Monday, June 29, 2009


This blog entry is in response to e-mailers requesting details of my vagabonding style. So here in fair sequence are photos of my sleeping spots for the last 30 days.
May 30/31 I slept on the north bank of the Rogue River just outside Gold Beach, Or. Quiet and lovely--spent the day walking and blogging.
5/29/09 Brooksville, Or (out of sequence) Here is a perfect example of "seaming"--camping exactly between two entities so neither knows to which you belong. The house is unoccupied and the freight company has not marked its territory
I'm skipping Coos Bay Casino because I've shown it elsewhere. (stayed a total of 9 days there) This is where I parked for the night on a dead end street in Bandon, Or 6/7/09. The nearby car wash and adjacent motel camouflage me.
Spent three days and nights here during the chainsaw carving contest--a lot that no one seemed to use--only a block from the action.
One of the five places I slept in Reedsport---across the street from the festival.
Across from the Port Authority and near the Moose Lodge. (I was invited to stay in their lot for free but chose to move around)
6/21-22-23/09 I stayed in the Florence, Or. Indian Casino lot alongside 10 of my WIN friends.
(took this shot of my neighbors rig)
6/24/09 I slept in this quiet pocket of a the quiet little town of Mapleton. Decided to go there and wander around town as a mysterious stranger. Did so much of the next day engaging all sorts of interesting people. Was invited up into a super tree house---but that's another blog.
Stayed here the night of 6/25/09 about 5 miles south of Noti, Or alongside this abandoned railroad. Super spot--walked the tracks like a real hobo--Oregon is so unbelievably beautiful---lingered 24 hrs here.
6/26/09 Slept in an industrial district near Target store in Eugene, Or.
6/27-28/09 The back lot of Valley River Mall. Photo does no justice to this the finest free parking spot in America. Not shown is the passing Willamette river, bicycle paths, arched pedestrian bridge, nearby rose garden and of course the amenities of a big mall and theatre. Security personnel make you welcome---for two days.
5/29/09 Here's where I am tonight---don't know exactly where--Somewhere in West Eugene, Or. I pulled in to watch the news and take a nap--decided to stay. You can see if you look closely that my satellite dish is in stealth mode tonight--covered with a black plastic bag. (doesn't block reception)
RANDY COMMENTS: I pass my days in the loveliest places imaginable but nightime, after 10 or so requires that I find a sleeping spot. Being "invisible" as I am makes this really easy--rarely even thinking ahead where I will sleep. When the time comes, I merely cast my eyes about or take a short walk---inevitably discovering at least two suitable places to sleep. I've developed a keen intuition for locating quiet, inoffensive nooks perfect for passing the night.
Even if some benefactor paid for me to stay in an official campground, I would prefer my system because it's more interesting. To camp as I do is to nightly push the "surprise" button, ordering up from mother destiny something unexpected. Peering out of my darkened trailer I see wonderful, awful, sometimes incredible sights---surreptitous lovers embrace between storage containers----twice I've seen brutal fights---often I see curious cats slinking about in the shadows---several have made the daring 4 foot leap from my camper shell to the top of my rig--then stare at me through my clear vents; In Idaho once, I swear, I saw a man give a wild raven a drink of his beer from his hand.
And I hardly need mention that each night I sleep in the adventure zone means $10 or more in my pocket not spent on campground fees. Every three months I'm at least a thousand dollars ahead---4 thousand a year and 40 thousand this past decade. I can afford campgrounds--I just enjoy this game and prefer to slink about with the cats.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009



My readers will recall that I stumbled accidently into this town and into the very heart of what would soon be a CREATIVITY VORTEX. I woke amid a hundred giant log sections like these--to be apportioned to an influx of carving artist from around the world--Japan, Australia, England, Germany, Canada and the USA. The action begins in a week---no problem--I'll wait--I am a master at amusing myself.

The big day arrives and I select this nice guy, Steven Higgins (posing here with baby brother) from Northport, Wa.( whose first day "quickcarve" I will document for you. Here are the rules: The artist must work alone. He has one hour and fifteen minutes to complete his piece. A loud horn starts and stops the action. The works are gathered into the event tent and auctioned off at 5:30 each day. The artist gets 25%---75% pays for the festival.
(there's more to the story---I'll reveal shortly)

