Wednesday, October 27, 2010


SHE REALLY GOT AWAY FROM IT ALL --FOUND HERSELF--ENJOYS LIFE. Got hot in Phoenix---will go to the cool---out there--about a hundred miles--to the Mogollon plateau--(pronounced mug--e--ahn); 7 and 8 thousand feet elevation. RVers learn early that elevation cools at the rate of 4 degrees per thousand feet. (Phoenix is 1 thousand and thus the plateau at 7 will be 24 degrees cooler--on average) Way way out there, I have a friend who long ago went up there in her RV and never came back. I will go find her and give you a report.
There it is--the famous Mogollon rim (edge of the plateau) Zane Gray wrote up there--his novels are sited there often. My friend is up there.
From the rim looking down----aaaahhh--delightfully cool---this spot is a favorite of mine--8000 ft. Stayed two nights.
And then a chilly mist moved in---I'll go find my friend--about 80 miles further in.
Way Way out across this landscape---beyond the city of Show Low--(cute name--interesting story--will share sometimes)
And then Way Way out this gravel road--up there somewhere.
Way, way out this cinder road--hidden among these cedar trees. You are looking at the carcass of a HUGE failed development of 10 square miles and thousands of one and a quarter acre lots, now selling for a song (2-3 thousand) to folks with gumption-----you see, there is no water or sewer and spotty electricity. Perfect for RVers who really don't need either. (in large amounts) folks with gumption come here and thrive---others scurry away.
I discovered that she lives at the end of this trail.
In this cute and efficient house which she designed and largely engineered herself. Water is precious here--she catches what the rains provide. (the amount collected from this roof will surprise you--the formula is .67 gallons per sq ft in a 1 inch rainfall--that amounts to about 300 gallons from this roof in a 1 inch rain.
Here's the front view--note the many windows. Ah but dear readers--prepare yourself for a wonderful surprise---inside is a delightful secret---and to my mind a useful life lesson---I was moved to poetry. I ask you to judge for yourself.
Can you see what she's done? Built her house around her trailer. She sleeps, cooks and bathes in it. Here's the story in rhyme.


Taylor, weary of life on the road
decided to take her mobile persona
uphill to live among some friends
in northern Arizona.

She shivered all winter in her fifth wheel trailer
swearing that misery would end.
Come spring, she built a wall all round
to block the freezing wind.

A roof and porch came the following year
thoroughly enclosing the trailer;
a house within a house, all warmly
wrapped around miss Taylor.

She built a legal septic tank,
and to make her house drought-proof
she built a system that collects
rain from off her roof.

Then big windows came this spring;
lets the glorious outside—in.
No fairy has a brighter home;
no bear a cozier den.

How different is Taylor's way from those
who mire themselves in debt;
paying and paying for thirty years
and are not homeowners yet.

Note the genius of Taylor's house.
It rose by evolution.
The old was never cast aside,
just tweaked for new solutions.

That's how monkey rose to man;
how microbe became mouse;
we tweaked our way to bigger brains
like Taylor built her house.

Meet Taylor---a long time friend and an inspiration. In a long conversation, I asked what you would have asked: What's it like to live alone in the wilderness?--what does it do to your head? ---and heart? Her answers dazzled me! I will share with you a few of her insights.
1. She felt "led" to this spot---invited! Almost instantly desiring to settle here.
2. The sparcity of High desert makes everything an "event"---a flower--an elk---and the nights are stunning. Is in love with big sky, space, sun, quiet!
3. She feels blessed---comfortable---letting life "happen" to her.
4. Moving forward by gently pushing on doors! Some open--She enters--some don't--she moves on.
4. Most are afraid of the quiet--because it strips us of our identity markers.
5. I should not be you! I should work very very hard to be me.
6. Lots of people have the urge for this--- finding a lifestyle that fits their personality---but don't know how to achieve it.
7. The kind of loneliness she feels is the desire to be known.
8. Would like a mate--to know and be known-but realistically assesses the "compound probability". (nice phrase)
9. Personal space requires some protection---not always easy to do tactfully.
10. Living is investment---she chooses to invest in experiences rather than Wall street. The dividend that experiences pay is character. Business is a distraction.
11. "Stuff" does not enduringly entrance----is often nice but not necessary.
12. Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have.
13. Says of herself that she is an Introvert--is intuitive and senses oriented.
And much much more. We read together what Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet) had to say about houses. (much recommended reading)
A wonderful interview as you can imagine---I went away with much to think about.

