Thursday, April 30, 2015

Follow that Bird: Sesame Street Dream

Have you ever had a movie that has stuck with you and shaped the way you think and live life?

For me, that movie was Follow That Bird... Yep, the Sesame Street movie from 1985 (I was 7 years old) where Big Bird gets adopted by the Dodos and runs away back to Sesame Street.  Great songs and all the characters out to help find Big Bird.

I believe my fascination of traveling the US and living on the road first came from this movie.  While riding on Blue the songs come back to me and I sing them as I ride down the road.

Blue, my motorcycle, got her name from this movie.  Blue is short for Bluebird of Happiness, which is what Big Bird is called when the carnies kidnap him, paint him blue and make him sing.  The song is a perfect reflection of how I viewed my life.  On Blue, I have found many rainbows and many friends.  On the road is where I am home.
Follow That Bird is also where I got this need to fly in a biplane.  I hate to fly and scared of heights... so I would most likely be like Bert at the beginning of this clip but I feel it would be like riding Blue but in the air... the wind in my face and the ability to see everything.  Still working on making the biplane ride a reality.  I have found a couple of places that do the biplane rides so I need to save up and make this dream a reality.
One of my ultimate dreams to make this Follow That Bird: Sesame Street Dream complete is riding Blue and TicTac right down Sesame Street.  Meet all the gang and show them my home and life of simplicity on the road.  Show them anything is possible with a little work and a big imagination.  How cool would that be?!?!?!  Best picture ever... Blue, TicTac, the Sesame Street gang and I all together on Sesame Street.  Can you imagine what that would look like?  I can!  That would be a treasure for a lifetime.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rain, rain, go away!

Of course the day after I wash Blue and TicTac, since it hasn't rained in weeks to wash off the bird poo that has been on TicTac since Descanso, it rains.  More than 20 drops of rain.


Clean Blue and TicTac



The clouds moving in


It rained for a few days.  Since where I have been parked is dirt/gravel I had to find some sort of paved area to stay in.  The Walmart in Cottonwood had a recent incidence with campers in the parking lot so they are not allowing people to park overnight.  There isn't another Walmart that allows overnight parking in around 50 miles.  I was a bit panicked, not sure where to go, but that only lasted a couple seconds.  There are gas stations by the interstate and in a pinch I can usually convince them to let me stay... Being a biker in bad weather has its benefits.  I did remember that there was a paved pull off down the road from where I was staying before you enter the RV park.  I decided that will be the place.  It's outside their property but I did go to the gate and tell them I would be staying there until the rain is done and the dirt is dry.  I didn't ask... I pretty much told them because there really wasn't much of an option.  Driving the 50 miles in rain and southwestern winds can be dangerous and there just wasn't a need.  They said that will be fine since I am small.


It's been nice but I miss the place I have been staying and I was hoping to go to another 14 day stay area between Cottonwood and Sedona that I hear has great views for the weekend.  This paved pull off works and way better than a gas station or Walmart parking lot.  


I'm really enjoying these off the beaten path places.  I'm getting better riding into and thru them...Still slow and cautious.  I think it is the third bump TicTac creates that keeps me cautious.  A lot of these places are full of potholes, random big rocks and uneven ground caused by the RVs and cars going thru when wet.  I can handle the occasion third bump on paved roads that may jolt you back or try to buck you off but the gravel and dirt roads are a bit more slippery and my foot can slip easily if I have to put it down to stop.  So, for now I'm still very cautious and at times you will see me "walking" it down the BLM road.  I am getting better... One day I'll be able to ride right thru there as if TicTac wasn't attached. 


Roads are still a bit muddy but hoping they dry with a day or two of sun.  Maybe I should go wash Blue and TicTac in California so they can get some rain... But then I would feel bad about using their water.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

300th Post!!

I can't believe this is my 300th post.  I started this blog in 2011 knowing I was going to hit the road... knowing I wanted my art to be my time on Blue.  It seems like just yesterday but it's been over 4 years ago.  Many places I have been, many struggles, many accomplishments.  It is truly exciting!!

Here is the link to my first blog post about when I got Blue and where her name came from.  You can then follow some of my first BlueRoad works, how I saved up enough money to get TicTac and hit the road... to being on the road, the people I have met and the places I have been.  Life is truly good!

