Showing posts with label Wandering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wandering. Show all posts

Friday, October 11, 2019

Storage, Baggage, and Minimalism


I awoke just a bit ago feeling very chilly and I hate the cold.  It's still dark out and the temperature is hovering at freezing.  I'm living in a rolling home, a 22ft motorhome, and I lazily parked for the night without propane or water.  So there's no water for tea and even if there was, there's no propane with which to heat the water for tea.  So I guess I'll shiver in silence.  You would think that after going on two years of this kind of lifestyle I wouldn't let myself get into this kind of predicament but then you would be underestimating my laziness.  ;-)

If it's too cold to sleep and definitely too cold to get out of bed what else does one do but surf Facebook?    Come on, you know you do it!  So, when I looked at Facebook it threw up my most "liked" picture of 2017.

Now as anyone who knows me can tell you, I take a lot of pics!  I really expected a pic of some beautiful vista, flower, or bike trail - one of my usual pics that is.  Instead I was confronted with the picture above of an empty 10ft X 10ft storage unit I had just managed to gut.  I guess my embrace of minimalism attracted admirers or perhaps voyeurs who wished to accomplish something similar in their lives.  The caption of the pic is as follows:

For the first time in my adult life I no longer have a leased storage unit. Now it's true that I still have some work to do on my embrace of minimalism but it's all under one roof now and able to be better sorted, re-homed, dumped, or made into a burnt offering. Making progress...

It was true. I had storage all of my adult life up to that point and had probably spent, all said and done, around $40,000+ on storage over the years.  And for what?  To shuffle things from one pile to another because I was hanging on to things that no longer fit in my day to day life.  Oh to be sure, there were valuable piles, some valuable in sentimental attachment, others valuable in monetary attachment but the operative word there is attachment.

Whatever my reason, it was an unhealthy attachment to things that no longer fit into my life for one reason or another.  I had moved on but instead of letting those things go, I dragged them along with me.

I originally simply wanted to do away with the expense of warehousing all of this stuff I had managed to accumulate over the years.  It was pretty simple really, I didn't want the expense of caring for this added baggage any longer.  Little did I know that this purge would soon spill over into other areas of my life as well, such as my relationships with people, personal, professional, and spiritual but that's a story for another time.  My brain is too cold at the moment to even explore and or unpack the topic.

These are the things I was thinking in the wee hours of the morning as I snuggled under my blankets trying to keep warm in the frosty darkness just before twilight.  Living a life of minimalism in a rolling home is great for introspection and that's good because that's all I can do right now.  It's too cold to stick my nose out from under the covers!


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Traveling


"Traveling messes you up, but in all the good ways. It leaves you always craving more, and addiction that can never quite be met. Every place, every trip, every person is a new adventure; pulling you deeper into the love of wanderlust. Your heart begins to hurt when you’re standing still, and your mind begins to itch over the idea of new places you haven’t been. Fill your soul with adventure and traveling and you will live a fulfilled life." —Unknown

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Find Your Way Again


"And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart...where your hope lives. You'll find your way again." -Julia Brown, Everwood

Saturday, November 24, 2018

#VanLife Day 200 or Losing Weight



I thought that the 200th day of #VanLife warranted a post. So much has happened since I last made a blog entry, too much to rehash here and much of it I prefer to keep private. However, that being said I wanted to reflect on life so far in regard to weight loss, minimizing, and vanlife.

Over five years ago I began to minimize: selling off, rehoming, recycling, and otherwise giving away storage warehouses full of store fixtures, restaurant equipment, glass working tools, candle making tools, personal mementos, church items, and lots and lots of books.

Over five years ago I weighed over 325 pounds and I have steadily worked on reducing that figure and my overall weight.  My blood pressure was high, as was my blood sugar, and heart palpitations plagued me day and night.

Over five years ago I shepherded an historic church in the Independent Sacramental Movement as its Presiding Bishop. I had clergy scattered from coast to coast who offered various ministries within their own particular communities.

Over five years ago I was involved in a committed polyamorous relationship with two other people.  Together we had a blended happy and loving family of three adults, two kids, and three cats.

Fast forward five years...

Today, everything I own fits into a 19 foot van I converted into a little Class B RV, a van I live in full time, and a van I call home.  It carries me, my very few personal items, and my glassblowing tools, with room for not much more.  In fact, if I want to change my mind, I have to step outside.

