Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Where the Livin’ is Easy

Sometimes, in this carefree vagabond’s life on the road, circumstances intrude upon the idyllic core which is assumed to be the inherent gift of mobile freedom. These circumstances can range from minor inconveniences to the harbingers of doom. Sometimes, that mobile freedom make those circumstances more difficult to address than they would otherwise be. That isn’t the case here, since the Defiant’s location could be considered as a seasonal residence of sorts. Just sayin’.

As for me, I‘ve discovered an ongoing stack of inconveniences which are frustrating, but looked at in the proper perspective, are also a bit humorous. It’s the combination. My main priority on arriving at my trailer a few days ago was of course to make it livable again after its many lonely months in Yuma’s hot and dusty summer. The time-consuming work of completing modifications to the new Four Wheel Grandby camper last Spring, before Yuma’s heat began to set in by late March, required hasty compromises in cleaning and organizing my trailer before leaving it. In short, I discovered either just how little Read more…

A Tri-Surprise

Seeing this parked outside a hardware store raised many questions.

Seeing this parked outside a hardware store raised many questions.

Maybe you’re already aware of the vehicle above, and maybe not. I was not, though I’ve had a kinky attraction to three-wheelers for decades. That’s because Illinois registers them as motorcycles, which lets them avoid all manner of regulatory equipment requirements. The tricky part has always been to control weight distribution and center of gravity such that they don’t go topsy-turvy on you when you go into a corner too fast.

Interesting, no?

Interesting, no? I suspect this one has had a non-factory roof added to limit driver fry in the hot Yuma sun.

Anyway, I was impressed by the futuristic appearance of this Polaris Slingshot, a vehicle I never imagined that Polaris, an ATV manufacturer, would bring into production. One look at the frame and Read more…

Home!

The Defiant, slightly the worse for wear.

The Defiant, slightly the worse for wear.

Wellton, Arizona! The drive from Payson along 87 was fascinating, with the separated four-lane winding up, down and around in the Tonto National forest. What a stunning ride. What magnificent vistas! I highly recommend it, as long as your vehicle’s powertrain and brakes are healthy and reasonably robust. I noticed a converted vintage VW van on an uphill grade yesterday, flashers on and falling behind the pace of the slow semi in front of it. Not your first choice for this kind of task. The 4% and 6% downhills go for miles too, so you’ll want to downshift manually unless your drive system is bright enough to downshift when it senses you’re exceeding the speed control you set. Yeah, like everyone is now going to rush to Route 87…

I got to Wellton at 3PM to survey the wreckage, and apparently the summer monsoon season has been interesting. Both the Read more…

Schnay!

Today was another handful! A 20-30 MPH wind with gusts to 45 (according to the radio) held steady from the southwest, while the directions I took shifted around. Temps dropped as I came into Arizona, since another cold front was moving through. The state highway heading for Payson gave me a now-unusual sensation: a ribbon of pavement undulating across a desolate but visually interesting landscape. With an hour to go, I started into the Sitgreaves National Park, and that eventually led to a mountain pass where the added elevation lowered temperatures further. In combination with snow flurries that thickened to lower visibility to a couple hundred feet at points, the snow began Read more…

The Weather Reminder

Yesterday was both neat and wearing. Driving southwest down route 35 across Kansas just happened to take place while a cold weather front was moving in. A 25+ MPH wind shifted from south to north-northwest and all points in between during the course of the day before it finally weakened over the last couple of hours in New Mexico. But that still left plenty of nudging the steering wheel while cutting across the Oklahoma Panhandle and Texas. Calculated mileage spent much of its time at 9.0 MPG in the direct headwind, while only in New Mexico did the day’s average limp up to 10.5, all while holding a steady 65 MPH. I didn’t really need the onboard calculator to tell me I’d need to keep an eye on the fuel gauge, since the turbo boost gauge was into hill-climbing readings just to hold speed on the flats. It was a reminder to me that for all our technology, we’re still very much subject to forces much greater than our own.

