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On to Vernal, Utah

Utah

After leaving Craig, Colorado I started working my way west. I paused a few times along the way to hunt for a geocache (and to get out of the car and enjoy the outdoors). The Girl, as always, really enjoys these stops. She travels well and is happy snoozing on the seat beside me, looking (and sniffing) out the window, and long-range cuddles (me stoking or giving her scratchies). What a wonderful companion.

We puttered along the way, enjoying the cool air and the bit of misty rain that we encountered. It was amazingly cool for summer — about 65F. I had to roll up the windows or be cold.

As I thought about our route along U.S. 40, I recalled seeing Dinosaur National Monument located near the Colorado-Utah border. Not knowing when I might again be this way, I decided to forego making miles and enjoy a diversion for a few hours enjoying the park. So, we stopped at the eastern welcome center and went inside. A ranger greeted us after finishing his visit with a small group of tourists. We chatted for a bit about his work and the park.

“The east side of the monument has the views and the altitude. The west side has the fossils and the heat.” He told us.

I elected to go for the fossils and save the views (and altitude) for our next visit. Perhaps by then I’ll have my mobile house and can stay a bit. It would be interesting to work the landscape with my cameras.

So, off we went… west. We paused in between the two parts of DNM to capture a geocache. When I clambered up on the ridge to get the hide, I glanced in both directions. U.S. 40 spread out before me in both directions. Each provided a distinctly different view. I liked the light better to the west and made this capture with my HTC One mobilephone and immediately made an Instagram post of it. Now I’m sharing it again, but this time with the story. What a great view of the arid west. I love this part of the country.

The Girl had a blast chasing rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. I had to call her back a couple of times because she’s always at risk of getting lost. In her prey-driven focus, she’ll completely forget where she is and where I am. She’s smart and dingy — an interesting combination. She could probably find me with her doggie-sense (perhaps not as good as spider-sense, but pretty-damned-good nonetheless), but she forgets to use her best tools. I often accuse her of being my blonde bitch. [Yes, I know that’s not PC; I don’t care.]

As an aside, I’ll add that I tell people that I like “big-chested blondes with tight asses” and then give the Girl a pat. Wife used to tell me “David! You can’t say that!” to which I would respond “I just did!” And then I’d smile. When I say that, I can hear my Dad’s voice. It is something similar to those things he’d say. I still miss him and he died 20-years ago. Bummer…

We scrambled back down the bluff and headed west in the 4Runner. As we lost altitude it became warmer. The atmospheric lapse rate is still a physical reality, I suppose. It wasn’t long before we found the turn-off to the Welcome Center on the west side and pulled in. There were quite a few cars in the lot and it was much hotter. It was too hot to leave the Girl in the rig, so I put her vest on, retrieved a banana for myself from the on-board stores, and we headed for the center. The Girl took time to sniff a bit and pee, then we walked up to the door.

We were greeted by a ranger who immediately took up with the Girl. I set up a greet and permitted the ranger and the Girl to interact while the ranger told me about the bus to the quarry. She said “follow the bus in your rig and the driver will open the gate for you. You can park at the top.” Having the Girl in-vest is a very good thing.

Dinosaur BoneWe went inside and bought (for a buck) a self-guided tour of the western part of DNM. Then we returned to the 4Runner and followed the directions. As instructed, the driver paused at the sliding gate, asked me about access, asked about the Girl, and how many in our party. Then she opened the gate and I followed them up to the parking area. We walked into the quarry building and then enjoyed an Earthcache and the view of the pile of fossilized bones. It was a genuinely enjoyable part of my journey and I took a lot of pictures inside the quarry, then outside from the parking lot.

After an hour or so, we headed back down the hill and started the self-guided tour. I was particularly interested in the petroglyphs and the old cabin where a woman lived and worked until she was in her nineties. Those are stories for another time, I think.

Hot and tired, we finally left DNM and drove into Vernal, Utah. Vernal is a bustling little city that seems to be thriving. We found a motel (The Weston Lamplighter — recommended) and went inside. They are no-pets, so I declared my service dog, provided some documentation, and checked in. We pulled over to our room and unloaded.

I wanted some Mexican food, so I spent a few minutes researching (Google is your friend, in this case), picked a place within walking distance, and off we went. The Plaza Mexicana was busy, noisy, and warm. I ordered a margarita and a meal (enchiladas) and enjoyed the drink and the chips. The salsa was a little authoritative so I ordered a second margarita.

