Thursday, November 04, 2010


MY NOTION OF THE HEROIC LIFE IS LIVING BY ONES OWN HIGHEST INTUITION. So while I'm here, I will go searching for more examples of such persons. Perhaps the bushes abound with Thoreau-like personalities. I settle myself with another guest on the lot belonging to Carol--a long time friend.
Here she is outside her now-permanently-parked-and winterized home. Note the all-important skirting to keep fierce winter winds out. Of the 20 or so of my friends and acquaintances that have settled here--she is considered "the Mayor" for her knowledge and dedication to building a community spirit.
She loves her home and is superbly comfortable here. Windows all round look out on grandeur and serenity. (the White mountains in particular) Birds chirp and feed,unafraid, just outside her window. Because she's lived here many years now--I asked the obvious question--what has this lifestyle--this place done for you? Easy question for her---without hesitation she says: "My proudest achievement is my emotional health!" I could feel the truth of her answer--she is indeed composed, clear spoken and confident.

She takes me on a brief tour of her "community". This is the cabin that John built--with no pattern or design other than that in his head. Seems he got a great buy on a large pile of those timbers --brought them home and THEN considered what to do with them---began to stack them like leggo pieces---till this structure eventually took shape.
Carol takes us around front to rouse John for a tour. That's his Airstream there--where he cooks, eats and sleeps. So what's the Cabin for? Glad you asked.
I'll show you after you've met his pets---two adorable alpacas.
Meet John--also a long time friend--who came up to the high country and never came down. The cabin is a kind of entertainment center, den and library. On the far wall are a thousand good books but his eyes are now focused on his latest purchase---An entire menangerie of........
mounted animals. Yes, that's a real buffalo head and full-body mountain lion. John has seemingly discovered the entrepeneur inside himself---buying and selling all sorts of stuff at a nearby flea market.
Meet Pete: Another long time friend who came up here and established a base. Pete is the go-to guy for hundreds of his friends in all matters mechanical or electrical. Here, he is inventing a push button solar panel raiser.
A look inside his container. Almost everyone up here sooner or later forks out the $3000 for a delivered steel container using them as workshop, storage, etc. Pete has a 500 gallon water tank atop his.
Ah but here is the real proof of his genius---no doubt the best "tweaked" rig in history. It's electronics and mechanics are worthy of a separate blog. You cannot see his array of solar panels or the stored power in his battery pack--or his tools. Sufficice it to say, he sometimes shows theatre style movies for the group on the side of his rig--and has enough electrical power to weld metal.
And this is one of his cleverest ideas---and most useful. I'm not permitted to tell you precisely what for---but maybe you can guess. It is a brilliant joke that perhaps only full time RVers will get. It seems to be the buriel place of a dog named "Old Blue Boy." Which is the only clue I'm allowed to divulge.
More of the high desert "colony" gathered for dinner at the Show Low Elks Lodge. Does it surprise you that a majority of these lifestyle heroes are women. Each has a rig and a place to park it and lives alone. They get together just often enough to scratch the social itch and stay apart enough to enjoy privacy and solitude. In a unlikely environment --a bushy high desert--they have parked their RV's to create home and community.

RANDY PHILOPHIZES: Pathfinders and "first-doers" render big service to the rest of us---inspiring us to also step out. I'm deeply grateful to the trailblazers that inspired me to also take a step in the direction of my dreams. First and foremost---HENRY DAVID THOREAU---who defied the ethos of a whole work-obsessed nation to live in a tiny cabin by a pond---possess minimally---work only enough to eat---adventure widely---look inwardly---think deeply--and by so doing bless the world with his insights and example. His was no life of sacrifice but a dilligent quest for personal happiness. He has proved---almost beyond dispute--that the best thing we can do for the world is follow our bliss---BE HAPPY.


Anonymous said...

Blog very interesting. You achieve a take on things that make me think again about what we talked about! I liked it. Carol Berry of the White Mountains

Dixxe said...

Looks like a great place to visit--do each of these lucky people own the land? I know a family who leases some of the most beautiful land Ive ever seen in the High Country of CO from the US forestry service..they have a lovely cabin they live there full time the view is killer and they are quite fond of stuffed animals--of which Id much rather see live animals

Debbie said...

I have camped all my life in one sort of way or another and all over. I'm 55 and female and I can't imagine leaving the security of my home and running around. I am so jealous of these women!!! And admire greatly :)

squire said...

What are the tempertures like year round? I assume you are still around Show Low, Az. Are these people also in the failed land development?

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Anonymous said...

Hmm... still trying to figure out the blue dog thing :-)

Randy said...

Thanks all for your comments. Dixxe: Everyone here is wholly or part owner of the lot they are on--sometimes 3 or 4 will share a lot. They arrange the legalities so that when someone dies--the others get their share--last one standing gets the whole lot. (see Tontine)
Squire: Bone chilling in winter--perfect in summer. (google show low az for specifics)
Ourtakeonfreedom: (interesting choice of name) Ask an RVer what a "blue boy" is and you will have the answer

Jim said...

While I'm sure you can't confirm or deny, the whole Blue Boy thing is where they dump their holding tank(s) -- no doubt on the sly -- in lieu of some over-engineered "official" and "approved" solution. I'm sure high desert sand is more than eager to slurp up every drop of water it can get.
Do you think women are, on balance, MORE likely to pursue an independent lifestyle? That surely flies in the face of common knowledge and my personal experience. Women definitely, on average, live longer. If even 1% of the women over 65 were to pursue such a lifestyle, they would by far outnumber the men still alive, willing and able -- don'tcha think?

Randy said...

Jim: You are right that I can't confirm or deny your blue boy guess. I can tell you that the systems I helped put in some years ago are very adequate for the limited needs of RVers and that the folks in the high country have for the most part gone legal--paying a few thousand for a certified system.
About your men/women question--I don't know the true answer but in my world of friends and acquaintances the ratio is close to even and in my RV club the numbers are also close to even---a surprise to me. Even among the extreme mobile "codgers" I'm surprised to see about as many women living in their cars and vans.

Terry said...

Great read, Randy- Terry:)

wisesongbird said...

I just love your blogs. Thanks again.