Sunday, November 09, 2014

SHORT STORIES FROM THE ROAD

CATCHING UP WITH MYSELF.  I write from the infamous Slabs near Niland California.  I last reported from the remotes of California.  I've made my way to Quartzsite, Az and traded in two defective solar panels for 2 good ones. (Sure enough Koyocera honored its 25 year warranty---I've had them about 15 years.  The lightening strike only 10 feet away at the Grand Canyon might have got those two and I never noticed) I discovered that I can function quite well with only one of my 3 operational.  Then I went to Yuma for dental work---had a minor operation to prepare for a third implanted tooth.  Now I will go back to cover happenings I think are worth sharing.

  
I begin with this lovely US Army ring found on a side road near Mono Lake, Ca. It looks like some lady was wearing it around her neck on a beaded necklace.  I would like to return it to its owner. Call me at 602-402-9511--and tell me what's written inside and I'll send it to you.
My summer companion through Nevada, Idaho and Montana rendezvoused with me briefly at Mono Lake.  We found this great free campsite high on a mountain road.

The road seemed pointless till we stopped this truck and got the explanation.  Turns out that buried under that mountain road is a large water pipeline---the upper part of the California aqueduct taking water from Lee Vining creek to Los Angeles.  He showed us where the pipe was inserted through a mountain to get at the precious water. 

This was the most expensive gas during my entire summer trip:  Bridgeport, Ca.

The story of this unusual lake and its critical role as nursery for gulls and "filling station" for migrating ducks and geese is worth knowing.  A protracted legal battle saved it from extinction.
Its waters once topped the tufa formations behind me.  

That's me at Lone Pine Visitor center showing the 10 ft size of the pipe that transports the natural water of the Owens Valley to Los Angeles.  Now Las Vegas has decided to do a similar thing---transport via pipeline the water from Northern Nevada to their thirsty city.

My next adventure was to go explore a mysterious dark forest out in the middle of a vast dry lake.
This is the road to it.


And there it is.  I spotted it some days ago from the exit of Burro Schmidt tunnel.



On the way out I stopped to investigate this abandoned cabin with its assorted structures like this fine table.  It's obvious that the builder had a get-away-from it all dream.  But they never used it.  The cabin was never completed.  Very often I see this sort of thing---most often incomplete and unused. I guess energy flags and the dream dies.

This railroad prevents driving out there.  So I go find another way in.
It's a long way around but I eventually found a crossing and drove back. This was as close as I could drive to it. 
Walked the rest of the way.  A dead cat--the mystery thickens.
Finally I penetrate the forest down this spooky road.
To this odd thing at its center.  I have no clue.

And here's another mystery.  What is this thing?  It's  a ball of something alive---some kind of an anomaly.  I let it be.
This house foundation is about all that remains of a once thriving town named Saltdale.  By the weirdest of coincidences I happen to know the person born in that house about 40 years ago. Hi Mary--does it stir memories to see it?

On the far western edge of this dry lake is the unlikeliest of communities named Cantil.  It's like living in the Sahara desert---houses are nearly covered by the sand.  I stopped and asked a resident why (in heavens name) people would live here?  He gave me a beer and took a long time to tell me he didn't know-----said his uncle left him the house and he needed to live some place. He begged me to stay the night.  I declined.
His house.

About 20 miles South is California City--a place listed in the encyclopedia of forlorn places.
So I went there and spent the night in a vacant lot.

Turns out, it's not so forlorn any more----this is part of a huge golf course surrounded by fine homes.