Vernal, UtahMargarita! OMG! The second must have been a double! The food was very good, the margarita was great, and the sopapillas were passable. (I ate them!) Then we “meandered” our way back to the motel, or rather I “meandered” with the Girl wondering what was wrong with me. The evening light was good, but there was something wrong with my eyes, so my captures were less than optimal, to say the least.

Fed, hot, tired, and a little buzzed, I fed the Girl, we went out to the grassy area so she could have her toilet, and then retired for the evening. The A/C was great and there was little on TV. All was good after a long, enjoyable day and I fell asleep readily.

Tools I Use

Bodum Personal French PressAn idea occurred to me a few days ago. I should write about the tools I’m using now that I no longer have a house. Living small requires rethinking almost everything one does. I still cook for myself, whether I’m on the road or staying someplace. That means there are certain tools that are required. I’m learning as I go.

A couple of years ago I bought this small Bodum personal French press. I also have a small hand grinder (that I’ll write about later). I bought the press so that I could make a single cup of coffee in the afternoon if I wanted coffee but didn’t want to make a full pot. It got some use when I had the house, but not as much as I expected.

So, I started carrying it when I travel. However, using it requires heat to boil water. (There is another topic for writing. Don’t worry, I have a story there as well.) After this last trip, I realized I really like making my own coffee. McDonald’s coffee is much improved over the last couple of years with their new approach. (Kudos to McDonald’s for making that improvement! It’s one of the things I really like about the store.) But I really prefer my own choice of beans (or grounds) and my own method of preparation. I’m not really a snob, but I know what I like.

The body of the Bodum is glass, so care is required. But, it’s relatively easy to clean and is heat resistant. Just be careful with the body to mitigate the potential for breakage. The screen is fairly coarse so a coarse grind is required. Use is simple — grind coffee, add grounds to press, boil water (I suggest boiling water while grinding coffee), add water, steep, stir before pressing (I don’t do this step), and then press slowly.

If you are not picky about sediment in the bottom of your cup, the grind is less relevant. I don’t mind a little sediment, but think I’ll work on my grind to see if I can get it a bit more coarse than I currently have. Once you decant the coffee, set the press aside to cool while you enjoy your coffee. Then dump out the grounds and rinse the press. If oils accumulate, I suggest wiping them out with a paper (or cloth) towel. I will not use detergent on my press.

It’s simple, reliable, produces consistent coffee, and is easy to keep clean. With care, this press will last me the remainder of my life. I like it and would recommend it.

Routt National Forest

Columnar BasaltThe Girl and I left Denver on Friday, 3 July 2015 headed for western Nevada. I had some personal business there that needed my attention and I wanted to retrieve some things from my storage unit. Plus, it was just time for me to get out of Denver.

Older Son and DiL live on Capitol Hill in Denver. It’s a busy place and deep in the city. So, it has all the noise, commotion, and energy of a city. Although the place where Older Son and DiL live is fairly quiet, and the window A/C units we installed while I was there provided quite a bit of white noise, I could still feel that city-energy. After a couple of weeks, I just needed to be out of that.

I originally intended to stay in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. But I was unable to reserve lodging there so elected to go on a bit farther west and stayed in Craig, Colorado. Craig is not a small town at all; but it isn’t a city and the vibe there was calm, orderly, and a slower pace of life. But, I’m ahead of my story.

I left Denver and drove north on I-25 to Fort Collins, where I turned west on CO 14 — the Poudre Highway. Heading up into the foothills was quite busy as many folks were headed for the mountains (and I learned later, Steamboat Springs). Although I stopped for a couple of geocaches, I felt uncomfortable with all the traffic and eventually blew off searching for more hides. I elected to relax, enjoy the drive, and enjoy the river.

We stopped several times along the way to enjoy the warm mountain air (we also drove with the windows down and the A/C off), stretch legs, and make a capture or two. There was no reason to hurry as my mileage for the day was less than 300 miles.

When we arrived at Steamboat Springs, Jumping Jehosaphat! The town was crazy-busy with folks there for the 4th of July celebration. It was no wonder that no lodging was available. In any event, I was thankful that there was no lodging available as I would have simply traded the Denver energy for Steamboat energy. That would not have been a good thing.

So we drove on, thankfully.

