Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just The Facts, Jack ...or... Once In A Blue Moon

I’ve done about as much waxing poetic and prose polishing as I can handle for one year. And oh what a year it’s been. So no giant wrap up this year- just the facts, Jack.

It's NOT just another New Year's Eve as I write this. For the first time in 20 years, we have the second full moon in the month falling on the last day of the year. When does this happen? Only Once In A Blue Moon! (that's just an expression; the moon can look like anything it wants-even the sun)

We visited 22 states in 2009, including the remaining several states we had not previously visited. So when, en route back to Alaska for a another five month gig, we hit North Dakota on May 4, only hours after having sunk the coach to its belly in the flood mud of South Dakota, we declared “Mission Accomplished” and settled into the glorious realization that within a three year period we had reached our goal of visiting the entire United States accessible by wheels- all 49 of the contiguous states. Clicking on the in line link Mission Accomplished will take you back to the post that published all the facts and figures that we rolled up in pursuit of that milestone. Worth another read for sure…. And after this much time it’s OK to look back at the coach stuck in that muck!

We drove the Gundyville Buster-mobile a total of 16,313.2 miles. We towed the Quigley 4x4 van with the kayaks on board and the ATV inside for the full year, and logged another 10,000 driven miles (plus or minus) on that vehicle as well. Then there was another 1500 miles logged on the Honda Rincon ATV. We fully utilized 2,330 gallons of fuel, which drove the vehicles, generated the electricity (more about that in a minute), heated the rig, ran our equipment, etc.

In addition to the 22 states, we visited 6 Canadian Provinces as well. And not to leave out our neighbors to the south, we crossed into Mexico for a day- just to say we had been there…long enough for some dental work (bad decision, that one) and lunch and margaritas (good decision, this one). We visited old and great friends and made lots of new ones. We covered the breadth of the continent from Florida to Alaska, all across Canada, and back to Florida again. Along the way, we listed these noteworthy highlights: Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Desert, Meteor Crater, Pacific Ocean, Niagara Falls, Red Rocks of Sedona Arizona, Hoover Dam, and most of the Great Lakes to name a few. All grand and glorious venues worthy of mention and our precious time, but the tiny town of Chicken, in the vast and marvelous rural state of Alaska owns our hearts and that is where we spent the greatest number of days out of the year…102 to be exact, helping out at Chicken Gold Camp.

It’s a big rig we drive and live in and the vast majority of those who have this life style seek full hook-up: electricity, water, and sewer connection. But counting our time in Alaska and at the other GPAA gold properties we prospected on this year, we spent a whopping 137 days not hooked up to anything- meaning that we generated our own electricity, hauled our own water and towed the waste waters in the blueboy to the dump station where-ever we could locate one, or else managed supplies and resources so carefully so as not to overuse them until there was an opportunity to move and replenish them. There is a tendency to think living in this fashion is lacking the essentials and basics of comfort. But, no, its more like getting back to basics and forcing us to think about what we use, how we use it, and when we use it. All valuable considerations, especially in light of the “green” considerations that have come to the forefront, the carbon footprints we all make to some extent, and the finite supplies of clean water and the like. I still don’t know about Global Warming but there is certainly global change- and change is nothing new as the history of the world and its weather goes.

I see value in being careful and sensible with our natural resources. I see value in seeing as much as I can so that whatever learning I discover is firsthand to the extent possible. I see value in being able to look back not only at what I have seen and where I have been, but at what I was thinking when I did those things. I see value in retelling our story which in turn helps me to put and keep things in perspective. And there is a great deal of value in perspective, wouldn’t you agree?

Whoa, pony, I almost ended up without answering the number one question of the year: What was the winning tag from my nickname contest? Plenty of suggestions, from “Gundo” to “Gigabyte Greg” came pouring in to the “in” box. I kinda liked “dirt bag” myself but I suppose it could have been misconstrued by anyone who didn’t know it referred (I think) to a bag of pay dirt concentrates from a placer gold prospecting operation. But the saddle that stuck had nothing to do with prospecting and everything to do with gardening. Part of my duties for Chicken Gold Camp involved expanding and running the greenhouse that provided fresh produce for the camp and flowers for the grounds and gardens. So rather than the manly mining nicks I had been seeking, I wound up carrying “Green-jeans” around instead. Mike and Lynn and Lou’s dad Gene started it but it had legs I guess and it wasn’t long before way too many campers and clients were calling me that as well. Nicknames it seems have nothing to do with what YOU think you should be called and everything to do with what someone else in proximity thinks you should be called. So….I own it!

Thank you for traveling with us again in 2009. See you next year!

And now, let's count it down together: Five, four, three, two, one….Happy New Year!

Blue Moon Slide Show 12/31/09:


Dennis and Denice said...

A Happy New Year to you and Your Better Half. Denice and I have followed your blog the entire summer, from the time you were coming across the Dakotas until the present. We would check every week or so to see what you were up to. When we started to follow your blog, we were on our way home to Canada from Texas. We spent the summer at our home just south of Calgary, but headed south again on the 13th of November, after Denice had spent a month long vacation in England. Our southward trip this year was planned to be down the Mississippi and then through Kentucky and Tennessee, but the weather was not cooperating so we just high-tailed it down the the Gulf. We are now in Florida at Crystal River for the next couple of weeks. Then will try to find an RV park near the Everglades for a week or so, before haeding back along the Gulf to Texas and Arizona where we will meet some other Canadian friends for a couple of months before heading back to Canada by April 15th. I do a blog, althoug I am not nearly the skilled writer as you are. If you would wish to follow it, it is
Anyway it has been an interesting 2009 for you two. What are the plans for 2010??

Greg said...

Dennis and Denice- Thanks for joining the parade this year. If you read my recent post Glade Running (
you may have seen a few pictures from Everglades Isle Campground right smack dab in the middle of Everglades City. A great place from which to explore the glades and it's a beautiful campground. We'll be there mid February for 5 weeks if you happen to be around there then.
We're still working on the 2010 itinerary- stay tuned....

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.