Tuesday, March 31, 2009

From Clark Canyon Reservoir to Hamilton The Hard Way

I had accepted Len and Verna's invitation to visit them in Hamilton, on the other side of the Continental Divide in Montana. Len had mentioned a shortcut from the Reservoir and I assumed it was from the camping area. I was to travel northward, then west to get to Hamilton. The map showed a shortcut from Grant to Bannack but just to be sure, I asked a local man if it was safe. He said that only after a rain was it "slick" and likely to be unsafe. He assured me that there had been no rain for a while so it was probably ok. In restrospect, I should have been alerted to the twin hints of likelihood and probability.

On the map, it showed as a significant shortcut in miles. It proved to be only in miles. It took me over two hours to cover the worst 10 to 12 miles of "shortcut" ever. A dirt road of the washboard type, with deep ruts and not a soul, not a house, not even a shack. Once on the narrow road (road a definite misnomer, if you want my opinion) it was impossible to turn around and go back. The only way back was in reverse. So, valiantly onward I drove at a snail's pace. No ranch anywhere, so no cattle, but plenty of wild life. A herd of antelopes swiftly darted up the steep slope at the sight of this unknown creature invading their territory. At one point, I saw a dark form, quite large, by the side of the "road" and wondered if it might be a bear. As I got closer, it unfurled itself and stood up. It was a moose. Rather scrawny but very long-legged. We exchanged a stare, then opted each to go our separate way, away from each other, to my great relief.

Finally I made it to Bannack and a blacktop road. I noticed a few signs posted as I exited the "road", one reading "...road not suitable for trailers, rv’s, or motorhomes". I unwittingly left two hubcaps as a souvenir, which considering how non-existent the traffic is on the "road", are probably still there. In Hamilton, Len told me that to get to HIS shortcut, I should have backtracked northeasternly first. . . Oh, well.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Canal


Within the grey barrenness
Of man-made concrete walls
Confined and solitary, I flow.
At times, a vague stirring
Or dimly felt memories
Well up from some secret source.
Undefined visceral longings
Rise up, reach for, almost touch
The very edge of my consciousness.

Perhaps it is that a mellow rain
Has just begun to fall
A soothing intrusion of tiny droplets,
Minuscule evocations of sunny skies,
Fluffy clouds and feathered friends . . .

Or is it that the gentle breeze
Rippling over me pushes into my depth
Invading yet welcome waters
Risen from distant lakes and ponds?

Filled to the rim but not sated
At times tranquil, but never serene
I bless, I curse the walls, the gates
Which at once contain and secure me
Yet confine and limit me.

I have visions of mighty rivers
that roar from the highest peaks
And rush through verdant meadows
Renting the parched earth to bless it with life
Before reaching some distant ocean.

I have dreams, but are they dreams
Of being one with the liquid immensity
That stretches beyond the last horizon
Dreams that I could be
Or perhaps already am
That immensity.

Would that the powers that be
One day, soon, lift the gates
Let me gaze into the unfathomable . . .
Although reason whispers
That once I have ventured beyond
I may never be able to return
To the grey security of concrete walls.

Yet, the promptings are becoming insistent
To meld with the mighty rivers, the endless oceans
Venture forth on the ultimate journey
That will take me into infinity
To the totality of Me.

Dedicated to Brent and Kathy with Thanks

I doubt that I would have made it, boondocking this late in my life, had it not been for the help of many people. My son and daughter-in-law encouraged me and helped with the move out of my apartment by truck. A car wrongfully parked in the lane prevented me from leaving for close to two hours. Putting my belongings in storage became another ordeal after the long delay.
Exhausted and close to tears, finally, I was able to move into my rig, only to discover one problem after another. It was really hard. The weather was worse than awful with freezing temperatures and cold rain for days on end. Things that had been working before I put the rig in storage failed to work properly or were broken. Had it not been for Brent and Kathy letting me use their driveway and lending me both a heater and electricity while I was getting the rig up to traveling, I'm not sure that I would have kept my courage to go on. Weeks and hundreds of dollars later, the rig finally was road-worthy.

So, I want to acknowledge with gratitude all the gracious help that they gave me. On a separate post, I am putting a poem that I wish to dedicate to them. It is titled, "The Canal". Feel free to peruse it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Early Travel Experiences - Clark Canyon Reservoir, MT

When I started boondocking, I remained mostly in the Inland Northwest. Trekking southward through Montana, I crossed over the Misssouri River frequently amid spectacular rock formations, often with improbable trees precariously holding on atop tiny ledges. I ended up at Clark Canyon Reservoir south of Dillon where I remained for a while. The reservoir has been created by the Bureau of Reclamation and is renowned for trout fishing. There are 6 or 7 campgrounds and I chose the Horse Prairie one where there were already three men campers-fishermen. Doug was one of them, a tall lanky man whose buddy was the luckiest (or most skilled?) fisherman. Doug had retired from his profession as a biologist for the State and had been rv'ing full-time for the past 10 years. Quite a character with long white hair and beard to match, he had a big cat as a traveling companion. I shamelessly picked his brain for pointers, which he generously shared, on boondocking places he'd enjoyed and some others to avoid.

