Category Archives: Country Life

Return of the Native

Hi readers.  Those of you still out there with a desire to read what I write, hello and howdy.  I hope you are aware you’re reading the words of one of the most ignorant human beings in the western hemisphere.  I’ve spent the past six months having it proved to me.

Mostly I’ve spent the last six months finding out all the things can go wrong with a 1983 Toyota RV when a person buys one without knowing what he’s doing.  And trying to figure out what I’m going to do to replace it with something I can depend on not setting me and the cats dead in the water somewhere beside the road in some pest hole the Coincidence Coordinators chose instead of me doing it.

That, and hoarding pennies and nickles so’s I can afford to do whatever I decide needs doing.

If I can’t keep myself from doing it, I’ll probably be posting here again on and off for a while.  I’ve had a nice sabbatical, give or take the fact I’m here, right where I was when I went on my walkabout to nowhere.

Thanks for coming by.

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The Trekster Saga Continues

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I won’t bore you with the details of preparations for the road, mostly.  Suffice to say it’s coming along gradually without tipping its hat to any deadlines and schedules I might attempt to impose.  I came to realize a few days ago I don’t have any alligators gnawing on my pantsleg to hurryhurryhurry, anyway.

So I’ll get on the road more-or-less soon, but not quite so soon as I’d told myself I will.  Which is okay by the cats and the Coincidence Coordinators as nearly as I can discern.

Shiva the Cow Cat opted out of the future with the other cats and me.  Refused to be cajoled into getting laid back about the RV, willingly adapt to it and think of it as a source of pleasurable quality time.  I finally decided I wouldn’t insist.

Jeanne’s son, Michael, drove down from Kansas and spent a couple of days I wouldn’t have missed for anything I can think of, then departed with Shiva.  Took her back to reside with Jeanne.

Second night he was here we were sitting outdoors talking and he pointed north.  “What the hell is that?”

We watched and gasped and wondered while a UFO performed impossibilities in the sky for a while.  Nice gift the Coincidence Coordinators provided to top off his visit.  Something to remember alongside Shiva’s departure.

Damn I’m going to miss that cat.  What the hell.

Otherwise, what the hell on everything else that needs it to balance things out, also.

Old Jules

Rain, Feral Swine, Leaks and Yankee Soldiers

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

We were blessed with a few days of rain here, beginning with a frog strangler during the night.  Most of the cats and I were in the RV when the tree fell on the roof of the cabin, but it made enough noise to satisfy our needs to hear something.

I made a run for the cabin to see how bad things were, but it turned out nothing came through the roof this time.  Just a wake-up call, though.  Lots more dead trees around the cabin.

After the big rain came a day of light, intermittent rainfall which allowed me to chase down and caulk various roof leaks in the RV roof I’d noted and I plugged a good many of them.  Found a few more when the rain began again, but it’s coming along.

Second night after the rain the feral hogs came in, snorting and banging around between the RV and the cabin.  I just ignored them, let them do their own thing because I wasn’t needing any altercations with that sort of individuals. 

Meanwhile, the neighbor up the hill was able to burn a lot of the piles of cedar he’d been pushing up, clearing it.  Looked like a thousand campfires across there.  Beautiful sight in the dark.  Must have been the way it would have appeared for a Civil War army looking across the landscape at the enemy camps the night before a battle.

Next morning the cats and I had our muskets loaded, bayonets fixed crouched in our hidey holes, waiting for all those Yankee soldiers to swarm across the meadow, but I reckons we scared them off.

Old Jules

Perfect Man Shrine – Columbus, NM

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Someone during the 1960s built this, put up a small RV park with water and electrical connections around it, evidently for potential pilgrims.  It’s on the boundary between desert and Columbus, New Mexico.  I used to go hang around there most times when I’d visit Columbus for other reasons.  Never saw anyone there, though the shrine did have palm leaves fresh every time during the early 1990s.

But the RV park is grown up with cactus and creosote, doesn’t appear to have ever been used.  The power boxes are full of mud-dobber nests.  I’ve been thinking for some while about the place as a winter refuge.  I gather the place changed hands after someone died, the new owners live across the street and aren’t followers of Meyar Baba.  They work for USFS in Arizona several months a year. 

