Tiny House Southfork, Colorado

Colorado is one of the leading states in the tiny house movement in the United States.This state has over 20 builders who have built tiny houses, has an annual  Colorado Tiny House Festival in Brighton, and a Colorado Tiny House Association that advocates for the development of the tiny homes industry.

The tiny house movement, whether in Colorado,or elsewhere, is driven by people looking to spend their money differently. Instead of sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into a site built house that has expensive taxes, upkeep, and unused space, people can get into a tiny house for a fraction of the price and spend their saved money on activities and experiences they would rather be doing than mowing the lawn.

This tiny house is parked on a lot in Southfork, Colorado, and, though locked, gives an idea of its roominess and livability by peeking through its windows.There are five different models to choose from and the builders of these models can custom make a tiny house to fit any budget and need.

The best thing about tiny houses, after looking at these models, is – they don’t have an engine.

Bigger the better, is a slogan that is reaching it’s limits in America.

American’s are downsizing, looking small ,seeking control of their lives. These days you are more defined by what you do than what you own.

Living in one of these homes means you have finally realized you don’t need stuff you thought did, you don’t need deep roots to feel rooted, and small is very big.

 

 

 

 

River Rafting Near Creede, Colorado

The Rio Grande river is running high and fast with a bigger than normal snow pack this last winter. It is July and there are big rocks in the river you still can’t see the tops of.

Along the river, rafters park their vehicles in pull off’s, pull on their orange life preservers, board inflated rubber rafts and edge into the cold water, eight to ten people a trip going for a bumpy joy ride down stream..

For several miles their hired river guides maneuver them safely through white water, and the rafters, excited after the trip, have an experience to talk about for years.

The highway from Creede to Alamosa, Colorado follows the river, as do railroad tracks, and the entire landscape drops in altitude from ten thousand feet above sea level to a mile above sea level in Alamosa.

This area used to have hard rock miners leading their donkey’s into wild canyons near the river where they would start a hole high up in the side of a mountain and throw the diggings down hillsides like a burrowing animal. On Saturday night the prospector’s would clean up, a much as they could, and go into Creede to gamble, chase women, fight, and brag about their prospects. Riding the river would have been seen as something only crazy people would waste their time doing..

The rafts, passing me where I pull my car off the road to watch, hug the middle of the river where the water is deepest and the rapids are most challenging.

Occasionally, there is a news report of a tourist losing their life in one of these raft trips on the river, but that is rare and not enough to keep most people from changing what they have a mind to do.

Riding rapids is what we are all doing these days, whether we are on the river, or not.

I can hear excited voices as the river riders bounce up and down like a bunch of bronco busters.

These river guides are making more money than those hard rock miners ever dreamed of making.

 

 

Amish wagon on the road to Westcliff, Colorado

We pass people every day.

An old man with a cane shuffles past us in the grocery, squinting to read the fine print on a box label.Two little children pull on their mom’s dress at the bank as she makes a deposit and reaches them a sucker out of a little bowl on the teller’s countertop. A homeless vet passes our vehicle to take a dollar from a hand reaching out of the window back of us. We don’t talk to the politician rushing past us to hold up a baby and smile for news cameras.

On the road to Westcliff, I pass a black wagon pulled by a black horse, driven by a young man wearing a black hat, black pants and black vest, a white shirt, with a reddish beard. He pulls his horse and wagon towards the shoulder as I go past, and I wave. I watch him in my rear view mirror as he goes another block, then pulls his horse and wagon into a little drive leading to a country house on the other side of a closed gate. 

Amish, from Pennsylvania, have come to this part of Colorado and the San Luis Valley for farming, solitude, the ability to worship as they choose, to raise their families in an old way, and drive to town in a wagon pulled by their favorite horse.

This, my first Amish sighting of the season, makes me wonder how they can maintain their traditions in the onslaught of 21st century propaganda, polemics, politics and problems?

