Monday, November 28, 2011



Parked (free)in the Paradise Casino parking lot---Yuma, Az.--Hardly a care in the world--Living the good life.

Glancing to my left, I see the world famous Yuma Crossing---high bluffs of granite on opposite sides of the Colorado river--the perfect place for bridges--railroad and auto---built there in 1930.

And glancing just left to see the guard tower for the Yuma territorial prison. (remember the movie: "3:10 to Yuma)

My mornings are filled with beauty as balloons drift over my rig.

AND THEN---AND THEN---That very night a drunk smashes into my truck.

Two doors and this bed damage. 

The cops come---test him with a field sobriety test---handcuff him and take him to jail.

I'm able to get "home" but barely able to drive around.  Next day I get an estimate: $4,866.00.

While I'm waiting, I read this magazine and learn that automobile crashes, insurance, fault-finding, and repair shops, police reports are a vast web of money-making enterprises---with policy buyers footing the needlessly high bill. I also learned that I'm not likely to be reimbursed for my damages.  And that begins to upset me and mobilize my thoughts.

My friends are waiting for me in Borrego Springs, Ca--for our annual Thanksgiving gathering. Quickly, I gather facts---learn about the wrecking business and the nationwide linkup for used parts---order two doors (my truck is the 3 door model) for $500.00 and go looking for a reliable body shop. 5 shops later, I found my guy.  2 shops refused the job--at any price--replacing doors is highly tedious--I learned.  This one said yes when I sweetened the offer.  It took most of the day to accomplish this much.  I hung around out of curiosity.

And then things got very difficult--trying to fit the auxillary door into a damaged post.---THEN I saw why other shops refused the job.  They gave up for the night---tuesday night---the clock is ticking--my friends are 152 miles away.  In the night--believe it or not---I saw in my mind how to fit the door in place---I called the guy--Jacob Garcia--and told him---he said ok---and guess what--It worked---the door fit and the truck was drivable by Wed night. (not painted or undented--but drivable---good enough to travel) 

I was proud of my unconventional idea and surprised that the expert was open minded enough try it. He bit off a very difficult job for not a lot of money---I recommend him. (G-Styles Auto Body and Welding 928-726-6889----2766 Ave 3E---Yuma, Az, 85365)
I MADE IT--- by the hair of my chin chin chin---10 minutes before dinner was served.

My friends heard of my difficulties and saved a choice seat for me.  Our group ( ) gathers at this spot every year for a week of desert adventure.

This little triangle of land is famous in RVin circles---It is called PEG LEG SMITH'S in honor of an old prospector in this region.  One may camp free here indefinitely and many do. Orange groves green the environment to the right and the resort town of Anza Borrego, Ca lies against the distant mountains---2,500 desert loving citizens---completely surrounded by California's largest park.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I give myself decent marks for dealing rationally with this unpleasant episode.  I noted how vulnerable my whole lifestyle is---a simple crash could clip my high flying wings for some time as I carry most all my possessions with me.(yes my trailer was attached--but not damaged)  More importantly, I noticed my runaway feelings---I felt powerless in the face of an injustice (the drunk lied about the accident---it may go down as a "he said/he said" in the report and I may have to fix my vehicle.) A sad, numbing, depression settled on me for a few hours.   My mind replayed the facts over and over.  By morning, my WATCHER had kicked in:

 "I am not contained between my hat and boots----apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am----stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary---looks down with sidecurved head---curious what will come next---both in and out of the game---watching and wondering at it---I WITNESS---AND WAIT---(Whitman---Song of myself)

And I saw that it wasn't that big of a deal---a few thousand dollars at worst.  All over the world countless millions suffer real and enduring injustice.  And No doubt I have imposed much wrong on others. It's part of the cosmic drama.  So--slowly I came to acceptance--got cracking--gathering info--locating doors--ordering them, finding a body shop, etc.  In less than a week my joy returned -- I'm mobile again--and willing for the matter to take whatever course it takes.

Monday, November 14, 2011


THIS IS ME---BENEATH MY SKIN (an MRI)---and it must be obvious I've had extensive dental work. I've decided that I want ALL MY TEETH BACK---not partials and bridges--but individually anchored teeth---a mouth full of them---solid and beautiful---AND I'M GOING TO HAVE IT---thanks to a super dentist utilizing a wonderful new technique for growing bone.

