Thursday, November 30, 2017

Downer

Gray days like this bum me out. As if having less daylight to begin with weren't enough. It's supposed to clear up in a couple of days, but then the winds come. Maybe I can read my way to a less gloomy place.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hidden treasure

I found some money today. Not in the league with a pirate chest of doubloons or D. B. Cooper's hijack loot. But money all the same.

An insect had gnawed on me enough it warranted some Neosporin and a bandage. When I opened the Band Aid box (cardboard, not the great old tin containers) I was surprised to find a small portrait of Ulysses S Grant. A $50 bill.

Oh, yeah. I vaguely remembered stashing it and some other cash in various places in the Rolling Steel Tent before one of my visits to Mexico. I wonder what happy monetary surprises are yet to come.

There was a brief debate between myself and myself whether the money should go into my wallet or back into hiding. In the end, I folded the bill back up and hid it in another place I'll forget about for a year or more.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Banking on it

My Social Security check gets deposited the second Wednesday of each month. That means sometimes a "month" is four weeks long and sometimes it's five. This is one of those long months. November 8 to December 13. The fact November hath thirty days doesn't help much. So, I gotta watch the money a little closer. No splurging on Christmas.

I'm a big fan of changing to thirteen 28-day months with New Year's Day being its own thing. And an extra check each year.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Wrapping up another day in the desert

Well, that wasn't good for mileage

I pulled into the border parking lot at Los Algodones, strolled through the port of entry and made my way past the hawkers, vendors and beggars to my favorite taco cart. I waited while they fried up the shrimp just for me then assembled the tacos. I ate them slowly, savoring every bite. Then I retraced my steps to a pharmacy where I stocked up on my medications at ridiculously low prices. I moseyed back through the hawkers, vendors and beggars to the border. I was fifth in line. I was stuck behind slow walkers on my way back to the parking lot, but I was in no hurry. I rolled my eyes and shook my head as I approach the Rolling Steel Tent. I had left the engine running. But at least I had locked the doors.

The van engine is rather quiet, and my hearing isn't that great, so if my mind is on other things (like making sure I have my passport) and my automatic pattern of stop, put it in park, turn it off and remove the key it gets sidetracked.

It's not the first time this has happened and it probably won't be the last. That's why I have a spare key hidden under the van.

For those who worry about the wisdom of leaving your vehicle parked at the border, no bad guys came along, discovered my running van, smashed a window and drove away in it.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sky

I stepped out into the desert night a little before midnight. The sky was not simply cloudless, it was flawless, as if the atmosphere had ceased to exist. The blackness was like a freshly waxed and buffed grand piano. The stars were extra sharp, digitally enhanced. Only the brightest ones were visible, though. The glow from Yuma overpowered the background of trillions of fainter stars—even the Milky Way—leaving Gemini, Orion and Taurus standing out like a simplified diagram of the constellations. Betelgeuse winked a red-eyed, "Good evening."

I turned and looked east, north, west, straight up. The sky. Was. Massive. Well, of course it is, but the universe looks even bigger, emptier, more distant, when only a fraction of the stars can be seen. A night sky without any interfering ground light looks......busy. Closer. More intimate. Amazing in a different way.

I'm going to go out and look some more.

Pushing my (bad) luck

I ran over my first step stool like this at Slab City. I drove away from Morro Strand State Park without the replacement I'd bought. Then I made a nice wooden version, which I ran over near Sedona. I made a quick and dirty replacement that I backed over in Colorado. Only one leg was messed up, so I repaired it, but it was an ugly thing.

Since I was passing through Quartzsite again, where I bought the other two fancy aluminum steps (K&B Tools in one of the tents on Kuehn Street), I figured I'd give it another try. It has been a little over three hours and I haven't harmed it yet.

People are sick

So, it’s flu season. Get your vaccinations, blah blah blah, read this for all the details you could ever want.

As for me? I’ll be fine. Probably.

