Sunday, November 23, 2008


These are good friends who have scattered themselves to enjoy solitude.
The stealth trailer "claims" its hundred acres of solitude.
My friend Pete, a very clever engineer. His is the most fine tuned rig in boondocking history. Worthy of a separate blog. He sits, soaking in the sun. I kept this respectful distance.
General George Patton commanded war games here 68 years ago in preparation for invading north africa. The evidence is everywhere.
120 miles west of Phoenix and 5 miles north on hwy 95 is
La Paz valley (valley of peace)–well named because here is where mobile people come to get away from it all. Photos suggest how we scatter into solitude–to pull ourselves together–when we are weary of groupiness. I claim my spot and settle in—I’m deliciously alone in the desert. I tune in my electronics–locate the tv satellite, turn on my cell phone, place my verizon air card in the window. (4 bar reception–good!) My satellite radio is always ready. Yes, I’m here for solitude and yet I’m connected to the whole world. I can theoretically interact with anyone in the world, but I don’t want to interact PERSONALLY with anyone for a while. Most, I presume can identify with the paradox.

Next day, curious how alone I am, I scan the horizon with my binoculars and surprise, I can see 4 of my friends rigs scattered widely , each separated by a quarter mile or so.

Probably they’re here as I am to LET NOTHINGNESS HAVE ITS WAY WITH ME. I welcome it like I often welcome the darkness letting it slowly envelope me like water wraps around a sinking ship. Oh how sweet! Perhaps it’s a form of cocooning–like enclosed insects we are self contained and hopefully we too are quietly transforming. Time, quiet and solitude “knits up our raveled sleeve of care.”

I don’t demean the social hubub I have left–it’s been good for me. But like a trip to the marketplace, I come “home to myself” to sort and savor my gains. Four days later I’m out of my cozy cocoon, refreshed and ready to go venturing..

This wonderful place is no secret. I show you the red highway from Quartzsite, Az to Bouse; 30 square miles of free clean desert. Come find your place, your peace–and heal.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


A REAL-LIFE HOLE-IN-THE-WALLHere is a photo of the original. History buffs will know that is located in Johnson county, Wyoming, in the Big Horn mountains--its most famous residents, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Not so well known is the fact that several outlaw gangs sheltered there simultaneously in relative harmony, with codes of conduct understood and enforced. Truly "honor among thieves." One outlaw gang comprised 75 armed and mounted men--a veritable army. Also not well known is the fact that the fortress was never penetrated by the law despite several attempts by determined posses. All were turned back, often with casualties. Amazingly, the outlaws held on to their sanctuary for 50 years. It faded from history by 1910.
Spread out below me is a real life band of "outlaws" taking refuge in Arizona's version of the infamous criminal fortress. Our "crime" is trespassing on state land. I daresay that only I actually bought a permit and am legal. The others know all about the forgiveness/permission paradox and are not worried. We are camped on the outer lip of the canyon because cell reception is good here AND because the inner canyon has gotten a bit scary. Unsavory and dangerous characters are said to live "in there."
And of course I want to go "in there." This nice lady pointed the way and described the dangers.
This hole-in-the-wall, like that in Wyoming, is a narrow one road in or out canyon.
Barely inside a hundred yards, I encountered this unlikely occupant, an attractive lady camping with her dog. She's on a cross country adventure to the coast. I approached, chatted, and told her my mission, and she----surprise----wanted to go with me. Together we journeyed.
At an abandoned campsite we found this clock. Stolen, abandoned loot?
Notice the semi hidden camper in mid picture.

This hole-in-the-wall is full of surprises.
This "outlaw" is obviously a minimalist camper. He waved--friendly like.
But later as we were leaving, things turned sour for him. He was required to squat under guard while another officer searched his vehicle. Unlike Wyoming, the law has penetrated here.
Denizens of outlaw canyon. There's a good story here but I don't have time to tell it.
Ah, but mostly the campers here are respectable, adventurous, warm-hearted folks. These were curious to tour my stealthy trailer. They listened to one of my poems and gave me a friendly bon voyage.

Marcy, it turns out is a very interesting lady, a practitioner of the arcane art of quantum touch. ( She tried in vain to explain. In return for computer time and wine she brought me up to speed on couch surfing (a hospitality exchange network) and she enriched my writing with two memorable phrases: “frightened people who throw their fears on me” and “thinking from their television set.”

