August 31, 2007 - August 31, 2008

I said at the end of my last letter that I would be updating my site before I went on my next Road Trip - well I had good intentions.

I moved back to Reno from Sparks after spending a month in a motel there. I have been living for the last year in a re-configured hotel that was once a Ramada, I even worked here as a temp when I returned from Japan. My room is not so re-configured, it is just like any hotel/motel room that you have ever seen. A very poor through the wall heater/cooler, a hot/cold water system that it took me 6 months to figure out and the most noise I've lived with since Bulgaria. My apartment in Sparks was also bad for noise but that was street noise. Here it has been ongoing fix-it construction or remodeling - jackhammers, sledgehammers, people yelling at each other over the noise. Then when that quits I hear all the talk of people coming and going from the 10 floors above me; the hallways are a perfect echo chamber. I will not be coming back here for those reasons and more that will become apparent to you later.

The Fall months were very uneventful with the exception of my trip to Lassenview Teardrop Trailers in Shingletown, CA to start construction on my new trailer. I took my Mini wheel, from my first trailer, to Mike and spent about two hours going over the how I wanted it built. He was far more accomodating than my first builder at Yucca Vally, CA. Mike listened to what I had to say about how or what I wanted and said sure I can do that or gave me a good reason why not plus an alternative. I can not recommend Lassenview Teardrops enough. He said that the trailer would be ready for me in April 2008 which I said would be fine because snow some years can cause a problem in getting from Reno to Shingletown. As it turned out he finished the trailer in March and I was able to get to it. I had some trouble with the registration, but again Mike went out of his way to smooth that out and all went well. During the build time I was thinking hard about what I was going to name the new trailer - Teardrop Trailers must have names "do't ya no". Because my xB was named Pegasus, the Flying Horse, and the trailer was truly not a Teardrop, TD Police would point out that I had no hatch nor galley - therefore no teardrop) I considered it a tiny canned ham and named it the Flying Pig. To add the name to the trailer I had a custom vinyl sign made that covered a 12x6" plate that was mounted to the right side tail light bracket. I got this all together in time to do a Maiden Trip to the Dam Gathering at Shasta Lake, CA on the first weekend of May. Everyone loved my new trailer, thought the Flying Pig name and sign was great and some of them even picked up on the personalized license plates. My xB now sports the plates FOR HAF (standing alone, this means I paid and can operate it for half was a SUV would cost me) while the trailer wears AFT HAF; it is subtle but when people "get it" they think it is great also.

Then on June 27th some low life stole my Flying Pig sign and did some damage to the skin of the trailer while doing so. About a month later that same @#%&* or a like minded @!$%^# carved his name in the hood of my xB. After getting over the shock and anger I thought it was time to rename for a change of luck. In my re-naming effort I thought that I would select a famous horse for my tow vehicle first and then some appropriate trailer name. One of the names that came to mind was Rocinante but John Steinbeck used that for his truck with camper and then wrote a book, Travels With Charley, about his journey around the USA. I didn't think my simple journal writing would compare favorably. I then remembered that Sancho Panza, a very uncommon family name, had been on the same quest and rode a donkey. I also remembered that Cervantes poked fun at himself and 16th century Spain in general throughout Don Quixote so a little self "fun poking" might be good. Therefore, since I have some of the physical characteristics of Sancho I'll play the part of a 21st century Panza. I named my tow vehicle "DAPPLE" using the name of Sancho's donkey and it seemed to follow that my trailer would be named "CASA del PANZA". I think Cervantes would approve because he enjoyed word play and my trailer name can be translated as 1)Panza's House or 2)House of the belly.

The only constructive thing that I have managed to do during this period is continue my walking program. I am out on one of my 7 routes early every morning. Each route has a stop at about 2/3rds of the total distance and I have breakfast or a Latte and bagel. The every morning part of this routine can get somewhat of a problem in the winter when the morning temperatures are in the teens. But it is even worse when it is snowing; this was true this past winter with multiple storms coming through with 3-6 inch accumulations each time. It is not the snow that is the bigest problem but rather the ice that it brings for 3-5 days after it falls - I really enjoy walking in the storm or the freshly fallen snow. The ice is an entirely different issue. I slipped and fell twice this past winter. The second fall being a rather serious one that left me with a lump on my head and a dull headache for a couple of days. After that one I decided that it was probably best for me to let the ice melt off before going out again.

I have also continued my reading. I think I have told you that I'm reading everything that authors of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction have written and I'm continuing that effort. I add other authors as happenchance bring to my attention and have been reading a lot of mysteries and westerns. A great author of both genre is Loren Eastman. I have also read all of John Jakes historical novels; his most well known beimg "The Kent Family Cronicales" and "The Crown Trilogy" - I recommend him highly. I'm now 1/2 way through James Reasoner's "Civil War Series" which is much better written than his westerns - recommended for those of you interested in Civil War Battles.

Well that is about it for this past period. I'll be leaving on another trip around the USA on Sep 1st and maybe have some more interesting things to write about in my next update.