Back when I worked in an office I used to get the flu once or twice a year.

When I worked at home flu would get me every couple of years.

Now that I’m a nomad, I’ve caught the flu once in four years.

There's a pattern there.

Being in close proximity with people who are around other people who are around still more people increases one’s chances of catching whatever is going around. Being an introverted nomad out in the boonies radically decreases one’s chances of exposure to viruses.

So if you’ve been around someone who has been around someone who was sick, stay away from me.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

This is bugging me

The weather is still warm enough here in southern Arizona that I can have doors and windows open for a couple of hours after dark. The trouble, of course, is that lights in the van attract moths and other nocturnal flying insects.

It would be one thing if they just flew around the lights, but they also land on me and crawl around. It’s annoying. It tickles. And there’s a type of moth that likes to flutter along the inside of my upper arm. Always the right arm. Sometimes one will land on the inside of my eyeglasses. And tonight a tiny mantis landed on the keyboard.

Stop! It! Or I’ll get out the Raid and you’ll all be sorry.

You say goodbye, I say hello

My friend Linda commented on a post about moving down the road:
Do you think if we run fast enough we can run away from ourselves?
I replied:
Maybe I’m trying to catch up with myself.
When the idea of becoming a nomad started growing in me, I was living in Charlotte, North Carolina and not enjoying it. The South wasn’t right for me. And home ownership was becoming totally wrong for me. I wasn’t living the life I wanted. I wasn’t being me.

My true self was out there somewhere. It had packed its bindle and waved a one-finger goodbye years before, when I wasn’t paying attention.

So I declared retirement, sold that prison masquerading as The American Dream, and took off.

My true self was sitting by the side of a blue highway, waiting for me. He opened the side door of the Rolling Steel Tent and jumped in before I could come to a complete stop.

“What took you so long?” he asked. “Let’s go.”

Campground people

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Over the river and through the desert

As I drove north from Why AZ on Highway 85, there was a lot of traffic heading south, to the border. So much for going to Grandmother's house for Thanksgiving—unless she lives in Mexico. Or maybe a lot of grannies were tired of cooking for the whole clan and decided to spend it on the beach instead.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tomorrow I head elsewhere

Though I've enjoyed Lou's company (and acting skills) and having flush toilets and 25¢ hot showers, I have the ache to move on. Somewhere.

Masochism

There's a miniature golf corse of sorts at Coyote Howls RV Park where people with nothing better to do can go torture themselves.

Monday, November 20, 2017

But how many coins to stop?

Howl

Last night, while I was deep in a dream about a French artist who looked like Anthony Hopkins making huge plaster sculptures and helping Harry Dean Stanton restore a Soviet-era taxi, a coyote took position a few feet from the Rolling Steel Tent and let loose with the song of his/her people.

Talk about being yanked back to reality!

At least I think it was reality. I was mighty groggy. Too groggy to prop myself up to look out the window. Too groggy to grab my camera. All I could do was listen and marvel at nature paying me a visit.

I wonder now what would've happened if I had howled back. Or started reciting a little Allen Ginsberg.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical, naked...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Slight shift

Days that were almost too warm with pleasantly mild nights became pleasantly mild days with nights that really do require a quilt. I hunkered under the covers until after 8 o'clock this morning.

One sure indicator of the change in weather was Lou, in long pants, feeding wood into his trash fire to keep it going long enough to warm up.

Another sign was me buying the ingredients for stew. I almost wanted to make it for breakfast.

Stew time last year, near Flagstaff

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Speaking of Walmart

The New York Times has discovered Wallydocking and sent photographers to do a photo essay. Here's a link.

Dream state

Last night I dreamed I was in a busy health club locker room where everyone discovered their keys wouldn't open their own locker but would open every other locker. So some people simply helped each other (I'll open your locker and you open mine), but some people stole from the lockers.

