Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I'm Still Alive.

I know it's been a couple weeks since my last article. Life has been very, very busy during this time. I spent about a day or so in Yucca Valley, visited Joshua Tree National Park, stopped in Cathedral City and spent about four and a half days in Los Angeles. In Cathedral City I visited my former wife, Cynthia, and still one of my good friends. In Los Angeles, I hung out with my son, Pete, and did some LA things with him.

Then it was on to Clovis, California for a family reunion and birthday celebrations for my former mother-in-law and two of my former brother-in-laws. We must have had over 50 people in town from all over the U.S. for the festivities. All of those events covered a week. I stayed and relaxed for two more weeks enjoying the California sun and the company of my former mother-in-law, BJ Gardner and one of my former brother-in-law's and his family. Then I was off and running again.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Compartmentalizing – Part 1

I came to a startling realization during the past few weeks of trekking around the U.S. Well, actually, it's not such a startling realization. I've understood this most of my life. What am I talking about? In a word, “compartmentalizing.”

I write of simplifying and minimizing life. M. Scott Peck, author of the classic bestselling book, The Road Less Traveled,stated it this way in his first paragraph – a three word, single sentence paragraph. “Life is difficult.” Indeed it is. And it has become exponentially more difficult over the past 50+ years of my adult life. I dare say, everyone walking on this planet, especially those living in developed, “western nations” has and continues to experience this.

Humans have learned how to compartmentalize virtually all aspects of life. Compartmentalizing is one way humans have invented to cope with the ever increasing complexity of modern life. Those of us living in advanced developed societies in the West enjoy, both, the benefits and and advantages of high-technology and the challenges, complexities and (often) the mind numbing addiction that can take control of parts of our lives.

Less advanced, more primitive societies still compartmentalize, however, to a significantly lesser degree. The less complexity we have to cope with in our lives allows us to live freer, simpler, happier and with less compartments.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Beaten Down By the 8,000 Pound Gorilla – Amazon.com

You've heard it said you can't fight city hall? Well, In today's world, you can't fight city hall, the county government, the state government, the federal government and now – apparently, Amazon.com has joined the ranks of the oppressive powers thwarting small businesses at all kinds of turns. M. Scott Peck, began his best selling book, The Road Less Traveled, with this three word sentence, “Life is difficult.” I will add to that, life is complicated and getting more so everyday.

You may notice, and if you haven't, please do, that I no longer have Amazon.com links on my blog sites. Amazon decided to terminate me as an Amazon Associate because I am in violation of the Amazonian Laws of conducting business.

Now, please understand. I've had an Amazon Associate agreement since about February of 2005, that's approximately 11 years. I read their agreement (which reads like most legalese documents forced on anyone wishing to do business with global mega corporations). It's long, make that LONG, in some ways incomprehensible without a Yale lawyer like Bill or Hillary Clinton or Harvard lawyer like Barack or Michelle Obama as your attorney, can be confusing and, to me, smacks of some forms of restraint of trade and unfair trade practices.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Insanity . . .

But, this is the best kind of insanity. I spent nearly a week in The City of the Angels with my son, Pete, enjoying his loft in the art district and checking out a number of eateries and some local points of interest. Great time with the “chip off the old block.”

Then a week ago Friday, I drove down to Hawthorne, California, a Los Angeles suburb, where Pete lived last year when I had an unplanned, extended stay in the small guest house he was residing in at that time. If you've been reading this blog very long, you'll remember I blew my engine on the trip over the mountain from the San Joaquin Valley into the Los Angeles basin in early January 2015. I had my engine rebuilt in Hawthorne by a very competent and honest man, Wilson, and his team of skilled technicians. I stopped and visited Wilson and team (and met his lovely wife) at A1 Engine Rebuilding Service. I highly recommend these folks.

I had called ahead and made an appointment with Marco at Song's Front End Alignment Service while I was going to be in Hawthorne. Marco did a great job last year, and also proved to be both competent and very honest. Once again, he took care of My McVansion and gave me a feeling of confidence as I rolled toward that same mountain where the ill-fated engine incident occurred last year. This time approaching from west to east. My McVansion scaled that mountain (as it has several higher mountains on the way west from the east coast only a few weeks before). But, once over the mountain and into the San Joaquin Valley, again, is where the insanity was awaiting.

Friday, June 24, 2016

If It's Thursday, It's LA

The view from my son's loft in the downtown Los Angeles Art District.
That's where I am. I'm in downtown Los Angeles, the City of Angels here in sunny southern California. I'm visiting with my son, Pete. He lives in the newly (continually being) gentrified Art District, formerly an area of old factories, mills and warehouses. He has a very nice loft in one of the re purposed old buildings.

It's an interesting area. Apparently it is already or is rapidly becoming the most expensive real estate section in LA. Besides the residential renovations of these buildings there is a thriving and growing art, media production, entertainment and retail utilization of these old buildings. This goes along with a trend in many urban parts of the U.S. for people to be moving into these old, re purposed sections of major cities to be closer to work, entertainment and other facets of life.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer 2016 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR)


Audio Version available - see player below

Just left my lofty perch at about 7,500' in the Coconino National Forest outside Flagstaff, Arizona where I was attending the Summer 2016 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous or the RTR as it's known by the vandwelling world. The event is typically held in January outside Quartzsite, Arizona, but there have been two (that I know of) including this current one, held in the warmer months at a high elevation where the temperatures in Arizona are MUCH more moderate. It was probably in the mid to high 70's yesterday at the RTR and it was about 120 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona, perhaps 125 miles south of Flagstaff.

The event was created by a full-time, nomadic, vandwelling fellow by the name of Bob Wells. Bob, has a very interesting background and caught my attention early on. His Web site, www.cheaprvliving.com, provided a wealth of knowledge and information that I (and likely thousands of others) found very useful. When I began my newly chosen lifestyle of living free without a permanent residence and my “tin tent” on wheels aka, “My McVansion,” much of what I learned from Bob's site helped me implement my adventure.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Moving On!


Audio Version available - see player below

It's time to move to my next adventure on my current trek westward. I've been in Edgewood, New Mexico staying at the Rt 66 RV Park. Yes! THAT Rt 66, aka, “The Mother Road.” This is my first time staying at a “commercial,” privately owned (non-governmental, city, state or federally owned) camping area. I'll have a report on my experience here at this RV park in a future article on the blog. Let me just say that that this was my first experience in a commercial RV park and could quite possibly be my last experience. The best part of my two week stay here is coming up tomorrow morning – I'll be leaving. Enough said!

I have been enjoying time with my friend, John Abert, who I met through my blog. John has been baching it for a couple weeks since his delightful wife, Sharon, has left him on his own while she's been on an Alaskan tour with her sister. Her adventure was a primary motivation for John selecting this RV park for a month stay while she was traveling. This RV park is about 25 miles or so from the Albuquerque airport that Sharon needed access to in order to fly to Seattle to meet up with her sister on the way to Alaska. John will leave here on Tuesday, with no love lost either, to meet Sharon at the airport on her return from Alaska. They will continue on their travels heading to Texas to take care of some business.