I was talking to one of the cats about the place last night when I was trying to sleep and she was trying to keep me from it by kneading her claws on my chest.  She likes the thought of it being somewhat remote, while having the potential for desert mice and lizards.  Probably fairly warm, too.  Suggested, once I get footloose, if something else doesn’t get in the way, that I try chasing down the current owners.  Try to get a feel for whether they’d take kindly to having someone park in there occasionally.

I’m thinking that cat might be onto something.

Old Jules

Wyffie Mysteries, Trailer Possibilities and Nomad Farmers

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Some matters, I’m finding, my mind believes it’s better if I don’t know and refuses to assimilate and process.  I’ve been hearing for years about fast Internet and more recently how a person can just pull his car up in front of someplace in town, turn on the computer and have fast Internet.  I just took things to be that simple without going into it further.

But I’ve been doing a lot of reading the archives of the Cheaprliving Forum, http://www.cheaprvlivingforum.com/, asking a few questions, and discovering a lot without having to ask questions.

For instance, I’ve quickly ridded myself of the popup camper notion by asking one question about it, getting two helpful answers, realizing it was an abysmally lousy option.

I’ve got this laptop computer here and it’s got things on wires to plug into the USB port on the comp.   I’d assumed I could drive into town, plug one of these into the laptop and whatever it is takes a person online with wifie happens.  Now I’m finding these pre-date Wyfie and are for some other kind of fast Internet the world outgrew and left behind while I was sleeping under a tree. 

I’ve read on the forum what’s being said about their ways of connecting to wifi and the special antennae they use, all manner of doodads to amplify them.  And I don’t understand a word of it.  Don’t have a clue what it is I’m going to need to do to be able to get online.

One of the problems is that despite the CheapRLiving moniker, I gather most of these members are, either rich, or rich enough to be able to afford to go out and buy things they want.  So when they talk about solutions they’re actually talking about cavalierly forking out a $100 bill, or several of them, and calling it a solution.

Today I’m going to town for groceries and I’m going to try to find someone who’ll tell me in simple terms what I need to park my truck outside the library and go on line.  Then I’m going on Yahoo Fredericksburg Freecycle and Yahoo Kerrville Freecycle groups and find out if someone’s got one collecting dust in a closet they’d sooner hand off to someone who’d use it.

Then, if that doesn’t work, at least I’ll have a list of the things I need to get it done.  Probably find something on Ebay.

Not much interest coming on the Nomad Farmer thing.  Only two folks expressed a firm interest and one an interest for a couple of weeks.  But it’s early times yet.  Maybe late-winter or early spring some people will be wondering what to do with themselves next summer.

Or maybe I’ll just have to settle for heading for Santa Fe and take in an opera.

Old Jules

Silky Rooster’s Been Raptured Out

I told you that silky rooster was intelligent, but I thought he’d outsmarted himself by getting loose and left behind here.  All those hens he came up with as a chick, the surviving rooster.  Kay’s hens and rooster.  All now joined with a free ranging flock somewhere else.

And he was sorely depressed being alone here.

But he must have known faith would see him through.  A lady down the road with 17 hens and no roosters emailed me after I listed him on Kerrville FreeCycle.  We arranged to meet yesterday at a pullover midway between her and me.

“What a beautiful rooster!”  He preened.

What’s his name?”

I’ve never given him a name.”  She scowled and stroked him.

I always name my chickens.”  Attractive pucker.

To which Mr. NoName Silky replied, “I’ve been to the wild wood, mither.  Mak my bed soon.”

All’s well that ends well.

Old Jules

Slab City, California – An Impromptu Community

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been getting some fascinating emails for the past couple of days, maybe from one of the readers here, maybe from one of the Toyota RV forums I’ve been visiting to learn about problems and solutions encountered by others who have more experience with this particular method of escaping reality.

I retired in 02. A friend happened to see a little clip about the slabs on TV one night and told me he had just heard about a place that he thought I’d like. I googled it and agreed. A couple weeks later I loaded up my old 1971 Volvo 144 and left Tennessee for the slabs. I spent a magic 10 days out there living under a bush on a hammock. Meeting people who were, like me, searching for adventure and fun. In that short time, I found everything that a man could want. And for the next 10 years I have returned again and again. I have spent winters out there in motorhomes and tents. It dosen’t matter. Every visit has been good.