Today I'm nearing my goal of 185 pounds in weight.  After some lifestyle changes, lots of bike riding, and ultimately living in the van and no longer cooking much, I've managed to shed and keep off an enormous amount of weight. I'm happy to say that I'm down 4 sizes.  I no longer own a scale and so I don't know what my weight is exactly but I know I'm closing in on my self-imposed target of 185. I'm no longer on blood pressure meds, nor does my blood sugar seem to get out of whack as often, and my heart palpitations have stopped completely.

Today I no longer shepherd Christ Catholic Church.  I resigned from my duties within the church a month or so ago and no longer carry that cross around.  It continues on and will find its way with yet another shepherd but that person will no longer be me.  In fact, I no longer function in any formal church capacity nor am I much of a church goer these days.  My faith is intact and always evolving and growing but I don't have much use for that which we call "the church" as such.

Today I no longer share a home with two other adults, two children, or three cats.  The two other adults no longer share a life together either, the two kids are with their mother, and the three cats are with their two kids.  A happy family that once was, is no more.

I knew I had moved to Fayetteville to lose weight.  I just didn't know how much weight I was in for losing.  I left much of my heart in Fayetteville Arkansas in particular and in the Ozark Mountains in general and now I'm on the road to find a new way to live in my lessened state, with hopes that I will find heart in my new life.

It's time to let loose of one more thing and leave it behind, my heartache.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

VanLife Day 22 or Bon Voyage


It wasn't planes, trains, and automobiles but instead it was bikes, boats, and buses.  My friend and I took off for the Walmart in Oak Harbor in order to procure some necessities.


We biked to the ferry which we caught not a moment to soon and we were off across the water to Whidbey Island.


I needed another blanket for the cool nights and a pot to cook my porridge in.  My friend needs some other sundry things and after we had made our careful purchases we headed off for lunch.

There was a T-Mobile store close by and so we made pilgrimage from T-Mobile Tuesdays only to be pleasantly disappointed that there were no freebies.  I say pleasantly disappointed because remember, I'm trying to embrace minimalism and yet my passion to collect is still strong.

Lunch was had at the Safeway and I must say, Safeway offers the most wonderful breakfast burrito of all time, in my humble opinion.  However, instead of my usual Monster chase I chose Diet Dr. Pepper.

Sadly I had neglected to put the saddlebags on Peregrine and so schlepping our goodies back home wasn't as easy as it could have been but we managed.  Once home it was time to unload and rearrange.

I will sleep much warmer tonight thanks to the added blanket.



Sunday, May 27, 2018

VanLife Day 20 or A Light Shineth in the Darkness


It was a great day to wander over toward the Point Wilson Lighthouse in Port Townsend.  The sun was warm and the water was cool.  The hills there were substantial and I am ashamed to admit I had to walk up two of them.  I haven't had to walk my bike up a hill in years.  Oh well, something to work toward.


Peregrine didn't want to get to close to the salt water. I, on the other hand, dipped my toes in.  The water was cold but not terribly so.  However, I wouldn't want to remain in it very long.

it was a great day to catch up on long overdue blog posts and with the rest of my digital social media platforms  Then on to lunch at The Boiler Room for a free bowl of beef vegetable soup and jalapeno cheese bread.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

VanLife Day 19 or To Boldly Go Where So Many Have Gone Today


Today I continued to explore Port Townsend with my friend.  We headed off down the bike trail past the big water toward the Farmer's Market and other places yet unexplored by me.

Along the way we stopped at a couple of new places my friend wanted to show me, one of which was an amazing antique/hardware/lighting store. If I were in the market for candle stick holders for an altar, that would be the place to part with $3500 for a pair.  While they were tempting (ha) I decided they wouldn't fit in the Kraken.  Saved by #VanLife! Needless to say, there was lots of eye candy there, some of it of the human persuasion even, but that's another story.

After a few side trips we ended up at our destination, the Farmer's Market.  Today was apparently a special day for the market in that it had more food vendors than usual.  Everyone and their brother, sister, or gender fluid or gender nonconforming sibling were there.  It was packed.

Farmer's Market Port Townsend Washington

My inquisitiveness faded about halfway through the vendors.  It was simply way too crowded.  So we hopped over to see our Lady of the Land who had set up her herb booth there and was happily busy with a client.  We paid our nodding respect and snuck through her booth and out the back where we made our escape.

We pedaled on down, and I do mean down, to the local Safeway, a wonderful grocery store with a wonderful deli and I had, for the second time, the most wonderful breakfast burrito I've ever had. 