UPDATE!!! 10/24/11---Taylor has decided to sell her cozy estate---(now has electric, septic, internet)the whole shebang--trailer, house, land (2and1/2 acres) and all---to go do something else.  She, like Thoreau---"leaves for as good a reason as she came"--she has many more lives to lead and cannot spare any more time for this one.  If you might be interested e-mail her at
(asking $35,000---will carry a contract)

UPDATE 10/31/11--- Taylor has advised that she has received an acceptable offer and will vacate her little shangralai in two weeks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


KODGER KING GIVES A PEP TALK. This man speaks for much of the nation. So, beginning here I shall try to do something helpful. What can I do? -- say?---what does he really need? I ask my "good genius" to inspire me.

AND IT DOES----after a time of reflection----and out of nothingness --I get a flash of insight---from the movie "It's a wonderful Life" (remember what happened when James Stewart was ready to fling himself into the river)

Suddenly, I know what to do and say. I put money in his cup---He wakes --I ask permission to photograph --he consents.
I play with him a bit--tell him I can guess his line of work by looking at his hands. He shows me. I guess lumberjack. Not too far off he says---worked in a sawmill.
We briefly traded stories--then I told him I needed some help---that I needed a place to park in Yreka and a place to get some good water. He told me where the truckers sometimes park and where water was available.
I thanked him---told him I couldn't afford expensive RV parks and preferred to boondock. Look at his face and see if you notice a difference from the first photo. I say dignity--for the moment at least --has been restored. Werner Erhard said it best: " all you ever wanted to do was contribute".
RANDY COMMENTS: I've tried an assortment of pep talks ---giving this guy a chance to connect and contribute ---pleased me most. Incidentally, I found the parking spot and the water place in Yreka that he told me about.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


KODGER KING ANSWERS THE QUESTION: I SLEEP IN THE SAME PLACE EVERY NIGHT----BUT NOT THE SAME SPACE---- changing that-- very often as you will see. Here's a months' worth of my sleeping places from 9/1/10 to 10/3/10. I hope to illustrate the relative ease of finding free boondocking sites in cities and in the countryside. The big secret to city boondocking is to slip into a spot later at night--get a full nights sleep and move the next morning. --- Only the hours 11pm to 7pm are problematic--the rest of the time RVers may be anywhere they can park. AS I HAVE POETIZED-------"BOONDOCKING IN THE CITY"

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

Enjoy the city splendors
And when comes time for dreams,
Slip away from No, No land
Into 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!

The nights of 9/1-3/10 I slept in the Eugene /Springfield Industrial district. This spot is is a classic "seam" because it borders a string of rent-it garages. I Considered staying at the Nearby Moose Lodge but they raised their rates to $10----too much for boondocking!