About an hour later we arrived at Craig, Colorado. It was bustling, but the vibe was much calmer and my intuition told me that this was a good thing. Our motel was on the west side of town (missed it the first time), so we pulled in and walked into the office. The manager was there, remembered my telephone call, and checked me after consultation with an Asian woman (his wife?) about which unit would be best.

“That one too hot!” she exclaimed to two of his suggestions. “Put them in 18,” she said. So he did.

I backed into my parking spot so I could unload a few things from the 4Runner. I opened the door and looked around. The room was large, definitely old-school, and fine. I tossed the spread on the floor and brought in a few things. The Girl and I mounted back up (man it was hot) and drove to Walmart to reprovision for a couple of days. At the Walmart, we bumped into the manager who greeted us, “At Walmart already?” I laughed and bought a couple of salads, some fruit (bananas good!), and a six-pack of Coronas to celebrate our survival to date. Then we returned to our room.

I elected to boil a couple of eggs for my chef’s salad. It was my first use of the Pathfinder canteen stove I bought and my Trangia burner. I elected to sit outside my room because I was uncomfortable with the combustion products of the methylated spirits used in the Trangia. The wind gave me a little trouble and the simmer ring of the Trangia is, as the Brits say, “fiddly.” But I got my eggs boiled and learned a bit about using the stove and the process was relaxing (along with a Corona). The addition of the egg made the salad much better.

The Girl nibbled kibbles while I ate my salad and surfed the TV a bit. Yep… I still have little use for TV.

We rose early on the 4th and drove into town to find some food and coffee. We stopped at the local CoC and I found a self-guided tour of the area north of town in Routt National Forest. So we drove back to our motel, gathered up a few things to take along (camera, lenses, fruit, water) and headed out. Along the way, I found a big grassy area at the local middle school (out of session), so the Girl and I had a big play, refueled, and headed out on an adventure.

Once off the state highway, the route was all gravel road. We stopped to look for a couple of geocaches, but I lost phone signal and had not planned ahead, so there wasn’t much of that.

What there was, however, was a nice climb up to 5,000&endash;6,000 feet and the commensurate cooling. The sun was pretty, there was a little breeze, and the temperature was wonderful!

As we drove along, I noticed a bluff of columnar basalt. I stopped the 4Runner, got the Girl out, collected my camera, put on my boots, and we started up the hill. After just a few steps, a big mule deer jumped up, snorted at us, and bounced over the ridge. I didn’t have enough lens to capture him, but the capture is in my memory and will always be.

After a few minutes of hiking up the hill, I puttered around the bluff while the Girl did her thing. I have a few more captures that I still need to process.

The remainder of the drive was interesting, especially the Bear Ears (a pair of mountain tops). It was a good way to spend the Fourth of July — much better than hanging out in town. We were both tired and hungry when we got back to the motel. So, we ate, drank, and then cuddled before it was time to go to sleep. The fireworks bothered the Girl some and she stayed close to me. But she settled down after a bit and only stirred again for the finale.

It was a good day.

East from Austin, Nevada

Touring Biker

A few weeks ago (seems like ages now) I left Ely, Nevada on my way “home” to western Nevada. The Girl and I were not in a particular hurry. Although there was work to do (both the paying and non-paying kinds), there was little reason to rush and I spent much of my life rushing from one point to another, from one responsibility to another, and I’m just tired of all that rushing and pressure.

My new philosophy is to stop when I feel like it, look around, see what God offers, accept that with gratitude, and make the capture, enjoy the moment, or whatever response is called for at that point in time. Perhaps another statement would be “Embrace Uncertainty.” That has been my direction for this year.

Let me explain. At the beginning of this year I spent some time reflecting on the events of the last several years. There were trials and there were great times between 2011 and 2015. My future, though, was uncertain.

Over a period of a few weeks, a common theme emerged from my regular reading — “Embrace Uncertainty.”

Life is inherently uncertain. In our arrogance we believe we can plan years into the future. (Said planning has value, but one must remember that plans can and will change in response to outside influence.) I had arrived at a point where I did not know what was next. I thought my engagement might last long enough for me to reach full retirement age.

“No!” was the resounding answer from the universe. “That’s not the plan.”

Therefore, here I am. I have a vague notion of what I will do next. I will finish this report and a couple small projects. Then, I will go see Daughter and her family. After that I don’t know.

And that leads me to the serendipity of the capture above. The Girl and I paused for a respite on our journey. I wanted to be out of the 4Runner and in the morning air. She wanted to do doggie-things. I had my camera. The long-distance rider passed by and I made the capture. I have the feeling that there will be many more of these opportunities, God willing.

