Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Resources for Vandwellers

This little web site http://vandwellers.org  written by a friend of mine, see very little traffic. ALL the information there for vehicle dwellers and homeless people, including the Vandwellers guide (http://www.vandwellers.org/guide/vandwellersguide.pdf), Homeless guide (http://vandwellers.org/homeless/ozhomelessguide.pdf) and the 2-page "living in your vehicle flyer" (http://www.vandwellers.org/quickguide.pdf) is free.

Please help get the word out by sharing the link -  http://vandwellers.org on your blog or Facebook page.

I assure you, my friend is not writing this for vanity, or pride, or to make money or even to drive visitors to his web site. He is doing it because "there are a lot of people out there that need the information, and I want to either get it to them or help them find it."

Friday, November 8, 2013

Becoming the Best I can Be!

doug_begleys_smallPhoto by Doug Begley
I'm in Quartzsite now and in the process of setting up camp. You know you are back home again in Quartzsite, AZ when you drive by the only bookstore in town and see a naked man.  Yep, I’m home.
Here’s my journal:
Oct 27, 2013 - Quartzsite update. I arrived about an hour ago and took the nickel tour of town. It's a freaking ghost town. Two RV campgrounds have closed down and property is for sale. No signs posted at the rock club and I am wondering if anyone is even here yet. I'll find out tomorrow. I got the two local papers and will read them tonight. I arrived here two weeks later than this last year and there were RVs all over the desert. Very few here now. There is no BLM host at the land 2 miles west of Loves. There was one at Hi Jolly BLM land.  There was no host at Scandan Wash BLM land. IMGA0660
On the way from the California Coast I stopped off in LaQuinta CA for a nice visit with my sister Cathy and her son Robert. 
10/30/13 -  Oh boy, the nesting instinct is coming out. I don't yet have a permanent camp, my meetings today have been postponed a week, so came home to catch up on email and Facebook, only to get so sleepy I had to take a nap. Woke up with the urge to make pecan/banana bread, and some rice (to use up my sisters homemade chili on). I feel so domesticated.
The last five years being a vandweller has really changed me. I used to be afraid that life in a wheelchair would be impossible for me, that's why I fought so hard to regain my health and walk right again. But in the past hour, I have taken a bath, washed my hair, checked my email, got dressed, made breakfast and ate it without getting away from this chair... oh, and flirted, and washed dishes, not necessarily in that order. Anything is possible. So, in case I ever get to that stage again (thinking of buying a wheelchair), I ain't gonna worry about it. But yep... adjustments would be required, but as good Facebook friend said, “You are not going there"!” I’m working very hard to be sure I don’t go there.
Gathering MY Stuff

But I did go to Paulden, AZ where I left my trailer last Spring – over 300 miles of driving in one day (and I don’t do that anymore). Got my STUFF (cargo trailer with rocks, lapidary supplies and equipment, bike, tents, canopy).... yahoo almost time to set up my winter home in the Quartzsite desert. Can't wait.  Man, it took me four hours to drive up there, two hours to get the trailer ready to go, then Victoria Walker (my trailer-sitter) treated me to a great lunch (thank you), and then five hours back. I made a wrong turn and had to backtrack 10 miles, and of course I had to stop and take photos. It was very nice to arrive safely back at my friend's camp in Quartzsite, too tired to unhitch.

Vickie was the second person I kayaked with and Arizona the second state I kayaked, at Watkins Lake in Prescott, AZ.

10.31.13 – Took Doug to Petroglyphs
Had a drive out to walk around some Indian petroglyphs with neighbor Doug Begley... and felt incredible compared to two years ago when I went there with The Good Luck Duck. What an amazing life I’m living.


There are petroglyphs on those rocks across the Wash... http://strollingamok.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/tysons-wash-petroglyphs/

I come to Quartzsite each winter to learn about making jewelry, it is only a coincidence that Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) began happening here too. But, right now I need to be close enough to walk to town in a reasonable amount of time and I get tired of hiding from Clyde (BLM employee/ranger) and trying to be legal. I need to be able to unpack, set up camp and relax and have a home to come back to after a hard day of sawing rocks and cutting stones, and polishing stuff and making jewelry, etc. and so forth. RTR is only two weeks out of the whole winter. And as much fun as the RTR is, I do have a life outside RTR. Rocks come first and I get to do that ALL winter long.

New Goal for after my 50th State Paddle (Hawaii)
Training for the Arizona Trail (820 miles) means I have to toughen my feet and tone up my legs (which don't get much workout sitting in the kayak), and also train my back to carry a 40lb pack. I want to work up to being able to hike 10 miles easily, and carry the 40lb pack easily. If I can do that, I can do the AZ Trail. Means I have to give up candy bars, snacks, and cokes and eat right. Oh Boy, tall order, but that's exactly what I need, TALL ORDERS,  to make my life worth living.


