Sunday, April 19, 2015


I THINK I'M READY---HAVE BEEN HIGHLY SOCIAL FOR SOME WEEKS--- NOW I WILL GO DOWN THE HILL FROM PAYSON TILL THE TEMPERATURE FEELS RIGHT AND SETTLE IN SOMEWHERE. A companion will accompany me for a day or so---then must go meet her family.  I will be left alone with my chattering mind.
Beeline highway--Az 87--is one of the great highways in America.  4 lane expressway through beautiful mountains---with many opportunities to stop, sightsee or boondock camp.

Our first effort to find a campsite came to an unexpected halt--the road to Sunshine is blocked with a huge pile of dirt--for no obvious reason.

Beyond the dirt--a perfectly good road continues.  We are not discouraged--there are many more opportunities.

We pick this side road near mm217--go out a mile or so and settle into a relatively flat pull off.  Can you see us?--(middle slightly right)
Here's a closer shot.  This is a 5 star boondocking spot. 1.scenic 2. free 3. flat enough 4.quiet 5 has cell service.

The view out my door.  

We walk the area left and right---up and down.

She doesn't allow picts of her---so here I am---rockhugger...

And stalk holder of a century plant. Fascinating plant---with a lifespan of 10 to 30 years--during which it quietly stores up energy for a grand finale.  When conditions are right, it spends all the energy it has saved in one glorious blooming stalk raising---sometimes 30 feet or more--then dies. The stalk grows very rapidly.  I fancied that I could feel it growing in my hand. Read about it here.

And then---I'm all alone--fully stocked with essentials---nothing particularly nagging at me to be done.  It felt glorious---unstructured time to fill anyway I choose.  Started reading a novel.

Went for a walk---saw this near my rig---always a sobering discovery.  Can you see what it is?  It's the track of a large rattlesnake crossing the road. I wondered if you could tell which way it was moving from this pattern.  I'm guessing a good snake man would know.

Poppies---my favorite flower--(mainly because that is my nickname). They are everywhere.

As are these magenta cactus flowers

Then--one of these--like a poppy anomaly. 

And then one day a strange creative impulse seized me.  I began to do some long delayed projects--like installing led mood lighting up front. 

And replacing this worn out dry-erase board that will no longer erase.  Guess I've cleaned it once too often with alcohol.

I've had this spare for 2 years---finally put it up---took all of 5 minutes. That's a picture of my mother.
(I reflected on a poem she had me memorize when I was a boy_

As I was walking down the street the other day
I heard a little urchin to his comrade turn and say:
Jimmy let me tell you--I'd be happy as a clam
If I could be the fellow that my mother thinks I am.

She thinks I'm a wonder--she just knows her little lad
could never mix with anything that was ugly, mean or bad.
And then I was on a roll.  Here's a problem that has annoyed me perhaps 20 years:  the thump thump of that vent in variable winds--taking, then releasing its slack.  There must be a million rv vents thump thumping like mine.  Suddenly I saw how to solve it.  Took me 10 minutes to build two of these for my two vents.  Can you see the solution?  A chord attached to the thing and wedged inside..
I fashioned  the wedge from plastic.

And that's not all---I managed to do a long delayed blog entry: (the previous one) It takes me about 3 hours to write an easy one.  The hardest part--ironically is the title)

As quickly as I was delighted with solitude---Just as quickly I was done with it.  I was gone in 10 minutes flat. Drove to Mesa--slept in a field beside Mckellips rd. 

Delacroix (famous Fr. artist):  "in solitude ones inner voices become audible"
Kierkegaard: "there's great value in being idle in ones own company".
Bertrand Russell:  "the rewards of fruitful monotony"
Philips: "productive solitude is essential to the healthy psyche"
(thanks Anita for the reference)

Thursday, April 16, 2015


THINK I'LL EXPERIMENT A BIT.  FIRST, I'LL JOIN A SOCIAL SWIRL---MY MOBILE TRIBE/FRIENDS---THE WINs. (Wandering Individual's Network: I know where they are. And after that I'll go do some solitude.
My mobile tribe is down there---Lake Roosevelt, Az.

I arrive about 4pm when they gather for "circle"---share the events of the day--discuss anything that needs discussing.
Then, this night at 7 we gather for a movie---courtesy of Joanne who'se rig contains a pop out movie/TV  screen.
One of our people is demonstrating his latest toy--an electric scooter.
One day I went sightseeing with a companion.  This bridge is famous for something---I forget what.
The Lake is the main water supply for Phoenix.
That's Roosevelt Dam.

often we gather around a fire and chat.

Sometimes plan a pot luck.

