Friday, November 29, 2013

Hummingbird Photos

This hummingbird photo was take earlier this year when I parked in Tucson.

Friend Donna from Boulder sent me a link to photos of a Hummingbird Raising Her Family. I'm awed when I look at these photos. The natural world is a mystery -- and so very beautiful. Words are lacking to describe the intricate details in each of these photos of nest, hummingbird and fledglings.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Live Turkey

Rather than a stuffed and cooked bird, here is a live turkey on the table.

Long live the turkey!

Wishing you a festive Thanksgiving.

Photo is from the archives when I was dry camping at Cottonwood Campground near the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mini Stone Henge

When I passed through Quartzsite in October on my way to San Diego, I stopped for several nights to search out the mini stone henge I had built in January of 2004. The photo is from 2004.

In January of 2004, I was a member of the WINs (Wandering Individuals Network) and at the edge of the wash where I was parked, I built the mini stone henge from the many oblong shaped rocks I found in my desert walks.

In my October 2013 search for that long ago construction along the edge of the wash, I found no evidence of the structure. Considering I might not be able to find the structure, I thought I should be able to find several oblong shaped rocks in a single spot. No luck there either.

Even though I found nothing, it was a good excuse for a walk in the Quartzsite desert. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Agree With Scrooge

Christmas seems to come earlier every year. In September, the Costco stores already had plastic Christmas trees and other (made in China) decorative stuff for the home during the holidays. A big faux conifer wreath for the front door. Lighting displays. That was only some of the items. In my most recent visit to Costco there was a range of gift items along with even more plastic Christmas decor.

Driving around the neighborhoods I noticed a sign that said "We hang Christmas lights -- Call xxxxx".

Then at the grocery store earlier this week was the bell ringer. It's not even Thanksgiving. In order to make their numbers, it appears they had to start early this year since the shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is shorter this year; Thanksgiving was so late in November.

Then I came across this on the internet:
Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $801 for gifts this holiday season, down from $854 last year according to the twenty-ninth annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc.

In telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,100 adults nationwide conducted November 10 through 14, 2013, the average planned spending of $801 for 2013 is down over 6% from average planned spending in the 2012 survey.
There is something seriously wrong with that survey. That cannot come even close to reality. They certainly were not calling the average income earner who makes a little more than $50,000 a year. That $800 would have represented almost two percent of their annual income.

Guilt giving is just a few weeks away.

Scrooge had it right. Bah. Humbug.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

50 Years Ago

50 years ago I was working a part time job at the Coca Cola Bottler while at the University of Wisconsin. When I showed up for work that afternoon, the office manager met me as I arrived. He was wondering if I had heard the news. I hadn't. The news was that President John Kennedy had been assassinated.

The office scene that day remains etched in my mind. There were windows looking out to the production floor, there were the windowed offices of the execs and the clerical staff at their desks. As I listened to the office manager relate the gruesome news, I also noted the time of day -- 3:20.

Where were you when you heard that JFK had been assassinated?

Monday, November 18, 2013

FAQ On Settling

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – Albert Einstein

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Why the settled future?

Perhaps those quotes are not the most appropriate to this decision to end my nomadic wandering and take up a settled existence in Tucson. However, reading those quotes about six months ago caused me to make the change in my life.

This need for change is who I am. I was employed for 35 years in Information Technology. Things change in 35 years. It was called Data Processing back in the 1960s. During those pre-retirement years, something had to change in the major job responsibilities to keep my interest. I could not repeat the same process over and over. I was a bad slave. There had to be something new in the job; a new product; new process. Something new was required that would challenge the brain cells.

The "new" would last for about two to three years. Five years was the limit. Ten years was unheard of. Twelve years of living in a home on wheels is the longest I've lived anywhere since leaving the farm for university. Twelve years is also longer than I was ever employed with a single company.

It was time for change.

Do I know what I want. Not really.

What if the Tucson home base doesn't work out?

The plan is to lease/rent an apartment. If it turns out the Tucson settled life is not what was imagined, I can move to the next imagined future. That imagined future might be another urban area. It is not likely that it would be a return to nomadic wandering, but sometimes the past is more attractive than the imagined future. It could happen.

What about those hot summers of Tucson?

For some summer months of 2014, my plan is to drive the newly purchased vehicle to some mountain village and rent a space for a month or two to explore and hike that local area. Yes. That can be expensive. However, there are some pretty significant costs to the upkeep and driving costs of a truck and trailer.

Why not keep the Wandrin Wagon for summer travel?

The Wandrin Wagon may not sell. In that event, it will be part of the travel plans for the summer of 2014.