My brain's dream factory rarely produces shows about ethics, so I woke up wondering what was behind this dream. What has been going on in my life? What have I been struggling with? What has been annoying me? Hmmmm... Things not working like they should? Helping versus exploiting? Keys? I haven't figured anything out, and I doubt I need to. But it was an interesting break from fevered dreams about being back at former jobs.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Which Walmarts?

Back on November 6th I posted that not all Walmarts allow overnighting, usually because of local ordinances. Since then, friend and fellow blogger Vanholio posted the link to a site that tries to keep up to date on which Walmarts in the US do and don't allow the practice. The info comes with this caveat:
The “No-Park Walmart” information available on this website is NOT official. We are NOT an official website of Walmart. The directory of stores that prohibit overnight parking is based on information supplied by website visitors and the Walmart RVing group on Yahoo.
Green = friendly, red = jerks

Whether you do a lot of Wallydocking or just crash there occasionally, it's good to have a fairly good idea which ones still welcome weary travelers. The site has an interactive map and listings by state. As Vanholio wrote:
It's also a good idea to call the store or visit Customer Service when ya get there, to be sure and as a courtesy.
If you're hard pressed for an alternate spot, here are other suggestions (though local ordinances might make them unavailable, too).

And wherever you stay, whether parking lot, campground or public land, don't make a mess.

Multipurposing

I've written about my white camo netting before. It provides enough shade to cool things down but doesn't flap around in the breeze too much. It takes a bit of setting up, though. Clip it to the gutter, drive stakes, position the poles, run the guy-lines. And if I want to run an errand or sightsee, I have to take it down. So I only set it up when I can't suffer through the heat without it. (I don't remember where the photo above was taken, but it must have been somewhere very hot.)

The afternoons have gotten in the mid to high 80s here in Why, Arizona, but a nice breeze through the Rolling Steel Tent keeps it from feeling too hot. However, the late sun shines in the windshield and heats things up. And the sun glares in my eyes.

So I got out the vinyl window cover (shown here in Ehrenberg AZ a couple of years ago). Even though it does an excellent job blocking the sun and providing privacy, it's solid, so it can act like a sail even in mild breezes like we're having now. Ergh.

So the solution was obvious. Toss the white camo over the windshield and close the doors on the ends to hold it in place. Enough shade, no flapping, air can still come through the side windows, and it sets up/comes down easily. Except when it snags on the wipers. Can't have everything.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Break out the paint

I had decorated my cabinet doors with stickers I got at National Monument gift shops. The black ones were from El Morro and the tan ones were from Chaco Canyon.

The tan decals didn't show up very well. It bugged me—yet not enough to do anything about it for a couple of months. But I got out the paint today and did some sponge work over the stickers. Dab dab dab, peel the vinyl off, just like it was 1985 again. Now it looks better. And more primitive.

Pillow fight

This is the pile of pillows I used to sleep with. Eight of them. Regular pillows and body pillows. A bunch under my head and shoulders, the rest strategically distributed to support my back, hips and legs. I've never had back problems that required a firm bed, so I could wallow in cushy decadence.

I had to cut my pillow collection down to three when I moved into the Rolling Steel Tent. For the first four years the setup was like this.

I could shuffle these three pillows around slightly to fit a variety of sleeping positions. My foam mattress is plush enough on its own, so I don't need body pillows.

But then my body changed or something. I didn't need my head and shoulders propped up so high. My knees started feeling a little hyperextended, though, so I moved a pillow from my head to under my legs, like this.

And while I was at it, I moved the third pillow to the floor. Perfect. I've slept great. Who knows, someday I might want no pillows at all.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dinner and a show

Lou had some chicken he wanted to do up. And I had a serving of steak we didn't grill the other evening. So Lou saut├ęd some carrots in olive oil and butter with garlic, salt and pepper and we had another nice dinner al fresco.

My steak

Lou's chicken

Then we watched the sunset. Rough life.

