The “ECamper”, our new friend, CA

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

“My Daily Therapy, published Weekly or so…”

Oh Heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains.  ~ Kahlil Gibran ~

Anza Borrego Desert-10

Hesitation. Much thinking. Giving away thoughts, taking them back. What is the bottom line? Having a better shelter, being out from the elements when needed. More comfort, no worries about a space to spend the night when moving on from point A to point B. No tent set up for one overnight. That is a big one. Giving ourselves a break from the harshness of it all, the extreme colds and worse heat, and yet enjoying the good days, so will Spirit, Old Faithful. Why has there been all these hesitations? Because I have always been a "purist". The bottom line. We will at times be trailering Old Faithful on the long distance roads awaiting ahead of us, from a destination to another… to another.


ECamper-6 d

The winter cold last year, this year, all did it, it swayed the scales of an offer I could not refuse. The inability to truly move around as much as we would have wanted to, if nothing else only to be going to the store. The offer has been on the table for a while, it has taken much logistic for this accomplishment. A Honda "Element", all wheel drive, stick shift, appropriate name for a vehicle destined to open up new horizons for us. Fully tuned up, new struts, lifted 3 inches and topped with an "ECamper". The camper opens up in less than one minute and is dropped and locked in the same amount of time. Soon it will be available for the 4 door Jeep. Of course a responsibility, one however I think we can handle with ease. I am imagining snow photos for the first time.

ECamper-3 d



The truth of the matter happened while in Glacier, Montana. The decisive moment. Extreme cold and as bad what I call this new "breed of mosquitoes". First time using 100% deet on my clothing with not much success and only being able to use Eucalyptus~Lemon spray on Spirit and watching him being devoured unless locked up in the tent. Head net, fire going and still the inability to cook outdoor. How much fun is that day in and day out. We finally left camp exasperated, thinking about a one motel night to recuperate, all to no avail, out of my reach when the least expensive room was $150 for one night! We went back. Years gone by. Tolerance not as such as it use to be? All I know, it is going to be "nice". It is nice. We will mix it up I know. Sometimes leaving "Old Faithful" behind, sometimes leaving the “ECamper” and it’s trailer. Need to find a name for her. Any thoughts? She is not "old" yet! This has opened a greater hunger to be on the road. There an ease as never before and yet "Old Faithful" still transporting us within the local paths while "living" in those far away spaces we cherish.

ECamper-2 d

ECamper-7 d

It is a "thing" though… a material item… and today my own thoughts are not much toward it. Actually none are as within me another loss of a good Friend has made it’s mark. It has because "Christine", who also had lost her child, it was in 2008, "Jessica" was not even 20 yet, herself passed away a few nights ago. The big "C" again… as again and again. 2 days later, her Buddy "Micky"  had passed, her own faithful companion, a loyal "Pit". Christine was only 49. We had a bond and in all actuality I should not write "we had", because we "do have" this bond. We corresponded often as she held me up as much I hope as I held her up. Few will understand as I do. The pain, the immense pain when hitting this wall which does not return a hug or a smile.

Anza Borrego Desert-5 d

Anza Borrego Desert-2 d

I think she gave up, I think her strength only weakened in these short times, these past 3 years, and the body just quit. I am so profoundly affected by this, suddenly realizing the strength of my own strength so constantly needed as never the guards can be put down. I feel so close to the many that have left us in body and now keep me company with their soul united. I am more speechless today, words are just not easy in these murky waters. I wish and feel as Christine is now uplifted away from the weight she has carried these past years as yet she has always put everyone else ahead of her. She must be now in good company. I know she is.

San Diego Beach Sunset-4

San Diego Beach Sunset

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We are done in San Diego this morning. We did not see much of it. Tried the Beach, nothing much appealed yesterday and so we just came back. I think we will spend one night in Anza Borrego. We did. We had to. That is Anza Borrego.

Anza Borrego Desert-8 d

Spirit and I are sitting somewhere, I don’t know exactly where as while grabbing a bite to eat with our Friends Linda and Bill on Borrego Springs Circle we lost the sun a bit faster than I thought. The main aspect is the fact of being back in the desert in a deep quiet silence. It has become an addiction I think, I know. A hot day it has been as I had not realized of the present temperature at such low levels. We even dropped, the GPS showed, at –172’! It is still warm but a nice warm with a mild wind blowing on my face cooled off further by a wet scarf. The horizon is still lit but the stars are starting to line up, the milky way is slowly forming it’s path and Spirit is now just a very dark shadow laying by my feet as quiet as I am. There is no light pollution here, the show will be a success. This is the prescription for all.

Anza Borrego Desert-14 d

There is nothing more humbling than gazing at the Stars within this space found. This Desert, tonight, where I can speak loudly and no one will hear me. No one present, no one right here. On this stage with a ceiling so brightly lit by the millions of lights, like tinsels dropped from this giant Christmas Tree, a real one. Christine has found her place in my mind all day and all “now”, so much so it has numbed me. I suddenly feel as so many have left me, how ironic is that? I am clinging ever more to my present Friends, the few which feel comfortable speaking with such subjects as I find out many also only present their silence. I know within a few days we will be within the vast lands of Big Bend and hibernating a while with only short Journeys here and there. I am hoping for the few to visit us even if as I just found out our tent has blown away and is destroyed. I was not aware the winds could reach 100+ mph… No fault of the tent… I want to see and feel their smiles, hear their voices, hear their stories, exchange our thoughts, truly exchange our thoughts, that is what true Friends do. A hug or two. All as such is so cherished.


