Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Preparing to Break Camp - 2015

My friends have left Quartzsite and my funds are low due to dental work I got caught up on this winter.  It's time to prepare to leave Quartzsite.  It's going to be a slow painful tedious process.
Work I had planned for the van this winter still needs to happen: 1) replacing the trailer wiring connection, 2) repainting the roof rack, 3) installing a mounting platform inside the van for new t.v.

Other projects are incomplete, like downsizing rocks, although I did leave about 20 gallons of rocks in a friends yard yesterday.  Completing and downsizing genealogical documents and photos I have hauled around in the trailer for six years.  Each and every rock is hard to part with, especially when you find something like this:
It's the lower jaw with teeth of a prehistoric fish.  How cool is that?  I'm told one recently sold for $300.  The money would be nice right now but I think I'll keep it and go back and look for more.

My 10x10 canopy was intended for a shady place to work, but ended up being just a place to pile things.  Working on folding up and repacking this area today.  Wind is knocked the heck out of the canopy tent... and I have grown tired of the noise and jealous of the small camps of my friends.

I have things I did not have when I arrived here in Quartzsite in September. The outdoor rug is one. Now the process of breaking camp has begun and I will need to find places (or make space) for the new things I purchased. There is only one hope for doing so, and that's to downsize.

The little table I built from scrape lumber I had on hand, as a place to put food when folks come over. It has worked well as a place to sort rocks too. It just rests on top of the wheel fender and the two legs will fold down flat. All that was in the trailer when I arrived, so it will take up no additional space when I leave.

Having my friends all leave gave me terminal itchy feet and I want to be back on the road.  Time spent this year at Bob Wells' RTR made me realize I am happier with just the van - camping, rather than this large camp I had this year.  I left my stuff in my large camp and just drove out to RTR for the occasional visit or overnight, just with my van.  It made me feel freer again.

It will take me days if not weeks to get loaded back up and then what?  I can't find things to get rid of, things I no longer want.  I am frustrated by having my only external hard drive stop working and the thought that I may have just lost years worth of scanning really irks me.  That's the genealogy legacy I was hoping to leave behind.  This is painstaking work, a small stack of data and photos takes hours to process and sitting that long gives me a pain in the butt and neck.  I don't know the solution.  Living outside, you can't just spread your genealogy out to sort it.  I may need to rent a room in a town that has a gym and swimming pool, so I can just unload all the genealogy, set up printer, scanner, and two new external hard drives so I can complete this family genealogy project.  That's been on my mind as a possibility for a couple years.  If you want to contribute to the genealogy project and help me retrieve the data off the old external hard drive and purchase two new external harddrives, you may use the Paypal donation button in the upper right corner of this page.

Breaking camp is made more difficult by the fact the trailer and it's contents may be heading to one location for six months and the van, kayak, bike, and things I need will be going with me to other locations for six months. Means you have to think it out well, or do without. What goes where? The process has begun.
My hope now is to process as much rock as I can.  I.E. that mean to trim down all the slabs I have to shapes I want to work with, thus reducing the amount of weight I put back in the trailer.  That in itself will take up most of the "rock time" I have left this season.

My rock work table has remained fairly well organized and I just got it cleared off, and downsized the rocks out there by 50%, a decision made easier by the fact a friend in Quartzsite said I could leave rocks in her yard. So, should I change my mind, I will be able to go get them when I return. I hope to downsize rocks I keep in the trailer to two containers only. Maybe a 3rd for tools and supplies.
My camp feels like a disaster area right now. Wind is knocking everything over. I will need to make one more fire to use up wood I have on hand. I'll take burnables and build a fire after I get through sorting stuff.  I have things I did not have when I arrived here in Quartzsite in September. The outdoor rug is one.  The little table I built from scrape lumber I had on hand, as a place to put food when folks come over. It has worked well as a place to sort rocks too. It just rests on top of the wheel fender and the two legs will fold down flat. All that was in the trailer when I arrived, so it will take up no additional space when I leave.
Breaking camp seems to be more on my mind these days than doing rocks or genealogy.  My plan is to make one last trip to Florida and the southeastern states when I leave here.  I won't be in a rush... I'll have to pace myself with incoming paydays and outgoing gasoline expenses.  I am also taking my bike and kayak and plan to kayak as many places in Florida as I can as I make a loop around the whole state.  Will be stopping to visit friends before returning to Arizona. 