Not Tom Sawyer's fence

Lou assures me he's smiling

As part of the continuing landscaping of his space at Coyote Howls, Lou put up some fencing. I helped. Lou erected the saguaro skeletons last year, wired to some pipes driven into the ground. We added the horizontal bamboo sections today and stretched the pre-made reed screen. I told Lou I was pretty sure there are laws requiring him to string rope lights on the fence (preferably blinking multicolored ones) but he won't do that, because he's a total rebel.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

It's back

Ocular migraines are vision disturbances that look like the pictures above. They start as a small bright, blurry spot in one or both eyes and spread like a donut. They are usually painless by themselves and go away in a half hour or less, but they can come in tandem with migraine headaches.

I used to get ocular migraines (without headaches) fairly often. They seemed to be triggered by stress, anxiety and anger. But they could've been unrelated and I just spent a lot of my former life stressed, anxious and angry.

Ocular migraines pretty much went away when I retired and became a nomad. I can't remember the last time I had one. But I had one earlier today. (I would've blogged about it sooner, but I couldn't see clearly enough to write.) I kicked back, put a cool cloth on my head, and tried to think of why it might be happening. Am I stressed, anxious or angry about something? Mmmmm, no. I've been fairly mellow. Oh well.

Fortunately, ocular migraines aren't actually about the eyes, as with cataracts or detached retinas. They're neurological anomalies. Our brains are freaking out a little, which is why they're associated with migraine headaches.

(What amazes me, when I think about it, is that the light coming into our eyes never makes it out of our eyes. The optic nerve isn't a bundle of fiber optic cables sending light to the brain. Our retinas convert the light to electrochemical pulses and our brain makes pictures out of them—pretty much the same way the image you're reading right now was created out of electrical signals.)

If an ocular migraine starts when I'm driving I have to pull over and wait. Now that I'm driving the Rolling Steel Tent, I can climb in the back and take a nap. There are much worse ways to spend a half hour.

I saw it coming

About a year ago, when I was getting an oil change, the mechanic said my battery was weak and I was due for a replacement. "Thanks, but not today," I replied.

I could tell the battery was (like all of us) slowly approaching death. It still had enough life to turn the engine, but (like all of us) it seemed to do it a little slower, a little less enthusiastically, each time.

This summer I mentioned to Forrest I'd need a new battery sometime soon. In his no-worries way he said, "It still starts, right? You don't need a battery until the day it won't start."

That day was yesterday.

No problem, I have jumper cables. And though I'd never tested their length before, I suspected they were long enough to reach my house batteries. They were. And it worked.

So, off to get a battery. I checked the voltage gauge as I drove. It read about 14 volts, as it should, so I knew the alternator was doing its job, trying to charge the battery. When I got to the store I turned off the Rolling Steel Tent and tried restarting. Yup, dead, not just really low and in need of a good charging.

I got the tools out, removed the deceased battery, and took it into the store.

The clerk looked like that type of guy who could tell you way more than you'd ever care to know about Dungeons & Dragons (never sensing you had no interest) but who didn't know a thing about cars, other than as a passenger because he'd never learned to drive. But looks can be deceiving. The guy knew his stuff.

"I need a battery for my van," I said, pointing over my shoulder.

"The Express?"

"Yeah."

"Gas or diesel?"

"Gas."

"Year?"

"Oh-seven."

Clickety-click on the keyboard. "Okay, do you want the $50 battery or the $100 one?"

"Does anyone ever get the $100 one?"

Shrug. "Not really." I love it when they don't try to up-sell me.

"Then the $50 one."

I installed the new cheap-o battery and gave it a try. Vroom. Success. I ran other errands and the van started every time. Vroom. It sat overnight and I tried it again. Vroom. One less thing to worry about.

Monday, November 13, 2017

And the difference is...?

This sign is at a rest stop and historic marker on Arizona Highway 85 through the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, south of Gila Bend.

