Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Waiting at Mineral

We agreed to meet at Mineral. She uses maps; I use a Garmin GPS. I was born with a phone in my hand; she avoids phones like the plague.

So it was a pleasant surprise to see her incoming call at 10:00 a.m. Wondering where I was, I said I was at Mineral. She said I couldn't be because she was at Mineral.

An early riser, she moved the mile north to Mineral "North." There's absolutely nothing at either location, except, of course, the beautiful landscape. But no hint of a town.

But after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus in our relationship, it was wonderful to finally be together again.


A family tradition....five o'clock martini. (Going incognito.)

Monday, August 7, 2017


We'd been camped for several days not far from Union Reservoir in the Sierras when I got a call around 7:00 a.m. "There's a bear!" she said.

It left a viscous layer (with its tongue) on a pot lid that really should be analyzed . It was slimier than Everglide and harder to get off and, I surmise, could easily dominate the personal lubricant market.

After homing in on my bag of tarps, it picked them up and gamboled off as if it'd found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!!

It was all the incentive we needed to move.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Kenn Louie - Woodworker

Feeling especially frisky one day, I was practicing my bo moves on an old stump when the stick, a prized possession, lost. A chance inquiry in the Animal Humane Thrift store led to Kenn Louie.

In an early life he'd trained as a diesel/marine/automotive mechanic but made more money falling trees in Alaska.

Somewhere along the way he married and moved to Arnold where he fixes anything people bring him. A master woodworker, he inserted a metal rod, splinted the connection with birch strips then bound those with leather thong.

We won't lose the next round with that olde stump!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Aloysius the Frog

Murphys, a few miles above Angels Camp, has all the amenities; a lovely park with tree-shaded picnic tables sits astride a stream just right for wading. The library, atop a nearby knoll, has strong wifi.

Exploring, I cruised behind the theater and there, in pre-leap poise, was Aloysius (from the Frankish). I secured ownership with a $30.00 donation, but after 45 minutes of determined struggle I had to accept the fact that I wasn't going to be able to get him on the roof.

Fortunately, help was on the way. For the next ten days he rode serenely, often eliciting inquiries such as: "Do you travel with him always?" This is, after all, Calaveras County.

Jumping Frog History in Middle paragraph...

Above plaque embedded in stone at lower left of photo below

In the end he proudly accepted the job, with a hilltop view o'er a rural idyll, of discouraging deer from perforating the lap-pool cover.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sierra Mountains, California

With scenery like this I'm averaging less than 10 miles a day. Haven't needed gas for over a week.

There was so much snow the PCT was closed for the first time in history.

All those leafy green things start out like this.

There are lakes everywhere.

Utica Reservoir

I'm learning to paddleboard - Alpine Lake

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

Life has taken such a wonderfully dramatic turn (she's close to my age) there's really nothing that can be written about. But it's entertaining (at least for me) to explore the depths of the mundane. I'd apologize, but since this is more a journal than a public forum, I'll just keep my fingers crossed you're bored enough to leave a sardonic remark...or two.

I'm in the Sierras where they take pride in good food. The chicken is, of course, antibiotic free, Montessori-educated and (it's rumored) enjoyed a vibrant social life replete with multiple roosters to choose from. Interestingly, you can taste the diff.

Bu there's the little matter of the napkin that comes under the meat. In this case it looked very similar to salmon roe. Any idea what it is?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Vicious Sage

It was near Cave Lake outside Ely (Nevada) while riding the edge to avoid high-centering that one of those vicious sages leaped out and punched through the sidewall.

Lacking a tire of even approximate size, they patched the hole and put in a tube. It lasted all of three hundred feet up the first little rocky bit.

Now running on the spare from town to town, I tried Eureka, currently in Austin and hope to make it to Fallon yet this afternoon. Stuck on the tarmac, I'm too olde and phat to venture much more than a few miles off the beaten track without a spare. No fun : - (

My kingdom for a 205/75R15.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Geo(logic) Porn

The canyon country of Utah is world-renowned. And anyone who's been there's seen nature's sense of humor in the enormous phalli that abound.

But it doesn't stop there. I wish I could take credit for these, but she prefers to remain anonymous. Let me just say, it's wonderful to hike with a woman whose mind is, like mine, always in the (ineffable) gutter.

