Sunday, January 20, 2019

This is what happens when you leave the boonies

Good for the Girl Scouts, bad for me

Nuts to me

Back the first time I fixed the windshield washer on the Rolling Steel Tent I lost the nut that secured the passenger side wiper arm. I also lost the plastic cap that covers that nut. I think it was because I was pulling, wiggling and pounding that wiper, trying to remove it, which cause the nut and cap to flee to someplace safe, like the unreachable crevices of the engine compartment.

Since the wiper showed no interest in coming off, I didn’t worry much about the missing fastener. But I was in a hardware store today and decided to get a replacement nut. I considered the various options. Standard nut? Nylon insert lock nut? Or, oooooo, a chrome acorn nut? I got all three. But the acorn nut was the clear winner. I guess I should get another one for the other wiper.

Moon bathing

It’s one of those tossing and turning nights. My body can’t get comfortable. I dream in short bursts.

I woke thinking—hoping—it was near dawn. But it’s only 3:53. What am I going to do about this?

Go outside, I guess.

Hey, it’s bright out here. Oh yeah, it’s almost the full moon. What are they calling it this time? The Zombie Banana Slug of Fearful Enlightenment Moon? The Invent a Mystic Meaning Moon? The Monthly Media Hype Moon? Oh yeah, the Super Wolf Blood Total Eclipse Moon. Sheesh.

Well, by the power vested in me by me, I dub tonight’s glowing orb the Standing In the Desert In My Underwear Realizing It’s Not Cold and I’ll Blog About It After I Pee Moon.

UPDATE: It has clouded over, so I probably won't be seeing any kind of moon tonight. Not live and in person, anyway.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Hiding from the Border Patrol

Actually, this is just a few yards off the highway, so I would be easily found. But it’s a nice spot to rest.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Why I left Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

Was it because of the enormity of the crowd, with vehicles and humans from horizon to horizon, sea to shining sea, to the moon and back, oh my god oh my god oh my god?

No. I expected that. I knew it would be bigger than last year’s gigantic swarm. I was mentally prepared for hugeness, which is easy for me, because even though I like being far from humanity, I also like cities, even ad hoc ones in the desert.

Things were better coordinated than last year, so it was surprisingly mellow.

Then I must have fled because of all the fucking rules and restrictions, right? Don’t fence me in! Don’t tread on me! Live free or die! Death to tyrants!

No. See “better coordinated” and “mellow” above.

Then it must’ve been the Great and Terrible Pit we were forced to drive through to get in and out of the site, and the Los Angeles rush hour traffic jam it created as one rig after another was mired in the wash and sucked down to the bowels of hell, and as thousands died, unable to flee plague-infested, fire-breathing flying monkeys and the volcano that erupted in the middle of the morning meditation circle.

No. Because that’s ridiculous. And because the road just wasn’t a problem.

I left because my social awkwardness had taken over. Again. I had given myself several pep talks beforehand. I was going to talk to strangers, share histories and ideas, maybe make some new friends. I was going to shoot more Nomad Origin Stories.

N-n-n-n-o. So there was no point hanging around.

Now I’m with an old friend as other friends pass through. I can deal with that. (Though I have no idea how was I ever able to make these friends in the first place.)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Summer in January (in the Northern Hemisphere)

No, it’s not weather for shorts and air conditioning. It’s that no food makes me think fondly of summer more than tomatoes on toasted sourdough. Sort of BLT without the B or L. Thank you horticultural science, market systems, and modern transportation that make vine ripened tomatoes available in winter.

Desert stealth

Doin’ the RTR again

The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous had been in full swing by the time I arrived a few days “late.” This is my sixth one. There’s a new location, and a new (and welcomed) (by me, anyway) level of staffing, organization and traffic control.

Rumors and guesses say there could be as many as 10,000 attendees this year. Alarmist curmudgeons insist it’ll be much more and that there will be mayhem, plague and mass death. Hourly. I haven’t talked to anyone who might have semi-official, semi-accurate numbers. Whatever the total, it was too much for some of my friends. They left before I got here.

Things were calm, though, as the sun rose and few people had crawled out into the new day. Or fired up their generators.

I won’t stay long. I wanted to come and see for myself so that when others tell their tales I’ll know what they’re talking about. And whether they know what they’re talking about. Some people are so full of it.

My view of some of the neighbors

Friday, January 11, 2019


Sherita is traveling the country in her minivan, hoping to find the right place for a yurt and a garden. Perhaps New Mexico. She creates curricula to teach English speakers Spanish, and Spanish speakers English. Y ella es muy encantadora.

Where I was

To me it’s not crazy to drive from Arizona just to spend a day at the Coast. It’s the opposite. It keeps me from going crazy. Or crazier.

The surf was calm at the notorious Wedge. No surfers, but two dogs. And a semi-crazy old dude who lives in a van.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


One of my favorite authors, Craig Childs, wrote the other day about stray cats that have passed through his family’s life. One sentence grabbed me:
Feral means reverted to an untamed state from one of domestication.
Most of us nomads have escaped domestication, turning from house cats to free ranging owners of our own life. There are those who want to take us in, feed us, clean us up, vaccinate us, chip us, declaw us, neuter us. We decline. Been there, done that, got the mortgage. But thanks for the shower. And wifi. Gotta go.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Appropriate typo

V and B are next to each other on the keyboard, so earlier today I accidentally typed behicle instead of vehicle. Oops.

But then I thought, “Maybe a behicle is a good thing. A place where one can be, in the Buddhist/Taoist sense. Be rather than do. Be present, now, rather than moving from place to place in search of… something.”

If you see the Buddha on the road, give him a lift

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Fahrenheit 451

Personally, I’m not a fan of fires. It’s because of the smoke and lingering odor in my clothing. And probably because my mother once took me to her classroom that had been destroyed by fire, and because of a friend’s house that burned down.

But I don’t begrudge those who burn wood products for useful purposes, like heating and cooking. And thumbs up to those who turn waste paper and cardboard into paper bricks.

If you’re going to make your own paper bricks, you might as well do it with as little fuss as necessary. Easy is a good thing. So here’s a video demonstrating methods that are within reach of full time vehicle dwellers—unless you live in a damp climate where drying the bricks might be a problem.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Minivan pantry

Set up the table, hook up the stove, and cook away.

Heat is heat

In the seemingly unending quest to declutter my existence, I gave up the propane heater I had been carting around and using infrequently. After all, I already had a heat source—one that was more compact, less complicated and multipurpose.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Chillin’ in the desert

Sometimes Canadians aren’t all that blows into Arizona from the frozen regions. It has been annoyingly cold (by local standards) the past couple of days. The forecast for last night predicted sub-freezing temperatures. Definitely double quilt time.

When it gets down to about 55°F/12.7°C in the Rolling Steel Tent I fire up the heater for a few minutes to take the chill off. But this morning the thermometer said 37°F/2.7°C. Yow. But I felt okay after I heated the van to 50°F/10°C. It’s all relative.

I’ve been colder in the van. In October of 2013 I was in southern Utah when it got down to 26°F/-3.3°C. Frost on the inside of the windows, ice in the water jugs, painfully cold feet. I don’t want to do that again. I do not understand people who camp in freezing temperatures on purpose.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


I forgot about the Somerton Tamale Festival this year.

Accepting reality

The long range forecast says it’s not going to be a balmy winter here in the southern desert, so I’m packing the shorts away and getting out the long sleeve shirts. And the wool cap. And the gloves. And the down vest.