Steven begins! Note he has an array of saws--all super sharp--to work with. He may also use any additional sanders, drills or woodworking tools he chooses. The big saw slices this western cedar like butter. All carvers and almost all festival goers wear earplugs or their equivalent.
First 15 minutes! He needed no picture for reference--measured nothing--just sawed away like a madman. Rarely have I seen such focus.
Second 15 minutes.
Third 15 minutes.
One hour!
Only seconds before the horn sounded.
This was the day's winner--carved by Steven's mentor, Mark Colp of Lakeport, Ca. It sold for $600. Steven's was second at $450. I hope you are as astonished as I am that anyone could do this masterwork in 75 minutes.
This eagle was third at several hundred dollars.
Now for the remainder of the rules: Each carver is given a log section to work on during the remainder of the 4 day festival--His "showpiece". This he or she (There was one lady carver) gets to keep or sell as they choose. Judges select the overall winner and eventually 10 carvers are selected nationwide for the grand carveoff in England---where the really big money is. Steven now 27 has been all over the world doing this. It is his career. Now I will show some of the three day carvings. (more than 25 altogether--this is a sampling of their creativity)
An Indian and a cowboy stalk each other.
Mountain man and friends!
Nude on a bearskin rug
This was my favorite!
Steven's three day piece--Bear in the middle of a waterfall during salmon run.
I think this was the best workmanship.
Just before the auction Sunday, this master carver showed what can be done in only 30 minutes with a block of ice--a lovely swan.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: This is a fascinating and sizable subculture like hundreds of others such as motorcycling, horses, sex, gambling, boating, religion, RVing, etc. Each of us likely participates in several. (would you believe there is a mule group in Tucson, Az)

Finding and participating in a uniquely appropriate subculture is important to my happiness.
Like most humans I tended to DRIFT, sadly downward, into merely "convenient" subcultures where I "made do" and "got by." I trapped myself with groups that were not a good fit ---and thus "lead a life of quiet desperation." I drifted into religion--for 3 years--a bad fit. When I found my own--vagabonds, philosophers and Unitarians--My joy and creativity shot upward. Have you found "your people" yet?
And speaking of CREATIVITY, here's a succinct definition: CONCEPT TRANSFER. ( get it? Creativity is simply mixing ideas---e.g. blend ink, ball and tube and voila you've created the ball point pen. Everyone has a head full of ideas and is hence capable of creating something new) I think creativity is one leg of the three legged stool of fulfillment: 1. Responding to our fascinations. 2. Waking up our creativity. 3. Becoming fascinating. (inspiring someone)

Friday, June 19, 2009


Nightfall found me in some small town---time to settle in----I turned right, then left, trusting my instincts to find a home for the night. I parked in an open space among giant log sections, standing on end like Easter Island statues-----good enough! Squeezing behind a row of them, I go to bed---knowing in my bones--there's a story here! Turns out, I've stumbled into ground zero of a world championship chainsaw carving contest. I AM AMONG STATUES---TO -BE!
Contest starts next thursday, however,---- I'll wait. Meanwhile, I have a whole new town to explore.
My first acquaintance (Ed) who gave me the lay of the land---and water. (and told me his story: "fleeing from a drug-culture town-----I don't believe him! I've learned that people concoct a cover story for their circumstance--which story, in time and told often, convinces themselves and hardly anyone else. All cover stories are saying in essence--IT'S NOT MY FAULT--THEY DID IT TO ME. The hard truth of courage and creativity deficit is rarely admitted, even "superior me" doesn't always fess up readily. Few people lay claim to their inherent power, imagination and RESPONSIBILITY.) That's the Umpqua river behind him. Two more rivers converge here.
I found 3 more sleeping spots around town. This one I particulary like--it's near the action, quiet, apparantly rarely used. Who would guess that inside that nondescript box is a thriving lifestyle, speaking to the whole world and it to him. But I digress--
The point of this blog is to illustrate the experiences of a single walk last wednesday. ("kicking down the cobblestones---looking for fun and feeling groovy") I checked out this wall surrounding the town--flood controll---they had a scare some years back---got motivated. Of note is a backing levee on the other side---which New Orleans failed to include---and makes a nice walking trail.
Art deco style bridges sprinkle Hwy 101's Oregon corridor, the inspiration of a single man who wanted to put some beauty in his work.
Here's the underside of Reedsport's bridge---gothic arches and fluted supports.
Intriguing grove of dying trees----got the story later---everyone here knows why: Thousands of cormorants roost here--their poop coats and kills. (but specifically, is the fertilizer too much for the trees roots, "burning them" or is the coating on the needles the problem?--must find out)
A MOVABLE ISLAND-- That's how I think of live aboard boats. This one is anchoring free of charge here, a few miles inland, where the weather is coincidently much better. I've considered a lifestyle like this---have quizzed several who've done both RV and Boat living. Most think RVing is more stimulating and less stressful.
Red Hawk, Lakota Indian, master gardener, showing me his creation. He did all this behind his trailer park, expanding left and right behind his neighbors as they begged to be included in his project. Even the government gave permission for his garden to encroach on the levee. My friend Gail in Vancouver would love this. I stayed awhile appreciating the flowers, birdhouses, bridges, arches etc. ---An irrepressible urge to spread beauty. People like this make my heart swell.
And then---and then---I look up and there she is--just standing, what a thrill.
100 yds further, I'm shocked to see two bodies on a blanket---thought they were dead--not moving---took a photo--arm moved--they were sleeping--didn,t disturb them, though I ached for the story. I returned next day to find their bedding stashed in the weeds. WOW, this hurts me--the indignity . YEAH YEAH---I know they probably brought it on themselves. BUT HEAR ME AMERICA: WE CAN AFFORD AN INEXPENSIVE , DECENTLY COMFORTABLE SAFETY NET------EVEN FOR THE STUPID AND IMPROVIDENT.