Nevada, Missouri

Nevada, Missouri

On our way back from Rolla to Denver, we stopped at the limit of Nevada, Missouri for a picture. In Missouri, Nevada is pronounced “Ne-va-duh” with a long a in the middle syllable, which would cause a native Nevadan to have a hissy fit. It is one of the amusing things about Missouri life that I appreciated.

Maid-Rite

Maid-Rite

Yesterday morning I left a bit early before heading to my in-laws’ 65th anniversary celebration. I elected to wander about Rolla to clear my head and spend some time alone with my Girl. We collected the last stage of a multi-stage geocache we were working on and then drove up to Buehler Park to retrieve another geocache. On the way we passed the Maid-Rite. This is a Rolla landmark and has been there since before I came to Rolla in 1968.

I decided to buy a Maid-Rite and sit in the cool air inside for a few minutes. Decades ago i worked at a gas station a few hundred feet west from the Maid-Rite. I would walk down to the store to buy a sandwich or a bowl of chili/soup now and again. The sandwiches were never that great, but they are still solid food and not bad. The soups and chilis were great in the winter, though, and I remember those very well.

Mount Vernon, Washington

Lakeview Oregon AlleywayI woke way-too-early Monday morning, probably about 0400, rolled over, and realized there was no going back to sleep. With my restlessness, Ki stirred, lifted her head, and looked at me. She seemed to say “What… are you thinking?” Then she wisely laid her head back down and resumed snoring.

I made some coffee and went out the to 4Runner to get my half&half from the cooler. Ki watched me, not wanting to be left out (or left), but waited patiently for my return and then resumed sleeping. I puttered on the computer for a bit, catching up my email (nothing else was to be done with slow internet) and drinking my coffee. I realized that I might as well get going.

So, I put Ki’s collar on her and we went out for a romp in the wonderful play area at the Rim Rock Motel. She did doggie things, sniffed about, and I made another image or two of the gorgeous irises. Then we packed up the 4Runner and drove back into Alturas to find a few geocaches and refuel the car.

The geocaches were fun. I especially enjoy earthcaches. These are containerless geocaches where the intent is to see some geographic or geologic item of interest. I love the outdoors, I love geography (a civil engineer has to love maps), and I love geology. Earth sciences fascinate me.

On our pass back through town, the breakfast cafe was still closed (and would not open until 0800). So we drove out to find a couple more geocaches. The Chimney Rock geocache was very cool and the Girl and I drove the short run to the real Chimney Rock (need image) to see it. I was planning on making breakfast out there, but the mosquitoes drove me off. So, given it was still too early for the Alturas breakfast cafe, I elected to drive on north and find something else. I would either pull off at a nice place and cook or find an open cafe.

The small towns between Alturas and Lakeview look like toys that a parent folded up and put away. There was not much between Alturas and Lakeview, Oregon — certainly no place to eat. But, in Lakeview I found a place. The best rated was closed, so I took a chance on Jerry’s and pulled in there.

The place was clean and the waitstaff attentive. It’s hard to ruin ham and eggs and they were great. Or, perhaps I was just hungry. Nonetheless, I was refueled and ready to get on with my day.

The morning air was pleasant, so Ki and I walked to a geocache located at the local museum (Historically Fat Log Cache). It was a nice walk and fun find. After the find, it was time to head out, so we walked back to the 4Runner and headed out. However, I was not yet done. There was another geocache I wanted to find and I couldn’t resist being outside in the morning sun. So we stopped by the Oregon Fire Defense headquarters, found the hide there, and walked inside to refill my water bottles. While there, I visited with the young woman in charge of the front. Her brother is an engineer working in the aerospace industry. It’s a small world.

I had asked about engineering firms in Lakeview and it happened that the local general civil engineering firm was located on my way out of town. So, I stopped by and visited with the principal engineer, Daryl, and left my business card. I will follow up with a copy of my resume and perhaps there will be some consulting work for me there.

We drove north, windows down until about noon. The temperature was over 85F, and that’s about the point where I decide to close the windows and run the A/C. The land became more desolate, much like Nevada, with the exception of those irrigated areas, which were lush and growing. Lake Albers was stunningly flat that morning. When we passed Alkali Lake, we came across a group of sand dunes, probably aeolian deposits from the prevailing winds across the lake basin. So, I stopped the rig and stepped out.

