Saturday, March 08, 2014


SENSIBLE HOBOS--VAGRANTS---HOMELESS FOLKS  SHOULD LIVE IN YUMA---DURING THE WINTER.  Because they can!  Right here---within a mile of me in every direction--is Hobo heaven in the winter.  Warm weather, free camping, accessible water and food, and assorted charity services are within walking distance.  And to put frosting on their cake:  A convenient train rolls sloooowly through every 45 minutes or so.  Easy enough to hop aboard and go elsewhere to escape summer's heat.  And thus for a hundred years Yuma has been hobo heaven.  I'll show you!
I've shown you this guy's house of sticks on another post.  I come again---note that his pile of stuff has increased.

I bring Wayne Wirs with me this date---note the additional security measures: lockable gate.

Some days later I intercept the builder/owner---meet Glen---on his way to work.  He earns $8 an hour waving a sign.  He remembered me---we chatted awhile.  He represents the best of the bush people: Has built a home---keeps pets--earns a living--is intelligent.  This day he briefly explained the bell shaped curve theory as it applies to homeless people.
This is an old lady whiling away the day in nearby Winterhaven---did not discover her lair.
I told this guy he looked like Geronimo.  He seemed pleased.
This cute lady emerged from the bushes one day---could not find her camp.

This guy only comes here to sleep---has a good tarp for rain protection.

I followed this trail 

To this camp.  Owner gone.  As you can see---their stuff is highly vulnerable to theft.

See that bicycle trail?  It circles around and enters an opening in that patch of trees.  I followed it ...

to this camp.   Nobody home.

Took this shot into his tent.  See that book?  It's John Updike's  TOWARD THE END OF TIME.   Resolved to come talk to this guy.
And I did!   Meet Larry---A very amiable and interesting fellow.  Retired---enjoys solitude--flies in from New York each year---stays till April---then flies home--leaving his bike and camping stuff here.  Spends his time reading, enjoying his solitude, visiting the library and interesting sites.  He has the means to live conventionally----just likes this style.
Visited this camp in the bushes---the smallest of them all---tucked away in the willows.
It belongs to this very tall guy.  Brad and I pass him almost every morning on our walk.  Have not gotten his story.  We see him sitting alone on a rock--sipping coffee.
One day a few miles away, I saw this guy.

Of course I engaged him.  Said he has everything he needs in those bundles---is in no distress---just enjoys seeing the country.  Quizzed more deeply he told me that wherever he goes the cops check him out --said he didn't mind.

Took this shot a few nights ago---a middle age lady lives in her minivan--parking at the casino at night--spending her days in the parks.

One day I went upriver a mile or so and discovered this wikieup frame along the banks of the Colorado River.  Someone once lived here awhile.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I have many other examples of bush people but this is a fair sample.
Here's what I think about this low-end lifestyle:
1. It's not the worst way to live: Welfare hotels and Missions are worse.  To live in the grip of religious people or bureaucrats is lowest-- because they provide no sense of freedom or self reliance.  Many of the bush people have sampled them---and said no thanks.
2.  There are bushes everywhere that you can pitch your tent in.  Anyone can buy a fairly comfortable house/tent for under $50.  There is no good excuse for wretchedness or dreadful discomfort.  No one need live in the rain.  (Once I lived in the bushes near Arlington, Wa. for a week---enjoyed myself---made friends.
3. The most surprising discovery is that bush people don't often camp together for the company and protection it would offer.  The six camps nearest me did not socialize with the others.  "Hobo Jungles" it seems are fading away.
4. One can live well in the bushes for $100 a month. 

 I predict that one day we will pay people to not work----JUST LIKE WE PAY FARMERS NOT TO FARM.  Mechanization has fulfilled its promise----there are not enough jobs to go round.  Let's pay people to get out of the work force---BUT NOT MUCH----saaay 3 to 4 hundred a month to willing mavericks who promise not to have kids and live the free life---just bumming around.


Dragonfly said...

A very lovely post about the wonderfulness and resourcefulness of people. I did find it interesting that the bush people did not seem to band together for safety.

Karyn Lee said...

Very interesting, good post for sure. I often wonder why homeless people don't congregate to warmer climates during the winter too. Seems so logical. We up here in Canada see them in the coldest of temps dealing with the lack of heat, clothing and shelter all the time.
I also found it interesting that they don't form a mini-town for the protection. I guess sometimes they just need the solitude. No harm in that.

Anonymous said...

I think that we are already paying people not to work....
Interesting post. I wonder the reasons for the anti social behavior.

BuckeyePatti said...

Very interesting post and pictures! Especially the man who flies in from New York to "temporarily" live this way.

Anonymous said...

The New York guy may be on the leading edge of getting away from the interference of modern technology - phones, computers, internet - which is almost impossible outside of living in the bushes.

bayrider said...

Americans work crazy long hours compared to the rest of the world, and the two weeks vacation is preposterous. A lot more jobs are about to be abolished with the next generation of industrial robots. The best idea I've heard is to cut all job hours back by 20-30 percent and thus hire more folks to make up the difference. More personal time would make a lot more sense than more cash, no government can inflate away the the value of your free time!

Ed said...

We are paying people not to work and it is much more than your suggested $300-400. However much they get paid it will never be enough and when the non-workers become the majority they will simply vote themselves a rise. That will then turn the worker minority into slaves that will eventually revolt. It is not only the rich that are greedy, the poor are also.

Gayle Maria said...

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Your road I enter upon and look around,
I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas'd, the illiterate person, are not denied;

Your paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!
I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.

Walt Whitman

Anonymous said...

I like your comparison to farmers. An economic floor given to every body that needs it, would serve us all.
It indicates that we actually care, and are willing to look after each other.
There is a shocking number of mentally ill among the homeless, and as such, they don't have the resources to order their lives in convent places like Yuma. But, feeling that somebody cares how they are can make a dent in their depression/addiction/etc.
Another comparison I like is that for an estimated $160 billion a year, for 10 years, we could eliminate grinding poverty around the world...that's 1/4th of our yearly Defense spending.