11.1.13 - This morning I began a journal for my Arizona Trail Training... to track my efforts. I took a little food, two bottles of water, a jacket, hat, sunglasses, chap stick and headed out to walk. Steven SoulRaven CA-Dotd's dog Zeke set out with me. Zeke is used to doing this from this location... and goes as far as he wants and then returns home.


He lasted about 30-40 minutes and then I was alone. I don't know how far it was. I took a lunch break... and should have sent a spot message out from there, but didn't think of it... all I know is I left camp about 9:15 and returned at 12:30pm. Feet a little tender, breathing great, legs great, back and shoulders ache... and need more work. But it's a start.

The 3 hr. hike this morning made me so sleepy I had to take a nap, and then I got so hungry it woke me up, so I had to eat, and now I'm so rested, I can't go to sleep at bedtime. I don't know about this new fitness level I am trying to reach???  Is this really going to work?


11.2.13 – Took a hike with Bryce today.  Zeke went along for a ways, but then went back to Steve while we were having a break.  Got bored I guess.  Zeke hates flies and they were beginning to annoy him.  Bryce and I had a good hike and good conversation.  I think we hiked about four miles.  I’m feeling good.


11.3.13 – Today, Bryce biked in from the RTR location to Doug’s camp (about 6.5 miles) and then together we biked and walked to the Indian Petroglyphs and back to camp.  Doug loaned me his bike (transportation central) With hiking we did around the ruins, I estimate it was about 5-6 miles.  Now I am tired… three days of working out… and tomorrow I will rest, get a shower, meet up with my friend and register for the Long Term Visitor Area, go find my campsite and set up my winter home.  It’s all good.

This day, Doug also blogged about my Solar Oven - http://strollingamok.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/solar-oven/
It doesn’t get any better than this, until tomorrow. I can become my own best person. Coming home is a good thing.

Recap of My Transition in Becoming Healthy
I seem to remember there were lots of baby steps along the road, but for me, what motivated me out of a sedentary life to a free full-time life on the road was establishing a BIG DREAM, a picture bigger than life itself. Such a goal may feel meaningless in the beginning but soon takes on a life of its own. For me, after not being able to walk in 2005, it was setting off in 2008, after bilateral knee replacements and recovery… to Kayak America. It didn’t mean much in the beginning, but I never considered it impossible. Soon I was living to fulfill the goal. In May 2014, I will kayak my last state, #50 – Hawaii for my 70th birthday. My son and some of my friends are going with me to celebrate the completion of the Adventure, and my birthday as well. I did not plan it that way, it’s just the way it came together.

As I finished my 49th state, Alaska in August 2013… I wondered what I would do next. A friend had been talking about hiking the Arizona Trail. The idea would not leave my mind because I had never thought such a thing was possible for me… but suddenly it was decided… I could and would hike that trail… and I must begin training for it now in order to hike it in Spring/early summer 2015. A new dream/goal was born. I’ve never felt more fit or alive than I do now, being free on the road, and free to dream and free to live. By the time I complete the trail, age 71, I will be the MOST fit I’ve been in my life. Who knows what new idea will come into play then… I’m wide open to any possibility. Not too shabby for an old 300 pound lady who could not walk 1/2 block eight years ago.

Left: California 2008, Right: Arizona 2012
OK, I’m bragging a bit ’cause I’m swankie… and that really is my last name. I’m proud of where the name came from, I’m proud to have it as a handle, and I am thrilled where it is taking me.  (Thank you David Swankie.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

All My Little Siblings.


My eight half-siblings and Dad, 1968, Aberdeen, SD
(Cheryl is the tallest one holding the dog)

Yesterday (Nov. 9, 2013), my sister, Cheryl Beaty Smith wrote on Facebook:

Well gonna try to quit smoking today. I'm sure I’ll have one later. Gonna cut back. Just got back from a short walk. One block at a time. I don't walk slow. Got my heart rate up a little. Felt good. Fresh air in my lungs.

Dialog followed:

  • Me: I can't believe what I just read. I'm so proud of you Cheryl. Keep it up.

  • Cheryl Smith Yep I know I can do it. Just have to take baby steps. Geez where have I heard that before?

  • Me: I love you little sister.