I put my hand down onto the sand to test the temperature. It was warm, but not blazing, so I let the Girl out for a romp with me. We bounced up the dunes, she hunting lizards and me just looking around in the warm air. The sand was so fine that it filtered right through the uppers of my shoes and I had sand in my shoes after only a couple hundred feet. Although there really wasn’t much to see, I saw it, made an image with my phone, and then followed the Girl back to the 4Runner. She was hot and the sand was too hot for tenderfoot. She darted under the rig until I opened the door, when she jumped in.

The remainder of the drive north that day was relatively uneventful. It was 106F in Bend, Oregon that afternoon. That’s very hot — Texas hot — and reminded me of many hot summer days motorcycling across Texas. We stopped for the night in Toppenish, Washington, not far north from the Columbia River crossing. I was very tired and crashed early.

I slept late for me, probably 0600 or so. I suppose I was more tired than I thought. I made some coffee and sat down to gather my thoughts for the day. After a few minutes I gathered up my things, staged them, and prepared to leave. Then Ki and I went for a walk in the small park across the street from my lodging. We played ball in the dew-wet grass and enjoyed the warm morning sunrise before returning to the motel to move our things to the 4Runner and head out.

It was not far west before we began the climb into the Cascade Mountains. That was a pleasant change because the air cooled substantially with the sea breeze from the west slope. Although much more humid, the cooler air was welcomed after the blazing heat for the eastern part of Oregon and Washington.

I was ready to be out of the car for a bit and the bed and breakfast was a happy sight. CJ was working in the yard when I arrived. She motioned me where to put my rig, then showed me the ropes of her place. It’s a converted garage, but very nice (much nicer than the motels where I stayed), had plenty of good coffee, and a residential place for walks.

A local church lot was very large and nicely mowed. It made a perfect place to play ball with the Girl. I knew that I was going to enjoy my stay in Washington.

One Ending, One Beginning

Carson Valley OverwatchThe last few days were a whirlwind of intense activity. Older Son was here to help me prepare the house for sale. Then, once it listed, it sold the first day. I waited until I had some assurance the sale would be consummated before starting my move.

That was a mistake, I think. But it is what it is.

Eight years ago (and change), I left a tenured university appointment and returned to private practice. I was tired, recovering from a clinical depression, burned out, Daughter and Grandsons had just left, and the last straw was a personnel issue. It felt like it was time to move on to something else and somewhere else.

An opportunity opened and it seemed like the right thing to do. So, I moved and brought my family with me. For the first couple of years I was slammed at work, trying to get through the backlog of hydraulic projects that were left in various stages of undone by others. Yes, it took me two full years to clear that backlog. Then, in 2009, the bottom fell out of the housing market and work began to dry up with the fall of housing prices. There isn’t much need for general civil engineering (and the supporting hydraulic and hydrologic work) when the private sector is dead.

I expected to be laid off at that time, but it didn’t come. So, I kept after it, finding small projects here and there. I suppose it was enough to justify my continued engagement.

Then, four years ago, Wife became ill. About this time four years ago, she was in chemotherapy for lymphoma. My focus shifted from work to caring for her. If you follow my weblog, then you know the rest of the story. She lost that fight in January 2013.

As I worked through my grief, I picked up a little more work, but the projects were not plentiful. That process culminated in my engagement ending about three months ago. So, I elected to sell my house without knowing where I would go.

That process is nearly complete. The closing is next Friday. That will bring my tenure in western Nevada to an end. Anticipating that (and there’s no reason to doubt it now), I cleared my house and put my durable goods into storage. I put Older Son on an airplane home Saturday morning, then returned to my house to sort through my remaining things, do a test fit into my rig, and pack those things that would not fit in my rig (but that I wanted with me) and put them into storage. I finished that process about 1700 Saturday night. It being late, I elected to sleep one more night in my house, made my bed on the floor, and crashed.

I woke early Sunday morning, as usual. The Girl and I walked a short version of our regular route. Everything was wet from the showers Saturday afternoon. When we returned home, I began cooking without my familiar tools. I’m using my camping rig and things work differently. It’s all good — I’ll sort out how everything works and it will become familiar again. I ate, fed my Girl, and then took a shower. Then I gathered up my things, stowed them in my rig, and did a last walkthrough the house.

Those tasks completed, I pulled the 4Runner out of the garage and closed the door, probably for the last time. A chapter of my life ended that moment.