Casto Canyon

And just next door...

Losee Canyon

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Little Moon Trading Post - Parowan, Utah

Just a quick note to encourage those of you passing through Parowan, Utah on interstate 15, 70 miles north of St. George to stop at Little Moon Trading.

It's a small shop on the right just after you turn the corner off highway 91 onto 143.

She makes most of the items herself including the moccasins, purses, earrings and bracelets. Her aesthetic, while fully accessible, is unique enough to provide the wearer with a cache more often only available through items purchased at much higher-priced venues. And there are some interesting rocks too.

Prices are so low I had to ask for confirmation.

She's open by whim so you may want to call or email ahead.
435-477-9072 (work)
435-590-0054 (cell)
24 East Center Street
Parowan, Utah

The road to Yankee Meadows, a few miles east of Parowan off 143.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mojave Nipples

I'm sure you have, on occasion, noticed the astonishing variation in nipples. These two, in Mojave National Preserve, caught my eye.



Friday, June 2, 2017

You Can't Get There From Here

Tricky Ricky Rocks decided to sell his Mercedes SL. But first, it needs a new bumper. Fortunately, SL Auto parts which specializes in SL convertibles, had one. And be-inz as hit war on muh way (sort of) I beneficently agreed to save him the postage and pick it up...near Sacramento.  Although exceedingly fragile, it weighs less than ten pounds and is, for a bumper, easy to maneuver.

In the interests of Piddling, eshewing the internet and road condition alerts, I considered several crossings of the Sierra. It was on highway 108 at the base of the foothills that the electronic sign alerted me that it was closed. But there was a nice place to camp.

Next choice, 120 via Yosemite National Park and Tioga Pass, is, I discovered at the park entrance, still closed.  Oh well, I got to see the Merced River at an "unseasonable high" level.

Accepting defeat, I took the short cut out of the park to Merced. The road follows along the river and passes by what I surmise is a CCC-built Visitor Center - closed due to lack of staff.

There's a canvas painting around the door that the bear reminded me of Vince Distasio's style.

I loved the sign at the entrance to the parking. Along with mention of the unseasonbleness, it reminded to "Be safe, stay alive, wear a life jacket." I imagine them saying, "OMG!!! You mean I could DIE here? Watch out, Jonnie! Don't get too close!!!"

I mean, it is common knowledge you CAN kill yourself by drinking too much water...taking too many aspirin, not looking both ways before emerging from your mom's vagina etc., etc., etc. Let's hope it helps keep 'em in front of their TVs so the rest of us can enjoy it.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

San Francisco!!

Even though the Matisse-Diebenkorn exhibit was a bust, the trip into The City was great!!

Visiting from Colombia, they said Medellin is now safer than Schenectady.

A quick stop at Nordstrom just down the street from the museum.

And riding the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Matisse-Diebenkorn at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Pathetic. Of course there's no way to know how/why they chose what to show, but they were all mediocre. And to charge $31.00 to see 'em! The colors, in nearly every piece, were muddy and there were MAYBE two Matisses that were bigger than 16 x 20 inches (40 x 50 cm). I suspect budget constraints; some curator had an idea but lacked the wherewithal to pull it off.

NOW you can see "the name."

Never too humble for posterity.

On the plus side, there were two rooms of work by Richard Serra! That's a $500.00 White boot for scale. (Well, it's $250.00 each.)

One consisted of an installation.

These are 20 foot-long "bars" of lead. You could feel the toxicity in the air. Almost as creepy as Tommy Hilfiger. No, no, wait. I mean Freddy Kreuger!

Special thrills only available in exotic places....


Then there was In Situ. Billed, by the docent overseeing the cafeteria upstairs as "fine dining," what you see below was their $14.00 "hamburger." Called The Apocolypse, it was a teensy chunk of beef enclosed within an edible, charcoal briquette-esque "container" sort of like a chimichanga. We almost sent it back but didn't want to wait while they prepared the substitute.

I had the Lamb Manti. It was three SMALL portions of stringy lamb delicately embraced within some wide noodles...an exotic rigatoni, or some such. The flavor was okay, but at twenty-two bucks it was a rip. I'll get revenge through TripAdvisor. Our complaints elicited offers of a post apocalypse coffee, but it took prompting to get her to add the word "complimentary."

