Thursday, December 14, 2006

Randy Draws a Crowd

Wherever he goes, Randy draws a crowd. Here at Borrego Springs, a group of big-rig owners admire the lightweight efficiency of the stealth trailer.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Meet Ed Luff

Here's Ed Luff, an interesting, world-traveling codger I met near Yuma. He lives in this cargo trailer the size of mine, but with a dramatically different take on interior design.

Just returning from China, he proudly wears a new acquisition. We swapped stories and strategies. I always learn good stuff from fellow low-road travelers. He can be contacted at

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Report - The World's First Mobile Codger Rendezvous

Our first meeting convened Monday, 3pm, at the Slabs near Niland, CA. Twenty-seven road kings and queens hunkered together in high winds behind a huge creosote bush. Our numbers swelled to 50 in subsequent sessions. We introduced ourselves, one at a time, with a one minute version of how we came to be doing this.

A common thread in all the stories was that after "tasting" true freedom, they wanted more—and more, and then deliberately maneuvered to win their long-term, comfortable freedom. Most conceded that road freedom is addictive in the nice sense of that word. It is a deep freedom rarely experienced by workaday people; freedom to wake each day and do what pleases us; freedom from drudgery; freedom to move about the planet in whatever direction, playing whatever games amuse us; freedom from the stresses of status climbing, power hunger, drug cravings; freedom from the superstitions of conventionality; and yes, increased freedom from the burdens of ego.

Our major challenges are to preserve our freedoms and to create interesting projects for ourselves. We declare the good life to be freedom to move through an infinite series of interesting challenges.

What a splendid alternative lifestyle. And the frosting on that cake is that it costs very little.

Mobile Technology

At our 10 am meeting Tuesday, we discussed mobile technology. We agreed that solar power is the key to this lifestyle. We discussed the advantages of AGM batteries. (Glass mat–no servicing, no venting, $150 each, pricey but probably worth it in the long run)

We also discussed cell phone antennas, satellite TV strategies, computers, and finding hot spots where internet is free.

Al Vargas allowed the group to inspect his new hi-tech, 12-volt, compressor-driven fridge. Truly a breakthrough using only 3.2 amps.

Parking Strategies

This was perhaps the most interesting discussion. Here, our collective wisdom shined. A partial list of places we have overnighted: Camping World, Home Depot, casinos, colleges, schools, churches, hospitals, closed airstrips, marinas, snow parks, Jiffy Lube, and of course Walmart.

We talked about city camping strategies, like the "Boondocker shuffle," slipping into and out of a sleeping spot. These of course are in addition to the whole wide world outside cities.

We all bemoan the closure of good parking spots, but in truth there is an infinite supply waiting to be found. Delorme detailed maps of individual states are indispensable to the boondocker. As restrictions close in on us, we simply increase our cleverness, ranging more widely. Folks who have lived for years in San Diego inspired us with stories of artful dodging. Mountain campers informed us that mountain passes everywhere are good campsites, and that mountain roads always have occasional wide shoulders suitable for camping. (Equipment staging areas necessary in road construction.) The mountains are a great escape from hot weather—for every 1000 feet you climb, 4 degrees are left behind.

Someone quoted Thoreau: "The cause of most wretchedness is not so much a lack of money as lack of imagination."


At our 3 pm meeting, we discussed security matters: the wisdom or folly of carrying arms in our rigs. One creative alternative highlighted was a flare pistol, which is legal and yet menacing. Two clever, simple and cheap battery-operated alarms were demonstrated, which scream hysterically when an intruder nears. (available at Home Depot)

Common sense is the best defense. All in all, it seems that, apart from an occasional theft, security of person and property is a very small problem in this lifestyle. Being mobile, we simply move away from threatening places.

Dealing with Authority

We agreed that challenging authority directly is bad strategy. It’s best to be friendly and comply to extract yourself from a potentially expensive situation. Cops have touchy egos. Macho resistance is a fool’s game.

However, an unreasonable fear of an encounter can deprive one of lots of wonderful parking places. It is, in fact, easier to get forgiveness than permission.

One codger shared his most extreme strategy to stay a night just about anywhere: "Take off a wheel and hide it."

