Thursday, April 22, 2010


1. For much of the year, most inhabitants are transients that don't live in houses. (trailers, tents and such)
2. Rent is ridiculously cheap, ranging from zero to such as me to $180 for 6 months if you wish to settle semi-permanently on BLM land.
3. Has several cafes with tent roofs much like old mining boom towns.
4. Has Americas' only full service, drive thru RV service station. (propane, dump, water)
5. Sets aside a special area for nudist.
6. Features a Yacht club here in this stark desert. EXHIBIT A---one of Quartzsite's leading citizens--owner of the bookstore behind us. I'm proud to embrace this fellow poet. author, and maverick extraordinaire. He won a decades long court battle to dress---er--undress like this.
The court concluded that a "penis pouch" is the bare minimum for decency. He is world famous and surely the most photographed bookseller on earth.
A short mile or so away, mavericks like this one feel at home in the desert. I decided to go get the story.
He invites me in--I'm all set to take notes. People show surprising respect for note takers. He's lived in this van for 20 years--it's well tweaked--electronically sophisticated--flat screen TV etc.
His name is Charley---has a penchant for blue--those are one way windows all round insuring privacy and sun block. His dog sleeps with him.
Earns money as an artist---a sample of his work.
Heres a maverick new toy--asked to try it out--said yes.
Got the hang of it quickly--exercises rarely used muscles--speeds right along. See how slim I'm getting---spoonfull of olive oil twice daily--kills the appetite.
Stopped this guy who happily posed---maverick, minimal investment service business.
Lots of folks come to Quartzsite and live like this. I estimate this lifestyle cost $100 a month. Within walking or biking distance are all the necessary services--water, Library, etc. I've seen whole families living in a tent.
Inspired by the naked bookseller, I peeled myself--reflecting Whitman: ("I will go to the woods and become undisguised and naked---I am mad for it to be in contact with me") --But no contact with these woods. I just flashed on a poem by Robert Service that seems to fit myself and other transients in and around Quartzsite---entitled
There's a race of men who don't fit in;
A race that can't stay still.
So they break the hearts of kith and kin
To wander the world at will.
They range the fields, they rove the flood,
They climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood
For they don't know how to rest.
I've forgotten the rest of it, but you get the Idea. It's getting warm--I think I'll go to Santa Fe--7000 ft elevation and world class spiritual center.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I'M SWORN TO SECRECY ABOUT NAME AND LOCATION----but will tell you that near this mountain in Arizona lives a very unusual lady. Word reached me of a gorgeous lady who retreated to the Arizona desert to build her dream----(not house--but)---TOWN! ----AND THEN DID JUST THAT! ---Wasn't easy, but I found her and it. With the aforesaid limitations I'm allowed to show it---and Her--to you. I pause to get my bearings. (thus far, I'm able to take the new trailer anywhere the old would go)
BINGO! The town and the lady! Old things are her passion--she even seemed to like me. This was not a ghost town she restored---she built all this in the old style--with some hired labor of course.---Note the windmill tower to the right.
This building is chock full of antiques. From time to time she will load up and take them where the money is.
This building also--full of antiques.
This bit of whimsey not in her town--I'm informed--but nearby and in the spirit so I leave it.
This house is livable---fully furnished--though she lives in another-----
This one---equally quaint----delightfully yesteryear. She put on an old kettle and made a special tea and biscuits for us.
How lucky am I to be traveling around interviewing people like this?---and Is this the farmers daughter we've all read about--all grown up? To frost the cake, she is philosophical---told me that she built the town impelled by a vision she generated----that she chooses long term, difficult projects to give focus to her life. (did a spectacular--even famous project--in Washington state--but that's another story) How different is her approach to those who advocate drifting through life responding to events that "come to you". (TAOISM) She's charmed by the wit and wisdom of Elbert Hubbard (not L Ron Hubbard) who went down with the Lucitania in 1917. Check him out! I come away impressed with the power of a clearly focused vision--persistently held and acted on. ("if you don't have a dream---how you gonna make a dream come true")