Thank you for following my adventure of finding myself, finding peace and learning to enjoy every minute. <3

Monday, April 27, 2015

Diva Stories

Before you read any further this may be a TMI for some... But for us women who have not hit menopause it might be quite helpful.

Over a year ago I decided I needed to find something different for that monthly visitor... Having the waste and needing to buy products every month or so was 1. Not affordable on a limited income, 2. The products took up too much space in TicTac and 3. The waste of the products are just that... Wasteful.  

I always laugh at the Mary Tyler Moore episode where her Aunt Flow visits... It is truly her Aunt Flow who was a reporter... But always makes me chuckle when Mary tells people her Aunt Flow was coming to visit.  Sorry, nerdy retro TV reference.

Anywhos, I did some research and after laughing for quite some time at the reviews on Amazon I chose to try out the Diva Cup.  

The reviews and description are quite accurate.

1. It really does make a clicking sound when you put it in and turn.  

2. The first time you put it in it feels like you would need a pair of needle nose plyers to get the sucker back out again.

3. Every once in a while when taking it out it makes, what seems to be, the loudest sucking sound.  Quite embarrassing in a public restroom.

Most people who reviewed said they cut off the little extra bit that comes off the cup part.  I left that part on in fear I may never get it out again without it.

Last summer, riding thru Montana, I put in the Diva Cup quickly when I stopped for gas and hit the road again.  I get on the interstate and realized I put the Diva Cup in... Let's say... Differently.  Here I am riding down the interstate with that little extra part vibrating.  There were no exits for over 40 miles.  Gave a completely new meaning to women who call their motorcycle their vibrator...Which I normally take offense to... But this time it was quite true.  Almost an hour later I finally get to the Walmart I was staying at for the night.  I was so embarrassed because it felt like everyone knew what just happened to me.  I could barely get off Blue... I had to of been quite flush... Luckily, I didn't crash along the way.  Makes me chuckle thinking about riding down the interstate wishing there was an exit but yet... wanting to go a little further. Hahaha

I absolutely love the Diva Cup and its ease and not having to buy products every month.  I haven't had any problems... But... The other night I had a dream I dropped it into one of those vaulted toilets.  The next day while at the library I actually did drop it into the toilet.  You have no idea how thankful I was being at a place with running water and soap.... And it didn't fall into the endless pit of a vaulted toilet.

What is also great about the Diva Cup, is for me, it actually shrunk my period.  Less days, less flow and reduced cramps... Truly heavenly.  I am still hoping for an early menopause but until then the Diva Cup will be with me.  Takes up little space, no waste and saves money.  Great thing to have when living simply on the road.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Is that rain?

I haven't seen rain or any moisture since leaving Albuquerque and their 8 inches of snow in February.  The other night in Cottonwood we had quite the clouds... I thought for sure the heavens would open up and rain would come down.  I was quite concerned that Blue and TicTac might sink in the dirt spot I am in.

The wind picked up... The clouds got dark and a whole 20 drops fell around me.


It first looked like it was going to miss us.


The wind picked up.


Oddly looked intense but a bit disappointing.


I guess it is so dry here that the rain evaporates before it hits the ground.


It made for a beautiful sunset. 









Saturday, April 25, 2015

Student Loans: The Biggest Scam in U.S. History

A few months back Sallie Mae moved my student loans to Navient (both dealing with private student loans).  I'm not completely sure what changed... It should be the same customer service and payment.  When they changed over I called and asked if my payment would be the same.  The Navient representative said yes.  After 1 payment the next month my payment went from $168 per month to over $400 a month.  No notification.

So, again I called and asked why the payment changed... the Navient representative said I wasn't enrolled in an interest only payment plan.  I was somehow taken out of the payment plan without notification.  The Navient representative supposedly put me back on the payment plan. 

Then somehow I had a month with nothing due and the following month the payment shot back up to over $400.  Again, without notification.  

I call again...the Navient representative said I was not enrolled in the interest only payment plan.  Somehow, again, I was taken out of the payment plan I had been on without notification.  This time, however, they couldn't put me back on that payment plan.  So, the representative said she would write in the notes (which people can't seem to write or read) that I will be making a $50 a month payment for the next 3 months for the loans to go into deferment for 3 months to hopefully have a lower payment plan come into place.  

