Thank you for visiting!

You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Imaginary Mike: The Salton Sea

Many of the travelers I follow winter at times in Quartzsite, Arizona. The appeal is moderate temperatures, little precipitation, and very low costs. In my imaginary adventures, I have thought often of wintering there, as well. However, having studied the coastal migration, monitoring weather and temperatures, I have reconsidered Quartzsite as a primary destination. I would certainly include Quartzsite in my winter journeys, but as a primary wintering site I find it to be a bit to cold at night.

I have found San Diego and surrounds to be very nice. Unfortunately, boondocking in some of those areas might be challenging. I certainly would be happy to wander there, but winter is long and constant moving in urban settings might be unpleasantly stressful over time.  Stress is the antithesis of the purpose of the hobo lifestyle, so I have virtually explored alternatives.

Palm Springs has appealing weather statistics, but from what I have seen online is not an environment particularly accepting of boondocking. There are some pleasant camping options nearby, however, and certainly Palm Springs is high on my list of wintering zones.

The Slabs, or Slab City, is south of Palm Springs, very near the Salton Sea. Again, worthy of a visit, but from what I have learned of Slab City I don't particularly want to dwell there. It is a rather lawless place, and I am growing too old to deal with that. 

The Salton Sea caught my eye. I explored some options, and learned that a patch of land can be had there for less than ten thousand dollars. I suspect that camping on such a patch of land will have some restrictions, but those can be worked around. A place to rest, even if the accommodations are little more than a shed and a carport, electricity, and perhaps Internet access.

The shed could be even a bit of a tiny house. A storage place for some items, and even a small workshop. A cot and a nice chair. A place to dwell in moderate temperatures, from which journeys of days or weeks might be launched. The restrictions created by the current plague make clear that having a base camp is certainly a nice option. Other similar changes in the future might make having a base camp wise. 

So, Imaginary Mike is in the market for a patch of land near the Salton Sea. Something simple, with little maintenance and a very low cost. 


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Imaginary Mike: Wandering...

 Imaginary Mike has made his way to Southern California. Quartzsite, the ultimate winter goal, remains too cold at night to be the best place for wintering right now. San Diego, like much of California, remains in some degree of lockdown. And so, Imaginary Mike is stuck wandering around the deep South of California, seeking passable nighttime temperatures along with sufficiently accepting local regulations. The Plague is inconvenient, at best. 

This is not entirely negative. No circumstances are. Wandering around any local can be enlightening, entertaining, and interesting. Were venues a bit more open, this would not be bad. Rather nice, actually. However, closures and restrictions are at best inconvenient. 

What of Real Mike? Urban life, or perhaps Sub-urban life. is not particularly bad. Yes, it is colder here than I prefer. I don't have the travel freedom I might like. Camping in freezing conditions, or worse, is not something this ageing adventurer might like. However, life at home is not bad. Still, I long for the life of a Well Healed Hobo. Moving at will. Moving as quickly, or more likely slowly, as I wish. Finding simple adventures and places of interest as I wander.

As a child I was fascinated by horizons and every bend in the road. What might be around that bend, or over that horizon? I longed to find out. That childhood fascination has not faded with time. Yes, my more sophisticated adult perspective allows me to anticipate what is really around the bends in the road and on the other side of the horizon, yet my youthful hope for magic and wonder has not been entirely quashed by the realities of life.

To continue to fulfill the requirements of duty while constantly putting off the longings of that youthful self who dwells within me is a bit of work. I consider it worthwhile. I have had the dubious privilege of observing the consequences of lives lead following passions and appetites at the cost of honor and responsibility. Honor, dignity and responsibility are preferable to such consequences.

Still, I dream. I have longings. Imaginary Mike allows me to explore these without loss of honor, without burdening those who depend upon me with the consequences of bad choices and selfish actions. 

Adventures still await. There are still bends in the road, and horizons in abundance. I am content. One who once was in my care often declared that Life Stinks. I cannot agree. Whatever the challenges, life is a glorious gift. In Christ I have the hope of life eternal. I cannot even fathom what that really means, but I know that it grants me hope beyond the limits of my understanding and limited vision. Adventure beyond adventure. 

