Saturday, January 10, 2009

From Sea to Shining Desert

I finally made it back to Moab weeks ago. I'm house-sitting, meaning I get a lot of computer time to catch up on stuff. I finally broke down & made a website again called

With a FAQ & Essays & Links, to hopefully answer all unanswered questions about this lifestyle & the philosophies & ponderings of it. 

Somebody else in the world voluntarily living moneyless right now in the 21st century!

I just found out there are other folks in the world voluntarily living moneyless! There's a woman in Germany who has lived without money since 1996! Her name is Heidemarie Schwermer. Her website is in German, but you can plug it into Babelfish to get the gist of it. It looks like she even wrote a book about it. 

Also, there's a Mark Boyle in England who recently told me he gave up money months ago & plans to do it for a year. I bet he'll get hooked just like Heidemarie & I did! Sometime before that, Mark started the freeconomy community.

I also heard there's another fellow in England (London?) who lives totally moneyless. I forget his name. He doesn't use internet or phones, I hear.


So here’s what’s happened since I last wrote in this blog thingy last November at my cousin Annie’s in Petaluma, Cali.


I got to see my other cousin, Sue (Annie’s identical twin) & her son Jamie, as well as meet Annie’s fairly new boyfriend, Mark. I got to do hikes to the Point Reyes coastline with Annie & Mark. And I got to tune up my bicycle a bit – even finding a luxurious new soft-silicon seat for it in a bike shop dumpster, as well as new tires & tubes. Then off I petalled from Petaluma to Berkeley to visit my friend, Dan & his partner Liz, for a couple days.

When it came time to pedal to Sacramento, Dan & Liz decided to join me part way, parting ways with me at Concord. The bike trip to Sacramento was really nice. 

My bike was doing ok, too, even with 7 broken rear spokes that I’d jerry-rigged, using spare spokes & bailing wire to wire them to both the hub & the chain-spoke guard thingamajigger. I was fairly surprised the bike made it all the way to Sacrament land. I should mention I had a complete tool kit, every item found along roadsides since Oregon – a pair of pliers, a crescent wrench, a philips & a standard screwdriver, wire-cutters (for cutting fences) and even an allen wrench that happened to fit exactly! What are the chances of that? 

But the Lord Giveth & The Lord Taketh Away. When I got to Sacrament Hell I noticed the nice down jacket Liz had given me in Berkeley had gotten lost off the bike. At first I was peeved, since I thought I’d need it for what I figured would be a bitter-cold train-hop to Utah. Then I had to stop & meditate again, reminding myself that everything I need comes when I need it, & gets lost when I need to lose it. I did now have 2 splendid sleeping bags I had found, after all. 

But Sacramento was indeed a hell. Not very bike friendly. I wrecked on a bike-tire-size rut on an insanely busy overpass with no bike lane & thought my life was over. But I came out unscathed. 

I ended up spending a couple days in that sacramental purgatory trying to hop a freight with no luck. Only one train stopped. No rideable cars. So I decided to peddle as far as I could toward Reno on the lame bike & see what’d happen. I often got off-road & followed rocky paths along the railroad tracks. Treating an already-ill old 10-speed as a mountain bike isn't recommended. The rear tire finally blew up as I coasted into the town of Auburn. I had no more spare tires, & more spokes had broken. So I ditched the bike & started hoofing it. Right as I walked into town, a train rolled over the overpass, slower than molasses in January [that's the overpass on the left]. There’s my hopping spot, I thought. After a night camping in the woods, I hopped a train out of there. It took me over Donner Pass [right], through Reno, accross Nevada. The December weather was unusually warm & beautiful. I had no need for that down coat in the day, & at night I slept in my sleeping bags. 

It took me all the way to Ogden, Utah. I didn’t hop off, thinking it would go southward toward Grand Junction, Colorado, but it ended up going the Cheyenne route. So I rode all the way to Green River, Wyoming – the very same place I had ridden my bike to in July from the Rainbow Gathering! 

I hitch-hiked southward. I’d been told a snowstorm would be blowing in, & all I had for warmth was a light sweater. Why would this be the first time in 8 years what I needed wouldn’t come?, I kept reminding myself. A middle-aged oil-rigger guy with a wise & kind face that blew all stereotypes of rigger rough-necks, took me out of his way to Manila, Utah. I had an over-loaded back-pack, & there was no indication that I was lacking anything. But he asked me, as I got out of the car, if I had a jacket. “No,” I said. He said he happened to have a heavy parka he never used, & he gave it to me along with $20. I hadn’t told him I didn’t use money, so I had to figure out how & where to ditch the $20.

Another rough-neck took me past the Flaming Gorge. Then a young guy took me into Vernal, UT. He said he was working on a theory unifying the 4 forces of physics that would blow both Einstein & Hawking out of the tub. A 60-something woman took me to Dinosaur, CO, & another 60-something woman took me all the way to my parents’ house in Fruita, Colorado. She happened to hit & maim a big beautiful elk buck on the way. We were both shook up, needless to say. 

I spent a few days with my parents in Fruita, then went to stay with my brother & chop wood at his cabin in Conifer, Colorado. Then back to my parents’ for Christmas, then back here to Moab. I’ve got house-sits lined up till the end of January, so I haven’t stayed back at the canyon cave, yet. Being sedentary, that might mean this blog will probably be less of a travelogue & more philosophical musing again.

I googled "Mill Creek Canyon" & found these photos of the back yard of my cave dwelling, during warmer season. The pool below is my usual bathtub. I am totally amazed that somebody found & photographed the very petroglyph of the Pushmepullya just yards from the cave I stay in! [right]. You can find most any obscurity on the web nowadays.

How could any CEO or king or trust-funder be richer than I?

Blessed are the poor, for nobody can be richer than they. Blessed are the lizards and the ravens and the rattlesnakes and the ants and the trout.