Total bullshit!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pinnacles National Park, Matisse-Diebenkorn & Mark Johnson

Parks, In My Esteemed Opinion (IMEO), are in close competition with rest areas. The problem is there's not a rest area on highway 25 between Coalinga and Anthony Chabot Regional Park.

I spent the first night, about 20 miles north of Coalinga, California on a turnout on Coalinga Road. It was late afternoon when I'd finally gotten out of town and just couldn't do the remaining twelve miles to the park.

In the morning I was greeted (in an aggressive tone) by Mike Baumgardner with "What're you doing?!"  I rejoined with "Who wants to know?" a bit louder which got him tuh thinkin' 'bout his options. He claimed I was on HIS LAND!!!..."The easement is 30 feet from the centerline." I looked and thought he maybe had me by three feet. Always the gentleman, I gave him his choice of weapons, but once he learned I was enroute to the Matisse-Diebenkorn exhibit at SFMOMA he was all smiles and ready to talk art, cats and what to wear.

Pinnacles wasn't much better. Buggy, screaming children, hollering youths. It finally got quiet around midnight. Only $11.50 with the discount. No hot water at the sinks and those push-on faucets that automatically turn off after ten seconds.

It's all Mark Johnson's fault. If he'd just posted some of his paintings I could have gotten my art fix and avoided all this.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Hitch-hiking was, in my youth, a way of life. I put so many miles on my thumb it still felt natural to extend it. But I was astonished when people actually stopped.

The first guy took me to Little's Diesel, the shop where Phoebe was getting worked on, and waited while I conferred with the mechanic. He then took me back to town and dropped me at the laundromat.

Walking "home," a young woman stopped to inquire about my destination and tell me about the Cowboys' Bunkhouse, a low-cost place to hang one's hat. Fifteen minutes later she came by and said, "I'll give you a ride if you don't mind riding in the back." of the pickup, she meant. I clambered aboard and when I got out I offered to help with the gas. Her emphatic "NO!" left no room for discussion and with smiles and waves I strolled down to camp.

The next time a man who'd worked at BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SANCTUARY for ten years. He told how the founders were a group of 30 or so who, in the sixties, lived communally. Some were heirs to industrial-era fortunes, but all had an interest in animal rights. Some still live on the property though the organization is now, as a non-profit, controlled by a Board of Directors.

Lastly came Rolene.

Raised in the LDS tradition, her daughter was one of many selected for "elite training" in Texas. When her daughter returned and tried to convince her she'd been sexually abused by the Bishop, her mother refused to believe her. Finally convinced, she lost both her children for a year for spreading heresy. When she got them back she left the community and moved to Kanab.

I was flabbergasted that after enduring so much she had the courage to stop and give me a ride. It's people like her, and the others, that give a BIG lie to the paranoia the media promulgates.

And it inspires a sense of gratitude that, for me, is priceless.

Thank you all for your help and kindness!

Thank god I'm not in Cleveland.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Homeless on Kanab Creek

Six days ago,  while boondocked near Kodachrome Basin State Park, Phoebe let out a loud CRASH as she rolled backward off the block I'd set up to adjust her clutch. When I got in to test-drive my work, it was to discover the clutch was no more.

I got her going using the starter (HURRAY for standard shift!!)  and drove to Kanab where Tricky Ricky Rocks (see blogpost) had vetted Little's Diesel Service.

In the course of things I consulted (this is for all you other Tracker enthusiasts out there) with Fritz Gafford, owner  of Tracker Ranch in Livingston, Texas. Another Tracker driver met somewhere had described him as an aficionado.  Over the course of our 20-minute conversation I came to appreciate his opinion.

Over he last six days I've gained a feel for the vast gap 'tween Overlanding/RV living and homelessness. I was lucky to find a nice campspot within walking distance of town. Less than a stone's throw from Kanab Creek, aside from the highway noise and a few ATVers, it was idyllic. But thinking about it as a way of life brought into contrast the difference between the motorized mobile life and a shopping cart.

