• “Protect your spirit”


New Tires Are on Order

Oh God are these beautiful or what

Oh God are these beautiful or what

Nobody keeps a good wagon-puller down. Four brand new-spankin’ tires, herein pictured, will arrive in a week or so, well past the window between desert winter-to-spring calm and desert burning heat. But no matter. There is so much cool stuff out here I just can’t wait to explore and share. If not now, as the weather breaks toward the nineties and hundreds again, so be it in Fall. The Chihuahuan desert is a gorgeous place to roam through.

Doesn’t it suck that I have to buy a whole new set of wheels to go/get/be somewhere? Yes. Let this be a lesson: I failed — sort of — but not entirely due to my own weaknesses. There’s weaknesses built into this society to make lots of things fail. Radio Flyer engineers their tires to be very difficult to repair the tube. It requires a dependence to buy again.

Coming soon: The Zen of Wagon Maintenance.


…the schemes and dreams we come up with don’t adhere to the norm, or what we’ve created as norm. In fact, they run the risk of racing head on into what is truly the norm, like environmental challenges.

I started this trip too late, I knew that. The window of time to walk 142 miles through the climate of the Chihuahuan desert at this time of year is narrow. I was excited about getting to the Boquillas border crossing to share in the celebration of its opening, as it’s symbolic, and that in my soul it is what we need, something positive between borders and between people. Have you noticed within the last decade or two that, as a society, there is little progress in the form of the human spirit. Fear has pervaded most all of this society. Instead of adventure, instead of creativity, instead of pursuing ones’ imagination, irregardless one succeeds or fails, it’s more likely Americans today will come up with every and any reason why not to do anything outside the bubble. That to follow along with the norm is to “succeed”, no matter that norm is seriously questionable.

This walk will have to wait for the fall. A flat tire on the Radio Flyer wagon that is nearly impossible to fix on ones own (They’re tube tires, but their engineering makes them nearly impossible to fix with a regular tube patch kit: A new tire and tube at their website: $27.95 — Had the Joads encountered such a product while on route to a new beginning, the Grapes of Wrath could never have been written), along with the climate at this time of year, and certainly my age and abilities, all combined to hit the wall, as I call it, two days outside of Sanderson. After the tire went flat, I shifted the weight off from the front flat tire, took more of the weight off placing the water in a backpack on my back, and after another 16 miles and mid-90s heat, the body just up and told me, Later, Dude! You got time and the drive to try this again.

Below are what photos I took. Hope these inspire you some as this little experience inspired me. This desert area has a boo-ku amount of neat stuff to explore, and this is so tiny of a taste of it all.

Heading out....

Heading out….if you look reealll close you’ll notice the amount is $00.00.

Ready to Roll

Just west of Sanderson, Ready to Roll

This route was very tempting.

This route was very tempting.

These are the tiny flower-like pods on the mesquite that will soon be turning into bean pods.

These are the tiny flower-like pods on the mesquite that will soon be turning into bean pods.

The vultures are our friends here, keeping the highways and bi-ways clear of road kill.

The Buzzardsare our friends here, keeping the highways and bi-ways clear of road kill.

Another vulture, assuming the territorial stance of Beware.

Another Buzzard, taking the territorial stance of Beware.

Taking a rest at the 10-mile mark.

Taking a rest at the 10-mile mark at a West Texas rest area.

The entrance to the bathrooms at the rest area.

The entrance to the bathrooms right behind the rest area.

Interesting construction of a railroad bridge over a flowage conduit.

Interesting construction of a railroad bridge over a flowage drain.

Nearing evening.

Nearing evening.

Evening Sky I

Evening Sky I

Evening Sky II

Evening Sky II

Morning wildflowers

Morning wildflowers

Draw area.

Draw area.


Rancho Guadalupe.



Water tank.

Water tank.

“It is what it is”

On NPR New this morning: “…today is April the 15th, the day tax returns are due…according to studies, taxpayers more apt to be audited are small businesses…” Why  is it “tax return” when in reality, in the long haul,  it’s always tax due? And why aren’t corporations more apt to be audited?

I remind myself I’m compelled to do something as goofy as this as I wake up this morning and go Why the hell? Fears are an invasion of our personal needs to trudge forward in a direction of our calling, to go forward and to make mistakes and learn from them and still go on our own route. When following intuitions and acting on them, and believing in something so much more pure and genuine beyond us, it opens us more to experience life, something more truly real and natural.

