Perk 8 status

          A lot of life is hardships. People die, get hurt, become impaired. These are in my opinion some of the hardest points in life. We as People have added another hardship that seems to be fading finally. STATUS!!! For centuries this world has put such an importance on who a person is. Meaning what there last name is or where they came from or who raised them or what they own. The world has focused on things in a way that makes little sense. It is true that the people around us define who we become as much as the things we experience. But it is us as individuals that perceive life’s lessons and that perception is what builds us. I like to think that many countries are leaving the STATUS factor in history. I am still trying to experience this world farther and haven’t spent enough time abroad to know. What I am witnessing here in the States is that we have stumbled again on a movement trying to destroy STATUS. Along the way we have fought this battle. We created Unions so that any person would be treated fairly in the work place. Now those are being dismantled. The hippies of the ’60s tried to argue that “Love is the answer.” I think we have learned that is the case but tend to love what we know without accepting what we don’t know. A great King lead a movement that changed the views of the world about race. We have fought for women’s rights. Leading the world in these notions that all people are created equal. There have been so many great accomplishments that we have undertaken yet we still have this strange desire to have STATUS. To be that person that is admired by everyone. To be the one that all think is the best. We work consistently to gather material belongings. To prove that we have more, or did something better, or know a better system. Meaning we must be better. Fighting for a life that isn’t fulfilling while we abandon the parts of Life we say we are living for. I have found a new reality that has been around for decades but is now starting to find mainstream movement. MINIMALISM!!! It’s grabbing hold. We are starting to see worth in not having, but experiencing. Not being bogged down so we are free to move and see this world. The Tiny house movement and RV living, my favorite the Vanlife, allow people freedoms that we haven’t had while being bogged down with the American dream. No longer do we want white picket fences. No longer do we want a plot to grow old on. No longer do we want to own others and the world. We have become a society that wants to wander and see and create and experience what life has to offer. We have info at our fingertips literally. We have the ability to find whatever, wherever and have it anywhere. So life has changed and with it another discrimination has a chance to fade away. People that don’t understand see the new Hippies as a confused people. How can they want less. How can they want to be homeless or live in such a small way. Where do they keep the important things much less the day to day necessities. The truth is with less everything becomes less. There are fewer necessities, fewer responsibilities leading to less stress and a greater experience. With less I’m finding more chances for experience. More ability to give my children life instead of things. I live both lives currently. While I struggle to hold onto the dream I am living out of a van. I leave my family in my home bogged down with STATUS while I travel for work and my life becomes entirely simple. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not easy just simple. Suddenly what I need is clear. It’s not confused as much with what I want. In fact what I used to want I no longer do. To the point I hope my children aren’t plagued with the desire of STATUS. Instead I want them to have more, live more, help more, and become a better part of this society. By having less. I hope they become the example of a better world. STATUS FREE 
PERK 8 

In a van STATUS is lost and life becomes reality. 

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Back at it!