Tent wind

…and before.


Again, it is only a “thing”. Sorry my Friends to have lost your future shelter, I don’t think I want to put up another one. Maybe a smaller one, bring your sleeping bags!

Show Low Sunset-3 d

Another beautiful Sunset here tonight in “Show Low”, AZ, while picking up some left over “stuff” which needs to go back to “The Oasis”. That is after we go to Phoenix on Tuesday for a minor repair on “Old Faithful”. Till later…


"I have had a great deal of interest in my photography over the years, for which I am grateful. Their sales are of much importance funding this Journal. Yes, please feel free to purchase one or two… or a few. I have been adding some photos lately, there will be more as I sift through about 100,000 of them.

Take a look. “Smugmug” stands for quality. Thank you”

Be well, always.

Ara & Spirit

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12 Responses to “The “ECamper”, our new friend, CA”

  1. jusbarron Says:

    Beautiful pics….as usual! Love the eCamper! It should make being on the road a little more comfortable for you and Spirit both!

  2. DC Stultz Says:

    Ah, I should have guessed. And, it includes a trailer that is wide enough for Old Faithful. Nice rig!

  3. Dee Says:

    The sad with the glad – so sad to read about Christine, but glad she no longer suffers the pain. so sad about your tent, but glad you and Spirit were not in it at the time, but so glad that Old Faithful will be able to rest on occasion and you and Spirit will have shelter that the wind won’t roll over. It came at the right time, and is a beautiful addition to your journey but too bad you couldn’t get a red one!!! Sometimes, material things come in handy!! You and Spirit enjoy that “red lady” = you both deserve the “extra” comfort. xxoo to Spirit.

  4. Queenie Says:

    Quite an arc on this post, from wonderful news to a release of human bondage, so that the soul may soar, even as we are left to grieve….. and continue on our paths for whatever it is we seek while rambling around on the planet. Quite an adventure and ride, this human experience, that you have managed to form into a real ride of sorts, and then take us with you as best you can. I wish your homecoming were to be sweeter. And I’m already missing that tent experience for when I finally get to visit the Oasis, but I know it will be still be an experience – how could it not. Stories will still be told, no matter the accommodations. Travel safe. Still hoping to be in Alpine again in November, but not sure yet if it’s to work out or not this year. See you on the road, somewhere, down the line.

  5. Marlon Balkstra Says:

    Ara, thanks for the words and images. I was moved to tears, so beautiful. I am glad to see that you are doing what is neccessary for You and Spirit to have some respite from the “elements”. It is what it is… And, like Rodolfo says, please come visit your friends in North Ga sometime, maybe come by Riders Hill in Dahlonega, I’ll buy you and Spirit lunch.


  6. Colorado Kid Says:

    Awesome! And now you’re bear proof, pretty much. And can breathe a bit easier when in need of some security, as well as more protection from the elements.

    I just rented a little cottage for the winter, but man oh man, when I head out again this spring, I’ll be thinking of you and your new and well-earned ride. Way to go, champ!

  7. Lyle Says:

    Hmmmmm… Young Faithful? New Faithful?

    I thought you already had a mobile base camp with a trailer. Maybe I was imagining the future! Now you’ve got the ideal combination of long-distance slab-cruising and local exploring of interesting roads, and a mosquito-proof refuge!

    I am quite happy for you!

  8. Denny Gibson Says:

    I’ll admit to being a bit surprised at the eCamper but it looks like a good fit. Different locations and different views in different seasons but the same hands on the camera and keyboard. Looking forward to it.

  9. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Should I say surprised myself and deep down really only wanting to roam as we did? Yes. But the bodies took a toll, motels have not been an option anymore, and once the bodies suffer, the mind cannot roam freely as it did. This is like having the best of both Worlds, for now.
    Thanks…. Ara and Spirit

  10. George Catt Says:

    Ara, kind’a surprised by the e-camper but looks a good fit. Without the trailer, would think mayb better gas mileage than old faithful.

    Sorry we didn’t get to hook up this trip. I was way east when you were in San Diego (Staten Island, spent the night there on 9-26. Home now for a week and still not completely unpacked.

    I saw a bunch in 13,000 miles and took over a 1000 pictures but they still don’t compare to yours.

    Stay well over the winter, might see you in the spring.

    Kingman, Arizona

  11. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thanks G.
    Without is close to 25mpg. With the trailer drops to 18-20 depending on the wind. The back gets 35…. we won’t be trailering much. Only when moving camp..

  12. shadowmoss Says:

    Even Henry David had his cabin to protect him from the worst of the weather. This looks like a good fit for the two of you. Sorry to hear about the loss of another friend to the other side. Some of us will have a wonderful welcoming committee when we get there. I picture my friends partying around a campfire waiting for the rest of us to cross over, pull up a log and join in the conversation again.

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