The day offered several different adventures and there are even more on the horizon.  I may have found a place to set up Crystal Revelations and sell some glass art.  It'll require a little more follow-up next week.  This is Memorial Day weekend after all.  More to follow...


Friday, May 25, 2018

VanLife Day 18 or A Room With a View

The Kraken's new parking space and my new live place.
Having arrived last night we tried to wedge the Kraken in amongst the firs and cedars but as you must know, such a feat in the black of night is not often easily accomplished and we had to wait until to day to get the job done.

With the Kraken snug into his new home I set about the task of unpacking the inside and making a roomier more serviceable living space.  I hooked up my little propane stove and it found its resting place on top of my cooler, freeing the table to act as a pantry/desk.  It's workable and pleasant.

I was also delighted to fire up my incense censer and make it smell more like home.  Note to self, a little goes a long way.

Coming from the Ozarks, the temperature change is perhaps the most challenging thing to get use to.  I remember living in San Francisco and I was never warm, must the same is true when I lived and or visited southern California.  It's the Pacific Ocean that must chill me.  Port Townsend is quite chilly especially when the wind blows, even on warmer days, and the wind almost always blows.


I was introduced to the bike trail downtown today.  It was fun with great views.  It was certainly different from the bike trails in Fayetteville but it was very pleasant and I suspect has some benefits over the paved, lighted bike trails in Faytown.  Perhaps there will be fewer pedestrians on these trails and most assuredly there will be few people pushing double strollers.


The bike trail as it runs towards downtown goes by the boatyards.  This in an of itself was worth the tip.  It was a great delight to look at all the different boats, watch the sailboats, and catch a glimpse of a ferry or too as they come and went.


The sun finally came out to play and the day warmed up a bit though I still wore a jacket I brought with me, just in case.  I explored downtown with a great tour guide who happens to be a dear friend.  I found Port Townsend to be quite charming.


I've always said Eureka Springs Arkansas, a similar little Victorian town I've written about on this blog, would be perfect if it were near the water and the climate was a bit less extreme in terms of heat and cold.  Port Townsend is indeed that kind of place.  It has a similar charm as Eureka but much friendlier weather and then there's the water, big water!


Who says there's no free lunch?  Obviously that person has not been to the Boiler Room in downtown Port Townsend!  The Boiler Room is a not-for-profit which has been offering free meals daily for around twenty years, give or take a day.  As a result, a lot of folks who may one eat that one meal a day have at least that to look forward to.  They also have a small pantry of free food, necessities, and books.  (A necessity if you ask me.)

As a result of their generosity, I had a delicious bowl of vegetable soup and a yummy roll to go with it.  I want to explore this place a little more and who knows, maybe I'll do some volunteer work there.  I'm impressed with their operation so far.

All in all my first day in Port Townsend was delightful and at times magical.  I think I this will quickly become one of my favorite places.  It seems like a place that's easy to love.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

VanLife Day 17 or Spectacular, Spectacular!

The Kraken Overlooking Deadman Pass in Oregon.

I post a lot of #VanLife blog posts and don't often post pictures of my traveling companion, the Kraken.  He's kinda the star of the show.  I'm simply a ride along more or less.  Here's the Kraken resting and overlooking Oregon at Deadman Pass.  He told me to take it easy on the way down.  I listened.

Today was perhaps the most momentous part of my journey to the great northwest.  It was at once one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken in my life, one of the more monotonous, and one of the most frightening drives as well.  All of these experiences were wrapped up in one seventeen hour drive.

I started early at 6am Mountain Time.  I had a wonderful rest in Echo Canyon and thoroughly enjoyed my drive across Utah.  The vista was breathtaking and the little towns along the way intriguing.  I'm trying to learn not to rush tips and I failed in Utah.  There were several things I should have stopped to explore but I felt compelled to reach the Pacific Northwest sooner rather than later.  I will go back to Utah and spend some quality time simply exploring sometime.

And then there was Idaho...

Luckily, the bright spot during that leg of the journey was a quest on behalf of a new friend and the "Lady of the Land" where the Kraken and I shall make our home for a while we explore the PNW.  She's an herbalist and needed me to pick up some supplies for her business.  So, Twin Falls here I came!

Rock Creek Twin Falls Idaho

Heading into town from the highway I crossed Rock Creek across a wonderful bridge and one the way out I stopped to snap some pics.  It was well worth the small pause.  I met a fellow wanderer under the bridge. He engaged me in conversation hoping to catch a ride but we were going in opposite directions.  I bid him safe journey and headed back the Kraken to continue mine.


