The “Aftermath”… NM

Friday, March 15th, 2019

The Aftermath straying from the path of a full time Life on the road.. With a sidecar and a Dog.

Ara xxx 

Spirit in the Hole xxx

June will be two years situated in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and such aftermath has been almost daily thoughts about. It is real, it is physical and mental. It is an aspect I am sure everyone who has spend some serious time on the road goes through, will go through, and right off I will say, even though being hard, it is with no doubt all worth it and rewarding.

guarding the trail xxx
              One of my favorite road in the Country. Shaffer Trail, Utah. And yes, we came from that road   

Shaffer trail c xxxx
     The way up…

Shaffer trail d xxx

white rim trail a xxx
White Rim trail

Many facets exists for both Lives.

The road is generous to the mind, to the consciousness. It is the ultimate freedom with a Mistress and faithful companion called "Mother Nature", it is an overflow of the senses and yet it is physically harsh. One needs their full senses to be 100% developed and have their inner awareness on always full alert. "Awareness" is not living in fear, it is only being in constant observance of the surroundings, whether the land, the skies or people if near by. Such ensuing facts do not fully apply as much when living in a camper, RV. I remember too well the very first day taking possession of our truck/camper feeling immediately detached from the path we were on when with only our sidecar as our vehicle and home. It was too easy, too "comfy". Get out of the truck, take a few steps, open the camper door and we were home. “Removed” was the feeling. Full queen size bed, three way refrigerator, galley with sink, stove top and oven, solar power and even a quiet generator to run the air conditioner if needed. A bathroom and hot shower! All this versus setting up a tent, cooking on a small stove, no refrigeration, a sun shower and nine bags containing our belongings. No roof, no walls, the ground being our floor. At the same time the camper was a savior in bad weather while remembering spending days locked in our tent when at some point and somewhere the rains never stopped. In Montana, the snow and hail also never stopped for three days. I truly don’t know how we made it.

V of F d xxx 

boots xxx

It was easier to embrace Life on the road versus buying a home and living this urban Life as much as "this" was needed. Hard to believe but it was. I am well aware of all the above and below are only my own personal opinions and I am not talking about living from RV park to RV park or even frequenting campgrounds and their amenities. That is too easy… and crowded!

U-Turn on 15-5 - Copy xxx

U-Turn on 15 xxx
          And more Freedom…

I think "easy" is the general consensus and of course the reason such RV parks and campgrounds exists populated with neighbors only a few feet apart from each other, music blasting and voices taking over the sounds of Mother Nature hashed and never heard. I always thought, as at times "we had to be there", why don’t they just stay home, especially witnessing a television sliding out from a hidden outside panel while their occupants sitting in a circle listened and watched out loud the chosen programs! Why?

The Bus c xxx
     Another Life on the road?

There is a lot of planning needed toward destinations when living out of a sidecar [or motorcycle for that matter]. The number one concern was always "where will we be able to set up our tent?" as sometimes caught late between point A and point B. I remember all too well when headed South on Highway 1 in Oregon [or was it Washington?] and the clock was ticking and the skies were getting darker. No beach camping allowed, no BLM land or National Forests for sure. A KOA sign appeared and even though I knew how hard it was going to be to spend the night there. Being expensive was one of the negative aspect while I also knew they did not allow Pitbulls. It took quite a bit of a scene and much talking to finally get a little spot for us at a $40 cost for the night. Throughout the 12 years on the road we rarely paid for camping. It was not a good experience for sure, yet, there was that day ending with no choice in the matter.

Toroweap k xxx 
   Toroweap. The Grand Canyon.

What can one see and experience when living in a 40+ feet RV? Nothing but the main highways and if lucky towing a car only day trips in circles from their makeshift base camp of course living in that RV park or campground. The sidecar was the ultimate vehicle. The destinations were of so many and the Journey, that forward momentum, that "movement", were always the key to our happiness. Toroweap, which is the Northern edge of the Grand Canyon only visited by less than a thousand people a year, Muley Point which I call "The Top of the World" with Valley of the Gods near by, Recaptured Pocket which I still keep a secret of its location [don’t ask!] and so many other spaces I considered Paradise away from it all. Really away as at the time not even cell phone reception unlike today reached those spaces.