This route to Big Bend National Park will not be easy. It will be a lot of trudging with little or no services. But I know from past experience on the road, it’s not about services, it’s about people. And serendipity. West Texans are the friendliest people I have ever met, and so I realize already my first lesson, it’s not a dependence on services, but a trust in others and between others that empower each one of us. People out here, seeing some crazy dude pulling a wagon in the desert, just naturally stop and, always the first words out of their mouths are, “Need water?”

This first jaunt is 54 miles to Marathon, and NO services whatsoever. Thus, I’ll be out of cell phone range and wifi for about two days, dependent on these “town-lubber” legs.

You can get a gist of why I’m led to do this, under Why the Walk. And under Drugs and 911, there’s just a sliver of some real issues that seriously need addressing.

Thanks for visiting, see you soon.

A Little Fun Before Take-off on Monday

Here’s what I wish I were taking to Boquillas, as I just checked the weather and it’s already at 100 degrees there today. Oh well. The wagon is packed for its test run today. Look for a little video on that as well. Thanks for hopping aboard. I like a journey, they’re like a blank canvas.

On to Boquillas, Mexico

Here’s a quick video of the Little Red Wagon Train as a “work truck” just prior to embarking on a 142-mile walk from Sanderson, Texas to Boquillas, Mexico, at the southern tip of Big Bend National Park. The border crossing was recently reopened there, after its closure in May of 2012 following the events of 911.

Back in the Saddle of Sanderson

A panorama taken from one of the bluffs overlooking Sanderson, Texas.

This article originally appeared in the Terrel County News Leader, Sanderson, Texas.

So what was it about Sanderson that stood out from all the other towns along a journey of 1,000 walking miles, that was special enough for me to give it a whirl for a little while, as I prepare, anticipate, seek the path for the next journey?
When I began journeying, pulling the little “friggin’” wagon from Madison, Wisconsin back in the fall of 2009, there were many, many reasons for this upper-mid-lifer to take on such a crazy project. Many of those reasons were basically indescribable (then and now!); it was just a need, something compelled me to plan and take on such a challenge; to break “bubbles,” open discourse between people, between strangers; the wagon, I’d say, was symbolic of the pioneer time in this country’s history, when people were led by dreams and ambitions that were more akin to satisfying ones own life in the quest to obtain their dreams than that of the some status quo and corporate hegemony that seems more to benefit from such ambitions today; most times to appease those who needed a definite, seemingly rational excuse, I’d simply say, “To get out of the house!”
I had returned to Madison, my hometown, several years before, and during that time I came to realize that I had lost my hometown. Rents, leases, mortgages had soared; development was occurring at a rampant, uncontrolled pace (At the time I departed Madison, $1-billion in construction was in the blue prints or underway for the UW-Madison University alone (this in a city of only 270,000?!), replacing buildings left and right, some only 30 years old. A $205-million “playground” for the wealthier, a world-class symphony center, the Overture Center, was literally plunked right down in Madison’s most pedestrian-heavy, community-orientated area, gobbling up an entire city block on State Street (Not long after “Big Brother” cameras were installed at every corner along State Street).
Where bureaucracy and unfettered development rules, I said to myself, community, people, a true sense of place at a pace people can grow alongside with suffers.
Coming into Sanderson from San Antonio (“To Roswell & Beyond!” I called it) back in March with worn wagon tires, broken axle, broken wallet, and a broken spirit, I was close to ending the journey, 281 miles short of Roswell, the 1,000 walking milestone. I weighed the choices, and basically they came down to returning to “bureaucracy” or, irrationally, leaping ahead, if only one step at a time.
Then, I started running (err walking) into people. Randal at Sanderson Tire & Feed helps fix the axle; Anna at the News Leader mentions a Mr. Bush; a Mr. Bush drives me over to the “compound” and points to a camper,“Your new home!” and to bicycles with tires for the wagon, and gives me work, while his wife Amanda cooks up incredible lunches; neighbors Lane and Evonne and Pete and, again, Anna pitch in food; their friend Pam Professional Hairstylist On the Go cuts my hair; Genie and Martin at Uncle’s need the gas pumps to sparkle again; Mick of the Canyons RV park has a house needing a new life.
In less than two weeks I would be re-energized, provisioned, then continue the journey to Roswell. And now having achieved that goal, why not return for a little while to Sanderson, where one feels the hometown appeal, where not bureaucracy but the people still rule, and aren’t squeezed into a narrow social standard. A place from where to journey from not with angst, as I have done from Madison, but with a sense of place where one is welcomed at their own pace. Even if that pace is walking, and even then pulling a little “friggin’” red wagon.



