As is often said, there’s no fool like an old fool. An arduous climb, and harder descent lead me on to the next quest, the same day. I did not find the petroglyphs and ended up stuck in an arroyo for a couple of hours while I jacked the van, again and again, shovelled and stacked rocks until I finally found the high ground. Fool! You may tell me how clever I am to get myself out of my fix, as darkness fell but, this old backwoods man often recites the mantra “superior pilots use their superior knowledge to avoid situations requiring their superior skill.” All’s well that ends.
After spending a night at an abandoned cowboy’s corner in the desert I finally made my way back to pavement and the small native town of Sells. I emerged from the grocery store to discover coolant again weeping form the van. Oh Golly! Uh huh.
After an eighty mile quest for an auto parts store, whereupon checking the length of a new hose, I discovered that my young Yuma mechanic had not properly tightened a hose clamp. Exhausted beyond words I drove around Nogales arranging Mexican travel insurance, finding a friendly ATM for cash to turn into Pesos and finally a place to park for the night. I am writing this in MacDonalds in Walmart. The van is parked, it seems, a mile across the parking lot in the far corner. An antithesis from Baboquivari, but damn, they do have good wifi! I’ve discovered this during yet another sleepless night in the van.
When I walked back to my urban camp I thought my weary eyes were deceiving me. There were creatures snuffling all around it. To my utter delight, the creatures turned out to be Javelinas, a type of peccary and not a feral pig. I was stunned but managed to grab some cell phone footage of these Wal Mart wanderers. By the way, about my Ajo Bird in the last blog. A reader commented to suggest the bird was a curve-billed Thrasher. By guidebook to birds of this region confirmed that. So, at 03:30 from the Nogales Arizona Wal Mart parking lot, this blog’s for you.
“A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” …Victor Borge
Can you smell the smoke? It’s mesquite. There is a campfire at my right elbow. A breeze blows the heat my way as well as a fine shower of ashes. Above me, through the still-bare limbs of a Mexican Blue Oak, the desert stars throb with a spectacular energy. Towering over me, a mile above, are the stark black cliffs and peaks of Baboquivari. Until a few minutes ago they still held an eerie glow from the distant sunset.
Have you ever felt excitement and peace all at once? I am here, finally, after dreaming of it for five years; and I’ll be back! This is a sacred place to the local Tohono O’odham indigenous people whose history here goes back at least 12,000 years. Other native nations in the American Southwest have successfully declared themselves sovereign states, complete with their own passports which you are required to have to enter their land.
The Tohono embrace you as a visitor to their hallowed mountain. Shinto priests have come from Japan to meditate here. I understand that, I can feel why. The resident guide/caretaker, James, welcomed me and issued me with a free permit as well as telling me where to hike to find some secret places. I will rest here for a day or two. I would stay longer if there were good company to share this with. On my bucket list, coming here was very near the top. I have been summoned since I first saw this place five years ago from the lookout on Kitt Peak. It will take more than one blog to complete this essay.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” …Oliver Wendell Holmes
Friday, January 25th. It seems like ten months since Christmas! This morning I crawled out of bed well before dawn and decided that no matter what, I’d catch up on my blogging. Six hours later I was done and packed up the van, ready for the road. After bidding a fond farewell to my Ladysmith amigos, I went and provisioned up, then hit the road. Aghast at the size of the RV dealer’s lots I finally cleared through a Homeland Insecurity checkpoint and began to feel free again. I’d beaten the mechanical gremlins and was off to see the wizard. But then I began to smell something. My weary old farm boy brain decided it must be the faint aroma of some chemical being applied to the fields that I was passing.
At a place called Wellton, I pulled off to gas up before pursuing an alternate route along a back road which is always my bliss; exploring a new rural track. At the gas pumps I shut off the ignition. Pshhhhhh!!! Balls of steam erupted from under the hood. I swore softly. Yeah right! When I crawled underneath I could see coolant running down behind the new water pump. I swore softly again. As it is turns out an old heater hose had ruptured. It should have been replaced when the pump was changed, but, that’s the way the pickle squirts.