The march of 21st century technology, information, control and surveillance, secularism, is crushing.

Seeing a horse and wagon on the road is like seeing an old John Wayne movie on television.

It pictures a way of life, long gone, that some folks still never want to leave.

 

 

 

Getting Around Tour Bus, Santo Domingo

If I were on this tour bus I wouldn’t have been able to take this picture.

There are a myriad of ways to transport yourself on a vacation. This tour bus, as it goes by, shows faces inside glancing at me as the tour driver describes thIs area with a microphone in his hand. Inside a tour bus you can’t stop a moment, poke around, talk to someone, have a bite to eat, try to understand a sign in a foreign language. You are moving quickly and if you are thinking about your security system back home you miss a Presidential Palace, or the church where Columbus attended his son’s wedding, or a great cafe where locals eat.

You can’t know a place by listening to a driver tell you what you are passing after you have already passed it.

The tour bus passes me and I can hear the driver talking to the whole block on his microphone, his facts sounding garbled and out of sync.

His words sound, to me, like the clouds in your coffee.

They wouldn’t be the words I would use to tell about this place.

 

Albuquerque’s E scooters Albuquerque's newest transportation

Albuquerque has just introduced E-Scooters to the Downtown Civic Plaza, Nob Hill, Old Town, and, eventually, other well frequented locations in the city. These scooters are lined up across from the Albuquerque Museum of Art, chatting up a storm and telling scooter jokes.

Two ladies, I talk too, say the scooters are fun to ride but you need an App on your phone to use them. There are about 750 of them, to start, and a private company, Zagster, has exclusive rights to promote in our city.

The scooters are available from seven in the morning till seven in the evening, have tracking devices installed, go 15 miles per hour, and cost the operator a $1.00 plus fifteen cents a minute to rent. The rationale is to address climate change, provide other modes of transport the younger generation will like (18 and older), encourage people to get out, and eliminate traffic in high traffic areas.

One of the big concerns of the Albuquerque Police Department is people driving these scooters while intoxicated, something that has already happened.

One of my issues is grasping how large American bodies are going to balance on these small running boards while going fifteen miles per hour with just hand brakes?

If the city was serious about climate change they would just make us walk in a transportation free zone.

Riding at your own risk, these days, has to be in all of our plans of the day.

We have come now to a place, in America, where adults dress and do what kid’s do,

 

Flying Home Another trip into the books

Airports are transitional.

In airports we are moving to someplace new or returning to someplace familiar. We are waiting interminable hours then squeezing into airplanes that take us 35,000 feet above the Earth and show us movies. We are victims of delays, layovers, plane cancellations, Customs, paperwork, pat downs, x rays and questions. For some, these indignities are acceptable. For others, they are barely tolerable.

This trip, authorities with TSA, in Newerk, confiscate a small bottle of flavored rum that Scott is taking home to enjoy, legally bought at the Museo of Rum in Santo Domingo. The size of the bottle, according to the TSA limit, is “over the limit. ” The agent says ” leave it, or consume it now. ”  Figuring they will give me a ticket for flying drunk next, I give up,leave the rum,and board my plane.

Are we to a point in this USA that this micromanagement is necessary, or even healthy?

Governments are, according to more than just me, too big for their britches. 

This trip is over, and, I hope, another quickly follows.

Even without my rum, which TSA agents have already enjoyed, staying healthy and traveling is my Doctor’s best prescription.

Next time, I will drink the whole bottle before I get to the airport.

 

 

Trip to Sanoa Beach From Santo Domingo

Those going on this day trip from Santo Domingo to Sanoa Island start at the Pizzerelli Pizza Palace at six forty five in the morning.

There is no one on the street this morning when I walk to our assigned pick up point, but, at the pizza place, there are five of us who are met by Isidro of Colonial Tours. He checks our receipts and we follow him down stone steps, out of the Colonial Zone, where we load onto our tour bus transport. We pick up more passengers in Boca Chica, along the way, and are full by the time we all get to Bayimbe where we board several small boats and a catamaran and sail or motor out to Sanoa Beach, our destination.

