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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: December 20, 2002 -- Yuma, Arizona
When day time temperatures are in the sixties and seventies, it seems a little absurd to be singing songs about "... dashing through the snow..." and "dreaming of a white Christmas... ." Other than that, the month of December is like everywhere else in the US. Shoppers are -- dashing through the shopping malls -- and people -- are dreaming of expensive gifts.
Wandrin Where ... The last update was posted on October 28 when I was in the Tucson area. Since then, Wandrin Wagon, Silver Slug and I have taken a leisurely journey across Arizona. When I arrived in Yuma, I stopped to stay a while. Whenever I watch The Weather Channel, invariably the warmest locations in the country are the southern tip of Texas, Yuma, and Miami. Warmth might justify a longer stay. The warmth is confirmed by the great number of RV parks and all filled with the "snow birds" from colder parts of the US and Canada.
After staying at several RV parks, I headed out to "boon dock". That is parking someplace with no electricity, water or sewer -- much less a spa and pool. Since there is a lot of land that is under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction, it becomes a place for cheap camping. Depending upon where you park, it may be free, $25 for 14 days or $125 for the winter season.
Now I know what it is to be lonesome. I parked on terrain that resembled a moonscape and the nearest neighbor was close to a quarter of a mile away. I do like my space, but this experience stretched my toleration. There was no one to whom I could wish a "Good Morning".
Boon docking may be okay for a few days, but I still like comforts -- and people. At least when I boon dock in the future, I will know what to expect.
A couple of days before Christmas, I will be wand'rin' to San Diego for the Holidays. In fact as you are reading this, I will be in San Diego.
Agriculture in Yuma... Just before the Colorado River snakes off into Mexico and eventually the Gulf of California, the last little water remaining is drained off to water an endless cornucopia of green vegetables, citrus groves and cotton. For the hot summer months, the crop is cotton. The winter crops are lettuces, broccoli and all the other green vegetables.
For the many square miles of irrigated land, the tractors and machinery are adapted to till, plant and harvest these green crops. Do they actually have machines that plant those tiny lettuce seeds? It sure looks that way. They must also have machines to harvest the lettuce seeds. That seems even more difficult to believe. But, everything cannot be done with machine. There is need for lots of human labor for the hoeing, irrigating and the harvesting of those green vegetables.
Perhaps I could get a job harvesting lettuce to offset some of my expenses....
Swap Meets... There are three such events held each weekend around Yuma. Swap means "cash for goods".
I have gone to these "marts" several times while in the Yuma area. There are booths selling vegetables, fur collared coats for $10, cheap hardware, T-shirts at three for a ten dollars, products for the RV owner among many others. There are also some people who bring their "garage sale" to one of the booths.
After walking through the entire complex of stalls, I find nothing I want -- let alone need. On retirement income and "one thing in the trailer means one thing out" means I am quite selective on my purchases. Finally!!
At least I have gotten a little exercise. Walking up and down all the aisles is about the only exercise that I get these days. I have been a bad boy!!
Other thoughts and observations ...
George W. Bush performed this year's traditional Presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving Turkey. Do you ever wonder what happens to an overweight turkey that has been saved from the Thanksgiving table? Most likely it is placed on cholesterol reducing compounds and actually dies of a heart attack before Christmas.
Shoppers at Wal-Mart cruise the parking lot for a close-in space. Why? The inside of the store is almost as large as the parking lot. Even a short walk would be healthy for most people.... My doctor has prescribed 10,000 steps a day; I don't get even close.
Automated answering systems... One of my biggest gripes from recorded messages is that sometimes they give a phone number you should call. And... it is not repeated!! Heck! I didn't even have a pencil in my hand. So guess what. I call again. I write down the ten digit number as fast as I can. I still don't know whether I got it right, so I call one more time. .... And these companies claim this is good service!!!
