Friday, February 24, 2012
I MET HIM IN THE REMOTES OF ARIZONA---AN "OKIE" IN SPIRIT AND IN FACT.
Down an old abandoned road.
On the rim of this canyon.
In what appeared to be an abandoned campground--
But it wasn't---I had company: Meet Mark from Oklahoma--he left that state and drove West for the same reason as the Joad family in the Grapes of Wrath--looking for work.
Of course I engage him---he pauses to get his little dog--who wants to be held. "Got him from a shelter about a month ago" he said. In just a few days they bonded and were now best buddies.
Clearly the dog was the light of his life and vice versa. They are super poor---but I envied their connection.
They live in this $300 van---that just barely runs.
Sleeping together in this makeshift bed. I searched my mind to say or do something useful for them.
(though he did not ask)
Here's what I came up with: I found something to admire--his walking stick-(-look closely--that's a real rattlesnake skin. He told me how he skinned and made it fit.) I also gave him some gas money and told him he could live rent free at Quartzsite and at the Slabs. Congratulated him on his courage to break free and search for a better life out west---told him a movie was made about this kind of adventure --- That it's hard to starve in America---that a really good life can be had for cheap.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES; I weep for him---needlessly insecure---woefully uneducated---unconnected except with his dog---not in control--nearly broke--without medical or dental care--adrift in an uncaring society. He is indeed "LOST"---to himself---and to us. How ironic-- that the man has done for the dog what he cannot do for himself. I believe that lost people---like lost dogs---need and deserve rescuing. I rage at the "sink or swim" philosophy of the political right as well as the bleeding heart EXPENSIVE sentimentality of the left. We who travel the low road know a NATION-SAVING secret: That an adventurous, character-building--- mobile---low consumption---friendship connected---lifestyle can be had for peanuts.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
SHE WAS IN THE AREA---SHE SAID----(a few hundred miles is next door for her) and might drop in to say hello----meet her at Blythe, Ca. airport----and Oh yes---think of someplace you'd like to see from the air. We hope to persuade her to stay the night and tour Quartzsite on the ground. (We succeeded.)
Here's a town I'd love to see from the air---Quartzsite, Az---a nothing of a place--seen from interstate ten.
Not much more --seen from the exit ramp---looking North.
Or glancing South
So with a companion ( Laurie---Middle) I hurry to the Blythe Airport just as Joyce--my nation spanning aviatrix friend---glides in from the skies in her airplane--named Path. (remember her from Montana adventure? http://mobilecodgers.blogspot.com/2010/08/friends-in-high-places.html We told her we wanted to see Quartzsite.
First timers---Laurie-- get the front seat---those are the rules.
The Mighty? Colorado river.
We direct her to our Campsite--5 miles outside town--Our friend Kathy( kathylundborg.wordpress.com) --fellow blogger and adventurer--- from Montana--- waves from the ground--that's my rig on the left. Note the 4 chairs lined up--facing west--we like to watch sunset together.
A closer view of Kathy and her little dog Josie. Check out her blog: http://kathylundborg.wordpress.com/
And on to Quartzsite---You may remember that I have waxed poetically about this wierd and wonderful town---its population swelling from a few hundred permanent residents to about a hundred thousand when campers and vendors converge in Jan and Feb:
"Something grand and dear is happening here
the world could not have expected:
The mobile domicile---and a new lifestyle
In Quartzsite are being perfected.
The sprouting seed of a brand new breed---
Living simple and light and lean;
Living happy and free, like wild Cherokee
In cozy little living machines.
A life that is bold, with oneself in control;
And with clusters of friends in affection;
reinventing the tribe---helping revive
our long lost natural connection.
Choosing sunlights' glow over ice and snow;
Acceptance over sorrow;
Adventurous games over riches and fame;
And today---over iffy tomorrow!"
That's just one fourth of Quartzsite's vendors in an area named Tyson Wells. Note the huge blank area on the left: Just last week a giant circus-type tent covered it with about 200 or so venders of RV-related products--and lots of other stuff. Here's a better look at it: http://lifeontheopenroad.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-02-10T10:49:00-08:00&max-results=1&reverse-paginate=true
Here's my only photo of it's interior..
