Sunday, May 24, 2009


For years I've had a friendly quarrel with Al Vargas and Jim Jaillet about this question. Both these easy going friends live by and support the first and I the second. Many's the time, however, when I've doubted my choice and envied theirs. Other times I scoff at their indolence and preach a GO-GET-IT sermon

Reasonable people have differed for centries: This is Taoism vs Existentialism------Fate vs Freedom----Blend gently with the flow of life around you.(Lao Tsu) or "Act, Act in the living present........We can make our lives sublime....and departing, leave behind us footprints in the sands of time." (Longfellow)

I mention this tedious philosophy because I had occasion to test both approaches when I spent a day and a night in Ft Bragg, Ca., a coastal tourist town (with no fort that I saw).
Arriving about 3 pm, I let myself drift around town, trusting fate to show me a camping spot for the night. BINGO! this nice one with an ocean view appears---Jim and Al would not be surprised. AAHH but there's a catch! This is a private parking lot for Georgia Pacific but I DECIDE TO PARK THERE ANYWAY And risk whatever consequences. ( Act, Act) In truth, not much courage required because as you can see I'm practically invisible. If I thought my satellite dish would give me away, I would cover it with a black garbage bag. TV still works.
Then fate sends Joe to me. He told me that the cops have an unspoken deal, not to trouble boondockers who park in the block surrounding Safeway. I stayed put anyway, feeling as secure as a Klingon with his cloaking device.

I include this photo of the adjacent trailer to mine to show how well I blended in.
Joe told me his story and let me photograph his van. He was sorely in need of some comfort engineering. I showed him my trailer and he was thrilled at his possibilities.
He gave me all the local scoop, including info on this place I CHOSE to experience, Twice a week a nice group of volunteers feed the street people. Turns out these folks are hypersensitive about being photographed--for good cause as I will explain in a later blog. So I took some surreptitious shots.
The serving line. What surprised me was that no one seemed ashamed and were treated with utmost respect. Even I felt comfortable. It was an all you care to eat situation.
A stealthy shot. I estimated we were 50 with 20 being women.
My meal---delicious.
My dinner companion scurried to escape this picture. (too late) Joe sat across from me. Tiny guy but he refilled twice.
And then I stopped drifting and engaged the cooks and servers. They were remarkably open. This is Carol, Kathy and Doris. Their male server is Glen. For 24 years this program has run
An average meal cost about a dollar per person--the food bank assists with supplies. They , of course, are unpaid.
I saw two movies (Planet Earth and Star Trek) and left town. But WHOA! what's this.
Turns out, it's a viaduct for bicycles; part of a six mile long path. So I parked, rode across it and investigated the headlands by the ocean.
Not shown is the nice lady who took this shot and filled me in on the EMERALD TRIANGLE, which I will explain later. (No wonder the people herebouts are so camera shy) One tough street person told me earlier that my shirt pocket was the right place for my camera. I thanked him and put it (temporarily) there--I try to judiciously pick my battles.
I asked myself in leaving If I had let things happen or made them happen. Couldn't decide. I did reflect how full of adventure my days are. Oh I love this lifestyle.


Anonymous said...

I have so many questions I would like to ask, but it seems when one asks a question in comments they forget (I) forget to come back and see the answer!..But Im going to make a big effort because I really want to know --what is the toughest obstacle to living on the road? I am currently searching for a cheap (Im unemployed) CHEAP trailer in need of a DIY makeover and then plan to spend some time on the road...I was thinking of applying for seasonal work in parks. I did read about the workamaper program, and I will join it when I'm closer to being ready.
I too flip flop between making it happen and letting it happen..either one works as long as YOU accept the outcome. Enjoy your life on the road!

Jim said...

Hi Randy,

I'm glad you enjoyed the day that fate had pre-destined for you to enjoy in that 24 hour period.

See you down the road....
Jim Jaillet

Bob Parker And Donna Huffer said...

We discussed this question and "breaking away from your former life" is the hardest part. Then it's a fabulous life. Most people wish they had started sooner. Bob and Donna

Anonymous said...

There should be one, or more, of the CA state Historical buildings still standing from the Ft. Bragg military era before the civil war.

Anonymous said...

Seeing that photo of you in the soup kitchen suggests that the title of this post should have been, "Downwardly Mobile Kodger."

wisesongbird said...

You do make the most of your adventures. And the philosophical dilemma fits your life so well. But moving from one to the other seems most fitting as you have shown here. Seems to me that you really could not be a boondocker and live by the first exclusively. The challenges and thought required for the second adds flavor to the mix and generates fun and learning to a higher level. The first presents possibilites that only the second could explore. And the second is able to create possibilities.
That's the view from my porch.

Johnny Austin said...

Love it! I'm going to say I've landed in the middle with making things happen and letting things happen, seems both work out well for me, I love all your pictures and your ocean view is excellent! Rock On, Johnny John!