Santo Domingo is, I have found,  far away from the best beaches of the Dominican Republic. The real sand and surf activities are on the north shore of the island and at Punta Cana,

The Colonial Tour is a good tour. We pass through countryside with sugar cane fields as far as the eye can see. Bayimbe is a cute little town being discovered and developed by foreigners and Sanoa Beach is clean and secure for all travelers even if locals walk the beach selling jewelry and local crafts that you have already been showed a hundred times.

On our sail back to the mainland, where we board our tour bus to return to Santo Domingo, there is dancing on our catamaran, too much booze, but very happy passengers.

It is dark when we all get home, a twelve hour trip for sixty five bucks, a value when you add all the pieces. I never see these beaches without wondering about sailors marooned, Robinson Crusoe, pirate treasure buried by the foot of palm trees marked by an X on a yellowed map, deep in an old chest that has been in storms around Cape Horn.

A trip to the Dominican Republic isn’t complete without getting sand between my toes.

After each trip, new moments join old moments in one big jigsaw puzzle.

Today’s moments can stand on their own, but, they seem to pick up depth and velocity when they hold hands with older ones.

Comparing moments bring wisdom, but learning is best done with a pina colada in one hand and a barbecue wing in the other.

 

 

 

Shoe Problem Impossible to clean

These are a pair of Scott’s work shoes from when he used to work hard.

Instead of being covered with paint, which was Scott’s income when public school teaching became intolerable,one of these shoes has residue from floor tile adhesive on its toe.

The issue is wearing this pair when I go to public historical places. In these places there are shoe shine men and kids who want to clean them on sight. Before I see the shoeshine guys, they have swooped down and are fiddling with my shoes even though I insist that I and my shoes are perfectly happy to be left alone.

Part of travel is using precautions. Make a copy of your Passport to show to people in lieu of the real thing. Don’t wear flashy jewelry. Don’t tell strangers where you live. Don’t drink water, except bottled. Go in groups at night. Don’t do things abroad you wouldn’t do at home. Get all your shots. Use sunscreen. Use local currency. Don’t insert yourself into police business or arguments between men and women.

My newest precaution, before traveling again, is going to be to clean this adhesive off my shoe.

I hate to tell people ” no” when shining shoes is their livelihood and is all that stands between them and hunger.

 

Porthole Landing in the Dominican Republic

Visibility is restricted on airplanes.

Looking out through a small porthole, flyers can see parts of our plane, but mostly see clouds. Sometimes the clouds are white as your grandfather’s hair while other times they are puffed up like a boxer’s bruised right eye. They take fantastic shapes, but, at this moment, look suspiciously like the mushrooms growing in my back yard this last Spring.

The terra firma of the Dominican Republic fills my porthole as we fly over and begin our descent. Instructions for landing are given over a sound system in Spanish and English. We are thanked for our compliance, urged to take all our belongings with us, go through Customs, enjoy our trip and fly United again.

This island is large, with plenty of water, and grows cocoa, tobacco, sugarcane, coffee, rice, beans, bananas,potatoes,corn,cattle,pigs, chickens, eggs, and the surrounding sea has plenty of fish. I see Dominican Republic stickers on clusters of bananas sold in my back home grocery. This island is the size of Georgia and is one of the largest of the Caribbean islands, behind Cuba and Jamaica.

Setting down with a bump, on a wet runway, this ninth Scotttreks trek, has begun.

I’m not going to beaches and all-inclusive resorts.

I’ll be stepping back into history into the Unesco certified Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo where Spain established its beachhead in the New World.

Landing, my travel notebook is empty, waiting to be filled.

Some of what fills Scotttreks is by choice;  but the rest is up to fate and the travel God’s.

 

 

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