Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Navel Gazing”

Why I Don’t Overland

Photo from

What I have recently begun, this year’s tour of the western part of the U.S., is basically a drawn-out and circuitous commute from Arizona to Illinois and back. Along the way, I hope to find some very nice camps as well as boondocking spots which may be difficult to access with more formidable RVs.

Although I’m headed for the Overland Expo West on this leg, I do not “Overland”. See, overlanding at its essence involves: Vehicle-supported, self-reliant adventure travel, typically exploring remote locations and interacting with other cultures.” It’s a broadening experience centering on the journey itself, neither a race to get somewhere nor sticking around each campsite for weeks. Because of potential resupply issues over long distances across remote areas, it requires careful pre-planning and preparation. Even calling what I do “adventure travel” would be quite a stretch. Right now, I’m Adventure Loitering. I admit that I do incorporate certain elements needed for Read more…

More New Friends, More Opportunities!

Scum of the Earth Dept:

Now that I’m in the final throes of prepping for departure, there’s no end to the offers of help for anyone on the Internet! The trend seems to try to legitimize the larceny by including links to actual events or legitimate websites. Here are the two latest:

To: Undisclosed recipients:;

“Dear friend,
This is a personal email directed to you. I am Patricia Busking, my fiancée and I won a Jackpot Lottery of $393Million US Dollars in Aug. 25, 2017, and have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of $1,480,000.00 USD to you as part of our own charity project to improve the lot of 5 unknown lucky individuals all over the world plus 15 close friends and family. If you have received this email then you are one of the lucky recipients and Please contact my legal adviser Barr. Dominic based in United Kingdom with the email below.
Endeavor to provide him your donation cod (Code: BVTUTU883) and your details as requested bellow: Read more…

Happy New Year!

Ya gotta love and their Demotivators poster series. Perhaps one has to have a certain sense of humor to appreciate them.

On this special day, I look back and… it turned out pretty well, actually. I was able to avoid much of the wearing heat, and got to see some pretty neat stuff! So much so, that I keep thinking that this coming touring season won’t be able to match it. But I have to remind myself that I’ve thought that every year since I first hit the road. And every tour has had its high points, the kind that make it all worth the effort, in spades.

It’s taken me this long to complete putting the Intrepid back together after its visit to the dealer. Reassembling it takes more care than tearing it apart, and I’m not up for tackling challenges these days, so I just do what I can and use the rest of each day absorbing all the information I can. About what? Everything I’ve never been exposed to. A psychologist might say that Read more…

Quotes to Consider

“It’s strange how the things we want most in the world often end up being disappointing. Maybe that’s because we’ll never be very fulfilled by accomplishments. At best, the buzz lasts a couple days. What seems to matter most is how we spend our days every day. The work we dedicate ourselves to. The people we spend time with. It reminds us of an Annie Dillard quote: ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ The good news is we get to decide.”
~ AJ Hochhalter, composer

“To me, retirement means doing nothing that is worthy of a salary, but doing so with greater purpose and import – precisely because money does not enter into it.”
~ Me


And of course:

Driving a truck camper suddenly makes the above a non-issue. Whew!

Quiet Miracles

I suspect that it’s normal to compare current medical knowledge in relation to that of the past, and when that takes place, the new knowledge always seems to shine. I mean, we’re so much smarter now, aren’t we? Not like those stupid and superstitious fools who once practiced medical philosophy instead of medical science. Those are the inferences I detect whenever I hear the same old refrains. For example, it’s always popular to deride the medical practices of centuries ago by citing the practice of bleeding with leeches. That’s often used as a cudgel in arguments, even though bloodletting is still used today as a corrective measure for iron overload, a condition which most commonly results from a genetic mutation in people of Celtic, English, and Scandinavian descent. It has been proposed that the relatively high numbers of people with this mutation in those groups came about from the mutation being a helpful factor in surviving the plagues. On the downside, this genetic predisposition to iron overload also popularizes cardiomyopathy (heart failure and the like), arthritis, cirrhosis of the liver, and diabetes along with it. Whenever someone with iron overload came into play, the ancient practice of bloodletting suddenly validated the procedure, and it usually needed to be done on a regular basis. Unfortunately, since that benefit only applied to a mysterious subset of people, and a knowledge of why it helped was limited to preexisting philosophy and deductive reasoning based on observation, it appeared to simply validate bloodletting as worth a shot for anyone suffering from anything. The only problem was that they could only theorize about why it worked, and in whom.

Perhaps, as we get older and more exposed to modern medical practices and philosophies, it’s normal to begin to detect some cracks in the seamless veneer of modern Medical Science. I think we’re still in the medical Dark Ages, but I say that because Read more…

The Busy Bee Syndrome

In the same way that a 1960 Cadillac is a motorcar, this vintage Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite travel trailer brings a touch of magnificence to the concept of Wretched Excess. I’ll have to ask what length and year it is, but it looks like 33′ at perhaps 10,000 pounds loaded. Unlike the prestige nameplates of today, in its prime the quality of Holiday Rambler materials and construction was high, and upscale meant more than gewgaws posing as “amenities”. The brand has since been bought and sold a few times, and the current owner manufactures only motorhomes now.

