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.


Anonymous said...

-have quizzed several who've done both RV and Boat living. Most think RVing is more stimulating and less stressful.

I am somewhat surprised by that. Though I have not yet lived in an RV (I do plan to)I did grow up living on boats and found it to be both a very stimulating and low stress lifestyle.

I guess it depends on how you approach it and what your expectations are.

I don't consider being tied up at a marina living aboard.

Also it can be either as expensive and complicated or cheap and simple as you choose, provided you have the knowledge/experience.

Randy said...

I defer to your expertise Nomad re: living aboard. The stresses they spoke of was anchors coming loose when the wind shifts, fierce winds at sea, unfriendly bureaurcratic port officials, cost of boat maintainance etc. I hope you will comment when you've had both experiences. Some of my friends with big, complicated rigs sometimes cry the blues on maintainance cost also. I guess bang (interesting experiences) for the buck (trouble, money) is the ratio I'm guessing at.
The boat pictured is in the river tied to some sort of platform--not at a marina. Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Yes there are times of stress on boats, such as dragging anchors and bad weather in general. With the best of intentions and planning, both will be experienced from time to time, though they are brief moments of stress, the majority of time is stress free and time takes on another dimension.

Bureaucratic officials exist to bother people on both land and water. How people deal with them often determines the experience.

The big complicated rigs are the big unnecessary complication which adds to big costs, maintenance and stress. Unfortunately most boats are not designed for living on, but are rather designed for racing or worse still, are called racer/cruisers. These boats are designed to artificial racing rules, which hinder efficient design. Also those big complicated rigs cost more to buy, maintain and run than simply using a diesel engine for propulsion. There are alternative rigs which are much more efficient, such as Chinese junk rigs, Gaff, Lug, etc. they are cheaper, simpler, and on most points of sail, more powerful than the standard bermudan rig.

For an idea of how life can be, living aboard I suggest reading the £200 Millionaire, written by Weston Martyr in 1932. Times have changed since then, but most of the story can still be applied to todays world of living aboard. For an online version have a look here

I would draw a comparison between how expensive and unpractical boats can be with the simple low cost approach, to that of the expensive holiday RV's and the way you have approached it with your trailer.

By the way Randy, from what I have read, I think you have really nailed the wheel based nomadic life, and have provided a great deal of good information about your lifestyle, which I hope you continue to do for some time yet.

I surely will comment on my experiences when I eventually try RVing and will give a comparison from my perspective of the differences.

Randy said...

Thanks again Nomad for your insights and particularly for the article about the guy who drifted the world in his small boat on so small an income. I'm sending the reference to friends. I read it carefully, gleaning at least three phrases I will borrow: "house proud"----"One step does it and you're out of the rut for good"---and "threw off the years and turned into a boy again". His detail linking frugality and freedom almost exactly parallels that in Walden Pond by Thoreau. (chapter one--Economy) Also appreciate your project collecting data that should prove useful to those considering the mobile lifestyle.(google