March 28

Destinations and making photographs

Iowa
Iowa

I knew it was only a matter of time, but moving things on Wed. I strained my back. I went out flat on the bed the rest of the day.

With the time, I thought of the travel plans I devised in the past. I’ve always thought it would be nice to spend a month or two in each state and Canadian province. I think sometimes just “hanging” is the best way to get to know a place, get the “vibe.”

The other plans are the sites I’d like to see. I read on another blog that she was planning on going to Nova Scotia this summer. Having been there, I put NS on my favorite places list.  It is certainly on my return list.

In Washington state I’d like to see Mt. St. Helens. There is also a Naval Air museum on Whidbey Island I’d like to see. I’ve heard they have a PBY Catalina, the aircraft my father flew in WW2. My greatest desire is to take a ride in a PBY.

PBY Catalina at the San Diego Air and Space Museum
PBY Catalina at the San Diego Air and Space Museum

I’ve read that there is an operational PBY in Miami, Fl. Fingers crossed I meet up with the pilot.

It’s just so hard to see all the great sights, but I’m going to try. But it isn’t just about seeing the highlights, it’s about living a life on the road. I’ve always been a slow and methodical type and I figure that’s how I’ll see the sights. I’ll be the one seeing Gettysburg in late April, so I can experience the grounds without the crowds. I’ve come to discover that in the early spring, park rangers are fresh and ready to talk with ease to an interested audience.

I also spent Wed. eve engrossed in a film on Amazon.com, that brought back a load of memories. The film was a Swedish production called “Everlasting Moments.” Set in 1907, a mother takes up photography. It brought me back to those years I spent in darkrooms and behind a viewfinder in photography classes. The film reminded me of the preciousness of a photograph. Those days I was making photos on film, seemed precious. It also could have been the costs involved in developing and printing. I shot a lot less film than my other classmates, much to my instructors bitter reprimands. They wanted at least 3 rolls of 36 shots a week, for each class. I think I was a bit more deliberate in my shots, much like a view camera photographer would be. When I took up the view camera I felt in my rightful place. Ansel Adams held out for the right sun angle or the cloud passing over, then click that shutter. Edward Weston posed his models with the light he wanted, then framed the image.

Here we are today with digital photography and the phone camera. Think, 25 years from now, what the comments will be on the “selfie”? Everyone and they’re brother will have an arms length, weird looking portrait.

Here I am in the digital age and I still am making deliberate photographs. I’ll never change.

My tips for better photographs, are to have a fore, middle, and background. It’s always the foreground that most people miss. A tree branch or rock in a landscape shot.

 

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Also on family shots with a background that’s important, bring the people up close. Nothing is worse than the kids far off in the background.

Action portraits tell a story. Don’t get me wrong, formal portraits can be fantastic.

Don’t forget that Black and White photos can be dramatic.

Deadheading  Flowers
Helping Mom Deadheading Flowers
Helping Mom
Helping Mom

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Thanks for stopping by.

March 21

Busy, busy…

West of Mule Mountains
West of Mule Mountains

It’s been a whirlwind week.

I was able to get the master bedroom walls all painted. There were a few days I had to take a break. It’s tough to go back to back days rolling a ceiling. My neck and back were sore for 3 days.

On the painting breaks, I was looking for places to donate furniture. Not easy in a small town without many options.

Then there were more trips to the landfill and recycling center.

Black Lake, Wi
Black Lake, Wi

I was thinking of what to write this week and one thing came to me. It’s about the way some of us pick camps.

I am similar to more than a few RVers, I prefer to camp out away from the crowds. If I come to a campground, I’ll be the guy that is out on the edges or the empty areas. It’s not that I’m anti-social, I just like the quiet and space. I’m not a big fan of generators buzzing until 11 o’clock or all night. I’m also not a fan of the new RV units with the slide-out big screen TV in the side storage area. They get the chairs all set up like a theater and everyone and their neighbor can listen to the game and the screaming.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll listen to the game. I’ll have the radio facing my chair, but only just loud enough for me to hear. I don’t want to be that guy with the blaring radio.

Another subset of RVers like to go to rallies or get-togethers. I may try one, but it really isn’t me. I’m an introvert, and we don’t go in for big crowds.

Southwest of the Cargo Muchacho Mts.
My rig in the center-left, southwest of the Cargo Muchacho Mts. That’s elbow room!

I just thought, with the number of bloggers, how many are introverts? This is an easy way for us to interact. It’s on our own time and also allows us time to form our thoughts.