In my teens I hitchhiked the U.S. with a Camp Trails "Freighter." Their largest backback, I never could get it, during the four years I lived out of it, below 60 pounds. I traveled sans tent; when it rained I hunkered under my poncho. I had an army-surplus sleeping bag someone had added a pound of goose down to that enabled me to sleep comfortably in sub-freezing temperatures.  A breakdown fishing rod and a few hooks brought helped tease the trout out of the Idaho streams. I kept a journal, carried some brown rice and soy sauce, an extra pair of jeans, three shirts and several changes of underwear. It couldn't understand WHY it weighed so much.

Here I was with three boxes, several backpacks, although none designed for living out of, my sleeping bag, a car-camping special, weighs in at twice as much as the one in my youth and isn't as warm. The last hitchhiker I picked up, several years ago, said it'd taken him two weeks to get from Nashville to Albuquerque; a distance I'd covered in the '60s in three days, at the most.

They just called and said Phoebe's ready. They found several other things wrong and aware she's my home, they made the repairs to last. Billy hadn't added it up yet, but I'm suspecting it'll take me a couple of years to pay it off. But if you're ever near Kanab, Utah and need help, Little's Diesel is the place. Mike Little does the diesel and Billy does the automotive.

It's great to have my home back!!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Smith, the Cat, Jumps Ship

In Cedar City, Utah I spent a couple of hours enjoying the BFA exhibit at the Art Museum. Then another hour attending a performance of Red, a play about Rothko. Then a stop at Safeway to restock the larder. Thus, it was way past dark when we pulled into a large turnout at the beginning of highway 14, a two-lane highway that leads to some of Utah's most spectacular scenery.

Smith, inside all day, had had enough, but I was reluctant to let her out. The highway was barely 200 feet away and there were other cars coming and going. Finally, at 2:00 a.m. after pleading with her all evening, I strapped her into her walking jacket tightening it as much as I could, clipped it to the roof rack and lay down, finally, to sleep.

In the morning it lay at the end of the lead, empty. She hadn't eaten since her after-dinner snack at 8:00 p.m. so I figured she'd be hungry by noon.

The spot was next to Coal Creek, a good-sized river, and had all the things she loved: steep, rock-laden banks to clamber upon and lots of boulders with hidey-holes to explore. Half a mile downstream were nice-looking homes, each with a goodly amounts of land around them.

On the other side of the highway was a spectacular canyon, no doubt FULL of mice, voles, reboks and all other manner of prey.

She'd reached that age where children are fed up with their parents. She enjoyed being outside so much she wanted it full time....like me. Sitting in a car, waiting, was no longer acceptable.

It's been a relief. I still worry about what became of her, but know she's resourceful. She'd survived in the Redwoods for god knows how long before I found her. I'm confident she found a place where she can get her meals and be outside all the time too.

But I still get a hollow feeling in my stomach when I think about her. But next time a kitten shows up it'll be straight to the shelter; I learned my lesson. And yet, I miss her.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hatchet or Hitachi

Her screams have yet to attain the resonance that accompanies the release of deeper tensions, but they're piercing enough to inspire concern. We've been fortunate to not have had any neighbors and as she's grown more comfortable mit Das Hinterlands, we've ventured farther and farther into the wilds....both literally and metaphorically.

The delights of discovery seem boundless; one of the perqs of a new relationship.


Betty Dodson popularized the Hitachi Magic Wand in her workshops for women on how to masturbate. Recent experience with the Panasonic's Panabrator EV22 indicates The Wand may have some competition.

Monday, April 17, 2017


I was crouched down trying to get a closeup of a flower when I heard that distinctive buzz. I looked over to see Smith backing away as a good-sized rattlesnake flowed forth from it's lair.

It was ready for battle and quickly assumed the position. I, in my most authoritative outdoor voice, told Smith, "NO!" She, of course, ignored me.

Apparently she got the gist of its intent and began walking away. As she stepped on a curved stick it twanged up. With lightening speed she gave it a good whack...just in case someone was watching and thought she was intimidated. This coulda been you buster!!

It's been over 35 years since I encountered a rattler. We've been a bit more cautious since; almost a Zen-like influence, but it was encouraging...where there're snakes, there are mice, raptors, foxes, and other animals,,,many of which have disappeared in the name of range management. This gave me a bit of hope....they haven't ALL been killed off.