I remember the first time I met Cheryl, as soon as I graduated from High School, I was on a bus to Aberdeen, SD from Indianapolis, IN to see my father in 1962.  (on left, Dad and I in Indianapolis, IN 1944)


My parents were divorced when I was a baby… and I had seen him some up to the age of about 3.  I had a memory of him, and it was good, so much better than the one I have of my extremely verbally abusive mother.  Most nights, growing up, I cried myself to self to sleep because of the void his absence left in my heart.  So, 19 and off I go to see him.


Dad and me, 1962.

Arriving in Aberdeen, he meets me at the bus, looks at me, and says:  “I always had doubts that you were my daughter, but seeing you today, I no longer doubt it.”  So we go home… to his wife and my five little half-siblings.  What a whirlwind of a day that was!  I woke the next morning in a big bed, with five little faces starring down at me… all giggly and smiling… and there was Cheryl… the image of myself at that age (chunky little Cheryl or Charlene???).  In all her thoughts, deeds and actions, she was me.


We haven’t kept in touch over the years, but when my computer died this year, it was Cheryl and her hubby Troy who made it possible for me to continue doing art work, continue with my blog, and continue the family genealogy.  When I got to Alaska to kayak my 49th state this August, it was Cheryl’s hubby Troy and son Keith, who picked me up at the airport. 


Cheryl and son Keith at family reunion in 1990s?


L-R: Keith, Troy, and Cheryl in Alaska
(glaciers in background) August 2013.

Then the three of them drove me from Anchorage to Seward, spending two nights in a motel, and buying all my meals. They would not let me spend $1, just so I could kayak Alaska.  I wish she could have gone out on the paddle with me… but because of her… it was a great experience.


Before picture.  We will be an “after” phone next to it later.

So, little sister, this one’s for you.  I know you will be successful in reaching your goal for better health.  One day, in the not too distant future, we will get to bike and/or kayak Alaska together.

I love you, carry on. You can do this.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Genealogy: Carlton Homes

More from my genealogy web site…

Photos of Homes of Carlton’s in Atlanta

156 Garnett St.

I think 156 Garnett is the one to the right of the Hat Co.

I think these were taken behind the house someplace.

Below are the ones I think were taken by the Niles property.

The two girls on the right are my first cousins, Sherry and Linda.  The two on the left are Ethel Carlton Scott’s girls Patty and Laura Lynn.

You can learn a lot by studying the photos and houses when doing genealogy.

Genealogy: Sarah Ann Palmer

I had a website and domain name digroots.com for years.  I am dropping it now and adding my genealogy here to my blog.  Nothing to do with kayaking America… just want to make sure the information is saved until I figure out where to put it.

1. Sarah Ann PALMER was born in SEP 1810. She died on 1 MAR 1888 in Covington, IN. Obit: MASON -- Thursday, March 1 at 2:30 a.m., Sarah A. Mason, aged 77 years, 5 months and 18 days. Funeral from residence of her son-in-law, F.W. Spreen, Banklick and Eleventh streets, Covington, Sunday, March 4, at 2 P.M. Friends invited. Burial private.

Obit: Mrs. Sarah A. Mason ____________________ Jesus March 1, A.D. 1898, aged 77 years.

There is no flock, however watched and tended,

But has a vacant chair!

There is no fireside, however defended,

But one is missing there!

We will be patient, and assuage the feeling

We may not wholly stay;

By silence sanctifying not concealink,

The grief that must have way.

HER DAUGHTER (Ethel May Mason)

Sarah Ann PALMER was married to Aurelius MASON (son of Peleg MASON and Olive PETE) on 19 MAR 1835 in Richmond, OH. Richmond Co., OH or Richland Co.? Aurelius MASON was born in SEP 1799 in Cincinnati, Richland, OH. Sarah Ann PALMER and Aurelius MASON had the following children:

1.1. Julietta MASON was born on 19 MAR 1837 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH. She died on 2 MAY 1840 in Richmond, OH.

1.2. Laura Jane MASON was born on 13 MAY 1843 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH. She died on 14 FEB 1918 in Indianapolis, Marion, IN. I believe this is the Aunt that Olive Carlton Bevis Smith went to live with when she was in high school. She was sent there to live because she was the oldest left at home and the family was very poor.

Laura Jane MASON was married to Fredrick W. SPREEN on 25 DEC 1865 in Indianapolis, Marion, IN. According to the 1920 U.S. Census (Jan. 8, 1920), Frederick Spreen was listed as a boarder under Hanry Cronley, wife Mable and daughter Erin Jean. He was 70 years, b. in IN, parents b. IN, and occupation as “Insurance.”

1.3. Olive Ann MASON was born on 17 JAN 1845 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH. She died on 21 DEC 1904 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH.

