Tuesday, December 31, 2013


A hike today with Tucson friends was a little more than this body was ready for. So it will be off to the park's hot tub to relax the muscle knots.

Then back home to listen to a shortened version of my traditional New Years Eve. Tonight I will only listen to Beethoven's Ninth rather than all of Beethoven's symphonies.

Nope. I will not be sozzled. I will be in bed long before midnight local time.

The title of the post was courtesy of an online Dictionary where the word for today was "sozzled".

Monday, December 30, 2013

Book: Lawrence of Arabia

Mini book Review: Lawrence of Arabia by Scott Anderson

The setting for the book is the Middle East preceding and including World War I. In addition to the war going on in Europe, the Middle East countries involved in WWI wanted to rid their countries of foreign influence and domination -- European or Ottoman.

This well written book (618 pages which I read as an ebook) became a page turner.

One of the players in that Middle East struggle was TE Lawrence. The extensive research going into this book follows the life of TE Lawrence as an archeologist, as a spy, and as the leader of an Arab army in the Middle East. Although Lawrence is the focus of the book, there are several other persons who also influence the shape of the Middle East after WWI.

For what little may have been accomplished at the end of WWI, 100 years later little has changed in the Middle East: the same tribal and religious issues remain.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2000

In a recent searching of my computer archives, I came across my Christmas greeting of the year 2000.

As I search for a home without wheels in Tucson thirteen years later it seems appropriate to share that letter from long ago.

Christmas Greetings 2000

To you all a joyful Christmas Greeting.
My hope is that you are happy and well.
Some readers may find these words repeating,
Bear with me then as high points I retell.

Hoping early this year for unemployment,
My wish was not granted and I still slaved.
Time for balance and get more enjoyment.
So I vacationed with money I saved.

Wisconsin’s north woods in March I headed.
We tapped many trees and collected sap.
Stoking and boiling we were rewarded
With maple syrup - all the work a snap.

Been a while since I saw a Wisconsin spring
Watching the earth rebound from winter’s care.
And grass turns green and an eagle takes wing.
My spirit’s renewed just for being there.

In mid June t’was time for another break.
To Alaska for a trip of camping
With tent supplied and food catered - with steak,
We toured very well in three weeks of trekking.

Alaska is beauty that is certain.
Because of the cloudy and hazy skies,
Never did see the Denali mountain.
Goin’ back some time for that elusive prize.

Enjoying nature’s world all the year long;
Hiking and snow shoeing many a trail.
There’s no better way to escape the throng.
For raising the spirit it cannot fail.

Big news: last work day at the end of year.
Of this working world I have had enough,
I now look forward - to change of career.
I am selling my home and all my stuff.

Going back and forth as weather dictates
A fifth wheel trailer will contain my load.
Seeing Canada and a lot of States
Hiking the trails, I’ll see you on the road.

The photo of the eagle pair was taken near Juneau on that Alaskan camping trip.

I have not gotten back to Alaska to see Denali.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Thirteen years ago as I prepared to travel full time in an RV, a Bon Voyage gift from the Gard family in Boulder was a small Christmas tree that stores nicely in Wandrin Wagon. Each year, I retrieve the box where the tree is stored for 360 days each year. The decorations vary each year. Some years it is red peppers. Some years the tree is decorated with colored globes. This year it is candy canes and snowballs.

No matter how you spend this holiday, my wish for you is that it is a:

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Memory -- Christmas Cactus

A couple of days ago on a return from a hike, I stopped at a cactus greenhouse which was advertising Christmas Cactus. The image brought back memories of my childhood. My mother had many plants and one of those was a Christmas Cactus which I remember seeing in bloom. Not sure how often it bloomed or when. Recollections of the pink blooming plant caused me to make an impulse purchase of a Christmas Cactus -- aka Holiday Cactus

In twelve years of nomadic travels, this is the first plant I have acquired. I have managed to complicate my life -- just a little. It will be a challenge to properly care to keep it alive to bloom again.

What have I done! I could have enjoyed the memory.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Junk Mail

For 13 years I have not received junk mail. For those 13 years, I have been using a mail forwarder. Only first class mail and subscription magazines are forwarded to me. Once a month I use an online form to request my mail forwarded to a specified address. Depending on my travels, that could be Post Office general delivery or an RV campground where I am parked. The received packet is never more than an inch thick.

In that packet of accumulated mail for a month there is no junk mail. When living in a house in the 1990s, the mail was held at the post office while I vacationed. Upon return, that pile of mail was four to five inches thick. There might have been a few pieces of first class mail.

That is a disturbing memory as I consider a permanent address in Tucson. Perhaps I could have a shredder installed beneath my mail box and ask the postman to place only first class mail in the mailbox and the rest goes in the shredder.

If the USPS was run like a business, there would be no junk mail. The costs of delivery would outweigh the return for the creator of that junk mail. However, there will be junk mail as long as lobbyists make the decisions for the US legislators.

That is another downside to permanent living -- junk mail.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Truck and Trailer SOLD


For that single person considering living full time in an RV, this truck and trailer combination is an inexpensive beginning of on the road living. This is an experienced system designed for living off the grid or living in a full hookup RV park.

I know I changed my mind before. However, I have been contemplating a settled existence for over a year. It is time to move ahead on that imagined future. The process begins with selling Wandrin Wagon and Silver Slug.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dead Tree Books vs. eBooks

I prefer reading a real book. I like the tactile relationship. My bookmark informs me of how much is left to read. The real book has value as a used book or as a donation.

A new book habit can be expensive. Perhaps the initial purchase of an ebook is less expensive than the new tree based book, but the ebook cannot be resold. A physical book can be traded or sold at a used book store to recoup some of that original purchase price. A real book is also a hazard for the full time RVer. A book is ballast.