Hitchin’ It Back to Sanderson

A plethora of oil-related apparatus such as these tanker rigs were common along the route between Sanderson, Texas and Roswell, New Mexico. I took this photo at about 6:30 in the morning in Loving, New Mexico, while waiting for a ride back to Sanderson. I waited at this spot for nearly 7 hours for a ride.

SANDERSON, TEXAS — It first looked like hitchhiking back to Sanderson from Roswell would be a nightmare. In the first 51-hour period, I’d traversed a mere 80 miles. Hitchhiking in today’s day and age, and especially a guy with a 125 lb. wagon, what should one expect? Things were looking mighty, mighty grim.  

Diane from the Artesia area saved me from hours of waiting in Artesia: "There's good people here, don't get me wrong, but not ever the type to pick up a hitchhiker."

The mood slowly began to change when Diane stopped and asked how I was doing. When it sounded like I had a “viable” story of being “here” (wherever that really was!) with a wagon (!) and a goal, she offered assistance.  

The smart thing she did was asked for my ID and called her husband, who happened to be an officer, and she gave him my information. That made her feel better and of course made me feel better knowing she felt better. Know what I mean?  

Diane took me into Carlsbad and treated me to Wendys, the air conditioning, and good talk: her volunteering in the Boy Scouts, and her and her family’s Native American heritage. She talked of some of the hypocrisy she and other Native Americans experience.  

She mentioned how once her husband had been offered a position through a government agency to help educate and reinforce that pride of heritage to other Native Americans, but lost the opportunity when they also demanded that his hair be cut.  

Thanksgiving, as well, “celebrates sharing and togetherness between whites and Indians when in fact it ‘celebrates’ the complete opposite…” 

David was en route from Carlsbad to Del Rio when he stumbled upon me and the wagon in Loving, New Mexico. Here we're photographed in Sanderson where David dropped myself and the wagon off.

David was the blast out of the heavens. After a several week working stint for the oil companies in Carlsbad, he was on his way back to Del Rio when he stopped for the LRWT in Loving, New Mexico. 

First thing he said? 

“You don’t have a knife, do you?” 

My first thing I then said? 

“No, you don’t, do you?” 

“Well, I just want to be sure.” 

Does anyone blame him? Not me! 

We ended up sharing the next 200 miles together, the miracle ride of all rides, just when I needed it, and right from where I’d sat in the same spot for 7 hours twiddling sticks, counting stones, ants, you name it, just to pass the time. 

David turned out to be one helluva guy. Not the kind of guy who will ever get “recognized” for his simple acts of kindness, but from what he informed me, he oughta be up for honors, indeed. You see, he happens to live right near the Rio Grande, right at the border…… 

But for his safety I don’t want to go into specifics, though an example is how he’s helped others in need who weren’t considered all that “legal” (hint hint border issues, etc.) with info and water and food and…. 

Thanks, David! 

Note: Coming back from Roswell and especially the final ride from David, at normal highway speed, it was like being in a time warp. It had only been a couple of weeks since I’d walked out from Sanderson toward Roswell. Yet, driving back it felt like it had been ages ago. It was really strange. I’d see places I’d camped at just two weeks back, and they looked familiar but foreign in memory. And when I got back to Sanderson it was funny because a neighbor came up and said, “Hell, that took you no time at all!” and I’m looking at him, confused, and thinking, “Huh?” 

I guess what I mean to get across here is that though in walking the distance between point A and point B took so much longer than driving it, it felt as if I’d experienced much more — timewise — and so time itself seemed like it had stretched out over a much longer period than we’re accustom to. 

I’ll need to ponder on this more and get back to it. Right now there’s a community barbecue for the race drivers and community at large for the… 

Next Post: The Big Bend Open Road Race, “Live” from right here in Sanderson. Race is this Saturday, April 24, a 64-mile track using Highway 285 between Sanderson and Fort Stockton, Texas.