Throughout all of this they call my dad 6-7 times a day... Even on the days I have just called and worked out a plan... and told him I had not contacted them.  Please explain to me why they think calling someone over and over again the same day would get them a payment?  A payment that was changed without any prior notification.

This is ridiculous!  Who can go from $168 payment to over $400 without prior notification???  Maybe I should look more closely when I poop... Maybe money does come out of my ass. Hahaha

In all seriousness, this is why people of my generation... The start of everyone needs a college education and a college education being unaffordable to middle and low income families without student loans... Will never get ahead.  Student loans can not go away from bankruptcy, they have some of the highest interest rates and government and colleges are making a killing telling people they need to be educated to get ahead in life... For a good job... To support your family.  When in all reality, companies want to hire the ones without the education because they are cheaper... Or even better an intern to do the work for free... Telling them the experience will be great for their resume.  Those of us, especially with advance degrees, end up having to settle for less money in a job we would be considered experts in... Or in a job that has nothing to do with our education.  

I was accepted and I turned down a scholarship for a PhD program.  It would of been another 5-7 years of work for a college's objectives and spending little time on my own work to then be paid no where the worth of my education and knowledge once graduated.  Also, even on scholarship there are fees to be paid which can be a few thousand dollars a semester plus room and board.

(4/27/10) I thought "Whoop" I finally finished college with a Masters of Music in Music Technology. I later was accepted into the Media, Arts and Science PhD program at Arizona State but turned down the scholarship and acceptance because I was getting everything I would of received except for the initials behind my name where I was working at the time.
I have been published in academic journals, worked on some pretty cool projects, presented my work at international conferences... and even though it makes me cringe I can't find a job that will pay me enough to pay back the debt... I am happy I accomplished my goal... especially when most people told me that "college isn't for everyone" when I was unsuccessful in college for many years during my Eating Disorder and Depression.
To give you an idea of the rising cost of college... In 1996 I went to a Private University.  In 2006 I went to a Public University and was spending the same amount of money as the Private University in 1996.  The cost of the Private University included room and board.  The cost of the Public University included parking.

My question is... When will this madness stop?  When will student loans become not needed?  Why are we creating a society that is in debt to be educated and, for that matter, in debt to stay healthy.  Two very important things to have a good life and in the U.S. you have to pay... A lot... For years... For what should be the basics of life... Education and Health.

This is one of the many reasons I chuckle when I see "Land of the Free".  I agree we have many things going for us that other countries do not but none of it is free.  There are countries where healthcare is free... College education is free... that is where part of the tax money goes.  In the U.S.... Education, healthcare, care for the less fortunate, war, equality... All of that costs something and costs more to those with less and on top of that we pay taxes that go where exactly??  I think it is time we start working on a true "Land of the Free" for future generations... Or this country... Or I should say the people of his country... will be in some deep shit... Looking for money... Literally.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekend camping with a friend

This last weekend a friend from Albuquerque came to Arizona to camp with me for a few nights.  We first met in Clints Well, Arizona.  About 60 miles south of Winslow.  What a beautiful 14 day stay area.  It had actual sites, fire rings, picnic tables and a toilet (which smelled and looked like someone exploded in there).

Blue and TicTac in our spot

I was there 2 nights completely by myself before my friend came.  I was cold but really didn't think anything of it. Just figured I was a wimp and had to get use to it.  I did have a little snow on TicTac when I woke up Friday morning.  What a difference it makes sleeping in the cold without my boys.... They gave out a lot of warmth.

This is our spot from the edge of the spot.  Must of been the camp host spot at one time.

By Friday people started to show up.  That afternoon a woman stopped by to see my rig.  She lit her cigarette and started to tell quite the story.  Started with a political rant... On to domestic violence, a husband who was part of the mob, working for the CIA, being raped by Obama in Chicago and back to a political vote for Hilary because domestic violence needs to be stopped in this country.  She could really tell a story... You couldn't get a word in edgewise but it was interesting as she chain smoked the entire time... At one point she had 3 lit cigarettes in her hand.  My friend showed up a little bit into the conversation and probably an hour later this random woman was leaving.  The only thing I didn't like is she would take a step towards me, stare me in the eyes, point with the hand with the current smoking cigarette and say "you know where I'm going with this" every few minutes.  I just nodded my head.