Doug and his two life-long friends, whose names I should have noted but did not, offered me freshly caught trout after a potluck supper at which I was introduced to Armadillo Eggs (cheese stuffed jalapeno peppers wrapped in bacon and barbecued, truly delicious). After the guys left, an older couple, Len and Verna, arrived and again, an invitation for supper followed. I ended up savoring another new dish, absolutely scrumptious moose burgers, courtesy of Len who was a hunter. Everything was better uniquely delectable and I eventually learned that Verna had been a restaurateur for years! We became fast friends and they invited to visit them in Hamilton, Montana. I gladly accepted.

Posted By Stargazer to Boondocking Blogger at 3/28/2009 10:32:00

Painted Lady Butterflies

Millions of butterflies are flitting about on their way north. I had mistaken them for monarch butterflies until a Californian friend told me that they were Painted Lady butterflies. She would know. The desert never stops to amaze me. The scorpions and rattlers are still hibernating so I have not seen any, for which I'm very grateful. But I have noticed a few lizards darting
away from Queenie, quick as lightning. She doesn't have a hope in hell ever catching one...From the beginning of February, there had been a continued and varied population of migratory critters. The ring-billed seagulls have dwindled to about a tenth of their previous number during the winter months. The yellow-head blackbirds and cohorts, the red-wing blackbirds, have deserted the feeders. Only an occasional hummingbird checks out the red sticker on my coach window.For all the desert's seeming immutability, there is constant change nonetheless. It fascinates me. It is said that there no half-measures when it comes to the desert--one either LOVES it or HATES it. From the very first moment I laid eyes on it in my earlier travels, it amazed me and I virtually fell in love with its ever changing hues and moods. And at night, the stars shine the brightest I have ever seen.

--Posted By Stargazer to Boondocking Blogger at 3/28/2009 02:00:00 PM

A New Way of Life with Much to Learn

Up to now, I had been blissfully ignorant of how little I knew about the web beyond clicking on a link and searching via a number of search engines. As to the mechanics of it all, my knowledge amounted to zero. Since I had decided long ago that I would put up my little adventures on a blog, I signed up on Blogger. Then I knew NOT what to do, even less how.Realizing how abysmally ignorant I was. I had to find tutorials and teachers, instructions (all easy to follow, hopefully). Somehow, somewhere, I would find a "how to" since I was so bogged down with blog issues.Then, I found the site "Geeks on Tour" who offered free of charge some very instructive videos. One was about Picasa 3, another Photo Story 3, both downloadable FREE from Google. That's how I was able to share my photos of desert blooms in video form.The result is that I am painfully aware of how rudimentary my blog is. So here I am, trying a few things as I go along. So, I beg my gentle reader to be patient; it is a work in progress . . .

--Posted By Stargazer to Boondocking Blogger at 3/28/2009 10:49:00 AM

Friday, March 27, 2009

Books in the Boondocks

I am a voracious reader. When I have nothing to read, I find myself seriously deprived. Since I stay at Imperial Dam, north of Yuma, AZ for the winter months, my problem is easily solved. I get a card from the Yuma Library for $15.00 valid for 6 months.Sometimes, I want books to keep as reference or for any other reason I get those from Amazon. Delivery when I am at the LTVA (Long-Term Visitor Area) is a cinch. The Christian Service Center graciously provides mail service. All that needs to be done is to register at season start, in the fall or winter. I also try to find second-hand bookstores, either on my way to a place or when I get there.Most cities and towns, no matter how small, have a public library. Books no longer wanted are up for sale at dirt-cheap prices. Sometimes, you might even able to borrow if you plan to stay for a while! --

Posted By Stargazer to Boondocking Blogger at 3/27/2009 02:11:00 PM

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One of my Favorite Excerpts

This is an excerpt that describes so well the kind of malaise living in the city produced in me for longer than I can recall. It propelled me into the free nomadic lifestyle for which I have opted.

Excerpt from "Summer of the Red Wolf"by Morris L. West

"In the crowded lands, in the ant-heap cities of our time, men are made and unmade by men. They are ground and frayed and polished and shaped, or misshaped, by contact with each other, like stones in a turbulent river. The past does not dominate them because they are whirled along in the torrent of now. The land does not dominate them because it is buried under asphalt and concrete and the feet never touch it. The sea does not rule them because they neither smell nor hear it, as they tread their corridors of bricks and mortar like mice in a maze.But in primitive places, in islands and uplands, man must adapt himself to the elements, to earth and water and changing air, else he will surely die. His past is always present to him, because the sap of knowledge and endurance must be drawn from it every day. His community life is less abrasive because it is more distended. It is more fraternal, more tribal, because it is closer to the mother earth, unified too, by the sense of common risk. Even the place names tell the same story. They celebrate no ancient tyrants, no fustian politicians, no irrelevant idols; they celebrate the earth and the sea and the fruits thereof." --

Posted By Stargazer to Boondocking Blogger at 3/25/2009 12:06:00 PM

Monday, March 23, 2009

Learning, learning... learning!

I haven't posted anything for a while. I was so involved in learning new software that is absolutely F A N T A S T I C, but also is FREE from Google. I'm new to Picasa 3, and to Photo Story from Google. I just love Google. So here's the result of going down the wash, traipsing around the desert with Queenie and my camera, taking pictures to put together in this little video.

Big Ooops. . . I accidentally deleted my first 10 posts but my son (who, by the way, happens to be quite a smart dude) had kept his notifications and copies and sent me the 8 that he kept.

Thanks so much!

Posted 3/23/2009 01:38:00 PM
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