I am content.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Imaginary Mike: San Diego


San Diego. Night time temperatures have driven me south once again. In the time of the Plague, this lovely area is not so open to exploration. Museums are closed. Even beaches are subject to closures due to Covid. The zoo remains open, and is attractive to me in part due to memories of visiting in the company of my grandparents. That was long ago, and I was quite young, then. Still, memories remain, and the zoo is a must-see.

Even with restrictions, there are many communities in this region to visit. Temperatures are good as far east as Palm Springs and Palm Desert. Quartzsite remains just a bit cold, so a few weeks wandering the southernmost regions of California will be fine.

There is no hurry to reach the BLM lands of Arizona surrounding Quartzsite. That winter haven is fine for extended stays, since a van dweller can park for free for up to fourteen days in each location, and there are many such areas surrounding Quartzsite. 

That, however, is in the future. With plenty of books and craft supplies, those weeks will be quiet and relaxing. For now, exploring what remains open is the adventure. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Imaginary Mike: Lompoc


    The journey continues. Lompoc is essentially central to the location I would frequent at this time of year on a real journey. Cambria would be the northernmost town, with Santa Barbara the southernmost. Vandenberg Air Force Base is a point of interest in the area. Who knows, a launch may occur during my visit. That would be something to observe.

    Buellton is another. Depending on levels of restriction determined by the plague, it might be possible to stop by for some split pea soup. Nearby Solvang is also interesting to me, but again the plague casts a shadow over tourist destinations. This is a time to play things very much by ear. 

    Not too far from Solvang, in the elevated lands above Santa Barbara, is Lake Cachuma. Not a bad looking place to spend some time, as long as the weather provides for decent night temperatures and daytime temperatures not too hot. Dropping down to Santa Barbara is an attractive option. Beaches and oceanside living is appealing. 

    With a visit to the Disneyland Resort definitely off the table this year, the next few weeks will probably involve a slow cruise along the coast as far south as San Diego. That area is running a bit warm, still, as is our ultimate goal of Quartzsite. Slow migration is just fine. Follow the weather. See what can be found.

    This is a time when food trucks and street food provide the best options for feasting. Food adventuring may be challenged by the plague, but the landscape is altered without being absolutely destroyed. While indoor visits to museums and similar venues is probably best postponed to another year, outdoor options can be explored with greater diligence.

    With the flexibility of not having to be anywhere in particular at any particular time, the life of a well healed hobo is quite appealing. Lompoc is not a terrible place around which to orbit.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Imaginary Mike, 2020

 In the midst of a modern plague, I am once again traveling south along the California coast. This is, of course, an imaginary journey. Equipped with the new Mobile Mancave III, Imaginary Mike is currently south of Big Sur, moving slowly toward Santa Barbara. 

The coast is at a comfortable daytime temperature, but it is the nighttime temperatures which drive my migration. Living in a van is uncomfortable at temperatures below 48 degrees. The small size of the MMC III does not allow for any auxiliary heating when not connected to electrical power. 

As nights cool the drive to move southward increases. It is a leisurely journey, since the destination is not the point. There are many places to see, even with much closed due to the plague. 

Unfortunately, this year cannot include a stop at the Disneyland Resort. They will not be open for quite some time. Other places will have to do, and will do.

The Los Angeles area is still far ahead, in miles and days. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Report: 100 Cupboards

I have been an avid reader for most of my days. In my pre-literate days I was anxious to learn to read. In those ancient days they did not really try to teach kindergartners to read. I had to wait for the first grade. When I reached that opportune level of education I put myself diligently to the task of learning to read. Dick and Jane were my friends. I was voracious. By the end of the first grade I had already begun feasting on third grade readers.

Books. Books. More books. The Mushroom Planet books by Eleanor Cameron were early favorites. A friend and I got heavily into Freddy the Pig books. I read The Boxcar Children, The Borrowers, and ever so many more wonderful tales.

Then I discovered Science Fiction. It took time for me to grasp that warp travel through space was just a literary tool. I wondered just why we remained stuck on this one world when warp drive would let us go out there, meeting far greater adventures than this small planet afforded. My early youth preceded Star Trek by a number of years, I am afraid.

