As Summer is Winding Down…

…I’m reminded of how little of Life is in my control. Travel plans continue to be interrupted by more urgent, and arguably more important things. By order of importance, my father’s health has upstaged everything else. As I write this, he is in hospice.

The last weekend of July, my daughter and I went to visit him. Putting my arms around his frail, shrunken body was one of the most heartrending, and yet comforting events I’ve ever experienced. This man, who has been around for every one of my fifty-nine birthdays, may not get to see the sixtieth, just a month away. How does one prepare for this?

This coming weekend, I’ll make the ten hour drive, again. I’ll spend a couple of hours visiting with him, boondock in a parking lot somewhere, then see him again on Sunday morning, before heading back up here.

The theft of the original Stew Wagon set me back, in many ways. It hit my itinerary, my bank account, and my spirit. Now, though, a replacement vehicle is with my mechanic for evaluation (also hitting my itinerary and bank account). If it’s going to be my home, I’d like to begin with something reliable. Any major issues will be dealt with now, and others can be planned, for later.

I’m getting used to the new(ish) cameras. Some of my shots are pretty good. Nothing that I’d like to share, yet. Give me another week for that.

For now, though…

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.

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August!

For most people in this hemisphere, it’s the Dog Days of Summer. The same is true up here in the White River National Forest, but at 9,000 feet above sea level, the temperatures a somewhat more tolerable. “Partly cloudy, with a chance of afternoon showers” is the usual forecast. Already, though, days grow shorter. Skies are darker when I wake up, and cool early morning temperatures have me reaching for an extra blanket.

Spent my first night in the new vehicle, and a few “to-do”s presented themselves. For example, I need to build a half-height closet that can be relocated when needed. Also, a layer of polyiso insulation is compulsory. Reflectix works well for now, but very soon it wont be enough. Not sure about the ceiling, yet. Perhaps I’ll hang some kind of textile treatment over the insulation.

If you get the feeling that I’m stalling on photos, it’s because I am. The new ride has some features that make it ultra-versatile, with regard to seating and sleeping arrangements. Also, there are a couple of things that need to be fixed before I show it off to you all.

What I will show you is my new Little Jumbo travel guitar, from Alvarez.

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It’s very light, but well made, with a solid spruce top.

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While it doesnt hve the deep bass you get in a dread, it’s much more suited to playing in the close quarters of a vehicle.

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Despite it’s small size, it does deliver a nice range, with unexpectedly warm tones that ring for a while. The action is high, which I sometimes think is an intentional way to get a set up fee for the dealer. Still, I’m digging it.

There are other things to share, but I’ll save them for later posts. Look for some videos soon. I’ll post links, when they’re up. In the meantime-

~Enjoy the Life You’re Living.

 

What’s Going On…?

It’s a few days short of one month, since the last time I posted here. That doesnt mean nothing has happened. The truth is, there’s a lot to tell you about, but I’m kind of stuck. One of the things I need to replace is a power inverter, so I can run the laptop (bad battery) on the mountain. Also, there’s no connectivity up there, so I cant update until I’m in town. As a teaser, though, here’s a run down of some of the things I’ll be writing about.

The Stew Wagon is found!! Cameras have been replaced!! The Peruvian Blanket is recovered!! There’s a new vehicle on the horizon!!

Wait….Yep!!! I’ll be posting pics and sharing about my first trip in a totally different vehicle. While I still love the Stew Wagon, there are some things it doesnt do well, and I had to address them before winter.

So, stay tuned, dont forget to write, and as always…Enjoy the Life You’re Living.

Phone Shots…

Among the things that were taken with the Stew Wagon were my cameras, lenses, and everything else, photography related. I think I’ve found some replacement equipment, but until that’s a done deal, I’m shooting with my Droid Turbo 2. It isnt bad, but I cant get it to focus on things close up, like flowers, etc. Even placing something behind the subject, to block the focal assist, doesnt help. So, I’m satisfying myself with broader shots.

Here are a couple from last night, and this morning.

Thanks for following. Enjoy the Life you’re living.

Just a Quick Update…

As you know, the Stew Wagon was stolen on June 13/14, along with everything in it. That includes a lot of things – cameras and equipment, camping gear (bags, stove, etc.), my big Peruvian blanket ( I nearly cry over this one), sleeping mat, and a bunch of other things. Seems like I think of something else almost every day.

So, I’m starting over. I was able to procure another vehicle, which I really love. I’ll tell you more later. She’s in the shop, and will probably need to have a few more things done before she’s in top shape, bit I think you’re going to love her, too.

I’ve also found a photographer who is switching from DSLR to mirrorless technology. She’s out of town until tomorrow, but I anticipate picking up a new shooting rig sometime very soon.

People have said things to me like, “Why arent you angry? I’d be so mad!” Here’s the thing. If you believe in God, and that everything in the universe is His, then you realize that nothing truly belongs to you. You dont work to own a thing. You work for the use of it. It still belongs to Him. This understanding makes it a lot easier to accept things that happen in my life. I cant really get upset, if He wants to reallocate His own things. I just say, thanks for letting me use it; now, what do we do moving forward?