Olive Ann MASON was married to William ROSENBLOOM, JR. (son of William ROSENBOOM and Johanna CLARK) on 13 NOV 1870 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH. Newspaper announcement: Roseboom -- Mason -- On the 13th inst., at the residence of the bride's brother-in-law, 315 West Seventh St., by the Rev. James H. Spillman, Prof. Wm. Roseboom to Miss Ollie A. Mason. No cards.

Poem by William Roseboom, Jr.

Dated: 22 Feb 1871

Xerox copy sent to Charlene by Ethel Carlton Scott. It is unknown if she had the original.

Transcription (by Charlene)

To My Better-half.

Let Poet tell of Ollie fair,

And Sculptor moddle(model) form;

The one describes thee in the air,

The other less the harm.

Let the Artist to his task be true,

The collors represent;

O auburn hair and eyes of blue,

His time is vainly spent.

The Poet, Sculptor, Artist, too,

Press suit it cloth appear;

They tell of, carve and color you,

They make me Jealous dear.

Vain rivals – own the goal is lost,

For shadow, form and paint,

The substance mine at priceless cost,

I’m happy, with a saint.

You bid me say just what I feel,

Upon life’s briny ocean’

If after prayer the thoughts arise,

To stifle not emotion.

At Vicksburg, and on Castle Hill,

On Mississippi’s shores;

These lines of love to thee I write,

May they echo ever more.

Vicksburg, Miss., Feb. 22, 1871.


Olive Ann MASON and William ROSENBLOOM, JR. had the following children:

1.3.1. Sherwood Mason ROSENBLOOM, JR. was born in 1872 in Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH.

1.3.2. Ethel May MASON was born on 26 OCT 1874 in Cincinnati, , OH. She died on 1 JAN 1967 in Atlanta, GA. She was educated Weslean College, Macon, , GA. Nov. 27, 1973 interview with Ethel Carlton Scott: Ethel May Mason went to Weslean College in Macon, GA when she was 16 and married when she was 17. Newspaper clipping: Mrs. Mason, and daughter, Mrs. Carlton, of Macon, Ga., are visiting their sister and aunt, Mrs. F. W. Spreen, on the hill south of town. Date handwriting looks like Dec, 31, -95. This photo was probably taken during the Weslean era. Would love to get a copy of her school records.

Ethel May MASON was married to William Branch CARLTON / CALFEE (son of John CALFEE and Dorcas A. HELM) in OCT 1891. William Branch CARLTON / CALFEE was born on 11 FEB 1866 in Buncombe Co., NC. He died after 1943 in Atlanta, GA. Some descendants say his middle name was “Boring” but Charlene has a photo in the handwriting of her grandmother Olive Carlton Bevis Smith, the back says “William Branch Carlton.” When Charlene first began conducting genealogical research about 1968, Olive never mentioned anything about the Carlton name not being William's original name. After Charlene had conducted genealogical research on the Carlton name for over 15 years without being able to find any records on the family, did Olive finally admit that it "seems that William may have changed his name from Calfee to Carlton." It is easy to see the signatures could easily be altered from CALFEE to CARLTON.

In another interview with Ethel Carlton Scott on Nov. 27, 1973, Ethel said that Ethel May Carlton told her children when Neva was 12 she visit Aunt Lela (William's sister in Atlanta, GA.). Lela told Neva that William was suppose to have killed a man - don't know why- may never have been accused. Aunt Lela was “like Neva” and Ethel May didn't like Lela. Lela stayed with the family when Olive Carlton Bevis Smith was a child before Ethel Carlton Scott was born. At the time Ethel May was very sick. It was the last time Lela every came to Ethel May's house.

William was born near Chattanooga, TN and lived on a farm, which could have been a tobacco plantation. His mother died when he was 12 and he was the youngest child. (Charlene found a doctor's diary which documents a boy Calfee b. 11 Feb. 1866 in Buncombe Co., NC. Female siblings in census records agree with the siblings William was suppose to have, according to family tradition. "Delv” in NC by Dr. James Americas Reagan - see his Journal.) In 1870 Census, William was the youngest child.

Cecil (who is this?) was a professor of math at a University in North Carolina. After the Civil War, the family moved to North Carolina. William may have been born in North Carolina. Afterwards the family returned to TN when the family finances got better.

William's mother had two slaves when she got married. Rachel was one and she had promised to raise Willie. When William was 16, his father remarried and William ran away and took "Aunt Rachel" with him. Aunt Rachel didn't want a new mistress. She went to an old judge’s (maybe a Helm or Rodgers?) up the river and asked if she could live there and she did, until she died.

William said his grandmother, when she was 91 years old, would ride one mile on horseback to the overseeres cabin and tell him what work to do. Overseerer for the plantation in TN. A descendant said that William B. Carlton rode on the horse with her and that his grandparents raised him. (Why?)