Considering the Wandrin Wagon (2004 24 foot New Horizons fifth wheel) was designed for this single guy, the unit will not have a wide appeal to those in the market for a small trailer. Designed for boon docking with solar and battery power to spare, it is ideal for that single planning to live in the deserts of the southwest for the winters. The truck (2000 Ford F-350 diesel) will be kept until the trailer is sold. The truck and trailer combination would be an inexpensive way to check out full timing for that single person.

Will the blog be continued?

The blog will probably go on. In the past, some of the blog posts were not written about nomadic travels. That diversity of subject material will continue. Perhaps future posts will be more wondering than wandering.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Settled Future

For twelve years I've wandered with my home on wheels in tow. It's been a great ride, but I am long overdue for a change. For several months I have been evaluating and searching (virtual on the internet) for the ideal urban area for a settled living. The conclusion was that there is no ideal urban area to call home, so Tucson was selected as a compromise.

My six month stay last winter in Tucson was an enjoyable test of settled living. The RV park was in a walkable neighborhood. Hiking was close by. No longer a stranger in town; the Starbucks barista knew my name and drink.

When I leave San Diego in a few weeks, there will be few stops on the way to Tucson arriving there before the end of December. Once settled into the RV park, I will be on the hunt to rent an apartment. A car will be purchased. The truck and trailer will be put up for sale.

Then I will live that imagined settled life in an urban environment.

There will be travel in the future. Just what future travel will look like is imagined in possibilities: a visit to Hawaii; a train journey; car journeys to a location for extended exploring (i.e. a Rocky Mountain town, San Francisco Bay peninsula, Front Range Colorado, Olympic Peninsula, Portland, etal.); house sitting; a cruise.

The decision to stop nomadic wandering isn't easy. It still is an unsettling thought. But this guy needs a change in daily life. It is time to commit to an imagined future of settled living in an urban place.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mini Book Review: The Cancer Chronicles

The Cancer Chronicles -- Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson

Cancer is a disease that little progress has been made in treating -- let alone curing. With heart bypass surgeries, artery stents, valve replacements, disease of the heart is not the killer it once was. Antibiotics are able to cure (in most cases) bacterial infections that might result in death.

Cancer continues to kill about the same number (age adjusted) of people that it did 50 years ago. Cancer has been around a long time. It was found in the bones of dinosaurs. As Johnson does his research speaking with cancer experts and researchers from around the world, he details what is known about cancer and what remains unknown.

The author also details the operation of chemotherapy and radiation used to destroy the cancer tumors. The therapy search by drug companies continues for treatments that will truly impact the cure rates of cancer.

The information in the book helped me to better understand the disease and the difficulty in finding a cure. The treatments and therapies are almost as bad as the disease. On that less than happy thought, the book gave me pause to consider what I might do when faced with a doctor telling me, "You've got cancer."

Caveat. The interest in reading a book about cancer was curiosity and learning. There may be some cancer lurking in this body. If there is one, it is unknown and unfound.

There are other books about cancer available. However, when I was searching for a book about cancer, this was one of those that I could borrow as an ebook from a library.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mini Book Review: One Man's West

One Man's West by David Lavender

I have read several of Lavender's history books. Although more of a memoir, this book is history since Lavender relates his first person experiences as a miner and rancher in southwest Colorado from 1930 to 1950.

The author described the towns and land features of southwest Colorado and southeast Utah. Those stories brought back memories of my travels and exploring in those areas.

The good times, the bad times, the ranchers, the sheepherders, and a long list of characters are included in this fine book of stories of Lavender's early life in southwest Colorado.

First copyright for the book is 1943. I read the 1956 edition.

Wikipedia's David Lavender bio.

The first story of the book begins in Ouray -- the Box Canyon blogger's home when not traveling.

Quoting David Lavender:

"...[Ouray's] setting, however, is superlative; I think no town in America can boast of finer.

"The village lies in the bottom of an enormous rock amphitheater. The best way to see it is to stretch out flat on your back. There is only one direction in Ouray -- up."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mini Book Review: The Eighty-Dollar Champion

The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts

I'm a sucker for books about dogs or horses. This time it was a horse. Snowman was a reject at a horse auction and headed to dog food and glue when Harry De Leyer bought him for $80 as a lesson horse for a girls' school. Discovering the horse's ability to jump fences, De Leyer began the training to make Snowman a champion jumper. In 1958 and 1959 he took away national honors outperforming the usual thoroughbred competition.

Letts writes a great story about this unlikely rags to riches story about a horse.