Look closely at this side view---can you see that titanium implant? It was placed there  Sat the 12th of November--two days ago. Note the precision of its placement with computer assisted horizonal and vertical axes.  It is implanted in solid bone which grew there in the past few months.  In about 4 months it will firmly integrate itself and serve as the "root" of a lovely new tooth.
See how it distracts from my otherwise charming smile. I lost it due to an accident.

The problem---as seen on x-ray before the implant proceedure.  I appreciate the high-tech gadgetry that lets me see what's going on.

Meet Dr Carlos Rubio---a super dentist.
And two members of his team who will assist.

But first I am sent to this team member---an MRI specialist---He provided the images posted above.

Dr Rubio studied those images to certify bone density and thickness and to pinpoint drill position and angle.
And an impression specialist does his work.

Then on Saturday--all is prepared for the doctor.  An assistant suits him up.  I noted the drama as he entered the room---He commands the respect of a general---and it does not seem to be fear based.  They know that he has risen from the ranks of ordinary dentist by his learning, expertise, vision and leadership.
He began in a tiny one man cubby hole--doing such excellent work that word spread and he soon needed more space and personnel.  In 15 years he has assembled what amounts to a dental empire--with several buildings---a staff of at least 20---and a coterie of specialty dentist---oral surgeons--orthodontist, root canal etc.  He focuses on implants.
The operation is over---I felt no pain---Dr Rubio shares the glory with his assistant.
It feels very good to have a dentist you can trust.  He guarantees all work done in his offices for 3 years.
He took the time afterwards to give me a power point presentation of the new discovery that will give me all my teeth back.  Can you see the writing on this document: ADVANCED BONE GRAFTING.  Here in essence is the new discovery/technique:  No longer must bone be "harvested" from the patient.  Instead, a specially prepared cow bone aggregate is positioned into place with temporary screws and a membrane that covers the area to prevent contamination.  BINGO---in 4 months or so your bone embraces, infuses, integrates with the cow bone claiming it as its own---AND NOW YOU HAVE SUPPORT FOR IMPLANTS. I begin the process after Thanksgiving----Should be ready for implants  by April---and I'll get my new teeth by autum.  I'll also get the missing tooth noted above this april.

Some months of every year is given to advanced studies in dentistry.  His walls are covered with such as this.

The waiting room of his main office.
The reception desk. Yes--they all speak English.  Dr Rubio is very fluent in English.

He has an assistant show me around.  This is his seminar room where he instructs staff and other dentist in the latest techniques.

 Rubio's main office. or  phone 928-255-0897

There are at least a hundred dentist in Algodones, Mexico--(just across the border from Yuma, Az)-here is a string of them---I do not demean any of them..  Many are cheaper than Rubio and easier to see.  I will wait my turn and pay the few extra dollars because he's earned my trust. (Rubio estimates that he is 40% cheaper than American Dentists)
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I've known Dr. Rubio for about 17 years----watched him rise from cubby hole to Kingpin.  I feel I have participated in his success by recommending him so often.  I write this because I admire excellence----and vision and effective organization. Also to acquaint my readers who may not know----of  the savings possible in Mexico.  For the easy stuff, I'm sure many Algodones Dentists are competent---and many of my friends have ones they like.
The new bone graft breakthrough can make a huge difference in the quality of life.    
Finally, It has crossed my mind to write the President of Mexico---calling attention---to the genius of  Dr. Rubio--suggesting that he draft his visionary skills in the service of dental health for the whole nation.  I think he could do it.  

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


I'm camped at a remote picnic area south of Phoenix.

I notice a guy apparantly living in one of the  shelters.