The part of Kansas I was in was dormant farmland, and tumbleweeds were flopping across Read more…

And So It Begins

Oh, the humanity... The Mighty Furd jams awkwardly in between the normal cars like a bratwurst among franks.

Oh, the humanity… The Mighty Furd jams awkwardly in between the normal cars like a bratwurst among franks.

Day two of the cross-country trip, putting in an easy couple of hours after hurting myself at the Thanksgiving dinner table with family. The Comfort Suites I stopped at in Normal, Illinois at end of day was nearly a clone of the Comfort Inn in Crystal Lake. Today’s 6-hour drive took me to Kearney, Missouri and an Econo Lodge Motel. No pool or fitness room here, but it’s more Read more…

Decadent, and Loving It

Now back in the Chicago area for medical follow-up appointments and family visits in between, I’m staying in a motel called Comfort Inn for 5 days before I depart for Arizona. On the way here from Indy, I stayed in a roadside motel called Family Inn in Watseka, Illinois for $45. I was surprised to find the Family Inn to be a very good deal for the low price, with a quiet, clean, good-sized room with a decent mattress. TV, microwave and mini-fridge. I had tried to book a motel at my destination, a good family-run one I came across when I used to Read more…

State of the Intrepid – La Toilette

The C-Head BoonJon inside the Grandby's ear passenger-side cabinet.

The C-Head BoonJon inside the Grandby’s rear passenger-side cabinet.

The C-Head BoonJon composting toilet has proven a worthy investment, in spite of being the most expensive portable way I know to separate solid from liquid waste in a boondocking RV. To my surprise, it has proven odorless in spite of the lack of venting that is normally installed with these things. The maker suggested trying it out sans vent first, just to see, and I’m glad I avoided that complication. Most C-Heads are intended for marine use, or remote cabin use without plumbing. The separation of urine from solid waste prevents most noxious odors, and a churn handle mixes the solid waste with an absorbent material each time solids are added. The intent is that it is the initial stage of Read more…

A Little Fresh Air

These young women are at St. Mary's College in Dallas, Texas in the year 1898.

These young women are at St. Mary’s College in Dallas, Texas in the year 1898. A change of clothing would make them look quite current, yet not have much impact on the humanity that’s pouring through this photograph. But let me be frank: all dolled up or not, that front row looks like Trouble on the hoof, no?

It’s kind of a natural thing to think ourselves superior to those who have gone before us. I have done so in my early years, and have since thought better of it. Much better. In our current culture, our arrogance often stems from a tendency to confuse knowledge with wisdom, while the two have very little linkage indeed. We think that our superiority is because of our superior technology, forgetting that its foundation is entirely based on the work that has gone on before us, as well as forgetting that technology does not define a man or a woman, while character does. We love to assume that people of the past would be awestruck at viewing us as we wave our smartphones, admiring our progress as a society in every aspect. I wonder if they would be Read more…

National Procrastination Week

Here is a commemorative display. I can't tell what year this might be from, as the March 1-7 simply falls within the "first two weeks of March" mandate. Doesn't much matter.

Here is a commemorative display. I can’t tell what year this might be from, as the March 1-7 simply falls within the “first two weeks of March” mandate. Doesn’t much matter.

With this post, I’m announcing the observance of National Procrastination Week 2016, which actually took place March 6-12. If you Google the holiday, you’ll find two sets of sad cases. One set of crazies takes it as a serious holiday with psychologically therapeutic benefits. The other set takes the Politically Correct stance, decrying the corrosive and harmful effects of frequent procrastination on the psyche. Neither side sees any tongue-in-cheek aspect, and I’ll bet neither side of this tremendously unimportant and indecisive issue is in much demand at chit-chat parties. Life must be earnest but grim when a sense of humor is lacking. Time to be thankful for the little things that aren’t quite so little after all!

Take a moment today, or perhaps sometime later this week, to appreciate your sense of humor. As the great philosopher Mark Twain wisely advised, Read more…

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