And then there was more Idaho...

I'm being too hard on Idaho.  It had its own beauty to be sure.  After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I'm sure that it's a dear place to many.  Somewhere around Boise the Kraken voiced his displeasure over the journey by running a little warmer than normal.  He never overheated nor did he even come close but he did run warm.  This would be an unfortunate trend that would continue off and on for the rest of the trip.  I've made a note that he needs to go the doctor.

After Idaho came Oregon...and for quite a while it looked like more of Idaho and then, it happened!  Oregon!  I very much enjoyed the beauty of the Blue and then the Black Mountain.  Deadman Pass was also a very beautiful drive.

Overlook from Deadman Pass looking toward Pendleton Oregon.

At this point I'll skip forward because the drive from Pendleton to Ellensberg was in 90+ degree heat and neither the Kraken nor I enjoyed that very much.  When we hit the forests and the mountains the temperature dropped and the drive through the mountains was, as I wrote earlier, the most beautiful drive of my life to date.  It was spectacular, spectacular! 

Sadly I was too terrified driving through the mountains to even think about stopping and getting pictures.  I thought perhaps if I stopped, it might be for the night and I wanted this leg of the journey to be completed so I forged on.

I arrived in Port Townsend Washington at 10pm Pacific Time.  Needless to say, I shall sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

VanLife Day 16 Part 2 or Sleep: A Little Slice of Death

Echo Canyon Utah

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die.
And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Tonight was the first night I slept in the Kraken not parked in a friends drive way or a mall parking lot and it was glorious.  Not that I didn't appreciate the other options but this particular spot was magnificently beautiful.


I had been driving about 12 hours or so and decided it was time to find a place to park.  I was in Utah and I rounded a a curve and happened upon one of the most beautiful rest stops I had seen on my drive thus far.


It was in Echo Canyon Utah and it was spectacular! I parked the Kraken a ways from the brunt of the traffic and near a picnic pavilion and some trees.  My companions were prairie dogs and a couple of black-billed magpie.  They were hustling over some food and bread left by human spectators.  The prairie dogs, in no small part due to their numbers, won the prize. Though they heard about it from the magpies.


I wrote my blog post for the day and turned in early after hiking the hills a bit and snapping some pictures. I have slept in rest stops before but it was always a perfunctory exercise based on expediency and necessity more than anything else.  This was special.  It was a glorious first #VanLife sleep on the road.

VanLife Day 16 or Serendipity, Saint Walburga, and Matthew Shepard


I started my day on a beautiful morning in Colorado Springs.  I had spent the previous evening boondocked next to a friends fifth wheel in an RV park.  I had my second shower in 16 days and hit the road.

I was zipping through Colorado and minding my own business when Google told me to jump off the highway and hop on a county road.  It sounded dubious to me but I reluctantly acquiesced.  I was getting off an interstate onto Owl Canyon County Road.  My first thought was, nope, nada, getting back on the highway and then the wanderer in me said, "why not?"  So, I kept going.

It wasn't too long until I came to a roundabout in the middle of nowhere and exited onto a dirt road, again, following Google's instructions.  At this point I wished I had stayed on the highway and wished I had my friend Jerry's new atlas book he had shared with me the day before I left the Ozarks.


So here I am on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere Colorado and then it gets even more sketch, as if that were possible. The dirt road is being grated and resurfaced.  Now I wait with a worker holding a stop sign in my way.

It goes on, and on, and on, and on...

Finally I get the go ahead to go though.  I can here the mud slapping all over the Kraken and I am just imagining what poor Peregrine clinging to the back of the van will look like.  What a mess.\

I'm dumped out one what appears to be a secondary road and Google spurs me onward.  It's at least a beautiful drive through some wonderful canyons and then I see a sign.  Abbey of St. Walburga.  I pass it at first because I was doing about 65 mph so I slow down and turn around, heading back to the main gate.  I tried to Google the abbey to learn more about it but as luck would have it Google wasn't cooperating.  Perhaps she was out to lunch.


I pull in and drive back into the abbey grounds.  It was a Roman Catholic Benedictine abbey full of welcoming and warmhearted nuns.  What a delight. I explored the abbey, the chapel, the gift store, and the grounds.  The nuns gifted me with a handmade rosary.  What a treasure and what a lovely place.


I had complained to a friend about my seeming misadventure with Google before I found the abbey.  He suggested Google knows me and he's probably right.  However you look at it, is was a serendipitous event and I was glad for it.