ROAD xxx 
      Not quite lost… yet!

I have read too often "I wish I could do the same… It is my dream…". I have also met the ones that have taken off with too many questions of "how? this and that…" with a lost look in their eyes deep down missing their home while the reality of their dream did not correlate with their present Life. It was sad to feel their surprised pain and the lack of their smiles while disturbed from so many present aspects. I mostly never heard back from them. Maybe they just went back home and stood under their hot shower for eternity. We had a reason to live on the road as such and that reason for sure was not a courageous decision but only the sight of a flickering light on a future path after losing my only Child and cornered in that past dark tunnel. What other reason one would have to live as such? I do know the answer, as today dozens are, but, them, with a financial goal of being rewarded as such through their blog or vlog or whatever they call it. I have met some of them also and their daily lives seemed more like a job than anything else with the responsibility to express daily and publicly their journey through words or videos. That of course was never my intent even though many sponsors approached us and helped us as also did many readers of this Journal. Especially when broken down.

-1147 xxx
It happens…

Old Faithful-4 xxx
      And again…

It was a freedom not found here today even though such a word could apply towards this Life. There is a house to take care off, endless doctor’s appointments and more. Yet, needed or not, one could say that I have all the comfort and peace of mind one could desire. Yes, that is present and what is missing is that "freedom of the road".

191-17 [original] xxx
      Broken down again…

191-18 xxx 
            It was the only way…

I am working on it even though I have become a fair weather camper! Due to medical reasons I cannot handle the cold anymore even in a house. The cold is cold… Duh! Few would even understand it as I found out while visiting some Friends not too long ago and his stubbornness of not raising the heat while almost calling 911 throughout the night! Looking back I should have given him a $20 bill towards his electric expense! I can only thank his wife, which I am sure too aware of such stubbornness and opinionated thoughts, going to the store and buying me an electric blanket! One more aspect to consider these days when leaving "my house"! Never ever such visit again… So yes, I am working on it, I am planning to be in Valley of the Gods mid April while at the same time keeping a close eye on the weather. Closer than ever. Car camping needing some changes in the gear department as also due to my spine not being able to be fixed I have a hard time lifting. It is as "what happened?" between then and now? All part of the aftermath. A sun shower with a foot pump, a tent/cot, a table weighing less than two pounds, my 30+ year old Kermit chair glued and with clamped parts over and over, even an AC/DC small Dometic refrigerator which can also be powered by my little portable solar system. New convenient gear and fixed old stuff. It will be a new experience. No sidecar, no Spirit and yet not a camper either. It will be lonely for sure. I already know that as it is a fact today. Will I feel back that "freedom of the road" even if out there for only a month or so? I honestly don’t know.

V o t G y G xxx 
   Valley of the Gods

All I can say is of all needing to take good care of their health as without good health there is not much left. I am myself trying.

Stay well, Ara
                     Spirit [R.I.P. 04~04~2018]

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10 Responses to “The “Aftermath”… NM”

  1. greg Says:

    I recently read of a fulltimer that gave away her van and moved onto a bicycle. For years I’ve watched another fulltimer move from apartment to van conversion, to class B+, then reverse direction and move into a Volkswagen Van, and now he’s moving back in the other direction and building out a 4-wheel drive Fugo. (kind of a small Unimog type vehicle.) I myself have been playing around with the idea of converting a mini-van, or maybe a larger SUV and giving up my Sprinter conversion.

    Point is, I think it’s natural for some of us to “evolve” from one thing to another over time. Sometimes it’s by nature, sometimes by necessity. The way I look at it, our needs, wants, and requirements change over time and if we refuse to acknowledge and adjust to those changes we end up sitting in the recliner thinking about the good ol days and cursing our present.