After slowly cooling the engine down I made a temporary repair then ventured into the tiny farm town and found the new hose and coolant I would need for a permanent fix in the morning. The NAPA clerk assured me that Geronimo’s Mexican Restaurant across the street was excellent. Noting the vultures circling above I came on in. It is five pm as I write and the place is filling with local seniors. Muy Beuno! I last ate a small bowl of hot cereal at 05:30 and this place has fantastic authentic food especially when feeling famished.
Well, now I’ve made several repairs to the accommodation infrastructure, and three to the engine room so, damn your teeth Murphy, I’m confident the worst is behind me. On the wall beside me, is a ubiquitous black and white photo of the area which I’ve seen several times. It was taken in Yuma in 1950 when two men in a small Aeronca sedan flew in circles for forty-five days non stop. They were served with fuel, oil and food from a convertible car racing beneath. What they did for matters of personal hygiene is a nagging question for me. I once had an airplane which held nine hours worth of fuel. My bladder never outlasted that fuel tank and I tried several creative and sometimes humiliating ideas. Both machines have been recovered, restored and are now on permanent display inside the Yuma City Hall.
There are still two hours of daylight, I forge on eastward and look for a place to spend the night. Just at dusk I pull off the old highway I’ve been travelling and over a hump, behind a hill, I find a spot in raw desert that seems perfect. As I manoeuvre for a level spot I notice a small tent and a motorcycle a mere one hundred yards away. I go to apologize for cramping his solitude. The fellow is amiable enough but won’t shake my hand or give me his name.
The night is splendid with a moon-lit desert and brilliant stars. Up[ before dawn, I make my repairs, then take a short hike. In the distance I can hear crump…crump, crup..crump. I check the map. It is artillery from a distant practise range. It is far enough away to somehow add an air of peacefulness to my scene.
A day later, I’m blogging from ‘Belly Acres’ Rv Park in Ajo Az,a place I’ve stayed before. The sun is just breaking through the van windows, mourning doves are cooing away from the palm tree above me. Today I’ll be off to Baboquivari. There ’ll be no peace in the valley.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
In my last blog, I described Yuma well enough. It is a massive sprawling agricultural barrio with non-stop trains, howling freeway and endless military flights. Look there goes another F69! I’ve stayed in the same RV park for four nights while repairs were made and while visiting friends from my marina in Ladysmith. John and Lynne are seasoned snow birds and have pampered me wonderfully. Now it is time to move on. This RV park is nestled on the southern bank of the Colorado River, immediately adjacent to an amazing park built on the reclaimed land of a huge garbage dump. Here are some of my photographic impressions of the drive into Yuma and of my last four days here. I’ll post this blog and then move on into the raw desert.
“ If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” …Mark Twain
I know I promised to cut down on the prose and focus on photos. (Now there’s a pun.) At the moment I am writing while sitting in my van while a young man works on the engine four feet away from this keyboard. He is frustratingly slow. It is not because he is Mexican, he’s just young. And how the hell do you work under the hood of a vehicle while wearing sunglasses?
I mentioned my old tires in a previous blog. I finally decided that I had to replace them. Problem is, their cost equals my gas budget to get home again. But, it now feels like I’m driving a much newer vehicle. It would be irresponsible continuing to drive something that was clearly unsafe. After parking in Searchlight, my morning inspection revealed that my engine’s water pump was giving me fair warning. I bought a replacement pump in an effort to outwit Murphy and have made it to the campground where some friends from home are staying in Yuma. It was great seeing them and they have been wonderfully helpful. Replacing the pump is a straight forward job for an old wrench-bender like me but my experience says it is not a job to do on the roadside nor in the very civilized camp ground where I’m staying. And, if there is some small part I may need…! So here I sit, trying to patient while time and money vaporize.