After the that I headed into Wyoming.  I was still coming off my happy high from my visit to the abbey when I rolled into Laramie. My thoughts immediately turned toward Matthew Shepard, a young man who was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and beaten and left for dead for being gay.  If you'll click on his name it will take you to a link about him where you can learn more.  You owe it to yourself to lean about Matt if you don't know much or anything about him.


My thoughts were consumed by the seeming juxtaposition of my visits that morning within the context of just having watched the movie Milk the night before. The horror of homophobia and fundamentalism swirled in my mind for sometime as I drove.  I know it's not popular to say these days but Matthew remains in my thoughts and prayers as do the sisters from the abbey.

Wyoming was amazing.  It was a beautiful crisp and clear spring day and everything that could be green was.  The vistas were simply breath taking.  I drove through several sporadic sunny rain showers but after one in particular the heavy scent of fresh sage filled the Kraken.  It was glorious to say the least.  It felt and smelled like a vapor smudging and it helped to clear my mind of the lingering sadness over my trip through Laramie.  Its freshness and clarity reminded me of hope and in the words of Harvey Milk, "You've gotta give them hope!"

It was a wonderful day in #VanLife and one I won't soon forget.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

VanLife Day 15 or Harvey Milk The Last Jedi


I spent the yesterday evening and today in Colorado Springs with a dear friend.  He lives in a fifth wheel in an RV park and so I was able to park the Kraken in his driveway and boondock there.  He gave me the code to use the bathroom facilities which allowed me my first shower in 15 days.  You would think I would be excited about that but not really. It was pleasant enough but honestly I haven't missed it so much. That's a huge shocker for me but it's the truth.

In my day and a half here we took to trips to Walmart and hiked a bit behind the RV park where he lives.  Most of the time we spent catching up and chatting.  I did turn him on to pita and Creama Kasa cheese and we enjoyed a couple of salads and washed it all down with a blended wine.  It was good company and good food.  The nights were cool and sleeping in the Kraken continues to be a great delight.

Earlier this evening we watched The Last Jedi.  The most redeeming thing about the film was the filming on Skellig Michael of the Celtic Monks beehive huts.  Other than that, I thought it was the weakest film in the Star Wars franchise.


I finished my evening with the movie, Milk, about a gay Jedi, Harvey Milk who would have turned 88 today had he lived to do so.  Instead he was murdered by a homophobic bigot and the rest is history.  He was a powerful Jedi in the resistance in which many of us continue.  He is a giant in the movement for equal rights for LGBT folk.  I watch the movie on his birthday every year and the anniversary of his assassination.  It was much better than The Last Jedi to be sure.

Monday, May 21, 2018

VanLife Day 14 or A John Denver Kind of Day


After Manhattan I headed west.  It was flat all the way to the mountains.  Very flat.  So very flat.  I guess flat with no trees has its own beauty.  I'm sure of it, more or less.  I've been to Colorado but I don't think I've ever driven there.

While on the way I saw so many vans that looked like they might be part of #VanLife.  I wondered about each and everyone of them.  I driven across country many, many times but I think this time I saw more folks traveling or living in vans than ever. 

How to tell the difference?  Is there a difference other than the amount of time you spend in the van?  I think not really.

The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold, sunny and I listened to John Denver almost all the way.

I was looking forward to seeing Fr. Rick and celebrating the Holy Mass with him.  It's been a minute or two. 

We had a wonderful dinner and he introduced me to his favorite wine.  He's watching American Idol as I catch up on the blog.  Hopefully I can keep caught up.

Oh, they're singing the Rainbow Connection with Kermit the Frog!  Gotta go!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

VanLife Day 12 or Home Is Where You Park

Downtown Manhattan Kansas - Small Town America

The conventional wisdom is that you find what you look for and I think that's true to some extent when traveling from community to community.  I have always had the ability to find friends and interests in any community I would find myself. 

Back in the late 90's I traveled around in a 24 foot Class C Motorhome and loved it.  I was blowing glass and traveling from craftshow to craftshow with a several different promoters. 

Many of us who traveled consistently with a show promoter did so in an RV of some shape and size.  We would all pitch base camp within the general vicinity of one another and form a little mobile neighborhood.

We'd do all the things that one would do in a neighborhood: throw block parties, have potluck dinners, invite the neighbors over for a barbecue, and even sometimes complain about our neighbor.  Some of us would even try and keep up with the Joneses.  We were always comparing RV's, gas mileage, and storage capacity.  Yes, size matters.