Fortunately, the lending of ebooks from public libraries (via Overdrive apps) has reduced my annual costs of books. Like most of life, demand is what drives a market. Demand for my non-fiction preferred reading means selections are limited. (That is the situation at two libraries where I have access.) With a greater demand for fiction, there are more titles from which to choose.

Fiction is a good choice for an ebook. You start reading at page one and read to the end.

The downside to non-fiction ebooks are the references to other parts of the book with maps, photos, footnotes and appendices. An included link in the text sends you to the referenced item. However, my experience is that I don't get back to where I was reading. As a result, I have given up following references in ebooks. Maybe the software has gotten better, but I haven't checked recently.

Following a reference in a real book is not a problem. Just use a finger to bookmark where you were reading and head to the reference.

Fiction is good as an ebook; for non-fiction I prefer a tree based book.

Note: This post was a result of the Calvin and Hobbes strip of December 10, 2013. I have similar feelings about ebooks as Calvin's father.

I have often wondered how college texts work as an ebook. The answer is mixed according to Why College Students Prefer Print Over E-Books.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Settled In Tucson

Yesterday I arrived in Tucson after a 250 mile drive across southern Arizona. The last stop was in Yuma visiting friends from the Westminster Colorado Elks.  250 miles is a long driving day for me, but there was nothing along the way I had not seen before. Several times. The exception was the miles long Solana Generating Station west of Gila Bend. (A Google search revealed what I was looking at.)

There is little traffic on I-8 from Yuma. That changes when I-8 merges into I-10 heading to Tucson. The three lanes of traffic reminded me of my stay in San Diego with lots of car and truck traffic going some place -- fast.

About one o'clock I pulled into the Far Horizons RV Park. After getting parked and hooked to shore power, it was time for a late lunch/early dinner.

Within an hour, the thoughts about settling in Tucson were being reviewed once again. When I hit the road with truck and trailer in 2001, it was a decision made as a result of a five minute conversation with an RVer. Little research followed and over 12 years later I am struggling with a need for change from nomadic travel.

That was when I found myself wondering why I don't make a similar instantaneous decision to settle in Tucson. I want a permanent living arrangement. Not a home on wheels.

Until I make a more settled decision, the Far Horizons RV park is a good place for my home on wheels.

Sun is the new crop of southern Arizona:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Valuable Rust

When walking the Oceanside pier shortly before I left San Diego, I spotted this very valuable rusty vintage Schwinn bicycle. It must be valuable; it was locked to the pier railing.

As I was taking the photo, the guy from the nearby kitschy kiosk on the pier said that his previous rusty bike had been stolen. Not taking any chances with losing his transportation again, that valuable rust is locked up.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


There's a word (acronym) that rarely appears in headlines. However, when scanning tech news headlines, there it was: Cobol: Grace Hoppers gift to the world of business.

Cobol was the first computer programming language that I used when working with the Bank of America in San Francisco in the mid 1960s. Cobol was followed by several other programming languages when I was still writing code. When the personal computer appeared, I learned a few more languages. I still enjoy writing code. Today's code is Basic macros for Excel spreadsheets.

I am still a nerd. A couple of years ago when Sudoku was the new rage, I wrote a program to solve the puzzles. To me that was more fun than solving the puzzles.

With a programming refresher, I could solve Sudoku puzzles with Cobol. Then I could apply for one of those Cobol programming jobs. That is the conclusion according to a quote from the article:
As the number of developers who cut their teeth on Cobol dwindle, and universities take Cobol off their curriculum, demand for programmers with the skills to maintain legacy Cobol applications is increasing.
Back to programming in Cobol! That would certainly be a life change for this guy who hasn't had a job in 13 years and hasn't programmed for a living since 1980.

Note: My puzzling preference are crosswords.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Long Pants Weather

Hawaiian shirts and shorts have been placed on standby for a future warming trend. That might be at least a week away.

The shirts were already stashed and I wore long pants for the last last three days of my stay in San Diego. Yesterday, I arrived in Yuma. Cold temperatures persist. Day time high was in the mid 50s. Night time low temperature was in the 30s. I put on even warmer clothes.

Yes. Cold is relative. The relatives in Wisconsin and Colorado have been experiencing zero degree temps. By comparison, San Diego and Yuma temps in the 50 degree range would be considered balmy.

If I had lots of money, I would spend the next three months in Australia. Since I don't have a lot of money, I will have to wear long pants.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Murder of Crows

Reviewing photos of the past year, I came across this murder of crows roosting on a fence. Why murder. For those wondering minds, I searched the internet and found this:
A group of crows is called a “murder.” There are several different explanations for the origin of this term, mostly based on old folk tales and superstitions.

For instance, there is a folktale that crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow.

Many view the appearance of crows as an omen of death because ravens and crows are scavengers and are generally associated with dead bodies, battlefields, and cemeteries, and they’re thought to circle in large numbers above sites where animals or people are expected to soon die.

But the term “murder of crows” mostly reflects a time when groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names. Other fun examples of “group” names include: an ostentation of peacocks, a parliament of owls, a knot of frogs, and a skulk of foxes.
Some days I wander. Some days I wonder.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Second Thoughts

After writing and posting the For Sale post for the truck and trailer, I wondered what I was doing. I was really wondering.

Danged. Sure wish I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Help!

A new dream has already formed. I'll call it Plan B. Keep the truck and trailer. Live seven to nine months in Tucson at an RV park. For those warmer summer months head to Arizona's higher elevations and rent a space at an RV park. A location in northern Arizona is not a long drive and would be a good option for those summer months. Possible locations include Prescott, Verde Valley, Show Low, etc.

Considering my indecision, I removed the post and the ad.

Hope you are enjoying this soap opera of second thoughts!