Monday, April 12, 2010


WATCH THE WORLD REVOLVE AROUND IT I found myself here--40 miles from anywhere--between Blythe, CA and Phoenix, Az--a bit sleepy--picked this spot at random to exit and camp for the night.
Hovatter rd---I'm confident there's a fine spot to sleep here.
I drive south across this canal. Recognize it? It is the CAP (Central Arizona Project) canal bringing Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson. Both cities would be crippled without it. Imagine clean, cold, snow-melt water flowing at about 4 mph to thirsty folks deep in the desert. I think this project cost a billion dollars to build decades ago.
Perhaps a quarter mile away--settled cozily in for the night---enjoyed it so much I stayed two nights.
Next morning from a nearby hill I see two campers--more adventurous than I settled miles out in this pristine desert. Can you see them just to the right of center. Considered visiting them.
Bicycled a bit--sat down to read-----AND THEN---AND THEN.
Heard this heliocopter sputtering--certainly in trouble--got my camera and hurried to its landing at a bare spot near the interstate.
It settled down unharmed and its occupants scrambled over it looking for the problem.
In 15 minutes its twin showed up--landing on the roadway----And then I understood the urgency. A man's life is hanging in the balance. Cop car appeared from nowhere protecting it from traffic.
In 3 minutes flat the patient was gently carried to the second copter. He was alive--I saw him move.
And flown away in a flash. A repair truck showed up within the hour and fixed the ailing copter and away it flew---they waved a friendly goodbye to this impromptu reporter.
Suddenly realized I'm camped at a low mountain pass----and water does not run uphill--so how is it getting from the valley below up here (at least a hundred feet higher)----bicycled and hiked to get this view of the lift zone. Of course! Its pumped up here and sent cruising on its merry way across the next valley. (wonder how many times it must be lifted in its full course to Tucson and if it's expensive to lift water) That building, roof just visible, houses the pumping station.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: It seems the world revolves around me---and of course it does---and around you. Which is another way of saying that anyplace is interesting----and what it takes to make this--or any--spot LIGHT UP with fascination is to simply begin to NOTICE----cast my attention about in a curious and focused way---like Superman's x-ray vision. I read once that anyone can NOTICE their way to enlightment. ( in the instant of attention we are in the present ) Certainly I've learned to notice my way to INTERESTING. Here are a few other things I noticed in my 2 night stay here:
1. Noticed a bee crawling on the ground--unable to fly--remembered reading that they sometimes just run out of fuel--that they need sugar---SOOO---I offered her a teaspoon of sugar water--to my astonishment, she drank. (probosis came out like a straw and sucked in several draughts) then she fussed around about a minute, gathering herself together it seemed and then--FLEW AWAY--to my delight.
2. Noticed a large freshly fallen Saguaro cactus and reflected that it will live on for several more years just lying here. What if people faded this gradually into oblivion--then I realized that in fact many of us do.
3. Noticed that this is a super good year for the desert---heavy rains--lots of beautiful grass--apparantly the seeds just waited out the last 5 years of drought.
Bottom line: Any spot cooperates with me to light up my brain.

Monday, April 05, 2010


A QUALITY LIFESTYLE FOR $150 A MONTH RENT I'm headed for the base of those mountains over there---been invited to come see for myself--an entire lifestyle not based on profit. (wonder if I'll find any Republicans there) Deming, NM is on the horizon and the community I'm looking for is 4 miles south in desert such as this.
Bingo---I'm there--paid $6 for a night (non member rate)
The HI part of their name stands for Headquarters International--and this is it. Inside is a full complement of computers and friendly personnel
The LOW part of their name explained as well as their mission statement. Membership cost about $60 a year and they number a few thousand nationwide, assembled as autonomous chapters. Edith Lane founded the club long years ago. A handfull of visionaries, feeling the need for a physical base, purchased this RV park for the club and were soon repaid with interest, so that now the club operates as non profit.
Services include water, electricity, sewage, and garbage---Laundry, dance area etc---all important--but only a foundation for what is more important---the feeling of belonging to a caring community.
Economic status holds no sway here----this rig cost $200,000 plus
This one perhaps $200o-----yet both are esteemed for the personality they bring to the group.
When I realized the breakthrough importance of what is happening here, I began to interview folks. These 4 were particularly helpful--That's paul (famous dancer) on the left then Sue (a resident) then Bob Gambol--a legendary traveler--(one of the few people who has actually vagabonded completely around the world.) (I cropped out a camera shy lady per her request)Volunteers did this and lots of similar, clever, cute projects. You'll have to come yourself to see the "pyramids of geezers".
But I will show you this---a meditation maze---As you walk the convoluted path--try to release your busy mind--to see what else is there that your cloud of thoughts are hiding.
A community room, with lots of good stuff--and much used at 6:30 pm. I daresay it cost less than a tenth of what a private RV park would have to pay.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I wound up staying two days enjoying the good fellowship of friends and strangers alike. THIS IS SO--NOT A REGULAR RV PARK BECAUSE:
1. There is no profit motive.
2. People feel and act like a caring family.
3. Everyone pitches in to generate a full slate of outings and activities--yet no one is pressured to do any of them. ( I could feel the difference from a dollar-motivated good time engineered by expensive parks)
THEIR UNSPOKEN MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD: Here is living proof that people banding together can solve two of life's biggest problems----COMFORTS and COMMUNITY---at an astonishingly LOW PRICE.
Yes, I know----you need an RV of some kind to participate in this lifestyle. That problem is easier to solve than you suppose---Used ones go for a song---(google cranky ape rvs and see)
All over America, people are bankrupting themselves paying for a roof overhead----and they often go bonkers for lack of friends and community. Oh I am moved to poetry to celebrate this terrific "tribe.":

They say they are loners but they are not;
actions belie their name;
they are singles, but tightly connected
In a marvelous social game.
Here, the power of alligned intentions
built family and home!
Here is rest for vagabonds
when they pause from roam.