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Friday, March 1, 2013

"My gift is my song and this one's for you"

The full-time RV lifestyle allows wandering souls to live, travel and explore America's highways and back roads in every form and style imaginable. From a brand new quad-slide mini mansion motorhome with a Lexus SUV in-tow, to an old pickup on its last leg, belching smoke and buckling askew under the weight of a slide in camper that's seen better days. 

Both motor-homer and pick-uper are pilgrims of the road; one well pensioned, the other on social security. But they share a common and equalizing dream... to roam free as eagles, move according to mood and season. They eschew time-clocks for hide 'n seek, spending their last grains of sand on new territory as equals in wild and woolly places throughout the last vestiges of the untamed west. 

I share the disease—have dreams I can't shake—people and places I've yet to meet. I totally "get" Marco Polo, Columbus, and Lewis and Clark's inexplicable need to reconnoiter the unknown at the expense of comfort. But since Bobbie and I are self-sponsored, our excursions tend to come true in bits and pieces... between fundraising "treadmill" assignments, you might say. That's the price some must pay to bail sooner, rather than risk later. Making a living is like car maintenance, a necessary evil. But make no mistake, there is a difference between making a living and making a Life. Put aside limits that beget regret. Hindsight is 20/20; go forward and don't look back. Try not to dwell on shoulda's and if-only's. Personally, I never was very good at waiting, and it turns out that that impatience changed my life.

The BCB has become a "Song." I share it because it adds purpose to my RV life... something that went missing toward the end of our first sojourn back at the turn of the century. I'm older and wiser now. I realize that Dr Spock was a big fat liar, that children of the 60's are not the center of the Universe, and, in fact, that the world doesn't even know most of us are here... never mind changin' it. Eventually we learn to swallow lessons of smallness and take our rightful place... settling for affecting one person at a time. 

I have shrunk. Now I just do what I feel called to do and find ways to share it... thinking there must be other restless souls like me... playing the waiting game, procrastinating, dealing with Life's curveballs and feeling trapped by circumstance. They're out there, lurking in shadowy pools of curiosity—clinging to anonymity like it was a rope and life-saver—watching dreams sink like the Titanic. I did that, till one fine day a little "straw" broke the back of my "camel." Someone I knew died way too young. 

Suddenly, I felt the lie... that living vicariously is living fiction; it's not really happening, that its someone else's life I was infatuated with. As in high school, most of us are not king of the prom nor quarterback. Hell, we couldn't get a date with a cheerleader if our lives depended on it. 

So now I do my bit part to open hearts and minds to a life some never dream is possible... lead eyes to landscapes that beguile and stupefy, lend ears to the yip-howl of coyotes crying at the full moon. This is sweet redemption for plodding various treadmills year in, year out. It is my time, and I take no guilt in that... as long as something of value comes of it.     

Goals and purpose on the road are as varied as people and the rigs that house them. From a quest to search out the worlds greatest cinnamon roll, to building houses for Habitat For Humanity, to volunteering, to blog entertainment; who are we to judge one is more honorable than the other? Maybe the guy looking for the cinnamon roll crosses paths with someone in need, and graciously lends a hand and friendship. 

We can't all be Bill Gates when it comes to philanthropy and saving the world. Who knows, maybe Bill Gates isn't giving enough! Recall Jesus's comment in the book of Luke. "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them (the rich); for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had..." 

Those who are of modest means and think they can't make a difference miss the simple essence of the widow's story, not to mention the greater joy that comes from reaching out. Tis always better to give than receive. Along the way, while doing some of the things that brings pleasure and meaning to my existence, I'm just hoping my "little things" add up to the widow's two copper alms. 
Cue Elton John: 

If I was a sculptor, but then again no,
Or a man who makes potions in a travelling show
I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one's for you...

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses, well they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song,
It's for people like you, that keep it turned on.

These time-tested words of wisdom from Francis Bacon should give you pause:

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake..." 


Now for some photos of our hike with Susan and Maikel... Hugh Norris Trail, to San "something," to Dobe Wash... making a big loop through beautiful Saguaro National Park on a sun-gorgeous day. 

Stay tuned for Sabino Canyon and our hike with Wandrin' Lloyd to Hutch's Pools... another real beaut. Now go take a hike and think about what Mr. Bacon said. Have a great weekend!!! And thanks for sharing the BCB adventure.
Mark and Bobbie


  1. Exactly. We both work showin' it can be done! and showing that you can tailor "It" to fit your own unique personality.

    Sometimes I feel like it's a lil' arrogant to say I have something to teach... but is it?

    If we've survived this long and can still summon a smile; what were we doin' if we don't have some hard won wisdoms to pass on? We had to learn something!