It looks like I may not be going to Mexico after all . The friends I was rushing down to San Carlos to meet have moved on south because their plans shifted into sub-section F. After making repairs I think it is prudent to stay north of the border but…I am dead, burned-out exhausted and not making good decisions. I think I will stay in Yuma for one more day and just rest. I have long wanted to return to an area I saw from the top of Kitt Peak Observatory, a short distance southwest of Tucson. To the south of the observatory stands Baboquivari, an ancient volcanic cone that is a sacred mountain to the local Tohono O’Odham Indians. There is a remote campground there which will be a great place to rest, write, and explore with my cameras. After that, I’ll decide which plan is best. It is certainly not pleasant doing this pilgrimage alone and on a tight budget but I need to recharge my own batteries and have a rest. Baboquivari will make the whole journey worthwhile, and I’m not ruling Mexico out just yet.
Yuma is a bewildering mix of endless dusty barios and shining Neo-Amurica. It sprawls on and on and is the largest farm town I’ve ever seen, surrounded for many, many miles on all sides with some of the most productive agricultural land on the continent. Chances are the vegetables for tonight’s supper came from the Yuma area. The price of that production is the draining of the Colorado River. It no longer runs into the Sea Of Cortez. It is pumped dry for irrigation of the fertile dark soil. That is after several years of drought, a subject to discuss another time.
Apparently, there were December rains this winter and I am told that desert will soon burst into a rare riot of blooms. Today a cold, dry winter desert wind continues to blast the broad valley but I am wearing short sleeves while many folks are in wool caps and parkas. I am a Canadian…like hundreds of thousands of other Northern Snowbirds crowding dusty campgrounds for hundreds of miles. I clearly have a very different notion of getting away from it all.It is abierto for me! In the distance, the ancient sun-blasted mountains of Mexico loom above the verdant plains of the Colorado River. Their call is so strong!
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know.” …John Keats
It has been a very long time since a certain travelling tractor salesman once plied these roads. These roads being those of the American Pacific Northwest. Tonight I’m in my van in a roadside rest area on Interstate 5 near the Oregon border, parked beside sleeping big rigs and listening to the rain drum on my fibreglass roof. I am exhausted. It has been a very long day. After the ferry ride to the mainland I performed some roadside repairs so now I have a functional house battery which means there is a working furnace and lights, etc. etc. Such decadence! (There was a time when sleeping beneath an upturned canoe on a rainy night was a matter course for me…long ago!)
I once regularly travelled this route, Interstate 5, the north-south transportation artery between the Canadian border near Vancouver and Tijuana on the Mexican border. Maybe I’m just older, the traffic now seems much heavier and faster despite an obvious police presence. In Seattle, which now is always in rush hour, drivers clearly have a death wish. I’ve never seen such risk-taking and I recall when Seattle traffic was noted for courteous driving. Some may argue that my memory fails me, but that is how I recall the good old days. And you could time your movements to avoid the morning and evening commute. Not any more. It is all a monstrous throbbing cancer despite the wonderful artistic community which I know thrives there. I’m a country boy at heart and so I’ll head for the hills. I just hope that all this rain is not snow at higher elevations. Yeah right! I was going to I5 it all the way into Northern California, then cut across to Reno and head on south through Nevada and Arizona.
I’m finding this freeway too much work and anxiety. Although I’ve made some repairs to the old van’s steering, it still handles like a hay wagon especially when travelling at the truck’s legal speed limit of 60 mph and the eighteen wheelers go by as if you are parked. They actually do try to blow you off of the road. The air compression at their speeds is incredible. Think of all the diesel being burned to rush someone their fresh lettuce. I kept the window open a bit to help myself stay awake and I swear there are times when I can smell and taste the exhaust swirling around out there. Well I’ve taken my meds, washed my face, brushed my teeth and it is time to go to bed for my first night in my little bus. Tomorrow is another day.
And so it is; after a very long night. I’m sitting with my morning coffee, pecking away at the computer in the thick black of 06:30. Something is draining my house battery and shortly after going to bed, the furnace died. I pulled on another blanket and tried to sleep. Stupidly I’d parked where directed, in the big truck area. I’d forgotten about engine brakes, air brake pressure relief valves, throbbing idling diesels, flashing lights as trucks arrived and departed all through the night. This morning I first could nor find my mobile phone, then couldn’t locate my hidden envelope of US cash. The adrenaline of panic is not a good way to begin a day. I wander off to the washroom, far across the parking lot in the driving rain and sleet. To my amazement, on a lowbed trailer sat a huge Bell 212 helicopter looking very out-of place.
