Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No More Comment Anonymity

No more anonymity on my Blogger site.

On my initial use of Blogger, captchas were used to keep the internet robots from posting comments on my site. I removed the captcha requirement and several months later I started to get an infrequent spam comment. However, over the past couple of months, there have been on average about three to four spam comments per day generated by internet robots. That far outnumbers the real comments that are posted.

Something had to be done. The blogger settings were changed. No more anonymity. Going forward, either an OpenID or Google registration will be required to post a comment at the Wandrin Lloyd blog.

If the internet robot programmers figure out how to post comments with a Google registration, captchas will be turned on for comments. Another possibility is to turn off comments entirely. It's an option.

Eliminate comment anonymity. Simplify. Make life easy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fallen Arch

Scattered around the Saguaro SKP park are stone arches constructed by Gail and Mike. They have been building arches within the park for several years and their creations can be found on several lots. Creating the arches requires stone and time. Gail and Mike and occasional helpers scour the area quarries for rock as raw material for the arches.

Seems hard to believe that wind could topple these arches, but residents have watched it happen. A whirling dust devil creates lots of torque to upset the gravity that keeps the rock in place. That was the situation on the lot leased by Ellen and Cosmo. The arch collapsed during this past summer.

The rebuild of the arch was a social occasion as many of the residents of the park watched Gail and Mike rebuilding the fallen arch.

Creating a pile of rocks to support the arch is the first step. Follow that by placing the arch rocks over the supporting rocks.

The next step is to carefully remove the supporting rocks one by one.

With a correct arch span and properly placed keystone rocks, the arch is complete.

The arch is rebuilt and all hope the arch will survive future weather events.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wanderer by Sterling Hayden

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. 
"I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone. 
What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. 
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
― Sterling Hayden, Wanderer

That quote is from the first few pages of Hayden's autobiography. That quote is classic. Seen it several times over the past years during my adventure travel reading or nomadic wandering.

As a movie star who "…photographs well and is able to handle dialogue…", Sterling Hayden made lots of money to live the good life. His real love was the open sea aboard a boat. From an early age, boats of all kinds were his fascination and sailing became his obsession. Starting sailing as a teenager and eventually a captain, he sailed the oceans from New England to Tahiti and beyond more than once before becoming the movie star.

From childhood to his adulthood, he traces his life of constant movement. Throughout the book, Hayden inserts many of his life time experiences of sailing adventures, the boats, the seaports, the old sailors, as well as the art of sailing.

Wanderer was written as autobiography and a travel log of his illegal trip to Tahiti from San Francisco. In the middle of an ugly divorce, Hayden took his four children -- against court orders -- and other sailing friends to Tahiti to pursue a wandering drive. He couldn't explain the reason. From the words of this book, a psychologist might be able theorize why he had this desire to sail the oceans.

Once in Tahiti for several months, the author fears that this life may not be the best for his children. He also seems to mature some to the point of giving in to society "norms" -- and the movie career that made good money. He weighs anchor and returns to the US a wiser man to face the inevitable legal problems of broken contracts and defying court orders.

If you are looking for an adventure tale and have a love of sailing on the open water, Hayden's Wanderer is your book.

My experience with sailing… When on a vacation in Australia in 1998, I spent a week on a Windjammer with sleeping space for ten. I will never forget the experience of sailing almost directly into the fifteen knot wind with salt spray pealing over the bow. (The photo.) That was when the captain thought we might be able to get another half knot if something were done to the sails. Got way to technical for me. Amazing that we were able to sail almost directly into the wind. An experience to remember.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Old iPad

With Apple's anticipated announcement of a mini iPad today, my iPad is really old technology and capability.

On April 3, 2010, I picked up my iPad the first day they were available for purchase. Only two and a half years later it is bordering on antique status.

Compared to the later iPad models, my iPad has no camera, slower processor speed, heavier, less screen definition. Resale value had already plummeted with each announcement. Yes. It became an antique. Or at least a collectible.

When the latest (new) iPad was introduced, and with the Apple iPhone 5, the operating system has also been upgraded. Current version is iOS 6.0. That new op sys cannot be installed on my iPad. No doubt much of the op sys function has changed for the latest hardware incorporated in these later products.