I think I will not reveal the location of this desperado canyon. My friend Glen chastises me often for betraying boondocker secrets. I will just say that it is accessible from Az hwy 95 between Needles and Parker.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Camped "in the seam"
Flew in for breakfast
Plane on main street
Every house has one

There it is below: Calnevari, a town of 278 literally winged souls. I was puzzled as you would be to see a town this far out in the desert with no obvious raison detre. (reason for being) It’s 9 miles south of Searchlight Nevada, (a one casino, speed trap of a town the world would never mention, were it not the home of Senator Harry Reid, senate majority leader.) I was headed toward Laughlin, NV.

Tired and curious when I reached Calnevari, I called it a day, settling into a SEAM–one of my favorite tricks for free camping: parking exactly midway between two enterprises so that each, if they notice you at all, considers that you have business with the other. I’ve celebrated this strategy in verse:

Let us travel more boldly,
Range into urban locales;
Dare to camp in the city
Outside campground corrals.

Enjoy its treasures and splendors
And when comes time for dreams,
slip away from no-no land
into the city seams.

Seams are iffy zones
Where oversight is rare.
Sleep a full eight hours,
Then move away from there.

Doing the boondocker shuffle.
Moving twice a day,
Living free and easy
In Phoenix or San Jose.

I settled midway between the airport and the restaurant. No one troubled me. I walked into the casino/bar/restaurant–one of those places filled with regulars, so bored that everyone turns to look at whoever enters, desperately hoping for a stranger like me to create some excitement. As always, there was a pretty waitress that caught my eye generating a momentary fantasy of “taking her away from this one horse town.” (I flashed on my first sexual experience which happened just this way–with a twist. A strange, beautiful woman walked into my father’s bar and took me away to a motel in Monroe, La–God bless that woman!)

I slept soundly but was awakened early by small airplanes taking off and landing. I was surprised to see planes hitched like horses outside the restaurant and others actually driving on the one main street of town. The truth of things soon became apparent. I flagged down a deputy who was pleased to tell me some history. In the 50's, Nancy and Slim Kidwell started this airplane based community, inviting like minded enthusiast to “come fly with me.” The town name is a PORTMANTEAU of California, Nevada and Arizona. I walked the town verifying that every house had a hanger.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Do you see what caught my eye?
A silent army of alchemist transforming sunlight to electricity

Driving south on Hwy 95 from Las Vegas, I saw something huge, and compelling, far out in the wastelands; something silver and black in color. (I had to know! I had to go! –but the sign said No!–-I went anyway!) I’ve learned that if “they” are really serious, “they” will barricade the road or post a guard. And it is true that it s easier to get forgiveness than permission.

I just had a memory flash–One of my earliest memories is watching my father dismantle a barricade in the headlights of our panel truck. We were bootlegging whiskey into Oklahoma (at that time a dry state) and our drop spot was down that road. I guess I come by this outlawry honestly.

Anyway, down into the mysterious valley I went till I came to the glittery acres of glass and aluminum. Wow! Do I love this. Acres and acres of solar panels quietly, cleanly, making power for the masses. I took a photo but I needed facts. A truck drove by inside the fence and I yelled. He came and gave them gladly: They are generating electricity by concentrating sunlight on a pipe filled with oil which heats to 400 degrees and travels to a heat exchanger where it turns water into steam that runs a turbine.

This project cost 263 million, covers 40 acres, generates 64 megawatts, powering 48,000 homes. ( coincidentally, the population of nearby Boulder, Nv is 50,000) The engineer was just getting warmed up. His face glowed as he spoke of future expansion, now underway, trebling its size–AND YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE–(He’s really enthused now, almost dancing) “WE’VE FOUND A WAY TO MAKE IT PRODUCE 24 HOURS A DAY. “Easy now” I said! “Even great engineers can”t make the sun shine 24 hours” I thought he would jump the fence in his rush to tell me the secret: “You see, we are now building a HUGE heat storage tank that will keep making steam all night.” “AND” he said, “WE’RE GOING TO PUT WINDMILLS OUT THERE.” He almost broke into poetry as he raised both hands prophet-like and said: “WE WILL MAKE THIS VALLEY CRACKLE WITH ELECTRICITY.”

His gospel converted me! I went away singing the praises of solar power—and then I remembered that I’VE BEEN SOLAR POWERED FOR 17 YEARS.