Does parking become camping when someone is in the vehicle? Or when you do camping-like things such as pitching a tent and roasting hot dogs? Is it whatever law enforcement says it is when they come to chase you off? Official clarification at the site would be helpful.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Yum

Bubble bubble bubble

Saturday evening was a good time for steak. While Lou seasoned the meat and tended the grill I made the mashed potatoes. With onion, garlic and cheddar.

One and a half large potatoes (with skins on) diced into small cubes (for faster cooking), about a tablespoon of salt, about a quarter of a small yellow onion, six garlic cloves finely chopped. Boil until a fork easily pierces the potato pieces. Turn off the heat and let sit for a couple of minutes. (I don't know if it makes any difference, but I like to imagine letting it sit allows the potatoes to soak in more of the flavors in the water.) Drain the water. Dump in a couple of handfuls of shredded cheddar, some milk and some butter. Mash it all together but leave it a little lumpy. Divide into two equal portions. Gobble it up while making blissful noises.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bird watching

Lou puts out corn for the birds and the Gila woodpeckers oblige by taking it away. There's a moment the bird seems to be looking at the camera, saying, "What? You gotta problem with this?" Or maybe, "Okay, did you get your shot? 'Cause I can't sit here all day. I've got work to do."

Friday, November 10, 2017

A loaner for a loner

I have this bike to use while at Coyote Howls. Lou got it from someone who got it from someone. The front wheel bearings are rather crunchy, but it's good enough for cruising over to the restroom and showers. Mmmmm, showers.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

El Rancho Lou

I'm spending some time with Lou at his winter headquarters in the Coyote Howls RV park in Why, Arizona. He has an annual lease on the space. That allows him to bring in a storage building and an extra trailer. And he can dress the place up, within limits.

The cargo trailer he used to haul a lot of stuff down here has been turned into his guitar studio and lounge. And there's a solar panel array on the roof that also powers his shed. And the rug really ties the room together.

The shed (which I call The Barn) serves as his workshop. It has me thinking I should come up with more improvements to the Rolling Steel Tent while I'm here and have access to tools and assistance. Hmmmm...

Telling myself no. Maybe.

I should be good at this adult thing after more than forty years. The separating of needs and wants, the prioritizing, the budgeting, the waiting, the discipline... That should be especially true in the case of things I was living contentedly without—until I learned of their existence. Then, like a little kid, I can think of all sorts of reasons I absolutely need it. Or I'll die!

The latest challenge to my maturity and semi-minimalist ethos is this camera gadget. The Syrp Genie Mini. It would allow me to do smooth, stable, panning motions when I'm shooting videos. It would make my videos more visually interesting. It would let me do time lapse shots. It's a little larger than a hockey puck, so it wouldn't take up room in the Rolling steel tent. But it's $250. Ow. But way less ow than a $1,500 motorized, digitally controlled camera slider, so it would be a bargain. Right Mom and Dad?

The true, good and proper adult in me has won out, though. For now. My inner spoilsport disciplinarian said, "Don't go making this decision right after payday when you're feeling flush. Wait to see how much you have left at the end of the month."

"Oh, okay."

"And then we'll have a discussion about building up the Rolling Steel Tent's maintenance fund."

"O-k-a-a-a-a-a-a-ay."

"And the biannual insurance payment that keeps catching you unprepared."

"O-k-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ay."

"This magic genie thing..."

"Syrp Genie Mini."

"Whatever. It can see how it would be a necessity if this little video hobby of yours were making any money, but..."

"O-KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY! I get it. I get it. I won't get it. Yet."

Desert humor

 Shade Tree

Horn Works, Try The Lights

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Who needs stealth?

When going unnoticed isn't on your list of priorities, when you don't care about blending in, go ahead and be a circus. Invite attention. Then use the attention to make a buck or two.

If your 1951 Austin doesn't sufficiently stop crowds on its own merit, add murals and a moose head. For starters. Then put out your donation sign. I dropped a couple of dollars in the pot. A literal pot cradled in the front bumper.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Bless who?