                                                    Meet Lee, a refugee from Missouri

I engage --get to know him a bit---walk with him a few times and invite him to my trailer.
He's amazingly open as I  go for the gold (a meaningful insight)

He calls himself social misfit ---though he managed to serve in the navy and afterwards work for years in electronics.  He saved a stash of money and then, inexplicably retreated to a dark room in a small town and for years----just let life drift by----An extreme example of the "quiet desperation" described by Thoreau.  Then one day he mustered the courage to go camping and eventually to leave his dark room altogether for the open road----making his way to Arizona.   His self-described problem is anger---a huge and fierce ---near uncontrollable anger arising from an abused childhood. (I evoked a few stories and revenge fantasies to get a feel for the depth of his anger)  Wow! I was frightened just listening.  He understands that his fierceness frightens others away---leaving him alone---and lonely.  He has pondered how to "fix" himself and find peace-----and he thinks he knows how:  He is morphing into a wandering loner  losing himself in the Arizona wilderness---drifting from summer high country to winter warm lowlands-----simplifying radically---getting rid of his car---walking everywhere----pulling a specially designed---lightweight cart with his supplies.   
I showed  him my most treasured book----Walden Pond ---reading the paragraph  beginning:  "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."----showing him he was in good company.  I also told him about the Slabs---a place where even mavericks can live comfortably. (he seemed interested)
Losing onesself in the wilderness is a doable dream.  Next day he brings a catalog to show me various cart options.

In fact, he's excited to get on with the cart project.  He points to a nearby mountain as his first foray with the cart. (the advantage of the cart is that 100 or even 150 pounds of supplies can be carried without stressing your back)

I also told him about this guy----Bill,--from New Zealand that I met last week.  He had walked the Arizona trail---from north to south---across the Grand Canyon and down to Mexico---reporting that the experience was transformative---and joyful.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I like Lee's idea---It just may be theraputic to wander alone in the wilderness.  His anger is child abuse come to bloom.  I believe we all embody the effects of our childhood---developing a strategy to cope with painful feelings----and paradoxically---it is that strategy that is most likely to bless the world.  Opra's response to her abuse is a positive example.
I look at my life strategy---wandering about---noticing things----asking questions---brazenly speculating and ask myself what motivates me to do this.  And I honestly don't know.  I seem to have always been ,in essence, this way.  Hopefully I refine my "game" as time goes by and it may prove useful to someone somewhere,  

Wednesday, November 02, 2011



And this day it looks me in the eye.  A fresh cougar track, only a stone's throw from my door, hinted at what was to come

Then this:  Drag marks----I follow them--

To this! A cougar kill.
I look death in the eye---let it speak to me.

Death likely came upon it while it slept---grasp it by its throat. (The words of Livingston are somewhat comforting here---He was mauled by a lion in Africa and was rescued.  He later reported that the incident while occuring was painless and that he watched with curiosity--not fear or horror at what was happening to him) 
Of course the whole campground is now abuzz ---  I show my neighbors---We all want to acquaint ourselves with death. Authorities are notified---warning signs are posted .
This was a close call---the cougar could have gotten me or one of these kids walking about.
I use the occasion to reflect on close calls---How thrilling to approach the "dangerous edge"---how just the previous week I deliberately camped on the very edge of this canyon--for some mysterious reason. 

I remember considering this particular spot as a possible suicide place---when the time comes.  Only about 3 seconds of terror---then blessed oblivion. I quickly rejected it as an unseemly burden on those who must come get the body. I will find a better spot --- to vanish.
Kids experiencing the thrill of near death---a 50 foot fall into Lake Heron, NM.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:Life seems especially sweet after close calls---or perhaps just having a look at a death. I have deliberately risked my life a few times:  I jumped a blowhole on the Oregon coast once---and another time leaped a crevasse with a hundred foot drop---felt exhilerated afterwards.  Neither was any great feat---I just felt drawn to do it.  Once I went about a quarter mile into an abandoned mine and In louisiana I paddled into a pitch black swamp---my heart raced---and then soon calmed down---and fear went away.  I think all these experiences somehow blend into a larger truth about death putting urgency and even meaning into life. Victor Frankel's book, "Man's Search for Meaning" says that holocaust survivors emerged with an enhanced  joy of just being alive.  And Thoreau said: Living is so dear.
Once, I was camped with the WIN's ( in the desert near Apache Junction when rattlesnakes emerged from hibernation.  They were everywhere in our camp--under rigs---under doorsteps.  IT WAS WONDERFUL-- everyone was on high alert---discussions were animated---laughter and aliveness filled the campground. Life seemingly had more meaning with death at our doorstep.