But I digress---flying south three miles---can you see those hundreds of rigs scattered across the desert. This area is called La Posa South. An equally large assembly of rigs could be found in La Posa North and also in 3 other BLM areas (Bureau of Land Management---a big name out west) These are pay areas ($180 for 7 months) with services of water, dump and trash. An equal number of campers prefer the free boondocking in outlying areas---using rv pit stop stations for necessary services.
Flying south--that's hwy 95 ---stretching 80 miles to Yuma, Az. Laurie has a yen to see the KOFA mountains up close.
And we do
Enroute home--Our pilot--is intrigued by this old and snakelike road winding across an obscure pass--decided to follow it--to wherever it was going.
Turns out it leads back to Blythe.
We learned later that this airfield was a major WWII air station for bomber training.
Wanna know more about our pilot's adventures? http://www.agrannysplaceisinthecockpit.blogspot.com/
This map shows the states she's landed in---(doesn't count unless you land--she said.)
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: This day's adventure is a great metaphor for one of my fundamental convictions: FRIENDS CAN LIFT YOU UP----emotionally---intellectually--in character development--and goal furtherance.
I am currently inviting a number of friends to join me in a summer adventure----in which our travels
are enriched by adding precisely this layer of INTENT. Laurie has written a beautiful essay showing how this can be done. (will share it with you sometime)
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
I FOUND THEM IN THE HILLS OUTSIDE QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA. Perhaps 50 of them---men and women---single and coupled---mostly young---all were mobile---dwelling in vans, cars, trailers and motor homes. Assembled here for the "RUBBER TRAMP RENDEZVOUS"---A yearly event. Like mountain men (and women) of yesteryear, they are extremely independent---wandering solitarily most times---but gathering now for comraderie and inspiration.
Down there--just 4 miles from town they gather---separating themselves as you might expect of mountain men---and women---according to their personal need for space.
Some "VANDWELLERS" are here---a nationwide internet connected group numbering 8000.
want to know more? http://www.topsite.com/goto/carliving.info
I stayed a few days with them---noted that they rise and slumber by no schedule---that they enjoy themselves without shame--camp without charge---inspire one another to higher adaptiveness--assist whenever asked.
Each morning at 10 a different seminar was presented. This one on the latest in communication equipment. Others included camping strategies, cooking, temporary work, jewelry making, l.e.d. lighting, batteries/solar power etc.
Nightime found them gathering around a fire.
Dogs were always welcome---added to the fun.
I accepted an invitation to do a seminar---did a tin can discussion---anonymous questions collected in a can are addressed by the group. I think I established that collectively we are vastly wiser than separately.
A collective soup called Hobo stew---not bad.
Meet Bob Wells--host of this event and founder of a terrific website : http://cheaprvliving.com/ (my stealth trailer is still featured there) A bronze plaque may someday celebrate his contribution to rational living.
A remarkable lady--Sue Anne with a big-time yen for adventure---whose life style should inspire many---she lives and travels quite comfortably in this Prius hybrid car---months at a time---boldly spanning the entire US---rarely paying for a camping spot. I asked about sleeping arrangements.
She sleeps here---quite comfortably---and likewise has clever bath and cooking solutions. When she lies down---she "disappears" from casual sight and so is super stealthy---and never needs to worry up a place to camp. The world is her oyster---Pay heed Michele and every soul yearning to breathe free and adventure cheaply---here is living proof that it can be done. Want to know more: http://suanneonline.blogspot.com/2010/02/prius-rv.html
Meet Laurie whose rig Is named the Casbah for its cozy, colorful,seductive, luxuriousness. She invited me for tea---sang me a song--gave me candy (see her selection of sweets attached to the ceiling).
On the road a mere 3 weeks--but wonderously comfortable with herself and this new adventure.I don't need to tell you I was thoroughly charmed.
She demonstrates a "metaphysical" device called a Buddha board: Write or draw on it and slowly it will vanish----reminding one of the impermanence of everything.RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Oh my heart is light---All these young people embracing Simpliciy, Frugality, Freedom, Mobility----a sufficiency mentality. PATHFINDERS---WAY-SHOWERS.
HOW RADICALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE INVESTMENT BANKER WHO WOULD FEEL OK COLLECTING A BILLION DOLLARS FOR A DAY'S WORK.
Here, sweet people, is the antidote for greed.