Arkansas believe they have the Right to impose their ideas of morality or anything else on the people of Iowa. It's abhorrent.
Law is not right or wrong, it is simply force. The idea that a person has the right to his beliefs no matter how repugnant you might believe they are needs to be Renewed and refreshed.
Unless you defend a person's right to believe in ways you find disgusting, YOUR right to believe as you do, Does Not Exist.
The idea to live and let live... and mind your own business must be restored.
The cliche' that you can not legislate morality is no less true because it has been cliche'd.
When belief becomes a problem is when those beliefs are IMPOSED on others outside the individuals local community as the consequence of political force gained ONLY by virtue of prolific reproduction.
The simple philosophy of "Mind Your Own Business" is the basic fabric of my belief.
I don't care if a person is gay, mexican, female, romanian, poor, rich, wolf hater, wolf lover or drives a chevy... those are all their rightful choices.
But when your imposed personal preferences destroy my way of life... simply for your comfort, convenience or to honor your belief in the superiority of the philosophical choices you've invented... you've crossed the line.
All I control or want control over is my own life.
If I'm not involved in the issue... it's none of my business. I have no "Standing" to impose anything on anyone, except where their behavior has direct impact on me. Ie; letting your vicious dog run around in my back yard.
A "society" example would be... you live in your house with 10 people.
Your neighbor has only himself and his wife.
You decide you "need" his water so you hook your hoses to his spigots, because you want to add 5 more people to your house. so you cut off His Access to the water within His Own Home.
You simply take it, by force, because he is out numbered and lacks sufficient force to defend himself.
THAT is exactly what San Diego, and Los Angeles have done to the eastern sierra country and Denver has done to North Park and the West slope.
No One has the right to take simply because they have the force. It was no more moral than the way we TOOK the land from the inhabitants that were here before the European came.
Do I realistically expect a change? Not in ten thousand years.
Legal and Lawful immorality will continue to erode Liberty until it is gone.
The ONLY thing I'm in charge of is me. If I can't afford the price of something I want, or if a person is unwilling to "Sell" to me... I do without... Simple as that.
For me To "force" another to abide by my wants, values and wishes simply because I possess the requisite physical force is immoral and dishonorable. For cities, towns and states to do so is immorality compounded by the size of their population.
Society needs to learn to do without what it does not own, and accept philosophies it abhors... just like me.
What would I change? Nothing. I have already done what I would do. I ingrained Honor, Integrity, Courage and Respect into my one single offspring...
...and did the best I could to teach those concepts to the men and women I have led at various times in my past.
Bravo, Brian. Thanks for your response. Would that more citizens and elected officials of this country adhered to your beliefs, values and philosophy of life.
Looking forward to pictures of Mule Days.
There have been many books written regarding the water situation in the Owens Valley. William Mulhullond was the "architect" of this program back in the early 1900s. While I am saddened over the loss of water and habitat in the Owens Valley, I have to think that Bishop would be very different if the outlying land and water rights were not owned by the City of Los Angeles. The actions of Mulhullond and others have, in a way, preserved the small town beauty of the area. I can remember as a child how Lancaster and Palmdale were just wide spots in the desert. Now they sprawl all the way to San Bernardino. If Bishop was not growth restricted due to the loss of land and water rights, I fear it would also be a sprawling resort area, gobbled up and planted with freeways and high-rises by the affluent of So. California. Everything comes with a price. Is the trade off a fair one for Bishop? I don't know- probably not. Wish we could ask those who willingly sold their land and water rights to Los Angeles so many years ago. All I know is I love Bishop and the Owens Valley and the beauty that is retained in the area. While I decry the loss of land and water, I love the restriction of growth that is the flip side of that coin. A dichotomy to be sure.
Donna K, Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner is a wonderful book about "The American West and Its Disappearing Water". A PBS mini-series was made from the book in 1997. Mulholland and Owens Valley play key roles in the book.
My hubster read that one but I haven't. I think I'll check and see if PBS has that on DVD. It is certainly and interesting and controversial topic. Thanks Chris.
Just found your Blog, Brian. We seem to be kindred spirits.
I also espouse to your libertarian world view. And old biker and horseman myself, it seems that a similar background, in this case has yielded similar life philosophies. My DW and I plan on FTing in 3 years pulling a TT with a couple small motorbikes in the bed of the truck. We plan on adding a rather extensive solar system and boondocking whenever practical.
I look forward to reading more of your adventures in the future.
Excellent blog comments Brian, I'm right with you!
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