It took me awhile to figure out my introversion. I look back to times when I was younger and I see the traits of introversion. I used to come home from school and often shut myself in my room and listened to music. Later, I had a roommate that couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go out to the bars after a day of talking to customers. I was spent on chit-chat with people. Those were decompression times from the busy days.

So, next time you see a camper or RV out of range of the others, it may not be the anti-social loner but the introvert that will wave and say “Hello” when you walk by.

If you know of an introvert, there is a couple of books on my carousel. It might shed some light on why they behave the way they do.

PLEASE, don’t think I’m pushing anything on my Amazon carousel. They’re just a few things that I have found interesting.

March 14

The Circle and Mysteries of Life

McMullen Valley
McMullen Valley

No talk of painting this week.

Please bear with the twists of the story.

About a decade ago, I was looking up on Amazon information on yurts. Every so often they have books on the recommended list that look interesting. I put one in the cart and waited.

I’d never heard of the author, but found a book with incredible images of his home, a 3 story yurt, and his Maine coastline, and even more incredible words.

In “A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity” by William S. Coperthwaite, (listed on my Amazon carousel) I found words that struck a cord in me. He commented on the state of education and his philosophy, as a Ph.D.Ed., of a new way of teaching. Mr. Coperthwaite believed in an educational system that included hands on physical work.

I was one of those students with more than a few ants in his pants and the need to expel the energy of a young male. I could have used that type of teaching.

What also struck me was his desire to learn from ancient cultures the handicrafts that were being lost. He traveled to the arctic circle to learn of the Eskimo crafts in handmade kayaks, fishing lures, folk art, and the crook knife.

Mr. Coperthwaite, I’ll now call him B.C., (W.C. just isn’t right!) also traveled to Lapland in Norway and the upper reaches of Sweden. One craft BC learned was something called nalbinding, a form of making items of wool using one needle. He called it “Witless Knitting” in a tongue-in-cheek way.

I searched on-line to learn the craft of nalbinding. The website said it was best to learn with an instructor.

One track in BC’s book I hooked onto, was spoon carving. I went on-line and came across Drew Langsner’s “Green Woodworking.” In the very beginning of my RV travels I was looking to find a craft or hobby that was portable. With the “Green Woodworking” book, I had envisioned fulltiming in an RV and carving spoons on the road. I thought it might be a fun way to create a little income of cash in my travels

Inside the Langsner book there were photos of spoons made by a craftsman from Sweden. Again I looked up a name and found Willie Sundqvist had a book, but was out of print and going for over $50, used!

Just this past fall, I found out that Willie Sundqvist’s “Swedish Carving Techniques” was being reprinted. I ordered it right away and the DVD that his son, Jogge, made on spoon making and dough bowl carving.

So with this new carving book, DVD, and a carving knife in hand I began dreaming again about carving and travel.

At Christmas time, for some reason, I looked on-line again for Mr. Coperthwaite and found a notice of his passing. The week of Thanksgiving he passed away from a single car accident. I ordered a Kindle copy of his book (I was on the road) and reread it.

After the new year, I began carving the easier butter paddle/spreader in the Sundqvist book. Within about 3 weeks I had carved 10 items. One item I didn’t find in the carving book but was something I believe I developed on my own out of a need.

After 3 days of carving butter speaders, and wanted something different to carve.

I like toast and honey, and one morning as I dipped a knife into the honey, twirling it this way and that, I still drizzled it over the plate and lost that sweet nectar. I realized I wanted another utensil. I thought of the wands used for honey. They also had to be twisted and often left a trail of the hard work of bees on the counter. It came to me, my next carving challenge….a spoon and spreader combination. I thought of BC. He wrote of the beauty of ordinary handmade items.

Out of a need, I carved what I call, a “Honey Scoop.”

honey scoop #4

I went back to the web, wanting to learn more about Willie Sundqvist. I found a page on the Kickstarter funding site that his son Jogge started. He wanted to make a film about his father and the history of his life as a teacher of manual arts and carving. I was too late to donate to the film project, and receive a copy of the DVD in return. I had to get one!

On the website where I’d purchased a special tool for decorating my peices, I saw on the front page that he would be getting a lot of 100 DVD’s of the documentary on Willie Sundqvist. I placed a pre-order right then and there.

Just 2 weeks ago, I opened the package with the documentary and read over the cardboard DVD case. On the back, was Jogge Sundqvist’s “thank you” to the major donors that helped fund the making of the film. To my astonishment, I read that a couple donated to the film “in honor of Bill Coperthwaite”!