There was dust in the air. I broke into a fit of sneezing—the kind of sneezing you do (or at least I do) when you’re outside, with no one nearby, so there’s no need to cover your mouth. You can just let it rip. Loud, full-body sneezes that really clear the sinuses and even leave you a little high. Totally gratifying sneezes.

When I finished, the guy camped about a hundred yards away, whom I’d never met, called out, “Bless you.”

Whenever someone responds to a sneeze with Bless you I wonder why no one does the same when people cough.

Okay, so Bless you has it’s origins way back in the days of widespread ignorance when they believed you were expelling demons, or perhaps even your soul, whenever you sneezed. Well, and some wet stuff they didn’t know contained germs. Today most of us accept we aren’t spewing literal devils, yet we still bless and get blessed.

Meanwhile, we know a hacking cough is a symptom of all sorts of nasty medical problems, some of which can kill you. So why no Bless you? Not even an enlightened, I-know-this-is-just-a-cultural-artifact-not-Beelzebub-fleeing-your-body Bless you that acknowledges you’ve got a problem and hopes it’s nothing serious.

Accidentally inhale a bit of pepper dust and you’ll get blessed from all sides. But hack up blood from a cancerous lung and they might ask if you’re alright, if you need help, get you some water, or a doctor—sensible things. That’s good. That’s better than a knee-jerk Bless you. But why were coughs ignored in the old superstitions? Who decided coughs didn't warrant blessings? Weird.

So, to all you coughers, hackers, wheezers and chokers out there, bless you, bless you, bless you. Bless. You. I hope you get better.

Pass it on. Start a new tradition.

Not universally true

Nearly all RVers, van dwellers and other nomads know the story and treat it as gospel. Sam Walton thought it was a great idea to let RVers stay overnight in his store parking lots. It built good will for the company and the "Wallydockers" would usually spend money in his stores.

But these days there are local governments that don't like the idea at all. They've banned all sleeping in vehicles, except in campgrounds. Some snooty towns claim vehicle sleeping attracts people, well, unlike themselves. Others say it attracts crime. And I suppose there are some (RV park owners, perhaps?) who can't stand others getting something free. Walmart complies with those ordinances.

There are also some Walmarts that have had their fill of the type of campers who abuse the store's hospitality by setting up long term camps, littering, leaving messes in the restrooms, making trouble with shoppers and even dumping their black tanks in the parking lot. Those stores have unilaterally banned overnighting.

So, unless it's obvious, from the clusters of RVs at the edges of the lots as night rolls around, that a particular Walmart is camper-friendly, check first. A lack of signs prohibiting it doesn't necessarily mean it's allowed. Ask in the store. The situation might have changed since you or someone who recommended the location were last there. And staying at Walmart or some other big box store shouldn't be your only plan. Always have a Plan B—which is sort of a universal truth for all things in life.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Traffic alert

Having completed the two-plus-year road project at 16th Street and 4th Avenue, Yuma must have been at a loss for a way to mess up traffic and harm businesses.

"I know," proposed someone in authority with questionable connections to a road construction company. "We could repave 32nd Street! Shut down a bunch of lanes, close off left turns... It would be great!"

For those who aren't familiar with Yuma, 32nd Street is one of the main business thoroughfares. Lowe's, strip malls, office buildings, restaurants, gas stations, car dealerships, the airport, the Marine Corps Air Station, the fairgrounds, mobile home parks, RV sales and service places, churches, Walmart...

Luckily, I discovered the traffic jam while driving the direction that's still fully open (as of today, anyway). The poor folks going the other direction (west) were backed up as far as I could see. Miles? And this was on a leisurely Sunday. The rest of the week must be hellish.

Repaving takes far less time than widening and reconfiguring a major intersection, so maybe it will be done before peak snowbird season starts at the end of the month. Or not. I'll just avoid the area.

