Tina and I have fully and finally moved out to the ranch, where we have gotten intimately involved in an endless circumambulation of our crap (not to mention Hero Game’s crap) between various locations on the property. It’s all in the worthy cause of organization of course. Though it will take years to properly finish, the ranch house is well on its way from “club house” to “actual house,” the office/library trailer is on its way to resembling…. well, an office/library trailer (as opposed to a trailer filled with boxes), the workshop is increasingly filled with tools and equipment, and the book warehouse is actually finished. I’m particularly proud of the way it turned out.
The weather has been extremely strange over the last two weeks. Last Wednesday it was 90 degrees by nine in the morning with the occasional dust storm. This Wednesday it’s 46 degrees at nine in the morning and the Calico Mountains on the far side of the valley are getting a dusting of snow even as I type. Last week we had to wear sand goggles. Yesterday the ranch was pelted with freezing rain – not that I object. The more rain out here the better, even if the news says it was only 1/10 of an inch, but it’s more than a little unusual for this time of the year.
It’s a great lifestyle out here – in some ways better than what I expected. Some of that is due to the years of preparation and many thousands of dollars Tina and I have put into this project, but also it’s the place. People call this God’s Country, but I would say that it’s more like the Country of the Gods. You could easily picture Zeus, Apollo, or any of the other ancient Greek gods living in a stone pagoda atop the Granites, Black Rocks, Jacksons, Limbos, or any of the other mountain ranges out here, hurling the odd thunderbolt down on us desert rats below during a drunken Saturday night revel. Which is why it’s odd that most people don’t bother to spare these majestic ranges a passing glance when they drive by them…. and also why nobody besides a few hardy mountain men lives up in them. You would think that retiring Californians would be busily building Starbucks atop them right this second. I mean it’s way nicer than the hills around Los Angeles.
Maybe if I build a Starbucks, they will come. I’ll have to make a point of not doing that.
If you have made the investments and are prepared, it can be shockingly inexpensive to live in the middle of nowhere (hope I’m not cursing myself there). A few luxuries – satellite radio, television, and the Internet – and a few necessities – propane, gasoline, food – and you’re good to go. There are even a fair number of genuinely interesting and nice people to socialize with out here when the mood strikes you. Of course, I may feel very differently when my various generators, vehicles, and tools start to wear out – or if I break my leg – but at least for the moment this has got to be the finest lifestyle I have ever had. It’s worth working for, fighting for, and maybe even dying for. In my whole life I’ve never lived anywhere I felt strongly enough about a place to make that statement, but there you are. The desert changes people.
It’s interesting to live without the actual physical wires that tie the individual or family to the remainder of the collective. Both frightening and liberating. No power lines, no water lines, no phone lines, no sewer system. No grid of any kind. Have you ever seen the old 1939 animated version of Gulliver’s Travels? There’s a part where he wakes up on the beach and realizes that he’s been tied down by thousands of tiny little things. So he stands us, all of the ropes binding him snap apart, and he’s free.
That’s what living without wires is like.