There it was, a circle that had begun being drawn over a decade ago. A fluke purchase of a book that sounded interesting, with different threads of research, and the circle was completed.

Now I’ll be traveling the country carving items to sell and it all started with William S. Coperthwaite’s  book on a life of simplicity. That is what I want to create on the road.

There is the circle and mystery of life.

I will be carving spoons and other items when I’m freed up from painting and cleaning the house to sell.

Thank you for coming on this journey.

#1-10 My first carvings
#1-10 My first carvings
March 7

Past week and the RV culture

This week I ran into a roadblock selling furniture to the few resell businesses in town. Two were full and the other wanted half of what I expected. So, rather than the pain of putting a classified ad, fielding calls, and making appointments to see the furniture, I’ll donate to Habitat for Humanity and get the tax write off.

 

Blair Valley
Blair Valley

 

I’ve also been scrubbing walls for painting and still debating color choices. I can do the master by myself but will get a crew to do the rest of the house plus the exterior. It’s just too difficult to rent and set up scaffolding by myself. I’ll let the pros do it, and a lot faster.

The culture of RVers is interesting, and especially the subset of RV full timers. I read a book, copy written in 1978, and he estimated 1 million RVers are fulltime. Then about a year ago I listened to a full time RV couple that are Podcasters and they estimated 1.6 million.

I think it’s hard to track a number to fulltimers. I’m sure there are many more that fly under the radar.

I’ve read blogs of singles, couples both young and old, and families with kids being “home” schooled on the road. Some work on the road, others work part time at places like Amazon, and some volunteer as campground hosts and receive a campsite for free thru the season. There are many ways to live on the road.

I’m guessing the way the numbers are calculated are with RV clubs and maybe the census with “alternative housing.” But in the end it make no difference to me, I’m full timing!

 

Chadron State Park Would you believe this is Nebraska?
Chadron State Park
Would you believe this is Nebraska?

 

The books and articles say you should do extended trips to see if you like it. I’ve done 2-3 months at a time and have managed well enough plus I’ve also had past experiences camping across the country. I think I can easily do full time.

One thing I found in those months on the road is the uneasiness I’ve felt with a place I’m unfamiliar. First off I have to make sure I have a map like the Delorme Gazettes or Benchmarks to find campgrounds. I spent too much on RV parks and drove around the corner only to find a Forest Service campground. Also getting my solar system up and running kept the costs down as well.

Allegany State Park

Allegany State Park
Allegany State Park

Of course this is all about the east since there are fewer places to boondock (camping outside of campgrounds on Forest Service land or BLM land) in the eastern US.  That doesn’t mean I won’t go back east. I need to explore the east a whole lot more.

The west is of course a boondocking  playground. Canadian border to the Mexican border, there are places to camp for the regulated time of 14 day stays. That could be a few years right there of exploring.

Well, that was the week that was. Isn’t that Walter Cronkite?

Next week I’ll tell a story of how a few books, a knife, and a DVD can become a circle.

 

February 28

Welcome to the tracks of a wanderer

So begins this journey of a thousand steps, or in reality a blend of tire tracks, footprints, and paw prints!

 

13 dec 2013 004 Signal Mountain, Az.

There are travelers and there are wanderers, I fall into both categories, I think. But what of an explorer?

My wandering began when I was about 3 years old. I had a pedal tractor and on more than one occasion I strayed from home and down the sidewalk and around the corners searching for what was down the road. Often the postman discovered the runaway, grab me and put the tractor in the back of his 3 wheel delivery truck and took me home.

DSC_0025-cropSister and me and the tractor

 

Other times a neighbor would call my mother and mention that they saw me go by and Mom would drop everything to go find me.

 

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I also took up photography around age 3. I suppose wandering and shooting photos fit together. Unfortunately I think those first images are lost.

 

Then when I grew up and became proficient on a bicycle my world expanded. I wandered down the Chicago lakefront and a few times went up to the Illinois and Wisconsin border.

With 4 wheels I’ve crossed the country more than a few time in my truck, often living and sleeping in back.

13 dec 2013 044The 4 paws, a.k.a. Geordie

 

Now begins my plan as a full time RVer. I’ll call “home” a Casita trailer. Small enough to seek those out-of-the-way spots, but it feels like a hotel compared to tents and pick-up beds.

I have plenty to do trying to unload the accumulations of an old life and hope the real estate gods grant me a quick getaway. Then the journey will begin and I can search for more of those peaceful, beautiful nooks.

As for this blog, my plan is to publish new posts on Fridays with occasional posts at other times.

Thank you for stopping by.