Next the curser on this golderned computer screen vanished; gone to the loo I suppose. It returned, eventually. The coffee is good and I soldier out into the wet and dark of morning on the road. Ordeal or adventure, it is all in the journey I choose.
The journey has now led me to be parked beside a rail line near La Pine, in Central Oregon on my second night. You know it, rain and wet snow. Tombstone Pass over the mountains was slick with sticky wet snow. In the dark I missed a turn in Bend and now here I am. I’ve finally sorted out my electrical problem and am happily listening to the fan of my lovely little furnace. It was an arduous day that has passed quickly. I fell into my bed, which was damp with the storm’s humidity. Earlier today, I finally exorcized my electrical gremlins and now I do have a working furnace.
Diesel pickups with loud exhausts roared past on this remote backroad all damned night. I was parked close to a level crossing and every time I almost drifted off, guess what? Yep! Too whoo, clickety clack, who dat trying to sleep beside the old railway track? Fully exhuasted, I was cooking breakfast before dawn. I drove eastward toward a place called Winnemucca, Nevada. It sounds like a medical condition but it is a real name, probably of a native origin. At first the sun was in my eyes with a promise of a brighter day but for a while I squirm around yet more wrecks being attended with emergency crews. It is not just Canadians who have a death wish.
The winter roads here are sanded with crushed, brick-red lava rock so the old van is coated with red muck. It hides the weathered paint and rust. I drove on through high Ponderosa pine forest and emerged onto the Southern Oregon high plains ranchland. I have been gobsmacked with the incredible beauty of this country. It is vast. It is stupendous. I tried to imagine how incredible it must have been before the pale-faced hordes invaded and desecrated everything with roads, fences, power lines, mines and waste. It is still stunning. As I drove across the plains and mesas, around and over thrusting slabs of tilted, weather rock sometimes a thousand feet or more high, I finally began to feel my months-long anxiety begin to ease. If I has stopped to take all the photos I saw, I would not have travelled fifty miles. Each time I leapt out of the vehicle with my camera I thought of another note to make and soon snatches of poetry began to appear. A very good sign indeed.
“These vast plains and thrusting slopes are a landscape that the gods slash with bursts of changing colours and light, rainbows, and swirling clouds while ten thousand cattle turn their backs to yet another winter squall.” At one point it was raining and blowing so hard, I turned on my dash cam to capture the show while fighting to keep the careening vehicle on the road. Stunned, I came upon a jogger out in the tempest and then, incongruously, I saw that he was waving to another jogger approaching him. These ranch folk in spandex are a tough lot! I wrote some more, “And the land rose up, the sea fell away, as the plains turned green, out came hoofed creatures at play.” Well it’s a start.
Then I realized a freedom that I was actually stopping to write these ideas down. The day unfurled before me like a wonderful dream. As I drove I also seized upon one of the joys of this old van, it has a cassette stereo. At the last minute I tossed in a bucket of cassettes I hadn’t looked at for years. What a way to enhance the bliss! Occasionally I’d meet another vehicle, perhaps twice an hour. Everyone waved! I have forgotten how it was to live in a world like that. I saw magpies several times and realized that I had also forgotten these once-beloved birds. The day rolled on on on. There were often huge round boulders laying in random places. I recalled a Swedish friend once explaining to my wonder at such things that they were there because some Troll had once thrown them at a church. Every so often I would pass a cattle guard. Traditionally, these are gateposts at either of a series of pipes or rails laid side by side for three or four feet. Cattle can’t walk on them, the metal tubes must hurt their hooves. On the highways, these gates are merely heavily painted lines across the road. The cows have duped themselves into believing they cannot cross. Hoof prints and manure stop abruptly at these lines and then turn back. It is clearly not only people who can be convinced to believe in the impossible, whether it is true or not.