    So I personally applaud your ability to morph with the winds of time while embracing the memories of the past.

  2. Pam Reynolds Says:

    Dear Ara, We are still traveling with you after 11 years! Know that we even share aches and pains, and wonderful memories! Sleeping in the outdoors, not from a motorcycle, but from a small plane. Then the camper, which you saw a few times, which we bought partly so we could take Natasha with us. But the reality of life and advancing age makes it necessary to relish the wonderful memories we have of living in the outdoors and meeting people like you who became friends. No, you are truly unique! You added to our experience of adventure by sharing yours, for which I thank you!

    Fondest thoughts of you and Spirit,


  3. Melanie Kramme Says:

    Wonderful post (I read them all). So glad to hear you will do a road trip to the Valley of the Gods. Pending you are comfortable, I believe the trip will be good for the soul. As good as chicken soup is when not feeling good. 😉

  4. Michael Says:

    The photos of Toroweap take me back to the time we shared there – especially the muddy boots – a Great adventure filled with challenge – Take care my friend – I’m camp host at Valley View hot springs if you make it to Colorado – Peace.

  5. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Yes it was! Some of the most exciting days throughout all the years on the road for sure. Need to get back there with the Jeep while… keeping a close eye on the weather! Stay well. Ara

  6. Ara & Spirit Says:

    It will indeed be good for the soul for sure. Thank You Melanie. Stay well. Ara

  7. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Well Pam, in case you did not know, Spirit passed away almost a year ago now and a certain form of loneliness has taken over my nights and days not yet being ready for another companion. That is if I will ever be ready while Spirit had such a presence in my Life. Quite a trooper! Accept what faces you and enjoy… Stay well. Ara

  8. Ara & Spirit Says:

    HI Greg and so much appreciate your words which again revolves around “acceptance”, an aspect I have at times a hard time with, yet, getting better. You are so right and uplifting as truly e do not have a choice. The choice of refusal as you write will only make us fall in that bottomless pit with no joy and hope for the better while the path of Life changes. Thank You and Stay Well, Ara



    This post resonated with me….I’ve apparently unconsciously followed in your tracks in terms of changing the way I get to destinations now. I’ve a 25 ft motor home which I use to tow my Ural sidecar rig, finding the rig went longer between breakdowns that way. It was a way to get my wife to come along on camping trips or “glamping” trips as they really are.

    Your comments re comfort, losing the ability to withstand the cold, the attenuation of the sense of vulnerability when in the camper vice a tent are also thoughts that have run through my own mind. The joke I say to my wife is that the camper or “glamping” has ruined me for tent camping and the “simpler” days of packing the sidecar rig and just riding off to some destination.

    I am not sure I miss the tent camping days though.

    Of late, changes in my life and my previous exclusive use of Ural rigs for continued explorations are undergoing changes. The next camping trip will involve instead a smaller conveyance and only two wheels on the trailer behind the motor home. It seems my attempts over the years of trying to make Urals the all terrain vehicle for exploration were misguided. We’ll see how the TW200 will do.

    Thanks for this posting.

    Hope your health is what you wish it to be or better!


  10. Louise Says:

    Interesting to see our old bus used as an example (?) in this post. We’re still out here traveling, but do it by boat now. Minding the weather is even more critical on the ocean than when motorcycle camping. When we traveled the US on our touring bikes back in the 1990s, I sometimes feared death at the hands of other drivers, but never by Mother Nature herself. The exact opposite is true now. Hard to be injured going 7 mph if you hit another boat, but the ocean can (and does) claim lives each year. Watching the horizon disappear over and over again behind the waves is…interesting.

    But those risks are worth it to visit the quiet and remote islands and anchorages, always legal and free! I’ve heard that RVing has changed a lot in the last 5-10 years, harder to find the remote and free places. I’m still amazed we got that big bus so far up the forest roads, off into the woods! Not nearly as far as you and Spirit got with the sidecar, but farther than most campers 🙂

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