Dead dreams

"Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea" sounds exotic, maybe even fun. That was the intent. But it's actually an ecological mess. Increasing salinity and agricultural runoff have made the sea unpleasant at best, toxic at worst. The resorts were abandoned yet residents hang on.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Net worth

When it’s a great day to have all the doors and windows open on the Rolling Steel Tent (like today), and I want to take a nap (which is, like, every day) but there are annoying flies, I have little choice but to annoy them back.

I get out the mosquito net I bought at REI a couple of years ago. Not only is it a physical barrier, it’s also coated with the repellant, Permethrin. The flies like that stuff as much as I like them. And if the Permethrin doesn’t scare them away, my ugly mug will.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Considering a pet snake again

I was visited by at least one mouse when I was at Joshua Tree. I smelled it, then heard it scritchy-scratching away at a bag of tortilla chips. It scurried off when I shined my flashlight on it, but I couldn't tell whether it left the van. Probably not.

The next couple of nights seemed mouse-free, but last night the odor was very strong. Was it the same mouse or a new one? I hunted around and saw nothing.

I emptied a lot of stuff out of the Rolling Steel Tent this morning and found a few mouse poop pellets under the bed. I cleaned them up and scrubbed the floor and cupboard interior. Hey, as long as it didn't chew any wires under the hood.

Now, some people would suggest a cat. Maybe a small, skinny one that could squeeze into the van's nooks and crannies. But I'm slightly allergic to cats. And litter boxes smell as bad as mice. And too many of them end up as coyote snacks. (They were howling last night.)

But a snake might be the thing. Clean, quiet, able to go wherever mice do. Much lower vet bills. And I could get a badass snake tattoo. The trick would be keeping the snake from slithering away in the night instead of staying on mouse patrol.

I might get the tattoo anyway.

Detour

Let's say you're traveling west on I-8 out of Yuma (like I was this morning) and you want to head to the various free dispersed camping areas along Ogilby Road (like I did this morning). Well, there's a slight problem with that. The never-ending rebuilding of I-8 means the westbound Ogilby Road off ramp is closed until spring. At least.

All is not lost. Continue two miles to the Grays Wells exit, or to that weird rest stop in the middle of the highway a little farther along, and loop back to the eastbound Ogilby Road exit.

But watch out for the California Highway Patrol guy lurking on the shoulder, hoping to catch people speeding in the construction zone.

Overcast dawn, Yuma Proving Grounds

Non-sleep pattern

Have I become one of those old farts who wakes up at 4:00 AM and decides to just get up and putter around in the dark? Yes.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Decisions, decisions...

What’s the best van? What’s the best way to stay warm and cool? What’s the best state for residency? And so on.

These are just some of the things that need to be figured out if you’ve decided to become a nomad. And there are many possible answers—many of which start, “It depends…”

The number of decisions and the mountain of choices can be daunting. Sometimes it leads to analysis paralysis.
Analysis paralysis, or paralysis by analysis, is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.
The interwebs are filled with advice on how to overcome analysis paralysis. I like what Louis C. K. has to say about it.
So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70 percent approval, you just do it. 'Cause here's what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over. 
”And," he continues, "when you get to 80 percent, you work. You apply your knowledge, and that gets you to 85 percent! And the thing itself, especially if it's a human being, will always reveal itself—100 percent of the time!—to be more than you thought. And that will get you to 90 percent. After that, you're stuck at 90, but who do you think you are, a god? You got to 90 percent? It's incredible!
There might be times, though, with some people, when deep down in their murky subconscious the anxiety isn’t over making the wrong choice. It’s about finally making a decision at all. It’s about removing the obstacles. It’s about no longer having reasons to avoid taking the leap. Because giving up the known life of living in a building (even if that life isn’t going well) can be scary.

I think the more certain you are you want to do something, the fewer obstacles you see, or the less troublesome they appear. Conversely, the greater your ambivalence, the greater the obstacles—with yourself being the main one.

As for that best van question? It’s the one, of those which happen to be for sale at the moment, that meets enough of your requirements, and that you can afford.