Where and how do we go from here? LA

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

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“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy.”  ~Richard Foster~

I just happen to like the above quote while having nothing to do with my thoughts on the rest of this page. I could however write many paragraphs regarding it but I won’t! Just use your imagination if you have some Friends trying to "sit up tall" as it says in this "contemporary society"… I will leave it at that! Lets avoid at all cost getting "psychotic"!

STAMP for book

"What is left?" was my question this morning while sitting at our dinette table, Spirit at my feet, roof over our head with a heater blasting while the outside temperature is still 22 degrees and sipping some strong coffee because the body was on strike not quite following the mind set I have three weeks out of a new hip replacement. The right one… for those curious. I am beat but refuse to give up while right now stagnant a bit longer and looking at my options. My own reality. How to handle it. I am 68, 69 is right around the corner. I am aware that all are just numbers. Time passes. Lots of it! What is the problem I keep telling myself as some answers trickle in. The vehicle, this body which has endured ten years of tenting, meaning crawling in and out time after time days and nights has rebelled throughout these past months, almost now a year. That is not including riding hard since the age of ten and sailing as hard for too many years to count.

The endless road in Death Valley

February was the spine surgery. Lower back. L2/3/4/5 while getting over it and at the same time realizing it takes an honest one year to put the healing pains behind while the lifting will never resume to its original weight. And even with that time passed, is today’s 100% will ever be the past’s 100%? It is not. It is a rebuilt, it is not as swapping a new engine nice and shiny and well lubricated running perfectly on all cylinders. And now while I thought this hip would carry me a bit longer it also needed new parts. Three weeks out I am not complaining of the result. New technology is amazing while I am already walking on my own, have been only a few days after surgery. Friends in the same boat write to me they are ready to dance, were ready to dance at my present stage. I am not. My unit of "doables" are riding and tenting. Some movements needed for such tasks I call pleasure and therapy are just not possible, will not for a long time…

Highway 79 AL

I discuss this with close Friends. I enjoy hearing about different opinions, some which are a reality I do not want to confront. The one opinion that has stood out has been the question asked "are you in love with riding and tenting or are you only in love with its romance?". I am tired thinking about it. I am mentally exhausted fighting the answer to that question. Yes, at this point, it is the romance. We are strange creatures I find while we change from years past. From thinking we are invincible to slowly facing the reality of a present which includes the word "comfort" too often in bold letters.

The San Dunes C

Yes, it is so cool to ride a sidecar with your best buddy next to you and the wind in your face. Stop on some of those back roads with jaw dropping landscapes, pitch a tent and call it home while the weather is at its best. Sometimes… When such possibilities are slowly taken away, the acceptance of one’s inability [mine in this case!] is difficult and yet with no choice must be accepted. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature always. I remember three days sitting in our tent in Glacier while the hail and rain and cold would not stop. Or being in a Canyon in Death Valley braving 80mph winds because of being too stubborn to move and by the end be satisfied having gone through the challenge. There is more and all have now become memories. As they say "been there… done that…". The bottom line the fact that I am trying to convince myself it is all going to be just fine.

Meditation at the Lake SM

We have to go around the bend with new thoughts if we still want to be amidst such landscapes and such experiences yet with another form of vehicle and shelter called a camper. So generic and yet so comfortable! Too comfortable and too easy. Again that word… We are in it right now and I am not complaining. Spirit who is now about twelve years old is also not complaining while laying down in his own comfy bed! I actually feel very fortunate to be the owner of such a camper while broke for so many years on the road. This is the legacy of my Mother passing away and surprisingly leaving me some funds to acquire it.

