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.



  1. How did you like me beginning this post with a Duck? Oh, I am so happy this is working again. Come on, everyone, write something. I need to know you are still along for the ride.

  2. Still along for the Charlene..Nice blog..nice photos.. Glad that you were able to complete the lower 48..amazing what you have accomplished over the last couple of very proud of yourself...may your travels be filled with joy & wonder... azskies

  3. God, I love my life!
    (just re-read it... it amazes even me)

  4. I still read when I have a decent internet connection. Love the solar oven, I need one of those, I do not have an oven in my rig.

    1. Teri, the solar oven is awesome, but I have left it behind in my cargo trailer in AZ while I make my way to WA and AK in the van. It is really a space hog... to haul around in a van where space is a premium. If you drive a lot, you might be better off with just the RoadPro 12v Lunchbox Stove ( I really love mine.

  5. Nice update and beautiful pictures SwankieWheels

  6. This was such fun to read! I love all your pictures but your friend with Tori the dog stole my heart.

    1. Tori is the sweetest dog. She doesn't romp and kick up dust like many of the dogs in camp... so having her nearby doesn't cause medical issues for me. She kinda tippy toes around. She will step between rocks to walk on the dirt. When she sees my van coming she comes out to greet me and does this little whimpering/whiney thing... she doesn't bark. I just love her... she's a little Princess. (the old hair guy ain't too bad either, for a young whipper-snapper)

  7. I m still here for the ride .........great picture's


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.