We'd each venture into the larger surrounding community and it was always interesting to hear the stories that made it back to camp, some good and some bad.

Once you got to know the people in our little traveling caravan you could almost guess what kind of experience they were going to have in any given community and at any given show.  It was very consistent and I think it was because they found what they always found because that was what they always looked for.

The same folks time and time again would hate this or love that.  They would have a rotten show or a good show.  Everyone's experience would be different but each individual's experience would be consistent with their general outlook.

I was often teased because I can always find something good in every place I travel and delightful people everywhere I go.  I think that's because that's always what I look for.  I roll into a community and I get excited by just arriving.  I start looking for the interesting, the unique, and the fun in every situation.  Sadly, that's not true of everyone who travels.

I will soon pack up and head off to a different city with a different crowd of folks and most likely a different climate.  I don't know what to expect specifically but I do know what I'll probably find there in general because it's what I always find.  It will be interesting and full of learning experiences.  I'll meet some neat people, have some fun, and find some beauty in whatever place I visit.  It may or may not make my favorites list but I'll no doubt enjoy it for what is.

My mentor in the Episcopal Church, Fr. James Martin, once said that I was the type of person to be at home wherever I hung my hat and he was so right.  Now, I would add, home is wherever the Kraken and I park.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

VanLife Day 10 or We Don't Own Our Next Breath

The Kraken at sunrise on day ten of VanLife.

It was a beautiful morning, the kind that makes you glad to be alive.  The birds were in full chorus and the air was cool and crisp and gentle on my skin.  A soft breeze ruffled the leaves in the trees and the smell of spring was in the air.  I was reminded of the old hymn, "Morning Has Broken" made popular in secular culture by Cat Stevens in the 1970's.

Morning had broken for some, though not for others and I was reminded of an incident that happened the other night at around midnight while I was sleeping in the van.  It's a moment in time I'm not likely to forget.

I had fallen asleep earlier, around 10 pm or so.  It had been a long busy day and I was tired to my bones.  My bed is oh, so very comfortable and my blanket so very soft.  The temperature in the van was just right for sleeping and so sleep came quickly.

I was awoken around midnight by a scream I shan't forget.  It was across between a scream and a wail.  It was followed by two more, each one weaker than the last.  The first one woke me up; the next two chilled me to the bone.  Something terrible had happened.

Being in the van I couldn't tell the direction from which the scream came nor could I tell how far away the person was but I thought not terribly far, though not in close proximity either.

It wasn't long, half and minute to a minute perhaps, that emergency vehicles converged from all directions not far from me, maybe a block or two.  With all the red flashing lights, the sirens, and the sheer number of first responders I knew something terrible had indeed happened.

I didn't sleep for the rest of the night and I when morning broke I would soon find out what had happened.

Google is an ever present companion of mine.  She keeps me informed, up to date, and offers advice on where to eat or what to do from time to time.  This morning she gave me the breaking story on the midnight occurrence.

Two men, described as homeless in the article, had attempted to cross the highway about a block and a half from where the Kraken was parked for the night with me sleeping.  They crossed at the same time a car was approaching.   The driver managed to swerve and miss hitting one of the men but the other one wasn't so lucky.  He died of his injuries.

There were three people there with reason to scream that night and I don't know who all I heard but I felt for all three of them and offered a stunned and shaken prayer.  A man stopped breathing that night and it wasn't a gentle goodbye.

I've said all of that to say this: none of us own our next breath and time is shorter than you think.  My mentor in the church, Bishop Karl PrĂ¼ter of blessed memory, use to remind us of that and he would often followup with the comment that he could step off a curb and get hit by a sanitation truck at any moment.  I always wondered if he ever had a close call with a sanitation truck when he was younger.

Hummingbird Suncatcher at Crystal Revelations

I do what I do because I love it.  I love creating art.  I love sharing that with other people and I love making money doing it.  I'm an unapologetic wandering capitalistic artist.  I looked around me the other night and took stock of my time making art, traveling/living in a van, and doing what I love and I was happy with my choices.

For instance, that little hummingbird suncatcher you see above represents a very real 10 minutes of my life, six to eight minutes sculpting the bird in the flame and another two to four minuets adding color to it.  That is time I will never get back; time frozen in glass.  And I would do it again.  I'm living the life that I want.

Can you say the same thing?  If you can't, you best get to it.  A gentle reminder, you don't own your next breath dear reader and you could step off of a curb and get hit by a sanitation truck at any given moment.  Don't wait until it's too late to make your life yours.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

VanLife: First Night or the Fantastic Journey Begins

My first night enjoying #VanLife was pretty sweet really. Oh, sure there were and are some links to work out in my interior design but by and large it was very comfortable in so many ways.