Perhaps folks waved because it’s obvious that I’m a stranger in their big country. I am not driving a silver Dodge diesel 4×4 truck at over eighty miles an hour. The grandest wonder of all to me is that for all the hundreds of miles I drive in this sprawling majesty, it is only a tiny scratch within a very, very huge land. Tonight I sit in my camper van just south of Battle Mountain. There has been a labour of love here. Some folks have made two huge letters on a mountain slope overlooking the bleak little town. BM. We know what that can mean. Las Vegas ahead in the morning. It is a city I abhor and I’ll do my best to go around it.
So guess what? There I was in downtown Las Vegas, in the dark, after ten hours on the road, with every zoomhead in the world wanting to play bumper cars. I have an ancient GPS mounted on my dash. It saved my life. I only had to backtrack once. Now I’m backed into a dead end at the Searchlight Nevada municipal airport. Almost five hundred miles today since Battle Mountain. I’m bagged.
I’ve seen more amazing scenery and incredible sights than I can assimilate. I’m WOWed out! From hereon I’ll try formatting the blogs from this ongoing trip as pictorials with captions. Editing all my photos and films at the end of each day is plenty enough work. This is supposed to be a holiday! I’ve finished stashing the day’s take in photos. A marvellous mariachi bands plays on the radio. Outside, a cool wind blows beneath a clear, full-moon desert sky.
“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really.
Get busy living, or get busy dying.” …Shawshank Redemption
(Note: This blog is finally being posted eight days after beginning my journey southward From Ladysmith. At present I am in an RV Park in Yuma Arizona. I’ll catch up to immediate events as soon as possible)
I’m almost on the road, finally, into the land of Trump, heading for the wall. It has occurred to me how that man could effectively close the gaps in the already half-built fortification, if he simply erected a continuous billboard across the continent, ten feet high with shoulder to shoulder portraits of himself, facing into Mexico. He could be shown waving his hands horizontally as he does, and with a quote saying something like “This will be very effective, very effective, you will pay.” Better than bullets! An endless chain of his porky fizog peering out from beneath that blond mop on his head would certainly repel me. Sorry Republicans, nothing personal, it’s just a repugnance I’ve developed after all the news stories about this character’s latest tweet. (Feel free to slander our own flacid Canadian Prime Minister.) Well, I know that I’m supposed to be a smiling non-partisan guest as I greet each gun-toting American child of God. And so I shall. “Is that a Smith & Wesson in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”
My experience with the ordinary American citizen is that they are warm, friendly, generous and compassionate. They are trusting and complacent which is why they’ve ended up with the porcine fuhrer they presently have. When questioned about the dangers of driving in Mexico I always explain that I’ve beaten the odds once over the Mexican border. After the drive across the US I feel much safer. It is a beautiful land with lots of great people, too bad there is a cloud of constant anxiety above it.
So here I go. The old van I bought has proven to have the usual plethora of used vehicle woes but I sally forth with some tools and optimism. I’ve even cut a hole in the floor above the electric fuel pump which is mounted inside the fuel tank. If that fails, I would otherwise have to remove the entire tank, which of course will be full with gasoline when the fuel pump dies. This is accomplished by squirming underneath the vehicle, on your back, while laying in the dust of a remote desert area. I’ve been in that situation before. There’s no romance to any of it, even looking back. There is no valid excuse for putting a pump inside a tank without providing an access panel like many foreign vehicles. A friend has loaned me a used fuel pump to carry, just in case. I know that since I have that angle covered, Old Murphy will find something else to to nail me with. Well, enough nattering. Shut up and drive! Find a country music station on the radio and let the miles erase the angst. I’m worried that I have forgotten how to relax and how to play. So here goes!
So what is it that I like about Mexico? I love a journey with constantly changing scenery. I love being warm and dry. I love Mexicans. Despite all the negatives I’ve heard I am far more inclined to trust a Mexican than most gringos. I have not met a lazy Mexican, which is why the US economy is built, in no small part, on the backs of these folks. Their economic system does not allow them to sit around leeching off of others. Work or starve. They possess a dignity that defies our comprehension and also the wonderful ability to live in the moment. If you can feed your children today, bueno! Besides, what can you really do about tomorrow? Mucho Gusto!