By Friday evening the campground was full.  A family with a popup trailer didn't have a place to park so I offered for them to stay in our spot with us.  They declined and went looking elsewhere for a campground.  

My friend and I opened a bottle of whiskey and started a fire.  After a bit we decided to walk around the campground.  It only has 7 sites so it is quite small.  We met a couple from Canada who were biking around Arizona and might go thru parts of New Mexico.  We met 2 ladies who were RVing together and heading to a party somewhere in the woods the next day.  On our way back to our site the family with the popup came back in the campground and took us up on our offer.  They set up camp while my friend and I had the most delisious jalapeƱo and cheese dogs, marshmallows and whiskey.

The family pretty much kept to themselves and my friend and I stayed up quite late talking about everything from how to pee in the woods, relationships, work, family, friends, disappointment and everything in between.

At the end of the night she went to sleep in her tent and I went back to TicTac.  It was the coldest night... Or maybe it was the whiskey but I couldn't get my lower leg to my toes warm.  I had on 2 pair of wool socks and I tried a hot hand but the hot hand would get cold after a minute or two on my foot.  The rest of my body was warm but my feet made it quite miserable.

The next morning we decided to go back to Cottonwood and warmth.  I chatted with another group of campers while my friend was packing up her tent and stuff.  It was 2 couples who were super nice.  They asked me what we were talking about the night before.  They said they saw one of us going from a squat to a stand over and over again and that some of our conversations was quite funny.  I'm assuming that was the demonstration my friend gave of how to squat to pee in the woods.  And who knows what parts of the conversations they heard. Haha

Once we were all packed up we headed back to Cottonwood and a huge temperature difference.  We went 60 miles from well over 7000 feet to around 4000 feet and close to a 20 degree difference.

Campsite in Cottonwood.
Our spot in Cottonwood.  My friend slept in her car that night.

The fire ring I made. :)
I made us a fire ring and it looked quite good.

Fixing the knocked over rocks the next morning.
My friend left after 1 night for an interview in Phoenix but stopped by for another night on her way back to Albuquerque.  Another night of whiskey, marshmallows and the yummy hot dogs... And of course conversation about everything.

I always feel like Alexander Supertramp when I sit outside TicTac
My friend took this most fabulous photo. 

We also saw 2 baby cows down the road.  This 14 day stay area is in open range so cattle sometimes stop by.  

Mooo cows :)
These 2 were on the road going out of the campground.

It was quite the fabulous few days.  I love I can find people to camp with.  My friend isn't an RVer or living on the road... She comes to camp with a tent for the weekend when I am somewhat close to her.  Truly cool!







Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day: Resources used on the road

As I was doing my laundry today and listening to the Earth Day news at the laundromat I started thinking about the resources I use and how they compare to when I lived in an apartment.  How I can modify to use less resources.  So here is a run down.

I use less than a gallon of water a day.  If I use an entire gallon I have drank, cooked, washed my hair, and shaved my legs.  If I cook and drink it is probably about 3/4 and if I just drink it is a little more than 1/2.  I know... totally not enough water intake for the day... working on that.

I do laundry every other week.  One load in the wash and then split it to 2 for the dryer.  That is just clothes.  I wash blankets and sheets every other time or so... just depends on how motivated I am. :)

I charge my computer and ipad 3 times a week at the local library.  I can charge the ipad with my solar panel but it was cloudy for a few days and I accidentally ran down the battery so the solar panels won't work until I charge it up with a 110 or 30 amp.  I charge smaller electronics like my cell phone and ipod with a smaller solar panel that they plug directly into with a 12v adapter.

I plug in TicTac on occasion... I will at the next place I can.  Since January I have only charged TicTac once before leaving my house sitting gig.  Since then I have been using my solar panel.

Trash wise I may fill up a Walmart bag in 2 days... Mainly because of the packaging from food.  And also the gallon jugs the water comes in.

