Monday, March 29, 2010


LETTING "WAY LEAD ON TO WAY"! I made real that quote from Frosts' poem when my curiosity and the incredible number of these billboards (I counted 50--the google article says 277 of them) practically compelled me to have a look. Admission is only a dollar and I was all alone with the "thing" how can this make any economic sense. Billboards are expensive.
Anyway, here's the main building--the thing museum is in a spooky separate shed.
Down a long spooky alley. Note the yellow footprints leading me to the dreaded encounter.
But first, they get you in the right frame of mind with this torture exhibit.
And these wierd --whatevers--and lots of other stuff of moderate interest.
I'll show you a small part of the "thing" but first I want to make my point about way leading on to way----Was quizzing the caretaker about this quirky collection which surely required a lifetime to assemble. Guy named Prince---a wandering, apparantly wealthy, showman did it. I learned that three miles away is an old town named DRAGOON. My interest was piqued and I drove a muddy road to go there.
---- Dragoon mountains in the background--for whom the town is named. I soon learned that a dragoon was a mounted spanish soldier. Settled temporarily by the railroad tracks.
Later drove to the outskirts to get this shot.---Was a miserable day--weather-wise.
Two or three trains rolled by--convincing me not to try and sleep here. Noted that they rumble by about 45 minutes apart.
So, after dark, I drove back toward "thingville" settling in a field for the night. Next day I was witness to that mysterious, flowing, river of ground fog back there. I returned to Dragoon to flesh out its story.
A womens club--nearly a hundred years old-- a sure sign of civilization and civil society.
An odd place for a business--surprisingly it was open---for business.
Met these nice people: Donnette and Woody Adams who gave me the story of the town---Ranching, Mining, railroad-center of yesteryear---now a peaceful alternative to city pressures. Woody's hobby is--------woodworking. (I read somewhere that our names actually do have some influence in our choices, interest, and character) Saw some of his stuff--he's a master craftsman. Donnette has a range of interest including operating the shop. This tiny town is strikingly different from Picacho--people running away----People are running TO Dragoon and it is not surprising to find an active community spirit here. Now for the "way leads on to way" part. They told me about the first class Amerindian Heritage Museum and research center just up the road. What a delight--I whiled away the remainder of the day there.
Ok---Ok I've delayed long enough--I will now show you a small part of the gruesome but smiling "THING"--won't show the whole thing--not fair to the business. Something of a shocker--go see the whole thing for yourself---only a dollar.
Lest I bore you by driving the point home---With a full set of mobile comforts---and with time being the stream you go fishing in---and curiosity as your guide----Way indeed will lead on to way in ever delightful ways. My friend Pia likens this strategy to "pushing a magical SURPRISE button and letting the universe roll the dice for you. In this case--The thing--led to the town--to the super Indian museum. Onward to ---whatever!

Friday, March 26, 2010


I am a loosely connected member of a nomadic tribe of perhaps a thousand former and current travelers. ( ) Recently, Judy, a much loved rving lady, died suddenly while doing her chores---far from relatives but not far from her tribal friends who mobilized to help the relatives driving in from California. Our special challenge is to complete the entire process in a few days, leaving no loose ends dangling as is often the case when settled folks die. In just a few days our people assisted the family in unloading her rig, holding an impromptu garage sale, taking the unsold stuff to a thrift store, returning the just-purchased car to the dealer (no easy thing), arranging the sale of her motor home on a commission lot , . and preparing a meal and ceremony to celebrate her life, The task was completed. Folks from every corner of this nation were present. Celebrities would hardly command such geographic diversity. A picture board of photos spoke volumes about her good times with us and the entire event was more laughter than tears as we recounted special memories of her. (Once she could not find her phone anywhere and was frantic that she had lost it. Joey offered to call her and perhaps the ring would reveal its location. When the call was made Judys' bosom began to sound off)

I wrote a poem for the event and my friend Brenda graciously read it for me:

Judy has departed our caravan
while she still had the will to roam.
She died enroute to somewhere;
Not in a nursing home.

Surrounded by friends, appreciated;
With destination and agenda;
living with gusto and vigor
in a mobile hacienda.

I think it is a kinder fate
when death comes from our blindside;
while focused on the task of the day,
to drop from our camel mid-stride.

Her death will not drag us to sadness
but remind us to remember
that time is a bird on the wing,
swiftly flying toward December.

Soon our caravan will up and away,
we've paused to celebrate and grieve;
respectfully cover her body with sand,
mount up our camels and leave.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