There was probably a failure of appreciation on my part. This world is full of adventures, but the romantic nature of imagination always makes the grass greener on the other side of the Galaxy. Hey, I was a kid. Asimov. Clark. Heinlein. Juvenile literature, and more. Wells. Verne. Lovecraft. Poe. A book from the library, a bag of barbecue potato chips, and my private chamber. I was a reclusive child, and I don't regret it.

I never lost my fondness for fantasy adventure. Nor for juvenile literature. That is why I was intrigued when my wife brought home 100 Cupboards, by N. D. Wilson. I am sure she was captured by the intriguing cover art. I know I was. When she finished it, I jumped at the opportunity to have a fun read. I just finished a few minutes ago.

Be forewarned, it is first in a series. If you are no longer a child, or child enough for juvenile literature, you might turn from the intriguing adventure of so many cupboards, containing magic and mystery. Otherwise, I recommend you jump right in. Open a cupboard or two. See where they might take you.

If you have young people in your life, young people who read, this could be just the gift to give. Magic doors and such seem to have a strong appeal for young people, and some people who are not so young. I know I still love the mystery of a cabinet or closet, and hope always for some magical place on the other side.

Magic. Mystery. Cupboards and other places. Oh, and baseball. Yep. Good story. Give it a try.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Apples to Oranges-

In 1973 I was sent to Germany by the United States Army. I lived there two years, in one of the largest colonies of foreign-based Americans in the world. A thing called by some a "third culture." People from one culture living in another culture, trying to maintain their old culture while living from day to day. To make the mix more interesting, I also lived among the largest population of Turkish born people in Germany. The experience was interesting, but far from a pure exposure to the German people.

I traveled a bit, though not as much as my present self sometimes would have liked. I was in a socialist country. I had the prejudices of a capitalist American, and yet what I saw was a working economy and a nation of relatively happy people. The country as a whole was tidier than the United States, but then again it was a lot smaller, and socialist. They had great public transportation. I saw no particularly poor neighborhoods. As a place to live, it seemed to be not too bad.

Recent politics in the United States has raised the specter of socialism once again. Having seen a socialist state up close, I find I cannot respond to the fear mongering. I am unable to make real comparisons. Germany is in a different part of the world from the United States. It is smaller. It has a very different history. Is socialism working there? Perhaps. They muddle through, at least. Just like most of us Americans.

Fear mongers seem to capitalize on apples to oranges comparisons. Because this apple is not like an orange, we should be afraid. If that orange can not be more like an apple, it must be cast out. Ultimately, it is presented that overcoming the fear will require compliance on our part with the fear mongers program. If we don't get on board, the apples will gain supremacy. Or, the oranges will come to dominate and apples will become powerless.

Too many fear mongers are willing to use misrepresentation to achieve their lofty purposes. Re-purposing a photo to drive an emotional response, to manipulate the audience. Things like that. Organizations with high ideals and worthy goals too often jump into the pool of deception. It is common enough that I would encourage you to doubt that shocking and gut wrenching image presented by just about any group, even one you support.

Through the course of my many years of eclectic studies, I have learned about tools of manipulation. I learned enough that a philosophy professor once recommended I become a political speech writer, a course I chose not to follow. Subtle things, such as camera angles or the choice of the very low volume background music, can have a large impact on how a presentation is received. Manipulation is everywhere.

Reacting in fear, especially fear generated by something someone else tells you or shows you, will lead to the greatest loss of freedom. The freedom to act out of your own thoughts and feelings, according to your own experiences in the context of your own life.

I promote the increase of individual liberty in this world, for all people. It won't make the world safer. It might just do the opposite. I don't know. Free people are free to think and feel as they choose, and act accordingly. That might not be particularly safe, but I choose the dangers of freedom over the safety of excessive control.

Granted, reasonable regulation is necessary. Choosing to support well thought out regulation is an act of personal liberty, and on the whole a good thing. However, allowing fear to drive support is not a good thing at all.

Think. Think past fear. Make sure your choices are your  choices.

Choose wisely. Choose well.