I had the occasion to visit a friend/mentor, Jerry Capel, and pick up a few supplies on the way to my Mother's Day show in Manhattan Kansas to sell art glass. A visit with Jerry is always fun. Whenever we get together we always laugh, plan, scheme, dream, eat pizza, along with some decadent desserts, and just generally share our lives and our faith and have fun. Having known one another for about 27 years, we have a bit of shared history and have long ago perfected our social interactions.

The night went pretty well as expected and we laughed and told stories late into the evening, enjoying ice cream and one another's company. Jerry retired to his house and I to the Kraken parked in his side yard by a studio his daughter Renee tinkers away in creating art and beautiful things.

Earlier in the evening we had loaded 6 folding tables in the Kraken adding to his already full interior along with some packing material in the form of boxes, tissue, and shopping bags for my coming show. When I climbed into the van, at least my bed was clear! However, moving around the van was like trying to horizontally navigate a storage unit with about 2 1/2 feet of headway.

My windows were open and there was a cool breeze flowing through the van across the top of my body. When I built my bunk, I positioned It 2 to 3 inches below the window line thinking that I would enjoy the cross breeze ventilation keeping me cool in the evenings. My plan worked like a charm. It was delightful.

There was rain and possible thunderstorms forecasted for the early morning hours. I wondered how well my van would stay dry with my windows open and if I would need to wake up and close them. This made me sleep lighter than I would have liked but all in all I slept pretty well in my new bed. As luck would have it, it rained but no rain came through the windows and the breeze was exquisite. The gentle pitter-patter of the raindrops on the roof of the fan lulled me in and out of sleep.

All in all, my first night in Van life was fantastic! Even now, I am listening to a choir of birds singing as we begin morning prayer together, welcoming a new sunrise and a new day.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Future Perfect Tense

I will have returned to Eureka Springs Arkansas sometime before my death.  That much is certain, unless death comes suddenly and surprisingly.  However, even so, perhaps even then, I will have returned to Eureka Springs after my death.  All the best ghosts do you know after all it is the most haunted place in America, so the tour guides say.

Be that as it may, I returned today to call on my wholesale accounts and to deliver some handblown glass hummingbird suncatchers to one of my favorite little stores, the Velvet Otter.


The Velvet Otter is a quaint little antique/gift store on Highway 62 out at Inspiration Point.  For many years, it was a glass shop owned and operated by a lampwork glassblower by the name of Jerry Driggers.  I loved visiting his shop as a kid, watching him blow glass and often watching the sunset out his back windows overlooking the White River.  It's a picture perfect place.

Periodically I get to missing Eureka Springs and I have to get my fix.  I had been experiencing withdrawals of late and so it was time to return for a bit.  My trip was shorter than expected.  After I got there, I just wasn't feeling it.


It's a beautiful place and if you've never visited it you should.  It's a wonderful little Victorian Village out of the late 1800's sprinkled with hippies, artists, spiritualists, religious fundamentalists, survivalists, motorcyclists, poets, writers, romantics, and misfits of various kinds.  Just about everyone will find something to love in Eureka Springs.  I certainly have.


It has many beautiful Victorian homes in the downtown area that rival the great Painted Ladies of San Francisco even and it has a very interesting and eclectic shopping district full of artists, craftspeople, and unique shops.


It's a place to see for sure and one that I will have returned to some day if time allows.  I've visited Eureka Springs on and off throughout my life, I've loved there from time to time, I've lived there for about a year, and had art galleries there over the years but it's the springs that will always call me back.









Saturday, May 5, 2018

BikeLife Fayetteville Arkansas


I've been biking for about 45 years, as of this coming June.  I received my first bike ever as a birthday present when I turned four in 1973  It was an early 1960's Metallic Green Schwinn Typhoon.

My father had purchased it or traded for it on the road.  He was an over the road truck driver or rather a mover all his life and he had picked up the bike during a long haul.  He touched up the metallic lime green paint and put a new red seat on it.  He also covered it with state stickers for every sate he had been in during that particular run.

It was absolutely amazing - a bike all my own - with sparkle streamers no less!  It was perfect, except that it was made for a teenager and not a four year old.  To even hope to attempt to ride it I had to put two bricks on each pedal.  Needless to say, pedaling it was near impossible.  Lucky for me, our yard was sloped from front to back and we had a deep lot.