Mexican also still embrace the concept of family. Both children and the elderly are treasured and provide elements of security within the basic unit of government in any culture. Drugs. Yep a, nasty business, made even worse by the incessant focus of the media. Nature abhors a vacuum and we all know where the huge market is for that poison. Yep, right here! If you want to stop the drug trade, stop buying the shit! There is plenty of violence and death right here at home, drugs or not. By the way, The Mexico and its people I know is always as far away from the tourist centres as possible. There are many folks who go into Mexico, stay in a resort area and never see nor taste the real country. I prefer the back roads, rural areas and remote pieces of coast. I also do not portray myself as a shiny, wealthy, arrogant Northerner. A smile and a sincere effort at the language also goes a long way. Ándale!
Well finally! January 17th, 10:15 With a mighty boooop of the ship’s horn, we pull away from the ferry dock at Duke Point in Nanaimo. Propitiously, we are exactly on time. The van is two decks below me, stuffed randomly with food, clothing, tools and cameras. I will have to sort it all out later, but the immediate objective is to cross the border. There is an electrical problem, the brand-new battery which runs the house system including lights, fridge, and furnace is flat dead. I need to find out the problem right away so the battery can recharge while driving along. I am dead shattered-weary but I’ll fix it.
There is an exhaustion which is due in part to the stress and duress of preparing the old van, worries about money and the general low health blaahs which I fall into every winter. My arthritis this year has made it difficult to walk at times, to hold a wrench, or even a pen. My handwriting is more terrible than ever. My fingers miss the letters on this keyboard and I understand why as a youngster, I knew old people were often grumpy. Now I get it. I hope that I do not yet exude the old man smell I remember when I’d have to sit near an oldster on some hard oak pew. It was not pleasant. To increase my duress there is a tentative deal cooking on my beloved ‘Seafire’ which is very bittersweet. But I have plans beyond parting with my dear old boat and I assure you, I have not swallowed the hook. There will be another boat, somehow, in my future. I have a dream. Continuing my blog is part of it. Thank you all for your support and your many cheering compliments and creative criticisms.
So the first hurdle is dealing with Homeland Insecurity as I cross the border. They can see the horn which sprouts on my forehead each time I have to deal with them. I need to thumb through my copy of “ Being Contritious With Bureaucrats For Smart-assed Old Farts.” Perhaps I have enough points to earn a free trip to Guantanamo Bay. As it turns out, they did query me about all my camera bags and if I was going to work in the US. For once, I kept my pie-hole shut and simply answered YES/NO as required.
One of the grand things about travelling in the US is that there are fast food outlets everywhere, in fact it is often difficult to find a real restaurant that serves those jelly belly hi gluten and trans-fat meals otherwise know as home cooking. The fast food joints all have wifi so the blogs will continue to be beamed out to you. You’ve been warned!
Ps: Here’s a link to a blog posted by my dear friends Tony and Connie. They’re home taking a brief sabbatical from their ongoing wandering sail around the globe. They’ve been on this trip now for nine years…and it ain’t over yet. Tony posted a blog about the walk we went on in the fog at my now-beloved Swallowfield farm on the same day. https://sageonsail.com/
“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.” …Raymond Lindquist
There’s no fool like an old fool. Sadly, that weary old axiom is as true as ever. Yesterday, in the middle of a busy morning my computer went KABLOOWEY KERPLUNK. The Screen was suddenly frozen, white with a broad red band across it. There was no way to escape (At least so far as I knew.) A bold message read that Microsoft had detected an insidious virus and had frozen my computer to prevent further damage. A toll-free phone number was provided for me to contact immediately. There’s no-one as gullible as someone in deep panic. I was on my way to an important meeting and the timing of this cyber trap completely blew my cool.