Eat together.These are wonderful people and good friends.
A private gathering for a special interest.

THEN ONE DAY----DRAMA.  A rattler wandered to the doorsteps of a nice lady.
Some brave guy put a pot over it.  Some insecure lady put a heavy stone on the pot.
Then someone called for a hero.
He came
He conquered---compassionately---walking the creature a quarter mile away--releasing it unharmed.
My friend Jon showed up with his new super compact camper---a Ford Transit cargo truck--beautifully engineered for comfortable, stealthy, economical travel.  I fell in love---I want one--I could span the nation--sleep almost anywhere--undetected.  (Inspiration --one of the benefits of the social swirl)
From the rear --pull out stove on the left --fold down work space

looking in the side door --bed on top--etc

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  All in All---this is the finest RV  travel group in America. (maybe you can join them.  Google and inquire for details)  For more than 20 years they have polished their culture---discovering where to go--how to relate.  And it is very inexpensive to camp with them.  This beautiful campground cost only $3 per night.  Many of their camping places are free.  I have camped with them on and off for 20 years.  Members are free to come and go at will.  Their 6 month circuits stops are published on the internet.
The downside to the social swirl is burnout.  The attraction of group activity is strong and ----not wishing to miss anything---you push yourself----until---you begin to crave downtime---even solitude..  

NEXT UP:  I'LL TRY A SPELL OF SOLITUDE IN THE MOUNTAINS.---see  what that does to me and discover my personal balance.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I recently had my truck repaired at a highly recommended business.  Sure enough, the whole experience was satisfactory---and I began to wonder why.  So I decided to to look "beneath the hood" Try to determine why this businesses made me feel I was in competent and fair hands---when others do not. My first clue came when I asked to speak to the boss.  They looked puzzled--as tho the term was unfamiliar.  Finally I met Jerry-- who introduced himself as the manager.  Turns out he is the founder and owner but I didn't learn this till later.  Now that I know him better, I think he considers himself  the coach of a team.  But first--the story!

Inquiries around town directed me to this business as the experts whom other shops send their difficult cases to. It's located at 3743 South Country Club,  Tucson, Az. Phone 520-884-0217

I made my way there for a 10 AM appointment.

Met Joe--the drive shaft specialist. He listened to my tale of woe--nodded knowingly--drove my truck,  lifted it and confirmed his suspicions: Drive shaft trouble.
He removed it and showed me the trouble.

Showed me exactly how the thing functions.  It was about then that I decided I would investigate further to discover the heart of good business practices. I asked to speak to the boss.

Turns out--there is no "boss".  (no one wants to be bossed)  Instead there is a team member who functions as a sort of coach--maybe he could answer my questions.  So I met Jerry.
And so he did---answer my questions-- while I took notes. I'm looking for a big, overall answer to what makes a great business--one that inspires confidence in the customers' mind--gets the job done--satisfies the customer with competent and contented employees.

Jerry takes me on a tour of the shop.  This impressive machine can handle even huge driveshafts.

And this one does very precise machining.
 these two diagnose electronic problems.
I think this one completely changes transmission fluid leaving no residue. 
From simple problems to very complex ones like this --they tackle them all.
Notice that the floor is clean---the whole shop was clean--as was the waiting room and bathroom.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Days later---after some reflection--I think I have the answer to my big question:  WHAT IS AT THE HEART OF EFFECTIVE BUSINESSES---In the sense that a director is at the heart of a movie.
I think that at the heart of any effective business  is  PERSONALITY.  Think Apple and Steve Jobs!  Think Wal-mart and Sam Walton! McDonalds and Ray Kroc! Even military effectiveness and Gen George Patton or even The Mogol army and Genghis Khan. (pulsating personalities all)  ( you can see  this illustrated in the movie:  "Master and Commander " with Russell Crow.)

We are drawn to---and will rally around an evolved personality---with charisma, vision, intent. 
(truth be known--we hunger to affiliate with such people--think Teddy Roosevelt)

As Jerry showed me around his business I paid attention to how the workers reacted to his presence.  They paid no particular attention--they did not fear him--were focused on their jobs. They were indeed a team and each seemingly felt himself an integral part of the whole.  I'm guessing they all felt fairly compensated for their work.
Jerry took the time to tell me much that I didn't know--how the demise of trade school programs had caused employers everywhere to adopt a defacto apprentice system because finding already skilled employees is rare.
Sooo-- he "hires the attitude and trains the skills".  And he has no mere mechanics (people who will do what they are told) working here.  Instead, every member of this team is a TECHNICIAN. (they grasp a whole situation and take responsibility for it.) Joe--was certainly a technician.