Have a great week. Enjoy the Life you’re living.

No more Stew Wagon…

Last night, owing to unusual circumstances, the Stew Wagon was left unlocked on the street in a Denver suburb. I woke up early this morning to find it missing. The worst thing, though, is that all my things are in it. Basically, I’m starting all over. I’ll have more time to reflect on this later.

What’s really amazing to me, is my own response. I’m not angry or upset, at all. There is a calm within me. Knowing that it’s just another thing in life, and seeing it that way, allows me to process it on a completely different level than if I took it personally.

What I mean is, this isnt some punishment from God, or payback Karma for something I did. It’s just a random event that could have happened to anyone (and frequently does). Of course, it’s a major inconvenience, but no one’s life is in danger. The future of the world isnt at stake. Honestly, there’s nothing to get upset about. You accept what is, and move on.

That’s it for me today. Thanks for following. Enjoy the Life you’re living.

The Purpose of the Fox…

Driving away from the mill, today, I saw this fox trot across the road and the shoulder, into tall grass at the edge of a ravine. It stopped there, with just ears visible. This seemed like a possible photo op, so I pulled over, climbed out of the Stew Wagon and rummaged in the back for a camera. The SX40HS came up, and I quickly got it on, CHDK engaged for shooting RAW.

Crossing the road, I brought the eyepiece up and took a couple of shots, hoping they’d turn out. I keep the camera set to Auto, for this kind of moment. There isnt always time to mess around with aperture and ISO. Gradually, I moved closer, and the fox didnt bolt. Instead, it seemed to be waiting, almost baiting me. At length, I was within twenty feet, still shooting. Presently, as if bored with all this, it stood up, looked at me and turned away, walking across the slope, behind a bush, and down to the creek, where I lost it in the woods.

Leaving the mill, my intent had been to come into town to exchange a shirt at the Levi outlet store.  (Note: If you like Levi’s clothing, I strongly recommend that you visit the outlet store in Silverthorne. I’ve had three visits there, and each one has been marvelous. This exchange was one of the easiest transactions I’ve ever done.) What I hadnt intended to do was to go to Wendy’s. It isnt that I have anything against it. I’m a regular there. When I walk through the door, it’s just like Cheers – A chorus of “Don!” rises up from behind the counter. Because I needed to process the fox photos, though, that’s where I went. There’s a seat by the window, with an outlet, and they let me camp there.

Stepping out of the Stew Wagon, I opened the back door to grab my laptop. Under the eaves of the building a young man and woman, with big backpacks and other paraphernalia, stood talking. They seemed to be discussing something important, but I paid it no mind. Heading inside, I set up my workstation, then went to the counter, where I ordered some dinner.

As I was eating, and editing one of the photos, the young woman came in and put her things down at a table just ahead of me. I told her that I thought it was cool that she was traveling. Tears began to form in her eyes.

It turns out that she has just come to the US from Germany. Her plan was to hike the Continental Divide Trail, from Frisco to the Grand Tetons. How could she have anticipated that there would still be two feet of snow in the higher altitudes? In the whole of yesterday, she made six miles. She was above timber line when the lightning began, today, and she had to retreat back to lower elevation. She continued down, back into Silverthorne. The man that she’d been talking to was apparently a transient, asking if she had any weed. He did tell her that she could sleep in town, as long as she was a certain distance from the road. She thanked him and told him that she had already made arrangements to couch surf at someone’s apartment for the night.

So, now what was she supposed to do? The thing that she’d come all the way across the ocean to do, had proven impossible, after such a short time. She will be in the US for two months. Her mother has a sister in San Francisco, and she had reached out to see if it might be possible to come for a visit. She could make it by bus in about thirty hours, and from there hike the Pacific Crest Trail through the Sierras. I encouraged her to see Yosemite National Park, if at all possible.

We talked for a long time, about homelessness in America, and world travel, and many other things. In the course of it, I told her that I admired her. Just look at what she’s doing! It’s a very brave thing to strike out into the midst of an unknown country, with only herself to rely on. She’d made all the right preparations for this adventure, and had embarked on a tremendous journey. There was no way to anticipate the weather. She isnt the first to have their plans spoiled by the Rocky Mountain spring weather. I assured her that there were wonderful things ahead for her.

In the end, she had a bus ticket to San Francisco, and was laughing, not crying.

The purpose of the fox? It was to send me to Wendy’s, at just the time when I would meet a young woman from Germany, beginning the grandest adventure of her life. That fox sat posing for me, just long enough to get me on the right schedule. Coincidence? Maybe.

If there is a moral to this story, it’s up to you to decide. I just write em down.

That’s it for me. Thanks for following. Please, leave a comment, Like and share. Also, check out more VagabondStew stuff on http://facebook.com/VagabondStew.