Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Monday, February 27, 2017

Galleta Meadows' Metal Scuptures
Borrego Springs, CA

For several days in mid February I enjoyed hanging out with friends in the back country just north of the town of Borrego Springs.  I had heard about this place, the great boondocking, and its metal sculptures.  This year I got to see it first hand!  Here is a movie/slide show of the photos I took of some of the metal sculptures at Galleta Meadows on the 16th.  Most were large, some were humongous, and a few were of human proportion.

Here is a photo of 12 metal scuptures of big horn sheep -- rams, ewes, and lambs.  Click on the picture to enlarge, then see if you can find all 12 sheep!
Big Horn sheep at Galetta Meadows,  2/16/17

Camping with friends in Borrego Springs ... good views, great company.

What a good life!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR)
January 11 - 22, 2017

Pre-RTR Sunset.  Already, many attendees have arrived.  It was the largest number of
participants since the first RTR in the Winter of 2011 (Quartzsite, AZ)  1/10/17
Note: Click on photos to enlarge.

Most every morning for the 10-Day RTR event, Bob Wells (the organizer)
would teach a seminar.  Before each 10 AM seminar, folks would offer
services, items for sale, request help, and make announcements.  1/11/2017  

Afternoon seminars were offered on a variety of topics.  Here is a saguaro cactus and a rainbow
showing off after the Living Out of a Small Car Seminar.  1/14/17  

On nice evenings, groups, large and small would gather around the campfires
dotting the desert.  Here is the group I hung out with.  1/15/17  
We had some good conversations ... but sometimes we would just quietly stare into the fire.  1/15/17  

Good memories.  1/15/17

The last colors of sunset.  1/18/17  

Looking east the the sunrise.  Looking west at the same time below ... 1/20/17  

Looking west at a rainbow at the same time.  1/20/17  

I needed 2 frames to capture to whole rainbow.  1/20/17  

Raining ... this photo taken through the windshield just before night fall.  1/20/17  

During the last night of the RTR, we gathered around the main campfire.
Although the RTR is primarily a boot camp for new nomads, and an opportunity
 to see old friends again,  we have also adopted an end-of-RTR-celebration 
called "Burning Van"  1/21/17 

The "van" to be burned is actually a wooden cut out.  1/21/17  

RTR attendees are encouraged to sign and make brief comments before it's burned.  1/21/17  

It's burned to a specially-written RTR song for the occasion.  2/21/17  

Every winter I look forward to the RTR.  I've made life-long friends and am always amazed at the generosity and helpfulness of those who attend.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Connection Among Mothers

When I first met up with a group of vandwellers in the Spring of 2010, I felt a connection with these fellow wanderers that was unexpected.  Our common loves -- of nature, experiencing new places, freedom of the road, and a simple lifestyle -- all contributed to my knowing that I had found my tribe, a group of like-minded people.

One connection was extra meaningful.  Katie and I had both lost a child, her "Princess" and my Elise. Together we talked, cried, and hugged.  I was comforted to connect with another mother who knew the pain.

Jasper kissing his Mama Elise (1978-2008).
(Photo from husband and dad, Cameron's blog, 2007)

After a few days, I was leaving the group to continue on my journey.  I said my good byes and started to drive off when Katie signaled me to wait.  She ran up to my car and gifted me with one of her precious knives, a mini skean dhu in a beautiful beaded necklace sheath in the Native American tradition.

Some of Katie's smaller knives.  In the upper right are her
mini skean dhu and necklace sheath.  (photo from Katie's blog 2/8/08)  

To be honest, I was so overwhelmed at the time, I can't remember what she said. But, I clearly remember the love I felt from her. I have carried that knife and sheath with me ever since, remembering Elise, Katie and her Princess, as I've traveled the open roads.

A few months back, I knew in my heart it was time to pass that gift to another mother, another vandweller, a dear friend.  Debra had lost Christopher.  I'd seen her pain and knew that she was to be next in the chain of mothers to wear the sheath and knife.

When Debra's travels unexpectedly took her within 6 hours of me earlier this month, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see her; and, the opportunity to pass along Katie's knife and necklace sheath.

So, deep in a pine forest, sitting in Debra's cozy van, with the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, I told Debra the story of Katie's gift.  Then, I gave it to her, most appropriately on Indigenous People's Day. We both cried, hugged, and cried some more. Then, I was honored to hear more of Christopher and Debra's story, a true love story that ends with unbelievable sacrifice and loss.

I am humbled to have been both the recipient and giver of this poignant symbol of love, loss and connection.  And I am so grateful to be bonded on either side with these amazingly strong women.