Friday, December 02, 2016


HOW DOES THIS VAGABOND SPEND HIS TIME?  Here's a reasonable sample of my activities for the past two months.

The road toward Show Low, Az--these high meadows are about 8000 ft elevation.

My companion and I agreed to meet waaay over there in this belly-up would-be subdivision from the 30's called Show Low Pines.  You can buy a  big lot here for about $4000--or get it almost free by paying the back taxes.

We have a friend here-- who lets us camp on his lot.  We stayed two nights.

Then we split---He went to Texas and I to Cottonwood, Az , one of my favorite places.  You can camp free here indefinitely if you'll move every two weeks.

Another of my favorite places FR525.  Almost every day visitors drop in from the sky.
Spent happy days at the Library and Cottonwood Recreation center.

One day I took a friend on this lovely hike along Oak Creek Canyon.

She's quite a photographer--got some good shots.

The guy playing the flute is Richard--a man after my own heart.  He plays Piano for high end restaurants--lives in his car quite comfortably---preserves his freedom by living simply.  The couple in the truck is Jessica and Abram.  They built this splendid wooden trailer.
One night Kat and I went dancing.  She is the wisest and most dedicated citizen I've ever met.
And a great dancer!
Then I went to Prescott for a night then on to Yarnell, Az. Along the way was struck by this brilliant white steel fence.  I estimate it ran for 10 miles.  A huge overkill for fencing--made no sense to me.  So I quizzed the locals and learned that a very rich man just likes the look of  it defining his property--pays   A full time crew to keep it this way.

Stopped in the next town--Yarnell to browse in an antique shop.  Look what I found:  The biography of a guy from my hometown:  Sam Wyly--who really made good.  How good? Well he and his brother are both billionairs---and we all owe him a big debt of thanks----because it was his bright idea to dot America with cell towers.  I am now using his bright idea to send this out to you.

Then I went to Quartzsite, Az--one of my favorite places--settling in at the freebie campground named Hi Jolly

One day I walked by this trailer and the guy suddenly said to me: "I got this idea from you." 
Meet another Randy.  He explained that he read my blog and borrowed the idea of living in a cargo trailer..

Showed me the interior---nicely done.  He has so much solar power and battery power that he can operate an air conditioner.

and even a washing machine.  See it sitting there on the left?

And then one day who should appear but Hollywood Bob, Who made those terrific movies of me quoting my poems. Check them out here. We sieze the opportunity to make another one right here in Quartzsite.
"HI Jolly Returns to Quartzsite"
I'm not happy with it--He promised to revise it.

Nearby is the grave of Hi Jolly--the most visited grave in AZ.  He was a camel driver who engaged in that 1858 experiment to test the viability of camel transport in the Southwest.

And then I went to Phoenix---determined to find a camping place near downtown for easy access to the VA hospital.  I succeeded---here I am parked at the downtown American Legion.

This is an iffy area, I discovered as I walked around my neighborhood.  This sad lady shuffled along on a dreary Sunday Morning.  I followed her discretely till I found her lair.

Turns out she lives in a nearby park.

This crude mural celebrates the defeat of the notorious sheriff Joe Arpaio in the recent election.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I don't know if this life that I lead means anything at all.  I know that I love it.  Perhaps that is enough.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016




Somewhat like Eppie in the novel Silas Marner she appeared in my life.
With the help of her mother and the internet she found me.  Words won't describe how happy this makes me.
Have a look:
A poem in my book written 10 years ago- about another situation--is eeriely prophetic:


He never knew he'd fathered a daughter
Till she was fully grown,
when she sought and found her mysterious dad
and claimed him as her own.

Wild oats often return to the sower;
Mostly they bite and stress us.
But now and then, fate with a grin
returns our oats to bless us.

What a terrific opportunity!  I pledge to her that I will use all my wit and will to make this a good thing.

Monday, October 31, 2016


From Socorro, NM into the depths of Arizona--it will lift you into high country, cool you with its breezes,  show you the real meaning of SPACE--let you see the wide prairies as the indians saw them---show you the stars as you've not seen them before.

Some do not like lonely roads like this one and the famous hwy 50 across Nevada---but I do. 

 One of the great paradoxes of life is that a seeming NOTHINGNESS can be a well of creativity.      (Perhaps the entire universe came from nothing.)

This highland plateau grassland between mountain ranges is an historic 200 mile cattle trail from the alpine grazing country of Arizona to the bustling railhead town of Magdelina up ahead.  What a gift from the Gods these cool grasslands must have seemed to the cowboys driving their vast herds. With lots of cattle feed underfoot, all they had to do was dig strategic wells to water them along the way.
 A string of these wells remains to this day.
 Notice on the right the remains of the railroad that took the cows to the eastern market.

The town the Cowboys aimed for was Magdalena.--This charming Lady runs the information center there.  She has historic photos to illuminate the story. I found her personal story so enchanting that I wrote her a poem and gave her one of my books.  She traveled the world then chose this spot to settle; explaining that she fell in love with SPACE. She has worked on several of the huge ranches in the area--each the size of an empire and "got hooked" on the glory of openess.

Her house (shop) was filled with antiques.

I'm about to show you a magical valley---only 20 miles beyond Magdalena,

on the other side of those mountains.  

It is called "the plains of  San Augustine--and during the day you might see this.

And at night---this.

Image result for photos of vla nm
And from the air--these 27 whopping telescopes.  each dish is more than 80 feet across.  Each works 24 hours a day and all of them are aimed at precisely the same spot.  The "pictures" they reveal are added together with giant computers to reveal.....