The Girl and I headed for Reno to have coffee with our friend Jimmy. This will not be the last time for coffee with Jimmy, God willing. Jimmy might as well be my brother. He is my brother-from-another-mother. We sat at Java Jungle, solved the world’s problems, and talked about my mobile house. I think that I’ll land in Reno again later in the summer and, if it seems appropriate, Jimmy will show me the ropes of finding a solid travel trailer that will be my home — my mobile house — going forward. This is a beginning. A new chapter of my life is beginning and I have no idea where the plot leads.

The Girl and I headed north on U.S. 395. We’re going to go see a friend in Washington. I want to spend a few days with her, work my dog under her guidance, and see a new area. We’ll be there in a few days.

Once past Susanville, California we were in new territory (for us). It was warm, but it wasn’t until mid-afternoon that I decided to put up the windows and run the A/C. I much prefer the air to the conditioning. The Girl snoozed most of the afternoon, except for the pause now and again to stop and stretch legs. I’m on no schedule, so I’m free to move at my own pace. So, that’s what I’m doing.

I decided to pause for the night in Alturas, California. This is northern California and does not deserve the PRK moniker I’m fond of using to refer to this state. It’s a big state and might as well be two, given the differences in culture. I chose Alturas partly because of the Google reviews of the Rim Rock Motel. The place is old-school motel, but it’s not run-down as I normally experience; it’s clean, kept up, and gorgeous. Rory greeted me at the desk, quoted me a (very attractive) rate, and I signed the papers.

Alturas is a beautiful little town in northern California. I think I could live here. I wonder if there is work for me here?

So, here I am. I’m in-between engagements, working part-time for myself, I’m partly retired. I’m houseless and have no plan other than the vague notion of seeing a friend, seeing my in-laws, and spending some time with Daughter and Grandsons. In the meantime, I’ll drive a bit, photograph a bit, and work a bit. This will be interesting.

How do I feel about this change? Well, there is a mixture of trepidation and excitement. So we’ll see where the path leads!

A New Beginning

SucculentMy house sold the first day it was offered. A family — the first family that visited — sat at the dining table and wrote an offer with their agent. That offer was submitted to my broker and we reviewed it. I signed the contract the following Monday and then the process began.

After a couple of weeks of waiting, the appraisal and inspection were completed. Both the inspector and the appraiser advised me verbally that there were no apparent issues with the property and the transaction. So, my broker gave me a go-ahead to begin the process of moving out of my house.

Saturdays are always a bit different for me because I remember Wife every Saturday morning. Saturdays were always our day to run errands; to spend time together getting things done. Saturday was the day Wife died. So, each Saturday morning I take a couple of minutes to celebrate her life and our life together. Then I take a couple more minutes to mourn my loss before I begin whatever is on my plate for the day. Then I get after it. This Saturday was not much different. I rose, spent some time reflecting, reading, and writing, then we went for a good long walk.

Then Older Son and I began the process seriously — on Saturday — Memorial Day (for real). I have a place to receive mail and storage for my durable goods.

This morning Older Son, the Girl, and I will regroup, walk, feed ourselves, and then Older Son and I will continue packing my things in cartons, sorting them into long-term storage, climate-controlled storage, and then those things I’ll need right now and those I’ll need if/when I decide on a mobile-house. The Girl will watch us, nervously, then most likely retire to the bed to sleep while we work.

I face a new phase of my life. I’ll be working part-time for the foreseeable future. I can do what I do almost anywhere. I want to develop a few more clients so I have a project ongoing most of the time. Therefore, I think I’ll go see some folks in my network to determine whether they need supplemental help with certain projects where I can be cost effective. That will be a part of my wanderings.

I will be house-less, but not homeless. I have resources. My monthly expenses should decline substantially without a house to support. So, although I need to be frugal I am not destitute. That won’t be the worry for me for quite a while. So, I elect to not worry about it but just be careful.

What I want to do is go see friends and family. I want to spend a few days here and there, laughing and enjoying their company. But I want to spend quite a bit of time outdoors with my Girl and my cameras. We’ll be spending a lot of time in the west, where the open spaces appeal to me. Mornings and afternoons should be spent working the light. Midday and evenings will be about reading, writing, and reviewing my images. I don’t expect to roam every day, but to move from place to place periodically so I can spend enough time to acquaint myself with the area and not have the constant stress of driving every day.