Amusing Yourself

Not much of a problem for codgers, it seems. Most of us have interests to pursue. Reading was most popular. Computering was common, likewise sightseeing, hiking, biking, birding, talking, and musical pursuits. No surprises here!

Dealing with the Blues

This question was posed to the group and very good antidotes recommended: Wait it out or come out of yourself and do something for someone else.

Money Saving Ideas

Grocery outlets, senior centers (cheap meals), grazing at Costco, joining social clubs like Moose and Elks, thrift stores, etc.

King of Kodgers

A dental emergency hurried me off to Mexico after 3 meetings. Jim Jaillet stepped in and led the rendezvous to its completion. He phoned me in Yuma to inform me that I had been elected King of Kodgers. I’m humbled by this honor and I pledge to govern no one; to lead no one, except in the sense that Walt Whitman proclaimed:

"Each man and woman of you I lead upon a knoll;
My left hand hooks you round the waist,
My right hand points to landscapes of continents, and a plain public road.
Not I, not anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
Shoulder your duds and I will mine, and let us hasten forth;
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.
If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest your hand on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service for me;
For after we start, we never lie by again.
Long enough have you dreamed contemptible dreams.
Now I wash the gum from your eyes;
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and
of every moment of your life.
Long have you waded timidly by the shore, holding on to a plank.
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, and rise again and
nod to me and shout, and laughingly dash with your hair."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rendezvous Update

Folks are gathering. Many have signaled their intentions and offered good suggestions.

Directions: From Niland, CA, go east 3 miles into the Slabs. Look for a sign "Mobile Codgers Rendezvous" at LOW Road. Go right to it's end, then turn left, and look for us. (From Niland east, the roads are a bit dippy, so go easy.)

Our first get-together will be at 4 pm Monday.

I have compiled a list of subjects from which, at the group's discretion, we will discuss, including useful gadgets, mobile technology, camping strategy, security, money saving and earning tips, amusements, adventures, etc. Those who are willing will show off their adaptations.

If you have a special expertise, interest, or hobby, we would like to quiz you about it.

The Slabs are an acquired taste and a unique experience. Your first impression may not be good, but in time you can appreciate its virtues.
  • It is the only permanent free campground in America.
  • It is living evidence that ungoverned people will self-organize for the common good.
  • It is a sancuary where one can court solitude or draw near to others.

And don't forget: We will elect a King of Kodgers, as an inspirational icon for a year.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

You Are Invited





Nov 27 - Dec 3, 2006

At the Slabs, near Niland, CA


What is a codger?

An eccentric individual who hears a different drummer and marches to the beat he or she hears.

One who is independent, autonomous, often solitary, anonymous, unfindable, elusive, uncapturable, unpredictable.

One who seeks to find themselves by losing themselves.

One who evades drudgery, indoctrination, debt, oppressions.
Usually frugal; ecological.

One who seeks to minimize the gap between their inner and outer self.

What is a mobile codger?

One who has taken to the open road to pursue his or her values.

What is a rendezvous?

A gathering of these far-ranging individuals at one time and place for purposes of socialization and information exchange; somewhat like the gatherings of mountain men long ago.

What will we do?

Socialize, discuss topics of common and "uncommon" interest, make presentations, share ideas and stories, mingle with superstars of the low road, talk about hobbies and maybe elect an honorary King of Kodgers.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How Codgerism Can Save the World

Codger-style living is at heart a values shift–away from status and power toward freedom, mobility, and creativity. Millions are slowly discovering the happy truth, that these are what really satisfy.

A side effect of this value shift is that it can save the world from its greatest evils.

Homelessness: This is a ridiculously easy problem for codgers to solve, because we know the difference between shelter and status symbol. What we know that others don't is that cozy mobile accomodations can be had for peanuts. Almost as importantly, we know where we can park for less than peanuts. To approximately quote one of the great codgers, Thoreau, the cause of most homelessness is not so much a lack of money as a lack of imagination.

Global Warming: Our low consumption, off-the-electrical-grid lifestyle adds almost nothing to CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Factories and power plants can scale way back when millions of greedy, insatiable, munching caterpillars transform to codger butterflies fluttering about the continent, powered by sunlight and tiny sips of nectar. Codgerism heralds the great slowdown.