Image result for pictures taken by the vla
things like this quasar in a galaxy far far away

I pose to show their size.  They will let you visit this one.  Up close you will be impressed at how "busy" they are---moving every few minutes---all 27 of them precisely coordinated.  The mind blowing news is that in the last few decades giant computers have enhanced their powers about a million times---so that now we can see back into time and perhaps to the edge of the cosmos.

Furthermore they can now coordinate its "pictures" with hundreds of other telescopes to make ever-clearer the deep secrets of the heavens.  Click here  and  have a look.

In Datil I took a walk and took this pict for my friend Laurie--who is looking for a rig.

I camped for the night at a campground nearby and got intrigued with the couple camping in this old vw.  Try as I may I could not engage them.  When I approached they would retreat inside and close their door.

Outside their car were these two mysterious objects.  Anyone imagine what they might be? 

Moving on to Pie town.  Much TV hoopla has been made of it---Charles Kuralt did a piece on it some years back.  The cowboys of yesteryear stopped here for a piece of pie---and the tradition continues.

Nearby is a rare business---a windmill store.  These devices are underappreciated by everyone
except  ranchers.  They know that this invention along with barbed wire made ranching possible. Windmills pump water---and later they generated electricity to charge batteries. 
Inside the pie store--there they are--- a spectrum of pies: $6 a slice---$27 for a whole pie. 

As we ate---two familiar people entered the cafe: Pish and Barbara.  What are the odds of crossing paths in this remote place.  My friend Wayne would likely believe it was a whispered message from the universe. (synchronicity)
And Glory be--sitting nearby was a genuine astronomer and a genuine anthropologist---I asked both of them lots of questions.

CB and I moved on to Springerville--a big time rancher town---stopping for the night at this "waterhole.".  A friend of mine: Architect Joseph Smyth designed this structure in classic western storefront style. Read about him here. (A man with a plan to save the world)

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  So what have we learned?  I think it's this:  EVERYTHING IS INTERESTING--when looked at closely.   And EVERYTHING IS RELEVANT--even an anthill is an integral part of the whole.  Bored people are those whose curiosity is asleep.  My last remaining
boondocker companion stayed 2 more days with me then departed for an eastern adventure.  I will now drift alone for awhile and report my findings to you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


AFTER SANTA FE, OUR LITTLE BAND DECIDED TO SCATTER FOR AWHILE----being mindful of Thoreau's advice that a reason to gather is to share experiences and a reason to part is to get new experiences to share.

Before I report on our scatter, I want to introduce you to some couchsurfers that visited us in Santa Fe.

Meet Paul--bicyclist with a question.  Travels the entire US at an average pace of 35 miles per day, relying on the kindness of strangers for his lodging---and everywhere he ask the same question:
How will we live tomorrow?  He records answers and will compile the best into a book at journey's end.  I told him that no one could imagine how wonderful our future lives will be.  As evidence of this, consider that a cave dweller of old could not possibly imagine the wonders we enjoy today.
Meet Lisa from Germany---whose size and gentle manner belies the awesome boldness of her travel accomplishments and ambitions.  She will finish the US and do South America and then New Zeland.

And here's a few more on a morning where we hosted a veritable flock of vagabonds.
This is a CB project for which we are all grateful---bringing world wide travelers into our lives.
And before I hit the road---Barb does a concert for us.

And as though to wish us all happy trails--God blesses us with a rainbow--the best one I've ever seen.

Right away, I start having adventures.  At the first intersection I encounter this classic Rolls Royce worth a million dollars.
I made my way South to Socorro, NM and met this (seemingly happy) trio.  How kind to give each of them a window into the real world.
And I met Willow--a truly well adjusted man.  He has lived 20 years in that tiny trailer with his dog Bimbo.  He makes one of a kind walking sticks like this one and sells them for $50 to $75.  He ranges between Montana and Tucson----has a unique travel strategy. "I never travel until the wind is behind me."  He estimates he has saved thousands by not fighting headwinds.  (what a great philosophy of life also)
Nearby is the Bosque del Apache wildlife sanctuary--I parked just outside the entrance and spent the night.  

Had I been camped here 16 July 1945 I would have witnessed one of the great events in human history. Just 25 miles directly behind that pole is the spot where the first atomic explosion occurred.

Here is a piece of that explosion---part of a massive steel shell with walls 18 inches thick placed at the site to test its force.  The 100 ton thing was shattered into pieces like this.
Meet Chris Leeser, Ranger at refuge headquarters who took time to answer my questions.  I wanter to know how this great project got funded in the 30's when our consciousness was perhaps not so sensitive to the need for preservation.  The answer:  Duck hunter fees bought the land and continues to  fund it's upkeep.  FDR made the legal decision. 
I borrowed this photo--but if you go there you might take one like it.

While in Socorro I ate with the senior citizens.  Most towns have a center for them and they are well attended.  My friend Bushrod explained that these and a host of other services the government now provides are an "underground" form of socialism slowly making its way into our lives and consciousness.  I agree and approve.

I forgot to mention that Bushrod took me to a very unusual seminar--on homelessness!  About a 100 homeless folks showed up and discussed various aspects---like community resources, dealing with the police, begging etc.  I shocked the whole assembly by declaring that I was happily homeless, living very cheaply,  wandering the country enjoying life, with no desire for a permanent place.
I stunned them with a quote from Thoreau: "the cause of most wretchedness is not so much a lack of money as a lack of imagination."

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Our group as spent the past 8 months together and it has been splendid.
I feel more polished in my manners ---ready to go on a solitary drift and let the world speak to me.
Next, I'll report on one of America's scenic highways--hwy 60 across New Mexico and Arizona.