Now I will end with the titilating story I promised.  This picture adorns the wall of a small town museum which shall remain unnamed.  Long years ago I visited and was totally smitten with a docent there.  As we chatted my heart raced--dear God how I lusted for that woman.  Nevertheless, I controlled myself and left. But I called back later and confessed my feelings.  Amazingly she felt the same. So eventually we met in a distant town for a night of pleasure---then went our separate ways--for she was engaged to another.
So recently I was in that town again and stopped at the museum out of sentimentality.  Damned if she wasn't still there---this time wearing her wedding ring.  I said nothing--just walked about--debating whether to reveal myself.  There was a guy there---might have been her husband.  I kept silent and eventually started to leave.  At the door a friendly voice said: "Thanks for stopping by Mr. Vining."
I glanced back at the impishly smiling lady who held one finger on the register where I signed in.  I guess I will never know if she recognized me or routinely acknowledges the guest.  I smiled back and said: "my pleasure"  

PREVIEW OF COMING CONFESSIONS:  My family says of me that I have wasted my life---and It may be true.  So what the hell---I might as well tell some shocking truths about how I have wasted it.
At a minimum you may find it interesting.  I will begin soon to report 19 things I have done that you will find hard to believe. Each, however, could be proved if absolutely necessary.  For a teaser, I will tell you that I once wrestled a bear.

14 comments:

Rob said...

You covered a lot of ground today! From a creek bearing your name to a very lonely person buried in sand with nowhere else to go.
From the pipes carrying the water for countless lawns to what may have been a cistern is a deserted grove.
From a foundation where an acquaintance started life to the return to an old encounter.

Just another day or two taken one day at a time.

Randy said...

Rob: Nice summary of my events. I think it was just 2 days and you've hit on the big attraction of being mobile and free and curious: richness of events. Some people can only look forward to the weekend.
Perhaps the one who wins the game of life is not the one with the most toys---but the one who's experienced the most joys.

Karen L said...

Can't wait to read about the 19!

Bon vivant said...

So many times I've not made that 'call'. Some day soon I hope to break that habit.

Steven said...

The SLABs are dead. I don't say this lightly but do happen to know what's transpired within the last two years and the place won't be the mecca that it's been. Everyone should go out and enjoy it for the anomaly that it's been while they can. What can I say, people sometimes do suck!

Nancy1340 said...

If you have a Facebook account and post about the ring on it we that have FB can "share" it. It has been proven a very good way to get the word spread around about things like this.

Upriverdavid said...

She remembered you and you brought back the smile you both had way back then.
Ah...I think that is way cool...Better than her tossing something at you..eh?
David

Anonymous said...

Sad that so many families have to label others depending on what their definition of 'wasting your life' rather than looking at the values each human has.

Richard Starbuck said...

Pay no attention to your families ridicule. You have generously shared your knowledge of a life better lived, a better way. I am greatful for all you have done and am glad that you and many other freemen like you are here to teach all us sinners the way. Bless you my brother.

Randy said...

Thank you Anonymous and Starbuck: You make my day.

Brad Maybury said...

I agree with both Anonymous and Starbuck. And you've done much more to enrich my life by your example, zest and friendship than most all of the typical rat-racers. A true modern day Thoreau.

dr.dave said...

Actually, its they (your family) who have "wasted" their lives, just doing the birth/school/work/death thing. You broke free, when so many like myself only dream about it. Your blog reminds me of an old Waterboys song from the 80s:


Man gets tired
Spirit don't
Man surrenders
Spirit won't

Man crawls
Spirit flies
Spirit lives
When man dies

Man seems
Spirit is
Man dreams
The spirit lives

Man is tethered
Spirit free
What spirit
Is man can be

What spirit
Is the man can be

Jim said...

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You continue to inspire me -- keep up the good work! I turn 62 on 10/27/15 and I'll be skipping outta' here like a flat rock on a smooth creek. My fiance (five years younger) is quitting her job to join me! (As you probably know already, it's tough to find a good female partner who thinks RVing fulltime sounds like a good idea.)
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We'll be returning to Idaho and the Great NorthWest each summer to stay connected with family and friends (living for FREE in the backyard of our rental house) and then buggin' out each fall at the first hint of cold. Come spring (?May?) we'll be moving into our 28.5' fifth wheel fulltime for six months while we still have jobs; using the extra income (no rent; no truck payment) to get our rig and house ready to roll. Hope to finally meet you out there in the real world someday!
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sail4free
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