Gas wise I get around 40mpg.  Since January my goal is to spend less than $20 on gas a week.  I have a 5 gallon tank and usually fill up at 100 to 120 miles and it is almost never a full tank... unless I have been driving in the steep mountains.  Then there is the oil change and tires.  I change oil and the rear tire of Blue every 5000 miles.  I wish I could find a better tire that can handle the load but haven't just yet.  The front tire can go twice as long and the trailer tires, once I got good tires, should last quite some time.  Then other maintenance when needed.

I clean Blue and TicTac at a car wash every few months... and that is if they are completely dirty... at this moment TicTac has had bird poo on her for weeks... so need to clean her for all the pictures I take. :)  Probably the most wasteful thing I do on the road.

So how do I want to be more efficient...

First, I want to get some reusable water bladders and finding places I can fill up.  In the desert they usually have water kiosk things where you can put in a couple dollars and get so much water... not sure where to go outside of that.  I haven't researched too much yet.  That will get rid of the waste of the gallon bottles.

Second, I need to get better with the solar panel.  When riding during the day I loose all of that energy because it is not attached to TicTac.  I would like to find a way to attach solar panels to TicTac and a little more power so I don't have times where the battery gets too low.  I only have a 60 Watt solar panel that plugs into TicTac and it isn't enough to charge my computer unless I am in the desert and it is sunny all day.  The computer has to be off and it could take 5+ hours for it to charge when it is almost dead.  Maybe a larger battery in TicTac would also be helpful but I would have to modify TicTac to hold a larger battery.

Third, my dream is to make Blue a biodiesel hybrid of some sort.  Using pure vegetable oil and getting a bit of energy from the sun. I would get more mpg and I would be using a renewable resource... if I could find a way to power Blue using trash like the DeLorean in Back To The Future that would be ultimate!! and... it would take care of the trash waste I have.

One thing I have to work on is when I stay in a house.  It is hard to realize the resources you use when they are readily available.  It sure is nice to take a long, hot shower... and to wash multiple loads before I hit the road again... plugging in TicTac so I can watch a movie, run the fan, lights and charge my ipad all at the same time... and when it is cold to have heat.  I am always aware of the light usage in a house but I almost never turn on my lights in TicTac so turning on a light in every room I'm in seems quite wasteful.  Then you have the heating and cooling of the home... which now I don't even know how to use anymore.  I usually open a window or add more layers.  Then you have the electric resources of refrigeration, cooking, running water, electronics, all those things to keep the house clean and so many other things that I have completely forgotten about.  Oh, and don't forget about the water to flush a toilet... Since being back on the road I probably use a flushing toilet three or four times a week.... not three or four times a day.  Or the water used to wash dishes, water the lawn and plants, clean the dog, car and whatever else.

I would of never realized all the resources I used living in an apartment or house but living on the road changed the way I think.  I don't have anything that is readily available.  I have to make the effort for everything.  This had made me think about why I use a resource and how I can use less.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Don't Think Twice

Tuesday was quite the interesting day... I was first a bit frustrated by not having what I need to do some paid work... which means I won't have any hours this week... which means I won't have any food money for next week.  So, instead of figuring out how I was going to spread out the little food I have for the next week, I thought I would be proactive and advocate for myself.  I googled a food bank and found one where the only qualifications was that you were hungry... this is great because some places you have to be a resident or prove that you are financially unable to buy food.

I have never been to a food bank but it has been something I have thought about when I don't have enough food... which is more times than not... but feel it could be worse and there are people out there who really need it.  That would be my Eating Disorder talking... It is hard for me to advocate for myself... especially when it comes to nourishing my body.  

In 2013, I was trying to figure out how to eat 3 well rounded meals a day... (you can view blog posts here) It should be 3 meals plus snacks but finding enough money to get 3 meals is quite a feat... a feat I've never accomplished in my adult life.  I've never been able to afford 3 meals a day... on a consistent basis... my entire adult life.

Back to Tuesday...

I was all pumped and proud I was going to go advocate for myself... The food bank was open until 3 and it was 2:15... it was only a couple minutes away.  I found my way and got there at 2:30 to see it use to be there but wasn't there anymore.  Good in theory... I did make the effort... I even called but it had this confusing menu of people's names... how do I know Ed from the food bank??  So I left disappointed... figure it is Karma from all those years where I didn't eat the meal provided or purged a meal I did eat.