Night trucking in Shoshone

Lots of research on my own and from Friends has gone into this purchase. There were dozens of ideas from a pop up tent on top of a 4×4 vehicle to the roomy RV’s with no clearance that would have forced us to stay on paved roads. I was amazed as some of the choices only to "look cool". I wonder if I ever wanted to look cool! I know many do. Luck also played a huge factor in finding the vehicle as I settled on a slide in camper. My motto was while listening to the many opinions "if we get a camper, I want it all…" and this 4 season Northern Lite on a long bed Ford F350 7.2 Turbo Diesel 4×4 with progressive rear lockers has it all. Luck was finding the truck. A 2000 model with "they say" the best engine ever made by International with only 120,000 miles on it, original owner and well taken care of including the seats covered from day one. It is a beast I must say with superb handling having the camper package and air bags in the rear, new tires and shocks thrown in by the previous owner. I did not want a dually while I wanted a four season camper. This brand new Northern Lite weighing only 2500lbs was waiting for us… Two pieces of insulated fiberglass, heated basement, double pane windows, 3 burner stove and oven, huge refrigerator and freezer, dinette set for four with sliding table, LED’s inside out, real wood cabinets with the best sliding hardware available, two electric remote awnings, wet bath with hot water and to top it all the most comfortable full size queen bed made by Serta, the Genius model… I forget, 240W of solar and a 2000W Honda generator, an 18,000 BTU heater and an air conditioner that can be run by the Honda generator. Seriously… Guilty feelings? yes… I wanted it all and got it all… Stealth. Parked anywhere with no pop up no one can tell we are in or not. We have crossed the line over to the 4×4 community! Part time…

Valley of Fire 20 

And yet, why do I still prefer the sidecar and tenting? That thought is not beyond me as I know why. It is closer to Nature, closer to the ground even if all and all at the present time so much harder if not today impossible. Will we ride again? tent camp again? Of course we will while we safely store some day this camper. I am tired of thinking "when?" because I just don’t know when. We are here today and that is what counts. We are here today so fortunate that we will be able to continue wandering the roads, admire and take in the landscapes as we have. All is the same… the wheels are different!


Next is, where will we go in a few weeks as we head back West. Arizona sounds good. Give us some ideas…

Stay well, Ara and Spirit


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16 Responses to “Where and how do we go from here? LA”

  1. texascindt Says:

    “Acceptance”…one of the hardest things to master. But I believe you have done just that. You are the “realest” person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I cherish our friendship. I know that where ever you go, and however you get there, you will always be the Ara I first started following some 10 years ago. You have impacted my life dramatically. Safe travels my dear friend and I hope to see you soon, somewhere down the road. Hugs and scritches!

  2. Randy Says:

    A new adventure begins. Careful or you will fall in love with your truck-camper like we did. Great exploring vehicle even to a high meadow in the Gravely Range or downtown Sydney, Nova Scotia. And we still have and enjoy our two-wheel contrivances. Enjoy and thanks for sharing.

  3. Dave Says:

    Wherever you go–it’s going to be great!

  4. connie Says:

    It is still cold out west. I would stay in the southern part of AZ. Organ Pipe is nice. We are going to Quartzsite . They have a gold show. It is fun to look at all the stuff for sale. Then we are going to Tucson to go over to Mexico for the day. My husband needs to go to the dentist.

  5. Ara & Spirit Says:

    We will be around Tucson by the end of next month for the winter while healing! Around “Why”/”Ajo”. Quartzsite is too crowded for us… Good luck with the dentist. Doing that the 15th next month also but in Alpine [TX].

  6. Ara & Spirit Says:

    That is right. Living the moment…

  7. connie Says:

    I always loved the town named Why. “Where are you staying?” “Why.”

  8. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Never been there… Have no clue yet where and when! Sounds like Ajo is also a cool little town.

  9. Alan O Says:

    I am only 60 but no longer wish to sleep on the ground. I have a flatbed trailer for my sidecar rig and will tow it behind my truck. I am debating slide-in camper for the back of the truck or a tow-hauler trailer that the rig will fit in. Either way, I will be able to have my hack rig with me so I can ride when ever I want. It is not the same as riding the rig by itself but as you know, sometimes compromises have to be made.

