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0518 Mesa Verde, CO

Last night as I was rearranging boxes in the van I had a flash on where my other winter jacket was. I was right. It was in the box with my pants and shirts. Song I don’t have to be quite as layered to be warm. About this jacket before I came long trail last fall. Assistant. It’s a synthetic Phil Phil F I LL rather than down. I thought I might need it on the long trail since there was a good chance of it being a rainy time. It wasn’t, so I used my down jacket.

This morning I wake to about half an inch of snow on the ground and van and trees and everything! No wonder it’s cold. The van thermometer says it’s 40 degrees. It’s usually about 10 to 12° warmer inside than outside.


0516 Chaco Canyon, NM

We awake early.

Where we stayed… Not my typical forest…

Go to Love’s for coffee and wifi. I know I’m headed into an area where I’ll have no signal, so want to download a few podcasts. I’ve been binge listening to “Philosophize This”. The story of Philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to current. Fabulous.

After about the 10th episode, I realize that this is what I would have done if I’d stayed in School. I had a math scholarship to Michigan State. I had no interest in a school that big. I was a very scared, shy, depressed young man at that time. They suggested I consider Oakland University, an experimental college affiliated with MI State. This was a small school with pass-fail grading. I did one semester in Physics, thinking it would be similar to Math. It wasn’t. I couldn’t imaging ever using Calculus. (The drugs probably didn’t help much.) I switched to Philosophy which I loved. And a year later was infected by clay which leads to today and both threads being present.

I check the map to Chaco. Lookup the website and read about the roads. From the south, where we are, there’s a 20 mile dirt road that is sometimes impassable. The northeastern entrance is 16 miles and sometimes impassable. There’s a map that say is important to look at. That relying on a GPS may get you very lost. And they recommend calling for road conditions. I call. I’m told that both roads are pretty good. Ok. We’re headed in from the south.

As I leave I-40 heading north I call a friend. As we’re talking and I loose signal. I turn around and call back. I say that I’m concerned about the dirt road. Sherman acts quite traumatized on bumpy roads. The 20 mile washboard dirt road at Organ Cactus National Monument did him in. If the road’s that bad, I’ll turn around and we’ll go elsewhere. She asks if there’s a pillow on the seat. There is a folded up fleece blanket. I get a towel and wrap my pillow in it then place it on the blanket.

The drive to Seven Sisters where we get on the dirt road is spectacular red cliffs.


0515 Gallop, NM

It was very windy all night, the gusts rocking the van. At 2 AM Sherman does his typical move from his blanket and curls up behind my knees.

We wake up and I have to solve the morning pee logistics. If we just hop out of the van and pee like we usually do I’ll have to unsticker Sherman’s feet. So my solution this morning is to rearrange the van for driving. Drive a half mile up the road to a lookout point we saw last night. We can walk the perimeter of that paved area –surrounded by stones.

As were getting ready to drive away I realize I can’t find my phone. I haven’t been out of the van. Haven’t opened any of the doors. So it has to be in the van. I do a quick search in the back and don’t find it. OK… Pee first. Phone second.


0514 Mohave National Preserve, CA

Quite a day. After a morning hello/goodbye with a friend, I stop at Starbucks in Mira Monte to get another blog entry posted. Lots of pictures. Started the 2nd one and it was just time to go.

As I’m driving I see Sherman chewing on something and his head moves don’t match what they are when he’s chewing on a toy. He has pulled two bananas from a spot in between the seats and is chewing on the stems. That’s a new one! No prior banana interest. He loves to chew on sticks and I’m sure he smiled when he saw that stick on the end of those bananas!