[Just now getting around to editing/posting an entry I wrote two months ago…]

February 6, 2007

Today is my last day in Studio N. Everything has been moved out except the computer, and when I finish this entry, it will be shut down, disassembled, carefully stowed in the few remaining nooks and crannies of the van, and moved to it’s new/old desk in Laluna. This process of moving out of my studio has taken more than a month. I knew it would be slow and difficult, but I really had no idea how much I had accumulated or how difficult it would be to decide what to keep and what to give up. The process started slowly — with many items set aside early on as maybe-I-can-find-room-for-this hopefuls — and built to a crescendo the past few days where we’re selling things for ridiculously low prices ($10 for a router with $40 of brand-new bits thrown in? what’s that all about?) or giving them away with reckless abandon. Pretty much everything in that early maybe pile is gone…there just isn’t room in our lives for extra STUFF right now. Our rule for this move has been: If it won’t fit in either Laluna or Squeaker (the van), then we’ve got to get rid of it.

We thought the paring-down process was difficult in 2002 when we bought Laluna, a 34-foot 1984 vintage Airstream International trailer, and winnowed our possessions from a 3o00-square-foot house down to what would fit in a 10×25 storage unit. At that time we expected to be on the road only three or four months. Three years later we realized that storing all that STUFF was senseless, so we had a garage sale and made about 1/3rd of what it had cost to store it those three years.

That was a stark lesson.

Each year since, we’ve continued to thin our possessions, but this year is the hardest because we’re forcing ourselves to get rid of the STUFF that has made the cut five years running…these are things we didn’t really want to part with.

Still, it feels good, this defiant act of freedom. Cutting to the bone is painful, but already we can sense the growth that results from that pain. Funny, but as I navigate Austin’s streets with a stretch van packed very nearly to its payload capacity, I have this nagging feeling that we still have too much stuff! When I think of college days, when everything I needed to survive (quite happily) fit in my 1972 Ford Gran Torino 2-door, I know I’ve got too much stuff.

And so, maybe this process is not over, yet. Could it be that next year will demand an even lighter load? Time will tell.

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It was a lovely day in Portland, Oregon — sunny and warmish this morning and overcast and rainy this afternoon and evening. No complaints here.

We drove around to various RV parks in the eastern half of the city yesterday, searching for someplace close-in to use as a base while we search for an apartment to rent. Not that we mind the park where we’re staying — it’s very clean and well-kept, well-outfitted, and the staffers are pleasant. Unfortunately, it’s over 13 miles from city center (that’s a 45-minute bus ride) making it difficult to participate in things. Still, it’s not a bad home-base for a month or two…particular after what we saw of the other RV parks we toured. Some were downright scary. Now we know why this place we’re in requires that applicants be screened for criminal record before being eligible for long-term sites. We shortlisted two of the parks we visited — now we must decide if we want to hassle with hitching up and moving there.

I do have one question, after visiting most these Portland RV parks: Where the heck are all the Airstreams?!? And Avions? It’s weird — as if they’ve been banned within city limits or something.

Today was spent driving various neighborhoods that have apartments for rent. I found 25+ units on Craigslist but didn’t want to contact the lessors until I had an idea of the neighborhoods. I have to say, it looks promising. After living in a 250 square foot aluminum tube for five years, a studio or 1 BR apartment sounds positively Taj Mahalish! And the locations are very central and urban — way more so than anything with RV hook-ups.

Looks like we may be kissing Laluna goodbye one day soon.

On Oregon’s Doorstep

April 5, 2007

We’re in Fruitland, Idaho, this morning, preparing to cross the state line into Oregon within the next hour or so.  In a sense, the Snake River is our Rubicon.

The die is cast.

(More at my web gallery.)

Extreme Sports

April 1, 2007

 

A shot (with high-speed film, no doubt) of intense action at the World Sudoku Championship in Prague on Friday.

The 20th Century 2D masters in six minutes.

New Mexico

March 10, 2007

Mimi and I finally got our show on the road and departed Austin earlier this week. We pulled into Las Cruces only a couple hours ago. COAS My Bookstore in Las Cruces is one of the best used bookstores we’ve found in our travels, so we make it a point to stop whenever we pass through this part of New Mexico. They have a particularly generous paperback policy, and we have a box of paperbacks to sell them. It’s more of an exchange, really, in that we usually end up buying nearly as many as we sell.

Arizona will be our next stop. We’ve just learned that good friends of ours are volunteering at Patagonia Lake State Park in southern AZ, so we’re hoping to meet up with them before cutting north at Tucson. If the weather looks favorable later this week, we’ll drive into southern Utah to visit the amazing national parks there, Zion and Bryce Canyon being at the top of our list.

We were blown away by our Thursday visit to Carlsbad Caverns NP — the most impressive and diverse cave either of us have ever seen. We hiked to Lower Cave guided by Ranger John Reeves, who did an excellent job of feeding us interesting facts but not overloading us with data…and giving us time to simply appreciate the cave on our own terms.

Our hike to Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains NP yesterday was less exciting — basically 4.2 miles up (a pretty agressive 3000-foot elevation change) and 4.2 miles back down the same trail — but it was a perfect day for hiking (sunny, warm, and no wind) and we enjoyed some dramatic vistas. In the end, we wished we had walked the riparian trail through McKittrick Canyon, rather than summiting. But hey, I can say I’ve been to the highest point in Texas.

We did have a bit of fun on the summit hike trying to figure out what animal had left scat on the tops of rocks on much of the trail. After lots of discussion and speculation, we decided it must be the ‘work’ of a ringtail.

Ringtail_

Ringtail Scat (the pen is for scale)

We were also puzzled by the large number of yucca and agave plants with detached leaves lying beside the trail. After much discussion (again), Mimi suggested that perhaps a gopher or mole was eating the roots from below and leaving the leaves to fall to the ground.

After our hike, a ranger confirmed our speculation on both questions, so we felt like top-notch science investigators!

The article titled Fabrication and Encounter:  When Content is a Verb from ARTL!ES online magazine discusses things that have been rolling around in my head the past few months.