 
There are several clubs on the slabs. I belong to the Oasis club. There is also the Traveling Pals Club and LOWS, Loners on Wheels Club. Everybody fits in somewhere. There is no mayor, There is no law. (The imperial county sheriffs and CHP do come onto the slabs if there is a problem.) There is an anarchy that functions, a collective justice system that operates that seems to do the job. If someone is behaving in a manner that is unacceptable, a group pressure will build and build until that person decides to change or to go elsewhere.

There is the Range, a magic spot on Saturday night where musicians come and people come and best of all it is free.A big party under the stars. It is hard to describe. When you are there and the music is playing and people are dancing and you just know that you are in the best place that you could be even if you could be anywhere else. Magic.

The 1 mile square abandoned military base that is the slabs has been settled in different areas. East Jesus, an art colony, is situated in the NE corner. The LOWS in on the opposite SW corner. There is a Canadian area on the south central side. After a while you will know it like a monopoly board. And wait until the first time you find yourself lost at night walking across the slabs in an endless maze of campers and cresote bushes. You will soon learn to recognize the local landmarks, the blinking lights on the towers in nearby Niland, or the lights of the prison located about 6 miles south of the slabs..

Many people hear of the slabs and drive into it for a look see. You can spot them a mile away. Eyes wide, windows up, they’ll circle a few “blocks” and then drive out, never stopping and speaking to a “local”. They can’t get by the the ultra casual dress “code” of the slabs, but appearances are misleading. There is no average person at the slabs. Everybody there is special with a story that is usually bigger than life. At night, by the campfires, the stories gradually materialize until you begin to know these individuals. And then you are hooked.

 
Just from the litle we’ve talked, I feel that you would find that you fit in there just fine. Its not perfect. There are some bad people there. Outlaws, fugatives. But you can be sure they are keeping a low profile. Amazingly, there are plenty of women there, too. Its really hard to describe, it would take a book, and it changes every year. We will be going out there again this winter (my new wife and I). This time we are going to rent a motor home that is parked out there and just drive our car out-which should save enough gas money to pay for the rental.

Oh ya, forgot to mention the nearby town, Niland. It has a lot of support for the winter campers. There are 2 stores in town, May’s that has about everything you might need. food, meat counter, beer and liquor, drinks, bread, toilet paper and even some hardware, and Mike’s Store, he has less but also has shorter lines. I go to them both. There are 3 restaurants in town. Balestero’s that serves great mexican food, and pretty good hamburgers. They also have a bar and a pool table. Across the street there is Uncle D’s Pizza Shop that also serves breakfast. And there is a new restaurant further North on rt. 111, Buckshot I think, that serves pretty good stuff. . There is a laundromat. And a flea market at the “fair grounds” that operates on the weekends. Vendors are moving through every so often so its good to run by there once in a while. There is also a public health building there that treats less serious medical problems. And a gas station that fills propane tanks, too.

8 miles south of Niland is a town names Calpatria. It has a library with internet, a donut shop, and a great hardware store. Also auto parts, and more. You will have to drive another 10 miles south to get to Brawley and the nearest walmart. You can get just about anything in Brawley, but if all else fails, another 10 miles south to El Cantro where I think you could find anything.
 

Being California, there are a million nearby things to do. trails to hike, roads to drive, hot springs to bask in. It just occurred to me that you might be more interested in this than my earlier description.

If the distance weren’t so great, the money so dedicated to various other priorities I’d be sorely tempted to spend some time there.  But Slab City’s 1250 miles from Kerrville, Texas.    At current gas prices I could spend half a months pension check getting there.  And there’s no telling what manner of bowling balls the Coincidence Coordinators would throw into the route to distract me along the way, have me taking all manner of routes elsewhere.

Old Jules

Slab City links:

http://www.dogpile.com/search/web?fcoid=417&fcop=topnav&fpid=27&q=slab+city%2C+ca&ql=

The Slab City Library entrance

Inside the Library

Internut Access

The Doooooowey Decimal System

Reading area