Since that latest op sys and as the apps upgrade for the later model iPads, many of the apps on my iPad frequently crash. They may also crash on the newer iPads. However, my belief is that it is my older iPad running on iOS 5.1 on the older hardware which is the contributing factor to the app crashes that I experience. One site with frequent crashes is Apple's App Store. For other sites, a factor seems to be video content embedded in many internet articles. Don't view videos, but their existence causes the crash. Didn't take long to avoid the apps and web sites where the crashes occur.

My iPad does a great job to meet my wants. It is the only eReader that I have. (Donated the Kindle and the Nook to libraries.) In addition to reading books, the internet provides the news, a "reference librarian", playing games, doing crosswords, etc.

No I am not going to get a mini iPad. My iPad may be obsolete and considered an antique, but it is mine and it still works great for my wants.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clear Message

On a recent hike in the San Pedro Riparian area, I found a single example of this plant. That seed pod was about an inch in diameter with spikes all around. Pretty sure those spikes will deter most any hungry critter.

The plants leaves had died so the identification was made on the seed pod. After internet research the plant appears to be in the Datura family which includes the Jimson Weed -- a member of the nightshade family. Reading the varying plant descriptions, I concluded that it was a Long Spined Desert Thorn-apple.

My curiosity wasn't enough to combat those spines. Probably a good thing considering that the plant is highly poisonous.

Those spines were a clear message, "Leave me alone."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hiking Desert Terrain

Middle of October and it is cooling down in the desert. Nights around 50 degrees. Day time highs just cross into the 80s for just a short time. This is my kind of weather.

That makes for perfect hiking. Start out in cool temperatures.

Desert terrain west of the SKP park is a perfect place to get a little walking exercise. Every other morning or oftener, a hike is required. The path varies. Rarely do I meet any one on the hikes since the RVing snowbirds haven't yet arrived in large numbers.

On a recent hike I left the park and hiked along a wash. With forks in the wash there are decisions to be made. On that mornings hike, I always took the left hand fork.

Monsoon rains sculpt the terrain creating gullies that are perfect paths for hikers -- and the ATVs.

It's a quiet hike. Sure there is the occasional train sounding its warning as it crosses the grade crossings in Benson -- a mile away. The whoosh whoosh sound of ravens passing over head is pure delight. Even more delightful was the morning when I stood in one of those sculpted washes and noted the owl in the juniper. Before I could get the camera out, the owl took flight. As I was relishing the memory, another owl -- which I hadn't seen -- also took flight from the tree. However, it flew in the opposite direction.

Soon the washes lead to the crests of the hills and the trail leads me back to the park.

The views from the crest of the hills are calming and relaxing. For whatever reason I feel more secure when I can see everything compared to walking in those very narrow washes. Those occasional trees in the wash may be harboring some critter ready to pounce on me. Hasn't happened yet, but I do let the imagination run free now and then.

Another great hike in the desert. Life is great.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cooler Days

Yup. Winter is in the wings waiting to chill the northern hemisphere of planet earth. A couple of  days ago, the high temperature was a windy 71 degrees. Makes for a cool day. Required me to wear a light jacket with my shorts and Hawaiian shirt.

Appears my body metabolism is storing up some fat for the cool weather ahead. Regardless of my hiking and my usual paleo diet, I noted that the shorts were a bit more snug. Could be I am not out hiking enough. However, I wonder if the body metabolism is responding to shorter day light hours and cooler nights. Could there be some evolutionary component to this body that causes it to store fat for the colder weather to come.

There are not a whole lot of food items on the paleo diet that are carbohydrate dense, but I do seem to be hitting the few sweets that I keep for desserts. Second helpings of a piece of chocolate or some dried fruit are the items that are kept for that occasion. Then there is mainlining the butter. Could be some of that contributes to snug shorts.

Since RVing Steve was exploring this part of Arizona, it was a good excuse to meet him at my favorite eating place in Sierra Vista -- The German Cafe. Good way for me to get some calories in preparation for winter. Steve winters at Justin's Diamond J RV park in Tucson where I stayed last winter. Steve will be there before I arrive on the eighth of November.

Before I head out for a hike this morning, it is time to make a plan for this evening's menu of calorie dense foods. Must plan for colder days ahead.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Unloading. Relieving stress. Cooling off. Venting. Ranting.