    As far as your travels, I’m in southern CA and we’ve been having terrible weather. Lot’s of rain, high winds and cold temperatures. I’d wait a bit before heading this way.

    Last month, I hosted a couple, their son and two dogs that are riding around the country in their sidecar rig. They post on the ADV site. I have room if you need a place here.

  10. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Yes, the acceptance at times is a bit hard! Then again, we should always feel fortunate with what we have and how we can stay on the path we want. Unfortunately I have to store the trailer/sidecar for now, for a few months until all the body healing is done! We are otherwise 40′ long. But soon we will pick it up again and ride when we want to… I watch the weather a lot. Yes, you are getting some really bad storms. I have a Friend in Santa Cruz who is really tired of it!!! Southern Arizona is looking alright. We won’t get there for another at least couple weeks. I personally prefer the idea as we have of the truck/slide in camper 4×4 so we can still go off road, something a little harder to do with a toy hauler. We also don’t do campgrounds and RV Parks and as such the convoy seems as it is easier to maneuver. Thanks for the offer. Always appreciated. Hopefully we might see you on the road…

  11. Steve Williams Says:

    Health adventures have a way of adjusting plans, dreams and consciousness. Acceptance is only part of the medicine to get back on, or stay on, the road we hope to travel. Reading of your back surgery has me shuddering a bit since I was recently diagnosed with severe degeneration in the L1 through 4 area. Took five months to recover from bad behavior that used to resolve in a few weeks. A chance to practice acceptance.

    Reading of how you watch the weather — I can relate to similar behavior and dreams of riding. Aside from the cold right now I can ride again but the spark hasn’t completely reignited. I wish you the best as your recovery continues and look forward to seeing the world through your eyes.


    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  12. Park Kitchings Says:

    Ara….I understand where you’re at. You and I crossed paths once while in Crested Butte a few summers ago. A chance encounter in front of the burrito store downtown. I too, have spent many nights camping off of motorcycles over the years. I now have a Four Wheel Camper mounted up on a Toyota and love it. One can still roam and explore, albeit a little different than before. The Ural and DR350 now sit in the garage and either get pulled behind on a trailer or utilized for shorter jaunts. Still highly enjoy riding, just not the camping in cold and wet conditions. Sweet looking set up you have. Enjoy your travels as I certainly do, regardless of the mode. Take care…..Park http://nowheretobetour.blogspot.com/

  13. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Nice to see you here! The transition is a bit mentally hard to accept but we are getting there as today a rainy day!!! Its like “I don’t have to deal with it…” and a great meal yesterday with a visiting Friend with a real kitchen! Yes… good all around. Hopefully our path with cross again. On to southern AZ for a while on of course as spring arrives will head North. Crestted Butte again for sure… Safe travels.

  14. Ara & Spirit Says:

    So nice to hear from you. Trust me that today’s technology in surgeries is incredible. I am not 100%, a few more weeks but it sure is getting there one step at the time… Enjoying the camper for sure while even last night with a Friend visiting a great meal in a real kitchen!!! Odd…
    Have a wonderful day and take care of that back… Ara and Spirit

  15. Susan Seacat Says:

    It is interesting to read of your repairs to your body. A time of healing and changes for sure but I’m glad you have
    your camper to live in while you mend. Tenting will come when the time is right. Steve and I enjoy living out of town north of
    Gunnison. After being out of the city, it taxes our nerves when we go back to visit family. Nice to see the family but too much traffic, too many people
    and fast paced. Blessings for the rest of the winter. Perhaps Gunnison this summer.

  16. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thank You Susan. I like that word “repair”… Traffic? too many people? Yes, the urban brouhaha can be very taxing when you are used to silence. Will see how it goes for this summer. Slowly healing and mainly trying to speed up regaining some energy. The Dr warned me about that! Stay well… Ara and Spirit

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