It really has been an activity scramble here, more so than upon arrival “home” in past years. I’ve been reviewing what has and hasn’t worked out well on the road, then researching each area and addressing it in some fashion. That review ranges from rig hardware, devices and software, to myself. The Four Wheel pop-up truck camper itself was notable for its pronounced absence of issues and inconveniences. The solar system I added on worked, yet didn’t perform as hoped for. I’ll detail that once I physically fix the problem.

The Corsair Voyager Slider X1. Read speeds are okay, but God help you when you need to write data to it. And this is the replacement I received when the original scrambled and went unreadable two weeks in.

My laptop, used among other things to edit and store photos and videos, was positively glacial in how fast it could call up, process and transfer data files. That was my doing, because I’d been having to rely on using an external USB3 thumb drive as the hardest working drive, the internal drive being very fast but too small in capacity to hold all that’s needed. The USB drive proved fine for simple file transfers, but when thrashed hard while programs pulled and pushed data to “live” libraries, it suffered constipation (not to mention abdominal cramping and gas) from the get-go. Simply closing or quitting my photo editing program took minutes for it to button itself up, instead of seconds. Sorting through some halfway affordable solutions took quite some time, as did the “how-to” of replacing a main drive with no risk of losing anything. (Hint: always have a Plan B available for when Murphy’s Law kicks in.) Updating the operating system in a majorly way sometimes causes one or two third-party programs to Read more…

A Vital Reminder

How about a little inspiration? How about a lot? What is your dream for this time of your life? How determined are you to realize it?

The video below says it’s about piloting the fastest manned fixed-wing aircraft ever built, but that’s just the dressing, complete with some of the most impressive in-flight photographs I’ve ever seen. The majority of it is a message about life and living, for every person that Brian Shul can reach. With humility and uncanny humor, he delivers an account that I believe you will get much out of. I sure have. Runtime: 1:11.

Problems vs. Opportunities

I received the missive below  from a good friend of mine, who happens to instruct art classes at a local college. As an admirable artist, teacher and person, now and then he gets an inspiration to get creative with problems. In this case, fashionable school policy prohibits the possession of a recyclable water bottle on school property, so reusable water bottles abound and are frequently mislaid. Thing is, not one person in this class has ever reclaimed theirs. That’s odd, because commercial water bottles can get pretty pricey if you don’t want your water to leak and taste like plastic, so my friend has not yet found an alternative to adding them to the waste stream – other than relabeling his little lost & found display collection as…

“Dear friend,

“In the future, examples of lost, misplaced and recovered water bottles
will be used to determine dynasties and earth ages of forgotten
civilizations and generations.

“Unearthed pottery shards and extinguished campfires are uninteresting and

“Oakton Community College is proud to announce the first museum-level
collection and overview of this kind.

“Subscribe now and receive minute-by-minute updates as to how this dynamic
new field of anthropology develops!”

Mitchell, South Dakota!

The view out of my passenger-side bunk window.

I guess I won’t bother asking for guesses as to where I’m overnighting this evening. Mitchell is a good-sized town and, as there appears to be a Ford dealership a half-mile away, I’m considering a timely oil and filter change. I’ll take a look at the place tomorrow morning before beginning the next leg of my journey, to see if it is worthy of my esteemed presence. An oil change might take awhile, so I will have to remember to take my walking stick with me in order to beat off the showroom sales personnel while I wait. This has worked in the past, usually by merely posing at bat. A few blows about the head and shoulders always convinces the more aggressive remainder. Dressing down also works quite well, as long as it is down so far that a $20 loan approval looks unlikely. Wrinkled shorts, a stained T-shirt, and one missing sandal have always worked so far. Sure it’s embarrassing, but since this isn’t my home town, there is no unwanted fallout. Once the service has been completed, I’m outta there!

I’m going to hijack my own thread here, which if you look at past posts on this blog, is not unusual at all. Most of my trip that began in March has been Read more…

Much Ado About Nothing

I regularly come across examples of how our perceptions can markedly contrast with reality. That always impresses me, and in the realm of major media, I’ve found that it takes quite a bit of personal digging to negate the filters of bias which tend to permeate their end products. If you want to know what they think about an event or an issue, all you have to do is read or see what they produce. If you want to find out what actually happened or what else is involved within an issue, you’re going to have to do some excavation yourself, elsewhere. You may be one of the those who trusts their news source these days, but Walter Cronkite passed away decades ago, so if you just turn on the news and accept it without question as accurate and balanced, you may find yourself becoming unbalanced. Editorializing does that. Propaganda does that. The difference between them is that editorials are labeled as such. Propaganda is not, yet purports to be a reasonably accurate representation of the true situation.

Straight news reporting and accountability for errors has become an endangered species. Propaganda works. If I listen to Fox News long enough, I find my opinions of facts and issues swinging their way over time. If I switch over to NPR, I find myself going the other way. In the end, we’re stuck with listening to the bias that we prefer, and become unable to understand Read more…

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