I would push my bike to the edge of the gravel driveway and as I attempted to hop on, I'd give it a shove in an attempt to ride it.  After lots of bloody lips, scraped knees, and bruised elbows I could finally balance and ultimately ride that bike down the slope of the yard to the rosebush thicket in back where I learned how to jump off a bike and roll.

I don't remember how long it was before I could pedal that bike but I do remember the upgrade I made to it when I could, again thanks to my father: "Fun Kie Feet" bicycle pedals!  Joy of joys, I could ride barefoot and I did, for years.

My mother and father separated two years later and I wouldn't see my father again until I was in my 20's. That was probably the only gift my father gave me until we were reunited but it was a gift that would forever change my life!

I don't know how long that bike lasted.  It was older and well worn when I got it and the fenders were wicked sharp.  After some pretty serious injuries and some mechanical issues my mother replaced the bike with a newer used bike more suited to my age.  It was a Schwinn Stingray with sissy bars and a banana seat.  Now this was a bike I could ride and I road it everywhere and I do mean everywhere!

My life as a child was full of other used bikes, most of which had to be painted.  I had a copper colored bike with black banana seat and matching black handlebar grips, a blue and yellow bike but my favorite was a beautiful chrome bike.  It was so handsome and I felt like James Bond on that bike!

My chrome bike was stolen twice.  The first time the next door neighbor stole it back for me but when it was stolen a second time it was gone for good.

I wept.  It was the end of the world!  Until another bike was procured.

My father bought me my first used bike, my mother bought me my second used bike.  I bought all the rest either with money from shining shoes or money from collecting glass pop bottles to return to the store for the deposit refund.  Later I graduated  to mowing yards.

My brother (age 6) and I (age 9) with a bike in the background.
Growing up, we never had a car and so I either walked, hopped on the city bus, or I pedaled my way around town - most of the time I chose the bike.

As a teen I had a series of favorite bikes and ultimately graduated to riding ten speeds and great distances.  I would ride 30+ mile rides weekly and about once a year I would participate with a small bike club a neighbor had started and we would do a 100 mile ride through the Ozarks.  I was never without a bike.

That is until I moved to Branson Missouri as an adult.  I stopped riding and didn't ride again for 17 years.  In those 17 years I ballooned to 325 pounds and at 6 foot tall that was pretty serious.  It wasn't until I escaped Branson and moved to Eureka Springs that a bike graced my life again.

Dominic and I  on my birthday. Photo by Dale Caldwell.

A new friend, Dale Caldwell, gifted me with his 2009 Globe Vienna Hybrid, named Dominic, for my birthday.  I don't often covet other people's things but I had coveted his bike and it was love at first sight.

Riding in Eureka Springs wasn't really a viable option for me.  It had been a while since I had been on a bike and with my weight the hills might have very well killed me.  So I started to look at moving to Fayetteville Arkansas which was rumored to be building some amazing bike trails.  After researching the options for better jobs, better schools, better everyday shopping, and bike trails, I decided to move.  Dale moved first and I moved to Fayetteville a month or two later.

To shorten an already long story, I put many, many, many miles on Dominic riding the trails of Northwest Arkansas.  In the process I lost 80-100 pounds.  And it was pure joy.  In many ways, that wonderful bike saved my life and changed me forever.  I decided that as long as it was within my power, I'd never again be without a bike.

I had Dominic for about 4 years and then he found a new home with a fellow who was almost in the same situation as I had been in when I started riding again.  I hope they have been happy together.

My next bike was a 2017 Giant Escape City.  It was the first new bike I ever bought for myself and kept but that's a whole other story.

I named him Peregrine and you can read more about him by clicking this link.

I plan on keeping up a running blog and a running vlog on #BikeLife as I explore #VanLife.   Check back often and be sure and visit my YouTube Channel.







Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Meet Peregrine a 2017 Giant Escape City



Meet Peregrine a 2017 Giant Escape City, my new bike.

Named after St. Peregrine the Martyr who refused to worship the emperor. (Today's Trump)

Named after St. Peregrine of Auxerre due to his Champagne color.

Named after the Peregrine Falcon due to his speed, agility, color, and black markings. And because it was my highschool mascot.

Named after the Peregrine Class Courier Ship appropriated by the Maquis in Star Trek because at his heart he's at once both a courier and a pirate.

Named after the Celtic Peregrinatio Pro Christo because he's a wanderer.

I'm looking forward to getting to know him!