That is the subject of this post. Then I am going off to hike.

1. Health care should never be completely free. There should be a co-pay for every medical visit. For those who are destitute, that is the time for a government program.

2. Debates should not be televised. Without body language and just listening to the words of the debaters, people would draw very different conclusions. (Caveat. I didn't see or listen to the debates.)

3. TV -- and radio -- is entertainment. The TV talking heads make millions. Don't forget it is all about the number of listeners and advertising.

4. This is not original, but Senators and Congressmen should wear the logos of their "sponsors" on their suits -- like NASCAR drivers.

5. Presidential elections should be done by popular vote -- not the Electoral College. The candidates would have to appeal to all voters not just a few voters from the "swing states".

6. Take the penny out of circulation. If the legislators were serious about anything, the penny would be gone. But there is the zinc mining lobby that seems to have bought a few votes. Surprise.

7. How about a one percent solution to balance the federal budget. Everyone takes a one percent reduction in their government check. No exceptions. That includes my social security. Increase the taxes by one per cent. No exceptions. Leave all the loopholes in place. The only thing that changes is the rate.

8. Waiting for someone in the legislative bodies to admit that the war on drugs has failed. Has no one learned from the history of the prohibition of alcohol. The war on drugs has simply created the Mexican Mafia for the control of narcotics distribution. The war on drugs has also created a new industry called the prison system.

9. Don't understand how some members on the conservative group of society want to get government out of life, but they also want to make laws that same sex couples can't marry and no abortion under any circumstances.

10. How come the Fed continues to spend money to make banks wealthy by buying non performing loans. What about the underwater loans of many home owners. Why not buy those -- or at least the underwater part. That would help to get the economy going when people have money to spend on consumer stuff.

There. I feel better. Needed to get those thoughts shared with my readers -- if anyone has gotten this far.

Time to head out away from the internet and radio and off to some hiking. Cooling off.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Memory Issue?

The MacBook is fine. It's my memory that might have the problem.

It was a laundry day that the issue appeared. After the washer cycle, I put the load in the dryer and returned 30 minutes later to retrieve the dry laundry. Pulled a cart to a location beneath the dryer and started to pull the clothes out of the dryer. That was when I noticed something pink falling among the pile of clothes. Whoa. Do I have the wrong dryer. Nope. The items were mine except for the pink item. Held it up to take a closer look. Not real close. It was a woman's panties. Wonder how that ended in my laundry.

Did a quick review of the past week. Wow. Sure don't remember any event where a lady's article of clothing could have been left at Wandrin Wagon. It's scary.

Sure wish I could remember what may have been a good time.  At my age, it could be a memory issue.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Not Ready To Settle

In An Option To Full Time RVing, the attractiveness of urban living in Prescott was the conclusion I came to after contemplating alternatives and listing positives and negatives of each option.

However, settling in Prescott is not what I really wanted. Here are the major options that I considered -- and still consider as I continue to RV full time.

Option 1… Continue full time travel. Get a Class C and a toad. Each time I've looked at a Class C, I've always reached the conclusion that with major remodeling a Class C might work. Wasted space for a TV and the microwave. The nook that seats four is useless. The full sized bed should be a twin. No need for the over the cab bed area. Make it a storage area. How about a Class C design to seat two and sleeps one.

With a Class C and a toad, there are now two engines to deal with. Since I am not a gear head and not too handy, that could be a problem.

My current twelve year old truck and nine year old trailer with a perfect floor plan could not be matched by a Class C combination.

Option 2… Stop the travel and settle down in an urban area where I can walk the neighborhoods. Sounds like the place I gave up in Denver eleven years ago. The Silver Slug and Wandrin Wagon would be sold. Get a small car to explore when needed. This was the option described in An Option To Full Time RVing.

Option 2.1…. As I considered that option, I was concerned about those times when I wanted to do some exploring or traveling. Motels and eating out is not something I relish. One of the possibilities was a Class B type unit as my only transportation instead of a car.  As big as the Silver Slug, parking would have the same issues. That Super B would provide transportation for local errands as well as extended travel.