Once the equity is released from my house, I’ll look into a mobile-house. I don’t need much, just a galley, a place to clean myself, a place to sleep, and room to work. Much can be done outside (especially the cooking), but I want a warm, dry place for the Girl and myself. So, a mobile-house is likely to be required. I don’t mind tent-camping part of the summer, but I think when fall comes I’ll want something more substantial than a tent.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, I’ll work on dealing with my material goods. That is enough to concern me. Tuesday I sign the transfer documents. Then I can think about what is next. Until then, my task is to stay focused, stay active, and get this done. Tomorrow I can think about what is next.

Mexican Dam

After clambering across the DG and then crossing the Mexican Ditch headgate (with relief), Older Son and I decided to scramble across the rip-rap below Mexican Dam to the east side of Carson River. There was a geocache at that location we wanted to snag.

I scanned the rocks, assessing the best route. I looked at the Girl, who hates to get wet but hates being left behind even more. I wondered whether she would cross with us.

I stepped across a bit of wet soil onto the first rock. As I stepped to the next, I muttered “Not slipping, not slipping… I didn’t wear my waterproof boots today…” Splash One, my left foot slipped into the water above the boot top. It would not have mattered if I had the waterproof boots; my foot would have been wet.

“Aww… Well, they’re wet now. We might as well go on.” And so we began the crossing. I looked back for the Girl, who was reluctant to begin. “C’mon, Ki, c’mon,” I encouraged. She began, picking her way along the works and the edge of the weir.

She was more hesitant than normal. She really does not like to be wet and she could see all the water along. But, she’s game and picked her way across with some encouragement.

At one point, I watched her looking for a crossing across a wider bit of water. She put out a foot onto the rock, then tested paths turning left and right. She was timid, reluctant to commit. After a bit, she started to cross, then hesitated and “Splash!” her back end slipped into the water and she turned back, gripping the rock with her toes, up to her tummy in the water.

She looked distressed, not really afraid but unhappy to be wet. She really does not like to be wet.

With a bit of encouragement, she clambered back to her perch and found another path. We clambered over woody debris and rocks, making the crossing to the other side.

Laughing and running up the sandy slope, we started the search for the geocache. One the way to ground zero, we hopped a gate. On the other side were three or four “No Trespassing!” signs. We laughed and continued the search.

This geocache was not to be found. It had been a couple of years since the last successful log. So we logged out DNF and started back. We walked along the edge of Carson River, listening to the splash of water over the dam and enjoying the sound of water.

At the beginning of the crossing back, I called the Girl. “Let’s go!” Without hesitation, she started back across the debris and rocks. Her hesitation abated, she made the crossing back ahead of me, as usual. She sniffed new places and marked the center of the crossing — “Ki was here!”

I often say “My dog is my Zen master…” She lives in the moment, she experiences life as it comes, she expresses her feelings freely, she loves and plays and eats and sleeps. She enjoys life. I love watching her. On the outbound path across the rip-rap below Mexican Dam, she was tentative. She doesn’t like to be wet. She was uncertain. My observation of the Girl and her hesitation to commit to her crossing. That hesitation was what caused her baptism in Carson River. I think, had she elected to commit to the jump and not hesitate, she would have only gotten her feet wet. Instead, she didn’t make the commitment and got her back half wet.

On the way back, she was confident, picking her way back across with the “I’ve got this” attitude that is characteristic of her. There is a life lesson in her behavior. I am paying attention.

There are times when each of us is faced with change. Sometimes that is a big change; sometimes a small change. But, change in inevitable; nothing remains the same. In those times, a direction must be chosen. I think it’s better to choose than to let some external force make that choice. I also think that the direction will not be clear until a commitment is made. That’s when God reveals the plan and not before. It is a matter of faith to move forward.

I made the choice to sell my house. That means I will move. There is not much to keep me here much longer. Younger Son will finish his term at the community college soon. That leaves me with one friend in Reno, who is like my brother. But, with no work and little prospect, it is time for me to move on. Where I will go I do not yet know. That path is not clear to me. But, I’m making a commitment to move forward. I will put my durable goods in storage. I might buy a small travel trailer. I might buy a small utility trailer for my necessaries and sleep in a tent (for the summer). But, I’ll be on the road when it’s clear the contract on my house will close. I have a few ideas for where I’ll be over the summer. But, after that, I have no idea. I just have to trust that the plan will be revealed as time moves forward. I have to commit to this path in order for the way to be revealed. Of this I am convinced.