Jerry is involved in the community in a variety of ways---most visibly by sharing his expertise on FM radio 104.1 at 6 Am Saturdays.
He left me with this to think about: "You can't out give the community."

Friday, April 03, 2015


Friends who accept, admire, appreciate and help you live your dreams.
Friends who align their energy and imagination with yours to accomplish what you alone could hardly do.
Friends who's cooperation lets you live the efficient, sustainable, comfortable life of greater leisure.
A thousand such efforts are in progress right now.  To check out those near you:  and
I recently visited a prime example south of Globe, Az: Spirit Community
I sent them an email identifying myself--expressing interest--and was invited to visit. This kitchen seems to be the heart of things. 

Delicious bread was being made.

Meet Don--my host--and prime architect here for 17 years.  We had much to talk about because I also lived communally for 17 years---in three separate communities.  I could relate to the joys and challenges of  building a mini society.
An overview of their 14 acres---1000 foot road frontage on land that tapers up a mountain.
Gardens of course---several of them.
And the whole place smelled like heaven--orange blossoms in bloom.
Swimming pool---well maintained.  Plenty of delicious deep well water for everyone's use.
A well designed fire pit. Saturday night it and the nearby sauna blazed away under the stars.
I know you're curious---here's the answer.  Yes they use biodegradable toilets.  After using toilet paper, they sprinkle leaf debris from that bucket to create (eventually) compost. The place did not smell bad.
A house on a hill--the kids preferred it.
A hobbit house under the earth.  I would have preferred it.

I shared a few meals with them.  Delicious--and the artist lady on my left was fascinating.
The group (of 14) make money by hosting retreats for groups.  Here is a lovely stage for rituals or whatever groups do.
I gather this is an alternative name for the place.
All visitors are encouraged to read this--a marvelous document of condensed wisdom--no doubt representing thousands of real life community experiences.  I will enlarge it for your convenience.  
The Co-Creators Agreements
Be Mindful
My intent is to be myself, to be authentic, and to be fully present.
Realize our Potential
My commitment is to realize my full potential and support others in doing the same
Follow my Guidance
I agree to attune with spirit and follow the calling of my soul on behalf of the well -being of the whole.
Communicate with Integrity
I agree to tell my truth with compassion for myself and others.
Act with Integrity
I agree to keep my agreements and will do my best to follow my heart in making commitments.
Deep Listening
I agree to listen respectfully to the communication of others and tune in to their deepest meaning.
Honor One Another
I agree to honor each person’s process, acknowledging that everyone, including myself, is making the best possible choice or decision we are capable of in that moment.
Appreciate Our Contributions
I agree to take responsibility for asking for and receiving acknowledgement and for acknowledging others.
Honor Our Differences
I agree to come from a sense of cooperation and caring in my interactions with others, and from an understanding that objectives are often the same even though methods for achieving them may differ. I honor the diversity of all life.
Take Responsibility
I agree to take responsibility for my creations, my reactions, my experience and my relationships.
Maintain Resonance
I agree to take the time to establish rapport and then to re-connect with anyone with whom I feel out of harmony as soon as it may be appropriate.
Resolve Problems Constructively
I agree to offer at least one solution any time I present a problem. I agree to take problems, complaints and upsets to the person(s) with whom I can resolve them, at the earliest opportunity. I agree not to criticize or complain to someone who cannot do something about my complaint, and I will redirect others to do the same.
Go for Excellence
I agree to support others and to be supported in participating at the highest level of excellence.
Learn from Experience
I agree to do my best to learn from my experiences.
Accept Imperfections
I Intend to embrace and accept the imperfections of myself and others.
Be a Leader
I agree to foster an environment of genuine collaboration, in which all people, including myself, feel empowered to express our individual and collective potential.
Service to Others
I am willing to open my heart, still my mind and be in compassionate service to all life.
Re-evaluate My Commitment
I agree to choose and re-choose to participate in this community. It is my choice
Lighten Up
While honoring all these agreements and taking them seriously, I aspire to do so with an attitude of light heartedness.

We recognize that aligning in a shared agreement field is essential in order to cultivate and maintain harmonious relationships and well being. The above agreements were first established by the Geneva Group and have been used by Global Family teams and other groups throughout the world for the past several decades.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I don't think you can be a whole person without a supportive community.  Healthy personalities always have a "fan club".  It may seems easier to turn inward and be a loner--but in the long run it isn't.  I engage loners often and can report that they are almost always angry curmudgeons--lacking in social skills--joyless. Yes I understand that you can "lose" yourself in a tribe--squander lots of time---dilute your spirit---sooooo---(I advise myself) to FIND THE BALANCE.