Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Awakening of Swankie (being all I can be… to me)

If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself.  If you want to eliminate the suffering of the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.  Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation. Lao-tzu


Left Monterey, CA yesterday morning arriving in Paso Robles, CA where I may stay a few days.  Away from anyone I know, away from doctors, just away. Last night I parked in a large parking lot not far from Walmart.  Used to be a Kohl’s store there but it is closed now.  One other camper in lot.  It was quiet and I rested and caught up on stuff.  Got the ladder out and cleaned off my solar panel, and took the plastic off the roof vent, as I doubt I will get any rain here and I need the air flow. I will fix the leak soon, when I get out to open spaces.

So, I woke this morning thinking, I’m nobody to no one – no one’s mother, daughter, sister, wife, lover, friend.  No one.  OK, then so I need to be all that to and for myself. 

The people I have loved the most, have hurt me the deepest.  In some cases so deep that I can not to bear to think of them or be with them anymore.  I could not be to them what I wanted to be to them or what they wanted me to be.  I CAN be all that to me and if I work hard and fast I will be able to leave the second-best legacy behind for them – the genealogy I have spent 1/2 a century working to collect.  Statistics say I have 15 years left, well, probably more as I’m a lot healthier than most living 73-year olds.

Feels good, fresh, starting over at will.  No obligations to others, just me!  Take the best care of me that I can.  Be the best I can be.  That felt hopeless before, but with the recent involuntary weight loss (caused by the removal of a hormone-secreting benign tumor in my right airway, blocking air flow to my right lung) I have hope that I can be all that – to me, for me.  Yes, it is time to be selfish and it is o.k. to be selfish.

So, I better get busy.  Today, I am working on genealogy notes laying around on my desk.  Be gone, notes, be gone.


Monday, September 25, 2017

On the road again... heading to southern Califonia (Sept. 25, 2017)

Have visited with family and friends in Washington State, Oregon and northern California. (Me with Lois Middleton)

 My granddaughter and a Gypsy Vanner.

Now heading south to take care of health issues (follow-up with lung doctor and another bronchoscopy) for myself and get back to my plans for hiking the Arizona Trail.

More blog posts will follow soon.  I hope you have not been too lonely in my absence.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Mayflower Ship to America

In three years, one month and 11 days, the replica of the Mayflower ship will set sail to America.  Three of my ancestors were on board the original: Richard Warren, James Chilton, and Mary Chilton.

Some of my relatives have expressed interest in joining the Mayflower Society to commemorate the 400th Anniversary.  I have complied the information I have on hand that may help Beaty relatives, descendants of Mary Chilton (suppose to have been the first female to step foot on Plymouth Rock), fill out their applications for membership.  I have created a .pdf file of this information and will make it available to my relatives if they send their information to me at

I have only complied the lineage from James Chilton's daughter Mary and down.  You must be a member of that line to get my file as it contains documents of more recent relatives.

You will still have some work to do.  It has taken some people two years to get approved. I, personally, am not a member and have little interesting in "joining" groups of any kind.  So you best get busy if that is your goal... to join by the 400th Anniversary.

Joining Mayflower Society:

Read more about the Mayflower Story -

Monday, June 19, 2017

Getting My Kicks on Route 66

Ha, I live on Route 66.  I just got a P.O. Box and that is the address.  HA!  I just think that is funny.  The story behind it, not so much.


I came to the mountains near Flagstaff AZ to escape the heat of lower elevations. I needed to get onto free boondocking lands where I could begin finalizing plans to hike the Arizona Trail, unloading my trailer, repairing gear, fixing stuff, etc., without having to do it in public area.  Fine, found all that, now to get a place to receive packages since people are beginning to send me gear off my Amazon Backpacking Wish List ( ).


I had been told by another vandweller that some folks got mail in Parks.  So, I went there and asked at the gas station near Exit 178 off I40, about receiving General Delivery and packages. I didn’t know there was another option at the time. One would think they would tell you if there were any restrictions as to the type of packages they could accept, USPS, UPS, FEDEX, etc., I asked, but they didn’t tell.  So I got the proper wording for the address and got on line and put it in Amazon and sent it to my SD mail service.  Two friends ordered gifts off Amazon, and immediately got word back there was a problem with the address.  (WTF???  Excuse me.)

Well, I went back in at 10am Sat. (Mail counter only open til noon on Sat.) to pick up the 2 packages, but they were not there. But UPS tracking showed they were there, received on 6/15 and signed for by the owner. I left, double-checked the one UPS tracking number, and returned insisting that the owner signed for it on 6/15 at 4:57pm. They gave me ONE package then. Turns out it was not the one I was expecting and so I checked that tracking number and learned it was delivered the same day as the first one. So where was the first one???  I went back again... they had hid them from me, not putting a notice in General Delivery folder for me, until they could talk to me and tell me NOT to have packages delivered there, not even if I rented a P.O. Box from them. O.K., they been talking to me about this for two hours now, where is my other package??? Finally, after standing and staring at the owner for 15 minutes, she casually says to the gal in the mail room, will you get her other package for her????  Only USPS packages would be accepted for me there. Well, I had discussed that with them in advance too… that ordering from Amazon, you had no way to select which carriers would be used.  One employee had even told me to call Amazon Customer Service and talk to them.  I told them there was no phone number for that… and she insisted there was.  I double-checked Amazon site and could not find one.

Altogether, I spent three hours going back and forth, getting on line, checking up on tracking numbers, only to find they could have given the packages to me at 10am and I would have been out of their hair.  So by 1:30pm, I was finished with them and on down the road to the General Store to rent a box there.

No automatic alt text available.
Parks in the Pines General Store, an old photo from their Facebook page..
Established in 1906

That stove, neat thing… it’s a replica and it is electric.

So, back (I had had breakfast there after not finding my packages at the other place – a Super Burrito-made two meals of that) at Parks in the Pines General Store (Facebook - I rented a box. This is a brand new service… they are now an official Postal Annex… and so new, that many of the boxes are still unrented and the software is still being learned by the people working there.  I got to pick my own box number… just by looking to see which were empty.  These folks, Cary and Susan Asel, are great and so very sweet.  Susan even offered to let me leave my rig there free while I am section-hiking the Arizona Trail.

They also have a Deli there and the food is really very very good (got a Hawaiian Pizza last week to take back to camp and made four meals out of it.). 


There is a sitting area inside and outside.  And you can call in to order food in advance or to go.  Great deli…. … see their menu.

I asked it I could call in weekly to see if I had mail, since it’s over seven miles one way from camp, and Cary said I could call in anytime. By this time, he is using my first name, like he had known me forever.  And they will also email me when mail comes in. What service!  I think they are capitalizing on the lack of service and bad karma given out at the other place.  I overheard men at the tables outside talking about how great it was to have this new Postal Annex run by caring people.


Oh, also, they have hitching racks outside for horses and do get riders.  I also noticed a lot of motorcycles stopping by.  This is my new home.  I’m adopting all of them.

They even filled a six gallon water jug for me, and Susan carried it to my van because she saw I was having trouble with my shoulder. I offered to pay for the water since everyone in this area has to pay to have water hauled in, but they would not take my money.  I am trilled to find such nice people here.  I plan to hob-knob a bit with the locals and see if I can’t arrange shuttle service to trailheads in the area.  I have a feeling some of these folk would love to help me with my goal to hike the entire 800 mile long Arizona Trail.

The other place gets NO MORE of my business. NOPE.


Yes, I am having my kicks on Route 66.  So if ever you are out looking for your kicks on Route 66, don’t pass up Parks in the Pines General Store (  It is a true treasure.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.