In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I bid you Adieux

Well, it's time for me to go. I don't know where I'm going to go or what I'm going to do but whatever it is will be for myself. No more blogs and no more pictures; at least not for now anyway. As a matter of fact I've sold off all my photography gear. Who would have thunk it just a couple months ago!?!

For the time being I'm still staying with grandma but it's starting to get tough. While I'm happy to be there for her and will do it for as long as I can I'm getting a bit stir crazy doing the same thing day in and day out. While Grandma's health is still pretty good she doesn't seem to have any desire to get more then 30 minutes from the house now that she has the chance and on bad days it hurts her just to go for a drive. This week has been pretty good though which makes me think I can keep doing this for quite a while; but the previous couple weeks were pretty rough and showed me just how difficult it can be. I guess time will tell.

But before I go I wanted to thank everyone that followed me on my travels over the past year. It really meant a lot to me to get your comments and e-mails while I was out on the road. It never ceased to amaze me how many people were watching and your encouragement was much appreciated. And to the people that I met on the way who gave me food, a place to stay, a place to work, and most importantly, company....well....I guess I don't quite know how to say what I want to say. A special heartfelt thank you goes out to all of you; even if one of you did break my knee. :)

Thank you and goodbye...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Things are still going fine here in Lester with Grandma. Not too much to report. Lot's of going out at night for hamburgers and lots of card playing.

You may remember a month ago when I announced the arrival of spring. Well, since then we've been snowed on a few times and had some miserable weather. I'm happy to report though that as of today spring is here for good. It was over 70 degrees, it was really windy (45+MPH; a sure sign of spring), the snakes are out (saw a red bellied and garter), the butterflies are out (Mourning Cloak), and the carp have moved up into the creeks from the river. It's about time!

I did pick up a new hobby: bird watching. Who knew it could be so much fun!? It adds a whole new dimension to my hikes and I'm really enjoying it so far. Here's a Snipe I spotted the other day and even got close enough for a decent picture.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In like a Lion out like a Tiger

You know what they say about March; in like a lion and out like a lamb. Well, I don't think that quite held true this year.

The first day of March Sarah and I were out for a hike where we slogged through waist deep snow in places and then yesterday, the last day of March, we got about 5 inches of snow. Thankfully the temperature was right at freezing so most of it melted in short order but it made for a really sloppy day and we've still got a few inches sticking around.

That being said spring did arrive this past month. The robins returned in force along with the ducks and geese; though they do look a little confused as they sit on the ice of frozen ponds. The majority of our snow melted off revealing the dirt, dead plants, refuse, and dead animals that have been buried all winter which makes the beginning of spring the ugliest season of the year. The most disgusting part is how the dead animals insulate the snow underneath themselves and protect it from the sun; causing the surrounding snow to melt away and leaving them atop a snow pedestal, like they're on display or something. It's actually a relief to get a few inches of clean white snow to cover all that up a couple more days.

While out for a hike a couple weeks ago I saw my first fly (the only time of the year I'm happy to see them) and also stumbled across some water bugs dragging themselves from the icy creek and onto a sunny log to dry off before flying up into the trees, presumably to mate. The kestrels are back in position along the telephone lines and hovering over the ditches and the the northern harriers are back to gliding over the prairies and empty fields. The meadowlarks are singing on the fence posts again and the killdeer, my favorite bird as a child, can be seen flitting around. The red-winged blackbird has returned to the marshes and rooster pheasants are carousing around looking for some lovin'. The mornings belong to the birds once again as they tweet tweet their little hearts out singing the praises of spring, searching for a mate, and building nests for their new family. Even after the little joke mother nature played on them yesterday and overnight I'm listening to them sing their hearts out right now.

We're all looking forward to the snow to finally melting, the ice leaving the lakes, the frost going out, the ground drying off, and the return of all things green. Just a couple more weeks!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Duane Gage 1921-2008

At 2 AM on Saturday morning Duane Gage passed away in his home, just as he wanted it. The passing was as peaceful as could have been hoped for and at the time of death he was surrounded by three of his four children, a grandson, and his wife of 66 years.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Waiting Game

Thursday was my grandparents 66th wedding anniversary. There wasn't much hullabaloo about the whole thing but a couple people called to wish them well and a few even stopped over. My grandpa used to own a trucking company and his long time secretary stopped by with a beautiful bouquet of tulips and just after they left one of my grandmother's sisters stopped by with her husband for a visit. It was nice to have some company by to liven up the day a little and even though my grandpa hardly said a word I know he was grateful for the visitors.

Last night, like usual, I was up to help him go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and he seemed weaker then normal. I expected to be woken up again by the doorbell next to his bed around 2am but it didn't go off until almost 7:30. A day rarely goes by that he stays in bed later then 6:00.

To make a long story short his kidneys have failed. He's very weak and pretty much unable to get out of bed. He's decided he doesn't want to go to the hospital and will instead stay home and run out the clock. He seems to have made some peace with the situation and is still able to rest comfortably in his bed. His family is here and everyone knows what's coming.

So now we wait.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Meet Grandma

I'd like to introduce you to my grandmother, Kathleen. She's 92 years old and while her short term memory is all but gone she's still a joy to be around. She's always been incredibly nice and somehow has a way of asking the same question 20 times a day without it getting annoying; it actually feels like a privilege to tell her for the 3rd time in 30 minutes what day it is.

Despite the lack of short term memory she's still a fantastic conversationalist and hasn't lost a bit of her wit. While my grandpa spends his days trying to find a comfortable position to sit in my grandma and I both tend to get a bit stir crazy; so one day I grabbed a deck of cards to kill some time with her. She's a card shark from way back but she couldn't remember how to play any games, so we started out just playing solitaire together. We played for about 2 hours the first day and the next day when I asked if she wanted to play solitaire again she responded that yes she would but that she hadn't played in years. I just smiled and set'em up. A couple days after that I got my memory refreshed on how to play gin and as soon as I dealt the cards my grandma knew exactly how to play, she didn't miss a beat.

So most days finds us sitting at the table for at least a couple hours in the afternoon and playing I don't know how many hands of cards. Her with her tea and me with my cup of hot chocolate; answering her questions over and over again.

What day did you say it was?

Do you know what the weather is supposed to be like tomorrow?

Are there any cookies left?

Have I had my pills yet?

Do you have any trips lined up?

Now what day is tomorrow?

Duane, are you awake? (he is now)

Do you think Duane would like to go out for hamburgers tonight? (fat chance)

Did you say if Laura was coming down tonight?

What day is this?

By far the best couple hours of the day.

Spring Update

A little update to my post about spring a couple days ago.

By the time I got out to the prairie for my hike the other night I only had about an hour of sunlight left but the wind had died down and it was the nicest part of the day. The walk turned out to be a short one but a good one. I saw the tail end of a mouse as it scurried away under a shelf of frozen snow and saw a group of ducks fly low and silent directly over my head. In the distance I could hear a lone red winged blackbird looking for company and my jaw almost dropped when I heard the trilling of a toad at 10 second intervals. I just stood and listened for a few minutes to be sure of what I was actually hearing.

But my favorite part of the evening was when I made my way up a small gravelly hill that faces the southerly sun and spotted a little spot of green in last years dead grass. Kneeling down for a closer look I found myself face to face with the first new growth this season. Even though the frost is far from being out it must have known that if it waited too long it would be choked out by the larger grasses that will steal its water and block its sun. So for the time being this little plant is king of the prairie.

You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.