The night of 9/4/10 I slept here in a park and ride zone of Springfield, Or.
Posted this note. The trick of deflector notes is to give a plausible explanation why you are parked there---if anyone should object.
For the next two nights 9/5-6/10 I'm cloaked with permission. This is the wonderful Valley River Mall in Eugene, Or. where RVers are generously given 2 nights to enjoy the amenities nearby. The photo does not do justice to this terrific spot---Americas' finest free parking spot.
I always have my mail sent to a small town (getting general delivery at big city post offices is a pain) This time it was Creswell, Oregon. Settled here beside this closed up business for the night. No one disturbed me. Enjoyed a rain in the night.
Spent the day and night of 9/8/10 in the lovely little town of Winchester. A quarter nile away is an RV park asking $20 to boondock. Wouldn't think of paying that.
The night of 9/9 slept at Walmart in Grants Pass, Or. 9/10 at Walmart in Medford, Or. The next two nights I stayed here--A nice quiet spot on the edge of Yreka, Ca. Stayed 2 days (9/11-12/10)exploring the old mining town. Truckers love little niches like this--several came and went during my visit.
Got sleepy and pulled off the Interstate to rest---enjoyed the area and my view so well that I stayed the night of 9/13--will show you--
View from my back window---recognize it---New Agers think it's the most spiritual spot in America----Mt Shasta---once drove nearly to the top--found a cluster of believers camped at road's end. I joined them---heard lots of wonder tales.
Night of 9/14 beside these old railroad coaches in the interesting old sawmill town of McCloud.
9/15 and 16 I stayed right here---near a brake check area for trucks. Was hesitant to go down the hill---too hot down there in Susanville. Got lots of work done just sitting there. Are you persuaded yet that millions of nice free camping places are available---if you're self contained.
My first night in Reno, Nv--- jangled by city clatter---Got off the Interstate and settled in this strip mall---9/17. I have things to do here so I did the Boondocker Shuffle for 3 nights---then was given a spot at the VFW by my friends Jim and Mary--who just happened to be passing through. Stayed through 9/22
Bridgeport, Ca---An interesting and historic town---parked here for the night of 9/23.
Then here--in Bishop, Ca. in the parking lot of K-mart the night of 9/24. Great spot--great view. Bicycled the town.
Then on to the lovely town of Lone Pine, Ca---scenic setting of 500 Western Movies---this is a favorite spot on a quiet street. Engaged the family behind those gates---the heirs of the guy who invented the EKG and other medical devices. Note the view of the mountains. (Night of 9/25.10
And then---and then--I took a disasterous route down into death valley and got trapped in the same way as the unfortunate pioneers who named it. I simply could not climb out the other side--so had to turn south on an obscure back road, barely managing to reach Ridgecrest, Ca for the night of 9/26 and this very hot night in the desert near Ludlow, Ca 9/27---Have learned my lesson--don't come south till late oct. At this point I decided to go get cool---the nearest high ground is Flagstaff, Az---So I went there!
AAAAAhhhhhh-----this is where the cool is----A-1 Mountain Rd outside town---elevation 7,500 ft. That's Humphrey's peak back there--12, 633 ft---highest point in Az. Stayed here a week--9/27--10/3. Hurried south just ahead of that terrible storm you may have read about. Now I'm on the fringe of Buckeye, Az and the weather is fine.
Randy Comments: Where I sleep is of little interest to me and mostly accidental. My business is engaging my environment, whatever and whoever it may be---asking ever better questions of it and reporting any insights to you. This simple list of my nocturnal roosting sites is not the story I wish to tell. I share it because many of you ask--and I hope to persuade the hesitant-- that houseless is not homeless. That it is indeed possible to do as Thoreau instructed: "let the night overtake you everywhere at home." I will back-track and reveal the real story later.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I propose that all the religions of the world be forced to compete on a level playing field. Perhaps a world---weary of religious strife--finally traced the problem to its roots: ---THE INDOCTRINATION OF CHILDREN. What if we finally realized that INDOCTRINATION IS CHILD ABUSE---and we made it Illegal. Parents could still share VALUES with their children but not doctrines. Children would then reach age 12 or so with their minds more open. And when they demonstrated sufficient mental competence and curiosity--- would be allowed to visit the ---------RELIGION WAREHOUSE----------

Kids are gathered outside at eight,
Doors are opened at nine.
They are here to sample religions of the world,
All strung out in a line.

Row upon row---every living faith
Represented in spacious booths.
And every booth has people anxious
to share their"eternal truths."

They have pamphlets and films and all 27
Major "Holy Books"--
The Bible, the Koran, The Bagavad Gita.
Every kid's invited to look.

As they wander up and down the aisles,
Believers of every bent
Urge the children into their booths
Like barkers at a side show tent.

The Christian section has 200 booths,
Each with a different slant
On God, salvation, Jesus and Heaven
That they wish to implant.

There are nine different versions of Islam;
Six different kinds of Jews,
A host of Buddhist sects;
A hundred types of Hindus.

The new age section is replete
With people pushing "spiritual" stuff,
Smiley faced believers in a thousand things,
Like crystals and superstitious fluff.

The American Indians drummed up a crowd
With dancers adorned with feathers
Truly believing that Shamans can heal
And Kachinas can change the weather.

Cults took up a whole wall---
"Gurus" of every stripe--
Dominating tyrants trolling
For the total submission type.

The Atheist booth had scrappy folks,
Dead sure in their conclusion
That religion is the opiate of the people:
A dumb and deadly illusion.

Agnostics had a cheerful booth
With banners above and below.
The upper said: keep an open mind;
The lower said: Nobody Knows!

The Mormons were talking 'bout golden books.
The Quakers pushed peace and hope.
The Amish urged us back to the land.
Catholics said: Obey the Pope.

Back in the corner were the Unitarians;
Of all the churches most odd;
The only church that didn't claim
To have a message from God!

Muslims were a backward lot;
Their religion frozen in time;
Their nations ruled by autocrats;
Their women treated like slime!

