Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I’ve had a job offer….


Second morning in a row I woke with a migraine…probably because I’ve had a job offer and don’t now how to get there - Alaska… how many miles away is that???  I never thought about it before.


So, since I couldn’t think straight, I went into the desert, laid my lounge pad on the ground, tossed a pillow and blanket on it and laid down in the sun and went to sleep. 



If you know what Dom Rock looks like, you might be able to spot it a little left of center… see it???

The world looks different from this perspective.  How beautiful the desert is when the rocks (desert asphalt) have not all been churned up by wheels driving all over the place.  And the world looked different when I woke up… I woke wondering if there is any way I can get to Alaska, instead of feeling depressed when I went to sleep… because I could see no way it was possible.  Maybe it’s not impossible, just more difficult?


This is desert asphalt… the rocks are almost glued to the ground.  As long as people don’t drive on them or rake them away, they hold the dust down really well.  I enjoyed the fresh clean air there compared to the dust bowl of the RTR.  (and now after being back in town for a couple hours, my throat is starting to burn again)


It was pristine out there… no one walking or driving around out here for a very long time.  No one there but me.  No one in sight all the way around 360 degrees.  I could see Quartzsite off in the distance, just barely.



That’s SwankieWheels in the background and a soldiers camp in the foreground.

General Patton’s troops where there once… these are tank tracks left by them practicing maneuvers in the area. I even found rows of rocks laid out for someone’s camp… those soldiers did that all over the place out here.


Old snarly cactus… it had like a circular staircase inside of it… chewed by animals.


Funny little piece of Chalcedony.

And I walked a lot when I was awake, trying to think what to do, how to get to Alaska, if I should even try. I’d be driving a tour bus up there and the CDL training begins here in AZ next week. Should I just begin the training and then try to figure out if I can get the funds together for the ferry fare??? I have no savings, as repairs were needed on the rig and I had to replace four tires last week that were in dangerous condition.. unsafe to drive on.



I don’t know why this one is marked, maybe giving someone permission to cut it down???  But I compared my shadow to the cactus shadow and determined it was over 20 feet tall.  Something lives there and has a nice little perch.

Alaska Dilemma????  Drive, fly or take the ferry.  Flying: I get there, have no transportation, except the local transit and company transportation/shuttles, and would have to then live inside.  Live inside?  With other people???  Really don’t think I can do that again.  Drive?  I’d leave my trailer and kayak in Washington state, and drive the van.  But gas would cost almost as much as the ferry fare.  I’ve always wanted to make the drive.  Ferry: I could relax on the way up and be fresh and ready to work.  I could continue to use my van there as I am now.  And after the season is over, I could drive the Al-Can back to the states – fulfilling another life long dream (and I could kayak Alaska while I am there).

I’d really like to take that job… but how?  I never dreamed getting there would be so expensive.  If you pray, say a little prayer for me that I can figure out a way.  One friend has hired me to do a sketch for her and I am pleased with that.

Thanks friends for listening. Maybe I should just delete this post now?!  If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Monday, January 28, 2013

SOS... Help Requested.

Forgive me kind followers, but today I had to spend $900 on tires.  That left me short of funds to pay my auto insurance payment on Feb 5... of about $170 (a quarterly payment).   I am really only short about $20 but have no place to come up with that amount.  I had forgotten about the auto insurance until after I bought the tires... and now am in trouble.  My next income isn't until Feb 20.  Darn.  I am not asking for a gift although some of you offered last year and told me to let you know if I  needed help.  If I could do some sketches for people, that would be great.  Or if anyone could advance me money until Feb 20, I would be ever so greatful.  You can use the Yellow Donate button in the upper right corner of this blog page.

By the way, I have a phone job interview tomorrow at noon for a possible job in Alaska.  Prayers couldn't hurt either.

Thank you again for your support and for following me.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Images and Memories of 2012


Thought you might enjoy some of my favorite photos and memories.


Rainbow Trout (2,500 of them) being released into Meadow Lake, CO(where I Campground Hosted summer 2012).


The biggest lily pad I ever saw.  Vandweller/Member here… Joey told me the name of it the other day, but I have forgotten.


The Biggest Catfish(or is that FATfish?)  I ever saw, though I understand they get much much bigger than this.


Some of the most beautiful wildflowers I’ve ever seen.


I got over my fear of alligators this year.  They are much much more afraid of us. Seriously folks, nothing to fear here.


After three years of stuff just falling all over the place, I built shelves in my trailer this winter.

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Made my first trip to Mexico and found it amazing how clean the plaza was and was amazed at the decorated trash cans.


Photo by fellow rock club sawyer, Gary Fahrnback… we paddled the Bill Williams Wildlife Area together.



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The quilt and the purple had were my Christmas gifts from my Florida sister (I got sisters everywhere – AK, CA, SD, MN).


Strange tree formations.


Eire sunsets.


This fellow drove up, asked if I wanted some fish, went back to his freezer and brought enough for two people for two meals.  He fishes all over the country and fast freezers the fish to give away.


Boy was that good.


Gamble Quail walking through camp.


Good ol’ SwankieWheels holding up well.


My favorite vandweller and my favorite dog. 
It was cold and Tori was staying warm.


Fisherman on the Gulf caught this little guy in his net,
I released it and hope it was o.k.  It swam away.


The best part of RTR 2012 was running in to Peg, who had hired me to do five sketches for her when I needed money the most.  She was my first customer.  I had to drive back across town and grab my notebook to bring back and show everyone.  What a treat. She is a very special lady.



I camped with vandweller Liz for a time, and her pup… Boo Boo really took a shine to my kayak.  He got up there by himself.  Boo Boo at the helm.


Very strange cloud formation.


I invented a solar water heater.  A plastic water jug, spray painted black will heat water to 140 degrees.  You can have a delightful sponge bath with that ONE gallon of water.


You never know what surprises you will get when walking alone in the desert. This guy nearly landed on me.



The Sun Oven easily gets to 350 degrees F, and bakes the best bread and cakes.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think they taste better.


Got to meet Good Luck Ducks… what a treat.  And I had not noticed that mural before… at Carl Jr’s in Quartzsite.  Pretty cool.


Had some amazing paddles and completed kayaking the lower 48 states (and I couldn’t walk in 2004!)  tee hee


More goodies from the Sun Oven… brownies with pecans.



Out hiking with friend Pete from the Rock Club, he caught this Horney Toad.. neat guy to rock hound with… but darn if he didn’t sell his red truck, now we can rock hound on a motorcycle.


The solar over and solar shower hard at work.


Learning about rocks, becoming a Foreman in the Lapidary shop and a sawyer in the Saw Shop were the highlights of a great year.  It’s why I came to Quartzsite and I plan to return every winter.

Learning to use the Solar Oven was also a real bonus… you don’t have to suffer to live out of your van.  It was a great year.


It doesn’t get any better than this, until 2013.  I expect as much or more from the New Year.  Thanks for riding along with me.  Please comment below… so I know people are still alive and tagging along.  But DON”T live vicariously through me, get up out of that chair and LIVE your life.


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.