Telemarketers ... After several states have created "do not call" lists for telemarketers, now there is a movement in progress to establish a nation wide "do not call" list. What makes this ludicrous is when I heard some representative of the telemarketers say that to establish such a thing is a violation of free speech. Huh? ... I'm sorry, but free speech does not include calling me on my private phone to sell me something. ... If the free speech violation holds then I will complain that my privacy has been invaded.
A theory (from a cynic) why it continues.... No one really wants to be tormented by the telemarketers, bombarded by email SPAM, or loaded up on junk mail, but yet this continues because the legislators work for the lobbyists and not for -- you and I -- the voters.
Hiking ... Hiking has been mostly walks ... See Swap Meets....
Cinnamon Roll Search ...
Goldsboro's bakery in Yuma, AZ has a fantastic cinnamon roll. It was snack sized, with raisins and a light frosting. It was perfect with the right balance of textures and flavors.
The unfortunate part about the bakery was that it was about ten miles from where I was parked. ... So okay. I will drive long distances for a good cinnamon roll.
After leaving Yuma, I will suffer symptoms of withdrawal as I search for the next cinnamon roll. Each morning I will get up and I know there is something missing in my life and I try to satisfy the craving.
Vanity plates... and bumper stickers....
IDMTNMN on (of course) Idaho plates. The same vehicle had a bumper sticker: "Vegetarian -- Old Indian term for lousy hunter"
L8TOR and G8TOR on an RV and the towed vehicle.
"I Hate Bigots" was spotted on a large sign in the window of a truck. Interesting thought....
Or how about this bumper sticker: "5 out of 4 people have trouble with fractions"
Purple Heart plates had CVLRY. The same vehicle had a bumper sticker: "Old tanks never die, they just lose track".
"Please Lord. Winning the lottery won't spoil me." on the bumper of a beat up car.
And finally some of the latest reads ...
Two Travel Essays...
"An Unexpected Light -- Travels in Afghanistan" by Jason Elliot is a timely travel essay. A talented writer, the author relates his travels into Afghanistan over a ten year period. Once again, I sit in my chair and travel vicariously to places I would never consider.
In Elliot's travels across Afghanistan, he met a fellow traveler who shared life philosophy of an anonymous traveler.
I have always wanted to sail the south seas,
but I can't afford it.
What these people 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 person 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
brain washed by our economic system
until we end in a tomb beneath the
pyramid of time payments, mortgages,
preposterous gadgetry, playthings
that divert our attention from 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?
Which shall it be; bankruptcy of purse or
bankruptcy of life...?
Note (dated June 20, 2003): When this was posted originally in December of 2002, the author was identified as "Unknown", since that is the credit given it by Jason Elliot. One of my readers had read this page and sent me an email and thought that it may have been written by Sterling Hayden. In a search of the Internet, I found that it is from his autobiography "Wanderer".
"Walking The Bible -- A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses" by Bruce Feiler. The author relates his adventure in traveling the paths of the Patriarchs in those stories. He includes his research and conversations with archeologists and theologians. This is a highly readable book making the history fun and gives cause for reflection.
A Memoir... "All Souls -- A Family Story from Southie" by Michael Patrick MacDonald. The author describes his life growing up in the poorest project of the US. This Boston native writes about the experience as his mother holds it altogether while trying to get her family out of the projects. The book puts a stark and scary face on a world that I know nothing about.
"The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris covers the life of TR from his birth to his taking of the Presidency upon McKinley's assassination. This is truly an adventure story and I wait anxiously as Morris covers the rest of TR's life in his next book.
"Six Wars at A Time -- The life and times Gutzon Borglun, sculptor of Mount Rushmore" by Howard Shaff and Audrey Karl Shaff. I found Borglun to have a very interesting life, his up bringing and a brother who also was a well-known sculptor and painter. Quoting from the book jacket, "Painter, sculptor, political crusade, city planner, aviation enthusiast, critic and sportsman. ... His life... touched every president from Teddy Roosevelt to FDR, the artists, statesmen, politicians and celebrities of his time in a story that led to its inevitable conclusion at Mount Rushmore."
Thanks for reading ... If you are not already notified of updates, I will add you when you send me an email.