Like the Class C, the floor plans and options are for couples -- or family. However, for a reasonable priced used unit, I could make it work. Perhaps even some remodeling. Sure beats motels and dining out. The Class B would also provide more spontaneous exploring due to parking accessibility. That smaller sized unit could also park in friends and relatives driveways to cut down on camping expense.

Option 2.2…. Depending on the price of that Class B, another option would be to rent a Cruise America unit that advertise that you are "seeing the country". Not sure what the final costs would be, but assume something about $4000 a month to rent one of the smaller units. Considering a two to three month nomadic exploring, that may be less expensive for the long term compared to the investment and maintenance of that owned Class B.

Option 3…. Continue the full time travel with Silver Slug and Wandrin Wagon, but do serious extended stays where ever parked. A minimum of two weeks is the factor with many state parks. Spending more for daily camping, I could select a campground close to a downtown area. Maybe not within walking distance, but certainly a convenient short drive with Silver Slug.

The Winning Option... After all those words and considerations, the winner is Option 3. Option 1 was never seriously considered since it really duplicates what I already have. Option 2 requires hunting for an apartment (to me it is a cave) that is located in an "acceptable" urban neighborhood. Additionally, there is some layout of cash to purchase the Class B.

So it came as no surprise that I justified the answer I wanted. With the existing truck and trailer, future full time RVing is long term camping and explore the area where I am parked.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

An Option To Full Time RVing

Over the past seven decades, there have been several of those "time for a change" crisis points. It was eleven years ago when a crisis point was satisfied with a leap into RVing full time in a fifth wheel. Those eleven years have gone fast. It's been a great ride -- figuratively and literally. Watching the scenery along the back roads is a pleasure that never gets tiresome.

Even better are those times as I pass through the agricultural areas of the country and noted the changes in farming over the past fifty years. Lots of things have changed including air conditioning. There was none in my youth unless you went to a movie. On the road it was 4-60 air conditioning. (All four windows rolled down and going 60 miles an hour.)

Now with another crisis point looking for a change, what is the next phase of life after the full time RV living. It's an ongoing discussion within my brain. This is only the latest in a long list of crisis moments to satisfy a wandering instinct. First walking. Then a bicycle. Then a horse. At sixteen it was a car. Then it was the first new car I owned -- a 1961 Plymouth convertible.

More wandering followed. After university, it was California. Then it was Colorado. Change is good. Been searching for another change this past summer.

It was at one of those Ford dealerships where I spent lots of time -- and money -- this last summer where I saw this Mustang. Soon there was another option on the alternatives list of life after RVing full time.

My convertible would not have a black interior. Anything but black. Probably would not be a convertible either, but the sticker price was not a whole lot more than I would get for the truck and trailer upon a sale. That made the option more attractive. With a smaller car, I wouldn't have to park on the far side of the parking lot where the Silver Slug is usually parked. That might be a bad thing. I would not get the exercise this old body needs.

Soon, I was imagining the new world of a small apartment in Prescott Arizona within walking distance to the downtown square and the coffee/tea shops. When I do need transportation it would be the convertible. That little car could get me to the trail heads so I could continue my passion for hiking. For cross country exploring, a cooler in the car's trunk and motel camping would be the new life. The new world was looking attractive.

However, I've been fooled before about what would make me happy. Could I really be happy with motel camping after rving full time. Probably not. Regardless, a place in Prescott and a car is an alternative for the next phase of life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

From The Drivers Seat

Been a while since last posted some sightings from the driver's seat.

Vanity Plates...

BONE FXR -- Probably an orthopedist

ECO TRIP -- On a Prius

CQRITY1 -- Secure in the car?

YIPYKYA  -- Probably on a Mustang, but I didn't take note

2 OL KIDS -- You know you are in Arizona with that plate.

HOOFWMN -- Woman farrier?

MUZEKL -- Why "musical" for a vanity plate?

OILSAVR -- Didn't note the car, but probably one of those electric versions.

BOOK CHK -- A librarian?

DRPUH -- Just what would a doctor of "poo" practice. Perhaps a proctologist.

OLDNSLO -- Another of those Arizona license plates.

Unusual named businesses….

WATERGATE LEGAL SHREDDING --  Spotted in Lake Havasu City

Franklin Phonetic School in Prescott Valley -- Alternate spellings Phranklin Phonetic or Franklin Fonetic. :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Change Or Continue On

Arrived in the south earlier than my original long range plans. Arrived at Benson and temps are hovering around 90 degrees. Had expected temps in the 80s. Predictions are for 80s next week.

