Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Looky here!!!!

I have a new project to work on.  Got supplies in town.  My desk is very deep and I have a lot of space under the knee room.  There is a keyboard tray that pulls out that I use for desk surface, so I actually sit in the aisle and my feet don’t go all the way under the desk.  So, I am building shelves under there for canned goods.  They are never where I can reach them easily so they don’t get used.  This will make that all better.


I’ll post photos of the finished project.  Living in a van… sometimes things evolve slowly… and it took me over two years to come up with this idea.

A new sport…. bike soccer:


Looky here, Colby (as in cheese)… I cooked it… and I ate it.



I don’t actually know which one Colby caught… but I had to get them cooked up so they didn’t go bad.  So yummy.  Thank you Colby.


Colby… deFisherman!

O.K. back up the mountain I go.  I hope it is a more serene week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Another break from the Wild?


My first attempt at fishing.

Before I vent, and I really need to, I wanted to share a wonderful photo  with you.  Some think it is amazing that I (68 years old) am kayaking America alone, but I think my former mother-in-law is the amazing one – she just kayaked the first time at age 90+.  Go Peg Bailey, Gross Isle, MI.  You have always been my hero, but this takes the cake.  I love you from the bottom of my heart.


Peg Bailey, kayaks in Michigan.

O.K. now on to venting: How do you define Wilderness?  I came to Colorado to be in the wilderness and enjoy wildness.  I thought along with that would come serenity.  Ha!  There is just nothing serene about managing a campground or two!  Remote, yes.  Wild, no!  If people were not hollering all over the place and breaking rules faster than I can make rounds, and cows and sheep were not pooping their way through the campgrounds and the bugs were not eating me alive, the remote wilderness might be enjoyable.


The cows have arrived.  Sheep arrived a couple weeks ago.

I find myself on high alert out there in the wild… not due to wild beasts but due to human beasts.  I can not work an 8 hr. day… job calls for a split-shift… which means I might work a couple hours take a little time off (not relaxing cause you are “on duty” anyway) then work a couple hrs etc.… and that continues for 12-14 hrs a day.  And I can’t sleep at night as once in awhile another mammal decides my home is their home.  A mouse was running amuck in the van the other night and I got no sleep.  Once I thought it ran up my leg.  I had to sleep with lights on and still only got a hour of rest (not hearing the herd of cattle that went through my campsite at 6:30 a.m.).

So if you think it is a dream job, don’t kid yourself.  I rushed into town yesterday morning after two sleepless nights, just to buy mouse traps (cause darn it, I’m the only mammal living in this house). 


This morning I went to Fairgrounds for my long free hot shower(truly the best part of my week), then collected a McBreakfast and sat along the Colorado River enjoying it.  I was more relaxed and free there beside the swollen reddish-colored river than out in the wild (it has rained hard everyday since July 4th).  I’m frustrated and I’m tired.  I am considering sleeping away from the campground so that I can be more rested for the work day.

If you are thinking of “camp hosting,” think twice.  There is no glamor here.  That’s not to say there aren’t some perks.  Wonderful people inviting me to join them for a fantastic picnic…


…. little boys who go out and catch a trout for me to eat…


(I promise to eat the fish, Colby – for supper tonight.)

I’ve met some really wonderful people out there, who have even invited me to their homes (I’ll be seeing some of you.. be sure to email me your address and phone numbers to ) and have a hot shower, meal, etc.  They warm your heart… and make up for those who litter the wilderness with their trash and have little regard and respect for their fellow humans or for the wilderness they have come out to enjoy.  I love all the NICE and considerate people.  Thank you.  Thank you for all the trout, thank you for the sodas, thank you for your warmth and understanding.  Without you, this summer would be unbearable.

If only I could just enjoy the beauty without all the other issues.

More good memories:


Beautiful Dogs


Beautiful Ducks (what kind?)


A clutch of eight???


A day on the lake… small white dot on
left edge of photo is my van.


My kayak on the boat ramp.


Looking north from south end of lake.


Looking south from north end of lake.


Sheep herder Peppy’s cabin (on way to New Castle).

I must take more time for these types of pleasures and worry less about the inconsiderate wildHUMANlife that comes through my summer home.

(sorry if this has been a negative post,
but you just got to vent sometimes)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Two reasons to stay in the wilderness…


And to think, I choose those things rather than the wonderful large rainbow trout in my refrigerator.

Independence Day Week - July 2, 2012


Colorado State Flower – Columbine.

A mid-week July 4 holiday and I don't know WHEN people may come to my camp.  Will they come before the 4th, or after the 4th? Maybe they won't come... due to all the wildfires and the current Stage 2 fire ban which means they can't have a campfire.  What's camping with no campfire or burnt marshmallows?

Finally, my golf cart arrived and here it is piled high with garbage.  I haul that much a couple times a day.

I have hauled my trailer full of genealogy and Civil War photos out of the forest and back to town.  Will be putting it in storage for the duration of the summer job.  I can't risk loosing all this work and everything I own.  All that remains is camp is a few projects, my kayak and my van and camping gear.  If I have to "bug out" I believe I can get it all in or on the van.

Our maintenance person, Ken, comes up once a week to try to keep the wilderness at bay.

I am making a cover for the kayak to protect it from the sun and it will then remain on top of my van unless I take it down to paddle.  If there should be a fire, hopefully I will have time to take down the First Up Canopy and my tent and get it all tossed into the van.  If I don't have time, it won't be too great a loss.

A camper (Orville, a pastor from Springfield, Ohio)… taught me how to fish/cast.

It's beautiful up here, but I fear the dust from the roads may get the best of me.  Much dustier and buggier than I expected.  Other than that, beautiful.  For the most part the campers have all been lovely people.

This doe had a fawn nearby and was keeping a sharp eye on me… this is right below my campsite.

Best part, I'm working very hard and loosing lots of weight.


I love my new fishing pole, I love my old chair… I love my new body.  It doesn’t get any better than this, until tomorrow.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
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? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.