Later, William ran to FL and then Mobil, AL. He did jobs here and there - didn't have much money - would buy bananas to live on for .10 cents from banana boats. He went alligator hunting at night – he told his children some fantastic tells - tried to shoot the alligator in the eye - got lost in Everglades - saw smoke in the distance and found a cabin of a couple of settlers who would only go into town twice a year. They raised hogs, ate hoecake and palmetta cabbage - but William hated cabbage. All this according to two of William’s daughters, Olive and Ethel, and told to Charlene.

William always seemed to have an inferiority complex and if he had killed someone, he may have felt he owed the world more than he could ever repay. He became a cabinetmaker and did excellent work (according to Olive and Ethel). See photo of with him and a pool table he probably made. Photo taken at 156 Garnett in Atlanta.

A note here about "Financial situation of the family and a swindle". I don't remember what that was in reference to.

William's father played the violin while the neighbors just "fiddled." He thought his father was dumb – but all the family was educated. William’s father, probably John A. Calfee, was a High School teacher (Wm. Boyd Helm was a doctor and minister, many other doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, etc.).

According to Ethel Carlton Scott, in a personal interview with Charlene in 1974, William may have "accidentally" killed someone and then fled from the law and changed his name. Charlene was visiting Pat and Jerry James at their home in Virginia Beach 9/15/74 and they also said there was also a story about a negro slave who had raised William and who ran away with him.

Email to Charlene from Judy Luke, 15 Jun 1998: (Judy wrote this when Charlene asked if she had heard about anyone in Grandma Smith's (Olive) family had inherited slaves) - I heard of the slaves that grandpa(?) Carlton inherited from his father and mother. They were both female; one of the women was named Rachel.

Charlene believes this is a little confused... but still it substantiated what Charlene had heard... and is valuable, since Judy is two years older, she remembers more about the early family traditions.

Ethel May MASON and William Branch CARLTON / CALFEE had the following children: Neva May CARLTON / CALFEE was born on 5 MAR 1893 in Macon, GA. She SS# issued 261-14-4600 before 1951 in FL. She died in JUN 1980 in Miami, Dade, FL. She had Social Security Number 261-14-4600. Olive CARLTON / CALFEE was born on 4 DEC 1897/98 in Fort Valley, Peach, GA. She died before 19 MAY 1986 in Indianapolis, Marion, IN.[1] Her SS# issued 313-16-7203 in Indianapolis, Marion, IN. Olive told Charlene of a two-story schoolhouse that her father built which had all grades. The upstairs was used for roller-skating on weekends. He also built swing sets for kids... Olive still loved to swing up to a could years of her death, in spite of the fact she had become very senile and was unable to have normal conversation. m. 1) BEVIS, m.2) SMITH. Wilbur Sherwood CARLTON / CALFEE was born on 8 JUN 1900 in Fort Valley, Peach, GA. He died after 1947. Note: lived to get bald... have photo. He resided 3837 Ulloa St. in New Orleans, LA. Address found in Olive Carlton Bevis Smith's black notebook of poems. Ethel CARLTON / CALFEE was born on 24 APR 1905 in Montgomery, AL. She died after 9 JAN 1983 in @ Patties house?. Email to Charlene from her sister, Judy Luke, 15 Jun 1998: “As you know, Aunt Ethel was a Christian Scientist and did not believe in docs. I believe Dale was sick and she would not take him to a dr. and he died. I remember Ethel, Patty and Laura Lynn living in a trailer in Grandma’s (SMITH’s) back yard for a time. Laura Lynn died shortly after she was married. Patty had a t.v. show of her own for a while during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was down here in Fla.”

Charlene remembers Ethel and her girls living in a trailer in Grandma Smith's backyard. One of the kids stepped on an electrical extension cord going from the house to the trailer and was badly shocked but lived. She thinks that was one of Ethel's girls. Charlene also remember how everyone was instructed not to answer the phone, as Ethel and Olive had this code of rings arranged so that Ethel would not have to pay for the call from the hospital- I think it was Dale Arden who was in hospital and may have died then. She would call Olive, let the phone ring a number of times, and then hang up and Olive would call her back. Laura Lee CARLTON / CALFEE was born on 10 OCT 1906 in Montgomery, AL. Her SS# issued 265-18-7034 before 1951 in FL. She died on 16 OCT 1997 in Miami, Dade, FL. Lida CARLTON / CALFEE was born on 6 FEB 1908 in Tallahassee, FL.

See photos where these people lived – Homes

Prepared by:

Charlene Anne Swankie

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.