A SOCIAL SARGASSO SEA Enroute to Tucson, I pull off here to nap at exit 211--and afterwards note that I am almost in the shadow of semi-famous Picacho peak--see it above my truck--where the westernmost skirmish of the Civil War was fought. Walking around a bit I felt an eerie quietness that intrigued me. Then I realized how similar is this place to my hometown, Sondheimer, La--both are situated in a narrow strip between a railroad and a highway--and both are quietly becoming
"dead zones". I speak no ill of it---just note the similarity to oceanic "dead zones" to be found both in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans--where currents die, pushing all the flotsam they carry to a vast junkyard, where it stays trapped, bobbing and bumping till it decays or sinks. A dead zone town likewise finds itself outside the currents of commerce---buisness folks leave and drifters, refugees---poor, defeated, weary folks find themselves here---happy to not be alone; glad to be disconnected from the rat race. Here is a calm center to the whirling storm--A PLACE TO BE---IT IS ENOUGH.
I'm hooked---the place speaks to me---so I'll stay the night--take some pictures tomorrow.
That sign says Pilot Truck Stop 4 miles---no doubt one of the town-killers. There's a prison 4 miles away--can you see the sign?
ast night, that flashing arrow drew me into the liveliest place in town---Eddie's Bar--a surprisingly well equipped bar, dance floor and entertainment center. While the DJ played good music, two lovely ladies cooked food and served booze. (The cook had gorgeous hair ). I engaged a beefy, friendly, gout- stricken, tobacco chewing, chemical worker who filled me in on local doings. Five years ago a fight here resulted in death for one combatant. I watched as the bar maid cut off one boisterous inebriant--he huffed a bit--accepted his fate--went to shoot pool.
Next day I walk and shoot--these folks moved in--never mind the problem roof.

Unpretensious as is its exterior--it promises miracle healings inside.
Dogs run free here---a liberty I approve of--even though these 2 nearly attacked me--I picked up a stick and won their respect.
Thankfully, these SOB's are penned up.
The horses wanted some attention--said so--and called me back for more as I was leaving.
Stuff--lots of it--is it comforting? why do we pile up stuff in our life? Ghandi's only possessions, I'm told were spectacles, a book and a diaper. Now that I've sold the Stealth Trailer-I own only my vehicles and a bit of money.
Dead motel in a dead zone town.
Garage sale--Sunday 5 pm. My friend Boonie reminded me that to enter a dead zone town is to step back in time and interestingly---step up a notch in freedom---government's stern eye hardly glances here. I reflected on other dead zone towns I've visited: Modena, Utah--Helper, Ut., Chloride, Az--Encino, NM--Madrid, NM(but it came alive with artists) Likewise nearby Cerrillos, NM and Tubac, Az.
I don't know what I've learned here--don't much care. For 24 hours it had my attention --lit up my brain---about all I ask of any experience. Now--on to Tucson--thanks to you-know-who for all the good info.

Monday, March 15, 2010


THE CONSEQUENCES OF NO SAFETY NET---LIBERTARIANS TAKE NOTICE. A quarter mile ahead is the border town of Algodones, Mexico, famous and invaluable to the mobile 2 million. I park here and pedal my bike in for 2 good reasons.
Here's one: I save $5---$12 if I have my trailer with me.
Spray paint artist are a minor draw for the tourist.
Trinkets and do-dads everywhere
Here's an internationally known place of scandal---the famous Green Door Lounge--a front for a bordello and strip bar.
But here's the big draw of Algodones---DENTIST an estimated 300 of them in this tiny 5 block square town. I've been coming here for 20 years for inexpensive dental care. (root canal about $200---crowns from $125 to $250. Other services like optical, pharmacuticals and alcohol are proportionately as cheap.
I use Dr Rubio (ph 011.52.658--517.7849 ) who heads a sizable team of specialist--no less than 6 specialist worked on me this time replacing a post and crown.
So what do I want the libertarians to notice? This house for starters--home of a very wealthy person. And then--just a block away:
This!---Here is a consequence of very weak social consensus---A whole nation of people acting (largely) on the premise that each person and family are only responsible for their own well being---little or no social safety net. It's every person or family for themselves. The notion that (to some extent) "WE ARE ALL IN THIS LIFE TOGETHER" AND IN SOME SENSE OUR BROTHER'S KEEPER." Is alien to Mexico. Not surprisingly-- the bounteous benefits of collective action are lost. Illustrated here are weak zoning laws in addition to the obvious poverty . A minimal government society will have big winners and big losers as illustrated--with its inevitable consequences--social unrest--unbridled greed--wealth pyramids and dynasties. I remind my "greed is good" friends that during the French revolution the wealthy aristocrats were dragged from their mansions and beheaded. Surely we can invent a social philosophy somewhere between extreme capitalism and extreme socialism. Think you would find these disparities in socialistic Norway. (with the highest standard of living in the world. Note the steel reinforced international boundary in the background silent testimony that the philosophy of every one for themselves is a failure.
Here's that formidable barrier stretching for many miles. I walked a stretch of it.
Very soon however--this truck drove up to investigate me. Note the 4 inch steel beam construction---anchored in concrete and welded to wide plates at the top. Anything less would soon be destroyed by the Mexicans who resent the wall. ("something there is that doesn't love a wall")
An older section of the wall---notice the manned observation tower on the American side---I did not suspect they were focusing on me--but they were as you will see.
Another one---they are mobile--mounted on a truck---they scurry around.
Cars exiting Mexico--as seen from our side. The line was one quarter mile long. Passports required.
Bike riders go to the head of the line and I was allowed to pass through---then suddenly this truck cut me off and a team of Border agents surrounded me. With firm courtesy they wanted to know the purpose of all my picture taking and border walking. Took about 20 minutes worth of passport checking and examination of my camera to persuade them I was harmless. I took photos of them approaching me and they asked that I delete them because they do dangerous work and are subject to retaliation. I did so---I understand. We chatted awhile--they reported that vigorus enforcement had reduced incursions by 90%---I doubted that but don't really know.