My adventure here continues. You'll hardly believe what chainsaw artist can do in an hour and 15 minutes. And they will dazzle you with their 3 day creations. Stay tuned. (If I were religious, I'd think God led me to this tiny town---but I'm not)
Here's an appropriate poem from years ago.
Walk a street that's new to you;
Notice what happens in your head.
Pulses of pleasure are released
Like bubbles in rising bread
Now some scientist has proven what
RVers knew was true:
Travelers feel a surge of Joy
Experiencing something new.
Endorphins are released, it seems,
When we see novelty.
Natural pleasure chemicals
Deep in our brains, you see
So now we know how to make ourselves happy:
Go do something new.
To generate fun just walk some "un"
familiar avenue.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I'm off to see a phenomenon---something big, amazing and a bit eerie---South on Hwy 101--ROAD OF SONG AND LEGEND----remember:
"He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots,
and he had a black jacket with an eagle on the back.
He rode a hopped-up cycle that took off like a gun;
That fool was the terror of highway 101"
Bandon is a tourist town, straining dollars from the ebb and flow of visitors, not unlike clams strain nourishment from the tides. I've challenged myself to swallow this whole town like a balene whale gulps in the ocean, straining out what it wants and moving on. 24 hours should do the trick.
Here's where the rich people live on the bluff overlooking the ocean. I don't envy them. THEY PAY TOO MUCH FOR THEIR VIEW. Views are vastly overrated because they so quickly get tiresome. I read that the most beautiful sight in the world--the island of Bali--only holds the attention of visiting sailboaters an average of 3 days. How long would you gaze at the Mona Lisa?
I luck out and connect with a pretty lady resident who will give me a tour--she takes this shot and tells me about the rule of thirds.
She said this boat never leaves harbor. A multi million dollar yacht made to sail the 7 seas, sits unused. Walt Whitman said of such boats (and people) in "Song of the Open Road":
"However calm these waters; however secure this harbor,
We must not anchor here!
We will sail wild and pathless seas; we will go where the winds blow, waves dash,
And the Yankee Clipper speeds by under full sail.

Downtown Bandon can be seen behind the boats--about two blocks of what you'd expect.
The best of the town is on the waterfront--sculpture like this everywhere.
The locals are big on crabs as you will see.
Heeeeere they come. Traps are left in about 20 minutes.
This lady explained the rules: Only Males 6 inches wide may be kept.
Can you believe, they tear the living creatures apart--a lady complained when one pinched her just before she disassembled it. One crab, maybe two is a meal they said.
Town seagull strategy particularly interested me. Here are two ways to prevent them sitting where you'd rather they didn't. The tines atop the light and the clever pointed post caps are just unsittable to them. And furthermore----
Neither is this wire. It's not electrified---just too narrow, I suppose to get a grip on. None even bothered to try that I saw. Those long fine benches kept nice and clean for people. Would you believe a similar strategy was used on people in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Park benches were made with a center partition to prevent bums sleeping on them. Buckminster Fuller advocated that we use such TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS to problems (engineer the situation) rather than MORAL SOLUTIONS (try to persuade people) I hope to blog some day on the last commune I established--based entirely on technical solutions to the perrennial human problems of Privacy, Power, property, performance and peacemaking.
But I digress. Here I pose at the Harbor entrance--- lighthouse in the distance. The lady for reasons of her own would not be photographed.
OK, I'll show you the spectacular sight I came to see---but first I have to mention these flowers called Gosh, brought to oregon by a local in early days and is now everywhere--a destructive nusiance.
California Poppies---my favorite flower--and my nickname. (all my relatives call me poppy)
AND HEEEEERRRRRS WHAT I CAME TO SEE--A GIGANTIC NATURAL SCULPTURE OF A WOMAN EMERGING FROM THE SEA. Can you see the face on the right slope? If you can't you have no imagination. My host assured me that beneath the water was the rest of her body including arms legs and breast---a true miracle. I believed her--and you should too---took her to dinner as thanks for the tour.