    Like you, if I can provide the inspiration for just a few souls to reach out for something they've kept carefully, fearfully, hidden inside... to take the risks of failure and know the joy of conquering their fears and breathing the air only found in dreams! It adds more than I can count to my self-worth. :)

    You take the "middle class" wanderers and I'll make sure the smoke belching, last leg pickup guys draggin' a bent and broken fiver have a point man! :)

    ... I'm gonna go deflate my ego now to a lil' safer level ;)


  2. You're getting it figured out, Mark. And, yes, your writing sings.

  3. Everyone has a song though some choose to sing the melody laid out for them rather than the notes of their own heart. Some lack the courage to try new refrains or tackle the untried or difficult. I'm still doing what needs to be done to embrace the wonder lust of my soul. Amazing what freedom lies in yet another trip to the dump. Great thoughts for a early morning!

  4. A provocative, disturbing and influential post. You and Francis Bacon got me off the couch and into the hills today. Thanks!
    Great photography too.

    Anonymous vicarious lurker.

    PS: Brought Goldie's sister home with me. Missed you guys by one week in St. George.

  5. Amen! Deserves a standing ovation!

    If you'da seen my "dotter" and her hubby yesterday morning, you'da laughed out loud! Looked like Sandord and Son on their way to a four day camp-out....one of these days, she hopes to give you and Bobbie some competition...friendly, that is. Keep on that box, Mark, we love it....Laverne

  6. Your blog never fails to inspire - both in word and image. Thanks for singing your song.

  7. Two (Sometimes Not So) Wise Ones Here - that hike is a definite repeat-repeat-repeat. What an exquisite loop. Yowza! Ps. The internet speed here is ZOOM!

  8. A lovely post Mark. You've inspired many "pilgrim souls" - scamp

  9. Sorry our paths didn't cross in Tucson.

    We just left beautiful Valley of Fire. What an amazing place! We loved that you could hike anywhere you wanted. Thanks for sharing some hiking ideas. We loved the campground...very quiet and private.

    We arrived at Zion River RV Resort this afternoon. Struggling with weak WiFi. We're not going to blog here! Drove into Zion for some maps. Thanks for suggesting other areas to check out as well.

    You and your blog have been a wealth of information.

    Enjoy Sabino Canyon. Check out the hike to the Seven Falls. We do have a blog post on it.

  10. Thanks for the nice gift of song that serves as the perfect soundtrack for your beautiful photography (though this particular "gift" makes me want to write a letter of resignation instead of a Thank You note.) ;-)

    I am reminded of another favorite, "Listen to the melody, cause the love is in there hiding." Yours Bobbie's love for the Great Southwest is palpable...

  11. elaine@hymnserve.comMarch 2, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Here is the quote that comes to mind. "A friend is someone who knows the song of your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the melody!"

  12. You had me at the title! You see... that is our song! Hubs and mine! And then the blog. Well, I have this to say about the blog and I don't say this often.

    Your gift, your vicarious life for me... it does take my eyes to landscapes as you describe in your words and show in your glorious photos. Hubs and I are blessed to somehow have the best of both worlds with a beautiful stix and brix and one of those quad-slide thingies. But, there is no hiking or biking for us. I will suffice it to say that Hubs is a Vietnam Vet. Yes, I could do those things alone but that just didn't turn out to be my style 40+ years ago and I just can't see myself starting it now that we are RVing types. So, with you I go. And I thank you ever treaded or pedaled step of the way!

    And this long comment's for you!

  13. It's nice to know if you want to get out and see the world..and you truly do, anyone can..
    I just stop the newspaper the mail hook-up and turn the key...Wow!!
    look at those rocks!!!
    Thanks for getting back to me..

  14. CowBoy Brian,
    Not "arrogant," confident from experience... which is akin to wisdom, as close as you or I will get to it anyway :)) Thanks!

    Desert Scruff,
    Maybe. Regardless, thanks for your kind words :))

    "Amazing what freedom lies in yet another trip to the dump." Very well put... I'm sure most converts to the full-time lifestyle can identify :)) thanks

    Anonymous Vicarious Lurker,
    Hooray! Mission accomplished.
    Goldie likes to meet all her relatives... too bad we didn't connect in Zion. Maybe down the road. Thanks for commenting... don't be a stranger.

    Bobbie is a tough target... good luck with that :))
    As always, thanks Laverne. You keep me going :)

    Donna K,
    A big thanks... you are too kind :)

    It went in to my Favorites!!! Zoom!

    Gracious, Guys! It was time for a break from Travelog Tales. :)

    John and Pam,
    You are most welcome!
    The Park's WiFi works pretty good before six am, FYI
    Hope we cross paths someday!

    Work is a dilemma for wandering heart types... Endure, the end may be nearer than you think (not death... RV Life). Palpable... I like that word. :)

    Hymnserve Elaine,
    Thanks for your commit. I hope a few readers check out you website, http://www.hymnserve.com
    Lovely arrangements of classic hymns.

    Meow Mamma,
    You made my day... maybe even my month! Thank you for your kind comments.

    It's true... anyone can. thanks for your photos. You never did say where they were taken...

  15. Mark, I sent you more and the story behind them..I'll try again..But check out Almo Idaho...Sooo Sweet..


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