Yes, yes, I intend to post my first four travelogues soon, but I have to hit the road.  So, here’s #5 for now:

Hi Friends and Family,
Shortly after my last travelogue, I woke up to snow!
When it cleared, I broke my solitary camp to go meet the Arizona “Loners on Wheels,” who turned out to be a very enjoyable group of folks to hang out with.  I took no photos (seemed rude when I’d just met them), but for my two days with their small group, I enjoyed two campfires, chats about trailer maintenance and repair (always welcome), and a walk to the lake where we watched bald eagles dive for their dinner.
This Arizona chapter of the national group takes a break for the summer, so I’ll probably join up with them again in the fall, but if I connect with some California “LOW’s” while I’m there, I might just join the group sooner.  We’ll see.  (Most full-time RV’ers join a number of groups for the camaraderie and the wide range of information that’s shared.)
Before pulling away, I took a 4-mile solo bike ride to “The Rim” (Mogollon Rim) – my first time on my own bike, I’m sorry to say, in a couple of years, and I’m super happy to have gotten back on wheels again.  And The Rim, of course, is spectacular.
 selfie on rim.jpg
(I guess selfies with our cameras make our faces fatter, which is why people buy selfie poles???  Whatever.  I haven’t gained 30 pounds like it appears.)
Oh yes!  Another exciting thing I almost forgot, speaking of pounds:  When I went into the Rim campground area, planning to spend 5 days alone, and 5 days with the LOWs – ten days, count ‘em – 10! – I went with a fridge full of fresh organic produce, and NO chips or crackers or chocolate or meat.  Just felt like a good time to clean up the diet.  I worried that I’d go crazy “needing” those other quasi-foods, but I didn’t!  (I even skipped a LOWs potluck to keep to my diet.)  I feel pretty dang good now.
When I finally got back into cellular range, I learned that my mother was in the hospital! – just before Mother’s Day! – so I left to spend a couple of days in Scottsdale, which turned into 3 1/2.  Down in the valley, I learned that my parents were both considered highly contagious, and so I didn’t get to see them right away.
With an unknown number of free days in the city, I decided to take on a project I’d been mentally designing for awhile:  a shell built on the back of my truck to replace the tarp and cargo net that flapped in the wind, caught rain into pools between my things, and was generally unattractive and a hassle to find things and a hassle to put back together.
Once I’d begun it, my brother helped me re-design and build it.
And I love it!  I can find everything so easily now, and it’s secure.  I am deeply indebted to John for his Sunday afternoon, helping me take the project beyond four uprights!
Trying to start the cross pieces on top of two uprights – alone, cuz John was at church when I just “had” to begin – resulted in a smashed finger that will probably lose the nail.
No, I didn’t smash it with a hammer or anything so expected.  While trying to bungee one end of a 2×3 on top of an upright in order to work on the other end, the far end of my 2×3 slid off it’s sloped top (duh) and caused my end to bounce – sharp and fast with my finger underneath.  I stopped work, sat and breathed awhile, then wrapped it up and found other things to do until my bro got home.
I only hoped he’d help me with two cross pieces (though I was willing to let him work along with me a little for a brother-sister activity), but he worked all day and into the evening, even though he had to be up at 4:30 the next morning!  We had a great time together, like we haven’t had in decades, and I am happy with a newly-forged bond with my younger bro.
The next day, I primed the wood and bought charcoal gray paint to match the detailing on the truck and trailer.  The gray paint is so dark, though, I think my truck might look like a saddle shoe when it’s done, but that’ll be fun!
I also added handles, latches, and locks to each door to keep things secure inside.  Notice the Sun Oven?  Yes, I use it regularly.  Love it.  (Of course.)
As you can see, this is not totally weather-proof, but it’s a whole heckuva lot better, and completed in just a day for $200 – about 1/10th the real deal of aluminum or fiberglass.  Actually, $300 when I add the paint and hardware.
Final design:  My solar panels ride on top of the truck, connected straight to the batteries on the trailer.  If I need to park in the shade, they are easy to slide off and move with their 25’ cable.  SO much better than what I’ve been hassling with!!
On my last full day in the city, I skipped a meeting with my folks at the doctor’s office, cuz I was covered in paint, but they came over to my brother and his wife, Kim’s for a great dinner afterward.  I was happy to see them both appearing in good health.  (No one remembered to take a photo the other night, but this is recent, so I thought I’d share it.)
mom n dad cropped.jpg
After two half-days of essential errands (Verizon, Camping World, Ace, Home Depot (for the last of FOUR returns!), oil change, and Glacier water), I’m on the road again – to volunteer at “Contact in the Desert,” a major conference in Joshua Tree, California, where lots of “big names” will be speaking on all the newest in the field – or what the Powers will allow them to disclose.
I have a highly skeptical attitude about a lot of what’s being said in this field, but I do believe there are important nuggets of truth woven in with the “controlled disclosure” that’s being done.  And of course, having had the weird experiences I’ve had, I’m always interested in revisiting my own story to try to understand some of the multi-dimensional aspects of our world that we rarely talk about openly.  It is a JOY to find other people willing to engage in philosophical, spiritual, and personal discussions of this sort.
Well, my smashed finger has had enough typing, so I’ll close for now and drive the last 150 miles to the Joshua Tree Resort, check in, set up camp, and report next week on the conference.
Thank you all for your nice responses to my travelogues.  It’s fun to stay in touch with you.
Much love,
Jean / Jean Ann / Mom ….