Old Things

19 articles in category Old Things / Subscribe

Life in a California trailer park is quiet and strange. I won’t say exactly where it is, but know the park where I’ve been living is near LA and in the desert. There are about 50 to 75 trailers here, most of them full-timers, like me. Like the park in Amarillo, you can tell those that don’t move because they’ve got moats of stuff surrounding their rigs. There’s a playground, and an okay-looking pool, hot showers, and internet that works…sometimes. So it suits my needs, and the price is right. The funniest part about this park was that I had to “apply” to be allowed to stay here by sending a picture of Lola, because she’s vintage. …

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Barstow California is a FUNNY little town. It is at the crossroads between two highways in the middle of the Mojave. I stayed one night at the Rainbow Basin Campground, which has a long washboard dirt road, no electricity and a lovely view of very DESOLATE desert. It was also 25 degrees at night. Only I can nearly freeze to death in the Mojave, I swear. It was chilly, but I had the dogs to keep me warm. I was a little glad of the cold, just cause, ya know, snakes come out when it’s hot. Eesh. In the morning I heard a huge boom, which I’m assuming was some kind of weapons testing at the nearby …

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Abiquiu, NM

The Piedra Lumbre Basin (or Valley of the Shining Stone) stretches from Abiquiu to Chama along the Chama River. And it is, probably, the most beautiful place in the world. I’m biased, though, I have many pleasant memories from childhood vacations here. Its icon is Pedernal, a 9000 foot mountain whose cap was produced in the Jemez volcanic field. Georgia O’Keefe lived in the valley below, and she painted it many times. I couldn’t help but take a zillion pictures of it. It’s like a benevolent version of the eye of Mordor, looking over everyone in the basin all the time, rain or shine. The lake is Abiquiu Reservoir, and from atop the dam you can see …

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Monty and Niko and I spent every morning over the last two weeks hiking. There are five less-than-4-mile trails at Ojo, and we hiked every single one. Each has it’s own different geography: one along the river, one down an arroyo, one to an old mica mine, one to an overlook, and one to the ruins of an old indian pueblo. At almost 6,000 feet above sea level, hiking in northern New Mexico is a little more strenuous than at home. There’s a bit less oxygen for the ol’ lungs. It is dry, even in winter, and we had to drink lots of water. But after a few days, it got easier, and felt great. The smell …

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So, guys, this is the primary reason that I haven’t posted for a couple weeks: I was too busy sitting in hot springs. Yeah, I know, tragic. Ojo Caliente (hot eyes) is a tiny, tiny town north of Santa Fe and south of Taos. The Ojo Caliente Mineral Spa is at the foot of some beautiful hills and hiking trails. And there is an RV park at the spa, maybe 200 yards from the springs. Need I say more? Confession time: I have been to the springs before, but never stayed longer than a day or two. The hotel is a little pricey, maybe not for west-coaster’s, but it’s more than 100 bucks a night. The campground …

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I spent two cloudy days in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the capitol, highest elevation of any capitol in the US. (Had I known this, I might have reconsidered.) The road from Tucumcari doesn’t SEEM that steep. The climb is gradual. However, Lola and I fought an awful headwind, and even going downhill could only manage 50 mph. I was constantly fiddling with Sacajewea’s air-con (A trick with old Jeep’s. Turning the ac on activates a secondary fan, which sucks more air into the engine, thus cooling it.). I even stopped once or twice, fearing that she would over-heat. She didn’t. She performed like a champ, and in our final leg of the journey the wind died down, …

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Not long after leaving the flat nothingness that is Texas on Route 66, the land began to rise and fall and gather color as I entered New Mexico. No trees appeared, but scrubby junipers grew more numerous, and the air took on a woodier fragrance. Eventually, Route 66 turned into little more than a dirt track, and I had to join Interstate 40, which out here means plenty of room for both me and Lola and the trucks. “Tucumcari Tonight” is the slogan of the little town just over the New Mexico border where I did, in fact, stay the night. The mountain that shadows the town has a big, white T painted on it, and you …

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Route 66, known as the Main Street of America, was once a bustling highway full of classic cars, drive ins, and motels with kitchy furnishings. Now, to be honest, it’s full of potholes and, in places, difficult to recognize as a road, let alone a highway. I’m headed west on Historic Route 66, which parallels Interstate 40 across Missouri, Oklahoma, the top of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It’s been some time since I’ve posted, and I apologize, but there simply is no internet here. The internet lives and breathes in the 21st century, but it is solidly 20th century in these parts. In fact, I’m pretty sure I entered a live-action version of the movie Footloose …

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Tonight I’m staying in Muscatine, Iowa, a smallish town on the banks of the Mississippi. It’s much more farmy here and much less marshy, but still quite pretty. I was feeling a little tired of woods, so I ventured into town with Monty and Niko in tow. Muscatine was once famous for its Pearl Button Factory, which made tiny pearlescent buttons from the shells of freshwater mussels. The building is now a restaurant, but it’s surrounded by an historic district that is full of beautiful architecture. Surprisingly, unlike many small towns I’ve traveled through recently, the town seems to be on the up and up, almost metropolitan at points. (Almost.) I suspect some of this has to …

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It rained a cold, heavy rain today. It is supposed to rain for many more days and there are few places to camp this far north. I trekked another 40 minutes north in Sacajewea to see if I could find a couple neat places to visit before heading south for the hills. By the time I had found the mine my feet and shoulders were soaked. These are excuses for why I did not travel further, as I hear the north shore of the UP of the UP is gorgeous. That being said, I’m sure it is less gorgeous when it’s pouring rain. In any case, if you’re visiting the UP, definitely try to get up as …

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