Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Dharma Bums: Retrospective 2013-2016

Donjek River Boondocking, Yukon Territory
      Looking back on the 3+ years this blog has been in existence I have to say I am fairly satisfied.  It has been a combined collection of travel, cooking, and restaurant reviews.  Barb and I have very much enjoyed the travel, especially to the areas on our 'Bucket List'.   We have also spent many days  visiting old high school friends, Air Force friends, and family.  We have been across borders to both the north and the south.  We have pretty much had it all.  Although Barb and I continue to acclimate ourselves to the new 24/7 fully together lifestyle I realize that I am the luckiest man on the planet to have such a strong, wonderful (and yes incredibly patient) woman at my side.  She is my 'touchstone', but at times I am sure she wants to beat me severely with her 'wailing wall'.  This winter we do have to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to the wonderful folks at Billy Navarre Chevrolet in Lake Charles, LA as they seemed to have FINALLY found the origin of our 'Check Engine' light issues.  We have had no further issues for many miles now and "Rakka Klakka" (as I love to call her) is running strong and true as ever.  I love my truck. 

      I have worked very hard to keep personal feelings, religion, and politics out of my writing.  There is way too much animosity in the world anymore.  I even took a recent (albeit temporary) hiatus from Facebook as my soul needed some much needed rehab.  You would be surprised how much more time you have when you aren't on the computer 'Facebooking' every day.  I do still spend a bit of time online with chess as it is my personal mental exercise and preventative maintenance for early Alzheimer's.
      The 'restaurant reviews' have been a personal passion of mine.  It gives me a chance to try something new locally or regionally from many of the areas we have visited.  Some have been as good as advertised, some not so good.  Most of the times my selection process on where to eat is random, but I will sometimes try the local favorites.  I have learned that listening to 'the locals' is advice often worth it's weight in gold.  Barb and I rarely eat at the upscale dining places as we have always been more comfortable in the more 'down to Earth' local spots.

Catfish Charlies Corpus Christi, TX
Cioppino's San Francisco, CA
Kreuz Market Lockhart, TX
Crazy Norwegian Port Orford, OR

Gwennie's Old Alaska, Anchorage, AK

El Charro Café  Tucson, AZ
     I do strive to occasionally post some of my own meals, showing the ability to still enjoy the best of dining even on the road in the RV. 
Moroccan Braised Chicken
Auspit Cook's Ham
Our grandson, Brock, enjoying Reindeer Casserole
Fresh crab feast ala RV
      I especially loved stopping for a week moochdocking with my sister in Salem, OR and the chance to do a bit of cooking with her.  Her oldest son, Andrew (a local microbrewer) is also becoming the accomplished 'Kitchen Meister' as well.  His brew is quite famous throughout the region.

       This winter has been one long shakedown cruise for all of us, including the new furbabies, Roux the Repuplican and Bones the Democat.  They were both less than 6 months old when we left home.  We also have given our new RV quite the workout, traveling another 15,000 miles this trip.  I have tried to post relevant as well as the more important info (websites and URLs) about the regions we visited, where we stayed, the costs, and most importantly the new boondocking spots we discovered along the way.   This is in the hope that some of what I write will help those on the road or about to be.  This can also include maintenance cures, costs, and tips.  Barb's rooftop leak patch job has worked out very well!  I started out reading the MANY blogs online from other travelers and used much of the information they have provided myself.  I designed my approach to solar, battery storage, water recycling, food preservation, and the many other ways to cut a few $$$ along the way from what I have read.  There are some pretty smart folks out there.  I am just lucky enough to learn from them.  I have to say that I am very happy with the comments and responses I have received regarding my posts.  I have too learned as much from them as anything I have written myself at times.  My hope is to pass on much of what I have learned in an attempt to help others on their own journeys. 
COMPLETE solar setup........San Felipe, Baja, Mexico
       It is always good to get back home as well, spending our summers on our farm in NW Michigan.  It is especially beautiful there during the summers when there is no snow to contend with!  It gives us time to tend to the yard and gardens as well as plant some fresh vegees for next winter's adventure.  Inevitably there are also some repairs to tend to as winters are fairly harsh on the homestead when there is no one home.  We always make time for a trip or two to the Upper Peninsula for some summer camping fun with the furbabies.   Retirement has been very good to Barb and I.  I have been able to spend more time reacquainting myself with photography and have even published my first photo essay book last summer.  I am already working on my next project.  It isn't a cheap proposition when starting out paying to publish your own material.  Barb has enjoyed reading, visiting grandchildren and family, rockhounding, geocaching, and partying in both Mexico and Mardi Gras (yeah, I kept her clothed and out of jail in New Orleans). 
Krewe of Selene Mardi Gras Parade
      This post coincides with our eventual and inevitable arrival home, but we are already in the process of planning where we want to go this coming winter.  We are committed to staying mostly to the south, hunting, fishing, saving a few $$$, and stocking up on our favorite foods.  2017's forecast includes another trip to Alaska.  If you've been to the 49th state you'll certainly understand sometimes once isn't enough.  I plan to continue on my current novice journalistic path, sharing some of the best life has to offer both on the road and, food, recreation, and just plain Joie de Vivre! 

"Focus on the journey, not the destination.  Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it." 
                                                                  Greg Anderson

WiFi courtesy of Verizon MiFi Jetpack

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