Now I just realized I have lost the card out of my cell phone.  I went to copy some photos a friend sent me, of me working in the Rock Club Lapidary Shop, and did not have the option to save the photos to the card... because the card is missing.  What the heck.  I am not having a good season.  First my slide and photo scanner stopped working, then I lost $950 by trusting a dentist in Mexico, then the external hard drive dies, and now my sims card is missing.  Think I'll go back to bed.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Turning Over a New Leaf for a New Year

I’ve always gone out of my way to help others, gone the extra mile, I guess because I needed the approval and acceptance of other people.  This is probably because of old baggage, the need to get the approval and acceptance I never got from family as a child. Guess what?  I am no longer that lonely sad child who needs to keep doing that.  I approve of and accept myself, finally.  I have pondered about New Year’s resolutions, and woke this morning realizing that this is mine… to be true to my own best self.
Who is that self?  No longer will I be the person who changes my schedule and goals and plans to accommodate others.  My life is very full, I have a busy schedule of things to do and places to go.  I am sure along that path I will meet others who will dove-tail into my life without me having to compromise what I want and need.  I am through going the extra mile to fit into other people’s schedules.  Done, all done. Yesterday, brought that in to clear focus for me. Do I sound like an old curmudgeon?  Well, just maybe I am… and if so, I am o.k. with that.
Where’s what happened yesterday.  I reported to the Rock Club to work a morning shift as a rock sawyer.  It’s hard and grimy work, and I just love it.  There has always been great satisfaction for me in hard work.  Sometimes my back hurts.  I get very dirty, a problem when you live in the desert with no hot running water for a shower.  But I love it.  And yesterday I got a real surprise while sawing one rock… when this pattern revealed itself… and I suddenly knew why I volunteered for this grimy work.  I immediately informed my supervisor that I had to buy that slab… and paid the $3 for it.  I love this rock.
A tree in a windy storm??
At noon I was off duty… and went to my van in the parking lot to check email and Facebook messages as a lady I know from Facebook was planning to come through town mid-day, layover, and go on to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show the next day.  She had been asking me about where to camp, boondock, eat, etc.  I spent a good bit of time making recommendations online.  So, I figured I’d save the time driving back to camp so that I could meet up with them this afternoon and see her new van.  I had work to do in the van… anyway.  So, looked online for an hour for messages from her, sent my phone number to her, went back in the rock club and left my phone number there for her… and then decided to grab a sandwich and “do genealogy” until I heard from her.  I could easily do all that without going out of my way for her or driving any extra miles.  No problem.
Got my food, parked over by Hi Jolly monument, and began working on eye-straining genealogy data entry into  If you have done any of that, you know it can be pretty intense.  I can’t watch Facebook and do this work too.  So for the next four hours I worked.  My phone was on.  I got no call.  At 5:30pm, I closed down my genealogy work, and checked back on Facebook.  The lady had gotten on a few minutes earlier, hardly “mid day” as she had told me, and said she was in town and gave me her phone number.
So at 5:40pm I called her.  They were at Family Dollar and said they were going to stay at B10 campground that night so they could have electricity to make coffee in the morning…. not boondocking like they had said. All the time I spend answering her questions and giving her ideas and recommendations, for what?   I told them I was only a couple blocks from there and would meet them there.  Forty minutes later they had not arrived at B10.  I thought I saw their van go past B10.  I was getting aggravated and was tired and hungry again. A morning of hard work in the rock mines (i.e. sawing rocks) and a whole afternoon doing eye-straining data entry made for a tiring day.   It would be dark soon and I needed to get back to camp as I can’t drive after dark, so I went home. (and no hot shower waiting for me when I got there).
Arriving in camp five minutes later, the moon was coming up and the sun was going down.  How happy I felt to be back home again… alone. Then the phone beeped and a voice mail message said they had checked in to B10 and were on their way up to Times 3 for dinner.  What?  They didn’t have time to check in to B10 and drive on to dinner from the time I left there five minutes earlier. It was their van that had gone past B10 while I sat and waited for them.   I texted them that I had waited but needed to return to my camp before dark… and that maybe next time I could meet up with them.  But secretly (well no secret now!) I was glad I had not waited more than 40 min.
Just how much are we expected to do for others? 
Where do we draw the line?
 I am drawing the line this year – that is my New Year’s Resolution.  Darn, if I stopped and went out of my way to meet everyone coming to Quartzsite who wanted to meet me, I’d never have a minute to myself.  It’s just no longer a sacrifice I am willing to make.  From now on, when I am working at the Rock Club, people can come meet me there.  If they want to join in on other activities I am participating in, they are free to do so… and I’ll make my Google calendar available to them.  I’m done.  The rest of my life is mine, on my timetable,  I’m no longer going the extra mile for anyone else.  I’m 70 and I’ve paid my dues.  I’ve got a hell of a lot of stuff yet to get done in this lifetime.  Others will now have to go the extra mile if they want to meet or spend time with me.

OK, so I’m old and I’m a grouch.  So be it.  Don’t expect more from me then you are willing to give to me.  I just ain’t got it left to give.  I’m done.  Happy Trails.
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Sunday, February 1, 2015


Someone shared this on Facebook this morning and it is so good, I am adopting it as my new code for living.


New Years Sunset

1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy - and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others.~

I am bookmarking this page to be on my Favorites Bar and plan to read it each morning to begin my day in a new light.  I will refer to it often to help my friends and vanily.  I hope each of you will as well.  We can make the world a better place. 

Thank you, Pamela Caskey for sharing Sande Kendrick's post on Facebook.

A new blog post will be up soon, summarizing 2014 and outlining my hopes for 2015.

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.