          It has been a while since I have had the notion of writing again. Why I don’t know. Maybe it’s because my work is a big part of my travels and for months I was stuck in the same spot. I didn’t have much to write about. When I finally moved on I was out of the habit. I have been out exploring though so it is time to sit for a bit and let my mind recap the adventures that I have encountered since we last spoke. 
          As many of you know I work eight days then I get seven days off. I travel to my work destination and from on my own time. This can be be anywhere from Chicago Illinois to the west coast, Canada to Mexico. While I travel and work I’ve chosen to live in a vehicle. I’ve lived in a Pontiac Grand Am, Honda Accord, Jeep Cherokee sport, Dodge Ram Van, and now finally a small class B RV that sits on a Sprinter frame. I have a home in the northern Utah mountains. My job sent me on an epic road trip of course that’s not the intention but I can’t help but take advantage. While my coworkers fly and or travel in tiny cars with many men and all there luggage. I am driving across this nation finding adventures. 
          I was told that Lordsburg New Mexico was the next place we were working. Lordsburg was a booming town in the 50s. Every time I go there I think of the movie cars. It’s so sad to see how depressed these little towns have become. While I work there isn’t much time to explore. I work 10-12 hour days. But the 823 mile drive to and from Lordsburg takes me through some of this nations most epic land. I round tripped it once this time then drove back once again. 
          My first trip down I knew from past drives that I wanted more then a day to make the trek. I left a day early. The roads where horrible. I was on snow packed roads the entire first day. I finally decided I had enough and stopped in Blanding Utah. The rest area clearly stated that overnight parking was prohibited. I found a sweet little flat spot in the Utah State University south east campus parking lot. Hoping that I had finally drove out of the storm and would be able to start the drive fresh in the morning. When I woke I found that was not the case. It had snowed all night. My van was covered and the roads were deep with fresh unpacked snow on top of packed ice. 
Being from Utah I wasn’t worried just knew that it was going to be a long drive. Even though I was nearly half way there. Luckily after about 100 miles I found my self driving south of the storm. So when I saw the brown sign I had to take advantage. A right turn was made and I was at the Hubble Trading Post.
 It is the longest standing trading post in the nation. It’s sits on the rim of the Navajo Reservation. So much history was created here. Not much to be proud of either. The mistakes we have made are important to remember. At first glance this area seems very desolate but once you get into it and start to see that there is an abundance of beauty throughout this desert.

 I jumped back in and continued my drive through Arizona and into the White Mountains of New Mexico. These mountains are beautiful forest covered and full of life. One animal I’m not used to seeing are wild pigs. Cracks me up every time I see them rushing across the road. I have found an overlook that I love to stop and cook my dinner at. So after a great BBQ I finally finished my long drive and fell asleep at my final destination for the week. 
          The ride home wasn’t all that eventful. It usually isn’t. I get to missing my family and usually hurry back home. It was a two day ride with a quite little sleepover in a car wash parking lot tucked back in the corner out of the way in a little one horse Arizona town. 
          My second trip to Lordsburg I took my time again. I left a little earlier and the roads were much better. I was able to arrive at Arches National Park around 4:30. I looked over the available hikes and decided delicate arch was first on the list. I didn’t have much day light so I got right to it. The hike to delicate arch is classified as mildly strenuous. It’s 3.5 miles and up a decent grade for the majority of it. The footing is pretty good unless it is wet. Then it becomes very slick. My luck it was lightly snowing just enough to make the rock wet. Luckily I have a pretty good pair of work boots I slipped on and didn’t have any issues. Once I got to the arch the sun was down and it was starting to get dark. It took me some time to actually realize the arch was smack in front of me. Hint it’s not very small. Very cool though especially because I was the only one stupid enough to try this hike this late in the snow. The way back was a little more nerve racking since it became very dark. Cloud cover blocked the star and moon light. It was hard to see much of anything. Every time I stumbled upon a trail marker i was genuinely surprised I was still on track. The trail is marked but would be easy to lose your way in the conditions that I was dealing with. Glad to be back in my van loaded with digital proof of my escapade. 
I decided the rest of the park would be better seen in the morning so I drove to Panorama point broke out the BBQ and settled in for a great dinner followed by sweet dreams. 

          The next morning my hopes were granted. I woke at first light and with the cloud cover the sunrise was pretty cool. With a name like Panorama point in a National Park of any kind I knew it wouldn’t disappoint and I was correct. 
I had to get back on the road knowing that I had a long drive left but so many of the hikes were classified as easy and so close together that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I was glad I didn’t. The windows were impressive! 

There is not a picture that has ever done them justice. The double arch which I’ve seen in so many pictures was one of my big hopes to see. In the pictures I never realized that these Arches are the second largest in the park. I always thought they were small. Boy was I wrong they are huge.

 After hiking a bit A quick stop at the visitor center to get my magnet for the fridge collection. I was off and on my way to Lordsburg again. 

