Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ Road Homes

My middle daughter called the other night, telling me about the 2005 Airstream trailer she bought last week. In between my excited interrupting questions, she managed to get out that it was all the original woodwork, but definitely needed a big cleaning as it had been sitting for years without attention. "Where are the photos?" I demanded asked. She'd get some to me, promise. In the meantime, I was looking up 20 foot long 2005 Airstreams and came across this article by Jakob Schiller along the way.

Ever since I got my little Turtle motorhome, I've been asked "Do you know you can park overnight in WalMart parking lots for free?" Since I avoid shopping in WalMart for 99% of my shopping, sign petitions against their treatment of employees and blatant monied overrun of local governments in locating their stores, regardless of historic sites etc., my using their parking lots for overnighting would seem hypocritical at best and creepy at worst. Well, worst would be more than just creepy but you get the idea.

I'd rather be here

Jakob Schiller, a writer for Wired, looked at the subject with a writer's curiosity and a camera in hand. This is a partial excerpt from his article.

J.D. Gilkey sold the family home and has been driving around the country researching his family's genealogy. He says his travels have brought him to 500 Walmarts in the U.S. and Canada. "€œChristmas of 2011, there were about nine of us in the Walmart parking lot in Albuquerque,"€ he says. "Christmas Eve I put a note on everybody'€™s door to come over in the morning, and I fixed Christmas breakfast for everybody."€

Bob Floyd, right, with his dog Tank. "€œMy wife is in a wheelchair. She had a stroke in 2006, and we were planning to leave on a trip around the United States. It took us '€˜til 2013 for her to get strong enough and for us to figure out how to do it. It took us six weeks. We just came up from the Grand Canyon that afternoon, headed for Birmingham. The guard came by and checked on us every two hours to make sure we were alright."

From left: Megan Hoffman; Sophia Stauffer and her boyfriend, Alex Daby; Deanna Bunch and Kerouac (dog). They were traveling from Prescott, AZ, to Montana. Each of them plays at least one instrument, and they fund their travels by "€œjamming" on street corners. Sophia describes the nomadic life as an opportunity to "€œdo what I want to do and not have to worry about all the bills and worry about what's happening next."

Joe Torpey has been alternating between stays in a Walmart lot and spots in the woods for the past seven years. Due to a back injury he received several years ago, he'€™s had a tough time finding work. "This car saved my life,"€ he says of his 1998 Ford Taurus station wagon. He fears that his car will break down, because he doesn'€™t think he'll last living on the street.

"These are the best years of my life," says retiree Leroy Morris. He lives off social security in his small R.V. with Maggie, his dog. He stays in the Flagstaff Walmarts in the summer and winters in southern Arizona. 
(note: Of course he's happy! It looks like his motorhome is a Toyota mini, like the Turtle!)

 Al Van Abbema sold his house to live out of his R.V. He travels around the mountain states in the warm months and spends the winter in southern Arizona.

These are only some of the photos and mini stories in the article, which goes into more depth and is an interesting read of another facet of American life. Reading it, for me, was like walking into a (no, not a WalMart) public library and getting vignettes of a selection of people in there, with their stories hard or happy. Or both, as is usually the case with humanity. A dream field for a PhD candidate in Sociology.

It is another kind of tiny home living. I won't say never, but even though I'm still not drawn to spending any overnights in a WalMart parking lot - or any parking lot for that matter - at least if that has to happen I know there will probably be  some interesting people nearby. And maybe Christmas breakfast.

Now I'm just waiting on some Airstream photos!

Have a take to the trails Tuesday. Do something ticklish.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day ~ 2015

As a country, we've been at war a very long time. There have been honorable and dishonorable wars, as there are honorable and dishonorable motives, government war proponents and even that mix among soldiers. But this day, Memorial Day, is about honoring those whose lives were lost in carrying out the wars, the brave and the terrified (that can be, and often is, the same thing), the ones whose lives were taken by unfriendly and friendly fire, cut short often in the first bloom of their lives, serving their country, leaving behind fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and husbands and wives; children who might know little more than a photo to grow up with. So we also honor their families - who gave their best to the machinery of war. To all of them - those invisible medals of diamonds and dust.

We've been too long at war.

American History Timeline
American Involvement in Wars from Colonial Times to the Present

DatesWar in Which American Colonists or
United States Citizens Officially Participated
Major Combatants
July 4, 1675 -
August 12, 1676
King Philip's WarNew England Colonies vs. Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Nipmuck Indians
1689-1697King William's WarThe English Colonies vs. France
1702-1713Queen Anne's War(War of Spanish Succession)The English Colonies vs. France
1744-1748King George's War(War of Austrian Succession)The French Colonies vs. Great Britain
1756-1763French and Indian War (Seven Years War)The French Colonies vs. Great Britain
1759-1761Cherokee WarEnglish Colonists vs. Cherokee Indians
1775-1783American RevolutionEnglish Colonists vs. Great Britain
1798-1800Franco-American Naval WarUnited States vs. France
1801-1805; 1815Barbary WarsUnited States vs. Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli
1812-1815War of 1812United States vs. Great Britain
1813-1814Creek WarUnited States vs. Creek Indians
1836War of Texas IndependenceTexas vs. Mexico
1846-1848Mexican-American WarUnited States vs. Mexico
1861-1865U.S. Civil WarUnion vs. Confederacy
1898Spanish-American WarUnited States vs. Spain
1914-1918World War I
Triple Alliance: Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary vs. Triple Entente: Britain, France, and Russia. The United States joined on the side of the Triple Entente in 1917.
1939-1945World War IIAxis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan vs. Major Allied Powers: United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia
1950-1953Korean WarUnited States (as part of the United Nations) and South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
1960-1975Vietnam WarUnited States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
1961Bay of Pigs InvasionUnited States vs. Cuba
1983GrenadaUnited States Intervention
1989US Invasion of PanamaUnited States vs. Panama
1990-1991Persian Gulf WarUnited States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
1995-1996Intervention in Bosnia and HerzegovinaUnited States as part of NATO acted peacekeepers in former Yugoslavia
2001Invasion of AfghanistanUnited States and Coalition Forces vs. the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to fight terrorism.
2003Invasion of IraqUnited States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq

Have a moment of mournful remembrance Monday. Do something for peace.