Wondering why this early arrival. It's a long story. Really not a very good reason.

I enjoy my nomadic wandering. It's fun. It continues to be fun. Sometimes. However, sometimes the "pot holes" in the road of life have seriously slowed me down.

Some of those set backs have been the amount of money that I have spent on Silver Slug this past summer. You don't want to know how much. I don't want to know. 250K miles and twelve years old. It is rather expected.

Then Wandrin Wagon needed a fix to the suspension and needed new batteries. Another big cash outlay.

The cash outlay this past summer has been damaging to the investments. Okay. So who am I saving it for. I earned it. May as well spend it.

As each maintenance issue was resolved, I had hoped that was the end for a while. Wasn't to be. Again and again there was another issue that needed to be addressed. The latest is new tires for Silver Slug. Will this never end.

In a rational and intellectual conversation with myself, I realize that living on the road is still a whole lot less expensive than living in some apartment condo. Of course there is the issue of living in a cave; windows and door to the outside at one end only. That apartment would not be near the fun of living in a moveable home with changing scenery. Even if the scenery is a campground.

The cash outlays was not a good reason to end up in Benson as early as I did. Unfortunately, I reacted emotionally rather than intellectually. With continuing maintenance issues to deal with, my focus and curiosity was diverted from the happiness I get from nomadic living and satisfying my curiosity.

As I mostly drove with a few stops to explore along the way, I had plenty of time to think about "what if". At what point do the costs outweigh the continuation of pouring more money into living on the road.

And as those thoughts ran rampant through my brain, I thought of alternatives to the truck and fifth wheel combination.

It appears I am not the only one with thoughts of changes to mobile living. Boonie is on the search for the perfect van/trailer combination. Mark has made his decision and bought an experienced LazyDaze. Glenn is hinting at changes to his home on wheels to make travel life less stressful. Cowboy Brian is searching for the ideal remote location to call home when not wandering the west.

For me, the leading contender of the options was selling the truck and trailer and settling down in sticks and bricks. Yeah. The cave. Summer travel would be in a Super B sized vehicle. Could I really live in something like that for three to four months. The Super B (or Class C) would allow me more spontaneity when traveling. Traveling with trailer in tow, it is difficult finding a place to pull over to capture that perfect photo -- or on the ground exploring.

What to do.

After a six week stay at Benson, I will be parked in Tucson for the rest of the winter. That should give me plenty of opportunity to consider options for living life. Then there is that fall back option -- make no change. I like that option.

Life is good. Actually, life is great.

The photo was taken at an RV park in Albuquerque. The 1950 Hudson with a 1954 trailer is available for renting for a retro camping experience. Didn't stay at the park. Sandia Casino was my base while exploring.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Without Color

Heading south this fall, I've not seen colorful scenic views. If you were looking for fall color, check out Mark's Box Canyon Blog. He has been posting the golds and oranges from some of his hikes in the San Juans.

The fall colors that I saw in my travels were more subdued. A two night stop at Elephant Butte State Park provided the typical fall color for this area. With little rainfall, the water level of the reservoir is down. Way down. On the north end of the reservoir, where water once stood, it is grass. Might be able to start farming that land.

Low water levels is the situation for many of the reservoirs along the east side of the Rocky Mountains. Between agriculture use and urban consumption, the water levels are drawn down. That is done with the anticipation that the snowfall will be normal this winter so the reservoirs can be filled again. That is the hope.

With little rainfall, some plants have evolved to adapt to these conditions. A solitary blooming yellow bush appears to be one of those.

A blue flower seemed to resemble the blue flax. A single example of that plant was found.

Then there was this plant that resembled a squash. Found more than one example of the vines with very few squash. Are these edible. Don't know. It's just not like me to leave vegetation untasted. Am I getting old.

Don't need colorful trees to inform of winter's coming. Cooler days and nights. Halloween super stores are opening in empty store fronts. Grocery stores are selling pumpkins. Yup. All the factors are pointing to fall.

Just wondering… Does a color blind person enjoy the scenic vistas of Colorado's fall colors. What does it look like for the color blind.