My one-hour rest stop in the Sitgreave National Forest in West Central Arizona turned into an eight-day layover. After five peaceful, solitary days, I moved over to the Mogollon Rim, and on the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend, I found two private acres right on the rim with a 50-mile view out to Four Peaks from my window.
The breezes percussed the needles of the ponderosa pines to a relaxing gray sound of a calm beach. The following day the wind began to protest my intrusion. The gentle beachlike sounds became angry and acquired the tension of a rush-hour freeway. And rush hour it was—Friday afternoon, a 30-foot trailer pulled into the adjacent campsite. A hundred feet to the left, a pickup truck arrived and set up a tent, then another, and another. Eventually, five vehicles, five tents, and a full complement of children, dogs, and ATVs were unloaded. Mind you, I am not complaining but reporting a change in the scene. The group was busy but made no great noise, the dogs barked only a little (what the heck, it’s what dogs do), the kids waved at me when they rode by.
For one night I did have my quiet little estate.
The nighttime temp dropped to the low 40s, and the Jolly Swag rocked. The wind sent large animals to mate with her.
Saturday was bright, and the wind grew more furious. I chose to stay another night rather than look for a more favorable site in the middle of a holiday weekend. The Jolly Swag is a tight little ship. Inside, with all hatches battened, the noise was not bothersome, and the rocking of the of my good little ship reminded me of many sweet Caribbean nights aboard the string of sailing vessels that marked an earlier decade.
In my months of travel across long stretches of ghost highways, to remote mountaintops and steep valleys, Verizon has always managed to find me and deliver my email. Here, in my idyllic spot deep in the woods, my Verizon tether stretched and snapped. No email after 9:05 a.m. Saturday morning.
Wind, noise, and crowding, I can deal with. A hand other than mine own pulling my email plug, and it’s four strikes and I am outa here.
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