Voodoo believers sacrificed chickens;
Spiritualist summoned ghosts;
Urantia folks told of flying saucers;
Tantrics urged sex uppermost.

On and on the religions stretched;
Children came and went until;
In a day or a year, their minds were clear;
Or perhaps just had their fill.

Then back to the world, having chosen
"truths" that suited their taste.
Most took bits from several faiths
With a job of "cut and paste."

Gone was arrogance and dogmatism;
Their study of religion and history,
Lets them tolerate ambiguity;
Embrace the human mystery.

In a few short years, religious wars ceased;
All nations made a truce:
Every civilized person now agrees:

Freedom to choose your religion
Is a universal human right.
Parents stopped laying their "trip" on kids
And the world sleeps better at night.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Eric Hoffer--wrote a book in the 50's entitled the Passionate State of Mind----about people who live for a cause. In just one day I met the following:
A Jesus truck--I see them fairly often---many like this one engineered for living in. Most carry Biblical carrot and stick messages---God loves you--but if you won't believe Jesus was god, repent of your sins and accept him as your savior--then you will spend eternity in hell.
I poked my camera into a crack in the back to see what was inside. I suspect his mind is organized like his belongings.
A festival was underway downtown--I hurried to catch the flavor. Recognize this guy? None other than the fastest bird in the world--a peregrine falcon.
And a turkey vulture---it excrets antiseptic feces on its feet---keeps its feet germ free. I think raptors are meat eating birds.
The toughest of three dilemmas I considered. See the banner? what they are advocating? I listened while a passionate mind told me her vision for peace in the holy land---basically let the ousted palestinians come back and reclaim what was theirs and live side by side with Israeli settlers--having full voting rights with them---in a one-state solution which includes the west bank and the gaza strip. One big peaceful family. They point to South Africa as proof that it can be done.
They make a strong legal case---but I don't think it would work. The religious and cultural gap is just too great. The Jews are determined to have a distinctly Jewish homeland---can you blame them? The solution I envision is an IMPOSED two states--with borders defined by the UN. I think It is a good thing to have a democratic, civilized nation sitting square in the Muslim uncivilized middle east. An enraging but stimulative irritant like a sand grain in an oyster might provoke the Muslims to moderate their religion, liberate their women, activate positive creativity and build a humane society for themselves.
Here's a really controversial issue. This lady represents a persecuted minority in China ---the Falun Gong --a quasi-religious group numbering perhaps 70 million--mostly Chinese. She wants world pressure brought on the Chinese government to legitimize their practice. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the controversy. I come down on the side of the Chinese government---Falun Gong is one of those wildfire religions that threatens the stability of China and its dominant meaning system. For whatever comfort and therapy it delivers---it still has superstition at its core and it pleases me to see it stamped out. What? You think every religion should be allowed to run its course--seduce whomever it will? Consider that the Japanese saw the insidious danger of Catholicism to their culture and resisted it. The Philipines did not---nor did Mexico.----Now look at the difference. Japan is not crippled by superstition as are the other two. The entire Islamic world is enfeebled, distracted and made crazy by the superstitious belief that God sent the world a Prophet and a holy book detailing how life should be lived. I believe there are times when a state ought to squash a crazy religion. Texas recently considered doing just that to the fundamentalist Mormons in their state---I cheered! Vast numbers can be swallowed up in a wildfire religion--seducing the gullible---brainwashing the children--perpetuating the evil for hundreds of years. I think tomorrow I will post my poetic solution to this problem entitled The Religion Warehouse.
And speaking of crazy---You'll have a hard time believing this one---brace yourselves. A man has emerged---he says out of the godhead----never born---and is appearing at various places around the world---just suddenly appears in a huge crowd---and addresses them in their language---swahili in the picture above--with a message of peace and love. He is the one, his followers say, the world has been waiting for---Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus etc--all expect a divine being to come to earth and he is it. He is called Maitreya and that page on the right says he appeared in Portland, Or on Jan 4, 1998----19 times altogether he has appeared in the US---says that he will soon announce himself as the expected Messiah.----says that an unusual star will herald his full disclosure to the world.
A Maitreya believer----with charts and signs--She was charming--enthusiastic---on fire with the good news.
Supposedly an authentic photo of the Norway Spiral that appeared Dec 9, 2009
Anybody out there know anything about this?
Other unusual stars recently photographed that may be the looked for sign.
And if we will all just get on board this train--there will be peace in the world.