A man with a thick Asian accent answered my call through a very bad connection and the fun began. I should have caught on immediately. For half an hour I was switched up the line to yet another supervisor, with difficult accents, and then another who soon had control of my desk-top. An alien curser began dancing across my screen at their will and reams of data scrolled on and on. I was told that my IP address was severely hacked, all my personal data was now in the hands of these bad guys and with such a high-end computer, now drastically infected, I had huge problems. Eventually prices in the hundreds of dollars began appearing on the screen. I finally began to smell fish. I was warned of dire consequences if I switched off the computer and/or took it to any computer repair facility. At this point I became the next curser, and a loud one at that. Bastards! Looking back I knew that Microsoft simply does not operate in such a way. Hello! Hello!
Originally assured that there were no fees for this online repair, the story evolved. Now the scam was that my IP address was in the hands of nasty hackers and hopelessly irretrievable. The only way I could ever use my computer again was to buy a license for a new IP address. This is yet another version of my ongoing theme about the profit of paranoia. Scare the crap out of folks and you’ll be able to steer them in any direction you want. That ageless persuasion continues to work very well for the church and for politicians. That, and greed. I was once selling a boat for a friend when a nasty Nigerian scammer tried to pull my chain. That’s another story. I should have known better this time. I’ve already skipped through the big scam about Revenue Canada threatening me with imprisonment. I’d been warned. Now this! So you too stay alert.
Suddenly I could see that I was being had and knew I’d soon be asked for credit card information. Finally I hung up and headed for my neighbourhood computer guru where I was met with a quiet smile. Yep, just another old fish who had bitten the dancing lure. Fortunately I spat the hook. All is well that ends. My chagrin has not. These dudes were utterly convincing and part of my fury was at myself for being swept through some very obvious signs, in retrospect, that I was being had. Almost duped I felt like an absolute stupid ass. Here’s what you do if you find yourself in the same pickle. Shut it down and go to your computer repair man. They’ll remove any nasty thing that was installed… by the hackers. Those were the guys who installed the problem. I’ve also been shown how to unfreeze my screen should the same thing ever happen again. Bastards!
The rest of the story is that I was heading off to an appointment to look at a vehicle. A very good friend was having dinner with another of his amigos and learned that their old camper van was for sale at a very, very reasonable price. He e-mailed me immediately. Now I’m flat-assed broke for the moment but many of my pals have noted how badly I’ve been faring with winter and other problems which are rapidly becoming a great dungball of darkness. One of those friends has graciously loaned me the means to acquire the van and go south for a while. So, there will be some interesting blogs as I travel down the cactus trail to old Mexico. Meanwhile the rain hammers down as usual. There was a time when the sound of rain on the roof was soothing and peaceful. Now, it is an irritating white noise. That’s a bad sign in itself. Yesterday, I had to walk several blocks in the downpour when I could hear a red-winged blackbird singing. That is one of the first joyous sounds of spring. Instantly uplifted, the singer soon proved to be a starling, one of the great mimics. I’ve actually heard a starling perform a perfect eagle song. I spotted the little bugger singing his head off after I had looked all over the sky for a big baldy. That seemed quite funny at the time. Now it just depressed me a little more. Is everyone up to some sick trick? Bastards!
The rest of the story is that my benevolent friend wants to buy a sailboat in Mexico which he will leave there to use during the winter months. He wants this old salt to watch his back and offer a second perspective and any other relevant assistance. So we’ll call this a bus-man’s holiday. Of course cameras, both still and video, will be whirring all the while and evenings will be spent working at the computer keeping everything sorted out and recorded. Spring arrives in the Sonora Desert next month and the flowers are profuse and fantastic. There will be blogs.
Meanwhile I have a plethora of woes to sort out on the new old van. It has sat unused for years and as old Lord Nelson said “Ships and men rot in port.” The vehicle was stored under a roof and as soon as it was moved out into the pouring rain, windows began to leak. I turned on the pressure water system, the plumbing leaked badly. Electrical systems need attention. The rig needs a full service, including brakes and steering. I’ll have some busy days ahead.
“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”