So, I went back to my campsite and one of my neighbors came by to tell me of this 5ft snake that was about 15ft from where I have been staying... he showed me a picture... HUGE!!!  He said he thought it wasn't poisonous but it could be aggressive.  

I ended up spending the evening inside of TicTac... I rearranged TicTac so I could get to my guitar and spent a few hours playing and singing.  

Here is one of the songs I learned while I was dating New Mexico.  Quite fitting. :)

Ended the day quite happy.  Making music heals the soul. :)  Never saw the snake.  Was a bit nervous the next morning getting out of TicTac... afraid that snake would be hiding under TicTac but it wasn't there.  Phew!!  :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Slab City 2015... The Love of Jesus

I did a short video of where I stayed at the slabs for a night this year.  You can view some posts I made last year about my time in the Slabs here.

This year I stayed at the Christian Center close to the entrance of the Slabs... recommended by my friend Renee.  I met Smiley who was a nice guy and very helpful.  What I think is interested about a place like the Slabs... some of them who have Jesus have an intense love for Jesus but yet they don't judge.  Unlike some of the people in society who say they love Jesus but somehow think they are his messenger to judge.  I think some of those people need to spend some time with Smiley and another man I met while at the Christian Center.

Smiley has the Christian Center open to all... he is sure to tell you that when you stop by.  He gave me water... which is quite the commodity in the Slabs and welcomed me to spend some time in the chapel.  Wish I would of been there to see a service but maybe next year.

The other man I met had rode his bicycle with his son all around the country and settled in the Slabs.  He asked me if I had Jesus... and he told me Jesus is the reason he was able to do and see all the things in his life.  Not once did he tell me I needed Jesus... not once did he judge me because of the way I looked or his presumptions on my sexuality.  He just told his story and wished me a good day.

I don't mind hearing how people love Jesus... I do mind when the love of Jesus becomes an excuse to hate.

Another reason I love spending time in Slab City.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

TicTac Advertising

I decided I'm selling Ad space on TicTac.  Blue, TicTac and I are constantly getting our picture taken, stared at, comments being made about the bumper stickers I just put on.  I think this will be the perfect real estate for small businesses.  I also think the collage of Ads will be quite interesting and brighten up the dull white of TicTac.

So if you or someone you know owns a small business and wants to get it out there in a unique way think about TicTac Advertising. :)

5x5 inch space on the back, front, driver's side or passenger's side.  Choose the side you want your ad to be placed.
$1500 for 1 year. 
(Business supplies 5x5 car sticker to be placed on TicTac)

For more information or get your TicTac space email booking@jhblueroad.com





Saturday, April 11, 2015

Verde Valley

Spending a few days in the Cottonwood/Sedona Arizona area.


Found some 14 day stay areas I want to check out... here is my spot for a few days outside Cottonwood.

Spent a day wandering thru Sedona.




Beautiful weather... Beautiful scenery.. Life is good.



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Great few weeks

Here are a few pics from my travels the last few weeks.  Spent 10 or so days around Descanso CA, a night in Slab City, a couple of nights in El Centro CA and now spending the month of April in Arizona.  Taking it slow and enjoying each area.  I have spent a lot of time with my friend Renee who is also traveling in this area.  It has been quite fun.

Cleveland National Forrest/Anzo-Borrego Desert

Snowbirds are mostly gone in Slab City so I spent a night by the Christian Center and met Smiley.


Playing pool with my friend Renee in El Centro, CA (check out Renee's blog at http://www.lovedbylillie.com)


Renee and I crossed the border to Mexicali BC for lunch


Then headed to Quartzsite.  Staying on some BLM land for a few days.  Also met up with Renee again for a day.

I actually had 24 hours of peace... No one coming up to me to ask questions about Blue and TicTac... Driving by way to close to take a look.  It was heaven!! I sat outside and read a book in peace.

Beautiful sunset.


Renee's Shantilly and Blue and Tictac in Quartzsite (photo by Renee)

Spending a few more days here in Quartzsite then heading to higher ground and cooler temps in the Cottonwood/ Sedona area.