RANDY RUMINATES: I think my readers get weary of my rants against religion--and I must admit--so do I. There are more interesting subjects to address and I think I will---after tomorrow when I post my solution in the form of a poem.

Friday, October 01, 2010


MORE THAN SAN FRANCISCO OR NEW YORK---EUGENE OREGON HAS EMBRACED ITS ECCENTRICS---accepting them as part of the fabric of society---framing friendly policy and accomodation to the extent it's possible. I plan to show you lots of them over the next few blogs and my interaction with them. This is Nancy--an old friend and fellow RVer who just happened to be passing through town from a summer long tour of Alaska. Knowing she is an intrepid hiker--I recruited her for a full days walking odyssey around Eugene. She's agreed to catch on film some of my interactions.
Drummers ---quite good actually--drumming for money--note the donation cap--on this lovely pedestrian and bike bridge across the Willamette River. (one of 4 such spans)
A nearby rose garden we stop to smell.
And notice this--a hippy (I presume) hammock camping in a very sweet-smelling spot.
And 20 feet away--two more--roughing it on the concrete.
In a nearby park--a camera crew---they want my opinion as to the 3 top issues facing humanity.
You think I responded?
Of course I did! Telling the world that Overpopulation,Islamic fundamentalism (and other culture clashes) and degraded environment were the three biggies. I elaborated a bit on the dreadful effects of religious pretensions to certainty.
See that big backpack? It's a cross that the homeless have to bear---carrying around their heavy lifestyle----that is---everywhere but in Eugene---The missions here will give him a secure locker for his stuff---a day room for lounging in--television, magazines--a free haircut, showers, food and a bed at night. I quizzed the mission manager and learned that these composite services cost a mere pittance. It is a self-righteous and hateful spitefulness that elsewhere denies these minimal comforts to our fellow human beings. They really do have something to contribute if we can artfully elicit it. And even if they don't ---needless suffering is a scandal to all who allow it.
My second performance of the morning---they are pushing a street newspaper--written and sold by street people. They needed to hear the golden words of Thoreau --the quinticential non-conformist---celebrating the choice to live simply and free. I told them--they paid rapt attention and applauded afterwards. Here's the quote---my favorite:
"As I was bending my steps again toward Walden Pond--my haste to catch fish--to wade in abandoned meadows, sloughs, bogholes and forlorn and savage places---appeared for an instant trivial to me, who had been sent to school and college. But as I ran down the hill toward the reddening west, with the rainbow over my shoulder--my good genius seemed to say: Go--hunt and fish---far and wide---day by day---further and wider----rest thee by many brooks and hearthfires without misgiving----remember thy creator in the days of thy youth--rise thee from care before the dawn and seek adventures---- let the noon find thee by other lakes--- and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. There are no wider fields than these---no worthier games that may here be played----Grow wild--according to thy nature--like these sedges and canes--(which will never become English hay) And let the thunder rumble---what if it threatens to ruin the farmers crop--that's not its errand to thee-----Take shelter under a cloud--while others flee to carts and sheds.---

Let not-- to get a living-- be thy trade but thy sport-----Enjoy the land--but own it not. It is lack of imagination that keeps people where they are---buying , selling, consuming---living their lives like serfs."
Brought a song to mind: "On a summer's day in the month of may---a burley bum come a hiking----down a shady lane neath the sugar cane--he was looking for his liking---as he strolled along--he sang a song--of a land of milk and honey--where a bum can stay for many a day--and he won't need any money............
An earlier engagement---I include because it was intense and enjoyable---He had escaped the irrationality of Mormonism---told me that no sane person would believe their ridiculous tale of golden books and personal visits by God. Said that the attrition rate--those who leave the church is an astonishing 25%---and that's why they must keep on pumping (via missionaries)to sustain themselves.
This was also an earlier engagement----met this guy late at night--walking drunkenly down the street----on a whim, I asked him to play a song for me--right there--right now. He hesitated--and I said---"if you become famous--this moment will be part of your legend---and I will have a picture to prove it happened." He gathered himself and played a song for me. We both went away richer for the exchange.
RANDY PROMISES----YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET: I promise to show you a mind blower--tomorrow or soon. It's tricky--- balancing living and talking about living---but I enjoy the challenge. By far--the most interesting interview of the day was with my friend who recounted her adventures in Alaska.