          After five days of work and some desert walks.
My work decided to move us to Panorama City California. The name is deceiving. I didn’t find much of any kind worthy of Panorama. We loaded our equipment and headed out. The first night we stayed in Yuma AZ. Not much to say but it’s a lot of desert out there. 
The next morning there was some confusion with the semi trucks that were contracted to move our equipment into California. California is the only state we are restricted from traveling in. So I had a few hours to spare. While the other guys took naps and sat around waiting I noticed another one of those brown signs. This one was for the Arizona Territory prison.

 Crazy to read about all the history that went on in that little town. I recommend it for sure if your in the area make time. The trucks arrived and we continued on. Our next place of business wasn’t far from the coast. So a sunset on the beach, and of course some more of my famous BBQ, was to much to pass up. I barley found a spot as the sun was setting. 

After some great food and beautiful beach sights I was off and running again. I found the job sit but I’m not allowed to sleep at the site. The motel the guys had found didn’t have enough parking for the people staying much less an extra van. The law in that area prohibits people sleeping in there vehicles. So I was at a loss. Until I met an incredibly kind man named Mike that offered me not only a space but water, power and dump facilities while I worked in that area. I find it amazing how so many people can be so kind. Our world really is becoming better and better I believe. 
          It was my last day of work and it was along one. Our equipment had been damaged on the way over and we had work to get done. Finally at about 6:00pm we were cut loose. It was to late to drive home that night so one last stop in the California desert this time off I-15 just before Baker there is some BLM land. Rasor OHV area. It was quite and great for sleeping. When I woke I was eager to get back to my vacation home and find some down time with my wonderful family. I hightailed it back to the mountains of Utah. Found my brick and mortar and fell into the loving arms of my family. 
Keep reading because I won’t ever stop exploring. 

          

Perk 7

As all my readers know I own two homes. 1: My sprinter van. It’s an older class b motorhome. 2: My vacation home that my family lives in. It’s tucked into the Utah mountains. You may think this is backwards but in fact I live in the van more then my house. So I refer to my van as my permanent residence. I’m on a kick lately blogging about the Perks of living in a van. 1-6 have been posted. If you are curious go check it out. I’m about to rave about #7… COST!!! Besides the bottom line. Which is simple. Homes across the United States cost well into $200,000. If you want a nice home in a good suburban area with space, a yard, parking and good schools your looking well into the $3-400,000 range. Ok schools might be a stretch for this topic but really good schools mean great neighborhoods. A new top of the line amazing trouble free van. Equipped to handle life is $150,000. I bought a used one. Like most people buy homes. For $27,000. Find a home for that price. I get to choose my neighborhood daily. If I don’t like it tomorrow I move. Let’s face it home loans are for 30 years. Come on folks most marriages don’t last that long anymore. You think your neighbor you’ve never met is a 30 year match. Ok let’s move on to maintenance. Let’s suppose you bought a condo downtown. Your commute is on foot. Your cost is at that $150,000 mark. We will forget the cost of monthly dues. We will call them security, warm and fuzzy, someone else’s problem dues. This year I have repaired my furnace, my entire kitchen from an ice damn, my A/C, sprinklers, planted plants, installed gravel, replaced a water heater. I’m looking at a new roof in the next couple years. In my van I replaced break pads, fuel filters, air filter, battery’s. It’s ten years old. It’s the same age as my house. My furnace is fine. I do need another water heater. Not because this one failed but because it sucks. Ok now compare… I know your smart. It doesn’t. I am in California in a parking lot brake pads are worn to nothing. I’m thinking I am putting money in this again. Then I remember it’s the cheap house. My kid just broke a window. My brake pads $25. My window will be hundreds. I know your are saying a roof on a condo is part of the dues, yes but the water heater isn’t nor is the furnace, A/C or broken window. Now you say where is your yard and space. Well $80 and I got a National Parks pass. Is your yard as big as the Grand Canyon or as cool as Mount Rushmore or as pretty as Zion. If you’re trying to say well I have to stick around for my job. Well do you get the weekends off? Because you don’t have a lawn to mow any more. Go find bliss. I advise anyone thinking about this. If it’s even remotely doable, DO IT!!!
Perk 7: cost!!!!!!!