Overpopulation: Mindless, reckless reproduction will cease when the codger value of sustainabilility takes hold. Codgers generally pursue values of rational self-interest, which is incompatible with a bunch of needy kids. Overcrowded, clamorous cities quickly inform his mind on the subject.

Water shortages: Codgers use from 2-4 gallons per day. Settled householders use 150 gallons per day. Need I say more?

Land shortages: Codgers do not desire to own vast tracts of land–just to use a tiny piece for a brief time.

Job shortages: The codger lifestyle is so cheap that they can retire early, opening up jobs for others. When the world adopts our low-consumption lifestyle, careers will be as short as 10 years. Drudgery is the enemy of the good life.

Fuel shortages: Confirmed codgers need 3 good reasons to go to town. They travel in short hops, consuming only a fraction of the fuel of a commuter. And all sensible codgers go south in the winter, where they hardly need any heating fuel.

Religious and Cultural Conflicts: Codgers travel and become acquainted with many cultures and religions. They soon discover that no one has a monopoly on truth. Dogmatism, chauvinism, and jingoism are abandoned. Tolerance, openness, and agnosticism become common attitudes.

More: You Might Be a Codger If....

...You have not tended a lawn in 20 years.

...You haven't slept inside a house in years.

...You would make Solar Panel Day a national holiday.

...You don't pay rent, mortgage, income taxes, water or electric bills.

...You regard camping fees as tyrrany.

..."Big Rock Candy Mountain" is your favorite song.

..."Moving On" is your motto.

...Walmart is your home base.

...Quartzsite, Arizona is your mecca.

...Tumbleweed is your favorite plant.

...You haven't used a china plate in years.

..Your address is General Delivery.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

You Might Be a Codger If...

...Your dream house has wheels.

...80% of your wardrobe came from thrift stores.

...Your picture of Heaven looks a lot like the Slabs.

...Some of your teeth were made in Mexico.

...Your family has forgotten what you look like.

...You haven’t slept inside a house in years.

I’m sure there are many more. Any ideas? Post a comment.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


We’re hearing from folks all over: Van Dwellers, Freeroaders, and solitary codgers. Thanks to all those making suggestions. I look forward to meeting fellow adventurers. Our agenda is filling up with interesting subjects.

Big picture discussion topics:

Places to go
Things to do
Rigs to live in
Clubs worth joining
Dealing with authority

Equipment and Gadgets:

The new 12-volt fridge
AGM batteries
Satellite TV and radio
Cell phones
Internet access

Here are some quotes that intrigued me from a book on nomads by Morris Berman:

"Nomads are committed to movement and fluidity as the key to life and consciousness."

"Nomads have neither past nor future, only becomings.
They have no history, only geography.
They don’t sow, they forage."

"Without a destination, I am never lost" — Zen master Hakuim

"Movement diminishes anxiety — Travel is inherently therapeutic."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I now live in this specially engineered cargo trailer with the unique quality of being invisible–or at least unnoticeable–with no external evidence of being lived in–so that I can camp almost anywhere unmolested.

A Mobile Codger's Affirmation

We are not aimless drifters killing time ‘til time kills us. We are adventurers responding to the call of the wild, advancing confidently in the direction of our dreams. We are second-wave pioneers blazing trail to a new life style; perfecting the art of mobility, guiding our swift cozy wagons across mountains, desert and plains; stopping briefly in the valleys of anywhere; letting night overtake us everywhere at home.

We are spiritual descendants of Kokopelli, Marco Polo, Johnny Appleseed, enjoying the land but owning it not! We have learned that journey is more important than destination. We lose ourselves in far-flung places, like Invermere, because it is a good way to find ourselves.

We’re the sprouting seed of a brand new breed,
Living simple, light and lean.
Living happy and free as wild Cherokee
In cozy little living machines;

A life that’s bold with oneself in control
And clusters of friends in affection;
Reinventing the tribe and helping revive
Our long lost natural connection.

Choosing sunlight’s glow over ice and snow,
Acceptance over sorrow,
Adventurous game over riches and fame
And today over "iffy" tomorrow.

We prove the truth of Tolkien’s words:
Not all who wander are lost.